Sunday, June 22, 2008

80th Birthday Celebration

Been to a performance by the strings section of the National Orchestra of Wales at the Gregynog Festival tonight. The Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales sponsored the event as part of its anniversary celebrations. 80 years ago a group of like-minded lovers of rural Wales were so concerned about threats to the landscape that it formed the CPRW. Today the threats are greater than ever, consequent on rising population levels in the United Kingdom, and its insatiable appetite for energy. I am the current President of CPRW, so tonight I was acting as host at a pre-concert reception.

One of the group who met 80 years ago to form CPRW was Gwendoline Davies, who with her sister Margaret, famously did so much for the cultural life of Wales and Montgomeryshire, centred on Gregynog, location of tonight's event. The sisters launched the first Gregynog Festival 75 years ago, so it was a double anniversary tonight, linked by the Davies sisters. It was a special event that warranted a special concert. That's what we got.

I was sitting next to Lord Thomas of Gresford, who is this year's President of the Montgomeryshire Society, which organises a literary competition for local schools. When he was presenting some of the prizes at my old High School at Llanfair Caereinion, he'd asked one of the winners, who had told him he was going to be a farmer, "What are you going to farm". Back came the answer "Windmills". Clearly there remains a role for CPRW.

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