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Book shop owner promotes the Welsh language in Montgomery

A book shop owner, originally from Lancashire, has started using the Welsh language at his shop in Montgomery, Powys.

Barry Lord, who lives and works in Montgomery, has been attending a weekly Welsh class in Welshpool for four years with Learn Welsh Ceredigion-Powys-Carmarthenshire, which is run by Aberystwyth University on behalf of the National Centre for Learning Welsh.

Barry said, “I opened a bookshop in Montgomery before Christmas 2018. I enjoy being able to greet visitors to the shop and have conversations with them in Welsh. To ensure that people know that I am learning the language, I have just displayed a sign on the counter to encourage people to communicate with me in Welsh.”

Barry was inspired to start learning Welsh after visiting the National Eisteddfod in Meifod, Montgomeryshire in 2015.

I think it's very important to be able to communicate with people in their first language. People should try to learn the local language when they are living in a different country in order to participate in the local community, and to appreciate its history and culture.

Barry Lord

Barry received the Basil Davies Memorial Trophy last year for the highest marks in Wales in the Foundation level Welsh exam. He has now completed the next lever, Intermediate, and plans to spend a month on a summer course at Aberystwyth University before starting to study at the Advanced level course in Welshpool in September. He has also spent three weeks at the Nant Gwrtheyrn Welsh language and heritage centre in Gwynedd following  Foundation, Intermediate and Advanced courses.

Barry added, “Learning Welsh has helped me become more familiar with Welsh culture, literature and history, and has helped me make new friends.

“The most important thing in my opinion when learning Welsh is to join a Welsh language course, and to use the language outside the classroom as often as possible.”

Barry enjoys going to a reading club in Montgomery where there is an opportunity to discuss Welsh books and to socialise with Welsh speakers and learners. He has also benefited from being part of the ‘Siarad’ scheme run by the National Centre for Learning Welsh, which pairs learners with Welsh speakers.

“My ‘Siarad’ partner, Bernard, and I took part in a guided walk organised by the Welsh medium walking group, Cymdeithas Edward Llwyd, and we attended a Noson Lawen, (an event with light entertainment).” He added, “All the events were extremely useful because I had to speak Welsh all the time.”

We are very proud of Barry and take pride in seeing him gain more confidence in speaking Welsh. Wales, the language, its people and its culture are close to his heart and he now encourages others to speak and learn the language. We look forward to welcoming him to back to the classes in September. It's always a pleasure to chat with him.

Debbie Gilbert, Learn Welsh Ceredigion-Powys-Carmarthenshire.

To find a Welsh course or opportunities to use the Welsh language, go to learnwelsh.cymru. Free online courses are also available on our website.