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Football helps learner enjoy the Welsh language

Football helps learner enjoy the Welsh language

Andy Woolley, who was brought up in north Wales, but who now lives in England, has started learning Welsh in order to use the language during football matches, as well as to learn more about Welsh history and culture.

Andy, who lives in Tetbury, Gloucestershire regularly visits his home town of Colwyn Bay, in order to practise his Welsh, and also to support his favourite football team, Colwyn Bay FC.

Andy explains: ‘‘I felt sad that there was hardly any Welsh in school when I was a child growing up in the 50s and 60s.  My grandfather spoke Welsh but he died when I was 10 years old.  I come back to Colwyn Bay as often as possible to watch Colwyn Bay FC playing at home and also to use my Welsh.’’

Andy started learning Welsh in 2019, and he has used Duolingo, SaySomethingInWelsh and has attended residential courses in Nant Gwrtheyrn.  He now follows an Intermediate level course with Learn Welsh North East, which is run by Coleg Cambria and Popeth Cymraeg on behalf of the National Centre for Learning Welsh.

Andy goes to the National Eisteddfod every year, and the highlight this year was talking to Dafydd Iwan on the Eisteddfod field in Tregaron.  Andy hopes to travel to Patagonia in the near future to go to the Eisteddfod there.

Andy says: ‘‘I’ve visited Patagonia many times before, but I want to go back, since I can now speak Welsh.  I want to go to the Eisteddfod there, and also meet people in the community to speak Welsh with them, and learn about their lives.’’

Andy loves learning Welsh and believes that football has played a vital part in his journey to learning the language.  He adds:

‘‘I read a lot about the Welsh football team, on Twitter, the FAW’s website, and in books etc, and that has been a great help.  I also make use of my Welsh when I watch Wales matches in Cardiff City Stadium.  Therefore, thanks to football, I use Welsh quite often and I enjoy every minute.’’