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Learning Welsh in Hirwaun

Judi Davies

Welsh learner Judi’s love for the language
comes full circle at Hirwaun RFC

Six years after following a beginners’ Welsh course at Hirwaun RFC, Judi Davies has now returned as a volunteer tutor at the rugby club, helping introduce a new generation of learners to the language.

Originally from Knowle in the West Midlands, Judi had her first taste of learning Welsh during a weekend course in the 1990s, but shortly after, raising a family took priority.

After retiring as a librarian six years ago, Judi took up the language again and enrolled on a beginners course at Hirwaun RFC for two years.  Judi then joined an intensive course with Learn Welsh Glamorgan, which is run on behalf of the National Centre for Learning Welsh, at Gartholwg Lifelong Learning Centre in Church Village.

Since walking through the classroom door, Judi has immersed herself in all things Welsh. She enjoys Welsh theatre and music gigs and has volunteered at the National Eisteddfod. Judi is also a member of ‘Merched y Wawr’, which provides opportunities for women of all ages to socialise through the medium of Welsh.

Judi was delighted to put her new language skills to good use by volunteering as a Welsh tutor at Hirwaun RFC.  She teaches a class once a week and thoroughly enjoys the experience.

Learning Welsh has also had a positive impact on Judi’s family life.  Judi is proud to speak Welsh with her eldest grown-up daughter, whom is also a tutor.  Being a new grandmother, Judi can’t wait to speak Welsh with her granddaughter.

Judi takes every opportunity to practise, even if it’s just saying ‘bore da’ (good morning) or ‘prynhawn da’ (good afternoon). She enjoys Welsh coffee morning groups and is an avid reader of ‘Clochdar’, her local Welsh language community newspaper.  Judi also took part recently in a programme on BBC Radio Cymru to celebrate learning Welsh.

Judi, who continues to learn herself and is following an Advanced level course for experienced learners, says: “I can honestly say that learning Welsh is the best thing I’ve ever done.

“My advice for anyone learning is to practise as much as you can and don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Wear the orange ‘Cymraeg’ badge when you feel confident enough, so people know they can start a conversation with you in Welsh. Use anything that helps you and just go for it!”
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