A BEAUTIFULLY handcrafted book made by boys from the South Wales valleys while attending an improvement college in Aberporth is one of Emyr Jones most treasured possessions.

The book was left to him by his late father Sam Jones who attended the school - now the Penrallt Hotel - in the late 1930s.

The ‘Penrallt Scheme’ as it was called, was the brainchild of Penrallt owner Gladys Williams who wanted to create “conscious and constructive citizens”.

She established a school at the Penrallt in 1936 and it was aimed at “disadvantaged” boys from the South Wales valleys. The youngsters – aged 14 – were taught practical handcrafts as well as music and drama.

The school finally closed in May 1940 with the coming of World War II.

The book – made on handmade paper – was produced by the boys and is one of only 40 made.

Each boy wrote an article. Emyr’s father wrote in May, 1938: “We have started to make a cricket pitch, but it is slow work. The only trouble is that the fielders will often be down the dingle after the ball.”

And he added: “We are also going to get boxing gloves and be taught the art of self-defence. Mr Stuart will be teaching us and the carpenters will probably make a boxing ring.”

Today there is little evidence left of the school apart from a cupboard which still has a row of coat hooks for the boys’ clothes.

Emyr, who now lives in Ross on Wye, has a caravan in Aberporth and is a regular visitor to the hotel.

“This book is unique – a fascinating piece of history,” he said.