TWO local women achieved the top prizes for Welsh learners at this year’s National Eisteddfod.

Wendy Evans, who lives in Cardigan, won the Chair for the best poem, and Cathy Green from Newport, Pembs won the top Prose Award.

Wendy amazed the adjudicator, Rhys Iorwerth, by her mastery of Welsh in composing a sonnet presenting the story of a lonely girl who finds life-giving connection with a friendly stranger.

Cathy charmed and gripped Manon Steffan Ros, who was adjudicating the prose, with her autobiographical piece about teaching English to refugees while also learning Welsh herself, and the warmth which develops through teaching and learning.

Both winners have been attending Welsh classes for adults at Cardigan Castle, and through this have achieved fluency in both speaking and writing Welsh, and can now take a full part in Welsh-language life locally.

But like all who've attended classes, they've found that the process is as satisfying as the achievement.

They've thoroughly enjoyed the classes and made many friends, finding that its very different from learning a language in school, and much more fun. Having local Welsh-speakers coming into the classes very regularly to chat informally has also been a huge help in building up confidence to speak Welsh outside of the class.

Classes for all, from complete beginners to those already fluent but wanting to polish their skills, are starting up again in Cardigan from September 30. For information, pick up a prospectus from the Cardigan Library or the Castle, go to or freephone 0800 876 6975, or for local advice call 01239 654561.