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President Terry Waite bids a fond farewell to Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod

Mr Terry Waite CBE, LIME’s long serving President recently took the decision to stand down from the role after 15 prolific years. His commitment to the Eisteddfod has been exemplary, forever promoting our festival and extending the hand of friendship across the world. We wish to thank him for his astounding commitment and steadfast friendship and look forward to being able to honour him in the future.

Please see below an article recently published in the Wrexham Leader and the Oswestry and Border Counties Advertiser recounting Mr Waite’s time as President of Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod:

President Terry Waite bids a fond farewell to Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod

THE long-serving president of the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod (LIME) is stepping down from the role.

Terry Waite, 81, is an English humanitarian and author who was awarded the MBE in 1982 and the CBE in 1992.

Mr Waite says retiring from the role with LIME a few weeks ago was the ‘hardest decision’ he’s ever had to make.

Having spent the last 15 years as president, he says his decision came as a result of Covid-19 directly ‘changing’ the future of what’s to come with LIME, which had to be cancelled this year due to the pandemic.

An online event was introduced to help keep the international communities involved connected.

Mr Waite said: “Music has the capacity to breathe harmony into the soul and during good times and bad music has united the Welsh nation in a unique way. It should come as no surprise to anyone that following the second world war the people of Llangollen stretched out a hand to the world and invited people from across the globe to come to the town and share together in a gathering designed to promote harmony and peace throughout the world.

“Little did I know when I stepped onto that coach in 1948 that one day I would become President of one of the great music festivals of the world.

“My introduction to the International Eisteddfod came through the Warrington Male Voice Choir with whom I have been associated for many years. I came with them to Llangollen and later was invited to be a day President before finally being invited to be President.

“I do know that in all my time as President I have not missed one year and have stayed in Llangollen for the duration of the festival. That was not a duty. It was a pleasure.

“To recount my experiences would fill volumes. I have listened over the years as Bryn Terfel developed his extensive repertoire, as Alfie Bow moved from white tie and tails to a more casual form of dress, as Katherine Jenkins took the first steps to what has become an international career. There are dozens more I could mention.

“The competitors from overseas have been so very varied. Many came from areas that were being torn apart by warfare and found, through music, friends whom they thought were enemies.

“Then there are the local wonderful volunteers. I have made so many good friends amongst them and these friendships will continue across my lifetime. Each year it has been possible to thank the sponsors who have been magnificent.

“As for the audience-well, what can I say? Year by year they return and again, one had made so many good friendships with people not only from the British Isles but from across the world.

“Will I miss being President? Most certainly I shall. LIME has been one of the highlights of my year and to retire was one of the hardest decisions I have had to take for many a year.

“However, LIME, due to Covid and other factors, is at a point of change and given my age, I am 82 in 2021, it seemed the right time to step down and let a younger person take over from me.

“Wales has always had a special place in my affections and although I don’t speak one word of the language I like to think that during the past years I have been accepted as a member of the family of the Eisteddfod which, although it is rooted and located in Wales, extends across the world with the aim of uniting us all together in peace and harmony.

“As I say farewell I salute a great institution. Long may it continue.”

Mr Waite’s life-story is a highly interesting one.

In January 1987, he was captured in Beirut, Lebanon, whilst attempting to secure the release of hostages. He was kept in solitary confinement for four years and kept hostage in total for almost five years.

Born in 1939 in Cheshire, Mr Waite’s formative years were spent in a small village where his father was the village policeman.

His primary and secondary education took place locally. He served for a brief period with the Grenadier Guards but had to retire on medical grounds. He entered the Church Army College in London in 1958 and studied theology.

He married Helen Watters in 1964. They have three daughters and a son. In 1969 he moved with his family to Africa where he was Advisor to the first Archbishop of Uganda, the Most Reverend Erica Sabiti.

The family moved to Rome in 1972 and he travelled the world advising organisations of the Roman Catholic Church on development – mainly in the fields of health and education.

He has travelled widely in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and North and South America and also holds honorary doctorates from the Universities of the City of London (1986), Kent at Canterbury (1986), Liverpool (1986), Durham (1992), Sussex (1992) and Yale (1992).

Mr Waite’s first visit to Wales came when he was very young, when his grandmother decided to take him there on a day trip.

He recalls: “We got up very early in the morning and boarded the coach which obligingly stopped direct outside the front door of the little terraced house. Living as we did in Cheshire, Wales was on our doorstep and this visit was but the first of many made across the years.

“My paternal grandmother was a music teacher and during the years of the depression played the piano for the silent movies. She always wanted me to learn to play but as she lived far away from our home and also as we could not afford even a secondhand instrument I never played anything except the mouthorgan and a recorder at school.

“Music has however always been an important part of my life and of course that being so I was further attracted to a musical nation-Wales.

“My own father suffered considerably during the depression of the 1920’s and few nations know better that Wales the effect suffering can have on families and communities.”

Dr Rhys Davies, Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod chair, says they plan to bring Mr Waite back one last time post-Covid-19 to thank him properly for his service over the last 15 years. Dr Davies added that no replacement has yet been found for the role of president.

Oswestry and Border Counties Advertiser

The Wrexham Leader, article written by Arron Evans

Clwyd South MP Visits Oak Street Gallery in Llangollen and Praises Exhibition Celebrating The Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod

Member of Parliament for Clwyd South, Simon Baynes MP, made a socially distanced visit to the Oak Street Gallery in Llangollen on Thursday 9 July to learn more about the work of Karl Young who runs the gallery and has curated a photographic exhibition of the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod.

Simon Baynes MP said: “Karl and all the artists involved have done a terrific job with this exhibition. The whole gallery has become a great celebration of all the things that make the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod so special to our community. And I’d encourage everyone in Llangollen to drop by and have a look when they get a chance.”

Although the gallery itself remains closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the exhibition has been set up so that the photographs and Eisteddfod memorabilia can be seen safely from the street. The exhibition will be up for the month of July. And the gallery lights will be on until 11pm so that visitors can walk past and admire the photographs.

One of the pieces of memorabilia on display is a programme from when Luciano Pavarotti sang at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod and his trademark handkerchief.

Karl Young said: “My hope is that this exhibition will show and remind us that what we do as a town in normal times is beautiful and fun. I am grateful to Kim Price Evans, Allan Potts, John Evans and Lowri Page whose beautiful photography has captured the Eisteddfod spirit. And I would also like to thank the Archive Committee for allowing the Oak Street Gallery to show their ‘History of the Llangollen International Eisteddfod in 10 Objects Exhibition’.”

Update: COVID-19 Llangollen 2020/21

Following government advice about Coronavirus, we made the decision to postpone the 74th Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in July 2020.  The format of Llangollen 2021 will depend on the public health situation and government requirements for the holding of mass events. At the current time the government have yet to issue guidance for festivals but we are planning to go ahead and will try to make our application process as flexible as possible to enable participants to attend.


Archive FlipBook

This compilation of posters shown in the Eisteddfod Archive Tent between 2016 and 2019 gives a very short factual history of the festival. It’s based only on verified records. This year we’ve turned them into a flip book which can be viewed for free HERE or downloaded as a booklet from AMAZON.

You’ll find a timeline reporting the main changes which the Llangollen International Eisteddfod has gone through, and why: from the first glimmerings of the concept through to the very different world of the 21st century. It tells you about a few of the topics for which the Eisteddfod is famous, like its floral displays. It includes a bit of what other people have written about the festival, particularly in the early years. You can understand the transformation of the Eisteddfod finances during the inflation and depression of the 1970s. And it’s packed with wonderful photographs.


The First International Eisteddfod 1947: Movietone Newsreel

The eight minutes and twenty seconds of this film are a unique audiovisual record of the first festival in 1947. You’ll see and hear the winning choirs. You’ll share the excitement with the audience packed into the marquee, made from war surplus canvas with 6000 seats borrowed from schoolrooms, chapels and elsewhere round the area. The first President, Mr W. Clayton Russon, articulates the Eisteddfod’s concept of how an international musical competition can help promote better understanding and friendly relations between people of different nations. The stage presenters, borrowed in 1947 from the Welsh National Eisteddfod, are busy and down-to-earth, just as they are now.

Oscar-winning director makes a film about the Llangollen Eisteddfod

“The World Still Sings” is a documentary film of the 1964 International Eisteddfod, directed by Jack Howells and produced jointly by Howells’ own company and the Esso Petroleum Company, Ltd. In 1962, Howells won an Academy Award for his documentary of Dylan Thomas, and at the time of the Eisteddfod film he was working for ITV on a film about Aneurin Bevan. By opting to film the Llangollen Eisteddfod he placed the festival firmly in the pantheon of Welsh icons.

The title responds to lines from Dylan Thomas’s 1953 radio broadcast about the Llangollen festival:

“Are you surprised that people still can dance and sing in a world on its head? The only surprising thing about miracles, however small, is that they sometimes happen.”


The Audio Archive

There have been audio recordings since the first Llangollen Eisteddfod in 1947. In the part of our Archive currently held in the LIME Pavilion, we have a recording of the Coedpoeth Youth Choir singing ‘Robin Ddiog’ (or ‘Lazy Robin’) during the 1947 Eisteddfod. The sound quality is not brilliant, but for just over a minute, we go back in time, and listen to this young group entertaining their audience, which erupts in applause at the end. (more…)

Archiving the Past

We were looking forward to meeting you all at this year’s Eisteddfod and sharing our vision for the Archiving the Past project. As this is sadly not possible, we have put together a number of blogs to create a virtual Archive Tent this year to tell you more about it.


Llangollen Online presents special message from HRH The Prince of Wales plus online premiere of Global Peace Message as part of ‘Eisteddfod Week’ programme

Last month, we launched ‘Llangollen Online’ #connectingtheworld, a digital offering to bring together our global community following the postponement of this year’s festival. Next week, in what would have been ‘Eisteddfod Week’, we have a programme of online activity to give a flavour of the International Eisteddfod to the many participants and visitors who usually descend on our picturesque Denbighshire town each July.

Prince Charles at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod dancing with Sheerer Punjabi Dancers

On Tuesday 7 July, to open the week, there will be a special message from LIME’s patron, HRH The Prince of Wales. It continues a long relationship between The Prince of Wales and the International Eisteddfod, which he has visited three times. During the most recent visit in 2015, The Prince was famously coaxed into dancing with members of a Punjabi bhangra group from Nottingham, the Sheerer Punjabi Dancers, as he waved off the traditional Parade of Nations.

On Thursday 9 July, as part of the festival’s traditional ‘Peace Day’, online audiences will be treated to the premiere of a Global Peace Message. The main feature will be a relayed spoken word performance of a specially commissioned poem, Harmoni a Heddwch, written by Mererid Hopwood. Those taking part in the message include LIME President Terry Waite plus children from Ysgol Rhostyllen, St Giles School Wrexham and Ysgol Dinas Bran. The online premiere will also present the first performance of a new piece of music, sung by Wrexham soprano, Elan Catrin Parry, with words by Hopwood and music by Edward-Rhys Harry.

Edward-Rhys Harry, Artistic Director of LIME, says “We are delighted to open the week on Tuesday with a message from HRH The Prince of Wales. With Tuesday traditionally being our Children’s Day, we will also have the online premiere of our Children’s Day Message of Peace, elements of which will be included in our Global Peace Message on Thursday.

This is the first time we have ever done anything like this and we are all so excited to be able to share it online with our international community. It has been amazing to have Mererid Hopwood create a new poem for us that has captured the essence of our festival, and we have been overwhelmed by the generosity of others who have given their time to help us create Llangollen Online. We feel very humbled and grateful and hope people enjoy the ‘flavour of Llangollen’ this year.”

Mererid Hopwood is a Welsh poet, who in 2001 became the first woman ever to win the bardic Chair at the National Eisteddfod, the Crown in 2003 and the Prose Medal in 2008. She was the Bardd Plant (Children’s Poet) in 2005. Nes Draw, her first collection of poetry won the 2016 Wales Book of the Year Welsh Poetry category and was selected to the Wales Literature Exchange 2016 Bookcase. She is currently Professor of Languages and the Welsh Curriculum at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

Over the past 4 weeks, people have been voting via Llangollen.TV for their favourite performances and moments from the last 25 years, from footage showcasing performers from 57 different countries and well over 10,000 competitors. Tens of thousands of people have voted in five categories and the winners will be announced live on S4C’s daily show Prynhawn Da as well as on Llangollen.TV every day during what would have been Llangollen 2020’s ‘Eisteddfod Week’ from Tuesday 7 to Saturday 11 July.

The week will also include the Young Peacemakers Awards, in association with the Welsh Centre for International Affairs (WCIA), an online premiere of the Children’s Day Message by Chris Dukes with local school children from Ysgol Bryn Collen, Llangollen and St Joseph’s Catholic & Anglican High School, Wrexham, and competitor messages from across the globe.

‘Eisteddfod Week’ will culminate in a 90 minute documentary on S4C on Sunday 12 July at 7.30pm, featuring some of the most memorable moments from the past 25 years.

Audiences can relive Llangollen 2019 with a special broadcast of last year’s highlights programme to be shown on BBC TWO Wales on Sunday 12 July at 6.30pm.


Key Moments for the Week
Online Premiere: Children’s Day Message – Tuesday 7 July at 11am on YouTube/Website
Young Peacemakers Awards: Thursday 9 July on Website
Online Premiere: Global Peace Message – Thursday 9 July at 11am on YouTube/Website
Online Vote Winners: S4C’s Prynhawn Da, Tue-Fri, 2pm, Llangollen.TV Tue-Sat , 2pm
2019 Highlights – BBC TWO Wales, Sunday 12 July 2020, 6.30pm
Special Documentary – on S4C , Sunday 12 July 2020 at 7.30pm

Free to view across the follow digital platforms
YouTube/Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod
S4C/ S4C Click