GERALD Williams – guardian of the legacy and Gwynedd home of Welsh poet Hedd Wyn – was at the National Eisteddfod, in Bodedern, to talk about his uncle.
Gerald was not even born when his uncle, the farmer and “shepherd poet” Ellis Humphrey Evans, died at the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917.
But the sprightly 88-year-old has dedicated his life to keeping the poet’s name alive and his family home, Yr Ysgwrn, at Trawsfynydd, open to visitors.
Gerald was invited to join Welsh poet Mererid Hopwood in the literary tent, Pabell Lên, for a talk: “My Uncle, Hedd Wyn,” on Monday.
Hedd Wyn, “Blessed peace,” was conscripted to join the Royal Welch Fusiliers and was one of thousands of men slaughtered on the front line.
He won the National Eisteddfod, in Birkenhead, in 1917, with the poem Yr Arwr (The Hero), written under the nom-de-plume Fleur-de-Lis.
On announcing the winner, it was discovered he had been killed six weeks earlier.
The chair was famously draped with a black cloth.
“I have grown up with the story of Hedd Wyn, it has been my life, keeping my uncle’s memory alive, and the farm open for people to see where he lived.
“It is emotional and very poignant being here on the anniversary of his death and 100 years since he won the chair.
“It was nice to meet the poet Mererid Hopwood. Some kind person came up from the audience and gave me a hazel walking stick – I don’t know who it was, but I would like to say thank you, whoever you are!”
Hedd Wyn’s home Yr Ysgwrn was recently awarded nearly £3m in heritage lottery grants to transform it to the memory of the poet.