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Emrys makes history as Queen congratulates him in Welsh

Published date: 18 July 2014 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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WHEN Emrys Evans opened his telegram from the Queen to congratulate him on reaching his 100th birthday he was delighted to see it was written in Welsh.
 
Mr Evans celebrated his 100th birthday on Wednesday (17 July) with his family and friends in Trefnant in Denbighshire.
 
Traditionally a telegram is written in English so there were further celebrations when the family realised the Welsh telegram had made history by being the first of its kind.
 
Mr Evans struggles to understand English because he wears hearing aids and finds it much easier when people speak to him in Welsh.
 
His son Elfed said his father is as "tough as old boots" and thought it would be more appropriate for him to receive his telegram in Welsh.
 

"The way it works is the Department of Works and Pensions contacts the individual or their relatives and asks if the individual wants a card from the Queen," said Mr Evans who lives in Pembrokeshire.

 
"My sister did all the sorting out and she had a word with my father and he said yes.
 
"I asked if it would be in English, Welsh or bilingual because my father speaks English but his first language is Welsh and we said we would ask the Palace.
 
"The Palace said no it would be written 'in the Queen's English' and we weren't very happy with that because it sounded a bit flippant.
 
"I contacted the commissioner's office (The Welsh Language Commissioner) which deals with all sorts of things including complaints and raised the issue with them.
 
"After some tooing and froing the Palace came back and said yes they could do it.
 
"We were a bit surprised that this was the first telegram to be written in Welsh and I'm anxious that the next person doesn't have to go through the same process.
 
"I've asked the commissioner to see if from now on any future telegrams can be offered in Welsh," he said.
 
At the time of the 2011 census there were 610 people in Wales aged 100 years or over and Rachel Stanyer who also lives in Trefnant celebrated her 105th birthday on Tuesday. 
 
Emrys Evans was born in the Chapel House in Prion, near Denbigh, and remembers collecting water from a well for his partially sighted mother.
 
"I've never driven a car, or tractor, only horses and we would plough, harrow and sow the fields that way," said Mr Evans, who has a daughter called Dilys, three grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
 
"The village had no pipeline and a man called T P Roberts had one built and then he opened a shop selling bread, only bread.
 
"Eventually he opened a bakery in Vale Road, Denbigh and that was where I had my first job delivering bread by bike.
 
"The first farm I worked on was called Pen Bryn Llwyn in Llanrhaedr but I worked on a lot of others.
 
"I worked as a gardener for Howell's School in Denbigh but was more of a weeder than a gardener.
 
"I was very pleased that the Queen's card was written in Welsh, it's very special and I think it's made history," he said.

For more news from across the region visit newsnorthwales.co.uk

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