South Wales West
“An old woman, with youth at my back but carrying forward a banner on the march to an independent Wales!”
Rag 'n' Bones
I was born and brought up in Bridgend, to parents from the Pendre and Mackworth Street areas. My grandfathers were a rag ‘n’ bone man and a bus driver, and my grandmother was a seamstress.
I have lived with my partner in the Ogmore Valley for over 20 years and am the parent of three grown up children. I brought up the eldest two, for the main part, as a single parent.
Stuck in the middle!
I joined the army at 17 years old and became a driver. In addition to giving me a variety of life skills, probably the most fundamental impact of this was the embryonic thought that Wales should become an independent nation; the ‘could’ came much later! It was the “Two houses on the mountain, which one do you live in Taff? The middle one!” which made me realise that even if I hadn’t thought about being seen as different until that point, I was. I was from a separate nation with a different history, language, and cultural identity.
I went on to become an HGV driver until I returned to education attending Pencoed Agricultural College and six years of Open University to study Environmental Science. I have worked within the voluntary sector for over 20 years, and I am currently the Trust Manager for a small charity called Addoldai Cymru, which takes ownership of and conserves redundant historically important chapels across Wales.
I first ventured on to Twitter in late 2017 and became very interested in the increasingly prominent ‘tweets’ from something called “YesCymru” - which I began to follow with interest. One day, someone by the name of Iestyn ap Rhobert, messaged me - and I can tell you, from my background, you don’t get many ‘ap anyone’ communicating with you - so I read the message with interest. It was from this very first conversation and support from YesCymru, that I started the Yes Penybont ar Ogwr | Bridgend Twitter account, and the group grew from there. Over the last 3-4 years, with the support of many great people in the Bridgend area, the group has grown and achieved a great deal and done much to drive the support for independence in the area. I have been extremely privileged to be part of this as the group’s Chair.
Let's Trust Again
This has given me the opportunity to work with people from across the YesCymru network, including YesCymru groups across Wales, as one of the representatives of Bridgend. Recently, this has extended to my being part of the Gweithgor. This involvement over several years has given me great insight into the intricacies of this movement and has informed my main views on how YesCymru should continue to develop.
The main principle of YesCymru which I feel is very important to maintain, is the “grassroots” principle of the movement, bringing people together to advocate for an independent Wales - door-to-door advocacy! However, going forward, I see there are challenges as how to restore trust back into the movement, and how to professionalise the function of YesCymru, but continuing to maintain the bottom-up, driven from the community-based approach. Everything we do in YesCymru is inspired by our desire to gain Annibyniaeth i Gymru | Independence for Wales. This is what binds us all together. But
“It is mutual trust, even more than mutual interest that holds human associations together.” Mencken
As an individual, trust is an extremely important value! to me! As Yes Cymru, we need to restore this trust.
As well as my working knowledge of YesCymru, I bring a range of different skills and experience to YesCymru, which I have gained from a very wide-ranging working background. I am an energetic, highly motivated, results-oriented project management professional, with substantial experience in the voluntary sector. Naturally people-orientated, with excellent verbal and written communication skills, I can easily relate to and work with individuals and groups from a variety of backgrounds. I have a positive and outgoing personality that lends itself well to building relationships and promoting new ideas. I am extremely focused and am determined to support the development of YesCymru, using a combination of creativity, pragmatism and goodwill.
The fight for independence for Wales has never been so important in these turbulent times - and Wales has been and still is ignored and languishes as one of the poorest nations in northern Europe.
As a woman, I also feel that we should not forget that women make up at least 51% of the population - therefore it is imperative that women’s voices are heard and that it is important to understand that we can and should be key influencers!
Belonging is such a powerful emotion, the sense of connectedness that we are part of something is so important to all of us. As a Welsh learner, by learning the language, I have learnt so much about the country in which I was born. However, I truly believe that the cultural identity of Cymru ‘belongs’ not only to me, but belongs to us all and that we should strive to be a proud, fair, independent nation for all – it’s not just ‘Yma o hyd’ – but ‘Ymlaen!’
Political Affiliation: Plaid Cymru member