It was an absolute privilege to be play a small part in arranging the St David’s Day celebrations in Parliament this week. Each year, the Prime Minister holds a celebratory reception in 10 Downing Street but this year, I wanted Parliament to go a bit further and celebrate Wales’s special place in our Union.
Mr Speaker was way ahead of me. His team had already decided to arrange for the Ddraig Goch – the Welsh flag – to be raised over Parliament for the first time. We then attended the first ever ‘Eisteddfod’ to be held in Parliament, which I was delighted to open – alongside Plaid Cymru MP Hywel Williams.
Broadcaster Huw Edwards led the event, with performances from the choir of Ysgol Cymru Llundain, Cor y Boro, an established Welsh choir from London, award-winning Welsh Harpist Catrin Meek and Baritone Gwyn Morris from Aberteifi. Mared Edwards, President of the Urdd Eisteddfod gave readings in Welsh and English of a poem composed especially for the event. Prayers were led by Rev Rob Nicholls, Minister of Eglwys Gymraeg Canol Llundain, the Welsh Church in Central London. Listening to the performances was the biggest joy – I’ve never felt prouder to be Welsh in all my life.
We were then joined in Downing Street by Cantorion Pontsenni – a fantastic group of singers from Sennybridge. Their performance was absolutely outstanding; everyone in the room had goosebumps as they sang Cwm Rhondda and Mae Hen Wlad Fyn Hadau.
I must thank my fantastic staff for all their help behind the scenes this week and Brecon and Radnorshire Conservative Association Chairman Peter Weavers for his help in getting our Sennybridge Singers to London on the infamous Gwernyfed RFC minibus!
I am determined that Wales will always have a strong place in our Union and events such as these remind people in London of our special culture, heritage and language. I will continue to work on this and ensure that Wales is celebrated in Westminster every day, not just on St David’s Day.