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A risk we cannot take.

Byline: Emyr Williams on the festival's cash crisis

THE National Eisteddfod's treasurer yesterday warned the festival could not afford to visit anglicised parts of Wales in future.

Eric Davies told members of the 2, 200-strong National Eisteddfod Court this year's event in Newport was set to lose around pounds 200, 000.

He added: ``Bearing in mind our limited reserves, we cannot risk taking the eisteddfod to anglicised areas in the future.

``Despite the fact that attendances have been encouraging this week -- as many as 22, 438 yesterday -- this festival is set to make an overall loss of around pounds 200, 000, and this at a time when our reserves are dwindling to such an extent that we will be forced to sell some our investments later this year.

``Those investments have in fact dwindled to around pounds 250, 000, hence the clear message that we are in crisis financially.

``In an anglicised area such as Newport it has been difficult to reach the target set of pounds 200, 000, and we know that despite the hard work locally Newport is still pounds 80, 000 short of target.

``But looking to the future, the situation next year is most encouraging with fund raising going from strength to strength in Eryri and there are positive responses too from Swansea in 2006. ''

Next year's National Eisteddfod will be held at the Faenol, near Bangor.

Local fundraisers have already secured 72pc of the Eryri a'r Cyffiniau target of pounds 265, 000.

Local executive committee chairman, Richard Morris Jones, said: ``Fundraising in Eryri is excellent, with the target likely to be reached well ahead of the eisteddfod.

``And once we reach our target our hope is to continue raising funds, hopefully raising another pounds 100, 000, which would ensure that there is a welcome surplus towards the National Eisteddfod's dwindling reserves. '' At yesterday's meeting, the archdruid, Robyn Lloen, called on fellow Court members to dig deeper into their pockets in future.

``The list of donations from members this year is most disappointing, and I would urge all members to face the future in a more positive manner as far as finances are concerned. '' he added.

Members were told that response to the eisteddfod's Hapnod Lottery was encouraging, with as many as 1, 300 people signing up to pay pounds 1-a-week within 24 hours of its launch.

``Our aim is to enrole a minimum of 2, 000 members paying pounds 1 a week by standing order enabling us to pay pounds 1, 000 weekly in prize money, '' said eisteddfod director Elfed Roberts.

``This would bring in a most welcome pounds 50, 000 annually to the Eisteddfod. By joining the Hapnod Lottery you can support the Eisteddfod and have a chance of winning a cash prize. Call us on 029 20 763777 for details. ''

Court president Dr R Alun Evans said a possible increase in the membership fee from pounds 10 annually or pounds 100 for life was under consideration. The proposed increase is expected to be placed before a special meeting of the court in November.

The eisteddfod's new constitution which is aimed at strengthening the festival's Welsh rule will also be considered.

CAPTION(S):

Boyfriend and girlfriend, Dyfan Dwyfor from Criccieth and Elain Llwyd from Caernarfon, celebrate a double triumph at the eisteddfod yesterday. Dyfan won the Richard Burton Award, while Elain claimed first prize; in the solo from a musical or a film
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Aug 6, 2004
Words:569
Previous Article:Fitting drama for National.
Next Article:EISTEDDFOD DIARY.


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