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: Matthew helps add a touch of glamour to the capital's festival; Urdd's coup in attracting celebrity day president.

Byline: Emyr Williams

A WELL-KNOWN Welsh actor has been honoured as a day president at this week's Eisteddfod.

Matthew Rhys, Wednesday's president, is about to start rehearsals in the National Theatre in London and is glad of the opportunity to return to Cardiff for the festival.

He is very familiar with the festival. He used to compete regularly, and successfully, while a pupil at Ysgol Gyfun Glantaf.

Matthew's acting career has gone from strength to strength, with his acclaimed performance opposite Kathleen Turner in The Graduate in the West End one of the highlights.

The Eisteddfod will be a busy week for him. On Saturday he will be adjudicating the Theatrical Presentation for 14-25-year-olds.

Actress and S4C presenter Sara Hunter is today's president. While she was a pupil at St Baruc School in Barry and then at Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Glantaf, she was always a member of the Urdd. She won the chair when she was 16 at the Urdd National Eisteddfod in Merthyr, and she used to compete regularly.

She took part in the Urdd's Youth Theatre production, Elvis, in Llangrannog, and she enjoyed going to the Aelwyd every Wednesday night.

``I didn't expect the privilege at all, and I feel very excited that the Eisteddfod is visiting Cardiff,'' she said.

Tuesday is the day of the Literary Medal for Welsh Learners Ceremony, and it is very apt that the president of the day is a Welsh learner herself.

Although her family comes from Jamaica, Beverly Lennon was born in London, raised in Scotland and Italy and moved to live in Wales in 1989.

She decided to learn Welsh ``because Welsh was all around me'', and she passed Welsh Second Language GCSE and A-level before training to become a Welsh teacher. She now teaches in Cantonian High School in Cardiff.

For the past 15 years, Geraint Evans, Thursday's president, has been foremost in the campaign to establish a Welsh secondary school in Barry, and opening Ysgol Bro Morgannwg 18 months ago was a giant step forward in the history of the Welsh language in the Vale.

``The school has had a wonderful effect on building Welsh awareness in the town already,'' he said. ``And it's an important and historical coincidence that we are celebrating 50 years of Welsh education in the Vale in the very year that the Eisteddfod is visiting the area.

Guto Harri, Friday's president, was brought up in Cardiff, and now works as a Political Correspondent with the BBC in Westminster. He lives with his wife, Shireen, and their five-month-old twin sons, Calum Dewi and Benjamin Aled, in London.

Guto used to be an avid member of the Urdd, winning third prize in the Drama Medal competition and performing a dialogue on stage while a pupil at Ysgol Llanharri. He also won the Jennie Eirian commemorative medal for journalism.

He said: ``I'd like to wish the Urdd all the best in the capital where generations of children have gained enthusiasm towards the Welsh language and all things Welsh through the organisation.''

On Saturday, when the Composer's Medal is presented, it is very apt that the president is a winner himself, having won the medal three times, in Preseli in 1995, Islwyn in 1996 and Llyn and Eifionydd in 1998. Ceri Torjussen comes from Cardiff, and is a former pupil of Ysgol Gymraeg Melin Gruffydd, Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Glantaf and St David's Sixth Form College. He spent two years studying for a MA degree in composing in the University of California in Los Angeles, where he now lives and works.


GUTO HARRI: Friday's president
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 3, 2002
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