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The official opening of the Llanwrtyd & District Heritage & Arts Centre took place at 12noon on Saturday May 14th 2016, and was well supported by local people and visitors alike.
It is the culmination of six years hard work and planning on the part of Trustees and Volunteers, and congratulations and thanks are in order to everyone involves. The complete renovation and fit out of the chapel premises and the renovation of the next door Chapel House has cost in the region of £600,000, and has only been possible due to the successful grant applications and the very generous donations of our wonderful group of ‘Friends’.
Representatives of grant giving bodies were present, and on the strike of noon, Roger Williams CBE cut the ribbon and unveiled the plaque. Visitors were ushered inside and Dr John Rowlands (Chairman) introduced Mr Roger Williams CBE, Llanwrtyd Town Mayor Mr Peter James MBE, Mr Nigel Clubb representing Heritage Lottery Fund, Mrs Sue Bowden Powys Deputy Lieutenant and Mrs Susan Price representing the ex-Trustees of the Congregational Chapel, who each gave a brief speech.
Visitors were then encouraged to wander around and see the wall panels and displays telling the story of how it all began in 1732 when the Reverend Theophilus Evans, a local Minister from Llangammarch discovered the healing properties of the spring in Dol y Coed Park. Soon word got out and visitors flocked into the then, tiny hamlet.
The panels carry on to tell of the expansion of the little hamlet, the churches and chapels of all denominations, the Eisteddfodau, the coming of the railway, the war years when the boys of Bromsgrove School in Worcestershire were evacuated to Llanwrtyd, followed by the Czech children, many of them being rescued from the Nazis by Sir Nicholas Winton.
The story continues with the Pony Trekking era, and then to the unusual events held locally and the bi-yearly World Alternative Games. There are interactive screens and visitors have the opportunity to listen to local people’s memories of the past.
The centre is a mine of interesting information and displays, and is fully bi-lingual. There will be no charge to visit the heritage centre, but small items will be on sale and donations will be very thankfully received.
If you live locally and are interested in knowing more about becoming a volunteer with us, in particular a voluntary steward, please make contact with us on 01591 610067 or at [email protected].com. Likewise if you would like to help support the running of the heritage centre, please ask us for information about becoming one of our very valuable ‘Friends’.
Sincere thanks to everyone who came along on the day and showed their support. If you didn't manage to make it, try to call in some time, I'm sure you won't be disappointed.
Photographs by kind permission of Elin Mabbutt and Chris Prichard.
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