“My parents moved from England to Dolgellau where he got a job as an architect with the council. We moved around a lot when I was a child because of his job and then we moved up to Anglesey when I was six-years-old.

I went to Coleg y Drindod (University of Wales Trinity Saint David) and I became more confident in speaking Welsh and joined Cymdeithas yr Iaith during that period. Even though I did a three year teaching course at the university I didn’t go into teaching. In the early 70s there was a shortage of teaching posts in Wales.

I moved to Bangor and worked in the Student’s Union cafe and then I moved to Aberystwyth where I worked as a nurse and for Cymdeithas yr Iaith.

That is when I met my partner Lyndon who is from Ebbw Vale and he is why I moved to Gwent. His sister worked in Aberystwyth and he used to come stay with her because he was learning Welsh and wanted to practice. I met him though the Cymdeithas yr Iaith because he was involved with them in Ebbw Vale. He’s fluent in Welsh and speaks Spanish and lots of other languages by now.

Lyndon couldn’t get work in Aberystwyth so in 1991 I decided to move to Ebbw Vale to be with him. When I moved his friend worked for the Cylch Meithrin (Welsh-medium playgroup) and she offered me a job, so that September I started working in the Meithrin in Pontypool part-time.

Within a fortnight I received a call from someone looking for someone to work for the Urdd. They persuaded me to come and have a chat with some of the Urdd volunteers in the region and the local chairwoman was so enthusiastic she persuaded me to take the job. I haven’t looked back.

The Urdd is an organisation that gives children and young people the chance to learn and socialise in the Welsh language and we hold activities and events throughout the area. The Urdd covers Caerphilly, Newport, Monmouthshire, Blaenau Gwent and Torfaen so I was travelling a lot and got to know the area well.

When I first moved to the area there were no Welsh schools, only Welsh units within English schools. Then in the early 90s Gwent council changed them into Welsh medium schools. Since I started my work I have watched the growth of Welsh education in the area.

When I first started it was hard to find people who spoke Welsh, and people were nervous about making the choice to educate their children in Welsh. I remember parents telling me that they were told by people that they were mad to send their children to Welsh schools because they would be held back, of course things have changed here now and all research has shown that bilingualism is good for the brain.

Because I worked in the Meithrin I could watch the children grow and then go on to secondary school and get involved with the Urdd. Then when they have children they send them to Meithrin and they chose a Welsh education for their children.

When I started working for the Urdd I was working in the county of Gwent. What was difficult was when that changed into five counties and my work became harder because I had to do everything five times. I would have to go to five sets of meetings with councils whereas I used to have one. I have got used to it now and everyone has fit into the system.

Things are getting better in terms of Welsh activities in the region. We need to get young people to understand that they don’t just speak Welsh in school and that they can speak it out in the community.

If you think of the hundreds of children who have been through the Welsh schools, they are out in the community and there is no way have they forgotten how to speak Welsh, but they just don’t have the chance or the confidence to speak it. Sometimes if I am in the supermarket and have my Urdd clothes on they will see the logo and start speaking Welsh to me.

Working for the Urdd for 25 years I found that every day was different. I love working with nursery age children so I certainly won’t be retiring from my Meithrin role and I will keep going as long as I can.

I have loved meeting the parents and supporting them through the Urdd. It was wonderful to welcome the Eisteddfod yr Urdd to Islwyn in 1997 to Waunfawr Park in Risca. We had a very successful Eisteddfod, and the atmosphere was wonderful.

Then in 2015 the Eisteddfod came to Caerphilly to Llancaiach Fawr and one of my highlights was going to Caerphilly in October 2014 to have an announcement festival. We advertised the event and contacted the schools about it and asked them to make banners, but we had no idea how many people might come.

There were over 5,000 people there on the day. I was stood in the grounds of the castle and the precession of people was so long I couldn’t see the end of it, we couldn’t believe it. We knew then that the Eisteddfod was going to be a success and that was wonderful.

Working for the Urdd isn’t just a job, you couldn’t do this work without the volunteers and they have become friends . You have teachers who give extra time to come to meetings and on breaks away.

I’m 61 this year so I think it’s time for someone younger to take over. It wasn’t an easy decision to leave the Urdd. I will be keeping in touch with them and maybe volunteer for them. I have wonderful memories. I know the Urdd is safe into the future.

I’m looking forward to giving the Meithrin more of my time and I have been with them from the start. I have seen a lot of changes. Ena Morris and Annie Taylor set up the Ysgol Feithrin in Pontypool when their children were young, but they didn’t think it would last. Now we are able to have children all day and we have about 40 children on the register, and 19 can be on the premises.

I think it is very important to have them in the community and not just in the school so the parents can access us easily. There are Welsh lessons held by the Menter Iaith in the building, so parents sometimes leave their children with us when they are in the lessons.

This area is home for me now. I do miss North Wales sometimes and I do go back there now and again. When we looked at buying a house we did look at moving to Torfaen, but Blaenau Gwent is easy to access the north and to places like Swansea and the Brecon Beacons.

The Pontypool community is also supportive and we have tried to make the Meithrin a part of the community. On St David’s Day we were in the market dancing and singing and there are some other events we will be at.

We also get people in to come and talk to the children, and Pontypool Park is an amazing resource on our doorstep, there are not many places are so lucky to have a place like this. I put any activities on the Meithrin’s Facebook page.

When I have retired I hope to have more time to read, the only time I get to read is when we go on holiday. I also hope to explore more of the region and do more walking, I won’t be working so many weekends now. It’s a wonderful area, people are so welcoming and I am so glad I got the opportunity to live here.”

For more information about the Urdd visit urdd.cymru.

To find out more about the Mudiad Meithrin visit meithrin.cymru