Gorsedd honour for Gillian Clarke and Nigel Owens

Gillian Clarke Gillian Clarke said she was "stunned" to receive the honour

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Poet Gillian Clarke and rugby referee Nigel Owens will be honoured by the Gorsedd of Bards at this year's National Eisteddfod in Wrexham.

They are included on a list of 46 Welsh figures deemed to have made a contribution to the nation, language and culture.

Also receiving the honour are BT's director in Wales, Ann Beynon, judge Nic Parry, rugby and judo star Non Evans and journalist Lyn Ebenezer.

The Eisteddfod will begin on 30 July.

Clarke has been the national poet of Wales since 2008 and became the second Welsh winner of the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry earlier this year.

The Cardiff-born poet, who lives in Talgarreg, Ceredigion, said she was "stunned" to be chosen to become an honorary druid in a ceremony on the Eisteddfod Maes on Friday 5 August.

She told BBC Wales the date was particularly poignant as it marked 100 years to the day since her mother Ceinwen Evans was born at Nant Mill in Coedpoeth near Wrexham.

Start Quote

I can speak Welsh but not to the level I thought was needed. I'm amazed”

End Quote Gillian Clarke

"She was one of 10 children and they were a Welsh speaking family - it's strange it is happening on the same day.

"I laughed in shock when I heard I was being honoured. I can speak Welsh but not to the level I thought was needed. I'm amazed."

Nigel Owens, from Mynyddcerrig, Carmarthenshire, has officiated in games throughout the world and is also a familiar face on S4C.

He said he was "very humbled" to be included.

He said: "In Wales, especially if you are a Welsh speaker, it's pretty much the Welsh honours list.

Nigel Owens Nigel Owens said the plaudit amounted to being on a "Welsh honours list"

"It's a great honour. I've been doing various workshops at the eisteddfod for the last six years but I've never really watched the ceremony, so I don't know what to expect.

"I'll have to think of a name for myself for the ceremony, if anybody's got any suggestions, please let me know!"

Judge and football commentator Nic Parry and naturalist Twm Elias will also be honoured by the Gorsedd of Bards at this year's event.

Mr Parry said he was so shocked that he checked on the internet to see whether he had received the honour.

"I checked to see that it was the white robe I had been privileged to receive... it was that unexpected," he said.

He added it would be a special honour to receive his honour when the Eisteddfod visits his "square mile" in Wrexham.

The Gorsedd of Bards was created in 1792 by scholar Iolo Morganwg. The head of the Gorsedd of Bards is the Archdruid, who is elected for a term of three years, and is responsible for conducting the Gorsedd ceremonies during eisteddfod week.

By tradition Gorsedd members, who dress in blue, green or white robes, choose a bardic name at their induction.

A full list and details of those honoured by the Gorsedd this year is available on the Eisteddfod website

The Wrexham and District National Eisteddfod is held on Lower Berse Farm, off Ruthin Road, Wrexham, from 30 July - 6 August.

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