Hazel Charles Evans Caerleon Teacher Training 1962 - 1965
In 1964 I was chosen as the best individual speaker in the inter-college debates held by the BBC. This particular event was held in Bangor that year and a busload of my fellow students travelled all the way to give me moral support. I have a photo of the late Principal G.P. Ambrose presenting me with the BBC cup.
After leaving college I applied for a teaching post in Cardiganshire and was appointed assistant teacher at Pontrhydfendigaid C.P. School. Following this I was appointed as a Field Worker with the Bible Society in Wales and visited schools and colleges all over Wales in preparation for the celebration of the 400th anniversary of the Welsh New Testament.
Although I spent some years teaching in Primary Schools, I spent most of my years teaching Welsh as a second language at Bryngwyn Comprehensive School, Llanelli.
In the seventies and eighties I wrote three novels and translated four Mills and Boon novels from English into Welsh. It wasn't until 2006 that I wrote a novel called GLAS, a novel with a Patagonian background.
After taking early retirement in 1997 I was appointed by the British Council to go to Chubut in Argentina, to teach WElsh both as a mother-tongue and as a second language. I was based at the foot of the Andes in the towns of Esquel and Trevelin for a period of two years. During the last fifteen years I have visited Patagonia on a regular basis and have been very much involved in the building of a Welsh Cultural Centre.
Hazel Charles Evans was one of three teachers selected in 1997 by the British Council to go to Esquel and Trevelin in the Andes under the Welsh Government sponsored Welsh Learning Program . On arrival there, she gave classes for adults and children, learners and fluent speakers alike. Hazel placed great emphasis on socializing outside the classroom and arranged a variety of activities from the outset. Students of all ages were encouraged to arrange "happy evenings" and "Saturday sessions" to chat among themselves in Welsh and to contribute snippets to a Welsh language newspaper founded by Hazel called "The Voice of the Andes". In addition, she initiated a Welsh language religious service at the Esquel Welsh Chapel, Capel Seion, every Sunday.
The success of these initiatives soon outgrew the Chapel, the only venue owned by the Welsh community in Esquel, and so Hazel set about planning the construction of a new multipurpose building - they could no longer afford to continuously hire a hall to hold classes and to maintain social activities.
Knowing how difficult it would be to raise funds in Patagonia, Hazel returned to Wales in 1998 to visit the National Eisteddfod, being held that year in Bridgend. There, she promoted her "Bricks to Patagonia" campaign. Over three thousand bricks sold for one pound each (about $1.70), with the result that she and Rini Griffiths, who accompanied her on this visit to Wales, went back to the Andes with enough money to lay the foundation for building the Welsh Center in Esquel. The piece of land which lay next to the Esquel chapel was ideally suited to the multi-purpose building which the Welsh community had been dreaming about for so long.
Hazel's two year tour of duty in Patagonia ended in 1999 and she returned to Wales, this time to publicize the scheme for the construction of the Canolfan, as the building had become known. During the National Eisteddfod in Llanelli in 2000, more than 3,000 bricks were sold, hardly surprising since Hazel hails from the area and probably knew everybody who attended the Eisteddfod! The world-famous Llanelli Male Voice Choir chipped in with $1,700, while local Renault dealer, Gravells, made similarly generous contributions. The publicity generated attracted donations from all over Wales, including from many individuals keen to help protect and grow the Welsh language in Patagonia. Over a period of four years, she sent thousands of dollars over to Patagonia and the construction continued. Together with the funds raised by Esquel Welsh Society from the provincial government, the project was finally fully funded and the Canolfan opened officially in 2002.
It is now the home of the Welsh classes, the library and the film center as well as, of course, the main location to extend a traditional Patagonian Welsh welcome to visitors from abroad, especially from Wales.
On February 17 the Esquel Welsh Society held a dinner to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the opening of the Canolfan. Hazel was, of course, guest of honor and she was joined by fellow visitors from Wales, Bill Hughes from Swansea, Cerith Thomas from Llangennech, on his fourth visit to Patagonia, and Megan Bevan from Porth-y-ford, who used to teach Welsh in Comodoro Rivadavia. They were welcomed by Cristina Jones, a former judge in Esquel, and Ivor Roberts, the Chairman of the Welsh Association of Esquel. After speeches of gratitude in Spanish and Welsh, two of Hazel's former pupils, Gwladis Pritchard Freeman and Lizzie Jones de Lloyd led Hazel outside to unveil a special stone set in the wall of the Canolfan. The evening ended with many exchanges of reminiscences and some traditional Welsh singing, led by Elda Griffiths, the Musical Director of Coro Seion, the Esquel Welsh Choir.
Celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Welsh Centre in Esquel
Can you offer young people in Wales Somewhere to....
This new initiative run by Laura Kelly in collaboration with Newport Alumnus Robert Lee Jenkins, Managing Director of Lily Pad Films, aims to provide young people the the space to develop their creative ideas, if it's dancing, music or film making, somewhereto has a space to do it in. Visit http://www.somewhereto.com/ for more information.
Opportunity for former Art Students to exhibit and sell work online
Recent graduate Richard Wilde has just started an art community website predominantly aimed at students and recently graduated students of art, design and photography courses. The website is
and among other things, it gives the opportunity for artists, photographers and designers to exhibit their work online and also sell it if they wish on a number of products including posters, t shirts and canvas prints. Importantly, the website is completely free for both past and present students to join.
Are you a musician, musical group, a music related business or music lover?
Whether you're looking for a band or choir, a music teacher, shop or venue you can find it here at Musiconnections - the new, online UK musicians network.
Also forums for you to chat to other musicians about playing music, banding and so on as well as blogs for you to tell your music stories, gig guides, articles and news.
That place now exists and can be found at www.musiconnections.co.uk.Listings of everything you need - bands, musicians, venues, teachers, shops, etc.
Gig guides - advertise your gigs and concerts here.
Forums - chat, express opinions, inform or get informed here on all aspects of music making.
News, articles and blogs - Got something to say? Get it published on the web right here.
Not just pics but audio/video clips as well - Let your audience or other musos see and hear what you can do.
So come and check out the site now and remember that although we are new we are aiming to be the best musicians network in the UK and so we need your help as the more people that are registered the more useful the site will become.
The online musician's network.
Calling all International Alumni
The Wales International Consortium have launched a search to find current and former students who are willing to be Ambassadors for Wales and represent Welsh higher education in promotional materials, publications, interviews at higher education events.
It is also trying to seek out any of the more challenging experience of education in Wales so that in future, each international student can maximise the positive impact of their educational experience for both themselves and the countries to which they return.
To read more from the Wales International Consortium website.