‘This is our third year at Talgarth Sports Festival and it just gets better every time. There were so many other things that I should have been doing but I just couldn’t miss this’, said Virginia who kindly coordinated arrangements for the third year in a row. Her powers of delegation and leadership are legendary and a group of about 20 were empowered to help make delicious food and to serve, tidy up and generally welcome over 40 people from Swansea and 25 from Newport to join in the fun. And what fun it was!
Again based at Gwernyfed RFC – an ideal venue to access the sports on offer and to eat- we had the opportunity to participate in golf, cycling, volleyball, football , rugby, judo, boxing, fencing, badminton, a tour of the Mill and a walk to Pwll Y Wrach. This was before lunch and was followed by a match between Talgarth town FC and Newport Sanctuary Team with other sports still available for people to try although most decided to watch the match- or to sit in the warmth of the rugby club and chat!
The day dawned early with only the second day of rain in 2 months and the Swansea visitors were spared the flooding in Swansea by coming to a much less wet part of Wales! Virginia, Ailsa, Jean and Lawrence met at the rugby club at 09.00 only to discover that the person deputed to open up had been called away- and a cake or two on the doorstep! A second key was obtained but didn’t work so supporter Pete was summoned from the sports field to unlock the door so we could get started. After this difficult start and with the news that Steve had been called away to a family accident, Phil and Lynne, Barbara and Reg arrived with food and were rapidly joined by Pauline, Rachel, Melrose, Claire, Neil, Corinne, Teresa , Janet and Chris with vast amounts of breakfast, lunch and tea also arriving or delivered. Barbara and Reg had picked up the kind offers of curries from Red Indigo and The New Inn Gurkha Restaurant and were so impressed not just by the generosity but the help they were given in transporting the food to the car.
Lynne and Pauline coordinated the welcome drinks/ breakfast whilst coping with people swirling round with tables, chairs, mugs, glasses and tablecloths. Lynne accomplished this with one hand in plaster. Seamlessly, Melrose and Rachel started the lunch preparations and tea was sorted by 2 Janets and Gaynor. Plenty of help was forthcoming from visitors and friends to help lay out food and wash up. Our regular attendees from Herefordshire, Barbara and Tony arrived to help with champion runner Daniel in tow. He now lives and works in Gloucester and had made it to Hereford for a lift so he could come to meet old friends – and he hoped to play football. The first person he looked for was Sean who arrived shortly afterwards and both were delighted to catch up. As seems a common occurrence, possibly for people of his age but certainly amongst people seeking sanctuary , Daniel had lost his old phone with all contact numbers and thus had lost touch with friends.
N told me about her experience of Boxing and Judo. She had enjoyed being able to have a go and was cheered by onlookers- a lady in a headscarf attempting martial arts is not a common sight in these parts. O told me of his enjoyment of golf-‘ in my country only rich people do this and it was good to have a go.’ Reg told Virginia that he observed O going from never having held a club to being able to hit the ball accurately and well. C ensured that Lawrence didn’t walk too far or too fast and refused to leave his side. He told me that he had been very shocked to hear of Lawrence’s illness and wanted to make sure he came back safely. Over 20 people went for a tour of the Mill which was much appreciated. Sarah kindly demonstrated how the flour was ground and showed us the gardens. Several people commented that they had seen flour made in this way at home ad we discussed how people shared the use of the mills. G was thrilled to see the herbs in the garden and taught me a few plant names in Georgian/Russian. Petunia and Lavender sound very similar! H was delighted to have some flour hand ground by O and N and even more delighted to have some watercress from the stream. T and her extended family who are visiting were delighted to look around and for the grandparents to see how many good friends they have in Wales. Several men were very disappointed at the cancellation of the fishing but the risk assessment for continuing with storms forecast was markedly unfavourable. Volleyball was again very popular with one young man saying how he couldn’t play contact sport but being able to join in with this.
And so to the football, Swansea UID has disbanded and we were not able to find another Swansea team but thankfully the team from Newport were able to step in to ensure the eagerly awaited demonstration match between Talgarth and a team of asylum seekers could go ahead. A few months ago Mark from Newport had asked if we could help by purchasing kit for this team and recently in a sale at Owen sports Brecon we were also able to buy a number of pairs of football boots so that most players had boots to play in.
The match was introduced by Jackie Wilding, who with other members of the Talgarth and District Regeneration Group, kindly arranges the whole sports festival. A minute’s silence was observed for 3 special people who died since the last match. Debbie, partner to Chairman Chris Voyle sadly died within the last month, Mustafa a good friend to many in Newport also died very recently and Eyob who played in the first Talgarth Match as goalkeeper and also coached UID died in September. Talgarth Town FC host the match and have always played in a very sporting manner. On this occasion chairman Chris was referee and he tried to ensure that home advantage didn’t favour his own team. The offside rule often seemed to work to the advantage of the Newport team to the extent that Martin, goalkeeper for Talgarth didn’t try to save the first goal as he was so sure that the player was half a pitch offside. ‘Play to the whistle’ and ‘the referee is always right’ spring to mind and VAR hasn’t yet made its way to Talgarth.
Talgarth played as a well drilled team should and Newport with a number of very talented players struggled to prevent a festival of goal scoring. Maybe it didn’t help that Newport had arrived with only half the kit as Mark recalled it being washed and left neatly at home! Several star players were injured in the run up to the match and yet enormous enthusiasm marked the entire match.It’s also worth remembering that many of the Newport team have recently been playing in under 16 seven a side matches. Excuses over, the match was a great example of the international language of football and the camaraderie this engenders. As Chris said, ‘they didn’t come here to play for just a few minutes’ so a full 90 minute game was played. At the end, with the score a creditable 7-3 to Talgarth, man of the match shirt was presented by the Talgarth Captain to Sarkar of Newport.
Tea,sandwiches and cakes were wolfed down at the end of the match and thankfully the coach drivers were happy to delay the departure time to allow time for this and ‘goodbyes’. All were sent home with a bag of toiletries and food kindly donated by amongst others, Virginia, Jasper Fforde who kindly doubles up his supermarket shop periodically and by Ysgol Y Mynydd Du pupils and parents. Jean pretty much single handedly packed over 60 bags so all could have a share.
Thanks are due to very many people who made this possible. some of whom wish to remain anonymous and some I may omit in error. All of our days out require help from pretty much the whole community and this was no exception.
We were able to pay for buses to bring people from both Newport and Swansea because of successful fundraising. Thanks to Stuart of Bluebird coaches Neath and to Geraint of WR James and Son who gave us preferential rates and were so accommodating about alterations in arrangements.
Castle Greengrocers Hay on Wye
The New Inn Talgarth
Red Indigo Hay on Wye
The Honey Café
The Bakers Table
Co-op Talgarth and employee Kelly who raised £56 with a raffle allowing us to buy some of the needed items.
Thanks to Talgarth United Free Churches for cakes and sandwiches.
Thanks to Ysgol Y Mynydd Du for donations. Some lovely toiletries were also sent on by us to SHARP and will go to Greece and refugee camps next week.
Thanks to Talgarth Town FC and Chris Voyle for the warm welcome and opportunity to play and watch a great spectacle of football.
Thanks to Talgarth and District Regeneration Group and the sports festival for making us all so welcome nd providing such a great day out.
Thanks to walk leader Ron for sharing his expertise
Thanks to and from the people who made the journey from the cities so that we could share our support and friendship.
FROM JACQUI Re: TALGARTH 2018 SPORTS Thank you so much to the whole team, who organise for the Refugee’s to attend it’s so lovely to see the welcome everyone offers and how sporting activity can bring such joy. We are so lucky to have some great coaches and volunteers who make these days possible. I’ve attached the thank you notice which has been posted online to highlight how much we appreciate their input. The weather obviously put off some of the spectators for the Football Match however those who attended were provided with some good football and fairplay to Talgarth Football team they certainly did themselves proud.
The last words here come from Mark from Newport Sanctuary – ‘A great day with 23 young men in Talgarth today with Hay, Brecon & Talgarth Sanctuary for Refugees Lots and lots of food and friendship, sports activities and a match v the local football team, losing 7- 3 in a creditable performance against an established team.’
Diolch yn fawr iawn iawn.