‘I love, love being here’ said G with a beaming smile. ‘I can relax and see friends and it is all so beautiful.’
Musicians, the choir, nature table, Printing, book making.
It was such a wonderful day. The weather was warm, sunny and from start to finish everyone seemed to be smiling. Llangynidr is a big hall with a lovely sports field around it and we made full use of all the facilities. In the hall there were at least 10 activities including music throughout the day. Outside people were able to sit or play tennis or football and there were two separate walks. One going along the canal towpath to the lock below the Coach and Horses Inn, where Canal & River Trust volunteer Charlie Phillips explained the workings of the lock as two boats passed through. The other walk, led by John & William Gibbs went to the terrace at Worcester Cottage, above the River Usk. Our visitors had the added opportunity to see inside a Victorian fishing lodge [ one little girl sat in the window seat and her mum decided they would like to live there!].
Food was as always abundant and tasty despite there being over 140 local supporters and 80 people seeking sanctuary in attendance. The Red Lion and Coach & Horses Inns and Walnut Tree Stores Café donated food, as well as dozens of local people. St Cynidr & St Mary’s Church and the Upper and Lower Chapels in the village provided the afternoon teas. Everyone ate, everyone enjoyed themselves and there was a separate women’s room with massage, reflexology and nail painting which was very popular. Some men asked if we could have mens’ massage another time but weren’t so keen on having nails painted!
Slate carving, food and face-painting
In addition to our usual coachload from Swansea we also had Syrian families from Abergavenny and Blaenavon, Abdul the jockey from Newmarket ( we first met 3 years ago when he was seeking asylum and feeling very lost. He now has 300 or more horses to look after and whilst he spent time with us was chatting to someone in Hongkong about a horse!) and Stuart from Cardiff with a young man from Iraq that he is fostering .
Llangynidr school choir turned out en masse and sang beautifully including happy birthday to K who joined us for the first time with her little boy.
“School children they are very lovely and sang songs very lovely and nice so innocent voices .
They have gave them our love and we very appreciate their effort and make some time with us.” –M.S.
We had plenty of donations of food and toiletries. Many of these were donated via the school and brought in by the children on their non-uniform day. We were able to give everyone a bag to take home and also give a couple of large bags of toiletries to go back to the drop in centres in Swansea.
The river and fishing lodge
Amazingly we also raised over £275 in donations.
Thanks to Llangynidr helpers and HBTSR volunteers
to Mike, Sue, Nancy, Helen, Tessa and Katherine for coordinating arrangements and hard work to ensure the day went so well..
And to Llangynidr School and their wonderful Choir (conducted by Sian Shepherdson) for singing and for so many donations.
To Clair for football expertise
To Alex for bread making,
To Tessa, Gwyneth, Lynne, Llangynidr church and chapel and others for kitchen duties and lunch and tea.
To John, William, Janet for walks
To Charlie Phillips & Canal & River Trust for demonstrating a canal lock
To Lucy and Graham for Tennis
To Arthur for Table Tennis
To Hannah and Paul and friends for Music
To Phil for Drumming
To Helen and Jane for Childrens play activities
To Samantha and Friends for Cake and biscuit icing
To Kynara for Face painting
To Marjorie for Knitting
To the Gibbs family for the Nature table
To Sarah, Yolanda, Anjela and Kirsty for the Women’s salon providing Massage, Reflexology ad Nail painting.
To Rachel for Print making.
To Lucy for Charcoal drawing.
To Pip and Gil for Book Making
To Dave for slate carving
To The Red Lion, The Coach and Horses and the Walnut Tree Stores for very kind and generous donations of food.
To Simon Lancaster for bringing the PA and playing piano
To Priya for her extra large curry
To Adil, Janet B., Tim and Val for bag packing and sorting goods and to Adil for helping set up and tidy up and everything in between.
to Lawrence for finances
To Philip and team for reception and welcoming duties
To everyone else for turning up and helping in so many ways. To our visitors for helping to make this a day to remember.
Thanks from our guests (on the coach back to Swansea)
AN APPRECIATION OF THE DAY FROM SWANSEA VOLUNTEER, MARIA
Llangynidr Sunday 7th April 2019
Another wonderful day…. my first since November, after being incapacitated by injuries in a fall. It was good to be back.
Today’s location and welcome was from Llangynidr which is a picturesque village and community in Powys, Wales. It isabout 4 miles west of Crickhowell and 9 miles south-east of Brecon. The River Usk flows through the village as does the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal.
The weather was kind to us and the scenery was spectacular and soothing. However, what I am writing is about the people of this community and what a wonderful, warm, welshwelcome we received. Today’s events were skilfully coordinated by Mike and Sue Gatehouse and Helen O’Sullivan. We would like to thank Tessa Craig, Samantha, Marjorie and friends and Katherine Mason for their contributions. I am reticent to mention individual names as I fear missing someone out but I will try….. It was a collaboration of the well-meaning, supportive and kind community of Llangynidr, together with HBTSR and their loyal troop of supporters who had spent weeks, if not months, preparing for their visitors today.
In Swansea, we support a great number of asylum seekers and refugees on a twice weekly basis and do what we can in between. We are a group of volunteers who spread ourselves thinly and concentrate on the basic needs of housing, education and food. We also do our best to provide emotional support but demand outweighs supply.
The benefits of a day like today are difficult to put into words. It would probably fill a book. We witness the hardship, the injustice, the poverty and the emotional suffering every day. Today we witnessed the relaxation, the joy, the smiles and pure enjoyment of 53 men, women and children. Those that had not attended a trip before are astonished at the welcome, the kindness and generosity of the hosts. It is a world away from the one that they currently inhabit. Those who are return visitors are happy that their faces and names are remembered, and they can catch up with their ‘Brecon friends’.
We were welcomed by a wonderful children’s choir whichbrought tears to many. I was asked to specifically mention them and want them and their teacher/s to know how much this was appreciated. Thanks to acting Head teacher Sian Shepherdson for her support and presence. This was followed by football, organised for children and adults by Clair Jones and coaches, who worked hard all day. Pizza making was led by our faithful supporter Alex and his very cute young son. Tennis was available thanks to Arthur Cadnam, Lucy Griffiths and Graham.
Throughout the day, everyone was kept entertained and occupied by numerous skilful musicians- Helen o’Sullivan, Hannah Lindoewood, Phil Redfox O’Sullivan, Songhouse, Fiddlebop and Arthur, Amelia and Martha. Simon Lancaster provided a Pa and some music too. Music is indeed an international language!
Wonderful arts and crafts, bread making and wood carving were kindly provided by Samantha Lowe and friends, Marjorie Davies, Gibbs family, Rachel Cadman, Lucy Corbett, Pip Woolf , Alison and Gil Chambers, Dave of Sticks and Stones and Alex Benfield.
We were overwhelmed by the number of local supporters today. Delicious and nutritious food was in abundance (and behind the scenes much washing up was done!) Gwyneth and the team in the kitchen worked non-stop all day, there were additions of home-made goodies throughout by kind locals. Thanks Prya for the curry. Gwyneth also provided the beautiful fresh flowers in vases on the tables. Many thanks to the ladies from the church and chapels who managed a sumptuous afternoon tea. Mary Berry eat your heart out- you have competition!
The provision of therapeutic massage and reflexology was an added bonus. Many women benefitted from these much needed therapies and will remember them for a long time. A very generous and personal ‘gift’ provided by Yolander Sidlerand Anjela Canellas-Parish. Nail painting was very popular, kindly provided by Kirsty Davies. Kirsty had offered a few hours and worked for many more due to demand. Thank you.
We acknowledge and thank all those who made generous donations of food, toiletries and clothing. These include many from the school, Tessa, Jan, and local businesses ‘The Coach and Horses’, ’The Red Lion’, and ‘The Walnut Tree café bar’.
The walk was very popular and particularly appealing in the afternoon sunshine. Walking and talking always go together so along with appreciating nature, new friendships are formed and current friendships are built upon.
Lastly, but definitely not least, it is always reassuring to see the welcoming faces of familiar HBTSR friends. Long term bonds have been made with many of our friends, and in a world of uncertainty they provide a sense of security and ongoing support. Great to see Ailsa and Lawrence, Margaret and Pat, Philip and Lynne, Sue Richards, Reg and Barbara, Rachel Chris and Dante and new supporters Val and Tim.
Sincere apologies to those I have not mentioned but played an important part in today’s success.
Indeed today was a celebration of Unity in Diversity and long may this continue. Today’s political climate is not welcoming to our friends from across the world who have made difficult, often heart rending decisions, to claim asylum in circumstances which we can only imagine. At Llangynidr, they experienced a different world, which will give them hope for the future.
Thank you all from Swansea.