“Mam, can we have the Hedd Wyn story?” Whilst travelling down from Penmynydd, Anglesey to Carmarthenshire during the seventies of the last century, by the time we had reached Trawsfynydd it was time to stop by the statue in the middle of the village to have a picnic. Sitting to gaze at the statue of Hedd Wyn and to listen to the story.
I remember being engrossed by the war story and imagining that I was Hedd Wyn, but in my imagination Hedd Wyn would reach Pilckem Ridge but would then return home a hero to receive his chair at the National Eisteddfod in Birkenhead.
It was back to the car that we went each time in order to travel onwards, the statue would remain stationary, but a small piece would stay in that child’s imagination.
By Summer 1991, the roads passing Trawsfynydd have improved significantly and that child of the seventies is able to realise the dream by being presented with an excuse to be Hedd Wyn.
The welcome is warm at Yr Ysgwrn and in Traws, as the cast and crew work together for hours on end. All are aware of the responsibility associated with conveying the story of one of the Welsh heroes and the honour and professional pride guiding us from one scene to the next. The story becomes alive in the imagination once more, as the statue watches over all as we film in the village. I remember stopping to think and wonder if he was being dismissive of our efforts? Or was he silent, reflective and humble? Perhaps.
Summer 2017 – Yr Ysgwrn, Hedd Wyn’s home, in its new guise is open to visitors. It has been the family home for all these years, welcoming all who wished to visit on their pilgrimage. The baton has now been passed on by Gerald, Hedd Wyn’s nephew, to the National Park; the story of Hedd Wyn and Yr Ysgwrn is central to our culture and our heritage.
July 31st, 2017 – Zero Hour. Exactly one century ago, in the early hours, the boys trod through the trenches, bracing themselves as they prepared to go ‘over the top’. I am, by now, the father of three young men and that in itself sharpens the imagination and colours the emotion when remembering the effect of the loss and of those who were left behind.
Article by Huw Garmon