Home | About Leighton | Rhondda map | Rhondda links | Advice surgeries | Get in touch | Cymraeg

Leighton's Updates

    follow me on Twitter

    07 September, 2006

    Treorchy, New Hampshire

    I have mentioned before the Rhondda's emerging links with New Hampshire, following Democratic State Senator Lou D'Allesandro's visit here earlier in the year. Here's what John Clayton of the Union Leader in New Hampshire has to say:

    Way back in 1980-81, thanks to the Manchester Rotary Club, I received a year-long, all-expenses-paid journalism fellowship at University College in Cardiff, which is the capital of Wales.

    In addition to a little bit of studying and a lot of basketball - hey, I had no choice once they found out there was a Yank on campus! - one of my duties was to serve as an ambassador to Wales for Rotary International and by extension, America, so it came as quite the surprise when Mayor Frank Guinta phoned me a few weeks ago with a verbal heads-up.

    An effort is under way to establish a social and cultural link - a twinning, if you will - between Manchester and the Welsh communities of Rhondda-Cynon-Taff, and the mayor wanted to know if I might be able to help spread the word about a pending visit by a group from Wales.

    As one who has savored Welsh hospitality, I couldn't refuse.

    If you know anything at all about the Welsh, you should know that the link will involve music. The Welsh are renowned for their singing abilities - Tom Jones and Charlotte Church are just the tip of the iceberg - and to facilitate the twinning, the world-famous Treorchy Male Choir recently held a talent contest for young musicians in Wales.

    More than 500 kids from the ages of 8 to 11 took part in the event. Come October, the two winners will be coming to Manchester for the first of what Sen. Lou D'Allesandro hopes will be a series of cultural exchanges between the Queen City and the Rhondda Valley.

    Lou's involvement with Wales dates back to 1972.

    As the technical advisor to the British Olympic Basketball Squad, he traveled throughout Great Britain preaching the gospel of hoops. One of his disciples was a young, basketball-mad Welshman named Ian Reynolds - now a member of the Treorchy Male Choir - and the two are collaborating yet again in this Trans-Atlantic venture.

    "I think what the folks in Wales would like to see is for us have a similar competition for middle school students, both singers and instrumentalists, here in Manchester," Lou said, "with the idea that our winners would make a reciprocal visit to the Rhondda Valley. Ultimately, the goal is to see if it's possible to create a sister-city arrangement." Final arrangements are still in the works for the visit by the delegation from Wales, and as the big day draws nearer - speaking as the former point guard for University College-Cardiff - I'll make it a point to keep you posted.

    Well done Ian Reynolds and the gang for driving this along.

    Rhondda TV
    The Labour Party

    Recent comments



    Promoted by Leighton Andrews AM, National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff CF99 1NA.

    Author's editorial policy: This blog does not publish anonymous comments, unless they are really witty and I like them. If you have something to say, then have the courage of your convictions and use your name or an identifiable alias. Even then I reserve the right not to publish comments that are malicious, defamatory, stupid, pointlessly cynical or boring. Any of the statements or comments made above should be regarded as personal and not necessarily those of the National Assembly for Wales, any constituent part or connected body.