Commonwealth Day 2020

Yesterday saw millions of people celebrating Commonwealth Day – an annual event to mark achievements, development, shared democracy and future goals between the Commonwealth family; made up of 54 countries.

As Britain held its annual celebration in Westminster Abbey, a small but mighty Welsh celebration was also happening on the beautiful Welsh coast; with lots of singing, colourful flag bearing, poetry and inspiring stories to mark a significant day between Commonwealth nations.

The Welsh ceremony, held at Gwersyll yr Urdd Llangrannog, was organised by Commonwealth Games Wales, and included speeches from the Deputy Minister of Culture, Sport and Tourism, Lord Dafydd Elis Thomas; CEO of Commonwealth Games, Chris Jenkins and from Double Olympic Silver-medallist, Jazz Carlin.

Gwersyll yr Urdd Llangrannog has been an iconic venue within Wales since the 1930’s; with a vast array of sport facilities and accommodation blocks available. It’s become renown for short-break school trips within Wales, where pupils can get active and engage with a daily itinerary full of sport-related activities -such as Tobogganing, Horse Riding and Swimming.

The celebration included live performances from Welsh singer and West-end star, Sophie Evans; who was joined on stage by Ysgol Bro Teifi choir in a special rendition of ‘Calon Lan’. Pupils from Ysgol Cynradd Broteifi, Ysgol Cynradd Aberaeron, Ysgol Cynradd T Llew Jones and Ysgol Cynradd Aberteifi were also invited to celebrate the day and got stuck in with the wide-range of activities on offer over the course of the day.

A selection of Team Wales’ athletes also attended to celebrate at the Urdd venue; including Rugby Sevens stars, Jaz Joyce and Hannah Jones; Lawn Bowls champion, Anwen Button; Para-athletes, Rhys Jones and Nathan Stephens; Race-walker, Bethan Davies; and Shooting Gold medallist, David Phelps.

Pupils had the opportunity to learn from athletes in an engaging Q&A session and take part in unique sport sessions lead by Team Wales athletes, Urdd coaches and International coaches. Sessions included Racewalking, Wheelchair Basketball, Netball, Touch Rugby, Hockey and Badminton.

Winner of Team Wales’ ‘Bardd Tim Cymru’ competition, Deryn from Pen y Dre High School was invited to be part of the ceremony and her Commonwealth Day poem was broadcast to the audience; narrated by none other than Welsh legend, Michel Sheen. Check it out here. 

Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Lord Elis-Thomas, said:

“Being a member state of the Commonwealth is very important to us in Wales – and today is an opportunity to celebrate this with our diverse family of 54 Commonwealth nations.  I was delighted to join the athletes, young people, schools and performers at Gwersyll yr Urdd Llangrannog today for an inspiring service.  We want to see more young people getting involved in sport and physical activities and to see a healthy and active Wales – and Team Wales’ athletes are excellent role models of what can be achieved through sport.”

Helen Phillips MBE, Commonwealth Games Wales Chair commented,

“This is the second Commonwealth Day celebration event run by Commonwealth Games Wales, and it was great to see yet another fantastic turn-out. It’s important for us that we not only celebrate the Commonwealth, but continue to promote sport, how to maintain an active lifestyle, and inspire the next generation. We have a team of Welsh athletes who do an awesome job of demonstrating these key messages, and it’s great to have them in attendance and engaging with our younger guests. We look forward to holding annual events here in Wales each year to celebrate our place within the Commonwealth.”

Commonwealth Day aims to highlight how all countries come together to innovate, connect and transform these goals, with this year’s theme being “Delivering a Common Future”.

Check out the highlights from our 2020 Commonwealth Day celebration.