A CRYMYCH woman has won a top award at the 2018 Cardiff National Eisteddfod.

Helen Williams, Pembrokeshire’s principal Welsh for Adults tutor, is the winner of the Elvet and Mair Elvet Thomas Memorial Trophy.

Every year the trophy is presented to a Welsh tutor who has made an outstanding contribution to the Welsh for Adults sector, and at this year’s Eisteddfod it was donated by Rhiannon Gregory and presented to Helen Williams for her inspirational contribution to the teaching of Welsh over 30 years.

Helen has worked in the sector since 1985, and has served as a tutor in Cardiff, Swansea, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire.

She was instrumental in the work of setting up the Welsh for Adults sector in Pembrokeshire, and with her unassuming and professional attitude when training both new and experienced tutors has consistently raised the standards of teaching Welsh for Adults at every level.

After nine years of team responsibilities in Pembrokeshire, from September 2018 onwards she will be focusing on her first love – back in the classroom.

Kevin Davies, head of Learn Welsh Pembrokeshire, said: “This is such a well-deserved honour. Helen understands her craft so well, is enthusiastic and consistent and always puts the needs of students at the top of our agenda. She has been a wonderful role model.”

What motivates her? There’s a love of the Welsh language, which she herself learned as a second language; a genuine interest in people and a desire to engage with them; a belief that learning throughout your life is a great gift.

Elvet Thomas and his wife Mair, in whose memory the award is made, inspired generations of students to learn Welsh in the city of Cardiff where they lived and taught, and where Helen Williams studied.

Helen has fond recollections of Mair Elvet Thomas as her lecturer: “She was impressively rigorous and I owe her a great deal.”

For the team in Pembrokeshire there is an additional resonance to this award since Elvet Thomas’s family lived in Pembrokeshire as he makes clear in his autobiographical work Tyfu’n Gymro (Growing to be a Welshman).

Fellow tutors from Pembrokeshire, many of Helen’s students and former colleagues as well as family members were all at the Pierhead Building in Cardiff to see Helen receive her honour and to say a very sincere ‘Llongyfarchiadau’ – congratulations.