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Our Diamond Jubilee Celebrations


The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee was celebrated in Llanychaer on the Tuesday of the Bank Holiday weekend.  It was felt that the occasion had to be recognized in our own unique way, yet still bear some resemblance to the pageantry on display in London.  The River Thames was to provide the opening backdrop to the Royal celebrations, with a flotilla of a thousand boats – a spectacle to behold.  Just the job, we thought!  Not to be outdone Llanychaer needed its own flotilla, they had the Thames we have the River Gwaun!


There was a slight problem to overcome, a matter of size.  The River Gwaun unfortunately couldn’t accommodate a Thames River Cruiser, it was a matter of scale and proportion; so it was decided –“rafts”.  Ken and Vicky devised the rules – the vessels had to be no bigger than 30 cms x 30 cms (1ft x 1ft), had to be made from recycled material and most importantly had to carry a passenger.   They were to be released together at the footbridge (known on the day as Yolo’s Bridge) approximately ½ mile upstream and simply, the first to reach the road bridge in Llanychaer would be the winner.



These details along with the itinerary for the day were displayed on posters and flyers around the local schools and surrounding towns and villages.  We had no idea how many would enter, but it didn’t matter as we would have fun building our own.


The preparations for the day began, we’d asked the Bridge End Inn to prepare a hundred teas for us, planned to erect three marquees alongside one-another, booked the evening’s entertainment and devised a programme of sports.


We prepared the Green, with local company Pathfinders doing a tremendous job of mowing the grass, before the three marquees were erected; the saying “many hands make light work” was more than apt as they went up in no time at all, along with meters of bunting and flags.



Tuesday morning arrived and it was “all hands on deck”, as we finished preparing for the event.  Trestles and benches brought down from the Chapel vestry, the sports were laid out, and the children’s craft marquee was put up and prepared.  Finally tables laid and decorated, places prepared and water in the urn…….. We were ready.


Just before 1.00pm the rafts started to arrive all hand crafted from all manner of materials.  The names of the entrants were taken and the rafts named and numbered.  A few late entries and by 1.35pm the judging began to find the best looking and constructed vessels, under the keen eye of the Mayor of Fishguard who had agreed to officiate in this part of the proceedings.


Once the winners (1, 2 + 3) decided, the rafts were then walked to Yolo’s Bridge, then, at the allotted time the flotilla of rafts was released.  With the help of the flow of water and the occasional prod from a stick the rafts made their way down stream, the field began to separate as the better rafts made their way ahead of the pack!  Eventually the rafts were spotted, and as they approached the finish, the tension mounted, spectators shouting, vessels vied for position around strategically grown foliage, The finish in sight the lead raft slowed as it neared a submerged log before sprinting off to the left to collide with the finishing fence, followed by the second and third placed finishers.  The rafts were checked to see if their passengers were still on board,….. they were – the race was over.  What a success.

Prizes presented, the sports began…. so did the rain.  It was decided that an early tea was in order, which in retrospect was a good call.  A wonderful tea was served, enjoyed and appreciated by the crowd that filled the marquees.  The rain fell but spirits rose as we all reflected on the fun we’d had watching the raft race.  Personalised Commemorative mugs were on sale and many were presented to the children of Llanychaer and Cwm Gwaun, to recognise the significance of the Jubilee. The rain eased so a spot of sheaf tossing followed, just to provide a precursor to the forthcoming Olympics!


A Twmpath had been arranged to provide the evening’s entertainment and once the ceiligh band Fiddle Box set up they began to entertain us with their music and folk dance routines.  As the evening lengthened a large crowd assembled in the marquees; there was plenty of dancing and a good time was had by all to prove that Llanychaer had contributed in its own unique way to the Jubilee Celebrations.

A massive thanks goes out to all who attended, to those who made rafts, to the Bridge End Inn, to Jack from Stacks and Stoves for his marquee, to Miranda and Adele, Hedydd, Gwenny, Nigel, Val (our secretary), Ken, Vicky our (treasurer), Dick (our Chair), Sue , Elin, Arwel, Nick, James, Clive and Pam, Eurig, Gareth, John (and daughters), James (from London) for his photographs and anyone else who I may have forgotten to mention.






Gwaun Valley Brewery 2009
Carols on the Green 2009
Happy Birthday 2010
Easter Fun 2010
Trip to Skomer Island
Wartime in Llanychaer 2010