Page last updated at 20:47 GMT, Wednesday, 5 August 2009 21:47 UK

American learner wins Welsh title

Meggan Lloyd Prys
Meggan Lloyd Prys was the only overseas finalist

A teacher from Ohio in the USA has been named as the Welsh Learner of the Year for 2009.

Meggan Lloyd Prys was awarded the prestigious title on Wednesday by judges at the National Eisteddfod in Bala, Gwynedd.

The 29-year-old says she started learning the language the day she arrived in Wales, three years ago.

She now works as a classroom assistant on Anglesey, putting her language skills to the test every day.

Mrs Lloyd Prys was the only overseas finalist in the event this year, along with three others, all from England.

She came to Wales after meeting her husband-to-be Cynog while studying in America.

But after setting up home at Rhiwlas, near Bangor, she set herself the challenge of taking her wedding vows in Welsh - less than a month later.

'High standards'

Speaking as she waited for the judges final decision, she explained: "It started after I met my husband while both of us were studying in Ohio and he had been awarded a scholarship to promote Welsh culture.

"We only spent a month together in the States, then after a year I moved here and started learning the language the day I arrived.

"It's a really special competition because it shows people are able to learn to a high standard and live and work through the medium of Welsh."

As well as being named the learner of the year, she also won £300 and a trophy in memory of author Marged Jones, from Bala, who died at the beginning of the year.

The others on the shortlist were John Burton, originally from Crewe, but now living in Penmachno, Zoe Morag Pettinger from Fareham, but now living in Trisant, Aberystwyth and Dominic Gilbert, originally from Manchester but living in Beaumaris.

The three received the Finalists Prize, presented by the Learners of Bala, and £100 in prize money.

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