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Last Updated: Friday, 20 June, 2003, 06:02 GMT 07:02 UK
Gruffudd made honorary druid
Ioan Gruffudd
Ioan Gruffudd used to compete at the National Eisteddfod
Hollywood star Ioan Gruffudd is to be made an honorary member of the Gorsedd of the Bards at this year's National Eisteddfod.

The festival, which is taking place at Meifod, near Welshpool, mid Wales, in August, will see the 102 Dalmatians and Hornblower star honoured as a druid.

Created in 1792 as celebration of Welsh and Celtic heritage, Gorsedd inductees are considered to have contributed to Welsh culture.

The National Eisteddfod is Wales' largest annual cultural event.

Gruffudd, from Cardiff and who used to compete in eisteddfod competitions, said he was delighted to be inducted.

GORSEDD OF THE BARDS
Created in 1792 as celebration of Welsh and Celtic heritage
Gorsedd is Welsh for "high seat"
Rituals look back to era when Celtic druids - religious professionals - led society
Currently 1,300 members

He added: "I am very grateful and appreciative of the high honour that the Gorsedd of the Bards has bestowed upon me.

"To be honoured in such a way is very humbling.

"Competing in eisteddfodau in Wales, including the National Eisteddfod, gave me great confidence which has stood me in good stead in my career.

"I am very proud to be Welsh and have endeavoured to carry the culture and traditions of Wales to wherever I have been fortunate enough to work.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams was inducted last year
Rowan Williams was inducted last year despite a row over paganism

"I fervently hope that any success I and my fellow actors from Wales may achieve in the future will help to increase awareness, in the rest of the world, of Wales' contribution to European culture."

Also honoured at the event will be former Plaid Cymru AM Phil Williams and BBC presenter Sulwyn Thomas.

Mr Williams will be awarded the title posthumously after he collapsed at a Cardiff massage parlour and died, earlier this month.

His funeral is taking place in Aberystwyth on Friday.

Contribution

The Gorsedd first gathered at Primrose Hill, London, in 1792, and made its first eisteddfod appearance at Carmarthen in 1819, standing around a circle of stones.

Today the circle numbers poets, writers, musicians, artists, sportsmen and women, and others who have made a contribution to Welsh culture.

Former Welsh Secretary Ron Davies, cricketer Robert Croft, opera singer Bryn Terfel and the Queen are all members of the group.

Last year, Archbishop of Canterbury-elect Rowan Williams was inducted to the Gorsedd of the Bards despite claims from some national newspapers that the ceremony had pagan connotations.




SEE ALSO:
Woman quizzed on ex-AM's death
12 Jun 03  |  Wales
Weather blamed for festival loss
12 Jun 03  |  South West Wales
Film brings out poetry of Welsh
22 Mar 03  |  Wales
Row over eisteddfod location
06 Mar 03  |  Wales
Festival clear-up continues
12 Aug 02  |  Wales
Archbishop made honorary druid
05 Aug 02  |  Wales


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