Page last updated at 11:52 GMT, Tuesday, 23 June 2009 12:52 UK

Gorsedd honour for female stars

Dame Tanni Grey Thompson receiving her honour in 2005
Tanni Grey Thompson was made a Dame in 2005

Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson and Connie Fisher will be honoured by the Gorsedd of Bards at this year's National Eisteddfod, it has been revealed.

The ex-Paralympian and musical star are included on a list of 29 Welsh figures deemed to have made a contribution to the nation, its language and culture.

Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams and actors Matthew Rhys and Ioan Gruffudd are among those previously honoured by the Gorsedd.

The Eisteddfod will begin on August 1.

Cardiff-born Dame Tanni is Britain's most successful Paralympian, winning a total of 11 gold medals.

The 39-year-old was awarded the OBE and the MBE, and was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2005.

Connie Fisher
Connie Fisher won the part of Maria in 2006

She said: "I'm very proud in receiving the honour from the Gorsedd and my family are very proud too.

"I'm looking forward to going to the Eisteddfod in Bala and enjoining the ceremony."

Connie Fisher, 25, from Pembrokeshire, won the BBC talent show How Do You Solve Problem Like Maria? in 2006.

She played the lead role of Maria in the London Palladium and has signed up to play the role again during its national tour, produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

"I'm really really happy. When I was younger I was taking part in singing and reciting competitions in eisteddfods and it was a great experience," she said.

The former call centre worker is due to open with the musical at Cardiff's Millennium Centre in August.

However, in April it was revealed that she was being forced to cancel her solo tour after being diagnosed with a vocal cord condition requiring surgery.

They will be among 18 people to be given the Green Robe.

A further 11 people will receive the highest honour, the White Robe.

Among them are librarian of the National Library of Wales Andrew Green, who has learnt Welsh, former S4C Head of Public Relations David Meredith, broadcaster Dei Tomos, chairman of Gwynedd Council Evie-Morgan Jones and His Honour Judge Michael Farmer QC.

The Gorsedd of Bards was created in the 17th Century by scholar Iolo Morganwg. The head of the Gorsedd of Bards is the Archdruid, who is elected for a term of three years, and is responsible for conducting the Gorsedd ceremonies during eisteddfod week.

By tradition Gorsedd members, who dress in blue, green or white robes, choose a bardic name at their induction.



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