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Last Updated: Friday, 11 August 2006, 16:37 GMT 17:37 UK
Chief constable becomes a druid
Richard Brunstrom in police uniform and at the ceremony
Mr Brunstrom has been learning Welsh for five years
The chief constable of North Wales Police has swapped his uniform for white bardic robes to become a druid at the National Eisteddfod in Swansea.

Richard Brunstrom became a high-ranking member of the Gorsedd of Bards.

Mr Brunstrom, known for his high profile stance against speeding drivers, was told druids were not immune to cameras in his force area.

He heard Archdruid Selwyn Iolen received a ticket for driving at 36mph in a 30mph zone.

Mr Brunstrom took the bardic title Prif Copyn - a pun on the Welsh phrase for chief constable which also translates as "spider".

He said he was "extremely proud" of the honour.

It is bestowed on people deemed to have made a significant contribution to Wales's language and culture.

Mr Brunstrom has been learning Welsh for five years and said the hardest part was finding time to practice.

"I don't think I have ever felt English. I'm a passionate European and I'm passionately in support of devolution in Wales," said Mr Brunstrom.

"I don't think my wife understands this. She doesn't speak Welsh. She's not interested," he added.

Richard Brunstrom
Mr Brunstrom received the highly honoured white robe

Mr Brunstrom heard that even the Gorsedd's most senior members have not been exempt from the speed cameras.

Archdruid Iolen, who presided over Friday's ceremony, received a speeding ticket from the North Wales force when he was rushing home to see the second half of a football match recently.

"Forget the three points, that's what he told me," the archdruid joked.

"I don't think he meant it though, or he would get the sack."

When told of the archdruid's speeding offence, Mr Brunstrom said: "They always are aren't they?"

He added: "I hold the archdruid in very high regard and as he was saying on the stage, it's very important to have a sense of humour and he's certainly got one, and that makes it better."

Gwynfor ab Ifor
Gwynfor ab Ifor won the chair for his poem in strict metre

Former Wales rugby player Robin McBryde and historian Prys Morgan, brother First Minister Rhodri Morgan, also joined the Gorsedd on Friday. Other famous druids include the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

  • Meanwhile, Cardiff has been confirmed has the venue for the 2008 Eisteddfod.

    No one site has yet been chosen but Sophia Gardens, Pontcanna fields and Bute Park are all being considered.

  • The winner of the eisteddfod's chair competition, for writing an ode in strict metre, was Gwynfor ab Ifor from Sling near Tregarth, Bangor.

    Mr ab Ifor beat off 10 other competitors to write the "cyngyhanedd" on the theme of Tonnau (Waves).

    In addition to the commissioned eisteddfod chair, he receives a 750 prize.




  • SEE ALSO
    Welsh learner's Atlantic crossing
    18 Jul 06 |  South East Wales
    American poet inspires Welsh win
    08 Aug 06 |  North West Wales



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