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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 July 2006, 11:10 GMT 12:10 UK
Rural life centre plan for town
Dei Roberts shearing by hand
Dei Roberts remembers the men chatting whilst shearing
Plans for a 2.3m centre for rural life in Bala, Gwynedd have been unveiled.

The centre, which will open in 2007, aims to attract tourists but also show local people the skills traditionally needed to live in a rural community.

The proposals are backed by environment and culture development agency Antur Penllyn and will create seven full-time and four part-time jobs.

The centre will feature skills and crafts ranging from sheep shearing to bread making.

Farmer Dei Roberts is able to shear a sheep with traditional metal shearers, used before the advent of electric versions.

"It was a community event when everyone got together, we'd put a white banner up to signal we were ready to shear - because there was no telephone - and everyone would come over," said Mr Roberts.

Remote farms always made their own bread and Marged Jones, was taught the skill by her mother when she was 14 years old.

Artist impression of Rural Life Centre, Bala
The 2.3m centre is due to open in late 2007

"It's quite a hard job, but it had to be done as we lived right out in the countryside," said Mrs Jones, who was demonstrating bread-making at the launch.

"The yeast was the most difficult ingredient to get hold of and the nearest shop was three miles away. As children we used to stop on the way home from school to collect it," Mrs Jones added.

As well as attracting visitors to the area the hope is the centre will become a national treasure.

Antur Penllyn committee member Dei Llywelyn Williams said: "This is the largest community project in Wales to attract Objective 1 funding and I hope that the centre will become not just a local centre but a national centre."

Old skills at heart of new centre
02 Apr 06 |  North West Wales

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