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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 August, 2004, 10:58 GMT 11:58 UK
First time entry wins top prize
Jason Walford Davies receiving the crown
Jason Walford Davies was presented with the crown for his work
A poet, who entered a leading National Eisteddfod competition for the first time, has won for his work on the miners' strike of 20 years ago.

Jason Walford Davies won the crown for his poem Energy.

The 33-year-old lecturer from Bangor was chosen ahead of 27 hopefuls at Newport.

His work was inspired by his late coalminer grandfather and by the demise of the industry in Wales.

The crown was presented to Dr Davies for a poem of no more than 300 words in free metre in a ceremony on the subject 'energy'.

It was the first time that he had entered the competition.

Based in Bangor, the poet who was brought up in Aberystwyth but who has links with the Gwendraeth valley in Carmarthenshire, based his work on the miners' strike 20 years ago.

His work is a memorial to his late grandfather Brinley Powell, a miner in the Pentre Mawr colliery in Pontyberem, and also to the demise of the coal industry in Wales.

The 2004 National Eisteddfod Crown
The crown was made from welded steel

Dr Davies, who was a teenager during the 1984-85 strike, wrote the sequence of poems to celebrate the "heroism of the strikers and their families".

In his work he reflects on the closure of the pits across the country after the miners returned to work and the demise of the industry.

The crown is one of three prizes presented by the order of the bards.

The chair is given to the best strict metre poem and the medal is a literature prize.

Helga Prosser, from Crickhowell, made the crown for this year's festival, which like the chair is unique in design.

"It has taken me some months to do the crown itself," said Ms Prosser.

"It's been made from welded steel.

"It is based on the industrial transportation of south Wales - the rail, canals and roads and is done in a celtic design."

On Friday, the winner of a collection of poems no more than 300 lines in strict meter on the subject 'No man's land', will be awarded the chair.

Bob Davies
Bob Davies and a miniature version of the chair he made

Bob Davies, from Newport, constructed the chair for this year's festival.

Made out of African wood, it features a number of carvings connected with Newport and the surrounding area.

It features a horn of plenty, flowers, ivy and a carving of Lady Llanover, who dedicated her life to the promotion of the Welsh language and became a patron of the eisteddfod during her lifetime.

On the back of the chair is a Celtic cross and a piece of wood which dates back more than 100 years.

"I managed to recover a piece of wood from an organ in Newport Town Hall which closed in 1962 but it dates back to the 1880s," said Mr Davies.

"I was pleased to put a piece of Newport in the chair."

And Mr Davies was so delighted with his attempt that he created a miniature replica to keep.

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