Page last updated at 13:57 GMT, Friday, 26 June 2009 14:57 UK

Row over speaking Welsh in shop


The shop keeper says she has Welsh ancestors and only asked them to speak English so she could help them

Two sisters say they were asked to leave a gift shop while on holiday on the Isle of Wight for speaking Welsh.

Rosemary Dean and her sister Ann have complained to the Welsh Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Mrs Dean, from Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen, Neath Port Talbot, said the shopkeeper told them she took exception to the language being spoken on her premises.

But Sue Pratley said when she asked the sisters to speak in English they told her she should learn to speak Welsh.

The sisters said they were shopping for gifts at the end of their holiday when the row erupted.

I said I wished they would speak English, but she took issue with that
Sue Pratley, shopkeeper

Mrs Dean told BBC Radio Wales: "We were in this little gift shop - I was going to pick a gift up for my grand-daughter.

"We were discussing prices amongst ourselves, my sister and I.

"All of a sudden this lady said she wouldn't have any Welsh spoken in her shop and please leave.

"Well, I was so shocked that I did leave but then I went back in and I did tell her 'could I have her name and address because I was going to report her' but she said no I couldn't.

Rosemary Dean
Rosemary Dean said she was "shocked" at what happened

"My sister went back in and asked her very tidily if we were of any other ethnic origin, would it be all right to speak our own language and she actually did say 'yes, but you're not are you, you're Welsh'."

Mrs Dean said her sister lives with her husband in Bath and it was possible Ms Pratley picked up on their Welsh accents as they spoke to him in English.

"I was so shocked to be honest I really didn't know what to say because the holiday had been really good and everybody had been so nice and this just happened."

She has confirmed that she had reported the incident to the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

"I was just making a stand because I was talking to my sister. We speak Welsh together, we always have."

Ms Pratley, who runs Grange Gifts, said she had not banned the women from the shop but admitted asking them to leave.

"I said I wished they would speak English, but she took issue with that and said I should learn to speak Welsh," she added.

"I didn't ban them from the shop, but I did ask them to leave.

"I welcome all creeds and colours and running a shop you get a lot of abuse. Mostly you just take it but sometimes you do retaliate."

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