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Carmarthenshire

Age Cymru Dyfed veterans project wins prestigious award

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Age Cymru Dyfed has been awarded for its pioneering West Wales Veteran Archive, which helps veterans from Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion share their stories.

The West Wales Veteran Archive, supported by a grant from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust and run by Age Cymru Dyfed, was awarded the Contribution to Wellbeing Award at the 2021 Community Archives and Heritage Group (CAHG) awards. CAHG is part of the Archives and Records Association of UK and Ireland, and the wellbeing category looks at projects or activities which have been proven to have beneficial impacts on the physical, mental and social wellbeing of individuals and communities.

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The Archive features written accounts, oral histories and photographs documenting veterans’ experiences as well as artwork and poetry created by them. In addition to helping veterans to feel heard and valued, the project has enabled Age Cymru Dyfed to reach out to older people in the community who might benefit from the charity’s wider range of services.  

Hugh Morgan OBE, Veterans Coordinator at Age Cymru Dyfed, said: “Age Cymru Dyfed is delighted to receive this national recognition from CAHG. The West Wales Veterans Archive has become an increasingly powerful source of veterans’ memories, providing enormous satisfaction to those veterans and their families who have shared their experiences, often for the first time. The archive has also established a legacy which will inform decades of future generation.

“Creating and sustaining the Archive during the pandemic has been a real challenge but Age Cymru Dyfed and our partners have succeeded in delivering the project, while supporting and enhancing veterans’ wellbeing. We’re particularly grateful for the support of the People’s Collection Wales in the National Library of Wales, the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust and the Armed Forces Covenant in Wales, as well as the generosity of the veterans themselves in unearthing memories and experiences from the past.”

Pembrokeshire-born Dennis Tidswell, World War Two veteran and archive contributor, said: “I didn’t realise that there were so few WW2 veterans like me still alive. Up until now, only a few of us have spoken about our wartime experiences. It’s wonderful to see that the present generation appreciates our efforts, and I am grateful to Age Cymru Dyfed for the opportunity to share and reflect on my own experiences in the military with my peers, my local community and those further afield.”

If veterans aged 50+ and living in West Wales wish to share their experiences in the military service with the Archive, they can contact Hugh at hugh.morgan@agecymrudyfed.org.uk or telephone 03333 447 874.

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Lead image: Dennis Tidswell and a guest at an Anniversary D-Day event in Aberporth earlier this year

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