A view of the Mawddach Estuary on a clear spring day with woodland lining the shores.
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Welsh movement

In December 1966, a letter of complaint from members of Y Parc’s branch of the Women’s Institute was published in ‘Y Cymro’, expressing members’ dissatisfaction that the WI corresponded in English with Welsh branches even though the branches otherwise operated through the medium of Welsh.

Officers of the organisation visited Y Parc and suggested that if members were not satisfied with the arrangement, the branch should be closed. This was not the intention of the members in Y Parc, but in the circumstances, it was decided to establish a new Welsh society for women, with the first branch opening in Y Parc.

The campaign to raise money for the organisation started at the May-day Fair in Y Bala, where the local primary school headmaster, Meirion Jones, heard their story. He set about promoting the new movement, and by the end of May, another branch of Merched y Wawr had been established in Ganllwyd.

Merched y Wawr gained further attention at the Bala National Eisteddfod in 1967. Through the hard work of the women of Y Parc, the movement eventually became a national one and remains a prominent part of Welsh identity.