Founder of Urdd Gobaith Cymru
Ifan ab Owen Edwards was born in Llanuwchllyn, the son of O. M. Edwards and his wife, Ellen. He graduated in history from Lincoln College, Oxford and initially pursued a teaching career in Dolgellau before becoming a tutor and lecturer in history at University College of Wales, Aberystwyth. Edwards was eager to continue his father’s legacy and promote Welsh-medium education and an awareness of Welshness. Through his progressive and enthusiastic character, he succeeded in doing so.
In 1922, he founded the youth movement ‘Urdd Gobaith Cymru’, and this was followed by the establishment of an Urdd camp in Llanuwchllyn in 1928, permanent camps in Llangrannog and Glan-llyn in 1932 and 1950, the establishment of the Urdd National Eisteddfod in 1929 and the Urdd mabolgampau (sports event) in 1932.
The organisation now has over 55,000 members and is an important part of Welsh youth culture through its local Eisteddfodau and community groups or ‘aelwydydd’.
In 1939, the Welsh-medium primary school, Ysgol Gymraeg Aberystwyth, was opened thanks to the work of Ifan ab Owen Edwards, who considered this his most important achievement. He was knighted in 1947 in recognition of his significant contribution to Wales and the Welsh language.