2011 Gold Award Winner – Hefina Phillips

Anyone who knows Hefina Phillips will know that she is a most worthy recipient of the very first Gold Award. The Welsh cause and Hefina Phillip’s name are synonymous. Since coming to Canada in 1981, Hefina has worked tirelessly to promote the growth of the Welsh language and  Welsh culture in Ontario. From her early days in Toronto, Hefina became integrally involved in the life of Dewi Sant Sunday School acting for many years as superintendent; she has remained involved every since as the author of the charming Christmas pageants we have come to anticipate so eagerly each year. Hefina is ensuring that our younger generation has some familiarity with their Welsh roots through the teaching of Welsh lyrics to songs that the children perform in the church sanctuary.

Hefina’s Welsh language classes have been the starting point for many Welsh learners. John Otley, who now teaches these classes so ably at Dewi Sant, was one of Hefina’s early success stories. Whether as board member, as president or as lead teacher of many of the Cymdeithas Madog Welsh courses over a twenty five year period, Hefina has influenced many students throughout North America. Her Welsh language sessions at the National Festival of Wales are always well attended. This year, Hefina is teaching the Welsh course at the University of Toronto. In fact, on March 1st, she gave an address at the University on the “Rebirth of the Welsh Language” in commemoration of St. David’s Day. We all know that Hefina is at her scintillating best in front of an audience. Whether giving an address or acting as an MC, Hefina manages to charm her listeners while promoting the Welsh cause.

Hefina has recently served a two year term as President of the Ontario Welsh Festival and continues to be an incredibly hard working Board member. Her role as correspondent to both the Ninnau and the Gadwyn is an essential link in our communication with each other in Ontario and in the wider Welsh community.

Her achievements are considerable, but above all remains her abiding love of Wales and her pride in being a Welsh Canadian. There could be no more fitting recipient of the inaugural Gold Award than Hefina Phillips.

– Betty Cullingworth