Renaissance of Wrexham goes under national spotlight

Published date: 17 January 2014 |
Published by: Rhian Waller 
Read more articles by Rhian Waller  Email reporter


IS WREXHAM enjoying a resurgence?

A new documentary series by S4C is to explore the revival of North Wales’ largest town through the eyes of its residents.

The six-part series, entitled Wrecsam ‘di Wrexham (Wrexham is Wrexham) looks at how locals have thrown themselves into the effort to make the place a cultural force to be reckoned with.

Cllr Marc Jones is the co-operative director of the Saith Seren Welsh Centre, set in the pub of the same name, which opened two years ago.

He said: “A few years ago Wrexham had almost lost its identity. The football club was in real danger, Wrexham Lager had gone, and Y Saith Seren, one of the town’s most iconic buildings, had been closed.”

But, according to Cllr Jones, the situation has changed for the better with the establishment of the co-operative Welsh Centre and Saith Seren pub, the re-opening of the Wrexham Lager brewery, and the revival of Wrexham FC.

Cllr Jones, originally from Mold, has lived in Wrexham for 30 years and has become a vocal supporter of the town and its Welsh culture.

He said: “I thought it would be a good idea to have a Welsh centre in the town and I knew a lot of other people felt the same, so a group of us came together to set up the committee and within six months of launching the appeal we opened the doors of the Saith Seren Welsh Centre.

“We have at least one Welsh language event here every month; a mother and baby group; sessions for Welsh learners twice a week; the local language venture has an office upstairs; we put on Welsh gigs and over 30 hours of Welsh lessons take place here every week too.

“Since we opened there are more Welsh language events in other places as well – there’s a growing buzz within the town.”

Cllr Jones believes the dedicated efforts of Wrexham residents have pulled the town out of obscurity.

He said: “People in the community have shown there is a better way of doing things.

The football club nearly fell at the hands of businessmen, and Wrexham Lager was shut by an international company. These were outsiders who didn’t understand local traditions.”

The documentary will also feature familiar faces like Hannah Mahoney, 23, who works behind the bar at Saith Seren, and Gwyn Roberts and his sons Mark and Vaughan who run the Wrexham Larger Brewery.

It will also include Spencer Harris, of Wrexham Supporters Trust for Wrexham FC and his wife Jenny, a Welsh-language teacher.

An S4C spokesman said: “Who better to tell the story than Wrexham’s interesting and entertaining locals?

“They have opened their doors and their hearts to tell their stories.

“Gwyn Roberts has been running a chip shop in Wrexham for many years, has re-opened the Wrexham Lager brewery with the aid of his sons, Mark and Vaughan Roberts. We’ll follow the three at work and take a look at their contribution to the town’s revival.

“We’ll also hear from those who set up the Wrexham Supporters Trust and from the players themselves as the cameras are given access to all areas, even into the changing rooms.”

l The first episode of Wrecsam di Wrexham by Cwmni Da productions will be broadcast in Welsh with English subtitles on January 30 at 8.25pm on S4C.

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