A WEEKEND festival in Wrexham town centre will celebrate the life of a local miner who went on to become a freedom fighter in Europe.

The festival, which will take place on the weekend of March 27, will pay homage to Tom Jones who fought in the Spanish Civil War before returning to Wales where he became the founder of the Wales TUC (Trade Union Congress) before passing away in 1990.

His life achievements led to him becoming affectionately locally known as ‘Twm Sbaen’, with the weekend festival in his memory including music, poetry and debates.

The festival starts on Friday, March 27, with a free bilingual acoustic evening of music with Joe Solo, Gwilym Bowen Rhys, Nick Ellis, Paint your Guru and Vulpes Urbana at Saith Seren.

A day later, the festivities will begin at 11.30am with a march behind the Cambria Band from Queen Square around Wrexham town centre to Ty Pawb.

There will then be an afternoon of talks and discussions in Ty Pawb before the international rap artist, Lowkey, performs at the Central Live Music Venue alongside the Welsh rappers, Bardd.

Among those attending the festival will be the former Everton FC and Wales football legend, Neville Southall, as well as relatives of other International Brigadiers.

Local author Graeme Davies, of Coedpoeth, will also be giving a talk about his latest book which is about the Spanish Civil War and the role Welsh people had in the fighting.

Tom Jones was born in 1908, in Rhosllanerchrugog – where he worked as a miner in the Wrexham village before travelling across Europe to fight fascists in the Spanish Civil War in 1937.

Mr Jones made his way to Spain through France, where he defended the Spanish Republic against Generalissimo Francisco Franco's military coup as part of the International Brigades.

Despite being shot, captured, imprisoned in the notorious Burgos prison, and sentenced to death, Mr Jones was able to return home after the UK Government paid a £2m ransom.

Following his return to Wales, he worked as a trade union organiser and fought for greater self-government for Wales.

The festival's organisers said: "This is the second festival to celebrate Twm Sbaen after a successful start last year.

“It's our way to remember the contribution of Wales generally and Twm Sbaen specifically in the fight against fascism and to remind ourselves of the similar battles that continue.

"The village of Rhosllanerchrugog has a great tradition for nicknames, so it was no surprise that Tom soon became known to everybody as 'Twm Sbaen' following his exploits in Spain.

"The weekend will feature a wide variety of music, poetry, talks about the history of the International Brigades and Welsh volunteers as well as other more contemporary challenges we face.

"There has been wide support for the event, and we're delighted that we can commemorate the life and times of this local hero with support from Unite the Union and the Wales TUC.”

Anyone who wishes to put up stalls on the day should contact organisers on 07747 792441.

Tickets to see Lowkey and Bardd at the Central Live Music Venue cost £10, and can be found on www.eventbrite.co.uk if you search for the Twm Sbaen Festival.