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The Urdd celebrates its centenary by breaking two world records

TODAY (January 25, 2022) the supporters of Wales’ largest youth organisation, Urdd Gobaith Cymru have succeeded in breaking two world records as part of its centenary celebrations.

Celebrations started this morning with over 95,000 children and adults alike from across Wales and beyond coming together to celebrate the special birthday by joining a virtual Zoom party.

The biggest party in the organisation’s history, broadcast live on BBC Radio Wales and Radio Cymru, was held in the company of S4C’s Stwnsh Sadwrn presenters, mascot Mistar Urdd and musician Mei Gwynedd as well as schools from all over Wales.

To top it all, the Urdd’s supporters succeeded in breaking two Guinness World Records by uploading 1,176 videos of people singing the iconic song, Hei Mistar Urdd, to Twitter and over 800 to Facebook.

The day’s highlights also included the hundreds of Pen-Blwydd Hapus (Happy Birthday) greetings from schools, celebrities, influencers, and politicians, with many of them thanking the Urdd for the unique opportunities over the years.

First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford said: “The Urdd has played a huge role in promoting our language and culture. A century of offering special and unique opportunities to the children and young people of Wales through the medium of Welsh. I wish you all a happy Centenary and all the best for the next 100 years!”

Hollywood actor Matthew Rhys has thanked the Urdd for all the opportunities: “Like thousands of others… I’m extremely grateful for the countless opportunities that the Urdd has offered me over the years. I’m very much looking forward to enjoying all the celebrations that are to come during the organisation’s centenary year!”

Sian Lewis, Mistar Urdd and Cyflwynwyr Stwnsh Sadwrn presenters

Beyond the online excitement, during the day, towns and communities joined in the celebrations by lighting iconic buildings in red, white and green, including Senedd Cymru, Wales Millennium Centre and the National Library of Wales. St Fagans National Museum of History has also opened a new exhibition to mark the centenary.

Siân Lewis, Urdd Gobaith Cymru’s Chief Executive, said: “I thank everyone who has taken part in our centenary celebrations today and enabled us to reach this special milestone.

“There is no doubt that the Urdd has developed considerably during the century, and the pandemic has forced the Urdd to experiment and lead with new virtual ways. The main aim remains, to provide children and young people with wonderful and unique opportunities to enjoy experiences through the medium of Welsh.

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“Today has been a day to remember for the Urdd, with the support proving the demand for a bright future for the organisation. The centenary celebrations will continue throughout the year, with exciting developments and events, including £10 million investment in the Urdd’s residential centres and the opening of a new environmental residential centre in Pembrokeshire; Wales’ first Female Youth Sports Conference; the Urdd WRU 7 a side rugby tournament with an international element and mixed and disabled teams; Wales’ first Youth Urban Games Festival; free admission to the 2022 Urdd National Eisteddfod in Denbighshire and international projects with our partners in Alabama, Ireland, New York, Norway, Philadelphia and Kenya.”

It’s exactly 100 years since Sir Ifan ab Owen Edwards established the Urdd, to give the children and young people of Wales the opportunity to socialize and enjoy through the medium of Welsh. Since its establishment, over 4 million children and young people have been involved with the Urdd, through socializing, competing, attending sports clubs, enjoying the Urdd’s residential centres, and taking part in humanitarian and international work – all through the medium of Welsh.