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23 June 2014
Story Telling at Neath Library

Jeff Griffiths reports:

Story Telling at Neath Library

Deborah John gave one of her customary fine story-telling performances at Neath Library last Monday. Dressed all in black - fittingly for the moving tales she had to tell – in the fashion of the time, she recounted true stories of men and women's experiences in the First World War. They included Hedd Wyn (Ellis Humphrey Evans) the Welsh language poet killed during the Battle of Passchendaele who was posthumously awarded the bard's chair at the 1917 National Eisteddfod. His bardic name Hedd Wyn (Welsh for 'Blessed Peace') seems ironic in the circumstances of his death. Another she featured was Hertha Marks Ayrton, a pioneering woman scientist whose invention of a fan to clear poisonous gas from the trenches was so tragically ignored by the bureaucrats.
 
Sadly, this fine one woman show was poorly attended, perhaps partly because of its timing of 10 o'clock on a Monday morning. While one applauds the fine series of talks put on at the Neath Library, the space where these events are staged in the reference section is not ideal, with the public coming and going to the distraction of the audience. Every credit, nevertheless, to the library staff for this programme of talks which is full of interest and always accompanied by a display of relevant books, plus the fascinating and ever-changing photographic displays staged there.



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