Dai Jones, Llanilar dead at 78
Broadcaster and presenter Dai Jones Llanilar has died at the age of 78.
The farmer and singer was best known for his presenting work on S4C over half a century including Cefn Gwlad, Noson Lawen, Siôn a Siân and a string of other classic shows.
His natural wit, humor and warmth made him something of a legend on Welsh language television, with some of his exploits such as a skiing holiday on Dai Jones ar y Piste considered to have earned their place of a highlight reel of the channel’s history.
He also competed internationally as a sheepdog trial trainer and won the Blue Ribbon as a singer at the 1970 National Eisteddfod in Ammanford.
Geraint Evans, S4C’s Director of Content said: “As we sympathize with his family and friends, we pay tribute to one of Welsh television’s most talented broadcasters.
“Born in London but always with a deep-rooted heart in rural Wales, Dai appealed to everyone from urban and rural backgrounds.
“From the farmyard to a stage, and from the TV studio to the mart, Dai was so at ease, with the gift of making everyone else at home with him. Broadcasting and the countryside will certainly be much poorer without him.”
Dai Jones announced his retirement in December due to ill health.
At the time he said: “For half a century I have had the privilege of opening the door to all the wealth of the Welsh countryside – characters, communities, not forgetting top-quality stock.
“I consider myself a very lucky man to have been able to do that for so long.
“Thank you to everyone for sharing the journey with me – thank you for the fun, the welcome and the joy – it has been a joy to the soul, and I will cherish the memories forever.”
‘Touched so many lives’
BBC Wales Director Rhuanedd Richards said that it “would be no exaggeration to say we lost a national treasure today”.
“His contribution to broadcasting in Wales, not only on the radio waves but through his popular programs on S4C was exceptional.
“But as an integral part of BBC Radio Cymru’s offering over many years we will remember him most and his company on Sunday evenings was a big support to many.
“We extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends during this time.”
ITV Wales has also paid tribute to him, saying he is “a unique personality with the ability to put everyone he met at the heart of his programmes”.
“His passion was for Wales; his enthusiasm for people and his warmth shone through in everything he did, ”said Phil Henfrey, ITV Wales’ Head of News and Programmes.
“It is a credit to his qualities that his television career spanned so many decades and touched so many lives.
“He will be sadly missed by viewers and our thoughts are with everyone who worked with him with his wife Olwen and his family at the moment.”
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