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Watch: The heartwarming and heartbreaking moment that has had Welsh TV viewers in tears

06 Oct 2022 4 minute read
Gwesty Aduniad. Image by S4C / Darlun

The heartwarming and heartbreaking moment a retired carer was able to have flowers laid on her brother’s grave has had Welsh TV viewers in tears.

Myra Williams, from Caernarfon, was reunited with long-lost relatives from Flintshire on the programme Gwesty Aduniad (Reunion Hotel) broadcast on S4C on Tuesday.

Myra succeeded in arranging for flowers to be laid on the grave of her beloved brother who died in a tragic accident in Brazil in 1953 at just 17 years of age.

A clip from that moment has spread on social media with many commenting that they were left in tears after watching it.

The moment at 2 minutes 30 seconds into the clip when the ceremony begins and a musician strikes up the music to Gwahoddiad / I hear thy welcome voice has struck many as particularly affecting.

Many viewers responded on social media to say that the moment had been particularly touching.

“This really touched the heart,” Cris Dafis said. “Thanks to Myra and Avril for sharing. In memory of poor James. A loss is a loss for life.”

“We were crying rivers in our house,” Ann Hopcyn said. “Lovely. It dealt sensitively and in a dignified way with the participants.”

“Tears were flowing first thing in the morning,” Senedd Member Rhun ap Iorwerth said.

“This moment was special,” Ellis Dafydd Roberts said.

‘Very close’

Myra had said that her dearest wish, beyond finding her biological family, was to discover the grave of her brother James Evans.

Despite being his adopted sister, both grew up as close as natural siblings and she was devastated when he drowned in a canoeing accident near the Amazon jungle in Brazil nearly 70 years before.

Myra and her daughter, Avril Jones, who both live in the Twthil area of Caernarfon, turned to the S4C programme, Gwesty Aduniad (Reunion Hotel), produced by Caernarfon-based Darlun for help.

Her brother had joined the Merchant Navy aged 16 and made several voyages on the SS Hilary, a ship which spent much of her career on a scheduled service between Liverpool and Manaus in Brazil.

In 1953, aged 17 his ship was off Cocal, Brazil, and James was canoeing with two shipmates in the delta region where the Amazon and Tocantins rivers empty into the Atlantic Ocean when the craft capsized.

Avril explained: “He was not a strong swimmer and he drowned. His shipmates found the body and arranged for him to be buried locally.

“The family paid for a headstone but since his burial, my mother, who was very close to James as they had been brought up like brother and sister, has wanted to see if she could finally lay flowers on the grave.”

Portuguese-speaking Gwesty Aduniad researcher Elinor Churchill started her inquiries with the local authorities in Brazil and discovered the grave was in the small town of Sao Sebastiao da Boa Vista, Brazil.

When locals found the grave they staged a special ceremony for Myra at her brother’s graveside and for first time in over 50 years she is finally able to have flowers laid on her brother’s gravestone.

Gwesty Aduniad producer Gwen Griffith said when they were told about Myra’s wishes they made every effort to help.

“They arranged for the gravestone to be cleaned and a short service was organised and a young boy laid flowers on James’ grave. This was filmed and we were able to show it to Myra and Avril,” she said.

The episode of Gwesty Aduniad featuring Myra’s story is available to watch on Clic.

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