BBC presenter apologises after laughing at ‘freaky’ Welsh language activists’ name
A BBC presenter has apologised after making fun of the name of Ffred Ffransis, a prominent Welsh language campaigner.
Ffred and his wife Meinir Ffransis are currently stuck in Peru after a government clampdown due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Reacting to Ffred Ffransis’ name, Football Focus and BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker said that the name was “freaky”.
“You know when it’s been a long day and stupid stuff makes you laugh?” he wrote on Twitter. “Pretty sure that’s not his real name. Ffreaky.”
Other Twitter users were not impressed, including Ffred Ffransis’ daughter Gwenno Morris, who asked him to publicise her father’s plight.
“Hei Dan! Seen as you mocked my father’s name… He’s stuck in Peru, has a really bad heart condition, having trouble breathing, Raab and the FCO are just not helping at all – they really need reparation flight!” she said.
BBC Radio Cymru presenter Aled Hughes also responded to say: “I’m fairly confident I’ve heard you mention your mam is from Hirwaun? Maybe you should ask her,I’m sure she’d have an idea about the language of your forefathers.”
Dan Walker later apologised, describing himself as a “muppet”.
Tweeting in Welsh, he said: “Please accept my apologies. I am of Welsh stock myself. My mother is Welsh!
“I’m very aware of ‘Ff’ but have never seen it in name. I hope your dad gets home soon.”
Ffred and Meinir Ffransis’ family are asking supporters to send a letter to Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford, Secretary of State Simon Hart and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab asking for help to return to Wales.
“Ffred suffers from Left Ventricular Systolic Disorder which affects the heart, and has to take medication and have regular blood tests,” the letter says.
“The disease also makes it difficult for him to breathe and with Cusco’s altitude, it’s having a big impact on him, and his health is deteriorating.
“Both are also in their 70s and therefore in the high-risk category for the Covid-19. We are very concerned about what would happen if they caught the virus out in Peru.”
Ffred and Meinir Ffransis arrived in the city of Cusco in southeastern Peru on Sunday after holidaying in Argentina they were told that flights out of the country had been cancelled.
The 71 and 69-year-old husband and wife from Llanfihangel-ar-Arth in Carmarthenshire were told by the British Embassy in Peru that they needed to leave the country by midnight last night, but could not do so.
Now their family fear that they could be stuck in the country for up to six weeks and are calling on the government to do more to bring them home.
Both Ffred and Meinir Ffransis are prominent members of Cymdeithas yr Iaith and served numerous jail sentences between them since the 1970s while campaigning for recognition for the Welsh language.
Before retirement, they operated an online shop called Cadwyn and their stand was regularly seen at major events such as the National Eisteddfod.
Peru’s government deployed masked military personnel to block major roads in Lima on Monday, while police restricted the movement of people as the country rolled out a state of enforced “social isolation” to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra on Sunday night announced a 15-day state of emergency amid the total closure of the country’s border.