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Community project backed by Hollywood star saves historic Welsh pub

15 Dec 2022 2 minute read
Hollywood star Matthew Rhys backed the scheme for Pennal’s Glan yr Afon Inn to become a community-run pub.

A community project backed by Hollywood superstar Matthew Rhys has smashed its target of £250,000 and saved the historic Glan yr Arfon pub in Pennal, Machynlleth in time for Christmas.

The funding will mean the community can continue with their plans of running the pub and restaurant, with a café and community hub, and look at further development plans for a hotel.

Last month Matthew Rhys and community leaders called for one final push from supporters from across the globe to join their share scheme which was £30,000 away from hitting the total needed to save the Grade II-listed inn.

The Perry Mason star is no stranger to backing community pubs, having, alongside Rhys Ifans, supported fundraising for the Vale of Aeron, in Ystrad Aeron, near Felinfach, Ceredigion, which raised more than the £330,000 needed to buy the pub and reopen it as a community-owned public house and co-operative.

The village of Pennal played a key part in Welsh history when in the 15th century the then Prince of Wales, Owain Glyndŵr, reached out for help to the King of France, Charles VI, for military aid during his rebellion against the English.

The letter that Owain sent six centuries ago is known as the Pennal Letter, and the original copy is currently held at the Archives Nationales in Paris.

Heart of the village

Chairman of the Menter Y Glan management committee, Meirion Roberts, said: “It was not just about saving a pub, it was about saving the very hub and heart of the village. It has been a long haul, and nothing has been easy but our perseverance has led us over the line.

“The aim was to save the pub and I feel really proud that a small community of just 150 homes has been successful against all the odds in reaching its financial target in today’s economic climate.

“The community as a whole has shown what can be achieved with hard work and determination. It will not be easy, and it will be a steep learning curve but I feel that the community spirit we have will make it work.

“We have achieved our target and realised the community’s dream of saving the community hub of Glan yr Afon in time for Christmas.

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