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Creator of striking Rhondda Cross gives heartwarming first video interview

09 Jan 2024 3 minute read
Glyn Thomas and his much-loved Rhondda cross

Stephen Price

The creator of the famous ‘Rhondda cross’, which was lit up spectacularly over Christmas, has given his first video interview in the hopes that it will be maintained after his time.

On 29 September 2005, a white cross appeared on Trealaw mountain in the Rhondda, intriguing locals and people across the whole of Wales alike.

Its maker, Glyn Thomas, a former painter and decorator, let the cat out of the bag long after it was completed – determined to get the job done with no fuss or attention, and hiding it beneath ferns and bracken after each session.


After its completion and big reveal from beneath the ferns, flummoxed crowds watched from the village below unsure of its maker or purpose, while Glyn continued to keep his cards close to his chest.

Although Glyn has given written interviews in the past, he finally agreed to be interviewed by YouTuber, Teacher Sonny D, an admirer of the cross, after all these years to tell the full story himself.

Find out more about Glyn’s charming, often funny and heartwarming story, and how he made the cross (and kept it hidden!) over the course of three to four months, in the video here:

In the video, we see 83 year old Glyn take a walk on his beloved mountain, giving an insight into his life before retirement.

Glyn then talks about the cross, sharing how he and his best friend played on the mountain as children.

On a visit to his friend one day, the two began to talk about old times, and Glyn was told: “If I go first, I want my ashes scattered on the mountain” – a promise Glyn has kept, and one he has made others keep for him.


Glyn set about thinking what he could do to find the right spot, and to ensure it becomes a focal point, and after seeing a family taking a wreath to ’the tip’ it made Glyn think that it would be nicer to have a more scenic spot, a more permanent place of rest.

For Glyn, it needed to be a cross and it needed to be visible from afar. And that it certainly is.

During the arduous process, come rain or shine, in his own words, he thought, “What the hell am I doing up here?” the harder and longer it took. But as difficult as it was, Glyn’s gift to the community will last as a legacy for many a year to come – a testament to this man’s love for his friends, his community and his Rhondda.

The Rhondda cross lit up over Christmas and the view from across the valley

Teacher Sonny D, who carried out the interview, said: “It was such a fantastic experience meeting with Glyn after all this time. I’ve long admired his work and how it’s put Rhondda on the map. What struck me most was Glyn’s wickedness – he is a truly funny person and his cheeky sense of humour is as striking as his love for the Rhondda.”

“The community spirit in the Rhondda is like no other, as is the humour and resilience, and I feel this piece of outdoor art is testament to that – in darkness and in light it’s there like a beacon and I take my hat off to him for his dedication to it, and to the community, for so many years.”

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