Skip to main content

Basil Davies Award for Learn Welsh Cardiff trio

10 September 2021

L-R: Elisabeth Haljas, Erin Pyle and Lizzie Hobbs

Three adult learners who enrolled on courses at Cardiff University to develop their Welsh language skills have been awarded the Basil Davies Memorial Prize.

Lizzie Hobbs, Erin Pyle and Elisabeth Haljas, part of this year’s Learn Welsh Cardiff cohort, have achieved the highest scores in the WJEC Welsh for Adults examinations.

The Learn Welsh Cardiff programme, delivered from Cardiff University’s School of Welsh, has prepared a total of 293 learners from across Wales and beyond for the WJEC examinations this year, with teaching and assessment held on Zoom for the first time because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Elisabeth, originally from Estonia, has been with Learn Welsh Cardiff since 2018 when she moved to the UK to study to be a dietician.

She said: “I’m so shocked but also so proud to receive the Basil Davies Award.

“I love the fact that I can communicate with Welsh people in their mother tongue. It feels great to have developed my skills over the years and I have met so many lovely people along the way.”

Elisabeth, who was also in the running for the Welsh Learner of the Year competition at the National Eisteddfod Festival this year, has completed the Foundation, Intermediate and, most recently, the Advanced courses since 2018.

[Insert video of Elisabeth]

Along the way, she has made videos in Welsh about healthy eating, appeared on Welsh language television, volunteered for Welsh language productions in the Sherman Theatre and organised a work placement at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd hospital in Rhyl.

Living in Cardiff, Elisabeth now works as a nutritionist for the NHS and uses her Welsh every day.

Elisabeth added: “Learning Welsh has given me many different and fun opportunities. I’m very much looking forward to seeing where else it takes me.”

Fellow awardee Lizzie received the Basil Davies Memorial Prize for her achievements on the Foundation level course.

Originally from North Wales, near Bangor, Lizzie now lives in Swansea and joined Learn Welsh Cardiff online in January 2021 to help in her career.

She said: “I’m very proud of my achievements on the Foundation course.

“I’ve wanted to speak Welsh fluently for a long time, so it feels great that I’m working towards that. The classes and my outstanding tutor have also given me a lot more confidence to use my Welsh.”

Erin Pyle, who won the prize for her work on the Intermediate level course, also joined Learn Welsh Cardiff to help with her career.

From Ely in Cardiff, she is training to be a Welsh for Adults tutor at Swansea University and regularly uses her Welsh working in St Fagans National Museum of History.

Erin said: “It’s a privilege to win the award and an honour that was completely unexpected.

“It’s as if Wales has a hidden culture which has been created by Welsh language speakers and learning Welsh has opened this up to me, letting me in on ‘the secret’ of everything Wales has to offer.”

The Basil Davies Memorial prize was established in 2017 and is coordinated by the WJEC and the National Centre for Learning Welsh to acknowledge candidates who gained the highest marks in their examinations.

Lowri Bunford-Jones, Learn Welsh Cardiff’s Manager, said: “We are delighted to have been able to support Lizzie, Erin and Elisabeth in becoming Welsh speakers, in what has been a year of challenges and opportunities for us and our learners.

“Together with other parts of the University, we moved all our courses online in March right at the beginning of the pandemic. And, while a bit of a learning curve, it’s meant that people from all over the world have had the chance to learn Welsh with our experienced tutors.

“So, we are looking forward to continuing the journey with them all - award winners included - when the new term begins in September.”

Learn Welsh Cardiff runs online courses at all levels between September and June every year. For more information, please visit the Learn Welsh website or contact them by telephone on 029 2087 4710 or on email