The Urdd Eisteddfod's most prestigious and sought-after prizes - the chair and crown - have been revealed ahead of one of Europe's largest youth festivals return to Montgomeryshire for the first time in more than 30 years.

The Caersws-made chair and Mallwyd-designed crown were unveiled at a special event in Welshpool's farmers market on Wednesday evening (May 15).

Siôn Jones, an accomplished carpenter who lives in Llanidloes, said it was a “once in a lifetime” opportunity.

"Creating the chair for an area that means so much to me and my family is a privilege," said Siôn who made the chair at his workshop on the family farm in Caersws. 

"The Urdd is important to Wales and brings people and the language together, and the fact that my chair will take centre stage on the National Eisteddfod stage is something I’m really proud of.”

Made from local oak and ash, the Maldwyn NFU Cymru-sponsored chair's design celebrates the unique characteristics of Montgomeryshire including the River Severn, Lake Vyrnwy, harp music, agriculture, the landscape. It also includes a map which has been elaborately carved by a local craftsperson, Chris Gethin, with the Meifod area and the Urdd logo featured on the chair.

“I’ve been keeping this local timber for something special,” Siôn explained. “So, what could be better than using these for the local Eisteddfod chair?”

The Montgomeryshire Branch of the Farmers’ Union of Wales were eager for Mari Eluned from just over the Powys border in Mallwyd to include an agricultural element in the design of the Crown.

As she had been brought up in an agricultural community and lives and works in that community, this tied in perfectly with the style of her work as a jeweller, as her inspiration often comes from nature and rural landscapes.

“My intention was to create a crown with a contemporary feel which conveys the Urdd’s valuable contribution and agricultural communities, such as Maldwyn, and their importance to the future of our culture and language,” Mari explained.

“The crown, made of silver, includes sheafs of corn, the Urdd’s logo crafted from Welsh slate, silver stones from the Dyfi river, the words ‘Mwynder Maldwyn’ and ‘Urdd Gobaith Cymru’ with a golden velvet material to create the cap. As a whole, the crown conveys prosperity, unity and hope.”

Llio Maddocks, Director of the Arts, Urdd Gobaith Cymru, said: “We sincerely hope there will be winners in a fortnight, so these masterpieces, the Chair and Crown, can be enjoyed for years to come.

County Times: The crown made by Mari Eluned from Mallwyd.The crown made by Mari Eluned from Mallwyd. (Image: Urdd)

County Times: Sion Jones from Llanidloes working on the chair. Sion Jones from Llanidloes working on the chair. (Image: Urdd)

County Times: Mari Eluned crafting the crown.Mari Eluned crafting the crown. (Image: Urdd)

County Times: The crown is embossed with 'Mwynder Maldwyn', which celebrates 'loveliness of Montgomeryshire'.The crown is embossed with 'Mwynder Maldwyn', which celebrates 'loveliness of Montgomeryshire'. (Image: Urdd)

County Times: Sion Jones with the completed chairSion Jones with the completed chair (Image: Urdd)

“Thanks to the talented craftspeople, the committees and the sponsors for their hard work and support, ensuring that the 2024 Maldwyn Urdd Eisteddfod has unique prizes which reflect the rich culture and history of this beautiful part of Wales.”

Eisteddfod yr Urdd Maldwyn 2024 will be held in Meifod between Monday, May 27, and Saturday, June 1.

The Chairing ceremony will be held on the Thursday (May 30) and sponsored by the Ivor and Aeres Evans Trust. The Crowning ceremony will be held on the Friday (May 31) thanks to sponsors, Cardiff University.