Tributes have been paid at this year’s National Eisteddfod in Ynys Môn 2017 to Elwyn Roberts – one of the key figures in the development of Plaid Cymru during the 20th century.
In a session arranged by the Plaid Cymru History Society the party’s Honorary President Dafydd Wigley said that Elwyn Roberts was an inspiration to a new generation.
“He was a wholly practical nationalist who believed that success would be based on a sound political foundation”, he said.
Brought up in Abergynolwyn, Meirionnydd Elwyn Roberts was the son of a quarryman. He worked for a bank after leaving school and became a member of Plaid Cymru in its early days – setting up a party branch at Blaenau Ffestiniog that became the biggest in Wales.
He was allowed leave by the bank on several occasions – to act as Gwynfor Evans’ election agent in Meirionnydd in 1945 and then to work for the National Eisteddfod before becoming Plaid Cymru’s Gwynedd organiser and finance director in 1951.
In the session to recall his career tributes were also paid by the author Gwynn Matthews and former Plaid General Secretary Dafydd Williams. And Cyril Jones, who served as election agent to Gwynfor Evans in the Carmarthen by-election in 1966, recalled the key role Elwyn Roberts played in winning Plaid Cymru’s first ever seat in the House of Commons.
The audience heard how Elwyn Roberts’ work rescued Plaid Cymru from bankruptcy on a number of occasions. And Dafydd Wigley related how Elwyn Roberts was called upon to run the cross-party Parliament for Wales campaign in the 1950s.
“When Elwyn took over responsibility, the petition had been running for two years but had secured only a few hundred names. Elwyn took hold of the reins with his customary dedication, and succeeded in raising the total to over a quarter of a million.”