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Evans, (Richard) Gwynfor 1912–2005

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born September 1, 1912, in Barry, Glamorgan, Wales; died April 21, 2005, in Pencarreg, Carmarthenshire, Wales. Politician and author. Evans was a former president of the Welsh nationalist party, Plaid Cymru, and a member of British Parliament. Although he earned his law degree at the University of Wales in 1934, he never became a practicing attorney. Instead, Evans worked at his father's market-garden business while pursuing an interest in politics. A pacifist throughout his life, he got was relieved of military service during World War II as a conscientious objector. During this time, he worked for Heddychwyr Cymru as secretary for the pacifist movement, and in 1943 was named vice president of Plaid Cymru. Two years later, he was elected president of the party, serving actively until 1981 and as honorary president until his death. As president, Evans advocated for self-government in Wales and official recognition of Welsh language and culture. Unfortunately, he found little support within the British government, which was dominated by the Labour Party. Suffering many defeats for such causes as making county Monmouthshire a part of Wales and for official recognition of Welsh, Evans found better success in his support of education, as part of the Court of the University of Wales from 1946 to 1971, and Welsh broadcasting, as a member of the Welsh Broadcasting Council from 1957 to 1960. In 1962, he helped establish the television service Teledu Cymru, though this venture quickly went out of business. He was much more successful in 1980 when he faced Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's government, which had reneged on a promise to create a Welsh television station. Faced with threat of a hunger strike, the government eventually gave in, and channel S4C was founded soon afterward. In addition to heading Plaid Cymru, Evans also served several terms in Parliament, as the representative for Carmarthen from 1966 to 1970, and again from 1974 to 1979. Evans also wrote many books about his beloved Wales, including Plaid Cymru and Wales (1950), Aros Mae (1971), which was later translated as Land of My Fathers: 2,000 Years of Welsh History (1974), Wales Can Win (1973), Fighting for Wales (1991), and The Fight for Welsh Freedom (2000). In 2004, Evans was named the greatest living politician by the Welsh people.

OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:

BOOKS

Evans, Gwynfor, For the Sake of Wales: The Memoirs of Gwynfor Evans = Bywyd Cymro, Welsh Academic Press (Caemarfon, Wales), 1996.

PERIODICALS

Daily Telegraph (London, England), April 22, 2005, p. 1.

Independent (London, England), April 22, 2005, p. 48.

Times (London, England), April 22, 2005, p. 67.

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Evans, (Richard) Gwynfor 1912–2005

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