A WREXHAM headteacher is in the running for the National Eisteddfod’s coveted Welsh Learner of the Year title.
Dad-of-three Martin Baldry, 45, who works at English-medium Bwlchgwyn Primary School, moved to Wales in 1990 from Dronfield, Derbyshire, to complete a teacher training course in Bangor.
After qualifying he moved back to England for a stint in a Norfolk school but was eventually drawn back to Wales.
Martin, who now lives in Llanrhaeadr, Denbighshire, started learning Welsh eight years ago when his first daughter, Siân Hâf, was born.
He said: “My wife Bethan is Welsh speaking and I wanted my children to be bilingual. I also thought it was important to learn the language because we live in a predominantly Welsh-speaking area and I wanted to fit in.
“To me, it just seems the right thing to do when you live in Wales. If I had emigrated to Spain, I would have learnt Spanish, and if I had moved to France I would have learnt French.
“Also, I believe the Welsh language is something well worth preserving and I feel very passionate about helping to keep it alive.”
Martin has completed the Welsh language sabbaticals scheme, sponsored by the Welsh Assembly Government, through Bangor University and is almost fluent.
He has always spoken Welsh to his family as they have grown up and has been supported and encouraged by a large number of local Welsh speakers.
Martin will find out if he has won the competition, which is now in its 25th year, at the National Eisteddfod in Cardiff on Wednesday, August 6. The awards ceremony will take place at Cardiff Castle.