Post date: Mar 20, 2009 2:20:11 PM
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August Bank Holiday Medieval Bash For Rare Lung Disease Attracts A Year’s Worth Of Visitors To Welsh Historic House In Just One Day
(2nd Sept 2009) Organisers of a medieval extravaganza at one of Wales most historic houses to highlight the rare lung disease Pulmonary Hypertension (PH) and raise cash for the National patient charity that supports people with the condition, are ‘stunned and overjoyed’ by the substantial numbers of people who sampled the sights and sounds of Medieval Wales on August Bank Holiday Monday.
Local MP Lembit Opik and Welsh Assembly representative Mick Bates took time out of their busy schedules to show support for the initiative. Commenting on the restored Ty Mawr (Great House), the largest medieval aisled hall in Wales, the Liberal Democrat MP for Montgomeryshire said, “ It’s an absolute triumph of living preservation, you get the sense, the aura almost, of half a millennium of existence’. Mr Bates added, “I totally agree with Lembit. What amazes me was how skilful the medieval builders and craftsman were to create these amazing timber structures”.
60 yr old Anna Cunningham Ingram, who lives in Ty Mawr, was diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension last year and cooked up the idea of staging a fund raising event at her home in Castle Caereinion, Powys, whilst convalescing from a recent car accident.
“The charity, PHA-UK have been so supportive to me that I wanted to give something back. Because the house is so historically special (a rare surviving example of an important late medieval house typical of the Welsh Marches), it’s open to the public one weekend a month from May to October so I thought I would try and organise something extra special. I never in my wildest dreams thought that we’d be welcoming hundreds of people on the day.”
Commenting on Anna’s efforts aided by History Matters, who promote an appreciation of medieval history largely through re-enactments of events, traditions and skills central to that age, Lembit Opik added, "I’ve got nothing but admiration for the those involved in raising the profile of Pulmonary Hypertension and this is the first time in my twelve years as an MP I’ve seen something as creative as this celebrating such a remarkable building and its extra-ordinary history of over 600 years and at the same time raising awareness of a disease that many people won’t have heard of.”
Thanks to the Powys Castle Estate and grant aid from CADW: Welsh Historic Monuments, Ty Mawr now looks as it would have done in 1635. It is a ‘Scheduled Ancient Monument’ and in 2000 was voted Building of the Year by the RICS- Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. The house S4C will be filming there for a series due for transmission in the winter on the hidden houses of Wales.
Alongside tours of the ‘Great House’ visitors to the Bank Holiday event enjoyed talks and displays of arms and armoury from the 15th century, demonstrations of the long bow and archery, falconry, spinning, shoemaking, leather stitching, wood carving, candle making and medieval cookery.
The local Castle Caereinion village community merged their summer fete with the event and visitors were ferried to and from both events via a free shuttle bus service, sponsored by Radio Maldwyn’s ‘Word On Health’ reporter Paul Pennington, who also organises publicity and campaigns for the Pulmonary Hypertension Association UK (PHA-UK), who will benefit from the days proceedings. He commented,
“All credit to Anna Cunningham Ingram for making the day happen, as it did. Although she lives with PH, she manages the condition and she doesn’t let it control her. She’s such an inspirational character. It has been such an honour to be at Ty Mawr and see so many people enjoy the spectacular setting, learn more about medieval Wales from History Matters, and to have the opportunity to enlighten people about PH. On behalf of PHA-UK, I’d like to say a very special thank you to Tom Till and everyone at the Powys Castle Estate and CADW, the Welshpool Tourist Information Centre for their support and to Mr Bates and Mr Opik, for finding the time to join us and their kind words. The local media have also played a very important role in publicising what we hope will become an annual event. "