Mark makes Welsh Learner of the Year shortlist
With almost forty entries for this year’s competition the highest number ever – with many of them living in different parts of the world, Mark has made the final four.
Mark, who is 39 years old, is originally from Neath, but now lives in Miskin with his wife, Ceri, and their two sons Rhys a Gruff. He works as a Regimental Sergeant Major in the British Army.
Mark and Ceri decided to bring up their children in Welsh, and Mark realised that his only choice was to learn the language.
His Army career made it impossible for him to attend weekly lessons, so he attended a preliminary course at the University in 2006, and then studied online modules. He continued with his studies during his period in Afghanistan in 2007, and was awarded an A* in his GCSE Welsh as a second language examination in 2008. He then decided to study for a degree in Welsh at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and he will graduate this summer.
He is pleased he has learnt Welsh, although juggling the language with his work in the Army was very challenging. He has been to Afghanistan twice for a year since starting to learn Welsh, and managed to find Welsh speakers in places all over the world, and he was responsible for the creation of the Welsh Society in Afghanistan.
Earlier this year, Mark took part in a race to the pole in a challenge inspired by Captain Scott and Roald Amundsen along with his colleague Captain Billy Morris.
Seven teams, including Norway, South Africa, Germany, the Nertherlands and England set off from Novo, Antarctica, on January 1 in the Extreme World Races Scott/Amundsen Centenary Race, 100 years after Amundsen beat Scott to the Pole The challenge was to ski over nine hundred kilometers to reach the South Pole . Mark’s team, Mercury came second in the race, with Norway claiming first place.
He leaves the Army in June and would like to go to University for a year to train as a teacher before finding work as a Welsh teacher.
Watch Mark talk about his experiences here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbNPyvbIujw
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