Prince Charles helps down-and-out Welsh clog maker

By admin
23 June 2014

Prince Charles and the clog maker -- no, it's not a long-forgotten fairy tale.Prince Charles has funded an apprenticeship for a young clogmaker in Wales.

Prince Charles and the clog maker -- no, it's not a long-forgotten fairy tale. Britain's Prince Charles has agreed to fund an apprenticeship for a clog maker. Trefor Owen, of Criccieth, Wales, is one of just a handful of craftsmen in the UK still making the unique footwear and feared his trade would be lost forever as he struggled to find the support to hire a younger apprentice, but after speaking about his plight on Radio 4 last year, Charles stepped in to help.

'I got a phone call from a woman who said she worked for Prince Charles and wanted more information'
Mr. Owen said: "I got a phone call from a woman who said she worked for Prince Charles and wanted more information.

"I thought it was a wind-up or a con trick. It was a great shock and certainly not what I expected. I believe he has a very strong interest in heritage and traditional crafts, and he was struck enough by my story to have his staff follow it up."

The craftsman said he felt a "moral obligation" to pass on his knowledge and was concerned there are no young people studying the craft.

He told Wales' Daily Post newspaper: "I'll be 63 in a couple of weeks' time and, while it's unlikely I will ever retire, I may soon want to slow down or do other things.

"We make clogs for an international trade, but the core of our business is young Welsh dancers. There needs to be continuity in the clogmaking so that there's continuity in the clog dancing. If you have no clogs, you have no dancing.

"There is a sort of moral obligation to make sure I pass on the skills.

"I don't know of anyone under 50 making clogs in England, Wales or Scotland, and nobody is teaching young people how to do it.

"I was looking for a number of years to set up a training scheme of some kind to pass the skills on. I approached all sorts of organisations without success."

With Charles' help, Gwilym Bowen Rhys (21) has now begun learning the craft and his boss is already impressed by his young employee.

He said: "It's a great relief to find someone. I was getting concerned about who was going to follow on from me.

"It's very early days, but Gwilym is energetic and enthusiastic."

A spokesperson for the prince said he was "glad" to help.

His representative said: "The Prince of Wales was keen to see the craft of traditional Welsh clog making continued, and so was very glad to contribute to help ensure that Mr Owen could recruit an apprentice."

- Bang Showbiz

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