Eisteddfod fundraiser in Denbigh will be a knockout

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A knockout evening of chocolate and wine is being organised to raise money for the National Urdd Eisteddfod in Denbigh.

There will also be auction during the event at the Brookhouse Mill at 7pm on Thursday, March 26 – and one of the lots will be a boxing glove signed by the legendary boxer, Sir Henry Cooper.

The glove is being kindly donated by Cllr Mark Young who is helping to organise the sparkling fundraiser for the festival which will be held in Denbigh from May 20 to 30.

As well as placing bids on the night, it will also possible to do so beforehand via Cllr Young’s Facebook page.

The event is being supported by Denbigh Chocolate Shop, the Brookhouse Mill, and public relations firm Ceidiog PR and tickets cost £15.

The expert sommelier for the evening will be Emyr “Slotter” Thomas, a knowledgeable wine buff

Meanwhile, Mary Tetley, who founded Denbigh Chocolate Shop with husband Mark Young on World Chocolate Day in 2009, will be teaming up with Annie Bryan, who now runs the popular establishment on Vale Street, to talk people though the chocolate tasting.

Each chocolate will be paired with a specific wine and the reasons for the pairings will be explained during the evening.

Mark said: “The evening is going to be fun, we’re going to have high quality chocolate, we’re going to teach people how to taste them properly, and wash them down with high quality wine.

“The chocolates are going to be matched to the wine, and we’re going talk how you do that.

“The support the event is getting is amazing. The Brookhouse Mill have been great, and they didn’t even hesitate when I asked, and I think that’s because the Urdd has so much respect in the community.

“Annie from the Chocolate Shop is also helping with her time, and she’s been doing a lot of other things to support the Urdd Eisteddfod too.

“My wife Mary and I want to raise money as a thank you because our daughter Lili has fantastic memories from taking part in the Urdd Eisteddfod, I think it gave her fantastic skills, and she really enjoyed it.

“The Urdd Eisteddfod is great for children and young people and great for the community because of the way it brings people together. The local community has done a great job in helping to raise money for the Urdd Eisteddfod. People are very proud that it’s coming to this area again.

“Slotter Thomas is going to be the sommelier, and he’s going to share his knowledge of wine with us, which is quite extensive because he’s done a lot of research on it!

Mark, a former amateur boxer, has fond memories of meeting Sir Henry Cooper during a dinner in aid of Rhyl Boxing Club in the early 2000s.

Cooper held the British, Commonwealth and European titles several times during his distinguished career.

He fought Muhammad Ali twice and during the first non-title bout at Wembley Stadium in 1963 he famously floored Ali with his trademark left hook, ‘Enery’s ‘Ammer before losing on a technical knockout because of a bad cut.

Mark added: “Sir Henry was a fantastic guest speaker when he came to Rhyl Boxing Club

“During his talk he touched on his fight with Muhammad Ali. He told us that every year on his birthday the phone would go, and Sir Henry would pick it up, and the voice would go ‘I’d still wup ya’, and it would be Ali who would then go on to wish him a happy birthday, which is priceless.

“Sir Henry was a very modest man, and when I met him, he was quite elderly but he was still as fit as a fiddle, and highly respectable and spent much of his life raising money for good causes.

“When I shook his hand he had the biggest hands I’ve ever come across in my life, and I’ve got pretty big hands. He still had that presence of a boxer, and he was a gentleman.

“When he signed the gloves, he told me that not many have Sir Henry on, and they’ll be worth quite a bit. I’ve had them for a number of years and I’m happy to auction one off for a good cause like the Urdd Eisteddfod.”

Annie Bryan, who runs  Denbigh Chocolate Shop, said: “We’ve been doing a lot to support the event.

“The Urdd Eisteddfod has a way of bringing together Welsh speakers, learners and even people who don’t speak the language. It’s something that brings the country together and I think it’s important that children and young people today get the same kind of opportunities that I had. I did it, my children did it, they sang, and I want the same for other children too.

“We’ve had coffee mornings and we’ve had a collection bucket for people to put their money in. The staff fair play to them even donated their tips.”

Appeal committee member Gareth Ceidiog Hughes, who works for Ceidiog PR, said: “We’re extraordinarily grateful to everybody who is backing the event and everybody who has supported the Urdd Eisteddfod appeal so far. It’s going to be a fantastic night, full of fun, laughter, great wine and great chocolate, and it’s for a great cause, so what’s not to like?”

Tickets are available at Denbigh Chocolate Shop and Siop Clwyd in the town centre. Alternatively contact Gareth Ceidiog Hughes on 07732 955339 or email him at gareth@ceidiog.com.