Happy 50th birthday to Dol-y-Moch!
Education centre reaches landmark anniversary.
Celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the outdoor education centre Plas Dol-y-Moch have begun.
The centre in Snowdonia National Park has hosted thousands of the city’s schoolchildren over decades after it was bought by Coventry council in 1966.
To mark the anniversary, Lord Mayor Coun Michael Hammon was joined by former athlete David Moorcroft at the Canal Basin.
School pupil Farouke Kigonya and Dol-y-Moch veteran Jan Brown joined them as they took to the waters in a canoe.
Coun Hammon said: “Everyone you speak to who has been brought up in Coventry in the last 50 years say they have tales to tell from when they went as kids.
“It is a wonderful thing for Coventry and we just have to keep it going.
“We have to preserve it for future generations, knowing so many people get so much enjoyment out of it now.”
Farouke was just one of the most recent guests at the centre, when he stayed for five days during March.
The ten-year-old, who attends Southfields school, said he has made memories for life.
“It was a great experience and it was good to be with all my friends doing the activities," he said.
“My favourite memory from the trip that I will take away with me is climbing the mountain. I loved going up and doing all the climbing.
“I would definitely go again, it was really good to get away and do lots of fun things.”
The centre has housed more than 100,000 school children since it opened, with some returning year after year.
Jan, from Kenilworth, is one of those who just can’t keep away. She first went in 1967 as a young teacher and has been going backwards and forwards ever since with the centre’s ‘Friends of Dol-y-Moch’ charity.
She said: “The Friends scheme is a fantastic way of getting people like me who want to go back again and again, to fulfil their wishes.
“Since Dol Y Moch has been open, it has been wonderful to see so many children enjoying it.
“There’s a reason I keep going back, everyone there welcomes you with open arms and it is the best place to learn and take part in adventure activities.”
Olympic athlete David Moorcroft joined Jan and Farouke and he shared some of his favourite memories of the Welsh site.
He said: “Its such a confidence-building trip to go on. For a ten-year-old to go just before they go into secondary school, it can make the world of difference.
“The memory that sticks out most for me is doing the abseiling. I had an awful fear of heights and the staff at Dol-y-Moch encouraged me to get involved with the abseiling, and when I conquered it, it was the best feeling.
“That is what this place is wonderful for. It takes young shy pupils, and turns them into kids who are ready to face anything.
“With the help from the staff, they can give a child all the confidence they need to go on in life.”
Dol-y-Moch is a 17th century manor house and numerous outbuildings, with 30 acres of grounds and woodlands, in the vale of Ffestiniog in the Snowdonia National Park.
The centre has been self-financing for many years and is not dependent on subsidy or charity. However, Friends of Dol-y-Moch aims to pay for facilities which would not otherwise be affordable.
The charity’s aim in this anniversary year is to raise £750,000. To support the effort click here.