* FLIME chairman Barrie Potter presents the £40,000 cheque to Eisteddfod treasurer Paul Coleman watched by music director Vicky Yannoula.
The Friends of the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod (FLIME) has presented its largest ever annual donation to the festival.
The £40,000 – double the organisation’s usual contribution – brings the total raised since the Friends were founded in 1973 to almost half a million pounds.
The cheque was presented to Eisteddfod treasurer Paul Coleman and music director Vicky Yannoula on the Royal International Pavilion stage by Barrie Potter, chairman of FLIME.
Each year the main contribution comes from FLIME subscription fees, supplemented by coffee mornings held throughout the year and a collection and tombola at the festival itself.
This year’s donation has been boosted by a £20,000 bequest from the late Ms Celia Jackson, who had been a Friend of the Eisteddfod since the early 1980s.
Barrie Potter said: “I am always heartened to find that many of our members feel the need to give more than their annual subscription and to know that they are so dedicated to helping this wonderful festival, even after they can no longer attend.
“We know that Ms Jackson was particularly fond of the choral competitions, so part of her donation has gone to support these, especially those for children and young people. The remainder of her bequest has gone into the Bursary Fund, which helps groups from poorer communities with in-country expenses.
“The fund was originally set up with the help of the Friends' donation and it is wonderful to be able to contribute to boosting the level of cultural diversity on the field by helping people who, for financial reasons, might not otherwise have the opportunity to take part on such a prestigious international stage.
"This year 22 groups have been offered grants from the fund from countries including Zimbabwe, Kyrgyzstan, Albania, India, the Czech Republic, Indonesia, South Africa and Poland."
Subscriptions to FLIME range from £18 per year for an individual to £32 per year for a family and members benefit from priority early booking for all day sessions and evening concerts, news and updates through the year and the opportunity to express ideas and views of the future of the Eisteddfod.
* For more information about FLIME, visit www.llangollen.net