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Book celebrates residential centre turning 60

Published 9th May 2018

Plas Gwynant book launcg

Sandra Meredith and Frank Batchelor are marking 60 years of Sandwell's residential centre, Plas Gwynant, with the launch of a book documenting its history.

The residential centre in North Wales was bought by West Bromwich Council in the mid-1950s and opened its doors to children in May 1958. This was then taken over by Sandwell Council when it was formed in 1974.

Plas Gwynant has run a variety of courses for hundreds of thousands of children since then and now offers a range of courses designed to give children and adults an outdoor experience in a spectacular Snowdonia setting.

Author Sandra Meredith said: "The book includes memories from those who attended the very first course and those who attended during the 1960s with many stories and photographs of their adventures that clearly left an impression that lasted a lifetime!

"It is hoped that the changes to education made by the far-sighted West Bromwich Council, recorded within this commemorative book, will become the legacy of their remarkable decision to purchase Plas Gwynant and their continued commitment to its success."

Richard Oakes, residential education service manager, was at the book launch. He said: "It’s terrific that Sandra and Frank have written this book to mark 60 successful years of outdoor education at Plas Gwynant. Their passion for the centre, and the lasting impressions it has made, reflect the value of Plas Gwynant to the thousands of pupils who have been there over the years.

"Listening to the memories of some of the earliest visitors to the centre, and learning about how it has evolved, puts down a challenge to me and the current generation responsible for Plas: to continue and build on that legacy. I’m pleased to say that Plas Gwynant is well-placed to provide amazing experiences for visitors from Sandwell and beyond for many more years to come."

Gary Rushton has contributed to the book and was one of the first visitors to Plas Gwynant. He has very fond memories. He said: "I visited almost every year from 1960 to 1970. I have fond memories of camping and staying in the old boys hut. Back then the hut was left open so as long as you could get yourself to the centre under your own steam, you could stay there.

Reg Snell, who has also contributed to the book spent a week, at Plas Gwynant in 1962. He said: "I remember camping in a tent for a week with it costing 15 shillings. I was brought up in West Bromwich so a week in Snowdonia was a real experience."

Following the success of two previous two books about two much-loved schools in West Bromwich – Forever Churchfields and The Cronehillians, Sandra was persuaded to compile this book with partner Frank, to celebrate the ongoing success of the outdoor education centre in North Wales – Plas Gwynant Celebrating 60 Years. 

The book costs £16. If you want to get a copy, please email meredith.sandra@yahoo.co.uk

More details about Plas Gwynant