WHAT THE DAISIES SAY TRANSCRIPT

Daisy 1 – Sowing the seeds of change

 

Sounds of the countryside, birds singing, breeze through the trees and water gently flowing

 

Daisies are cheerful, full of hope, a universal symbol of resilience.

Long ago, before Pontypridd sprang into being beside the River Taff, there were daisies. Bright, shining, open faced Ox-eye Daisies, dancing playfully, as the winds of change blew through the lush, green Rhondda Valley. 

 

Sounds of a horse drawn cart over cobble stones and a wall being built

 

And there are still daisies today, two hundred and sixty-five years after local stonemason William Edwards built his new bridge, setting the story of Pontypridd in motion.

 

Sounds of children playing and enjoying being together

 

Daisies have been chosen for this artwork, to celebrate the resilient spirit of Pontypridd and the people who for generations have made this market town their home. “Daisy Chain” invites the people of Pontypridd to grow their own daisies, sharing the joy and wellbeing that connecting with nature brings. Linking the past, to the present and the future, representing four generations of proud Pontypridd residents, Eve, Sara, Nina and Elaine have created a photo diary of growing daisies together, inspiring and informing the four giant, silky, yellow and white blooms.

Daisy 2 – Growth and Flourishing

 

Sounds of early industry, a factory machinery being operated

 

With the building of a new bridge to cross the river and the expansion of coal mining in the Rhondda, the Industrial Revolution advanced at pace through South Wales. First known as Newbridge, and later renamed Pontypridd, the town became a gateway for the transportation of coal, from the valleys to Cardiff, and beyond to the waiting world. 

 

Sounds of chains clinking through a pulley, followed by a steam train gathering speed

 

The mighty Brown Lennox Chain Works arrived, remembered in the green chains suspending the daisies. The construction of the Taff Vale Railway made travel more accessible, meaning that the once rural hamlet became a bustling, vibrant town, complete with a thriving market serving the local community and visitors from further afield.

 

Sounds of the train’s whistle as it steams on its way, before eventually fading to be replaced by a diesel train

 

The traditional row of cottages, where our daisy growers are neighbours, could well have been home to railway workers. The railway line still runs close by and in those early days of steam - coal dust, dirt and grime would have darkened the landscape. But the resilient daisies would still have grown, a continuous beacon of hope and a true constant with the passage of time.

Daisy 3 – Facing Challenges

 

Sounds of an old Pontypridd rugby match

 

As industry in Pontypridd boomed, sport and culture blossomed. With champion boxers, swimmers and cricketers the town developed a fine sporting heritage. 

 

Sounds of "Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau” the Welsh National Anthem played on the piano before Bread of Heaven rings out, sung by a male voice choir

 

Father and son composers Evan and James James gave the Welsh nation a national anthem, while Cwm Rhondda composed by John Hughes also gained anthem status, most notably when “Bread of Heaven” rings out at Rugby matches. Pontypridd Rugby Club has an enviable reputation for nurturing Welsh internationals, and it has been said that they have the best supporters in the whole of Welsh club rugby.

 

Sounds of factory machinery gradually fading before people chat together over a cup of coffee 

 

While the people of Pontypridd had much to be proud of, the loss of coal production and heavy industry as the 20th century progressed, resulted in major challenges. Yet communities looked out for and supported each other, a tradition continued by the town’s residents to this day. 

 

Sounds of children’s excited voices at play

 

Just like the daisies grown for this project Pontypridd’s strength and resilience always shines through. For Eve, Sara, Nina and Elaine there’s nowhere to compare with the town they call home, and Nina has lived in her cottage for well over seventy years.

 

Daisy 4 – Wellbeing for the future

 

Sounds of the countryside, birds singing as a storm gathers

 

Growing daisies for this project with Eve, Sara, Nina and Elaine has not only resulted in some stunning flowers but also in precious shared memories of life in Pontypridd. Connecting with nature has connected us with each other and there has never been a time when this was more necessary. 

 

Sounds of heavy rain, getting louder, before an even loud clap of thunder

 

In 2020 Storm Dennis brought devastating floods to the town, but communities steadfastly pulled together to support, restore and rebuild. 

Then within weeks even greater strength and resilience was demanded, when COVID 19 struck Pontypridd, as it did the entire world.

 

Sounds of people getting together again in the busy market

 

If looking to the past teaches anything it is that the people of Pontypridd and their community spirit will always prevail.

 

Sounds of the countryside, tranquil breeze and birdsong

 

And the beautiful, lush, green valley with a river running through it is still here, to nurture and connect us all with nature, whatever challenges we may face. The natural habitat and eco system may have been hidden for a while by heavy industry but we can all play our part in protecting where we live and improving our own wellbeing as we do so. 

 

Sounds of bees buzzing before a gentle return to birdsong and the peace of the countryside  

 

Planting Ox-Eye Daisies will help rewild our green spaces, supporting pollinators, and self-seeding to bring hope to Pontypridd for many years to come.