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The view from north Wales

Carole Green looks at the issue of lip reading in Wales and how one woman, Theresa Evans, is an inspiration

Most journos say it, but it’s true, the best thing about the job is the people you meet along the way. I caught up with a contact in Llandudno yesterday, who’s probably one of the strongest and most selfless women you could ever meet.

I first met Theresa Evans in March 2003 in tragic circumstances. The date sticks in the mind, it was the start of the Iraq war and Theresa’s 24 year old son Lance Bombardier Llywelyn Evans became the first Welsh casualty.

Watch Carole’s report on the need for more lip-reading provisions in Wales at ITV.com/Wales

Welly as he was known to his friends and family was serving with 29 Commando Royal Artillery when he died in a helicopter crash over the Kuwaiti desert. His brother Lee, also a serving soldier witnessed the horror, he was travelling behind in a second craft.

Llywelyn’s funeral with full military honours brought the crowded centre of Llandudno to a standstill.

Theresa has had more than her fair share of sorrow. Still grieving for her son, she lost her husband to alcoholism soon after. Then on Christmas Eve 2007 her 23-year-old son Dewi, Llywelyn’s brother was killed in a road crash on the Padog Bends near Betws Y Coed.

She’s had to dig deep and find reserves in herself to cope with such terrible loss. Theresa says her friends and family in Llandudno have been the key to her own survival during the very dark days.

Yesterday as usual her door was open. It’s awhile since I last popped in, and Theresa was fully immersed in shoe boxes. Her lounge was piled high with practical donations for Operation Welly. Theresa has set up a shoe box appeal in Llewelyn’s memory, sending home comforts to troops in Afghanistan.

I arrived armed with toothpaste, toothbrushes, cereal bars and sweets, we then caught up on the past 12 months.  A mother to six children and a proud granny, Theresa has a big heart.

Operation Welly helps to keep her going, it’s a way of remembering and honouring her sons. She’s a natural campaigner, a mover, a shaker. She gets things done. Right now she’s busy leading a knitting group, passing on her practical skills.  All the woolly hats, scarves and jumpers are heading out to Pakistan as part of the flood relief.

We only had an hour, but I’m thankful to Theresa. She’s an inspiration.

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