Former Wales rugby captain Gareth ‘Alfie’ Thomas has won the 2012 cariad@iaith:love4language series after an intense week of lessons and linguistic and physical challenges.
The winner was announced during the final programme of the series, which was broadcast live on S4C on Thursday 31 May.
Actress Di Botcher, who starred in Belonging, Little Britain and Twin Town, came second.
Alfie topped a public vote on Facebook and there was a tie between both Alfie and Di when the nominations by their fellow celebrity learners were announced.
Among the celebrities taking part in the series were tenor Wynne Evans, singer and model Lucie Jones, Game of Thrones star Robert Pugh and television presenters Lisa Rogers, Alex Winters and Lucy Owen.
For the past week, the eight took part in daily Welsh lessons, as well as competing in challenges including canoeing, portrait drawing and a game of water polo in coracles.
In a live show every night, Gareth Roberts and Nia Parry presented the day’s highlights from the classroom and challenges.
Gareth Thomas says: “For me, the highlight of the series is seeing Di and Wynne actually go from having quite a lot of Welsh to having almost fluent conversations. I sit there listening to them as if they’ve spoken Welsh all their lives and that gives me the motivation to persevere and be like them. If I stick with it then there’s no reason why I can’t be in their places and inspire someone else like they’ve inspired me. We’re all winners at the end of the day!”
Last year’s cariad@iaith:love4language winner, actress Melanie Walters, was at the final to present the prize to the winner and to recall her memories of taking part in the 2011 series.
Tutors Nia Parry and Ioan Talfryn have been teaching the celebrity students all week.
Nia says, “It’s been an amazing week and all eight are winners in my eyes. These stars are an example of what people can achieve after a week of learning Welsh using the 'desuggestopedia' method and by looking at the response and feedback to this year’s series, they are all an inspiration to learners everywhere. Keep up the good work!”
Viewers can enjoy the best bits of the week in a special highlights programme on Saturday 2 June at 10.10pm. The lessons can be viewed in their entirety on the website, s4c.co.uk/love4lang
For a sneak peek of what goes on behind the scenes on the cariad@iaith:love4language set join Matt Johnson for a special edition of Hwb this Sunday at 5.00pm.