In the Valleys you’ll often hear people ask, ‘Are you belonging?’, meaning are you related to a person or a place. This sense of belonging is what makes the Valleys such a special place - and nowhere is it demonstrated more heroically than by the men from the Valleys who looked out for their ‘butties’ as they fought in the army, navy and air force. Men like Sergeant Major John Henry Williams VC, DCM, MM - the most decorated Welsh non-commissioned officer of all time. His many wartime acts of heroism and bravery were recognised in 1919 when he was awarded the Victoria Cross.
Other men and women fought for justice. The Chartists demanded the right to vote. In 1839 thousands marched down from the Valley towns to protest in Newport. Too many paid for their beliefs with their lives when soldiers opened fire on them at the Westgate Hotel. Their leaders paid a price too - transportation for John Frost, Zephaniah Williams and William Jones.
Then there's Dr Richard Price, born in a farmhouse near Bridgend, who ended up friends with Benjamin Franklin and George Washington, the first President of the United States. A champion of liberty and individual freedom, the French declared a day of national mourning when Price died. He was the 'most original thinker ever born in Wales'.
And we mustn't forget our heroines. Pamela Shepherd founded the Salvation Army in Aberdare, winning praise for her heroic efforts to reform the 'sinners' of this thriving, but unruly, town. Elizabeth Andrews campaigned for pit head baths, becoming a heroine for thousands of miners' wives along the way.