A woman from Bala, Wales, has been awarded the inaugural Mary Jones Prize, in memory of the young girl who walked 26 miles to get a Bible.
Mary Thomas was given the award at the Mary Jones World visitor centre at Llanycil, near Bala, by James Catford, group chief executive of the Bible Society.
She was given a piece of inscribed Welsh slate and a cheque, in honour of her work to keep the story of Mary Jones alive.
The prize was awarded by the Fellowship of Mary Jones for what the group called the ‘extraordinary contribution’ that Mrs Thomas has made. This has taken the form of the Mary Jones Walk and her support of Mary Jones World visitor centre, to ensure that the story of Mary Jones, Thomas Charles and the Bible’s impact in Wales and the world has continued to inspire people of all ages and backgrounds.
Mrs Thomas said, ‘It is a great honour to be selected for the first Mary Jones Prize. I thank the Bible Societies of the Fellowship of Mary Jones and I accept the award gratefully on behalf of myself, the people of Meirionnydd and the whole of Wales.
‘I am sure that Mary Jones and Thomas Charles would be amazed at such happenings in Llanycil. But I believe that the message that is being communicated to all ages in Mary Jones World is a continuation of the message they took pride in more than 200 years ago’.
In 1800 teenager Mary Jones walked 26 miles from Llanfihangel-y-Pennant, across the Welsh mountains, to Bala, in order to get a Bible from Rev. Thomas Charles. From a poor family, Mary had saved for six years to buy one, and Thomas Charles was so moved by her determination that he helped establish Bible Society four years later.