David and Mona Matthews
David and Mona Matthews are retired teachers who live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Born in Aberystwyth, David spent his childhood years in Borth, Ceredigion.
After teacher-training in Trinity College, Carmarthen and two years of teaching in England, he immigrated to Manitoba, Canada in 1967. In Bowsman, he taught high school for two years during which he met his wife, Mona. In 1969 they married and, seeking further adventure, they moved to a Tlicho community between Great Slave Lake and Great Bear Lake in the Northwest Territories. Instead of spending the intended two years there, they remained in the Territories for 37 years working in the education field and with the people of the Tlicho First Nations.
Mona, a French-Canadian from the farming community of St. Eustache, was raised one of thirteen children and received her teacher training at the University of Manitoba. She met David when he was looking for a person to teach him French. Instead of learning the language, David fell in love with a beautiful woman who agreed to be his eternal interpreter and translator. David and Mona have three children, Ioan, Suzanne and Stephanie who they have taken to Wales on dozens of occasions. They now have seven grandchildren.
David feels that one cannot be born and raised in Wales and then move to another country without experiencing hiraeth, a longing for those things Welsh. It is unfortunate but a truth that while living in your own backyard, things, important things, are often taken for granted and not explored and understood. David and Mona now have this strong desire to return and get a true feeling of the country in which David spent his first 23 years. Retirement, together with the opening of the Wales Coastal Path in 2012, has provided an opportunity to do just that.
Oscar LaChance, born in the family farmhouse in St. Eustache, Manitoba, is the ninth of ten children. My oldest sister is the mother of Mona, one of the intrepid coastal Trail trekkers.
My background is not so important as my family history and what this trek is all about. The trek for cancer is a cause I totally support as I have lost my dear wife to cancer as well as a sister, niece, nephew, and two in-laws.
Money raised by this venture will help in the research to find a cure for this terrible disease and help support those who are fighting the disease. Although my health prevents me from participating in the actual trek itself, I am committed to Mona and David’s cause and am providing what support I can, mostly by driving the vehicle to provide sustenance and shelter for the trekkers.
The ‘Walk in Wales’ has been endorsed by the ‘Welsh in North America Association’ and the Calgary Welsh Society. The plan is to walk the 870 miles, 1400km of the Wales Coast Path to raise money for cancer research and related support in Wales, Canada and the USA.
David and Mona
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