Stories to Lift the Heart

Judy Schunemann


The Mari Lwyd made a surprise appearance at the Straeon Sir Benfro / Pembrokeshire Storytelling (formerly Straeon Gwaun / Fishguard Storytelling) story night in December, held in Peppers, thanks to local storyteller Hedydd Hughes (aided by a lively local character) Hedydd told a story set in Abergwaun studded with local history and then surprised everyone in the interval with the Mari Lwyd, not to mention accompaniment on the accordion, a great addition to a packed programme of entertainment.

And what a lovely night with some old hands at the storytelling game and some just setting out on their storytelling journey, spinning a web that held the audience enthralled.

Aline Whitaker

Lively oral storytelling was delivered by Aline Whitaker, Judy Schunemann and Alice Corvoisier, followed by host Deb Winter performing a climate change story commissioned by Transition Bro Gwaun and the Repair Cafe. The event attracted a record attendance for the Straeon Sir Benfro, which had had to suspend its popular, often crowded indoor nights for covid-safety reasons. During the pandemic events were held outdoors at Trehale Farm and other venues. Plans are afoot for a pop-up event in March/April.

But what many people don’t know is that Deb Winter has been taking her fabulous storytelling skills out into the community for the past few years, bringing other worlds to people who might otherwise be socially isolated.

The project, dreamt up by People Speak Up during lockdown, is called Stories to the Door and has helped many people in the county to be uplifted, not just by the stories themselves but by the magical way Deb brings them to life.

Alice Corvosier

Who doesn’t love a good story well told? Personally I have enjoyed a few now, thanks to this project, during recovery from a long hospital stay, during covid restrictions and other health issues that have kept me at home. Deb has even  told stories over the phone to some folks and by Zoom into care homes.

The latest session at my home in Goodwick saw me, in my warmest fleece, snuggled under a blanket on my sofa being delighted by Deb, also warmly wrapped in glorious scarlet against the horrid, freezy, icy, rainy Pembrokeshire winter that battered at the windows. This time, a lovely tale of understandable murderous intent with a delicious tender conclusion. Glorious.


On this occasion we were also being filmed by Simon Huntley of Santori Films who had been commissioned to capture some of Deb’s magic for the project.

I was feeling a bit flat and tired before my story… quite slipped down into hibernation mode… but the story and its telling were so  delightfully uplifting. As always, when Deb left, even the rain seemed to have calmed down and the sky, if not exactly full of rainbows, felt more willing to let spring begin.

I am so lucky. Thank you, Deborah Winter. And thanks to Brian Jackson for the images taken at the event.


Deb Winter in gnomic mood

Stories to the Door and Stories by Phone are part of an overall project called Stories on Prescription, created by People Speak Up, a registered charity improving mental health and wellbeing in communities through the arts.



Kitty Parsons

Kitty has forgotten how long she has been here now but she loves Pembrokeshire for its beauty and it's people. She spends her time searching out stories for, swimming in the sea , drawing and painting as Snorkelfish and eating cake. She says " has been an opportunity to celebrate this beautiful county and its people. Keep the stories coming. We love to hear from you."

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