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Former Swansea soldier sees premiere performance of self-penned Lions song in Llanelli

By RachelSWEP  |  Posted: March 06, 2013

  • Peter Williams, of Swansea Metropolitan University, rugby legend Phil Bennett, Cor Meibion Llanelli musical director Eifion Thomas and poet and writer Ollie Ward. Pic: Riley Sports Photography

  • Members of Cor Meibion Llanelli

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LLANELLI'S rugby stadium has seen the world premiere of a new battle hymn for the British and Irish Lions.

Lions To A Man, a song to the tune of Men of Harlech, has been written by former Swansea solider, Ollie Ward, and was performed by Cor Meibion Llanelli at Parc y Scarlets on St David's Day.

The hope is the that the track - which will donate profits from downloads to various charities -  will be a core feature of the forthcoming Lions tour to Australia.

Watch the 'making of' video here:

Peter Williams, of Swansea Metropolitan University helped produce the track and a copy was presented to rugby legend Phil Bennett and the choir's director of music, Eifion Thomas, during the Pro12 Scarlets v Edinburgh match on Friday.

Men of Harlech is traditionally a popular military march often heard during military parades, especially by regiments historically associated with Wales.

Now, Llanelli Male Choir's version of Lions To A Man is set to go global and it's hoped the Lions squad and the thousands of rugby fans who will be going Down Under with them will adopt it as their official battle hymn.

The song has already been given backing by Scarlets, Wales, and British Lions legends Phil Bennett and Delme Thomas, who were present when the choir recorded the song.

The words of the song come from a poem written by Mr Ward, who served in the Lifeguards Household Cavalry for 12 years, and has taken part in ceremonial duties for the Queen as well soldiering with tours of duty in Northern Ireland and Cyprus.

"I set it out as a poem, basically of me giving a team talk to the Lions before a match," he said.

"Then I realised the words would fit to the tune of Men of Harlech and it's just taken off from there.

"The choir has done a fantastic job and I think the song is a stirring battle hymn for the Lions Down Under.

"I would also like to thank Mr Peter Williams and his team at the School of Digital Media at Swansea Metropolitan University for their invaluable help in recording and producing the song."

Lions To A Man is available to download on a number of music sites.

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