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Caroline crowned celebrity learners’ champ on cariad@iaith

Caroline Sheen is queen of the classroom after winning S4C's cariad@iaith 2015. The winner was announced in the frinal show of the current series on Saturday, 20 June. After a week of challenging and sometimes loopy lessons and gruelling activities including falconry, canoeing and singing – all through the medium of Welsh, West End star Caroline Sheen has been crowned winner of S4C's flagship reality show, cariad@iaith.

The contestants taking part this year were weatherman Derek Brockway, actress Nicola Reynolds, writer and actor Steve Speirs, ex-Wales international rugby player Tom Shanklin, CBeebies presenter Rebecca Keatley, comedian and radio presenter Chris Corcoran, and athlete Jamie Baulch.

Caroline, originally from Caerleon, has starred in various West End productions such as 'Grease', 'Mamma Mia' and 'Les Miserables'. She is also the cousin of Port Talbot-born Hollywood actor Michael Sheen.

The award crowned an unforgettable week in Caroline's life. She said of the cariad@iaith experience, "I've had an amazing time on this programme. There are too many highlights to mention, but nothing will top the fact that I beat Jamie Baulch in the sack race! The falconry was a great experience and I loved the rafting too. And the way Ioan and Nia brought the lessons to life was wonderful and so much more fun than being at school."

She described the week as difficult and tiring, but also "fantastic and rewarding".

Caroline added, "Everyone has made such an effort and really have improved their Welsh. Jamie had some doubts over his progress but his understanding and comprehension of the language has really improved. Rebecca and Nicola understand a lot more Welsh now, but I think Tom still loves the swear words!

"This has been an incredible experience and I would recommend anyone thinking about learning Welsh to go for it. It's a language that belongs to us all and it's important that we support it as much as possible."

In addition to the cariad@iaith 2015 title, Caroline has also won a week of Welsh lessons at the Nant Gwrtheyrn Welsh Language Teaching Centre.

This is the seventh series of cariad@iaith and past contestants have included Ian 'H' Watkins, Amy Wadge, Melanie Walters and Wynne Evans who are now all fluent in the language. cariad@iaith presenter and tutor Nia Parry added, "Many congratulations to Caroline. She has shown real enthusiasm and progress and best of luck to her in the future."

You can watch the whole series of cariad@iaith on s4c.cymru for 35 days after the first broadcast.

  • Derek Brockway

    Derek Brockway

    Derek Brockway is one of the most familiar faces on Welsh television, having presented the weather on BBC Wales Today for 18 years. Derek is originally from Barry, Vale of Glamorgan and lives near Cardiff and is also the presenter of TV series Weatherman Walking.

  • Rebecca Keatley

    Rebecca Keatley

    Rebecca Keatley will be well known to younger viewers as a presenter on children's television service, CBeebies. Originally from Port Talbot, Rebecca now lives in London where she presents programmes such as Let's Play on the channel.

  • Chris Corcoran

    Chris Corcoran

    Chris Corcoran is a comedian and radio presenter who currently presents his own radio show on BBC Radio Wales on Saturday afternoons. Chris co-presented on Rhod Gilbert's radio show and has featured on many comedy shows on TV and radio. Before turning to comedy, he was a teacher at Barry Comprehensive School.

  • Jamie Baulch

    Jamie Baulch

    For 15 years, Jamie Baulch was a poster boy for Welsh athletics, having won 11 medals at the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and Word Athletics Championships. He recently appeared on BBC Wales' Jamie Baulch Looking for my Birth Mum programme where he managed to trace his birth mother.

  • Nicola Reynolds

    Nicola Reynolds

    Cardiff actress Nicola Reynolds first appeared on our screens in cult film Human Traffic, set in Cardiff. Since then she has had roles in Coronation Street, High Hopes and Clocking Off but may be more familiar as the face of Meg as part of BBC Wales sitcom Scrum 4.

  • Steve Speirs

    Steve Speirs

    Merthyr-born actor Steve Speirs has appeared in series such as Doctor Who and Jonathan Creek as well as films such as Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and Pirates of the Caribbean. He is also a writer for Ruth Jones' hit sitcom Stella and also plays the character of Big Al in the series.

  • Caroline Sheen

    Caroline Sheen

    Caroline Sheen is a West End actress originally from Caerleon who has appeared in an array of musicals including Grease, Mamma Mia and Les Miserables and has also appeared in popular TV series Torchwood and Hotel Babylon.

  • Tom Shanklin

    Tom Shanklin

    Ex-Cardiff Blues and Wales international rugby player Tom Shanklin is Wales' 5th highest-scoring rugby player on record. He has earned 70 caps for the Welsh team and has also played for the British and Irish Lions squad.

This year's series is sponsored by the Welsh Government. First Minister Carwyn Jones said:"As a government we are committed to giving people of all ages the opportunity to learn Welsh and are keen to encourage them to use the language in their day to day lives.

"The Welsh for Adults programme is key to ensuring that adults have opportunities to learn Welsh and I am pleased that we are working with S4C to support Cariad@Iaith to encourage more adults to learn Welsh or improve their skills."

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