A Pontardawe pensioner has been chosen to star in a festival celebrating the talents of older people.

Robi Thomas will take part in this year's Grandfest - a festival run by the Royal Voluntary Service which celebrates the craft skills of talented older people.

Grandfest, now in its third year, is being held in Spitalfields Market, East London on June 18 where older people, all over 70 years old, will run master classes to pass on the heritage skills they have learnt and perfected over the years to the younger generation.

Robi will be teaching the art of rag rugging at the one day festival.

South Wales Guardian:

The festival is expected to be even bigger and better than last year, taking over nearby cafes, shops and museums with free master classes in craft skills such as spinning, preserve making, jewellery making and wood turning.

Retired occupational therapist, Robi, has been making rugs from rags for 25 years using cotton t-shirts. As part of this process, she uses traditional hessian as a base and beautifully made hooks from Ireland.

Her love for this type of craft was inspired by artist Kaffe Fassett after reading one of his books, which she picked up in a charity shop.

Robi was so enthralled that she taught herself this particular skill.

70-year-old Robi has volunteered all her life and been involved in many textile groups (including Itchy Fingers Textile Group) to help people expand their creative knowledge and share their skills.

She has previously taught rag rugging at the University of Glamorgan Summer School and is also a fan of embroidery, which she began during her childhood.

Robi continues to teach textiles every Monday at Dragon Arts and Learning in Pontardawe.

South Wales Guardian:

Robi will be hosting rag rugging master classes at GrandFest and is thrilled to be part of the event.

“I’m really looking forward to being part of GrandFest this year and teaching this particular craft. Rag rugging is a very useful skill to learn and I want to encourage as many people to join my masterclass in the summer. It’s very therapeutic and the different designs you can create are endless," Robi said.

David McCullough, Chief Executive of the Royal Voluntary Service, says: “We are pleased to announce GrandFest is back for the third consecutive year, and once again will be a great day full of festivities to celebrate older people and to highlight the importance of keeping active in later life.

"Last year, GrandFest was a huge success, with hundreds of people booked into master classes to learn a new skill. We are delighted to have Robi on board to pass on her rag rugging skills.

"Robi devotes a great deal of her time to being a volunteer, and we are proud to call her our new GrandMaker!”

For a full list of master classes available or to book a place, please visit: http://grandfest.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/