SUT MAE Tommy Eyton Jones?

Meet the man behind the sport in Welsh and its famous catchphrase

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From the TVTimes for week commencing 14 January 1962

IF you are planning to go to Wales next summer, here’s a phrase you must remember — “Sut Mae?”

Roughly translated, it means “How are you?” But there’s a lot more to it than that.

It’s the current catch-phrase in clubs and pubs and schools and tea-rooms from Cardiff to Caernarvon.

And the man responsible for it all is Tommy Eyton Jones.

I met Tommy the other day in his bungalow which overlooks the Conway Estuary.

Tommy announces the sport in Granada’s Welsh programme, Dewch I Mewn. He is big and cheery — and utterly Welsh. You might describe him as the Gerry Loftus of Wales.

He started the catch-phrase craze when he first used it to introduce his weekly sports item in Dewch I Mewn.

“It wasn’t a deliberate choice,” said Tommy. “It seemed the natural, friendly thing to say, that was all.”

The combination of Tommy’s bluff appearance and the phrase itself, however, caught viewers’ imagination.

“We didn’t realise just how popular it had become until Granada asked me to drop the phrase,” he explained. “They thought the programme needed to change, so I started with something else instead. We got hundreds of letters complaining — so back went Sut Mae!

Tommy Eyton Jones

Now Tommy cannot go anywhere without being greeted by it. It has become his nickname in Wales.

“I even got it in the boat across the Channel on my way to Italy,” he grinned.

When he isn’t talking sport on television Tommy is kept busy as sports editor and news editor of the North Wales Weekly News, which is printed in Welsh and English.

He started with the paper at the age of 14 as a printer’s assistant. Before long he was promoted to the editorial department, and his journalistic talent soon emerged.

He met and interviewed the Duke of Windsor — then the Prince of Wales — when he visited Penmaenmawr. And he covered the story of the sinking of the submarine Thetis, off Llandudno, in 1939.

“I think the future of Welsh soccer is very bright indeed,” he said enthusiastically. “There are some really promising youngsters coming up.”

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