An inspirational young man whose passion in life is music has taken big steps towards fulfilling his dream to become a top DJ.
Terry Tuffrey, 22, who lives in Cae Clyd, Blaenau Ffestiniog, has moderate learning difficulties and has already overcome many obstacles in his life and he’s now reaching for the stars.
A film crew from Caernarfon-based production company Cwmni Da followed Terry as he graduated from college, hosted acts at a prestigious music festival and co-presented a popular show on Radio Cymru.
The resulting documentary, Drych: DJ Terry, can be seen on S4C on Sunday, April 23, at 9pm, with English subtitles available.
Terry said: “I’ve loved music since I was a little boy. When I feel down music lifts me up. I listen to the radio but Mam doesn’t like it if I listen to it all day, especially if she wants to watch something on TV.
“I like Ed Sheeran, Dylan Morris, Little Mix and of course, Gai Toms as he lives right on my doorstep.
“What’s good about being a radio DJ is that they’re always there for you if you’re having a bad day. When I feel down music lifts me up so I feel happy. Sometimes if I hear some happy music I will dance around,” he said.
Terry, who has a natural developmental delay, added: “I’m going to be completely honest and say that I had some learning difficulties. I’m lucky that I can do many things and have had great opportunities in my life.
“I have nothing to be disappointed about in my life, I’m just trying something new. There are a few things that I don’t manage to do but nobody is perfect in this old world but in the next few months I want to go for it! I want to follow my dream and be a DJ.
“I have to take risks and try to follow my own path but I am very lucky to have a very supportive Mum and Dad.”
The programme follows Terry as he meets Ed Holden, aka Mr Phormula, the well-known rapper and beat-box expert, at Coleg Meirion Dwyfor in Dolgellau and was happy to allow Terry to practice his interviewing skills.
Ed told Terry to follow his passion in life, saying: “If you love doing something then nothing stops you making a living out of it.”
The Anglesey-born musician and poet asked Terry to introduce his set at Sesiwn Fawr Dolgellau which he carried out faultlessly and with aplomb.
“I was very proud of myself for Sesiwn Fawr. It as an unforgettable experience and I hope to have a similar experience again in the future.
“Mr Phormula has inspired me to move forward with my dream of being a DJ and I’m going to do it,” he said.
Terry had already contacted the BBC and asked if he could shadow a DJ as a work experience and was rewarded with an invitation to join Ifan Jones Evans at their studios in Bangor.
Terry was invited into the studio itself and for the next three hours he helped Ifan present his live show, reading messages from listeners, introducing songs and chatting merrily.
Ifan said: “It was a pleasure to have Terry on the show. He was perfect, spot on.
“Clearly there is a glittering future ahead of him because he has the ability to communicate with others and is quite a character.”
An euphoric Terry said: “I’ve always wanted to be a radio DJ and today’s experience has shown that I’m right to go after my dream.
“Over the past few months I’ve been able to do things I never imagined I could do. I’ve learned to not be afraid and do my best. I’m sure I want to be a DJ in the future. Things are still not easy but you just have to believe in yourself and go for it.”
Terry’s mother, Helen, said he was quite badly behaved in school and couldn’t learn anything.
“In the end the school said they couldn’t teach him anymore. A doctor came to the school and after testing found he had moderate learning difficulties,” said.
Terry moved to Ysgol Hafod Lon in Y Ffôr, near Chwilog, where the teachers helped nurture his love of music
After seeing Terry graduate from Coleg Meirion Dwyfor, Helen said: “I’ve seen Terry grow into the man he is now and I’m so proud of where he is today. Now it’s time for him to be independent. I know he’s behind in development but hopefully one day he’ll meet somebody, get married and have kids.
“I’m one proud mother.”
Dad Phil added: “Terry is my best friend and he has so many interests. We sometimes have long chats at night. We talk about traveling, about life. I find Terry so interesting.
” He likes music, he has a passion for it and his is heart is really in it.”
Since graduating from college where he complete a course in independent living skills, Terry has been doing more work experience on a weekday television programme in Caernarfon and is hoping to find some reasonably priced DJ equipment to practice his presenting skills at home.
Siwan Haf, who co-produced the documentary with Rhys Lloyd, described Terry as a “truly inspirational young man”.
She said the Cwmni Da production team worked with Terry on the programme for more than a year, with the filming itself spread over a period of six months.
Siwan added: “I’m very proud of the programme. It has been a pleasure working with Terry.
“He speaks so honestly and openly about life in general and himself in particular. It is so refreshing and I feel I have learned so much from him and his attitude towards life while being in his lovely company.
“I’m sure we would all be better people if we lived life like Terry,” she said.
The programme, Drych: DJ Terry, will be broadcast on S4C on Sunday, April 23, at 9pm. English subtitles will be available and the programme can also be watched on demand on S4C Clic, BBC iPlayer and other streaming platforms.