Dr Williams first visited Coedcae School in May 2001 after pupils wrote to him asking questions about his religious beliefs and his work as an archbishop. He spent a day with students and staff of the Department of Religious Studies and proved a tremendous hit. Students were particularly impressed with the archbishop's love of The Simpsons, his brilliant answers to their difficult theological questions and his warm and relaxed manner. He received a spontaneous standing ovation from pupils; something staff had never witnessed before.
Pam Evans, head of the department, commented afterwards, "Dr Williams is undoubtedly a man of exceptional academic brilliance but more importantly a man of humility and compassion who has a lovely sense of humour. It is a joy to be in his company, and that's what pupils have responded to today."
When the Peace Mala was created, Pam Evans, immediately thought of Dr Williams and wrote to him asking his opinion of the idea and whether or not he would launch it. He replied by saying he was most impressed with the Peace Mala and commented "Strong and distinctive religious commitments need not involve hostility and bigotry. I welcome this contribution to friendship".
He also promised that he would try his best to attend the launch. Later in the year it was announced that Dr Williams had been chosen to become the next Archbishop of Canterbury. The chance of him finding time to launch the Peace Mala now seemed very unlikely. In the summer of 2002, Pam was thrilled to receive a phone call informing her that Dr Williams would be able to launch the Peace Mala and that he was looking forward enormously to it. The launch proved to be one of his last formal engagements as Archbishop of Wales.
In April 2003 Dr Williams wrote to Pam after being asked if he'd be a patron of the Peace Mala. He replied saying he'd often thought about her and the children in recent months. He also wanted pupils to know that he was able to deliver a Peace Mala personally to the Prince of Wales, who was very enthusiastic!
"I shall be glad to be a patron, indeed honoured. The link with that memorable afternoon is valuable to me, and I do want to stay in touch with the vision of all those children".