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Fundraising schoolboy gets surprise from rugby star

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28.11.16 Principality Achievment Award Winner Sam Milligan with Ospreys player James King (left) and Principality Finance Director Steve Hughes (right) at the Peony Breast Cancer Unit, Prince Phillip Hospital, Llanelli Picture by Nick Treharne

Sam Milligan: With Ospreys player James King (left) and Principality Finance Director Steve Hughes (right)

A SCHOOLBOY from Llanelli got an extra special surprise from a Welsh rugby star who presented him with an award honouring his fundraising efforts for a local breast cancer ward.

Sam Milligan, a year eight pupil at Ysgol y Strade, was presented with Principality Building Society’s Achievement Award by Welsh international rugby player James King, after he raised £2000 for the Peony Suite breast cancer ward at Llanelli’s Prince Philip Hospital. After his mother Heidi Milligan was treated for breast cancer at the hospital, Sam started fundraising through charity cycle rides, receiving the support of his school mates, family and teachers with donations along the way.

Visiting Prince Phillip Hospital to hand over his fundraising cheque to the ward, Sam had no idea he would also be presented with the inaugural Principality Building Society Achievement Award, with an Ospreys player on hand to do the honours.

Wales’ largest building society Principality currently work with Ysgol y Strade through its Business Class scheme, a business engagement programme for schools across Wales aiming to help develop life skills and financial education in young people. After hearing of Sam’s outstanding fundraising total, Principality launched the Achievement Award, which will now be given to a different pupil every term who has done something remarkable to help their community.

Sure to be the most popular student in school, Sam has won a tour of the home of Welsh rugby, Principality Stadium, as well as lunch in a VIP hospitality box for him and his 23 classmates.

After receiving the special honour from Principality Building Society, 13 year old Sam said: “I was totally shocked and surprised. I was really excited to see James King as he is a great rugby player. My parents were really shocked and extremely proud of me. When my classmates found out about the VIP tour of the Principality stadium they were ecstatic.”

Head of Business at Ysgol y Strade, Daniel Hughes, said: “Sam is an exceptional young man who sets an example to his peers. Everyone at the school is extremely proud of him and his efforts. His determination and passion to support such a great cause has been excellent and we’re proud to say that he’s a pupil of Ysgol Y Strade.

“Being able to surprise him this evening with the Principality Achievement Award gives him the recognition he deserves. Sam is the award’s first winner and has set the highest of benchmarks for the future.”

Principality Building Society will be working with Ysgol y Strade for three years through its Business Class scheme, helping to build confidence and aspirations in the young people at the school.

Group finance director of Principality, Steve Hughes, said: “Sam’s achievements are incredible and very deserving of the first Principality Achievement Award.  He is a great example of a courageous, hard-working and driven young person, it was fantastic to meet him and his family, teachers and friends must be so proud.

“It was great to be involved and we at Principality are proud to be at the heart of communities across Wales. We hope the Business Class scheme will further raise the aspirations of young people at Ysgol y Strade and across the country before they enter the workplace. Sam is a great role model.  I’m sure he and his classmates will enjoy a special and well-deserved day out at Principality Stadium.”

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The latest increase in coronavirus in Wales is ‘sobering’ says First Minister

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THE FIRST MINISTER, Mark Drakeford has criticised the lack of communication with the UK government as he gave a briefing on what he described as the “sobering” increase in coronavirus cases and hospitalisation in Wales.

The infection rate in Wales has risen to 23.6 infections for every 100k people as cases have spiked in areas including Merthyr, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Caerphilly and Newport.

Hospitalisations remain low but are rising, with five people currently in intensive care with Covid-19 and and 53 Covid patients on all hospital wards, according to the latest data from Public Health Wales from Sunday, September 13.

Mr Drakeford said that the number of people in hospital with coronavirus had risen to 41 with four people in intensive care.

He also said that the R number in Wales was almost certainly now above one – meaning the virus is spreading exponentially again. The latest estimate, he said, was between 0.7 and 1.2.

Mr Drakeford said: “In this most difficult week, there has been no meeting offered to First Ministers of any sort. Since the 28 May, there has been just one brief telephone call from the Prime Minister.

“This is simply unacceptable to anyone who believes that we ought to be facing the coronavirus crisis together.

“We need a regular, reliable, rhythm of engagement: a reliable meeting even once a week would be a start. I make this argument not because we should all do the same things, but because being round the same table allows each of us to make the best decisions for the nations we represent.

“There is a vacancy at the heart of the United Kingdom, and it needs urgently to be filled, so we can talk to each other, share information, pool ideas and demonstrate a determination that the whole of the country can face these challenges together at this most difficult time.”

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Trade deal won’t benefit Wales

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EVERY week, the Herald carries political opinion pieces from across Wales’ principal political parties.

This week, Jonathan Edwards MP casts an eye over the trade deal between the UK and Japan announced this week and wonders ‘What’s in it for Wales?’

Jonathan Edwards writes: THE BUNTING was on full display in Westminster this week as the British Government announced that it had reached the holy grail of signing its first post-Brexit international trade deal.  

The agreement with Japan was described by Secretary of State Liz Truss as a ‘major moment in our national history’.  As major moments go, a casual look at the detail leaves a lot to be desired.  Effectively all the British Government has achieved is to replicate a deal UK business already benefited from as part of the EU-Japan trade deal signed in 2019.

The British Government admit that over a 15-year period the deal will only increase UK economic wealth by 0.07%.  However, under the rules of Brexit political discourse never let the facts get in the way for an excuse to sing Rule Britannia and wave the Union Jack.

During the debate in the Commons, I highlighted that the British Government’s own figures indicate in a best-case scenario it would take 71 deals of this nature to make up for the British Governments strategy for the second phase of Brexit of leaving the EU Single Market and Customs Union.  If we no deal at the end of the year the situation would be considerably worse.

For Wales, the economic benefits are projected to be less than even the negligible UK figures with the deal only expected to benefit the Welsh economy by a measly 0.05%.  The same goes for other trade deals currently being negotiated by the British Government.

Capitulating on chlorinated chicken in the US Trade deal could only benefit the Welsh economy by 0.05% over 15 years according to an excellent Senedd Research paper.  

The New Zealand and Australia deals, according to the same paper, could have a 0% impact on the Welsh economy.  

Never again can the Tories claim to be the party of business: what we are witnessing is economic madness.

The agricultural provisions in the Japan deal further fuels my fears that our farmers will be the proverbial sacrificial lambs in these trade negotiations.  True there was progress on Geographical Indicators, but the British Government failed to secure any tariff rate quotas for food products.  Instead, our farmers will only be able to utilise unused quotas by the European Union.  

Let that sink in.  

In the real world, effectively. EU export policy will determine what can be exported from the UK.

The Secretary of State emphasised that the Japan deal paved the way for entry to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  A free trade area consisting of 11 countries (down from 12 after the US pulled out).  

What the British Government are reluctant to reveal is that the TPP contains strict rules on State Aid and also includes an investor-state dispute resolution mechanism which would supersede UK domestic law.  These are the same two areas, of course, that have led to the breakdown in the second phase Brexit negotiations currently ongoing.

At the end of the day, the two great Brexit era slogans of ‘take back control’ and ‘global Britain’ are completely incompatible and inherently contradictory.

As UK international trade policy develops these inconsistencies will become apparent to all.

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Plans for Llanelli’s first ever virtual Christmas carnival

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LLANELLI Christmas Carnival will not be held this year, for the first time in its 42-year history.

Partners have confirmed that the decision has been made in line with current Welsh Government guidance and increasing concerns about the spread of coronavirus linked to large gatherings.

However, plans are afoot to celebrate Christmases past and present in the town’s first ever virtual carnival.

On what would have been ‘carnival night’ the town’s illuminations will be switched on and an online celebration will be hosted on Carmarthenshire County Council’s social media channels featuring music, opportunity to reminisce over past carnivals and a challenge to businesses and organisations to create a carnival scene for the town’s first ever virtual parade.

The town’s Christmas tree is also being relocated to a more visible location for passers-by, at the busy Gelli-Onn junction near West End.

The largest Christmas carnival in Wales, Llanelli’s festive celebrations are a joint effort by Carmarthenshire County Council, Llanelli Town Council, Llanelli Rural Council and Llanelli Round Table.

Partners have expressed their disappointment at the decision but have vowed to keep Christmas spirit alive.

Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, Carmarthenshire County Council’s Executive Board Member for Culture, Sport and Tourism, said: “We have made this decision with a very heavy heart as we know how much the carnival means to the people of Llanelli. This is the first time since it started over 40 years ago that we have had to take a decision like this and we are as disappointed as I’m sure everyone else will be.

“We are determined to do something special to keep the tradition alive and planning is now underway to hold a virtual carnival on what would have been the night of the traditional festivities.”

Cllr Shahana Najmi, Leader of Llanelli Town Council said: “The Llanelli Christmas Carnival is the highlight in the calendar for thousands of people and whilst we’re sorry we can’t hold the traditional carnival this year, we are pleased to be working with partners on an online celebration which we hope people will get involved with and enjoy.”

Cllr Tegwen Devichand, Leader of Llanelli Rural Council, said: “Generations of families have enjoyed Llanelli’s Christmas carnival over the years and we’re disappointed that for this first time in its history we are unable to put on the parade. We hope people will understand the decision and support the plans we’re developing for the town’s first virtual carnival.”

Roger Bowen, of Llanelli Round Table, added: “Llanelli’s carnival night is an important night as it raises a great amount of money for local charities and brings many communities together with such tremendous work on the floats, which really makes the evening such a special event.  We hope that people will find other ways to give generously and support good causes in our communities.”

Further information will be released in the coming weeks about the virtual carnival and how people can get involved.

Keep an eye on Carmarthenshire County Council’s Facebook and Twitter feeds and visit newsroom.carmarthenshire.gov.wales

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