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Llanelli recognised as one of Wales’s Great Places by National Lottery

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LLANELLI is among five special places across Wales which are celebrating today as they share close to £1.5 million of National Lottery money to support their future cultural development.
From the urban South Wales towns of Llanelli and Barry to the North Wales slate heartland and coastal Colwyn Bay to the Pembrokeshire Preseli hills, the funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s ground-breaking Great Place scheme will allow the five successful communities to explore how their unique heritage can help create a successful future. They will also consider how their cultural attributes can contribute to tackling wider issues such as poverty, employment, health and education.
Thanks to National Lottery players, the Great Place Scheme will be implemented across the UK but the Heritage Lottery Fund has designed a tailored programme in Wales that responds to the specific needs of the country, benefitting towns and rural areas alike.
The funding puts heritage at the heart of joined-up thinking to create better places for people to live, work and visit.
Commenting on today’s announcement, Baroness Kay Andrews, UK trustee and Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Wales, said: “Heritage and culture gives a place a unique identity and makes it special for the people that live there, be it the legacy of Llanelli’s post industrial heritage or the magical beauty of the Preseli hills. Our Great Place programme will demonstrate how building on those strong roots can have a hugely positive impact on local economies in terms of health, employment and education, as well as instilling community cohesion and pride.
“Thanks to National Lottery players, we are enabling a step-change in thinking, encouraging local leaders to come together and recognise that heritage can and should be a driving force for change.”
New networks and practical partnerships
Project activities range from creating new networks and partnerships, to addressing inequality, to devising new ways to include both the built and natural heritage in the provision of local education and health services.
The £200,000 project in Llanelli will be led by Carmarthenshire Council and its leader, Cllr Emlyn Dole, sees this as a great opportunity:

Project leader: Cllr Dole

Cllr Dole told The Llanelli Herald: “Across Wales our heritage is what makes us unique and Llanelli is no different. Heritage attracts tourists and visitors and inspires local residents and businesses, and can make a huge difference to the way people feel about the places they live in and visit. This significant investment will help us develop a project that will help bring communities together to celebrate our rich heritage while also looking forward and strengthening our local economy. It has the potential to make a real difference to people’s lives in the town itself and wider afield across the county.”
Welsh Government Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport, Lord Elis-Thomas, added:
“The importance of place is rightly recognised by the Welsh Government as crucial to our future wellbeing and I welcome this investment from the Heritage Lottery Fund in supporting communities in the development and promotion of their cultural assets.
“There is no question that communities and culture go hand in hand and I look forward to seeing this programme contribute further to the good work I’ve witnessed across Wales in developing effective and practical partnerships which help highlight, sustain and enhance the many Great Places of Wales.”

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Local charity wins award

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AFTER winning the hearts of judges and residents, local Llanelli charity, Ail Gyfle Second Chance, has been named as a winner in the Jewson Building Better Communities competition.

Following thousands of regional entries being submitted from across Great Britain, the community rehabilitation and skills development centre has been awarded £4,000 worth of materials from the builders’ merchant.

Using their winnings, Ail Gyfle will expand its current facilities to make the charity accessible to people with disabilities, by levelling out the yard and installing disabled toilets.

This year’s Building Better Communities competition was launched in April 2018 and more than 2,400 entries – made up of good causes from up and down Great Britain – were submitted. These were later narrowed down to a shortlist and put to a public vote, with the winners announced at an awards ceremony held in Coventry on July 3.

At the event, Ail Gyfle and 36 other UK successful projects were presented with prizes by renowned architect and TV personality, George Clarke. After being awarded their prize, Sian Waters, CEO, Ail Gyfle Second Chance said: “This is perfect and will make a huge difference for us. We’ve had accessibility issues in the past, but we’ll use the materials to make our building more disabled friendly, which will open up so many doors when it comes to helping more people in the local community.”

George Clarke commented: “It’s community charities like Ail Gyfle which help bring people closer together and Jewson does great work in supporting them with Building Better Communities. This competition is a fantastic idea and it’s always great to see so many happy faces at the awards presentation.

“By giving something back to the areas that support them, Jewson is creating brighter futures for those who need it. I’d like to congratulate Ail Gyfle on their deserved win.”

Jewson Managing Director, Thierry Dufour, added: “At Jewson, we believe in the positive power of community spirit and it is local causes such as this one, which bring this to life. By lending a helping hand to those who need it, we can help build better communities across Britain and support those unsung heroes who go out of their way to help others.”

Building Better Communities is being supported by Jewson supplier brands: Velux; Marshalls, Polypipe; British Gypsum; Tarmac; Recticel and Norbord. To see the full list of winners, visit: www.buildingbettercommunities.co.uk

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Shark catch may be biggest ever in Welsh waters

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A LLANELLI fisherman had a day to remember on a recent angling trip – landing a massive 21 stone shark.

George Simmonds was on a charter trip fishing out of Dale, Pembrokeshire, when he hooked the enormous thresher shark – thought to be the biggest ever caught in Welsh waters

It took him two hours to land the shark, and three men were needed to lift it onto the boat, where its weight was calculated before it was released alive.

Only three thresher sharks are believed to have been caught in Wales, with the previous record set in 2015 by Mr Simmonds’ friend, David Thomas – also in waters off Milford Haven.

The pair were together on the latest fishing expedition on Wednesday morning when they saw a pair of thresher sharks leaping from the water, before Mr Simmonds’ reel started to spin. The shark ran off around 300m of line, and was finally landed after over two hours.

“It was pretty hard and when I saw it, let’s just say I said a few choice adjectives,” he said.

“I’ve been fishing since I was young enough to hold a fishing rod and I’ve travelled all over the world fishing – but this was a big moment, a personal achievement for me.

“It’s so rare and difficult to land a thresher shark as they are so large. In the shark world, it’s up there at the top of the list.”

Thresher sharks get their name from their long tail, which is often as long as their body. The sharks are active predators, and are commonly found along the North American and Asian continental shelves.

Meirion Williams, from Bridgend – who is known as Pie – organises regular shark fishing trips in the summer months off the Pembrokeshire coast and was with Mr Simmonds and others when they made the catch.

He said records showed it was only the third thresher shark caught off the coast and they believed it was a the largest and heaviest – but they are unable to claim an official record because they did not kill their catch.

“It was so big it got caught in the hatch door of the boat as we tried to get it on board,” he said.

“The body was 6ft 8in long and the tail was 6ft – it was the length of the boat.

“We put the shark back quickly and then it swam off really calmly.

“These sharks are very, very rare to see in Wales and so hard to catch.”

Andy Truelove, the skipper of the boat, added: “As with any shark there is a risk of being bitten and it does happen – never seen an incident myself and wouldn’t want to, teeth are like razor blades.

“With a thresher there is also a risk from the tail, it could do you a lot of damage. Fortunately this lady was well behaved.”

Research published this week showed that Pembrokeshire was one of the top five places in the country for spotting different species of shark, with more predicted to move into the waters around the coast as a result of rising sea temperatures over the next 30 years.

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Homeless man killed by drink and drugs

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A HOMELESS man who had spent the majority of his life with no fixed abode passed away after drinking heavily and taking morphine on the same night.

An inquest held at Llanelli Town Hall on Wednesday (Jul 18) heard that 50-year-old Colin Young was born in the Merthyr area and grew up in Aberdare.

He became estranged from his family, and aside from a brief spell working as a painter and decorator, he spent much of his time moving between the Valleys and Llanelli, living on the streets, which was partly the result of drug and alcohol issues.

Coroner’s Officer Hayley Rogers explained that on the evening of April 19, Mr Young visited a friend’s house and after consuming alcohol fell asleep on the sofa.

A short time later, in the early hours of April 20, he was found in an unresponsive state, and the emergency services were called. However, despite the efforts of paramedics, he was pronounced dead at 3:44am.

A post-mortem gave the cause of death as mixed drug and alcohol intoxication, and the death was treated by police from the outset as unexplained and non-suspicious.

Coroner Mark Layton quoted the toxicology report, which showed a high level of blood alcohol and the presence of a quantity of morphine. The latter, combined with alcohol, was sufficient to be fatal, he added.

In conclusion, the death of Mr Young was found to be related to the drugs and alcohol he consumed in the last hours of his life.

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