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Wales’ first ever dedicated bee farm to be built from scratch

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LLANGENNECH based beekeepers are building Wales’ first dedicated bee farm from scratch.

Award-winning honey producers Fferm Cilgwenyn will be building a new extracting and bottling facility on the outskirts of Llanelli having taken over an old coal mine that closed nearly a hundred years ago.

Beekeeper Rhodri Owen said: “We’ve been producing around 2 tonnes of award-winning honey per year with some basic facilities and we still can’t keep up with demand with more and more retailers wanting to stock our products.

“The only option was to build a new farm that was dedicated purely to beekeeping and the production of honey, a first for Wales.  No existing farms could facilitate our needs without demolition and building new and provide a place to live too.  We’ve got the plans, we just need to get the building process started.”

Rhodri said: “With the new facilities we will be creating the operational space to breed and place an extra 23 million bees into our county as well as to provide employment opportunities in the future – but people shouldn’t be alarmed at that as most people will not notice any difference.  The biggest affect will be seen by farmers and gardeners alike with increased pollination as bee numbers have diminished over the last few decades.  It’s a good way to transform a former coal mine into productive agricultural and food producing land again.

“Our county has produced some of the very best honey available and we have been lucky to have won a Great Taste Award both in 2016, 2017 and yet again announced today for 2018, one of only 2 winners in Wales for Welsh honey for each of those years.  The only way we can produce more honey without losing our distinctive Carmarthenshire taste is to have more bees in the area, and that means a big investment in facilities as well as bee colonies.

“More bees and better facilities will not only result in more honey but it will form part of a sustainable environment as well as offer employment opportunities.

“We will need specialist skills in beekeeping as well as staff that can handle stock control as well as honey analysis.”

The new facilities had the green light from Carmarthenshire County Council members and planners and has also been successful in obtaining a Welsh Government grant for the new facility.

The project has received funding through the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and Welsh Government.

The Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, said: “I’m delighted to see the Welsh Government supporting this new and exciting opportunity, helping support rural jobs and having a positive effect on the environment and biodiversity. Bees play a vital part in our ecosystem and I’m proud Wales is leading the way in helping protect our insect pollinators while creating new opportunities within our food industry.”

On the new build Rhodri said: “We are now starting the process going out to builders for the new facility and domestic space, so if you are a tradesperson in the building industry and would like to participate in the tender process please contact me through tender@bees.wales.”

The new facility is expected to be up and running in 2019.

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Llanelli to holds it first food and drink festival

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THIS SATURDAY (Oct 20), Llanelli town centre is holding it’s first ever Food and Drink Festival.

The festival which is being funded by Ymlaen Llanelli Business Improvement District, Llanelli Town Council and Welsh Government will see the town filled with a selection of artisan and street food and drink stalls from 9am to 4pm on Saturday, 20th October. Visitors will be able to buy everything from cheese and chutneys and to craft beer and wine.

In the St Elli shopping centre there will be a show demonstration kitchen where local chefs will be showing off their cooking skills from 10am on a variety of themes including the Big Welsh Breakfast, Fish is the Dish and Keep It Local.

You can also learn how to make bread, mill flower and churn butter at free workshops in the St Elli Centre and well as listen to live music in the entertainment marquee in Vaughan Street.

There are free activities for children throughout the day too including a toddler trail, disco potatoes and a pottery bus.

Llanelli market who are pioneers of little or no packaging will be taking part in a Go Green Trail and offering free canvas bags to customers on the day.

There is free parking all day in town too!

On Friday night the festival is kicked off by a food trail around some of the town’s best bars and restaurants. The Thomas Arms, Ruby’s, Llanelly House and Marzano’s will be offering tasters of their favourite dishes to some lucky customers. Anyone that completes the trail and get a stamp at every location gets entered into a prize draw to win a £50 voucher to spend at any of the four restaurants. You can pick up a stamp card at any of the four up until Friday evening.

Paolo Piana will be hosting a Come Dine With Me evening at Y Lle on Old Castle Road where participants will take part in an interactive dining experience and learn how to cook some Italian dishes from scratch. There is also a Welsh Cheese and Wine Evening taking place at the mayor’s parlour to raise money for the mayors chosen charity (both of these events have limited space to booking is essential).

Chair of Ymlaen Llanelli, Lesley Richards said: “It’s great to see months of work finally coming to fruition with our First Food and Drink Festival this weekend and we are all very much looking forward to it. We hope to see a large number of visitors in the town centre on Saturday to visit the food and drink stalls. Once they see what fantastic businesses we have in Llanelli, we hope they will return to support our lovely town which is a great place to do your Christmas shopping. Don’t forget there’s free parking all day too!”

Llanelli Town Mayor, Cllr. David Darkin said: “I’m really excited about the upcoming food festival. I’m sure this will be a fantastic showcase of what Llanelli town has to offer and a great family friendly event. Llanelli Town Council is very pleased to see this event taking place in our community.”

 

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A Llanelli pub wants to pay you to drink beer

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A LLANELLI pub has launched a search for the UK’s first ever ‘Pub-licist’ and is encouraging locals to apply for the coveted role – which will include drinking beer and catching up with friends.

The New Stepney Hungry Horse pub on Eastgate, is advertising the dream job for pub goers and calling for a local spokesperson to represent the pub company in return for a £500 salary.

As well as drinking on the job, the Pub-licist will also be faced with responsibilities that will include tucking into pies, lasagne, and fish & chips, and attending entertainment events at their local pub, on top of playing the odd game of darts, karaoke or taking part in the pub quiz.

The Pub-licist will also be required to make a number of visits to their local, in order to provide feedback and recommendations to help make their pub the best in the country.

Each task must be reviewed thoroughly and key feedback provided to management, to help the pub stay ahead of competitors and retain its role as the hub of the community.

The winning candidate should know their cask from their craft, be a pro at pub quizzes and have a taste for the finest pub-grub. Interested applicants should visit hungryhorse.co.uk/publicist before Tuesday 13 November explaining why they’ve got what it takes to be Hungry Horse’s first Pub-licist.

Andrea Daniels, general manager at the New Stepney, said: “Nothing beats the atmosphere and comradery of a local pub – and it really is the guests who make it such a great place to be.

“We’re searching for a pub fanatic who just loves a trip to their local, to become our first ever Pub-licist and help us to become the best pub the community.

“So, if you fancy taking part in a pub quiz, sipping on a cold beer or tucking into traditional pub classics – all while getting paid to do so, then we want to hear from you. We’d love it if the UK’s first ever Pub-licist was from Llanelli!”

Applications are open from Tuesday 16 October – Tuesday 13 November to apply or find out more, visit: hungryhorse.co.uk/publicist.

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Police say ‘stop protecting’ murder suspect Steve Baxter

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JUST over two weeks ago Simon Clark, aged 54, was found dead at Grove Caravan Park in Pendine, Carmarthenshire.

Dyfed-Powys Police is continuing its manhunt for Steve Baxter, who is wanted on suspicion of Simon’s murder.

Baxter also known as Steve Tidy, Steve Rowley, Wayne Tidy or William Tidy, is aged 52, 5’5” (1.65cm) tall and has tattoos on his forearms – the name Chez and entwined circles on his left arm and a serpent on his right arm.

He has connections in the West Wales, South Wales, South West and North England areas of the UK.

Officers and staff are working round the clock to follow all possible lines of enquiry.

The independent charity Crimestoppers is also offering a reward of up to £5,000 for information leading to the arrest of Steve Baxter and he has been added to the Most Wanted section of their website. Information would be taken by the charity anonymously.

Detective Superintendent Huw Davies said: “It’s over two weeks since Simon Clark was murdered at Grove Caravan Park, Pendine.

“The manhunt for Steve Baxter is ongoing and I must stress to the public that officers and staff are working round the clock to investigate all possible lines of enquiry that could lead us to him.

“I urge anyone with information of Baxter’s whereabouts to come forward. If you do not want to speak to police directly, you can speak to the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously, which is also offering a reward of up to £5,000 for information leading to his arrest.

“Someone knows where he is or has been in the last two weeks. Please stop protecting him. Simon Clark’s family deserve to see all those involved in his death brought to justice.”

Four people have been charged in connection with the murder: Jeffrey Stephen Ward, aged 40, from Pendine, has been charged with murder; Linda Mary Rowley, aged 52, from Pendine, has been charged with assisting an offender (murder); Kirston Macklin, aged 52, from Newport, Gwent, has been charged with assisting an offender (murder) and Julie Louise Harris, aged 46, from Tonypandy, has been charged with assisting an offender (murder).

If you see Steve Baxter call Dyfed-Powys Police on 999. Do not approach him.

If you have any information on the whereabouts of Steve Baxter call Dyfed-Powys Police on 101 immediately.

To pass on information anonymously, contact Crimestoppers 100 per cent anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through the non-traceable anonymous online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

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