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Seasoned actor join Coleg Sir Gar team

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COLEG SIR GAR has welcomed a seasoned British actor with an impressive repertoire for TV and stage work to its creative industries team.

From treading the boards on Broadway to the red carpet on Leicester Square, Simon Thomas, known in the acting business as Simon Nehan, is looking forward to his future teaching role following recent filming on Netflix’s The Crown.

His career has taken him as far as Madrid, Budapest, Paris and New York and as a former Coedcae pupil armed with years of experience, Simon is keen to inspire local students sharing his experiences of working with actors such as Zac Effron, Eddie Marsan and Oscar-winning Eddie Redmayne.

Simon’s many acting roles have included Merlin and Made in Dagenham but the role he is most proud of is in the BBC’s adaptation of Birdsong, a two-part British TV drama based on Sebastian Faulks’s war novel. “Watching good actors at work is always a great learning curve,” said Simon. “It was a big production by the BBC with great writing, great performers and a great production team, plus it involved 10 weeks of filming in Budapest.”

Comparing theatre work to television, some roles are more demanding than others and Simon says that stage work is the most demanding. “I was offered a part in Sarah Kane’s Blasted which was a highly controversial and graphic play which in its first production, drew fierce criticism from the press as well as theatre protests,” he said. “It uses themes of ethnic cleansing, torture, rape and genocide based on the 1990s Bosnian war, so to recreate scenes like this was mentally challenging.”

Simon’s other work includes Casualty, Holby City and even a panto with Katie Price and he says he’s been lucky finding work but not all auditions are set in stone. “You need to be driven and realise that not every audition will go your way,” he said. “There is an element of luck involved but you need to work at it and you need to be on time; you can lose a part because your eyes aren’t the right colour but don’t lose the part because someone has done more work than you on the script.”

Always drawn to the idea of teaching, Simon feels he has the experience to share with a new generation of aspiring performers and can relate to students as he also studied a BTEC diploma before attending Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff. “Acting is a craft,” he added. “Getting students to ask the right questions before approaching a role and encouraging them to take risks and express themselves is vital. I tell the students I’m one of them, I’m from Llanelli, I’m a steelworkers son and if I can do it, so can they.”

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Conservatives in disarray over alleged Christmas party lockdown breach

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THE CONSERVATIVE Party is investigating the attendance of senior Senedd members and staff at a Christmas party held during December’s lockdown.

Lockdown restrictions prohibit mixing with people outside your own household.

The Welsh restrictions barring such gatherings follow the basic outline of those imposed by the Conservative UK Government in December.

Those attending the drinks party included Paul Smith, the Conservative Chief of Staff at the Senedd, Darren Millar, the Party’s Chief Whip and campaign coordinator, and Preseli Pembrokeshire MS and Conservative Senedd Group Leader Paul Davies.

The Herald understands that a Labour Senedd Member who attended the Party has been suspended by the Labour Senedd Group pending its own investigation.

The Conservatives’ embarrassment at talking the talk but not walking the walk is intensified by Darren Millar’s presence at the shindig.

In May, Mr Millar led calls for Wales’ Health Minister Vaughan Gething to be sacked for eating a bag of chips in a park with one of his own children.

If the Conservative Party follows the logic of their previously stated positions, Mr Millar’s and Mr Davies’ futures look bleak indeed.

With a Senedd election only months away, the revelations have thrown the Conservatives into disarray.

If they do nothing, the Conservatives will – at the very least – face claims they are hypocrites.

If the Conservative Party acts decisively, it faces massive internal problems.

The Conservatives responded to our request for a response to our story.

Those involved stressed they did not host a Christmas Party.

The incident happened on December 8, when the above met in the members’ tea room to discuss legislation for possible inclusion in the Welsh Conservative manifesto with a Labour backbencher.

During the evening they did drink a glass or two of wine.

They stress that at no point were there more than four people in the room at any one time and that they maintained social distancing.

A joint statement from Paul Davies, Darren Millar, and Paul Smith said: “We are profoundly sorry for our actions.

“While we did not break the rules, we recognise that what was part of a day’s work would not be seen to be following the spirit of them, especially given the tough time the country has been going through.”

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Family tribute to Carole Patricia Fowler

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Carole was a teacher for 30 years at St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Llanelli. She loved children and they loved her. 

As one of her past colleagues said: “I know she made such a difference to every child she taught.” She was very popular with staff and well respected and loved by parents. She was dedicated and conscientious, always 100% for the children. She led the music there and was always popular with her guitar accompaniments for services and concerts. 

Likewise, she was a valued member of the choir at Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church, Gendros, Swansea, where she would often accompany hymns with her guitar and gave guitar lessons to the children in the church’s Saturday Music Club. She was also a keen member of Côr Persain, Ammanford. 

She was talented, loved and in demand. A convicted and devout Catholic all her life, through good and bad.

Carole was an avid and very gifted crocheter and was always crocheting or knitting something for someone. She had been spending her time recently, during the Covid crisis, crocheting NHS teddies in scrubs and rainbows, with many given to practising nurses. Carole had recently started learning to make bobbin lace. She was also capable of some very decent sewing, too. 

She was also learning Welsh, doing ‘pilates’ and was considering taking up yoga lessons as well.

She was a busy lady! As one of her work colleagues said of her: “She was wise, strong, beautiful, generous, devout and feisty. And I loved her for all those qualities.”

Above all, she was an immeasurably loved Mam, daughter, sister and a doting Mamgu and so much loved by her fiancé. Having been together for 14 years, they would have been married last July 20th had covid allowed! 

Her premature passing at 61 is tragic and she is already sorely, painfully missed. She leaves behind a huge chasm in so many hearts that cannot be filled.

“Eternal rest grant unto her, o Lord, may perpetual light shine about her, may she rest in peace.”

If anyone witnessed the collision or may have been travelling on the M4 at the relevant time, please contact the Serious Collision Unit quoting police reference DPP-20210113-317

Police can be contacted either online at: bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

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Tip off leads to pensioner’s drug stash

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A BRIEFCASE full of drugs has been recovered during a raid in Swansea suburb.
Police acting on information provided by a member of the public executed a warrant in Gorseinon and recovered a large quantity of cannabis.
A man was arrested on suspicion of possession of the class B drug, with intent to supply.
A South Wales Police spokesman said: “At around 5.40pm on Wednesday, January 6, following an intelligence led operation, a 68 year-old man from Gorseinon was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply cannabis.
“He was taken to Swansea central police station for questioning. He has been released under investigation”.

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