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The French invade Kidwelly again

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THE LLANELLI Ramblers walking group have a close friendship with walkers from Agen in south-west France (Llanelli’s twin town) and have arranged walking holidays in Wales and France every two years since 2005.


This year it was Llanelli’s turn to host and a full programme of events was planned, including a weekend in North Wales, Cresswell Quay, Burry Port and Kidwelly.


This was the one Alwyn Williams, Chairman of Llanelli Ramblers and I were leading.


It was a wonderful day in Kidwelly on Tuesday, leading the 26 visitors from Agen on a 3-mile walk around Kidwelly showing them some of the highlights of our town. We began in Ysgol y Castell, where we had a wonderful welcome and were treated to a fantastic concert, prepared by Mrs Gwen Pearce of pupils from the Foundation phase singing a variety of Welsh songs. This was followed by a Dawns Gwerin group from Key Stage 2. Lloyd Edwards a musically gifted 5-year-old pupil stunned the visitors with his mastery of the violin. He played a medley of Welsh airs accompanied on the piano by his mum and Lola King gave a lovely solo singing performance.


The visitors were then treated to refreshments including Welsh cakes made by the children.


The group were then taken to the Quay where they were greeted by Cllr Crish Davies, Mayor of Kidwelly who welcomed them to the town and wished them a pleasant walk.


It was raining when we led them along Kymer’s Canal, but soon the sun came out and we were blessed with dry weather after the torrential rain.


We came back to the Quay along the bank of the Gwendraeth Fawr River. Here the ornithologists among them enjoyed some bird spotting.


A lovely surprise awaited us at the quay. Mrs Anne Gilley, representing our local Coop, had set up a table brimming with Welsh produce for the visitors to enjoy: Welsh cakes, bara brith, cheeses, waffles.


After enjoying the hospitality, Ann then showed the Agenese Kidwelly’s latest attraction…the Sensory Garden.


Next stop was beautiful St Mary’s Church where the Harvest display was seen. Then along the main street next to one of the best preserved Norman castles in Wales and around the memorial to Gwenllian, we sang Hen Fenyw Fach Cydweli with the French lustily joining in the Ffalala chorus and then on cue Hen Fenyw Fach Cydweli herself aka Mrs Peggy Davies appeared. The visitors were delighted.

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UK’s top skaters and riders drop in on Llanelli youngsters to celebrate a special birthday

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THE WORLD’S and the UK’s finest skateboarders, BMX and Wheelchair Motocross stars will drop in on young people at a Carmarthenshire Ramps skatepark on Saturday 19 October 2019 from 11 am till 2 pm.

The event was arranged to celebrate the £3 billion National Lottery players have raised for projects which have specifically helped children and young people develop and thrive in the UK over the last 25 years.

£2 million of National Lottery funding has specifically been awarded to support and develop over 47 BMX projects in local communities for young people in Wales to enjoy.

Wales and Pembrokeshire’s own wheelchair sports superstar, Lily Rice; the Olympic BMX freestyler from Swansea, James Jones; Britain’s leading street skateboarder and 2020 Olympic hopeful, Alex Decunha; and YouTube influencer, Jake O’Neill (aka Jake100), visite hundreds of youngsters at Ramps indoor and outdoor skatepark in Llanelli as part of the National Lottery’s celebrations.

More than £340,000 was awarded by the National Lottery in 2013 to develop and build Ramps Skatepark which now provides activities for over 15,000 young people a year.


At 15 years old, Lily Rice from Manorbier, Pembrokeshire, is a World Champion wheelchair motocross (WCMX) star. She was propelled to fame two years ago when she became the first female in Europe to achieve a wheelchair backflip, and only the second girl in the world to pull off the stunt. Since then, Lily has emerged as one of the global leaders of WCMX – wheelchair motocross.

She says: “By contributing towards building amazing facilities such as this indoor and outdoor skate park, National Lottery funding is helping thousands of young people of all abilities to reach their goals and discover new opportunities.

I have trained and practised at numerous National Lottery funded skate parks and there is no doubt that the funding has helped wheeled sports, enthusiasts, to become healthier and more active.”


The National Lottery has inspired millions of people to get active in their local community, as well as supporting individuals and teams from grassroots to elite.


James Jones is a 25-year-old professional BMX rider from Swansea. James, who also celebrated his 25th Birthday this year,  is one of six world-class athletes who make up the Freestyle BMX Team GB for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. James honed his skills and practised his tricks at the Ramps skate park in Llanelli when he was growing up and highlights the importance of young people having access to facilities like this on their doorstep.


James Jones said: “I practised a lot here growing up and this facility has played a big part in my development as a professional rider and a person. I probably wouldn’t be where I am now without the support I got here. It’s not just about learning to ride or skate, there’s a real family vibe here, a great social aspect and it’s well supported by the community.

The National Lottery must fund parks such as this one so that young people can have a safe space to pursue their hobbies and meet friends.”

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First year anniversary for Transport for Wales

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TODAY, Transport for Wales reaches its first- year anniversary since taking responsibility for rail services across Wales and the Borders, which marked the beginning of their £5 billion investment programme.

Over the past twelve months, TfW have put the customer at the heart of their decisions and as a thank you to them, they’re offering 20% off advance tickets bought between 14 and 20 October for travel up until 26 November.

Some of the key highlights over the year include the creation of the advanced fare initiative, making it cheaper for journeys over 50 miles; delay repay 15 was launched so that customers can claim for delays of 15 minutes or more and the implementation of new performance measures designed to provide a more reliable and punctual service.

TfW also began their £194 million plan to improve every railway station across their network and committed to spend more than £600,000 a year on Community Rail Partnerships, creating community ambassador roles, that will be responsible for promoting regional tourism and local economic growth.
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James Price, Transport for Wales CEO said;

“It has been an exciting and challenging first year and we are proud to have started transforming the rail service for the people of Wales through delivering on our promises.

“We are implementing some ambitious programmes that will help us to improve the customer experience. Work has started on our railway stations; modernising them, making them safer and more accessible for local businesses and communities. We successfully reintroduced regular passenger services along the Halton Curve, providing 215 new services per week and connecting Wrexham with Liverpool by rail for the first time in 40 years.

“We have introduced additional trains to our network and our December timetable change will bring further increases in capacity across our busiest routes.

“Behind the scenes, there has been detailed planning and preparation work going on for the delivery of Metro services across Wales, the introduction of brand-new trains and the vision to create a fully integrated transport network.

“As well as our customers, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all our staff for their dedication over the year and also thank the partners and businesses that we’ve worked with.”

Ken Skates, Minister for Economy and Transport, said:

“One year into our ambitious journey of rail improvement I believe it is important to recognise the progress that has been made. There have been the start of new services and new advanced fares and we will soon see extra capacity being added to some of our busiest lines. We’ve also outlined an ambitious £194m package of investment to improve every station in Wales.

“It’s clear that there are significant challenges and this journey will take time, but we have ambitious plans to transform transport across Wales to deliver a fully integrated network, with customers at the heart of everything. We have outlined a vision for a transformed railway across Wales – including the development of Metro systems – and Transport for Wales will continue to have an essential role to play in helping to deliver this.”

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Eluned Morgan visits Llanelli for Mental Health

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TO mark World Mental Health Day, Labour Assembly Member Eluned Morgan has visited Llanelli’s LINKS mental health charity to raise awareness of her #IPledge2Talk campaign. 

LINKS is a unique to Llanelli support service providing assistance and learning opportunities to those within our community who have or are experiencing mental ill-health.

Earlier this year, the AM for Mid and West Wales launched in the Senedd her “I Pledge 2 Talk” campaign.  In response to the growing concern over male suicide, the Eluned Morgan has turned her focus to encouraging people who feel down to seek help, and providing confidence to others to be a mental health ally.

Speaking after her visit, Eluned said: “I was really pleased to be able to meet the team at LINKS on Queen Victoria Road.  They have and continue to provide a range of services to help people manage their mental health.  They understand the importance of talking to improve mental health and helping others to open up.

“We all have our part to play in reaching out and offering support to those in need by providing an opportunity to talk.  We know that if someone is having suicidal thoughts, receiving support from someone else can make a big difference.

“Many people feel unable to talk about mental health due to the stigma that surrounds admitting there’s a problem – we need to overcome this – we can all play a part in helping others feel comfortable enough to seek help without fear of being judged.

“I have launched a website to support the #IPledge2Talk campaign – find out more and how to get involved at www.ipledge2talk.wales.”

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