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Three centenarians living in home

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Centenarians: Gwenllian Davies (centre), who will be 110 in October, with other centenarians Winston Peregrine (left) and Mary Kier (right)

WALES’ oldest person, Gwenllian Davies, has lived through two world wars, and will be 110 in October.
Gwenllian is a resident at Carmarthenshire County Council’s Awel Twyi care home in Ffairfach, Llandeilo, where two other supercentenarians also live – retired nurse Mary Kier, aged 103, and retired farmer Winston Peregrine, aged 102.
Home manager, Sharon Dyer, said: “To have three supercentenarians among 38 residents is quite exceptional. People have asked us what we put in the tea. It is nothing but love and attention and a really happy environment.”
Health and social care executive board member, Cllr Jane Tremlett, said Gwenllian is a wise, well-read and witty person who has led a fulsome and incredible life spanning an amazing century of great changes.
Confessing to be a little deaf and sometimes forgetful, Gwenllian, who was a farmer’s daughter and then farmer’s wife in Pontardawe for most of her life, still walks unaided and serves tea for her visitors.
The remarkable Gwenllian was born on October 5 1905, the same day of the first aeroplane flight lasting half an hour by the Wright brothers and the year Albert Eistein published his papers for his theory of relativity.
The era of fight might have been in its infancy but by the time she was 36, in 1941, Gwenllian can remember being horrified watching from her hilltop valley farm home above Swansea the destruction by the Luftwaffe in a three-day blitz.
The First World War still wrankles with her because her pocket money was reduced from 1d a week to a halfpenny – “The war wasn’t my fault,” she said, “why should I be penalised?!”
Gwenllian remembers the horror of seeing Swansea ‘lighting up’ and ‘ablaze with explosions day and night’.
Widow of Arthur, who died in 1970, Gwenllian has no children but her farm Lletty Philip was often open house to children from the Pontardawe community and nephews and nieces who called her Aunty Gwennie.
Her great nephew and wife Martin and Eleri recall as many as a dozen children at a time on the farm on Saturday mornings and as many would sleep over.
Eleri says all the children worked hard helping with the milking, herding and the sheep and all would look forward to the legendary big breakfasts cooked up by Gwenllian. She would have as many as 24 eggs sizzling in the pan and against all health advice eat only the white fatty bits of bacon.
Gwenllian cut and gathered hay on the farm for many years before the advent of combine harvesters and was also known for being able to sow and collect potatoes in furrows over hundreds of yards without raising her head.
Before moving into Awel Tywi five years ago, Gwenllian would often be seen outside her Llandeilo home weeding the garden until the light faded each day – never losing her farming instincts.
Eleri says: “Gwenllian is a remarkably intelligent woman who has worked hard all her life. She has never smoked or had anything other than the odd celebratory drink. Gwenllian’s main aim in life has been to help and support others. She has always been well known for her kindness.”

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Cllr Kevin Madge elected as new county council Chairman

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THE new chair of Carmarthenshire County Council said he will work tirelessly during his term of office.

Cllr Kevin Madge, member for Garnant, takes the chain of office whilst celebrating 40 years as a councillor.

Taking the chair, Cllr Madge paid tribute to outgoing chairman Cllr Mansel Charles, member for Llanegwad, saying he had fulfilled his duties with passion.

Cllr Madge will chair the council for the next 12 months, with Cllr Ieuan Davies, member for Llanybydder, as his vice chair, and his wife Catrin as his consort.

“I’m very much looking forward to the year ahead, I will do my best for everyone. I will work tirelessly,” he said.

Cllr Madge has chosen the Trussell Trust, which supports a nationwide network of food banks and emergency food provision for people in crisis, as his Chairman’s Charity of the Year.

The Chair is the first citizen of Carmarthenshire County Council, and is elected at the Annual General Meeting.

Duties include chairing full meetings of the council, representing the council at formal and ceremonial occasions, welcoming visitors to the county, and attending and supporting events organised by local people and organisations.

Cllr Madge has been a county councillor since 1996, and a member of Cwmaman Town Council since 1979.

He also serves as chairman of the Royal British Legion Garnant branch, Garnant Family Centre and Cwmaman Meals on Wheels, and is a member of Amman Valley League of Friends.

He represents the county council on the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, and the Mynydd y Betws Wind Farm Community Fund, and is on the governing body of Ysgol Y Bedol.

A former pupil of Amman Valley School, Cllr Madge has worked in the Amman Valley throughout his life, most recently as agent and researcher to Dr Alan Williams MP until 2001.

A keen football supporter, he has served as chair and president of Cwmaman Football Club and spent 25 years as a Welsh League and Neath and District football referee.

He is married with two children and three grandchildren.

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‘UK Government should work with the Welsh Labour Government on Tata’

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LOCAL Assembly Member Lee Waters and Nia Griffith MP have called on the UK Government to work with the Welsh Labour Government to come up with a deal to protect steel making at Trostre, and across Wales and the UK.

Lee Waters AM met with representatives from Tata Steel on Wednesday to discuss the future for steel making at the plant following the reported collapse of the proposed joint venture with Thyssenkrupp.

During the meeting he stressed the need to protect the entire steel supply chain in Wales, including the high quality jobs at Trostre, and those that depend on its presence in Llanelli.

Lee Waters AM said “It’s clear that the support Welsh Government provided during the crisis of 2016 has been critical in getting extra investment into Port Talbot which will secure the works for years to come. However, Tata is a company run from India, and we simply don’t know what the board will decide about its future strategy. They may well be looking for a new joint venture partner, so we’ll have to vigilant about the implications for our local plants.”

“Tata has said it intends to continue with its existing business plan, and honor commitments made to the Trade Unions, so Nia and I will be keeping a close eye to make sure that happens.”

Welsh Government has been in active discussions with Tata steel following the collapse of the merger with Thyssenkrupp. In a written statement and during questions on Wednesday, the Welsh Government committed to invest in Welsh steel to protect its future and is looking at a range of measures to assist on energy costs, business rates and procurement of steel for public sector contracts.

Lee Waters AM said “The Welsh Government have given significant support to the steel industry here but it can’t do everything, and we now need the UK Government to work with them to ensure a future for skilled work in the steel industry in Llanelli and elsewhere in Wales.”

Nia Griffith AM said ““This latest news from Tata means yet more uncertainty for steelworkers. Their announcement about keeping Port Talbot is a start, but now we need real commitment from Tata on Trostre.

“We also need close cooperation from the company with the Trade Unions. Lee Waters AM and I will be urging the UK Government to follow Welsh Government in doing everything possible to secure the future of our steel industry.”

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MP and AM call for Trostre certainty after merger fails

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LOCAL ASSEMBLY MEMBER Lee Waters and Nia Griffith MP have called on the UK Government to work with the Welsh Labour Government to come up with a deal to protect steel making at Trostre, and across Wales and the UK.

Lee Waters AM met with representatives from Tata Steel on Wednesday to discuss the future for steel making at the plant following the reported collapse of the proposed joint venture with Thyssenkrupp.

During the meeting he stressed the need to protect the entire steel supply chain in Wales, including the high quality jobs at Trostre, and those that depend on its presence in Llanelli.

Lee Waters AM said “It’s clear that the support Welsh Government provided during the crisis of 2016 has been critical in getting extra investment into Port Talbot which will secure the works for years to come. However, Tata is a company run from India, and we simply don’t know what the board will decide about its future strategy. They may well be looking for a new joint venture partner, so we’ll have to vigilant about the implications for our local plants.”

“Tata has said it intends to continue with its existing business plan, and honor commitments made to the Trade Unions, so Nia and I will be keeping a close eye to make sure that happens.”

Welsh Government has been in active discussions with Tata steel following the collapse of the merger with Thyssenkrupp. In a written statement and during questions on Wednesday, the Welsh Government committed to invest in Welsh steel to protect its future and is looking at a range of measures to assist on energy costs, business rates and procurement of steel for public sector contracts.

Lee Waters AM said “The Welsh Government have given significant support to the steel industry here but it can’t do everything, and we now need the UK Government to work with them to ensure a future for skilled work in the steel industry in Llanelli and elsewhere in Wales.”

Nia Griffith AM said “This latest news from Tata means yet more uncertainty for steelworkers. Their announcement about keeping Port Talbot is a start, but now we need real commitment from Tata on Trostre.

“We also need close cooperation from the company with the Trade Unions. Lee Waters AM and I will be urging the UK Government to follow Welsh Government in doing everything possible to secure the future of our steel industry.”

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