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Rain, dear, but no washout

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raindeer1REINDEER AND ELVES Day in Llanelli on Saturday (Dec 19) was hit badly by the constant rain and miserable winter conditions. However, there were plenty of events going on in the warmer areas of the town including the town library where Lisa Moore and her pop up prevents came to the rescue of those families with children who would have been soaked otherwise. Lisa’s events attract large numbers largely because she knows just what families want. The library was set out with large tables covered with great ideas for arts and crafts following a Christmas theme.

What Mum, Dad, boy or girl could refuse a table full of Lego, a table full of Play-doh and tables full of glue, paint, glitter and a plethora of arts and crafts materials? The added bonus was that it was safe, dry and warm. Everywhere one looked there were children painting, sticking, building and singing happily as they did so. It must be how Santa’s real grotto looks like with so many little helpers busily making beautiful creations to make people happy! The library appeared to be the main focal point for families with a cosy Santa’s grotto where children could see the old bloke himself and get a gift.

Even the main part of the library had gone that extra mile: Christmas displays and Christmas related books were prominent and the library jukebox may just have been playing Christmas songs. The action wasn’t limited to the library. The St Elli Centre was a festive symphony of light, decorations, another Santa’s grotto and of course jam packed with shoppers making the most of the sheltered areas to sit, eat and rest a while after their shopping extravaganza. Llanelli’s covered market was also the focus of some events including balloon artistry, face painting, buskers, stilt walkers and many other stalls who appeared to have gone bonkers over Christmas.

Even local politician Helen Mary Jones was handing out free Welsh cakes and mince pies, such was the Christmas spirit in the town. Literary genius Robert Lloyd read ‘The Night Before Christmas’ to those hardened fans of the written word who had by now moved closer to the reindeer for heat and shelter or else heading in Jenkins cafe (Kerching! Rob) for some of their wonderful locally-sourced produce. Those brave souls who braved the rain were treated to a host of performances on the main stage in the town centre.

Market stalls lined the streets and two antlered reindeer were on display for all to see complete with their keepers bedecked in what looked like traditional Lapland costumes. Children young and old were in awe of these lovely creatures as they enjoyed their reindeer food in their enclosure. Music drifted from the stage, as Sherilyn form the X Factor staged a singing competition for local children. Those who had not bolted for the shelters were treated to a wonderful performance by Sherilyn herself but she was not allowed to enter for the star prize, which was a party package at the Playking in Dafen not a stone’s throw from where Sherilyn herself works. Throughout the day, elves and pixies some on roller skates performed their mischief and mayhem by descending on unsuspecting shoppers and taking their orders for Christmas.

Stilt walkers mingled with shoppers, balloon sellers and buskers who were joined in song at one point in by members of the public. The town, despite the rain, looked colourful and alive. As the shoppers headed for home some hardened spectators remained to catch outstanding musical performances by local musicians and another of the TV show successes, Ragsy from The Voice. There was something very magical about the town as darkness fell, illuminations twinkled and Ragsy belted out Local Boy In A Photograph. His whole set was not the most jolly in the world but there was something very real about the lyrics and his soulful guitar playing as it wafted along the streets of Llanelli, which were once so full at Christmas that people were walking twelve abreast. There was an element of longing but also hope as Llanelli closed down its shops and prepared for the evening’s revellers; an altogether different form of footfall. With high heels on.

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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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