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Young photographers are snap happy

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freja's entry

Timber: Freja’s entry earned her the runners-up spot

TWO teenage photographers from Wales have been named among the best in the country in the RSPCA Young Photographer Awards on Friday (Dec 18). Mairi Eyres, 17, from Powys, and Freja Petrie, also 17, from Carmarthenshire, were both named as runners up during the prestigious award ceremony at the Tower of London. Their winning images were shortlisted by a panel of judges – made up of wildlife photographers and industry experts led by BBC Springwatch’s Chris Packham. Mairi Eyres ended up with a total of 12 images in the final and scooped top prizes for her Ant in Silhouette shot for the 16-18-year-old category and her set of wildlife framed in different ways – entitled Framed – taking top spot in the Portfolio category.

Speaking about her winning set of portfolio shots where she framed pictures of an ant, a red squirrel, a fieldfare, a fox, and a little Egret, she said: “When I photograph wildlife I like trying to frame the subject in an interesting or unusual way. “Sometimes this framing is achieved by using the shapes and spaces found in the surrounding habitat, and sometimes it involves making use of the way areas of the subject are picked out by the light falling on different elements within the picture.” Mairi was also commended with her second portfolio of shots showing Ptarmigans in their natural landscapes up in the Cairngorms, and commended in the 16-18 year old category for her image Robin in the Snow. Also named in the list of top young photographers was Freja Petrie, 17, from Carmarthenshire who entered a photograph of her black Labrador Timber into the Pet Personalities category. Speaking about her runners up image of her family dog she said: “To get this shot I sat Timber in front of a stable, leaving the door open.

This meant the background was black, but Timber was still lit from the side so he would stand out. Having taken the shot I increased the contrast and added a vignette to ensure the background was dark.” Judge Chris Packham said: “This year’s entrants were really at an exceptional standard – we had some very tough decisions to make. The skills that are showcased every year never fail to impress me. The inventiveness and creativeness that is demonstrated by such young people is fantastic. I hope they all carry on taking photographs long into the future so we can all enjoy more of their work. “It was fantastic to have so many entries for the new farm animals category too because these animals are so accessible. It is a great addition to the competition. “The range of animals in this year’s entries were varied which is great to see. We had everything from bugs, through to farm animals, cats and dogs right through to monkeys.” A set of 30 images were shortlisted by judges for the six categories Under 12’s, 12-15 years old, 16-18 years old, Farm Animals, Portfolio and Pet Personalities.

Wildlife photographer and YPA judge Andrew Forsyth said: “The quality of the YPA shortlist never fails to impress me. These young photographers produce such sophisticated images, but with a fresh vision that is unique to this competition. “The new farm animal category has been a success, encouraging young photographers to broaden their subject matter to animals that are all around us but often overlooked. They rose to the challenge and far exceeded our expectations.” The overall winner, Will Jenkins, 13, of north London, scooped the top prize with his image of a pelican’s beak – named Beak – and has been invited on a weekend photography break courtesy of Natures Images. Camera vouchers from WEX Photographic worth up to £750 are awarded in each category and an exclusive photo shoot at an RSPCA animal centre have been awarded to the winners from each age category. The competition is sponsored by Warners Midlands, Wex Photographic and Natures images. Full details and information please see www.rspca.org.uk/ypa.

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NSPCC: Wales conference puts spotlight on domestic abuse

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PROTECTING women and children from domestic abuse was the focus of a ground-breaking conference in Wales this week (Mar 28).

Organised by Cardiff University’s Exchange Network – with support from NSPCC Cymru / Wales and Welsh Women’s Aid – the event aimed to share information on the most effective approaches to tackle all forms of violence against women, domestic abuse and support for victims – be they adults or children.

Preventing violence from happening and protecting those who fall victim to domestic abuse formed the focus of the conference, at Cardiff’s Novotel Hotel.

Representatives from Welsh Government, Relate Cymru, Barnardos and Rape and Sexual Abuse (RASA) Centre also attended.

Domestic abuse continues to be a significant reason for young people to contact Childline. In 2016/17 volunteers at the NSPCC-run helpline undertook 120 counselling sessions with children from Wales who had concerns about abuse by a partner in their own relationship.

And 241 children from Wales contacted Childline to discuss parental domestic abuse.

Some young people who witness this also experience physical abuse by their parents. This can sometimes happen when they try and intervene in the abuse taking place, with some children telling Childline they were hit by their mother or father when trying to stop a fight.

“Sometimes my dad gets in a bad mood and gets really aggressive. He says horrible things to me and my mum and it scares me. In the past he was threatening to hit my mum, when I tried to get him to calm down he slapped me instead. I feel like neither of them listen to me and they don’t understand how upset it’s all making me.” (Girl, 16-18, Wales)

Head of NSPCC Cymru / Wales, Des Mannion, told The Llanelli Herald: “Domestic abuse can have a huge impact on a child’s physical and emotional wellbeing and it’s hugely important that we share information and discuss ways to both prevent violence and protect victims.

“We all have a part to play in tackling domestic abuse and it’s important to pick up the phone if you’re concerned so that our advisers can offer guidance and get help where it’s needed.

“Stepping in early helps to change behaviours and avoid abuse escalating, and putting the child at the heart of interventions is paramount in keeping children safe and limiting long-term damage.

“It is also vital that children and young people affected by domestic abuse have access to the right kind of support to overcome the trauma of witnessing and experiencing domestic abuse.”

Any child worried about domestic abuse can call Childline on 0800 11 11. Any adult who is concerned about a child can call the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000.

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Pop-up craft stalls return to St Elli

Tamsin Mathias

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Photo credit: www.stelli.co.uk/about-us/

LLANELLI’S St Elli Shopping Centre is once again playing host to a fantastic group of pop-up craft stalls today and tomorrow (Mar 1-2).

Following on from a highly successful outing just before Christmas, the ‘Pert A Blasus Pop-Up Emporium’ will see a variety of crafters take to the Atrium to sell their handmade crafts.

A group of friends who met whilst running stalls at craft markets around South Wales, Pert A Blasus brings together a host of skill sets and backgrounds – including a former kitchen fitter and scaffolder, a former clerical assistant, and a primary school teacher.

Primary school teacher Jill Davies has been crafting most of her life as a hobby; however, seven years ago decided to launch ‘Dzines by Jill’, which sees her hand-decorate plain pieces of ceramic and household items with her own unique designs.

Jill also organises her own ‘Made it Markets’ in Neath.

Also on board with Pert A Blasus is Steve Kennedy, who is the brainchild of ‘Cut n Scroll’, where he hand cuts items from wood and enlists the help of his wife Tanya for painting and gemming; Wendy Taylor, also a primary school teacher, who completed a precious metal course at Gower College and now makes her own items for her ‘Simplicity by Silver’ stall; and Jill James who runs her ‘Pretty Cute Fairies’ stall.

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Bread and Jam for Christmas

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A young woman with Spina bifida has been left alone in an empty home with nothing but bread and jam to eat and with no cooking facilities. Jackie lives a stone’s throw from Llanelli Town Hall and yet she claims she has been abandoned by the County Council, her AM, her MP and Social Services. She faces a wait until January 10 before service providers meet to discuss her case.

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