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Llanelli’s 101-year-old Basil Smith is fundraising for Tŷ Hafan children’s hospice



Sara, Jason, Alfi and Besi

BASIL SMITH, the 101-year-old tennis playing legend from West Wales, has written and published his autobiography and is now selling copies with all proceeds going to Tŷ Hafan’s children’s hospice. 

No stranger to adventure, 101-year-old Basil, from Llanelli, has travelled extensively, played tennis to professional level and to this day, continues to play the game he loves. He has even been featured on S4C and Radio Cymru for his exploits. 

Now enterprising Basil is in the middle of another enterprise – selling copies of his autobiography ‘A Centenarian Reflects’ which he wrote and published last year and which he hopes will raise in excess of £1,500 for Tŷ Hafan children’s hospice which supported his great-great nephew Alfi. 

“I’ve been very lucky in my life and I have had a good life,” said Basil. “But in 2013 my wife had major stroke and just three days later, I had an operation to remove a tumour at Morriston Hospital. I was very fortunate, as I didn’t have to have chemotherapy or radiotherapy at all. I was 92 then and what happened that year made me think about my health and how lucky I have been throughout my life.” 

It was in 2013 that Basil was thrilled to become great-great-uncle to twins Besi and Alfi, however his joy turned to sadness when little Alfi was diagnosed with Neonatal Marfan Syndrome. 

Referred to Tŷ Hafan children’s hospice, which is based in Sully, near Cardiff, Besi and Alfi, together with mum Sara and dad Jason, spent a very happy weekend at the hospice around Christmas 2014. 

Sadly, just a few months after their stay, little Alfi passed away on St David’s Day, his parents’ wedding anniversary. 

Alfi and Besi

Sara, a pastoral officer, from Ammanford, said: “The twins are eight now and will be nine-years-old on May 1. They were very, very wanted and very longed for. We had nine rounds of fertility treatments to have them. We sadly lost Alfi when he was 22-months-old. 

“This sums up how we feel as a family: ‘With all that we have been through, all the hurt and all the pain, and all the struggles that have come as a result of losing you, we’re still forever grateful that we had you Alfs.’ 

“Even though we only got to stay at Tŷ Hafan the one time as the four of us, that visit was very special because we could relax a little, knowing that all Alfi’s care needs were catered for. The responsibility for his care needs wasn’t just down to us for that period of time so we could just be mum and dad to the both of them. 

“Tŷ Hafan has been brilliant to us ever since and we always go there on the anniversary of Alfi’s passing to spend time there and remember him. 

“Basil is an amazing gentleman. We’re very grateful to him for doing what he is doing for Tŷ Hafan.He’s been everywhere and done everything and he is a real character.” 

Basil Smith

Basil’s sister-in-law, Eira, grandmother to Sara added: “Alfi, Besi, Sara and Jason had wonderful time at Tŷ Hafan and it is a very special Welsh charity for children in Wales. 

“My brother-in-law Basil supports a lot of charities and wanted to do this one for Tŷ Hafan which I think is absolutely marvellous.” 

Basil, who grew up in Llandeilo, had 170 copies printed and has already sold 120 copies. Now he is hoping to sell the final 50. 

“I hope people throughout Wales will support Tŷ Hafan by buying my book and in lots of other ways,” says Basil. “There are so many illnesses out there and so many children that need their help.” 

Paula Langston, Head of Community Fundraising at Tŷ Hafan said: “Basil Smith is an amazing gentleman and an absolute inspiration to us all. We are incredibly grateful to him for what he is doing for Tŷ Hafan and everything Basil raises for us via the sale of his book will help us to continue to provide vital care and support for children with life-limiting conditions and their families in Wales.” 

If you’re interested in receiving a copy of ‘A Centenarian Reflects’ please email Tŷ Hafan or call Tŷ Hafan on 02920 532255 (Monday to Friday, 9-5pm). 

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The Burry Port Harbour Improvement wins top civil engineering award



THE BURRY Port Harbour Improvement has been announced as the winner of the Bill Ward Sustainability Award at the recent ICE Wales Cymru Project Awards held on Friday (30 September) at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff.

The Bill Ward Award is presented to the project best demonstrating the principles of sustainability, i.e. social, economic and environmental benefits during delivery and on completion. The Judges were impressed with the way two major companies, Alun Griffiths and Atkins, worked hand in hand on the project with their client, Carmarthenshire County Council, to deliver the scheme to a fixed budget, within programme and to the complete satisfaction of historic port custodians Cadw.

Burry Port Harbour is made up of three historic (tidal) basins contained by vertical masonry walls and earth embankments. The 3 harbours comprise 1500m of masonry vertical walls and revetments, which had fallen into disrepair and collapse since its heyday transporting coal in the 1800’s. 

The project is an ongoing, phased renovation with attention being given first to areas of instability. Displaced masonry has been recovered from the floor of the harbour and re-used. New materials have been chosen with care to ensure they are appropriate and will fit into the historic marine.

The work has safeguarded the historic masonry fabric for future generations, provided a safe harbour for the marina vessels and provided the waterside frontage for the Council’s vision to transform the harbour into a dynamic living, leisure and work hub for future generations.

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Wales stands firm in support for Ukraine



IN THE latest update on the Ukraine crisis, Wales’s Minister for Social Justice Jane Hutt thanked all those households across Wales who have come forward to offer their homes to Ukrainians fleeing the War and encouraged more households to provide this vital support.


The Minister for Social Justice said: “I’m delighted to say that over 5,650 people from Ukraine, sponsored by the Welsh Government and Welsh households, have already arrived in the UK.
“More than 8,200 visas have now been issued to people from Ukraine who have sponsors in Wales, so we expect the number of arrivals to continue to grow in the coming weeks.
“Thousands of Welsh households sponsored Ukrainians to arrive in Wales and committed to hosting them for at least six months.
“As we move into the autumn, we approach the end of that initial period.
“We hope hosts and Ukrainians will agree to extend many of those placements, but we need additional hosts to support those who cannot continue living where they are.
“To ensure a warm welcome to Wales, I’m inviting households across Wales to come forward and open their homes to welcome those seeking sanctuary.
“We’re immensely thankful to all those across Wales acting as hosts to Ukrainians, but more households must come forward.
“I completely understand that there are those who want to help but may not have the resources to do so, given the circumstances we’re all facing with the cost-of-living crisis.”


Jane Hutt continued: “What we all know, and has been proven countless times, is that the people of Wales are one of the most generous across the globe, and I’m sure we will step up to the plate once again.
“The idea of hosting can be daunting. That’s why we have funded Housing Justice Cymru to provide a Host Support service which includes expert and reliable information, training, advice, and guidance for people hosting, or those considering hosting, Ukrainians in Wales.
“More information on sessions and training can be found on the Housing Justice Cymru website. We also publish regularly updated guidance for hosts and sponsors at gov. wales/ukraine.
“We still need many more households to consider whether they could provide a home for those in need. This would normally be a commitment to hosting for 6 to 12 months.
“If anyone is considering this, we encourage them to register their interest at, and to attend one of the ‘Introduction to Hosting’ sessions, facilitated by Housing Justice Cymru. You won’t need to continue the process if you decide it is not for you.
“We have also partnered with to ensure very short-term emergency placements can be provided to prevent homelessness.
“If you cannot host for more than 6 months but you could offer your property for up to 30 days at a time, you may also be able to contribute. Visit and follow the link to the platform.”
Finally, the Minister stated: “We will continue to communicate with those who host Ukrainians, with updated guidance and information to support the valuable role you are undertaking.
“To all those that are already hosting and to those that are considering hosting, thank you, we owe you all a huge debt of gratitude.”


Conservative MS Mark Isherwood raised how the cost-of-living crisis affects Ukrainian refugees.
Where families had taken in those fleeing Russian aggression, he noted a risk of sponsorships not continuing beyond six months because the hosts cannot afford the rise in fuel costs.
He asked the Minister what discussions she’d had with the UK Government about increasing the £350 contribution to households who’d taken in Ukrainian refugees.
The Minister agreed with Mark Isherwood that ending a specific ministerial post dealing with refugees was regrettable.
She noted a lack of information from the UK Government over the summer months and since Liz Truss replaced Boris Johnson as head of the Conservative Government.
Ms Hutt said: “We asked for an increase at least to £500, or up again, doubling to £700 per month. An urgent decision is needed regarding this as they reach the end of their six-month period.
“That period is underway, so we’re writing to all hosts to see if they will continue.”


The Minister thanked Mark Isherwood for introducing her to a charity offering support in North Wales, Link, and hoped that he and his colleagues would bring pressure to bear on their Westminster colleagues to ensure those in need from Ukraine and those in Wales helping them received support.
She added: “I look forward perhaps that we might have some telephone calls from the Prime Minister and other Ministers to us in Government. We must engage with them and follow this through.
“There is a huge job of work to be done here. We’re taking responsibility in the way I’ve outlined, funding our welcome centres and paying thank-you payments to hosts if they support a family who initially arrived in Wales under the Ukraine family scheme.
“That’s not happening in England. The commitment that we’re making is considerable.
“I hope everyone will join us today, saying that we need to press for those answers in terms of financial support.”


Sioned Williams of Plaid Cymru raised the spectre of Ukrainian refugees becoming homeless in Wales due to a lack of financial support and the end of existing hosting and housing placements.
The Minister praised the work of local authorities across Wales supporting refugees.
She said: “There are very imaginative programmes. That includes a whole range of issues like repurposing empty buildings.
“Local authorities are really coming up with a whole range of ways in which we can support people, perhaps, from a welcome centre, or a host family, into that intermediate accommodation, and then on to other longer-term accommodation.”
Pembrokeshire currently houses around 200 Ukrainian refugees, with the demand for assistance outstripping the availability of suitable accommodation.


Responding to a question from Mabon ap Gwynfor about problems housing family groups, Jane Hutt hit out at the lack of support from the UK Government and how it’s u-turned on a commitment to help families.
“The UK Government has never given a penny towards the family scheme.
“The former Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, in one of his last PMQs, actually said that he thought the Ukraine family scheme should get the same funding and support as the Homes for Ukraine scheme. It’s never happened.
“We have provided thank-you payments to people who are hosting Ukrainian families. It’s all Welsh Government money; it’s not UK Government, because they don’t provide a penny. And also, the British Red Cross—£246,000—who are actually supporting Ukrainian families who are hosting family members under the Ukrainian family scheme.”
On Wednesday, September 28, Eluned Morgan, Wales’s Health Minister, announced the continuation of free healthcare in Wales to Ukrainian residents displaced by the ongoing conflict.
The exemption will continue to apply unless there’s a significant change in circumstances in Ukraine.

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Retired teacher, 75, dies following Saturday night incident in Burry Port



RETIRED teacher Peter Ormerod, aged 75, who suffered serious injuries in an incident in Burry Port on Saturday night (24 September) has sadly passed away earlier today.

His family have paid tribute to him, saying: “Peter was a well-respected teacher and member of the community.

“A very loved and loving father, grandfather, brother and friend.”

The family requests privacy at this difficult time.

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