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New Head Gardener has always had a fascination with Aberglasney

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ABERGLASNEY GARDENS is delighted to announce that James Latham has recently joined the team as the new Head Gardener. 

The uniqueness of Aberglasney Gardens, coupled with the history that surrounds them, has always fascinated James, ever since his mother moved to Carmarthenshire over 20 years ago.  

Originally from Salisbury in Wiltshire, James graduated from Sparsholt College in Winchester with a HND in horticulture. His career has meant he has moved around the south of England from Dorset to Herefordshire. 

James’ initial plans for Aberglasney are to consolidate, refine and fine-tune the existing planting and to establish, as well as build on, the excellent work of the previous Head Gardener. 

“I am looking to greatly expand on the plant collection here at Aberglasney and keep a focus on building winter interest in the Gardens to maintain all year-round appeal,” James said. “Certain areas, in particular the perennial borders, will be refreshed and revamped by the garden team over the coming year and I will look to further develop the planting in the Woodland Garden.” 

James has held a number of Head Gardener positions. For 12 years he was Head Gardener at Hurdcott house in Wiltshire. He worked alongside seven-times Chelsea Gold Medal designer, Julie Toll, when he was Head Gardener at The Manor House, Ayot St Lawrence and he restored a large woodland garden, originally planted by Sir Anthony Eden when he was Head Gardener at Knoyle Place, Wiltshire.   

Jim Stribling, Director of Operations at Aberglasney Gardens, said, “We are delighted to welcome James to the team. His previous experience means he will be a huge asset to the future development of Aberglasney. I would urge visitors to take the opportunity to introduce yourselves to James as we are all very excited when we listen to his ideas and future plans to enhance the Gardens.” 

James recognises that training is a big part of what goes on at Aberglasney and with his Senior Horticulturalist, Dave Hand, they are looking to update and enhance the Gardens’ training programme, particularly for students on the Aberglasney Bursary Scheme. He also wants to build a feeling of inclusiveness across the whole garden team, including the army of volunteer gardeners. 

Aberglasney was made famous by the BBC television series “A Garden Lost in Time” which followed its restoration. The Gardens, Mansion house, Shop and Tearooms are open every day except Christmas Day. Visitors can explore over 20 different garden styles from formal to woodland, right through to exotic and modern along with the fully restored ground floor of Aberglasney’s grade II* listed mansion. Further information on the Gardens is available online: www.aberglasney.org 

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Llanelli choir launches fundraising naked calendar

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MEMBERS of a Llanelli female choir have bared all to raise money for the town’s Ty Bryngwyn Hospice.  

Côr Curiad has created a cheeky fundraising calendar for 2023 – the second one they have done.

With around 50 members, photos were taken across Llanelli with strategically placed items to spare their blushes – all in the name of a good cause.

Llanelli photographer Graham Harries was behind the lens for the project.

The choir’s musical director Alex Esney, who is Miss December in the calendar said: “Local businesses sponsored the calendar and so many of the photos were taken at their premises.

“So for example we went to LTC Mobility Ltd and had scooters carefully positioned in front of us, it was a lot of fun.

“I also want to thank Ffwrnes Theatre for opening up especially for me to go and have my photo taken with the piano there.”

Alex said the aim is to raise as much as possible for the hospice, adding: “We did a calendar a few years ago but we now have more members so we thought it was time to do it all again.

“The ladies decided to ‘bare all’ to raise money for the hospice which provides such great care and support for families in their time of need, including two of our own.

“I think we pulled out all the stops this year, getting their clothes off at local businesses in and around Llanelli.”

One of the calendar photos (Images: Graham Harries Photography)
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Sponsor a Castle and help raise money for Wales Air Ambulance

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WALES Air Ambulance is calling for sponsors to join one of the most exciting public art trails the city of Swansea has ever seen. Have you ever imagined owning your own castle? Well now you can.

Businesses, schools and community groups are being encouraged to support the free family event, that will take place next July, by a sponsoring a castle which will help to raise vital funds for Wales Air Ambulance.

The Wild in Art Castles in the Sky trail will see over 40 large castles and 30 miniatures dotted across Swansea next summer and aims to attract locals and visitors into the city. Each giant castle, measuring over 2 metres tall, will be designed by a Welsh artist and will have its own tale to tell, celebrating the vibrancy, culture and creativity that Swansea has to offer.

The 10 week trail aims to connect businesses, artists, the public and community partners across the city providing a new, innovative, and uniquely creative avenue for collaboration.

Wales’ only dedicated air ambulance charity, Wales Air Ambulance, is taking the helm of the Wild in Art project, an initiative which has become an international success story in raising charitable funds through its creative and community-focused public art.

The unique art trail gives sponsors the opportunity to get involved in something completely different, whilst raising and boosting their business profile in the city and facilitating new stakeholder relationships.

In return, sponsors will receive a range of positive and exciting PR opportunities, brand profile and positioning, logos displayed on sculptures and a variety of promotional materials including the trail app and website. Businesses will also be invited to exclusive events along with other Castles in the Sky sponsors and will be helping to raise vital funds for the Wales Air Ambulance.

Back in 2018 Woodforde’s Brewery took the opportunity to be involved in their local Wild in Art trail, GoGoHares.

Judi-mare Alderton, Head of Marketing at Woodforde’s Brewery, said: “GoGoHares was just a lovely event to be a part of, raising money for a local charity and helping bring communities and businesses together.

“We’ve had lots of people visit us to see our amazing Hare sculpture, some just to take a photo, but a good amount who visited the pub and had a drink or meal too, which was obviously great for business.

“Overall, we were just really pleased to be part of Norwich’s now famous art sculpture events and felt blessed that the trail encompassed part of our beautiful country.”

The Charity relies on charitable donations to raise £8 million each year to keep the helicopters flying in Wales. The charity does not receive funding from the National Lottery or direct funding from the government.

It provides vital 24/7 emergency air cover for those who face life-threatening illness or injuries and is the only air ambulance charity based in and dedicated to Wales.

The Castles in the Sky trail takes place from Saturday, 8 July until Saturday, 16 September 2023 and will be delivered in partnership with creative producers, Wild in Art, and is supported by Principal Partner, Swansea Business Improvement District (Bid).

Russell Greenslade, Chief Executive of Swansea Bid, said he felt there were a huge number of incentives and benefits to getting involved in the project.

He said: “I believe Castles in the Sky will be one of the most fun and ambitious art projects the city has ever seen. It is a fantastic opportunity to bring the city together and connect businesses, artists and residents through the power of creativity and innovation.

“The project will leave a long-lasting legacy that will inspire civic pride across generations, delight the whole area and drive Swansea’s feel-good factor. Swansea Bid is thrilled to be the Principal Partner for Castles in the Sky and we hope you can support us.”

If you want to learn more about sponsoring a castle email hello@swanseacastles.co.uk or visit the Castles in the Sky website (www.swanseacastles.co.uk). For further updates visit Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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Llanelli Christmas Carnival and Lights-switch on to be held November 18

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MARK it in your diaries, Friday, November 18, is the day that the carnival returns to the streets of Llanelli, starting the official countdown to Christmas in the town

People from far and wide are welcome to come together again in Llanelli to enjoy all that the carnival has to offer.

One of the largest community Christmas events in Wales, the vibrant parade, featuring dressed lorries, sleighs and tractors, will travel through the town and the official switch on of the Christmas lights is not to be missed. The fun will begin at 4pm with the opening of the fairground rides.

The celebrations are a joint effort by Carmarthenshire County Council, Llanelli Town Council, Llanelli Rural Council and Llanelli Round Table with the funfair supplied by South Wales Showmen’s Guild and entertainment provided by Anyone Waiting and Terry Dean.

Keep an eye on the council’s social media channels for more information nearer the time.

Anyone who is interested in entering a float in the carnival should contact Roger Bowen at Llanelli Round Table on 01554 750008.

The carnival procession itself will leave Festival Fields, Pwll, at 6.15pm, and make its way into the town and arriving shortly after the Christmas lights switch-on at 6.45pm.

To enable the carnival to proceed, the road closure of Station Road and Church Street, Llanelli, from its junction with Murray Street to its junction with Gelli Onn, will start at 5.45pm and be in place until 8pm.

Gelli Onn will also be closed to westbound traffic only, from its junction with Thomas Street.

A fireworks display will mark the finale of the entertainment at 7.40pm whilst the funfair will remain open until 9pm.

Announcing the Christmas lights competition winners

Every year, Carmarthenshire County Council, Llanelli Rural & Town Councils and Ymlaen Llanelli, run a Christmas lights design competition with the winning design displayed in Stepney Street, Llanelli.

We are delighted to announce that the 2022 winners are Phoebe Davies, Halfway School, Llanelli, is the winner of the junior category and Sophia Rose Walker who also attends Halfway School, Llanelli, has been crowned the winner of the infant category. A huge congratulations to both!

Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Leisure, Culture and Tourism, Cllr Gareth John said: “The Llanelli Christmas Carnival is the highlight of the year for thousands of families from the town and for those who travel from beyond to enjoy the spectacular parade.

“Lots of people work hard to put an event of this scale on, with months of planning involved. It promises to be a great event this year and topped off with a fireworks display.”

Llanelli Carnival – A timetable for the day

12:00pm: Cowell Street closed
4:00pm: Big and small funfair rides open with lots of side stalls plus selection of hot and cold refreshments
5.45pm: Road closures in place for Gelli Onn westbound, Church Street and side streets.
6.15pm: Carnival parade leaves Festival Fields, Sandy Road*
7:00pm: Arrival of carnival parade in Town Hall area*.
7.40pm: Spectacular Firework Display ** (Town Hall Gardens)
9:00pm: Fun fair closes
*Please note all times and activities are subject to change. Road closures will start to take effect from 12noon, effecting town centre to traffic until around 8pm.

** Timings subject to change due to Carnival Parade

For more up to date information on the day, check Discover Carmarthenshire

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