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Young photographers are snap happy



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

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Demolition of 4 Tys begins in Tyisha, Llanelli



Four Tys

WORK to demolish the Four Tys housing blocks in Tyisha, Llanelli has started, marking the next exciting step in Carmarthenshire County Council’s plans to Transform the area. 

The demolition work is set to be completed by civil engineering contractor Walters over the next 20 weeks and will enable the build of modern, mixed-use housing which meets the needs of the community.

Improvements to existing homes and the creation of community facilities and green spaces will also form part of changes on the horizon for Tyisha. 

Cllr Linda Davies Evans, chair of the Transforming Tyisha steering group and cabinet member for housing said: “The demolition of the Four Tys marks an important step in the Transforming Tyisha project. Although this process will evoke powerful memories for many of the people who have lived and worked in Tyisha since the Four Tys were built in the 1960s, their demolition will enable us to provide the housing and facilities that the community needs.

Local residents and businesses who may be impacted by the demolition process will be contacted throughout to ensure minimum disruption.”

This forms a part of the council’s ambitious plans to regenerate the Tyisha ward and the wider Llanelli town centre area which is undergoing massive investment.

The council is also seeking a partner to develop new housing and create a vibrant community. An early market engagement exercise is currently live which gives potential partners the opportunity to express their interest in working with the council to transform the area.

Fresh and innovative ideas for this exciting project can be submitted to the council until December 7.

For more information on the early market engagement process or the council’s Transforming Tyisha regeneration project please visit

The demolition of the ‘Four Tys’ forms part of the council’s ambitious Transforming Tyisha project which looks to regenerate the area through increasing community safety, developing housing and community facilities and improving the environment.

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Greatly respected Neighbourhood Policing Sergeant crowned Police Officer of the Year



DESCRIBED as a ‘perfect example of an exemplary Dyfed-Powys Police Officer’, Sergeant Gemma Davies wins the Police Officer of the Year title at the force annual awards. 

The Dyfed-Powys Police annual awards are a celebration of talent, offering individuals and teams the chance to be recognised and rewarded for their commitment, hard work, achievements and success.

Held at a virtual ceremony on November 18, the awards have showcased some of the force’s outstanding work, with a focus on those who have made an exceptional contribution to policing priorities.

Sergeant Gemma Davies from the Ammanford area, has served with Dyfed-Powys Police for 14 years and was nominated for the award by her manager and her team members – of which there are 33 that she currently supervises in the Carmarthenshire Neighbourhood Policing Team. 

Acting Sergeant Ian Roach said: “Gemma is a fantastic police officer. She’s compassionate and really listens, and cares for the communities she serves, but also her team members. 

“Her standards as an officer are second to none – she’s the best Sergeant I’ve ever worked with. She puts so much work and effort into ensuring communities are safeguarded, and that priorities are met. 

“We deliver as a team as a result of Gemma’s enthusiasm and drive. She is so thorough – no stone is left unturned when she’s looking to resolve a problem.” 

The Police Officer of the Year award recognises excellence, dedication, and initiative within the role.

Not only has Sergeant Gemma Davies scooped this award, but she was also a finalist in the Inspiring Leadership award and nominated in the Here for You category in this year’s annual awards.

Inspector Dawn Fencott-Price said: “Gemma will take on any challenge with a smile and positive attitude – which is infectious and in turn is reciprocated by her team and colleagues from partner agencies.

“She is innovative – one example being where she introduced online virtual meetings for key individuals in the community at the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, which proved invaluable in ensuring our communities were kept informed, updated and reassured at such an uncertain time. This was in fact so successful that it was adopted and replicated across the force area.

“She has also instigated many multi agency operations in response to community concerns to tackle the supply of drugs in Carmarthenshire, one notable example being in Bynea last year, which resulted in the seizure of a large number of cannabis plants with a street value of more than £300,000.

“Previously recognised for her relationship building and intelligence gathering in hostile environments by the Senior Management Team, she is passionate about promoting and adopting a problem-solving approach to ensure they get to the root cause of problems.  I have witnessed Gemma’s professionalism first-hand and continue to do so on a regular basis.”

Acting Sergeant Ian Roach concluded: “Gemma is excellent – you couldn’t ask for a better Sergeant. Everyone looks up to her, she is a shining light that motivates everyone she works with.”

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Llanelli animal rescue centre handed grand boost



Many Tears Animal Rescue

AN ANIMAL rescue centre in Llanelli has received a financial boost as it gears up for its busiest time of the year.

Many Tears Animal Rescue in Cefneithin has received a £1,000 fillip from Persimmon Homes West Wales.

The money comes as part of the housebuilder’s Community Champions scheme. Each and every month Persimmon donates up to £64,000 to good causes across the UK.

The centre rescues unwanted animals and offers life-saving treatment and operations.

Sylvia Van Atta, who founded Many Tears Animal Rescue with her husband Bill, said: “We’re delighted to receive this generous donation from Persimmon Homes.

“We give animals hope of a new life when sometimes they have only known a life of misery, neglect and cruelty.

“On average, we rescue and rehome 3,000 dogs a year, which is an incredible achievement for a small charity.

“When dogs come to us they are seen by a vet and then placed in foster homes around the country, which helps them to acclimatise into a home environment. From here, they go onto their forever home.

“Our running costs are very high so donations like this from Persimmon make the world of difference.”

Sharon Bouhali, sales director at Persimmon Homes West Wales, said: “We’re pleased to be able to support Many Tears Animal Rescue with this donation.

“The number of animals they help each year is very impressive indeed. I wouldn’t like to think what would happen to these animals otherwise as I know the council run rescue centres are under tremendous pressure.

“All of this has been exasperated by the number of people who bought dogs during various lockdowns, only to decide later on they couldn’t look after them properly.

“We wish Sylvia and her team well for the future.”

Persimmon is preparing to start work on stunning new homes on Aberavon seafront. Househunters can now register an interest by visiting or calling 01639 509 055

For more information visit, or to apply for Community Champions funding visit

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