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Press releases

Scarlets add two exciting youngsters to squad

Posted By Robert Lloyd

As the season draws to a close the Scarlets have added another two new recruits to their ranks for the forthcoming 2018-19 season in the Guinness PRO14 and European Rugby Champions Cup.

With six newcomers in Uzair Casseim, Clayton Blommetjies, Kieron Fonotia, Blade Thomson, Kieran Hardy and Sam Hidalgo-Clyne already announced the Scarlets are pleased to confirm that two more names have been added to the in-coming contingent of Scarlets.

Fly half Angus O’Brien and loose forward Ed Kennedy, both 23, will join the Scarlets from Dragons and Australian side Randwick respectively.

O’Brien was part of the Dragons U18s set-up and went on to earn 7 caps for Wales U20s. He was Dragons’ top points scorer in 2016-17 and had previously played for Principality Premiership side Cross Keys, he made his debut for the Newport Gwent Dragons on 12th September 2014, aged just 19 years old. O’Brien was also part of the Dragons 7s team that were crowned champions of the Premiership Sevens in 2015.

Light-footed with good acceleration Welsh qualified Kennedy is a dynamic loose forward who will benefit from Scarlets’ open, exciting and expansive style of play. Standing at 195cm Kennedy strikes an imposing figure with the ability to play on the blindside as well as at lock.

Commenting on the news head coach Wayne Pivac said; “As this season has showed it is vitally important to have strength in depth across the squad as international call-ups have an effect on player availability during autumn and Six Nations windows.

“Both Angus and Ed are two young guys looking to continue their development and make a mark on the professional stage. Having young players pushing the seniors and starting team is what drives the whole squad and helps us to be competitive. We look forward to welcoming both to the region and to see them continue to flourish over the coming months and years.”

Jon Daniels, Scarlets General Manager of Rugby, added; “We’re particularly excited to welcome two new faces in the shape of Angus O’Brien and Ed Kennedy to the region for the new season.

“Angus is an exciting young fly half who will look to continue his development here with us after showing great promise with the Dragons and Wales Under 20s.

“Ed, despite being potentially an unknown name to the rugby audience here in Wales, is a very exciting young loose forward prospect. At just 23 years of age he has plenty of development still to do and will benefit from both on and off-field environment here at Parc y Scarlets.

“Our recruitment policy and planning is as much about succession planning as it is the immediate future and we’re very excited to see how both continue to grow as young men both on and off the field.”

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The Big Cwtsh

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Latest podcast from Phil Evans and Robert Lloyd

Posted By Robert Lloyd

The latest podcast from Phil Evans and Robert Lloyd has just been released.

The Big Cwtsh: Episode 15 is now on Soundcloud.


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Jenkins Bakery supporting National Doughnut Week for charity

Posted By Robert Lloyd

The Jenkins Bakery is once again delighted to be supporting National Doughnut Week and The Children’s Trust Charity.

For every doughnut sold, the firm will be donating 5p to the Children’s Trust Charity.

In 2016, the Jenkins Bakery shops throughout South Wales raised more than £850 for the charity.

The doughnut week runs until Saturday (May 19).

Jenkins Bakery operations director Russell Jenkins said that Doughnut Week was a great opportunity to celebrate the doughnut and raise money for a very worthwhile charity.

He added: “Our staff enjoy getting into the spirit of doughnut week and we are always grateful for the support of our customers, who enter into the spirit of the event and help the Children’s Trust Charity.”

Gowerton staff looking forward to celebrating National Doughnut Week – Ella, Shannon and Sara.

Sospan shop staff are ready with their doughnuts – Pam, Manageress Kate and Leah.

Websites –



The Jenkins Bakery doughnut range –

Caramel Doughnut £1.08

Our top quality doughnut coated with Caramel Crembel with crème patisserie filling.

Chocolate Ring Doughnut 80p

Our top quality ring doughnut hand decorated with Chocolate Crembel & scattered with white fondant.

Yum Yums 68p or two for £1.20

Our top quality doughnut cut into oblong shapes twisted by hand and coated with lemon water icing.

Iced Vanilla Ring Doughnuts 72p

Ring doughnut covered in vanilla flavoured crembel and with various toppings.

Sugar Ring Doughnut 50p

Top quality ring doughnut coated with sugar.

Blueberry Doughnut 90p

Top quality doughnut filled with a premium Blueberry filling, topped with violet/blue icing and hand decorated with chocolate lines.

Caramel Ring Doughnut 80p

Our top quality ring doughnut hand decorated with Caramel Crumble and finished with Caramel-flavoured chocolate curls.

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Press releases

Love letters tell of World War One experiences

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Love letters of an Aberystwyth University student and her soldier boyfriend are set to form part of a major study into the impact of The Great War on the people and communities of Aberystwyth.

The privately-owned letters tell of the friendship and growing love of ‘Billy and Dot’, as they share their thoughts on books, art, films and ideas, banter and argue, and describe their wartime experiences to each other.

The letters are set to be dramatised as part of the ‘Aberystwyth at War: Experience, Impact, Legacy, 1914-1919’ project which has secured financial backing from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Dot, a student at the then University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, abandoned her studies to work as a Voluntary Aid Attachment nurse.

Billy trained in Aberystwyth before being deployed to the Western Front and died in action 1917. Dot remained single for the rest of her life.

The 18 month project is led by Dr Sian Nicholas from the Department of History and Welsh History at Aberystwyth University.

Dr Nicholas has researched extensively on war-time Britain, and particularly on the history of the British media during conflicts.

This study will explore the effects of the conflict through the eyes of student volunteers, local community history societies and performance groups, schools and local residents.

Using wartime records, letters, newspapers, photographs, refugee art and music, war memorials and recorded memories in local archives the project hopes to piece together the stories of those who were affected in the form of an interactive map.

Sources will include the National Library of Wales, Ceredigion Archives, Ceredigion Museum, Aberystwyth University’s own archives, and public places.

Project leader  said: “We are delighted to have been awarded funding by the Heritage Lottery Fund for this project. While some stories have been told, many others are incomplete or unexplored. We hope to go some way to addressing this and to introduce a whole new generation of people to the losses and hardship experienced by those who went to war as well as those left behind during WW1.”

The project will also offer opportunities for local groups to interpret the influences of WW1 through art and performance, and develop archival, digital and creative skills as they identify and follow the wartime histories of Aberystwyth.

It will span the stories of the soldiers and their loved ones, refugees, university students and staff, political activists and conscientious objectors.

Plans for the project include staging performances, creating an open access interactive digital map featuring biographies and video material, and the establishment of community legacy for future discovery and interpretation.

Project partners are the Department of History and Welsh History and Aberystwyth Arts Centre, both part of Aberystwyth University, Ceredigion Museum, Ceredigion Archives, People’s Collection Wales based at the National Library of Wales, community theatre groups and local heritage groups.

Ceredigion Museum will be screening Battle of the Somme (1916) and All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)on 18 May 2018.

Battle of the Somme (1916), doors open 5.15pm PG £6 / £5
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), doors open 7pm PG £6 / £5

The screenings form part of Ceredigion Museum’s Hope in the Great Warexhibition which opens on 5 May 2018.

Photo: Dr Sian Nicholas from the Department of History and Welsh History

Department of History and Welsh History

Heritage Lottery Fund

Dr Sian Nicholas

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Press releases

Award winning author and Aberystwyth graduate awarded 2018 Tir na n-Og prize

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Esteemed author Hayley Long, who graduated from Aberystywth University with a degree in English Literature in 1992, is the winner of the 2018 English language Tir na n-Og literature prize for young adults.

Organised by the Welsh Books Council, the award celebrates the best English-language title with an authentic Welsh background.

Hayley’s novel,The Nearest Faraway Place,is a young adult novel about two boys, Dylan and Griff, and their attempts to overcome a tragic accident that changes their lives forever.

The story is set in both New York and Aberystwyth, with flashbacks to a range of exotic locations around the world, and follows the boys as they try to rebuild their lives.

Hayley lives in Norwich but it was her student days in Aberystwyth that inspired her prize winning novel.

Hayley has fond memories of residing at Pantycelyn, despite not being a Welsh speaker and of the hall’s warden, Dr John Davies.

Hayley said: “Aberystwyth made a fundamental and lasting impression on me. The journey from Felixstowe used to take at least 9 hours by train and I can still remember that sensation of relief and happiness and excitement each time the train pulled into Aber and I saw the National Library all lit up on the hillside.

“I don’t think I was aware of it then, but the town and the university left an indelible mark on me and I will always love them both and that’s precisely why the second half of The Nearest Far Away Place’could only ever be set in Aberystwyth.

“In the first chapter, I do a terrible thing to my young characters and they must pick their lives up after a total catastrophe.  The story is a sad one but I knew from the beginning that it was going to have a hopeful message, and so I help the boys recover by introducing them to lots of things that I love and I relocate them from New York to a place where they can feel better – Aberystwyth.”

Hayley was presented the award at Y Drwm, National Library of Wales on the 9 May 2018, as part of the CILIP Wales Conference, the Chartered Institute of Librarians and Information Professionals.

Hayley added: “Winning the Tir Na n-Og award is a massive vote of confidence and makes me feel so very, very encouraged to keep on writing the (sometimes quirky) things I want to write. I feel like I owe a debt of gratitude to Aberystwyth all over again. Diolch yn fawr.”

Photo: Hayley Long

Study English and Creative Writing at Aberystwyth University

Hayley Long

Welsh Books Council

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Robert Lloyd

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Latest ‘On Song’ column from Carmarthen Journal and Llanelli Star

Posted By Robert Lloyd

There’s a special treat in Burry Port this weekend as the town’s famous Opera Chorus present Faure’s Requiem.

St Mary’s Church in Burry Port is the venue for the concert at 7pm on Saturday, May 12.

The evening will also feature other well-known opera choruses.

The soloists will be Eleri Gwilym and Kees Huysmans.

Ryan Lee will conduct and Martin Bell will be the organist and accompanist.

The Burry Port Opera Chorus will also perform Faure’s Requiem and other opera choruses at St Catherine’s Church in Gorseinon on Wednesday May 16, 7.30 pm.

Meanwhile, the current hottest tickets in town are for a major concert to be staged at Ffwrnes Theatre, Llanelli on Saturday, May 19, 2018 (7pm).

An array of stars will perform a very special evening of song in celebration of Llanelli Rotary Club marking its landmark Centenary Year.

Llanelli Rotary Club president John (JC) Williams said: “We’ve had a great centenary year, with many special events to mark the occasion. This concert promises to be the grand finale for our 100 years, with a wonderful and very talented line-up for what should be a great charity fundraising concert for Llanelli.”

Shan Cothi, one of the country’s most popular sopranos, will be sharing the stage with two great Welsh international choral ambassadors – Côr Meibion Llanelli, under the baton of conductor D Eifion Thomas, and the Hywel Girls’ Choir and Hywel Boy Singers, under the baton of conductor John Hywel Williams.

Joining them will be the delightful sounds of Cor Ysgol Goffa, an ensemble from Ysgol Y Strade under the baton of Catrin Hughes and the Lewis-Meredith sisters – Calley, Sarah and Steffi.

The event has two aims –

  • To help commemorate the centenary of Llanelli Rotary Club
  • To raise funds for the Green Light Postrate Cancer Machine at Prince Philip Hospital.

The concert is another event co-produced by Carmarthenshire Theatres and Loud Applause.

Cerith Owens, director of Loud Applause Productions, said: “We are honoured to have Shan Cothi taking part and two great choirs led by Mr D Eifion Thomas and John Hywel Williams, both of whom hold the prestigious Rotary award, the Paul Harris Fellowship.

“We will also be featuring the winners of the Llanelli Rotary Club Youg Musician of the Year competition.”

Looking further ahead, Côr Meibion Caerfyrddin Carmarthen Male Choir’s 60th anniversary concert will be held at the Lyric Theatre, Carmarthen, on Saturday, October 13.

The choir will be joined on stage by four other choirs – Mynydd Mawr, Burry Port, Dyffryn Tywi and Dyffryn Aman.

This will create a combined choir of around 150 voices under the baton of Wyn Maskell, musical director of Côr Meibion Caerfyrddin.

Also taking part will be well known soloists: Jessica Robinson, soprano, and Trystan Llŷr Griffiths, tenor.

The MC for the evening will be television and radio personality Garry Owen.

Soprano Jessica Robinson is from Pembrokeshire and graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama with a first class Honours Degree.

As a student at the RWCMD, Jessica studied with Beatrice Unsworth and Jeffrey Howard, winning the Aneurin Davies memorial award, The Mansel Thomas prize, The Margaret Tann Award and the Elias Soprano award.

Throughout her studies, Jessica has been fortunate to participate in master classes with artists such as Michael Pollock, Simon Lepper, Adrian Thompson, Simon Keenleyside, Donald Maxwell and John Fisher. Jessica was also chosen to sing as part of an octet for HRH the Prince of Wales.

Her singing life started at a young age as a competitor in local eisteddfodau in her home county of Pembrokeshire.

She went on to gain success nationally in the Urdd and the National Eisteddfodau.

Jessica has represented Pembrokeshire in the Young Farmers Eisteddfod winning the under 26 solo in 2008 and again in 2012. She was awarded Vocalist of the Year in the Pembrokeshire Chevron Music Awards and Musical Student of the Year in her secondary school, Ysgol y Preseli, Crymych.

as an oratorio and concert soloist, Jessica has performed in venues such as the Wales Millennium Stadium, The National Museum of Wales, Dorking Halls and The Dora Stoutzker Hall. She regularly appears in concerts all over the UK as guest artist with many of Wales’ most renowned Male Voice Choirs such as Blaenavon, Bridgend, South Wales and the London Welsh Male Voice choir. A personal highlight for Jessica was being asked to perform to the Welsh rugby team at the Welsh Assembly during the champagne reception celebrating their success in the Six Nations Championship and also alongside Paul Potts in a Charity concert for the Philippines disaster.

Recent oratorio performances include Handel’s Messiah ( Symffonia Tywi and The Mega Messiah), Vivaldi’s Gloria, Rutter’s Mass of the Children, Karl Jenkins’ Peace Makers and Joseph Parry’s Emmanuel (Côr Bro Ogwr). Jessica performed her first operatic role as the Spirit in ‘Dido and Aeneas’ by Purcell with ‘Opera’r Ddraig’, scene credits include Despina (Cosi fan Tutti), Violetta (La Traviata) and the Countess (Le nozze di Figaro).

Jessica is an artist on the prestigious Live Music Now scheme and also performs regularly as an artist with Music in Hospitals.

Jessica performed in China in March as part of a Welsh Government Scheme; she toured around the country introducing Welsh music. Then toured with the Harry Ensemble as their soprano soloist around New York in May.

Welsh tenor Trystan Llŷr Griffiths, who hails from Clunderwen, Pembrokeshire, is a popular concert soloist throughout Wales and further afield.

One of the first recipients of a Study Award from the Bryn Terfel Foundation, he was named the Voice Of Wales by Decca Records in 2012 in an S4C TV series.

Trystan studied initially at University of Wales Trinity Saint David for a Theatre, Music and Media degree. He subsequently completed an MA degree in Vocal Studies at the Royal Academy of Music and a further postgraduate degree in Opera Performance at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. He has recently completed his studies as a Trainee at the National Opera Studio in London.

Prizes and awards include: Ian Stoutzker Prize 2014; Richard Van Allan Award 2014; Bruce Millar Gulliver Singing Prize 2014; RWCMD HRH Prince of Wales Scholarship 2013; Dunraven Welsh Young Singer of the Year 2013; MOCSA Young Welsh Singer of the Year Prize 2012; Sybil Tutton Award 2012; London Welsh Young Singer of the Year Prize 2011; W. Towyn Roberts Scholarship 2011; Osborne Roberts Memorial Prize 2009.

Concert highlights include appearances at the Royal Albert Hall, Hay-on-Wye Festival with Bryn Terfel, the Brynfest at the Southbank Centre, a concert performance of Tristan und Isolde with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and recitals at St Martin-in-the- Fields and the Cardiff Music Festival.

He took the role of Carlos in a recording of Le Duc d’Albe with the Hallé Orchestra for Opera Rara and during summer 2015 received a scholarship to attend the Mozart Residency at Festival d’Aix-en- Provence.

Trystan made his first professional operatic début in the role of Ferrando in Cosi Fan Tutte on tour with Scottish Opera.

Finally, here’s another date for your diary for later in the year. The Annual Royal British Legion Charity Gala Concert will be held at the Lyric Theatre, Carmarthen, on October 27 (7pm).

This year, 2018, marks a significant year for our Armed Forces. It is the centenary of the end of The Great War (First World War) and also commemorates 100 years of the Royal Air Force.

The prestigious annual Royal British Legion Concert has become one of the landmark events in the calendar of South West Wales, providing a platform for the Royal British Legion to pay tribute to the fallen of current and past conflicts.

It also helps the British Legion launch the Poppy Appeal in South West Wales.

The concert features leading soprano and TV and radio personality Shân Cothi, one of Wales’s premier choirs in the form of Dunvant Male Choir, the highly popular Carmarthen-based mixed youth choir Côr Seingar, Swansea-based Dancerama performing arts group youth choir, the stirring sounds of the City of Swansea Pipe Band and the unforgettable Corps of Drums of the 215 City of Swansea Squadron.

The compére will be Brian Sullivan and the guest accompanist Jeffrey Howard.

The evening ends with the poignant Tribute to the Fallen and a Service of Remembrance.

The Royal British Legion is being supported with this event by Loud Applause Productions, the production company run by Llanelli’s Cerith Owens.


Robert Lloyd works as a media consultant – www.rlloydpr.co.uk

If you have any news about the choral scene in Llanelli, the please contact him on 07777 683637 or email rlloydpr@btinternet.com

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