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Press releases

Wales International Rupert Moon Joins GB Wheelchair Rugby as Welsh Ambassador

Posted By Robert Lloyd

GB Wheelchair Rugby (GBWR) will formally announce former Wales international rugby player Rupert Moon as an ambassador for GBWR at Llandarcy Academy of Sport on Sunday 18 November.

Rupert who played rugby for Welsh clubs Abertillery, Neath and most memorably Llanelli, won 24 caps for Wales at scrum half and over the last six years has been supporting the growth of wheelchair rugby in Wales.

He will join around 40 junior wheelchair rugby players at Llandarcy for the Lord’s Taverners Junior Wheelchair Rugby Welsh Festival.

The junior festival is an opportunity for junior players to take part in skills based activities and to compete against those with similar impairments.

There will be teams from Ospreys, Scarlets, Bristol Bears, Exeter, Gloucester and Solent Sharks.

The festival is also a great opportunity to showcase junior wheelchair rugby in Wales and the thriving partnership between the Lord’s Taverners, GBWR and local partnerships with Ospreys Scarlets, Active Gwent, Dragons the WRU, Disability Sport Wales and the Welsh Rugby Charitable Trust .

Also attending the festival will be current GB athlete Jim Roberts. Jim was a successful Welsh cross country runner when he caught bacterial meningitis whilst an under graduate at Coventry University. This resulted in a prolonged stay in hospital, and the amputation of both his legs.

A nurse who supported his rehab, introduced him to the sport of Wheelchair Rugby and Jim quickly became an influential force in the game.

He has been a regular in the GB team since 2013 and at the World Wheelchair Rugby Championships in Sydney is year was voted as the best world player in his class.

The festival will start at 11am and spectators are welcome.

Rupert Moon will formally be announced as GBWR’s ambassador in Wales at 1pm.

The festival is due to end at 3pm when Rupert will present the trophy to the winning team.

David Pond, CEO of Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby, said: “We are delighted to be at Llandarcy for this fantastic tournament and to see how wheelchair rugby is growing in Wales. It’s also really exciting that Rupert has accepted our invitation to become an ambassador. He has already done a great deal to raise the profile of the sport in Wales and his infectious enthusiasm and genuine willingness to support those who play will make a huge difference to the game in Wales.

“I would also like to thank all partners in Wales especially the Welsh Rugby Charitable Trust whose support has been critical in enabling us to grow junior and adult wheelchair rugby in Wales.”

Rupert Moon said: “I’m honoured to accept the role as an ambassador and look forward to continuing to work with GBWR to help more disabled people experience the joy of the game. If you have yet to see it then get along to Llandarcy and watch the juniors play or get yourself to Leicester for the Quad Nations in March when GB take on the best in the world.”

About Wheelchair Rugby:

Wheelchair rugby was first recognised as a full medal sport at the 2000 Paralympic Games in Sydney, Australia. It has since featured at the Paralympic Games in Athens in 2004, Beijing in 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016. Originating in Canada in the 1970s, wheelchair rugby developed from the ‘murderball’ game – created by a group of disabled sportsmen. The GB national team came 4th in the World Wheelchair Rugby Championships in Sydney in August this year. They will play the top eight teams in the world at the World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge in October 2019 which sits alongside the Rugby World Cup.

For more details about the sport www.gbwr.org.uk

Lord’s Taverners:

The Lord’s Taverners is the UKs leading youth cricket and disability sports charity dedicated to giving disadvantaged and disabled young people a sporting chance. The charity helps fund the Lord’s Taverners Wheelchair Rugby Youth programme. www.lordstaverners.org 

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Press releases

Construction progress celebrated at steel signing ceremony

Posted By Robert Lloyd

The latest stage of construction at the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus has been marked with a special ceremony.

Funders, university staff, community stakeholders and industry representatives gathered for a steel signing ceremonyon Monday 12 November 2018 at Aberystwyth University’s Gogerddan campus.

The event marked the completion of the steel frame for the new Campus’s Seed Biobank.

Guests were invited to sign a steel beam, which was then lifted into place by a crane to become a permanent part of the structure of the building.

Speaking at the event, Professor Elizabeth Treasure, Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University, said: “Even before completion, the Campus is very much open for business, acting as a magnet for business and university collaboration and co-location. The steel signing ceremony marks an exciting milestone in the timeline of our Campus build, and provides an opportunity for everyone to see the fantastic progress that has already been made on site. The development will provide a superb home for new businesses and partnerships, building on some well-established industrial collaborations and attracting new ones to Wales.”

There has been rapid progress over the last few months, with the preparation of the site’s foundations for the Seed Biobank and Biorefining Centre now complete. 

The principal contractor, Willmott Dixon, has also been busy diverting services and erecting the steel structure of the initial Campus buildings. 

The £40.5m development will foster collaboration between business and academia, providing world-leading facilities and expertise for the food and drink, biotechnology and agri-tech sectors, with funding from the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, the BBSRC – part of UK Research and Innovation – and Aberystwyth University. 

Dr Rhian Hayward MBE, Chief Executive Officer at the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus, said: “As we celebrate progress, we are now focussed on how the new Campus facilities will support the business community and the university in collaborations that will see new products and services brought to market. Our door is now truly open for those exciting discussions.”

Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus will also house an Analytical Science Centre and a Future Food Centre, and will be fully operational by the summer of 2020. 

Once open, the Campus will build on the existing capabilities within Aberystwyth University’s institutes, working particularly closely with the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) to facilitate enhanced access to the excellent research capabilities currently offered as well as shaping future translational research priorities. 

Willmott Dixon have been working with Ceredigion County Council to provide work placements and apprenticeship opportunities to young people in the area. 

Neal Stephens, Managing Director at Willmott Dixon said: “Today was a great event to celebrate the fantastic progress made so far, but our work extends beyond the buildings that we build. We want to leave a positive and lasting impact in the community. This is why we are working with the Council and other providers to offer opportunities for young people and the long term unemployed. While we are here, we want to ensure that the project benefits as many people as possible.”

One of the existing buildings, which will form part of the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Camps on the Gogerddan site, has already been refurbished to a high standard and provides over 300m2 of rentable office accommodation to the business community. The facility has been modernised to cater specifically for companies wishing to co-locate with leading researchers in the biosciences and agri-tech sectors.

Photo: (left to right): Professor Elizabeth Treasure, Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University; Peter Ryland, Deputy Director, Welsh European Funding Office at Welsh Government; Paul Gemmill, Chief Operating Officer, BBSRC; Neal Stephens, Managing Director at Willmott Dixon and Dr Rhian Hayward MBE, Chief Executive Officer and the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus


Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus

Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences


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Press releases

Carmarthenshire Council faces tough budget choices

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Around £28million of efficiency savings need to be found by Carmarthenshire County Council over the next three years.

The council’s Executive Board will start discussions about the budget at its next meeting, looking at a variety of proposals put forward to help balance the books.

Carmarthenshire, like other councils in Wales, has faced annual reductions in its funding from Welsh Government year on year, whilst having to meet rising costs and increasing demands for services.

More than £50million of savings has been delivered in the last five years alone, in a time when the council has continued to invest in new state of the art schools for children, and facilities to support the county’s economy, particularly to create jobs.

Over the next few months, people will be given the opportunity to give feedback on 27 new service proposals being considered over the next three years. This is in addition to more than £5.5million of internal managerial savings that need to be made by council officers by 2020.

Cllr David Jenkins, Executive Board Member for Resources, said: “Once again we have had a disappointing provisional settlement from Welsh Government which leaves us in a very challenging position with difficult choices to make between balancing the books and the needs of our communities.

“As always, we will be taking the views of members of the public on board as part of a wide-ranging consultation on proposals, and we will do all we can to mitigate the impact on front-line services. This is an important opportunity for everybody to get involved.

“Behind the scenes our officers have already made efficiency savings by doing things differently – reviewing what we do, how we do it, and where we can make improvements. By doing this, £16million of savings have been achieved internally over the last three years.”

Members of the Executive Board will meet on November 19 at County Hall to start talks on next year’s budget. Following their agreement, a public consultation will start on November 20.

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Mark Jones

Blog posts

The latest Clay Shaw Butler Money Matters column

Posted By Robert Lloyd

By Mark Jones, director of Carmarthen-based Clay Shaw Butler chartered accountants and business consultants. The Money Matters column appears in the Pembrokeshire Herald, the Carmarthenshire Herald and the Llanelli Herald newspapers.

This week, in Money Matters, we continue our spotlight on the latest Budget from Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond . . .

At Clay Shaw Butler chartered accountants, we have produced a summary on the tax measures which may affect you, your family and your business.

Here are some more points on personal tax changes before we start to focus on business tax changes in next week’s Herald – 

Gift Aid – donor benefits:

Draft legislation has been issued which simplifies the donor benefits rules that apply to charities who claim Gift Aid tax relief on donations.

From 6 April 2019 the benefit threshold for the first £100 of the donation will remain at 25% of that amount.

For gifts exceeding £100, charities can offer benefits up to the sum of £25 and 5% of the amount of the donation that exceeds £100.

The total value of the benefit that a donor can receive remains at £2,500.

The new limits replace the current mix of monetary and percentage thresholds that charities have to consider when determining the value of benefit they can give to their donors without losing the entitlement to claim Gift Aid tax relief on the donations given to them.

Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme:

The Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme (GASDS) applies to small charitable donations where it is impractical to obtain a Gift Aid declaration.

GASDS currently applies to donations of £20 or less made by individuals in cash or contactless payment.

The limit will be raised to £30 from 6 April 2019.

National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW):

Following the recommendations of the independent Low Pay Commission (LPC), the government will increase the NLW by 4.9% from £7.83 to £8.21 from April 2019.

The government will also accept all of the LPC’s recommendations for the other NMW rates to apply from April 2019, including increasing the rates for:

  • 21 to 24 year olds by 4.3% from £7.38 to £7.70 per hour
  • 18 to 20 year olds by 4.2% from £5.90 to £6.15 per hour
  • 16 to 17 year olds by 3.6% from £4.20 to £4.35 per hour
  • apprentices by 5.4% from £3.70 to £3.90 per hour.

Universal Credit:

The government has announced that the amount that households with children and people with disabilities can earn before their Universal Credit award begins to be withdrawn – the Work Allowance – will be increased by £1,000 from April 2019.

In addition the government has listened to representations made by stakeholders on Universal Credit, and has announced a package of extra support for claimants as they make the transition to Universal Credit.

The government remains committed to the introduction of Universal Credit.

The set of measures announced in the Budget are worth £1.7 billion per year.

You can find out more about money matters on the Clay Shaw Butler website (under our news for business section) – http://www.clayshawbutler.com/news/latest-news-for-business

We have a strong and experienced team with great local knowledge all geared-up to helping you get the very best from your finances – whether that is as an individual or as a business.

We stay ahead of the game by putting great store by continual professional development for our staff.

With Investors In People status at Clay Shaw Butler, we care passionately about making sure our staff have all the tools they need to serve you, our customers.

Weblink – http://www.clayshawbutler.com

The team at Clay Shaw Butler can be contacted on 01267 228500.

The team at Clay Shaw Butler are on Twitter. Look for @clayshawbutler.

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Robert Lloyd

Blog posts

The latest ‘On Song’ column from the Carmarthen Journal and Llanelli Star

Posted By Robert Lloyd

There’s a special concert coming up in December to raise funds for Burry Port Lifeboat Station.

‘Christmas by Candlelight will feature Elin Manahan Thomas, Gary Griffiths and Osian Wyn Bowen.

It is being held at St Mary’s Church, Burry Port, on Saturday, December 22 (7pm).

Elin Manahan Thomas is one of the most exceptional sopranos of her generation.

Since releasing her début album ‘Eternal Light’ in 2007, with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, she has performed at many of the world’s most prestigious venues and festivals, and with leading orchestras and conductors.

Perhaps most famously known for her performances of baroque masterpieces – such as Handel’s Eternal Source of Light Divine at the London 2012 Paralympics Opening Ceremony – Elin is equally at home performing classical and contemporary works.

Elin has performed across Europe at major venues and festivals, including: the Edinburgh, Canterbury, Three Choirs, Llangollen, Mostly Mozart and Lufthansa festivals, St John’s Smith Square, Wigmore Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Birmingham Town Hall, Bridgewater Hall, Casa de Musica in Porto, Zurich Tonhalle, and the Concertgebouw Amsterdam.

In 2008 Elin gave the World Première of Sir John Tavener’s Requiem in Liverpool Cathedral (also recorded for EMI), and later premiered his Love Duet at the Manchester International Festival in 2013. Elin sang in the premiere of Karl Jenkin’s ‘Cantata Memoria’ in October 2016, written to commemorate the Aberfan disaster 50 years earlier; the piece was also released on Deutsche Gramophon records.

In May 2018 she was honoured to perform at the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Orchestras she has worked with include the Halle, Britten Sinfonia, Royal Philharmonic, Academy of Ancient Music, BBC NOW, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Bournemouth Symphony, City of London Sinfonia, the Malaysian Philharmonic, and Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra.  She has performed for many of the world’s leading conductors, among them Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Sir Andrew Davis, Harry Christophers, Paul McCreesh, Stephen Layton, Sir Roger Norrington, Vasily Petrenko, Thierry Fischer and the late Richard Hickox. Equally comfortable performing contemporary music, Elin has been fortunate to work with Sir John Tavener, John Rutter, Sir Karl Jenkins, James Macmillan, Judith Weir and Eric Whitacre, among others.

Alongside concert performances, Elin is also known for her presenting work. She has been twice nominated for a BAFTA Cymru (Best Newcomer, Best Presenter) and has presented for BBC 4 (The Proms) and BBC 2 Wales (Proms in the Park). Elin regularly presents for Radio Cymru, and is presenter on Radio Three’s Early Music Late, on Sunday evenings.

Elin has released five solo albums, and appeared as featured soloist on innumerable discs, for labels such as Universal, Naxos, Chandos, Hyperion, Coro, Signum, Collegium and Sain. In 2012, her ‘Vivaldi’ recording with Florilegium was Radio 3’s CD of the Week; BBC Music Magazine awarded the disc five stars; while International Record Review placed it in their ‘Outstanding’ category. Her recordings range from the renaissance to Handel to Elgar and beyond, and 2016 sees the release of a CD of songs by Morfydd Llwyn Owen (previously unrecorded) for Ty Cerdd, and Karl Jenkins’ Cantata Aberfan for Deutsche Gramophon, alongside Bryn Terfel. In April 2016 she was Classic FM’s Artist of the Week. Due for release in Summer 2018 is an album of songs by Welsh composer/pianist Dilys Edwards, on the Ty Cerdd label, in celebration of Edwards’ birth centenary year.

In addition to her singing and presenting, Elin is a passionate advocate of music education, and is an ambassador for Sing Up. She has led choral workshops with Eric Whitacre, masterclasses at RWCMD, University of Oxford, children’s concerts with LPO and OAE, and children’s operas with Children’s Music Workshop. Elin is an Honorary Fellow at RWCMD, and at the Universities of Swansea and Bangor.

She is an Ambassador for leading Welsh jewellery brand Clogau.

Baritone Gary Griffiths is a Burry Port boy.

He made his Royal Opera House stage debut in 2017 singing the role of Solanio in Keith Warner’s WNO production of The Merchant of Venice. He also made his Teatro di San Carlo (Naples) debut in concert, singing Arthus in Le Rois Arthus.

Winner of the Welsh Singers Competition in 2012, Gary Griffiths was a finalist representing Wales in the 2013 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World. He studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where, in 2009, he won the prestigious Gold Medal Competition.

At the Welsh National Opera, where he began as an Associate Artist, he made a critically acclaimed debut in 2011 as Guglielmo (Così fan tutte). His other roles with the company include Marcello (La Bohème), Solanio (The Merchant of Venice, UK Premiere), Cecil (Maria Stuarda), Masetto (Don Giovanni), Claudio (Béatrice et Bénédict), and Schaunard in a new production of La Bohème (for which he was awarded the Wales Theatre Critics’ Award for Best Male Opera Singer).

He recently sang Marcello (La Bohème) for WNO at the Dubai Opera, Ford (Falstaff), Sharpless (Madama Butterfly), Il Conte (Le nozze di Figaro) for the Wiesbaden State Opera, Marcello (La Bohème) for New Zealand Festival Opera, Maximillian (Candide) for Opera di Firenze at the Maggio Musicale, The Executioner (Ines de Castro) for Scottish Opera, Ned Keene (Peter Grimes) for Grange Park Opera, Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro) for New Zealand Festival Opera and Malatesta (Don Pasquale) for the Longborough Festival Opera.

Concert appearances include Berlioz ‘Les Troyens’ with Valery Gergiev and the London Symphony Orchestra, Mahler Symphony No.8 with the Philharmonia at Gloucester Cathedral, Grieg’s Peer Gynt with the Hallé Orchestra conducted by Nikolaj Znaider, Handel’s Messiah at the Romanian Athenaeum, Bucharest, Fauré Requiem with John Wilson and the RTE Concert Orchestra, Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius with the Berliner Kantorei, Mozart’s Requiem with the orchestra of the Welsh National Opera and Christoph Poppen. Concert engagements this season include Beethoven’s Symphony no.9 with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

A committed recitalist, appearances include the Oxford Lieder Festival with Joan Rodgers and Sholto Kynoch in a recital of Russian Song, the Cowbridge Music Festival with Joseph Middleton, King’s Place with Iain Burnside, the Ludlow English Song Weekend with Simon Lepper and the Wigmore Hall with Malcolm Martineau.

In recording, he appears on Catrin Finch’s Lullabies CD for Deutsche Grammophon alongside Julian Lloyd Webber, a double album of Holst’s ‘At the Boars Head’ and Vaughan Williams ‘Riders to the Sea’ with the Warsaw Chamber Opera Sinfonietta for the Dux record label (nominated for Best Opera Album at the 2017 International Classical Music Awards). And soon to be released, is a recording of Mendelssohn Songs with Malcolm Martineau for Champs Hills Records.

Tickets for the Bury Port concert are £15 and are available from Cadno Travel or from the following phone numbers – 07795415411 and 07900893150.

Sunday, November 18 (7pm) sees a grand concert at Myddfai Community Hall near Llandovery.

The guest artistes include the celebrated tenors Rhys Meirion and Aled Wyn Davies, two of the popular Welsh Three Tenors.

Also on stage will be the Treble C Group. 

The compere will be Glyn Owen and the president for the evening will be Robyn Richards.

Tickets are £10 and available from Emlyn on 01550 720484.

Llanelli District Music and Drama Club have a special evening at the Lliedi Suite, Selwyn Samuel Centre on Friday, November 30 (7.30pm).

They will be presenting A Fine Romance, with Tony Jacobs and Catherine Sykes and Jim Barry at the piano.

The evening will feature music and songs by George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Irving Berlin.

Tickets are £10 (students £5) and are available from Barrie Lewis, Market Precinct, Llanelli, phone 01554-772594 or at the door.

Crwbin Silver Band are getting ready for Christmas.

Their Christmas Concert will be at Pontyberem Hall on Friday, December 14 (7pm).

The concert will also feature Ysgol Maes y Gwendraeth choir and wind band.

Tickets are £8 (children £5) and will be available at the door or from band members.

Côr Meibion Llanelli Male Voice Choir members are also looking forward to the festive season.

‘Christmas With The Choir’ will be held at 7pm on Saturday, December 1, at Ffwrnes Theatre, Llanelli.

The choir’s special guests will be Burry Port Town Band and the St John Lloyd School Choir.

Also in December, The West End At Christmas returns to the Lyric Theatre in Carmarthen with their brand new concert for 2018!

Stars from the West End present a magical evening of entertainment featuring hits from the musicals and the best of Christmas songs.

The talented cast have starred in many West End productions and national tours including Les Miserables, We Will Rock You, South Pacific, Singing in the Rain, Starlight Express, Phantom Of The Opera, Wicked, Godspell, Joseph and Cats . . . to name but a few!

The West End At Christmas will at The Lyric on December 18.

The Kidwelly Festival Ladies Choir will be performing at a Grand Christmas Concert and Vintage Fashion Show at Carmarthen Museum, Abergwili, on December 15 (6pm). Tickets are £10 adults and £5 children. It promises to be a fun night.

Finally, in case you missed the news about Russell Watson . . . 

His Carmarthen concert has been re-scheduled to Tuesday November 27 at the Lyric.

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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Phil Evans

Blog posts

The latest Phil Evans column

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Comedian Phil Evans is from Ammanford. He is known as the man who puts the ‘cwtsh’ into comedy. This column appears in the South Wales Evening Post, Carmarthen Journal and Llanelli Star. Website – www.philevans.co.uk


I was bemused when I first read that, due to complaints from feminists, Kleenex were going to rename their long-established ‘Man Size’ tissues as ‘Extra Large’.

Here we go again, I thought.

But didn’t comment on it.

Then I realised how expensive it would be for Kleenex to ditch all the already-printed boxes in their warehouses, recall the ones they’d already sent out to the shops and replace them with the newly-branded ones.

Hopefully, the unwanted boxes will be recycled and not thrown away.

However, the feminists who demanded the change couldn’t be sure of that, which makes me wonder if they always put their issues about equality above environmental concerns.

Either that, or they don’t really think it through whenever they ‘demand’ changes.

A few days later my bemusement turned to annoyance when I read that because Waitrose were selling a ‘Gentleman’s Smoked Chicken Caesar Roll’ it was described as ‘outrageous’ by a lady comedian whose name I’m not familiar with (and, as I’ll not mention it here, neither will you).

On social media, she said: “I didn’t know sandwiches were gender specific. I’m female but, thankfully, Waitrose let me purchase one anyway!”

As she and anybody else of any gender were able to buy the roll, I don’t see why she was so outraged.

Okay, she may have said that as a joke. But because her complaint started a Twitter storm, Waitrose has apologised and will change the name of the roll!

They said: “We never intended to cause offence!”

Well, of course they didn’t, but that didn’t stop various attention-seekers, with too much time on their hands, deciding to take offence despite the fact it’s called the ‘Gentleman’s Smoked Chicken Caesar Roll’ because it contains anchovy mayonnaise similar to ‘Gentleman’s relish’, which has been around a long, long time – long before feminists could moan about it on social media, which was, I believe, invented by a man.

Next time they have ‘Ladies Day’ at Royal Ascot, I’m going to complain.

Anyone want to join me?


Remembrance Sunday:

While writing this week’s column, I felt a strong urge to mention Remembrance Sunday, an event that has meaning for so many and is held in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth as a day to commemorate the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women in the two World Wars and other conflicts. 

I have only recently discovered the significance of the poppy, which to my surprise was inspired by the World War One poem ‘In Flanders Fields’.

I read that the opening lines refer to the many poppies that were the first flowers to grow in the churned-up earth of soldiers’ graves in Flanders, a region of Europe that overlies a part of Belgium.

This is truly a day to remember and one we should never forget.

So many have contributed and paid the ultimate price so that we have choice and freedom of speech, enabling me to share my views openly (subject to the Editor’s approval, of course!).


You can follow Phil Evans on Twitter @philevanswales and www.philevans.co.uk

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