07777683637 rlloydpr@btinternet.com

Press releases

Kicking the bar for Founders’ Day at Aberystwyth

Posted By Robert Lloyd

A procession along the promenade to kick the bar will be held on Friday 12 October 2018 to mark the day Aberystwyth University first opened its doors back in 1872. 

Staff, students, alumni and members of the local community will take part in the Founders’ Day walk from Old College to the foot of Constitution Hill.

The procession will be led by the University’s Chancellor Lord Thomas of Cwmgïedd and Vice-Chancellor Professor Elizabeth Treasure.

Special guest at this year’s Founders’ Day will be Sioned Wiliam – an Honorary Fellow and Aberystwyth drama graduate who is now Commissioning Editor for Comedy at BBC Radio 4. 

Sioned Wiliam is also a novelist, who in May 2018 published her third novel Cicio’r Bar– a light-hearted tale of the trials and tribulations of three students at Aberystwyth University in the 1980s.

Speaking ahead of Founders’ Day, Sioned said: “I’m really looking forward to returning to Aberystwyth. My time at the University was very happy. I was fortunate to have been taught by geniuses in the Drama Department, Professor Elan Closs Stephens and the late Emily Davies. I’m also looking forward to a reunion with some of the close friends I made during those happy years. And of course, I cannot think of a better way to celebrate than a walk along the Prom to kick the Bar!”

Professor Elizabeth Treasure, Vice-Chancellor at Aberystwyth University, said: “There was huge excitement on 16 October 1872 when Old College welcomed its very first students. Founders’ Day is our way of remembering the ambition, vision and passion of those involved in establishing the first University College in Wales here in Aberystwyth. We owe them an enormous debt of gratitude.”

The procession to kick the bar will start at 8:00am from the Old College, where breakfast will later be served just as it was in 1872.

Aberystwyth University opened its doors for the first time at 9.00am on Wednesday 16 October 1872, having celebrated a founders’ breakfast in Old College the previous day.

Assisted by two professors and a Registrar-Librarian, Thomas Charles Edwards welcomed twenty-six students to the converted hotel which become ‘the people’s University.’

A report of the day published at the time said: “The town of Aberystwyth observes a general holiday – there were many eloquent speeches, much music and happy singing; all was joy and marvellous triumph.”

With its opening, Aberystwyth became the first University institution in Wales to offer courses in Chemistry, Comparative Philology, English Language and Literature, French Language and Literature, Geography, German, Greek, Hebrew (also Arabic, Syrian, Sanskrit, Turkish and Persian), History, Italian, Latin, Logic and Philosophy, Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Astronomy.

Louise Jagger, Director of Development and Alumni Relations at Aberystwyth University said: “Our Founders’ Day celebration with our community in Aberystwyth launches a busy programme of autumn events with alumni and friends – in Wales, the UK and further afield. It’s an opportunity to thank our supporters who share the same passion for this University as our Founders and to update them on latest developments, including our ambitious proposals to transform our iconic Old College building on the seafront.”

To know more about the history of Aberystwyth University, visit the University’s online history section.


The Old College as it looked at the time of the opening of the University in 1872.

The graduation procession of 1960, where academic staff processed from the Old College to the Kings Hall.  


New Life for Old Collegehttps://www.aber.ac.uk/en/oldcollege/  

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Press releases

Aberystwyth University launches new Sociology degree

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Aberystwyth University is launching a single-honours’ degree in Sociology, with students being recruited for 2019-20 entry.

The degree will be ‘housed’ within the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences and will make the most of the strong connections that exist between the disciplines of Sociology and Human Geography. 

A number of teaching and research staff based in the Department actively research themes that are of key interest to sociologists, e.g. on mobility, nationalism, rural society, and publish extensively in Sociology journals.

One of the key attributes of the new degree is the emphasis that it places on a field-based approach to Sociology. Field exercises will be integrated into lecture and practical-based modules, and there will be a stand-alone Field-Based Sociology module at year 2.

“This represents a new and exciting venture for us”, said Professor Rhys Jones, the convenor of the new scheme. “At the same time, we are in many ways re-connecting with our past. A Sociology degree was taught here at Aberystwyth between the late 1960s and late 1980s. Also, some of the pioneering work in Community Studies was conducted at Aberystwyth by Alwyn D Rees, work that acted as a template for similar studies elsewhere.”

Students studying on the scheme will also benefit from Aberystwyth University’s commitment to a high-quality student experience. 

The University is a TEF Gold institution and was also awarded the University of the Year for Teaching Quality for the second year running in The Times / The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019.

For more information on the scheme, please contact the course convenor, Professor Rhys Jones, on raj@aber.ac.uk

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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

Carry On and Keep Calm, Jason!

I recently got into my car to drive to a meeting on a gloriously sunny Autumn morning.

The birds were singing (an Abba medley, since you asked) and I was in a good mood.

And then I switched on the Jason Mohammadprogramme on BBC Radio Wales . . . 

Jason seems personable enough, but so obsessed with sport, any subject under discussion (Brexit, Trump, Kim Kardashian’s behind) invariably includes his opinion of ‘last’s night game’, forgetting that not all his listeners share his interest and that there are many sport-free radio stations they can turn to.

Like the last letter in this sentence, that’sbeside the point.

His phone-in that morning was about ‘60 Years Of The Carry On Films’.

Some of the later ‘Carry On’ films were pretty weak. In fact, the final one ,’Carry On Columbus’, made in 1992, is now unwatchable.

But, from 1958 and for two decades, cinema audiences flocked to see them.

From the off, it was obvious Jason had a bee in his bonnet about the films and was annoying his guest, ‘Carry On’ expert and writer Robert Ross by constantly repeating “Those films were just smut”.

Intrigued, I pulled over to the side of the road to listen.

Mr Ross vainly tried to explain that, as well as enjoying the performances of Sid, Kenny, Babs and the gang, the public loved the innuendo and double entendres and it’s impossible and pointless to criticise any art form of the past from today’s “We know better now!” Politically Correct viewpoint.

As Jason persisted with his ‘smut’ line, the patient Mr Ross said something I didn’t catch and Jason suddenly cut him off, surprised that a guest should get so annoyed with his uninformed accusations. 

I’m convinced Jason never saw a ‘Carry On’ film in a cinema filled with an audience howling with laughter. I’m willing to guess he has only seen brief excerpts on TV . . . between sporting events.

Tastes in comedy have changed, yet those old ‘Carry Ons’ are still enjoyed by TV viewers born long after they stopped making them. 

For more than 60 years, the films inspired many writers and comedians of modern comedy, including a series far more crudely explicit than any ‘Carry On’ . . . the smut-filled ‘Mrs Brown’s Boys’.

I wonder if Mr Mohammad is a fan?


I am very excited to be hosting and performing at an event happening this Friday in the heart of Swansea city centre.

The line-up for ‘Phil Evans and Friends Comedy Night’ at The Hyst in High Street features some of the greatest comedy talent in Wales today, all on the same night, all at the same venue . . . you can thank me later.  I do spoil you, you know.

This comedy night promises something for everyone, featuring yours truly, along with my good friends Gary Slaymaker, Aled Richards, Karen Sherrard and Steffan Evans – all performing their unmissable comedy in one of Swansea’s top venues. This really is a line-up not to be missed.

Let’s face it, there is naff all on the TV, the entry fee is less than a take away pizza and you really look like you could do with cheering up a bit now that the darker nights are drawing in.

In fact, this show should be available on NHS prescription for the effect it can have on lifting your mood!

There is something magical about performing live and this is definitely going to be a night to remember. We’d love to see you there.  


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

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Robert Lloyd

Blog posts

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

Posted By Robert Lloyd

There’s a big concert raising funds for Cancer Research UK at Tysul Hall in Llandysul (7pm) this Saturday, October 13.

The concert features the world famous Treorchy Male Voice Choir, conducted by Jeffrey Howard.

Choirs have existed in the Rhondda Valley for more than a 150 years and Treorchy is one of the best known from the area.

One of its first male choirs was formed in the Red Cow Hotel in the summer of 1883 and developed into a National Eisteddfod winner, culminating in a royal command performance for Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle in 1895.

The choir would later disband after the South Wales Valleys suffered during the massive economic downturn of the Great Depression in the United Kingdom and two World Wars.

The present Treorchy Male Choir was reformed on October 16, 1946, under the baton of John Haydn Davies, who led the choir for 20 years.

They reached musical distinction in the Royal National Eisteddfod by gaining a record eight national wins, making a total of 22 first prizes out of 27 entries.

Treorchy was to become the first male choir to venture into the field of popular music and subsequently the choir has made more than 50 commercial recordings.

Their popular music productions include an album of music by Freddie Mercury and Queen and two recordings of music by Bob Marley, but they have also recorded more classical works. They became the first British choir to perform Sibelius’ Kullervo Symphony in Finnish.

The choir has performed with various celebrities, in concerts, on recordings, and on television.

Their collaborations include performances with Tom Jones, Ella Fitzgerald, Julie Andrews, Harry Secombe, Burt Bacharach, Shirley Bassey, Gwyneth Jones, Michael Ball, Katherine Jenkins, Iris Williams, Max Boyce, Bryn Terfel, Aled Jones, Charlotte Church, Ozzy Osbourne, Jon Bon Jovi, Cliff Richard, Andrea Bocelli, McFly, Russell Watson and Il Divo.

Since the early 1980s, the choir has undertaken a number of overseas tours, beginning with two visits to Canada and a performance in Strasbourg Cathedral for its congregation of 6,000 people.

A series of four tours of the USA followed, with visits to the White House and performances in San Francisco, Denver, Seattle and the Mid West.

Treorchy has also enjoyed a close connection with Australia, becoming the first Welsh choir to appear at the Sydney Opera House in 1986.

The choir has made two further visits to Australia appearing in Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne and making a return to the Opera House in Sydney.

In Britain, the choir has appeared on the Royal Variety Performance and has become a regular entertainer on the turf of the Millennium Stadium for various rugby union international games.

The President for the evening in Llandysul is ‘local hero’ baritone Kees Huysmans (Tregroes Waffles).

The special guests for the evening will be the much-acclaimed Tywi Valley musical duo, the husband and wife team of Aled Edwards and Eleri Owen Edwards.

Aled and Eleri are well-loved Welsh international singing celebrities who have a farm at Cilycwm near Llandovery in the Tywi Valley.

Aled and Eleri have a CD of uplifting and inspirational duets, “Dau fel ni” (Two like us).

The mezzo-soprano and baritone are both Blue Riband (David Ellis Memorial Prize) National Eisteddfod winners.

There’s another major concert in Carmarthen this weekend.

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.

This Saturday (October 13) is a very popular date, judging by the concert calendar.

There’s a special concert at Pontyberem Memorial Hall (7.30pm).

Sinfonia Cymru and soloist Caroline Pether will breathe new life into well-known classics.

The concert will feature Eric Whitacre’s October Suite, Grieg’s Holberg Suite, Op. 40, Barber’s Adagio for Strings and Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons.

In other news, Loud Applause Productions is once again supporting the Royal British Legion in their Charity Gala Concert at the Lyric Theatre in Carmarthen on October 27 (7pm).

This year, 2018, is a significant year for our Armed Forces, marking the centenary of the end of The Great War and also commemorating 100 years of the Royal Air Force.  

This 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.

The event helps the Royal British Legion launch the Poppy Appeal in South West Wales.

The concert features one of our leading sopranos, Shân Cothi, the popular broadcaster.

It also features one of Wales’ premier choirs, Dunvant Male Choir, the highly popular Carmarthen based mixed youth Côr Seingar, 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 will be Jeffrey Howard. 

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

Meanwhile, this year’s Night with the Stars event in Llanelli celebrates the fifth anniversary of LARS – Loud Applause Rising Stars.

The evening features 10 talented singers from the Loud Applause stable and top choirs The Richard Williams Singers from Tonyrefail, Côr Y Cwm from the Rhondda, Callum Howells and Friends from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff, trombonist Rhodri Thomas from Llanelli and compère Garry Owen.

The Rising Stars performing will include: Callum Howells, Stephen Davies, Nia Rees, Osian Clarke, Lauren Fisher, Keely Morgan, Neve Summers, Jack Owens, Daisy Owens and Sydney Richards.

The concert is at Ffwrnes Theatre, Llanelli, on November 10 (7pm).

As mentioned in previous columns, the popular Voskresenije (Resurrection) Choir of St Petersburg will be performing at St Mary’s Church in Kidwelly tonight (Wednesday, October 10, 7pm).

This is the choir’s second visit to the area.

The choir is a Russian ‘a cappella’ ensemble of eight singers (two sopranos, two altos, countertenor, tenor, bass and basso profondo). The conductor is Jurij Maruk.

Resurrection was founded by Jurij Maruk in 1993.

The repertoire of the ensemble includes Russian Sacred Music as well as folk music.

On Saturday, October 20, at 3pm, Crwbin Silver Band will be taking part in a Parade and Service in Llanarthne for the statue unveiling of World War Two hero DT Davies.

Côr Meibion Dinefwr Male Voice Choir will be holding their annual concert at Capel Newydd, Llandeilo, on Saturday, October 27 (7.30pm).

The special guests will be Côr Meibion Llandybie Male Voice Choir.

The conductor will be John Williams, the accompanist will be Sara Morgan and the chairman for the evening will be Eifion Davies.

Other special guests include tenor Osian Wyn Bowen, soloist Martha Harries and accompanist Gareth Wyn Thomas.

Admission is £8 and £3 for children and students.

Proceeds will go towards the choir’s funds.

This month, Carmarthen will see a big name singer roll into town.

Russell Watson will be performing his new show, Canzoni d’Amore, at the Lyric on October 19.

Having sold more than seven million albums worldwide, Russell Watson is firmly established as the UK’s best-selling classical crossover artist of all time.

To date, his illustrious career has included performances for Her Majesty The Queen, The Pope and two US Presidents.

Russell is widely regarded as “The People’s Tenor”. Captivating to watch and enchanting to listen to, Russell Watson continues to wow audiences with his enigmatic and entertaining live performances.

The New York Times said of Russell Watson, “He sings like Pavarotti, and entertains the audience like Sinatra”.

Côr Meibion Llanelli Male Voice Choir members are looking forward to Christmas.

‘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.

The West End at Christmas

Also in December, The West End At Christmas returns to The Lyric theatre 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.

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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Latest podcast from Phil Evans and Robert Lloyd

Posted By RobertLloyd58

The latest podcast from Phil Evans and Robert Lloyd.

The Big Cwtsh (Episode 30) is now on Soundcloud.

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Press releases

Aberystwyth computer scientist recognised at Suffrage Science awards

Posted By Robert Lloyd

The pioneering work of an Aberystwyth University computer scientists in promoting the role of women in computing will be acknowledged at a special ceremony in London today, Monday 8 October.

Dr Hannah Dee is one of eleven leading female mathematicians and computer scientists to be recognised at the second Suffrage Science Awards for Mathematics and Computing which take place at the British Library.

The awards celebrate women in science and encourage others to enter science and reach senior leadership roles.

This year’s recipients have been chosen by the previous award holders for their scientific achievements and ability to inspire others.

Dr Dee and her fellow recipients will be presented with items of jewellery inspired by the Suffrage movement, which are passed on as heirlooms from one female scientist to the next.

Dr Dee was nominated for the award by Professor Carron Shankland from the University of Stirling.

Professor Shankland said: “10 years ago Hannah started the BCSWomen Lovelace colloquium to provide a forum for female undergraduate students in computing to showcase their ideas and network with each other and prospective employers. The Lovelace is now well-established as the top undergraduate conference in our field with 200 attendees in 2018. Hannah also connects with primary and secondary school students to enthuse them about the creative side of computing through the award-winning Aberystwyth Robotics Club.”

In July 2018 Dr Dee was inducted into Computer Weekly’s Most Influential Women in UK IT Hall of Fame.

A hundred years after the first women in Britain got the vote, women still only make up 23% of those working in core science, technology, engineering and mathematics occupations in the UK.

Solving the pipeline issue is a long-term challenge for maths and computing with female students making up only 15% of undergraduate computer science students and 37% of mathematical sciences students in 2016/17, compared to 61% of Biological Sciences students.  

Alongside the awards former BBC journalist Susan Watts will lead a discussion about the most striking positive developments and ongoing challenges faced by women in maths and computing.

The Suffrage Science scheme was initiated by Professor Dame Amanda Fisher, Director of the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences (MRC LMS) in 2011. 

Professor Dame Fisher said: “The creation of the Maths and Computing Suffrage Sciences Awards in 2016 recognised the increasing importance of mathematics and computing to the life sciences. As in all branches of the awards their purpose is to celebrate female scientists, their scientific achievements and ability to inspire others. This is especially important in maths and computing where female students studying these subjects are still in the minority. We are delighted to welcome this year’s awardees into the growing Suffrage Science community and look forward to supporting them to inspire the next generation.” 

The 2018 award winners are:
Dr Hannah Dee, Aberystwyth University 
Dr Ruth Keogh, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Dr Tereza Neocleous,University of Glasgow
Dr Nina Snaith, University of Bristol
Dr Daniela De Angelis MRC Biostatistics Unit, University of Cambridge
Dr Eugenie Hunsicker, Loughborough University
Professor Sally Fincher, University of Kent
Professor Julie McCann, Imperial College London
Professor Jane Hillston, University of Edinburgh
Professor Ursula Martin, University of Oxford
Dr Vicky Neale, University of Oxford.

Photo: Dr Hannah Dee

Suffrage Science

Aberystwyth computer scientist enters IT Hall of Fame

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