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Press releases

A farewell from Hywel Dda Health Chair Mrs Bernardine Rees OBE

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Press release from the Hywel Dda University Health Board:

We would like to wish our Chair, Mrs Bernardine Rees OBE, well following her decision to retire from Hywel Dda University Health Board.

Announcing her decision Mrs Rees said:“It is with the deepest of regret that due to health issues, I have decided to retire from my role as Chairman of Hywel Dda University Health Board. It has been an honour and a privilege to serve as Chairman for the organisation during the past five years.

“I feel confident that the organisation, under Steve Moore’s leadership, is in a position to move ahead with an exciting health and care strategy, approved by Board in November last year, which will see lasting improvements to the health and well-being of our local population. 

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our staff for their dedication, hard work and continued commitment to providing the best possible care for our population. I have been fortunate in my position to have met so many of you and to have heard first hand the difference you make for our patients, whether that is through providing front-line care or in supportive roles, which are critical to the NHS. I have always been so proud of your achievements and your tenacity to overcome challenges and put the patient at the centre of your work and this is what motivated me to start the Employee of the Month scheme. It has been my privilege entirely.

“I would like also like to thank those whom I worked closely with for their support to me personally as the Chairman of Hywel Dda and I wish you all the very best for the future.”

Wednesday 02 January 2019

Bernardine will step down from her role as Chairman on 28th February 2019 and in the interim Vice Chair Judith Hardisty will take up the role of Acting Chair. Board Secretary, Joanne Wilson, will work with Welsh Government to commence the recruitment process for the substantive post.

Chief Executive Steve Moore said: “I would like to pay tribute to Bernardine, a colleague and a friend whom I admire greatly and will sorely miss. Bernardine has spent her entire career dedicated to the NHS first through her nursing, then in managerial and Executive roles and more recently, we have been fortunate enough to have benefited from her leadership and tenacity in the role as Chairman for Hywel Dda University Health Board.

“She has led this organisation to a position in which we have a clear health and care strategy, which gives us the foundation to transform and improve. She has also been a champion for our staff and I am sure she will be missed by many of you. We thank you Bernardine and we wish you all the best in the future.” 

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Robert Lloyd

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

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Some of the finest voices from West Wales will be venturing the other side of the Loughor Bridge this weekend for a special fund-raising concert.

Côr Meibion Pontarddulais Male Voice Choir will be starring in a concert at All Saints Church, Oystermouth, at 7.30pm on Friday, February 15.

The ‘boys from the Bont’ are record-breakers, having won the Blue Riband choir title an amazing 17 times at the National Eisteddfod of Wales.

They will be under the musical direction of Clive Phillips for a concert which aims to raise cash for the organ restoration fund at the United Reformed Church in Mumbles.

The choir will be joined on stage by Llanelli’s great junior ambassadors of song, the Hywel Girls’ Choir and Hywel Boy Singers, under the baton of one of the longest-serving musical directors in the land, John Hywel Williams MBE.

Also featuring on what is a stunning bill will be the heavenly voices of the Angelicus Celtis choir, still revelling in their amazing TV appearances last year.

This year promises to be yet another busy year for Angelicus Celtis and the Hywel choirs as they will be taking part in special performances of The Passion Of The Christ, to be performed on Good Friday, April 19, and Easter Saturday, April 20.

The Passion of The Christ will be a blend of varied choral and vocal works, blended with narration and theatre to be held in South Wales over Easter weekend 2019.

This unique performance will present a dramatic retelling of the story of the life and crucifixion of Christ bringing together associated choir and vocal ensembles blending music and poetry from Bach, Barber, Jenkins, Mozart, Webber, Telemann, Dylan Thomas, Elizabeth Browning, Emily Dickson, Langston Hughes and Mary Oliver to name but a few.

The Passion will include opportunities for solo singers, duet, trios, small group chorale and main choir and different roles associated with the life and crucifixion of Christ.

Auditions for these singing opportunities have started.

If you are interested in learning more about the auditions for The Passion of the Christ, please register your interest by contacting Jeremy Williams at jeremywilliams@me.com

Other diary dates for the Hywel choirs and Angelic Celtis include – 

June 1, Last Night of the Proms at Ffwrnes Theatre, Llanelli.

December 14, Christmas Fantasia at Ffwrnes Theatre.

Meanwhile, the countdown is very much ‘on’ to a whole series of concerts and events to mark St David’s Day.

The team at Access Wales are holding a Cawl a Chân at St Peter’s Civic Hall, Carmarthen, on Friday, March 1.

The price is £5 for a bowl of cawl and £1 for a tea or coffee with a Welsh Cake or Bara Brith.

Food is served between 11.45am and 2.30pm.

The ‘boys’ of Llandyfaelog-based Côr Meibion Dyffryn Tywi will be performing at a Cawl a Chân at Carmarthen Golf Club as part of their St David’s Day celebrations.

The evening of entertainment, cawl and Welsh cakes takes place at the golf club at 7m on Friday, March 1.

The evening will also feature Y Brodyr Gregory, the famous Gregory brothers Adrian and Paul.

Y Brodyr Gregory are one of the most popular entertainment acts in Wales and regularly perform on TV and radio.

The ‘boys’ of Côr Meibion Llanelli Male Voice Choir will be helping the chairman of Llanelli Rural Council raise money for charity when they perform their St David’s Day concert.

The concert will take the form of a Cawl a Chân evening at The Diplomat Hotel in Llanelli on Thursday, February 28 (7pm).

The chairman of Llanelli Rural Council Councillor Sian Caiach has chosen three charities to support during her year of office – Breakthro’ Llanelli, Llanelli Railway Strike Riots 1911 Commemorative Committee and Wales Air Ambulance.

The evening will also feature special guest soloists, with more details being released next week.

Tickets, at £12 each, are available from Llanelli Rural Council, Vauxhall Buildings, Llanelli

Tel. 01554 774103 Email: enquiries@llanelli-rural.gov.uk

The Miners’ Theatre in Ammanford will be staging a St David’s Day Concert on Friday, March 1 (7pm).

The popular Cor Meibion Dyffryn Amman will share the stage with three highly-talented young musicians from the Ammanford area – clarinettist Catrin Soons and the beautiful voices of Neve Summers and Osian Clarke. The guest accompanist will be Joseph Cavalli-Price.

Ffwrnes Theatre in Llanelli always stages a hugely-popular St David’s Day concert. This year it will be held on Saturday, March 2.

The concert will feature the world-famous Morriston Orpheus Choir, conducted by Joy Amman Davies, and Côr Lleisiau’r Cwm, under the baton of Llanelli’s Catrin Hughes.

Sharing the spotlight will be two highly-talented young singers from the Loud Applause Rising Stars stable – mezzo soprano Nikkila Thomas, from Llanelli, and tenor Osian Clarke, from Tycroes. 

In other news . . . 

Burry Port Male Voice Choir are planning a joint concert with Snowdown Choir from Canterbury at St Mary’s Church, Burry Port, on Friday, July 12.

Côr Meibion Dyffryn Tywi have fixed the date for their popular annual concert.

It will be on Saturday, October 12, at the Gwenllian Centre, Kidwelly.

The choir will be joined by Mynydd Mawr Choir and guests Trio and Piantel, with compere Eirian Wyn.

Future events for Côr Meibion Dyffryn Tywi also include a scheduled performance at the National Botanical Gardens of Wales, Llanarthne, on Sunday, November 17.

Lovers of the popular S4C Sunday evening show Dechrau Canu, Dechrau Canmol will be delighted to learn that the programme’s Easter special is being filmed in Llangennech.

The evening will be hosted by BBC newsreader Huw Edwards, a native of Llangennech, and will be held at Salem Chapel, Llangennech, on Sunday, March 24, with doors open at 5.30pm.

The conductor will be the celebrated organist Allan Fewster MBE.

Over in Swansea, the soloists from the Llanelli-based Loud Applause Rising Stars stable of singers will be performing at a charity concert in aid of the Mumbles Lifeboat and West Glamorgan Crimebeat on Saturday, April 6 (7pm start).

The concert is being held at All Saints Church, Oystermouth, and will also feature the world famous Morriston Orpheus Choir and guest compere Mal Pope, the TV and radio personality.

Back in Llanelli, there’s a special concert at the Thomas Arms on Friday, February 22.

It features Kirsten Orsborn, who is the Official Sweetheart of The Royal Marines and The Royal British Legion.

Kirsten is from the Neath Valley and is one of the UK’s best and most versatile international female vocalists, performing an extensive repertoire of music from Swing, Jazz, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Twist, Motown, Soul, right through to Disco, Dance and Pop.

You can expect contemporary songs – and a trip down memory lane.

Looking further ahead, Côr Meibion Llanelli have added another date to their 2019 list of engagements.

On Saturday, October 5, they will be performing at The Queen’s Hall in Narberth to help the refurbishment appeal for one of the most popular concert venues in West Wales.

The guest star for the evening will be tenor Trystan Llŷr Griffiths and the concert will also feature the Accapella Youth Group, led by Molara.

Mid Wales Opera return to Ffwrnes Theatre in Llanelli at 7.30pm on Wednesday, February 27.

They will sing Puccini’s Tosca.

Power and passion collide in this breathtaking masterpiece.

Trapped in a life and death struggle against the corrupt police chief Scarpia, the diva Tosca and her artist lover face the ultimate sacrifice.

Puccini’s lavish score takes audiences on an emotional rollercoaster ride from tender love story through powerful brutality to ultimate tragedy. The opera will be performed in English.

The busy ladies of Côr Curiad Choir in Llanelli are looking forward to another big year of charity fundraising.

The choir’s main event this year will be on Saturday, April 6, at Ffwrnes Theatre in Llanelli.

Their special guest will be TV star and X Factor winner Sam Bailey and her band.

The evening will also feature Ysgol y Strade pupil Martha Morgan and Angharad Elise Thomas, who runs her own drama company called The Hive in Llanelli.

All proceeds from the Llanelli Côr Curiad concert will go to Marie Curie Wales.

The popular SA15 Stage School return to Ffwrnes Theatre from April 24 to 27 with the musical Annie.

Finally, Friday, June 14 (7.30pm) sees Ffwrnes Theatre in Llanelli hosting the Les Musicals Live Concert Tour. 

Jonathan Ansell (G4 Frontman) and Jai McDowall (Britains Got Talent – Winner) have joined forces to create a dramatic a spine-tingling concert.

This vocally dynamic evening showcases even more smash-hit songs from the greatest musicals of all time, brought to you by two of the world’s finest voices.

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

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

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Phil Evans

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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



Last autumn, a friend of mine who (shall we say . . . ) was “a little overweight” told me he’d decided to do something about it.

His timing wasn’t perfect as we were enjoying a meal of chicken tikka masala, onion bhajis, poppadoms and garlic naans.  

It was the weirdest Italian restaurant I’ve ever eaten in.

Rather than take out a gym membership or sign-up for the London Marathon he was going to follow the World Health Organisation’s recommendation of walking 10,000 steps a day.

Last week, I saw him strolling along Fabian Way, Swansea and it was obvious he’d put on weightrather than lost any, so I decided to attract his attention in my usual subtle, diplomatic manner. 

“Oi! Chubster!” I shouted – and, fair dos, his head spun around in my direction.  

I couldn’t shake his right hand as it was gripped around a half-eaten Greggs pastie – and myright hand contained a half-eaten Greggs sausage roll.

I said, “I thought you were going to walk 10,000 steps a day?” as l brushed little flakes of pastry from my chin.

He explained “I intended to. But I couldn’t findonebuildingin this city with 10,000 steps to walk up and down.”

Which sort of made sense…

I did some research into this ‘10,000 steps a day’ idea to see if it was another number randomly picked out of the air like the ‘Five pieces of fruit a day’ advice of a few years back.

It started in 1964 when the Kyushu University Of Health And Welfare in Japan discovered that by walking 10,000 steps a day, a person could walk off 20% of their daily calorie intake. 

So…if we took 50,000 steps a daywe could walk off 100%of our daily calorie intake. 

Trouble is, if we walked 50,000 steps every day, at the end of the first week we’d end up in Hereford.

I wonder if there’s a Greggs there?


Don’t forget it . . . 

I remember the days when you could only get petrol, oil and bags of coal from the local petrol station.

How times have changed!

Today, most petrol stations are as well stocked up as the supermarkets, which is a blessing in more ways than one for many men, especially as St Valentine’s Day is tomorrow!

The last-minute chocolates, cards and flowers can quite often save a relationship.

Having said that, Welsh men are actually quite lucky – we get St Dwynwen’s Day on the 25th January, which I’m convinced was created as a three-week pre-warning just so we don’t forget.

Perish the thought!

Last year, I decided to get that special person in my life some lovely flowers for St Valentine’s Day.

The landlord of my local was quite touched and displayed them in a vase on the bar.


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

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Society of Editors welcomes central theme of Cairncross Review

Posted By Robert Lloyd

The Society of Editors has welcomed the central theme of the Cairncross Review into the future of the UK media industry, particularly its focus on the need to protect the reporting of local news.

The Review underscores the importance of high-quality journalism and the role it plays in ensuring a vibrant, working democracy and that such a service is expensive to maintain.

The Society applauds calls set out in the review for the digital giants – Google, Facebook and Apple – to work more constructively with the media industry and proposals to seek new, innovative ways of funding quality news production.

The Society notes recommendations in the review that call for the establishing of a new digital regulator and an Institute for Public Interest News and looks forward to working with the government to ensure that such initiatives do not damage the vibrant and independent media industry in the UK.

“It is extremely gratifying that Dame Frances and her panel have underscored the need to protect and indeed reinvigorate the reporting of local democracy and open justice, areas which have suffered and continue to suffer as the industry contracts,” commented Society of Editors executive director Ian Murray.

 “An enlarging of the present Local Democracy Supporting Service, which sees funds from the BBC supporting around 150 local journalists covering councils, also makes sense, although again there is no indication where such funding would come from and on what scale.

“Crucial to all of the recommendations for what is really state support for the local media industry in particular, are the report’s insistence that bodies such as the proposed Institution are free from political and other interference in deciding what constitutes public interest news worth supporting. The Press in the UK has not fought long and hard to maintain its independence and freedom to then find itself regulated by state-appointed bodies, no matter how well meaning was their original creation.”

The Society welcomes recommendations to extend the current VAT exemption for newspapers to on-line publishers as well as magazines and considering charitable status to assist the industry. 

Dame Frances said she had not been asked to look at the effect of the BBC on the market, but still felt it necessary to call on the broadcaster to work more in partnership with local media to act as complimentary rather than as a competitor to commercial news bodies.

Another of the report’s recommendations called for a regulator to be able to enforce a requirement on digital giants such as Google and Facebook and perhaps Apple to ensure that it is made clearer the sources of news carried on their sites.

“While proposals to ensure genuine news from reliable sources is easier to identify are to be welcomed, this is again an area that if poorly executed could lead to a situation where the digital giants feel obliged to block whole topics of news simply to avoid falling foul of a regulator, “ added Murray.

“We must not see the public’s ability to access fact-based and checked news, whether of public interest or just of interest to the public, reduced through well-intentioned but poorly executed new regulations.”

Full details of the Cairncross Review including a summary of findings and recommendations, can be found by visiting: societyofeditors.org

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Mark Jones

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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.By Mark Jones, director of Carmarthen-based Clay Shaw Butler chartered accountants and business consultants.

There’s no avoiding the dreaded ‘B’-word nowadays. Brexit issues are dominating the news headlines as the deadline approaches to Britain’s exit from the European Union.

Here at West Wales chartered accountants Clay Shaw Butler we have been keeping a weather eye on the latest consumer and business information from experts across the UK.

Surveys show that British consumers remain gloomy.

The GfK consumer confidence index held at Minus 14 in January, its lowest since July 2013.

Economists taking part in a Reuters news agency poll had expected a slight fall to Minus 15.

Businesses gave a sobering outlook in surveys published by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and Lloyds Bank.

The GfK survey showed households’ assessment of their personal finances improved due to falling inflation and higher wages and employment.

But their outlook on the economy over the next 12 months was the weakest since December 2011.

“Consumers, companies and corporations thrive on certainty, which is in short supply just before the planned date for the UK’s EU exit,” GfK executive Joe Staton said.

Without a deal that is acceptable to both sides, Britain risks a disorderly exit from the EU on March 29.

The CBI said small businesses reported the sharpest decline in sentiment about exports since the financial crisis, despite above-average output growth in recent months.

“Uncertainty in the domestic and global trading environment is clearly hitting manufacturing SMEs hard, with sentiment falling, concerns over political and economic conditions abroad spiking and investment plans still well down on the past year,” CBI economist Alpesh Paleja said.

Political or economic conditions abroad were named as the biggest challenge to exports over the next three months since the survey began in 1988.

The latest survey by Lloyds Bank showed a small rise in business sentiment this month, after it hit its lowest since June 2016’s Brexit referendum in December.

Meanwhile, British house prices rose by just 0.1 percent in annual terms in January, their weakest increase in nearly six years, adding to signs of a slowdown in the country’s housing market ahead of Brexit.

Data from mortgage lender Nationwide showed the housing market’s loss of momentum reflected the unusually “uncertain economic outlook”.

But the Nationwide said that if the economy grew modestly, house prices on a national level would probably grow “at a slow single-digit pace” in 2019.

In monthly terms, prices rose by 0.3 percent.

Britain’s housing market has slowed since the Brexit referendum in June 2016 when Nationwide estimated house prices were rising by around 5 percent a year.

You can find out more about money matters on the Clay Shaw Butler website (under our news for business section) – 


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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Latest podcast from Phil Evans and Robert Lloyd

Posted By Robert Lloyd

The latest podcast from Phil Evans and Robert Lloyd.

The Big Cwtsh – Episode 40.

Now available on Soundcloud.

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