07777683637 rlloydpr@btinternet.com

Press releases

Could Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas be heading to Carmarthenshire?

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas could be among the world-class cyclists to race through Carmarthenshire in September as it hosts Stage One of the prestigious Tour of Britain.

The eyes of the world have followed Geraint’s historic win at the world’s biggest cycling road race which culminated with a victory parade in Paris, and now their eyes will turn to Carmarthenshire where the Welsh cycling star could be leading Team Sky – one of the confirmed teams for the race along with favourites BMC Racing Team, Team Katusha Alpecin, Team LottoNL-Jumbo and Team Dimension Data.

Individual riders are due to be announced on August 13.

Pembrey County Park will host the Tour of Britain Grand Depart on Sunday September 2 where riders will start Stage One before travelling north through Carmarthenshire en-route to the stage finish in Newport.

Thousands of people are expected to line the route, which travels through Pembrey to Kidwelly and Carmarthen, then on towards Llandeilo and Llandovery before crossing the Brecon Beacons.

Event details are available on DiscoverCarmarthenshire.com, along with the full route, tips on the best places to see the race, events, things to do, places to stay, volunteer opportunities and competitions.

Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, Carmarthenshire County Council’s Executive Board Member for Culture, Sport and Tourism, said: “We are proud to be bringing the biggest cycling race in the UK right here to our doorstep.

“With Geraint Thomas’s historic Tour de France win, and his local Bancyfelin family connections, we’re expecting thousands of local people and visitors to turn out to catch a glimpse of the race in Carmarthenshire, and we hope that Geraint will be taking part.

“This is a massive opportunity for Carmarthenshire with live televised coverage throughout the day – a perfect opportunity for us to showcase our wonderful coast and countryside to millions of people across the world.”


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Press releases

Weekend road closures and diversions at Capel Hendre

Posted By Robert Lloyd

A major project to improve the safety of Capel Hendre Square for pedestrians and motorists is nearing completion.

Led by Carmarthenshire Council with funding from the Welsh Government, the project is expected to be finished by the end of August.

The improvement project, which started in March, includes the installation of three new pedestrian crossings on Saron Road, Waterloo Road and Hendre Road.

A four-way intelligent traffic signal system is also being introduced to help improve traffic flows through the square, along with a number of additional speed humps on Hendre Road and Waterloo Road to reduce the speed of traffic.

Resurfacing works will be carried out this weekend (Saturday August 11 and Sunday August 12) as the project draws to a close, with well-signed diversions being put in place for motorists.

Cllr Hazel Evans, Carmarthenshire Council’s Executive Board Member for Environment, said: “Once complete, this project will benefit many thousands of motorists and pedestrians every year, thanks to a combination of measures that will improve people’s safety and help with traffic flows through the square.

“The vast majority of the improvements have now been completed, with the resurfacing works planned for the weekend among the final phases of the project.

“The nature of resurfacing work does mean some temporary road closures and well-signed diversions will be in place in and around the square on Saturday and Sunday, but we’ll do all we can to minimise disruption by finishing these works as soon as possible.

“In the meantime, I’d like to thank the community in the area for their continued patience and understanding while these vital improvements are finalised.”

Temporary road closures on Saturday August 11 and Sunday August 12

* The B4297 will be temporarily closed from about 165 metres south-east of its junction with the C2130 leading to Saron for about 250 metres in a north-westerly direction.

* The C2130 leading to Saron will be temporarily closed from its junction with the B4297 for about 50 metres in a north-easterly direction.

* The C2130 leading to Cwmgwili will be temporarily closed from its junction with the B4297 for about 125 metres in a south-westerly direction.

Diversions in place on Saturday August 11 and Sunday August 12

* The alternative route for north-west bound traffic will be to drive in a north-easterly direction along the C2130 to its junction with the C2136 at Saron.  At the junction, turn left and continue in a north-easterly direction to its junction with the B4556 at Blaenau.  At the junction, turn left and continue in a westerly direction along the B4556 to its junction with the B4297 at Penygroes.  At the junction, turn left and continue in a southerly direction along the B4297 to return to a point north-west of the closure.

* The alternative route for north-east bound traffic will be to drive in a southerly direction along the B4297 to its junction with the TR A483 at Coopers.  At the junction, turn left and continue in a north-easterly direction along the TR A483 to its junction with the U4366 at Penybanc. At the junction, turn left and continue in a northerly direction along the U4366 to its junction with the C2130 at Saron.  At the junction, turn left and continue in a westerly direction along the C2130 to return to a point north-east of the closure. Vice versa for south-east bound traffic.

* The alternative route for south-west bound traffic will be to drive in a northerly direction along the B4297 to its junction with the B4556 at Penygroes.  At the junction, turn left and continue in a westerly direction along the B4556 to its junction with the A476 at Gorslas.  At the junction, turn left and continue in a south-westerly direction along the A476 to its junction with TR A48 Cross Hands roundabout.  At Cross Hands roundabout, take the second exit and continue in a southerly direction along the TR A48 to its junction with the C2130 at Cwmgwili.  At the junction, turn left and continue in a north-easterly direction along the C2130 to return to a point south-west of the closure.

* The alternative route for eastbound traffic will be to drive in a westerly direction along Thornhill Road C2130 to its junction with the TRA48.  At the junction, turn left and continue in a southerly direction along the TRA48 to Pont Abraham roundabout.  At the Pont Abraham roundabout take the first exit and continue in a north-easterly direction along the TR A483 to junction with B4297 at Coopers.  At the junction, turn left and continue in a northerly direction along the B4297 to return to a point south of the closure.

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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. Website – www.philevans.co.uk


People fascinate me.

I often sit in cafes and coffee shops listening to conversations, hoping to hear a phrase or comment that’ll spark an idea for a comedy routine – or for this newspaper column.

I also do it because I’m a nosey parker!

However, while I’ll happily invest 30 minutes listening to people talk about themselves, I couldn’t watch a bunch of narcissistic, swim-suited ‘wannabes’ jabbering away at each other around a swimming pool on TV every night for weeks on end.

Which is why, despite the fact it was constantly discussed and dissected on various TV and radio shows, I didn’t watch “Love Island” (once again!).

It was one of the TV hits of the summer, even though it was tucked away on ITV2, a channel many of us skip past on our nightly search  for ‘something decent to watch’ before we eventually settle on a 15-year-old episode of “Foyle’s War”, which 10 minutes before the end we realise we saw first time around.

ITV 2 is home of such classic television programmes as “Totally Bonkers Guinness World Records” and “Jeremy Kyle Show” repeats.

I think I’ll keep skipping past it.

The media coverage of “Love Island” was phenomenal – a word I suspect many people who appeared on the show would have trouble spelling.

Now that it’s all over for another year many viewers are missing it.

Not me.

Just as I don’t understand why millions tune in  to watch people they’ve never heard of laze around inside the “Big Brother” house every night, I just don’t see the appeal of watching tanned and buffed young couples trying to get off with each other.

Yet, despite their lack of any discernible talent, apparently several contestants have potentially lucrative TV careers ahead of them.

If that’s the case, where do I fill in the form to apply for the next series?


Cwtsh – V – Cwtch:

The Cwtsh versus Cwtch debate continues.

How do you spell Cwtsh?

Well, let me enlighten you.

It’s ‘sh’ not ‘ch’.

Trust me, I’ve done my research on this – and the evidence is conclusive.

You know how you pronounce ‘bach’ in Welsh?

Well that’s how ‘ch’ is always pronounced in Welsh.

Now try saying ‘cwtch’ . . .

I rest my case!

Over the years, I have researched and consulted with people who are considered well-versed on the subject.

I urge you to carry out your own research and then consider the source carefully.

The way I think of the word ‘cwtsh’ is quite simple.

I split it: cwt-shhh.

Like something soft and quiet.

Same as the word Welsh.


Not Welch!

So, there you have it, it is cwtsh!

If you are still going to insist on the English spelling ‘cwtch’, you surely need to replace the w (not a vowel in English) with a U.

Also, if you spell it ‘cwtch’ you are making it English – and you can only get a cwtsh in Wales . . .

Just sayin’ . . .


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

Please again include 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

Côr Meibion Llanelli Male Voice Choir have announced the date for their popular Christmas concert.

‘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.

Choir chairman Tony Crossman said: “It seems strange to be thinking about Christmas while we are still basking in our summer heatwave.

“But we believe in planning ahead – and, believe it or not, there are only 20 weeks to go until Christmas!

“So, we are giving everyone a very early ‘heads-up’ on the Christmas concert date as we know tickets for our festive special always go well and many people will want to book their seats early.”

The Burry Port Town Band has a long and very successful association with Côr Meibion Llanelli.

The band has a long and colourful past, with the first historical mention of the band, originally named the Elliots Smelting Works Band, found in 1896.

The band grew from this humble, industrial beginning and established itself as a community favourite, playing at local fetes and marches and raising money to support both itself and worthy causes.

Sadly, just before the outbreak of the Second World War, the band’s fortunes took a turn for the worse and it disbanded. Gone but not forgotten, decades later in 1972 a group of local enthusiasts held a meeting with the aim of re-establishing the band. Old instruments and a library of music were discovered. These, together with some new purchases, a place to rehearse and a keen group of volunteers, sowed the seeds of the band’s renaissance.

The band continued to grow in terms of its level of performance throughout the 80s and 90s winning a host of prizes in 4th, 3rd, 2nd and 1st Sections. Finally, in 2000, the band was promoted to the elite Championship Section.

Since 2001, the band has six times claimed the title of “Welsh League Champion Band of Wales”, four times won the National Eisteddfod of Wales, and three represented Wales at the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain at the Royal Albert Hall in London, competing against the country’s top 20 bands.

In 2005 the band also claimed victory in the British Open Senior Cup competition at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool, beating off the challenge of 20 other bands from across the United Kingdom, while 2015 saw the band’s first victory at the Welsh Open Entertainment Championship at the Grand Pavilion, Porthcawl.

True to form, the band have enjoyed a successful start to 2018 by reaching the semi-finals of S4C Band Cymru and again qualifying to represent Wales at the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain, taking place in September.

The band remain very active on the concert stage and in recent years have enjoyed performing alongside Paul Potts, John Owen Jones, Richard Allen, Timothy Richards, Lleisiau’r Cwm, Cor Curiad, Twrw Tawe, The Tenovus Cancer Care Swansea Sing With Us Choir, Cor Aelwyd y Waun Ddyfal and former S4C Cor Cymru Champions, Parti Llwchwr.

The band has a new conductor in Gareth Robinson, who took up the baton in the spring.

It was back in 2000 that Gareth began his comprehensive school education at Ysgol Gyfun Rhydywaun and it was soon after that his trombone career began. Under the tuition of Wyndham Williams, Gareth joined Treherbert Junior Band and later became a founder member of the Upper Rhondda Brass Band, competing at local competitions in the Fourth Section.

Around this time, he regularly entered and won solo competitions around the UK including the Welsh Open Solo Championships in 2005 and was placed 2nd at the Urdd Eisteddfod.

Gareth became the first musician to perform with the National Youth Brass Band, Orchestra, Wind Orchestra, Jazz Orchestra and Symphonic Brass ensemble in the same year and toured countries such as Canada, Luxembourg and Italy with these ensembles.

In September 2011, Gareth graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama with a first class honours degree having received lessons from Donal Bannister (Principal Trombone of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales) and Kevin Price (Ex Principal Trombone of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra) as well as performing in masterclasses with visiting artists such as Wycliffe Gordon, Bones Apart, Don Lucas, Chris Houlding and Christian Lindberg.

Gareth played for a number of years with Tongwynlais, Flowers (then Polysteel) and Tredegar brass bands before joining the Cory Band in June 2009 under the baton of Dr Robert Childs.

Gareth was part of the band which won the World Championships and the British Open Brass Band Championships that same year.

As well as enjoying tours to Australia in 2013 and America in 2016, Gareth has also performed in many of Europe’s most famous concert halls with the number one ranked band in the world.

During his time at Cory, Gareth was a member of the band that won numerous titles and accolades including: The British Open (2009, 2011 and 2016), The National Brass Band Championships (2013, 2015 and 2016), The European Brass Band Championships (2010, 2013 and 2016), Brass in Concert Championships (2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016) and Band Cymru (2014).

Gareth is currently a primary school teacher at a Welsh medium school in Caerphilly and earlier this year decided it was time to relinquish his position with the Cory Band to concentrate on his teaching career and to take on some new and exciting ventures.

Gareth made his conducting debut with Burry Port Town Band at the SEWBBA Spring Championship in April this year where the band claimed Second Prize in the First Section Contest.

Côr Meibion Llanelli, meanwhile, are using their summer break to plan for a major recruitment drive in the autumn.

Chairman Mr Crossman said: “Just like many of the larger male voice choirs in Wales, we are always looking for new members to strengthen our ranks.

“This is a great time for people to think about joining a male voice choir. The camaraderie in a choir is something special and it’s been proven that singing in a choir gives you health benefits – improved breathing, a more active, challenging and stimulating lifestyle. It keeps the mind active and singing is good for the soul.

“So, if there is anyone out there thinking of joining a male voice choir, then please get in touch.

“We begin rehearsals after the summer break in September and anyone interested can pop along to our sessions at Furnace Community Hall at 7pm on Mondays and Thursdays.”

Mr Crossman added: “Now is a great time to join as we have a couple of away trips planned. The choristers are great ambassadors and always look forward to spreading the singing gospel to other parts of the country.

“On Saturday, September 22, the choir will travel to Brailes on the Warwickshire/Oxfordshire border.

“And, at the end of October and the start of November, the choristers will be embarking on a mini tour of the Isle of Wight.”

In other news, a brand new musical will premiere in Llanelli this week.

Age of the Geek is being staged at Llanelli’s Selwyn Samuel Centre from Thursday, August 9, to Saturday, August 11.

Age of the Geek is based on the book and lyrics by Elliot Alldridge, with music by Ryan Mellish.

The story goes like this –

Zack is an unpopular schoolboy, with braces, spots and asthma . . . but he’s also very dead!

Zack’s body was found in the park next to a suicide note, but things don’t add up.

Eli, an enthusiastic young journalist gets hold of the story and won’t let go until she finds the truth.

She goes undercover at the school where she meets Zack’s best friend Leo, a geek who lives at the bottom of the social food chain and someone who is struggling to survive without Zack.

Everyone is a suspect as Eli and Leo fight to find Zack’s murderer in Age of the Geek, a musical filled with laughter, emotion and mystery.

The tale follows the two heroes as they unravel the story of the untimely death of a teenage boy and find out which is more dangerous – hunting a killer or being a geek in school.

Tickets are £10 (£7 for students) and are available from www.ticketsource.co.uk or via the Selwyn Samuel Centre.

In September, at Ffwrnes Theatre, the famous Llanelli-based Academy Amateur Company will celebrate 35 years of performing great musicals.

They will be staging ‘Thank you for the Memories’ at Ffwrnes on Saturday, September 8.

This special celebratory concert will feature songs from their favourite productions over the years, promising a musical journey down memory lane that will leave you singing all the way home.

There will be songs from shows such as Singin’ In The Rain, Guys And Dolls, Anything Goes, The Full Monty and Jesus Christ Superstar.

Looking further ahead, to October, one of Carmarthenshire’s finest will be returning ‘home’ for two special concerts.

John Owen-Jones is a Burry Port boy who has gone on to be an award-winning West End and Broadway star.

He will play Ffwrnes Theatre, Llanelli, on Wednesday, October 3 and the Lyric Theatre, Carmarthen, on Sunday, October 7.

In October, Carmarthen will also see another 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.


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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Scotland international Sam Hidalgo-Clyne gives first press conference for Scarlets

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Scotland international Sam Hidalgo-Clyne is looking forward to working with current Scarlets No1 scrum-half Gareth Davies in the coming Guinness Pro14 and European campaigns.

Hidalgo-Clyne gave his first press conference for the Scarlets at Parc y Scarlets today.

The former Edinburgh player was relaxed as he fielded a variety of questions, ranging from competition for the Scarlets No9 jersey to his future international career with Scotland.

Hidalgo-Clyne, 25, also had words of praise for former Scarlets favourite John Barclay.

Here are some brief highlights from the press conference –

How do you like Llanelli?

“It’s been great so far. I had about three weeks here before season started. I’ve been checking it all out and it’s great. Feels like I’ve been here a few months already.”

Why move from Edinburgh to the Scarlets?

“I think because of the way they (the Scarlets) play.

“They are a very ambitious group of players. The results they have had the last two seasons have been outstanding. I’m looking forward to being part of the culture.

“Things fell through at Edinburgh and I thought I would come down.

“John Barclay has been outstanding for the Scarlets and he spoke very highly of the club, the players and the whole set up on and off the field.

“I think it’s a good move for me and my family as well.”

International ambitions with Scotland . . .

“We have been playing heads up rugby and Scotland like to get the ball as fast as they can. I think the two will go hand in hand. I spoke to Gregor (Scotland coach Townsend) about it pre-tour and it’s not a problem for them (Scotland).

“I think sometimes players have to get out of Scotland to improve and better themselves.”

The competition with Gareth Davies for the No9 jersey . . .

“I think Gareth is a brilliant player. He has played some great rugby and the way he sees space is brilliant. I will learn a lot from him. I am trying to learn as much as possible. I am not the finished article.

“There’s a lot of experience in this squad and I will take as much as I can from Stephen Jones (attack coach), Gareth and the other players.

Respect for coach Stephen Jones . . .

“He’s fantastic He brings a lot to the training sessions.

“There’s a lot of positive feedback, constructive feedback. Stephen is high demand on everything. He wants everything to be perfect. He will help with my skill sets and it will help my game.”

Video from today’s press conference (edited version, full version to be uploaded at the weekend)

Sam Hidalgo-Clyne

Scarlets player information:

Primarily a scrum-half, Sam possesses all the skills necessary for a great scrum half. With an accurate pass, sniping runs and an accurate boot, he will provide an intense level of competition to Gareth Davies for the starting spot.

His ability has been well documented in an Edinburgh Rugby side who have once again become a major force in the GUINNESS PRO14.

Having represented Scotland and both Under 20s and Senior level, he brings a level of experience with him that belies his age, which can only be a positive influence for younger scrum-halfs at the club.

Samuel Hidalgo-Clyne (born 4 August 1993) joined the Scarlets following the conclusion of the 2017/18 season.

His primary position is as a scrum-half, but he can also operate as a fly-half, winger and full-back.

Born in Jayena, Granada, Spain, he moved to Edinburgh at the age of three.

Hidalgo-Clyne specialised in international sevens for the 2011–12 season and joined Edinburgh’s elite development roster in the summer of 2012.

He was awarded a place on the 2013 Macphail Scholarship to New Zealand.

Hidalgo-Clyne made his full Scotland debut on Saturday 7 February 2015, coming off the replacements’ bench in a 15–8 defeat to France in the 2015 Six Nations Championship, and did so again in each of the remaining four matches.

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Press releases

Have you spotted one of the Carmarthenshire Tour of Britain green bikes?

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Distinctive green bikes have been located around Carmarthenshire to mark the route of the Tour of Britain on September 2.

The bikes are part of a wider marketing campaign to get the whole county involved in celebrating the biggest professional cycling race in the UK which is starting in Carmarthenshire.

All bikes have been donated and sprayed green with Tour of Britain branding to raise awareness of the world famous event.

The Tour of Britain has made its way through other Welsh counties over recent years, but it’s the first time for it to visit Carmarthenshire.

World famous cyclists will gather at Pembrey on Sunday 2 September to begin the race, which will make its way through Kidwelly, Carmarthen, Nantgaredig, Llanarthne, Ffairfach, Bethlehem, Llangadog and Llandovery.

A detailed map of the route can be found on the council’s DiscoverCarmarthenshire.com website, along with the best viewing areas and parking spots for spectators. Please note that anybody attending Pembrey Country Park will have to be inside the park by 9.30am latest.

Carmarthenshire County Council wants to get everyone involved throughout the county to celebrate this prestigious event.

Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, executive board member for Culture, Sport and Tourism, said: “There are many ways to get involved with the Tour of Britain either with your local community or as an individual, this is a fantastic opportunity for everyone to get out and enjoy. We’d like to hear about all the promotional activities going on in the county so we can share them on our websites and social media feeds ahead of the event.”

•    Spotted a bike? If it’s safe to do so, send pictures of your family with a green bikes to Carmarthenshire County Council’s Twitter and Facebook pages using #CycleCarms
•    If you know of a visible and safe location along the route where a green bike could be located get in touch with the Marketing and Media team at Carmarthenshire County Council, marketing@carmarthenshire.gov.uk

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