07777683637 rlloydpr@btinternet.com

Press releases

‘Paired Landscapes’ Exhibition opens at the Old College in Aberystwyth

Posted By Robert Lloyd

An exhibition of works by artists from Wales and Ohio has opened in Aberystwyth University’s Old College.

‘Paired Landscapes’ showcases more than 20 pieces of artwork about Wales and the United States, including paintings, prints and sculptures.

The work of four artists is featured: Andrew Baldwin and Bryan Thomas from Wales, and Benjy Davies and Kevin Lyles from the University of Rio Grande, Ohio.

Andrew Baldwin, who is a tutor in printmaking and photography at Aberystwyth University’s School of Art, explains: “I first met Benjy Davies (printmaker) and Kevin Lyles (sculptor) when I was fortunate enough to be asked to help forge a closer relationship between our two universities.

“Rio Grande (Ohio) has strong connections with Wales. Many of the local population are descendants of a group of Welsh immigrants who, so the story goes, travelled up a river east until they reached a landscape that reminded them of home – that was Rio Grande.”

In summer 2016, Benjy Davies and Kevin Lyles were awarded fellowships from the Madog Center for Welsh Studies to travel to Wales, where they collaborated with Andrew and south-Wales artist Bryan Thomas in a project to paint, draw and sculpt the Welsh landscape.

Andrew explains: “The Paired Landscapes project involved creating works of art which contrast the Rio Grande surroundings with the Welsh landscape. Benjy and Kevin were hugely complimentary of mid-Wales, telling me that we were so lucky to live in such a picturesque part of the world – a statement I also remember making of their beautiful countryside.”

The ‘Paired Landscapes’ exhibition is on display in the Old College until 29 September.

It is open from 10am – 4pm, Monday to Saturday. Admission is free.

Photo:  Artists Benjy Davies, Andrew Baldwin and Kevin Lyles in Trefeglwys


Read More

News Press releases

Aberystwyth top university for student satisfaction in Wales

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Aberystwyth University students are amongst the most satisfied in Wales and in the UK as a whole, according to the annual National Student Survey (NSS) published today Friday 27 July 2018.

The latest NSS results show that overall satisfaction amongst students at Aberystwyth University stands at 90% – seven percentage points higher than the average UK figure of 83%.

Aberystwyth is rated the top university in Wales for overall student satisfaction.

Aberystwyth University also outperforms the sector in the UK in all nine areas covered by the NSS.

Professor Elizabeth Treasure, Vice-Chancellor at Aberystwyth University, said: “The latest NSS results crown a remarkable year for Aberystwyth University. Last month, Aberystwyth was awarded Gold under theTeaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF) and in September 2017, we were named 2018 University of the Year for Teaching Quality by TheTimes and Sunday Times Good University Guide. These achievements speak volumes about Aber’s talented and hard-working community of staff and students. As we celebrate these NSS results, we do not rest on our laurels and will use this valuable feedback to build further on these firm foundations of success.”

Professor John Grattan, Pro Vice-Chancellor for the Student Experience at Aberystwyth University, said: “As a university, we put a huge amount of effort into ensuring we deliver the best possible education with a rigorous focus on how we monitor teaching, assessment and feedback, and how we track student performance during each year of their time with us. We have also invested significantly in recent years in our campus facilities and learning resources. Our continued commitment to providing an exceptional student experience is reflected not only in today’s excellent NSS results but also our TEF Gold award, and heartfelt thanks are due to our dedicated staff and students.”

Bruce Wight, President at Aberystwyth University’s Students’ Union, said: “Congratulations to Aberystwyth University on outstanding NSS results yet again this year. It’s great to see Aberystwyth producing such consistent figures year on year for student satisfaction and from these latest results, it’s clear that we’ve maintained our high standards. I’m looking forward to another year of work with the University and being able to improve the student experience even further. I’m confident that by working closely together and listening to the student body, Aberystwyth will continue to be an institution renowned for its teaching excellence as well as its supportive, friendly and safe community environment.”

The National Student Survey is conducted by IPSOS Mori on behalf of the UK’s higher education funding councils and gathers the opinions of nearly half a million final-year students in universities, colleges and alternative providers.

It asks students to score their university across a wide range of questions including quality of teaching, learning opportunities, assessment and feedback, academic support, organisation and management, learning resources, learning community, the student voice and overall satisfaction.

The latest NSS figures follow closely on the heels of the awarding of Gold in the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF) which was published on Wednesday 6 June 2018.

They also follow the latest employability figures for UK universities, which showed that 96.8% of graduates were in work or further study six months after leaving Aberystwyth University (HESA 2018).

Aberystwyth University is also the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018University of the Year for Teaching Quality.

NSS www.thestudentsurvey.com
The NSS is carried out annually by IPSOS Mori and commissioned by the Office for Students (OfS), formerly the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) on behalf of the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW), the Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland, the Scottish Funding Council, Health Education England (HEE) and participating private/alternative Higher Education Providers.

About Aberystwyth University www.aber.ac.uk
Established in 1872, Aberystwyth is a leading teaching and research university. It was awarded Gold in the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF) in June 2018 and was named University of the Year for Teaching Quality in The Times | Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018. In the 2018 National Student Survey, Aberystwyth was ranked the best in Wales and one of the top universities in the UK for overall student satisfaction. The latest Research Excellence Framework in 2014 reported that 95% of the research activity submitted by Aberystwyth was of an internationally recognised standard or higher. The University is a community of around 9,000 students and 2,000 staff committed to delivering teaching that inspires, research with excellence that makes an impact, engaging the world, working in partnership and investing in our future. Registered charity No 1145141.

Read More
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


A national daily newspaper recently printed an article in which eight ‘celebrities’ revealed the Top 10 things in life they find most irritating.

Four of the ‘celebrities’ were unknown to me; three vaguely familiar; one was someone who has saved me money on electricity.

As soon as I see his face on my TV, I switch off.

Strangely, none of them included in their Top 10 that the word ‘celebrity’ is thrown around in such a cavalier manner that it can describe a talented actor like Sir Ian McKellen (who worked hard over many decades to get where he is) and any air-headed dimwit (and I’ve held back from the description I’d really like to use ) with a ‘lifestyle’ series on a digital channel so obscure, only the most dedicated fan of ‘Banality shows’ would risk getting repetitive thumb strain using their remote trying to find it.

There are many common irritations we all share, ‘celebrities’ or otherwise . . .

From getting cold calls about ‘The car accident you had earlier this year’ that makes you question your memory because you have no recollection of it – to the creeping use of Americanisms in our language.

Unfortunately, it’s too late to do anything about the way ‘research’ is now commonly referred to as ‘ree-search’ by all and sundry, including BBC News, who should know better.

That genie will never go back in the bottle.

Though I’m not alone in wanting to squeeze Huw Edwards into it.

But, if we all stand together, we can put a stop to the over use of the words ‘Guys’,’ Buddy’ and ‘Awesome!’.

When these words are used by New Yorkers walking through Central Park, that’s understandable.

When you hear them spoken by a 30-something with a man-bun and a strong ‘Kairdiff’ accent wandering down St Mary Street, they just sound ridiculous.

I do hope you agree with me . . . Dudes!


I am thankful for the ever-growing network of caring, loving and inspiring people that continue to support me and what I do.

These people, often unsung heroes, have contributed in some way to help me bring and share what I do to a much wider audience.

Many have taught me valuable lessons and I’m sure will continue to do so.

Yes, every day is a school day.

It has often been said that you are only as good as the people you surround yourself with, which includes those that we spend the most time with.

Once I read “that to move forward in life and to have peace and calm in all that we do and to grow and live life to the full we must help people and thereby attract the right people into our lives, which often means letting go and moving away from disruptive influences”.

The right people enrich the journey beyond words.

Well, this theory clearly helped the Welsh legend that is Geraint Thomas.

Yes, it’s all about the people; all the rest is just ‘stuff’.

PS: Memo to staff at BBC London and Manchester – Learn how to pronounce Geraint properly. You will need the skill in the years to come.


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

Please again include www.philevans.co.uk

Read More
Robert Lloyd

Blog posts

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

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Côr Meibion Llanelli Male Voice Choir are enjoying their summer break, but they are also busy planning their next ‘away trips’.

The choir members have shelved rehearsals at Furnace Community Hall until September.

Choir chairman Tony Crossman said: “We are taking advantage of the short summer break to plan our autumn trips.”

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

“We have many friends in the picturesque village of Brailes and we make regular trips there for concerts. They are always well received and it’s always a treat to take our Welsh songbook into England!”

At the end of October and the start of November, the choristers will be embarking on a mini tour of the Isle of Wight.

Mr Crossman explained, “As a choir, we have travelled the world – the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and most of Europe.

“But this year we are going to stay closer to home and explore more of England.”

The choir will team up with Newchurch Male Voice Choir for a joint concert in Sandown and also perform in Ryde for the Rotary Clubs based on the Isle of Wight.

Mr Crossman added: “We may also add in a third concert date as we are expecting sell-out audiences in both places as we know there is great interest in Côr Meibion Llanelli’s visit.”

Closer to home, Carmarthen baritone Mark Llewelyn Evans will be hosting ‘An Afternoon of Music at The Orangery’ at Margam Park on Sunday, September 2.

The event will feature the young up-and-coming members of the Llanelli-based Loud Applause Rising Stars group.

Youngsters performing at the Orangery will include Callum Howells, Lauren Fisher, Neve Summers, Jack Owens, Sydney Richards, Thomas Bytheway, Daisy Owens and Osian Clarke.

The special guests will be violin virtuoso Charlie Lovell-Jones and the Kenfig Hill youth choir Crescendo.

The concert starts at 3pm.

Meanwhile, a brand new musical will premiere in Llanelli this month.

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.ukor 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.

John has played the lead role in The Phantom Of The Opera more than any other West End actor.

He was the youngest actor to ever play Jean Valjean in Les Misérables.

He will release his brand new album, called Spotlight, in the autumn.

John trained in acting at London’s Central School of Speech and Drama and, after a varied career so far, is probably best known for his portrayals of the iconic leading characters in The Phantom of The Opera and Les Miserables.

He has a long and happy association with ‘Les Mis’ in particular, for, at the age of 26, John became the youngest actor ever to play the role of Jean Valjean in the West End production of Les Miserables.

He is one of a handful of actors to have played the role of Valjean both in the West End and on Broadway and was the first British actor to do so.

In an online poll, John was voted the “Best Ever Valjean” and “Best Ever Performer in Les Miserables” by fans of the show worldwide.

John returned to play the role of Jean Valjean in a brand new production of Les Miserables for its 25th anniversary tour and was awarded the Manchester Evening News Award for the Best Actor in a Visiting Production for his performance as Jean Valjean.

The Manchester Evening News described his performance as “a truly astonishing achievement that must be one of the greatest stage performances of all time.”

John was also part of the Valjean quartet featured in the finale of the Les Miserables 25th Anniversary Concert at the O2 Arena, London.

He has played Jean Valjean to great acclaim twice on Broadway and most recently appeared as Valjean in the show’s Middle East premiere at Dubai Opera, Dubai.

He can be heard playing Jean Valjean on the official cast recording, Les Miserables Live! (2010)

John originally played the role of The Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera between 2001 and 2004 in the West End production to great acclaim.

The Daily Mail said he was “better than all the actors that preceded him in the role”.

He returned to the role of The Phantom in the West End in 2011 culminating in a performance as part of the Phantom quartet in a special finale at the Phantom 25th Anniversary Concert at The Royal Albert Hall.

He is the West End’s longest running Phantom with nearly 2000 performances in the role.

He appeared in a special finale of the show at the Majestic Theatre, New York to celebrate Phantom’s 25th year on Broadway and is the first British actor to have appeared as The Phantom in Russia – in a special excerpt from the show commissioned for the 2014 Golden Masks Awards at the Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow.

After reinterpreting the role of Valjean on the 25th Anniversary tour of Les Miserables in 2010, John was asked to reinterpret the role of The Phantom in the brand new production of The Phantom of the Opera for its 25th anniversary UK tour in 2012.

His performance on the tour earned him a nomination for Best Actor in a Visiting Production from the Manchester Theatre Awards and he is in the unique position of being the only actor to have the opportunity to reinvent Valjean and The Phantom – two of the greatest roles in musical theatre history.

John has performed extensively in other theatre productions throughout the UK and he has appeared on television and radio numerous times. He has performed as a soloist in concerts all over the world.

John has released six solo albums.

The independently released ‘Hallelujah’ (2006) and on the Sain Records label ‘John Owen-Jones’ (2009) and ‘Unmasked’ (2011) and ‘Rise’ 2015; and two compilation albums – “Bring Him Home” (2017 Sain records) and the Japan only compilation “Music of the Night” (2015 Sony Records Japan).

John’s very busy diary for 2018 also includes the following appearances –

August 29 – September 9, The Phantom in Ken Hill’s “The Phantom of the Opera”, Theatre Orb, Tokyo, Japan.

September 22-24, Concert, Yomiuri Otemachi Hall, Tokyo, Japan.

Monday, October 8, The Best Of The West End, Royal Albert Hall, London.

October 15-19, Floating Festivals: Stages, Navigator of the Seas, Amsterdam to Southampton.

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.

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”.


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

Read More

Press releases

5,000 bus passes posted out for secondary school pupils in Carmarthenshire

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Nearly 5,000 bus passes have been posted out for secondary school pupils ready for September.

Anyone who has not yet received their pass is urged to contact the council immediately.

Executive board member responsible for environment, Cllr Hazel Evans, said: “Some families may have changed address during the last year and have forgotten to tell us, which means their travel passes could have been sent to the old address. I would urge anyone who hasn’t received their passes yet to get in touch with us as soon as possible so that officers have time to deal with the requests before school starts again in September.”

Parents who think their child is eligible for free transport but haven’t yet applied, are being urged to submit their applications online at www.carmarthenshire.gov.uk/schooltransport as soon as possible.

It is now too late to be added to the arrangements for the start of the new term, but if eligible the Council will try to accommodate as soon as possible.

Parents are also urged to ensure that the stopping details shown on the travel passes are correct, as bus and taxi drivers will only be able to pick up and drop off pupils at the locations shown on their travel passes, and the vehicles will only stop at the points show on the timetables, which are available online at www.carmarthenshire.gov.uk/schooltransport

Around 400 passes for primary school pupils will be posted out in the coming weeks.

Read More

Press releases

Three new independent members for Aberystwyth University’s governing body.

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Aberystwyth University has announced the appointments of three new independent members of the University’s governing body.

Professor Sir Ian Diamond, Professor Robin Williams and Samantha Blackie have joined the University’s Council and will take up their posts on 1 August 2018, serving for an initial period of three years.

Chaired by Dr Emyr Roberts, the Council has a majority of independent members who are drawn from the private and public sectors to bring a range of experience and professional expertise to the governance of the University.

Professor Sir Ian Diamond ends his tenure as Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen on 31 July 2018 after ten years in the role. He chaired the Welsh Government’s Review of Higher Education and Student Finance Arrangements in Wales, which published its recommendations in 2016. He is currently Chair of British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS), of Plan International UK, and Edinburgh College of Further Education. He is also a Board Member of UK Research and Innovation and of the UK Statistics Authority.

Professor Robin Williams is former Vice Chancellor of Swansea University. He has been a member of the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales from 2009 to 31 July 2018 and chaired its Research, Innovation and Engagement Committee. Professor Williams is a Fellow of the Royal Society and was awarded a CBE in 2004 for services to higher education. He is a fluent Welsh speaker.

Samantha Blackie is a corporate HR Director having held senior positions with the Royal London Group, the UK’s largest mutual life insurance and pensions company, and Lloyds Banking Group. She is a Trustee of UK charity Meningitis Now.

Welcoming the appointments, Chair of Council Dr Emyr Roberts said: ‘These appointments bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the Council. I am delighted to appoint members of this calibre and I look forward to working with them for the benefit of this historic University.”

The Council is the supreme governing body of the University and is responsible for determining the University’s strategic direction as well as the conduct of the University’s financial, administrative and other affairs, in accordance with its objectives.

Photo: Left to Right: Professor Sir Ian Diamond; Professor Robin Williams and Samantha Blackie

Read More
error: Content is protected !!