07777683637 rlloydpr@btinternet.com

Press releases

Get It Loud in Libraries Week

Posted By Robert Lloyd

It’s Get It Loud in Libraries Week, and staff at Carmarthenshire’s libraries are not keeping quiet about all the activities they’ve got planned.

Librarians across the UK will be making some noise to get people in through their doors and enjoying a host of entertainment, and here in Carmarthenshire there’s plenty on offer.

Llanelli Library

  • Tuesday October 9, 10.15am to 11.15am – Storytime for pre-school children with lots of noise
  • Tuesday October 9, 1.30pm to 2.30pm – Cymraeg i Blant with singing and musical instruments
  • Tuesday October 9, 5pm to 6pm – Singing with Tenovus Choir
  • Sunday October 14, 4pm – Exclusive live music gig with the Estrons

Ammanford Library

  • Monday October 8, 10.15am – Twmpath session with folk group Jac Y Do and pupils from year five Ysgol Cymraeg Rhydaman

Carmarthen Library

  • Monday October 8, 1pm to 1.45pm – Welsh story and rhyme session for pre-school children
  • Wednesday October 10, 1.30pm – Jamboree with Siani Sionc

Pembrey Library

  • Tuesday October 9, 3.45pm – Singing with Pembrey School Choir

St Clears

  • Friday October 12, 10am – Stori a Chan (story and song)


  • Tuesday October 9, 10am – Menter Stori a Chan (story and song)
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Press releases

Owens returns to lead Scarlets in derby clash

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Scarlets club captain Ken Owens returns to action this weekend against regional rivals Ospreys in the first Welsh derby of the season.
Owens will lead the Scarlets out at Parc y Scarlets in the first Guinness PRO14 derby as the West Wales clubs go head-to-head for the first time this season. 
Both Scarlets and Ospreys are second in their respective Conferences with both vying for a victory to finish off the opening block of Guinness PRO14 fixtures on a positive note ahead of the opening rounds of the European campaign. 
Head Coach Wayne Pivac has named a strong side for the derby clash with an all-international backline, including a welcome return to action for Leigh Halfpenny, Tom Prydie, Hadleigh Parkes and Gareth Davies who were rested for last weekend’s clash against Southern Kings. 
Owens is joined by fellow internationals Wyn Jones and Samson Lee in the front row with Will Boyde making a long awaited return from injury in the back row. 
Notable additions to the replacements bench also sees Josh Macleod return to action after sustaining a shoulder injury against Leinster in the second round of the competition. 
Looking ahead to the game Pivac said; “Ospreys are much improved on last year. They haven’t conceded a lot of tries, they’ve had a marked improvement defensively.
“They’ve got a strong forward pack, a lot of the game I guess will be centred around the collision area. We respect them. We know that regardless of what team goes on the teamsheet we’ll get a performance.
“We totally respect them, I love these games. It brings the best out of the players. National selection is just around the corner and every body wants to win these derby games. They know our game inside out, makes for an interesting encounter. We think that if we get enough quality ball we’ll hopefully be able to test them.”
Scarlets team to take on Ospreys at Parc y Scarlets, Saturday 6thOctober, kick-off 15:00;
15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Tom Prydie, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Johnny McNicholl, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Gareth Davies, 1 Wyn Jones, 2 Ken Owens (c), 3 Samson Lee, 4 Jake Ball, 5 David Bulbring, 6 Ed Kennedy, 7 Will Boyde, 8 Blade Thomson
Replacements; 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Phil Price, 18 Werner Kruger, 19 Tom Price, 20 Josh Macleod, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Angus O’Brien, 23 Paul Asquith

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Press releases

Work completed on sea defences in Burry Port

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Work has been completed on a £1/4 million project to create a sea defence in Burry Port.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Flood Defence and Coastal Protection team has been monitoring the earth sculpture at Tywyn Bach in recent years, which has seen coastal erosion and the movement of the beach.

In line with the national coastal protection policy, the authority used funds from its capital works programme to plan and construct the coastal defence.

A block stone revetment has been constructed to protect the earth sculpture in an attempt to stabilise that section of the coastline. The works have been ongoing since April and were completed early September.

The Flood Defence and Coastal Protection Team, in partnership with the Millennium Coastal Path Rangers, will continue to monitor the coast in this part of the area.

Head of Waste and Environmental Services, Ainsley Williams, said: “This is the final phase of a five-year capital works programme that has seen coastal defences across the county constructed, upgraded and repaired.

“The coastline east of Burry Port harbour has seen dramatic changes in recent years, including the increased erosion of the foreshore. An appraisal of the coastline by our coastal engineering consultant highlighted that the promontory at the earth sculpture was the key controlling physical feature and its damage or loss could result in significant damage and or loss of the wider coastal line in that area.

“Following this, the decision was taken to use the capital monies to protect the promontory and to stabilise and protect the wider coastline in that area.”

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Mark Jones

Blog posts

The latest Clay Shaw Butler Money Matters column

Posted By Robert Lloyd

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

Britain’s markets watchdog is launching a study into how insurers charge for home and motor coverage – amid concerns that costs can be higher for long-standing customers than new ones.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said last week that the terms of reference for the market study would be published in a few weeks.

“The general insurance market study we have announced will help us examine the issues we have already identified in the market in more detail,” FCA Chief Executive Andrew Bailey said.

He was referring to concerns about higher prices for existing customers who renew their policies each year.

The watchdog has powers to change how markets operate in order to increase competition and ensure customers are treated fairly.

Past market studies have also led to enforcement action.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI), an industry body, said that earlier this year it became the first sector to take voluntary action to ensure that long-standing customers don’t lose out.

“This includes commitments from firms to review premiums charged to customers who have been with them for five years, and the industry publishing a report on progress within two years,” said Huw Evans, director general of the ABI.

“In a competitive free market, where three out of four people shop around, there is no easy fix available and these measures will take time to bed in.”

Meanwhile, telecoms and financial services companies face an investigation by Britain’s competition regulator after consumer body Citizens Advice complained that customers who do not switch providers were being “ripped off”.

Such customers were being overcharged 4.1 billion pounds a year, the charity said last week when it asked the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to tackle the issue.

“The practice of overcharging loyal customers is widespread and Citizens Advice has repeatedly warned that loyal consumers are being ripped off,” its Chief Executive Gillian Guy said.

Citizens Advice submitted a so-called super complaint, which the government defines as raising “any feature, or combination of features” of a market for goods or services which “appears to be significantly harming the interests of consumers”.

The CMA said it would consider the concerns raised and what should be done about them.

This will include engagement with relevant regulators such as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Ofcom. It will publish a response within 90 days.

The competition regulator said possible outcomes included recommendations to change legislation, action by sectoral regulators and competition or consumer enforcement action.

Citizens Advice said its research had found that eight in 10 people were paying a significantly higher price, in at least one of the markets, for remaining with their existing supplier.

“As a result of this super-complaint, the CMA should come up with concrete measures to end this systematic scam,” Guy said.

The FCA said it was also looking at the savings and mortgages market.

UK Finance, which represents banks, said the industry has already made changes to improve competition in mortgages and savings markets, including helping longstanding borrowers switch to a better deal.

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

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

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

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

Weblink – http://www.clayshawbutler.com

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

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

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Press releases

New Bovine TB Centre of Excellence to be established at Aberystwyth University

Posted By Robert Lloyd

A new Centre of Excellence for Bovine Tuberculosis for Wales will open at Aberystwyth University later this year, bringing together international expertise with the aim of eradicating the cattle disease.

The announcement was made by Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, at Senedd in Cardiff Bay on Wednesday 3 October 2018.

Lesley Griffiths said: “Bovine TB is the most pressing animal health challenge for Wales today.  It’s had a devastating impact on the national cattle herd and the farming community, while being a significant burden on public finances. 

“The Centre of Excellence could be a real ‘game changer’ in the fight against bovine TB and is part of our long-term aim of eradicating the disease for good.”

The new centre represents an investment of £3.6m and will be led by Professor Glyn Hewinson, a world-renowned expert on Bovine Tuberculosis. 

Professor Hewinson is currently Lead Scientist for Bovine TB at the Animal and Plant Health Agency and has led research into the disease for more than 20 years. 

Professor Elizabeth Treasure, Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University, said: “We are delighted to be establishing a Centre of Excellence for Bovine TB in Aberystwyth University with the support of Welsh Government. The economic and emotional cost of bovine TB to rural communities can be devastating and the appointment of Professor Hewinson, with his wealth of experience working in disease control, represents a highly significant investment as we seek new approaches to tackling this long-standing problem.”

The centre is backed by Sêr Cymru II, a programme aimed at growing and developing academic research expertise in Wales. It is funded by Welsh Government, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, participating Welsh Higher Education institutions and the European Regional Development Fund. 

Dr Christianne Glossop, Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, added: “Professor Hewinson is a pioneer in the field of research into Bovine TB and will bring with him World-class expertise and leadership. He is held in the highest regard among his peers internationally and his appointment is a real statement of intent in our determination to tackle this disease.” 

Speaking about his appointment, Professor Hewinson said: “I am delighted and honoured to be appointed to a Ser Cymru Research Chair at Aberystwyth University, leading a new Centre of Excellence for Bovine TB. The centre will explore fundamental aspects of Bovine TB science, supporting efforts to tackle this devastating disease, in collaboration with both Government and industry organisations.”

Professor Peter Halligan, Chief Scientific Adviser for Wales, commented: “Attracting new international talent to Wales to increase our already impressive scientific research and development capabilities is essential for Wales’ future economic prosperity and our ability to compete effectively across global marketplaces. I am very pleased to welcome Professor Hewinson, who will be the 12th world class research Chair brought to Wales as part of the Sêr Cymru programme.”  

Based within the University’s Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS), the new Centre of Excellence will be a hub for national and international research into Bovine TB.

The programme also aims to commercialise the products it develops, collaborating with industry on products such as new diagnostic tests and vaccines.

Bovine TB has a significant financial and social impact on farm businesses and the wider rural community.  The cost of fighting the disease is estimated to cost around £26m a year in Wales alone, through the TB control programme and compensation to keepers whose animals are slaughtered.

Photo: The world-renowned expert on Bovine Tuberculosis, Professor Glyn Hewinson, will lead the new centre at Aberystwyth University

Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences

International consortium to develop bovine TB test


The cost of the project is £3.6m and is funded as follows:
Aberystwyth University – £0.6m
Office of Chief Veterinary Officer – £1m
Welsh Government and European Regional Development Fund – £2m

Professor Glyn Hewinson
Professor Hewinson is one of three named OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) experts on bovine tuberculosis and is Chair of the Global Research Alliance for Bovine Tuberculosis (GRAbTB). He is a currently a member of a panel reviewing the 25-year Bovine TB Eradication Strategy for England chaired by Sir Charles Godfray.  

Professor Hewinson led the Mycobacterium bovisgenome sequencing project and is currently a member of Public Health England’s Strategic Oversight Group for the implementation of Whole Genome Sequencing of Pathogens into disease control and patient care.  

In collaboration with PHE and the Infectious Diseases and Microbiology Unit, Nuffield Department of Medicine, Oxford University, he is leading the veterinary aspects of a ‘One Health’ Approach to combining Whole Genome Sequencing pipelines for Public Health and Veterinary pathogens at the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).  

Professor Hewinson is expected to continue to collaborate with APHA, PHE and Oxford University to analyse M. bovisisolates obtained in Wales. 

International consortium to develop bovine TB test
Scientists at Aberystwyth University are already involved in developing a new test for bovine tuberculosis as part of an international consortium announced in July 2018.

Led by Professor Luis Muir at IBERS, the consortium is developing a rapid, high-accuracy point of care diagnostic test with an integrated, secure, cloud-based data system for the detection, management and control of bovine tuberculosis.

The other consortium partners are University College Dublin and four UK-based life sciences companies – Dynamic Extractions, Sona nanotech, ProTEM and Bond Digital Health Solutions.

The consortium will work together to develop a new, cost-effective, rapid and accurate point of use test for bovine TB that will allow the monitoring of farm animals, native wildlife populations, farm produce and the environment.

Data gathered from the tests will be integrated into databases, which will lead to more accurate epidemiology monitoring and the development of informed disease strategy.

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Robert Lloyd

Blog posts

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

Posted By Robert Lloyd

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.

Soprano Jessica Robinson is from Pembrokeshire and graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama with a first class Honours Degree. 

As a student at the RWCMD, Jessica studied with Beatrice Unsworth and Jeffrey Howard, winning the Aneurin Davies memorial award, The Mansel Thomas prize, The Margaret Tann Award and the Elias Soprano award.

Throughout her studies, Jessica has been fortunate to participate in master classes with artists such as Michael Pollock, Simon Lepper, Adrian Thompson, Simon Keenleyside, Donald Maxwell and John Fisher. Jessica was also chosen to sing as part of an octet for HRH the Prince of Wales. 

Her singing life started at a young age as a competitor in local eisteddfodau in her home county of Pembrokeshire.

She went on to gain success nationally in the Urdd and the National Eisteddfodau. 

Jessica has represented Pembrokeshire in the Young Farmers Eisteddfod winning the under 26 solo in 2008 and again in 2012. She was awarded Vocalist of the Year in the Pembrokeshire Chevron Music Awards and Musical Student of the Year in her secondary school, Ysgol y Preseli, Crymych.

as an oratorio and concert soloist, Jessica has performed in venues such as the Wales Millennium Stadium, The National Museum of Wales, Dorking Halls and The Dora Stoutzker Hall. She regularly appears in concerts all over the UK as guest artist with many of Wales’ most renowned Male Voice Choirs such as Blaenavon, Bridgend, South Wales and the London Welsh Male Voice choir. A personal highlight for Jessica was being asked to perform to the Welsh rugby team at the Welsh Assembly during the champagne reception celebrating their success in the Six Nations Championship and also alongside Paul Potts in a Charity concert for the Philippines disaster.

Recent oratorio performances include Handel’s Messiah ( Symffonia Tywi and The Mega Messiah), Vivaldi’s Gloria, Rutter’s Mass of the Children, Karl Jenkins’ Peace Makers and Joseph Parry’s Emmanuel (Côr Bro Ogwr). Jessica performed her first operatic role as the Spirit in ‘Dido and Aeneas’ by Purcell with ‘Opera’r Ddraig’, scene credits include Despina (Cosi fan Tutti), Violetta (La Traviata) and the Countess (Le nozze di Figaro).

Jessica is an artist on the prestigious Live Music Now scheme and also performs regularly as an artist with Music in Hospitals. 

Jessica performed in China in March as part of a Welsh Government Scheme; she toured around the country introducing Welsh music. Then toured with the Harry Ensemble as their soprano soloist around New York in May.

Welsh tenor Trystan Llŷr Griffiths, who hails from Clunderwen, Pembrokeshire, is a popular concert soloist throughout Wales and further afield.

One of the first recipients of a Study Award from the Bryn Terfel Foundation, he was named the Voice Of Wales by Decca Records in 2012 in an S4C TV series.

Trystan studied initially at University of Wales Trinity Saint David for a Theatre, Music and Media degree. He subsequently completed an MA degree in Vocal Studies at the Royal Academy of Music and a further postgraduate degree in Opera Performance at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. He has recently completed his studies as a Trainee at the National Opera Studio in London.

Prizes and awards include: Ian Stoutzker Prize 2014; Richard Van Allan Award 2014; Bruce Millar Gulliver Singing Prize 2014; RWCMD HRH Prince of Wales Scholarship 2013; Dunraven Welsh Young Singer of the Year 2013; MOCSA Young Welsh Singer of the Year Prize 2012; Sybil Tutton Award 2012; London Welsh Young Singer of the Year Prize 2011; W. Towyn Roberts Scholarship 2011; Osborne Roberts Memorial Prize 2009.

Concert highlights include appearances at the Royal Albert Hall, Hay-on-Wye Festival with Bryn Terfel, the Brynfest at the Southbank Centre, a concert performance of Tristan und Isolde with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and recitals at St Martin-in-the- Fields and the Cardiff Music Festival.

He took the role of Carlos in a recording of Le Duc d’Albe with the Hallé Orchestra for Opera Rara and during summer 2015 received a scholarship to attend the Mozart Residency at Festival d’Aix-en- Provence.

Trystan made his first professional operatic début in the role of Ferrando in Cosi Fan Tutte on tour with Scottish Opera.

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 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.

And on the same night there’s a big concert raising funds for Cancer Research UK at Tysul Hall in Llandysul (7pm).

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

The President for the evening 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.

It’s going to be a busy week for Aled and Eleri as this Saturday seems them performing at what’s described as a ‘late summer concert’ – the popular annual tradition of Cantorion Llandeilo Singers.

The concert is at Ysgol Bro Dinefwr, Llandeilo, on Saturday, October 6, with curtain-up at 7pm.

Cantorion Llandeilo Singers raise money for local charities through sponsorship and ticket sales. This year, the choir’s chosen charity is Tenovus.

The ticket price of £12 includes a finger buffet.

There will also be a licensed wine bar and a raffle.

Tickets are available from Peppercorn in King Street, Llandeilo, at the door, or by phoning 01558 685542.

There will be selections from Bernstein and Robat Arwyn from the Cantorion Llandeilo Singers and solos from three up-and-coming young singers who have received their musical education at Ysgol Bro Dinefwr.

Aled Edwards and Eleri Owen Edwards 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.

As mentioned in previous columns, the popular Voskresenije (Resurrection) Choir of St Petersburg are on their way to West Wales and will be performing at St Mary’s Church in Kidwelly on 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.

In other news, 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.

Tonight (Wednesday, October 3), 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, tonight 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.

This month, 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”.

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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