07777683637 rlloydpr@btinternet.com


Ospreys set for Gnoll return

Posted By Robert Lloyd

The Ospreys will return to the scene of their first-ever competitive fixture – and first league title win – next month when they kick-start their 2019/20 preparations at the home of Neath RFC.

The historic Gnoll ground will host the Region’s first pre-season fixture, on Friday 30th August, KO 7.30pm, the first time that the Ospreys have played against Hartpury RFC from the Greene King IPA Championship.

It will be the first time that the Ospreys have played a senior fixture at the Gnoll since a crowd of more than 4,000 turned up to watch a young Maro Itoje lead Saracens to a 21-9 win in an LV-Cup tie in November 2014 – although age-grade and development fixtures have been played there regularly since.

A great way to end the summer and kick-off the new campaign, the game is included in a full-season membership.

Tickets are now available to buy at www.ospreysrugby.com/buytickets priced at just £10 for adults and £8 for concessions.

All U16s are FREE but must collect a ticket from the Ticket Office in advance to ensure admission.

The fixture marks a welcome return to a familiar old venue, one which played joint home to the Ospreys for the first two years of our existence, prior to the opening of the Liberty Stadium in 2005.

The Gnoll hosted the Ospreys’ opening Celtic League game, the first competitive game for the Region, in September 2003.

A crowd of 4,250 was present that evening to see the home team secure a 41-30 win over Ulster.

The Ospreys clinched a first ever Celtic League title with a 29-12 win over Edinburgh at the Gnoll in March 2005, the last competitive fixture played by the team in Neath prior to the move to the Liberty that autumn.

Seating is unreserved on a first come, first served basis for this game, which is sure to prove a memorable occasion as the Ospreys return to famous old ground.

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Clay Shaw Butler backing Carmarthen River Festival

Posted By Robert Lloyd

The team at Clay Shaw Butler are delighted to be the principal sponsors of the Carmarthen River Festival this weekend.

Mark Jones, director at Clay Shaw Butler, chartered accountants of Lammas Street, Carmarthen, said: “We care very passionately about supporting our local community and the river festival is a great community event.

“It’s grown in size since the festival started and we are looking forward to a great festival – on and off the water.”

For centuries, the people of Carmarthen have always celebrated their River Towy with impressive regattas – and this Saturday will be no exception as preparations are well underway for the 2019 river festival.

Organisers are promising the best one yet.

With free admission, spectators can sit back and relax to watch the fun or have a chance to take part in the various water based races including The Raft Race, The Welsh National Inflatable Race (don’t forget your unicorn or shark), Coracle Races, Rowing Race with canoe and coracle taster sessions also avoidable.

Julie Rees, one of the organisers said: “This year we have been overwhelmed by the response for the raft Race. After the nail biting finish last year, everyone is keeping their raft design top secret and there is definitely a wave of competition amongst the rafters.”

She added: “Also, from the huge success of last year’s inflatable race, it was an easy decision to welcome back all the flamingoes and doughnuts – who will be crowned The Welsh National Inflatable Sprint Champion 2019?”

Among the entertainment on the day there will be demonstrations from Ferryside Lifeboat, while visitors can meet Glansteffan – the amphibious vehicle used to ferry people between Ferryside and Llansteffan.

Carmarthen Round Table have generously organised a free funfair, there will also be a children’s coracle pool, plenty of refreshment and food stalls, a climbing wall, cookery demonstrations and a children’s area.

The event starts at 2pm on Saturday July, 13 on Carmarthen’s Quayside with the first of the races starting from approx 4pm.

Visit ‘Carmarthen River Festival’ on Facebook for more information or to request a Raft Race Entry Form.

Wet-Side Activities:

2-4pm – FREE Coracle & Kayak Taster Sessions (Registration for Inflatable Races opens £2 per person)

2-6pm FREE Funfair, Seafood Demonstration, Climbing Wall, Children’s Area, stalls and refreshment stands

4.00pm – Display from Ferryside Lifeboat

4.15pm – Come and meet Glansteffan, the UKs first amphibious Ferry Boat from Carmarthen Bay Ferries

4.30pm – Coracle Races (races for all abilities)

4.50pm – Carmarthen Rowing Boat Race

5.00pm – Raft Race

5.30pm – Welsh National Inflatable Sprint Championships

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Press releases

Advice for holidaymakers

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Holidaymakers travelling to exotic locations this summer are being reminded to check they’re protected against various infections with the correct vaccines for each country.

Travel experts from MyBaggage.com have urged Brits’ to check their recommended immunisations are up to date before jetting off around the world in search of sun this summer.

A Guide to Vaccines Around the World

UK tourists travelling beyond traditional destinations need to make sure they’re protected against exotic infections with the correct vaccines for each country.

Travel experts from MyBaggage.com have reminded Brits’ to check their recommended immunisations are up to date before jetting off around the world in search of sun this summer.

The team have also revealed what is required where for British travellers to avoid a ruined holiday and potentially major health scares.

Mosquito-borne malaria is probably the most infamous tropical disease, but the risk to holidaymakers extends far beyond equatorial countries in Africa, to typical hotspots such as Greece.

The travel specialists have also highlighted that immunisation against Hepatitis A is highly recommend for UK travellers in popular holiday destinations including Turkey, Mexico, Morocco and Tunisia.

It’s also advisable in growing destinations such as Romania, Costa Rica, Cambodia, South Africa and Cape Verde, as well as the British Overseas Territories of Saint Helena and Ascension Island.

A city break to Moscow, Kiev or the Latvian capital of Riga, meanwhile, should begin with checking diphtheria vaccinations are up to date, whilst holidaymakers in Israel should make sure they’re protected against polio.

Yellow fever vaccinations are mandatory across Africa and advisable before visiting equatorial countries in Latin America.

Other infections that vaccines are recommended for include typhoid, with Brits taking a trip to South Asia at particular risk.

For illnesses not on the list, such as cholera, rabies, tuberculosis, meningitis, Japanese encephalitis and tick-borne encephalitis, immunisation is sometimes recommended when visiting a range of countries across the globe.

This can depend on factors including the age of the traveller, other countries visited and the length, purpose or circumstances of the stay.

A spokesperson for My Baggage said: “A holiday should be all about letting your hair down and having fun, but it’s impossible to relax if you’re at risk of a dangerous disease.

“Tourists might expect to need specific vaccines if they’re venturing into the middle of the rainforest, but protection against some tropical infections can also be required in more common destinations for family getaways.

“From Greece, Turkey and Morocco to Mexico, Brazil and Israel, illness like malaria, yellow fever and polio don’t discriminate.

“To help Brits stay safe abroad this summer, we’ve highlighted where immunity against some dangerous diseases is highly recommended.”

Here is the MyBaggage.com guide to UK travellers’ immunisation requirements for six diseases around the world:

1. Malaria

High risk: Angola, Benin, Bolivia (north), Botswana (north), Brazil (Amazon), Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia (north east), Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia (east and coast), Comoros, Congo, Djibouti, DR Congo, East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea (lowlands), Ethiopia (lowlands), Eswatini (east), French Guiana (south), Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Guyana, India (east, Assam and Mangalore), Indonesia (south and east of Sulawesi), Ivory Coast, Kenya (lowlands), Laos (south), Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania (south), Mayotte, Mozambique, Myanmar (north west and Thai border), Niger, Nigeria, Panama (Darien), Papua New Guinea (lowlands), Peru (Loreto), Rwanda,  São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan (south), Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Venezuela (south of Orinoco), Zambia, Zimbabwe (lowlands and Zambezi valley).

Risk: Afghanistan (lowlands), Algeria (south), Bangladesh (south east), Belize, Bhutan, Brunei, Cape Verde (summer), China (Yunan), Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Greece (Eurotas delta), Guatemala (lowlands), Haiti, Honduras, Iran, North Korea (south), South Korea (north), Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak), Mexico (rural south), Namibia (north east), Nepal, Nicaragua, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, South Africa (north east), Suriname, Thailand, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Yemen.

2. Yellow Fever

Mandatory: Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, DR Congo, French Guiana, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Sierra Leone, Togo, Uganda.

Recommended in: Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Colombia, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Guinea, Guyana, Kenya, Mauritania, Nigeria, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Senegal, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Suriname, Venezuela.

3. Typhoid

Recommended in: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan.

4. Diphtheria

Recommended in: Angola, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, DR Congo, East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Greenland, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Russia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda, Ukraine, Vietnam, Yemen.

5. Polio

Recommended in: Afghanistan, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, DR Congo, Indonesia, Israel, Kenya, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Somalia, Syria.

6. Hepatitis A

Recommended in: Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Djibouti, DR Congo, East Timor, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Kiribati, Kosovo, Laos, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Saint Helena & Ascension, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Disclaimer: MyBaggage takes no responsibility for any consequences arising as a result of following or not following this advice. The list may be incomplete.

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Robert Lloyd

Blog posts

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

Posted By Robert Lloyd

The Gwyl Cerdd Dant Cymru Welsh singing festival is being held in Llanelli this year.

Fundraising has been gathering speed to ensure the success of the festival, due to be held in November at Ffwrnes Theatre.

The chair of the Gwyl Cerdd Dant Llanelli a’r Cylch is Catrin Hughes, who is also a music advisor and trustee of the Loud Applause Rising Stars (LARS) charity.

In support of the festival fundraising, LARS is organising a big Gala Concert at Llanelli’s Greenfield Baptist Church on Friday.

The evening offers a feast of choral music.

There will be four choirs – Côr Lleisiau’r Cwm and Harmoni, both under the baton of Catrin Hughes, Côr Meibion Llanelli, under new musical director Alex Esney, and Côr Ysgol Dewi Sant.

The concert will feature some excellent young soloists, including award-winning tenor Osian Wyn Bowen.

Also on stage will be five singers from LARS – mezzo soprano Nikkila Thomas, who is at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD) in Cardiff, and Ysgol Y Strade Llanelli pupils Lauren Fisher, James Oakley, Daisy Owens and Jack Owens. They will be accompanied by Catrin Hughes and Andrew Pike.

The organiser are anticipating a big demand for tickets, which are available from choir members, Cadno Music in John Street, Llanelli, or by contacting tickets@loudapplauserisingstars.co.uk or Cerith Owens 07854 303918.

For the uninitiated, Cerdd Dant is a unique tradition of singing lyrics over a harp melody.

Traditional singers sang in stately homes in days of old and tended to sing in Welsh with strict rules about metre, rhyme, and speed of delivery.

Historically, Cerdd Dant was usually performed by a solo singer and a harpist.

Today, it is also performed by choirs.

When sung in a competition, there are strict rules about rhythm and cadences.

Cerdd Dant is regarded as the art of presenting or performing poetry to harp accompaniment.

In the old days, the poems sung were in cynghanedd, the strict Welsh metres based on alliteration and complicated rules, but later free metres were used just as much.

The harp always plays a set melody – a traditional melody or a melody composed in the traditional style.

The singer waits for a few bars and then sings his or her words on a counter melody, ensuring that the main accents of the metre fall on the main accents of the harp melody.

The singer and harpist both have to end each verse together: the last word of each verse always falls on the main beat of the last bar in the harp melody.

The counter melody in the old days was always improvised, but is almost invariably set in advance and rehearsed by modern singers.

This counter melody is called a cyfalaw. The art of composing the cyfalaw and placing all the words in the right place is called gosod. The harp melody is called the alaw or the cainc.

There are many differences between the Cerdd Dant of today and the old type of singing (in the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century):

  • Up to the 20th century Cerdd Dant was sung by individuals only – no duets, trios, parties or choirs existed.
  • It was an improvisatory art: no one bothered to compose and learn a setting or counter melody before singing it.
  • The emphasis was almost entirely on the words. By today, much more prominence is given to the music.
  • Very few females sang cerdd dant. Today, females are in the majority.
  • It was a much less respectable art then than it is now, in some circles at least!
  • There were no set rules agreed by any organisation or conference.
  • The number of harp melodies to choose from were much fewer in the old days: not more than around 50, it would appear. By now there are almost 600.

The Gwyl Cerdd Dant Cymru organising committee are also planning other fundraising events before the festival –

September 13, Pontyberem Hall, ‘Gin night’. Organised by members of Menter Brycheiniog a Maesyfed.

October 5, Capel Newydd, Llandeilo with Bois y Castell, Ysgol Teilo Sant’s choir, and soloist Ffion Hâf.

October 23, Craft evening at Stradey Park Hotel. £5. Ticket, raffle and exhibition by crafters – a special evening to launch the festival of the festival designed by Jo Partridge.

The guest soloist at Friday’s concert at Greenfield Chapel, Osian Wyn Bowen, is no stranger to Llanelli audiences.

Osian is a Burry Port boy and is an undergraduate student, studying under the tutelage of renowned tenor Adrian Thompson at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD) in Cardiff.

Osian has already performed in concert with Sir Bryn Terfel, soprano Rebecca Evans, soprano Elin Manahan Thomas, baritone Gary Griffiths, tenors Aled Hall and Rhys Meirion.

Venues include the RWCMD Dora Stoutzker Hall, St David’s Hall, The Principality Stadium, Wales Millennium Centre, Llandaff Cathedral, Venue Cymru, The O2 Arena, The Queen’s Theatre, London, Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace and the Milford Haven Music Festival.

Television appearances include S4C’s ‘Heno’,‘ Les Mis – Y Daith’, Cyngerdd y 10 Tenor, Noson Lawen and BBC’s Songs of Praise. Recent highlights include performing as part of trio in a live broadcast on BBC1 to mark the Passchendaele Centenary at Tyne Cot Cemetery in Belgium. The tribute to Welsh poet Hedd Wyn was performed in the presence of members Royal Family and European Ministers. Other highlights include playing the lead role of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables as part of the Urdd’s National Theatre company’s 10 Year Anniversary production at the Millennium Centre, Cardiff.

In addition to his busy schedule, Osian is a patron of the charity Welsh Hearts and is an active volunteer crew member of Burry Port Lifeboat Station.

Osian’s awards – 2017 and 2018 – Minnie Morgan Scholarship Recipient; 2018 – Douglas Rees Young Opera Singer of the Year – Finalist; 2018 – Geraint Morris Memorial Award – Winner.

In other news, Bridget Radford’s two choirs, Lleisiau Hardd and Lleisiau Hardd Bach, will be staging their annual concert at St Mary’s Church, Burry Port, on Friday, July 12, 7.30pm. Tickets are £10 and available from choristers.

Burry Port Town Band will stage an evening of ‘Music from the Stage and Shows!’ at the Memorial Hall on Saturday, July 20, 7pm. The concert will feature the Senior Band, the ever-growing Junior Band and a very special guest artist Samuel Wyn-Morris.

The choristers from Llandyfaelog-based Côr Meibion Dyffryn Tywi are getting ready for their annual concert. It will be at the Princess Gwenllian Centre in Kidwelly on Saturday, October 12, 7pm.

The popular Concerts and Cakes initiative returns to The Lyric in Carmarthen at 1pm on Wednesday, July 24. Concerts and Cakes helps bring people together regularly to provide a forum for the sharing of high quality live music.

Each session is delivered in cabaret style and begins with an informal participatory music session led by Live Music Now musicians, followed by tea and cakes.

Live Music Now is the UK’s leading musicians’ development and outreach charity. They provide exceptional live music experiences to people with limited access to the arts, due to disability, illness or social disadvantage.

* If you have news about the choral or concert scene in Llanelli, email robert.lloyd01@walesonline.co.uk or rlloydpr@btinternet.com

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Press releases

AWJ signs on the dotted line once again for the Ospreys

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Alun Wyn Jones has announced a contract extension with the Welsh Rugby Union and the Ospreys, securing his future in Wales.

The world’s most capped international second row (134 international appearances – 125 for Wales plus nine British & Irish Lions caps) made the announcement direct to supporters this morning that he has extended his deal through to June 2021.

Since making his debut for his hometown region, Alun Wyn has become the Ospreys’ leading appearance holder, featuring 238 times for the region to date.

The Wales captain, who is preparing to head to Switzerland with the national squad this week for their first overseas RWC training camp, first signed a NDC back in March 2015.

The announcement today allows Jones to fully focus on the team’s preparations this summer and will also be a timely boost to incoming head coach Wayne Pivac.

“I’m really pleased to have announced the extension today and to have been able to announce it directly to all those who have supported me throughout my career, especially all the Ospreys supporters.”

In announcing online, Jones said to his supporters: “I have some news I would like to share with you. “I’m happy to announce that I have signed a contract extension to June 2021 with the Welsh Rugby Union and the Ospreys and will be playing at the Liberty Stadium for the foreseeable future.

“After serious consideration and taking stock of all options, it is the right decision for my career at this point in time, along with my personal ambitions on and off the field, my welfare and needs of my family.

“I’m grateful to have the opportunity to tell you directly, in particular to the Ospreys supporters and all those who have supported me during my career to date.

“Thanks Alun Wyn.”

Allen Clarke, Ospreys Head Coach, said he was delighted with today’s news: “Today’s announcement is fantastic news for us as a club and all Ospreys and Wales supporters. Alun Wyn is a man I have the upmost respect for; he is greatly admired not just because of what he’s achieved and what he represents as a local boy playing for his home region and country but importantly because of the ambition and level of performance he consistently displays.

“He’s a tremendous individual and a winner with a deep hunger for the Ospreys to be successful on and off the field. Alun Wyn has spent his entire career with the Ospreys and I expect him to continue his legacy as a player and well beyond his playing days.”

Commenting on the announcement, The Group Chief Executive of the WRU, Martyn Phillips, said: “This announcement is a huge boost for Welsh rugby.

“Alun Wyn is hugely respected across the game and I’m delighted he has committed his future here in Wales and that he will be continuing to play for his hometown region.

“It is a boost for the game both on and off the field and I’m sure the news will delight both Wales and Ospreys supporters alike as he continues to inspire the next generation.

“The extension allows the WRU and the Ospreys to continue working together with Alun Wyn to ensure he has the very best of environments to thrive in.”

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Jenkins Bakery’s Alana raises £2345 for Ty Brynwgyn Hospice

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Jenkins Bakery staff member Alana Harries has smashed her fundraising target to help a Llanelli hospice after running the London Marathon.

In memory of her dad and as a thank you to the amazing staff at Ty Bryngwyn Hospice, Alana  took part in the race on April 28.

Her target was to raise £500, but she exceeded this and raised the grand total of £2,345.20.

This was made possible by her generous sponsors offline and through Virgin Money Giving, various fundraising events and the support of her employers, Jenkins Bakery.

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Alana Harries (third from left) with three members of the fundraising committee: vice-chairman Andrew Stephens, secretary Susan Thomas, and chairman David Craddock.

Alana is from Burry Port and is the manager of the head office shop at the Jenkins Bakery’s headquarters in Trostre.

Alana said : “I decided to run the London Marathon in memory of my father and to raise money for the Ty Bryngwyn Hospice because my dad was there for a long time.

“I raised money through a variety of different methods – an online donation page, selling raffle tickets and a name the bear competition. I’d like to thank everyone who donated prizes.

“My dad, David Harries, was in Ty Brynwgyn before he passed away and the staff there were amazing. It’s such a wonderful facility and I just wanted to do something to pay them back and thank them all for being so wonderful with my father. It was like a home from home for my dad.”

Alana is pictured below showing off her London Marathon T shirt to Jenkins Bakery area manager Fiona Snook. The shirt carried Alana’s name on the front and a tribute to her father on the back.

Fiona said: “We are very proud of Alana at Jenkins Bakery and we were thrilled to see her taking part in the London Marathon. We are a Llanelli company and Ty Bryngwyn has touched so many lives in town, so we were delighted to be able to help Alana’s efforts and support her charity fundraising.”

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