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Llandovery station in running for top award



LLANDOVERY’s Railway Station has been shortlisted for the station of the year award at the 2019 National Rail Awards
Taking place in September, the awards celebrate all aspects of the rail industry from safety innovations and sustainable developments to stations, trains and customer service.

Now in its 20th year, the National Rail Awards are amongst the most important in the rail industry in Britain.

Nominations have now been confirmed, with Llandovery, based on the Heart of Wales line, up for the Best Station (Small) award.

Though un-staffed, the station is adopted through Transport for Wales’ Station Adoption Scheme by the Friends of Llandovery Station, a group of local volunteers who run the cafe and look after the station garden and floral displays.

Mary Hargreaves and Joan Snaith are two of the station’s longest-standing volunteers.

“It’s very nice to be nominated and we’re really pleased with what’s been achieved so far,” they said.

“We’ve been running the cafe with a small core group of volunteers and it’s been great to be able to get people in for work experience too.”

Originally built in 1858, Llandovery station once employed 57 people and used to boast a shunter’s yard where a spare steam locomotive was kept to help pull services over the steep gradient of Sugar Loaf to Llanwrtyd before coming back to the yard. The station building closed in 1992 but was brought back to life by the Heart of Wales Line Development Company and reopened as a cafe in 2011, with HRH Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall guests of honour.

The Royal Couple, who have a residence nearby, returned to the station last year as part of the Heart of Wales line’s 150th anniversary.

Lisa Dennison, Development Officer of the Heart of Wales Development Company, said: “It’s fantastic news that Llandovery has been nominated for the award and a huge amount of credit must go to the Friends of Llandovery Station for all their hard work.

“The café has gone from strength to strength
“The station really is at the heart of the community and a key location for some of our best walking trails.”

Transport for Wales’ Tom Owens, who manages Llandovery station, said: “It’s a real gem on our network and a huge credit to the amazing work of our volunteers from the community.

“I always look forward to going to Llandovery and the welcome you get there is always so warm. I’m delighted it’s up for the award and fingers crossed we’ll bring it home to Wales.”

The building hosts a regular model railway club and exhibitions of local artists. They are passionate about giving work experience to young people, including those with special educational needs who regularly help the core group of volunteers.

It is a testament to how the station cafe is seen that many of its customers are regulars.

David and Valerie May have been travelling up by train from Gorslas every Wednesday for the past three years.

“It’s a really friendly and lovely cafe and the cakes are to die for,” said Valerie.

Another regular is Kathleen Duncan who started coming last year after a personal loss.

She said: “The kindness everyone has shown me here really is tremendous. I didn’t know that many people in the area and it’s been a lifeline for me and has made me really feel part of the community.”

Volunteers also look after the hanging baskets and station garden, where fresh produce is grown for use in the cafe.

They hope to see a station canopy installed in future years, something which was in place during its Victorian heyday.

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Herald publisher ceases operations



HERALD NEWS UK LTD, the company which prints The Pembrokeshire Herald, The Carmarthenshire Herald and The Llanelli Herald has ceased operations.

Editor of Pembrokeshire Herald, Thomas Sinclair said: “After finalising today’s paper to go to print yesterday, a meeting was held last night. It was confirmed that the expected further investor funding would not be made available for the company.

“This meant that operations need be halted as the businesses was not able to pay its ongoing costs.

“At 10am today the 24 members of staff working at the newspaper have today been given notice of redundancy.

“We are absolutely devastated that after nearly 7 years and hundreds of editions of the paper we can no longer continued.”

“I would like to think that over those years, some of the stories we have written have made a difference to Pembrokeshire and beyond.”

Director of Herald News UK Limited, John Hammond said: “The company accountant could be appointing administrators as soon as next week.”

“The Owners of The Pembrokeshire Herald came to the conclusion last night during a finance meeting that the venture is no longer financially viable.

“Whilst every conceivable effort has been made to improve the financial situation of the business, we have to face the fact that there is no way that we can now continue in a solvent position.

“Whilst there has been a slow decline in readership of local newspapers, our costs for wages, printing and transport have substantially increased.”

“We would like to thank all of our loyal readers and staff.”

<img class=”wp-image-51343 size-large” src=”×678.jpg” alt=”” width=”740″ height=”490″ /> Community: Herald titles were campaigning newspapers<img class=”wp-image-51344 size-large” src=”×565.jpg” alt=”” width=”740″ height=”408″ /> Popular: 45,000 people read Herald titles each week in west Wales

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Volunteers needed in Carmarthenshire for Christmas food collection.



LEADING charities the Trussell Trust and FareShare are appealing to people in Carmarthenshire to volunteer to help in the UK’s biggest food collection for people in need.

From Thursday, November 21 until Saturday, November 23 the two charities will be collecting food in Tesco stores across the UK and Northern Ireland during the annual Tesco Food Collection. They are looking for local volunteers to encourage shoppers to donate, so that as much food as possible can be collected.

During the collection customers are encouraged to donate long-life food to help food banks and community groups support people in need at Christmas. Tesco will top up customer donations by 20% to further support the two charities in their work.

Last year, 3.5 million meals were collected as part of the Tesco Food Collection, and since its launch in 2012, more than 50 million meals have been donated to the two charities by generous Tesco customers.

To make this year’s collection a success volunteers are needed to hand out shopping lists to customers, so they can see the food items most needed by food banks and community groups in their area, and to encourage people to donate.

Emma Revie, chief executive at The Trussell Trust said: “No one should need a food bank at any time of year – but we know during the lead-up to Christmas our network of food banks see even more people needing help.

“Food banks will be doing all they can to provide vital emergency support so people don’t face hunger this Christmas. But to make sure there are enough donations, we need your support. Having your support in this year’s Tesco Food Collection will make a real difference – the more people who volunteer, the more food will be collected from generous shoppers, and the better prepared food banks will be to help local people.”

Farihah Choudhury volunteered at the last Tesco Food Collection, collecting donations for local groups supported by FareShare.

“I loved volunteering last year – it was great to speak with shoppers donating food. The kindness I saw was wonderful and gave me a lot of hope,” she said.

“I believe everyone should have access to good, healthy food and I’d encourage anyone who can to give some time to help stop people going hungry this Christmas.”

People interested in volunteering can find out more and sign up at www.fareshare/tescofoodcollection

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UK’s top skaters and riders drop in on Llanelli youngsters to celebrate a special birthday



THE WORLD’S and the UK’s finest skateboarders, BMX and Wheelchair Motocross stars will drop in on young people at a Carmarthenshire Ramps skatepark on Saturday 19 October 2019 from 11 am till 2 pm. The event was arranged to celebrate the £3 billion National Lottery players have raised for projects which have specifically helped children and young people develop and thrive in the UK over the last 25 years. £2 million of National Lottery funding has specifically been awarded to support and develop over 47 BMX projects in local communities for young people in Wales to enjoy.     

Wales and Pembrokeshire’s own wheelchair sports superstar, Lily Rice; the Olympic BMX freestyler from Swansea, James Jones; Britain’s leading street skateboarder and 2020 Olympic hopeful, Alex Decunha; and YouTube influencer, Jake O’Neill (aka Jake100), visite hundreds of youngsters at Ramps indoor and outdoor skatepark in Llanelli as part of the National Lottery’s celebrations.
More than £340,000 was awarded by the National Lottery in 2013 to develop and build Ramps Skatepark which now provides activities for over 15,000 young people a year.

At 15 years old, Lily Rice from Manorbier, Pembrokeshire, is a World Champion wheelchair motocross (WCMX) star. She was propelled to fame two years ago when she became the first female in Europe to achieve a wheelchair backflip, and only the second girl in the world to pull off the stunt. Since then, Lily has emerged as one of the global leaders of WCMX – wheelchair motocross.
She says: “By contributing towards building amazing facilities such as this indoor and outdoor skate park, National Lottery funding is helping thousands of young people of all abilities to reach their goals and discover new opportunities. I have trained and practised at numerous National Lottery funded skate parks and there is no doubt that the funding has helped wheeled sports, enthusiasts, to become healthier and more active.”

The National Lottery has inspired millions of people to get active in their local community, as well as supporting individuals and teams from grassroots to elite.

James Jones is a 25-year-old professional BMX rider from Swansea. James, who also celebrated his 25th Birthday this year,  is one of six world-class athletes who make up the Freestyle BMX Team GB for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. James honed his skills and practised his tricks at the Ramps skate park in Llanelli when he was growing up and highlights the importance of young people having access to facilities like this on their doorstep.
James Jones said: “I practised a lot here growing up and this facility has played a big part in my development as a professional rider and a person. I probably wouldn’t be where I am now without the support I got here. It’s not just about learning to ride or skate, there’s a real family vibe here, a great social aspect and it’s well supported by the community. The National Lottery must fund parks such as this one so that young people can have a safe space to pursue their hobbies and meet friends.”
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