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Plaid Cymru MP by-election

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Commemorated: The picture on which the plaque is based ( Pic. Ken Davies)

Commemorated:
The picture on which
the plaque is based
( Pic. Ken Davies)

CARMARTHEN will be celebrating the anniversary of a by-election , widely regarded as changing the face of politics in the UK , this month.

On a warm summer’s night in Carmarthen in 1966, the face of British politics was changed forever. A huge crowd packed Guildhall Square to see Gwynfor Evans returning as the first ever Plaid Cymru MP. It was a political earthquake, and not long afterwards the SNP won a seat in Scotland. The Carmarthen by-election on July 14 , 1966 , is seen by many as the political spark that fired the long journey to devolution in both countries.

Gwynfor’s and Plaid Cymru’s triumph was all the more astonishing, considering that in a general election held just a few weeks before, he had finished third, behind Lady Megan Lloyd George and Liberal candidate Hywel Davies.

In the by -election, Gwynfor increased his vote by more than 100% to take the seat with a majority of 2,500.

50 years on from that historic day, a bas-relief plaque to commemorate Gwynfor’s historic achievement will be erected outside the Guildhall during a special celebration on July 16.

The large bronze plaque is the work of leading Welsh sculptor Roger Andrews, based on a photograph taken by Carmarthen photographer, the late Ken Davies, during Gwynfor’s first General Election victory. The work was funded entirely by public subscription.

A local committee, The Gwynfor Evans Trust, organised the memorial. “It’s important to remember Gwynfor’s victory in 1966 because it changed the whole political history of Wales,” said Peter Hughes -Griffiths, on behalf of the Trust. “There wouldn’t be an Assembly in Cardiff today without Gwynfor Evans – t hat’s why it’s so important that we have a memorial in Carmarthen to celebrate the achievements of this remarkable man.”

Plaid Cymru Elder Statesman Lord Dafyd Wigley, who served alongside Gwynfor in Westminster during his second term, was in no doubt about the importance of the role he played in Welsh politics: “Gwynfor Evans was Wales’ greatest 20th century patriot. Without his dedication and unswerving determination, Wales wouldn’t today have the degree of national autonomy we enjoy , and neither would the Welsh language have secured its official status,” he told The Herald. “Future generations will look back to the 1966 by-election as a turning point in our history and salute the good people of Carmarthenshire for making it happen.”

Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards, who represents the vast majority of Gwynfor Evans’ original constituency, will lead a debate in Westminster Hall on Tuesday (Jul 4) to mark Gwynfor’s contribution to Welsh politics.

“Gwynfor’s legacy has been to inspire generations to the cause of our country. The admiration for Gwynfor across all political parties indicates his enormous contribution in creating the Wales we have today,” he said.

“Gwynfor’s ambition for Wales was to secure self-government. His 1966 victory was the catalyst for Harold Wilson establishing a Royal Commission on the UK Constitution – a commission which recommended the establishment of legislative parliaments in Wales and Scotland.

“Whilst it was the votes of the Welsh people which ultimately delivered the National Assembly for Wales, there is no doubt that Gwynfor’s election represented the beginning of the journey to political autonomy.

“One of his many notable achievements in Parliament was to challenge Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to establish the Welsh language television channel S4C – a mammoth accomplishment which will be appreciated further as S4C prepares for its relocation to its Carmarthenshire home.

“I am delighted to have secured a debate in Parliament to commemorate the contribution of Gwynfor Evans to Welsh politics and Welsh nationhood. Gwynfor was known in parliament as the ‘Member for Wales’ – a recognition of his deep passion and commitment to Wales and her people, and a representation of his unwavering endeavour to always put Wales first.”

Carmarthen East and Dinefwr AM , Adam Price , will table a Statement of Opinion in the National Assembly for Wale this week, for fellow AMs to mark the contribution of Gwynfor Evans in establishing the institution.

Mr Price said: “Gwynfor Evans was the founder of modern Welsh nationalism. His integrity, eloquence and commitment to the cause of Wales set an example to which all of us in Plaid Cymru try to aspire.

“His depth of commitment on issues such as nuclear disarmament, industrial democracy, social co-operation and international concord proved to be very difficult for many of his fellow MPs from Wales to handle. In many ways , Gwynfor Evans was their conscience – something which Plaid elected members continue to provide to unionist politicians today.

“Gwynfor’s election transformed the Welsh political landscape. He worked to see Wales as a responsible member of the international community, acknowledging the inter-dependence of nations – a topic which dominates Welsh politics today.

“It is an honour to have followed in his footsteps as an MP for Carmarthenshire and now an Assembly Member for his old constituency in the Welsh Parliament Gwynfor set out to establish.

“My Statement of Opinion is a small way in which members of that Welsh Parliament can demonstrate their recognition and appreciation of Gwynfor’s contribution to Wales and Welsh politics.”

The plaque will be unveiled by a family member and Cyril Jones, Gwynfor’s agent during that historic by-election. Following the unveiling, an event entitled ‘Wyt ti’n cofio Sgwar Caerfyrddin?’ will be held at Heol Awst Chapel, Lammas Street. Taking part will be Dafydd Iwan, Dafydd Wigley, Côr Seingar and others, with members of Gwynfor’s family present. Jonathan Edwards MP will read parts of Gwynfor’s maiden speech to the House of Commons in 1966. Translation equipment will be available.

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Carmarthenshire Archives’ new building officially opened

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ON MONDAY, November 28, Cllr Rob Evans, Chair of Carmarthenshire County Council, unveiled a specially designed plaque to commemorate the official opening of the brand new Carmarthenshire Archives building.

The official opening was attended by year 6 pupils of Ysgol Y Dderwen, along with their Headteacher Mr Dylan Evans, who designed the plaque by compiling various artwork and sketches that are housed at the Archives.

Established in 1959, Carmarthenshire Archives is the local authority archive service for the County of Carmarthenshire and the new building is located at St Peter’s Street, Carmarthen. 

The service is home to our extensive collection of historic documents that date from the 13th century to the present day. The collection includes archives, maps, books, photographs, videos and sound recordings. It is the Archives’ mission to preserve and make its documents available for general study and research.

Admission to Carmarthenshire Archives is free and open to anyone who wishes to use the Council’s records. Most of its services are free, but we do charge for some extra services and help.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Leisure, Culture and Tourism, Cllr Gareth John commented:

“Congratulations to the pupils of Ysgol Y Dderwen, they have designed an excellent and appropriate plaque that is inspired by the treasure troves of our archives. It was wonderful to welcome them to the official opening so that they can see their work take pride of place at a building that holds great significance to us in Carmarthenshire. 

“This is a brand new and modern building that is fit to keep and protect our county’s most precious historical documents. 

“But of course, these documents are meant to be viewed and studied by school children, students, academics and anybody who has an interest in Carmarthenshire’s rich history; and this excellent facility provides the perfect space for people to come and view these treasures.”

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Llandeilo gas works to begin say Wales & West Utilities

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WALES & West Utilities will shortly begin work to upgrade gas pipes in Llandeilo.

Wales & West Utilities has liaised with Carmarthenshire County Council to plan the work and it has been agreed that work will commence after the town has celebrated the Festival of Senses.

The £123,000 investment scheme, which is essential to keep the gas flowing safely to heat and power local homes and businesses, will begin in New Road on 21 November. This section of work will be complete before Christmas and Wales & West Utilities will return to the town next year to undertake further work in the Crescent Road area. Barring any engineering difficulties, work in the town will be complete by the end of February next year.

Wales & West Utilities Adam Smith is managing this gas pipe upgrade work. He said: “Working with the Council, we have planned this work to accommodate the needs of the town.

“While most of the gas network is underground and out of sight, it plays a central role in the daily lives of people across Llandeilo. Whether it’s heating your home, making the family dinner or having a hot bath, we understand how important it is for your gas supply to be safe and reliable and there when you need it.

“We know that working in areas like this is not ideal, but it really is essential to make sure we keep the gas flowing to homes and businesses in the area, and to make sure the gas network is fit for the future. We’ll have a team of gas engineers on site throughout the project to make sure our work is completed as safely and as quickly as possible while keeping disruption to a minimum.

“This work is essential to keep the gas flowing to local homes and businesses today, and to make sure the gas network is ready to transport hydrogen and biomethane, so we can all play our part in a green future.”

Our Customer Service Team is ready to take your call if you have any questions about our work. You can contact them on freephone 0800 912 2999.

Alternatively, you can contact us on Twitter @WWUtilities or Facebook.com/WWUtilities.

Wales & West Utilities, the gas emergency and pipeline service, brings energy to 7.5m people across the south west of England and Wales. If you smell gas, or suspect the presence of carbon monoxide, call us on 0800 111 999 straight away, and our engineers will be there to help any time of day or night. Before visiting, we’ll ask you to let us know if you or anyone in your household, is experiencing Coronavirus symptoms or self-isolating. We’ll still come and help you: but our teams will take some additional precautions to keep us all safe.

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Police appeal following theft of items from Home Bargains Crosshands

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OFFICERS from Dyfed Powys Police have confirmed that they are investigating the theft of items, including a Christmas Nutcracker Ornament valued at £129.99, from the Home Bargains store in Crosshands, Carmarthenshire.

The theft occurred at about 12:40pm on Tuesday, 27th September 2022.

Officers have carried out all possible lines of enquiry, and are now appealing for help from the public.

They would like to identify the people in the CCTV image, who may have information that could help the investigation.

Anyone who knows who the people are, or if you believe you are pictured, contact Dyfed-Powys Police.

This can also be done either online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.police.uk or phoning 101.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

Please quote reference DPP/2006/27/09/2022/02/C

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.

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