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Tribute paid to former Trinity lecturer

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PROFESSOR JOHN ROWLANDS, former Professor at Aberystwyth University’s Department of Welsh, has recently died aged 76.

Originally from Trawsfynydd in Gwynedd, Professor Rowlands graduated with first class honours in Welsh from the University of Bangor in 1959. He continued in Bangor for another two years where he completed an MA on ‘Delweddau Dafydd ap Gwilym’ (The Images of Dafydd ap Gwilym).

He received a University of Wales Fellowship for further study at Jesus College Oxford between 1961 and 1963, and he was awarded his DPhil (Oxon) for ‘A Critical Edition and Study of the Welsh Poems Written in Praise of the Salusburies of Llyweni’, which was published 1967.

Between 1963 and 1974 he lectured at Swansea University, Trinity College Carmarthen, and St David’s University College Lampeter, and in 1975 he was appointed lecturer for the Department of Welsh at Aberystwyth. He was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1976, to Reader in 1992 and Professor in 1996. He continued to work at Aberystwyth University until his retirement in 2003.

Between 1960 and 1978, Professor Rowlands wrote six Welsh language novels, of which the best-known was Lle bo’r gwenyn, or Where Bees may Be.  He also translated Federico Garcia Lorca’s play Blood Wedding into Welsh.

Paying tribute to Professor Rowlands, Dr Robin Chapman, Acting Head of the Department of Welsh said: “Everyone in the Department has been shaken by the news of John’s death, and we have spent the day recalling our own personal memories of him. We are agreed on one thing; we have lost a friend as well as a colleague. Many could be justly proud of having achieved just a fraction of what he did.  He was a talented musician (we will long remember his piano accompaniments in departmental Christmas parties). He knew and wrote with insight on food and wine. He was a ground-breaking novelist – almost the only example of an Angry Young Man in Welsh literature – at the beginning of his career, and a master of tragic and comedic fiction in later years. As a critic, he taught generations of students to look beyond the personality of writers to concentrate on texts and contexts. He was a painstaking, creative editor who enhanced every piece of writing he touched. As a lecturer and professor, he had a profound influence on dozens of Wales’s leading writers and academics. And he was, of course, a loving husband and father. We extend our sympathy to Eluned, his children and grandchildren.”

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Dad speaks on Father’s Day about amazing experience of adopting

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AN adoptive dad of two has spoken of the privilege he feels watching his children bloom and grow.

Alex* has described becoming a father as a ‘totally new and amazing kind of joy’, and on Father’s Day is encouraging more men to consider adoption.

Through Adoption Mid and West Wales, Alex is telling his story in the hope that it will inspire.

The service supports families and individuals along every step of the adoption journey, matching children with people who can provide them with a loving, safe and stable family life.

For Alex and his wife, their decision to adopt came after unsuccessful fertility treatment which led them to reflect on their family plans.

Reaching out to their local authority adoption team, the couple were matched with a little boy just over a year from making their first enquiry.

“We had always talked about adoption as a possible route to starting a family,” he said. “We did try a round of IVF when it was clear we couldn’t conceive naturally, but after that was unsuccessful we took some time out to reflect.

“We started the process in January. We had a pretty normal year whilst going through the process – went to work as usual, went to festivals, on holiday, spent time with family and friends – and fitted meetings with social workers and courses in between.

“We did try to read up as much we could and attended extra courses and training outside of the ones organised by the local authority. We had the approval panel in December and after being successful there we didn’t have too long to wait before a match was found.

“We didn’t specify what gender we wanted our child to be, but the local authority did a very good job of finding a child that matched our lifestyle and profiles.

“We all have ways of finding our own joy, but becoming a father was a totally new and amazing kind of joy that I hadn’t experienced before.”

Such was their positive experience, that two years later Alex and his wife decided to adopt again.

“It was a more straightforward process second time around, as we knew what to expect,” he said. “We had a different social worker who hadn’t worked with second time adopters before, so she was a bit surprised at our level of confidence!”

Alex now confesses to be ‘the world’s biggest adoption bore’ and says adoption has been a positive experience with an amazing ending.

“Having spent many years without children in my life and finding joy in many other ways, I try hard not to make out that people without children are somehow inferior, but it is an utter privilege to be able to provide two children with a safe and secure environment to watch them blossom and grow as amazing human beings.

“To anyone considering adoption I would advise to go into it with your eyes open as there will be issues that will crop up that you may not have thought of, but stick with it – at the end of the day these are children we are talking about not bug-eyed monsters!

“There are lots of support groups for adoptive mums, but very little for dads, so if the opportunity comes up to go for a beer with an adoptive dad then take it – you will find out that adoption is way more normal and commonplace than you think! Oh, and if you have access to the Apple TV channel then watch ‘Trying’. A very funny and fairly accurate summing up of the whole process!”

This Father’s Day – weather permitting – Alex and his family are going camping.

“The relationship I had with my own father was a lot more traditional, so I am trying to be a lot more open and loving with my children. When I spend time with my friends who are also dads, I don’t feel any different to them – I love my children unconditionally and I’m extremely proud of them.”

Adoption Mid and West Wales is a dedicated service that supports adoptive families to come together.

The team recruits, trains and assesses prospective adopters to provide high-quality adoptive placements for local children and young people, enabling them to live with permanent new families.

There is no set criteria to becoming an adoptive parent – it doesn’t matter whether prospective adopters already have children, whether they’re single or a couple (straight or LGBT+), whether they’re married, unmarried or in a civil partnership.

Children are matched and placed with adoptive parents who are assessed as being able to provide a stable and nurturing environment and have the skills to meet the needs of the children.

Ongoing support is provided to adopters and their families throughout the adopted child’s life.

Locally, there is a need for adopters from a variety of backgrounds so children can be placed with families and individuals who share their own culture, language and religion.

Anyone interested in finding out more can visit adoptionmwwales.org.uk for advice and information. 

An online information session is being held on Wednesday, July 21, 2021, at 6.30pm – register before Friday, July 16, 2021. 

Enquiries can also be made with a member of the adoption team – email adoptionenquiries@carmarthenshire.gov.uk or call 0300 30 32 505.

* Names have been changed to protect the identity of the children

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Youth Support Service recognised

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CARMARTHENSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL YOUTH SUPPORT SERVICE has been awarded the National Participation Charter for Children and Young People.

The service which supports young people aged 8-25 across Carmarthenshire reach their full personal, social and educational potential was given the accreditation for its commitment to the participation standards.

The National Children and Young People’s Participation Standards are a tool to help measure the process of children and young people’s participation in the work undertaken by a service supporting young people. And that they are working in line with the National Participation Standards which are underpinned by the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.

The service also provides support and opportunities to access employment, education or training for ages 16-25.

The council’s director of education and children services, Gareth Morgans, said: “This is an essential and exciting part of our journey as a service in realising our vision of being a service that provides a robust range of support from open access to specialised support, enabling children, young people and young adults from 8-25 years of age to access what they need, when and where they need it so that they can reach their full personal, social and educational potential.

“The voice of children and young people is important to us as a service and being awarded the Charter demonstrates our strong commitment to children and young people’s participation within our work in Carmarthenshire.

“The Charter will allow us to use the National Participation Standards as a tool to measure the process of the participation of children and young people in decision making processes within our local authority. It will also help us to identify current areas of good practice, as well as areas for development.”

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Carmarthenshire County Council Chair’s charity swim

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THE CHAIR of Carmarthenshire County Council has fulfilled his promise to do a seaside swim to raise money for his two charities.

Cllr Ieuan Davies had vowed to take part in the traditional Walrus Dip at Cefn Sidan beach on Boxing Day, but the event was cancelled due to Covid restrictions.

Instead, Cllr Davies took to the waves at Pendine beach during a chilly Easter weekend.

Cllr Davies is fundraising for two charities close to his heart, Prostate Cancer and St Peter’s Church in Llanybydder. 

As well as the swim, he is also undertaking a sponsored walk and has so far walked over 60 miles.

“It has been a difficult year for so many people and I have deeply regretted being unable to undertake the usual duties of Chair, meeting as many Carmarthenshire residents and groups as possible over the year.  I am so pleased to have been able to do a seaside swim which is an important date in the civic calendar,” said Cllr Davies.

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