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Three Welsh icons discover their roots

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THREE Welsh celebrities have discovered new information about their backgrounds as a result of ancestral DNA tests carried out as part of the ground-breaking project CymruDNAWales. On St David’s Day, S4C set out on an epic journey with the programme DNA Cymru, a curtain-raiser to a series which will set out to answer questions such as ‘Who are the Welsh?’ and ‘Where did we come from?’ by using DNA samples from the people of Wales today. The programme can be seen again on Clic for 35 days after the first transmission. In the programme Gareth Edwards, Siân Lloyd and Bryn Terfel discovered their roots in the longdistant past by taking part in the DNA tests. The programme and the series DNA Cymru are part of the exciting project CymruDNAWales set up in a partnership between S4C, CymruDNAWales, Trinity Mirror and production company Green Bay Media.

Wales rugby legend Gareth Edwards got the ‘surprise of his life’ when he received the results of his ancestral DNA test. Gareth, a famous son of Gwaun Cae Gurwen, had always thought himself as being of pure Welsh stock but genetic markers on his father’s side take the story much, much further back, and much further away – to Germany, Denmark, Scandinavia and as far east as the Volga. Because the result is most common nowadays in Northern Europe, scientists associated with the project have given it the label ‘Teutonic’. It belongs to a larger genetic group who may have been the first modern humans to colonise Europe. So Gareth has found himself having to re-think his idea of himself as a Celt through and through: “I’ve never thought of myself as anything but Welsh,” said Gareth. “I’ve always been proud of it and have tended to let everyone know.

This has come as a shock but I’m intrigued knowing now that, on my father’s side, I have a result which is common in places like Scandinavia. After all, I’m not tall and blond, I’m dark and swarthy, typical Welsh stock.” Finding she belongs to a genetic group which includes Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and members of the British Royal Family was a result television presenter, Siân Lloyd never expected: “It came as a huge surprise to discover I have any connections with Tsar Nicholas II and English Royalty. But my husband, Jonathan is not surprised at all, he knows I never get up in the morning until he’s brought me a cup of tea,” joked Siân, who’s originally from Neath. “I find it all intriguing. I now plan to do more research on Tsar Nicholas II and my middle-eastern connections.” Genetic markers on Siân’s mother’s side are what has set her in the same genetic group as the last Emperor of Russia and English Kings.

The research has shown her maternal line is one that’s very rare in Wales but common in parts of Italy and Iran. It also reveals a strong marker for red hair and Siân pointed out that at school she was known as ‘Cochen’ (Ginger). Scientists associated with the CymruDNAWales project have labelled Siân’s genetic group ‘Foragers.’ It’s common in the Near East and Southern Europe with sub-groups probably coming further into Europe after the Ice Age but before the spread of farming: “That label doesn’t surprise me,” admitted Siân. “I am a forager and just love my food.” Genetic markers on Bryn Terfel’s father’s side showed links with a sub-group, labelled ‘Rhineland’ by scientists working on the project, part of a much larger group probably present in the first modern humans ever to reach Europe.

Bryn’s sub-group is common in Germany and was found in ancient DNA taken from 3,000 year old skeletons found in the Lichtenstein Cave in Germany in 1972. It is also present in Scandinavia, the south of Scotland and Ulster. Asked about the possible German connection and his love of singing Wagner, he said: “I am particularly comfortable singing in the German language. There are links with the Welsh language in that I’ve always been led to believe that the Celts from northern Spain went through Austria,” said Bryn. “It’s intriguing to imagine that my predecessors were breaking new ground, because it’s always fascinated me trying to work out how one had the talent to perform and sing coming from a farming background. I find that very interesting.”

The results are based on analysis of the three celebrities’ ancestral DNA – just 2% of their total DNA. It can be used to trace their family lines back into the distant past. Many other ancestors will have contributed to their total genetic make-up. In the series, presenters Beti George, Dr Anwen Jones and Jason Mohammad will be explaining how the science of DNA can reveal genetic blueprints that stretch back beyond recorded history. The project’s aim is to conduct the biggest survey ever of ancestral DNA present in today’s Welsh population. This is done through samples of saliva. The series will use ancestral DNA to try to answer historical questions. The series producers are Green Bay Media. Series editor, John Geraint says: “This is an epic story of a people’s journey through history. We’ll have revelations about the genetic heritage of some real Welsh icons such as Gareth, Bryn and Siân as we trace the amazing story of who the Welsh are and where we have come from.”

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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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Witness appeal after car is stolen and burnt out

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE is investigating the theft of a car from a property in Lando Road, Burry Port, which was later found burnt out in Pembrey Country Park.

Officers are appealing for witnesses to the theft of the blue Ssangyong Rexton, which took place sometime between 5pm on Friday, 11th November, and 9am on Saturday, 12th November, and would like to speak to anyone who may have information or CCTV or dashcam footage.

Anyone with information that could help officers with their investigation is asked to report it to Dyfed-Powys Police, either online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.police.uk, or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

Quote reference: DP-20221112-109

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

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