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PM: Queen was ‘the rock on which modern Britain was built and our country has flourished’

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THE FLAG at Buckingham Palace was lowered to half mast at 6.30pm.

The official plans for her death, codenamed London Bridge, will now be activated.

The nation and other countries of which she was head of state will enter a 10-day period of mourning.

Details of her state funeral, accorded to monarchs, will be announced in due course, after being officially signed off by The King.

The framed formal announcement of The Queens death was affixed to the railings at Buckingham Palace at 6:45pm.

Tributes have been coming in from political leaders, past and present.

The last photo of The Queen taken at Balmoral and released by The Palace

The prime minister, Liz Truss, has said the Queen’s death is a “huge shock to the nation and the world”.

Truss said, in a short speech outside Number Ten, that the Queen was “the rock on which modern Britain was built and our country has flourished under her reign”.

Truss added the Queen championed the development of the Commonwealth and “we are now a modern, thriving dynamic nation”.

Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour party, said: “Today, we mourn the passing of a remarkable sovereign.

“It is a deep, private loss for the Royal Family and all our thoughts are with them at this time. The nation shares in their grief.

“We will always treasure Queen Elizabeth II’s life of service and devotion to our nation and the Commonwealth; our longest-serving and greatest monarch.

“Above the clashes of politics, she stood not for what the nation fought over, but what it agreed upon. As Britain changed rapidly around her, this dedication became the still point of our turning world.

“So as our great Elizabethan era comes to an end, we will honour the late Queen’s memory by keeping alive the values of public service she embodied.

“For 70 years, Queen Elizabeth II stood as the head of our country. But, in spirit, she stood amongst us.”

Sir Tony Blair, the UK prime minister between 1997 and 2007, said: “We have lost not just our monarch but the matriarch of our nation, the figure who more than any other brought our country together, kept us in touch with our better nature, personified everything which makes us proud to be British.”

Sir John Major, another former prime minister, said: “For 70 years Her Majesty The Queen devoted her life to the service of our nation and its wellbeing.

“In her public duties she was selfless and wise, with a wonderful generosity of spirit. That is how she lived – and how she led.

“For millions of people – across the Commonwealth and the wider world – she embodied the heart and soul of our nation, and was admired and respected around the globe.

“At this moment of deep sadness, I believe we all stand hand in hand with the royal family as they grieve the loss of one so loved.

“For we have all lost someone very precious to us and, as we mourn, we should be grateful that we were blessed with such an example of duty and leadership for so very many years.”

Buckingham Palace (Image MGP)

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has sent his condolences to Britain after the “irreparable loss” of Queen Elizabeth II.

The president of the Irish Republic, Michael D Higgins, expressed his “profound regret and a deep personal sadness” at the Queen’s death.

“Her Majesty served the British people with exceptional dignity. Her personal commitment to her role and extraordinary sense of duty were the hallmarks of her period as Queen, which will hold a unique place in British history.”

The Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, said the Netherlands remember the Queen “with the deepest respect”.

“During her especially long reign, she was a beacon of calm and stability for her country and the world, even at moments of the greatest historical upheaval… Today our thoughts are first and foremost with her children and grandchildren.”

The prime minister of Finland, Sanna Marin, sent her “deepest condolences to the royal family, people of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth”.

President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, called the Queen “a close friend”.

“I extend my sincere condolences to the family of Queen Elizabeth II and the people of the UK,” he said.

Tributes from public figures in Wales. We will add to these as we receive them.

MARK O’TOOLE, ARCHBISHOP OF CARDIFF AND BISHOP OF MINERVIA

We have all been deeply moved to hear of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. I ask all Catholics to pray for her, that she may hear those words from her King and Lord, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant – enter into the rest of your Master.’ We pray too for King Charles and all the Royal Family, that they may be comforted at this time of loss.

I was giving a talk this evening in the Vatican to catechists, bishops and priests from across the world on what it means to try and pass on the Christian Faith. I paused my talk at about 6.20pm UK time for a moment of silence, so that we could recall Queen Elizabeth’s exceptional Christian witness and the way she so often spoke of her relationship with Jesus Christ. All 1,000 of us in the Audience Hall of Paul VI prayed for the Queen at that poignant moment.  Shortly afterwards we all heard the news she had died a few hours before. 

We entrust her soul to the mercies and blessings of the Lord.

PLAID LEADER ADAM PRICE

Her Majesty the Queen’s long reign saw a period of immense change for Wales, the United Kingdom and the rest of the world. 

Her deeply held sense of duty was recognised by millions across the globe, and many will remember her as a figure which provided comfort, stability and continuity during times of crisis.

On behalf of Plaid Cymru, I extend our deepest condolences to the Royal Family at this difficult time.

PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL CHAIRMAN, CLLR. PAT DAVIES

I would like to pass on my condolences, those of the entire Council and the people of Pembrokeshire to The Royal Family on this saddest of days.

We have always known this day would come but it does not make it any less painful.

For millions of people, as our longest reigning monarch, Her Majesty has been a constant and reassuring figure in our lives.

We are thankful for her many decades of public service and the example she set.

SAM KURTZ MS

A life of dedicated, dutiful service to our nation and the Commonwealth.

Her Majesty was the strength and stay of our nation during her 70-year reign. She was a mother to her family and to our country. 

I will remember her with profound respect and admiration.

Together, we mourn the sad death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

My deepest condolences to the Royal Family at this sad time. May she rest in peace.

THE FIRST MINISTER, MARK DRAKEFORD MS

Incredibly sad to hear of the passing of HM Queen Elizabeth II. As our longest reigning monarch, she firmly upheld the values and traditions of the British Monarchy. On behalf of the people of Wales I offer our deepest condolences to Her Majesty’s family during this sad time.

JONATHAN EDWARDS MP

Her Majesty the Queen dedicated her life to public service making an unrivaled contribution which is recognised all over the world.

Ultimately our thoughts will be with her children and grandchildren as they grieve at the loss of the head of their family.

ELUNED MORGAN MS

Thank you for selfless service and reassuring presence throughout decades of change. You will be sorely missed Ma’am.

PAUL DAVIES MS

I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of HM Queen Elizabeth II.

A remarkable woman, who served us all with dedication and devotion.

My sincerest condolences to the Royal family at this very sad time.

CHARLIE EVANS, CHAIR, CWSP CONSERVATIVES

Well done good and faithful servant

Our beloved HM The Queen now sees her Saviour face to face.

God bless her. God bless her family. God save the King.

STEPHEN CRABB MP

I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

The nation mourns a remarkable Sovereign who served the United Kingdom and Commonwealth with the greatest devotion, strength and selflessness for more than 70 years. In times of national trial and hardship she never faltered, instead rising to the occasion to provide the country with stability and reassurance.

I offer my deepest condolences to the Royal Family at this incredibly sad time.

Rest in Peace HM Queen Elizabeth II.

NFU CYMRU PRESIDENT, ALED JONES

There is a deep feeling of melancholy amongst the Welsh farming community following news of the passing of Her Majesty the Queen.

Her Majesty was a symbol of dedication and commitment to public service, she has been a stoic servant to the country for an extraordinary seven decades, a remarkable reign at the throne of our monarchy.

The Queen’s warm affiliation with the Great British countryside is well documented and that connection has been valued and appreciated by the nation’s farmers.

On behalf of farmers across Wales, I send my deepest condolences to the Royal Family at this very sad time and offer my heartfelt best wishes at this time of national mourning.

WELSH LIBERAL DEMOCRAT LEADER JANE DODDS

I am deeply saddened to hear of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. My thoughts are with the King, her majesty’s other children, grandchildren and all those close to her at this difficult time.

Her Majesty’s passing, without a doubt, does mark the end of a very long, and indeed a seminal chapter in the history of our nations and for most people her presence has been one of the few constants throughout their lives.

Throughout her life, Her Majesty served the country with the absolute greatest dedication, honour and dignity. From serving in the Auxiliary Territorial Service during World War Two, to taking the time to speak to local schoolchildren at the opening of the Senedd last year, she never once shied away from public duty.

Her life will forever be interlinked with that of a period of great change within the UK and although many today would struggle to recognise the world she had been born into, she always seemed to belong very much here today in the present.

Her Majesty was always a great friend to Wales and she will be deeply missed within the UK, the Commonwealth and further afield. I pray that her journey into the next stage has been peaceful and that she is at rest.

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Carmarthenshire County Council cracks down on fly-tippers

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CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council handed out a total of £4,350 in fixed penalty notices (FPN’s) related to fly-tipping last month.

17 FPN’s were issued as a result of CCTV footage at Carway recycling facility, resulting in a total of £2,675 in fines being given.

This includes:

  • £125 FPN issued to a Carway female for depositing a bag
  • £400 FPN issued to a Carway male for depositing black refuse bags, blue recycling bags and paint pots at the site on several different occasions
  •  £125 FPN issued to a Carway female for depositing a bag
  • £400 FPN issued to a Carway resident for depositing blue recycling bags and other items

Fixed penalty notices issued at other locations in the county include:

  • £125 FPN issued to a female for depositing a black refuse bag at Red Roses recycling facility.
  • £300 FPN issued to a Gorseinon resident who failed in his duty of care when he had his household waste removed by a person not registered as a waste carrier.
  • £400 FPN issued to a Llanelli resident for fly tipping after CCTV footage provided by a member of the public led to his identification.  The male was seen driving along the rear lane between James Street and Swansea Road in Llanelli where he was seen throwing a blue recycling bag from his moving vehicle into the lane.
  • £300 FPN issued to a Llanelli resident who failed in their duty of care after their waste was found in an overgrown verge/hedgerow in the rear lane of their street.  The resident claimed to have paid a male to dispose of their waste but failed to provide their details.
  • £300 FPN issued to a Llanelli business for failing to produce waste transfer notes after waste produced by the business was found illegally deposited in Swiss Valley, Llanelli. The business was issued a notice requiring them to produce waste transfer notes within 7 days which they failed to do. The business was also issued a legal notice to ensure any waste from the business is disposed of correctly in the future.  

Cllr Aled Vaughan Owen, Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Decarbonisation and Sustainability said: “The introduction of CCTV at Carway recycling facility has enabled us to clamp down on the unlawful dumping of waste at this site. I hope this serves as a reminder that all waste deposited at our recycling facilities must be placed in the correct container, with all bags and boxed removed from the site.”

“The Council’s CCTV strategy will be extended to other recycling facilities in the county in the coming months to help combat instances of fly tipping in these areas.”

“I would urge anyone who needs to dispose of waste to do so responsibly. We have recycling centres at Nantycaws (Carmarthen), Trostre (Llanelli), Wernddu (Ammanford) and Whitland as well as a bulky waste collection service and weekly household waste collections. When paying for rubbish to be disposed of, please use a licensed business and ensure that you are given a valid waste transfer note when waste is collected.”

For more information on disposing of waste please visit Carmarthenshire.gov.wales/recycling

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Wales stands firm in support for Ukraine

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IN THE latest update on the Ukraine crisis, Wales’s Minister for Social Justice Jane Hutt thanked all those households across Wales who have come forward to offer their homes to Ukrainians fleeing the War and encouraged more households to provide this vital support.

APPEAL FOR MORE HOST FAMILIES

The Minister for Social Justice said: “I’m delighted to say that over 5,650 people from Ukraine, sponsored by the Welsh Government and Welsh households, have already arrived in the UK.
“More than 8,200 visas have now been issued to people from Ukraine who have sponsors in Wales, so we expect the number of arrivals to continue to grow in the coming weeks.
“Thousands of Welsh households sponsored Ukrainians to arrive in Wales and committed to hosting them for at least six months.
“As we move into the autumn, we approach the end of that initial period.
“We hope hosts and Ukrainians will agree to extend many of those placements, but we need additional hosts to support those who cannot continue living where they are.
“To ensure a warm welcome to Wales, I’m inviting households across Wales to come forward and open their homes to welcome those seeking sanctuary.
“We’re immensely thankful to all those across Wales acting as hosts to Ukrainians, but more households must come forward.
“I completely understand that there are those who want to help but may not have the resources to do so, given the circumstances we’re all facing with the cost-of-living crisis.”

WALES WILL STEP UP TO THE PLATE

Jane Hutt continued: “What we all know, and has been proven countless times, is that the people of Wales are one of the most generous across the globe, and I’m sure we will step up to the plate once again.
“The idea of hosting can be daunting. That’s why we have funded Housing Justice Cymru to provide a Host Support service which includes expert and reliable information, training, advice, and guidance for people hosting, or those considering hosting, Ukrainians in Wales.
“More information on sessions and training can be found on the Housing Justice Cymru website. We also publish regularly updated guidance for hosts and sponsors at gov. wales/ukraine.
“We still need many more households to consider whether they could provide a home for those in need. This would normally be a commitment to hosting for 6 to 12 months.
“If anyone is considering this, we encourage them to register their interest at gov.wales/offerhome, and to attend one of the ‘Introduction to Hosting’ sessions, facilitated by Housing Justice Cymru. You won’t need to continue the process if you decide it is not for you.
“We have also partnered with Airbnb.org to ensure very short-term emergency placements can be provided to prevent homelessness.
“If you cannot host for more than 6 months but you could offer your property for up to 30 days at a time, you may also be able to contribute. Visit gov.wales/offerhome and follow the link to the Airbnb.org platform.”
Finally, the Minister stated: “We will continue to communicate with those who host Ukrainians, with updated guidance and information to support the valuable role you are undertaking.
“To all those that are already hosting and to those that are considering hosting, thank you, we owe you all a huge debt of gratitude.”

WESTMINSTER MUST BACK HOSTS
DURING COST-OF-LIVING CRISIS

Conservative MS Mark Isherwood raised how the cost-of-living crisis affects Ukrainian refugees.
Where families had taken in those fleeing Russian aggression, he noted a risk of sponsorships not continuing beyond six months because the hosts cannot afford the rise in fuel costs.
He asked the Minister what discussions she’d had with the UK Government about increasing the £350 contribution to households who’d taken in Ukrainian refugees.
The Minister agreed with Mark Isherwood that ending a specific ministerial post dealing with refugees was regrettable.
She noted a lack of information from the UK Government over the summer months and since Liz Truss replaced Boris Johnson as head of the Conservative Government.
Ms Hutt said: “We asked for an increase at least to £500, or up again, doubling to £700 per month. An urgent decision is needed regarding this as they reach the end of their six-month period.
“That period is underway, so we’re writing to all hosts to see if they will continue.”

UK GOVERNMENT URGED
TO PICK UP THE PHONE

The Minister thanked Mark Isherwood for introducing her to a charity offering support in North Wales, Link, and hoped that he and his colleagues would bring pressure to bear on their Westminster colleagues to ensure those in need from Ukraine and those in Wales helping them received support.
She added: “I look forward perhaps that we might have some telephone calls from the Prime Minister and other Ministers to us in Government. We must engage with them and follow this through.
“There is a huge job of work to be done here. We’re taking responsibility in the way I’ve outlined, funding our welcome centres and paying thank-you payments to hosts if they support a family who initially arrived in Wales under the Ukraine family scheme.
“That’s not happening in England. The commitment that we’re making is considerable.
“I hope everyone will join us today, saying that we need to press for those answers in terms of financial support.”

THE THREAT OF HOMELESSNESS

Sioned Williams of Plaid Cymru raised the spectre of Ukrainian refugees becoming homeless in Wales due to a lack of financial support and the end of existing hosting and housing placements.
The Minister praised the work of local authorities across Wales supporting refugees.
She said: “There are very imaginative programmes. That includes a whole range of issues like repurposing empty buildings.
“Local authorities are really coming up with a whole range of ways in which we can support people, perhaps, from a welcome centre, or a host family, into that intermediate accommodation, and then on to other longer-term accommodation.”
Pembrokeshire currently houses around 200 Ukrainian refugees, with the demand for assistance outstripping the availability of suitable accommodation.

NOT ONE PENNY FROM WESTMINSTER
TO SUPPORT FAMILIES FLEEING WAR

Responding to a question from Mabon ap Gwynfor about problems housing family groups, Jane Hutt hit out at the lack of support from the UK Government and how it’s u-turned on a commitment to help families.
“The UK Government has never given a penny towards the family scheme.
“The former Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, in one of his last PMQs, actually said that he thought the Ukraine family scheme should get the same funding and support as the Homes for Ukraine scheme. It’s never happened.
“We have provided thank-you payments to people who are hosting Ukrainian families. It’s all Welsh Government money; it’s not UK Government, because they don’t provide a penny. And also, the British Red Cross—£246,000—who are actually supporting Ukrainian families who are hosting family members under the Ukrainian family scheme.”
On Wednesday, September 28, Eluned Morgan, Wales’s Health Minister, announced the continuation of free healthcare in Wales to Ukrainian residents displaced by the ongoing conflict.
The exemption will continue to apply unless there’s a significant change in circumstances in Ukraine.

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Carmarthenshire’s sensory garden: why locals should embrace this wellness trend

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WITH ‘#sensorygarden’ 499.1k views on TikTok – locals have the advantage of experiencing a sensory garden on their doorstep at the National Botanic Garden of Wales. Wildlife experts explain why you should visit.

Wildlife expert Sean McMenemy shares how sensory gardens can do wonders for our wellness whilst providing a safe haven for wildlife and encourages Carmarthenshire locals to visit their local sensory garden this autumn.

A sensory garden is an outdoor space that stimulates the five senses of sight, smell, touch, hearing and taste, and can be created in your own garden. Sensory gardens at home remain relatively rare, but the trend is growing with the TikTok hashtag ‘#sensorygarden’ amassing 499.1k views*. 

Carmarthenshire, dubbed the Garden of Wales, has a huge array of beautiful green spaces to explore. It’s home to the National Botanic Garden of Wales which spans a huge 568 acres, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. The stunning Great Glasshouse features a sensory trail that explores the largest single-span greenhouse in the world! From fluffy flowers from South Africa to a strongly scented Australian plant, it’ll engage all your senses. 

Having recently gifted King Charles with a beautiful oak sapling, the National Botanic Garden of Wales care deeply about the nation’s natural heritage. For those visiting the garden, the paths are wheelchair accessible with manual wheelchairs available on site. Open 10am – 6pm every day of the week.

Wildlife expert and founder of bird food provider Ark Wildlife, Sean McMenemy, explains the benefits of sensory gardening: “Sensory gardens provide a great deal of physical and mental benefits for different people and purposes. From getting vitamin D from sunlight to improving physical fitness by maintaining a garden, there are several physical benefits. Mentally, you can benefit from a mood boost and relaxation by spending time surrounded by calming stimulation.

“Sensory gardens can also have huge benefits for children, older people, those with learning disabilities and those who struggle with their physical and mental health. You can also create a sensory garden for your pets and garden wildlife!”

Top tips for creating your own sensory garden

If you do have the outdoor space, creating your own sensory garden is therapeutic in itself and doesn’t need to be a complicated process. The most important thing is to ensure that the garden engages all five senses. 

Melody Estes, landscape design gardening supervisor, says: “Whether you’re new to gardening or a seasoned pro, you can always improve your garden by adding some sensory elements.” 

Here are some tips from Melody for creating a sensory garden:

Sight – Plant colourful flowers that change with the seasons.

Sound – If you have a fountain or water feature on your property, consider adding some relaxing music to play alongside it. You could also place chimes near your front door to welcome people in.

Smell – Use scent. Consider planting scented flowers or herbs like lavender, rosemary and thyme that will give off a lovely aroma when they bloom.

Touch – Mix textures. The texture of plants can be as important as their colour and shape. Try using plants with soft leaves like ferns or grasses that are texturally different.

Taste – Planting herbs, fruits and vegetables not only provide tasty treats, but is a sustainable source of food.

Sean McMenemy adds: “Sensory gardens are an easy way to engage with wildlife and the outdoor environment. Growing your own plants and vegetables provides countless ways to learn about the natural world.

“You can bring your sensory garden to life by using bird feeders to attract beautiful feathered friends into your garden. They’ll bring the sound element to your sensory garden naturally. Fragrant flowers will attract colourful butterflies and other pollinators to your garden, giving you something to observe whilst helping nature to thrive.”

Some people may not have the time, money or space to create their own sensory garden. However, those with balconies and window ledges can still plant colourful, sweet-smelling flowers and edible plants. This mini sensory garden can still provide the benefits and satisfaction of an outdoor garden.

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