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Parc Howard: Meryl’s key role

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‘Recommended’ property speculator: EBM Cllr Meryl Gravell

‘Recommended’ property speculator: EBM Cllr Meryl Gravell

A LETTER from the Vice Chair of the Park Howard Association, Mrs Margaret Gimblett, which takes issue with the headline of a story in last week’s Herald, has revealed how property speculator Nick Spysznyk was introduced to the Chair of the Parc Howard Association, former UKIP candidate Ken Rees.

In her letter to this newspaper, Mrs Gimblett discloses that ‘Ken was first approached by Nick Spysznyk, representing a mysterious group of investors, on the recommendation of County Councillor Meryl Gravell’.

Cllr Gravell was conspicuous by her absence from a recent meeting of the council where she was due to be questioned about the council’s attempt to dispose of Parc Howard to private hands. The Executive Board member’s involvement at an early stage in the scheme, indicates that much more was known – and more widely known – than has previously been disclosed.

The fact that an Executive Board member was fully apprised of the scheme in conjunction with senior officers while local councillors were deliberately kept in the dark – if not, misled by omission – suggests that the Council has stumbled over the first of its much-vaunted ‘39 Steps’ to become more open, transparent, and democratic.

Mrs Gimblett goes on to confirm that Mr Rees did not invite members of the Parc Howard Association who were councillors to and ‘informal meeting’ at the Diplomat Hotel and a second meeting at the Thomas Arms a fortnight later.

Explaining the background to the Parc Howard Association was formed as a pressure group to ensure the preservation and improvement of the Parc for the people of Llanelli to whom it was given by the Howard Stepney family over 100 years ago, Ms Gimblett said: ‘The committee is made up of volunteers, responsible and concerned individuals who give of their time and energy to lobby the County Council and organise events in the Parc. We have made considerable headway over the last five years, culminating in submitting our ‘Vision’ for the Parc which was included in the council’s bid for a Heritage Lottery fund grant last year, but the bid failed and very little progress has been made since. We intend to fight on’.

Mounting a stout defence of her conduct of a meeting at which she used her casting vote to support the embattled Mr Rees against attempts to unseat him, and describing Catriona Waldron’s conduct in alerting the press to the vote’s outcome as ‘vicious and spiteful’, Mrs Gimblett said: ‘I voted in Ken’s favour because, having known him for about thirty years, I believe him to be well-intentioned and honest, with the interests of Llanelli at heart. I certainly do not believe that he would get involved in any corruption, which Catriona seems to be implying’.

The Herald has already revealed that the Association secretary, Phil Lawler, has requested that should Ken Rees ever attend future meetings with Loca Ventures Ltd, he should not hold himself out as representing the Parc Howard Association.

There is a further meeting of the Parc Howard Association this Saturday (Jul 25).

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Community

Nearly £50,000 of National Lottery funding for community groups in Carmarthenshire

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FIVE local community organisations across Carmarthenshire are celebrating after being awarded a share of £49,575 of funding from The National Lottery Community Fund over the past month.

One successful project was MolTân Makers who will use their £9,820 grant to provide metal working workshops for people wishing to improve their mental health and well-being. The group will reach out to mental health groups and the wider community and also allow people to reconnect with the community following the pandemic.

One participant with MolTân Makers explained, “ The course was professionally run by four hard-working people who helped us with one to one tuition when needed. They were so welcoming and adaptable to individual needs and allowed me to attend the course at different hours due to health reasons.

“They were great company and created an interesting and positive atmosphere to help people with mental and physical health problems feel included and understood and we all took home what we made in the course.”

The Hangout received £10,000 and will help young people improve their mental health and wellbeing through structured outdoor activity programmes. The project will build on a previous pilot project that led to more young people becoming re-engaged in school following the pandemic and continuing to volunteer with the group after the initial sessions finished.

The Alternative Learning Company in Llanelli were awarded £9,955 and will recycle plastic bottles to build full size greenhouses. They will propagate plants for growing schemes in local schools and communities. The project will reduce the levels of plastic sent to landfill or polluting open spaces, and give young people an understanding of the impact of climate change.

Newcastle Emlyn Town Council will build an outdoor structure in collaboration with the community, to mark Her Majesty the Queen’s Jubilee. This £10,000 grant will fund building and design materials, and a water harvesting kit.

Messy Projects will use their £9,800 grant to run the activities and events they missed due to the pandemic. Activities will include celebrating the Queens platinum jubilee, a BBQ, and a Bonfire party.

John Rose, Wales Director at The National Lottery Community Fund, said “These groups play a vital role in supporting their communities and these grants will allow them to continue being there for people in future. 

 ”National Lottery players raise more than £30 million each week for good causes across the UK and the projects funded over the past month show the crucial difference players make through their tickets. I look forward to following all of their progress.”  

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Family of power station worker calls on former colleagues to help with asbestos claim

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THE WIFE of a Carmarthenshire man, who was just 66 when he died of an asbestos-related cancer, is calling on colleagues who worked with him in the 1970s to help understand where and how he contracted the disease.

Peter Colton, from Llanelli, died in July 2021 after being diagnosed with the asbestos-related disease, mesothelioma.

He worked as a conveyor and weighbridge operator for the CEGB at Carmarthen Bay Power Station. During his time at the power station, his duties included offloading coal wagons and conveying coal to the boilers.

It is possible that Mr Colton was exposed to asbestos during those years and now his family has sought the help of local asbestos specialists J.M Parsons, to investigate a claim for compensation.

Ann Colton, Mr Colton’s wife, wants answers. She said: “Peter was diagnosed with mesothelioma and died just six weeks later. He had been suffering from shortness of breath and just had no quality of life.

“It was devastating to see someone who had been so healthy and active slowly get worse and worse. We just want to know where and how he was exposed to asbestos and hope someone out there can help us.”

According to data from the Health and Safety Executive, annual mesothelioma deaths in Britain increased steeply over the last 50 years, a consequence of mainly occupational asbestos exposures that occurred because of the widespread industrial use of asbestos during 1950-1980.

Amanda Jones is one of the specialists at J.M Parsons, which is owned by Thompsons Solicitors. Thompsons has paved the way for asbestos litigation in the UK ever since it brought about the first successful asbestos disease claim to the House of Lords in 1972, 50 years ago.

She said: “We would be grateful to hear from anyone who remembers working with Peter Colton in Carmarthen Bay Power Station in the 1970s or anyone who worked in the same field as Peter beyond the 1970s.

“Such individuals will be invaluable to Mr Colton’s family as they may be able to add important information that will assist us in building a civil claim. We hope that we will then be able to answer questions about the conditions that Mr Colton worked in during his working life.”

Anyone with information should contact Amanda Jones on 01554 779940, or via email at amanda@jmplaw.co.uk.

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Carmarthenshire cheese maker secures Co-op listing

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Caws Cenarth award

A CHEESEMAKER from Carmarthenshire has secured its first listing with the Co-op as part of the retailer’s continued focus on local and community sourcing.

Family-owned Caws Cenarth, which has cheese making in the family dating back to 1903, will now see two of its cheeses listed in more than 20 Co-op stores across the region.

Made on farm in Glyneithinog, Caws Cenarth will supply Co-op with its Organic Caerffili – which has a light and lemony taste with hints of sea salt – and, one of its best known cheeses the Organic Perl Las Mini – which is described as a blue cheese, golden in colour, with a creamy, gently salty taste that grows stronger with maturity.

Carwyn Adams, whose parents rekindled the family tradition for cheese making in 1987 with the creation of Caws Cenarth, said: “We are absolutely thrilled. I shop in our local Co-op and regularly thought how nice it would be to see our cheese on the shelf and, now that is to become a reality. Working with Co-op will support our business development, and raise awareness of our cheeses, not only across the region, but also further afield as visitors to the area often look for local produce to take back home with them as gifts or to remind them of their stay in the area.”

Jo Wadsworth, Co-op’s Community Buying Manager, said: “We are delighted to welcome Caws Cenarth onto our shelves. We know that our Members and customers value the quality and provenance of locally produced food and drink and, here at the Co-op we are focussed on supporting local suppliers as part of our commitment to creating value and making a difference in our local communities.”

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