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Theatre Ffwrnes St David’s Day Celebrations



Musical Director D Eifion Thomas

Musical Director D Eifion Thomas

A SPECIAL St David’s Day concert took place at Theatre Ffwrness on Saturday (Feb 27).

The concert began with a combined performance by the Llanelli and Male Voice Choirs of Dunvant.

The first number was Gwahoddiad followed by a very emotional rendition of Myfanwy with the choirs finishing the first joint performance with Y Tangnefeddwyr.

MC for the evening Gary Owen joked that the Dunvant Choir was formed in 1895 and that some of them might have been in the choir that long.

Cor Meibion Llanelli was formed in 1964 and is led by musical director D Eifion Thomas.

Jordan Williams, a former pupil of Ysgol Gyfun y Strade was up next and proved to be a firm favourite with the audience. This talented young man gave wonderful performances of Dy Garu o Bell and Ysbryd Y Nos. He is one of many performers who is a member of the Loud Applause Rising Stars and he was a member of ‘Only Boys Aloud’. He is currently studying at Swansea University.

Cor Ysgol Iau Llanegennech brought a World flavour to proceedings starting off in Romania with Niska Banja followed by a traditional African song Tsho Tsholoza complete with African dancing to boot. This was followed by something much closer to home Lliwiau’r Hydref. The audience really warmed to the children’s performance and they gave them a rapturous round of applause following every song.

Since 2011 the choir have been finalists at the Urdd Eisteddfod in 2011, finalists in the UK Wide ‘School’s Got Talent’ competition and they went on to be the winners of the large primary school choir’s at the Urdd Eisteddfod in 2013, 2014 and 2015. They came second in the BBC’s ‘Songs of Praise, junior choir of the year’ competition in 2014 but eventually won it in 2015.

Glamour, passion and the beautiful operatic voice of Welsh Mezzo-Soprano Eirlys Myfanwy Davies was to follow as she took to the stage in a beautiful sparkling dress to perform Una Voce Poco Fa from the Barber of Seville by Rossini.

After hitting all the high notes it was time for a more contemporary number made famous by Mario Lanza, I’ll Walk with God from the Student Prince by Brodszky. Eirlys has won many accolades and awards including being named as ‘voice of the future’ at the Llangollen International Festival. She is currently a trainee at the National Opera Studio in London.

A touch of Laugharne and Cwmdonkin Drive came to the theatre as Dylan Thomas was offered up to the audience with Barry Evans from Dunvant Choir reading a verse from Eli Jenkins’ Prayer soon to be joined by the whole choir singing the remainder. The performance held the audience spellbound and firmly rooted in the best of Welsh culture and music on offer.

Gwinllan a Roddwyd I’m Gofal by Caradog Williams ended the choir’s first half solo performance. Following the interval it was Cor Meibion Llanelli’s turn to take to the stage first with a performance of Au Fond Du temple Saint, with wonderful solo performances by Terry Richards and Byron Thomas. This was followed by a very up tempo version of the Elvis Presley song ‘Teddy Bear’.

MC for the evening Gary Owen had promised a great second half to the concert and it exceeded his promise: it was a magnificent coming together of the best of local talent.

Cor Ysgol Iau Llangennech took to the stage again and demonstrated why they have been so successful at competitions throughout Wales. Os Oes gen ti Gan was first followed by Gwyl Y Baban but they did as they say save the best for last with a very jazzy version of Byd yn Un with multiple layers of children’s voices ringing out around the packed and beautifully decorated Theatre Ffwrness.

Eirlys Myfanwy Davies lit up the stage once again as she began her second half performance with a lively rendition of Sequidilla from Carmen. The next number was firmly set in Wales as he performed Welsh Medley by Rhys Taylor. Eirlys received a tremendous ovation from the audience as she completed what had been an outstanding performance.

The two choirs joined forces once more to lift the roof off Theatre Ffwrnes with performances of Speed Your Journey, Morte Criste and Tdyi a Roddaist.

The finale saw the talented musical directors Jonathan Rogers Lewis Richards and D Eifion Thomas along with the accompanists D Huw Rees, Aled Maddock, Andrew J Pike and Awena Owen take a bow for their outstanding work before and during the concert before being joined by the rest of the artists Cerith Owen from Loud Applause and compare Gary Owen to sing Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau.

Thankfully the roof remained on at Theatre Ffwrness, but it was a close call.

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



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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Prince and Princess of Wales to visit Wales



THE PRINCE and Princess of Wales have planned a trip to Wales to visit a variety of communities across the nation and learn about the work of key charitable organisations. 

The Prince and Princess have a deep affection for Wales, having made their first family home in Anglesey, and have thoroughly enjoyed their previous visits and the warmth and kindness shown by the Welsh people. 

Their Royal Highnesses are looking forward to spending more time in Wales over the next few years, they hope to strengthen their relationship with communities in all parts of Wales. 

During their first engagement, Their Royal Highnesses will visit the RNLI Holyhead Lifeboat Station, where they will meet crew, volunteers and some people who have been supported by their local unit.

Holyhead is one of the three oldest lifeboat stations on the Welsh coast and has a remarkable history of bravery, having received 70 awards for gallantry. 

Their Royal Highnesses will then take a short walk to the Holyhead Marine and Cafe Bar, where they will meet local people, including representatives of small businesses and organisations, including the Coastguard and Sea Cadets. 

In their second engagement, the Prince and Princess of Wales are expected to visit Swansea. 

Their Royal Highnesses will visit St Thomas Church, a re-developed church in Swansea which supports people in the local area and across the City and County of Swansea. 

Over the last two years the church has been transformed into a thriving community hub and is home to a vast array of services, including:

  • A foodbank which supports over 200 people per week
  • Swansea Baby Basics which distributes essential items for vulnerable mothers across the city, such as toiletries and clothes
  • Facilities for the homeless including food, showers and toilets
  • A not-for-profit cafe and community training kitchen
  • A surplus food distribution network which collects food from supermarkets at the end of each day and distributes it from the church to prevent food waste and to help end food poverty

As part of their visit, Their Royal Highnesses will meet those volunteering at the church across different initiatives including Baby Basics and the foodbank. Their Royal Highnesses will also spend some time meeting members of the public gathered outside the church. 

The Princess of Wales has previously worked with Baby Banks and the in summer of 2020 brought together 19 British brands and retailers to donate over 10,000 new items to more than 40 baby banks nationwide, operated by Baby Basics, Little Village and AberNecessities. 

Her Royal Highness has visited a number of baby banks across the UK, including in London, Sheffield and West Norfolk where she has spent time speaking with families about their experiences of using their local baby bank services, as well as helping unload donations. 

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Carmarthenshire farmer dies following attack by bull near Llandeilo



A FARMER has died following an incident with a bull on a farm in Llandeilo.

The 58-year-old, named locally as Maldwyn Harrier, was attacked by the animal during a TB test on Friday morning.

Police have confirmed that they were called to a farm in the Penybanc area of Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire, and are investigating alongside the Health and Safety Executive. 

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