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Cycling event draws huge numbers



Leading the way: The head of the pack

Leading the way: The head of the pack

ON SUNDAY February 28 the Daffodil Ride took place at Pendine Beach, Carmarthenshire, which saw hundreds of riders embarking on the challenge of a 43 mile loop through hilly Carmarthenshire and raised £3,500 for charity Trust PA.

The Daffodil ride is in its 9th year and is now being organised by 3rd year students from the School of Sport, Health and Outdoor Education (SHOE) at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD), Carmarthen.

Five BSc Personal Training students, Jake Doan, Lauren Tynan, Nathan Collyns, Charles Parson and Owain Tobias were in charge of organising the Daffodil Ride this year. The event included a sports massage tent and a pasta party at the end of the race.

Geraint Forster, Lecturer in Outdoor Education who runs the 3rd year module Interdisciplinary Support for Adventurous Activities said: “We are thrilled with the success of the Daffodil Ride. As a School of Sport, Health and Outdoor Education, we really want to promote health and wellbeing both within and outside of the University.

To see such a wide range of riders, including staff and students of the University, as well as local people and even those from further afield, successfully challenge themselves to complete a gruelling ride is really rewarding.

Knowing that in order to complete this challenge, these individuals have had to train and prepare over previous weeks and months is also very rewarding as it has a knock-on effect on their general health and wellbeing.

“Being physically active on a regularly basis is so important for health, and can prevent the onset of numerous non-communicable diseases.

“Physical inactivity is now one of the biggest risk factors for premature mortality, so our hope is that organising an event like this motivates people to be more physically active, and also to improve other aspects of their health such as nutrition.

“It was great to be able to organise an event that both encourages physical activity and breathes life into the village of Pendine, at a time of year when it is traditionally very quiet. We are also absolutely thrilled to have raised £3,500 for Trust PA.”

As in previous years, all proceeds from the Daffodil Ride are being donated to charity. This year’s charity is Trust PA, which funds research into treatments for the repair of spinal cord injury paralysis.

Geraint continued: “Local events like the Daffodil Ride are a brilliant way of getting your name out there as a personal trainer, if you have your own business the event can raise the awareness of you and your business and secure you more clients. The 3rd year of BSc Personal Training and BSc Outdoor Fitness is very professionally focused, students run their own personal training business, it’s less lecture based and more focussed on getting out there and practising real life skills under the insurance and supervision of the University.”

Jake Doan, BSc Personal Training student was pleased with the result: “Organising the Daffodil Ride was a great experience, it gave us the chance to manage hundreds of people, which was a big change from focusing on individuals through personal training.

Hundreds of athletes relied on us to run this event. These people had February 28th on their calendar, and they had a 43 mile challenge in their minds; they were relying on us to bring this event together in a safe and healthy environment.”

Charles Parson, BSc Personal Training said: “I’d never really done anything like this before, it was really rewarding. The structure of the BSc Personal Training course is great because the first two years provide you with the information you need and then in the third year you put what we’ve learned into practice.”

Gruff Ifan, participant added: “The whole day was a really enjoyable and fun event. The bike ride itself was very challenging and it was a fantastic feeling to have completed such a gruelling route.

“The students did a fantastic job of organising, everything ran smoothly and the sports massage tent provided a much needed service. Everyone enjoyed refuelling with the pasta party at the end of the race too.”

The founder of the Daffodil Ride, Andy Edwards, who is local to Pendine, set up the event 9 years ago with the aim of breathing life into the village during an otherwise quiet season. Having now moved from Pendine to Carmarthen, Andy was determined that the Daffodil Ride would carry on and offered the organising responsibilities to UWTSD students.

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Llandeilo Festival publishes its Entertainment schedule



“CHILDREN AND families are at the heart of our festival this year,” announces festival vice chair Debbie Ince. “On Friday 18th November the festival stalls will start trading at 10am but in the evening there will be the official opening, followed at 6:15pm by Santa coming through the town on his sleigh. A children’s Lantern procession from CK to King Street led by Llandeilo Primary School’s Samba group will meet Santa on King Street to tunes by the Llandeilo Town Band and bilingual hymn singer Ffion Haf. Once the children had their fill of Santa, the Christmas Lights will be switched on by Mayor Gordon Kilby. Local legend singer and actor Harry Luke and Ffion Haf will entertain the crowd until 8pm.”

People enjoying the festival

A spectacular and pet-friendly Laser Show will replace the controversial fireworks at 8pm. “There’s also a tea cup ride on King Street for kids,” adds Ince. “On Saturday and Sunday kids can go to Santa’s Grotto 10 – 4, and on Saturday to St Teilo’s Church or Hengwrt for activities. At our park and ride on Beechwood Estate ‘Sgiliau’ will be open for our youngest visitors.”

“There is of course plenty of entertainment for adults, too,” adds festival chair Christoph Fischer. “From Davies & Co Station Road to Flows on Market Street, most Llandeilo venues will play indoor music, many day and night. The stage will host a variety of acts: from school and adult choirs, bands, solo singers and dance groups, such as Mixed Youth Group, Lotus Sisters Belly dancers and Sunflowers Wales. Cooking demonstrations on Saturday and a Santa Run on Sunday morning round up the festival programme. You can find updates on the Llandeilo Town App Dyma Llandeilo.”

Santa at the Parade

“With our wide selection of street food, arts-,crafts-, fashion- and food stalls there should be something for everyone,” adds stalls coordinator and treasurer Mered Williams. “See you all on the 18th.!”

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Carmarthenshire County Council has launched its annual Christmas Toybox Appeal



The appeal, in its 12th year, helps hundreds of children with families who can’t afford to buy toys or gifts.

Last year saw us help more families than ever who were struggling financially with more than 7,700 gifts distributed to 1,287 children. This year during these unprecedented times we rely on support more than ever.

The appeal was launched online for the first time in 2020 following the coronavirus pandemic and people were asked to make a financial donation instead of buying gifts and toys.

This year people can either give a financial donation or drop off gifts from games, arts and craft items to toiletry gift sets for all ages – from 18 months up to teenagers, at one of a number of collection points around the county.

Schools, family centres and youth workers identify those who are in greatest need of support and council staff will distribute them in the run-up to Christmas.

The council’s executive board member responsible for the Toybox Appeal, Cllr Linda Evans said:

“I am proud to be following on from the legacy of Cllr Mair Stephens who sadly passed away earlier this year. The Toybox appeal this year is going to be more important than ever. We have always had fantastic support and this year we hope this will continue to ensure that hundreds of children will receive a Christmas gift. We know times are hard, but if people are able to spare a gift or a donation no matter how big or small, it will make a great difference to those families less fortunate.”

You can make a donation of your choice online at the Christmas Toy Box Appeal website. If you have a cash or cheque donation please call 01267 246504.

To view the collection point locations please visit the council’s website

Donations are being taken up until November 30.

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Council responds at pace to deliver significant improvements in its planning Service



Audit Wales has carried out a Follow-up Review of Planning Services by Carmarthenshire County Council and concluded that the council has successfully addressed all its recommendations.

In July 2021, Audit Wales published a report following a review of the council’s planning services, with its findings identifying significant and long-standing performance issues in the planning service that needed to be urgently addressed to help support the delivery of the council’s ambitions.

A total of 17 recommendations were made by Audit Wales for the council to address. All of which the report has confirmed have been met.

In response to the recommendations of the report, Carmarthenshire County Council convened an Intervention Board to provide oversight of a 49 point action plan to respond to the Audit Wales findings that were published in July 2021. Over the past 15 months, progress against the plan has been monitored through the council’s governance framework to provide assurance of progress made against the recommendations.

Audit Wales has been following the council’s progress through regular catch-up meetings with the council, document reviews and observing governance and audit committee meetings. They have also interviewed key council officers during the audit process.

Within the follow up-review, which can be viewed on their website, Audit Wales states that:

“The Council is to be commended for the swift, decisive action it took in response to the findings of our 2021 report, and for the way it has driven improvements in its planning service.

“The constructive way in which the Council received our report and acted on the recommendations is a particularly positive example of a Council demonstrating its commitment to driving improvement in service delivery.

“The Council has learnt lessons from the review that it has also applied more widely, particularly in relation to performance management.

“Overall, we found that the Council has successfully addressed all our recommendations and has responded at pace to deliver significant improvements in its planning service.”

Cabinet member for rural affairs and planning policy, Cllr Ann Davies said:

“I am very pleased with the Audit Wales report which states that Carmarthenshire County Council has succeeded in overcoming challenges within our planning department.

“The report is excellent, it praises the work and the change in systems, procedures and leadership, recognising the significant improvement that has been achieved.

“The issues in question were not due to a lack of work ethic, as I know first-hand of the effort and commitment that is put in by a number of our officers. It was rather the processes which were to blame and needed to be adjusted, as it did not provide officers with the appropriate environment to carry out the work required.

“I would like to thank all council officers that have worked so hard since the Spring of 2021 to achieve the goal of meeting all 17 of the recommendations that were initially set out by Audit Wales.

“The next step, of course, is to keep going, keep moving forward to stay at the forefront as one of the most productive planning authorities in Wales. There is further work to be done and we are committed to continuous improvement, especially in the world of enforcement but we are moving in the right direction with over 1000 enforcement cases having already been resolved in the last year.”

Click here to visit the Audit Wales website and view a full copy of the Follow-up Review of Planning Services.

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