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70 is the ‘gold age’ for the Welsh

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Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 14.05.45WELSH in their later years are relishing their 70s, with many planning to pursue new hobbies and interests rather than putting their feet up and relaxing.

According to Royal Voluntary Service research, released to launch GrandFest 2016, the one-day festival that celebrates older people and the skills they possess, one in ten 60-69 year olds (11%) said they didn’t believe old age began for another 16-25 years until they reached at least 85 years old, with 7% saying old age would be when they hit at least 90.

Not seeing themselves as ‘old’, 49 per cent had plans to learn or do something new in their seventieth decade with travelling to new countries (41%), getting fit (29%), volunteering (18%) and learning to use new technology (10%) among the most popular.

Alison Steadman, actress said: “When I was 17 I remember thinking 35 was very old! How we change, grow and learn. Life is for living and to be 70 now seems exciting to me. I’ve grown in confidence over the years and learned that every day is precious. Every day brings something new and challenging. Go for it!”

Despite the negative image of ageing often portrayed, research by the charity identified how many people from Wales in their sixties were looking forward to hitting the big seven zero. Over a third (37%) said they were intending to embrace their impending 70s with 18 per cent saying they will feel proud to be in their seventies.

Inspirational older people are paving the way, nearly half (48%) said Helen Mirren is the most inspirational celebrity to turn 70 in 2015 while almost a fifth (17%) cited former BBC correspondent, Kate Adie.

And it seems those soon to be 70s are in good company as a host of household names known for their acting, writing, cooking, and dancing skills are celebrating their seventieth birthday in 2016.

The illustrious 70@70 roll call includes singing great Dolly Parton, actresses Joanna Lumley, Helen Mirren and Alison Steadman, chef, Brian Turner, and politician Ken Livingstone.

David McCullough, Chief Executive of Royal Voluntary Service said: “Our roll call of 70 year olds will hopefully make people reassess their view of old age. Most of the people on our list are still working and are at the top of their profession. They are proof that that later life is to be celebrated and that’s why we wanted to launch GrandFest, to give people an opportunity to learn from the country’s seasoned professionals, the Original Makers who have perfected their skills over a lifetime.”

Brian Turner, Chef said: “Approaching 70 is as exciting as I remember approaching 20 years of age, so much to look forward to and now with a lot more experience of life! Looking back I am privileged to have met so many wonderful people and been to marvellous places. Onwards ever onwards!’”

Dr Chris Steele, British medical doctor, and the resident doctor on ITV’s This Morning, said: “When you reach 70, your main hopes and dreams for the future are really focused on maintaining good health and the avoidance of agerelated problems…..so very different to those earlier years when dreams centred on job ambitions, materialistic matters and hopes for your young family. The maturity and experience of ‘3 score years and ten’ does make one realise what the real priorities are in life – health and family.”

GrandFest, taking place in London on June 5th, is a one day festival created for the older generation to share craft skills such as knitting, crochet, wood turning and bread making through a series of master classes. Taking over museums, shops, cafes and bars in and around East London each masterclass will be led by a talented Original GrandMaker, aged 70 or over.

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Ascona Group announces new Car and Truck wash facilities

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Charlie's Truck Wash

ASCONA GROUP, one of the UK’s fastest-growing forecourt operators, is pleased to announce two new vehicle washing partnerships as part of improvements to its unique roadside retail proposition across its forecourt estate.

As part of a new partnership with the American based PDQ Manufacturing, a leader for in-bay automatic vehicle washing facilities, Ascona Group will be the first in the UK to install the ‘Laserwash 360 Plus’, a touchless car wash system for its customers.

The partnership will initially expand the wash options at the Hinton Service Station, with a view to roll out the system to other sites under the Ascona Group’s brand, ‘Charlie’s Express Car Wash’ later this year. The partnership is a significant investment for Ascona and demonstrates its commitment to ever improving the experience for customers.

Ascona Group is also delighted to announce a strategic partnership with WashTec UK that will see Ascona introduce a ‘First of its Kind’ truck washing facility at the Tenby Road site on the A40 Eastbound in Carmarthenshire, which offers the very best technology available to HGV drivers.

The truck wash employs a fully ‘closed loop’ total water recycling system, the first of its kind in Wales, which recovers all water used within the wash process, filtering it for reuse with little or no water entering the mains drainage system. This system ensures Ascona not only has the best commercial wash in South Wales, but also offers customers one of the more environmentally friendly approaches in operation.

Commenting on the announcement, CEO Darren Briggs said: “From the very beginning, we knew that our sites must present our customers with a unique and compelling offer which is why we are constantly seeking new and innovative ways to improve our roadside retail facilities.

“These two new partnerships further demonstrate our focus on creating industry-leading propositions and we are really excited to be working with PDQ Manufacturing USA and WashTec UK. Together, we are keen to continue to build on the success of these new operations and we are actively reviewing multiple opportunities across the Ascona portfolio to roll out more units such as these.”

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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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