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Nigel wins St David award

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Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 14.11.11TOP referee Nigel Owens was among the people whose achievements were recognised by the First Minister last week.

The winners of this year’s St David Awards were announced at a special ceremony at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay. The Awards were created to recognise the great deeds and often extraordinary contributions made by people from all walks of life.

Congratulating the winners, First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones said: “What a fantastic group of winners – congratulations to everyone who’s won an award this evening; you’re a credit to your families, friends, communities and Wales as a whole.

“I know there are fantastic people doing exceptional things here in Wales. I’m lucky, as I travel across the country, to see first hand the efforts that people make, day in day out to make Wal es as great as it is.

“The St David Awards give us a chance to formally recognise those people who go the extra mile often without the recognition they deserve.”

The winners of the 2016 St David Awards are as follows:

First Minister’s Special Award – Nigel Owens

Widely regarded as being the best rugby referee in the world, Nigel has won the award for that achievement and for being a fabulous ambassador for Wales.

The only Welsh referee at the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France and the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand – Nigel’s most memorable moment of his career so far was overseeing the 2015 Rugby World Cup final in England, watched by an estimated global audience of around 120 million people.

Nigel has battled with his own personal issues but has offered inspiration to many people – particularly young people – about how to be true to themselves and to live the life they choose.

Since deciding, in his words ‘to stop living a lie’ and declaring to the world that he is gay, Nigel has spent a lot of time speaking about his sexuality and has helped many young people in particular come to terms with their own sexuality and to have the confidence to discuss it with their families and friends. He is a true role model.

Bravery – Peter Fuller

After selflessly stepping in to prevent a horrific machete attack, Peter Fuller from Mold was presented with the Award for Bravery.

When Dr Sarandev Bhambra was attacked in his local supermarket, Peter bravely stepped between him and his attacker, with little thought to his own safety. He diffused the machete attack and it is believed that he saved a life in doing so.

Citizenship – Janet Williams

Janet Williams from Porthmadog won the Award for making a real difference to the lives of children who could not, for whatever reason, live with their own families. As well as bringing up her three children, Janet has fostered more than 100 children over the past 35 years, even going as far as adopting.

Janet has also mentored and trained other foster carers. She founded and chaired the Gwynedd Foster Carers Association and has been a trustee of the Fostering Network Wales.

Enterprise – Dr Dominic Griffiths

Dr Dominic Griffiths established leading medical device manufacturing company Alesi-Surgical and won the Award for his remarkable success in creating and marketing Ultravision, a new system which clears surgical smoke from the visual field during keyhole surgery and prevents its release into the operating theatre during the procedure.

The invention is now set for exports to hospitals across Europe. It was awarded a nationwide prize at the Praxis Unico Impact Awards, as well as both the New Venture and the first ‘People’s Choice’ Award at this year’s Cardiff University Innovation and Impact Awards.

Sport – Chris Coleman

Swansea-born Chris Coleman won the Award for his role in leading the Wales football team to the 2016 European Championship. To the whole country’s delight, it is of course, the first time that the team has reached the finals of a major championship since 1958.

His unquestionable passion to succeed is apparent when engaging with fans and players alike, and he and the team will be a huge inspiration for youngsters across Wales.

Young Person – Carwyn Williams

Carwyn Williams who is from Llandudno, was expelled from school and after being transferred to a specialist unit, left school with no qualifications. Two years later, he has turned his life around. He is now an enthusiastic volunteer at the Healthy Image Project, where he promotes physical activity and a healthy lifestyle to young people.

He recently won the Wales Young Volunteer of the Year award at the National Street Games Awards and was part of a group to receive a Highly Commended award by the Wales Council for Voluntary Action.

Culture – Owen Sheers

Owen Sheers was presented with the Culture Award for his work as one of Wales’ most prominent wordsmiths – he’s a renowned author, poet and playwright. A two-times winner of the Wales Book of the Year, in 2014 his poem ‘Mametz Wood’ was staged by National Theatre Wales and described as one of the most innovative productions to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.

In 2015 he joined Swansea University as Professor in Creativity where he plays a key role in nurturing creativity among staff, students and the community.

Innovation and Technology – Geraint Davies

For his role in developing part of the real time video app, Periscope, the Award for Innovation and Technology was given to Geraint Davies from Anglesey.

Periscope was launched in March 2015 and enables users to view the world in real time, through someone else’s eyes and to broadcast live events to their followers instantly through videos.

It is this important video element that Geraint built which is central to the app’s function. The app won the Apple App Store title of ‘App of the Year for 2015’, less than a year after it was launched.

International – Julie Gardner MBE

For her many years of work in raising the profile of Welsh TV production and the creative industries around the world, the International Award was presented to Julie Gardner. She has a long history in championing Wales – when she led the revival of Dr Who in 2005, she was instrumental in making the programmes in Wales, rather than at BBC studios in England.

Since joining BBC Worldwide America as Senior Vice President in 2009, she has used the role to promote Wales to the US TV industry. Julie has been responsible for attracting valuable inward investment into Wales which has resulted in the creation of a new state-of-the-art studio in Swansea.

Her latest venture is Bad Wolf, a new transatlantic company based in south Wales and Los Angeles producing big-budget TV series and films for the global television market.

First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones said: “Congratulations to all of the winners of tonight’s Awards, I applaud and thank you for your boldness, brilliance and bravery.

“I’d like to congratulate all of the finalists who made the Award’s shortlist, you also should be extremely proud of your achievements.”

“I’d also like to remind everyone that if you have been inspired by tonight’s winners and finalists, nominations are now open for St David Awards 2017.”

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Business

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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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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