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Thousands enjoy Virtual Christmas Parade from the comfort of their own homes

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Virtual Christmas Parade (Image: Swansea Council)

Around 25,000 people logged on to watch Swansea Council’s countdown to Christmas begin with a Virtual Christmas Parade.

The viewing figures were possibly three or four times that, with families gathering around tablets, smartphones, laptops and PCs to enjoy the colourful action.

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Although most viewers were based in Wales the video was also seen as far away as America’s west coast and in European countries including Germany, Holland, Spain and Sweden.

And the large amount of feedback from those who watched on the council’s Enjoy Swansea Facebook and YouTube accounts was warm and appreciative

Virtual Christmas Parade (Image: Swansea Council)
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Alana Gill wrote: “Aww this was amazing! Although it’s not the same as usual it helps keep the spirit alive for us all! My son watched and he was so happy and excited and asked could he go. Had to explain to him that we can’t this year! Aww talk about mixed emotions! Although this year won’t be the same as previous years for many of us I will do the best I can to have a good Christmas and a good ending to the year for my family for definite! Well done and thanks for the virtual parade 2020!”

One viewer wrote on Facebook: “Well done Swansea Council. This was amazing. I felt really emotional watching.”

Another wrote: “Thank you Swansea Council. It was absolutely fantastic. It took me back to my childhood inside. Just loved it – brilliant. Cheered us all up after this awful year and gives us hope for 2021.”

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Virtual Christmas Parade (Image: Swansea Council)

The video – premiered on the evening of Sunday, November 15 – featured the best bits of previous years’ parades as part of a festive countdown that will help keep residents safe. Highlights included community groups in magical costumes, princesses and story-book characters, light-up drummers and Santa in his sleigh. 

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Robert Francis-Davies, Cabinet Member for Investment, Regeneration and Tourism, said: “I’m delighted that so many people enjoyed our online start to the festive season.

“Our annual Christmas Parade is a major event in the countdown to Christmas and one that everyone looks forward to, whether being part of it or watching it in the city centre.

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“It is hugely popular, attracting tens of thousands of people but with the coronavirus, for the safety of all of our residents, an event like this was just not possible this year.

“We’re glad that our virtual parade helped to get people in the Christmas spirit.

“Nobody was more disappointed than our own staff that we couldn’t put on the city centre parade this year. However, our Marketing and Events teams were determined to do something by way of a celebration – albeit delivered in a very different way. We’re delighted to see all the very positive comments.”

Leader of Swansea Council, Cllr Rob Stewart (Image: Swansea Council)
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The video featured previously unseen footage from last year as well as some new additions including a message from council leader Rob Stewart.

He said: “This year is very different to most years because of the pandemic. 

“The council’s aim has always been to keep people as safe as possible and that’s why we did the Christmas parade in a different way.

“We want everybody to stay safe and have the best Christmas they can in the circumstances.

“We can guarantee that our parade next year will be bigger and better than ever!”

For those who missed it, the Virtual Christmas Parade can still be seen on Enjoy Swansea Facebook;  Enjoy Swansea YouTube or at http://www.Enjoyswansebay.com

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Swansea Virtual Christmas Parade (Video: Swansea Council)

Full details about other Christmas attractions including the city centre Christmas Market can be found at www.enjoyswanseabay.com.

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Charity

Tesco shoppers in Swansea help to provide £1million boost to health

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People in Swansea have been thanked for contributing towards the £1million raised for
three life-saving charities as part of Tesco’s ‘Helping you to live healthier’ initiative.

Tesco customers reached the landmark total for Cancer Research UK, the British Heart
Foundation and Diabetes UK from 13-26 September by rounding up their shop in store to
the nearest £1.

The funds raised will now help the three charities continue their vital work to save and
improve lives.

In addition to the £1million donated, the campaign raised awareness in Swansea about
the importance of people making sustainable lifestyle changes that can help lower their
risk of cancer, heart and circulatory diseases, and type 2 diabetes.

This was done with the help of trusted health information and advice, which was shared
to empower Tesco customers to take small steps to help improve their health.

Oonagh Turnbull, Head of Health Campaigns at Tesco, thanked Tesco shoppers in
Swansea for their generosity, which will make a significant difference to many people’s
lives.

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She added: “It has been inspiring to see our customers really engage with the work we
are doing together, and we hope that we have played a part in raising awareness for
these conditions, as well as life-saving funds.”

The campaign was part of the Health Charity Partnership between Tesco, Cancer
Research UK, the British Heart Foundation and Diabetes UK, which aims to inspire and
support Tesco colleagues, customers and their families to make healthier food choices
and live healthier lives.

On behalf of the charity partners , Claire Sadler, Executive Director of Marketing,
Fundraising and Engagement at the British Heart Foundation, said
: “We have been amazed by the incredible generosity of Tesco customers and colleagues
and would like to thank everyone who donated during September.

“Your donations will help to empower millions of people to make healthier choices that
lower their risk of heart and circulatory diseases, cancer, and diabetes. It will also help
our charities provide vital support to millions of people at a time it’s never been more
needed, and it will fund research with the potential to save lives.”

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Swansea

City clock to be back in action soon

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Specialist engineers plan to work on Swansea’s historic Guildhall clock from next week.

They aim to undertake essential maintenance to ensure the timepiece – on the historic building’s prominent tower – is back in action in the coming months.

Swansea Council has been waiting for a number of months for engineers to become available.

Cabinet member and joint deputy council leader David Hopkins said: “We thank people for being patient as we’ve made pandemic actions our priority.

“We’ve also waited for specialists to free up the necessary time to do this important work. It’s important we got the right team in to do the job. There are few of these specialists available and, like all businesses, they’ve been affected by the pandemic.

“The clock means a lot to the people of Swansea – and they’ll be glad to see it once again providing its invaluable service.”

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It is planned that the Cumbria Clock Company will begin work next week. They will first remove hands from clock face; its internal mechanism will also go for factory maintenance.

It’s planned that the clock will be back up and running in good time for Christmas. Access to the Guildhall will not be affected during the work.

The Guildhall opened in 1934. Its innovative design and unique features were widely copied in other municipal buildings during the two decades following its completion and the building has proved to be functional as well as architecturally celebrated.

It has functioned as a focal point of local government and justice, is the focus for civic ceremony and is one of Swansea’s principal centres of social and cultural life.

Lead image: Swansea’s Guildhall and its clock tower. (Image: Swansea Council)

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Clydach

Historic canal route set to welcome more cyclists and walkers

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black and blue bicycle handle bar

An historic canal route in Swansea, already popular with walkers and cyclists, is set to be upgraded.

Swansea Council has secured funding to upgrade a 1.4km section of towpath along Swansea Canal.

The route between Clydach and Pontardawe is already part of the national cycle network (NCN 43) and sees many people using it to walk and travel by bicycle. Overgrown vegetation and an ageing surface under foot has prompted the council to seek further funding to make it more user-friendly.

A £250,000 investment via the Welsh Government Active Travel programme has now been secured and will result in a major upgrade to the route.

Mark Thomas, Cabinet Member for Environment Enhancement and Infrastructure Management, said: “Our aim will be to widen the existing path along the canal and provide an improved surface for walkers and cyclists.

“We will be working with the Canal and River Trust to make this route a safer and an even more popular walking and cycling route. We also want to continue the improvements already completed by the neighbouring local authority along their section, link up with it and maximise the regional benefits.”

The latest funding features as part of a report to the Council’s Cabinet, recommending approval of the scheme along with further investment in walking and cycling infrastructure, totalling £696,000.

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Part of the funding (£245,000) will also help create a new 1.4 km link between the communities of Clydach and Craig Cefn Parc.

Additional investment will be spent on the introduction of locally produced artwork along existing sections of the city’s network.

Cllr Thomas, added: “We’re extremely grateful for the support from the Welsh Government in enabling us to expand and improve our current walking and cycling infrastructure.

“We want more people to consider the options of walking and cycling to travel around Swansea and to use a car less often. Making sure we have good quality routes which link up communities and give people confidence to travel safely is key to achieving this.”

Welsh Government Deputy Minister for Climate Change, with a responsibility for Transport, Lee Waters said: “We know that getting people out of cars for short journeys to cycle or walk is an ambitious agenda, but if we’re to meet our net zero carbon emission target by 2050 we need to take action now.

“Having the right infrastructure in place is key to encouraging more people to feel safe to walk and cycle and that’s why we’ve committed to investing significant funding in active travel this year.”

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(Lead image: Markus Spiske / Pexels.com)

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