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Carmarthenshire

Growing number of Carmarthenshire schools link with African country of Lesotho

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Coedcae School in Llanelli is the 21st school in Carmarthenshire to connect with classrooms in Lesotho as part of an international learning programme.

Surrounded on all sides by South Africa, Lesotho is known as the Kingdom in the Sky – it is set above 1,388 metres and has the highest low point of any country in the world with many of its villages still hard to access other than by foot or on horseback.

There are many differences between life in Wales and Lesotho, but focusing on shared priorities such as climate change, raising aspirations, and promoting bilingualism ensures the links benefit learners in both countries; and they develop a better understanding of the wider world and their role in it as global citizens.

(Image by Simon Allen from Pixabay

Coedcae geography teacher Victoria Colbourne, on behalf of pupils from the school’s Eco Committee, said: “Here at Coedcae we are very excited to have the opportunity to join our classrooms and communities, and to work on projects that will allow us to discover first-hand about Lesotho’s country, culture and values.

“We can’t wait to share ideas, learn from each other and make friends along the way. This couldn’t be more important during these challenging times. We can’t wait to get started.”

Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning is a unique global education programme brought to schools by the British Council in partnership with the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO).

By developing and networking with thousands of teachers across the world, it aims to help young people develop the knowledge, skills and values to live and work in a globalised economy.

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Schools in Wales and Lesotho also benefit from additional support from Dolen Cymru Lesotho, who help to organise longer-term exchanges through its teacher placement programme.

Glan-y-Môr School in Burry Port has maintained a successful partnership with Moyeni High School in Lesotho since 2008 and although the COVID-19 pandemic presents huge challenges in relation to exchange visits, schools have been quick to step up to the mark, adapt their plans, move collaboration online, and change the focus of their projects. Glan-y-Môr for example worked with their cluster of local schools to create a toolkit of activities, aimed at improving resilience skills for learners in both countries.

With schools in Lesotho having been closed since March, the teachers there have appreciated the opportunity to take part in online training provided by the British Council.

Mampheng Elane, teacher at Bocheletsana High School, partner school to QE High School, Carmarthen, said: “I have learnt that international learning is very significant.

Really our learners are going to benefit a lot due to new teaching skills and techniques we have acquired.”

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The successful partnerships of schools in Carmarthenshire will be included in Dolen Cymru Lesotho’s online education conference on November 19, which is celebrating 35 years of this unique country to country link.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Executive Board Member for Education and Children’s Services said: “It has never been so important for our young people to understand the big issues that shape our world and these partnerships will help to provide them with the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need to make a positive contribution.

“It will also help to promote and encourage respect for diversity, as well as help our schools to prepare for the new curriculum.

“I hope more schools will take advantage of the opportunities to connect and learn through this unique learning programme.”


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Carmarthenshire

Driver jailed for head-on crash that caused life-changing injuries

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A driver who caused a head-on collision with a car being driven by a pregnant woman told police officers at the scene he had drunk 13 cans of strong lager the night before.

Rhodri Rees, aged 36, of Llandysul, admitted his drinking had gone into the early hours before he got behind the wheel and caused the crash on the A476 in Llannon, near Llanelli, by overtaking another car on a bend at around 7.40am on December 11, 2020.

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The severe impact meant both drivers were trapped in their cars and had to be cut free by firefighters.

Thankfully the baby was unharmed in the collision, however, its mother suffered serious, life-changing injuries. She had a number of operations to repair the damage and was unable to walk for a year and still suffers the effects of the accident today.

Dyfed-Powys Police Sgt Nicholas Brookes said: “When Rees was spoken to by our officers at the scene he told them he had drunk 13 cans of Stella Artois and that he had gone to bed after midnight.

“He failed a breath test at the scene and was arrested on suspicion of drink driving before being allowed to go to hospital for treatment.”

The following day he was interviewed at Carmarthen Police Station where he told officers he had consumed eight or nine cans of Foster’s before going to bed around 2am, before getting up at around 6.45am and setting off.

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A sample of blood was taken just before 1pm on December 11 showed Rees had 39mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood – the legal limit being 80. A blood alcohol expert had calculated that at the time of the collision the level of alcohol would have been no less than 113mg and more likely 129mg.

PS Brookes added: “This was a serious case that could have been so much worse.

“Rees admitted drinking a considerable amount of alcohol and getting little sleep before getting behind the wheel. He was lucky no-one was killed.

“I would like to commend the officer in the case, PC Benjamin Stevenson, who conducted a thorough and meticulous investigation for the offence of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.”

On Tuesday, 17th May, Rees appeared before Swansea Crown Court, having pleaded guilty at a previous hearing, and was sentenced to 18-months in prison.

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He was also disqualified from driving for three years and 9 months, with a requirement for an extended test to regain his license.

(Lead image: Geograph)

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Books & Literature

Former Llanelli rugby star hopes to be victorious at The Oval

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After enjoying his fair share of success as a rugby player and team manager Anthony Buchanan now hopes to win big as an author.

The former Llanelli and Wales star has been shortlisted for The Sunday Times Rugby Book of the Year 2022 award following the publication of his biography, The Buck Props Here.

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His unique rugby journey didn’t begin until the age of 22, when he chose to turn his back on a highly promising career in football as a goalkeeper, but led to playing for Llanelli and representing Wales in the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987.

On retirement he became an administrator and helped transform the Scarlets into a European powerhouse before serving on the International Rugby Board and overseeing the selection of referees at the last Rugby World Cup.

His story has been ghost written by former Evening Post reporter, Geraint Thomas, who notches up a unique hat trick of nominations having previously been shortlisted – in what is seen as the Oscars of sports books – after ghost writing Glenn Webbe: The Gloves Are Off (2020) the biography of the former Bridgend and Wales wing, and Terry Davies: Wales’s First Superstar Fullback (2017) alongside the former Llanelli, Wales and Lions star.

Former Evening Post reporter, Geraint Thomas who has ghostwritten Anthony’s biography

The pair, who are up against former Wales centre Jamie Roberts, Irish stars Keith Earls and Willie Anderson, as well as This is Your Everest: The Lions, The Springboks and the Epic Tour of 1997, and The Flying Prince: Alexander Obolensky, will attend a gala dinner in The Oval cricket ground London on Thursday to find out if they have won.

There will be further Welsh representation on the evening with Alun Wyn Jones on the shortlist for Autobiography of the Year 2022.

Buchanan, who is donating his share of the book’s royalties to securing the rugby pitch in Ystradgynlais for future generations, said: “I feel humbled to be in the running for the best rugby book in Great Britain and Ireland, but my story is not just about an individual, it encompasses the momentous shift in Welsh rugby, from the old amateur days to the introduction of European rugby, professionalism and the regions.

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“I would like to thank Geraint Thomas for encouraging me to tell my story in the first place and for weaving all that has happened into such a compelling narrative. He’s done such a wonderful job. So many people, who have read it, have contacted me to say how much they enjoyed it – and they weren’t all Scarlets supporters!”

Thomas, who trained as a magazine journalist in Cardiff University’s School of Journalism and went on to complete an MA in Creative and Media Writing at Swansea University, said: “To be shortlisted for a third time obviously feels great and, I guess, is quite an achievement, not just for me but also my publisher Y Lolfa, who have always shown faith in me.”

Thomas, who had a spell playing for Bridgend in the early 1990s, added: “It helped that I played in the same era as Bucks and have a good knowledge of the Welsh rugby landscape. But what really makes the book so enjoyable is the how Buck has recalled the banter and humour which used to be the real reason we played the game.

“People ask me which is my favourite book, but, to be honest, I really enjoyed working on all three. Writing a book is a bit like having children only the hard work comes first and then you experience the pleasure of seeing them enter the world – and if they are popular that’s even better!”

The Sunday Times Book Awards take place on Thursday 27 May 2022

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Burry Port

New car parking for Burry Port Harbour

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Carmarthenshire Council have announced plans to improve car parking at Burry Port Harbour.

The council say the move will see underused land transformed into an additional accessible parking zone with around 100 plus spaces on the East side of the harbour, with existing surfaces and spaces also upgraded.

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Disabled parking bays will be given prime location with panoramic views and there will be charging facilities for E-bikes which will enhance cycling and environmental provision.

Motorhomes will also have access to some bays during the day, around the Harbour area, with plans and funding bids for a bespoke developments along the wider coastline also in the pipeline.

The car park will have a new sustainable drainage system with upgraded surface dressing which will enable all year around usage.

The project is jointly funded by the council and Welsh Government’s Brilliant Basic scheme.

Carmarthenshire County Council Head of Leisure, Ian Jones said: “Currently the surface area of the car park to the East of the Harbour is loose gravel that is easily potholed and flooded regularly, so this improvement will offer a more modern, sustainable and attractive car park for our visitors to enjoy. It will also complement the existing car parks in the harbour and along the Carmarthenshire coastline.”

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The council say this is the latest in a long line of investments totalling £2m to maintain and restore the historic harbour and one of the county’s most loved and well visited beauty spots.

Restoration of the Grade II listed harbour walls has been undertaken and completed under the guidance of CADW.

Carmarthenshire Council add this investment compliments funding made over previous years which saw the council invest in new pontoons, along with maintenance and upgrades to the harbour railings and bridge.

A local operator has taken over the lease and opened a cafe and public toilets on the east side of Harbour, and the refurbishment of the old RNLI harbour office has started by The Marine Group (TMG) to create a harbour-side coffee house.

New pay and display facilities have been installed to support parking control ahead of a wider multi-million regeneration plan that will transform the harbour with a mix of housing, commercial and leisure space covering around 13 acres of prime development site.

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Welsh Government Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething, said:“We are very aware of the important part that local tourism amenities have on someone’s overall experience when on a day trip or on holiday.

“These facilities often go unnoticed, but they are an important part of people’s experiences when they visit Wales, while also benefit those who live in the area. The £2.9m in new funding for the Brilliant Basics fund will go to projects which will help us make our destinations more accessible and more sustainable, and to grow tourism for the good of Wales.”

(Lead image: Google Maps)

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