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Swansea

Plan ahead before using Swansea free bus scheme say Council

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Bus passengers using a new free travel scheme in Swansea can make their journey run smoothly by planning ahead.

From Friday July 30, all bus travel in the city will be free to use thanks to financial support from Swansea Council, which has organised the free bus deal with local bus operators.

The Council is funding the initiative to support families and boost retail, leisure and tourism as communities emerge from lockdown.

It will also help reduce emissions and congestion by encouraging people onto buses rather than using their car every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday between now and August 30.

Rob Stewart, Leader of Swansea Council, said: “The feedback we’ve had so far has been really positive, everyone’s getting on board with the spirit of the initiative.

“There’s no doubt the free bus offer is going to be massively popular so we’re urging people to make sure they plan their trips ahead, especially the journey home.”

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Bus passengers at Rhosilli (Image: Geograph)

He said: “The offer is straightforward to use and enjoy. Any bus journey you make that starts in Swansea and finishes in Swansea will be free. You don’t need a bus pass and you won’t need a ticket for those journeys. This means families could save around £50 over a four day period.”

“The best advice we can give is that you plan ahead and make sure that includes the journey home as well, especially if it’s towards the end of the day on busy routes.”

The initiative will run from July 30 to August 30 and is part of the Council’s £20m Recovery Plan, aimed at supporting families and boosting the local economy following the pandemic. The free travel offer also includes a special Sunday service to and from Gower which the Council recently announced.

The Council is working with the city’s bus operators to ensure passengers can travel safely and that all necessary Covid precautions are put in place.

Passengers can also use the free service late into the evening in a bid to support the city’s night time economy.

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FAQs

Who can use it?
We all can. If you’re travelling for work in Swansea or to enjoy a day out in the city centre or at one of our brilliant beaches, the service is free. You do not need to show proof that you live in Swansea to receive free travel.

What bus services are included in the offer?
Bus services operated by First Cymru, Adventure Travel, South Wales Transport, DANSA, Briggs and Stagecoach are included. The only services that are not included are:

  • First Cymru’s X10 between Swansea and Cardiff
  • longer-distance coach services operated by National Express, Megabus and Flixbus
  • First Cymru’s Services 9A and 34 to and from the Park & Ride car parks.

If I get on a bus that’s going to a place outside the area, will I be charged even if I’m getting off in Swansea?
No. You just state your Swansea destination and take your seat.

If I’m going outside the area will I be charged the whole journey or just for the part that isn’t in Swansea?
If you are heading to a destination outside the Swansea area you have to pay for the whole trip. Please let the driver know when you get on board the bus. The cheapest option is normally a day ticket.

I want to go to the Bay Campus from Swansea Bus Station, for example. Will I be charged the whole journey or just for the part that’s in Neath?
You will be charged the whole fare. Our offer is only for a journey that is completely inside the Swansea area. If you are heading outside Swansea, you have to tell the driver your destination and pay the appropriate full fare.

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Does this apply to Park and Ride?
No, but there are other offers available if you wish to use the park and ride services.

Are any of the bus services changing?
No. All the usual services are operating at their usual time. The only difference is that you can travel for free.

Who is paying for the free service?
It’s being paid for by the Council because we want to encourage people to use our local bus services now that the pandemic restrictions are easing. You will still need to wear a mask on the bus, in line with Welsh Government guidance, to keep you, the driver and fellow-travellers safe.

What if I have a season ticket?
You won’t need to show it while the offer is on. But there won’t be any refunds or extension of your season ticket.

I already have a free concessionary bus pass – how does this affect me?
People who hold an All Wales Concessionary Travel Pass, may continue to travel free of charge and passes should be shown as normal to the driver when boarding the bus.

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Do I just have to get on the bus? Do I have to state my destination or get a ticket from the driver?
If the bus is operating wholly within Swansea all you need to do is get on board and enjoy the ride. If you’re getting on a bus that’s travelling outside Swansea please let your driver know so you can pay the appropriate fare. Unfortunately the offer applies only to those journeys which start and finish in Swansea.

Will all bus operators operate the same way?
Yes. It’ll be exactly the same whichever bus company you’re riding with.

What Covid-19 safe measures are being taken?
At the moment you must wear a mask on the bus. Also bus services are not currently allowed to carry standing passengers and people are allowed to sit only on forward-facing seats. This may have an effect on the number of passengers allowed per bus, so please plan ahead for your journey.

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Museums

Dream role for Egypt Centre’s new head

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A childhood visit to a museum not only triggered Ken Griffin’s lifelong passion for Egyptology, it has also led to him landing his perfect job.

He has just been appointed curator of the Swansea University’s award-winning Egypt Centre and is now in charge of its unique collection of antiquities.

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Belfast-born Dr Griffin says he was captivated by Egyptology after a trip to Ulster Museum when he was six.

“They have a mummy on display called Takabuti, and I used to get my dad to take me there every Sunday. I wanted to know more about the country, and I finally went there on my 16th birthday. That really cemented the idea of doing Egyptology, I was totally obsessed,” he said.

Dr Griffin started volunteering at the museum while he was a first year Egyptology student back in October 2000. After finishing his degree, he went on to become a Saturday workshop assistant while studying for his MA and PhD in Egyptology.

After a spell as a lecturer, he hit the headlines when he discovered a depiction associated with the pharaoh Hatshepsut – one of just five women to have ruled ancient Egypt – on object he had taken out of the storeroom for a handling session.

He said: “This job is fantastic and often there are discoveries every day. We have about 6,000 objects in total, but we only have room for about a third of our collection to be on display. I have seen every object but often you see something you haven’t spotted before; particularly as new technology becomes available.”

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Dr Ken Griffin in the Ulster Museum alongside the mummy Takabuti, the exhibit that triggered his interest in Egyptology. (Image: Swansea University)

Back in 2020, three of the museum’s mummified animals were examined using X-ray micro CT scanning, which generates high-resolution 3D images. The process provided unprecedented detail about the animals’ lives – and deaths – more than 2,000 years ago.

During his time at the museum Dr Griffin has been actively involved in teaching Egyptology through the University’s adult education programme and he is passionate about ensuring the museum’s collection is as accessible as possible.

Next month he will oversee the installation of a new display case which will also create a temporary exhibition space to be used by Swansea University students.

Already a favourite destination for schools, the museum hosts regular workshops and events but when the pandemic forced it to close its doors, Dr Griffin set up virtual courses via zoom.

“We weren’t open to the public at all for 18 months and the gift shop and schools are usually our main source of income. But the online teaching really took off and over the two years we were able to bring in £50,000 of essential funds through that.

“They will definitely continue. Some of the online courses have been attended by 180 people whereas if I held them here it would be a maximum of 15. It has been an unbelievable success.

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“Attendees have come from more than 50 countries in six continents – we haven’t had anyone join us from Antarctica yet!”

Dr Griffin also emphasised the continuation of the museum’s traditional activities, assisted by its band of more than 100 dedicated volunteers, and his desire to get more students, in particular, through its doors.

Another of his long-term aim is for the Centre to twin with a museum in Egypt to exchange ideas and knowledge.

He added: “I first came here as student and I have really been part of the Egypt Centre ever since, it is a very special place. I wake up and look forward to coming to work every single day. It is always exciting.

“It is very rare for a curator of Egyptology post to come up so to get this job really does show that dreams can come true.”

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Lead image: Dr Ken Griffin among exhibits in the storeroom of Swansea University’s Egypt Centre. (Image: Swansea University)

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Morriston

New regional centre at Morriston Hospital to treat lung conditions given go-ahead

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photo of doctor holding x ray result

Plans for a new multi-million pound Adult Thoracic Surgical Centre for South Wales can go ahead at pace following a major boost from Welsh Government.

The new centre, to be based at Morriston Hospital, Swansea, will treat lung cancer patients and others who need surgery for a range of chest conditions.

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It will be able to operate on an increased number of patients, potentially upwards of 20% more, and will be the third largest centre in the UK.

Following extensive public consultation in 2018, it was agreed that the new centre will provide a single service for South Wales for residents living in the Swansea Bay; Hywel Dda, Cwm Taf Morgannwg; Aneurin Bevan, Powys and Cardiff and Vale Health Board areas. The centre is expected to be open within the next three to five years.

Patients will be treated as much as possible within their local health board area, only having to travel to the Morriston centre for pre-admission assessment and the surgery itself.

The endorsement of the proposal by the Minister for Health and Social Services, Eluned Morgan will enable the next key stage – the development of detailed plans – to now get underway.

Siân Harrop-Griffiths, Swansea Bay University Health Board’s Director of Strategy and project lead, said: “Developing this scheme and getting the agreement of all the clinicians and organisations across South Wales has been time consuming and complex.

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“But we are delighted that this endorsement by the Minister means we can now take this work forward at pace to provide better thoracic surgical services for everyone across South Wales.”

Malgorzata Kornaszewska, Consultant Thoracic Surgeon at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and Clinical Lead for the South Wales Adult Thoracic Surgical Services Programme said: “The new centre will be a centre of excellence with access to modern technology, and will be able to offer a comprehensive, modern, timely and high standard service to our patients.

“It will also create an excellent opportunity for teaching, training and research. This is an exciting time for the thoracic teams and Welsh thoracic patients.”

The South Wales Adult Thoracic Surgery Centre will standardise the delivery of these services across South Wales, improving the long-term sustainability of the service.

Having the specialist service in one dedicated centre will improve equity of access and patients’ experiences, and most importantly provide better health outcomes.

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The single site thoracic surgery centre will be designed in line with best practice and the recommendations of various reviews and consultation processes.

As a centre of excellence, it will provide dedicated thoracic surgery to meet national standards, enabling sub-specialisation of surgeons, which in turn will enable a higher standard of complex surgical procedures to be performed.

All health boards in South Wales, led by Swansea Bay UHB, have worked together alongside the Welsh Ambulances Services Trust and community health councils to develop and agree a plan to develop this new unit at Morriston Hospital.

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Morriston

Carpenter still at work after nearly slicing off his fingers says thanks to Morriston Hospital

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A retired carpenter who almost sliced off his fingers is still crafting away in his workshop thanks to the skill of Morriston Hospital staff.

Colin Taylor was working on turning a piece of wood into a teapot-shaped plant potholder when his wood cutter slipped and went into his hand.

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But despite slicing two fingers through to the bone, he is not just busy in his garden workshop but has also rediscovered his artistic skills as a way of thanking hospital staff.

The 73-year-old said: “I had put the wood in a vice and started shaping it with an electric cutter. I had a new blade which was able to cut everything including metal.

“It had gone well, when I had an itch on my nose and went to scratch it. I took my hand off the cutter and it cut across the timber and across my hand.

“There was blood spurting up in the air. I knocked the cutter off immediately, and my wife called my daughter who is a good first aider. She came up and my fingers were hanging off. I’d damaged them all, but particularly my middle and index finger, and had severed two tendons.

“My daughter took me to Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr but they contacted Morriston Hospital who told me to come down straight away.

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“From the moment I went in it must have been the best treatment in my life. The people were so nice and courteous. I was seen to first by a young lady who cleaned me up, and then the doctor came and took a look at it and said I’d have to have an operation.

“They injected my finger and the operation didn’t take too long, and I went home and my left hand was in a plaster for in six weeks. The surgeon fixed the tendons.

“It is not 100%, but it is what it is. I have got to get on with it. It’s a bit stiff in the morning and I can’t bend my middle or index finger like I used to.”

The grandfather of three has since produced a couple of paintings which he has presented to staff at Morriston Hospital by way of thanks.

He added: “I did some painting a long time ago. I always enjoyed painting and carpentry, although I know I’m no Picasso.

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“But the people in hospital were so good to me I just wanted to do something to thank them.

“I’m not surprised the NHS has such a good reputation with people like that working there.”

Specialist hand physiotherapist Iona Davies added: “Following surgery and initial assessment at Morriston Hospital, Mr Taylor was able to access our specialist hand therapy services virtually, at a time when local therapy services were constrained due to Covid.

“This eliminated the need for him to travel from Tredegar, where he lives and cares for his disabled wife.

“He has been dedicated to his rehabilitation and exercises, and as a consequence has been able to achieve his treatment goals, returning to woodwork and painting. The outcome following such an injury is dependent as much on patient’s motivation and commitment as it is on surgical skill and therapy input.

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“We were delighted to receive his gift.”

Lead image: Colin and daughter Heather with the painting of Morriston Hospital (Image: Swansea Bay NHS)

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