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Carmarthenshire

Homecoming Christmas concert for Llanelli musical theatre star John Owen-Jones

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Award winning John Owen-Jones (Les Miz/Phantom) will be performing at a special Christmas concert at Theatre Ffwrnes in his hometown of Llanelli to support the release of his new Christmas album.

The recording has some traditional Christmas tracks, some personal favourites and two brand new Christmas songs.  One co-written with Steve Balsamo (Jesus Christ Superstar/The Storys) and a previously unheard song from the vaults of the legendary Les Reed (It’s Not Unusual/Delilah) and Bill Martin (Puppet On AString/Congratulations).

The album also includes a duet with West End and Broadway star Kerry Ellis (Wicked/Cats) and will surely be the must have Christmas cd for fans of John’s unique voice!

John says: “I have wanted to record an album of Christmas songs for a very long time and finally found the opportunity to do it this year. I have put together an album full of classic Christmas songs that I love to listen to (and sing!) during the festive season, alongside a couple of not-so-well-known festive tunes that I adore.

“I also had the opportunity to co-write some new songs for this album which is something I am really excited about. I can’t wait for people to hear this album and I hope that they love the songs, both old and new, as much as I do – and that after listening, they have a very merry Christmas!”

John Owen-Jones celebrated his 50th birthday this year and to mark the occasion he performed two sold out special concerts at Cadogan Hall that also live-streamed internationally.

Fans all over the world watched online the West End’s youngest ever ‘Jean Valjean’ and longest-running ‘Phantom’ perform some of his favourite tunes, with a live band. This summer John performed around the UK in a series of outdoor concerts with Only Men Aloud and Katherine Jenkins.

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John is currently developing his own theatre-based podcast with fellow Broadway and West End star Alistair Brammer called ‘The Last Show on Earth’ that asks the important question: What show would you see if you had one night left on Earth?

At just 26, John became the youngest actor ever to play the role of ‘Jean Valjean’ in the West End and was the first British actor to play the role both in the West End and on Broadway.

John Owen-Jones has also played the role of ‘The Phantom’ in ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ nearly 2000 times – more than any other actor in the history of the West End production.

John has so far released five albums, ‘John Owen-Jones’ (2009), ‘Unmasked’ (2012), ‘Rise’ (2015), ‘Bring Him Home’ (2016) and ‘Spotlight’ (2019).

Tickets for this very special Christmas concert are available from Theatr Ffwrnes Box Office from Midday on Wednesday 3rd November by calling the box office on 0345 226 3510 or online at  https://www.theatrausirgar.co.uk/en.

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(Lead image: John Owen-Jones)

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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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Ammanford

Man who filmed rape on Ammanford victim’s phone changes plea mid trial

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A man who filmed himself raping an Ammanford woman on his victim’s phone has changed his plea to guilty midway through his trial.

Cameron Hassan, aged 31, of no fixed abode, attacked the woman, raping her as she slept on 21 August 2021.

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Hassan had been on trial at Swansea Crown Court after denying any wrongdoing. However, after the jury was shown the video of the attack and hearing the victim was going to give evidence yesterday (Tuesday, 10 May), Hassan changed his plea to guilty.

Investigating Officer DC Sophie Lambert from Dyfed Powys Police said the victim had shown great strength and determination throughout the investigation.

“I must commend her tremendous courage in coming forward and the tenacity shown throughout the investigation,” she said.

“We hope this case demonstrates that Dyfed-Powys Police acts on serious allegations such as rape and sexual assault with officers working tirelessly to secure justice for victims.

“If you are suffering because of similar abuse, please contact the police, or if you would rather speak to someone in confidence, New Pathways are an independent charity that will support you through every step of the investigation.”

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New Pathways can be contacted at 01685 379 310 or email enquiries@newpathways.org.uk

(Lead image: Google Maps)

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Carmarthenshire

Women’s Tour of Britain returns to Carmarthenshire

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The countdown is on before the world’s top women riders will race through Carmarthenshire as part of the Women’s Tour of Britain.

Some 108 cyclists will race through the County to the finishing line on top of the Black Mountain between Llangadog and Brynamman as part of the stage five event on Friday, June 10.

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The route will be starting from Pembrey Country Park at 10.45am and riders competing for the title will go through Pinged, Carway, Pontyberem, Horeb, Llansawel, and Llangadog.

A rolling road closure will take place along the 65-mile route which will come into action at 10.45am until 1.50pm.

Roads will be re-opened once the cyclists have passed through. A full road closure will be in place over the Black Mountain from 5am-5pm.

The event will be broadcast on ITV4 and across Europe with a helicopter camera crew following the race.

The Women’s Tour departs on Monday, June 6, and coincides with the final day of a four-day Bank Holiday weekend in the UK to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee. The race will culminate with a prestigious finale six days later on Saturday, June 11.

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Pembrey Country Park previously hosted the Grand Départ of the men’s Tour of Britain as well as the overall finish of the Women’s Tour in 2019.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Chief Executive, Wendy Walters said: “We are thrilled that we have again been chosen to host this top cycling event. Previous years have brought an immediate economic boost to the tourism sector as well as providing a great deal of positive media coverage.”

(Lead image: Carmarthenshire Council)

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