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Neath

New Gnoll Park seating area a reminder of Mike Charles

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Mike – also known as “Charlie” – was a regular visitor to the country park having grown up at his family home in nearby Woodland Road.  

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Mike Charles

He spent most of his working life as a civil servant, including a period in Swansea, and he worked in Bristol from 1984. He lived with his partner, Sue, in Bristol for many years until he passed away in 2017 aged 71.  

Sue said: “Mike always maintained close links with Neath and with his family and friends there, returning regularly throughout his life. He went to Alderman Davies Primary School and Neath Grammar School for Boys, after which he went to university. 

“He continued to stay in the family home whenever he visited, catching up with friends (including his old classmates from Neath Grammar School).  Mike was a supporter of Neath Rugby Club continuing to watch them at home on his visits as well as later supporting the Ospreys. 

“The game was very important to him and later in his life he followed Wales on many of the national team’s summer tours abroad, loving the travel and the conviviality of these trips. Travel was one of his many interests.

“Neath retained a central place in Mike’s heart and he left legacies to the town. One of these made a substantial contribution to the new outdoor seating area at the Cafe and Visitor Centre in the Park.”

While the majority of the costs of the seating area came from Mike Charles’ legacy, Neath Port Talbot Council also contributed to the project and local councillors, Cllr Alan Lockyear and Cllr Mark Protheroe put up several thousand pounds through community infrastructure funding.

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A plaque installed at the seating area now reads:

“Mike Charles (Charlie) loved and explored the Gnoll throughout his life.

His contribution to this outdoor area remains

as part of his legacy to Neath,

The hometown of his youth.”

Cllr Annette Wingrave, Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Sustainable Development, said: “We are extremely grateful for the generous legacies left to Neath by Mike Charles including the one which has led to this new seating area which I’m sure will be very well used and which will now enhance the park’s facilities for visitors.

“It will be a lovely reminder of a man who clearly never forgot Neath and who held the town close to his heart throughout his life.”

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Neath

Man charged with murder after Neath death

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A 38-year-old man has been charged with murder following the discovery of a body at a property in Caewern, Neath on Wednesday (27 April).

Emmett Morrison, from Caewern, has been charged with the murder of Timothy Dundon, 66, in Heol Catwg.

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He was remanded in custody and appeared at Swansea Magistrates’ Court on Monday (May 2).

Mr Dundon’s family has been updated and next of kin continue to be supported by specially-trained family liaison officers.

Senior Investigating Officer Detective Superintendent Darren George, from South Wales Police, said: “Clearly the charging of a person with the murder of Mr Dundon is a significant development in the investigation however I would still urge anyone with information, no matter how insignificant it might be, to please contact South Wales Police.

“I would like to thank the local community for the support they have provided to this investigation to date.

“There has been an increased police presence in Caewern since Wednesday and this will continue over the coming days as enquiries continue.”

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(Lead image: Google Maps)

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Neath

Murder investigation after death of 66 year-old Neath man

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South Wales Police’s Major Crime Investigations Team (MCIT) have launched a murder investigation following the death of a 66 year old man at a property on Heol Catwg in Caewern, Neath.

Senior Investigating Officer Detective Superintendent Darren George, said: “I can confirm a murder investigation is underway following the discovery of a man’s body in Heol Catwg yesterday.

“The community in Heol Catwg is close knit and I would encourage anyone who may have information in connection with the murder to please contact our incident room at Cockett Police Station.

“We are particularly keen to hear from anybody who may have heard or seen anything suspicious in the area between 8am on Monday morning, April 25th and 1pm yesterday afternoon, Wednesday April 27th.

“A police cordon remains in place whilst Crime Scene Investigators and Specialist Search Officers are at the scene.

“There will also be an increased police presence in the area over the coming days as officers continue with their enquiries.

“I would like to thank the local community for their support whilst we continue our investigation. “

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A 38 year old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder and remains in police custody. The 66 year old man has not yet been formally identified.

(Lead image: Google Maps)

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Business

Firms reimagine workspaces post COVID thanks to Neath office furniture company

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Neath-based Ministry of Furniture is enjoying a surge in demand for some of its most innovative services on the back of companies reinventing the way in which their offices operate, in a post COVID-restrictions environment.

A shift to hybrid and flexible working arrangements on a long-term basis has prompted many firms to reconsider the very nature of their office environment – and how much space they need. Hotdesking and mixed working environments are being introduced as companies reimagine the office, scrapping outdated principles of set desks and offices.

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This approach is also combined with a growing desire to leverage the principles of the circular economy in all aspects of the design and fit out. Companies are now assessing and monitoring their carbon footprint and want a full understanding of where materials are sourced and the nature of supply chains.

Ministry of Furniture, able to deliver all aspects of an office refit from design stage to manufacture to fitout, has experienced a surge in demand as companies reconsider how and where people want to work.

Its designs incorporate flexible and informal breakout and workspaces incorporating pods and booths, which can also be powered by cutting-edge portable power banks, eclipsing the need for building costly fixed partitions and rewiring buildings based on new sets of plans.

In addition, the company has developed the expertise to upcycle and remanufacture desks and other types of furniture for new uses. For example, old desks can be repurposed as shelving or lockers – another important consideration in an office where employees no longer have a single dedicated desk or workspace.

Its approach always uses a local supply chain for all aspects of the job while leveraging the principles of the circular economy. Much of the furniture will be re-manufactured and upcycled, while it also works closely with Paint 360, a pioneer in the reengineering and reuse of waste paint, to decorate the interior.

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Just some of the companies Ministry has worked with on such projects include Marine Power Systems, Crunch Digital and Mrs Bucket. In the case of the latter, the company said it wanted to provide its growing team with a fresh environment focused on wellbeing and collaboration, and so added more informal space for collaboration and meetings.

The new office space located at Mrs Buckét, focused on team building and inspiration.

Graham Hirst, Managing Director, Ministry of Furniture, said: “The working environment fundamentally changed during the COVID pandemic, but many companies are now embracing the positives of that and want to adjust their working environments long term. With people working from home, companies want their offices to become alternative but inspiring workspaces.

“This ties in perfectly with our offering, whereby we can help clients through each part of the process from concept to completion. This approach also complements our commitment to the circular economy and skillset in remanufacturing and upcycling products. The clients we have worked with recently wanted a more collaborative working environment and I think that the final designs really help facilitate that creative energy.”

Rachael Flanagan, CEO of Mrs Buckét, said: “After a tough two years for everyone, we were keen to refresh our space as more of the team returned to office working. Employee wellbeing is really important to us and so our main goal was to create a modern, fresh environment, a place where people are excited to come to work.

“We consulted with our team from the outset and designed the new offices purely with their feedback in mind. Team building is at the top of our agenda, and we really believe that having an inspiring space for our team to work from will help us in our drive to become one of the foremost employers in the cleaning and facilities management industry.”

Lead image: The reimagined office at Crunch Digital supplied by Ministry of Furniture.

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