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Carmarthenshire County Council has secured a two-week showing of Sky Cinema original movie Save The Cinema at Carmarthen’s Lyric Theatre – the very subject of the film.

Welsh Government Covid-19 restrictions meant that plans to premiere the film at Carmarthen had to be called off, but the council has since brought specialist equipment in to allow people to see the film being screened in the very place it was filmed during 2021.

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The film is based on a true story inspired by the life of Carmarthen hairdresser Liz Evans who called on Hollywood to save her local cinema.

The film stars Golden Globe-winning Samantha Morton as the main character, supported by Oscar-nominated Jonathan Pryce, Harry Potter star Tom Felton and Keith Allen among others. Filming started last year and parts of the town were transformed to look like the early 1990s when the film is set.

Carmarthenshire County Council has been working closely with Sky Cinema throughout the production, supporting the filming of key scenes at The Lyric, in streets around Carmarthen, in council offices in Ammanford, and in other areas of the county such as Laugharne and Llandeilo.

The film has boosted the local econonmy by around £750,000 already, with more economic benefit expected in the coming months.

The council say that supporting filming in Carmarthenshire is one of the council’s key aims because of the money it brings into the county.

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Council leader, Cllr Emlyn Dole said: “We were delighted to host the production of this fantastic film earlier this year, with scenes filmed in Carmarthen, Ammanford, Laugharne and Llandeilo. And now to screen it in the place where it was filmed is just the icing on the cake. Carmarthenshire has proven itself again and again to be a desirable destination for the media and it’s enjoying a growing reputation as a filming location for major television dramas and movies, with several award-winning productions finding their home here in Carmarthenshire. Attracting national and international productions such as this has a major impact on the growth of our economy and ensures that our communities reap the benefits.”

Tickets for the screenings in The Lyric, from January 14-30, can be booked at www.theatrausirgar.co.uk. Bookings will only be allowed for maximum groups of six, and seating will be socially distanced. A Covid Pass will be required.

The film is also showing on Sky Cinema from Friday, January 14.

(Lead image: Sky / Ffilm Cymru)

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Carmarthen

First look at Carmarthen bus station revamp and ‘green roof’ bus shelter plans

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People are being given the chance to help shape the revamp of Carmarthen town centre’s bus station.

Carmarthenshire County Council, working with transport engineering group Atkins, has secured funding to improve and enhance the bus station in Blue Street.

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Feedback from investigations and user surveys show that the existing bus shelters are too small and do not provide sufficient shelter for waiting passengers.

These are being replaced with two new continuous shelters to provide better weather protection and ‘green-roof’ canopies to help capture carbon and attract bees and butterflies.

A small number of hornbeam trees that are constrained by the current shelters will need to be removed, however a larger range of new trees and ornamental shrubbery will be planted to compensate and add more greenery to the Blue Street area.

Further improvements will include the widening of the central reserve and enhanced landscaping of the area to bring people closer to nearby shops and businesses.

The council and Atkins are now seeking public views to help them shape final design proposals.

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Members of the public, town centre businesses and stakeholders, public transport operators and users, and anyone else with an interest in the scheme, is being invited to provide feedback on the plans and ask questions about the scheme.

Cllr Hazel Evans, Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “Encouraging people to use public transport and sustainable travel options is a key priority for the council.

“These improvements will not only enhance the bus station but also support our commitment to tackling climate change by introducing more green infrastructure, helping capture carbon emissions and attract a diversity of wildlife.

“The work ties in with other town centre improvements to encourage people into town and provide more safe space for people and businesses as part of our post Covid-19 economic recovery plan.

“A few small trees that are currently constrained will need to be removed as part of these works, but we look forward to bringing the county’s first green roof bus shelters to Carmarthen and planting more trees than we are removing to capture more carbon emissions than the current bus station can.”

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Construction is due to start in January and will take around three months to complete.

The council and Atkins will work with local businesses to ensure minimal disruption around delivery times and peak periods, with parking and loading bays maintained throughout the works.

Signage and information will be posted in advance and during the works to redirect buses and passengers to temporary stops just around the corner in Lammas Street, near the Rose and Crown.

People can view and feedback on the proposals by visiting the council’s website.

(Lead image: Carmarthenshire Council)

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Business

Trading underway at popup shops in Carmarthen and Llanelli

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Christmas shopping is well underway at Carmarthenshire County Council’s 100% Sir Gâr pop-up shops in Carmarthen and Llanelli.

Local independent businesses have been given free retail space to sell their products in the heart of the two town centres at the busiest trading time of the year.

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The council has secured temporary use of the former Debenhams store in Carmarthen and no.1 Stepney Street, Llanelli.

Businesses selling handmade gifts and crafts, food and drinks, jewellery, clothing, homeware and more have taken advantage of the free retail space and trading has already been busy since they opened on December 1.

It is the second time the council has created pop-up shops to offer opportunities to local producers and traders following the launch of 100% Sir Gâr.

The initiative started as a virtual shop window on the council’s Discover Carmarthenshire website last year as a way of supporting local businesses to recover from a long period of lockdown and restrictions on retail.

Leader of the council, Cllr Emlyn Dole, said supporting local businesses was key to reviving and strengthening Carmarthenshire’s economy following the pandemic.

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“We’re really pleased to be able to offer this opportunity to small local businesses,” he said. “I’ve had the opportunity to call in to both pop-up shops and see the range of products and gifts for sale.

“What is rewarding is seeing the difference this opportunity makes to a small businesses. I hope that people will come out and support them. Every purchase made is money in the pockets and tills of local people, and I know how much they appreciate it.”

Council Leader Emlyn Dole at the Llanelli pop-up shop (Image: Carmarthenshire Council)

As well as the free pop-up shops the council has also agreed to allow free parking in its Carmarthen and Llanelli town centre car parks during December – in Carmarthen the local council and business representatives chose Sundays and in Llanelli they chose Saturdays.

This is in addition to the free parking periods in the council’s short stay car parks all through the year – in Carmarthen this is from 3.30pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and in Llanelli from 10am to 4pm on Mondays and Tuesdays.

The 100% Sir Gâr pop-up shops are open as follows:

1 Stepney Street, Llanelli

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  • Dec 1-18: Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays from 10am-4pm; Saturdays 10am-3pm
  • Dec 21-23: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10am-4pm

St Catherine’s Walk, Carmarthen

  • Dec 1-12: Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 9am-5pm; and Sundays 11am-4.30pm
  • Dec 15-23: Every day 9am-5pm (11am-4.30pm on the Sunday)
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Carmarthen

Mother gifts toys to children’s wards in memory of lifesaving son

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The family of a patient who passed away in Morriston Hospital has donated a collection of toys to the children’s wards to help keep his memory alive.

But the presents are nothing compared to the gift of life that has resulted from the deceased being an organ donor.

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Marc Leach passed away on 5th May, of this year, in Morriston Hospital, following a period in critical care.

The 25-year-old, who worked as a chef in a Carmarthen restaurant, leaves behind a 5-year-old son, Lincoln.

On what would have been his 26th birthday, his family and friends met up at Marc’s place of work where the idea of keeping his memory alive for his son was hatched.

Marc’s mother, Michelle Francis, said: “On his birthday this year, on 18 November, we all got together and decided to do a toy drive for the children’s ward in Morriston, to give them new toys.

“Marc has an amazing little boy called Lincoln, who is the spitting image of his daddy. I wanted to keep my son’s memory alive so that his own son would never forget him.

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“Next year we are going to do a donor drive and raise money for mental health services.”

Marc Leach (Image: Swansea Bay NHS)

When it became apparent that Marc would not survive his mother spoke to members of the organ donation team.

Michelle said: “Marc had told us he wanted to be a donor. Because his uncle had benefitted from receiving a kidney in the past, he wanted to give back.

“I’m also a registered donor, I was supposed to give one of my kidneys to my brother but a donor came up instead.”

Although the recipients of donated organs remain confidential Michelle has been told that her son’s decision has already helped save lives.

She said: “His kidneys have gone to two people, his liver has gone to another. I believe he has saved three or four people.”

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It is a bittersweet thought for Michelle.

“I’m chuffed to bits that he has saved lives but I wish he was still here as he would have only been 26 this year.”

Calling on everyone to at least have a conversation on the subject of donations, she said: “We don’t need our organs when we die but there are people out there who do need them. They are just going to waste.”

Michelle thanked those who looked after her son in his final days.

“The nurses and doctors in intensive care laughed with us and they cried with us. They were absolutely amazing.

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“They were part of the family in the end. They knew a lot about Marc from listening us talking about what he was like and what he got up to.”

Kathryn Gooding (pictured top with Marc’s mother, Michelle Francis), Swansea Bay UHB specialist nurse organ donation, said: “Organ donation really does save and improve the lives of others.

“Thanks to Marc’s donation and the bravery of his family to support the decision other lives were saved.”

Of the presentation of toys to the hospital she said: “This initiative is a lovely way of remembering Marc and his generous gift of life and hopefully to bring a smile to the children who will benefit from the toy drive.”

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