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Stormtrooper costume, six bridesmaids dresses and a trumpet: Lost and Found at Travelodge’s in Wales

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A Stormtrooper costume, a trumpet, a marriage certificate, six Bridesmaid dresses and a Galleon made of matchsticks make the 2021 Travelodge Lost & Found audit for Wales.

Where would you find a Stormtrooper costume, a trumpet, a marriage certificate, six Bridesmaid dresses and a Galleon made of matchsticks? Where else but Travelodge’s Lost & Found offices in Wales!           

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Today, the UK’s first budget hotel chain, Travelodge, has revealed some of the interesting items left behind in its 582 hotels over the last 12 months incorporating its 26 hotels in Wales. With millions of people annually staying in a Travelodge hotel across the length and breadth of the UK, detailed below are some of the unusual treasures that have been left behind in Welsh properties: 

  • A lucky Buddha diamond necklace
  • A stained glass door
  • A 6ft flower arch made from white roses
  • A marriage certificate 
  • A family of garden gnomes
  • A collection of Ronald Dahl books
  • A Christmas village made of lego
  • A Chewbacca costume
  • A suitcase full of business receipts 
  • A vintage pocket watch
  • A Bridegroom’s top hat
  • A set of four palm trees
  • A Japanese parasol
  • A surfboard
  • A work contract
  • A Louis Vuitton dog carrier

With the Staycation being a top holiday choice in 2021, Travelodge hotel staff have reported a significant rise in items being left behind in their hotels over the last 12 months.  Some of the interesting finds include a business plan left behind in Cardiff M4 Travelodge, a set of four palm trees abandoned in Swansea Travelodge and a Christmas village made of Lego, which a customer forgot in Bridgend Pencoed Travelodge.

The housekeeping team at Swansea Central Travelodge were pleasantly surprised when they entered a room to be greeted by a 6ft flower arch made of white roses sitting on the bed, while a customer staying at the Llanelli Central Travelodge left behind his prized collection of garden gnomes.  A Louis Vuitton dog carrier was also left behind in Rhyl Seafront Travelodge.

The 2021 Travelodge Lost & Found audit has also revealed a growing trend of wedding-related items being left behind by brides, grooms and wedding guests across the company’s hotels.  A newlywed couple staying at Swansea M4 Travelodge were in such a rush to get to the airport to catch their honeymoon flight to Dubai that they left behind their wedding certificate!

A bridesmaid staying at Cardiff Llandeyrn Travelodge had the important job of taking six bridesmaid dresses to the wedding venue, due to being too focused on her ‘bad hair day’. Luckily, the hotel manager managed to get them to the wedding on time for the vital ceremony. 

A forgetful groom staying at Bridgend Pencoed Travelodge was in deep trouble with his future wife when he forgot to complete his bespoke wedding outfit with the Top Hat he’d left behind in the hotel. Luckily, the hotel team, who love a challenge, stepped in and got the hat to the church in time!

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With more road warriors staying at Travelodge hotels than ever before, the hotel chain has seen a rise in items being left behind by workers across all sectors. This includes a suitcase of receipts left behind in Llanelli Crosshands Travelodge Plus, a work contract forgotten at Halkyn Travelodge and a portfolio of shop front designs being left at Leeds Central Travelodge.         

Shakila Ahmed, Travelodge Spokeswoman said: “In 2021, following Freedom Day, we welcomed back millions of customers to our 582 UK Travelodge hotels including our 26 hotels in Wales and we saw a significant increase in bookings. This has led to a range of interesting items being left behind by our customers across our UK hotels. This year’s Lost & Found audit includes a rise in holiday themed items, wedding props, precious sentimental items, smart gadgets and beloved pets.   This includes a Stormtrooper costume, a trumpet, a marriage certificate, six Bridesmaid dresses and a Galleon made of matchsticks.

“When it comes to why so many of our customers forget their treasured items, it’s basically due to us all being time poor, juggling multiple tasks and being in a hurry to get from A to B. In the rush, valuable possessions are easily forgotten.”

Listed below are the top 30 interesting items left behind at some of Travelodge’s 26 hotels in Wales in 2021

ItemTravelodge Hotel
A Stormtrooper costumeCardiff Travelodge
A magician’s black book of tricksCardiff Central Queen Street Travelodge
A trumpetCardiff Airport Travelodge
A galleon made of matchsticksCardiff Atlantic Wharf Travelodge
Six bridesmaid dresses Cardiff Llandeyrn Travelodge
A business plan Cardiff M4 Travelodge
A pop-up tuck shop     Cardiff Travelodge
A collection of Christmas jumpers Cardiff Whitchurch Travelodge
A lucky Buddha diamond necklaceCaerphilly Travelodge
A stained glass doorNewport Central Travelodge
A 6ft flower arch made from white rosesSwansea Central Travelodge
A marriage certificate Swansea M4 Travelodge
A family of garden gnomesLlanelli Central Travelodge
A collection of Ronald Dahl booksLlanelli Crosshands Travelodge
A Christmas village made of LegoBridgend Pencoed Travelodge
A Chewbacca costumeLlanelli Central Travelodge
A suitcase full of business receipts Llanelli Crosshands Travelodge
A vintage pocket watchSwansea M4 Travelodge
A Bridegroom’s top hatBridgend Pencoed Travelodge
A set of four palm treesSwansea Travelodge
A Japanese parasolRhyl Seafront Travelodge
A surfboardColwyn Bay Travelodge
A work contractHalkyn Travelodge
A Louis Vuitton dog carrierRhyl Seafront Travelodge
A cuckoo clockLlanudno Travelodge
A jeroboam of Moët & Chandon champagneRhyl Seafront Travelodge
A portable beach hut Bangor Travelodge
A mini jukeboxHalkyn Travelodge
A Victorian dolls houseColwyn Bay Travelodge
A pearl necklace that was a wedding gift 50 years agoRhyl Seafront Travelodge

Listed below are the top ten most popular items left behind in Travelodge hotels during 2021:

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  • Chargers for mobile phones, smart devices, kindles and laptops
  • Mobile phones, tablets and Kindles 
  • Books
  • Teddy Bears
  • Toiletry bags with contents
  • Jewellery
  • Clothing
  • Toys
  • Business papers / notebooks / presentations  
  • Gifts / presents

All items left behind in Travelodge hotels which have not been claimed within three months are donated to the local British Heart Foundation Charity Shops, Travelodge’s nominated charity partner.

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Covid grant scheme for Swansea businesses that don’t pay business rates

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photo of black cab on cobblestone road

An emergency grant scheme is now available for Swansea businesses in the leisure, tourism, hospitality and retail sectors that do not pay business rates.

Funded by the Welsh Government and run by Swansea Council, the Emergency Business Fund grant scheme is aimed at helping support businesses impacted by current Covid restrictions which are not eligible for the Economic Resilience Fund.

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Covering business impacted from Monday December 13 to Monday February 14, online applications are now open which cover two levels of grant award:

  • A £1,000 cash grant payment for hospitality, tourism, retail, leisure or related supply chain businesses which do not employ anyone apart from the owner, and do not have a property
  • A £2,000 cash grant payment for hospitality, tourism, retail, leisure or related supply chain businesses who employ staff through PAYE (in addition to the owner)

Also covering freelancers in the creative sector, both these grants are aimed at supporting businesses with an annual turnover of less than £85,000.

Businesses which may be eligible are asked to visit https://fundchecker.businesswales.gov.wales/businesssupport where the Business Wales eligibility checker must be completed before applicants are able to access the application form.

All applications must be submitted by 5pm on Monday February 14.

Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader, said: “It’s important all businesses in Swansea impacted by the current Omicron restrictions have access to financial support, with this latest grant scheme aimed at supporting many businesses that may not be eligible for the other support schemes already in place.

“We’re doing all we can as a council to assist our business community during these extremely challenging times, with more than £150m having been allocated to provide support since the onset of Covid.

“I’d encourage any business that may be eligible for emergency financial support to fill out an application. Council officers will do all they can to process payments for successful applicants as soon as possible.”

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A grant scheme for hospitality, tourism, retail and related supply chain businesses which are liable to pay non-domestic rates is also now live. This means these businesses could be entitled to grants of £2,000, £4,000 or £6,000, depending on their rateable value.

More information, eligibility criteria and both registration and application details for that grant scheme are available at www.swansea.gov.uk/CovidNDRbusinessgrants 

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Swansea Building Society appoints new non-executive director

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Swansea Building Society, ranked the most profitable building society in the UK last year, has appointed a new non-executive director – Malcolm Hayes.

Hayes comes to the role with extensive executive and board level experience gained within several major UK clearing banks, a specialist lending group, an ethical bank, and a large mutual credit union.

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After starting his career with NatWest, Hayes went on to spend over 25 years in Lloyds Banking Group, where he held senior risk and credit positions in the bank’s business and commercial divisions.

His 40-year career has seen him hold executive positions as chief risk officer, operational risk & compliance director, control function director, head of credit audit and head of enterprise-wide risk management.

Having retired from executive roles in 2019, following five years as the chief risk officer of Paragon Banking Group, Hayes currently also holds non-executive director roles at Reliance Bank Ltd and as chair of the board of directors of Citysave Credit Union Ltd.

He also has previous board experience as a director of the Agricultural Mortgage Corporation PLC and AMC Bank Ltd – wholly owned subsidiaries of Lloyds Bank PLC – and served as a board director of a Lloyds Bank subsidiary established to undertake residential property development.

Hayes’ new non-executive director role with Swansea Building Society sees him sit on the Society’s audit committee, risk committee and asset & liabilities committee.

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Malcolm Hayes, non-executive director at Swansea Building Society, said: “I’m very excited to be taking on this new non-executive director role with Swansea Building Society. The Society’s vision and ethics are truly inspirational, and the success the Society has achieved in recent years is a tribute to its customer-focused, common-sense approach to lending. I hope that the experience I bring to the role can help the society continue its success and allow it to help even more people build a better future for themselves and their families.”

Alun Williams, chief executive officer at Swansea Building Society, added: “We are delighted to welcome Malcolm to his new role of non-executive director. Malcolm has extensive experience, over many years, which will be invaluable in helping Swansea Building Society build on our success and achieve our business aims.”

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Neath-based Vortex IoT acquired by national tech company

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The Development Bank of Wales have announced that they have successfully exited Vortex IoT Limited just three years after providing initial pre-seed capital funding to the technology start-up that now employs 35.

The Neath-based supplier of environmental sensors, networks and data solutions has been acquired by  Marston Holdings, the UK’s leading provider of integrated, technology-enabled transport solutions. Figures have not been disclosed.

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Marston supports government, utilities and private sector clients through the delivery of market leading integrated technology-enabled solutions from design through to implementation, management and recovery.  Marston’s clients include local authorities seeking to build environmental schemes that reduce congestion and pollution.  With the acquisition of Vortex, Marston will strengthen its offering by delivering complementary air quality solutions that maximise awareness, identify pollution hotspots and improve public health. 

Headquartered in Neath, Vortex IoT was founded by CEO Adrian Sutton and CTO Behzad Heravi. It is made up of a highly-skilled team of 35 that includes engineers with expertise in emerging technologies, Artificial Intelligence (AI), 5G, LiDAR laser technology and machine learning. 

As equity funders, the Development Bank of Wales invested £250,000 pre-Seed capital followed by a further £250,000 from the Wales Business Fund alongside London-based Start-up Funding Club (SFC Capital). Having enabled Vortex to scale-up in just three years, the Development Bank has now exited.

Adrian Sutton, CEO of Vortex IoT, commented: “Joining Marston Holdings accelerates Vortex IoT’s ability to deliver social value and environmental change for clients, and we’re delighted to collectively build on the existing relationships we have established as trusted partners to our clients in bringing cutting edge smart city and environmental monitoring solutions to market.

“The equity funding and support from the Development Bank made a difference to our business, enabling us to be at the forefront of the fight against climate change with the development of solutions that help reduce carbon emissions. It’s also what has given us the platform to build a business that is attractive to bigger players like Marston meaning that we can continue to grow with the benefit of the Welsh ecosystem all around us.”

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Alexander Leigh, Senior Investment Executive with the Development Bank of Wales said: “As early investors in Vortex with pre-seed capital and follow-on funding, we are delighted to have supported the growth of this exciting business over the last three years.

“It’s hugely rewarding to exit a start-up after such a short period of time, particularly having seen the team benefit from the support available here in Wales. They could have set-up anywhere in the world but chose Wales because of our can-do attitude, the help available for entrepreneurs in the tech sector and the lower cost base.   

“Marston’s acquisition of Vortex now further accelerates the opportunity for the team to deliver their innovative air quality solutions that are very much needed for a zero-carbon economy whilst also continuing to invest in highly skilled jobs from their base in Neath. It’s a brilliant success story that we are really proud to have played a part in.  

The acquisition of Vortex follows the 2019 acquisitions of Videalert, a supplier of intelligent traffic management solutions; ParkTrade, a Swedish-based European tolling payments and collections business; and LogicValley, an Indian-based AI focused developer.  Vortex’s products further bolster Marston’s transportation technology division, ensuring Marston is best placed to meet the evolving needs of its client base. 

Mark Hoskin, Chief Commercial Officer at Marston Holdings added: “We have a long track record of successfully working in partnership with the public sector, and this acquisition reflects client feedback seeking innovative, technology-enabled solutions. COP26 demonstrated public support for driving the transition to a zero-carbon economy, and we’re pleased to further enhance our ability to support our clients and their residents through cleaner, healthier and more people-friendly communities.”

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