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Carmarthenshire

Aberglasney Gardens’ appoint an American as new Director of Operations who already feels right at home

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Aberglasney Gardens has appointed a new Director of Operations. Jim Stribling, who recently moved to Carmarthenshire from Miami, started in the position earlier this month and says he already feels at home at Aberglasney, especially in the Ninfarium with its tropical temperature and exotic plants! 

Born and raised in Miami, Jim has arrived at Aberglasney with a formidable track record in horticulture and managing botanic gardens. 

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After graduating with a Batchelor of Science degree in Agricultural Business and Management from the University of Florida, he started his own plant nursery business with his sister. They grew indoor, tropical foliage plants and progressed to having an international presence specialising in producing weeping fig trees. After selling the business Jim became the Head Grower of tropical fruit at Pine Island Nursery and then took on the position of Manager at Reedland sp. Redland Fruit and Spice Park, a botanic garden growing fruits, nuts and spices from the tropics.   

Having married a British chef, who originated from Brighton, Jim and his wife, Alison, moved to the UK in 2020 as both their children, James, 26, and Sarah, 24, had already made the move to England to study.  

Jim and his wife live near St Clears, Carmarthenshire, where he says he feels very much at home.

Jim said, “Having grown up in an idyllic rural area outside of Miami I had 1,000s of acres at my disposal for my playground. My mum was a gardener and my dad wanted to live in the woods so I grew up with rabbits, chickens, horses and a passion for the outdoors.” 

The central courtyard of Aberglasney’s mansion house and the derelict servants’ quarters to the rear of the mansion were converted into a Ninfarium in 2006. It is a glazed area for exotic plants inspired by a garden created amid the ruins of a Roman temple in Ninfa, Italy. It won the won the award for the Best Garden Design/Construction Project in 2006, one of a string of awards for what is now acknowledged as one of the top garden attractions in Britain. 

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Jim added, “As soon as I arrived at Aberglasney I felt very much at home, especially in the Ninfarium as that’s the kind of humid atmosphere and the type of plants I was used to seeing every day back in Miami. I’m looking forward to working with the team at Aberglasney and getting to know our members.” 

The ten-acre Gardens, with an award-winning terrace café and shop, attract an average of 50,000 visitors every year and employs a staff of 16 in summer, helped by a small army of volunteer gardeners. 

Peter Burgess, Chairman of Aberglasney Gardens’ Board of Trustees, said, “We are delighted to welcome Jim to head up the team here at Aberglasney. Jim has not let the grass grow under his feet and has got to work straight away in getting to know the Gardens and staff. His previous experience means he will be a huge asset to the future development of Aberglasney.” 

Aberglasney was made famous by the BBC television series “A Garden Lost in Time” which followed its restoration.

It recently featured in a dedicated hour-length episode of the new Channel 5 series ‘Great British Gardens’ hosted by gardening expert Carol Klein.

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Aberglasney also provides the backdrop to the new seasons of Sky TV’s fantasy drama TV series ‘A Discovery of Witches’.

The Gardens, Mansion house, Shop and Tearooms are open every day except Christmas Day.

Visitors can explore over 20 different garden styles from formal to woodland, right through to exotic and modern along with the fully restored ground floor of Aberglasney’s grade II* listed mansion.

Further information on the Gardens is available online: www.aberglasney.org 

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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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Dyfed Powys Police

Man banned from driving for 12 months for fishing offence

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A man from Merthyr Tydfil who travelled to the River Loughor, near Llanelli to fish using a barbaric and illegal method, has been banned from driving for 12 months as part of his sentence.

Vu Quang Tien pleaded guilty to an illegal fishing charge and also to a charge of obstruction of a Natural Resources Wales (NRW) Fisheries Enforcement Officer on 26 April at Swansea Magistrates Court.

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Mr Tien and two other anglers were witnessed by NRW Fisheries Enforcement Officers deliberately using the illegal foul hooking method of fishing – also known as snatching – at the river Loughor on 15 August 2021. NRW officers attended the site after several reports of illegal fishing were made to NRW’s 24/7 incident call centre by concerned members of the community.

When approached and questioned by NRW officers, Mr Tien and his accomplices showed significant hostility and reluctance to share identification documents which eventually had to be extracted by use of reasonable force.

All of Mr Tien’s fishing tackle and fish, along with his associates’ fishing tackle was seized by NRW Officers at the time of the incident. The district judge on the day at Swansea Magistrates Court gave permission to NRW to confiscate these items permanently from each of them.

The District Judge disqualified Mr Tien from driving for 12 months due to seriousness of the incident, and the premeditated and deliberate action of travelling such a distance to commit the offence.

He was also ordered to pay a total of £2,334 in fines, NRW costs and a victim surcharge.

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Mark Thomas, Fisheries Enforcement Officer for NRW, said: “We would like to again thank Dyfed Powys Police, the local communities and also the law-abiding anglers in the area for their continued support in reporting these illegal fishing activities.

“Foul hooking is a truly barbaric form of fishing carried out by a small minority of anglers in Wales, who have no regard for fish welfare.

“NRW and the Police take these incidents seriously as do the courts.

“Hopefully, the small minority of anglers who may in future, think of using any illegal fishing methods will take heed of the heavy fines and driving ban in this case issued by the courts.”

(Lead image: Natural Resources Wales)

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