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Port Talbot junior rugby club receives camera funding boost

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A junior rugby club in Port Talbot has secured a grant to purchase a high-tech camera to film training sessions and matches.

Taibach RFC U15s has secured £1,000 through the Persimmon Community Champions scheme.

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The club will use the cash to purchase a Veo Sports Camera to record the rugby action, allowing the team to analyse games, study fitness levels and improve their skills, both as individuals and as a team.

Rob Shaw, of Taibach RFC U15s, said: “It’s a real thrill to receive this funding from Persimmon Homes.

“There are many benefits of having a state-of-the-art camera at the club. Firstly, it’ll be used to look back at our sessions and matches so that we can help the young people improve their skills.

“It will also add intrigue and help to keep players motivated, which will have positive physical and social impacts.

“We plan to allow the players to operate and use the software so they improve their digital skills.

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“A former Taibach player is now head analyst for the Australian rugby team. We want the players to develop their aspirations while enjoying the game.”

Rob said that a number of nearby rugby clubs had recently folded and that Taibach RFC was determined to continue growing its junior section.

Sharon Bouhali, sales director at Persimmon Homes West Wales, said: “We’re pleased to be able to support Taibach RFC U15s through our Community Champions scheme.

“Rugby, like other sports in South Wales, is struggling a little bit, which is a real shame.

“It’s great to see Taibach RFC looking at different ways to engage young people and encourage them to keep playing, as well as developing skills they’ll be able to use in the future.”

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Persimmon is currently building new homes at Awel Afan in Aberavon, where the first homes are due to be released for sale soon.

(Lead image: Persimmon Homes)

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Armed Forces

Wales and the Battle of Britain Exhibition to visit Port Talbot

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An exhibition telling the story of Wales’s contribution in the largest air battle ever recorded is coming to Port Talbot this autumn.

The Wales and the Battle of Britain Touring Exhibition was created by the RAF’s Air Historical Branch (Dr Lynsey Shaw) together with Air Commodore Adrian Williams, Air Officer Wales, and his team, to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

Unfortunately due to COVID the planned tour could not take place at the time. When restrictions eased it was felt that the story of the Battle of Britain told from a Welsh perspective was so important the tour would still go ahead, albeit 2 years after the 80th anniversary.

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The exhibition is touring Wales and it will be at Aberafan Shopping Centre from Monday 5 to Sunday 11 September 2022. Admission is free.

Air Commodore Adrian Williams said: “I’m delighted that, following on from the official opening of the Wales and the Battle of Britain 80th Anniversary Exhibition in Cardiff, the exhibition is now touring Wales and will be hosted at Neath Port Talbot.

“The Battle of Britain, the largest air battle ever recorded, was one of the most pivotal and iconic moments in the history of this country. It marked a turning point of the Second World War when Britain stood alone against Hitler’s seemingly unstoppable military power. The exhibition tells a story that will enable Welsh people, of all ages, to come along and find out more about what happened in the skies and on the ground during wartime. It exceptionally details the Welsh aircrew who fought, telling their stories and heroism to a modern Welsh audience.

“By visiting the exhibition individuals will also have the opportunity to pay their respects to the ‘Welsh Fallen’ and to those who eventually returned home to their loved ones and to celebrate the many different ways the Welsh people and their communities’ contributed to the War effort during the Battle of Britain.”

Councillors Wyndham Griffiths and Chris James, both Armed Forces Veterans, are the Armed Forces Champions for Neath Port Talbot Council.

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Councillor Griffiths said: “I am very proud that Neath Port Talbot is to play host to this important exhibition. It will be a chance for people to mark the anniversary of the Battle of Britain, honour those who gave their lives and learn about the part that people and communities across Wales played in this historic event.”

Councillor Chris James added: “Neath Port Talbot has a strong contingent of serving, reserve and veteran members of the Armed Forces and a proud tradition of supporting them through our Armed Forces Covenant. Events such as this help to ensure that we never forget the fallen and veterans from the two World Wars and other global conflicts, or those currently serving for the ongoing contribution they make.”

Featuring a series of large, prepared panels and a number of artefacts, the exhibition will include photographs and narrative to tell, for the first time, the story of how Wales featured in the Battle of Britain and what happened in the skies and on the ground during wartime.

Chris Morgan MBE, Aberafan Shopping Centre Manager and also an ex-serviceman added: “We at Aberafan Shopping Centre are pleased to have been chosen as the venue for this exhibition and are proud to help commemorate those who served in the Battle of Britain and honour our Armed Forces Community.”

The Mayor of Neath Port Talbot Councillor Robert Wood will be joined by military representatives to officially open the exhibition at 2pm on Monday 5 September.

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(Lead image: Neath Port Talbot Council)

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Business

Michael Sheen and Di Botcher help Port Talbot steelworkers celebrate

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Tata Steel in Port Talbot has celebrated 40 years of operation of the plant’s Continuous Caster number 1, which has cast over 63 million tonnes of steel.

When it was commissioned, Caster 1 was the largest single investment ever made at the works at over £100 million.

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The day was marked with the opening of a new entrance area to the Steel & Slab facility, featuring street art by local Welsh artists and a huge steel ingot, remembering the way steel was made before the introduction of continuous casting technology.

Port Talbot has three continuous casters, which take liquid steel and—through a series of moulds—casts steel in a continuous strand which is then cut into red-hot solid bars of steel each weighing around 30 tonnes.

One of the street art paintings features Tata founder Jamsetji Tata
Flags of India and Wales also form part of the street art
Street art helps celebrate the steelworks and the community of Port Talbot

Works Manager James Davies said: “Continuous casting technology transformed the way steel is produced. At the time, this was the single biggest investment in the works’ history, costing a staggering £100 million back in 1982. But it quickly became a mainstay of our integrated works.”

Section Leader Graham Rowland, who has been central in organizing the celebrations said: “It is fantastic that we are celebrating this milestone in our history and sharing the day not only with our current employees and contractor partners, but also with former workers and their families who have joined us on site today. We’ve also created a memorial area to remember all those who worked to ensure the plant was here for the current and future generations.

“This afternoon we’re continuing our celebrations with sports and social activities, hoping to raise lots of money for local charities.”

The celebrations were given a special boost with the presence of Port Talbot legend and Hollywood superstar, Michael Sheen, and famous Welsh Actress Di Botcher.

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Michael Sheen tours the Port Talbot facility
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Pets

Aberavon RNLI lifeguards save budgie that had been missing for four days

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Lifeguards at Aberavon beach have helped to reunite missing Blue the budgie with its owner, four days after going missing.

Lifeguards have described this as “a different type of rescue” to what they are used to.

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After a group of school children noticed a budgie on the beach, Aberavon beach lifeguard supervisor, Sophie Phillips collected the bird and made sure it was kept safe.

After appealing to local vets as well as on Facebook, Blue’s owner finally spotted the lifeguard team’s post after the bird went missing on the previous Sunday.

Blue’s home was nearly nine miles to where he was found and thanks to the help of the RNLI lifeguards and a drink of water, Blue was fine and back with its owner in the space of a few hours after being found at the beach.

After Blue was collected, Sophie said: “The last thing I expected to see was a budgie on the beach and we were so glad we were able to help reunite the bird with its owner”.

Blue’s owner has made a charitable donation to the RNLI.

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(Lead image: RNLI)

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