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Battle of Britain Memorial Flight set to fly at Wales Airshow

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Three iconic World War Two aircraft will bring history to life at this summer’s Wales Airshow.

Flying in the skies above Swansea Bay on July 2 and 3, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will showcase three of just a handful of planes still in the air more than 70 years after their finest hours.

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The Avro Lancaster, just one of only two airworthy Lancaster bombers in the world, will delight aircraft enthusiasts as it flies in formation with the Supermarine Spitfire and Hawker Hurricane over the huge crowds lining the bay for the two-day event.

The free event run by Swansea Council has already announced that the RAF Red Arrows will feature in the line-up.

Councillor Robert Francis-Davies, the council’s cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: “The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight is arguably the most historic and evocative flight display in British history.

“Without these planes, their pilots, crews, and the thousands of people working on the ground that supported our fighters and bombers defending Britain, our story would quite possibly have been very different.

“To see them in flight, in the skies above Swansea Bay, really is to see living history and we are proud to be hosting them here in the city.

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“Combining with modern aircraft, exciting aerobatic displays and ground-based entertainment, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight is among many spectacles that thousands of people will enjoy at Wales Airshow.”

Inaugurated on 11 July 1957 at Biggin Hill, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight aims to maintain the planes that defended Britain in the Second World War in an airworthy condition in order to commemorate those who have fallen in the service of our country.

There are now only two airworthy Lancaster bombers left in the world out of a total 7,377 that were built. The Lancaster PA474, which will fly at Wales Airshow, came off the production line at the Vickers Armstrong Broughton factory in Hawarden on 31 May 1945 and has not participated in any hostilities.

Critical in defeating the Luftwaffe air attacks during the Battle of Britain in 1940, the Supermarine Spitfire became a symbol of freedom during the war and has since gone on to be the most famous British fighter aircraft in history. There are six Spitfires in the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s hanger, out of a total 20,341 aircraft that were built, more than any other British combat aircraft before or since World War Two.

The Hawker Hurricane, alongside the Spitfire, played a vital role defending Britain in frantic battles during the summer of 1940. Hurricanes destroyed more enemy aircraft during the Battle of Britain than did all the other air and ground defences combined. The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight maintains two of these amazing fighter planes: Hurricane LF363, believed to be the last Hurricane to enter service with the RAF; and Hurricane PZ865, the last Hurricane to be built out of a total 14,533 aircraft.

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Figures show the Wales Airshow regularly attracts 250,000 people and is estimated to be worth more than £9m to the local economy.

Councillor Robert Francis-Davies added: “The council is working on attracting many more exciting additions to the line-up in coming weeks – on the ground as well as in the air. There will be exciting displays, state-of-the-art military aircraft and vintage planes, we’re looking to make the 2022 Wales Airshow better than ever!”

(Lead image: Swansea Council)

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Swansea shows rise in business growth despite fears high streets are empty

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Swansea BID (Business Improvement District) are celebrating the opening of the 60th new business in Swansea City Centre since January 2020.

According to a recent Federation of Small Business report on Welsh towns, only 3% of people feel their town centres are thriving; but given the impact of Covid-19, Swansea BID have continued to see businesses opening since the pandemic began. 

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High Street Giants Replaced by Independents

Since January 2020, 66 new businesses have opened in the city centre. In the same period, only 27 have closed, with over half of these businesses citing the pandemic as the reason. As many large high street names such as Debenhams, Disney, Topshop and Pizza Express have closed, the rate of smaller, independent businesses opening has increased.

“We have seen strong growth in start-up businesses over the last few years. I think excellent customer service and experience is a key factor in their success,” said Russell Greenslade, Swansea BID Chief Executive. “We have also seen sharp growth in the hospitality sector, independents and more sustainable businesses.”

Responses to the FSB survey showed that 67% of people in Wales feel that their town centres are ‘bad’ or ‘bleak’. The Vision for Welsh Towns report makes a series of recommendations to support and grow businesses in town centres, many of which Swansea BID actively do; including helping to reduce business costs and directly supporting businesses. 

A new independent restaurant has opened at the former Pizza Express chain next to Swansea’s castle

The High Street is Resilient 

Simon Kendrick, Director of the Games Emporium on Swansea’s High Street said the business is likely to renew their lease for another 10 years thanks to their confidence in the developments happening in Swansea.

“We’ve enjoyed growing with the High Street, it has been fabulous to see the once run down and talked down part of town continue its transformation towards a vibrant part of the city’s cultural life,” he said.

“Swansea BID have been helpful in driving some of that change with initiatives like the Big Heart and city-wide treasure trails to drive shoppers our way, as well as more behind the scenes support like advocating reductions in street-table rates for local cafes. 

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“Currently, the BID is assisting us (and many other businesses) with applying for grant funding to renovate our shopfront, which will further enhance the appearance and character of the High Street,” said Kendrick.

Swansea’s High Street has seen massive transformation over the last few years

Investing in Regeneration

With £1bn set to be invested in regeneration projects over the next few years, the landscape of Swansea is set to transform. 

Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Investment and Tourism said, “The growth is encouraging. It shows the combination of our business talent and the work the council and its partners are carrying out to regenerate Swansea to create a modern, confident city that’s attracting more and more businesses to invest.

“We’re doing all we can to create an environment where businesses can thrive, such as the £135m Copr Bay district and our work to transform the look and feel of The Kingsway and Wind Street.

“Much more is planned too, including a revamp of Castle Square Gardens, a state-of-the-art office at the former Oceana nightclub site, and the work our development partners Urban Splash are leading on to transform parts of the city centre, including the old St David’s Shopping Centre.

“Our business community, residents and visitors have lots to look forward to.”

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Aldi responds to call to #GetOnARoll by including cancer symptoms on toilet roll packs

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white toilet paper roll on toilet paper holder

Aldi is to add signs and symptoms of bowel cancer to all its packs of own brand toilet roll in response to Bowel Cancer UK’s #GetOnARoll campaign.

Bowel cancer is the UK’s fourth most common cancer and the second biggest cancer killer. Yet almost half of adults around the UK could not name a single symptom of bowel cancer in a recent survey.

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Red flag symptoms include changes in bowel habit and bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo, which can all be noticed while people are on the toilet.

Knowing the symptoms to look out for, and acting on them, can lead to bowel cancer being diagnosed at an earlier stage when it is easier to treat and even cure.

Now, Aldi has teamed up with Bowel Cancer UK to include the potentially life-saving information, together with a QR code for customers to find out more, on over 70m packs of toilet rolls every year.

Julie Ashfield, Managing Director of Buying, at Aldi, said: “It’s shocking to learn that almost half of all adults in the UK cannot name a single symptom of bowel cancer. When we heard how powerful it could be to simply print the signs and symptoms on loo roll packaging – so they are there when people most need to see them – we were really keen to get involved.

“Spotting signs early is so important, so anything we can do to raise awareness of what people should look out for, and signpost them to Bowel Cancer UK to find out more, is crucial.

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“We’re delighted to be the first retailer to announce we’re getting on board since the launch of the #GetOnARoll campaign and we’re calling on all other retailers and loo roll brands to follow suit.”

Genevieve Edwards, CEO at Bowel Cancer UK, added: “We are delighted to partner with Aldi to raise vital awareness of bowel cancer symptoms with people all over the country. It’s the UK’s fourth most common cancer, with someone diagnosed with the disease every 15 minutes in the UK. 

“Bowel cancer is treatable and curable especially if diagnosed early, but 60% of people are diagnosed at later stages when it is much more difficult to treat. Part of the problem is low awareness of the red flag symptoms of bowel cancer that should prompt people to contact their GP.

“It’s such a simple idea to share this vital information on loo roll packaging. It could help us reach millions more people every year, and will undoubtedly help save lives. We want to thank Aldi for taking this step and encourage all other retailers to follow suit.”

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Swansea 7 year-old girl badly burned by buried disposable BBQ on beach

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Beach-goers in Swansea are being urged to use purpose-built bins designed for disposable BBQs after a young girl suffered severe burns to her feet.

Swansea Council has condemned the actions of individuals who buried a disposable BBQ in the sand on Swansea Bay beach, which was then walked on by a seven-year old girl. The child is now waiting to see if she needs skin graft surgery

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Simi Adenaike, 7, and her mother Alex Adenaike from Mt Pleasant, along with other family members, had not been on the beach long when their day out turned to horror.

Simi’s mum, Alex, said: “We had only just arrived at the beach and were looking forward to having some fun. The children started playing almost immediately and had been running around in the sand. We heard a horrifying scream and my daughter came running back.

“She was in so much pain, she was unable to tell us what happened. Eventually we realised one of her feet was very red and blistered. We had some help from some other visitors on the beach to cool down the burn with water and we got her to hospital immediately.”

The family had discovered a disposable BBQ buried in the sand and were told by witnesses that a group had been seen burying the foil tray before leaving.

Alex’s mum said: “This is so upsetting and my daughter is now needing further treatment and possibly a skin graft.

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“The Council has made the effort to install disposable BBQ bins and there was one not far from where the BBQ had been buried.”

Cyril Anderson, Cabinet Member for Community said: “This incident is horrendous and we wish Simi and her family all the best as she receives medical treatment.

“The dangers associated with discarding or leaving disposable BBQs on our beaches are well known and that’s why we have gone to the trouble of installing fifteen bins at all of our beaches.

“Anyone who thinks that it’s OK to bury BBQs or any other waste in the sand on a day out is simply irresponsible and thoughtless to the injuries they can cause to beach users.

“We’ve invested thousands of pounds installing permanent BBQ waste bins along Swansea Bay beach and also at Port Eynon, Horton, Caswell and Langland with more to come at Rotherslade.

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“BBQs and charcoal retain their heat for hours after they’ve been used and can cause serious burns for people who accidentally step on them.”

The Council’s beach cleansing teams clean the beaches every morning during the summer and throughout the day. They are often supported by volunteers who also want to see pristine-clean beaches. Additional teams also target littering hotspots at the busiest times.

Beaches in Swansea where disposable BBQ bins are located

  • Langland Bay – 2
  • Port Eynon
  • Horton
  • Rotherslade

Locations on Swansea Bay between West Pier and Mumbles, including:

  • Swansea Point playground car park entrance to beach
  • Top of the Civic Centre steps near the beach
  • Bay View slip
  • Steps by Secret car park opposite Victoria Park
  • Near the Secret
  • Brynmill Lane Slip
  • Just above Clyne stream near the Footgolf attraction
  • Blackpill, one at each end of the picnic area

(Lead image: Swansea Council)

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