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Port Talbot

Port Talbot RNLI shop open again for business

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Following refurbishment, visitors to Port Talbot will once again be able to visit the shop located at the lifeboat station at Aberavon seafront.

The shop refit marks the start of a new era. The shop was opened in loving memory of the previous shop manager, Phil Jones, who sadly passed away in early 2021.

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Phil had kept the shop open single-handedly for over twelve years with much success. Phil’s wife and daughter kindly agreed to officially open the new shop on Sunday 12 June when many memories were shared and there were plenty of best wishes for the future.

RNLI shops started out as simple cake stalls run by volunteers to raise money for their local station. Around 1920 commemorative RNLI products were added and shops were selling souvenirs and Christmas cards, all profits helping to save lives at sea.

The RNLI now has over 170 shops around the coast and inland all of which are run by dedicated volunteers: Port Talbot is no exception.

The shop volunteer team has grown since April 2021 from a team of one to thirteen and is also involved with fundraising.

New Shop Manager Kirstee David says: “It has been amazing watching the shop team develop over the last twelve months and to see how passionate the team is about developing what we offer – and about the RNLI!”

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(Lead image: Port Talbot RNLI)

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Business

Energy intensive industries could get further relief under new Government proposals

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High electricity using businesses like steel and paper mills could see further relief under new proposals to help subsidise their electricity costs.

The UK Government is consulting on the option to increase the level of exemption for certain environmental and policy costs from 85% of costs up to 100%.

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This reflects higher UK industrial electricity prices than those of other countries including in Europe, which could hamper investment, competition and commercial viability for hundreds of businesses in industries including steel, paper, glass, ceramics, and cement, and risk them relocating from the UK.

The proposal would help around 300 businesses supporting 60,000 jobs in the UK’s industrial heartlands. Looking at ways to reduce the cost of doing business for key industries would help secure the future of domestic manufacturing and maintain a competitive business environment in the UK, ensuring economic growth and protecting thousands of jobs across the country.

The Energy Intensive Industries Exemption Scheme provides businesses with relief for the costs of renewable levies, including Contracts for Difference, the Renewable Obligation and Feed in Tariffs, in their energy bills.

UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “British manufacturers are the lifeblood of our economy and central to our plans to overcome this period of economic uncertainty.

“With global energy prices at record highs, it is essential we explore what more we can do to deliver a competitive future for those strategic industries so we can cut production costs and protect jobs across the UK.”

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Director General of UK Steel Gareth Stace said: “The publication of this consultation is a significant step forward in delivering competitive electricity prices for the UK steel sector and should provide some much-needed relief in the face of extremely challenging circumstances at the current time. While there remain difficulties, this announcement demonstrates that UK Government understands the challenges of British industry and continues to support steelmakers and steel communities across the country.”

(Lead image: Gareth James / Geograph / Creative Commons 2.0)

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Port Talbot

Port Talbot panto princess search over as Princess Royal Theatre make ‘royal announcement’

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The search for a princess has come to an end, as MTAZ Productions announces a princess for the forthcoming Jack and the Beanstalk pantomime at Port Talbot’s Princess Royal Theatre has been found.

MTAZ productions has welcomed Briony Harris to the cast of the eagerly awaited show which goes ahead in December 2022 at The Princess Royal Theatre.

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Briony is currently in her second year of a three-year course at the prestigious Laine Theatre Arts, Epsom, Surrey, where she is studying Musical Theatre and Dance, having been awarded a full scholarship.

Briony previously trained at Bridgend College, in Musical Theatre and Dance as well as attending TDM Stage School in Port Talbot, and Caroline Brown Ballet School in Bridgend. She is also vocally trained by Porthcawl singing teacher, Patricia O’Neill-Wheatley.

Anthony Argyle, the artistic director of MTAZ Productions, said: “I believe we have found a star of the future and I’m proud to see that she will be beginning her career locally at The Princess Royal Theatre.”

MTAZ Productions are looking forward to bringing the traditional family pantomime to Port Talbot from the 1st until 10th December. Jack and the Beanstalk will tell the classic story of poor Jack, who is sent to market by his mother to sell the family’s treasured cow.

Little does he know that swapping his dear cow for a bag of magic beans will lead to an adventure he will never forget. From fighting to save the beautiful Princess, outwitting the evil giant and winning riches beyond his wildest dreams.

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And does he gain the hand of the girl he loves?

Applications are now open for the children’s chorus. MTAZ Productions is now offering the opportunity for children aged 7-16 to take part in Jack and The Beanstalk. The show producers are looking for three teams of 10 children to take part.

An audition day will be held on September 18th from 10am – 2pm at The Princess Royal Theatre. The audition will require applicants to dance, sing and take part in acting workshops. An online booking form is in place for people wanting to book a place at the audition.

Cllr Jeremy Hurley, Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Wellbeing said: “I’m delighted the princess has been found and also very pleased that Jack and the Beanstalk is building up to be a great production this year for our residents to enjoy.”

Jack and the Beanstalk is at The Princess Royal Theatre from 1 to 10 December 2022.

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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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