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All aboard as Milford Haven sight loss group take to the tracks

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IT WAS a case of full steam ahead for the Milford Haven Macular Society Support Group after they were invited to take part in a Familiarisation Day organised by Transport for Wales.

Members of the group got on-board for the hour-long journey from Milford Haven to Carmarthen to test some of the assisted travel services available to people with sight loss and other disabilities when travelling on Transport for Wales’ trains.

The group was accompanied by Geraint Morgan, community affairs manager at Transport for Wales. Geraint recently visited the group at one of its monthly meetings to talk to its members about the support on offer to anyone using the train who has a visual impairment. He also invited the group to come and try it out for themselves.

The trip was one of many events taking place throughout the UK as part of Macular Week, which runs from 24-30 June. Now in its fifth year, Macular Week is organised by the Macular Society to raise awareness of macular disease. This year, the Society is highlighting the importance of research funding to find a cure.

Macular disease is the biggest cause of sight loss in the UK. Nearly 1.5 million people are currently affected and many more are at risk. The disease can have a devastating effect on people’s lives, leaving them unable to drive, read or see faces. Many people affected describe losing their sight as being similar to bereavement. There is still no cure and most types of the disease are not treatable. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common form of macular disease, affecting more than 600,000 people, usually over the age of 50.

Milford Haven Macular Society

Madeline Roberts, leader of the Milford Haven Macular Society Support Group, said: “When Geraint asked us if we’d like to see how the assisted travel service works, we thought it was a great idea.

“I travel by train a lot myself, but many of our group don’t use it regularly or haven’t travelled by rail for a long time. For some of them, it’s simply because they just haven’t felt confident enough to do it. But there’s so much help and assistance available if you need it and nothing is too much trouble for the staff.

“It was also great that we could do this during Macular Week and use the opportunity to raise awareness of macular disease and spread the word to as many people while we were out and about.”

Geraint Morgan, community affairs manager at Transport for Wales, said: “For many people with sight loss, public transport is an important means of being able to travel – for work, for leisure or meeting family and friends. The objective of our assisted travel talks and familiarisation trips is to help raise awareness of the assistance that can be provided when travelling by train.

“The familiarisation trips offer an opportunity for people to experience a journey by train with the aim of giving everybody the knowledge and confidence to travel again in the future.”

For more information about assisted travel services available from Transport for Wales, please visit: https://tfwrail.wales/accessible-travel/booking-assistance.

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Community

Cruise Culture returns to Carmarthen this Sunday

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WALES’ biggest modified and performance car show is returning to the Carmarthen Showground this Sunday, August 25.

Cruise Culture is a static car show with modified, performance, classic and standard cars. The annual show attracts thousands of visitors each year.

On Sunday August 25, the ultimate indoor show hall will have some of the best modified cars from all over the UK on display, as well as an outdoor show and shine section.

Growing year on year, Cruise Culture now welcomes over 40 club stands. The entertainment stage will have DJs playing all day. Competitions throughout the day will include: Club of the Show; Car of the Show; Show and Shine Winner; Best Club Stand Car; Best Show Hall Car; Best Wheels of the Show and Best Install.

Prizes and awards will be handed out for each of the various competitions. There will also be inflatables and fair attractions, meaning Cruise Culture is a great family day out.

There will be a wide variety of food stalls, not just burger vans but hog roasts, BBQ, pizza and much more. The Jamie Squibb Freestyle Motocross Stunt Show will also take place, as the team of riders perform breathtaking jumps and stunts.

Pre-sale tickets have now ended. Tickets are now only available at the gate. Gate price is £7 per person. Under 12’s get in free.

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Ignite your vocal powers with the new Torch Voices Choir

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A VOCAL coach who has worked with stars from the West End and Broadway is to launch a new community choir this autumn at the Torch Theatre.

Torch Voices, led by Angharad Sanders, is a choir open to all abilities, from those who would like to give singing a go for the first time to those who may wish to sharpen up their vocal skills. Covering music off all genres, this is a fantastic opportunity to sing in a friendly and fun ensemble. The choir will meet weekly on Thursday’s at the Torch Theatre from 5 September.

Angharad has many years of experience working in theatre and with choirs and singers across the globe. Previous students include Pixie Lott, both recent lead actors from the West End smash hit Everybody’s Talking About Jamie; John McRea and Layton Williams (Bad Education, Hairspray UK Tour) and new Broadway leading man Sam Primack (Understudy Evan in Dear Evan Hansen). She most recently was the musical director for the 5-star original U.K. touring production of Madagascar: the Musical, starring X Factor winner Matt Terry.

Angharad commented: “I’m extremely excited to be at the musical helm of the new Torch Voices. It’s long been a desire to return to Wales and work with local talent. At Torch Voices we will be covering all musical styles, from pop songs by artists such as The Pentatonix, Madonna, Adele and Queen through musical theatre repertoire and classical material. I would love to welcome passionate singers of all ages and abilities to come along and join us bringing this music to life. The choir is open to anyone aged between 16 (those aged 8 and over can attend if accompanied by an adult) and up and there will be no audition needed or requirement, other than a desire to make some great music.”

If you are looking to join the Torch Voices or just give singing a go, the theatre is offering two free taster sessions on Thursday 5 and Thursday 12 September from 6pm. The choir will run until Thursday 19 December before taking a Christmas break and costs £55 per term to take part. To sign up, please contact Box Office on 01646 695 267 or via boxoffice@torchtheatre.co.uk.

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Community

Pupils design road safety posters

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PEMBROKEHSIRE Road Safety team and Narberth-based Kia car dealers, Gravells, are working together to remind parents and children to buckle up this summer.

Pupils from schools across Pembrokeshire have taken part in a Seatbelt Safety competition in which they had to design a poster incorporating road safety characters Ziggy Zebra and Grizzly Gravell.

The contest proved extremely popular with the Road Safety team receiving over 300 entries. From these, one junior and one infant winner were picked as well as a number of runners up and highly commended entries.

The outstanding winning posters were designed by Macey James from Narberth School and Sam Clark from Pembroke Dock Community School.

Both conveyed simple messages – ‘Buckle Up Your Seatbelt’ and ‘Don’t Take Your Seatbelt Off’ – reminding drivers that the safest way for children to travel in cars is to use the right seat restraint and to always wear a seat belt.

The two winners received £25 gift vouchers with £10 vouchers going to the runners-up and goody bags for those Highly Commended. The winning schools also received cheques from Gravells.

Pembrokeshire County Councillor Phil Baker, the Cabinet Member with responsibility for Highways, said the standard of work was very high.

“We are very grateful to all those young artists who contributed with their entries. A great deal of thought goes into the making of their artwork” said Councillor Baker.

“We want to encourage people of all ages in Pembrokeshire to recognise the dangers of not wearing a seatbelt and the importance of being in the correct car restraint. These award-winning posters will certainly help to remind people of this vital message.

“Not wearing a seatbelt can be a fatal decision even on short, familiar journeys and at low speeds. The driver is responsible for ensuring that passengers under the age of 14 are wearing a seatbelt, or using the correct child restraint for their height and age.”

Ian Gravell, Dealer Principal for Gravells, added: “Road safety is a major concern on today’s busy roads so we are delighted to be a part of this exciting and important initiative.”

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