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Mark Llewhellin takes on Ryan Jones

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Ryan Jones and Mark Llewhellin: Before competition began in Haverfordwest

Ryan Jones and Mark Llewhellin: Before competition began in Haverfordwest

PEMBROKESHIRE fitness star Mark Llewhellin, who is famous for finishing 1st for the Strava Distance Running Challenge out of over 51,000 people in 2014 & 2015 and for breaking the 100k Treadmill World Record, recently took on 3-time grand slam winning former Welsh rugby captain Ryan Jones in a cycling challenge in aide of the Princes Gate Trust at Haverfordwest Tesco.

Here he tells his story of the immense challenge, and how plenty of money was made for a worthwhile cause, which helps many people in Wales:

As I walk in to Tesco the crowd of people immediately watching say “go on Mark you’ve got to do this.”, I’m thinking to myself “oh my god my fitness is about 25% as I haven’t trained much and cycling is something that I hardly ever do.”

I know I’m a complete fish out of water but it’s for a good cause so I think why the heck not.

The local crowd are excited about me and Ryan going head to head and after the positive local support for me Ryan is giving me a look as if to say, ‘who is this guy?’

The only time I’ve come up against professional rugby players was when I did a treadmill test, which was roughly 10 minutes in the University of Glamorgan. The Welsh rugby squad had done the same test as me a few weeks before and on that occasion I was lucky enough to beat their fittest person by a comfortable margin.

But this bike sprint was a different ball game. It was explosive power for a 10 second burst so I knew it was going to be a very tall order to beat Ryan.

I’d never met Ryan before but have a mutual friend Ian Gough so we end up talking and chatted about what we’re both doing these days. My first impression of Ryan was, what a nice guy but I know when he gets on that bike he’ll give it everything he’s got to try and beat me, this is something he trains for so I knew he was going to be good.

Ryan had beat every challenger that he took on and I get a sense from some of the locals that they think I’ll easily beat him because of my fitness background.

The last time I got roped into a challenge like this was at the Welsh Boat show when there was a rowing competition to see who is the fastest person over a certain distance. “Go on” my brother Darren said, you’ll be good at this rowing thing. I never row but out of the 40 people that took on the challenge I was lucky enough to win it on my second attempt (I fell off the seat on the first go) so here I am again having a go at something I never really do.

I mount the bike and adjust the pedal straps, then sit up and (jokingly) give Ryan one of those boxers stares that they do in the weigh ins before a big boxing event. He returns the favour and (jokingly) holds his fist up to me, his fist was a lot bigger than mine.

Before we start we both stand up on the bikes to use our body weight to push the peddles down when someone from the crowd shouts “ready, steady, GO.” As I’m pushing down the pedals I can see Ryan in my peripheral vision. His big powerful legs push down the pedals like “Mallard – The Worlds Fastest Locomotive” and I knew within those first few seconds the race over…Ryan powered to victory!

I could see a mixture of smiles and disappointed faces in the crowd as their local fitness lad had lost.

After the race someone in the crowd says “go for a run together,” So I invite Ryan to do a 50 miler with me, there’s a big smile on his face, he gracefully declines and we shake hands.

Overall a great event and a great day for the locals in Pembrokeshire to see Ryan who’s not only a Welsh rugby Super Star but also a genuinely nice person.

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Fishguard and Goodwick Mural project turns to Crowdfunder to raise money

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PLANS to put up a few bright and decorative murals around the twin towns of Fishguard & Goodwick have turned to Crowdfunder to raise the money needed for their vision.

Andrew Harries, found of the Fishguard Future Projects, wants to place 12 murals around Fishguard and Goodwick “to help brighten up the town and showcase its culture and history”.

Andrew said: “Having been born and raised in Fishguard, I have seen the town’s highs and lows.

“Fishguard and Goodwick has a lot of potential with the tourism trade growing every year and the popular events such as the Music Festivals, The New Years Eve Street Party, The Carnival, The Soapbox Derby and many more helping attract even more visitors.”

The murals, which were initially turned down for funding when a grant application was refused, will focus on the two towns “interesting but lesser known history” that Andrew feels needs to be highlighted.

Andrew told The Herald: “Each design will be 8 x 6ft and mounted professionally on buildings around the area. Having spoken to a few business owners around the town, this project has received a lot of positive feedback.”

“The murals will unfortunately need to be fully funded via Crowdfunder, after a grant application was turned down.

“I have explored the option of having them traditionally painted on, but this would be more cost effective and would need to be maintained every 5 – 8 years. With this in mind, the designs will be created digitally and then professionally mounted on aluminium composite.”

If you want to help, you can find the link to Andrew’s Crowdfunder here.

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Drive for new recruits as Army Cadets re-open

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DYFED AND GLAMORGAN ARMY CADET FORCE are now able to accept new joiners aged 12 (and in Year 8 at School) to 17 years old.

Joining the Army Cadets will give access to a wide range of exciting activities, from adventurous training (AT) such as kayaking, mountain biking and abseiling and Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme to military-themed activities including shooting, fieldcraft and skill at arms, as well as training in first aid, young adults get the chance to discover lots of new experiences and make new friends.  

There is no obligation to join the Forces at all, but they can give some guidance if you are interested.  

There are no subscription charges, uniform is issued free on a loan basis; the only thing you need to supply yourselves is Boots.  

The Cadet Force are also looking for adult volunteers, both uniformed and non-uniformed to assist as well.

They have Detachments located in Fishguard, Haverfordwest, Narberth, Tenby, Milford Haven, Neyland, Pembroke Dock, Tenby, St Clears, Llanelli, Trimsarren and Burry Port.

Most Detachments parade twice a week in the evenings 1900 – 2100hrs on a Monday, Wednesday or Thursday (Depending on Location) and try to get away for a weekend every month as well as organising summer camps. 

Further Information is available at :- www.armycadets.com or call them on 01656 657593 (Option 1) to find out where your local detachment is and what nights they Parade.

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Food Waste Heroes needed in Pembrokeshire

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TESCO’S Pembroke Dock Superstore has joined forces with food sharing app and social enterprise OLIO which is encouraging people across Pembrokeshire to become Food Waste Heroes.

The OLIO app allows anyone who signs up to tackle the issue of food waste at a local level.

OLIO Food Waste Heroes collect surplus food that might otherwise go to waste from supermarkets and other food businesses and share it with others locally for free via a contact-free pick-up.

Food Waste Heroes will be collecting surplus food from Tesco local stores taking part in the scheme, including the Tesco Pembroke Dock Superstore, and take it home ready to upload it to the app and share it with their community.

To reward them for taking part Food Waste Heroes are allowed to keep 10% of anything they collect to enjoy at home.

Saasha Celestial-One, co-founder of OLIO, said: “People become a Food Waste Hero for many different reasons but they each share a commitment to reducing food waste at scale. It is extremely rewarding because distributing large quantities of surplus food via the app means you get to see exactly what food you are preventing from going to waste.

“In the process of sharing our FWHs also get to meet a lot of new people in their neighbourhood, people from all walks of life. Finally, FWHs are able to keep up to 10% of their haul for themselves, so they can enjoy some of the delicious rescued food too!”

OLIO is registered with the Food Standards Agency, which ensures that all food collected is safe for human consumption.

Paul Johns, Store Manager at Tesco Pembroke Dock encouraged people to get involved.

“At Tesco we are committed to tackling food waste and we already donate our store’s surplus food to local charities and community groups through our Community Food Connection scheme with FareShare,” he said.

“But on some days local charities and community groups are unable to collect from us, and that is why we are supporting OLIO in the hunt for Food Waste Heroes across Pembrokeshire so that even more of our surplus food is eaten rather than wasted.”

To become a Food Waste Hero or find out more, visit https://olioex.com/get-involved/volunteer/

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