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Ben Dain-Smith

Ben Dain-Smith currently presents afternoon shows and writes online content for Bro Radio. You can email Ben at: ben.dain-smith@broradio.fm

South Wales Police for Bridgend and The Vale of Glamorgan have taken to their social media to inform the public of progress made in relation to last month's disturbances at Ogmore-By-Sea.

Footage taken by witnesses showing the shocking scale of the outbreaks of disorder and violence was seen across social media in the aftermath of the events, leading the usually sleepy seaside village to trend on Twitter.

Five men aged 19 to 25 from Porth, Ferndale, Tonypandy, Tonyrefail, and Bridgend have been arrested and released under investigation. A sixth man, 24, also from Tonyrefail has also been released under investigation after voluntarily attending a police station.

Chief Inspector for the Vale of Glamorgan, Anthony Williams, said:

"We appreciate the Coronavirus lockdown measures have been difficult for our communities, but the kind of behaviour seen recently at Ogmore-by-Sea and other coastal areas is simply unacceptable.

"I want to remind those considering attending our beauty spots to think about the risks they could be posing to themselves and their loved ones if they are not complying with legislation and guidance.

"Antisocial behaviour will not be tolerated at any time – regardless of whether we are in the midst of a pandemic or not – and we will continue to work closely with partners, including the local authority, to ensure those wanting to enjoy our beaches and parks within the confines of the law can do so safely and without fear or intimidation.

"Our communities can expect to see an increased police presence in some areas, and officers will make use of powers available to them, including dispersal orders, confiscation powers and enforcement action.

"We can’t be everywhere all of the time. However, as restrictions ease, I am appealing to people to take personal responsibility and to be considerate of others.

"Parents should also ensure they know where their children are and what they are doing.

"We are continuing to investigate the mass gathering which happened in June and I can confirm that arrests have been made and our investigations continue.”

Detectives are still appealing for information on individuals involved and anyone who can assist the investigation is asked to call the Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 quoting occurrence number 2000225710.

The events took place while Wales was still under the "five-mile rule", put in place to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus as part of the national lockdown.

Ray-Tee, a young performer from the Vale, owned the stage and wowed the judges in an audition for The Voice Kids.

The precocious talent, who has previously won "Search For a Star" with Bro Radio and Mack Events in 2019 and performed at the inaugural GlastonBARRY Juniors, got all four judges to turn their chairs in a word-perfect rendition of Skepta's Grime hit, "That's Not Me".

Watch Ray-Tee perform on The Voice Kids here:

In the video, world-famous stars Pixie Lott, Paloma Faith and Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas, can be seen dancing to the Ray-Tee's performance, with all four of the judges deciding to press their button and turn their chairs by the end of the performance.

The episode was broadcast live on ITV at 7:25pm on Saturday 11th July.

Johnathan Butler, a footballer for JD Cymru South Division's Llantwit Major AFC, was part of a group that completed a Navy Seal inspired challenge to run 4 miles every 4 hours for a total of 48 hours.

The group, comprising of Jonathan, Scott Gray, Niki Puleio, Kyle Blackmore and Brigette Edwards, took on the unique challenge over the weekend, completing the feat on Sunday 12th July at 4pm.

Explaining the difficulty of this challenge, the group's JustGiving page description says:

"At first the idea of running 4 miles every 4 hours across 48 hours seems easy.  For those who run regularly, 4 miles isn't a huge distance.  However, the number of times 4 miles is required across a 48-hour span quickly begins to seem like torture as those undertaking the challenge clock up almost 50 miles.  That's nearly 2 whole marathons in 2 days. 

"As the challenge is so close to 2 marathons, we have decided to take on the extra challenge of running an additional 4.4 miles overall to make it two full marathons back to back.  This challenge is certainly going to be difficult, physically and mentally."

The group has raised an impressive £2,228 for their efforts at the time of writing, smashing their £1,500 target. The money raised will be going to Crohn's & Colitis UK, a charity very close to one of the group, Scott, who was diagnosed with the condition in 2017.

The quintet posted a final update on their page at 4pm yesterday, confirming they had finished the final stage of their grueling 52-mile distance.

You can see all of the group's updates and donate to them on their JustGiving page here.

Mack Events, the company behind the successful Vale festival, GlastonBARRY, have put together two nights of live music from last year's event to be broadcast on Facebook.

The local events company had to take the difficult decision to postpone the seventh edition of the popular festival, originally scheduled for the 25th and 26th July 2020, until next year, due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

In a teaser video for the upcoming live online event, Mack Events promised performances from some of last year's highlights, such as tributes to Take That, Queen, UB40 and Oasis.

The festivities will begin at 8pm on the 25th July, the originally scheduled first day of this year's ill-fated event, on the "Mack Events Presents" Facebook page.

In comments concerning the postponement of the 2020 edition of the festival, a statement from the Mack Events website said:

"We know that this announcement will cause a lot of disappointment, which we share and completely understand, GlastonBARRY Tribute Festival and GlastonBARRY Juniors are all about welcoming people from near and far to the beautiful town of Barry for a friendly, fun filled weekend of live music. We look forward to doing that again in the future, but for now the priority must be the health and safety of our customers, event staff, volunteers and the wider public.

"All tickets purchased will carry over to the new event and will remain valid. If you have ordered your tickets online you do not need to do anything at all, your details remain on our system and your new tickets will be posted out automatically in the future. If you have purchased physical tickets for the events from one of our retailers then please keep hold of these tickets as they will remain valid for the rescheduled events. 

"These are unprecedented and unforeseen circumstances and we would greatly appreciate your support and understanding at these difficult times. We will do our utmost to make the festival in 2021 the biggest and best festival to date. As a thank you for your support we will also be adding one of our most popular headline acts to the GlastonBARRY bill for the rescheduled event. Further announcements on the revised festival will follow in the coming weeks."

You can find the "Mack Events Presents" Facebook page here.

The evening of Friday 10th July proved to be a busy one for Penarth's RNLI crew as they responded to two separate incidents on the Vale of Glamorgan coastline.

The team's first call came shortly after 8pm and sent them to Penarth Head, where a casualty with a leg injury needed treatment and medical evacuation from the beach. The unidentified person was treated by the lifeboat crew alongside Coastguard officers on the scene. The casualty was then safely escorted, via stretcher, along the shore, to a waiting ambulance crew.

While attending this incident a second call came through from Sully Island, where members of the public had been caught by the tide and left stranded on the small tidal island, 400 yards off the coast.

The three marooned people were rescued by the RNLI's Atlantic lifeboat and brought back to the safety of dry land, unharmed.

Both lifeboats then returned to the station where they were cleaned, refuelled and restocked ready for the next incident.

South Wales Police have taken to their social media accounts to appeal for information regarding the theft of 250 bedding plants from Victoria Park, Barry, at the end of May.

The theft occurred at some point between 8:00pm on the 28th and 8:00am on the 29th May this year.

CCTV from the park has been reviewed in an effort to identify those responsible and police have asked anyone who may have information on the theft to contact them on 101 and quote the reference: 2000186866.

A Vale Council spokesman confirmed that 250 plants were stolen in total including, 25 rudbeckia, 25 helichrysum and 200 geraniums.

The Llantwit Major Milers running group completed a challenge to run the distance of the Wales Coastal Path over the last few days.

It took 81 members of the group 56 hours to complete the challenge, taking 143 runs and 56 hours to cover the 874-mile target.

The Wales Coastal Path is a footpath that runs around the entirety of the Welsh coastline and was the world's first coastal path to cover an entire country.

The Llantwit Major Milers have been keeping their followers updated on their progress via Twitter, covering an incredible 381 of the miles on the first day through 61 runners. The group went on to run 274 miles and 218 miles on days 2 and 3 respectively.

In their most recent Twitter post regarding the challenge, the group said:

"Wales Coastal Path Challenge, Accepted & Completed!

"It took 81 Milers, 143 runs & 56 hours to complete the challenge. Everyone has been immense this weekend, what a superb club & what amazing & determined Milers you are. Great Job #LlantwitMajorMilers#majormilers"

The Llantwit Major Milers have over 360 members in total on their Facebook page and describe themselves as a "fun and friendly running group".

Simon from the group told Bro:

"Due to us not being able to run as a group, the club's organisers have been putting virtual events together to keep our clubs members motivated & together.

"Lots of ideas have been thrown around but anything we decide on must be within the realms of possibility but also a challenge.

"In May we virtually ran from Llantwit Major to Le Pouliguen & back raising money for Mind in the Vale of Glamorgsn in the process while raising the profile of our towns twinning society work which was sadly cut short due to Covid-19.

"The coastal challenge seemed ideal as it was close to peoples hearts & with beaches being closed at the time we thought it would be nice for runners to virtually visit.

"We used the Welsh coastal path mileage charts so we could tell people where we were in Wales. Our organisers then googled where we were, posted a nice photo and added a few lines about the history of places.

"Our members loved it with 86 Milers (that’s what we call our club runners) getting involved in the 3 day challenge"

You can find more information about the group on their Facebook page here.

The RNLI and HM Coastguard have launched a new beach safety campaign in Wales following the RNLI's return to 26 beaches across Wales.

The campaign urges parents to protect their families by following key safety advice while visiting the coastline this summer to save lives.

In a post on their website regarding the safety campaign, the RNLI said:

"With previously announced changes by the Welsh Government coming into effect on Monday, It is important that any trip to the beach this summer is met with caution and the message from the RNLI is clear; always follow Welsh Government advice and keep yourself and your family safe.

"RNLI lifeguards resumed patrols on 14 beaches in Wales last month, and the charity will return to a further 12 beaches from tomorrow (4 July). This will take the total number of RNLI lifeguarded beaches in Wales to 26 in time for the summer peak season."

The RNLI's key advice guidelines to be "beach safe" for those intending on visiting the coast are:

  • Have a plan – check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage
  • Keep a close eye on your family – on the beach and in the water
  • Don’t allow your family to swim alone
  • Don’t use inflatables
  • If you fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT TO LIVE. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and Float
  • In an emergency dial 999, and ask for the Coastguard

RNLI Lifesaving Manager for Wales, Matt Crofts, said:

"As changes to the Welsh Government restrictions come into effect from Monday, more people are expected to visit the coast to exercise and take part in water-based activities. The first few weeks of having lifeguards back on Welsh beaches has helped the RNLI properly test new ways of operating put in place to manage the risks of Coronavirus and have allowed us to accelerate and expand our plans here in Wales this summer.

"Our ability to do this in Wales has also been helped by the regular dialogue between the RNLI and Welsh Government, the approach to easing restrictions and the caution and responsibility shown by the people of Wales."

"I would like to extend my thanks to lifeboat stations in Wales for maintaining service throughout the pandemic and whilst RNLI lifeboat crews and HM Coastguard are still on call ready to respond to emergencies, the message is clear; we need the public to be aware of dangers, take responsibility for themselves and their loved ones and remember that, in an emergency, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard."

RNLI Lifeguards aided 4,801 people in 1,850 incidents on Welsh beaches in 2019, saving a total of 39 lives.

The Vale of Glamorgan's National Trust attraction, Dyffren Gardens, is set to reopen from tomorrow (Monday 6th July) with measures in place to ensure the safety of visitors and staff.

Like other reopening public attractions such as Amelia Trust Farm, which is also set to reopen this week, visits to the gardens will have to arranged by online bookings only. In a statement on the National Trust website, a notice said:

"We’re reopening the gardens on 6 July. You'll need to book your visit in advance. Check What’s On for more information and to book. You'll be turned away if you arrive without a booking. Toilets available. The house, tea-room and shop are closed."

Members of the National Trust will be able to book for free while non-members will have to pay for their tickets which will be released every Friday.

Not all areas of the park will be able to be accessed during the reopening period as narrow walkways and small garden rooms in some places do not allow for social distancing. The list of areas which visitors can access is as follows:

  • The Great lawn
  • Part of the Arboretum
  • The South Garden and Vine Walk
  • The Croquet Lawn
  • The West Garden
  • The Paved Court
  • The Rose Garden

Areas that will remain closed for time being include the Pompeiian Garden and the play facilities.

Credit - Chloe Everett

There is also a list of advice on the Dyffryn Gardens section of the National Trust website, stating:

"All visitors must book a ticket in advance, including members. Entry and parking are free for members, but please bring your membership card with you. Non-members will need to pay in advance.

  • Please book one ticket per person, except for children under five as they don’t need a ticket.
  • You’ll need to choose a 30-minute arrival time for the day you want to visit.
  • The timeslot is for your arrival time only and we ask you stay no more than 2 hours to allow others to enjoy the gardens. 
  • Tickets are for your use only and are not available for resale
  • We'll send your booking confirmation by email. Please make sure you fill in your correct email address when you book to ensure you receive your confirmation email.
  • Every Friday we'll release new bookings for visits the following week. You can book up to 18 hours before a timeslot. 
  • Carers can continue to access our places for free with an essential companions' card. Carers don't need to book a ticket for themselves, but the person they accompany will need a pre-booked ticket.

Due to limited spaces, we’re asking that you only book once a week to allow others a chance to visit."

If you want to find out more or book tickets for a visit to the reopening of Dyffryn Gardens you can find their website here.

A prickle of orphaned hoglets, found in the Vale of Glamorgan by the Hunt family, is now being cared for by the Hedgehog Helpline and doing well in care.

The hoglets were found by the Hunts who decided to check their wildlife camera after hearing squeaking and snuffling in the garden. Upon checking the footage, the family realised that they hadn't seen the local hedgehog for a few days and began to worry. Sadly, after a search for the missing animal, the hedgehog was found on a local road and so the family began to wonder why they could still hear squeaking in their garden.

Watch the hoglets feeding here:

🦔 Hoglets saved thanks to Local Nature Partnership funded wildlife camera.

🦔 Hoglets saved thanks to Local Nature Partnership funded wildlife camera. After hearing snuffling and squeaking in the garden, the Hunt family decided to check their borrowed wildlife camera. Upon looking at the footage, they found that their local hedgehog hadn’t been around for a few days and they began to get worried. Sadly, when they searched the area they found the hedgehog in the road and began to wonder what the squeaking could have been.They contacted the HedgehogHelpline who recommended they check for a nest, which is where they found these little hoglets. The hoglets are now safe at the rescue centre and doing well, once weaned, they will eventually be released back into the wild near Porthkerry Country Park.If you find an injured or orphaned hedgehog, you can contact the Hedgehog Helpline for advice and guidance:🖥 http://hedgehoghelplinecymru.org.uk/ ☎️ 07557646773

Posted by Vale of Glamorgan Council on Friday, 3 July 2020

They contacted Hedgehog Helpline who advised them that they should check for a nest, which led the family to find the four baby hedgehogs.

Hedgehog Helpline posted an update on their Facebook page confirming that the hoglets are doing well in their care and have just learned how to feed themselves. The animals will be released back into the wild near Porthkerry Park when they are fully weaned and ready to be independent.

Hedgehog Helpline are looking for donations to help them continue their important work. You can visit their website and donate to them here

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