A CROWD-FUNDED UK mountain biking film had its premiere Welsh screening in Aberystwyth on Saturday (Jul 30) and was a very big hit with mountain bikers and fitness fanatics alike.
‘Mountain Biking – The Untold British Story’, was shown at the Ceredigion Museum in Aberystwyth at 7.30pm.
Shot and co-produced by Blue Hippo Media (the makers of Bafta Winning ‘Bicycle’) and in partnership with ‘Singletrack’ magazine, the documentary film tells the story of the early development of mountain biking from its early days of ‘fat tyre clunkers’ four decades ago, all the way to what people know of it today- a modern day success , especially for UK Mountain Bike athletes worldwide.
Mountain biking made its mark by beginning in the hills of the West Coast of the USA, and the documentary sets out to tell the story through archive footage of early XC racing all the way to the modern British scene of mountain biking.
The documentary is made even more spectacular by featuring clips and interviews with famous names in the biking industry such as Steve Peat, Dan Gee, Tracy Moseley, Rachel Atherton, Rob Warner, Gary Fisher, Jason Miles, Geoff Apps and many more. In addition, the contributions of the famous names portray how they have helped shaped mountain biking into a global phenomenon. Piers Linney, former Dragon on BBC Dragons Den and MTB enthusiast, also participates in the film as an Associate Producer.
Pi Piper, the Co-Director and Producer of the film, spoke to The Herald on the film’s success and how it has aimed to inspire future Mountain Bikers: “Blue hippo media is a film company that has been going for over ten years and has made several feature length films including multi award -winning ‘The Insatiable Moon ‘, a NZ story we produced with the producer of The Lord of the Rings in 2009. We also made the much acclaimed documentary ‘Last Shop Standing ‘.
“The film has been made over the past nine months and took us all over the UK. It is an untold story and features what we believe are key elements of the story told through people who were and are there. It has been received really well which is a relief!
“I think it inspires that getting out on a mountain bike whatever the terrain or for how long, racing or just taking it easy , is about freedom to have adventures in nature.
“The film is screening in several places across the UK but can be bought as a download from August 6 at vimeo. com/ondemand/mtbuntold . ”
Alice Briggs, Assistant Curator at The Ceredigion Museum, spoke to The Herald about the screening and how Ceredigion Museum was honoured to be hosting the event: “We had fifty people attend, and there was a short introduction from Joe Hayward of ‘Summit Cycles’ in Aberystwyth , as it was a partnership event and they are one of the Crowd Funding supporters , because it was an ‘Indiegogo’ Crowd Funded film. They wanted to screen it in Aberystwyth as one of the premieres across Wales because it’s not actually on general release until this week (Aug 6), so it was a good opportunity for us.
“People hung around to chat with one another after the screening but we did not have a Q&A on the night. Fifty people, for us at The Ceredigion Museum, is a nice size audience, because we don’t have a huge number of seats at the moment.
“We ran an ‘adventure film night’ with Travel Writer s Hannah Engelkamp and Rhys Thwaites Jones, who make adventure films locally , and they partner with us on a type of quarterly programme.
“Joe Hayward came to the last one, which was an American equivalent of ‘Mountain Biking – The Untold British Story’ focussing on one individual in the Californian history of mountain biking who disappeared. When he was here, he mentioned about the British History of mountain biking film and asked if we would be interested in screening it.
“They don’t have a partner in Aberystwyth at the moment, only in Coed y Brenin, but they were looking for somewhere to screen locally here. It works really well for us to have a nice partnership like that and it brings a different audience into the Museum.
“Since the Ceredigion Museum had a cinema screen re-installed a few months ago, the success will slowly come and the ‘Mountain Biking – The Untold British Story’ was one of the first screenings, so we are looking to get more offers and there is more potential for us to work in partnerships with people. We definitely would like to get the word out there.
“We’re really keen to diversify the audience that we get into film screenings and other events as well; that’s one of the exciting things about having the cinema screens back , definitely.”
“What we want to make sure of is that we’re not trading on the toes of other local film providers in the area – that we’re doing something different and unique. We do feel that we can offer something different and that coming to the old Coliseum isn’t just about coming to the cinema , but also for the atmosphere and experience.”
Alerts issued ahead of Storm Brian
NATURAL RESOURCE WALES (NRW) is warning people that parts of the Welsh coast could see localised flooding as Storm Brian combines with high tides this evening and tomorrow.
The conditions could cause a storm surge, which in some areas could lead to overtopping of sea defences. Current predictions show that the worst affected areas are likely to be along exposed sections of the west coast of Wales from Southern Gwynedd to Llantwit Major.
High tides in these locations are expected to peak between 6am and 11am tomorrow (Oct 21).
NRW has already issued a number of flood alerts for the west coast, and is likely to issue flood warnings for Aberystwyth and Newgale later today. Further alerts or warnings for other areas will be issued as necessary.
24/7 Emergency response workers from NRW will be out at key areas of the coast over the next couple of day to monitor the high tides and condition of its sea flood defences.
NRW has also contacted its partner agencies such as local councils and the emergency services to ensure that appropriate responses are in place should the need arise.
Richard Hancox, from Natural Resources Wales said: “Conditions across the coastline are likely to be extremely dangerous this weekend and we urge people to stay clear, and avoid visiting the coast during this time.
“We know people are tempted to try and take photos of these storms, but it really isn’t worth putting your life at risk. Sea spray and flood water can knock you off your feet easier than you might think, and the large waves can send debris flying onto shore.
“If anyone is concerned about the risk of flooding to their home, please check to see if flood warnings are available in your area, and visit our website for advice on how best to prepare.”
Flood alerts and flood warnings are updated on the Natural Resources Wales website every 15 minutes.
Information and updates are also available by calling Floodline on 0345 988 1188. People can also register for free flood warnings either by calling the Floodline number or at NRW’s website.
Major bequests for Aber research
TWO major legacies to support postgraduate research have been announced at Aberystwyth University’s Founders’ Day held in the Old College on October 13.
The University revealed that Eleanor and David James had donated £2m to the institution where they both worked for 35 years, while former student Margaret Wooloff has bequeathed £400,000.
Both bequests will be used to fund postgraduate research at the University, in line with the wishes of the benefactors.
The legacies were announced as part of the University’s now annual Founders’ event, which echoes the celebrations held in the town back in October 1872 when the first students arrived at Old College.
The Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University, Professor Elizabeth Treasure, said: “It is extremely fitting that these very special bequests have been the focal point of this year’s Founders’ Day event. They remind us how the University has been supported since its early beginnings by the generosity of the people of Wales and the wider world.
“Eleanor and David James, and Margaret Wooloff all dedicated their lives to the furtherance of knowledge and their valuable contributions to education in Wales will live on in their legacies. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude.”
The Director of Development and Alumni Relations at Aberystwyth University, Louise Jagger, said: “There is a very strong bond between the University and our family of alumni across the world. Eleanor and David James and Margaret Wooloff were all active members of the Old Students’ Association during their lives and we are immensely grateful to them for their support over the years. Their generous legacies will now enable the scholars of the future to pursue their particular fields of expertise and undertake research with impact, which is integral to our mission as a leading University.”
Members of the local community joined staff and students at the Old College to mark Founders’ Day.
The guest speaker at the event was Ceredigion MP Ben Lake who said: “The story of how Aberystwyth University – or the University College of Wales as it was originally called – is one in which we can all take pride as a nation. Driven by the vision of its founders, the dream of establishing a college with University status in Wales was made possible thanks to the generosity of ordinary people. The roots and foundations of the University reflect our values in Wales and it is vitally important that we commemorate and celebrate this very special heritage.
“May I take this opportunity to congratulate Aberystwyth on being named recently as the University of the Year for Teaching Quality by the Good University Guide – a well deserved accolade which is testament to the dedication of all its staff.”
In July 2017, the Heritage Lottery Fund announced that it had earmarked £10.5m for ambitious plans to redevelop Old College in time for the University’s 150th anniversary in 2022.
Driving Wales to international skills success
AS SKILLS CHAMPION for Wales, Coleg Sir Gâr and Coleg Ceredigion principal Barry Liles is at the forefront of aspiring young people to develop high quality, world-class skills.
The vehicle used to drive this ambition are skills competitions, which are held on a Welsh, UK and international level.
Competitions in Wales begin with regional Welsh Government supported competitions which are events that culminate to find Wales’ top competitors who progress to take part in UKSkills national and WorldSkills international events.
This year, 36 competitors from the UK are competing at WorldSkills Abu Dhabi, four of which are from Wales, two of which represent Coleg Sir Gâr, which is an impressive percentage of UK representation. These competitors have undergone a rigorous training process by WorldSkills UK, supported by training providers and employers.
Coleg Sir Gâr students have been selected for Team UK since 2009 when carpentry student Cliff Williams made the team in 2009 competing in WorldSkills Calgary. He was followed by web designer David Bowen who competed for in WorldSkills London, 2011. Carpenter Gareth Jones won gold in EuroSkills in 2012 followed by Simon McCall and Eleni Constantinou who won two silvers at EuroSkills in 2014 for hairdressing and carpentry with Eleni progressing to represent the UK and Coleg Sir Gâr in hairdressing at WorldSkills, Sao Paulo in 2015.
Last year, the college was ranked joint third place in the UK for its medal success in the Skills Show – the UK final, for achieving three golds, one silver and one bronze award. The show, held at Birmingham’s NEC every year, brings together medal winners from all nations to compete and showcase their skills and to hopefully continue their journey to the international arena, representing the UK in Worldskills which brings over 50 competing countries together and is likened to the Olympic games.
Barry Liles, Skills Champion for Wales said: “To have an impact on the economy and raise Wales and UK’s GVA, we must raise the skills of the UK population and we’re trying to do this from a young age and we’re significantly targeting industries that are important to Wales’ economy.
“The anticipated result is hoped to impact on young people and help them raise their ambitions and to find highly skilled work.”
In Wales, to help achieve this ambition, is a Welsh-Government funded project called Inspiring Skills Excellence (ISE), which is providing a supportive infrastructure to enable competitors from Wales to achieve success at national and international level.
“Much of our work is supporting competitors across Wales in their participation, training and mentoring to help them achieve excellence in skills relevant to economic growth and delivering medal winning success at national and international competitions,” said Paul Evans, ISE pan-coordinator for Wales.
“Using state of the art equipment we also engage with schools, providing hands-on and exciting experiences for young people to raise awareness of careers and the pathways available to them.”
Barry Liles added: “Being Skills Champion for Wales is a long-held ambition perhaps because I came from a vocational engineering background, I am very passionate about it.
“Industry skills are vital in our economy and I don’t want Wales to be left behind, in fact in the last seven years we have helped drive the nation forward to being one of the leading and successful nations in UK skills competitions.”
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