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Photographer Jack Lowe visits Aberystwyth to continue RNLI project

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Jack Lowe: With his vintage camera

A PHOTOGRAPHER and lifelong RNLI enthusiast capturing stunning shots of lifeboat crew with a photographic technique from the 19th century will be focusing his lens on Aberystwyth RNLI.

On September 24, Jack Lowe will be welcomed with open arms at the lifeboat station and the public are welcome to visit and to see Jack in action.

He is undertaking an ambitious project to visit all 237 RNLI lifeboat stations in the UK and Republic of Ireland, capturing stunning glass images along the way. Earlier this year he photographed crew members at seven lifeboat stations in south and west Wales and now he is bringing his Victorian camera and developing equipment back to another seven Welsh stations from Penarth to Aberystwyth.

Grandson of Dad’s Army actor, Arthur Lowe, Jack has admired the RNLI since he was a little boy. He says the project allows him to ‘follow his heart’.

The talented photographer has been a lifelong supporter of the charity, joining Storm Force (the RNLI’s club for children) at the age of eight and raising over £6,000 for charity by completing the Great North Run three years in a row. Photography has also been a strong passion of his, ever since he received a Kodak camera from his Grandma when he was nine.

As part of the RNLI Lifeboat Station Project, Jack plans to visit all 237 RNLI lifeboat stations, photographing the breath-taking views from each station along with the crew members. He will be using a Wet Plate Collodion, a Victorian process that allows him to record stunning images on glass. The project is predicted to take approximately five years to complete.

Crew Member Paul McCann said: “The crew are really looking forward to having Jack visit the station. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to be part of something like this, some crew are cutting their holidays short to ensure they are here. We are also excited about the talk the night before at the National Library which will kick off the weekend.”

Jack says: “I’ve been looking forward to bringing The Lifeboat Station Project back to Wales ever since my first visit in March. It’ll be great to experience the warm Welsh welcome once again and to add to the growing collection of photographs documenting the RNLI volunteers in this stunning part of the world.”

His unique glass photographs are to be developed in a decommissioned NHS ambulance, which he purchased on eBay and transformed into a mobile darkroom. On this leg of his trip he will be visiting Penarth, Horton and Port Eynon, Little and Broad Haven, Fishguard, Cardigan, New Quay and Aberystwyth RNLI lifeboat stations. On Friday 23 September, Jack will give a talk about the Lifeboat Project at the National Library in Aberystwyth.

Jack added: “From an early age I knew I wanted to either be a photographer or a lifeboat crew member. This trip has given me the opportunity to fulfil both my dreams. It’s fantastic to see how many people have been so interested and engaged with the project.

“Some of the images I have captured so far have been regarded as mesmerising and have even rendered some crew members to tears!”

He will return to visit the remainder of the Welsh lifeboat stations in the future.

You will be able to check the confirmed times of the itinerary by following the link to the Project’s interactive Mission Map: http://lifeboatstationproject.com/stations/

You can also follow Jack’s RNLI photographic mission on Facebook (fb.com/LifeboatStationProject), on Twitter (@ProjectLifeboat) or on the Project’s dedicated site (lifeboatstationproject.com).

Anyone interested in attending Jack’s talk in Aberystwyth on September 23 can book now to reserve a seat at https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/event/EGMIHK. Admission costs £6 with a percentage of proceeds donated to the RNLI charity.

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Another man charged in Ifan Owens assault case

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Ifan Owens: Seriously assaulted in January

ANOTHER man has been charged and remanded into custody in relation to the serious assault of Ifan Owens, aged 19, in Aberystwyth on January 14.

Michael Arwyn Jones, 24, has been charged with S18 Grievous Bodily Harm with Intent and Possession of Cannabis.

Last week, Billy Valentine, 19, of Terrace Road, Aberystwyth, and David Lloyd, 25, of no fixed abode, entered no pleas when they appeared at Haverfordwest Magistrates’ Court.

The pair were sent to trial at Swansea Crown Court on May 11 at 10am.

Due to the serious nature of the offence, Lloyd’s bail was revoked.

The court found there was a real risk he would abscond or re-offend.

As well as being charged with grievous bodily harm, he was also charged with having a blade exceeding 3 inches in a public place without good reason or lawful authority.

Valentine was also charged with being in possession of herbal cannabis as the time of his arrest. This was by Magistrates, who gave him a 12 month conditional discharge, and ordered him to pay £20 to fund the victims of crime, and £85 to the Crown Prosecution Service.

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Consultation to launch today on future of health services in Ceredigion

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HYWEL DDA UNIVERSITY HEALTH BOARD are formally announcing the launch of their consultation at County Hall in Haverfordwest this morning (Apr 19).

The proposals, the Board say, will shape the future provision of health and care services to the general population.

These provisions will be ‘safe, viable and offer an improvement to what is currently provided’.

The Herald will be attending the event, which starts at 9:30am.

You can watch a live stream here.

The 12-week consultation, which is clinically-led, will involve a number of events for communities, both general and targeted, as well as an awareness raising campaign.

It is expected that the announcements will have big changes for Withbyush, Glangwili, Prince Philip and Bronglais hospitals.

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Issue of lifeboats raised to Prime Minister

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BEN LAKE MP made his Prime Minister’s Questions debut, raising the important issue of the future of Cardigan Bay’s lifeboat provision.

On Thursday (Apr 18) Mr Lake commended the valiant efforts of RNLI staff and volunteers at New Quay lifeboat station who have been safeguarding those who venture out into the bay, be it for work or pleasure, since 1864.

He also expressed concern at the possibility that there will no longer be an all-weather lifeboat in Ceredigion from 2020.

Mr Lake asked the Prime Minister whether she would agree ‘that the invaluable work of the RNLI serves as a fourth emergency service, and that as such it is essential the coastline of Ceredigion, like every other populated coastline, has access to this service whatever the weather?’

The Prime Minister responded: “Search and rescue at sea is provided by several organisations, including the coastguard and the RNLI. The RNLI has a proud tradition, and we should be grateful for its record on search and rescue at sea. It is obviously independent and decides where best to put its resources, but we are supporting the work of independent lifeboat charities through our Rescue Boat Grant Fund, which has allocated more than £3.5 million since 2014 to increase capacity and resilience by providing new boats and equipment.”

Ben Lake said: “I was glad of the opportunity to raise an issue that is of great concern to communities across Ceredigion with the Prime Minister. I look forward to working with the RNLI and campaign representatives in search of a long-term solution, and in particular seek to ascertain whether the Rescue Boat Grant Fund could be of benefit to ensuring the retention of an all-weather lifeboat at New Quay.”

The RNLI has decided to downgrade New Quay Lifeboat Station to an Inshore Lifeboat when the service life of its Mersey-class All-Weather Lifeboat expires in 2020.

The proposed new lifeboat will not be able to launch in conditions exceeding Force 7 in the daytime or Force 6 at night.

After 2020, there will be no All-Weather Lifeboats in the whole of Ceredigion, leaving a gap of 70 miles between the All-Weather stations of Barmouth and Fishguard.

The latest generation of All-Weather Lifeboats can travel at 25 knots in 30 minutes in calm conditions. In a challenging sea, the nearest boats at Barmouth and Fishguard would take more than an hour and a half to respond to an emergency off New Quay or Aberaeron.

The mission statement of the RNLI reads: “Our crews aim to launch their lifeboats with 10 minutes of being notified and can operate up to 100 nautical miles out at sea. We aim to reach at least 90% of all casualties within 10 nautical miles of the coast within 30 minutes of a lifeboat launch – any weather.”

The Ceredigion Lifeboat Campaign are questioning how local rescues can take place in a challenging sea to meet this aim of the RNLI. Over 10,000 have currently signed a petition campaigning against the proposed changes.

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