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Running the photo-marathon

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(Back row L-R) Kaloyan Cholakov, Llio James, Tegwen Morris, Charlotte Rigg, Samantha Rigg: (Front row L-R) Lynne Blanchfield, Wendy Phillips, Siwan Fflur, Kiera Ellis, Tony Hicklin

(Back row L-R) Kaloyan Cholakov, Llio James, Tegwen Morris, Charlotte Rigg, Samantha Rigg: (Front row L-R) Lynne Blanchfield, Wendy Phillips, Siwan Fflur, Kiera Ellis, Tony Hicklin

67 COMPETITORS took part in this year’s photo-marathon, which produced a very high standard of entries.

FfotoAber’s photo-marathon came under starter’s orders at 10am sharp in the Morlan Centre in Aberystwyth on Saturday (Oct 22). Supported by Aberystwyth Business Club, Cambrian Printers and Aberystwyth Town Council, this was the sixth annual photo-marathon competition.

Once again this year, the challenge was to take six pictures on six themes in six hours. The themes, revealed in pairs every two hours in the Morlan Centre, were: ‘The other side’, ‘Four’, ‘Raw’, ‘Pattern’, ‘Collection’ and ‘Blue’. Throughout a blessedly fine day, Aberystwyth was inundated with photographers rushing every which way, lenses poised.

Some retailers were very patient and even creatively helpful as shutterbug after shutterbug arrived asking to take a shot. The final collection of over 400 photos, revealed in an awards ceremony in the Morlan on Sunday (Oct 23) at 6pm, suggest that Aberystwyth butchers and fishmongers were particularly supportive as the photographers went in search of ‘raw’ images.

TO THE WINNERS THE LAURELS!

On Sunday, Tony Hicklin was announced as the winner for best collection in the camera with removable lenses category. Tony’s set of photographs included a remarkable close-up of the veins on a leaf as his ‘pattern’ submission. Llio James took the prize for best set of photographs taken with a fixed lens camera, with a close-up of sheep’s wool catching the eye. The prize for the best collection in the 16 years and under category went to Kiera Ellis for a memorable set of close-up photos, which included a knot in a frayed ‘blue’ rope. Charlotte Rigg won for best collection of photos taken on a mobile phone. Charlotte’s photographs show what great results can be achieved with a mobile phone camera. Once again, close-ups were the flavour of the day, and Charlotte’s shot of a daisy against the sun is spectacular.

The winners for the best photograph for each theme were: Samantha Rigg (‘The other side’), a black and white shot of a gravestone angel; Tony Hicklin (‘Four’), a panoramic shot out to sea which features four bollards in the foreground; Tegwen Morris (‘Raw’), a striking shot of four legs of lamb hanging in a butcher’s shop; Siwan Fflur (‘Pattern’), a topical close-up of a pumpkin; Wendy Phillips (‘Collection’), an ingenious shot of five charity collection boxes; Kaloyan Cholakov (‘Blue’), a surreal image of a one-way arrow framed in a diaphanous blue mist.

Tony Hicklin, Llio James, Kiera Ellis, Charlotte Rigg, Samantha Rigg, Tegwen Morris, Siwan Fflur, Wendy Phillips and Kaloyan Cholakov were all presented with a large print of their winning photograph, courtesy of Cambrian Printers. The judges made a special award to Lynne Blanchfield whose set of photos, they felt, represented Aberystwyth. Lynne was pleased to receive a Siop y Pethe voucher, particularly as she has just embarked on a course to learn Welsh. Winners of the collections were given additional rewards for their efforts. Tony Hicklin was presented with a voucher from Ultracomida, Llio James received photography books from the National Library, Kiera Ellis was presented with a voucher from communications company 52-4, and Charlotte Rigg received vouchers for use in Siop FfotoAber, courtesy of Four Cymru.

MORLAN EXHIBITION

David Lowe of Cambrian Printers, who processed all the photographs in double-quick time, said they were once again happy to be involved: “It’s a hectic Saturday evening and Sunday morning for us, from receiving the downloaded images to printing them all ready for the awards ceremony on the Sunday evening, but it’s worthwhile when we see them all hanging in the exhibition. I was glad for the competitors that the weather was kind this year as well.”

Returning as one of the judges was Jonny Morris from the Telegraph group. He was joined by professional photographer Betsan Evans and Aberystwyth Business Club member Aled Rees. Aled Rees admitted that the task, albeit enjoyable, was quite tough: “Looking at over 400 photos interpreting different themes and trying to come up with a winner was quite daunting – there was such an excellent array of images on show. It’s great, though, that the Business Club can be involved with the event and, being a partner since its inception, we’ve seen its potential growing year-on-year. If you get a chance, pop over to the Morlan to see the exhibition – it’s worth it.”

Deian Creunant from FfotoAber added: “It’s quite a challenge for people used to working in this digital age – taking six images in six hours on six themes. Many of the competitors say it’s tiring mentally and physically as they walk so much around the town. The final exhibition though is worth seeing – over 400 pictures capturing the story of the day. Don’t miss the exhibition in the Morlan – and look out for the pictures appearing in Aberystwyth shop windows as well in the coming weeks.”

All the photo-marathon images will be exhibited at the Morlan Centre until November 11. Winning entries from FfotoAber’s schools competition can be viewed at the Arad Goch Centre. For more information on FfotoAber, go to www.ffotoaber.cymru.

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Join the stand against scams

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CEREDIGION residents will get the opportunity to learn more about how they can protect themselves against scams in an event to be held at the Bandstand, Aberystwyth on 27 September between 9:30am and 1:30pm.

Ceredigion County Council have joined the National Trading Standards (NTS) Scams Team and Wales Against Scam Partnership (WASP) who will be touring Wales holding scam awareness events between 24 and 28 September.

Friends Against Scams is an NTS initiative that aims to protect and prevent people from becoming victims of scams by empowering communities to ‘Take a Stand Against Scams’.

Councillor Gareth Lloyd, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Public Protection Services said, “Scams often target the most vulnerable people in society but the reality is that anyone can become a victim of scams. Scams damage lives and can affect people financially and emotionally so I’m proud that Ceredigion County Council has joined the work of the National Trading Standards Scams Team, Friends Against Scams and others who are working together to prevent people from being victims of scams. By signing up as an organisation we undertake to actively promote the Friends Against Scams initiative.”

Each year scams cause between £5bn and £10bn worth of detriment to UK consumers. In addition to the financial impact, scams can have a severe emotional and psychological impact on victims.

Louise Baxter, Team Manager in the National Trading Standards Scams Team said: “The tactics used by scammers leave victims socially isolated and ashamed of telling their friends and families what’s really going on behind closed doors. It is fantastic to have a great organisation to help us tackle this problem on a local, regional and national level and I would encourage all those that are interested in showing their support to join the campaign and be part of our growing Friends Against Scams network.”

Call by at the Bandstand, Aberystwyth on 27 September between 9:30am and 1:30pm to learn more on how to protect yourself from scams. For more information about becoming a Friend Against Scams, visitwww.friendsasagainstscams.org.uk

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Victim speaks out about the impact knifepoint robbery

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Teifion Lewis: Robbed the man at knifepoint

THE VICTIM of a knifepoint robbery has spoken out about the impact the incident has had on his life as Dyfed-Powys Police takes part in a national knife amnesty aiming to get weapons off the streets.

The 24-year-old was approached by a man he didn’t know while walking his dog in Carmarthen on July 20 this year. A knife was held to his chest, and he was forced to hand over the money in his wallet.

His attacker, Teifion Lewis, of Llammas Street, Carmarthen, was arrested and charged with robbery within four days, and was sentenced to 40 months in prison.

Looking back at the incident, the victim, who has asked to remain anonymous, said: “At first, I didn’t realise he had a knife on him. I just assumed he was another man who was out partying, given he was young and it was late on a Friday night.

“Even when he was right in front of me with his hand on my chest, I assumed he must have had too much to drink and just stumbled into me. Once I saw he was brandishing a knife, though, that changed everything. It was at that moment that I realised I was in far more danger than I’d first thought.

“I suppose the only real thing that was going through my mind at the time was to talk to him, do as he says, and get out of there as soon as possible without becoming hysterical. I just had to keep as calm as possible for the time he was blocking my route.”

He explained that it was only when Lewis had taken his money and walked away, that he realised what could have happened had things gone wrong.

“I thought about how easily he could have stabbed me and I’d have been left out in an empty street, cold and alone, bleeding to death, without even a mobile phone on me to call my friends and family to tell them I love them,” he said.

“I’ve never given much thought as to what my inevitable death will be like, but I’d never have thought it could have ended that way.”

The victim had walked his dog every night for two years – using this particular route for seven months – with no issue. Since being robbed, he has become wary of going out at night and hasn’t been able to walk down the lane where he was stopped without suffering flashbacks.

“It’s not necessarily the whole event that comes back to me, but different parts, such as when he started to sob to me about his home life, or when he apologised for ‘having to mug me’,” he said.

“By far, what’s stuck with me the most are the words said to me as I was being mugged. The words ‘I want your money, I don’t want your life’ have been repeating in my mind every day since then, without failure.”

On September 2, at Swansea Crown Court, Teifion Lewis was sentenced for robbery and possessing a knife in a public place. The victim read out a statement directly addressing Lewis, urging him to get his life back on track and forgiving him for what he did.

“You asked me that night to forget that the robbery had ever happened,” he read. “My assumption is because you were fearful as for what might subsequently happen to you. I’m afraid though, that the image of a knife being flicked towards my chest, and the phrase ‘I want your money, I don’t want your life’ is something I will never be able to erase from my mind, no matter how much I wish for it to go.

“I want you, however, to improve. I want you to use your punishment as your wake-up call, and as a doorway to improving both your future and the future of those who you are close to. There is help available for you, even in prison, and even when it seems all hope is lost. If I can get my life back on track after my autism diagnosis, so can you.

“You’re young, you’re able bodied, and you still have time. Use it wisely. I can’t forget what you did, but just this once I will forgive you.”

The victim has spoken out about his experience as Dyfed-Powys Police takes part in Operation Sceptre – a national week of action aimed at cracking down on the illegal possession of knives. A knife amnesty is taking place during the week (Sept 18-24), with people able to bin their knives at specific locations across the force no questions asked.

The 24-year-old has backed the operation, and the chance to get knives out of our communities.

“I’d prefer it if these people who carry knives with them be honest about who they are and why they have them on their person,” he said. “But it’s much more important that it’s an opportunity to get these weapons off the street.

“If the ability to do this anonymously is what gives these people the confidence to rid themselves of their weapons, then so be it.”

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A brand new Welsh language ukulele orchestra

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CAN you play the ukulele and would like to join a ukulele orchestra? Or would you like to learn a new skill and to socialise in a Welsh-speaking environment? Why not join Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl?

On Monday, October 15, Cered: Menter Iaith Ceredigion, Aberystwyth Arts Centre and Learn Welsh will launch Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl which is a brand new, Welsh language ukulele orchestra in Aberystwyth for free, for those aged 16+.

Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl will practice weekly between 6pm and 7:30pm every Monday night during the school term and practices will take place at the Aberystwyth Arts Centre. There is no need for any experience or ability on the ukulele and there will be instruments available to borrow so that you can have a taste before buying your own ukulele.

Welsh will be the main language of Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl but there is a warm welcome to everyone whatever your level of proficiency in Welsh. Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl is supported by Learn Welsh as a great activity for learners to practice their Welsh outside the classroom in a fun and new way.

Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl’s conductor will be Steffan Rees who has held a number of Iwcs a Hwyl workshops over the last year as Cered’s Community Development Officer. Steffan is also a musician who composes and performs as “Bwca” and he has been playing the ukulele for years.

Steffan said, “I have really wanted to start a Welsh ukulele orchestra in Ceredigion for a while having seen the successes and popularity of those in Cardiff and South East Wales. The ukulele is an instrument that excites people of all ages and with some patience and perseverance, it is an easy enough instrument to master. I’m looking forward to developing a repertoire with the orchestra and play a few gigs; the National Eisteddfod in Tregaron in 2020 perhaps!”

Numbers for the first term of the orchestra are limited so contact the Arts Centre Box Office on 01970 632 232 to book your place in Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl.

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