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Ceredigion RNLI pictures preserved in national collection

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The Jones family at New Quay RNLI: One of the images acquired by the National Library of Wales (pic. Jack Lowe)

UNIQUE photographs of RNLI crew and lifeboat stations in Ceredigion have been acquired by the National Library of Wales.

The images made at Aberystwyth and New Quay RNLI stations were created by photographer Jack Lowe using Wet Plate Collodion, a Victorian process that captures stunning images on glass.

They form part of The Lifeboat Station Project, Jack’s epic mission to photograph all 237 stations in the UK and the Republic of Ireland — one of the largest photographic projects ever undertaken and currently scheduled to be completed in 2020.

The 20 limited edition prints will now be housed within the National Collection of Welsh Photographs, which comprises over a million photographs connected to Wales. These range from works by pioneering photographers from the earliest days of photography to portfolios by contemporary practitioners of the art.

Will Troughton, Curator of Photography at the National Library of Wales, says of the acquisition: ‘Jack’s photographs are important to the National Library in many ways. They are part of a systematic documentary record of Welsh RNLI stations, the first to be offered to the Library.

‘His use of a Victorian camera and glass plates produces atmospheric, mesmerising and aesthetically pleasing photographs. The use of black and white produces a timeless quality and emphasises the crew members rather than their brightly coloured equipment as well as creating a link to our historical photographs of lifeboat crews.’

Will added: ‘Having seen Jack at work here in Aberystwyth I’m delighted to add some stunning photos of Welsh RNLI crews to the National Library of Wales where they will sit alongside works by some of the greats of photography.’

Jack, who lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, said: ‘This is the first time my photographs have been recognised at a national level in this way. I dreamed this might happen one day but I never expected it would happen while in the midst of making the work.

‘I’m over-the-moon for the RNLI lifeboat volunteers too. I can’t make these photographs without them, so it’s wonderful to see our brave lifeboat men and women placed on such a high pedestal.’

Paul McCann, Aberystwyth RNLI crew member, said the experience of being part of the Lifeboat Station Project had been an enjoyable one for the station.

Paul said: ‘It was a really great day. I think a few people were a bit sceptical beforehand, not really knowing what to expect, but it was a very different experience to the normal crew photographs we have taken. All the crew were amazed to be able to see the images developing on the glass plates there and then.’

Paul added: ‘We had lots of passers-by who came along to the station to see Jack at work too – and that was certainly different, as normally people only come along to watch the lifeboat launch!’

While Jack was in Wales photographing the volunteer crews last year, he also gave a fund-raising talk for the RNLI at the National Library of Wales, describing his photographic method and what inspired him to embark on his five-year odyssey.

The Lifeboat Station Project, which began in January 2015, is one of the biggest photographic projects ever undertaken and, when finished, will be the first complete photographic record of every single lifeboat station on the RNLI network.

Jack travels in Neena — his decommissioned NHS ambulance purchased on eBay and converted into a mobile darkroom. He looks set to reach the half-way point in late 2017 – and 2017 will also include the Project’s first visit to Ireland.

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Man accused of sexually assaulting six-year-old girls

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A FORMER Penparcau man is to stand trial accused of sexually assaulting two six year old girls.

Raymond Albert Wardall, 55, now of Blaenllynant Lodge, Queens Road, Aberystwyth, appeared at Swansea Crown Court for a plea and trial preparation hearing before Judge Paul Thomas.

Wardall denied a total of eight charges of sexual assault and sexual touching.

He will stand trial on November 27 and was granted bail until then.

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Alerts issued ahead of Storm Brian

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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.

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​Major bequests for Aber research ​

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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.

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