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​What makes Welsh exiles return to Wales?

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​A BOOK written by author and returning Welsh exile Peter Daniels, and published this week, is a celebration of Welshness and Welsh people.

​’​Finding Wales​’​ identifies in the Welsh a distinct personality, born of their humanity and natural friendliness, an image designed to counter the almost dismissive attitude towards Wales adopted by both the ‘British’ press and the UK​ ​government in Westminster.

As a Welsh exile in England, Llanelli-born Peter Daniels had a successful career in market research, but the strong ties he retained with his homeland through the London Welsh RFC and the London Welsh Association led to a fascination with national identity, especially amongst those living outside of Wales.

​”In my own case, it was the move to London which actually raised my consciousness both of my own Welshness and of the disregard for Wales held by British institutions​,” said Peter.

In his first book, ​’​In Search of Welshness​’​, which was published in 2011, Peter charted the ways in which exiles living in England preserved their Welsh identity. In this latest work he delves into the reasons many of them one day return.

​”​Some are forced to return because of family responsibilities or economic necessity. Others speak of ‘the good life’ to be had against the scenic backdrop that is the hills and coastline of Wales​,”​ explain​ed​ Peter, ​”​Many returning exiles also yearn for the friendlier community spirit they feel exists in Wales. And there are those with an even deeper hiraeth for either the Welsh language and culture, or for a more socialist, less class ridden, way of life.​”​

​”​And finally there are those who want to more proactively contribute to the challenges facing Wales in the 21st century, to the preservation of the language, the culture, and the economy​.​ ​”Our returning exiles must play their part, however small. They must give something back​.”​

Whilst Peter admits that they are not all of the same political persuasion, he discovered that they mostly believe that Wales should have more of a say in its own destiny than has previously been the case.

But national politics, unless it directly affects their livelihood, or previously their faith, has never been that important to the Welsh. For them, living is about people and not politics.

And in this regard, to quote one returning exile, ‘Wales: the best country in the world’.

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Christmas gift fair returns

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Last year at the Food Fair: The annual Christmas celebrations return this year

NEXT Friday (Oct 20), the annual craft and gifts extravaganza will return to Aberystwyth Arts Centre to get the locals in the mood for Christmas.

The Winter Craft & Gift Fair is sure to get visitors feeling festive in the run up to Christmas with over 80 stalls selling a wonderful array of crafts and gifts, many produced by local makers from Ceredigion and mid Wales.

This year will feature many regular stalls, as well as some who will be selling at the fair for the first time, so prepare to discover the unusual and unexpected at this year’s fair with it’s new layout and products for 2017.

The fair will be open from 10am to 8pm, Monday to Saturday and 12 to 5.30pm on Sundays all the way up until December 23.

On Saturday​,​ ​November ​​25, ​the Arts Centre’s Christmas Food Fair will take over the Great Hall for the day. There will be the very best of Welsh produce with cheese, meats, fish, wine, cider, pastries, puddings, jams and much, much more from many local producers. The Food Fair is the perfect place to stock up on a few gastronomic goodies in the run up to Christmas. There will also be live musical entertainment to get you in the Christmassy mood! The fair will be on 10am-4pm and entry is free!

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‘​I​t’s ok to say’

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FUW raise awareness: Urging people to 'say' on World Mental Health Day​

​ON WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY, farmers across Wales are being reminded that ‘it’s ok to say’ and the Farmers’ Union of Wales is urging them not to hide problems from themselves, their families and friends and to talk about their personal feelings.

The FUW made a commitment at the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show in July to continue raising awareness of mental health problems in rural communities and is therefore renewing the call for those who might be suffering from mental health problems to seek help.

“The focus of this year’s World Mental Health day is on mental health in the workplace and farms are just that. In our places of work we’ve faced some pretty low-points in the last few years. Bovine TB, price volatility and uncertainty about our future post-Brexit, this all puts a strain on our resolve and will have many feeling stressed and under immense pressure,” said Union President Glyn Roberts​.​

“But we must break the stigma attached to mental health, so if you’re feeling vulnerable, please open-up and speak to someone. That doesn’t just mean today, but always. Farmers and farming families need to continue talking openly about what they are experiencing and the FUW strongly encourages anyone who is worried about their own mental health or a loved-one, to seek help from the Farming Community Network, Tir Dewi, The DPJ Foundation, Mind Cymru or Call Helpline Wales,” added Glyn Roberts.

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Scholarship scheme funds student’s Masters

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One of the chosen few: Stella Foster (Pic. Mark Woodward)

A TALYBONT native is one of just 28 people in the UK to be awarded a scholarship granted by energy company ScottishPower.

Stella Foster, 32, gratefully received the grant from the Scottish Power Foundation for the 2017/18 academic year.

Having just completed an undergraduate degree in Chemistry at the University of York, Stella will begin her Masters in Environmental Sciences this week at the University of East Anglia. Environmental science degrees integrate biology, physical science and information sciences to examine environmental systems (air, water, etc.) and how they interact.

The sought-after scholarship covers full enrolment costs as well as a living allowance. On top of this, the scholars will receive unique opportunities including meeting leading industry professionals.

“Travelling around the world and living in China before I started my undergraduate studies made me aware of the astounding change of pace in urbanisation; the two-hour bus ride from where I lived to Shanghai, there wasn’t a moment where you couldn’t see a construction site,” Stella said.

“This fast and dramatic development creates issues with the environment, and I’m really excited to learn about the creative and fascinating solutions out there, and hopefully come up with some of my own,” she added.

Since it was launched in 2010, the ScottishPower Foundation scholarships programme has provided £1.5m in grants towards training the next generation in their chosen field.

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