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Research trip to Patagonia to support new exhibition

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FROM 11-26 February 2019, Andrea DeRome, Collections Access Officer at Ceredigion Museum journeyed to Patagonia, Argentina to research pioneering voyages for a temporary exhibition at Ceredigion Museum. The ‘Because it’s There’ exhibition is on display now until 12 October. The journey was made by support from the ICOM UK – British Council Travel Grant Scheme 2018-19.

Ceredigion is a coastal county, bordered by sixty miles of the sea along Cardigan Bay to the west. Ceredigion Museum has an excellent seafaring collection that salutes the history when carts struggled along muddy trails and the iron steam dragon on tracks was still the stuff of imagination; all commerce, journeys and intrepid escapes were made west by boat.

Andrea explains her fascination with the ocean: “Lured by tales about maritime wanderers I imagined voyages at sea, praying to survive a maelstrom, waiting for calmer winds and clearer skies. I became curious about the tools of celestial navigation and exploration, and in awe of those who went to sea.”

One such pioneering voyage began on May 28, 1865, when the anchor was raised on the sailing ship ‘Mimosa’ as it left for Patagonia in Argentina. It took 60 days for the ship to arrive at its destination, at the mercy of the wind and waves, with four deaths, two childbirths and one wedding along the way. On board were about 153 resolute Welsh-speaking families seeking to create a Welsh-speaking utopia. They had grown concerned that amongst the many changes of the Industrial Revolution in their homeland, their language and values were being eroded and lost.

When they finally land there is nothing, they have arrived on this continent in winter. It is not the fertile land they were passionately promised; they shape their first dwelling in a cave and survive through the kindness and forgiveness of the indigenous people.

Andrea recalls the difference of her 21st century journey to Patagonia: “I board a plane at London Gatwick. At this point, I have travelled for eight hours from Aberystwyth to London. Fourteen hours later, flying among the stars for 6,910 miles, I land in Argentina. When I arrive at my destination, I encounter the infrastructure the pioneers forged the 430 miles from Puerto Madryn to Trevelin, an enormous land of beautiful, varied terrain. I set foot inside The First House, in the town of Gaiman, built from stone and mud in 1874. I meet spirited, proud people who respect Welsh culture and language, who consider the pioneers ‘to be the wheels of Patagonia, they got this area moving’, and I discover communities, chapels and schools working together to keep it all alive. I appreciate the continuing impact of our county’s history on the world.”

Carrie Canham, Curator at Ceredigion Museum explains: “Support from the ICOM UK – British Council Travel Grant Scheme 2018-19 has given us, a rural Welsh museum, an international perspective that will benefit both staff and visitors. Aberystwyth lies at the end of the rail network, a seemingly dead end, but we are now better able to interpret our locality as the launch site to far-flung destinations for intrepid emigrants undeterred by the unknown.”

The exhibition ‘Because it’s there’ examines human exploration: the desire to go beyond the horizon, climb the mountain, venture out across the ocean, fly among the stars, to discover something because it’s there, or rumoured to be there. The exhibition features the tools and machinery that made things possible and uncover the stories of the brave people who took bold risks in their pursuit of new discoveries.

‘Because it’s There’ launched on Saturday 20, July and will run until 12, October 2019. It is curated by Andrea DeRome.

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Amendments introduced to the Cardigan Safe Zone

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AS MORE people are expected to visit Ceredigion’s towns over the coming weeks and summer months, changes are required to ensure our streets are safe for everyone, by allowing people to maintain a 2 metre social distance at all times.

Introducing changes over the Easter period has meant that some amendments will be made over the coming weeks.

Following a review, the initial phase of the Safe Zone (Phase 2) for Cardigan will be amended to Phase 2a, with Morgan Street and The Strand remaining as a one way system (unchanged current arrangement).

Road closures affecting the High Street in Cardigan will commence ahead of the May Bank holiday weekend at the end of May. The road closures will be between 12pm and 4pm daily.

As part of Phase 2a, the following work is being undertaken:

  • Placing road markings for all disabled bays along High St & Pendre
  • Placing loading bay road markings opposite Dewi James Butchers
  • Introducing new reflective bollards to replace the red/white baulks. This will allow traders to operate in the road as per their licence. The widened footpaths within the trading areas in the road will be raised to the same level as the adjacent footpaths to create a flat accessible area for pedestrians.
  • Placing a chicane outside the Black Lion Hotel to slow traffic flow
  • Implement a one way system along College Row to improve pedestrian safety
  • Reversal of one way along St Mary St to allow access to Chancery
  • Close the top of Pwllhai for licenced trading and pedestrian safety

A map of Cardigan and all the latest information on the Safe Zones is available on Ceredigion County Council’s website: www.ceredigion.gov.uk/safezones   

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New Quay youngster answers RNLI’s mayday call and raises nearly £2,000

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OVER the May Day Bank Holiday weekend a New Quay schoolboy took to the water on his paddle board and raised nearly £2,000 for the RNLI Mayday Mile appeal. He is now urging more people to take part this May in any way they can to raise funds for equipment before the busy summer season on the coast. 

Steffan outside Newquay RNLI lifeboat station after completing his challenge

Steffan Williams, 12, a pupil from Ysgol Bro Teifi answered the RNLI’s mayday call for fundraising and decided to not just do one mile on his paddleboard but attempt 10 miles in one day. He is now encouraging more people to get involved with the appeal to raise funds.  

Steffan said, “The RNLI Mayday Mile is a great way to raise money for the charity that saves lives at sea as you can do one mile or 100 miles in any way you want. You could run it, walk it, dance it and make it fun in fancy dress. 

Steffan Williams before his challenge on Sunday May 3

“I decided to take to the sea on my paddleboard, and I am really pleased I completed my challenge of 10 miles in one day. It was really hard going as the wind picked up in the afternoon but I did not want to give up. 

“I have been really shocked at the support and want to thank everyone who has donated, I am so happy!” 

Steffan’s total so far is £1,812 and he is the RNLI’s top individual fundraiser in the UK and Ireland. To support Steffan visit https://themaydaymile.rnli.org/fundraising/steffans-paddleboarding-mayday-challenge

The RNLI’s Mayday Mile campaign will be running throughout the month of May and anyone can take part by joining up on the RNLI’s Mayday Mile website https://themaydaymile.rnli.org/.  

With more people expected to be holidaying close to home this year, the RNLI predicts a summer like no other.  

Roger Couch, New Quay RNLI’s Lifeboat Operations Manager said, “Steffan has done a fantastic job on raising so much money for the charity and we are very grateful indeed. He is a true hero. This summer we expect to be very busy and urge people visiting our coast to take the necessary precautions.  

“Always check the weather, the tides and if you are on the water remember to wear a buoyancy aid and take means of calling for help, a mobile phone or radio. Remember we are on call 24/7 so if you see anyone in trouble on the coast please call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.” 

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Contact Hywel Dda for second vaccine appointment

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HYWEL Dda University Health Board (UHB) is asking anyone who received a first Pfizer vaccine at one of its mass vaccination centres in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion or Pembrokeshire more than 21 days ago to get in touch if they have not received a second vaccine appointment.       

Ros Jervis, Director of Public Health for Hywel Dda UHB, said: “Second doses are essential for longer term protection, so it’s important that everyone comes forward for their full course when called.

“Our records show that a small number of people across our three counties have not responded to our invitation to receive their second dose. We won’t leave anyone behind and there is still time for them to receive it within the required timeframe.”

Additional clinics will be put on in the next couple weeks to administer these second doses. If it has been more than 21 days since your first Pfizer vaccine please email COVIDenquiries.hdd@wales.nhs.uk with the subject title “Second Pfizer dose request” with your full name, date of first vaccine and a contact phone number to book your appointment. If you are unable to email you can also contact the health board by calling 0300 303 8322.

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