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Positive news for bus travellers

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THERE IS GOOD news for travellers as two well-known bus companies have recently introduced a new service from Aberystwyth to Birmingham.

Megabus announced last week that they have partnered with Aberystwyth-based company Mid Wales Travel to create a new bus service, the M39, which will take passengers from Aberystwyth to Birmingham.

The partnership will allow the M39 service to be a Mid Wales Travel vehicle, with Megabus branding inside, and will operate on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Travellers will benefit from the timetable, which will offer day and weekend trips to Birmingham and surrounding areas, with stops along the way including Welshpool, Telford, Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton.

From Birmingham, the service will include stops such as London and Liverpool, allowing more links for the student community and local residents.

If that was not enough motivation to use the new service, travellers will benefit from its low fares, which start at £1 with a booking fee of 50p.

Of the new service, Mel Evans, who owns Mid Wales Travel, said: “We are pleased to be continuing our partnership with Megabus.com with our new M39 service from Aberystwyth to Birmingham.

We hope local residents will find this a low cost, convenient travel option to Birmingham and the other stops we’re offering on the route.”

The partnership between Megabus and Mid Wales Travel has already been successful over the last 12 months as both companies have worked together to form the M7 service, which currently operates from Aberystwyth to London via Cardiff.

The Herald took to the streets this week to find out what Aberystwyth residents thought about the upcoming bus service.

One resident said: “I think this is a really good idea, especially with today’s economy and high travel prices. I was amazed to hear the low prices and, though I felt sceptical about it, I have a feeling that it will be very successful. I wish both Mid Wales Travel and Megabus the best of luck with it!”

Another person told The Herald: “I will be very curious to see how this works. I hope it does, but I have a feeling that it is all positive words and figures until both companies deliver an evidently good service. When Traws Cymru introduced the free weekend bus travel a few months ago, I thought that was a good idea.

“The more I learnt and heard people’s experiences with it, the more I feel any travel idea that the council or travel companies put forward is great but what they deliver is more important. As the old saying goes, the proof is in the pudding.

“I used to travel regularly on the Megabus but now, I travel more frequently on Mid Wales Travel services. I think the quality of travel is very good for both companies, so I certainly hope the plans work out for them and their customers.”

A student studying at the local university added: “I really think this is a fantastic scheme for everyone, especially for students such as myself. With students surviving on very little money from loans these days, due to the high university fees and the way the economy is in today’s society, I think many students will benefit from it.

“I’m from London and so it’s great to think that the service will not only be low in price, but I will also have the option of the other stops along the way.

“On some weekends, when I want a break from University work, I like to travel to Aberaeron and even Carmarthen on the Traws Cymru services because of the free travel scheme.

“Initially, I didn’t think it would work that well as I expected huge numbers of people every weekend crowding the bus, but considering it is a very well used scheme I know that Megabus and Mid Wales will do well with the M39.

“My thoughts are, if the Traws Cymru services are doing well from the free weekend travel scheme, then I know the M39 will do exceptionally well because of the high demand for that service.

“It is so important to cater to the target audiences, and in the case of Megabus and MidWales travel, I would think students and residents of the designated stops would be the answer.

“From my experience of being an Aberystwyth student, there is nothing worse than living in quite a remote place but yet having limited ways of travelling home, with the only options you do have being very expensive.

“My friends always say the same thing and with train fares continuously going up, buses are the alternative option for non-drivers. So I know they will be pleased with this news!

“All in all, I believe that students and keen travellers will enjoy the benefits from the M39 service, and I look forward to seeing how successful it will turn out to be.”

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Ceredigion Museum to reopen with a new exhibition

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CEREDIGION Museum in Aberystwyth is to reopen its doors to the public on August 12 after being closed due to the pandemic.

It will reopen with Human Threads; a stunning exhibition of historic quilts, with the addition of two new quilts – one digital and one physical – made by Ceredigion residents to record their experiences of the pandemic. 

Staff say they are excited to be reopening with a wonderful exhibition, having missed visitors and access to the museum for more than a year.

The museum will initially be open from Thursday to Saturday each week, from 11am until 4pm. 

Research by the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions shows that 75% of respondents want visitor attractions to retain Covid-19 safety measures, so the museum has put in place a booking system to limit the numbers of visitors at any one time. There will also be lots of opportunities to sanitise hands and visitors will be asked to social distance and wear masks for the foreseeable future.

Initially, visitors will only have access to the shop and the first floor of the museum. As key café staff were redeployed into new jobs to support schools and care homes and they are still needed in these vital roles, the café won’t be reopening for the time being.

The museum shop, however, will be open and full of lovely new products, many designed especially for the quilt exhibition.

The website will have full details of the exhibition. People will be able to book their visit from August 5 at www.ceredigionmuseum.wales

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Llandeilo going for Fair Trade Status

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A NEW steering group has formed in Llandeilo to achieve Fair Trade status for the town.

“Many of our local shops and venues already stock or serve Fair Trade products and I believe Llandeilo deserves to be officially recognised for this,” says co-founder town councillor Christoph Fischer.

“It’s fantastic to see so many businesses and stakeholders committed to Fair Trade in Llandeilo,” says Candace Browne of Y Pantri Glas, Llandeilo’s Zero Waste and Natural Foods store. “However, for me Fair Trade extends beyond insuring workers growing imported exotic produce like bananas and chocolate are treated fairly but also to trading fairly with our local producers and sourcing good food locally. As Chair of Slow Food Cymru, Slow Food Town status with a shared vision of “Good Fair Food for All” would also be great for businesses to work towards for our community.”

The group, which has representatives of several businesses and interested individuals, are currently mapping all products that local shops, schools, groups and organisations offer and are lobbying the town council and other bodies to get behind the movement by declaring their own commitment to Fair Trade.

“As town councillor and as individual I feel this initiative fits perfectly well with the trend in town for fair trade,” says Fischer. “As Member Pioneer for the Llandeilo Coop part of my role is to initiate projects like this and bring all parts of the community together. We already had positive replies from Café 139, The Lighthouse, Heavenly, Ikigai, CK’s, Crown Stores, Umami and Llandeilo Primary.”

If you and your organisation want to commit to Fair Trade or are stocking Fair Trade products, please contact ChristophFFischer@googlemail.com

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RNLI lifeguards and lifeboat crew to be awarded for brave Ceredigion rescue

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THREE RNLI lifeguards from Ceredigion have been recognised with a bravery award for saving the lives of a man and his 10-year-old son. 

With assistance from Cardigan and New Quay RNLI lifeboats, the lifeguards rescued the two kayakers who were caught in a strong offshore wind and being swept out to sea. 

For their brave actions during the rescue, the three lifeguards are to receive the prestigious Alison Saunders award, which is awarded each year to recognise the skill and bravery of lifeguards.

The pair of kayakers were rescued at Tresaith last September, having capsized 800m offshore in strong winds and bad sea conditions. Seasonal RNLI Supervisor Sam Bailey and RNLI Lifeguard Macsen Mather demonstrated remarkable courage and selflessness in entering the water, in the full knowledge that they would not be able to return to the shore unassisted, due to the wind and sea state. They were well aware they would be spending a prolonged period of time in the water in cold conditions.

Senior Lifeguard Lowri Davies remained ashore to co-ordinate the rescue with HM Coastguard, who requested that both New Quay all-weather lifeboat and Cardigan inshore RNLI lifeboat launch to support the lifeguards. Despite it being her first season as a senior lifeguard, Lowri executed her role with confidence and assurance, managing communications between lifeguards, lifeboats, and HM Coastguard, and offering reassurance to her colleagues in the water throughout the rescue. 

Having reached the kayakers, Sam and Macsen used their rescue boards to secure the casualties out of the water in order to keep them safe until the lifeboats arrived to recover the whole group.

By the time New Quay and Cardigan lifeboats arrived at Tresaith, the group had drifted over 1.5 miles out to sea. Cardigan RNLI volunteer crew transported the group to shore where the casualties received further medical attention from HM Coastguard for the effects of the cold. Both lifeboat crews will receive a letter from the RNLI’s Chairman for their part in the rescue. 

Roger Smith, RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager says: “This rescue was a superb team effort, with RNLI lifeboat crews launching in direct support of their lifeguard colleagues. We are massively proud of our lifeguards, who showed great bravery and resolve during this rescue. They entered the water to save lives, in the full knowledge that they would be unable to return to shore unaided, trusting our lifeboats to back them up. The awards recognise their collective courage and professionalism. Working together, our team saved two people from drowning that day.”

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