Packed hall attends Monmouthshire’s 2016 National Eisteddfod launch

The 2016 Monmouthshire and District National Eisteddfod received a flying start last night (July 17th) at Abergavenny’s Market Hall as over 200 people attended a launch for the festival to be held within the town’s Castle Meadows.

Addressing the meeting[1]

The decision to host the Eisteddfod was taken by the county council in May and means that it will be held in Monmouthshire for the first time since 1913.

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Garway pupils get crafty at Oldfield Forge Academy

YEAR 6 pupils from Garway visited Oldfield Forge Academy to create a unique leaving present for their school.

N Forge-5689

Oak, Silver Birch, Beech and as their inspiration, the children shaped and moulded leaves which were then attached to a circular wrought-iron frame.

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Chepstow to welcome cycling stars for Wales Open Criterium

After last month’s sensational National Championships, Monmouthshire welcomes back the UK’s best cyclists for the grand finale of British Cycling’s Elite Circuit Series.

The Series, made up of six separate races, culminates in Chepstow Town Centre on Wednesday 30th July with Monmouthshire playing proud hosts to the only race on Welsh soil.

This year’s Elite Circuit Series began in Otley on Wednesday July 2, which saw the Tour de France peloton pass through on their way to Paris a few days later. The Series then went on to Stockton on Tees, Colne, Beverley and Sheffield (23rd July) before the sixth and final race hits Chepstow.


Cllr Bob Greenland, cabinet member for innovation, enterprise and leisure said: up for residents and for visitors to our beautiful county.

“We hope you come to Chepstow and experience the energy and excitement of the event. We know from last month’s cycling championships in Abergavenny that there is nothing quite like it.”

The route is over a 1.17 kilometre course which starts and finishes near Chepstow Castle on Bridge Street. The race has no set distance and will be determined by an hour’s racing followed by five laps.

The stars are on the starting line at 8pm and are preceded by a whole host of Youth Races that will see young stars challenge for their own titles.

With the Tour of Britain in September, the trio of cycling events hosted by Monmouthshire this summer reinforces the county’s reputation as the cycling capital of Wales.

More information can be found at:

Information on road closures can be found at:

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David Wilson Homes pledges support for the region’s bee population

The region’s bee population is set for a boost with news that housebuilder David Wilson Homes will be playing its part in supporting the insects by creating bee-friendly gardens at its forthcoming developments in Abergavenny.

The five star housebuilder is a corporate member of the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) which represents 24,000 amateur beekeepers and the honey bees they care for when pollination activity is at its peak.

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Monmouthshire Housing Association kicks off summer events

Monmouthshire Housing Association (MHA) is kicking off its Family Fest next week (29th July) with a range of fun activities for families and children in Monmouthshire throughout the school holidays.

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Beacon travel: Winter sports

John Carter, long time presenter of TV’s ‘Wish You Were Here’ programme and seasoned globetrotter, reignites his flirtation with the many delights of winter sports.


Back when I bore a lighter burden of years, and had time to spare, I became interested in winter sports.    It was a brief flirtation, mainly because I could not see the point of queuing to be carried to the top of a mountain in order to slide down it, only to join another queue to be carried up again.   The fact that I fell over a lot and was outclassed by pupils from the kindergarten may also have had something to do with my disenchantment.

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Hollyoaks Actors Back Exam Results Helpline

The Exam Results Helpline is being backed this year by leading Hollyoaks actors Jazmine Franks (Esther Bloom) and Alfie Browne-Sykes (Jason Roscoe). The helpline, funded by the Department for Education, handles thousands of calls every year from students all around the country and is seen as a lifeline to those who don’t know where to turn once they have got their exam results.

Hollyoaks' Jazmine and Alfie backing the UCAS helpline

Hollyoaks’ Jazmine and Alfie backing the UCAS helpline

Alfie Browne-Sykes who plays Jason Roscoe in Hollyoaks said: “Playing Jason, who has just taken his A-Levels on Hollyoaks, reminds me how stressful it can be during the exam period! It’s so important that students don’t feel alone once they get their results and the helpline provides support to those who need it. It’s not all about University either, if like me callers don’t want to go into Higher Education, the advisers can provide information on other options including careers, gap years and vocational learning.”

The Exam Results Helpline number 0808 100 8000 is a free telephone helpline staffed by independent and highly experienced careers advisers. For the first time this year Careers Advisers will also be proving help and guidance on Facebook and Twitter.

Students across the UK who have received their exam results (A levels, GCSEs and equivalent qualifications) can call in to talk through their options and to get advice about their future learning and career options.

Jazmine Franks who plays Esther Bloom in Hollyoaks said: “I am really pleased to be able to represent the Exam Results Helpline. I remember what it’s like to get A level results and the various emotions and pressures that come with results day.”


“It would have really benefitted me to know there was a helpline available in case I didn’t get the results I needed for university and so raising awareness of the helpline among students is something I’m very pleased to be a part of.” To see Jazmine talking about the Exam Results Helpline click here.

The Helpline is open throughout the exam results period, this year running between Thursday 14th and Saturday 23rd August for students receiving exam results in England, Wales and Northern Ireland*.

The busiest time is always A-level results day, which is Thursday 14 August this year.  Last year, the helpline received over 6,000 calls.

If a student is reconsidering their options based on results they have or have not achieved, they should contact the Exam Results Helpline on 0808 100 8000 from 14th August.

If a student has a specific query about their university application, they should contact the UCAS Contact Centre on 0871 468 0 468.

For further information, visit

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Betty, 99, a silver surfer thanks to Melin Homes

A  Monmouthshire pensioner  has become a silver surfer at the age of 99 thanks to the digital inclusion work of a housing provider.

Betty Jones, a Melin Homes resident in Victoria Court Abergavenny, now uses her tablet to view the world via Google Earth, years after travelling the world in her younger days.

Betty benefitted from a new project at Victoria Court that will be rolled out to other sheltered schemes belonging to Melin.

silver surfer web


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Butterfly Maps exhibition by Jessica Gadsby at Taurus Crafts

The Butterfly Maps exhibition at Taurus Crafts, this summer, is an exploration and re-imagining of places familiar and loved by the artist. Using maps of those areas, and butterfly species found there, Jessica recreates abstracts that are intriguing and inviting. Bristol born artist, Jessica, was raised in the Forest of Dean and has a special attachment to the area. Her love of walking and travelling and of the natural world heavily influences her work. 


Symonds Yat

Symonds Yat

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Caldicot Library event to mark Britain’s entry into First World War

Caldicot Library is to host a free community event on Monday 4th August to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Britain’s entry into the First World War

Readings will breathe life into feelings of the general public at the time, while local musicians The Banned will present songs that became popular during the conflict.  Resident historian Peter Strong will perform MC duties and those attending will be encouraged to enter into the communal atmosphere.

The Friends of Caldicot Library have been instrumental in organising this event, the first in a series the library will hold to mark the centenary of the First World War.

Tickets may be collected from Caldicot Library for the event which starts at 7.30pm.

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