Cllr Tommy Smith's blog 2013-14.

Wednesday 1st May 2013 was the Inauguration of Councillor Tommy Smith as Tredegar Town Mayor and Councillor Ryan Watkins as Tredegar Town Deputy Mayor. Councillor Smith will be active in our community during his Year in Office and hopes to give you a view of a Town Mayor's life by doing this blog.

Wednesday 19th March 2014
Today Cllr Willis and I went along to Tredegar Library to an event which aims to encourage children, young people and their families to get involved with their local libraries. I was very pleased to see Bryn Bach Primary School there taking part in the day's events and answering questions put to them by Jonathan Griffith AM about the books they like to read.
We then went on to Roderick Hill Court to see the members of the Valleys Life After Stroke Group at their regular group meeting.
Later it was on to Saron Church to a health check for the over fifties being run by Communities First. It was great to see both men and women taking part in this Health Living initiative.

Monday 17th March 2014
This evening I went along to the Sirhowy Senior Citizens hall to present them with a grant on behalf of Tredegar Town Council. Thank you to all the members for the warm welcome.
Afterwards it was off to Venue 2 to see a new group, to me, the Tredegar Reavers Wargames Club to present them with a grant.

Saturday 1st March 2014
This evening I have been to the Moose No.1 Lodge Tredegar to their St David's Day dinner which was delicious. It was a nice evening and a big thank you to the members for their warm welcome and generous donation to my Mayor's Appeal. The evening also gave me the opportunity to present them with a grant cheque, on behalf of Tredegar Town Council, which they graciously thanked Council for.

Wednesday 26th February 2014
I went along to Trinity Spiritualist Church to present the members with a grant cheque on behalf of Tredegar Town Council which was gratefully received.

Saturday 22nd February 2014
Today I and other Members of Council went to St George's Church to join with the 6th Tredegar Scout Group who were celebrating Founder's Day. Father Davis held a lovely Service and it was good to see how strong and well supported the Scout Group are.
Following the Scouts, Cllr Willis and I went to Tredegar Ironsides RFC to present them with a grant cheque on behalf of Tredegar Town Council. Thank you too to Tredegar Ironsides RFC for raising £28.79, for my Mayor's Appeal, via a bucket collection at that home.

Saturday 15th February 2014
This evening I attended a Concert at the Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff as a guest of Mr Ian Stoutzker CBE.  Mr Stoutzker was evacuated to Tredegar during World War II and lived here with his mother for 18 months during which time she was a music teacher here. Her passion for music has been passed on to him too.
In her memory and in recognition of her love for music, Mr Stoutzker made a donation to the Welsh College of Music and Drama and as thanks they have named the hall after his mother Dora Stoutzker.
Mr Stoutzker is the founder chairman of 'Live Music Now' which helps disabled children and adults to express themselves through music. It also allows less privileged musicians achieve their ambitions of aspiring to their talents.
Thank you to Mr Ian Stoutzker, there will always be a warm welcome in Tredegar for you.

Saturday 25th January 2014
Today I went along to Tredegar Leisure Centre for the home match of Tredegar Town AFC Seniors. It was an opportunity for me to present them with a grant cheque from Tredegar Town Council which was gratefully received.

Thursday 16th January 2014
This evening I and other Members of Council went to the Market Hall Cinema, Brynmawr for the Premiere of another educational film made in Tredegar. The 'Good Drug Dealer' highlights the effects that drugs such as meow meow as on local communities and it will be used in schools throughout Caerphilly and Blaenau Gwent. The film was directed by Peter Watkins-Hughes, who was behind the film 'Cow', and the project involved organisations such as Gwent Police, Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council, Caerphilly County Council, Tai Calon and starred Torchwood star Gareth David-Lloyd and our own Tredegar star Darren Evans. Well done everyone involved in its making.

Monday 13th January 2014
Today I went to the AGM of Tredegar Christians Together to present them with a grant from Tredegar Town Council. This group are very supportive of our community; they put on events within their churches and fundraise for local charities - last year they held a bucket collection in aid of the Kidney Wales Foundation which was in conjunction with the first fundraising event held by the then Deputy Mayor. A big thank you to Tredegar Christians Together for the warm welcome and their continued support.

Tuesday 24th December 2013
Mayor's Christmas Visits - Today is a very important date in Tredegar Town Council's diary. Every Christmas Eve the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, Members of Council and Tredegar Youth Café choir visit the nursing and residential homes in Tredegar. We had a fantastic welcome everywhere and the choir sang beautifully, we hope this brought some Festive cheer to everyone.

Saturday 21st December 2013
This evening was the Mayor's Christmas Dinner and Dance, at Bedwellty House, to kick off the Christmas celebrations with the members of the Valleys Life After Stroke group. It was a nice evening with members of my family, friends and Council - it was a great opportunity for them all to see why I chose this group as the recipient of my Appeal. Thank you all for a lovely evening, I hope you all enjoyed!!

Thursday 16th December 2013
This evening I was invited to the film premiere of the 'Good Drug Dealer' at Brynmawr Cinema.  The film is aimed at highlighting the issue of drugs within our community and the dangers of drug use. It was made in Tredegar and directed by Peter Watkins Hughes, a follow on from the educational film COW. The film will be introduced in to the curriculum for schools to highlight this very real problem throughout ours and many other communities within the UK to raise awareness amongst the younger members of society.

Monday 13th December 2013
This evening I went along to Siloh Chapel in Tredegar to meet members of Tredegar Christians Together at their AGM. It was a brief meeting during which I was asked to explain a bit about my charity for this year. I also presented the members with a grant cheque on behalf of Tredegar Town Council and thanked them for all their good work with in our town.

Saturday 6th December 2013
This evening I am went to St George's Church for a Christmas Concert in aid of my Mayor's Appeal Valleys Life after Stroke. A BIG THANKS to The Patrick Sheen Singers for an excellent concert. I would like to thank Father John for the warm welcome to St Georges Church and Cllr Anita Hobbs for organising the concert.

Thursday 5th December 2013
This evening was the final of the Quiz Wizards, a big thank you to all the teams and supporters of the quiz. Thanks must go to Mr Malcolm Higgs who organises this quiz every year which was in aid of my Mayor's Appeal this year - with all his efforts and support of the teams this year the quiz raised a very generous amount of over £650.

Saturday 30th November 2013
This evening I went along to the Blaenau Gwent Otters Annual Dinner Award Ceremony and Christmas party at Tredegar Leisure Centre. It was a great privilege to present, along with the Mayor of BGCBC Cllr Mostyn Lewis, awards to the group members. Thank you Blaenau Gwent Otters for a fantastic evening!! All the very best for the Future!!

Friday 29th November 2013
This evening it was the Christmas Light Switch-On which always takes a lot of planning by the Town Clerk and Council. The celebrities for this year were Gareth David Lloyd, from Torchwood, and local celeb, all the way from Tredegar, Darren Evans. We also had singers from Tredegar Comprehensive School who entertained the crowds of people and our compares for the night were Emma Cavender Morris and Steve Aherne. The evening was a great success with a surprise visit from Santa.
Following the Christmas Light Switch I and the Town Clerk went along to the Ebbw Vale Institute for the Gavo Awards, it was a lovely evening with a few Award Winners from Tredegar.

Sunday 24th November 2013
Today I went to Bedwellty Park Bowls Pavilion to see the Ladies from Bedwellty Park Bowls Club. It was their AGM and I attended to make a grant presentation on behalf of Tredegar Town Council. It was great to see them all and I look forward to seeing you all in the Summer when you are back out on the Green.

Tuesday 19th November 2013
Today I and Cllr Cross, along with members of BGCBC, went on a full site visit of the A465 Heads of the Valleys Dualling from Tredegar to Brynmawr. The tour was very interesting; to see how the road is actually coming together and how much ground they have moved is amazing. This section of the Dualling is due to be finished in the Summer of 2015.

Friday 15th November 2013
This evening I went to the Con Club in Church Street, Tredegar for an evening of entertainment with Billy Caine which was being held in aid of my Mayor's Appeal. It was a great evening and a big thank you to all involved, we raised over £300.

Wednesday 13th November 2013
This morning I was at the VLAS Group for a meeting with the members to discuss further fund-raising activities for my Mayor's Appeal and we also met with Andy Harris of RSVP's Help for Over 50's.
Following the meeting, it was off to Parc Bryn Bach to meet the members of Bryn Bach Model Boating Club to present them with a grant cheque on behalf of Tredegar Town Council. The grant cheque was received with thanks and a photograph of the presentation can be found in he Gallery for you all to see.
This evening I went to The Willows Social Club for the second round of Tredegar Quiz Wizards which this year is in aid of my Mayor's Appeal.

Tuesday 12th November 2013
This evening I went to Beaufort Ballroom for the Inauguration of  the Blaenau Gwent Youth Mayor and Deputy Youth Mayor. The event was organised by Talk It Up which is the youth forum of Blaenau Gwent and our host for the evening was Hannah Webley.
The out-going Mayor Miss Jessica Griffiths highlighted some of her memorable moments from her Year in Office and wished the new Youth Mayor Miss Sophie Larson all the very best for her Term in Office 2013-14.
The Youth Mayor's Inauguration was officially done by special guests ITV Political Editor Adrian Masters and Children's Commissioner for Wales Keith Towler.
During the evening we also had some great entertainment from Abertillery Youth Drama and Music Society (AYDAMS); Marc Oberon, a world class Magician; and One Direction Adventure, a tribute band to One Direction.

Monday 11th November 2013
Armistice Day - To mark Armistice Day I with members of Council joined Father John, members of the Royal British Legion and members of the public at the Gwent Shopping Centre for a short Service and to observe a two minutes silence at 11am.

Sunday 10th November 2013
Remembrance Sunday - Today the Service was at St James Church where service men and women, the Royal British legion and many organisations from our town all joined in a Service of Remembrance. I gave a reading from the Bible in the Church, although I was very nervous I was very pleased that I was able to do this on behalf of Tredegar Town Council.
Following the Church Service we formed a parade, led by Tredegar Town Band, to walk from St James Church to the War Memorial in Bedwellty Park.
After a short service at the War Memorial a minute's silence and prayer took place. Numerous organisations - ranging from National and Local Government members, Armed Forces, Police, Ambulance and Fire Service to local schools, churches, chapels and associations such as Tredegar Round Table, Moose No 1 Lodge,Youth Café and Scouts,too many to mention - laid wreaths at the War Memorial with many other personal tributes being laid.
Following on from this I went into Bedwellty House to lay another wreath, on behalf of Tredegar Town Council, on the Casket of soil from the battle of Tredegar Hill which is on display in the main entrance hall.

Saturday 9th November 2013
This morning I and other members of Council, along with our MP Mr Nick Smith and Rev Christian Jones, braved the wet weather to do our annual walk to the Bomber Crash site above Trefil. We set off at about 10am for the walk to the Cairn where every year Tredegar Town Council hold a brief ceremony and lay a wreath to remember the men on Flight T2520 that crashed on the 9th December 1940.

Thursday 31st October 2013
This evening I went along to the Heads Of the Valleys Gateway Club for their Halloween Party and also a very special Celebration of their 25th Anniversary. I enjoyed the evening and was made to feel very welcome by the volunteers and the members. The Gateway Club have been active in our town for 25 years supporting people with various disabilities and it was nice to meet some of the founding volunteers who are still active within the group. I was given the privileged to present certificates to some of the members of the group who had also been there since the beginning, they are such big characters!!
The group also received with thanks the grant cheque I presented to them on behalf of Tredegar Town Council.

Wednesday 30th October 2013
This evening I went to the Lord Nelson public house in Pontlottyn for a charity night being held in aid of my Mayors Appeal. A big thank you to John, Christine and all the acts at the Lord Nelson for raising a fantastic £200 for my Appeal.

Tuesday 29th October 2013
Thank you to Saron Church for the warm welcome there this morning when I went along to present them with their grant from Tredegar Town Council. The cheque was received with thanks and I took this great opportunity to have a look around the Church and the grounds. Keep up the good work you are doing with in our community!!

Friday 25th October 2013
This morning I went to Abertysswg Workingmen's Club to a coffee morning fundraising event organised by the local community. A BIG thank you to Abertysswg Workingmen's Club for holding this event in aid of my Mayor's Appeal; the generosity of the whole community of Abertysswg amazed me and there was a great turn out for the coffee morning. The Club graciously donated the tea and coffee whilst most of the people who turned up brought with them a cake or a raffle prize. Your generosity raised over £400. Once again a BIG THANK YOU!!

Sunday 20th October 2013
I was invited to represent Tredegar Town Council at the Mayor of Blaenau Gwent's Civic Ceremony of Thanksgiving which took place at Zion Baptist Chapel, Ebbw Vale. It was a nice Service followed by a short Ceremony and it was particularly nice to hear Ebbw Vale Male Voice Choir. Following the Service we went on to the new Ebbw Vale Leisure Centre for the Civic Reception where I was greeted by the Mayor and Mayoress Cllr Mostyn & Ann Lewis, and also the Deputy Blaenau Gwent Mayor Cllr Bernard Willis and his consort. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole day and it was a privilege to represent Tredegar Town Council at such an important event in the Mayor's diary. I would like to wish Cllr Lewis the very best for his remaining term in Office and every success in raising funds for his chosen Mayor's Appeal Charity.

Wednesday 16th October 2013
Today I went along to see the VLAS group at Roderick Hill Court community centre and it was lovely to see Lesley back from her holidays. I updated the group on the forthcoming events arranged up until Christmas, click on Dates for your Diary for details of the events.

Saturday 12th October 2013
This evening I had arranged a charity evening at Tredegar & Rhymney Golf Club in aid of my Mayor's Appeal. Kevin Davidge was the main artist of the night and he gave an excellent performance, a really entertaining evening. Thank you Kevin and a big thank you to Tredegar & Rhymney Golf Club.

Wednesday 9th October 2013
This evening I went along to a meeting regarding the Bryn Oer Wind Farm between Rhymney and Tredegar. The meeting was very informative.

Tuesday 8th October 2013
This evening I  went along to Horeb Chapel, Trefil to their Harvest and Flower Festival. It was a nice evening and I was made to feel very welcome.

Wednesday 2nd October 2013
This morning I went to see the members of the VLAS Group at Roderick Hill Court and as always it was nice to catch up with them all. It was a lovely surprise to receive a cheque for £150 from Weiss Technik for my Mayors Appeal. The cheque was received with thanks by the VLAS Group members and me. A BIG thank you to Weiss Technik, Rassau for your very generous donation.
It was also nice to hear from Lesley who is currently on holiday with her family in Perth, Western Australia.
This evening I went to Bedwellty House to attend the Tredegar Twinning meeting. During the meeting we discussed the French visiting us next May and activities for them to enjoy. They will be coming to Tredegar on Friday 2nd May 2014,  it is a special visit and we will be celebrating 35 years of twinning with our twinned town of Orvault.

Tuesday 1st October 2013
This evening I went to the Abertillery & Llanhilleth Town Council office for a meeting with Gwent Valleys One Voice Wales. The meeting was very informative; the guest speaker was Mr Frank Olding, BGCBC, who talked about HLF funding and possible ways of obtaining grants for our community.

Thursday 26th September 2013
This morning I attended the Care & Repair AGM at the Tai Calon Offices, Blaina. Care & Repair are a charity organisation based in Blaenau Gwent, serving the community; they carry out maintenance work for our elderly and vulnerable residents within the Blaenau Gwent area.
This evening it was off to Bedwellty House to the Tredegar Heritage meeting. This was my first meeting and I am very much looking forward to getting involved with this group.
Following the Heritage meeting, I was invited to the Carriage House in Bedwellty House. Along with Cllr A Hobbs, Executive Member for Leisure, and Cllr M Lewis & Cllr A Lewis, BGCBC Mayor & Mayoress, we attended the unveiling of the "Discover The Valleys" art exhibition. The exhibition is made up of 12 pieces of art celebrating the history and heritage of the valleys.

Thursday 19th September 2013
First visit of the day was to the meeting of the Blaenau Gwent Heritage Forum. The group meet once a month at Tredegar Library and anyone wishing to join are welcome; please click on for more information on this group.

This evening I was invited to go along to Tredegar Comprehensive School to make presentations on behalf of Tredegar Town Council. The prizes and winners are as follows:-
Tredegar Town Council Community Prize - Rhiannon Lloyd
Rhiannon is a truly deserving recipient of this award. She has dedicated herself over the past few years to serving her community. She has volunteered with Communities First; won the GAVO young volunteer of the year award; help with the NEET strategy; and she set up and ran the Tredegar Youth Forum.  Rhiannon has also worked with the Spirit of Bevan Studios and helped a group to make a short history film about Tredegar.
Rhiannon has been a police cadet and was offered a job as a special constable but decided to attend university. I wish her every success in her studies and I hope she will continue to serve our community and represent the very best of Tredegar.
Aneurin Bevan Prize for Science and Mathematics - Gareth Price
Gareth was awarded this long standing prize to mark his exceptional hard work throughout his school career. He studied a range of subjects and developed his interest in medicine over the last two years which has resulted in him adding chemistry to his range of subjects at AS level. He is using this next year with his already excellent grades to apply to medical schools. On behalf of myself and Tredegar Town Council I would like to wish Gareth every success in the future and congratulate him for all his hard work - Well done Gareth!
Michael Foot Prize for Arts and Literature - William Townsend
The final prize was recently commissioned by Tredegar Town Council and it is a great honour for me to be the first Town Mayor to present this, marking the Centenary of the birth of Michael Foot.
The first recipient of the prize was William Townsend who I am told as a natural ability in English.  Not only does he write with originality and flair but he also demonstrates ability to respond to texts with clarity and insight. He is an excellent student and a very worthy winner of this prize. I am sure William will go on to achieve his goals in English and I would like to wish him every success in the future.
I thoroughly enjoyed the evening; the school choir were excellent and the talk given by our very own Paralympics 2012 Gold Medallist Mark Colbourne was enthralling. Also congratulates to Tredegar Comprehensive School on the exam results achieved this year.

Following the presentation evening I went along to Tredegar Town Band's hall to make a grant presentation on behalf of Tredegar Town Council.  The cheque was received with thanks by Mr Iwan Fox and I had the opportunity to listen to the Band play.

Sunday 15th September 2013
This evening I went along to Bedwellty House for Tredegar Town Band's "An Evening with David Childs" who is an International Euphonium Soloist. It was a very enjoyable way to spend my Sunday evening and very fitting because Tredegar Town Band had just won the British Open Brass Band Championship. The guests who came along to the recital evening were very privilege to see the world famous shield won last week, on display for this one evening only at Bedwellty House. I was also very privileged to see the plaque and take a photograph for you all to see. Well done once again Tredegar Town Band!! 
Thank you to Mr David Childs for taking time out of your busy schedule to come back to Tredegar to perform for us.

Saturday 14th September 2013
This evening Tredegar Operatic Society invited me to the Beaufort Theatre to watch this year's production of A TALE OF TWO CITIES. I would like to congratulate Tredegar Operatic Society, the cast and crew for once again putting on a first class production.

Tuesday 10th September 2013
Today I went to Tredegar Quilting Circle to make a grant presentation, on behalf of Tredegar Town Council. Before I made the presentation I thanked the ladies of the group for the quilt they had made which I had the great privilege of presenting to our twinned town of Orvault back in May. The grant presentation was received with thanks.

Monday 9th September 2013
Today I was invited to Bedwellty House for the Opening of Bert Westcott's Art exhibition entitled "Retrospective". The exhibition is on display in Bedwellty House until the end of September and available for all to see. Bert is a long standing supporter of Tredegar Town Council and of his home town. His Valleys roots are depicted in many of his paintings and drawings. Well done Bert on this excellent exhibition!

Saturday 7th September 2013
Today was the Tredegar Mayor's Annual Charity Golf Day at Tredegar & Rhymney Golf Club and, following a long week visiting different businesses in the town to raise support for the Golf Day, it was another early start for me, Cllr Cross and Cllr O'Sullivan to prepare for the day. All in all the day was a great success, rising well over £1000 for my Mayor's Appeal. A big thank you to all the sponsors, I must say in these tough economic times how generous the people of Tredegar still are -a big thank to all involved. 
During the Golf Day I had to pop down to the Town Clock to meet members of the public for The Open Doors event, another annual event sponsored by Tredegar Town Council, where the Clock Tower is open for members of the public to climb up the inside of the Clock. 
In the evening it was off to Saron Congregational Church for an "Evening of Music with Mr Zeph Gould" to celebrate the 5th Anniversary of the Church's reopening. It was a great evening, spanning through the musical career of Zeph Gould with songs from the West End stage.
A big thank you to Saron Church for both the invite and also for making a collection to go towards my Mayors Appeal.

Wednesday 4th September 2013
I went along to the Valleys Life After Stroke group meeting to give them an update on our progress with my Mayor's Appeal. It is always nice to go and see the members to have a catch up with them over a cup of tea.

Tuesday 27th August 2013
Today I went along to open the Tredegar Camera Club exhibition in the Gwent Shopping Centre Tredegar. It was an excellent exhibition featuring some great talent from our town. Well done to Tredegar Camera Club!!

Sunday 25th August 2013
Today I held a table top sale at Carmarthen Bay Holiday Village to sell some of the items I have been collecting over the last couple of weeks. It was a lovely day and we raised £64.80 for my Appeal.  I still got many more items to sell at future table top sales or car boots and I am looking forward to the next one.

Friday 16th August 2013
Today I went along to the official unveiling of the Homfray Trail statues which are located at various sites around Tredegar. I had the honour of unveiling the statue of Mrs Mary Elizabeth Davies which is located in The Circle, Tredegar. Mrs Davies orchestrated the fundraising of the money used to build the Town Clock but unfortunately she passed away before it was fully built. Each statue around the trail has an inscription about the person it is off and their relevance in regards to the history of Tredegar.

Wednesday 15th August 2013
This evening I went to the Moose No. 1 Lodge to meet the members of Tredegar Gardening Club.  I was met by the Chair Mrs Audrey Jenkins who introduced me to the members, some of whom were familiar faces I had met at other organisations and groups in the Town. The purpose of the visit was to present, on behalf of Tredegar Town Council, the Gardening Club with a cheque for £200. The grant was received with thanks from the Chair and members.

Monday 12th August 2013
This morning I went to visit Mr & Mrs Wilcox who are celebrating their Diamond Wedding Anniversary, congratulations to them both on this very special occasion.
I would like to thank them for the warm welcome I received at their home and also for their generous donation to my Mayor's Appeal "Valleys Life after Stroke".

Monday 5th August 2013
Today I had the great privilege to go to Bedwellty Park Residential Home to meet Mrs Mary Jane Russell who is celebrating her 103rd Birthday today. Congratulations Mrs Russell you are officially the oldest woman in Tredegar!! I have also had it off a good source that you are also the oldest woman in the County Borough of Blaenau Gwent.

Tuesday 30th July 2013
This evening I went with Cllr Trollope to The Rhyd Hall for the Young Fire Fighters Awards. It was a nice evening where I got to learn about this group of young people who have completed their two years training as young fire fighters. This is an excellent foundation and a recognised qualification to build on to enhance their future employment prospects. It was a great privilege to be asked to present the awards. The next available course is due to begin in September 2013. I have included a photograph from the evening (Gallery - Mayor's Visits 2013-14).

Monday 29th July 2013
Today I was once again at Bedwellty Park Bowls pavilion for the Ladies Bowls official opening game, to celebrate the opening of the new pavilion. I was accompanied by Cllr Tippings and we had a great afternoon with the Ladies Bowls. Each team was made up of four players and they came from different towns throughout Blaenau Gwent and the neighbouring boroughs.
Thanks to Bedwellty Bowls Ladies Section for the invite, the lovely buffet and the warm welcome. And also the game of bingo! (Gallery - Mayor's Visits 2013-14)

Friday 26th July 2013
This evening I was invited to a very familiar organisation to me in Tredegar, Bedwellty Park Bowls Club.  I was honoured to be asked by Mr Terry Hopkins, President of the Monmouthshire County Bowling Association, to present the County Cup. Cllrs Haydn Trollope, Malcolm Cross and Anita Hobbs were also present and the evening was a great success, well done to Bedwellty Park Bowls Club for the great venue.
The County Cup is usually on display at Bedwellty House and once it has been engraved it will be back in it's usually display cabinet very soon.

Thursday 25th July 2013
Tonight the Deputy Mayor and I had an invitation to the Michael Foot Centenary Lecture at Llanhilleth Institute which was hosted by BGCBC Leader Cllr Hedley McCarthy. It was a great evening to celebrate the former MP's life and his contribution not just to our lives today but to future generations in the South Wales valleys.
Congratulations to Mrs Megan Fox, former Tredegar Town Mayor, who was asked to speak about Michael Foot on a personal level. It was really good to hear how one of my former teachers had such a good friendship with this great political Labour Party Leader, the former leader of the opposition and a great friend to the famous founder of the NHS Aneurin Bevan. The evening was a great success and thank you to Cllr McCarthy for the invite to such a great occasion.

Wednesday 24th July 2013
The first engagement today is with Valleys Life after Stroke at Roderick Hill Court which Cllr Willis and I went along to. Today I presented the group with a grant on behalf of Tredegar Town Council. The grant was received with thanks on behalf of the whole group and I have attached a photograph for you all to see (Gallery - Grant Presentations 2013-14). Once again thank you to the group for the very warm welcome received today.
Then it was off to the Bowls Club in Bedwellty Park for the official opening of the new multi-purpose pavilion. On arrival I met with Cllr Lewis and Mrs Lewis, Mayor and Mayoress of Blaenau Gwent and Cllr Anita Hobbs, Executive Member for Leisure, BGCBC. Cllr Lewis made a speech and unveiled the plaque to mark the official opening of the new pavilion.
It was great to see Bedwellty Park Bowls Ladies and Gents out on the green playing bowls.

Friday 19th July 2013
This morning I went along to Georgetown Primary School to their final assembly of this school year. I went to present certificates to recognise the achievements of some of the pupils; back in May Year Six pupils from this school took part in a litter pick to help keep Tredegar Tidy, a campaign sponsored by Tredegar Town Council and Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council.
Well done to all the pupils and staff concerned and keep up the good work.

Thursday 18th July 2013
This morning I went along to Blaenau Gwent Heritage Forum at Tredegar Library.  I am a delegate on this Forum but today I went in the capacity of Town Mayor to present them with a grant on behalf of Tredegar Town council. The grant was received with thanks from Mr Eifion Lloyd Davies, Chairman of the Forum. Although the Forum are very active within Blaenau Gwent they are still looking for new members If you are interested in joining them please Contact:- 
Mr Eifion Lloyd Davies (Chairman) 01495 312936

This afternoon it was off to Bedwellty Park Bowls Club to watch a match against the Barbarians A.  As usual I received the very best of welcomes at the new pavilion and also in the club house. I also met with Cllr Mostyn Lewis, Mayor of BGCBC and his Mayoress Mrs Ann Lewis who are very enthusiastic about and enjoy both coaching and playing bowls. The match ended in a draw, after which we was all invited to the new pavilion for a meal and to a presentation.  Once again thank you to Bedwellty Park Bowls Club, I'm sure I will see you in the near future.

After the Bowls Club, it was down through the Park to Bedwellty House for a concert "Music for a Summer's Evening". I was accompanied by my mother and Consort Mrs Elayne Niblett; Cllr M Lewis (Mayor), Mrs A Lewis (Mayoress) of BGCBC; and we were also accompanied by Mr & Mrs Gray, Mayor & Mayoress of Caerphilly County Borough Council.
The evening was presented by Ebbw Valley Brass Band, with musical director Mr Gareth Ritter, and Cefn Hengoed Ladies Choir, with musical director Ms Jayne Bell. The evening was a great success and thanks must go to Mrs Kathryn Stowers for organising such a great event. The perfect end to a long but very enjoyable day of being Tredegar Town Mayor. A big thank you to all concerned in the event.

Wednesday 17th July 2013
Today I went to Parc Bryn Bach to the Junior Golf Day being sponsored by Tredegar Town Council. The event was run by Inspire from Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council.  The boys and girls who took part where from various comprehensive schools throughout the Borough and it was a great day, the weather are glorious. Talking to a few of them after the game they commented on the facility and the fact that they had a great day.

Tuesday 16th July 2013
This afternoon I went to the Civic Centre, Ebbw Vale to a Joint Council Meeting.  This is a quarterly meeting whereby the four Town Councils meet with BGCBC to discuss any issues we may have. We then work with the BGCBC Leader Cllr H McCarthy, other Councillors and Officers to resolve these concerns/issues. The meeting is very important because it gives us Town Councillors a chance to interact with our colleagues.

This evening I and Cllr Willis went along to The Moose No 1 Lodge to present the Ladies Section with a grant on behalf of Tredegar Town Council. The grant was received with thanks, on behalf of the Ladies Section, by Mrs Lynne Price and Mrs Gail Williams. I was told they are going to use the money to buy new kitchen equipment. It was great to see some new faces and to see some people that I already know from other organisations in the town and on a personal level.
I would like to thank the Ladies for the warm welcome and also for the tea and cakes after which Cllr Willis and I left so the Ladies could get on with their bingo.

Thursday 11th July 2013
It was a early start this morning as BBC Radio Wales wanted me to do a live interview about the Circuit of Wales and the environmental issues put forward by Gwent Wild Life Trust. The interview was with Mr Tom Clarke, CEO, Gwent Wild Life Trust. I put my views forward and spoke on behalf of Tredegar Town Council. I listened to the views from Mr Tom Clarke.

Wednesday 10th July 2013
This morning I went to Roderick Hill Court to see the VLAS (Valleys Life After Stroke) Group. BGCBC sent a Digital Inclusion Officer from the Benefits Section to talk about the benefit needs digital inclusion and he also projected the photos of the group's recent Lap the Lake Walk at Parc Bryn Bach for them all to see.
During the meeting I talked to the group members about the coming year and how we can raise funds for my Mayor's Appeal which they are the beneficiaries of.  Amongst other things we also talked about arrangements for their soon approaching day trip to Swansea on the 22nd August. The next meeting of the group is on Wednesday 24th July 2013 at Roderick Hill Court Tredegar and all are welcome.
This evening I went to two meetings; the first being a presentation with BGCBC to discuss the proposal for the regeneration of the Tredegar Town. The presentation was very informative and I hope we are very successful in all or even part of the bid for regeneration.
Later on I and Cllr Tippings went to Penuel Chapel in Rhymney to discuss the Benefit Fund for the Bryn Oer Wind Farm.  (I will update further as soon as details are finalised)

Tuesday 9th July 2013
Today I went to Newtown Community Centre in Ebbw Vale to a consultation organised by GAVO on the Third Sector in Wales, the Third Sector being the Voluntary Sector.  I found the morning very informative; we expressed our views and talked about how volunteers and voluntary organisations can be better supported in our communities.  All the information received by GAVO today will be fed back to the Welsh Assembly Government.
This afternoon I went to the Hospice of the Valleys to make a grant presentation on behalf of Tredegar Town Council.  The cheque was received by Andrew Richards, Chief Executive and Helen Morgan, fundraiser, on behalf of the Hospice. Thanks were extended to Tredegar Town Council for supporting the vital services they provide to residents of Blaenau Gwent.
Following the presentation I went to Bryn Bach Primary School to a School Governors Meeting.

Monday 8th July 2013
Tonight I went to the Moose No 1 Lodge Tredegar for a meeting which gave me a great opportunity to present Mr John Wiltshire from Re-Liance Bus Preservation Group with a grant on behalf of Tredegar Town Council. I made the presentation to John during the meeting in front of members of the Lodge, and the grant was gratefully received with him thanking the Town Council for their continued support.

Wednesday 3rd July 2013
Today I went to Tredegar Methodist Church to make a grant presentation on behalf of Tredegar Town Council. I would like to thank the members for the warm welcome particularly as I was late - sorry - and the coffee was very nice.

Tuesday 2nd July 2013
This evening I'm went to Pontypool with Cllrs Trollope and Cross to the One Voice Wales AGM. At the meeting we met with Paul Egan the representative from One Voice Wales and the guest speaker, who is also Chair of One Voice Wales, Cllr Mair Stephens. She gave a talk on her background going back to her childhood, her university days and about her parents, leading on to how she came to hold her position of Councillor today. She explained the importance of her background and also the importance of the community and community spirit. Although she is now a County Councillor she obviously still as a high regard for her own community in which she lives in today. Cllr Stephens talked about how Town & Community Councillors are the people who promote the Council but we are not always recognised for our efforts or what we actually do within our communities such as organising events like our Armed Forces Day and Christmas Lighting; attending various events such as presentations and Songs of Praise; and just being out and about within the town or parish. 
I found the evening very informative and it was a great way to put a face to the names.

Sunday 30th June 2013
Today is Armed Forces Day, after a lot of preparation let's hope the weather holds up and the sun shines!!
My day started at 7.30am with me and Cllr Willis going to Cardiff Millennium Stadium to collect the WRU Championship Trophy then it was straight back to Bedwellty Park to help with the preparations for the day.
The actual event started at 11am with Tredegar Male Voice Choir in the Bandstand, I could think of no better way to start the day off. Following the Orpheus, there were performances from Kidz R Us and Tredegar Comprehensive School - all fantastic as always, Tredegar as some really talented kids. Keep up the good work Kidz R Us and Tredegar Comprehensive.
During the day there was a chance to have ago at archery, fly-fishing and bowls. Tredegar Twinning was Welly Wanging to raise money. The TA had their field Gun on display and Tredegar ATC had various activities going through out the day in the Education Centre in Bedwellty House.  There were the Scouts and Beavers busy doing outdoor baking and various games; Gwent and Powys Army Cadets were giving a demonstration on bush skills; and the Canine Society held a dog show.
It was a great opportunity to meet many organisations from the town - these included charity groups, local organisations and local business representatives from Tredegar Business Forum - many of whom made cakes, had table-top sales and raffles.
The WRU Championship Trophy was on display in the Minors Room and it was a great chance for people to have their photo taken with it, all donations for the photos went to the H4H Appeal. 
At 2.45pm the Regimental Band and Corps of Drums of the Royal Welsh, with their mascot Shenkin the goat, led a Parade from the Memorial Gates through the Park to the Bandstand. The following the Parade I addressed the crowds and thank everyone for coming to the event and welcomed Father John to open the Service which he opened with prayer, followed by Andrea Thomas. Hymns followed the short Service of Thanks and Celebration.  Then it was handed over to the Royal Welsh Band who thoroughly entertained the crowd, their performance was outstanding not just in the Bandstand but also later when they performed their marching display - what an amazing Band and Shenkin was excellent too!

Saturday 29th June 2013
Tonight I went along to the Little Theatre in Tredegar to see a play called JIGSAWS. A big thank you to the theatre for the invite and well done to the cast and crew of the play, it was an excellent performance and was directed by Mrs Sarah Green to whom I have to congratulate.
Looking forward to their next production!!

Thursday 27th June 2013
Tonight I am going to Cardiff to the Marriott Hotel to make a presentation to the Kidney Wales Foundation.  On 14th April 2013 at Parc Bryn Bach, as Deputy Mayor with a small group - including Alun Davies AM, Members of Tredegar Town Council and other supporters - we braved the wind and rain and lapped the lake in aid of The Kidney Wales Foundation. A BIG thank you to you all who done the walk, we raised £1251.76 which included a large donation from Tredegar Christians Together following their fundraising efforts at Morrisons Supermarket.
The actual evening at the Marriot Hotel was a great success. This is an annual event and it is mainly made up of Community and Town Councils who raise money for this very important charity. During the evening a total of over £50,000 was raised.

Wednesday 26th June 2013
This afternoon I went along to Tredegar Library to make a grant presentation to Tredegar History & Archive Group. I met members of the group and the presentation was gratefully received by Mr Jim Driscoll. A big thank you to the History & Archive Group for a very warm welcome.
This evening I went along to Peacehaven TARA and for a change I wasn't going to make a presentation I was going to receive a donation from the residence of Peacehaven. Following a short introduction by Mrs Ann Ingram and Mrs Sonia Gould I was asked to address the meeting and tell the members of TARA about my charity Valleys Life After Stroke. I was then presented with a cheque, for my Mayor's Appeal, of £50 which was very gratefully received. Following the first presentation I was asked to receive another donation from Peacehaven TARA, another very generous donation of £50 for me to pass onto Tredegar Town Council in aid of our Armed Forces Day Event "Help For Heroes". On behalf of myself and Tredegar Town Council I would like to thank Peacehaven TARA for their very kind Donations.

Tuesday 25th June 2013
Today I went to St James Church to see the ladies from the Mothers Union to present them with a grant cheque on behalf of Tredegar Town Council. I was met by Paul Latham and Anita, his wife, who are also members of Tredegar Christians Together. Anita introduced me to the Mothers Union Treasurer Mrs Gill Price who was a familiar face to me, being one of my teachers at Tredegar Comprehensive School.
Following a service of Prayer, led by Anita Latham, remembering members past, present and people less fortunate than ourselves I addressed the group and told them a few things about myself and my chosen charity Valleys Life After Stroke.
I knew after the presentation we was in for a real treat because Mrs Price, being a retired cookery teacher, along with the rest of the group had prepared an afternoon tea of fresh scones, strawberries, cakes and tea/coffee.
I would like to thank the ladies, and Paul, from Mothers Union for their very warm welcome and yes the Scones were very nice I'm looking for to my next visit!!

Sunday 23rd June 2013
Today I went along to Songs of Praise at Bedwellty Park, due to the wet weather this year it was held in the Carriage House in Bedwellty House. The event is organised by Christians Together and sponsored by Tredegar Town Council. Merthyr Tydfil Salvation Army played and, as well as the audience/congregation singing, we had some excellent performances from Tredegar Comprehensive School by both teachers and pupils. The Service was opened by Mrs Joy James with a Prayer; Sue Lewis was compare; and Father John Davis closed in Prayer.
During the course of the afternoon I was given an opportunity to present Tredegar Christians Together with a grant from Tredegar Town Council. The grant was received with thanks from the Treasurer and I felt this was a good time to thank Christians Together for their efforts in helping raise much needed funds, in-fact over £600, for Kidney Wales Foundation's Walk for Life Appeal.
After the event it was in to the Orchid Tearoom for tea/coffee and some cakes. A BIG thanks to Christians Together for my warm welcome and an enjoyable afternoon.

Saturday 22nd June 2013
Tonight I went along to Saron Church to see a show entitled 'My Music My Life'. It was a great evening where Ricky Valance sang some songs from various hits he had and told his life story. He was the first Welsh artist to have a number one single, the 1960 hit 'Tell Laura I Love Her' which sold over a million copies.

Friday 21st June 2013
Cllr Willis, Cllr Watkins and I went along to Ebbw Vale Market to hand out leaflets promoting the Help for Heroes day being held on Sunday 30th June in Bedwellty House & Park Tredegar.
This afternoon I went to Bedwellty Park Bowling Club, Tredegar to watch the game between them and the Welsh Bowling Association. It was a great afternoon with the match ending in a draw.  Following the game we sat down to a meal celebrating the opening of the New Pavilion. I would like to extend my thanks to the Committee for my invitation to this very special day and wish the Club every success in the future.

Thursday 20th June 2013
I went along to Barry for a course with One Voice Wales on Chairing Skills.

Tuesday 11th June 2013
I went along for a catch up with the members of Friends of Tredegar Twinning Association which was held in The Nags Head, Tredegar. It was a great opportunity to catch up after our trip to Orvault. We also discussed ways of promoting Tredegar Twinning Association and increasing the number of members.

Monday 10th June 2013
Today I met with Tredegar Business Forum to discuss the way forward for the businesses in Tredegar. This year's Christmas Light Switch On, organised by Tredegar Town Council, will take place on Friday 29th November 2013 and the Christmas Fare, organised by TBF, will take place on Saturday 7th December 2013 in the Town Centre.

Saturday 8th June 2013
I went along to the "Step Out for Stroke Walk" at Parc Bryn Bach. The turn out this year was quite over whelming for the members of the Valleys Life After Stroke group and I would like to thank everyone who made the effort to attend the walk.
We have raised a lot of money and the final amount will be displayed on my Appeal page shortly, when all money is collected in. Step Out for Stroke Walk photos. So far we have raised £2254.85 (including £100 paid direct to the Stroke Association) for my Appeal, well done everyone.

Thursday 6th June 2013
Today I went to visit Mr & Mrs Janes to present them with a bouquet of flowers, on behalf of Tredegar Town Council, to celebrate their 60th wedding Anniversary. Congratulations to you both and wishing you many more happy years of wedded bliss.

Sunday 2nd June 2013
I went along to Bedwellty Park for the start of the Summer season of Band Concerts in the Park.  Tredegar Town Band played the first concert in the Bandstand, it was an excellent turn out and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the live music in the Park.

Friday 24th May to Tuesday 28th May 2013, Tredegar Twinning Association's visit to Orvault:
Our trip started on at 3.15am from Tredegar to Poole to catch our ferry, Barfleur, to Cherbourg France and then onwards to Orvault. Once we got to Orvault I was introduced to Pierre and Beatrice Gade who were my host family for the duration of the stay in Orvault. Pierre is the Deputy Mayor of Orvault. Both he and his wife made me feel very welcome in their home.
Saturday 25th May - This morning we all met for a meeting to discuss the way forward for the future of our long twinning partnership and relations with Orvault which has spanned over three decades. Following the meeting Jean Claude, the President, invited us all to the Mayor's Official Welcome. It was at this official presentation I gave a speech and had the honour of presenting Orvault with a gift on behalf of Tredegar Quilting Circle. The gift, which was a beautiful quilted arrayed of iconic buildings in Tredegar, had been presented to me earlier in the year when I was Deputy Mayor. Then, on behalf of Tredegar Town Council I presented Orvault with a special gift to cement our partnership hopefully for another three decades and more. I was aware that in the past Tredegar had presented many gifts to Orvault including a red telephone box to mark the 10th Anniversary, which is still in their town today. With the 35th Anniversary approaching next year Tredegar Twinning Association members where curious to find out what the gift would be! I thought a special gift is something that you cannot buy; it doesn't really matter about the monetary value. Something special?? Keeping the 2012 Olympic Spirit alive, and with our own town's true hero Mark Colbourne's great achievements at the Paralympics, I presented the President with a life size stamp marking Mark's achievements for team GB and also the people of Tredegar. This was one of two life size autographed stamps presented to Tredegar Town Council last year at Mark's Home Coming to Tredegar. This gift was received and further cemented our relations with Orvault; this gift is something that only our two towns have.
The afternoon was spent with our host family and it was a great opportunity for some sightseeing around Orvault and Nantes.
After a long day sightseeing it was quite a rush to get back to Orvault for the Dinner and Dance evening. It was a lovely evening and a chance to spend time with the other host families and members of the Twinning for a catch up. Click on Orvault Visit 2013 gallery to view photos from the day.
Sunday 26th  May - We went to Pornic, a lovely seaside resort about 40 miles from Orvault, where we explored the harbour and sat down for some lunch with Pierre and Beatrice. Photographs of the beautiful scenery are included in the Orvault Visit 2013 gallery.
The evening was spent with our host family at their house, Jean Claude and his wife joined us for a meal and a drink to celebrate the success of the visit.
Monday 27th  May - We all met at 8am for a trip to Terra Botanica in Angers. There we had a guided tour of the beautiful gardens; enjoyed a boat ride; did some shopping for gifts and a picnic lunch.
On our return trip to Orvault we visited a wine cellar, Domaine de la Grange a Mouzillon, for wine tasting and this was a perfect opportunity to purchase some French wine.
The evening was spent with our host family and Jean Claude extended an invitation for us to go to his house for a meal.
Tuesday 28th May - It was time to say goodbye this morning and I cannot thank my host family enough for the wonderful welcome they have given me. The whole experience has been one I will remember and it has been an honour to represent Tredegar and Tredegar Town Council. We look forward to their visit to Tredegar next year.
We left Orvault for the return journey, stopping at Avaranche for some shopping, sightseeing and lunch. Following this short stop, we continued our journey on to Cherbourg to catch the Fast Craft Normandie Express back to Portsmouth and then onwards back to Tredegar.

Thank you to everyone on the trip for making me feel so welcome.
We fitted so much in to a long weekend, it really is to much to fit into this blog, so I have created a gallery of photographs of the trip called Orvault Visit 2013, please take a look at this beautiful town we are twinned with.

Wednesday 22nd May 2013
A big thank you to Christine and John at the Lord Nelson, Pontlottyn who held a charity night this evening as the first fundraising event for my appeal. It has been a really entertaining evening raising £322.50 for my Appeal. Also thanks too to Des at JD Entertainments for organising and providing the acts. The support from you all and the patrons is truely appreciated.

Saturday 11th May 2013
I went along to Tredegar Leisure Centre for the Blaenau Gwent Otters Annual Swimming Gala. It was a great afternoon. I met the Mayor and Mayoress of Blaenau Gwent there too. I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon watching the final heats of the gala.
Afterwards we had some refreshments and got a chance to meet the many competitors of the competition. Then later on that afternoon it was a great privilege for me and Cllr Lewis (Blaenau Gwent Mayor) to present the awards.
I would strongly recommend this event to everyone who gets invited to go along and join in the fun with these special individuals. Well done everyone.

Thursday 2nd May 2013
My first official visit today as Mayor and it was a pleasure to attend the Bedwellty Park Bowls Club to meet their members and present them with a grant cheque from Tredegar Town Council. It was also an opportunity to have a look around the new pavilion which is looking really good.

Wednesday 1st May 2013
Tonight was my Inauguration as Mayor of Tredegar and it is an absolute honour to bestowed with this role. My family, friends and fellow Councillors were there to support me. My Appeal for my year in Office will be Valleys Life After Stroke (affiliated with the Stroke Association) and I will be arranging fundraising events shortly but anyone who wishes to make a donation can drop it into the Town Council Offices in Bedwellty Park or to me.
I am looking forward to this next year which I am sure will be busy.