Mayor of Llantwit Major

A Year in the Life of the Town Mayor at Llantwit Major. Every year each Council Choose their Mayor to Hold office for One year.

My Photo
Location: Llantwit Major, Wales, United Kingdom

I live in Llantwit Major with my two Children Jessica aged 11 years and Laura aged 10 years, I am President of the Twining Organstion. Chairman of Planing, Chairman of Youth Forum, Chairman of School Gardens Commitee, Chairman of the Citzens Awards, Chairman of the Stillbirth and Childrens memorial Garden, Vice Chairman of S.M.I.L.E, Trustee of Crossroads in the Vale.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Christmas and New Year Message from the Town Mayor Cllr Russell Downe

Christmas is a great opportunity to spend time with your family and friends. The holidays give us a chance to relax a little, enjoy each other's company, and reflect on the events of the past year. For many people, Christmas is a very special time of year. Families unite to celebrate, friends are remembered, and hope and peace comes with the joy of the season. As the lights glow beautifully on our Christmas trees, our businesses, our homes, I hope that it helps to brighten up our spirits for this festive season of Christ' Birthday. I hope that this light serves as a guiding light to help us all rise to better times in the near future
When I look around Llantwit, the huge variety of life never ceases to amaze me. It is one of the best places in which to live. Our multicultural community works together to add a zest to life. Llantwit Major Town Council takes great pride in improving the quality of life of our wonderful community. It gives me great pleasure to see the way Council has really contributed to this Town. In a host of areas,
It is during Christmas and New Year that goodwill and friendship traditionally prevail but one of the things that has been made abundantly clear to me since becoming Mayor is that these qualities are alive and well within our community all the year round.
At this time of year, is also one for reflection, we must not forget those less fortunate than ourselves and thank the many people and organisations which assist those in need and make Christmas a much happier time. As you enjoy your holidays, please spare a thought for the many people who will not be surrounded by their families and friends this festive season.
As Mayor of Llantwit Major it gives me great pleasure, on behalf of all the council’s Staff and Councillors, to offer the people of Llantwit Major best wishes for a Happy Christmas and a Healthy, Happy and Peaceful New Year

Cllr Russell Downe Town Mayor

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Macmillan Cancer Support Christmas Ball

Eve Myles and Myself
Charles Dale and Myself

Picasso Griffths Caricature of Me

Eve Myles and Myself

From left to right Mayoress Shirley Hodges, Myself, Lord Mayor of Cardiff, Mayoress of Cardiff, Nick Hodges Mayor of the Vale of Glamorgan

I was Honoured to support Macmillan Cancer Support Christmas Ball with the Lord Mayor of Cardiff Cllr Gareth Neale, and the Mayor of The Vale of Glamorgan Cllr Nick Hodges, for a Tux and Tiaras memorable evening of entertainment which included a drinks reception, 3 course meal, music by Big Mac's Wholly Soul Band and disco. There was also auction with a celebrity auctioneer Charles Dale raffle and Picasso Griffiths was drawing caricatures and caught up with me through the night.
All proceeds in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support and to help local people living with cancer, In the fine setting of the Holland House Hotel. I was pleased to meet with actor Charles Dale, whom is a really down to earth person. Charles has been on our TV screens over the years in many productions, including Belonging, the Bill, A Touch of Frost, Played Dennis Stringer in Coronation Street were he became Janice Battersby lover, Where the Heart Is and more recently Robin Hood. I also chatted with Eve Myles a talented actress whom is currently on our TV screens playing Gwen in Torchwood. Eve has also been in many productions and it was nice to talk to her about her work.
One in three people are affected by Cancer at sometime in their lives and the work of Macmillan helps thousands of people every year.

Candle Light Service White Ribbon Day

Violence against Women causes more deaths and disability among women aged 15-44 than: Cancer, Malaria, Traffic Accidents, War

I attended the Candle Light Service at Barry Memorail Hall outside on the steps along with Jane Hutt AM, Cllr Olga Cash Mayor of Barry and many People that surport International Day to Eradicate Violence Against Women.

What is the White Ribbon Campaign (WRC)?
The WRC is the largest effort in the world of men working to end men's violence against women. It relies on volunteer support and financial contributions from individuals and organizations

How did the WRC get started?
In 1991, a handful of men in Canada decided they had a responsibility to urge men to speak out against violence against women. They decided that wearing a white ribbon would be a symbol of men's opposition to men's violence against women. After only six weeks preparation, as many as one hundred thousand men across Canada wore a white ribbon. Many others were drawn into discussion and debate on the issue of men's violence. There are now White Ribbon Campaigns operating in many countries around the world.

What does it mean to wear a white ribbon?
Wearing a white ribbon is a personal pledge never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women.
Each year, we urge men and boys to wear a ribbon for one or two weeks, starting on November 25, the International Day for the Eradication of Violence Against Women

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Gang Show New Theater Cardiff

What a great night and was delighted to support this event. The cast were magnificent and if you get the opportunity to Go nest year you will not be disappointed.

The Gang Show is a musical revue that will take you on a journey to Broadway and back, featuring all the razzle-dazzle and excitement of New York’s celebrated Theatreland. With a talented local cast of 130 young people you can expect an energetic and high paced show.

The event was a double centenary celebration of 100 years of both the Scout movement and the New Theatre

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Music in the Vale Young Musicians Gala Concert

On the 11th & 12th of November I attended the Gala Concert, of young Singer & young Instrumentalist of the Year.
This annual event gives singers and instrumentalists form the Vale of Glamorgan and surrounding areas the opportunity to perform with professional accompanists before expert adjudicators and a live audience, their aim is to encourage young talent and the experience they will gain from performing that will help them achieve their ambitions, the night was compered by Margaret Hemmings OBE and Gareth Howe with the Adjudicators Aun Guy, Euros Rhys Evans, Robin Stowell and Martin Ronchetti.

The age groups for the cometitions have been carefully chosen to reflect the differing rates of muturity and voice changes at this period in their lives: Singers - Junior 10-13, Intermediate 14-17, Senior 18-22: Instrumentalists - Junior 10-12, Intermediate 13-15, Senior 16-20
The day starts with a series of auditions for all entrants, and in the event that too many entries are recieved for the day's timetable, entry is granted on a first come first served basis. The adjudicators have the difficult task of selecting four finalists from each category from the wealth of talent perforning throughout each day, Their decisions are based on the total performances-choice of programme, Musician and performance skills.
Concerts take the same format as the auditions when the 12 finalist return in the evenign to perform in the Gala Concert in fornt of an audience of their Familes,invited guests and the general public, the adjudicators will make further assessment of the performances and will select a winer and runner up in each category.
All performances were excepantional, and I was very pleased to see a young man form Llantwit Major get to the finals Ben Tarlton playing the cello. Playing
Glgne form 2nd sdo suite (Bach), Prayer form Jewish Life (block) and Allegro Appasianato (Saint Saens). Ben came runner -up in his category.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Womens Aid AGM

I attended the womens AGM, Women's Aid is the national domestic violence charity that helps over 320,000 women and children every year.

What is domestic violence?
In Women’s Aid’s view domestic violence is physical, sexual, psychological or financial violence that takes place within an intimate or family-type relationship and that forms a pattern of coercive and controlling behaviour. This can include forced marriage and so-called ‘honour crimes’. Domestic violence may, and often does, include a range of abusive behaviours, not all of which are, in themselves, inherently "violent". Crime statistics and research both show that domestic violence is gender specific (i.e. most commonly experienced by women and perpetrated by men) and that any woman can experience domestic violence regardless of race, ethnic or religious group, class, disability or lifestyle. Domestic violence is repetitive, life-threatening, and can destroy the lives of women and children.
The Government defines domestic violence as "Any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality." This includes issues of concern to black and minority ethnic (BME) communities such as so called 'honour killings' Domestic violence can also take place in lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender relationships, and can involve other family members, including children.
Domestic violence is very common. Research shows that it can affect one in four women in their lifetimes, regardless of age, social class, race, disability or lifestyle.

All forms of domestic violence – psychological, economic, emotional and physical – come from the abuser’s desire for power and control over other family members or intimate partners.
Although every situation is unique, there are common factors that link the experience of an abusive relationship. Acknowledging these factors is an important step in preventing and stopping the abuse.

Domestic violence is very common with 1 in 4 women experiencing it in their lifetime and between 1 in 8 to 1 in 10 women experiencing it annually. Though less than half of all incidents are ever reported the Police, the Police still receive one call about domestic violence for every minute in the UK.
An analysis of 10 separate domestic violence prevalence studies found consistent findings: 1 in 4 women experience domestic violence over their lifetimes and between 6-10% of women suffer domestic violence in a given year (Council of Europe, 2002).
British Crime Survey found that there were an estimated 12.9 million incidents of domestic violence acts (that constituted non-sexual threats or force) against women and 2.5 million against men in England and Wales in the year preceding interview (Walby & Allen, 2004).
Nearly 1 in 5 counselling sessions held in Relate Centres in England on 28 September 2000 mentioned domestic violence as an issue in the marriage (Stanko, 2000).
Every minute in the UK, the Police receive a call from the public for assistance for domestic violence. This leads to police receiving an estimated 1,300 calls each day or over 570,000 each year. (Stanko, 2000). However, according to the British Crime Survey, only 40.2% of actual domestic violence crime is reported to the Police (Dodd et al, July 2004).

Opening of the Family Center Llantwit Major

I was deligted to attend the opening of the Western Vale Integrated Children's Centre which is the focus for a wide range of services being offered to children, young people and their families in the Western area of the Vale of Glamorgan was officially opened on Friday, 10th November.The new £800,000 Western Vale Integrated Children's Centre has been funded through a Big Lottery Fund grant of more than £470,000, Welsh Assembly Government grant and Council resources.The development of the centre, which has refurbished and extended the Family Centre at Llantwit Major, and sits alongside the St Illtyd's Primary School and Youth Centre complex, followed wide consultation.The event, which also included an open afternoon, was attended by more than 300 people.The centre has four core themes – early years education, childcare, open access play, and training and community development – each of which are underpinned by the Health and Wellbeing agenda. The centre already hosts a wide range of activities from various groups and organisations.Activities offered either at the centre or through outreach services are a Sunshine Group, Stay and Play, Parent and Toddler, Childminders' Support Group, Credit Union, Pop In and Play (The Gathering Place, St Athan), Clap, Tap and Rhyme, Fruit and Veg Community Co-operative and Ti a Fi, and a new Cylch Meithrin is also being developed.The centre also hosts a variety of training courses particularly aimed at parents and carers, and these include language and play, number and play, food hygiene, first aid, welfare and benefit sessions, breastfeeding support, basic skills, ICT, confidence building and Welsh tasters.

My Mayors Ball in Aid of Young People

Miss K Hills Town Council Staff with her Partner

Myself with the Mayor of the Vale Cllr Nic Hodges

Photo : Wing Commander Andy Taylor with the Mayoress of the Vale Cllr Shirley Hodges

I held my Charity Ball on October 13th at MOD St Athan, In aid of my Charity Young people.

The night was a great Success and raised over £800.. Guest enjoyed a five Course meal while the Harpist Played in the Background, Followed by the Victorian Jazz Band that gave a great performance, which followed by a DDisco the event was well attended by Local ddignitariesand oorganisations
Credit must be Give to the Staff at the town hall for making all the aarrangementsand also to Joyce the Mess MManagerfor making the night perfect.

Vale of Glamorgan Mayor Charity Dinner Inroads

I attended a charity Dinner hosted by the Mayor Of the Vale of Glamorgan Cllr Nic Hodges in support of one of his Charity's Inroads.

Mission Statement: "Inroads Street Drugs Project is a community based needs led agency.It seeks to enable drug users, and those affected by drug use to make informed, positive life choices. This is achieved through the creation and maintenance of therapeutic relationships, the development of realistic goals, and the adoption of safer practices."

Inroads can be contacted at

RAF St Athan Voluntary Band Annuel Concert

On Saturday 21 October, I was delighted to attend the Annual Concert of the RAF St Athan Voluntary Bands Concert, supported by the Llantrisant Male Choir is one of the oldest choirs in Wales.

What a wonderful night. The Band which is Conducted Alan Bourne, along with the Choir gave a Great peformance and certainly rasied the roof.

You can certainly see why Wales is known as the Land of Song .

Royal Visit Princess Anne

HRH Princess Anne Visited Alantic College on 20th October to pay tribute to the RNLI and the Honourable Company of Master Mariners. I met with HRH as she landed at the Collage, also present was the Mayor of the Vale Cllr Nic Hodges, Chief Executive John Matland Evans and the Town Clerk of Llantwit Major Mrs Lesley Stokes.

We Are the Champions

The event which took place at RAF St. Athan’s sports gymnasium on October 20, involved more than 350 pupils from 10 schools, participating against each other throughout the day in events such as swimming, tug of war and obstacle races.
Before the finals, more than 1,100 children had taken part in five heats, which were held at Penarth and Barry Leisure Centres, as well as RAF St Athan.

The Winners of this Years Event was St Davids School.

Monday, November 13, 2006

AGM of the Llantwit Major Town Twining

As President of the Town Twining Committee I was invited to Conduct part of the AGM and Election of Officers and Committee members. which are as follows.

Cllr Russell Downe Mayor of Llantwit Major, President.
Diane Smith Chairperson
Leslie Beckwith Vice-Chairman
Helen Sharp Secretary
Jack Sharp Treasurer
Barbara Hodges Minute Secretary
Ann Matthews Town Council Representative
Dave Lane " " "
Mike Smith Press Officer

Tony Bennett
Ann Brinsdon
Sheila Brown
Janet Farthing
Angela Hawkins
Adrian Helmore
Ros Martin-Jones
Pat Walker
Bill Whitelegg
Eileen Whitelegg

History of the Twining
In Spring 1981 a request was received by the Llantwit Major Town Council to consider twinning with the Breton town of Le Pouliguen. Le Pouliguen was already twinned with a German town, Kisslegg im Allgau but they were anxious to find a British town to revive the ancient Celtic ties of centuries ago. Llantwit with it's Celtic connections dating back to St Illtyd seemed an ideal choice.
Lengthy discussions took place in Llantwit and in summer 1981each town sent small delegations to visit each other led by their respective Mayors. In the autumn the newly formed steering committee of the Llantwit Major Town Twinning Association, together with the Franco-British Twinning Committee started planning the inaugural twinning visits and official signing of the twinning charter.
57 people took part in the initial visit, including the Mayor and councillors, representatives of local organisations and pupils from the Comprehensive School. A warm welcome awaited, followed by 5 memorable days during which the first of the two identical charters was signed in Le Pouliguen on Sunday 4th April 1982. Shortly after the return home of the Llantwit party, 75 Bretons arrived and on Monday 12th April 1982 the second of the charters was signed.
The charters, historic documents drawn up by both committees and beautifully made by a craftsman in Nantes are inscribed in four languages, English, French, Welsh and Breton. The charters were signed by the two Mayors, Cllr Don Hardie and Dr Felix Monville and the Clerk to Llantwit Major Council, Mr Eddie Lloyd and Mme Dannielle Touzalin, Vice President of the Le Pouliguen Twinning Committee.
In an exchange of gifts Llantwit Major presented Le Pouliguen with a brass miner's lamp with a lump of coal mounted on a wooden plaque. Le Pouliguen presented Llantwit with a model of a Breton lobster boat.
On 22nd October 1982 the first AGM of the association was held and the first committee proper was elected. Since then alternate biennial visits have taken place with special celebrations for the 10th and 20th anniversaries. Exchanges and visits have included Llanilltud Fawr Comprehensive School, Life Guards, Choirs, Sporting Clubs, and many private visits. There have been many memorable occasions including the Llantwit coach breaking down en route to Le Pouliguen and the Le Pouliguen coach being stolen by a joy rider in Llantwit! Visits to castles, zoos, salt marshes, the Millennium Stadium, the Airbus factory ,boat trips, picnics, shopping and even to a water purification plant!
The association has a thriving social and fund raising programme, which has included dances, wine tastings, Bastille day celebrations, participation in the Victorian Fair Day and Flower Festival, Jumble Sales, Coffee Mornings, Quizzes and many other events. The association goes on from strength to strength and is always anxious to welcome new members.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Chapel Re-Opens at Merthyr Dyfan Barry

Picture From Left-Right Cllr Nick Hodges vale of Glamorgan Mayor, Mayoress Shirley Hodges, Cllr Linda Adams Mayor of Cowbridge, Myself , John Smith MP.

I was invited to the opening of the chapel of Remembrance at Merthyr Dyfan cemetery, Barry, . The chapel had been out of public use for more than 20 years, as it was badly in need of internal refurbishment. In fact, in recent times it has been more frequently used as a storage facility for cemetery equipment. Now, the refurbishment is now complete and the new-look chapel was officially unveiled on Saturday (November 11) by Mayor of Barry Cllr Olga Cash from Barry Town Council.