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From cargo to coin: shipwrecked silver struck at Royal Mint

The Royal Mint in Llantrisant is striking a limited number of coins from the cargo of a British merchant ship - more than 70 years after it was originally meant to be delivered.

The SS Gairsoppa was carrying silver bullion bars over from India when it was torpedoed by a German U-boat in 1941. The ship and its cargo were eventually found 300 miles off the Irish coast in 2011. Dean Thomas reports.

Sunken treasure: Royal Mint strikes coins 70 years later

The Royal Mint in Llantrisant is striking a set of silver coins from the bullion recovered from a merchant ship that sank during the Second World War.

A 'limited number' of silver coins are being struck from the bullion.

British steam merchant ship SS Gairsoppa was torpedoed by a German U-boat in February 1941 off the coast of Ireland, whilst it was carrying a large shipment of silver bullion bars from India, destined for the Royal Mint.

The ship was heading for the Royal Mint when it was sunk more than 70 years ago. Credit: Odyssey Marine Exploration

The ship and its cargo were located in September 2011, and the silver bullion recovered by marine exploration company Odyssey Marine Exploration.

The bullion was three miles underwater - which they say made it the largest and deepest recovery of precious metal from a shipwreck in history.

The coins are edged with the name SS Gairsoppa.

Shane Bissett from the Royal Mint said: "The traditional Britannia coin design is the perfect image for the coins struck from SS Gairsoppa's long-lost cargo. We are so pleased to be able to bring these coins to the market at long last, albeit more than 70 years later than expected."

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Protest held over changes to school catchment areas

Around 300 people turned out for today's march Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

Around 300 people have held a protest in Pontyclun today about proposed changes to school catchment areas, which could see pupils attending a different school.

Protesters outside Y Pant Comprehensive Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

At the moment, pupils in Llantrisant go to Y Pant Comprehensive, but under plans being considered by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, pupils from Llantrisant and Penygawsi primary schools would be moved to Bryncelynnog in the future.

Parents say they're not happy at the idea, due to the distances involved to get to the school.

A spokesman for RCT Council say they're in the process of a consultation, and will take all views on board.

Silver coins for babies arriving same day as new royal

The Royal Mint says it will give away free silver pennies to babies born on the same day as the new royal arrival Credit: Royal Mint

The Royal Mint in Llantrisant is giving babies born on the same day as the future monarch a suitably royal welcome by presenting them with a silver penny struck with the year of their birth.

Crossing the palm of a new born with silver or offering them a silver penny is traditionally seen as a way to wish them wealth and good health.

Parents who wish to claim their silver penny need to go to www.facebook.com/theroyalmint and register the birth of their child.

Parents have sixty days following the birth to obtain one of the 2,013 coins that are to be made available by The Royal Mint.

Royal fans outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital where the Duchess of Cambridge is now in labour. Credit: PA

Shane Bissett, Director of Commemorative Coin at the Royal Mint said, "The birth of the royal baby will be a joyous occasion not just for Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

"However, it will also be a special day for many mothers and fathers across the country as they too welcome the arrival of their new baby, hence why we wanted to extend this historical moment to them."

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Plans for 117 new jobs in south Wales

The Llantrisant-based firm is centralising its UK wide business enterprises

An insurance broker plans to create 117 new jobs in south Wales over the next three years.

Giles Insurance Brokers Ltd, based in Llantrisant is planning to expand the firm.

The company is putting in a £6m investment, with the Welsh Government contributing £1.13m.

Farmer: "Schmallenberg disease has killed half of my lambs"

lamb
The Schmallenberg disease causes late abortion or birth defects in newborn cattle, sheep and goats. Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Archive/Press Association Images

A farmer has told ITV Wales News that 50 per cent of his lambs have died because of the Schmallenberg disease (SBV).

Tim Prichard, who has a farm in Llantrisant, Pontyclun, says he expected 180 lambs to be born this season but 60 have died already.

Mr Prichard says other farmers are experiencing the same thing with one losing all but one of his 23 lambs.

Schmallenberg is a disease that causes late abortion or birth defects in newborn cattle, sheep and goats.

In December last year the Chief Veterinary Officer Christianne Glossop said that there was evidence the infection was "across most if not all counties in Wales" and the disease had been detected in a deformed lamb.

Ms Glossop added: "It is likely that malformed lambs and calves will be born in Wales in the spring 2013 as a result of some Welsh sheep and cattle being infected with SBV around the time of mating this year."

Unite union: Proposed Sogefi closure 'total blow'

Unite union has described the proposed closure of a Llantrisant car parts factory as a 'total blow'.

Italian firm Sogefi is understood to have announced to its 200-strong workforce that it intends to shut the South Wales site and that the 90-day consultation period has now begun.

Our members at Sogefi have recently gone back onto full-time hours following a troubled period last year that saw half the workforce at Llantrisant being made redundant and the remainder being put on short-time working.

The factory has long played a vital role in the area so the announcement of further job losses – and so close to Christmas – is not simply bad news for those working at Sogefi but for the local community as a whole.

Our priority now is to ensure the best possible future options, support and compensation for our members at Sogefi as we enter the consultation period.

– Unite regional officer Andrea Jones
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