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Groggs creator John Hughes dies aged 78

John Hughes was awarded an MBE in 2010

The man who created the world famous Grogg statues has died at the age of 78.

John Hughes, from Pontypridd, became well known for creating caricatures of rugby players and other famous stars. He passed away after a long illness.

Pontypridd Rugby Club described him as "a genius, a gentleman, a character" who will be "greatly missed".

The figures ranged from rugby legends and celebrities, to characters from myths

Pontypridd protest held over health service proposals

More than 100 people have held a protest in Pontypridd over proposed changes to health services across South Wales and South Powys.

If they go ahead, only five hospitals in the region will have A&E departments set up to care for the most seriously ill patients.

Health chiefs say they believe centralising services will improve patient care.

Megan Boot reports.

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Big Weekend line-up announced

JLS
JLS last played the Big Weekend in 2010 Credit: Ian West/PA Wire/Press Association Images

X Factor groups JLS, Little Mix and Union J will take to the stage in Pontypridd this summer for the sixth annual Ponty's Big Weekend.

Little Mix
Little Mix won the X Factor in 2011 Credit: Hubert Boesl/DPA/Press Association Images

Organised by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and Orchard Entertainment, the event is set to take place in Ynysangharad War Memorial Park on the 20th and 21st of July.

Union J
Union J will also perform at the event in July Credit: Sophie Duval/EMPICS Entertainment

All three groups will be part of the Saturday line-up, with details of the Sunday headliners expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

Police appeal over missing Pontypridd man

Aston Jones is described as white, 6ft 1in tall, with freckles, mousey straight hair, and blue eyes. Credit: South Wales Police

South Wales Police is appealing for help to find a missing 22-year-old man from Pontypridd.

Aston Jones, who is from the Graig area, was reported missing on Friday 8 March.

Anyone with information is asked to contact South Wales Police on 101, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

He has two large and distinctive tattoos on his chest. Credit: South Wales Police

'My Beijing pupils find Wales fascinating!'

Pontypridd teacher Emma Owen is currently based at international school YCIS Beijing, where she has taught her young pupils some traditional Welsh folk songs just in time for St David's Day.

Over Skype, she told ITV Cymru Wales: "They find Wales fascinating. They are always asking about the language and the castles - we're learning fairytales at the moment, so they're always asking questions!"

Click the video above to watch the pupils singing and dancing to 'Sosban Fach'

Pupils embrace St David's Day tradition... from Beijing!

A class of Chinese pupils are now fluent in a medley of traditional Welsh folk songs - thanks to their Welsh teacher!

Emma Owen, from Pontypridd, is in her second year of teaching at international school YCIS Beijing.

She has taught her students the words to traditional Welsh songs including 'Sosban Fach' - just in time for St David's Day.

The youngsters put on a special Welsh-themed song and dance performance at their school assembly this morning, complete with face-paint, Welsh flags and a giant daffodil head!

Emma told ITV Cymru Wales: "The kids have worked hard to learn the Welsh words to the songs, which I'm sure is difficult for children who do not speak the language.

"They find Wales fascinating. They are always asking about the language and the castles - we're learning fairytales at the moment, so they're always asking questions!"

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25 pigeons killed in arson attack

The fire broke out at a pigeon shed near Pontypridd Credit: ITV News Wales

Twenty five show pigeons have been killed in an arson attack on their shed near Pontypridd.

Some of the birds were worth a thousand pounds. It happened in Treforest at around 7.30pm last night.

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service say the fire was started deliberately.

25 birds died in the fire Credit: ITV News Wales

Funding boost for Pontypridd Lido

Pontypridd's Lido was once a popular local attraction but has fallen into decline Credit: ITV News

Plans to restore a derelict Lido in Pontypridd have been given a funding boost from the EU.

Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council's £6.3m plans to redevelop the facility in Ynysangharad Park will benefit from around £3m from the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.

The money will be used to restore the historic Lido by creating three pools, a new cafe and a dry adventure play facility.

Replacement bus service between Pontypridd and Aberdare

Replacement bus service running on Arriva Trains Wales between Pontypridd and Aberdare, and between Pontypridd and Merthyr Tydfil due to over running engineering works between Pontypridd and Abercynon South.

The first trains in each direction have been cancelled. Buses are replacing these trains. Arriva Trains Wales hope that a normal service will resume from around 14:00.

Police warn of 'fuel tank drilling' in Pontypridd and Merthyr

South Wales Police are investigating a spate of unusual and "extremely dangerous" thefts of fuel from vehicles in recent weeks.

Thieves go underneath the vehicle to drill into the fuel tank and drain off what is inside.

A power tool is used to bore into the tank - risking sparks and igniting the fuel within.

Three incidents took place in and around the Rhydyfelin area of Pontypridd on the night of February 5th.

It follows similar thefts in Merthyr in the last fortnight.

Fuel can be highly explosive and people are literally dicing with their lives.

I am urging those responsible not to be so reckless, as if they carry on it’s only a matter of time before somebody gets seriously hurt.

These latest incidents have occurred at night in residential areas and domestic vehicles have been targeted. We therefore ask the general public to be vigilant, and to call us if they have any information.

– Inspector Nigel Griffiths, South Wales Police
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