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More than 10,000 people visit Big Welsh Bite event

Visitor numbers to this year's Big Welsh Bite topped 10,000. The annual Welsh food and agricultural show showcases a variety of produce from across the country.

People at the Big Welsh Bite Credit: RCT Council

“The 2014 Big Welsh Bite was an amazing success, attracting large crowds on both days. “It was a wonderful event that continues to promote all that we have to offer in Rhondda Cynon Taf."

– Cllr Maureen Webber

Replacement mine memorial for Abercynon

A ceremony is being held to celebrate the replacement of the Abercynon Mining Memorial.

The original plaque at Navigation Park was stolen by metal thieves in 2012. The memorial was erected in memory of those who lost their lives or worked in the mine.

The bronze plaques were stolen for their scrap value

At the height of its production, almost 3,000 people worked at Abercynon Colliery, which was later connected underground to Lady Windsor Colliery in Ynysybwl.

The colliery first opened in the 1880s

Abercynon Colliery was opened in 1889 by the Dowlais Iron Company to feed the steelworks in Cardiff.

During the construction of the colliery, 18 men lost their lives. A further five men lost their lives underground during an accident in 1906.

Former miners who worked at the colliery will attend the ceremony today and the plaque will be unveiled by the Mayor of Rhondda Cynon Taf Cllr John Watts.

The colliery closed in 1988

"This will be an important day for the whole community and I urge everyone who is able to, to come along and join in this event to mark our strong industrial heritage."

– Cllr John Watts


Pontypridd lido restoration gains momentum

Cllr Ann Crimmings at the lido, where restoration work is taking place Credit: Rhondda Cynon Taf Council

Pontypridd Lido's multi-million pound restoration project is continuing to gain momentum as the site is transformed into a Wales-wide visitors' destination.

The work is already way under way, after Rhonnda Cynon Taf Council's contractors were appointed a few months ago.

The restoration, which is due to be completed in summer 2015, will include new features such as heated changing facilities, a cafe, and a viewing gallery space to depict the history of the lido and the park.

Built in 1927 the lido was a popular attraction for the local community, but closed in 1991 after falling into decline in the '80s.

"This ambitious project will create an exciting, high quality visitor attraction right in the heart of Pontypridd which promises to attract visitors from throughout the country.

"It will not only create more local jobs but attract tens of thousands of visitors to Pontypridd town centre.

"It is wonderful to see the transformation take place and we all look forward with great excitement and expectation for what promises to be a truly magnificent complex fit for the 21st century."

– Cllr Ann Crimmings, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council

Sex pest exposed himself on Valley line trains

A Rhondda man, who performed indecent acts in front of women on trains between Cardiff and Porth. has been jailed for a total of 16 months.

Three victims complained to police about Stewart's behaviour on trains. Credit: British Transport Police

Gareth Rhys Stewart, aged 21, of Park View, Ynyshir, was sentenced at Cardiff Crown Court after pleading guilty to indecent exposure and outraging public decency.

The court heard that in January a 25-year-old victim caught a packed train from Cardiff Queen Street to Treherbert.

During the journey, Stewart offered his seat which she accepted. Shortly after, while stood in the aisle next to her, he began subjecting her to lewd behaviour and touched her.

Then, as the train became quieter, Stewart took a seat across the aisle and performed an indecent act on himself.

A police appeal was issued and a further two victims – aged 22 and 16 - also came forward.

Unemployed Stewart was sentenced to 16 months’ imprisonment and ordered to register as a sex offender for 10 years. He was also banned from using the rail network for five years.

Detective Constable Dilwyn Lewis, who led the British Transport Police investigation said, "This kind of unwanted sexual behaviour is exactly the kind of conduct we are committed to identifying and stamping out.

“If someone has made you feel uncomfortable on your journey – however minor it may seem to you – I would encourage you to follow the example set by Stewart’s victims by reporting it to us."

Inquest into death of Rhondda schoolboy adjourned

Simon Brooks died in April Credit: Family Photo

An inquest into the death of a schoolboy from the Rhondda has been adjourned. It is believed Simon Brooks took an overdose after being repeatedly bullied.

The coroner for Rhondda Cynon Taf, Andrew Barkley, said he wanted an independent expert to examine Simon's medical records and explore whether a 'window of opportunity' to save his life had been missed.

Simon died at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff on 1st April this year. He had been admitted to the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant on 28th March after taking an overdose of tablets.

A pre-inquest hearing has now been scheduled for Wednesday 6th August to establish how the case is progressing.

Driver admits killing sister and her fiancé

The couple, from the Gilfach Goch area, died instantly in the crash Credit: Wales News Service

A young driver has admitted killing his sister and her fiancé in a car crash - and leaving his nine-week-old nephew an orphan.

Cardiff Crown Court heard how Corey Davies, 20, had 'excess alcohol' in his system when he tried to overtake a bus, flipping his convertible BMW on the A4093.

His sister, Raquel Davies, 23, and her partner Lee Jenkins, 25, died instantly when the car span off the winding A-road on 7 June.

The engaged couple had a nine-week-old baby son called Harley who has been left orphaned by the death of his parents.

Davies, of Porth, Rhondda, pleaded guilty to two charges of causing death by dangerous driving.

He appeared at Cardiff Crown Court via videolink from HMP Cardiff.

He'll be sentenced next month.


Rhydyfelin Library officially re-opens

Rhydyfelin Library was closed at the end of May as part of council cutbacks. Credit: ITV News

Rhydyfelin Library officially re-opens today after Rhondda Cynon Taf Council went back on its decision to close it.

It comes after campaigners won their battle to keep the library open.

Local residents launched a legal challenge saying they weren't consulted on the closure, which went ahead at the end of May.

Read more: Controversial library closure plan overturned by council

Library campaigners celebrate council U-turn

Campaigners in the South Wales Valleys who have won their battle to keep their local library open say they hope it can inspire others to fight for their local services.

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council has gone back on its decision to close Rhydyfelin library - after local people launched a legal challenge, saying they hadn't been consulted. Tom Sheldrick has the story.

Rhydyfelin Library to re-open 'as soon as possible'

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council has confirmed Rhydyfelin Library will re-open "as soon as practicably possible", after local residents opposed its closure at the end of May.

It says the decision to re-open the library is subject to the consent of the court, and the judicial review proceedings being withdrawn.

I have taken the decision as Leader of the Council to re-open Rhydyfelin Library. I will now ensure that thorough and frank dialogue is undertaken with local residents and users around the future of this facility and how the revised Library Service may support this community.

I must stress that nothing is ruled in and nothing is ruled out but this decision will allow the opportunity for consultation specifically around the future of this facility to take place.

The Council is dealing with the unprecedented challenge of tackling a budget gap of over £60m over the next three years. We have to make tough and inevitably unpopular decisions because of the massive cuts being imposed on the public sector by the UK Government. There is no way of avoiding these choices.

I would love as the new Leader to be able to categorically rule out future difficult decisions of this nature, but that approach is simply not possible or responsible.

I am keen to meet with the local community to discuss this decision and listen to their concerns.

– Cllr Andrew Morgan, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council leader
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