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National Botanic Garden receives restoration funding

Artist John Horner painted stunning pictures of the Gardens during the Regency period. Credit: National Botanic Garden of Wales

The first stage of a £6.7 million plan to restore historic Regency landscape at the National Botanic Garden of Wales has been given the go-ahead.

It's been announced that the Garden has received initial financial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund to develop it's plans for the Regency Restoration project.

In what will be the biggest project in the Garden's history, it will aim to uncover the origins of Middleton Hall - the grand estate that the Garden now occupies.

The scheme will also involve major archaeological work which will see the restoration of the Regency landscape of the area, including the contemporary planting scheme that formed the heart of its parkland.

The work will involve restoring some of the Regency designs of the Garden. Credit: National Botanic Garden of Wales

"It is an ambitious project and the most significant undertaking since the Garden opened in 2000. It is one which will not only provide enduring value to this part of Wales but is also very much about honouring the original vision of...all the Garden's founders."

– Dr Rosie Plummer, Director of the National Botanic Garden
The Middletons were a wealthy family who settled in Carmarthenshire and helped establish the East India Company. Credit: National Botanic Garden of Wales


Scarlets play Gloucester ahead of Pro12 season

Ken Owens has been named new club captain of the region. Credit: Tony Marshall/EMPICS Sport

Scarlets clash with Gloucester in a pre-season friendly today, taking a strong side including Rhys Priestland, Liam Williams and new club captain Ken Owens to the Premiership outfit.

In only his second game in charge of the region, coach Wayne Pivac will be hoping his side pick up more match sharpness, with the Pro12 season around the corner.

The friendly comes off the back of an entertaining draw with Bath two weeks ago - the sides battling out a 26-26 draw at the Rec.

Wedding dress display to mark restoration of church

The church has had limited use since the sixties.

A display of wedding dresses dating back 50 years is to be staged this weekend at a Methyr Tydfil church to mark its restoration to full service.

St Tydfil's Old Parish Church, which dates back to the 19th Century was closed for worship in the 1960s when nearby St David's became the parish church. Since then it's had limited use.

The wedding dress display will be staged in the church today, with events continuing through the weekend, culminating with a mass at 6pm tomorrow.

"St Tydfil's Old Parish Church is a much loved church in the centre of Merthyr Tydfil and I know that people will value the opportunity to worship here again and hopefully it will find its place again in the heart of the community."

– Archdeacon Christopher Smith
Church 2
It's hoped the church will return to being a focal point of the community.

Loom band charms pulled over harmful chemicals fear

Loom bands
The toy company has emphasised that it is not the actual loom bands that are affected (file photo). Credit: Geoff Kirby/EMPICS Entertainment

One of the country's leading toy stores has taken loom band charms off its shelves amid fears they might contain potentially harmful chemicals.

The Entertainer said the charms could contain phthalates, which can disrupt hormones in children.

The chemicals, which are used to soften plastics, have been banned in toys on sale in the European Union for several years.

The Entertainer, which has 92 stores across the UK, is described on its website as the biggest independent toy retailer in the country.

In Wales, it has stores in Cardiff, Cwmbran and Wrexham.

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