FoLS Reports

Reports on Friends of Llandovery Station Activities.
April 2016

We are delighted to announce that, thanks to the initiative of Chris Robertson, Llandovery Station now has its own website, something which will now allow awareness of our activities to be distributed to a much more far-ranging audience. 

To access the Station website, please go to www.llandoverystation.org.uk

Chris has also created a website for the Llandovery Model Railway Club, which is based at the Station, and to access this site, please go to www.llandoverymrc.org.uk

We are very grateful to Chris for the hard work he has done in creating these two sites, and it is up to us now to ensure that they become lively and interesting arenas, which will be of interest to the public at large.

One of those activities associated with the Station its role as an Arts Centre: indeed, the Station Gallery, with its uncluttered light and airy space, has gained over the last four years or so an ever-growing reputation for the high quality of artistic talent that it fosters here in the beautiful Towy valley. We arrange almost every month a display of the creative work of our local artists, whether their speciality is in the field of painting, drawing, photography, tapestry or weaving, and there is no doubt that the general public look forward to viewing the work which each new month provides.

The present Exhibition brings to the publicˈs attention the work of Richie Dean, from Rhandirmwyn. His work is that of an artist of the contemporary computer age, a photographer who uses to the full the possibilities brought by digital technology to transform photographs into imaginative and challenging works of art. Perhaps two particular works of his have made the greatest impression on the Llandovery public: the first of these is his depiction of the stainless-steel statue of Llywellyn ap Gruffudd Fychan, standing high on the Castle motte, which is now seen by Richie as blazing forth bright crimson in the rays of the evening sun, and so transformed into a forceful and positive creation. The second is his vision of Llandoveryˈs cobbled Market Square, which again glows red in the evening sun, but this time bright and welcoming. 

Next month will see Katie Bullock taking centre stage in the Station Gallery. Katie is a true Llandovery girl, a member of a well-known family in the town, and we are delighted to see her settled back home after completing her Art qualifications in Art School in Bath. Katie too has her own unique style, and once again it will be a pleasure to see an artist taking inspiration from the local scene, whether it be the traditional New Year Meet of the Towy-Cothi Hunt or, and a little further afield, the picturesque fishing harbour of Aberaeron on the coast of Ceredigion. 

A new and exciting addition to Kateˈs repertoire recently has been her study of steam trains. Over the last few years, a number of Steam Excursions have travelled the length of the Heart of Wales Line, usually stopping at Llandovery for a while before moving on. Katie ha staken full advantage of the chance so provided to study the locomotives and their trains, and to translate her own impressions of the Iron Horse onto canvas. Together with the imaginative studies of the Llandovery Station building which Katie has made in the last few years, these new works of hers help to reinforce the relationship between Katie and the Station Gallery.

It is a pleasure for us to exhibit the work of these two local artists, and we trust that their Exhibitions at the Station Gallery will lead to wider recognition of the artistic talents of them both.

Before we finish, it is clear to us that Chris has taken a great liking to Joanˈs Cream Teas, which are featured on the Station Website, and bring delight both to the eye and oneˈs taste buds, Please remember that these scrumptious Teas are only available by reservation, and are provided by Joan to a limited number of customers at any one time.

Joanˈs contact no: 01550 - 721283

The Heart of Wales Line Trail

At a meeting held last week at Llandovery Station between Les Lumsdon, a co-author of the Kittiwake Guide Great Walks from The Heart of Wales Railway, and Glyn Evans and Robin Barlow, both members of the Llandovery Walkers are Welcome committee, it was agreed that the Llandovery WaW Group should reconnoitre the route to be taken between four stations of the proposed Heart of Wales Line Trail, viz. from Llanwrtyd Station to Cynghordy, from Cynghordy Station to Llandovery, and from Llandovery Station to Llangadog.

On Thursday last, Robin and his wife Monica, together with Glyn, set off from Llanwrtyd Station to establish the first half of the allocated opening leg. From the town centre, they began  by necessarily following the minor road past the school leading to Cefn Gorwydd, but soon they were able to turn off at the track which leads to Cefn Esgair, and then follow the Public Footpath which climbs up to the minor road near Gelli Crugiau. They then took the road which leads down to Tirabad, before turning off   R and following the Forestry Track which goes down through the Crychan Forest before emerging near Lletherhir.  Here they stopped their exploration for the day, and returned to their car: they will return in a day or so to choose the best way of proceeding from Lletherhir to Cynghordy Station.  

It was very satisfying morningˈs work, and we at Llandovery WaW look forward in the next few weeks to completing the remaining stages of the walk which have been allocated to us.

Reminders

Llandovery Town Twinning Association: 

Friday 15th April, 7.30pm: Social Evening at Llandovery Station. 

Thursday 28th April: 8.00pm: Committee Meeting at the Castle Hotel.

Llandovery Walkers are Welcome: Wednesday 27th April: Kidney Wales Fund-Raising Walk: meet at Myddfai Hall, 10 00am. We will be following a new route around the Parish. New Walkers will be very Welcome!

March 2016

These last few months have been very successful and positive at the Station. The New Year began with the visit of a large group of members of the Llanelli Ramblers, which in itself is nothing out of the ordinary, as they take the train to Llandovery regularly throughout the year in order to follow one of the many interesting and attractive country walks which are to be found in this glorious area of ours. When the Ramblers come, they always enjoy a cup of tea and a cake or a sandwich in the Station café, either on arriving or when waiting for the train home. However, when they arrived on the 10.52 train on January 27th last, it was not to go on a walk: No! They had placed an order with our redoubtable voluntary Chef, Joan Snaith, to provide a cream tea in the Café, and they spent a very happy couple of hours in the Station, enjoying the fare which had been lovingly prepared for them, relaxing and happily chatting, before taking the train home at 12 56. The time they spent in Llandovery may not have done much for their fitness for walking, but it certainly enhanced their camaraderie, and for us at the café it was also a very happy and successful occasion.

Indeed, Joan was so pleased with the success of the whole occasion that she has decided to put on a series of Cream Teas in the Station on Sundays in the summer: this is an initiative that is only in its infant stages at the moment, and one which needs much careful planning, but once Joan has an idea in her head, she usually brings it to a successful conclusion. – and speedily! We have had flyers for this initiative printed for us by PostDatum in Llandovery, and the first two pre-booked Cream Teas have already been provided for visitors, and a great success they have been! 

On February 4th we received a very successful visit from Ian Bullock, the MD of Arriva Trains Wales, who was accompanied by Prof. Salveson, Prof. of Transport at Huddersfield University. They were both full of praise for the activities that take place at the Station, not only the operation of the Cafe and the faithful support of our Volunteer Staff, but also other such initiatives of ours, such as providing work placement opportunities in the Café  to young people from the Residential Colleges of Glasallt and Coleg Elidyr, creating opportunities for local artists and photographers to display their talents on a monthly basis in the Station Gallery, involving schoolchildren in the development of the Station Garden, offering the use of the Station in the evenings for a nominal fee to local clubs and associations, and establishing and developing the Model Railway Club. This is Prof. Salvesonˈs report on his visit:

The Station Café at Llandovery must rank as one of the best on the Network, combining excellent coffee (and, dare I say, Welsh cakes!) with a range of other offerings. The place is entirely volunteer-run, and we were privileged to meet some of the hard-working team, including Joan and Glyn. The café has a monthly programme of exhibitions from local artists and crafts people, and this monthˈs display was a sort of mini-railway museum, with historic photos and some very interesting railway memorabilia. The album of local pictures of railway activities is fascinating, and deserves publication, while the creation of the Llandovery Model Railway Club will ensure that the Stationˈs railway heritage will be preserved by its members. Part of the long-term vision for Knighton Station on the HoW line includes a Station café, and here the team at Llandovery has set a very high standard for them to emulate.



The Art Gallery at Llandovery Station

 In the four years and more since the Station Building was proudly opened as a community centre by HRH Prince Charles and HRH Camila, Duchess of Cornwall, one of its greatest successes has been the growing reputation it has acquired as an Arts Centre. Its light and airy space is increasingly being chosen both by Arts Clubs and by individual artists as an ideal venue to display their work, to the extent that nowadays the start of every month signals the opening of a new Exhibition, whether of paintings, photographs, or tapestry and weaving work, from both individuals and groups.

This monthˈs Exhibition brings to the publicˈs attention the work of Richie Dean, from Rhandirmwyn. His work is that of an artist of the modern computer age, a photographer who uses to the full the possibilities brought by digital technology to transform photographs into imaginative and challenging works of art. Perhaps two particular works of his have made the greatest impression on the Llandovery public: the first of these is his depiction of the stainless-steel statue of Llywellyn ap Gruffudd Fychan, standing high on the Castle motte, which is now seen by Richie as blazing forth bright crimson in the rays of the evening sun, and so transformed into a forceful and positive creation. The second is his vision of Llandoveryˈs cobbled Market Square, which, again in the rays of the evening sun, glows bright and welcoming, as if in days of old!

Next Month will see Katie Bullock taking centre stage in the Station Gallery. Katie is a true Llandovery girl, a member of a well-known family in the town, and we are delighted to see her settled back home after completing her Art qualifications in Art School in Bath. Katie too has her own unique style, and once again it will be a pleasure to see an artist taking inspiration from the local scene, whether it be the traditional meet of the Towy-Cothi Hunt on New Yearˈs Day or, and a little further afield, the picturesque fishing harbour at Aberaeron on the coast of Ceredigion.

A new and exciting addition to Katieˈs repertoire recently has been her study of steam trains. Over the last few years, a number of Steam Excursions have travelled the length of the Heart of Wales line, usually stopping at Llandovery for a while before moving on. Katie has taken full advantage of the chance so provided to study the locomotives and their trains, and to translate her own impressions of the Iron Horse onto canvas. Together with the imaginative studies of the Llandovery Station building which Katie has made in the last few years, these new works of hers help to reinforce the relationship between Katie and the Station Gallery.

It is a pleasure for us to exhibit the work of these two local artists, and we trust that their Exhibitions at the Llandovery Station Gallery will lead to a wider recognition of the artistic talents of them both.

Glyn Evans