Specialist Further Education College celebrates student successes

By Raspberry Jim,

A table of Awards at Beechwood College


The success of young people with Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC) has been celebrated at a specialist Further Education college in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Beechwood College in Sully, a specialist day and residential service for young people over the age of 16 with an Autism Spectrum or Asperger’s Syndrome has hosted its annual Students’ Awards Day.

The families of 57 day and residential students travelled from across Wales and England to watch the presentation of certificates in a marquee in the College grounds.

Unlike mainstream Further Education establishments, Beechwood College measures success based on completion of learning programmes which incorporate a range of goals set with the students, their families and their existing support workers when they arrive at the College.

These goals can include both achievement of formal qualifications but also the attainment of essential life skills, which are aligned to their current and future needs such as home management skills, as well as their own goals which reflect personal interests such as sport activities.

This year, 63 qualifications were achieved from the awarding body Agored Cymru which were made up of accreditations in Art, Music, Enterprise, Creative Media and Drama and all 57 students achieved non-accredited learning in home cooking skills and leisure activities.

Awards presented this year included an Eco Award for students that have done the most to promote ecological projects, an Entrepreneur Award for students who have run an enterprise scheme and shown the most entrepreneurial skill, and a Work Experience Award for students that have shown the greatest commitment to their work experience opportunity.

Students finishing at Beechwood College this year have met more than 95% of their learning programme goals. 


Angela Kent, Director of Education and Care at Beechwood College said:

“Our Awards Ceremony is a much-anticipated annual recognition of our student successes.

“Our integrated learning approach, which involves the active participation of the education, clinical and residential teams, aims to provide each student with a 24-hour learning environment tailored to their specific needs.

“Our goal is to provide a very broad range of experiences and skills for each individual, preparing them for later life and developing their skills in their areas of interest.

“It is a tribute to the hard work of our students and the efforts of the Beechwood College team that the students have achieved such a broad range of qualifications.

“Our largest ever student group completed Duke of Edinburgh Awards aimed at building confidence and team working skills this year. 9 completed their Bronze Award and 4 completed their Silver Award.

“Learning even the simplest of skills needed to build independence can be challenging for young people with Autism, so we are extremely proud of everyone.”


A parent of one of the students at the College, said:

“Beechwood College staff are keen for students to develop and that is reassuring for us as parents.

“What is very important to us is that Beechwood is a very transparent organisation and we feel our son is in safe hands with them as safeguarding is the number 1 priority for us.

“We see Beechwood as an extension to our house and we are all part of the same family.

“It is so reassuring to find a placement that is so motivated and wants to really help our son progress and be happy and safe.

“Beechwood truly care. As parents that is more important to us than anything.”

Opened in 2004, Beechwood College is a specialist day and residential service for young adults over the age of 16 with a formal diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Condition or Asperger’s Syndrome.

The College is registered with the Welsh Government as a Further Education (FE) College, and with Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) as a care home for younger adults and students typically attend the college for between 2 and 4 years.

Based upon the principles of TEACCH, PECS and Makaton, the College’s goal is to provide opportunities and experiences for each individual, regardless of ability, to prepare them for later life. The integrated approach to learning has qualified lecturers, residential and clinical teams partnering together so that each student’s personalised education programme is developed and reinforced consistently as a 24-hour learning environment which can lead to formal accreditation.

Beechwood College is part of the South Wales-based Ludlow Street Healthcare Group. Employing more than 1100 staff including extensive clinical teams, Ludlow Street Healthcare is a provider of tailored care solutions for adults over the age of 16 who have a range of complex mental health, personality disorder and physical health needs.

Watkins & Gunn founding key partner in “ground breaking” veteran owned business portal

By Raspberry Jim,


Welsh law firm Watkins & Gunn has become a founding partner in an online portal designed so that the public can specifically find veteran owned businesses.

Veteran Owned UK is the largest UK Online Business Directory for veterans founded by Scott Johnson, a former Royal Engineer Bomb Disposal Engineer, after seeing many similar directories online in the USA.

It was created to support veterans owning businesses by providing the public with a user-friendly directorate to locate businesses supplying products and services specific to the customers’ needs, and now boasts over 950 members. 

The portal is designed to provide veteran owned business with greater exposure to the public and to build closer working relationships within the veteran owned business community.

Watkins & Gunn which has offices in Cardiff, Newport and Pontypool were “eager” to support veteran owned businesses in the UK and to partner with the first directory in the country.

The law firm already support veterans by offering a service to help ex-armed forces personnel claim compensation for noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) and tinnitus and felt they could build on this and do more to help by becoming partners in this new venture. Through the directory they are also offering discounted rates for their legal services to ex-servicemen and women. 

By using the new portal, veterans can enter the directory free of charge but the portal also offers paid membership for a more “bespoke” service where businesses can add additional features to their listings.

Sir Mike Penning M.P, an official supporter of the venture says:

“Veteran Owned UK are breaking new ground by supporting veteran owned businesses through their online directory.

“They saw the UK needed a means of easily finding veteran owned businesses and created a website to solve that issue.”

No portal of this nature existed in the UK before Veteran Owned UK, despite the concept being popular in the US.

Scott Johnson (left) and Clive Thomas (right) stand side by side in front of a Veteran Owned UK sign and a Watkins & Gunn sign.
Mr Johnson (L) of Veteran Owned UK and Mr Thomas (R) of Watkins an Gunn


Mr Johnson of Veteran Owned UK said:

“When we started this website, one veteran told us that he loved the idea as he didn’t want to be treated as a victim or to be seen as “broken” because he was a veteran.

“There are lots of charities doing amazing work for veterans who need support.”

“What we at Veteran Owned UK want to do is encourage those working to make their own mark in the business world and boost to their chosen markets.

“Ex-military are often driven, focused and adaptable.

“Many use these skills in “civvy street” to become great employees, some decide to start their own business, and these are the people we want to support.”

Clive Thomas, Managing Partner of Watkins & Gunn, said:

“At Watkins & Gunn we are keen to support ex-military personnel.

“When we met Scott Johnson and he explained the concept of Veteran Owned UK, we saw an opportunity to support veterans in a new and innovative way, so felt we had to get involved.

“There is a huge gap in the market for veteran businesses to advertise themselves. By using the businesses showcased in Veteran Owned UK Directory, you can directly support veterans, whilst utilising a service or purchasing a product that you need.”

Watkins & Gunn offers a wide range of legal services including Accident Claims, Medical Negligence, Wills and Probate, Employment and HR services, Education Law, Public Law, Business Law, Divorce and Family Law, Childcare Law, Criminal Law, Road Traffic Law and Property.

Children with life-limiting illnesses enjoy first family camp out

By Raspberry Jim,


Children with life limiting illnesses, including Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and Goldenhar Syndrome, have enjoyed their very first family camp out.

The Ty Hafan Scout Group, which was the first hospice Scout group in the UK, took six Scouts and their families to Miskin Mill Scout Village on Saturday where they stayed until Sunday afternoon.

Ten-year-old Seth Burke who has Duchenne muscular Dystrophy attended with his two brothers, Reggie and Elyah, eight-year-old Christopher Jones who has Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome was also joined by his sister Bethan. Two-year-old Matilda Philpott who has Stickler Syndrome was joined by her 2 brothers, Oliva and Alfie, four-year-old Alice Haswell who has Goldenhar Syndrome camped out with her sister Scarlet, and 13-year-old Daisy Stacey who has Vacterl Association attended with her sister Molly.

Child and Adult with happy faces enjoying the Ty Hafan Scout Group family camp out


The weekend saw the families take part in a range of activities from archery, crafts and pop rockets to laser shooting, fire lighting, bush craft and raft making.

Child playing with a hoola-hoop enjoying the Ty Hafan Scout Group family camp out
Child smiling and enjoying the Ty Hafan Scout Group family camp out

The weekend saw the families take part in a range of activities from archery, crafts and pop rockets to laser shooting, fire lighting, bush craft and raft making.

The camp was a real Scouting first – the first time the referred children have been on a Scout Camp, something leaders have been hoping to achieve since the start of the Group.


Ruth Weltch, Group Scout Leader of the Ty Hafan Scout Group said:

“The opportunity to regularly set up camp in the great outdoors is one of the main reasons young people enjoy Scouting so much and we wanted to give our children, who would not normally have the opportunity, the chance to take part in a weekend of outdoor activities and to sleep under canvas with their families. 

“We have been overwhelmed and humbled by the amount of help offered by Leaders, not just from Cardiff and Vale Scouts but from other Scouting Areas in Wales. This reflects the scope of the hospice itself which is open to all children with life limiting illnesses throughout Wales.

“We have been able to give these children the opportunity to take part in activities not usually accessible to them and that we take for granted. It was an absolute joy to see them and their families take part in the weekend’s activities, seeing them smile and forget about their worries for a while was heart-warming.”


Lynne Phelps, from Ty Hafan, said:

“The hard work, time and effort put in by the Scout Group since its inception has been truly amazing. The Group has brought so much happiness to the hospice and given the children referred to us an opportunity to take part in activities with their families that they wouldn’t have had access to if it wasn’t for Scouts.

“The group has had a really positive impact not just on the children in our care, but also their families and our staff. We really can’t thank the Ty Hafan Scout Group enough.”


The Ty Hafan Scout Group was set up on the Scouting Centenary in 2007 for any child referred to the hospice along with their siblings, parents and family, to spend time together having fun and making memories.

A growing need for sibling involvement was soon recognised and so the Group began to run regular sibling camps. The sibling camps have given the young people who have brothers and sisters in the care of the hospice the opportunity to attend events such as Scarefest and the Jurassic International Jamboree, as well as the chance to spend quality family time with their loved ones.

ScoutsCymru gives over 14,000 young people in Wales the opportunity to enjoy fun and adventure while developing the skills they need to succeed, now and in the future. Open to all young people in Wales regardless of faith, gender, sexual orientation, race or social background, the movement encourages its members to do more, learn more and be more.

Construction company Troika appointed to transform former Royal Mail Building in Newport

By Raspberry Jim,

Computer generated imaged of the competed work of the former Royal Mail building


A Cardiff-based construction company has been appointed to redevelop the former Royal Mail building in Newport.

Troika Construction has been appointed to transform the building on Mill Street, after its success working on Chartist Tower in the city.

The internal demolition has already taken place at Mill Street and Troika Construction are now starting on site in a project that is expected to be completed in 35 weeks.

The building will be redeveloped into quality office space, which the owners Garrison Barclay Estates hope will attract businesses based within out of town business parks to relocate back into the city centre.

The new office spaces will offer a spacious layout with high ceilings, natural light and a quirky design – something new and exciting for Newport’s workforce. 

The site has already received a huge amount of interest from prospective tenants. The modern and flexible office space has attracted a range of businesses from legal firms to a London-based cyber security company.  

The location of the building also offers an affordable solution against its neighbouring cities of Cardiff and Bristol where headline rent is considerably lower. Along with this, the building is ideally located next to Newport Train Station.


Mark Cotter, CEO of Troika Construct Limited, said:

“We are extremely proud to play a role within the mass redevelopment of Newport. This project, coupled with Chartist Tower, are huge projects that will make a real difference to the city when completed.

“At Troika, we endeavour to deliver projects within deadlines, budgets and to the highest quality. The former Royal Mail Building will be a fantastic space with modern and flexible workspace that will attract businesses back to the city centre and become a hive of activity.”

A Cardiff-based construction company has been appointed to redevelop the former Royal Mail building in Newport. Troika Construction has been appointed to transform the building on Mill Street, after its success working on Chartist Tower in the city. The internal demolition has already taken place at Mill Street and Troika Construction are now starting on site in a project that is expected to be completed in 35 weeks. The building will be redeveloped into quality office space, which the owners Garrison Barclay Estates hope will attract businesses based within out of town business parks to relocate back into the city centre. The new office spaces will offer a spacious layout with high ceilings, natural light and a quirky design - something new and exciting for Newport’s workforce. The site has already received a huge amount of interest from prospective tenants. The modern and flexible office space has attracted a range of businesses from legal firms to a London-based cyber security company. The location of the building also offers an affordable solution against its neighbouring cities of Cardiff and Bristol where headline rent is considerably lower. Along with this, the building is ideally located next to Newport Train Station. Mark Cotter, CEO of Troika Construct Limited, said: “We are extremely proud to play a role within the mass redevelopment of Newport. This project, coupled with Chartist Tower, are huge projects that will make a real difference to the city when completed. “At Troika, we endeavour to deliver projects within deadlines, budgets and to the highest quality. The former Royal Mail Building will be a fantastic space with modern and flexible workspace that will attract businesses back to the city centre and become a hive of activity.” Troika Construction work across South Wales and South West England on projects for the commercial and industrial sectors specifically government, hotel, office and residential schemes.

Troika Construction work across South Wales and South West England on projects for the commercial and industrial sectors specifically government, hotel, office and residential schemes.

Ein huchafbwyntiau – Sioe Frenhinol Cymru

By Raspberry Jim,


Eleni oedd canmlwyddiant y Sioe fel y digwyddiad mwyaf yn galendr amaethyddol Prydain.

Roedd digon o anifeiliaid i weld a digon o ffermwyr i longyfarch. Pob blwyddyn mae yna dros 240,000 o bobl yn dod i’r Sioe dros y pedwar diwrnod ac mae dros 8,000 o anifeiliaid yn cystadlu. Mae hyn yn gynnwys dros 3,000 o geffylau, dros 800 o dda, dros 3,000 o ddefaid!

Instagram @clarencehouse

Yn ogystal â’r cystadlaethau anifeiliaid fferm, roedd llawer i wneud yna. Stondinau crefftau, siopa, garddwriaeth, chwaraeon cefn gwlad, adloniant, arddangosfeydd a neuadd fwyd anhygoel yn llawn danteithion blasus.

Cacenau blasus gan Ridiculously Rich by Alana
Paned o de gyda Sarah o Welsh Brew Tea
Fran a’r tîm Barti Rum
Welshcakes enfawr ar stondin Fwdge
Michael a’i chynnyrch Biltong o From Our Farm

Roedd Sam Warburton yna hefyd yn cyflwyno ei nwyddau newydd ar y cyd â’r becws Braces.

Instagram @bracesbakery



Wrth gerdded i’r Sioe, roedd e’n syndod i jamjar weld arddangosfa filwrol gan aelodau o’r gatrawd Zulu ‘impi. Wow! Roedd yn arddangosfa anhygoel i gofio 140 mlynedd ers y rhyfel Eingl-Zulu. Yn eu gwylio oedd Tywysog Cymru a Duges Cernyw a Brenin Goodwill a Brenhines Mpumi, Brenin a Brenhines y Zulu.

Instagram @clarencehouse







Diolch i bawb at y Sioe! Disgwyl ymlaen i flwyddyn nesaf yn barod!

1500 Welsh Cubs gather to learn skills for life

By Raspberry Jim,


ScoutsCymru hosted it’s All Wales Cub Fun Day at the Royal Welsh Show Ground this month where 1500 Cubs came together for a day of fun and skills development.

The Cubs, alongside 500 adult volunteers, from across Wales enjoyed activities across four zones designed to encourage them to expand their skill set and work collaboratively with others.

The Adventure Zone activities ranged from high ropes to water games in a bid to get their adrenaline pumping.

The Outdoor Zone saw the Cubs learning how to fire light and cook while the Skills Zone had them taking part in an obstacle course which tested their teamwork and problem solving.

Finally, World Zone allowed the Cubs to experience a range of activities from Origami to Kung Fu inspired from countries around the world.

At the event, the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, Sally Holland, also launched the Rights Challenge Badge.

This badge aims to inform children and young people of their rights and what the role of The Children’s Commissioner for Wales is. 

The Cubs taking part in the Rights Challenge Badge have been encouraged to lead their own learning. They have been set a list of activities which will result in each Cub being able recall by name a list of children’s rights, as well as knowing who Sally Holland is and the work she does.

Rhian Moore, Chief Commissioner for Wales, said: “Our All Wales Cub Fun Day was a fantastic opportunity for Cubs from across Wales to learn new skills, meet new people and have fun. We can’t thank all of our volunteers enough as the day wouldn’t have been possible without all of their hard work.

“We are extremely proud to have been a part of the launch of the Children’s Commissioner for Wales Rights Challenge Badge. The badge encourages the Cubs to learn about their rights and to be aware of the people who are there to protect them which vitally important.”

Sally Holland, Children’s Commissioner for Wales said, “It’s was a really well organised day and it was so great to be able to talk to children from all over wales in one day. “One child wrote on her kite ‘this is the best day I’ve ever had’ and I really think that is a great endorsement of the fantastic time the children had!”

ScoutsCymru support Pride Month

By Raspberry Jim,


June is Pride Month, a month to celebrate gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, and asexual people, plus all other sexual orientations and genders.

To coincide with this, we have caught up with Louisa Shapton, a member the Apollo 7 Explorer Scout Unit, who attended her first Pride event earlier this year.

On May 4th, 17-year-old Louisa along with 12 explorers, leaders and support members attended Swansea Pride.

Carrying the ScoutsCymru banner through the parade before manning a stall at Swansea’s Waterfront Museum, Louisa decided to take to the surrounding crowd distributing leaflets and talking to people about the difference Scouting has made to her life.

Here Louisa reflects on the event and ScoutsCymru’s inclusive approach. She said: “I took a lot from attending Pride Swansea this year.

“I didn’t know what to expect and was a bit nervous as I am an ally and felt that I may not fit in.  I was soon proved wrong. It was a festival of acceptance.

“As a member of Glamorgan West Inclusive Scouting Team, I believe that having Scouting representation at the event showed people in the community that we, as an organisation are inclusive, and we don’t discriminate.

“I think it is really important for young people to learn about the LGBT community. Attending an event such as Pride shows how sexuality and gender identity is very normal in today’s society.  At Explorer age in particular, being part of or an ally of the community can be challenging and the Pride Event showed how supportive and accepting the LGBT community is.

“The whole day was so full of energy and bursting with colour. I think the other Explorers, some of whom are openly gay, really enjoyed and it was great to experience my first pride event with them.”

Scouts Cymru were joined by other large organisations such as the NHS and various political parties who all attended to celebrate and support the LGBT community.

Louisa believes that ScoutsCymru attending Swansea Pride was important for her peers as she says: “It was somewhere that everyone could really be themselves and not worry or care about being judged.”

Louisa is confident that next year there will be an even larger group of Scouts attending to celebrate the LGBT community.

ScoutsCymru is open to all young people and adults regardless of their sexuality or gender identity. We have a clear Equal Opportunities Policy and attend Pride events to demonstrate our commitment to equality. We openly welcome LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) members, have volunteers specialising in diversity (including our national team of Specialist Advisers) and even a national unit supporting LGBT adults in Scouting FLAGS.Members of ScoutsCymru will also be at Llanelli Pride and Pride Cymru later this year.

Recruitment drive underway at Newport hospital

By Raspberry Jim,


A transition-focused healthcare provider, which is investing £1.5m in extending its specialist neuro-degenerative centre, St Peter’s hospital, has begun its recruitment drive to fill 75 roles.

Ludlow Street Healthcare is looking to strengthen its existing staff team by bringing in more nurses and support workers to work at the Newport-based facility.

Earlier this year the independent healthcare provider announced plans to extend the Newport hospital in a bid to meet the growing need for care provision for people with neurodegenerative diseases and neuropsychiatric conditions including acquired brain injury (ABI).

The extension at St Peter’s, which has been awarded the highest service ranking from the Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW), will eventually add 4,542 sq ft of space and 18 new beds to the hospital.

With the building work planned in three phases, the first phase which is nearly complete will accommodate six new beds on the ground floor, adding to the 33 already available, along with spacious living and dining areas, a kitchen, and nurse’s station.

David Lawrence, CEO, of Ludlow Street Healthcare recently visited St Peter’s Hospital to view the work completed so far.

David met with Tony Griffiths, Managing Director of Ludlow Langstone Construction, the contractors for the project and visited some of the residents in the existing hospital.

During the visit, he saw some of the facilities which will be available for the new patients, all of which aim to create calm and familiar environments. These included the in-house hair and nail salon, the sensory room, and the relaxation room with its Wellness Nordic Relax Chair.

David also took the time to drop in on one of the Move it or Lose It exercise sessions specially designed to encourage less mobile patients to remain fit and active.

Among other activities available to patients at St Peter’s are animal therapy sessions. Studies show that interaction with animals can lower stress levels, alleviate depression, boost activity and provide companionship. 

St Peter’s has incorporated this popular form of therapy into their regular programming and Mr Lawrence dropped by to experience a session for himself during his visit and meet the animals kindly brought along by Walnut Tree Farm Park.

There has already been considerable interest in the new hospital facilities and once the formal registration process of the new hospital unit is complete, Ludlow Street Healthcare expects to be able to welcome the first new patients in early autumn.

The increased specialist service provision means that Welsh patients who are presently being cared for outside of Wales will be able to return and live closer to home and their families.

Mr Lawrence said: “We are delighted with the work which has been completed on St Peter’s Hospital extension project.

“We feel the extension will significantly enhance the highly regarded treatment and rehabilitation service we already offer.

“There are currently 800,000 people with neurodegenerative diseases living in the UK, and due to people living longer and changing lifestyles, this is forecast to increase to one million.

“This project, along with the extra staff and facilities means we will be better able to meet the growing requirement for specialist neuropsychiatric care.

“St Peter’s Hospital has long been recognized as experts in the care of people with neurodegenerative disorders, and we feel that this significant investment and new extension will allow us to extend the excellent care provision we can offer.”

25 new staff are being recruited currently to support the opening of the 1st phase, with plans to recruit a further 50 staff at the beginning of next year to support the rest of the extension as it completes and is ready to welcome patients.

In addition to St Peter’s Hospital, Ludlow Street Healthcare operates numerous sites, including Pinetree Hospital and Heatherwood Court, which each specialise in areas including the treatment, support, and rehabilitation of people with learning disabilities and mental health disorders.

The group also operates Beechwood College a specialist further education establishment for young adults with complex Autistic Spectrum Conditions and Ocean Community Services which manages small residential step-down and rehabilitation homes within community settings.

Anyone interested in knowing more about the career opportunities on offer should visit https://www.lshealthcare.co.uk/ludlow-careers/

Japanese Ambassador visits Sony UK TEC as part of Japan – UK Season of Culture

By Raspberry Jim,


Japanese Ambassador to the UK, Koji Tsuruoka, joined Sony UK TEC in celebrating the Japan – UK Season of Culture this week, marking his first visit to the facility.

He was joined by Mr Yusuke Ishihara, First Secretary; Mr Yugi Suzuki, Director of Tri-Wall Europe; Ted Kitagawa, Market Development Manager of Tri-Wall Europe; and Keith Dunn OBE, Honorary Consul for Japan in Wales.

The purpose of the visit to Wales was to attend the reception being held by Welsh Government in celebration of the long-standing links and shared history between Wales and Japan. Following his time at Sony UK TEC, the Ambassador also paid a visit to Tri-Wall in Monmouth, before attending a reception at the National Botanic Garden of Wales.

This visit follows an earlier celebration of the season in February this year where Sony hosted the first major event in Wales to launch the Japan – UK Season of Culture, which was also attended by Keith Dunn OBE. The Japan – UK Season of Culture aims to celebrate the achievements of the UK and Japan and showcase their shared cultural and technological successes.

These Welsh events are part of a wider global cultural exchange planned between the two nations in 2019/20, which will see Japan host the Rugby World Cup this year and the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020.

During his visit to Sony, the Ambassador was involved in a complete tour of the facility, accompanied by the senior management team. There were presentations from all areas of the business, with departmental overviews including a factory tour where the Ambassador and his guests were able to watch the manufacturing process of numerous products.

His visit to Sony UK TEC also coincided with a Japanese-themed school visit which saw the children take part in calligraphy, origami, and language workshops. Ambassador Tsuruoka joined the children of Penyfai Primary and Ysgol Plasmawr for this interactive session demonstrating Sony UK TEC’s focus on educating the next generation.

The Ambassador has a history of supporting Wales and celebrating its links with Japan. He has previously visited the National Museum of Wales to see its Japan Exhibition and has chosen to visit Sony during his latest visit due its leading position as a Japanese company contributing to the Wales economy.

Gerald Kelly, Director of Professional Services, said: “As an organisation which takes pride in its global links with Japan, we are thrilled to welcome the Ambassador and his guests.

“Japan’s rich culture and ethos is highly influential in the way that we operate as a manufacturing facility here in Pencoed, and we believe that by adopting its innovative and progressive vision we have achieved greater global success. 

“Ultimately, we believe that the values entrenched in Japan’s technology, arts, and culture could be significantly beneficial to us here in the UK, and we are delighted to be playing a role in strengthening these links.”

Britain’s Got Talent Finalist ‘X’ to perform in concert with children and young people from across South Wales

By Raspberry Jim,


Mysterious Britain’s Got Talent finalist ‘X’ was revealed to be none other than last year’s semi-finalist – magician Marc Spellman.

Spellman, a mind-reader and magician, impressed Britain’s Got Talent judges in 2018 with his emotional performances, which earned him the elusive Golden Buzzer, but this year went on to the final to scoop the runner-up prize.

ITV viewers and the judges were left in shock on Sunday night as the performer revealed his identity at the grand final missing out on the main prize by a nose to Chelsea Pensioner Colin Thackery.

At the end of his performance, ‘X’ played a video which revealed who he really was, adding: “It was always about hope and never giving up, it has been an honour sharing X with you. I am X.”

This revelation also came as a shock to hundreds of school children and young people across South Wales, involved in the Beyond Words-Hitting the Right Note concert, of which Marc is a patron.

A thousand children from 36 schools across South Wales have volunteered to sing in a musical extravaganza at the Motorpoint Arena Cardiff, supported by a host of celebrity acts and professional musicians.

The Beyond Words concert, now in its sixth year, will take place on 15th July 2019 at the Motorpoint Arena and will feature local school children and young people aged between 8 and 23, with a team of young people aged 16 to 23 organising the event.

The theme of the concert will be based on the smash hit song A Million Dreams from the hugely popular musical The Greatest Showman but adapted to create a story about charity and young people’s dreams.

The concert is set to be a showcase of different talents with the children learning new skills as a result of performing alongside world-renowned artists.

Paul Zerdin, a British comedian, ventriloquist and winner of America’s Got Talent in 2015, along with his ‘dysfunctional’ puppet family including popular ‘teenager’ Sam, will also be performing alongside ‘Mystery artist’ Marc at the concert.

Paul says of his role in the project, “It’s terrific being involved with a project that can really reach out and have such a positive effect on young people. Also being a ventriloquist, I have more than one voice which does help make up the thousand voices!”

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