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"Write something worth reading or do something worth writing" A blog by Amy Willis, a multimedia journalist based in London

Rugby heroes take bronze in tan battle

Apr 27 2009 by Amy Willis, South Wales Echo

WELSH rugby players Andy Powell and Mike Phillips stripped off to get spray tans in Cardiff as part of a skin cancer awareness campaign.

The sporting stars, who are preparing for the Lions 2009 tour to South Africa, took time out of their training programme to get sprayed in the Tiger Tiger bar in Greyfriars Road, to raise awareness of Safe Tan Summer.

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Filed under: Cardiff News, Portfolio, , ,

Record crowd for ‘absolutely fabulous’ flower show

Apr 20 2009 by Amy Willis, South Wales Echo

RECORD numbers turned out in the sunshine for the final day of the Royal Horticultural Show in Cardiff yesterday.

More than 7,000 people flocked to Bute Park – the highest number of visitors on any one day since the show started five years ago.

Families enjoying the colourful blooms and intricate gardens described the event as “absolutely fabulous”.

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Filed under: Cardiff News, Portfolio, , ,

Are there too many celebrity statues?

Apr 20 2009 by Amy Willis, Western Mail

THE growing fashion for celebrity statues has come under fire, amid claims they are becoming all too common.

Every week new bronzes seem to spring up in another town to celebrate a famous face with local links.

In Wales comedian Tommy Cooper is one of the most recent additions to the list of statues which also includes a bronze of “matchstick-man” boxer Johnny Owen, and former rugby scrum-half Gareth Edwards.

The statue of Cooper, which was officially unveiled by Sir Anthony Hopkins, has a prominent position just across from the town’s famous castle.

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Filed under: Cardiff News, Portfolio, , ,

He left school with no GCSEs, but he’s back as a trainee teacher

Apr 14 2009 by Amy Willis, South Wales Echo

A VALLEYS student who left education with no qualifications or prospects when he was 16 has returned to his old school – to train to be a teacher.

Lyndon Powell, 37, of Clare Street, Merthyr Tydfil, left Cyfarthfa High School after failing his GCSEs because he didn’t go to any of the exams.

“I was a bit of rebel when I was younger,” said Mr Powell, who now has two young children of his own – Thomas, eight, and Ffion, five – with wife Karen, 39.

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Filed under: Cardiff News, Portfolio, , ,

Wales outshines the Med as visitors flock to our beaches

Apr 13 2009 by Amy Willis and Owain Bury, Western Mail

WALES left much of the Mediterranean in the shade over the weekend, giving the country’s tourist trade a welcome Easter boost.

The better-than-expected temperatures helped many attractions enjoy a bumper Bank Holiday.

With Wales experiencing largely unbroken sunshine and temperatures up to 16C – much higher than large parts of the Med – the national parks welcomed thousands of visitors over the weekend.

The Brecon Beacons National Park Visitor Centre at Libanus, near Brecon, reported around 1,500 visitors on Saturday alone. Previous Saturdays had half that amount with an annual visitor number of around the 160,000 mark.

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Filed under: Cardiff News, Portfolio, , ,

Danielle Bux bans WAGs from her wedding to Gary Lineker

Apr 13 2009 by Amy Willis, Western Mail

WELSH model Danielle Bux has banned footballers’ wives and girlfriends from her wedding.

The 29-year-old lingerie model, who will appear on reality TV show Hell’s Kitchen tonight, is set to marry former footballer Gary Lineker in Italy, this year.

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Filed under: Cardiff News, Portfolio, , ,

Sports Council for Wales backs gardening for helping us stay healthy

Apr 13 2009 by Amy Willis, Western Mail

GARDENING is set to become the latest health-boosting exercise as thousands of families head outdoors.

Research has suggested that one to two hours of gardening a day can reduce the risk of high blood pressure and coronary heart disease.

And the Sports Council for Wales has recommended gardening as an ideal daily cardiovascular workout.

The health benefits of gardening have been revealed ahead of the start of the RHS Show Cardiff, this weekend.

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Filed under: Cardiff News, Portfolio, , ,

Pop princess Duffy laments the single life

Apr 11 2009 By Amy Willis, Western Mail

SOUL singer Duffy may be a bestseller in the charts but time spent winning music awards has put a strain on her love life.

The Grammy-winning songstress has admitted that she has not had enough time to find a boyfriend.

The 24-year-old singer from Nefyn, in North Wales, is planning to take a few months off and is hoping to find love.

And she has said she is not ruling out using a dating agency.

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Filed under: Cardiff News, Portfolio, , ,

People forced to spend their holidays at home

Apr 6 2009 By Amy Willis, Western Mail

THE Easter getaway began this weekend with more people expected to stay in the UK this year than travel overseas due to the current economic climate.

A survey by insurance company Legal & General revealed almost three in five people are changing their holiday plans, with around 20% opting for a “staycation” at home. A further 21% plan to stay with friends and family, rather than face the expense of booking into a hotel. One in five people who took a holiday abroad last year intended to stay within the UK for their break this year with 18% saying they can not afford a holiday overseas due to the recession. Families with children were the most likely to change their plans and stay at home, according to the research.

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Filed under: Cardiff News, Portfolio, , ,

Left in the dark

As Britain moves closer to the rebirth of the nuclear power industry, a special investigation by Amy Willis reveals that schools – only a matter of miles away from British nuclear power stations – are without stockpiles of anti-radiation drugs and information about what to do in a nuclear emergency.

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Filed under: UK News

Mobile-media vox pop

WalesOnline’s Amy Willis went to Cardiff’s cafe quarter in Mill Lane to find out how building works are affecting the area. Click here to see the video

Filed under: blog posts, Portfolio, , , ,

Dispute over historic stone in Llandaff

Apr 2 2009 by Amy Willis, South Wales Echo

OLIVER Cromwell’s historic hitching post is at the centre of a Llandaff pub dispute.

The Llandaff Conservation Group has voiced concern that the plans for the Maltsters Pub could endanger a rock which plays a famous role in Cardiff’s history.

According to the group the 2ft high rock, which sits next to the corner of the pub, was used by Oliver Cromwell to tie up his horse as he passed through South Wales in 1648.

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Filed under: Cardiff News, Portfolio, , ,

Wales Air Ambulance’s new chopper whirls into action

Apr 2 2009 by Amy Willis, South Wales Echo

THE Wales Air Ambulance’s new helicopter landed in the grounds of Cardiff Castle yesterday for its official unveiling.

The helicopter replaces the old model, the Bolkow-105, which was based on a design from the 1950s.

The new helicopter, the EC-135, is specially designed as an air ambulance. It has a higher fuel capacity and will be able to carry more passengers, including specialist doctors.

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Filed under: Cardiff News, Portfolio, , , ,

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