News Rhondda Cynon Taf

Mountain Ash pupil receives Diana Award

Mountain Ash Comprehensive School year 10 pupil Alysa Neads has recieved a Diana Award for her social action work undertaken in Penrhiwceiber.

Alyssa Neads Diana Award
Pictured: Alysa at a local supermarket raising money for Lee Gardens Pool, last year.

The Diana Award is the most prestigious accolade a young person aged 9-25 can receive for their social action or humanitarian work.

15-year-old Alysa is among 8 winners in Wales and 184 internationally. She’s also this year’s youngest winner here in Wales.

The pupil raised over £3,000 for Lee Gardens Pool in Penrhiwceiber through the First Give programme, which encourages young people to tackle social issues in their communities, during curriculum time.

The school’s work in partnership with First Give has also seen pupils win awards on a Welsh and UK wide level.

Last summer, in their Religious Studies lessons, Alysa, Madison Cornish, Carys Simpson and Teigan Maund decided upon the Lee Gardens Pool as their chosen charity. They undertook ninety-seven hours of social action, raising the profile of the charity. The pupils organised twelve events in the local community, which raised £2,058. They also went on to win the school First Give final, gaining a further £1,000 for the Lee Gardens Pool through a First Give grant. In total, the pupils awarded £3,058 to the Lee Gardens Pool.

On Twitter, Mr David Church, Religious Studies teacher at Mountain Ash Comprehensive said it gave him “great pride” to announce Alyssa had won the Diana Award.

Aberdare Interview News

EXCLUSIVE: ‘It’s been a truly amazing experience for us all’ – Aberdare magician’s describe their Britain’s Got Talent audition

Earlier this year, James Piper and his two sons, Dylan & Joseph left the Cynon Valley and travelled to London for a magical audition on ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent.

James & Dylan BGT

38-year-old James has reflected on that special moment. He also hopes to share ‘something amazing’ with the world, if they make it through to the live shows, which have been put on hold until later this year due to Covid-19.

James told Cynon Valley News,

“Britain’s Got Talent has been a truly amazing experience for us all as a family. We found out around Christmas 2019 that we were going to have an audition in front of the judges and from that point there was a mixture of emotions. We began practising every day since, until the day of the audition in January. Dylan’s twin brother, Joseph isn’t really interested in magic but I wanted to try and include him in the act because I knew that the memories of that day would stay with me forever. I wanted them both involved. He reluctantly agreed.

“In January, we set off on our journey to London, along with a few family members who came to support us. The process of trying to transport our large photo board from our home in Aberdare to the London Palladium was a trick in itself. We travelled by car, train, bus and on foot. Finally, we managed to get it there safely and in one piece.

“We were full of excitement the night before the audition. The following day, we woke early and set out for the London Palladium. I was excited and Dylan didn’t seem nervous in the slightest. He took the whole day in his stride. We arrived early and were taken to the holding room with my wife, Rebecca and Dylan’s twin brother, Joseph. It was fantastic to be in a room surrounded by the other acts, trying to guess what they may have been doing. Dylan and I spent most of the day being interviewed and they filmed the four of us walking through the streets of London. We even had tourists taking photos of us as they didn’t know whether we may have been famous. It was incredible. Around 3pm, a member of the BGT team came and told us we would be second on the stage and we were taken upstairs to prepare. As we stood backstage, Dylan, who had been full of confidence all day, began to get a little teary and said he was worried. He took himself off for a little walk and composed himself, a few minutes later returning and saying ‘we’ve got this Dad!’ I felt instant relief and knew he was going to be ok.

“We waited back stage. We were ready to go on. The sound of the buzzer echoed through the palladium, but this just made us want to do well all the more. A member of the crew took Dylan to take his place in the audience, and while Rebecca and Joseph stood side of stage, and after a brief chat with Ant and Dec, I walked out and stood on the star.

“Stood alone on stage, in a theatre of thousands, I didn’t feel in the least bit nervous, we had prepared. I was excited to share our magic with the judges, the audience and the people at home who would eventually be watching.

“The audition went better than we could have imagined, receiving two standing ovations and all four judges said yes. Stood on stage, looking out at a sea of people, including the judges, clapping and cheering was a really special moment and one that we will cherish as a family forever.

“Due to Covid-19, the live semi-finals have been put on hold until later this year. If we are lucky enough to make the live shows, we have something amazing planned that we hope the world will get to see.”

You can follow James & Dylan’s journey by following their Facebook and Instagram pages.

Pictures: ITV & James Piper

James & Dylan BGT. 2


Rob Brydon and Wynne Evans get together for evening of entertainment to support Tenovus Cancer Care

One of Wales’ favourite comedian, Rob Brydon, and BBC Radio Wales presenter Wynne Evans are putting on an evening of entertainment to raise vital funds for Tenovus Cancer Care.

Rob & Wynne
Rob Brydon (left) & Wynne Evans (right)

Gavin and Stacey star Brydon has been raising thousands of pounds to help Tenovus Cancer Care support cancer patients and their loved ones.

‘A night in with Rob Brydon’ takes place on Friday 12th June and will be streamed live on the internet, with tickets to view the one-off special event costing £10.

It will be hosted by singer and broadcaster Wynne Evans, a fellow Tenovus Cancer Care patron, and also feature performances from the charity’s Sing with Us choirs and a live prize draw.

The tickets can be purchased by visiting

News Rhondda Cynon Taf

Popular pub broken into overnight

Police are investigating the break in at the Tynte Hotel, near Ynysboeth.

The owner of the pub has taken to social media, airing her upset & anger. Melissa Richards said, “Not exactly how I planned to feel landing in Amsterdam, having a phone call to tell me that the pub has been broken into has literally broke my heart!”

She added police are investigating and is urging anyone who may have witnessed anything sinister in the area to get in touch.

Melissa is asking anyone with CCTV in the area to also contact her.

tynte hotel
The Tynte Hotel. Picture: Google

Explosions heard as burger van is set alight in a “deliberate act”

South Wales Fire & Rescue Service are treating this morning’s burger van fire as “deliberate”.

The incident happened on Woodfield Terrace, Penrhiwceiber. Residents were waken by the sound of explosions.

A spokesperson for South Wales Fire & Rescue said crews were called to the scene at around 12:55. She said: “The van was well alight when fire crews arrived on the scene. We are treating it as a deliberate act.”




The year started with Cynon Valley News’s editor, Brad Williams winning an award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to New Media’ at the Rhondda Cynon Taf Youth Engagement Celebration Event.

Cynon Valley AM, Vikki Howells said, “Congratulations to talented young journalist Brad Williams, who won the Outstanding Contribution to New Media Award at the Rhondda Cynon Taf Youth Engagement celebration event in Aberdare.

Brad, from Mountain Ash, has been writing articles on local news and politics for Rhondda Cynon Taf’s youth website, for the last five years. Since then, he has launched an outstanding new blog, Cynon Valley News, which covers news, politics, weather, sport and travel in the valley.

I have met Brad on several occasions, and was pleased to be able to offer him a work experience placement in my office, where his journalistic skills shone through.

Brad has interviewed several senior figures, including the current First Minister of Wales, and his on-the-spot reporting during Storm Callum was picked up by the national media.

In February 2019, Brad’s blog reached an impressive 110,000 readers on Facebook, and when there is such a massive local news void, it provides a valuable service to the whole community.

Well done Brad!”

Pupils and staff from Mountain Ash Comprehensive School met the Duke & Duchess of Sussex in London. Full story:

In April, CVN obtained exclusive figures from South Wales Fire & Rescue Service revealing 98 grass fires had been started deliberately in the valley, from 23rd February – 24th April 2019. Full story:

The grass fire exclusive prompted Cynon Valley AM, Vikki Howells to raise the matter in the Welsh Assembly’s Chamber. Full story:

Cynon Valley Museum received a makeover earlier this year. Full story:

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council approved a new £4 million Primary Care Health Centre in Mountain Ash & a £10 million Primary School for Hirwaun. Meanwhile a community singing group plus an outdoor swimming pool were both awarded grants by the National Lottery. Full story:

Aberdare Park celebrated its 150 year birthday in the summer. ITV Wales’ valleys correspondent Hannah Thomas and weather presenter Ruth Wignall reported live from the park.

In politics, Labour’s Bethan Winter was elected as Cynon Valley MP at the UK General Election 2019. Former Cynon Valley Labour MP, Ann Clwyd congratulated Bethan on her election win.

Look back at 2019



News Politics

Cynon Valley AM welcomes step along journey to make Abernant Tunnel an active travel route

Cynon Valley AM Vikki Howells has welcomed news that the Welsh Government has agreed to fund walking and cycling charity Sustrans to lead on a piece of work that could see the reopening of the Abernant Tunnel.

The announcement was made by Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport AM Lee Waters in response to a debate discussing Welsh Historical Industrial Infrastructure.

The debate noted the rich network of this across Wales, and that re-purposing disused railway lines and tunnel across Wales could lead to economic, regeneration and integrated transport opportunities.

The Deputy Minister said:-
“The Minister for Local Government and Housing, the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism and I have jointly agreed to fund Sustrans to lead a partnership bid for assembling external funding for the reopening and running of the Rhondda and Abernant tunnels.

“Clearly, the funding would need to come from a wide range of sources and can only be achieved with a wide range of bodies working together, and this includes the community”.

Speaking in response, local AM Vikki Howells said:-
“I was pleased to co-table this debate alongside my colleague David Rees, Labour AM for Aberavon, which gave me a chance to once again champion the reopening of the Abernant Tunnel between Cwmbach and Merthyr.

“I have been through this Tunnel, and the structure is in impressive condition. There are over 20 former railway tunnels in South East Wales, and previous studies have noted that the Abernant Tunnel scores highest in terms of conversion to an active travel route for walking and cycling.

“During the debate, I paid tribute to the work of local company Hammond ECS, who maintain these structures across the UK, and pointed out how they could be reopened to encourage stronger links between communities and attract tourists to our area.

“This is a positive measure from Welsh Government, and I look forward to seeing progress as we convert these symbols of nineteenth-century industrialism into those of twenty-first century sustainable