IT IS ABSOLUTELY devastating to have to report today on the closure of Avana Bakeries in Rogerstone.

Just last week there seemed to be at least a glimmer of hope that a new contract was in the offing which would have secured at least some of the 650 jobs at risk.

Now we learn that turned out to be a false hope.

And it is heartbreaking to see such a long and well-established Gwent company having to close with the loss of so many jobs.

Our immefdiate thought is with all the workforce and of course their families as they digest the terrible news.

When M&S withdrew its contract with the company earlier this year, it effectively sounded the death knell fo ra firm which it had worked with for more than 70 years.

The importance of the contract to the company could not be over-estimated.

Without it there was just not enough work left.

Management of the parent company 2 Sisters Food Group have been working to try to find other contracts to replace at least some of the work, but to no avail.

They say they will continue to do that over the coming months as the firm embarks on a phased system of redundancies.

We live in hope that something can be found that would mean better news down the line.

But at the moment the focus needs to be on getting the staff all the help and support they need.