During the recent half term holidays I happened to walk past the children's playground opposite the Leisure Centre and was delighted to see that it was absolutely packed with youngsters who, to judge by the screams and shouts, were thoroughly enjoying the various swings and things that have been placed there.

Next door there was the skate board park which was being well used by the older ones. It always gives me a smug feeling when I read in the Argus that other towns are still arguing about the feasibility of setting up a skate board park, and, for a change, Pontypool already has such a facility.

Considering the opinion of a lot of people who predicted all the doom and gloom about the youngsters who they were convinced would soon smash it up it seems to be lasting quite well.

From newspaper reports the vandals are now concentrating their efforts on churches, smashing windows on a regular basis and in the case of one church, regularly stripping the lead off the roof.

The thing that intrigues me about the stealing of lead is the fact that no one seems to see the people doing it. Again, would you not need roof ladders to rip out the lead or is it worth them risking falling off the roof.

The one snag about the set up of the children's playgrounds in the park was the lack of seating for grown ups to use while the children enjoy themselves.

Nowadays the school holidays is when the grandparents swing into action to look after the little ones while their parents are in work and there is no school.

There were only four benches available there and most of the older people had to stand around while the children enjoyed themselves.

I wonder whether they can see their charges if they sit in that lovely café that has so thoughtfully been installed on the ground floor of the Centre.

I am sure that it would not cost the Council a lot of money out of their budget to install a reasonable number of benches in that well used area, A MEMENTO OF THE 1958 EMPIRE GAMES: A friend, Vera Webber, who had recently lost her husband Ken after many years of marriage, was moving into sheltered accommodation out of her much loved bungalow.

While looking through her effects she came across this scarf from the time of the Empire Games, which have since been named the Commonwealth Games, in Cardiff, which were held in 1958 in the old Arms Park.

This was a huge honour for Wales to be granted the Games.

The first of these Games was held in Hamilton in Canada in 1930 and are held at four-year intervals between the Olympic Games.

Their full title when they were held in Cardiff was the British Empire and Commonwealth Games.

Finding this scarf brought memories flooding back for Vera. Her son, John, at the time, was ten years of age and took part in a variety of sports at the Garndiffaith School and the sports master, Charlie Hampton, organised a bus trip to the Empire Games on one of the competition days. He was backed up in this by the then headmaster of the school, Sid Griffiths.

Apparently there was a full bus of children and their parents and Vera went with her son. As she said her husband could not go as he was working.

Although it is now fifty years since the Games, and this year is its Diamond anniversary, her recollections of the day out are quite clear.

She remembers seeing the scarf for sale. It is pure silk, and she decided to buy it as a souvenir. As you can see, the coverage of the Games is quite comprehensive, with the flags of the various countries forming the centrepiece around the laurel wreath with the date in the middle and the various sports including swimming. I think that the Empire Pool was built especially for this event. It has, of course, since been knocked down quite recently.

I have a personal recollection of these Games. I was on a Staff Training Course in the old Employment Exchange in Westgate Street in Cardiff. By accident I found that the track could be seen from the toilet on the third floor. It was there that I saw the final of the 100 yards as it was then. I was accompanied by a number of the other male students and the instructor was rather mystified why his class numbers had gone down so suddenly.

THE LINDEN SINGERS: I have just received another letter from Andrea Evans, the new secretary of this ladies choir, about their recent appearances.

I wrote a little time ago about the concert that they put on at the Memorial Hall in Newbridge as their St David's day entertainment when they shared the stage with the Cwmbran Male Voice Choir.

Despite the fact that there were a number of other concerts taking place on that special day Andrea tells me that the event raised the very creditable amount of £400 for their chosen charity, St David's Foundation.

A more recent appearance was at the St Julian's Methodist Church in Newport and was considered by all concerned as a brilliant evening. The Newport Police Choir were the organisers and the Linden Singers sang songs from a wide range of music.

They were conducted by their Musical Director Lyn Weaver with accompaniment provided by their pianist Kirsten Watson and were under the iron hand of their Marshal, Pam Brown.

The church was full and the amount raised on the night, and there is still more to come, was £1,462.

This really is a staggering figure and made the efforts of both choirs well worthwhile.

The chosen charity, on this occasion, was Breast Cancer.

All members of the Singers are now looking forward, with eager anticipation, to their short break at Looe in Cornwall where they will be singing at the Riverside Church in a couple of concerts.

Andrea has promised me a full report of the weekend possibly with photographs to accompany it. As I have said previously there will be number of us non members accompanying them and expecting to enjoy ourselves as much as the choir members.

The Linden Singers meet each Monday for rehearsals at the Congregational Church Hall in Griffithstown starting at 7pm.

New members are always welcome so Ladies, if you would like to sing with a group of very friendly people do go along.