Cymdeithas Y Cymer: The committee members of the Cymdeithas Y Cymer group have decided, because of personal commitments and difficulties to call it a day as a working interest.

They would like to take this opportunity to thank the staff for their hours spent training the children and bringing them to Coleg Gwent, Crosskeys for the annual concerts since 1997.

They say the feedback they received after each of the concerts from the capacity audiences was very gratifying to the staff who took part from each school and the children who performed.

The committee members say they have enjoyed every one of the shows too, and each year the performances appeared to be bigger and better than the last.

The proceeds from Cymdeithas Y Cymer's many fundraising events have gone to many charities and groups including Urdd Gobaith Cymru.

Organisers say what remains of its fundraising cash will go to Ty Hafan.

RISCA MAN AWARDED mbe: The MBE was awarded to former Newport and Risca man, Richard Davies.

Richard was born on the Gaer Estate, Newport in May 1953, he was educated at Duffryn High School and Nash College.

He worked at Rom River, Risca and Westwood Steel stockholders.

In 1973 he married Barbara Evans of Woodview Road and lived in Phillip Street, Risca.

On October 3, 1990, Richard, Barbara and their two children, Nathan and Bethan, moved to Newcastle with a view to be actively involved in the day to day life of a new charismatic church.

It was believed Richard would be re-employed by Christmas 1990.

However it took nine years and almost three thousand letters, CVs, application forms, plus a tremendous amount of cold calling all to no avail.

During the nine year stretch of unemployment, Richard became more and more involved in the local schools in Newcastle, firstly via school assemblies then as a voluntary visitor in RE and PSE lessons.

He then trained with Schools Outreach, which gave him a greater ability in helping younger people at their point of need.

In 1997 while still working on a voluntary basis, he began to develop the Own It programme.

Own It is a unique work experience program that helps young people gain access to the world of work.

Own It is a lifeline and a rescue operation, it is not a reward system.

Since Own It's early days it has helped 1,170 people gain access to the world of work with a 77 percent success rate.

Own It, which Richard got off the ground with his voluntary work, is now based in eight schools and one youth centre, employing nine full-time staff, one part-time worker and one volunteer.

Own It is built on a very simple philosophy - making dreams come true.

Behind this statement is a question that every young person on Own It must answer: "If you could leave school on Friday, start work on Monday, what is it more than anything else in the world that you want to do?"

Richard also goes out to India with a Christian group, for three weeks each year, where he uses his expertise and knowledge of the bible to work with children and young people.

In January, Richard was named in the Queens New Years Honours list for the MBE as a reward for his work in helping disadvantaged young people, especially in the west end of Newcastle.

Richard is due to visit Buckingham Palace on May 16 to receive his award.

Hollace Jefferies, Crosskeys, sent this report to your correspondent.

Risca Senior Citizens Club: Risca Senior Citizens Over 60's Club, based in Park Road, is having an Easter bonnet parade at 2.30pm on Wednesday, March 26.

Tea and biscuits are provided.

Tribute Concert: A concert called Music for Spring with the Apollo Singers will be held on March 31, as a tribute to Eileen Bosustow, who was the conductor of the choir.

The concert will be held at Crosskeys Methodist Church from 7.30pm.

The admission is £3, pay at the door.

The proceeds are in aid of the Antigua Centre, West Indies, (the Gilbert Memorial Centre.

Crosskeys and Pontywaun Residents Association ( CAPRA): CAPRA met on Monday, March 3, at the Philanthropic Inn.

The items discussed were: l The work on Crosskeys corner and Waunfawr Park has started.

l Chris Cook gave an interesting presentation on the land where the old Hall's railway line used to be.

There are worries the plans to block up the old railway bridge to strengthen it, will deny access to the top part of the canal tow path for large vehicles.

The council has written a letter to assure residents it is committed to keeping the top part of the canal open.

How this will be managed if repairs requiring heavy plant are needed is a mystery.

l Trinity Chapel, Pontywaun has been awarded a grant to improve the building and access for disabled users.

A Chinese auction will be held there on April 16.

l Groundwork will be holding an Arts' Festival on May 11 in Waunfawr Park.

Look out in the Press for more information.

l Rowing boats will be on the canal from March 25 to November 5.

The next CAPRA meeting is at the Crosskeys Hotel, on Monday, April 7, at 7pm.

Crosskeys Community Group: Spring seems to be a long time coming this year but the community group says its forget me not and wallflowers are in bud and its late planted daffodils are beginning to flower.

The group is hoping for a respite from the chill winds and some warm sunshine so members can enjoy refreshments out on the patio.

For further information please contact Rebecca on 07900 516381 or Lynne on 01495 271947.

Meanwhile, tea/coffee/toast/marmalade morning is served from 10.30am to 12pm every Tuesday.

Club organisers invite anyone interested to come along and have a chat, exchange ideas and have a laugh, followed by bingo sessions every Tuesday.

Doors open at 2pm for a 2.30pm start. Admission is £1 and raffle is £1.

A warm welcome is extended to all.

Islwyn Ramblers: The ramblers have organised a walk on Saturday, March 29.

Meet at second car park in Sirhowy Valley Country Park at 9.30am.

The route will cross the River Ebbw and follow a mountain path to Cwmfelinfach. It will then cross the valley bottom to Babel Chapel before returning to the start.

Dan-Y-Graig Church: The coffee morning and bring and buy sale held at the church on Tuesday, March 11, in aid of Velindre Hospital raised a total of £1,000.

Thanks are expressed to everyone who attended and thus helped to raise the figure mentioned.

Choir's Trip to Scotland: Around 60 Risca Choir members and supporters will be travelling north to Edinburgh on April 2 for a short concert tour until April 6.

They will spend their time in a hotel at the capital where two concerts will take place, a further one will be with the East Fife Male Voice Choir.

Needless to say a mixture of Welsh and Scottish items will be sung during their stay and it is hoped it will held to cement a good neighbour effect between the two choirs.

More news on their return to Gwent.