Welsh morning headlines: News, Ukraine, coronavirus and sport as Snoopy statue vandalism reported to police


We have put together a round-up of all the latest news, weather, and travel information for Monday, April 11, that will get you caught up and ready for the day after vandalism on charity Snoopy sculptures in Cardiff is reported to the police. The colourful dog statues were smashed at different locations, just two days after they were unveiled.

The sculptures are part of the “A Dog’s Trail” project featuring 40 large Snoopy statues, and 75 smaller ones scattered across south Wales. The trail launched on Friday, April 8, and just one day later was targeted by vandals.

Now, the trail’s organisers are asking the public to take extra care when interacting with the trail. They say the damage is “devastating” for everyone involved.

Read more:Family’s anguish after Swansea dad disappears ‘without a trace’

In a statement on social media, organisers said: “We’re sorry to bring you such sad news so early on in the trail but unfortunately we have had to remove four of our Snoopy sculptures from the trail due to vandalism.

“This is devastating, not only for us but for the artists who put so much hard work into their designs, the sculpture sponsors and of course the public who want to enjoy this beautiful art trail. A Dog’s Trail was designed to bring the people of South Wales together, to be a tourist in your own towns and cities and be proud of the creativity within the region.”

The Snoopy in Victoria Park, Cardiff, is the second statue to be damaged
The Snoopy in Victoria Park, Cardiff, is the second statue to be damaged

The statement continued: “We’re hopeful we can repair the sculptures and have them re-join the pack but we are urging the public to look after our Snoopy sculptures, take pride in the artwork and not climb or hang on them, to keep them looking their best so we can raise as much money as possible at the auction in June to help Dogs trust continue to care for dogs across Wales.

“We are also liaising with police about the damage.” Read more here.

Wales news headlines

Mum wins £300k on lottery scratchcard

A former school lollipop lady landed her family a £300,000 lottery windfall after buying a scratchcard on the way to a doctor’s appointment. Mum of two Caroline Walsh uncovered her jackpot on the Super 7s scratchcard as she sat waiting for her appointment.

Caroline, 58, of Pontypool, lost her husband Mike to cancer last year, and will share the win with her children. She said: “Thank goodness the doctor didn’t take my blood pressure in the appointment, it would have been through the roof! I wouldn’t have been able to tell her what was causing it because I wanted my sons to be the first to know.”

Caroline bought the scratchcard for her family syndicate
Caroline bought the scratchcard for her family syndicate

The scratchcard was bought in Griffithstown as a family syndicate. Caroline’s eldest son Chris, who’s 40, now works as a ward manager at a hospital in the north of England. He hopes to put the money towards a family holiday for his partner and two children following a tough two years working through the pandemic.

He said: “I couldn’t believe it when my mum called, I was absolutely ecstatic. £100,000 is an amazing amount of money and I can’t wait to put it towards a family holiday and plenty of treats for my partner and our children.”

Tent fire ‘explodes’ near busy road

Fire and rescue services were called to a fire ‘exploding’ near a busy road in Newport on Sunday night. Emergency services attended reports of a “large tent” on fire at the rear of a building near Usk Way.

One eye witness said she was sat outside Castle Bingo trying to get a taxi when the tent “went up”. She said: “[We] just saw the fire going. Then it started getting bigger and bigger and exploding.”

Fire crews were called to the incident on Sunday night

A video of the incident shows the fire exploding three times in a space of a minute as the flames grow higher. The woman added that she informed staff at the bingo hall who called emergency services, with a fire crew quickly arriving at the scene. Many others heard the noise, with residents on social media describing hearing a ‘big bang’. See more here.

Today’s forecast

Warmer this week, but with spells of rain at times. Here is the full forecast for Wales:

A line of showers moves northeast across the country during the morning, heavy in places. Drier and brighter conditions follow. Feeling rather warm, particularly once gusty winds gradually ease through the afternoon. Maximum temperature 16 °C.

Staying dry through the evening with the occasional clear spell. Thicker cloud arriving in the early hours as rain pushes through, heavy at times. A largely mild night. Minimum temperature 7 °C.

Here is how the roads and rail are affected at 7am

National news headlines

Drivers braced for busiest Easter on record with 21.5m journeys planned

This weekend’s Easter getaway will be the busiest on the UK’s roads in at least eight years, motorists are being warned.

An estimated 21.5 million leisure trips will be made by car between Good Friday and Easter Monday, the RAC said.

That is the most since the organisation began tracking motorists’ Easter plans in 2014. The busiest single day on the roads over the bank holiday weekend is expected to be Good Friday.

Traffic information supplier Inrix highlighted several likely congestion hotspots.

These include:

  • The M6 north between Junction 26 (Orrell Interchange, Greater Manchester) and Junction 36 (the Lake District).
  • The M25 clockwise from Junction 8 (Reigate Hill Interchange, Surrey) to Junction 16 (Denham Interchange, Buckinghamshire).
  • The A303 near Stonehenge, Wiltshire.

Drivers wanting to avoid as much congestion as possible are urged to set off before 9am or delay their journeys until after 7.30pm.

RAC traffic spokesman Rod Dennis said: “After two years of relatively quiet Easter bank holidays on the roads, our research suggests a return to traffic levels that are much more typical of this time of year.

“It’s very possible this weekend could turn out to be one of the busiest for leisure journeys for many years.

“Add in the impact of disruption on the rail network and one of the biggest fixtures of the sporting calendar taking place this weekend, and you have all the ingredients needed for problems on the roads. Traffic volumes will likely be even higher if some warm spring sunshine makes an appearance.”

Mr Dennis urged drivers to make sure vehicles are prepared for getaway trips. Read how EasyJet and Ryanair passport warnings leave travellers confused over travel rules here.

“This is even more important for anyone travelling longer distances than they have for several months,” he said.

“A breakdown is much less likely if a car’s oil and coolant levels, as well as tyre pressure and tread depth, have all been checked before setting out.”

In addition to traffic jams, motorists also face the most expensive Easter on record when it comes to fuel prices.

Latest Government figures show the average cost of a litre of petrol at UK forecourts on April 4 was 161.9p, with diesel at 176.0p.

Disruption is also expected across other modes of transport over the Easter weekend.

Several airlines and airports are struggling to cope with staff sickness and shortages, with thousands of flights cancelled by easyJet and British Airways in recent weeks.

Queen speaks publicly about Covid battle

The Queen has broken her silence on her battle with Covid. The 95-year-old monarch said she was “tired and exhausted” as she spoke to NHS Key workers about their experience of working during the pandemic.

Queen Elizabeth was forced to pull out of a string of engagements after contracting the virus in February. A statement from Buckingham Palace at the time said she was “experiencing mild cold-like symptoms”.

Speaking to the NHS workers via a video call to mark the official opening of The Royal London Hospital’s 155-bed Covid ward named after her, she said: “It does leave one very tired and exhausted doesn’t it, this horrible pandemic. It is not a nice result.”

She added to hospital staff: “It obviously was a very frightening experience to have Covid very badly, wasn’t it? And of course not being allowed to see your relatives was very hard, wasn’t it?”

She also spoke of “The Dunkirk Spirit” which got frontline workers through the crisis. She added: “Thank goodness it still exists.”

One of the biggest critical care units in the country, the 155-bed Queen Elizabeth Unit was built on the 14th and 15th floors of the hospital in just five weeks, in response to surging patient numbers due to the outbreak of Covid-19.

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Sport headlines

Ryan Reynolds backs campaign to bring Wrexham legend to Wembley

Hollywood actor and Wrexham AFC owner Ryan Reynolds has committed to bringing a club legend to Wembley Stadium for his side’s FA Trophy final appearance.

The 45-year-old Hollywood star and It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia creator Rob McElhenney took 100% ownership of the National League side in February 2021.

Since then the team has been the subject of increased attention, and Reynolds continued the good feeling at the club by committing to a campaign to bring Gareth Davies to the national stadium in May.

“Rob and I will make sure Gareth makes it to Wembley in comfort,” the Deadpool star tweeted.

“He showed up for @Wrexham-AFC and we’ll show up for him. #GarethIsGoingToWembley.”

Davies, 72, a defender who made hundreds of appearances for Wrexham and captained the side to quarter-finals in the FA Cup and League Cup, has dementia.

A GoFundMe page was set up to raise £250 to bring Davies to Wembley for the club’s showdown with Bromley on May 22.

As well as a cup final, Reynolds’ side are also in the running for promotion to the Football League, as they sit second in the National League with just weeks of the season remaining.

Reynolds told ITV’s Lorraine Kelly: “Both me and Rob McElhenney, we love it. It’s such a passion project.

“Football in general has really been both the best and the worst thing that’s ever happened to me.

“I get it now, I understand the beautiful game as much as I can understand it at this stage in life, and it’s a unique brand of gorgeous torture that I’ve never experienced before.”

Bale returns to Real Madrid

Wales superstar Gareth Bale finally returned to the Bernabeu on Saturday night after a two-season absence – and was promptly booed by a large section of Real Madrid fans.

Bale hadn’t featured for the Spanish giants at their home ground since a Champions League clash with Manchester City two seasons ago, and he was brought on as a second-half substitute for Karim Benzema against Getafe.

His introduction was met by a chorus of jeers from the Los Blancos supporters – with a smattering of applause also heard. The former Tottenham man responded perfectly, smiling as he entered the fray to a cloud of negativity. His every touch of the ball was also met with whistles.

Gareth Bale of Real Madrid comes onto the pitch during the La Liga match against Getafe CF at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu

The Welsh skipper will leave the Spanish capital when his contract expires at the end of the season, bringing an end to a trophy-laden spell in Madrid. Boss Carlo Ancelotti believes he should be treated with respect for what he has achieved with the European giants.

“The booing is understandable but our fans need to understand that their support is very important too,” he said last night. “Yes, Bale was booed but he is a professional, he is doing well in training and if necessary he will play this final stretch of the season. The fans have to understand that.”

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