Archive for June, 2013

running walesReading Dr Rhodri Martin’s piece in yesterday’s Western Mail as the lack of physical activity as the single most detrimental behaviour afflicting the worldwide population, I must endorse his comments with a passion.

As outlined last Saturday by Professor Steven Blair at a recent conference held in Cardiff, “inactivity is killing more often than smoking, obesity and diabetes combined”!

The burden on the NHS in Wales, and therefore on a tax payer, of illnesses etc caused by unfit people is not getting less, it’s getting more and more. We must put greater emphasis on getting this nation moving.

You do not have to visit a gym to get fit.  Just start off moderately by using stairs instead of a lift, walking to the shops as opposed to getting into your car or getting off a bus one or two stops before yours.  All of these simple adjustments could save your live as well as the nation thousands of pounds of health care.

Even dancing and singing can have beneficial effects as I found out on Saturday night when I took part in an extraordinary concert given by the legendary Bruce Springsteen at the Wembley Arena. He had the crowd dancing, singing, clapping and every member of the audience must have lost pounds in addition to enjoying a memorable event.

Let’s not dust this issue under the carpet, and let’s give it the airing it needs to get a strategy in place to address the problem and get our nation back in shape.

Breakfast ClubRussell Goodway, Cardiff Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance, Business and Local Economy, joined us this morning to discuss his vision for Cardiff as “a city of the world” – and told Cardiff Breakfast Club members to “prepare to be amazed”.

It is now 20 years since the then Council set out to transform Cardiff from a “small provincial city” to a vibrant and thriving capital, comparable to any of its European counterparts. This agenda, known as “Cardiff 2020”, identified key characteristics of these European cities, such as a high-performing and research-focused university, top notch sports facilities and cultural and concert venues. In the past 20 years, Cllr Goodway has had an instrumental role in bringing just such characteristics to Cardiff: Cardiff University, part of the influential Russell Group, the Millennium, Cardiff City and SWALEC stadiums, and the Millennium Centre.

However, these are more than just facilities: Cardiff 2020 embraced and understood the economic potential of culture and sport. For example, top quality universities attract and nurture the best students, creating a talented pool of individuals. These individuals go on to work in the area – and they attract businesses here to employ them.

Since then Cardiff has hosted the Rugby World Cup, the ICC Champions trophy, Olympic football matches, and concerts by huge acts. Russell praised the palpable “buzz” in the city after the singer Rihanna’s concert earlier this week, and anticipated the excitement that Premiership football will bring next season.

Councillor Russell Goodway outlined his aspirations for Cardiff's future economic development.

Councillor Russell Goodway outlined his aspirations for Cardiff’s future economic development.

With such attractive “weapons in the city’s economic armour”, the eyes of the world should be turning to Cardiff. Yet despite all this, Cllr Goodway stated that we have failed to make the most of the platforms put in place. Cardiff has “taken its eye off the ball” in the past 10 years, “underperforming” on a number of key measures. We currently have low levels of innovation, of business start-ups and business density, and have failed to attract significant inward investment and new jobs.

It now falls to this council to “start the process all over again”; to stimulate a new economic agenda for Cardiff and “lead Wales out of economic darkness”. During tough economic times the local government and the local business community must work together to bring aspirations to fruition, and Russell praised the strong public-private sector partnerships that brought about Cardiff 2020’s success. As he put it, the council must break the eggs, but the business community must make the omelette.

The Council’s aspirations full into three areas: infrastructure (both transport and digital), opportunities for all citizens, and enhancing Cardiff’s reputation. There are plans to dramatically improve local, national and international transport links, as well as the creation of a new enterprise zone that will attract new jobs into the city. Major development projects have a knock-on effect on all sectors: stimulating the construction industry, creating permanent jobs, and further bolstering Cardiff’s offer to visitors and inward investors.

Cardiff is a young, dynamic and growing city, and this “must be shouted about” to achieve the recognition it is capable of. 20 years ago such economic drive made Cardiff a worthy European capital; now it is time to make it a “city of the world”.

royal welshDelighted to hear that our client the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society made a £210,000 profit on the 2012 Summer Show. With the record-breaking attendance of 241,000 of the Show and further successes of the two day Spring Festival and Winter Fairs, the Society managed to persuade visitors to come to Llanelwedd even during the dark days of recession.

Hopefully the advertising and promotion which we did to publicise the event helped with the visitor members. Let’s hope that this year’s Summer Show even beats last year figures. Make a note of the date July 22-25.

It was with great personal interest that I watched Trevor Fishlock’s report on Welsh Boxing last night on ITV Wales. 

Trevor did a great job at outlining the history of boxing in Wales from the boxing booths to the champions of today.  He covered the relationship that the young men, many from the mines of South Wales, had with their passionate supporters, and how many took up fighting not just for the physical benefit and discipline that the sport gave, but also the wealth that the successful champions could make from the prize money they could win.

Jack Petersen competing

Jack Petersen competing

From a personal point of view, I was surprised by the omission of reference to my father, a professional boxer in the 1930s who became light heavyweight and heavyweight champion of Great Britain before the age of 21.  A feat not equalled since by any boxer from Britain.  He had a passionate supporter base and drew crowds of 50,000 plus at White City and Ninian Road.

Jack Petersen with his Lonsdale Belt

Jack Petersen with his Lonsdale Belt

My father Jack Petersen also won two original Lonsdale Belts referred to by Trevor as the pinnacle of achievement for boxers, who had to win and then defend their title three times before being presented with the coveted item.  Sadly recently one of these belts was stolen from my brother’s home in Buckinghamshire.

Another feat unequalled was that my father, as an ex boxer, became President of the British Boxing Board of Control (who now run professional boxing in Great Britain so well).

A great programme Trevor however, which in a short documentary showed why boxing was and still is such an important sport enjoyed by so many Welsh youngsters. Long may it continue to prosper and grow.