Ministers ‘failing to deliver’ on aerospace enterprise zone

Businesses are struggling at an aerospace enterprise zone in the Vale of Glamorgan because of restrictions at a flagship site, one entrepreneur claims.

Sion Llewelyn set up Avalon Aviation at St Athan airfield to import and sell light aircraft.

But he claims restricted flying times are preventing firms from making the most of development opportunities.

Economy Minister Edwina Hart said plans were in place to address concerns.

The Cardiff Airport and St Athan zone is one of seven areas across Wales where businesses are offered incentives with the aim of generating jobs and boosting the economy.

Avalon Aviation was set up by Mr Llewelyn when the enterprise zone was established two years ago, assisted by a grant from the Welsh government.

But he claims that restricted flying times to and from the airfield pose a significant problem for aviation companies at the site.

“We’re struggling, as are a number of the businesses struggling here, because of what seems to be an unhappy relationship between the traditional use of this airfield by the Ministry of Defence and the RAF and the attempt to bring in new life, new blood and its civilian use as an enterprise zone run by the Welsh government,” he said.

“The airfield is still run by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the RAF and they will only operate Monday to Friday 0930 to 1630 – civil service office hours. The reality of business, of course, and especially aviation is that it’s a seven day a week operation.”

“Businesses are finding it very difficult to get off the ground – mind the pun,” added Mr Llewelyn.

‘Applauded’

“I think the government need to be applauded for their vision of creating an aviation enterprise zone but their ability to deliver that has to be questioned.”

Mrs Hart told assembly members on Thursday that flying hours at St Athan will be extended from next month.

Giving evidence to the enterprise committee she said a nine-to-five service would be available from Monday to Saturday with aircraft access in and out of the airfield on Sundays also available on request.

“We acknowledge there’s been difficulty for the businesses there but I think we’ve also got to acknowledge that it is very difficult taking things through sometimes with the MoD which is a vast organisation in terms of the chain of command,” the minister told AMs.

“We are absolutely committed to getting this right and hopefully now from April this will be got right and businesses will be very happy and we hope to attract other businesses.”

Last October, First Minister Carwyn Jones said almost 2,000 jobs have been created across the seven enterprise zones, with a further 6,500 in the pipeline.

Bruce Dickinson at Cardiff Aviation

Opposition parties say the government has not released enough information about the aims and performance of enterprise zones.

Plaid Cymru economy spokesman Rhun ap Iorwerth said there has been too much “secrecy”.

“We’re not getting the information that we need from government at this point in time,” he said.

“If you have strategies in place, if you have public money being pumped into these enterprise zones, we need to be making sure we’re getting value for money.”

A Welsh government spokesperson said: “The minister for economy, science and transport has already published performance indicators relating to enterprise zones and has made a commitment to publish aggregated jobs figures in due course.”

Sourced by BBC News


St Athan & Cardiff Airport Enterprise Zone road to investment

Press Release by Welsh Government

Work has started on a road straightening project, costing almost £3m, to improve access to the St Athan and Cardiff Airport Enterprise Zone paving the way for new multi-million pound investments in the site.

The Welsh Government is funding the improvements to the B4265 between Gileston and Oldmill, which will improve connectivity within the Zone.  Works are expected to be completed by the end of 2014.

St Athan and Cardiff Airport Enterprise Zone has had several inward investments over the last three years which have the potential to create hundreds of new jobs, that require the straightening of this stretch of road to improve safety and access.

Minister for Economy, Science and Transport, Edwina Hart said:

“This investment demonstrates the Welsh Government’s commitment to making a success of the St Athan and Cardiff Enterprise Zone. Improving access to the site will open up more investment opportunities here. The straightening of these bends will also make the road safer for the many drivers who use this road every day.”

Prof Garel Rhys, Chair of the St Athan Enterprise Zone, said:

“I am delighted to see work begin on improving this stretch of road. This project is vital to the long term future of the St Athan and Cardiff Airport Enterprise Zone and will open many new investment opportunities to help the zone develop and realise its potential.”

The Vale of Glamorgan Council is carrying out the work on behalf of the Welsh Government.


Cardiff Aviation Ltd – What we know so far (Updated 18th Jun 2013)

It was announced  that a Maintenance Repair Overhaul (MRO) company led by Bruce Dickinson was to set up in the St Athan Enterprise Zone.

The Wales Air Forum shared several news articles from various sources each providing different parts of the puzzle. So what exactly do we know about Bruce Dickinson’s company and it’s plans?

Cardiff Aviation Ltd will be based at the 132,000 sq ft Twin Peaks hangar at MoD St Athan. The company will formally launch in July 2012 with 250-300 full time jobs being created within the first year. Within two years there could be in the region of 1,000 to 1,500 jobs created by the company.

Cardiff Aviation Ltd wants to provide heavy maintenance for Airbus and Boeing types of aircraft inside the Twin Peaks hangar which can accommodate aircraft up to the size of a Boeing 767.

The company is not intending to just concentrate on maintenance as it will form as part of a “total aviation service package” that they offer including flight and technical training, certification and aircraft sourcing and leasing.

Cardiff Aviation Ltd are hopeful that the development of new airline services for South Wales are included as Cardiff Airport has tremendous potential to challenge the successful English regional airports.

The first customers are likely to be “Boeing 737 operators” according to the company, and will be revealed later this month. But Bruce Dickinson has stated that “several more major and independent airlines” have shown interest in employing the business.

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Update: 9th May 2012

Cardiff Aviation Ltd has purchased it’s first simulator which is a Boeing 747 simulator and will be delivered in June.

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Update: 23rd May 2012

Cardiff Aviation Ltd has taken the delivery of it’s first Boeing 747-200 flight simulator.

Cardiff Aviation Ltd mentions that VIP air taxi & medevac operations are under consideration.

Video of the Cardiff Aviation Ltd facility – click here

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Update: 12th July 2012

Cardiff Aviation Ltd has officially received the keys to the Twin Peak hangar at MoD St Athan.

At present everything is running as planned and there is hope of an announcement in three weeks or so.

All recruitment enquiries should be sent to recruitment@cardiffaviation.com

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Update 21st July 2012

Mario Fulgoni appointed as executive chairman

Confident that the Civil Aviation Authority certification to maintain aircraft being operated in the UK to be secured within 8 to 12 weeks.

Cardiff Aviation now has all of it’s senior management team in place.

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Update 5th September 2012

Bruce Dickinson has reported that Cardiff Aviation has obtained their Maintenance Repair Overhaul (MRO) number however they are waiting for the documentation to arrive via post

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Update 12th September 2012

Bruce Dickinson has reported that there will be a clearer idea on the Cardiff Aviation recruitment schedule within a few weeks.

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Update 6th October 2012

Two Canadair CL-215 waterbomber aircraft arrived at Cardiff Aviation Ltd

Bruce Dickinson was on board one of the aircraft and believed they are beeing stored with some maintenance to be carried out on them.

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Update 31st October 2012

A Yakutia Air Boeing 757-200 arrived at Cardiff Aviation Ltd for maintenance.  It is to have an engine change.

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Update 7th January 2013

Bruce Dickinson reported on the Cardiff Aviation Ltd website that he was unpacking Boeing & Airbus heavy maintenance tooling worth 6 figures.

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Update 14th January 2013

Bruce Dickinson reported on the Cardiff Aviation Ltd twitter feed that a Boeing 737 had arrived for maintenance and also another Boeing 737 arrived for maintenance the previous weekend.

While doing research it was logged by the South Wales Aviation Group that a Jetstar Pacific Boeing 737-400 VN-A194 landed at St Athan today from Budapest.  There was no record of an aircraft arriving during the weekend however another Jetstar Pacific Boeing 737-400 VN-A192 arrived at St Athan on 21st Dec 12.

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Update 15th January 2013

Bruce Dickinson reported on the Cardiff Aviation Ltd twitter feed that Colin Harrison has been appointed as Head of Base Maintenance.  Bruce also states that Colin Harrison has had previous experience at Cobham, Airbus & British Airways.

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Update 7th Mar 2013

A Air Via Airbus A320 LZ-MDD arrived at Cardiff Aviation Ltd for a repaint and cabin re-configuration.  This aircraft is the first of three aircraft due from Air Via.

Image

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Update 22nd Mar 2013

The Air Viar Airbus A320 LZ-MDD appeared from the Twin Peaks hangar in WOW air livery.  This aircraft departed to Keflavik to operate a wet lease on behalf of the new Icelandic low cost carrier.

Image

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Update 23rd Mar 2013

Air Via Airbus A320 LZ-MDC arrived at Cardiff Aviation Ltd for a repaint and cabin re-configuration.  This aircraft is the 2nd of Air Via aircraft to arrive at Cardiff Aviation Ltd.

Image

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Update 9th Apr 2013

Cardiff Aviation are eyeing up projects such as becoming an Airbus A320 sharklet retrofitting centre.  If the idea materialises, Dickenson says, Cardiff Aviation wants to take over another 45,000m² (485,000ft²) “super-hangar” on the eastern side of the airfield, which can accommodate up to six narrowbodies.

Click to view article

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Update 19th Apr 2013

Cardiff Aviation has sealed a partnership with the European branch of US fuel-system maintenance specialists North American Aircraft Services (NAAS).

Click to view article

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Update 10th May 2013

Cardiff Aviation aquires European Skybus, and with it a number of simulators

Click to view article

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Update 30th May 2013

Cardiff Aviation shift B737-400 simulator from Istanbul to Karachi

Click to view article

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Update 18th Jun 2013

Cardiff Aviation secures £5m investment.  Finance Wales, the UK SME investment company and Welsh Government subsidiary, has contributed £1.6m to the project, with the remainder of the sum coming from private or privately-owned investors including Dickinson and Fulgoni.

Click to view article

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The Wales Air Forum as usual will keep you informed of any updates.  If you require any information then please send us an e-mail. walesairforum@hotmail.co.uk

Visit our main website www.walesaiforum.co.uk


Development of Master Planning for St Athan

It has been revealed a few days ago that the Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science has agreed the funding for the creation of a Master Plan for the St Athan site.

The decision was made on the 4th December 2012 but not publicised until 21st January 2013.

There has been no indication of the cost and who will conduct the Master Plan


Improved Cardiff Airport Shuttle Bus service takes off

As of today (Monday, 02 July) onwards the hourly shuttle bus linking Cardiff Airport and Rhoose Train Station will have an additional stop on its route.

The new look Cardiff Airport Rail/Bus link service has been extended to serve the Enterprise Zone at St Athan during travel to work times between Monday – Friday, whilst maintaining the connection with the train service at Rhoose Station.

As a result the extended shuttle bus route, which is funded by the Welsh Government, will now stop at:

Rhoose Railway Station – Cardiff Airport – St Athan Enterprise Zone – Cardiff Airport – Rhoose Railway Station.

A modest fare of £1 single for adults and 50p for children, students and apprentices will be introduced to help offset the running costs of the service. Concessionary bus pass holders will still be able to use the service free of charge.

The Minister with responsibility for Transport, Carl Sargeant said: “Cardiff Airport and the nearby enterprise zone at St Athan have the potential to play a vital role in the future success of the Welsh economy.”

“Ensuring that we continue to improve links to both are vital and the extended Cardiff Airport shuttle bus route that will now also stop at the new enterprise zone will play a part in improving these links for both travellers and commuters that use this service.”

Steve Hodgetts, Cardiff Airport’s Planning and Commercial Director added, “We welcome the continued commitment by the partners to continue this valuable service, which will benefit Cardiff Airport passengers as well as other members of the community.”

“The service will greatly aid the work of the St Athan and Cardiff Airport Enterprise Zone in developing the region.”

Vale of Glamorgan Councillor Liz Burnett, Cabinet Member for Planning and Transportation stated:

“The Council is pleased to continue its support in collaboration with the Welsh Government to fund the Rail Link Shuttle Bus Service 905 (Rhoose Cardiff Airport) and trusts that the extended service will continue to provide a vital link for many public transport users, which in turn will not only benefit business at Cardiff Airport and the new St Athan Enterprise Zone, but for Wales in general.”

Around 4,500 passenger journeys are made on the Cardiff Airport Rail/Bus link every month by people travelling to and from Cardiff Airport as well as by employees, apprentices and students based at nearby premises specialising in aeronautical engineering and the aviation supply chain.


First Piece Of Heavy Metal Lands At Cardiff Aviation.

Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson has landed the first piece of heavy metal at Cardiff Aviation’s St Athan, South Wales, base – virtually.

The newly-formed specialist aviation technical support services operation will provide heavy aircraft maintenance for various jet aircraft types, both narrow and wide-body up to Boeing 767 size – but one element of the business is pilot training.

Bruce, who along with other investors has set-up aviation maintenance business Cardiff Aviation Limited, http://www.cardiffaviation.com, plans to bring up to 1,000 new jobs to South Wales.

And the first piece of equipment into the hangar at St Athan is a Boeing 747-200 flight simulator. The B747 is one of the world’s biggest aircraft and the simulator will be used to train experienced pilots undergoing annual refresher training, as well as pilots new to professional aviation.

Dickinson, a commercial airline pilot and established aviation entrepreneur, currently trains pilots on a variety of aircraft flight simulators at other UK locations.

 

“This is a big, serious piece of kit which involved a police escort on oversized trucks to transport it from the Gatwick area where it had previously been used to train pilots flying Virgin Atlantic’s Boeing 747s,” said Bruce.

“It is now being installed in our HQ – known as Twin Peaks – and we already have agreements in place for training and type-rating courses from the day the simulator comes online, with pilots and students coming not just from the UK, but from around the world.”

 

Cardiff Aviation is based in the Vale of Glamorgan where it has taken 132,000 square feet of hangar space at St Athan.

As well as maintenance of airliners and other large aircraft for several major and independent airlines, Cardiff Aviation will have facilities to complete the full range of ancillary aircraft maintenance and training activities and has the expertise and approvals to certify aircraft from many jurisdictions, including the USA.

 

“South Wales has long had an association with the aircraft industry and I’m delighted that I am able to play a small part in the continuation of that tradition – the arrival of the simulator is a big and exciting development for us, although obviously not as big as the first aircraft due in for maintenance,” said Bruce.

As an established aviation base, St Athan has all the facilities necessary for the enterprise, including a runway 6,000 feet in length with a Cat 1 DME ILS, meaning it can cope with practically any size of commercial aircraft, including wide-bodied airliners.


Hunter Flying attracts aerobatic display teams to St Athan

G-PRII / XG194 N Hunter PR 11 taken by Paul Hughes

The company oversees the maintenance and operation of the largest private collection of classic aircraft of its kind in the world – many of which are used by display teams at air shows.

Hunter Flying relocated its entire operation to South Wales this year as a planned expansion at Exeter Airport – its former base – meant it had to find new premises.

It was the first private business to move into St Athan Aerospace Business Park and the newly designated Aviation Enterprise Zone where it has leased two hangars from the Welsh Government.

On a visit to their new premises today Business Minister Edwina Hart heard Hunter Flying is now the base for the newly formed Red Star Rebels team who will be flying four Russian L29 Delfin aircraft maintained by Hunter.

Chief Engineer John Sparks, who runs the company with his wife Nadine, said the air show season starts at the end of June and aerobatic training is now getting under way at their base.

“The Russian jets which date back to the 1970s are a new addition and we’re delighted the new Red Star Rebels team who will be flying at shows all over Europe has chosen St Athan as their base.”

Mrs Hart welcomed the news that Hunter Flying has already created eleven jobs – taking on ten engineers who were made redundant from the Defence Service Group (DSG).

“I am delighted to hear that Hunter Flying has been able to recruit former DSG engineers which means that these skills will remain in Wales in support of a dynamic and expanding aerospace sector.

“It’s also good to hear that Hunter Flying has a number of projects in the pipeline that will create additional jobs and that the Aerospace Business Park and Aviation Enterprise Zone is really taking off with a number of diverse operations investing here.”

Hunter Flying has plans to expand its operation to include maintenance of private light aircraft which will create another five engineering jobs and hope to get CAA approval to start later this year.

Mr Sparks said they were now fully operational and gearing up for aerobatic training.

“It’s the start of a busy time for us – we certainly moved at the right time and are delighted to have been able to recruit a team of highly skilled engineers – it has been fantastic. We have moved eighteen of our aircraft to St Athan with just another two to bring down.

“We have a number of projects in the pipeline that we hope to announce later this year and also hope to offer our services to Cardiff Aviation – Bruce Dickinson’s new venture and pleased to see such an interest in the Aerospace Park and Enterprise Zone which may present new business opportunities as more companies move here.”

He added there had been considerable interest from aviation enthusiasts in their new operation at St Athan and a large group of volunteers has already been formed to support their activities.


Iron Maiden’s Dickinson opens MRO firm at former RAF repair base

By:   Michael Gubisch London

Source:

Captain Bruce Dickinson, singer of heavy metal band Iron Maiden, has opened a heavy maintenance company for commercial aircraft on the grounds of the former Royal Air Force repair base in St Athan, near Cardiff today.

He expects to create “up to 1,000 new jobs in South Wales” over the next 18 month with the firm called Cardiff Aviation. This is a “cautious projection … based on the level of interest and commitment from aircraft manufacturers and operators”, Dickinson says.

The RAF’s maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) operations, which supported the UK’s Vickers VC10 tanker fleet, were wound down earlier this year.

Cardiff Aviation wants to provide heavy maintenance for Airbus and Boeing types within the 132,000ft² (12,000m²) hangar, which can accommodate aircraft up to the size of the Boeing 767.

The first customers will “likely be 737 operators”, according to the company, and will be revealed later this month. But Dickinson adds that “several more major and independent airlines” have shown interest in employing the business.

Heavy maintenance is just part of the range of “total aviation service packages” the company will offer, including flight and technical training, certification and aircraft sourcing and leasing.

This will “hopefully include the development of new airline services for South Wales”, according to Dickinson, who adds: “Cardiff Airport has tremendous potential to challenge the successful English regional airports.”

The Iron Maiden frontman had previously worked as a pilot for West Sussex-based Astraeus Airlines, which entered administration in November 2011.

Sourced by Flightglobal


Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson confirms 1,000 aviation jobs for Wales

By Sion Barry

Bruce Dickinson

LEAD singer with rock band Iron Maiden, Bruce Dickinson, has confirmed a multi-million pound aviation project in South Wales which will create up to 1,000 jobs.

Through his company Cardiff Aviation a major commercial airline maintenance repair and overhaul operation at St Athan in the of Vale of Glamorgan is being established.

The company finalised the deal on the investment with the Welsh Government, which is supporting the start-up venture financially, at 5:30am this morning.

Cardiff Aviation has taken a lease on the Welsh Government owned 132,000 sq ft Twin Peaks hangar at St Athan – part of the Welsh Government’s aviation enterprise zone.

Mr Dickinson and his backers only considered St Athan for the investment.

The successful aviation entrepreneur and rock star said: ““We’re coming into this enterprise with the knowledge that we’ll also be bringing business to South Wales – a cautious projection is that we’d expect to create up to a thousand jobs within 18 months based on the level of interest and commitment from aircraft manufacturers and operators.

“South Wales has long had an association with the aircraft industry and I am delighted that I am able to have a small part in the continuation of that tradition.”

He said the first commercial airline customers would be announced this month, with expressions of interest having been received from a number of independent airlines.The facility will provide maintenance services up to Boeing 767 sized aircraft.

As well as maintenance of airliners and other large aircraft for several major and independent airlines, Cardiff Aviation will have facilities to complete the full range of ancillary aircraft maintenance and training activities and has the expertise and approvals to certify aircraft from many jurisdictions, including the USA.

Business Minister Edwina Hart described it as strong vote of confidence in the Welsh Government’s plans to develop a centre of aerospace excellence at St Athan .

She said: “I am particularly pleased to hear the company is keen to take on skilled mechanics previously employed by the Defence Support Group, create hundreds of highly skilled engineering jobs and also plans to establish an on-going apprenticeship programme as the business grows.

”We have been working closely with Bruce Dickinson and Cardiff Aviation on this exciting project for some time and delighted it has come to fruition. This is exactly the type of investment needed – bringing money into the local economy while also providing an international promotion for St Athan Aerospace Business Park and the Aviation Enterprise Zone.

“We have a strong dynamic aerospace sector in Wales and this investment will build upon the skilled workforce that already exists in the area, providing a range of career opportunities. This type of flagship operation will provide a great start for the new aviation enterprise zone.”

The Welsh Government is continuing its discussions with the UK Treasury over the zone having significant capital allowances for companies located there.

Sourced by Wales Online

Rocker brings 1,000 heavy metal jobs to South Wales

IRON Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson has set up a specialist aviation firm which could see the creation of up to 1,000 jobs in South Wales.

The commercial airline pilot has teamed up with investors including aviation professionals to create Cardiff Aviation which will provide specialist aviation technical services including training and heavy aircraft maintenance for narrow and wide jets.
The business will be based at St Athan Enterprise Zone in the Vale of Glamorgan where it has taken 132,000 square feet of hangar space.

The first clients will be announced this month and are likely to include the maintenance of Boeing 737 aircraft.

The first Boeing 747 simulator has been purchased and is due for delivery in June.

“We’ve had fantastic support from the Welsh government – we’ve been impressed by how pro-active they’ve been; they’ve really wanted to make this happen, and we’ve experienced a level of enthusiasm and drive that has been a delight to behold,” said Bruce Dickinson.

“We’re coming into this enterprise with the knowledge that we’ll also be bringing business to South Wales – a cautious projection is that we’d expect to create up to 1,000 jobs within 18 months based on the level of interest and commitment from aircraft manufacturers and operators.

“South Wales has long had an association with the aircraft industry and I am delighted that I am able to play a small part in the continuation of that tradition.

“We’ll be based in civil aviation buildings, and we’re excited to be part of the Welsh Government’s Aerospace Enterprise Zone proposals. As an established base, it obviously has all the facilities necessary for the enterprise, including a runway 6,000 feet in length with a Cat 1 DME ILS, meaning it can cope with practically any size of commercial aircraft, including wide-bodied airliners.

“But the added value we can bring to the package is that while the team is expert in the provision of technical services, we also have expertise in aircraft sourcing and leasing, another key aspect to the deployment of a total aviation services package, hopefully including the development of new airline services for South Wales – Cardiff Airport has tremendous potential to challenge the successful English regional airports.”

The news has been warmly welcomed by Business Minister Edwina Hart who said the investment would provide a substantial jobs boost.

The minister said: “The Welsh Government has been working closely with Bruce Dickinson and Cardiff Aviation on this exciting project for some time and we are delighted it has come to fruition. This is exactly the type of investment needed which will create hundreds of well-paid skilled jobs in one of our key sectors.

“We have a strong dynamic aerospace sector in Wales and this investment will build upon the skilled workforce that already exists in the area, providing a range of career opportunities. This is a flagship operation and provides a great start for the new Aerospace Enterprise Zone.”

Sourced by This is South Wales


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