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Wednesday, 21 April 2010

“Wales has a tremendous amount to offer” - Shadow Minister for Health and Social Services, Andrew R.T. Davies A.M.

I am pleased to be given the opportunity to endorse the BMA Cymru campaign “We’ll keep a welcome”.

I have lived and worked in Wales all my life – I live with my family near Cowbridge in South Wales, situated in the rural Vale of Glamorgan but close to the Nation’s Capital City, Cardiff and we can therefore enjoy the best of both worlds – the beauty of the Welsh countryside and all that a bustling first city can offer.

We are never short of places to take our visitors - whatever their interests; the strikingly beautiful Welsh countryside boasts three National Parks and five regions designated as being of “Outstanding National Beauty”.

Wales has over 1200 Kilometres of coastline so you are never too far from the sea and the range of leisure activities that it provides, including surfing, sailing, fishing and swimming from some of the best beaches in the U.K. The temperate Welsh climate means that you can access the countryside throughout the year so if climbing the mountains of North Wales or the Beacons in the south are your bag or if you are into walking the coastal pathways or the picturesque valleys you will never be far from these areas.

Neither will you ever be far from civilisation – the cities and towns of Wales offer World – class theatres, museums and galleries – all evidence of the strong appreciation of music, literature and the Arts shared by Welsh people. Famous sons (and daughters) of Wales include Dylan Thomas, Richard Burton, Tom Jones and Shirley Bassey and throughout history many famous Welshmen and Welshwomen have helped shape the development of the Americas and emerging countries.

The Urban areas also have busy shopping centres that cater for all tastes and pockets and the night life – whether in the vast choice of restaurants of all culinary styles or in the friendly village pubs is there for all to enjoy and relax in.

In Wales we are also proud of the education that we provide for our children. We have a strong ethos of Life-long Learning and share our education facilities with many over-seas students. Our Universities are at the cutting edge of Research and Development, particularly in the Sciences and especially in Medicine.

Wales has its own unique culture and Celtic language, which although only spoken by 20% of the population, is enjoying a steady growth and is evident throughout Wales in the bi-lingual road signs and literature. This strong sense of culture helps the Welsh people to empathise with the cultures of other nations – illustrated by the International Eisteddfod held annually at Llangollen in North Wales since the Second World War to celebrate and promote understanding between nations of the World. Our Cities (Cardiff in particular) have a strong cosmopolitan flavour and are home to a myriad of ethnic cultures.

Did I mention Sport? The Welsh are renowned for their love of Rugby – but soccer also enjoys a wide following in Wales with highly enthusiastic teams representing their cities, towns, villages and schools. In fact, whatever your sporting interests you will not find it difficult to follow them in Wales.

Perhaps the thing that I love most about Wales is the people – the community spirit, the strong work ethic and the sense of “chwarae teg” (fair play) that is inherent in our culture makes me realise how lucky that I am to live and work in Wales, with the people’s sense of humour, willingness to communicate and their need to work as part of a cohesive team – working in Wales has much to recommend it – indeed, there has been an increasing inward trend for workers from outside Wales since the 1970s.

As a place to live and work I believe that Wales has a tremendous amount to offer – the beauty of its landscape, the entertainment in the towns and cities, the education and training opportunities available, the fascinating culture and history of the country and the warmth of its people make it a place that many want to come to but few want to leave.

Wales has a lot to offer everyone.

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