Local celebs share favourite open spaces as part of Tai Tarian competitio

Thu 15 Jul 2021

Former Neath, Ospreys and Wales rugby player James Hook, sports author David Brayley, actor Jordan Bernarde and breakfast show DJ at The Wave, Leigh Jones have all named their favourite green spaces in Neath Port Talbot.

It is part of a campaign launched by Tai Tarian and running through the Summer, called #MyPlaceMySpace. The video challenge is aimed at getting the views of local young people on why the green spaces in their area matter to them.

Hook, Brayley Bernarde and Jones all have links to the Neath Port Talbot area and have themselves helped kickstart the competition by sharing videos of themselves in their particular favourite patch.

Perhaps not surprisingly, James Hook chose the Gnoll, home of Neath RFC and where it all started for him. He said:
“This is a really special place for me. It's where I began my semi-professional rugby career. I played two seasons at the Gnoll and I made my debut for the Ospreys here, back in 2004. I was bag of nerves.”

Hook went on to urge young people to take part in the competition:
“It’s a great place with great memories for me so if any of you guys have anywhere that’s special to you with memories, get the entries in and we’ll have look.”

The Gnoll, this time the cricket ground, also features in the memories of sports writer David Brayley, who named it as his favourite spot because of the memories it holds for him.

His first memory was aged 16 and winning a cricket cup final with his best friend. That friend was Tony Cottey who ended up playing for Glamorgan and Sussex.

Then at the same ground ten years later, Tony scored a hundred against an Australian touring team featuring many legends of the game, including Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist.

Leigh Jones, whose airwaves double-act with breakfast show team-mate Claire Scott on The Wave reaches young people across the country every morning, told us about Aberavon seafront.

He said although he loved Margam Park, like TV Presenter Iolo Williams, and Afan Forest Park, it was Aberavon seafront he named as his favourite spot as it offered fitness for all:
“I’m just out for a bit of a run right now. You could do some exercise on the green over there or you have the outdoor gym now which is worth checking out, or you could just grab a coffee and kick back and chill out on one of the benches.”

Actor Jordan Bernarde who played Garry in the Passion Play alongside Michael Sheen & Di Botcher, also gave the nod to Aberavon Beach as the first place he goes to when he returns from London. He said:
“It takes me away from this very urban environment I live in. It’s a place as a kid where I would go on bike rides with my family or have fish and chips with my grandad. It’s a place when I’m home that I go to and always bump into someone I went to school with and reconnect with them or meet someone I used to work with in Grove Park pub.

"10 years ago when I did the Passion, the dunes area is where we rehearsed so it really is a place where I can reflect, remember who I am, what I stand for and where I come from, so it's very special.”

Tai Tarian have launched the #MyPlaceMySpace competition for those between 16 and 24 who call Neath Port Talbot home. They can share their own video on their social media channels to be in with a chance to win a £50 meal in a local independent restaurant.

Entries can be shared on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and TikTok. Just tag @TaiTarian and use the hashtag #MyPlaceMySpace.

Alternatively youngsters can email media@taitarian.co.uk, closing date 20th August.

Here are the videos from James, David, Leigh and Jordan: