Crimes, clowns and a vision of femininity: April 16, 1964.

CLOWNING AROUND: Ammanford ground to a standstill as Coco the Clown came to town to open the revolutionary new

CLOWNING AROUND: Ammanford ground to a standstill as Coco the Clown came to town to open the revolutionary new "self-service" Spar store.

First published in Ammanford news

These are the stories that were hitting the headlines in the South Wales Guardian 50 years ago on April 16, 1964.

There was panic on the streets of Ammanford when “women – and scores of them – some brightly dressed, some in more sombre clothing” converged on the town.

The “vision of femininity which saw old men stopped dead in their tracks” was made up of representatives of Carmarthenshire’s 79 branches of the Women’s Institute who descended on the Pensioners’ Hall for their annual federation meeting.

Ammanford ground to a halt as residents flocked to see the one and only Coco the Clown, who arrived in town to open the new Spar store on Quay Street.

The world famous over-sized-shoe-wearing custard pie thrower – whose real name was Nicolai Poliakoff - took a morning off from his usual red-nosed antics at the circus to unveil the revolutionary “self-service” convenience store.

The driver of a three-wheeled car which came to a grinding halt on a Gwaun-cae-Gurwen pavement was outraged at police claims that he had drunk four pints of beer before getting behind the wheel.

“I had had at least six,” the driver told magistrates three days later, claiming a back injury some 14 years earlier had left him too nervous to drive without a drop of Dutch courage.

A Llandeilo farmer admitted stealing four bales of hay from his neighbour “in an act of pure spite”.

“I took two on Monday and another two on Tuesday to get back at him for all the dirty deeds he has done to me in the past,” he told magistrates, but refused to expand on the heinous acts which incurred such grievous vengeance.

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