The Pembrokeshire Herald 31/05/2024

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Facebook: @ThePembrokeshireHerald • Instagram: @pembrokeshireherald • Twitter: @PembsHerald Herald The Pembrokeshire Your award wInnIng local PaPer • FrIdaY MaY 31st 2024 • ISSue 563 • onlY £1.50
Break-In aT MeYrIck Street vape Shop • p4 CounCil renewS legal preSSure on Smelly landfill Site’S owner • p8 folly farm giraffe dieS • p6 Lowri Bamford Lewis has B een forced to put down her fami Ly pet • p 12 Shock aS cat S ‘poi S oned’ with anti-freeze in hakin Boxing clever counciL on the ropes at Licensing appeaL • p5

Couple jailed for ‘dine and dash’ spree

A COUPLE who repeatedly left restaurants without paying their bills have been jailed following a spree of “dine and dash” incidents across South Wales. Bernard McDonagh and Ann McDonagh targeted five restaurants in Swansea, Neath, Port Talbot, and Porthcawl, racking up bills totalling over £1,000.

The couple, from Sandfields in Port Talbot, were identified after frustrated restaurant owners posted CCTV images online. Earlier this month, both pleaded guilty to five counts of obtaining services dishonestly at Swansea Magistrates Court. Ann McDonagh received a 12-month prison sentence, while Bernard McDonagh was sentenced to eight months.

Judge Paul Thomas KC, presiding over the case, noted that the couple’s actions were driven by greed and the thrill of their exploits. He described Ann McDonagh as the mastermind behind the frauds, calling her a “fluent and practised liar.” Judge Thomas stated that the couple’s persistent

audacity and lack of rehabilitation prospects necessitated immediate custodial sentences.

Inspector Andrew Hedley of South Wales Police commented on the case, emphasising the significant impact on local businesses.

“The prolific and brazen offending of Ann and Bernard McDonagh rightly caught the attention of a large percentage of the local public. It is great to see that justice has now been served, and we thank those members of the public who assisted with the investigation,” he said.

Russell Greenslade, Chief Executive of Swansea BID, highlighted the role of the Business Crime Reduction partnership in securing the conviction. “Our free Sentrysis reporting platform, which we provide to our businesses, was instrumental in facilitating this result. The success of this case underscores the importance of our ongoing collaborative efforts with South Wales Police,” he stated.

The Crown Prosecution

Service Cymru also released a statement, acknowledging the devastating impact the McDonaghs’ actions had on family-run restaurants.

“These businesses, already facing numerous challenges, have suffered financial losses and emotional strain due to the McDonaghs’ actions. They have today been brought to justice.”

Judge Thomas further remarked on the harm caused by the couple’s behaviour, which included ordering expensive food that often went uneaten. He addressed the defendants, stating that their actions had put livelihoods at risk and reinforced negative stereotypes about the traveller community.

During the sentencing, Bernard McDonagh expressed deep embarrassment and shame for his actions. His advocate, Giles Hayes, informed the court that Bernard had arranged to pay compensation after borrowing money from friends and family. He also revealed that the McDonaghs’ home had been vandalised following media coverage of their crimes.

The couple was given seven days to pay the required compensation.

The case has drawn significant attention from the local community and serves as a reminder of the importance of vigilance and cooperation in combating business crime.

Rosebush postmistress retires after 32 years’


Cynthia Jennings has retired from Rosebush Post Office, where she has managed the branch from her family farm for 32 years.

Cynthia was born eight miles from Rosebush and moved to the village when she bought the former dairy farm. Later the village needed someone to take on the Post Office and she opened the branch in the old dairy house to maintain Post Office services to the village.

Then they converted the former milking shed into a Post Office and added a farm shop where they sold cheese made on the premises. At first, they sold goats cheese made from goats that they used to keep on the farm. The uplands farm is now used for keeping sheep and they buy in cows’ milk to make the cheese. The cheese shop will remain open.


Cynthia Jennings, said: “The best thing about being a Postmistress is the people that you serve. I always enjoyed a chit chat with customers. I managed to keep my branch open during the pandemic to serve the village.” Post Office Area Manager, Ryan Leonard, said: “I wish Cynthia a well-earned retirement from running a Post Office, but she will continue to work on the farm and continue to make cheese. I want to thank Cynthia for opening up her farm to Post Office customers for more than three decades.”

Cynthia’s branch at Rosebush, Clynderwen, SA66 7QY, was open two mornings a week. Nearby is Maenclochog branch (Mon – Sat: 8am – 6pm; Sun: 8am – 2pm), so Cynthia is pleased her community will have easy access to Post Office services despite her retirement.

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Brazen break-in at Meyrick Street vape shop

IN the early hours of Wednesday, 29th May, a break-in occurred at a vape store located on Meyrick Street, Pembroke Dock. The perpetrators made off with nearly the entire stock of the shop, causing extensive damage in the process.

The owners of Juice33, the affected store, have described the thieves as “worthless degenerates” who not only stole the majority of their products but also caused significant harm to the store’s exterior and interior. Despite being insured, the owners anticipate considerable financial losses due to the theft and the time required to repair the damage and

restock the store.

In a public plea for assistance, the owners urged anyone who might have seen or heard anything suspicious on Lower Meyrick Street between 1am and 3am to come forward. They have asked the public to report any information to the police using the crime reference number DP-20240529039. Additionally, they are seeking vigilance from the community to watch out for anyone attempting to sell vape products locally.

The intruders managed to steal the physical media recorder and the cameras for

the store’s CCTV system. The owners are currently awaiting images to be retrieved from cloud storage but have expressed concern that the thieves might have destroyed the cameras before any useful footage could be captured.

Juice33 has announced that while their Pembroke Dock location will remain closed temporarily, their stores in Haverfordwest and Milford will continue to operate as usual. They are working diligently to reopen the Pembroke Dock store as soon as possible.

Inspector Andrew Hedley of Dyfed-Powys Police has encouraged

the community to assist in the investigation. “We urge anyone with information about this incident or who may have noticed anything unusual during the early hours to report it online at www. dyfed-powys.police. uk. Your assistance is vital in bringing those responsible to justice,” he said.

The break-in has sparked outrage and sympathy from local residents, who have expressed their support for the Juice33 team. The community’s response underlines the importance of local businesses and the collective effort to protect them from criminal activities.

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Council officer admits licensing advice had no legal basis


OFFICER who told a licensing subcommittee that a venue’s operation was “an abuse of the Temporary Events Licence system” has now admitted under oath that his advice had no legal basis.

The case concerns an appeal by Steve Bartram, manager of The Hangar in Milford Haven, after the local authority refused a Temporary Event Notice (TEN) at a Licensing SubCommittee meeting on 1st May. Bartram argues that Pembrokeshire County Council was wrong to stop a charity boxing event and that the councillors involved considered irrelevant information. He also claims the noise complaints came from two Milford Haven councillors, one of whom was listed as the director of another venue in the town at the time of the hearing.

Under crossexamination by barrister Matthew Graham Paul on Wednesday afternoon, 29th May, David Waters, a Pollution Control Officer with 20 years of experience, conceded that his issue was a personal dislike for temporary licences because he couldn’t impose conditions on them.

Waters acknowledged that Parliament had set the annual limit for temporary event licences per person and that neither the law nor Pembrokeshire County Council’s licensing policy prevented a commercial premises from applying for a TEN. He also confirmed that the 499-person limit is stipulated in the

Licensing Act 2003. Ironically, while the hearing focused on noise pollution, attendees were acutely aware of loud music from the annual Llanelli Fun Fair outside the court building. Paul challenged Waters on his personal policy against businesses using TENs.

Waters admitted his stance was not written in the council’s licensing policy. When asked about potential conditions for The Hangar, Waters suggested a noise management plan to support licensing objectives.

Paul inquired whether the council could issue a Noise Abatement Notice

to a venue with a TEN to control noise pollution. Waters confirmed it was possible but stated they had refrained from doing so as they were working with the venue owner to get the venue properly licensed.

During the hearing, there was a query about the number of noise complaints against

The Hangar. Waters admitted there had been no complaints about two previous boxing events but acknowledged he had told Bartram he would object to any future TEN applications due to noise concerns.

The complaints in the court documents had names and addresses redacted. The bench

requested unredacted copies to clarify the number and sources of complaints, suspecting multiple complaints from the same household. Three complaints were related to a person needing to wake up early for work after a previous event.

Paul criticised the council for sending additional redacted complaints by email just hours before the hearing. He suggested the council realised they had a weak case and tried to bolster their evidence last minute. The council’s barrister objected to this line of questioning, and Waters did not have to answer.

Arguments also arose about noise levels recorded at an event on 11th May, ten days after the original hearing. Waters explained he could “add decibels” to account for bass and repetitive music, a practice left to his discretion. Concerns were raised that he had added more than necessary.

The court heard that permitted noise levels after 11 pm are 34 decibels adjusted (dBA) if background noise is no higher than 24dBA, or 10dBA above background noise if it exceeds 24dBA. Waters confirmed he told Bartram that the music level was 42db, within the Home Office Code of Practice on Noise, but noted it could still be a nuisance depending on circumstances.

Due to the hearing’s length, the case was adjourned until 17th June at the same venue. At this stage, it appears the council is struggling to defend its decision against The Hangar’s charity boxing event.

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Food production should be part of National Service

THE CONSERVATIVE candidate for Ceredigion Preseli, Aled Thomas, backs the Prime Minister’s plan to introduce National Service.

Mr Thomas, a local farmer who also works as an agronomist for a major international consultancy, told The Pembrokeshire Herald Mr Sunak’s policy presents an educational opportunity for young people in Wales.

Aled Thomas said: “The morning after the scheme announcement, I spoke directly with the Home Secretary James Cleverley, urging him to include voluntary work on farms or in the food production sector as part of the new policy.

Mr Thomas continued: “The curriculum in Wales teaches about climate change but does not explain food miles’ impact on our carbon footprint.

“For example, a teacher in a local school got their class to write to me saying that we must stop eating beef to save the Amazon rainforest.

That isn’t true. That, and similar misinformation, will continue to influence those children.

“More and more of the Amazon rainforest is being lost to plant soybeans for processing and export to Europe and North America. The negative environmental impacts of that trade are huge and far outweigh the impacts of Welsh livestock farming, which is just about the most environmentally friendly in the world!”

The Conservative county councillor said: “Now, more than ever, we should teach kids about the value of food and where it comes from. Only then can they understand and make informed choices.

“How can we make children understand the importance of food security if they’ve no idea where the food on their plates comes from?”

Aled Thomas continued: “If young people see first-hand the amount

of perfectly good food that doesn’t reach customers because it’s the wrong size or shape, they can make informed choices on what they eat and reduce the horrendous amount of food waste in the UK.

“Reducing food waste will free up land to grow, for example, crops for sustainable biofuels orpossibly-housing.

“The opportunities that a form of National Service presents to fill in the gap between classroom theory and practical reality cannot be underestimated.”

Mr Thomas concluded: “Farmers are the emergency service nobody talks about.

“You might see a doctor once a quarter, rely on the police to keep you safe, and want an ambulance to be available when you need one. If you need the fire and rescue service, you find reassurance in them being on standby.

“You need farmers and food three times a day, every day.

“It’s increasingly concerning how little

Wales’ children know about agricultural food production, compounded by the introduction of the damaging new curriculum for Wales.

“Including food and farming as part of national service would mean that the next generation

of children will have a chance to know how bread is made, where their fruit and vegetables comes from or even what goes into making a pint of milk!”

At the time of writing, the candidates declared for Ceredigion Preseli are:

Folly Farm giraffe dies

FOLLY FARM said today that it is with great sadness that they announce the death of Rudi, one of the Rothschild hybrid giraffes.

Rudi, joined the farm from Longleat Safari Park, with his half brother Dr Shrimp, in 2021 and were a popular duo alongside long-term resident Rian.

A spokesperson from

Folly Farm said: “Our thoughts at this sad time are with the dedicated Folly Farm keepers who cared for him on a daily basis and for whom his loss is most greatly felt.

“Our keeping team has been monitoring Rudi’s growth for a while alongside our veterinary partners but following his deteriorating health over recent weeks he

was found collapsed. In discussion with our zoo team, management and our expert veterinary partners we took the difficult decision to put Rudi to sleep to stop further suffering. A post mortem revealed he had congenital heart disease, a long-term pre-existing health condition likely present from birth.”

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Tomos Barlow: Greens Jackie Jones: Labour Ben Lake: Plaid Cymru Aled Thomas: Welsh Conservatives Mark Williams: Liberal Democrats

The Fate of Wheels

The future of our wheels and affordable electric vehicles in Pembs.

TWO schemes are on the streets to get in the electric seat. Pembs. county council has e-bikes to hop on in 3 towns for around £3 an hour, and you can drop them off in a different bay in any of these towns. It’s like a personalised bus service. There are 30 available, with more on their way through the summer.

Grwp Resilience wants to open the GAT (Green Affordable Transport) to our small business sector to kick the fossil fuel habit and stop bleeding money. We have a first electric van for small businesses to try out. From the results we could bulk buy the vehicles we need and then follow with the generation to fuel them locally from our wind, sun and water. The low cost fuel is half the advantage, the other is the simplicity of having no engine, gears, water system, exhaust to repair. Its just the bodywork, wheels, suspension and brakes that need maintaining. In 11 years of driving my leaf the motor and battery have needed nothing.

In conversations, within a sentence or two, people kick into their Electric Cars are bad gear- the mining is more polluting and worse for child labour, the materials are all in China, they burst into flames, they are unaffordable, if everyone used them we wouldn’t have enough power or grid, everyone is getting rid of them now, batteries don’t last.

They are victims of the propaganda machine that uses bits of truth and blends them with a toxic soup of mistrust and hostility. The result floods the brain leaving no space for thinking for yourself, basic science or common sense.

It would take pages with links to unpick and balance out all the pros, cons and caveats of electric transport. The hostile reaction is much easier – a sugar rush. Another route to reality is to learn from direct experience, by trialling and asking neighbours, we have plenty of electric movers locally to talk to.

We held an electric bike muster where locals shared their e-bike stories with each other and it was

filmed. See website. We bought a little electric van this month, get in touch if your business wants to trial it. It has been tried by five businesses producing veg, milk, candles, recording, electronics, A baker tries it next week. It’s a short range van, I suggest 50 miles although it has done over 70 for me without a load. Why this short range?

Kicking the fossil fuel habit means transformative change. The general view is that this is for the worse, we have to sacrifice conveniences. Another view is that it is for the better, leading to a community shaped local economy where you could visit the producers of all your basics or see them from a mountain if you lived near one. This is not a dream, there are areas where this is already partly true and it makes for a happier more secure economic model. Twns like Newport with this local supplier culture are incredibly popular with visitors. My mum exclaimed when she visited ’It’s all so human scale’

Fossil fuels are amazing! They are the compressed sunlight of millions, tens, hundreds of millions of years. We are burning them in a flash. The energy which was stored in life- plants and animals, then compacted by the sheer weight of all this abundance, and fossilised rather than rotting, will never be repeated in the lifetime of the earth. We are squandering it and destroying nature in the process.

ranged from ‘we can’t’ to ‘we’re already doing it’. The interviews were relaxed, sitting around at an event and people became thoughtful and full of ideas, even the ‘We cants’. From talking it became clear that our small businesses need help to get transport green and self sufficient. Our wayward weather can produce electricity abundantly enough for a proper local economy, so let’s just do it.

Its not just the businesses. Talking to the crowds at our community garden open day in the heart of Haverfordwest, so many had no access or expectation of ever having a car, I was shocked to realise.

By burning past life we are burning future life too, we are so clever and collectively so stupid. We have developed amazing technologies because of them. When we walk out or are kicked out of fossil fuels we can keep these inventions if society holds up – internet, computers, photovoltaics, nanotech and many more to come.

We interviewed businesses to find out how they can reach zero emissions and get out of fossil fuels. What help is needed. Their answers

Buses and trains are great but not enough. From the day the first savage jumped on a horse or found a floating tree could carry them, humans have been in love with personal transport. Skis, skateboards, horses, bikes, trikes –whatever. Personal mobility is in our DNA, it just got hijacked and sidetracked by fossil fuels.

People say we are victims of the roulette wheel of fate. No need to be, in this case we can steer the fate of wheels.

E-bike locations in Haverfordwest

Council renews legal pressure on smelly landfill site’s owner

As part of its approach to jointly tackling the ongoing odour issues at Withyhedge with NRW, Pembrokeshire County Council has said this week it is progressing with its legal challenge against RML.

On April 26, the Council asked RML to give legally binding undertaking to stop the odour coming from Withyhedge Landfill. If it refused, the Council expected RML to provide disclosure of documents, as a potential defendant to a claim for nuisance.

RML refused both to give undertakings or to provide disclosure.

Therefore, on 20th May, the Council made an application for preaction disclosure at Haverfordwest County Court. The Council will be asking the Court to compel RML to handover documents, which it believes are important to its claim for nuisance. The Council expect the Court to confirm a hearing date shortly.

In addition to pursuing the legal avenue our

Public Protection team continues to undertake air quality monitoring and working in collaboration with our partners to do all in our power to address the situation.

Pembrokeshire County

Council Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services, Cllr Rhys Sinnett has pledged to continue addressing the ongoing issue in Withyhedge as a top priority for the council. He said: “Our intention is to ask the Court for an injunction requiring RML to stop the odour

nuisance arising from the landfill. Whilst we are pleased with the operators decision to completely seal off the cell (cell eight) causing the problem, and are genuinely hopeful this will resolve the problem, we remain concerned over future operations and cannot allow this situation

to ever recur.

“I understand the frustration and upset that the residents living near the Withyhedge site have been experiencing – and the odour is simply unacceptable, and I am committed to working tirelessly to find a solution.

“Maintaining clean

air is a priority for our community – and this Authority along with our partners – are committed to proactive pollution monitoring, and working closely with NRW and the site operator to ensure they move to a position whereby foul odours from the site impacting upon our communities are eliminated.

“Our monitoring is ongoing and will align with colleagues from NRW to gather information on air quality levels both from a health and nuisance perspective –including providing early morning and evening visits. Furthermore, and in partnership with NRW, more advanced static monitoring equipment has been commissioned and delivered for deployment next month.

“In addition, we would like to work with as many residents as possible and encourage them to report any odour concerns they may have – this information is vital in helping us address the issue effectively.”

Couple arrested for ‘having sex’ in Haverfordwest car park

POLICE are investigating two incidents of outraging public decency in Haverfordwest.

The first incident occurred in Morrisons play park at about 5.45pm on Sunday May, 19.

The second incident occurred in Morrisons car park at about 3.20pm the next day.

In both incidents two people appeared to be engaging in a sexual activity whilst in public.

Police have been advised that an image of the second incident

has been circulating on social media.

A police spokesperson said:

“Criminal proceedings are active in respect of this case, and we ask that the image is not shared any further.

“A 31-year-old man and a 41-year-old woman have been arrested on suspicion of ‘Outraging Public Decency’ and released on bail pending further police enquiries.

“Anyone who witnessed the incidents is asked to contact police on the following channels, quoting

crime reference 24000456738.”

• Direct message us on social media

• DPPContactOnline

• 101@dyfed-powys.

• 101

“If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the nonemergency number on 07811 311 908.

“You can also get in touch anonymously with Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111, or visit

Police probe after car set alight by flare or firework


officers are investigating a car fire which occurred on May 17 at approximately 7.30pm in Johnston, Haverfordwest.

A Silver Nissan was set alight, believed to be

by a flare or firework and fired from a distance. The fire is currently being treated as suspicious.

Officers are appealing for any possible witnesses, or anyone with information, to come

forward. Officers would especially like to hear from anyone who may have CCTV or dash cam footage of this incident. Do you have information that could help us with this investigation?

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First Minister faces potential vote of no confidence

WALES’ First Minister Vaughan Gething is poised to confront a vote of no confidence when the Senedd reconvenes next week. The Welsh Conservatives are under intense scrutiny after accepting £200,000 in donations for his Welsh Labour leadership campaign from a company owned by an individual convicted of environmental offences. need to either support the motion or abstain. Labour currently holds 30 of the 60 seats in the Senedd. The motion’s passage would also require backing from Plaid Cymru, who recently

no confidence motion would be initiated. His comments followed the dismissal of Minister Hannah Blythyn by Mr Gething for allegedly leaking messages to the media, a claim she denies.

Despite the controversy, Mr Gething has maintained that the donations were declared and registered according to the rules. The £31,000 of unspent campaign funds is being donated by the Labour Party to “progressive causes”.

Even if Mr Gething loses the vote, it would not be binding as it is being tabled during opposition time. Nonetheless, it would place the First Minister in a precarious position and come at an inopportune moment for the UK Labour Party amid a general election

the donations controversy and Ms Blythyn’s sacking have become significant distractions. Speaking on BBC Radio Wales’ Sunday Supplement on 19 May, Mr ap Iorwerth remarked, “There is not much point in bringing a vote of no confidence in the Senedd when you know pretty much that Labour are confident that they will circle the wagons. They will support their leader.”

The situation in Wales contrasts with recent events in Scotland, where former First Minister Humza Yousaf ended the power-sharing agreement with the Greens and resigned before facing a vote of no confidence. Without Green support, he was uncertain of winning.

There remain several factors that could influence whether the Conservatives proceed with the vote. The disciplined nature of the Welsh Labour Party in the Senedd and the potential consequences

for any Labour rebels make defection unlikely. Additionally, the ongoing general election campaign raises the stakes, making any Labour rebellion even less probable due to the potential for significant political fallout.

Commenting ahead of the vote, Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader and Mid & West Wales Senedd Member Jane Dodds said: “This vote is about cleaning up politics in Wales. We all expect our leaders to meet the high standards that their office requires, and the First Minister has not met those standards.

“Vaughan Gething has had the opportunity over the recent months to do the right thing and return the donation yet has failed to do so.

“The Liberal Democrats want to see a different kind of politics in Wales and across the UK and that’s why we have called for a cap on donations to political parties.”

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Police appeal for information following fatal motorcycle accident


police are appealing for witnesses following a fatal collision between a motorbike and a car, in Powys

The collision happened on the A483 between Llanbister and Llanbadarn Fynydd (the main road between Llandrindod Wells and Newtown) at around 12.45pm on Saturday (May 25).

The orange KTM motorcycle was travelling northbound towards Llanbadarn Fynydd when it collided with a car.

Sadly, the

motorcyclist died at the scene. His family have been informed and they are being supported by specially trained police officers.

The police spokesperson said:

“Anyone with information that could help us with our investigation, particularly anyone who saw the motorcycle before the collision, or has dashcam footage of it, is asked to report it in one of the following ways:

• Direct message on social media

• UvDoY

• 101@dyfed-powys.

• 101 “Quote reference: DP-20240525-147.

“You can also get in touch anonymously with Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111, or visit https://orlo. uk/4EhCf

“If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the nonemergency number on 07811 311 908.”

Crabb launches campaign with promise to ‘keep putting Pembroke shire first’

WITH the UK Parliament now dissolved, Stephen Crabb has launched his election campaign in Mid & South Pembrokeshire with a promise to “keep putting Pembrokeshire first”.

years - always trying to get the best result for local people.”

Stephen will also use this campaign to shine a spotlight on the Welsh Labour’s involvement in the Withyhedge landfill scandal, and the lack of progress in tackling the pollution at the site.

Stephen said:

“I am the only candidate at this election who has fought against Vaughan Gething’s Withyhedge landfill scandal which has ruined the quality of life of thousands of Pembrokeshire people.

working with Stephen for many years now and his commitment to the people of Pembrokeshire is second to none. He’s a man of Pembrokeshire, who fights for Pembrokeshire - and he has worked tirelessly over the years to support local people, businesses, and organisations.”

Comment from Samuel Kurtz MS, Member of the Senedd for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire:

Commenting on the start of the campaign,

Stephen Crabb previously served as MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire, having been successful at the last five general elections. For this election, the boundaries of the constituencies have been redrawn and a new Mid & South Pembrokeshire seat has been created which stretches from St Davids to Amroth, and from Dale to Llandewi Velfrey.

Stephen said:

“As a local man who lives and was raised in the heart of Pembrokeshire, I’m committed to providing a strong voice for our County. It has been an incredible honour to have served as the MP for my home constituency since 2005. I am pleased to have helped thousands of individual residents with casework over the

“When I first visited Parliament as a sixth former at Tasker Milward School in Haverfordwest during the summer of 1990, I would never have imagined that 15 years later I would return there as the local MP. Back then it wouldn’t have even occurred to me that it would be possible to one day have that opportunity. Every day since has been a total privilege. My promise from the very start was always to do my very best for local people, and to always put Pembrokeshire first.”

“I want to continue to work hard for the people of Pembrokeshire. During the campaign I look forward to demonstrating why a vote for me is a vote to keep a strong local MP, who understands the needs of our community, and has a trusted track record of delivering on our priorities for Pembrokeshire.”

This election is an opportunity for local people to send a message to Welsh Labour that Pembrokeshire must not be turned into a dumping ground.”

Comment from Paul Davies MS, Member of the Senedd for Preseli Pembrokeshire:

“Stephen has been an outstanding local MP. We worked together on the campaign to defend Withybush Hospital and local health services.

I’ve had the privilege of

“I have worked alongside Stephen for the last eight years and I know just how dedicated he is. He is passionate about seeing new jobs created for local people, and is widely respected by the business community in Pembrokeshire and across Wales. Stephen’s leadership on the Celtic Freeport was essential, and he’s been a strong champion for our local energy industry. We need him to stay on as our local MP.”

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Man found not guilty of stalking beauty salon owner

FRANK JANIUREK, 43, of Heol Glyndwr in Fishguard, has been acquitted of stalking the owner of a beauty salon after a trial at Swansea Crown Court. The jury returned a unanimous not guilty verdict following approximately twoand-a-half hours of deliberations.

Janiurek was accused of causing serious alarm or distress to the woman between 25 March and 10 July 2022. The prosecution claimed that after receiving a facial treatment at the

salon on 8 March 2022, Janiurek began sending numerous emails and making frequent calls to the salon, often repeating questions that had already been answered. He was also alleged to have walked past the salon daily and liked one of the complainant’s Instagram pictures using an account under a false name. Additionally, it was claimed that he stared at the complainant for an extended period while she was out in Cardigan celebrating her birthday.

Caitlin Brazel, prosecuting, argued that these actions constituted stalking, causing serious alarm or distress. However, Janiurek pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Matthew Murphy, defending Janiurek,

contended that the complainant had not directly communicated her discomfort to the defendant until 1 June. Murphy stated, “She doesn’t tell him anything about his behaviour and the effect it’s having on her before June 1.” He argued that if the complainant felt uncomfortable, she should have been more direct in her communication. Murphy also highlighted that the complainant’s actions, such as signing off emails with ‘All the best’ and stating she had an injured arm and was not taking on new clients, did not clearly indicate that she wanted the contact to end. He noted that Janiurek, who is neurodivergent and has Asperger’s syndrome,

was primarily engaging with the business, not the complainant personally. Murphy emphasised that all of Janiurek’s messages were related to beauty treatments, except for one occasion when he inquired about the complainant’s injured arm.

Regarding the Instagram picture, Murphy pointed out that it was posted on the business’s account, not the complainant’s personal account.

Recorder David Elias KC, who presided over the trial, thanked the jury for their careful consideration of the case. Following the not guilty verdict, Janiurek was allowed to leave the dock, having been acquitted of all charges.

Cats poisoned in Milford Haven: Community urged to stay vigilant

A TRAGIC wave of cat poisonings has struck the Hakin area of Milford Haven, prompting urgent warnings from local veterinarians and distressed pet owners.

Lowri Bamford Lewis has been forced to put down her family cat after it was poisoned by antifreeze. This heartbreaking incident follows a similar tragedy last year when another of her cats met the same fate.

Last Friday (May 24), Lowri took her ailing cat to All Pets Vet Care in Milford Haven. After running tests, the veterinarians confirmed that the cat had ingested antifreeze, leading to the painful decision to euthanise the pet. The family is devastated, having already endured the loss of another cat to antifreeze poisoning the previous year.

Lowri’s mother, Sharon Staples, shared their harrowing experience with The Pembrokeshire Herald.

“Last year, my daughter took the cat straight to the vets after picking the kids up from school. The vet originally thought that

the cat had fallen off a wall as he was displaying symptoms of concussion.

The next day, the cat still wasn’t well, so the vets ran more tests and found the cat had been poisoned by antifreeze, which they said was done deliberately because no one would leave out antifreeze in the summer. They fought for days to save him, but he had to be put down.”

The family has faced considerable financial strain, with vet bills amounting to £1,100 this week and £1,600 last year. Despite this, they are more concerned about raising awareness and preventing further heartbreak. “It’s not fair on the children,” said Sharon. “The cat was more like a dog than a cat to the kids and followed them around the house. They had a really close bond.”

Sharon also mentioned that a neighbour on their street lost two young cats under similar circumstances.

Given the number of cases, All Pets Vet Care issued a statement last summer, urging pet owners in the area to remain vigilant and

recognise the symptoms of poisoning.

“Because it appears that the antifreeze is being put down deliberately, we’re urging anyone who suspects their cat may have consumed it to take them to their vet as soon as possible,” said a spokesperson for All Pets Vet Care. “The animals start displaying their first symptoms around 30 minutes after ingesting the poison, but sometimes cat owners are unsure whether to act promptly in case their symptoms are being caused by something else.”

The vets explained that initial symptoms of antifreeze poisoning include vomiting and excessive sleeping, which is contrary to a cat’s usual behaviour. Difficulty in breathing, extreme wobbliness, and seizures may follow. “Sadly, by the time it reaches the final stage, kidney failure has set in, so it’s invariably too late to save the animal,” added the veterinary spokesperson.

All veterinary practices in and around Milford Haven have been alerted to the issue and are advising cat owners

to be especially cautious. Cats are attracted to antifreeze due to its sweet taste, caused by the chemical ethylene glycol. Even a small amount can be fatal, with just one teaspoon (1.4ml) being enough to kill a cat.

The poison works rapidly, often proving fatal within 24 hours. Immediate treatment is crucial to prevent irreversible, typically fatal, kidney damage.

The community is urged to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious activities that might endanger pets. The collective effort can help safeguard the beloved animals of Milford Haven from such cruel and preventable tragedies.

12 Friday May 31st 2024 For up to date news please check our social network channels
Tom Sinclair

Casualty pulled from water after yacht destroyed by fire off Tenby

A MULTI-AGENCY response was launched after a yacht caught fire on Saturday night (May 25) off Tenby.

HM Coastguard coordinated the emergency response, which involved two RNLI lifeboats and two Coastguard helicopters.

Tenby lifeboat station said that their all-weather lifeboat was tasked to launch just after 7pm. The authorities were alerted by reports of smoke sighted offshore by members of the public at Stackpole.

The Haydn Miller was quickly on the water and as the volunteer crew rounded St Margaret’s Island, they spotted smoke on the horizon, some 12 miles south.

The RNLI said that on reaching the scene, they found a 35ft yacht which had been almost totally destroyed by fire.

The Herald understands that the occupant of the yacht in the water, barely afloat and disappearing under the surface.

A crew member immediately entered the water to keep the casualty afloat, whilst the remaining crew readied to bring him aboard. Once onboard, casualty care was administered, while the lifeboat made best speed to the harbour at Tenby, where multiple Welsh Ambulance resources were waiting. With the casualty

unable to confirm if he was alone on the yacht or not, the lifeboat headed back to the scene to commence a search, where they were also joined by Angle all-weather lifeboat and Coastguard rescue helicopters from St

Having thoroughly searched area for several hours in choppy seas and heavy rain and with nobody else reported missing, the search was brought to an end and all assets

stood down.

The lifeboat then returned to station, arriving just after 1am.

The Tenby Lifeboat Crew said on Facebook:

“We’d like to thanks our colleagues at Milford Haven Coastguard, Angle Lifeboat RNLI

and Coastguard rescue helicopters from St Athan and Newquay for their help in this complex search and also to the Welsh Ambulance service and Tenby Fire Station.

“A great multi-agency effort.”

Cannabis factory with over 800 plants found in west Wales drugs bust

POLICE in Carmarthenshire made a major drugs bust this week when they found over 800 cannabis plants in what was supposed to be a vacant property.

A 26-year old man was arrested and has now been remanded into custody.

The police are appealing for information and have released photographs of the illicit cannabis production facility.

A police spokesperson told The Herald on Friday (May 24): “Dyfed Powys Police executed a warrant at the Mountain Gate, Tycroes, Ammanford on Tuesday May 21.

“The vacant property was found to have a large

hydroponic set up inside, with approx. 800 cannabis plants seized by officers.

“One man, Beni Mirashi age 26, was arrested and was charged with being concerned in the production of cannabis.

“He appeared at Llanelli Magistrates Court on 23 May and was remanded to next appear at Swansea Crown Court on June 24.”

Police asked that if anyone has any information that may support officers in their investigation, they are asked to contact us either through a direct message on social media, online at: DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys., or by calling 101

Quoting reference: 24*459007

14 Friday May 31st 2024 For up to date news please check our social network channels
Athan and Newquay in Cornwall. Tom Sinclair

Lib Dem Ceredigion Preseli candidate launches election campaign

THIS weekend, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have launched their election campaign for Ceredigion.

The leader of the Welsh Lib Dems Jane Dodds MS joined the party’s parliamentarian hopeful Mark Williams for a door knocking session in Aberystwyth, speaking to local constituents ahead of the election.

Mr Williams, who is standing in his home constituency, will be hoping to regain his previous parliamentary seat which he had held from 2005 until 2017.

As part of his election promises, Mr Williams has vowed to help the region realise its full potential by championing the voice of residents in parliament and putting their interests first.

I have had the pleasure of knowing Mark for quite some time now and I know him to be a dedicated and capable politician who will always put the interests of his constituents first.

I’m looking forward to getting stuck into the campaign to get him back into Parliament so that he can help us as a party deliver meaningful change to this country.

I want to serve as a voice for the community by championing efforts to protect our beautiful natural environment as well as pushing for greater economic growth.

This election is not only an opportunity to kick the Conservatives out of Westminster, but it is also our chance to send a message to the Welsh Labour government and their Plaid Cymru partners

Commenting, the Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds MS said: “I am delighted to be here today in Aberystwyth to help launch Mark’s campaign for Ceredigion Preseli.

that Wales will not put up with their nonsense for much longer.”

Commenting, the Welsh Liberal Democrat candidate for Ceredigion Preseli Mark Williams said: “I am very much

looking forward to getting started in delivering on my promises of change for the people of this region.

Ceredigion is a wonderful place to live but it has, for far too long

now, been overlooked by both the Conservative government in Westminster and Welsh Labour in Cardiff Bay.

I believe that this constituency and its residents deserve to

have a strong voice to champion their needs in parliament, and as my previous track record as a former MP for this area shows, I am more than capable of being this voice.”

15 NEWS For up to date news please check our social network channels Friday May 31st 2024

Brawdy space radars campaign launched over safety fears

A CAMPAIGN group, fighting against proposals to for a deep space radar dish array in north Pembrokeshire has been launched, saying it would be one “of the most healthhazardous military installations ever proposed anywhere in the UK”.

The UK/US military plans for a 27-dish Deep Space Advanced Radar Concept (DARC) at Cawdor Barracks, Brawdy is part of AUKUS, a three-way security pact between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States to build three DARC radar installations around the world, one in each of the three countries.

The radars would track foreign countries’ communications and military satellites in space, so that British, US and Australian aircraft could then destroy them with anti-satellite missiles at will.

A scoping report was submitted to Pembrokeshire County Council early last year, as reported by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, which said DARC would track active satellites some 22,000 miles above the Earth.

That application stated: “The Ministry of Defence has a duty to protect the UK national interest around the world. This includes the Space Domain, which offers both the UK and its Allies an important strategic advantage, but also emerging threats and vulnerabilities that need to be monitored.”

It added: “As part of the ongoing investment into this domain, the UK is working with its allies to identify a location for a new deep space monitoring facility to protect and defend its interests.

“An area of brownfield land at Cawdor Barracks has been identified as one of the potential locations for the delivery of the installation.”

It added: “The Deepspace Advanced Radar Capability (DARC)

is a United States Space Force (USSF) led programme that aims to set up three geographically dispersed radar sites to increase global Space Domain Awareness with the UK and Australia being offered to host one of the three sites.”

Cawdor Barracks is currently the headquarters of the 14th Signals Regiment, which is due to relocate from 2028. Late last year, Cawdor was identified as the preferred UK site, with the-then UK Defence Secretary, Grant Shapps.

It was said that retention of the base for DARC would create up to 100 jobs.

The DARC scheme would be subject to an asyet unsubmitted planning application.

A new campaign group, PARC Against DARC has been officially launched today, May 29, hoping to stop the scheme, describing the proposals as the proposals are “one of the most healthhazardous, tourismruining, skyline blighting military installations ever proposed anywhere in the UK”.

PARC Against DARC, which is to is to host a public launch meeting at Solva Memorial Hall at 7pm on June 27, has asked:

“When did Dewisland, Pembrokeshire or humankind ever vote for the US military to control all of space?”

PARC (Pembrokeshire Against Radar Campaign) was originally set up back in 1990 when the US Military unsuccessfully attempted to build a similar radar installation on the Dewisland peninsula, north Pembrokeshire.

The revamped 2024 operation already has support from groups including Welsh and UK organisations such as CND and Stop the War Coalition, as well as individual supporters.

One of them is Keith Griffiths, architect and owner of Roch Castle, Twr y Felin and Pen Rhiw Priory known collectively as the Retreats Group, who said the scheme “will be a huge eyesore to the National Park and of no economic benefit locally”.

“Any new use should benefit the local economy and respect the beauty of the surrounding Pembrokeshire Coast National Park,” he added.

A spokesperson for PARC Against DARC said: “The fight is on. We fully intend to win the battle to stop the radar as they did in the 90s. The MOD are making out as if it’s just a formality to gain planning permission for this huge project, even insinuating in their press that they just need to ‘run it past the local parish

council’ or such like.

“This is simply not the case; we know that major infrastructure projects like these require specialist planning permission which can only be granted by Pembrokeshire County Council, and that there will be several environmental impact

assessment stages they’d have to clear long before they could ever begin building.”

“Our plan is to fight them at every level and on every front to make absolutely sure that these proposals are never passed by our elected representatives in County


“We will build on the strong history of the previously victorious campaign and echo all of its strengths & successes. Last time there were huge rallies, marches and demonstrations and ultimately the entire county stood strong together to fight off the proposals.

“We are absolutely confident that we will create this avalanche of opposition once again so that these plans will never see the light of day.”

The campaign group has also launched a petition webpage and an online crowdfunder page, along with social media pages.

Identifying Cawdor as the preferred site last year, Grant Shapps said: “As the world becomes more contested and the danger of space warfare increases, the UK and our allies must ensure we have the advanced capabilities we need to keep our nations’ safe.”

16 Friday May 31st 2024 For up to date news please check our social network channels
Bruce Sinclair Local Democracy reporter

Public transport issues could affect thousands of older people in Wales

THOUSANDS of older people across Wales may find it difficult to get out and about and do the things they want to do this bank holiday weekend due to difficulties accessing public transport, according to the findings of a new poll undertaken by the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales.

A third of older people who responded to the Commissioner’s poll said they find it difficult to access public transport in their area, while the Commissioner’s findings also highlight that 1 in 5 people aged 70+, and nearly 1 in 4 older people living with health issues or disabilities, are now using their bus pass less compared to two years ago.

Reasons shared by older people as to why they were using public transport less frequently included fewer buses, unreliable or delayed services, changes to routes or the location of bus stops and difficulties finding information about

routes or timetables.

Older people using their bus pass less frequently told the Commissioner they had less freedom and independence, and found it more difficult to access appointments and services. They also said they had become more reliant on others, or had no option but to use a car or taxi rather than greener public transport options.

The Commissioner is concerned that any further cuts to bus services would make it even more difficult for older people to use public transport, leaving people unable to get out and about and do the things that matter to them, and at greater risk of loneliness and isolation.

She says that where changes to services are unavoidable, it is crucial that older people’s voices and experiences are used to guide decisions and shape future plans, and that community

transport services should be supported to fill gaps in provision.

Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Heléna Herklots CBE, said: “Transport plays a crucial role in supporting us to be independent and do the things that matter to us regardless of our age, whether it’s enjoying ourselves on a bank holiday or doing other things such as attending health appointments, caring for loved ones, volunteering, meeting up with family or friends, or going shopping on the high street.

“And as we get older, we may come to rely on public transport more often to do these things.”

“My poll findings suggest that a third of older people in Wales –nearly 300,000 people –find it difficult to access public transport in their communities, and that use of the concessionary bus pass has fallen over the past two years, particularly amongst people over the age of 70, and those living with long-term health


IT MUST be me.

I had such high hopes for the weekend.

A relaxing afternoon watching cricket followed by a sherbet or seven afterwards talking cricket balls.

Instead, I was roped into playing, discovered I didn’t have any boots or daps, twisted my knee as I walked out to bat, and was in the pub so early that my liver trembled in terror.

As my beloved was out walking the coastal path with Enfys Pritchard and Mitzi, I was stranded miles from home and at a pub where the refreshing apple beverage I enjoy was one-third more expensive than it is in my local.

And then I had a stupid bright idea.

Public transport.

I hopped on a bus headed in the general direction of where I wanted to go and began a painful journey.

conditions or disabilities.

“Without access to public transport, a growing number of older people will find themselves with less independence, less active and engaged with their communities, and at greater risk of loneliness and isolation.

“Many of the issues highlighted by older people that make it more difficult to use public transport – such as the distance of bus stops from key facilities such as GP surgeries – could be tackled through ensuring that older people are involved in planning and decision-making, so their voices can shape bus services in a meaningful way, particularly where changes to services cannot be avoided.

“It’s also crucial that in areas where public transport provision is lacking, community transport services are supported, via longerterm, more sustainable funding, to fill gaps and help ensure older people can get where they need to go.”

start, it was cloudy. For seconds, it was fairly flat. For thirds, it had the flavour of apple sauce sieved through a rugby sock and into a bottle of Friar’s Balsam. I made a foolhardy decision.

Like Macbeth, I was steeped in blood so far that it was easier to go on than turn back. I finished the pint.

I then made a foolhardy decision.

I went in search of a non-cloudy apple beverage.

I was near a bus stop.

Despite my recent experience, I decided public transport was the answer.

Imagine a portly gent of advancing years travelling inside a tin can on a roller skate over bumpy roads with a pint of rancid cider swishing around inside him.

Imagine a portly gent of advancing years travelling inside a tin can on a roller skate over bumpy roads with a pint of cider swishing around inside him.

By the time we were halfway to my destination, my bladder was straining for release.

By the time we pulled up outside my local, I was clamping down so hard I could feel my eyes begin to water.

I dashed inside, legged it to the loo, and experienced relief of such force that it nearly propelled me through the brick wall opposite the pissoir and into the beer garden.

Feeling drained and in need of fluids, I ordered a pint. I chugged half of it without looking before realising it was not my regular cider.

For a

By the time we were halfway to my destination, my bowels were pleading for merciful release.

By the time we got to my destination, I was almost doubled over in pain.

I dashed into the nearest pub, located the loo, and damnednear propelled myself through the ceiling.

Pale, shaking, short of breath, and relieved at dodging an unpleasant bullet, I splashed cold water on my face and staggered out.

That was enough adventure for one Saturday night.

I rang my darling to ask for a lift.

She was miles away, halfway up a hill with Enfys and Mitzi the Mutt. I was near a bus stop. I could’ve gone home via public transport. This time, I made the right decision. After all, I’d only had three pints.

17 NEWS For up to date news please check our social network channels Friday May 31st 2024

Ambulance terror response fears in Wales over hospital delays

AMBULANCE chiefs in Wales say they may not be able to respond properly to terror attacks because of hospital handover delays.

It follows a report highlighting the risk of “catastrophic harm” to the public if crews are busy at A&E departments during major incidents –this includes concerns about the availability of ambulances following a fire on a ferry heading to Fishguard last year.

The Welsh Ambulance Service service raised concerns after a masscasualty simulation found it would have failed to provide an adequate response three out of four times.

The Welsh government said it expected health boards to prioritise cutting handover delays.

The tests were conducted after the Manchester Arena bombing public inquiry.

That found a host of failings by emergency services in the attack’s aftermath.

The warning follows the service’s claims some medics could not to respond to an explosion at Treforest Industrial Estate, in Rhondda Cynon Taf, in December 2023 because they were stuck outside Morriston Hospital, Swansea.

A major incident was

declared after the blast in which a woman died.

Next week a report will be given to the ambulance service board alleging hospital officials failed to release crews from the hospital site.

Swansea Bay University Health Board denied this, saying ambulances were freed.

The ambulance service has questioned the effectiveness of release procedures.

Chief executive Jason Killens has written to Welsh health boards for assurances.

The ambulance report said if a major incident was declared there was a risk an “effective, timely, or safe response” may not happen.

“(This would result in) catastrophic harm (death) and a breach of the trust’s legal obligation,” it said.

The main reason for this was “lost capacity due to hospital handover delays”, over which, it said, it had no control.

It added it was not assured hospitals had plans to release ambulances effectively.

Welsh Ambulance Service operations chief Lee Brooks said it had plans to deliver an

effective response to major incidents.

He recognised handover delays were a problem.

“Our ability to send a large-scale response to an incident may be hindered if our people and vehicles are not immediately released by emergency departments,” Mr Brooks said.

The report also highlighted two other occasions where the service had been concerned about ambulances not being released.

These included the fire on the Fishguard in 2023 ferry as well as a gas

explosion in Swansea the month after.

Swansea Bay health board said it took its responsibilities seriously and had major incident plans.

“These include agreed protocols to enable the rapid release of ambulances from the emergency department in the event that a major incident is declared,” it said.

“We can confirm that on the evening of the Treforest Industrial Estate fire our major incident plan was invoked and that we did release ambulances.”

Handover delays were raised in the Senedd last

week after the health committee was told ambulance crews often see only one patient a shift.

Mr Killens said as much as 30,000 hours were lost monthly in Wales due to waiting to transfer patients to hospital.

Patient safety was at risk, he said, with handover times averaging more than two hours. The target is 15 minutes.

Sam Rowlands MS, Welsh Conservative Shadow Health Minister said: “It’s not good enough for the Labour Welsh Government to just ‘expect’ Health Boards to solve handover delays.

“We need substantial reform of the entire health system to clear the backlogs of getting patients out of hospital as well as in.

“Our Welsh Conservative plan of NHS reservists, along with care hospitals will deliver that immediate support needed to enable the Ambulance Service to save lives.”

The Welsh government said it expected health boards to cut patient handover delays as a priority over the next six months.

It said this year it was investing an extra £180m to help health boards and regional partnership boards manage more people in the community and avoid ambulances and hospital admission.

Ambulance Service warns of ‘catastrophic’ performance

AN INTERNAL report by the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust describes the length of waiting times for ambulances as “catastrophic”.

On May 7, the Trust’s Quality, Patient Experience and Safety Committee got a sobering briefing on the reality of delivering ambulance services in Wales.

Considering the identified risks, the Committee heard about two corporate risks assigned to it. These Risks were rated as high risks, and scores have not changed since the last review.

Those risks are the

Jon Coles

Trust’s inability to reach patients in the community, “causing patient harm and death”, and significant handover delays outside A&E departments, meaning delayed access to definitive care that “affects the Trust’s ability to provide a safe and effective service”. The risk scores are dynamically reviewed regularly.

However, the approach to them is being reconsidered “given that their score has remained catastrophic for a significant period”.

Lost hours due to handover delays remained significant in January at just under 27,000 hours, with a slightly improving picture in February and March at around 24,000 hours.

Handover delays continue to present patient safety risks. Extended waits in the community, with a deteriorating Red performance, are “outside of what is acceptable to deliver a safe emergency service”.

In Quarter 4, 2,137 patients waited over 12 hours to receive a response, with one patient waiting almost 47 hours.

220 of these patients

were elderly and frail and likely to experience additional harm due to protracted delay.

1,094 patient safety incidents were reported, with the themes continuing to be timeliness of response and handover of care delays. Although these are lower than the previous quarter, the report notes that “they remain extreme.”

Welsh Conservative Shadow Health Minister Sam Rowlands said: “It’s no surprise that the Welsh Ambulance Service is crying out for support, with worsening response times due to Labour not dealing with the backlog in our hospitals.

“In Labour-run Wales, you have less than a 50/50 chance of an ambulance arriving within the target time for the most serious calls, which is a stark warning for what an incoming Labour Government would do UK-wide.

“To end these

significant handover delays, the Welsh Conservatives want to see every penny from the UK Government for health passed on to the NHS and we want to see an end to Labour wasting money on vanity projects like more politicians and 20mph speed limits.”

18 Friday May 31st 2024 For up to date news please check our social network channels
The ambulance service fears: It may not be able to respond properly because of hospital handover delays Tom Sinclair
19 NEWS For up to date news please check our social network channels Friday May 31st 2024
20 2024

St Davids Cathedral Festival wows

• The 2024 events were a celebration of music and community

THE historic and picturesque St Davids Cathedral in Pembrokeshire played host to its annual music festival from 24th to 29th May, bringing together an impressive array of musical talent and an enthusiastic audience. This year’s festival featured a diverse lineup of performances, showcasing both established artists and emerging talents, all within the aweinspiring setting of Britain’s smallest city.

The festival kicked off on Friday, 24th May, with a charming performance by The Children’s Chorus and Band, followed by a captivating candlelit concert featuring Vox Angelica, Vicars Choral, and Choral Scholars. This opening night set the tone for what would be a week of extraordinary musical experiences, combining the innocence and energy of youth with the profound beauty of choral music.

One of the standout events of the weekend was the Saturday night concert by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales (BBC NOW), conducted by the esteemed Martyn

Brabbins. The orchestra delivered masterful performances of works by Brahms, Sibelius, and Mathias. The highlight of the evening was undoubtedly the breathtaking performance by violinist Inmo Yang, whose virtuosity left a lasting impression on all in attendance. The concert was beautifully captured by photographer Chris Limbert, whose images conveyed the cathedral’s majestic atmosphere and the musicians’ passionate artistry.

Earlier that day, the ‘Choristers Unplugged’ concert proved to be a festival favourite. This lively and whimsical event saw young choristers performing to a packed audience, dressed in costumes inspired by themes such as ‘Wonka’, ‘Barbie’, and ‘Six’. The concert not only highlighted the versatility and talent of the choristers but also their infectious enthusiasm for music of all genres. Special accolades were given to the Head Chorister for their excellent curation of the programme.

The festival continued to spotlight young talent with a performance by Raphael James,

the Young Musician of Dyfed. James delivered a fantastic programme featuring pieces by Schubert, Rachmaninov, Chopin, and Gershwin. This concert also provided an opportunity to showcase the cathedral’s Steinway Concert Grand piano, a generous bequest from the late Mary Evans, which added a rich and resonant tone to the performances.

Throughout the week, festival-goers enjoyed a series of diverse and memorable performances. Highlights included a moving celebration of Anthony Randall’s music by Trío Preseli, who traveled from Santiago for the event. Emma Johnson and the Orchestra for the Environment delivered a stirring evening of string and clarinet music with a poignant message about the climate crisis.

The Choir of Royal Holloway also graced the festival with a stunning performance of orchestral music arranged for choir. Their dedication and talent were evident in every note, leaving the audience in awe of their harmonious blend and powerful delivery.

The festival concluded with a sublime broadcast of Choral Evensong live on BBC Radio 3, followed by a festival finale featuring the folk group Alaw. This closing night was a fitting end to a week filled with musical excellence and community spirit.

Festival Director, in his closing remarks, expressed heartfelt gratitude to everyone who made the festival possible. He extended special thanks to his Assistant Director of Music, Laurence John, and to key supporters like Ben Richards, the festival’s Administrator, and Canon Leigh Richardson, the Chairman of the Festival. Their behind-the-scenes efforts were crucial in delivering a first-rate event.

As the festival drew to a close, the Cathedral Choir and all participants looked forward to a well-earned rest. The festival’s success was a testament to the hard work and dedication of all involved, from the performers to the organisers and the supportive audience.

The St Davids Cathedral Festival continues to be a

highlight in the regional cultural calendar, celebrating the rich tradition of music in one of the UK’s most iconic and spiritually significant venues. Plans are already underway for next year’s festival, scheduled for 23rd-28th May 2025, promising another

week of exceptional performances and cherished memories. In reflecting on this year’s festival, attendees and performers alike will remember it as a joyful celebration of music, community, and the enduring beauty of St Davids Cathedral.

21 NEWS For up to date news please check our social network channels Friday May 31st 2024

Police urge teenage girls in Wales to report sexual harassment

BRITISH Transport Police is today (Wednesday 29 May) releasing new statistics that suggest sexual harassment is underreported by teenage girls in Wales. Also today, Lex Gibbon, 19, recounts her experience of harassment in new single.

Crime statistics released today show that: In 2022, 663 teenage girls reported sexual offences or harassment to British Transport Police.

In 2023 in Wales, this number fell from 28 to 21 reports, a 33% decrease.

Police believe that many incidents are still going unreported, and that many people are not aware that you can report any type of sexual behaviour that makes you uncomfortable.

One of the real stories behind the statistics is brought to life in Lex Gibbon’s new single, ‘Audacity’. Lex wrote the song after a man followed her through an underground train station, verbally abused her and touched her.

At the time, Lex had not heard of British Transport Police’s text 61016 service and did not report the incident. Lex later discovered text 61016 and approached British Transport Police to collaborate on the launch of her single to raise awareness.

Police believe that many girls have experienced similar behaviour and, like Lex, are unaware that it can be reported to police. As shown in the song’s lyrics, police believe that many girls blame themselves for what happened. Today, officers are reassuring victims that sexual harassment is never their fault and urging everyone to save text 61016 in their phone.

Lex Gibbon said: “I was followed through an underground train station by a man who made me feel extremely unsafe, scared and vulnerable.

“At the time I had no idea that text 61016 existed. I believe it’s really

important to help women feel safer on public transport, so when I wrote ‘Audacity’ about my experience I felt it could really raise awareness for the initiative.

“I’ve now reported and spent a day with British Transport Police, and I’ve seen how seriously they take sexual harassment.

“If someone does this to me again, I’ll be texting it in. Please save 61016 in your phone and use it to report this sort of creepy behaviour.”

British Transport Police Assistant Chief Constable Paul Furnell said: “The man’s behaviour as described by Lex is completely unacceptable. I want everyone to know that acting like this on the rail network has serious consequences.

“As well as our uniformed and plain clothes officers, 150,000 CCTV cameras and your fellow passengers are watching you.

“We’re receiving more and more reports about sexual harassment, as people have had enough of this disgusting behaviour and know we prioritise tackling it. We use reports from multiple passengers to secure the strongest possible sentences for sex offenders.

“Sadly, we know that many women feel that they have no option but to put up with sexual harassment. That’s not the case: if someone is persistently bothering you and makes you feel unsafe or uncomfortable, please text 61016 to report it.

“Our officers are on patrol 24/7 and can meet trains at the next station. If it happens on the tube and you don’t have signal, you can speak to staff or text us at the next station.

“Nothing is too small to report and sexual harassment is never your fault. Save text 61016 in your phone today”.

Siwan Hayward, TfL’s Director of Security, Policing and Enforcement,

said: “We are deeply sorry that Lex experienced this horrific incident on our network. The safety of women and girls is an absolute priority for us and we are committed to tackling sexual harassment, working closely with the police to make our capital’s transport network a hostile place for offenders.

“We are actively promoting the importance of reporting crimes that we know are underreported, and welcome the increase in reporting of sexual offences as evidence that more women and girls and bystanders have the confidence to come forward and report experiences, knowing that they will be taken seriously and that offenders will be pursued. We encourage anyone who experiences or witnesses this behaviour to report it to the police or a member of staff so that we can take action against offenders and put the right measures in place to prevent this from happening.”

Listen to Audacity here: board/slw1b24i1i4x0o9n320240409172645

How to report

Every report is important. See it or expe-

rience it, you can report anything that makes you uncomfortable by text 61016, via the Railway Guardian app or by calling 0800 40 50 40.

Click here to save text 61016 in your phone today: https://

You can also report past incidents and anonymously report sexual offences at btp. In an emergency, always call 999.

23 NEWS For up to date news please check our social network channels Friday May 31st 2024

Port of Milford Haven purchases St Brides Spa Hotel in Saundersfoot

THE PORT of Milford Haven has today (May 28) announced that it has completed on the purchase of St Brides Spa Hotel, in Saundersfoot – one of Pembrokeshire’s most prestige hotels.

The investment includes a management agreement with The Celtic Collection to manage and operate the hotel on the Port’s behalf. Together with Ty Hotel Milford Waterfront, this adds another quality offering to the Port’s hospitality and tourism portfolio and strengthens the range of profitable investments linked to its diversification strategy.

For over ten years, the Port has been actively pursuing a strategic objective to reduce its dependency on the oil and gas sector and seek out additional revenue streams that provide long term, stable, financial resilience for the business.

Tom Sawyer, Chief Executive at the Port of Milford Haven, said: “We are proud to, once again, be partnering with The Celtic Collection to deliver another high-quality hospitality and tourism offer in Pembrokeshire. This latest investment


in St Brides Spa Hotel allows us, through our partnership, to promote the fantastic coastal community of Saundersfoot and support Visit Pembrokeshire’s ambition for the county to become a top 5 UK destination choice.”

“Historically, we have been highly dependent on the oil and gas sector, a commodities market that is prone to fluctuation and outside of our control.

But over the last decade, though a diversification strategy focused on

developing and building our business based upon high levels of expertise and excellent facilities, we have successfully created new opportunities in port services, renewables and engineering at Pembroke Port, and hospitality and tourism at Milford Waterfront.

“The continuing success and growth of St Brides Spa Hotel brings economic, social and cultural benefits to the whole of Pembrokeshire whilst at the same time strengthening the Port’s financial resilience. This is exactly what our Trust Port status is about: investing profits

for the benefit of future generations.

“This investment in no way undermines our ability to invest in our core purpose to operate the UK’s largest energy port safely, effectively and responsibly, which will always remain our primary focus.”

The transition to the new ownership and management will be seamless with no detrimental impact on guests and the jobs of all current St Brides team members safeguarded.

The Celtic Collection Chief Executive Ian Edwards said: “We are excited to be taking on the

management of St Brides Spa Hotel and expanding our partnership with the Port of Milford Haven to deliver more exceptional hospitality in Pembrokeshire.

St Brides is a very successful business that has established itself as a spa destination of real prestige in a wonderful location. We look forward to working with the hotel’s talented and experienced team of staff and welcoming them into the Celtic Collection family as we seek to build on this strong platform and grow the business further.

“We know all about the beauty and the draw of

Pembrokeshire to visitors from all over the world from our experience of the last two years operating and growing the Tŷ Hotel Milford Waterfront. This is a fantastic opportunity to immerse ourselves further in the Pembrokeshire community, working closely with local suppliers and businesses, and delivering positive impacts for the local economy.”

The Port of Milford Haven worked with Hugh James for legal support during the purchase. Gerallt Jones, Partner and Head of the Corporate/Commercial team, Hugh James commented: “We’re thrilled to collaborate again with The Port of Milford Haven to support further investment in the hospitality and tourism sector in South Wales. After supporting the Port on its first hotel investment at Milford Waterfront, we have no doubt that the acquisition of St Brides Spa Hotel, with its iconic infinity pool known around the world, will be equally as successful. We’re excited to see the diversification of the Port and the additional benefits its partnership with The Celtic Collection will bring to this stunning coastal area.”

climber rescued from cliffs near St Govan’s Head

AN INJURED climber was rescued from the cliffs near St Govan’s Head on Friday afternoon, May 24, in a dramatic operation involving multiple agencies. The climber found themselves stranded on the perilous rocks, prompting a swift response from coastguard rescue teams and an RNLI lifeboat. At approximately 3.50pm, HM Coastguard Dale, St Govans, and Tenby teams, along with the Angle RNLI lifeboat, were paged to assist in the rescue. The lifeboat was the first to reach the climber, providing

Tom Sinclair

immediate casualty care. However, due to the climber’s precarious position, evacuation by boat was deemed impossible.

In a statement on their Facebook page, HM Coastguard Dale praised the collaboration, stating, “This was another great example of multiple agencies working together for a positive outcome.”

The coastguard teams then initiated a rope rescue operation. Using a rope rescue stretcher, they successfully extracted

the injured climber to the top of the cliff. The climber’s partner, who was also on the cliffs, was safely recovered during the operation.

Once the casualty was safely at the top, paramedics took over, providing necessary medical care. The coastguard teams were subsequently stood down, concluding a successful multi-agency rescue effort.

The quick and efficient response highlights the vital role of coordinated efforts in emergency situations, ensuring the safety and well-being of those in perilous conditions.

24 Friday May 31st 2024 For up to date news please check our social network channels
Friday May 31

First electric mobile post office tested in Pembrokeshire

THE FIRST fullelectric Post Office vehicle has been successfully trialled in the UK, and it has all happened in Pembrokeshire.

The pioneering effort is being led by Pembroke Postmaster, Mark Wilson, who, along with his team, has been serving 11 rural communities in Pembrokeshire with a

new electric Mobile Post Office.

Replacing the traditional diesel vehicle, this new electric model has demonstrated its capability over the past several weeks, navigating the hilly terrain of the region without issue. The environmentally friendly

vehicle can travel over 100 miles on a single charge, comfortably exceeding the longest 60-mile route covered by the Pembroke Mobile Post Office. This ample range alleviates any concerns about “range anxiety” and eliminates the need for mid-route recharging, as the vehicle is conveniently charged overnight.

Mark Wilson highlighted the positive reception from the community, stating, “Our electric Mobile Post Office is turning heads with its distinctive signage. People are used to the typical Post Office red vehicles, but the design on this vehicle emphasises its environmental benefits. It’s exciting to have the first of these in the UK. Customers have praised our new vehicle for being less polluting and visually appealing.”

The new electric vehicle maintains the same height as its predecessor but offers a slightly wider build, which has proven manageable on country lanes. Its interior design provides better layout and increased space, allowing for more retail offerings and greater storage capacity for parcels, accommodating the rising trend of home shopping returns and online sales.

Wilson added, “Colleagues working on the Mobile are pleased with its road handling and the smoother driving experience thanks to the automatic transmission.”

The Mobile Post Office has long been a vital service for maintaining Post Office

access in smaller, rural communities. It offers a full range of Post Office services, including mail, pre-ordered foreign currencies, banking for all major high street banks, bill payments, and vehicle tax.

The 11 communities currently served by the electric Mobile Post Office include:

• Cosheston

• Milton

• Carew

• St Florence

• Broadmoor

• Lawrenny

• Angle

• Herbrandston

• St Ishmaels

• Marloes

• Dale.

Nigel Parry, owner of the Post Office National Outreach Model, which includes Mobile Post Offices, underscored the environmental and economic benefits of these electric vehicles.

“We know the green credentials of these vehicles; they are better for the environment as there are no emissions polluting communities. These vehicles are also cheaper to run and maintain.”

Parry emphasised the importance of realworld testing to ensure the vehicles’ fitness for

purpose. “We want to see how they perform in real-life conditions. Hilly terrain, cold weather, traffic jams, and the age and condition of the battery all affect the vehicle’s range, so it’s crucial to ensure there is spare capacity to serve outlying communities throughout the year.”

An additional advantage of electric vehicles is their quicker maintenance turnaround, reducing downtime compared to the biannual servicing required for diesel vehicles.

Following this successful trial in Pembrokeshire, another electric Mobile Post Office will be introduced in East Anglia next month, with a third location yet to be determined. This rollout aims to further test the suitability and cost-effectiveness of electric vehicles for rural locations. Currently, there are 67 diesel Mobile Post Offices operating across Wales, England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

This move marks a significant milestone in the Post Office’s commitment to sustainability and innovation, ensuring that even the most remote communities can benefit from modern, eco-friendly services.

27 For up to date news please check our social network channels Friday May 31st 2024 news
Tom Sinclair

Weather forces cancellation of sold-out paddle steamer cruise

THE muchanticipated voyage of the Waverley, the world’s only seagoing paddle steamer, was regrettably cancelled this morning due to adverse weather conditions. The steamer was scheduled to depart from Fishguard at 11am for a scenic journey along the coast of north Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion, with a stop at New Quay before returning at 3pm.

However, due to challenging wind and sea conditions, Waverley Excursions Ltd made the difficult decision to cancel the cruise for the safety and comfort of passengers and crew. A spokesperson for the company stated, “Unfortunately, for the past few hours, she has been experiencing wind and sea conditions which we deem too uncomfortable for passengers. Given that conditions will not improve for most of today, we have taken the decision to cancel today’s cruise.”

The historic paddle steamer was due to arrive in Fishguard this morning after sailing overnight from Northern Ireland. Despite the disappointment this cancellation has caused, especially given the unique nature of this

special sailing from Fishguard, the primary concern remains the wellbeing of those on board. Initially, ticket holders were informed that they would still be able to board the ship for a guided tour. However, due to the increasing swell conditions at the harbour, which pose

a risk to the ship’s paddlebox, this option was also withdrawn. The spokesperson added, “Unfortunately, the swell conditions at the quayside risk damaging the ship’s paddlebox on the concrete and she will need to depart as soon as possible. We are therefore unable to offer

the open ship visits as initially thought between 10.30 and 12.00. I do apologise for this.”

In light of the cancellation, passengers with tickets for today’s cruise are being offered a free transfer to any other available sailing this year or in 2025. Alternatively, a full refund is available.

Detailed instructions on how to transfer or request a refund have been emailed to all affected passengers. While today’s cancellation is a disappointment to many, the decision underscores the importance of passenger safety in the face of unpredictable sea

conditions. The Waverley, known for her historic significance and unique voyages, will continue to offer memorable experiences under safer circumstances.

For more updates and local news, stay tuned to The Pembrokeshire Herald.

28 Friday May 31st 2024 For up to date news please check our social network channels

Starmer’s puzzling Welsh NHS pledge

SIR KEIR STARMER has pledged to help the Welsh Government sort out Wales’s NHS waiting list crisis.

The Labour leader made his vow during a visit to Abergavenny on Thursday, May 30.

Although Mr Starmer’s claim echoes one made to voters in England, management of the NHS in Wales is a devolved issue under the Welsh Government’s control.

It suggests that a Labour government in Westminster would direct its Welsh counterpart on spending and policy priorities.

That creates a logical disconnect between what Wales’s Labour Ministers have said in the past about the need to maintain the integrity of the devolution settlement and how far they’re prepared to accommodate intrusion in devolved policy areas by a politically friendlier Westminster government. If Westminster hypothecates spending in a devolved policy area under a Conservative government or tells the Welsh Government what to do, it’s a constitutional

outrage and threatens devolution. If Keir Starmer does it, it’s an example of the benefits of having a Labour government in Cardiff and London.

The question also arises whether Labour in Wales blocks UK Conservative policies based on ideological differences rather than considering the benefits they could deliver. It leaves Labour’s Ministers in Cardiff open to the charge of hypocrisy

and serves to underline the complete shambles twenty-five-years of Labour Government in Wales has made of the Welsh NHS.

The devolved government gets the overwhelming majority of its money from Westminster. It chooses where to spend that money. In recent years, the Welsh Government has pillaged public services budgets to fund the NHS in Wales.

The effects on waiting times have been nugatory.

Lines briefed to the media on Labour’s six pledges for Wales did not repeat a promise made in England for evening and weekend appointments.

Plaid Cymru immediately picked up on the Labour conundrum. The Party of Wales said Sir Keir was “behaving as if the last 25 years never happened”.

Plaid Cymru

spokesperson for Health, Mabon ap Gwynfor MS, said: “Despite having a quarter of a century to sort out the NHS in Wales, Labour is now telling us to wait for an incoming UK Labour Government to improve the NHS in Wales. The hypocrisy couldn’t be clearer to see.

“Investment in the Welsh NHS shouldn’t depend on how people in England vote, and people across Wales are fed up with Labour taking them

for granted.

“What would make a real difference to our NHS and people’s lives is a commitment from Starmer to give a fair funding deal to Wales, which would allow proper investment in public services, regardless of who’s in Number Ten Downing Street.”

Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies said:

“Keir Starmer has said that the Labour Welsh government is his ‘blueprint’ for what a Labour government would do, and their record on waiting lists is abysmal.

“The Labour Welsh government has presided over record NHS waiting lists while spending tens of millions of pounds on vanity projects and the 20mph war on motorists.

“Labour’s record in Wales is a stark warning to the rest of the UK of what a Labour government in Westminster would look like.”

During the media interview round following the Abergavenny event, Mr Gething attended but did not participate.

Port achieves ISO certification after an independent audit


has achieved ISO certification for Health and Safety (ISO 45001), Environment (ISO 14001) and Quality (ISO 9001) after an independent audit process completed by NQA, one of the main global certification bodies.

This means that the Port is recognised for its management of the key processes that are core to making its business safer, more sustainable, and customer focused, whilst constantly reviewing how it can continually improve.

Commenting on the certification, Steve Rodriguez, Quality Manager at the Port of Milford Haven said: “It is a proud moment for us to achieve ISO certification. The fact

Tom Sinclair

that our Port Integrated Management System has successfully met the required standards demonstrates that our core values of safety, excellence, collaboration and sustainability are embedded across our business. It is also testament to the hard work and commitment of our employees.”

Terry Fisher, Principal Lead Assessor at NQA added:“NQA congratulates the Port and everyone involved in their certification. We look forward to working with the Port of Milford Haven and support the positive commitment of the organisation to deliver long-term benefits for the whole community”.

29 For up to date news please check our social network channels Friday May 31st 2024 advertorial
30 Friday May 31

Labour’s brazen rigging of parliamentary selections

SQUAWK! Stephen Seagull here, ready to dive into the choppy waters of Labour politics, squawk! Let’s talk about something as old as time—Labour officials rigging parliamentary selections. It’s amazing how brazen it all is. Take Diane Abbott— not the most shocking case, given she’s in her 70s and has been representing Hackney North for over 37 years. But look at Lloyd Russell-Moyle, out of a job at just 37 over an old, disputed complaint. No time to appeal, just like that—squawk!

And Faiza Shaheen?

A bright economist who almost defeated Iain Duncan Smith in 2019, now told she won’t be readopted. Her crime? Liking the wrong social media posts, but really, it’s because she supported Jeremy Corbyn too long. Keir Starmer’s goto excuse is there’s a process, but the truth is, there’s no process at all. It’s all cynically delayed to squash any argument before nominations close, squawk! These abuses will have consequences. The unseen hands don’t care. Replacing a candidate with a strong local following means smashing the local party, undermining years of hard work. Some members will stay and fight, others will walk away. Labour party membership has nosedived, and some constituency parties will wither and die. Another consequence—one unwise tweet, however old, or mild dissent can

end careers. This chills debate within the party. Healthy governments need internal challenges. In 1997, New Labour faced an uprising when Gordon Brown cut benefits for single parents, but it was quietly compensated later. And who can forget the 139 Labour MPs who rebelled over Iraq? Had Tony Blair listened, his reputation wouldn’t be stained by the shadow of Iraq, squawk!

As Michael Crick says, the people running the show now are hugely partisan. The likes of John Prescott, Robin Cook, or Angela Rayner would never make it under the current regime. Good governments need internal challenge, and without it, Labour risks becoming an echo chamber. Squawk! Until next time, keep your feathers preened and your eyes sharp! Squawk!

As Hilary Schan wrote in Tribune in 2022, the stitch-ups of parliamentary selections have resulted in the blocking en masse of popular local left-wingers. The leadership’s line, that its focus is securing ‘high-quality candidates’, is easily debunked by the examples of Azhar Ali in Rochdale and Darren Rodwell in Dagenham, who prompted respective scandals regarding the

spreading of conspiracy theories and the cracking of racist jokes at a Black History Month event.

In truth, what unites these candidates and motivates the alleged rigging of selections in their favour is their unwavering loyalty to the leadership — the consequences of which cannot be overstated. With Tory support collapsing, the number of Labour MPs could double

at the next election. But Labour’s trajectory suggests it would see Parliament stacked with nodding dogs at the expense of politicians prepared to act on their own volition when it’s in the public interest.

Independently minded politicians are a vital component of our democracy and are often on the right side of public opinion and history. This was displayed in November when a quarter of Labour MPs defied the whip to vote for a Gaza ceasefire, as well as during the New Labour era rebellions against detention without trial, Private Finance Initiatives, and, most notably, the Iraq War.

The unfolding scandal around Labour’s parliamentary selections is much bigger than an internal party matter — they are at the forefront of a slow-burning, anti-democratic coup. Starmer’s fraudulent leadership campaign, corporate policy-making, and relentless attacks on the party’s membership should be seen for what they are: a restorationist project aiming to insulate Labour’s elite from democratic pressure. Far from making Labour the ‘political wing of the British people’, the goal at every turn has been to suppress popular interests, marginalize ordinary members, and empower big business.

The fight for democracy and socialism within Labour and the British state have always gone hand in hand. This story shows exactly why. Squawk!

31 For up to date news please check our social network channels Friday May 31st 2024

Badger and the Enormous Tool

YOU can read enough about the General Election elsewhere in this week’s edition, dear readers.

Badger is an electionfree area this week.

Please make the most of it. Badger’s keen eye for idiocy, hypocrisy, and political and economic illiteracy will not turn away for long.

Badger would like to make one small point about the engagement of Wales’s principal political parties in local issues.

Last week, this newspaper sent requests to Labour, the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, and Reform UK for candidate photos, bios, and short personal statements.

The number of answers to our requests is zero. De nada. Zip.

Perhaps softball is more their candidates’ game.

Anyhoo, and moving on, Badger recently received a curious email. The message came from a digital marketing company that wanted to tell Badger all about the benefits of AI and how it could improve journalism and writing.

Intrigued, Badger read the email and followed the links in it. Your furry chum is nothing if not eager to learn, dear readers.

Badger learned that AI’s capacity for producing unreadable prose is almost human.

It’s as though the first thing God did when he created AI was to say, “let there be adjectives and adverbs”.

Yea, readers, let them number as the stars in the heavens.

Badger decided to experiment.

He found a random (well, not really) piece of prose and fed it into AI for “improvement”.

The result was


“It was a time of both good and bad, a time of wisdom and some foolishness. People held strong beliefs, but also had doubts. It was a time of both light and darkness, of hope and despair.”

If only Charles Dickens had AI, the opening of “A Tale of Two Cities” would be much better.

Bemused by the bowdlerising and mangling of one of the better-known pieces of English prose, Badger decided to have fun with his Unintelligent and Artificial toy.

“It’s a moonless spring night in a small, starless town. The cobble streets are silent, and the houses are blind as moles. All the people are sleeping, unaware of the secrets

hidden in the night.”

Readers, it’s not bad, especially considering Dylan Thomas is the source.

Having tried Charles Dickens and Dylan Thomas, Badger wanted another go.

“Hey, is that a knife in front of me, With the handle pointing towards me? I’ll be sure to grab it.

I can’t touch it, but I still see it.

Are you a real knife, or just a product

Of my stressed mind, playing tricks on me?”

If Badger were Shakespeare, he’d sue. Or, rather, he’d rise from the crypt and sue.

Enough of rewrites.

Let’s see what AI can do when asked to

generate some poetry.

Asked to write a short poem about an oak tree, Badger got this:

“In the forest, there’s this really old oak tree with branches that reach high into the sky. Each leaf whispers in the wind, creating a soothing sound. The tree’s roots run deep into the ground, and it has stood through many seasons. The oak is like a symbol of nature’s strength and endurance, which I find pretty amazing!”

Badger thought that was pretty amazing. No cliche or metaphor is left unused or unslain.

A recent advert for an Apple iPad caused a stink when it suggested the whole of human artistic and cultural achievement could be squished

into a very thin tablet computer.

The iPad contains everything from the wheel to mathematics, Bach, The Beatles, Caravaggio, and Newton.

It contains everything except genius, creativity, and soul.

All it can do is retrieve facts. There is no human impulse for selfimprovement or inner reflection.

Badger feels much the same about AI’s contribution to creating prose.

An infinite number of monkeys using an infinite number of typewriters might one day recreate the works of William Shakespeare, but they’re still monkeys. They’d recreate them without knowledge or understanding.

It goes to the heart of what we mean by creativity and how we define and communicate human experiences.

An algorithm can impersonate and produce a pastiche of any genre, but it can never feel. It also depends on the quality of what humans feed it. Give an algorithm nothing but a diet of words low in nutrition; it will only produce unsatisfying text. Feed it purple prose; you will get a reeking product when AI excretes its work.

Badger is not an alarmist, but he is concerned about the possibility that the unscrupulous already exploit AI and that as AI learns to mimic humans better, they will get better at it.

Badger doubts that Skynet will take over the world, the Matrix will become a reality (unless it already has), or WOPR will decide to play Global Thermonuclear War instead of Tic-Tac-Toe with Matthew Broderick. However, you are left

with bare calculation and computer modelling instead of creativity and discretion once you eliminate the human factor.

There are some uncomfortable junctions if you go down that road. Think about what a computer could say “no” to. Humans know choices are not binary and that decisions consider questions and issues beyond what is supposedly “best” or “most efficient”.

Badger likes chess. Nowadays, the best computer programmes will beat the best human players every time. That does not mean computers have solved chess. No matter how powerful, a computer cannot feel a human’s tension when facing another human over the chessboard. Chess is not only about memory; it’s about feelings and participants’ emotional and mental states. The perfect chess game is unplayable; nevertheless, the closest you can come to it is watching the best human players play each other.

It’s the same with writing and any creative pursuit.

AI might do a few things better but can never replicate the human experience to inform its output.

Some humans undoubtedly find AI useful. Others use it as a crutch to hide their laziness, lack of insight, and creative deficiencies.

Badger is fine as long as humans use AI to automate mundane tasks that need simple answers.

However, those who use AI because they are too lazy to do a proper job of work themselves are already well on the way to being tools themselves.

32 Friday May 31st 2024

for LGBTQIA women and non-binary people, returns for its third year in 2024. Held in Lawrenny from 31 May to 2 June, the festival provides a safe space for queer women and non-binary individuals to connect with likeminded people and enjoy a wide range of activities. This year’s festival features everything from comedy and DJ sets to wellness workshops and hikes.

The 2024 Out & Wild festival is expected to attract nearly 1,000 attendees, making it a haven for LGBTQIA women and non-binary individuals. Notable highlights of the weekend


album The Art of Losing was named one of the albums of the year by the Sunday Times, and appearances by award-winning poet and playwright Joelle Taylor.

In partnership with the renowned Bluetits movement, this year’s festival will offer attendees the chance to experience wild swimming and paddleboarding. For those interested in exploring the local scenery, hikes and bike rides will also be available.

Polly Shute, Cofounder of Out & Wild Festival and Events, said: “We created Out & Wild to be a festival that connects the

audience told us they wanted a space to meet like-minded others and focus on their overall wellbeing.”

Spaces like Out & Wild are more essential than ever for bringing our community together. The festival has found that only 21% of LGBTQIA women attend queerfocused events at least once a month. When asked why they didn’t attend more events, 45% cited a lack of events aimed at women, while another 40% said most LGBTQIA events are male-dominated.

Ruth Harlow, Wellness Lead for Out & Wild, said: “For me, it’s a dream come true to be part of creating a

female LGBTQ+ and non-binary community.

As a lesbian in the wellness/spiritual world for more than 12 years, I experienced a lot of harm from entrenched heteronormativity and sometimes outright homophobia, and I know I am not alone in that.”

She continued, “A fundamental part of wellbeing is belonging and feeling welcome, and as queer women and non-binary folks, we have usually experienced the opposite. There is something deeply healing about coming together in spaces where all of us are welcome, where we can truly be ourselves in all our dimensions, and

described the festival as life-changing, and that is certainly true for me. Whether your interest is football or chanting, surfing or spoken word, hiking or meditating, tango or softball, there is something for everyone and so much to discover.”

Nearly a third of all Out & Wild attendees come solo but leave with lifelong experiences and friendships. Out & Wild also runs events throughout the year, including miniweekends, regional meet-ups, and the Pride Swim series. For more information, visit www.

Journey” by Kelly Williams School of Dance at the Torch

MILFORD HAVEN’S Torch Theatre is set to dazzle audiences with the latest production from the Kelly Williams School of Dance. Titled “The Journey,” this new show celebrates 13 years of dance success, filled with memorable performances and plenty of fun along the way.

Opening on Saturday, 8th June 2024, “The Journey” promises to take audiences on a captivating trip down

memory lane. The Kelly Williams School of Dance, renowned for its vibrant performances and talented dancers, will bring to life a spectacular showcase that highlights their journey over the past decade. Tickets are now on sale, with prices set at £18.00 for adults, £10.00 for children, and £52.00 for a family. This eagerly anticipated event is expected to draw dance enthusiasts and

community members alike, all eager to celebrate the school’s accomplishments and enjoy an evening of outstanding entertainment. Make sure to secure your tickets for what promises to be a highlight of the summer at the Torch Theatre. Join the celebration and witness the incredible talent and dedication of the Kelly Williams School of Dance in “The Journey.”

34 Friday May 31st 2024 For up to date news please check our social network channels w H a T’S on

IF - imaginary friends unite

John Krasinski’s “IF” bursts onto the screen with the vibrancy and boundless energy of a child’s imagination.

It’s a whimsical world populated by endearing IFs (imaginary friends), brought to life with dazzling creativity. The film’s heartfelt sincerity, laugh-out-loud humour, and a generous dose of charm are sure to captivate younger audiences.

At its core, “IF” is a love letter to the power of imagination and the importance of holding onto our inner child, especially when faced with loss and fear. Krasinski, flexing his directorial muscles in a new genre, crafts a visually stunning world inspired by beloved family classics like

“Toy Story” and “Monsters, Inc.”

The film’s emotional centre rests on young Bea (Cailey Fleming), whose ability to see IFs becomes both a refuge and a catalyst for growth as she grapples with the devastating loss of her mother and the overwhelming fear of losing her father.

However, while “IF” is undoubtedly a visual feast with its heart in the right place, its ambitious narrative sometimes struggles to connect all the dots. The abundance of characters and fantastical concepts, while brimming with potential, aren’t always fully explored, leaving the story feeling somewhat disjointed.

Despite this, “IF” ultimately triumphs due to its sheer exuberance and the genuine

waTcH THe TraIler Here!

warmth radiating from its performances. Ryan Reynolds shines as the irrepressible Cal, and Fleming delivers a heartfelt and moving portrayal of Bea. The film’s emotional conclusion, accompanied by Michael Giacchino’s poignant score, is sure to leave a lasting impression.

“IF” may not be a perfect film, but its infectious spirit and heartfelt message make it an entertaining and ultimately touching cinematic experience. Krasinski’s foray into family fantasy may be a bit messy, but it’s a mess worth embracing for its celebration of imagination, resilience, and the enduring power of childhood wonder in the face of life’s most difficult challenges.

35 For up to date news please check our social network channels Friday May 31st 2024 FEATURE

Fishguard Round Table’s Soapbox Derby

ON SATURDAY (21st May), a mixture of weird and wonderful characters took to their carts to race along the soapbox derby course in Fishguard. The event was organised by the Fishguard and District Round Table group and kick-started their 60th Charter Year.

The activities started at midday with the carts racing downhill in a bid to see who gets the fastest time. Then the most popular race started and drew the crowds in, as the characters including Gangsta Granny and Wile E Coyote, sped down the course in their flamboyantly modified soapboxes. It wouldn’t be a soapbox derby without a few tumbles, with more than one crew having to complete the course on foot.

There were five trophies up for grabs, sponsored by A&E Nichols: the coveted first, second, and third prizes as well as a prize for Derby Disaster, one for Best Design, and finally a Slow and Steady award for those who took slightly longer to finish the course. The winners were awarded as follows: 1, Come on Wile E; 2, Croczilla; 3, Round Table Llandeilo 778 Cows. Best design was awarded to Croczilla, and the Slow and Steady award was given to the RNLI cart.

There was a plethora of food stalls for spectators to indulge in a weekend treat in the nearby Lota Park. The Round Table Barbecue was fired up serving sausages

and burgers, while the Fishguard Ladies Circle sold strawberries and cream for those looking for something a little sweeter. Bouncy castles and various stalls were also set up for the crowds to enjoy.

After the race, there was a fundraising ball track run, with the lucky number winning a prize of £100. All the money raised during the day’s festivities was donated to local charities. The Fishguard and District Round Table group took to Facebook after the event to thank all those who attended and supported the event in the weekend sunshine. A spokesman said, “We had an absolutely fantastic time organising this event, and what a day it turned out to be!” The group emphasised that such events would not be possible without the generous backing of their sponsors.

The event was headed by main sponsor, Goodwick Motor Services, along with: G D Harries & Sons Ltd; A & E Nichols; Jewson’s, Goodwick; West Wales Firewood; Morfa Milk; R D Contracting Services; Castle Hot Tubs; Communi8; The Royal Oak; The Rose & Crown; JT Abergwaun Hotel; and CSE Hire. The group also thanked the following for their part in ensuring the event ran successfully: St John Ambulance; Fishguard and District 41 Club; Fishguard Ladies Circle; Cresswell’s Cafe; Fishguard Fire Station; and Pembrokeshire County Council.

36 Friday May 31st 2024 For up to date news please check our social network channels
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Dancing for the Devil



THE DEVIL: THE 7M TIKTOK CULT” offers a story filled with lurid, brash, and sensational elements.

It centres on a loosely affiliated group of TikTok dancers in Los Angeles who join 7M, a management company that also functions as a private, invite-only church led by Pastor Robert Shinn. Friends and family of many dancers now believe they have joined a cult, and testimonies from ex-members suggest there is strong reason to suspect this. Despite its many stranger-thanfiction elements, this documentary turns into a surprisingly sensitive and deeply sad narrative, especially for Netflix.

Director Derek Doneen uses the Wilking sisters as his entry point into a tale that begins with the spectacle of social media and ambitious young people. Miranda and Melanie Wilking, who grew up in a working-class home in Detroit, dreamt of becoming professional dancers. Home movies show them as small children dancing in front of the TV. As they pursued careers in dance, they realised social media could help them gain exposure, eventually amassing over 3.3 million followers on TikTok.

Melanie, who speaks candidly about her sister throughout this gripping three-part series, explains that social media is indispensable in her world. At auditions, she says, “they ask how many followers you have”. Metrics matter. The framing of social media here –predominantly TikTok, but also Instagram

to some extent – is intriguing. Dancers with substantial followings discuss this fleeting fame in vague terms, seeing it as a way to generate income without clearly explaining how the money is made.

Krump dancer Kevin “Konkrete” Davis, a former 7M member, explains he was a “starving artist” living in his car until social media made him feel he could get paid for his art. Another dancer and exmember, Kaelia Gray, says she didn’t want to think about brand deals and sponsorships: “I just wanted to create.”

Robert Shinn, pastor of the Shekinah Church and founder of 7M, which he describes as a “talent management company”, appears to have seen an opportunity in this mix of creative ambition, relative poverty, and youthful lack of business acumen.

Several TikTok dancers became affiliated with 7M, allowing Shinn to curate and manage their brand deals. He provided them with affordable and aesthetically pleasing accommodation and a comfortable environment for creating content, while also encouraging them to

join his church, regularly attend services, and devote themselves to God – and, as a “man of God”, to him.

The documentary evolves into a more traditional cult narrative as the extent of Shinn and Shekinah’s influence over members’ lives becomes evident. According to exmembers’ testimonies and recordings of Shinn, the church encourages members to “die to themselves” and their families. Although wrapped in flowery language about resurrection and rebirth, outsiders may recognise it as the classic fundamentalist tactic of cutting people off from their loved ones to strengthen their new ties. The episodes grow darker, painting a broader picture. Shinn denies allegations of abuse, but interviewees share their own experiences within the church, offering a different perspective.

Those following key players online will have seen this drama unfold on social media. Melanie posted a video explaining why she and her sister no longer dance together. Miranda, now married to fellow 7M

member James “BDash” Derrick and going by Miranda Derrick, posts denials of being unsafe or part of a cult. The girls’ parents, Dean and Kelly, joined Melanie on a livestream to accuse the church of brainwashing their daughter. One of the most upsetting moments comes when Miranda finally agrees to meet her parents, after almost completely cutting off contact, only to livestream the encounter as if to prove they are the problem. Her parents tell her they love and miss her.

As a depiction of the zeitgeist, this documentary is disturbingly mesmerising. It is increasingly difficult to distinguish between spectacle and reality. However, it is most powerful when focusing on the human angle, showing the effects of the church on those who have left and on the families of those who remain. One aspect I found difficult to reconcile: Shinn is recorded talking about how famous the church will be and how everyone will know about 7M. Watching this, I thought, if they didn’t before, they certainly will now.

38 For up to date news please check our social network channels Friday April 12th 2024 wHaT’s on

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, comrades of the gaming cosmos, gather round as we dive into the kaleidoscopic world of F1 24, the latest magnum opus from Codemasters and EA SPORTS.

This high-octane carnival of speed brings forth the complete panoply of the 2024 Formula 1 season – all the teams, circuits, drivers, and those exquisite machines that rocket around the tracks. But wait, there’s more! We’ve also got the full array of 2023 Formula 2 content, with the 2024 F2 grid making a grand entrance post-launch. It’s a veritable feast for the senses, though not without a few indigestible morsels.

Now, before you rev your engines in anticipation of jawdropping visuals, let’s temper those expectations just a smidge. Codemasters have stayed loyal to their trusty Ego game engine. Sure, we’ve got some shiny new overhauls for tracks like the legendary SpaFrancorchamps, but don’t expect a complete visual revolution. The venerable circuits of Monza and Hungaroring still show their age, and occasional screen freezes during cross-play can make you feel like you’ve hit the brakes mid-race. However, for the most part, the game runs smoother than a well-oiled pit stop, albeit without the dazzling polish you’d

hope for from a 2024 title.

But oh, the presentation! It’s a spectacle worthy of the grandest theatre. With Sky Sports F1’s finest – Natalie Pinkham, Anthony Davidson, and the inimitable David Croft – you’re immersed in the drama of a real F1 broadcast. And if Crofty’s dulcet tones aren’t to your liking, swap him out for F1TV’s Alex Jacques. It’s all about the choices, my friends.

Let’s talk about car handling – it’s undergone a tweak or two, ushering in the ‘Dynamic Handling’ system. This promises more realistic and predictable performance whether you’re wielding a gamepad or a steering wheel. For gamepad users, the suspension, tyre, and aero models now make mastering traction zones a doddle, and even the most treacherous kerbs, like those at Imola’s Variante Tamburello, can be conquered with ease. Hardcore enthusiasts with steering wheels, prepare for a mixed bag – intuitive yet challenging, with oversteer morphing into understeer. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but with some practice, it becomes a dance of precision.

In terms of career progression, it’s the tried-andtrue formula – practice sessions set by engineers, upgrade points, and now, Specialists with unique skills. Your Driver

ARIES Be honest. You’re known for being assertive, but for the most part, your boldness is often a bark that’s more intimidating than your bite. This time, however, the boldness of your opponent will call for a real, live bite, and that’s what they’re going to get. Fortunately, you’ll be in a great mood today and perfectly willing to use humor to chill this situation out before it gets ugly. Keep smiling. And consider if it’s worth it.

TAURUS You have a bit of a tendency to overdo it now, so you’ll need to consciously seek out and take the middle path in all areas of life. Be sure, for instance, that you get some exercise, but you don’t need to spend hours at the gym every day. In interpersonal relations, you’ll want to be careful not to clam up, but there’s also such a thing as saying too much. Try asking questions. It’s usually a safe conversational tactic.

GEMINI While other people may be looking forward to getting new material things, you have your eyes on a prize more suited to your curious, exploratory nature, something more experiential. Perhaps it’s time to start setting some money aside for your next globe-trotting tour or those scuba lessons. And if you’re on the lookout for a treat for someone else, think about a fun activity (dancing lessons, a restaurant gift certificate) rather than another bauble.


Sure, they’re making you crazy. You work together, so you’re rather like an extended family -- and you know how family members torture each other. It’s part of your job to make each other crazy. So if either of you seems a little too focused on a situation at the moment, call in an unbiased third party to help you out. It will be well worth the effort. Honest.

LEO You’re in the mood to be up close, personally involved, and oh, so affectionate -- so, needless to say, your lucky partner will be just tickled. It’s common knowledge that no one can spoil someone the way that you can, especially when you set out with that objective in mind. Of course, since you’ll want to pamper each and every one of your loved ones today, you’d better make a list and check it twice -- at least twice. Just in case someone happens to be the jealous type.


Your words may inadvertently be very potent now -- so much so that you might unintentionally hurt someone deeply without meaning to. If a loved one pushes your buttons, count to at least 500 in another room if possible before your answer them. Either that, or just say ‘Let me think about it.’ Just don’t let go with anything that’s deliberately hurtful. There’s no use burning a bridge simply because your mouth has temporarily turned into an atomic weapon.


You’ll be in the mood to go through those special things today -scrapbooks, photo albums and anything else you have because it means something to you. Tend to those mementos now -- in private, if at all possible. When you’re ready, tidy them up, repackage them, give them a squeeze and then tuck them back into storage.


Recognition stat grows as you impress on the track, attracting new opportunities. Plus, for the first time, you can step into the shoes of any driver on the F1 grid, their ratings ebbing and flowing with the season.

The new Challenge Career mode introduces bitesized scenarios with online leaderboards, adding a competitive edge. F1 World and My Team modes continue to offer their unique charms, while microtransactions remain optional. And rejoice, the muchmaligned supercars are no more.

So, is F1 24 worth your hardearned cash if you’ve already got F1 23? The innovations are few and far between. Challenge Career is a tantalizing but limited addition, the reworked handling model is polarizing yet accommodating, and the Driver Recognition and Rating systems don’t drastically change career mode. The refurbished circuits bring a breath of fresh air, and the career mode remains a compelling journey.

For the uninitiated or those who’ve skipped a few laps in the series, F1 24 offers a genuine hit of F1 excitement with a userfriendly handling model. It may not satisfy the purists craving a raw driving experience, but it’s a vibrant entry in the high-speed saga of Formula 1 gaming.

Making a decision could be difficult now, and you’ll definitely want to toss some ideas back and forth, perhaps with a trusted colleague, mentor, or friend. You might not know whether being assertive is a good idea or if a subtler approach will get you further. Patience certainly has its virtues, but it can also end up being a bit of a cop out. What’s the worst that would happen if you made your move?


You might not be doing it consciously, but you’re revving up to say something you’ve been dying to get off of your chest for some time now. It’s no secret that you’re a force to be reckoned with when you’re being brutally honest, but just try not to go too far overboard. Besides, if you drive someone away, you’ll feel so guilty that you’ll want to apologize -and you’ll probably have to go to Timbuktu to do it.


You might be tempted to push the limits with an authority figure now in some way or other. Perhaps you want to see how much you can get away with doing (or not doing), or whether you can force them to do something your way, or even whether they’ll overstep the boundary between working together and getting romantically involved. The stars wouldn’t recommend it at the moment, though. Keep it low-key and suss out the situation further.


Someone you’ve had your eye on will be more than happy to stay up late chatting away about every subject imaginable. Brew some coffee and make yourself available. You might be tired at work tomorrow, but you’ve heard of power naps, and you’re undoubtedly familiar with the concept. Take one, then gulp down that coffee and head out to continue astounding the masses. Your mission is to keep your reputation intact. Ready? Bet you are.

PISCES You’re due to cross paths with some very interesting, very magnetic types, and soon, too. Maybe tonight. To prepare yourself for their arrival, be sure you can postpone anything that’s not absolutely necessary.

39 For up to date news please check our social network channels Friday May 31st 2024 FEATURE
If you’ve already met them, don’t be shy. Get in contact, make some plans, and get together. These are kindred spirits -- don’t let them get away from you. HoRoscopes gaMIng waTcH THe
TraIler Here!
wITH eddIe THe gaMe guru

Annual Stakeholder 2024 Meetings

As a trust port, we are accountable to our stakeholders in our actions. Our Annual Stakeholder Meetings are an opportunity to discuss how the Port is performing. It’s a public event, open to anyone who would like to know more about our plans or who has queries about the Port.

19 th June | 5.30pm – 8pm

Torch Theatre, Milford Haven

21st June | 10.30am – 1pm

Pater Hall, Pembroke Dock

Scan to register or visit


New schemes to raise maths standards

WORK to improve standards of maths in Welsh schools is progressing with new schemes in place helping to boost confidence, develop skills and encourage more take up.

Before the pandemic, schools in Wales were making positive progress in numeracy and work is now under way to get things back on track.

Since April 2023, more than 3,500 learners have taken part in activities delivered by Mathematics Support Programme Wales (MSPW), with more schools set to take part. The scheme, managed by Swansea University, is backed by £450,000 of Welsh Government funding.

Activities include maths clubs and masterclasses, talks offering insights into maths in the world of work, revision resources

and events encouraging more girls to take maths as a subject.

Speaking on National Numeracy Day, the Cabinet Secretary for Education, Lynne Neagle, said:

“A sustained improvement in attainment is a top priority for me as Cabinet Secretary. This is why we are delivering these schemes to support pupils progress in their maths learning.

“Our curriculum reform journey is a once-in-ageneration opportunity to revolutionise the quality of education in Wales and I’m confident it will deliver huge benefits for our young people and help to raise standards in our schools.”

Ysgol Bryn Tawe in Swansea is benefitting from tailored support from MSPW including professional learning for staff to enable further

maths to be taught at the school. Lunchtime maths clubs, careers in maths talks and revision sessions are available and students have had the chance to attend conferences at Swansea University.

Carly Shanklin who leads the Mathematics Department at Ysgol Bryn Tawe said:

“As a school we are passionate about the mathematical journey of our learners. Working with MSPW helps us to fulfil our ambition of every pupil enjoying maths and numeracy.

“Maths Clubs are my personal favourite! I just love seeing students and staff popping in to do unusual things with maths.”

Since April, MSPW has widened its activities to provide more support for younger pupils, helping them to develop skills, confidence and a

passion for maths.

The Seren Academy, which supports around 22,000 learners aged 14-19 across Wales by providing extra-curricular study experiences and super-curricular enrichment activities, is extending its support for high attaining maths learners as it partners with Axiom Maths. The additional super-curricular maths programme will fund teachers to lead on maths circles, bringing groups of learners together weekly, to tackle challenging maths problems.

Thanks to a partnership between Welsh Government and the Money and Pensions Service pupils are benefitting from new financial education materials, intended to help schools design their financial education provision and better inform young people

about money. The new guides give real world examples of financial tasks such as budgeting, borrowing, and managing money and are aligned to the new curriculum.

Work is also underway on delivering the actions within Welsh Government’s Maths plan, published last November. A new Research, Evidence and Advice Group has been established, consisting of mathematical specialists experienced in international education systems. A new professional learning package is being created with the help of school improvement partners and a communications campaign to promote a positive ‘can do’ mindset to maths is in its planning stage, with coconstruction with schools at its core.

41 For up to date news please check our social network channels Friday May 31st 2024 eFEATUREducaTIon educa TI on

Political canine candidate coco is crowned senedd dog of the year

COCO, a three-yearold Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has today been crowned winner of the inaugural Senedd Dog of the Year competition.

Coco, who entered the event with Jack Sargeant, Welsh Labour MS for Alyn and Deeside, impressed the judges with her loveable character as well as their strong bond with Jack Sargeant MS.

The Senedd Dog of the Year competition, organised by The Kennel Club and Dogs Trust, took place for the first time today in Britannia Park, Cardiff. Coco showed dogged determination as she battled it out to defeat other ‘paw-litical’ opponents to win the coveted title of Senedd Dog of the Year, arguably the most soughtafter accolade in Welsh politics.

Winning MS, Jack Sargeant said of their winning moment: “It’s absolutely fantastic to be crowned Senedd Dog of the Year with the wonderful Coco. She’s a real companion animal to me, I couldn’t be more proud of her.”

This year’s competition focused on promoting

responsible dog ownership, making sure that owners recognise the responsibility they have in ensuring their pet is a positive member of the community and is able to live a happy and healthy life. The event also encourages an open dialogue on dog welfare issues, as well as providing an opportunity for MSs to meet with experts to discuss all aspects of the canine world.

The judging panel – Dr Ed Hayes, Head of Public Affairs at The Kennel Club and Paula Boyden, Veterinary Director at Dogs Trust - spent the morning with dogs from different

political persuasions and ambitions.

Commenting on the reason Coco was selected as the 2024 Senedd Dog of the Year, Dr Ed Hayes said: “Congratulations to Coco and Jack Sargeant MS for being crowned the very first winners of Senedd Dog of the Year! The bond between the pair was clear to see in the ring today.

“There was strong competition from all the competing MSs and their dogs and we’d like to thank all those who took part. Senedd Dog of the Year is a fantastic way to raise awareness of the issues

currently affecting the nation’s dogs.”

Paula Boyden, Veterinary Director at Dogs Trust added: “From our rehoming centres in Cardiff and Bridgend, to our community activities and our outreach services such as Freedom and Together Through Homelessness, our work in Wales is an incredibly important part of the wider Dogs Trust picture. Therefore, it’s only fitting we finally bring the Dog of the Year event to the Senedd as well.

“We’re delighted with the response, from the public as well as the entrants, and are grateful

for this opportunity to highlight responsible dog ownership, meet some lovely dogs and discuss the challenges dog owners are facing. We are already looking forward to the next Senedd Dog of the Year as we build this wonderful tradition.”

Prior to the event, MSs entering the competition campaigned hard, canvassing for votes from the public via an online vote before meeting the expert judges to share their dog’s heroic deeds and acts of devotion. Winner of the ‘pawblic’ vote was announced as Bonnie, a Cocker Spaniel, owned by James Evans, Welsh Conservative Party MS for Brecon and Radnorshire. James Evans MS, winner of the public vote said of their win: “It feels amazing to win the public vote, it’s not just about me and Bonnie, this is really about highlighting dog welfare as well as responsible dog ownership. Hopefully with Jack and Coco winning overall, and me and Bonnie winning the public vote, we can do as much as we can to really highlight dog welfare right across Wales.”

42 Friday May 31st 2024 For up to date news please check our social network channels PROUDLY SPONSORING PETS CORNER P e TS corner Pembrokeshire County Showground, Withybush Road, SA62 4BW Tel: 01437 454663 Moorfield Road, Narberth, SA62 7AB Tel: 01834 860590 DOG FOOD • CAT FOOD • SMALL ANIMAL FOOD • TOYS • ACCESSORIES TREATS • ENRICHMENT PRODUCTS • HELP & ADVICE WE’RE OPEN MONDAY - SATURDAY 9AM - 5PM The Burns celtic knot logo is a registered trademark and this is used under license from Burns Pet Nutrition Ltd.
Friday May 31

Targeted parasitic worm treatment benefits flocks and finances

NEW research, partly funded by Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC), has highlighted that targeted use of parasitic worm treatment for roundworms in ewes is more effective than blanket treatment.

Roundworms are regarded as one of the major global threats to productivity and the welfare of sheep, as well as contributing to significant economic losses within the industry.

They are mainly controlled by drug treatments, but anthelmintic resistance is becoming an increasing problem in the sector.

Aberystwyth University PhD research by Dr Eiry Williams has studied British farmers’ current approach to Gastrointestinal Nematodes (also known as roundworm) in ewes and surveyed 383 sheep

farmers across Great Britain to ascertain current methods used to control infections, specifically in ewes. Studies were then conducted evaluating the effect of utilising targeted selected treatments (TST), compared with blanket treatments, specifically at pre-tupping and lambing time.

Dr Williams explained: “Findings from this research suggest blanket treatment of all ewes can be avoided on sheep farms through the application of a TST strategy based on many different characteristics or a combination of characteristics, such as BCS, weight, dag score, age, breed with the possibility of behaviours being used in the future.

“Application of TST will lead to a reduction in anthelmintic use, likely leading to a decrease in rate of anthelmintic resistance development,

along with maintaining productivity and enhancing economic outputs in the long term.”

Dr Heather McCalman, HCC’s Research, Development and Sustainability Executive commented: “We are pleased to have supported this PhD in a topic which will aid animal health and help farmers develop

new management and decision-making practices which offer long-term financial, environmental and animal welfare benefits.

“As we strive for increased sustainability in the sheep sector, strategic anthelmintic use plays a crucial role in ensuring longevity in their efficacy. This work gives a better

understanding, through robust science, of when, where and how to use management toolswhich will be of benefit to individual farmers and the industry as a whole.”

Dr Williams’ research has recently been published by prestigious scientific journal ‘Animal’ and is available to view here

44 Friday May 31st 2024 For up to date news please check our social network channels F ar MI ng

Review recognises farmer knowledge and food production

HUNDREDS of farmers across nearly 200,000 hectares have informed a scientific review of sustainability metrics, creating benchmarks that demonstrate the benefits farms deliver.

The science protocol for Soil Association Exchange – which provides an environmental impact measurement to any farmer – has undergone a six-month review using two years of in-field experience from the 500 farmers working with the platform.

Led by independent scientists, the revision has nearly doubled the Exchange metrics across six core themes of soil, water, biodiversity, carbon, animal welfare and social impact

The holistic metrics with Exchange cover everything from soil health and habitats to water and nitrogen runoff, and the importance of sustainable food security is also recognised.

The new protocol includes a measurement of food production, and biodiversity is measured where farming practices support wildlife— not just in areas set aside for nature.

These metrics are now being used to create

benchmarks among Exchange farmers, allowing them to assess their performance in areas without an industry—or governmentled baseline. Crucially, this includes soil health and carbon sequestration.

Farmers will be able to see how they are doing compared to all other users and see how factors like enterprise type and geography affect the benchmark.

Soil Association Exchange Chief Executive Joseph Gridley said: “Farmers are on the front line of the battle to produce food and restore wildlife in the face of climate change, so it is essential they are part of the solutions.

“The hands-on knowledge that only farmers hold has been combined with cutting-edge expertise from academics to develop the Exchange sustainability metrics. They recognise the wide range of services farmers deliver and that farm sustainability is about so much more than carbon.

“Not only do farms play the vital role of providing us with food, they also are habitats for wildlife and many act as a social hub. That is why we have almost doubled our sustainability metrics, which are backed by

scientists and farmers and measure everything from soil carbon to food production and community engagement.”

Norfolk farmer Jake Fiennes, Holkham Estate, helped to inform the science review as part of Exchange’s farmer advisory board.

He said: “It is fundamental that farmers and growers understand their impacts on our environments. Baselining and data recording on all their actions can only better inform them to be better food producers. Using the metrics in the new Exchange protocol will not only improve our natural environments and

the impacts that we have on them, but will also make farm businesses more resilient.”

The new science protocol—which is open source—has been designed to provide robust and transparent sustainability data to supply chains.

It aims to better inform decision-making about climate and nature within supply chains and help spark more progressive relationships that incentivize farmers to manage their land and produce food sustainably.

It can also provide evidence to help corporate businesses who work with

farmers with other reporting like the Taskforce on Nature Financial Disclosures (TNFD) and the Science Based Targets initiative.

Efficiency is a key focus across the protocol, and new metrics have been added at farmers’ requests to help them better understand their use of phosphate and nitrogen.

This enables insights to use these resources better, allowing farmers to prevent pollution while potentially saving costs and improving plant growth by retaining these nutrients where they are intended.

Gridley added: “A key thing

we have found and recognised with the Exchange protocol review is that a sustainable business is one that is efficient and thriving. The science proves that food production and nature recovery are not competing aims – but farmers need the right advice and the right data to make them work in harmony. We believe an informed farmer equals a successful one, for nature, climate, and food security.”

The Exchange protocol has also responded to farmer feedback to recognise the unique characteristics of farms by allowing them to see contextual information related to metrics. This includes catchment areas, nitrate vulnerable zones, and historical features, amongst many more—all available as layers on the integrated farm’s maps within Exchange.

Many farmers have been invited to participate through corporate partnerships with companies like Lloyds Bank, Riverford, Marks & Spencer and the Co-op. Exchange can also work with farms or estates on a bespoke plan, or farmers can sign up online for free and start to add their own sustainability data.

45 For up to date news please check our social network channels Friday May 31st 2024

IF you’re a regular reader of this column, you may recall last week that I mentioned that things usually come in three. Well after two announcements from the Senedd (one on the Sustainable Farming Scheme and the other on bovine TB) the third major announcement actually came from Westminster. Not many in his own party knew that the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, was going to announce that a General Election was to be called. But now we all know that the UK General Election will be held on the 4 of July, giving voters the opportunity to cast their vote at the ballot boxes to elect candidates to work on their behalf in the corridors of power at Westminster.

Of course, as some matters are already devolved to the Senedd, candidates in Wales will be aware that many of the most important topics that affect people’s daily lives are decided in Cardiff Bay and not Westminster. However, there will be door knocking, leaflet distributions, radio and TV discussions and local debates for us all to gain a better understanding of all the candidates’ point of view and knowledge.

The FUW General Election Manifesto has been circulating for a few months. We prepared the details in anticipation of the political parties’ spring conferences in Wales. It gave us an opportunity to set our stall, and highlight our ‘key asks’ as a farming union working for the agricultural community and rural Wales.

The need for fair funding is the headline topic. We all know that ensuring a prosperous rural economy means so much more than just supporting individual farming families. Wales’s agricultural economy is the backbone of rural life, and the snowball effect of a thriving rural economy is like a stone skimmed across a calm lake. The ricochet effect is far-reaching. Farming families spend local. We buy goods from local

shops, the agricultural merchant, the seed seller, the local machinery dealership. Fuel for our farming equipment is regularly bought and we use local contractors to support our businesses. Butchers, local village shops and pubs all benefit from the expenditure of farming families.. You might think it’s on a small scale, but producing food for public consumption sees a vast amount of money circulating within the Welsh economy. The old mantra ‘stay local, shop local’ is as strong a message as ever.

And that is the reason the FUW is calling on the next UK Government to allocate at least £450 million per year in a protected ‘legacy EU’ funding pot for agriculture and rural development in Wales. It would not only ensure a steady stream of quality local food production with high standards of animal welfare and all the environmental benefits that comes with that for the public, it would support farm incomes with a fair funding formula also benefiting the wider rural economy in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and England. This money would also increase research in all areas of agriculture and we are calling for the next UK Government to use this data to take a more scientific approach to policy making.

Another key element of our manifesto is to future proof international trade and immigration and provide a level playing field at border control. This would involve abandoning the liberal trade deals that have been struck in the past and negotiating new deals that protect UK markets and food producers rather than chasing cheap headlines in newspapers. We need to forge international trading arrangements that benefit primary producers, i.e. Welsh and UK farmers; that also prioritises negotiations with the European Union to improve the deal signed by the then Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. Balanced customs

checks and tariffs that are properly enforced are crucial to ensure trade equality, together with regular reporting of statistics on imports, inspections and the tariffs that are charged.

It is crucial that the next UK Government recognises and invests in agriculture’s contribution to climate recovery. Farmers already play a large part, and are keen to do more, providing these measures are not detrimental to farm business viability.

Investing in on-farm renewable energy projects would boost green electricity generation and provide a means of farm diversification. To do this, government needs to prioritise grid capacity in rural areas. We also need to recognise food production as a national strategic asset. The use of productive agricultural land to meet alternative or environmental targets results in unfair competition and increases the UK’s reliance on food imports, often from countries with much lower environmental and animal welfare standards.

In addition to the above, the FUW asks for the next Government to: protect our livestock and high welfare standards which is integral to the UK’s food security.

develop disease surveillance networks with EU Member States and protect the UK scanning surveillance budget. continue the Private Members Bill making its way through Parliament to tackle dog worrying livestock so that all dogs be kept on a lead in fields near or adjacent to livestock reform public procurement and supply chain tol bring vast benefits to the economic and food security within the UK

For more info, visit our website, or pop into your local FUW county office for a Welsh or English copy of our manifesto. Enjoy the election frenzy!

Senedd passes slaughterhouse CCTV rules

THE SENEDD has approved new regulations mandating the use of CCTV in all slaughterhouses in Wales.

The Mandatory Use of Closed Circuit Television in Slaughterhouses (Wales) Regulations 2024 will require CCTV cameras to be installed in all slaughterhouses in areas where live animals are unloaded, kept, handled, stunned, and killed.

Most slaughterhouses in Wales already have CCTV. This requirement ensures all are covered, supporting consumer confidence that welfare standards are being delivered.

Requirements to install and operate a CCTV system and keep CCTV footage and information will come into force on 1 June.

This gives the Food Standards Agency a six-month period during which it will work with slaughterhouse operators to ensure they are compliant with the requirements ahead of the Regulations

being enforced on 1 December.

CCTV does not replace direct oversight by slaughterhouse management or official veterinarians; it can help improve the efficiency of monitoring and enforcement activities.

The Cabinet Secretary for Climate Change and Rural Affairs, Huw IrrancaDavies, said: “Animal welfare is a key priority for this Government. We want our farmed animals to have a good quality of life, and we take welfare at slaughterhouses very seriously.

“The slaughterhouse network in Wales provides essential services to farmers, butchers, and consumers. They also provide skilled jobs and support local supply chains.

“Mandatory CCTV for all our slaughterhouses further supports consumer confidence that welfare standards are being delivered.”

A twelve-week public consultation was published on 14 November 2022 and

closed for responses on 6 February 2023. A summary of the responses was published in May 2023.

The consultation received 16,000 responses, and the overwhelming majority agreed that CCTV cameras should be installed in all approved slaughterhouses in Wales.

Andrew RT Davies MS, Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, said: “These regulations are essential for humane treatment throughout an animal’s life.

“The Welsh Conservatives have long campaigned for mandatory use of CCTV in Welsh slaughterhouses, as it ensures transparency and protection for animals.

“It’s now essential that the Welsh Government supports the sector in installing these facilities, especially the smaller abattoirs which have suffered such economic pressure over recent years.”

46 Friday May 31st 2024
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The new BMW 5 Series Touring

The BMW 5 Series Touring, the epitome of driving pleasure, sporty elegance and modern functionality in the premium upper mid-range segment, is entering a new era. The sixth generation of the BMW 5 Series Touring is more progressive than ever, featuring numerous digital innovations, pioneering systems for automated driving and parking, increased sustainability throughout the entire product life cycle and, for the first time, an all-electric drive in the form of the BMW i5 Touring. The new BMW 5 Series Touring is a sophisticated allrounder for everyday driving and touring, offering stylish presence, superior sportiness, versatility and spacious comfort.

The exterior dimensions of the new BMW 5 Series Touring are slightly larger than those of its predecessor, emphasising its dynamically stretched proportions and increasing the amount of space available in both

rows of seats. A flexible drive architecture allows model variants with highly efficient combustion engines, plug-in hybrid systems and purely electric drive systems to be produced on a single production line at the

BMW Group’s Dingolfing plant.

The new BMW 5 Series Touring will be available in four distinct trim levels in the UK, with the Sport Edition, M Sport, M Sport Pro and rangetopping BMW i5 M60

models each providing a compelling offering unique to the segment. As one of the most important sales regions for the new BMW 5 Series Touring, the UK will be one of the first markets to launch the all-electric model in

May 2024, with the plugin hybrid offering coming later in the year.

Priced from £59,455, the first BMW 5 Series Touring customer deliveries in the UK will commence from 25 May 2024.

47 For up to date news please check our social network channels Friday May 31st 2024 FarMIng
T or S

The Audi RS 4 Avant edition 25 years

TO celebrate the 25th anniversary of the RS 4 Avant, Audi is launching a special model, the Audi RS 4 Avant edition 25 years. As the performance flagship, the model boasts enhanced driving dynamics, exclusive interior, and exterior details, and is available in Audi’s iconic Imola Yellow finish. At the same time, Audi is also launching the new RS 5 Sportback Performance Edition, which benefits from the same powertrain upgrades.

In the 1990s, Audi established the idea of the performance estate with the Audi Avant RS2 and Audi S6 plus. However, the first RS model from quattro GmbH (now Audi Sport GmbH) was the 1999 B5-generation RS4* Avant. Compared to the Audi S4, it broke onto the scene with a widened body and a 2.7-litre biturbo six-cylinder engine developed in collaboration with Cosworth, which at the time had an impressive 380PS output. The sportiest version of the first RS 4 generation hit the market in 2001 with the RS4 Sport. Its features included even lower suspension, bucket seats, a sports exhaust, and a suede steering wheel. The RS 4 Avant edition 25 years echoes the memorable design of this vehicle and is itself the sportiest version of the current B9 series.

Engine: Power increase to 470PS output

Developments to the engine and suspension, as well as upgrades to the wheels deliver impressive performance. The 2.9-litre V6 biturbo in the new RS 4 Avant edition 25 years has an output of 470PS and a maximum torque of 600Nm. That is an increase of 20PS compared to the regular RS 4 Avant. As a result, 0-62mph takes just 3.7 seconds, 0.4 seconds faster than the standard version, while the top speed increases to 186mph. Standard RS

ceramic brakes provide uncompromised stopping power and the RS sports exhaust system plus with tailpipes in matt black generates an intense soundtrack.

Suspension: Sharpened for optimal dynamics

The Audi RS 4 Avant edition 25 years comes standard with the RS sports suspension pro, a manually adjustable coilover suspension that ensures a perfect combination of dynamics and comfort. This gives the anniversary model a 10mm lower ride height than the regular RS 4 Avant. Furthermore, customers can manually lower the ride height by an additional 10mm for an overall ride height that is 20mm lower.

The vehicle also comes with the quattro sport differential, which ensures greater agility and more rearward bias for increased driving fun, especially in “dynamic” driving mode. The updated software in the transmission control unit makes for faster shifting times and a noticeably increased spread between the various driving modes.

Exclusively for the Audi RS 4 Avant edition 25 years, the negative

camber on the front axle was increased to two degrees, and stiffer control arms were installed. This results in improved grip and better handling for faster cornering speeds. A fixed subframe on the rear axle provides more precise suspension feedback and better overall performance. This is further enhanced by the improved Torsen differential.

Wheels and tyres: Top performance for all kinds of use

To put all that power on the road, the RS 4 Avant edition 25 years comes standard with the Pirelli P Zero Corsa high-performance tyres designed for the road and the racetrack. The tyres wrap machined 20inch alloy wheels in matt palladium. The forged wheels are weightoptimised and have been visually enhanced by intensive milling.

Customers also receive an additional tyre set, the Pirelli sensorized P Zero Trofeo RS semislick tyres** and Pirelli Track Adrenaline system. The tyres are specifically designed for the racetrack and come on exclusive 20-inch alloy wheels in matt black.

Due to their specific

rubber compound and asymmetrical tread, the Pirelli sensorized P Zero Trofeo RS performance tyres offer exceptional grip in dry conditions, thus increasing stability and lateral grip. The exclusive Track Adrenaline system features sophisticated sensors in the tyres, providing the driver with real-time information about tyre pressure and temperature, a highperformance control unit, and a dedicated phone app, which supports Apple Car Play and Android Auto. Through Pirelli Track Adrenaline, the customer will experience real-time information and recommended actions for optimal tyre management on the racetrack.

Design: A tribute to the RS4 Sport (B5)

To commemorate the colour of the RS4 Sport, today’s edition model is also available in Imola Yellow. Nardo Grey and Mythos Black are also available as exterior colours.

Nardo Grey, solid£115,880 (OTR)

Mythos Black, metallic - £116,555 (OTR)

Imola Yellow, Audi Exclusive - £119,180 (OTR)

A wide range of exclusive design features make the edition

are now also yellow in the edition model. The steering wheel rim, the leather armrests on the doors, the centre console in dark black Alcantara, and the gear gaiter all feature stitching in the same colour. The RS bucket seats with honeycomb stitching and the carbon backrest come with an impressive deep black leather/ Dinamica combination with contrasting yellow stitching. Directly below the headrest is RS 4 lettering in the same colour.

model truly special. For example, the trims on the side windows come in glossy black. For the first time, the edition features a black inlay in the rear lights. The Audi rings and lettering also come in gloss black, and the Matrix LED headlights feature darkened bezels specific to the RS family. The roof rails have been removed to give the vehicle a flatter, sportier silhouette.

Standard equipment includes a B&O 3D Sound System, advanced key, a 360-degree camera, and wireless phone charging.

As a unique highlight, “RS 4 edition 25 years” lettering is engraved in the windows between the C- and D-pillars. The matt carbon appearance package was designed exclusively for this edition. It features the front spoiler lip, front air intake inserts, side skirts, rear diffuser insert and exterior mirror housings in matt carbon.

The interior, with its yellow decorative stitching, is reminiscent of the black/yellow leather Alcantara combination from the 2001 RS4 Sport. For the first time, the floor mats have an RS 4 logo, and the traditionally red Audi Sport rhombus and black RS lettering

Exclusive lettering on the centre console indicates each individual car’s sequential number, from 1 to 250. Only 50 of the anniversary models will come to the UK. Customers who purchase an RS 4 Avant edition 25 years can select a white background for the tachometer and speedometer via the MMI – a tribute to the 1994 Audi Avant RS2, where the analogue dials initially came in white. Launch Control, which fully exploits the acceleration potential of the RS 4 Avant edition 25 years, signals the ideal moment to accelerate off the line with its traffic light icons.

Most powerful Audi RS 5: Performance Edition with 470PS

The RS 5 is also receiving a power upgrade: The V6 biturbo in the new Audi RS 5 Sportback Performance Edition has an output of 470PS and a maximum torque of 600Nm. That is an increase of 20PS compared with the regular RS 5 Sportback. It accelerates from 0-62 mph in 3.7 seconds, which is an improvement of 0.2 seconds. Its top speed is 186 mph. The Audi RS 5 Sportback Performance Edition also comes standard with the RS sports suspension pro with progressive steering and an improved Torsen differential. Only 10 examples of this limitededition model will come to the UK market.

50 Friday May 31st 2024 For up to date news please check our social network channels
51 Friday May 31 2022 72 TOYOTA AYGO 1.0 X PURE AUTOMATIC, 5dr, white, 1 owner, 5k £15,500.00 2022 22 PEUGEOT 208 GT EV 18K, blue 18k £18,000.00 2021 21 PEUGEOT 208 GT EV PREMIUM, 27k, yellow,....................................................... £15,000.00 2021 21 FORD FIESTA 1.0 ST LINE EDITION, 5dr, black, 1 owner, fsh, £15,495.00 2020 70 MINI COOPER S ELECTRIC. 3dr, grey. 19k, 1 owner £13,995.00 2020 20 FORD FIESTA 1.0 TREND, 5dr, blue, 15k ............................................................... £12,995.00 2019 19 FORD KUGA 2.0 ZETEC TDCI 4X4, red, 1 owner £8,995.00 2019 19 PEUGEOT METROPOLIS 399cc 3 wheeler trike 2000 miles £6,450.00 2019 19 CITROEN C3 AIRCROSS 1.5 BLUE Hdi Flair, 19k, ............................................... £11,995.00 2019 19 FORD FOCUS 1.5 TDCI ZETEC, grey, 5dr, 1 owner, service history £7,995.00 2019 19 VAUXHALL INSIGNIA DESIGN 1.6 TD, 5dr, service history, blue £7,995.00 2018 18 VOLKSWAGEN GOLF 2.0 GT TDI 5dr, B/motion, white,1 owner ......................... £11,995.00 2018 18 VAUXHALL ASTRA 1.6 CDTI DESIGN ESTATE, silver, 1 owner £7,995.00 2018 18 CITROEN C3 1.5 HDI black, 5dr £6,450.00 2018 18 PEUGEOT 108 1.2 ALLURE, purple, 46k, £6,795.00 2018 18 CITROEN C3 1.5 HDI black, 5dr £5,995.00 2017 67 PEUGEOT 208 1.6 HDI, 5dr, grey £5,695.00 2017 67 HYUNDAI TUCSON 1.7 CRDi 2wd, grey, 1 owner, 76k, fsh £10,995.00 2017 67 FIAT ABARTH 1.4 AUTOMATIC, blue, 2000 miles, 1 owner, fsh £14,750.00 2017 67 CITROEN C1 1.2 FEEL 5dr, white, £5,595.00 2017 17 PEUGEOT 208 1.5 HDI, 5dr, black £6,750.00 2017 17 TOYOTA AYGO 1.0 EXCITE, yellow, service history £6,995.00 2017 17 FIAT 500 1.2 POP, white, 33k ..................................................................................... £6,995.00 2016 66 FORD FIESTA 1.4 EDGE Tdci 5dr, silver £5,495.00 2015 15 RANGE ROVER SPORT 3.0 AUTOBIOGRAPHY HYBRID, red, £23,500.00 2015 15 VOLKSWAGEN POLO 1.2 TSI SE, 4dr, black, 61k, .................................................. £8,495.00 2015 15 VAUXHALL CORSA 1.2 CDTI, 5dr, silver, £3,995.00 2015 15 CITROEN C1 1.0 AIRSPACE, orange, 5dr, 59k £5,495.00 2013 63 CITROEN C1 1.0 VTR+ white, 5dr, £4,995.00 2013 13 AUDI A1 1.6 SPORT Tdi, black, 3dr £3,995.00 2013 13 VAUXHALL CORSA 1.2 CDTI LTD EDITION, 3dr, red, service history £4,995.00 2011 11 AUDI A1 1.6 TDI S LINE, 3dr, white, 71k £6,495.00 2011 11 VOLKSWAGEN GOLF 1.6 TDI PLUS, silver, 5dr, ..................................................... £3,995.00 2010 60 FORD FIESTA 1.2 EDGE, 3dr, silver, service history £3,995.00 2010 10 FORD FIESTA 1.4 ZETEC TDCI, silver, 5dr, £2,995.00 2004 53 PORSCHE BOXSTER S 3.2 CONVERTIBLE, blue, 54k, s/history ........................... £7,995.00 1999 S BMW Z3 2.8 SPORT CONVERTIBLE, 2dr, silver, genuine low mileage £7,995.00 COMMERCIALS Prices inclusive of 20% VAT 2022 22 HARDLIFE XN 2.3 LWB MINI EXCAVATOR (KUBOTA DIESEL ENGINE) ......... £8,000.00 2019 69 MERCEDES SPRINTER CAR TRANSPORTER 2.1 Cdi, 1 owner, 71k £29,995.00 2019 19 FORD TRANSIT CUSTOM 2.0 Tdi, yellow, 1 owner £12,495.00 2019 19 MERCEDES SPRINTER DROPSIDE Lorry, 2.1 Cdi, 1 owner, £15,000.00 2019 19 VAUXHALL COMBO 1.6 CDTI SPORTIVE white, service history ......................... £8,995.00 2019 19 PEUGEOT PARTNER 1.6 BLUE HDI, white, service history, 71k £9,500.00 2019 19 PEUGEOT PARTNER 1.6 HDI, white £8,350.00 2018 68 FORD TRANSIT 2.0 CUSTOM Tdi, yellow, 74k, 1 owner, £13,500.00 2018 68 FORD TRANSIT CUSTOM 2.0 Tdi, white, 1 owner ................................................ £12,500.00 2018 18 PEUGEOT PARTNER 1.6 HDI, white £7,995.00 2017 67 VAUXHALL COMBO 1.3 CDTI CREW CAB, white, 74K £8,495.00 2017 17 CITROEN RELAY 2.0 HDI, white, 6 rear seats £8,495.00 2017 17 FORD TRANSIT DROPSIDE LORRY LWB, ........................................................... £10,000.00 2017 66 FORD TRANSIT CUSTOM 2.2 TURBO DIESEL, white, 1 owner, 2 rear seats £7,495.00 2016 16 MERCEDES SPRINTER 2.1 Cdi FRIDGE VAN £6,250.00 2014 64 FIAT FIORINO 1.2 DIESEL, blue £3,995.00 2013 63 RENAULT TRAFFIC 2.0 DCI HIGH TOP, white ...................................................... £5,995.00 2013 13 ISUZU TRUCK 5.2 TURBO DIESEL TWIN CAR TRANSPORTER £14,400.00 2012 62 FORD TRANSIT TIPPER 2.0 TDI, white (no vat) £5,000.00 2017/17 JAGUAR F-TYPE 5.0 V8R SUPERCHARGED CONVERTIBLE AUTOMATIC ONLY 7000 MILES, WHITE WITH BLACK ROOF

Charity calls for older people to claim their benefits

AGE CYMRU says claiming benefits such as Attendance Allowance and Pension Credit could help lift thousands of older people in Wales out of poverty.

The charity urges older people and their carers to explore what benefits and entitlements they may claim, as millions of pounds go unclaimed in Wales each year. Last year, Age Cymru helped older people claim more than a quarter of a million pounds worth of Attendance Allowance and £150k in Pension Credit.

Added to a range of other benefits and entitlements, the charity enabled older people to claim nearly £800k in total, worth on average £6,378 for each claimant.

HAge Cymru’s 2024 survey, What Matters to You”, found that nearly half (48%) of the 1300-plus respondents said the cost-of-living crisis prevented them from accessing the activities they would like to do, such as visiting friends and relatives or

attending a club at a local day centre.

Age Cymru’s Information and Advice Manager, Nel Price, says: “It’s deeply frustrating that so many older people in Wales are struggling to pay their bills and are forced to cut back on their social activities when so much money is left unclaimed each year.

“Not being able to afford simple pleasures such as meeting their family and friends can increase people’s sense of loneliness and isolation.

“Attendance Allowance is one of the biggest sources of support that goes unclaimed as many people mistakenly believe that you need to have a carer attending your home to claim it, which is simply not the case.

“Attendance Allowance is a benefit for those aged 66 or over who may need extra help to stay living independently at home.”


Carol had started

to really worry about her future when she contacted Age Cymru Advice in October 2023. Her mobility wasn’t what it used to be.

She lived in a rural property that was unfit for her needs and was situated around two miles from the nearest bus route. Her car was her lifeline, but she wasn’t sure she could afford to keep it running for much longer.

She decided she had to start looking for a new, safer home to rent, a little closer to amenities and public transport.

Not long after she started looking, she realised that the rent was far too high for her.

With the cost of living increasing, she wasn’t sure what the future would hold.

“I was desperate, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I knew my income wouldn’t stretch to cover the rent anywhere else, but I couldn’t continue living where I was. I was worried I would have a nasty fall.”

Carol contacted Age Cymru Advice on the off chance that we may

know of something she could do.

A specialist adviser explored Carol’s benefit entitlements and suggested that she apply for Attendance Allowance.

Age Cymru helped her to understand the eligibility criteria and explained that she could get help with the application forms.

The charity also suggested that she should contact the local authority housing department to sign up for suitable council or housing association properties.

“My sister gets Attendance Allowance, but she’s older than me - she’s 92, and she has carers supporting her. I had no idea that I could be entitled to it as I live alone, and I have nobody attending to me!”

The Age Cymru team followed up with Carol, who confirmed she’s now receiving the lower Attendance Allowance rate. This has had a positive impact on her Pension Credit entitlement, increasing her income by £122 a

week. Carol’s been in touch with Conwy and Denbighshire housing departments and is now on the list awaiting a council property. In the meantime, she knows she can afford to keep her car running and if a suitable property comes up, she’ll be able to afford the rent.

Now that she has a bit more income, she can also get out and about to see her friends.

“It’s such a huge relief. I can look to the future now. I haven’t quite got used to having a little bit extra yet, but I went out to the coffee shop for the first time in a very long time the other day, it was fantastic! I’d recommend anyone who’s in the same situation as I was to call Age Cymru. It’s been life changing for me.”

For more information call 0300 303 44 98 Monday to Friday between 9am and 4pm, email advice@agecymru., or visit www. advice.

52 Friday May 31st 2024 For up to date news please check our social network channels

Life expectancy will fall as obesity increases

academic’s new book explores why present public health approaches to obesity have failed and stand little chance of preventing further increases.

Aimed at the general public, Tackling the Obesity Crisis: Beyond Failed Approaches to Lasting Solutions by David Benton, Professor Emeritus at the School of Psychology, issues stark warnings about the alarming global problem of obesity, which can reduce life expectancy by as much as 14 years.

For forty years, Professor Benton, an internationally recognised expert on diet and behaviour, has researched the relationship between nutrition and brain functioning. His work has been quoted by both the American and United Kingdom governments

when developing health advice, and in the UK, he has given evidence to the House of Commons and House of Lords on the influence of diet on behaviour.

In 2022, the World Health Organization found that 59% of European adults were either overweight or obese, a shocking statistic that looks only

to be getting worse, with more than half the world predicted to be obese by 2035.

In his new book, Professor Benton explains that health policy has failed as no country has significantly reduced the incidence of obesity.

Reducing fat or sugar intake shows little evidence of health

benefits, with some studies reporting increased obesity. No commonly used approach, such as putting calories on menus, has a meaningful effect.

He suggests various reasons for this public health failure.

Professor Benton said: “While there are over a hundred factors

that influence obesity, policies only consider one or, at the most, a few.

“Calorie intake is so much greater than is required that interventions do not adequately reduce consumption. Even when individuals are able to reduce their weight, there are biological changes that

encourage regaining lost weight.”

He concludes that a radically different approach needs to be taken.

Professor Benton said: “There is no obvious solution, but there are several possibilities that could be explored.

“A major factor is poverty, so action directed to this section of society could be key. We know that the way infants are fed in the first years of life determines the likelihood of obesity when adult, and it’s important for a mother to control their weight when pregnant.

“Many existing policies aim to offer a healthy choice, although as too few change their behaviour, attention must concentrate on the individual. They should be empowered by correcting false beliefs and teaching successful approaches.”

53 For up to date news please check our social network channels Friday May 31st 2024

Raising a toast to the power of AI

A GROUNDBREAING North Wales wine merchant harnessed the power of Artificial Intelligence to fuel record sales as it celebrates 10 years in business.

The husband and wife team of Dylan and Llinos Rowlands launched Gwin Dylanwad, based in Dolgellau, in Gwynedd, in 2014 as a followup to their successful restaurant in the town, and a decade later, they are going from strength to strength.

They revealed the secrets of their success at a social media masterclass organised as part of the pioneering Dyfodol Digidol (Digital Future), a Gwynedd Council Project.

The project has received funding from the Gwynedd Shared Prosperity Fund and is available free of charge to any businesses based in the county.

Companies that sign up get three one-toone mentoring sessions from a digital expert and will be able to choose from 30 different training workshops, which will be mainly online.

The aim is to help companies grow and prosper in Gwynedd, creating employment and help to halt the tide

of rural depopulation with young people having to move away to find work.

The scheme is building on the success of a similar project, working with firms in the hospitality, food and drink industries, which helped inspire Gwin Dylanwad but the new version has been expanded to companies working in all sectors.

Llinos, a former teacher, said: “Just running a wine merchant’s in Dolgellau would not be a feasible business model but because we supply restaurants, cafes and hotels across North and Mid Wales it works.

“We have always used the internet as a marketing tool which has enabled us to reach a much wider clientele but since working with Lafan we have expanded our online sales through using social media.

“We have a presence on Facebook, X - formerly Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and even TikTok and the guidance we’ve received from the project has been invaluable.

“Our January sales were up 16 per cent on last year and every month since has shown an increase.

“Because we import

our own wines, a lot of them from Europe, if someone has had one of our bottles and enjoyed it in a restaurant, then they can find it on our website.

“We have a strong presence on social media, and we have learned that if you try to sell your goods there, you won’t get far. However, if you concentrate on brand recognition, that works and will drive people to your website.

“We write a blog, and that is quite a challenge, but AI (Artificial Intelligence) is a big help – I visited a Canadian vineyard last year and asked AI to write five paragraphs on Canadian ice wine, and I added my input, and it worked very well.

“It’s also important to train your staff. We send ours on vineyard visits, and it does cost, but when you listen to them talking to our customers about wine, they really do pay for themselves.

“We are on a journey and I’m happy to help people but we’re also looking for help ourselves and that’s where the project has made a big difference. The mentors know what it’s like to run a small business and that’s important to us.”

“Harnessing the power of the digital platforms can really boost a business in a rural area like Gwynedd.

“Selling online enables a business to be located anywhere, so you don’t necessarily need retail premises in densely populated areas.

“That means businesses can continue to grow and prosper in Gwynedd, creating employment and helping to halt the tide of rural depopulation where previously young people would have to move away to find work.

“Llinos and Dylan are a real inspiration to budding entrepreneurs in rural areas like this.”

They hosted the event at their wellstocked café and wine shop on Porth Marchnad, in Dolgellau. In addition to Llinos and Dylan, Gwin Dylanwad employs three full-time and three part-time staff.

Customers can visit the shop for coffee and cake and taste their range of wines from around the world. Dylan also hosts a regular wine slot on S4C’s Prynhawn Da afternoon show.

Lafan consultant Jamie Hughes, an expert in developing brands and in the use of digital technology for business, said: “We look forward to supporting businesses to grow digitally, closing the gap between where they are and where they want to be.

“The first step is to establish what they need, whether that’s e-marketing, social media, or choosing the right software, websites, e-commerce or accounting system, for example. We provide mentoring sessions, both face-to-face and online.

“E-marketing has the ability to transform the fortunes of a business, and selling online can open up new markets and increase the customer base.

In the audience was Barbara Hope, from Llan Ffestiniog, where she runs a guesthouse while her chef husband, Richard, supplies picnics and afternoon teas to customers, including the Ffestiniog Railway.

She said, “This has been really useful. I used to deliver training myself, and I can see how this project could really help us with what we want to do in the future.”

Also, there was Nia Medi, who runs Medi gift shop in Dolgellau, who said: “I’ve been here for 18 years and launched my website to get me through Covid.

“The price of hosting it has now shot up, and I’m thinking of going through Shopify, but I really need some oneon-one sessions.

“I’m looking for guidance because I’m finding it a bit overwhelming and I’m hoping the help I can get through Lafan will mean it will all click into place.”

Dyfodol Digidol is being developed for Gwynedd Council by Lafan in partnership with Angleseybased innovation centre M-Sparc, website designers Gwe Cambrian, and marketing company Marketshed.

54 Friday May 31st 2024 For up to date news please check our social network channels
SI ne SS

ONS data shows new business successes

ACCORDING to a new study, Torfaen is the best area in the UK to start a business.

MRP software for small manufacturers

MRPeasy analysed data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) on business openings and closures in each UK local authority between 2022 and 2024.

The figures were totalled for each area and ranked based on the highest ratio of openings to closures.

Approximately 724,625 businesses opened in the UK from 2022 to 2024, while 800,165 closed during this time.

On average, for every ten businesses that open nationwide, eleven close down, England is the best nation in the UK to launch a business, with a slightly better ratio of openings to closures (0.912:1), while Northern Ireland ranks as the worst (0.808:1).

Torfaen topped the study as the best area in the UK to launch a business. Between 2022 and 2024, 995 new businesses were established, and just 670 closed. The area has the highest ratio of openings to closures,

with 1.485:1, meaning that, on average, three new businesses open for every two closures.

Torfaen’s ratio is 63.91% higher than the national average and 23.13% more than its closest competitor, the City of London. Q1 of 2023 was the best period for businesses in Torfaen, with 295 businesses opening and 110 closing at an impressive ratio of 2.682:1.

The City of London claimed second spot and ranked as the best place in England to start a business. Over the last two years, 4,280 new companies have opened in the area, a significant increase from the 3,550 closures recorded during the same period. With the ratio of openings to closures at 1.206:1, business owners in the City of London are likelier to succeed than in any

other place in England. Six new businesses are formed in the area for every five business closures recorded.

Between January and March of 2024, 495 businesses launched in the area, while 380 closed, giving the area a higher ratio of 1.303:1 in recent months.

The Isles of Scilly ranked third among the UK’s best business launch areas. Despite

smaller figures than any other area in the study, the Isles of Scilly have the third highest ratio of business openings to closures. Exactly 30 new businesses have opened their doors in the last two years, while 25 have closed, meaning the area ranks slightly behind the City of London with a ratio of 1.2:1.

Five new businesses were established in the region during the first

quarter of 2024, and no existing companies closed.

Wyre Forest, Worcestershire, is the worst area in the UK for starting a business. Closures are more than twice as common compared to openings in the region, at a ratio of 2.215:1.

Mike Lurye, Director of Business Development at MRPeasy, commented on the study: “Despite Torfaen claiming the top spot on the study, England is the best nation in the UK to start a business (0.912:1), having a higher ratio of openings to closures than Scotland (0.887:1), Wales (0.874:1), and Northern Ireland (0.808:1).

“Just 9.39% of all UK local authorities have a higher rate of business openings than business closures in the last two years.

“Two areas of London and three spots in the East of England rank among the 10 best areas to start a business. Meanwhile, Clackmannanshire was Scotland’s highestplaced area in the study, at 21st, and Belfast was top in Northern Ireland, taking 29th spot.”

Provide your views on building a successful future for culture in Wales

THE Welsh Government has today launched a consultation setting out its vision for the culture sector between 2024 and 2030.

The draft Priorities for Culture: 2024-2030 focus on three main priorities: Culture Brings Us Together

A Nation of Culture Culture is Resilient and Sustainable These are supported by twenty ambitions which include culture being accessible to everyone in Wales, building relationships at home and abroad through culture and helping the sector to prosper now and in the future.

The draft priorities apply to the entire culture sector in Wales, from national organisations to grassroots projects, all of which contribute to our rich cultural landscape. The consultation is also relevant to all other public sector organisations who are delivering the Well-being of Future Generations Act’s goal of A Wales of Vibrant Culture and Thriving Welsh Language. Cabinet Secretary for Culture and Social Justice, Lesley Griffiths launched the strategy during a visit to Hijinx in Cardiff, a theatre company specialising in working with learning disabled and/or autistic

artists. Their work aligns with the first ambition in the new draft priorities, which focuses on the importance of removing barriers to cultural participation.

Culture and Social Justice Secretary, Lesley Griffiths said: “Culture is an incredibly powerful tool in bringing us all together, delivering social justice and strengthening our national identity. I am determined the financial challenges we currently face should not restrict our long-term ambitions.

“The draft priorities fully acknowledge these challenges but also looks to the future by setting the direction and articulating how we can harness the

talent, creativity and collaboration we have within our sector. We want to hear people’s views through the consultation to ensure our culture sector has a successful and resilient future.

“It is critically important we offer

a suitable strategic framework for our sector going forward and we are committed to keeping the priorities under regular review.

The consultation period offers a key opportunity for everyone with an interest to provide their opinions and we

will consider every response. I encourage everyone to get involved.”

The Priorities for Culture: 2024-2030 consultation is now open and will close on Wednesday 4 September.

55 For up to date news please check our social network channels Friday May 31st 2024 BuSIneSS

cSRishi Sunak Makes a

THE MOST important weapon an incumbent Prime Minister has in their electoral armoury is choosing when to call a General Election.

The maximum term of a UK Parliament is, more or less, five years.

A Prime Minister can decide to go to the country anytime between the summoning of a new Parliament and within six weeks of the last possible date.


The Prime Minister’s decision on timing is important.

In 1978, James Callaghan had a run of good news. If, as widely forecast, he had called an election in October that year, Margaret Thatcher would be a footnote in political history.

Instead, Callaghan blinked. He assessed that the best Labour could hope for was another minority government or a small majority. After years of trying to cobble together a parliamentary majority with the Lib/Lab Pact and the SNP’s on-again, off-again support, Callaghan decided it was better to wait.

The Winter of Discontent 1978-79 put paid to his hopes of an election.

In the spirit of turkeys voting for Xmas, SNP MPs backed a Conservative noconfidence motion after devolution failed to secure enough the backing of 40% of eligible voters in the March 1, 1979 referendum. As a result, the SNP consigned themselves and Labour to years of impotence and internal strife.


In 1992, John Major waited until almost

the last moment before calling a General Election. He won. However, the Conservatives were swept from power when he tried repeating the trick in 1997.

Wind forward to 2007. After succeeding Tony Blair, rumours were rife that Gordon Brown would seek a fresh mandate from the UK electorate. The Conservatives’ new leader, David Cameron, expected an election. Brown defied the pundits and ran into the global financial crisis of 2008.

Battered and bruised, Brown clung to power until almost the last minute. Against all expectations, he nearly pulled off the trick. However, David Cameron’s cynical “big bold offer” to the Liberal Democrats lured the then-third party into a coalition from which it has yet to recover.

Cameron went to the country in 2015, bound by the Fixed Term Parliaments Act. A cleverly fought campaign gutted the Liberal Democrats and secured Cameron a small majority.

Cameron was gone within a year of his victory after mortgaging the future on an in/ out referendum on EU

membership and losing.


His successor, Theresa May, wary of trying to push through a Brexit deal with a small majority, cut and run to the country a year later. She had every reason to expect success. Labour’s unpopularity was only outstripped by its leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

May’s wooden performances, poor messaging, internal party disputes, and a manifesto pledge on social care that was as popular among older Conservative voters as the clap in a brothel derailed the Conservative campaign.

Instead of the expected large majority, the Conservatives became the largest party but depended on the DUP to pass its legislative programme, including Brexit.

The result was two years of hopeless stagnation in the House of Commons. Mrs May ended up in office but not in power, at the mercy of headbangers on her backbenches, seduced by their rhetoric and neuroses.

Labour was a shambles. The car crash on the government benches only underlined

special advisors.

Within months of winning the election, Johnson’s idleness and lack of attention to detail caused chaos at the outbreak of the Covid pandemic.

Covid showed Johnson at his conniving and vacuous worst. Never convinced the rules applied to him, he and his staff partied in Downing Street as thousands died alone in hospitals and care homes. He’d burned through a lot of political capital by the time he lied to his Cabinet and was found out in the most foolish way possible.

Corbyn’s uselessness as opposition leader.

Fatally seduced by the prospect of repeating the June 2017 result and convinced that social media blowhards represented the country as a whole, Labour, the SNP, and the Liberals agreed to a 2019 General Election.

Labour was annihilated.

The voters didn’t trust Jeremy Corbyn. The working classes, fed up with being taken for granted by middle-class metropolitan political activists, voted in droves for the Boris Johnsonled Conservatives.


That Boris Johnson was a proven serial liar, no more competent than a chocolate teapot and as reliable as the British weather, meant nothing to an electorate fed up with Brexit’s psychodrama and parliamentary chaos.

Any government led by a clueless narcissist with the morals of an alley cat was bound to struggle to reconcile its leader’s magical thinking with political reality.

Even during his postelection honeymoon, Boris Johnson lost his Chancellor, Sajid Javid, in a turf war between

A ministerial revolt drove him from office. Johnson’s revenge was Liz Truss.

A Prime Minister has never been so obviously unsuited to high office in modern British political history. A communicator of rare ineptitude with the political nous of a stunned herring, Liz Truss embodied everything wrong with the Conservative Party’s drift away from reality and into the quicksand of ideology.

Forty-odd days after entering Number Ten, Liz Truss was on her way out of it.

But not before trashing the Conservative Party’s reputation for economic competence.


Enter Rishi Sunak. It was time for competence to have a turn. Or so the Conservatives might have hoped.

Unused to failure and unaccustomed to challenge, Dishy Rishi soon became the Tetchy Tich.

Napoleon supposedly asked whether his generals were lucky. On that count, Rishi Sunak would never have been one of them.

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Things can only get wetter: A disastrous launch

Blundering Start to GE24

Dogged by the hangovers of Liz Truss’s disastrous tenure and the scandals that engulfed Boris Johnson, Mr Sunak started on the backfoot and stayed there.

There were a few bright spots, but they flickered and died against a background of economic misery.

The cost-of-living crisis defined Mr Sunak’s tenure as PM. He flitted between policy ideas so that even the most sensible move, ditching HS2 on the grounds of cost, was ineffectively and poorly communicated.

After austerity came Brexit, chaos, Covid, and the cost-of-living crisis. To a greater or lesser extent, the Conservatives carry the can for mishandling those crises.

External factors have a hand, but the Conservatives’ worst wounds are selfinflicted.

There have been more prime ministers in the last eight years than in the preceding thirty-seven. The parliamentary Conservative Party has been the most effective opposition to Conservative governments.


By going to the country now, Mr Sunak seeks to capitalise on a few positive indicators. Inflation is falling, and the economy is growing. However, those factors are likely to be of little help to Rishi Sunak. After all, his most compelling sales pitch is, “Look how I’ve made progress tackling the problems my party caused”.

As if that weren’t bad enough, the Prime Minister’s handling of his decision to call a General Election is an object lesson in catastrophic misjudgement. Forget the weather. The PM can’t control that.

Instead, reflect on this: the Prime Minister did not tell his Cabinet his decision until after meeting with the King. He did not trust his ministers.

He did not trust his MPs.

He did not prepare his Party machine.

Trust is mutual and reciprocated.

If Mr Sunak didn’t trust ministers, MPs, and Conservative Party staff, the obvious question is why should voters.

And if Mr Sunak’s ministers, MPs, and the Conservative Party don’t have his trust, the next question is how

much trust each of those have in him.

Let’s parse one announcement.


Mr Sunak’s big idea is National Service. Setting aside the pros and cons of such a policy, you don’t have to look very far into the past to find a Conservative minister-presumably briefed by his party’s government- rejecting the idea.

Mr Sunak announced his National Service plans on May 26.

Go back to Thursday, May 24, a day after the election was called.

Defence personnel minister Andrew Murrison told MPs: “If potentially unwilling national service recruits were to be obliged to serve alongside the professional men and women of our armed forces, it could damage morale, recruitment and retention and would consume professional military and naval resources.”

Mr Murrison continued: “If, on the other hand, national service recruits were kept in separate units, it would be difficult to find a proper and meaningful role for them, potentially harming motivation and discipline.”

The disconnection

between Mr Sunak’s policy in government and his attempt to grab the headlines at his campaign’s start could not be starker.

It smacks of policy made on the hoof or, worse, cooked up in a backroom with Special Advisors without political buy-in from his side.

The funding details are even worse.

Mr Sunak says he will clamp down on tax avoidance schemes to raise £1.3 billion to bankroll his big idea.

One question arises: why hasn’t it been clamped down already? Mr Sunak was Chancellor before becoming PM. If he knew that amount of tax was being dodged, he did nothing about it.

The rest of the money will come from a raid on the Levelling Up Fund. Robbing Peter to pay Paul, specifically moving resources out of economically disadvantaged areas, is not a good look for

any politician. For a Conservative PM, it’s potentially lethal.

Moving teenagers into unpaid community service—with no exemption or compensation for those in work—or dumping them on an unwilling, underfunded, and unprepared armed forces might appeal to the postwar generation, but it is unlikely to get much traction elsewhere.

One minister said parents might be penalised if their eighteen-yearold children do not participate. That’s legal nonsense. Whoever came up with that idea needs a swift refresher on the law with a rubber hose in a darkened room.


So far, Mr Sunak has launched his campaign in a downpour. His first photo opportunity was in Belfast at the Titanic

Exhibition. He asked Welsh workers if they were looking forward to following the Euros. He’s managed to get photographed next to an Exit sign. He appeared at an event in which party activists replaced workers in hi-vis jackets. One of his former colleagues endorsed the Reform candidate in their constituency. Not enough candidates have been selected for all seats, and MPs continue to stand down. Luck is indefinable, but Prime Ministers can make their own.

The question is not how much worse things can get for Mr Sunak. After the last few days, the answer is “not much.”

If he continues campaigning in a presidential style, detached from his party and former colleagues, making ad hoc announcements without consultation, he could still make things much worse for the Conservatives.

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Needing more than a lifejacket: Sunak visits Titanic dock Failed to brief Cabinet: PM sought Commons dissolution before telling colleagues


coming, here are some Liberal Democrat policies and how they relate to Pembrokeshire.

The cost of living crisis has hit Pembrokeshire hard, with child poverty rates among the highest in Wales. We need quality local jobs that offer fair wages to help families get by. The UK Government needs to take the lead in boosting support for offshore wind and green hydrogen industries off our coastline, creating skilled sustainable employment for our region.

We also need better trading links with our European neighbours which will provide more jobs, boost trading opportunities and tourism and help our farmers. We need to take down the barriers to trade arising from the hard Brexit which the UK Conservative Government negotiated.

Residents across Pembrokeshire are frustrated with long waits to access healthcare under the Labour-led system, whether seeing a GP, finding an NHS dentist,orgettinghospital

everyone the right to see their GP within seven days, or within 24 hours if they urgently need to. Funding would be available to achieve this in Wales (which the Welsh Labour Government controls) and I want similar targets here.

As a Pembrokeshire County Councillor, I am very aware of the crisis affecting social care. Many are waiting for care, and many are stranded in hospital beds due to the lack of space in care homes. UK wide, we want to ensure that no one has to sell their home to pay for care by introducing free personal care (based on the model introduced by the Lib Dems in government in Scotland in 2002). We will provide the Welsh Government with funding for this, as well as a Carer’s Minimum Wage, an increase in the Carer’s Allowance and a statutory guarantee of regular respite breaks for unpaid carers.

There have been reductions in school budgets across the county, due to the austerity measures imposed by the UK and Welsh Governments. We will provide UK wide increases in school and college funding per pupil above the rate of inflation and we will provide the funding for these in Wales.

Calls for free public transport for young people

PLANNING for a free public transport scheme for young people should start immediately, a Senedd Committee says.

The Senedd’s Petitions Committee claims that doing so would benefit the environment and create a generation less reliant on cars.

The Senedd’s Petition Committee has called on the Welsh Government to work with the transport industry to begin discussions on how the scheme would work.

I am a governor at three schools in Pembrokeshire: Greenhill, Tenby VC and Stepaside Schools. I know how hard working and dedicate our school staff are and want and believe our schools can perform to the highest standard.

If you wish to discuss these issues, please contact me at Facebook: AlistairCameronPembs

Twitter: AlistairPembs


Sparked by a petition and public campaign and drawing on the work of the Welsh Youth Parliament, the Committee’s report concludes that the ambition is feasible and would positively affect society and the environment.

Last year, research by the Child Poverty Action Group found that the minimum annual transport cost for sending a child to secondary school was nearly £500.

The Committee’s report argues that free

transport for young people would help alleviate child poverty and the cost-of-living pressures families across Wales face.

In addition to taking evidence from transport experts, the Committee spoke to Welsh Youth Parliament Members and referenced their report ‘Sustainable Ways’, which investigated the issue last year.

Almost 75% of over a thousand young people surveyed said they would take public transport more often if it were free.

Speaking to the Committee as a Member of the Welsh Youth Parliament, Ffion Fairclough said, “If public transport is considered inconvenient, either because of reliability or price, then people will choose to use the car instead.

“More should be invested in public transport to increase the number of people using it, and part of this investment should be a free service for people under 25.

“If a scheme like

this were introduced, younger people would not only benefit socially, but it would also open up more work opportunities.

“The minimum wage for apprentices or those aged 16-17 is only £6.40 per hour, while a return journey from Pontypridd to Cardiff is nearly £9.”

In her most recent annual report, the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, Rocio Cifuentes, calls for free public transport for young people. Her call echoes a similar one from the thenFuture Generations Commissioner for Wales, Sophie Howe, in November 2022.

The Committee looked closely at a similar, highly successful scheme in Scotland. Since its inception two years ago, it has provided over 100 million free bus journeys to people under 22, which could serve as a blueprint for Wales.

The Welsh government’s current financial pressures are acknowledged, but

the report argues that preparation work for the policy should still be done.

Jack Sargeant MS, Chair of the Petitions Committee, said, “Free public transport for young people has the potential to be a transformative policy that would alleviate the cost of living for families, support our climate ambitions and help the bus sector’s recovery post-pandemic.

“Members of the Welsh Youth Parliament spoke to us passionately about the challenges young people face when using public transport. Experts across many sectors all agreed on the benefits this scheme could bring.

“This policy is an investment in our youth, an investment in a greener future, and a step towards reducing our reliance on cars.

“Finances are tight at the moment, but it’s time for the Welsh Government to take decisive action towards making public transport accessible for all young people in Wales.”

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Gething Media Silence at Labour Launch

WHEN it comes to a dose of foot-in-mouth, the Conservatives are not alone.

On Friday, Labour launched its campaign in Wales.

The press notice issued before the event showed First Minister Vaughan Gething, Shadow Welsh Secretary Jo Stevens MP, and an unnamed senior member of the Shadow Cabinet as attending.

The note said there would be a short media round after the launch.

However, after speaking to around thirty party members, Mr Gething was unavailable for interviews.

Labour claimed there would be plenty of chances to interview Mr Gething during the campaign. Still, Mr Gething’s unavailability starkly contrasts his predecessors’ active participation in media rounds from the start of the election campaign.

Anyone would think Labour wanted to keep the First Minister as far away from media scrutiny as possible.

The problem is twofold. If Mr Gething does not appear, it will be taken as a sign that Labour does not want a controversial figure near cameras and microphones. However, each occasion that Mr Gething appears and is unavailable for an interview adds to the impression that his Party see him as a liability.

Mr Gething’s lessthan-adroit handling of this encounter suggests he is wise to keep silent, vote winning with Vaughan Gething.

A second and more compelling issue for Labour is that its core message is that it’s time for a change.

Labour has been the devolved government in Wales for twenty-five years. Saying that it’s time for change focuses attention on the static nature of Welsh politics.

When Labour campaigns on the NHS in England and makes big pledges on UK media to halve waiting lists there, it draws attention to the

Welsh Government’s dismal performance in the NHS in Wales.

The peak of Labour’s early inanity in Wales was hit on May 28, when Wales’s Cabinet Secretary for Health, Baroness Eluned Morgan, was photographed holding a sign pledging that Labour would “Modernise our NHS”, Eluned Morgan Irony. There are three ways to address Eluned Morgan’s placard. Labour in Wales thinks Welsh people are

so stupid they will forget who has run the Welsh NHS for the last quarter of a century, or Baroness Morgan does not know who is responsible for running it, or she has no sense of irony. Whichever of those propositions is true, and all three may be in play, it’s politically tonedeaf.

A fourth proposition also comes into play: that Labour is so complacent about racking up seats in Wales that the Party thinks it can say anything

The image of Rishi Sunak announcing a general election outside 10 Downing Street in the rain last week made for a very sorry sight. But in many ways, it marked a fitting end to 14 years of Tory UK governments that have delivered little but misery for Wales. The austerity championed by David Cameron has hollowed out our public services. The hard Brexit pursued first by Theresa May and then by Boris Johnson has stifled international trade and damaged all sectors of our economy. And the road to recovery from Liz Truss’ economically disastrous (if comically short) tenure as Prime Minister continues to be long and arduous. There is little doubt that we need a change, and the general assumption is that Keir Starmer will be left holding the keys to Number 10 on the morning of 5 July. There is a risk though this will not bring with it the kind of change that Wales needs. Indeed, in many ways, Labour is simply promising more of the same.

our communities really benefit from our wealth in natural resources.

and get away with it. That has worked in Wales since the first elections to the then-Welsh Assembly, so it is probably close to the truth.

Labour in Wales cannot pretend the actions of Labour in government in Wales will have no impact on its General Election campaign.

Videos like this, from Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice Cymru, Magic Gething Video highlight the problems.

They have ruled out lifting the two child benefit cap that is condemning so many of our children in poverty. We have seen no commitment to delivering the billions owed to Wales from HS2, or to devolving the powers over the Crown Estate that we need to ensure that

Over 25 years in Government in Wales, Labour has shown that it lacks real ambition for our people and communities. Under the watch of the current Labour Welsh Government, our economy has remained stagnant, our health service is in crisis, arts and culture have been undervalued, public transport has deteriorated and our rural communities, in particular, have been neglected. And none of this is even to mention the disrepute into which that Government has been brought by the scandal surrounding Vaughan Gething’s dodgy donations. We need as many Plaid Cymru MPs as possible elected on 4 July to make sure that the next UK Government (of whatever stripe – red or blue) is not able simply to take Wales for granted, and to hold its feet to the fire on delivering the fair funding and further devolution we need. Plaid Cymru MPs are Wales’ voice in Westminster, not Westminster’s voice in Wales. And our message of real fairness and ambition for Wales is already resonating. I am looking forward, over the next six weeks, to taking it to doorsteps right across Mid and West Wales.

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death notices




LIDBURY Joseph Glanmore

The family of the late Joseph Glanmore Lidbury would like to thank everyone who sent flowers and cards. Special thank you to the funeral directors W&MJ Rossiter & Sons who carried out the funeral arrangements with dignity and compassion. Also thank you to Minister Chris Rees who conducted the funeral service. Thank you also to Anne and John, The Buffs Club Narberth. Thanks to everyone else who paid their respects.




CARTY Maria Patricia (Pat) Peacefully on Friday 17th May at Withybush Hospital, Pat of Goodwick. Beloved wife of the late Barty, loving mother of Michael & Geraldine, Paula & Gary and a much loved grandmother of Robert, Sophie & Luke. Mrs Carty will be received into the Church of the Holy Name on Wednesday, 5th June at 5pm prior to a funeral Mass on Thursday at 11am followed by cremation at Parc Gwyn, Narberth at 1pm. No flowers by request. Donations in lieu if desired, made payable to the ‘Paul Sartori Foundation’ c/o Paul Jenkins & Sons Funeral Directors, Feidr Castell, Fishguard, SA65 9BB. Tel: 01348 873250.




Anthony James “Tony” Haverfordwest Tony formerly of Lindsway Park, Haverfordwest passed away peacefully at Withybush Hospital, Haverfordwest on Saturday 11th May 2024 aged 86 years. Dearly loved he will be sadly missed by his devoted family and many friends. The funeral service will take place on Friday 7th June at 2pm at St. David’s Church, Prendergast followed by interment at Prendergast Cemetery. All enquiries to Tom Newing & Sons Ltd., Funeral Directors, Milford Haven. Telephone 01646 693180


WILKES Timothy James Pembroke The death occurred peacefully on Tuesday 21st May 2024 at Glangwili Hospital of Mr. Timothy James Wilks affectionately known as ‘Tim’ aged 78 years of Lower Lamphey Road, Pembroke. Dearly beloved Son of the late John and Kathleen Wilks. Devoted husband of the late Susan Wilks, father and father-inlaw to Anna, Sophie, Tony and James, and Pappy to Kit, Esme and Gracie, Brother and brother-in-law to Richard, Angela and Veronica ‘Sleep peacefully Da’, Anna and Sophie ‘Sleep

in peace brother’, Richard and Veronica in Australia ‘Rest in peace Timothy’, your sister Angela A private funeral service held at Parc Gwyn Crematorium, Narberth. Should you wish to make a donation in memory of Tim, we ask that you consider The British Heart Foundation www. The funeral arrangements are being carried out by E.C. Thomas & Son Funeral Directors, Zoar Chapel Funeral Home, Llanteg, Narberth SA67 8QH (01834) 831876 & 21, Main Street, Pembroke SA71 4JS (01646) 682680


(A LE x) H


HART Alexander (Alex) Formerly of Pembroke, died on 11 May in Stow Park Nursing Home, Newport. He will be greatly missed by all his family and friends. Funeral on 14 June 3pm at Sirhowy Crematorium, Newport. Family flowers only.


THOMAS Henry Peacefully on Saturday 18th May at Withybush Hospital, Henry of Abereiddy. Beloved husband of Lena, loving father of Nigel & Sian and a much loved grandfather of Megan. Funeral service on Monday 3rd June at Berea Chapel at 2pm followed by interment at the Chapel cemetery. Family flowers only. Donations in lieu if desired, made payable to ‘Cancer Research UK’ c/o Paul Jenkins & Sons Funeral Directors, Feidr

Castell, Fishguard, SA65 9BB. Tel: 01348 873250.


PRITCHARD Gordon Eric PEMBROKE The death occurred peacefully at Fairfields Nursing Home, Johnston on Saturday 18th May of Mr. Gordon Eric Pritchard, aged 98 years of Freemans Walk, Pembroke. Devoted Husband of the late Vera. Dearly loved Dad of Lynne and Andrew. Cherished Grandad of James, Alex, Jessica and Lucy. Treasured Great Grandad of Kaito and Riley. Funeral service will take place on Monday 3rd June at Parc Gwyn Crematorium, Narberth at 1.00pm. There will be family flowers only, with donations, if so desired for Cancer Research UK c/o E.C. Thomas & Son Funeral Directors, 21, Main Street, Pembroke SA71 4JS (01646) 682680 & Zoar Chapel Funeral Home, Llanteg, Narberth SA67 8QH (01834) 831876 or via www.ecthomasandson.


ALLEN Bill Captain William James Allen, Bill 21/11/1928 14/05/2024: 95 years Bill joined the Merchant Navy as an apprentice, serving initially on RRS Discovery stationed on the Thames. However, due to the shortage of officers he was fast tracked to 3rd Mate with the Clan line. He did not exploit the opportunity offered by the War office to change

to the Royal Navy.After the Clan Line he signed with the British Tanker Company and sailed the Atlantic Convoys. After the War Bill gained his Masters “ticket” and sailed across the globe, although he realised that “life at sea” wasn’t conducive to his family life. After he married Anne in June 1956, he was in search of a second career. There was a brief opportunity with the UK Atomic Energy Authority at Capenhurst , but unfortunately with the absence of a School Certificate (having been evacuated to North Wales, Bill did not learn Welsh) this wasn’t to be, so he enrolled as a Public Health Inspector at Liverpool School of Health. On qualification, Bill had a number of appointments including Meat Inspector and Rat Catcher with the Liverpool Corporation, then to Boston as a Public Health Inspector. When the position of Chief Port Health Inspector came up in the Port of Milford, he grabbed the opportunity and was appointed in 1962. Over the years he developed the Port Health from a “one man band “ to a staff of 10 with a dedicated Ambulance Launch, retiring in 1993. Unfortunately, the plans he and Anne had made for their retirement never came to fruition when he lost Anne a year later to pancreatic cancer. Bill had many friends in Pembrokeshire and was an active member of the

Welsh Livery Guild, later the Worshipful Livery Company of Wales. In 2010 he decided that the hills in Milford Haven were too much and moved to stay with his eldest daughter Kim in Cudham, Kent, where he spent many a day undertaking rope work on HQS Wellington, then the floating Livery Hall of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners, of which he was a Liveryman and thus a Freeman of the City of London. He enjoyed livery events with both livery companies, especially the curry lunches on the Wellington, and the formal celebrations of new Masters. He was always recognisable as he insisted on wearing his kilt and brandishing his Sgian-dubh to “protect” the “loving cup” drinker in the ceremony. In 2018 becoming frailer he headed up to Bridge of Earn, Perth to his youngest daughter, Jôe who later became his carer. On 14th of May 2024 Bill’s final watch was over and his 8th bell chimed. He has joined his beloved Anne again. He was blessed with 3 daughters, one son and 13 grandchildren. The funeral for family and close friends will take place at St John the Baptist Catholic Church, Perth, Scotland and later at the Perth Crematorium. Donations in lieu of flowers to The Wellington Trust https://

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61 NEWS For up to date news please check our social network channels good Food guIde 01646 681 369 REGULAR, RELIABLE AND FLEXIBLE DELIVERIES greaT PlaceS To eaT ouT In PeMBrokeSHIre




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Play is proven to be essential to children’s wellbeing, learning and development, teaching critical life skills. It is a fundamental part of childhood in the UK –and research shows that the average child spends around three hours each day engaging in play. However, it’s a very different story for countless children around the world, who do not have the opportunity to play and are deprived of this basic right. Many vulnerable children are unable to express normal behaviours and reach their potential due to the impact of poverty, conflict, child labour and other severe challenges.

That’s why we’re thrilled that the first-ever

International Day of Play will be held on 11 June this year. Recently adopted by the UN, this annual day dedicated to play will highlight the vital importance of play for children and help ensure that no child is denied this right.

At Right To Play, we use the power of play to transform the lives of millions of children every year in some of the most difficult places on earth. Through play, we are protecting, educating and empowering children, helping them to overcome the challenges they face and thrive.

Find out more about the enormous benefits of play and how you can support our life-changing work on International Day of Play, by visiting



I am writing to express my thoughts on the suggestion of Religion, a topic that often stirs contemplation and debate. As humans, when we ponder our existence within the vast universe, it’s natural to consider whether there’s a grand design guiding our lives—a notion that resonates with many.

many of us perceive a design in the universe, leading us to believe in a Creator.

It seems absurd to imagine multiple creators behind this grand scheme. Instead, it’s reasonable to conclude that names like Jehovah, God, and Allah represent different interpretations of the same Creator—a concept even a child can grasp. Therefore, it follows that no adherent of these beliefs should harbor hostility towards others who worship under a different name.

To Play UK

Consider the simple analogy I often use: imagine a child observing a painting and recognizing the deliberate strokes and colors, intuitively understanding that someone must have created it with a purpose in mind. Similarly,

However, it’s disheartening to witness how adults, despite acknowledging the unity of their faith’s origins, succumb to the divisive nature of human ego. Rather than embracing our shared reverence for a higher power, we

fracture our religions into sects, each claiming superiority. Surely, if there is a Creator, they understand the complexity of the human mind and the tendency towards discord. Yet, any divine design surely forbids the hatred and animosity that arise from these divisions. Instead, it calls for justice and compassion for all, regardless of faith, condemning the hypocrisy that allows savagery in its name. In our pursuit of understanding and connection with the divine, let us remember the fundamental principles that bind us—love, empathy, and the quest for truth. Only then can we hope to honor the essence of any true divine design.

C. N. Westerman

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Wales vs. South Africa will be broadcast on S4C

WALES’ upcoming encounter with South Africa next month has been confirmed to be aired live for free on S4C, the broadcasting network. Warren Gatland’s team will face off against the reigning world champions at Twickenham on June 22, followed by two Test matches in Australia on July 6 and July 13. S4C has exclusively secured coverage rights for the showdown with the Springboks, with highlights of the two Australia matches also scheduled for broadcast on the channel.

Furthermore, S4C will present live coverage of Wales Women’s crucial match against Spain on June 29, as Ioan Cunningham’s squad aims to secure qualification for the WXV2 tournament in South Africa later this year.

The coverage of the South Africa fixture, available on S4C, S4C Clic, and BBC iPlayer, will be led by Sarra Elgan, while Lauren Jenkins will host the highlights of the Australia tests. Providing commentary for all three matches are Gareth Charles, former Wales captain Gwyn Jones, and

former Wales Women’s star Sioned Harries.

“I’ve never been to Australia for a rugby series before and I’m looking forward to bringing all the excitement from the series to viewers at home,” remarked Jenkins. “There will be plenty of excitement from the Wallabies’ point of view now that one of the game’s best minds, Joe Schmidt, is at the helm.

“Although Gatland has beaten Australia in two World Cups in a row and enjoyed success there with the Lions, I predict that this will be one of his biggest challenges

against his old enemy. But what an opportunity for some of the young Welsh players to establish themselves as part of the team’s new age.”

Meanwhile, Charles expressed, “It was great to see crowds flocking to watch the women’s 6 Nations matches recently, and Ioan Cunningham’s squad will be hoping to build on this momentum when they face Spain in their next challenge. I’m looking forward to the Wales’ summer series, especially after a terrible 6 Nations campaign for the men’s

team. It will be a strange experience playing at Twickenham in a home game for South Africa, knowing that so many Springboks supporters live in London, and it will be a major test against the world champions.

“The Wales performance against Australia at the World Cup was the best performance by Wales under Warren Gatland’s second tenure,” he added. “But with Joe Schmidt now coaching the Wallabies, it should be interesting to see where both countries are at now.”

Wales star turns down big-money offers from England

RISING Welsh star

Mason Grady has turned down lucrative offers from several English clubs to sign a new contract with Cardiff.

Grady, one of Welsh rugby’s most promising talents, attracted interest from Bath, Saracens, Exeter Chiefs, and Sale Sharks. However, he has chosen to stay in Wales, a decision that greatly benefits Warren Gatland. Had Grady moved to England, Gatland would have lost the services of the 11-cap centre due to the controversial 25-cap rule.

Since making his professional debut in 2021, Grady has been a standout performer for Cardiff, amassing 42 appearances and scoring 10 tries for the Blues & Blacks.

“I’m really happy to commit my future to Cardiff,” said the 6ft 5in, 111kg flyer. “This is my home club and I have many good friends here, who have come through the pathway together. We are a young and exciting group of players developing at the club, and we have shown glimpses of our potential this season, despite the

results not always going our way.

“I am eager to see how we can develop and grow as a group, and I am really enjoying the environment and playing style under Matt Sherratt. On a personal level, I believe this is the best place for my own development.

“I have learnt so much in such a short space of time from the coaches and more experienced players here, and I’m now looking forward to taking my game to the next level in Blue and Black.”

Equally adept at

centre or on the wing, Grady has established himself as one of the most potent and physical attacking players in the game. His rapid development at the Arms Park has been impressive, and head coach Matt Sherratt believes there is more to come from the 22-yearold.

“Keeping Mason was really important for us as a club,” said Sherratt. “As I have said previously, retaining our young and exciting talent is essential, and we want to build around this core group. Mason

is a key member of this group and has all the raw ingredients to become a world-class player.

“You simply cannot coach the size, power, and speed he naturally possesses. But he has also developed his game significantly this season, particularly in the centre, working hard with players like Rey Lee-Lo and Josh Adams to do so.

“I am looking forward to seeing how far Mason can go in a Cardiff shirt. The challenge for us is to get him more involved in the game in the right areas.”

68 Friday May 31st 2024 For up to date news please check our social network channels

Cymru international friendlies

Dan James will emerge stronger

ROB Page believes Daniel James will emerge as a stronger player for both club and country after his missed penalty ended Cymru’s hopes of reaching Euro 2024.

Cymru will miss out on this summer’s tournament after Poland secured a place by defeating them in the play-off final in March. This month, Page’s team will regroup for friendlies against Gibraltar on 6 June and Slovakia three days later.

James, the Leeds United forward, was the sole player to miss

in the penalty shootout against Poland. Despite not registering a shot on target in 120 minutes, Poland advanced to the finals. Page praised the 26-year-old for his reaction following the crucial penalty save by Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.

“I have had a couple of messages back and forth with him – he is an incredible person first and foremost,”

Page said. “He had the courage to step up and take that penalty, which he deserves an enormous amount of credit for anyway,

and he will be bigger and stronger having gone through that experience, as horrible as it was for all of us.

“Credit to him, he went and scored [for Leeds] the week after from the halfway line.”

James’ spectacular goal against Hull City was one of 13 he has scored in 45 Leeds appearances this season. His final club assignment of the campaign is Sunday’s Championship playoff final against Southampton.

Page will name his squad for the Gibraltar and Slovakia friendlies

at the end of this month. He emphasised that the former Manchester United player will play a crucial role as Cymru shift their focus to the next Nations League campaign, starting with a home fixture against Turkey on Friday, 6 September.

“No doubt DJ (James) will be a big part of what we are going to do moving forward and no doubt will score important goals for us,” Page said. “We have all got his back, we are all with him. It happens and that’s it, we have to move forward.”

Koumas call-up

L IVERPOOL ’ S rising star, Lewis Koumas, is poised for a senior Cymru callup. The 18-year-old forward is expected to be included in Rob Page’s squad for the friendlies against Gibraltar on 6 June and Slovakia three days later.

Koumas, the son of former Wales midfielder Jason Koumas, marked his Cymru Under-21 debut with the winning goal in a 2-1 victory over Lithuania in March. After a breakthrough season at Anfield, he is now set for a swift elevation to the senior squad for the June fixtures.

WEST Ham United are reportedly now leading the race to sign Cymru midfielder Jordan James.

James is expected to leave St Andrew’s following Birmingham City’s relegation from the Championship. He has previously attracted interest from Atalanta, Fiorentina, Crystal Palace, and Wolves.

According to journalist Alan Nixon, the Hammers are now leading the chase for the 19-year-old, who has earned 10 caps for his country since making his international debut away to Croatia in March last year.

New West Ham boss Julen Lopetegui is believed to be particularly keen on James, having

“How can I ignore it when he has done what he has done for Liverpool in the first team?” Page said. “It would be foolish for me to ignore it. I have to use this little window we have to see him work and to see him train.

“I think it’s a nobrainer for me to expose some of the young ones now to the environment, to how we train, to how we work and get us ready for the Nations League in September and beyond that, then the World Cup qualifiers.”

Page is keen to use these matches to provide international experience to some of Cymrus’ emerging talent.

West Ham United eye up Cymru’s rising star Jordan James

shown interest in him while managing at Molineux. However, Nixon suggests that Lopetegui could face competition from Championship winners Leicester City, who are looking to build a squad capable of competing in the Premier League.

Cymru boss Rob Page has already tipped James to reach the very top, and it seems likely that he will

move on this summer.

“I think he has proven at top international level, against top midfielders in Croatia, to name one team, that he is more than capable of playing at that level as a number six,” Page said earlier this week. “I know there is definitely interest. I would not be surprised if he is gone. We will have to wait and see.

69 For up to date news please check our social network channels Friday May 24th 2024 SPorT

THE 10TH EDITION of mountain biking’s toughest downhill race, Red Bull Hardline, returns to the iconic Dyfi Valley in Wales this weekend.

This year’s event promises to be the most challenging yet, featuring a daunting 70foot canyon gap that has already caused a spinechilling crash for Atherton Bikes’ Jim Monro, following Bernard Kerr’s initial attempt. There are reports suggesting this feature might not make it into the final event. Additionally, a new top section appears nearly impossible to navigate without mishap.

This year marks the second Hardline event, the first being held in Australia for the first time, where

Irishman Ronan Dunne claimed victory ahead of Bernard Kerr. Both are set to compete this weekend. After weather disruptions last year, several prominent female riders, including LouiseAnna Ferguson and Tahnée Seagrave, are expected to participate. So, how can you watch the action, and who’s in top form for this year’s most hardcore race?

When is Red Bull Hardline and How Can I Watch It?

Red Bull Hardline is almost the antithesis of World Cup downhill racing. While World Cup tracks arguably become faster and less technical, Hardline continues to push riders to their absolute limits.

This year’s course has sparked debate, especially after footage

emerged of Jim Monro’s mishap on the new canyon gap. However, Hardline has always been notoriously difficult, designed to test the best riders in the world, which is what captivates the audience.

You can watch the event live on Red Bull TV on Sunday, 2 June, from 14:30 GMT (15:30 BST, 10:30 ET). Additionally, Red Bull Bike’s YouTube channel will feature previews, including track walks and practice sessions.

For those hoping to watch the event in person, tickets are sold out online. However, there may be limited

availability on the day, depending on capacity, for those arriving on foot.

Who’s Racing at Red Bull Hardline 2024?

This weekend’s lineup features several big names. Ronan Dunne aims to secure a double win after his victory in Tasmania and his recent World Cup triumph in Poland. Three-time Hardline winner Bernard Kerr, who has already conquered the new top section, will be a strong contender, making for a tight competition between the two.

Several female

riders have been invited back, including Tahnée Seagrave, Cami Nogueira, Hannah Bergmann, LouiseAnna Ferguson (the only woman to complete a race run in Hardline Tasmania earlier this year), and Hardline newcomer Vaea Verbeeck.

Prepare for an epic weekend of mountain biking as the world’s best riders take on one of the most challenging courses

70 Friday May 31st 2024 For up to date news please check our social network channels

Thomas carroll Pembrokeshire league


On Saturday, 25th May, the first division cricket matches continued to shape the league table as teams settled into the season.

The day’s main talking point was the match at the top of the table, where Cresselly were denied an almost certain win by rain in their away game against Neyland. In typical fashion for Cresselly, it was the only match in the division unable to be completed due to the weather. Cresselly’s bowlers, Bayley and Cole, had put them in a strong position before the rain intervened.

Haverfordwest, aiming to secure their league position and avoid a relegation battle on their return to the first division, scored 141 against Tish. However, it wasn’t enough as Tish surpassed their total with two wickets remaining.

Father and son duo, Karl and Lewys Rhead, made match-winning knocks of 37 and 32* respectively, while earlier in the day,

Williams had a memorable performance with the ball, taking 5-15.

Narberth demonstrated their potential as a dangerous team by chasing down 248 to beat old rivals Carew. It was a real team effort with the bat, with contributions from Jamie McDonald (57), Kyle Quartermaine (66), and Jack Bowen (45) making up the majority of their runs. Ben Hughes added a useful 29 and had previously bowled well to finish with figures of 3-32.

S. Inward and S. Mills are two names opponents dread seeing on a team sheet, and with knocks of 95 and 70* respectively, they showed why as Llangwm defeated Whitland. Both teams appear to lack depth and may struggle this season, making this a significant win for Llangwm.

Saundersfoot and Lawrenny, two teams that already look at home in this division, played out a competitive game

in which Lawrenny won by three wickets, chasing 215. Harry Thomas (39), Will Nicholas (40), and Will Allen (54*) all impressed with the bat during the chase, while Troy Pursloe added 31 after an excellent return of 3-28 with the ball.


division One 25/5/24:

Haverfordwest (141) lost to st ishmaels (142-8) by 2 wickets.

llangwm (224-3) beat Whitland (216) by 8 runs.

narberth (251-7) beat Carew (248-6) by 3 wkts.

neyland (215-9) ab v Cresselly (205-4)

saundersfoot (215) lost to lawrenny (217-7) by 3 wkts.

71 NEWS For up to date news please check our social network channels Friday May 31st 2024 DIVISION 1 P W D L T AB Pts Neyland 4 3 0 0 0 1 72 Cresselly 4 3 0 0 0 1 71 Carew 4 3 0 1 0 0 61 Lawrenny 4 2 0 2 0 0 54 Saundersfoot 4 2 0 2 0 0 53 St Ishmaels 4 2 0 2 0 0 50 Whitland 4 1 0 3 0 0 37 Narberth 4 1 0 3 0 0 34 Haverfordwest 4 1 0 3 0 0 31 Llangwm 4 1 0 3 0 0 25
DIVISION 2 P W D L T AB Pts Herbrandston 4 4 0 0 0 0 71 Burton 4 3 0 1 0 0 64 Carew II 4 2 0 1 0 1 58 Johnston 4 2 0 1 0 1 56 Pembroke 4 2 0 1 0 1 50 Hook 4 1 0 2 0 1 36 Llechryd 4 1 0 2 0 1 36 Llanrhian 4 1 0 3 0 0 34 Lamphey 4 1 0 3 0 0 31 Pembroke Dock 4 0 0 3 0 1 24 DIVISION 3 P W D L T AB Pts Cresselly II 4 4 0 0 0 0 78 Neyland II 4 3 0 1 0 0 64 Stackpole 4 3 0 1 0 0 61 Hook II 4 2 0 2 0 0 53 Burton II 4 2 0 2 0 0 51 Fishguard 3 2 0 1 0 0 45 Kilgetty 4 1 0 3 0 0 38 Haverfordwest II 4 1 0 3 0 0 35 Narberth II 4 1 0 3 0 0 32 St Ishmaels II 4 1 0 3 0 0 23 DIVISION 4 16 11 0 1 0 4 223 Laugharne 4 3 0 1 0 0 65 Pembroke II 4 3 0 1 0 0 62 Hundleton 4 3 0 0 0 1 57 Llangwm II 4 2 0 2 0 0 46 Carew III 4 2 0 2 0 0 45 Saundersfoot II 4 2 0 1 0 1 42 Llanrhian II 4 1 0 3 0 0 34 Pembroke D II 4 1 0 2 0 1 28 Lawrenny II 4 0 0 4 0 0 21 Llechryd II 4 0 0 1 0 3 4 DIVISION 5 P W D L T AB Pts Herbrandston II 4 3 0 0 0 1 60 Neyland III 3 3 0 0 0 0 60 Crymych 3 3 0 0 0 0 54 Whitland II 4 2 0 2 0 0 48 Haverfordwest III 4 2 0 1 0 1 47 Cresselly III 4 1 0 3 0 0 34 Laugharne II 4 0 0 4 0 0 7 Stackpole II 4 0 0 4 0 0 5 DIVISION 6 P W D L T AB Pts Whitland III 4 2 0 1 0 1 43 Hundleton II 4 2 0 0 0 2 39 Kilgetty II 3 1 0 1 1 0 29 Pembroke III 3 1 0 1 0 1 27 Haverfordwest IV 2 0 0 0 1 1 12 Lamphey II 4 0 0 2 0 2 8 Llechryd III 4 0 0 1 0 3 7

Wales vs. South Africa will be broadcast on S4C


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