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Batman to visit Bishop’s Palace

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View from top of cathedral  St. Davids Bishop's Palace 3(20)Pembrokeshire is home to more bats than anywhere else in Wales. And this August, visitors to St Davids Bishop’s Palace can explore the area’s nocturnal wildlife as well as its history, through a unique partnership between Pembrokeshire National Park and Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service.

Visitors to the Palace will be given an exciting opportunity to learn about bats, starting with a talk from Craig Stringer, a Pembrokeshire National Park Discovery Ranger for ten years. Craig will share his knowledge about the flying mammals, before embarking on a 90 minute walk in search of the fascinating creatures.

Currently 18 species of bat have been recorded in the UK, of which 15 have been recorded in the National Park with 12 of the species also breeding there. But being nocturnal creatures and with the largest species being the size of a small pear, bats are often difficult creatures to explore.

St Davids Bishop Palace, which is cared for by Cadw, is home to several species, including Common and Soprano Pipistrelle and Daubenton’s bat, the latter a species that hunts for insects along the River Alun. The Palace and its adjacent Cathedral also forms a ‘des res’ for bats, and at least eight species have been found there, including the rare Greater Horseshoe bat, which uses the Bishop’s Palace as a winter roost.

A night-time walk around the historic building and its grounds lead by Craig Stringer will let wildlife enthusiasts search for bats through identifying clues and using bat detectors to locate the creatures through the sounds they make.

Craig Stringer, Discovery Ranger and bat expert, said: “The Palace is an excellent site for bats, offering places for the creatures to breed, roost and feed, and there are several species to be found there.

“Bats make different noises depending on their species, for example the Horseshoe bat warbles and whistles! So it’s great fun for visitors to use the information that they’ve learned during the talk to identify the bat species. It’s quite a spooky experience which adds to the appeal, especially for children.”

John Griffiths, Minister for Culture and Sport, said: “The Brilliant Bats events appeal to families and wildlife enthusiasts alike, and these types of events are a fantastic way to attract new audiences to explore Cadw sites and learn about their local heritage.”

Amanda Canby-Lewis, Head Custodian, St Davids Bishop’s Palace, added: “The Palace may no longer be home to people but it is still very much lived in and there’s something magical about seeing its resident creatures of the night against such a dramatic backdrop.”

For further information about the events, visit www.cadw.wales.gov.uk. Find Cadw on Facebook and follow @CadwWales on Twitter to stay up to date with news and events about Cadw’s 128 historic sites this summer. 

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Young Vlogger proving life has zero limitations

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Jacob Weakley "despite my disability, I'm always moving forwards"

A YOUNG Pembrokeshire local, Jacob Weakley, is on a mission to raise awareness about his disability Cerebral Palsy Spastic Diplegia.

Jacob lives with the clear message that he will never let his disability define him, stating “regardless of my disability, I’m always moving forwards”

Twenty-four-year-old Jacob refuses to let anything get in his way and has a huge passion for travel and to experience the world. Jacob has travelled all over the globe alongside his girlfriend Laira to places such as Budapest, Malaysia and many other beautiful locations.

Through his travels he has shown repeatedly that he will not let anything get in his way.

Jacob and his girlfriend on one of their many adventures

Jacob created the Youtube channel and blog both under ‘theweakleypost’ to show his fun adventures and his fitness journey, after graduating from University after studying Sports Coaching and Development.

The young traveller stays positive about his disability, and keeps his followers up to date on all his latest news and adventures.

Jacob and his friends recently were able to raise money through an online fundraiser to get an essential ‘Triride’ for him to be able to have the freedom to go anywhere he would like to.

He had faced challenges within his local area due to steep hills and uneven roads making it harder for Jacob to have access to different places within Pembrokeshire, but due to his following and the power of social media he has been able to reach his goal.

Although Jacob has reached his goal, he explained that the left over funds raised will go towards helping charities which are supporting others who face challenges with disabilities within their everyday life.

In the future to come Jacob explained to Pembrokeshire Herald: ‘When we are able to travel freely again I look forward to going to even more places and documenting them through my Vlogs.”

To find out more about Jacob and his travels visit: https://theweakleypost.squarespace.com/abouttheweakleypost
Or follow his Instagram/ Youtube channel: theweakleypost

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Remembering the collapse of the Cleddau Bridge fifty years on

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TODAY, marks the 50th anniversary of the collapse of the Cleddau Bridge, then called the Milford Haven Bridge, a day that would change bridge building forever.

The construction of the bridge was a staple of a then booming economy, with the original project estimated to be around £2m, but the flawed design caused devastation.

On June 2, 1970, disaster struck the small village of Pembroke Ferry, when a 150 tonne section of the part-built Cleddau Bridge collapsed, killing four men and injuring another 5 people.

At 2.16pm BST, as a section of the bridge was lowered onto the supporting structure below, villagers reported hearing a groaning sound followed by an engulfing cloud of red dust.

The first officer on the scene was dad of two, PC Phil Lloyd, having just clocked into his shift at Pembroke Dock Station when the fire siren sounded.

Recalling the day, Phil, 74 said “I presumed it was just another chimney fire.”

Then at 2.20pm Phil received a call from his mother in law, she lived 30 metres below the bridge.

“When I went into the switchboard the fella said ‘your mother-in-law is on the phone’.”

“She shouted, ‘the bridge has come down!’ and i said ‘don’t be so dull’.”

PC Lloyd’s mother-in-law, Ivy Lewis, lived directly under the bridge, in Pembroke Ferry, on the south side of the river.

With the oil refineries, Milford Haven Port, all being developed in the county, the bridge was a much needed asset, which would give better accessibility and cut down the 20-mile round trip for vehicles.

Arriving at the scene, Phil described it as “utter pandemonium”.

At the time of the collapse, the local gas man was attending Mrs Lewis’ property. She originally assumed that he “had blown the house up”.

It was only when stepping into her garden could she fathom the true cause of the commotion. The whole section of the bridge was resting at a 45-degree angle in her garden.

Astonishly the bridge narrowly missed the below properties. Although it had completely demolished Phil’s aunties coal shed and outdoor toilet.

“Luckily there was a gap between her house and her sister’s house which is where the bridge came down.” Phil said.

“One man had been killed at the scene and two others were taken to hospital but died later. Then when the bridge was lifted, we found another man underneath.”

Construction of the box-section bridge was put on halt immediately.

Within 18 month’s bridges in Germany and Australia, both of the same ill-fated design collapsed with fatal consequences.

The cause of the collapse was later revealed that the diaphragm above the pier of the bridge had not been thick enough and buckled as the 230-foot section was cantilevered out.

Following an inquiry, a number of safety recommendations were made, which included the addition of 500ft of extra steel to strengthen the bridge.

In 1995, on the 25th anniversary of the disaster a memorial plaque to the four men who died, William Baxendale, George Hamilton, James Thompson and local man Evan Phillips.was unveiled.

Unfortunately the plaque was later stolen and has not yet been replaced.

The completed Cleddau Bridge reopened in 1975, making it the largest unsupported span in Europe although costs had escalated to £12m upon completion.

The disaster which shook the small village, laid the foundations for which a new standard was developed in the box girder bridge design.

The Cleddau collapse was regarded as the last major bridge disaster in the UK.

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Lottery win for local neighbours

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Ten people in Pembroke Dock are celebrating today after winning £1,000 each thanks to their lucky postcode.

The Milton Terrace neighbours netted the windfall when SA72 6BJ was announced as a Daily Prize winner with People’s Postcode Lottery on Saturday 18th April 2020.

People’s Postcode Lottery ambassador Judie McCourt sent her well-wishes to the winners. She said: “What lovely news to start off your weekend. Congratulations to our winners!”

A minimum of 32% of ticket sales goes directly to charities and players of People’s Postcode Lottery have raised over £500 million to date for thousands of good causes in Britain and beyond.

This draw was promoted by the Wildlife Trusts which have received over £12.6 million in funding from the players of People’s Postcode Lottery. The Wildlife Trusts look after more than 2,300 nature reserves and operate more than 100 visitor and education centres across the country. The Trusts work to make life better for wildlife, people and future generations.

Many good causes close to the winners have also benefitted from players’ support, and local charities can next apply for funding in August.

For more information on People’s Postcode Lottery, please visit www.postcodelottery.co.uk or Facebook  and Twitter.

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