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Carols to commemorate Christmas truce of 1914

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Roughly 100,000 British and German troops were involved in the unofficial cessations of hostility along the Western Front

Roughly 100,000 British and German troops were involved in the
unofficial cessations of hostility along the Western Front

‘SILENT NIGHT CAROLS’, which took place in Pembroke Town Hall last Saturday night (Dec 20), was but one of some three hundred similar events arranged to mark the centenary of the famous Christmas truce of 1914. The unique service included a specially-commissioned, contemporary version of Silent Night, with a new verse and chorus. This new version of Silent Night (Christ The Saviour Is Born) with additional words by writers Ben Cantelon and Nick Herbert, has been recorded by multi-platinum-selling tenor Paul Potts.

Through the “Silent Night Carols” and the release of this single, and the Silent Night Carols albums, HOPE Together has linked with Tearfund and Sports Chaplaincy UK in an attempt to bring a measure of help to those affected by the war in Syria. The Pembroke event, which attracted the enthusiastic support of the Mayor Councilor Aaron Carey,featured a live nativity made up of members of several local churches and was preceded by the results of the local “Find the missing donkey competition”.

Awarding the prizes Councillor Carey said “It’s been a good night with a really encouraging turn out. I am really happy that someone is doing something for the children of Pembroke, and hopefully this will build year on year becoming ever more popular” The mayor’s enthusiasm was matched by that of local organiser Lyn Edwards who observed “It was very powerful evening indeed, particularly for those members of the armed forces who were present. It was especially moving when we listened to the reading of a poem that talked about the plight of a soldier on the streets.”

“It’s been an amazing evening. This was a time when people from all sorts of backgrounds were able to get together and remember that Christmas is a time for bringing people together. Christmas is a time of hope because it is about the coming of Christ Emmanuel God with us”. Gareth Jones Chair of local Royal British Legion and the local Community Association clearly found the whole experience very moving as he explained: “I was asked to read a piece written by a soldier named Taff Evans entitled “Where did it all go wrong?”

It really got through to me because it is a year since I came back from Afghanistan and it really struck me just what it has been like there. I thought of some of my colleagues who have not made it not to mention one who simply couldn’t cope and six months after returning home took her own life” “But we have to carry on and I am privileged to have a family who are my strength and my reason. Also my military family needs to extend itself so that there aren’t any more that we lose. That’s what drives me” “I was delighted with the turn out and thrilled with the hard work everyone had put in to make the evening such a success” said Pembroke Pastor Rob James.

“I can think of no better way of thanking everyone than to quote the endorsement that these services have received from Prince William Duke of Cambridge. He has said “In the stillness of the night at Christmas one hundred years ago the carol Silent Night could be heard ringing out across No Man’s Land. Soldiers from both sides tentatively came out of the trenches to exchange gifts and to play football. For twenty four hours the fighting stopped for the 1914 Christmas truce. Even at the bleakest of times Christmas offers peace and hope. This Christmas the Silent Night Carol Services are a powerful way to remember the sacrifice made by so many in the Great War and to celebrate the peace we enjoy today”

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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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Community

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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