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Haverfordwest Singer on song at festival

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on songSINGER Rowan Staden-Coates, of Sir Thomas Picton School, Haverfordwest was the overall winner of this year’s Secondary Schools Valero Music Festival.

The annual festival, which is organised by the Pembrokeshire County Council Music Service and sponsored by Valero, took place at Sir Thomas Picton School in Haverfordwest on Saturday (November 16).

Over 300 young musicians from the County’s eight county secondary schools took part in individual and ensemble competitions throughout the day.

Later in the evening an enthusiastic audience enjoyed a special concert showcasing the individual winners and the winners of the instrumental and vocal ensemble competitions.

Every secondary school in the county was represented by their school band or orchestra.

As the overall winner, Rowan Staden-Coates was presented with the Tim Bourne Memorial Cup. Earlier in the evening she had performed “Forsake me Not” by J. S. Bach, accompanied at the piano by her teacher Sarah Benbow.

Tuba player Aled Meredith-Barrett, of Ysgol Dewi Sant, was the winner of the Open Brass competition. He performed “Romanza” by Vaughan-Williams and was accompanied by Seimon Morris.

The Open String competition winner was Naomi Hunt from Greenhill School, who played “Polonaise Briliante” by Weieniawski on the the violin. She was accompanied by Anna Tiller. Hannah Taylor, of Greenhill School, was the winner of the Open Piano class. She is a pupil of Jan Hartzel and performed “Nocturne” by Grieg.

Marimba player Melissa Martin, of Sir Thomas Picton School, won the Open Percussion class. She performed “Prelude No1 for solo Marimba” by Rosauro.

The winner of the Open Woodwind class was flautist Amy Taylor, of Greenhill School, who performed “Hypnosis” by Ian Clarke accompanied at the piano by Stuart Evans.

The Open Vocal Ensemble class was won by Sir Thomas Picton Boy’s Quartet, who sang “Blue Moon” accompanied by James Olyott.

Saxophonist Molly Brick, of Tasker Milward School, was the winner of the Open Jazz competition. Her performance of “Georgia on my Mind” was accompanied by Clive Raymond.

The Open Ensemble competition was won by the Sir Thomas Picton year 12 group who performed an arrangement of part of Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto No2”.

The invited professional adjudicators – Timothy Angel, voice; Adrian Morton , brass; , Lara James, woodwind; Christopher Lovegrove, piano; Denis Mahoney, ensembles; Robin Stowell, strings; Nick Baron, percussion – were greatly impressed with the high standard and strength of schools’ music on show from across the County.

Also performing at the evening concert were: Sir Thomas Picton School Orchestra (conducted by Melanie Walker); Ysgol Greenhill School Jazz Band (Paul Rapi); Milford Haven School Wind Band (Gareth Sanders Swales); Ysgol Dewi Sant School Orchestra (Tom Earey); Pembroke School Orchestra (Rebecca Whitehurst); Ysgol Bro Gwaun Orchestra (Phillipa Roberts); Ysgol y Preseli Wind Band (Gareth Sanders Swales) and Tasker Milward School Orchestra (Phillipa Roberts).

On behalf of Valero, William James said the company was very pleased to be involved in such a prestigious event featuring so many of the county’s talented young musicians.

County Music Co-ordinator and Festival MC Chris Llewellyn thanked the adjudicators, teachers, parents and students for making the Festival such a success.

“Once again the strength and quality of Pembrokeshire Schools’ music is evident at this event,” he said.

 

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Environmental projects supported by Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund

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PROJECTS involving worm composting, community planting and solar panels were just some of the projects that recently received support from the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund.

More than £140,000 was awarded to eight projects at the committee’s January meeting with the next deadline for applications set for 12 noon on 23 March.

Clynfyw Care Farm was successful with an application for a vermicomposting project, which will create a quality rich sustainable compost that can be used to improve soil conditions organically. This will support local vegetable producers and sequestrate carbon in the process.

The Newport Area Environment Group will receive funding to lead a community planting project promoting decarbonisation through biodiversity.

Cwm Arian Renewable Energy secured financial support to research a Pembrokeshire-wide Energy Efficiency program, with the aim of reducing energy use and tackling fuel poverty by increasing and normalising the uptake of low carbon life choices.

Funding for photovoltaic (PV) panels was agreed for projects submitted by Herbrandston Sports and Recreation Association, South Ridgeway Community Association, Neuadd Gymuned Bwlchygroes Community Hall, Ramsey Island Nature resort and Visitor Centre, and Crymych Rugby club, who all received funding to help harness solar energy.

Directors from Clynfyw Care Farm said: “Thanks to funding from SDF, this worm composting project will be a useful tool for engaging with people, reducing CO2 and teaching a simple sustainable process with important stages in a safe, supported environment. Once established, vermicompost will be available for purchase in local outlets, providing an environmentally-friendly alternative for local growers.”

Applications for funding are encouraged from not for profit groups, including village halls, community councils and environmental groups in the county who have a project that will contribute towards a reduction in carbon and help respond to the climate emergency.

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Did the world’s first airplane fly in Pembrokeshire?

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WHEN asked who was the first to fly an airplane, you’d probably say Wilbur and Orville Wright, more commonly referred to as the Wright brothers. However, you’ve probably never heard of Bill Frost, a Welshman who many say was the “first man to fly.”

Born in Saundersfoot on May 28th, 1848, Bill Frost was a carpenter on the Heyn Castle Estate.

Clearly, as a handyman, he was in the perfect position to build a plane, and this obsession, if the tale is to be believed, was strengthened in the winter of 1876. Legend says that Frost was carrying a large plank of wood on a windy day when a large gust of wind picked him up, carried him several feet, until he returned to the ground with a rather rough landing.

What followed was, shall we say, some rather odd behaviour.

Locals reported seeing Frost running around fields, with a large sheet of zinc above his head, presumably trying to get another gust of wind to lift him up. Although he was testing the limits of aerodynamic designs in all likelihood, he was of course branded rather bizarre locally.

Many locals also attributed this behaviour to grief, as his wife and daughter had recently died. A religious man and deacon of his local chapel, one could understand locals believing he was maybe trying to get to Heaven.

In 1894, things started to get serious for Frost, who applied for a patent for a flying machine on October 25th. To describe the patent would be to describe an amalgamation between a plane and a glider, with two reversible fans which would, he hoped, lift him into the air for a successful flight.

Bill Frost with his wife, Annie, in 1896 . Bill lived until 1935.

Then, the patent said, wings would be spread via a lever and another lever would control whether the aircraft was moving up or downwards.

With his practical knowledge and his interesting research methods, Frost began work on building the aircraft.

He did so in the workshop of his house on St Bride’s Hill, an impressive feat when you consider it was over 30 feet long.

Reports state that the aircraft was built out of bamboo, canvas and wire, with bags and pouches filled with hydrogen to help it stay afloat.

The patent, in full, reads: “The flying machine is constructed with an upper and lower chamber of wire work, covered with light waterproof material. Each chamber formed sharp at both ends with parallel sides. The upper large chamber to contain sufficient gas to lift the machine. In the centre of upper chamber a cylinder is fixed in which a horizontal fan is driven by means of a shaft and bevelled gearing worked from the lower chamber. When the machine has been risen to a sufficient height, then the fan is stopped and the upper chamber, which has wings attached, is tilted forward causing the machine to move as a bird, onward and downward. When low enough it is again tilted in an opposite direction which causes it to soar onward and upward, when it is again assisted if necessary by the fan. The steering is done by a rudder at both ends.”

A book has been written about the subject

So, why are the Wright brothers considered the first men to fly?

Well, for starters, there’s no photographs of Frost’s flight, nor any written testimonials. However Frost himself, as well as several locals in the area, claimed that on September 24th, 1896, Frost flew for approximately 500 yards.

This, if true, would have been a considerably longer flight than the Wright brothers achieved.

The end of the flight was not so successful, however, as the bottom of the craft hit a tree and crashed into a nearby field.

Not deterred by this, Frost repaired the machine, however it was then destroyed in a storm some weeks later, and Frost could not afford to build a new one from scratch.

His patent expired four years later.

Without a craft for another flight, and with no photographic evidence, his claim to be the first man to fly, unfortunately, can not be verified.

In 1935 Frost died aged 90 years old. Although he held no grudge against the Wright brothers, he did state that the government had turned down his application for funding following his first attempt, which scuppered the hope of any future flights after his craft was destroyed.

The reason for this? The government claimed that aircraft would never be used for navigation or warfare; a statement that looked very foolish as World War I began to play out.


HTV footage from the 1990’s on the Bill Frost story (Youtube)
 

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Library reservations service expanded

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PEMBROKESHIRE’S Library Service has extended its reservation service.

Customers can place up to two reservations for books and audiobooks, which are available and in stock at libraries in Fishguard, Haverfordwest, Milford Haven, Narberth, Newport, Neyland, Pembroke, Pembroke Dock, Saundersfoot and Tenby.

Items are also available to reserve from the service’s Stack (store).

Library members can place reservations free of charge, in person or via the online catalogue.

To access the online catalogue, log on to https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/libraries-and-culture and select ‘Find Library Books’.

Customers can also place a request for an item not currently in stock, to be purchased as one of their two reservations.

The Library Service is not offering an Interlibrary Loan service at the present time.

For details on the library services currently offered in Pembrokeshire, please view https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/libraries-and-culture

 

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