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Badger and the Christmas card



badgerxmascardHELLO readers! This is Badger’s last column before Christmas and so he is sure that those who elect to subject themselves weekly (or weakly, or weakly weekly, for that matter) to his ramblings about the surface world, will know that Badger is not a fan of Yuletide festivities. Badger peeked up out of his sett the other evening. Instead of the reassuring gloom of the Pembrokeshire night, he was assailed by what seemed to be an outdoor discotheque; a riot of fl ashing lights illuminated the gloaming, while dancing plastic snowmen tinkled the tune to Jingle Bells. Plastic. Snowmen. Jingle. Bells.

Are you people mad up there? It’s quite bad enough that John Lewis think that the meaning of Christmas can be conveyed by encouraging simpering toy penguins to form romantic relationships with other simpering toy penguins: but why are ordinary houses in ordinary streets lit up like a New Orleans bordello at Mardi Gras? Badger thought he was back in a bad 1980’s night club. All it needed was for the snowmen to start boogying on down to “Disco Inferno” and the illusion would have been complete. So far, so Badger, readers. But then at the madhouse where Badger’s human friends work, a Christmas card was received. It didn’t say much, just “thank you”.

A “thank you” to Badger’s chums at The Herald for everything they have done to shine a light into the gloomier corners of Pembrokeshire and drag out and into the light some pretty unpleasant facts and inconvenient truths. Badger was, quite unaccountably, moved. Badger is a strong believer in the power of words and the care that should be applied to their use. But the words “thank you” have a very specifi c power, even if they are used casually.

“Thank you” says that what you have done has been discovered, appreciated and acknowledged. Even if sincere thanks comes from one person, that one person has taken the time to notice what you have done. “Thank you” gives a little tickle of pleasure to the recipient of the sentiment. And that is why Badger offers his very sincere thanks to the members of the IPPG at Pembrokeshire County Council. From Johnny Allen-Squirehouse to Steve Yelland, they never cease to provide Badger with material. Badger does not believe – as some do – that Jamie Adams and his chums are involved in some sort of conspiracy against Pembrokeshire’s people.

He has always preferred the cock up theory of history. And the IPPG’s membership provide ample evidence to support Badger’s point of view. Look at them, readers: pay attention to the webcasts from County Hall. See how your IPPG representatives behave and how they misrepresent the public they are supposed to serve. Badger has often heard it said that it is better to be thought an idiot than to open one’s mouth and dispel all doubt. Badger has heard that aphorism: Johnny Allen- Squirehouse has clearly not heard it. Or perhaps he cannot hear anything over his own booming drawl. Imagine having an internal voice that sounded so pompous, readers.

It would drive you crackers. Look at Johnny A. Join the dots. From Johnny, we whizz all the way to the arse end of the alphabet to Cllr Steve Yelland. Rudbaxton’s representative at County Hall is not a councillor who has drawn himself to Badger’s attention before now. For a few brief seconds last week, readers, Cllr Yelland – by dint of nothing than there happening not to be a councillor Adrian Zebedee – was a very important person. The vote to have an annual election, or the possibility of one, for the leadership of the Council was tied 28-28. Cllr Yelland’s vote was the next, and last, to be taken.

“Independent” Cllr Yelland put as his description on the ballot paper in 2012. Indy – bloody – pendent. Badger supposes that independence has some peculiar quality of blind obedience of which Badger was previously unaware. Perhaps Cllr Yelland is as notionally independent as the satellite states were of the Soviet Union. A sort of Bulgaria, as it were. Not a place anyone paid much attention to way back then, readers, Bulgaria was a reliable ally to the USSR. A country whose secret service was happy to do Moscow’s dirty work. It would be a lie to say that there was any doubt about the way Cllr Yelland would vote. Jamie says “for”, Cllr Yelland says “for”.

Jamie says “against”, Cllr Yelland says “against”. Jamie makes an attempt at humour, Cllr Yelland laughs. Jamie does the sad and patronising voice, Cllr Yelland nods along. He is the yes man’s yes man. Lobby fodder. But cometh the hour, cometh the man. And so Bulgaria Yelland had a moment on Thursday when the eyes of his fellow members were fi xed upon him. “Against,” Cllr Yelland murmured. Barely a beat he missed, readers. Not for Bulgaria the moment of tension beloved of television reality shows. No hesitation of the type beloved of Chris Tarrant when “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” was a popular quiz.

The question – as is the nature of these things – had been reduced to one right answer and the remaining wrong answer. Bulgaria had already phoned a friend, so he knew what to do. He did not need to ask the audience. “Against,” Bulgaria murmured and the door slammed on an opportunity to reign in an over-mighty executive. Badger does not believe that Cllr Yelland is a bad person. For all Badger knows, Cllr Yelland donates generously and widely to charity and helps grannies remove boy scouts from horses’ hooves. But as a sterling example that the word “independent” means less than you might think when it comes to your representatives, readers, Bulgaria Yelland is diffi cult to beat. And for that Badger wishes to extend sincere thanks to Cllr Yelland. Because when – and if – Pembrokeshire’s electors go to the polls in 2017, it will be the conduct of Bulgaria and others like him that will make the job of sweeping the IPPG from power that much easier. And on that positive note, Badger wishes all of his readers – whatever or whomsoever they believe in – a peaceful and merry Christmas.

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Tavernspite School the ‘healthiest of schools despite the pandemic’



THE STAFF, governors, parents, and of course, the children of Tavernspite Community Primary School are delighted to gain the Welsh Network of Healthy School Schemes National Quality Award for an incredible 5th time after a recent and very rigorous assessment.

The school is already well known and highly regarded for its outstanding work in developing the health and wellbeing of all members of its school community. To achieve this prestigious recognition in the midst of a pandemic is all the more impressive. 

Health and Wellbeing at the school is led by teacher, Lauren Arthur, who has done an incredible job preparing for this re-assessment and raising the profile of the Healthy Schools scheme.

The assessor Mrs Lynne Perry, enjoyed a virtual tour and presentation by Year 3 pupils who took great pleasure in proudly showing Mrs Perry all the wonderful work the school has done to ensure its children are safe, happy with high levels of emotional and physical wellbeing.

In her report, Mrs Perry wrote, ‘Tavernspite School continues to be an outstanding health promoting school. The health promoting school ethos is evident across the whole school population and it runs seamlessly throughout everything that the school does. Tavernspite School continues to give high priority to promoting and enhancing the health and well-being of the whole school community.’

The school received fantastic support from Mrs Liz Western, Senior Public Health Officer and Lead for Healthy Schools and Pre-schools, Pembrokeshire, to whom they are very grateful.

Head teacher Kevin Phelps said, ‘We were delighted to receive this award for the fifth time, particularly considering the experiences we have all been through these past twelve months. Health and wellbeing has never been so important and we are proud to be leading the way like this.’

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Joinery learner through to Screwfix Trade Apprentice of the Year Finals



PEMBROKESHIRE COLLEGE joinery learner, Conor Ratcliff has made it through to the final ten in this year’s Screwfix Trade Apprentice of the Year competition.

Now in its seventh year, the competition celebrates the next generation of tradespeople as they start out on their career. With over 2,500 nominations, Conor was shortlisted to the top 30 where he had to deliver a video presentation to industry-leading judges and trade body representatives. Judged on professionalism, creativity, innovation, enthusiasm and knowledge of their trade, Conor impressed the judges and is now in the final 10.  

Simon Jackson, Screwfix Customer and Digital director, commented: “Every year we are amazed by the outstanding quality of entrants and, this year, we are on the lookout for apprentices who go above and beyond to succeed within their chosen trade.

“We’ve seen how this career-boosting accolade and £10,000 prize bundle helps kickstart an apprentice’s career. I’d like to wish everyone through to this stage the best of luck!”

The prize package includes everything a future tradesperson may need to start up their own business including £5,000 of tools, a £3,000 training budget and £2,000 worth of technology. The college where they study will also receive £2,000.

Conor is thrilled to have made it through to the finals and commented: “I am extremely honoured to have made it is this far in the competition and I am very excited for the final event. It would be an amazing opportunity for me, if I won this competition.

“I hope it encourages more people to consider an apprenticeship in a trade, the Carpentry and Joinery department have been incredibly supportive during my studies.”

The Final is due to take place imminently where the judges will conduct an online interview with the ten finalists before selecting and announcing their overall winner.

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Warrant without bail issued for Milford Haven man who failed to attend court



A WARRANT without bail has been issued for a Milford Haven man who failed to appear in court yesterday.

Gareth James Mann, 45, of Bunkers Hill was stopped in his VW Golf on October 31, 2020 in Milford Haven.

Mann is accused of driving without a licence, insurance, under the influence of cocaine and whilst in possession of an ounce of cannabis.

Police are now instructed to find Mann, arrest him and bring him before the courts.

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