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Badger looks for a shovel

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badger shovelMANURE. Badger has been thinking quite a lot about manure in the days since last week’s Council meeting. Seldom, if ever, has so much been spread by so few for the benefit of even fewer – or for the benefit of one. Where Badger lives, one often sees tankers ferrying waste hither thither and yon and, at the right time of year, smells rich and foul-smelling ordure spread on the fields. Of course, the thing with dung is that in the right circumstances it promotes growth. It enriches the soil and enables it to be utilised to grown the kind of things important to humans: broccoli, mangel wurzles, and bureaucrats (although, left to their own devices, some bureaucrats will propagate solely from waste products). At County Hall last week, the only thing that manure was being used for was to obscure the truth. In much the same way as a startled squid will escape in a cloud of ink, a succession of statements were made by IPPG Councillors that ejected large quantities of nature’s own fertiliser over the proceedings. No doubt the IPPG collectively hoped either that people would be too appalled to dig through their efforts or that the ceiling-high and reeking mound of filth would deter their pursuers. Badger was particularly exercised by those concerned in education and safeguarding. Councillor Daphne Bush is a newcomer to Badger, although he has been aware of her peculiar brand of deranged loyalism for some time. Badger was particularly entranced by her eager toadying. Anyone would think she was repaying a favour. How wonderfully the wise leadership had managed to pass the
last Estyn inspection. Forget why we were in special measures.

It was all a long time ago. Let’s just rejoice, rejoice! Well, even a turd gleams if one rolls it in sequins. Cllr Sue Perkins, the spectacularly graceless Labour turncoat, extolled the virtues of a school of which she is governor. A governor of a school which ignored the wishes of parents. A governor of a school which “needs to improve outcomes for learners”. A governor who thinks, as well she might, that big is better. However, a large amount of ignorant bilge delivered from Cabinet member is still a large amount of ignorant bilge. Sue’s desperate groping for facts to justify the Council’s lying stance on Hakin and Hubberston schools suggested that she had lost her way in the thicket of barbs and petty sniping she confuses for logic. Ignoring your constituents’ views is one thing, there is scarcely a member of the IPPO who doesn’t do that every time they rock up to vote as Bryn tells Jamie to tell them to vote. But ignoring your constituents and telling them that everything is roses in the garden when they can see fresh guano all about them is quite another. In June 2017, when she will most likely be an ex-councillor, Sue might want to ponder if there was any point in her political journey that ensured she occupied the seat next to her bestest buddy Ken “the voice of Ken” Rowlands on has-been row. Sue’s defiant proclamation to the masses that an independent investigation was not required into the way the Council handled the Mik Smith affair is almost certainly a staging post on her way out of County Hall.

From the !PPG benches, and while her colleagues sat abouther nodding rather like they were auditioning as stunt doubles for a car insurance commercial, Sue said it had all been looked at, lessons had been learned and she was sure that everything was now okay. We have heard that sort of language before from the IPPO seats on the Council. Remember Johnny Mirehouse? Who could forget the sound of the Angle Foghorn in December, as he boomed and rumbled in his lordly way about the grants scandal in Pembroke and Pembroke Dock: “Nothing to see here”? All been checked by them accountancy-wallahs. They know what they’re talking about those officer chappies. Sound, all of them. One of ’em read me a report that said everything was ‘rickety-boo’, as you crazy mixed up kids say nowadays.” Now then, readers: what happened next? Whoops. Sue’s words were echoed and added to by Jamie Adams. Now what Jamie said bears some close consideration.

Pointedly declining to apologise to Sue Thomas, who blew the whistle on Mik Smith in 2004, he repeated practically verbatim the letter that Bryn Parry Jones sent to her in November 2005. Talk about His Master’s Voice, readers. Using his knowing and regretful voice (#2 out of a very limited edition of 4) Jamie decided to attack the questioner rather than answer the question. Lying that Paul Miller had not spoken to the Director of Education about the Smith case, Jamie then went on to say: “I too have seen that correspondence (letter from Sue Thomas to Bryn Parry Jones) and I remain still or the opinion that the
whistleblowing of Mrs Thomas was separate from her correspondence to him. Further misunderstanding has occurred in relation to that correspondence. It does not refer to his Mik Smith’s behaviour, the CEO thought the letter intimated a breakdown in the relationship between herself and her line manager.” The email to Bryn Parry Jones says: “It has been intimated that there is some kind of professional vendetta being pursued against the above person. If this were true, why an there at least eight professional youth workers that I am aware of, with serious concerns regarding the work practices of (Mik Smith)?” Straight off the bat, there goes the thrust of Jamie’s point. But there is more, readers. And worse.

The email had already referenced — at more than one point — Mik Smith’s inappropriate conduct towards children. It also pointed out — with some force — that Pembrokeshire County Council’s views on “appropriate behaviour with children” was “widely divergent” from accepted or acceptable models followed by the Police, national bodies and other county councils. Now: Jamie. Let’s assume there is something between your ears. It’s a leap in the dark, but let’s just take that chance. Serious concerns about work practices inappropriate behaviour w i t h children, eight youthworkers with concerns. What does that sound like to you, Jamie? Does it sound like “your perceived problem seems, however, to relate to your personal circumstances and relationships with others”? That’s what Bryn said in 2005. Sounds like what you said on July 17 , 2014 Jamie. Dees not sound much like what was written, though: anything but. In the law of conspiracy, you can be guilty of wilfully turning a blind eye to the obvious. Moral culpability for what happened rests fairly and squarely with Bryn and with people like Sue and Jamie who continue to defend him. An unequivocal apology and a public enquiry is a bare minimum. In the meantime, Badger will just keep digging.

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Sentencing delay for money theft case

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A CROWN COURT has delayed the sentencing of a Narberth man who has admitted stealing from a local community organisation.

Lee Squelch, 37, of Caerau Farm, Llandewi Velfrey, had denied the charges but changed his plea to guilty on March 5.

However, due to over running cases at the Crown Court, the sentencing date has been put back until Wednesday, April 21 – the case was due to be concluded on April 15.

Squelch has admitted that between April 2014 and March 2018 he stole money from The Pembrokeshire Byways and Bridleways Association.

It is understood that Squelch was in a position of responsibility within the said organisation when the alleged offences took place.

Pembrokeshire Byways and Bridleways is a community focused organisation which aims to improve the bridleways around Pembrokeshire, to keep horse riders safely off the roads. It is affiliated to the British Horse Society.

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The Pembrokeshire man on the Titanic

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ON the morning of April 15 1912, in the North Atlantic some 450-miles south of Newfoundland, the RMS Titanic slowly slid beneath the sea just two hours and forty minutes after hitting an iceberg.

Stories from that night are famous, from the lookouts misplacing their binoculars to the ship’s band playing even as the sea washed over their feet, the sinking of the Titanic holds a special place in the public consciousness and continues to grab our attention some 109 years after the ‘unsinkable’ ship sank.

Over 1500 people lost their lives in the biggest maritime naval disaster at that point.

Among the dead were American and British millionaires, White Star Line employees and countless anonymous immigrants from across Europe who were all seeking a better life in America.

908 crew were on board the Titanic when it left Southampton on its fateful maiden voyage, one of the crew was a man called Charles Essex Edwards, 38, who sometimes gave himself the first name of ‘Clement’.

Charles was born in 1862 to John and Harriet Edwards of St. Martin’s Place, Haverfordwest.

He worked as a carpenter as a 19-year-old man and would end up moving out of Pembrokeshire and going to sea.  By the time he married a lady called Lavinia Ann Poulter, from Llanstadwell, in May 1892 he was living in Newport.

Lavinia, a Pembrokeshire woman herself, was the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Poulter who lived on Lawrenny Terrace in Neyland.

By 1895, Lavinia had returned to Pembrokeshire following the death of her mother. Charles and Lavinia’s marriage suffered but Charles would continue visiting Lavinia and stayed at his father-in-law’s house when he was on shore leave.

Although still married in the eyes of the law, Charles and Lavinia were basically separated by 1901.

Charles signed on to work on the brand new RMS Titanic after it had completed its sea trials in Belfast Lough, he gave his address as 7 Brunswick Square, Southampton. He worked on the Titanic as an assistant pantry-man steward who earned a monthly wage of £3 15s on his previous ship the SS Zeeland.

SS Zeeland: The ship Charles worked on before the Titanic

When RMS Titanic left Southampton a massive crowd had gathered to see the newest addition to the White Star Line fleet depart. Charles Edwards was there. He was there when the ship picked up more passengers at Cherbourg and Cobh.

He would’ve been working during the day, his job entailed keeping the ship’s pantries stocked with food and wine, a vital job on a ship with such a high-class passenger list as the Titanic.

He was, more than likely, sleeping when Frederick Fleet spotted an iceberg in the ship’s path at 11:40pm on Sunday, April 14. He would’ve been woken by the noise of metal on ice and the ship shuddering as it was torn open on the starboard side.

As the ‘unsinkable’ ship took on water Charles, as a White Star Line employee, would’ve been given the unenviable task of waking up passengers, informing them of what happened and getting them to put on their lifejackets.

Once the scale of the situation on the Titanic became apparent, the command structure effectively disintegrated.

Captain Edward Smith would’ve cut a forlorn figure as he wandered around near the wheelhouse and his last words to his crew, according to reports at the time were:

“Well boys, you’ve done your duty and done it well. I ask no more of you. I release you.

“You know the rule of the sea. It’s every man for himself now, and God bless you.”

This would’ve been around 2:10am, at that point Charles would’ve faced a literal up-hill battle with male members of the crew only having a 24% chance of survival and many people gathering ‘like bees’ on the stern of the stricken liner which, experts say, raised to a 12 degree angle.

The Pantryman-stewards from the Titanic’s sister ship, the Olympic

Many male crew members elected to stay at their posts as, according to Victorian culture it was better for men to die than to live and be perceived a coward, so the lights of the ship remained on until about 2:18am, just two minutes before Titanic broke apart and began its journey to its final resting place some 12,000ft below on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

But now you know there was a man named Charles Edwards who was born in Haverfordwest and who died when the Titanic sank in the freezing waters of the North Atlantic. His body, if it was recovered, was never identified and we don’t even have a picture of him.

When news of the disaster broke, The Pembroke County Guardian described the tragedy as ‘one of the most appalling calamities in the long history of shipwreck’.

Four men from Maenclochog, it was later revealed, had a lucky escape as their plans to emigrate that April on the Titanic were thwarted by one of their number being unable to travel, so the group decided to wait for their friend. That decision saved their lives.

Pembrokeshire responded to the sinking by raising money for the Titanic Relief Fund, Pembroke Dock raised £12 2s 0d through a collection at the Royal Dockyard and, in Haverfordwest, Sidney White, who would later go on to own The Palace Cinema, hosted benefit performances to packed houses which raised £5 15s.

Lavinia, after a legal battle with Charles’ brother William, was given £192 in compensation for Charles’ death and went on to look after her father at Railway Terrace, Neyland until he passed away.

Lavinia went on to move to Middlesex where she lived until 1934. She left her estate to her chauffeur.

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Marloes pensioner in child abuse images case

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A PENSIONER has been bailed to attend Swansea Crown Court by magistrates sitting in Haverfordwest Law Courts this week.

Derek Lister, 72, of Marloes is accused of making indecent photographs of children.

He appeared before the bench, on Tuesday (Apr 13).

Lister was represented by Redkite Solicitors.

The court heard that between June 2009 and November 2019 in Marloes, Pembrokeshire, Lister allegedly created 3 indecent category A images of a child, 14 indecent category B images of a child and 152 indecent category C images of a child.

He will now appear at Swansea Crown Court on May 11 at 10am for the next hearing after the local court declined jurisdiction.

Lister has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Derek Lister: Accused of making child abuse images
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