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Retired coalman is royal billion-heir

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Keith Williams: Retired collier could be a billionaire

WHEN EXPLORING his family tree, Keith Williams was shocked to find out that not only was he the first-born son of the 33rd Sultan of Malaysia, but he was also his biological heir. Keith’s father was one of 9 different sultans in Malaysia. Each sultan takes turns to rule the country for 5 years, before retiring into luxury. 

Keith, a retired Pembrokeshire coal delivery man, lives with his wife Vanessa in a cosy bungalow in Penygroes – a contrast to his father who was brought up in the huge golden-turreted palace Istana Iskandariah in Kuala Kangsar.

Keith was put up for adoption by his birth mother when he was 4 months old and lived at the Caeglas Children’s Home in Ffairfach until he was 18 months old. Keith was then adopted and grew up in a loving family home with his adoptive parents. He found out that he was adopted when he was 13 years old, which was around the time that his father ascended to the throne from prince to 33rd Sultan.

Keith left school at 15 to join his adoptive father’s coal delivery business. Unfortunately, due to delivering 112lb sacks of coal for over 20 years, he developed chronic back pain. This condition forced him to retire 6 years ago.

He did not make any attempts to track down his biological parents until after the birth of his first grandchild, following a suggestion by his wife. Keeping his mission a secret from his adoptive parents and armed with only a marriage certificate and an address for someone who witnessed his mother’s wedding, he was met with many dead ends along the way. In his late forties, he received an address and began writing to his mother, Elizabeth Rosa Hodge. Having been apart for nearly 50 years, they eventually reunited. His mother was now living in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire andhad two daughters and a son with her Polish husband George Grzegorez.

Keith had 16 “wonderful” years with his birth mother until she died at 81 years of age. In their years spent with one another she pieced together the story of his heritage, divulging the information that his father was Malaysian royalty.

He learned that his mother had been swept off her feet into a whirlwind romance with London university student and sultan Idris Iskandar Al- Mutawakki Alallahi Shah whilst she was a 17 year old student nurse in Surrey. After falling pregnant, she returned to her Llanelli home and after the birth put Keith up for adoption.

The sultan returned to Malaysia to avoid the royal scandal that would’ve been brought on by having a baby out of wedlock with a foreign ‘commoner’, and Elizabeth lost all contact with him. She learned that he never received any of her letters, but she had kept everything she had written to him and the photos they had taken together.

In a step towards finding his father, Keith requested his birth records from Social Services. The documents listed a description of him which said that “The father of the child is a Malaysian. A married man with a family.” This would later serve as his proof.

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 10.06.06

Almarhum Sultan Idris Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar Shah: 33rd Sultan of Perak

Keith said that the search for his biological father was difficult due to the sultan’s royal status. He eventually found out that the 33rd sultan was his father but had died in 1984 of a heart attack and had left behind 10 children.

Upon learning of his father’s death, Keith decided to attempt to contact some of his half brothers and sisters in Malaysia. By chance, his son Simon stumbled across a photo of the sultan on MySpace. The woman who had posted the image was the Sultan’s daughter, Ku Ess.

After contacting Ku Ess, Keith decided to take a DNA test to prove his heritage to his Malaysian family. He asked one of his half-brothers for a male DNA sample to compare against his own, but was shocked to receive a reply stating that they were no ordinary family and did not want to openly expose any skeletons in the cupboard.

Keith began to think that due to the amount of the power the Sultan had, he must also be extremely wealthy, and concluded that the family were not only afraid of a scandal, but also were worried that an unknown Welshman would swoop in and seize their fortune and their power. Although pondering the idea of money being left in the sultan’s will, Keith made it abundantly clear that money was not the motive behind reaching out to his Malay family, but instead it was the chance to meet and learn more of his background.

After travelling to Malaysia, he made contact with one of his half-brothers and visited his father’s mausoleum, of which Keith said “was fantastic and very emotional. I would’ve loved to meet him.” On receiving a tour of the grand palace in which his father grew up, he humorously commented that “It took two and a half minutes to drive around the Sultan’s palace – it would take two and a half seconds to drive around my place.” His half sister also visited him discreetly whilst he was staying at a hotel in Malaysia.

Keith says his shocking discovery is “like a story from a Disney film.” Reflecting on the lifestyle of a sultan, he said “I’ve worked all my life and never wanted for anything. I got married when I was 21 and Vanessa and I will celebrate our 43rd wedding anniversary in April.” He believes that regardless of his current or future circumstances, he won’t change who he is and appreciates his place within his community – “I’m still Keith y Glo – Keith the Coal.”

Keith hopes to meet more of his Malaysian relatives in the next few years, and also learn more about his father and his new extended family.

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Milford Haven: Apocalyptic scenes as work truck catches fire in Meyler Crescent

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A MILFORD HAVEN businessman says that he is “absolutely gutted”, after he lost his tipper truck in a dramatic fire overnight.

Callum Hicks, of Meyler Crescent, was woken just after 1am on Monday morning (Mar 1) to see his vehicle in flames, with fuel running down the street on fire.

The apocalyptic scenes brought neighbours out of their homes and the fire brigade was quickly called and put out the blaze.

At this time the police and fire brigade are not suspecting foul play, but in a telephone call to Herald reporter said that he thought it was impossible that the vehicle would just spontaneously combust.

Work van: Callum Hicks with his truck, which he says was his “pride and joy”

Explaining that he thought his truck had been set on fire deliberately, Callum Hicks said: “There was CCTV of the fire, but its a football pitch length away, with a white van parked blocking the view of the camera. There was not a clear uninterrupted view.”

“I parked the truck at 2pm on Sunday afternoon so it was 11 hours before the fire started. The vehicle was therefore cold, and locked up.”

Firefighters at the scene

The Herald has asked two mechanics, one of whom has worked on Transit vans for decades. The first said: “It is very unlikely that a vehicle like this would catch fire on it’s own – its impossible – I am 99.9% sure that this was arson.”

“The second, a specialist in vehicle electronics said: “There are so many fuses and fail safes its highly unlikely for diesel vans to burst into flames like this without some kind of catalyst.”

Burned out shell: The vehicle after the fire

“There have been issues regarding Transits in the past, even a product recall involving a fire risk from a towing module. But, the chances are a million to one of it catching fire after being parked up for almost twelve hours. It just doesn’t happen.”

The Herald asked Callum Hicks if he could think of anyone who may want to torch his truck. He said that he could not think of anyone who would do such a thing.

Commenting on the police handling of the matter, he said: “They told my missus, Rhianna Pearce, that they were not taking matters further because it was just an accident – its not!”

“I have been in trouble with the police before, and they know I am a bit of a boy, but I think this is the reason that the police are not looking into this properly.

“At the end of the day this was a large fire in a residential area, lives could have been in danger. I have lost thousands because I was insured third-party only and I do not have cover for fire.

Dyfed-Powys Police and Mid & West Wales Fire and Rescue Service have been asked for a comment.

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Covid-19 vaccination venues and timeline announced for everyone locally over 50

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EVERY person in JCVI priority groups 5 to 9 will be offered a COVID-19 vaccination by 18 April, Hywel Dda University Health Board has confirmed.

While the health board’s vaccination programme has the capacity to offer a vaccine to everyone in groups 5 to 9 by the original target date of 4 April, the delivery plan has had to be adjusted based on confirmed vaccine deliveries.

Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, and Pembrokeshire residents in priority groups 5 to 9 can expect to receive their vaccine as follows:

  • Group 5, people aged 65 – 69 years – delivered by GP practices between 15 February and 12 March
  • Group 6, people aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions and unpaid carers – delivered by GP practices between 22 February and 4 April
  • Group 7, people aged 60 – 64 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 8 March
  • Group 8, people aged 55 – 59 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 22 March
  • Group 9, people aged 50 – 54 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 5 April

The health board currently has mass vaccination centres located in Aberystwyth, Cardigan, Haverfordwest, Tenby, Carmarthen and Llanelli.

Group 6 is significantly the largest cohort to be vaccinated to date and we understand that many in this group will be anxious to receive a vaccine. Please do not contact your GP or the health board to ask about your appointment, you will be contacted directly when it is your turn and we thank you for your patience.

People in groups 7, 8 and 9 will receive a letter with an appointment date and time. Please arrive as close to your appointment time as possible. The letter will include a phone number to contact the health board should you need to rearrange or cancel your appointment but please make every effort to keep your allocated appointment time.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda UHB, said: “While  our programme has had to slow  due to supplies, we want to reassure everyone in groups 5 to 9 that our amazing teams of vaccinators and GP practices have the capability and flexibility to deliver our vaccine supplies as they arrive into the region.

“Vaccine supplies will start to increase again from mid-March, and we are confident that everyone living in our three counties in the top 9 priority groups will be offered a vaccine by mid-April.

“In Hywel Dda we have an older population compared to some other health boards and so over 50% of our adult population will have been offered a vaccine by milestone 2.

“To be able to say that as we approach the anniversary of the first national lockdown is nothing short of extraordinary.

“And again, I must say thank you to everyone living in our three counties who continue to come forward in substantial numbers for the vaccine. Uptake remains remarkably high and we hope to see this continue through groups 5 to 9 and into group 10.”

People are asked, wherever possible, to use their own private transport to attend an appointment. Lifts can be accepted from someone in their household or support bubble, but not from anyone else due to the risk of transmission of the virus.

The health board has put in place transport support for anyone who may have difficulty attending their vaccination appointment. If you have no other means of travel, please contact the health board on 0300 303 8322 and we will be happy to assist.

Everyone in priority groups 1 to 4 should have received an offer of a vaccination. If you have not been contacted, or have changed your mind, please contact your GP at the earliest opportunity. No one will be left behind.

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Nolton Haven: Man hospitalised after getting into difficulties in sea

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A MAN was taken to hospital after getting into difficulties in the sea off Nolton Haven on Friday.

Emergency services were alerted at 2.40pm on February 26 by a 999 call to the control centre.

The Little Haven RNLI lifeboat, Broad Haven Coastguard, an ambulance crew and a Coastguard rescue helicopter assisted police in the operation.

The male casualty was stabilised on the beach and shortly before 4.30pm, was then transported to Withybush Hospital.

A police spokesman told The Herald: “We were called to a male who had got into difficulties in the water at Nolton Haven shortly before 3pm.

“He was taken to hospital by ambulance.”

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