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Cycling tour a resounding success!

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Tour of Pembrokeshire: 1,500 cyclists took part in the 2016 event

Tour of Pembrokeshire: 1,500 cyclists took part in the 2016 event

THE 2016 TOUR of Pembrokeshire took place at its new venue of Crug Glas near St Davids on the weekend of April 23-24.

The venue was not the only thing changing about the tour this year – there was the added combination of adjusted and optimised routes as well as new feeding stations en route.

The Tour of Pembrokeshire is an early-season sportive event which really encapsulates what it is like to cycle in Pembrokeshire.

The route includes endless quiet country roads, coastal views, daunting climbs and energysapping ups and downs.

With three different routes to choose from, the tour offers the opportunity for riders of almost any ability to test themselves against what Pembrokeshire has to offer.

In the past, the tour has attracted names such as Chris Boardman MBE, and regularly has many cycling publications attend to ride at the event.

The cycling weekend kicked off on the rather wet and grey Friday afternoon (Apr 22) where a large amount of the 1,500 cyclists made their way up to Crug Glas to register for the event and collect their rider number, timing chip and info pack.

Despite the grim weather, the atmosphere was buoyant as riders got into the mood for the challenge ahead, and sportive riders are well accustomed to imperfect weather conditions.

Saturday saw an early start both for the organisers of the event and the riders themselves, as cars began to arrive at Crug Glas at 5am.

There was a tangible atmosphere of anticipation and excitement as riders unloaded their bikes from their cars, got ready and enjoyed a hearty breakfast, which was prepared by Crug Glas and Will Evans and the team from Gwaun Valley Meats, to see them through the day.

As 7am approached, the 100- mile route cyclists had their timing chips scanned and began the route whilst the sun steadily rose over the beautiful Pembrokeshire countryside and music blared out whilst family and friends cheered.

Live bands, such as Fishguard and Goodwick orchestra, Samba Band, Honey Fungus and PUP, played at Feed Stations and the venue throughout the day.

Twinned with the bout of incredible weather, this made the day an unforgettable experience for both the riders and locals alike.

The route brought cyclists through Fishguard, Newport, St Dogmaels, Crymych, the Gwaun Valley, Bedd Morris, Puncheston, St Davids and then back up along the main road to Crug Glas.

Riders doing the 100-mile route had to face over 10,000 foot of uphill climbs.

Joshua Fiddy, Event Organiser, said: “This year we have been incredibly blessed to have some of the best weather the tour has ever experienced.

“This, along with the great new venue in Crug Glas, fantastic Feed Stations, live music from some of Pembrokeshire’s best bands, enthusiastic and dedicated staff and volunteers, great support from sponsors and obviously the riders themselves who turned up in the droves and gave it everything they had, made the 2016 Tour of Pembrokeshire one that will stand out in the minds of all involved for many years to come.

“It was a truly superb day that I am proud to have been a part of.”

The tour supported the Welsh Air Ambulance, Paul Sartori Foundation, RNLI and 2420 (Whitland and District) Squadron. They were grateful for the help of the volunteers from these organisations that worked so hard and enthusiastically on the day.

A host of riders who partook in the tour left their comments. Colin Wyatt said: “I just wanted to say thanks. It was the hardest and best sportive I have ever done.

“The atmosphere was more of a festival and was second to none. Credit too goes to the kind and courteous people of Pembrokeshire who were the most considerate drivers and spectators I have known.”

Richard Davies said: “This is probably the best event I’ve ridden. It was superb in every aspect, even the brutal hills. I had 112 miles in the bag by the time I got back to the B&B!”

The tour would like to give special thanks to their sponsors – Pembrokeshire Bikes, Fred Rees Skoda, Quality Cottages, Gwaun Valley Meats, Castle Hot Tubs and the many other businesses and organisations that helped to make the Tour of Pembrokeshire happen.

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Education

Doubts cast over Milford Haven secondary school refurbishment

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FRESH doubts have been cast over the refurbishment of Milford Haven Secondary School.

At a meeting of the Schools and Learning Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Thursday, January 21, it was announced that it could be delayed until 2024.

The school had been earmarked for refurbishment but after costs were escalated due to the building’s poor state, it has been suggested that a new-build would be needed.

Cllr Viv Stoddart said she was ‘very disappointed’ by the new information and said that Milford Haven was coming out ‘second-best’.

Cllr Bob Kilmister said: “We are doing the prep work for Milford Haven in terms of where we go.

“The 21st Century Schools budget goes up to 2024 and there is a £15m gap at the moment. So if nothing happened we would need to fund £15m. That is unaffordable.

“I have been in contact with the Welsh Government to ask if they can expand our budget of £106m upwards. The extra budget gap would be £5m and that would be affordable.

“They have said they cant do that at the moment as we are not far enough down the program.

“We are looking at the options for Milford Haven. It was down as a refurbishment but that is just not an option that is viable. It would be very poor use of money.

“This administration’s intention is to try and complete the whole of the programme.”

Cabinet member for Education, Cllr Guy Woodham added: “There was an increased figure in the refurbishment of the building. That was still less than a new build but it did close gap.

“It was almost a no-brainer to go with the new build over the refurbishment.

“Both the secondary and primary schools in Milford Haven are in Band B which runs until 2025 but we are trying very hard to ensure we deliver all projects. I remain optimistic that we should be able to deliver all Band B projects.”

Cllr Stoddart responded saying she was ‘very pessimistic’ about it adding: “It has been at least two years since we had a meeting in Milford Haven School, we’ve had the problem with the
learning resource centre. I find this information very disappointing.”

Cllr Woodham added that Haverfordwest had been the main project in Band B and that the next one on the list was Milford Haven.

Cllr Ken Rowlands said that the people in Milford should have the same sort of facilities that are on offer elsewhere in the county and that they shouldn’t be ‘short-changed’.

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USAF and RAF fighter jets roar over Pembrokeshire

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A FIGHTER JET was most of the day on Tuesday circling in the clouds above Pembrokeshire as part of a RAF training exercise

The F-35 flew in from RAF Marham in King’s Lynn in Norfolk and while the weather made it impossible to see the aircraft due to cloud cover it was heard by many locals.

The noise had subsided by Tuesday afternoon. However, on Wednesday, it was two US F-15s from RAF Lakenheath making all the noise as part of a different training exercise.

The two USAF F15 jets have now departed Pembrokeshire to head back home to their base, with more expected later, weather dependant.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence told The Pembrokeshire Herald that the exercise was not hosted by the Castle Martin Range in Pembrokeshire. They said: “We can confirm a RAF F-35 Lightning from RAF Marham was conducting routine training in the area on the day in question (Jan 19).”

(Image by Andy Jones USAF F-15E Strike Eagle – Stock photo)

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Teachers to decide GCSE, AS and A-level grades in Wales

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TEACHERS are set to decide GCSE, AS and A-level grades in Wales after a system replacing end-of-year exams was axed, the Welsh Government has confirmed.

Education Minister Kirsty Williams told The Herald in a statement that the pandemic had left her “no choice” in scrapping the classroom assessments.

It has now been decided that grades determined by schools and colleges based on the work covered would be “simple and clear”

The following has been confirmed:

Schools and colleges will now be able to use a range of evidence to determine the grades to be awarded to their learners, including coursework and mocks. The WJEC exam board will also offer a set of adapted past papers to enable schools to carry on assessing their pupils

Schools and colleges can access an assessment framework set by Qualifications Wales to help set grades and their plans will be quality assured by WJEC

Deadlines for coursework or “non-exam assessment” are being removed and will not be moderated by WJEC

WJEC will publish guidance and oversee schools and colleges’ internal quality assurance processes and will have a role in quality assuring their implementation. Teachers and lecturers will be offered training so they are applied “consistently, equitably, and fairly”

The grades are then submitted to the WJEC who will not change them. Appeals about grades will go to a school or college
Learners in Year 12 will also be awarded a “Centre Determined” grade but it won’t contribute to the final A level. It won’t apply to Year 10 unit assessments, but will apply if they are finishing a qualification

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