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Bakery rises to the occasion

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bakery risesA BAKERY in Haverfordwest has moved a step closer to being named as the best bakery in Britain.

On Wednesday they won the regional final and they will now be competing against the winner of Central England on Friday for the chance to go to the National Finals. The Welsh Bakery specialises in all types of baking from traditional breads, morning goods, savouries to their more exotic contemporary range like sour doughs, shaped celebration cakes (“Minion Cakes” from Despicable Me) and Rye Breads. They even cater for buffets and wedding parties.

They do their baking in a custom-made Bakehouse in Thornton Industrial Estate and they also supply top eateries like the Georges in Haverfordwest.

They use only top ingredients and are one of the few bakeries that still make by hand.

Bakery owner Rob Davies said:

“Brian used to work for his father Billy Davies and his uncle Cecil Davies in Merlins Bridge when he was growing up. I believe he’s a third generation baker with 50 years of experience making me the fourth with 25 years of experience and my kids the future fifth.

“ITV came to film us at bakery in early June where we had to make two of the three challenges for the show.

“For the speciality bake we had to choose one product that would set us apart from other bakeries.

“We chose our Dragon Bread which is fiery bread with chilli coriander and coconut and shaped in the image of a dragon. We thought this would be a good option as nowhere else makes it and being a Welsh bakery – to Welsh dragon to dragon bread seemed to be a no-brainer.

“My saying on the farmers market is ‘if you’re not Welsh before you eat it you will be after, it puts fire in your belly’.”

The other challenge was called the Wild Card Bake where they specified two ingredients to use which were coconut and a rich short crust base. Rob continued:

“This is where the Preseli Tropical Tart was born. After a fair bit of brainstorming between me, Brian and my wife Jayne we decided on a short crust base with crushed mango and coconut custard. We had the nod, and builders know their grub so we knew it was a winner. Brian coined the name as he lives on the mountains and mangoes are tropical.

“I did have a bit of a joke with the judges on this one, not sure if it’ll make it onto final edit but they were big on locally sourced ingredients so when asked what part of our coconut and mango based tart we sourced locally, I said: ‘well the mango’s and coconuts of course, it’s well known they grow all over the Preseli mountains’.”

After the highs of being filmed for TV they were hit with the greatest of lows when their Haverfordwest store caught fire just a week after filming. The shop now has an incredible new look and they would like to thank all staff and customers who were amazing through a difficult six months when they were undergoing repairs.

“We travelled up to Burton upon Trent later in the month to display our speciality bake, Wild Card Bake and to take part in final challenge, the Bakers Dozen.

“In this instance it was for Calazone’s which is similar to a folded over pizza containing tomatoes, mozzarella and pesto. We very much enjoyed this challenge. It was very novel baking in different surroundings being watched by judges and TV cameras. I hope our humour comes across on the TV screen.

“The experience of being filmed all the time was unsettling at first but we soon got used to it and started to relax. The film crew were amazing and friendly and helped to make it a very memorable occasion.

“We did feel a bit nervous when it came to being judged by Mich Turner, TV chef and owner of Little Venice Cake Company, and cookery writer and restaurateur Peter Sidwell.

“We had friends and family with us at the judging, Sharon (Brian’s partner) family friends Lewis and Janice and childhood friend of mine Justin Devereaux who I’ve known for 34 years. We are very grateful for the support and distance they travelled to be with us.”

You can see how they get on by tuning in to the Great British Bakery on ITV1 at 4pm this Friday.

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Remembering the collapse of the Cleddau Bridge fifty years on

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TODAY, marks the 50th anniversary of the collapse of the Cleddau Bridge, then called the Milford Haven Bridge, a day that would change bridge building forever.

The construction of the bridge was a staple of a then booming economy, with the original project estimated to be around £2m, but the flawed design caused devastation.

On June 2, 1970, disaster struck the small village of Pembroke Ferry, when a 150 tonne section of the part-built Cleddau Bridge collapsed, killing four men and injuring another 5 people.

At 2.16pm BST, as a section of the bridge was lowered onto the supporting structure below, villagers reported hearing a groaning sound followed by an engulfing cloud of red dust.

The first officer on the scene was dad of two, PC Phil Lloyd, having just clocked into his shift at Pembroke Dock Station when the fire siren sounded.

Recalling the day, Phil, 74 said “I presumed it was just another chimney fire.”

Then at 2.20pm Phil received a call from his mother in law, she lived 30 metres below the bridge.

“When I went into the switchboard the fella said ‘your mother-in-law is on the phone’.”

“She shouted, ‘the bridge has come down!’ and i said ‘don’t be so dull’.”

PC Lloyd’s mother-in-law, Ivy Lewis, lived directly under the bridge, in Pembroke Ferry, on the south side of the river.

With the oil refineries, Milford Haven Port, all being developed in the county, the bridge was a much needed asset, which would give better accessibility and cut down the 20-mile round trip for vehicles.

Arriving at the scene, Phil described it as “utter pandemonium”.

At the time of the collapse, the local gas man was attending Mrs Lewis’ property. She originally assumed that he “had blown the house up”.

It was only when stepping into her garden could she fathom the true cause of the commotion. The whole section of the bridge was resting at a 45-degree angle in her garden.

Astonishly the bridge narrowly missed the below properties. Although it had completely demolished Phil’s aunties coal shed and outdoor toilet.

“Luckily there was a gap between her house and her sister’s house which is where the bridge came down.” Phil said.

“One man had been killed at the scene and two others were taken to hospital but died later. Then when the bridge was lifted, we found another man underneath.”

Construction of the box-section bridge was put on halt immediately.

Within 18 month’s bridges in Germany and Australia, both of the same ill-fated design collapsed with fatal consequences.

The cause of the collapse was later revealed that the diaphragm above the pier of the bridge had not been thick enough and buckled as the 230-foot section was cantilevered out.

Following an inquiry, a number of safety recommendations were made, which included the addition of 500ft of extra steel to strengthen the bridge.

In 1995, on the 25th anniversary of the disaster a memorial plaque to the four men who died, William Baxendale, George Hamilton, James Thompson and local man Evan Phillips.was unveiled.

Unfortunately the plaque was later stolen and has not yet been replaced.

The completed Cleddau Bridge reopened in 1975, making it the largest unsupported span in Europe although costs had escalated to £12m upon completion.

The disaster which shook the small village, laid the foundations for which a new standard was developed in the box girder bridge design.

The Cleddau collapse was regarded as the last major bridge disaster in the UK.

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Community

Lottery win for local neighbours

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Ten people in Pembroke Dock are celebrating today after winning £1,000 each thanks to their lucky postcode.

The Milton Terrace neighbours netted the windfall when SA72 6BJ was announced as a Daily Prize winner with People’s Postcode Lottery on Saturday 18th April 2020.

People’s Postcode Lottery ambassador Judie McCourt sent her well-wishes to the winners. She said: “What lovely news to start off your weekend. Congratulations to our winners!”

A minimum of 32% of ticket sales goes directly to charities and players of People’s Postcode Lottery have raised over £500 million to date for thousands of good causes in Britain and beyond.

This draw was promoted by the Wildlife Trusts which have received over £12.6 million in funding from the players of People’s Postcode Lottery. The Wildlife Trusts look after more than 2,300 nature reserves and operate more than 100 visitor and education centres across the country. The Trusts work to make life better for wildlife, people and future generations.

Many good causes close to the winners have also benefitted from players’ support, and local charities can next apply for funding in August.

For more information on People’s Postcode Lottery, please visit www.postcodelottery.co.uk or Facebook  and Twitter.

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Community

Call to stay safe and respect the countryside

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With more people using countryside paths and walks for exercise
during coronavirus restrictions, a call has gone out for walkers to stay
safe and respect landowners’ privacy and business.

The joint message comes from Pembrokeshire County Council and
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.

Pembrokeshire has some of the most beautiful countryside in Wales
and is fantastic to explore on foot.

And with exercise close to home part of the permitted reasons to
leave lockdown, paths and walks are increasingly busy.

Walkers are advised to only access footpaths from their doorstep and
be aware that when using Countryside Rights of Way that you are
crossing private land.

At this time of year the countryside is a busy place, lambing is in full
swing and field preparation for new crops is underway.
Those using the paths are asked to follow and observe any advisory
signs or temporary diversions you may come across.

Please note that routes are normally unrestricted, but under the
present situation there may be some routes that aren’t available, such
as closures to part of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.

Please be particularly vigilant and respectful when using paths that
are in the curtilage of private residences or pass through Farm Yards
and adhere with “social distancing” at all times.

Please follow this advice:

Wherever possible restrict use to footpaths accessible within
your neighbourhood – if possible do not drive to the
countryside to walk.

Follow any diversion signs provided by landowner.

• Remember social distancing. Keep 2m distance from anyone
and use wide areas to pass each other safely.

• Plan your walk – try to avoid busy times of day when many
other people may be walking, and if possible, don`t use the
same route every day.

• Respect landowners as they may be self-isolating or have
vulnerable people living with them.

• Ensure dogs are kept on a short lead, but beware of livestock
as they may chase your dog.

• Do not let your dog come in contact with other people.

• Clean up after your dog – do not leave dog fouling bags
behind.

• Ensure gates are not left open allowing livestock to escape.

• Keep to the line of the path, do not allow your dog to run free.

• Respect the property and business you are passing through.

• Keep away from livestock

• As part of good personal hygiene always wash your hands
after visiting the countryside.

It is also worth remembering that when walking or running on roads
where there is no pavement, you should face on-coming traffic and
wear highly visible clothing.

Tegryn Jones, Chief Executive of the Park Authority said: “This
guidance will protect the public and any livestock they may encounter
while out walking. It will also prevent additional calls upon emergency
services, who are already working at capacity, from having to respond
to issues such as trespass, lost dogs, sheep worrying and livestock
escaping from fields.

“We are encouraged by the response of the vast majority of the public
in following Government advice to stay at home and only access the
outdoors from their doorsteps. It is important for those people who do
have walking opportunities on their doorsteps to take note of the
advice provided when out walking.”

Full details of the Coast Path closures can be found on the Authority’s
website at www.pembrokeshirecoast.wales.

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