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Train stop journey arrives at Haverfordwest

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Vicki and Geoff: Travelling to 2,563 train stations across the UK

A COUPLE from East London have taken on the challenge of travelling to every train station in the UK, and this week they arrived at Haverfordwest.

Geoff Marshall and Vicki Pipe have travelled to over 1,400 train stations out of the 2,563 stations in the United Kingdom, and have so far travelled by train across Kent, Birmingham and Derbyshire, but this week is their ‘Wales Week’.

Updating their YouTube channel, ‘All The Stations’, they have been documenting their journey on a daily basis.

So, what are the rules? Geoff and Vicki must be on a train that stops – they can’t get on a fast train that goes all the way through to the final destination, so ideally they need to be on a train that does stop at every station.

The Herald caught up with Geoff and Vicki at Haverfordwest Train Station after they got off the 2pm train with their camera, wearing their ‘All The Stations’ t-shirts yesterday afternoon (Jun 27).

When asked where it all started, Vicki said: “I’m very interested in the social history side and how the railways connect people.”

Pulling into the station: Haverfordwest

Geoff managed to be the record holder of travelling to all the tube stations in London in the fastest time – twice. He said: “Off of that came the conversation, is there a record to go to all of the train stations?”

“We’re not trying to do it in the fastest time, but at a more leisurely pace!”

The pair didn’t want it to just be a journey in which they stopped and explored places that they thought were interesting, and wanted other people to contribute.

They came to Haverfordwest after being approached by a local, who offered them the chance to travel to Pembrokeshire and take a look around.

So far, it has taken Vicki and Geoff 6 weeks to travel to half of the stations across the UK, however they anticipate it will take them an extra 8 weeks to complete the rest as they take their journey through Wales, due to trains running less frequently than in other areas.

Geoff said: “One of the most obvious difference is we live in a world in South East London, where we’re from, where a train runs every 10 minutes.

“One of our local stations, I don’t even bother to check when the next train is going to be, I just rock up and know that another one is going to be along in the next three or four, at most seven minutes, there’s going to be a train, and here at Haverfordwest we’re looking at the board and there’s a train every two hours.

“It does bring it home how infrequent trains are out of the cities and commuter areas.”

Whilst travelling through Wales, Vicki has been trying to learn some of the Welsh language, and has been speaking to people across the country in an attempt to help her learn more.

She said: “It’s been brilliant trying to learn Welsh as well, and people have been so happy to give us tips, and I really hope by the end of the week I’ll be able to reel off a few sentences without having to look at my notes!”

Half way there: Vicki and Geoff are almost half way through their ‘All The Stations’ journey

The love of railways all stemmed from a box of old black and white photogaphs of railways owned by Geoff’s grandad, before they were closed by The Beeching cuts in 1965, along with maps of the railways that Geoff’s grandfather used to cycle to.

Geoff said: “The more you look at a map and the place names, the more you think why don’t people just get on a train and get out and explore more? And there’s something quite marvellous, with that expression the thrill is in the chase not the capture, I would definitely bump that up to the experience is in the journey not getting to your destination.

“And, I’d rather do it on a train where you can look out the window, read a book, talk to someone, have a nap, get up and go for a walk around – if I was taking a long journey I’d prefer to do it by train, and it’s good for the environment too!

“And I really mean that – we come from London where the air quality is an issue, and we’ve been in Wales this week breathing in some fresh mountain air, so it brings it home. So, more than ever, I’m thinking we need to get people onto trains.”

The Herald asked Geoff and Vicki if they think the train lines will change over the next few years.

Vicki said: “I think there’s going to be loads of investment in the train network over the next few years, and that’s going to dramatically change the way we travel, such as the speed of which we travel, how we buy our tickets and the service we expect once we get on board a train, and in a way it felt like 2017 was the time to take a look and take a snapshot of what the railways are like now before all of that change happens.

“We’ve joked about maybe coming back in 15 to 20 years to see what it’s like!”

To follow Geoff and Vicki’s journey, go to www.allthestations.co.uk or find them on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.

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St Davids RNLI to feature in new series of a popular TV documentary

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THE volunteer lifeboat crew of St Davids RNLI will be taking to the small screen next week as they will feature twice in the first episode of the BBC TV series Saving Lives at Sea.

Now in its fourth season the documentary series, which showcases the lifesaving work of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), will be aired on BBC Two on Tuesdays at 8 pm, as well as being available on the BBC iPlayer following the broadcast. The new 10-part series features real rescues carried out by the charity’s volunteer lifeboat crews and lifeguards around the UK and Ireland – including St Davids RNLI.

Each programme gives a unique insight into the lives and work of the charity’s lifesavers who are needed more than ever before, rescuing thousands of people and saving hundreds of lives around our coastline and on inland waterways every year. The new series features more dramatic real-life rescue footage, accompanied by emotive testimonials from the volunteer crews, lifeguards and the people they rescue and their families.

This forthcoming episode, on 27 August, sees St Davids RNLI launch to a crashed plane in one shout, and tow a yacht stranded in a shipping lane in another. These shouts are shown alongside rescue stories from their colleagues at other stations and beaches around our coasts.

Judd Kohler, Station Mechanic at St Davids Lifeboat Station, said: “The first episode of Saving Lives at Sea shows two very different shouts that St Davids RNLI responded to. The programme is a great chance for RNLI supporters to catch a glimpse of the work that their kind donations go towards. We want to say a huge thank you to supporters of the RNLI, who help us to save lives at sea.”

Filming took place over the past year, with lifeboat crews and lifeguards carrying special cameras and welcoming film-makers into their day-to-day life. Rescues from the RNLI’s archives are also revisited, and we get a glimpse into the everyday lives of the thousands of men and women who give up their time to save lives.

Last year alone, RNLI lifeboat crews around the UK and Ireland rescued 9,412 people, saving 211 lives, while the charity’s lifeguards aided 32,207 people and saved 118 lives on some of the UK’s busiest beaches.

Saving Lives at Sea begins on Tuesday 27 August at 8 pm on BBC Two, and will continue throughout August, September and October.

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Pembrokeshire schools celebrate GCSE results

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PEMBROKESHIRE’S schools are celebrating students’ success in this year’s GCSE exams.

 

“On behalf of staff and governors at Milford Haven School, I would like to congratulate all Year 11 pupils on their GCSE results, reflecting the efforts and commitment they have shown over the last two years and also thank their parents/carers for their support and cooperation,” said the Head Teacher, Ceri-Ann Morris.

 

“We are pleased with a number of individual successes, in particular, our top performers include, Izzy-May Solomon (10A*, 3A’s and B), Megan Owens (12A* and A), Megan Clarke (8A* and 4A’s), Finlay Ryder, Gareth Maclachlan, Evan Price, Molly Griffiths, Elanor Evans, Beth Lewis and Lucie Mathias.

 

The school is pleased to say that all pupils left school with qualifications which will help support them to follow the path of their choice, whether that be into the sixth form, college, apprenticeships or employment.

 

We wish you all good luck in your future careers.”

Among those receiving their results was Joseph Jenkins, a 14-year-old Year 9 student, who achieved a Distinction in Advanced Mathematics.

At Ysgol Y Preseli 100% of pupils achieved qualifications equivalent to 5A*-G; 91% 5A*-C and 37% achieved at least 5A*-A grades.

Across the core subjects, the pupils achieved the following results at A*-C – Welsh 86%; English 91%; Mathematics 82%; Science 84%.

The Head Teacher, Mr Michael Davies, commenting on the results stated: “We are very proud of all the young people who have worked tirelessly to achieve these results. I would also like to thank the staff for their willingness to go the extra mile to ensure that all pupils fulfil their potential at Ysgol y Preseli.”

Amongst the top performers were: Seren Allen – 13 A*, 1 A; Nuala Camplin – 8 A*, 4 A, 2B; Cerys Chadwick – 14 A*; Annest Davies – 6 A*, 4 A, 1B; Thomas Elliott – 9 A*, 4 A, 1 B; Gethin Greenhalgh – 9 A*, 5 A; Cara James – 5 A*, 8 A; Casey Lambert- 7 A*, 7 A; Alexander Larsen – 10 A*, 4 A; Tom Palfrey – 9 A*, 3 A, 1 B; Kate Thomas – 5 A*, 5 A, 3 B; David Varney – 7 A*, 4 A, 3 B
Education Minister, Kirsty Williams, has congratulated GCSE students on their results, as overall performance across Wales has improved.

This summer’s results mark the end of the significant GCSE reform journey undertaken in Wales. The last seven of reformed GCSE subjects are awarded this year including History, Computer Science and Welsh Second Language.

Speaking during her visit to King Henry VIII School in Abergavenny, Kirsty Williams said: “Today we have seen an improvement in overall performance across Wales. I would like to congratulate all learners receiving their results today and to thank the teachers who have worked so hard to deliver these new qualifications.

“Last year we saw a dramatic increase of 50% in entries for science GCSEs. I am pleased to see that entries and results are continuing on the upward trend, with more pupils gaining A*-C and more achieving the very top grades in Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

“This increase in learners being entered means more young people are accessing qualifications that lead to greater opportunities for further science study and careers, paving the way for the future scientists of Wales.”

Following the publication of yesterday’s GCSE and Welsh Baccalaureate results David Evans, Wales Secretary of the National Education Union said: “We congratulate all students who have collected their GCSE and Welsh Baccalaureate results from today and wish them all the very best for the future. It is particularly pleasing to note that overall GCSE performance in Wales has improved by 1.2% especially given the fact that all examinations have been subject to reform in recent years. This progress is a testament to the time and effort put into their studies by pupils across Wales and the unstinting dedication of education professionals in our schools.”

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Welsh Deputy Minister visits New Farm Shop

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Pictured : Julie Morgan AM

A new farm and produce shop on the Scolton Manor estate outside Haverfordwest has been visited by a Welsh Government Minister.

Julie Morgan AM – Deputy Minister for Health and Social Care – called at the shop to see the Welsh Government’s Intermediate Care Fund (ICF) in action.

The shop provides work experience, training and supported employment opportunities in retail and customer service for people with learning disabilities, disabilities and autism.

It is an addition to Pembrokeshire County Council’s existing supported employment offer through Norman Industries, the Authority’s sheltered employment factory in Snowdrop Lane, Haverfordwest.

The shop is the result of partnership working involving Workways+ and Experience for Industry – both funded by the European Social Fund through Welsh Government – Norman Industries and the management and staff at the Council-run Scolton Manor attraction.

The shop, which opened just a few weeks ago, will be supplying the public with fresh produce from the walled gardens at Scolton Manor, local meats, produce, tea and coffee.

It also provides a retail outlet for some of the arts, crafts and products made at Norman Industries.

Over the coming months the shop will also be supplying chutneys made by participants and employees at the supported employment café in Milford leisure centre ‘Caffi Man Cwrdd’.

The Deputy Minister was welcomed by County Councillor Tessa Hodgson, the Authority’s Cabinet Member for Social Services.

The farm shop has been partially resourced and staffed through some of the £400,000 ICF money allocated to expand supported employment opportunities regionally.

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