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Mustang fights to stay afloat

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stay afloatOVER 100 jobs are at risk after Mustang Marine, the Pembroke Dock-based boat building facility, announced it could enter administration within days.

The plight of the troubled company was exclusively revealed in The Pembrokeshire Herald’s February 7 edition. It had been hoped that a cash inection involving the Welsh Government, Milford Haven Port Authority and a third party would keep Mustang afloat.

Managing Director Stewart Graves said:

“Unfortunately last week, after completing its review of the business, the external party withdrew its offer and without that party the long-term funding package could not proceed.

“The directors over the past few days have, with their professional advisers, sought other funding and are still trying to find a rescue package to secure the future of the business.

“It’s possible the company will go into administration later this week or early next week if a rescue package cannot be found.”

Mustang is currently taking professional advice from Grant Thornton, the international accountancy firm.Earlier this month Stewart Graves admitted that the business was growing extremely quickly and was therefore “tight for cash”.

He told the Herald on February 10: “There are no plans as we speak to call in the administrators to Mustang Marine Wales. “Our company is productively employing a hundred people and we have a pipeline of work to continue beyond the middle of the year.’

When asked at the time if the company was considering calling in the receivers, Mr Graves simply said: “No comment.”

In November the Herald reported on Economy Minister Edwina Hart opening a new construction hall at Mustang Marine as part of a planning expansion of the company. Mr Graves took over from Mr Kevin Lewis as managing Insolvency rumours denied director recently.

Chief Executive of the Port of Milford Haven, Alec Don told The Pembrokeshire Herald a few weeks ago:

“We are aware Mustang Marine is facing challenges as it undertakes two projects that are bigger than anything it has done before. We know these challenges have put some strain on their cash flow and appreciate this is concerning for local businesses. Mustang Marine is an important player in the local economy and we have been working hard with Mustang and with the Welsh Government to see the company through these challenges. It is important to point out that Mustang has a healthy order book and its customers are very impressed with its products. “

It now seems that the future is beak for the beleagured firm, who reportedly owe local businesses hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council, Councillor Jamie Adams, said:

“This is a sad day for the employees of Mustang Marine and their families who now have to go through some days of uncertainty. I have the utmost sympathy for them.

“It was only a few months ago, in November, that the prospects for the company seemed so rosy with the Economy Minister Edwina Hart travelling to Pembroke Dock to open Mustang Marine’s new £1.5 million boat building construction hall.

“It was hailed as a new dawn for boat building in the town and I hope that a rescue package can still be put together even at this late hour.”

Councillor Adams said that the County Council’s Futureworks and Workdays teams would be contacting the company to arrange to meet staff and help them to find alternative employment should the company fail in the next few days.

Practical help which can be given includes identifying any future training needs which could assist in securing work or advice on compiling CVs.

Councillor Adams added: “We will be working in close collaboration with other agencies such as Jobcentre Plus to offer as much support as we can.”

Alec Don told The Pembrokeshire Herald yesterday:

“We are deeply concerned by news of a potential appointment of an Administrator to the business of Mustang Marine (Wales) Limited. As a 50% shareholder in the business, we have been and will continue to be working with the company and other stakeholders to see if a solution can be found that ensures this business can continue to operate. “An external third party did have a fully agreed package of support from the Welsh Government and the Port and it is disappointing that the third party decided not to proceed.

“We understand this situation is causing anxiety for the staff at Mustang. We need to remain positive that Mustang Marine will find a way through current challenges and that it will come out of this as a reinvigorated business with a sound plan.

“As a Trust Port we are committed to focussing on our core mission which is the operation and development of the port as well as to encourage and promote jobs and economic growth in the region. We will continue to work hard with Mustang Marine’s management and any Administrator to that end.”

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Former Chequers nightclub to reopen

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AN APPLICATION for a new premises licence for the former Chequers night club succeeded at a meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council’s Licensing sub-committee on Thursday (Aug 22).

The former nightclub closed its doors for the last time in 2003, when it ran as a private members’ club, having had an application for a full on-licence rejected.

After failing in an attempt to close the club on that occasion, Pembrokeshire County Council became the only local authority in Wales to classify mobile homes as permanent residences in an effort to shut down the club once and for all.

The new applicant, Mrs Carmen Clemas applied for a new premises licence in respect of the club, which will be renamed the Queen of Clubs.

The Committee heard objections to the licence from local residents and heard representations from both the Police and Fire Service which pointed out that the building would need significant remedial works to it before it could re-open.

While Penally Community Council objected on the basis of events and problems at the premises almost twenty years ago, neither the Police nor Fire Service had an objection to the Club’s re-opening in principle.

Both emergency services emphasised that, even though they had no objections, they had concerns that had to be addressed.

The Committee granted the application, refusing permission for licensable activities at the Club on Sundays, apart from Sundays before Bank Holidays, and imposing strict noise control measures.

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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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