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Answers wanted over child’s death



answers wantedON FRIDAY, March 14, friends and supporters gathered at County Hall, Haverfordwest to call for ‘truth and transparency’ regarding the circumstances leading to the teenager’s death.

Fourteen-year-old Seren Bernard’s body was found in Milford Haven in 2012.

Sarah Pollock, from Haverfordwest, has complained to an ombudsman, claiming her concerns and views were ignored.

She said: ““My daughter wasn’t a statistic, she wasn’t a number, and she wasn’t a wage for foster carers. My daughter was a human being with rights. That’s what I’m standing up for today.”

A report published in January about Seren’s death has been strongly criticised by Sarah. The report said it would remain uncertain whether or not the death could have been prevented had any steps been taken.

In a statement responding to the demonstration, officials from Pembrokeshire County Council said that they appreciated “the deep emotion of Mrs Pollock as a bereaved parent. The independent reports that have been completed by external experts into the tragic loss of her daughter have concluded that it would remain uncertain as to whether there were any steps that, if taken, could have prevented her death.”

“At present the matter is still before HM Coroner and it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

Mother of Seren Bernard demands the truth

THE MOTHER of tragic teenage suicide victim, Seren Bernard, has fronted a protest requesting answers over the death of her 14-year-old daughter, whilst under the care of Pembrokeshire County Council’s Social Services department.

Sarah Pollock told The Herald about what she sees as the County Council’s many failures that led to the death of Seren: holding them responsible. Sarah also believes she has been unfairly treated by all agencies concerned.

“I am fighting my case against the whole overview report that they have sanctioned and locked down in the Safeguarding Board of Pembrokeshire. I have a lot of questions to ask of the County Council.

“They say their reviews have been independent and impartial; I dispute this”.

She said of the Executive Summary,

“Their documentation is inaccurate, personal and not professional, and certainly not impartial. The basis of the information provided to other agencies was biased, inaccurate and incorrect”.

Regarding the Executive Summary experience, attended by Sarah Pollock, she said,

“Mr Relf (head of child care) and Mr Brown (safeguarding board) told me I had time to consider the paper before going over it.

“I asked if I could have a private room, so they left the room. I read the first page and they came back in the room asking if I’d finished. After just two minutes he (Mr Brown) demanded to know how long I was going to be. I addressed them with many questions, especially about the care she was receiving. I told them that my mother did not have the capacity to take care of Seren, which they documented as being spiteful, aggressive and unpredictable.

“In that Executive Summary there was no mention of these things I was doing or saying to get my daughter help.

“Seren used the family dynamics to hide behind rather than seek outside help. I went to the school asking them to provide counselling which they failed to document. After various incidents in her school, the then Head told her they’d be phoning me, to which she objected, so they dismissed me totally, calling Social Services. “Social Services were not monitoring her situation closely enough. All I wanted was my daughter to have counselling and be under my care where I could direct her life in a positive way”.

Sarah Pollock continued by asking whether the then foster carers of Seren have been suspended from their position of foster care during this enquiry, citing an incident she believes highlighted their lack of competence in looking after her daughter.

“A child died in their care. The care they gave to my daughter was inappropriate and they subjected her to harm, by overriding my parental rights”.

She supported this claim by alleging that despite her protestations Seren’s foster parents allowed her to go on a night out in Minnie’s, which she considered totally inappropriate. Sarah explained this resulted in Seren being taken to hospital by ambulance, this occurring just six weeks before her death. Regarding her ability to care for her daughter, she continued,

“How can my daughter have stopped her own counselling when she had been hearing voices, self-harming and absconding?

“They (Social Services) even wanted me to take her back after I had had no contact with her for four months. How were we going to help her out if she didn’t sort out her issues? Every time I questioned any of their decisions I was deemed aggressive, unpredictable and confrontational. All I wanted was the best for my daughter”.

Emphasising her competence as a parent, she cited the academic achievements of her son. She accused the various agencies of denying family members the opportunity for any input into Seren’s welfare once she was in foster care, which she said was on a voluntary care order.

“They empowered my daughter to self-destruct. They have destroyed our family’s lives.”

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Pembrokeshire cottage letting agency offers free holidays to NHS heroes



PEMBROKESHIRE-BASED holiday letting agency St Brides Bay Cottages has teamed up with its property owners and Operation Recuperation to offer free holidays to frontline healthcare workers. The family-run firm has announced the scheme to say thank you to the healthcare heroes who are risking their lives to keep the UK safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

The generous initiative will see healthcare professionals enjoy a well-deserved break in picturesque St Davids, Solva, Newgale or Porthgain, after the crisis is over. The scheme is part of Operation Recuperation, a UK-wide campaign launched to gift future stays in beautiful places to frontline healthcare providers.

Sam Sibbald, manager of St Brides Bay Cottages, based in Solva, said: “This is our way of showing our dedicated healthcare workers that we appreciate everything they’re doing in such difficult circumstances.

“I saw first-hand the pressure the NHS is under, when my dad had a stay in hospital last year. I could tell how pushed they were on a normal day-to-day basis, let alone with having COVID-19 to deal with. Now my dad is at home, needing carers every day, and I can see, more than ever, how much we rely on the people who look after us.

“We’re taking part in Operation Recuperation thanks to the generosity of our cottage owners. By gifting stays to these dedicated workers, we’ll be helping them to recover from the fight against coronavirus.”

Several cottage owners, whose properties are let by St Brides Bay Cottages, have come forward to donate stays in their holiday homes.

Among them is Sheila Morgan, who together with her husband Chris, owns The Anchorage, a two-bedroom apartment in Solva. She said: “As a retired nurse with medical staff in the family, I can fully appreciate the strains and stresses all NHS staff are going through at present. Thank you all for your sterling work. Hopefully the peace, quiet and Pembrokeshire air will aid recuperation.”

Debbie and Patrick Bowie-Moore, the owners of five-bedroom holiday home Mount Pleasant, in Solva, said: “The healthcare workers have offered their all, and it’s our privilege to give a family – who may have been kept apart – the opportunity to stay in Mount Pleasant as a massive thank you.”

Simon Baker, who owns Cefn y Mor, a four-bedroom property in Solva, said: “We are backing the Operation Recuperation project because we have family members on the frontline of the NHS, and know what risks they are taking, and what effort they are putting into saving lives. Our only effort is to stay at home and avoid infection. A small price to pay.”

Jim and Maureen Dale, whose three-bedroom holiday home, May Cottage, is situated on a grade II-listed farm, near St Davids, said: “Rarely do we get an opportunity to say thank you to the staff at the NHS – we tend to take the service so much for granted. Now the chips are down and there they all are, on the frontline looking after us all. Thank you all at the NHS.”

David and Judith James, who are offering a free stay at their converted watermill, Melin Llanrhian, near Porthgain, said: “We’re delighted to be able to support Operation Recuperation as a very small thank you to everyone in the NHS who has worked so hard in such challenging circumstances.”

Operation Recuperation is collecting donations – in room nights and cash – to give free stays to frontline healthcare staff, once the virus restrictions have been lifted.

Rachel Sherwood, who launched Operation Recuperation, said: “A huge thank you to St Brides Bay Cottages for proudly supporting Operation Recuperation and to the cottage owners who have donated stays in this stunning part of Wales, despite very challenging times.

“Sometime in the not-too-distant future, a number of our frontline healthcare staff will be enjoying long clifftop walks, fresh seafood, lazy days on the beach and cosy evenings in sea-view cottages.”

To find out more about St Brides Bay Cottages and Operation Recuperation, visit:, email or call 01437 720027.

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Council pays out £2.5m in business grants to date



PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL has revealed that since Wednesday, 1st April, it has already paid out £2.5 million in grants to local businesses.

The Authority’s Cabinet Member for Economy, Paul Miller, said Council staff had been working hard to make the Covid-19 business grants payable as soon as possible

Explained Councillor Miller: “Payments started on Wednesday this week for those who qualify for grants linked to the National Non-Domestic Ratings (NNDR) system. We have already paid out around £2.5 million in grants to local businesses.

“Daily payment runs are being made in order that these can get into business bank accounts as soon as possible.

“We cannot unfortunately acknowledge receipt of applications but, once authorised, businesses will be emailed and the grant will be paid within two to three working days.”

Councillor Miller added: “If there are any issues with a grant application, or information is missing, a Council officer will be in touch to discuss the matter. A dedicated team has been set up to do this.”

For further business advice refer to the Council’s Business pages which can be accessed via the following link:

This will enable access to the application form for the above grants, provide answers to frequently asked questions and links to further sources of advice through HMRC, Welsh Government, Department of Work and Pensions, Public Health Wales and other organisations.

For further enquiries not answered through the business pages, email: and an officer will respond. Please view the business pages first.

For those who don’t qualify for the grants, Welsh Government will soon be making details available of how business can access other funding through an Economic Resilience Fund.

Details will be available on the Council’s business pages as soon as they are released by Welsh Government.

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Man issued with two COVID-19 fines in 24 hours as police thank those following new legislation



A man has been issued with two fines in 24 hours for flouting Coronavirus legislation, as police thank those who are following the new rules.

Dyfed-Powys Police officers in Carmarthenshire stopped the 22-year-old from Llanelli twice for being out of the house without a reasonable excuse.

A report was made on April 1 that three men were breaching the COVID-19 legislation by gathering in Llanstephan. A woman who had attempted to film the men reported that they had stolen her phone and driven away.

Officers quickly linked the car to a suspect and traced it driving towards Carmarthen and then Llanelli, and a roads policing unit was directed to the area.

The car was stopped, and the two occupants – a 22-year-old from Llanelli, and a 18-year-old from Carmarthen – were arrested on suspicion of theft. They were also both issued with tickets for COVID-19 offences.

T/Chief Inspector Tom Sharville said: “We are taking the new legislation seriously, and would like to thank the majority of people who are staying home to keep others safe.

“The measures are difficult to adapt to, but it is important that we stay at home to save lives.

“However, there is a minority out there who are under the impression the legislation does not apply to them, and are flouting the law.

“This was the second fine one of these men was issued with in 24 hours, after he showed a clear disregard for all guidelines.”

The men were arrested on suspicion of theft of a mobile phone, and were released under investigation pending further enquiries.

For information about the COVID-19 legislation, and answers to many frequently asked questions, visit

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