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Pembrokeshire says goodbye to Professor Stephen Hawking

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STEPHEN HAWKING, the world-famous theoretical physicist, has died at the age of 76. He passed away in the early hours of this morning (Mar 14) at his home in Cambridge, said his family.

In a statement, his children Lucy, Robert and Tim said: “We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today.

“He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years.

“His courage and persistence with his brilliance and humour inspired people across the world. He once said, ‘It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love.’ We will miss him forever.”

But the summer of 2010 was one which many Pembrokeshire youngsters will find hard to forget, as it when Professor Hawking spent several days in the south of the county.

Young computer enthusiast Daniel Goodridge, from Milford Haven, was one of those who happened to be in Tenby when Stephen Hawking visited.

Daniel told The Herald: “In September 2010 I was in one of the sweet shops in Tenby when my girlfriend, Amy, said she saw Stephen Hawking go past the window in his wheelchair. I said no, it can’t be, but we went outside and chased after him and asked if we could have our picture taken.”

Mel Phillips of Pembroke has a vivid recollection of that summer. She said: “I was having lunch in the Kings Arms Hotel Pembroke a few years ago and went to the bar to get some drinks.

“Someone asked me to stand back as a wheelchair was coming through.  It was summer and I had a pair of flip flops on.

“I didn’t stand back far enough and the back end wheel of the chair clipped the side of my foot.

“The pain!”

She added: “The barman said ‘that’s your claim to fame Mel, Stephen Hawking ran over your foot!!’  Apparently that had been his second visit to the Kings Arms.”

Army cadets who were fundraising in Tenby said at the time that they were ‘delighted’ to meet the famous professor.

“Lee is a great ambassador for the cadet force and he looked so proud stood next to Professor Hawking,” said instructor Janet Clark.

On the same day, theoretical physicist Professor Hawking, then aged 68, visited the Tenby House Hotel for lunch.

Lesley Fisher said: “We were very very pleased to see him – I did say a quick hello, but tried not to disturb his meal.”

Hawking also dined at the Carew Inn and visited Carew Castle and Pembroke.

Scientists and famous figures around the world are paying tribute to Hawking. Brian Cox said on Twitter: “Sad to hear about Stephen Hawking. What a remarkable life. His contributions to science will be used as long as there are scientists, and there are many more scientists because of him. He spoke about the value and fragility of human life and civilisation and greatly enhanced both”

Sean Carroll, a physics professor at US university Caltech, said: “Stephen Hawking was the rare famous scientist who deserved every bit of his fame. A brilliant physicist and an inspirational person. And quite a character.”

“Stephen Hawking was a great physicist, a great public communicator, and a great icon for science and rationalism throughout the world.  He will be sorely missed,” said Paul Nurse, director of the Francis Crick Institute in London.

NASA tweeted: “Remembering Stephen Hawking, a renowned physicist and ambassador of science. His theories unlocked a universe of possibilities that we & the world are exploring. May you keep flying like superman in microgravity, as you said to astronauts on the Space Station in 2014.”

Prof Hartle told BBC Radio 4’s Today: “What was unique about him was that he had a marvellous ability to see through all the clutter in physics and to see what the essential points are and that, of course, was a great thing for going forward.”

He added: “My memory of him would be on several fronts: first our work together, as a scientist, and second as a human being whose whole story is of triumph over adversity and who inspired a lot of people, including me.”

But locally, professor Hawking will be remembered by those who were fortunate enough to meet him on those sunny days in Pembroke and Tenby.

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Police call for vigilance to report illegal raves

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE is asking farmers and local landowners to be on the alert over the next few months for warning signs of any illegal gatherings planned for their land over the summer.

Gatherings – such as illegal raves – can cause considerable anxiety to the community and if they are not dealt with swiftly, they are difficult to stop or otherwise control, due often to the sheer numbers of persons involved and the safety aspects surrounding breaking up such an event.

Superintendent Robyn Mason said: “There is little doubt that these type of events are very well planned, organised and that local knowledge is important in drawing down the main group to a particular ‘vulnerable’ field, or area of land which has been targeted previously as a suitable venue.

“Farmers, landowners and local communities are encouraged to report any suspicious activity immediately to the Police; this may be an unusual numbers of vehicles, especially camper vans, vans or trucks in the locality, illegal trespassers who may be doing ‘recce’ of sites in advance of the event.

“I can assure local communities that Police will take the appropriate action to deter illegal gatherings and deal robustly with any criminal offences discovered or disclosed.”

Members of the public are also urged to be vigilant of persons who approach landowners or enquiring for land, in the guise of hiring for apparently acceptable activities such as gymkhanas and scouts/guides events.

Please contact Police on 101 with reports on any suspicious activity.

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Discover Coast and Cleddau boat trips launched at Milford Waterfront

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A NEW way to appreciate the spectacular Pembrokeshire coast has been officially launched at Milford Waterfront.

Discover Coast and Cleddau offers two exciting boat trips; ‘Discover Coast’ takes passengers on a guided tour around Skomer Island to see the array of wildlife while ‘Discover Cleddau’ explores the more tranquil waters around Benton, Cosheston Woodlands and Lawrenny.

Both trips celebrate the rich history of the Waterway. Suited to all ages from five upwards, what makes these trips unique is that all passengers are seated comfortably inside a heated cabin.

Director of Property and Tourism at the Port of Milford Haven which owns and operates the vessel, Clare Stowell, said “There is so much to see within the Milford Haven Waterway and out towards the islands that we’re confident both trips will be really popular. The trips form part of our wider strategy to transform Milford Waterfront into a vibrant destination where visitors will enjoy a memorable leisure experience.”

As well as the regular boat trips, a number of special tours will be publicised throughout the summer such as photography expeditions.

Excursions can be booked by calling the Skipper Gareth Light on 01646 696370; tickets are £25.00 per person with the boat departing from Mackerel Quay at Milford Marina.

For the latest information on Discover Coast and Discover Cleddau please follow Milford Waterfront on social media.

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Man who gets ‘a sexual buzz’ from touching bottoms avoids prison

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A HAVERFORDWEST man who cannot stop grabbing women’s bottoms has today (Jun 22) received a suspended prison sentence.

John Robert Hancox told police he could not understand where the urge had come from at the age of 66.

Hancox, of Hanover Court, was arrested on May 15 for touching the bottoms of two women in the town. Police cautioned him and released him.

Helen Randall, prosecuting, told Swansea Crown Court that just eight days later Hancox said hello to a 23-year-old woman walking along Milford Road and then grabbed her bottom.

The following day he approached a 16-year-old girl who was clearly wearing a school uniform in the car park at Tesco, Haverfordwest and did the same to her.

Miss Randall said her friends spotted a police van and alerted the officers, who happened to be looking for Hancox for the offence the previous day.

Hancox admitted sexually assaulting two females.

During police interviews he said he got ‘a sexual buzz’ out of touching his victims and felt embarrassed.

His barrister, Carina Hughes, told the court: “These urges are recent in his life and he is crying out for help.”

The judge Mr Recorder Peter Griffiths told Hancox he presented a problem to the court as the public needed protecting but he needed help.

Hancox was jailed for two months, suspended for two years, and placed under supervision for two years coupled with an order to complete up to 30 days of a rehabilitation activity designed by the probation service.

He was also made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order under which he must not approach girls aged under 18.

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