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‘Cinderella’ daughter wins share of £7m estate

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A CINDERELLA farmer’s daughter who says she was left at home ‘with a muck fork’ whilst her teenage sisters went dancing has triumphed in her fight for a fair share of her elderly parents’ £7 million estate.

Eirian Davies, aged 45, was repeatedly assured by her parents, Tegwyn and Mary Davies, now in their 70s, that she would ultimately step into their shoes and take over the family’s ‘golden egg’ – thriving Henllan Farm, Whitland, and its herd of pedigree Holstein cows.

And three Appeal Court judges on Wednesday ruled that a stake in the thriving 182-acre farm was no more than her due for the years of low-paid toil she put in.

The family war had culminated in a “physical altercation” in the milking parlour, during which milk was thrown over Miss Davies by her mother, and she and her father ended up entangled on the floor where she bit her father’s leg.

Miss Davies had testified that she missed out on going to Young Farmers’ Club dances with her two sisters as a teenager because she had to stay at home to deal with her farming chores.

“They always told me that the farm would be left to me. Even on my birthday, when the other girls were having things, they would say – ‘you will have the damn lot one day, it will all be yours’,” she said.

Her father would regularly warn her “not to kill the goose that lays the golden egg” if she complained about her meagre wages, she added.

Until she reached the age of 21, Miss Davies was paid nothing at all for her work on the farm and, after that, there was a period when she was paid just £15-a-day for milking the cows, although sometimes she received more.

She claimed she could have ‘made a better life elsewhere’, but her 75-year-old father and mother, 76, insisted she had earned a fair income during her stints working on the farm, also being provided with free ‘bed and board’ and other benefits.

Describing her as ‘a self-employed herdswoman’, they argued she would have done no better financially had she worked away from the farm.

However, Lord Justice Floyd on Wednesday ruled that measuring Miss Davies’ contribution to the farm was not just ‘an exercise in forensic accounting’ and that her parents should be held to the promises they made to her.

The judge, sitting with Lords Justice Richards and Underhill, said Miss Davies had for years laboured under the impression that she was running the farm in partnership with her parents – however they had never signed the agreement.

In 2009, she was shown a draft will, which left the lion’s share of the farm to her. However, her parents later made changes to their bequests and proposed to place the farm in trust for the benefit of all three sisters equally.

Miss Davies had a ‘passionate interest in pedigree milking cows’ and, by 1989 when she turned 21, she was the only sister left at the farm, ‘her sisters having departed to follow other paths’, the judge said.

And, when she left the farm to work elsewhere for a while, her father begged her to return.

The milking parlour fracas in August 2012 was the final straw that broke the family asunder and her parents launched proceedings to evict Miss Davies from Henllan farmhouse, where she still lives.

However, at an earlier court hearing, Judge Milwyn Jarman QC ruled that Miss Davies had relied on her parents’ promises and thrown herself into working on the farm for low wages. She was thus entitled to a ‘beneficial interest’ in the business.

Dismissing the couple’s appeal against that ruling, Lord Justice Floyd said Miss Davies had received ‘less than full recompense’ for her contribution to the farm which could not be measured in purely financial terms.

The appeal judge concluded: “This is in many ways a tragic case.

“The bitterness between the parties was such that each had few, if any, good words to say about the other.

“The fact remained, however, that between them they had over the years built up, by hard work, great skill and passionate dedication a prodigious Holstein pedigree milking herd and a highly successful business.

“It is greatly to be hoped that they might now be able to resolve such remaining differences as they have in relation to Eirian’s entitlement without recourse to further costly and divisive litigation”.

Judge Milwyn Jarman told the earlier county court hearing that the bitter relations between Eirian Davies and her parents came to a head after she discovered their plans to split the farm equally between the three sisters.

“After one such argument with her father in February 2010, she went to the barn and put a rope from a beam around her neck,” said the judge, adding that, by good fortune, a farm worker saw what was happening and intervened.

Although there was evidence that her parents had “pinned their hopes” on Eirian over the years, they had become increasingly annoyed by her relationships with men following her divorce.

The judge said part of this concern was – not so much the men involved – but “any children that they had and how that may impact upon their duties to keep the business in the family”.

“Her mother referred to a string of men, to whom she referred as ‘wretches’, with kids behind them,” said the judge.

Family relations hit rock bottom in August 2012 during a “physical altercation” between Eirian and her parents in the milking parlour.

“Accounts differ about that altercation, but at some point milk was thrown over Eirian by her mother and she and her father ended up entangled on the floor where Eirian bit her father’s leg”, the judge said.

“Eirian received from her parents the next day a notice terminating her services, and two weeks later a notice to quit the farmhouse requiring vacant possession by October 31 2012”.

Despite the intense friction in the family, the judge said it was to their credit that Eirian and her parents had over the years “by hard work, great skill and passionate dedication built up a prodigious Holstein pedigree milking herd and a highly successful business”.

He described Eirian as having a “passionate interest in pedigree milking cows”, also referring to her evidence that she was consistently promised that the farm would one day be her’s.

“Eirian says that she first heard that ‘it will all be your’s one day’ when she was still at secondary school, for example when her mother took her sisters shopping and she was left at home, as she put it, ‘with a muck fork’.

“She says she regularly missed school and that her sisters were not interested in farming at all.

“She claims to have heard the same thing regularly thereafter from both parents, whenever she asked for money. She was told: “don’t kill the goose that lays the golden egg'”.

A “major factor” in the family’s difficult relationship was the “strong personalities of both mother and daughter”, he noted, as well as Eirian’s frustration at her role in the farming business not being formalised.

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Haverfordwest: Primary school teacher accused of 34 sexual assaults

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A HAVERFORDWEST primary school teacher was in court on Monday (Aug 3) accused of 34 sexual assaults.

James Oulton, 34, of Richmond Crescent, denies all the charges.

Oulton, who was granted a continuation to his bail, was represented in court by his barrister Chris Clee QC.

The case is listed for administrative hearings in November and the trial date is provisionally set for April 12, 2021.

Oulton is currently suspended from work at Mary Immaculate School.

It is understood that the case does not involve children who are pupils at the Roman Catholic primary school.

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Phased re-opening for Leisure Centre facilities

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FACILITIES at Pembrokeshire County Council’s Leisure Centres will begin to re-open in a phased and safe manner from Monday, August 17.

Following further easing of Welsh Government restrictions, Pembrokeshire Leisure will be opening its doors for the use of fitness suites only in the first phase.

The fitness suites at Fishguard Leisure Centre, Haverfordwest Leisure Centre, Milford Haven Leisure Centre, Pembroke Leisure Centre and Tenby Leisure Centres will open from Monday, August.

You must book and pay for your gym slot in advance.

Without a pre-booked slot you will not be able to gain access to the facilities.

There will be no bookings or payments taken at the centres. In order to make a reservation you will need to be a registered user of Pembrokeshire Leisure.

You can register via the website https://pembrokeshireleisure.co.uk/ or by calling 01437 775504, Monday to Thursday, 9am – 3pm.

See below for further membership information.

Bookings can also be made via the website and telephone numbers above and through the Pembrokeshire Leisure app which is available to download on both Apple IOS and Android.

You will be able to book your session from Tuesday, August 11, onwards.

For everyone’s safety please do not attend any Pembrokeshire Leisure facilities if you are experiencing any Covid-19 symptoms.

Users are asked to bring only a full water bottle (drinking fountains will not be in use), a towel and their Pembrokeshire Leisure Card for their exercise session.

Please note there will be no changing facilities available so please arrive dressed ready for your session.

Buildings may operate one-way systems and equipment may be set out differently than normal with some equipment set up in other areas of the centre to allow more space to exercise.

Those visiting with pre-booked appointments are respectfully asked to adhere to social distancing rules in operation.

There will be an enhanced cleaning operation in place with hand sanitising stations and customers will need to use the provided cleaning products to clean equipment before and after use.

The second phase, from Tuesday, September 1, will see Crymych Leisure Centre re-open and swimming pools, indoor fitness classes and facility hire available at all centres.

Again, all activities will be via pre-booked appointments only.

Further details will be released in due course, including opening arrangements for all of the remaining leisure facilities.

Currently all Pembrokeshire Leisure memberships are frozen with no payments being taken.

To allow members to return when they feel safe and happy to do so Pembrokeshire Leisure will be offering the following:

If you are ready to return to us:

  • Everyone with a frozen current membership will be able to access the fitness suites for free from August 17 to 31.
  • We will be offering a ‘BeActive’ membership while our facilities have a reduced offering at £19/month.
  • You will need to sign up to the membership using our app or website.
  • This membership will be paid on a monthly basis with no minimum term.
  • It will be available until our centres are able to offer a more complete selection of activities, when existing membership subscriptions will be restarted.

If you don’t feel ready to return to us yet:

  • All memberships will remain frozen and you will not need to contact us until you are ready to return.
  • All subscriptions will receive an extension as Appropriate.
  • When we are able to offer a more complete provision of activities then memberships will be restarted. Members will be given notice before the payments are taken.

More information regarding the BeActive membership will be sent to all members.

All relevant information will also be published on

https://pembrokeshireleisure.co.uk/ and the Pembrokeshire Leisure App.

If you are unclear on the process of re-joining please contact 01437 775504.

Pembrokeshire County Council Cabinet Member for Economy, Tourism. Leisure and Culture, Cllr Paul Miller, said: “With restrictions easing further in the coming weeks the team have been working hard to ensure we can offer a safe, phased, return to leisure facilities across the county.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming back members and the general public from the 17th.”

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Milford Haven coastguards launch six lifeboats and task helicopter to hoax call

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MILFORD HAVEN Coastguard Operations Centre swung into action last night following an emergency call, tasking SIX lifeboats and a rescue helicopter to search for a sinking yacht with three crew on board.

But the call – which led to rescuers to search a large part of the Bristol Channel – turned out to be a hoax.

The RNLI said that the call out cost valuable funds, which could have been used to save lives in a real emergency.

Barry Lifeboat station volunteers posted on Facebook saying: “Whilst out on its first exercise since the start of the Covid 19 restrictions, the Barry Dock All-weather lifeboat was tasked by Milford Haven coastguard to reports of a sinking yacht with three people on board.
“Volunteer crews from RNLI Penarth Lifeboat Station, RNLI Weston Lifeboat Station and RNLI Lifeboats at Burnham-on-Sea launched their lifeboats to the mayday call.
“The six lifeboats and coastguard rescue helicopter carried out a coordinated search pattern around the Flat Holm and Steep Holm Islands
“A dredging vessel the Arco Dart also assisted in the search.
“After an investigation by the coastguard team at Milford Haven it was deemed to be a hoax call.
“The volunteers from the four separate RNLI stations returned home and prepared each lifeboat for its next service.
“A hoax call is a massive drain on the resources of the RNLI and it’s volunteers during this challenging time.”

Speaking to The Pembrokeshire Herald on Tuesday, a spokesperson for the RNLI said: “Volunteer crew members will respond to any request to help those in trouble at sea.
“However, when a false 999 or 112 call is made, it uses volunteers’ time, which they selflessly give to help those in trouble.
“It costs the charity valuable funds, which could be better used elsewhere, and a false call can take lifesaving resources away from a real emergency.”

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency have been approached for a comment.

Barry lifeboat after being tasked to hoax call on Monday night (Pic: RNLI)

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