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Fishguard: Peaceful protest stands up for LGBTQ+ community

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A PROTEST was held in Fishguard yesterday afternoon (Jul 15) in response to a planned meeting which was intended to host anti-LGBTQ+ (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer) topics of conversation.

The meeting, organised by the group Evangelists Corner, had been advertised in the town via a leaflet which promoted anti-LGBTQ+ opinions.

The leaflet explained that the meeting would deal with the subject of same-sex marriage and transgender people, as well as their desire to stop teaching LGBTQ+ material in schools and replace it instead with creationism.

The protest was organised in response to the ‘homophobic’ message of the flyer and meeting agenda, and was well attended by various age groups and people of different sexual orientations.

Following the controversy caused by the leaflet, the meeting was cancelled, however the protest went on as planned to show ‘unity’ and ‘love’ which is strong in the community.

Police have received numerous official complaints about the literature and are now investigating.

Following the protest, two organisers of the protest, Matt Townsend and Jackie Jones, met with the spokesperson of the Evangelist group, John Fransham, at Fishguard police station.

There they discussed the issues raised in the literature – however Fransham defended the content of the flyer and the reasons for organising the meeting.

A spokesperson for Pembs LGBTQ Plus said after the event: “Thank you. This all too often is a gesture over-used, underappreciated, and haphazardly used. Today though, I use it with heart-felt appreciation for what you managed to achieve yesterday.

“Yesterday, you all did Pembrokeshire, the LGBTQ+ community and yourselves proud. We turned something that was extremely hurtful, upsetting and negative into something beautiful, positive and almost cathartic. To see you all united with a common goal sent a clear message: love overcomes hate.

“I spoke to many of you yesterday and felt privileged to hear individual stories, reasons for protesting and what yesterday meant to you. We have also been inundated with beautiful photographs. The adage reminds us that a photo says a thousand words – and many words were spoken.

“The public response to the weekend’s  events has been overwhelming. We have received messages of support, encouragement and love from many people at home and abroad. It is no exaggeration to say that your voices were heard globally. To think this happened from a small (and beautiful) town in Pembrokeshire is all the more humbling.

“I was invited to speak with the distributors at the police station yesterday. The police investigation is still ongoing. All I will say is that it was a very emotional dialogue and reaffirmed for me why we had to do what we did yesterday. As I said to the police and the distributors of the leaflet, we are not in any way protesting of their right to their own opinions. When this opinion does cross the line of law and has the potential to incite hatred and put at risk the safety of the LGBTQ+ community, then we have a duty to act.

“We have received a few messages and emails in the last 24 hours stating that the leaflet does nothing to incite hatred and/or violence. However, PembsLGBTQPlus challenges this. The content of the leaflet is such that it has the potential to incite hatred, to the extent that the police are investigating.”

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Amroth: RNLI rescue three people swept out to sea

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THE RNLI rescued three people after they were washed off rocks by huge waves at Telpyn Point near Amroth.

At 5pm on Sunday (Dec 9) as the lifeboat crew’s children’s Christmas Party was ending, both of Tenby’s RNLI lifeboats were requested to launch after a report that three women were cut off by the incoming tide somewhere between Marros and Amroth.

The casualties had been forced to cut their call to the Coastguard short as their mobile phone battery was about to run out, so the Coastguard didn’t have an exact position for them.

The lifeboats were quickly on the water and the volunteer crew made best speed to towards Amroth to begin their search in pitch black conditions and with a large swell running into the rocks.

Despite the low battery, once the casualties spotted the lifeboat in the distance, they turned on their phone’s screen and began waving the phone towards the lifeboat. The volunteer crew on the inshore lifeboat immediately spotted the light and headed for it, closely followed by the all-weather lifeboat.

Once on scene, it was apparent to the lifeboat crew that this would be a difficult rescue due to the heavy swell crashing on the rocks, just feet from where the casualties were precariously perched, so Tenby and St Govans Coastguard Rescue teams were paged in case a rope rescue was required.

With the numerous underwater rocks making it impossible for the all-weather lifeboat to get anywhere near, the bigger vessel illuminated the rocks with floodlights, whilst the inshore lifeboat prepared their anchor to veer down into the rocks through the swell in an attempt to reach the casualties.

As the crew made attempts to get close enough to shore in very tricky conditions, a large wave hit the rocks, washing one of the casualties into the sea. As the casualty struggled in the heavy swell, the helmsman managed to get the lifeboat alongside her and the crew pulled her to safety.

She was rushed to the all-weather lifeboat where the crew were waiting to assess and treat her. On their return to check on the remaining two casualties, the inshore lifeboat crew could only watch as another wave hit the rocks and washed them into the surf. Again, the helmsman managed to get inside the surf line and the crew plucked them to safety, before dropping them aboard the all-weather lifeboat.

With everyone accounted for, the boats returned to the station, where the casualties were further assessed and were delighted to be able to take warm showers. Despite the ferocity of the surf that washed them off the rocks, the women were lucky to escape with only a few minor grazes.

Once they were warmed up enough and had had a warm drink, they thanked the crew and then made their way home.

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Interviews to take place this week for £91k council job

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INTERVIEWS are to be held this week for a controversial senior role within Pembrokeshire County Council, with an advertised salary of up to £91,000.

On Wednesday (Dec 12), interviews will be held for the Head of Economic Development and Regeneration post, which has a salary bracket of £53,982 – £91,443.

In addition, the job was advertised with £5,259 subsidy for a leased car and a ‘generous pension scheme’.

Relocation assistance was also being offered for applicants outside of Pembrokeshire.

In July, at a meeting of Full Council, the new job post was approved, with most agreeing that the post should be advertised in order to ensure improvements and large investments are made around the county. The former head of regeneration recently retired.
Despite initial concern at the meeting, the only councillor strongly against the new role was Cllr Reg Owens, saying: “I really can’t see any justification in filling this post, I’ll say that from the start.

“Over the past year quite rightly we have been lectured… about the need to be far more prudent in our expenditure. When we approved the budget last year, and we approved the 12.5% [council tax] I did say at the time we are asking the people of Pembrokeshire to contribute towards Pembrokeshire County Council and we have also got to be seen to be doing our bit as well.

“When I look at the job description…we have certainly got those skills with our current chief officers and heads of services and of course the cabinet members, so I don’t think we will be cast adrift by not making this appointment, in fact, if we don’t make this appointment, we will be showing everybody that we do mean business trying to save some money.”

Despite this, Cllr Owens was ultimately persuaded by justifications of others.

Cllr Michael Williams of Plaid Cymru argued: “If you want justification just go and walk through our towns. I mean the whole economic base that used to be in these towns is now almost dead.

“To do nothing is not an option. We have got to show some ambition for the benefit of this county, otherwise the whole place is going to fail.

“I think this is an opportunity, I think we’ve failed in the past because we haven’t resourced in any way adequately enough this unit. And we have got to get that right.”

The proposition by Cllr Williams, seconded by Cllr Miller, detailed how the Senior Staff Committee recommend to the Council that the role of Head of Economic Development and Regeneration be advertised.

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Milford Haven: Defibrillator donated to town

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ON SUNDAY (De 9) a defibrillator was presented to the town of Milford Haven by The 3 Amigos & Dollies motorcycle group.

After the death earlier in the year of fellow 3 Amigo Little Bri (Brian Craig), money was raised at his funeral by the Amigos to make the donation possible.

The defibrillator is now dedicated to Little Bri, with a brass plaque hung on the wall in his honour. Brian’s widow, Kath, his friends, and the Amigos all attended the presentation.

The defibrillator can be found on the wall by Tom Neewing & Son funeral directors.

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