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Sincere apology to whistle-blower following Mik Smith cover-up

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THE COUNCIL has apologised after a damning report into the Mik Smith affair has heavily criticised senior council officers, including the former Head of Youth Service Eirian Evans, former Chief Executive Bryn Parry Jones, and former Council leader Jamie Adams.

The report prepared by a task and finish group of councillors takes no prisoners as it lays into the series of missteps and attempted cover-ups regarding the way the local authority’s then-leadership responded to a whistle-blower who reported serious concerns about the convicted paedophile’s relationship with young people in his care while a youth worker for the Council.

As the Leader of the present Administration of Pembrokeshire County Council, I am extremely pleased to see this report produced by the Members of the Task and Finish Group and I appreciate the input of Members, Officers and individuals to produce the conclusions in the report.

Cllr David Simpson said in a statement: “I am however drawn to the involvement of the Whistle Blower in this case. It is never an easy thing to whistle blow in the workplace and I appreciate this is something people have concerns over. It is crucial to ensure that we continue to encourage people to whistle blow and our policy and procedures, I am pleased to say have been updated and reviewed significantly since the period of time these matters occurred. These procedures now can empower people to whistle blow when they wish to report matters of concern.

“Regarding the case in question, I would very much like to thank the Whistle Blower who came forward in the first instance and who provided information of that experience to the Task and Finish Group process. That experience and insight is crucial when organisations like ours seek to learn from negative situations and by adopting recommendations from the group today we are continuing to ensure ever improving safeguarding procedures.

“Therefore I am extremely thankful for the involvement of the whistle blower in this process and would like to offer my sincere apology to her for having to be engaged in this sensitive matter over such a protracted period of time and having to re-visit what would have been a challenging and upsetting set of circumstances.

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Cruise Culture returns to Carmarthen this Sunday

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WALES’ biggest modified and performance car show is returning to the Carmarthen Showground this Sunday, August 25.

Cruise Culture is a static car show with modified, performance, classic and standard cars. The annual show attracts thousands of visitors each year.

On Sunday August 25, the ultimate indoor show hall will have some of the best modified cars from all over the UK on display, as well as an outdoor show and shine section.

Growing year on year, Cruise Culture now welcomes over 40 club stands. The entertainment stage will have DJs playing all day. Competitions throughout the day will include: Club of the Show; Car of the Show; Show and Shine Winner; Best Club Stand Car; Best Show Hall Car; Best Wheels of the Show and Best Install.

Prizes and awards will be handed out for each of the various competitions. There will also be inflatables and fair attractions, meaning Cruise Culture is a great family day out.

There will be a wide variety of food stalls, not just burger vans but hog roasts, BBQ, pizza and much more. The Jamie Squibb Freestyle Motocross Stunt Show will also take place, as the team of riders perform breathtaking jumps and stunts.

Pre-sale tickets have now ended. Tickets are now only available at the gate. Gate price is £7 per person. Under 12’s get in free.

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Ignite your vocal powers with the new Torch Voices Choir

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A VOCAL coach who has worked with stars from the West End and Broadway is to launch a new community choir this autumn at the Torch Theatre.

Torch Voices, led by Angharad Sanders, is a choir open to all abilities, from those who would like to give singing a go for the first time to those who may wish to sharpen up their vocal skills. Covering music off all genres, this is a fantastic opportunity to sing in a friendly and fun ensemble. The choir will meet weekly on Thursday’s at the Torch Theatre from 5 September.

Angharad has many years of experience working in theatre and with choirs and singers across the globe. Previous students include Pixie Lott, both recent lead actors from the West End smash hit Everybody’s Talking About Jamie; John McRea and Layton Williams (Bad Education, Hairspray UK Tour) and new Broadway leading man Sam Primack (Understudy Evan in Dear Evan Hansen). She most recently was the musical director for the 5-star original U.K. touring production of Madagascar: the Musical, starring X Factor winner Matt Terry.

Angharad commented: “I’m extremely excited to be at the musical helm of the new Torch Voices. It’s long been a desire to return to Wales and work with local talent. At Torch Voices we will be covering all musical styles, from pop songs by artists such as The Pentatonix, Madonna, Adele and Queen through musical theatre repertoire and classical material. I would love to welcome passionate singers of all ages and abilities to come along and join us bringing this music to life. The choir is open to anyone aged between 16 (those aged 8 and over can attend if accompanied by an adult) and up and there will be no audition needed or requirement, other than a desire to make some great music.”

If you are looking to join the Torch Voices or just give singing a go, the theatre is offering two free taster sessions on Thursday 5 and Thursday 12 September from 6pm. The choir will run until Thursday 19 December before taking a Christmas break and costs £55 per term to take part. To sign up, please contact Box Office on 01646 695 267 or via boxoffice@torchtheatre.co.uk.

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Pupils design road safety posters

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PEMBROKEHSIRE Road Safety team and Narberth-based Kia car dealers, Gravells, are working together to remind parents and children to buckle up this summer.

Pupils from schools across Pembrokeshire have taken part in a Seatbelt Safety competition in which they had to design a poster incorporating road safety characters Ziggy Zebra and Grizzly Gravell.

The contest proved extremely popular with the Road Safety team receiving over 300 entries. From these, one junior and one infant winner were picked as well as a number of runners up and highly commended entries.

The outstanding winning posters were designed by Macey James from Narberth School and Sam Clark from Pembroke Dock Community School.

Both conveyed simple messages – ‘Buckle Up Your Seatbelt’ and ‘Don’t Take Your Seatbelt Off’ – reminding drivers that the safest way for children to travel in cars is to use the right seat restraint and to always wear a seat belt.

The two winners received £25 gift vouchers with £10 vouchers going to the runners-up and goody bags for those Highly Commended. The winning schools also received cheques from Gravells.

Pembrokeshire County Councillor Phil Baker, the Cabinet Member with responsibility for Highways, said the standard of work was very high.

“We are very grateful to all those young artists who contributed with their entries. A great deal of thought goes into the making of their artwork” said Councillor Baker.

“We want to encourage people of all ages in Pembrokeshire to recognise the dangers of not wearing a seatbelt and the importance of being in the correct car restraint. These award-winning posters will certainly help to remind people of this vital message.

“Not wearing a seatbelt can be a fatal decision even on short, familiar journeys and at low speeds. The driver is responsible for ensuring that passengers under the age of 14 are wearing a seatbelt, or using the correct child restraint for their height and age.”

Ian Gravell, Dealer Principal for Gravells, added: “Road safety is a major concern on today’s busy roads so we are delighted to be a part of this exciting and important initiative.”

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