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Church launches all-Wales rural group

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FrurallifeROM THE PRICE of milk to school closures – the challenges of rural life will be the focus of a new group being launched by the Church in Wales this week. 

The Bishop of Swansea and Brecon, John Davies, will launch the Church’s Provincial Rural Group on Friday (June 6) at the Royal Welsh Showground. The group, made up of clergy rural advisers and lay people from across Wales, will advise on the particular challenges of rural ministry and flag up issues in rural life so that wider action can be taken – whether that’s reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, the price of milk to the farmer or petrol at the pump, threatened closure of schools and disappearing bus-services. High on the agenda of many who live in rural Wales is also the issue of poor DAB and even FM radio signals and the absence of access to decent broadband speeds. Bishop John, who will chair the new group, said: “Whilst the farming and other land-based industries that shaped the Welsh landscape no longer dominate the economy and provide work as they once did, 82% of Wales remains rural in character. 60% of the country is classified as ‘deep rural’ – which means a community of no more than 180 households, lacking such things as a shop, Post Office, petrol station, cash-point, or even a bus stop – and is at least 30 minutes’ drive away from a larger settlement. In many villages, the church is the only community facility remaining, and the contribution that the church makes to community life is vital. “This new group will provide a base for the Church to reflect and act on rural matters and help us build a close working relationship with the Rural Department of the Welsh Government and other key organisations, such as farmers unions and local community councils to identify areas of common concern in rural areas. It will also help us raise the profile of rural issues in public life and we hope to work with other Christian denominations and voluntary organisations as we seek to keep rural issues high on various agendas.” The Provincial Rural Group will be made up of the Church in Wales’s six rural life advisers – one from each diocese – and six lay people, again representing each diocese. The launch takes place at the International Pavilion from 12 to 2pm with representatives from rural and political organisations.

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Community

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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Community

Milford Haven: Two bowling club members given life bans

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TWO members of Milford Haven Bowling Club, among the best players at the local green, have been suspended and subsequently received life bans from the Club’s management committee.

The trouble started for Heather Griffin, 59, and her friend Jimmy McSparron, 68, when Jimmy asked the organisers ofa friendly away game if Heather could bring her Jack Russell Terrier, who suffers from diabetes, on the bus journey.

The coach trip, scheduled for June 2, was organised by the club, but operated by Narberth Travel.

The club told Jimmy that they would find out from the operator if the dog was allowed on board.

A short time later, the club said that the dog was not allowed to travel. A curious Heather contacted Narberth Travel with a general enquiry about whether dogs were allowed on the bus journeys. She was told they were.

Believing she had been misled, Heather wrote a letter of complaint to the Bowls Club Committee. Her letter was supported by a further letter from Mr McSparron.

Both were horrified by the Club’s response. Instead of responding to the complaint, the Club told them they were suspended until further notice.

The letter sent to Heather included a section of the Club’s constitution dealing with disciplinary behaviour and she drew the inference that action against her would follow.

Confused and upset, Heather wrote a further letter and hand-delivered it to the management committee meeting on Tuesday, June 11.

Arriving just before the meeting started, Heather was asked to wait outside before entering the meeting. Mr McSparron accompanied her.

After a brief adjournment, Heather and Jimmy were called in front of the committee and told that the letter had been considered and that a formal reply would follow.

According to the pair Club Secretary, Adrian Lewis called Heather a ‘stupid bitch’.

On being asked to repeat his remark, Mr Lewis did and, according to both Mr McSparron and Ms Griffin, added, “I have resigned anyway – and you’ll get what’s coming to you.”

As the pair left the meeting, at the request of the Club Chair, they say another committee member approached them and a further verbal altercation took place.

After getting home Heather called the police and reported Mr Lewis’ remarks.

A spokesperson for Dyfed-Powys Police has confirmed to The Pembrokeshire Herald: “We received a report of a dispute at the bowling club and spoke to two men [at the police station].

“Words of advice have been given.”

Milford Haven Bowling Club was asked to comment but only confirmed that two members had been banned for “a breach of the rules”.

Speaking on Wednesday, Heather Griffin said: “I feel totally demoralised and upset. I do not even know why I was banned as my last letter and email have been ignored.

“I now am in contact with the Welsh Women’s Bowling Association.”

Jimmy McSparron said: “I feel totally dumbfounded by the situation By supporting Heather, I have had a life ban. If you cannot support a fellow bowler, then something is radically wrong.

“It has been one-sided throughout.

“This is unfair, and we are both hoping that this will not affect our choosing a new club in the future as we are both avid players.” 

The pair are now looking forward to continuing with their hobby at an alternative club.
  • Mike Burgoyne from the club requested to comment further after reading this story in our print edition and said: “The information you have been given does not state all the facts only snippets that can be misconstrued.”Members of the club attended an EGM to discuss the banning of the two members concerned and gave full backing to the committee in their handling of this situation and the resulting bans. Milford Bowling Club now considers this matter closed.”
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Community

The Pembroke Coast Express visits Narberth and Tenby

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THE ICONIC Pembroke Coastal Express passed through Tenby and Narberth on Sunday (July 14). The Tornado Engine then headed to Carmarthen, after that it was full steam ahead for Bristol Temple Meads Station. The tour was organised by Pathfinder Tours.

(Photographs taken by Malcolm Richards Photography.)

The train pulled into Tenby on Sunday, July 14.

Droves of passengers and onlookers were there to greet it

Two members of the crew.

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