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Thomas Cook air hostess speaks to The Herald about her journey

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WITH grounded flights and cancelled holidays, it’s been a stressful time since the collapse of Thomas Cook on Monday (Sept 24), especially for the cabin crew and pilots who have lost their jobs.

Bethan Phillips, 25, who grew up on the Mount Estate, was an air hostess for Thomas Cook for two years and has been taking part in rescue flights to help stranded Brits get home. She said the firm will be doing this until the end of October, and she is receiving no pay for the work she is putting in since Thomas Cook went into liquidation.

Speaking to The Herald, Bethan said: “We turned up to work to find planes had been impounded. We weren’t given any notice and found out on the news that we longer had a job! We had no communication from Thomas Cook other than an email telling us a conference call would be held at 10 am.

We’re all upset, and people have lost their mortgage, some of the cabin crew are married to pilots so now they both are jobless.”
On September 8, Bethan was pictured with a 73-year-old man, who had been awarded a certificate for his first flight. At that point, she had no idea Thomas Cook was in trouble.

The first Bethan knew about the loss of her job, was a post by the Civil Aviation Authority on Twitter, which said: “Thomas Cook Group, including the UK tour operator and the airline, has ceased trading with immediate effect. All Thomas Cook bookings, including flights and holidays, have now been cancelled.”

Just one hour after the news broke at 2 am, Bethan received a text to say that the flight she was supposed to be boarding at 4 am, had been ‘delayed’. The message read: “MT1062 BRS MAH. Your flight is delayed to 08:20Z. Cabin Crew report at 06:50Z.

Please be advised that your flight is delayed as per check-in times are given. We fully expect your flight to operate as normal (with the relevant delay). Please ONLY contact Crewing with questions relating directly to the operation. Any queries regarding the future of the business will be addressed by your cabin crew management in due course.”

It wasn’t long after that she received an email containing details of a conference call regarding an ‘important business update’ in light of the morning’s news, with a ‘full update’ on what will happen next. The call was listened to only.

Bethan said: “The conference call was seven minutes long, which said ‘We are sorry we couldn’t get a deal, we advise you to sign on ASAP, and letters will be sent and you can claim payment from the government’. That was all we had. The communication was shocking. They just don’t care.”

She continued: “We’ve been out on rescue flights to get people who are stranded – this is going to go on until the end of October. We aren’t being paid for it.

“A percentage of us are trained on Smartlynx – this is a company we lease aircrafts to for use their flight crew, and then you have Thomas Cook cabin crew. They said the cabin crew who are trained by Smartlynx will get paid but the others won’t be.”

Bethan added that there are cabin crew currently stuck in Cuba and can’t get home.

The general feeling around those who worked with Bethan at Bristol airport is upset and anger, especially after the UK Managers have already been contracted for their sister company.

The sister company, Thomas Cook Condor, has been saved by the UK bosses: A company that the cabin crews have put extra work into to help get off the ground.

Bethan finished, saying: “We have been working for months helping Condor out in Germany because they haven’t had any staff. Their crew didn’t want to work over Christmas either, so our crew went out for three weeks to help.

We’re supposed to be ‘One Thomas Cook’, but we’ve seen posts from our bosses saying they’re happy to have freed themselves from the UK brand. I don’t know if they realise we can still see what they’re posting on our group online.”

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Conservatives hold on to Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire seat

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THE CONSERVATIVES have held on to their Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire seat despite Labour closing the gap.

Sam Kurtz will take over the seat from the outgoing Angela Burns who held a majority of 3,400 at the last election.

This time, the gap was just 936 to Labour’s Hassan Riaz who picked up 10,304 votes.

Plaid Cymru’s Cefin Campbell picked up 6,615 votes.

The turnout in Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire was slightly up to 52.12% from 51.2% in 2016.

However, with a larger electorate thanks to votes for 16/17-year-olds, the number of votes cast went up by almost 3,000.

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Paul Davies re-elected as Conservatives hold Preseli Pembrokeshire

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PAUL DAVIES has been re-elected to represent the Preseli Pembrokeshire constituency.

He won with 12,295 votes, while there were 10,895 votes for Labour’s Jackie Jones.

Plaid Cymru candidate Cris Tomos gained just over 6,000 votes and there were also 1,239 for Reform UK candidate Alan Dennison.

There were over 3000 more votes cast in 2016, down largely in part to the fact that 16 and 17 year olds were able to vote in this election.

Both the Conservatives and Labour received more votes than before while the gap to Labour closed to just 1,400.

After being elected, Paul Davies said he would continue to ‘fight for Pembrokeshire’ and thanked those who had been involved in his campaign.

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Former Cardigan Castle director sentencing delayed

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THE SENTENCING of a former director of Cardigan Castle who has pleaded guilty to charges of fraud and theft totalling over £40,000 has been delayed.

Former director, Jac Davies, pleaded guilty to charges of fraud and theft was due to be sentenced on Wednesday (May 4) at Swansea Crown Court – but has now been delayed.

Davies who held the £40,000 a year post fraudulently obtained £33,098.75 and stole a further £7,932.97 from the award winning restoration project..

Davies held his position at Cardigan Castle from September 2017 to November 2019.

The defendant has pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining £4,143.20 from the castle on December 21, 2017.

Again Davies admitted to fraudulently obtaining £28,955.55 between February 4, 2019 and November 3, 2019.

Two further charges of theft were also admitted – one charge of  theft from the castle of £1,908.18 between May 2, 2018 and May 24, 2019 and a further charge of theft from Cardigan Castle Enterprises to the sum of £6,024.79.

Dyfed-Powys Police conducted a year long investigation after being contacted by the castle board of directors.

Financial discrepancies were identified during financial monitoring.

An internal investigation was launched and Davies left his position within the castle in October 2019 following a disciplinary process.

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