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Bacon Butties and coffee fuelled construction of Otter’s snack bar

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THE WET weather pre-Christmas has affected the progress on the Narberth OTTERS new Snack Bar, but the plucky band of volunteers and some suppliers have rallied around in between the storms to do some of the essential work, prior to making the building fully weathertight.

In November Committee Man Macphee, chief recruiter of volunteer labour , press ganged the club Chairman Robert Lewis in to service. Rob used to be a class act wearing No 14 playing on the wing for the Otters. On this occasion Mac had him flying around the inside of the building fitting the insulation inside the walls of the timber frame. He was ably assisted by block layer Trevor Thomas alias “Tomcat” who on this occasion swapped his trowel for a saw and knife to cut the lightweight insulation panels. Kevin Pyne , all 6’4” of him, was useful in fitting the pieces in the top of the wall !

Bacon Butties and coffees were frequently sourced from the Spar minimarket by Architect Ken Morgan to keep the team replenished on cold and damp winters days. Ken commented: “I had the initial idea for transforming the way Burgers and snacks were made in a tiny hut. So I came up with the idea of creating a new purpose-built structure. I feel that supplying the volunteer who are helping in this objectives, and who give up their time so willingly, deserve a warm snack and a hot drink in such poor weather conditions” . The Chairman Rob Lewis is intending that the RFC will lay on a supper and alcoholic beverages for all sponsors, volunteers and financial donors when the project is finished. That will also include members of the local press who have given magnificent support in publicising the project.

During December Celtic Scaffold Solutions very kindly turned up to provide a scaffold around the perimeter of the building to give the volunteers safe access to work at height on the new roof. Proprietor Luke Morgan has donated his time and equipment entirely free of charge. The Rugby club is extremely grateful and proud of his sponsorship. This allowed Mac and John Evans alias “Jinko” to fit the heavy Roof Joists and the sloping fillet pieces, known in the trade as firring pieces using a nail gun supplied by builder Dorian Phillips. The timber joists were very kindly donated by Agricultural Buildings supplier John Morris.

Unfortunately, or to use the term favoured by the Prime Minister in these Covid times, – Alas, the plywood roof deck and weather-proof rubber membrane cannot be fitted until some dry weather arrives. It is hoped that won’t be too long coming.

In the meantime to finish off just before the Christmas Break, Mr Gareth Edwards of Whitland, proprietor of GNE windows and double glazing, turned up with his colleague Sid to fix all the external windows and door. Macphee said: “where would we be without the extreme generosity of such sponsors. Two windows were supplied by Merry Bros; The large corner window frames and glazing were supplied by GNE Windows and The external door and Frame were paid for by Committeeman and Youth Coach Mr Bill Ridge who was also an outstanding former player for the Otters”.

The Narberth RFC would welcome any further offers of financial help, materials donations or voluntary labour in order to move the project forward into the internal fitting out stage. It is hoped that by the Spring the building will be close to a finish ready for the start of a new Rugby Season. Let’s hope this works out.

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‘Reach out to friends and family’ says Council Leader

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THIS week’s update from Cllr David Simpson, Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council:

‘Hello everyone, I hope you are all keeping well and safe.

‘I’d like to highlight that this week is Mental Health Awareness Week.

‘I’m very aware that the last 15 months has had a huge impact on our lives and, in some cases, our wellbeing.

‘Mental Health can be a hidden issue and we all need to be aware that some people may need some extra support.

‘On a personal level the lockdown restrictions have reminded me of the importance to talk to people and to ensure people are supported.

‘Supporting your friends and family can be as simple as a phone call to say hello. A quick hello can ensure people are ok and managing and can give someone a huge uplift.

“Our communities have done a fantastic job of supporting each other so please, Team Pembrokeshire, continue these efforts.

‘I urge you all to pick up the phone and say hello to your friends and family, as we all need to play our role in everyone’s wellbeing – talking about issues does make a difference.

‘If you are suffering from Mental Health or general wellbeing issues please reach out, do not struggle on your own, your friends and family can help and make a difference.

‘Please also take the opportunity to also view the website at https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week which has much more information and support.

‘I now want to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in last week’s elections.

‘Elections take a phenomenal amount of organisation at the best of times but even more so in a pandemic situation.

‘To all those who ensured the smooth running of the elections process, thank you.

‘Congratulations to all the successful candidates and I look forward to working with them to further improve the lives of Pembrokeshire people.

‘We have now had further updates from Welsh Government and the next phase of the unlocking road map has been unveiled.

‘From Monday, 17th May, indoor hospitality can re-open.

‘Up to six people from six different households will be able to meet indoors in pubs, cafes and restaurants.

‘We have so many fantastic hospitality venues in Pembrokeshire who we know will be giving their customers a big welcome after so long away.

‘The opening of indoor hospitality will be a major landmark in our emergence from the pandemic and towards recovery.

‘While out and about please remember social distancing rules are still in pace, consider your actions on others, remember your footprint has an impact on our communities, so please tread lightly.

‘When you go home, leave with a smile – enjoy your days out, enjoy seeing your families and most importantly enjoy our beautiful county and please support us in keeping Pembrokeshire special – play your part and please be responsible.

‘I want to wish you all a lovely weekend and I look forward to talking to you all again next week through my update.

‘Thank you everyone.’

You can keep up to date with all the Council’s press releases here: https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/newsroom

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Plan to rescue rare butterfly from extinction in Pembrokeshire

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THE PEMBROKESHIRE Coast National Park Authority is stepping up efforts to save the marsh fritillary butterfly, which was once widespread in Wales but is now close to extinction in Pembrokeshire.

Funded by the Pembrokeshire Nature Partnership, the new landscape scale strategy aims to improve the fortunes of the rare species, which relies on networks of flower rich marshy grasslands across the landscape.

Much of this habitat, which is home to the favourite food of its larva – the devil’s bit scabious (succisa pratensis), has been lost due to drainage, inappropriate tree planting and the neglect of traditional management of grasslands through light grazing with heavy animals such as cattle.

National Park AuthorityBiodiversity Officer, Sarah Mellor said: “The marsh fritillary in Pembrokeshire is now in a very precarious position. We think it has already become extinct in a number of areas in its former range and it has not been seen on the St Davids Peninsula since 2013. The population around Keeston and Tiers Cross is also now thought to be extinct.

“We must find a way to make space for wildlife in our landscape to ensure that nature can thrive for future generations. It is quite sobering to think this species could disappear from Pembrokeshire in my lifetime. We have a responsibility not to let this happen on our watch.

“Even in those areas where it remains we have seen dramatic declines, for example around Mychanchlogddu it used to be recorded from 32 sites, but since 2015 it has only been seen at seven sites.”

The National Park Authority has already stepped up its action to rescue the rare butterfly by assisting landowners to bring sites into suitable management through grant aid and providing suitable grazing animals through the Pembrokeshire Grazing Network and the Conserving the Park Scheme.

The new strategy will include mobilising Park Authority staff and volunteers to undertake targeted surveys at sites across the county, as well as helping landowners to manage their land in a sensitive way to help ensure the future of this rare butterfly.

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Santander turns away customers due to nationwide computer glitch

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CUSTOMERS of Santander in Haverfordwest were being turned away this morning by branch staff saying that they were unable to make transactions due to a computer glitch. It is understood that branches use the same computer systems which run the bank’s other systems.

Problems arouse last night when computer updates which the bank was implementing did not go to plan.

Some Herald readers contacted the news room to speak of their surprise that they were not able to access their funds.

One reader, who had gone to the bank to withdraw funds to pay rent on his home was told that there was nothing that could be done.

Website and App transactions are also being affected at the high street bank, and card transactions are being declined

The head of money at consumer magazine Which?, Gareth Shaw, said many customers will be stressed, “with people reporting that they have been unable to make online payments or in some cases purchase food in their local supermarket”.

“Customers can incur fines, penalties and fees when they’re not able to access their finances, so the bank must offer compensation to all those who have been impacted in this way”.

Santander told customers they can “access cash from other banks’ ATMs, at the Post Office and can get cashback where that’s available”.

A service status page on its website said planned maintenance was due to be performed on the Santander mobile banking app overnight on Friday. It is not known whether this prompted Saturday’s problems.

On Twitter, a Santander spokesperson said: “We’re sorry that a technical problem is affecting our services, our teams are working hard to fix it.

“You can access cash from other banks’ ATMs. Please check back here for further updates.”

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