Connect with us


Local author storming up Amazon book charts



No wreck: Storming book charts.

No wreck: Storming book charts.

A PEMBROKESHIRE author has seen his first book go straight to the number one spot on an Amazon best sellers chart. James Hedley Phillips’ debut book, ‘Pembrokeshire Trilogy, Tales of the Sea’, contains many stories and facts collected by Mr Hedley in his, near half century, of diving experiences. The writer has found more than 30 wrecks in his diving career, including a 15th century trading ship and coal freighter, but he believes there are over 3000 known wrecks off the Pembrokeshire coast. His career in diving began in 1968 and he has dived in many waters, including those off of North Carolina, Florida, Israel, Greece, France and Sri Lanka, but states that none compare to the ‘unforgiving’ seas in West Wales, of which he said: “Pembrokeshire has always been infamous for the variety of its sea and wind patterns, so in previous centuries sail ships were utterly at the mercy of the elements.

But when you add in dangerous rocks then even modern vessels are vulnerable to a combination of features which you don’t quite find anywhere else in the world.” The Herald spoke exclusively with ‘Jim’ Hedley Phillips at his Pembrokeshire home, starting by asking him what had first inspired him to dive and how diving has changed over the years: “I am an outdoor person and my family are all from maritime areas, so i fancied scuba diving.To breath underwater, it’s fascinating. The equipment has improved tremendously, we used to use wet suits, which are cold, but now we use dry suits so you stay dry and don’t get cold and can stay diving for much longer.

The safety is much better and we don’t use twin hoses anymore and we have decompression computers that we wear.” The Herald asked what his most memorable finds were and what are the main dangers of diving: “Probably Entering a room in wreck that had sunk in the 30’s. The door had rotted and on the floor were the hinges, locks and handles. We found knives and forks on the floor where the table had rotted away and these were left. In Pembrokeshire, if I narrowed it down, I would say the ‘Langton Grange’ on Bell Rock, We went 150 foot down and there was row after row of dinner plates – the galley had disappeared but the plates were all in a row. If it was gold we had found, everybody would be coming out of the woodwork – you don’t get the problems if you don’t find treasure.

There is supposed to be the ‘Santa Cruz’ which was apparently sunk off Pembrokeshire with millions of pounds worth of gold on board. I looked at the archives, but there is no actual record of anything expensive sinking around here really.” “I have never found human remains diving, everything is recycled, it is a normal process. You don’t find bones but we have found buttons, on the ‘Nimrod, that sunk in 1860, buttons from the uniforms of the 45th regiment. Half a dozen soldiers went down – next to the cabinet where the booze was kept.” “The main risk is getting stuck.

You always dive with someone you have confidence in so if a problem occurs they can get you out of it. We don’t get a decompression problem because of the amount of slack water, so a diver can only go down for 20 minutes before the current starts up. The deeper you go go, though, the harder it is to concentrate, it’s called ‘nitrogen narcosis’. The nitrogen becomes like an alcohol and you can feel it coming on – but with years of experience you can push it away.” “There are no problems being attacked by a shark around here, seal pups, however, will pull your fins – they are just playing though! I have only seen sharks in Sri Lanka – they circled us but they didn’t come that close to us, fortunately.”

“It’s not just about shipwrecks – it’s looked at the pirates from Pembrokeshire – it’s more about stories and the people and characters. It’s worth a read just for the history of Skomer – 90% of the book will be about stuff of which people don’t know. Like the ‘Vendome’, it took 4 minutes to find the wreck, but just off it was a cave, I saw the biggest Conga eel I have ever seen, it was as thick as a telegraph pole. It had teeth the size of a Sabre Tooth tiger – I gallantly backed away! Finally, we asked if there were more volumes planned: “This first book took ten months, working some 12 hours a day, sorting it out, explaining the stories and getting it all together, but you get so involved that time means nothing. I have done 40 years of research, the book was very thick so I thought I would do it as a trilogy – all together it would be thicker than ‘War and Peace!’ I self published the book, paid for everything.”

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


Art Auction in support of Tenby Museum



TENBY Museum and Art Gallery opened it’s doors to the public on the 9th September after being closed for eighteen months due to Covid. During this time a new roof and replacement Velux windows were installed as well as extensive internal redecoration carried out.

Being closed for all this time has resulted in a loss of revenue for the museum,  and with this in mind the ‘Friends of Tenby Museum’ are organising an Art Auction on Friday 10th December at the museum to help raise much needed funds

There was a wonderful response from artists who contributed their work in support of the museum including Naomi Tydeman, Sally Green, Tom Sloan, Jon Houser, Meirion Jones, Brian Froud and Louise Burdett to name just a few. All the work will be on display at the museum gallery and can be viewed for free by the public on Thursday to Saturday from 25th November until Friday 10th December.

Doors open to the public at 6.15pm and the auction will start promptly at 7.00pm. Our auctioneer for the night will be the very talented local artist Guy Manning.

All proceeds will go to the Tenby Museum and Art Gallery which is the oldest independent museum in Wales. We appreciate your support and if you can’t make it on the night, you can either leave a bid in a sealed box at the museum or on-line at the museum website

Continue Reading


Ultra-runner demonstrates to never give up on your dreams



Rhys O’Mara (Left), Sanna (Centre) and Hollie Thomas (Right)

INSPIRATIONAL speaker Sanna Duthie recently inspired Military and Protective Services learners at the College with her story of running the 186 mile Pembrokeshire Coastal Path in a record breaking 51.5 hours without any sleep, to help raise money for the Welsh Air Ambulance.

Former College learner Sanna Duthie, an office manager by day and active runner by night, shared her experience of running the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path in record breaking time. Sanna had participated in a few marathons over the years such as Tenby Long Course Weekend, the Gower 50 and the London Marathon.

However, the real adrenaline rush to complete the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path was when Sanna competed in a 100 mile race of the coastal path in 2017.

“I realised I wasn’t too bad at that distance and then that’s when I got it in my head about doing the whole thing.”

Running a coastal path isn’t the easiest challenge and Sanna had to be prepared with an extensive training programme running over 300 miles a month equivalent to 10 miles a day. Sanna also had strength and conditioning training at a local gym to ensure her successful recovery.

“Coast running is hard on your muscles and joints and you need to strengthen those in order to not get injured,” said Sanna.

Originally Sanna started to run the entire coastal path in August 2020 but after 63 miles had to abandon the race due to dangerous weather conditions. This only made Sanna more determined and she completed her ultra-run on 8 th May 2021.

Sanna explained the highs and lows of the run, “There were times when I just wanted to quit, and I even started to hallucinate but I used a tactic where rather than focus on the whole run I broke it down into sections – this made things less overwhelming. Close friends and family would join alongside me on different stages of my run, and this motivated me to get to the finish line.”

Protective services learner Rhys O’Mara was thoroughly inspired by Sanna’s story, “I feel like, from the talk, I’m more inspired to go out and push myself to take on bigger and better physical challenges, the talk really showed that you can achieve anything when you dedicate yourself to a task. After College I’m looking to join the RAF as a drone pilot and have a full career in the forces.”

Sanna was the first female to run the entire coastal path and breaking the previous record of 64 hours and 32 minutes and raised an impressive £5,768.14 for charity.

Continue Reading


Public urged to take part in Council budget consultation



MEMBERS of the public are being urged to participate in Pembrokeshire County Council’s budget consultation 2022-23.

Launched this week, the consultation asks the public where they think the Council needs to spend money, and where it can save it.

As part of the process, the Council has created an online budget simulator, which includes videos from Cabinet members talking about the financial pressure in their portfolio areas.
Cllr Bob Kilmister, Cabinet Member for Finance, encouraged all those interested in how the Council spends its funds to take part in the consultation.

“It’s very important that we hear from as many people in Pembrokeshire as possible,” he said.

“Like other Councils, we are once again facing significant budget pressures and understanding community and household priorities is vital in helping us to make the difficult choices necessary in setting the 2023-23 budget.

“We look forward to hearing from you.”

How to take part in the consultation:

Teams Live Stream event
Join a Teams Live Stream event on Wednesday 1st December from 7pm – 8pm. Put your budget questions directly to Cllr Kilmister or the Council’s Director of Resources, Jon Haswell, or listen to the discussion. Questions are welcomed in English and Welsh.

Budget Simulator
Give your views on the budget priorities for 2022–23 by using our Budget Simulator which is available at

Download the survey and return to County Hall
Alternatively you can download and complete our hard copy Information and Response Form. Once complete please return to or Pembrokeshire County Council, Policy & Partnerships, County Hall, Haverfordwest, SA61 1TP.

The consultation will end on Wednesday 5th January 2022.

Continue Reading

News2 hours ago

New funding for Pembroke regeneration scheme welcomed

PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL has said it is proud to announce the success of its bid to the UK Government Levelling...

News1 day ago

Extreme pornographic images case to be dealt with at Swansea Crown Court

A MILFORD HAVEN man who denies three charges of making indecent images of children and of possessing an extreme pornographic image...

News3 days ago

Secondary school staff and pupils must wear face coverings from December 1

FOLLOWING the written statement from the Minister for Education yesterday (Monday) evening, all secondary school learners and staff will be...

News3 days ago

‘Unpleasant’ trader must pay over £19,000 for shoddy shed work

A MAN who carried out substandard work on a shed in north Pembrokeshire and became unpleasant when challenged has been...

News3 days ago

Covid-19 cases highest in Tenby; lots of new cases in Neyland and Pembroke Dock

THE NUMBER of Covid-19 infections still taking place in Pembrokeshire is still significant, with the latest figues broken down per...

News4 days ago

Vaccine-sceptic care workers urged to get jabbed to save lives

A SOCIAL CARE leader has urged the minority of vaccine-sceptic care workers in the Hywel Dda Health Authority area  to...

News5 days ago

Woman with broken leg airlifted off Preselis by Coastguard helicopter

A WOMAN who broke her leg whilst out walking on the Preselis was taken to hospital by helicopter after a...

News7 days ago

Firefighters want justice for Josh after leaked shock report

A SHOCKING draft report into the circumstances of the death of a firefighter in Pembrokeshire in 2019 is firmly pointing...

News7 days ago

Milford Haven fast food worker tragically took his own life, inquest hears

A MILFORD HAVEN fast food worker took his own life after drinking a large quantity of alcohol, the local Coroner,...

News1 week ago

Email from Councillor prompts Pembroke Dock mayor to resign

AN EMAIL enquiring to why the Mayor of Pembroke Dock had been absent from his civic duties has led to...

Popular This Week