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Thieves target charity Basics Bank

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patchA MONKTON based charity which is committed to helping the poorest of the poor has had to relocate its distribution centre because thieves have been stealing their stock. PATCH Charity whose HQ is located in Milford Haven has been offered temporary space in the CAB building in Pembroke Dock. Voicing his regret that the charity would no longer be able to operate from their base at Long Mains Monkton Chairman Dennis O’Connor said “Recently we have experienced several incidents involving theft from the food bank. Regrettably, despite repeated attempts to ensure security, the most recent theft was discovered on Friday (Oct 31).

Dyfed-Powys Police have been informed and are currently investigating” Coordinator Tracy Olin is saddened by this unexpected development but remains clearly undaunted in her determination to continue to meet the needs of those who rely on PATCH for help. She said “The numbers affected vary from week to week and month to month. We are probably helping some 40 – 69 people a month. And although I feel devastated by what’s happened the people of Pembrokeshire have rallied around again and supported us wonderfully.

We are very disappointed of course but we have reached the conclusion that we really believe this is God’s timing and that the provision will continue to come. The support we have received from churches, individuals and companies is fantastic. I am constantly amazed by peoples’ generosity” She continued “I cannot stress how grateful I am to CAB for the way they have stepped in to help us at this crucial moment. We can use a room in their building in Meyrick Street. We will be there11am – 1pm on Tuesdays until we find a new home. It will be just for food as they have no storage space. We will bring food parcels from Milford. And I would ask anyone visiting PATCH please to use the client entrance only. All referral will have to be phoned through first so we know what food to take over” “Parcels will only be available between 11 and 1 on Tuesdays and clients cannot pick up from there at any other time.

We are incredibly grateful to CAB who we have worked with for a very long time. They are an amazing charity that support and help many of our clients and we sign post on to them often” “Clothing and Household items will have to be collected from our Milford HQ. We apologise for any inconvenience, but the situation is out of our control and we would have been really stuck without the help of CAB” PATCH Charity, which celebrated its sixth birthday recently, operates as a Basics Bank rather than a simple food bank.

Consequently PATCH provides food parcels for people who for various reasons are unable to feed themselves. It also provides clothing for people who cannot afford clothing and household basics such as kettles, pots and pans. It aims to support individuals, couples and families ensuring that people are able to access the support they need to help them, whether that be through the provision of food and clothes, or by signposting to other agencies. Pembroke’s Deputy Mayor Councilor Pauline Waters told The Herald: “This kind of initiative is desperately needed however the help is given.

And we need to find ways of helping those out of the loop and who do not have access to the normal channels of help. Sadly incidents like this only remind us what type of society we are living in today where so many people are just out for themselves” “As a local councilor I would appreciate feedback from those have been help[ed over the years so that we can do all we can to enrich the life or our town and community. Local people are so sad but they are also saying maybe we should be praying for those who have done it”

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Education

Delight as foundation phase learners return to class

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PEMBROKESHIRE Headteachers have reported very positive returns to school for Foundation Phase Learners.

All Foundation Phase Learners returned to schools on Monday, March 1st and attendance has been reported at almost 90% since.

The Council’s Director for Education, Steven Richards-Downes, said: “A wide range of council services have worked together to ensure that Foundation Phase pupils have been able to return
safely to school.

“I am particularly grateful to all school staff and families for ensure that learning is now available for our youngest learners face to face.”

Headteachers remarked how schools have filled with smiles and laughter following the safe and phased return of Foundation Phase learners.

Cora O’Brien, Headteacher at Waldo Williams School in Haverfordwest emphasised how quickly learners have settled back in to a routine.

“It has been an absolute joy to hear their laughter in the playground and to observe their love of learning face to face once again. I thank everybody in the Waldo Williams School
community for working so hard to ensure that the transition went smoothly.”

Vicky Hart-Griffiths, Headteacher of Ysgol Hafan y Mor in Tenby, said: “It has been wonderful to welcome all our Foundation Phase learners back to school. They are thriving, being amongst
friends and back to a school routine.  

“All the pupils have spoken about how happy they are to have returned and it’s an absolute pleasure to welcome them back and we can’t wait until we have all our pupils back in school.

“The school feels alive again and there’s a positive buzz and laughter once again echoing throughout the school.”

Gareth Lewis, Headteacher at Broad Haven CP School said children had returned “with real enthusiasm, and have been very keen to meet up with their friends.”

Mr Lewis added: “Our parents have been very supportive and positive about the return, and those with older children are very much looking forward to a wider return to schooling.”

Mr Richards-Downes said plans were now turning to more learners returning to schools in the near future.

“We are looking to the next phases of the re-opening of schools on the 15th of March as long as the government guidelines allow.”

Further details will be released in due course.

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Pembrokeshire County Council: This week’s Leader’s coronavirus update

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL Leader, Councillor David Simpson, has provided a further coronavirus update for Friday, 5th March as follows:

‘Welcome everyone to my weekly update.

“It is with rather a heavy heart that I tell you that it’s almost 12 months since my first statement on the coronavirus pandemic.

“On 9th March 2020, I addressed our Cabinet meeting with the following words:

“Further to the news yesterday that two people in Pembrokeshire had tested as positive for the Covid 19 virus, I am sure you will join me in wishing them both a speedy and full recovery.

“I can reassure you that our services will continue as usual, and all our employees can continue to attend to their work, appointments, schools and services as they normally would.

“We should all help protect ourselves and our communities by following Public Health Wales advice, particularly around washing hands and using a tissue for symptoms associated with cold and flu and then safely disposing of it.

“I am grateful to the co-operation and hard work of all of our staff and we will provide further updates and information when we have them.

“In the meantime I can confirm that detailed planning arrangements, both internally, with partner agencies and through the Dyfed Powys Local Resilience Forum, are well underway to ensure that the Council and Pembrokeshire are as well placed as possible for whatever challenges we may face. Thank you.”

“I am sure you will join me while I take a moment now to remember all those people in Pembrokeshire and further afield, who, very sadly, passed away since I made that announcement.

“I continue to be incredibly grateful, as I’m sure you are, to everyone who is helping to beat this pandemic, working so very hard now for over a year.

“We are fortunate now to be in a position where the vaccine programme is protecting older members of our community and starting to roll out among one of the biggest groups – the over 65s and those with underlying health conditions.

“This time next week (12th March) the Welsh Government will have notified us of their plans for the next three weeks.

“In the meantime, we remain in Alert Level 4 and the stay at home message continues to be more important than ever as we reach the threshold of better times.

“I wish you all a good weekend and thank you once again to the vast majority of wonderful Pembrokeshire residents who are doing the right thing and waiting patiently at home for restrictions to lift.

“We do really appreciate your efforts and determination to help bring this pandemic to an end.”

 

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Sergeant Hillier ‘died doing the job he loved’, says his heartbroken father

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THE ARMY SERGEANT who died after being injured in a live firing exercise, has been named locally.

The incident occurred at Castlemartin Training Area, and led to the death of Sgt Gavin Hillier, who was in the Welsh Guards.

In a post on social media, his father wrote: “Absolutely devastated to be writing this post, probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

“At 3.45am this morning I received a phone call that will forever change my life. My eldest son Gavin Mark Hillier was in a fatal accident yesterday in the army (the job he loved).

“Sleep tight & rest in peace son. I’m so proud of you. Goodnight and god bless, love your heartbroken dad.”

An Army spokesperson said: “It is with great sadness we can confirm the death of a soldier on March 4.

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this tragic time.

“The circumstances surrounding this death are being investigated and it would be inappropriate to comment any further.”

It is understood that Sergeant Hillier, who served as part of the Welsh Guards’ motor transport platoon, was due to be deployed to Iraq and had previously been awarded a Long Service and Good Conduct medal by Prince Charles, the regiment’s Colonel in Chief, in 2019.

The tragic incident is the latest in a number of accidents at Castlemartin.

In 2017, The Herald reported that two soldiers died in a tank explosion, which a coroner ruled was due to a design flaw.

The following year, an Army captain was jailed in July 2018 after a 21-year-old soldier was killed by a stray bullet during an exercise at the range in 2012.

An investigation has been launched into the death of a soldier at Castlemartin RAC Range following a military exercise.

Police were called to the site at just before 10.45pm on March 4.

Sadly, a man was pronounced dead shortly after. Our thoughts are with his family, who have been informed of the incident and are being supported by specialist officers.

An investigation is underway led by Dyfed-Powys Police. Officers are liaising with the Health and Safety Executive and MoD.

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