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Pembroke: Carols to commemorate Christmas truce of 1914

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Roughly 100,000 British and German troops were involved in the unofficial cessations of hostility along the Western Front

Roughly 100,000 British and German troops were involved in the unofficial cessations of hostility along the Western Front

“Silent Night Carols”, which took place in Pembroke Town Hall last Saturday night (Dec 20), was but one of some three hundred similar events arranged to mark the centenary of the famous Christmas truce of 1914.

The unique service included a specially-commissioned, contemporary version of Silent Night, with a new verse and chorus. This new version of Silent Night (Christ The Saviour Is Born) with additional words by writers Ben Cantelon and Nick Herbert, has been recorded by multi-platinum-selling tenor Paul Potts. Through the “Silent Night Carols” and the release of this single, and the Silent Night Carols albums, HOPE Together has linked with Tearfund and Sports Chaplaincy UK in an attempt to bring a measure of help to those affected by the war in Syria.

The Pembroke event, which attracted the enthusiastic support of the Mayor Councilor Aaron Carey,featured a live nativity made up of members of several local churches and was preceded by the results of the local “Find the missing donkey competition”.

Awarding the prizes Councillor Carey said “It’s been a good night with a really encouraging turn out. I am really happy that someone is doing something for the children of Pembroke, and hopefully this will build year on year becoming ever more popular”

The mayor’s enthusiasm was matched by that of local organiser Lyn Edwards who observed “It was very powerful evening indeed, particularly for those members of the armed forces who were present. It was especially moving when we listened to the reading of a poem that talked about the plight of a soldier on the streets.”

“It’s been an amazing evening. This was a time when people from all sorts of backgrounds were able to get together and remember that Christmas is a time for bringing people together.  Christmas is a time of hope because it is about the coming of Christ Emmanuel God with us”.

truceGareth Jones Chair of local Royal British Legion and the local Community Association clearly found the whole experience very moving as he explained: “I was asked to read a piece written by a soldier named Taff Evans entitled “Where did it all go wrong?” It really got through to me because it is a year since I came back from Afghanistan and it really struck me just what it has been like there.  I thought of some of my colleagues who have not made it not to mention one who simply couldn’t cope and six months after returning home took her own life”

“But we have to carry on and I am privileged to have a family who are my strength and my reason. Also my military family needs to extend itself so that there aren’t any more that we lose. That’s what drives me”

“I was delighted with the turn out and thrilled with the hard work everyone had put in to make the evening such a success” said Pembroke Pastor Rob James. “I can think of no better way of thanking everyone than to quote the endorsement that these services have received from Prince William Duke of Cambridge. He has said “In the stillness of the night at Christmas one hundred years ago the carol Silent Night could be heard ringing out across No Man’s Land. Soldiers from both sides tentatively came out of the trenches to exchange gifts and to play football. For twenty four hours the fighting stopped for the 1914 Christmas truce. Even at the bleakest of times Christmas offers peace and hope. This Christmas the Silent Night Carol Services are a powerful way to remember the sacrifice made by so many in the Great War and to celebrate the peace we enjoy today”

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COVID-19 tests being encouraged for wider range of symptoms

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PEOPLE living in Pembrokeshire are being encouraged to have a free COVID-19 test if they have a wider range of symptoms.

Previously, only those with either a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss/change of taste and smell, were advised to seek a test. The health board is now also encouraging people to have a test if they have any of the following symptoms:

  • Flu-like symptoms, including myalgia (muscle ache or pain); excessive tiredness; persistent headache; runny nose or blocked nose; persistent sneezing; sore throat and/or hoarseness, shortness of breath or wheezing
  • Generally feeling unwell and a history of being in contact with a known COVID-19 case
  • Any new or change in symptoms following a previous negative test

The change aims to find hidden COVID-19 cases in our communities and drive down the numbers of onward transmissions.

Identifying infections, which could otherwise go undetected, is particularly important as new variants of the virus emerge. The more tests carried out, the easier it will be to spot early clusters of cases and possible virus mutations. This will help with easing restrictions in the future.

The new testing regime will initially run for at least 28 days and will then be reviewed. Swansea Bay University Health Board is also expanding its offer of testing in this way.

Alison Shakeshaft, Director of Therapies and Health Science at Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “Overall, we are seeing a positive picture across the three counties and there has been a steady fall in the number of COVID-19 cases.

“Also, the demand for tests has come down considerably since the end of 2020, so we have capacity to expand the offer of testing to those with a wider range of symptoms.

“We know the wider group of symptoms do occur in COVID-19 but are not reported as often as the ‘classic three’ symptoms. With the very low rates of flu circulating at the moment, it is more likely that wider flu-like symptoms are due to COVID-19.

“Our aim is to find as many COVID-19 cases as possible so we can prevent the virus being passed on to others. We want to do everything we can to help bring the pandemic to a close as fast as possible and help restrictions to be lifted.”

If you have any of the symptoms outlined above, please stay at home and get a test by booking online via the UK portal https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or ringing 119.

As these are national contacts, you may automatically be asked about the ‘classic three’ symptoms. However, to book your test simply choose either one of these options: “You have been asked to take a test by your local council” or “You are part of a government pilot project”.

Once you have had your test, you must continue to self-isolate until you receive your result, which will usually be within 24 hours of the test. If your result is positive, you must self-isolate for 10 days from the date your symptoms started. You will also be contacted by the local Tracing Team.

If your result is negative, you can end your self-isolation, when you feel well enough to do so.

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Dale Morgan charged with murder of Judith Rhead, police confirm

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DYFED POWYS POLICE have charged a man in connection with the alleged murder of 68 year old Judith Rhead who was found dead in her home in Market Street, Pembroke Dock on Saturday (Feb 20).

Dale Morgan, 43, will appear at Llanelli Magistrates’ Court today by video link.

Dale Morgan, in court today

A spokesman for the force said: “Dyfed-Powys Police can confirm that Dale Morgan, aged 43, has been charged with the murder of Judith Rhead, aged 68, who was found in a property in Market Street, Pembroke Dock.

“He is due to appear before Llanelli Magistrates’ Court today (Thursday, 25 February).”

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Judith Rhead murder investigation – Detectives given more time to question suspect

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POLICE have been given more time to question a 43-year-old man arrested on suspicion of murder.

The man has been in police custody since Saturday night, after being arrested over the death 68-year-old Judith Rhead.

She was found in a residential property in Market Street.

The police now have until Thursday afternoon (Feb 25) to question the suspect.

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