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Leader backs down over shutting Ysgol Dewi Sant as hundreds protest

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p2COUNCIL LEADER Jamie Adam’s surprise u-turn in Council on Thursday (Jan 29) may well have been spurred on by community pressure culminating in a huge protest outside County Hall.

Over three hundred protesters, members of the St David’s Community, greeted councillors as they entered the council offices attending the extraordinary meeting. A roar of ‘Save our School’ went up each time a councillor arrived, as the peaceful, but loud, protest gathered momentum.

Speaking to the crowd was Canon Dorian Davies who led a prayer asking for the councillors to be guided to see beyond pounds shillings and pence, and to think of what is the optimum benefit for the local children and community, by keeping the small secondary school open.

The Herald spoke with a number of members of the community who expressed anger, frustration, dismay and doubts over the legality of the proposal to close their school.

Vicky Skeats, a community member, said: “The school in St. Davids is vital: it is the best school in Pembrokeshire, as only two schools are graded 2B yellow, one is Preseli and the other one is Ysgol Dewi Sant. This school is vital to the peninsula, County and community. There is another option; make it a church school. This will address cost cutting issues. It’s a complete mess and Pembrokeshire County Council (PCC) haven’t even consulted us on losing the 6th form!”

p4Abby Voice, a pupil at the school, pleaded for her school, saying: “It’s ridiculous to close our school, without the school there is no community and why close a school full to capacity? It means everything to everyone. It is disgusting”.

Claire Raymond, a parent of two children at the school told The Herald: ‘It’s very important we keep our school as it has close associations with the Cathedral. It’s a well performing school so why would you close it? I asked them (PCC) to consider looking at the boundaries and primary schools that feed in, which was an option.”

Cannon Dorian Davies of St. Davids Cathedral also spoke with The Herald, adding: “The whole of the community oppose this proposal. The people are speaking, as you can see from the turnout, and hopefully the councillors will respond in the most positive way, which is that they need to reconsider to close Ysgol Dewi Sant whilst looking at the whole schools policy.”

Lisa Reeves was holding up a banner saying: “We moved 200 miles for Ysgol Dewi Sant”. She explained what the banner meant: “We are from Liverpool and it was our dream, for me and my partner, since we were 18 to move to St. David’s and bring our children up here. We came for a better life and better education in a smaller school. To hear our dreams are being crushed is awful. We don’t want our kids to go to Fishguard and if the school is taken away this will tear the place apart. I went to a massive comprehensive school and I didn’t want that for my kids; the teachers here are part of the community, it’s more personal.”

protest1Claire Dunn was holding a poster that accused Pembrokeshire County Council of being corrupt. she explained to the Herald the sentiment behind the emotive words: “As we all know there have been a lot of mis-dealings within Pembrokeshire County Council. We (the community) don’t trust the efficiency of the Council to do their jobs properly, especially in matters like this. They shouldn’t vote at all today as they haven’t gone through the proper procedures. What they should do is listen to the views of the community because no one wants super schools; we want individual schools that work. They want us to send our children to a school that is in special measures? They aren’t competent enough to make this decision and they should be taken to task over it. There should be a thorough investigation and then, if they are found to be competent, they can carry on with council activities.”

Hannah Robinson held up a poster reading, ‘Schools not Porsche’s”, stating: “As we all know a certain gentleman had a Porsche; our money should be better spent. None of us want a super-school.”

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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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