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Badger and the farewell to arms

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guybadgerHELLO readers! Last week Badger chilled your spines and tickled your funny bones (he hopes) with the tale of the legendary lost testicles of Pembrokeshire County Council. Today is, however, a solemn day. Today, October 31, is the day that the County Council bids a fond ‘adieu” to the much-loved and respected foul-mouthed bully, Bryn Parry-Jones. Badger will miss Bryn, too, readers. As the punchline to the longest running joke in Pembrokeshire, Bryn (or as Badger likes to think of him, ‘The Brynster’) was a major contributor to Badger’s oeuvre over the last sixteen months.

And after this All Hallow’s Eve, Bryn will be no more the gag of last resort. Fear not, however, Badger is not overly concerned: He is sure the activities of the IPPG’s own Secret Squirrel, Rob Summons, will provide him with plenty of material as he scurries around attempting to plug the leaks in the IPPG ship of state. Poor PC Summons, readers! As he desperately prowls the ether, spying on the IPPG’s ‘enemies’, his adventures into Facebook and the blogosphere will reveal that the regard in which he and his fellow IPPG toadies are held is even lower than even he might have suspected. An online poll on Facebook discovered that not a single IPPG member attracted a single public vote to be leader of the Council. East Williamston’s fearless blogonaut, Jacob Williams, came second in the poll. While that evil so and so Mike Stoddart also featured strongly.

One can only hope that the Burton representative’s bearing of bad news to Jamie Adams is met with more understanding than his counterpart’s in V for Vendetta. But how, Badger wonders, how will we commemorate Bryn? In the past, readers, rulers erected massive monuments to themselves to celebrate their lives and triumphs. One only has to look at the city of Rome – choc-a-bloc with monuments to emperors famous, notorious and obscure – for evidence of even the least distinguished leader’s desperate quest for monumentality. Nero built his golden palace, Trajan his column and Augustus (probably the greatest butcher of them all) built a monument to peace.

Now, readers, it is certain that the former Chief Executive of Pembrokeshire County Council exercised more untrammelled power than even the mighty Constantine the Great, but one would hesitate to put the scale of his achievements as on a par with even Otho of the Roman emperors. The giant golden statue astride a marble horse opposite County Hall is surely a non-starter. Still less likely is the eternal flame to be situated atop the homage to the Brandenburg Gate planned for the entrance to Fishguard Harbour. Perhaps even a memorial hot dog stand might be pitching it a little high, readers. Of course, the relevance of even the most splendid work of art fades from the memory.

The Mona Lisa’s position as the wife of a long-forgotten Florentine cloth merchant is not what makes her portrait famous. In a recent visit to mid-Wales, Badger visited the Welsh Museum of Modern Art. There, he realised that content without context can denude even the most striking painting or sculpture of meaning and significance. Just sticking a label on a daub and expecting it to resonate with its viewer is not enough. And so readers, Badger rejects the idea of a monument celebrating the sparse achievements and many flaws and failures of Bryn Parry- Jones.

There is a sense, after all readers that our reluctance to vote in local elections; our reluctance to stand as candidates; our reluctance to hold to account the ‘good old boys’ and ‘good old girls’ who treat their wards as fiefdoms, led to a situation in which Bryn could hold sway over our biddable, obedient and wilfully ignorant representatives. And through them over us. That must not happen again, readers. Badger hopes that there will never again be a situation where almost a quarter of councillors are elected because nobody else wants to get ten signatures and put themselves forward. Badger has an idea, readers. Badger has mentioned the way in which art and monuments change their meanings as time passes. The same applies to festivals. When Badger was younger, it was ‘Guy Fawkes Night’.

Every year, thousands – if not tens of thousands – of effigies are burned on a pyre. Among the general population, who remembers that it is an anti-Catholic festival? We annually incinerate representations of Guy Fawkes – the would be slaughterer of a king, the Lords and Commons assembled and a large number of Londoners – to ensure we never forget the threat to Britain posed by those of a Roman Catholic persuasion. Nobody thinks of anti-Catholic sentiment as they eat their burger and watch several hundred pounds worth of pyrotechnics streak into the night sky, a –fizzing and a-banging. Or if they do, they are a member of one of those little tin tabernacle churches which are the last redoubt of religious bigots.

So, readers: Combining the horror of Halloween and the explosive bangs and whizzes of Bonfire Night, we could have Bryn Night! Across Pembrokeshire, communities would banish the ghastly shades of Parry- Jones and his sinister little h e l p e r s H a l l a n d Lewis, to remind each other never to let such as he happen again. To add a little extra spice to the occasion a model of a Porsche Panamera could be ceremonially burnt atop a pyre made up of the electoral literature of IPPG councillors. Have a happy Bryn Night and remember, r e m e m b e r , readers!

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Covid-19 vaccination venues and timeline announced for everyone locally over 50

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EVERY person in JCVI priority groups 5 to 9 will be offered a COVID-19 vaccination by 18 April, Hywel Dda University Health Board has confirmed.

While the health board’s vaccination programme has the capacity to offer a vaccine to everyone in groups 5 to 9 by the original target date of 4 April, the delivery plan has had to be adjusted based on confirmed vaccine deliveries.

Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, and Pembrokeshire residents in priority groups 5 to 9 can expect to receive their vaccine as follows:

  • Group 5, people aged 65 – 69 years – delivered by GP practices between 15 February and 12 March
  • Group 6, people aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions and unpaid carers – delivered by GP practices between 22 February and 4 April
  • Group 7, people aged 60 – 64 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 8 March
  • Group 8, people aged 55 – 59 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 22 March
  • Group 9, people aged 50 – 54 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 5 April

The health board currently has mass vaccination centres located in Aberystwyth, Cardigan, Haverfordwest, Tenby, Carmarthen and Llanelli.

Group 6 is significantly the largest cohort to be vaccinated to date and we understand that many in this group will be anxious to receive a vaccine. Please do not contact your GP or the health board to ask about your appointment, you will be contacted directly when it is your turn and we thank you for your patience.

People in groups 7, 8 and 9 will receive a letter with an appointment date and time. Please arrive as close to your appointment time as possible. The letter will include a phone number to contact the health board should you need to rearrange or cancel your appointment but please make every effort to keep your allocated appointment time.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda UHB, said: “While  our programme has had to slow  due to supplies, we want to reassure everyone in groups 5 to 9 that our amazing teams of vaccinators and GP practices have the capability and flexibility to deliver our vaccine supplies as they arrive into the region.

“Vaccine supplies will start to increase again from mid-March, and we are confident that everyone living in our three counties in the top 9 priority groups will be offered a vaccine by mid-April.

“In Hywel Dda we have an older population compared to some other health boards and so over 50% of our adult population will have been offered a vaccine by milestone 2.

“To be able to say that as we approach the anniversary of the first national lockdown is nothing short of extraordinary.

“And again, I must say thank you to everyone living in our three counties who continue to come forward in substantial numbers for the vaccine. Uptake remains remarkably high and we hope to see this continue through groups 5 to 9 and into group 10.”

People are asked, wherever possible, to use their own private transport to attend an appointment. Lifts can be accepted from someone in their household or support bubble, but not from anyone else due to the risk of transmission of the virus.

The health board has put in place transport support for anyone who may have difficulty attending their vaccination appointment. If you have no other means of travel, please contact the health board on 0300 303 8322 and we will be happy to assist.

Everyone in priority groups 1 to 4 should have received an offer of a vaccination. If you have not been contacted, or have changed your mind, please contact your GP at the earliest opportunity. No one will be left behind.

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Nolton Haven: Man hospitalised after getting into difficulties in sea

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A MAN was taken to hospital after getting into difficulties in the sea off Nolton Haven on Friday.

Emergency services were alerted at 2.40pm on February 26 by a 999 call to the control centre.

The Little Haven RNLI lifeboat, Broad Haven Coastguard, an ambulance crew and a Coastguard rescue helicopter assisted police in the operation.

The male casualty was stabilised on the beach and shortly before 4.30pm, was then transported to Withybush Hospital.

A police spokesman told The Herald: “We were called to a male who had got into difficulties in the water at Nolton Haven shortly before 3pm.

“He was taken to hospital by ambulance.”

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Cyclist killed on A40 was serving police officer, force confirms

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A CYCLIST who died after a crash with a van on the A40 in Carmarthenshire was a serving police officer with Dyfed-Powys Police, the force has confirmed in a statement to Herald.Wales.

The driver of the van involved in the crash, which happened on Thursday (Feb 25) has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, it was confirmed on Friday (Feb 26).

Police are investigating the fatal collision, which caused the road to be closed for 12 hours, and are asking for any witnesses to come forward by calling 101.

37-year-old Lynwen Thomas, who is a former student at Ysgol Bro Myrddin, Croes-y-Ceiliog, Carmarthen, was a sergeant and a very well-respected member of Dyfed-Powys Police.

A spokesperson for the police said in a statement: “Our thoughts are with her family, friends and colleagues, who have all been offered specialist support. We ask that family members are given the privacy they need at this difficult time.”

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