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Pembrokeshire’s link to the International Space Station



astro academyROBERT WOODMAN, a Physics teacher from Ysgol Bro Gwaun is part of the National Space Academy’s latest mission, Astro Academy: Principia.
This mission, part of the education remit of ESA’s first British astronaut, Tim Peake, will link school science with experiments conducted on board the International Space Station (ISS).
The Astro Academy: Principia kit of experiments arrived today (Friday 5th September) at the ISS for Tim to use during his 6-month mission in space.
Launched from Kazakhstan on Tuesday on board the Soyuz TMA 18-M mission, the kit was funded by the UK Space Agency and designed and built by the National Space Academy. Flight-testing for space launch was carried out by the University of Leicester’s Space Research Centre. The original launch of the kit in June ended in disaster when Space X’s Falcon 9 launcher was destroyed after a catastrophic failure of its upper stage.
‘Astro Academy: Principia‘ is an ambitious science education programme using the unique microgravity facilities on board the ISS to conduct experiments and demonstrations that are impossible on Earth. After his own launch on December 2015, Tim will film himself doing the experiments and these films will form a suite of freely available teaching films and accompanying teacher education guides that will be released in 2016.
Robert Woodman is now tasked with sharing the science of Astro Academy: Principia at a local level, through student masterclasses and teacher training for the region, available through booking with the National Space Academy (nsa@
Jeremy Curtis, Head of Education at the UK Space Agency, said:
“We’re excited that Tim will be able to carry out demonstrations in space to help teachers explain science to their students. His videos and other teaching materials developed by the National Space Academy will be available from summer next year.”
The narrative for each film will also showcase many of the successes of the UK’s own space industry – which employs over 30 000 people and generates more than £11 billion per year for the UK economy.
National Space Academy Director Anu Ojha OBE said: “Our ambitions for Astro-Academy:Principia are bold – to deepen the curriculum understanding of physics and chemistry students, to support teachers in their curriculum programme delivery and to take advantage of the unique microgravity classroom we have aboard ESA’s Columbus module of the International Space Station.”
The University of Leicester’s Space Research Centre (SRC) led the flight qualification testing of the Astro-Academy: Principia payload. The SRC team, led by Professor Mark Sims (SRC Director and also a Director of the National Space Centre), conducted the essential vibration tests that were needed to prove that the payload could survive the launch.

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Former council social worker admits to string of sexual offences



A FORMER council social worker has admitted a string of grave offences including sexual assaults and possessing indecent images of children.

Richard Ford, aged 51, appeared at Swansea Crown Court on Friday (Dec 8), where he faced ten charges that spanned over a 10-month period.

It is understood that he has connections to Llanion Cove activity centre, where another individual connected to that canoe club was recently convicted of child-related sex offences including grooming.

The court heard that Ford was involved in three sexual assault incidents against a woman in Pembrokeshire.

These assaults occurred in November 2021, and in June and August of the following year.

In addition to these offences, Ford was also accused of seven further sexual crimes within the same area.

How Herald first reported this case

The prosecution detailed that Ford had 910 indecent images of children, categorised for their severity.

These included 254 images of Category A, which are considered the most severe, alongside 123 Category B images, and 533 Category C images. These offences were said to have taken place from September 30 of the previous year.

Furthermore, Ford faced charges related to the distribution or showing of indecent images of children, involving 19 images between April 6 and September 30 of last year.

His litany of charges also included attempts to cause a child to watch a sexual act and arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence, incidents that reportedly occurred between April and September of the same year.

Now residing on Princess Way Road in Hackney, London, Ford has accepted responsibility for all the charges brought against him.

Presiding Judge Catherine Richards has adjourned the sentencing until January 31, ordering that a pre-sentence report be prepared in the meantime.

Judge Richards, addressing Ford, stated unequivocally that a custodial sentence was inevitable.

Ford has been released on conditional bail, which includes a strict curfew from 6pm to 6am, until his sentencing date. The case has sent shockwaves through the local community, prompting discussions on safety and the protection of vulnerable individuals.

In response to the legal proceedings, his former employer. Pembrokeshire County Council told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “We are aware that an individual formerly employed by the Council has been charged with several child sex offences. It would be inappropriate at this time to comment further on what is still a live criminal investigation.

“We are also aware that another individual connected to a canoe club has been convicted of child-related sex offences including grooming, and is currently serving a custodial sentence as a result. That individual was not and is not an employee of the Council.

“As with any investigation into child sexual abuse, the local authority cooperated with the criminal investigation, and takes all steps to ensure that any children impacted by such offences are identified and supported.

“Anyone who has a concern about the welfare of a child can contact police on 101, the child care assessment team on 01437 764551, or in an emergency, dial 999.”

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Fishguard man fined for failing to comply with listed building notice



In a recent hearing at the Haverfordwest Magistrates’ Court, 60-year-old Paul Mason of Newport Road, Fishguard, faced significant fines for failing to adhere to a Listed Building Enforcement Notice.

Mr. Mason, who was not in custody and was present for the hearing, was represented by Aled Owen from HCR Solicitors. The case was brought against him by Pembrokeshire County Council.

The charges stemmed from Mr. Mason’s actions between the 13th of March and 8th of June, 2023, at his Fishguard residence. He failed to comply with the steps outlined in the Listed Building Enforcement Notice INV/0002/20, which was dated 17th June 2021. This contravention falls under sections 43(2) & (5) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.

In a dramatic turn of events during the hearing, Mr. Mason changed his plea from Not Guilty to Guilty. This decision played a crucial role in the court’s sentencing. The magistrate imposed a fine of £1,000 on Mr. Mason for his breach of the enforcement notice. Furthermore, he was ordered to pay an additional £400 to fund victim services (FVS) and cover costs of £1,000 (FCOST).

A collection order was made, and the defendant’s guilty plea was taken into account when imposing the sentence (GPTAC). Interestingly, there was a note regarding a change in the defendant’s personal details (DDCH).

The total balance owed by Mr. Mason amounts to £2,400. The court has arranged a payment plan, with Mr. Mason required to pay £40.00 per month, starting from the 4th of January, 2024.

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Support 53,000 jobs in Wales with a Christmas pint



WELSH people raising a Christmas pint in pubs and at home should enjoy the taste of supporting 53,000 local jobs, which pay £665 million in wages and contribute £1.2 billion to the economy, data from the Welsh Beer and Pub Association (WBPA) shows.

The brewing and pubs industry is one of the UK’s biggest employers, supporting almost one million jobs across the regions.

Pubs have an equally vital social contribution. Across Wales, 82% of people say pubs are important in bringing people together, while 67% think pubs help combat loneliness and isolation.

The Long Live the Local campaign invites pubgoers who can afford it to buy an extra round to support the brewers, delivery drivers, farmers and thousands of people behind the pint.

Welsh people raising a Christmas pint should enjoy the taste of supporting 53,000 local jobs in breweries, bars and supply chains which pay £665 million in wages and contribute £1.2 billion to the economy, data from the Welsh Beer and Pub Association (WBPA) reveals.

The WBPA’s Long Live the Local campaign is shining a light on the nearly one million people behind the pint who make the festive season merry.

As Welsh pubgoers raise a local brew, they support hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country: including farmers growing hops, brewers developing new recipes, scientists working on quality control and logistics teams managing deliveries.

‘The local’ is often the heart of community life and a major source of local employment and economic growth. Its social value is most apparent at Christmas, bringing people together and combatting loneliness during the festive season. Recent YouGov polling in Wales found:

  • 75% of people feel pubs have a positive effect in communities
  • 82% say pubs are important in bringing people together
  • 67% think pubs help combat loneliness and isolation in their local area

Pubs and brewers have faced major increases to their costs over the last few years while struggling to limit price rises. The Autumn Statement provided vital support with an extension to business rates relief and the freeze on beer duty, but the next budget must provide surer footing for brewers and pubs by:

Cutting tax on beer in the next Budget and pledging to bring beer duty down to the European average over the course of the next Parliament. The EU average duty on a pint of beer is currently 20p, whereas in the UK it is 54p for draught beer and 59p for packaged beer- nearly triple the European average and 12 times more than Germany.

Reforming business rates so pubs and brewers can invest in the future, with the 75% relief maintained and a cap to the planned increase in the 2024 business rates multiplier until this is implemented

Lowering VAT rate to 12.5% for pubs to help publicans and customers with cost of living increases

The Long Live the Local campaign invites the Welsh to buy an extra round this Christmas to support the people behind the pint and join the campaign to secure the future of their local.

Lloyd Manchip, brewery manager at Magor Brewery, says: “It’s very unusual to be in an industry where you make a product that is at the centre of every party and occasion. Beer brings people together… at football and rugby, weddings and funerals, every major social event.

“There are 550 people who work with me and we are so passionate about producing the perfect beer. We’re also looking to the future and investing in becoming more sustainable. Reducing our carbon footprint and reducing the usage of all those commodities to ultimately make the brewery more efficient, better for the planet and ultimately for the people who drink our beer.

“The beer industry is such a major part of Welsh culture. It’s so important that we keep and maintain that.”

Emma McClarkin, CEO of the Welsh Beer and Pub Association, told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “So many of life’s milestones are marked by sharing a beer, whether in commiseration or joy. Behind the glass, there are nearly a million people across the cities and regions who make this possible: including brewers, technicians, delivery drivers, farmers and the pub staff at the counter.

“The great British pint is woven into the fabric of our communities, economies and regional identities. Local pubs are some of our most beloved tourist attractions, while our breweries produce some of the finest beers in the world.

“But the industry needs our support to survive. Wales remains one of the most expensive places in the world to have a pint, with beer duty more than double the average across Europe. The next Parliament must make bringing beer duty in line with Europe a priority – taking at least 34 pence off the price of a pint – as well as reforming business rates so that brewers and pubs can continue investing in the future, providing quality jobs and training for people across the country.”

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