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Cowshed Cinderella in Court of Appeal

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Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 11.11.11A £1.3 MILLION “golden egg” is at the centre of a renewed and bitter Appeal Court battle between an aging farming couple and their estranged daughter – dubbed the “Cowshed Cinderella”.

Eirian Davies, 46, was repeatedly assured by her parents, Tegwyn and Mary Davies, now in their 70s, that she would ultimately step into their shoes and take over the family’s thriving Henllan Farm, Whitland, and its herd of pedigree Holstein cows.

And in May 2014 three Appeal Court judges ruled that a stake in the thriving 182-acre farm was due to her for the years of low-paid toil she put in.

Miss Davies has told how she missed out on going to Young Farmers’ Club dances with her two sisters as a teenager because she had to “stay at home with a muck fork” , tackling her farming chores.

She worked on the family farm for over 25 years, although with sporadic breaks over the years.

“They always told me that the farm would be left to me,” Miss Davies told an earlier court hearing.

“Even on my birthday, when the other girls were having things, they would say – ‘you will have the damn lot one day, it will all be yours’,” she said.

Her father would regularly warn her “not to kill the goose that lays the golden egg” if she complained about her meagre wages, she added.

Until she reached the age of 21, Miss Davies was paid nothing at all for her work on the farm and, after that, there was a period when she was paid just £15-a-day for milking the cows, although sometimes she received more.

She claimed she could have ‘made a better life elsewhere’, but her 75-year-old father and mother, 76, insisted she had earned a fair income during her stints working on the farm, also being provided with free ‘bed and board’ and other benefits.

Describing her as ‘a self-employed herdswoman’, they argued she would have done no better financially had she worked away from the farm.

In 2009, Miss Davies was shown her parents’ draft will, which left the lion’s share of the farm to her.

However, the couple later made changes to their bequests and proposed placing the farm in trust for the benefit of all three sisters equally.

Miss Davies had a ‘passionate interest in pedigree milking cows’ and, by 1989 when she turned 21, she was the only sister left at the farm, ‘her sisters having departed to follow other paths’.

And, when she left the farm to work elsewhere for a while, her father begged her to return.

The bitter legal dispute was finally sparked in August 2012 following an “altercation” in the milking parlour – after which Miss Davies’ parents launched an unsuccessful bid to evict their daughter from Henllan Farmhouse.

Later on, Judge Milwyn Jarman QC ruled Miss Davies was entitled to a beneficial interest in the family’s lucrative farming business, prompting her parents to challenge that ruling in the Appeal Court.

But in May 2014 Lord Justice Floyd dismissed the couple’s appeal, ruling that Miss Davies had received “less than full recompense” for her contribution to the farm.

The appeal judge concluded: “This is in many ways a tragic case. The bitterness between the parties was such that each had few, if any, good words to say about the other.”

After the parents’ appeal was rejected, the case was sent back to Judge Jarman to put a figure on the amount of compensation due to Miss Davies.

He awarded her £1.3 million for her share of the family farming business in February 2015 at the High Court in Cardiff, triggering her parents to mount a fresh appeal.

The case returned to the Appeal Court on Tuesday this week (Apr 26) as Mr and Mrs Davies’ legal team launched their attack on the judge’s findings.

The couple’s QC, Simon Fancourt, claimed the £1.3 million pay-out would be “hugely disproportionate to any detriment Eirian incurred in reliance on representations that were made”.

The “representations and assurances” given by her parents were “general and non-specific” in the early days, said the barrister, including such sentiments as, “it’ll all be yours one day” and “don’t kill the goose that lays the golden egg”.

He said Judge Jarman had found that the first time the couple made any substantial “explicit representation” about inheritance was in 2009 when Miss Davies was shown a draft of their wills, bequeathing the farm to her.

Mr Fancourt said that Judge Jarman unfairly “worked on the basis that there was an expectation of inheriting the whole lot”.

“He gave too much weight to the expectations,” said the barrister.

Lord Justice Patten, Lord Justice Underhill and Lord Justice Lewison, who are hearing the case at London’s Appeal Court, are expected to reserve their judgment to a later date.

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Crime Commissioner continues to secure funding for organisations that support victims of domestic and sexual violence

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THE POLICE and Crime Commissioner for Dyfed-Powys Police is again making the offer for organisations that support victims of domestic and sexual abuse to bid for additional funds.

Funding was made available last year, in light of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on organisations supporting victims of domestic and sexual violence.

It was part of a £76 million package of support made available by the UK Government.

Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said: “Thanks to this additional funding, we can ensure that victims and survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence in Dyfed-Powys can access specialist services for support, at a time when they are needed the most.

“Unfortunately, we have seen a rise in domestic violence during the pandemic and victims need help now more than ever and I am grateful for the work of all the service providers across the Force area that help these men, women and families who are most in need.

“I want to reassure anyone who is in an abusive situation or relationship that you do not need to suffer in silence, and I urge anyone to report abuse to the Police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.

“This funding is open both to providers whom I currently commission and those that I do not currently fund. However, unlike the extraordinary Covid-19 funding provided in 2020/21, organisations do not need to be a registered charity, a charitable incorporated organisation, or a social enterprise to be eligible for this funding. They must, however, provide support services which have the purpose of helping victims of sexual violence or domestic abuse cope with the impacts of crime and, as far as possible, recover from the harm they have experienced. We would also encourage applications from small specialist organisations that support groups with protected characteristics.

“If you wish to submit a request for this funding, further guidance is available on my website, and can be requested via the office e-mail address.”

Closing date for submissions is close of play on Friday, March 12, 2021.

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Covid alert level lowered for whole of UK

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THE COVID alert level for all four nations of the United Kingdom has been lowered to alert level 4.

The decision comes following advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and in light of the most recent data.

In recent weeks, the R-rate and the number of covid cases has been on the decline.

Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Frank Atherton said: “Following advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and in the light of the most recent data, the four UK Chief Medical Officers and NHS England National Medical Director agree that the UK alert level should move from level 5 to level 4 in all four nations.

“The health services across the four nations remain under significant pressure with a high number of patients in hospital, however thanks to the efforts of public we are now seeing numbers consistently declining, and the threat of the NHS and other health services being overwhelmed within 21 days has receded.

“We should be under no illusions – transmission rates, hospital pressures and deaths are still very high. In time, the vaccines will have a major impact and we encourage everyone to get vaccinated when they receive the offer. However for the time being it is really important that we all – vaccinated or not – remain vigilant and continue to follow the guidelines.

“We know how difficult the situation has been and remains to be for healthcare workers, we thank them for their immense effort, skill and professionalism throughout the pandemic.”

Under the Welsh Government’s Alert level 4 restrictions, schools and colleges, places of worship, community centres, playgrounds and public parks are among those that can be opened.

Theatres, entertainment venues, leisure facilities and outdoor visitors attractions are among the places that must remain close while the country is in Alert Level 4.

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Postmaster and politicians welcome Goodwick cash machine U-turn

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GOODWICK post office will now be keeping its ATM, after a U-turn by Post Office Ltd.

The machine was due to be removed within months with the post master, Jon Moverley saying that it would be a disaster for the village.

If the ATM had been removed, there would have been just two 24-hour ATMs serving the whole of Fishguard and Goodwick in the short term and three when the Co-op renovations are completed.

Both politicians and local residents then got behind the campaign to keep the ATM

Pembrokeshire politicians Paul Davies and Stephen Crabb have welcomed the news that Goodwick post office is now set to keep its ATM facility. Following representations made by both politicians to the Post Office, it’s now been confirmed that Goodwick Post Office will be included in the rollout of ATM machines across the post office network.

Mr Davies said “This is really welcome news. I’m pleased that the Post Office has listened to the representations made by the local community and decided to retain the ATM at Goodwick post office. The facility is so important for local people and businesses and it’s great that that’s been recognised and the Post Office has committed to keeping it.”

Following the Post Office’s decision to invest in Goodwick’s ATM rather than remove it, Stephen Crabb MP, who campaigned for the ATM to stay, commented: “It’s great news that the Post Office has overturned its own decision and will be keeping an ATM machine in Goodwick.

“Access to cash continues to be incredibly important for a number of people and businesses and I’m pleased to have played my part in working with John from the Post Office in Goodwick, Paul Davies MS and the wider community to highlight the ATMs importance to the area. It shows what can be achieved when we work together.”

The postmaster described the news as ‘brilliant’. Mr Moverley thanked supporters.

He said “Many thanks to all of you who have used the machine and complained to POL about the removal. We were also supported by our MP, MS and mayor, the National Federation of Sub-postmasters and our Chamber of Trade.

“Everyone did their bit, and it says an enormous amount about the strength of the community.

“We are delighted that locals and so many other people have come together to save this essential facility in the village.”

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