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Tributes to Little & Broad Haven volunteer who raised over £500,000

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Award: Mary receiving her honorary life governor award

TRIBUTES have been paid to a woman who spearheaded raising more than half a million pound for the RNLI.

Mary Whitewright had given over 40 years of service and was one of the founding members of the branch – then called the Ladies Guild – at Little & Broad Haven when it started back in 1975. Earlier this year Mary received the highest honour bestowed on non-crew volunteers by the Institution when he was made an Honorary Life Governor.

Mary, who sadly passed away on November 6 at the age of 76, had been secretary of the branch for over 37 years.

The Branch has received a string of awards in its 40-year history, including five Gold Awards and four Bars to Gold Awards. Speaking at the 40th anniversary dinner Mary said: “We have always said that fundraising can be fun and we have always made it fun. We have had so many laughs over the years.”

Mary Whitewright, who had lived in Little Haven, was a local councillor among helping out on various other committees. When asked recently what her first memories of the branch were she said: “I was firstly asked to raise money for a scanner for the crew which cost around £200, I was successful and managed to raise the entire amount over the single weekend. Ever since I have continued in the same vein”

Andy Grey, who has been involved with Little & Broad Haven RNLI for 36 years and is the current Lifeboat Operations Manager at the station, said: ‘This is a very sad time and our thoughts and prayers go out to all of Mary’s family.

“Mary was here at the lifeboat station when I started as crew in 1982 and she has been here ever since.

“She was instrumental in organising many fundraising activities over the years, after using the pub she ran as the venue for fish & chip suppers, raffles and many other successful activities.”

Andy added: “Mary’s energetic nature and vibrant personality always ensured she had plenty of help at all the events.

“Recently at a very successful celebration of 40 years Branch Dinner, she managed to acquire the service of the legendary Welsh Prop Graham Price to speak at the occasion,

“In Graham’s words I was not asked or even invited – Mary just told me that I would do it for the RNLI, that’s how much she loved the organisation.’

“Such was Mary’s impact, for every emergency call out Mary would stop whatever she was doing and would be the first person on the front clearing people off the slip and stopping the traffic. But never forgetting to put on the yellow vest and donation box in hand.

“Mary will certainly leave a lasting memory – a pillar of the community.”

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Lifeboat rescues yacht stranded on rocks off Pembrokeshire coast

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A LOCAL lifeboat was called into action yesterday afternoon, May 26, after a 40-foot yacht became stranded on rocks off the Pembrokeshire coast. The incident occurred at Horse Rock, Ramsey Sound, at low tide.

At 2.38pm, the St Davids all-weather lifeboat was dispatched following a request for assistance. The French vessel, which had three people on board, had struck Horse Rock. Fortunately, the yacht was freed without sustaining any damage by the time the volunteer crew arrived.

In a statement posted on their Facebook page, RNLI St Davids Lifeboat reported: “St Davids all-weather lifeboat was requested to launch at 2:38pm on Sunday 26th May to aid a 40-foot yacht stuck on rocks in Ramsey Sound. The French vessel, with three people onboard, had hit Horse Rock at half tide. The volunteer crew were soon on scene and found the yacht had managed to free itself without damage.”

The lifeboat crew conducted a thorough assessment to ensure the safety of both the crew and the vessel. Once it was confirmed that everything was in order, the yacht was able to continue its journey to Fishguard Harbour. The lifeboat then returned to its station.

This successful rescue highlights the vital role of the RNLI and its dedicated volunteers in ensuring the safety of those navigating the challenging waters around the Pembrokeshire coast. The quick response and professional handling of the situation by the St Davids lifeboat crew ensured a positive outcome for all involved.

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Second row Max Douglas becomes latest Scarlets signing

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THE SCARLETS say they are delighted to secure the signature of highly-rated Australian forward Max Douglas.

The 24-year-old has just completed his second season with the Yokohama Canon Eagles in Japan.

Before his move to the Japanese top division, the 6ft 7in Douglas, who has played in the second row and back row, featured for the Waratahs in Super Rugby and the Manly club in Sydney.

He will link up with the Scarlets in the summer.

Scarlets head coach Dwayne Peel said: “Max is a young, athletic second row who has experience in Super Rugby and more recently in Japan’s top division.

“He is comfortable with the ball hand, which suits how we are looking to play and is excited about coming on board and being part of the Scarlets journey over the coming years.

“Max is another strong addition to our forward pack following the signings of Marnus van der Merwe and Alec Hepburn and we are looking forward to welcoming him here to Parc y Scarlets this summer.”

Max Douglas said: “I’m really excited to be joining the Scarlets. This is a club with a strong history and I’m excited at the challenge of trying to contribute to that.

“I’m looking to bring over some of the experiences and learnings I’ve gained from my time in Australia and Japan to hopefully add to what is a really strong playing group.

“I can’t wait to meet all the players and staff and get into our work.”

Douglas is the Scarlets’ fourth signing to be announced ahead of the 2024-25 campaign with Exeter Chiefs prop Alec Hepburn, Toyota Cheetahs hooker Marnus van der Merwe and Nottingham full-back Ellis Mee on their way to West Wales.

Tongan second row Sam Lousi, Wales internationals Tom Rogers and Harri O’Connor and back-rowers Dan Davis and Ben Williams have also signed new contracts with the club.

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Brawdy space radars campaign launched over safety fears

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A CAMPAIGN group, fighting against proposals to for a deep space radar dish array in north Pembrokeshire has been launched, saying it would be one “of the most health-hazardous military installations ever proposed anywhere in the UK”.

The UK/US military plans for a 27-dish Deep Space Advanced Radar Concept (DARC) at Cawdor Barracks, Brawdy is part of AUKUS, a three-way security pact between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States to build three DARC radar installations around the world, one in each of the three countries.

The radars would track foreign countries’ communications and military satellites in space, so that British, US and Australian aircraft could then destroy them with anti-satellite missiles at will.

Pembrokeshire Herald report from December 2023

A scoping report was submitted to Pembrokeshire County Council early last year, as reported by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, which said DARC would track active satellites some 22,000 miles above the Earth.

That application stated: “The Ministry of Defence has a duty to protect the UK national interest around the world. This includes the Space Domain, which offers both the UK and its Allies an important strategic advantage, but also emerging threats and vulnerabilities that need to be monitored.”

It added: “As part of the ongoing investment into this domain, the UK is working with its allies to identify a location for a new deep space monitoring facility to protect and defend its interests.
“An area of brownfield land at Cawdor Barracks has been identified as one of the potential locations for the delivery of the installation.”

It added: “The Deep-space Advanced Radar Capability (DARC) is a United States Space Force (USSF) led programme that aims to set up three geographically dispersed radar sites to increase global Space Domain Awareness with the UK and Australia being offered to host one of the three sites.”

Cawdor Barracks is currently the headquarters of the 14th Signals Regiment, which is due to relocate from 2028. Late last year, Cawdor was identified as the preferred UK site, with the-then UK Defence Secretary, Grant Shapps.

It was said that retention of the base for DARC would create up to 100 jobs.

The DARC scheme would be subject to an as-yet unsubmitted planning application.

A new campaign group, PARC Against DARC has been officially launched today, May 29, hoping to stop the scheme, describing the proposals as the proposals are “one of the most health-hazardous, tourism-ruining, skyline blighting military installations ever proposed anywhere in the UK”.

PARC Against DARC, which is to is to host a public launch meeting at Solva Memorial Hall at 7pm on June 27, has asked: “When did Dewisland, Pembrokeshire or humankind ever vote for the US military to control all of space?”

PARC (Pembrokeshire Against Radar Campaign) was originally set up back in 1990 when the US Military unsuccessfully attempted to build a similar radar installation on the Dewisland peninsula, north Pembrokeshire.

The revamped 2024 operation already has support from groups including Welsh and UK organisations such as CND and Stop the War Coalition, as well as individual supporters.

One of them is Keith Griffiths, architect and owner of Roch Castle, Twr y Felin and Pen Rhiw Priory known collectively as the Retreats Group, who said the scheme “will be a huge eyesore to the National Park and of no economic benefit locally”.

“Any new use should benefit the local economy and respect the beauty of the surrounding Pembrokeshire Coast National Park,” he added.

More detail in this informative Youtube video

A spokesperson for PARC Against DARC said: “The fight is on. We fully intend to win the battle to stop the radar as they did in the 90s. The MOD are making out as if it’s just a formality to gain planning permission for this huge project, even insinuating in their press that they just need to ‘run it past the local parish council’ or such like.

“This is simply not the case; we know that major infrastructure projects like these require specialist planning permission which can only be granted by Pembrokeshire County Council, and that there will be several environmental impact assessment stages they’d have to clear long before they could ever begin building.”

“Our plan is to fight them at every level and on every front to make absolutely sure that these proposals are never passed by our elected representatives in County Hall.

“We will build on the strong history of the previously victorious campaign and echo all of its strengths & successes. Last time there were huge rallies, marches and demonstrations and ultimately the entire county stood strong together to fight off the proposals.

“We are absolutely confident that we will create this avalanche of opposition once again so that these plans will never see the light of day.”

The campaign group has also launched a change.org petition webpage and an online crowdfunder page, along with social media pages.

Identifying Cawdor as the preferred site last year, Grant Shapps said: “As the world becomes more contested and the danger of space warfare increases, the UK and our allies must ensure we have the advanced capabilities we need to keep our nations’ safe.”

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