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Second soldier confirmed dead following Castlemartin tank incident [UPDATED]

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A SECOND soldier has died as a result of an incident involving a tank at Castlemartin Ranges, and two more are injured.

Both soldiers were from the Royal Tank Regiment.

The incident happened around 3.30pm on Wednesday afternoon (Jun 14) and an investigation has since been launched.

Two  of the injured people are continuing to receive treatment in hospital. They are said to be in a ‘serious condition’.

Minister for People and Veterans, Tobias Ellwood,  said earlier today (Jun 15): “It is with deep sadness that I can confirm the death of a soldier from the Royal Tank Regiment who died as a result of injuries sustained in an incident at Castlemartin Ranges.

“His next of kin were by his bedside and we will be respecting their privacy before further details are released.

“Three other soldiers have also been wounded and our thoughts remain with the friends and families of all those involved.

“The safety of our personnel is out absolute priority and a full investigation is underway to understand the details of this tragic incident.”

Mr Ellwood has since confirmed the death of a second soldier. He said: “Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time.”

Live firing was due to take place at the base from Monday until Friday.


A video of a Challenger tank at Castlemartin.

A Dyfed-Powys Police spokesperson said: “Dyfed-Powys Police can sadly confirm a second man has died following an incident involving a tank at MOD Royal Armoured Corps range in Castlemartin. He died at Heath Hospital in Cardiff on Thursday (Jun 15).

“This follows the death of another man who died yesterday morning at Morriston Hospital.

“Two men remain in serious conditions in hospital.

“All next of kin of those injured and deceased have been informed and are being supported.

“Police were called to the incident at 3.30pm on Wednesday, June 14.

“The investigation at Castlemartin is continuing, led by Dyfed-Powys Police working closely with Health and Safety Executive and the Ministry of Defence.”

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St. Davids Rugby Club bids fond farewell to popular tenants

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ST DAVIDS Rugby Club has announced with great regret that Carol and Jeff Pick, beloved tenants of the club, are stepping down from their position. The couple, who moved to St. Davids primarily for this opportunity, expressed their heartfelt gratitude for the past year, which they described as an extraordinary experience.

Carol and Jeff took over the tenancy of St. Davids RFC in Pembrokeshire at the end of last summer, a significant period as the rugby season commenced. Unlike most rugby clubs that employ a steward or stewardess, Jeff and Carol owned the tenancy, meaning they managed the entire operation, making decisions that could make or break their venture. Despite the challenges posed by the seasonal influx of St. Davids’ population, which swells from 2,000 to 12,000 during the summer months, they thrived.

Their tenure has been marked by a series of successful initiatives. Jeff’s background as a former player and coach undoubtedly facilitated his integration with the club’s members. Carol’s personal touch was evident through her creative contributions, such as sewing cushions in the club’s colours for the lounge, which added a genuine club feel to the place. The club became a hub of activity with weekend entertainment, including bands, open mic nights, and Carol’s popular Sunday lunches.

In a heartfelt statement, Carol and Jeff shared their appreciation for the warm and welcoming community they have come to cherish. “We have met so many wonderful people and made countless friends; words cannot describe how fantastic this last year has been,” they said.

Although they are leaving their roles as tenants, the couple emphasised their ongoing commitment to the club. Jeff will continue his involvement with the rugby team, and Carol remains a dedicated supporter. They extended their thanks to the club’s committee for their unwavering support and for providing them with this unique opportunity.

Special acknowledgements were given to Jack, the coaches, and the players, who have contributed to the fun and camaraderie within the club. Carol and Jeff also highlighted the continuous support from the mini and juniors section, as well as the St. Davids Penknife Club, whose encouragement has been invaluable.

The couple expressed their gratitude to all the club members and patrons who have visited for a pint, noting the joy they found in these interactions. They also thanked their friends and family for visiting and sharing in the wonderful times at the club.

Concluding their message, Carol and Jeff expressed their sincere thanks to everyone who has supported them throughout the year. “It has been an absolute pleasure getting to know all the friends we’ve made,” they remarked.

The departure of Carol and Jeff marks the end of a cherished chapter at St. Davids Rugby Club, but their legacy of friendship and community spirit will undoubtedly endure. Visitors and club members alike will fondly remember their contributions and the vibrant atmosphere they helped create.

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Education

Exciting visit to France for Pembrokeshire school pupils

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LAST week, 60 children and 16 teaching staff visited the Bassin d’Arcachon in France as part of a Taith funded project. 

The children, representing Pennar Community School, Neyland Community School, Prendergast Community School, Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi and Haverfordwest High School, engaged in a week of activities with French school children. 

They visited lessons, took part in dancing, art, maths and playground games, all with the aim of developing modern foreign language skills, exploring cultural similarities and differences as well as having an overarching theme of sustainability in schools and caring for the environment. 

The children explored the Dune de Pilat, the largest natural sand dune in Europe, and Biscarosse beach where they undertook beach and environmental studies.

The town of Neyland has had a twinning connection with the town of Sanguinet for more than ten years and this trip allowed these friendships to develop further and pave the way for a return visit by up to 20 French children next year.

The group was hosted by the twinning committee and the mayor at a reception in the town hall where the children had the opportunity to sample local dishes.

The children and staff were excellent ambassadors for their schools and for Pembrokeshire, laying the foundations for future collaborations.

Taith is Wales’ international learning exchange programme, with taith being Welsh for journey.

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UK inflation falls to 2.3%, raising questions over interest rate cuts

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UK inflation has dropped to 2.3% in April, marking its lowest level in nearly three years. However, the decline fell short of analysts’ expectations, dampening hopes for an imminent interest rate cut by the Bank of England.

City analysts had anticipated a reduction to 2.1%, closer to the Bank’s 2% target. This discrepancy led markets to adjust their forecasts, now predicting that the Bank’s current rate of 5.25% may not be reduced until August, rather than next month as previously speculated.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that the decrease from March’s 3.2% was primarily due to lower energy and food costs. The last time inflation was this low was in July 2021. Significant contributions to the drop included a record 27% fall in electricity and gas prices over the past year and a modest 2.9% annual rise in food and soft drink prices, the smallest increase since November 2021.

Illustrating the ongoing strain on household budgets, furniture retailers reduced prices by 0.9% between March and April, while overall goods prices dropped by 0.8% month-on-month. However, annual services inflation, reflecting inter-company charges, remained stubbornly high at 5.9%, only slightly down from March’s 6%.

Despite the overall fall in the consumer prices index (CPI), the ONS noted that higher property rents and mortgage costs kept the alternative CPIH measure, which includes housing costs, elevated at 3% year-on-year. Petrol and diesel prices rose last month, although the price of Brent crude has recently stabilised around $83 (£65) per barrel.

KPMG UK’s chief economist, Yael Selfin, suggested that the chance of an interest rate cut next month had diminished. “Falling inflation nears the Bank of England’s target but may not suffice for an early rate cut,” she stated. Echoing this sentiment, Paula Bejarano Carbo of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research noted that core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, remains high at 3.9%. Combined with robust wage growth, this persistence could compel the Bank’s monetary policy committee to maintain rates.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak heralded April’s CPI figure as a “major moment for the economy, with inflation back to normal,” asserting that it validated the government’s economic strategy. Conversely, Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves argued that it was premature for the Conservatives to celebrate, highlighting the ongoing pressures of soaring prices, mortgage bills, and taxes.

In the eurozone, inflation held steady at 2.4% in April.

Separate ONS data indicated a larger-than-expected rise in public borrowing for April, with the monthly deficit reaching £20.5bn. Despite a decrease in debt payments, the high cost of servicing government debt exceeded expectations, potentially ruling out pre-election tax cuts.

Economic adviser Martin Beck from the EY Item Club described the public finance figures as disappointing, suggesting that continued higher borrowing costs would likely prevent any significant fiscal easing before the next general election.

Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Economy and Energy, Samuel Kurtz MS, praised the inflation drop, attributing it to the UK Conservative Government’s effective economic policies. He called on the Welsh Labour Government to support the economy by fully implementing business rates relief and reforming growth taxes.

Paul Butterworth, CEO of Chambers Wales South East, South West, and Mid, noted that while the reduction in inflation was significant, it remained above the Bank of England’s target. He expressed hope that the continued downward trend might prompt an interest rate cut soon.

Meanwhile, the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) warned that despite the fall in inflation, the cost of living crisis continues to severely impact mental health. Their recent survey revealed that 74% of respondents felt their mental health was worsened by the crisis, with particularly high impacts on those with pre-existing conditions, women, ethnic minorities, and lower-income households.

BACP’s Director, Dr Lisa Morrison Coulthard, emphasised the need for government action to address these mental health challenges. The BACP has proposed a 13-point action plan to improve access to mental health services, stressing the importance of funding and support for vulnerable populations.

As the nation grapples with economic and mental health pressures, the government’s response to these intertwined issues will be crucial in the coming months.

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