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Launch of new supercomputing facility

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A BRAND new supercomputing facility for Wales has been launched at the Bridge Innovation Centre (BIC) in Pembroke Dock. 

The innovative facility from High Performance Computing (HPC) Wales will provide local access to the UK’s largest distributed supercomputing network along with the software, training and support to utilise it effectively. HPC Wales is a partnership between the Universities in Wales, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government. It aims to boost the success of businesses and research, develop skills to enhance Wales’ knowledge economy, and speed up the delivery of new products and services, in order to improve competitive advantage. Professor Sian Hope, Chief Executive of HPC Wales, said: “We are thrilled to have officially opened our latest facility at the Bridge Innovation Centre in Pembroke Dock. “The centre now houses one of 17 local access points that are being installed around Wales offering those with poor internet connection access to the network. “With the support of the local council and the college we anticipate that the site will foster collaborations between industry and academia and allow local businesses and academics to compete at a level previously unimaginable.” The HPC Wales Supercomputing launch event was run jointly with Pembrokeshire County Council – which owns and manages the BIC – and Pembrokeshire College. Councillor David Pugh, Cabinet Member for Economy and Tourism, said the Council was delighted to give 100% support to the exciting project that is now ‘part of the West Wales landscape’. “Having the HPC Wales facilities physically located in the Bridge Innovation Centre gives a new and quite unique opportunity for the huge contingency of small companies in West Wales to play on a new technology stage previously beyond their reach,” he said. “Partnership and collaboration are really important, and we are delighted to be working with our colleagues in Pembrokeshire College and alongside the HPC Wales Project in helping our young people to learn about and access technology that has not been available to them until now. “By learning these higher level skills, our young people are put in a strong position to exploit opportunities in high tech organisations, which puts them ahead of the competition.” David Thomas, Manager of the Bridge Innovation Centre, said; “Society is changing, and technology is changing at an ever increasing pace, it doesn’t ever seem to slow down. “High Performance Computing is making a massive difference in terms of design, modelling and bringing down the time to compute complex problems. “Having access to this new technology on our doorstep enables our businesses at the Bridge Innovation Centre to develop and grow in Pembrokeshire and to compete with much larger companies throughout the world.”

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Ted’s medals and beret presented to Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre

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THE WARTIME story of D-Day Royal Marine Commando Veteran Ted Owens will always live on in his home town of Pembroke Dock.

This is thanks to his family who have gifted his medals, green Marines beret and Commando dagger to the town’s Heritage Centre.

The presentation was made on the opening day of the Centre’s new season and the framed display is a centrepiece of a new exhibition to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

One of Pembroke Dock’s best known characters, Ted Owens died last August at the age of 98. Over the years he was a big supporter of and a regular visitor to the Heritage Centre. It was his express wish that his medals and Commando items be displayed at the Centre.

Making the presentation were his brother Wyn, nieces Gloria Elford and Liz Halsted, cousin Margaret Black and close family friend Shobha Edgell. They were joined by Kevin Stanley of the VC Gallery, Pembroke Dock, with which Ted also had a special connection.

The Centre’s D-Day exhibition will run for the whole year. It features Ted’s wartime story and that of others who, like Ted, took part in the June 1944 landings in Normandy. It includes a mannequin of an airborne soldier in full equipment and many items of uniform and kit used by both Allied servicemen and their German opponents. Many of these items are from the personal collection of military historian Andrew Ludlow who was recently appointed a trustee of the Centre.

The Heritage Centre is open Mondays to Fridays, 10am to 4pm.

Pictured with the Ted Owens framed display are, left to right: Kevin Stanley of the VC Gallery, Liz Halsted, Margaret Black, Gloria Elford, Wyn Owens, Shobha Edgell, and Andrew Ludlow and John Evans, of the Heritage Trust. (Martin Cavaney Photography)

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Saundersfoot Beach voted among world’s most sustainable shores

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SAUNDERSFOOT BEACH has been recognised among the world’s most sustainable beaches by TripAdvisor users. This Welsh treasure finds itself in prestigious company, sharing the spotlight with stunning sandy stretches from locations as diverse as Sicily, Australia, India, South Africa, and the UAE.

The announcement comes as part of TripAdvisor’s esteemed Best of the Best Beaches for 2024, unveiled within the framework of its annual Travellers’ Choice Awards. These awards, celebrated for highlighting the crème de la crème of global travel destinations, derive from an exhaustive analysis of tens of millions of reviews submitted by TripAdvisor’s vast community of international travellers over the past year. Specifically, this year’s rankings have been meticulously compiled based on both the quality and quantity of ratings for beach experiences, spanning several categories including the top beaches worldwide, the premier beaches in Europe, and, notably, a new subcategory dedicated to recognising the best in sustainable beach destinations.

This innovative sustainability category is evaluated through a combination of inputs from BeCause, via the renowned Blue Flag program, and TripAdvisor traveller feedback. It honours beaches that exemplify exceptional commitments to sustainability, with a focus on practices such as sustainable transport options, efficient waste disposal mechanisms, and superior water quality standards.

Although Welsh beaches were notably absent from the top 10 list overall, Saundersfoot Beach emerged as a beacon of sustainability, securing the third spot in its category. TripAdvisor lauds Saundersfoot as “a sandy beach with clear blue waters,” ideal for activities ranging from paddle boarding to rockpool exploration. The beach’s adjacent promenade, replete with an array of shops and cafes, further enhances its appeal.

Testimonials from recent visitors have been overwhelmingly positive, with one user praising the beach for its cleanliness and accessibility: “A really tidy beach with plenty of parking close by, we really enjoyed walking along the beach with some great views to see.” Another review highlighted its pristine condition: “Very lovely beach, nice and clean.”

Sarah Firshein, Head of Editorial at TripAdvisor, reflected on the significance of the 2024 awards, stating, “Last year, TripAdvisor received millions of reviews for beaches—it’s clear that our community absolutely loves them. But as our Travellers’ Choice lists reveal, there’s no one-size-fits-all ‘beach day’.” She also noted the dominance of European beaches in this year’s top rankings, a testament to the growing preference among travellers for the unique coastal experiences offered by the continent, over the traditionally favoured Caribbean destinations.

The list of the Top 10 Beaches in the World for 2024 showcases a diverse array of locations, with Europe’s shores leading the way, while the Top 10 sustainable beaches highlight global efforts towards maintaining the beauty and integrity of our planet’s coasts, with Saundersfoot Beach proudly representing the UK alongside Sandbanks Beach in Dorset.

This recognition not only celebrates Saundersfoot’s natural beauty and the community’s dedication to preserving it but also positions Pembrokeshire as a must-visit destination for eco-conscious travellers from around the globe.

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Heavy rain leads to flood alerts and closed roads in Pembrokeshire

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FOLLOWING a night of heavy rain, Natural Resources Wales has issued a series of flood alerts for multiple areas across Pembrokeshire, as adverse weather conditions have led to rising river levels, posing a significant risk of flooding to low-lying lands and roads.

The Eastern Cleddau catchment is currently experiencing river levels above the normal, triggered by a period of adverse weather affecting the region. Authorities warn of expected flooding in low-lying areas and roads, urging the public to remain vigilant. Natural Resources Wales has committed to continuous monitoring of the situation and encourages residents to keep abreast of developments via the ‘River Levels, Rainfall and Sea Data’ available on their website.

Similar conditions have been reported along the north and west coasts of Pembrokeshire, where the adverse weather has resulted in elevated river levels. The risk of flooding to low-lying areas and roads persists, with continuous monitoring promised by Natural Resources Wales.

In south Pembrokeshire, particularly concerning is the situation around the River Ritec in the Salterns area of Tenby. Due to restrictions at the tidal outfall, river levels are likely to remain high for several days. The public may notice a slight rise in river levels with each high tide, heightening the flood risk in the area.

Moreover, the Western Cleddau catchment is bracing for a period of adverse weather expected to commence from midnight. Forecast rainfall is anticipated to cause river levels to rise above normal on Wednesday, 21st February, leading to potential flooding of low-lying lands and roads.

Natural Resources Wales has reiterated its commitment to monitoring the evolving situation across these regions closely. Residents are strongly advised to utilise the ‘River Levels, Rainfall and Sea Data’ on the Natural Resources Wales website to monitor local conditions and prepare accordingly.

With the forecast predicting continued adverse weather, the agency underscores the importance of staying informed and ready to respond to any emergency instructions. The public’s safety remains a top priority as these weather-related challenges continue to unfold across Pembrokeshire.

Roads affected in the county today are as follows

  • A40 between Haverfordwest and Wolfscastle is currently closed due to flooding.
  • Rosemarket River has burst its banks and the surrounding roads are barely passible
  • B4318 Gumfreston also currently closed due to heavy flooding with no indication of
  • reopening times.
  • Reports of disruption due to rainfall between from The Troopers Inn to Llangwm
  • Reports of high levels of surface water to roads in around Crackwell Holiday Park, Tenby
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