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Ambitious councillor calls for the regeneration of Pembrokeshire

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‘IT IS IMPORTANT for us to be ambitious; it’s even more important when the future success of Pembrokeshire depends on the changes we are driving to deliver.’

That’s the view of Cllr Paul Miller, Pembrokeshire’s Cabinet Member for Econony, Tourism, Leisure and Culture, who has made unequivocal his commitment that Pembrokeshire County Council will spearhead a programme of widespread regeneration across the county.

The splendour of Pembrokeshire, its celebrated beaches and its spectacular National Park coastline – the only one of its kind in the UK – cannot be questioned. To many, it is place of unparalleled beauty and the 4.2 million tourists per year are testament to a destination that consistently draws and delights visitors from all over the UK and abroad. But the notion of
Pembrokeshire as a modern business hub that is ripe for investment and development, allied with home-grown, dynamic talent ready to realise this ambition has not been a conversation on many people’s lips…until now.

‘The Regeneration of our County is long overdue. It is my commitment to get the wheels of progress turning in a way that the public are able to see and believe in,’ said Cllr Miller. ‘There has been significant change already during my time as a Cabinet Member, but I accept that’s not been very visible to date. We are perhaps, only now, beginning to see tangible progress but I am absolutely determined we build momentum around a programme that will create exciting, lasting change for Pembrokeshire. I am ambitious about what our county can be and our vision is based on an realisable agenda for regeneration that creates jobs and a thriving region in rural west Wales.’

Though Haverfordwest and Pembroke will be priorities for the town-centre regeneration programme, the public will benefit from projects throughout the whole of Pembrokeshire.

Pembrokeshire County Council’s proposals for Haverfordwest will look to re-establish the county town as a destination of choice for residents, tourists and business, providing an attractive proposition for investment. A number of ‘flagship’ projects are now tabled and the first phase of this work has already delivered Glan-yr-afon/The Riverside, a new library, tourist centre and gallery which has brought a 10% increase in town centre footfall since opening earlier this year. Amongst a number of other exciting schemes nearing fruition, phase two of the Riverside project – the redevelopment of the former Ocky White department store building – is now at an advanced stage. There is now the required political appetite alongside a robust business case to see these projects assist in repositioning Haverfordwest as an exciting place to work, live and build a business.

With rail and road infrastructure strategies well underway, alongside a desire for highspeed fibre broadband throughout the county, Cllr Miller talks candidly of a mission to make Pembrokeshire ‘the best connected rural county in the UK.’

Plans for the redevelopment of South Quay in Pembroke are beginning to come together and the decision on the appointment of the architects for the scheme will be made imminently.

While Cllr Miller is careful to acknowledge that progress will be measured on results, he is determined that the next few years will demonstrate a sea change in Pembrokeshire’s drive towards regeneration and he is clear about how he sees this being realised: ‘We’re going to show some leadership and that’s going to prove the catalyst for bringing partners, investors and businesses to the County. With connectivity at the heart of our programme we are going to invite the nation to embrace the attractive possibility of living and working in one of the most beautiful parts of the world. Pembrokeshire is a dynamic, connected, ambitious place and we’re open for business!’

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Sentencing delay for money theft case

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A CROWN COURT has delayed the sentencing of a Narberth man who has admitted stealing from a local community organisation.

Lee Squelch, 37, of Caerau Farm, Llandewi Velfrey, had denied the charges but changed his plea to guilty on March 5.

However, due to over running cases at the Crown Court, the sentencing date has been put back until Wednesday, April 21 – the case was due to be concluded on April 15.

Squelch has admitted that between April 2014 and March 2018 he stole money from The Pembrokeshire Byways and Bridleways Association.

It is understood that Squelch was in a position of responsibility within the said organisation when the alleged offences took place.

Pembrokeshire Byways and Bridleways is a community focused organisation which aims to improve the bridleways around Pembrokeshire, to keep horse riders safely off the roads. It is affiliated to the British Horse Society.

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The Pembrokeshire man on the Titanic

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ON the morning of April 15 1912, in the North Atlantic some 450-miles south of Newfoundland, the RMS Titanic slowly slid beneath the sea just two hours and forty minutes after hitting an iceberg.

Stories from that night are famous, from the lookouts misplacing their binoculars to the ship’s band playing even as the sea washed over their feet, the sinking of the Titanic holds a special place in the public consciousness and continues to grab our attention some 109 years after the ‘unsinkable’ ship sank.

Over 1500 people lost their lives in the biggest maritime naval disaster at that point.

Among the dead were American and British millionaires, White Star Line employees and countless anonymous immigrants from across Europe who were all seeking a better life in America.

908 crew were on board the Titanic when it left Southampton on its fateful maiden voyage, one of the crew was a man called Charles Essex Edwards, 38, who sometimes gave himself the first name of ‘Clement’.

Charles was born in 1862 to John and Harriet Edwards of St. Martin’s Place, Haverfordwest.

He worked as a carpenter as a 19-year-old man and would end up moving out of Pembrokeshire and going to sea.  By the time he married a lady called Lavinia Ann Poulter, from Llanstadwell, in May 1892 he was living in Newport.

Lavinia, a Pembrokeshire woman herself, was the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Poulter who lived on Lawrenny Terrace in Neyland.

By 1895, Lavinia had returned to Pembrokeshire following the death of her mother. Charles and Lavinia’s marriage suffered but Charles would continue visiting Lavinia and stayed at his father-in-law’s house when he was on shore leave.

Although still married in the eyes of the law, Charles and Lavinia were basically separated by 1901.

Charles signed on to work on the brand new RMS Titanic after it had completed its sea trials in Belfast Lough, he gave his address as 7 Brunswick Square, Southampton. He worked on the Titanic as an assistant pantry-man steward who earned a monthly wage of £3 15s on his previous ship the SS Zeeland.

SS Zeeland: The ship Charles worked on before the Titanic

When RMS Titanic left Southampton a massive crowd had gathered to see the newest addition to the White Star Line fleet depart. Charles Edwards was there. He was there when the ship picked up more passengers at Cherbourg and Cobh.

He would’ve been working during the day, his job entailed keeping the ship’s pantries stocked with food and wine, a vital job on a ship with such a high-class passenger list as the Titanic.

He was, more than likely, sleeping when Frederick Fleet spotted an iceberg in the ship’s path at 11:40pm on Sunday, April 14. He would’ve been woken by the noise of metal on ice and the ship shuddering as it was torn open on the starboard side.

As the ‘unsinkable’ ship took on water Charles, as a White Star Line employee, would’ve been given the unenviable task of waking up passengers, informing them of what happened and getting them to put on their lifejackets.

Once the scale of the situation on the Titanic became apparent, the command structure effectively disintegrated.

Captain Edward Smith would’ve cut a forlorn figure as he wandered around near the wheelhouse and his last words to his crew, according to reports at the time were:

“Well boys, you’ve done your duty and done it well. I ask no more of you. I release you.

“You know the rule of the sea. It’s every man for himself now, and God bless you.”

This would’ve been around 2:10am, at that point Charles would’ve faced a literal up-hill battle with male members of the crew only having a 24% chance of survival and many people gathering ‘like bees’ on the stern of the stricken liner which, experts say, raised to a 12 degree angle.

The Pantryman-stewards from the Titanic’s sister ship, the Olympic

Many male crew members elected to stay at their posts as, according to Victorian culture it was better for men to die than to live and be perceived a coward, so the lights of the ship remained on until about 2:18am, just two minutes before Titanic broke apart and began its journey to its final resting place some 12,000ft below on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

But now you know there was a man named Charles Edwards who was born in Haverfordwest and who died when the Titanic sank in the freezing waters of the North Atlantic. His body, if it was recovered, was never identified and we don’t even have a picture of him.

When news of the disaster broke, The Pembroke County Guardian described the tragedy as ‘one of the most appalling calamities in the long history of shipwreck’.

Four men from Maenclochog, it was later revealed, had a lucky escape as their plans to emigrate that April on the Titanic were thwarted by one of their number being unable to travel, so the group decided to wait for their friend. That decision saved their lives.

Pembrokeshire responded to the sinking by raising money for the Titanic Relief Fund, Pembroke Dock raised £12 2s 0d through a collection at the Royal Dockyard and, in Haverfordwest, Sidney White, who would later go on to own The Palace Cinema, hosted benefit performances to packed houses which raised £5 15s.

Lavinia, after a legal battle with Charles’ brother William, was given £192 in compensation for Charles’ death and went on to look after her father at Railway Terrace, Neyland until he passed away.

Lavinia went on to move to Middlesex where she lived until 1934. She left her estate to her chauffeur.

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Marloes pensioner in child abuse images case

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A PENSIONER has been bailed to attend Swansea Crown Court by magistrates sitting in Haverfordwest Law Courts this week.

Derek Lister, 72, of Marloes is accused of making indecent photographs of children.

He appeared before the bench, on Tuesday (Apr 13).

Lister was represented by Redkite Solicitors.

The court heard that between June 2009 and November 2019 in Marloes, Pembrokeshire, Lister allegedly created 3 indecent category A images of a child, 14 indecent category B images of a child and 152 indecent category C images of a child.

He will now appear at Swansea Crown Court on May 11 at 10am for the next hearing after the local court declined jurisdiction.

Lister has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Derek Lister: Accused of making child abuse images
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