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SOME pubs can reopen on July 13

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PUBS, cafes and restaurants in Wales can re-open on July 13.
Or, at least, some can.

In a move heavily trailed by the First Minister at his Monday press conference (June 29), pubs, cafes, and restaurants which can serve customers in outdoor spaces they own or pub gardens will be allowed to open for customers on July 13.

The Welsh Government has not announced when indoor trade will be allowed to open.

OUTDOOR OPENING ONLY

The decision follows a torrent of criticism directed at the Welsh Government over its failure to provide a roadmap for reopening the hospitality trade. The industry is linked intimately with Wales’ tourist sector.

That failure was condemned by pub and restaurant owners and opposition spokespersons as evidence of dither, delay, and doing things differently for their own sakes.

Every other UK administration has either already set a clear route out for pubs and restaurants or already reopened them.

Speaking on Monday, the First Minister said: “I hope that [ongoing discussions] are productive and profitable about how pubs and restaurants can safely reopen in the outdoors. And with the mitigating measures that will need to be in place in order to allow that to happen safely.”

The First Minister continued: “We’re getting to the point now where we have a definitive list of the measures that the sector is proposing. And we will need to put that to the Chief Medical Officer, and those who advise us on the science of coronavirus to get their view as to whether or not the proposals amount to a safe reopening that could be recommended.”

The treatment of the consultation with the hospitality industry, suggests the Welsh Government did not join the dots to connect cafes, pubs, and restaurants importance to Wales’ tourism and foodservice industries.

The First Minister said on Monday ‘a rapid review’ would take place over ‘the next couple of days’ with the Government scientific and medical advisors.

However, guidance released without fanfare on the Welsh Government website the same day set out the plan to reopen pubs and restaurants but allow only outdoor service.

COUNCILS LOOK TO FUTURE

Several surveys of those planning ‘staycations’ revealed a majority would only travel to areas where pubs and restaurants were open.

With Wales’ beleaguered coastal and rural economies facing a double whammy of losing over half the tourist season and then being out-competed for tourism pounds by other parts of the UK, something had to give.

With a clear eye on the future of the sector, several local authorities – including Pembrokeshire – have opened consultations on ‘café culture’

Pembrokeshire County Council Cabinet Member for Licensing, Phil Baker, said: “Given the Covid-19 regulations it is likely many more establishments will be considering the possibilities of utilising outdoor spaces.

“We would urge those running cafes, public houses, restaurants etc to think about how Café Culture could work for their premises and to get in touch so we can understand the demand and get the necessary plans in place.”

Following the Welsh Government’s announcement, it is possible – if not likely – the Council will reconsider the closing date for applications to the scheme.

WG’s APPROACH ‘PROBLEMATIC’ AND ‘FOOT-DRAGGING’

Helen Mary Jones MS, Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Economy Minister, responded to the announcement on Thursday morning: “While the news that we have a date now for outdoor opening is welcome, a timetable could have been shared with the sector earlier. Giving pubs, restaurants, and cafes less than two weeks to prepare for re-opening shows how problematic the Welsh Government’s current ad-hoc approach is to easing restrictions.

“The Welsh Government needs to be planning much further ahead and making clear which restrictions are expected to be lifted in the weeks and months ahead.”

Ms Jones continued: “The Government must work with local authorities to urgently overcome the planning and licensing challenges that need to be addressed, enabling spaces to be created in our towns and villages to increase the space available for outside opening, and to work with the sector on a timetabled plan for indoor opening.

“Some businesses may not be able to open for some months to come. They will need longer term support, and they need to know from the Welsh and UK Governments now what that support will look like: we can’t afford to lose them.”
The Conservatives’ Shadow Minister for Covid Recovery – Darren Millar MS – commented: “This announcement will be welcome news for some businesses in the hospitality sector across Wales but without a relaxation of the two-metre social distancing rules and the ability to use indoor spaces, it still won’t be viable for many businesses.

“Unfortunately, the Labour-led Welsh Government’s foot dragging has come too late for some businesses which have already laid off staff and closed permanently due to the prolonged uncertainty and I suspect that without a clear timetable for indoor services others will too.”

He added: “The Labour-led administration should also consider bringing forward the days on which it relaxes its restrictions to Fridays. Too many weekends have already been lost due to Ministers always introducing changes to restrictions on Mondays causing people to lose the benefit of an important weekend of trade.”

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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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Primary school teacher described as ‘touchy-feely’ on day two of trial

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A HAVERFORDWEST primary school teacher, accused of sexually assaulting his pupils was “very touchy-feely”, Swansea Crown Court heard on the second day of his trial.

James Oulton, 34, of Haverfordwest would put his hands around students’ waists and touch their bottoms, an ex-female pupil said in a video interview played to Swansea Crown Court.

The defendant denies 30 charges of sexual assault at a primary school in Haverfordwest. The alleged offences took place between 2012 and 2018.

On the opening day of the trial, court heard that Oulton said the case was a “witch-hunt” and that he always behaved appropriately with children.

On Tuesday, the jury watched the video interview with one of Oulton’s former pupils, who said he was a “friendly person, very chatty and sociable and quite outgoing and wanted to know everything that was going on.”

She added: “Mr Oulton often wanted to know a lot of details on what we had done over the weekend, where we had been, and also who they had been with.”

“At the time I just thought he was trying to be really friendly but now when I look back at it now, it does seem odd.”

The witness also described the defendant as a “very touchy-feely teacher”.

She added: “If he was marking your work or if you approached him to ask him a question, he would put his hands around your waist or around your bum”.

“If he was standing by his desk, he would, like, motion to his knee, so he wouldn’t ask you directly to sit on his lap but he would tap his knee.”

Swansea Crown Court heard that the witness eventually came forward and told her parents parents after she heard them speaking about Mr Oulton being suspended from his job.

“Did you feel under pressure to say something had happened to you?” asked Mr Clee.

The witness answered “No”

Oulton, of Richmond Crescent, Haverfordwest, previously told the court he had behaved appropriately.

He also believed letters were sent by Pembrokeshire County Council to parents which encouraged “deliberately false evidence” and collusion between pupils.

The trial continues.

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