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One of Pembrokeshire’s ferry ports could close because of reduced freight traffic

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THE HEAD of Rosslare Europort has claimed that one of Pembrokeshire’s Irish Sea ports could close because of reduced trade traffic between Ireland and the UK.

The volume of freight traffic between Wales’ three Irish Sea ports has significantly fallen since the New Year.

While the Prime Minister has dismissed the issue as one of Brexit’s ‘teething problems, Glenn Carr, the General Manager at Rosslare Europort, said: “A lot of the major retailers in Ireland are bringing their products for their shelves directly in from mainland Europe now, We’re seeing big customers, the likes of Amazon, now bringing in a lot of freight on a daily basis.”

Rosslare Europort has aggressively targeted the increase of direct sailings between the Irish port and mainland Europe.

Most trade between Ireland and the EU takes place via the UK ‘land-bridge’. However, although that remains the case, trade volumes to mainland Europe from Rosslare has increased over 450% since the end of the EU transition period.

Mr Carr claims that only one port in Pembrokeshire is needed to meet the demand for freight traffic and that increased sailings to and from that single port would make more commercial sense for Irish businesses and hauliers.

The changes needed, he claims, must be made on the Welsh side of the Irish Sea.

While customs delays in the UK have been blamed for a fall in traffic, delays also affect trade entering and leaving Ireland due to IT and customs problems at Irish ports.

January is a quieter time for ferry services but commercial freight sustains vital trading connections all year round.

On-board Isle of Inishmore: The bridge

Stena, which operates Fishguard, reports a sharp decline in Irish Sea traffic in the first fortnight of January when traffic fell by 78% year-on-year. Since then, freight numbers have recovered but remain at little more than 50% of normal levels.

Daily ferry services have operated between Fishguard and Rosslare for the last 115 years. Pembrokeshire’s ports support a significant number of jobs, not only at the ports but also indirectly in the wider local economy. The routes are operated by separate companies and the ports of Pembroke Dock and Fishguard are under separate ownership.

Speaking on ITV Wales’ The Sharp End on February 2, Stephen Crabb MP said: “The ports of Holyhead, Fishguard and Pembroke Dock are key assets for the Welsh economy and it is essential they remain competitive.

“I hope that some of the initial problems we have seen over the last few weeks will get ironed out as companies get used to the new processes. But there is more work to be done to ensure the long term health of our ports.”

Charity

Fishguard RNLI Lifeboat station welcomes new Mechanic  

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CHRIS THOMAS, 41, is to become the new full-time mechanic at Fishguard RNLI lifeboat station after serving as an assistant mechanic for the charity’s lifeboat station for five years. 

Chris will take over from Stephen (Hose) Philips who will retire from his post next month. Stephen, known locally as ‘Hose’ due this former role as  fireman will this month begin a detailed handover to Chris.   

‘Hose’ joined the crew in 1997 so has completed 25 years’ service. He joined the RNLI as a crew member, later became 2nd Coxswain and was made full-time mechanic in Feb 2005.  

Following a family tradition as mechanics for the charity Chris Thomas became the full-time mechanic on 8 August. His father was the assistant mechanic for the RNLI during the 1970s. 

Born and raised in Dinas Cross, near Fishguard and now living in Goodwick, Chris is excited to be the full-time mechanic. 

Speaking about the new role, Chris said: “I’m delighted to be joining the Fishguard lifeboat crew on a full-time basis and to serving the Fishguard & Goodwick community for the foreseeable future.”

Fishguard RNLI lifeboat station has a rich history of outstanding crew with the likes of Coxswain Francis George who was honoured by Her Majesty The Queen, in the 2003 New Year’s Honours List with an MBE for services to the Institution. 

Chris hopes to continue this as he takes on his new role at Fishguard. 

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New ward extension opens at Werndale Hospital

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WERNDALE Hospital opens its £1millon ward extension, featuring a suite of new spacious patient en-suite rooms and additional light and airy ward space for new nurses’ stations, new technology and medical equipment, in pleasant and comfortable spaces. 

Werndale is part of Circle Health Group, the UK’s largest provider of private healthcare. The group is carrying out a £125 million redevelopment programme across its 50 hospitals in the UK.

Werndale has a strong history in the village of Bancyfelin, where is has been serving the local communities of Wales for over 32 years.

James Davies, Wales and Scarlets rugby player, from Bancyfelin, cut the ribbon to mark the official opening on Monday 1st August. His nickname “Cubby”, is reference to his brother’s nickname, “Fox”; this refers to the Fox & Hounds pub their parents ran in Bancyfelin, the village where they grew up. Staff and consultants were given the chance to view the new extension, with a small gathering to mark the occasion and celebrate all the hard work that has gone into this project over the last 12 months.

Jacky Jones, Executive Director of Werndale Hospital said: “The investment programme is an exciting opportunity to expand what we can offer to patients at Werndale. Our staff and consultants are delighted with this expansion which will allow us to meet the private healthcare needs of patients and families in Wales and will decrease waiting times which will positively impact the patient’s experience. Having the new patient rooms here increases our ward capacity by 20%, it is a great investment”.

Gaynor Llewellyn, Director of Clinical Services said: “At Werndale we are committed to continuous improvement of clinical facilities and services. We continually invest in the hospital so that we can offer our patients and consultants reassurance when they visit us for treatments”.

Werndale Hospital is seeing increased demand for its services across all specialities particularly orthopaedic surgery, ophthalmology, and general surgery. Nearly 4,000 patients had surgery at Werndale Hospital, Bancyfelin during 2021 and the new investment will enable ward capacity to be increased by 25 per cent.

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Next week’s Pembrokeshire County Show promises to be an action-packed two-day event

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WALES’ largest county agricultural show, Pembrokeshire County Show, promises to be action-packed next week. The event, taking place on 17 and 18 August at Pembrokeshire County Showground in Haverfordwest, will have something for everyone.

Pembrokeshire Agricultural Society are pulling out all the stops to make the new style two-day event better than before with new attractions and a new showground layout will make the 2022 show one to remember.

Enjoy listening to the all-day entertainment from the music stage, tickle your tastebuds at the fabulous food court, marvel at the livestock classes, be wowed by the showjumping, explore the horticulture, arts and crafts area, shop til you drop in the NEW Country Market area, showcasing over 40 quality local and award winning product and craft stalls.

Mansel Raymond, Pembrokeshire Agricultural Society President said, “We are very excited about the prospect of seeing our wonderful members, competitors, trade stands, sponsors and community coming together once again next week. Whether you’re a Pembrokeshire local or visiting we’re sure you’ll have a fantastic day out. This year’s show is jam-packed with great attractions and events meaning so there’s something for everyone.”

Thousands of visitors are expected to see some of the best livestock, taste fabulous local food and drink, experience country life and enjoy a wealth of entertainment.

Every day, there will be live entertainment from 6am until 7pm from the Pure West Radio stage. Together with broadcasting live from the show both days there will live music, choirs, special guests, competitions, workouts, arts, dance and performances.

There truly will be something for everyone at next week’s show with over 300 trade stands to explore. Entertainment also includes: Sheep dog trials display, vintage demo and static displays, Classic Cars, Zip Wire, Little legs football, Funfair with promotional discount tickets with thanks to Andrew Holmes Funfairs, Pembrokeshire Food Court, Craft & Horticulture, eggs and pigeon show, cattle on the Wednesday, Children’s calf showing; Children’s equine ring, sheep and pigs showing on the Thursday, horses both days, Dog Agility and the Country Market.

There’s always an emphasis on great Welsh produce, celebrating the show’s ethos of ‘field to fork’ and ‘soil to spoon’. Visitors will be able to tickle their taste buds at the huge food court, sponsored by Castell Howell, which celebrates the very best local produce on offer.

In the Countryside Park there will be BASC Wales displays by gun dogs and retrievers; Canine displays by specialist search and detection dogs; live talks and demonstrations timetabled throughout the day by Old Park Apiaries, beekeeping/honey production/pollinator support. There will also be a chance to try your hand in the BASC Air Rifle target shooting range, learn about the British Bird of Prey Centre, White tailed Eagle project, watch Brendan Rocke’s chainsaw sculptures and carvings demonstrations and enjoy Body Canvas, Stilt walking & Balloon sculptures.

The Community Zone, supported by South Hook LNG, brings together a number of voluntary and community groups. Coordinated by Pembrokeshire Association of Voluntary Services (PAVS) the marquee is an opportunity for organisations, who might not normally be able to have a presence at the show, to promote their activities in Pembrokeshire. From giving advice, supporting those in need or providing training and volunteering opportunities.

Getting around at an agricultural show can sometimes be difficult, however at the Pembrokeshire County Showground there is a good network of tarmac making conditions underfoot easier for visitors with limited mobility. Parking is available for Blue Badge holders and we have disabled toilets and Mobiloo at this year’s show. Mobility scooters and wheelchairs hire are available to hire from Advanced Mobility Solutions please visit the website for bookings: www.pembshow.org

To get to the Showground: for SatNav, use the following address: County Showground, Withybush, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, SA62 4BW. The show is signposted from the main A40 trunk roads. Please look for the ‘P’ signs for public parking.

Dogs are very welcome at the show provided they bring their responsible owners with them! Dog drinking bowls are available around the showground. Dogs must be kept on leads.

Tickets are available on the website: www.pembsshow.org and for up-to-date details of this year’s event follow Pembrokeshire County Show on facebook, twitter or Instagram.

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