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Pembrokeshire County Council appoints Major General as new Chief Executive

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL appointed a military man as Authority’s the new Chief Executive on Wednesday (Mar 31).

After the Senior Staff Committee interviewed the final shortlist of candidates for the position, it took the unusual decision to recommend only one of them for the permanent post at the local authority’s head.

The candidate put forward to councillors has a distinguished record of service both at the sharp end of action and in administering a large organisation.

Major General Will Bramble CBE’s appointment was approved by 48 votes for, to one against (Cllr Stephen Joseph).

After attending the Royal Military academy Sandhurst Will Bramble commissioned into the Royal Regiment of Artillery in 1987.

As a Troop Commander, he saw operational service in Belize, Northern Ireland and in Iraq in 1991 during the liberation of Kuwait.

Further service as a junior officer included operations with the UN, 5th Airborne Brigade and the Air Mobile Brigade.

He attended the Joint Staff College 1997-1999, after which he was Chief of Staff of 4th Armoured Brigade in Kosovo and Germany.

After commanding his Battery, he became Military Assistant to the Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Mike Jackson, 2003-2005. This included a period of significant reorganisation of the Army and increased overseas operations.

He commanded the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Task Force in Kosovo in 2005 and 19th Regiment between 2006-2008, leading them in Afghanistan in 2007.

As a Brigadier, he commanded the Royal Artillery in the 3rd Division and then the current operations division at the UK’s Permanent Joint Headquarters 2012 – 2014, overseeing the day to day running of the UK’s worldwide operations, including the withdrawal of the UK’s 10,000 troops from Southern Afghanistan.

He attended the Royal College of Defence Studies 2014-2015 before being promoted to Major General and deploying again to Kabul 2015-2016 as the senior NATO advisor to the Ministry of Interior and Police.

He was Chief of Staff and Chief Executive Officer of the UK’s NATO Corps between 2016-2019 and is currently the Senior British Officer in Italy and Deputy Commander of the NATO Corps in Italy.

Having represented the Army and UK Armed Forces at Rugby, he was Chairman of the Army Rugby Union 2014-2019.

He is married to Sophie and they have three children.

He is passionate about the outdoors, sustainability, the sea and sailing, remote islands, and sport. He is also an active artist and conservationist.

In terms of his interests outside work, Major-General Bramble looks a close fit for Pembrokeshire. His organisational experience and background are also impressive.

At an Extraordinary Meeting of the Council, that candidate was presented to the members to face their questions. Key topics raised included identifying the new Chief Executive’s priorities in the role and what they could bring to the County to improve services and drive forward the sort of change the Council must make in the years ahead.

A few councillors expressed disquiet about being presented with only one candidate, however, members of the Senior Staff Committee defended the move, saying where a plainly outstanding candidate was ready, willing, and available, there was little point in potentially wasting another candidate’s time by putting them forward to make up the numbers.

Councillors voted overwhelmingly in favour of Major General Bramble’s appointment by 48 votes to 1. Councillor Stephen Joseph opposed the appointment.

As the Cabinet look to build a resilient team for the years ahead, interim Chief Executive Richard Brown – whose performance in the temporary role has attracted praise for his straight-talking – is likely to have a leading role.

The Council appointed business process advisors earlier this year to assess how it can best deliver key services in a shrinking budget. The Council’s services in Legal, Property, Planning, and Leisure are all being examined, as the Cabinet seek to drive through its transformation and improvement agenda

A keen sailor with a passion for the environment and the outdoors, Mr Bramble is looking forward to making the move to Pembrokeshire.

He said: “I am extremely honoured and excited about joining the team and working for the people and communities of Pembrokeshire.

“I’d like to thank the Council for placing their trust in me to deliver their vision and I’d also like to publically thank and praise Richard Brown who has not only headed up the response to the pandemic but has also stepped up and led the team as Interim Chief Executive during this particularly challenging time.”

Charity

St Davids Lifeboat launches to assist 40-foot schooner

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ST DAVIDS RNLI were requested to launch all-weather lifeboat Norah Wortley at 5.44pm on Thursday (Jul 11) after a 40 foot schooner issued a PAN-PAN message.

The schooner had broken its bow sprit and was unable to recover it from the water. Still attached to the vessel and now rolling up and down the boat’s side, the skipper was worried that it could damage the hull and cause a leak. On passage to the Isle of Man from Falmouth, the schooner was some 4-6miles west of the Smalls lighthouse when the call for urgent assistance was made.

In order to minimise possible damage to the hull, the skipper elected to steam down-sea until St Davids lifeboat arrived on scene. Once on scene, the charity’s lifeboat began an escort towards Milford Haven waterway.

Angle RNLI all-weather lifeboat arrived on scene later and the escort was handed over to them just south of the Hats and Barrels islands. St Davids crew returned to station and rehoused at around 10:45pm.

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Community

Pembrokeshire woman aims to inspire by entering national pageant finals

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A WOMAN from Pembrokeshire is set to inspire others to seize the day by competing in the finals of a national pageant contest. Sian Phillips, 41, has been crowned Mrs Galaxy Pembrokeshire and has advanced to the finals of Mrs Galaxy UK.

Driven to enter the competition after the unexpected death of her brother earlier this year, Sian shared her motivations: “Having lost my brother unexpectedly in February, it made me realise that life is too short and to seize every opportunity that came my way.”

Residing in Pembroke Dock and employed at Castlemartin, Sian was introduced to the world of beauty pageants last year while filming with S4C. During this experience, she met Miss Voluptuous 2024, sparking her interest in pageantry. She then discovered the UK Galaxy Pageants, which have been a staple since 2008, offering five competitions annually with categories ranging from Junior Miss Galaxy to Mrs Galaxy UK.

“With these pageants, for most girls and women taking part, it is their first ever event like this and it is a great introduction to this world and beyond,” Sian explained.

Sian’s journey to the finals began with the submission of her pictures and information online. A few days later, she received an email confirming her progression to the grand finals in Lancashire in March 2025.

The event will feature an interview and rehearsals during the day, followed by four rounds in the evening: opening number, swimwear, fashion wear, and the one Sian is most looking forward to – evening wear. Five winners will be crowned on the night, who will then represent the UK at the international finals in America in the summer of 2025.

Expressing her excitement, Sian said, “I am really excited to take part and do something I’ve never done before. I’m not really a girlie girl that gets her hair and nails done. Sometimes it’s scary to do things outside of your comfort zone but it’s good to challenge yourself and realise how amazing you actually are.”

In preparation for the finals, Sian, who has previously organised a charity fashion show and a boudoir photo shoot and exhibition, will be attending local events and fundraising for charities both locally, in the UK, and internationally. Updates on her activities will be posted on Facebook and Instagram.

Sian is also seeking support from local hair, beauty, and nail salons, offering publicity locally and at the event for those who can assist her.

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News

First Minister quits after less than four months in job

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FIRST MINISTER Vaughan Gething has announced his resignation.

Gething did not offer any apologies for the events of the past few months or for his campaign donations.

He expressed that he had hoped for “rebuilding and renewal” under his leadership over the summer.

“I recognise now that this is not possible,” he stated.

He described this period as the most challenging time “for me and my family”.

“A growing assertion that some kind of wrongdoing has taken place has been pernicious, politically motivated and patently untrue,” he declared.

“In 11 years as a minister, I have never made a decision for personal gain. I have never misused or abused my ministerial responsibilities.

“My integrity matters. I have not compromised it.

“I regret that the burden of proof is no longer an important commodity in the language of our politics. I do hope that can change.

“To those in Wales who look like me – many of whom I know feel personally bruised and worried by this moment, I know that our country can be better. I know that cannot happen without us.”

He added that he would discuss a timetable for the election of a new leader.

THE FULL STATEMENT

Here is Vaughan Gething’s statement in full: “I have this morning taken the difficult decision to begin the process of stepping down as leader of the Welsh Labour Party and, as a result, First Minister.

“Having been elected as leader of my party in March, I had hoped that over the summer a period of reflection, rebuilding and renewal could take place under my leadership. I recognise now that this is not possible.

“It has been the honour of my life to do this job even for a few short months. To see the dedication to public service from our civil service, and the dedication to civility from the Welsh public.

“To see the election of a new government in Westminster, and the fresh hope that brings to Wales. I have always pursued my political career to serve Wales.

“And being able to show underrepresented communities that there is a place for them, for us, is an honour and privilege that will never diminish.

“It’s what drew me into public service. Before becoming an MS I fought employment cases for people who’d been mistreated at work.

“I wanted to give power those without a voice.

“That has always been my motivation. I also campaigned to help create the Senedd, clocking up 30 years of work to support Wales’ devolution journey.

“This has been the most difficult time, for me, and my family. A growing assertion that some kind of wrongdoing has taken place has been pernicious, politically motivated and patently untrue.

“In 11 years as a Minister, I have never ever made a decision for personal gain. I have never ever misused or abused my ministerial responsibilities. My integrity matters. I have not compromised it.

“I regret that the burden of proof is no longer an important commodity in the language of our politics. I do hope that can change.

“I will now discuss a timetable for the election of new leader of my party. Finally, I want to say thank you to those who have reached out to support me, my team and my family in recent weeks. It has meant the world to all of us.

“To those in Wales who look like me – many of whom I know feel personally bruised and worried by this moment, I know that our country can be better. I know that cannot happen without us.

“There will – and there must be – a government that looks like the country it serves.

“Thank you.”

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