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Pembrokeshire karate school under investigation by national governing body over ‘irregularities’

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A MARTIAL ARTS school in Pembrokeshire is being urgently investigated by a national governing body, after it came to light that it has been operating unlawfully.

Milford Haven Karate School, run by 6th Dan instructor Kevin John, is being probed by the top UK authority in karate for issuing dodgy certificates – and for failing to ensure that pupils were licensed and insured for the Japanese – now Olympic – sport.

Irregularities came to light after certificates, which cost parents £30 each, were issued with identical serial numbers – even to the same pupils at different times.

INVESTIGATION

An investigation by this newspaper has revealed that the certificates were fakes and not issued with permission of NAKMAS, the National Association of Karate and Martial Art Schools, nor had any funds been passed to NAKMAS for their issue – raising questions as to where funds have gone.
NAKMAS said that any mention of their organisation or use of their logo on certificates must be approved, but to date no approval has been given, they said.

Parents thought their children were getting official gradings in Karate – but the certificates are just photocopies of an original – going by the old-style logo – from at least ten years ago. Names of recipients and their grades were filled in with what looks like a black Sharpie marker pen.

However, parents were none-the-wiser, and kept paying. Some paid over a number of years, for more and more certificates as their children achieved new grades in the Wado Ryu type of Karate.

Reverend Joe Ellis, National Chair of the NAKMAS National Governing Body, whose photocopied signature appears on the certificates, said that they are fakes, and that he is “alarmed” by their issue.

Some pupils have been receiving the fake certificates as far back as 2019, despite parents forking out for each and every one. Without proper certification the belts that students have worked towards would not be recognised outside the school.

Rev. Joe Ellis said that he hopes work with the club to ensure that the pupils can keep their belts they have worked so hard to achieve.

Asked if pupils could lose belts they were recently awarded he said: “I will do everything in my power to see that this does not happen.”

NO INSURANCE

Parents at Milford Haven Karate School have told this newspaper they have paid between £25 and £30 per year for licences for the children, but NAKMAS has confirmed that no money has been recevied from Milford Haven Karate School – and therefore the pupils ‘shouldn’t be training or grading’ they said.
“Where has the money gone?” some parents have asked.

Other parents have said they have not received receipts for money paid, nor have they seen copies of the licences paid for – being told that the school is keeping the certificates ‘in case the kids lose them.’

NAKMAS said that although they believe that the school’s instructors may have a current employer’s liability insurance certificate, the children are not covered by any insurance policy as the club was operating as unlicensed.

NAKMAS said they were aware of the school, but had not been informed that it had re-opened post-covid.

The school re-opened last year in May, parents said.

Rev Joe Ellis: Karate boss says Milford Haven Karate Club is under investigation (Image NAKMAS)

SEVERAL IRREGULARITIES

As well as insurance, NAKMAS has explained that – especially where young children are concerned – their organisation provides governance and safeguarding. This, however, is not in place if the club is operating outside of the National Association. There are also implications for the club’s organisers under The Children’s Act 1989 if best practice when running the club is not adhered to.

Reverend Joe Ellis said: “It has been brought to our attention by The Pembrokeshire Herald, that several irregularities appear in the running of the Milford Haven Karate Club.

“We are alarmed by these and have, today, set in motion a full review and investigation of these issues.

“We will remain supportive of any adults and children in the club who have been adversely affected”

He added: “I am now writing to Kevin John informing him of how to resolve this urgently and to ensure legal and NAKMAS compliance. I am expecting a call from him soon to confirm urgent resolution.”

UNABLE TO COMMENT

Kevin John of Milford Haven Karate School told The Herald: “We are not able to get a meeting with NAKMAS to get to the bottom of this until later today.

“Their legal team has informed us we are not allowed to comment at present.”

Probe: Kevin John runs Milford Haven Karate Club (Image: Facebook)

News

Two arrests in Haverfordwest after reports of man in possession of a knife

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THERE was a large police response following 999 calls made in Haverfordwest last night to reports of an affray involving an offensive weapon.

Multiple police units descended on Fleming Crescent just before nine o’clock on Thursday (May 19).

Two people were taken into police custody, where they remain, police confirmed.

A spokesperson for Dyfed-Powys Police told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “We were called to a disturbance and reports of a man in possession of a knife in Fleming Crescent, Haverfordwest, at around 8.50pm on Thursday, 19 May.

“A 41-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of being in possession of an offensive weapon, while a 33-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of affray.

“Both remain in police custody.”

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Business

Grape expectations for Welsh Wine Week 2022

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THIS JUNE, Welsh vineyards will welcome guests from Wales and beyond to taste what Wales’ burgeoning wine sector has to offer during its annual Welsh Wine Week.

From Saturday 4th to Sunday 12th June, free events, competitions, expert guided tours and tastings will make up the Welsh Wine Week schedule and give wine lovers the chance to personally discover the country’s picturesque vineyards and sample their wide range of award-winning vintages.

Special product releases will take place during Welsh Wine Week to commemorate the event, including Pembrokeshire’s Velfrey Vineyard’s Cuvée Reserve Sparkling Brut, a 2019 vintage traditional method sparkling brut wine, made especially from the vineyard’s Seyval Blanc and Pinot Noir grapes.

Confirmed events for Welsh Wine Week 2022 include: a cheese and Welsh wine sampling event from Gwinllan Conwy (in collaboration with Bodnant Welsh Food), White Castle Vineyard will be holding a tasting of their wines with Fine Wines Direct and there will be free vineyard tours and wine tastings across the week from Parva Farm vineyard.

Andy Mounsey, owner of Velfrey Vineyard and Chairman of the Welsh Vineyard Association, said: “Whether you relish in a red, white, rosé or sparkling wine, Welsh Wine Week is the perfect opportunity to show consumers what the Welsh wine industry has to offer.

“Wales is making strides in its wine production and has proudly adopted an innovative approach in which its experimental and diverse with the wine it produces. Wine producers are working collaboratively to drive the industry forward and championing each other, creating a supportive and closely connected network of vineyards.

“We have all been waiting fondly for the return of Welsh Wine Week and will mark the first event with no restrictions with a stellar line up of producers. We hope to welcome many more wine enthusiasts into our businesses this year, so please sign up to our events and treat yourself to some quality Welsh wine as you do.”

Full event listings and access to exclusive competitions and interviews with Welsh vineyards can be found on the dedicated Welsh Wine Week website.

Welsh Wine Week is organised by the Welsh Drinks Cluster, funded by Welsh Government, which works in partnership with Welsh drinks producers to promote the industry and its production of world class products.

For more information go to: https://www.welshwineweek.co.uk/

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Warm Pembrokeshire welcome for Ukrainians fleeing from war

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THE PEMBROKESHIRE community has been preparing a warm welcome to Ukrainian people fleeing the devastating war in their homeland.

Across Pembrokeshire, people have been signing up to become sponsors under the Homes for Ukraine scheme – one of the formal routes by which Ukrainian people can make their way to the UK, having been matched with a local family.

To date, Pembrokeshire has seen over 75 households signing up to the scheme.

As part of the formal process for becoming a sponsor, Pembrokeshire County Council is undertaking checks to ensure that people arriving from Ukraine are being offered safe and comfortable environments in which to live.

When people arrive with their sponsor household, contact is made by the Council to welcome them, support them with any immediate needs and ensure that they know where they can get information and advice.

The Pembrokeshire Community Hub, a partnership between Pembrokeshire County Council, PAVS and Volunteering Matters, is also working with Council teams and community groups to ensure that people are offered a warm welcome to the county.

People who are hosting and sponsoring families arriving from Ukraine are being equipped with information packs to help them prepare for their guests’ arrival and are also being invited to become part of an online support network, where they can connect and support one another.

The support has led to positive feedback from local people hosting Ukrainians with compliments for the level of assistance and support provided.

Community groups are also establishing themselves across the County, offering a range of support to those arriving.

This includes spaces to meet, organised community gatherings and fundraising activities.

Through the Community Hub and with support of PAVS, these groups are also being encouraged to join Pembrokeshire Community Support Network – Ukraine, where they can get up to date information, share with one another and get support when needed.

If you are looking to support people arriving from Ukraine, or are already doing so, and would like more information, please contact the Pembrokeshire Community Hub on 01437 776301 or ukrainecommunityresponse@pembrokeshire.gov.uk

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