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Inspirational Achievements recognised in 16th Sport Pembrokeshire awards

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ONE of the highlights of the local sporting calendar, the Sport Pembrokeshire Awards 2022 were held on Friday (25 November) at Folly Farm.

Celebrating the outstanding achievements of sportspeople, coaches and volunteers, the ceremony recognised 13 award-winners in a variety of categories, the winners of two special awards – the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Special Achievement Award – plus the School Award.

The ceremony was organised by Sport Pembrokeshire, and sponsored by Valero, the Western Telegraph, Pure West Radio, Folly Farm and Pembrokeshire County Council. It was hosted by sports journalist Bill Carne and Cris Tomos.

The winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award was dual code international rugby player and coach Rowland Phillips.

A native of St Davids, Rowland played in the backrow for the legendary Neath pack and won ten caps for Wales between 1987-1990 before moving to rugby league and signing for Warrington.

He also played for Rochdale, Oldham and Workington; won the Regal Trophy and represented Wales and Great Britain.

His coaching career was equally impressive. In 2003, he returned to his beloved Neath and led them to four successive Premiership titles and three Cup Final victories.

He undertook top roles home and abroad with among others the Ospreys, London Welsh and Wales Under-18s.

He has also been coach of the Wales Women’s national side, with his daughter, Carys achieving international success too, in her dad’s footsteps.

“Rowland has achieved international success but remained close to his family and community. He’s a real role model,” said Geoff Williams, retired Head of BBC Sport Wales, who presented him with the award.

The winner of the Special Achievement Award, presented by the Chairman of Pembrokeshire County Council, Cllr Pat Davies, was Brian Griffiths of Burton Cricket Club – an active member of the club for 72 years.

Brian played his debut as an 11 year old when he turned up to score but was asked to play when the team found itself with only ten men!

As well as playing a huge number of games for club and county he was also an excellent coach for over 40 years, initially with Burton and later on in the Pembrokeshire coaching set-up.

In recent years, Brian also umpired the club’s second team but his major contribution has been as the groundsman at Oatfield Park.

Burton all-rounder Steve Jones said: “Brian Griffiths has always typified the very best of cricket, on and off the field.

“He has been an excellent player over such a long period and worked tirelessly as a coach and groundsman. But above all that he really is a gentleman of the sport.”

In addition to the worthy finalists and winners, Sport Pembrokeshire also recognised Johnston CP School for its commitment tohealth and wellbeing.

Sponsored by Pembrokeshire County Council, the School Award was presented by Steven Richards-Downes, Director of Education.

Johnston school has developed their provision of inclusive sport with 12 after-school clubs every week, introduced a Special Visitor Programme to introduce learners to professional athletes and interesting speakers from all walks of life, offers a huge range of opportunities in dynamic PE sessions, and promotes outdoor learning with the Outdoor Schools programme.

Matthew Freeman, manager of Sport Pembrokeshire, congratulated all nominees, finalists and winners.

“Once again we’ve heard about some truly inspirational achievements, and outstanding examples of teamwork behind the scenes,” he said. “Well done to everyone.”

The winners are as follows:

SPORT PEMBROKESHIRE FINALISTS 2022:

Girls (U16) Sporting Achievement

Gracie Griffiths

Boys (U16) Sporting Achievement

Oscar Willington

Club of the Year

Cresselly Cricket Club

Junior Disability Sport Award

Ben Stanton

Disability Sport Award

Lily Rice

Young Volunteer of the Year

Lucy Kerrison

Junior (U16) Team Achievement of the Year

Neyland Pirates U14s 2021/22

Unsung Hero

Kevin Jenkins

Team Achievement of the Year

Wiseman’s Bridge Women’s Coxed Squad

Male Sporting Achievement

Ioan Croft

Female Sporting Achievement

Heather Lewis

Club Organiser of the Year

Wendy Bradshaw

Coach of the Year

Guy Croft

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Milford Haven: Police investigating sexual assault

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POLICE are investigating an incident of sexual assault which occurred in Hakin, Milford Haven.

Milford Haven Police say that the alleged incident took place in Croft Avenue on February 7, 2023 at around 19:50hrs.

If anyone is able to give any information regarding this incident please ring 101 quoting reference DPP/0956/07/02/2023/02/C.

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Pembrokeshire County Council faces less bleak finances than previously expected

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL faces a less bleak financial position than had previously been expected, to the tune of nearly £10m, members of a schools committee have heard.

At the February 6 meeting of the Schools and Learning Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Cabinet Member for Corporate Finance Cllr Alec Cormack, presented outline draft 2023-’24 budget proposals to members.

He told members an updated draft budget was to be reported to the February meeting of the council’s Cabinet after a previously feared funding gap of £28m was now smaller, at £18.6m, due to a higher settlement from Welsh Government.

An expected 3.5 per cent settlement ended up being 7.9 per cent, which meant some expected cuts were now unlikely to happen, he told committee members.

“A large number of the most severe cuts are now very, very unlikely; we’re now looking at a deficit of £18.6m, it’s not as severe as it was.

“The officer team is looking at how that funding gap could be closed with budget savings and with different levels of council tax.”

Members heard the budget is expected to be addressed through an increase in council tax – potentially in the area of 7.5 per cent – along with significant cost reductions.

Director of Resources John Haswell said: “It was a better settlement, but still an £18.6m gap; this isn’t a one-year issue, this is an issue over the medium-term plan, over £50m over the four-year period.”

He said that Pembrokeshire, having the lowest council tax rates in Wales, meant that each potential percentage increase returned less than other local authorities.

Members heard papers listing the latest budget proposals for Cabinet discussion are expected to be released soon, in advance of the February 13 meeting.

Members agreed to defer making any recommendations to Cabinet, pending the release of the revised papers.

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Welsh Freeport competition heats up with Senedd vote

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ON WEDNESDAY, the Senedd will hold a debate regarding freeports as the competition for UK and Welsh Government funding nears its conclusion.

Currently, three bids are in from across Wales for a chance to benefit from £26 million of direct UK Government funding, as well as reduced taxes for businesses in the freeport area. A Welsh freeport could see up to 16,000 jobs created and further investment or the local area into the billions.

Speaking ahead of the debate, Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for the Economy, Paul Davies MS said:

“Benefits of a freeport cannot be understated, bringing much needed jobs and investment into some of the most deprived areas of Wales.

“The UK Government put the challenge to Wales to submit exceptional bids, and Wales has delivered.

“All three bids would help to transform their local communities in different ways. It’s essential that the UK and Welsh Governments work together to deliver that second freeport for Wales, maximising the opportunities that these bids have to offer.”

The three Welsh Freeport bids are:

  • The Celtic Freeport (covering Pembrokeshire to Neath) which has estimated that it would create over 16,000 new jobs and up to £5.5 billion in new investment.
  • The Anglesey Freeport would support up to a £1 billion contribution to UK GDP by 2030, while also creating up to 13,000 new, high salary jobs in Ynys Môn.
  • The Newport Freeport (including Cardiff Airport) is aiming to increase non-passenger revenues to 50%, ending their reliance of passenger generated income.

The UK Government stated that “if a truly exceptional proposal were presented at the bidding stage” than a second freeport would be funded.

The Welsh Conservative debate reads:

To propose that the Senedd:

1. Recognises the opportunities for freeports to energise the Welsh economy, create high quality jobs, promote regeneration and investment.

2. Notes that three bids from Wales have been submitted for consideration by the UK and Welsh Governments.

3. Calls on the Welsh Government to work with the UK Government to deliver two freeports in Wales, recognising the truly exceptional proposals submitted and the transformational benefits they can deliver for the Welsh economy.

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