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Bishop of St Davids, Dr Joanna Penberthy, to step down due to ill health

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THE BISHOP OF ST DAVIDS, Dr Joanna Penberthy, has announced her decision to retire from her position later this summer, citing ill health as the primary reason for her departure.

This announcement follows a prolonged period of absence from her diocese, which began after she faced widespread criticism for a tweet posted in March 2021. In the tweet, she wrote, “Never, never, never trust a Tory.” Dr Penberthy later apologized, explaining that her comment was in response to reports suggesting the Conservative Party’s intention to abolish the Welsh Senedd. Recognizing her mistake, she deleted her Twitter account, expressing regret for the irresponsible and disrespectful manner in which some of her comments were expressed.

At the time, the Archbishop of Canterbury expressed deep embarrassment over her posts, deeming them unacceptable. Three months later, Bishop Joanna was advised by her doctor to take a one-month leave of absence, which was later extended to four months. Despite a subsequent announcement by the diocese that she would make a phased return to work, another period of sick leave was announced in August 2022.

This week, Bishop Joanna acknowledged that her ongoing health issues have compromised her ability to fulfill the demanding responsibilities of her role within the diocese. In a statement, she affirmed, “This is not a decision I have taken lightly. The constant presence of migraines has impeded my ability to function at the required level to carry out my duties.”

Upon announcing her retirement, the Most Revd Andrew John, Archbishop of Wales, praised Dr Penberthy’s significant contributions to the Church in Wales. He emphasized her notable work in areas such as environmental matters and the social responsibility network, stating, “A decision like this is never easy to make.”

Dr Joanna Penberthy, born in Swansea in 1960, holds the distinction of being one of the first women to be ordained as a priest in Wales in January 1997. Prior to that, she served as a deaconess since 1984 and was ordained as a deacon in 1987 after completing her studies at Newnham College, Cambridge, and Cranmer Hall, Durham, for ordination purposes. Additionally, she pursued theological studies at the University of Nottingham, earning a Master’s degree in 1984 and completing a Ph.D. in quantum physics in July 2019, focusing on the intersection of theology and science through her thesis titled “Reading the ‘Paradoxical Book of Bell’: A Case Study in Theology and Science.”

Since January 2017, Dr Penberthy has held the distinction of being the first woman consecrated as a bishop in the Church in Wales. Her diocese covers a significant area spanning 2,266 square miles across Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion, and Carmarthenshire, encompassing the archdeaconries of St David’s, Cardigan, and Carmarthen.

Dr Penberthy’s retirement will formally take effect on 31 July, and it is anticipated that a new bishop will be elected in October to succeed her position.

Crime

Pembroke Dock residents ‘terrified’ as chaos and violence erupts in streets

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PEMBROKE DOCK was thrown into chaos on Saturday afternoon (Jun 16) as violence erupted in Pembroke Street, leaving residents terrified and questioning the safety of their community.

Eyewitnesses reported a man waving a samurai sword or machete and two other men attacking an individual, leaving him beaten and wounded on the ground.

The shocking incident drew a swift response from emergency services, with six police cars and two ambulances rushing to the scene.

Videos circulating on social media showed chaotic scenes, with one clip capturing the man brandishing the sword while another depicted two men assaulting a third, leaving him bloodied and on the pavement. Witnesses identified the assailants as local individuals, further fueling fears about escalating violence within the community.

Natalie Newton, the owner of The Dolphin Hotel, described how one of the men allegedly involved, ran into her establishment seeking refuge. She said: “He came in out of breath, couldn’t even breathe to tell me what was happening. He looked off his face on drugs, so I told him to get out,” Newton recounted. “At that time, I didn’t know what was happening in the street with the guy and the sword. I had a lovely group of ladies enjoying an afternoon of food and drinks when some crackhead walks in off his face! But it’s not the first time! Something needs to be done about the crackheads across the road negatively impacting mine and the Tavern’s business! Two days ago, there were around 12 police officers marching in the street with tools to break down their door at midday! Why aren’t they being sorted out?”

Some customers at The Market Tavern at 15 Pembroke Street said they were ‘locked in’ whist the drama unfolded.

Residents reported that the police arrested at least one male at the scene, though details remain unconfirmed by official sources. Comments from residents indicated a mixture of anger and disbelief. “Absolute fools,” remarked Marie Stacey, while another resident, Sarah Gambold, mused, “Must be something in the water.”

The presence of emergency services sparked further debate among locals. Maria Rigby noted, “Look at the ambulance there for them makes me sick. They’re straight away while others got to wait hours for one.” Shanice Riley echoed this sentiment, criticizing the perceived misuse of resources, “What a waste of resources and taxpayers’ money.”

The incident has left many Pembroke Dock residents feeling unsafe and demanding action. “It’s about time we all did something to protect our loved ones,” urged Michelle Scott, reflecting the community’s call for greater security measures.

Dyfed Powys Police have yet to release an official statement detailing the events or confirming arrests. The Pembrokeshire Herald has asked for a comment and will publish an update soon as this story develops.

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Community

Two Pembrokeshire residents honoured in King’s Birthday List

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PEMBROKESHIRE is celebrating the achievements of two distinguished locals who have been recognised in the King’s Birthday Honours. John Fletcher, a dedicated farmer, and Professor Andrew Campbell, a prominent academic, have both been awarded the MBE for their respective contributions.

John Fletcher: Champion of Shire Horses

John Fletcher, 70, the founder of Gentle Giants Shires in Moylegrove, has been honoured with an MBE for his services to the conservation of shire horses. His journey with these majestic animals began at the tender age of nine on his parents’ farm at Penrallt Uchaf. Inspired by his father, who had previously used a shire horse for ploughing, young John developed a lifelong passion for the breed.

In 2003, following the sale of the farm’s milking herd, Gentle Giants was established. Today, the organisation boasts a global following of 69,000 on Facebook and provides shire horses for weddings, funerals, and other events across the UK. The Gentle Giants have also featured on several television shows, including “Don’t Tell the Bride” and “Coast and Country”, as well as in the award-winning film “Calon Gaeth”.

John’s dedication to shire horses has not gone unnoticed. In 2021, during a Royal visit to Nevern, he and his shire horse, Prince George, met His Royal Highness. The future King praised John’s efforts, expressing his gratitude and interest in the farm’s breeding programme.

Gentle Giants remains a family-run venture, and the Fletcher family took to social media to celebrate John’s accolade. They expressed immense pride in his tireless work and commitment to training and promoting shire horses. “Not one to take things easy, he always has a new project on the go,” they shared. “Buyers often return due to the high standards achieved by the horses he has trained.”

John’s influence extends beyond the UK, with his horses working and competing as far afield as Norway and Italy. He is passionate about educating the public on the versatility of shire horses and enjoys welcoming visitors to the farm in Pembrokeshire.

Professor Andrew Campbell: Advocate for Tourism

Also honoured with an MBE is Professor Andrew Campbell of Goodwick, recognised for his services to tourism. Professor Campbell, who describes himself as “passionate about tourism, cake baking and swimming in the sea,” has made significant contributions to the field.

A professor of practice in tourism with the University of Wales, he is currently the chair of the Welsh Government’s Economic Ministerial Advisory Board. Until September 2021, he served as chair of the Wales Tourism Alliance, representing over 6,000 tourism businesses throughout Wales. The Welsh Government describes him as “a respected academic within tourism, a key economic sector,” noting his valuable insights into the challenges facing the tourism and skills sectors.

Living and working in north Pembrokeshire, Professor Campbell is known for his hands-on approach and commitment to enhancing the region’s tourism landscape. His recognition in the King’s Birthday Honours underscores the importance of his work and his dedication to the community.

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News

Businessman enters political arena amid ambitious Reform Party campaign

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STUART James Marchant, a well-known local businessman, has announced his candidacy with the Reform Party, marking his debut in the political landscape. He standing in Mid and South Pembrokeshire.

Born in Croydon in January 1981, Marchant spent his formative years in Orpington, Kent. He attended Darrick Wood Secondary School and Orpington College, where he first demonstrated his work ethic with a part-time job at Tesco.

Following his education, Marchant took up a retail position at PC World, before making a significant career change in 2001 by joining the private parking sector. His dedication quickly saw him rise through the ranks. By 2005, an opportunity to work in Wales beckoned, allowing him to reconnect with his maternal roots in Carmarthen.

He spent several years in Swansea before returning to the South East in 2008 to manage a substantial portfolio of car parks.

By 2020, Marchant had amassed a wealth of experience across various roles, demonstrating his ability to adapt and lead within different teams. Currently, he operates a small business near Carmarthen, embedding himself further within the local community.

An avid traveller, Marchant has explored numerous global destinations, fostering a deep cultural competence. Locally, he is known to indulge in occasional hockey games and has recently begun learning to para-glide.

Marchant’s political journey began in 2009 with his membership in the Conservative Party. However, earlier this year, he made a significant shift to the Reform Party. As a staunch supporter of Brexit, he believes South West Wales stands to gain substantially from this historic decision. Marchant is convinced that the Reform Party is best positioned to deliver these benefits.

The Reform Party UK is aiming for a strong performance in Wales during the upcoming general election on July 4th. Here are the key points regarding their prospects in Wales:

Reform targeting all 32 Welsh seats

The Reform Party has declared its intention to field candidates in all 32 parliamentary seats in Wales, with a particular focus on the north-east, border areas with England, the south Wales valleys, and Pembrokeshire. This ambitious “reverse Cymru” strategy aims to secure a significant presence across various regions of Wales.

While the Reform Party will criticize the Conservative government, they are also targeting Labour’s traditional strongholds in Wales. Nigel Farage believes Reform can take seats from Labour in working-class communities like the Welsh valleys, which voted to leave the EU in 2016. The party plans to highlight the “disaster of the devolved Labour government” in these “left-behind” areas.

Both the Liberal Democrats and Reform UK have expressed a desire to see a Conservative party “wipeout” in Wales, aiming to take Tory seats. The Lib Dems’ Jane Dodds stated that “kicking the Tories out of Wales” would be a good election night for her party.

While Reform UK’s vote share is still within the margin of error, recent polls suggest they are neck and neck with or even slightly ahead of the Conservatives. This rise poses a significant threat to the Tories, as Reform could potentially force a merger with the Conservatives, as Farage has suggested.

In summary, the Reform Party UK is mounting an ambitious campaign in Wales, targeting Labour’s heartlands as well as challenging the Conservatives. Their performance could significantly impact the political landscape in Wales and potentially lead to a Tory wipeout in the region.

With his extensive professional background and commitment to the community, Marchant aims to bring a fresh perspective to the political scene, promising to champion the interests of South West Wales.

_____________

The following people have been nominated for election as a member of the UK Parliament for Mid and South Pembrokeshire constituency:

Hanna Andersen (Women’s Equality Party);

Alistair Cameron (Welsh Liberal Democrats);

Stephen Crabb (Welsh Conservative);

Stuart Marchant (Reform UK);

James Purchase (Green Party);

Vusi Siphika, (Independent);

Cris Tomos (Plaid Cymru);

Henry Tufnell (Welsh Labour).

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