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Sporting achievements celebrated at the Sport Pembrokeshire Awards 2023

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The remarkable achievements of Pembrokeshire’s sporting community were celebrated at a glittering awards ceremony on Friday evening, November 24th.

The Sport Pembrokeshire Awards 2023 were held at Folly Farm and paid tribute to efforts both on and off the pitch by sports people, coaches and volunteers alike.

Record nominations had been received as the awards continue to go from strength to strength.

The judges had an extremely difficult task to whittle the numbers firstly down to finalists and then deserving winners.

The winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award was race walking star Heather Warner who has represented both Wales and Team GB at the highest levels.

A Pembrokeshire Harrier, Heather soon discovered a natural talent for race walking and it was no surprise that a collection of local and national titles followed.

Welsh and Team GB vests at both junior and senior level were the natural progression in her career.

Heather collected a fantastic seventh place in the Commonwealth Games in 2018 on Australia’s Gold Coast and a British record followed in Birmingham four years later to go with a brilliant sixth place.

While competing around the world Heather has always continued to coach at Pembrokeshire Harriers and passing on the breadth of her knowledge and experience and is a worthy winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award for 2023.

“Heather’s outstanding success, coupled with an obvious desire to one day guide others, can only help raise the profile of the sport in a positive way,” said Geoff Williams from BBC Wales, who presented Heather with her award.

The winner of the Chairman’s Special Achievement Award, presented by Cllr Thomas Tudor, was Makala Jones.

Makala has taught cold water confidence and a proper swimming technique to countless people of all ages in Pembrokeshire, enabling them to enjoy the coastline all year round. She also successfully swum the English channel solo in July this year.

She has been described as a legend, an inspiration, a real-life super hero, great fun to be around, a role model proving you can achieve your dreams and an incredibly strong and helpful human being.

In presenting her award, Cllr Tudor said what makes her so special is her passion for sharing the benefits of outdoor swimming for improved mental health.

This year the School Award was won by Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi.

The judges were impressed by the wide range of sports and activities provided by and hosted by Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi and how the school is a focal point for sports health and wellbeing in the St Davids community and surrounding areas.

Under Headteacher Rachel Thomas and Head of Wellbing Bruce Evans, young people are given the opportunity to try a wide variety of sports and activities to embed a love of staying active and protecting the natural environment from an early age.

It was also a significant evening with the announcement that host Bill Carne would be retiring after 17 years presenting the awards.

Matthew Freeman, manager of Sport Pembrokeshire, paid tribute to his dedication and professionalism over the years.

“Bill Carne has become synonymous with the Sport Pembrokeshire Awards and is rightly regarded as the voice of sport in Pembrokeshire,” he said.

“Sport Pembrokeshire are truly honoured to have had his support at the awards for all these years along with his wider support in advocating and raising the profile of the work that Sport Pembrokeshire team do across the county.

“Bill can now retreat from the stage and enjoy the evening from the audience’s vantage point and enjoy the spectacle that is the Sport Pembrokeshire awards.”

The other winners are as follows:

  • Girls (U16) Sporting Achievement: Josie Hawke
  • Boys (U16) Sporting Achievement: Ramon Rees-Siso
  • Club of the Year: Pembroke Cricket Club
  • Junior Disability Sport Award: Saskia Webb
  • Disability Sport Award: Bleddyn Gibbs
  • Young Volunteer of the Year: Elizabeth Clissold
  • Junior (U16) Team Achievement of the Year: South Pembs Sharks U14
  • Unsung Hero: Dave Astins
  • Team Achievement of the Year: Haverfordwest County AFC
  • Male Sporting Achievement: Mickey Beckett
  • Female Sporting Achievement: Gracie Griffiths
  • Club Organiser of the Year: Stefan Jenkins
  • Coach of the Year: Samantha Feneck

List of Finalists and Winners

Girls (U16) Sporting Achievement

  • Josie Hawke – Winner
  • Chloe John-Driscoll
  • Nina Marsh

Boys (U16) Sporting Achievement

  • Finley Bruce
  • Reuben Lerwill
  • Ramon Rees-Siso – Winner

Club of the Year

  • Haverfordwest Tennis Club
  • Pembroke Cricket Club – Winner
  • Tavernspite Short Mat Bowls Club

Disability Sport Award

  • Bleddyn Gibbs – Winner
  • Michael Jenkins
  • Jules King

Junior Disability Sport Award

  • Lewis Crawford
  • Saskia Webb – Winner
  • Ioan Williams

Young Volunteer of the Year

  • Elizabeth Clissold – Winner
  • Ellie Phillips
  • Lukas Tyrrell

Junior (U16) Team Achievement of the Year

  • Pembrokeshire Schools Football U14’s
  • South Pembs Sharks U14’s – Winner
  • Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi Tennis Team

Unsung Hero

  • Dave Astins – Winner
  • Piers Beckett
  • Sam Rossiter

Team Achievement of the Year

  • Haverfordwest County AFC – Winner
  • Haverfordwest Ladies Rugby
  • Llangwm RFC Youth

Male Sporting Achievement

  • Micky Beckett – Winner
  • Jeremy Cross
  • Moritz Neumann

Female Sporting Achievement

  • Katie Dickinson
  • Gracie Griffiths – Winner
  • Seren Thorne

Club Organiser of the Year

  • Rachel Grieve
  • Stefan Jenkins – Winner
  • Huw Jones

Coach of the Year

  • Sam Feneck – Winner
  • Daisy Griffiths
  • Michael Newman

School Award

  • Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi

Special Achievement Award

  • Makala Jones

Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Heather Warner
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Community

Pop up museum opens in Haverfordwest whilst Castle works continue

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WITH Haverfordwest Castle closed for the next couple years due to building works for the Heart of Pembrokeshire project the Haverfordwest Town Museum has had to relocate to the town centre.

Last September, plans to move temporarily Haverfordwest’s museum to the town’s Riverside Quay while levelling-up works in the town are ongoing were given the thumbs-up.

An application for a change of use of the former GAME electronic games store at 24-25 Riverside Quay to the temporary home for the ‘pop-up’ museum was submitted to county planners by historian and council presiding member Dr Simon Hancock.

The museum itself is moving from its current site at the Governor’s Office next to Haverfordwest Castle due to ongoing works connected with the £24m Heart of Pembrokeshire levelling-up redevelopment of that part of the county town, which is expected to last until Spring 2026.

Work is ongoing to set up displays and create a museum shop and the new Riverside home is hoped to open to the public on March 25.

Museum Curator Dr Hancock said: “We want to make the pop-up museum an informative and entertaining space. We will have models of the castle and Tudor Merchant’s house, displays on the Llewellin churnworks, the Port of Haverfordwest, items made in the town during the Victorian period, David Lindley paintings and the People of Haverfordwest panels.

“We will be open all year round in our new premises and so we will ensure there will be regular changes of content. We would like to hear from anyone who would be interested in volunteering for us.

“The pop-up museum would only be possible thanks to the stalwart support of the county council with funding from the Shared Prosperity Fund for which we are extremely grateful.”

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News

Vandal-blighted house cannot be demolished without application

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AN OFFICIAL application needs to be made before a deteriorated vandal-blighted house in Haverfordwest may be demolished by a social housing provider, county planners have said.

Social housing provider Ateb Group Limited recently gave county planners prior notification of its plans to demolish The Grove, St Thomas Green.

In its application, it stated: “The building has been unoccupied for several years and its physical condition has deteriorated significantly over that time. It has become prone to vandalism and trespass and is becoming difficult to manage and secure.

“Its demolition will allow the structure and resultant debris to be removed, improving the visual amenities of the locality. It will also enable the site to become readily available for a sensitive redevelopment in association with the adjacent Meyler House.”

It added: “The cleared site will become part of the adjoining Meyler House site, with proposals being prepared to redevelop and construct affordable elderly persons apartments and associated parking facilities.”

Ateb has said it expected the demolition works to take several weeks, starting this April.

Agent Evans Banks Planning Limited, in a supporting statement said The Grove, adjoining Ateb’s head offices at Meyler House, received permission back in 2009 for the “Demolition of existing dwelling and replacement with apartments, houses and landscaped grounds.”

Conservation Area Consent was also granted at that time.

“Those permissions were not implemented and have long since lapsed, but nevertheless indicate that the principle of demolishing The Grove was deemed acceptable at that time to the local planning authority,” said Evans Banks Planning Limited.

“A pre-application enquiry has recently been presented before the local planning authority which seeks to reignite such redevelopment proposals but on a much larger site, incorporating Meyler House and its grounds into a comprehensive redevelopment scheme to create elderly persons apartments.”

It added: “This current submission seeks to renew that 2009 Conservation Area Consent given that the existing former dwellinghouse has now reached a physical state where its deterioration is causing concern.”

County planners determined that prior approval is needed before any demolition works take place, with details of tree protection while the works take place needed, along with a suitable method statement to minimise noise, dust and a strategy for dealing with hazardous materials should they arise during the demolition.

A similar application by Ateb, for demolition works at the town’s former learning centre, near to the former county library, was recently made subject to broadly similar conditions.

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Pembrokeshire council tax rise ‘highest in Wales in 20 years’

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A UK campaign group is to target Pembrokeshire ahead of the county facing what the group says would be the largest council tax increase in England and Wales in more than a decade.

At the February meeting of the county council’s Cabinet, members backed a council tax increase in Pembrokeshire of 16.3 per cent.

The proposed increase, which will be decided by full council at its March 7 meeting, would see the basic council tax level – before town/community precepts and the police precept are included – rise by £219.02 for the average Band D property, taking it to £1,561.98.

It is expected to be the highest percentage rate in Wales, on top of previous Pembrokeshire increases of 12.5 per cent, 9.92 per cent, five per cent, 3.75 per cent, five per cent and 7.5 per cent.

The TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) has launched a campaign against the proposed increase, and will be in Milford Haven on Thursday, February 29, and Friday, March 1, delivering leaflets and speaking to residents about the proposed increase.

TPA research says that if the tax rise is agreed, it will be the largest in England and Wales since 2012-13, when referendum principles were agreed.

England differs from Wales in having a cap, needing a referendum for any rate above five per cent for the 2024-25 financial year.

Taxpayers Alliance says Pembrokeshire’s proposal would be the largest percentage increase in Wales since 2000-01 and the third largest since 1997-98.

The only larger rises were in 2000-01 and 1998-99, when Monmouthshire and Powys county councils increased their council tax by 23.15 per cent and 17.5 per cent respectively, the group says.

At the February meeting of Pembrokeshire’s Cabinet, potential rises of 18.94 per cent, and an eye-watering 20.98 were mooted, which would have placed the county in second place.

The TPA is calling on residents in Pembrokeshire to write to the leader of the council, Cllr David Simpson, expressing their opposition to the proposals.

Benjamin Elks, grassroots development manager of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “This record-busting rate rise would deal a devastating blow to household finances in Pembrokeshire.

“Local taxpayers face being punished for the council’s failure to find efficiencies, cut down on waste and balance the books.

“Councillors should show some backbone, stand up for their residents and say no to this ruinous tax hike.”

Pembrokeshire, currently facing a projected funding gap of £31.9m, has historically had the lowest council tax in Wales.

For comparison, the current 2023-’24 average Band D base council tax – before police and town/community council parts of the overall bill are included – for Pembrokeshire is £1,342.86, compared to Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire at £1,553.60 and £1,490.97 respectively.

If the council had Ceredigion’s level of council tax for 2023-24, it would have had an additional £11.758m income and if it had Carmarthenshire’s it would have had an additional £8.264m.

Pembrokeshire Cabinet Member for Corporate Finance Cllr Alec Cormack said: “For 2024-25, Pembrokeshire County Council is facing additional demand pressures in statutory services (adult and children’s social care, homelessness and education).

“This means we need an extra £17m to provide these services next year – this alone is equivalent to an increase of over 26 per cent on council tax. Additionally, we face inflationary pressures of £22.8m.

“Our funding gap, after the AEF money we’ll receive from Welsh Government, is £31.9m.

“We are legally required to balance our budget – to match the amount of money coming in against what we spend to provide services. We are planning to make savings on our spending of £12.2m, as well as utilising some council tax premiums to enhance the sustainability of our communities.

“This has allowed us to limit the council tax rise to 16.31 per cent. This weighs up the need to limit council tax rises on residents against the need to preserve services used by many of the most vulnerable people in the county.

“The demand pressures, particularly in social care, are affecting all councils in Wales, but particularly Pembrokeshire, since we have had the lowest council tax in Wales for decades.

“Based on current information, we expect Pembrokeshire to still have one of the lowest council tax levels – probably 18th out of the 22 Welsh local authorities.”

Neighbouring Ceredigion is recommended to back an 11.1 per cent increase at its full council meeting of February 29.

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