ONLY a week after it was opened to the public, Cardigan Castle temporarily closed its gates to the public.
Despite receiving £12m in grants, the Castle’s tarmacking works were not completed when local media and worthies were invited to attend last week’s opening event.
Sue Lewis, Cardigan Castle spokesperson, said: “The castle opened to the public last week following an extensive £12m restoration project. During the soft-launch period, we’ll be putting final touches in place in time for the busy tourist season ahead, which includes the final surfacing of the garden paths. The site was closed to visitors for two days, from Monday April 20 to Tuesday April 21, while work is being carried out. We recorded more than 500 visitors on the first day of opening so are delighted with the response and looking forward to a great summer at the castle.”
Speaking after the original opening, Ms Lewis said: “The whole community is of course ecstatic to see Cardigan Castle returned to its former glory. The site has witnessed many key moments in Welsh history over its 900 years including bloody battles.”
It seems, however, as though some battles remain to be fought.
Response to the castle’s opening has not been unmixed. In a faux pas that is sure to anger The Friends of Rhys ap Gruffudd, who have condemned the castle’s failure to book Welsh music acts for a festival in July, menus for the castle’s restaurant during the opening week were printed only in English.
The Herald understands, however, that following complaints bilingual menus are now available while catering arrangements at the castle, which were described as ‘chaotic’, have also been changed.
Claims made by local historian Father Cunnane at the opening ceremony about the cost of bringing the Gorsedd of Bards and transporting the Gorsedd stones down from Brondesbury Park (near Tesco’s) to the Castle have been disputed.
Fr. Cunnane’s further comments regarding Dic yr Hendre, the late Eisteddfod Chair whose family have withdrawn an offer to place his Archdruid’s regalia on display at the Castle, have also been met with considerable resentment.
Police call for vigilance to report illegal raves
DYFED-POWYS POLICE is asking farmers and local landowners to be on the alert over the next few months for warning signs of any illegal gatherings planned for their land over the summer.
Gatherings – such as illegal raves – can cause considerable anxiety to the community and if they are not dealt with swiftly, they are difficult to stop or otherwise control, due often to the sheer numbers of persons involved and the safety aspects surrounding breaking up such an event.
Superintendent Robyn Mason said: “There is little doubt that these type of events are very well planned, organised and that local knowledge is important in drawing down the main group to a particular ‘vulnerable’ field, or area of land which has been targeted previously as a suitable venue.
“Farmers, landowners and local communities are encouraged to report any suspicious activity immediately to the Police; this may be an unusual numbers of vehicles, especially camper vans, vans or trucks in the locality, illegal trespassers who may be doing ‘recce’ of sites in advance of the event.
“I can assure local communities that Police will take the appropriate action to deter illegal gatherings and deal robustly with any criminal offences discovered or disclosed.”
Members of the public are also urged to be vigilant of persons who approach landowners or enquiring for land, in the guise of hiring for apparently acceptable activities such as gymkhanas and scouts/guides events.
Please contact Police on 101 with reports on any suspicious activity.
Wheelchair-bound man jailed for child sex offences
A CHILD sex offender from Ystrad Meurig has been jailed despite being wheelchair-bound.
Dean Harper, aged 61, had distributed child pornography and tried to entice a 10-year-old girl into sexually abusing herself and sending him photographs.
Harper, of Sisial y Pin, Ffair Rhos, admitted downloading 317 indecent images of children in the most serious category A, 400 in category B and 500 in C.
He also admitted sending images in all three categories to a third party, all on a single day in October, 2016.
Harper also admitted attempting to incite the girl into sexual activity knowing that she was only 10-years-old.
Kevin Jones, prosecuting, told Swansea Crown Court that the distribution of the images alerted the police who raided Harper’s home and removed computer equipment.
An examination of his internet activity revealed he had made contact with a girl via social media and swapped messages with her.
The judge, Mr Recorder Peter Griffiths told Harper his offending was serious and a jail sentence was inevitable despite his disability.
Harper was jailed for a total of two years and ordered to register with the police as a sex offender for 10 years.
He was also made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order which will restrict his contact with young people and his internet activity after his release from prison.
Royals set to visit Ceredigion during summer visit
AS PART of their annual summer visit to Wales, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will be visiting Ceredigion next month.
From July 2-6, Charles and Camilla will tour the country, undertaking over 20 engagements across the country.
On July 3, The Prince of Wales will visit Dà Mhìle Distillery, Llandysul, the first organic distillery in the UK approved by the Soil Association, where he was previously gifted the thousandth bottle to be produced by Dà Mhìle.
The Prince of Wales will also visit St. Gwenog’s Church, Llanwenog, and view their unique carvings created by Joseph Reubens, a Belgian World War One refugee. His Royal Highness will also meet members of their local community.
The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall’s fourteenth annual Summer visit to Wales will feature celebrations to mark the 70th Anniversary of The National Health Service and the marking the 150th anniversary of the Heart of Wales railway line amongst other events.
A Clarence House spokesperson said: “The Prince and The Duchess are really looking forward to their annual summer visit to Wales where they will be celebrating key anniversaries for the National Health Service, the Heart of Wales railway line and the 90th anniversary of Gwent Association of Voluntary Organisation. Their Royal Highnesses relish the opportunity to meet members of the community who are making a difference to Welsh life.”
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