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‘Don’t Travel Unless You Have To’

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Roof which blew off a house in Robert Street, Milford Haven, Wednesday.

Roof which blew off a house in Robert Street, Milford Haven, Wednesday.

PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL has urged residents not to travel unless they have to as strong winds are causing chaos across the county.

Roads, schools and businesses were all forced to close as winds hit speeds of nearly 100mph and a Red weather warning was issued by the Met Office.

Pedestrians and motorists in Pembrokeshire are being urged to take extreme care when approaching buildings and trees, in today’s very severe weather conditions. There is a great risk of falling debris from buildings and trees, with the very strong winds in the county today, which are forecast to persist well into this evening.

Winds of 93.6 mph have already been recorded on the Cleddau Bridge and there are Hurricane Force 12 winds off the Pembrokeshire coast.

Tree down at St Giles church in Letterston. Blocking road at present. Picture by Karl Hedley.

Tree down at St Giles church in Letterston. Blocking road at present. Picture by Karl Hedley.

“The message is –don’t travel or walk unless you really, really have to,” said Darren Thomas, Head of Highways at Pembrokeshire County Council.

“Also, if you are travelling with caravans or mobile homes, it would be sensible to seek a sheltered location for these until the winds have died down”.

A number of schools were closed including Portfield School in Haverfordwest, Manorbier School, Ysgol y Preseli and Ysgol y Frenni in Crymych. Ysgol Geryllan, Letterston, Solva Primary School was closed after the roof was damaged, Ysgol Glannau Gwaun, Cosheston VC,  Coastlands School / Ysgol y Glannau in St Ishmael`s, Greenhill School in Tenby and Cleddau Reach Primary School also closed.

Pembrokeshire College also closed just after mid-day as a result of the weather.

Many houses are also without power.

Members of Pembrokeshire County Council staff were on standby at Newgale where there are already considerable waves and extremely high winds. The road at the seafront is closed to high sided vehicles with further assessment for full closure nearer high tide (which is at approx 5.30pm).

Although Council staff were unable to attend to fallen trees until the wind dropped to safe working levels, they are attending to close roads where necessary.

A door was been blown off a service bus on an exposed road at Penycwm on the A487. No-one is injured and a relief bus is en-route.

Tree down in St Giles church grounds, roots showing. Picture by Ben Franklin

Tree down in St Giles church grounds, roots showing. Picture by Ben Franklin

The Cleddau Bridge was also closed to all traffic.

Middle Street in Rosemarket was partially blocked due to fallen tree at West Street.

New Road partially blocked due to fallen tree at West Hook Road / Lower Quay Road.

There were Several fallen trees in the road at Llangwm. The road is closed between Llangwm and Trooper’s Inn – and is likely to remain closed for the majority of the day.

Road between Rosemarket & Burton was closed due to shed debris.

The Main Road by the Church in Letterston was also blocked and there was a tree down between Jefferyston and Creselly.

Whitland fire brigade had to attend Llandewi Velfrey Service Station as there were concerns that the forecourt roof could blow off so equipment was put up to keep it in place.

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Victim speaks out about the impact knifepoint robbery

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Teifion Lewis: Robbed the man at knifepoint

THE VICTIM of a knifepoint robbery has spoken out about the impact the incident has had on his life as Dyfed-Powys Police takes part in a national knife amnesty aiming to get weapons off the streets.

The 24-year-old was approached by a man he didn’t know while walking his dog in Carmarthen on July 20 this year. A knife was held to his chest, and he was forced to hand over the money in his wallet.

His attacker, Teifion Lewis, of Llammas Street, Carmarthen, was arrested and charged with robbery within four days, and was sentenced to 40 months in prison.

Looking back at the incident, the victim, who has asked to remain anonymous, said: “At first, I didn’t realise he had a knife on him. I just assumed he was another man who was out partying, given he was young and it was late on a Friday night.

“Even when he was right in front of me with his hand on my chest, I assumed he must have had too much to drink and just stumbled into me. Once I saw he was brandishing a knife, though, that changed everything. It was at that moment that I realised I was in far more danger than I’d first thought.

“I suppose the only real thing that was going through my mind at the time was to talk to him, do as he says, and get out of there as soon as possible without becoming hysterical. I just had to keep as calm as possible for the time he was blocking my route.”

He explained that it was only when Lewis had taken his money and walked away, that he realised what could have happened had things gone wrong.

“I thought about how easily he could have stabbed me and I’d have been left out in an empty street, cold and alone, bleeding to death, without even a mobile phone on me to call my friends and family to tell them I love them,” he said.

“I’ve never given much thought as to what my inevitable death will be like, but I’d never have thought it could have ended that way.”

The victim had walked his dog every night for two years – using this particular route for seven months – with no issue. Since being robbed, he has become wary of going out at night and hasn’t been able to walk down the lane where he was stopped without suffering flashbacks.

“It’s not necessarily the whole event that comes back to me, but different parts, such as when he started to sob to me about his home life, or when he apologised for ‘having to mug me’,” he said.

“By far, what’s stuck with me the most are the words said to me as I was being mugged. The words ‘I want your money, I don’t want your life’ have been repeating in my mind every day since then, without failure.”

On September 2, at Swansea Crown Court, Teifion Lewis was sentenced for robbery and possessing a knife in a public place. The victim read out a statement directly addressing Lewis, urging him to get his life back on track and forgiving him for what he did.

“You asked me that night to forget that the robbery had ever happened,” he read. “My assumption is because you were fearful as for what might subsequently happen to you. I’m afraid though, that the image of a knife being flicked towards my chest, and the phrase ‘I want your money, I don’t want your life’ is something I will never be able to erase from my mind, no matter how much I wish for it to go.

“I want you, however, to improve. I want you to use your punishment as your wake-up call, and as a doorway to improving both your future and the future of those who you are close to. There is help available for you, even in prison, and even when it seems all hope is lost. If I can get my life back on track after my autism diagnosis, so can you.

“You’re young, you’re able bodied, and you still have time. Use it wisely. I can’t forget what you did, but just this once I will forgive you.”

The victim has spoken out about his experience as Dyfed-Powys Police takes part in Operation Sceptre – a national week of action aimed at cracking down on the illegal possession of knives. A knife amnesty is taking place during the week (Sept 18-24), with people able to bin their knives at specific locations across the force no questions asked.

The 24-year-old has backed the operation, and the chance to get knives out of our communities.

“I’d prefer it if these people who carry knives with them be honest about who they are and why they have them on their person,” he said. “But it’s much more important that it’s an opportunity to get these weapons off the street.

“If the ability to do this anonymously is what gives these people the confidence to rid themselves of their weapons, then so be it.”

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A brand new Welsh language ukulele orchestra

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CAN you play the ukulele and would like to join a ukulele orchestra? Or would you like to learn a new skill and to socialise in a Welsh-speaking environment? Why not join Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl?

On Monday, October 15, Cered: Menter Iaith Ceredigion, Aberystwyth Arts Centre and Learn Welsh will launch Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl which is a brand new, Welsh language ukulele orchestra in Aberystwyth for free, for those aged 16+.

Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl will practice weekly between 6pm and 7:30pm every Monday night during the school term and practices will take place at the Aberystwyth Arts Centre. There is no need for any experience or ability on the ukulele and there will be instruments available to borrow so that you can have a taste before buying your own ukulele.

Welsh will be the main language of Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl but there is a warm welcome to everyone whatever your level of proficiency in Welsh. Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl is supported by Learn Welsh as a great activity for learners to practice their Welsh outside the classroom in a fun and new way.

Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl’s conductor will be Steffan Rees who has held a number of Iwcs a Hwyl workshops over the last year as Cered’s Community Development Officer. Steffan is also a musician who composes and performs as “Bwca” and he has been playing the ukulele for years.

Steffan said, “I have really wanted to start a Welsh ukulele orchestra in Ceredigion for a while having seen the successes and popularity of those in Cardiff and South East Wales. The ukulele is an instrument that excites people of all ages and with some patience and perseverance, it is an easy enough instrument to master. I’m looking forward to developing a repertoire with the orchestra and play a few gigs; the National Eisteddfod in Tregaron in 2020 perhaps!”

Numbers for the first term of the orchestra are limited so contact the Arts Centre Box Office on 01970 632 232 to book your place in Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl.

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Hanes Llambed meeting held

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THE FIRST meeting of Hanes Llambed of the 2018/19 year was held in Lampeter’s Trinity Saint David’s Old Hall this week.

There was a good attendance as Cwrtnewydd resident Simon Evans gave the first of what will eventually be two talks about his home parish of Llanwenog.

Mr Evans spoke of how the parish was defined by the Afon Cledlyn and its tributaries, describing the region’s history from the Stone Age to the present day. The talk spoke of the several hill forts of the area, as well as Llanwenog church, founded around 500 AD, before it was built in its current form in the 14th century.

The Battle of Llanwenog in 981 AD between the Welsh and invading Danes was detailed, before the speaker went on to describe the Puritan struggle and the Civil War.

The talk then went on to the establishment of private academies by nonconformist ministers from 1750 onwards, and the founding of Unitarian chapels in the early 19th century.

The terrible agricultural situation of the 1840s was described, followed by the bad harvests, which led directly to the Rebecca Riots and emigration to the USA and elsewhere in Britain.

The next meeting of Hanes Llambed will take place in October when the subject will be the Cardiganshire War Tribunals of the First World War.

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