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Commemorative Stone marks 100th anniversary of prestigious award

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A COMMEMORATIVE STONE was unveiled by Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Dyfed, Sara Edwards in Llanbadarn Fawr, Aberystwyth, to mark the 100 year anniversary of the action which resulted in Brigadier General Lewis Pugh Evans receiving the Victoria Cross, the only Ceredigion-born soldier to be awarded this prestigious medal to date.

The service began with a parade led by pipers, both members of the Black Watch Association, and standard bearers led by a standard bearer from the Royal Lincolnshire Regiment. The procession, which began at the Church Hall in Llanbadarn Fawr finished at the commemoration stone, situated next to the War Memorial at Llanbadarn Fawr.

A welcome to the ceremony was given by Armed Forces Champion for Ceredigion County Council, Councillor Paul Hinge followed by a speech on the history of the Brigadier’s life given by Christopher Evans, Brigadier Evans’ grandson, who attended with Brigadier Evans’ family.

In his speech, Christopher Evans said: “I am delighted that Ceredigion is honouring my grandfather with this commemorative stone. This will be a reminder that we and future generations will not forget the First World War, or the courage of all those who took part. My grandfather said he was a lucky man, lucky to have survived the war and lucky to be selected and recognised by the award of a Victoria Cross. However, I believe he felt there were others who went beyond the call of duty in actions that may have not been recognised. It is a pleasure to meet some of you here today who remember him.”

Brigadier Evans was born in 1881 in Abermad, educated at Eton and entered the army after training at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst followed by a long and distinguished army career, spanning 40 years.

The official citation for the award of the Victoria Cross was read out by Geoffrey Newmarch, County Colonel for Lincolnshire, The Royal Anglian Regiment. The citation detailed that the Victoria Cross was awarded to Brigadier Evans for ‘most conspicuous bravery and leadership’ and that ‘his examples of cool bravery stimulated in all ranks the highest valour’. This happened on 4 October, 1917 near Zonnebeke, Belgium when he captured an enemy machine gun position single-handedly with only a revolver and despite being wounded, led his troops to a second objective, which was also taken.

A service of dedication was provided by Rev. Canon Andrew Loat and Rev. Mones Farah and an exhortation was read by Gwyn Evans, Former President of the Aberystwyth Royal British Legion and Lieutenant Colonel (Retd) Patrick Norrington-Davies, Chairman and President of the Aberystwyth Royal British Legion. Wreaths were laid around the commemorative stone by local dignitaries.

Pupils from Ysgol Penglais’ band provided the music before and during the ceremony, pieces played by musician Katy John and also Chic Mackie, pipe major of the Black Watch Association.

Councillor Paul Hinge, Armed Forces Champion for Ceredigion County Council said, “Brigadier Lewis Pugh Evans not only won a Victoria Cross but also was awarded 17 other medals, 2 Distinguished Service Orders and got Mentioned in Dispatches seven times, which is absolutely extraordinary and he survived to tell the tale. Brigadier Evans was a remarkable man and his history will live on in people’s memories through this wonderful commemorative stone. It’s been such a privilege to be part of this special ceremony of dedication.”

The ceremony came to a close with the congregation observing a minute’s silence followed by singing both the British and Welsh National Anthems. The congregation were invited to refreshments at the Church Hall, Llanbadarn Fawr, where they could view a display, organised by Ceredigion Museum, containing photographs and extracts illustrating Brigadier Evans’ history.

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RNLI in Wales urges people to stay safe as Storm Brendan hits

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The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is urging people to stay safe near the Welsh coast as severe weather could make our seas and coastlines particularly dangerous.

Lifesaving charity, the RNLI, is encouraging people to exercise extreme caution if visiting the shoreline, especially along exposed cliffs, seafronts and piers.

The expected strong winds and severe gales pose a severe safety risk to those visiting the coast.

Named Storm Brendan by Met Eireann, it swept eastwards across Ireland before making its way through the rest of the UK this morning with yellow wind warning in place for most of the Welsh coast.

Chris Cousens, RNLI Regional Water Safety Lead for Wales said:

‘This rough weather could make visiting parts of the Welsh coastline treacherous and bring very dangerous sea conditions.

‘Sadly, around 150 people lose their lives on British and Irish coasts each year and over half of these people didn’t plan on ever entering the water. Slips, trips and falls can be a major factor in these kinds of incidents.’

If you see someone else in danger in the water, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard. If you have something that floats that they can hold on to, throw it to them. Don’t go in the water yourself – too many people drown trying to save others.

The charity, which provides a search and rescue service around the UK and Ireland, is facing its own Perfect Storm as demand for its services has increased but it is facing a shortfall in funds. This past year, the RNLI has been busier than ever, and stormy conditions can mean additional call outs for the already extremely busy volunteer crews. Whatever the weather, RNLI volunteers will still be on call to rescue those at difficulty at sea.

The RNLI’s major new fundraising appeal, The Perfect Storm, which aims to help the charity get back to living within its means, is running throughout November and December. To find out more or to donate visit RNLI.org/ThePerfect Storm.

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Are you missing out on a Council Tax reduction?

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IF YOU’RE struggling to pay your Council Tax bill, then help could be available for you through the Welsh Government’s flagship Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS).

The scheme, which will continue to support vulnerable households in 2020-21, currently benefits one in five of all households in Wales. In the last year almost 280,000 low-income households have received help from the scheme, with 220,000 paying no council tax at all. Many more receive other discounts or exemptions.

You may be entitled to pay less council tax if:

• you believe you live on a low income
• you live alone, or with people/children who do not pay council tax
• you are a student
• you are disabled
• you are severely mentally impaired

Understanding why there are still vulnerable households not benefitting from the help they are entitled to is a priority for the Welsh Government. Last year we commissioned research to understand the circumstances of households in Wales and the effects of the UK Government’s Universal Credit on the CTRS.

The interim report out today shows that for many households, the move to Universal Credit can have a significant impact on council tax reduction awards. Whilst many households currently receiving a 100% reduction will continue to do so, for others, the move to Universal Credit is shown to have an adverse impact, particularly for employed households, self-employed households, and working households in receipt of a Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment.

Full findings of the interim report are available on the Welsh Government website. These findings will now be considered in more detail to inform the next stages of the research and policy development in this area.

Encouraging people to make sure they are not missing out on help they could be entitled to, Finance Minister Rebecca Evans said:

“Ensuring every household in Wales receives the council tax support they are entitled to is an important part of our commitment to making council tax fairer.

“Our scheme is already helping hundreds of thousands of households across Wales, but we know that there are still many missing out on the discounts, reductions and exemptions they are entitled to. I encourage everyone to check the Welsh Government website to find out if they could be paying less.”

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Success for Dyfed-Powys Police in targeting drugs suppliers in Ceredigion

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A drugs supplier in the Ceredigion area has been sentenced to 2 years and 2 months in prison.

Kylie Mason, 34, from Aberaeron, was arrested on the 28th October 2019, and later charged with 2 offences of possession with intent to supply a controlled drug and two offences of supply a controlled drug of Class A. She pleaded guilty at court and received a total sentence of two years and two months in prison on the 8th January.

Detective Sergeant Steven Jones said: “This is an excellent result for the Aberaeron community, who had raised concerns about this individual supplying drugs in the area. I hope this will serve as a warning to others who wish to bring drugs into the Ceredigion area that it will not be tolerated. This result will go a long way towards keeping our communities safe. If anyone is worried about drugs in their community I would urge them to contact police as we will take the appropriate action.”

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