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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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Ysgol Bro Pedr raise funds for life saving machine

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PUPILS at Ysgol Bro Pedr have raised enough money to buy a defibrillator machine for the school.

The idea came after 15 Year 11 pupils achieved their Level 3 Emergency First Aid Qualification with Ceredigion Youth Service. Pupils felt that it was incredibly important that they and others at the school had the skills, knowledge and equipment to use in an emergency.

Mrs Caryl Jones and pupils raised an outstanding £1,150 through organising a bake sale at the school on 28 March 2019. The school extends their thanks to Lampeter businesses ‘Oh My Cod’ and ‘Y Becws’ for their kind contribution towards the sale.

Guto Crompton, School Based Youth Worker said: “Although first aid is not a mandatory part of the school curriculum in Wales, young people at Ysgol Bro Pedr felt that it should be something that all pupils knew about. This would help them to know what to do in an emergency, whether that be in the school or out in the community. Pupils worked hard to achieve their First Aid qualification which covered aspect such as CPR, casualty management and the use of a defibrillator.”

The defibrillator machine will be placed in the school reception.

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It’s not too late: Ceredigion residents still have time to register to vote

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“CEREDIGION residents still have time to register to vote in the General Election on 12 December,” said the council’s Chief Executive and Acting Returning Officer, Eifion Evans.

Residents still have time to register to vote and to arrange postal or proxy votes if they want to do so. The deadline to register to vote is midnight on November 26. The deadline to register for a postal vote is 5pm on November 26 and the deadline to register for a proxy vote is 5pm on December 4.

Mr Evans continued, “Some residents may want to register for postal vote or a proxy vote. This could help people avoid possible wintry conditions of a December election, or young people who have moved out of county to study but still want to vote in Ceredigion.”

Residents can register to vote by using this link: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote or by calling the council’s Electoral Services Team on 01545 570 881.

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£1 billion deal set to solve poor mobile coverage

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BEN LAKE MP has worked with cross-party MPs in recent months on a campaign calling for a Shared Rural Network to extend mobile rural coverage to hard-to-reach areas.

On Friday, 25 October, a £1bn plan between the UK’s four main mobile phone companies and the UK Government was unveiled with the aim of banishing these signal dead zones. The proposed deal – which includes EE, O2, Three and Vodafone – promises to get 4G coverage to 95% of the UK by 2025.

The new plans for all operators to share phone masts to improve UK coverage is a world first. It will mean EE, O2, Three and Vodafone will invest £530 million in a network of new and existing phone masts they would all share and which any mobile user can access, and which would be supported by £500 million investment from the UK Government.

72 cross party MPs, including Ben Lake, wrote to the then Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Jeremy Wright MP asking him to support a Shared Rural Network which would significantly improve rural coverage and enhance economic, educational and leisure opportunities in rural areas.

Mr Lake said “This is fantastic news. It will make a huge difference to so many people in my constituency where, in some areas, there is no mobile coverage at all. It will put an end to the frustration felt by thousands of people who currently feel cut off and mean people will get good mobile signal on the go wherever they live, work or travel and it will have a big impact on the local economy.

“I was glad to have the opportunity to meet with the Secretary of State to press the case for allowing newly constructed Home Office masts to be utilised as part of this new programme, something that would expedite progress in areas such as Ceredigion.”

The current Digital Secretary, Nicky Morgan said “We are determined to make sure no part of the country is left behind when it comes to mobile connectivity. We are closing in on a deal with the mobile network operators so those living in rural areas will be able to get the fast and reliable mobile coverage they need and deserve. Brokering an agreement for mast sharing between networks alongside new investment in mobile infrastructure will mean people get good 4G signal no matter where they are or which provider they’re with.”

A final agreement between UK Government and the mobile industry is expected early next year.

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