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‘Considerable concern’ over RNLI plans

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SINCE the RNLI announced its decision to replace the all-weather Mersey-class lifeboat at New Quay with an Atlantic 85 inshore boat in 2020 the issue has been taken to the Government.

Campaigners fighting the plan say the RNLI’s decision will leave a gap of nearly 70 miles between all-weather lifeboat stations in an area frequented by fishing vessels, passenger boats and leisure craft.

Ben Lake MP and Elin Jones AM are two notable names who have raised concerns of the announcement.

In the House of Commons Chamber on October 19, Ben Lake MP asked for a statement detailing the Government’s expectation with regards to lifeboat provision.

He noted that ‘there is considerable concern in Ceredigion that proposals under the recent coastal review of Cardigan Bay would leave the entire Ceredigion coastline without sufficient all-weather lifeboat provision’.

An encouraging response on behalf of the Government came from Andrea Leadsom, Leader of the House of Commons and a former Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

She said: “I think the honourable gentleman raises an extremely important point and I do encourage him to go direct to the Department.

“I am sure if they’re aware of this situation they will be equally concerned and I am happy to raise it with them on his behalf if he’d like to write to me.”

Mr Lake has since written to Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport asking for a detailed UK Government policy on all-weather lifeboat provision, and to clarify whether the RNLI’s decision should be reconsidered as a consequence.

Ben Lake MP said: “I hope to receive a positive response from the Secretary of State. The proposed downgrade of the all-weather lifeboat in New Quay is in danger of placing casualties, seafarers and RNLI crews at unnecessary risk, and so I am sure that all parties involved can come together to reconsider this decision.”

Elin Jones has also written to the Welsh Government outlining her concerns.

In the letter she said: “The proposed new lifeboat is not suitable for use in all weathers, it is a much smaller ship than that which is currently deployed in New Quay, and it will vastly restrict the capability of rescuing people at sea from the station.

“The RNLI volunteers have showed me evidence of the effect that this downgrading will have on Ceredigion’s coast, and have raised concerns that people at sea would be left at considerable risk. With the downgrading of the rescue ship at New Quay, the vast majority of the Ceredigion coast will be left without an hour response All-Weather vessel.”

Replying on behalf of the Government, Lesley Griffiths AM, Cabinet Secretary for the Environment and Rural Affairs, said: “I too share your concerns. The safety of our fishing industry is a key concern of mine, and whilst fishing will always be an inherently dangerous occupation, it is imperative we do all we can to improve the safety of our operations.

“Whilst I am unable to intervene in the decision, I have asked my officials to reiterate our concerns and seek clarification from the RNLI regarding its decision.”

Following this, Elin Jones AM, said: “It is very encouraging that the Welsh Government have decided to support this campaign. There is a clear need for an all-weather lifeboat to cover the coast of Ceredigion, as recent weather has shown us.

“Over the last few months, along with Ben Lake MP I have met several times with volunteers of the RNLI in New Quay, Ceredigion. We have also met with George Rawlinson, Operations Manager for the RNLI, and I feel that many of the concerns raised by the volunteers, related organisations and general public, are not being met.

“The most important of these is that there has been a lack of consultation with the public, Ceredigion County Council, other emergency services and with the local volunteers.

“Therefore, I hope that with the Welsh Government raising its concerns with the RNLI, the decision to downgrade the lifeboat will be halted.”

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Police say ‘stop protecting’ murder suspect Steve Baxter

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JUST over two weeks ago Simon Clark, aged 54, was found dead at Grove Caravan Park in Pendine, Carmarthenshire.

Dyfed-Powys Police is continuing its manhunt for Steve Baxter, who is wanted on suspicion of Simon’s murder.

Baxter also known as Steve Tidy, Steve Rowley, Wayne Tidy or William Tidy, is aged 52, 5’5” (1.65cm) tall and has tattoos on his forearms – the name Chez and entwined circles on his left arm and a serpent on his right arm.

He has connections in the West Wales, South Wales, South West and North England areas of the UK.

Officers and staff are working round the clock to follow all possible lines of enquiry.

The independent charity Crimestoppers is also offering a reward of up to £5,000 for information leading to the arrest of Steve Baxter and he has been added to the Most Wanted section of their website. Information would be taken by the charity anonymously.

Detective Superintendent Huw Davies said: “It’s over two weeks since Simon Clark was murdered at Grove Caravan Park, Pendine.

“The manhunt for Steve Baxter is ongoing and I must stress to the public that officers and staff are working round the clock to investigate all possible lines of enquiry that could lead us to him.

“I urge anyone with information of Baxter’s whereabouts to come forward. If you do not want to speak to police directly, you can speak to the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously, which is also offering a reward of up to £5,000 for information leading to his arrest.

“Someone knows where he is or has been in the last two weeks. Please stop protecting him. Simon Clark’s family deserve to see all those involved in his death brought to justice.”

Four people have been charged in connection with the murder: Jeffrey Stephen Ward, aged 40, from Pendine, has been charged with murder; Linda Mary Rowley, aged 52, from Pendine, has been charged with assisting an offender (murder); Kirston Macklin, aged 52, from Newport, Gwent, has been charged with assisting an offender (murder) and Julie Louise Harris, aged 46, from Tonypandy, has been charged with assisting an offender (murder).

If you see Steve Baxter call Dyfed-Powys Police on 999. Do not approach him.

If you have any information on the whereabouts of Steve Baxter call Dyfed-Powys Police on 101 immediately.

To pass on information anonymously, contact Crimestoppers 100 per cent anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through the non-traceable anonymous online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

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National Adoption Week – Can you give a child a home?

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HAVING a caring family and a place they call home is what a lot of children take for granted; however, there are children in Ceredigion who are still looking for a home of their own. As part of National Adoption Week, which is happening between 15 and 21 October, people are being asked to consider opening their homes and their hearts to those waiting for a family.

An information evening is being held in The Atom, 18 King Street, Carmarthen, on Friday, October 19 from 6pm-7.30pm. The Cabinet Member with responsibility for Learning Services and Lifelong Learning and Champion for Children and Young People Councillor Catrin Miles said, “This is a great opportunity for prospective adopters to find out more about the process of adopting children in the county who are waiting for loving, permanent and stable homes. It will also be a chance to meet other prospective adopters.”

Adoption Mid and West Wales has adoption teams covering the four local authorities of Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys. Their aim is to make sure that children grow up as part of a permanent, loving family from childhood through to adulthood.

Sara*, from Ceredigion has spoken of her experiences of going through the adoption process and welcoming two children into her loving home, “Just two years after submitting our application to adopt, two little hurricanes arrived at our house and turning it into a noisy, happy home full of fun. The first stage of the application was to attend three days of training, over a period of 6 weeks. The training was important and an eye-opener for all kinds of reasons but it was perfect for focusing the mind to make sure we really wanted to adopt. We had excellent support from our social worker, but the process itself was long and challenging and we had to wait and wait while legal processes were going on. Although it was so difficult at that time, looking back it was worth every minute. The hardest thing for us was that there were months between seeing the children for the first time and receiving confirmation that they would come to us to live. This was an exception, the process is usually quicker.”

“In our experience creating and maintaining a good relationship with the foster family is crucial. They are a source of information and support. Before the children came to live with us, we needed over a week of presentations in the foster family’s home – this time is key but full of weight, pleasure, tiredness and emotion. That was months ago and now the children are happy and bubbly with us in their new home and enjoy being part of a loving group of family, friends and relatives. They enjoy going to the local school and Welsh learning was not a problem for them, they even dream in Welsh now!”

“Adoption is a great journey that is sometimes easy and sometimes difficult and it is important to understand and accept that before venturing on the journey. It is also important to take advantage of all support, training and advice on offer. There are many challenges ahead, a lot of disappointment and tears but more importantly, much laughter, love and happiness fills our lives now and in the future. Go for it.”

In the last year (2017-18), 29 adopters were approved through Adoption Mid and West Wales. These include married couples, unmarried couples, single people and same-sex couples. There is always the need for more adopters to come forward as demand for adoption placements has increased this year.

For more information, visit www.adoptionmwwales.org.uk. You can also follow Adoption Mid & West Wales on their Twitter page, @adoptmw_wales.

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Residents sought for involvement into Pen Dinas project

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RESIDENTS are being sought for involvement in the Pen Dinas Hillfort project.

Grant funding for improvements to Pendinas Hillfort has been successfully secured by Ceredigion County Council and as part of the project, the Council is seeking for local residents to express their interest if they would like to be involved in the work. One of the Council’s Community Access Officers will be on hand to talk further about the project on Saturday, 20 October at the Hub, Penparcau Community Centre between 10:30am and 1pm.

The project will provide greater access to a site of historical importance namely Pen Dinas Hillfort, Local Nature Reserve and Scheduled Ancient Monument. It will also improve links to the Ystwyth/Rheidol Cycle Trails, the Ceredigion and All Wales Coast Path and other local amenities and attractions. Improving the path width and surface will increase access to a wider cross-section of residents and visitors and target current barriers to the countryside.

Councillor Rhodri Evans, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Economy and Regeneration said, “The news that we’ve been successful in securing this bid is fantastic and on behalf of the Council, I thank all the residents who submitted feedback to the application. We are looking for anyone who has an interest in the site and would like to be involved with how this project progresses. This is the perfect opportunity for residents to be part of something that will make a big difference to both residents and tourists alike.”

To express an interest to be involved in the project or to receive further information, email Eifion.Jones@ceredigion.gov.uk or call 01545 570881.

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