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Overwhelming support for Ceredigion Lifeboat Campaign

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OVER 200 people gathered at New Quay’s Tabernacle Chapel on Saturday (May 12) to urge the RNLI to reconsider its decision to downgrade Ceredigion’s only all-weather lifeboat and replace it with a smaller, inshore lifeboat that is unable to launch in bad weather.

The public meeting was opened by County Councillor and Mayor of New Quay, Daniel Potter, and speakers included Ceredigion MP Ben Lake, Assembly Member Elin Jones and Councillor Elizabeth Evans of Aberaeron.

The audience heard from experts in the field of maritime risk assessment and video messages of support were shown from local school children, well-known faces from across the country, and from people whose lives had been saved by New Quay lifeboat.

Ben Lake voiced his fears, saying: “The RNLI has failed to realise the genuine concerns in the area about the consequences of this decision. Every single level of political representation is united in opposition to this decision. Any charity depends on the good will and faith of the public, and the way in which they have handled the whole process does not paint the RNLI in a good light. I fear it could cause lasting damage to the reputation of the RNLI in West Wales.”

Elin Jones added: “The RNLI may think that campaigns such as this fizzle out and die away. This is not going to happen in this community because the community is concerned about the future and the next generations. We are not going to go quietly. We cannot have our coastline without all-weather lifeboat provision.”

Lord Harris of Pentregarth added his support: “The all-weather lifeboat has been a feature of New Quay for as long as anyone can remember. And it has been there for good purpose. It can go out in all weathers in a way that the proposed Atlantic 85 cannot do. I fully support the campaign to save the lifeboat.”

Jim Evans, CEO of the Welsh Fishermen’s Association expressed the concerns of local fishermen: “Fishermen are extremely concerned. This puts lives at risk. There are no service stations, there are no other emergency provisions that can help them in their time of need. It’s a genuine concern. Safety is paramount in the fishing industry. We are working tirelessly to improve safety and it seems incredible that this is counterproductive.”

Captain David James, former Head of Safety at the Department of Transport, has had a boat in New Quay for 50 years and voiced concerns based on his own experiences: “On two occasions I’ve had to use the lifeboat. One occasion was on a lee shore when they towed us off and the other when the boat was dismasted, both in very stormy conditions. An inshore boat would not have been adequate.”

Huw Williams of the Ceredigion Lifeboat Campaign said: “We would like to thank everyone that helped make the public meeting a huge success. We have been overwhelmed with offers of practical and financial support, with many people signing up as Friends of the Campaign. The strength of feeling shown at the meeting clearly demonstrates that our community is united in its opposition to the RNLI’s cost cutting plans.”

Mr Williams added: “This is just the start for us. We have a number of events and initiatives planned for the coming months and we will do all that we can to reverse a decision that puts lives at risk.”

The RNLI were invited to send a spokesperson to defend their position but they declined to attend.

To find out more about the campaign to save New Quay’s all-weather lifeboat, visit www.ceredigionlifeboatcampaign.org.uk.

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Former headteacher of Llandysul Primary School jailed for child sex offences

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A FORMER headteacher of primary schools in west Wales who was awarded the MBE for services to education has been jailed for child sex offences.

David Watkin Bundock, aged 74, admitted six offences–one of them committed after he had been arrested and granted bail.

Judge Keith Thomas, sitting at Swansea crown court, told Bundock he had achieved a great deal during his professional career but had then gone on to behave in a way that was the exact opposite to the moral values he had once championed.

Bundock, once the head of Llandysul Primary School, admitted four offences of possessing indecent images of children.

He also admitted attempting to communicate with a child aged under 16 for sexual reasons and, on January 27, 2019, attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming.

Bundock was jailed for two years and three months. He was also made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and banned from ever working with children and must register with the police as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Jim Davis, prosecuting, said Bundock came to be of interest to the police after his telephone number was found on the mobile of a man arrested for indecent images offences.

But after being granted bail he was then snared by paedophile hunters who created an Internet account of a fictional 15 year old boy.

Bundock swapped indecent messages with the “boy” and travelled to a park in Carmarthen hoping to meet him.

But when he arrived he was confronted by members of the group and arrested later that day for a second time.

Bundock’s barrister, India Cox, said his offending was completely out of character and difficult to explain.

Judge Thomas described the offences as appalling.

The offences took place place in Carmarthenshire and at his home at Valetta House, Cardiff.

Bundock went on to become a senior adviser with Ceredigion County Council’s education department. In 2004 he was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

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£24m health centre project will not stop following Interserve problems

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FOLLOWING the collapse of Interserve, health officials have said they are confident it will not affect Cardigan’s £24m health care centre.

Interserve, the government outsourcer to complete the works, ran into financial difficulty and was rescued from administration last Friday by banks and hedge funds. This has left many of it’s key suppliers now facing large financial losses.

With 69,000 staff worldwide, the takeover will ensure they will remain working and with most suppliers trading as usual.

The bailout follows fears that the company could follow in the footstep’s of rival contractor Carillion.

Carillion’s collapse last year left worker’s, pension’s and lender’s with huge financial losses. Forcing the Government to step in and deliver the services.

A Hywel Dda health board spokesperson said: “We can confirm that Interserve will continue to deliver both the Cardigan Integrated Care Centre and the Women’s and Children’s Phase 2 project at Glangwili General Hospital as planned.”

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Young women in Ceredigion make their voices heard

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PERIOD poverty, access to mental health services and equal pay were among the issues raised by young women on International Women’s Day 2019.

On 8 March, in collaboration with the Young Women’s Trust, Ben Lake MP hosted a ‘Real Talk’ workshop aimed at young women aged 16 to 30 years old. Young women from all walks of life came together at the Coliseum Coffee House to voice their concerns and share their hopes for the future with the local MP.

Ben Lake said: “It was great to hear new ideas for change and to discuss ways in which we can improve the lives of young people in Ceredigion. The experiences of women and girls must be heard, both locally and nationally. After all, it is impossible for policies to be truly effective if they do not reflect the wishes, and address the challenges faced by all in society.”

(Credited to Lauren Garside, Year 1 Coleg Ceredigion Media Production student) The ‘Real Talk’ workshop held on International Women’s Day at Ceredigion Museum.

The young women set out three priorities for Ben Lake to campaign for on their behalf at Westminster:

1. Education: ensure that equality issues and mental health awareness training is included on all PGCE courses
2. Increase the national minimum wage for apprentices and roll out National Living Wage for under-25s
3. Period poverty: campaign, raise awareness and look to introduce policies to mitigate the effects of period poverty

Period poverty in particular, was an issue that the young women felt needed tackling as a matter of urgency. A recent report from FreedomforGirls* found that period poverty has a direct impact on education, with pupils in the UK missing class every month due to their periods. A RightsInfo investigation** discovered thousands of women were relying on food banks to get through their monthly periods.

In an attempt to tackle period poverty, the UK Chancellor confirmed in his Spring Statement that secondary schools in England will start providing menstrual products free of charge to girls from September onwards. Ben Lake MP has encouraged the Welsh Government to follow suit.

Ben Lake said: “All women, regardless of age, social status or background, should be able to easily access the menstrual products they need.

“Too many girls miss out on vital education each month as a lack of access to menstrual products forces them to miss school. Even those pupils who do not suffer period poverty will benefit from free access to sanitary products, ensuring no child is without protection during what can be a very stressful and vulnerable time.”

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