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Ceredigion celebrate RAF Centenary

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ON Thursday (Aug 9), a celebratory event to mark the centenary of the RAF was held at the West Wales Airport, Aberporth.

West Wales Airport, Air Cadets Ceredigion, Thales Group, QinetiQ, Ceredigion County Council, Ministry of Defence (MOD) Aberporth and the RAF at Aberporth worked in collaboration to hold the event.

The celebrations began at 12 noon with the raising of the Royal Air Force ensign with the salute taken by Air Officer Wales, Air Commodore Adrian Williams, OBE ADC RAF, who is originally from Denbigh.

A parade and general salute was made by 1429 Cardigan and Aberporth, 561 Ardwyn Aberystwyth and District Squadrons, RAF Air Cadets, with the inspection of the parade carried out by Air Officer Wales, Air Commodore Adrian Williams OBE ADC RAF; Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Dyfed, Miss Sara Edwards and Chairman of Ceredigion County Council, Councillor Hag Harris accompanied by Ceredigion County Council’s Armed Forces Champion, Councillor Paul Hinge.

During the event guests observed a fly-by of Hawk aircraft from RAF Valley and viewed displays, created by QinetiQ, Thales and Air Cadets Ceredigion, detailing the history of the RAF at Aberporth and the work currently being undertaken at the Range.

Air Officer Wales, Air Commodore Adrian Williams OBE ADC RAF said: “It was a great privilege for the RAF to be in Ceredigion today to celebrate the RAF centenary with the local community. It was special that we were at the site of the former RAF Aberporth station, now West Wales Airport.

“It was particularly poignant for us to be able to carry out a ceremony today of raising the RAF Ensign at Aberporth, a ceremony that was last carried out by the RAF in 1984 when the RAF Ensign was lowered and RAF Aberporth was closed. Days like this help underline the important connections there have been between Ceredigion and the RAF over countless years and the RAF is very grateful for the support that the people of Ceredigion have always given to us.

“I also really enjoyed meeting the local Air Cadets from the Cardigan and Aberystwyth districts, who carried out a very impressive Parade and are a true credit to their local communities.”

Work began on constructing Aberporth airfield in 1939, originally known as RAF Blaenannerch. It was re-named RAF Aberporth in 1941 when the RAF station was opened, under the RAF Army Co-operation Command and was first established as a military testing range in Cardigan Bay during the Second World War.

Today, MOD Aberporth provides a large secure safety area for the evaluation and training support services to ensure air-launched weapon systems, associated sub-systems and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) are tested and fit for purpose.

Local Veterans and members of the Ceredigion Armed Forces Community Covenant were also present at the event.

Councillor Paul Hinge, Ceredigion County Council’s Armed Forces Champion said: “Today has been a successful marking by Ceredigion of the RAF Centenary and all this has come about by the effective partnership working between ourselves, West Wales Airport, Thales, QinetiQ, RAF at Aberporth, MOD Aberporth and the two Air Training Corps.”

For more information on MOD Aberporth visit the website aberporth.QinetiQ.com.

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Parents saving on average £350 on childcare per month

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Parents in Ceredigion have saved an average of £350 a month on childcare costs after the introduction of the Childcare Offer in September 2018.

Parents and guardians of three and four-year-old children living in Ceredigion can be eligible for the offer if they work the equivalent of 16 hours per week. This includes self-employed parents and seasonal workers.

The Cabinet member responsible for Learning Services, Councillor Catrin Miles said, “It’s great to see that the Childcare Offer is having such an impact across Ceredigion in the first few months. The savings will only increase as more parents register for the scheme. This will have a real positive effect on the lives of many parents. I urge anyone who thinks they are eligible to find out.”

Ceredigion County Council manages the scheme in the county, and will manage the scheme in neighbouring counties as the scheme is rolled out in 2019. The Welsh Government fund the Childcare Offer.

Parents and guardians who want to see if they are eligible can visit the Childcare Offer page on the Council’s website: www.ceredigion.gov.uk/ChildcareOffer.

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Police manhunt now extending beyond Dyfed-Powys region

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POLICE looking for a man who attacked a police officer on Saturday afternoon have evidence to suggest he has now left the Dyfed-Powys force area.

The investigation team is now working with other forces as the operation to find him continues.

The man has been wanted by Dyfed-Powys Police since Saturday, when he attacked a police officer who stopped the car he was travelling in. The officer stopped the car based on information that he was connected with criminal activity in other areas.

Extensive searches have been carried out in Ceredigion, using the armed response unit, dog unit and NPAS helicopter, and officers now have evidence to suggest he is in another area.

A second man who was arrested following the incident has now been charged.

Wayne Dobson, aged 29, has been charged with assault causing actual bodily harm, criminal damage, aggravated vehicle taking and vehicle damage, and two counts of taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent.

Chief Superintendent Peter Roderick said: “This has, and continues to be, a long and intense investigation, which now involves colleagues from other forces as efforts are focussed on locations outside Dyfed-Powys.

“We understand that there has been a high level of concern in our communities since Saturday afternoon, and we would like to thank the public for their patience as operations have been carried out across Ceredigion.

“Due to the nature of the enquiry, and information we have been working from, the level of detail about the wanted man that we have been able to release has been limited, but we have endeavoured to keep our communities updated as best we can.”

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CCTV to return to Aberystwyth

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ABERYSTWYTH is set to have it’s CCTV returned to the town.

The CCTV was scrapped in the town five years ago following a cost-cutting move by Ceredigion council.

Work is due to start this month with 10 state-of-the-art cameras, Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn have confirmed. The system was removed in 2014, despite strong opposition.

Rising crime rates and falling conviction rates, has seen a call for the reinstatement of the system ever since its removal.

Ceredig Davies, Aberystwyth Councillor has said: “Switching off the town’s CCTV cameras was a retrograde step, and as the councillor in whose ward all the cameras are located I looked forward to them being reinstated.

“I have had numerous conversations with the Police and Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn, on the matter and on behalf of residents and visitors to the town I applaud him on keeping his election pledge.”

When Dafydd Llewelyn took over from Christopher Salmon as Police and Crime Commissioner, he mad a key campaign pledge to return the CCTV to the town. Speaking on the reinstatement he said he was “very pleased” to stick to his promise.

He added “Aberystwyth is a busy town within the Dyfed Powys Police force area where CCTV is required to safeguard communities and assist in investigations.

“Crime mapping analysis has identified 10 locations for cameras for the town that I am delighted that work is to begin there very soon.

“A project of this nature is very intricate and complex. The CCTV project team is working team is working hard to keep the project moving along as swiftly as possible.

“Work starting in Aberystwyth marks the halfway point of the project.”

The removal of the old CCTV system is said to have saved Ceredigion council £150,000 a year.

The new CCTV system set to start in Aberystwyth is part of a larger project, which will see 120 cameras in 17 towns across the region by completion.

The images will be fed directly to a monitoring room at Dyfed Powys Police headquarters Llangunnor, Carmarthenshire where they will be monitored by dedicated staff.

Marie McAvoy, project manager said: “I am grateful to the team I work with for their continued determination to ensure this project is delivered for the benefit of the communities we serve.

“I am also grateful to Ceredigion County Council and North and Mid Wales Trunk Road Agency for their assistance and support in ensuring that this reinvestment in CCTV in Aberystwyth is delivered.”

Mark Collins, Chief Constable said: “I’m confident the system will prove to be an invaluable asset in preventing crime and responding to emerging incidents swiftly before they escalate.

“Evidence from the CCTV cameras will also no doubt prove an important investigative tool for officers.”

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