A PRESS RELEASE issued by Equinox PR, the media agency responsible for Cardigan Castle’s public relations, has announced the resignation of historian Glen Johnson from his role at the controversial development.
The statement reads: ‘Cadwgan Building Preservation Trust (CBPT) trustee, Glen Johnson, has today (August 17) handed in his resignation, following months of online harassment from a local opposition group’.
A quote in the same statement attributed to Mr Johnson reads: “The main reason for my resignation is to protect my family from the virtual persecution currently being dealt out by a small number of individuals who have taken exception to the Castle and its trustees because the project is not precisely as they would like it.
However, on July 3, on his Facebook page Mr Johnson announced: ‘Ten years ago I quit all 16 committees which I sat on, and told myself not to join any more. In the last three years I have gone back on this decision and have sat on another 4 committees. I’m now clearly remembering why it was that I quit in the first place. It might soon be time to hang up my hat again’.
The timing of that announcement coincided with the suspension of former director Cris Tomos and the visit of Carwyn Jones to the Castle. Mr Tomos and his employers have subsequently entered into a compromise agreement incorporating a gagging clause.
That post was followed up on July 22 by a further announcement on Facebook: ‘Quit my membership of all committees today bar one – will bow at the AGM in the autumn. It will be such a relief to return to obscurity!’
Jann Tucker, Chair of CBPT, the charity responsible for restoring Castell Aberteifi, said: “It is with great sadness that we confirm the resignation of Glen Johnson from the board of trustees.
“Glen’s remarkable knowledge of the Castle and the history of Cardigan has played a huge part in making the site what it is today and we are pleased that he will continue to support us in the capacity of a volunteer – a role he first took up 30 years ago.
“On behalf of all the trustees, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Glen publicly for his tireless work and wish him well for the future.”
Mr Johnson said: “It has been both a privilege and a pleasure to have seen the Castle advance from a building site to a wonderful amenity for the local community that will attract large numbers of visitors to the area, and to have played a role in that transition.
“I started out as a Cardigan Castle volunteer back in the 1980s, and over these many years, have had the privilege to meet and work alongside the most remarkable, talented, dedicated and extraordinary people.
“It will be my honour to return to join their number, where I intend to continue to train tour guides, give tours, prepare exhibitions, give lectures and write articles, all to promote the rich heritage of Cardigan Castle.”
Three weeks ago, The Herald invited Chair of Trustees Jann Tucker to respond to criticism of the Castle project through an interview with this newspaper. That followed our publication of a letter bearing Ms Tucker’s name but sent from Facilities Manager Sue Lewis’s email address.
Our invitation received neither the courtesy of an acknowledgement nor a response.
A report on Golwg360, the Welsh language news website, also suggested that the trustees were eager to meet with those with concerns about the direction the Castle project had taken.
After that Equinox contacted our columnist and commentator Hefin Wyn immediately after the publication of an article in Golwg several weeks ago to propose a meeting a couple of days later, with only minor players from the castle involved. Hefin replied that the notice was too short, and he made it clear that he expected to meet the senior trustees.
All went quiet.
Equinox got back in touch a couple of days ago proposing a meeting with “some of the trustees” (no names) in private and before the middle of September, i.e. before the AGM.