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.
A brand new Welsh language ukulele orchestra
CAN you play the ukulele and would like to join a ukulele orchestra? Or would you like to learn a new skill and to socialise in a Welsh-speaking environment? Why not join Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl?
On Monday, October 15, Cered: Menter Iaith Ceredigion, Aberystwyth Arts Centre and Learn Welsh will launch Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl which is a brand new, Welsh language ukulele orchestra in Aberystwyth for free, for those aged 16+.
Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl will practice weekly between 6pm and 7:30pm every Monday night during the school term and practices will take place at the Aberystwyth Arts Centre. There is no need for any experience or ability on the ukulele and there will be instruments available to borrow so that you can have a taste before buying your own ukulele.
Welsh will be the main language of Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl but there is a warm welcome to everyone whatever your level of proficiency in Welsh. Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl is supported by Learn Welsh as a great activity for learners to practice their Welsh outside the classroom in a fun and new way.
Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl’s conductor will be Steffan Rees who has held a number of Iwcs a Hwyl workshops over the last year as Cered’s Community Development Officer. Steffan is also a musician who composes and performs as “Bwca” and he has been playing the ukulele for years.
Steffan said, “I have really wanted to start a Welsh ukulele orchestra in Ceredigion for a while having seen the successes and popularity of those in Cardiff and South East Wales. The ukulele is an instrument that excites people of all ages and with some patience and perseverance, it is an easy enough instrument to master. I’m looking forward to developing a repertoire with the orchestra and play a few gigs; the National Eisteddfod in Tregaron in 2020 perhaps!”
Numbers for the first term of the orchestra are limited so contact the Arts Centre Box Office on 01970 632 232 to book your place in Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl.
Hanes Llambed meeting held
THE FIRST meeting of Hanes Llambed of the 2018/19 year was held in Lampeter’s Trinity Saint David’s Old Hall this week.
There was a good attendance as Cwrtnewydd resident Simon Evans gave the first of what will eventually be two talks about his home parish of Llanwenog.
Mr Evans spoke of how the parish was defined by the Afon Cledlyn and its tributaries, describing the region’s history from the Stone Age to the present day. The talk spoke of the several hill forts of the area, as well as Llanwenog church, founded around 500 AD, before it was built in its current form in the 14th century.
The Battle of Llanwenog in 981 AD between the Welsh and invading Danes was detailed, before the speaker went on to describe the Puritan struggle and the Civil War.
The talk then went on to the establishment of private academies by nonconformist ministers from 1750 onwards, and the founding of Unitarian chapels in the early 19th century.
The terrible agricultural situation of the 1840s was described, followed by the bad harvests, which led directly to the Rebecca Riots and emigration to the USA and elsewhere in Britain.
The next meeting of Hanes Llambed will take place in October when the subject will be the Cardiganshire War Tribunals of the First World War.
Former AM charged with child porn offences
SIMON THOMAS, the former Plaid Cymru AM for Mid & West Wales has been charged with three offences of making indecent images of children.
Mr Thomas, aged 54, was charged with the offences earlier today (Sept 18) at Aberystwyth Police Station.
He has been bailed to appear at Aberystwyth Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, October 3.
At the time of his arrest, Mr Thomas was his Party’s spokesperson on Rural Affairs and Energy policy and had recently taken up a role which would have seen him perform a significant role in Plaid Cymru’s future campaigns.
His arrest in July was a shock both to his political allies and those in other parties in the Assembly.
Following his arrest, Mr Thomas resigned immediately as an Assembly Member and from Plaid Cymru. He was replaced as regional AM by Helen Mary Jones.
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