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.
Ceredigion Conservative Association Elects a New Chairman
On the 18th September, the Ceredigion Conservative Association held its Annual General Meeting, attended remotely by Conservative Members from across the County. The Association was formally re-established and Patrick Loxdale was elected as the new Chairman.
Commenting on his new position, Patrick says:
“ I am very honoured to be given the opportunity to serve in this position. I believe passionately in democracy and the democratic process. The Welsh Conservatives came second in Ceredigion in last year’s General Election, increasing the Conservative vote share by more than the national average. It shows that Conservative values are widely held by people of all ages in Ceredigion, and it is important that we have a functioning local association, and strong candidates to allow their opinions to be heard.”
Patrick, whose family have lived in Llanilar for five generations, previously served as a Medical Officer in The Royal Navy for almost twenty years, qualifying as a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon. From 2001 to 2016 he worked as an NHS Consultant in Devon. Moving back to Llanilar when his brother passed away, Patrick now farms from his family home and enjoys acquiring new knowledge in organic farming and rural management. Patrick adds:
“Ceredigion is a fantastic place to live, with a world beating environment. There are great opportunities for our future and our children’s security, prosperity and fulfilment here. Yet the Labour run Welsh Government continues to fail to grasp this and rarely provides any real focus outside of the M4 corridor! In next year’s Senedd election, the people of Ceredigion deserve a credible alternative choice; a choice that rejects both the on-going failures of Welsh Labour and the separatist ideology of Plaid Cymru. It is time for the people of Ceredigion to vote for the Welsh Conservatives.
Walk-in testing now available for Aberystwyth town
From today [Wednesday 30 September 2020], people in Aberystwyth with symptoms of COVID-19 can access testing (through a booked appointment) via a temporary walk-in facility in the town.
Hywel Dda University Health Board has arranged this extra testing service in addition to the drive through facility already in place at Canolfan Rheidol, because many residents in the town, including students, do not have their own private vehicle in order to access the drive-through testing facility.
The facility is located in the former university nursery building (behind, but not connected to, Padarn Surgery), Penglais Road, Aberystwyth and can be accessed via the walkway which will be clearly signposted to ensure people get to the right place.
Alison Shakeshaft, Director of Therapies & Health Science at Hywel Dda University Health Board said: “We have put this extra facility in place to make sure those in the local community without their own transport are not missing out on getting a test when they need it.
“We appreciate the efforts people are making to help protect each other during this challenging time. I urge everyone to remain vigilant and follow the rules, including wearing face coverings where required, keep social distancing, washing hands regularly, or using a hand sanitiser if hand washing is not possible, to help us live and work alongside the virus whilst containing its spread.”
Eifion Evans, Ceredigion County Council Chief Executive said, “We thank Hywel Dda University Health Board for providing extra testing service in Ceredigion. Residents and students alike are urged to utilise this service for the health of everyone living in our county and we are able to protect the vulnerable. This is a critical time for us to follow the rules and keep Ceredigion safe.”
Anyone who has symptoms of the virus (a new persistent cough, high temperature or loss/change of taste or smell) must book a test as soon as possible through the online UK portal at www.gov.wales/coronavirus.
Please make sure when booking your test that you select the option you need (for example, only book the walk-in centre if you are not able to travel in your own vehicle to the drive through facility). If you attend the walk-in centre you must wear a face covering.
University students with COVID-19 symptoms, when booking a test, are required to provide the temporary local address they are living at while they are students at Aberystwyth university and not their usual home address.
Please do not book a test if you do not have COVID-19 symptoms and do not turn up without booking first as it will not be possible to accommodate you without an appointment.
Please follow the latest self-isolation guidelines which can be found here.
Thank you for helping to #KeepCeredigionSafe.
For the latest news and updated from Hywel Dda University Health Board visit www.hduhb.wales.nhs.uk
Adjustment to Safe Zones
In August, temporary traffic orders were introduced so that Safe Zones for four Ceredigion towns could remain for up to 18 months subject to regular reviews so minor adjustments can be made.
In line with the evidence collected on the use of the towns, Ceredigion County Council feel the need to keep the safe zones in place for the time being. Aberaeron and New Quay will continue as they are.
In Cardigan the closures will change to 11am until 4:30pm Monday to Saturday. The safe zones will not be in place on a Sunday in Cardigan. These adjustments will come in to force on Sunday morning, 04 October.
In Aberystwyth, additional parking has been implemented for the disabled and blue badge holders in Chalybeate Street close to the Care Society Mobility Centre.
Further enhancements to provide better access for the disabled and blue badge holders will also continue to be explored.
Safe zones were introduced in Aberaeron, Aberystwyth, Cardigan and New Quay on 13 July to create safe and spacious areas for the public to visit and provide the confidence that social distancing can be maintained in these areas.
Safe zones will be in place until at least 01 November 2020 and reviewed fortnightly in line with the infection rate and available evidence.
More information can be seen on the safe zones web page: www.ceredigion.gov.uk/SafeZones
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