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Airport a ‘huge asset’ to county

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‘Come and see’: Jonathan Rees wants the council to visit the airport

‘Come and see’: Jonathan Rees wants the council to visit the airport

FLY WALES’ Jonathan Rees wants Pembrokeshire County Council to come down to Haverfordwest airport to see what it is all about.

The council has recently approved a consultation on the future of the airport but Jonathan Rees told the Herald that closing the airport would have a big impact on Pembrokeshire.

Jonathan has invested heavily into the business and says that the airport is an asset not just to businesses but to the people of Pembrokeshire as well.

One option that was mentioned at the cabinet meeting in April was the possibility of using Brawdy as an alternative but that idea was also dismissed by Jonathan.

He said: “No one has taken the time to know what is actually going on here, so for them to say this needs to be closed, they should at least come up to the airport first to see what is going on and the jobs it has created and if it did close, the jobs that would be lost directly. We do a lot of NHS work which involves a lot of organ flights all over the UK from Haverfordwest. We may go to pick up surgical teams from London or Newcastle to fly out to wherever the donor is, retrieve the organs and go back to where they are needed. Haverfordwest is able to offer a 24- hour service because we’ve already got the infrastructure of the lighting as a lot of the organ retrievals are done in the evenings. On Saturday evening there was an organ which left here at 11.30 and that was flown to Edinburgh and another that went to Edinburgh on Tuesday morning. The Charter also flies companies around Pembrokeshire. The LNG oil refinery does use this facility and it does use it to fly in people whenever something major is happening. When Marks and Spencer was being built in Haverfordwest, they were flying in and out as well. The packaging companies that are processing, they use us to fly in the buyers for Tesco, Morrisons and Asda. All these companies are quite large employers for the county of Pembrokeshire. We also do work for the MOD in Aberporth. Whilst there is an airfield at Aberporth it is used for the UAV’s which means they can’t use commercial transport. We’ve seen an increase of over 300% in Pilot training, up on where we were last year, bearing in mind we are coming out of one the most severe recessions. We are actually now attracting people and we’ve got students coming over to learn to fly at Haverfordwest from Hong Kong in May. As well as being good for the economy of the airport this will also be good for the local economy with accommodation and services that are provided being used. People do use the facility for pleasure flights whilst on holiday and one comment I’ve had is that it was the icing on the cake of their holiday and they would want to come again.”

He continued: “Brawdy is not an option because, going back to the charter, from the minute we have a phone call, until the craft is airborne, has to be 45 minutes and that’s 24- 7. For us to be out in Brawdy, there are no lights, there is no runway lighting, no control tower, and no security facility. The infrastructure at Brawdy means it is just not an option. The airport has made a loss of £46,000 but my view is that whilst we are getting busier, we are going to be buying more fuel, we are going to be making more profit so that loss will slowly diminish. The airport shouldn’t be looked at as a separate entity because other jobs are supported by the airport. It isn’t just a playground for people. It is a proper business.”

Jonathan also revealed that the area in which they operate could soon be expanding to areas in Iceland, Russia and Yemen.

He continued: “Before the council talks about closure and before they suggest something like Brawdy, why don’t they come up and see what really happens at the Haverfordwest Aerodrome. What I would like is for the council to come up to Haverfordwest airport to have a discussion about what the airport does, what services go from here and who it is provided for. It is a huge asset for the businesses and even to the people of Pembrokeshire and it is a huge asset to encouraging investment. If the airport was to close it would definitely have an impact. I would close the aviation site and I wouldn’t relocate as it wouldn’t be viable. It works here because we can guarantee that aircraft will be airborne within 45 minutes. Everything is close at hand and this is why we are very good at what we do.”

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Police investigate after child dies in west Wales caravan fire

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DYFED POWYS POLICE is investigating the circumstances around a fire at a caravan in Ceredigion in which a child died.

Detective Chief Superintendent Steve Cockwell said: “We received a call at 5.35am today (Sunday, January 19), reporting a fire at a caravan at Ffair Rhos.

“Enquiries so far lead us to believe that three people were inside the caravan at the time the fire broke out. These were a father and two children – a four-year-old, and a little boy who we believe to have been aged three.

“While the father and the eldest child were able to get out of the caravan, the younger of the siblings was tragically found deceased inside.

“Our thoughts are with his family at this extremely difficult and traumatic time, and specialist officers have been put in place to support them.

“The father is currently in a stable condition in hospital, while the four-year-old is critical but stable. Both suffered burns.

“The Criminal Investigation Department is investigating the cause of the fire, and a major incident room has been set up at Aberystwyth Police Station.

“We are also working closely with Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, who were in attendance when our officers arrived. We would like to thank our colleagues at the fire service for their professionalism in dealing with what turned out to be a highly traumatic incident.

“We would like to speak to anyone who was in the Ffair Rhos area around the time of the fire, who might have information that could help our investigation.

“This was a tragic incident, and we will be doing all we can to find answers for the family, whose world will have been torn apart by this morning’s events.”

If you have any information that could help officers, call the Criminal Investigation Department on 101, using Storm reference 39 of January 19.

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Police issue warning to community over ‘fake beggars’

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POLICE in Aberystwyth are warning the community about a fraudulent group who have been travelling to the area to beg.

Many residents and visitors have donated cash believing members of the group are genuinely in need.

PC Phil Woodland: “I’m proud to work in a town where people want to help each other, but in this case, their kindness is being exploited.

“We’ve tried working with the group to ensure they have the support they need, and through this effort it’s become clear they are not genuinely homeless. We are using legal powers where possible and necessary to deal with the issue.

“Giving money to someone who is begging is a personal choice, however, on this occasion the community is being misled. At the end of the day, these people are returning to their homes – they are essentially scamming people.”

Those involved are described as men and women of Romanian descent, aged between 30 and 50. Police say they visit Aberystwyth on the train or bus, and return home to Cardiff at the end of the day.

The situation is being monitored by the neighbourhood policing team, and anyone with information is asked to report it to Dyfed-Powys Police online: http://bit.ly/dppReportOnline, by email: contactcentre@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

If you are concerned about someone you believe is sleeping rough, StreetLink exists to help connect them with the local services that can provide support: https://www.streetlink.org.uk/

Shelter Cymru offers practical advice on how to help someone who is begging, or you believe is homeless, on their website: https://sheltercymru.org.uk/7-ways/

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RNLI in Wales urges people to stay safe as Storm Brendan hits

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The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is urging people to stay safe near the Welsh coast as severe weather could make our seas and coastlines particularly dangerous.

Lifesaving charity, the RNLI, is encouraging people to exercise extreme caution if visiting the shoreline, especially along exposed cliffs, seafronts and piers.

The expected strong winds and severe gales pose a severe safety risk to those visiting the coast.

Named Storm Brendan by Met Eireann, it swept eastwards across Ireland before making its way through the rest of the UK this morning with yellow wind warning in place for most of the Welsh coast.

Chris Cousens, RNLI Regional Water Safety Lead for Wales said:

‘This rough weather could make visiting parts of the Welsh coastline treacherous and bring very dangerous sea conditions.

‘Sadly, around 150 people lose their lives on British and Irish coasts each year and over half of these people didn’t plan on ever entering the water. Slips, trips and falls can be a major factor in these kinds of incidents.’

If you see someone else in danger in the water, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard. If you have something that floats that they can hold on to, throw it to them. Don’t go in the water yourself – too many people drown trying to save others.

The charity, which provides a search and rescue service around the UK and Ireland, is facing its own Perfect Storm as demand for its services has increased but it is facing a shortfall in funds. This past year, the RNLI has been busier than ever, and stormy conditions can mean additional call outs for the already extremely busy volunteer crews. Whatever the weather, RNLI volunteers will still be on call to rescue those at difficulty at sea.

The RNLI’s major new fundraising appeal, The Perfect Storm, which aims to help the charity get back to living within its means, is running throughout November and December. To find out more or to donate visit RNLI.org/ThePerfect Storm.

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