A WELL known Aberystwyth man died in a head-on car crash when “age caught up” with an elderly driver and she fell asleep at the wheel.
Margaret Christopher, aged 81, had been looking for a layby to take a break when she failed to even attempt to take a left hand bend and drove straight into Dai England’s Peugeot 208.
Mr England died two days later from injuries to his heart and his central nervous system.
His daughter Rhian, a passenger in the front seat, suffered fractures to her arm, elbow and knee and spent three months in a wheelchair.
For the 48 hours after the crash doctors thought Christopher would die but she survived.
Today, she admitted causing death by careless driving. She was jailed for 14 months, suspended for two years, and banned from driving for two years.
Francis Jones, prosecuting, told Swansea Crown Court that on March 19 last year Christopher, then aged 80, was part way through a six and a half hour drive from her home in Southport, Lancashire, to her daughter’s home in Broad Haven. She had promised to look after her daughter’s dog while she went on holiday.
Christopher had taken two breaks, the last one in Machynleth. But as she approached Aberystwyth on the A4159 at Lovesgrove she felt she needed another one.
Mr Jones said Christopher entered a left hand bend but drove straight on and her Vauxhall Astra hit the Peugeot.
Mr England and his daughter had to be cut out of the wreckage. At the scene he was able to talk to paramedics but the 67 year old died in the University of Wales hospital in Cardiff two days later.
Mr Jones said other drivers thought Christopher had not even tried to take the bend and there was no sign that she had braked.
Rhian England remembered her father braking hard and turning to his left, but he could not avoid the collision.
Mr Jones said both cars were in good condition, as was the road surface, and the weather had been fine and visibility was good. Speed was not a factor, he added.
Christopher, he said, had no recollection of the collision and could not offer an explanation.
In a victim impact statement Mr England’s widow, Mair, said she thought about her soul-mate all of the time. They had been married for 44 years and had three children and two grandchildren.
Andrew Nuttall, the barrister representing Christopher, said she also thought about Mr England and his family every day.
“She understands very well that words give little comfort to the family. But all she can say is that she is very, very sorry.
“She really has no idea what happened. She has decided never to drive again,” he added.
Judge Huw Davies told Christopher, “Age caught up with you in a tragic way and without warning.
“You think you must have fallen asleep. There is no other explanation for what happened.”
He said Christopher had “taken a chance” by undertaking such a long journey at her age.
“That day, that drive was asking too much or your stamina. But you took the risk of carrying on,” he added.
Judge Davies said Christopher had been driving since 1960 and had an impeccable record.
But he had to pass a prison sentence that was aimed at the whole community and reflected the consequences of driving without due care.
Christopher, of Hoole Lane, Banks, Southport, was also ordered to pass an extended driving test should she ever want her licence back.
Overall ‘excellent’ performance at Mynach Primary School
A RECENT Estyn report on the primary school in Mynach has given the ‘Excellent’ status to each of the five inspection areas.
It was noted in the report that the school had attained ‘Excellent’ status in standards; wellbeing and attitudes to learning; teaching and learning experiences; care, support and guidance; and leadership and management.
The report notes, ‘A particular feature is the opportunities for Key Stage 2 pupils to plan and deliver lessons for the rest of the class, focusing on specific skills.’
Joyce George is headteacher at Ysgol y Mynach. She is also headteacher at Pontrhydfendigaid Primary School and Sir John Rhys Primary School. She said, “As a headteacher, I am extremely proud of the results of the survey and very grateful to the staff, governors and those who work effectively together as a team to ensure a first class education for all pupils. I am proud of the fact that the inspectors identified pupils’ literacy, numeracy and information and communication technology skills as excellent.
It was also noted that a pioneering feature of Ysgol Mynach is the way in which teachers adapt and develop the curriculum in order to raise pupils’ independence. Working together as a wider partnership with Ysgol Pontrhydfendigaid and Ysgol Sir John Rhys, Ponterwyd is a great advantage and an opportunity to share expertise, co-design and share ideas which extend and widen the experiences of pupils across the schools.”
Councillor Catrin Miles is the Cabinet member for Learning services. She said: “The Estyn report shows that Ysgol Gynradd Mynach has achieved exceptionally high standards. The hard work and dedication of the headteacher, staff, governors and of course the children is very evident. The school shows that a way of working together with neighbouring schools in a progressive way can produce excellent results. Everyone in the school deserves congratulations.”
The report notes that the school is an extremely close community. It also notes that the head teacher has a progressive vision that is continually focused on maintaining and raising standards of pupils’ achievement and wellbeing.
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn visits Machynlleth
ON Thursday 15 August Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn addressed around 200 local Labour Party members from Mid, West and North Wales at Machynlleth Bowling Club. Tickets for the event had all been taken within 24 hours, and an additional video link was live streamed into the club bar to allow those who could not get into the packed venue the opportunity to hear him speak.
Mr Corbyn was joined by Christina Rees, Shadow Secretary of State for Wales, and West Wales Regional AMs Joyce Watson and Eluned Morgan, Welsh Labour Minister for International Relations and the Welsh Language.
Eluned Morgan AM’s passionate introductory remarks highlighted Welsh Labour’s ongoing commitment to improving outcomes in education, health, housing, jobs and the environment. She urged immediate action from international UK and international governments on the climate crisis, declaring ‘The emergency is now!’
Mr Corbyn made clear that he is expecting a general election to be likely very soon and proceeded to outlined the scale of the current crisis the UK is facing, with 14 million now in poverty in the world’s 5th richest economy, and child poverty predicted by some to rise as high as 40%.
He went on to congratulate Welsh Labour on the great work that has been possible in Wales to insulate the Welsh people from the worst of the effects of Tory austerity, protecting vital NHS services and preventing the worst of school cuts, but he explained that there was only so much that could be done without the full support of a Labour government in Westminster.
“Things will be very different under a Labour government” Mr Corbyn added, saying that Labour will invest in people, with principles of equality and social justice and to demonstrate his state of readiness, with great vigour declared: “I’m up for an election anytime”.
He expressed grave concern over the effects that a reckless No Deal Brexit would have on the UK economy with particular reference to the devastating effects on Welsh industry and agriculture. He promised that Labour will do everything they can to prevent a no-deal, including the offer of a second referendum with Remain as an option, and the formation of a national unity government to prevent further political chaos.
Outlining his commitment to green industrial development Jeremy Corbyn stated that a Labour government would support the creation of the Swansea Tidal Lagoon which would bring valuable new green transitional jobs to Wales which would lead the world on renewables technology.
Mr Corby thanked everyone present for their efforts in Wales and reaffirmed his commitment to core Labour values of equality and social justice. He received a standing ovation and stayed after the event to chat and have photos taken with supporters.
A Ceredigion Labour spokesperson commented: “Jeremy Corbyn spoke passionately and inspiringly. He was full of praise for our outstanding efforts in the 2017 election and said he would be visiting Ceredigion during the next General Election campaign.”
The following day Mr Corbyn visited the Centre for Alternative Technology in Machynlleth to see new renewable energy technology in action and learn about pioneering methods of sustainable building and farming. He also confirmed that he would not stand in the way of any future discussion of a Welsh Independence referendum, and that he was open to considering all options for Wales’future.
Gypsy Traveller Accommodation Assessment 2019
CEREDIGION County Council are currently trying to contact as many members of the community as possible to take part in a survey on accommodation for Gypsy Traveller communities. Information collected from the survey will be used to understand how many pitches may be needed in Ceredigion now and in the future.
The Housing (Wales) Act 2014 requires all local authorities in Wales to undertake a Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTAA) at least every five years to ensure that appropriate sites are provided where an unmet need is identified.
Councillor Dafydd Edwards, Cabinet member with responsibility for Housing said: “An understanding of Gypsy and Traveller accommodation is essential for us as a Council to make properly planned provision. We need to speak to as many families and individuals as possible in order to produce a robust evaluation of need for a gypsy/traveller or showmen site, or sites, in the county. If you have any contacts in the gypsy or traveller community, let the Council know how to contact them or encourage them to contact the Council directly.”
Any personal data gathered will be held under the Council’s privacy notice which is available here: http://www.ceredigion.gov.uk/your-council/data-protection-freedom-of-information/data-protection/privacy-notice/.
Contact the Council directly using firstname.lastname@example.org or phone Clic, the Council’s Customer Contact Centre on 01545 570881.
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