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Commemorative Stone marks 100th anniversary of prestigious award

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A COMMEMORATIVE STONE was unveiled by Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Dyfed, Sara Edwards in Llanbadarn Fawr, Aberystwyth, to mark the 100 year anniversary of the action which resulted in Brigadier General Lewis Pugh Evans receiving the Victoria Cross, the only Ceredigion-born soldier to be awarded this prestigious medal to date.

The service began with a parade led by pipers, both members of the Black Watch Association, and standard bearers led by a standard bearer from the Royal Lincolnshire Regiment. The procession, which began at the Church Hall in Llanbadarn Fawr finished at the commemoration stone, situated next to the War Memorial at Llanbadarn Fawr.

A welcome to the ceremony was given by Armed Forces Champion for Ceredigion County Council, Councillor Paul Hinge followed by a speech on the history of the Brigadier’s life given by Christopher Evans, Brigadier Evans’ grandson, who attended with Brigadier Evans’ family.

In his speech, Christopher Evans said: “I am delighted that Ceredigion is honouring my grandfather with this commemorative stone. This will be a reminder that we and future generations will not forget the First World War, or the courage of all those who took part. My grandfather said he was a lucky man, lucky to have survived the war and lucky to be selected and recognised by the award of a Victoria Cross. However, I believe he felt there were others who went beyond the call of duty in actions that may have not been recognised. It is a pleasure to meet some of you here today who remember him.”

Brigadier Evans was born in 1881 in Abermad, educated at Eton and entered the army after training at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst followed by a long and distinguished army career, spanning 40 years.

The official citation for the award of the Victoria Cross was read out by Geoffrey Newmarch, County Colonel for Lincolnshire, The Royal Anglian Regiment. The citation detailed that the Victoria Cross was awarded to Brigadier Evans for ‘most conspicuous bravery and leadership’ and that ‘his examples of cool bravery stimulated in all ranks the highest valour’. This happened on 4 October, 1917 near Zonnebeke, Belgium when he captured an enemy machine gun position single-handedly with only a revolver and despite being wounded, led his troops to a second objective, which was also taken.

A service of dedication was provided by Rev. Canon Andrew Loat and Rev. Mones Farah and an exhortation was read by Gwyn Evans, Former President of the Aberystwyth Royal British Legion and Lieutenant Colonel (Retd) Patrick Norrington-Davies, Chairman and President of the Aberystwyth Royal British Legion. Wreaths were laid around the commemorative stone by local dignitaries.

Pupils from Ysgol Penglais’ band provided the music before and during the ceremony, pieces played by musician Katy John and also Chic Mackie, pipe major of the Black Watch Association.

Councillor Paul Hinge, Armed Forces Champion for Ceredigion County Council said, “Brigadier Lewis Pugh Evans not only won a Victoria Cross but also was awarded 17 other medals, 2 Distinguished Service Orders and got Mentioned in Dispatches seven times, which is absolutely extraordinary and he survived to tell the tale. Brigadier Evans was a remarkable man and his history will live on in people’s memories through this wonderful commemorative stone. It’s been such a privilege to be part of this special ceremony of dedication.”

The ceremony came to a close with the congregation observing a minute’s silence followed by singing both the British and Welsh National Anthems. The congregation were invited to refreshments at the Church Hall, Llanbadarn Fawr, where they could view a display, organised by Ceredigion Museum, containing photographs and extracts illustrating Brigadier Evans’ history.

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A level results still high in Ceredigion

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THE ‘A’ level examination results published today by the WJEC (15 August) show that high standards are being achieved in Ceredigion schools once again. 97.9% of entries for WJEC examinations were graded A* to E, with 27.9% of the entries achieving the top ’A’ grades.

Ceredigion pupils continue to outperform the Welsh average. More pupils in Ceredigion achieve the top ’A’ grades and A* to E grades. The below table shows a comparison with average Welsh figures. These don’t include Welsh Baccalaureate results and those from examination bodies other than WJEC.

Wales 2019             Ceredigion 2019

Grade A* – A           27.92%                    27.0%

Grade A* – B           56.0%                      n/a

Grade A* – C          77.5%                        n/a

Grade A* – E          97.9%                       97.6%

Councillor Catrin Miles is the Cabinet member responsible for Learning Services. She said, “I would like to extend my warmest congratulations once again to Ceredigion’s sixth form students for their successes in this year’s A Level and AS examinations.

These results are the culmination of a long journey through school life which has seen them nurture and develop the academic and interpersonal skills that will enable them to move confidently into higher education, training or employment in fields of their choice. I wish them good luck for the future and would like to sincerely thank all who have contributed to their school journey in any way.”

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MP Ben Lake calls for reform of police funding

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HAVING recently shadowed Dyfed Powys Police officers in Aberystwyth, the Ceredigion MP has again urged the UK Government to review the police funding formula for rural areas.

Mr Lake visited Aberystwyth police station as part of the #GiveADayToPolicing campaign, a scheme for Members of Parliament to better understand the challenges currently facing police forces across the UK.

During his visit Mr Lake had the opportunity to experience a variety of aspects of local policing – from spending time with the neighbourhood policing team, meeting officers from different departments, and discussing policing challenges with front-line police officers.

Mr Lake has challenged the UK Government on several occasions to reform the formula for police funding – highlighting the need for the funding formula to take into consideration the seasonal pressures on forces, particularly the significant increase to the population of coastal areas during the summer months.

Mr Lake said: “I am very grateful to the officers of Aberystwyth police station for their welcome, and for taking the time to speak with me. I now have a better understanding of the challenges our police officers face, as well as a deeper level of respect and admiration of their work and commitment to public safety.

“As I have previously stated, we cannot expect a one size fits all approach to work effectively across the whole of the UK, and as such, it is imperative that the criteria used to allocate the Home Office police grant are revised so that they reflect the increased demands and unique challenges facing rural forces in areas such as Ceredigion, especially during summer months.”

Mr Lake added: “It is widely acknowledged that Welsh police forces have suffered under the present funding formula, and so it is high time that the UK Government either amends the formula accordingly, or devolves the responsibility for policing to the Welsh Government so that they may do so themselves.”

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New waste trial launched in Aberystwyth

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A NEW trial has been launched in Aberystwyth as part of the Caru Aber campaign, to help keep the town centre clean on waste collection days.

Heavy duty sacks will be placed on Aberystwyth streets on Monday afternoons before the black bag collection on Tuesdays in the following streets; Portland Street, Portland Road, Queen Street, Corporation Street, Eastgate Street, New Street and Cambrian Place.

Black bags should be put in the sacks by 8am on Tuesday mornings for collection. The intention is that the sacks contain the waste until it is collected. The sacks will be retrieved after the waste has been collected to avoid clutter and obstruction on the streets.

Councillor Dafydd Edwards is the Cabinet member responsible for Highways and Environmental Services together with Housing. He said: “We see this trial as a practical and relatively cost effective way of responding to long standing issues relating to domestic waste presentation in Aberystwyth town centre. The sacks will also provide a visible reminder to residents in the town centre on what days to present their black bags.

“The trial forms part of the Caru Aber campaign, and the wider Caru Ceredigion campaign, where the council looks to work with local communities to address issues which are of concern or are important to them.

“This innovative approach is another example of positive proactive action the council is taking. We hope that the residents of the town centre will play their part by making good use of the sacks as this will be the critical factor in measuring the success of the scheme.”

Clean recycling and food waste should continue to be presented on a weekly basis in the containers that the council already provides through clear bags and food caddies.

Ensuring that the right waste is presented in the right way and on the right day will help to make sure that the town’s streets are kept clean and that the waste is contained, managed and treated in the most cost effective and environmentally friendly way as possible.

The sacks were first used in readiness for waste collections on Tuesday 6 August 2019. The initial feedback is positive as they have worked to contain the waste on the streets, which were noticeably cleaner.

This latest initiative is developing on feedback and experience from two other trials undertaken. The success of the trial will be monitored on an ongoing basis and reviewed to reflect the experience which will include looking at ways of engaging all residents.

For more information about the new scheme, please contact the Customer Services Contact Centre on 01545 570 881 or by e-mail on clic@ceredigion.gov.uk.

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