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AM found dead following dismissal

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THE FORMER Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Carl Sargeant, the AM for Alyn and Deeside, has died at the age of 49.

Mr Sargeant’s death was announced this lunchtime (Nov 7).

The BBC has reported that Mr Sargeant took his own life.

On Friday (Nov 3), Mr Sargeant was dismissed from Carwyn Jones’ Cabinet following a number of allegations made about his personal conduct.

On his departure for the Cabinet, Mr Sargeant had expressed confidence that he would be reinstated following a full enquiry into the allegations made. He also disclosed that he had not been given details of the allegations prior to his dismissal or the opportunity to respond to them before he left the Cabinet.

He called the allegations ‘shocking and distressing’.

A statement from North Wales Police said: “At approximately 11.30am today, North Wales Police were called to a report that the body of a man had been found at an address in Connah’s Quay.

“The man has been formally identified as local AM Carl Sargeant.

“His next of kin have been informed and police are supporting the family.

“North Wales Police are not treating his death as suspicious and the matter has been referred to HM Coroner.

“The family request that their privacy is respected at this sad time.”

Llywydd Elin Jones announced that Assembly business would be suspended as a mark of respect: “I am deeply shocked and saddened to hear of the death of Carl Sargeant AM. He served the people of Alyn and Deeside with pride and determination and he made an enormous contribution to the development of this democratic institution.

“As a mark of respect to Carl, there will be no Assembly business today

“We will all want to gather our thoughts before paying proper tribute to him over the coming days.

“On behalf of all the Members and those who work at the National Assembly for Wales, I would like to express my deepest sympathy to his family and colleagues.”

First Minister Carwyn Jones said: “Carl was a friend as well as a colleague and I am shocked and deeply saddened by his death.

“He made a big contribution to Welsh public life and fought tirelessly for those he represented both as a minister and as a local assembly member.

“He will be a great loss both to our party and to the Senedd.”

Mr Sargeant was married with two children.

In a statement his family said: “He wasn’t simply a part of our family. He was the glue that bound us together.

“He was the heart of our family. We loved him so very much.

“We are devastated beyond words, and we know our grief will be shared by all those who knew and loved him.

“We are in shock and grief. We ask that our privacy is respected at this time.”

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Ben Lake MP stands up for Ceredigion’s hospitality sector in Parliament

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A WESTMINSTER Hall debate, brought about by an online petition signed over 200,000 times, saw MPs on both sides come together to shine a light on the challenges currently faced by restaurants, pubs, bars, cafés and supply chain businesses across the UK.

During his contribution to the debate, Ben Lake MP emphasised the importance of the hospitality industry to Ceredigion’s local economy. Ceredigion is home to nearly 400 food and accommodation businesses, including 75 pubs, and together hospitality businesses employ 4,500 people in the county. This equates to over 16% of all employees, without accounting for the many supply chain jobs that are dependent on the sector, such as those found in breweries, food wholesale, and catering equipment hire businesses.

Figures published by UK Hospitality have shown that approximately 41% of hospitality businesses suggested that they would fail by mid-2021 and only one in five sector businesses have enough cash flow to survive beyond February.

Ben Lake MP said: “The vaccination programme of course offers some hope that we will see the level of Covid disruption reduce significantly this year, but hospitality businesses across Ceredigion tell me that they are deeply concerned about their immediate prospects for survival.

“I support calls for the Treasury to provide additional funds so that businesses can be supported to bounce back once restrictions have been eased, and to pause employer national insurance contributions for furloughed employees as a way of alleviating the burden on businesses that are still, in many instances, required by law to close. I also urged the Treasury to consider extending the business rates holiday for the forthcoming financial year, as well as extending the hospitality VAT reduction scheme into 2022.

“Not only would these support measures give businesses the support they require to see out this pandemic, it would also avoid the terrible situation whereby businesses that have previously received Government support are forced to close for good – leaving their employees without a job and previous Government support in vain.”

While there will be no direct action as a consequence of this Westminster Hall debate, it is hoped the result will put increased pressure on the UK Government to consider the proposal more seriously.

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Lifeboat Operations Manager in New Year’s Honours list

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Richard Llewelyn Griffiths the Lifeboat Operations Manager of Aberystwyth Lifeboat Station has been recognised for services to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution in Wales.

He has been awarded a BEM.

Having served as a RNLI volunteer for an impressive 47 years, it is his role in the last 21 years as Lifeboat Operations Manager (LOM) which has earned him the most respect.

His local knowledge has provided reassurance to casualties and crews alike when launching in difficult conditions.

His operational decision-making and station management skills are outstanding, and he is greatly valued by crew, management, volunteers and coastal personnel both past and present.

He has contributed greatly towards Aberystwyth being recognised as a ‘benchmark’ Inshore Lifeboat Station, serving as an example to the whole institution of how a station could and should be run.

Richard said: ‘I’m very surprised but honoured to be receiving a BEM – the news still doesn’t feel real. My father was awarded a BEM in 1988 and I still have his medal at home, so to be awarded one myself for my work with the lifeboats is a great privilege. I’ve been fortunate to work with a number of characters during my time with the RNLI – both at Borth and Aberystwyth – and continue to volunteer alongside a good crew today.’

Nationally, a total of six Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) volunteers have been recognised for their vital role in helping the charity save lives at sea through the New Year’s Honours.

Mark Dowie, RNLI Chief Executive said: ‘Following a challenging 2020, it is particularly pleasing to see these RNLI volunteers recognised in the New Year’s Honours list. Together, they personify the RNLI’s ‘One Crew’ ethos, representing the variety and diversity of roles from a former full-time mechanic to shore crew and fundraisers to station managers, who collectively deliver a shared vision to save every one. On behalf of everyone at the RNLI, congratulations to you all for being recognised for your longstanding service, hard work and selfless commitment. And thank you for everything you do to help the RNLI save lives at sea.’

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Temporary closure of Minor Injuries Unit in Cardigan confirmed

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AS PART of its response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Hywel Dda University Health Board says it has temporarily closed the Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) in Cardigan in order to redeploy clinical staff to support the COVID 19 response within Ceredigion.

The MIU, which is based in Cardigan Integrated Care Centre and normally operates from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm, will temporarily close with immediate effect. The situation will be under constant review and normal service will be resumed when it is safe and appropriate to do so.

In the meantime, minor injuries help and advice is available as follows:

– visit the 111 symptom checker (https://111.wales.nhs.uk/)
– visit your local pharmacy
– call 111
– please do NOT self-present to the GP reception in Cardigan Integrated Care Centre as they do not deal with minor injuries.
– for emergency care the A+E departments are as follows:
· Glangwili Hospital A+E Carmarthen SA32 2AF
· Bronglais Hospital A+E Aberystwyth SY23 1ER
· Withybush Hospital A+E Haverfordwest SA61 2PZ

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