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Teenager jailed over 2019 Ceredigion road death

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A TEENAGE motorist has been jailed following an investigation into a crash that killed an 18-year-old girl in November 2019.

Dylan Wyn Benjamin, aged 19, from the Bontnewydd area of Aberystwyth, was sentenced to five years in prison, reduced to three years and four months following his early guilty plea, for causing the death of Ellie Catherine Bryan by dangerous driving

He was also charged with causing serious injuries to both Kelsey Jarvis and Tee Jay Lewis by dangerous driving following an investigation by Dyfed-Powys Police.

Ellie Catherine Bryan tragically died in the accident in 2019

Benjamin was the driver of a Vauxhall Astra in which Ellie, Kelsey and Tee Jay were passengers, when he lost control on the A487 between Aberystwyth and Commins Coch on Saturday, 16th November 2019. 

The car collided with a tree before rebounding into the carriageway and hitting an oncoming vehicle.

Benjamin had previously pleaded guilty to all offences at a hearing on 6th November 2020.  

His co-defendant Lena Faye Evans, driving a separate vehicle behind Benjamin at the time of the collision, was acquitted of all offences at her trial earlier this year.

HHJ Geraint Walters told Benjamin that a custodial sentence was inevitable and stated: “Cases such as this should remind us that roads such as this are not a playground, and at the top of Penglais Hill is exactly what it became for you.”

Giving him credit for his earlier guilty plea, HHJ Walters sentenced Benjamin to three years and four months in custody, with a driving disqualification of five years, including the requirement of sitting an extended test.

Officer in charge of the case PC Eleri Edwards read out a statement on behalf of Ellie’s family in which they said Ellie was a ‘remarkable person’, and that her death had left them in complete shock.

The family said they were relieved that the prosecution case was over and that they now wish to be left alone to come to terms with their loss.

PC Edwards added: “We hope the end of the police investigation and court proceedings brings some comfort to Ellie’s family, who have remained incredibly strong throughout.

“This incident was a tragedy that could have been avoided, leaving a family mourning the loss of a much loved young lady.

“We urge drivers to take care on the roads, which as the judge stated in court, are not a playground.”

Ceredigion AM Elin Jones had called at the time on the Welsh Government to take action.

The Welsh Government said the Trunk Road Agency had inspected the site.

The A487 is the main route for coastal traffic between north and south Wales.

Elin Jones told The Herald: “The amount of accidents on this stretch of road over recent years has been high, yet the improvements desperately needed have not taken place,” said Ms Jones, who is the presiding officer for the National Assembly for Wales.

“After every accident there are calls from myself, local councillors, MPs, local residents and families devastated by accidents here for the improvements that are desperately needed to be done.

“The Welsh Government cannot let another accident take place. We’ve had site meetings and reports, but the Government must take action and commit to improving safety on this stretch now.”

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Aberystwyth CID appeal following serious assault

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ABERYSTWYTH CID are investigating a serious assault that occurred in the Castle Street area of Aberystwyth at approx. 4.45pm on Tuesday, June 15 2021. Following medical treatment the victim is recovering at home. Police are appealing for any witnesses to the assault and anyone in the vicinity around this time, or immediately prior to the incident, that may have witnessed people acting suspiciously.

Anyone with information that could help officers with their investigation is asked to report it to Dyfed-Powys Police, either online at https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@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. Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org. Quote reference: DP-20210615-268

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New Quay RNLI’s special artwork to honour local volunteers is unveiled

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ON SUNDAY (June 13) saw a special artwork unveiled at New Quay Lifeboat Station by RNLI’s Director of Lifesaving Operations, John Payne. The artwork was created by local amateur artist and wife of New Quay RNLI’s Lifeboat Operations Manager, Mrs Tina Couch who wanted to pay tribute to the special job the volunteers do, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Mrs Couch talking about the artwork said, “Last year some of the volunteers went above and beyond and worked hard in the community by delivering food parcels and medicines to those shielding in the area. I wanted to pay tribute to all the volunteers at New Quay Lifeboat Station so decided to paint a mural with a portrait of each volunteer. This artwork is to recognise all the hard work they did during the lockdown, as well as being on call 24/7 to save lives at sea.” 

John Payne, RNLI’s Director of Lifesaving Operations added, “It was an honour to unveil this wonderful piece of artwork, a great end to celebrating Volunteers’ Week. Our communities benefit enormously from our volunteers’ selflessness and this is a special way to reflect on their achievements. I would like to thank every one of you who make the RNLI what it is today, and recognise the sacrifices and efforts undertaken in giving your time, energy and positivity to the organisation.”  

While Mr Payne was visiting New Quay Lifeboat Station he had another presentation to make, a certificate of thanks to Steffan Williams who raised over £2,200 for the RNLI’s Mayday Mile campaign. Steffan, aged 12, a pupil in Ysgol Bro Teifi, paddleboarded not just one mile but accomplished 10 miles in under four hours and smashed his target of £100.  

Mr Payne said, “This is a great achievement for someone so young. Steffan has shown his determination in being a lifesaver, and he is definitely someone to watch in the future as he continues his volunteering within the RNLI.”  

Steffan recieving award

Steffan said, “I am so pleased that I’ve raised so much for the RNLI and want to thank everyone who has donated. It is a charity close to my heart as my Dad is a crew member and I want to join when I’m older too. They are all volunteers and need our help to pay for equipment and lifeboats.” 

If you would like to volunteer for the RNLI please visit the website to find out more: https://rnli.org/support-us/volunteer/how-you-can-volunteer/be-a-lifeboat-station-volunteer

Or if you would like to donate to New Quay RNLI to help the volunteers save lives at sea please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/new-quay-wales

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Strategic plan to strengthen Welsh medium education

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A CONSULTATION period will be held during the autumn term this year to increase the number of pupils in Ceredigion who will be able to develop and learn through the medium of Welsh.

During a Cabinet meeting held virtually on Tuesday, 15 June 2021, members discussed the Welsh in Education Strategic Plan for 2022-2032. The plan is a 10 year strategy which sets out the requirements to reach the Welsh Government’s target of achieving one million Welsh speakers by 2050.

Cabinet Members agreed to hold a consultation period during the autumn term of 2021 for eight weeks, incorporating views by pupils, parents, schools and governing bodies.

The strategy outlines aims which include increasing the number of nursery and reception age pupils in Welsh medium education; encourage more learners to study Welsh as a subject and subjects through the medium of Welsh; increase the provision of Welsh medium education for pupils with additional learning needs and increase the number of teaching staff who can teach Welsh as a subject and subjects through the medium of Welsh.

Councillor Catrin Miles, Ceredigion County Council’s Cabinet Member for Schools, Lifelong Learning and Skills, Support and Intervention, said: “The Welsh in Education Strategic Plan reinforces Ceredigion County Council’s aspiration to strengthen the position of the Welsh language through its Language Strategy. I’m pleased to see that a consultation period will be held this autumn to gather ideas in order to plan and develop Welsh medium education in our county.”

Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn, Leader of Ceredigion County Council, added: “I welcome this draft document which aims to create more opportunities for pupils across the county to take full advantage of Welsh medium education.”

Following the consultation period, feedback will be considered and the plan will be reintroduced to the Healthier Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the full Council for consideration and final decision. The proposal supports the Council’s Strategic Objectives and the Welsh Government’s Million Speakers by 2050 Strategy.

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