AN ENTERTAINMENT and presentation night was held recently at The Snooty Fox Inn, Nr Narberth by the organisers of the first ever Celtic Classic Tour which had raised the very pleasing total of £3,720.50 which was divided, and cheques handed over to the two nominated charities, CRY (Dean Mason Memorial Fund) and Meningitis Now by the highest sponsors on the event Michael Davies & Alyson Williams and Nicola Robinson & Scott Lewis.
Nearly 40 classic cars and some Classic Bikes had taken part in The 2014 Celtic Charity Classic Tour of Ireland and Wales, it proved to be a great success with entrants from all parts of Wales assembling at The Snooty Fox Inn, Nr Martletwy, Narberth on the Friday Morning and after enjoying a hearty breakfast, the Cars & Bikes were given a great send off from many enthusiastic wellwishers with the S4C cameras also present to record the event which featured interviews with some of the entrants including joint organiser Gareth Jenkins, which was then given a prime spot on The Welsh National News Programme Heno that same evening. The event in aid of C.R.Y. (in memory of Dean Mason) and Meningitis UK, was started by 7 year old Celyn Jones of Bethesda, Nr Narberth who had Meningitis as a 2 year old, (who also spoke in Welsh on Heno) and as she cut the ribbon each of the superbly turned out vehicles drove through a magnificent spiral balloon arch kindly donated by Floatations Balloons, Narberth.
As the impressive convoy headed down the A40 to the Fishguard Ferry Terminal there was a large turnout of people in Fishguard Town as the locals who had made a special request for The Tour not to by-pass the Town gave everyone an enthusiastic send off as they were about to leave Welsh soil and head for the Emerald Isle. After a lovely sailing across The Irish Sea everyone headed for their overnight stays, and after meeting up in Wexford Town in the evening many sampled the local Irish hospitality. The Saturday morning saw everyone meeting up outside The Wexford Racecourse, before heading to The Dunbrodey Famine Ship Visitor Centre in New Ross where The Wexford Sports & Classic Car Club were out in force to give everyone a lovely welcome and the cars were then displayed in the Quayside car park for a couple of hours and after the local New Ross Council Dignitaries thanked everyone for visiting New Ross, the Wexford Club then guided the Celtic Tour Convoy on a picturesque drive which took in part of the famous circuit of Ireland World Rally stages before arriving in Dungarvan Town Centre to be greeted by the local Yesteryear Club and even though the weather was a little wet a pleasant 2 hour stop was enjoyed by all before setting off for the next overnight stop in Kilkenny City.
Kilkenny proved a great place to be on a Saturday Night with nearly ever other bar playing all types of traditional Irish music, and with the Celtic Tour being well publicised in the City which was voted Ireland’s Heritage Town of 2013 a great welcome was again received from members of The Kilkenny Motor Club as well as the locals. What was meant to be a 12 noon start on the Sunday Morning for our much anticipated display outside the historic Kilkenny Castle (once home to the Earl of Pembroke) was brought forward an hour to 11am to accommodate The Irish Television cameras who had agreed to come and televise the event to be shown throughout Ireland as well as on Sky TV. The vehicles proved a great attraction on a lovely sunny Sunday afternoon in such a historic setting and as the crowds of all ages were fascinated by the great variety of classic and unusual vehicles that had come over from Wales many of the Irish folk also had their own interesting stories of some of the cars they had driven in years gone by, and before the tour left for our third and last overnight stop Nr Dublin, The Mayor of this great City as well as The Chairman of The Kilkenny Motor Club gave speeches when they not only thanked everyone who had come over to their City (described as the friendliest City in Europe) with their beautiful cars & motor cycles but also the effort everyone had made in raising money for two very worthy charities, joint organiser Norman Mason responded on behalf of The Celtic Tour by saying “What a great honour it was to be allowed to display our vehicles in such an historic setting and Kilkenny had certainly lived up to what we thought would be the highlight of what was turning out to be a great tour across the water to meet our Celtic Cousins”.
After a night of lovely Irish music provided by Bewleys Hotel in Newlands Cross, Nr Dublin, everyone was up early to catch the morning ferry sailing from Dublin Port to Holyhead, and when we arrived in Holyhead Port in North Wales around midday on the Monday we were greeted with more lovely weather which made the leisurely drive down through some of the most superb scenery Wales have to offer another great experience, before arriving back at The Snooty Fox at 6pm where a lovely buffet and presentation of certificates and awards were presented to everyone who had taken part in what had proved a challenging but very enjoyable trip of over 400 miles throughout the four days where many friends and memories that will last forever had been made. The First Celtic Charity Tour has been an outstanding success and plans are well underway for next year’s event, when it is hoped to take approximately sixty cars and bikes over the water to Ireland, so anyone who has an unusual or classic vehicle and would like to enter the 2015 event please contact Norman (07969 313892) or Gareth (07811 296325) or email classiccarrallies@yahoo. co.uk for further details.
Elin Jones backs calls for business rates holiday extension for independent businesses
CEREDIGION’S Member of the Senedd, Elin Jones, has backed calls by the British Independent Retail Association for the extension of the current rates holiday for non-essential businesses in 2021/22.
Many local independent businesses have been closed for the best part of a year, and many will be in a more precarious situation now than when the initial rates holiday was announced last year. Many businesses will be looking forward to the easing of restrictions over the next few months, but Elin Jones warned that many would benefit from the continued business rates holiday.
Elin Jones said:
“Every effort must be made to secure the future of independent businesses in Ceredigion. They are such an important feature of life in Ceredigion, both as employers, and as a draw for people to our towns and villages.
“Normal trading will eventually resume, and these businesses will be able to flourish again, but local businesses owners know that this cannot be rushed. Therefore we must continue to sustain our businesses until they are once again back on an even keel.
“It will take a while for footfall to resume, and extending the business rates holiday is one way to help in this time of need.”
MP makes Budget case for support for self-employed and small businesses in Ceredigion
BEN LAKE MP has called on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to extend the government’s financial support package for businesses and self-employed workers in next week’s Budget as many struggle to stay afloat during continued lockdown restrictions.
The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak is to set out the UK Government’s budget on Wednesday 3 March, almost a year since the last Budget on 11 March 2020.
To help businesses and our local high streets over coming months, the Ceredigion MP has called on the Chancellor to extend the lowered rate of VAT at 5% for hospitality and tourism for a year to March 2022 and to extend the business rates relief package.
Mr Lake also called on the Chancellor to retain the furlough scheme for the duration of pandemic restrictions, as recent figures show more than 178,000* in Wales are still receiving government help from the CJRS. He also urged the Chancellor to expand the existing eligibility criteria for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme in order to offer some help to the many individuals who have not received a penny in Government support thus far.
Ben Lake MP said: “For many businesses and self-employed workers, the financial support government has offered over the last 12 months has been a lifeline. Now, as we are finally starting to see light at the end of the lockdown tunnel, we cannot remove this lifeline prematurely. Extending this help for a little longer, and expanding the criteria to help those that have been excluded thus far, would offer small businesses the support they require to ‘bounce back’ from the pandemic.”
Many businesses who are still not open due to lockdown measures are also now expected to start repaying their Bounce Back Loans. This is despite their situation largely remaining unchanged since they took out the loan, or in some unfortunate instances, worsened as they have not yet been able to trade.
UKHospitality has estimated that the hospitality sector lost around £72 billion in sales in 2020 and faces, frankly, a debt mountain, including £4.2 billion in state-backed loans.
Mr Lake said: “It is important that businesses that took out bounce back loans and CBILS are required to pay only when they are in a position to do so – once they have ‘bounced back’ from the pandemic. Affording such a level of flexibility, and thus preventing avoidable business failures, would protect jobs, the taxpayer’s investment in the recovery, and the integrity of our financial system.
“We remain in the early stages of a vaccine-led recovery, and it is likely that we will have some form of restrictions for many months to come. Having done so much to protect the economy and the workforce, we must not withdraw support prematurely, as to do so would risk throwing away the investment taxpayers have made in the last year, and potentially our economic recovery.”
Covid-19 vaccination venues and timeline announced for everyone locally over 50
EVERY person in JCVI priority groups 5 to 9 will be offered a COVID-19 vaccination by 18 April, Hywel Dda University Health Board has confirmed.
While the health board’s vaccination programme has the capacity to offer a vaccine to everyone in groups 5 to 9 by the original target date of 4 April, the delivery plan has had to be adjusted based on confirmed vaccine deliveries.
Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, and Pembrokeshire residents in priority groups 5 to 9 can expect to receive their vaccine as follows:
- Group 5, people aged 65 – 69 years – delivered by GP practices between 15 February and 12 March
- Group 6, people aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions and unpaid carers – delivered by GP practices between 22 February and 4 April
- Group 7, people aged 60 – 64 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 8 March
- Group 8, people aged 55 – 59 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 22 March
- Group 9, people aged 50 – 54 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 5 April
The health board currently has mass vaccination centres located in Aberystwyth, Cardigan, Haverfordwest, Tenby, Carmarthen and Llanelli.
Group 6 is significantly the largest cohort to be vaccinated to date and we understand that many in this group will be anxious to receive a vaccine. Please do not contact your GP or the health board to ask about your appointment, you will be contacted directly when it is your turn and we thank you for your patience.
People in groups 7, 8 and 9 will receive a letter with an appointment date and time. Please arrive as close to your appointment time as possible. The letter will include a phone number to contact the health board should you need to rearrange or cancel your appointment but please make every effort to keep your allocated appointment time.
Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda UHB, said: “While our programme has had to slow due to supplies, we want to reassure everyone in groups 5 to 9 that our amazing teams of vaccinators and GP practices have the capability and flexibility to deliver our vaccine supplies as they arrive into the region.
“Vaccine supplies will start to increase again from mid-March, and we are confident that everyone living in our three counties in the top 9 priority groups will be offered a vaccine by mid-April.
“In Hywel Dda we have an older population compared to some other health boards and so over 50% of our adult population will have been offered a vaccine by milestone 2.
“To be able to say that as we approach the anniversary of the first national lockdown is nothing short of extraordinary.
“And again, I must say thank you to everyone living in our three counties who continue to come forward in substantial numbers for the vaccine. Uptake remains remarkably high and we hope to see this continue through groups 5 to 9 and into group 10.”
People are asked, wherever possible, to use their own private transport to attend an appointment. Lifts can be accepted from someone in their household or support bubble, but not from anyone else due to the risk of transmission of the virus.
The health board has put in place transport support for anyone who may have difficulty attending their vaccination appointment. If you have no other means of travel, please contact the health board on 0300 303 8322 and we will be happy to assist.
Everyone in priority groups 1 to 4 should have received an offer of a vaccination. If you have not been contacted, or have changed your mind, please contact your GP at the earliest opportunity. No one will be left behind.
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