Nathan Walton of the Welsh Wildlife Trust gave a most interesting talk about his work of conservation and management of the Trust’s 15 Reserves situate in Pembrokeshire. The Reserves cover an area of some 775 hectares 319 owned by the Trust and the remainder on lease from the National Trust and Pembrokeshire County Council.
Nathan, with the aid of slides, gave us an insight as to what we might find at the various Reserves advising the site at West Williamson to be his favourite but with a tinge of regret he indicated was not owned by the Trust but the National Trust. On this 20 hectare site one may see Curlews, and the elusive Brown Hair Streak butterfly that lays its eggs on the blackthorn which is the subject of a five year management scheme to ensure it is of the right size and structure to attract this beautiful butterfly.
Each Reserve has its own particular flora and wildlife, herons and, occasionally an osprey may be seen at Westfield Pill in Neyland. Pengelli Reserve of some 65 hectares is the site of the largest ancient coppiced oak woodland in Wales.
Would you like to see some swamp buffalo then Teifi Marshes is the place to visit, these ponderous looking beasts do a magnificent job of keeping the waterways clear by feeding and wallowing in the water.
A most interesting talk, we live in a beautiful County it is good to know it is being looked after by organisations such as the Welsh Wildlife Trust who rely upon volunteers to carry out a lot of the “donkey work”.
An excellent talk was given by Derek Church, one of our members, on the subject “The Great Pembroke Dock Fire”. Without reference to any notes Derek, spoke for forty five minutes, explaining Pembroke Dock was, primarily, a ship-building dock with storage facilities for oil, there being several large tanks in the locality for that purpose.
Whilst the fighter airplanes of the RAF were engaged in the Battle of Britain and our army was in retreat at Dunkirk, a bomber from the German Luftwaffe, protected by two fighter planes, dropped a bomb on one the oil storage tanks.
A sewing machine Salesman from Neyland, Arthur Morris, who also happened to be a retained fire fighter made his way to the fire crossing the estuary by way of the ferry, taking charge of the situation with help from six hundred and fifty fire-fighters from as far away as Birmingham, Newport, Cardiff, Devon and Somerset. The fire raged for twenty one days unlike the great fire of London which burnt for three. Arthur Morris toiled for seventeen days without sleep, five Cardiff firemen were killed and there were thirty eight seriously injured men.
The fire must have been a most terrifying sight to see and experience, thank goodness we now live in relatively peaceful times.
5th May 2016
Derek gave a Masterclass in public speaking/story telling. He delivered an excellent talk with no notes, visual aids, ums & errs, hesitation or repetition which certainly left me with a brilliant mental picture of the events from Monday 19 August 1940.
The Speaker at the meeting on 7th April 2016 was Valerie Griggs who spoke of the work undertaken by SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors & Airmen Families Association).
Valerie, the wife of a retired Naval Officer, came to Pembrokeshire when her husband was appointed as the Royal Naval liaison officer working with the American Navy at Brawdy. When he retired they settled in here where they had grown to feel at home.
When the British Army first fought overseas soldiers were given their pay direct leaving their wives and dependants without any means of financial support resulting in many living in a state of destitution. At the time of the First World War an association was formed to take care of dependants of those soldiers serving overseas thus saw the beginning of SSAFA. In later years the Navy and Air Force joined, forming the Association as it is today. Valerie explained the levels of the lifelong support, covering both material and emotional needs.
Whilst Valerie’s interesting talk was locally based and drawn from personal experience, a short DVD of the work undertaken really emphasised the importance of the Association as it is today. The talk was informative and brought to our attention the various needs of our veteran and serving forces.
On the morning of 30th March the above meeting was held at the hall in Merlins Bridge.
Without our Group Leaders we would not have a U3A and equally without a flow of new members we would fade away. The meeting included nineteen Group Leaders and ten new members. It was pleasing to see so many group leaders who introduced themselves indicating their own group and representing those Leaders who were unable to attend.
The discussion was lively with a new member keen to join the Mah Jong group and others expressing an interest in one of the, always popular, walking groups and the table tennis. We are most fortunate in the number of diverse groups on offer; the new members became aware they could have both their bodies and their minds exercised!
Should you have an interest not covered by one of the groups why not start your own? The committee and the National Resource Centre will give you as much help as you may need in setting up a group.
May I on behalf of the Committee extend a big thank you to all the Group Leaders who give freely of their time enabling us to have a great and growing U3A.
Wednesday 30th March at 10.30
Merlins Bridge Welfare Hall
We have had a lot of new members in the past year and it has been decided to hold a coffee morning 10.30 on 30th March at Merlins Bridge Welfare Hall.
We are also inviting Group Leaders who will be talking about the various groups that are available.
THE INVITATION IS EXTENDED TO ANY MEMBER WHO HAS NOT PREVIOUSLY BEEN TO A SIMILAR COFFEE MORNING
If you would like to attend , please contact me so we have a rough idea of numbers for catering purposes.
The speaker for the January meeting was Christopher Salmon, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Dyfed-Powys.
Christopher Salmon Dyfed-Powys Police & Crime Commissioner
In November 2012 we were invited to elect a Police and Crime Commissioner for Dyfed-Powys; so interested was the electorate the turnout was a mere 15%. However, Chris Salmon was duly elected.
Chris arrived promptly at 11am a much younger man, I believe, than some of us had anticipated but he proved to be an excellent and articulate speaker initially outlining his responsibilities as Commissioner.
Coming from a rural background he attended Oxford University studying history and economics thereafter spending five years as an army officer seeing duty in Northern Ireland, Kosovo and Iraq. Having stood and failed as a Conservative candidate for Llanelli Chris recognised his future lay in some kind of public service and when the post of Commissioner was created he canvassed diligently for the post; as some of our members were quick to point out, parts of the County were awash with blue boards!
Christopher Salmon with some members of the Pembrokeshire U3A
A lively question and answer session followed his interesting and thought provoking talk, three questions at a time were taken from various areas of the floor the questions were dealt with clearly and concisely a man who clearly knows his job and what the inhabitants of Dyfed-Powys require of their police force. With elections for the post of Police and Crime Commissioner taking place in May of this year it was plain Christopher Salmon was keen to make an impression and I believe he did.
Notes (Provided by Andy Pearson – Public Affairs Advisor – Dyfed-Powys Police & Crime Commissioner’s Office)
Election, May 2016 On May 5, 2016, England and Wales will hold their second elections for Police and Crime Commissioners. In Dyfed-Powys this will mean the public having a direct say in who controls a policing budget of around £96m, sets the priorities for policing, holds the police force to account and manages a police estate of more than 50 buildings.
What is a Police and Crime Commissioner? PCCs are not the police – as the elected voice of the public, they make the police answerable to the communities they serve. They work in partnership across a range of agencies to ensure a unified approach to preventing and reducing crime. The next PCC elections are in May 2016.
What can they do? PCCs aim to cut crime, deliver an effective and efficient police service, provide stronger and more transparent accountability of the police, hold chief constables and the force to account, ensure community needs are met as effectively as possible and improve local relationships. Day-to-day policing operations are directed by chief constables.
Who is the Dyfed-Powys PCC? Christopher Salmon. Born in 1978, he was brought up in Powys. He graduated from Oxford University before spending five years as an Army officer. After several years in business he was elected PCC for Dyfed-Powys in November 2012. He lives in Llandeilo, Carms, and enjoys sport, travel, art and literature.
What are his priorities? Christopher Salmon’s six priorities for Dyfed-Powys are detailed in his 2013-18 Police and Crime Plan. They are: Preventing and tackling crime; Protecting vulnerable people; Bringing people to justice; Enhancing access to police services; Ensuring high standards of professionalism; Spending wisely.
What has he achieved (Nov 2012 – January 2016)? Key achievements included: 30 more Dyfed-Powys Police officers; Improved access to the police; Fewer police cautions; Reduced policing costs; Community grants of almost £250,000; Closer focus on policing’s quality of service; New partnership to tackle antisocial behaviour; Four new independent domestic violence posts; 20% reduction in police force’s top 10 salaries; a 5% decrease in council tax precept for 2015-16; New single point of contact to report concerns or dissatisfaction with OPCC and DPP; new service for missing young people; 100,000 more police officer hours in the beat thanks to new IT; New mental health incident unit; Dyfed-Powys CCTV guidance;.
What does he plan? Two new rural rape crisis centres; £8.8m saved from 2013-16; improved use of data to identify issues earlier; better use of police buildings with £15m estate strategy.
And finally one of the short pieces read by Dot Hickson which seemed especially apt for members of the U3A:
The Reunion Lunch…
A group of chaps, all aged 40, discussed where they should meet for lunch. Finally it was agreed that they would meet at Wetherspoons because the waitresses had big breasts and wore mini-skirts.
Ten years later, at age 50, the friends once again discussed where they should meet for lunch. Finally it was agreed that they would meet at Wetherspoons because the food and service was good and the beer was excellent.
Ten years later, at age 60, the friends again discussed where they should meet for lunch. Finally it was agreed that they would meet at Wetherspoons because they could dine in peace and quiet and it was good value for money.
Ten years later, at age 70, the friends discussed where they should meet for lunch. Finally it was agreed that they would meet at Wetherspoons because the restaurant was wheelchair accessible and had a toilet for the disabled.
Ten years later, at age 80, the friends discussed where they should meet for lunch. Finally it was agreed that they would meet at Wetherspoons because they had never been there before.