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“Inspirational” Haverfordwest station retailer celebrates 60 years’ service

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A station retailer who has clocked up 60 years’ service has been praised as “an inspirational member of the railway family” by Transport for Wales.

Jimmy Summons, who runs the newspaper kiosk at Haverfordwest station in Pembrokeshire, began his career in the days of steam trains whistling past to meet the ferry at Fishguard when he was just 16-years old in 1961.

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Over the years he’s seen Richard Burton, Prince Charles and Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II at the station and has served Lord Snowdon and Soldier Soldier actor Jerome Flynn.

And just a month short of his 77th birthday, Jimmy says he has no plans to retire yet.

“My cat wakes me up at 4:45am and I head down to make tea and get the papers ready,” says Jimmy, who has lived in the town his whole life.

“I’ll deliver to my customers around the town before coming down to the station to meet the early train.

“I love it because you never know who might walk through those doors or where they might be going, but I try to treat them all the same.”

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Jimmy outside Haverfordwest Train Station (Image: Transport for Wales)

Having left school at 15, Jimmy worked with his brother before taking on the kiosk with a permit from John Menzies to sell newspapers, books and tobacco in the same year President John F Kennedy was inaugurated in the USA.

It was the last days of steam, before the Beeching axe had fallen on railways across Wales, and Haverfordwest had a much larger team managing parcels and wages from the site.

“We had some brilliant times over the years,” said Jimmy.

“I’ll always remember my good friends Dai Havard and Jimmy Morgan. The railway staff used to look after me when I was a youngster first starting and I’ve always loved being a part of things here. We’ve had plenty of fun over the years though there have been a few memorable moments.

“Once, many years ago, we had a parcel trolley fall on the line and I had to jump down with the rest of the boys and help get it up again before the train came through. Another time I had to warn the guard that a lorry had hit the railway bridge up ahead.

“Richard Burton came in while he was filming Under Milk Wood in Fishguard and got the train back to London, though sadly we didn’t see Elizabeth Taylor.

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“We’ve had all the royals through over the years and I remember waving to Prince Charles and getting a wave back when they were off to an occasion at Picton Castle.”

Jimmy has clocked up 60 years working as a retailer at Haverfordwest Train Station (Image: Transport for Wales)

Jimmy has been married to his beloved wife Lorraine, 74, for many years and she too is still working, in a residential home, despite being older than some of the people she looks after.

He stopped selling cigarettes several years ago and has seen the book trade diminish over the years.

“Not as many people seem to like reading on their journey any more, which is quite sad. They all seem to be on their phones or iPads. But it’s nice that a lot of my older customers have started coming back after Covid and the papers are picking up more.

Transport for Wales Station Manager James Nicholas said: “Jimmy really is part of the fabric here at Haverfordwest and all our customers and colleagues think the world of him.

“The fact he’s up so early every day and is still working so hard to provide such a great service for our customers even after 60 years is phenomenal and he really is an inspirational member of our railway family. Thank you for all the hard work Jimmy and here’s to many more years at Haverfordwest.”

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(Lead image: Transport for Wales)

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Art

National Gallery masterpiece visits Haverfordwest

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The Riverside Library, Gallery and Visitor Information in Haverfordwest is welcoming a very special exhibition this spring, thanks to the National Gallery Masterpiece Tour, sponsored by Christie’s.

Hélène Rouart in her Father’s Study by Edgar Degas will form the centrepiece in an exhibition drawn from the National Welsh Portrait Collection at The National Library of Wales, which will be held at the Riverside Gallery, Haverfordwest.

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The exhibition will contextualise the painting through an exploration of the female form in art, and analyse the theory of the male gaze in portraits through the eyes of both female and male artists such as Seren Morgan Jones and Sir Kyffin Williams.

The exhibition will be open from 14 May – 3 September 2022 and will run alongside the current exhibition Pembrokeshire: Past & Present.

Mike Cavanagh, Head of Cultural, Leisure, Tourism and Registration Services for Pembrokeshire County Council, said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity finally to be part of the Masterpiece Tour after the pandemic forced us to put our plans on hold. The arrival of the Degas will have a huge impact on the community and the county’s many visitors, and will inspire, illuminate and raise ambition within the county.”

Pedr ap Llwyd, Chief Executive and Librarian at the National Library of Wales added: “It is wonderful to be able to work with Pembrokeshire County Council and the National Gallery to bring the ‘Masterpiece Tour’ to this region of Wales which gives the residents of Pembrokeshire and those visiting the area the opportunity to see the Hélène Rouart in her Father’s Study by Edgar Degas.”

An exciting series of events and activities are being planned to support the exhibition, such as a special talk about the masterpiece painting by one of the National Gallery’s curators.

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Lead image: Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas. Helene Rouart in her Father’s Study. (Image: The National Gallery, London)

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Haverfordwest

Are bungalows making a comeback? National housebuilder adds 3 single storey homes to Haverfordwest development

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Bungalows may be seen as housing for older people, but they’re a popular choice across a wide spectrum of house buyers according to Persimmon Homes – and demand is growing.

Persimmon is currently working on the second phase of its Merlins Lane scheme on Scarrowscant Lane in Haverfordwest, with 91 homes being built to take the overall total to 170.

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The national housebuilder has taken the unusual step of building bungalows at Merlins Lane as it believes there is growing demand for one-storey living.

Sharon Bouhali, Sales Director at Persimmon Homes West Wales, said: “When people talk about bungalows they tend to think of older people as there is obviously the benefit of having no stairs to climb.

“But, actually, bungalows are a popular option for a variety of reasons, not least the flexible space they offer as they tend to have a bigger footprint than a tradition two-storey house.

“Bungalows can also be convenient for young families as parents don’t have to worry about their children falling down stairs.

“Maintenance is also easier as there are no high windows to clean and it’s easier to access the guttering and roof.

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“Perhaps most pertinently in the current climate, bungalows are more eco-friendly as they use less energy to heat, producing significant cost savings.”

Persimmon is building three Madison style properties at Merlins Lane, a versatile bungalow featuring a front-aspect living room leading into the kitchen, which has access to the well-sized garden.

There are two double bedrooms, a spacious bathroom with a bath and a separate shower, and two handy storage cupboards.

Work started at Merlins Lane in mid-2020 and has proved extremely popular.

(Lead image: Persimmon Homes)

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Dyfed Powys Police

Duo jailed for assaulting and robbing man in terrifying attack

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A man and a woman have been jailed for assaulting and robbing a vulnerable man at a railway station.

Rory Barnes, aged 23, of Ash Grove, Neyland, Milford Haven, and Hayley Talman, aged 30, of St Davids Close, Hubberston, Milford Haven, approached their victim at Haverfordwest Train Station at around 9pm on Sunday, 16 January.

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Talman first asked the man, who is disabled, if he knew anyone who did drugs, before Barnes got up close and invaded his personal space.

The victim moved away but was followed by Barnes a number of times, before he grabbed hold of the victim and told him he must ‘do flake’ because of the jacket he was wearing.

The victim once again walked away, this time to the front of the train station, however, Barnes stayed with him, asking for personal details such as name and address.

The victim once again moved away and went back onto the platform. Barnes again followed and sat down next to him and asked for a cigarette.

The victim then got up and walked to the front of the train station, with Talman and Barnes following him.

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Barnes then attacked the man, throwing him to the floor before getting on top of him and punching him twice to the head, before placing his hands into his coat pocket and removing a pouch of tobacco.

The victim then managed to run away towards the town centre, however, Barnes has chased after him.

He once again threw the man to the floor, shouting and swearing at him to give him everything he had.

Barnes has then punched him at another four or five times to the head area, and while he was on the floor, Barnes and Talman have gone through his pockets, with Barnes removing a debit card.

Barnes has then stated that he had a knife. He was searching his own pockets as if he was looking for something, with Talman saying the victim needed to listen as Barnes had a knife.

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Barnes has then asked Talman for the knife before telling the victim that if he reports the matter to police then he will find him and stab him.

At this point the victim was able to run away from the area.

Officers from Dyfed-Powys Police attended and promptly arrested Barnes and Talman, before launching a thorough investigation.

Senior Investigating Officer DS Tanya Grey said: “This was a terrifying ordeal for a vulnerable victim. Barnes and Talman subjected him to threats and intimidation before launching a violent attack.

“When the victim finally managed to get away from them he was running, fearing for his life as they had threatened him with a knife.

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“I would like to commend him for his bravery throughout the investigation.

“We’re pleased with the sentences handed to Barnes and Talman and hope this offers some solace to the victim.

“I would also like to commend our officers, from the initial response officers to the investigating team. Their professionalism helped ensure Barnes and Talman were handed these sentences.”

Barnes was sentenced to four years and nine months imprisonment, as well as a further 18 months to run consecutively for an incident in Cardiff. Talman was sentenced to three years and two months.

Both appeared at Swansea Crown Court on Friday, 11th March 2022, having pleaded guilty at a previous hearing.

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(Lead image: Dyfed Powys Police)

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