Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Going, Going, GONE! Goodbye to Cardigan Castle's Stanchions!

Back here on March 8th, I wrote about the removal of the first of the 3 stanchions from Cardigan Castle.

Those horrible buttresses had been apparently propping up the Castle at the gate-way to the town at the end of Cardigan Bridge since 1975. They were only supposed to be temporary supports whilst the walk bridge was built alongside the river but until now, they have remained.

The work on the castle continues in earnest with the planned date of opening set for next Spring. But whilst the internal works will continue throughout this summer and into the winter away from the eyes of local residents, the sight of those horrid external stanchions always weighed heavily on the minds of those living locally who despised their very being.

Goodbye to the Final Stanchion!
As I wrote back in March, it was expected that the final 2 stanchions would be removed within a matter of weeks. As of yesterday morning, the remaining 2 both remained and I was expecting one of those to come down imminently with the final one to leave its 'temporary' home by the end of this month.

So it was with no shortage of shock and incredulity that, as a Trustee of Cadwgan Building Preservation Trust, I received a call from fellow Trustee Sue Lewis at 7pm last night saying that the final piece of the final stanchion was to be removed inside the next 20 minutes!!

Thankfully I happened to be at home in Cardigan at the time and without a moment of hesitation, I made my way down to the quay to see a little bit of Cardigan history in action.

Goodbye to the Stanchions!
Couresty of Louise Noakes Photography
Andrew Scott, the on-site construction team at the castle, very kindly gave those of us Trustees who had managed to make the last minute scramble down to the quay, an opportunity to climb up onto the scaffolding for a final photo with the final stanchion before its removal, minutes later.

So it was that I stood alongside original Cadgwan Trustees Jan Tucker and Richard 'Dick' Thomas, as well as current Trustees Sue Lewis, Sandra Davies and Hedydd Jones as well as Mark and his team from Andrew Scott's for a final photo-call after 38 years (see pictured).

As a historian first-and-foremost with a love of Cardigan Castle that stretched back to my childhood, it was a truly wonderful moment and I was particularly pleased for Jann and Dick who have been fighting for the restoration of the castle for the past 15 years, to finally see the last of those iron girders.

There are many, many others who have campaigned for this same goal as well in our community and beyond and today is a day for them. A day for Cardigan. A day for our castle - standing proud once more without the need for supports that were never required in the first place.

The potential is there for all to see and now we have the clearest manifestation of progress that the community could've wanted.

'Cardigan has a Castle' has been the almost ironic response from local residents in recent weeks after the first stanchion was removed. You bet it has!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Why I'm jumping 12,000ft for the British Heart Foundation

Last month, I mentioned here in my blog about my decision to try and raise over £2,000 for the British Heart Foundation by undertaking a 12,000ft Parachute Jump.

Dad and Mam being given a BHF
Wall Plaque in appreciation for their
fundraising efforts
The response I have received in the 5 weeks since has been brilliant and I have now raised £990 - tantalisingly close to that £1,000 mark! Thank you to everyone who has contributed already to this brilliant figure and whilst I must accept that I have been shameless in my requests of friends so far, I do not apologise for it because it is a cause close to my heart.

But even once I break that £1,000 mark, I still have the same amount and more to raise before I can comfortably say that I've raised enough to pay for 2 new defibrillators as a part of the British Heart Foundation Cymru's latest appeal.

The jump itself will be on Saturday 11th May so there's only 4 weeks to go, so expect the shameless requests to those who have yet to contribute to continue! I will wear you down!

Supporting the BHF - A Family Affair
As it happens, I today found on the family farm at Eglwyswrw, old newspaper clipping from the 1990s that demonstrated my parents commitment to this worthy cause.

The 1999 Narberth Observor article on
the purchase of a new ECG for Narberth
Health Centre - principally sponsored
by my parents Lance & Enid Cole
They gave a whole days worth of gate takings at their Dyfed Shire Horse Farm in Eglwyswrw to the British Heart Foundation on a number of occasions.

As the photos here show, both played a significant part in raising important funds to purchase a new Electrocardiograph (ECG) machine for Narberth Health Centre.

This is why I'm raising money for the BHF - because my parents both did so in recognition of their gratitude after Dad recovered from life-saving open heart surgery.

On the 10th anniversary of his passing in 2003, it is only right that I re-iterate our family support for the BHF and I would greatly welcome all donations, large and small, to my online site which can be found at http://www.justgiving.com/John-Mark-Cole.

Thank you on behalf of myself and my father Lance, for your support. With it, we can make a real difference.