Welsh Government Minister Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas was briefed on Pembroke Dock’s significant place in Welsh maritime, military and social history, and the potential for this heritage to attract growing numbers of visitors, when he visited the town’s Heritage Centre last Friday.
Lord Elis-Thomas, Culture and Tourism Minister, met with Centre Manager Stuart Berry before greeting Trustees and Volunteers and being given a tour of the displays and exhibits. The Heritage Centre is located in the former Royal Dockyard Chapel, which has recently been the subject of a Community Asset Transfer application by the Trust which operates the Centre.
Joining the Minister was local Assembly Member, Mrs Angela Burns, and Jonathan Berry, of Cadw. During a tour of the Centre Lord Elis-Thomas saw displays on the town’s connections with all three military services; as a Royal Dockyard for over 100 years, an important army garrison town and a famous flying boat station. He also learned of the active weekly involvement of over 60 volunteers and the engagement with many community groups and organisations and the support given to wellbeing initiatives in the local community.
“We were delighted to welcome the Minister to Pembroke Dock and to provide an insight into what we are doing in this historic chapels,” said Centre Manager, Stuart Berry.
“He seemed to be very impressed with what we have achieved, and very supportive of our ambitions for this heritage and for the community here in Pembroke Dock. The history of this town is so important to Pembrokeshire and to Wales, there is so much potential for us. Visitor numbers increased last year by 10 per cent, and this year looks set to grow by a similar number again; this just demonstrates how important and how relevant this is to local people and to Pembrokeshire’s tourist market.”
At the Trust’s recent AGM, trustees reported a financial surplus in the previous financial year, allaying fears by some that the Trust was in financial difficulties.
Stuart added: “We are so pleased that the Minister has had the opportunity to come here, it is very encouraging for staff, trustees and especially all our volunteers for our work to be recognised in this way.”