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Welsh Guards celebrate centenary




TO COMMEMORATE the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Welsh Guards, VIPs, veterans and serving soldiers gathered last week at the Royal Hospital Chelsea for a very special book launch.

‘Bearskins, Bayonets and Bodyarmour’ by Trevor Royle, which charts the history and achievements of the Regiment, had its official launch in the 17th Century state apartments of the Royal Hospital, 100 years to the day that the final and fifth Regiment of Foot Guards was founded.

Welsh Guards Regimental Lieutenant Colonel Major General Robert Talbot Rice said: “This is a very special day for us. On this day 100 years ago King George V signed the Royal Warrant to form the Welsh Guards. When tested the Welsh Guards from their first battle at Loos to their last tour in Helmand. The Regiment has excelled. It is of enormous pride to be following in their footsteps, although with that comes huge responsibility. We that serve now are standing on the shoulders of giants. In this special year we will be celebrating and remembering and on St David’’s Day we will look forward to more than 2,000 members of the Welsh guards, serving and retired, taking part, in this our centenary year. Trevor’s book is a cracking good read and captures perfectly the essence of our regiment – the reality, the humour, the bravery of those who have gone before us.”

Joining the Welsh Guards at the event was World War 2 Veteran and Chelsea Pensioner Cpl Cass Butler from the 2nd Battalion Welsh Guards.

Lance Sergeant Garry Clowes, 37, from Ryll, North Wales, works in the archives at the Regimental Head Quarters of the Welsh Guards. He said: “It is a great honour to be a part of this regiment. Working in the archives I am more aware than most of the rich history of the Welsh Guards and what we have achieved. We have always mafde a difference wherever we have served. We brought democracy to Afghanistan; we’ve done so much to improve the lives of others, that’s something to be really proud of.”

Lance Corporal James Pickersgill- Jones, 24, from Swansea said: “I feel so privileged to be serving in the Welsh Guards while the centenary is happening.”

As British Forces faced ever mounting pressures on the Western Front in the First World War, on the advice of the then Chancellor of the Exchequer and Welshman, David Lloyd George, The Welsh Guards were brought into existence on February 26 1915, in order to include Wales in the national component of the Foot Guards, which already included England, Scotland and Ireland.

Many of those first Welsh Guardsman who formed the Regiment were Welshmen who had transferred from The Grenadier Guards, and were eager to represent their nation at home and abroad. The Welsh Guards of the 21st century is still a Regiment with proud national links and 90% of its personnel are Welsh.

Since their founding the Welsh Guards have fought in some of the most challenging conflicts of the modern age. From the First and Second World Wars to Egypt, Palestine, Aden, Cyprus, Northern Ireland, the Falkland Islands, Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan they have served with distinction, their guardsmen awarded numerous honours including 2 VCs.

As part of the celebrations for the Welsh Guards Centenary, Wellington Barracks in London, the home of the Foot Guards, was flood lit in Welsh Guards Colours every night until March 2. The Welsh Guards celebrated their annual St David’s Day Parade in Cardiff this year. Every officer and soldier was presented with a leek. The unit formed the Guard of Honour for the Mexican State Visit on March 3, and will receive new Colours from Her Majesty The Queen at Windsor Castle in April, which they will troop at The Queen’s Birthday Parade on Horse Guards in June.

One way to distinguish between the regiments of Foot Guards is the spacing of buttons on the tunic. The Welsh Guards have buttons arranged in groups of five, wear the symbol of the Welsh leek on their buttons and capbadge, and their bearskin has a plume coloured to resemble the sulphurous vegetable.

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Outdoor hospitality given go-ahead and rules on mixing outdoors relaxed in Wales




SIX people will be able to meet outdoors in Wales from Saturday 24 April while outdoor hospitality will be allowed to reopen from Monday 26 April as cases of new COVID-19 infections continue to fall, First Minister Mark Drakeford has confirmed today.

The current rule provides for up to six people (not including children under 11 years of age or carers) from a maximum of two households to meet outdoors.

The new rules from Saturday will allow six people (not including children under 11 years of age or carers) to meet outdoors.

People should observe social distancing from people from outside their household or support bubble when meeting others outside.

The rules for meeting indoors remain unchanged.

The First Minister has also confirmed outdoor hospitality will be allowed to reopen from Monday 26th April 2021.

First Minister, Mark Drakeford said: “The public health context in Wales remains favourable, with cases falling and our vaccination programme continues to go from strength to strength. Because meeting outdoors continues to be lower risk than meeting indoors, we are able to bring forward changes to allow any six people to meet outdoors.

“This will provide more opportunities for people, especially young people, to meet outdoors with their friends. This will undoubtedly have a significant positive impact on people’s wellbeing.

“I’m also pleased to confirm outdoor hospitality will be allowed to reopen from Monday 26th April.

“These changes will help the hospitality sector recover after a difficult twelve months.

“It is thanks to the continuing efforts of people across Wales we are able to introduce this change. Together, we will continue to keep Wales safe.”

On Friday (23rd April 2021), the First Minister will confirm further relaxations to the covid rules that will come into force on Monday 26 April 2021.

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Scientists issue urgent appeal for help on ground-breaking Covid genetic study




SCIENTISTS involved in a ground-breaking COVID-19 genetic research study are urgently asking people across Wales who caught the virus to donate a small amount of blood to their project.

To help encourage as many people as possible to join the study, volunteers are now able to quickly and easily book an appointment for a nurse to visit their home and donate a sample.

The unique GenOMICC COVID-19 Study, which is being delivered in Wales through Health and Care Research Wales, analyses the genes of people who have had the virus to discover why some experienced mild or no symptoms while others became extremely ill. The study is already contributing to the fight again COVID, with preliminary results helping identify possible new treatments.

study open to anyone who caught COVID but didn’t need hospital treatment

However, for the study to continue to make progress, the scientists urgently need to recruit 2,500 more people from all backgrounds. Along with seeking the help of members of Asian and Black communities, they’re also keen for more men to volunteer.

The home appointment system has already proved popular when the scheme was launched in Scotland and Bradford earlier this year – and with lockdown restrictions beginning to be eased in Wales, organisers are hoping for a similar response from people across the country.

“This study has one key objective – to help us understand why COVID-19 has impacted different groups in different ways,” said Dr Matt Morgan, Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine at the University Hospital of Wales and Specialty Lead for Critical Care at Health and Care Research Wales.

“Across the UK, a disproportionate number of people who ended up in hospital have been male as well as people with Asian and Black heritage – that’s why we need people from these groups in particular to join the study as soon as possible.”

“If you are eligible, please register and join the project. You’ll be making a direct contribution to helping improve our knowledge of the virus and discovering new ways of beating it.”

scientists issue urgent appeal for assistance to help them identify new treatments

Dr Kenneth Baillie, the study’s Chief Investigator, said: “We’re appealing for more volunteers from all walks of life to come forward and register. We need to find people who tested positive for COVID but experienced either mild or no symptoms and didn’t require hospital treatment. To maximise the study’s potential, it’s important these volunteers are similar in age, gender and ethnicity of those people who were severely affected and hospitalised.”

Professor Sir Mark Caulfied, Chief Scientist at Genomics England added: “The quicker this research can be completed, the faster we can solve the COVID-19 puzzle and protect vulnerable people.

Genetic research into COVID-19 is now playing an increasingly important role in our fight against the virus, enabling us to identify new forms of the virus and develop treatments.

“The findings from the GenOMICC COVID-19 Study will improve the treatment, care and outcome for those most at risk and lower the number of deaths.”

Dr Nicola Williams, Director of Support and Delivery at Health and Care Research Wales, said: “It’s vital we learn as much as possible about COVID-19 and to do that we need people to volunteer to take part in research. By introducing an appointment booking system, the GenOMICC COVID-19 Study is giving people the opportunity to contribute to potentially life-saving research from their own homes. These contributions can help provide the evidence we need to give all patients the best possible outcome.”

The research project is open to anyone who tested positive to COVID-19 but experienced mild or no symptoms and didn’t require hospital treatment – volunteers can register online here.

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A Llanelli household is hospitalised following reports of an “unknown substance”




REPORTS of an “unknown substance” at a Llanelli property led to a multi-agency operation.

Police, ambulance and the fire service descended on a property in a village, just outside of Five Roads, Llanelli,  following reports of members of the household feeling unwell and the presence of an “unknown substance”.

Three members of the household in Five Roads, Llanelli, Carmarthenshire were taken to hospital as a precaution.

Emergency services were alerted to members of the household feeling unwell and the presence of an ‘unknown substance’ on Sunday, April 11 at 7.30am.

The ambulance service were first on the scene with one rapid response vehicle, four emergency ambulances and the Hazardous Area Response Team and were supported by police and the fire service.

A spokesperson for the Welsh Ambulance Service said: “We were called to a residential property in the village of Five Roads, Llanelli at 7.30am on Sunday, April 11 to reports of three people needing medical attention.

“We responded with one rapid response vehicle, four emergency ambulances and our Hazardous Area Response Team.

“Three patients were taken to Glangwili Hospital, Carmarthen, for further treatment.”

Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service (MAWWFRS) assisted the police and ambulance service, deploying a specialist officer and an Environmental Protection Unit to the property.

The service ventilated the property and remained on the scene until 5.29pm.

A MAWWFRS spokesperson said: “At 7:44am, crews from Llanelli were called to assist the ambulance service and police at an incident in a property in Five Roads, Llanelli.

“An unknown substance was found at the property and its occupants reported feeling unwell.

“The occupants were taken to hospital by the ambulance service.”

“The incident was contained to one property and there were no concerns for the wider community of Five Roads.”

A Dyfed-Powys Police Spokesperson confirmed the force assisted in the multi-operation incident.

A spokesperson said:: “Members of one household in the village were feeling unwell, and were taken to hospital for assessment.

“They were found to have no medical concerns.

“Following examination of the scene by a number of agencies, there was no cause for further investigation into the incident.”

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