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Appeal after tragic epilepsy death

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Jen Morris: With Michael, who tragically died following a seizure

Jen Morris: With Michael, who tragically died following a seizure

AN AMMAN VALLEY woman is appealing to others affected by epilepsy to monitor their seizures in a bid to protect their health and wellbeing, following the tragic death of her brother aged just 47.

Jen Morris, from Glanamman, lost her brother Michael in January after he suffered a fatal seizure at his home, despite being fit and healthy.

Michael was diagnosed with epilepsy when he was just 11 years old, but had managed his condition well into adult life and was “totally independent,” Jen said.

She added: “By the time Michael became an adult he hadn’t had a seizure in many years. At one point his doctor even suggested that he might be able to come off the medication, but he decided to keep on it as he was going through a very difficult time in his life.

“We were worried that he would end up having a seizure because of the stress he was under. He came home from work one day and he was due to meet his partner to have dinner, but he never showed up. Unfortunately he was found dead on the floor at home.

“Michael was self-managing his condition and he was totally independent – he was a partner in an estate agency – and he didn’t need anyone checking up on him. He was fit and healthy and was playing football the night before he died.

“The coroner phoned us the next day to say what the cause of death was. I just don’t understand how there was never any warning about it – it came totally out of the blue.

“I’m desperately trying to raise awareness so that people know more about epilepsy, the risks, and the steps that can be taken to reduce the chances of something like this happening.”

Jen’s appeal comes during Epilepsy Awareness Month, which has seen her helping to raise awareness of the Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) Action charity, which cares for the bereaved and works with families and professionals to help save lives.

A useful free app to help people self-manage their condition has been developed by a collaborative in south east England, including Plymouth University; Cornwall Foundation NHS Trust; Royal Cornwall Hospital and SUDEP Action, and is available to download at https://www.sudep. org/epilepsy-self-monitor.

Hywel Dda University Health Board is also doing its bit to help people with epilepsy manage their condition at home by appointing a specialist Sapphire Nurse, Claire Larkin, on a permanent basis.

Claire runs supportive clinics across the health board for people with epilepsy, and provides home visits, care plans and new ways of working to keep people independent at home. She has recently started running clinics in Aberaeron, Tenby, Prince Philip Hospital in Llanelli and Glangwili General Hospital in Carmarthen, where she works alongside a neurologist.

Kathryn Davies, Executive Director of Commissioning, Therapies and Health Science at Hywel Dda University Health Board, added: “Specialist nurses are such an important part of epilepsy care and Claire’s role is proving to be a huge support and help to people with epilepsy across the area.

“This enables the health board to improve our pathway of care for people with epilepsy, and provide more specialist care locally.”

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Station Road: Off-licence refused alcohol licence

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AN OFF-LICENCE on Llanelli’s Station Road has been refused an alcohol licence by Carmarthenshire County Council after councillors decided it could add to the area’s crime and disorder problems.

The Licensing Committee’s decision has been upheld after the applicant, who runs the shop Kubus, appealed to the courts.

The applicant, Aram Mahmood, had asked the council for permission to sell alcohol at his shop between 9am and 9pm Monday to Sunday.

However councillors felt that granting the licence would contravene the authority’s Cumulative Impact Policy, which creates a presumption against the granting of premises licences in the Station Road area, due to anti-social behaviour and alcohol-fuelled crime issues.

A Dyfed Powys Police representative said Station Road is still identified as a crime and disorder hot spot, and a Drinking in Public Places Order (DPPO) is in place.

During April 2017 and March 2018, 164 anti-social behaviour incidents were recorded in Station Road, over a quarter having occurred within licensed premises.

A fifth of all related crime and 13 per cent of all alcohol related anti-social behavior incidents recorded in Llanelli town occurred in Station Road.

Over 40 alcohol related violent crimes were also recorded there during the same period.

Although there are now fewer premises selling alcohol in Station Road, statistics show there is still a high level of alcohol related crime and disorder in the area.

The applicant told the committee that his main customers were families wishing to buy Polish and European foods and products.

He told councillors he had ordered a CCTV system and assured them that the management of alcohol would be well controlled by staff, though believed that his customers would not cause problems.

The licensing committee’s decision was upheld following the applicant’s appeal to Llanelli Magistrates Court.

Justices found that there was no evidence of exceptional reasons to justify departing from the Cumulative Impact Policy and were satisfied with the committee’s decision.

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Cllr Kevin Madge elected as new county council Chairman

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THE new chair of Carmarthenshire County Council said he will work tirelessly during his term of office.

Cllr Kevin Madge, member for Garnant, takes the chain of office whilst celebrating 40 years as a councillor.

Taking the chair, Cllr Madge paid tribute to outgoing chairman Cllr Mansel Charles, member for Llanegwad, saying he had fulfilled his duties with passion.

Cllr Madge will chair the council for the next 12 months, with Cllr Ieuan Davies, member for Llanybydder, as his vice chair, and his wife Catrin as his consort.

“I’m very much looking forward to the year ahead, I will do my best for everyone. I will work tirelessly,” he said.

Cllr Madge has chosen the Trussell Trust, which supports a nationwide network of food banks and emergency food provision for people in crisis, as his Chairman’s Charity of the Year.

The Chair is the first citizen of Carmarthenshire County Council, and is elected at the Annual General Meeting.

Duties include chairing full meetings of the council, representing the council at formal and ceremonial occasions, welcoming visitors to the county, and attending and supporting events organised by local people and organisations.

Cllr Madge has been a county councillor since 1996, and a member of Cwmaman Town Council since 1979.

He also serves as chairman of the Royal British Legion Garnant branch, Garnant Family Centre and Cwmaman Meals on Wheels, and is a member of Amman Valley League of Friends.

He represents the county council on the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, and the Mynydd y Betws Wind Farm Community Fund, and is on the governing body of Ysgol Y Bedol.

A former pupil of Amman Valley School, Cllr Madge has worked in the Amman Valley throughout his life, most recently as agent and researcher to Dr Alan Williams MP until 2001.

A keen football supporter, he has served as chair and president of Cwmaman Football Club and spent 25 years as a Welsh League and Neath and District football referee.

He is married with two children and three grandchildren.

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‘UK Government should work with the Welsh Labour Government on Tata’

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LOCAL Assembly Member Lee Waters and Nia Griffith MP have called on the UK Government to work with the Welsh Labour Government to come up with a deal to protect steel making at Trostre, and across Wales and the UK.

Lee Waters AM met with representatives from Tata Steel on Wednesday to discuss the future for steel making at the plant following the reported collapse of the proposed joint venture with Thyssenkrupp.

During the meeting he stressed the need to protect the entire steel supply chain in Wales, including the high quality jobs at Trostre, and those that depend on its presence in Llanelli.

Lee Waters AM said “It’s clear that the support Welsh Government provided during the crisis of 2016 has been critical in getting extra investment into Port Talbot which will secure the works for years to come. However, Tata is a company run from India, and we simply don’t know what the board will decide about its future strategy. They may well be looking for a new joint venture partner, so we’ll have to vigilant about the implications for our local plants.”

“Tata has said it intends to continue with its existing business plan, and honor commitments made to the Trade Unions, so Nia and I will be keeping a close eye to make sure that happens.”

Welsh Government has been in active discussions with Tata steel following the collapse of the merger with Thyssenkrupp. In a written statement and during questions on Wednesday, the Welsh Government committed to invest in Welsh steel to protect its future and is looking at a range of measures to assist on energy costs, business rates and procurement of steel for public sector contracts.

Lee Waters AM said “The Welsh Government have given significant support to the steel industry here but it can’t do everything, and we now need the UK Government to work with them to ensure a future for skilled work in the steel industry in Llanelli and elsewhere in Wales.”

Nia Griffith AM said ““This latest news from Tata means yet more uncertainty for steelworkers. Their announcement about keeping Port Talbot is a start, but now we need real commitment from Tata on Trostre.

“We also need close cooperation from the company with the Trade Unions. Lee Waters AM and I will be urging the UK Government to follow Welsh Government in doing everything possible to secure the future of our steel industry.”

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