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Carmarthenshire MP regrets loss of dedicated police helicopter

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Police chopper X99 (Pic: Mike Hillen/Herald)

Police chopper X99 (Pic: Mike Hillen/Herald)

THOSE responsible for the loss of the dedicated police helicopter for Dyfed Powys should “hang their heads in shame” – that was the comment of Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards who has spoken on the day the Dyfed Powys police helicopter ceased operations.

 
Taking to Twitter on New Year’s Eve, the official account of helicopter support unit tweeted “After 20+ illustrious years it is now time for X99 to bow out, can we thank everyone for their support and we wish you all a Happy New Year.”
Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan Edwards

In November the Police and Crime Commissioner, Christopher Salmon, confirmed he would be signing-up the force to the centralised National Police Air Service (NPAS) which will see the force helicopter sold off, the Pembrey base used as a refuelling site, and response times for most of Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion significantly increased.

Carmarthen East and Dinefwr MP Jonathan Edwards, who has spearheaded the campaign to protect the helicopter, thanked crews past and present for their work in policing the skies of Dyfed Powys and said the Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner would “feel the profound anger” of residents if there is a single problem with the new centralised service in future.
Jonathan Edwards MP said: “The previous UK Conservative and Lib Dem coalition government brought in the legislation that instructed police forces to share air support operations.  It’s hardly surprising that Westminster’s dead hand of centralisation ignited the process by which our helicopter was lost.
“But the final nail in the coffin, as we all now know, was that the local Police Commissioner did not oppose the loss of our dedicated service.  For the helicopter to have any chance of continuing it needed a Commissioner that was prepared to stand up to his own party colleagues and fight for it.

“All of those responsible for the helicopter hanger closing its doors for the last time should hang their heads in shame.

“On behalf of those who have opposed the helicopter loss I wish to state my heartfelt thanks to the crew and former crews for their sterling work in our skies.

“The last thing I want is for this to become a ‘lessons will be learnt’ or an ‘I told you so’ situation.  I sincerely hope the new service will deliver the same level of support and operation we’ve experienced over the last 20 years.

“If it doesn’t, if there is a single problem, if just one request for helicopter cover is refused as has already been experienced in England, then the Police Commissioner will undoubtedly feel the profound anger of Dyfed Powys residents.”

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How Wales created 19 new field hospitals in less than 8 weeks…

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Across Wales the Welsh Government is supporting the NHS to create new field hospitals and rapidly increase bed capacity.
Health boards have repurposed existing buildings, including the Principality Stadium, a holiday park and even a television studio to provide an additional 6,000 beds.Field hospitals are designed to support the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic by providing extra bed capacity but they will also help normal hospital services be restarted and support social care services.Last month, the first patients were admitted to Ysbyty Calon y Ddraig at the Principality Stadium, in Cardiff.

Four to six weeks

Here is how Wales almost doubled its bed capacity in less than eight weeks…The time it has taken to nearly double hospital bed capacity in Wales, creating field hospitals across the nation.

19 field hospitals in Wales
This includes the repurposing of Bluestone Holiday Park and Parc y Scarlets in west Wales and Venue Cymru in north Wales.

1,500 beds at the Ysbyty Calon y Ddraig
Making it one of the largest field hospitals in the UK.

Five days
The length of time it took to plan Ysbyty Calon y Ddraig, which overlapped with the build phase.

3,000
The number of planning hours, involving more than 20 different disciplines, it took to plan Ysbyty Calon y Ddraig.

£166m
Welsh Government funding for the set up, construction and equipment for field hospitals in Wales.

138,000
The number of pieces of equipment have been provided to help support field hospitals, including beds, imaging equipment, syringe drivers and medicines.

Three North Wales field hospitals have the name Enfys
Meaning rainbow – the symbol of hope and thank you to the NHS during the pandemic.
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7-year-old Mattie from Pembrey takes on home Pen y Fan-tastic challenge for Action for Children

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Plucky Mattie Denman will climb the equivalent of Pen y Fan in the drive at her family home in Pembrey on Friday 22nd May to raise funds for Action for Children.

Mattie (7), has always wanted to climb the highest mountain in South Wales and is unable to currently because of the coronavirus pandemic.  As the family exercise at home every day, she decided she wanted to do the 6-mile equivalent journey there while she waits for the chance to do it for real.  Mattie chose Action for Children as her mother, Sian, works for the charity in Carmarthenshire.

Mattie said: ‘My Mammy works for Action for Children and I want to help as well because lots of families need help.  My older brother and sister help Action for Children, so I asked Mammy if I could do something. We exercise everyday walking up and down the drive and I have always wanted to climb Pen y Fan, but we have never done it.

‘Mammy said I could pretend I am walking it and people will give money to the charity. I said brilliant, that is what I am going to do and I am super excited to do it. I will use mammy’s step counter and I hope I can help children that need support especially because it is so hard for some families because of coronavirus.’

Proud mum and family support practitioner for Action for Children, Sian, added: ‘Mattie has a lovely heart and really wanted to do something and I’m very proud she chose Pen y Fan as her home challenge.  Action for Children has been going the extra mile during the coronavirus pandemic continuing to support vulnerable families through phone and video sessions as well as food and help with the basics from our Emergency Appeal Fund. 

‘It is a tremendously challenging time for our families and every bit of money will directly help those in our communities who need it most.  I hope as many people as possible will donate to Mattie’s brilliant fundraising effort, it’ll make it even more special when we finally get to climb Pen y Fan for real.’

If you want to support Mattie’s Pen y Fan challenge please go to: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mattiesclimb

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Housebuilder launches Coronavirus move in package

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A South Wales housebuilder has launched new incentives which mean homes are ‘ready to move into’ during the Covid-19 crisis – without the need for tradespeople or delivery people.

People in Wales are allowed to move into new build houses during the lockdown – and many people have successfully done so.

However, the limitations of social distancing can add extra stress when it comes to having things like dishwashers, washing machines and turf installed in the new property.

That’s why Persimmon Homes West Wales has launched a new incentive package which gives purchasers the chance to buy a house with white goods and flooring already in place.

Sharon Bouhali, sales director at Persimmon Homes West Wales, said: “Our sales advisors have done a terrific job in talking with customers and guiding them through the buying process remotely, without the need of face-to-face meetings.

“It’s been a huge challenge, but we’ve risen to it – and Persimmon has sold more than 120 properties in South Wales during the lockdown period. We have customers moving into their new homes every week.

“But, understandably, some people are cautious about having too many tradespeople and contractors enter their home, even if they are doing their utmost to abide by social distancing rules.

“That’s why we have launched these new packages which mean people can turn the key, unpack and get on with enjoying their new home.”

The package includes carpets and vinyl throughout, turf in the back garden, sliding wardrobes, integrated fridge freezer, integrated washer/dryer, integrated dishwasher and £500 discount towards removal fees.

The deal is on offer at Glas Y Felin in Bridgend, Parc Yr Onnen in Carmarthen, The Bridles in Llanelli, Peterson Park in Pontyclun, Parc Brynderi in Llanelli and Allt Y Celyn in Rhos.

Persimmon’s marketing suites in Wales remain closed for the time being. Visit www.persimmonhomes.com or call 01792 229800 for details of homes available.

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