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MOD blast victim relives the experience

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Presenting the cheque for over £1,000: To Wales Air Ambulance

Presenting the cheque for over £1,000: To Wales Air Ambulance

HUW WILLIAMS, AKA Panther, was caught in an explosion, which occurred at an MOD site in Llangennech almost one year ago. Little was written or presented in the news about the accident at the time.

The Herald caught up with Huw at the Castle Inn in Llangennech one year on from the accident, where he was about to hand over over £1,000 to the Air Ambulance Service, who he says were prominent in saving his life.

Huw told The Herald what he remembered about the terrible accident, which caused irreparable damage and changed his life.

“I was blown up at Unit 21 at the MOD in Llangennech. I was working with chemicals and it all went up. I was blown back and, when I came to, my leg was facing me, having been blown off. It was held on by skin which had stretched and twisted. It was horrible. I was lying there full of burns.

“How I came out of it is a mystery. The fire brigade boys dragged me out. I remember laying there shouting for someone to throw a bucket of water over me. There was a young chemist standing a distance away at the time and he was blown back out of the building. I was taken to Morriston Hospital by Air Ambulance.”

Huw spoke about the quick actions of the Fire Service and Dr Rhys Thomas, who he says saved his life and ensured that his leg was saved.

“Dr Thomas was there in minutes and he had had experience with the troops in Afghanistan, so he knew exactly what to do. He is an ex-army doctor and told me he thought that he had left all this behind. God was on my side that day and he was there. They did a fantastic job at Morriston and they managed to save my leg by putting pins through what was left.”

Speaking about the role the Wales Air Ambulance played and how grateful he was to them, Huw said: “The Air Ambulance was in Swansea at the time. I just wanted to say thank you to the Air Ambulance and to Dr Rhys Thomas, who saved my life. We have a gardening club here at the Castle in Llangennech and, together with the Turnstyle and the Royal Oak in Felinfoel, we have raised the money. My partner and my children and friends have been amazing. I couldn’t get over how many people came to visit me in hospital and I would like to thank them all.”

We asked Huw what kind of impact the accident has had on his way of thinking and living.

He said: “It has been massive. It has changed my life altogether, especially the deafness. I was an avid sportsman and all that has changed. Hopefully I can make some form of recovery. I have had a second chance really. I was thinking that I would not see my two boys again. I remember thinking that I have had a good life so far and that was it, I was going to die.

“We all make promises that we will do things differently after something traumatic. I do get flashbacks and nightmares, especially if I see or hear things on TV. I can empathise with the soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq, etc. I can envisage exactly what they have gone through, having been in such a big explosion.”

Huw was optimistic about the future and even spoke about plans to one day go up in the Air Ambulance.

“I am hoping to go up in the Air Ambulance some time. I have met Dr Thomas again and he said he was surprised that I survived.

“I am still receiving treatment and I do get setbacks but I still have my eyes. Thank God I put my safety glasses on.

“My face was a hell of a mess. I am trying to get back to some normality, whatever that is. It is going to take a long time but the main thing is that I survived and I am here for my family.”

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Llanelli bus depot to close after 100 years

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THE LLANELLI HERALD understands that the Llanelli Bus Depot at Inkermans Street will be closing its gates for good. 

The Bus Depot has served the local community for approximately 100 years, Drivers will now be sent to work from depots in Carmarthen, Swansea and Tycroes. 

All services will remain in the the town, this newspaper can confirm, and our reporter was told that there will not be any redundancies. 

One bus driver told us that he and he co-workers were “not completely happy”, but the unnamed source added “At least we still have jobs to go to.” 

Further updates are expected on this developing story.

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Two week national ‘Firebreak Lockdown’ announced for Wales from 6pm on Friday

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MARK DRAKEFORD, The First Minister of Wales has announced a two week ‘fire break’ lockdown from Friday October 23 at 18:00 HRS, to last until Monday November 9 at 00:01 HRS

Mr Drakeford said: “This firebreak is the shortest we can make it. It must be sharp and deep in order to have the impact we need it to have on the virus.”

All non essential businesses, including tourism businesses will be told to close.

Businesses have been told that they will be given £1000 each automatically to help with the economic impact of the shutdown.

Mr Drakeford added that children will be the priority and that childcare facilities will open as normal. Primary schools will open after half term.

Secondary schools will be closed for a week after half term to help control the virus.

Universities will offer a mixture of face-to-face learning and learning via video link. Students must stay at their university accommodation during the lockdown.

Responding to the Welsh Government’s announcement of a Wales-wide lockdown, Paul Davies MS, the Leader of the Opposition in the Welsh Parliament, has called the lockdown “not-proportionate” and is calling on the Welsh Government to be “open and transparent” on the evidence to support a lockdown and if the First Minister is committing Wales to rolling Wales-wide lockdowns every month.

Paul Davies MS said: “Sadly, the First Minster has failed to get public support for this second Wales-wide lockdown, failing to be open and transparent about the evidence to justify this lockdown and what his actions will entail for the future.

“The Welsh Government also has to be honest that this road they are taking us down is committing Wales to rolling Wales-wide lockdowns. This is not a two-week break to solve the pandemic, it is likely that we will see regular lockdowns across the rest of the year. The Welsh Government must be clear what actions they are taking during the lockdown to prevent further Wales-wide lockdowns which will have a significant impact on people’s lives and livelihoods.

“However, the main concern is that this national lockdown is not proportionate. The impact on businesses in areas such as Powys, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion, who have the lowest rate of Covid-19 cases in Wales, will be severe at a time when they are desperately struggling to recover from the pandemic so far this year.

“The First Minister needs to urgently come to the Welsh Parliament and answer these questions, to face effective scrutiny by elected representatives and not run his government by media.”

Preseli Pembrokeshire MP, Stephen Crabb told The Herald: “The evidence to support an all-Wales lockdown is weak and I am sceptical that this so-called ‘fire-break’ will tackle the situation in those parts of Wales where infection rates have been out of control. The key issue for Welsh Government to address is what will be done differently after the firebreak ends in those parts of Wales where infection rates have spiralled out of control. Otherwise the whole of Wales risks being dragged back into a series of rolling lockdowns.

“As we saw earlier in the year, lockdowns come with huge costs in terms of harm to the economy and to people’s emotional and mental wellbeing. With the Welsh Government asking UK Government to fund this lockdown, I hope that as many businesses as possible get support they need quickly. Pembrokeshire’s hospitality businesses will be hit particularly hard by these latest restrictions and I will be fighting hard again to see that they are protected as the lockdown kicks in.”

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Drakeford to make decision on ‘fire-break’ lockdown in Wales by Monday

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WALES is facing a national lockdown lasting at least two weeks in plans described as a “fire-break” by the first minister.

He said a decision was likely to be made on Monday, while talks continue with health officials, scientific advisors and councils over the weekend.
“Doing nothing is not an option,” he said.

Responding to the speculation First Minister, Mark Drakeford, is set to announce a ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown in Wales, Welsh Conservative health spokesperson, Andrew RT Davies MS said: “I implore the First Minister to think again before heading down this path.

“The decision to lockdown Wales once again will have devastating consequences – from an economic and public health perspective – and should be the last resort.

“Only yesterday, the former director of communicable diseases at Public Health Wales, Dr Roland Salmon, said a circuit-breaker is likely to fail and the Welsh Labour Government should listen carefully to his warning.

“Earlier this week, Welsh Conservatives called for the urgent resumption of shielding in Wales with a substantial package of support to ensure the financial, physical and mental well-being of those most at risk is protected.

“This should be the immediate action taken by ministers along with prioritising PPE and testing in the problem areas in Wales such as hospitals, care home, universities and meat factories.

“It’s not too late for the Labour Government to reconsider and choose a different approach in Wales.”

Mr Drakeford warned that 2,500 people were now being infected with coronavirus every day in Wales, with critical care units in hospitals full.

“A successful fire-break would re-set the virus at a lower level,” he added.

Together with a new national set of rules for the whole of Wales after the fire-break period we would have slowed the virus down enough to get us through to Christmas.”
Plaid Cymru has been calling on Mr Drakeford to introduce the circuit-breaker without delay, while Labour at Westminster says a similar approach should be adopted in England.

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