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.
Give someone “the best gift” this Christmas by giving blood in West Wales
A MOTHER who needed in-the-womb blood transfusions during her pregnancy and a man who depends on regular, lifesaving blood donations are encouraging communities across Wales to give “the best gift” this Christmas by donating blood.
The Welsh Blood Service is preparing to face Winter pressures on its services and is hoping their new Christmas campaign, “the best gift” will raise awareness about the importance of donating blood and the lifesaving difference it makes.
Last December over 900 donations of blood and blood products were needed across Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire to provide care to patients at Prince Philip, Withybush, Bronglais and Glangwili hospital.
These donations play a vital role by supporting a range of treatments from helping recovering accident victims and patients with blood cancers to supporting mothers and new-born babies during childbirth.
Blood donations were needed during both pregnancies for mother of two, Shelley Parry. After her own life was saved during her first pregnancy, Shelley received several more blood transfusions directly into her womb to keep her youngest daughter alive.
Shelley explains: “Receiving blood is truly the best gift we have ever received. We’re forever indebted as a family to those who have taken the time to donate. Without the generosity of blood donors, quite simply, we wouldn’t be parents. Thanks to their selfless act, we can look forward to Christmas together as a family.
“It only takes one hour of your time to donate, if you can, please consider donating.”
Also supporting the campaign is blood recipient Giggs Kanias. Since birth, Giggs has received over 1,000 blood transfusions as part of his treatment for beta thalassaemia major, a severe blood disorder. Thanks to blood donors, Giggs is looking forward to celebrating Christmas with his family.
Giggs said: “I am so thankful to the incredible people who give blood. When I’m in hospital, I stare at the bags of blood being transfused into me and always wonder, who is the person that has helped me?
“I know the difference these people have made to my life and I’m so grateful to each and every one of them. Without their generosity, I wouldn’t be here today, I wouldn’t be a dad, or have had the opportunity to see my daughter grow up. Receiving blood is truly the best gift anyone could ever receive.”
Alan Prosser, Director of the Welsh Blood Service, said: “For patients like Giggs, receiving blood will be the best gift they receive this Christmas. It truly is the best gift you can give.
“Blood products have a short shelf life and is needed by hospitals 365 days a year, including Christmas day, to help support patients in need, which is why we can’t stop collecting.”
The Welsh Blood Service provides lifesaving blood products to 20 hospitals across Wales and four Wales Air Ambulance aircraft for use in emergencies.
Alan continues: “It is critical the service prepares. We need to build up blood stocks ahead of a potentially challenging winter, where seasonal illnesses and Covid-19 may exacerbate the usual winter pressures faced by the NHS.
“We are reaching out to communities across Wales to ask them to make a lifesaving blood donation and give “the best gift” this festive season.”
Do something amazing this Christmas. Give someone the best gift. Give blood. If you are aged 17 or over, book to give blood at: www.wbs.wales/Xmas21 or call 0800 252 266 today.
Appointments are available in Pembrokeshire on 7 December and January 6 and 20 in Tenby, 16 December and 27 January in Crymych, 20 December and 17 January in Haverfordwest, 10 January in Letterston Village Hall and 21 January in Milford Haven.
Appointments are available in Carmarthenshire on 10 December in Pontyberum, 29 December and 13 January in Carmarthen, 28 January in Kidwelly Community Hall, 23 and 24 December and 4, 12 and 25 January in Parc Y Scarlets and 31 January in Llandeilo.
Appointments are available in Ceredigion on 14 December in Newcastle Emlyn, 14 January in Aberaeron and 18 January in Lampeter.
Scrub removal at Pembrey to improve dunes for biodiversity
SCRUB provides a splash of greenery in our sandy spaces, but too much scrub smothers the sand dunes and has a devastating effect on the specialist plants and invertebrates which live there.
This winter Natural Resources Wales will be removing non-native, invasive plant species from areas of dune at Pembrey to help wildlife thrive.
The coast around Pembrey is home to 20% of all the plants in Wales and features a large sand dune system. Sand dunes are listed as the habitat type most at risk of biodiversity loss in Europe.
The Dynamic Dunescapes project, funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund and delivered in Wales by Natural Resources Wales (NRW), is working at Pembrey with Carmarthenshire County Council’s Outdoor Recreation Service to improve the condition of these dunes for wildlife.
Some non-native plant species, like the dense scrub plant sea buckthorn, are invasive and they are growing quickly in this dune system – spreading further across large areas of dune each year.
Many of the dunes’ rare and specialist wildlife needs bare sand or low grassland habitat to survive and gets lost under or outcompeted by scrub.
If scrub growth is not controlled, it will cause species like lizards, orchids and dune pansies to suffer and disappear from our sand dunes.
Scrub removal in specifically chosen locations will help to restore the habitat types that these species need, and this work will play a part in ensuring the dunes at Pembrey have a healthy, biodiverse future.
Improving the ecological condition here will increase this coastal landscape’s resilience to other threats, such as extreme weather events and changing conditions brought on by climate change in the future.
The first phase of this work is to take place in Pembrey Country Park around Car Park 8 and the second will take place on the foredunes in front of the Welsh Government Woodland Estate which is managed by NRW.
It is scheduled to begin in the last week of November and will last for two weeks. There will be a temporary closure of Factory Road outside the Country Park for one week – reopening on 5th December.
Ruth Harding, Senior Environment Officer at Natural Resources Wales, said:
“Sea Buckthorn control is important to improve the dune grassland habitats at Pembrey. Carmarthenshire County Council and Natural Resources Wales have carried out this type of habitat management over a number of years which has resulted in restoring the area to a dune grassland rich with different species of plants.
You can best enjoy this during the summer months within the Pembrey Burrows and Saltings Local Nature Reserve. As part of Dynamic Dunescapes, we are now continuing this work, which will result in an overall increase in dune grassland habitat.”
Carmarthenshire County Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for leisure, Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths said:
“Whilst scrub is a valuable habitat it does need management to maintain it in good condition for wildlife. Cutting back the scrub will ensure it does not spread into areas where it is not wanted and or where it can destroy other habitat.”
Dynamic Dunescapes is not the only project working to restore Pembrey’s important sand dunes. The EU LIFE-funded Sands of LIFE project, managed by (NRW), has also been undertaking sand dune management to improve conditions for wildlife in recent years. The two projects work closely to build on and support each other’s work.
Demolition of 4 Tys begins in Tyisha, Llanelli
WORK to demolish the Four Tys housing blocks in Tyisha, Llanelli has started, marking the next exciting step in Carmarthenshire County Council’s plans to Transform the area.
The demolition work is set to be completed by civil engineering contractor Walters over the next 20 weeks and will enable the build of modern, mixed-use housing which meets the needs of the community.
Improvements to existing homes and the creation of community facilities and green spaces will also form part of changes on the horizon for Tyisha.
Cllr Linda Davies Evans, chair of the Transforming Tyisha steering group and cabinet member for housing said: “The demolition of the Four Tys marks an important step in the Transforming Tyisha project. Although this process will evoke powerful memories for many of the people who have lived and worked in Tyisha since the Four Tys were built in the 1960s, their demolition will enable us to provide the housing and facilities that the community needs.
Local residents and businesses who may be impacted by the demolition process will be contacted throughout to ensure minimum disruption.”
This forms a part of the council’s ambitious plans to regenerate the Tyisha ward and the wider Llanelli town centre area which is undergoing massive investment.
The council is also seeking a partner to develop new housing and create a vibrant community. An early market engagement exercise is currently live which gives potential partners the opportunity to express their interest in working with the council to transform the area.
Fresh and innovative ideas for this exciting project can be submitted to the council until December 7.
For more information on the early market engagement process or the council’s Transforming Tyisha regeneration project please visit www.carmarthenshire.gov.uk/tyisha
The demolition of the ‘Four Tys’ forms part of the council’s ambitious Transforming Tyisha project which looks to regenerate the area through increasing community safety, developing housing and community facilities and improving the environment.
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