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Badgers saved in ‘bizarre’ situation at canal wall

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AN RSPCA officer has labelled helping two badgers trapped on a ladder in a Torfaen canal as “the most bizarre and unusual” day in her 15 years on the frontline. 

The animal welfare charity teamed up with firefighters from the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service to help two badgers, who had – unfathomably – got stuck between metal steps and the wall, on Pentre Lane over the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal in Cwmbran.

Video footage captures the badger’s plight and the moments they were saved.

RSPCA Cymru was called, with rescue officer Sian Burton and inspector David Milborrow rushing to the scene. They enlisted the support of the fire service as they sought to help the trapped badgers. The rescue took place on Friday (5 February).

A large animal rescue team from the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service attended, and abseiled down the canal wall, with their ropes tied to an RSPCA van for security. Inspector Milborrow got hold of one of the badgers using a grasper – while firefighters held nets below him for extra security.

The second badger jumped into the water as the first was rescued – causing “serious concern” for the RSPCA. However, the badger then, amazingly, climbed up the ladder and into reach of the grasper, where he was also pulled to safety.

Both badgers have now come into the care of the RSPCA for a period of rehabilitation before an anticipated return to the wild.

ARO Burton said: “Without doubt, this was the most bizarre and unusual day of my 15 years spent on the frontline for animals. These poor badgers were stuck fast between the ladder and high wall, with no route to escape and the canal waters below them.

“Fortunately, we were able to reach the badgers with a grasper, as firefighters abseiled down the wall and looked to usher the animals towards safety. After we got the first badger, the other fell in the water – which did cause us some serious concern. But he got out of the water – and climbed up the ladder, and we soon grabbed him too.

“Both badgers are a bit rough, and have some cuts – so have come into our care for some rehabilitation. We really hope we can release them back to the wild soon. 

“We’re so grateful to the member of the public who spotted them – and the incredible firefighters and large animal rescue team from the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service. It’s a great advert of what we can achieve together for animal welfare.”

The badgers had initially been spotted by local resident Mandy Williams, who sounded the alarm after her dogs – Tara and Bella – showed an unusual amount of interest in what was happening at the canal wall.

Mandy said: “Last week, my dogs had spotted a squirrel at the canal – and when Tara went back there, I assumed she wanted to have another look. But then Bella ran over too, so I had a look myself – and was shocked to see two badgers staring back at me, trapped between the wall and metal ladder steps.

“They were wedged stuck and tightly together. I contacted the RSPCA – and waited with the badgers while they came. Occasionally, one would become loose and they’d fight a bit – so I did my best to reassure them.

“I don’t know if it’s because it is particularly slippy – meaning they’d fallen in, but both badgers were trapped and sadly without help there was no chance of escape from the canal. 

“The fire brigade and RSPCA staff were absolutely marvellous – and I’m so happy to hear both badgers are doing okay and are now in safe hands.”

A spokesperson for the South Wales Fire & Rescue Service added: “It was lovely to work with the RSPCA on this rescue. It was a once in a lifetime experience, not only did we have the opportunity to save one badger, but two. We’re pleased we were able to support the RSPCA in rescuing them before they are returned to the wild.”

Should you wish to help the RSPCA with their rescue work, you can donate online.

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17-year-old rescue dog finds love again

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17 Year Old Duke

A GOLDEN OLDIE who is over 100 years old in dog years finally knows what love is after being rescued by the RSPCA.

Akita Duke – who is 17 years old or 104 in dog years – was rescued by police and taken in by the RSPCA in August after he was left inside a property in South Wales.

Inspector David Milborrow was called to the home on 23 August by South Wales Police who found the dog in poor health. Duke was taken in by the RSPCA’s South Cotswolds branch.

Haley Medlock – digital and community fundraiser for Cotswolds Dogs and Cats Home – said: “Poor Duke was in quite a state when he arrived here. He was underweight and very unsteady on his legs. He was suffering from severe muscle loss, knuckling of his hind limbs and sores on his back legs. Walking is a real struggle for him.

“Despite all of this, he is full of love and adores cuddling up to our staff and snoozing in the sunshine. Realistically we don’t know how long this lovely lad has left but we’re determined to ensure his final weeks or months are the best they can be.”

The team placed him up for adoption or fostering but had no interest in him due to his age and his failing health. That is until first-time fosterers Kate* and her family got in touch to offer him a foster home to live out his days.

Kate said: “We lost our dog in January and when we saw Duke’s advert on Facebook we were so sad that he hadn’t had any applications. We felt every dog deserves a loving home, especially in those later years and, being a vet student studying at home, I felt we could offer him a suitable home.

“He’s getting on so well and settled in straight away. His personality is really coming through now, he’s doing much better with his mobility around the house and he barks when we get his harness out for a walk. He gets so excited when my parents come home from work and wags his tail.

“Considering all he’s been through it is lovely to see that he can still trust people and that’s testament to the work of the RSPCA and his wonderful carers at Cotswolds Dogs and Cats Home.”

“Duke is so happy in his new foster home and is loving the home comforts and attention he deserves,” Haley added. “We can’t thank his new family enough for providing him with a safe and loving space to enjoy life.

“Now we’re looking for wonderful supporters to sponsor Duke and help him in his new home. He has costly daily pain relief, medication for his joints and cream to treat his sores. We’d also like to buy him a high-quality harness and walking aid to help him get back on his paws.

“The cost of his ongoing care is expected to be around £550 so we’re appealing to local people who have followed his story and fallen in love with this old lad to help us support him so he can have the best retirement possible.”

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Small Grants Scheme launched by Police and Crime Commissioner aimed at reducing acquisitive crimes in Llanelli

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Police and Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn has today launched the Safer Street small grant scheme for projects aimed at reducing acquisitive crimes.

Up to £2000 is available through the scheme for charities, voluntary organisations and community groups in part of the Elli Tyisha wards of Llanelli. (Map of eligible area is available in guidelines document – link below.)

The small grants scheme is part of the Safer Streets initiative whereby funding was secured earlier this year by the Police and Crime Commissioner in partnership with Carmarthenshire Safer Communities Partnership from the Home Office.

The funding will support the development of projects that have a direct impact on these local communities in Elli and Tyisha that will make residents feel safer and reduce demand on the police.

In 2020, Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn launched a small grants scheme for an area in Glanymor and another area of the Tyisha ward of Llanelli.  Following this additional funding from the Home Office, the Commissioner is now able to launch a separate grants scheme for part of the Elli and Tyisha wards.

Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said; “I am delighted to announce this additional small grant fund today that is part of the Safer Street funding scheme that I secured earlier this year.

“Ensuring the security and safety of residents is a priority of mine – everyone deserves to live safely, and free from harm.

“Acquisitive offences are the crimes that the public are most likely to encounter, and they are estimated to cost society billions of pounds every year. There is strong evidence that these crimes can be prevented by tactics that either remove opportunities to commit crime or act as a deterrent by increasing the chances of an offender being caught.

“I have invested significantly in the area over recent years with community grants I made available in addition to the new CCTV system that is in place across the town. This new additional funding will further build upon my work over recent years and I hope the residents will feel a positive difference in their communities.”

Cllr Ann Davies, Executive Board Member for Communities and Rural Affairs and Chair of the Safer Community Partnership said: “The Council and Safer Communities Partnership are really pleased to have been able to work with the Police and Crime Commissioner on securing this funding. We are delighted to be part of this initiative to help our residents be safer and feel safer, building on our ongoing work in these communities to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour. 

“The Partnership is made up of local partners that all aim to make Carmarthenshire safer, including the Council, Police, Fire and Rescue Service, Probation and Health. We will be happy to support local organisations to help us all achieve that aim, so please contact us with your ideas before 17 September.”

Closing date for applications is the 17th of September. Funding guidelines and application form can be downloaded from the Police and Crime Commissioner’s website here.

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Ray’s Renal Ray of Sunshine Run

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LYNDON and Alfie-Ray Rees from Llanelli had set themselves a challenge of running an Ultra Marathon, “Ray’s Renal Ray of Sunshine Run” on May 29 2021 in memory of Raymond Bolton a “larger than life” character that would always bring light and happiness wherever he went. 

A Llanelli man who doted on his family and was loved and respected by so many.

Ray worked down the mines in Cynheidre as an electrician and loved nothing more than building and flying model aircrafts in his spare time.

Ray made such an impact on everyone’s lives. A father figure to his niece, due to their close relationship she named her youngest son, Alfie-Ray. As a mark of respect Alfie-Ray, aged 12, wanted to run an Ultra Marathon of 31 miles on May 29 2021 for the Renal Unit that supported Ray through his treatment. 

All the staff at the unit could not speak highly enough of Ray, he was so full of sunshine and laughter he made a lasting impression on everyone he met. Ray sadly passed away in March this year and Alfie-Ray wishes to honour his memory.

Lyndon and Alfie-Ray Rees (12 years of age) completed the Ultra Marathon in 6 hours, 32 minutes and 40 seconds. The run started and finished at Llanelli Leisure Centre.

The first part of the route involved running from Llanelli Leisure Centre along the coastal path to Pembrey, before running back to Llanelli Leisure Centre.

The second part of the route took them up the Path of Doom which is the old Mynydd Mawr Railway Line in Cynheidre before reaching Tumble and this was the turning point before they made their way back to Llanelli Leisure Centre to finish the run.

The weather was kind to us on Saturday and what a special way to remember and celebrate the life of the much-loved Raymond Bolton. This father and son partnership faced this epic challenge head on and their determination and self-belief allowed them to achieve their goal.

Furthermore, the charity’s motto is “Believe in Yourself, both Lyndon and Alfie–Ray are shining examples of what you can achieve if you put your mind to it.

Alfie-Ray, Anna Powell and Lyndon

Organisers would like to say a huge thank you to Llanelli Leisure Centre, First in Events, Daisy’s Little Coffee Shop, Picton Sports, Waunwyllt Inn, Hidden Carmarthenshire, Morrisons Llanelli, and Glangwili Hospital for all their donations and support for the Ultra Marathon.

The cheesecake at Daisy’s Little Coffee shop was a much needed sugar boost on the Ultra Marathon Route which fuelled Lyndon and Alfie-Ray to complete the run in record time.

Alfie-Ray, aged 12, said: “I was very nervous building up to the event and I knew it was a huge challenge. I started well and I felt strong but as the miles racked up so did the fatigue.

“The last 3 miles were the hardest it took all my mental strength to finish, but I was not going to let “Uncle Ray” down. Although I was visualising what I would be eating at the end of the race I was so exhausted I couldn’t eat my food. After a good night’s sleep, I more than made up for it the following day”.

Lyndon, father of Alfie-Ray, said: “Needless to say, I am very proud of Alfie-Ray and all of his achievements, however this takes it to another level. Alfie- Ray had a very good idea of what discomfort was ahead of him, but he dug deep and pushed on.

“Even I was shocked with the ease in which he covered the 31 miles”.

Anna Powell, Children and Youth Community Engagement Officer, said: “It has been an absolute pleasure to work with Lyndon, Alfie-Ray and the Rees Family.

“I am in awe of Alfie-Ray completing an Ultra Marathon at the age of 12, because the majority of adults would not even attempt it. Uncle Ray would be so proud of his achievement and what a positive way to remember him and celebrate his life”.

Lyndon and Alfie-Ray would like to thank everyone who has donated to date and they have raised £610 (and counting). It will make a huge difference to the Renal Unit in Glangwili Hospital.

There is still time to donate to this fantastic cause please click the link below : https://localgiving.org/fundraising/RaysRenalRayofSunshineRun/

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