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Appeal after tragic epilepsy death

Thomas Sinclair

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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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Four charged with conspiracy to supply class A drugs

Carli Newell

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FOUR people have been arrested and charged as part of an investigation into an organised crime gang supplying class A drugs from London to Aberystwyth, Llanelli and Swansea.

Dyfed-Powys Police, with support from The Met Police, carried out warrants at four addresses on July 21, resulting in four arrests.

Mohammed Osman, aged 23, Yonis Mohammed, aged 20, Salman Mohamoud, aged 23 – all from Islington – and Amy Simmons, aged 21, from Dulwich were charged with a total of 12 offences:

  • Mohammed Osman: Two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine,
  • Yonis Mohammed: Two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine.
  • Salman Mohamoud: Conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine
  • Amy Simmons: Conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine.

All four appeared at Llanelli Magistrates’ Court on Friday, July 23, where they were remanded in custody. They are due to appear at Swansea Crown Court for their next hearing on August 20.

The investigation is being carried out by the Ceredigion Serious and Organised Crime Team, Aberystwyth CID and the Operation Orochi command of the Met Police.

Detective Sergeant Steve Jones said: “These four arrests and charges are the result of a coordinated approach to target an organised crime gang we believe is running a county lines operation into the Dyfed-Powys Police force area.

“We will continue to work diligently to disrupt gangs of this kind, to prevent the supply of illegal substances into our community.

“I would like to thank all officers involved, as well as the Met Police for their part in the operation.”

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New children’s play area in Bryn as part of new council housing development

Carli Newell

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A NEW children’s play area has opened in time for the summer holidays in Bryn, Llanelli as part of a new £5.9million council housing development.

Carmarthenshire County Council is building 32 new homes on land close to the Dylan housing estate in Bryn.

The scheme will be made up of 22 two-bedroom homes, four two-bedroom bungalows and six four-bedroom homes and is part of the council’s ongoing drive to deliver more affordable homes across the county. It has been part funded through the Welsh Government’s Affordable Housing Grant.

The development also includes a new children’s play area, funded by the council in partnership with Llanelli Rural Council, which will take over the running and maintenance of the play area on completion.

Executive Board Member for Housing Cllr Linda Evans said: “I am delighted the park has been completed in time for the summer holidays for the local children to enjoy.

“We are committed to delivering more affordable housing across Carmarthenshire and this development will benefit dozens of families in Llanelli, as well as proving much needed facilities for the local community.

“I would like to thank the rural council for collaborating with this us on this and I hope the children are thrilled with it.”

Before designing the play area, the rural council liaised with local schoolchildren to find out what play equipment they wanted at their new park.

Llanelli Rural Council Chairman Cllr Tegwen Devichand said: “The council is delighted to be working in partnership with Carmarthenshire County Council to provide this wonderful new play area for the community.

“The opening of the play area couldn’t have been better timed to coincide with the school holidays. I hope the local children will enjoy the range of challenging play equipment on offer and that they have lots of fun using it over the summer.”

The housing development is due to be completed by the beginning of 2022.

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Burry Port Harbour lighthouse overhaul tops council’s £2million investment

Carli Newell

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A £2MILLION investment in Burry Port Harbour is nearing completion, topped off with the iconic lighthouse getting a fresh lick of paint.

Carmarthenshire County Council is behind a range of improvements to maintain and restore the historic harbour which is one of the county’s most loved and well visited beauty spots.

Restoration of the Grade II listed harbour walls, undertaken under the guidance of CADW, will conclude within the next few weeks.

The council has also been working alongside The Marine Group, which operates the harbour, to improve mooring facilities. They are working closely with fishermen to bid for funding for new commercial pontoon infrastructure.

It will add to investment made over previous years which saw the council spend almost £1.5million on new pontoons, and over £300,000 in maintaining the harbour railings and bridge.

A local operator has agreed a lease for a cafe and public toilets on east side of Harbour, and the refurbishment of the old RNLI harbour office has recently started by The Marine Group (TMG) to create a harbour-side coffee house.

TMG has also invested in a state-of-the-art dredger which arrived at the harbour last autumn. Dredging is well underway and will continue until targeted depths are reached.

Boat lifting equipment and new fuelling points are also planned.

The council has introduced community safety officers to patrol the harbour assisting tourists and local people during the summer months, especially to advise around Covid regulations, as part of a tourism hotspot plan to take care of issues such as parking, litter, street cleansing, enforcement and signage.

Temporary car parking surfacing has also been laid on the east side along with new pay and display facilities ahead of a wider multi-million regeneration plan that will transform the harbour with a mix of housing, commercial and leisure space covering around 13 acres of prime development site.

Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, Executive Board Member for Culture, Sport and Tourism, said: “We are proud of our continued investment in Burry Port Harbour. We are spending millions restoring and maintaining historic features that are much-loved by local people and visitors who come from far and wide to enjoy what the harbour has to offer.

“We continue to work closely alongside The Marine Group and Pembrey and Burry Port Town Council to plan and prioritise works and ongoing maintenance. We are as keen as everyone else to ensure it is well-maintained and continues to be a place people can enjoy.

“We appreciate that there has been some upheaval during these improvement works but we ask people to understand that our investment will make Burry Port Harbour an even better place for the future.”

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