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Local residents receive New Year’s Honours

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sian phillips

Award: Sian Phillips

A NUMBER Carmarthenshire residents have received honours this year. Mrs Rosalie Mary James has received an MBE or services to Agriculture in Wales. She is from Llandeilo. In local healthcare, Ms Wendy Angharad Churchouse from Carmarthenshire who is an arrhythmia nurse at Morriston Hospital has received a British Empire Medal for services to cardiac patients in south west Wales. Also in Carmarthenshire, Mrs Erika Walker has received the MBW for voluntary services to the community and Social Enterprises in her home town of Ammanford William Bruce McLernon from Swansea has received the OBE for services to Social Care and Local Government particularly in Carmarthenshire.

A graduate of Durham University, Bruce entered into Public Service with Durham County Council and became Team Leader with Gateshead MBC Social Services Department for an Action Research Project developing personalised care support. In 1986, he went on to be Principal Officer (Mental Health and Learning Disabilities) for West Glamorgan County Council Social Service before taking up the post of Assistant Director (Support Services) in 1988. In 1996, he was appointed Assistant Director (Older People and People with a Physical Disability Services) with the City and County of Swansea. Having spent a further 14 years as Director of Social Care, Health and Housing in Carmarthenshire, Bruce was responsible for creating a new Directorate bringing together Social Services, Housing and Public Protection. Bruce is a Past President of the Association of Directors of Social Service, Cymru and Chaired the Mid and West Wales Health & Social Care Collaborative up until 2014 when he retired from public service.

Council leader Emlyn Dole told The Herald: “I would like to congratulate Bruce on this honour which is very well deserved for all his hard work. As the chair of the health and social care scrutiny committee for two years, I had the pleasure of working with Bruce when he was the director. “He was very easy to work with and was always willing to listen as well as educate. I am delighted that his efforts have been recognised.” In Ceredigion, Mrs Maureen Spowart Davies who is the Secretary of Trustees for the HUTS Workshop bas also received an MBE for voluntary service to people with Mental Health Challenges. She is from Newcastle Emlyn. Also in Ceredigion Miss Valerie Joy Cook has received the British Empire Medal for voluntary service to her local community in Borth. In Pembrokeshire there were two honours. Richard Graham Tovey Honorary Life Member, The Independent Association of Prep Schools, Leamington Spa who lives Haverfordwest received an MBE for services to education.

Pauline Griffiths, the curator at Narberth Museum received a British Empire Medal for services to heritage and the local community. One of Carmarthenshire’s most famous residents says she is overwhelmed with news of her award. Veteran actress Sian Phillips has been recognised in the New Year’s Honours. Phillips, who stole the show in The Archers’ version of Calendar Girls this Christmas, has been made a dame, Buckingham Palace has confirmed. The 82-year-old, who says she has no plans for retirement, is one of Wales’ most successful stage and screen stars and swaps her CBE for a damehood for services to drama. Sian Phillips, who is from Gwaun- Cae-Gurwen, near Ammanford, told reporters: “It’s a very nice thing to happen. When I first heard about it I was a bit overwhelmed – it was totally unexpected. “It’s something I’ve never thought about during my life. I got my first pay check in Wales at the age of 11 and a damehood would have been so remote to me as an ambition at that time and that’s the way it’s stayed. “I just wanted to become an actress and then when I became one I just wanted to get better and better (at the job). I’m not a celebrity – I don’t belong to that culture at all.”

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Llanelli choir in fine voice with £6,677 fundraiser for lifesaving charity

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A SUCCESSFUL Llanelli choir has presented the Wales Air Ambulance with a cheque of £6,677 after nominating them for their charity of the year.

Côr Curiad Choir are no strangers to raising funds for charity – since their musical director Alex Esney took over in 1996/97 the ladies have raised over £105,000 for charity. Some of the good causes that have benefitted from the kind fundraising events include Teenage Cancer Trust, Marie Curie, Ty Bryngwyn Hospice, and the breast cancer unit at Prince Philip Hospital, Llanelli.

The choir, which consists of 46 females and a solitary male – accompanist Craig Oldham and musical director Alex, welcomes people of all ages. The youngest member is in her twenties and the eldest is 91. This includes mothers, daughters and sisters who all sing for Côr Curiad. They even have members who live outside of Wales.

Spokesperson for the choir Pat Hogson, said: “Now that Covid rules have started to relax a little we have been able to return to more outdoor events, but it will be so good to get back to the ‘new’ normal and do what we love most – to sing and entertain people and to start to raise money for charity again.

“We are able to do as much as we do for charity with the wonderful support of our families and friends and a solid group of supporters who come along to all our events.”

The choir’s music has been described by Pat ‘as varied as their age range’, they sing traditional Welsh and English pieces to Bohemian Rhapsody and songs from Disney, Lord of the Rings, Snow Patrol, Abba and Adele.

Wales Air Ambulance offers advanced critical care and is often described as a ‘Flying ED’.

Wales Air Ambulance’s Jane Griffiths with members of Côr Curiad choir

The on-board consultants and critical care practitioners are highly skilled and carry some of the most pioneering medical equipment in the world. They can deliver blood transfusions, administer anaesthesia and undertake emergency operations at the scene of the incident, before flying the patient directly to specialist care.

Now operational 24/7, the Charity needs to raise £8 million every year to keep the helicopters flying.

Last year saw the ladies held their first-ever virtual Christmas concert, which was a huge success in aid of the Wales Air Ambulance.

Katie Macro, Campaigns Manager for the Wales Air Ambulance, said: “Thank you to everyone at Côr Curiad Choir who despite the challenges that Covid presented to them, they found ways to raise funds for our lifesaving charity. Your support is much appreciated, and every donation is vital and goes towards keeping our helicopters in the air – for the people of Wales, when they need us most. Thank you to the choir’s supporter, friends and family who continue to support and enjoy their charity events.”

There are several ways that the public can continue to support the Wales Air Ambulance.

These include online donations, signing up to the Charity’s Lifesaving Lottery or by coming up with their own innovative ways to fundraise at home. Further information can be found via www.walesairambulance.com. 

Alternatively, a £5 text-message donation can be made by texting the word HELI to 70711.

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Four UK forces are piloting a new service to report sexual assault online

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THE NEW online Rape and Sexual Assault reporting service is now live on the websites of British Transport Police, Merseyside Police, Dyfed Powys Police and Leicestershire Police.

It was created by the National Police Chief’s Council’s (NPCC) Digital Public Contact Programme (DPC) and launched on Tuesday 30 November.

The pilot will run for six weeks.

People wishing to report sexual offences have until now been directed to phone police forces, text 61016 in the case of British Transport Police, or dial 999 in an emergency.

If they do not require immediate police assistance, people – regardless of age or if they want to report the crime – will be directed online via their local force website.

They will find advice and details of charities and other organisations that can help. The forces will ask, if the person is willing, for details of what has happened. There is an option to report the offence anonymously. If reported anonymously, the police will only contact that person if there is believed to be an immediate threat to their life.

Det Ch Insp Sarah White from British Transport Police said: “We know from extensive research that there are a number of reasons why survivors and witnesses are not comfortable in reporting sexual offences to the police.

“One of the common factors remains the unwillingness to provide personal details. We understand this and have been working to look at how we can invite greater reporting, which can help us prevent further crimes and bring offenders to justice.

“Every report provides us with valuable information. And if people aren’t comfortable with making that report, then we want them to know how they can get the support and help they need.

“This new service in not only innovative in the way it has been designed – from the ground up in consultation with more than 40 organisations (including Rape Crisis, End Violence Against Women and the Survivors Trust) – but also in the way it is being deployed – online where people, especially younger people, increasingly are.”

When visiting the websites of those forces, options are available to report a sexual offence themselves, on behalf on another person, or as a witness. People can choose to report in English or Welsh.

If the pilot is successful, it will become a permanent reporting feature and will be available for other forces to adopt nationally.

Det Ch Insp White added: “We’re absolutely committed to ensuring our railways are a safe place for people to travel and we hope this is just another tool in our armoury against sexual offending.”

British Transport Police has also been accredited by White Ribbon, committed to ending violence against woman and girls. It recently signed a pledge encouraging all men within the organisation to make a promise to never commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against women.

Detective Superintendent Jayne Butler, Dyfed-Powys Police, said: “As a White Ribbon accredited organisation, committed to ending violence against woman and girls, protecting vulnerable people is a priority for Dyfed-Powys Police and we know how traumatic being the victim of a sexual offence is.

“We encourage victims to come forward to report incidents of this nature so we can thoroughly investigate the crimes whilst ensuring that all victims have the opportunity to be referred for specialist support. The ability to report a sexual offence online will provide another avenue for victims to come forward so we can help them and bring offenders to justice.” 

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New videos launched to support care for children and young patients

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Hywel Dda - Children's services

PARENTS, carers of children and young people are being reminded that they can still access 24/7 minor injury care for children at Withybush General Hospital, or during daytime hours at Tenby Walk-in Centre and Cardigan Integrated Care Centre.

Hywel Dda University Health Board has created a series of new information videos explaining the types of care that we are currently able to provide for children and younger patients following the temporary move of the Paediatric Ambulatory Care Unit (PACU) at Withybush.

Minor injury units can treat adults and children over 12-months of age, with minor injuries such as the following:

Minor wounds
Minor burns or scalds
Insect bites
Minor limb, head, or face injuries
Foreign bodies in the nose or ear

Minor injury units are run by an experienced team of highly skilled specially-trained emergency nurse practitioners, triage nurses and health care support workers. Some are located on main hospital sites, which have emergency departments as well, and others are in community-based health care centres.

Bethan Thomas, an Emergency Nurse Practitioner in the Minor Injuries Unit at Withybush General Hospital, said: “Part of my role frequently involves treating children and young people with minor injuries, and we can do this quite quickly in the emergency department at Withybush so that those patients can return home having been seen and given care.”

Children with serious illnesses or injuries will be seen at Glangwili General Hospital in Carmarthen or Bronglais General Hospital in Aberystwyth. In an emergency, please dial 999.

In the videos, which are available to view on the Health Board’s website, and on social media, Consultant Paediatrician Dr Didi Ratnasinghe also explains what parents need to be aware of and how to access care if their child has a respiratory illness, while fellow Paediatrician Dr Prem Kumar gives an insight into what to expect if your child needs to stay in hospital for treatment.

Emergency medicine Consultant Dr Nicola Drake provides an explanation of other childhood medical emergencies, and when parents need to call 999 for an ambulance to take a child to Glangwili or Bronglais.

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