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Fishguard: Town’s lifeboat in Christmas Day rescue drama

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Fishguard all-weather lifeboat

Fishguard all-weather lifeboat

A PAGER alarm call brought an abrupt end to Christmas Day celebrations for several of Fishguard RNLI’s crew members. A yacht en-passage from Porthmadog to Cardiff had made VHF radio contact with HM Coastguard requesting urgent assistance.

The 30-foot yacht ‘Sheena‘ was failing to make any headway on its route south as it battled the very demanding sea conditions. The two yachtsmen aboard – and their dog – were becoming overwhelmed as daylight failed and winds they were heading into began to strengthen.

Fishguard RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat launched at 4.00pm with a full complement of volunteer crew after the Coastguard’s request to do so and sped to the yachts reported position some 35 miles north-north-east of Fishguard. Once on scene attempts were made to attach a towline but the dark and appalling conditions rendered this impossible as the two yachtsmen were incapacitated and unable to assist the lifeboat crew.
Brave volunteer crewman Ben John, the hero of the day, was then skillfully transferred onto the yacht and managed to establish the towline onto the bow of the heaving yacht and the lifeboat then commenced the demanding tow towards the coast in the hope of obtaining a degree of shelter from the worsening conditions.
At the time, now nearing 8.00pm, the seas were very rough with 50 knot wind strengths being recorded. The stricken yacht began to take on water and the decision was made by the lifeboat’s Coxswain Paul Butler to head for Newquay harbour. Newquay RNLI were contacted by HM Coastguard and their in-shore lifeboat came out to rendezvous with the Fishguard lifeboat and in the more sheltered waters of the harbour the yacht was able to make its own way to a safe anchorage under Newquay RNLI’s escort. Once all was well the Fishguard lifeboat headed out to sea once again and pounded its way back home, arriving at 11.00pm.
Coxswain Paul Butler had nothing but praise for his crew. He told The Herald: ‘I am very proud of the dedication shown by our crew this Christmas. They left family, hearth and home at this special time of the year and were all willing to head into the middle of Cardigan Bay, in failing light and rough sea conditions, to go to the assistance of two yachtsmen in danger. The crew train and train, week after week, and never fail to come up with the goods when required. This Christmas Day they were exceptional in very demanding conditions. I would also like to convey our thanks to our Newquay colleagues for their invaluable assistance and support.’
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Further delay to Universal Credit in Ceredigion

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BEN LAKE MP for Ceredigion has expressed his concerns following a recent announcement by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that the roll-out of the government’s controversial benefit payment, Universal Credit, will be fully rolled-out across Ceredigion in December 2018.

The payment, which is set to replace longstanding benefits such as Income Support, ESA and Working Tax Credits, had initially been set to become active in Ceredigion in September 2018, however recent documentation shows the date has now been moved back to December 2018.

Ben Lake MP has expressed his concern that a roll-out in December 2018 will hit families and vulnerable people at the most difficult time of year.

Ben Lake MP said: “I welcome the news that the UK Government have decided to delay the roll-out of Universal Credit in Ceredigion, I hope that this will allow the Government an opportunity to address and resolve many of the well-publicised issues associated with the payment. There have already been significant problems with the roll-out of the new regime in other areas, however, the proposed timing of December for its roll-out in Ceredigion is particularly problematic.

“With the Christmas celebrations, cold weather, and lengthy holiday periods, December can often be a difficult month financially for many families and individuals. I have significant concerns therefore that the full introduction of Universal Credit in Ceredigion will not only see claimants put under additional financial strain, but that it will coincide with a period when many of the support services available will be disrupted due to the festive holidays.”

“I have since written to the Department of Work and Pensions expressing such concerns.”

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Share experiences of sexual harassment to help police

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PEOPLE who have been subject to sexual harassment are encouraged to share their experiences to help understand the scale of the problem in communities across Wales.

Dyfed-Powys Police is taking part in a country-wide campaign, which urges anyone who has been subject to sexual harassment to say when and where the incident took place, as well as how it made them feel, anonymously through an online survey.

The results will be used to challenge and change the culture of misogyny and sexual harassment, so people can feel safe to live their lives without fear of harassment.

Dyfed-Powys Police Assistant Chief Constable Richard Lewis said: “Sexual harassment is simply unacceptable – it doesn’t matter who it comes from or where it happens, it should not be tolerated by anyone in society.

“We are committed to making sure everybody feels safe in their community, and has the freedom to make life choices without fear of sexual harassment. We want people to be able to access every area of society with confidence, from sports facilities and workplaces, to public transport or pubs and clubs.

“By taking part in this survey, you will help us to understand the scale of the problem in communities across Dyfed-Powys Police, which will enable us to listen to those affected by sexual harassment and to make a real difference in the future.”

To take part in the survey, visit https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/SWPCOM

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Proposed salmon byelaws to be postponed until 2019

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NEW fishing byelaws have been proposed which will make it mandatory for fishermen to release all salmon caught in Welsh rivers.

The procedures for introducing new byelaws are protracted and Natural Resources Wales wishes to avoid uncertainty for fishermen by delaying implementation of approved new measures until the 2019 fishing season.

The proposed all Wales byelaws, which include restrictions on fishing methods to help the survival of released fish and reduced net fishing seasons, are currently being considered by Welsh Government.

Dave Mee, Senior Fisheries Advisor for NRW, said: “At the moment timescales for a decision are uncertain, so we are proposing that introduction of any new measures should be postponed until the beginning of the 2019 rod and net seasons.

“We hope this will help clarify the situation for anglers, netsmen, fishery owners and clubs and associations.”

Welsh salmon stocks remain in a perilous condition. Although the mandatory catch and release proposals have proved unpopular with anglers, NRW firmly believes that they, along with other measures such as tackling agricultural pollution, improving water quality and managing the potential threats from predators are vital for the future survival of these iconic fish.

Peter Gough, Principal Fisheries Advisor for NRW added: “This delay is a pragmatic solution to resolving current uncertainty.

“However, it is important to note that this does not mean there will be further debate on the subject as NRW has concluded its position and the case for further controls has been made and presented to Welsh Government and it remains unchanged.

“Protection of the breeding resources of these wonderful fish is a fundamental part of our work to manage this important natural resource sustainably.”

This season, fishermen are again being asked by NRW to practice full restraint and ensure conservation of fish stocks by voluntarily releasing all the salmon they catch in 2018.

Dave explained: “Our salmon stocks are in serious trouble and have fallen to historically low levels and the same is true of about half of our sea trout stocks.

“Neither species can sustain uncontrolled killing of fish and so we are again asking all anglers to release all of their salmon.

“Most anglers are already voluntarily releasing the fish they catch, but some are not. We feel the situation is now so serious for salmon that we must ask all anglers to help preserve as many fish as possible by returning all their salmon.

“It’s also very important to take great care of returned fish. Fishing methods and tackle should be used that ensure fish have a high probability of survival, they should always be kept in the water while unhooking to ensure they can swim away strongly.”

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