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Commemorating Dr Peter Edwards

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CEH200516_Page_12_Image_0004THE MAYOR, Dr Endaf Edwards, has performed his last official duty unveiling a commemorative plaque to Dr Peter Edwards.

Dr Endaf Edwards now hands over office to the new mayor Brendan Somers, for many years a popular landlord at Y Cwps (The Coopers Arms) on Northgate Road in Aberystwyth.

Dr Peter Edwards MBE was born just around the corner from Bronglais Hospital. He went on to have a distinguishe d career specialising in the treatment of Tuberculosis (TB). A bacterial infection spread by inhaling tiny droplets from the coughs or sneezes of an infected person, TB mainly affects the lungs. It can also develop in any part of the body, however, including in glands, bones and nervous system.

A former TB sufferer himself, Dr Peter Edwards adopted ground-breaking approaches to the treatment of this serious disease before the emergence of anti-biotics. He was also highly regarded for his egalitarian approach to his staff and patients.

Councillor Alun Williams said: ‘It is very appropriate that Dr Peter Edwards should be honoured with a plaque in the same corner of Aberystwyth where he was brought up. I’d particularly like to thank George Simpson, an Aberystwyth resident, who was under his care at the Joint Cheshire Sanatorium in Staffordshire.

Thanks to George for bringing the life and good works of Dr Edwards to everyone’s attention.’ George Simpson’s admiration for Dr Edwards featured in a story in the Aberystwyth EGO back in May 2015.

BEFORE PENICILLIN

Before the discovery of penicillin, TB was a life threatening disease in the UK. Catching TB meant a patient would likely be sent away to a specialist sanatorium for a very long stay, sometimes stretching to years. Given the highly infectious nature of TB, patients had no choice about being sent away and isolated, often far from their homes and families.

In West Wales, TB persisted long after it had been eliminated in the rest of Wales. Its tenacity is partly explained by the reluctance of some health boards to sign up for the King Edward VII Fund, which fought against TB, due to the fear of losing local autonomy for the delivery of health services. In Pembrokeshire, in particular, TB remained a threat into the 1950’s.

Through the 1930s and 40s thousands of patients were sent to the Joint Cheshire Sanatorium in Loggerheads, Staffordshire. Dr Peter Edwards was the man in charge of this 300 bed sanatorium. Dr Edwards’ prescription was plenty of rest and plenty of fresh air.

Even when it snowed the patients’ beds would daily be wheeled outside and neatly lined up. Sandbags placed across patients’ chests were thought to challenge their lungs to work hard and recover. Dr Edwards had pine trees planted believing their scent would benefit his patients. If bracing air and a sandbag did not do the trick, Dr Edwards would consider surgery.

Although by today’s standards being a patient at the Joint Cheshire Sanatorium sounds like a nightmare, in its day the treatment was medically innovative. Many patients were indeed helped and important discoveries made along the way. Moreover, the standard of care was very high and the sanatorium had sporting facilities and even its own cinema.

When the sanatorium began to use penicillin in the form of streptomycin it proved a much more effective treatment for TB, though Dr Edwards did not completely abandon his prescription of fresh air. The sanatorium closed in 1969 and Dr Peter Edwards died in retirement in 1983.

TB IN BRITAIN TODAY

Despite widespread access to antibiotics, TB has not been eradicated in modern Britain.

In 2014, TB Alert recorded 6,520 cases of the disease in the UK. In some boroughs of London the rate of infection is higher than in parts of Rwanda, Iraq or Eritrea. Food poverty, cuts in health and social services, rising poverty and homelessness all create gateways for the disease.

Worldwide, TB remains one of the biggest killer diseases. The World Health Organisation estimate the disease caused 1.5 million deaths in 2014, making it a greater threat to life than HIV/AIDs. According to the Centre for the Disease Control and Prevention, one-third of the world’s population carries the disease in its latent form with around 10% developing the illness. So, TB is not an illness confined to Victorian times or the pre antibiotic days of Dr Edwards.

In fact, the threat of TB could be exacerbated by the over-prescription and misuse of antibiotics, not only in human beings but in animals which are in the human food chain.

With the emergence of drug resistant forms of TB, medical research is still needed today.

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Lecture considers the future of war

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INTERNATIONALLY renowned war scholar and military conflict expert, Professor Christopher Coker delivered this year’s Kenneth N. Waltz Annual Lecture on Thursday (Nov 16).

Christopher Coker, Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science, is a prolific author on all aspects of war. He is a former NATO Fellow, a former twice serving member of the Council of the Royal United Services Institute, and a regular lecturer at Defence Colleges in the UK, US, Rome, Singapore, and Tokyo.

In his lecture entitled ‘Still ‘The Human Thing’? Thucydides, Waltz & the Future of War”, Professor Coker discussed war as a feature of what we call ‘human nature’ or ‘humanity’ in general, while focusing on urgent contemporary issues such as possible changes in the nature of war by the blurring of the distinction between humans and machines.

He also considered how, as Artificial Intelligence becomes ever more a fact of life, the traditional functions and forms of war could change, discussing such questions as: will we still need war and will war still need us?

Talking ahead of the the event, Professor Ken Booth of Aberystwyth University said: “Chris Coker is a very imaginative, interesting, and controversial thinker. Intellectually ambitious, he always addresses the biggest questions. The titles of some of his most recent books attest to this: Future War, Can War be Eliminated?, Warrior Geeks: how 21st Century Technology is Changing the Way We Fight and Think about War, The Improbable War: China, the US, and the Logic of Great Power Conflict and Men at War: what Fiction tells us about Conflict. We can be sure of a fascinating and challenging lecture about a supremely important area of human behaviour.”

The Kenneth N. Waltz Annual Lecture brings distinguished scholars to Aberystwyth to talk about issues that were central to the concerns of the late Ken Waltz, the leading theorist of international relations over many decades.
Hosted by the David Davies Memorial Institute and the Department of International Politics, this year’s lecture was held in the Main Hall in the International Politics Building on the Penglais Campus.

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Youth Service invited to international training event

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TWO Youth Workers from Ceredigion Youth Service have been selected to represent the UK on a week’s training opportunity in Horažd’ovice in the Czech Republic.

‘The danger of a Single Story’ is a training course funded by Erasmus+, that combines stories, media, global education and active citizenship to empower trainers, educators and youth workers with the tools to educate young people on issues such as cyberbullying, hate speech, and online harassment.

Elen James, Head of Youth Engagement and Continuing Education​,​ said​:​ “We are extremely proud of both Rebeca Davies and Guto Crompton, 270 people had applied, for 24 places, 2 were allocated for the UK and both places have been assigned to Ceredigion Youth Service staff.

“This is an excellent training opportunity for them, which will inform them and encourage them to reflect on the evolution of media and the consequences that it has on the formation of stereotypes and prejudices. We wish them all the best in Prague!​”​

Rebeca Davies and Guto Crompton will join 22 other Youth Workers from Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain and Turkey. The week will be hosted at the PROUD Environmental Centre approximately 120km from Prague, from ​Sunday (Nov 19) for a week.

Rebeca Davies, School Based Youth Worker said​:​ “I’m really looking forward to visiting Prague, and meeting other Youth Workers from across the World. It will be a fantastic opportunity to learn new tools and techniques to encourage and empower young people back here in Ceredigion.”

Guto Crompton, School Based Youth Worker ​added​:​ “I’m looking forward to learning more about different Youth Work methods and approaches. I’m also eager to develop a greater awareness around education, active citizenship and democracy.”

Cabinet member for Learning Services, Children and Young People’s Partnership, Councillor Catrin Miles, ​commented: “As a Council, we are very proud of the hard work of our Youth Service to the young people of the county. This will be a very important and worthwhile opportunity for Rebeca and Guto to represent Ceredigion and Wales and we wish them all the best at the event.”

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Pot Noodles bought with theft proceeds

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ON WEDNESDAY (Nov 15), Aberystwyth Magistrates’ Court heard that a 23-year-old man stole an HDMI cable from a store and sold it for a tenner to buy ten Pot Noodles.

Joel Alexander Owens, of Portland Street in Aberystwyth, pleaded guilty to stealing alcohol to the value of £24.96 belonging to his hometown’s B&M Bargains on June 29. He also admitted stealing an HDMI cable to the value of £14 belonging to Tesco in Aberystwyth on September 24.

Prosecuting, Helen Tench said a staff member at B&M was notified by a member of the public about a male who left the store without paying for items.

CCTV footage was checked, which showed Owens select a number of alcoholic items and leaving the store without making any payments.

Police officers later viewed the footage and identified the defendant.

On October 14, a member of staff at Tesco was informed of the incident at B&M. The Tesco CCTV footage was viewed as a result and the defendant was seen removing an HDMI cable from its box on September 24 and leaving without paying.

Ms Tench said Owens was interviewed on October 19, where he admitted committing the offences in his personal statement.

The defendant also admitted he sold the HDMI cable for £10 in order to buy ten Pot Noodles.

Defending, Katy Hanson said Owens pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and admitted to stealing beer and cider from B&M.

Probation officer Julian Davies stated that the defendant was currently serving a 12-month community order for two previous offences of theft and a breach of a conditional discharge.

Aberystwyth magistrates revoked Owens community order and imposed a 12-month community order with 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days and a four-week curfew.

Owens was told to pay prosecution costs of £85, compensation of £14 to Tesco and compensation of £24.96 to B&M Bargains.

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