THE HERALD had the privilege of witnessing the presentation of the brand new defibrillator at Aberystwyth Rugby Club on Saturday (Oct 8).
The defibrillator, placed on the wall of the Rugby Club, was officially presented by representatives of the British Heart Foundation and members of Aberystwyth Parkrun to mark its arrival in Aberystwyth.
The essential piece of equipment was purchased through the British Heart Foundation and was kindly financially purchased by both Aberystwyth Parkrun and the Aberystwyth Rugby Club.
It will be displayed for public use and will be accessible to the emergency services at any given time as well as The Rugby Club, Aberystwyth Parkrun, Aberystwyth AC and members of the public in the Plascrug area.
The presentation coincided with the first defibrillator training session in the Aberystwyth Rugby Club, where two members of the Welsh Ambulance Service demonstrated how to use the defibrillator to members of Aberystwyth Parkrun and the public who were present.
Rowland Jones, from the British Heart Foundation, spoke to The Herald after the presentation: “I was Chairman of the branch and, at the moment, we don’t have a branch. We’re waiting for new members to turn up and as soon as we have sufficient members, we will set up another branch in Aberystwyth.”
Discussing how he came to be involved in the presentation, Rowland said: “Anita Worthing, of the Aberystwyth Parkrun, purchased the defibrillator through the British Heart Foundation and its worth is in the region of £1,000. People were asked to contribute about £400 towards it and because it was supplied through the British Heart Foundation, we were invited today for the presentation.”
Rowland further added: “The defibrillator is an essential piece of equipment in all areas and you never know when it’s needed. The ambulance service should be informed of where they are and when there is an emergency, the ambulance service will direct people to the places where the defibrillators are situated.”
After the presentation, Welsh Ambulance Service Paramedic Gerard Rothwell led the training session, which lasted for about an hour and was extremely educational.
Gerard began the session by explaining that the defibrillator is designed to be locked and reassured everyone that it is easy to use.
Further adding that people are often too scared to use them in public places as they have a ‘mystic’ feeling about them, the session then included a demonstration of how to use one in an emergency situation.
Placing a dummy onto the table (named Arthur), Gerard reassured everyone that the equipment will only shock someone if they need to be shocked in an emergency and that the only thing it will do is help the person in need.
Going through the ABC medical formula (Airway, Breathing, Circulation, Disability and Exposure) the attendees were told the differences between a cardiac arrest and a heart attack, as a result of a shocking statistic that around 270 children die every year through having a cardiac arrest.
Gerard then went onto demonstrating the basic steps that need to be taken while performing CPR. The brilliant thing about the session was that people got to voice their concerns, questions and opinions on the correct way to save a person’s life.
Being told that performing CPR can extend a person’s life by 30% is an incredible fact and made the demonstration that little bit more calming.
After seeing how the same procedures can be performed on a child by using a child dummy, Gerard then demonstrated how to use a defibrillator on both dummies and went through all of the steps that people need to follow to ensure a safe rescue of a life.
The people watching were told that time is of the essence when aiming to save a life, that the equipment can extend a person’s life by 32% and that we should never be afraid to use it as we will never know when that would be.
In order for that to happen, we all need to be prepared and, that being said, Aberystwyth is very fortunate to have the new addition that is considered to be extremely life changing.
After the training session, The Herald asked a member of the public what he thought of the session and how he found it beneficial: “I found the training session very beneficial because, despite in most cases you won’t wind up using it, it is very useful when in emergencies.
“Even though I am not local, I found that attending the training session has educated me in knowing how to use the defibrillator in emergencies and I am grateful to those who helped purchase it.”
Anita Worthing, Event Director of Aberystwyth Parkrun, talked to The Herald about her time with Aberystwyth Parkrun, how she found the training session and how she came to be involved in the defibrillator instalment: “I’d never heard of Parkrun before but one of our Aberystwyth AC members moved to Bristol, then messaged me to say Bristol had a Parkrun, and that it was a really great scheme and Aberystwyth should have one.
“I’d just retired and needed a project so I looked into it, got a team together, mainly from Aberystwyth AC initially. We planned a suitable route – which had to be totally traffic-free, then applied for funding from Sport Wales.
“It costs £3,000 to join the Parkrun scheme and for that you get the stopwatches and barcode scanners, which all download their data onto the laptop, also provided by Parkrun, as well as finish tokens, clipboards, cones and IT support for ever and ever; no other payments are needed.”
Anita then went on to say: “This is amazing because every week, the simple data from our stopwatches and scanners that we send to Parkrun HQ via the laptop gets translated into the wealth of data available for every runner and every event across the world on the Parkrun website.
“The funding for Aberystwyth Parkrun came mainly from Sport Wales, with contributions from Ceredigion County Council, Aberystwyth AC and Aberystwyth University Harriers. We had our inaugural event in September 2012 and have gone from strength to strength, the number of runners trebling since then and still rising!”
Anita then explained what steps were taken to organise the instalment of the defibrillator: “The defibrillator cost £400 from the British Heart Foundation (in other words, the BHF subsidise most of the cost as they are worth around £1,000). This £400 was paid by Aberystwyth AC from money raised during the Cambrian News Aberystwyth Charity10k and approved by the Cambrian News to be used for this purpose.
“The box cost another £324 and half of this was paid for by donations from Aberystwyth Parkrunners. The other half was paid for from Aberystwyth Rugby Club funds.
“The Plascrug area around the rugby club is used by a lot of sporting groups – those mentioned above and Couch to 5k, as well as non-club joggers, dog walkers, cyclists, etc.
Anita further added: “As the paramedic said at the demo on Saturday, defibrillators have a higher success rate when used on fit healthy people and with all the publicity lately about runners dying of cardiac arrest close to race finish lines, it makes sense to have defibrillators at all sporting venues – and Parkrun UK are actively encouraging this.
“The link between Aberystwyth Parkrun and the rugby club is that we store all our Parkrun gear at the club and we go back there after the run for coffee and breakfast, in addition to having access to their WiFi in order to send our results to Parkrun HQ.
“We approached them about having a defibrillator at their premises and they willingly came on board as they were considering getting one anyway, and it made sense to share it.”
On the inspiration to install the defibrillator, Anita stated: “The drive came from Parkrun HQ when they sent a questionnaire to all Parkruns to ask how far we were from the nearest defibrillator, and advised that there should be one ideally within five minutes of every Parkrun.”
Telling The Herald on how she found the training session beneficial, Anita said: “The training was very beneficial – I had already been on many CPR courses and a specific course on how to use a defibrillator, but I hadn’t realised how low the chance of survival from cardiac arrest was in the absence of a defibrillator.
“The feedback from other attendees I spoke to was that before the demo, they would have been afraid to use a defibrillator in case of harming the patient, but the paramedic completely put their mind at rest that they couldn’t do any harm and could only save a life.”
For more information on how to locate your nearest defibrillator, or how to use it in emergencies, visit www. ambulance.wales.nhs.uk.
Join the stand against scams
CEREDIGION residents will get the opportunity to learn more about how they can protect themselves against scams in an event to be held at the Bandstand, Aberystwyth on 27 September between 9:30am and 1:30pm.
Ceredigion County Council have joined the National Trading Standards (NTS) Scams Team and Wales Against Scam Partnership (WASP) who will be touring Wales holding scam awareness events between 24 and 28 September.
Friends Against Scams is an NTS initiative that aims to protect and prevent people from becoming victims of scams by empowering communities to ‘Take a Stand Against Scams’.
Councillor Gareth Lloyd, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Public Protection Services said, “Scams often target the most vulnerable people in society but the reality is that anyone can become a victim of scams. Scams damage lives and can affect people financially and emotionally so I’m proud that Ceredigion County Council has joined the work of the National Trading Standards Scams Team, Friends Against Scams and others who are working together to prevent people from being victims of scams. By signing up as an organisation we undertake to actively promote the Friends Against Scams initiative.”
Each year scams cause between £5bn and £10bn worth of detriment to UK consumers. In addition to the financial impact, scams can have a severe emotional and psychological impact on victims.
Louise Baxter, Team Manager in the National Trading Standards Scams Team said: “The tactics used by scammers leave victims socially isolated and ashamed of telling their friends and families what’s really going on behind closed doors. It is fantastic to have a great organisation to help us tackle this problem on a local, regional and national level and I would encourage all those that are interested in showing their support to join the campaign and be part of our growing Friends Against Scams network.”
Call by at the Bandstand, Aberystwyth on 27 September between 9:30am and 1:30pm to learn more on how to protect yourself from scams. For more information about becoming a Friend Against Scams, visitwww.friendsasagainstscams.org.uk
Victim speaks out about the impact knifepoint robbery
THE VICTIM of a knifepoint robbery has spoken out about the impact the incident has had on his life as Dyfed-Powys Police takes part in a national knife amnesty aiming to get weapons off the streets.
The 24-year-old was approached by a man he didn’t know while walking his dog in Carmarthen on July 20 this year. A knife was held to his chest, and he was forced to hand over the money in his wallet.
His attacker, Teifion Lewis, of Llammas Street, Carmarthen, was arrested and charged with robbery within four days, and was sentenced to 40 months in prison.
Looking back at the incident, the victim, who has asked to remain anonymous, said: “At first, I didn’t realise he had a knife on him. I just assumed he was another man who was out partying, given he was young and it was late on a Friday night.
“Even when he was right in front of me with his hand on my chest, I assumed he must have had too much to drink and just stumbled into me. Once I saw he was brandishing a knife, though, that changed everything. It was at that moment that I realised I was in far more danger than I’d first thought.
“I suppose the only real thing that was going through my mind at the time was to talk to him, do as he says, and get out of there as soon as possible without becoming hysterical. I just had to keep as calm as possible for the time he was blocking my route.”
He explained that it was only when Lewis had taken his money and walked away, that he realised what could have happened had things gone wrong.
“I thought about how easily he could have stabbed me and I’d have been left out in an empty street, cold and alone, bleeding to death, without even a mobile phone on me to call my friends and family to tell them I love them,” he said.
“I’ve never given much thought as to what my inevitable death will be like, but I’d never have thought it could have ended that way.”
The victim had walked his dog every night for two years – using this particular route for seven months – with no issue. Since being robbed, he has become wary of going out at night and hasn’t been able to walk down the lane where he was stopped without suffering flashbacks.
“It’s not necessarily the whole event that comes back to me, but different parts, such as when he started to sob to me about his home life, or when he apologised for ‘having to mug me’,” he said.
“By far, what’s stuck with me the most are the words said to me as I was being mugged. The words ‘I want your money, I don’t want your life’ have been repeating in my mind every day since then, without failure.”
On September 2, at Swansea Crown Court, Teifion Lewis was sentenced for robbery and possessing a knife in a public place. The victim read out a statement directly addressing Lewis, urging him to get his life back on track and forgiving him for what he did.
“You asked me that night to forget that the robbery had ever happened,” he read. “My assumption is because you were fearful as for what might subsequently happen to you. I’m afraid though, that the image of a knife being flicked towards my chest, and the phrase ‘I want your money, I don’t want your life’ is something I will never be able to erase from my mind, no matter how much I wish for it to go.
“I want you, however, to improve. I want you to use your punishment as your wake-up call, and as a doorway to improving both your future and the future of those who you are close to. There is help available for you, even in prison, and even when it seems all hope is lost. If I can get my life back on track after my autism diagnosis, so can you.
“You’re young, you’re able bodied, and you still have time. Use it wisely. I can’t forget what you did, but just this once I will forgive you.”
The victim has spoken out about his experience as Dyfed-Powys Police takes part in Operation Sceptre – a national week of action aimed at cracking down on the illegal possession of knives. A knife amnesty is taking place during the week (Sept 18-24), with people able to bin their knives at specific locations across the force no questions asked.
The 24-year-old has backed the operation, and the chance to get knives out of our communities.
“I’d prefer it if these people who carry knives with them be honest about who they are and why they have them on their person,” he said. “But it’s much more important that it’s an opportunity to get these weapons off the street.
“If the ability to do this anonymously is what gives these people the confidence to rid themselves of their weapons, then so be it.”
A brand new Welsh language ukulele orchestra
CAN you play the ukulele and would like to join a ukulele orchestra? Or would you like to learn a new skill and to socialise in a Welsh-speaking environment? Why not join Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl?
On Monday, October 15, Cered: Menter Iaith Ceredigion, Aberystwyth Arts Centre and Learn Welsh will launch Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl which is a brand new, Welsh language ukulele orchestra in Aberystwyth for free, for those aged 16+.
Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl will practice weekly between 6pm and 7:30pm every Monday night during the school term and practices will take place at the Aberystwyth Arts Centre. There is no need for any experience or ability on the ukulele and there will be instruments available to borrow so that you can have a taste before buying your own ukulele.
Welsh will be the main language of Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl but there is a warm welcome to everyone whatever your level of proficiency in Welsh. Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl is supported by Learn Welsh as a great activity for learners to practice their Welsh outside the classroom in a fun and new way.
Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl’s conductor will be Steffan Rees who has held a number of Iwcs a Hwyl workshops over the last year as Cered’s Community Development Officer. Steffan is also a musician who composes and performs as “Bwca” and he has been playing the ukulele for years.
Steffan said, “I have really wanted to start a Welsh ukulele orchestra in Ceredigion for a while having seen the successes and popularity of those in Cardiff and South East Wales. The ukulele is an instrument that excites people of all ages and with some patience and perseverance, it is an easy enough instrument to master. I’m looking forward to developing a repertoire with the orchestra and play a few gigs; the National Eisteddfod in Tregaron in 2020 perhaps!”
Numbers for the first term of the orchestra are limited so contact the Arts Centre Box Office on 01970 632 232 to book your place in Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl.
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