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Storms ‘devastating’ for seal pups as two thirds die

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STORMS Ophelia and Brian have wreaked havoc on Skomer and Skokholm islands with the impact being devastating for the wildlife, buildings and equipment.

Over two thirds of the seal pups on Skomer perished in the storms and buildings on both islands were left unrecognisable.

The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales need your help now to raise at least £25,000 to reverse the impacts of these unforgiving storms. They need your help to monitor the impact on wildlife as well as to repair the damage and storm-proof the islands for the future.

Skomer and Skokholm Islands are internationally significant wildlife and heritage sites, home to many important species including over half of the world’s population of Manx Shearwater and the Puffin.

Skomer Island is an important breeding site for the Atlantic Grey Seal. The island staff monitors the seal population throughout the year. Natural events like this can have a profound impact and the monitoring is important in understanding the effects on the population.

Lizzie Wilberforce, Conservation Manager for Skomer and Skokholm, said: “These storms were the strongest since 1987 and unfortunately, violent storms like these are becoming more common as our islands are exposed and vulnerable to severe weather. It is vital that we start to put protocols in place to better deal with the potential impacts, on both the islands’ wildlife and infrastructure. Your donation would mean we can be better prepared for similar weather in the future.“

You can donate to the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales by texting SEAL23 and your donation amount to 70070, or by calling them on 01656 724100.

They need your help to raise the £25,000 needed to:

  • Develop a protocol for dealing with seabird wrecks
  • Monitor the impacts on seals and seabirds
  • Repair the immediate storm damage
  • Storm-proof the Islands for the future

Any additional funds raised exceeding £25,000 will help replace essential equipment for the islands.

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Ysgol Bro Pedr raise funds for life saving machine

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PUPILS at Ysgol Bro Pedr have raised enough money to buy a defibrillator machine for the school.

The idea came after 15 Year 11 pupils achieved their Level 3 Emergency First Aid Qualification with Ceredigion Youth Service. Pupils felt that it was incredibly important that they and others at the school had the skills, knowledge and equipment to use in an emergency.

Mrs Caryl Jones and pupils raised an outstanding £1,150 through organising a bake sale at the school on 28 March 2019. The school extends their thanks to Lampeter businesses ‘Oh My Cod’ and ‘Y Becws’ for their kind contribution towards the sale.

Guto Crompton, School Based Youth Worker said: “Although first aid is not a mandatory part of the school curriculum in Wales, young people at Ysgol Bro Pedr felt that it should be something that all pupils knew about. This would help them to know what to do in an emergency, whether that be in the school or out in the community. Pupils worked hard to achieve their First Aid qualification which covered aspect such as CPR, casualty management and the use of a defibrillator.”

The defibrillator machine will be placed in the school reception.

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It’s not too late: Ceredigion residents still have time to register to vote

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“CEREDIGION residents still have time to register to vote in the General Election on 12 December,” said the council’s Chief Executive and Acting Returning Officer, Eifion Evans.

Residents still have time to register to vote and to arrange postal or proxy votes if they want to do so. The deadline to register to vote is midnight on November 26. The deadline to register for a postal vote is 5pm on November 26 and the deadline to register for a proxy vote is 5pm on December 4.

Mr Evans continued, “Some residents may want to register for postal vote or a proxy vote. This could help people avoid possible wintry conditions of a December election, or young people who have moved out of county to study but still want to vote in Ceredigion.”

Residents can register to vote by using this link: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote or by calling the council’s Electoral Services Team on 01545 570 881.

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£1 billion deal set to solve poor mobile coverage

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BEN LAKE MP has worked with cross-party MPs in recent months on a campaign calling for a Shared Rural Network to extend mobile rural coverage to hard-to-reach areas.

On Friday, 25 October, a £1bn plan between the UK’s four main mobile phone companies and the UK Government was unveiled with the aim of banishing these signal dead zones. The proposed deal – which includes EE, O2, Three and Vodafone – promises to get 4G coverage to 95% of the UK by 2025.

The new plans for all operators to share phone masts to improve UK coverage is a world first. It will mean EE, O2, Three and Vodafone will invest £530 million in a network of new and existing phone masts they would all share and which any mobile user can access, and which would be supported by £500 million investment from the UK Government.

72 cross party MPs, including Ben Lake, wrote to the then Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Jeremy Wright MP asking him to support a Shared Rural Network which would significantly improve rural coverage and enhance economic, educational and leisure opportunities in rural areas.

Mr Lake said “This is fantastic news. It will make a huge difference to so many people in my constituency where, in some areas, there is no mobile coverage at all. It will put an end to the frustration felt by thousands of people who currently feel cut off and mean people will get good mobile signal on the go wherever they live, work or travel and it will have a big impact on the local economy.

“I was glad to have the opportunity to meet with the Secretary of State to press the case for allowing newly constructed Home Office masts to be utilised as part of this new programme, something that would expedite progress in areas such as Ceredigion.”

The current Digital Secretary, Nicky Morgan said “We are determined to make sure no part of the country is left behind when it comes to mobile connectivity. We are closing in on a deal with the mobile network operators so those living in rural areas will be able to get the fast and reliable mobile coverage they need and deserve. Brokering an agreement for mast sharing between networks alongside new investment in mobile infrastructure will mean people get good 4G signal no matter where they are or which provider they’re with.”

A final agreement between UK Government and the mobile industry is expected early next year.

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