A special Pembrokeshire Herald report by Dennis O’Connor IF A tribute to the bravery of our armed forces can be measured in miles, then the rugged beauty of the 870 mile Welsh coastline will bear witness to a unique and moving tribute over the next few months as eleven teams of four men and women embark on a personal journey of respect and tribute. Fifty young Welsh Guardsmen have lost their lives whilst on active duty since the end of WWII. Jan Koops and David (Dai) Graham are both veteran Welsh Guards who served in the Falklands War. They are aware of the devastating impact that active service can have on soldiers and their families as they cope with bereavement and these two men are the driving force behind the team organising the Walk on Wales (WOW) challenge which aims to raise one million pounds for the benefit of two charities, the Welsh Guards Afghanistan Appeal and the Combat Stress Charity. Each name, rank and number of the fallen has been inscribed on a specially commissioned silver baton which also conceals the names of a further eight soldiers from other regiments and Corps who were killed on active duty whilst attached to the Welsh Guards. The baton will pass from team to team along the coast for the duration of the walk (August 25th – November 2nd) before finally being delivered to its resting place at Llandaf Cathedral. Both charities provide essential support. Many have returned safe from battle but have suffered and continue to suffer from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which severely inhibits their ability to lead “normal” lives. In preparation for the event, the teams have undertaken months of arduous training out on the coast in all weather conditions. Each mile completed in training has been considered as a small sacrifice to those who have given so much more. The WOW logistic team based in Cardiff has been busy ensuring that the success of the event and safety and welfare of the teams and guest walkers remains a priority. This has been aided greatly by significant sponsorship by large companies including Bluestone and Radio Pembrokeshire. The Pembrokeshire coast bears host to the Walk on Wales teams as they enter St. Dogmaels on October 3rd before continuing along the whole of the coast towards the Carmarthenshire border. Team 7 (New Quay to Whitesands Bay) is led by Jim Salmon, who is from St. Davids and Team 9 (Freshwater West to Burry Port) is headed by another local man, Rob Davies from Letterston. Both men are veteran Welsh Guards, and Jim says: "I'm privileged to be part of a team involved in raising funds for these two charities.” Rob Davies added, ‘I loved my time in the Regiment and really enjoy getting involved with all things to do with the Welsh Guards, so when the message came to me that Walk on Wales was looking for someone to lead a team from Freshwater West to Burry Port, I jumped at the chance.” Throughout the challenge, the teams will be joined by some well-known faces including including MPs Stephen Crabb and Simon Hart. Members of the public who want to pay their own personal respects are welcomed and encouraged to sign up to take part in this unique event. Registration is easy through the Walk on Wales website. You can walk any distance of your choice on any day or week stage.
Start your career with the RNLI
THE RNLI is in search of new recruits to spend a season working on some of west Wales’ most popular beaches, as applications open for 2020 beach lifeguards. RNLI lifeguards operate on 40 beaches in Wales in the counties of Bridgend, Swansea, Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and Denbighshire.
In west Wales, the RNLI is particularly keen to recruit lifeguards to work the beaches of Aberystwyth north/south and Borth.
In addition to this lifeguards will be required to provide a seasonal service at Pembrey, Pendine Sands, Amroth, Saundersfoot, Tenby North/Castle/South, Freshwater West, Broad Haven, Nolton Haven, Newgale South/Central/North, Whitesands, Newport Sands, Poppit Sands, Aberporth, Tresaith, Llangrannog, New Quay Harbour and Clarach.
Successful applications will be to be available to attend training between 29 June – 10 July 2020.
At the forefront of the RNLI’s lifesaving work, the charity’s lifeguards responded to almost 20,000 incidents and helped more than 32,000 people in 2018. Successful applicants receive world-class training in search and rescue, lifesaving and casualty care techniques, good rates of pay and the chance to develop valuable skills for a future career.
In order to apply, there is a requirement to hold a National Vocational Beach Lifeguard Qualification (NVBLQ) or equivalent. A health assessment (including an eyesight test) to ensure you are physically up to the job will be required. All lifeguards must be able to complete:
A 400m pool swim in under 7½ minutes, the first 200m of which must be completed in under 3½ minutes.
A 25m pool swim underwater and a 25m surface swim consecutively in under 50 seconds.
A 200m beach run in under 40 seconds.
Lee Fisher, Lifeguard Services Manager says: ‘Working as a lifeguard is a unique and rewarding experience – you get to call the beach your office for a start! But far more importantly than that, you are there to make sure the public stay safe while enjoying their visit, and ultimately to help save lives at sea.
‘This is a demanding job requiring commitment, skill and a clear head, but it’s also a job that is truly life changing. We’re looking for people with courage, determination and the ability to put their training into action and make the right decision if someone’s life is in danger. It is an incredibly rewarding role.’
And it’s not just on the beach where lifeguarding skills can be put into practice. The training provided by the charity can be an ideal first step towards many career paths, including continuing to work for the RNLI or for a career in the emergency services.
From Rubble To Enterprise
2020 brings exciting new developments in Lampeter as the work on redeveloping the Canolfan Dulais site in the town gets underway. With the aid of the European Regional Development Fund investment and Welsh Government Targeted Regeneration funding the project will bring an investment of £3.2m to the town.
Tai Ceredigion – who purchased the building from University of Wales Trinity Saint David in March 2018 – revealed the exciting new plans to demolish the old ‘Government Buildings’ in early 2019. The existing structure had poor insulation and the heating system was not fit for purpose. The new plans will create modern eco-friendly business units, particularly for SME’s and businesses, charities and organisations working in the social care sector. The new centre will also have a teleconference facility that will be able to be hired out.
Ceredigion County Council Officers supported the Canolfan Dulais project by encouraging the development through funding applications. The council also plays an advisory role on the project and represents the project in discussions with funding bodies and the regional partnership.
Contractors TR Jones of Ammanford have been awarded the tender. They started on-site on 13 January 2020 with work underway to demolish the current building. The development will also bring much-needed construction work for local trades within the town.
Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn, Leader of Ceredigion County Council, said: “We see Canolfan Dulais as a real priority for the local and regional economy. We must create modern spaces for local businesses to use and grow. The social care sector is short of capacity in the area where we see a growing demand. We are confident that Canolfan Dulais will be an important step towards growing the sector.”
Steve Jones, Chief Executive of Tai Ceredigion added: “It has taken much hard work from our team to get to the point where the contractors can start on-site and the construction work can get underway. We are grateful to the Welsh Government, Welsh European Office and Ceredigion County Council for sharing our vision and for the support to help bring the idea to reality. We are looking forward to sharing updates on the development and starting conversations with potential new tenants for the building.”
Councillor Rhodri Evans, Ceredigion County Council’s Cabinet Member for the Economy and Regeneration said: “I’m delighted that a first class premises for start-up and growth businesses, particularly in the Social Care sector, is coming to Lampeter and the work is underway. Canolfan Dulais is a vitally important development for the area which the Council is proud to support.”
Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government Hannah Blythyn said: “It’s great that work has begun on this project. The Welsh Government has invested £1,530,000 of funding which will help improve access to an important community facility, which will bring people together, to help tackle social isolation, support jobs, provide training opportunities and the accommodation of social enterprises.
“We want to support local businesses, grow our fantastic town centres and I look forward to seeing it take shape.”
Elin Jones congratulates Ceredigion Talking Paper in National Assembly
AM marks 50 years of service by local news service for the blind
Elin Jones AM has congratulated the Ceredigion Talking Newspaper in a statement in the National Assembly for Wales, marking 50 years of service to blind people in Ceredigion and beyond.
In her statement on Wednesday the 20th of January, Elin Jones said:
“Fifty years ago, in January 1970, an innovative charity was established in Ceredigion for blind people, offering the first service of its kind in Wales and the United Kingdom – a service that would enable the blind people of Ceredigion to hear the latest local news in the press.
“That innovative scheme was the Ceredigion Talking Newspaper.
“The talking newspaper was set up by Ronald Sturt, a lecturer at the College of Librarianship in Llanbadarn. Initially, the recordings of local voices reading articles from the local press were on tape cassettes and provided to 18 people.
“Nowadays, the recordings are on a USB, and there are over a hundred regular listeners of the talking newspaper and more than 60 volunteers contributing regularly. The recordings are published weekly and the coverage includes the Cambrian News, Golwg and Y Cymro.
“One reader, Eileen Sinnett, has volunteered continuously for fifty years. What a contribution she has made!
“I would like to congratulate the Ceredigion Talking Newspaper for breaking new ground in 1970, for 50 years of service and for bringing the news, in both Welsh and English, to those who cannot see or read it in Ceredigion and beyond.”
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