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‘End of Days’ scenes as octopuses invade beach

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Octopuses: Walking up New Quay beach (Pic. ​​SeaMor)​

A GROUP of octopuses beached themselves at New Quay over the weekend, with a large number subsequently dying in spite of the best efforts of locals to save them.

One person alone saw over 20 curled octopuses, which cannot survive out of water for more than a few minutes, walking up the beach.

The proprietor of SeaMor Dolphin Watching Trips Brett Stones first noticed the creatures last Friday night (Oct 27) after returning to harbour.

“We moored the boat up, and as we were coming back across the beach we saw the first one,” he told The Herald.

“We didn’t think we would see any more, so we made a bit of a fuss over it. Instinct kicked in, it was a vulnerable animal out of its environment.

“We checked it over, and there weren’t any obvious injuries or illness, so we dropped it back in the water off the end of the pier.

However, walking along the beach, Brett and his crew came across between 20 and 25 more octopuses. “We put them back into deeper water, and hopefully that helped. “Was it the right thing to do? I’m not sure, but it was instinctive,” he added.

Video footage taken by Brett has gone viral, with news outlets including the Washington Post phoning him for information.

“It’s been strange – I’ve had papers from all over Britain and America phoning me. I’ve even missed a few people phoning to make charter bookings because I’ve been on the phone to LadBible or the Washington Post,” he remarked.

“It’s been a good day for dolphin-watching too!”

The population of​ ​curled​ ​octopuses has increased in Welsh waters, largely as a result of declining cod stocks. The creatures, which live for up to three years, are happy in water varying from 100m to the shallows, and they generally feed on molluscs and crustaceans, even raiding crab and lobster pots for the bait and catch. Their main predators include dolphins.

While there have been occasional sightings of the species on beaches in the east of England, it is thought that the number coming ashore in Newquay is unprecedented. A number of theories have been put forward, from microplastics, acidity in the sea, and military sonar, but Brett believes the answer could be a lot simpler.

“I think it’s something to do with the spawning season,” he explained, “a lot of them die at this time of year.

“Alternatively, the coast received a battering from Storm Ophelia and Brian. And they could have become disorientated and walked towards the bright lights of New Quay when the water cleared.”

This theory was supported by James Wright, curator at the National Maritime Museum in Plymouth.Speaking to the national media, he said: “There’s been a few online videos showing them coming out under the cover of darkness to hunt but to have them crawl out in the number that was seen on that particular night is quite unusual.

“They’re crawling across the beach and not looking for prey in rock pools -​ ​so that’s out of character and doesn’t fit with their breeding or foraging behaviour.

“But them even being found in the intertidal is not common and suggests there is something wrong with them I am afraid.

“As the areas where they are exhibiting this odd behaviour coincides with the two areas hit by the two recent low pressures depressions and associated storms of Ophelia and Brian, it could be supposed that these have affected them.”

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Education

Free School Meals for Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 from September 2022

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CEREDIGION COUNTY COUNCIL will be offering Free School Meals from the Autumn term onwards to all Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 children.

This comes following Welsh Government’s announcement to offer Free School Meals for primary school pupils across Wales, starting with Reception classes from September 2022.

In response to the current rising cost-of-living, this is a positive step forward in ensuring that no child goes hungry while in school and tackling poverty in our County.

From Monday 5 September 2022 onwards, all Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 Children in Ceredigion schools will be offered Free School Meals, extending the offer beyond what needs to be done by September.

Ceredigion County Council and Welsh Government are committed to implementing this scheme quickly and would ask for your patience as we build catering capacity to ensure a successful phased implementation and work towards a whole school roll-out over the next three years.

The Council are working with Welsh Government to develop a process for you to be able to request a free meal for your child/children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 from September 2022, trying to avoid any unnecessary burden for you.

If your child is currently in receipt of free school meals and/or any other associated benefits, these will not be affected.

Wyn Thomas, Cabinet Member responsible for Schools, Lifelong Learning and Skills, said: “The Government’s aim is for Welsh Local Authorities to provide a free school meal for Reception pupils in September 2022. The Council has taken advantage of the flexibility of the scheme and so more pupils in Ceredigion will benefit from the offer of a free meal for Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 pupils in September 2022 in the County’s schools.”

Further information will follow by the end of term.

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Residential care home project approved to increase dementia support

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A DEVELOPMENT project has been approved by Welsh Government that will increase support provided for individuals living with additional needs due to living with dementia at Hafan Deg Residential Care Home, Lampeter.

This project will include renovating four bedrooms, improved personal wellbeing and social area and a securely enclosed outdoor sensory garden.

Councillor Alun Williams, Cabinet Member for Through Age and Wellbeing Services said: “The number of those living with dementia in Ceredigion is rising and we want to make sure that we increase our current provision. This new development at Hafan Deg will enhance the mental and physical wellbeing of both residents and staff and support a reduction in behaviours that challenge. The development will also help to reduce the numbers of residents needing to be moved due to their higher needs.”

Funding has been secured through the Welsh Government Integrated Care Fund Capital programme.

Through the tendering process, J&E Woodworks Ltd were awarded the tender and work is due to commence August 2022.

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New Quay RNLI crew member passes out as coxswain

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ON MONDAY (Jun 13), after many months of training and assessments, New Quay RNLI volunteer crew member Peter Yates passed out as a coxswain and is now qualified to take command of the Mersey class all-weather lifeboat based at New Quay Lifeboat Station in Ceredigion.

Father of two Pete, 33, underwent a year of intensive training, including courses at the RNLI College in Poole and assessments afloat and ashore at the station. On Monday he was put through his paces by RNLI Assessor Hugh Davies in his final assessment and passed with flying colours.

With 16 years of experience, Pete has given up much of his spare time to volunteer at New Quay Lifeboat Station and save lives at sea. In his many roles at the lifeboat station he is also an all-weather lifeboat mechanic, an inshore lifeboat helm and the station’s training assessor. Pete said, “It’s been a tough year but worth all the hard work. It was definitely a stressful final assessment as they throw every scenario at you from fire to emergency steering!

“I want to thank my partner Karis and the kids for their support at home, and of course I want to thank New Quay RNLI crew members for all their support, I couldn’t have done it without them.

“I am now looking forward to the challenge of being an all-weather lifeboat coxswain and welcoming the new Shannon class lifeboat in a couple of years.”

Roger Couch, New Quay RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said, “We all would like to congratulate Pete on his great achievement. He puts so much time into being a volunteer RNLI crew member, and now all his hard work has paid off. He thoroughly deserves being a coxswain. Well done Pete from all of us!”

Bernie Davies, New Quay RNLI mechanic added, “Only in the RNLI can you pass an assessment by driving a boat up the beach under emergency steering! Excellent work Pete.”

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