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Ceredigion celebrate RAF Centenary

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ON Thursday (Aug 9), a celebratory event to mark the centenary of the RAF was held at the West Wales Airport, Aberporth.

West Wales Airport, Air Cadets Ceredigion, Thales Group, QinetiQ, Ceredigion County Council, Ministry of Defence (MOD) Aberporth and the RAF at Aberporth worked in collaboration to hold the event.

The celebrations began at 12 noon with the raising of the Royal Air Force ensign with the salute taken by Air Officer Wales, Air Commodore Adrian Williams, OBE ADC RAF, who is originally from Denbigh.

A parade and general salute was made by 1429 Cardigan and Aberporth, 561 Ardwyn Aberystwyth and District Squadrons, RAF Air Cadets, with the inspection of the parade carried out by Air Officer Wales, Air Commodore Adrian Williams OBE ADC RAF; Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Dyfed, Miss Sara Edwards and Chairman of Ceredigion County Council, Councillor Hag Harris accompanied by Ceredigion County Council’s Armed Forces Champion, Councillor Paul Hinge.

During the event guests observed a fly-by of Hawk aircraft from RAF Valley and viewed displays, created by QinetiQ, Thales and Air Cadets Ceredigion, detailing the history of the RAF at Aberporth and the work currently being undertaken at the Range.

Air Officer Wales, Air Commodore Adrian Williams OBE ADC RAF said: “It was a great privilege for the RAF to be in Ceredigion today to celebrate the RAF centenary with the local community. It was special that we were at the site of the former RAF Aberporth station, now West Wales Airport.

“It was particularly poignant for us to be able to carry out a ceremony today of raising the RAF Ensign at Aberporth, a ceremony that was last carried out by the RAF in 1984 when the RAF Ensign was lowered and RAF Aberporth was closed. Days like this help underline the important connections there have been between Ceredigion and the RAF over countless years and the RAF is very grateful for the support that the people of Ceredigion have always given to us.

“I also really enjoyed meeting the local Air Cadets from the Cardigan and Aberystwyth districts, who carried out a very impressive Parade and are a true credit to their local communities.”

Work began on constructing Aberporth airfield in 1939, originally known as RAF Blaenannerch. It was re-named RAF Aberporth in 1941 when the RAF station was opened, under the RAF Army Co-operation Command and was first established as a military testing range in Cardigan Bay during the Second World War.

Today, MOD Aberporth provides a large secure safety area for the evaluation and training support services to ensure air-launched weapon systems, associated sub-systems and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) are tested and fit for purpose.

Local Veterans and members of the Ceredigion Armed Forces Community Covenant were also present at the event.

Councillor Paul Hinge, Ceredigion County Council’s Armed Forces Champion said: “Today has been a successful marking by Ceredigion of the RAF Centenary and all this has come about by the effective partnership working between ourselves, West Wales Airport, Thales, QinetiQ, RAF at Aberporth, MOD Aberporth and the two Air Training Corps.”

For more information on MOD Aberporth visit the website aberporth.QinetiQ.com.

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Ysgol Gynradd Ciliau Parc to close temporarily due to a further COVID-19 case

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YSGOL GYNRADD CILIAU PARC, Ciliau Aeron will be closed temporarily as a further COVID-19 case is confirmed. Two Contact Groups out of three have now been affected by positive cases and therefore, due to lack of staffing, the whole school will close for a period of time.

Pupils in the affected Contact Groups has been asked to self-isolate for 14 days due to being close contacts of a confirmed COVID-19 case at the school. These pupils and staff must remain at home for 14 days to reduce the possible spread of the virus to family, friends and the wider community. All parents have been contacted by the School.

The Council urges all parents to refer their children for a test if they develop any of the symptoms, which are:

  •         a high temperature
  •         a new continuous cough
  •         a loss or change to sense of smell or taste.

Parents should also be aware of other symptoms early on, such as headaches, tiredness and general aches and pains usually associated with the flu.

You can apply for a test online https://gov.wales/apply-coronavirus-covid-19-test or by phoning 119.

No further details will be provided regarding this matter.

 

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Hundreds sign petition against Ceredigion parking charges

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HUNDREDS of local residents have signed a petition against plans to reintroduce charges at some Ceredigion Council car parks.

Ceredigion Liberal Democrats started the campaign on Friday, which attracted over 400 signatures in less than 24 hours, in response to an outcry from businesses and residents across the county.

Ceredigion County Council announced plans this week to move immediately to a cashless charge system from 1st December at 13 car parks in Aberaeron, Aberystwyth, Cardigan and Lampeter. Cashless charging will follow in March for another 3 car parks, including at New Quay.

The petition can be signed at www.ceredigionlibdems.org.uk/parking.

Cllr Elaine Evans, Liberal Democrat Councillor for Cardigan Rhyd-y-fuwch, said:
“I am absolutely gutted that the charges are being reinstated in Cardigan, especially so close to Christmas.

“This year more than any other, times have been extremely difficult for traders and residents in Cardigan. So many of us are worried about the detrimental effect parking charges will have on a town that already has a safe zone implemented.

“We need to keep parking free throughout the pandemic. If we don’t, I worry how much of our town will survive.”

Cadan ap Tomos, Welsh Liberal Democrat Senedd candidate for Ceredigion, added:
“So many local businesses are struggling to keep afloat during this pandemic, and need all the help they can get. That’s what makes this decision by the Plaid Cymru/Independent Council so baffling.

“I’m particularly worried that by going cashless, a great many people who have no bank card to pay with will be shut out of visiting our town centres.

“The fact that hundreds of people have backed our campaign in less than a day should show just what a bad decision this is for our communities.”

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Vaccine roll-out ‘within days’

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Vaccination will start in a matter of days: Says Dr Frank Atherton, Wales' Chief Medical Officer

THE FIRST COVID-19 vaccine has been given the go-ahead and the roll-out across Wales will start within a matter of days, the Chief Medical Officer announced on Tuesday, December 2.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has now authorised the first vaccine as safe and effective on the basis of detailed independent expert review of evidence from large scale clinical trials.

The Pfizer Biontech vaccine has become the first to receive MHRA clearance in the UK and 40 million doses of the vaccine will shortly be available for delivery across the UK, with Wales getting its allocation based on population.

The effects of the vaccine may not be seen nationally for many months and the advice on keeping Wales safe remains the same for everyone; keep contacts with other people to a minimum, keep a 2 metre distance from others, wash hands regularly, wear a face covering where required and avoid touching surfaces others have touched, wherever possible.

Approval from the MHRA is the first step of Wales’ roll-out plan, which has seen preparations on-going since May. There are still a number of stages which need to happen before the vaccine reaches those in highest need and is ready for use, but this process is expected to happen over the next week.

These stages include:

  • The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) finalising and publishing their guidance for the whole of the UK
  • Finalising training materials for staff and patient information leaflets
  • Training of experienced immunisers for this particular vaccine
  • Final legal frameworks to allow registered health professionals to administer the vaccine to patients need to be authorised by each Health Board in Wales.
  • The vaccine – which needs to be administered in 2 doses – will initially be prioritised and available for those aged 80 and over, care home staff and residents and those working within health and social care.

Pfizer Biontech vaccine needs to be stored at ultra-low temperatures. These centres have already been decided by Health Boards and are in the process of being stood-up.

As further supplies become available and additional vaccines receive MHRA approval, a staged approach will see other groups be offered the vaccine, based on risk of serious complications and deaths.

Individuals in the priority groups for a COVID-19 vaccine will receive an invitation from their employer or health board providing information about the COVID-19 vaccines, telling them where to go and what to do on the day of their appointment.

People are urged to wait to be invited, which will happen through NHS systems. Please do not ask your pharmacist or GP.

There are plans in place for people who are housebound and for care homes to be vaccinated as soon as safely possible, with the approved vaccine being safely taken to them using a mobile service, once cleared for this purpose.

The development process for coronavirus vaccines has been as stringent as any other but the process in the face of the pandemic has been sped up by prompt, world-wide funding and a reduction in paperwork. The length of the trials have not been shortened, and the usual safety measures remain in place.

Mark Drakeford: Vaccine is ‘a glimmer of light’

The vaccine will not be mandatory and people will be able to choose whether they take up the vaccine or not. Information will be provided to people before vaccination to reassure them about patient safety and robust consent processes will be in place.

The Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Frank Atherton, said: “It is fantastic to finally say that the first COVID-19 vaccine has been given the green light. We know now that we have a safe and effective vaccine for use across the UK – this is the positive news I and so many across the country have been waiting for.

“All our NHS organisations across Wales have embraced the challenge presented to them and are at the advanced stages of planning for the arrival of a vaccine. We have tested distribution and storage arrangements to ensure we can get vaccine safely to every part of Wales.

“There’s still a few stages we need to work through but once all these safeguards are in place, vaccination can begin. There will only be relatively small amounts of the vaccine at first, those who have been advised as most needing the vaccine first, through approved delivery mechanisms. A full announcement around the timetable for roll-out in Wales will follow in the next few days.”

The First Minister, Mark Drakeford, said: “Today’s news is a small glimmer of light at the end of what has been a long and dark tunnel.

“We know some people within our communities are much more at risk than others from the serious complications of COVID-19, which is why the new vaccine is being prioritised to protect them first.

“Whilst these first doses are given at fixed sites and occupational settings, and to protect our NHS and social care services, we must all continue to do our bit to prevent the spread of coronavirus: regular hand washing, social distancing, and wearing a face covering where required to protect yourself and others.”

Andrew RT Davies MS – the Shadow Minister for Health said: “This is positive news in the battle against Covid but, as ever, the devil is in the detail of delivery.

“And so, today the Health Minister must today address a number of vital issues including:

  • The ability of NHS Wales to start the vaccination process and when this will happen
  • How many doses will be available to Wales in the first tranche and how they will be distributed
  • Who the first recipients will be
  • How, when other vaccines become available, NHS Wales will cope with the different procedures

“It will also require a strong public health campaign around take up of the vaccine.

“The people of Wales need this information to give them some confidence in how the programme will be handled here.”

Mr Davies’ remarks allude to one substantial issue regarding the vaccine’s distribution.

Both Wales and Scotland have a higher proportion of their respective populations in vulnerable groups. However, thus far, the UK Government has targeted Covid support on a per-head basis and not by need.

Vice-chair of the COVID-19 Vaccine Programme Board, Richard Roberts from Public Health Wales, said: “It is a significant achievement that only 9 months after WHO announced the global pandemic that we now have the first safe and effective vaccine available for use in Wales, and other vaccines to follow.

“Everyone has been preparing for months to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine programme, and it is very exciting that we will be able to begin, once the final steps have been put in place so that the programme can be delivered safely.”

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