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Commendation for police who risked their lives to save a woman from drowning

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TWO police officers who put their own lives at risk to save a vulnerable woman from being washed out to sea have been commended for their bravery.

Dyfed-Powys Police Sergeant Katy Evans and PC Ian Chattun were completely submerged by waves after selflessly rushing into the water in full uniform to save the woman during the early hours of the morning.

The officers had been called to Aberystwyth beach on August 18, 2019 following several reports of concerns for the safety of a woman near the water.

Sgt Evans said: “We tried to reason with her to come out, but she wouldn’t. The waves were so choppy, we were worried that if she went in she would get pulled under.

“All of a sudden she just went in, and we had no time to think about what we were doing. By the time I took my equipment belt off, she had already been taken a considerable distance out. I just had to act quickly.”

It was 2am, pitch black, and it was clear that the woman’s life was in immediate danger. Both officers rushed into the water, not stopping to remove kit that could have weighed them down.

Once in the water, it was so rough that the officers could not stay afloat. As she tried to update colleagues on the situation over her radio, Sgt Evans was completely submerged. But she somehow managed to push her emergency alarm, calling further units and activating a light that alerted them to her location.

“It’s funny how things don’t hit you until later,” she said. “At the time, you don’t think about anything other than the situation in front of you. We could see someone drifting away, and there was no way she was going to survive. I didn’t think anything other than ‘we need to help’.

“We just had to dive in. We didn’t realise until we were in the water how cold it was, and how choppy it was. I still had my body armour and boots on because I didn’t have time to take them off, and it was quite frightening in there.

“It went deep quickly, and it was so dangerous. It only hit me afterwards what had happened, and how different the outcome could have been. I think we were in a state of shock.”

PC Chattun swam to the aid of the woman, and together with Sgt Evans, pulled her to safety. Paramedics then arrived and took her to hospital, while the officers tried to process what had just happened.

“Luckily, she was fine and we were fine, but the day after I thought ‘that could have gone horribly wrong’,” Sgt Evans said. “I have a little boy at home, and if the outcome had been different … it doesn’t bear thinking about.

“I have asked myself what I would do faced with that situation again every day since. Being completely honest, despite the risks and what could have happened, yes I would do the same. If I saw someone in danger or in trouble, yes I would go in again and do all I could to help.”

PC Chattun and Sgt Evans were awarded for their bravery and commitment to helping the public at the Dyfed-Powys Police commendations ceremony on Tuesday, January 28.

Community

Ceredigion Museum’s digital storytelling celebrates LGBTQ+ history month

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February marks LGBTQ+ History month and Ceredigion Museum has been working with local organisation Aberration to unveil and record fascinating and untold stories of Aberystwyth.

These stories form part of the museum’s ‘It Happened in Aber’ project, which will allow people to listen to the untold stories that have shaped Aberystwyth.

This project was made possible thanks to the ’15-minute heritage’ funding, a partnership between The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service.

Carrie Canham, museum curator, said: “For too long the LGBTQ+ community has been marginalised, or even completely concealed, in history. Ceredigion Museum is keen to share the stories that have lurked in the shadows, to celebrate the diversity and rich LGBTQ+ heritage of Aberystwyth with pride.”

The LGBTQ+ stories researched and recorded with by Jane Hoy, of Aberration, include historic and modern-day characters from the town, including famous academics, poets, mariners, dancers and a spy!

“We are delighted to be working so closely with Ceredigion Museum contributing to ‘queering up’ the museum with lively local stories and events,” Jane.

Aberystwyth has certainly played its part in developing the LGBTQ+ community in West Wales and Sarah and Rosie, founders of Aberystwyth’s ‘Wrecked’ nightclub for women, have documented their fond memories of their venue in the town: “It became a fun and safe haven for lesbians who travelled there from all corners of the county”.

Ceredigion Museum staff and volunteers will be continuing to document stories linked to the LGBTQ+ community, as well as stories linked to specific locations in the town, until April.

From May onwards, The ‘It Happened in Aber’ stories will be available to enjoy in podcast format on the museum’s website as well as forming a digital walking tour of the town, allowing people to listen and enjoy the stories whilst walking around the locations in Aberystwyth.

Councillor Catherine Hughes said: “It’s fantastic that Ceredigion Museum is providing us with an opportunity to enjoy the history and the important contribution of the LGBTQ+ community in Aberystwyth. This is such an important project to document our local heritage. We look forward to listening to all the stories.”

If you can’t wait until the summer, join this years’ virtual Aberration – Between the Lines event on Friday, February 26 from 7pm, when the ladies of ‘Wrecked’ will be sharing some of their stories!

For further information or to share your untold story, contact Sarah Morton, Ceredigion Museum’s sustainability officer, at Sarah.Morton@ceredigion.gov.uk.

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Aberaeron takeaway closed for ignoring coronavirus restrictions

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A Premises Closure Notice has been issued to Paradise Pizza, Regent Street, Aberaeron due to repeated non-compliance with the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No.5) (Wales) Regulations 2020.

The business was issued with a premises improvement notice on 15th January 2021. It was required to take reasonable measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, including the need to ensure that staff use personal protective equipment and face coverings. However, officers have since witnessed staff failing to wear face coverings on multiple occasions in contravention of their advice.

Monitoring inspections have shown that the majority of Ceredigion‘s retail premises are complying with the restrictions placed on them during the pandemic. Ceredigion County Council’s Public Protection team will continue to take action against businesses who fail to comply with the coronavirus restrictions. Whilst non-compliant businesses will usually receive advice and guidance, serious or persistent breaches will be dealt with by means of closure powers, fixed penalty notices or prosecution.

This takeaway must remain closed for 28 days, or until Public Protection officers are satisfied that the alleged non-compliance has been addressed.

Premises improvement and closure notices are required to be published by law.

The full closure notice can be found on Ceredigion County Council’s website, under Improvement and Closure Notices: http://www.ceredigion.gov.uk/resident/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-improvement-closure-and-direction-notices/

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Directory of services launched by Ceredigion’s Carers Unit as part of Carers Rights Day

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WHETHER you are a new carer or have been caring for someone for a while, it’s important that you understand your rights and you’re able to access the support that is available to you as soon as you need it. Wherever you are in your caring journey.

It is more important than ever that Carers look after their own health and wellbeing as well as the people they care for. This year for Carers Rights Day, Ceredigion Carers Unit and our partners wanted to ensure Carers have the information and the knowledge that they need at their fingertips, so they can feel confident asking for what they need.

Ceredigion Carers Unit and partners have brought together a Bumper Edition of the Winter Carers Magazine. It’s a ‘Carers Rights Day Directory of services’ bursting with useful information and advice on your rights, including, where to get help and support in West Wales.

There is also a free Carers programme of talks & short training sessions online (also with access by telephone). This programme runs right through until end of March 2021.

Being a carer can take its toll on your wellbeing. Following a recent Carers UK survey, 78% of Carers in Wales said that they have been unable to take any, or a sufficient, breaks from their caring role since the outbreak of COVID-19. As a result of this, surveyed Carers also reported that their health and wellbeing had been affected, with 66% reporting that their mental health had worsened due to the pandemic.

Councillor Catherine Hughes, Carers Champion for Ceredigion County Council, said: “The magazine and the programme of talks & short courses appeals to a huge variety of unpaid Carers. There is something in there for parent Carers, dementia Carers, young Carers, those caring for someone affected by mental health or substance misuse issues and everything in between. And relevant to those caring for people of all ages. If you know of anyone with caring responsibilities who would benefit from this magazine or the free advice sessions, please pass it on.”

Catherine Moyle, Carers Support and Development Officer, Ceredigion County Council, Carers Unit said: “A warm welcome is extended to all unpaid Carers in the county and those that you care for. These are challenging times. Reaching out for support when you need it is a form of self-care and it boosts your resilience. It takes a strong person to carry on caring – it takes a stronger, more resilient person to reach out to others.”

The programme of online sessions and the magazine are available on Ceredigion County Council’s website here: http://www.ceredigion.gov.uk/resident/social-care-wellbeing/support-for-carers/carers-rights-day-2020/ and on their Facebook pages @CeredigionCC under events.

If you would prefer to request a printed copy of the magazine or would like any further information, please get in touch with the Ceredigion Carers Unit on 01970 633564 or e-mail carersunit@ceredigion.gov.uk.

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