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Tenby: Eye test leads to the discovery of woman’s brain tumour

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eye testA MOTHER of two from Tenby has thanked her local opticians after a check-up helped to detect a potentially sight-threatening brain tumour.
 
Peta Spiller, 37, visited her local doctor after experiencing a sudden loss of vision and was advised to contact Specsavers to help identify the root cause of her change in vision.
 
Specsavers in Pembroke Dock is accredited to deliver Wales Eye Care Services (WECS), meaning it is eligible to deliver primary eyecare services on behalf of the NHS in the form of targeted clinical tests. 
 
Prior to her loss of vision, Mrs Spiller had worn glasses for a number of years and had experienced sinus problems which she thought may have been responsible for the sudden deterioration in her sight.
 
Following a two-hour test at Specsavers, Gary Owen, store director and the optician who tested Mrs Spiller, contacted a hospital-based ophthalmologist and arranged an emergency appointment for her that day. At her local hospital, Mrs Spiller had a CT scan and it was discovered that she had a lump on her brain.  
 
She was transferred to the neurological ward in Cardiff’s University Hospital of Wales for an MRI scan, which confirmed that Mrs Spiller was suffering from a pituitary tumour.
 
The pituitary gland sits at the base of the brain and tumours that develop in this area are normally benign but swelling can put pressure on the optic nerve, causing sudden and substantial loss of vision.
 
Mrs Spiller underwent three hours of surgery to remove the tumour. Her eyesight returned to normal within 48 hours of her operation, but she remained in a high-dependency ward for four days and was then transferred to the neurology ward for a further four days.
 
Mrs Spiller now takes medication, and will do for the foreseeable future, to replace the hormones that were previously created by the pituitary gland, but her sight has been fully restored.
 
Mrs Spiller said: ‘It was extremely frightening to suddenly lose my vision and my first instinct was to go to my doctor.
 
‘Looking back, I feel very fortunate that Specsavers could see me so quickly and carry out such an in-depth test, I don’t know what would have happened if I hadn’t had the test that day. They made sure I was seen by a specialist straight away, which gave me the best chance of having my sight fully restored.’
 
Gary Owen, director at Specsavers in Pembroke Dock, said: ‘Peta’s experience is an important example of why we must respond quickly to any changes in our sight and visit an optician, who has specialist and advanced knowledge of eye care.
 
‘On this occasion, Peta’s tumour was of such a size that it affected her vision, which obviously triggered her to visit us but not all eye-related conditions will have such obvious warning signs until they are at advanced stages.
 
‘Thankfully, most of the customers we see at Specsavers in Pembroke Dock are healthy and well, but at times we do see people with more serious conditions, which only highlights the importance of looking after your eye health. If you notice a change in your vision, our advice is to get in touch with your local optician straight away.’
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Education

Delight as foundation phase learners return to class

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PEMBROKESHIRE Headteachers have reported very positive returns to school for Foundation Phase Learners.

All Foundation Phase Learners returned to schools on Monday, March 1st and attendance has been reported at almost 90% since.

The Council’s Director for Education, Steven Richards-Downes, said: “A wide range of council services have worked together to ensure that Foundation Phase pupils have been able to return
safely to school.

“I am particularly grateful to all school staff and families for ensure that learning is now available for our youngest learners face to face.”

Headteachers remarked how schools have filled with smiles and laughter following the safe and phased return of Foundation Phase learners.

Cora O’Brien, Headteacher at Waldo Williams School in Haverfordwest emphasised how quickly learners have settled back in to a routine.

“It has been an absolute joy to hear their laughter in the playground and to observe their love of learning face to face once again. I thank everybody in the Waldo Williams School
community for working so hard to ensure that the transition went smoothly.”

Vicky Hart-Griffiths, Headteacher of Ysgol Hafan y Mor in Tenby, said: “It has been wonderful to welcome all our Foundation Phase learners back to school. They are thriving, being amongst
friends and back to a school routine.  

“All the pupils have spoken about how happy they are to have returned and it’s an absolute pleasure to welcome them back and we can’t wait until we have all our pupils back in school.

“The school feels alive again and there’s a positive buzz and laughter once again echoing throughout the school.”

Gareth Lewis, Headteacher at Broad Haven CP School said children had returned “with real enthusiasm, and have been very keen to meet up with their friends.”

Mr Lewis added: “Our parents have been very supportive and positive about the return, and those with older children are very much looking forward to a wider return to schooling.”

Mr Richards-Downes said plans were now turning to more learners returning to schools in the near future.

“We are looking to the next phases of the re-opening of schools on the 15th of March as long as the government guidelines allow.”

Further details will be released in due course.

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Pembrokeshire County Council: This week’s Leader’s coronavirus update

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL Leader, Councillor David Simpson, has provided a further coronavirus update for Friday, 5th March as follows:

‘Welcome everyone to my weekly update.

“It is with rather a heavy heart that I tell you that it’s almost 12 months since my first statement on the coronavirus pandemic.

“On 9th March 2020, I addressed our Cabinet meeting with the following words:

“Further to the news yesterday that two people in Pembrokeshire had tested as positive for the Covid 19 virus, I am sure you will join me in wishing them both a speedy and full recovery.

“I can reassure you that our services will continue as usual, and all our employees can continue to attend to their work, appointments, schools and services as they normally would.

“We should all help protect ourselves and our communities by following Public Health Wales advice, particularly around washing hands and using a tissue for symptoms associated with cold and flu and then safely disposing of it.

“I am grateful to the co-operation and hard work of all of our staff and we will provide further updates and information when we have them.

“In the meantime I can confirm that detailed planning arrangements, both internally, with partner agencies and through the Dyfed Powys Local Resilience Forum, are well underway to ensure that the Council and Pembrokeshire are as well placed as possible for whatever challenges we may face. Thank you.”

“I am sure you will join me while I take a moment now to remember all those people in Pembrokeshire and further afield, who, very sadly, passed away since I made that announcement.

“I continue to be incredibly grateful, as I’m sure you are, to everyone who is helping to beat this pandemic, working so very hard now for over a year.

“We are fortunate now to be in a position where the vaccine programme is protecting older members of our community and starting to roll out among one of the biggest groups – the over 65s and those with underlying health conditions.

“This time next week (12th March) the Welsh Government will have notified us of their plans for the next three weeks.

“In the meantime, we remain in Alert Level 4 and the stay at home message continues to be more important than ever as we reach the threshold of better times.

“I wish you all a good weekend and thank you once again to the vast majority of wonderful Pembrokeshire residents who are doing the right thing and waiting patiently at home for restrictions to lift.

“We do really appreciate your efforts and determination to help bring this pandemic to an end.”

 

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Sergeant Hillier ‘died doing the job he loved’, says his heartbroken father

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THE ARMY SERGEANT who died after being injured in a live firing exercise, has been named locally.

The incident occurred at Castlemartin Training Area, and led to the death of Sgt Gavin Hillier, who was in the Welsh Guards.

In a post on social media, his father wrote: “Absolutely devastated to be writing this post, probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

“At 3.45am this morning I received a phone call that will forever change my life. My eldest son Gavin Mark Hillier was in a fatal accident yesterday in the army (the job he loved).

“Sleep tight & rest in peace son. I’m so proud of you. Goodnight and god bless, love your heartbroken dad.”

An Army spokesperson said: “It is with great sadness we can confirm the death of a soldier on March 4.

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this tragic time.

“The circumstances surrounding this death are being investigated and it would be inappropriate to comment any further.”

It is understood that Sergeant Hillier, who served as part of the Welsh Guards’ motor transport platoon, was due to be deployed to Iraq and had previously been awarded a Long Service and Good Conduct medal by Prince Charles, the regiment’s Colonel in Chief, in 2019.

The tragic incident is the latest in a number of accidents at Castlemartin.

In 2017, The Herald reported that two soldiers died in a tank explosion, which a coroner ruled was due to a design flaw.

The following year, an Army captain was jailed in July 2018 after a 21-year-old soldier was killed by a stray bullet during an exercise at the range in 2012.

An investigation has been launched into the death of a soldier at Castlemartin RAC Range following a military exercise.

Police were called to the site at just before 10.45pm on March 4.

Sadly, a man was pronounced dead shortly after. Our thoughts are with his family, who have been informed of the incident and are being supported by specialist officers.

An investigation is underway led by Dyfed-Powys Police. Officers are liaising with the Health and Safety Executive and MoD.

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