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Angry protestors in Withybush march

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angry protestorsOver One thousand people turned up to protest about cuts to services at Withybush, Sunday January 26. The protesters marched from Sir Thomas Picton School to the hospital to vent their anger at cuts to services. Outside the hospital the crowd, estimated to be approaching nearly 1200 people, held placards and banners, chanted, and sang the Welsh national anthem. Many Pembrokeshire residents say they fear that the lives of women and babies would be at risk if a level-two neonatal unit was developed at Carmarthen as a replacement for the current unit at Withybush Hospital.

A motorbike accident, which closed the A40 for most of the day on Saturday January 25 has raised concerns that it would not be safe to rely on the single-carriageway road to transfer urgent cases from Haverfordwest to Carmarthen, over thirty miles away.

Chris Overton, the chairman of the Save Withybush Action Team, who organised the protest, said that the turnout showed the “strength of feeling of people in Pembrokeshire” Mr Overton , who is a consultant obstetrician at Withybush Hospital, later told the press: “I’ve coined a new phrase, the Sutton Test, after a woman called Kate Sutton from Johnston who lost her baby and nearly died. I ask you whether someone in a similar position will be safe when the new system is in place. I don’t think that they would be. I think that everyone is concerned more and more across the county that these services are going to be cut.”

Speaking at the demonstration, Stephen Crabb MP said to the Herald: “There is an enormous sense of anger amongst the crowd, people from all walks of life, all across the county, voicing their frustration and their fears of what the future will look like without the essential service of SCBU on our doorstep.”

The hospital changes announced are part of a new system, where doctors in Carmarthen will provide specialist care, with other hospitals eventually providing a midwife-led service. Bronglais hospital in Aberystwyth will become a midwife-led maternity unit, although during the transition period it will also retain some consultants.

The plans were initially revealed a year ago by the health board, but were vetoed by the local patients’ watchdog over concerns that closing the special care baby unit in Haverfordwest could put lives at risk. That meant Health Minister Mark Drakeford had to step in to review the decision himself, and he has taken advice from a panel of experts.

The panel advising Mr Drakeford indicated providing special baby care units across the health board was “neither safe nor sustainable”, but the protestors say its unsafe to cut services due to the time it takes to get mums and babies from Pembrokeshire to the new proposed unit in Carmarthenshire.

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National Lottery gives £63m to Pembrokeshire over 25 years

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THE National Lottery celebrates its 25th Birthday today and charities and community groups in Pembrokeshire are marking the incredible impact of the £63 million awarded to more than 2,400 good causes in the area over the last quarter of a century.

The National Lottery’s first draw took place on 19 November 1994 and the 25th Birthday is a moment to celebrate the extraordinary impact the National Lottery has had on good causes in Pembrokeshire – large and small – in the areas of arts, sport, heritage and community.

Whether it’s funding for large iconic projects and landmarks; small community projects which make a big difference; producing the most amazing films; or supporting grassroots sports clubs – it’s thanks to National Lottery players, who raise more than £6.4 million each month for good causes in Wales, that brilliant projects which support our communities and make a vital and sustained contribution to our national life are possible.

As part of the celebrations today, an unique map of Wales, featuring 14 of the most iconic landmarks funded over the last 25 years will be unveiled. The map, created by Welsh artist Hannah Davies, will be on display at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff from November 19th – 25th, features Skomer Island, which was awarded more than £1.6 million from the National Lottery in 2004 for renovation and conservation work, including refurbishing the 150-year-old farmhouse and outbuildings. The map also features St Davids Cathedral which was awarded a £524,000 grant from the National Lottery in 2004 to restore the historically important Cloisters at St Davids Cathedral. The cloister walks were built on the exposed foundations of the original 14th century Cloisters and have been reconstructed to their original heights. New educational facilities, meeting rooms, vestries and lavatories were also built and a new Treasury housing unique artefacts.

A wide variety of other local projects in Pembrokeshire have received National Lottery funding over the last 25 years, including:
· £4.8 million towards modernising and redeveloping the Torch Theatre in Milford Haven – a vibrant centre for the arts;
· £2 million to Revitalise, renovate and conserve historic properties in Haverfordwest town’s conservation area so they can become more attractive and commercially viable; and
· £427,000 to build Haverfordwest Skatepark – a free to access outdoor skateboarding, skating and biking facility in the town which opened in 2013. Wales and Pembrokeshire’s own World Champion wheelchair sports superstar, Lily Rice, can often be seen practicing her tricks here.

70% of all National Lottery grants however have been for small amounts worth up to £10,000, bringing benefits to communities far and wide. These include:
· £10,000 for Pembrokeshire based The DPJ foundation in 2016 to launch and raise awareness of Share the Load – a 24/7 telephone and counselling service for people with mental health problems in rural communities. The charity was established by 31-year-old Emma Picton-Jones, whose 34-year-old husband, Daniel Picton-Jones, an agricultural contractor, tragically took his own life in 2016 after battling with depression and anxiety;
· £4,885 for the Fishguard Unit 142 of the Sea Cadet Corps to create an IT suite which will benefit the cadets and the wider community; and
· £1,500 for Fishguard and Goodwick Jemima Rowing Club to purchase new equipment and coaching training.

In the last 25 years, more than £166 million of National Lottery funding has been invested to 17,300 grassroots sports projects in Wales – creating opportunities for everyone to get fit and improve their lives through sport. The National Lottery has also helped develop some of Wales’ most successful and recognisable athletes to thrive. Those currently reaping the rewards from the National Lottery funded World Class Programme include 30-year-old Matt Bush from Neyland who became the first British man to claim a title at the World Para-taekwondo championships in Turkey this year. The World Class Programme affords athletes coaching, training, and competition support, medical, technology and scientific services. Matt, who stands at 6ft 5in is joined by Welsh Taekwondo star Jade Jones on the programme and has his sights firmly set on representing Great Britain and Northern Ireland at the Olympics in Tokyo 2020.

Highlighting the impact of the National Lottery in Wales over the last 25 years, Nick Capaldi, Chair of The Wales National Lottery Forum and the Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Wales, said: “For 25 years, The National Lottery has been creating possibilities and making us proud of our communities whilst protecting the things we’re most passionate about in Wales. Without the funding, many of our most loved and iconic landmarks wouldn’t exist and many charities wouldn’t be changing lives to the scale they are now. The 25th Birthday is a time to recognise and reflect on the momentous and positive impact the National Lottery has had on the lives of people in communities throughout Wales.”

Discover the positive impact playing the National Lottery has had on your community over the past 25 years by visiting www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk and get involved by using hashtag: #NationalLottery25.

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Rosemarket: St Leonards Park man to appear in court on rape charge

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A 40-YEAR-OLD man is due to appear at Haverfordwest Magistrates’ Court today (Nov 20) after being charged with rape.

Christian Edward Macleod of St Leonards Park, Rosemarket, is charged with raping a woman aged 16 or over in Milford Haven on September 22.

He is also charged with common assault.

It is likely he will appear before Swansea Crown Court next month due to the nature of the charges.

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Coastguard help Fisheries Officer with Sandy Haven fishing net

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MEMBERS of the public contacted the coastguard to complain about a fishing net across Sandy Haven beach on Sunday. The very long net, which was anchored to the sand, was left with dying and dead fish in it.

Local Tracey Griffiths was on the beach and videoed the scene. It was viewed by 9,000 people on Facebook within 24 hours.

She wrote on her post: “This long line was anchored right across the mouth of Sandy Haven this evening; it must have had dozens upon dozens of dying or dead fish caught up in it.
“We tried to save as many as we could, but the tide was coming in and this net was hundreds of meters long.
“This is illegal, and the coastguard have been informed.
“Sandy Haven is protected and has all sorts of beautiful wildlife like Otters that use it. The people who laid this should feel ashamed…”

A spokesman from HM Coastguard Dale posted on social media: “Coastguard Operations Centre at 16.27 to investigate a large net at Sandy Haven. Many members of public had reported the issue. We expected a large trawl net, a threat to navigation.
“The Team arrived and found a large monofilament net placed across the beach.
“The incident was of interest to Fisheries Enforcement and we were asked to preserve the scene.
On their arrival we provided safety cover then assisted the Fisheries Officer with the recovery of the net.”

A spokesman close to the finish industry, who did not want to be named, told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “I think this is a beach set gill net with grey mullet in it.
“They are legal if under 50 meters long and mesh size greater than 100mm.
“There is no need for license if it was set without a boat. Beach set nets are usually legal, although morally wrong.”

At the time of publication, this newspaper had not yet confirmed the length of the net and its legality or otherwise.

There is a link to Tracey Griffith’s video on The Pembrokeshire Herald Facebook page.

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