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New fitness instructor proving to be ‘an inspiration’

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Tina Mathias (centre): Teaching an aerobics class at County Hall as part of Mental Health Week

A NEWLY qualified fitness instructor is proving an inspiration to her class.

Pembrokeshire County Council employee Tina Mathias took her first indoor cycling and aerobics sessions recently and few of her students would have realised it capped a meteoric transformation in her life.

Gone is the unfit and overweight woman who could barely muster the energy to exercise; today, Tina is a dynamic and motivating lady with a fabulous story to tell.

Indoor cycling, or spinning as it is more widely known is one of the most popular exercise classes throughout Pembrokeshire’s seven leisure centres but Tina’s first experience of it wasn’t quite as pleasurable as it is now.

It lasted ten seconds before she walked out vowing to go back when she was fit enough to do so.

Before: Tina before her weight loss journey

When she returned twelve months later, the instructor didn’t recognise her. Tina was half the woman she was having overcome health scares and heartbreak to lose 12 stone.

“I spent most of my life overweight and gained more weight after my father died,” she said.

“I was comfort eating; drinking upwards of three bottles of wine a night.

“I put on a stone over the weekend of my mother’s birthday celebrations. It was getting out of hand.

“That was it. I felt awful and was ready to change my life.”

After a very frank and honest talk with a very close friend, who basically told Tina she needed to sort her life out, she then, three days later started her healthy lifestyle and she was on her path.

A self-confessed ‘all or nothing type of person’ Tina met the challenge head-on.

She cut out alcohol, limited her calorie intake, began an exercise regime and the weight soon fell off. Nothing could hold her back, not even an illness that left her housebound for six months unable to exercise

“Physically it was quite tough but mentally it wasn’t,” Tina added.

“I returned to the gym after my illness in 2012 and gradually increased what I was doing”.

“I started spin classes and loved it straight away. Then I tried other things such as circuits, weight training and with the encouragement of Jane Richards at Fishguard Leisure centre, I tried their Go-Tri triathlon series”.

“I haven’t looked back since.”

Despite trying numerous activities Tina enjoyed spin classes and weight training the most.

From going to spin once or twice a week, it soon increased to six and became apparent she had what it takes to become an instructor.

“I spoke with the instructors who encouraged me to go for it. I had to attend a few training sessions before undertaking an exam.

“I was the only one taking it that didn’t work in a gym but I obviously did enough to pass. In fact, the examiner, who was six months pregnant, enjoyed my session so much she wanted to join in!

“Hearing that was a huge confidence booster, to know that I could do it and do it well.

“I just can’t wait to teach more classes now.”

Pembrokeshire County Council Leisure Services Officer Gary Nicholas believes Tina is an inspiration.

“Health and wellbeing, whilst can be challenging, should be about fun and enjoyment and I have little doubt that Tina will play a key role over the years to come,” he said.

“Tina’s journey has been truly phenomenal and it fully demonstrates what can be achieved if you put your mind to something.

“Tina is the type of role model that we value at Pembrokeshire Leisure and we hope that she will be able to inspire others as she joins our team of dedicated instructors.”

Tina’s tip for weight loss:

  • Do it for you and nobody else
  • Always focus on the end goal
  • Write a note of what you eat. Losing weight is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise
  • Don’t be afraid. No-one will judge you in the gym because we’re all in it for the same reason
  • Enjoy it.
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Police call for vigilance to report illegal raves

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE is asking farmers and local landowners to be on the alert over the next few months for warning signs of any illegal gatherings planned for their land over the summer.

Gatherings – such as illegal raves – can cause considerable anxiety to the community and if they are not dealt with swiftly, they are difficult to stop or otherwise control, due often to the sheer numbers of persons involved and the safety aspects surrounding breaking up such an event.

Superintendent Robyn Mason said: “There is little doubt that these type of events are very well planned, organised and that local knowledge is important in drawing down the main group to a particular ‘vulnerable’ field, or area of land which has been targeted previously as a suitable venue.

“Farmers, landowners and local communities are encouraged to report any suspicious activity immediately to the Police; this may be an unusual numbers of vehicles, especially camper vans, vans or trucks in the locality, illegal trespassers who may be doing ‘recce’ of sites in advance of the event.

“I can assure local communities that Police will take the appropriate action to deter illegal gatherings and deal robustly with any criminal offences discovered or disclosed.”

Members of the public are also urged to be vigilant of persons who approach landowners or enquiring for land, in the guise of hiring for apparently acceptable activities such as gymkhanas and scouts/guides events.

Please contact Police on 101 with reports on any suspicious activity.

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Discover Coast and Cleddau boat trips launched at Milford Waterfront

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A NEW way to appreciate the spectacular Pembrokeshire coast has been officially launched at Milford Waterfront.

Discover Coast and Cleddau offers two exciting boat trips; ‘Discover Coast’ takes passengers on a guided tour around Skomer Island to see the array of wildlife while ‘Discover Cleddau’ explores the more tranquil waters around Benton, Cosheston Woodlands and Lawrenny.

Both trips celebrate the rich history of the Waterway. Suited to all ages from five upwards, what makes these trips unique is that all passengers are seated comfortably inside a heated cabin.

Director of Property and Tourism at the Port of Milford Haven which owns and operates the vessel, Clare Stowell, said “There is so much to see within the Milford Haven Waterway and out towards the islands that we’re confident both trips will be really popular. The trips form part of our wider strategy to transform Milford Waterfront into a vibrant destination where visitors will enjoy a memorable leisure experience.”

As well as the regular boat trips, a number of special tours will be publicised throughout the summer such as photography expeditions.

Excursions can be booked by calling the Skipper Gareth Light on 01646 696370; tickets are £25.00 per person with the boat departing from Mackerel Quay at Milford Marina.

For the latest information on Discover Coast and Discover Cleddau please follow Milford Waterfront on social media.

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Man who gets ‘a sexual buzz’ from touching bottoms avoids prison

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A HAVERFORDWEST man who cannot stop grabbing women’s bottoms has today (Jun 22) received a suspended prison sentence.

John Robert Hancox told police he could not understand where the urge had come from at the age of 66.

Hancox, of Hanover Court, was arrested on May 15 for touching the bottoms of two women in the town. Police cautioned him and released him.

Helen Randall, prosecuting, told Swansea Crown Court that just eight days later Hancox said hello to a 23-year-old woman walking along Milford Road and then grabbed her bottom.

The following day he approached a 16-year-old girl who was clearly wearing a school uniform in the car park at Tesco, Haverfordwest and did the same to her.

Miss Randall said her friends spotted a police van and alerted the officers, who happened to be looking for Hancox for the offence the previous day.

Hancox admitted sexually assaulting two females.

During police interviews he said he got ‘a sexual buzz’ out of touching his victims and felt embarrassed.

His barrister, Carina Hughes, told the court: “These urges are recent in his life and he is crying out for help.”

The judge Mr Recorder Peter Griffiths told Hancox he presented a problem to the court as the public needed protecting but he needed help.

Hancox was jailed for two months, suspended for two years, and placed under supervision for two years coupled with an order to complete up to 30 days of a rehabilitation activity designed by the probation service.

He was also made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order under which he must not approach girls aged under 18.

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