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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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Pembroke: School to be closed tomorrow due to ‘major leak’

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Closed: Due to a 'major leak' (pic. Martin Cavaney)

A ‘MAJOR LEAK’ has closed Ysgol Harri Tudor / Henry Tudor School in Pembroke this morning (Dec 13).

The electrical system has been affected by the leak and the classrooms are not usable.

The council have said that the school will remain closed on Friday (Dec 14) as well.

A Pembrokeshire County Council spokesperson said: “Ysgol Harri Tudor / Henry Tudor School in Pembroke is closing this morning (Thursday, 13th December) at 10.30 am because of a major leak in one of the buildings. This affected the electrical system and rendered classrooms unusable.

“All staff and pupils are safe and transport arrangements are in place.

“Please monitor Pembrokeshire County Council’s social media pages for information as to whether the school will be open tomorrow (Friday, 14th December). A decision will be taken later today.”

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Santa dog parade raises money for Greenacres

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FRIARS VAULTS in Haverfordwest hosted a Santa dog parade to raise money for Greenacres Animal Rescue on the weekend.

The event, which took place on Sunday (Dec 9), included a catwalk for dogs, hunt for treats and a raffle.

The total amount raised on the night was £110 with a further £45.50 collected through the donation box.

The winner of the best-dressed Dog was Deb and Steve Bunston with Pip, in second place was Danielle Boswell with Badger and in third place was Caitlin Davies with Denzal.

Greenacres Animal Rescue said on their Facebook page: “A huge thank you to all at Friars vaults Haverfordwest & Jamie Sid Williams for holding the fabulous fancy dress pooch party yesterday.

“A very welcome £158.50 was raised for Greenacres. Thank you all”

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Legal advice about former councillor convicted of rape to be released

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THE COUNCIL’S legal advice relating to former councillor and convicted rapist Dai Boswell will be released into the public domain.

In a recorded vote at Thursday’s (Dec 13) Full Council meeting, 41 members voted in favour of the documents being released with just seven voting against.

Cllr Jacob Williams submitted a notice of motion calling for it to be made public and the matter was discussed by an Overview and Scrutiny Committee before coming back to council.

He stated that having seen the documents and providing sensitive information isn’t divulged, that the public has every right to see them.

Boswell was elected in 2017 but did not take up his seat for the first month and the council instructed legal advisor James Goudie QC to give his advice on the matter.

The Council spent over £2000 in doing so and had recommended that the information should not be released.

At Thursday’s meeting Cllr Brian Hall said: “On November 15, the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny committee discussed releasing instructions and evidence which was called for a month after the 2017 election.

“The leader made it clear at a meeting on July 26 that the instructions and advice would be made available to members. The council is now seeking general publication. The recommendation was that the instruction and advice should not be made available as Cllrs could view documents on a need to know basis in order to satisfy themselves in their councillor capacity.

“Two members spoke in support saying the documents contained matters of public interest and that it should be in the public domain.”

Cllr Jacob Williams added: “The legal advice seeking to be published relates to a period of time after Dai had been elected and before he was found guilty. The council were preventing him from taking his seat despite him not being charged.

“Well over £2000 was spent that the council hadn’t been made aware of. I did get it so that councillors were able to see that advice and what I read was a real eye-opener.

“The Monitoring Officers’ report objecting had a number of red herrings and straw men. She said it will create a precedent but I am not seeking to create that. This is just to release two specific documents.

“She also said that approving any request would open up a can of worms if the interest and advice was publicised and that anything that appears in the media would lead to the council conducting business with its hand behind its back.

“This is just this set of legal advice which reflects poorly on senior members of this authority. I am one of the most vocal councillors in opposing the whim of officers when they find themselves in a bind, they go to lawyers to get themselves out of a pickle. This has been a very expensive lesson.”

Cllr Michelle Bateman asked how many councillors had asked to see the legal advice and the Monitoring Officer Claire Jones said that just two had asked, one of which was Cllr Williams.

Cllr Mike Stoddart said: “The Monitoring Officer states that it is not advisable to proactively publish this but we are not proactively publishing. This has been dragged out by the notice of motion. This will be reactive.

He went on to say that there were occasions when the council should keep its advice close to its chest but said this was not one of those occasions.

The debate took a different turn when Cllr Mark Carter asked the leader if views expressed on social media bordered on ‘workplace bullying’ but Council Leader David Simpson said he was not a policeman and that he could not close down a Facebook page.

Cllr Mike Evans added: “I don’t want to see this advice but this is about the principle of whether the public should be allowed to see the advice. The officers are here to give us the whole picture and not the windows they wish us to look through.”

Monitoring Officer Claire Jones gave a lengthy speech about the possible publication of the documents stating that her recommendations to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee were to do with responsible publication and that it was not to be done lightly.

Claire Jones added that Cllr Boswell’s appeal remains live and that there were still victims at the heart of this.

She went on to say that safeguarding was a matter for everyone and that her door was always open to members to come in and discuss issues and that due to the amount of social media interest it was moving towards the documents being in the public interest.

Cllr David Simpson said he was concerned that only two members had seen the advice and that others were discussing without having seen it.

Cllr Williams summed up saying that the speech the Monitoring Officer gave was one of the most ‘memorable’.

In the recorded vote 41 members voted in favour of the advice being released with seven voting against and six abstaining.

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