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Cyclist who was seriously injured near Tenby is now supporting Road Safety Week

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A PE TEACHER has spoken for the first time of her battle to overcome serious injuries she suffered when a driver turned across the path of her bicycle.

Keen cyclist Victoria Gibson suffered a catalogue of injuries including a traumatic brain injury, spinal fractures, a fractured eye socket as well as a broken ankle in the crash which happened near Tenby, when she was training for the Ironman competition.

A group of off-duty soldiers came to her help and administered first aid before emergency services arrived. The 43-year-old, of Wookey Hole, Somerset, spent nearly two weeks in an induced coma in intensive care after she was airlifted to hospital.

Following the collision, Victoria instructed specialist serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to help investigate the incident. Irwin Mitchell has now secured her a six-figure settlement to help fund the specialist therapies and rehabilitation Victoria requires to help her overcome her injuries.

Victoria has now joined her legal team at Irwin Mitchell in using Road Safety Week to urge motorists to be aware of cyclists on the roads.

Georgina Moorhead, an expert serious injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Victoria and her husband Tom 40, said: “Victoria has made tremendous progress but still faces many challenges with her injuries likely to affect her for the rest of her life.

“Through our work, we often see the consequences of what can happen when vulnerable road users, such as cyclists, are involved in collisions.

“Road Safety Week is an important time to reflect on the responsibility that all of us have to keep ourselves and others safe from harm on the road.”

Victoria was taking part in a long course cycling event on July 8, 2017. She was travelling on the A4139 near Tenby, Wales, when she collided with a car which was travelling in the opposite direction.

Victoria was taken by air ambulance to University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.

Her injuries meant she had to step down from her role as head of PE at Crispin School and now works part-time.

While Victoria has been able to take up sport again, she has not been able to reach her pre-injury level due to continued struggles with fatigue. Victoria also recently had issues with damage to her teeth, as well as problems with her vision and speech.

Following legal investigations, the motorist’s insurance company admitted that the driver turned right across Victoria’s path without properly checking that the way was clear.

Victoria said: “It has been an incredibly difficult year trying to come to terms with not only the circumstances of the incident but also the impact it has had on my life.

“The injuries I suffered have affected all aspects of my life, from work to my ability to participate in sport. I was training for an ironman competition when the crash happened and it is hard to take that I may never reach the same level of performance.

“The support I have had from family and friends has really helped. I’m trying to stay positive and move forward with my life but no one should have to go through what I have.

“It is vital that road users do everything they can to keep each other safe.”

Road Safety Week runs from 19-25 November. This year’s ‘Bike Safe’ theme aims to reduce the number of cyclists and motorcyclist killed or injured on the roads.

In 2016 there were 18,477 cyclist casualties and 19,297 motorcyclist casualties, according to the Department for Transport.

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Amroth: RNLI rescue three people swept out to sea

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THE RNLI rescued three people after they were washed off rocks by huge waves at Telpyn Point near Amroth.

At 5pm on Sunday (Dec 9) as the lifeboat crew’s children’s Christmas Party was ending, both of Tenby’s RNLI lifeboats were requested to launch after a report that three women were cut off by the incoming tide somewhere between Marros and Amroth.

The casualties had been forced to cut their call to the Coastguard short as their mobile phone battery was about to run out, so the Coastguard didn’t have an exact position for them.

The lifeboats were quickly on the water and the volunteer crew made best speed to towards Amroth to begin their search in pitch black conditions and with a large swell running into the rocks.

Despite the low battery, once the casualties spotted the lifeboat in the distance, they turned on their phone’s screen and began waving the phone towards the lifeboat. The volunteer crew on the inshore lifeboat immediately spotted the light and headed for it, closely followed by the all-weather lifeboat.

Once on scene, it was apparent to the lifeboat crew that this would be a difficult rescue due to the heavy swell crashing on the rocks, just feet from where the casualties were precariously perched, so Tenby and St Govans Coastguard Rescue teams were paged in case a rope rescue was required.

With the numerous underwater rocks making it impossible for the all-weather lifeboat to get anywhere near, the bigger vessel illuminated the rocks with floodlights, whilst the inshore lifeboat prepared their anchor to veer down into the rocks through the swell in an attempt to reach the casualties.

As the crew made attempts to get close enough to shore in very tricky conditions, a large wave hit the rocks, washing one of the casualties into the sea. As the casualty struggled in the heavy swell, the helmsman managed to get the lifeboat alongside her and the crew pulled her to safety.

She was rushed to the all-weather lifeboat where the crew were waiting to assess and treat her. On their return to check on the remaining two casualties, the inshore lifeboat crew could only watch as another wave hit the rocks and washed them into the surf. Again, the helmsman managed to get inside the surf line and the crew plucked them to safety, before dropping them aboard the all-weather lifeboat.

With everyone accounted for, the boats returned to the station, where the casualties were further assessed and were delighted to be able to take warm showers. Despite the ferocity of the surf that washed them off the rocks, the women were lucky to escape with only a few minor grazes.

Once they were warmed up enough and had had a warm drink, they thanked the crew and then made their way home.

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Interviews to take place this week for £91k council job

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INTERVIEWS are to be held this week for a controversial senior role within Pembrokeshire County Council, with an advertised salary of up to £91,000.

On Wednesday (Dec 12), interviews will be held for the Head of Economic Development and Regeneration post, which has a salary bracket of £53,982 – £91,443.

In addition, the job was advertised with £5,259 subsidy for a leased car and a ‘generous pension scheme’.

Relocation assistance was also being offered for applicants outside of Pembrokeshire.

In July, at a meeting of Full Council, the new job post was approved, with most agreeing that the post should be advertised in order to ensure improvements and large investments are made around the county. The former head of regeneration recently retired.
Despite initial concern at the meeting, the only councillor strongly against the new role was Cllr Reg Owens, saying: “I really can’t see any justification in filling this post, I’ll say that from the start.

“Over the past year quite rightly we have been lectured… about the need to be far more prudent in our expenditure. When we approved the budget last year, and we approved the 12.5% [council tax] I did say at the time we are asking the people of Pembrokeshire to contribute towards Pembrokeshire County Council and we have also got to be seen to be doing our bit as well.

“When I look at the job description…we have certainly got those skills with our current chief officers and heads of services and of course the cabinet members, so I don’t think we will be cast adrift by not making this appointment, in fact, if we don’t make this appointment, we will be showing everybody that we do mean business trying to save some money.”

Despite this, Cllr Owens was ultimately persuaded by justifications of others.

Cllr Michael Williams of Plaid Cymru argued: “If you want justification just go and walk through our towns. I mean the whole economic base that used to be in these towns is now almost dead.

“To do nothing is not an option. We have got to show some ambition for the benefit of this county, otherwise the whole place is going to fail.

“I think this is an opportunity, I think we’ve failed in the past because we haven’t resourced in any way adequately enough this unit. And we have got to get that right.”

The proposition by Cllr Williams, seconded by Cllr Miller, detailed how the Senior Staff Committee recommend to the Council that the role of Head of Economic Development and Regeneration be advertised.

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Milford Haven: Defibrillator donated to town

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ON SUNDAY (De 9) a defibrillator was presented to the town of Milford Haven by The 3 Amigos & Dollies motorcycle group.

After the death earlier in the year of fellow 3 Amigo Little Bri (Brian Craig), money was raised at his funeral by the Amigos to make the donation possible.

The defibrillator is now dedicated to Little Bri, with a brass plaque hung on the wall in his honour. Brian’s widow, Kath, his friends, and the Amigos all attended the presentation.

The defibrillator can be found on the wall by Tom Neewing & Son funeral directors.

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