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Volunteering champ Sam keeps his feet on the ground

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Young achiever: Sam at the awards ceremony with his family.

Young achiever: Sam at the awards ceremony with his family.

HE may be the winner of Radio Pembrokeshire’s Volunteering Award but young Sam Davies has his feet well and truly on the ground. He is keen to attribute so much of his success to the St John’s Ambulance Service he has come to love and serve. 17 year-old Sam, who is currently a pupil at Pembroke School, hopes to join the Navy as a student nurse and is convinced that his volunteer work with St John’s is a marvellous stepping stone to success on that journey. “Medicine makes me tick” he says “which is why I first got involved with St John’s. I’ve always had a keen interest in and passion for the emergency services and their work confirmed to me that I want to work on the caring side of things. It is an amazing organisation.

They protect and take care of me as well as train me. I really do feel part of a family.” According to Sam the local division currently has some 15 cadets and a similar number of adults but things were not as healthy a few years ago when he first joined. He explained: “I was nominated by the Divisional Officer Victoria Stevens. There was a time when we were down to three members and she feels that I have done so much to get things off the ground by promoting it especially in school. We are so much stronger now and she has said she could not have done it without me.

She is delighted with what is happening and we seem to be getting so much better known locally which is good.” In nominating Sam Divisional Office Stevens wrote: “He was very quiet at first, but started training in First Aid skills, absorbing the skills and information like a sponge. By the time our busy season for duties started, he was a qualified First aider looking forward to helping his community. In that first season, he completed 234 duty hours and assisted dozens of sick and injured people in Pembrokeshire.He also noted that as a small division we needed help with fundraising.

That year he raised over £600 by doing bag packs in Asda and Tesco. He has performed duties at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, at the National Eisteddfod in Llanelli and regularly helps out at Parc Y Scarlets. He has travelled to Hungary with other cadets from St John Cymru to take part in First Aid simulations and competitions, where he was also roped into teaching local people First Aid there!’’

Sam is nothing if not an enthusiastic supporter of St John’s. “It has been amazing” he continued. “I go to meetings twice a week for training and personal development and then get to work with them over weekends. The amount will depend on the events and the season. We have great fun and all this has allowed me to gain lots of qualifications in youth leadership and personal development as well as first aid.” Sam has had already had a varied experience of health and emergency issues but he has also discovered the importance of sensitivity and compassion: “I have to admit that I have been surprised to see just how important the social side of the work is – comforting and consoling people in the hour of need” he explained.

“It really helps if you are a good talker. I’ve discovered just how important it is to deal with people as people and not just as statistics or numbers.” And through his encounters with role models such as Divisional Office Stevens, Sam Davies has come to see that he could be a link in an inspirational chain too: “My nomination came as a big surprise” he observed. “I had asked Victoria to nominate someone else but she told me that they already had someone in mind. I didn’t exactly guess but I had a suspicion it was me and I hoped I was wrong because I hate being embarrassed and fight shy of the limelight.

I was a bit gobsmacked when my mum told me and I really did not know what to say. But this has given me a big boost and has shown me that if you get stuck into something you can really achieve something. I would really encourage other young people to find something they can enjoy and get stuck into instead of being sat at home doing nothing it’s far better being out there doing something worthwhile I’ve seen the difference it can make when people come up and thank you. You meet so many inspiring people and you simply want to follow them in being an example.”

Divisional Officer Stevens would clearly agree given her nomination. Sam, she wrote: “Has now qualified as a Cadet Trainer – passing on his skills to the other cadets. I have watched him grow from a quiet, shy boy to a confident, self-assured young man who is always willing to assist others, putting them first before himself. I am nominating him for the volunteering award as I firmly believe that he deserves recognition for himself and the things that he has achieved. He is a role model to other young people – a true inspiration.’’

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Community

Library reservations service expanded

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PEMBROKESHIRE’S Library Service has extended its reservation service.

Customers can place up to two reservations for books and audiobooks, which are available and in stock at libraries in Fishguard, Haverfordwest, Milford Haven, Narberth, Newport, Neyland, Pembroke, Pembroke Dock, Saundersfoot and Tenby.

Items are also available to reserve from the service’s Stack (store).

Library members can place reservations free of charge, in person or via the online catalogue.

To access the online catalogue, log on to https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/libraries-and-culture and select ‘Find Library Books’.

Customers can also place a request for an item not currently in stock, to be purchased as one of their two reservations.

The Library Service is not offering an Interlibrary Loan service at the present time.

For details on the library services currently offered in Pembrokeshire, please view https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/libraries-and-culture

 

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Community

Extra police patrols at Tenby skate park after ‘men approached young girls’

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CONCERNED locals in Tenby have taken to social media to write about concerns of inappropriate behaviour – between males they think may have been asylum seekers currently housed at Penally Army Camp – and young girls in Tenby.

The police have said they are investigating the matter.

Witnesses have said that young girls have been approached by males while at the skate park in Tenby.

The Home Office has said that the camp will be used to house up to 250 male asylum seekers whilst their claims are processed due to a shortage of alternative accommodation, caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Reports circulating on Facebook have claimed to have direct knowledge that male residents of the camp have been talking and exchanging contact information with local school girls, some suggesting that they were in school uniform when talking with the men.

However, the police have not confirmed that that is the case – it remains an unproved allegation.

One local claimed on Facebook: “So tonight a few of us concerned local parents decided to go to Tenby skate park.

“As we got there two young girls where sat on a bench waiting for someone.

“Some kids told us they were the ones talking to the men yesterday exchanging Snap Chat details and stuff.

“Then the men from the day before turned up… saw us and scurried off down the beach.

“The two girls then quickly wandered off.

“These girls were about 14.”

One resident had stated that they had reported the incidents he had seen and heard to the local police station, he claimed that an officer told him they were in talks with Greenhill School about the incidents.

Pembrokeshire County Council said that they are unable to comment on the alleged incidents, however a spokesman told The Herald in a statement: “All I would say is that our schools regularly advise pupils not to engage with strangers.”

Dyfed-Powys Police confirmed they are investigating two alleged incidents at the skate park, and have been in contact with the local schools.

A police spokesperson told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “We have received two reports of alleged inappropriate behaviour at the skate park in Tenby and are looking to speak to the people who contacted us.

“In the meantime the skate park is now part of our patrol plans and we have linked in with local schools to reinforce the School Beat Stay SMART online messaging.”

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Community

Off-duty lifesavers were lost but ready to react

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A PEMBROKESHIRE man whose life was saved by multiple twists of fate has praised those who stepped in during his hour of need.

Keen amateur triathlete Steven Landrey, 51, of Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire, was out on a post-lockdown bike ride when he suffered a cardiac arrest that was to set off the incredible chain of events.

Steven said: “We were about 40km into an 80km ride when it happened.

“It was strange and lucky as only two weeks earlier I was running alone in Paris, and the night before I swam 2km alone in the sea, and during lockdown had done lots of exercise on my own.

“But that day, I had met my brother-in-law, Chris, and some friends.

“I dread to think what would have happened if I would have been alone.”

Meanwhile, just a mile or so away was off-duty Welsh Ambulance Service Community First Responder Angharad Hodgson, from Martletwy, and her firefighter partner Steve Bradfield, from Narbeth.

Steven Landrey, 51, of Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire

“We were heading to meet friends at Barfundle Beach. We hadn’t been there for a few years so were following the sat-nav in the car,” said Angharad.

“We were running late and had taken a wrong turn as the sat-nav must have frozen or lost signal.

“We decided to turn back on ourselves, and that’s when we saw Steven on the floor being worked on by Chris.”

Always travelling with their defibrillator and kit, Angharad and Steve, who is also a trained medical responder, were able to pull over swiftly and step in with their life-saving defibrillator.

Angharad, 23, said: “We put the pad on his chest and after about 30 manual chest compressions, Steven had stopped breathing and the defibrillator told us we could shock him twice.

“We did it and he came back to us, but his breathing was very sticky so we continued CPR until the air and land ambulances arrived to take over.”

Steven was taken by road to Swansea’s Morriston Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery to fit a stent into a lower left artery of his heart, which had flooded with blood and caused the cardiac arrest.

Steven is making a good recovery at home and is taking the first steps back to work in his role as a European Managing Director for Babcock Aviation, an aerial emergency services business.

He said: “I’m working with the National Cardiac Referral Scheme and also a personal trainer and am feeling well and getting strength back every day.

“With my work, I have seen emergency care provision across Europe and Canada and the care I received at every step of the way here in Wales has been world-class.

“I can’t thank Chris, Angharad, Steve, the air ambulance crew and the paramedics enough, along with the doctors and surgeons at Morriston, they were all amazing.

“I realise everything went my way that day, and for those few hours I was the luckiest man alive, but having these trained people in our communities to support emergency medical services is absolutely vital.

“Community First Responders like Angharad, CPR training and Public Access Defibrillators really do save lives and are to be respected.”

Glyn Thomas, the Welsh Ambulance Service’s Community First Responder Officer in Mid and West Wales, said: “The prompt actions of Angharad and Steve were no doubt a major factor in the patient’s survival.

“Even off-duty as they were, they demonstrated control and organisation – they are both a credit to their communities and organisations.

“We wish Steven a smooth recovery and all the best for the future.”

Today is Restart a Heart Day, a national initiative run by the Resuscitation Council UK, British Heart Foundation, St John Ambulance and the ambulance services across the UK to promote education around Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).

In the absence of physical events due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Welsh Ambulance Service is encouraging people to watch a video by Resuscitation Council UK and keep an eye on social media from partners like Save a Life Cymru who are promoting key messages such as early recognition of cardiac arrest, early CPR and early defibrillation.

Restart a Heart Day runs parallel to the Trust’s month-long Shoctober campaign which aims to educate primary school children on the benefits of getting confident with CPR – even making this brilliant animated video.

Angharad, who also works for the local authority’s social services team in Pembrokeshire, has been a Community First Responder since April 2019 and was inspired to make that brave step by another incident back in 2018.

She said: “I was driving home from shopping along the A40 in Carmarthen when I came across a terrible car accident on the opposite carriageway.

“I pulled my car over and crossed the road to try and assist without any thought process really.

“Seeing the work of the paramedics on scene really spurred me on to become a Community First Responder.

“I’d like to thank Tony Wall who is my CFR Co-ordinator for being so supportive and giving so much of his time to fundraise for life saving equipment such as defibrillators in local communities.”

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