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Top cameraman zooms in on Sunderland

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zoom in on the sunderlandONE OF the world’s top underwater cameramen, Michael Pitts, has teamed up with divers who monitor the sunken Sunderland flying boat in the Milford Haven Waterway to take dramatic images of the wartime survivor.

Michael, whose assignments take him to fabulous locations and crystal clear waters all over the world, joined members of the Pembroke Dock Sunderland Trust Dive Group on the Sunderland, which sank 73 years ago in a gale.

It was Michael’s second sortie on Sunderland T9044, having filmed in 2011 alongside historian Dan Snow for The One Show’ programme.

This time Michael gave his time and expertise completely free in support of the Sunderland Trust and it’s Dive Group members who monitor and recover items from the site. He took both film and still photographs on this occasion.

After diving throughout the day with the Group’s Dive Officer Nick Hammond and another very experienced diver, Welsh aviation historian Steve Jones, Michael was pleased with what he had taken.

“Visibility was up to three metres and the conditions were much better than I experienced when filming for ‘The One Show’. Nevertheless it was still difficult to get really decent shots. It’s always a really challenging dive,” said Michael.

He plans to link up again with the Dive Group to take more film of the Sunderland, the only Mark I survivor in the world.

Nick Hammond added: “Michael’s support is a big boost for us. He is so interested in our unique project and to be able to dive with him, and show him our Sunderland, is tremendous. In the conditions it is very hard for the Group to get good images and film of the aircraft and thanks to Michael we now have some excellent material.”

Michael dived from the dive boat ‘Blue Thunder’ which is operated from the Haven by brothers Will and John Fenneberg, both members of the Sunderland Trust Dive Group. In support were Rik Saldanha and Julie and Dai Humphreys.

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Local florist creates stunning tribute to Queen Elizabeth II

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GWENDA’S Flowers From Home have created a beautiful floral display as a tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II following her passing on September 8. 

Chris used four flowers from around the country in his display. Daffodils from Wales, red roses from England, Eryngium (similar to thistles from Scotland) and Molluccella, which is also known as ‘the bells-of-Ireland’.

Gwenda’s Flowers From Home create high quality arrangements and guarantee a personal touch with every bouquet. 

Chris, 39, named his business after his grandmother. Chris said she was a royalist and she loved the Queen. 

He feels as though this tribute is very fitting and is proud to make the display in his grandmother’s name. 

The display is currently located in Haverfordwest at the War Memorial. 

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Veteran opens Slimming World in Milford Haven

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ARMY Veteran, Rachel, has launched her own Slimming World group in Milford Haven after her own positive experiences. 

“I changed lives in the army and hope to continue changing lives for people in Milford Haven.”

Rachel was born and raised in Milford Haven. As a small child, she was “active and busy” and a real tomboy alongside her brothers. 

In 1998, she joined the Army at 16-years-old as a Combat Medical Technician. Following training, Rachel served in Germany, all over the UK, overseas in Cyprus, and was deployed to Oman, Kosovo, Bosnia and Poland before retiring from service in May 2021.

Her role as a combat medical technician meant she often had to deal with soldiers who had been injured in war zones. Rachel described dealing with the range of injuries as “life-changing”.

Rachel’s job not only consisted of helping soldiers physically recover; she also helped them with their mental well-being. 

She said she: “always pointed out the positives ahead of them for their lives and their families.

“The fulfilment I would get from seeing them recover and their family made whole again is so rewarding, I cannot put it into words.”

She has always been a strong, physically fit person. She enjoyed an active lifestyle and felt as though she “could always eat what she wanted.”

In 2017, she was posted to Harrogate. Rachel was 36 years old and had recently given birth to her third child, a daughter, after already having two sons aged 13 and 5. 

She says she was almost two stone overweight even before her pregnancy. 

Rachel said: “So here I was with four stone to lose. I had lost all confidence and was at a loss.

“I was at a GP surgery when I saw a poster for Slimming World. I was there for my daughter’s first vaccinations and that’s when I decided to join my local Harrogate Slimming World group.”

Rachel said she was welcomed to the group with open arms. She described the members as being lovely, offering to make her a hot drink after being weighed or hold her baby while she got settled into the group. 

It was at this group that Rachel found her love for Food Optimising, which is Slimming World’s unique plan to lose weight and get healthy. 

She swapped takeaway meals for ‘fakeaways’ using recipes she learned from her group. 

After only a week, Rachel had lost 4 lbs and knew this new plan was one she could follow. 

Over the next 10 months, she enjoyed curries, chillis, chips loaded with a variety of toppings and cheese within her daily allowance, and she could still enjoy treats every now and then. 

By June 2018, she had hit her target and lost the whole four stone. She said she “felt amazing!”

Unfortunately, during lockdown, she became a single mum and was at an “all-time low”. She moved back to Pembrokeshire in December 2021 and quickly swapped healthy meals for quick and easy, high-fat processed meals.

Rachel said: “Being stuck in the house with three children during lockdown was hard. 

“As I was working from home with nowhere to go, I found myself mindlessly eating as I was only eating out of boredom. 

“I put almost two stone back on and I was devastated.”

In January 2022, she decided to get into shape again. She joined the local Slimming World group in Johnston. 

Rachel said she had two stone to lose and was determined to return to her target weight. 

She claims she was blown away by the consultant Kelly’s knowledge of the plan and her motivation. 

“She guided me back through the new member talk, reintroduced me to my love of Slimming World and allowed me to fall in love with the plan all over again!” Rachel added. 

“The warm atmosphere and the gentle reminder that the plan can be used for all the family reignited my passion.

“Since January 10, 2022, I have lost one stone and five pounds. I am only two-pounds away from my personal target.”

After talking about Slimming World and the freedom it allows Rachel to have, she joined Slimming World and trained to be a consultant. 

Thanks to her time in the Army, helping those with their physical and mental health, Rachel feels that she would be well suited to helping those achieve their goals. 

She commented: “The training is thorough and covers not only the plan but the psychology of wanting to lose weight. 

“It has totally changed my views on how I shop, cook and eat food, and I hope my drive and motivation will help others to do the same.”

To join Rachel’s Slimming World group, call Rachel on 07391 634033 or visit Milford United Football Club, Marble Hall Road, every Thursday at 5.30pm. 

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National one-minute silence for the Queen will be held at 8pm on Sunday

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A NATIONAL one-minute silence will be held in honour of the Queen at 8pm on Sunday, Downing Street announced on Monday (Sept 12).

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “At 8pm on Sunday 18 September, the night before the state funeral, there will be a one-minute silence where the public are invited to come together and observe a national moment of reflection to mourn and reflect on the life and legacy of Queen Elizabeth II.”

“The silence can be marked privately at home on your own or with friends and neighbours, out on your doorstep or street with neighbours, or at any locally arranged community events and vigils.”

“We encourage local community groups, clubs and other organisations to mark this moment of reflection. And if you are overseas, people are encouraged to mark the silence at their local time.”

“The shared national moment of reflection is an opportunity for everyone across the UK to mark the death of Her Majesty and we will set out details of where the Prime Minister will mark it closer to that time.”

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