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Dementia Friends celebrates first birthday



ON February 19 2014, Alzheimer’s Society launched its award-winning Dementia Friends initiative in Wales. On its first

Celebrating the anniversary of Dementia Friends: Mary Thomas with Chella Borde.

Celebrating the anniversary of Dementia Friends: Mary Thomas with Chella Borde.

anniversary, the charity is calling on people across the country to join the 8,000 Dementia Friends who have already joined the movement to breakdown the stigma of a condition that affects 45,000 people in Wales.

Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends initiative aims to make everyday life better for people with dementia and is this country’s biggest ever project to change the way the nation thinks, talks and acts when it comes to the condition. In the first year over 8,000 people in Wales have become Dementia Friends whilst a further 308 have taken a further step to become a Dementia Friends Champion.

A Dementia Friends Champion runs Friends’ information sessions for people in their personal networks or communities. They do this after participating in the one-day Dementia Friends Champions’ training run by Alzheimer’s Society.

Chella Borde, Alzheimer’s Society Regional Support Officer for Dementia Friends in Wales, said: “The level of support for Dementia Friends in Wales has been overwhelming. In the first year alone we have created over 8,100 Dementia Friends and hundreds more Champions. Members of the public, staff from the emergency services as well businesses and other organisations across Wales have all signed up to the initiative and we hope many more will follow in their footsteps. Through Dementia Friends, we can all understand a bit more about what it is like to live with dementia and the small things that help those with the condition. It is easy and free to become a Dementia Friend. Everyone in Wales has a role to play.”

At the end of a Dementia Friends session people are encouraged to turn their understanding into action. Actions don’t have to be time-consuming. Examples have included:

  • Behaving patiently with someone showing the signs of dementia
  • Spending more time with, helping or supporting a friend or relative affected by dementia
  • Signposting people affected by dementia to more information and support
  • Helping your workplace to be more dementia-friendly
  • Telling other people about Dementia Friends or spreading the word through social media.

Mary Thomas was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2010. The 60-year-old from Cardiff regularly attends the Ty Hapus day service in Barry which is specifically designed to support younger people with dementia.

She said: “People assume that if you’ve got dementia that’s it, that you can’t do anything yourself, and you’re helpless. That’s not true. There’s a lot of bad stigma around dementia and it’s not fair. The more people that understand; the better things will be. People can lose patience and be rude, but Dementia Friends can help people understand that just because someone’s got dementia, they’re not stupid, they might just need a little bit of help.”

The anniversary of Dementia Friends comes shortly after the team behind the initiative won the Class award for best communications in the 2014 Third Sector Awards Cymru.

To find out more about Dementia Friends, or to sign up, please visit

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All aboard for return of summer coastal bus services



TWO popular bus services will be returning to the Pembrokeshire coast from Saturday, 25th May.

  • The Puffin Shuttle (service 400, operated by Richards Bros) runs between St Davids and Marloes, via Little Haven, Druidston, St Brides and Martins Haven (for boat trips to Skomer Island).
  • The Strumble Shuttle (service 404, operated by Richards Bros) runs via the coast road between St Davids and Fishguard, including Abereiddy (for the Blue Lagoon), Porthgain, and Strumble Head.

The Coastal Cruiser (service 387/388, operated by Pembrokeshire County Council) around the Angle peninsular will also revert to its summer timetable on May 25th.

All three services will run daily from Saturday 25th May until Sunday 29th September 2024.

In addition, the Celtic Coaster (service 403, operated by Sarah Bell) around the St Davids peninsular will run an enhanced (half-hourly) timetable during half term (Saturday 25th May to Sunday, 2nd June) and throughout July and August.

These services are have been developed by the Pembrokeshire Greenways Partnership with funding from Pembrokeshire County Council, the Welsh Government and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.

Councillor Rhys Sinnett, Pembrokeshire County Council Cabinet Member for Residents Services said: “Our coastal buses are a key part of our local public transport network, making it easy for both locals and visitors to get around the Pembrokeshire coast without having to use a car.

“We hope as many people as possible make use of these services so that they can have a hassle free way of enjoying our beautiful county.”

Extra services will also be available in the Tenby area this summer.

  • First Cymru’s Tenby Coaster, an open-topped double decker bus between Tenby and Saundersfoot will be returning, daily, between Saturday, 26th May and Saturday, 14th September 2024.
  • Taf Valley will be introducing additional journeys on the 351 service from Kilgetty and Tenby from Saturday, 20th July to Friday, 13th September, including a return journey on Sundays.

More information about these and other bus services which run to and around the Pembrokeshire Coast can be found in the new 2024 Coastal Bus timetable booklet, available soon from local libraries and information centres.

To request a copy, please contact [email protected] or call 01437 764551.

Bus timetables can also be downloaded from the Council’s website.

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Milford Haven to commemorate 80th anniversary of D-Day



THE Milford Haven Town Council will be holding a Memorial Service to commemorate the 80th Anniversary of D-Day on The Rath on Thursday, 6th June 2024, at 8:45 pm. The beacon will be lit at 9:15 pm.

D-Day, which took place on 6th June 1944, marked a pivotal moment in World War II. It was the day when Allied forces launched a massive invasion on the beaches of Normandy, France. This operation, known as Operation Overlord, involved thousands of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and other Allied nations. The invasion was a significant turning point in the war, leading to the liberation of Western Europe from Nazi occupation.

The 80th Anniversary of D-Day holds profound meaning for many, particularly for those who lived through the war and the families of those who served. It is a time to reflect on the immense sacrifices made by the soldiers, sailors, and airmen who took part in the operation. It is also an opportunity to honour the bravery and determination of the veterans who survived and to remember those who did not return.

As the years pass, the number of surviving veterans dwindles, making commemorations like these even more poignant. The 80th anniversary serves as a reminder of the enduring legacy of those who fought for freedom and the importance of remembering their contributions to history.

The Memorial Service in Milford Haven will provide a moment for the community to come together in remembrance. The lighting of the beacon will symbolise the light of hope and the enduring spirit of those who fought for a better future. The council encourages all residents to attend the service and pay their respects to the heroes of D-Day.


During the lead up to D-Day, part of Milford Haven was taken over by the US Navy as a place where they could dock landing craft as well as make repairs to these craft. The crews would also have been stationed nearby in the town, and a Hospital in Hakin was set up with a hut encampment. The nearby Pier at Newton Noyes was also regularly used by the US Navy.

Landing Ship, Tanks (LST) were often put into Dry Docks to carry out repairs and preparation for the D-Day Landings. The base was the largest Advanced Amphibious Base build by the American Engineers and around 1,000 servicemen and women were stationed at the base during 1943 and 1944.

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How do we know that man went to the Moon? The Herald explains



EVERY single argument claiming that NASA faked the Moon landings has been discredited. But even today, 50 years later, people discuss conspiracy claims online, on television programmes and around the dinner table.

Herald moon fact: With a powerful amateur telescope, you can see the Apollo landing sites and, if you look at the photos from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, you can spot the remnants of the Apollo missions yourself.

Were the Moon landings faked?

If you find yourself in a debate questioning whether humankind first stepped on the Moon on 20 July 1969, the chances are that you are woefully underprepared. Most people take it as gospel that the US government, NASA, the 12 astronauts in total who have walked on the Moon, and the 400,000 people involved in the Apollo programme would have neither the will nor the way to fake one of humanity’s greatest ever achievements.

But there are those who think the landings were a hoax. They claim the US government faked Apollo 11 and later missions either to deal a crucial blow to the USSR in the Space Race, or to boost NASA funding, or to divert attention away from the Vietnam War. The argument for any of these viewpoints rests on finding evidence that the landings were faked.

And more often than not, people point out peculiarities in specific images or videos to deal the critical blow. If someone uses these oddities as evidence, what do you say? Here are the most common arguments that support this view, and why each of them is wrong.

Evidence of the moon landings include items left there, reflectors installed on the surface, and lunar rocks brought back to Earth.

Photographic evidence

One of the most popular conspiracy arguments is that there are never any stars in Apollo photos. Free from Earth’s light pollution and hazy atmosphere, you would expect to see thousands of stars in all the astronauts’ images. Unfortunately, this argument rests on the photos being snapped during the lunar night. All manned missions to the Moon took place in sunny daytime. This meant starlight lost the battle against the very bright surface of the Moon, too dim to show up in photos.

Another common argument is that the crosshairs that appear in many Apollo images sometimes appear to be behind objects in the photos. If the images were real, this would be impossible, suggesting someone painted them on. But testing here on Earth has shown that the brightly lit objects make the crosshairs appear fainter. When these images are copied or scanned some of this detail is lost completely, giving the effect that the crosshair is behind the object in certain shots.

Others point to an oddity in a photo of a Moon rock taken during the Apollo 16 mission. There appears to be a ‘C’ written on it, like a lettered movie prop. Again, analysing the original photo there is no anomaly – the ‘C’ isn’t there. Most likely it was a piece of hair or thread introduced during copying.

A more subtle argument that the landings were faked is based on various misunderstandings of NASA equipment and lunar physics. A well-known example is the American flag that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin placed on the Moon. It appears to flutter in the wind in some photos. How could this happen when the Moon has no wind?

In fact, it isn’t fluttering at all. A horizontal rod at the top of the pole holds the flag unfurled. This makes it look like the wind is stopping it from hanging down. And there is a fluttering effect because the weak gravity on the Moon is not strong enough to uncrumple the flag. After a little waving while the astronauts planted the flags into the Moon’s surface, they have remained still ever since.

Fried by radiation

Perhaps the most convincing argument that the landings were faked has to do with something called the Van Allen belts. These are two giant doughnut-shaped belts surrounding the Earth. They are made of highly energetic charged particles from the solar wind. Some people believe humans couldn’t have passed through these belts without being exposed to lethal doses of radiation.

This was a genuine concern before the Apollo missions. And it is the reason scientists behind Apollo 11 made sure they protected the astronauts as best they could. They insulated the spacecraft from radiation with an aluminium shell. And they chose a trajectory from the Earth to the Moon which minimised the amount of time spent in the Van Allen belts.

Readings from the nine Apollo missions that reached the Moon showed the astronauts’ average radiation exposure was 0.46 radiation-absorbed dose (rad). This proved NASA was right to shield the astronauts from radiation. Though it’s less than that experienced by some nuclear energy workers, 0.46 rad is around 10 times more than the radiation exposure of medical professionals who routinely work with x-ray and radiotherapy machines.

Proof we walked on the Moon

Of course, until we return to the Moon there will always be anomalies and oddities in the records that can spark new claims that the Moon landings were faked. But it is the sheer size and variety of this record that proves every one of these claims to be false.

From the Apollo Moon missions, there are 8,400 publicly available photos, thousands of hours of video footage, a mountain of scientific data, and full transcripts and audio recordings of all air-to-ground conversations. We even have 382 kilograms of Moon rock that Apollo astronauts brought back to Earth. These rocks have been independently verified as lunar by laboratories around the world, ruling out a US conspiracy.

If this is not enough to convince the most hardened sceptic, NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) might sway them. Today, LRO takes high-resolution pictures of the lunar surface from a low orbit. During its mission, it has captured the landing sites and the abandoned descent modules and rovers from the Apollo missions. And its resolution is so good it has picked up the dark squiggly paths that the astronauts’ footprints made. Spacecraft from China, India and Japan have also spotted these landing sites, providing further independent verification of the landings.

A final nail in the coffin of the Moon hoax theories is a simple instrument installed 50 years ago by Apollo 11. During their day on the Moon, Armstrong and Aldrin planted a lunar laser ranging retroreflector array on the surface. It’s still operational today and allows us to reflect lasers off of it and measure the distance to the Moon down to the centimetre. We simply couldn’t do this if we hadn’t visited the Moon.

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