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Angry protestors in Withybush march

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angry protestorsOver One thousand people turned up to protest about cuts to services at Withybush, Sunday January 26. The protesters marched from Sir Thomas Picton School to the hospital to vent their anger at cuts to services. Outside the hospital the crowd, estimated to be approaching nearly 1200 people, held placards and banners, chanted, and sang the Welsh national anthem. Many Pembrokeshire residents say they fear that the lives of women and babies would be at risk if a level-two neonatal unit was developed at Carmarthen as a replacement for the current unit at Withybush Hospital.

A motorbike accident, which closed the A40 for most of the day on Saturday January 25 has raised concerns that it would not be safe to rely on the single-carriageway road to transfer urgent cases from Haverfordwest to Carmarthen, over thirty miles away.

Chris Overton, the chairman of the Save Withybush Action Team, who organised the protest, said that the turnout showed the “strength of feeling of people in Pembrokeshire” Mr Overton , who is a consultant obstetrician at Withybush Hospital, later told the press: “I’ve coined a new phrase, the Sutton Test, after a woman called Kate Sutton from Johnston who lost her baby and nearly died. I ask you whether someone in a similar position will be safe when the new system is in place. I don’t think that they would be. I think that everyone is concerned more and more across the county that these services are going to be cut.”

Speaking at the demonstration, Stephen Crabb MP said to the Herald: “There is an enormous sense of anger amongst the crowd, people from all walks of life, all across the county, voicing their frustration and their fears of what the future will look like without the essential service of SCBU on our doorstep.”

The hospital changes announced are part of a new system, where doctors in Carmarthen will provide specialist care, with other hospitals eventually providing a midwife-led service. Bronglais hospital in Aberystwyth will become a midwife-led maternity unit, although during the transition period it will also retain some consultants.

The plans were initially revealed a year ago by the health board, but were vetoed by the local patients’ watchdog over concerns that closing the special care baby unit in Haverfordwest could put lives at risk. That meant Health Minister Mark Drakeford had to step in to review the decision himself, and he has taken advice from a panel of experts.

The panel advising Mr Drakeford indicated providing special baby care units across the health board was “neither safe nor sustainable”, but the protestors say its unsafe to cut services due to the time it takes to get mums and babies from Pembrokeshire to the new proposed unit in Carmarthenshire.

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Council to showcase services at County Show

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THE SHOW IS BACK – and following a two-year absence, this year’s event will be the first open to the public since 2019.
As a celebration of rural life in the county, the show is the perfect platform to engage with both local communities and visitors.
This year, the largest county agricultural show in Wales, will be held over two days, on 17 and 18 August – and the Pembrokeshire County Council is attending the event to highlight the work they undertake, support available and the employment opportunities they have to offer.
To ensure the Local Authority provides information on a wide range of our services, this year our Social Services team are in a stand-alone marquee, enabling people to visit a one-stop-shop of support.
We will also give visitors the opportunity to join us in the corporate marquee to engage with Cabinet Members, the Chief Executive and a whole host of interesting and innovative projects happening across the county.
Pembrokeshire County Council Chief Executive Will Bramble said: “Our teams are excited about engaging with the public and having the opportunity to demonstrate what they do – and highlight the wealth of support available along with the wide range of career opportunities we have to offer.
“This will be my first Pembrokeshire Show as Chief Executive and I am looking forward to engaging with the rural and wider communities of this fantastic county.
“The Pembrokeshire Show is the perfect platform to celebrate the amazing produce we have to offer – and to meet new and old friends. Please come and visit our marquees and discover more about the support available and the transformational projects we are doing, which will improve the lives of our communities and visitors. I look forward to meeting you at the show.”
Among those joining the team will be the Broadband project, the Haverfordwest Regeneration work and the fascinating ongoing archaeological dig exhibition with Dyfed Archaeological Trust. Visitors will also get the chance to engage with Cabinet Members who will attend across the two-day event.
In the Social Services marquee will be Foster Care, Carers Support and the recruitment team who will be able to discuss how you can start your career in social care, and join the team making a real difference to the lives of people in our communities.
Cllr Paul Miller: Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Place, the Region and Climate Change, added: “The County Show is a well-loved and important celebration of rural life in Pembrokeshire, and we are delighted to be part of the event once again this year. Our staff and members will be chatting to lots of people from communities’ right across Pembrokeshire: please do drop into our stands and say hello – we’re looking forward to meeting you.”

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RNLI help firefighters control island blaze

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ST DAVIDS lifeboat volunteers provided support to local fire crews tackling a wildfire on Carreg Fran off Porthlysgi beach on Monday, (Aug 8).

The fire on Carreg Fran Porthlysgi beach is suspected to have started from the remnants of wild camping on the island.

St Davids fire service requested the assistance of the all-weather lifeboat Norah Wortley to transfer staff and equipment following reports of people swimming to the island in an attempt to extinguish the blaze.
Seven fire crews used a featherweight pump and hoses to douse the island with sea water in an operation lasting over seven hours.

This is the second time St Davids lifeboat volunteers have been called to wildfire concerns at Carreg Fran within the last month.

Despite earlier attempts to control the fire, the islands’ peat surface has continued to smoulder.

Will Chant, RNLI Coxswain for St Davids RNLI lifeboat, said: “St Davids fire station requested our logistical help to safely transport their crew and equipment to Carreg Fran.

“We stood by in support whilst the fire crew tackled the wildfire.

“Despite their best efforts, the fire reignited the next day, so we urge members of the public not to attempt to access the island as they are putting their own lives at risk.”

Since the start of summer, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue have attended 280 grass fires that have either been started deliberately or were accidental.

Richie Vaughan-Williams, Arson Reduction Manager, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Its everyone’s responsibility to protect our countryside from wildfires.

“Many of the fires are set deliberately but some occur through negligence or boredom.

“This is frustrating when our fire crews can then get detained for hours in difficult conditions trying to stop the damage, meaning that they are then sometimes delayed in attending other emergencies.”I would encourage everyone to consider their actions when enjoying the countryside and avoid lighting fires at all.

“We need to work together to support our communities, to ensure the safety of our family and friends, neighbours, members of the public and our Emergency Services.”

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Pembrokeshire County Council issues dog boarding kennels warning

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PEMBROKESHIRE dog owners and those visiting the County with their pets are being reminded that any individuals offering to board their dogs must be licensed by Pembrokeshire County Council.The message comes from the Council’s Animal Health and Welfare Team following an increase in ‘dog boarding’ advertising on Facebook.
Cllr Michelle Bateman, Cabinet Member for Regulatory Services, said: “While we enjoy the summer, we want to remind all dog owners, whether you are a resident or in Pembrokeshire for a holiday, that those offering to accommodate your dog must hold a licence from the Council.
“This is required by law under the Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963, whether it be in a home, kennels or a day care environment, and is irrespective of the period of time required.”
All dogs must also be up to date with their vaccinations, which includes Kennel Cough.
The Animal Health and Welfare Team would also like to advise dog owners to be diligent when engaging dog walking only services to ensure that those offering

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