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Scarlets stars take training session at Pembroke Dock Quins



1-DSC_0167Pembroke Dock Quins RFC held a registration day on Sunday 15th September for their Mini and Junior sections and received a helping hand from a few familiar faces!
The Scarlets Community Department headed along to Pembroke Dock last weekend to participate in the Quins’ registration day with the aim of encouraging more children to join the club’s rugby teams.
Pembrokeshire born Scarlets prop Rob Evans was joined by teammates Rhodri Williams, who was a part of Wales Under 20s Junior World Championship finalist team, and Scarlets second row Richard Kelly.
During the visit the children enjoyed a training session under the leadership of Scarlets’ Richard Kelly – a qualified coach – with a strong focus on encouraging participation, teamwork and fun through rugby.
The Scarlets Community Roadshow sees the region’s development officers and players head out into the region to offer training sessions at each of the regional clubs.
Scarlets’ second row Kelly, whose made 18 appearances for the region since joining ahead of the 202-13 season, said: “It’s always a pleasure to put into practice what I’ve learned through my coaching qualifications.
“I started playing rugby as a youngster and am privileged to be in a position where I can play rugby for a living. It’s all about creating that fun environment for the children whilst learning at the same time.
“We had a great time and a fantastic welcome at Pembroke Dock Quins and hope that we’ve been able to help in some small way with encouraging new members to join the club.”
Scarlets are making visits to junior clubs right across the region over the next few months. For more information on when your club is due a visit please contact the community department on [email protected]

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Setting sail into the unknown: Edward’s epic journey from Milford Haven to Auckland



FOR Milford Haven resident Edward Neale, the inspiration to embark on an epic sailing journey across the globe germinated over many years. A seasoned sailor, he harbored dreams of venturing beyond European waters once retired. Little did he know that this desire would blossom into a remarkable voyage, taking him from the tranquil shores of Milford Haven to the vibrant city of Auckland.

Contrary to the trend of charitable sailing expeditions, Neale’s journey wasn’t motivated by a cause. Instead, it was fueled by a deep-seated desire to reunite with his daughter in Auckland, and the aspiration to achieve something profoundly memorable in the process.

Neale’s journey wasn’t his first encounter with the sea. His sailing roots trace back to the 1970s as a member of Milford Haven Sea Cadets, navigating Royal Navy boats and battling seasickness in the English Channel. His maritime journey continued through the merchant navy, sailing a 31ft Westerly Longbow in the 2000s, and culminated in the acquisition of his 38 ft motor sailor Light Symphony, in 2017.

Light Symphony, a 38ft motor sailor built by Austrian company Sunbeam, served as Neale’s steadfast companion. Acquired in 2017, he meticulously outfitted the vessel over two years in Milford Marina, transforming it into a seafaring haven. With two cabins, a well-equipped wheelhouse, and a spacious cockpit, the vessel endured the challenges of the open ocean, a testament to both craftsmanship and Neale’s determination.

Light Symphony on a three-day pause in Rarotonga, Cook Islands

Neale’s extensive maritime background, including a four-year deck cadetship, RYA sailing qualification, and experience in the merchant navy, provided him with a solid foundation. Additionally, courses in handling medical emergencies at sea further fortified his readiness for the challenges that lay ahead.

Divided into four stages, the journey commenced in the summer of 2022. Neale’s wife, Janet, joined him for the initial stage to Portugal. Subsequent stages saw the company of friends Phil Jones and Phil Astles, with solo segments navigating the vast expanses of the Atlantic and Pacific.

Unexpected challenges arose, notably encounters with orcas off the coast of Spain. Neale recollects; ” When we reached Gijon in Spain we met a young couple with two small children who had experienced an encounter with orcas. This was a danger I was never expecting to have to deal with. A pod of orcas have taken it upon themselves to “attack” sailing boats by damaging the boat’s rudders, disabling the yachts and forcing them to be towed into port for repairs. There have been many “attacks” over the past few years, with three yachts being sunk when the damage to the rudders caused uncontrolled water ingress.”

Having not anticipated such a threat, Neale adjusted his course, navigating close to the coast to minimize the risk. The Pacific Ocean presented its own trials, with multiple instances of rigging failures requiring innovative repairs, showcasing Neale’s resilience and seamanship.

Choosing to navigate the Panama Canal without a local agent, Neale faced initial difficulties with the canal authority’s web platform. Despite setbacks, he persevered, hiring line handlers and overcoming the unique challenges of providing meals for advisors and crew during the transit.

Low points punctuated the journey during rigging failures, where the imminent collapse of the mast posed a threat to both speed and watertight integrity. Conversely, repairing the rig was a high point, instilling confidence for the remainder of the voyage. The ultimate high was reaching New Zealand, lifting the weight of sailing with a damaged rig.

Gale-force headwinds near New Zealand halted progress for 24 hours, testing both Neale and Light Symphony. The vessel weathered the storm, a testament to its seaworthiness and Neale’s navigational skill.

A failed battery charging system early in the voyage led to the loss of fresh food. Relying on tinned food, Neale made a crucial stop at Rarotonga for fresh supplies during a period of calm weather. The on-board water maker ensured an uninterrupted supply of fresh water.

Fishing attempts varied, with success in the Atlantic but disappointment in the Pacific. Neale’s resourcefulness extended beyond repairs to navigating the challenges of sourcing sustenance on the open sea.

From Milford to Auckland, the journey spanned several stages, totaling months at sea. The Pacific Ocean crossing alone consumed 73 days. While Neale had commitments, the voyage unfolded with a balance between purposeful progression and the unpredictable nature of the open ocean.

A daily blog chronicled Neale’s odyssey, providing a firsthand account of the challenges and triumphs. Expressing interest in its publication, the blog stands as a testament to the highs and lows of his maritime adventure.

Neale expressed gratitude to his former colleague Ian Swales, friend Denzil from Ratsey’s Sailmakers, his daughter Rosie for liaising with New Zealand authorities, and a special thank you to his wife Janet for enduring his prolonged absence and the stresses it entailed.

Having achieved his goals in long-distance sailing, Neale envisions future adventures on two wheels, leaning towards motorcycle touring as his next favored pastime.

In sharing his wisdom, Neale emphasizes the need for comprehensive preparation. From tools and spares to diverse knowledge on mechanics, navigation, and survival, he advocates self-sufficiency and a deep understanding of one’s vessel. Knowing the boat inside out, undertaking maintenance personally and being ready for anything are paramount for those aspiring to undertake similar odysseys.

Reflecting on the Pacific crossing, Neale expressed regret at the limited time to explore island groups, citing the need to stay ahead of cyclone seasons. Acknowledging the impact of seasonal timing on the voyage’s enjoyment, he recognizes the delicate balance between commitment and exploration.”

PICTURED ABOVE:  Arrival in New Zealand.  Edward, Rosie (daughter), Harry (Rosie’s partner)

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Jane Dodds MS supports Christmas Jumper Day



JANE DODDS MS for Mid and West Wales has supported Save the Children’s annual Christmas Jumper Day fundraiser on Thursday 7th December by donning their favourite festive knit.

Since 2012, the charity has raised more than £35 million for children around the world by calling on kindred-hearts to help make the world better with a sweater. Funds raised through Christmas Jumper Day will help children get access to food, healthcare, and education.

This year has been far from easy for families living on the lowest incomes in Wales, and part of the money raised will also go towards supporting Save the Children Cymru’s work in providing grants to buy food and essential household items and making sure children can thrive within their communities.

The charity hopes to make this Christmas Jumper Day the most sustainable and ‘green’ one yet and is urging everyone to dig out an old jumper and decorate it with festive trimmings, instead of buying a new jumper. Many schools and organisations are also holding a Christmas Jumper Swap Shop to save the environment, save money and save lives.

Jane Dodds MS has joined with thousands of others in all corners of Wales by wearing their Christmas jumper to promote the day.

Commenting, Jane Dodds MS said: “Everyone can take part in Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day on 7th December to support children across the globe.

Whether it’s adding decorations to an old jumper, re-wearing last year’s knit, or swapping a woolly with a friend, anything goes – and the more sustainable the better!”

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Life expectancy in Wales: Unraveling complexities and embracing proactive solutions



NESTLED in the western part of Great Britain, Wales stands as a land of rich heritage and challenges.

Its rugged landscapes, historic castles, and vibrant communities paint a diverse picture. From the towering peaks of Snowdonia to the historic castles that dot its countryside, the visual tapestry of Wales is woven with natural beauty and cultural significance.

However, beneath the surface, Wales grapples with various difficulties, from economic disparities to healthcare concerns. In the shadow of its storied past, Wales confronts the complexities of health, socio-economic conditions, and geographic disparities. Understanding these facets is pivotal to unraveling the factors contributing to the decline in life expectancy.

With its distinct identity and resilient spirit, Wales faces the contemporary trials of a rapidly changing world. The challenges are multifaceted, from the industrial legacy that shaped its valleys to the modern struggles of post-industrial economies.

In the face of economic challenges and transitions, Wales is a canvas upon which the story of life expectancy unfolds. Within this context, we explore the factors influencing the longevity of its people and the proactive measures needed to shape a healthier future.

Exploring life expectancy in Wales begins with an appreciation for its landscapes and recognizing the challenges that shape its communities.

The story of Wales is not static; it is dynamic, ever-evolving, and responsive to the actions we take today. Let us embark on this exploration, peeling back the layers to understand the unique dynamics influencing life expectancy in Wales.

As we keep this discussion, are you a student aiming to attain your educational goals? In pursuing academic success, much like the dynamic evolution of Wales, learners often encounter challenges that require careful navigation. Just as Wales confronts multifaceted trials, students grapple with the complexities of essay writing, facing diverse obstacles in their academic journey.

So, when you get overwhelmed with your academic work, consider this essay writing service as your ideal ally. This service becomes a dynamic partner, responsive to the unique needs of each learner, guiding you through the layers of academic intricacies and shaping a narrative of success in your educational journey.

The Significance of Research on Life Expectancy

As we delve into the intricacies of life expectancy in Wales, it becomes essential to comprehend the nuanced backdrop against which this issue unfolds. Researching life expectancy extends beyond statistical analysis; it is a crucial exploration of societal well-being.

Informed Decision-Making

Research provides the data for informed decision-making in public policy, healthcare, and resource allocation.

Community Uplift

Understanding life expectancy guides strategies to uplift communities, addressing systemic issues that impact overall well-being.

Healthcare Strategies

It informs the development of effective healthcare strategies, ensuring resources are directed where they are most needed.

Resource Allocation

Governments and organizations can allocate resources more efficiently, targeting areas with lower life expectancy and addressing disparities.

Societal Health and Prosperity

This research contributes to societal health and prosperity by identifying and addressing the root causes of lower life expectancy.

Factors Contributing to Low Life Expectancy in Wales

This section aims to uncover the nuanced factors contributing to lower life expectancy in specific regions of Wales. Beyond the surface, a complex interplay of economic disparities, healthcare accessibility, educational gaps, environmental challenges, lifestyle choices, social determinants, and mental health nuances shapes the overall well-being of residents.

These dynamics present challenges that impact the longevity of individuals in different ways. Recognizing and understanding these factors is essential in formulating targeted strategies that address the core issues, fostering an environment where everyone can aspire to lead healthier and longer lives.
⦁ Social Determinants: factors like employment opportunities and social support influence health outcomes.
⦁ Lifestyle Choices: Unhealthy lifestyle choices, including diet and physical activity, significantly influence life expectancy variations.
⦁ Mental health is an often-overlooked factor touching life expectancy. Societies face challenges in accessing mental health resources.
⦁ Economic Disparities: Regions with economic challenges often experience lower life expectancy due to limited access to resources and opportunities.
⦁ Limited Healthcare Access: Areas with inadequate healthcare infrastructure face challenges in providing essential services, impacting the health and longevity of residents.
⦁ Educational Gaps: Educational disparities contribute to health literacy and awareness differences, influencing lifestyle choices and health outcomes.
⦁ Environmental Challenges: Some areas grapple with environmental issues, affecting air and water quality and health.

Proactive Measures for Improved Life Expectancy

This section delves into a proactive approach to elevating life expectancy in Wales. In the face of the challenges outlined earlier, empowering communities requires strategic actions.
From fostering economic opportunities and enhancing healthcare accessibility to promoting education and addressing environmental concerns, these measures are pivotal in fostering a healthier environment.
Encouraging healthier lifestyles, bolstering social support systems, and prioritizing mental health initiatives constitute a roadmap for tangible improvement. As we explore these actionable tips, we aim to equip individuals and communities with the tools to shape a future where well-being flourishes, and life expectancy sees a positive trajectory.
⦁ Economic Empowerment: Fostering economic opportunities in disadvantaged areas can uplift communities and improve life expectancy.
⦁ Bolstering Social Support Systems: Strengthening social connections and support systems positively influences mental health and overall well-being.
⦁ Prioritizing Mental Health Initiatives- Recognizing and addressing mental health challenges is crucial for a holistic approach to improving life expectancy.
⦁ Enhanced Healthcare Accessibility: Investing in healthcare infrastructure and ensuring accessibility can address disparities in health outcomes.
⦁ Promoting Education: Educational initiatives can empower individuals to make informed health decisions, positively impacting life expectancy.
⦁ Addressing Environmental Concerns: Tackling environmental issues contributes to better overall health, addressing factors that influence life expectancy.
⦁ Encouraging Healthy Lifestyles: Community programs promoting healthy habits can improve lifestyle choices and health outcomes.

A Call to Action
The narrative of Wales is one of resilience and potential improvement. By understanding the challenges, embracing research, and taking proactive measures, individuals, communities, and policymakers can collectively contribute to a healthier and more equitable future for all residents of Wales.
The call to action is a commitment to addressing the root causes, fostering positive change, and ensuring that the diverse landscapes of Wales thrive with vitality and well-being.

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