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Tenby police officer’s double life as RNLI volunteer

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FROM patrolling the streets to rescuing people at sea, a Tenby man is leading a double life as both a Dyfed-Powys Police officer and a volunteer with the RNLI.

PC Rob Garland comes from a family with an astonishing 180 years of combined service to the lifeboat service in Tenby, and gives up his free time to help people and animals in danger at sea.

He has spoken about his experiences as Dyfed-Powys Police celebrates its officers and staff who give up their time for other agencies as part of the UN’s International Volunteer Day.

PC Garland, who joined the RNLI at the age of 17, said: “Being in Tenby, I spent most of my time down the harbour, on the beaches and was always in and out of boats. It was a natural thing for me to do.

“My family have a long tradition with the Tenby RNLI. My great-grandfather was the coxswain (skipper), as was my great-uncle, while other uncles and my grandfather were also on the crew.

“It was kind of inevitable I was going to join.”

Not only does he have RNLI in the family, but PC Garland explained that the crew itself is a community who combine their efforts to get the job done.

“We have a great crew in Tenby, we all know we are there to do a job however we do have a laugh with it also,” he said. “We do lots of events within the community and work close in hand with all partner agencies at these events.

“However, when the pager goes off, everyone is immediately focused and the professional approach is unrivalled.”

The jobs PC Garland and the crew are called to range from helping disabled fishing trawler, heading out to broken down cargo ships that weigh over 150 times the weight of the lifeboat, or to children in an inflatable dingy being blown off the beach. He added that more and more, the crew is called to help animals in distress.

“Recent years have seen an increase in us going to dogs over cliffs, as the dog may still be alive in the water, and also to ensure the safety of the dog owner,” he said. “If they know help is on the way, it can and does stop them from taking extreme risks in going into sea or scaling down cliffs to get their pet.

“Being a dog owner myself, it’s hard to see a dog that has fallen 60 meters on the rocks below and the owner distraught trying to get to it. We do our best to recover the dog provided its safe for us to do so and to bring the dog back to the owner in a respectful and dignified way.”

PC Garland is on the crew of Tenby’s two lifeboats, and explained that the smaller inshore lifeboat d-class is used for searches and rescues in the surf, shallow water and confined locations – often close to cliffs, among rocks and even inside caves. The other boat is the bigger all-weather Tamar class, which can go to sea in any weather and is self-righting in the event of capsizing.

Looking back over shout-outs, he said: “Back in October 2017, we launched the all-weather boat into very rough storm 10 conditions during Storm Brian to reports or a person having been washed off the rocks.

“During the shout, I fractured my hand due to the impact of the waves on the boat, which was regularly being submerged by large waves. Thankfully it turned out to be a false alarm with good intent.

“I also remember launching in February 2016 s to a cargo ship which had suffered engine failure south of Caldey Island and was adrift. We launched to assist and to hold it off Caldey Island until a salvage tug arrived.

“The waves on this shout were some of the largest I have seen, they even dwarfed the cargo ship that was 94 meters in length. Thankfully, the cargo ship missed Caldey Island dropped its anchor to the east where we stood by for a few hours to ensure that it was no longer drifting.”

As a police officer, PC Garland fits call-outs around his shifts – even attending a shout minutes after getting back into bed following a night shift.

“I am aware that as a police officer my day job comes first,” he said. “I am a volunteer with the RNLI, however it does not pay my wages.

“Once I am home, having finished a shift, I will turn my pager on and answer the call should it come in. On my rest days or annual leave if I am in Tenby I will always carry my pager with me.

“It has come to the point where if my partner and I go out for a meal that I always leave my wallet and car keys with her, as I have left her in the restaurant taking them with me, which can take a bit of explaining to the staff.”

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Education

Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi’s model train club appeals for donations

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THE YSGOL Penrhyn Dewi Model Train Club, is reaching out to the community for donations of old Hornby 00 gauge rail tracks and accessories. The club, which has been a staple of the school’s extracurricular activities, aims to enrich its collection and create more intricate and engaging layouts for its members.

In an appeal reminiscent of a bygone era, the school has issued a traditional wanted poster, urging those with unused or forgotten model railway items to consider contributing to the club. The poster, which features a vintage steam locomotive and a railway crossing sign, reads: “Wanted: Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi VA Model Train Club is looking for donations of any old Hornby 00 2 rail track or accessories no longer used or needed.”

The initiative, spearheaded by enthusiastic students, seeks to foster creativity and technical skills through the hobby of model railroading. The club members, dressed in their school blazers, are pictured eagerly overseeing their current collection, which, while cherished, is in need of expansion to accommodate their growing ambitions.

Donations can be left at the Dewi Campus reception or, if necessary, arrangements can be made for items to be collected. The poster concludes with a heartfelt “Diolch!”, expressing the club’s gratitude in advance.

This appeal not only highlights the club’s dedication to preserving a traditional pastime but also underscores the educational value such activities offer. Engaging in model railroading allows students to learn about engineering, history, and geography in a hands-on and enjoyable manner.

As the Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi VA Model Train Club looks to the community for support, it stands as a testament to the enduring charm and educational potential of model trains. The school hopes that with the generosity of the public, they can continue to inspire and educate the next generation of railway enthusiasts.

For those interested in contributing, further details can be found on the school’s website or by contacting the Dewi Campus directly.

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News

Police appeal after biker sadly killed in crash with campervan on A40

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A MOTORCYCLIST was sadly killed in a crash with a campervan on the A40 on Wednesday (Jun 12).

Dyfed-Powys Police confirmed that the male rider of the motorcycle died at the scene of the collision which took place at around 1.05pm.

The road between Llanwrda and Llandovery was subsequently closed for ten hours.

Police are now appealing for witnesses to the crash to anyone from Pembrokeshire who may have been in the area.

The incident was also attended by Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service (MAWWFRS) crews from Llandovery and Llandeilo; the Wales Ambulance Service and the Wales Air Ambulance.

A Dyfed-Powys Police spokesperson told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “Dyfed-Powys Police is investigating a two vehicle road traffic collision which occurred at about 1.05pm, Wednesday, 12th June 2024.

“A beige Volkswagen campervan and a blue and white Honda motorcycle collided on the A40 between Llanwrda and Llandovery.

“Sadly, the male rider of the motorcycle died at the scene.

“The road was closed and reopened at about 11.15pm.”

Anyone who witnessed the collision, or anyone living or travelling on the A40 between Llandeilo and the collision site, between 12.30pm and 1pm, with dashcam or ring doorbell footage, is asked to contact police on 101.

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News

Savers store to shut up shop in another yet blow to county town’s centre

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ANOTHER Haverfordwest chain store has announced when it is shutting up shop, it what seems to be a growing trend in large businesses abandoning the market town’s centre

A spokesperson for the health, home and beauty retailer Savers told The Pembrokeshire Herald that it was hoped that the staff from the Haverfordwest store would be able to take up positions at other branches in Tenby and Carmarthen.

The final day of trading will be this Saturday (Jun 15).

The closure notice on the shop door.

On Facebook the store’s management posted: “It is with great sadness that Haverfordwest Savers will be closing its doors for the last time on Saturday 15th June.

“Management and team would like to take this opportunity to thank all our amazing customers, past and present, for your custom and support, and wish you all well in the future.

“Thank you all.”

The herald broke the story back in march 2024
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