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Off-duty lifesavers were lost but ready to react

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A PEMBROKESHIRE man whose life was saved by multiple twists of fate has praised those who stepped in during his hour of need.

Keen amateur triathlete Steven Landrey, 51, of Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire, was out on a post-lockdown bike ride when he suffered a cardiac arrest that was to set off the incredible chain of events.

Steven said: “We were about 40km into an 80km ride when it happened.

“It was strange and lucky as only two weeks earlier I was running alone in Paris, and the night before I swam 2km alone in the sea, and during lockdown had done lots of exercise on my own.

“But that day, I had met my brother-in-law, Chris, and some friends.

“I dread to think what would have happened if I would have been alone.”

Meanwhile, just a mile or so away was off-duty Welsh Ambulance Service Community First Responder Angharad Hodgson, from Martletwy, and her firefighter partner Steve Bradfield, from Narbeth.

Steven Landrey, 51, of Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire

“We were heading to meet friends at Barfundle Beach. We hadn’t been there for a few years so were following the sat-nav in the car,” said Angharad.

“We were running late and had taken a wrong turn as the sat-nav must have frozen or lost signal.

“We decided to turn back on ourselves, and that’s when we saw Steven on the floor being worked on by Chris.”

Always travelling with their defibrillator and kit, Angharad and Steve, who is also a trained medical responder, were able to pull over swiftly and step in with their life-saving defibrillator.

Angharad, 23, said: “We put the pad on his chest and after about 30 manual chest compressions, Steven had stopped breathing and the defibrillator told us we could shock him twice.

“We did it and he came back to us, but his breathing was very sticky so we continued CPR until the air and land ambulances arrived to take over.”

Steven was taken by road to Swansea’s Morriston Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery to fit a stent into a lower left artery of his heart, which had flooded with blood and caused the cardiac arrest.

Steven is making a good recovery at home and is taking the first steps back to work in his role as a European Managing Director for Babcock Aviation, an aerial emergency services business.

He said: “I’m working with the National Cardiac Referral Scheme and also a personal trainer and am feeling well and getting strength back every day.

“With my work, I have seen emergency care provision across Europe and Canada and the care I received at every step of the way here in Wales has been world-class.

“I can’t thank Chris, Angharad, Steve, the air ambulance crew and the paramedics enough, along with the doctors and surgeons at Morriston, they were all amazing.

“I realise everything went my way that day, and for those few hours I was the luckiest man alive, but having these trained people in our communities to support emergency medical services is absolutely vital.

“Community First Responders like Angharad, CPR training and Public Access Defibrillators really do save lives and are to be respected.”

Glyn Thomas, the Welsh Ambulance Service’s Community First Responder Officer in Mid and West Wales, said: “The prompt actions of Angharad and Steve were no doubt a major factor in the patient’s survival.

“Even off-duty as they were, they demonstrated control and organisation – they are both a credit to their communities and organisations.

“We wish Steven a smooth recovery and all the best for the future.”

Today is Restart a Heart Day, a national initiative run by the Resuscitation Council UK, British Heart Foundation, St John Ambulance and the ambulance services across the UK to promote education around Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).

In the absence of physical events due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Welsh Ambulance Service is encouraging people to watch a video by Resuscitation Council UK and keep an eye on social media from partners like Save a Life Cymru who are promoting key messages such as early recognition of cardiac arrest, early CPR and early defibrillation.

Restart a Heart Day runs parallel to the Trust’s month-long Shoctober campaign which aims to educate primary school children on the benefits of getting confident with CPR – even making this brilliant animated video.

Angharad, who also works for the local authority’s social services team in Pembrokeshire, has been a Community First Responder since April 2019 and was inspired to make that brave step by another incident back in 2018.

She said: “I was driving home from shopping along the A40 in Carmarthen when I came across a terrible car accident on the opposite carriageway.

“I pulled my car over and crossed the road to try and assist without any thought process really.

“Seeing the work of the paramedics on scene really spurred me on to become a Community First Responder.

“I’d like to thank Tony Wall who is my CFR Co-ordinator for being so supportive and giving so much of his time to fundraise for life saving equipment such as defibrillators in local communities.”

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Community

Pembrokeshire Lane Blighted by Illegal Dumping Incident

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OVER a dozen large plastic vegetable oil drums along with assorted rubbish were discovered discarded along a rural lane in Pembrokeshire, sparking outrage amongst local residents. The unsightly scene, strewn with 15l and 20l drums and accompanying cardboard packaging, was first noticed by Councillor Di Clements near her farm residence, spanning across the road between Martletwy and Minwear.

Upon the unsightly discovery, Councillor Clements undertook an immediate investigation into the debris, sifting through the detritus in hopes of uncovering any clues that might lead to the identification of those responsible. The presence of numerous black bin liners containing smaller containers suggested the waste originated from a food service establishment. It is believed that the rubbish was illicitly deposited sometime between 4 pm on Sunday, 25th February, and the early hours of 6:30 am on Monday.

Prompt action was taken by Councillor Clements, who reported the incident to Pembrokeshire Council. The council’s swift response was commended by Clements, as a waste advisor was quickly dispatched to the scene to further investigate the matter. By Monday afternoon, the council had successfully cleared the debris.

Councillor Clements is currently appealing to the public for any information regarding suspicious activities that could lead to the identification of the perpetrator, who she suspects may be a repeat offender in the area. Expressing her dismay, Clements remarked, “I am extremely disappointed to see this and I can’t believe someone would do this.”

The council and Councillor Clements extend their gratitude to those involved in the prompt cleanup and urges anyone with information to come forward.

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Community

Local woman honours brother’s memory by planting trees at school

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VHARI RUSSELL, founder of Creating Nature’s Corridors charity, led a tree-planting initiative at a school in Roch village, commemorating her late brother Rory Bernays from Pelcomb Cross.

Russell, driven by a profound sense of purpose following her brother’s untimely passing, established the charity with a mission to address the pressing issue of climate change by planting trees. Her dedication culminated in a significant milestone as she spearheaded the planting of 1,000 trees and hedging plants at her nephew and niece’s school on Friday, the 22nd of February.

The event, held at the heart of Roch village, witnessed an inspiring collaboration between students, parents, and teachers, as they united to expand the existing woodland and establish a new hedgerow within the school grounds. Mr. Evans, the headmaster, expressed his gratitude for the generous donation, emphasizing the joyous atmosphere as students enthusiastically participated in the planting activities.

“We are delighted to have been given this gift of over 1,000 plants,” remarked Mr. Evans. “The students thoroughly enjoyed themselves planting on Friday. It’s a wonderful legacy to have created, and our school is very lucky to have such supportive parents to make the playground such a wonderful haven for nature and students alike.”

For Russell, the initiative holds deep personal significance, as it honours her brother’s love for nature and his commitment to instilling the same passion in his children. Reflecting on the experience, Russell highlighted the importance of planting trees at her nephew and niece’s school, following previous endeavours at the Pelcombcross community playground.

“Rory loved the great outdoors and always encouraged his children to enjoy it, so it was really important to me that we planted at Ozzy & Aoife’s school,” Russell remarked. “It was such fun planting at the school; many children had never planted a tree before, and the delight on their faces was magical.”

The initiative not only serves as a testament to Russell’s dedication to environmental conservation but also embodies a poignant tribute to her brother’s memory, ensuring that his legacy lives on through the flourishing greenery at local community spaces.

For further information, readers are encouraged to visit Creating Nature’s Corridors.

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Community

Voting made easy in new video with Pembrokeshire Supported Employment Programme

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A new video has been created in partnership with Pembrokeshire Supported Employment Programme (PSEP) to illustrate how accessible voting can be for all. 

Pembrokeshire County Council Electoral Services has been working hard to ensure that everyone who wants to vote has access to all the information they need to do so, whether that be via postal vote or in person at a polling station.

The skills of film graduate Aeran Hopewell, currently working with the PSEP, were put to good use as they shot and edited the video featuring colleagues Kath Brookes and James Pugh, along with Electoral Services and Communications team members.

The video provides a run through of how to vote, including the need for photo ID in some elections, and aims to reassure anyone who has concerns about voting at a polling station.

It demonstrates that the process is straightforward and that there are always people on hand to assist when needed. 

It will be available to watch on the Council’s YouTube as well as being shared among support, community and access groups around Pembrokeshire and with other Local Authority partners.

Member Champion for people with learning disabilities at Pembrokeshire County Council Cllr Alistair Cameron said: “It is vital to address the barriers some face when it comes to voting in person and this excellent film, created with the input of those people we hope will benefit, goes some way to reassuring everyone that there is always help on hand.”

Returning Officer Will Bramble added: “The upcoming Police and Crime Commissioner election is the first time registered voters in Wales will need to show photo ID so it is fantastic to see this video explaining the process and it will hopefully encourage more people to head to their polling stations.”

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