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Nursing students’ high-tech help for hospital patients

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PATIENTS at a west Wales hospital have been given a helping hand to stay in touch with loved ones by Swansea University nursing students.

The students were eager to help after hearing how difficult it was for patients to stay in touch with their families with the pandemic preventing hospital visits.

The group, all first-year adult nursing students, set about trying to raise £1,000 to buy additional iPads for the Sunderland Ward at South Pembrokeshire Hospital in Pembroke Dock.

But they ended up smashing their target and collected more than £2,400 by holding a raffle of items and services donated by local companies.

Shannon John, Ruth Morgan, Lisa Prest, Shanice Riley, Anna Griffiths and Aneesah Akbar, all come from Pembrokeshire, and study at Swansea University’s St David’s Park Campus.

The friends hatched the fundraising plan after Anna and Ruth spent time on placement at the community hospital.

Shannon said: “When they were there, they could see how difficult it was for patients to stay in touch with loved ones.

“The ward only had a couple of iPads which had to be shared among the patients.

“So, we decided to do something about it. We are a good team and worked so well together, setting this up. We ended up being able to stage online raffle with around 30 great prizes.”

Shannon said the total was also boosted with a £500 donation from Milford Haven Port Authority.

“We wanted to help because some patients hadn’t been able to contact their family since the pandemic started and we are just happy we could do something practical,” she added. “We are thrilled we had such a great response.”

Jayne Cutter, Head of Nursing at Swansea University, said she was hugely impressed by the group’s efforts: “Being in hospital is stressful at the best of times, but being in hospital during the Covid-19 pandemic is even more so. The support of families and friends can make a massive difference to patients’ well-being and visiting time is the highlight of their day.

“Restrictions on hospital visiting due to coronavirus have meant that many patients have missed that vital support. Not everyone has access to the technology to keep in touch remotely.

“The iPads have now been bought and are in use allowing patients to maintain vital contact with their loved ones. They have also planned further fundraising activities for the forthcoming year.

“A nursing degree is challenging and the pressures of attending placements during the pandemic are immense. The fact that they showed such compassion speaks volumes about the values they hold and I’m sure they are going to be an asset to the nursing profession.”

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Sergeant Hillier ‘died doing the job he loved’, says his heartbroken father

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THE ARMY SERGEANT who died after being injured in a live firing exercise, has been named locally.

The incident occurred at Castlemartin Training Area, and led to the death of Sgt Gavin Hillier, who was in the Welsh Guards.

In a post on social media, his father wrote: “Absolutely devastated to be writing this post, probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

“At 3.45am this morning I received a phone call that will forever change my life. My eldest son Gavin Mark Hillier was in a fatal accident yesterday in the army (the job he loved).

“Sleep tight & rest in peace son. I’m so proud of you. Goodnight and god bless, love your heartbroken dad.”

An Army spokesperson said: “It is with great sadness we can confirm the death of a soldier on March 4.

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this tragic time.

“The circumstances surrounding this death are being investigated and it would be inappropriate to comment any further.”

It is understood that Sergeant Hillier, who served as part of the Welsh Guards’ motor transport platoon, was due to be deployed to Iraq and had previously been awarded a Long Service and Good Conduct medal by Prince Charles, the regiment’s Colonel in Chief, in 2019.

The tragic incident is the latest in a number of accidents at Castlemartin.

In 2017, The Herald reported that two soldiers died in a tank explosion, which a coroner ruled was due to a design flaw.

The following year, an Army captain was jailed in July 2018 after a 21-year-old soldier was killed by a stray bullet during an exercise at the range in 2012.

An investigation has been launched into the death of a soldier at Castlemartin RAC Range following a military exercise.

Police were called to the site at just before 10.45pm on March 4.

Sadly, a man was pronounced dead shortly after. Our thoughts are with his family, who have been informed of the incident and are being supported by specialist officers.

An investigation is underway led by Dyfed-Powys Police. Officers are liaising with the Health and Safety Executive and MoD.

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Welsh Guards sergeant shot dead during Castlemartin live-fire training exercise

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A BRITISH ARMY sergeant was killed on Thursday night (Mar 4) in a shooting accident at Castlemartin Training Area, The Herald can confirm.

The solider was training with live ammunition, ahead of a planned deployment to Iraq this summer.

Five police cars and an ambulance were seen screaming through Pembroke towards the incident at approximately 10pm towards the incident.

A coastguard helicopter, CG187, was scrambled to the scene, and hovered near Bosherston for a while, but was stood down and returned to base.

The Herald has contacted the MOD for a comment, who said: “It is with great sadness we can confirm the death of a soldier on the 4th of March.

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this tragic time.

“The circumstances surrounding this death are being investigated and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”

THIS STORY IS UPDATING

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Pembrokeshire County Council bills Home Office for Penally camp costs

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THE COUNCIL has sent an invoice for more than £80,000 to the Home Office.

It is to cover some of the costs that the local authority has incurred in connection with the Penally Asylum Seeker Centre, near Tenby.

Following a question on the issue from Cllr Jonathan Preston at Full Council the Council have confirmed that a bill has been sent.

The Member for Penally ward asked: “Please can the relevant Cabinet Member provide a breakdown of all costs to this authority which have been incurred in providing staff, services and other associated resources to Penally camp since its re-purpose by the Home Office last September?”

Council leader Cllr. David Simpson confirmed that on February 22 Pembrokeshire County Council submitted an invoice for £83, 858 which includes £65,564 in staff costs, £12,799 of specialist support and £5,495 for works such as barriers.

Pembrokeshire County Council is currently awaiting payment, the Authority confirmed.

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