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Pembroke paramedic honoured for saving colleague’s life

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A PARAMEDIC from the Welsh Ambulance Service who turned saviour for her colleague as he was choking has been awarded a Chief Executive’s Commendation for her actions.

Hayley Bennett, 39, from Pembroke, came to the aid of her colleague Gareth Jones after a very lucky chain of events led to them being partnered up together for a shift.

Hayley explained: “I was working an overnight shift in Pembroke Dock and a colleague had unfortunately called in sick so I was left on my own.

“Gareth was over in Tenby part way through his late shift and when he heard I was solo he phoned our duty manager and it was agreed after my next job I would head over to Tenby to team up with Gareth to form a conveying emergency ambulance resource.

“It was around 8pm when I walked in and Gareth was sat eating his dinner.

“We began talking and he just started choking.

“I knew he was in trouble straight away.

“His face was bright red and his eyes were bulging.

“He’d jumped out of his seat and was hammering on his chest.”

Gareth’s airways were completely blocked and quick-thinking Hayley took action immediately.

“I was on him in seconds,” she said.

“Back slaps to start with, and really shouting at him to cough as he was trying to breathe in.

“I moved on to the Heimlich Manoeuvre but it dislodged nothing.

“I returned to back slaps quickly and eventually he vomited which cleared his airways.”

Recalling the event, Gareth, 42, who has served 21 years with the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “It frightened the hell out of me.

“I felt like I was going.

“I’d read about the impending sense of doom in text books, and that’s exactly what I had.

“I’m eternally grateful to Hayley.

“Without her my wife would be a widow and my kids would have no father”.

After the incident, the pair stood there in disbelief and both have since admitted that what was over in a couple of minutes felt like a lifetime whilst it was happening.

Hayley said: “I think it felt like such a long time as we were there alone.

“It was one of the most bizarre things that’s ever happened to me – I’ve never had to work on a colleague before.

“It was shocking really, I wasn’t supposed to be there.”

Gareth said: “Someone was looking after me that night.

“They would have found me dead on the station floor if Hayley hadn’t arrived as there was no other medically trained people there that night.”

Whilst Gareth was recuperating, the radio went off and a top priority Red call had come in.

So whilst still reeling from the shock and with Gareth physically recovering, the pair rushed to their ambulance and set off to a seriously ill patient.

“I was still coming down really,” said Gareth.

“I had what was called inspiratory stridor or a high pitch voice as the airway was still partially obstructed.

“It took a little while for that to go.

“Hayley got me a drink and I was starting to feel a little better when I heard our pin number on the radio.

“Hayley joked it was for me, but we were on our way to a Red call.”

Gareth went on to make a good recovery and has recently completed a Masters in Advanced Paramedic Practice.

Hayley continues to work relief shifts around Pembrokeshire, juggling ambulance shifts with paramedic husband Mike and caring for her young son and older step daughter.

Hayley received her award on Tuesday from the Trust’s Chief Executive Jason Killens in a ceremony at Tenby ambulance station.

Jason said: “Gareth was really lucky that Hayley arrived and was able to administer that crucial first aid.

“Choking is something that can happen to anybody and it is important the public are aware of correct procedure should an emergency like this occur.

“I congratulate Hayley for stepping in and halting what could have been a disastrous outcome for Gareth, his family and his colleagues.”

Receiving the award Hayley said: “It’s a lovely gesture and I feel very honoured.”

Choking – Do you know what to do?

·        Do you know what to do in a choking emergency? Here’s what you should do if you witness an adult choking:

·        If you think someone is choking, ask them “Are you choking?” If they can breathe, speak or cough then they might be able to clear their own throat. If they cannot breathe, cough, or make any noise, then they need your help straight away.

·        Cough it out: Encourage them to cough and remove any obvious obstruction from their mouth.

·        Slap it out: If coughing fails to work, you need to give five sharp back blows.

To do this, help them to lean forwards, supporting their upper body with one hand.

·        Squeeze it out: If back blows fail to clear the obstruction, give five abdominal thrusts.

To do this, stand behind them and put your arms around their waist.

Place one hand in a clenched fist between their belly button and the bottom of their chest.

With your other hand, grasp your fist and pull sharply inwards and upwards up to five times. Check their mouth again, each time.

Get help: If the blockage has not cleared, call 999 for emergency help straight away. Repeat five back blows and five abdominal thrusts until help arrives, re-checking their mouth each time.

If they become unresponsive at any point, prepare to start adult CPR.

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Second row Max Douglas becomes latest Scarlets signing

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THE SCARLETS say they are delighted to secure the signature of highly-rated Australian forward Max Douglas.

The 24-year-old has just completed his second season with the Yokohama Canon Eagles in Japan.

Before his move to the Japanese top division, the 6ft 7in Douglas, who has played in the second row and back row, featured for the Waratahs in Super Rugby and the Manly club in Sydney.

He will link up with the Scarlets in the summer.

Scarlets head coach Dwayne Peel said: “Max is a young, athletic second row who has experience in Super Rugby and more recently in Japan’s top division.

“He is comfortable with the ball hand, which suits how we are looking to play and is excited about coming on board and being part of the Scarlets journey over the coming years.

“Max is another strong addition to our forward pack following the signings of Marnus van der Merwe and Alec Hepburn and we are looking forward to welcoming him here to Parc y Scarlets this summer.”

Max Douglas said: “I’m really excited to be joining the Scarlets. This is a club with a strong history and I’m excited at the challenge of trying to contribute to that.

“I’m looking to bring over some of the experiences and learnings I’ve gained from my time in Australia and Japan to hopefully add to what is a really strong playing group.

“I can’t wait to meet all the players and staff and get into our work.”

Douglas is the Scarlets’ fourth signing to be announced ahead of the 2024-25 campaign with Exeter Chiefs prop Alec Hepburn, Toyota Cheetahs hooker Marnus van der Merwe and Nottingham full-back Ellis Mee on their way to West Wales.

Tongan second row Sam Lousi, Wales internationals Tom Rogers and Harri O’Connor and back-rowers Dan Davis and Ben Williams have also signed new contracts with the club.

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Castrol Team aims to ‘bounce back’ from Jim Clark Rally retirement

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THE CASTROL MEM RALLY TEAM is vowing to bounce back stronger than ever on the next round of the Probite British Rally Championship – especially with a second Toyota GR Yaris Rally2 joining its motorsport fleet soon – after what was looking like another victory turned into retirement on the Beatson’s Building Supplies Jim Clark Rally.

Chris Ingram started extremely well, setting the fastest time on the opening four stages to establish a healthy 23.1 second lead in his Volkswagen Polo GTI R5. The 2019 FIA European rally champion eased off on the unfamiliar closed roads as darkness fell and the rain continued to make the surface extremely slippery, settling for second fastest time on SS5 and 6 and going into Friday’s overnight halt with an 8.6 second advantage. 
 
Co-driven by Alex Kihurani, the Suisscourtage-backed driver set another fastest time on Saturday’s opening stage before a slow puncture saw him stop with damaged suspension after SS8.
 
Meirion Evans lost time when he spun his Toyota GR Yaris Rally2 on SS2, initiating some immediate set up changes in first service to better suit the wet and slippery conditions. He and co-driver Jonathan Jackson completed Leg 1 in a strong eighth position and had just moved up to sixth when the car’s power steering pump sprung an oil leak and the Welshman was forced to call it a day after SS9.
 
Meirion Evans said: “Unfortunately it wasn’t the end to the rally that we had hoped for. We were beginning to make tracks up the leaderboard and had a chance of getting on the podium, but at the end of Saturday’s third stage we had a problem with the power steering which meant that we couldn’t continue. Whilst we might have been able to limp through the next stage, the issue would have been too big to fix in service anyway, so we decided to call it a day. It’s a shame that Chris retired from the lead as it was looking like another very good result for the team, but I’m sure we’ll bounce back stronger on the next round.”
 
Chris Ingram said: “We had a very strong start to the rally and had controlled our pace well to build a comfortable lead ahead of previous Jim Clark Rally winner Keith Cronin. It was thoroughly enjoyable in the car. Unfortunately, after setting another fastest time on Saturday’s opening stage, on the next stage we picked up a slow puncture and went off the road under braking, which broke the front left suspension. It’s a tough result for the team, but the potential showed makes me very excited for the rest of the season and the switch to the Toyota GR Yaris Rally2.”
 
Round 4 of the Probite British Rally Championship is the Voyonic Grampian Forest Rally on 9 August, when the Castrol MEM Rally Team will field two Toyota GR Yaris Rally2s for Meirion Evans/Jonathan Jackson and Chris Ingram/Alex Kihurani.

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Red Bull Hardline Wales confirms rider list for 2024

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RED BULL Hardline, known as the most challenging downhill mountain bike race world wide, confirms the final rider list for this year’s Wales event. 

Following its first event overseas, with a stop Down Under, Red Bull Hardline returns to its home in Wales’ Dyfi valley to celebrate its 10th anniversary. The brainchild of Dan Atherton a decade ago, 34 of the brightest and best talents in downhill mountain biking are set to descend on the north Wales course. With the 2023 event sadly curtailed by the Welsh weather, there’s old scores to settle and it’s all to play for in 2024.

Confirmed Rider List:

NameNationality
Ronan DunneIRL
Bernard KerrUK
Brook MacDonaldNZL
Charlie HattonUK
Adam BraytonUK
Craig EvansUK
Theo ErlangsenSA
Matteo IniguezFRA
Juanfer VelezCOL
Gaetan VigeFRA
Jim MonroUK
Matt JonesUK
Edgar BrioleFRA
George BranniganNZ
Sam GaleNZ
Jono JonesUK
Sam BlenkinsopNZ
Brendan FaircloughUK
Josh BrycelandUK
Dennis LuffmanUK
Sam HockenhullUK
Josh LoweUK
Taylor VernonUK
Thibault LalyFRA
Thomas GenonBEL
Szymon GodziekPOL
Sebastian HolguinCOL
Alex StorrUK
Vincent TupinFRA
Harry MolloyUK
Matteo IniguezFRA

Female riders will begin training on Monday, giving them ample time to familiarise themselves with the new course, with Tahnée Seagrave, Cami Nogueira and Hannah Bergmann all set to continue to push the boundaries of their sport once again. Louise-Anna Ferguson will be returning to Wales fresh from her success at Red Bull Hardline Tasmania, putting on a gutsy performance to finish a full finals race run despite an early crash. New to Red Bull Hardline, Vaea Verbeeck will make her first appearance, bringing fresh fire power to the women’s lineup 

Following his stand-out success at Red Bull Hardline Tasmania, Ronan Dunne will be taking to the start line with aims of achieving the double. Nipping at his heels will be three-time winner Bernard Kerr, who placed second in Tasmania back in February. 2017 champion Craig Evans is back once again and eager to replicate his success of 7 years previous.

The breathtaking race will be broadcasted live globally on Red Bull TV on Sunday 2nd June at 2.30pm GMT. Ahead of the event, fans can enjoy the week’s best action from course walk and practice on the Red Bull Bike YouTube ahead of the main event. 

For further Red Bull Hardline rider updates and for more information visit www.redbull.com/hardline and make sure to save the link to Red Bull Bike YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@RedBullBike/featured to not miss out on the week’s best action.

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