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Near drowning highlights the dangers of tides

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flynnA MILFORD HAVEN boy is very lucky to be alive after being caught up in the very fast Pembrokeshire tide. 

Flynn Chapman, aged two and a half, was with his family last weekend crabbing off the popular bridge at Sandy Haven. His mother Kelly Walters explained about the horrifying sequence of events that then transpired, in an interview with The Herald: “Last Sunday, Paul (her partner) and I, along with our three children and a friend, went to Sandy Haven beach. The children were playing for a while on the edge of the sea, with Paul next to them. The crabbing bridge was covered with water as it was high tide so we were waiting for the tide to go out so that the children could see if they could catch some crabs with nets. “After a while we noticed a few other people on the bridge so we all wandered over together. The two girls wandered onto the bridge while me, Paul, Jaden and Flynn played in the water very close to the bridge, and after about five minutes Jaden decided to go on the bridge and Flynn followed him. “As we were so close and watching them we let Flynn go with Jaden. After a few minutes Jaden and Flynn sat down on the bridge. Next minute, all I saw was Flynn tumble off the bridge. Jaden automatically jumped in and grabbed his foot but the current just took him. “There was another man on the bridge who looked over the side and I realised he couldn’t see him either, that’s when the panic set in and I screamed. Me and Paul both ran through the water and Paul dived head first under but couldn’t see him because of rocks and seaweed. He just put his arms out and tried to feel and that’s when he felt a leg, there was another man there as well, trying to get Flynn out and between them they got him.” Kelly went on to explain what happened after her son had been pulled out of the water: “He was very shocked, he was holding his breath and that’s when I heard the best sound ever – his cry. I phoned NHS direct and they immediately sent an ambulance, and he was taken to Withybush Hospital and checked over. All of his observations were fine. I didn’t realise when the tide is going out that is when the current is at its strongest. If I would have known this I would have been more vigilant.” Speaking to The Herald about how this experience could be turned into a positive message, Kelly continued: “I want people to understand that no matter how deep the water is, it is still a danger. I have thought to myself I should have been on that bridge, and people may think the same, but the water was not deep and I just didn’t see a great danger. I was standing less than 20 yards away and I was watching him the whole time. I want to thank a few members of the public as they were fantastic: Lisa Reynolds and her partner Gareth Paines who helped Paul pull him out and Jeanette Williams and her husband Keith. We are reliving it over and over in our heads, I am so exhausted thinking about it.” An RNLI spokesperson told The Herald: “Most accidents happen during seemingly safe activities like swimming or walking, although it’s not just water-based activities that put people in danger slips and falls are a common issue. Cold water shock is also a significant danger: the UK sea temperature is cold enough yearround to trigger cold water shock. “We would advise all those who are visiting the coast to stay away from cliff edges, stick to marked pathways and read safety signs. If you get caught in a rip current, don’t try to swim against it; if you can, swim parallel to the shore until free of the rip, and then raise your hand and shout for help.”

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Boost for town: Local celebrity Matt Baker to take on the Castle Hotel

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A WELL known local musician and radio DJ is to take on a landmark business in Haverfordwest. The nine bedroom Castle Hotel is probably one of Pembrokeshire’s best known venues – but Matt Baker says it is now under new management.

Matt Baker is not doing things slowly, with a planned opening of the premises on May 28 promising live music, good food and a relaxing atmosphere for all ages. For what is sure to be a positive piece of news for Haverfordwest’s ailing town centre, he is currently advertising for staff, thus creating jobs.

Matt, who previously ran The Tiddly, made his announcement on his Facebook page this morning (May 16), with hundreds of people liking the post and many more wishing him well with his new venture.

Matt Baker is a DJ for Pure West Radio based in Haverfordwest (Pic: M Baker/Facebook)

He wrote: “Well folks I got some exciting news.

“As most of you know cruise ships have been a big part of my life, 16 years on and off.

“In between that I did open my own pub here in Pembrokeshire call The Tiddly and worked me bottom off to provide a great place for people to come and switch off with live music every night.

“That unfortunately had to come to an end and I have missed it very much.
Well, seeing as I can’t go back to ships at the moment I’ve decided to take on an adventure I
“I’ve always dreamed one day I would own and that is a Hotel.

“It’s not just any Hotel, but one full of amazing history right here in the heart of Pembrokeshire and right in the Center of Haverfordwest.

“Everyone said when I was at The Tiddly “we love it here but we wish you were in town” as The Tiddly was 3 miles outside of Haverfordwest.

The Castle Hotel is steeped in history, and is a Grade II listed building. The Boxing Day Hunt, with riders, horses and hounds late 19th century. (Pic DA Images)

“I’m super excited to start a new chapter in my life and with the support of the people of Pembrokeshire and beyond and I’m hoping it will be life long.

“The Hotel has nine beautiful rooms on suite and a lovely restaurant area and a lounge/bar which I’m planning to have all up and running very soon, all been refurbished by the way.
We still are In uncertain times but I’m hoping we are at the back end and can enjoy each other’s company like before and socialise.

“I’m bringing back live music, good food and drink, and a place to come and switch off for all age groups with a comfortable and enjoyable environment.

“I’m planning for the 28th of May to be open, that’s in just under 2 weeks, but if you know me, you know I like a challenge.

“Please come support and follow all guidelines for now as we move forward in these new times.

“I will look forward to welcoming you to The Castle Hotel with open arms and let’s make more great memories together.

“See you soon Pembrokeshire and beyond!”

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‘Reach out to friends and family’ says Council Leader

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THIS week’s update from Cllr David Simpson, Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council:

‘Hello everyone, I hope you are all keeping well and safe.

‘I’d like to highlight that this week is Mental Health Awareness Week.

‘I’m very aware that the last 15 months has had a huge impact on our lives and, in some cases, our wellbeing.

‘Mental Health can be a hidden issue and we all need to be aware that some people may need some extra support.

‘On a personal level the lockdown restrictions have reminded me of the importance to talk to people and to ensure people are supported.

‘Supporting your friends and family can be as simple as a phone call to say hello. A quick hello can ensure people are ok and managing and can give someone a huge uplift.

“Our communities have done a fantastic job of supporting each other so please, Team Pembrokeshire, continue these efforts.

‘I urge you all to pick up the phone and say hello to your friends and family, as we all need to play our role in everyone’s wellbeing – talking about issues does make a difference.

‘If you are suffering from Mental Health or general wellbeing issues please reach out, do not struggle on your own, your friends and family can help and make a difference.

‘Please also take the opportunity to also view the website at https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week which has much more information and support.

‘I now want to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in last week’s elections.

‘Elections take a phenomenal amount of organisation at the best of times but even more so in a pandemic situation.

‘To all those who ensured the smooth running of the elections process, thank you.

‘Congratulations to all the successful candidates and I look forward to working with them to further improve the lives of Pembrokeshire people.

‘We have now had further updates from Welsh Government and the next phase of the unlocking road map has been unveiled.

‘From Monday, 17th May, indoor hospitality can re-open.

‘Up to six people from six different households will be able to meet indoors in pubs, cafes and restaurants.

‘We have so many fantastic hospitality venues in Pembrokeshire who we know will be giving their customers a big welcome after so long away.

‘The opening of indoor hospitality will be a major landmark in our emergence from the pandemic and towards recovery.

‘While out and about please remember social distancing rules are still in pace, consider your actions on others, remember your footprint has an impact on our communities, so please tread lightly.

‘When you go home, leave with a smile – enjoy your days out, enjoy seeing your families and most importantly enjoy our beautiful county and please support us in keeping Pembrokeshire special – play your part and please be responsible.

‘I want to wish you all a lovely weekend and I look forward to talking to you all again next week through my update.

‘Thank you everyone.’

You can keep up to date with all the Council’s press releases here: https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/newsroom

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Plan to rescue rare butterfly from extinction in Pembrokeshire

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THE PEMBROKESHIRE Coast National Park Authority is stepping up efforts to save the marsh fritillary butterfly, which was once widespread in Wales but is now close to extinction in Pembrokeshire.

Funded by the Pembrokeshire Nature Partnership, the new landscape scale strategy aims to improve the fortunes of the rare species, which relies on networks of flower rich marshy grasslands across the landscape.

Much of this habitat, which is home to the favourite food of its larva – the devil’s bit scabious (succisa pratensis), has been lost due to drainage, inappropriate tree planting and the neglect of traditional management of grasslands through light grazing with heavy animals such as cattle.

National Park AuthorityBiodiversity Officer, Sarah Mellor said: “The marsh fritillary in Pembrokeshire is now in a very precarious position. We think it has already become extinct in a number of areas in its former range and it has not been seen on the St Davids Peninsula since 2013. The population around Keeston and Tiers Cross is also now thought to be extinct.

“We must find a way to make space for wildlife in our landscape to ensure that nature can thrive for future generations. It is quite sobering to think this species could disappear from Pembrokeshire in my lifetime. We have a responsibility not to let this happen on our watch.

“Even in those areas where it remains we have seen dramatic declines, for example around Mychanchlogddu it used to be recorded from 32 sites, but since 2015 it has only been seen at seven sites.”

The National Park Authority has already stepped up its action to rescue the rare butterfly by assisting landowners to bring sites into suitable management through grant aid and providing suitable grazing animals through the Pembrokeshire Grazing Network and the Conserving the Park Scheme.

The new strategy will include mobilising Park Authority staff and volunteers to undertake targeted surveys at sites across the county, as well as helping landowners to manage their land in a sensitive way to help ensure the future of this rare butterfly.

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