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Newport: Rescue dog still looking for forever home

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THE longest-staying resident at the RSPCA’s Newport Animal Centre is hoping it will finally be third time lucky in his quest to find a new home.

Staff were hopeful that five-year-old Charlie, who was rescued by RSPCA Cymru from a run-down barn in Ceredigion along with 44 other dogs in January 2021, had finally found his special someone.

But sadly, two potential offers of homes have come to nothing and the crossbreed canine – who is also the RSPCA’s joint longest-stay dog in Wales – is still waiting for his happy ending.

Newport animal centre’s deputy manager Kathryn Logan said: “We were feeling so hopeful that Charlie would be enjoying life with new owners by now, but sadly the two offers of homes have fallen through and we find ourselves back at square one.

“He’s come such a long way from the scared and nervous dog he was when he arrived at the centre back in January 2021; he had never gone outside, worn a collar or been on a walk, but his transformation has been quite incredible. 

“For the first few weeks he wouldn’t move from the corner of his kennel, and it was only when he began to trust his carers and feel more at ease that he would place his chin on our hand, although it wasn’t until four months later that he was confident enough to take his first steps outside the kennel.  

“Charlie really is a different character now, his beautiful personality shines through and he loves a cwtch from his carers. We all think the world of him, but of course we’d love nothing more than to see him finally settled in his own home.”     

Volunteer Danni Wilson (below), who has built up a close bond with Charlie over many months and regularly takes him for walks, said: “It’s been wonderful watching Charlie come out of his shell and start to enjoy life. He wouldn’t let us go near him when he first arrived, but now he can’t get enough attention and showers me with kisses and affection! 

“I think his favourite pastimes are rolling around on the nearest patch of grass when we go out walking and then wrapping himself up in towels when he’s had a bath. Despite what he’s been through, he’s exceptionally friendly and he would definitely enjoy, and benefit from, the company of another canine companion.”  

Like the rest of the dogs, Charlie had experienced very little human contact before he was rescued from the property in West Wales, after the owner agreed to work with the charity when the situation got out of control. The sheer number of dogs meant the owner was struggling to meet their basic needs, with a lack of shelter, parasite control and poor diet all areas of concern.

Because of his background, Charlie will, understandably, require a specific type of home. He can still find new stimuli scary, so he will need a patient and quiet adult-only environment where he can get used to different noises slowly. A big garden would also be beneficial so he can bond with his new family in a bigger space before gradually going out on walks with them. 

His sociable nature means he would really benefit from living with another calm and confident male dog, or neutered female, who can help his progress and get him used to dealing with everyday life. His new family will also need to come to the Newport centre multiple times to build up a bond with him, so they will ideally need to live nearby. 

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Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre celebrates the building of the iconic Star Wars starship

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A MILLENNIUM FALCON exhibition is opening to the public in the Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre in West Wales on Monday, May 23, thanks to £8,000 funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The permanent installation tells the story of the building of a life-sized model of the iconic Star Wars starship in the town in 1979 for the Oscar-winning film The Empire Strikes Back.

“The worst kept secret in Pembroke Dock.” 

Craftsmen from a local engineering firm built the model – the first of its type ever constructed, in the Western Hangar – a former RAF aircraft hangar in the town’s dockyard.

“It was the worst kept secret in Pembroke Dock – everybody in the town knew they were building a UFO in the hangar and that period of time and that story is an important part of the town’s living memory” remembers Gareth Mills, a trustee of the Pembroke Dock Heritage Trust.

“Thanks to National Lottery players, we are now able to tell the story of the building of the Millennium Falcon in Pembroke Dock – an iconic event to fans across the globe, in a new and permanent exhibition. The exhibition will provide a significant boost for Pembroke Dock with increased visitor numbers helping with the economic regeneration of our town and will also have major benefits for Pembrokeshire.”

“One of the most iconic starships in science fiction history”

Work on the Millennium Falcon exhibition at the Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre has been going on for some time under the watchful eye of local Star Wars expert and enthusiast Mark Williams.

“George Lucas set a new standard in both storytelling and film making with Star Wars and the story of the Millennium Falcon being built in Pembroke Dock was big news at the time. The whole world knew about it, then the story faded into legend.”

“The idea of a town in West Wales making a significant contribution to this incredible story by being the place where one of the most iconic starships in science fiction history was built, creates a mixture of disbelief, awe and pride.”

The National Lottery Heritage Fund has awarded towards creating a permanent display in the Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre about the building of the Millennium Falcon model.

A walk-through display will tell the story with photographs, film, models and costumes.

“Pembroke Dock – the birthplace of the first-ever life-sized model of the Millennium Falcon – now has a permanent exhibition for an often overlooked and largely unknown but major Welsh contribution to film and cinema history and popular culture,” said Andrew White, Director of the National Lottery Heritage Fund in Wales.

“The funding for the Pembroke Dock Heritage Trust has been made possible by National Lottery players who raise more than £30 million every week for good causes in the UK. It is just one of the more than 635,000 good causes in the UK that has received a share of over £41 billion raised by National Lottery players since 1994.”

The Millennium Falcon isn’t Pembrokeshire’s only connection to Star Wars. Lynwen Brennan, Lucasfilm EVP and General Manager, is a Pembrokeshire native. “I am so delighted that this wonderful moment and place in Star Wars history will be preserved,” said Lynwen Brennan. 

“I love that such an iconic, beloved ship was built in the town where my Mum was born and in the county where I grew up, and I’m hopeful this exhibit will become a new destination for fans around the world.”

Andrew White,Director of the National Lottery heritage Fund in Wales said “Wales has a proud tradition of myths and legends to which we can now add the little-know story of Wales’ contribution to the Star Wars films.This new exhibition showcases Pembroke Dock as the birthplace of the first life-sized model of the Millenium Falcon. It’s a great example of one of our small grants going a long way , in this case to a galaxy, far away and back again”.

The funding for the Pembroke Dock Heritage Trust has been made possible by National Lottery players who raise more than £30 million every week for good causes in the UK. It is just one of the more 635,000 good causes in the UK that has received a share of over £41 billion raised by National Lottery players since 1984.

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Housing Provider picks two Important Causes as its Charities of the Year

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Wales Air Ambulance

WALES & WEST HOUSING ASSOCIATION has chosen the Wales Air Ambulance and Blood Bikes as its charities of the year.

The two important causes will benefit from funds raised by staff during a two-year period after over 850 staff were invited to nominate charities that were close to their hearts.

A shortlist was drawn up of the most popular suggestions and staff voted for their preferred charity.

Diane Barnes, Senior Administrator at Wales & West Housing said: “The Wales Air Ambulance and Blood Bikes Wales had the most support.

“One of the staff members who nominated Wales Air Ambulance had personal experience of the service when one of the older residents living at the housing scheme she manages was taken ill. Wales Air Ambulance flew the resident to hospital and our staff member was in no doubt that the speed of the service was critical in saving the person’s life, so we are delighted to be able to support the Charity’s vital work.”

This will not be the first time that Wales & West Housing has raised funds for the Wales Air Ambulance, they raised more than £6,000 in 2006.

Some of the other charities they have supported in recent years include Cancer Research Wales, Stroke Association, Help For Heroes, Alzheimer’s Society, NSPCC, Tenovus and Guide Dogs.

Wales Air Ambulance offers advanced critical care and is often described as a ‘Flying ED’. 

The on-board consultants and critical care practitioners are highly skilled and carry some of the most pioneering medical equipment in the world. They can deliver blood transfusions, administer anaesthesia, and undertake emergency operations at the scene of the incident, before flying the patient directly to specialist care.

Now operational 24/7, the Charity needs to raise £8 million every year to keep the helicopters flying.

Speaking on how valuable the company thinks the lifesaving service is, Diane added: “Wales Air Ambulance is hugely important. It saves lives every single day of the year. When we learned that the service relies entirely on public donations to keep their emergency helicopters flying to all parts of Wales, our staff were keen to help support the Charity and make a difference to its fundraising for the next two years.”

The staff kicked off its fundraising with an Easter egg raffle which raised more than £400.

Diane said: “We also have people running marathons, doing sponsored challenges and baking cakes over the coming months and are looking forward to many other innovative and fun fundraising ideas and suggestions that we can take part in and support over the next two years. We also asked staff to donate the odd number of pennies from their pay to our charity. This way we can raise thousands of pounds every year without having to do anything!

“In the past we have held regular raffles in our offices, bake sales, dress down days and special events such as a Ride the Nation charity cycling challenge from North to South Wales and a rugby tournament, which helped to raise money for a previous staff charity Age Cymru.”

Katie Macro, Campaigns Manager for the Wales Air Ambulance said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have been chosen as one of Wales & West Housing’s charities of the year for the next two years. Support from businesses like Wales & West Housing is vital in helping us to be there for the people of Wales when they need us most.

“It sounds like Wales & West Housing have some exciting fundraising plans coming up and we wish them well. Their support of our lifesaving charity is much appreciated.”

There are several ways that the public can continue to support the Wales Air Ambulance. These include online donations, signing up to the Charity’s Lifesaving Lottery or by coming up with their own innovative ways to fundraise at home. Further information can be found via www.walesairambulance.com

Alternatively, a £5 text-message donation can be made by texting the word HELI to 70711. For more information on Wales & West Housing visit www.wwha.co.uk

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Community

Get Active with Pembrokeshire Leisure!

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Haverfordwest Leisure Centre

PEMBROKESHIRE Leisure have launched their new streamlined membership and pricing structure.

Membership options on offer to new customers have been reduced to make joining easier.

If you are a current member with a live membership, you will not be affected by the change. The new Active Memberships include Active Individual, Active Junior and Active Household. They will replace the previous Gold, Silver and Bronze memberships.

The pricing will also be made simpler by removing loyalty options. If you’re an existing loyalty subscription user you will continue to benefit from the loyalty price until the current subscription expires.

Gary Nicholas, Leisure Services Manager for Pembrokeshire said; “In order to simplify our pricing structure and as a reflection of current cost of living challenges, we have reviewed and changed our charges to provide excellent value to all our users.

He continued: “Pembrokeshire Leisure continues to offer our Passport to Leisure scheme to support those most in need, as well as offering the Welsh Government funded Free Swimming for the 60+ and 16 & under, Active for Life Programme and the National Exercise Referral scheme.

“Our facilities and services are here to provide active and social opportunities to everyone in our communities as we aim to promote and support a healthy and enjoyable lifestyle.”

If you would like more information, please visit https://pembrokeshireleisure.co.uk/news/

You can now buy Active Memberships online or in any of our leisure centres.

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