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Olympic champion to compete in the World Rowing Beach Sprint Finals

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TWICE Olympic champion Helen Glover has a new rowing focus – ready for action at a Wales World Championships that may well mark the start of an exciting journey for the sport, and she believes coastal rowing will only continue to grow around the UK and beyond.
This weekend Glover will compete in the World Rowing Beach Sprint Finals hosted at Saundersfoot Harbour. Following an exciting recent announcement that coastal rowing is to be included in the 2026 Victoria Commonwealth Games, Beach Sprints are also eyeing a potential Olympic nomination for 2028.
As the sport grows fast, a home World Championships will continue to inspire more at a grassroots level to try the sport for the first time, whether they are transitioning from flat water rowing or coming into the sport with no experience. Reflecting on her journey into the sport as a relative newcomer herself, Helen praised the newer disciplines as fantastic additions to rowing’s proud tradition:
“In terms of a transition, it’s been easy because of people being welcoming and open minded. Everyone’s trying to learn about this sport because it’s just so fast growing, people want to make it work and make big things happen.

“It’s been really welcoming, training here in Wales. And it’s all kind of based around enjoying it, and everyone just having a great time and helping people learn about this new sport as quickly as they can.
When I first tried it, I wasn’t kind of deciding to make a transition or switch over. It was just a WhatsApp message that went round saying “who wants to try this out? It sounds fun.’
“I ended up going along to the occasional session, just to try a new fun type of rowing. I ended up getting selected for the world’s team! I never necessarily had it in my sights or thought this would be my new sport or anything like that. I just really enjoyed it, and every time I turned up there were more opportunities to try it again.
Anyone hoping to enter the sport at a grassroots level could well have a lot to aspire for in the near future, with many hoping to see it on an even bigger stage and an opportunity for rowing to attract wider and more diverse audiences. Helen said:
“I wouldn’t at all be surprised if it did end up at the Olympic Games. I think events like this weekend will be really important because it’ll showcase what the sport can do.
“Even I haven’t seen what it can do at this scale yet – I haven’t been to an event like this, an international event in all its glory. I think it will be really important to showcase to the world and rest of the UK what Beach Sprints can bring on that big scale.
“I think the accessibility thing is something that’s always an important aspect of Olympics sports, and Beach Sprints does have this in a really strong way. If you haven’t tried it before, it’s such a welcoming community. I’ve really experienced a lot of this feeling of appreciation of where you are, feeling lucky to be out on the waves. I’ve always felt that with rowing but never more so than in coastal rowing.
It’s just an amazing sport to take up. It takes a lot of the skills, a lot of the fitness that you will already have, but it’ll just challenge you in different ways. Something about rowers like that challenge, they look for that challenge. Everything’s happening at once, at crazy speed. It’s manic – but it’s all good fun.”

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Haverfordwest: Fire crews attend kitchen fire in Abbots Close

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MID and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service have issued a statement following a house fire in Abbots Close off Augustine Way in Haverfordwest on Tuesday evening (Jan 31).

The statement reads: “At 7.05pm on Tuesday, January 31st, crews from Haverfordwest and Tenby were called to an incident at Haverfordwest.

“There was a kitchen fire in a private dwelling which was extinguished using 4 breathing apparatus sets, 1 hose reel jet, 1 main jet, 1 positive pressure ventilation fan and short extension ladders.

“The Police and Local Authority were also in attendance.

“Crews left the scene at 8.57pm.”

It is thought there were no injuries as a result of the incident.

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Ferry staff concerned over rumours Pembroke Dock to Rosslare route coming to an end

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CONCERNS are growing amongst Irish Ferries staff operating out of Pembroke Dock as rumours continue to circulate that the company is considering abandoning the Pembroke to Rosslare route.

Several sources state that Irish Ferries is to pull out of Wexford (Rosslare) all together.

Several newspapers in Ireland are reporting that Irish Ferries has failed to reply to queries in relation to future of Rosslare route as concern grows among employees

The company has remained tight-lipped on its plans and despite queries by various reporters to both the Irish Ferries media contact and a senior company official in Rosslare, there was no response from Irish Ferries at the time of publication.

A lot of the concern stems from the fact that customers cannot book passage on the Rosslare/Pembroke route beyond May 31st of this year. Potentially this could be related to the expiry of the company’s charter on the ship currently working the route – Blue Star 1.

The Greek passenger ferry, with capacity for 1,500 passengers, 100 freight vehicles and up to 700 cars, was chartered by Irish Ferries in March of 2021. The company has faced a number of issues with the ship and it was detained by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) as recently as December after failing a safety inspection.

It is reported that in the past couple of weeks, Irish Ferries staff members have met with senior management to express their concerns and have also reached out to their union SIPTU to put them on notice.

The lack of information being provided by the company is certainly not doing anything to quell rumours.

This is not the first time Irish Ferries has caused a stir in Rosslare. Back in December of 2018, the company announced its intention to axe its service between Rosslare Europort and France in a move that wax described as “a kick in the teeth” by locals at the time.

Since then, thankfully, fortunes at the Europort have drastically turned in a post-Brexit landscape with the port now nearly handling up to 40 sailings per week.

However, the routes operating between Rosslare and the UK have seen more mixed fortune. With Stena

Line operating a route from Rosslare to Fishguard alongside Irish Ferries’ sailing to Pembroke, there has been some debate as to whether there is the trade to sustain both routes going forward.

Stena Line’s ownership of the port in Fishguard means its likely to want to hang in there, while back in 2021, Irish Ferries only signed a 10-year deal with Pembroke Dock.

We asked Milford Haven Port Authority for their view on the ongoing speculation. A spokesperson at the Port of Milford Haven, said: “We were surprised by these press articles.

“We are unaware of the basis of them; but we can confirm that we renewed our contract with Irish Ferries in 2021 and continue to provide excellent port services to support this important UK and International trade route.”

POLITICIANS SUPPORT PEMBROKE DOCK

Calls a year ago (Feb 2022) for Wales to have one ferry port in Pembrokeshire instead of two due to declining trade following Brexit would be a “disaster” for the county, a Senedd candidate  said.

Rosslare in Ireland’s January traffic to the UK was down 49% on last January, with freight direct to the European mainland up 446%.

Glenn Carr, general manager at Rosslare Europort in Ireland, suggested closing either Pembroke Dock or Fishguard ports to compensate.

But the Liberal Democrat Senedd candidate for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire said at the time that would be a “disaster” and called for Welsh Secretary Simon Hart to “take urgent action” to solve the situation.

“Some companies have chosen to take the sea route from Ireland to the European continent rather than going through the UK’s land bridge,” he said.

“They have done this to avoid the trading barriers which have arisen from our hard Brexit. Mr Hart and his government colleagues need to ‘step up to the plate’ and take urgent action to eliminate these trading barriers before we lose one of our precious ferry ports.”

Conservative Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb also has been calling on the UK Government to “get a grip” on the situation.

“There’s now a big fight on to retain competitiveness and win back business that seems to have been lost out of the Welsh ports since the end of the Brexit transition period,” he said.

“So the UK government needs to get a grip on working out simpler, more effective, streamlined procedures for complying with this paperwork, making it less of a headache for doing business through the Welsh ports between the Republic, the UK and the continent.”

Tina Roberts, Welsh Liberal Democrat Senedd Candidate for Preseli Pembrokeshire also said both Fishguard and Pembroke Dock are vital ferry ports to our local community and to local businesses.

“Staff at these ferries have worked very hard to provide an excellent service which also benefits tourism and local trade,” she said.

“The government needs to end its trading barriers with Ireland to avoid the catastrophe of one of these ferries closing.”

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Man sadly passed away in hospital following incident in Haven Drive, Milford Haven

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POLICE and ambulance units were despatched to a residential address in Haven Drive, Milford Haven on Friday following a 999 call from a party concerned with the welfare of a male.

Medics attended, and the man was taken to hospital but sadly died the following day.

The air ambulance also attended the incident, landing at the Milford Haven Rugby Club.

A statement was released by Dyfed-Powys Police concerning the incident: “We attended a property in Haven Drive, Milford Haven on Friday 27th January 2023 following a concern raised for the welfare of a man.

“The man was taken to hospital where he passed away on Saturday 28th January 2023.

“The death is not being treated as suspicious and a report will be prepared for the Coroner.”

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