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Charity

Dad celebrates his son’s first Christmas thanks to the Wales Air Ambulance

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THERE will be an extra bit of festive sparkle in the Jones household this year as dad Richard and his partner Michaela celebrate their son Dougie’s first Christmas.

But this wouldn’t have been possible had it not been for the Wales Air Ambulance. Without them Richard, 34, wouldn’t be here today, he wouldn’t have met his partner and his son wouldn’t have been born.

Richard is one of the Wales Air Ambulance’s survivors and, thankfully, he is here this Christmas to celebrate “the most wonderful time of the year” with his loved ones.

It could have been a lot different. The father-of-one had been travelling to work in his truck and had a road accident resulting in catastrophic injuries. The early and critical care he received from the Wales Air Ambulance crew undoubtedly saved his life.

Upon arrival, Dr Bob Tipping and Critical Care Practitioner Marc Allen spotted signs of internal bleeding. At the roadside they gave six units of blood products to help Richard’s significant blood loss, and due to the severity of his injuries, particularly his leg, they gave general anaesthetic and put him on a ventilator to control his breathing.

Richard, of Tenby, was transferred to the nearest specialist centre for limb injuries and was so ill the decision was made to amputate part of his right leg. Whilst recovering in Swansea’s Morriston Hospital he got to know a nurse, who is now mum to their beautiful eight month old baby boy and they are looking forward to spending their first Christmas as a family of three.

Richard is looking forward to spending their first Christmas together as a family of three

Richard said: “For me, my Christmas miracle is my life. My feelings towards Christmas have certainly changed since the accident. As much as you try not to, you do find yourself wondering ‘what if.’ I don’t take anything for granted like I used to. It will be an extra special occasion for me and my family this year and celebrating my son Dougie’s first Christmas.

“I look forward to spending time with my family and friends and enjoying lots of delicious food – especially pigs in blankets!”

Since his accident, Richard has had to learn a whole new way of living, including walking with a prosthetic limb. He admits he has good days and bad days and now puts more time aside for himself instead of rushing about as much as he did before the accident.

He said: “The whole team at Wales Air Ambulance have inspired and given me so much. I am giving back in my own way – I give peer support to others who have limb amputations, and I recently took part in a fishing competition raising funds for the Charity; fishing has been one of my lifelong hobbies.

“I’ve always heard stories about all the amazing things the Wales Air Ambulance do. 

“However, I never really thought about the service before and never thought I’d end up needing their assistance. I was surprised to find out that, despite the amazing work they do, the Charity is solely funded by public donations. They operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, even on Christmas Day.

“Whilst I’m tucking into my Christmas Dinner and enjoying time with loved ones, I will be thinking of those who have given up their Christmas to save lives.”

If like Richard, you would like to support the Charity and help them save more lives this Christmas you can donate by visiting A Christmas Miracle | Welsh Air Ambulance Charitable Trust (walesairambulance.com)

Charity

NSPCC reports increase children being left home alone in Wales

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THE NSPCC Helpline has made 20% more referrals in the last year to local authorities in Wales about children being left home alone or unsupervised.

Between April 2023 and March 2024, the service, which provides help and advice for adults with concerns about the wellbeing of a child, sent 195 referrals to local agencies or services in Wales following contacts about the issue. This is compared to 163 referrals during the previous 12 months.

Last year, the Helpline received 7,802 contacts about the subject from adults from across the UK, compared to 4,717 contacts between 2022 to 2023.

The increase in the number of contacts on this issue to the Helpline and the referrals made could be due to a number of factors, including a recent NSPCC Helpline marketing campaign, increased service capacity and greater public awareness about the risks of leaving children home alone.

More than half of these contacts (51%) on children being left home alone were deemed serious enough for the NSPCC Helpline to make a referral to a local agency or service with a view to further action being taken. 

With schools in Wales breaking up this week, many adults might feel unsure about whether their child is ready to be left unsupervised or have concerns about another child being left alone.

For many parents, July and August can be particularly difficult as they are forced to balance the competing pressures of work and childcare. These challenges are likely to be even more acute this year as the cost-of-living crisis continues, forcing some parents and carers to work increased hours or take part-time jobs.

One adult contacted the Helpline with a concern about their neighbour, told The Pembrkoeshire Herald: “It’s two little girls I’m worried about, they must be about 4 and 6; they’re left home alone quite a lot and that means they’re unsupervised with the family’s dogs. I’ve knocked a few times to see if they’re ok and they always say, ‘daddy will be back soon’ but it’s usually hours later when one of the parents comes back.”

There is no legal age limit for leaving children home alone, but the NSPCC would not recommend leaving any child under the age of 12 at home unsupervised, especially for extended periods of time.

A child who expresses concern about being left alone should never be without a parent or carer and for those young people who do feel comfortable, it is vital they are left with contact numbers for a parent, carer or trusted adult. Long periods of being unsupervised can lead to children feeling afraid or neglected.

One young person aged 14 told Childline: “I’m sick of being left on my own, mum expects me to just look after myself. There isn’t always food I can cook, I can’t go and see my friends or do anything fun, but she can.”

Should leaving a child alone be the only option for an adult, then the NSPCC’s website has tips for parents to help ensure the young person feels safe, as well as a quiz to assess if a child is ready to be left unsupervised.

Kam Thandi, Head of the NSPCC’s Helpline said: “It can be hard for parents and carers to know the right age to leave their child home alone as every child is different, and the first time being left unsupervised will differ for every family.”

“It is vital that both the child and adult feel comfortable with any decision that is taken, and that if a young person is to be left home alone they know how to contact a trusted adult and what to do in an emergency.

“For anyone who may need advice or is concerned about a child who might be at risk, our Helpline service can support you and the NSPCC website has a range of tips.”

Adults with concerns about a child can contact the NSPCC Helpline by calling 0808 800 5000, emailing [email protected] or completing our report abuse online form.

Childline is available for young people via the phone on 0800 1111 and online where there is a 121 chat on the Childline website.

You can find more information and advice on leaving children home alone on the NSPCC website.

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Charity

Solva to St Davids: The Big Walk for Prostate Cymru

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SUNDAY (Jul 14) marked the eagerly anticipated Solva leg of The Big Walk for Prostate Cymru, a charity event that sees participants exploring some of Wales’s most stunning landscapes while raising money for prostate cancer support and research. This particular segment took walkers from the picturesque village of Solva to the historic city of St Davids, covering approximately six miles of beautiful coastal paths and rolling countryside.

The Solva to St Davids Walk is one of four routes featured in this year’s Big Walk for Prostate Cymru, which spans multiple dates throughout July. This charitable event is organised by Ellie Jug, who can be contacted at [email protected] for further information.

Participants gathered early in Solva, where they were greeted with a warm breakfast roll and received their complimentary T-shirts before setting off. The route, carefully planned to showcase the natural beauty of Pembrokeshire, did not disappoint. Walkers were treated to breath-taking views of rugged cliffs, sandy beaches, and the serene St Brides Bay as they made their way towards St Davids, the UK’s smallest city.

The Big Walk for Prostate Cymru aims to raise awareness and funds for prostate cancer, a disease affecting thousands of men across the UK. By joining the walk, participants not only enjoy a day out in some of Wales’s most beautiful locations but also contribute to an important cause.

For those unable to join today’s walk, there are still opportunities to participate. The final leg of The Big Walk takes place on 20 July, offering routes such as The Vale Circular Walk, the Neath to Kenfig Hill route, and the Aberystwyth Walk. Each route offers its unique challenges and scenic rewards, catering to walkers of all abilities.

It’s not too late to take part in The Big Walk for Prostate Cymru. Whether you prefer an organised group walk or want to complete the challenge individually at your own pace, there’s a route for everyone. The entry fee is £25 for the guided walks, which includes breakfast, a T-shirt, and support along the way, or £10 if you prefer to walk independently.

Participants can sign up and create a personal fundraising page via Enthuse, making it easy to share their progress and support with friends and family.

Upcoming Walks

  • 20 July:
  • The Vale Circular Walk (approx 5.5 miles)
  • Neath to Kenfig Hill (13 miles)
  • Aberystwyth Walk (approx 4.5 miles)

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or new to walking, The Big Walk for Prostate Cymru offers a fantastic opportunity to explore the natural beauty of Wales while making a meaningful impact in the fight against prostate cancer.

For more information, visit the Prostate Cymru website or contact Ellie Jug directly at [email protected].

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Charity

Angle RNLI responds to four emergencies in just one week

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THE ANGE RNLI All-Weather Lifeboat has had an eventful week, launching four times to respond to emergency calls along the coast.

Woman rescued after being cut off by tide

On Sunday, 7th July, at 1:10 pm, the lifeboat was dispatched following a 999 call from concerned walkers on the Marloes coast path. The walkers reported hearing a female voice shouting for help at the base of the cliffs.

The lifeboat crew arrived at the scene within 20 minutes and located a woman stranded on the shoreline, cut off by the rising tide. The inflatable Y boat was deployed to retrieve her. It was discovered that she had been stuck since the previous day, spending the night using her torch to signal for help due to a lack of mobile phone reception.

After recovering the casualty and transferring her to the Mackerel Stage at Milford, she was handed over to the Dale Coastguard Rescue Team. With no further assistance needed, the lifeboat crew returned to their station.

Schooner in distress near The Smalls Lighthouse

On Thursday, 11th July, at 6:05 pm, the crew was paged again, this time to assist a 100-ton schooner with a broken bow sprit approximately 4 miles west of The Smalls Lighthouse. Concerned that the damaged bow sprit might pierce the hull, the vessel requested help.

The Angle RNLI lifeboat and St David’s Lifeboat both responded to the call. Upon arrival, the crews found the schooner with the bow sprit still submerged. Unable to secure it, the vessel had been heading south to mitigate the conditions until assistance arrived.

Once the bow sprit was secured, the lifeboats escorted the schooner to Dale, where it anchored. St David’s Lifeboat was stood down, and Angle RNLI continued the escort, arriving at around 1 am. After ensuring no further assistance was needed, the crew returned to their station.

Vessel drifting onto rocks at Frainslake

On Saturday, 14th July, at 1:28 pm, the All-Weather Lifeboat launched following a distress call about a small vessel drifting onto rocks at Frainslake, Freshwater West.

Despite two local vessels responding, they were unable to assist due to the shallow water and proximity to the rocks. The lifeboat crew deployed their inflatable Y boat to establish a tow line and successfully towed the vessel to Milford Marina. The lifeboat was then stood down and returned to readiness shortly after.

Early morning rescue at Lindsway Beach

In the early hours of Sunday, 14th July, at 1:55 am, the lifeboat launched again after a report of a person in the water at Lindsway Beach. Arriving at the scene, the crew found two people in the water. The inflatable Y boat was swiftly deployed to recover both individuals.

One of the casualties became unresponsive and was immediately transferred to the lifeboat, where the crew raced to the Mackerel Stage at Milford. Upon arrival, paramedics took over the care of the casualties.

Dale and Broad Haven Coastguard Rescue Teams, Coastguard Rescue Helicopter R187, and the police were also involved in the incident.

With the casualties safely handed over, the lifeboat crew returned to their station, ready for further service by 3 am.

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