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Inspirational Achievements recognised in 16th Sport Pembrokeshire awards

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ONE of the highlights of the local sporting calendar, the Sport Pembrokeshire Awards 2022 were held on Friday (25 November) at Folly Farm.

Celebrating the outstanding achievements of sportspeople, coaches and volunteers, the ceremony recognised 13 award-winners in a variety of categories, the winners of two special awards – the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Special Achievement Award – plus the School Award.

The ceremony was organised by Sport Pembrokeshire, and sponsored by Valero, the Western Telegraph, Pure West Radio, Folly Farm and Pembrokeshire County Council. It was hosted by sports journalist Bill Carne and Cris Tomos.

The winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award was dual code international rugby player and coach Rowland Phillips.

A native of St Davids, Rowland played in the backrow for the legendary Neath pack and won ten caps for Wales between 1987-1990 before moving to rugby league and signing for Warrington.

He also played for Rochdale, Oldham and Workington; won the Regal Trophy and represented Wales and Great Britain.

His coaching career was equally impressive. In 2003, he returned to his beloved Neath and led them to four successive Premiership titles and three Cup Final victories.

He undertook top roles home and abroad with among others the Ospreys, London Welsh and Wales Under-18s.

He has also been coach of the Wales Women’s national side, with his daughter, Carys achieving international success too, in her dad’s footsteps.

“Rowland has achieved international success but remained close to his family and community. He’s a real role model,” said Geoff Williams, retired Head of BBC Sport Wales, who presented him with the award.

The winner of the Special Achievement Award, presented by the Chairman of Pembrokeshire County Council, Cllr Pat Davies, was Brian Griffiths of Burton Cricket Club – an active member of the club for 72 years.

Brian played his debut as an 11 year old when he turned up to score but was asked to play when the team found itself with only ten men!

As well as playing a huge number of games for club and county he was also an excellent coach for over 40 years, initially with Burton and later on in the Pembrokeshire coaching set-up.

In recent years, Brian also umpired the club’s second team but his major contribution has been as the groundsman at Oatfield Park.

Burton all-rounder Steve Jones said: “Brian Griffiths has always typified the very best of cricket, on and off the field.

“He has been an excellent player over such a long period and worked tirelessly as a coach and groundsman. But above all that he really is a gentleman of the sport.”

In addition to the worthy finalists and winners, Sport Pembrokeshire also recognised Johnston CP School for its commitment tohealth and wellbeing.

Sponsored by Pembrokeshire County Council, the School Award was presented by Steven Richards-Downes, Director of Education.

Johnston school has developed their provision of inclusive sport with 12 after-school clubs every week, introduced a Special Visitor Programme to introduce learners to professional athletes and interesting speakers from all walks of life, offers a huge range of opportunities in dynamic PE sessions, and promotes outdoor learning with the Outdoor Schools programme.

Matthew Freeman, manager of Sport Pembrokeshire, congratulated all nominees, finalists and winners.

“Once again we’ve heard about some truly inspirational achievements, and outstanding examples of teamwork behind the scenes,” he said. “Well done to everyone.”

The winners are as follows:

SPORT PEMBROKESHIRE FINALISTS 2022:

Girls (U16) Sporting Achievement

Gracie Griffiths

Boys (U16) Sporting Achievement

Oscar Willington

Club of the Year

Cresselly Cricket Club

Junior Disability Sport Award

Ben Stanton

Disability Sport Award

Lily Rice

Young Volunteer of the Year

Lucy Kerrison

Junior (U16) Team Achievement of the Year

Neyland Pirates U14s 2021/22

Unsung Hero

Kevin Jenkins

Team Achievement of the Year

Wiseman’s Bridge Women’s Coxed Squad

Male Sporting Achievement

Ioan Croft

Female Sporting Achievement

Heather Lewis

Club Organiser of the Year

Wendy Bradshaw

Coach of the Year

Guy Croft

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Health

New X-ray equipment plan at Tenby Cottage Hospital revealed

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X-RAY services at Tenby Cottage Hospital are to receive a major boost thanks to an investment of £625,000 in brand new equipment which is being installed at the Hywel Dda Health Board-run site over the next few weeks.

The equipment, funded by Welsh Government, will allow the unit not only to provide the highest quality images but will also mean patients with reduced mobility or advanced clinical needs can be more easily accommodated.

However, in order to install the new equipment, x-ray services will be temporarily unavailable in Tenby Cottage Hospital until Friday, 19April 2024.

Over the next few weeks, imaging for GP patients will be provided on an appointment only basis at South Pembrokeshire Hospital in Pembroke Dock between 9-5pm.

Patients attending the Minor Injuries walk-in centre can still attend Tenby Cottage Hospital but may be sent to Withybush if an x-ray is required. Alternatively, patients can choose to attend Withybush Emergency Department directly.

John Evans, Pembrokeshire County Director for Hywel Dda said: “We are delighted that Tenby Cottage Hospital will be receiving brand new and up to date x-ray equipment thanks to this investment from Welsh Government.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused over the short period of time while the equipment is being installed but look forward to providing an improved level of care for Tenby community patients into the future.”

Patients needing further help or information should contact the radiology departments at Withybush Hospital on 01437 773385 or South Pembrokeshire Hospital on 01437 774018.

The health board is reminding people not to attend busy A&E departments unless they have a critical, life-threatening emergency and asking people to choose their healthcare services very carefully, so that only people with urgent or emergency care needs are being seen in A&E. 

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Farming

Police warn of disruption to traffic as farmers protests take place

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FARMERS protests are taking place in Aberystwyth and Carmarthen today (Feb 22.)

The police took to Facebook on Thursday morning saying: “We are aware of potential disruption to traffic in Carmarthen and Aberystwyth town centres from midday today.

“The traffic network in and out of the towns may also be affected.

“If you are planning on travelling in those areas today, please consider changing your route or journey time to avoid delays.

“We will update when we have further information.”

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Health

NHS facing unprecedented winter pressures amid record demand

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THE NHS in Wales has been facing significant challenges this winter, with an exceptionally high number of emergency calls and delays that have put immense pressure on its staff and resources, according to the latest activity and performance statistics.

In January, the ambulance service received 5,009 red (life-threatening) calls, accounting for 13.9% of all calls. Despite a slight decrease from December, with an average of 162 life-threatening calls per day, this figure remains the third highest on record. The response times for these urgent calls have also been under scrutiny, with 48.8% of red calls receiving an emergency response within eight minutes, marking the second highest achievement for this metric. The average response time for these calls was 8 minutes and 11 seconds.

The performance data also revealed that approximately 27,000 hours were lost due to handover delays at hospitals, highlighting the systemic pressures faced by the health service. Despite these challenges, nearly all health boards came close to meeting the target for 97% of patient pathways waiting less than two years by 2024, missing it by a mere 0.03%.

Nesta Lloyd-Jones, Assistant Director of the Welsh NHS Confederation, commented on the impact of the winter pressures and the exceptional demand on NHS services. “The monumental efforts of our staff have led to some improvements, such as a decrease in the number of people waiting the longest for treatment in December. However, the progress is threatened by the junior doctor strike action in January and February, which has led to a significant number of planned care procedures being postponed.”

Lloyd-Jones stressed the need for comprehensive planning and significant investment in NHS infrastructure and social care to ensure the health service can continue to improve and meet the demands placed upon it. “Good planning alone is not enough. Without significant capital investment and a whole-nation approach to health and wellbeing, alongside substantial changes to social care funding and provision, the progress of NHS leaders will be limited.”

The Welsh NHS Confederation, which represents the seven local health boards, three NHS trusts, and other health organisations in Wales, has been vocal about the challenges faced by the NHS and the need for strategic investment and support to navigate through these difficult times.

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