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Charity

Sanna wins Wales Air Ambulance place for the world’s toughest mountain race

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A PEMBROKESHIRE woman has been picked to represent the Wales Air Ambulance at one of the world’s toughest mountain races.

Sanna Duthie, 35, of Milford Haven, beat off stiff competition to win the Montane Dragon’s Back Race charity place, which covers 236 miles of Wales’ uniquely wild, trackless, and remote mountainous terrain.

The event will see competitors run the equivalent of 1.5 marathons every day in six days, starting from Conwy Castle and finishing at Cardiff Castle from Monday 4 September to Saturday 9 September 2023.

Ultra-runner Sanna impressed the judging panel with her passion and dedication and is the first female athlete to win a Wales Air Ambulance charity place for the gruelling race.

The panel consisted of Wales Air Ambulance’s Events and Partnership Fundraiser, Tracey Ann Breese, Campaigns Manager Katie Macro and last year’s charity-place winner, Richard Gardiner.

Sanna, who works in office administration, said it had been her ambition to enter the Montane Dragon’s Back Race, but the £1,599 entry fee had financially held her back.

She said: “As a proud Welsh runner, the race has been on my radar for many years, I know several people who have taken part which has only fuelled my desire to do it. I work in office administration full time and the entry fee was just too much for me sadly.
“To spend a week running on the mountains in Wales is the best holiday I can imagine, the thought of being out on the mountains for days sounds so freeing. To be given the chance to take part in the Dragon’s Back Race is a dream come true.

“To be the first female to win the charity place is amazing. We need more female ultra-runners. Women are so strong mentally, and this challenge will require me to dig deep.  It’s an honour to be chosen and it has given me a big boost mentally, as well as the drive to train even harder.”

Sanna has been Ultra-running since 2015 and has won a plethora of races. These include the Gower Ultra, GB Ultra Beacon, The North Canum, Dirty Dozen Back Yard Ultra and the Preseli Ultra-beast 2022 which she won and set a new female record.

The athlete has committed to raising a minimum of £2,000 for the Wales Air Ambulance and hopes to promote her journey on social media and through a podcast.

Sanna is no stranger to fundraising for the Charity having raised nearly £5,000 in 2021 by running the entire Pembrokeshire Coast Path, an incredible 186 miles, all in one go. Not only did Sanna complete the challenge, but she also achieved the fastest known time of 51 hours and 30 minutes – with no sleep and the only stops being to refuel.

She said: “We were just coming out of lockdown and I managed to fulfil my dream of running the entire 186-mile Pembrokeshire Coast Path. It was probably the best weekend of my life.

“As a result of that I appeared on radio shows in Wales and was interviewed on lots of running podcasts and I did some talks at the local schools. I even got asked to join the judging panel for last year’s Wales Air Ambulance Dragon’s Back Race.

“I asked for sponsorship and managed to raise just under £5,000 for Welsh Air Ambulance which is a cause I feel very strongly about. The service is very active in our community.  Pembrokeshire is quite rural and road links are not great. It is a charity that people in our county care about and want to support.”

Sanna said to complete the Montane Dragon’s Back Race would be a life goal and that she already has a training plan in place for the race.

She said: “It gives me butterflies just thinking of it.  It really will be a dream come true and to be able to do it and raise money for the Wales Air Ambulance really makes it extra special.

“I would say that I am an emotional person, this can often be seen as a bad quality, but I think it makes me a good ultra-runner. I help and support people and it also means that when I set a goal, I give it my all. I really hope I won’t let you down.”

The Wales Air Ambulance needs to raise £8 million every year to keep its helicopters in the air and rapid response vehicles on the road.

It offers advanced critical care across Wales which is delivered via a unique Third Sector and Public Sector partnership between the Wales Air Ambulance Charity and the Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service (EMRTS Cymru). 

As a result, the service is consultant-led and is known as a ‘flying emergency department’, taking hospital-standard treatments to the patient at the scene of an incident. This includes the ability to administer anaesthesia, deliver blood transfusions and conduct minor operations, all at the scene of an incident.

Tracey Ann Breese, Wales Air Ambulance’s Events and Partnership Fundraiser, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to offer Sanna a place at this year’s Montane Dragon’s Back Race. It was clear from her application that she is totally committed to running and being able to complete the race, both as a personal goal and to fundraise for Wales Air Ambulance.

“We received a number of strong entries and we would like to thank everyone for sending their videos to us. I am looking forward to seeing and being able to support Sanna’s journey and am truly grateful that she has chosen to support our Charity for the second time.”

To support Sanna visit her Just Giving page, https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sanna-duthie3

Charity

Calls for help over VHF radio may have been a hoax, say RNLI

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THE ANGLE All-Weather Lifeboat was requested to launch on service at 10:23am this morning, Monday (July 22).

Following a call to the Coastguard from Milford Haven VTS, the crew were tasked after the VTS operators overheard a female voice calling for help on VHF channel 12.

After narrowing down the transmission to having been received on the Pembroke aerial site, the crew were requested to conduct a search.

Launching at 10:30am, the lifeboat made best speed to the moorings at Hazelbeach, and a hasty search was requested by the Coastguard of any moored vessels. The crew began making their way amongst the moorings, heading up to the moorings off Neyland. With nothing untoward sighted, the crew proceeded to search the moorings off Hobbs Point, Barnlake Point, Burton, Llanion and Rudders Boat Yard.

With nothing found, the Coastguard requested that the crew continue their search up river to Picton Point. The lifeboat continued searching up the western shore encompassing Llangwm before altering course just past Landshipping and searching the eastern shore back down the river, calling in to Lawrenny on the way to check any vessels moored there.

The RNLI said that the search continued back down as far as the Cleddau Bridge.

On Facebook the organisation posted :”Following a thorough visual, communications and radar search the crew were subsequently stood down when no further information or calls had been received.

“The tasking was therefore deemed to be a hoax call.

“The lifeboat was back alongside and readied for further service by 1pm.”

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Charity

More than 19k animal lovers call to end greyhound racing in Wales

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IN RSPCA open letter signed by an astonishing 19,715 people which calls for the end of greyhound racing in Wales has been delivered to the First Minister’s office.

The open letter, addressed to Vaughan Gething MS, the First Minister of Wales, stated that the thousands of signatories wish to see a phased end to the “outdated practice” in Wales in order to protect the welfare of countless dogs at risk of injury – or worse.

The RSPCA is part of the Cut the Chase coalition – which includes the Dogs Trust, Blue Cross, Hope Rescue and Greyhound Rescue Wales – who have long expressed concern about the negative welfare consequences that racing and the greyhound industry has on the dogs involved. The regulated sector’s own figures show that between 2018 and 2023, 2,751 greyhounds died or were put to sleep for reasons other than natural causes or illness. (data covering England and Wales).

Meanwhile, more than 26,500 injuries were recorded from greyhound racing over the same time period*. The latest statistics from the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) – which regulates Wales’ only track – show that the number of dogs involved in racing who died increased by 47% in 2023, further adding to the coalition’s concerns.

Wales could be the first nation in the UK to phase out the activity. Earlier this year, the Welsh Government carried out a 12-week consultation which is considering the future of greyhound racing. The consultation closed in March.

The Welsh Government has yet to publish the outcome of the consultation – and in the meantime dogs at the Valley Greyhounds Stadium in Ystrad Mynach continue to risk death or serious injury due to being knocked over or falling at speeds often in excess of 40mph.

Published results from races and trials at the Valley track, analysed by Greyhound Rescue Wales, shows that, between 3 March and 29 May this year, nine dogs were recorded as “fell” and 15 more were recorded as “knocked over”.

But these stats don’t show the full picture. Injury data from individual tracks and veterinary reports aren’t released publicly, so the exact welfare impact of the dogs who have fallen in races remains unknown.

Billie-Jade Thomas, RSPCA Senior Public Affairs Manager in Wales said: “Greyhound racing is inherently dangerous for the dogs involved. Running at speed around oval tracks causes significant injury to many dogs, and in some cases, the injuries are so severe that it is necessary for dogs to be put to sleep.

“There are only 10 countries in the world – including all UK nations – where commercial greyhound racing still goes on in 2024. But the Welsh Government now has a golden opportunity to commit to phasing out greyhound racing in Wales once and for all, sending an important message to the rest of the UK that they need to act to deliver a better life for greyhounds.

“We’d like to thank everyone who signed our open letter – we were delighted to have such a strong response and have more than 19,000 people support this cause. It really does show the strength of feeling there is about ending greyhound racing, and what we can achieve together for animal welfare.”

At its peak, there were 250 licensed tracks in the UK. Today, only 20* remain, with only one that is unlicensed in Great Britain.

The Cut the Chase coalition has called for greyhound racing to be phased out over the next five years, and remains committed to the welfare of the dogs involved in the industry during this time.

Phasing out greyhound racing in Wales is a major campaign priority for the RSPCA, as the charity marks its landmark 200th anniversary this year. Since its formation in 1824, the RSPCA has changed more than 400 laws for animals.

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Premium outdoor gear band to provide hydration products to lifeguards

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YETI says it is honoured to announce its new partnership with the RNLI, providing its premium Rambler bottles and cups to the charity’s lifeguards at beaches across the UK. 

In addition to providing lifeguards with its premium drinkware, YETI will also be offering RNLI Tundra coolers and Silo Water Coolers to ensure their drinking water remains icy cold throughout the warm summer days. This not only ensures lifeguards’ will have adequate hydration as they patrol the beaches, but it also helps reduce their use of single-use plastic while on duty.

YETI will also be providing support for the RNLI’s fundraising activities throughout the year.

At peak season RNLI lifeguards operate on 240 beaches across the UK and Channel Islands, in 2023 lifeguards saved 86 lives, responded to 14,213 incidents and aided 20,000 people. Some of their duties include carrying out water rescues to those in difficulty, administering first aid and reuniting lost children with their families. 

One of the lifeguard’s key roles is preventing incidents from happening in the first place – lifeguards spend their patrols speaking to the public about how to enjoy a safe day at the beach and what to do if they find themselves in trouble. They will also designate an area of the beach each day using their red and yellow flags which is deemed as the safest place to swim.

Peter Dawes, RNLI Lifeguard Operations Manager, said: ‘We are excited to announce our new partnership with YETI, which will ensure our lifeguards are kept hydrated, and able to carry out their vital lifesaving role on beaches across the UK. As a charity we rely on the support of others, so we are grateful for YETI providing products for our lifeguards but also sharing our water safety messages to their audience. 

“For anyone planning a trip to the coast this summer we would advise staying safe in the sun by using sun protection and staying hydrated, visiting one of our lifeguarded beaches and speaking to our lifeguards about how to enjoy a safe day at the coast.”

“Beaches are where we create some of our best outdoor memories with family and friends, and lifeguards make that possible,” said Bill Neff, Head of Marketing at YETI. “We want to support those who keep us safe with products that will help them do their jobs.”

YETI’s premium products are built for the wild and designed for any adventure. Their drinkware comes in a variety of styles and sizes, perfect for any hydration need – from your morning coffee, afternoon water break or evening cocktail.

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