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Charity

Last chance to vote for vital Pembrokeshire mental health project

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TIME is running out for you to cast your vote to help a Haverfordwest project, which aims to improve the mental health of the people of West Wales by providing free support, win the coveted ‘UK Project of the Year’ trophy at the 2023 National Lottery Awards.

The annual National Lottery Awards celebrate the people and projects across the UK who do extraordinary things with the help of National Lottery funding.

Since voting for The National Lottery Project of the Year category opened on 11th September, thousands of votes have been cast from across the UK for the 17 finalists to help decide this year’s winner.

But with the 9th October deadline for voting fast approaching, a Pembrokeshire project is appealing for your support to help them get over the line.

Get The Boys A Lift (GTBAL) is a not-for-profit organisation launched by a group of friends which provides free mental health support to the people of Pembrokeshire while promoting open discussions about mental wellbeing. The project has gone from strength to strength since 2016, now offering a mix of in-person and online counselling services to anyone over 17.

The team run a clothing and coffee shop in Haverfordwest called ‘Our Place’, offering a unique café experience where visitors can chat to counsellors and make new friends. The project’s drop-in service has provided around 500 people with free and easy support, without the challenge of extensive waiting lists. The project’s online counselling service, which launched during the pandemic, also gives clients the option to have sessions remotely.

With support from The National Lottery, the project was able to buy a coffee van in 2022, allowing representatives to travel further afield, not only raising funds to maintain the organisation’s services, but promoting its core message about the importance of openness around mental health.

GTBAL runs regular events across the region, including outreach in schools and workplaces as well as community events. Its ‘Break the Stigma’ coffee van has been stationed at Freshwater West in Pembrokeshire across the summer, giving the team a chance to spread the GTBAL message to a wider audience, not only to local people, but the region’s many visitors. Profits from the project’s bespoke clothing range, which includes everything from hoodies to beach towels, go back into the team’s crucial work.

Greg Walters, Director at GTBAL, said: “It is a real honour to be nominated and to be part of this process. It feels really special to be recognised for the work we do at Get the Boys a Lift. Thanks the to support of our community we’ve been able to save a lot of lives. We hope that people will vote for us and we can continue to spread the word about the help we provide!”

At the end of the voting window, the finalist with the most votes will be crowned the National Lottery’s 2023 Project of the Year.

The winning project will receive a £5,000 cash prize, along with an iconic National Lottery trophy to commemorate the achievement.

Jonathan Tuchner, from the National Lottery, said: “We’re so excited to have such an incredible list of contenders for the Project of the Year category at this year’s National Lottery Awards.

“It’s always an incredibly competitive category and this year is no different.

“Thanks to National Lottery players, more than £30 million goes to good causes across the country every week, making vital projects like these possible.

“So don’t forget to make your voice heard by voting for your Project of the Year in the National Lottery Awards – with your help, any of these projects could be a winner.”

To vote for Get The Boys A Lift, please go to lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards. Or simply use their specific hashtag on X (formerly known as Twitter) #NLAGTBAL . Voting runs until 12pm on 9th October.

For further information please contact The National Lottery Awards: Oswyn Hughes on 07976 324 179 or email [email protected]

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Royal celebration at Buckingham Palace marks RNLI’s 200th anniversary

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HIS MAJESTY The King has graciously hosted a garden party at Buckingham Palace today to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). This prestigious event brought together approximately 2,500 of the RNLI’s dedicated volunteers, staff, and their families.

The garden party, held in the palace’s magnificent grounds, was marked by the presence of an Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat, showcasing the RNLI’s modern lifesaving capabilities. The event celebrated the remarkable history and ongoing contributions of the RNLI, which has been saving lives at sea since its founding in 1824.

Among those honoured at the event were representatives from Tenby Lifeboat Station and St Davids Lifeboat Station. From Tenby, the delegation included recently retired Coxswain Philip John, along with Michael Lewis, Daniel Young, Graham Waring, and Peter O’Hagan, all accompanied by their partners. Representing St Davids Lifeboat Station were Will Chant, Jestyn Martin, Ffion Rees, Judd Kohler, Ellen Evans, and their respective partners. These individuals were recognised for their exceptional service and dedication to the institution, trading their RNLI yellows for smart attire on this special occasion.

The RNLI, established in 1824 by Sir William Hillary, has grown into a vital organisation dedicated to saving lives at sea. Over its two centuries of operation, the RNLI has saved more than 142,700 lives, thanks to the bravery and commitment of its volunteers and staff. Today, the RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations and provides a 24-hour search and rescue service around the coasts of the UK and Ireland.

His Majesty’s patronage and the garden party at Buckingham Palace underscore the nation’s deep appreciation for the RNLI’s invaluable service. The celebration not only honoured past achievements but also highlighted the continued importance of the RNLI’s mission as it looks forward to the future.

For more information on the RNLI’s history and its bicentenary celebrations, please visit the official RNLI website.

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Charity

Cycling enthusiasts complete mammoth challenge on tandem bike

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AGAINST all odds two cycling enthusiasts from Pembrokeshire have completed a mammoth challenge on a tandem called ‘Jean’ in aid of the Wales Air Ambulance Charity.

Lee Berridge and John Mumberson, even slept in ditches as they took part in the nearly 300-mile, two-and-a-half-day event which starts and ends in Plymouth.

The pair wanted to “put money into a charity that has helped several people” they know who have been “airlifted out”.

The bike ride was no easy feat both were recovering from accidents themselves when they signed up.

49-year-old Lee had to have back surgery after a horrendous fall whilst on a work training programme. Whilst John injured his wrist and broke facial bones after falling in his garden.

Lee said: “I was learning new rigging techniques to do my summer job because I try and do festivals and different circus events that are on then.

“A piece of equipment came undone or failed. Nobody is sure what happened, but I fell six and a half metres, straight to the floor and shattered three vertebrae.

“I wasn’t airlifted out, but I was blue lighted to the nearest hospital that could do the best operation that I needed.”

He added: “I have also had several motorbike friends that have all been airlifted off site. Some recovered, some did not.

“A friend’s brother had a car accident a few weeks ago. He was airlifted out but sadly died the next day.

“His sister did a sponsored run, and it was that, that inspired and prompted me to want to fundraise for the charity.”

Wales Air Ambulance is consultant-led, taking hospital-standard treatments to the patient and if required, transferring them directly to the most appropriate hospital for their illness or injury.

It is delivered via a unique Third sector and Public Sector partnership. The Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service (EMRTS) supplies highly skilled NHS consultants and critical care practitioners who work on board the charity’s vehicles.

Lee says the air ambulance does “incredible work” and he wanted to say thank you by fundraising.

He said: “I have done lots of long-distance events, but only for myself. I have never done it to raise money for anything else.”

A biking enthusiast, whilst Lee was recovering from his injuries a friend of his asked him if he wanted to buy a tandem. That is when he was introduced to ‘Jean.’

He said: “I have two tandems already. I do not actually ride any of them, but this one came up I just thought I’ll buy it, do it up and sell it to make money, while I’m not actually working,

“But it transpired that I’d actually cycled with the original owners that got the bicycle made – so I bought it.”

Back in 2023, Lee and John had planned to do the Trans Dorset race but because of their accidents they had to put their fundraising on hold. When entry for the Trans Devon opened, they signed up.

Lee said: “We decided that we would do it on a tandem and we were the only tandem in the race. Everybody else who was on solo bikes was carrying as little amount of stuff as possible.

“But me and John, we just took all our own camping equipment and we literally slept on car parks in the front porch of a church and went over some of the most scrawling hills.”

So, far the pair have raised just over £1,000 and they are already planning more fundraising events.

Lee said: “The air ambulance is amazing it has helped so many people. It really should not take a charity to do what it does.

“It should not have to be raising its own money to run a lifesaving service.

“That is why I want to do as much as I can to help, and we are already planning two more rides this year.”

Wales Air Ambulance’s Head of Fundraising Mark Stevens said: “We are hugely grateful that Lee and John took on the Trans Devon in aid of our charity. They navigated some challenges, sleeping under the stars, covering unfamiliar terrain and on a tandem too!

“We need to raise £11.2 million each year to keep our helicopters in the sky and rapid response vehicles on the road.

“By helping us hit that target we are able to help thousands of people each year who are critically ill or injured thanks to the kindness of our supporters.”

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Charity funds artwork and chair for Colposcopy Unit at Withybush

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THANKS to generous donations, Hywel Dda Health Charities, the official charity of Hywel Dda University Health Board, has been able to fund artwork and a recliner couch for the Colposcopy Unit at Withybush Hospital.

A colposcopy is a procedure used to look at the cervix, the lower part of the womb at the top of the vagina. It’s often done if cervical screening finds abnormal cells in the cervix.

The waiting area, corridor and recovery rooms in the Colposcopy Unit now boast vibrant images of Pembrokeshire. Patients can view the scenes from the comfort of a brand-new recliner couch.

Elaina Hoss, Colposcopist, said: “The Colposcopy team are very grateful that charitable funds has enabled the unit to have a mini makeover. 

“We are over the moon with what has been received and are so thankful.  Our patients have remarked how wonderful it looks and we are really happy with our newly improved environment.”

Sharon Evans, Colposcopy Co-ordinator, said: “It is lovely to be welcoming patients to our now colourful department.  The beautiful images brighten up our day.”

Nicola Llewelyn, Head of Hywel Dda Health Charities, the official charity of Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “The support of our local communities enables us to provide services over and above what the NHS can provide in the three counties of Hywel Dda and we are extremely grateful for every donation we receive.”

For more details about the charity and how you can help support local NHS patients and staff, go to www.hywelddahealthcharities.org.uk

Pictured above (L-R): Sharon Evans, Colposcopy Co-ordinator and Elaina Hoss, Colposcopist.

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