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Pembrokeshire care home worker scoops national award ceremony

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A PEMBROKESHIRE service manager has been recognised for their outstanding contribution during the past year at the annual Shaw Star Awards 2023.

The 14th Shaw healthcare national awards ceremony took place at The Tortworth Court Hotel in Gloucestershire on Thursday 23 November and was hosted by Welsh singer, TV presenter and actor Wynne Evans, best known as the face of GoCompare, and the recently crowned winner of Celebrity MasterChef 2023.

Sarah Lees, a service manager at Pembroke Dock in Pembrokeshire, won the ‘Outstanding Management Contribution’ award after being nominated by staff members and residents’ families. The award – sponsored by Nexon Group – recognises and celebrates those within management roles who demonstrate a high level of expertise combined with exceptional leadership skills.

She was commended by colleagues for showing an unwavering commitment to her work and exceptional leadership skills, which has resulted in the care service having a healthy waiting list for people wanting the best care.

Ms Lees said: “It’s been really rewarding seeing Pembroke Dock develop positively in the time that I have been here. It’s been a brilliant team effort. To be recognised with this award for the work I do is wonderful.”

Her colleague, Laura Holbrook, was also a finalist in the ‘Rising Star’ category which recognises and celebrates team members who are new to Shaw but have made a positive impact on their team and residents in a short period of time.

The care home in Pembroke Dock provides rehabilitation and enablement for residents, many of whom have experienced extended periods of hospitalisation.

Ms Lees was one of eight award winners who were recognised at the event, which aims to celebrate the achievements of outstanding staff members across Shaw’s 60 UK facilities.

Russell Brown, CEO of Shaw healthcare, added: “The Shaw Star Awards are always the highlight of our calendar and this year’s event was no exception. The quality of submissions was terrific, and it was – as always – extremely hard to pick a winner from the incredibly talented pool of finalists.

“As an employee-owned company it is important that we celebrate the Shaw family, so I want to say a huge congratulations to Sarah, our other winners and also all the nominees – all of whom exemplify Shaw’s ethos of going above and beyond to provide the best possible care to our residents.”

As part of the event, the guests were treated to a powerful burst of song from Wynne Evans and also to music from rock and pop covers band, The Forgery, and a prize draw sponsored by Arjo.

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Community

Leading hospitality company Loungers announced for Western Quayside development

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL and Loungers, one of the UK’s leading hospitality companies, are pleased to announce they have agreed headline terms for Loungers to become the first tenant of the fantastic Western Quayside development in Haverfordwest.

Loungers intend to occupy the ground floor of the building which is an important element of the Council’s long-term regeneration plan for the County Town. 

Loungers was founded in 2002 and is famous for its family-friendly, welcoming atmosphere, eccentric and spectacular interiors and great food and drink offers.

The company runs Lounge café bars across the UK – including the Cofio Lounge at the Guildhall, Carmarthen – combining elements of coffee shop culture, the British pub and dining. 

Cllr Paul Miller, Pembrokeshire County Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Place, the Region and Climate Change, said: “I’m really pleased to be in a position to announce the first tenancy for Western Quayside. Loungers shares our ambition and potential for the Western Quayside development in the centre of Haverfordwest.

“Western Quayside will play a key role in improving footfall and vibrancy in Haverfordwest and Loungers fits perfectly into that vision.

“An important part of Loungers’ ethos is the community element of its neighbourhood café bars and commitment to work with local groups, charities, organisations and businesses and we look forward to that continuing in Haverfordwest.

“As a Council we have been clear that we will not just sit back and let our town centres decline and this is an important step forward. 

“We look forward to announcing further tenants in due course and of course to opening Western Quayside later in 2024.”

Gemma Irwin, Community Manager at Loungers, says: “We’re so looking forward to opening our Lounge in Haverfordwest later this year.  We hope our family friendly environment and top-notch food and drink offering will prove popular with local residents. 

“We’re passionate about integrating genuinely into the communities we serve so we’re looking forward to meeting everyone and to playing our part at the heart of Haverfordwest’s food and drink scene.  

“Anyone looking for a space to host events or groups should pop in once we’re open, we’d love to hear from them and see what we can do to help.”

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Community

Ted’s medals and beret presented to Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre

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THE WARTIME story of D-Day Royal Marine Commando Veteran Ted Owens will always live on in his home town of Pembroke Dock.

This is thanks to his family who have gifted his medals, green Marines beret and Commando dagger to the town’s Heritage Centre.

The presentation was made on the opening day of the Centre’s new season and the framed display is a centrepiece of a new exhibition to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

One of Pembroke Dock’s best known characters, Ted Owens died last August at the age of 98. Over the years he was a big supporter of and a regular visitor to the Heritage Centre. It was his express wish that his medals and Commando items be displayed at the Centre.

Making the presentation were his brother Wyn, nieces Gloria Elford and Liz Halsted, cousin Margaret Black and close family friend Shobha Edgell. They were joined by Kevin Stanley of the VC Gallery, Pembroke Dock, with which Ted also had a special connection.

The Centre’s D-Day exhibition will run for the whole year. It features Ted’s wartime story and that of others who, like Ted, took part in the June 1944 landings in Normandy. It includes a mannequin of an airborne soldier in full equipment and many items of uniform and kit used by both Allied servicemen and their German opponents. Many of these items are from the personal collection of military historian Andrew Ludlow who was recently appointed a trustee of the Centre.

The Heritage Centre is open Mondays to Fridays, 10am to 4pm.

Pictured with the Ted Owens framed display are, left to right: Kevin Stanley of the VC Gallery, Liz Halsted, Margaret Black, Gloria Elford, Wyn Owens, Shobha Edgell, and Andrew Ludlow and John Evans, of the Heritage Trust. (Martin Cavaney Photography)

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Community

Saundersfoot Beach voted among world’s most sustainable shores

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SAUNDERSFOOT BEACH has been recognised among the world’s most sustainable beaches by TripAdvisor users. This Welsh treasure finds itself in prestigious company, sharing the spotlight with stunning sandy stretches from locations as diverse as Sicily, Australia, India, South Africa, and the UAE.

The announcement comes as part of TripAdvisor’s esteemed Best of the Best Beaches for 2024, unveiled within the framework of its annual Travellers’ Choice Awards. These awards, celebrated for highlighting the crème de la crème of global travel destinations, derive from an exhaustive analysis of tens of millions of reviews submitted by TripAdvisor’s vast community of international travellers over the past year. Specifically, this year’s rankings have been meticulously compiled based on both the quality and quantity of ratings for beach experiences, spanning several categories including the top beaches worldwide, the premier beaches in Europe, and, notably, a new subcategory dedicated to recognising the best in sustainable beach destinations.

This innovative sustainability category is evaluated through a combination of inputs from BeCause, via the renowned Blue Flag program, and TripAdvisor traveller feedback. It honours beaches that exemplify exceptional commitments to sustainability, with a focus on practices such as sustainable transport options, efficient waste disposal mechanisms, and superior water quality standards.

Although Welsh beaches were notably absent from the top 10 list overall, Saundersfoot Beach emerged as a beacon of sustainability, securing the third spot in its category. TripAdvisor lauds Saundersfoot as “a sandy beach with clear blue waters,” ideal for activities ranging from paddle boarding to rockpool exploration. The beach’s adjacent promenade, replete with an array of shops and cafes, further enhances its appeal.

Testimonials from recent visitors have been overwhelmingly positive, with one user praising the beach for its cleanliness and accessibility: “A really tidy beach with plenty of parking close by, we really enjoyed walking along the beach with some great views to see.” Another review highlighted its pristine condition: “Very lovely beach, nice and clean.”

Sarah Firshein, Head of Editorial at TripAdvisor, reflected on the significance of the 2024 awards, stating, “Last year, TripAdvisor received millions of reviews for beaches—it’s clear that our community absolutely loves them. But as our Travellers’ Choice lists reveal, there’s no one-size-fits-all ‘beach day’.” She also noted the dominance of European beaches in this year’s top rankings, a testament to the growing preference among travellers for the unique coastal experiences offered by the continent, over the traditionally favoured Caribbean destinations.

The list of the Top 10 Beaches in the World for 2024 showcases a diverse array of locations, with Europe’s shores leading the way, while the Top 10 sustainable beaches highlight global efforts towards maintaining the beauty and integrity of our planet’s coasts, with Saundersfoot Beach proudly representing the UK alongside Sandbanks Beach in Dorset.

This recognition not only celebrates Saundersfoot’s natural beauty and the community’s dedication to preserving it but also positions Pembrokeshire as a must-visit destination for eco-conscious travellers from around the globe.

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