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Charity

Join Love Island’s Liam Reardon in walking the Pembrokeshire Coast Path

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FORMER Love Island winner Liam Reardon is walking part of the Wales Coast Path in a bid to raise £1 million to enhance, improve and develop the cancer pathway in Wales.

The Season 7 star, from Merthyr Tydfil, is one of several Welsh celebrities signed up to support former Welsh Rugby Union commercial director Craig Maxwell, who was diagnosed with incurable and inoperable EGFR lung and bone cancer in 2022.

Craig has launched the Wales Coast Path Cancer Challenge to raise £1 million for the Maxwell Family Genomics Fund, a fund as part of Velindre Cancer Centre.

The 26-day challenge will see people from across Wales walk 780 miles of the coast path, to represent the 78 days it took him to receive his diagnosis from the point of finding his tumour. It is being done in 26 days to mirror the QuicDNA project, a genomics research project to reduce diagnosis time for lung cancer patients to a maximum of 26 days.

Craig is hoping to sign-up 30 people to each day of the walk and Liam Reardon is encouraging people to join him on his leg on 27th February from Cardigan to Goodwick.

A rugby match ball will be relayed the entire distance of the challenge, symbolising Wales’ collective fight against cancer and it will culminate at the national stadium of Wales, the Principality Stadium, on 10th March for the Wales vs. France Guinness Six Nations match, where Craig accompanied by his children, Isla and Zach, will carry the match ball onto the pitch.

Acknowledging the unpredictable nature of his ongoing treatments, Craig will be joined by a different Welsh celebrity every day of the walk, so that regardless of his ability to walk, he will have a representative to take on the challenge. A number of Welsh celebrities are signed up to take part, including TV presenters Gethin Jones, Derek Brockway and Wynne Evans, together with former rugby players Sam Warburton, Jamie Roberts, Josh Navidi, Tom Shanklin, Ieuan Evans, Shane Williams, Martyn Williams, Jonathan ‘Jiffy’ Davies, Rupert Moon and former referee Nigel Owens.

Maxwell says: “We are embarking on a monumental challenge to symbolise hope, resilience, and unity, and raise over £1 million for the research and development of new and innovate cancer testing and treatments in Wales. Having surpassed our initial fundraising goals of £300,000 for QuicDNA, we really hope people will join us in taking on the Wales Coast Path Challenge. It will be our most ambitious journey yet as we strive to create a community united against cancer across the length and breadth of Wales.

“Cancer has touched our lives, challenged our resilience, but it will not define our future. This event will see people from all over Wales stand united, not just as individuals but as a formidable force against cancer.”

Craig, who most recently was the former chief commercial officer of Six Nations Rugby, was just 40 when he was diagnosed with incurable and inoperable EGFR lung and bone cancer. In the face of adversity, having told he had a limited time to live, he has thrown himself into raising hundreds of thousands of pounds to help others detect cancer earlier.

Over the last year, he has run the London Marathon, taken part in CARTEN, cycled 320 miles from Cardiff to Paris, cycled over 420 miles from Paris to Bordeaux and taken on the Welsh 3000s – climbing over 10 mountains, all over 3,000ft in 24 hours. Earlier this year, he was crowned Cycling Plus’ Rider of the Year for his efforts.

His story has touched the hearts of many, rallying support that surpassed all expectations. His efforts to date have seen him raise £430,000 to support the QuicDNA project, which aims to shorten the time it takes to diagnose lung cancer in patients in Wales.

With a further £500,000 donated by The Moondance Foundation, set up by Henry and Diane Engelhardt, Craig has now launched his own charity fund.

The Maxwell Family Genomics Fund aims to enhance, improve and develop the cancer pathway in Wales. Administered and supported by Velindre, with support from the Moondance Foundation and All Wales Genomics, the fund will aim to make a lasting difference in the lives of cancer patients and their families in Wales.

He says: “I’m proud to launch the Maxwell Family Genomics Fund, where hope, courage, and community converge in the fight against cancer in Wales. This is the start of my family and friends creating a legacy and showing my children that even at the worst time possible, you can still rise up and be positive and make a difference.”

Professor Tom Crosby OBE, consultant oncologist in Velindre Cancer Centre, says: “Craig is one of the most inspirational people I have met. His drive to improve the outcome for others who experience cancer is just phenomenal. That together with his ability to articulate the issues to the wider public, and his experience and expertise at improving how systems work, is amazing, yet humbling at the same time. We are just so grateful to him and his choice to partner with Velindre in delivering his vision, now through QuicDNA but also in the future through a legacy fund.”

To see the route and sign-up visit https://maxwell.foundation. For those unable to walk, but still keen to support, you can text WALK24 to 70191 to donate £10.

Charity

Puffin Party fundraising initiative returns for another year

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THE Pembrokeshire Coast Charitable Trust is inviting people to host a Puffin Party this July, to celebrate the Trust’s 6th birthday and raise vital funds.

The Trust has raised more than £380,000 from a range of sources since 2018, including projects such as People, Paths & PollinatorsMake More Meadows and Wild About Woodlands.

It has also provided Force for Nature Grants to help community groups and local organisations boost biodiversity, act on climate change or educate others on these important topics.

Puffin Parties were added to the list of fundraising activities last summer, and proved so popular that they are being brought back for another year.

Director of the Pembrokeshire Coast Charitable Trust, Katie Macro, said: “We are delighted to see the return of the Puffin Parties. These events not only help us raise essential funds but also bring the community together in celebration of our beautiful natural environment.

“Once again, there’s plenty of inspiration on hand to get you started, including some party food recipe cards (with healthier options available), invitation templates and some ideas for party activities.

“We encourage everyone to get involved and help us celebrate by arranging a tea party, coffee morning or cake sale with friends, family, colleagues, or the local community during the month of July. As well as having fun, you’ll be making a difference in protecting our stunning coastline and safeguarding it for future generations.”

The celebratory resources, including invitation templates, new recipe cards, and craft activity templates and instructions are available for download at https://pembrokeshirecoasttrust.wales/how-you-can-help/puffinparty.

To find out more, register your interest and access the special celebratory visit www.pembrokeshirecoasttrust.wales.

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Charity

Megan’s Starr foundation launches Bottle Top Collection Appeal

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THE Megan’s Starr Foundation, a charity dedicated to supporting young people’s mental health and combating bullying, has recently launched an innovative recycling initiative and is calling on the community for help. The Milford Haven-based foundation is asking for donations of old bottle tops, both metal and plastic, to be dropped off at the Megan’s Starr Community Coffee House in Milford Haven.

This appeal is part of the foundation’s ongoing efforts to support mental health and community engagement through creative and sustainable projects. Bottle tops collected will be used in various community art projects and workshops, aimed at fostering a sense of togetherness and promoting mental wellbeing.

The Megan’s Starr Foundation was established in memory of Megan Evans, a vibrant 14-year-old who tragically took her own life after enduring severe bullying. Her mother, Nicola Harteveld, founded the charity to prevent other families from experiencing similar heartbreak and to provide much-needed mental health support to young people in Pembrokeshire.

In addition to their recycling efforts, the foundation offers a wide range of services including counselling, educational workshops, and support groups. They also run the Speakeasy Coffee Van, a mobile unit that brings support directly to young people in rural areas, offering barista training and mental health resources.

To contribute to the bottle top collection, community members can drop off their donations at the coffee house or arrange for a volunteer to collect them. The foundation expressed their gratitude for the community’s continued support, emphasising that even small acts of kindness can have a significant impact.

For more information on how to get involved or to learn about the foundation’s other initiatives, visit their website at Megan’s Starr Foundation.

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Charity

RNLI lifeguard patrols extend across Welsh beaches

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THIS weekend, RNLI beach lifeguards will be extending the number of patrolled beaches and are encouraging the public to visit a lifeguarded beach.

This Saturday 15 June, several more beaches along the Welsh coast will begin to be patrolled by RNLI lifeguards for the season. The RNLI are encouraging those planning a trip to the coast to visit a lifeguarded beach.

Vinny Vincent RNLI Lead Lifeguard Supervisor for Swansea said: “There are plenty of lifeguarded beaches around Wales to choose from. Remember to swim and bodyboard between the red and yellow flags, or surf, kayak or stand-up paddleboard between the black and white flags.

“The lifeguards position the flags in the safest area of the beach, if you see a red flag the lifeguards have deemed that area of the beach as unsafe. If you ever have any questions, feel free to approach the lifeguards.”

From Saturday 15 June, RNLI lifeguards will be patrolling from 10am-6pm at the following locations:

In Denbighshire, Rhyl and Prestatyn beaches are being patrolled on Saturdays and Sundays only until 29 June when they will begin full-time patrols.

In Ceredigion, Borth and Llangrannog are being patrolled full time. Aberystwyth North and South, New Quay, Tresaith and Aberporth are all being patrolled on weekends only up until 13 July when they will begin full-time patrols.

In Pembrokeshire, Newport Sands, Poppit Sands, Whitesands, Newgale Central and South, Broad Haven, Freshwater West, Tenby North, Tenby Castle, Tenby South and Saundersfoot will begin full-time patrols.

In Swansea, Aberavon, Caswell Bay, Langland Bay, and Port Eynon are being patrolled full time. Three Cliffs and Pembrey are being patrolled on weekends only up until 29 June when they will begin to be patrolled full time.

In Bridgend and the Vale of Glamorgan, Rest Bay, Coney Bay, Trecco Bay and Whitmore Bay are all being patrolled full time. Southerndown, Ogmore and Llantwit Major will begin full-time patrols from 29 June.

Chris Cousens RNLI Water Safety Lead said: “If you’re visiting the coast, remember to visit a lifeguarded beach. It’s safest not to go into the water alone – the person you’re with can help you stay safe. And ensure that you’re always carrying a mobile phone.

“If you unexpectedly find yourself in difficulty in the water, float to live. If you see anyone else in difficulty anywhere along the coast, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.”

To find your nearest lifeguarded beach visit: Lifeguarded Beaches – Find Your Nearest Lifeguarded Beach (rnli.org)

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