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Charity

Angle RNLI responds to two emergencies in a week

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THE VOLUNTEER crew of the Angle RNLI lifeboat crew was called into action twice over the past week, highlighting their critical role in emergency response along the coast.

The first incident occurred on Tuesday (Feb 20) when the all-weather lifeboat was dispatched at 6:55pm following reports of a despondent individual on a pier off Milford. Launching promptly, the crew made their way to Milford, aiming for Wards

Pier and initiating a search in Scotch Bay to the east. Employing advanced technologies such as FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared), image intensifiers, and search lights, the team worked diligently to locate the individual.

Fortunately, within minutes, it was confirmed that the person was safely in the hands of the Police, allowing the RNLI crew to be stood down and return to their station by 8 pm, ready for their next call to service.

Merely days before, on Thursday, February 15, the lifeboat crew, already afloat on an exercise mission just before 8 pm, was diverted to assist the Police with another incident at Milford. Despite the challenges posed by poor visibility due to fog, the lifeboat reached the scene in a mere 10 minutes.

The crew again utilised their full suite of search technology but found no trace of the individual in question.

Following instructions from the Coastguard, they prepared for a parallel track search. However, before commencing, an update from the Police confirmed that the incident had been resolved safely. With no further need for their assistance, the crew returned to their station, where the boat was prepared for future emergencies by 9:30pm.

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Gething MS, the First Minister of Wales, stated that the thousands of signatories wish to see a phased end to the “outdated practice” in Wales in order to protect the welfare of countless dogs at risk of injury – or worse.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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King’s speech highlights focus on economic growth and defence

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ON WEDNESDAY (Jul 17), the King delivered his Speech, outlining the government’s priorities for the coming year. Central to the government’s agenda is a commitment to economic stability and growth, along with bolstering national defence and forging stronger international partnerships.

Opening with a focus on the economy, the King emphasised that stability will be the cornerstone of the government’s economic policy. “Securing economic growth will be a fundamental mission,” he stated, pledging to establish a new partnership with both businesses and working people. The government aims to address recent cost of living challenges by prioritising wealth creation for all communities.

The speech introduced several bills, including the Budget Responsibility Bill, which mandates independent assessments of significant tax and spending changes by the Office for Budget Responsibility. This move is aimed at preventing a repeat of past economic mismanagement. Additionally, the Draft Audit Reform and Corporate Governance Bill and the Pension Schemes Bill will be introduced to strengthen audit practices and corporate governance.

The King underscored the government’s unwavering commitment to NATO, pledging to maintain strong Armed Forces and a nuclear deterrent. A Strategic Defence Review will be conducted to ensure the UK’s defence capabilities are matched to evolving global threats. The government also reaffirmed its full support for Ukraine and its aspirations for NATO membership, and announced plans to reset relations with European partners, improve trade and investment relationships, and seek a new security pact with the EU.

Further, the government plans to introduce several significant domestic policies. House of Lords reform will be addressed through legislation to remove hereditary peers’ right to sit and vote in the Lords. In Northern Ireland, measures will be brought forward to repeal and replace the Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Act 2023. A Duty of Candour for public servants, known as the Hillsborough Law, will be introduced to impose a legal duty on civil servants to speak out about issues.

Healthcare improvements will include measures to reduce NHS waiting times, focus on preventive care, and improve mental health provision for young people. The government will also legislate to progressively raise the legal age to buy cigarettes and impose limits on vape sales and marketing through the Tobacco and Vapes Bill.

Social and educational reforms are also a priority. The government will legislate to end no-fault evictions and reform grounds for possession through the Renters’ Rights Bill. Educational reforms will include removing VAT exemptions on private school fees to fund new teacher positions and establishing Skills England to partner with employers. Additionally, legislation will address race and disability equality, and modernise the Mental Health Act.

The government is committed to tackling climate change, with plans to establish Great British Energy, a publicly owned clean power company headquartered in Scotland, and to support sustainable aviation fuel production. Infrastructure and housing delivery will be accelerated through the Planning and Infrastructure Bill.

Law and order measures will include the Border Security, Asylum and Immigration Bill, aimed at modernising the asylum system and establishing a new Border Security Command. Community policing will be strengthened, anti-social behaviour addressed, and support for victims enhanced. Public safety measures will include the Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill, part of broader efforts to combat terrorism.

The King’s Speech reflects a broad legislative agenda, focusing heavily on economic stability, defence, and social reforms. Notably, it aims to redress past economic mismanagement and improve public services and governance. The emphasis on modernising the constitution and tackling climate change indicates a forward-looking approach to governance, while the extensive social policies show a commitment to fairness and opportunity for all citizens.

As the government sets out its legislative priorities, the coming year promises significant changes aimed at fostering economic growth, enhancing national security, and improving the quality of life across the United Kingdom.

Responding to the King’s Speech, Andrew RT Davies MS, Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, said: “While there were parts of the King’s Speech to be welcomed, people in Wales are crying out for an end to economic unfairness.

“That can begin if the new UK Government urgently delivers for our steel communities and sends a message that no community in Wales will be left behind in the drive for growth.”

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