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Water Safety Wales welcomes Govt pledge to help reduce drowning



IN LIGHT of the shocking statistic that an average of 45 people drown in Wales every year, the Welsh Government has pledged its support to a vision of Wales without drowning.

A funding package is being delivered to Water Safety Wales – a collaboration of organisations with an interest in water safety and drowning prevention.

Welsh Government support to ensure the effective delivery of Wales’ Drowning Prevention Strategy 2020-2026 comes in light of statistics revealing the drowning rate in Wales is roughly double that of the UK as a whole. In addition:

  • 48 people lost their lives in water related fatalities in 2022.  
  • 1,755 water related incidents in Wales required an emergency response each year, equating to around five every day (WDPS 2020-2026).
  • Figures collated by Swim Wales show only 41 per cent of children in Years 3-6 in Wales can swim.

The Welsh Government is committed to promoting the safe participation in water activities and today’s announcement will support the strategy’s aims to enable the safe enjoyments of of Wales’ coast and inland waters. An event will take place at the Pier Head to celebrate the strengthened link between Water Safety Wales and the Welsh Government, with key note speakers.

Huw Irranca-Davies, Cabinet Secretary for Climate Change and Rural Affairs will address the event on Wednesday. He says: “I am grateful to all of those working to improve water safety awareness and help reduce the number of water-related incidents and fatalities in Wales.

“Through the achievement and recognition of the Mark Allen’s Law petition, we are not just commemorating a life lost but taking positive steps to protecting others.

“The Senedd Petition Committee’s recommendations are comprehensive and we are committed to addressing the challenges that contribute to water related incidents in Wales.

“Through our collaborative work with partners, we will continue to identify and address hazards, foster a culture of water safety from an early age and keep our waters as safe as possible.”

Chris Cousens, Water Safety Wales chair says: ‘Wales’ seas and inland open waters – enjoyed by millions each year – are the best anywhere in the world and we want to help people enjoy them safely. We are  delighted to have the support of the Cabinet Secretary for Climate Change and Rural Affairs and his teams in reducing drowning in Wales. The financial support provided will allow a step change in our efforts to effectively deliver Wales’ Drowning Prevention Strategy 2020-2026. We hope it is a first step toward a long and close relationship working on drowning prevention in Wales in the years to come.’

The strategy promotes a consistent and common approach to water safety, drowning prevention and water safety education and awareness. It aims to work in a collaborative multi-agency approach to identify and target harden areas of risk and develop and implement Wales’ Drowning Prevention Strategy 2020-26.

Amount the aims are promoting public awareness of water-related risks and the safe participation in water activities across Wales, developing learning to swim and water safety education.

The group also works closely with families affected by water-related incidents and welcoming the proposal is Leanne Bartley from Ruthin, mum of Mark Allen who sadly died in an incident at a reservoir in 2018. Leeanne’s petition was a catalyst for change and she will be speaking of her experiences at the event.

Leanne says: ‘To lose a loved one to drowning is truly devastating; the impact on families left behind is shattering. Nothing I do will bring back Mark, but what I can do is help ensure other families don’t have to suffer in the way we have. The sad thing is the majority of drowning incidents are preventable, which is why I’m committed to working alongside Water Safety Wales to highlight the risk and work towards the vision of a Wales without drowning. To have this support from Welsh Government is a massive step forward, we are incredibly grateful for this support.’

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Haverfordwest walkers invited to step up for Parkinson’s UK fundraiser 



WALKERS in Haverfordwest are being urged to step up and raise money to fund vital research into Parkinson’s. Haverfordwest Walk for Parkinson’s, in aid of Parkinson’s UK, will take place on Saturday 1 June.

Parkinson’s is the fastest growing neurological condition in the world, and currently there is no cure. It affects around 153,000 people in the UK and every hour two more people are diagnosed. There are over 40 symptoms, from tremor and pain to anxiety. Parkinson’s UK is the largest charitable funder of Parkinson’s research in Europe, leading the way to better treatments and a cure. 

Bob Ratcliffe, 61, has been organising these walks for several years in memory of his father, with fundraising reaching well over £45,000 so far. Leading the 7.8km circular walk, with planned refreshments stops, Bob and the team welcome walkers at any pace, with dogs allowed on leads. It starts with registration at 10am at Haverfordwest Cricket Club, with a £15 entry donation and walkers will set off at 10.30am.

Bob said: “I saw first-hand the impact that Parkinson’s had on my dad. He was diagnosed in his 60s and lived with Parkinson’s for many years before passing in 2010 aged 84. But he was always very positive, so he found out as much as he could about the condition as it progressed. Dad insisted that after his death that his brain and spinal column were donated to research. So we began the walk in his memory in 2011 and it has grown into a firm fixture in the social calendar. All donations will go towards funding important research into the condition which has the potential to lead to better treatments.”

Keri McKie, Wales Community Fundraiser at Parkinson’s UK Cymru, said: “We are so grateful to Bob for organising this walk. We hope that his tireless fundraising inspires more people to support Parkinson’s UK. There are lots of ways to get involved – from volunteering at an event, to campaigning for better services. Without the generosity of people like Bob, our work would not be possible.

“With more than 40 potential symptoms, Parkinson’s can devastate lives. We’ve made huge breakthroughs in the last 50 years, but there is still no cure and current treatments are not good enough.

Walk for Parkinson’s is Parkinson’s UK’s annual fundraising series, and this year the charity is hosting a series of walks taking in 15 locations across the UK between June and October. If you’re unable to make it to one of the events near you, you can organise your own Walk for Parkinson’s event, just like Bob.” 

For further details of the Haverfordwest Walk For Parkinson’s, please contact Bob & Jane Ratcliffe on 07887 707496 or simply sign up via eventbrite.

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Therapy dogs delight Bryan Adams and crew at Utilita Arena



HAVERFORDWEST-based charity, Cariad Pet Therapy, received VIP treatment during a special visit to Bryan Adams and his crew at the Utilita Arena on the May 19. The visit, which took place in the late afternoon, featured four therapy dogs along with dedicated volunteers from the organisation.

Bryan Adams, currently on a major tour, took a personal interest in the visit, sharing videos of his own dogs with the volunteers. He spent quality time with the therapy dogs – Rylie, a Border Collie; Ruby, a Fox Red Labrador; Max, a Golden Retriever; and Kali, a Black Labrador. Adams, known for his love of dogs, clearly enjoyed the interaction.

The volunteers from Cariad Pet Therapy were not only given the star treatment but were also provided with tickets to the evening’s concert. Meanwhile, the therapy dogs returned home after their heartwarming visit.

This event follows similar visits by the charity to concerts by Pete Tong and Jason Derulo in recent months, with more events planned for the future. Additionally, the volunteers attended the National Lottery Big Bash as special guests last Christmas, enjoying front-row seats for a performance headlined by Take That.

For more information on Cariad Pet Therapy and their work, visit

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Charitable donations fund ambulatory heart monitors for Withybush Hospital



THANKS to generous donations, Hywel Dda Health Charities – the official charity of Hywel Dda Health Board – has funded 10 ambulatory heart monitors worth over £13,000 for Withybush Hospital’s Cardio-Respiratory Department.

The monitors are compact devices which are used to assess a patient’s heart rate and rhythm for a sustained amount of time.

The state-of-the-art monitors will help the Cardio-Respiratory Department provide the best possible service, with accurate, efficient and timely arrhythmia recognition provided on site or at home.

Rhys Bowen, Advanced Cardiac Physiologist, said: “We are so grateful that charitable donations from the local community have enabled us to buy the new monitors.

“The monitors are more adaptable to each patient’s presenting symptoms which will enhance the quality of the data gathered.

“They are more patient-friendly and easier to wear for the duration of the test, so there will be less need for repeat monitoring. They will also support quicker in-patient discharge due to an increase in the number of available monitors and the fact they can be worn by the patient at home and provide remote monitoring.”

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, visit here.

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