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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.”

Charity

Two more shouts for the busy Angle RNLI crew

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AT 5:47am on Sunday 16 (Jun 16), Angle All-Weather Lifeboat was requested to launch to assist a police incident at Hakin Point, Milford Haven.

The lifeboat launched and proceeded to a discreet location amongst the Cunjic moorings. After a short period, the incident was successfully resolved and the crew were stood down to return to station.

The lifeboat was back on her mooring and readied for further service by 6:45am.

A couple of days later on Tuesday (Jun 18) the crew were paged again at 11:52am following the activation of a SART (Search and Rescue Transponder) in the vicinity of Popton Fort/Valero western approach road.

The lifeboat launched and made best speed to the area with the intention of commencing a search. En route, the lifeboats Y boat was prepared to be deployed to search closer inshore.

Once on scene, the lifeboat was met by a Svitzer safety boat working on the site who informed them that they believed the activation to be from some scaffolders working on the jetty.

The lifeboat was manoeuvred as close to the jetty as possible, where the scaffolders were requested to work with the jetty operator to confirm if the activation had come from themselves.

Following around 30 minutes of investigation on scene it was confirmed that one of the worker’s lifejackets had been the cause of the activation. With the MMSI numbers from the activation matched, the crew were stood down by the Coastguard when it was confirmed that nobody was believed to be in difficulty.

The lifeboat was back on her mooring and ready for service once again around 1:30pm.

No photo description available.
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Charity

Thousands enjoy RNLI Lifeboat Festival at Pembroke Castle

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ON Father’s Day (Jun 16), more than 1,650 people descended on Pembroke Castle for a day of family fun at to mark 200 years of saving lives at sea for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

The medieval venue played host to the RNLI’s Lifeboat Festival and opened its gates for the public to meet local lifesavers and have fun while learning how to stay safe in the water with the RNLI Water Safety team.

Revellers enjoyed live music from Goodwick Brass Band, Henry Tudor School (Ysgol Harri Tudur) who showcased highlights from their upcoming performance of Peter Pan, Pembroke and District Male Voice Choir, shanty band Cockles and Mussels, Tenby Male Voice Choir, folk rockers Razor Bill, and Calico Jack.

The RNLI has been saving lives at sea for more than 200 years, in which time its volunteer lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved 146,452 lives – this equates to an average of two lives saved every day for 200 years.

The charity was founded in a London tavern on 4 March 1824 following an appeal from Sir William Hillary, who lived on the Isle of Man and witnessed many shipwrecks, the RNLI has continued saving lives at sea throughout the tests of its history, including tragic disasters, funding challenges and two World Wars.

Two centuries have seen vast developments in the lifeboats and kit used by the charity’s lifesavers – from the early oar-powered vessels to today’s technology-packed boats, which are now built in-house by the charity; and from the rudimentary cork lifejackets of the 1850s to the full protective kit each crew member is now issued with.

The RNLI’s lifesaving reach and remit has also developed over the course of 200 years. Today, it operates 238 lifeboat stations, including four on the River Thames, and has seasonal lifeguards on over 240 lifeguarded beaches around the UK and Ireland. It designs and builds its own lifeboats and runs domestic and international water safety programmes.

While much has changed in 200 years, two things have remained the same – the charity’s dependence on volunteers, who give their time and commitment to save others, and the voluntary contributions from the public which have funded the service for the past two centuries.

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Charity

Cosheston Open Gardens raises £4300 for brain tumour charity

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A REMARKABLE £4300 was raised for The Brain Tumour Charity during the Cosheston Open Gardens event near Pembroke last weekend. On Saturday, 15th June, the usually quiet village saw its streets filled with visitors exploring the gardens both within the village and near the estuary. The event was well-signposted with special signage and adorned with floral displays, including a pot display at The Cross, Cosheston, sponsored by Grandiflora Nursery, with additional support from Milford Haven Port Authority for banners and programmes.

The village hall buzzed with activity throughout the day as visitors purchased from a well-stocked plant stall and enjoyed a variety of cakes and teas provided by Cosheston WI and community members. Local resident Ela Robinson showcased a delightful display of her porcelain flower craft work. Additionally, a raffle with prizes donated by community businesses raised £600 for the charity. In the afternoon, visitors enjoyed demonstrations on creating sedum baskets and simple floral displays.

Organisers Jane and Alan Mason expressed their gratitude, stating, “Many thanks to the friendly people of Pembrokeshire who came from all over the county and as far afield as Derbyshire to visit our gardens. We must have had several hundred people coming to the village. We are also grateful to over 66 members of the local community who came together to provide marshals, programme sales, signs, plants, and cakes. Our biggest disappointment was that we were all so busy the volunteers did not have time to visit the gardens ourselves.”

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