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Charity

RNLI to hold festival at Pembroke Castle to mark charity’s 200th anniversary

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THIS Father’s Day, a day of free family fun at Pembroke Castle will mark 200 years of saving lives at sea for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

On Sunday 16 June, Pembroke Castle will host a Lifeboat Festival in honour of the RNLI’s 200th anniversary.

The medieval venue is set to open 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.

From 1pm to 8pm, revellers will be able to listen to live music from local choirs, shanty bands and other local musicians as well as browse the RNLI pop-up shop stocked with exclusive RNLI 200 merchandise.

Entry is free to enter, but donations to help the RNLI’s volunteers save lives at sea are welcomed. Food and drink will be provided by local suppliers, and no alcohol is permitted on site.

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.

To donate to the RNLI, visit: Donate to the RNLI and help save lives at sea

Charity

Tributes paid to Pembrokeshire RNLI stalwart, Jeffrey Thompson

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ON TUESDAY (Jun 18), the funeral of former St Davids Lifeboat crew member Jeffrey Thompson was held at Seion Baptist Chapel, New Street, St Davids. Jeffrey passed away on 2nd June at Withybush Hospital, leaving behind his wife, Nina. He was a cherished father, grandfather, brother, family member, and friend.

Jeffrey began his service at St Davids RNLI lifeboat station in 1975, initially as a member of the shore crew for 11 years. In 1986, he joined the all-weather lifeboat crew. By 1995, he had risen to the position of deputy second coxswain, a role he held until his retirement in 2002.

The crew at St Davids RNLI expressed their sorrow at Jeffrey’s passing, stating, “St Davids RNLI is saddened to learn of the recent death of former crew member Jeffrey Thompson. He gave an incredible 27 years of service. We send Jeff’s family our condolences at this sad time.”

Former St Davids Lifeboat coxswain, Dai Chant, paid tribute, saying, “Jeff was one of my top crew members and a man you could rely on in bad weather shouts. May he rest in peace.”

Will Chant, the current coxswain and son of Dai Chant, shared his memories: “When I started in 1996, Jeff was a fantastic crew member to have as a mentor. He was humble, always gave you his time, and was steadfast in the most demanding of situations. A calm but assured figure on the crew, brilliant on the deck, and a great rope worker. If the lifeboat needed to tow a vessel, he was the man to operate the deck. He made rope mats for the lifeboat station and even repaired a flagpole using his rope whipping skills. A keen countryman, he would fish the local waters on his boat and also shoot for game birds. Jeff worked in the merchant navy and for Stena Europe for many years.”

Jeffrey’s former neighbour, Paul Sage, who grew up alongside him in Heol Dewi, St Davids, fondly remembered a time in the 60s when Jeffrey brought a monkey home from his time at sea. “He spent most of his life at sea in the Merchant Navy. He loved being outdoors, shooting, and fishing,” Paul said. “He was a hell of a character, always leg-pulling and joking. A lovely character.”

Jeffrey’s funeral took place at 11.30 am today. Donations, if desired, can be made to the Paul Sartori Foundation via WG Bernard Matthias & Daughter, 62 New Street, St Davids, SA62 6SU.

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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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