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Lifeboat launched to assist yacht taking on water off Pembrokeshire

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THE RNLI issued a vital safety message after being launched to a yacht taking on water off the Pembrokeshire coast.

Fishguard All Weather Lifeboat Crew was launched to the aid of the 30 foot yacht in trouble off Dinas Head following a request from HM Coastguard.

The vessel was taking on water and had issued an urgent call for help at around 11am on Saturday (Jun 8)

As the lifeboat was launching the yacht’s crew confirmed that the ingress of water was under control.

The lifeboat met with the vessel off Dinas Head and escorted it into Goodwick Harbour where it stood by until confirmation that it was no longer taking on water.

The crew of the yacht has been commended for owning and using a VHF radio to inform HM Coastguard and other vessels in the area of the potential need for assistance and to update on the situation.

“All water users are advised to carry a means of making contact in an emergency,” said a spokesperson for Fishguard RNLI.

“This could be a personal VHF or mobile phone in a waterproof pouch and should be kept within reach at all times.

“In an emergency contact HM Coastguard on VHF Channel 16 or dial 999 or 112 and ask for coastguard.”

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RSPCA reveal 160 animal cruelty reports in Pembrokeshire

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THE LATEST figures from RSPCA Cymru reveal a troubling increase in animal cruelty cases, with 160 incidents reported in Pembrokeshire alone this year. This alarming statistic is part of a broader surge in cruelty reports across Wales, where 3,059 cases have been recorded from January to June 2024.

Pembrokeshire’s figures contribute to a national concern, as RSPCA Cymru braces for a busy summer following a 2% rise in cruelty reports across England and Wales. Last year, intentional harm and beatings of animals rose sharply during the summer months, and this year seems poised to follow the same distressing trend.

The cruelty figures in Pembrokeshire place it among the top counties in Wales for reported abuse. Rhondda Cynon Taf leads with 266 reports, followed by Cardiff with 255, Swansea with 237, Carmarthenshire with 189, and Caerphilly with 186.

Karen Colman, head of the RSPCA welfare oversight team, highlighted the concerning rise in cruelty reports: “Sadly, animal cruelty reports are on the rise this year – and across Wales, we’ve seen more than 3,000 animal cruelty reports already this year.”

One particularly disturbing case in Pembrokeshire involved a hedgehog found with an air gun injury in Haverfordwest. Ginny Batt, who runs the Pembrokeshire Hogspital, responded to a call about the injured animal. The hedgehog, wandering during the day, was found with a pellet wound near its neck and shoulder. Despite efforts to save it, the animal had to be euthanised due to the severity of its injuries.

Batt said, “The pellet missed his head and caught the shoulder. There was no bone injury, but the impact had dislocated his shoulder.”

In response to the rising cruelty cases, the RSPCA has launched its ‘No Animal Deserves Cruelty’ summer appeal. The charity is seeking public support to fund rescue operations and care for abused animals during the peak summer period.

“Summer is a really challenging time for us – and we’re braced for another busy season on the frontline, but we cannot do this alone,” added Colman.

The RSPCA is also advocating for tighter controls and better education regarding air guns. The organisation calls for mandatory basic safety training for anyone purchasing an air gun to prevent wildlife from being targeted.

Among the many animals rescued from cruelty, Loki’s story stands out. The puppy was found covered in bruises and fractures, but after being rescued and rehabilitated by the RSPCA, he now lives happily in a new home. RSPCA Inspector Zoe Ballard, who rescued Loki, recently reunited with the transformed dog, expressing her joy: “Seeing him today, there is a twinkle in his eye. So different from that little puppy I met that first day.”

As the RSPCA marks its 200th anniversary, it underscores the ongoing need for vigilance and support to combat animal cruelty. The charity’s summer appeal aims to raise the necessary funds to rescue and rehabilitate animals facing abuse.

For more information on the RSPCA’s No Animal Deserves Cruelty Appeal, visit the charity’s website.

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NSPCC reports increase children being left home alone in Wales

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THE NSPCC Helpline has made 20% more referrals in the last year to local authorities in Wales about children being left home alone or unsupervised.

Between April 2023 and March 2024, the service, which provides help and advice for adults with concerns about the wellbeing of a child, sent 195 referrals to local agencies or services in Wales following contacts about the issue. This is compared to 163 referrals during the previous 12 months.

Last year, the Helpline received 7,802 contacts about the subject from adults from across the UK, compared to 4,717 contacts between 2022 to 2023.

The increase in the number of contacts on this issue to the Helpline and the referrals made could be due to a number of factors, including a recent NSPCC Helpline marketing campaign, increased service capacity and greater public awareness about the risks of leaving children home alone.

More than half of these contacts (51%) on children being left home alone were deemed serious enough for the NSPCC Helpline to make a referral to a local agency or service with a view to further action being taken. 

With schools in Wales breaking up this week, many adults might feel unsure about whether their child is ready to be left unsupervised or have concerns about another child being left alone.

For many parents, July and August can be particularly difficult as they are forced to balance the competing pressures of work and childcare. These challenges are likely to be even more acute this year as the cost-of-living crisis continues, forcing some parents and carers to work increased hours or take part-time jobs.

One adult contacted the Helpline with a concern about their neighbour, told The Pembrkoeshire Herald: “It’s two little girls I’m worried about, they must be about 4 and 6; they’re left home alone quite a lot and that means they’re unsupervised with the family’s dogs. I’ve knocked a few times to see if they’re ok and they always say, ‘daddy will be back soon’ but it’s usually hours later when one of the parents comes back.”

There is no legal age limit for leaving children home alone, but the NSPCC would not recommend leaving any child under the age of 12 at home unsupervised, especially for extended periods of time.

A child who expresses concern about being left alone should never be without a parent or carer and for those young people who do feel comfortable, it is vital they are left with contact numbers for a parent, carer or trusted adult. Long periods of being unsupervised can lead to children feeling afraid or neglected.

One young person aged 14 told Childline: “I’m sick of being left on my own, mum expects me to just look after myself. There isn’t always food I can cook, I can’t go and see my friends or do anything fun, but she can.”

Should leaving a child alone be the only option for an adult, then the NSPCC’s website has tips for parents to help ensure the young person feels safe, as well as a quiz to assess if a child is ready to be left unsupervised.

Kam Thandi, Head of the NSPCC’s Helpline said: “It can be hard for parents and carers to know the right age to leave their child home alone as every child is different, and the first time being left unsupervised will differ for every family.”

“It is vital that both the child and adult feel comfortable with any decision that is taken, and that if a young person is to be left home alone they know how to contact a trusted adult and what to do in an emergency.

“For anyone who may need advice or is concerned about a child who might be at risk, our Helpline service can support you and the NSPCC website has a range of tips.”

Adults with concerns about a child can contact the NSPCC Helpline by calling 0808 800 5000, emailing [email protected] or completing our report abuse online form.

Childline is available for young people via the phone on 0800 1111 and online where there is a 121 chat on the Childline website.

You can find more information and advice on leaving children home alone on the NSPCC website.

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Solva to St Davids: The Big Walk for Prostate Cymru

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SUNDAY (Jul 14) marked the eagerly anticipated Solva leg of The Big Walk for Prostate Cymru, a charity event that sees participants exploring some of Wales’s most stunning landscapes while raising money for prostate cancer support and research. This particular segment took walkers from the picturesque village of Solva to the historic city of St Davids, covering approximately six miles of beautiful coastal paths and rolling countryside.

The Solva to St Davids Walk is one of four routes featured in this year’s Big Walk for Prostate Cymru, which spans multiple dates throughout July. This charitable event is organised by Ellie Jug, who can be contacted at [email protected] for further information.

Participants gathered early in Solva, where they were greeted with a warm breakfast roll and received their complimentary T-shirts before setting off. The route, carefully planned to showcase the natural beauty of Pembrokeshire, did not disappoint. Walkers were treated to breath-taking views of rugged cliffs, sandy beaches, and the serene St Brides Bay as they made their way towards St Davids, the UK’s smallest city.

The Big Walk for Prostate Cymru aims to raise awareness and funds for prostate cancer, a disease affecting thousands of men across the UK. By joining the walk, participants not only enjoy a day out in some of Wales’s most beautiful locations but also contribute to an important cause.

For those unable to join today’s walk, there are still opportunities to participate. The final leg of The Big Walk takes place on 20 July, offering routes such as The Vale Circular Walk, the Neath to Kenfig Hill route, and the Aberystwyth Walk. Each route offers its unique challenges and scenic rewards, catering to walkers of all abilities.

It’s not too late to take part in The Big Walk for Prostate Cymru. Whether you prefer an organised group walk or want to complete the challenge individually at your own pace, there’s a route for everyone. The entry fee is £25 for the guided walks, which includes breakfast, a T-shirt, and support along the way, or £10 if you prefer to walk independently.

Participants can sign up and create a personal fundraising page via Enthuse, making it easy to share their progress and support with friends and family.

Upcoming Walks

  • 20 July:
  • The Vale Circular Walk (approx 5.5 miles)
  • Neath to Kenfig Hill (13 miles)
  • Aberystwyth Walk (approx 4.5 miles)

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or new to walking, The Big Walk for Prostate Cymru offers a fantastic opportunity to explore the natural beauty of Wales while making a meaningful impact in the fight against prostate cancer.

For more information, visit the Prostate Cymru website or contact Ellie Jug directly at [email protected].

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