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Several injured in Oakwood Theme Park ride incident

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A ROUTINE day at Oakwood Theme Park took a horrifying turn yesterday when the park’s ‘Bounce’ ride malfunctioned, resulting in multiple injuries. The popular drop tower ride experienced a sudden and catastrophic failure, plummeting to the ground during a scheduled emergency stop, and causing panic among the 20 riders onboard.

Witnesses reported hearing terrified screams as the 147ft-tall ride malfunctioned. The ride, which is designed to give thrill-seekers a stomach-churning drop, unexpectedly plunged from about halfway up, sending the lift hurtling towards the ground. Among the riders were several children, many of whom were described as “school-age.” Eyewitnesses described the scene as chaotic, with children “screaming and crying” as the ride’s descent accelerated.

One unnamed guest who was on the ride during the incident said, “It fell to the floor without slowing down. Children were screaming and crying as the ride went up and down a few times before it fell quickly to the ground from about halfway up the tower.”
Following the abrupt stop, the park’s emergency protocols were activated. Onsite first aiders quickly attended to the injured, with around eight individuals receiving immediate medical attention at the park. Four others were transported to a local hospital for further treatment. The nature of their injuries is not fully known, but initial reports indicated cases of lower back pain and shock.

Describing the park’s handling of the situation, the guest claimed it was “awful,” noting that assistance seemed limited to those who actively complained of pain. “There have been no apologies from the park,” they added. “They only gave information for guest relations because we asked for it to take it further after the fact we were told no management was available.”

Oakwood Theme Park, the largest theme park in Wales, which opened in 1987, has since issued a statement regarding the incident. “During operation today our drop tower ride Bounce experienced a programmed emergency stop procedure in response to the ride drop height,” the statement read. “The stoppage of the passenger gondola was attended to by our park team and the ride was lowered to the ground where guests were able to disembark. A number of guests reported minor lower back pain immediately after the occurrence and were attended to by our onsite team of first aiders, where assistance was provided. One group sought additional treatment locally, whilst others continued their day at the park. We have closed Bounce whilst we consult with the ride manufacturer.”

Bounce, a prominent feature at Oakwood, had only recently reopened in 2022 following a significant £400,000 refurbishment. The ride, known for its gravity-defying and stomach-lurching drops, had been closed since 2016 and was originally slated to reopen in 2019. However, the pandemic caused further delays, pushing the reopening to last year.

This incident is not the first time Oakwood has faced scrutiny over ride safety. In October 2022, the park made headlines when a man was hospitalised after falling out of a carriage on the

Treetops roller coaster. Despite this, the Health and Safety Executive found no faults with the equipment, and no action was taken against the park.

Tragically, in April 2004, 16-year-old Hayley Williams from Pontypool died after falling 100ft from Oakwood’s Hydro Ride. Her death led to calls for stricter safety regulations in theme parks across the UK.

An investigation is now underway to determine the cause of the Bounce malfunction. Park officials have stated that they are working closely with the ride’s manufacturer to ensure such an incident does not occur again. In the meantime, Bounce remains closed to the public.

The incident has raised serious concerns among visitors and the local community regarding the safety protocols at Oakwood Theme Park. As the investigation continues, many will be watching closely to see how the park addresses these concerns and what measures will be put in place to prevent future accidents.

Sad to see the decline of our local theme park
THE RECENT malfunction of the Bounce at Oakwood has ignited a wave of public outcry and concern over the safety standards at Wales’ largest amusement park. The incident, which left several riders with injuries, has drawn strong reactions from the local community and beyond, as evidenced by comments on social media platforms.

Many locals expressed their shock and frustration over the incident, highlighting long-standing issues with the park’s maintenance and safety protocols. IJ Sturley commented, “Dangerous places, maintained poorly over the years, shortcuts lead to accidents,” reflecting a sentiment shared by many about the perceived decline in the park’s upkeep.

Dylan Connolly shared his relief at avoiding the park: “When I went there it was closed and now I’m glad it was.” This sentiment was echoed by Steven Absalom, who declared, “This is why I don’t go and won’t,” underscoring a growing reluctance among locals to visit the park due to safety fears.

Several individuals have called for the park to be shut down entirely or handed over to new management. Top fan Richard Shanks bluntly stated, “Shut it down its beyond a joke the amount of times something goes wrong.” Luciana Suardi added, “There is a reason why this place is the UK’s worst rated theme park, with all the accidents that have happened there, it needs shutting down.”

Jimmy Lemon reminisced about the park’s former glory, saying, “That place’s current owners are a shambles… put off here a while ago… wish it was owned by the McNamara family again… would soon return to a jewel not a pile of Cr..!” This sentiment was supported by Andrew Clewett, who noted, “This place was run to a very high standard when it was owned by the McNamara’s. So sad to see it in its current condition. Little to no investment.”

Concerned parents and former employees

Parents with children set to visit the park expressed heightened anxiety. Kelly Griffiths remarked, “Just what you want to hear when there’s a school trip next week. I was already apprehensive.” Similarly, Rebecca Doble questioned the safety of future visits: “Ysgol Dyffryn Taf is on a school trip there next week. Are you sure it’s safe?”

Former employees also weighed in on the situation. Kino Wakeman, who briefly worked as a maintenance technician, warned, “Only a matter of time before another fatality 100%” highlighting potential internal issues. Alan Boswell, another ex-employee, noted historical problems with the Bounce ride: “Always had trouble with Bounce. I worked there when it first came. Always breaking down.”

While the current state of the park drew harsh criticism, many commenters reminisced about the better days of Oakwood. Ky-Ky Goward shared, “Such a shame to see and hear it to be in the state it is now used to love going here back in the day as a kid growing up.” This nostalgic view was echoed by Sam Crowe: “Shame though I got some happy memories from childhood there.”

The immediate aftermath of the incident has left many questioning the future of Oakwood Theme Park. Top fan Sarah Davies emphatically stated, “That park should be CLOSED !!!” Gem Phillips questioned, “Why is it still open?”

Carol Griffiths raised an important point about regulatory oversight: “Surely the health & safety agency’s cannot condone this place, do they ever get checked by them..?” Meanwhile, practical suggestions were offered by some, such as Trixie Trixabell Edwards: “Give it to Bluestone! I’m sure they would actually update and look after the park as it’s been a dreadful mess since pfft 10+ years ago.”

As investigations continue, it is clear that the local community’s trust in Oakwood Theme Park has been significantly shaken. The public’s demand for increased safety measures, better maintenance, or even a complete overhaul of management reflects deep concerns over the park’s ability to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for visitors.

Community

Sumatran tiger cub named Zaza is first ever born in a Welsh zoo

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MANOR WILDLIFE PARK said this week that it is thrilled to announce the birth of a Sumatran tiger cub, named Zaza, marking a momentous occasion as the first tiger cub to be born in a zoo in Wales. Born on the May 25, Zaza is a symbol of hope and a critical addition to the global effort to conserve this critically endangered species.

The birth of Zaza represents a significant milestone not only for Manor Wildlife Park but also for wildlife conservation in Wales. The Sumatran tiger, one of the world’s most endangered tiger subspecies, faces severe threats from habitat loss and poaching. Zaza’s arrival brings renewed focus to the importance of protecting these majestic creatures and their natural habitats.

Rick Newton, the Animal Manager, expressed his excitement and pride, saying, “We are overjoyed to welcome Zaza to our family. This birth is a testament to the dedication and hard work of our team, who have worked tirelessly to create an environment where these magnificent animals can thrive. Zaza’s arrival is a beacon of hope for the conservation of Sumatran tigers, and we are committed to ensuring she grows up healthy and strong.”

The birth was monitored closely by the park’s veterinary and animal care teams to ensure both mother and cub received the best possible care. Zaza has been thriving under the watchful eye of her mother, Terima, and the two have been bonding beautifully since the birth.

Visitors to Manor Wildlife Park will now have the opportunity to see Zaza as she begins to venture out of her den and explore her surroundings. The cub will be viewable to the public during regular park hours, allowing visitors to witness this historic moment and learn more about the park’s ongoing conservation efforts to protect Sumatran tigers.

The park’s conservation programme is dedicated to supporting global efforts to preserve endangered species through breeding initiatives, habitat conservation, and public education. Zaza’s birth is a hopeful reminder of the impact that dedicated conservation work can have on preserving our planet’s wildlife.

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Community

Tenby Town Council demands urgent action from Welsh Water

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TENBY TOWN COUNCIL says its members were horrified at the pollution caused by failures of the sewage infrastructure which recently caused pollution warnings to be issued to the public.

They have called for Dwr Cymru to take urgent action to replace the rising main (pipe) that keeps failing.

The Mayor, Cllr. Dai Morgan , has written to the Chief Executive of Dwr Cymru outlining concerns and asking for action to be taken. A copy of the letter together with a statement from the Mayor is in the comments.

Tenby Town Council said on social media: “We are not new to this issue, We are not just reacting to events. 18 months ago we formed a Safe Seas Working Group led by Cllr Whitehurst. This group has brought together Dwr Cymru, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and PCC to examine all aspects of sewage management in and around Tenby. Detailed analysis has shown when there has been spillages or releases and looked into the reasons why. It is in this group that, following

“Tenby Town Council raised the issue, that it was acknowledged that this pipe needed to be replaced.

“Cllr Whitehurst has formed a formidable working relationship with all parties and we hope this relationship will help to bring the timescale forward to replace the rising main.

“We will continue to press all agencies to fulfil their responsibilities and will soon be meeting with all parties. In the meantime we are saying loud and clear that this pipe needs replacing quickly.

“Our wonderful clean seas, our blue flag beaches and our precious environment are too important to those who live here, those that visit and to the economy of not only Pembrokeshire but the whole of Wales.”

Tenby’s Mayor Cllr Morgan released a statement on Friday (Jul 12). Cllr Morgan said: “The recent fracture of the rising main to Tenby Wastewater Treatment Works (WwTW) has once again brought to light the critical nature of infrastructure maintenance and the dire consequences of its failure. This incident, marking the second such occurrence in as many years, has not only resulted in environmental pollution but has also cast a shadow over the safety of local recreational waters, with advisories against swimming in the sea—a blow to the community’s spirit and its tourism-driven economy.

“Tenby Town Council’s meeting with representatives from Dŵr Cymru, Natural Resources Wales (NRW), and Pembrokeshire County Council earlier this year had concluded with assurances that the rising main was on the radar as a high-risk site. The commitment to include it in the programme of works, was a step in the right direction. However, the recent pollution incident underscores the need for a more immediate response.

“The council’s call for Dŵr Cymru to expedite the replacement of the rising main is a testament to the urgency of the situation. The potential for future bursts poses a significant threat not only to the environment but also to the economic vitality of Tenby, a jewel in Wales’ tourism crown. The council’s proactive stance and its appeal for decisive action reflect a broader understanding that environmental issues require prompt and effective management.

“The relationship fostered over the years, mainly because of the hard work of Cllr Duncan Whitehurst, between the council and Dŵr Cymru has been pivotal in ongoing efforts to safeguard and enhance water quality. This partnership is now being leaned upon to navigate this issue efficiently. The council’s request is clear: immediate commencement of the replacement works, with a definitive completion date, is imperative.

“Tenby’s case serves as a reminder of the interconnectedness of our ecosystems, economies, and communities. It highlights the importance of maintaining robust infrastructure, the need for vigilance in environmental monitoring, and the power of collaborative relationships resolution. As the situation unfolds, the actions taken today will resonate far into the future, shaping the legacy of Tenby’s environmental stewardship and its commitment to the well-being of its residents and visitors alike.”

Pictured above with North beach newly awarded blue flag are, Cllr Duncan Whitehurst, Mayor Cllr Dai Morgan and,.Town and County Cllr Sam Skryme Blackhall.

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Community

Neyland Carnival 2024: A resounding success

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THIS year’s carnival dazzled spectators and participants alike today, marking one of the most memorable events in recent years. Thousands flocked to the streets to witness an extraordinary procession of floats and walkers, showcasing the community’s creativity and unity.

Pembrokeshire County Councillor Simon Hancock was present to award the prizes, expressing his admiration for the event. “What a privilege to present the prizes at Neyland Carnival 2024,” Hancock said. “The ingenuity and creativity on show in the floats and walkers were truly extraordinary. Thousands saw the procession which must have been the biggest seen in Pembrokeshire these days. My congratulations to the hardworking committee which made everything possible. Well done! A wonderful day all round.”

The celebration extended to local venues, including The Legionnaire Neyland, a popular pub that joined in the festivities with enthusiasm. In a heartfelt message on social media, the pub’s team shared their gratitude and joy: “What an awesome carnival! I’d like to thank the staff and customers, and extend huge congratulations to Rebecca Charlton for making the Best Pub win happen. A huge thank you to Roy and Jane for providing awesome food at a reasonable rate. Thank you to Pembrokeshire Metal Recycling for the use of their lorry and Mike Otterbein for driving the route for us once again. Also, congratulations to the committee for their success—they nailed it. I hope the local businesses who sponsored the carnival benefited as much as we did today, as the after-party is going strong. Thanks to Upton Farm for donating 100 bottles of water to keep everyone hydrated at no charge. The Neyland community stands strong!”

The event highlighted the community spirit, with local businesses playing a crucial role in supporting the carnival. Their contributions, from providing essential resources to sponsoring various aspects of the event, ensured its success and demonstrated the strong bond within Neyland.

As the sun set on this vibrant day, the after-party continued, cementing Neyland Carnival 2024 as a cherished memory for all who participated and attended. The celebration underscored the strength and unity of the Neyland community, promising even greater events in the future.

Thank you everyone who sent their photos in from the event!

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