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Pembroke

Residents asked to help shape new Pembroke Library

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Pembrokeshire residents are being asked to help shape the design and services on offer for a new library for Pembroke.

The new Pembroke Library will be part of the planned major redevelopment of the South Quay site in the town.

As well as the library, the development is proposed to include the Henry Tudor Visitor Centre, café, community rooms and garden.

Libraries now offer much more than books, offering a place to access computers, attend events, study and get information.

Pembrokeshire County Council is launching a survey to discover what is important to the local community to help inform the design of the library and shaping services available.

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The survey is online at https://haveyoursay.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/

Print copies will be available from Pembroke and Pembroke Dock libraries.

The survey is open to all adults in Pembrokeshire and respondents do not need to be members of the library.

The council is hoping that many people from Pembroke and the surrounding areas in particular will get involved.

The closing date for responses will be Sunday, 20th December 2020.

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(Lead image: Pembrokeshire Council)

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Dyfed Powys Police

Suspended sentence for drunk man who attacked two female police officers after they drove him home

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A man who carried out a violent attack on two police officers who went to his aid has been given a 26-week prison sentence, suspended for two years.

In the early hours of 3 May, Dyfed-Powys Police were called by ambulance, after their crew had seen Matthew James, aged 36, of Elm Grove, Pembroke, in dark clothing, stumbling along the B4318 between Gumfreston to Tenby.

PC Morgans and PC Knight attended and, concerned for his safety, gave him a lift home.

Although intoxicated, James was compliant. However, when they arrived at his home address, James became aggressive and abusive towards the two female officers.

Despite the efforts of the officers to calm the situation, James’s behaviour escalated to violence, with him punching the officers who had driven him the 12 miles home to safety.

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The attack has had a profound effect on his victims.

Both were physically injured, with PC Morgans suffering a black eye and swelling to her head, which has left her with scarring. PC Knight also suffered swelling to her face.

However, the psychological impact on both officers, is something they say will take time to recover from.

In a victim impact statement, PC Knight, said: “I am in the early stages of my career and I have never had to worry about my safety and definitely didn’t think I would have had to think twice about it when in my uniform. 

“I trusted that by giving James a lift home that night that he would just be thankful and leave.

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“Even when he was threating to assault me and my colleague, I still did not think he would carry such a violent and unprovoked attack.

“He does not understand or realise the impact the whole situation has had on me in my personal and work life.

“After this is over, he will move on easily but unfortunately for me it will take time.  

“I am still a human underneath this uniform, I still have feelings, emotions and a family to go home to.”

PC Morgans said she replays the incident over in her head, still wondering who and why it went so wrong.

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She added: “Nothing has changed, my face still has the injury, my mind still replays the incident. 

“It isn’t just the effects of the night. It is the physical and emotional impact that it has had for all these days, weeks and months. 

“It’s the getting up on rest days to phone the doctors and wait for the return call.  Visits to the surgery, the hospital, appointments with opticians.  My days off have been consumed with it. 

“Then there is everyone asking me what happened and why.  I still can’t answer that one.”

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After a rise in such assaults, Dyfed-Powys Police has linked with Wales’ emergency services to launch the year-long ‘Work With Us, Not Against Us’ campaign.

It came after more than 4,240 assaults were committed against emergency workers, including police, fire and ambulance crews, in the period April 2019 – November 2020, representing a monthly average increase from 202 in 2019 to 222 in 2020, or 10%.

Temporary Deputy Chief Constable of Dyfed-Powys Police, Emma Ackland, said: “Assaults on police officers continues to increase and this is completely unacceptable. No officer should expect to come under any sort of attack when doing their best to serve the public and potentially save lives. It is vitally important that sentences given reflect the harm and upset caused to these victims – professionals doing their work.”

James was sentenced at Haverfordwest Magistrates Court on 1 September, when he was also

ordered to carry out 300 hours unpaid work and was given a four-month 8pm to 8am curfew.

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He was also ordered to pay compensation of £625 to PC Morgans and £500 to PC Knight, as well as £85 costs.

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Health

Respected Pembrokeshire ambulance stalwart retires

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A man who has given 36 years of loyal service to ambulance provision in Wales has today worked his last shift.

After leaving school at just 14-years-old and joining the Army at 15, Rob Jeffery, who also turns 66 today, started out in the ambulance service almost by accident.

Rob, a married father-of-three from Pembroke, said: “I was walking down the street past the job centre one day and there was a job advertised – Ambulance Driver, £69 per week, military experience advantageous – I walked in and that was that really.

“To show you how far we’ve come, when I met the station master on my first day, he sent me down to a local shop to buy three white shirts and two pairs of black trousers from my own money as my uniform and then I was packed off to Pelsall, Walsall for my course.

“I still don’t think I’ve been paid for that,” he jested.

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When the role of what we now know as a paramedic was introduced in 1991, Rob was one of the first new paramedics in Pembrokeshire, and it is a move he feels was pivotal for the ambulance service.

“That was a big change in how we were viewed and definitely improved the way we were seen by the wider NHS.

“When I first started we used to do stand-by shifts where you’d work 8am – 4pm and then take your ambulance home with you for the last four hours.

“Doing away with that was another significant change for us – you just couldn’t cope with that nowadays,” he said.

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Much of Rob’s career has involved supporting and managing ambulance staff across west Wales in roles such as Personnel Officer, Staff Officer and Locality Officer, roles that he has enjoyed every second of.

Speaking of the ethos that has brought him success and won respect of his peers, he said: “I always remind staff that it is a very privileged job we hold.

“We arrive into people’s lives at what could be there most vulnerable moment, and we’re only there for a short time.

“What to the member of staff may be just another job could be the most critical and life-changing moment for that patient and their family.

“It’s important to remember that privilege.

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“I’ve always tried to be fair and consistent and have an open door policy and take the time to listen to people.

“It’ll be the one thing I’ll miss the most.”

Colleagues of Rob’s have come forward with kind words full of praise.

Huw Phillips, the Trust’s National Delivery Manager, said: “I am proud to have had him as my line manager, my mentor and most of all my friend for the whole of my career.

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“I have always admired the way he manages to find time for everyone, regardless how pressured his own time is.

“He will be a huge loss to the service, but deserves a long and happy retirement.”

Sonia Thompson, Interim Assistant Director of Operations Ambulance Response, said: “Rob has played a significant role, dedicating his NHS career to supporting staff and patients.

“His commitment to the service needs no words and I for one, have an enormous amount to thank him for in the various roles I have occupied over the years.

“It has been a pleasure and a privilege to work alongside Rob and he will be sorely missed in the Operations team.

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“Rob, I wish you all the best for a happy, healthy and very well deserved retirement.”

Rob plans to keep busy and has a few ideas of how he will begin to spend his well-earned retirement.

“It’s going to be strange waking up on Tuesday morning,” he said.

“I’m too active to get the pipe and slippers out.

“My daughter has a fish shop in Tenby and my son-in-law has a lobster boat and a net fishing boat so I’ll be doing some work with them.

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“Around 5am on a summer’s morning around the back of Caldey Island pulling lobster pots is hard work, but it’s absolutely stunning.

“I’m also looking at doing some vaccination work in the autumn when the booster programme starts and I’ll looking into doing some other charitable work too.”

For the Jeffery family, ambulance work is in the blood as Rob’s son Alex has recently qualified as a paramedic and his wife Paula is a Consultant Paramedic.

(Lead image: Welsh Ambulance Service Trust)

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Health

Honour for paramedic who saved colleague’s life in choking incident

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A paramedic from the Welsh Ambulance Service who turned saviour for her colleague as he was choking has been awarded a Chief Executive’s Commendation for her actions.

Hayley Bennett, 39, from Pembroke, came to the aid of her colleague Gareth Jones after a very lucky chain of events led to them being partnered up together for a shift.

Hayley explained: “I was working an overnight shift in Pembroke Dock and a colleague had unfortunately called in sick so I was left on my own.

“Gareth was over in Tenby part way through his late shift and when he heard I was solo he phoned our duty manager and it was agreed after my next job I would head over to Tenby to team up with Gareth to form a conveying emergency ambulance resource.

“It was around 8pm when I walked in and Gareth was sat eating his dinner. We began talking and he just started choking.

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“I knew he was in trouble straight away. His face was bright red and his eyes were bulging. He’d jumped out of his seat and was hammering on his chest.”

Gareth’s airways were completely blocked and quick-thinking Hayley took action immediately.

“I was on him in seconds,” she said.

“Back slaps to start with, and really shouting at him to cough as he was trying to breathe in. I moved on to the Heimlich Manoeuvre but it dislodged nothing.

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“I returned to back slaps quickly and eventually he vomited which cleared his airways.”

Recalling the event, Gareth, 42, who has served 21 years with the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “It frightened the hell out of me.

“I felt like I was going. I’d read about the impending sense of doom in text books, and that’s exactly what I had.

“I’m eternally grateful to Hayley. Without her my wife would be a widow and my kids would have no father”.

After the incident, the pair stood there in disbelief and both have since admitted that what was over in a couple of minutes felt like a lifetime whilst it was happening.

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Hayley said: “I think it felt like such a long time as we were there alone. It was one of the most bizarre things that’s ever happened to me – I’ve never had to work on a colleague before.

“It was shocking really, I wasn’t supposed to be there.”

Gareth said: “Someone was looking after me that night. They would have found me dead on the station floor if Hayley hadn’t arrived as there was no other medically trained people there that night.”

Whilst Gareth was recuperating, the radio went off and a top priority Red call had come in.

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So whilst still reeling from the shock and with Gareth physically recovering, the pair rushed to their ambulance and set off to a seriously ill patient.

“I was still coming down really,” said Gareth.

“I had what was called inspiratory stridor or a high pitch voice as the airway was still partially obstructed. It took a little while for that to go.

“Hayley got me a drink and I was starting to feel a little better when I heard our pin number on the radio. Hayley joked it was for me, but we were on our way to a Red call.”

Gareth went on to make a good recovery and has recently completed a Masters in Advanced Paramedic Practice.

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Hayley continues to work relief shifts around Pembrokeshire, juggling ambulance shifts with paramedic husband Mike and caring for her young son and older step daughter.

Hayley received her award on Tuesday from the Trust’s Chief Executive Jason Killens in a ceremony at Tenby ambulance station.

Jason said: “Gareth was really lucky that Hayley arrived and was able to administer that crucial first aid.

“Choking is something that can happen to anybody and it is important the public are aware of correct procedure should an emergency like this occur.

“I congratulate Hayley for stepping in and halting what could have been a disastrous outcome for Gareth, his family and his colleagues.”

Receiving the award Hayley said: “It’s a lovely gesture and I feel very honoured.”

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Choking – Do you know what to do?

  • Do you know what to do in a choking emergency? Here’s what you should do if you witness an adult choking:
  • If you think someone is choking, ask them “Are you choking?” If they can breathe, speak or cough then they might be able to clear their own throat. If they cannot breathe, cough, or make any noise, then they need your help straight away.
  • Cough it out: Encourage them to cough and remove any obvious obstruction from their mouth.
  • Slap it out: If coughing fails to work, you need to give five sharp back blows.
    To do this, help them to lean forwards, supporting their upper body with one hand.
  • Squeeze it out: If back blows fail to clear the obstruction, give five abdominal thrusts.
    To do this, stand behind them and put your arms around their waist.
    Place one hand in a clenched fist between their belly button and the bottom of their chest.
    With your other hand, grasp your fist and pull sharply inwards and upwards up to five times. Check their mouth again, each time.

Get help: If the blockage has not cleared, call 999 for emergency help straight away. Repeat five back blows and five abdominal thrusts until help arrives, re-checking their mouth each time. 

If they become unresponsive at any point, prepare to start adult CPR

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