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Llanelli bus driver ‘Mr Selfie’ is Back to Raise Funds for Lifesaving Helicopter Charity

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A Llanelli bus driver, who is known as ‘Mr Selfie’, has set himself another challenge of taking a selfie every day for a year to raise funds for the Wales Air Ambulance.

Keith Thomas, who is originally from Swansea, did a similar challenge four years ago and raised £3,700 for Marie Curie.

The original fundraiser was set up by the grandfather-of-seven after his love of taking selfies became a bit of a joke with his colleagues at First Cymru. Following the success of his year-long campaign, Keith was awarded Marie Curie’s fundraiser of the year in 2017. 

Keith, who is looking forward to doing the challenge in 2021, said: “The fundraiser I did for Marie Curie has been the most successful single campaign and it all came about with my love of taking photos. Doing the selfie challenge enabled me to involve so many people from a lot of different backgrounds; members of my family, friends, colleagues, members of the public, sports stars and celebrities.

“Everyone loved the challenge and so many people were excited to be involved. Even now, I have people asking me if they can have a selfie with me – that is my unofficial title – Mr Selfie!”

Keith Thomas AKA ‘Mr Selfie’ with officers from South Wales Police in Castle Square, Swansea (Image: Wales Air Ambulance)

Mr Selfie has set himself the target of raising £1,000 for the lifesaving challenge but he hopes to smash his target. He will be using the same hashtag as last time – #selfie365me.

Speaking on why he has chosen the Wales Air Ambulance to raise funds for this time, he said: “I believe the air ambulances are such a crucial addition to the emergency services. I have seen them in action when my stepson played rugby; they attended teammates of his on two occasions and were so fantastic at what they did.

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“So many lives are saved because of the swift action of our medical services and the air ambulance is the ultimate enhancement of their incredible work.”

Mr Selfie with BBC Radio Wales’s Jason Mohammad (Image: Wales Air Ambulance)

The former plumber was forced to have a career change after his ill health made it impossible to continue in that profession. He was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2008, which resulted in him being rushed into hospital four years ago and having major surgery to remove his bowel.

Speaking of his health problems, Keith said: “I had a very serious flare-up and I was given the appropriate information regarding my next options and I decided that it would be best for me to live with a stoma for the rest of my life. I have had no regrets. I have been able to regain my life and I have dedicated my time to be the best driver I can be, whilst raising awareness for people living with hidden disabilities and fundraising for different charities along the way.”

The upbeat bus driver has received accolades, such as Best Driver in the Wales Transport Awards and a silver award in the UK Bus Awards in 2019.

Mr Selfie is raising funds for the Wales Air Ambulance Charity (Image: Wales Air Ambulance)

Wales Air Ambulance South Wales fundraising manager, Mark Stevens, said: “A huge thank you to Keith for choosing our charity for his year-long challenge. If there is one person that can guarantee a selfie a day, it would have to be ‘Mr Selfie’. Our charity turns 20 years old in 2021 and we are delighted that Keith is supporting us during this milestone year.

“It sounds like a fun challenge and I look forward to seeing who he takes selfies with. Please show Keith your support and help him raise much-needed funds to keep our 24/7 lifesaving service up and running.”

You can show your support to Mr Selfie by taking a selfie and donating via his Just Giving page Keith’s 2021 Selfie challenge.

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You can follow Mr Selfie via his Twitter page @keiththom2014 or his Facebook page Keith’s 2021 Selfie challenge.


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Carmarthenshire

Parents pay tribute to 6 month old girl killed in Llanelli horror drunk driver crash

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The parents of a six-month-old baby killed in a collision in Llanelli on Friday (8 October) have paid tribute to their “perfect baby girl” who they say was “a gift from God”.

Eva Maria Nichifor died following a collision involving a blue 3 series BMW and a blue Vauxhall Vectra at the Heol Goffa crossroads in Llanelli at around 9pm.

Eva Maria’s parents Florin and Carmen, who originate from Romania, but now live in Llanelli, issued a tribute in English and Romanian.

“We are distraught by our loss. Eva Maria, only six months old, will be missed by us all.

“She was our miracle, our perfect baby girl, a gift from God. She will always be in our hearts.

“We would like to thank everyone for their support at this horrific time. It has meant so much to the whole family.

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“We would now like time to grieve and would ask to be given privacy in which to do so.”

Suntem foarte supărați pentru pierderea noastră. Eva Maria, avea doar 6 luni si cu toții ii vom simți lipsa.

Ea a fost minunea noastră, un copil perfect și un dar dat de Dumnezeu. Va fi in inimile noastre pentru totdeauna.

“Va mulțumim tuturor pentru susținerea voastră in aceste vremuri dificile, înseamnă foarte mult pentru noi.

“Am vrea acum puțin timp sa ne adunam in liniște alături de familia noastră.

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A woman has been charged with causing Eva Maria’s death by dangerous driving.

Lucy Dyer, aged 23, of Heulwen Terrace, Llanelli, was remanded in custody following the court hearing at Llanelli Magistrates’ Court on Monday (11 October). 

She is due appear before Swansea Crown Court on Friday, 12 November.  She was also charged with drink-driving.

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Dyfed Powys Police

Drink driving woman charged after child killed in Llanelli road traffic accident

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23 year-old Lucy Dyer, of Heulwen Terrace, Llanelli was charged with causing death by dangerous driving after a child was killed in a road traffic accident.

The collision between a blue 3 series BMW and a blue Vauxhall Vectra occurred at around 9pm on Friday (8 October) on the junction of Heol Goffa and Corporation Avenue in Llanelli.

A child travelling in a different vehicle to Dyer sadly died of their injuries. Specialist police officers are providing support to the family of the child.

There were no other casualties.

Dyer was arrested at the scene and also charged with drink driving. She remains in Police custody.

Dyfed Powys Police are appealing for anyone who witnessed the collision, or who may have dashcam footage to contact them.

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Carmarthenshire

New Cancer Rapid Diagnosis Clinic open in Llanelli’s Prince Philip Hospital

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People who visit their GP with non-specific but concerning symptoms could be referred into a new clinic that aims to detect those who may have cancer.

A Rapid Diagnosis Clinic (RDC) will be launched on October 6th at Prince Philip Hospital, Llanelli, where patients from across Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion will be seen in this clinic.

The plan is to develop further RDCs at sites across the health board.

Patients attending the RDC will be seen by a Doctor and undergo further investigations of their symptoms. Patients will leave the clinic either with results and a likely diagnosis, a plan for further investigations or reassurance if the results are normal.

Dr Sion James, Deputy Medical Director for Primary Care and Community Services at Hywel Dda University Health Board said: “The RDC provides an opportunity to promptly review and investigate those patients in whom it can be challenging to make a diagnosis. Additionally, it will reassure patients quickly if their results showed no evidence of cancer.”

GPs will arrange for the patients to have blood tests prior to their attendance at the clinic. Patients will be contacted via telephone by the RDC staff and supported in preparing for the clinic.

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Gina Beard, Lead Cancer Nurse at Hywel Dda UHB said: “The RDC is an exciting development that will be essential in improving cancer outcomes. Previously, when symptoms have been vague, patients may have experienced referral to several different services before receiving a diagnosis.

“The RDC will address this, delivering an efficient and person-centred diagnostic experience for patients who will be supported through this pathway by a Clinical Nurse Specialist.”

The RDC team aims to see patients within one week of referral from their GP.

The Chair of Hywel Dda UHB, Maria Battle said: “The past 18 months have been extremely challenging and have caused many problems in detecting early stage cancer in patients. It has caused a backlog in patients waiting to access care for cancer and in extreme circumstances has meant detecting late stage cancer in some.”

“In light of this, the Rapid Diagnosis Clinic will be a break-through in helping patients with non-specific symptoms get the attention and care that they need promptly and efficiently. As we move forward from the hardship that the pandemic has brought us all, it will greatly improve patient care and preservation of life in this patient group.”

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(Lead image: Hywel Dda UHB)

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