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Carmarthenshire

Health board suspends non-essential visiting to ALL of its hospitals

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Hywel Dda health board which runs health services in Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion has said that they are temporarily suspending non-essential visiting to all of their hospital sites due to increased levels of COVID infection.

The move covers hospitals including Prince Phillip Hospital in Llanelli, Glangwili Hospital in Carmarthen and Withybush Hospital in Haverfordwest.

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In an online statement the health board said: “Due to increased cases of Covid-19 in hospital and the community, the decision has been made to temporarily suspend visiting to all hospitals with immediate effect.

“Visiting will only be permitted with prior arrangement in extenuating circumstances, such as end of life and critical visits.

“The restrictions being introduced today do not affect the current visiting arrangements within our maternity services.

“All visitors must carry out a lateral flow device (LFD) test at home prior to travelling to the hospital.”

The health board added: “When visiting our hospitals please remember to wear a face covering, this will be replaced by a surgical face mask at reception or ward entrance. Please remember to maintain social distancing and to clean your hands on entering the building and as often as possible using soap and water or hand sanitiser.

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“We appreciate that it is a difficult time for everyone, and we will continue to support the wellbeing of our patients/service users and their families and loved ones in the best way we can, while keeping everyone as safe as possible.

“Our patient support team and family liaison officers can help to deliver essential items to patients from their family and facilitate communication through digital options/telephone; if you need their assistance please call them on and 0300 0200 159 and they will do their best to help you.

“The situation is being reviewed at regular intervals and a further update will be made to visitor restrictions as soon as it is safe to do so.

“Thank you to everyone for supporting our visitor restrictions to protect our patients and our NHS.”

(Lead image: Google Maps)

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Carmarthenshire

Driver jailed for head-on crash that caused life-changing injuries

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A driver who caused a head-on collision with a car being driven by a pregnant woman told police officers at the scene he had drunk 13 cans of strong lager the night before.

Rhodri Rees, aged 36, of Llandysul, admitted his drinking had gone into the early hours before he got behind the wheel and caused the crash on the A476 in Llannon, near Llanelli, by overtaking another car on a bend at around 7.40am on December 11, 2020.

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The severe impact meant both drivers were trapped in their cars and had to be cut free by firefighters.

Thankfully the baby was unharmed in the collision, however, its mother suffered serious, life-changing injuries. She had a number of operations to repair the damage and was unable to walk for a year and still suffers the effects of the accident today.

Dyfed-Powys Police Sgt Nicholas Brookes said: “When Rees was spoken to by our officers at the scene he told them he had drunk 13 cans of Stella Artois and that he had gone to bed after midnight.

“He failed a breath test at the scene and was arrested on suspicion of drink driving before being allowed to go to hospital for treatment.”

The following day he was interviewed at Carmarthen Police Station where he told officers he had consumed eight or nine cans of Foster’s before going to bed around 2am, before getting up at around 6.45am and setting off.

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A sample of blood was taken just before 1pm on December 11 showed Rees had 39mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood – the legal limit being 80. A blood alcohol expert had calculated that at the time of the collision the level of alcohol would have been no less than 113mg and more likely 129mg.

PS Brookes added: “This was a serious case that could have been so much worse.

“Rees admitted drinking a considerable amount of alcohol and getting little sleep before getting behind the wheel. He was lucky no-one was killed.

“I would like to commend the officer in the case, PC Benjamin Stevenson, who conducted a thorough and meticulous investigation for the offence of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.”

On Tuesday, 17th May, Rees appeared before Swansea Crown Court, having pleaded guilty at a previous hearing, and was sentenced to 18-months in prison.

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He was also disqualified from driving for three years and 9 months, with a requirement for an extended test to regain his license.

(Lead image: Geograph)

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Books & Literature

Former Llanelli rugby star hopes to be victorious at The Oval

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After enjoying his fair share of success as a rugby player and team manager Anthony Buchanan now hopes to win big as an author.

The former Llanelli and Wales star has been shortlisted for The Sunday Times Rugby Book of the Year 2022 award following the publication of his biography, The Buck Props Here.

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His unique rugby journey didn’t begin until the age of 22, when he chose to turn his back on a highly promising career in football as a goalkeeper, but led to playing for Llanelli and representing Wales in the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987.

On retirement he became an administrator and helped transform the Scarlets into a European powerhouse before serving on the International Rugby Board and overseeing the selection of referees at the last Rugby World Cup.

His story has been ghost written by former Evening Post reporter, Geraint Thomas, who notches up a unique hat trick of nominations having previously been shortlisted – in what is seen as the Oscars of sports books – after ghost writing Glenn Webbe: The Gloves Are Off (2020) the biography of the former Bridgend and Wales wing, and Terry Davies: Wales’s First Superstar Fullback (2017) alongside the former Llanelli, Wales and Lions star.

Former Evening Post reporter, Geraint Thomas who has ghostwritten Anthony’s biography

The pair, who are up against former Wales centre Jamie Roberts, Irish stars Keith Earls and Willie Anderson, as well as This is Your Everest: The Lions, The Springboks and the Epic Tour of 1997, and The Flying Prince: Alexander Obolensky, will attend a gala dinner in The Oval cricket ground London on Thursday to find out if they have won.

There will be further Welsh representation on the evening with Alun Wyn Jones on the shortlist for Autobiography of the Year 2022.

Buchanan, who is donating his share of the book’s royalties to securing the rugby pitch in Ystradgynlais for future generations, said: “I feel humbled to be in the running for the best rugby book in Great Britain and Ireland, but my story is not just about an individual, it encompasses the momentous shift in Welsh rugby, from the old amateur days to the introduction of European rugby, professionalism and the regions.

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“I would like to thank Geraint Thomas for encouraging me to tell my story in the first place and for weaving all that has happened into such a compelling narrative. He’s done such a wonderful job. So many people, who have read it, have contacted me to say how much they enjoyed it – and they weren’t all Scarlets supporters!”

Thomas, who trained as a magazine journalist in Cardiff University’s School of Journalism and went on to complete an MA in Creative and Media Writing at Swansea University, said: “To be shortlisted for a third time obviously feels great and, I guess, is quite an achievement, not just for me but also my publisher Y Lolfa, who have always shown faith in me.”

Thomas, who had a spell playing for Bridgend in the early 1990s, added: “It helped that I played in the same era as Bucks and have a good knowledge of the Welsh rugby landscape. But what really makes the book so enjoyable is the how Buck has recalled the banter and humour which used to be the real reason we played the game.

“People ask me which is my favourite book, but, to be honest, I really enjoyed working on all three. Writing a book is a bit like having children only the hard work comes first and then you experience the pleasure of seeing them enter the world – and if they are popular that’s even better!”

The Sunday Times Book Awards take place on Thursday 27 May 2022

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Burry Port

New car parking for Burry Port Harbour

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Carmarthenshire Council have announced plans to improve car parking at Burry Port Harbour.

The council say the move will see underused land transformed into an additional accessible parking zone with around 100 plus spaces on the East side of the harbour, with existing surfaces and spaces also upgraded.

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Disabled parking bays will be given prime location with panoramic views and there will be charging facilities for E-bikes which will enhance cycling and environmental provision.

Motorhomes will also have access to some bays during the day, around the Harbour area, with plans and funding bids for a bespoke developments along the wider coastline also in the pipeline.

The car park will have a new sustainable drainage system with upgraded surface dressing which will enable all year around usage.

The project is jointly funded by the council and Welsh Government’s Brilliant Basic scheme.

Carmarthenshire County Council Head of Leisure, Ian Jones said: “Currently the surface area of the car park to the East of the Harbour is loose gravel that is easily potholed and flooded regularly, so this improvement will offer a more modern, sustainable and attractive car park for our visitors to enjoy. It will also complement the existing car parks in the harbour and along the Carmarthenshire coastline.”

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The council say this is the latest in a long line of investments totalling £2m to maintain and restore the historic harbour and one of the county’s most loved and well visited beauty spots.

Restoration of the Grade II listed harbour walls has been undertaken and completed under the guidance of CADW.

Carmarthenshire Council add this investment compliments funding made over previous years which saw the council invest in new pontoons, along with maintenance and upgrades to the harbour railings and bridge.

A local operator has taken over the lease and opened a cafe and public toilets on the east side of Harbour, and the refurbishment of the old RNLI harbour office has started by The Marine Group (TMG) to create a harbour-side coffee house.

New pay and display facilities have been installed to support parking control ahead of a wider multi-million regeneration plan that will transform the harbour with a mix of housing, commercial and leisure space covering around 13 acres of prime development site.

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Welsh Government Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething, said:“We are very aware of the important part that local tourism amenities have on someone’s overall experience when on a day trip or on holiday.

“These facilities often go unnoticed, but they are an important part of people’s experiences when they visit Wales, while also benefit those who live in the area. The £2.9m in new funding for the Brilliant Basics fund will go to projects which will help us make our destinations more accessible and more sustainable, and to grow tourism for the good of Wales.”

(Lead image: Google Maps)

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