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Man who survived being hit by van thanks ambulance crew who saved his life

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A man who survived being hit by a van has been reunited with the ambulance crew who attended him in his hour of need.

Ashley Lovering, 64, from Swansea Marina, was involved in the freak accident which nearly claimed his life and left him in hospital for 16 weeks after he stumbled whilst out photographing trucks near the M4 at Morriston, Swansea.

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Last week, he was reunited in much happier circumstances with the team of paramedics and students who he considers saved his life.

Ashley said: “I’ve had a keen interest in transport all my life really.

“I was out taking pictures of trucks for my popular Facebook page and a friend of mine had phoned saying he was out with his new truck so I decided to head back to meet him.

“Instead of going around the road to my car I decided to walk down the bank and I think the ground crumbled a bit as I felt myself running all of a sudden.

“And down I went into the road and whack into the side of a Transit van.”

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After the impact, Ashley, a retired chauffer and British Steel worker, was awake but knew he was badly injured.

He continued: “Somebody had seen it and came along to ring an ambulance and police.

“My mobile phone in my pocket had dialled my friend back so he arrived and someone notified my wife who also came.

“I recall the ambulance staff coming, I think there were about seven of them in total, and I remember someone pulling my leg to get the bone back inside – that hurt.

“They must have given me something then as I saw my wife outside the ambulance as they took me in on the bed and the next thing I remember was waking up in hospital in Cardiff.”

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Ashley had ruptured two discs in his back, lacerated a kidney, bruised his bowel, had an open fracture to his femur and both his shoulders required extensive surgery with one being completely replaced and the other rebuilt with plates and pins.

He spent eight weeks in Cardiff’s University Hospital of Wales and a further eight weeks in Swansea’s Morriston Hospital receiving treatment and recovering.

He said: “I’ve been back home 15 weeks now and the physio comes to my house.

“I also go to the gym three times a week to do recovery work which helps me.

“I’ve managed to walk into town without crutches now which is about a mile and a half there and back.”

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For Ashley, this was the first time in his life he had been in an ambulance and the first time he’d been in hospital too.

“I wanted to meet and thank the ambulance crews as I was able to thank everybody in the hospital in person,” he said.

“The doctors, the nurses, the man who cleaned the room, the lady who made the coffee, everyone, but I never got to see the ambulance staff again.

“They were fantastic and they saved my life really.

“I’ve even written to the police to thank them for closing the road and making everything safe that day.”

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There were a total of six Welsh Ambulance Service staff and two student paramedics who attended Ashley that day due to the complexities of his injuries.

Paramedic Beth Hewes, 42 of Swansea, said: “Ashley’s accident happened on the main road leading to Morriston Hospital and luckily a Non-Emergency Patient Transport Service (NEPTS) crew were passing by and stopped to assist him and make the call.

“I was on duty in a rapid response vehicle that day with a student paramedic and we were heading back to base when the call came in and were the first emergency crew on scene.

“We were soon joined by an ambulance and a second ambulance to support us and convey the patient once we had him stable.”

Despite his injuries and the awful pain he was in, Beth was full of praise for Ashley’s calm nature.

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“He was the perfect patient really,” she said.

“He was very polite and even said thank you every time we gave him pain relief.

“We had had to call ahead to the trauma unit in Cardiff and also seek permission to administer further pain medications.

“Even with an open fracture in his leg he was saying the majority of the pain was in his shoulder.

“It was great teamwork and communication on this job and the NEPTS crew were a great help to us.

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“Everybody involved was fantastic and the police did a great job in making sure we were safe from traffic to work.”

Speaking of the reunion, Ashley said: “It was a really lovely day and I ended up crying.

“It was so nice to meet everyone who helped me and be able to thank them properly.

“I had a friend of mine who runs a diecast truck company make them a model ambulance each to keep as a token of my thanks.”

Beth added: “It was a very humbling meeting and really, really nice.

“I’ve been a paramedic 15 years now and I’ve never met a patient afterwards.

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“It was very emotional but once we all got chatting it was lovely.

“I know myself and the other crews and students will all treasure the model ambulances he had made for us and that was a lovely touch.

“We all wish him very well in the future.”

(All images: Wales Ambulance Trust)

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Swansea

Kevin Johns nominated for Honorary Freedom of Swansea

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Swansea icon and panto star Kevin Johns MBE is set to get Honorary Freedom of the City – oh, yes he is!

Mr Johns is being honoured for his charity work and for being one of our city’s best-known ambassadors. A report going to Full Council next week will ask councillors to endorse the proposal.

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If they do Mr Johns will follow Catherine Zeta Jones, rugby legend Alun Wyn-Jones and a host of others who’ve had the honour down the years.

Rob Stewart, Leader of the Council, said: “Kevin Johns is one of Swansea’s best-known and best-loved characters.

“Kevin has used his profile to support many local charities and promote our city to others. While he’s in the public eye a lot, there’s also much Kevin does behind the scenes to support people in need and that’s one of the reasons why he deserves this accolade so much.

Cllr Stewart said: “Kevin was panto dame at the Grand Theatre this year and he’s been the show’s biggest star for many years.

“He’s a fixture at the Liberty Stadium on Swans match days and is a brilliant broadcaster.  

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“When we celebrated our city’s 50th anniversary a couple of years ago it was Kevin who topped the public poll to name our Swansea Icon. That just goes to show how popular he is in his home city.”

Kev Johns receiving the Swansea Icon Award as part of the city’s 50th anniversary celebrations (Image: Swansea Council)

While Mr Johns is probably best-known for his starring roles at the Grand Theatre panto, he’s also played leading roles with the Wales Theatre Company and the Fleullen Theatre Company.

He was also directed by Michael Sheen in the National Theatre of Wales’s production of The Passion, appearing as the MC of the Last Supper.

As a supporter of many local charities, Mr Johns is president or patron of Swansea-based charities including the Rising Starts Theatre Company, Swansea Male Chor and Friends of Stepping Stones.

He was awarded an MBE for his services to charity in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2010 and collected his medal from Her Majesty The Queen at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

If Council approves the proposal, a ceremonial event will take place at a later stage to celebrate the honour.

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Mr Johns will follow in the footsteps of people like President Jimmy Carter, composer Sir Karl Jenkins MBE and football great Chris Coleman. Others to have been honoured include HMS Cambria, HMS Scott, The Welsh Guards and, most recently, the Swansea branch of the Merchant Navy Association.

(Lead image: Swansea Council)

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Business

Covid grant scheme for Swansea businesses that don’t pay business rates

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photo of black cab on cobblestone road

An emergency grant scheme is now available for Swansea businesses in the leisure, tourism, hospitality and retail sectors that do not pay business rates.

Funded by the Welsh Government and run by Swansea Council, the Emergency Business Fund grant scheme is aimed at helping support businesses impacted by current Covid restrictions which are not eligible for the Economic Resilience Fund.

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Covering business impacted from Monday December 13 to Monday February 14, online applications are now open which cover two levels of grant award:

  • A £1,000 cash grant payment for hospitality, tourism, retail, leisure or related supply chain businesses which do not employ anyone apart from the owner, and do not have a property
  • A £2,000 cash grant payment for hospitality, tourism, retail, leisure or related supply chain businesses who employ staff through PAYE (in addition to the owner)

Also covering freelancers in the creative sector, both these grants are aimed at supporting businesses with an annual turnover of less than £85,000.

Businesses which may be eligible are asked to visit https://fundchecker.businesswales.gov.wales/businesssupport where the Business Wales eligibility checker must be completed before applicants are able to access the application form.

All applications must be submitted by 5pm on Monday February 14.

Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader, said: “It’s important all businesses in Swansea impacted by the current Omicron restrictions have access to financial support, with this latest grant scheme aimed at supporting many businesses that may not be eligible for the other support schemes already in place.

“We’re doing all we can as a council to assist our business community during these extremely challenging times, with more than £150m having been allocated to provide support since the onset of Covid.

“I’d encourage any business that may be eligible for emergency financial support to fill out an application. Council officers will do all they can to process payments for successful applicants as soon as possible.”

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A grant scheme for hospitality, tourism, retail and related supply chain businesses which are liable to pay non-domestic rates is also now live. This means these businesses could be entitled to grants of £2,000, £4,000 or £6,000, depending on their rateable value.

More information, eligibility criteria and both registration and application details for that grant scheme are available at www.swansea.gov.uk/CovidNDRbusinessgrants 

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Business

Swansea Building Society appoints new non-executive director

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Swansea Building Society, ranked the most profitable building society in the UK last year, has appointed a new non-executive director – Malcolm Hayes.

Hayes comes to the role with extensive executive and board level experience gained within several major UK clearing banks, a specialist lending group, an ethical bank, and a large mutual credit union.

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After starting his career with NatWest, Hayes went on to spend over 25 years in Lloyds Banking Group, where he held senior risk and credit positions in the bank’s business and commercial divisions.

His 40-year career has seen him hold executive positions as chief risk officer, operational risk & compliance director, control function director, head of credit audit and head of enterprise-wide risk management.

Having retired from executive roles in 2019, following five years as the chief risk officer of Paragon Banking Group, Hayes currently also holds non-executive director roles at Reliance Bank Ltd and as chair of the board of directors of Citysave Credit Union Ltd.

He also has previous board experience as a director of the Agricultural Mortgage Corporation PLC and AMC Bank Ltd – wholly owned subsidiaries of Lloyds Bank PLC – and served as a board director of a Lloyds Bank subsidiary established to undertake residential property development.

Hayes’ new non-executive director role with Swansea Building Society sees him sit on the Society’s audit committee, risk committee and asset & liabilities committee.

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Malcolm Hayes, non-executive director at Swansea Building Society, said: “I’m very excited to be taking on this new non-executive director role with Swansea Building Society. The Society’s vision and ethics are truly inspirational, and the success the Society has achieved in recent years is a tribute to its customer-focused, common-sense approach to lending. I hope that the experience I bring to the role can help the society continue its success and allow it to help even more people build a better future for themselves and their families.”

Alun Williams, chief executive officer at Swansea Building Society, added: “We are delighted to welcome Malcolm to his new role of non-executive director. Malcolm has extensive experience, over many years, which will be invaluable in helping Swansea Building Society build on our success and achieve our business aims.”

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