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Gower

Coastguard warning after emergency phone damaged in Three Cliffs hoax call

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Mumbles Coastguard have expressed their anger after a 999 emergency phone was damaged at a Gower beauty spot following a hoax call that saw dozens of emergency service personnel descend on the area.

The coastguard received a call from the Three Cliffs Bay emergency phone on Saturday evening (16 April) just before 5pm which was “abruptly cut off”.

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A second call was then made from a phone box in the area.

Describing the incident, a spokesperson from Mumbles Coastguard said: “The caller reported a person had fallen off a cliff in the area with a fatal outcome.

“On arrival the emergency phone was found damaged and out of service.

The damaged emergency phone (Image: Mumbles Coastguard)

“Several services were dispatched and a large search tasking undertaken with nothing found. With no further information or reports, this callout was assumed a hoax call and all assets stood down.

“This behaviour has cost thousands of both tax payer and volunteer funds as well has many hours of time on what has been an extremely busy bank holiday weekend (Mumbles 4th callout).”

“It has taken valuable resources away from important taskings, disrupted holiday makers, local businesses and the lives of our and our partner services families.”

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Rescue vessel at Three Cliffs Bay (Image: Mumbles RNLI)

The Coastguard reported emergency service workers from South Wales Police, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Oxwich Coastguard Rescue Team, Horton and Port Eynon RNLI, RNLI Lifeguards, HM Coastguard and first responders from Welsh Ambulance Service were all involved in the incident.

The coastguard added that the emergency phone at Three Cliffs is now out of service until repairs can be made by the operator.

The spokesperson added: “We’d like to thank all those involved with this callout and again express our extreme disappointment in this behaviour.”

(Lead image: Mumbles Coastguard)

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Gower

Body found in search for missing West Cross man

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South Wales Police are reporting that a body of a man found at Horton beach on Gower has been formally identified as that of missing West Cross man David Stewart.

The police attended Horton beach at around midday on Saturday (30 April) following reports of a body being discovered.

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Mr Stewart was reported missing from his home in West Cross on Friday 1 April, with Police issuing an appeal for anyone who may have seen him shortly afterwards.

He was described by police at the time as being of slim build, white, with short thin hair, stubble, and freckles, wearing glasses and a blue coat.

The Police’s social media appeal was shared hundreds of times by concerned residents.

A spokesperson for South Wales Police said: “We’d like to thank you for all your shares, it really does make a difference.

“Our thoughts remain with David’s family at this difficult time.”

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(Lead image: South Wales Police)

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Gower

New research shows how surfing may boost wellbeing of brain injury survivors

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Generations of surfers know there’s nothing like catching the perfect wave, but now new research has looked at just how beneficial the power of the sea can be.

The Swansea University study examined how a group of adults living with the consequences of acquired brain injury benefited from group-based surf therapy on the Gower coast.

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Lead researcher final year PhD student Katie Gibbs said: “Nature has long demonstrated the capacity to facilitate wellbeing. Increasingly interventions involving the natural environment are used to help aspects of wellbeing in clinical populations.

“But we wanted to find out how nature-based interventions such as surf therapy could be used when it comes to promoting wellbeing in the context of neurorehabilitation.”

Katie and her colleagues from the School of Psychology  interviewed 15 adults with acquired brain injury following a five-week intervention where they worked with Surfability UK, a Gower-based community interest company which specialises in providing surfing experiences for people with additional needs.

Their findings have just been published by online journal PLOS ONE.

Scientists at the University have been collaborating closely with clinicians from Swansea Bay University Health Board  and Hywel Dda University Health Board to re-examine our way of thinking about health and wellbeing and consider how these insights could be used to support people living with pervasive impairment after stroke or acquired brain injury.

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Katie said: “We know physical health and psychological wellbeing are influenced by many things including healthy eating, sleeping well, or physical exercise. But our health and wellbeing are also influenced by whether we gain a sense of meaning, purpose, and achievement in our lives; whether we have a sense of belonging and it can even be dependent upon how connected we feel to our natural environments.”

One group which often struggles to experience various determinants of wellbeing are people with acquired brain injury. In addition to having emotional, cognitive, and physical difficulties, many feel isolated and unable to reintegrate into their communities.

A majority of stroke and brain injury survivors have difficulty returning to work or engaging in the leisure activities they once enjoyed, which in turn means opportunities for social connection, joy, meaning, and purpose are limited.

To address this, clinicians looked for diverse ways to give people with stroke and brain injury opportunities to experience wellbeing in their local and natural environments. This resulted in the partnership with Surfability UK, whose work offering surfing experiences at Caswell Bay led to it being featured on BBC1’s DIY SOS.

Since teaming up around three years ago, up to 50 stroke and brain injury survivors have enjoyed two-hour surfing session for up to five-week periods.

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In interviews conducted with 15 of those individuals, Katie and the team learned just how life-changing the experience had been.

She said: “Over and above everything else we found surfing nourished the belief that despite ‘being a bit broken in some places’ participants could experience wellbeing.

“Many said their experience gave them a ‘valid reason for being alive’.”

The research looked at the positive changes the participants experienced over those five weeks and beyond, where they enjoyed the benefits of being in nature and connecting to the present moment in a safe and supportive environment.

The group activity also meant they could connect with similar others, gaining a sense of belonging and community that they struggled to experience elsewhere. Within this community they began to reappraise themselves and what they were capable of, with help from the clinicians who worked with them to set meaningful goals.

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Katie added: “Our themes capture how immersing individuals in natural environments can provide the context for stroke and brain injury survivors to experience various pillars of wellbeing which they are often sorely lacking in.”

For her research, Katie has been working with Professor Andrew Kemp and Dr Zoe Fisher who have previously published research on the importance of taking a wider approach to wellbeing and considering how it can be influenced by the surroundings within which we live.

Read the article in full: Riding the Wave into Wellbeing: A Qualitative Evaluation of Surf Therapy for Individuals Living with Acquired Brain Injury

Lead image: Surfability lead director and head coach Ben Clifford with Lowri Wilkie, a member of the research team, at Caswell Bay. (Image: Swansea University)

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Burry Port

Grandmother launches RNLI fundraising appeal almost a decade after Burry Port lifeboat crew’s attempts to rescue grandson

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An tragic incident at Llangennith almost a decade ago, where school boy Sam Capper tragically lost his life, has inspired a loving grandmother to put her best foot forward for the RNLI this Mayday, in tribute to the Burry Port RNLI volunteers who answered the call for help.

Leah Hunt, a police officer from Birkenhead, has officially launch this year’s Mayday Mile fundraiser by meeting her local RNLI crew at West Kirby for the first time, and revealing details of her own Mayday walking challenge on 22 May.

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The latest figures released today by the RNLI have revealed the number of lives saved by RNLI crews from Flint to Penarth has increased by 22 per cent in 2021. In Wales, volunteer lifeboat crews saved 45 lives in 2021 compared with 37 in 2020.

Leah says the figures released today serve a stark reminder of why the RNLI is such a vital charity.

She is calling on people to support Mayday and raise funds for crews, such as the Burry Port RNLI crew who helped to save her son Lewis, during an incident which tragically took the life of her youngest boy Sam.

Sam Capper, aged 15, from Rock Ferry died in hospital after falling into the sea when a wave hit him in Llangennith, Swansea, in 2012. His older brother Lewis, now 31, jumped in after Sam and held onto him before being rescued by an RAF rescue helicopter and Burry Port RNLI lifeboat.

To support Mayday, Leah will take part in the Wirral Coastal Walk on 22 May along with Lewis’ three children Archie, nine, Kael, seven and five year old Neala. All will be wearing yellow wellies as a tribute to RNLI crews across the UK and Ireland who are prepared to drop everything should the call for help comes.

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Leah says: “Before losing Sam, I now realise these people had never entered my mind, but were there for my family when I needed them most and to think that volunteers would risk their own safety for my family is just incredible and I am eternally grateful.

“This walk is certainly not about me, but about keeping Sam’s memory alive. On the 10th anniversary of his passing – it’s more important to me than ever to see his legacy live on in such a positive way. I would do anything for the RNLI and the walk is just one of the ways I want to say thank you. We regularly visit Burry Port and they have made us feel part of their family and I’m so grateful for that.

“Although the tragedy of losing Sam will never go away, they gave me back my son Lewis and I will be forever in their debt for that. I’m really looking forward to walking the Wirral Coastal Path for Mayday and will be chatting with my grandchildren about the uncle they never got to meet.”

WATCH: Leah Hunt talks about the death of her grandson, sam, the support that burry port lifeboat gave her at the time and why she’s supporting the rnli

The busiest station in Wales during 2021 was The Mumbles where lifeboats launched 95 times and assisted 143 people.

This is followed by Tenby where lifeboats launched 78 times and aided 36 people. It was the Porthcawl RNLI who saved the most lives during 2021, with 11 people still alive today thanks to the volunteer crew.

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Events are taking place across Wales to support the RNLI fundraiser whereby people are invited to walk, jog, hop or skip. The Mayday Mile which challenges you to cover at least one mile in any way you like between Saturday 1st and Tuesday 31st May, whilst raising vital funds for RNLI lifesavers so that they can continue to keep people safe at sea.

At Tenby, RNLI supporters are being invited to sign up to a virtual ramble and Penarth RNLI will also be hosting a sponsored walk on 1 May.

Crew and supporters of Porthcawl RNLI are calling on locals to join a walk on 1 May and chose either a five, 10 or 15KM challenges to raise funds.

Faye Maher, RNLI Engagement Lead for Wales says: “Last year was an exceptionally busy one for our crews across Wales, but our volunteers would not be able to continue saving lives without the generous support of the public.

“With the increased popularity of the Welsh coastline, we’re expecting a busy summer and are so grateful to all those who have answered our Mayday plea. It’s exciting to see details of all the events flowing in and I hope people enjoy taking part whilst raising much-needed funds to help us continue saving lives.”

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Lead image: Leah and her grandchildren with the West Kirby RNLI crew (Image: RNLI/David Edwards)

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