“PEOPLE let me into their lives when they are at their lowest ebb, and they open up their hearts to me.”
This is why Ammanford man Peter Stych has given up his time for the past 26 years to support victims of crime.
Mr Stych spoke of his experience as a volunteer for Goleudy, a victim and witness support service, at a Dyfed-Powys Police event celebrating the work of its volunteers.
He explained that as a youngster his dream was always to join the police, but that for various reasons it didn’t happen. As a way of experiencing life on the front line, he instead offered up his time for 27 years as a Special Constable in Birmingham.
He said: “You can only volunteer to do something if you enjoy it. I needed a bit of action and adventure – it certainly gave me that.
“When the IRA blew the door off Denis Howell’s house in 1974 I was there, just a few yards away. That was followed by the Birmingham pub bombings, and one of my jobs then was to seal off half of Birmingham.
“I wanted new experiences. I wanted something else and was eager to take on new things.”
When Mr Stych moved to Carmarthenshire, he attended a police open day and was approached about becoming a volunteer in victim support. His role now is to help victims of crime through the whole journey, from reporting the incident to police, to the investigation and criminal justice process.
He admitted that the change in role took some getting used to.
“One of the things I have found difficult was going from being a Special to being in victim support because we see things very differently,” he said.
“You see everything when you’re out on the job, and you become hardened to it in some ways. Then I changed roles and started visiting victims of burglaries and assaults.
“I was now seeing things from the other side.
“These victims might only experience crime once in their life, and all of a sudden I changed my attitude and my outlook on it.
“I realised that we have to do what we promise. If we say we will phone them with an update at the end of the week, we must, even if there is no update. It might have taken everything that person has to wait until the end of the week for our call. If we don’t do what we say, it could set them back.”
Mr Stych said volunteering his time with victims brought on a whole range of emotions – from happiness to anger, and a sense of privilege to frustration.
“It is nice to be trusted,” he said. “It gives you hope, and it gives you passion.
“It makes me sad to see people who have been victims of crime, and the impact it has had on their lives. I’m happy when they get the outcomes they were waiting for, and I feel privileged that people will let me into their lives when they are at their lowest ebb. They let me in and they open up their hearts to me. For that, I feel very humble.”
*Goleudy is a victim and witness support service funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Dyfed-Powys Police. It provides a single point of contact throughout the whole victim journey, from first reporting the incident to the police, through the investigation and criminal justice process. Victims of crime are offered support whether they have reported the incident to police or not.
Zef Eisenberg breaks records at Pendine
ZEF EISENBERG raced into the history books at Pendine Sands last Saturday (May 18) achieving six records on his very first pair of runs in his specially built 1200hp Porsche 911 Turbo.
Eisenberg earned: the fastest sand speed record ever achieved by a wheel-powered vehicle at 210.332mph; fastest flying quarter (one way) wheel powered record at 206.492mph; fastest flying mile (one way) wheel powered record at 196.970mph; fastest flying mile (two way) 187.962mph (same measurement as Sir Malcolm Campbell); became the only person in history to have achieved over 200mph on bike and car at Pendine and the only person in history to have achieved a flying mile record in bike and car in Britain.
Zef Eisenberg is the founder of sports nutrition brand MAXImuscle, and holds more than 44 British, World and Guinness speed records. In September 2016, he survived ‘Britain’s fastest-ever motorcycle crash’ at 230mph, on a 560bhp Rolls-Royce jet turbine-powered motorcycle.
He broke 11 bones, was hospitalised for three months, spent a further three months in a wheelchair and had to learn to walk again. He defied doctors by racing exactly one year after the accident, and later became the first person ever to exceed 200mph at Pendine Sands in May 2018. Eisenberg competes for the Guernsey-based MADMAX Race Team, which prides itself on developing and racing the world’s most extreme machines using the best engineers in the industry.
Eisenberg, better known for his motorbike speed record exploits, set a two-way average of 187.962mph in his MADMAX 1200hp road legal Porsche 911 Turbo specially built and prepared by ES Motors and his MADMAX Race Team. The record supersedes actor Idris Elba’s flying mile speed record (180.361mph) set at Pendine in 2015 and emulates his hero – Sir Malcolm Campbell, who first set the record at Pendine Sands in 1927 (174.8mph) in the iconic Blue Bird – a record that stood for nearly 90 years. The racer successfully secured four new records in total, smashing his own top speed of 201.5mph at Pendine in May 2018 and 182.49mph flying mile record set in April 2019 in his supercharged Hayabusa motorbike, making him the only person in history to hold the flying mile and fastest speed records in both bike and car at Pendine.
A jubilant Eisenberg said: “A huge thank you to ES Motors and my own MADMAX Race Team for working tirelessly on the extensive Porsche preparation, engine build and tune, to ensure we had the engineering and power to achieve this very challenging record. An additional thanks to the event organisers; Straightliners and Speed Record Club for finding and setting a two-mile course with difficult sand conditions.
“The Porsche was originally a standard 2014, 550hp 911 Turbo. The MADMAX Race Team built a bespoke 4.1-litre race engine with new internals, gearbox, clutch and drive shafts, along with an upgraded E85 fuel system and sophisticated charge cooling set-up to stop engine detonation.
“A lot of work was done to ensure that the monstrous power would come in as progressively as possible in order to limit wheelspin on the loose sand surface. To cope with such an extreme output, the PDK transmission had to be upgraded, and the suspension lifted to allow adequate ground clearance for the sand.
“Apart from a full FIA roll cage, competition seats and safety harness, the Porsche’s interior is completely standard, as weight is actually your friend on the sand. It’s about stability – putting enough weight on the tyres to increase traction.
“The Porsche behaves very differently on sand than tarmac. The sand creates a lot of resistance and tyre slip. In the end we could only use 850hp (1000hp at the engine) to avoid too much wheel spin, compared to just 550hp (engine) from a factory car.”
Eisenberg was elated to have secured these records at Pendine Sands, adding: “Pendine has such an illustrious history, racers have been flocking here since the 1900s trying to set speed records. The world land speed record heroes of yesteryear like Malcolm Campbell and J.G. Parry-Thomas in the air have all raced here. It really is the holy grail of land speed.”
RSPCA appeal after birds trapped above town centre
THE RSPCA is asking the owner of the Old Post Office in King Street, Carmarthen, to come forward and remove hazardous netting from the property.
Netting placed over the old Crown Post Office in King Street, Carmarthen, has been responsible for the deaths of pigeons, whose bodies were recovered from the site by representatives of the RSPCA and Mid & West Wales Fire and Rescue Service on Monday (May 13).
The building is owned by EMC Developments Ltd of Bronwydd.
Animal welfare bodies were notified of the birds’ corpses tangled in the netting over last weekend after images posted online caused alarm and distress.
The presence of the birds rotting trapped above a thoroughfare into the town and in view of visitors and shoppers caused a particular outcry.
When Herald photographer Darren Harries arrived at the scene, he found a recovery operation underway with a rescue vehicle and RSPCA Inspector.
The use of netting to prevent birds nesting allows developers to get around the law that prevents the removal and damage of birds’ nests, and avoid delays to development caused by the nesting season.
Bird deterrent netting can be an effective means of keeping birds off structures as it can prevent problems without needing to resort to other measures such as killing birds.
However, it’s vitally important that any netting is properly installed and maintained.
Problems arise when netting is incorrectly installed or when it becomes damaged and is not repaired, leaving gaps where birds are able to enter and become trapped. If the netting is not checked or maintained, there is a risk that birds may suffer and die from injury or starvation.
A spokesperson from the RSPCA told The Herald: “RSPCA Cymru worked with a crew from Mid and West Fire and Rescue Service after three feral pigeons were trapped in netting on the side of the old post office building on King Street in Carmarthen.
“Sadly only one bird was alive, with the other two appearing to have been dead for some time. This pigeon had some feather damage and was hungry and has been taken to a wildlife centre for rehabilitation with the aim of being released back into the wild once fit and ready.
“This property is currently empty but enquiries have been made to contact the owners of the building to ensure this netting is closely monitored and repaired as there is a breach at the top. When bird-deterrent netting is put up incorrectly or becomes damaged, it can leave gaps where birds can enter and become trapped.
“RSPCA Cymru continues to highlight the importance of regularly maintaining bird-deterrent netting to protect birds from getting caught or entangled.
“We would very much like to thank the fire service for their assistance.”
The RSPCA advises that if a bird becomes trapped behind netting, the owner of the building where the netting is situated should be informed (if assistance is needed to free a bird, call the RSPCA’s helpline 0300 1234 999).
The owner should then contact whoever erected the netting (usually a pest control company) as it is their responsibility to ensure that the netting is fit for purpose and appropriate in that location.
The RSPCA recommends that anyone with netting installed on their property sets up a system to check regularly for trapped birds and to ensure any netting is in good repair.
All wild birds, including pigeons and gulls, and their nests are protected under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981.
Work gets underway on historic Guildhall redevelopment
WORK has started on the £1million redevelopment of Carmarthen’s Guildhall.
A new restaurant and café bar, taking up the ground floor of the historic town centre building, is due to open in September.
It has been taken over by the Loungers group, which has the popular eateries Zinco Lounge in Swansea and Croeso Lounge in Mumbles.
It is set to create around 30 jobs, with a recruitment drive getting underway during the summer.
The Grade I listed building is owned by Carmarthenshire County Council.
James Morse, of Swansea-based developers NextColour Ltd, said work will be carried out sensitively to ensure the building’s history is looked after and can be enjoyed by diners and visitors.
The historic courtroom on the first floor will be un-touched, with public access retained.
Many of the building’s original ground-floor features will be restored, including its distinctive columns and black and white tiled flooring.
“We are excited about restoring this wonderful building and opening it up so that it can be seen and enjoyed by more people,” said Mr Morse.
“We are working closely with CADW to ensure that the refurbishment is sensitive to the history of the building and shows off its best original features.”
Carmarthenshire County Council hopes the redevelopment will act as a catalyst for further investment in the town, creating a key link between the town centre’s different retail areas and supporting the surrounding independent shops.
Leader, Cllr Emlyn Dole, said: “Guildhall is an important and iconic building in the centre of Carmarthen that we did not want to see standing empty.
“I’m delighted that it will have a new lease of life, and that it can now be enjoyed by people other than those who have fallen on the wrong side of the law in the past.
“We welcome the Loungers Group, and congratulate them on bringing their business to Carmarthen and providing jobs for local people.”
News2 weeks ago
Appeal for information following the sudden death of cyclist
News2 weeks ago
Judge hammers police ‘dereliction of duty’
News4 days ago
RSPCA appeal after birds trapped above town centre
News1 week ago
Police appeal for information on man wanted for recall to prison
News2 weeks ago
Opportunities on billion pound construction framework
Sport1 week ago
Wanderers blow Ynys away
News1 week ago
Gorslas fail to stop appeal
News1 week ago
Huge haul seized following drug raid in Carmarthen home