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Carmarthen talks organ donation ahead of British Transplant Games coming to Wales



LATEST figures show that 73,590 people in Carmarthenshire have registered to opt-in on the organ donation register, less than half of the county’s population.

Ahead of the Westfield Health British Transplant Games, which are coming to Newport on 25 – 28 July, the Welsh Government is touring the country visiting St Catherine’s Walk in Carmarthen on Tuesday, 16, July encouraging people to register their decision there and then.

The Games, which are being hosted by Newport for the first time, are a celebration of organ donation highlighting the health, fitness and wellbeing of recipients who wouldn’t have been able to compete without the kindness of donors and their families, who have given the gift of life.

This year sees the highest number of Welsh athletes competing in the games, with Team Wales boasting 48 athletes, compared to the 10 Welsh participants who competed last year at the event, which was held in Birmingham.

Specialist nurses in organ donation, surgeons, specialists and charity volunteers will be taking a giant ‘Operation Donation’ game to towns and cities across Wales to educate people on the history and benefits of organ donation in Wales and exactly how to become a donor.

The tour will finish at Friar’s Walk, Newport on Friday 19 July where the team will officially open the Organ Donation Wales hub, which will be open to the public all week with educational games, exhibitions and stories of recipients and donors.
Within 18 months, Sophie Washington was admitted to hospital as an emergency 187 times. But a pioneering pancreas transplant saved her life.

Six years on, Sophie, now 23 and from Llandeilo, is gearing up for the 2019 Westfield Health British Transplant Games in Newport (25-28 July).
At the age of nine, she was diagnosed with diabetes, but it soon became obvious that it was not a typical case as her body was developing antibodies to insulin.
When she was 15, she was the only person in the UK living on an intravenous insulin infusion 24 hours a day, seven days a week at home – a situation she lived with for 18 months. Hospital stays also became the norm and nurses were required at home to support her family in caring for her overnight.

She joined the transplant waiting list in 2012 and 18 months later, the call came.

Sophie said: “I wouldn’t be alive today without my donor and their family giving their consent. It gave me the time in which new technology and new treatments have caught up to where I need them to be.

With remarkable determination, Sophie is now planning to represent Wales in archery, table tennis and swimming:
“It will be such an incredible experience to see so many people in one place in a celebration of life.”
The Newport event will see almost 1000 participants – some as young as three – taking part in 23 sports and events across the city. Each of them, including Sophie, have had lifesaving transplants.

The aim of the Games – organised on behalf of charity, Transplant Sport, is to raise awareness of the importance of organ donation. Wales was the first to introduce a soft opt-out system of the organ donor register. However, the decision on organ donation is still made by loved ones. That’s why organisers are keen to spread the word that you need to make your decisions – whatever they may be – known to your family.

Health Secretary Vaughan Gething said: “We have seen a huge increase in consent rates here in Wales, with the overall consent rate now at 77%, the highest in the UK.
“We’ve seen increases in both the number of organ donors and transplants so it is fitting that a Welsh city is hosting the British Transplant Games 2019.
“As well as celebrating the fantastic sporting achievements, by bringing the games to Newport it gives us another opportunity to talk about organ donation and we’re looking forward to sharing the message even further at the games itself and also with local shoppers in Friar’s Walk. I urge everyone to consider what their organ donation decision, confirm this on the organ donor register and ask their family to hour their decision.”

Simon Pullen, centre director at Friars Walk, said: “We couldn’t be prouder that Friars Walk is going to host Wales’ organ donation exhibition in the run up to the Westfield Health British Transplant Games later this month.

“Given Wales has got 48 participants competing – our highest number ever – this display will be truly inspiring for our local community and will be an opportunity for us to celebrate and embrace the Games, life-saving transplants and raise awareness for the importance of organ donation.

“The exhibition will be open all week, between Saturday 20 and Sunday 28 July, and I’d urge as many people as possible to come down to Friars Walk and visit it ahead of the Westfield Health British Transplant Games, which will be a huge sporting event for Newport.”
You can register a decision at any time at any age by calling 0300 123 23 23 or visiting or by telling your family and friends.

The Operation Donation Tour of Wales

Tuesday 16th July – St Catherine’s Walk – Carmarthen – SA31 1GA
Wednesday 17th July – Quadrant Centre – Swansea – SA1 3QW
Thursday 18th July – Lido Ponty – Pontypridd – CF37 4PE
Friday 19th July – University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff – CF14 4XW
Saturday 20th July – Sunday 28th July -Friar’s Walk – Newport – NP20 1EA

event is supported by Westfield Health, Welsh Government, Newport City Council, Newport Live the local health boards across Wales, NHS Blood and Transplant, Kidney Care UK, Anthony Nolan Register, Donor Family Network and Believe Organ Donor Support. Further sponsors include Friars Walk, Icon Design, Rodney Parade and Celtic Manor.


Herald publisher ceases operations



HERALD NEWS UK LTD, the company which prints The Pembrokeshire Herald, The Carmarthenshire Herald and The Llanelli Herald has ceased operations.

Editor of Pembrokeshire Herald, Thomas Sinclair said: “After finalising today’s paper to go to print yesterday, a meeting was held last night. It was confirmed that the expected further investor funding would not be made available for the company.

“This meant that operations need be halted as the businesses was not able to pay its ongoing costs.

“At 10am today the 24 members of staff working at the newspaper have today been given notice of redundancy.

“We are absolutely devastated that after nearly 7 years and hundreds of editions of the paper we can no longer continued.”

“I would like to think that over those years, some of the stories we have written have made a difference to Pembrokeshire and beyond.”

Director of Herald News UK Limited, John Hammond said: “The company accountant could be appointing administrators as soon as next week.”

“The Owners of The Pembrokeshire Herald came to the conclusion last night during a finance meeting that the venture is no longer financially viable.

“Whilst every conceivable effort has been made to improve the financial situation of the business, we have to face the fact that there is no way that we can now continue in a solvent position.

“Whilst there has been a slow decline in readership of local newspapers, our costs for wages, printing and transport have substantially increased.”

“We would like to thank all of our loyal readers and staff.”

<img class=”wp-image-51343 size-large” src=”×678.jpg” alt=”” width=”740″ height=”490″ /> Community: Herald titles were campaigning newspapers<img class=”wp-image-51344 size-large” src=”×565.jpg” alt=”” width=”740″ height=”408″ /> Popular: 45,000 people read Herald titles each week in west Wales

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Volunteers needed in Carmarthenshire for Christmas food collection.



LEADING charities the Trussell Trust and FareShare are appealing to people in Carmarthenshire to volunteer to help in the UK’s biggest food collection for people in need.

From Thursday, November 21 until Saturday, November 23 the two charities will be collecting food in Tesco stores across the UK and Northern Ireland during the annual Tesco Food Collection. They are looking for local volunteers to encourage shoppers to donate, so that as much food as possible can be collected.

During the collection customers are encouraged to donate long-life food to help food banks and community groups support people in need at Christmas. Tesco will top up customer donations by 20% to further support the two charities in their work.

Last year, 3.5 million meals were collected as part of the Tesco Food Collection, and since its launch in 2012, more than 50 million meals have been donated to the two charities by generous Tesco customers.

To make this year’s collection a success volunteers are needed to hand out shopping lists to customers, so they can see the food items most needed by food banks and community groups in their area, and to encourage people to donate.

Emma Revie, chief executive at The Trussell Trust said: “No one should need a food bank at any time of year – but we know during the lead-up to Christmas our network of food banks see even more people needing help.

“Food banks will be doing all they can to provide vital emergency support so people don’t face hunger this Christmas. But to make sure there are enough donations, we need your support. Having your support in this year’s Tesco Food Collection will make a real difference – the more people who volunteer, the more food will be collected from generous shoppers, and the better prepared food banks will be to help local people.”

Farihah Choudhury volunteered at the last Tesco Food Collection, collecting donations for local groups supported by FareShare.

“I loved volunteering last year – it was great to speak with shoppers donating food. The kindness I saw was wonderful and gave me a lot of hope,” she said.

“I believe everyone should have access to good, healthy food and I’d encourage anyone who can to give some time to help stop people going hungry this Christmas.”

People interested in volunteering can find out more and sign up at www.fareshare/tescofoodcollection

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UK’s top skaters and riders drop in on Llanelli youngsters to celebrate a special birthday



THE WORLD’S and the UK’s finest skateboarders, BMX and Wheelchair Motocross stars will drop in on young people at a Carmarthenshire Ramps skatepark on Saturday 19 October 2019 from 11 am till 2 pm. The event was arranged to celebrate the £3 billion National Lottery players have raised for projects which have specifically helped children and young people develop and thrive in the UK over the last 25 years. £2 million of National Lottery funding has specifically been awarded to support and develop over 47 BMX projects in local communities for young people in Wales to enjoy.     

Wales and Pembrokeshire’s own wheelchair sports superstar, Lily Rice; the Olympic BMX freestyler from Swansea, James Jones; Britain’s leading street skateboarder and 2020 Olympic hopeful, Alex Decunha; and YouTube influencer, Jake O’Neill (aka Jake100), visite hundreds of youngsters at Ramps indoor and outdoor skatepark in Llanelli as part of the National Lottery’s celebrations.
More than £340,000 was awarded by the National Lottery in 2013 to develop and build Ramps Skatepark which now provides activities for over 15,000 young people a year.

At 15 years old, Lily Rice from Manorbier, Pembrokeshire, is a World Champion wheelchair motocross (WCMX) star. She was propelled to fame two years ago when she became the first female in Europe to achieve a wheelchair backflip, and only the second girl in the world to pull off the stunt. Since then, Lily has emerged as one of the global leaders of WCMX – wheelchair motocross.
She says: “By contributing towards building amazing facilities such as this indoor and outdoor skate park, National Lottery funding is helping thousands of young people of all abilities to reach their goals and discover new opportunities. I have trained and practised at numerous National Lottery funded skate parks and there is no doubt that the funding has helped wheeled sports, enthusiasts, to become healthier and more active.”

The National Lottery has inspired millions of people to get active in their local community, as well as supporting individuals and teams from grassroots to elite.

James Jones is a 25-year-old professional BMX rider from Swansea. James, who also celebrated his 25th Birthday this year,  is one of six world-class athletes who make up the Freestyle BMX Team GB for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. James honed his skills and practised his tricks at the Ramps skate park in Llanelli when he was growing up and highlights the importance of young people having access to facilities like this on their doorstep.
James Jones said: “I practised a lot here growing up and this facility has played a big part in my development as a professional rider and a person. I probably wouldn’t be where I am now without the support I got here. It’s not just about learning to ride or skate, there’s a real family vibe here, a great social aspect and it’s well supported by the community. The National Lottery must fund parks such as this one so that young people can have a safe space to pursue their hobbies and meet friends.”
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