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Pencader couple put their stamp on charity

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A CARMARTHENSHIRE couple has collected over half a million stamps in support of an RNIB fundraising appeal.

Rhian and Kevin Rowcliffe, both from Pencader, started collecting stamps for the charity nearly three years ago.

They decided to support RNIB Cymru after their son Mathew was registered blind aged 21. Mathew was diagnosed with Lebers Hereditary Optic Neuropathy, a condition that causes sudden loss of central vision.

Mathew, now 25, received legal advice and employment support from RNIB following his diagnosis. He has since raised over £9,000 for the charity through taking part in a skydive and running both the London Marathon and the Cardiff Half twice with his brother Huw as a guide.

Rhian and Kevin initially aimed to collect 10,000 stamps but lost count after reaching the half a million mark.

The couple first asked friends and family to donate stamps from their Christmas cards in 2016, but word soon spread as people from across Wales began sending their stamps to help. The Young Farmer’s Club, of which Mathew was a member, donated over 150,000 stamps to the cause.

Mathew’s other siblings Tom, Shon and Hanna have also helped their parents to collect stamps.

Rhian said: “We were all devastated when Mathew lost his sight. We didn’t know where to turn as a family, but the RNIB helpline and team was a lifeline for all of us. We wanted to do something to give back and lots of people in Pencader wanted to help too.

“The support we have received from friends, family and the community has been amazing. It got to the point where I would arrive at work and find bags of stamps on my desk. Some people bring me five or six, some people bring thousands, but every stamp counts.

“Collecting stamps has been an easy and fun way to raise funds for a charity that has offered us so much help and support throughout Mathew’s journey and we are so grateful to everyone who has donated.”

The RNIB stamp appeal helps RNIB to make a real difference to the lives of blind and partially sighted people across the UK. Stamps are sold by weight and the charity raises £20 per kilogram.

RNIB Cymru’s Director Ansley Workman said: “We’re so grateful to the Rowcliffe family and everyone who has been involved in their stamp collecting mission, it is a huge achievement.

“The money they’ve raised with help blind and partially sighted people across Wales and beyond to live a life without barriers. If anyone is looking for a way to help fundraise for RNIB then collecting stamps is a great way to get involved and make a real difference.”

To find out more about RNIB’s Stamp Appeal visit: http://bit.ly/StampRNIB

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Carmarthenshire towns win two prestigious awards

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CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council has congratulated two local town councils for their success in the One Voice Wales Awards.

Pembrey and Burry Port Council won the Best Community Engagement category for the multi channels of communication it has set up which enables the community to participate in any decisions the council takes. It was also recognised for the shadow forums set up in both primary and secondary schools to ensure the younger generation have a voice.

Kidwelly Town Council won the Best Devolution of Service or Asset Project category for acquiring ownership of Parc Stephens play area from Carmarthenshire County Council in 2019 as part of the asset transfer process. Since then it has increased accessibility and inclusivity for a wide age range of children and includes a sensory garden.

Carmarthen Town Council was highly commended in the Best Annual Report category.

One Voice Wales is recognised by Welsh Government as the national representative body for Community and Town Councils in Wales, providing a wide range of services to our 634 member councils representing approximately 8000 councillors.

This year’s awards ceremony has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths who is responsible for liasing with town and community councils said: “I’d like to congratulate Pembrey and Burry Port Town Council and Kidwelly Town Council on winning the awards. It just goes to show the great work being done across Carmarthenshire and more importantly how we are working with the communities to meet their needs. I’d also like to congratulate Carmarthen Town Council on the commendation.”

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Woman arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply

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AN AMMANFORD woman has been arrested on suspicion of possessing class A drugs with intent to supply.

Dyfed-Powys Police officers were on patrol in the Glanamman area on when they saw the woman driving a silver Peugeot away from them.

They were aware that the driver had no driver’s licence, and that she was suspected of being involved in supplying class A drugs in and around Ammanford.

Additional units made their way to her home, where the car was stopped. A search of the vehicle resulted in class A drugs being found, and she was arrested.

Further searches were carried out by the response team and dog unit. Around 16g of cocaine, some amphetamine, and some cannabis were found.

A 42-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply, possession and driving offences. The vehicle was also seized.

She has been released under investigation pending further enquiries.

Sergeant Walters said: “This was a very swift response to information relayed by colleagues who recognised the woman and were aware that she should not have been driving.

“Ammanford Neighbourhood Policing Team, response teams and the dog unit worked closely together to achieve a positive outcome.”

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Play equipment gifted to children with disabilities

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CHILDREN with disabilities in Carmarthenshire have been gifted play equipment by the county council during the coronavirus pandemic.

Some 26 children are already making use of new play materials and outdoor equipment which are helping to maintain their health and well-being during the lockdown.

Items such as garden swing seats, paddling pools, tablets, sensory black out tents, trampolines are making a huge difference to them whilst staying at home.

It comes after funding was set aside for those identified by the council’s social workers or disability intervention staff as needing extra support, and subject to an assessment.

Anna Martin, whose son Finlay has benefited from a garden swing said: “Finlay has spent many an hour calmly swinging in the garden. It has been great for him to spend time with the family outdoors. Fin is like a ‘toddler’ and enjoys a cwtch and a nap so the fact that this turns into a bed has been a big hit! It has certainly perked him up during lockdown.”

Funds are still available and anyone who is supported by the council’s disability service can ask their support worker for an assessment.

The council’s executive board member for children’s services, Cllr Glynog Davies said: “The restrictions of the current lockdown have been a huge challenge for all families, but particularly for those with a child who is disabled or has autism. Our teams identified that for some families having extra play materials or outdoor play equipment could make a massive difference to children’s wellbeing. We established a process where staff from our specialist teams could assess if families would benefit from this type of help. We have been able to purchase and arrange delivery of a number of items so far and we’re delighted to see what a difference it has made.”

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