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‘End of Days’ scenes as octopuses invade beach

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Octopuses: Walking up New Quay beach (Pic. ​​SeaMor)​

A GROUP of octopuses beached themselves at New Quay over the weekend, with a large number subsequently dying in spite of the best efforts of locals to save them.

One person alone saw over 20 curled octopuses, which cannot survive out of water for more than a few minutes, walking up the beach.

The proprietor of SeaMor Dolphin Watching Trips Brett Stones first noticed the creatures last Friday night (Oct 27) after returning to harbour.

“We moored the boat up, and as we were coming back across the beach we saw the first one,” he told The Herald.

“We didn’t think we would see any more, so we made a bit of a fuss over it. Instinct kicked in, it was a vulnerable animal out of its environment.

“We checked it over, and there weren’t any obvious injuries or illness, so we dropped it back in the water off the end of the pier.

However, walking along the beach, Brett and his crew came across between 20 and 25 more octopuses. “We put them back into deeper water, and hopefully that helped. “Was it the right thing to do? I’m not sure, but it was instinctive,” he added.

Video footage taken by Brett has gone viral, with news outlets including the Washington Post phoning him for information.

“It’s been strange – I’ve had papers from all over Britain and America phoning me. I’ve even missed a few people phoning to make charter bookings because I’ve been on the phone to LadBible or the Washington Post,” he remarked.

“It’s been a good day for dolphin-watching too!”

The population of​ ​curled​ ​octopuses has increased in Welsh waters, largely as a result of declining cod stocks. The creatures, which live for up to three years, are happy in water varying from 100m to the shallows, and they generally feed on molluscs and crustaceans, even raiding crab and lobster pots for the bait and catch. Their main predators include dolphins.

While there have been occasional sightings of the species on beaches in the east of England, it is thought that the number coming ashore in Newquay is unprecedented. A number of theories have been put forward, from microplastics, acidity in the sea, and military sonar, but Brett believes the answer could be a lot simpler.

“I think it’s something to do with the spawning season,” he explained, “a lot of them die at this time of year.

“Alternatively, the coast received a battering from Storm Ophelia and Brian. And they could have become disorientated and walked towards the bright lights of New Quay when the water cleared.”

This theory was supported by James Wright, curator at the National Maritime Museum in Plymouth.Speaking to the national media, he said: “There’s been a few online videos showing them coming out under the cover of darkness to hunt but to have them crawl out in the number that was seen on that particular night is quite unusual.

“They’re crawling across the beach and not looking for prey in rock pools -​ ​so that’s out of character and doesn’t fit with their breeding or foraging behaviour.

“But them even being found in the intertidal is not common and suggests there is something wrong with them I am afraid.

“As the areas where they are exhibiting this odd behaviour coincides with the two areas hit by the two recent low pressures depressions and associated storms of Ophelia and Brian, it could be supposed that these have affected them.”

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Ascona Group announces new Car and Truck wash facilities

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Charlie's Truck Wash

ASCONA GROUP, one of the UK’s fastest-growing forecourt operators, is pleased to announce two new vehicle washing partnerships as part of improvements to its unique roadside retail proposition across its forecourt estate.

As part of a new partnership with the American based PDQ Manufacturing, a leader for in-bay automatic vehicle washing facilities, Ascona Group will be the first in the UK to install the ‘Laserwash 360 Plus’, a touchless car wash system for its customers.

The partnership will initially expand the wash options at the Hinton Service Station, with a view to roll out the system to other sites under the Ascona Group’s brand, ‘Charlie’s Express Car Wash’ later this year. The partnership is a significant investment for Ascona and demonstrates its commitment to ever improving the experience for customers.

Ascona Group is also delighted to announce a strategic partnership with WashTec UK that will see Ascona introduce a ‘First of its Kind’ truck washing facility at the Tenby Road site on the A40 Eastbound in Carmarthenshire, which offers the very best technology available to HGV drivers.

The truck wash employs a fully ‘closed loop’ total water recycling system, the first of its kind in Wales, which recovers all water used within the wash process, filtering it for reuse with little or no water entering the mains drainage system. This system ensures Ascona not only has the best commercial wash in South Wales, but also offers customers one of the more environmentally friendly approaches in operation.

Commenting on the announcement, CEO Darren Briggs said: “From the very beginning, we knew that our sites must present our customers with a unique and compelling offer which is why we are constantly seeking new and innovative ways to improve our roadside retail facilities.

“These two new partnerships further demonstrate our focus on creating industry-leading propositions and we are really excited to be working with PDQ Manufacturing USA and WashTec UK. Together, we are keen to continue to build on the success of these new operations and we are actively reviewing multiple opportunities across the Ascona portfolio to roll out more units such as these.”

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Nearly £50,000 of National Lottery funding for community groups in Carmarthenshire

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FIVE local community organisations across Carmarthenshire are celebrating after being awarded a share of £49,575 of funding from The National Lottery Community Fund over the past month.

One successful project was MolTân Makers who will use their £9,820 grant to provide metal working workshops for people wishing to improve their mental health and well-being. The group will reach out to mental health groups and the wider community and also allow people to reconnect with the community following the pandemic.

One participant with MolTân Makers explained, “ The course was professionally run by four hard-working people who helped us with one to one tuition when needed. They were so welcoming and adaptable to individual needs and allowed me to attend the course at different hours due to health reasons.

“They were great company and created an interesting and positive atmosphere to help people with mental and physical health problems feel included and understood and we all took home what we made in the course.”

The Hangout received £10,000 and will help young people improve their mental health and wellbeing through structured outdoor activity programmes. The project will build on a previous pilot project that led to more young people becoming re-engaged in school following the pandemic and continuing to volunteer with the group after the initial sessions finished.

The Alternative Learning Company in Llanelli were awarded £9,955 and will recycle plastic bottles to build full size greenhouses. They will propagate plants for growing schemes in local schools and communities. The project will reduce the levels of plastic sent to landfill or polluting open spaces, and give young people an understanding of the impact of climate change.

Newcastle Emlyn Town Council will build an outdoor structure in collaboration with the community, to mark Her Majesty the Queen’s Jubilee. This £10,000 grant will fund building and design materials, and a water harvesting kit.

Messy Projects will use their £9,800 grant to run the activities and events they missed due to the pandemic. Activities will include celebrating the Queens platinum jubilee, a BBQ, and a Bonfire party.

John Rose, Wales Director at The National Lottery Community Fund, said “These groups play a vital role in supporting their communities and these grants will allow them to continue being there for people in future. 

 ”National Lottery players raise more than £30 million each week for good causes across the UK and the projects funded over the past month show the crucial difference players make through their tickets. I look forward to following all of their progress.”  

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Family of power station worker calls on former colleagues to help with asbestos claim

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THE WIFE of a Carmarthenshire man, who was just 66 when he died of an asbestos-related cancer, is calling on colleagues who worked with him in the 1970s to help understand where and how he contracted the disease.

Peter Colton, from Llanelli, died in July 2021 after being diagnosed with the asbestos-related disease, mesothelioma.

He worked as a conveyor and weighbridge operator for the CEGB at Carmarthen Bay Power Station. During his time at the power station, his duties included offloading coal wagons and conveying coal to the boilers.

It is possible that Mr Colton was exposed to asbestos during those years and now his family has sought the help of local asbestos specialists J.M Parsons, to investigate a claim for compensation.

Ann Colton, Mr Colton’s wife, wants answers. She said: “Peter was diagnosed with mesothelioma and died just six weeks later. He had been suffering from shortness of breath and just had no quality of life.

“It was devastating to see someone who had been so healthy and active slowly get worse and worse. We just want to know where and how he was exposed to asbestos and hope someone out there can help us.”

According to data from the Health and Safety Executive, annual mesothelioma deaths in Britain increased steeply over the last 50 years, a consequence of mainly occupational asbestos exposures that occurred because of the widespread industrial use of asbestos during 1950-1980.

Amanda Jones is one of the specialists at J.M Parsons, which is owned by Thompsons Solicitors. Thompsons has paved the way for asbestos litigation in the UK ever since it brought about the first successful asbestos disease claim to the House of Lords in 1972, 50 years ago.

She said: “We would be grateful to hear from anyone who remembers working with Peter Colton in Carmarthen Bay Power Station in the 1970s or anyone who worked in the same field as Peter beyond the 1970s.

“Such individuals will be invaluable to Mr Colton’s family as they may be able to add important information that will assist us in building a civil claim. We hope that we will then be able to answer questions about the conditions that Mr Colton worked in during his working life.”

Anyone with information should contact Amanda Jones on 01554 779940, or via email at amanda@jmplaw.co.uk.

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