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Organ donor families celebrate unveiling of sculpture

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Image © Hywel Dda Health Board

A SCULPTURE has been unveiled at the National Botanic Garden of Wales as part of Organ Donation Week.

The special event was held to raise awareness of organ donation, and to recognise donor families in the Hywel Dda University Health Board area and across Wales.

The sculpture depicts a Kingfisher rising from the water, representing growth, life and hope. It can be found in the botanical garden’s new pond project.

Among those who attended the unveiling was Jesse Lewis from Neath, who spoke about how organ donation affected his family after his son Jac sadly took his own life.

He said: “The final days of Jac’s life were filled with hope for us, and when that was taken away, I immediately thought about transplants.

“There are so many people out there waiting and hoping for a chance to continue living a normal life.”

Image © Hywel Dda Health Board

Following this, Jesse and his wife Janet set up the Jac Lewis Foundation, a charity to help people suffering with mental health issues.

He added: “It offers hope, and I think it is the ingredient that gives people the fight inside them to carry on.

“Nothing that has been achieved so far will ever stop the pain of losing Jac as anyone that’s lost someone so close will know.

“However, turning that pain into someone else’s hope, gives meaning to his existence, knowing that his life positively impacted on the lives of many others.”

Rea John, Specialist Nurse at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “Even though we have had an opt out system in Wales for almost six years, families will still always be consulted before organ donation goes ahead.

“It’s important to make your decision known to your family and friends, so they know what you want to happen if organ donation becomes a possibility.

“Please speak with your family today, it makes it a little easier for them if they are ever in that position.”

The sculpture was designed by local artist, Paul Clarke, who used materials from Hywel Dda’s three counties to maintain the connection with the health board.

“It’s a tribute to thank the families who in their darkest times find it within them to support and help save the lives of others,” said Rea. 

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News

Respect, protect and enjoy Halloween safely

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RESPECT, protect, and enjoy. That’s the message from Dyfed-Powys Police as officers urge people to celebrate Halloween safely.

The force has launched Operation Bang 2021, asking people to think differently about the way they mark Halloween this year.

Covid-19 hasn’t gone away, and with some restrictions in place, officers are encouraging people to respect their neighbours, protect emergency services by reducing demand, and enjoy celebrations at home.

Inspector Justin Evans of the Crime and Harm Reduction Unit said: “You might be familiar with Op Bang, which is an annual operation aimed at keeping people safe over Halloween and bonfire night. This year, while our policing focus remains firmly on tackling antisocial behaviour and keeping people safe, for the second year our message is a little bit different given the unusual circumstances we’ve found ourselves in.

“We’re asking people to consider celebrating at home instead of going out and about, respecting that there are people who find Halloween distressing at the best of times, and who might find that the uncertainty of the current situation has heightened these feelings of anxiety.

“We also ask that you do your best to keep yourself and your family safe to prevent adding pressure to the emergency services during already busy times.”

Carving pumpkins, making crafts, and creating a spooky trail around your house or garden are all ways to celebrate Halloween at home with younger children.

While older children and teenagers might still want to meet up with friends, parents are urged to keep track of their plans, remind them to consider the consequences of their actions, and be mindful of lockdown restrictions.

“Fortunately, the majority of communities we police don’t experience a great increase in crime at this time of year, but there can always be one or two people who spoil it for everyone else,” Insp Evans said.

“We don’t want anyone’s enjoyment to get out of hand and cause distress or harm to others.

“By working together we can have a safe and enjoyable Halloween.”

For Halloween craft ideas and ways to celebrate at home, check out the Dyfed-Powys Police Pinterest page.

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Community

Christmas Toy Box Appeal to support families

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Council staff will purchase gifts and toys and distribute them in the run-up to Christmas.

CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council has launched its annual Christmas Toybox Appeal.

The appeal, in its 11th year, helps hundreds of children with families who can’t afford to buy toys or gifts.

Last year saw us help more families than ever who were struggling financially with more than 7,500 gifts were distributed to 1,256 children.

The appeal was launched online for the first time in 2020 following the coronavirus pandemic and people were asked to make a financial donation instead of buying gifts and toys. Given the current situation people are asked to donate in the same way.

Gifts will be bought out of the money donated and given to families who, for a range of reasons, are not able to give their children a Christmas that most of us take for granted.

Schools, family centres and youth workers identify those who are in greatest need of support.

Council staff will purchase gifts and toys and distribute them in the run-up to Christmas.

The council’s executive board member responsible for the Toybox Appeal, Cllr Mair Stephens said: “Last year we saw an unprecedented demand from families struggling to buy their children gifts. The appeal ensured that local children, who might otherwise have received nothing or very little, were given a gift at Christmas. We have always had fantastic support from the public and couldn’t do it without their help. Every donation, no matter how big or small, will make a huge difference to those less fortunate families. So please dig deep and donate to the online Christmas appeal.”

You can make a financial donation by visiting their website

If you have a cash or cheque donation please call 01267 234567.

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Education

New Year start date for new state-of-the-art Pembrey primary school

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The new modern purpose-built £8.25million primary school will be built next to the existing school site on Ashburnham Road.

WORK will get underway to build a state-of-the-art primary school in Pembrey in the new year.

Carmarthenshire County Council has unveiled plans for its latest new school, part of its multi-million pound Modernising Education Programme, jointly funded by the Welsh Government through its 21st Century Schools initiative.

The new modern purpose-built £8.25million primary school will be built next to the existing school site on Ashburnham Road.

On completion it will provide high-quality teaching facilities for 270 primary pupils and 30 nursery pupils.

It will also incorporate a Flying Start facility for younger children, located in a mobile classroom on the current school site.

The school has been designed by Carmarthenshire County Council’s own architects and the work will be carried out by Carmarthenshire-based TRJ Construction Ltd, selected from the South West Wales Regional Contractors Framework.

Headteacher Helen Jacob said: “Teaching staff, pupils and families are excited and looking forward to seeing our new school come to life. Our children will benefit from seeing every phase of their new school being built right alongside us – it has been designed to enhance learning and teaching and it is very much deserved.”

Cllr Glynog Davies, Cabinet Member for Education and Children’s Services, added: “We are proud to be delivering yet another fantastic new school in Carmarthenshire as part of our Modernising Education Programme.

“The new Ysgol Pen-bre will provide an excellent learning and teaching environment and will also benefit the local community, with many features built into the design that can be used by local people when it opens.

“We look forward to seeing construction start in January.”

By the end of the 2020/21 financial year, Carmarthenshire County Council will have invested £295million in transforming its network of nursery, primary and secondary schools.

Since the programme was launched, 12 new primary schools and two new secondary schools have been built and a number of other schools have been remodelled and refurbished to provide top-class learning and community facilities.

Find out more at www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales/education

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