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WRU slammed over insurance



Jayden Gibbons: Injured on tour.

Jayden Gibbons: Injured on tour.

A PONTHENRI mother has attacked the Welsh Rugby Union after it turned out that her son was not fully insured while on a club rugby tour.

15 year-old Jayden Gibbons was playing for Pontyberem RFC on a club tour to Ireland. In a game against Cork Dolphins he snapped his fibia and tibia in a tackle. “I tried moving my leg, and my ankle just fell to the floor,” he said.

Jayden was rushed to Cork University hospital with two club coaches in attendance. “They asked me how much pain I was in on a 1-10 scale, and I said 7, and they gave me pain relief and put a back slab on,” Jayden told us.

Even though his mother, Amanda had signed a form giving permission for the coaches to give consent to operate, she received a phone call that night saying that she had to go to Cork to sign a consent form. She left immediately and arrived in Cork early on Sunday morning. One of the club coaches had stayed with Jayden overnight. “The coaches were brilliant,” she said.

“When I got to the hospital, the consultant said that they wanted to operate, but he was sixteenth on the list, and they said it would be at least Wednesday before they could operate. Then he went down to 19th. They explained that we’d have to stay in Ireland for at least a few days after for Physiotherapy and checks, and they couldn’t put a time frame on how long we’d be there. I asked if it was possible to take him back to Wales for treatment, and the consultant gave consent and all the x-rays and medical details. They advised us to fly back.”

Meanwhile, back in Pontyberem, the club were in talks with the WRU. Before leaving, they had asked what insurance was necessary, and had been told to take out travel insurance, which everyone did. The club said that they received an email from the WRU which told them that players were insured during matches.

However, when they informed the WRU of the situation, the only response they got was that they would only pay out in cases of fatality or life-changing disability. Amanda then received a bill for the treatment that Jayden received in Ireland.

“If we had known they were only covered for fatality and disability, we’d have taken out our own insurance,” Amanda said.

“The coaches asked the WRU if we needed extra cover, and they said no, only travel insurance.”

Jayden’s leg has now been set, but he can’t walk on it for three months, and faces at least three months of recovery after the plaster is taken off.

Thankfully the club had raised money for the tour through its own fundraising activities, and they generously paid for Jayden’s treatment, as well as Amanda’s travel expenses.

“The club and the coaches have been amazing – I can’t thank them enough – but the WRU should have done this,” she pointed out.

She also thanked the hotel where Jayden stayed in Ireland, who let her stay there for free while she waited for news, and Stena Ferries, who helped transport Jayden home.

Amanda advised any club thinking about touring outside the UK to check the insurance policy thoroughly.

The Herald contacted the WRU asking for clarification on their insurance policies, but despite repeated phone calls, and emails, no one had responded at the time of going to press.

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Carmarthenshire’s sensory garden: why locals should embrace this wellness trend



WITH ‘#sensorygarden’ 499.1k views on TikTok – locals have the advantage of experiencing a sensory garden on their doorstep at the National Botanic Garden of Wales. Wildlife experts explain why you should visit.

Wildlife expert Sean McMenemy shares how sensory gardens can do wonders for our wellness whilst providing a safe haven for wildlife and encourages Carmarthenshire locals to visit their local sensory garden this autumn.

A sensory garden is an outdoor space that stimulates the five senses of sight, smell, touch, hearing and taste, and can be created in your own garden. Sensory gardens at home remain relatively rare, but the trend is growing with the TikTok hashtag ‘#sensorygarden’ amassing 499.1k views*. 

Carmarthenshire, dubbed the Garden of Wales, has a huge array of beautiful green spaces to explore. It’s home to the National Botanic Garden of Wales which spans a huge 568 acres, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. The stunning Great Glasshouse features a sensory trail that explores the largest single-span greenhouse in the world! From fluffy flowers from South Africa to a strongly scented Australian plant, it’ll engage all your senses. 

Having recently gifted King Charles with a beautiful oak sapling, the National Botanic Garden of Wales care deeply about the nation’s natural heritage. For those visiting the garden, the paths are wheelchair accessible with manual wheelchairs available on site. Open 10am – 6pm every day of the week.

Wildlife expert and founder of bird food provider Ark Wildlife, Sean McMenemy, explains the benefits of sensory gardening: “Sensory gardens provide a great deal of physical and mental benefits for different people and purposes. From getting vitamin D from sunlight to improving physical fitness by maintaining a garden, there are several physical benefits. Mentally, you can benefit from a mood boost and relaxation by spending time surrounded by calming stimulation.

“Sensory gardens can also have huge benefits for children, older people, those with learning disabilities and those who struggle with their physical and mental health. You can also create a sensory garden for your pets and garden wildlife!”

Top tips for creating your own sensory garden

If you do have the outdoor space, creating your own sensory garden is therapeutic in itself and doesn’t need to be a complicated process. The most important thing is to ensure that the garden engages all five senses. 

Melody Estes, landscape design gardening supervisor, says: “Whether you’re new to gardening or a seasoned pro, you can always improve your garden by adding some sensory elements.” 

Here are some tips from Melody for creating a sensory garden:

Sight – Plant colourful flowers that change with the seasons.

Sound – If you have a fountain or water feature on your property, consider adding some relaxing music to play alongside it. You could also place chimes near your front door to welcome people in.

Smell – Use scent. Consider planting scented flowers or herbs like lavender, rosemary and thyme that will give off a lovely aroma when they bloom.

Touch – Mix textures. The texture of plants can be as important as their colour and shape. Try using plants with soft leaves like ferns or grasses that are texturally different.

Taste – Planting herbs, fruits and vegetables not only provide tasty treats, but is a sustainable source of food.

Sean McMenemy adds: “Sensory gardens are an easy way to engage with wildlife and the outdoor environment. Growing your own plants and vegetables provides countless ways to learn about the natural world.

“You can bring your sensory garden to life by using bird feeders to attract beautiful feathered friends into your garden. They’ll bring the sound element to your sensory garden naturally. Fragrant flowers will attract colourful butterflies and other pollinators to your garden, giving you something to observe whilst helping nature to thrive.”

Some people may not have the time, money or space to create their own sensory garden. However, those with balconies and window ledges can still plant colourful, sweet-smelling flowers and edible plants. This mini sensory garden can still provide the benefits and satisfaction of an outdoor garden.

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Prince and Princess of Wales to visit Wales



THE PRINCE and Princess of Wales have planned a trip to Wales to visit a variety of communities across the nation and learn about the work of key charitable organisations. 

The Prince and Princess have a deep affection for Wales, having made their first family home in Anglesey, and have thoroughly enjoyed their previous visits and the warmth and kindness shown by the Welsh people. 

Their Royal Highnesses are looking forward to spending more time in Wales over the next few years, they hope to strengthen their relationship with communities in all parts of Wales. 

During their first engagement, Their Royal Highnesses will visit the RNLI Holyhead Lifeboat Station, where they will meet crew, volunteers and some people who have been supported by their local unit.

Holyhead is one of the three oldest lifeboat stations on the Welsh coast and has a remarkable history of bravery, having received 70 awards for gallantry. 

Their Royal Highnesses will then take a short walk to the Holyhead Marine and Cafe Bar, where they will meet local people, including representatives of small businesses and organisations, including the Coastguard and Sea Cadets. 

In their second engagement, the Prince and Princess of Wales are expected to visit Swansea. 

Their Royal Highnesses will visit St Thomas Church, a re-developed church in Swansea which supports people in the local area and across the City and County of Swansea. 

Over the last two years the church has been transformed into a thriving community hub and is home to a vast array of services, including:

  • A foodbank which supports over 200 people per week
  • Swansea Baby Basics which distributes essential items for vulnerable mothers across the city, such as toiletries and clothes
  • Facilities for the homeless including food, showers and toilets
  • A not-for-profit cafe and community training kitchen
  • A surplus food distribution network which collects food from supermarkets at the end of each day and distributes it from the church to prevent food waste and to help end food poverty

As part of their visit, Their Royal Highnesses will meet those volunteering at the church across different initiatives including Baby Basics and the foodbank. Their Royal Highnesses will also spend some time meeting members of the public gathered outside the church. 

The Princess of Wales has previously worked with Baby Banks and the in summer of 2020 brought together 19 British brands and retailers to donate over 10,000 new items to more than 40 baby banks nationwide, operated by Baby Basics, Little Village and AberNecessities. 

Her Royal Highness has visited a number of baby banks across the UK, including in London, Sheffield and West Norfolk where she has spent time speaking with families about their experiences of using their local baby bank services, as well as helping unload donations. 

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Carmarthenshire farmer dies following attack by bull near Llandeilo



A FARMER has died following an incident with a bull on a farm in Llandeilo.

The 58-year-old, named locally as Maldwyn Harrier, was attacked by the animal during a TB test on Friday morning.

Police have confirmed that they were called to a farm in the Penybanc area of Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire, and are investigating alongside the Health and Safety Executive. 

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