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Horse and owner whose lives have been changed by brain tumours take on marathon trot to help find a cure

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A WOMAN from Monmouthshire and her beloved horse are taking on a marathon challenge for a charity helping to find a cure for brain tumours after BOTH their lives were changed forever by the disease.

Shire sports horse Bertie who, at just three years old is already 17 hands tall, was taken in by Rose McRae Equine Services in Monmouthshire and is now on permanent loan with Jenny Jones, 57, from Usk, after his owner died from a brain tumour. 

Jenny’s son Calum was diagnosed with the disease in 2013 after suffering from headaches. Now the pair are stepping out to raise money for the charity Brain Tumour Research by taking part in its Jog 26.2 Miles in May Challenge.

Calum was 19 when he was diagnosed with a grade 1 glioma in January 2013 whilst studying motor mechanics at Brecon Beacons College. Doctors initially thought he was suffering from migraines. Calum, who is now 28, was referred to Evans and Jones opticians in Llandrindod Wells in Powys, Wales, after he began to suffer visual disturbances. 

The optometrist sent him to A&E at Hereford County Hospital after noticing his optic discs were full of fluid which was a result of intracranial pressure.

Mum-of-two, Jenny, who has worked in nursing for 39 years said: “Being in the healthcare profession helped me understand Calum’s diagnosis but it didn’t make it any easier to accept. It’s a tricky balance trying to remain his mum, but also knowing the medical side of things too.”

Following a lumbar puncture and CT scan, which came back clear, Calum’s condition worsened and a second opinion saw him referred to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham where an MRI scan revealed the devastating news of a mass on Calum’s brain.

He had a second operation to save his eyesight and relieve the build-up of pressure on his brain, however due to its location, the tumour itself is inoperable.

Calum has since completed his motor mechanic course and is nearing the end of his first year studying engineering at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David Technium (UWTSD) in Swansea.

Jenny said: “Following his diagnosis, Calum suffered from low mood and on his 25th birthday he had three grand mal seizures. From that point, something in him changed and he decided to go back to college; his outlook became much more positive.”

Calum now has three-yearly MRI scans to monitor the tumour and his last scan in October showed it is stable.

Jenny said: “I know that Calum’s tumour can change and become more aggressive, it’s something we live with every day. I want this disease to be gone.”

Jenny, who has been a horse owner for 46 years, has clocked up eight miles already through a combination of riding and in-hand, taking to the lanes of Gwehelog with young Bertie, who despite his young age is already 17 hands high, to raise awareness and fundraise to help fund the fight and find a cure for brain tumours.

She added: “I’ve now got Bertie on permanent loan and I have since found out that his owner died from a brain tumour – doing the challenge with him feels even more special now.

“Until March Bertie was feral. He’s come on so far since then and the plan is to jog up the hills and trot down them. I’m excited for the challenge and really hope that together, Bertie and I can help other families who may be living with their own diagnosis.”

Mel Tiley, community development manager at Brain Tumour Research, said: “Calum’s story is a stark reminder of how indiscriminate brain tumours are, affecting anyone at any age, yet historically just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease. We’re determined to change this and are so grateful for the support of people like Jenny whose fundraising efforts enable us to continue funding vital research and to, ultimately, find a cure.”

Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at dedicated centres in the UK. It also campaigns for the Government and the larger cancer charities to invest more in research into brain tumours in order to speed up new treatments for patients and, ultimately, to find a cure. 

The charity is the driving force behind the call for a national annual spend of £35 million in order to improve survival rates and patient outcomes in line with other cancers such as breast cancer and leukaemia and is also campaigning for greater repurposing of drugs.

You can donate to Jenny’s fundraiser by visiting this link:  www.facebook.com/donate/674470717190224

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Carmarthenshire Archives’ new building officially opened

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ON MONDAY, November 28, Cllr Rob Evans, Chair of Carmarthenshire County Council, unveiled a specially designed plaque to commemorate the official opening of the brand new Carmarthenshire Archives building.

The official opening was attended by year 6 pupils of Ysgol Y Dderwen, along with their Headteacher Mr Dylan Evans, who designed the plaque by compiling various artwork and sketches that are housed at the Archives.

Established in 1959, Carmarthenshire Archives is the local authority archive service for the County of Carmarthenshire and the new building is located at St Peter’s Street, Carmarthen. 

The service is home to our extensive collection of historic documents that date from the 13th century to the present day. The collection includes archives, maps, books, photographs, videos and sound recordings. It is the Archives’ mission to preserve and make its documents available for general study and research.

Admission to Carmarthenshire Archives is free and open to anyone who wishes to use the Council’s records. Most of its services are free, but we do charge for some extra services and help.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Leisure, Culture and Tourism, Cllr Gareth John commented:

“Congratulations to the pupils of Ysgol Y Dderwen, they have designed an excellent and appropriate plaque that is inspired by the treasure troves of our archives. It was wonderful to welcome them to the official opening so that they can see their work take pride of place at a building that holds great significance to us in Carmarthenshire. 

“This is a brand new and modern building that is fit to keep and protect our county’s most precious historical documents. 

“But of course, these documents are meant to be viewed and studied by school children, students, academics and anybody who has an interest in Carmarthenshire’s rich history; and this excellent facility provides the perfect space for people to come and view these treasures.”

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Llandeilo gas works to begin say Wales & West Utilities

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WALES & West Utilities will shortly begin work to upgrade gas pipes in Llandeilo.

Wales & West Utilities has liaised with Carmarthenshire County Council to plan the work and it has been agreed that work will commence after the town has celebrated the Festival of Senses.

The £123,000 investment scheme, which is essential to keep the gas flowing safely to heat and power local homes and businesses, will begin in New Road on 21 November. This section of work will be complete before Christmas and Wales & West Utilities will return to the town next year to undertake further work in the Crescent Road area. Barring any engineering difficulties, work in the town will be complete by the end of February next year.

Wales & West Utilities Adam Smith is managing this gas pipe upgrade work. He said: “Working with the Council, we have planned this work to accommodate the needs of the town.

“While most of the gas network is underground and out of sight, it plays a central role in the daily lives of people across Llandeilo. Whether it’s heating your home, making the family dinner or having a hot bath, we understand how important it is for your gas supply to be safe and reliable and there when you need it.

“We know that working in areas like this is not ideal, but it really is essential to make sure we keep the gas flowing to homes and businesses in the area, and to make sure the gas network is fit for the future. We’ll have a team of gas engineers on site throughout the project to make sure our work is completed as safely and as quickly as possible while keeping disruption to a minimum.

“This work is essential to keep the gas flowing to local homes and businesses today, and to make sure the gas network is ready to transport hydrogen and biomethane, so we can all play our part in a green future.”

Our Customer Service Team is ready to take your call if you have any questions about our work. You can contact them on freephone 0800 912 2999.

Alternatively, you can contact us on Twitter @WWUtilities or Facebook.com/WWUtilities.

Wales & West Utilities, the gas emergency and pipeline service, brings energy to 7.5m people across the south west of England and Wales. If you smell gas, or suspect the presence of carbon monoxide, call us on 0800 111 999 straight away, and our engineers will be there to help any time of day or night. Before visiting, we’ll ask you to let us know if you or anyone in your household, is experiencing Coronavirus symptoms or self-isolating. We’ll still come and help you: but our teams will take some additional precautions to keep us all safe.

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Police appeal following theft of items from Home Bargains Crosshands

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OFFICERS from Dyfed Powys Police have confirmed that they are investigating the theft of items, including a Christmas Nutcracker Ornament valued at £129.99, from the Home Bargains store in Crosshands, Carmarthenshire.

The theft occurred at about 12:40pm on Tuesday, 27th September 2022.

Officers have carried out all possible lines of enquiry, and are now appealing for help from the public.

They would like to identify the people in the CCTV image, who may have information that could help the investigation.

Anyone who knows who the people are, or if you believe you are pictured, contact Dyfed-Powys Police.

This can also be done either online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.police.uk or phoning 101.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

Please quote reference DPP/2006/27/09/2022/02/C

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.

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