Tag Archives: Wales

Road crashes make up a fifth of trauma centre admissions

ONE in five patients admitted to trauma centres last year were involved in road traffic collisions, a charity has revealed.

Brake, based in West Yorkshire, has released the figures to coincide with the start of Road Safety Week.

It states that in 2016, 11,486 road users – the equivalent of 31 a day – were admitted to trauma centres in England and Wales with life-threatening injuries.

The number across Yorkshire and the Humber was 1,215, equating to a 21 per cent proportion of all trauma admissions.

The charity states that speeding was a factor in almost a quarter of fatal crashes last year, and is running its Speed Down Save Lives campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of driving too fast.

Jason Wakeford, of Brake, said: “Speeding is a factor in many deadly crashes and remains a major problem.”


Thieves swipe nearly 800 tins of biscuits from lorry

Smacking has no place in modern Wales, says minister

Smacking childImage copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Welsh Government wants to ban smacking in Wales

The physical punishment of children has no place in a modern and progressive Wales, children’s minister Huw Irranca-Davies has said.

Ahead of a consultation due to start in January on a proposed smacking ban, Mr Irranca-Davies said the practice was “no longer be acceptable”.

The comments have been welcomed by the children’s charity the NSPCC.

But campaigners against the change in the law said a smacking ban would criminalise ordinary parents.

Mr Irranca-Davies’ comments, re-affirming the government’s intention to legislate for the ban, are some of the strongest made on the subject by a Welsh Government minister.

The proposed change to the law, which under current plans would go before AMs for consideration next autumn, would remove the “reasonable punishment” defence in the law on common assault.

Ahead of an event in Swansea to mark Universal Children’s Day, Mr Irranca-Davies said: “Our understanding of what is needed to protect and support children and their families has changed considerably over the years, and societal norms have changed as a result”.

He said: “It can no longer be acceptable in a modern and progressive society for children to be physically punished.

“It is right that as a government, we take action to protect children and support parents to use positive and effective alternatives to physical punishment.”

Image caption Huw Irranca-Davies said it is “right” that the government takes action to protect children

Independent AM and UKIP Wales MEP Nathan Gill questioned how a smacking ban would be policed.

“I do not want any government to criminalise parenting and move one step closer to controlling every aspect of our lives,” he said.

An NSPCC spokesman said: “Every child deserves equal protection under the law and should be protected from such draconian forms of discipline.

“It is wrong that a defence, which does not exist in a case of common assault against an adult, can be used to justify striking a child.”

Changing the law, the NSPCC argued, would bring Wales in line with “dozens of countries”.

But Lowri Turner, a spokeswoman for the Be Reasonable Wales campaign group which is opposed to a ban, said: “There is nothing progressive about saying regardless of the results of the consultation you are committed to pressing on with punitive legislation that we know will criminalise ordinary parents.

“Those calling for this change continue to use hysterical and manipulative language. They try to make out that a gentle smack on the back of the legs from a loving mum is the same as beating up your kids. They are being disingenuous because it is not.”

“We urge all assembly members to listen to their constituents, to listen to the results of the consultation and explore ways of supporting them, rather than criminalizing them,” she added.

Labour AM Julie Morgan had campaigned for the change in the law before her party agreed to pass new legislation.

Referring to Mr Irranca-Davies’ comments, she said it was “very welcome to hear it said in such strong terms, because it signals that we’ve reached the stage now where we’re not going to talk about it anymore, we’re actually going to do it”.

Wales will not be the first part of the UK to consider legislation on smacking – the Scottish Government is supporting a proposed law by Green MSP John Finnie.

Heavy traffic on M62 after crash

Two arrested after police chase

Hurricane damage ‘heartbreaking’ – Prince Charles

Prince Charles visiting hurricane survivors in AntiguaImage copyright Getty Images

The Prince of Wales has described the destruction caused by Caribbean hurricanes as “utterly heartbreaking”.

After meeting homeless families in Antigua, he said it was “painful beyond words to see the devastation”.

Prince Charles is on three-day tour to see the damage caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria in September.

His visit came as the government announced a further £15m support for overseas territories affected by the hurricane, bringing the total to £92m.

Prince Charles met residents of Barbuda whose homes had been destroyed and who were being temporarily housed in Antigua.

‘Painful beyond words’

On Saturday, the heir to the throne will visit Barbuda itself, which was left “barely habitable” after Hurricane Irma’s destruction in September, according to Gaston Browne, prime minister of both the islands.

He will also visit the British Virgin Islands, where he is due to meet Red Cross staff who are supporting families left homeless.

Prince Charles said: “It was painful beyond words to see the devastation that was so cruelly wrought across the Caribbean by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in those few, terrible weeks in September.”

He said that across the Caribbean “the loss of life and property and the damage to the natural environment have been utterly heartbreaking”.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Prince Charles visits a clothing bank supporting displaced families from Barbuda

New International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt, who is set to join the Prince of Wales on his Caribbean visit, announced additional financial support of £12m for Dominica and £3m for Antigua and Barbuda.

Added to £15m recently allocated to the British Overseas Territories of Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands and Turks and Caicos, it brings the total UK support for reconstructing the region to £92m.

Prince Charles said his aim in making the visit was to show the Commonwealth’s support for people who had suffered in the hurricanes and to thank the aid and rescue workers who were supporting them.

He said: “The recent events in the Caribbean have helped to underline the importance of the Commonwealth as a family, whose members care deeply for each other in times of need.”

Chris Coleman leaves Wales role for Sunderland job

Chris Coleman has left his job with Wales to take over at Championship club Sunderland.

Coleman will succeed Simon Grayson, who was sacked after 18 games in charge.

The Football Association of Wales (FAW) confirmed: “Regretfully, Chris Coleman has resigned from his position with immediate effect.”

Ex-defender Coleman, 47, succeeded the late Gary Speed in 2012 and guided them to an historic appearance at Euro 2016, where they reached the semi-finals.

Disappointment followed as Wales failed to reach the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia.

FAW ‘extremely disappointed’ by Coleman departure

FAW chief executive Jonathan Ford said: “We are extremely disappointed to see Chris’ tenure as Wales manager come to an end.

“The FAW and Wales as a nation will be eternally grateful for the job he has done over the last six years as national team manager, from travelling the length and breadth of Wales outside of the media spotlight to talk to players and supporters, to guiding us to the semi-finals of the European Championships.

“We wish Chris the very best of luck for the future as he returns to club management, a desire for which he has always been honest and open about.”

After Wales’ qualifying campaign for the 2018 tournament ended in defeat by the Republic of Ireland, Coleman’s last two games in charge were a loss to France and home draw against Panama in November, 2017.

Negotiations between Coleman and the FAW continued after the game against the Central Americans.

Those talks ended with Coleman leaving. He had often spoken about hoping to return to the day-to-day demands of club management amid a career that has included being in charge of Fulham in the Premier League.

‘I’m gutted, really disappointed’ – Gabbidon

Ex-Wales defender Danny Gabbidon told BBC Sport Wales: “I’m gutted, really disappointed. I know all the fans will be, the players will be as well.

“I know how much they thought of the manager – he was more than just a manager.

“There was a kind of player relationship between the squad and the manager so they’ll be gutted hearing that news as well.”

Coleman’s reign began with Wales 48th in Fifa’s world rankings and it ends with them in 14th place.

He will take over at Sunderland, who are bottom of the Championship with one win, seven draws and eight defeats so far this season.

Sunderland are aiming to confirm a deal with Coleman by Sunday.

There is an expectation at the Stadium of Light he will be in charge for their away game against Aston Villa on Tuesday night.

Despite speculation over Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill, Coleman was the club’s number one target and no offers were made to other candidates.

Coleman wanted the FAW to employ head of performance Ryland Morgans and psychologist Ian Mitchell on full-time contracts.

The FAW also offered to spend £500,000 on upgrading training facilities.

More to follow.

Fireman Sam’s 30th

Image copyright Mattel

He’s Prince George’s hero next door. In fact, Fireman Sam has been on the scene for millions of children – and their parents – for 30 years.

The firefighter from Pontypandy heard his fire bell chime for the first time on November 17, 1987 on Welsh TV channel S4C.

Sam Tân may have put on his coat and hat in less than seven seconds flat, but it took almost five years to get the idea from concept to broadcast.

And it seems you can’t ignore him as Fireman Sam – Sam Tân in Welsh – is broadcast in 155 countries across the world, in 36 languages and has sold more than one million DVDs.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Duchess of Cambridge buys a Fireman Sam book for “besotted” Sam fan Prince George

“It’s the biggest ever brand to come out of Wales,” said assistant producer Mike Young, now a Hollywood-based Emmy and Bafta award-winning animator.

“Everyone around the world has heard of Fireman Sam – and it’ll outlast all of Wales‘ famous personalities.”

Image copyright Mattel

It even has Royal assent.

When asked what’s on the royal box, Prince William told BBC Radio 1 back in April: “Fireman Sam has taken an awful lot of interest.”

And to mark its 30th anniversary, Sam’s most famous fan is honoured as a Fireman Sam special ‘The Prince in Pontypandy’ will feature “a certain little Royal fan” alongside the original characters.

‘Memorabilia to icon’

It was an interview with Young on the John Dunn show on BBC Radio 2, talking about his first cartoon project SuperTed, that led to London firefighter Dave Jones getting the ball rolling in the early 1980s.

The member of White Watch at Clerkenwell fire station already had a memorabilia business creating fire officer figurines and created a firefighter character to use for bedtime stories for his four children.

Image copyright David Jones
Image caption Fireman Sam creator David Jones had a business creating figurines as well as being a firefighter

“When I heard Mike on the radio on my way home from work, I rang the BBC to get Mike’s number and sold him the idea,” recalled the former firefighter.

“I sent him a figurine casting that I had done. It was quite heavy so he couldn’t throw it away. Mike had it on his desk so it stayed in his mind. A few weeks later he rang back. The rest is history.”

When S4C wanted a successor to SuperTed in 1985, Fireman Sam was on the scene and went into production.

Sam had already been named by Dave’s eldest daughter Paula, who was 10 at the time, at bedtime at their house in Langley, Berkshire – but Sam needed friends and a hometown.

“I don’t know why she came up with Sam but it just sounded right,” added Dave.

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Media captionThe making of Fireman Sam’s much-loved characters

Fireman Sam was initially to be set in an “amorphous area of England, similar to Postman Pat’s home village of Greendale” to appeal more to the BBC.

“But I proposed to set it all in Wales as the south Wales valleys had a warmth and authentic ambiance and feel,” said Fireman Sam’s original storyteller, illustrator and co-founder Rob Lee.

Image copyright Rob Lee
Image caption Storyteller and illustrator Rob Lee at the Fireman Sam set at Bumper Film Western-Super-Mare

“A friend had just produced Family Ness about monsters in a lake in Scotland and that was very popular and fortunately the commissioners went for it.

“We could use the archetypical south Wales hills and valleys, a lovely old bridge and I was a big fan of Welsh cartoonist Gren – so we made the set a caricature of south Wales.”

Rob, a “real Cardiff boy”, had drawn Dennis The Menace and Whizzer and Chips comic strips before illustrating SuperTed books and “bringing Fireman Sam to life“.

“I was always told a great cartoon character had to be distinctive in profile and in black and white,” said Rob.

Image copyright Rob Lee
Image caption All of the products in Dilys Price’s shop were meticulously handmade

“That’s what Disney did with Mickey Mouse – so I gave Sam a quiff to stand out.”

Sam’s hometown of Pontypandy is a composite of the Welsh Valley towns of Pontypridd, Tonypandy and Pontypool.

“You can’t get more distinctive Welsh than that,” added Rob. “Everyone seemed to like it and it stuck!”

Dennis The Menace meets Hilda Ogden

Characters: Shopkeeper Dilys Price and paperboy son ‘naughty’ Norman

The creators behind Fireman Sam wanted a serious fire safety message behind a “loveable cartoon” – but knew their “animated soap opera” required an element of monkey business.

Image copyright Mattel
Image caption ‘Naughty’ Norman has shown interest in becoming a firefighter himself one day

“We couldn’t mess with Sam’s sense of morality and element of right or wrong,” added Rob.

“But for the cartoon to be a success, we didn’t want everyone saccharine, we need a bit of mischief.”

Step forward ‘naughty’ Norman Price, the seven-year-old paperboy scamp – and a relatively unknown sixyear-old from Cardiff.

Image copyright Mattel
Image caption Skateboarding paperboy Norman Price is the seven-year-old with a love of practical jokes

“There was an element of reality to Norman as I had a six-year-old boy and I drew on Dafydd’s character,” said scriptwriter Nia Ceidiog.

“Dafydd was quite a boy; he was always on wheels whether it was skateboarding, rollerskating, jumping off home-made ramps on his bike and probably being a bit of a nuisance.

“Norman shared Dafydd’s sense of adventure and played his mother up a treat. And his mother adored him so much, he’d get away with anything.”

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Dilys Price figure in construction and Coronation Street legend Hilda Ogden

While the character of Norman was based on young Dafydd, his look was from a familiar comic strip legend.

“I always loved Dennis The Menace so Norman is a bit of a Dennis rip-off,” added Rob.

“He was the obvious choice for a rascal.”

Image copyright Mattel
Image caption Grocery store owner Dilys Price is a Pontypandy mainstay and the town’s well-known gossip

His mother, shop owner Dilys Price – famed for shouting “Nooooooormaaaan Priiiiiice – is based on a soap opera legend.

“Dilys was a rip off of Hilda Ogden from Coronation Street,” recalled Rob.

“In fact [TV presenter] Carol Vorderman’s mum loved Dilys so much, I remember her coming up to me to talk about Dilys and said ‘that’s Hilda Ogden isn’t it?'”

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Media captionHow the singer of the famous Fireman Sam theme tune got just £250!

Elvis meets Dad’s Army

Characters: Station officer Norris Steele, firefighter Elvis Cridlington and Trevor ‘The Bus’ Evans

Sam’s firefighting colleagues are a mix of a clumsy Elvis Presley and an animated Captain Mainwaring, the Home Guard chief on BBC hit TV show Dad’s Army.

Station officer Norris Steele, Fireman Sam and firefighter Elvis CridlingtonImage copyright Mattel
Image caption Station Officer Steele, Fireman Sam and firefighter Cridlington are based at Pontypandy Fire Station

“There’s definitely a Captain Mainwaring element to Station Officer Steele,” said Rob.

“He thinks he’s terribly important and he thinks everyone else thinks he’s terribly important – but they don’t.

Captain George Mainwaring and Station office SteeleImage copyright Mattel
Image caption Dad’s Army character Cpt Mainwaring was the inspiration behind Station Officer Steele

“Elvis Criddlington has the Elvis sideburns and is always telling jokes and messing around, they’re both nice foils to Sam’s authoritarian standing.”

Trevor ‘The Bus’ Evans became an auxiliary firefighter to “make up the numbers” as creator Dave Jones said crews needed four firefighters in the cab on call-outs.

Sam's nephew James, niece Sarah and auxiliary firefighter Trevor EvansImage copyright Mattel
Image caption The Fireman Sam episode ‘The Kite’ was the first one broadcast in 1987.

“You certainly know why the buses are late in Pontypandy!” joked Rob. “Because Trevor was up a ladder somewhere!”

‘Gentle and loveable’

Characters: Italian cafe owner Bella Lasagne, twins Sarah and James

Italian cafe owner Bella Lasagne and twins Sarah and James, Sam’s niece and nephew, make up the original nine-character cast.

“Sarah and James were the vehicle for the young viewers,” recalled Rob.

Image copyright Mattel
Image caption Italian cafe owner Bella Lasagne always made Sam cheese and chutney sandwiches

Bella’s “gentle and loveable” character was in contrast to Dilys matriarchal approach.

“Everybody in Wales, especially in the south Wales valleys, will know a character like Bella,” said Nia.

“She was warm and kind and took a shine to Trevor. I don’t think the children would have been aware of the little love triangle between Bella, Trevor and Dilys – and the tension between the two shop owners.

“That added a little bit of edge.”

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Media captionMr Potato, Mr Fox, Mr Rabbit – and even Naughty Norman: John Sparkes is the voice all your children will know

Each episode of the ‘stop-frame animated’ twice-BAFTA nominated show took a month to create – but since 2008, Fireman Sam has been made with CGI graphics in Mattel’s HQ in Vancouver in Canada.

“It’s a beautiful portrayal of Wales and Welsh people ,” concluded Mike Young, now Wales’ most famous animator.

“It’s something the country should be so proud of.”

Police officers who rugby-tackled MP’s killer given medals for gallantry

TWO police officers who rugby-tackled MP Jo Cox’s killer moments after she was fatally attacked have been given the Queen’s Gallantry Medal.

Constables Craig Nicholls and Jonathan Wright were presented with the honour by the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace during an investiture ceremony on Thursday. They were rewarded “for great courage” after arresting Thomas Mair, the right-wing extremist who murdered the Labour MP for Batley and Spen, in June 2016.

Mr Wright said it was “amazing” to be given the honour, adding: “It’s just day-to-day work.”

On the day of the attack the two constables were on routine patrol in a police car when they heard about what had happened.

They spotted Mair roughly a mile from the scene and followed him into a cul-de-sac.

Mr Nicholls said: “He sort of gave us a look that was sinister, and then continued to walk down this cul-de-sac. It was a nice day and there were people out, kids in the street.”

Mr Wright said: “I opened the window down and started shouting at him. Craig said he had something in his hand.”

The constable told Mair to put his bag down, before the men got out of the vehicle and ran towards him. Mr Wright said: “He then reached towards his belt and we’ve then taken him to the floor.”

The police officers said receiving the award was “totally unexpected”, and something they “never thought” they would be given.

Woman arrested over Poppy Appeal collection box theft