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Wurf and Gossage win close Ironman

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AUSTRALIA’s Cameron Wurf and Great Britain’s Lucy Gossage were the Ironman Champions in Tenby yesterday (Sept 10).

The town welcomed over 10,000 visitors for the excitement and thrill of one of the world’s toughest races.

Athletes from 45 countries took part in what is one of Pembrokeshire’s biggest sporting events.

The 2017 instalment of this epic test of human edurance featured some of the world’s best professional Ironman athletes competing alongside close to 2200 age group athletes

Wurf, who finished in just over nine hours, was only eighth after the swim but an excellent bike race put him up to the top spot with a time of 5:53:22.

That put him nine minutes ahead of Britain’s Philip Graves, who eventually went on to finish second.

Wurf had a great run but was kept on his toes as Graves, and Germany’s Christian Kramer stuck by the Australian.

After 3.8km of the run, Wurf held a nine minute lead but Graves and Kramer brought that down to just under seven minutes after 18.6km.

Kramer continued to eat away at Wurf’s lead and brought it down to just under three minutes but he was unable to sustain his challenge.

Graves then re-took second place from Kramer but Wurf extended his lead to four minutes with seven kilometres still to go.

Wurf held on and won the event by two and a half minutes with Kramer eventually finishing seven minutes behind Wurf.

Croatia’s Andrej Vistica finished strongly to claim fourth place and GB athlete Matthew Leeman completed the top five.

In the Women’s event, Lucy Gossage, who won Ironman Wales in 2013, again crossed the line in first place with a time of 10:11:20.

She pulled out an excellent lead to finish nearly 24 minutes ahead of second placed Parys Edwards.

Third place went to GB’s Kate Comber who finished with a time of 10:44:02.

Gossage held a 16 minute lead at the start of the run after a great ride on the bike and she maintained her lead for a comfortable win.

Comber had finished the swim in first place while Gossage was down in tenth place but an excellent changeover put her third at the start of the bike ride.

Gossage then led the rest of the race for her third win of the year, having previously won the Ironman UK event in July and the Ironman 70.3 in Staffordshire in June.

Ahead of the event, it was announced that the Ironman event had been secured for another five years.

Tenby has been the starting and finishing point of phenomenally popular annual triathlon since 2011, with the current Race Director, Lisa Dent, calling the location one of ‘the most stunning courses I’ve ever seen’.

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One thousand march to save Withybush Hospital A&E services

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Over 1,000 people marched in Haverfordwest today (June 16) to show their support for the A&E department at Withybush General Hospital.

The protesters marched from Haverfordwest football club, leaving  at 11.30am and made their way via Bridge Street to Castle Square, and then around to the Riverside Shopping Centre, and back to the field behind the football club where a family fun day had been organised.

There were rumours that there would be inclement weather for the protest, but just on cue, the sun came out as the first walkers left the field for what many were describing as a “now or never” attempt to retain services at Withybush.

Conservative politicians joined the march including local MP’s Simon Hart and Stephen Crabb as well as Paul Davies AM. County Councillors and representatives from the Labour party were also at the protest, amongst others.

Stephen Crabb MP told The Herald that all of the University Health Board’s proposals for Withybush Hospital included a “downgrade”, and that this was not acceptable for the people of Pembrokeshire. In a passionate interview with Herald TV he said that today was the day that “local people fight for the services that they deserve.”

Mr Crabb said that he knew that recruitment of staff was a “challenge across the whole of the UK” but the Health Board need to be told they need to do more for Pembrokeshire.

Just before the protest, the admin of the Save Withybush Group on Facebok posted: “Over 22,000 have joined this group and almost 23,000 have signed the petition so we know there is massive support among the people of Pembrokeshire to save our hospital. Now we just need everyone to turn out this Saturday and show Hywel Dda Health Board that we mean business and that they will not get away with closing our A&E or any of the vital services at Withybush.”

Drivers of vehicles honked their horns as they drove past the protest which was led by musicians from the Saint City Jazz Band from St Davids.

Many people told Herald reporters that they felt that the hospital had been “deliberately undermined” ans that uncertainty created by the Health Board themselves in relation to hospital services was having a negative effect on the recruitment of staff.

This large march and fun day is described by organisers as the first stage in a summer of action to fight for services at Withybush Hospital.

Those who have not already done so are urged to fill in the consultation document published by Hywel Dda University Health Board.

  • Photography by Mike Hillen and Aad Oostermeijer.
  • Additional reporting by Matthew Roberts

 

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Pembroke Dock: Dog in black bag found dead in water

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A SHOCKING image of a dead dog which was found in the water at Pembroke Port, wrapped in a black bag, has been sent to The Herald.

The image was sent to us by a local man who pulled the bag out of the water.

Once on the dry land, he realised that tragically the remains of a dog was inside.

The shocking uncensored image is below.

WARNING: Upsetting imagery follows.

A witness at the scene told the Herald that police were called to the scene following the discovery.

The man who made the discovery told us: “The bag was down floating by the tugs, Pembroke Port, it looked like a tent bag at first.

“We pulled it up and took it on the walkway to cut it open – we didn’t know what it was.

“Once it was opened, we could see there were stones inside, and then as we opened it more it was obvious the dog was inside.

“To be honest, it looked like it had been in there a while.”

The man then told us that as he left the scene, a member of the tugboats called the police.

“It’s not nice, horrible to see, not nice at all. It didn’t look like a young dog but you don’t have any idea really with it in that state,” he added.

The Herald has contacted Dyfed-Powys Police for more information.

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Judge halves jail term for man convicted of fraud

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A FIRST CLASS honours graduate who targeted stores in Haverfordwest for fraud will soon be free after senior judges halved his jail term.

Siphosenkosi Hutton Maplanka was jailed for 12 months at Swansea Crown Court on March 22.

The 31-year-old, of Ger Yr Ysgol, Burry Port, near Llanelli, admitted three counts of fraud.

Maplanka targeted Debenhams and Tesco branches on July 12 last year, Judge David Stockdale QC told London’s Appeal Court today.

His mode of operation was to take clothing from displays and put it in a bag and then seek to exchange it.

He would claim to have bought the items previously from another store in the same group.

Using this method, he got Debenhams to refund him £260 and Tesco to shell out £140.

He came unstuck when he returned to Debenhams on July 23 last year and tried to repeat the scam but was recognised by staff.

Maplanka had been before the courts on 13 previous occasions for 22 offences, including 10 frauds, said the judge.

His barrister, John Tarrant, argued that his jail term was far too harsh and should be reduced.

Maplanka’s crimes were not sophisticated, nor the result of significant planning, claimed the barrister.

While he had ‘similar’ previous convictions, they dated back several years – and he had won a first class honours degree since then.

Judge Stockdale, sitting with two other judges, said Maplanka’s crimes were ‘not in our judgment sophisticated’.

The frauds ‘did not require significant planning’ and the loss to the stores was ‘modest’.

Maplanka’s previous convictions were ‘a significant and potent aggravating factor’, said the judge.

But he added: “In view of the absence of offences in the last five years and, allowing for all we have heard and read in mitigation, we do consider the sentence is manifestly excessive.”

Judge Stockdale reduced Maplanka’s jail term from 12 months to six months.

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