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Friday, June 22, 2018

Summer Reading Challenge volunteers sought

Denbighshire Library Service is on the look-out for young volunteers to help with this year’s Summer Reading Challenge.
Last year, 3,394 children got involved in the challenge and the service is looking to repeat last year’s success by involving volunteers.
The theme for this year is Mischief Makers.
Young people aged between 14 and 24 are invited to sign up as volunteers and will benefit from valuable work experience, the opportunity to develop confidence and social skills, as well as making a positive contribution to the local community.
Volunteers will sign up children to the challenge and help them find and choose books, help children and families to use the challenge website and to assist with events in the county’s libraries.
The volunteers will need to commit to a minimum of three hours across four weeks.
They will need good communication skills and preferably a willingness to engage with children and families in both Welsh and English, an interest in supporting and working with children, and in books and reading and a flexible, friendly approach to tasks undertaken, punctuality and reliability.
* For further information, please contact the local library. Details can be found on www.denbighshire.gov.uk/libraries
 

Top stand-up man to open the Fringe

Lloyd Langford is set to kick off the first night of Llangollen Fringe Festival’s 21st birthday, joined by a host of very special guests on Thursday July 19 at Llangollen Town Hall.

Llangollen Comedy Club has been gaining momentum all year, and aims to go out with a bang for the season finale.

Langford (pictured) is a stand-up comedian, writer and self-proclaimed ‘actor of incredibly limited range’.

He has appeared on QI (BBC1) Never Mind The Buzzcocks (BBC2).

On radio he has been featured on the Rhod Gilbert Show (BBC Radio Wales) and The Unbelievable Truth (BBC Radio 4).

He has also written for numerous TV comedies including Russell Howard’s Good News, Jon Richardson: Ultimate Worrier, and Man Down.
  
He's been invited to comedy festivals all over the world, including Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Montreal's Just For Laughs Festival and the Christchurch Busker's Festival.

His stand-up is a winning combination of jokes, personal anecdotes, petty grievances and offbeat observations.

Langford is joined on a stellar bill  - the festivals biggest to date - by ELIZA CARTHY & THE WAYWARD BAND, LEE SCRATCH PERRY, CRAIG CHARLES, MARK RADCLIFFE and LINTON KWESI JOHNSON.

There will also be a return of BAND FOR A DAY, the music themed STEAM TRAIN and AQUEDUCT BOAT trips, and many other fringe events.

The event rounds off with its now legendary closing concert in the stunning surrounds of VALLE CRUCIS ABBEY.

The Fringe Finale will this year feature the ethereal sound of GOLDEN FABLE and THE NEW SINFONIA ORCHESTRA.

* A limited number of tickets for Lloyd Langford at the Comedy Club Finale are on sale now at www.llangollenfringe.co.uk

Tickets for all other performances are also available from www.llangollenfringe.co.uk or by calling the Fringe box office:  0800 1455 779

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Plas Newydd's art exhibition for July - Rosie Davies

TIRWEDDAU A LLANGOLLEN

LLANGOLLEN & LANDSCAPES

ARDDANGOSFA GELF

SOLO ART EXHIBITION
ROSIE DAVIES

Gorffennaf . July 2018

PLAS NEWYDD

Hill St, Llangollen. LL20 8AW

e:bost / e mail: plasnewydd@denbighshire.gov.uk

Ff»Źn / Phone: 01978 862834

ROSIE DAVIES, TITHE BARN STUDIO & GALLERY

Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog, LL20 7LD

rosie@tithebarnwales.co.uk : 01691 600310

Gweler rhagor o with Rosie ar : www.tithebarnwales.co.uk

See more of Rosie’s work at : www.tithebarnwales.co.uk

Tea room has its official opening


* Carl Pottenger and Sally Roberts with Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas.
Photographs by Mark Fetherstone. 


* Froncysyllte Male Voice Choir sang at the official opening.

A former derelict chapel has been brought back to life thanks to a couple who quit their jobs to make their dream of running a tea room come true. 

Business partners Sally Roberts and Carl Pottenger of Trevor, near Llangollen, took on the ambitious project in 2016 to convert the former Bryn Seion Chapel on Station Road into the Pontcysyllte Chapel Tea Room, close to Thomas Telford’s famous Aqueduct.

The aqueduct gained World Heritage Status in 2004 and has seen the area boosted by increased visitor numbers since.   

Sally and Carl recognised the gap in the market to provide those visitors with a quality eatery close by, showcasing some of the best local produce available. 

The ambitious project was boosted by a £30k grant from the Welsh Government’s Tourism Investment Support Scheme. They now employ 12 staff on a full-time, part-time and casual basis.

Carl oversaw the renovations, ensuring local craftsmen were employed to carry out the work. Sally set about identifying and applying for funding, before quitting her job with a high street bank last year to concentrate on the project full time. 

Phase two of the project is already underway with the transformation of the remainder of the building into five modern, airy bedrooms - two on the ground floor, including one with disabled access and three on the upper floor. It is intended that two bedrooms will be completed and available from mid-July. 

Sally Roberts said: “It was certainly a daunting prospect to purchase the chapel but I’d seen it falling into disrepair on a daily basis in recent years and thought what a great tea room and B&B it would make. So when I met Carl we both decided to make it a joint venture and took the leap to buy the property.

“We have received such a lot of support from advisors including the Welsh Government and Business in Wales, as well as the community. We are now focusing our efforts on attracting more day visitors from further afield. It’s important we link closely with other areas in the vicinity of the aqueduct to improve the visitor experience to the area as tourism is the lifeblood of many communities around here, particularly being so close to Llangollen.”

Carl Pottenger, who was brought up on the other side of the aqueduct in nearby Froncysyllte said: “The chapel was in a pretty bad state of repair when we got it but that didn’t put us off. We decided very early on that we wanted to create a real ‘wow’ factor when you stepped through our doors and we believe we have achieved that with the help of some superb local craftspeople who have worked with us. We’ve even matched the woodwork to the original pulpit which we have preserved as a key piece in the premises.”

The Pontcysyllte Tea Room opened its doors in February and was officially opened by Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas, AM and Minister for Culture, Tourism & Sport on Monday.

The Wales Government offers grants under the Tourism Investment Support Scheme for ‘Distinctive Stand Out Projects’. 

Lord Elis-Thomas said: “I’d like to congratulate Sally and Carl for their vision in seeing the potential in this historic building and turning it into this excellent tea room. As well as being a welcome addition for visitors attracted to this iconic World Heritage Site, they’re also creating new jobs in the tourism sector in north east Wales.

"With the ambiance of a Welsh Chapel, the nearby Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and the Welsh produce on offer - the Pontcysyllte Chapel Tea Room has a strong sense of place and an excellent story to tell. I’m delighted that we’ve been able to support this venture and wish the owners well as they complete the accommodation phase of the project.”

Councillor Rondo Roberts, Wrexham County Borough Councillor for Llangollen Rural ward, said: “Sally and Carl have invested so much time, effort and money into making sure this project is successful and also given the local economy a boost by creating brand new jobs and using local suppliers throughout the process. They continue to do this as the business is growing by engaging with food producers in the locality to create a real taste of Wales experience. I wish them well for the future.”

* Follow the Pontcysyllte Chapel Tearoom on Facebook  and Twitter @ponttearoom

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

AM questions government on cannabis-based medicines

With the UK Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, having announced a review into the use of cannabis-based medicines in the UK, which could lead to their re-scheduling and pave the way for doctors to issue prescriptions for treatments,  North Wales Assembly Member and Chair of the Cross Party Group on Neurological Conditions, Mark Isherwood,  has called on the Welsh Government to outline how it proposes to deal with the matter.
In yesterday’s Business Statement Mr Isherwood, who has been working with MS Society Cymru on this issue for some time, backed the call for a Welsh Government Statement regarding the provision of medicinal cannabis on prescription, referring to the well-publicised case of Billy and Charlotte Caldwell.
He said: “You may recall that in January, I led a Debate in the Assembly, as Chair of the Cross Party Group on Neurological Conditions, highlighting that this wasn't about one person, it was about multiple people, with multiple conditions, who were already being forced to access cannabis illegally, rather than having individually distillated prescriptions to meet their particular needs.
“After that Debate, I hosted Billy and his mother Charlotte in this Assembly, and they told us their story. We heard that Billy used to suffer up to 100 seizures a day until he began treatment with cannabis oil, following successful treatment in Los Angeles by a children's epilepsy specialist, and he became virtually seizure free. On return from Los Angeles, Charlotte told us, he became the first person to be prescribed medicinal cannabis on the UK NHS. 

“Charlotte has been campaigning for medicinal cannabis from the NHS, recognising the desperation felt by many families fighting to be afforded the same access that she fought so hard for. And she was adamant, and remains adamant, that this is a separate issue entirely, and must not become confused with debates over recreational use, or broader drug legalization.

“She contacted me again in May, after her doctor was summoned to a meeting with Home Office officials and told to desist writing the prescriptions. After that, I wrote to the Home Secretary, urging him and his officials to urgently contact her to find a resolution and a way forward.

“We heard that the UK Government has now set out plans for an expert clinical panel to look at individual cases, and I know, in January, I was calling on the Welsh Government to put in place preparations within the Welsh NHS for potential prescription here. I would be grateful for a detailed statement acknowledging the issue and detailing how the Welsh Government proposes to address this, in alignment with the UK, but also in the devolved context, and hopefully add its voice of support, a voice that sadly wasn't fulsome when I led the Debate in January."

Leader of the House Julie James AM said she will “discuss with the Cabinet Secretary (Health) where we are and make sure that he updates Members in the most appropriate way."

Tourism Minister shown work on Corwen station



* From left: Phil Rogers (guide), Richard Dixon-Gough (project manager), Liz McGuinness (business manager) with Lord Elis Thomas AM.
Members of the Llangollen Railway’s Corwen station development team welcomed the Welsh Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport, Lord Elis Thomas, on Monday when he visited the site to see progress on the volunteer-led project.

During an escorted visit he was shown the major civil engineering work which is creating a new terminus station for the Dee Valley’s heritage railway.
Apart from the continuing work on a new island platform, the Minister was able to see the newly installed water tank which has been built locally to modern standards and connects for supply with an environmentally friendly borehole.
In a briefing which followed the Minister was told about the effort still needed to complete the station in time for an opening in 2019, when the new rail facility will be connected to the existing rail head and trains can end close to town centre.
Project manager Richard Dixon-Gough said: “We were delighted with the opportunity to welcome the Minister and show him the substantial progress that has been made with the building of the new platform which has received 80% grant aid funding from the European Rural Development Fund for Wales.”

Lord Elis Thomas said: "I am very impressed with what has been achieved by the volunteer-led project team in creating the new railway station for Corwen.
"The completion of this project will add a new dimension to tourist facilities in North East Wales and will secure the future of the Llangollen Railway as a major attraction in the beautiful Dee Valley."

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Band needs new talent to keep on playing



* The Silver Band in its early days, probably before World Ware One, passing by what is now Centenary Square at the end of Bridge Street.
Look closely to see a fountain amongst the trees.

* The present-day Silver Band, led by Mia Thomas, in last year's Eisteddfod parade.  


* ... and braving the weather in last year's Christmas parade.
Special llanblogger report
Llangollen Silver Band, which has played on without a break since 1904, is now on the lookout for new blood to help keep it in tune for at least another century.
Its chairman Bob Lube, who himself joined the band’s ranks as a drummer 41 years ago, says the search is currently on for a new conductor for its successful senior section along with likely players of any age from eight years onwards.

“We were formed 114 years ago and are very proud of the fact that we’ve been playing continuously ever since, even during wartime,” he said.
“We play regular dates throughout the year, which includes about 15 concerts and lots of fetes and special events such as leading the Remembrance Day, Christmas and International Eisteddfod parades in Llangollen.

“We perform mostly in north Wales but we’ve also appeared in the neighbouring areas of England such as Cheshire and Shropshire.”
Now, Bob added, the band is looking for a likely candidate to take over the important role of conductor to the senior band.

He explained: “We have three sections – the senior band, which currently comprises about 20 accomplished players, the youth band of about 15-16 members and the training band with around the same number.
“The senior band is obviously one which plays all the important dates and it’s their conductor we’re after.

“The role was admirably filled for a number of years by Trevor Williams and more recently we’ve had the very promising young conductor Mia Thomas. But now she’s moved on and we’re in need of a replacement.
“The person we appoint could be any age but obviously must have experience of conducting. They should also be capable of fitting in with the band and helping to bring on our young players, which is very important to us.

“The person could also be local but we’re prepared to pay reasonable expenses for anyone who has to travel a bit.”
Bob said the silver band is also hoping to recruit new players to boost its ranks.

“As with most things, we have young people joining us as children and then when they grow up they often move away to go to university and things like that. So it would be good to recruit a few more potential players aged eight and over to fill the gaps this creates.
“But it’s not just youngsters, we’re also after more mature players. These might be people who have played an instrument when they were younger, given it up but now want to get back into it. At the moment, we’re particularly looking for a drummer.

“Our motto is music at the heart of the community, which was personified by one of our most stalwart members, Albert Hammonds who died in 2012. We have a proud record of playing since 1904 and want to keep going for another century.”
Regular practice sessions for the seniors are held on Mondays from 7-9pm in the Band Room in Parade Street, which underwent a £100,000 refurbishment in 2012 thanks to grants and the band’s own fundraising. The training and youth bands meet up every Friday in the same place from 6-8.30pm.

* More details about vacancies can be found on the band’s website at: http://www.llangollensilverband.org.uk/