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Thursday, December 14, 2017

Eisteddfod's December update

It has been a busy month in the Eisteddfod office not least because we have been able to launch the main 2018 concert strand and tickets go on sale at 9.30 am today, Thursday December 14.
I am delighted that our new Music Director Vicky Yannoula has been able to secure a star-studded concert line-up, featuring performances from best-selling artist, Alfie Boe, prolific recording artist, Van Morrison, renowned baroque instrumental group, Red Priest, and award winning Welsh folk band, Calan.

The concert series offers something for everyone and reflects the musical excellence and diversity that is at the heart of the Eisteddfod. 

Tickets will be available online at or via the box office on 01978 862 001 and we would recommend that you buy early to get the best seats. 

Full details of the line-up are: 

Alfie Boe in Concert – Tuesday July 3

The 2018 event will open with one of Britain’s biggest selling, most popular and best loved vocalists of a generation, Alfie Boe. The hugely successful recording artist and West End, Broadway sensation will be joined by his ensemble of stellar musicians, and will performs songs from his iconic, chart-topping albums.

The Classical Collection  - Wednesday July 4

This evening will encapsulate the magic of two of our favourite instruments – the piano and the human voice, featuring our new Music Director, and the International Voice of the Future final.

International Celebration with special guests Calan – Thursday July 5

Celebrate the colour, sound and diversity of our international competitors, along with award winning band, Calan who will set feet tapping with their quirky interpretation of Welsh folk music. 

An Evening with Van Morrison – Friday July 6

What a thrill and an honour to be welcoming Sir Van Morrison, one of the most prolific recording artists and live performers in music history - it will be an evening not to be missed.

Choir of the World with special guests Red Priest – Saturday July 7

The Eisteddfod’s competitions will reach their exciting climax as the very best performers compete for the titles of Choir of the World 2018 and the Dance Champions of the World 2018. Our special guests Baroque instrumental group, Red Priest, will captivate the audience with their technical wizardry and showmanship. 

Watch out for further announcements in the new year about the line-up for Llanfest 2018. 
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Dr Rhys Davies,
Eisteddfod Chairman

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Horseshoe Pass re-opens

Denbighshire County Council says the Horseshoe Pass is now open again, although ice warnings are still in place.

Honour for local radio presenter

Calon FM presenter Jan Rawlinson has been recognised for her support for classical music.

Jan fronts Calon FM's Sunday early afternoon show Classical Crossover, which is a favourite with people in Llangollen and where she plays and promotes tracks from the classical world of music covering both national and local talent.

In recognition of encouraging the interest of classical crossover music, Jan was recently given a huge pictorial montage from classical music stalwarts, Kevin Wrapson and Nicola Heales.

The montage included photos and handwritten words of gratitude from many of artists she has played and also interviewed on her 12-2pm Sunday show.

Jan said on being presented the honour: "I'm extremely touched to receive this montage with these words of thanks from Kevin, Nicola & the artists. I'm proud to have played and interviewed so many talented artists.

"I'll be looking forward to playing all the great classical crossover music new and old throughout next year, every Sunday 12-2pm."

New Dot's 2018 screening programme

Llangollen's NEW Dot community cinema has released details of its 2018 programme ...

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Big community effort saves dog on freezing night

A massive community search effort helped save the life of a dog who went missing in sub-zero temperatures near Dinas Bran Castle in Llangollen last night (Monday).

Grateful owner Matthew Pritchard says the dog, named Andy (pictured), probably wouldn’t have survived the night as the thermometer plummeted to – 10 if he hadn’t have been found after 600 people shared a Facebook message to say he was missing and a number joined the hunt to find him.   

Matthew said: “We acquired Andy just after Christmas last year. He was already named and believed to be 12-15 months old.

“He was being trained to sniff explosive and was destined to spend his life abroad in war zones, but luckily for him he failed to make the grade.

“Although his health and sniff were excellent he had a short attention span, possibly due to his trainers believing he was a lot older than he was. We believe he was about eight months old when he came to live with us in Llangollen.

“Andy fitted in well with our family and soon we started to run canicross with him as both myself and my partner Heather like to run.

“Andy comes out running with us at every available opportunity and we’ve even entered into canicross events where he’s come home with his own medal.

“We regularly train with our local club, Run Free Fell Runners, of which Andy could be classed as the club mascot, and it was on one of these training sessions last night that he disappeared. He runs both on the lead and sometimes off the lead and has never disappeared before.”

Describing how last night’s drama unfolded, Matthew said: “Heather and the run club were half way up Dinas Bran Castle when Andy disappeared.

“After spending what seemed like ages shouting and looking for him Heather ran back home to get another head torch, a power bank for her phone and to inform me about Andy disappearance before returning back up the castle to continue the search.
"While she did this the remaining members of the Run Free Fell Runners club continued looking.
“It was at this point that I placed two posts on Facebook, one on Llangollen Notice Board and one on my personal page.
“Within an hour both posts had had over 600 shares each with over 500 comments combined. People were messaging me from all over with offers of help in searching for him.
“I even had a message from a professional drone company offering assistance. Many members of the Llan community and surrounding areas left the warmth of their own homes and gave up their valuable time to help find him.
“With the temperatures due to drop to -10 I didn’t think he’d of survived the night stuck up the castle. After just over an hour of searching he was found safe and well.”
“He’s run this route many of times with the club but we believe the deep snow must have disorientated him.
“I was overwhelmed by the amount of people concerned for Andy and the amount who helped in the search and I just can’t thank them enough.
“Andy returned home, had his tea and snuggled down in his warm bed for the evening, probably oblivious to just how many people were out looking for him.”

* Andy with the Run Free Fell Runners.

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Blue badge holders get new concession

Blue Badge holders in Denbighshire will now be allowed to park for an extra hour in council car parks.

The announcement has been hailed by Plaid Cymru – the Party of Wales on the County Council, who maintained that blue badge holders were discriminated against.

Previously Denbighshire County Council gave no concessions for people with blue badges at council run car parks.

Plaid Cymru warned that this went against the Equalities Act 2010 and argued that people with mobility issues needed more time to compensate for their disability.

Plaid Cymru Councillor Glenn Swingler, said: “This is excellent news and I thank Denbighshire County Council for listening to our arguments.

"As things stood the council were discriminating against people with mobility issues. Those with Blue Badges have them for a reason. If someone has mobility issues it takes longer for them to do their shopping, for instance, than others who do not have any mobility issues. This is why we argued that it was only fair and right that the Council gives people with Blue Badges an extra hour."

In July Cllr Swingler said, “The Equalities Act 2010 makes clear that public bodies must provide ‘reasonable adjustment’ for blue badge holders. The current policy doesn’t give that reasonable adjustment, and I’m afraid that we could therefore be in breach of the Equalities Act.

"By giving an extra hour or so on top of the parking ticket then this could be deemed as ‘reasonable adjustment’, and I would be happy to support such a change in policy."

Denbighshire County Council’s report states: “It is proposed to give Blue Badge holders an extra hour of parking in all Denbighshire pay and display car parks as a "reasonable adjustment" in accordance with the Equality Act 2010.

"This will work by the Civil Enforcement Officers allowing an additional hour on top of the time printed on the pay and display ticket.”