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Monday, July 22, 2019

North Wales joins firearms surrender scheme

North Wales Police along with forces across the country are appealing for people to hand in unwanted guns with a two week surrender of firearms and ammunition, which started on Saturday.

Many firearms are held in innocence and ignorance of their illegality or are overlooked and forgotten in people’s homes. Others are acquired and distributed by criminal networks to harm, threaten and intimidate their local communities.
The surrender gives people the chance to dispose of firearms or ammunition by simply taking them to a designated local police station and handing them over.
The surrender will run until August 4. Surrendering unwanted, unlicensed weapons avoids the risk of them becoming involved in criminality and means that members of the community can dispose of firearms in a safe place.
During this period, those surrendering firearms will not face prosecution for the illegal possession upon surrender and can remain anonymous. However, the history of each live weapon will be checked for evidence of its use in crimes.
Detective Superintendent Steve Williams of North Wales Police said: “Given the large rural setting of our area, it may be that some people hold unlicensed firearms that have been handed down to them and may have concerns as to what to do with these weapons. There may also be people who, because of the change in legislation have a weapon they cannot legally hold. This surrender period allows them to dispose of these weapons in a manner that can allay such fears.
“Fortunately we do not have a significant gun crime problem in North Wales. However, we are not complacent about gun crime and we want as many guns surrendered as possible so I would encourage the public to come forward.”
This summer’s national campaign has a particular focus on firearms, stun gun type devices and pepper sprays. Police want to highlight the danger of these items and remind people they are illegal in this country and could lead to a prison sentence for anyone caught in possession.   
Assistant Chief Constable Helen McMillan, National Police Chief’s Council lead for Criminal Use of Firearms, said; “The last national firearms surrender in 2017 was a success and potentially helped save lives. With the Government’s Serious Violence Strategy underway, we feel it is the right time to ask police forces to run another two week campaign to collect unwanted guns and ammunition. Each firearm we retrieve has the potential to save a life, so do the right thing and surrender your weapon. 
“We also want to highlight that stun guns and similar devices are illegal in the UK and may not be brought in from abroad. They may be legal in some other countries, but if you are caught with one here you could be prosecuted with possession of a firearm and be put behind bars. This summer’s surrender is a good opportunity to hand in these types of devices.”
The surrender initiative is being co-ordinated by the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS). 
Detective Chief Superintendent Jo Clews, Head of NABIS, added: “This is an important national campaign co-ordinated by NABIS. During the last decade our experts have provided police forces with ground breaking ballistic forensic services and intelligence packages to prevent and detect gun crime. Even though UK firearm offences remain at relatively low levels compared to other countries, we cannot be complacent and this surrender will help remove further potential harm from our communities.”         
Weapons and ammunition can be surrendered at police stations including Wrexham.
If people are unable to visit any of these stations they are advised to contact North Wales Police on 101 to make alternative arrangements. For advice on how best to transport the weapon responsibly from home to their police station they are advised to phone 101 before travelling.
Wrexham Police Station, at the former Oriel Gallery, Rhosddu Road LL11 1AU, (01978) 834321. is open 8.30am/7pm – Monday to Saturday & 9am/6pm – Sundays.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

MP demands review of disabled welfare system

* Susan Elan Jones MP at the launch in Parliament of the Disability Benefits Consortium report Has Welfare Become Unfair?

Clwyd South Labour MP Susan Elan Jones has called for a compete review of how the welfare system treats disabled people.

Her demand came after she attended the parliamentary launch of the Disability Benefits Consortium report Has Welfare Become Unfair?

Ms Jones said: "Every year my staff team and I help around 800-1,000 constituents. Some of these will be local people with disabilities who are led down badly by an unfair system. 

"The Disability Benefits Consortium is a national group of more than 80 different charities and organisations.  

"I am pleased to support their excellent report and really hope the Government listens."

She added: "We urgently need a thorough review of the Personal Independence Payments assessment criteria and the inclusion of a disability element to Universal Credit."

The Disability Benefits Consortium report calls for the Government to act upon a series of 22 recommendations. 

These include suggestions that the Department for Work & Pensions produces simplified claim forms, increased resources so that charities and other advice agencies can better assist people in completing forms and a commitment to review of Personal Independence Payments assessments.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Valley Girls hang their Bra-skets in the town

* Sandra Smith of the Coppafeel campaign, left, with Gail Ellson
of Valley Girls WI with the Bra-skets display outside the Town Hall.

Valley Girls WI members are briefed on the Coppafeel
 campaign by Sandra Smith at their meeting.

Llangollen’s Valley Girls WI are showing how well they keep abreast of vital themes in health care with their latest project.

On Thursday evening a team of of members were out putting up hanging baskets outside the Town Hall in time for the annual Fringe Festival.

And what the girls have dubbed “Bra-skets” aim to remind people of the importance of self-examination when it comes to the crucial early detection of breast cancer.

Valley Girls spokeswoman Gail Ellson said: “It's mainly intended as a bit of fun to cheer up the town as we did with the Yarn Bomb back in 2016 when we hung knitted items around the town centre. It also ties in with the artistic nature of the Fringe Festival.

“We thought we should also use it for the good of the community and visitors to the town by linking with a Breast Cancer charity Coppafeel

She added: “There are several health care professionals amongst the Valley Girls whose job involves a lot of health promotion and health education.

A few of us have links with the Coppafeel charity through one of our colleagues Sandra Smith, who volunteers for Coppafeel.

“Sandra spoke to the Valley Girls back in May and we were all inspired to support the charity.

“The Braskets will have health education leaflets attached to them which onlookers are welcome to take away.

“The leaflets provide user friendly information on breast self examination, which is essential in aiding the early detection and subsequent treatment of breast cancer.”

Friday, July 19, 2019

Guide launched to support Denbighshire carers

A guide to all the information and support available to carers in Denbighshire has been launched.

North East Wales Carers Information Service (NEWCIS) was commissioned to develop the guide with local carers and partner organisations on behalf of Denbighshire County Council.

It helps carers find out how to get help with money and benefits, legal rights, time away from caring, practical support, training, learning and employment as well as NHS services.

Ian Whitehead, aged 53, from Rhyl, is a carer for his wife and also volunteers with NEWCIS supporting carers and helping with fundraising.

He said: “It is really important carers are aware of the support that is out there for them. They play a vital role, without them the person they care for would be more isolated and wouldn’t be able to get out as much.

“This guide collects everything in one place and helps make it clearer to carers. I would encourage them to pick up a copy.”

Supporting carers and creating resilient communities is a priority for the Council under its Corporate Plan and support includes helping carers access leisure services, providing financial support for short breaks, offering training to maintain caring roles as well as promoting life-long learning and support to continue working or re-enter the workforce.

Cllr Bobby Feeley, Denbighshire’s lead member for Well-being and Independence, said: “It is important carers know where and how to access support for themselves as well as the person they care for.  

“Carers look after family, partners or friends in need of help because they are ill, frail or have a disability. 

“Being a carer for another person covers a whole range of activities including personal care, emotional support, practical assistance, transport and social support. We have worked with carers and partner organisations on this guide which is full of helpful information about caring and the support available.”

* You can pick up the guide at One Stop Shops, libraries and doctors surgeries across Denbighshire.
Claire Sullivan of NEWCIS said: “We hope this leaflet can act as a fantastic resource for carers across Denbighshire. It illustrates the continued close working between the local authority and their third sector partners to ensure carers are supported well.”

Twenty Club's cunning plan to stage Blackadder

* Miranda Richardson and Rowan Atkinson in TV's Blackadder.

Fresh from their success with the gripping Dinner with Otto, Llangollen Twenty Club are lightening the mood by staging three episodes of smash TV comedy Blackadder.

Written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, Blackadder was an iconic TV series which reached cult status. 

There were four periods in history covered on TV and Twenty Club have chosen to depict the Elizabethan era in their production which runs at Llangollen Town Hall from November 7-9 this year, each performance starting at 7.30pm.

Auditions for the piece are to be held in the council chamber at the Town Hall on Sunday July 28 at 2pm, and Tuesday July 30 at 7pm.

Director Chrissie Ashworth said: “We have chosen three episodes which we considered to be the best mix and most suited to perform at our home at the Town Hall.

“I’m looking for a close ‘copy’ of the original TV characters, as that is what people remember and the humour that goes with it. 

“Don’t think you have to be perfect, but I need to see a similarity.

“The three episodes that we will perform are all iconic, and hilarious, and should be a huge amount of fun both at rehearsal, and to perform.

“They are entitled respectively Head, Beer and Bells and they are all readily available on iPlayer at the moment and also to buy on Amazon.

“Blackadder is hilarious. It is farce, quick witted and when staged well is a gem. I want that gem.

“Let’s see a super turnout. Auditions will be open, so that everyone else are able to see each other and therefore eliminate any doubt as to allocation of roles. Plenty to do, this is a big show and we need you all!”

Thursday, July 18, 2019

People get an early look at county's new masterplan

* The 11 candidate development sites in Llangollen 
shown on a map on display at the drop-in session. 

* Part of the display in the Town Hall foyer. 

A drop-in session was held at the Town Hall yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon to allow people to comment on the county council’s approach to creating a new Local Development Plan.

The current Local Development Plan (LDP) provides local policy on development in the county and expires in December 2021 and  the council is working to have a new adopted LDP in place by this date. 

Over the past 12 months detailed work has taken place on developing a range of growth options which set out how much land would be required for different types of development and where that development should broadly be located.

Councillors have agreed a draft Preferred Strategy for consultation. This recommends the provision of land for 3,775 homes and 68 hectares of employment land. It is also proposed to focus new development in settlements with access to services, including a strategic ite at Bodelwyddan.

The consultation runs until the August 30, 2019. 

A series of drop-in sessions have been arranged for people to talk to officers, including the one on Wednesday in Llangollen, which was well attended.

People who went along were able to see displays about the LDP and a map pinpointing the 11 “candidate” sites which have been suggested in Llangollen.

They were also informed about how to make their views known about the plan.

Sites so far suggested locally are:

1. Mile End Mill (0.57 hectares) currentl use: watersport centre and vacant mill building. Proposed use: mixed use, residential and commercial.

2. Land adjacent to The Chestnuts, Berwyn Street (0.64 hectares) current use: vacant land. Porposed use: residential development.

3. Tyn Y Wern off the A5 (0.525 hectares) current use: hotel/tourism. Proposed use: residential development.

4. Maesmawr Road adjacent to Tyn Y Wern (1.1 hectares) current use: agricutural. Proposed use: residential development.

5. Land adjcaent Erw Las, Fron Bache (0.033 hecatares) current use: garden/amenity. Proposed use: residential or tourism accommodation.

6. Climedw, Corwen Road (1.6 hectares) current use: overgrown field. Proposed use: housing and/or leisure.

7. Climedw, Corwen Road, Site 2 (3.72 hectares) current use: greenfield land. Proposed use: housing and/or leisure.

8. Land off Maesmawr Road - Option 1 (2.05 hectares) current use: agricultural. Proposed use: residential.

9. Land off Maesmawr Road - Option 2 (5.4 hectares) current use: agricultural. Proposed use: residential.

10. Berwyn Works (0.49 hectares) current use: former employment use. Proposed use: residential development.

11. Llangollen Youth Club site (1.0 hectare) current use: youth club and pitches. Proposed use: residential development.

The above details can be found online at: 

The suggestion of residential development for the youth club site has already prompted critical comments on social media.

It was pointed out to people who attended the drop-in session that the council would like to hear their views on the draft strategy between now and August 30, which is the closing date for submissions.

All consultation documents are available on the council’s website at and copies are available for inspection during normal opening hours at Denbighshire council offices, libraries and one-stop shops.

Once completed, comments forms should be returned to: Strategic Planning & Housing Team, Denbighshire County Council, PO Box 62, Ruthin, LL15 9AZ.

The council says all comments received will be made publicly available and reported to the cabinet and council as part of the report back on the consultation.

Councillor Mark Young, Cabinet Lead Member for Planning, Public Protection and Sustainable Communities, said: “Agreeing and adopting a Local Development Plan is a lengthy process and we have now agreed to consult on our broad approach. The public are now being given a chance to have their say. 

"The responses to this consultation will be reported back to Members and the final Preferred Strategy will need to bediscussed by council in the autumn. This will allow the council to progress to the next stage of the LDP process, which is around creating detailed policies, proposals and specific land use allocations. This more detailed work will also be subject to further public consultation."

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Kids challenge businesses to get greener

* Ken Skates AM with children at Ysgol Acrefair.

Schoolchildren and their Assembly Member are challenging local businesses to be more environmentally friendly.

Ken Skates visited Ysgol Acrefair recently after receiving letters from pupils saying what they’d like to see done to reduce littering and single-use plastic locally.

The Welsh Government recently declared a climate emergency and outlined its plans for a greener Wales for future generations, and Mr Skates said he was inspired to see so many young people who shared his passion for protecting the environment.

The Clwyd South AM said ‘we all have a role to play’ – including local businesses.

“The children would like to see local shops and businesses stop selling and using plastic which can’t be recycled,” said Mr Skates. 

“They are very clued-up on this issue, which is fantastic to see, and are only too aware of the problems it causes for wildlife.

“It was amazing to meet so many children of such a young age who want to make a difference and I would like to sincerely thank the school for inviting me in – it was a genuinely inspiring morning and made me feel very proud.”

Headteacher Rebecca Turner said: “At Ysgol Acrefair, we have been very busy exploring and developing the four core purposes of the new curriculum for Wales. As part of the work on developing as ‘ethical, informed citizens’, the children have been finding out about sustainability. They were worried to see how much of our waste isn't recyclable, including the single-use plastic straws that come with their milk each day.

“The children were really inspired by Ken's visit. They thoroughly enjoyed finding out about Ken's job and how he himself tries to be sustainable. They can't wait to see Ken again to see if he has found the answers to some of their tricky questions!”

Mr Skates also talked about what is being done at a national level to protect the planet.
The Welsh Government has committed to achieving a carbon neutral public sector by 2030 and earlier this year published Prosperity for All: A Low Carbon Wales, which sets out 100 policies and proposals to meet the 2020 carbon emissions targets.

Mr Skates added: “The Welsh Government’s decision to declare a climate emergency sends a clear message that we are determined to address climate change, which threatens our health, economy and infrastructure as well as our environment.

“It is important we all do what we can. We need collective action and government has a big role in making that happen, so we want to lead by example.”

CX-5 is 'one of the best' big SUVs on the market

* Mazda CX-5.

Mazda CX-5 road test by Steve Rogers

FINDING the right sized car can be tricky. Those you really like are either too small or too big.

This was the dilemma facing the young lady who approached me in a supermarket car park to ask if I liked my Mazda CX-5. 

She was switching from her Renault Captur to a bigger SUV and had been humming and harring over several models and was just a finger nail away from settling for the Mazda.

She had trawled the showrooms, read everything she could find about SUVs online but needed that last bit of reassurance from someone who owned a CX-5. Little did she know I only 'owned' my car for a week but we were able to have a meaningful conversation.

Having got the boring bit about what I did out of the way I had to throw a couple of options into the ring, I particularly like the Peugeot 3008 and Seat Ateca. 

She liked the look of the Pug but did not like the i-Cockpit layout, it's not everyone's cup of tea, and besides it was too small as was the Ateca.

After we skirted round a few more models it was clear she really wanted a CX-5. She particularly liked the front end styling and I wouldn't disagree there, so at the end of the conversation I was happy to say this is now one of the best big SUVs on the market and that she would not be disappointed.

So what makes CX-5 one of the best? The big three pluses are styling, quality and specification. Get those right and rivals are on the back foot, although just about everyone is on their game these days.

We can tick the styling box, it is arguably the best looking SUV along with the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, and quality has come on leaps and bounds. 

Mazda has made a big effort, not just with CX-5, but with all its new models. Sit yourself down and there is a good feel about the cabin whether it be the materials for the door cappings (often a letdown) the dashboard or the head lining. 

My GT Sport was clad in leather and looked a cut above the norm.

In this dog eat dog sales world customers demand everything and Mazda has not skimped on kit even on entry level so by the time you reach the top of the range there is nothing much left to add although heated rear seats would top it off nicely.

There is a full suite of safety features, adaptive cruise control etc, but it is the everyday aids that stand out like the head up display for speed, traffic sign recognition and navigation instructions and blind side alert, a big help when about to overtake on motorways.

The command screen in the centre of the dash is the easiest to navigate in any car I have driven. It's a touchscreen, which I don't like using on the move, but Mazda get round this with a rotary dial behind the gear lever which is far safer and less of a distraction when driving.

Space was important for my young lady in the car park and I was able to reassure her on this score.

CX-5 can't claim to be the roomiest but should suit most families. At 4.550mm it is longer than 3008 and the Renault Kadjar but not quite as long as Skoda Kodiaq or Peugeot 5008 both of which offer a third row of seats which would be too much of a squeeze in the CX-5. But it is a comfortable five seater with a decent sized boot.

I liked the 40-20-40 split for the back seats, most are 60-40, and these can be easily dropped from levers in the side wall of the boot. The load area is wide and generous, and long enough to take an adult sized bike without dropping the font wheel.

Apart from the indicator stalk which only seemed to cancel on big turns of the wheel - odd one that - I am struggling for negatives. People may find the ride on the hard side but that is the norm for Mazda who make no excuse for providing a sporty, engaging drive. The big SUVs agility means it is drama free through twists and turns and nicely settled on good roads.

There was no lack of power from the 180bhp SkyActive diesel with its impressive 445Nm of torque so towing my four-berth caravan was a breeze. The extra weight of four wheel drive kept me down to just over 23mpg but the numbers would be better with the front wheel drive 150bhp diesel which would have been more than capable for my needs.

Key facts
CX-5 GT Sport+ AWD
£30,520 (range starts £21,112)
2.2 diesel; 180bhp; 6sp auto
0-62mph 9.6secs; 129mph
39.8mpg combined
145g/km. 1st yr road tax £530
Insurance group 23

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Latest Citizens Advice column

Here's the latest column for the Citizens Advice Service ...

Q: About five years ago my father-in-law was the victim of a scam artist who fleeced him out of £5,000. Once he realised, he was devastated and we were able to work with his bank to get some of the money back. We thought it was all in the past but in the last six months he’s received numerous calls, letters and texts from what look like other scammers. We want to try and keep him safe as his memory isn’t the best, what can we do?

A: Unfortunately, falling victim to a scam once can increase exposure to further scams. Citizens Advice has found that, once someone has responded to a scam, their personal details can sometimes be sold onto other criminals. This then opens the door to more scam mail, emails, phone calls or home visits.

If you recognise a pattern of unsolicited calls, talk to your father-in-law’s telephone provider and see if you can get these numbers blocked or if you can get something called a ‘standalone call blocker.’ If not, register your father-in-law’s number with the Telephone Preference Service who can help you to handle unwanted marketing calls.

If your father-in-law is receiving texts it’s important that he never replies, as sometimes there can be costly hidden charges. He can report the texts to his mobile phone provider who will be able to block the number. If he’s already been stung and call cost information wasn’t given, he should report it to Phone-pay Plus.

Mail scammers can often impersonate banks, the local council, or other established and legitimate organisations. You should advise your father-in-law against responding unless he’s sure it’s legitimate and was expecting a letter. If in doubt he should contact the organisation directly to check the letter’s legitimacy. He should be careful to not just ring up the number on the letter as it could be a bogus call centre.

In addition, to safeguard your father-on-law from unwanted marketing material or junk mail, register his name and address for free with the Mailing Preference Service which will take his name off some mailing lists.

Doorstep scammers can often be intimidating, and unfortunately they commonly target older and more vulnerable people. Your father shouldn’t be embarrassed turning people away and shouldn’t let them in unless he’s expecting them. If someone comes to the door saying they are from one of his utility companies for example, he should ask to check their credentials. If in doubt, he should phone the company they represent or check online, but once again make sure to not just use the contact details they provide.

Empty properties brought back into use as homes

More than 180 empty properties have been turned into homes in Denbighshire in the past 12 months.

As part of the county council’s work on empty homes, 181 properties classed as long term empty were brought back into use for families and residents in the county in 2018/19.

The council has launched a plan to bring 500 empty homes back into use through raising awareness, taking a pro-active approach to target problematic sites and working closely with landlords.

Cllr Tony Thomas, lead member for Housing and Communities, said: “Bringing these private properties back into use helps provide homes for residents in the county, which is a priority for the Council under its corporate plan.

“Homes may lie empty for a variety of reasons including difficulty in tracing or establishing ownership, an inability to sell, family disputes and in other cases the property may need significant work or the owner has an unrealistic value.

“This is a positive move but we still have more work to do, the aim of this plan is to unlock the housing potential of long-term empty homes.

“We have a package of financial assistance which provides grants and loans and we also provide advice and support. However, there will be times when it is necessary to use enforcement measures, particularly in cases where owners are unwilling to engage with us.”

There are currently 636 empty properties in the county.

The council says it will raise awareness of the empty homes in the county and the role it can play in assisting to bring them forward for beneficial re-use and a range of enforcement powers could be used including compulsory purchasing properties which are causing the most harm to the area in which they sit.

The council has also issued information packs to more than 600 properties classed as long term empty. 

Monday, July 15, 2019

Siciliian cook breaks the plastic habit

* Marina Midolo with her new earthenware pots.

A Sicilian cook is ditching plastic packaging to launch a new range of classic Italian meals contained in reusable pottery dishes.

Marina Midolo, 51, will be unveiling her authentic lasagne made with homemade pasta at Llangollen Food Festival on Saturday and Sunday, October 19 and 20.

She set up her kitchen at her smallholding in Cyffylliog, near Ruthin, with the help of a development grand from Denbighshire County Council.

Initially, Marina concentrated on producing Italian sweets, cakes and savouries which are on sale at delicatessens, community shops and hotels across the region.

Now Marina is looking to expand her product range but wants to ensure there is no plastic packaging or anything else about her products that could harm the environment.

So she and her partner Peter Lamb have come up with the idea of a new reusable pottery dish that can be refilled with new meals or returned and the deposit paid at the time of purchase returned to the customer.

The idea is very much in the development stage but Marina, who grew up watching her mum and grandmother cook in Catania, Sicily, says she will be ready to launch her first pottery dish lasagne meal at this year’s Llangollen Food Festival.    

It will be her second visit to the popular event which has been named as one of the Top 10 food festivals in the UK.

Marina said: “Last year’s festival was fantastic and a real springboard that helped me get my Italian sweets, cakes and food business better known.

“My idea is to launch a new lasagne meal at this year’s festival. The meal will be prepared by me and will be sold uncooked.

“Customers can buy a pot which they then put in an oven at home for around 30 minutes and then eat the lasagne straight from the earthenware pot.

“The dish can then be returned to the point of purchase for the deposit to be refunded or the customer can keep the pot. But the main thing is there is simply no plastic packaging involved.

“We want to take it things back 50 years or more before we began blighting the environment with plastic waste.”

She added: “The biggest problem I face is how to seal the pots as I don’t want to have to cover the pots with a plastic film. However, we have found a food friendly sealant that we can use to seal the lids in place and keep the uncooked food fresh.

“The lasagne will be oven ready and made with my own homemade pasta. It will be a true lasagne made using only the finest herbs and in the traditional Italian way. Let’s just say it won’t be an Anglicised version of an Italian classic!

“Once I’ve tried and tested the lasagne then I’ll look at other dishes, traditional Italian stews and casseroles. Each will be prepared and will just need popping in the oven for 30 minutes.”

And Marina says after several experiments she has now agreed on the shape and design of her pots which will be produced by Anvil Pottery which is based in Llanrhaeadr, near Denbigh.

She said: “It’s even possible the pots could be made from clay from our own farm. We have been digging a new wildlife pond and we are testing the clay to see if it’s suitable.

“The main thing is to ensure we add absolutely no plastic waste into the environment.  The idea will be customer led, if people like the idea and are happy to use and return the pots then it will be fantastic. Of course some may want to keep the pots and use them in their own kitchens.

“Currently, my Italian cakes and sweets are on sale in delicatessens and community shops in Llangollen, Ruthin, Mold, Rhuddlan and Chester.

“I’m sure once I’ve launched the idea at the Llangollen Food Festival then community shops and deli’s will sell the lasagnes around the region. My butcher Stan Jones of Ruthin has agreed to sell my dishes from his shop.

“And we are even thinking of beginning to make our own cheese. We are contemplating having a goat herd and use goat milk to make our own Italian style cheese.

“That could be my next project but I want to launch the non-plastic earthenware pots first at the Llangollen Food Festival and I’m sure the idea will prove popular.

“I’m just so looking forward to exhibiting at the Llangollen Food Festival again. I have been attending a few food festivals but Llangollen is a favourite.

“It’s got a great atmosphere and a fantastic range of products on display. I loved it last year and I’m excited about this year’s event.”

Llangollen Food Festival committee member Phill Davies says the event is the perfect launchpad for Marina’s classic Italian lasagne served in an environmentally friendly pottery dish.

He said: “It’s a brilliant idea and I’m sure visitors to this year’s food festival will support Marina’s plastic free initiative.

“It’s such a simple idea but one that should be taken seriously. We all need to think more about plastic waste and the damage we are doing to the environment and this idea perfectly addresses the waste plastic issue.

“And of course Marina’s customers also get to taste the authentic taste of classic Italy too.”
He added: “This is what the Llangollen Food Festival is all about, new innovative ideas and products and the opportunity to try some amazing dishes and products that our exhibitors bring to Llangollen.”   
* For more information about the Llangollen International Food Festival please visit

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Library's special reading event for children

* Join Mama G as she goes on an adventure 
into space launched from Llangollen Library. 

Denbighshire libraries are calling for children to sign up to read six books this summer as part of Space Chase, Summer Reading Challenge 2019.

The challenge asks 4-11 year olds to borrow and read any six library books over the summer. 

The theme for the 2019 Summer Reading Challenge is Space Chase, inspired by the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing.

Children will team up with futuristic family The Rockets for an exciting space mission as they track down books nabbed by a mischievous band of aliens. 

As children read library books for the Summer Reading Challenge, they will receive special stickers, some with mysterious smells. By adding these stickers to their collectable mission folders, young readers will help the Rockets solve clues, dodge asteroids and discover the missing books, having lots of fun and adventures along the way.

To take part in Space Chase, all children need to do is sign up at their nearest library, where they will be given a collector folder to keep a record of their Summer Reading Challenge journey.

Space Chase and runs until the end of September. 

There’s a whole programme of events and activities planned at Denbighshire libraries for families over the summer to celebrate the Summer Reading Challenge, including storytimes with a difference with Mama G, craft and making sessions and lego clubs.  Just contact your local library to find out how to take part.

Cllr Tony Thomas, Denbighshire County Council’s lead member for Housing and Communities, said: “The Summer Reading Challenge is one of the highlights of the year for us.

“We love welcoming thousands of children into our libraries to take part. Last year 30% of 4-12 year olds in Denbighshire took part – three times the Wales average. It’s free, it’s fun and it’s for everyone – and it’s a great way to encourage children to read over the holidays, to discover new authors and books, and to develop a lifelong love of reading and books.”

Sue Wilkinson, CEO of The Reading Agency, said: “At The Reading Agency, we tackle life’s big challenges through the proven power of reading. We know from our research that families and children love taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge, and we are proud to have been running the Challenge for twenty years this year. 

"The space theme has been chosen to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing. Last summer, children worked with illustrator Adam Stower to come up with ideas for the Space Chase adventure, and we hope the Challenge will inspire all children to use their local library and to read lots of great books throughout the summer and beyond."

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Jack Found coming home to play the Fringe

Musician Jack Found and his band will be playing the Fringe with the Dub Pistols on Saturday July 20.

Originally from Llangollen, Jack is now based in London and will be playing a series of major festivals this summer including Kendal Calling and has other dates in the next few weeks in Glasgow, Inverness, Newcastle, Sheffield, Leeds and London where he has been asked to play the prestigious Sofar Sounds. 

A new track, Spanish-ish, will be released just before the Fringe and will be played by Jack and the band on the Janice Long show on Radio Wales in session on July 22.

Jack said: “It’s great to be playing in Llangollen again, we played Llanfest last year to a great crowd, and I'm looking forward to returning to play with the Dub Pistols. 

"I’ve always loved attending events at the Fringe and think I first performed there when I was only nine. I’ll be playing different songs now though!"


Friday, July 12, 2019

School uniform pop-up shop for Pengwern

Friends of Pengwern has teamed up with the South Denbighshire Community Partnership and Citizens Advice Denbighshire deliver a pop-up school uniform recycling shop later this summer.

The shop will be located at Pengwern Community Centre every day, from 1-3pm, from Monday-Friday, August 5-9.

In preparation for the pop-up shops volunteers will be washing, ironing and, where necessary, repairing uniforms before bagging them into individual school designs and sizes.

Volunteers are vital to help the venture to be successful and organisers say they would be very grateful to hear from anyone willing to help.

Those interested should contact Emma Davies at Friends of Pengwern by Facebook message.

Denbighshire Housing has arranged for community activities to take place at the opening of the shop at Pengwern.

County launches Tourism Ambassador scheme

* Ambassadors: Fiona Sayle of Corwen Holidays, right, with 
Caroline Ellison of Corwen Old Police Station and Court House.

A new Tourism Ambassador Scheme has been launched in Denbighshire.

This free scheme is designed to improve the visitor experience for people who work in tourism, work with visitors, live or study in the area.

A series of interactive online training modules with quizzes have been produced on various themes such as Denbighshire towns and city, walking, cycling, history, and welsh language and culture. 

Each module takes 30-60 minutes to complete with text to read, images and films to watch as people learn in different ways.

There are three levels of awards – bronze, silver and gold, depending on the amount of modules completed. 

Each person will receive a certificate, pin badge and window stickers on completion of the awards. There is also online resources for people to download related documents, branding and links to relevant websites.

Councillor Hugh Evans, Leader of Denbighshire County Council, said: “The scheme aims is to create a baseline knowledge level and sense of place to ensure consistent messages are being communicated about the area. 

"The online training offers a flexible approach and enables everyone to learn at their own speed, convenience and location. We are hoping many businesses will embed the scheme into their existing staff induction programmes to increase their understanding of the local tourism offer and take pride in being part of a shared interest community. We are very excited to launch the scheme in Denbighshire as it is the first of its kind in Wales.”

A series of learning journeys will also be offered to Ambassadors, to enhance and compliment the online learning. 

People will have the opportunity to visit a variety of tourism highlights including the11-mile World Heritage Site, the Clwydian Range & Dee Valley AONB, and the Vale of Clwyd. Workshops to share best practice and encourage partnership working will also be organised.

A number of businesses who participated in the user testing have completed the modules and initial feedback has been very positive –

Fiona Sayle, from Corwen Holidays said: "I’m so pleased to have achieved my Denbighshire Ambassador Silver Award. Many thanks to Denbighshire Tourism for providing such an informative and interesting course. I would recommend all who are passionate about Tourism and Denbighshire to take up the challenge.”

The project has received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities - Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.

Ian Lebbon, Chair of Denbighshire Destination Management Partnership said: “I would encourage businesses, individuals and students to become Tourism Ambassadors to deepen their knowledge of the county and help boost our local economy. The longer-term aim is to create Ambassador high streets, communities and even towns and get our younger generation involved by establishing Young Tourism Ambassadors.”

* For more information on the scheme and to complete the modules visit: /

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Appeal follows fatal bypass collision

A motorcyclist has sadly died following a collision near Johnstown, Wrexham yesterday evening (Wednesday, July 10th).
Shortly before 5pm North Wales Police were notified of a one-vehicle collision involving a motorcycle on the A483 off slip onto the B5426 Johnstown.
Officers attended however sadly the motorcyclist – a man, aged in his 50’s, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Sergeant Darren Newby of the Roads Policing Unit is appealing for witnesses. He said: “I would like to thank those who have already been in touch, however we continue to appeal to anybody who have been travelling northbound on the A483 at the time and who may have witnessed the collision to contact us. Equally anybody who may have dash cam is also asked to make contact with us.
“Our thoughts remain with the man’s family, who are being supported by a trained Family Liaison Officer.”
Anybody who may be able to assist with the investigation is asked to contact officers at the Roads Policing Unit in Llay on 101 or via the live web chat quoting reference number X096824.

Suzuki with Attitude aims for new customers

Suzuki Swift Attitude launch report by Steve Rogers

HERE'S a puzzler. How can the most exciting part of a car launch happen on water?

The clue is Suzuki whose outboard marine engines are number one in the world and we had a 350hp V6 on the back, or should I say stern, of a six man inflatable dinghy for 40 mad but marvellous minutes on the Solent.

It was all part of a little treat for travelling 230 miles to the south coast to drive the Swift Attitude.
I will get to the car shortly but at the time of writing the adrenalin is still pumping after scooting to the Needles at 45 knots, bouncing across the wake of the other two Rib craft in our party and banking at what felt like insane angles for some tight circling. The last time I had this much fun was being driven in a Citroen rally car.

Enough, let's get back to business and the Attitude. Not so much a new model, just a special edition to keep the Swift kettle boiling. Swift is Suzuki's hero model and deserves all the credit going.

I liked it from the day it was launched in sunny Monaco in 2004 and it has got better and better. The only surprise is that the message has not got through to more people although Swift is off to a good start this year with more retail sales than Renault Clio, Citroen C3 and Mazda2 and is currently sitting behind the Honda Jazz in the supermini league table.

Attitude is based on the SZ-T, one above base, and has been spiced up with a mesh front grille, rear roof spoiler and front, side and rear carbon effect skirts along with polished alloys.

You get this for an extra 100 quid over the SZ-Ts £14,499 price tag. What you don't get is that model's 1-litre Boosterjet engine. Attitude has to make do with the lesser powered 1.4 litre Dualjet, not a bad motor but not as feisty as the brilliant Boosterjet which is arguably the best three-cylinder one-litre engine on the market.

I would be tempted to forego the Attitude's extra body armour in favour of the Boosterjet engine yet Suzuki is confident Attitude will have a broad appeal predicting it will take 40 per cent of Swift sales.
In a head to head it fares better on price than Ford Fiesta, Seat Ibiza, Nissan Micra and Hyunai i20 according to Suzuki research and does not do badly on specification either.

All Swifts get air conditioning, six airbags, privacy glass, DAB radio with Bluetooth but Attitude moves up a rung and apart from the body styling upgrades has rear view camera, Smartphone link display audio among the highlights of its spec list.

As has always been the case Swift is a great little car to drive darting though twists and turns without so much as a bye or leave and although I prefer the Boosterjet performance the 1.4 is no slouch and is good for 50mpg.

This is not going to be a great year for car sales but Suzuki is enjoying the highest market share in its history. Fleet growth is strong with Vitara and Swift popular choices so it is confident of hitting 38,000 sales just 500 down on last year. It could do more but it can't get enough supply for some of its models.

Key facts
Swift Attitude
1,2 Dualjet; 90bhp
0-62mph 11.9secs; 111mph
51.4mpg combined
108g/km. 1st year road tax £150
Insurance group 25