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Thursday, April 15, 2021

Operatic chooses Calendar Girls musical as its 2022 production

Llangollen Operatic Society is getting down to bare dramatic essentials with its next show.

But audiences longing for a post-pandemic return to the live stage are going to have to wait until next year to see their interpretation of Calendar Girls – the Musical by Gary Barlow and Tim Firth which tells the tale of a group of WI  ladies who feature themselves in a nude calendar to raise money for leukaemia research, 

The show, which in its non-musical original guise was a massively successful film, has become available for amateur groups to do and Llangollen will put it on at the Town Hall from Thursday-Saturday, September 1-3, 2022, including a matinee on the Saturday.  

Co-producing with her husband Mike Jones, Tracey Kempster-Jones said: “In my 30th year with the society, I am extremely excited to be able to bring this heart-warming and funny new musical to Llangollen. 

“Following on from cutting my teeth in production with Sister Act and The Producers, I am delighted to head out of lockdown with two very good talented friends in this production. 

“Although the licence was released to amateurs very recently, as a production team a decision was made to hold back on a performance date until next year to offer us better opportunities to meet in groups safely. 

“And it will definitely be worth the wait.” 

She added: “The on-stage nudity is written in as part of the licence. However. It that scene will be rehearsed and choreographed with great respect and both lit and set in such a way that modesty will be fully taken account of."

Musical director for the show will be Elen Mair Roberts who said: “I am both honoured and excited to be invited to be part of this wonderful show. 

“It's no secret among many who know me that Calendar Girls is a play that I had always wanted to be a part of and when the musical came to be, it floated the boat even more! 

“Having had a little break away from the society to focus on family and other work, this was definitely a wonderful call to receive to step back into the very special Llangollen Operatic Society. 

“I know we are all very excited to bring this brilliant and heartfelt story to Llangollen and can't wait to get started.” 

Artistic director for the show will be Nia Pickering who said: “After one of the toughest years any of us could have ever imagined, I didn’t hesitate to be a part of the Llangollen Operatic Society’s production of Calendar Girls. 

“What an amazing and upbeat show to re-enter the local theatre scene with. The original story itself is so inspiring and one of courage and resolve in difficult times. Perfect! 

“We hope that anyone interested in being a part of the show in anyway, be it on or off stage or a member of the audience, will be as excited as we are for this production.” 

* The society is keen to encourage members old and new to join its  information page on Facebook or, for more information, to contact Tracey Kempster-Jones at: 

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Group complains about two more accidents at Castle Street bollards

* An ambulance parked near the bollards in Castle Street.

The group campaigning for their removal claim the social-distancing bollards in Castle Street caused two accidents in which people were injured yesterday afternoon.

The bollards were installed by the county council late last year as a temporary measure to give more room for pedestrians using Llangollen’s main street during the pandemic.

But after an intense campaign by the Llangollen Advocate group, including a petition, county officials carried out an inspection and agreed to paint white lines around them to increase their visibility and then to replace them with specially-designed planters starting from next Monday, April 19. 

However, Advocate claims the bollards have led to a series of accidents with people tripping over them and should therefore have been removed sooner. 

Detailing what it says are the latest two accidents yesterday, Advocate posted on its Facebook page that just before noon an elderly man was left with severe facial injuries after falling over the bollards and then at 1pm a woman sustained injuries to her arm, wrist hand after a similar accident.

Starting off its Facebook post with the words "more blood on the streets of Llangollen," the group says that both accidents were avoidable, adding: "Avoidable in that DCC (Denbighshire County Council) officers and councillors knew of the previous incidents and injuries caused by these bollards and chose to retain these measures despite being called upon to remove them by local residents and businesses."   

In an email sent later yesterday to a number of council officials and the area's two county councillors the group asks: "Do DCC consider that another fall and injury is an acceptable consequence to facilitate social distancing? 

"Between now and next Monday more people could be hurt by these measures. 

"It appears that DCC are willing to gamble on no-one being seriously hurt or worse in the next five days to maintain these measures rather than remove them ASAP to prevent more people coming to harm." 

The email adds: "To date we have seen no response or advice from DCC that provides any reassurance that more members of the public will not continue to be put at risk of harm by these TRO measures." 

A spokesperson for Denbighshire County Council said: “Following concerns raised by the public, the decision has been taken to remove the rubber kerbs and accompanying bollards. 

"These will be replaced with planters which are approximately 3 feet high. 

"The planters will help to maintain sufficient pavement width for social distancing purposes. This work will commence on Monday, April 19. White lines have also been recently painted between the road and area of widened pavement.”

Town councillor Stewart Davies, who has been an opponent of the bollards, said in an email to llanblogger on Wednesday morning: "I have just had word that the planters are going in on the 19th. This is sheer sheer stubbornness. 

"We know from what our eyes tell us that the engineers from DCC were plainly wrong in their putting in of cycle lane defenders. We know that Cllr Timms said on Llanblogger that they couldn't put planters in because they are dangerous. Are they now saying they arent? Who is to say who is right?

"The real answer here is get rid of the bollards and revert to the status quo." 

MP receives update on railway's financial situation

* Simon Baynes MP, left, and Bob Creasey at Llangollen Railway.

Clwyd South MP Simon Baynes has visited Llangollen Railway where he had an update on its financial crisis.

As llanblogger has been reporting, on March 1 the board of the railway’s public limited company (PLC) asked its bank to call in receivers after it became insolvent to the tune of about £350,000 and could not legally continue trading.

A firm of liquidators was called in with the aim of selling off the assets of the world-famous heritage attraction.

The Trust board, which remains completely solvent, has declared its intentions of buying as many of the railway's assets as possible and has already raised over £50,000 from a public appeal.

Mr Baynes received an update on the situation from Bob Creasey, secretary of Llangollen Railway PLC and am board member.

He said afterwards: “I am very sorry that Llangollen Railway PLC has had to invite their bank to appoint a receiver but the combination of Covid and past engineering contract disputes has put an intolerable burden on the railway. 

"I hope, however, that a way forward is found for the Llangollen Railway so that it can emerge from this crisis with a sustainable long term future and continue to provide great pleasure to the many thousands of visitors to Llangollen in the years to come."

He added: "I fully back the efforts of the Llangollen Railway Trust team to refocus the Trust as an outward-looking organisation centred on delivery of a high-quality visitor experience, and I fully support their fundraising efforts to secure the long-term future of our much loved Llangollen Railway.”

If you would like to make a donation, please visit:

Anyone wishing to contact the Railway, please do so by email at and details will be passed on as appropriate.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Couple's special way to say thanks to hospice

* The crew of Lancaster DV180 who will be commemorated on the balloon.

A couple are putting their weight behind Nightingale House’s latest fundraiser as a thank you for the support they get from staff at the hospice.

Roger and Jen Cotter, from Llay, are the latest sponsors of the 2021 Build A Balloon Campaign – a unique initiative to build a hot air balloon to raise vital funds for those with life-limiting illnesses accessing Nightingale House’s Day and In-patient services.

Jen has Multiple Myeloma and has regular appointments at the hospice on Chester Road, together with Roger who is able to access the family support service. 

The pair have opted for very different balloon panels as a way of saying thank you to the hospice team for the support and care they receive.

Roger’s balloon panel is an image of the crew of the Lancaster DV180 that crashed over Berlin during WW2.

Jen’s father-in-law was brought up in Liverpool by the mother of one of the aircrew, W.H.Clarke. The photo was found in his belonging’s years later. 

The crew members are already commemorated on the side of Sally B’s Roll of Honour, the B17 Flying Fortress in Duxford, where it is maintained and flown as a memorial to the 79,000 Allied airmen who lost their lives in Europe during the Second World War. 

He felt it was fitting to keep their memory flying high and decided on putting their picture on the hot air balloon and “give them wings.” 

Roger said: “These young men went through 20 missions together. I thought it important they are remembered as young men with faces and attitude and not simply as names alphabetically listed on a war memorial. I felt it was fitting that when the Nightingale House hot air balloon takes flight that these young men will reach for the skies once more.”

Hi wife Jen, who was recovering from major surgery for cancer when she was diagnosed with Myeloma, chose to sponsor a panel as a gift to her friend depicting an image of her friend’s great grandchildren.  

She believes the comfort and support she has found at the hospice has got her through challenging months and wanted to say thank you by supporting Build-A-Balloon.

She said: “Nightingale House is a community within a community. I don’t know where we would have been without the care we have both received from the hospice in recent times. Kay in Day Care Services has been an absolute rock to us during very difficult times.” 

The couple have been able to access numerous services on offer at the hospice whilst Jen has been undergoing treatment at the Shooting Star Unit at the Maelor Hospital such as mindfulness and art courses, all of which are provided free of charge thanks to the kindness of so many fundraisers and donors who support events and campaigns like Build-A-Balloon. 

Sarah Povey, Fundraiser at Nightingale House, said the charity was overwhelmed with the positive support the Build-A-Balloon campaign had received. 

She said: “To know when we look up and see the Nightingale House balloon floating over that we, as a communitycame together to create this magnificent spectacle is incredible. 

"It will be a wonderful feeling. Not only will it represent our supporters and our corporate partners but also Nightingale House and the difference we, all together, have made to those with life limiting illness in Wrexham and the surrounding area just like Jen and Roger.” 

* To sponsor a panel on our unique hot air balloon that will fly in summer 2021 then go to before the closing date of 30 April.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Vaccination update from the health centre

Llangollen Health Centre has this afternoon (Monday) issued its latest vaccination update, which says:

Groups 1 – 9: We are holding a mop-up clinic on Thursday 15th April for anyone in groups 1 – 9 who has not yet been vaccinated – that is anyone aged 50 and over, anyone on the shielding list or anyone who is eligible as part of group 6 (see link below). If you fall into one of these groups and would like to book an appointment please ring us on 01978 860625.
Astra Zeneca second doses: We are holding clinics for second doses every Thursday and are contacting patients one to two weeks in advance of their second dose being due. If you are concerned that we have missed you please contact us on 01978 860625.
Pfizer second doses: If you had the Pfizer vaccine with us between 5 - 7 February you will be due your second dose between 23 – 25 April. Your second dose appointment time is on the vaccine record card that you were given at your first dose appointment. It is very important that you attend the appointment for your second dose at the time stated as there are no plans for us to receive a further supply of Pfizer vaccine.
Group 10 (rest of the adult population): We are waiting to hear from the Health Board regarding vaccine supply for this group and will post an update as soon as we have one. 

High-level view of the new pocket park from Panorama

* The new pocket park on the A539 now nearing completion. Picture by Mike Edwards.

The Llangollen man interested in a weekly run to be based at the pocket park now being built close to the old refuse tip on the A539 approach to the town has sent in this picture of the development, now nearing completion.

Mike Edwards said: "I took this photograph from the top of the Panorama which shows the progress of works being carried out on behalf of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) team at Denbighshire County Council led by their manager David Shiel to create the pocket park and multi-use path linking it to Llangollen Health Centre and the town centre.

"The GP practice at the health centre are registered as a Park Run Practice to enable them to encourage patients in suitable circumstances to enhance their health and wellbeing and take exercise or volunteer and become part of the Park Run Community.

"Park Run is a global concept as people may already know and there are currently 730 Park Runs in the UK. 

"Park Runs are free weekly community events which take place every Saturday using a 5k route which people can walk, jog or run, but also volunteer to marshal the course etc and assist those taking part. For more information see

"We have also set up a facebook group Llangollen 5k Run that people can join to learn more(it will not be called Llangollen Park Run until it is formally launched)."

Mr Edwards added: "Locally, working with Dr Michael Clarke from the health centre and Jenny Coppock of InfiniteTee, a Llangollen-based company, we set up a core group some time ago to establish a Llangollen Park Run. 

"Obviously matters have been delayed due to the pandemic lockdowns, but with work now progressing well on the pocket park and multi-use trail we are now looking forward to setting up our run.

"Park Run Wales - there are actually 29 park rRuns in Wales already - have appointed an ambassador to assist and mentor the core group in setting up our local park run and we have been having constructive discussions with David Shiel and his team with a view to our run being launched as soon as events are cleared to operate in Wales under COVID 19 restrictions and work is completed on the pocket park and multi-use path later this year."

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Three sets of local roadworks planned

Local roadworks notified by are:


Berwyn Street, Llangollen, Denbighshire

12 April — 15 April


Delays likely - Traffic control (multi-way signals)






Responsibility for works: Wales & West Utilities Ltd


Current status: Planned work about to start


Works reference: XY254004000167429/PTS1

Castle Street, Llangollen, Denbighshire

12 April — 15 April


Delays likely - Traffic control (multi-way signals)






Responsibility for works: Wales & West Utilities Ltd


Current status: Planned work about to start


Works reference: XY254004000167429/PTS2


Regent Street, Llangollen, Denbighshire

12 April — 15 April


Delays likely - Traffic control (multi-way signals)






Responsibility for works: Wales & West Utilities Ltd


Current status: Planned work about to start


Works reference: XY254004000167429