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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A494 east of Gwyddelwern now open again

Denbighshire County Council says the A494 east of Gwyddelwern, which had been closed earlier this afternoon (Wednesday) following a road traffic collision, is now open again.

Health shake-up plans come under fire

A powerful union has questioned whether major health service changes which seriously affect Llangollen have been properly costed.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is the world’s largest professional union of nurses, representing over 400,000 nurses, midwives, health visitors and nursing students, including over 24,000 members in Wales.
It has just made its official response to the Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board’s reconfiguration plan, "Healthcare in North Wales is Changing”, which in Llangollen has sparked a major backlash to plans to close the town’s Cottage Hospital and replace it with a new £5.5 million health centre, possibly on the site of the derelict River Lodge just down the road.
A copy of the response document has been sent to llanblogger by Keep Llangollen Health Services, the campaign group set up recently to ensure that services currently provided by the hospital continue to be available locally in the gap between it closing and the new facility being built, which it fears could run to a number of years.
In its response to the BCUHB proposals concerning Llangollen, the RCN says: “The general thrust of the document is in keeping with government policy to increase the volume of care delivered in the community by providing care at or closer to home and the plan indicates that the Health Board ‘will carry on looking at other services that can move from hospitals into local communities. We will need to release money from hospitals and other buildings to do this. We will monitor and discuss our progress with the Community Health Council.
“There is however no indication that there has been a robust assessment of the financial impact of the overall proposed changes of shifting care into the community.

“The Health Board is operating under financial constraints and the proposed changes have cost implications.

“A number of the proposals in the Health Board pan are dependent on successful bids to the Welsh Government e.g. Llangollen Community Hospital (£5.5m), new NHS community hospital through redevelopment of the current Royal Alexandra Hospital site (£21m) Llandudno Hospital (£40m) and Flint primary care resource centre (£4m).

“In addition to the capital build costs the creation of new primary care resource centres and the development of enhanced care at home services will require education and training of staff for new roles in these new services and centres and this will require financial and human resources.”
The RC asks: “Have the proposed changes been costed?”
And it queries: “Is there evidence that the proposed community model is more cost effective (as well as clinically effective) than the current model?”

View CHA Logo.jpg in slide showIn a separate report, the Community Hospitals Association (CHA) has also criticised BCUHB's decision to close Llangollen Hospital.

The CHA claims that if implemented the changes set out by the health board “will have a devastating effect on healthcare services in North Wales”.
It adds: "The proposals reduce access to local health care services and reduce community capacity. The implications of this will be an increased reliance on specialist acute services, which is contrary to the policy of providing care close to where people live.
Mabon ap Gwynfor, of Keep Llangollen Health Services, said: “The health board have argued all along that these changes are clinically led and supported by health practitioners.
"It is clear that that is not the case, and highly respected health organisations are severely critical of these proposed changes.
"The health board have also argued that these changes are needed in order to save money, but again it is clear that these changes will not save any money, and serious questions are being asked about the robustness of their financial plans.
“We want to see our health services improved, but the health board provided us with two options only: maintain the status quo or adopt the health board’s downgrading proposals.
"The Community Hospital Association sets out clearly that there is an alternative, and that is to invest in community health services and work with local communities.
“While the official consultation period is now over, the battle to save our health services is far from over. We are encouraging people to contact the Community Health Council reiterating their opposition to these proposed changes.

* The RCN's response also deals with the controversial subject of how neonatal care will be provided in North Wales in the future.
And it says: “It is extremely disappointing that rather than addressing the development needs of the service in North Wales Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board has chosen to ignore the clear clinical preference and put forward a proposal to simply outsource all longer term neonatal intensive care to Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral.

“The Royal College of Nursing is firmly opposed to this proposal which we do not believe is the option that will provide the best care.”

The RCN also criticises the system used by the health board to brief the public on the proposed changes at a series of local public meetings.
These meetings, says the union, were “fraught with unnecessary difficulty which has undoubtedly caused public and professional anxieties to increase.”
It adds: “Our members have informed us that the audience in each meeting was restricted to 30 people resulting in many people being refused entry.
“The number and frequency of meetings was not sufficient to balance this policy of small group meetings.”
· The Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board does not reply to communications from llanblogger, so we are unable to gain a response to this story for readers.

Spooky local tales for Halloween

With Hallowe’en here again it’s time for llanblogger to look at some of the spooky tales associated with Llangollen over the years.

They are only to be read after dark in front of a roaring fire ...


* Tyn Dwr Hall. 
Northern Ghost Investigations’ website includes this spine-tingling story about Tyn Dwr Hall related to the time when it took in guests:
“One guest reportedly had a lengthy conversation with whom she thought was the hall’s gamekeeper complete with old fashioned clothes. Whilst checking out, she asked if she could speak again with the elderly gentleman.
“The receptionist at the Hall had no idea whom the lady was referring to but the lady insisted she had spoken to the old gamekeeper, regarding the animals and birds in the forest earlier that evening. Since then, there have been many reports of other people seeing this mysterious gentleman.
“When the Billiards Room was once a bedroom, one particular gentleman reported being woken up by the sound of the rustling of a lady`s dress and her underlying petticoats. The gentleman explained to the lady that she must be in the wrong room, which seemed to make her panic and then quickly disappear before his eyes.
“Since then there have been reports of footsteps being heard walking on floorboards even though the room was carpeted.”
* Plas Newydd.
The BBC North East Wales website features this account from medium Paula Roscoe, a member of local paranormal group WISP, about what she encountered during a vigil at historic Plas Newydd, home of the Ladies of Llangollen:

“As a medium, I am clairvoyant/clairsentient and clairaudient which means I can see, feel and hear spirits.

“In the Library I felt instant pain in my right shoulder and right temple area. As I stood within the Library I sensed someone coming in behind me, turning round expecting it to be one of our group, no one was there. 

“In the State Room I felt a man's energy very strongly. I kept getting the name 'Howard' I started to feel more pain, even breathless and it moved into my right lung.
“I was in the state bedroom and sensed strongly a military man. Very abrupt, stood no nonsense, a very proud man. When I asked him who he was he replied, ‘I've already told you, I'm Howard.’ He didn't take kindly to what we were doing calling it, ‘stuff and nonsense!’

“After asking my spirit guide if this was acceptable, we decided to do an Angel Board, which would enable the 'audience' to see the spirits answering us. Myself, Betty and two employees sat.
“Suddenly my guide was warning me as an angry person was trying to get on. I was being warned about this 'Viv'. Then I sensed a child. A boy. I asked my guide Harry, to help him come closer and the child nestled into my left side. He spelt out Graeak, but we sensed the name Gareth. Again I was given the date 1867.
“It came out that this little boy aged six was in the stables when Viv caused something to happen involving a horse and the boy was killed. He desperately wanted to be with his Mummy, but Viv kept him with her because of her shame and anger and guilt. She blamed herself, but also blamed him as she was dismissed, losing everything and became bitter.
“I asked for help that we could bring Gareth and his mummy together. I gave him a cuddle and held his hand as Viv was trying to keep hold of him. After a few minutes, I sensed a new spirit - Gareth's mother. I asked him if he could see her, he was so excited, he said yes and I allowed him to go and hold her hand.
“Before she left, Gareth's mummy wanted to speak with me. I asked if they were at peace now and she answered 'yes'.
“Gareth's mother was shouting abuse at Viv and Viv was answering, both extremely angry. Gareth's mother was hurt that she hadn't been able to get her son until now. Viv was angry that we had taken Gareth from her and she would be alone. The language made me blush! Most of this was caught on the Angel board. By now I was drained, as was everyone else emotionally.”
* The River Dee.
Another ghostly tale, this time about the River Dee again comes from the BBC North East Wales and concerns Lynn Douglas, a regular visitor to Llangollen, who recalled:
“I cannot say it is a story I have to tell but it is a rather puzzling circumstance I find myself in. In November of 2001 I started to visit Llangollen which I used as a base for work I was doing in the UK. I have been there now 11 times and have stayed in various cottages and the Royal Hotel.
“On my first visit I became quite fond of walking along the River Dee and found it quite soothing and somehow spiritual like. Upon my first return home to Canada I began to have dreams of the river, I heard the rushing of the water and the voice of a young woman in my dreams calling me to return.
“These dreams continued and have continued to this day. However, I no longer hear the young woman's voice calling me only in dreams, but at times during my daily routines. The voice is quite sad and almost weepy, and I also hear the rush of the water.
“Now when I return to Llangollen I can go to the river and feel her presence, at night when I am there I can hear the voice crystal clear above the sounds of the water. Whatever it is, the voice is calling me to return to Wales and to the river.” 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Report calls for improved planning in beauty spots

A new report, which will be of interest in Llangollen, makes 28 recommendations to improve planning services in Wales’ National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Land Use Consultants (LUC) were commissioned by Wales' Environment Minister, John Griffiths, to undertake research as part of the wider review of Wales’ planning system.
The report, Delivery of Planning Services in Statutory Designated Landscapes in Wales, concludes that while there is good practice there are also concerns to be addressed.

These are:
  • Concerns amongst local communities and businesses regarding the planning function restricting their long term sustainability
  • In the case of AONB, the lack of a strong planning framework that recognises that these designated landscapes have an equal status to those of National Parks.
The report’s recommendations are grouped under seven themes:
  • National guidance and improved information on landscape and landscape tools.
  • The policy framework at the local level.
  • Improving the perception of planning (especially development management) in AONB and especially in National Parks.
  • Partnership working between the planning and socio-economic functions of National Park Authorities and their constituent authorities and between the constituent authorities of AONB.
  • Bringing consistency to development management.
  • Governance.
  • Improved performance monitoring.
Commenting on the report, the Minister said: “In these tough times the Welsh Government is fully committed to creating sustainable growth and jobs and we have always been clear that a reformed planning system has an important role to play in supporting our sustainable economic recovery.

"I welcome this report and look forward to discussing its recommendations with my officials.”

The report’s recommendations will feed into the Planning White Paper which is scheduled to be published in late 2013.

Cream of sporting talent honoured at big Llan evening

* The line-up of sporting winners. 
Denbighshire has celebrated the cream of sporting talent in the county at a glittering awards ceremony in Llangollen Pavilion.

Out of 130 nominations, the judging panel drew up a final shortlist of three for each category.

One of the highlights of the night was a double scoop for Aaron Evans, who has cerebral palsy.

Aaron won the Disability Sport Award and will also be Denbighshire’s Community Sport Ambassador 2013, in recognition of his voluntary work visiting primary schools throughout Denbighshire, sharing his experiences as a past disability footballer and captain for Everton FC and Wales, and introducing youngsters to new Paralympic sports.

The winners included Nathan Jones (Sport Performer of the Year), Dylan Kerfoot-Robson (Junior Sports Performer), Rhyl Netball Club (Team of the Year), Iris Thomas (Unsung Hero), Mike Hayes (Volunteer of the Year), Ian Evans (Coach of the Year), and Bruce Carlyle (Lifetime Achievement), Jake Jones (Young Inspiration), Aaron Evans (Disability Award and Denbighshire Sport Ambassador 2013).

Councillor Huw Jones, Denbighshire's Cabinet Lead Member for Leisure, Youth, Tourism and Rural Development, paid tribute to the wealth of sporting talent in Denbighshire.

He said:"I am delighted to have been part of the celebrations at the award ceremony. The standard of the nominations made for some difficult decisions when it came to judging and everyone should be extremely proud of their acheivements. I pass on my congratulations to all of the winners and runners up.

"We have even more cause for celebration because three of our nine winners have been shortlisted for national recognition and invited to the Sport Wales ‘Coach of the Year’ awards in Cardiff in November.

"This is the highest amount of nominees shortlisted from any other authority in North Wales and only matched by the significantly higher populated authorities of Cardiff and Caerphilly."

Denbighshire would also like to thank event sponsors Alliance Leisure, alongside category sponsors Glyndwr University, Llandrillo College Rhyl, X N Leisure, Technogym, and DCC Housing services for their support in making the event possible.

For more information on the awards and details on how to nominate or Sponsor next year's event please contact Matt Hilliker on 07798742290 or visit

You can still have your say on health services, says group

* The closure threatened Cottage Hospital.

People can still have their say on the future of health services in Llangollen even though the health board official consultation exercise ended last Sunday.

That is the message from campaign group Keep Llangollen Health Services (KLHS), which is fighting plans to shut the town’s Cottage Hospital years before its proposed replacement – a health centre possibly on the site of the former River Lodge just up the road - is ready.
The proposal by the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) to shut the hospital was put out to consultation 10 weeks ago and the results of the exercise will now be considered by board members before a final decision is made.
A KLHS group spokesman said: “The Betsi Cadwaladr consultation officially ended on Sunday but there’s little cause to regret missing filing your comments – the questions were loaded to elicit the responses the board wanted anyway.
“For an unbiased survey, which is still available, send your views to the Betsi Cadwaladr Community Health Council, a watchdog with real teeth, and a bite big enough to force the Health Minister to rethink her plans.
“On Facebook, go to or on Twitter,, or fill in the Survey and express your thoughts online at the BCCHC’s website:
The KLHS spokesman says:
· * Betsi Cadwaladr’s consultation survey is biased to get the answers they want
· * They  (BCUHB) claim running costs for our Hospital are too high – but promise a larger replacement with greater running costs
· * Their (BCUHB) estimate of £5.5m to build a replacement health centre will be out of date in four or five years, which is the earliest that can hope to begin a new build – not late 2014/2015
· * They (BCUHB) haven’t developed plans for the River Lodge site
· * They (BCUHB) haven’t obtained funds for the River Lodge sit
· * £5.5m doesn’t cover the cost of the rumoured bridge across the Dee
· * The Dee is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and the bridge will be strongly resisted
· * The access to River Lodge will need widening to comply with planning law – which means compulsory purchase of several buildings, their demolition, and new roadworks
· * The "fiasco" of River Lodge and Powys Fadog may yet go to public inquiry, blocking any developments until the issue is resolved
· * There is still a query over reversion of the hospital site to the Vivod Estate

· * All four AMs, both County Councillors, the Town Council and other AMs are unanimous in opposing closure of the Cottage Hospital until its replacement is available
· * The public is opposed to its closure until its replacement is up and running
· * There are no beds available in the private sector, despite claims to the contrary
· * They (BCUHB) will not allow us to keep our beds – this is non-negotiable, making consultation no more than lip-service
· * They (BCUHB) will not allow us to keep our Minor Injuries Unit, predominantly and regularly used by our children and elderly.
* Unlike every other public body we have contacted since our launch, the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has consistently ignored all communications from llanblogger, so therefore we are unable to obtain its response to these KLHS claims.

Just don't mention the war ...

Britain's most famous dysfunctional hotel opens for business once more as the Llangollen Twenty Club perform three episodes of the hugely successful sitcom next week.

Regularly voted as the funniest television series in history, Fawlty Towers, written by John Cleese and Connie Booth, follows the trials of rude and put-upon hotel owner Basil Fawlty, his bossy wife Sybil, comparatively normal chambermaid Polly and hapless Spanish waiter Manuel and their attempts to run the hotel amidst farcical situations and an array of demanding and eccentric guests.

Performances will take place on November 8, 9 and 10 at 7.30pm with an additional matinee performance on the 10th at 2.30pm, all at Llangollen Town Hall.

Tickets are available at Hardy's the Card Shop, Gwyn Davies Butchers, Courtyard Books or on 01978 860397.

This is expected to be a sell-out so please book early to avoid disappointment. Admission £6, concessions £5.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Man stabbed in nearby town

Detectives in Wrexham are appealing for information after a man sustained serious injuries following a stabbing incident in Rhosllanerchrugog.
The 29-year-old victim sustained injuries which were initially described as life threatening however he is now in a stable condition at Wrexham Maelor Hospital.
Staff at the hospital alerted police at 1.51am on Saturday morning, October 27, to the victim's injuries. From inquiries, Detectives believe an altercation occurred a short time earlier that morning on Maes y Ficerdy, Rhosllanerchrugog, between the 29-year-old man and another man, during which the 29-year-old sustained stab wounds to his stomach and leg.
Police investigations into the incident are already well underway and are continuing.
Detectives are appealing to anyone who witnessed the incident or who has information to contact them at Wrexham CID immediately on 101. Alternatively, individuals with information can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

A5 at Chirk re-opens

The Daily Post has just tweeted that the A5 at Chirk is open again.

The road was closed just after 7am today (Monday) following a three-car smash.

It re-opened just after 9p - a  14-hour closure in total.

A5 at Chirk still closed

The Daily Post tweeted at 7.22pm that the A5 at Chirk was still closed after a three-vehcile accident early this morning (Monday).

Tt was due to reopen at 7pm but the Post says there is no sign of that happening yet.

A diversion is still in operation, with borthbound traffic being asked to follow the black square symbol, and southbound traffic following the black diamond symbol.

Crash bridge should re-open later

The Leader is reporting on its website that a bridge which shut in the early hours of this morning (Monday) following a car crash is expected to reopen at about 7pm tonight.
A man was taken to Wrexham Maelor Hospital with a suspected back injury following the one-vehicle collision on the viaduct between the Halton and Gledrid roundabouts on the A483 leading to the A5 near Chirk at about 12.40am today.

A temporary parapit will be installed this afternoon while structural engineers assess the damage.
Traffic is currently being diverted through the villages of Gledrid and Chirk using the B5070.

Tough new role for Operatic star Louisa

* Louisa Jones is ready to set off on her Indian adventure.

A member of Llangollen Operatic Society takes on a tough new role as she sets out on a gruelling 220-mile charity ride through India next month.
Louisa Jones, 33, who has taken many key parts for the society, is joining the Action for Charity’s Women V Cancer Cycle Challenge to raise cash for three women’s cancer charities.
The five-day challenge begins a few days after she flies out to India on November 9 and along the way will have to contend with soaring temperatures and remote, treacherous roads.
Louisa, who works as a European sales analyst for the Ruabon-based Flint Group printing and packing company, will join a group of around 100 other women from across the UK who will set out from the city of Agra – home of the iconic Taj Mahal - and pedal through the rural state of Rajasthan in north-west India, ending their momentous journey in the capital, Jaipur.
To maintain their tight schedule the intrepid cyclists, ranging in age from their twenties to sixties, will need to average around 40 miles a day.
The route followed will be far removed from the usual tourist trails and will be both on and off road.
Conditions will be challenging as the roads are mere dirt tracks in many places and the temperatures at this time of year will be around 36F in the daytime and plummeting at night.
The one consolation is that every night the riders will return to a camp set up for them in advance by challenge organisers.
In advance of her trip to the sub-continent Louisa has been raising the cash necessary to guarantee her a place on the ride.
Thanks to strong support from family, friends and work colleagues she managed to burst through the £2,800 qualifying barrier some months ago and pledges are still coming in.
She also plans to made a personal contribution of £500 towards her fundraising total, which will be distributed between Breast Cancer Care, Jo’ Cervical Cancer Trust and Ovarian Cancer Action.
To prepare for the tough physical test Louisa has been in training since January, completing rides through the countryside around her home of up to 40 miles.
She said: “I hadn’t really cycled properly since I was in my teens so the training was a bit tough at first.
“Eventually, I was doing up to 40 miles a day but I know that some of the other ladies who are going on the ride have been doing 70 miles.
“As a novice cyclist, I am aware I have a tough training regime ahead of me. However, I know it will be an amazing learning curve and a life changing experience. "
Louisa added: “I have chosen to support cancer charities because I think almost everyone knows someone who has been affected by cancer and what it can mean to them.
“In raising money I wanted to do something I have never done before.”
To make a contribution towards Louisa’s challenge go to

* Louisa is hoping to keep llanblogger readers informed of her progress by sending regular daily updates of her progress on the ride.

Communications and technology permitting, we'll start bringing them to you a few days after she arrives in India on November 9.           



AM raises end-of-life care with Minister

NORTH Wales Assembly Member Mark Isherwood  says he is keen to ensure that in making changes to end-of-life health care in North Wales, the Welsh NHS listens to charitable and independent hospices who have shown great success in delivering more for the resources available.
Raising the issue in the Assembly Chamber with the Health Minister last week, Mr Isherwood, who is Chair of the Cross Party Group on Hospices and Palliative Care, said: “Under the heading ‘Enhanced care at home’, the Betsi Cadwaladr University Local Health Board document, ‘Healthcare in North Wales is Changing’, states that it would ensure consistent delivery of end-of-life care, connecting primary care, community services, hospice support and specialist palliative care teams to support people to die at home, in accordance with their wishes and those of their families.
“However, there is no reference to what the Welsh NHS could learn from our charitable hospices about the integration of care services in the home, community hospitals and hospices. How will the Welsh Government ensure that charitable and independent hospices across Wales will be given the opportunity to help NHS and social service home-care providers to deliver more for the resources available?”
The Minister, Lesley Griffiths, agreed that the need for integrated services is key to the way forward.
She said: “The Social Services Bill will show us the way forward on that. Having said that, I am also aware that there are excellent examples of integrated care at the end of life in people’s homes. I am sure that you would want to join with me in acknowledging the role of the voluntary sector in providing this.”
In an Assembly Debate on Hospices and Palliative Care earlier this year, Mr Isherwood described hospice care as “one of Wales’ greatest success stories” and emphasised that across Wales, local charitable hospices care for more than 5,000 people affected by terminal illness each year.

Main A5 closed near Chirk after three-vehicle accident

The A5 in Chirk has been closed in both directions between Gledrid Roundabout and Halton Roundabout this morning (Monday), because of an accident involving three vehicles.

It is understand the bridge of the river at that point is being checked by engineers for structural damage.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Endowment fund for local groups launched

 * At the launch of the new fund at Ruthin Craft Centre are, from left, Cllr Hugh Evans, leader of Denbighshire, Tom Barham from the Community Foundation in Wales, Councillor Jeanette Chamberlain Jones (chair of Denbighshire), Hywyn Williams, Corporate Director - Communities Denbighshire County Council and Lisa Kellett, Chief Executive of the Community Foundation in Wales.
Community and charitable groups in Llangollen and the rest of Denbighshire are being invited to bid for a share of a new £280,000 endowment fund.

The Denbighshire Community Endowment Fund will award around £10,000 in education grants each year.
The funding comes from dormant funds identified by the county council, which has asked the Community Foundation in Wales to identify how the cash can be used locally.
The foundation will work with local people to advise on grant making decisions, and support the education of young people.

The fund will provide a long-term source of funding for community and charitable groups across the county and will gather donations from people wishing to top it up.
Grants will be made under five broad themes - enabling young people and promoting education, enterprise and lifelong learning; building cohesion and confidence in communities; improving physical and mental health; nurturing heritage and culture and protecting our environment.

Liza Kellett, chief executive of the Community Foundation in Wales, said: "We are delighted to be working in partnership with Denbighshire County Council.
“By working together, we can make sure that the funding is targeted effectively but we also the fund to grow so more local groups can benefit in the future.
“We invite people living in the county to consider gifting a donation to their communities. Local giving for local action really does make a difference.”
Councillor Hugh Evans, leader of Denbighshire County Council, said: "In an exercise to review the education budget line by line, we realised that we had 57 dormant charitable funds, some of them small.
“The total fund value amounted to about £280k. Making much better use of such a substantial fund is critically important to us, and leaving such funds dormant was not an option.
"When we were contacted by the Community Foundation in Wales, we became really enthusiastic about contributing the monies to create this education -focussed fund for Denbighshire.
“We now have a very good way forward, the money available is going to be invested well, funding will be released to just causes within our communities, and that will, hopefully, reap benefits to our residents, now and for years to come.”

Anyone interested in donating to the fund should phone the Community Foundation in Wales on 02920 536 590.or visit WWW.CFIW.ORG.UK

AM pledges to fight mental health stigma

CLWYD South Assembly Member Ken Skates has pledged to help tackle the stigma over mental health as the Welsh Labour Government launched a ground-breaking new initiative.
The new cross-departmental strategy - “Together for Mental Health” – gives a commitment to support patients “from cradle to the grave.”
* Ken Skates AM
Welsh Government figures currently show:
· One in four adults will have mental health problems or illness at some stage of their lives.
· One in 10 children between the ages of five and 16 has a mental health problem.
· One in six people over 80 years old will have memory problems, such as dementia.
The Strategy is focused around six high level outcomes and is supported by a Delivery Plan.
Mr Skates,  who also chairs the Assembly’s All Party Group on Mental Health, said: “Mental illnesses, particularly depression and anxiety, affect thousands of people across Wales yet there is still a taboo about addressing it. Many people still feel alone and dejected about mental health issues but the truth is there are many places to turn to.
“It’s imperative that patients get the right treatment to make sure they can not only manage their illness but hopefully recover fully and this new strategy will aid that.
“Together for Mental Health is aimed at giving a continuous and seamless care ‘from cradle to the grave’ and that’s exactly what is needed to help vulnerable people regardless of their age or social background.”
Welsh Labour’s Health Minister Lesley Griffiths said: “One in four people will experience mental illness at some point in their lives. This can be triggered by bereavement, a trauma or even constantly worrying about money. In these days of financial austerity, we need to have more resilience to deal with the everyday pressures we face.

"Together for Mental Health is our commitment to do all we can to ensure we help people in Wales enjoy good mental health and wellbeing and those with mental ill-health are given all the support possible to recover and lead fulfilling lives.”

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Clocks back reminder

Don't forget that British Summer Time ends at 1am tomorrow (Sunday) morning, so put your clocks BACK by one hour.

Anti-dog fouling teams to hit the streets

XFOR, the company contracted to carry out environmental enforcement for Denbighshire County Council, has now recruited six new enforcement staff who will take on the battle to rid local streets of dog mess and litter.

The team will be kitted out with video cameras to patrol hotspot areas on the lookout for anyone who fails to clean up after their dog or throws litter on the street.

* Llangollen's anti-dog fouling poster. 
Cabinet Lead Member for Environment, Councillor David Smith, said: “Dog fouling and littering are two of the most common complaints we receive here in Denbighshire. It was highlighted in our latest resident’s survey as one of the most pressing issues in communities.

“Not only is dog fouling a health hazard, it blights the environment in communities across the authority and now is the time to tackle the issue robustly.

“We will be looking to engage with communities, educate people on the need to clear up after their dogs and make it much easier for people to report through a freephone number and social media as well as the more traditional methods of making a complaint.”

Gary Lincoln-Hope, CEO at XFOR said: "We are pleased to be working in partnership with Denbighshire to combat problems with littering and dog fouling.  “XFOR LAS is now providing two teams to patrol the streets, issuing fixed penalty notices for offences.

“These experienced officers are supported by our back office teams as necessary. We have been welcomed by the council and the local community, and look forward to making robust FPN enforcement more practicable for the council. Most importantly, this partnership will have a measurable impact on the cleanliness of Denbighshire's streets."

The appointment of XFOR will not cost the authority anything but the firm will take a percentage of what they receive from issuing fixed penalty notices. In the coming weeks, Denbighshire will be producing flyers, guides, posters and postcards to be distributed through all council reception areas, libraries, schools, veterinary surgeries, supermarkets, Town and Community Councils, tenants associations, leisure centres and tourist information centres.

Cllr Smith added: “We hope residents will get fully behind this campaign and help reduce this anti-social behaviour once and for all, ensuring Denbighshire is one of the cleanest greenest counties in Wales.”

To report problems with dog fouling, please telephone the Council’s Customer Contact Centre, on 01824 706100 (Welsh language) or 01824 706101.

News from Llan Operatic Society ...

Festive Frolics

Rehearsals are now in full swing for “Festive Frolics”, which is due to be staged in the Town Hall on Tuesday 11th December. The evening is guaranteed to put you in the mood for seasonal celebrations with a programme featuring traditional and contemporary Christmas songs, humorous poems and monologues, and well loved carols that everyone is welcome to join in with. Tickets are £5.00 per person, including a glass of wine and a mince pie, and will be available from the Tourist Information Centre shortly.

If you would like a taste of what the evening has in store, why not come and see us perform on the library steps during the Town Festival on Saturday 24th November. Alternatively if you fancy joining us on stage, come along to a rehearsal on Tuesday evening at 19:30 in our studio, off Castle Street or e-mail for more details.

Anything Goes

The senior section is delighted to announce that their annual production for 2013 will be “Anything Goes” by Cole Porter. The Society first performed this maritime musical 14 years ago and many of the original cast will be taking to the stage once more. Set in the 1930s, this upbeat show tells of madcap antics aboard the ocean liner SS American on its journey from New York to London. Recognisable numbers from the show include the title song “Anything Goes”, “I get a kick out of you” and “It’s de-lovely”.

The show will be produced by Sue Cheshire and directed by Christine Ashworth with Greg Williams as Musical Director. Rehearsals for anyone interested in auditioning for a principal role will be held on Tuesday 30th October and Sunday 4th November in the studio at 19:30, with auditions on Sunday 11th November.

We are always on the lookout for new members so if you would be interested in coming along to join us in an acting or non acting capacity, please e-mail for further details. We would be particularly interested to hear from anyone who has experience with designing and making costumes, set building and painting and the sourcing and organisation of props.

Travelling Troupe News

The Troupe would like to thank everyone who supported their showcase event “Lost in Music” on 14th and 15th September in the Town Hall. The event was enjoyed by all involved and the feedback from the audience was excellent. A profit in the region of £800 was generated for Society funds.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Man plucked to safety from raging river

Llanblogger exclusive
* Enmergency services gather on the bridge.
* The stranded man speaks on his mobile.
* Firefighters prepare to make their rescue attempt.

* The man is brought ashore by the rescue team.

Llanblogger was at the scene when emergency services plucked a stranded canoeist to safety from an island in the middle of a raging River Dee in Llangollen early this evening.

Crowds of onlookers lined the bridge and the platform of the nearby station to watch a team of firefighters specially trained in water rescue inch their way out to the man across the fast-flowing river before helping him into an inflatable boat and winching him ashore.
The man, who did not appear to be wearing a wetsuit and seemed to be clad in black trousers and anorak with the hood raised over his face, was seen speaking to a police officer before leaving the scene.
The drama began just after 4pm when fire appliances, police cars and an ambulance raced to the bridge with sirens sounding and blue lights flashing.
They were accompanied by a Land Rover marked Edale Mountain Rescue but they do not appear to have taken any part in the rescue.
The man, who was holding a metal paddle, was stranded precariously on an island half way across the river, with water sweeping past on either side of him.
For most of the time he was stranded he appeared to be talking to someone on a mobile phone.
Around 4.30pm a fire service boat rescue team, which is based on Deeside, began entering the water from a point just downstream of the ancient bridge.
Using safety lines they waded carefully across the river until they reached another small island from where one of the firefighters carried a line across to the patch of rock where the man was standing.
The team’s bright yellow inflatable boat was then hauled across and the man was helped into it by other members of the team who had by now also crossed over to him.
The boat, with two firefighters and the rescued man on board, was then pulled back to the bank by safety line.  
As he walked up the steps to the roadway he was seen speaking to a police officer before leaving the area.
The ambulance which was standing by on the bridge was not needed as it is understood the man suffered no injuries.
Emergency services then dispersed at around 5.30pm.
For the duration of the drama police controlled traffic driving across the bridge which led to some minor congestion on Castle Street, which is the main shopping street, and both main roads – the A5 and A539 – leading up to the bridge.
Tourists in town for the weekend had a grandstand view of events from the bridge and also from the platform of nearby Llangollen Station, which was packed with people for an appearance by Thomas the Tank Engine.    

Top doc's advice to beat the bug

Wales’ Chief Medical Officer, Dr Ruth Hussey, is asking people to follow simple steps if they have symptoms of a seasonal sickness bug.
Following a number of isolated incidents on wards across Wales, Dr Hussey is urging people to use common sense if they become unwell.
Sge said: "The sickness and diarrhoea bug, which can be caused by Norovirus in some patients, normally lasts between 24 and 60 hours, though symptoms tend to ease after two days.
"People can, in most cases, self-medicate. Take paracetamol to relieve symptoms of any fever and aches, and drink plenty of water to replace the fluids lost through diarrhoea and vomiting. This prevents dehydration.
"To reduce the risk of passing the virus onto others, wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water, particularly after using the toilet and before preparing food, and don’t share towels or flannels.
"If you think you have a seasonal diarrhoea and vomiting bug, stay at home and don't go to the doctor, because it is contagious and there is nothing the doctor can do while you have it.
"Seek advice online or by telephone from NHS Direct, or speak to a pharmacist. However, contact your GP to seek advice if your symptoms last longer than a few days or if you already have a serious illness.
"Outbreaks in busy places such as hospitals, nursing homes and schools are not uncommon because the virus can survive for several days on surfaces or objects touched by an infected person.
"To help prevent the spread of the bug hospitals may restrict visiting to affected areas. If you already have sickness or diarrhoea, please do not visit.”
If you have concerns about your health, call NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47 or visit the Choose Well web site. You can also download the Choose Well app.

Warning over Llangollen thefts

Sergeant Paul Hughes, of Llangollen and Corwen Neighbourhood Engagement Team, is appealing for residents to secure their property.
He said: "Llangollen, Corwen and surrounding areas have suffered a number of thefts from sheds, unoccupied premises and vehicles over the last week, most occurring overnight.
"While these kinds of offences remain infrequent within our area, I urge local residents to ensure that property is secure and that gates and sheds are fitted with robust locks.
“With the onset of the dark evenings we need to be extra vigilant. If properties have security lighting, please ensure that it is maintained and checked regularly. I would suggest that owners consider post coding their property, especially bicycles, power tools and electrical equipment and to record details of serial numbers, which can assist in the retrieval of stolen property.
"Officers are continuing to target offenders, but I would appeal to members of the public that should they see or hear anything suspicious, to call us at the time.
“If residents believe they are witnessing criminal activity please make a note of any vehicle details and descriptions of the people involved, and contact us on 101 for non emergencies or 999 if they think that their or neighbouring properties are under threat at the time.
“We are fully committed to making this area an even safer place in which to live and work. To discuss these matters further with the neighbourhood engagement team in the Llangollen and Corwen area, please find our contact details on the North Wales Police website under Your Neighbourhood.
“All officers working in your particular area are highlighted accordingly."