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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Safety advice for Halloween and Bonfire Night

Denbighshire County Council’s Trading Standards Section and North Wales Police say they will be working to try and make Halloween and Bonfire night as enjoyable as possible for local people.

A spokesperson from Denbighshire Trading Standards Section has said: “October 31 and November 5 are dates that have long been associated with parties and family fun, but for some they can be nights to forget.   

"On Halloween elderly people can be left frightened and intimidated by youngsters calling at their home asking for trick or treat - particularly when the callers are in costume.

"Similarly, families can find their evenings disrupted and their pets driven to distraction by the blasts and bangs from fireworks exploding on Bonfire Night.

"Nuisance behaviour at Halloween had been a recurring problem in years gone by. In relation to anti-social behaviour Halloween has often been a bigger problem than Bonfire Night.  

"This is because of the shock some elderly and vulnerable people get when they find someone dressed in a terrifying outfit on their doorstep or from people persistently knocking on their doors.

"We don't want to stop anyone enjoying themselves, but we would ask that they bear in mind the elderly and vulnerable people in our community who may not want callers knocking on their door late at night.

"We would ask the youngsters who got out trick or treating to make Halloween as pleasant as possible for the households they call on, by being polite and courteous to those they meet. Parents should ensure that their children are suitably advised as to possible ramifications involving elderly residents. A message they may wish to employ is to imagine they are visiting their own grandparents.

"Many of the problems associated with Bonfire night would not take place if certain residents just stopped to think of being more neighbourly.

"There are several organised displays in Denbighshire, scheduled for Bonfire night and we would recommend people attend those rather than have their own fireworks party in their back garden, for both safety and social reasons.

"However, if people want to hold their own event we would ask that they inform their neighbours well ahead of time, by calling in person or by popping a note through their letterbox. Many complaints spring out of people not telling their neighbours that they are planning to hold a firework display at their home and most importantly when the fireworks were going to be let off.

"The residents then have a chance to make arrangements in relation to any pets they may keep, or to make plans to go out if they don't want to listen to the noise.

"We would also ask that people, no matter how experienced, please take all the usual safety precautions, accidents happen when you become lax about the danger that you may be in.

"Fireworks are explosives and should be treated with great care and respect." The council and the police have issued the following safety advice:

1.        Only buy fireworks marked BS 7114 and from reputable outlets.
2.        Don't drink alcohol if setting off fireworks.
3.        Keep fireworks in a closed box.
4.        Follow the instructions on each firework.
5.        Light them at arm's length, using a taper.
5.        Stand well back.
6.        Never go near a firework that has been lit. Even if it hasn't gone off, it could still explode.
7.        Never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them.
8.        Always supervise children around fireworks.
9.        Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves.
10        Never give sparklers to children under five.
11.        Keep pets indoors.
12.        Don't set off noisy fireworks late at night and never after 11pm.
13.         If having a bonfire, prior to lighting check carefully for wildlife and when finished dampen it down fully. Never light or store fireworks near the bonfire.

Anyone that chooses to use fireworks in an anti-social and irresponsible manner could find themselves on the wrong side of the law. Under the Fireworks Act there is a now a curfew preventing people from letting off fireworks between 11pm and 7am.  I

If people are holding a fireworks party on November 5, the last rocket must have gone off by 11pm or they could find themselves liable for prosecution.

It is now illegal for children under 18 to buy or in fact be in the possession of fireworks.

Denbighshire Trading Standards will be undertaking inspections and test purchases to each premise which sell fireworks to ensure compliance with firework legislation and age restricted products.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Twenty Club cancels Rebecca

The Twenty Club has had to cancel its production of Rebecca, due to have been staged at Llangollen Town Hall next week.

A group spokesman said tonight (Wednesday): "With sadness, due to circumstances beyond our control, we have had to cancel our production of Rebecca' originally scheduled to take place next week.

"This is the first time that this has happened in the club's 67-year history and needless to say everyone involved is hugely disappointed.

"We apologise to anyone who had made plans to come and see the production and hope that no inconvenience has been caused.

"On a more positive note, we are able to announce the March 2014 production.

"In order to mark the centenary of World War 1 we will be staging The Accrington Pals by Peter Whelan. We hope you will all be able to attend."

North Wales ambulance response target missed again

Figures released today show that the all-Wales Welsh Ambulance response time target been missed for September.
The eight-minute target has not been met since May 2012.
The Welsh Government’s target is for 65% of ambulances to respond to Category A (immediately life-threatening) calls within eight minutes, yet figures for September show that only 62.9% of ambulances arrived within that time.
In England and Scotland the target for the same priority call is 75%.
Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, commented: “Despite the best efforts of the hard working front line paramedics, another month goes by and yet another health target missed by Welsh Labour.
“It is bad enough that people i n Wales have to put up with a government that is less ambitious than those in England and Scotland, but for those unambitious targets to not be met just compounds that misery.
“Labour MP Ann Clwyd is right when she says Wales is behind England in every instance. The First Minister and his Health Minister need to stop burying their heads in the sand and start delivering the health service the people of Wales deserve.”

A Welsh Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “September was a busy month for us, with the service taking 33,677 emergency calls, with more than a third of these - 13,200 calls - being of the most serious in nature.

“We have introduced a number of measures to improve our responsiveness and it is encouraging to see that we are now showing signs of continuous improvement.

“We would like to reassure the public that the Trust is firmly committed to delivering the improvement aims of its ‘Working Together for Success’ modernisation programme to provide the best quality of care for the people of Wales.

“We invite the public to support NHS Wales’ Choose Well campaign, so that busy emergency services are available to those who need them most urgently. For non-emergencies, please consider calling NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47 or visiting for free, confidential health advice.

“We ask the public only to dial 999 for life-threatening and serious illnesses and injuries – let’s keep emergency ambulances for emergencies.”

The statistics can be found at:

Wales to spend £850,000 on marking WW1 anniversary

The First Minister Carwyn Jones, has officially launched the Framework Programme for Wales’s Commemoration of the First World War, Cymru’n Cofio – Wales Remembers 1914-1918, and announced that £850k will made available by the Welsh Government to support the educational programme to mark the one hundredth anniversary of the conflict.
The First Minister made the announcement at the official launch of the Programme at Firing Line: Cardiff Castle Museum of the Welsh Soldier.

He said: "The centenary of the start of the war in 1914 marks an important opportunity for us to remember all those who took part in the First World War and the transformational impact of the conflict in shaping modern Wales.

"There will be very few people in Wales whose lives have not been affected by the First World War’s enduring legacy, whether they are aware of it or not. That’s why we want education and community events to play a central role.

"I want the commemoration in Wales to be inclusive, with national events and exhibitions accompanied by community-based activities.

"We want to reach everyone and I encourage you to visit the new Cymru’n Cofio Wales Remembers 1914-1918 website where you will find information about events, projects and funding, and signposting services relevant to activities in Wales."

In line with the First Minister’s desire for the commemoration to have an educational legacy, the £850k will be used to produce digital educational resources and enable schools to develop a suitable programme of activities to mark the centenary.

The Education Minister Huw Lewis said: "Making sure that young people understand the events and consequences of the conflict is a key objective for the commemoration programme.

"The funding we are allocating will allow the National Library of Wales to lead a major project to develop bilingual, cross-curriculum learning resources, including an innovative 'app' which will act as a Welsh guide to the battlefields.

"In addition, every secondary school in Wales will receive £1,000 to develop creative and innovative projects to commemorate the war and to encourage debate and discussion. We have left it to schools to decide how best they can do this and it may be that schools will group together to undertake collaborative projects to mark the anniversary."

The First Minister added: "Cymru’n Cofio Wales Remembers 1914-1918 will develop over the years to come and will link with the wider commemorations of the First World War that are taking place in the rest of the UK and around the World.

"It will be a fitting and Wales-wide commemoration, which will pay tribute to those people whose sacrifice is justly remembered by us all."

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Skates welcomes £2.4 million debt advice boost

CLWYD South Assembly Member Ken Skates has welcomed the Welsh Government’s announcement it will spend an extra £2.4m to provide advice on debt, money management and housing in some of Wales’ most deprived areas.
Labour AM Mr Skates said the new services announced recently (October 23) by Deputy Minister for Tackling Poverty Vaughan Gething will give ‘a huge boost’ to people struggling in some of the country’s poorest communities.
Mr Skates said: “Given the current economic climate and the Tory-led UK Government’s welfare changes, the need for advice services has increased considerably. This new funding package will allow Citizens Advice Cymru to help 36 Communities First clusters across Wales to meet this growing demand.
“There are two Communities First areas in Clwyd South and I am delighted a share of this £2.4m will go directly to supporting people struggling here as the ruthless cuts of the Westminster coalition continue to hit hard.”
Communities First is the Welsh Government’s flagship programme to help those living in the top 10% most deprived communities in the country, aiming to improve health, prosperity and access to education and learning.
Citizens Advice Cymru director Fran Targett said: “We are seeing a big increase in the need for help at this difficult time. People need independent, impartial advice more than ever. We welcome this funding, which will help reach some of the most vulnerable people right in the heart of their communities.”

Llan burtcher becomes Wales food ambassador

Food industry website is reporting today that Llangollen butcher Tomi Jones has been appointed as Welsh food industry skills ambassador.

See the full story at:

Sports stars honoured at Llan ceremony

Sporting teams and individuals have been honoured for their achievements at a recent awards ceremony staged in Llangollen and arranged by Denbighshire County Council's Leisure Team.

Last year, three Denbighshire Community Sport Awards winners went on to win national accolades at the Sport Wales Awards in Cardiff.

This year there was over 160 nominations for the Denbighshire Community Sport Awards.

They were then shortlisted to three finalists for each category.

Many of the clubs and individuals recognised had received a Denbighshire Talented Athlete Grant, a Community Chest Grant or a North Wales Gold Card.

This year's guest speaker was Nicola Tustain of Corwen, one of Britain’s best known para–equestrian dressage riders,  having performed at a world class level for the past ten years.

Her career has taken her to international competitions in no less than 12 countries representing the UK and her speech outlining her sporting journey was truly inspirational.

The 2013 winners announced at the ceremony were:
  • James Roberts, Prestatyn (Sports Performer)
  •  Emily Noden, Denbigh  (Disability Award)
  • Roydon Healy (Coach of the year)
  • Sophie Vaughan, Rhyl (Volunteer of the Year)
  •  Michael Kitchin, Prestatyn (Young Inspiration of the Year)
  •  Olivia Fuller, Prestatyn (Junior Sports Performer)
  •  Prestatyn High School (Sport in School Award)
  • Jeff Jenkins, Denbigh  (Lifetime Achievement)
  •  Prestatyn FC (Team of the Year and Denbighshire Sport Ambassadors 2013).
Jamie Groves, Denbighshire County Council's Head of Communication, Marketing and Leisure, said: "It was a true honour for the Council and its partners to recognise the tremendous amount of sporting talent we have in Denbighshire.

"They are great ambassadors for sport and well-being and really show how commitment, dedication and nurturing local talent can pay dividends in their chosen sport.

"The Olympic and Paralympic Games have left a lasting legacy for sports in the UK and the leisure industry has never been in the spotlight as much as it is now. It's a great opportunity for us to celebrate achievements, as well as encouraging others to get active and strive for the best in their fields."

Denbighshire County Council says it would like to thank event sponsors Alliance Leisure, who have also been awarded a four year investment framework as partners to Denbighshire County Council, to significantly improve and expand leisure facilities in the county.  

The transformation of Ruthin Leisure Centre has providing a full sized all weather pitch, a new extension to the swimming pool – which will house a new reception and viewing area, as well as a state of the art 25 station fitness centre.  

Category sponsors were Glyndwr University, Coleg Llandrillo Rhyl, X N Leisure, Technogym,  Denbighshire County Council Housing services and Family information Services and University of Central Lancashire. They are thanked for their support in making the event possible.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Region escapes big storm

Our region has escaped the worst of the big storm.

For more, see the Daily Post report at

More of Rachel's photos for you to enjoy

Here's the latest in a series of atmospheric pictures from local amateur photographer Rachel Morris that we are bringing you over the coming weeks.

Since we published the first batch, Rachel has been telling us a little more about her photographic background.

She said: "I took a sabbatical 10 years ago and spent nearly a year in North America, visiting 38 states.

"I started taking photos of 'roadside attractions' with a Lomo camera, as a pleasurable procrastination from my first stab at travel writing, and ended up being better at the photography.

"In 2004 my photo of 'Carhenge', Nebraska, won a Guardian newspaper competition. In 2005, six of my photos were selected for InsideOut travel magazine’s Faces Of The World, and my ‘paintograph’ won the annual award at Able Stable.

"Two of my photos have appeared in the booklet accompanying every Lomo Fisheye camera sold throughout the world."

* 4 - Bridge Street.
* 5. Caffi. 

* 6 - Carrog Farm.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Storm advice from North Wales Fire & Rescue Service

As the country braces itself for a severe storm, North Wales Fire and Rescue Service has issued the following safety advice:

* Secure any loose objects such as ladders, garden furniture or anything else that could be blown over and cause damage.

* Close and securely fasten all doors and windows.

* Where possible, park vehicles in a garage; otherwise park them away from trees, walls or fences.

* Stay indoors as much as possible.

* If you do go out, try not to walk or shelter close to trees.

* If you experience any damage, do not go outside to make repairs. Wait until the weather has improved.

* Be careful not to touch any electrical/telephone cables that have been blown down or are still hanging.

* Be a good neighbour and make sure that any vulnerable neighbours or relatives are safe.

* Do not drive unless your journey is really necessary. If your journey is essential then check first with Traffic Wales an plan your journey in advance. If you have to drive, observe the road conditions. Puddles may be deeper than they appear. Please don't take any unnecessary risks.

* Slow down and be aware of side winds - particular care should be taken if you are towing or are a high sided vehicle.

* If you are experiencing flooding in your home - get yourself to a place of safety, maybe upstairs. If you are taking any medication take this with you.

* Do not exit your property if there is fast flowing water outside.

* Stay safe and listen to the advice of the emergency services and evacuate if told to do so.

* Gather essential items together either upstairs or in a high place.

* Turn off gas, electricity and water supplies when flood water is about to enter your home and if safe to do so. DO NOT touch sources of electricity when standing in flood water.

If you require sandbags, please contact your local council rather than your local fire and rescue service. In busy periods, North Wales Fire and Rescue Service will prioritise calls to those where it is believed life is at risk.

For up to date information on flood warnings and advice, visit Natural Resources Wales - they monitor the weather situation closely and keep a close eye on river levels.

Residents can also contact Floodline on 0845 988 1188 using quickdial 194902 for up-to-date flooding information and advice in their local area.

Flood warnings are also broadcast on local TV and Radio, and check the North Wales Police website for the latest on road closures.

- See more at:

Railway's fish n chip special aims to be sizzling success

* A Remembrance Special.
Picture: Colour-Rail/Bruce Chapman Collection.

The LMS-Patriot Project the, Llangollen based group who are building the new 'Patriot' steam locomotive 'The Unknown Warrior' is running a Fish n Chip Special on Saturday, November 9.

A special steam hauled train will leave Llangollen at 6.30pm for a return trip to Carrog.

The fish n chips or alternative menu will be served shortly after the train departs from Llangollen.

Tickets for the fish n chip special must be pre-booked via the LMS-Patriot Project. Please download a booking form from:

The special train is being run in support of the new steam locomotive 'The Unknown Warrior' which is being assembled at the Llangollen Railway Works.

Tours around the Llangollen Works are being organised by LMS-Patriot Project volunteers from 12pm where progress of the new steam locomotive 'The Unknown Warrior' can be seen.

The Llangollen Railway is also running three special steam-hauled Remembrance Day trains on Saturday  and Sunday, November 9 and 10, at 11am, 1pm and 3pm from Llangollen to Carrog.

Tickets for these Remembrance trains are available from the Llangollen Railway.

Further information is available from:

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Skates urges support for Llan food bank

Clwyd South assembly member Ken Skates is urging members of the public and local businesses to help a charity project which feeds a community’s most vulnerable people.

Mr Skates first visited Matt’s Food Bank at City Church in Llangollen in August to see how the team of volunteers provides support to those in crisis by handing out emergency supplies and offering free hot meals.
Pastor Brian Smith, one of the co-founders who opened the food bank a year ago, said certain items such as tinned meat and vegetables, cereals and sugar are often in short supply. The church building is also in need of repairs after the recent heavy rain.
Mr Skates said: “It’s a sad sign of the times that there is even a need for projects like this, but the food bank is a fantastic organisation run by dedicated volunteers who give up their time to help people struggling to make ends meet.
“Food poverty is rising under the Tory-led UK Government, and charitable schemes like this are having to help more and more. The volunteers at Matt’s Food Bank do an amazing job, but they need help. I would encourage members of the public to donate what they can – either food or money – to help the project continue its vital work.
“There is a drop-off point at the Llangollen Co-op where you can donate tins, packets and other non-perishable food, and I would love to see local businesses get involved too by donating whatever they can afford and making a real difference to people’s lives.”
Food bank clients are given vouchers by doctors, district nurses, schools, the Citizens Advice Bureau and other welfare agencies which can be redeemed at the church on Mondays and Fridays. The volunteers also run Matt’s Community Bite, which offers a home-cooked meal and company every Monday and Friday from noon-2pm.
The food bank was named in honour of the late Matt Price, the former manager of St Collen’s Community Hall in Llangollen, and officially opened in October 2012. It serves most of the Dee Valley from Corwen to Cefn Mawr.
If you can help, call Brian on 07957 728473.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Warning follows theft of garden furniture

The local Neighbourhood watch team has put out the following message:

"We would like to bring to your attention a recent theft of garden furniture occurring within your local area.

"The Items taken included a cast iron table and chairs.

"It is important that we all protect our property during the winter months. If you do leave items in the garden you should be identifying issues such as visibility of item(s) to the public, ease of access and amount of time the property is unsupervised.

"Crime prevention measures acts like a great deterrent to thieves. This can be applied in many ways by closing/locking garden gates, good light sensors, keeping valuable items out of the public eye, posters or stickers that a dog resides at the address or installing a CCTV system.

"If you feel like you could use further target hardening advice regarding this matter then visit our website or attend your local Police Station to make an appointment with a local Officer. Any reports of similar incidents should be reported to the Force Non-Emergency Line; either 101 or 0300 330 0101 if outside the district."

County honoured for its apprenticeship scheme

Denbighshire County Council has had its efforts to provide apprenticeships to young people across the county recognised at a prestigious national award ceremony.

The council was shortlisted as a finalist in the Apprenticeship Employer of the Year Award  (Large Employer category) at the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2013 ceremony in Newport.  

Denbighshire was one of only two public sector organisations to be shortlisted - all the other shortlisted organisations were from the private sector.

Over the past five years the council has recruited 131 apprentices and currently has 38 of them working in a range of environments, including welding, business administration, housing, catering, creative digital media and information communication technology.

Sally Ellis, Corporate Director -Modernisation and Well-being, said: "The Corporate Apprenticeship scheme was introduced in 2011 as one of the ways to address concerns of the low number of employees aged 16-24. It was becoming increasingly apparent to the Council that there would be significant problems in the future with an ageing workforce reaching the retirement age.

"The council has also been keen to offer opportunities to young people from the local communities.

"This scheme has allowed apprentices to complete a qualification in their chosen field during their apprenticeship. This has provided a wide range of experiences for apprentices, and plenty of training and mentoring opportunities.  

"Many of our apprentices have gone on to develop their careers and we feel this kind of programme is essential as a step on the career ladder and getting people valuable work experience that will be recognised by future employers."

To find out more about becoming an apprentice, visit: 

Council told to slash CCTV budget

Denbighshire County Council has been told to cut its CCTC budget by a third, according to the BBC.

See the full story at:

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Ambulance Service launches pioneering learning programme

THE Welsh Ambulance Service has launched a pioneering learning programme that helps people with learning disabilities to discover more about the health service.

The ‘Beginners Guide to the Health Service’ on the Trust’s website includes easy-read booklets, discussion topics and interactive games and quizzes to help people understand what to do if they are hurt or feeling unwell.

The scheme is barely off the ground but has already been scooping coveted awards, including the Equality and Diversity award at the UK Healthcare People Management Association (HPMA) Excellence Awards, as well as the Overall Winner award.

Leanne Hawker from Partners in Healthcare, the team tasked with educating the public on the work of the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “The Beginners Guide to the Health Service has been designed to be a fun and informative way of learning about what to do and where to go for help, if someone is hurt or feels unwell.

“This project has meant that patients are now able to make informed choices regarding their own health care, and use emergency services more appropriately so freeing up staff time for urgent calls.”

South Wales West AM Bethan Jenkins launched the scheme at St Phillips Community Centre in Swansea, where Swansea Council hosts the ‘Face It’ club for adults with learning disabilities.

Also at the launch were members of Swansea People First, an organisation of and for adults with learning disabilities, including the Trust’s newly-appointed Community Champion for People with Learning Disabilities, Darren Murugasan.

Leanne added: “People with learning disabilities are more likely to access healthcare services as they have higher levels of ill health than the general population.

“We are delighted to launch a learning programme that will help give people with learning disabilities the knowledge and confidence to be able to seek the right help, from the most appropriate healthcare service.”

You can find the ‘Beginners Guide to the Health Service’ in the Learning Disabilities Zone of the Welsh Ambulance Service website.

It also includes a parent/facilitator pack that can be used as a guide to help parents and support workers get the most from the programme.

See for more information.

* South Wales West AM Bethan Jenkins with Swansea
People First’s Darren Murugasan, who is also the Trust’s
newly-appointed Community Champion for People with
Learning Disabilities.

Choral Variations celebrates 30th anniversary

Local choir, Choral Variations, is hosting a special event to celebrate the 30th anniversary of its formation at the Druids Club tomorrow, Friday, October 25.

Choir spokesman Mike Gleed said: "I wish to let you know of an event taking place involving a well known local choir and even better known musical director.

"The choir is Choral Variations the MD is Owen Maelor Roberts, the event 30th anniversary of the choir's formation.

"We are celebrating with invited guests. The choir will give a small rendition of some of its varied repertoire and refreshments will be enjoyed by all.

"Well done Owen, you are talented, inspirational and very patient, thank you."

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Appeal lodged over wind turbine plan

An appeal has been lodged against a decision by Denbighshire County Council to refuse plans for a wind turbine development at Llety Road, Gwyddelwern.

The application, refused at a Planning Committee meeting in June, was for the installation of a 500 kW wind turbine up to 77m to blade tip (up to 50m to hub height), access tracks and hardstanding, transformer station and ancillary works.  

The appeal will be dealt with by written representation and copies of comments already received at application stage  will be forwarded to the Planning Inspectorate. 

If people wish to make any additional comments, they must submit two  copies to the Planning Inspectorate, Crown Buildings, Cathays Park, Cardiff CF10 3NQ by 22/11/2013. 

Alternatively, people can contact the Planning Inspectorate by e-mail at quoting the Planning Inspectorate’s appeal reference : APP/R6830/A/13/2202906.

Does anyone know Iris Rogers, asks local MP

The local MP is trying to put a lady from Holland in touch with a Llangollen resident whose father was billeted with her family in Amsterdam at the end of the Second World War.

Clwyd South MP Susan Elan Jones was in Amsterdam recently when she met up with Lenneke Verheul.
Lenneke told her that she was trying to contact an Iris Rogers who she recalled used to live in a red – or red brick - house on the outskirts of Llan.

Ms Jones said: “Iris' father was billeted to stay with Lenneke's family at the end of the Second World War. Lenneke herself stayed with Iris as part of her honeymoon.”
Lenneke's email address is:

Concerns over neonatal report "delay"

Concerns are growing about the delay in publishing the findings of the North Wales neonatal review.
The review was announced after Betsi Cadwaladr health board decided, against clinical advice, to move neonatal intensive care to Arrowe Park on the Wirral.
The First Minister ordered the review by a team from the Royal College of Paediatricans earlier this year with the intention of reporting back by September.
Llyr Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru AM for North Wales, said:Betsi Cadwaladr board made a decision back in January that mystified most people, in particular experts in the field such as the BMA, RCN and RCM.  As a result of pressure from campaign groups, the relevant unions and politicians such as myself, the First Minister was forced to order a review into the decision.
“The decision is critical for the future of neonatal care in the North because it would reduce the number of intensive care cots from the current 11 to just four. These would be purely to stabilise babies needing intensive care before transferring them to England. There is no doubt that clinical expertise will be reduced in Glan Clwyd and Wrexham hospitals if this switch takes place.
“I and many experts in the field have grave doubts about whether this will put both the babies that are moved and those needing critical care who remain in North Wales at greater risk. There are also concerns about the additional travelling difficulties for parents and families for babies facing long-term intensive care in Arrowe Park, especially if they have to come from further west.”
Mr Gruffydd urged the First Minister to speed up the decision: “Carwyn Jones took the decision to call in this switch back in March. Our understanding is that the review panel  handed him the report more than a month ago.  The switch to Arrowe Park is due to start in January 2014 and the ongoing delay and uncertainty is having an effect on both staff morale and security.
“I would therefore urge the First Minister to come clean about his intentions about neonatal intensive care in North Wales. It’s time for some decisive action rather than dilly-dallying.”

Profiling Rachel's Llan pictures

Keen local amateur photographer Rachel Morris has produced a portfolio of atmospheric pictures of Llangollen subjects.

llanblogger will be serialising them over coming weeks because we believe they deserve a wider audience.

Here we bring you the first three images, complete with their titles underneath the pictures.

* 1. Autumn Dee.

* 2. Baileys.

* 3. Berwyn Street.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tourism in focus next month

Denbighshire Tourism Forum is being held on Wednesday 6th November at Ruthin Castle. 

The event is a morning of workshops and participation which will help decide the content of the Denbighshire Destination Management Plan.

This is a business-led action plan to ensure that visitors to our region have the best possible experience whilst they are here.  

Registration is at 10am, Forum starts at 10.30am and lunch and networking from 1.30pm.  If you would like to attend contact 01824 706223 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 01824 706223 FREE  end_of_the_skype_highlighting or email

Lift off for Return to Forbidden Planet

Tickets are now on sale for a local theatre group's debut performance.

Llangollen Musical Theatre Group is staging Bob Carlton's hit musical 'Return to the Forbidden Planet' at the Llangollen Pavilion from Thursday 28th - Saturday 30th November.

The show is a jukebox musical which combines the story of Shakespeare's 'The Tempest' with a soundtrack of 60s and 70s classics including 'Good Vibrations', 'Born to be Wild' and 'G.L.O.R.I.A.' performed by a cast of local actors.

Stand out moments include Stuart Dillon's performance of 'She's Not There', Justine Bradey's haunting delivery of the Moody Blues classic 'Go Now' and the finale featuring the whole cast collaborating on a medley of 'The Monster Mash' and 'Great Balls Of Fire'.

The cast will be joined on stage by a live ten-piece rock and roll band, and supported behind the scenes by a production team consisting of over 20 volunteers.

The show's Producer, Katherine Brown, said: "Return to the Forbidden Planet is the perfect way to brighten up those dark November nights. It's an incredibly ambitious first production for us to stage, from the quantity of songs to the scale of the set we're building at the Pavilion, but we're confident our team can pull off a fantastic show."

Tickets, priced at £8 for adults and £6 for concessions, are now on sale from the Llangollen Pavilion, Gales Wine Bar and Shop, SFTW Barbers and online at

Monday, October 21, 2013

Fame could be on cards for local schoolkids

SCHOOLCHILDREN are being urged to get their entries in as the deadline looms for a Christmas card competition which will be judged by the First Minister of Wales.

Clwyd South Assembly Member Ken Skates and MP Susan Elan Jones are encouraging pupils at all junior schools in the constituency to get into the festive spirit and show their artistic side.
The winning design, which will be picked by First Minister Carwyn Jones, will become the Labour pair’s official Christmas card and will be sent out to constituents, businesses, schools and voluntary groups in Wrexham and Denbighshire.
AM Mr Skates said: “Anyone who wants to take part needs to get their designs in soon as there are less than two weeks before the deadline. The talented children in Clwyd South always throw themselves into this competition and we get some fantastic entries, and I’m hoping this year will be no different.”
MP Ms Jones added: “The competition closes on Friday, November 1, so the sooner the children get cracking the better!
"We run the competition every year and it’s a good opportunity to engage with young people in Clwyd South, and a fun way for them to learn a little bit about who represents them.”
Children should ask their teachers to send their designs to Mr Skates’ constituency office at Unit 19, The Malthouse, Regent Street, Llangollen, LL20 8HS.

Llangollen Operatic casting for The Mikado

LLANGOLLEN Operatic Society has put out the call for people to get involved in its next production.

From May 14-17 next year, the award-winning society will be staging its own take on Gilbert & Sullivan’s Mikado at the Town Hall in Llangollen.
The show will present the evergreen light opera in a modern-day setting and feature a host of characters with “real attitude”, according to a society spokesperson.
Among the parts up for grabs are the Mikado (bass or bass baritone), Nanki-Poo, his son (tenor), Ko-Ko, Lord High Executioner (comic baritone), Yum-Yum, a ward of Ko-Ko (soprano), Katisha (contralto) and Peep-Bo (soprano and mezzo soprano). 
More details of the production and what parts are on offer will be unveiled at an open evening at the Operatic Studio off Castle Street in Llangollen on Tuesday, November 12, starting at 7.30pm.
This will be followed by open auditions at the Town Hall in Castle Street on Tuesday, November 19.

·        For further details, call the society’s artistic director, Chrissie Ashworth, on 07970 449843.  

Crowds come flocking to Hamper Llangollen

Foodies came in record numbers for a taste of the 2013 Hamper Llangollen food festival over the weekend, providing a big boost to the local economy.

With Llangollen Pavilion packed to capacity, visitors had the opportunity to browse stalls offering everything from hand-produced liquors to spice infused honey and home churned butter to delicious decorated cup cakes.

Hamper Llangollen 2013.

Celebrity chefs, including Graham Tinsley Harri Wyn Jones and Dai Chef and were on hand throughout the weekend to demonstrate the very best cooking techniques and some of their own award-winning recipes.

This year’s festival is being supported by Cadwyn Clwyd whose contribution came via the Rural Development Fund for Wales 2007-2013, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the Welsh Government.

The event has now been officially recognised as one of the top 10 food festivals in the UK.

Sisters, Rashelle Smith, 26, and Renee Smith, 27, of Ruabon showcased their Yours Truly Vintage Catering business at the Festival and drew a large crowd as they cooked up a Spanish chicken and chorizo paella in a huge open pan.


* Rashelle and Renee Smith with their Paella from Yours Truly.
Rashelle said: “This is our second time at Llangollen and the feedback we have had has been excellent. We have been so busy and it has to be good for our business.”

Renne added: “People tell us they are drawn to our stall thanks to the cooking aromas. I have to say we are really pleased with the sheer number of people here and the amount of interest shown in our produce and business.”

Among the new products being launched there this year was Britain’s oldest biscuit.


* Aberffraw Biscuit Co's James and Natasha Shephard with Ella Jones.

The ancient recipe for the Aberffraw biscuit dates back to the 13th century when it was first baked in the Anglesey village of the same name.

It’s now been brought back to life by former journalist James Shepherd and his wife Natasha, who live in Llansannan.

James said: “It has certainly been a learning curve and Natasha and I are delighted with the way our biscuits have been received by visitors to the festival this weekend.

“The event itself has given us the chance to seek advice from similar small enterprises and entrepreneurs as well as Cadwyn Clwyd.

“It has also given us a real platform to promote our exclusive brand of biscuits to a really wide audience and we are delighted to have had the opportunity to exhibit at what is one of the UK’s top food festivals.”

There was also a comeback from the woman who co-founded the festival – but this time as one of the exhibitors.

Sue Haygarth, from Buckley, was instrumental in setting up Hamper Llangollen when she worked for Denbighshire County Council’s Regeneration and Investment officer.

Sue chose this year’s event as the launchpad for her own one-woman business making mouth-watering macarons – her company is called KarmaSucre.

According to Dewi Davies, the Regional Strategy Director of Tourism Partnership North Wales, Hamper Llangollen  is a key part of their recipe for economic success in the region.

Recently the festival has also won a special award from Llangollen Town Council for its contribution to the commercial life of the town.

It’s estimated the event pumps nearly £400,000 into the local economy every year with £156,000 being spent at the event and a further £234,000 being spent in the town and the surrounding area.

The Food North Wales campaign launched by Tourism Partnership North Wales is aimed at building on that success and showcasing the very best in regional produce.

Mr Davies added: “It’s vital we raise awareness of our food and its authenticity. We are increasingly finding that visitors to the region like the look of our food, they like the taste of our food and they are spreading the word and telling others about the quality of the food on offer here in North Wales.

“It is fabulous to see Llangollen in the sunshine, the car park full and the pavilion packed to the rafters with festival goers, some of whom have travelled a considerable distance.”

He added: “We should not lose sight of the fact that high quality food and drinks are increasingly important to our visitors and the Hamper Llangollen Food festival certainly showcases the quality products we have on offer.”

Cllr Hugh Evans, the Leader of Denbighshire County Council, added: “I have nothing but praise for all those involved with the Festival including the exhibitors who have put on such a fantastic show.

“The sheer volume of people who have come along to visit is proof of what a wonderful event this really is. It is clearly something we should all, in North Wales, be very proud of.”

It was a sentiment shared by Gareth Evans, company secretary of rural development agency, Cadwyn Clwyd, who supported sponsored the event.

He said: “The festival is now a very important event in the calendar and people are not just browsing, they are spending their hard earned cash and buying the quality goods on offer.

“I have watched the Festival grow and expand since the first  event was held way back in 1999.

“This is clearly a very sustainable industry that can only be good for the region and rural North Wales in general.”

Carolyn Thomas, chair of Flintshire County Council, chair of the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a Cadwyn Clwyd director, said the Hamper Llangollen Food Festival was a brilliant example of co-operation.

She said: “Flintshire and Denbighshire work closely together to promote the area along with our colleagues from other North Wales authorities.

“This wonderful event showcases the very best of what we have on offer right across the region.

“The Festival highlights the very best of North Wales and shows just what the community has to offer.

“We can and must learn from each other and continue to showcase North Wales to the world. The Hamper Llangollen Food festival plays an important part in doing that.”

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Latest figures reveal fall in crime

Recorded crime across North Wales fell by 14% for the year to June 2013.

And the figures for Denbighshire also went down in the same period. 

Across the region, a total of 36,584 crimes were recorded including assaults, thefts, robberies, burglaries, criminal damage and arson, fraud and drug offences compared to 42,753 for the same 12-month period in 2012 and 41,901 in 2011, according to figures from the Office of National Statistics.

Total recorded crimes:

Denbighshire 5,144 in June 2013. 6,796 in 2012 and 6,720 in 2011.

Wrexham; 9,836 in June 2013. 11,154 in 2012 and 10,409 in 2011.

Flintshire; 7,106 in June 2013. 7,559 in 2012 and 7,427 in 2011.

Anglesey; 2,557 in June 2013. 3,235 in 2012 and 3,356 in 2011.

Gwynedd; 5,747 in June 2013. 7,116 in  2012 and 7,065 in 2011.

Conwy: 6,194 in 2013. 6,893 in  2012 and 6,924 in 2011.

Recorded crime across England and Wales fell 7% to a record low in the year to June.
Assistant Chief Constable, Simon Shaw said: “It is very encouraging that overall crime is down in North Wales.   The survey figures up to June 2013 show a fall in crime of over 14% in North Wales, which makes this the largest reduction in recorded crime in England and Wales over the 12 month period. 
“However, while the results are very pleasing it is important that we don’t become complacent and that we continue to remain focused and work hard with our partners to ensure North Wales remains a safe place to live, work and visit.” 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Campaigner's novel fundraising idea

A COMMUNITY campaigner has come up with the novel idea of using his short stories to raise money to buy a piece of hi-tech equipment for the benefit of people in Llangollen.  

Martin Crumpton, who has previously spearheaded battles in the town to prevent a new Sainsbury’s supermarket being built and also the closure of the cottage hospital, has now turned his attention to a new project to buy a 3D printer and scanner for the community. 

To reach his target figure of around £3,000 he is inviting people to download samples of his own short stories in exchange for a donation to the appeal. 

Running to a few hundred words each, the stories include titles such as Job Satisfaction, which revolves around a humorous brush with the devil, and Motherload, which is about young love. 

Mr Crumpton said: “My aim is to raise enough money to buy our community group a 3D printer to give schoolchildren and entrepreneurs new skills in an emerging and exciting technology.  

“Llangollen needs these new skills to retain these bright youngsters and encourage business

“Some of the stories are humorous, others will appeal to anyone with an advanced appreciation of the
absurd, and some are very noire indeed.

“So there’s something for everyone and they’re all original, written by me, and across a whole range of genres.”

He added: “The deal is simple. People can download my sample stories and if they like them enough and think the cause is worthy, they can make a donation.

“So far, I’ve had downloads from the UK, the Philippines, Italy, Germany, Greece, the Russian Federation and the USA.

“If the project raises enough money, I may offer my novel, The Legacy of Hafod, on a similar deal.”
The sample stories are available in eBook and PDF formats. PDF, EPUB

Mr Crumpton is also promoting them on Twitter (@No_Supermarket) and Facebook (Llangollen Preservation and Keep Llangollen Special).

Friday, October 18, 2013

Tips to stay safe during firefighters' action

The Chief Fire Officer of North Wales Fire and Rescue Service is urging the public to take extra care at home and on the roads following the Fire Brigades Union's announcement that its members in England and Wales will take further industrial action tomorrow, Saturday October 19, between 6.30pm and 11.30pm.

Simon Smith, said: "Attention to fire safety in the home and road safety is of paramount importance, but even more so during these times.

"On this occasion the Fire Brigades Union has chosen to strike on a Saturday evening, at a time when people are out socialising and drinking, or cooking at home entertaining family and friends - which means the risks to their safety are inherently more significant as attention is naturally elsewhere.

"I am urging people to think more carefully about the situations they may be putting themselves into. Historically weekend evenings are when calls to the fire and rescue service are at their peak and it is likely that during the strike period we won't be able to respond as we normally would - prevention is best, so take these simple steps to ensure your safety and those of your loved ones."

Mr Smith advised:

* Ensure you have a smoke alarm and test that it is in working order.

* Do not mix drinking and cooking - it's a recipe for disaster. If you are hungry get a takeaway or make a sandwich. Do not get the chip pan out or leave cooking unattended.

* Avoid any unnecessary journeys - if you are unfortunate enough to be in a collision we may not be able to get there to help you as quickly as we normally would.

* Switch off any unused electrical appliances before you go to bed and close all doors - make sure you have an escape plan in the event of fire.

* Ensure you extinguish smoking materials and take care with candles.

* Get your chimney cleaned and use a fire guard on open fires.

* If a fire does start - get out, stay out and call 999. Don't be tempted to tackle a fire yourself.

Safety advice and guidance for the public and businesses is available on the North Wales Fire and Rescue Service website and social network sites on Facebook and Twitter (#takeextracare), as well as through the local news.

Mr Smith added: "North Wales Fire and Rescue Service has arrangements in place to continue to provide a service during strike action" but warned that, "because of the circumstances, services may be limited.

"The Service's business continuity arrangements will ensure a speedy and safe return to normal services on conclusion of any period of industrial action."

* See more at:‘take-extra-care’-during-second-firefighters-strike.aspx#sthash.OoMtYx7A.dpuf

Llan firm helps patients hit new heights

Patients from an independent hospital in Ruabon have reached new heights thanks to a Llangollen company.

Occupational therapy (OT) offers a valuable contribution to inpatient care, and the team at New Hall are forever busy organising and introducing functional, purposeful, and meaningful activities for their patients. 

The OT department has now devised a sports group engaging patients with activities both on and off site.

The team are always keen to introduce patients into the community and to support local businesses and have therefore utilised the local purpose-built indoor climbing wall at Proadventure Ltd in Llangollen.

A New Hall spokesperson said: “Climbing can help to promote motor planning, balance, coordination, problem solving and protective reflexes.

“It can be used to increase stimulation to those who tend to lack movement and activity during their day or to act as an effective release for the more overactive individuals.

“Along with the obvious physical benefits, patients can learn to enjoy life and interact socially, preparing them for life out of care.”

The climbing sessions have been led by Erin, a qualified instructor at Proadventure, who said:  “I have supervised the group from New Hall on several occasions and they are a pleasure to teach.

“They follow instructions perfectly and are fully compliant with safety rules and procedures. They ask all the right questions and work together as a team to support their peers - it is obvious that they thoroughly enjoy the activity.”

The sessions consist of a brief warm up followed by a thorough safety check.

Levels of difficulty, varying from beginner to expert, are catered for and are displayed through the different coloured hand holds within the rock face, allowing patients to develop and measure their skills.

Reflecting on the outing back at the hospital, one patient commented: “We hope to return for a further day’s adventure.”

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Local Friends of the Earth group has cause for celebration

* The Friends of the Earth Stall at Erddig Apple Festival, manned by members Lesley Richards (left), Bee Kim Glick and Kay Polley (right).
* The Mike Jacobs award celebration with Catherine Veasey, Llangollen Friends of the Earth (left) and Bleddyn Lake, Local Group Development Officer for Friends of the Earth Cymru.
Llangollen Friends of the Earth were once again at the recent Erdigg Apple Festival.
They ran a ‘Bee Cause’ stall complete with a giant bee and had a double cause for celebration.
The national Friends of the Earth Bee Cause has won its two-year campaign for both the Welsh and UK government to sign up to new Pollinator Action plans following huge public support. 
But the Llangollen group were also celebrating their own personal double victory. 
They won the Welsh Mike Jacob Award for the best local group in April and went on to win the Earthmovers 2013 award at the National Friends of the Earth Conference in July. 
“To win both has been fantastic,” said member Catherine Veasey. 
“At the national conference we were up against groups from England and Northern Ireland too.  We feel very proud that we came ahead of large city groups like Manchester who were also nominated.” 
The group's success comes after a busy year involving a wide range of activities including setting up the new Llangollen Community garden project which was visited by MP Susan Elan Jones in May, collaborating with the town council on its successful Cittaslow application, taking part in the Llangollen Fringe community art project and hosting a North Wales local groups gathering in June. 
“We are a small group,” said co-ordinator Warren Davies, “but we play to the strengths and interests of our members; its been a busy year, but we have had a lot of fun alongside the campaign work too.” 
The group also has an active web and Facebook page to keep in touch.  To find out more visit  or

Fledgling firms urged to apply for loans scheme

FLEDGLING firms and entrepreneurs in Clwyd South are being urged to take advantage of a Welsh Government initiative by Labour Assembly Member Ken Skates.

Clwyd South AM Mr Skates says start-up businesses in his constituency can benefit from the low-interest loans scheme recently announced by Economy Minister Edwina Hart.

He said: “The introduction of these loans is part of Welsh Labour’s comprehensive support package for young companies and will help fledgling firms and entrepreneurs get up and running in business.

“Encouraging people to start their own businesses is an important part of our strategy for economic growth, and Wrexham County Borough Council is one of the five providers who will approve applications.

“I would strongly encourage anyone in Clwyd South who is looking to set up their own company or is just getting started in business to make enquiries and see if they’re eligible. To find out more call the Business Wales Helpline on 03000 603000 or visit”

The minimum loan is £1,000, with the average around £4,500. The loans are to be paid back within five years at a fixed rate of interest, currently set at 6%. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Police phone call warning

Police are advising people to check details of phone callers before providing them with any personal information.
The warning comes after a number of doctors’ surgeries received a phone call from a person claiming to represent North Wales Police.
The caller was asking the surgeries for money to have an advert in a campaign leaflet.
Chief Inspector Andy Williams said: “If anyone calls stating they are an official from any company or public service, people should ensure they check they are happy who they are speaking to.”
People are also advised to ask for a number on which they can ring the caller back.
North Wales Police are not currently seeking any advertisements for any campaigns.

Wrexham-Barmouth bus service saved from the axe

A bus service which runs from Wrexham to Barmouth via Llangollen has been saved from the axe.

Arriva Buses Wales announced some time ago that it would be cutting a number of services in North Wales, including the X94.

This sparked the launch of an e-petition by regional Liberal Democrat Assembly Member Aled Roberts.
The campaign now looks to have been a success.

* Aled Roberts AM.
Wales’ Transport Minister Edwina Hart said in the Senedd yesterday: Following Arriva Buses Wales’s announcement about proposals to cut a number of services in north and west Wales, I convened an officials group to work with the three local authorities and to report back to me with options for maintaining services.
“I am in a position to be able to give you an update on progress. The group has now reported back to me with its recommendations and has identified a mechanism for securing the provision of the services, the majority of which are currently scheduled to end in December.
“To secure these services in the short term, we are discussing with local authorities the awarding of contracts under emergency procedures to local operators while we look at the longer term solutions for a sustainable network of services.
“Funding for the X94 service between Wrexham and Barmouth, which forms part of the TrawsCymru network, will be provided by top-slicing the regional transport services grant. We are continuing our discussions with the local authorities about the funding mechanisms for the remaining services.”
Aled Roberts AM commented on the development:  “I have been fighting hard to ensure the future of the X94 bus route and this news is very much welcome.
“I want to thank the many people who signed the National Assembly’s petition to save this bus route. This shows what can be achieved when we work together across North Wales and Meirionnydd to protect vital services.
“I held discussions with coach operators regarding a replacement service and I will be holding further talks this week with regarding the sustainability of this service.
“Many people rely on the X94 to make hospital visits, do their shopping and visit friends and family. Without this bus service, many people in rural areas would be isolated.
“This is now an opportunity for local operators to take a more active role in provision of bus services going forward.”

Thomas heads back to Llan

* Owner Mike Pearce with Thomas the Tank Engine.

The Llangollen Railway based Thomas the Tank Engine is on his way back home after a triumphant tour of preserved railways in Holland and Belgium, as well as three venues in southern England.

After a successful repeat visit to the railway at Haarksbergen in eastern Holland, the famous engine No.1 was transported to the Stoom Centrum at Maldegen near Bruges. 

There appearances on Belgian regional television ensured a record crowd turned out to see Thomas perform in a set piece demonstration.
Mike Pearce, the owner of the Llangollen based Thomas, travelled out to Belgium to be with the famous engine and was very impressed with the reception he was awarded by the Belgian railway volunteers.
Mike said: "The Stoom Centrum members were so pleased to have Thomas at their railway they extended considerable hospitality to me and I was involved in the operation of the engine throughout their event. I
"It was interesting to see how a very British engine was accommodated within a continental railway setting and how the undoubted appeal of the Thomas stories has a international recognition from all the fans, young and old."

Later in September the engine moved on to Spontin in the province of Namur in southern Belgium where it was a guest at the Chermin de fer Bocq, a line which is being restored by volunteers as a tourist railway in the very rural setting of the Wallooon region.
Although the region is less populated then the Bruges area, many fans were attracted to see the famous engine in action here too.

Having returned home  to Llangollen, the challenge is now to get No.1 ready for the last appearances of the 2013 season with the Days out with Thomas events planned for the weekends of October 19/20 & 26/27.