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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Lib Dems say ambulance service is "in crisis"

Kirsty Williams, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, has described Wales’ ambulance service as being ‘in crisis’ as figures published today showing response times are nearly 10% worse than the same time last year.

But an ambulance boss says the service is working as hard as it can to get people to hospital as soon as possible.
Figures released today show that in June 53% of emergency responses to Category A (immediately life-threatening) calls arrived at the scene within 8 minutes, down from 54% in May 2014 and 62.6% in May 2013, and way below the target of 65%. In England and Scotland the target for the same priority calls is 75%.
These figures represent nearly a 10% drop compared to June 2013 last year.
Kirsty Williams said: “Once again we see ambulance response times getting worse.  The current target is not at all ambitious, yet still it is routinely missed.
“These figures remain a national disgrace.  To have only half of immediately life-threatening calls responded to within the 8 minute target time is a huge concern. 
“There is no hiding from the fact that our ambulance service is in crisis.  Monthly targets are missed and there is evidence the problem is getting worse, rather than better.  It is shocking that response times are nearly 10% worse now than they were this time last year.  Patients deserve better than this.
“Ambulance staff work incredibly hard and do an extremely difficult job.  Sadly, they are being forced to work in what is clearly a failing system provided by the Welsh Labour Government.”

Mike Collins, the Trust’s Director of Service Delivery, said: “The Welsh Ambulance Service took 35,570 calls in June, up by 1,699 calls from the same period last year. Of these calls, 14,167 were of the most serious in nature, up by 839 calls from the same period last year.

“We recognise that on occasion we fall short of the eight-minute target but are working, and will continue to work as hard as we can to get to patients as quickly as possible.

“Earlier this month, Trust Board members pledged their support for our ambitious Performance Improvement Plan and the necessary actions which we anticipate will help us to deliver sustainable improved performance.

“They include the recruitment of more frontline staff, increased contribution by our Community First Responders, a concerted effort to reduce sickness absence and a drive to curtail unnecessary calls.

“We have been working closely with our Local Health Board colleagues to reduce the delays in handing patients over to the care of the hospitals throughout Wales and we have seen real advancement. However, we believe there is still room for significant further improvement.

“Handover delays remain of great concern, not only because we are unable to respond to other 999 calls in the community but because of the experience of patients who wait in an ambulance to be admitted to the Emergency Department whilst these delays occur.

“Our Trust is facing its most serious challenge to date with regard to performance, but it is one we are confident we can overcome if we continue work hard, work in the smartest way possible and ensure that we deliver an effective service.

“Our staff are making every possible effort to deliver safe and high quality healthcare and services to the people of Wales, and for this they must be commended.

“Once again, we remind the public to ‘Choose Well’ and use NHS services appropriately; NHS Direct Wales, out-of-hour GP services and pharmacies are all available for healthcare and advice for minor illnesses and injuries.

“Please remember only to dial 999 if someone is seriously ill or injured, or their life is at risk.”



Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Llan could be affected by fracking says DFP story

The Denbighshire Free Press is reporting today that Llangollen could be affected by fracking if the UK Government decides to extend licenses to carry out the controversial process.

For the full story, see:

Plas Madoc campaign could receive £100,000 cash boost

The Leader is reporting today that the group campaigning to re-open Plas Madoc leisure centre could receive a £100,000 cash boost from Wrexham Council - the same local authority that shut it down a few months ago.

Mabon ap Gwynfor, Plaid Cymru spokesman for Clwyd South, said: "The news that the Labour group on Wrexham Council has done a u-turn is a welcome step in the right direction.

"Along with all the hard-working campaigners, we called for Plas Madoc to be kept open while the centre was transferred to community ownership and, when the council refused to that, we called for tapered funding assistance over next few years - as happened with Gwynedd Council with the Harlech swimming baths.

"As late as April, the ruling group rejected a budget amendment to keep Plas Madoc open. It's hard to know exactly what has prompted this dramatic u-turn but the pressure from opposition councillors has undoubtedly made a difference. It's a shame that the centre wasn't kept open as we all wanted to take advantage of the summer holiday trade.

"The fundraising efforts of volunteers over the past few months have been huge and, if the £100,000 funding package is approved,  it's only right that Wrexham Council recognises the contribution of the campaigners who wouldn't let Plas Madoc die."

For the full story, see:

Summer crime prevention advice from police

Windows and doors left open can prove too much of a temptation for a thief, so ensure your home is secure.
That's the summer crime prevention message from North Wales Police who advise that taking a few extra seconds to make sure your home is locked before you leave it and before you go to bed at night can help deter a burglar.
“In this continuing hot spell it can be tempting to leave a window or two open to allow air into your home but this sadly could be seen as an opportunity by a burglar, ensure your property is secure at all times whatever the weather” said Inspector Sian Williams.

“Once inside a thief will usually take anything that is easy portable and valuable such as mobile phones, ipads and tablets along with handbags and wallets. We have also had instances where car keys have been stolen along with the vehicle.”
“Accomplished and opportunists thieves look out for easy targets – don’t give them an opportunity.
"Check that doors, including patio doors, are locked and that windows are closed and can’t be opened or that people can’t use them to reach in and steal items or gain access to your home."  
The message is being issued by police as part of the force’s ‘Don’t Make it Easy’ campaign. 
Insp Williams added: “It’s important to remember that North Wales is a safe place but we can all play out part in helping to make it even safer by taking some simple but effective steps.”
Other top tips include:
•                     Consider installing a burglar alarm - if you have one, always set it before you go out.
•                     Never leave keys on display
•                     Don’t leave keys or any other items within reach of a window or glass pane or in the lock – these could all make a thief’s job easier. Keep them out of reach.
•                     Don’t hide spare keys under flowerpots or doormats – this is one of the first places a thief is likely to look.
•                     Keep photographs of valuable items such as jewellery.
•                     Security mark your property – not only will this increase your chances of being reunited with your property should you become a victim of burglary but it can also discourage a burglar from stealing the item in the first place.
Finally, if you are going on holiday help minimise this risk by making it appear as though you are really home.
Ask a friend to open or close curtains and remove your post. Cancel the delivery of milk and newspapers etc. Arrange for a neighbour to park their car in the driveway and avoid discussing holiday plans with strangers who may use or pass the information on.
Further advice on securing your property can be found on the North Wales Police under the ‘Advice and support’ and ‘Easy Street’.  

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Appeal launched to pay vet's bills for injured cat

The Daily Post is reporting today how neighbours in the Church Street area have launched an appeal to pay the vet's bills for a popular cat savaged in a dog attack.

See the full story at:

Railway's 60s weekend was swinging success

George Jones has supplied these pictures of the successful 60s weekend which took place at Llangollen Railway last Saturday and Sunday.

* Happy trippers aboard on open-topped bus en route from Llan to Glyndyfrdwy.

* Four trains in action - two steam, one diesel and the railcar -
offering the 60s scene when change was underway on British Railways.

 * Cars from the era - and earlier times - on show at Glyndyfrdwy.

* One family's pride and joy Mini parked at Llangollen station.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Campaigner calls for supermarket tax

A LLANGOLLEN campaigner is asking Assembly Members to back his call for new powers to tax local supermarkets.

The so-called “Tesco Tax” is already being demanded by 19 local authorities in England as a way of ensuring that supermarket spending re-circulates in local economies.
They estimate that such a levy, which already operates in Northern Ireland and Scotland, could raise up to £400 million a year.  

However, the UK government says additional taxes on supermarkets would push up food prices.
Now Martin Crumpton, who led opposition to a new Sainsbury’s store being built in Llangollen, has written to North Wales AMs calling for a supermarket tax in Wales.

In a letter to the politicians he says: “Wales is haemorrhaging money to England. Much of it is unavoidable - taxes, insurance premiums, mortgages, gas and electricity, petrol. Virtually all of it goes to England and English companies, and there isn’t damned thing we can do about it.
“It would be brilliant if it all went to Welsh companies, who could spend their profits in Wales with other Welsh companies.

“We’ve got a classic balance of trade problem. There’s a classic solution – impose tariffs, like so many councils in England want to do. Westminster opposes it but does the Welsh Government have to follow suite? I’d say yes.
“Let’s put a levy on supermarkets and other super-large retailers. Let’s staunch the blood loss so we can keep the patient alive long enough to heal the wound. Tariffs don’t work in the long term so it’s up to you to legislate for a better successor to replace it, but right now all your economic policies are a fa├žade.”

Mr Crumpton calls on the Welsh Government to impose a series of measures, including:

·  Changing planning law so that businesses headquartered outside Wales are presumed harmful

·   Refusing further expansion of existing non-indigenous multiples

·   Enabling and encouraging Welsh councils to levy large, non-indigenous stores, with the strict caveat that the proceeds in their entirety benefit the local businesses from which the levies are exacted and must not be pooled or diverted.


Police say "stay safe this summer"

At the start of the school summer holidays ‘enjoy yourself but stay safe’ is the message from police in Denbighshire.
As part of the Summer Safety operation running throughout North Wales officers will continue with their pro-active patrols across the area and provide reassurance.
“With the continuing warm weather we want people to enjoy themselves, have a good time but to stay safe and be sensible,” said Supt Steve Williams.
"Patrol plans are in place across the two counties and officers will also be working with licensees and calling into premises to ensure that they are meeting the responsibilities of their licences.”
As part of the continuing effort to make the area an even safer place, a reminder is also being sent to anyone planning on going out for the day or evenings to ensure they secure their home – closing their doors and windows.
Police say you can prevent yourself from becoming a victim of burglary by taking these simple measures as over a third of burglaries are through insecure properties.
Supt Williams added: “North Wales is a safe place but we need to make sure that residents and visitors to the area help us to continue to make it a great place to live and visit.”
People heading out in their cars should ensure that they don’t leave any valuable items on show in their vehicles and also not to leave belongings such as handbags unattended in public places. 
Residents and visitors to the area can gain more information about securing their homes and property by visiting the ‘Advice and Support’ section of the NWP website or by accessing this link.  

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Trio of top chefs coming to town

 * Graham Tinsley and Dion Jones.
A trio of Wales's best chefs will have a starring role at a top food festival - as they prepare to take on the world.
They will be hitting the culinary high notes at Hamper Llangollen that's being held in the town on Saturday and Sunday, October 18 and 19.
At Hamper Llangollen, Graham Tinsley, executive chef at Carden Park in Cheshire and Conwy’s Castle Hotel, will be cooking up a Welsh feast with Mike Evans, hospitality lecturer at Coleg Llandrillo, Rhos on Sea, and Dion Jones, one of Europe's finest young chefs.
The event, hailed as one of the Top 10 food festivals in the UK, is supported by the rural development agency, Cadwyn Clwyd.
Cadwyn Clwyd’s contribution comes via the Rural Development Plan for Wales 2007-2013, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the Welsh Government.
* Mike Evans.
The trio of chefs will be demonstrating the recipes that will be cooked by the team at the World Cup in Luxemburg when they will go head to head with the best culinary talents from around the globe.
Graham is just putting the finishing touches to the menus for the hot and cold dishes the culinary team - currently ranked seventh in the world - will be preparing at the World Cup.
But he is determined Welsh produce will feature strongly at Hamper Llangollen.
He said: “We always aim to showcase Welsh produce as part of what we are preparing. If we can’t buy it there, we take it with us.
“For Llangollen, we will also be going the stands of those exhibiting at the festival for inspiration. So when you see us cook the dishes, we will explain where you can buy the produce, whether it’s yoghurt, liquors or fresh vegetables. So you can buy the ingredients on the day and head home to make the dish for yourself,” said Graham, who was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s 80th birthday celebrations for his services to the food industry.
He has cooked for the Queen and members of the Royal family on numerous occasions, as well as the Emperor of Japan and European Heads of State at Cardiff Castle. Prince Charles, as patron of the Welsh National Culinary Team, has requested that they cook for him and his guests at every formal occasion in Wales and Graham was invited to attend his wedding celebration at Windsor Castle.
“We are hopeful of doing very well at the World Cup. When it was the Culinary Olympiad in 2012, we took silver and bronze, while at the last World Cup we picked up gold for the hot table and silver for the cold buffet.
“I’m just finalising what we will be cooking for the hot dishes this time, while I’ve got a little longer to think about the cold buffet. But it will definitely be a reflection of the great good and drink from Wales that’s available.”
One of Mike Evans's latest graduates is off to join kitchen wizard Heston Blumental. His previous students include Bryn Williams from Denbigh, who runs London restaurant and celebrity favourite Odette’s and who is about to open his first Welsh venture, at Porth Eirias, Colwyn Bay.
Another ex-student is former Bodysgallen Hall chef David Kelman, who was among the four top chefs who beat 20 others to win a place cooking up a treat for D-Day veterans at the Royal Albert Hall in BBC1’s Great British Menu.
Mike is just back from cooking for his rugby heroes, Sam Warburton and Rupert Moon. He’s previously served up meals for the Queen, Prince Philip and Prince Charles, plus David Cameron and the First Minister of Wales, along with the elite of Moscow’s multi-millionaire business community.
Mike Evans, who now lives in Old Colwyn, is in charge of coaching the Welsh Culinary Team’s junior squad.
He added: “Catering is now seen as a very positive option to take – in September there will be around 80 students starting at Coleg Llandrillo, while a few years ago there would only have half that number.
“It is a tough life but it does have great rewards, and standards are certainly on the up. The TV shows certainly help, not only to demonstrate to young people how high they can aim, but to also show the quality of food that’s being produced in restaurants these days.
“The Culinary Team has taken me some great places, such as cooking for the Welsh Rugby Union - though most of the big names were in South Africa playing: we were catering for the injured ones left behind. But I’m a big rugby fan, and it was a real honour to be cooking for them.
“My time with the team has taken me to Cardiff to cook for Royalty for the opening of the Senedd building, when I got to meet the Queen, Prince Charles and Camilla. And I’ve been to Moscow where we were showcasing British products, such as Range Rover and Jaguar, with a very upmarket buffet for Russian business people.
“Students who are considering a career in catering can see that we are cooking at a very high standard,” added Mike, who is hopeful that another of his students will soon be seeing stars. Just weeks after graduating from Coleg Llandrillo Nick Rudge has just joined Heston Blumenthal’s team at the Michelin- starred Fat Duck in Bray.
Rising star Dion, 26, from Valley, Anglesey, and now living in Wrexham, became the first Briton to win the world’s oldest culinary competition, the International Escoffier Challenge in the South of France.
A finalist in the 2014 National Chef of the Year contest, he’s also gearing up for his second bid to win the prestigious Roux Scholarship, after being pipped at the post last time, when he was runner-up.
Cadwyn Clwyd's Agri Food Officer, Robert Price, believes this year's festival is going to be one of the best ever.
He said: “Thanks to a whole host of indigenous companies like Orchard Pigs, North East Wales is rapidly establishing a reputation as a centre of excellence for high quality cuisine.
“The food festival is a perfect shop window for the companies who form the backbone of our rural economy.
"The location of the Pavilion is absolutely spectacular - I can't imagine that any other food festival in the UK has a more beautiful setting."
For more information about Hamper Llangollen 2014 visit

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Fringe goes for big finale at Valle Crucis

The Fringe Finale Concert at Valle Crucis Abbey takes place at 7.30pm tomorrow (Sunday) evening with a performance by Muom, an overtone singing choir from Barcelona.

Their singing in the remains of the floodlit abbey will be one of the most atmospheric moments of the week.

They use a special technique in their singing where each member sings two notes at the same time, and the music that they produce is perfect for a summer evening in such an important location.

The supporting programme will also include a reading of Dylan Thomas by Peter Read.

Don't forget to bring a chair. A hogroast and bar also available. Tickets are £7.50.

Toy & Train Sale planned for Pavilion

* Potential buyers browse at a previous Toy & Train Sale at the pavilion.

Llangollen Pavilion is to host the latest annual Toy & Train Sale on Saturday, August 16, between 10.30am and 3pm.

This is the only event of its type at the venue  in 2014, although organiser Chris Dyer say arrangements are already in hand next year's show.

In the meantime, a sister event,  the Oswestry Toy & Train Sale, will take place at the Showground, Oswestry,  on Saturday, October 18, with a further three shows planned there in 2015.

Mr Dyer said: "Llangollen  attracts a great range of traders from  all over Wales and England and a wonderful array of stock is always available, including all the big names such as Dinky, Corgi, Matchbox, EFE, Tri-ang, Hornby, Lima, Wrenn and Bachmann.

"In the current economic climate, prices have never been keener and it is an ideal time to build up collections at budget prices.

"Traders are also very keen to buy and to exchange, so do bring along your surplus items."

* For more information, contact Mr Dyer on 01643 702757, or 07966 694579, or see his website:

Friday, July 25, 2014

Twenty Club auditions planned

The Twenty Club has sent details of auditions it is holding for its forthcoming production of Seaon's Greetings by Alan Ayckbourn.

These will be held at Llangollen Town Hall next Tuesday, July 29, starting at 7.30pm.

The play is the second production that Natalie Evans will have directed for the club, following her successful debut with The Glass Menagerie in last year, pictured below.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Bin it to win it

Kingdom Security, working in conjunction with Denbighshire County Council, is offering people the chance for people to be entered into a regular prize draw to win a £50 high street voucher for anyone who is seen disposing of their litter responsibly or picking up after their dog.

If an environmental enforcement officer sees someone disposing of litter in a bin or picking up after their dog, they will be commended personally for their action and also given a postcard and asked to complete their details and send it in to the Council to be included in the monthly prize draw.

The prize is funded by Kingdom and the Council is co-ordinating the draw and providing the administration and postcards.

Denbighshire contracted Kingdom to carry out environmental enforcement patrols across the county in October 2012 and since then, officers have issued 4,466 fixed penalty notices and their work has attracted widespread praise for cleaning up Denbighshire's streets, which is one of Denbighshire's Corporate Priorities.

Cabinet Lead Member for Environment, Councillor David Smith, said: "Issues of dog fouling and littering have repeatedly come out in our resident's survey as one of the main things that bothers people greatly and this is why we made 'clean and tidy streets' as one of our Corporate Priorities.  We contracted Kingdom Security to carry out environmental enforcement and have been running a widespread campaign since last February to educate people and change behaviour.

"We know the vast majority of people do dispose of litter properly and pick up after their dogs and we are seeing improvements across the county but we feel it is important that we also acknowledge those who do the right thing and ensure they are also recognised for their public spirit."

Steven Gillespie, of the Environmental Protection Division for Kingdom Security, said: "The Bin it to Win it scheme has been hugely successful in four other counties, so we thought we’d launch it here in Denbighshire. It allows Kingdom, in partnership with Denbighshire County Council, to demonstrate our commitment to acknowledging and rewarding members of the community who display environmental awareness."

Swing along to Llan Railway this weekend

Llangollen Railway is heading back to the swinging decade this Saturday and Sunday.

That’s when the heritage railway will be staging it fifth 1960's weekend.

And just to get you in the mood, event organiser Tez Pickthall has sent these two pictures showing some of the fun at the event in previous years and Llan Railway as it actually was in the 60s.
The locomotives 80072 and 3802 should be in steam over the weekend.

Class 26 D5310 will work three trips each day and two railcars - expected to be the Class 109 and Class 127 – will complete the line-up.
Some railcar services will run to Bonwm.

Free vintage bus rides will be on offer between Llangollen and Carrog, using two vehicles from the North West Museum of Transport, calling at Berwyn and Glyndyfrdwy en route.

The railway’s popular vintage vehicle rally will be staged in the field behind Glyndyfrdwy station.

Dr Beeching's real ale bar can be enjoyed on Llangollen station throughout the weekend.
The bar will have seven draught local real ales for you to try, along with bottled lagers, wines and soft drinks.

Real ale is available at £2.50 a pint. Not quite 1960s prices but still a bargain.

Retro-themed trade stands can be found at Llangollen station, including Craftevan, with a range of original Mini and VW camper-themed gifts along with some superb vintage clothes.
Saturday night will see live music on Llangollen station - resident stars Matt and Sophie will be joined by Elvis to entertain you from around 7.30pm.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Isherwood promotes regional rail links

* Mark Isherwood AM, left, with Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin MP.
North Wales Assembly Member Mark Isherwood AM has met with the UK Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin MP to support proposals for better North Wales rail connectivity.
At the meeting Mr Isherwood also discussed the business case for North Wales rail electrification and welcomed the Chancellor’s announcement of £10.4 million for the Halton Curve rail line to improve links between North Wales and Liverpool, Cheshire and Warrington.
Mr Isherwood said: “It was a very productive meeting. Improvements to routes between north east Wales, Liverpool and Manchester are critical in connecting businesses and individuals to markets and job opportunities and I welcomed the fact that the UK Government recognises this and is investing money accordingly.
“The former UK Government failed to electrify a single centimetre of track in Wales and only electrified nine miles of track across the UK in 13 years, whilst, by contrast, the UK Coalition Government has delivered the biggest investment in public transport in Wales since Victorian times.
“However it is disappointing that the Welsh Government Transport Minister, Edwina Hart AM, doesn’t give the same importance to improving the transport network in North Wales, with projects such as the redoubling of the line between Wrexham and Saltney having been reduced and funding redirected to the South. The Minister may be happy with the decision she made, ruling out extra capacity to run future trains for the north-west of England and ignoring the impact of the new prison in Wrexham, but North Wales is not.”

County relaunches dog fouling campaign

Denbighshire County Council is re-launching its campaign to tackle dog fouling in the county.

Over the past year, the council has been running a high profile campaign to warn people of the dangers of dog fouling and to encourage more people to report hot spots and provide information on those individuals who continue to act anti-socially by allowing their dogs to foul in public.

The campaign involved banners being placed in hot spots areas, lamp-post advertising, publicity in the media and messages being distributed on social media.

During 2013/14 the number of complaints received was 586. There were 255 complaints in 2010/11, 325 in 11/12 and 424 in 12/13.

Councillor David Smith, Cabinet Lead Member for Public Realm, said: "We are attributing the rise in the number of complaints down to the fact that people are more aware of the dangers of dog fouling and how people can report problems.

"We've had a positive response to our campaign to date. We have done a lot of work around educating people through a poster campaign and through sending out some strong messages through the media about the steps the Council will take against the individuals who continue flout the law. However, there is only so much the Council can do to catch those responsible and we are reliant on information from the public.  By working together, we can all make a difference.

Emlyn Jones, Denbighshire's Public Protection Manager, said: "Residents in Denbighshire have told us that dog fouling is one of the biggest issues that worry them and we have been contacted by concerned members of the public who want to work with us to tackle the problem.

"The problem is no worse here in Denbighshire than any other area, but we want to be proactive in our approach through making people aware of the dangers posed to health, as well as effects on local communities.

"We hope that the minority of people who allow their dogs to foul in public change their behaviour and make Denbighshire a cleaner and safer place to live."

Meeting planned over bank closure proposal

Clwyd South’s Labour MP and AM are ready for talks with bank bosses over the proposed closure of NatWest in Rhos.

Susan Elan Jones and Ken Skates will meet Royal Bank of Scotland representatives at the village branch on Friday, August 1, in a bid to get the company to rethink its ‘disastrous’ plan to shut it a month later.

MP Ms Jones said: “I wrote to RBS to express my concerns immediately after they informed us of this awful decision, and I am going to use the opportunity to sit down with the bank’s hierarchy and tell them exactly what I think of it.

“This decision does not appear to have taken into account the hundreds of my constituents who rely on this branch and who will struggle without the face-to-face service they have come to expect from the company.

“The bank has also failed to give satisfactory answers about what services would be available at local Post Offices, so we will be asking for clarification on that.”

Rhos Community Council and local county councillors have also written to RBS opposing the move, said Ms Jones.

Assembly Member Mr Skates added: “This is yet another example of a large multinational company putting pounds before people and turning its back on its loyal customers, just as we have seen HSBC do in Cefn Mawr and Llangollen.

“The branch has served thousands of individuals, families and businesses over many years, but there was not even token consultation with the public before this disastrous decision was announced. Sadly, I am not convinced the half-services RBS is offering as alternatives will make up for what is being lost either.

“Susan, myself, the local community council and county councillors will again urge RBS to reconsider its decision immediately, and will do all we can to retain the best banking services possible for the  people of Rhos.”

Old Armoury opens its doors on Sunday

* The Old Armoury is open to the public on Sunday.

LLANGOLLEN’S historic Old Armoury will be throwing open its doors to the public this Sunday, July 27.
Sue Hargreaves bought the empty and rundown building, dating back to 1834, two years ago and since embarked on an extensive renovation programme which has seen her introduce displays giving a flavour of its past uses as a lock-up jail and a police station.

It comprises the lock-up, the armoury shop and the old town hall/drill hall above.

Sue has now gifted the ownership of the building, which stands between Hill Street and the A5, to the Armoury Conservation Trust which has pledged to ensure that the lock-up and old town hall will be restored in a way that respects their status as heritage assets to the town.   

The trust will now seek external funding for future development of the building and also make sure that it is used only for the public and community benefit, as an accessible heritage site and venue for educational, artistic and community purposes.

Trust member Rachel Morris said: “The Armoury Conservation Trust is extremely grateful for all the letters of support it has received from local people and organisations, in preparation for an application for funding to help restore the building. 

“By way of thanks, and for people who are interested in seeing and learning more about this historic building and its journey, an open day with light refreshments is being held there from 2.30pm on Sunday.

“A new display about crime and policing can be viewed, as well as the plans for the building's development. All of the people of Llangollen and their friends are welcome.”

When Sue Hargreaves acquired it, the building was in a poor condition and volunteers from Llangollen’s Tidy Town Team stepped in to clear it up and strip it back to basics.

Sue then decided to recreate, as faithfully as possible, the building’s earliest days as a lock-up and police station.

By September 2012 the building was ready to be shown off to the public during Denbighshire’s Open Doors history event when it attracted 300 visitors on just two afternoons.

Old Armoury facts

·   The building was designed by the county architect for Denbighshire and is the only known building in Llangollen constructed from limestone.

·    Its first “keeper” was a David Davies who lived in Chapel Street.

·   In 1871 the building was sold to local solicitor Charles Richards, with the purchase price apparently being less than the original cost of construction. In 1879 it became a base for the 9th Denbighshire Rifle Volunteers, which is why the drill hall was built above both the former lock-up/police station and the adjacent shop. It was at this time it became known as the armoury.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

999 timewasters putting lives at risk

THE Welsh Ambulance Service is reminding people not to call 999 unless it is a genuine emergency.

The service took 31,219 non-urgent calls in the last 12 months, only
670 of which required an ambulance and just three of which resulted in a patient being taken to hospital.
They include a woman who dialled 999 to ask if the green part of a potato was poisonous and a caller whose daughter had drunk water from a dog’s bowl.

woman called 999 because her boiler had broken and she had no credit to call the gas board, while one man said he needed an ambulance because he had a ring stuck on his finger.

One woman had fallen out with her brother and called 999 for advice.

The Trust is urging people to choose the appropriate service for their healthcare needs so that call takers and ambulance crews are not tied up unnecessarily when a call to a genuine emergency comes in.

Richard Lee, Head of Clinical Services at the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “We don’t want to deter anyone from calling 999, but we want them to think twice before they do. Sadly, we still receive a significant number of inappropriate calls that do not require an ambulance response.

“When people misuse the service it means our precious time is being taken away from someone who really does need our help. During peak periods, like the summer, every non-essential call has the potential to delay a response to a serious emergency.

“Please remember only to dial 999 if someone is seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk – let’s keep our emergency ambulances for emergencies.”

The thousands of non-urgent calls received via 999 last year include:
-          A man who dialled 999 because he had a fly in his ear (Milford Haven, June 2014)
-          A woman who had eaten cherries and felt constipated (Porth, August 2013)
-          A man who had discovered a bruise on his foot (Tywyn, November 2013)
-          A woman who asked whether the green part of a potato was poisonous (Bangor, November 2013)
-          A man with a ring stuck on his finger (Burry Port, June 2014)
-          A woman whose boiler had broken and had no credit to call the gas board (Swansea, October 2013)
-          A woman who dropped a television remote and needed someone to pick it up (Llandudno, December 2013)
-          A woman who didn’t have enough money to buy a train ticket (Newport, March 2014)
-          A man with a cotton bud stuck in his ear (Bridgend, August 2013)
-          A mother whose daughter had drunk water from a dog bowl (Swansea, December 2013)
-          A woman who was intoxicated and needed a lift home (St Asaph, April 2014)
-          A woman who needed advice because she had fallen out with her brother (Hereford, November 2013)
-          A man with blisters on his foot (Penmaenmawr, January 2014)
-          A woman with a cast on her leg and wanted it taken off (Tredegar, January 2014)
The emergency healthcare system across Wales is facing unparalleled pressure,” said Richard Lee.

“We are asking the public to support NHS Wales’ ‘Choose Well’ campaign to ensure busy emergency services are available for those who need them most urgently. If you think you need medical attention, but not necessarily in the form of an ambulance, there are a host of other options you can consider.”

For advice and treatment of most illnesses, visit your GP, or contact NHS Direct Wales, the health advice and information service available 24 hours a day, every day, if you are feeling unwell and are unsure what to do.

“Using this service instead of dialling 999 inappropriately will free up the valuable time of emergency call handlers, and of ambulance crews whose job is to deal with the most serious and time-critical of incidents,” said Richard.

Website users can get tailored advice on an illness or ailment by using more than a dozen symptom checkers, including the Stings Symptom Checker, Sunburn Symptom Checker, Hay Fever Symptom Checker and Mole Symptom Checker or take the Choose Well Quiz to test their knowledge on the different available healthcare services.

They can learn more about their general health through the A-Z Encyclopaedia and even search for GPs, dentists, pharmacies or support groups in their area.

And if they still cannot find the answer to their question, or need advice about long-term conditions or help with health costs, they can email their query to the team of health information specialists via the Ask Us Your Health Question section of the website.

Alternatively, anyone concerned about their health can call NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47, available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for over the phone advice from Health Information Advisers, Nurse Advisers and Dental Health Advisers.

If the problem is very serious, advisers can arrange for an ambulance on the caller’s behalf.

Treatment for minor injuries, such as cuts, bites, stings and muscle and joint injuries, can be provided at your local Minor Injuries Unit, where there is no need for an appointment.

The Welsh Ambulance Service is working hard to reduce unnecessary hospital admissions and support care close to patients’ homes.

Since September 2012, more than 5,270 patients, including non-injured fallers, and people who have suffered an epileptic and hypoglycaemic attack, have been referred on an Alternative Care Pathways instead of having to go into hospital.

Advanced Paramedic Practitioners (APPs) also provide a wider range of specialist healthcare at the scene of an incident or at a patient’s home.

Approximately 20 APPs operate throughout Wales with a further 19 currently in education and training, and latest figures show that around 50 per cent of patients seen by an APP are treated at scene or at home.

In addition, the Trust supports the discharge and transfer of patients out of hours to release beds in hospitals which in turn supports the improvement of patient flow in the emergency departments.

Llan man married in Morfa Nefyn

llanblogger reader Mike Connolly has sent in this picture showing the wedding of his friend Paul Young to Alison in Morfa Nefyn on the Lleyn Peninsula.

They were married on Saturday at the beautiful St Beuno’s Church, Pistyll, Nefyn, with a good few supporters from Llangollen there to join them on the happy day, and after a honeymoon in Ireland they will live in Pwllglas, near Ruthin.

Paul, a forensic musicologist (MA Cantab), is well known in Llangollen as an accomplished musician and as well as being a highly respected private music teacher, he has also acted as musical director for a number events in Llangollen.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Denbighshire welcomes older people's rights deal

Denbighshire County Council has welcomed news that Wales has become the first country in the world to adopt the Declaration of the Rights of Older People - hailing it as a major step in the right direction.

The Welsh Government's Declaration will help older people understand their rights more effectively and how they relate to current equality and human rights laws in Wales.

It will help those responsible for the development and delivery of public services, by making clear how they can support and engage effectively with older people across Wales.

Earlier this year, Denbighshire County Council signed a pledge to take forward work based on the World Health Organisation and the United Nations' principles to make their communities more age friendly.

The pledge, known as the Dublin Declaration due to Ireland's presidency of the EU, highlights the need to create age friendly places, with a key focus on promoting awareness of older people, their rights, needs and potentials, as well as highlighting the positive social, economic and cultural contribution made by them.

Councillor Bobby Feeley, Denbighshire's Cabinet Lead Member for Social Care, Adults and Children's Services, said: “There is clearly more focus on the rights of older people than ever before, and rightly so.

"Older people have an extremely valuable contribution to make in all walks of life and we must continue to celebrate this contribution.

"We must support and engage properly with our older people and making sure they have a strong voice in how we deliver public services, but also about their rights as individuals.

"This Declaration is very much a step in the right direction."

Saturday, July 19, 2014

River Lodge demolition reaches final stages

llanblogger reader Phil Meyers has sent in these pictures showing the demolition of the former River Lodge in Mill Street in its final stages.

Contractors are understood to be making a start early next month on the £5 million new health centre to be built on the site.

Friday, July 18, 2014

County says "Don't forget North Wales"

Denbighshire County Council says it recognises the need for investment for the transport infrastructure in South East Wales, as announced by the Welsh Government this week - but is asking what are the plans for the North Wales region.

The Council's comments follow an announcement by Transport  Minister Edwina Hart of  a £1 billion investment in a relief road for the M4 motorway in the Newport area.

Whilst the Council recognises the need for investment in the heavily populated areas of the South East, it wants some reassurances that funding could also be made available for infrastructure projects in North Wales too. 

Leader of Denbighshire, Councillor Hugh Evans OBE, said: "There are two transport infrastructure issues that need addressing in North Wales.

"The A55 arterial route across the region is a vital road connection from east to west and there is a desperate need to invest in improving its condition. It is one of the main road networks connecting Wales with Ireland and is an important part of the infrastructure from an economic benefit perspective.

"There is also a strong need for modernising the rail network linking North Wales with other regions. 

"The North Wales region has commissioned a study to quantify the benefits of modernising the rail network and early indications are that there would be significant benefits.  We would urge the Welsh Government and Westminster to consider the findings when they become available.

"The North Wales main line is a key economic asset, with the potential to significantly enhance accessibility for the whole of the region.  Better rail connectivity would help address the economic and social challenges. It would also assist the tourism industry - we need the infrastructure in place to make our region a lot more accessible to visitors.

"We currently have good connectivity to London, and Cardiff to a certain extent.  However there are weaknesses in services from North Wales to Manchester, Liverpoool and the regional airports and this needs to be addressed. 

"We have also been keeping a watching brief on the Chancellor's proposal to create a high speed rail link between Manchester and Leeds, which could be a catalyst for economic growth for the North West of England. However, North Wales needs to capitalise on existing opportunities in the north west so it's vitally important that fast regular rail services are developed beyond the current service level now. 

"Whilst we recognise the need for investment in South Wales, we must not become the forgotten region in the North."

New Deepcut inquest ordered

The BBC is reporting this morning that a new inquest has been ordered into the death of soldier Pte Cheryl James at Deepcut barracks in Surrey.

The 18-year-old from Denbighshire, who grew up in Llangollen, died in November 1995. The High Court ordered a fresh inquest after a challenge by her family.

See the full story at:"

Railway steams back to the 60s

Llangollen Railway is steaming back to the swinging decade on July 26 and 27.

That’s when the heritage railway will be staging it fifth 1960's weekend.
The timetable is similar to its recent Classic Transport weekend, with the addition of two Saturday evening trips.

As well as returning campers to Glyndyfrdwy and Carrog, these trains are also available for railway members and volunteers to enjoy.

The locomotives 80072 and 3802 should be in steam.

Class 26 D5310 will work three trips each day and two railcars - expected to be the Class 109 and Class 127 – will complete the line-up.
Some railcar services will run to Bonwm.

Free vintage bus rides will be on offer between Llangollen and Carrog, using two vehicles from the North West Museum of Transport, calling at Berwyn and Glyndyfrdwy en route.

The railway’s popular vintage vehicle rally will be staged in the field behind Glyndyfrdwy station.

Dr Beeching's real ale bar can be enjoyed on Llangollen station throughout the weekend.
The bar will have seven draught local real ales for you to try, along with bottled lagers, wines and soft drinks.

Real ale is available at £2.50 a pint. Not quite 1960s prices but still a bargain.

Retro-themed trade stands can be found at Llangollen station, including Craftevan, with a range of original Mini and VW camper-themed gifts along with some superb vintage clothes.

Saturday night will see live music on Llangollen station - resident stars Matt and Sophie will be joined by Elvis to entertain you from around 7.30pm.