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Saturday, August 30, 2014

County residents urged to support Tour of Britain

Denbighshire residents are urged to support the Tour of Britain as it races through the county for the second year running.

The race, taking place on Monday, 8 September, enters Denbighshire on the A541 at the county boundary with Flintshire and will go through Trefnant towards Henllan before turning right to join the Lower Denbigh Road near the location known locally as the 'S' bends.

The race will then travel to the junction on the outskirts of St Asph before turning right onto Glascoed Road, through the St Asaph Business Park and then head towards the county boundary with Conwy county.

The race is expected to arrive in Denbighshire shortly after 1pm and is expected to have left the county by 2pm. These timings are approximates and people wanting to support the race are being asked to allow plenty of time to arrive at their location.

There will be rolling road closures which mean that roads will be closed  a short time before the first cyclists are due. Roads will be open as soon as the main group of cyclists have passed through.

Councillor Huw Jones, Cabinet Lead Member with responsibility for major events and leisure, said: "We a\re delighted that the race is coming back to North Wales and to Denbighshire. The support last year was tremendous and we hope to emulate that kind of support this year and give the cyclists a warm welcome.

"Cycling events are becoming ever more popular and Denbighshire has demonstrated that it is a great location for large events of this nature.  The support of crowds is extremely important so I would ask you to get out on the route and get involved in the excitement and buzz of this great event."

* For further information about the race, please visit:

Valley Girls WI next meets on September 2

Valley Girls WI has its first meeting back after the summer holidays next week.

It will be held in the Hand Hotel, Llangollen, on Tuesday, September 2, starting at 8pm and the subject of the meeting will be cocktail mixing.  It's free for WI members visitors and newcomers £4.

The branch also now has its own dedicated website at and a community Facebook page - search under Valley Girls WI.

Spokeswoman Gail Ellson said: "Both of these sites have details about our events."

* Members of Valley Girls WI on a recent evening walk.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Work starts on police station facelift

Today (Friday 29th August) sees the start of an extensive refurbishment of Llangollen Police Station.
The Police Station, itself a listed building, has been the base of policing in the town for many years, but the time has come for it to be brought up to modern standards.
Work will take place on both the interior and exterior of the building and is scheduled for completion in April 2015
District Inspector Gareth Jones explains “We’re pleased to have secured the funding to make this investment in Llangollen Police Station, making it fit to serve this historic town for many years to come.
“With the support of Llangollen Town Council, we have been able to maintain a base in the town with officers being based in the Town Hall whilst the works are completed.
He added: “We look forward to it re-opening and will be holding an open day for people to come and see the results.”

Steam stars head for railway's gala weekend

* Black Five No.45337 departing Llangollen station.
Llangollen Railway's popular gala event this weekend marks the end of summer and sees a visiting locomotive making a return to Wales.
The Ivatt Class 2 mixed traffic engine, No.46521, was once allocated to Machynlleth shed and was hauling trains on the Cambrian Coast line and round to Dolgellau in the 1960s.
During that period it also pulled the Royal Train on a visit to the Cambrian Coast. 
At the gala event, on Friday and Saturday, it will be joined by three members of the Llangollen home-based fleet, with the British Rail Standard Tank engine No.80072 and the Black Five No.45337 making a welcome return to service and the Great Western Heavy Freight engine No.3802.
They will be joined by one of the British Rail Class 26 heritage diesel locomotives No.D5310 as the railway sets out to imitate railway operations down the line to Barmouth on the Western Region before Dr Beeching took his axe to the network in 1964.
The special timetable, entitled "Along Western Lines" for the gala, will see trains departing Llangollen at frequent intervals throughout each day, from 0900 onwards, for the run along the Dee Valley to Carrog and through to Plas Bonwm on the extension of the line.
A demonstration freight train is included in the sequence of departures and on Saturday an evening service will operate.
During the gala there will be a photographic and railwayana display in the tearoom at Berwyn station covering the course of the railway between Ruabon and Barmouth.
This will include maps, original engineering drawings and historical paperwork, as well as a photographic record of the stations along the line.
For thirsty rail fans there will be a real ale bar in the Henry Robertson suite at Llangollen station, as well as real ale served on trains.
George Jones for Llangollen Railway said: "We have another spectacular occasion when visitors will see how the railway might have operated at full capacity in the years prior to the infamous Dr Beeching's Report 'The Reshaping of British Railways.”
On an historic note, he added: "This year is when we mark the 50th anniversary, in December, of the last through train running between Ruabon and Barmouth due to flooding which washed away the track near Llandderfel. 
“Only the sections between Ruabon and Llangollen and Barmouth and Bala retained shuttle train services prior to formal closure of the line in January 1965.
"No one thought then that the railway at Llangollen would make a comeback, but it has, and it will shortly achieve its aim of reconnecting to Corwen once the extension work is completed and the line has passed its official inspection."
Details of the timetable and fares are to be found on the Railway's website at:

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Llan's EE mobile phone signal goes down

People using Orange/EE network are currently experiencing problems with their mobile phone signal.

Among those affected is llanblogger, and a landline call to the EE customer services earlier this afternoon confirmed the blackout is due to problems with a mast in Cefn Mawr initially reported to them at 8.15am today.

We were also informed that, due to the nature of the fault, EE could give no estimate on when the signal might be restored.

People using Tesco could also be affected as its network is shared with EE.

If you are also affected by this problem, please let us know by emailing:

Work starts on A483/A55 junction next month

Work is due to start next month on the £5.3 million to relieve a traffic “pinch point” at the junction of the A483 and A55 near Chester.

According to the Highways Agency which is overseeing the work, the aim is to cure existing problems with congestion at the junction that results in significant queues and delays at peak times. 
The scheme will also address some of the safety issues and accidents associated with the congestion and existing configuration, says the agency.

Works is due to be carried out between September and next March. However, there has already been pre-works on the A55 junction 38 bridge deck between the eastbound entry slip and the westbound exit slip. 

Work so far at weekends has caused major congestion, particularly  on the Chester-bound carriageway of the A483 and led to calls by Wrexham MP Ian Lucas for more warning to be given to motorists of likely hold-ups.

The agency says in a statement: “The scheme will provide additional lane capacity but will also ensure the existing carriageway is better utilised, which will improve traffic flows and reduce delays. 
“The scheme will also offer significant safety benefits. A new footbridge for shared use by cyclists and pedestrians will be constructed adjacent to the west bridge. The estimated cost is £5.3 million.”

Works include:

·        Widening of existing carriageway in key areas

·        Additional signals on A55/A483

·        New traffic signals A483/Rough Hill

·        Conversion of Pulford roundabout into a signalised junction

·        Reassignment of existing carriageways/lanes

·        Installation of new pedestrian/cyclist footbridge just west of the roundabout

More information will be posted on the project page at

If you have any queries about this project you should contact the Highways Agency Information Line by emailing ha_​info@​highways.​gsi.​gov.​uk, or calling 0300 123 5000.

Cash seized from criminals will help community groups

* From left, Winston Roddick, Police & Crime Commissioner,
with Richard Debicki, Assistant Chief Constable, and David Evans, the P.A.C.T project manager.

A new scheme is being launched to hit villains and help community groups across North Wales.
Money seized from criminals will be used to create a pot of money available to organisations which help tackle anti-social behaviour and combat crime and disorder.
Following a successful trial last year, the scheme is being set up by North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Winston Roddick CB QC, North Wales Police and the North Wales Police and Community Trust (PACT).
A total of £42,000 will be up for grabs - with £3,000 apiece for two groups in each county and £6,000 available for a group that operates across North Wales.
The Your Community, Your Choice initiative - otherwise known as the Participatory Budgeting Scheme - is being partly funded by the money recovered through the Proceeds of Crime Act, using cash confiscated from offenders with the rest coming from the Police Commissioner.
Community groups are being urged to apply between September 8 and October 10 using a form on the websites of the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner and North Wales Police.
A shortlist of applicants will be chosen by a special panel and from November 1 members of the public will decide which groups to support with a vote via the two websites and a dedicated email address.
Mr Roddick said: "This scheme is vitally important. It’s a first class scheme which brings the police and the community closer together.
"It gives an opportunity for the community to decide how they would like to see the funds we’ve extracted from criminals spent in their community.
"It also sends a very good message that crime does not pay and the ill-gotten gains of criminals are going back into the the communities from which the money was taken.
"This is an opportunity to provide support for some fantastic community organisations in every part of North Wales.
"We are inviting the groups to make their applications and explain, if they are successful, how they would spend the money.
"What they do will contribute to the Police and Crime Plan to reduce crime and disorder in the area and that is a really positive thing.
"Our aim is to make North Wales an even safer place to live, work and visit."
Assistant Chief Constable Richard Debicki was equally enthusiastic.
He said: “I think the value of a scheme like this is it allows members of the public and local organisations right in the heart of communities to bid into a fund and to be part of the solutions to crime and disorder in their area.
"The money is from the Police Commissioner’s fund as well as money which has been seized, and assets confiscated from the proceeds of crime.
"It's absolutely right and proper that the money taken out of the hands of criminals is put back into the community.
"The pilot last year was very successful and we are very happy to be a partner of the Police and Crime Commissioner in this initiative."
"This initiative should help to give the local community a great deal of confidence that the Police and the Commissioner are listening to their concerns.
"This is about the local community and local organisations working together and working with the police to put things in place at a local level in order to tackle the issues which matter to the public most.
PACT manager Dave Evans explained "The fund will be open for application by email using a standard application form that will be available on both the PCC’s website and North Wales Police’s website.
"We had some particularly high quality applications from the pilot round of the fund last year.
"Among the projects to benefit last year were the Llandudno Good Citizenship scheme, the Barmouth CCTV scheme and the Wrexham Street Pastors.
"This pre-notification period will hopefully give community groups the opportunity to develop their applications.
“Applicants have to be a properly constituted community group or a registered charity and the main criterion is that the project in question helps to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.
“It gives us the opportunity to engage with a wide variety of community groups and also importantly gives our local neighbourhood policing teams the opportunity to engage with those groups and support them with those projects that they want to run.
"I would highly recommend that applicants considering putting in a bid liaise with their local neighbourhood policing team to discuss their bid and make sure that it is as comprehensive as possible."
The opening date is September 8 and completed applications must be returned via email to by the closing date at 5pm on October 10. For more information ring 01745 588516.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

£4 million earmarked for new ambulances

The Welsh Ambulance Service will get almost £4m for a major upgrade of its fleet of vehicles, Health Minister Mark Drakeford announced today.
The new funding will enable the service to buy 41 new vehicles, including emergency ambulances and specialist rapid response vehicles, to replace existing ambulance fleet.
The ambulance service currently has 736 vehicles covering an area of more than 8,000 square miles in Wales. The new vehicles will help contribute to a more reliable, better equipped, and more efficient emergency ambulance service.

The new ambulances will ensure patients are treated in the best clinical environments possible using the latest equipment. The new vehicles will reduce overall operating costs for the Welsh Ambulance Service as they will be more fuel efficient.

The latest ambulance service performance figures reveal the demands placed on the service with 35,570 emergency calls during June 2014. They also show that immediately life-threatening incidents, which needed an emergency ambulance response, have increased by 30% over the last five years.

The £3.833m investment for new fleet will allow the ambulance service to buy:
  • 14 emergency ambulances;
  • 15 large patient care service vehicles;
  • four small patient care service vehicles;
  • two health courier service vehicles; 
  • six specialist vehicles.
Professor Drakeford said: “The demands placed on the ambulance service in Wales every day of the year are significant. The service receives tens of thousands of emergency calls every month and life-threatening incidents have risen by almost a third over the past five years.

“This is why we are continuing to invest in the ambulance fleet to make sure modern, reliable vehicles are available to respond to sick and injured patients. This new funding will help provide high-quality clinical services, improve the comfort and care to patients and offer a much better working environment for ambulance service staff.”

Heather Ransom, Head of Resource for the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: "The Trust welcomes the continued support from the Welsh Government for its vehicle replacement scheme. Not only will the new vehicles improve the comfort and safety of our patients but also the working conditions for our staff.

“Regularly replacing ageing vehicles ensures our fleet remains modern, reliable and fit for purpose. The investment will allow us to continue to improve the quality of our services for the people of Wales and enhance patient care."

Gardening club hosts successful open show

Llangollen and District Gardening Club hosted its 2014 Open Show at St Collen's last Saturday. ‏

Thirty people entered more than 130 classes. 
Organisers say they were delighted with this as they hadn't held a show for a number of years and knew that they would have to gradually build it up again.
David Bartley's entries in the vegetable and flower classes won him the trophies for the most points in the vegetable classes, most points in the vegetable and flower classes and most points in the show.
He also received a £20 voucher from Stans kindly donated to the person who won the most points in the show.
Jane Jones, who is on the gardening club committee, won the trophy for the most points in the flower classes.
Judith Barclay won the trophy for the most points in the cookery classes.
For the organisers, Linda Thane said: "We would like to thank the judges who did a splendid job, Dr Rhys Davies for presenting the trophies, the sponsors and the people who gave their time to
help with organising and running of the show.
"We were delighted that we had entries from people who had previously entered but especially pleased to receive entries from people who had never entered a competition before and they were surprised and encouraged when they won a 1st in their class."

Skates becomes eisteddfod vice-president

Clwyd South AM Ken Skates said he was ‘proud and honoured’ after becoming vice-president of the world-famous Llangollen International Eisteddfod.

The Labour Assembly Member, who is based in Llangollen, was offered the official role by the chairman Gethin Davies this month in recognition of his continued support for the event.

Mr Skates (pictured left) said: “I have said previously that the Llangollen Eisteddfod is my favourite event of the year, and last month’s was the best I’ve been to.

"I was proud and honoured to be offered the role of vice-president, and I look forward to helping one of the region’s flagship events continue to go from strength to strength.

“The Eisteddfod is famous around the world for its celebration of different cultures, and promotes understanding and cohesion between international communities.

"It gives us another platform to show what Wales – and, in particular, Denbighshire – has to offer, and it’s something we should be immensely proud of.”

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

MP calls for meeting over A483/A55 roadworks

WREXHAM MP Ian Lucas has called for a meeting with the Highways Agency before major works on a crucial road for commuters - including many from Llangollen - begin in earnest.

Preliminary work earlier in the month on the A483/ A55 interchange caused long delays for people approaching the junction, especially from the Wrexham direction.

A number of his constituents have contacted Mr Lucas to raise concerns that little information was made available to drivers before the work began.

With work on the junction – intended to help improve the traffic flow – slated to begin soon, Mr Lucas has asked to meet Highways bosses to ensure disruption is kept to a minimum.

He said: “It is noticeable that when there are problems on the A483, whether these are accidents or scheduled works, that delays make themselves felt for a long way along the road. That’s why I am so keen to ensure that the Highways Agency are clear about what they are planning and what effect the work may have.

“I am aware that the work being undertaken is in England, but it is almost a textbook example of a cross-border project and it will clearly have an impact on my constituents travelling from and to Wrexham.

“I have called for improvements to the A55 and A483 interchange for some time, and will keep a close eye on the work once it is completed. I think any fair minded person would expect some delays as work is carried out, but what is crucial is ensuring motorists know what to expect and are given information with enough time to help them to plan.”

Monday, August 25, 2014

Crowds enjoy sports club event

* Crowds at the fete enjoy the sunshine. 

A Bank Holiday weekend fundraising fete at Llangollen Sports Club's headquarters on Sunday afternoon proved a huge hit with the crowds.

Revellers flocked to the field to test their skills with a variety of games, including trying to throw a rugby ball through holes in a board.

There was also a bouncy castle and face painting to keep the youngsters happy plus a hog roast and other refreshments including a sweets stall.

A full programme of live entertainment was provided throughout the afternoon and early evening, including performances by live bands.

Providing the perfect rousing finish was the band Marblehead Johnson who laid on a string of Britpop hits which got the crowd up on their feet and begging for more.

*The band Marblehead Johnson were a big hit with their Britpop performance.
* Pat Vance came all the way from the south of England to be at the event.  

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Man's body discovered in Llangollen area quarry

A body of a man has this morning (Sunday, August 24) been recovered from a disused quarry in the Llangollen area.
According to North Wales Police, the man, who at this time has not been formally identified but is believed to be from the Leicestershire area, was diving yesterday (Saturday, August 23) with two others at Aber Las, a disused quarry in the Nantyr area of Llangollen, when it is believed he got into difficulties.
The Ambulance Service alerted the police to the incident at 1.52pm on Saturday, August 23, after the alarm was raised by the man’s co-divers.
Temporary Chief Inspector Siobhan Edwards of North Wales Police said: “We along with the Mountain Rescue Teams (MRT) including Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Organisation (OVMRO) and NEWSAR (North East Wales Search and Rescue) attended.
"The expertise of the North Wales Cave Rescue Organisation (NWCRO) was also used along with divers from the Cave Rescue Organisation who are based in North Yorkshire. The latter were transported to the scene by a Sea King helicopter from 202 Squadron RAF Search and Rescue.
“During the early hours of this morning (Sunday, August 24) the body of a man was recovered from the disused quarry.
“The next of kin have been informed.”
T/ Chief Insp Edwards added: “North Wales Police are not treating the death as suspicious at this time however officers will continue to undertake inquiries on behalf of the Coroner. A file will be submitted in due course.”
North Wales Police say they would like to thank all agencies and volunteers who assisted.

New singing group takes to the stage

* Members of the Llangollen-based Stage 2 Stage singing group. Picture by Barrie Potter.

Stage 2 Stage is a recently founded group of amateur singers, whose mission is to bring the glamour, vibrancy and magic of professional musical theatre to a stage near you.

Based in Llangollen, the 15 vocalists and their Musical Director, Elen Mair Roberts, have a long association with local artistic and musical organisations and their collective experience in treading the amateur boards spans several decades.

Formerly attached to the town’s Operatic Society and known as the Troupe, the group decided to go solo at the end of 2013 in order to pursue their own ambitions with greater autonomy and freedom, though many members still maintain active membership of the Operatic. 

Close friends in addition to colleagues in chorus, Stage 2 Stage members hail from an eclectic mix of backgrounds, professions, age groups and even countries but have the common denominator of a passion for music, a sense of fun and a desire to share this with others. 

The group’s repertoire is extensive and has something to appeal to most tastes. The main component is musical theatre, however further genres include opera, screen, popular music, festive favourites and Welsh folk and Elen strives continuously to introduce exciting, new pieces.

So whether you are an ardent fan of Rodgers and Hammerstein, enjoy more contemporary shows such as Hairspray and Chicago, or like to rock the evening away to Queen, you can rest assured that Stage 2 Stage will have something to suit your preference. 

The group firmly believes that high quality entertainment should be accessible to all. To this end, their broad repertoire and very reasonable fees make them a fantastic choice for any type of event, from an intimate family celebration, to a fully choreographed show complete with their own, five piece band. 

In their previous guise, they performed at a host of private and public events, with notable credits including Barmouth Festival of Arts 2012, Welsh rugby team captain Ryan Jones’ Testimonial Dinner, Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod’s “Llanfest” and Llangollen Women’s Festival of Music.

Their debut as Stage 2 Stage was in April at Dolgellau Music Festival where they performed a full concert to an appreciative audience at Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor and received warm praise from the festival organisers, who said: “The choral sound was rich and disciplined at all times, and the company as a whole radiated energy and a tremendous delight in what they were doing...Following this first outing as an independent group, the company deserves to prosper."

The group is currently working on new material for the autumn/ winter season, so if you are planning an event and would like to find out more about how Stage 2 Stage could enhance that, contact Tessa Orton-Jones or Alison Jarvis on 07413 822408 or e-mail

Details are also available at for details of past and future public performances, and to view photographs and testimonials.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Biker casualties prompt chief constables' statement

The high number of collisions involving motorbikes in both North Wales and Dyfed Powys Police areas has led the Chief Constables of both Forces to make the following joint statement:

"This year has seen a significant number of motorcyclists return to North, Mid and West Wales to make the most of the scenery and facilities that Wales has to offer, helped of course by the fine weather that we have all enjoyed.
North Wales Police crestUnfortunately though we are seeing a significant increase this year in the number of motorcyclists killed and seriously injured on our roads, with 16 fatalities across both of the policing areas of North Wales and Dyfed Powys Police and a further 72 motorcyclists seriously injured as a result of collisions. Amongst the most common reasons for the collisions are rider error and excessive speed, particularly on bends.
Dyfed Powys Police crestThis year’s increase is a very real public safety concern and a priority for both police forces.  Our approach on enforcement has not changed; we will robustly enforce the law so that we can assist in reducing the risk to all road users. Motorcyclists, and other motorists, taking their time to visit the beautiful countryside of Mid and North Wales are very welcome so long as they ride or drive safely and within the law. Those who choose to break the law can expect to be prosecuted. Roads Policing Officers are equipped with a number of detection tactics and they have both overt and covert patrol cars and bikes. There will be no need for any riders to encounter police enforcement tactics if they ride as they should.
The approach around reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads is not, of course, based around enforcement alone. We continue to work with riders through a variety of engagement events and we will use what opportunities we can to educate riders as to the risks associated with riding inappropriately. We continue to be avid supporters of Bike Safe, an extremely valuable resource that is very well received, and we wish to encourage as many riders as possible to engage with a local Bike Safe workshop.
Many police officers and staff are keen motorcyclists who understand the attraction of the beautiful, but notoriously challenging, routes in North Wales and Dyfed Powys. Fellow motorcyclists are welcome, all we ask is that they ride safely and with respect for other road users."

Chief Constable Mark Polin                           Chief Constable Simon Prince
North Wales Police (motorcyclist)                  Dyfed Powys Police

Iron animals to star at Hamper Llangollen

* Two by two...Colin Loughlin (right) and Phil Davies (centre), from Hamper
Llangollen food festival, with Clive Knowles, from the British Ironworks Centre.

Forget the Russell Crowe film blockbuster Noah - an array of iron animals is set to take pride and place at a top food festival.
Around 30 sculptures created by the British Ironworks Centre, Oswestry, will make their way to Hamper Llangollen later this year on October 18-19.
These will include a flock of iron sheep, chickens, a giant boar and a giant ostrich.
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.
Hamper Llangollen Chairman Colin Loughlin asked the creative metal workers to support the event after spotting a three and a half tonne Uri Geller-inspired gorilla made from spoons at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod.
Colin, who is delighted that the British Ironworks Centre has chosen to sponsor the festival, said: “If you go down to the British Ironworks Centre and just go down the drive it looks like a giant safari park, with all sorts of exotic animals all over the place – it’s incredible.
“It came about because they sponsored the Llangollen Eisteddfod. I asked if they could provide us with some tables and chairs like they’d done for the Eisteddfod and they said that they’d go one better and bring along some iron animals as well.
“The animals will reflect what is happening at Hamper Llangollen. For example there is going to be a stall there that sells ostrich meat and wild boar. It's going to be a bit like an iron version of Noah's Ark - minus Russell Crowe!"
Clive Knowles, Managing Director of the British Ironworks Centre, added: “It’s to add drama and theatre to the event.
“I’ve never been to Hamper Llangollen and I’m really looking forward to it. I really love Welsh lamb so I’ll be looking for a bit of lamb shank while I’m there.
“Colin said they had a lot of natural and free range things going on so we want to reflect that with the sculptures we bring to Hamper Llangollen.
“We’re going to bring around 20 small pieces and about 10 large ones. The large ones can weigh up to three tonnes.
“Hamper Llangollen is a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase what we can do.
“We’re going to be opening our own cafĂ© at the British Ironworks Centre so it’s also an opportunity for us to source local produce. Sourcing local produce is incredibly important and it’s something that people are looking for more and more these days because it’s good quality and people want to support their community.”
A quartet of Wales’s best chefs will have a starring role at the festival. 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 ever popular Dai Chef, now the resident chef at Bodnant Welsh Food, the centre of excellence for Welsh food in the Conwy Valley will be there too.
Robert Didier, a baker who trained with culinary legend Raymond Blanc will also unveil the UK’s most expensive loaf – made with champagne and 24 carat gold, at the event.
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

Friday, August 22, 2014

Skates slams "despicable" attacks on churches

POLICE in North Wales have recorded more than 300 incidents of vandalism at churches and thefts from religious buildings, including Llangollen, over the past three years, new figures have revealed.

The data, obtained by Assembly Member Ken Skates under the Freedom of Information Act, shows Wrexham as the county with the highest number of incidents (79), while Anglesey was targeted least (17).

The figures cover the period from April 1, 2011, to the same date this year and reveal a total of 334 thefts and vandalism offences over 36 months.

There were more than 60 incidents in Conwy and more than 50 each in Denbighshire, Flintshire and Gwynedd.

At least two incidents were recorded in Llangollen in June last year – first at St Collen’s where the lock on the church gate was glued shut and the second when lead was stolen from the roof of St John the Baptist.

Mr Skates, the Labour AM Clwyd South, said: “These incidents include charity collection boxes being stolen, dozens of thefts of lead and other metals and also handbags, purses and wallets being taken.

“The police have also had reports of windows being smashed, break-ins and fires being started. I don’t know what types of people would commit such crimes. Some of them would be sickening at the best of times, but when they take place in buildings that mean so much to so many people they’re nothing short of despicable.”

However, Mr Skates said he was ‘encouraged’ to see the figure falling from 132 in 2012-13 to 83 last year, and said he believed the additional 500 Police Community Support Officer roles created by the Welsh Government earlier this year were playing their part in reducing crime across North Wales.

He added: “I recently spent an afternoon on the beat in my constituency with one of our PCSOs, who are now a vital part of modern-day policing. They play an important role in solving crimes and ensuring people feel safe, and they are already making a difference in our communities throughout North Wales.”


Thursday, August 21, 2014

GCSE celebration time at Ysgol Dinas Bran

* Jubilant scenes at Ysgol Dinas Bran this morning.

There were scenes of great jubilation at the school this morning as delighted students received their GCSE results.

All in all 99% achieved a level 2 pass (five GCSE grades or equivalent at C or above) and 60% achieved the level  2+ (five grades at C or above including English and Maths).  The last figure is a 5% improvement on 2013.

Excellent results were achieved across many subject areas with several having a 100% rate of higher grade passes (see below).

There were some significant student achievements. 

Joshua Jones, from Chirk, gained an incredible eight A* grades and an A grade.  Nadine Evans, from Trevor, also performed outstandingly well in securing six A* grades, three As,  a B grade and a Distinction in Further Maths.  Helen Newbrook, from Glyn Ceiriog, did similarly well with six A* grades, three As and a B grade.

Other high achieving students include:

Bethan Williams (Trevor) five A* grades, six A grades, Merit in further Maths, Ross Litchfield Briscoe (Chirk) four A* grades, four A grades, one B grade, Lowri Bates (Glyn Ceiriog) three A* grades, seven A grades, one B grade, Distinction in Further Maths, Morgan Jones (Glyn Ceiriog)   three A* grades, three A grades, two B grades and a Distinction in Further Maths, Tomos  Morris  (Chirk)  two A* grades, four A grades, three B grades and a Distinction in Performing Arts,
Abigail Claybrook  (Llangollen) two A* grades, two A grades, three B grades and Distinction* in Dance.

Kirsty Prescott  (Chirk) two A* grades, two A grades, five B grades, Meuryn Hughes (Pentredwr)   two A* grades, one A grade, four B grades, Amber Griffiths (Chirk Bank)  nine A grades, one B grade, Merit in further Maths, Ceri O’Connell  (Llangollen)  seven A grades, one B grade,
Olivia Holgate (Chirk) one A* grade, six A grades, two B grades, Merit in further Maths, Luke Andrews (Chirk) one A* grade, four A grades, one B grade, Distinction* in Media, Rhys Kynaston (Chirk) one A* grade, five A grades, two B grades, Merit in Further Maths.

Across the whole range of students a huge number achieved good grades , sometimes in challenging circumstances.

Headteacher Martyn Froggett said: “The students have worked extremely hard and fully deserve their results.  To achieve a 99% pass rate at level 2 is a phenomenal achievement.  They have excelled themselves – well done to all of them. 

"Many thanks to all the staff and parents who have supported them whole-heartedly in their journey.  It is a record summer of success and, on top of really good A levels last week, an excellent year for the school.”

Denbighshire County Council says early indications show that approximately 89% of students in the county have achieved 5 A*-C or equivalent.

The council says Denbighshire schools have also seen an improvement in the number of students achieving 5 A*-C or equivalent, including Welsh or English and maths and that there have been some outstanding personal successes.

Councillor Eryl Williams, Cabinet Lead Member for Lifelong Learning, said: “These results are fantastic and I would like to congratulate all students who have achieved the grades needed to further their education with support from their teachers. The results this year really are excellent and show that Denbighshire is continuing to improve.  “We are committed to improving standards in education. We can see the results of everyone's hard work to improve education in Denbighshire and I am delighted that these huge efforts are making a real difference to our young people.” 

* Pictured below: Various students celebrate their GCSE results ...

Health centre foundations taking shape

llanblogger reader Mike Connolly has sent in this picture of the foundations of the town's new health centre which is being built on the site of the old Woodlands Hotel in Mill Street.

Mike says: "The photo which looks like Llan's very own Roman excavations actually shows how fast things are progressing with the new health centre."

Read Construction has its own Facebook page containing the latest information on the development, which you can see at:

This gives a schedule of works showing:

Completion of Demolition Works – 8th August 2014
Commencement of Substructure Foundation Works –11th August 2014
Commencement of Superstructure Works – 13th October 2014
Completion of Roofing Works – 27th February 2015
Completion of Internal Fit Out Works – 5th June 2015
Building Completion – 12th June 2015

There's also a development website at:

* Below, a picture from the site shows concrete being poured into the foundations.

Help shape the future of Pen y Coed Wood

The Woodland Trust is hosting a special event in Llangollen to help shape the future of Pen y Coed Wood.

People engagement officer Jane craven said: “We would like to meet with you and give you the opportunity to share your stories of Pen y Coed wood, let us know what you think of the wood and help us improve it for the future.
“Join us on Friday, August 29, between 2pm and 4pm, at the community hall, St Collen’s.

“There will be fun craft activities and wildlife art for children and free refreshments. Everyone is welcome. Your opinion counts.”

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Faery Festival takes off in a big way

* A little fairy at the event.

What happens if you get people from Cornwall, Kent, Northumbria, Cardiff and the Fylde coast, plus the Midlands and the Wirral all interested in myth and magic, and put them in a big tent in Wales for the weekend? 

The second annual Legendary Llangollen Faery Festival, that’s what.

People from all over Britain came to enjoy what is fast becoming one of the major fairy events in the UK.

Over 200 craft workers, healers, fortune tellers, live-action role players, musicians and speakers descended upon us last weekend, all with a mind to have a good time, sell their wares and enjoy everything fairy. 

They pitched tents and stalls and some set up inside the huge tented arena of the Llangollen Pavilion, and all this with the threat of the tail end of Hurricane Bertha looming and poised to strike.

Saturday dawned fair and a glorious day was enjoyed by hundreds of visitors.  

Wishes were posted on the wishing line for the fairies to collect and grant, and the wing and wand making workshops were spectacularly busy. 

Circus skills were taught, the mystery of how to play a didgeridoo was revealed and live music and wonderful food was enjoyed. The stallholders did a cracking trade and the little, (and large), ones had their faces painted and were told some amazing tales by expert storytellers.

Author and co-organiser, Fiona Maher was promoting her novel. 

She said: “My book, The Last Changeling, is hardly fairy friendly and I never thought people who really believe that fairies are sweet creatures would like what I’ve written.

“Luckily, they are only interested in fairies and fey culture being promoted, so if I just happen to be the conduit for that, then they are inclined to forgive me.  Actually some of them prefer their fairies to be less sugary.”  

She added: “The threatened rain arrived at teatime just as the daytime events concluded, and most of the outside stalls moved inside the arena for the next day. We only had the vintage funfair and three stalls go home - all vowing to return next year.  

“That night we all danced at The Grand Faery Ball, so no-one much cared what the weather was doing outside!  

“Fervent spells were cast for good weather for the Sunday. After a rain lashed night, the water stopped pouring from the sky just eight minutes after the event opened again.  There were a few squalls in the afternoon, one huge gust of wind, and that was Bertha's last farewell.  

“We all survived and are already planning for 2015.”

* Pictures courtesy of Alan Potts

 * Activity inside the Pavilion.
* Stylish dance routine.
* Fairy with owl.
* Outside on the field.

ABBA Solution to play Bank Holiday show in Llan

* ABBA Solution in action.
A tribute band will be making a triumphant return to Llangollen this Bank Holiday Weekend.
Following sell-out shows in the town last year, including one as part of the Llangollen Fringe Festival, ABBA Solution will be bringing their 100% live tribute to the Swedish super-group to the Llangollen Pavilion on Sunday 24th August.
The show features Steph Babington as Agnetha and Jo Potts as Anni-Frid, backed by a highly polished six piece band. Celebrating the bands most popular hits, from 'Waterloo' to 'Dancing Queen', ABBA Solution also perform some of their more obscure and musically challenging numbers including 'The Eagle', which features twin lead guitar solos from Dan Morris and Ross Anderson.
The event has been organised by Llangollen based Radiant Events, who also run regular comedy nights in the town. Director Paul Brown says, "The music of ABBA has won plenty of new fans in the past few years following the success of the Mamma Mia film. There are plenty of tribute bands out there, but ABBA Solution are the real deal. There are no backing tracks and no autotune - just a 100% live musical spectacular. It's a great way to round off a fantastic summer in Llangollen."
Doors open at 7pm and the show starts at 7.30pm. Tickets, priced at £10, are available online at or can be bought in person at the Llangollen Pavilion and Gales of Llangollen.
* Steph Babington as Agnetha.