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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Elderly man injured in town centre accident

The Denbighshire Free Press is reporting on its website this evening that an elderly man was injured in an accident this afternoon (Tuesday) in Llangollen.

See the full story at:

County reaffirms school transport policy

Denbighshire County Council has re-affirmed its Home to School Transport Eligibility Policy, following a discussion at its Cabinet meeting in County Hall, Ruthin today (Tuesday).

The policy now includes central pick up points for secondary school pupils as an amendment, with free transport provided to the nearest suitable secondary school.  The pick up points will come into effect in September 2015.
 A transitional period will be introduced, where pupils who are not attending their nearest school (due to historic anomalies), will remain eligible for transport to their existing school, to prevent disruption to their education.  Following a thorough debate, Cabinet Members agreed to alter recommendation 3(vi) - Cabinet requests that the Welsh in Education Strategic Group review the language categorisation of all schools during the Autumn Term and present a report to Scrutiny in early Spring 2015

They also added recommendation (vii) - 
"An assessment of the impact of the policy be conducted and presented to Scrutiny at the end of the first year of implementation."
Councillor Eryl Williams, Cabinet Lead Member for Education, said: “The current Home to School Transport Policy is silent in many areas and has resulted in the historic anomalies  in the current system.  

“This amended policy formalises arrangements for transport to school, it is transparent and every attempt will be made to ensure that parents are clear about the transport implications when applying for school places."

The council’s decision to review this policy comes as the school transport service is overspent and the new policy could result in a saving of around £272,000.

Skates welcomes Welsh budget

Assembly Member Ken Skates has welcomed the Welsh Labour Government’s budget for next year, which he says "reflects the priorities of the people of Clwyd South".
Jane Hutt, Minister for Finance and Government Business, today announced £425m of extra funding for the Welsh NHS over two years, while schools’ funding is also protected and there is continued support for the hugely successful Jobs Growth Wales scheme.
Labour AM Mr Skates said: “This is a budget that reflects the priorities of people in Clwyd South and that recognises the high regard in which they hold our National Health Service.
“It is, of course, a difficult budget, and the unprecedented cuts made to the Welsh budget by the Tories in Westminster have obviously had an impact. The Welsh 2015-16 budget is £1.5bn lower in real terms than it was 2010-11.
“However, our priorities are different, and we are protecting the services that matter most to people.
“I am delighted that we continue to provide support to the excellent and ground-breaking Jobs Growth Wales scheme, which has helped almost 1,000 young people in Wrexham and Denbighshire into work.
“The people of Wales can see first-hand that this Labour Government is on their side.”

Councillor calls for halt on Horseshoe speed limit plan

A LLANGOLLEN county councillor is calling for a halt on plans to impose a lower 40mph speed limit on the Horseshoe Pass.

Stuart Davies has made his demand after discovering that police have prosecuted just one motorist in the past five years for breaking the existing 60mph restriction on the A542 route from Llangollen towards Llandegla and Ruthin.

Cllr Davies said: “I recently put in a Freedom of Information request to North Wales Police which reveals that since 2009 they have brought only one prosecution for speeding on the Horseshoe Pass and this was in the financial year 2013/14.

“If they aren’t prosecuting people for breaking the 60mph limit up there why do they want to lower it to 40mph?

“It doesn’t make sense to me, especially at a time when Denbighshire County Council is being asked to make deep cuts in its budget of around £30 million over the next few years affecting essential services.

“I am told that implementing the new 40mph restriction, with the cost of consultation and new signs, would be £20,000 and I’d argue we just can’t afford that sum when it appears that people aren’t being prosecuted for breaching the limit that’s already in force.”

He added: “I know that some work has already gone into it but my view is that any further work on it should be stopped immediately.”

Official figures show that over the past five years the Horseshoe Pass has been the scene of 22 collisions involving slight injuries, 10 rated as serious and two which were fatal.

North Wales Police traffic officers recently requested the county council to impose a 40mph limit on the whole of the pass from the Britannia to the cattle grid at Pentre Isaf.

When he first raised the issue a few months ago, Cllr Davies said: “I am of the view that better enforcement of our existing laws and better education of drivers at the hotspots would slow down traffic and safeguard lives rather than the blunt use of a blanket speed limit over the whole of the pass.”

Monday, September 29, 2014

Free garden waste collection service pruned

Denbighshire has announced the council’s free garden waste collection service will be ending on 16 January 2015.

It will be replaced with a new (optional) service, which will be available for a fee - less than £1 per collection - (£24 per year) from 30 March onward.

This means that our garden waste collection service will be funded by the residents who choose to use it.

Every one of the 35,000 households affected by this news will receive further information, and details of how they can opt-in to the scheme, says the council. This information will be delivered to each household in the autumn.

Cllr David Smith said: “A number of other councils up and down Wales already charge for this service. Here in Denbighshire, we have held out as long as possible, but next year’s cuts in Welsh Government funding are so large, that we are now running out of options. 

"In Denbighshire the proposed budget settlement is likely to mean we need to find some £18m in savings over the next two years. This figure is our current working assumption based on the latest information available from the Welsh Government."

Over recent months, the council has scrutinised all aspects of its work, with all services putting forward proposals for cuts and £4.6m approved by councillors at full council on  September 9.

All proposals have been subject to debate by council and further proposals will need to be worked-up over the coming months in order to achieve the savings target, the authority warns.

Police boss seeks unsung heroes

* North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Winston Roddick.

A POLICE boss has launched his own awards scheme to honour the unsung crime fighting heroes of the community in the first initiative of its kind.

North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Winston Roddick CB QC and is inviting the public to help him choose one of the key winners of his new Community Awards.

The aim is to officially recognise people who help police to keep their neighbourhood or town a peaceful and safe place to live and work and who help in rehabilitating offenders..

The key accolade he will be handing out at the presentation evening next month in front of police and civic leaders is the People’s Award whose winner will be chosen from among those nominated directly by the public of North Wales.

For this award the Commissioner wants the public of North Wales to put forward the names of worthy candidates - individuals or groups who have made a major impact on cutting crime, keeping people safe or rehabilitating offenders.

Mr Roddick, who in his time has served as a police officer, a barrister and a judge, said he became convinced of the need for launching his Community Awards, which have a total of 11 categories, after seeing the great number of people in the community across North Wales who – often silently – and in partnership with their local police, work to reduce crime and its effects.

He said: “Since I became Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales in November 2012 I have been across the length and breadth of the area meeting with people, both individuals and groups, to discuss policing and crime issues.

 It has become clear to me that there are a great number of people who do a lot of good in the community by helping North Wales Police to keep North Wales a peaceful and safe place to live and work and by helping offenders rehabilitate.

“These silent workers go way beyond anybody else to make a contribution and ensure their communities are safe. The rehabilitation of offenders also reduces crime and the tendency to commit crime.

“In the overwhelming number of cases, this a personal commitment made without expectation of any kind of reward or recognition. .

“ Having seen the value of their work, I decided that in my role as Police and Crime Commissioner, working for the people, I should devise a way of showing appreciation for all the hard work and achievements of these special people.

“With that object in mind, I have established these community-based awards.

“Their purpose is public recognition of these unsung heroes and their aim is to encourage others to emulate their good example.

“I believe I am the first Police and Crime Commissioner in England and Wales to institute such awards, so North Wales is very much leading the way with this initiative and I intend to make it an annual event.”

The Commissioner added: “One of the awards I have established this year is called the People’s Award.
“This will go to an individual or group who have made an impact in helping to keep people safe and/or to reduce crime.

“This contribution may impact the whole area, a local town, neighbourhood or even street, but it will have made a difference to the people living and working there.

“It could be someone who is working to bring communities together to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour, or is working with people to deter and reduce offending.

“While I will select most of the award recipients myself in consultation with my office, the People’s Award is special in that it is the only one which will be nominated directly by the public.

“I am therefore asking for the assistance of the people of North Wales to help me select a suitable candidate for this particular award.

“If you know someone in your community who has gone that extra mile to prevent or reduce crime, protect and support members of the community or generally helped to make North Wales a safer place to live and work, please nominate them for the People’s Award.

The Community Awards, sponsored by Police Mutual, will be handed over to recipients by the Commissioner, watched by their families and a large invited audience including the Chief Constable of North Wales, Mark Polin, Members of Parliament, Assembly Members and the High Sheriff of Clwyd, David Meredith Jones, at a presentation evening in the Kinmel Manor Hotel in Abergele on
Thursday, October 23.

Apart from the People’s Award, other 10 awards to be presented are:

* Safer Community Award in recognition of an individual, community group or organisation that has made a significant contribution towards enhancing safety in public places.

* Partnership Award for organisations which have successfully worked in partnership with others to help community safety.

* Reducing Harm Award for an individual, community group or organisation who have made efforts to prevent and tackle serious crime and/or provide support to victims of serious crime.

* Rehabilitation Award for a voluntary, social or private enterprise that works with former offenders or those at risk of offending to help them break the offending cycle, or an individual who has shown strength and determination to turn their life around, to move away from offending and contribute to society in a positive way.

* Third Sector Award for a community or voluntary group who have contributed towards personal safety and crime reduction or who have made a significant impact in helping victims of crime.

* Equality and Diversity Award for a person or group who have supported the equality agenda and made an impact on hate crime. This is aimed at someone who has embraced community engagement to reduce tensions in communities and reduce fear of crime.

* Welsh Language Service Award for an organisation who, through the medium of Welsh, provide comprehensive victim services and/or other community services that help to reduce crime.

* Young Person of the Year Award for a young person under the age of 25 who has made a difference in their family and/or community, for example by working with the police or overcoming some adversity, contributing to awareness raising around crime prevention, public safety etc.

* Individual Endeavour Award for an individual whose endeavour and achievements towards helping prevent crime, supporting the police, helping victims, volunteering or other work stand out.

* The Police and Crime Commissioner’s Gold Award, a special award, available to a group or individual for long term contribution to public life and community, working in North Wales helping to prevent crime and support communities.

The closing date for the Community Awards is October 6 and for more information go to

Sunday, September 28, 2014

LimeLight to hold open evenings

After the success and good reviews of their recent comedy play Billy Liar at The Town Hall, LimeLight Productions are offering open evenings and inviting all to go along.  

Meet all the LimeLight teams, have a sing along, learn about their 2015 programme of musical theatre shows, plays and events. 

They recently held an evening at the new Acton Community Resource Centre Wrexham where many attended and showed interest in joining this wonderful successful theatre company. 

Now they are spreading the evening and will be holding one at Air Products Sports and Social Club, Bethania Road, Acrefair, on Wednesday 1st October at 7.00pm.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Remembering a World War One soldier 100 years on


A personal story by llanblogger, Phil Robinson


* The poppy wreath laid at the foot of the remembrance plaques in Liverpool's Hall of Remembrance. 

I recently went over to Liverpool to complete my own small piece of First Word War remembrance.

Just a few days after the war broke out on August 4, 1914, my grandfather sailed for France with the British Expeditionary Force.
Less than six weeks later he had been killed in action at the age of just 26, leaving behind two young children and third on the way – my late father – who, of course, he never met.

Last Saturday, September 20, was the precise 100th anniversary of his death during the Battle of the Aisne and I was determined to mark the occasion in some way.
Although I know exactly where is grave is located – a small Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery not far from where he fell in the rolling countryside of the Chemin des Dames – and have been there twice, I couldn’t make the journey back there for various reasons.

So my search began for a suitable place to lay a poppy wreath to commemorate the centenary of his death.

I began in Widnes, where my grandfather, Corporal Ernest Robinson of the 2nd Battalion South Lancashire Regiment (pictured left) , was born in 1888. But after getting in touch with various churches over there to see if his name appeared on their war memorials I drew a blank.

I then tried churches in the Liverpool 8 area where he moved after marrying my grandmother in 1908 and lived until he marched off to war in 1914. But all attempts to find his name on their war memorials or rolls of honour proved again proved fruitless.
I was about to give up my quest when I had a flash of inspiration that he might just be mentioned in the Hall of Remembrance at Liverpool Town Hall, opened by the Prince of Wales in 1921, not long after the war ended, and details of which I found on the net.

After weeks of trying unsuccessfully to locate him I could hardly believe my luck when a search of those named in the hall on the town hall website revealed what I was looking for. There was my grandfather’s name on plaque 45.
Next step was to check if I would be able to go over to see his name for myself and lay my poppy wreath in his memory nearby.

* The Hall of Remembrance bearing hundreds of names of Liverpool's First World War dead.

I envisaged a problem as September 20 was a Saturday, when the town hall is closed, but a quick email enquiry brought a welcome response – although the building is indeed shut on Saturdays, there was a wedding on there that particular day and one of the staff would be on hand for half an hour from 12noon to let me into the remembrance hall.
With my poppy wreath in hand – bought via the internet from the Royal British Legion – I went over to Liverpool and paid my homage to Corporal Robinson 100 years to the day he gave his life for King and country.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Operatic seeks Sister Act cast

LLANGOLLEN Operatic will be amongst the first amateur societies in the UK to perform Sister Act, the stage musical based on the hit film starring Whoopi Goldberg, next year.

Producer Tracey Rawlinson said: “We have been granted one of the recently released licences to put on the show, which means we’ll be one of the first to do it – and we can’t wait to bring it to the stage at Llangollen Town Hall from Tuesday-Saturday, April 21-25 2015.
“Before then we are holding open auditions for the show at the Hand Hotel in Llangollen on Sunday, October 12, from 10am, and everyone is welcome.

“We’re assembling a strong cast of about 30, which means there are plenty of opportunities for characterful chorus members as well as the main parts of nuns, gangsters and American cops.”
Amongst the principal roles up for grabs are:

Deloris – an over-the-top singer who has been doing the circuit for many years but finds herself in a convent where she is placed for safety reasons
Michelle and Tina – Deloris’s backing singers and good time girls

Curtis -  a gangster who is hunting Deloris down

Mother Superior – who has a hard exterior but a warm heart

Monsigneur – A flamboyant priest

The show features some real toe-tapping numbers including Take Me to Heaven, Raise Your Voice and Spread The Love Around.

The production team also includes Chris Dukes as artistic director and Elen Mair Roberts as musical director.

Producer Tracey added:  “Audition day will comprise of registration to begin with then workshop-style introductions to parts and music followed by specific cast auditions throughout the day.

“The idea is for everyone to relax and mingle, have coffee, grab lunch and get to know one another.

“I’m keen to make people aware that this is not just a show for ladies dressed as nuns – there’s lots of things for the men to do too.

“We are a very friendly group and we’re looking for lots of new members to have fun with this great show.”
·        For more information, contact Tracey on 07875 639533, or email

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Young chef to bite into Big Apple

* Young chef Joe Clifford is heading for the States.

A young chef is aiming to take a bite out of the Big Apple by showing a foodie film shot in Llangollen.

Joe Clifford, who once worked at the Corn Mill in the town, is a film-maker as well as a cook.
One of his films is shortly to be screened at the New York City Film Festival and also at a similar event in Chicago.
Joe, who lives in St Martin’s, said: “I’m a past student at Yale  College and graduate of The University for the Creative Arts , (UCA)  in Surrey.  I grew up in the area, and attended Maelor School, Penley.
“I am a film maker and a chef - passionate about both - and one of my films has just been confirmed for screening at both the New York City Food Film Festival at the end of October,  which I will be attending, and the Chicago Food Film Festival in late November.

* Joe's lamb and pea stew featured in the film. 
“The film, which I have called simply Food, Family & Friends, was shot in the beautiful surroundings of Valle Crucis Abbey, just outside Llangollen.   
“It's a short film which brings together those three vital concepts. The ingredients were all sourced locally -  lamb from Lewis’s Farm shop near the Plassey, Eyton, and home grown vegetables - producing a delectable lamb and pea stew,  over an open fire, washed down with a seasonally sweet spiced cider from Rosies  at Llandegla.”

Joe added: “I have been a chef for a number of years at various establishments around the Wrexham area, from  the Corn Mill in Llangollen  to The Tyn Y Capel, Minera.

“I have a real passion for locally sourced, seasonal food and find the produce from around Wrexham and the surrounding areas second to none.

“I am currently trying to set up a North Wales based online food channel and there is plenty more in the pipeline.” 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Work progresses on new health centre

Latest pictures by llanblogger's local correspondent Phil Meyers shows construction work progressing on Llangollen's new £5 million health centre being built on the site of the demolished River Lodge off Mill Lane.

Row over ambulance response times

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have said that the Welsh ambulance services are “in crisis” as figures published today show yet another decline in ambulance response times, despite pledges by the Welsh Labour Health Minister to improve the service in three months.
The figures show that 56.9% of emergency responses to Category A (immediately life-threatening) ambulance calls arrived at the scene within the target time of 8 minutes – down from 58.3% in July 2014 and down from 61.8% in August 2013 – and well below the target of 65%. In England and Scotland the same target is 75%.
Kirsty Williams AM, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, said: “Labour’s Health Minister pleaded to be given three months to improve these terrible ambulance response times. Three months later, and ambulance response times are worsening again. How much more time do Labour Ministers need before they’ll admit that they just can’t run our health service?
“These figures are unacceptable. To have only half of immediately life-threatening calls responded to within the 8 minute target time is absolutely unacceptable, and are the mark of an ambulance service in crisis.
“With so many problems like stroke and heart attacks, time is absolutely crucial in ensuring the best possible recovery. By failing to buck up on poor ambulance response times, the Welsh Labour Government is draining our NHS by spending money on treatments that could otherwise be avoided.
“The Welsh Labour Government’s own target is unambitious and is considerably lower than the equivalent targets in England and Scotland, yet it is still routinely missed.
“Ambulance staff work incredibly hard and do an extremely difficult job, but even they privately admit that they’re not being given the resources they need to serve the people of Wales. The threats of a strike show how they are at the end of their tether. The Welsh Labour Government ran out of second chances long ago – we need to see improvement now, as it’s the people of Wales that are suffering under Labour’s watch.”

Mike Collins, Director of Service Delivery at the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “The service took 36,101 calls during August, up by 494 calls from the same period last year but down by 1,971 calls from the previous month. Of these calls, 14,067 were assessed and categorised as serious and immediately life-threatening.

“Since April the Trust has recruited 79 extra staff into its workforce across Wales, including 21 Paramedics, nine of whom went operational in July and 12 of whom went operational on Monday, plus 12 HEI (Higher Education Institute) Paramedics who are expected to be operational from December. The Trust has also recruited 46 staff into its Urgent Care Service, all of whom will be operational in mid November.

“In addition, a further 21 Paramedics will be appointed in the coming weeks and are expected to be operational by February, and 48 Emergency Medical Technicians will also be officially appointed, some of whom will be operational by December and the remainder by next April. We anticipate that these extra staff will help us to improve our performance and provide a first rate ambulance service for the people of Wales.

“August was the month in which we launched a brand new initiative which allows low acuity patients to access alternative transport to hospital if indeed a hospital visit is required, rather than travel by Emergency Ambulance. The aim is to ensure our emergency crews and vehicles are more readily available to attend immediately life-threatening calls. Since its launch, more than 40 patients who were deemed clinically safe and suitable have travelled to hospital by a taxi in some parts of Wales.

“The Trust is continuing to use other methods of care where possible to reduce unnecessary hospital admissions including Alternative Care Pathways, a system designed to support care closer to patients’ homes. Instead of taking them to hospital, Paramedics can refer patients to their GP or an identified community team using a 24/7 internal telephone service operated by our care coordination staff. More than 5,900 patients have been referred on these Alternative Care Pathways since the scheme launched in September 2012.

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

“Resolving handover delays remains our top priority and we are working with all Local Health Boards in Wales to minimise these where possible. Over the summer months we have increased our use of HALOs (Hospital Ambulance Liaison Officers), clinicians and non-clinicians employed by the Trust to ensure individual handover delays are escalated to senior managers at all affected hospitals and that plans are in place to ensure delays are minimised.

“The emergency healthcare system across Wales is under significant pressure and demand for our service remains very high. We recognise that on occasion we fall short of the eight-minute target but are working as hard as we possibly can to get to patients as quickly as possible.

“Once again we urge 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.”

Bethan votes in favour of political work experience

A sixth form student is encouraging more young people to take an interest in politics after spending a week on work experience with Clwyd South Assembly Member Ken Skates.

Seventeen-year-old Bethan Phillips, who is head girl at Ysgol Dinas Bran, earned her stint in the Labour AM’s constituency office in Llangollen after winning the 2014 Euroscola Competition, which asked -16 to 18-year-olds at schools across Flintshire and Denbighshire to write an essay on what the EU should make its priority this year.

As well as a trip to the European Parliament in Strasbourg with fellow Dinas Bran students Alice Gonzales, Joanna Stallard and Samantha Viney, Bethan was offered a placement with Mr Skates, during which her work included research and writing press releases.

Bethan (pictured right with Ken Skates) said: “My work experience with Ken allowed me to put myself in the shoes of a politician and enabled me to focus on certain elements of politics in more detail, for example the potential effects of the Scottish independence vote.

“The week has opened my eyes a little wider to the world of politics, particularly in Wales, and has encouraged me to think more about the effect that politics has upon every part of our society. As I will be turning 18 this month, I am now looking forward to being able to vote in the upcoming General Election even more.

“Having had a taste for it, I am now more inclined to combine my love of languages with the exciting political scene. I would also like to see Welsh politics becoming a more prominent topic among young people, and the thought of it being ‘boring’ replaced by an understanding of the importance it has for our community.”

Mr Skates said: “It was great having Bethan in the office helping us out, and I’m pleased she has taken something away with her and become even more interested in politics. I wish her the best of luck for her studies and would be delighted to have her back any time.”

He added: “I always enjoy having enthusiastic young people on work experience, so if there are any other sixth form or college students who are interested then feel free to email me at and we’ll do our best to sort something out.”

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Cycling vicar takes Etape challenge

LLANGOLLEN’S cycling vicar has pedalled his way to over £100 by taking part in the recent Etape Cymru race.

The Rev Andrew Sully joined the gruelling event, part of which took him and fellow competitors over the Horseshoe Pass not too far away from his parish of St Collen’s, to support two good causes.
The first is Action Duchenne, a national charity that aims to find a cure for Duchenne, a severe genetic muscle wasting disease, and the second is facelift of facilities at St John’s Welsh language church in Llangollen.

Mr Sully (pictured left during the event) said of his Etape experience: “It was a lovely autumn day weather-wise and the cameraderie of the other cyclists meant that although there were six climbs on this gruelling 88-mile challenge, we were helped on by the other cyclists and by the spectators who had turned out to offer their encouragement.

“Although my official time was six hours and 13 minutes, my time in the saddle was only five and a half hours, with an average speed of 13.5 mph.

“I have so far raised £110 for Action Duchene and people can sponsor me again when I take part in next year’s  Land's End to John O'Groats 10-day challenge by going to my Just Giving website,
“I also cycled in the Etape Cymru to raise money for St John's in Abbey Road where we are hoping to install a toilet and kitchen in the back of the church in the new year.

“The night before the ride we held a tapas and prosecco party in St Collen’s Church's Community Hall and raised over £1,200 towards the work at St John's and I’d like to say many thanks to all those who supported this fundraising evening.”

Monday, September 22, 2014

Man fined after littering in town

Littering the streets of Denbighshire could cost you a fortune, as one man found to his detriment.

The council issued a fixed penalty notice to a resident for dropping litter in Llangollen.

The man failed to pay the £75 notice and was taken to court.  

At his hearing at Wrexham Magistrates Court, the man was issued with a fine of £700, with £145 in costs.

The council says it hopes that this will act as a deterrent to other people to think twice before they drop litter.

Councillor David Smith, Cabinet Lead Member for Environment, said: “Litter is a really anti-social form of behaviour and residents tell us that it is a problem that they want to see us addressing.

“Denbighshire has some of the cleanest streets in Wales but our efforts to rid our streets of rubbish is hampered by a small group of individuals who think it is right to drop litter on our streets.

“The courts are also now taking a tough stance on littering and this man was given a serious fine for his actions. We would rather not issue any fines at all and our appeal is for people not to drop their rubbish in the first place.”

TV show featuring Llan gets second showing

* Prunella Scales and husband Timothy West aboard their narrow boat during the recent TV series.

George Jones of Llangollen Railway says that an episode of a TV series featuring the town is to have a second showing later this month.

Actors Timothy West and his wife Prunella Scales recently hosted Channel 4’s Great Canal Journeys on which they embarked on four spectacular trips on waterways in Britain and France.
George says the third episode, which sees the couple journeying back to Llangollen where they spent their honeymoon and taking a trip on the railway, is to be shown again at 5.45pm on Saturday, September 27 on the channel More 4.     

He added: “Those who watched it the first time round told us in the exhibition coach how nice it was and how it encouraged them to come to Llangollen.”

New ladies' rugby team kicks off

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sporting evening with Joey Jones planned

The Llangollen Fundraising Committee for Cancer Research UK is hosting a sporting evening with football legend Joey Jones early next month.

It will be held on Thursday, October 9 at the Vale of Llangollen Golf Club, 7.30 for 8pm.

A two-course meal will be followed by a talk by Joey Jones, ex-professional footballer for Wales, Liverpool and Wrexham.

The final part of the evening will be an auction of numerous items and fantastic sporting opportunities.

All proceeds will go to Cancer Research UK.

For further details and tickets (£15) call Sandra on 01978 861486, or Jean on 01978 861545.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Choc and fudge sausages to premiere at food festival

* Arran, his dad John and his older brother Jonathan with the sausages.
A new range of sausages made with chocolate and fudge will be launched a top food festival.
The special bangers are being developed by young farmer and trainee butcher Arran Davies and his butchery mentor Brin Kelly at Abbey Farm, just outside Llangollen.
Their meat counter at Abbey Farm Shop, which also supplies local hotels and restaurants, is just up the road from where the Hamper Llangollen food festival will be staged on Saturday and Sunday October 18-19.
Now recognised as one of the UK's top 10 food festivals, Hamper Llangollen is supported by rural development agency Cadwyn Clwyd.
Cadwyn Clwyd’s contribution comes 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 at the Royal Pavilion sees a wide range of food and drink exhibitors along with demonstrations by top chefs, plus a Rail and Ale evening excursion on board a steam train with Llangollen Railway.
Arran, 27, is the third generation to work on Abbey Farm, next to the historic Valle Crucis Abbey, which has been in the family since the 1930s.
The secret recipe for the sausages, which also use pork from pigs raised on the family farm, is still being tweaked, admitted Arran.
“It’s a recipe that Brin has previously made, though he used cocoa powder then. This time we are using chocolate chunks – there will be dark chocolate and milk chocolate versions, plus a fudge one, which we think caramelises the sausage as it cooks, so it’s a sweeter taste.
“Our customers at the farm shop are going to be asked to sample it over the coming weeks until we get the recipe just right,” said Arran.
“I am learning the ropes from Brin – he is a traditional butcher and I am like an old-style apprentice, learning at first hand-hand. I split my time between working in the Farm Shop with Brin and working on the farm with my older brother Jonathan, 30, and my dad John. My younger brother Billy, who is 23, also works on the farm, though he also does contract work elsewhere.
“I’ve been worked on the farm since I left school, like my dad, who worked with his dad,” added Arran, who admits that he prefers the more traditional style sausages he also makes for the farm shop.
Brin, from Penycae, used to run his own shop in Coedpoeth until he moved to take over at the Abbey Farm Shop butchery three years ago.
“I have previously made chocolate sausages and thought they would be ideal for our stand at Hamper Llangollen - in past years we discovered that visitors like to try something a bit exotic, something they can’t buy every day. These sausages will be savoury but with a sweet edge, especially the fudge ones.
“We will also be doing a pig roast at Hamper Llangollen, as pulled pork is so popular these days,” said Brin.
Arran’s dad John Davies is the one who helps select the porkers to be raised at the 500-acre Abbey Farm. He also rears beef cattle plus runs two caravan parks.
“I buy the pigs in as weaners to fatten up, I like a mix of traditional breeds such as Gloucester Old Spot, and the modern varieties, which are much leaner, and crossed with the Welsh White.
"One of my earliest memories of my dad is him cutting a slice of bacon from a flitch hanging down in the kitchen, to cook for his breakfast.
“He was a big Shire horse man, always preferred horses to tractors, and he won a lot of prizes with them. The stables, where he kept the horses, are where the Farm Shop, Tea Rooms and Bistro are now. I like to think he would have pleased to see what we have done with the farm, which he took on as a young man just after the depression.”
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 agri-food project officer Rob Price said: “Hamper Llangollen is a prime example of how Cadwyn Clwyd is helping to stimulate the local economy. The event will bring a large amount of people – and extra money - into the area, whether they are visiting for the day or staying the weekend
"There’s been a lot of interest in stands at the festival, both from established companies who have been many times before, and from new food and drink producers.
“There will be many new products on offer  -such as Arran and Brin’s chocolate and fudge sausages – as well as more traditional foods, so there will be something for everybody.”
More on Hamper Llangollen at

Friday, September 19, 2014

County's leisure strategy goes under microscope

Denbighshire County Council's efforts to successfully transform its leisure provision was under the spotlight at a prestigious conference  staged by the Welsh Government at Llangollen Pavilion this week.

The Council's leisure services has been transformed over recent years from a failing service into a sector leading  service.

The Council was asked to host the Welsh Government Conference on Leisure Services for Physical Activity. Leader of Denbighshire , Councillor Hugh Evans OBE, addressed the conference. The Welsh Government also commissioned an independent view of Denbighshire Leisure by a specialist in the leisure sector.

Councillor Evans, said: "We were  delighted that the Welsh Government approached us to host this prestigious conference in our county, with a focus on our journey of improvement. We have a story to tell and we want to share our experiences.

"It is safe to say that leisure was seen as a struggling service in the past.  We have come a long way from those dark days when our leisure centres were not operated efficiently. Indeed, they lacked a clear vision and commitment to improving the offer.

"Over recent years, we have become a lot more business focused, listening to the needs of our customers and bringing them back to the fold through offering a far more attractive programme of activities.  

"We have recognised the need to be far more competitive,  understanding the market a lot better and generally being a lot more customer-focussed.   The culture and ethos of the service have also changed. Effective communication has been key, and we have now implemented a management structure that is fit for purpose and makes the best use of expertise and resources we have in the service.

"Our leisure centres have become virtually self-sufficient and we are now in a position where people are turning to us to hear about our experiences, to learn from what we have been through, how we have transformed leisure and to hear our future plans.

Jamie Groves, Denbighshire's Head of Communication, Marketing and Leisure, said: "Leisure is now very much a corporate service with strong working relationships with colleagues in education, health and social care.  Leisure is also increasingly becoming an important element of the Council's economic and regeneration ambitions.

"We are bucking the trend nationally when it comes to investment. You only need to pick up a newspaper or listen to the television news bulletins and often the headlines involve the threat of closing  leisure centres somewhere in the UK.  In Denbighshire, we are actually investing in our leisure facilities and a number of our key leisure centres has been significant investment over recent years. At Denbigh Leisure Centre, where we have carried out a major refurbishment  -  the demand for activities has grown so much that we are having to carry out further work to meet that increasing demand.

"Our ambition for developing the leisure offer along the coast has been well -publicised. We have a clear vision - to develop first class leisure facilities  that will have long term benefits to the health and well-being of residents, but will also be a major contributory factor in enhancing the local economy. We want our future leisure developments along the coast to be a catalyst for further inward investment and we are currently assessing proposals that have been submitted to re-vamp our leisure offer, so watch this space.

"Of course there is more that we can do to develop leisure in the future and we will not become complacent.  We think we are in the right place to further develop our leisure vision, for the benefit of our residents."

Ambulance death sparks call to re-open Cottage Hospital

* A call has been made to re-open the Cottage Hospital
following an ambulance death in Swansea.

NEWS of claims that a woman in her 70s died while waiting in a queue of ambulances outside Morriston Hospital, Swansea, have sparked a plea by a health campaigner to re-open cottage hospitals including the one in Llangollen.

Martin Crumpton launched a campaign to save the town’s Victorian community hospital from closure last year.
But his demands were ignored by the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, which ran it, as they pressed ahead with a £5 million scheme to build a new health centre further along the A539 on the site of the demolished River Lodge in Mill Street.  

In the wake of the death of Sonia Powell from a suspected heart attack in an ambulance outside the Swansea hospital, Mr Crumpton has written to a list of senior health board figures calling for cottage hospitals, including the Llangollen building, to be brought back into use.
He says: It’s finally happened, as you’ve all heard on the news – a needless, avoidable death caused directly by bed shortage.

“Each and every one of you knows it will happen in your area, on your watch, and there’s no defence that you’ve weren’t warned.

“Starting with Llangollen, please reopen the cottage hospitals. It is the only decent thing left to do so I urge you to convene an emergency, extraordinary board meeting and make the appropriate announcement.
“I’m sure the public will give you a grace period if they can see their message has got through.”
Mr Crumpton adds: “I’ve seen the queues. I’ve spoken to the crews. It’s only a matter of time now, and it’s regrettable in the extreme that you’ll carry the blame for your predecessors’ disastrous decisions.
“If nothing else, the poor, grieving family may draw some degree of comfort that their loss wasn’t entirely pointless.”

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Flu jabs on offer at Llan Health Centre

Flu vaccination clinics will be held at Llangollen Health Centre on Saturday 4 October from 9.00am, Wednesday 15 October from 5.15pm and Thursday 13 November from 5.15pm.
You qualify for a flu vaccination on the NHS if you:

* Are 65 years of age or over
* Have a chronic disease such as heart, renal, liver, neurological or respiratory disease
* Have diabetes
* Have had a stroke or TIA
* Are in receipt of a carer’s allowance  or  are the carer of an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill
* Are pregnant
* Are a community first responder
* Are a member of a recognised voluntary organisation  which provides planned emergency first aid at organised public events.
To book your appointment please ring the Health Centre on 01978 860625.

Tapas and Prosecco evening raises £1,200 for church

* Guests enjoy the fundraising evening.

The Tapas and Prosecco night at St Collen's Community Hall last Saturday was a great success, raising around £1,200 towards the cost of facilities at Llangollen's Welsh language church, St John's in Abbey Road.

The Rev Andrew Sully, Vicar of St Collen's who organised the evening, has expressed his thanks to all who supported the event and in particular to Crawford Davies who did the cooking and his mum, Sue Cheshire, who was his very able sous chef.

* A Peace One Day Service will be held at 3pm on Sunday, September 21, in St John’s Church, followed by tea in the Peace Garden.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Chain Bridge talk planned for Monday

Chain Bridge @chainbridge2014 has just tweeted that Dr David Gwyn will be giving a talk on the subject of Llangollen's Chain Bridge within a wider World Heritage Site setting at Llangollen Town Hall next Monday, starting at 7pm.