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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Have a great 2015!

... to all our readers.


llanblogger is now taking a short break and will be back in a couple of days.

Do you recall last train through Llangollen?

Local people are being asked to help Llangollen Railway remember the 50th anniversary of the day Dr Beeching’s axe fell on the line.

The passenger rail route through Llangollen to Barmouth was one of a number which fell victim to the infamous purge of lines in the mid-1960s.
It only came to life again as a heritage railway thanks to a team of dedicated volunteers who took it over in the 1970s eventually developed it into the top tourist attraction it is today.   
Now, as the half-century anniversary of the original line closure rapidly approaches, the railway is asking if local people have anything which helps recall the occasion.
Spokesman George Jones said: “In the new year, January 18 to be precise, we will mark the 50th anniversary of closure of the line between Ruabon and Barmouth  Junction in 1965.
“The 18th was a Monday in 1965, so the last passenger train ran from Llangollen to Ruabon prior to the official closure day, on Saturday 16th, as part of the Beeching Axe.
“The line between Llangollen and Bala (via Corwen) had no service from December 14 due to flooding at Llandderfel.
“As there is no train service planned in January 2015 beyond the 4th, Llangollen Railway will not recreate the event as such on the anniversary date.
“However it could be interesting if some facts can be gathered together. I am unaware of any photo of the last train leaving Llangollen but wonder if the Llangollen museum has one - it was an era of many line closure was so not unusual or unique.
“Perhaps some older folk in Llangollen have memories of the last train.”

If you have any pictures or memories of this landmark time, please get in touch with llanblogger and we’ll pass everything on to George Jones at the railway. 

* Looking back at its high lights of the year 2014, Llangollen Railway recalls that it was used as a location in the filming of the new movie Mr Turner featuring the life of British artist JMW Turner, starring Timothy Spall.

Part of the film was shot near Carrog Station, with the production company hiring vintage steam locomotive 'The Planet' from The Museum of Science and Industry as it looked most like the engine used in the famous Turner painting 'Rain, Steam, and Speed - The Great Western Railway' (pictured above).

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Police boss is least expensive in Wales

* North Wales PCC Winston Roddick.
The North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner is the least expensive police boss in Wales.
The news was revealed as Winston Roddick CB QC, an ex-copper who rose to become Wales's first Counsel General, celebrated his second anniversary in office.
Mr Roddick is proud that the costs of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales - around £800,000 a year - are also the second lowest across the group of most similar forces in England and Wales.
After training and working as a police constable in Liverpool, Mr Roddick, who was brought up in Caernarfon, studied law at University College London from which he graduated as a Master of Laws.
Mr Roddick went on to carve out an illustrious career as a barrister,  taking ‘silk’ as a Queen's Counsel in 1986 and later becoming the Leader of the Wales and Chester Circuit, a Recorder of the Crown Court and the first Honorary Recorder of Caernarfon.
In 1986, as a member of the first Welsh Language Board, he was responsible for drafting the report which led to the passing of the Welsh Language Act of that year. He was appointed as the first Counsel General of Wales in 1998, the most senior legal adviser to the Welsh Assembly.
Mr Roddick made history again when he was elected as North Wales’s first PCC in November 2012 as part of the UK-wide revolution in the way policing is governed, which saw the old police authorities swept away to be replaced by a single people's champion accountable directly to the public.
He was awarded a Companion of the Order of the Bath in the New Year Honours List of 2003/04.
During his PCC election campaign, he promised to increase the visible presence of the police, to ensure security at home and safety on our streets, and to work with the Chief Constable and officers to ensure a police service of high standard.
However, he said that the biggest problem facing him had been getting people to understand his role, which is why he has spent a good deal of his time driving forward initiatives aimed at communicating directly with the public of North Wales.
“It’s not surprising that people did not understand as it was such a new role. That’s why I have been reaching out to them to explain by example, to let them know that I am their representative in their relationship with the police,” he said.
An indication of the increasing public awareness of his role, according to the Commissioner, has been the sheer volume of correspondence coming into his office in Colwyn Bay.
“I am receiving 18 times the amount of correspondence the former Police Authority used to receive. This is evidence that members of the public are confident in contacting me to discuss policing matters in North Wales."
The creation of the pioneering task force of officers dedicated to tackling crime in the countryside has also given him great satisfaction.
The Rural Crime Team is helping to turn North Wales into a no-go area for rural criminals and attracted the interest of a number of police forces across the UK.
Mr Roddick said of it: “We were the first to think of it and North Wales led by example in creating the team to fulfil an obvious need within the agricultural community.
“Farmers and their unions have demonstrated their appreciation of its creation and have given it their wholehearted support. It has resulted in a very substantial reduction in calls out to rural areas.”
An on-going initiative from the commissioner, supported by North Wales Police and North Wales Police and community Trust (PACT), is the use of cash seized from criminals to reward community groups devoted to tackling anti-social behaviour and combating crime and disorder.
Mr Roddick said: “There’s a total of £42,000 in the pot and two groups in each of the six counties will get £3,000 apiece and a £6,000 prize will go to the winning organisation that operates across North Wales.
“This is a fantastically important scheme and again communicates with the public to let people say how they want crime dealt with in their community to make it a safe place in which to live.
“They will come up with their own schemes to help the young, the old and the vulnerable.”
This year saw Mr Roddick launched the first ever Police and Crime Commissioner Community Awards to honour unsung heroes of the community who go the extra mile to make North Wales a safer place to live and work.
A host of awards were presented at a glittering presentation evening in the Kinmel Manor Hotel in October and Mr Roddick said: “I’m delighted that the awards were so well received. We had such a very healthy response from the public that I have been encouraged to repeat them next year.”
Looking back over his first two years in office, Mr Roddick said: “It’s been a challenging time because of the very new role which is without precedent in British policing history.
“I have enjoyed the past two years immensely and I think I have been measurably successful in my role.
“I’ve also managed to do everything without my office spending a penny more than the old police authority did in its last budget.
"I am particularly pleased that, according to the figures used by the HMIC for comparison purposes, the cost of my office is the lowest in Wales which shows that we have a lean but effective operation here in North Wales.
“The past two years have also been a challenge for my staff and I’d like to thank them for all the help they have given me.
“I would also like to thank my Deputy Commissioner, Julian Sandham, who is a former chief superintendent and has brought an enormous amount of police experience into my office.     
“My aim is for the people of North Wales to feel secure at home and safe in public places.”  

Monday, December 29, 2014

Stunning snow pictures from castle

Mike Edwards of Keep Llangollen Special and Cittaslow has sent us in these stunning pictures he took from Castell Dinas Bran on Sunday ...



Police helicopter searches for "missing person"

Latest ...

Police confirmed just before 2pm that the missing woman had been found.


... breaking news ...

The police helicopter was seen hovering above the centre of Llangollen from around 1.15pm today (Monday).

It is understood that it may be following up on a report that an elderly woman has gone missing in the area.

llanblogger will bring you more when we have it.

County outlines measures to do business with local firms

Denbighshire County Council says it is working to make local trades people and suppliers aware of the opportunities to provide goods and services to the authority.

Following a discussion on the issue at the recent full council meeting, Llangollen councillor Stuart Davies asked a senior officer to outline exactly what the council was doing to highlight the opportunities to businesses in the county.
In a reply to Cllr Davies, Stuart Andrews, the council’s acting strategic procurement manager sent him the following reply:  

  1. We are working very closely with Business Wales to promote opportunities via their Business advisors, and have recently had a very well attended "Meet the Buyer" workshop here in Ruthin attended by approximately 25 local construction companies.
  2. Business Wales hold regular "How to Tender" workshops around the County to help small businesses in becoming more efficient in the tender processes. The CPS attend these to provide additional practical guidance.
  3. We are in the process of upgrading the Procurement page on Denbighshire's website to have a page there which identifies current contracts along with the expiry dates so that local businesses are more aware of when opportunities are likely to be forthcoming.
  4. We actively promote to all local businesses that want to do business with us the following websites where we advertise opportunities. and Both of these sites are free of charge for any business to register on. When businesses are registered the system will send notification by email of opportunities that are available to bid for to all registered companies.
  5. We are currently re-structuring our tendering documentation in the e-Sourcing solution for smaller value opportunities to make the requirement for the submission of policies, insurances etc less bureaucratic by only asking businesses if they have the relevant documentation. We will then only ask the winning bidder to provide it on the award of any contract.
  6. Where we ask questions in the e-Sourcing solution all answers provided by suppliers are stored securely in their own library for future use. This will allow suppliers to re-use the stored information rather than having to complete a new quotation or tender every time they receive a request.
Cllr Davies said: “I would like the council to be more pro-active in this important area and I will pass on all relevant information I receive to local businesses.”

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Trains run through winter wonderland

* The scene from the train on the approach to Glyndyfrdwy
and the view across the valley as a layer of snow carpets the higher ground.

Llangollen Railway is reporting wintery scenes in the Dee Valley.

After a busy Boxing Day with holidaymakers taking the Mince Pie Special trains through to Corwen, the day ended with the evening snowfall making things a bit tricky for those homeward bound.

However, on Saturday the landscape in the Dee Valley west of Berwyn retained a thin layer of snow on the high ground during a day of mixed weather for travellers.

George Jones for Llangollen Railway said: "If the snowfall is retained on the high ground for the rest of the festive season travellers by steam train will enjoy the sights of a winter wonderland on the journey through the Dee Valley."


* The Mince Pie Special train at Corwen east station with the Black Five No.45337.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Snow warning issued by Met Office


Stop press ... stop press ....

3.45pm ... Just started snowing in the centre of Llangollen


* The latest weather map showing those areas
which could be affected by snow today.

This area could be one of those in Wales affected by snow today (Boxing Day), according to the Met Office.

Its latest statement says: “An area of rain, sleet and snow is expected to spread eastwards across the area during Boxing Day before clearing during the evening and overnight.

“Some uncertainty surrounds how much snow will occur, but several centimetres of snow is likely even at low levels, especially in a swathe through Wales and the Midlands, where there is the potential for an amber warning. As precipitation clears, roads could turn very icy.

“The public should be aware of the potential for disruption from snow. Please watch for updates to this warning, especially if travelling.”

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas to all our readers ...

... from llanblogger

Santa’s Christmas quiz supports air ambulance

Santa was in Town on Tuesday evening to help with a special Christmas quiz at the Ponsonby Arms.
The evening was a great success and raised £204.11 for the Wales Air Ambulance.
Santa said: "I'd like to thank everybody who took part and Paul and Lisa at the Ponsonby for providing some excellent food."
* Santa lines up with the Ponsonby quiz winners.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Police issue drink drive reminder

With Christmas just a day away North Wales Police are reminding people of the on-going Anti-Drink and Drug Driving Campaign.

Since December 1st the force has carried out 10,835 breath tests across the region with 45 of those being positive, equating to 0.4%. Four have also been arrested for drug-driving.

Chief Inspector Darren Wareing from the Force Roads Policing Unit, said: “We announced at the start of the Christmas Anti-Drink and Drug Driving Campaign that we would be out and about targeting drink drivers/riders.

“Many people do not realise they can still be over the limit the morning after a drinking session. We would urge people to think twice before getting behind the wheel the morning after and consider making alternative arrangements to get to work.

“Despite the warning that we would be out and about 45 motorists have been arrested in North Wales following a roadside breath test. If convicted, each could face disqualification from driving for at least 12 months, face a heavy fine and many could lose their jobs. Drink drivers are a danger to themselves, their passengers and other road users. The campaign will continue, please heed the warning.”

Led by Dyfed-Powys Police, the All Wales Campaign will run until January 1.

The highest reading recorded in the North Wales area so far is 152mg. The legal limit is 35 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.

Chief Inspector Wareing added: “There is an easy way to make sure that the holiday period is a safe and happy one for all concerned; enjoy yourself, celebrate, enjoy the company of family and friends, but if you drink – do not drive. It’s not worth the risk.

“Officers are on heightened alert all year round but especially at this time of year – they will spot you, they will catch you and you will face the consequences. Drivers need to be aware that regardless of the time of day they are caught, whether they are going to work or taking children to school, they will face the same penalties as someone who has chosen to drink heavily in a pub and driven at night.”

* If you suspect someone is driving while unfit to do so, please report it immediately to North Wales Police via 101 (or 999 if they are posing imminent danger) or phone it through anonymously to Crimestopers on 0800 555 111.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Railway's Santa Specials steam to success

... now it's all aboard for the Mince Pie Specials

* Volunteer train crew members Charlie Brook and
Matt Davies try the Mince Pie Special headboard
for size on engine No.3802 at Llangollen.

With its Santa Special trains due to finish tomorrow (Wednesday), Llangollen Railway reports an excellent pre-Christmas season.

It has enjoyed full loadings on the Santa trains which have transported scores of families to visit "Lapland" at Carrog. 

Of the 36 Santa Specials which have operated since December 6, many were fully booked weeks ago.

Family groups have come to Llangollen to see Santa on the steam train from within the railway’s 50-mile catchment area, drawing people in from a wide area of England as well as North Wales.

The railway says it is now looking forward to offering visitors further festive activities from Boxing Day through to New Year's Day. 
For those who missed out on a trip to meet Santa, the popular series of Mince Pie Special trains starts on Boxing Day, with three steam trains a day operating from Llangollen through to the new station at Dwyrain Corwen East on the recently extended line beyond Carrog.

Steam trains depart Llangollen at 1050, 1300 and 1510, and take visitors into what can be a winter wonderland on the journey through to Corwen when mince pies and mulled wine are served to passengers as festive cheer.

George Jones, for Llangollen Railway, said: “A ride on the train followed by a brisk walk in the country from one of the railway’s stations is an ideal way to work off any excess eating or maybe blow away the post Christmas blues.
"There are several short walks from all stations along the line which provide easy opportunities to get out and enjoy the area of outstanding natural beauty which is the Dee Valley.
“Once again Llangollen Railway will be providing the only steam-hauled standard gauge train service in North Wales, and beyond, on December 26 when the National Network remains closed. 
"It is thanks to all our volunteers that these trains run and we can provide festive entertainment for those who wish to sample a ride on a preserved railway beginning from within the World Heritage site at Llangollen.”

* Meanwhile, Llangollen Railway is looking to recruit Locomotive Fitters in 2015.

They say that, ideally, applicants should be ‘time served’ fitters with experience of (or an interest in) locomotive repair/restoration.

Hours of work will normally be 08.00 – 16.30 Monday – Friday (40 hours week) and applicants need to be flexible as some weekend work may be required to meet the needs of the business.

If you think you fit the bill, send your CV’s to:

Mrs Gail Griffiths
Engineering Administrator
Llangollen Railway Plc
The Station
Abbey Road
LL20 8SN

Or, alternatively, email: 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Silver Band plays at church carol service

* The Silver Band plays at the carol service.

Llangollen Silver Band provided the perfect musical accompaniment to the annual Christmas carols by candelight service at the Methodist Church on Sunday evening.

A programme of traditional carols, readings and prayers preceded the announcement of the winner of this year's Christmas tree competition at the church, which was the one decorated with items of rubbish collected by Llangollen Tidy Town Team.

All the trees into the competition will remain on display the church until after Christmas.

* The Tidy Town Team's novel Christmas tree which was
chosen as the winner of the church's annual competition

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Bishop encourages generosity this Christmas

The Bishop of St Asaph is encouraging a spirit of generosity in his 2014 Christmas message. 
In it, Bishop Gregory Cameron (pictured left) explains that at Christmas we remember that Jesus was given freely by God with no strings attached and asks if we are willing to give as generously?
You can read the whole message below:
"There has been rivalry on the telly for the most touching Christmas advert.  A tale of two penguins competes with an impossibly long Christmas table from a budget supermarket and another chain store’s marauding fairies.
"These adverts hint at the Christmas that everybody wants: a jolly family time where everyone gets the present they desire (£199.99 at all the best stores), plenty of food on the table, burning logs on the fire, and all’s well with the world.  Could anyone dare criticise these good feel adverts without being accused of becoming Scrooge?
"Well, I could point out that this won’t be the Christmas experience of many in the world, even in our own country, this year.  And we should remember that these adverts have only one goal: the stores want to make as much money as they can out of us.  The real point behind Dickens' famous story, A Christmas Carol, is not that there should be no brakes on the indulgence, but that there should be no brakes on the generosity, because He who had all things gave them up for our sakes.
"If I was to single out one aspect of a Christian celebration of Christmas that might be distinctive, then it would be “generosity”.  The Christian story behind Christmas is that God gives his love to us in Jesus without strings attached.  Therefore, anyone who wants to celebrate a real Christmas should copy God’s generosity.  I’m sure that we’ll all be generous to family and friends; but what about generosity to the unlovely? 
"Jesus once said: `If you love only those who love you, what reward do you have? Don't even the tax collectors do the same?' (Matthew 5.46)
"This Christmas, perhaps in remembering that Jesus was given freely by God, we can also think: what gifts could we give this year, generous and freely given, to those who are in need, and without any strings attached?  For to give without any hope of getting back is the sort of love that reflects the true spirit of Christmas."

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Traffic measures will be in place "before health centre opens"

TRAFFIC calming measures on the busy main road outside where Llangollen’s new health centre is being built will be in place before it opens its doors to patients.

That’s the assurance the area’s county councillor Stuart Davies says he has been given by Denbighshire highways officers.
A number of local people have raised concerns that  vehicles entering and leaving the health centre site in Mill Street will have to contend with traffic speeding along the A539.

Cllr Davies promised earlier this year to ask council officers to come up with a package of traffic calming measures to make the access point safer.
However, nothing had been heard for some time.

Now Cllr Davies said: “I have chased up officers to make sure that traffic calming measures are going to be implemented at the same time as the health centre is being built.
“I have been assured that the Betsi Cadwaladar University Health Board (BCUHB), which is building the new centre, has commissioned a traffic consultant to undertake the design of a signal controlled crossing for them and my officers agree with me that any highway improvements should be implemented before the new centre opens.”

Building work on the new centre is now quite advanced and the next stages of the project will include the work needed to provide electrical and water supplies to the building, divert water mains, construct a pavement alongside the new building, provide drainage to the road, install bus stops, relocate the 30 mph zone and provide additional street lighting.

This work is planned to start on January 5 and continue for five to six months.  

While it takes place the road past the site will at times be restricted to a single lane, with traffic lights in place to control vehicles coming into and going out of Llangollen on the A539 (Mill Street) road to Ruabon.  Bishop’s Walk will also be affected.

The main contractors, Read Construction, and the health board are currently working with Llangollen Railway to co-ordinate the movements of locomotives along Mill Street during the period that these lane restrictions are in place. 

No lane closures will take place during the following holiday periods: 3rd - 13th April, 1st - 5th May, 22nd May - 1st June.
BCUHB has apologised in advance for any inconvenience caused by these temporary traffic control arrangements and asked for “patience and understanding” from road users whilst the work goes ahead.

Once complete in mid-2015 the health centre will bring together the town’s GP practice and community health services run by the BCUHB with services provided by Denbighshire County Council and the voluntary sector.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Re-opened Plas Madoc calls for new members

* Ken Skates receives his Splash membership card from 
centre manager Claire Duffy.
Also pictured is Aaron Durban from Hashtag
Marketing who have been working alongside the Trust.

Volunteers who saved and reopened Plas Madoc Leisure Centre are urging the public to help make it a success by signing up for monthly memberships.

The Splash Community Trust, which runs the popular facility, wants residents in Wrexham and further afield to take advantage of ‘very competitive’ prices and ensure Splash Magic, as it is now known, has a prosperous 2015.

Chairman Darrell Wright, from Trevor, said: “The New Year is always the time when people make a concerted effort to do more exercise and sign up for all sorts of expensive gym memberships.

“Instead of paying huge sums to national companies, why not help a local volunteer-run venture and save money at the same time? A full membership, which includes use of the gym and swimming pool as well as instructor-led classes, is £26. It’s very competitive indeed when you look at what people pay elsewhere.”

There are currently between 150-200 Splash members, but Trust secretary Stella Matthews said they need 600 to balance the books.

Clwyd South Assembly Member Ken Skates, another founder member of the Trust, received his membership card this week.

The Labour AM said: “I’ve loved being back at the centre again and I’d encourage everyone who wants to get in shape in January to use Splash Magic. Memberships, paid monthly by direct debit, are by far the cheapest way to go and are incredible value compared to the big chains.

“It’s been a phenomenal year when you consider how far we’ve come, and the challenge is to make next year even better by making Splash the success story we all want it to be.

“The Trust volunteers have worked wonders and have more than done their bit – now it’s time for everyone else who wanted Plas Madoc saved to do theirs.”

Apart from Christmas Day and Boxing Day, Splash is open throughout the holidays.

Darrell said an incredible 2,287 volunteer hours in November alone helped get the centre ready for its December 6 reopening, but the Trust are still keen for more individuals to come forward and be part of the team in 2015.

* For more information visit or call Darrell on 07882 947804.

AM's concern over cancer treatment figures

Since the beginning of the year more cancer patients have been forced to wait longer for treatment, claims North Wales Assembly Member Aled Roberts.
“In February the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board achieved the Welsh Government’s 95% target for newly diagnosed cancer patients being seen within 62 days or 9 weeks,” he said.
“But since then this figure has declined to 83.6% in October 211; this means 17.4% started their treatment over 9 weeks after being diagnosed.
“I believe that this delay in treatment is not acceptable and I worry that some patients’ cancer is not being treated quickly enough to give them the best chance of beating the disease.
“The figures for the Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board show a significant increase in treatment delays between May and June of this year. Between these two months cancer treatment within 62 days for patients newly diagnosed dropped from 90% to 81.7%.”
“I have seen constituents who appear to be waiting long periods before they start their cancer treatment and I will pursue this issue with the health board officials to find out the cause for these increasing delays.”

Dinas Bran scoops six awards in bands battle

Ysgol Dinas Bran from Llangollen scooped a sensational six awards in the prestigious Battle of the Bands 2014 Awards held recently at Rhyl Town Hall.

The venue was rocking to the rafters as 12 acts from Denbighshire schools competed  before a packed house. 

The band This Way Down from Ysgol Dinas Bran took the overall winner’s award and Equanimity from the same school landed the People’s Choice award.

This Way Down had earlier taken the prizes for the DJ-ing Masterclass for Secondary School Students + Guest DJ at School Prom, Recording Studio Access, their Gig at Llanfest 2015 (Llangollen July 2015) and their set on the S4C stage at Llangollen International Eisteddfod.

This was a unique event, designed by young people for young people. 

The backdrops to the bands’ performances was a graffiti mural designed and produced by pupils from Prestatyn and Rhyl High Schools. 

Music ranged from modern to original rock compositions. 

There was a mix of performances from soloists, duos, 3-6 piece rock bands, with participants ranging from seven-18. 

Judges included DJ Rusty, aka Richard Jenkins, and Welsh Actress Gemma Lawman.

All proceeds raised at the event will be reinvested in future Enrichment activities. 

Organisers say the audience response was phenomenal and that they are now planning next year’s event. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Start date given for Corwen Pavilion demolition

Denbighshire County Council has announced that contractors will be on site at Corwen Pavilion from the 5th January 2015 to start the demolition process.

The aim is to complete the work by mid to late February 2015.

Works will initially involve a soft strip-out of internal areas of the property including the safe removal of asbestos.

The council took the decision to close the Pavilion in April 2010 after a structural survey confirmed there were numerous issues with the roof structure and deteriorating foundations.

The site also suffered with wet rot, dry rot, furniture beetle infestation, inadequate heating systems and asbestos.  

Local councillor, Huw Jones said: “I understand that this will be a sad day for some as the Corwen Pavilion has been a key feature in the town but such a building was always going to have a limited life span and surveys carried out in 2010 showed it had finally deteriorated beyond economic repair.

"Following the conclusion of a protracted court case in which the court found in favour of the Council, we are now in a position to begin demolishing the building and I look forward to establishing a new future for the site.

"The land will be transferred back to the community but given the condition of the building, we made it very clear from the outset that we could not transfer the land with any liabilities, meaning that the site needed to be cleared and made safe in order to allow any transfer to go ahead."

Jamie Groves, Head of Communications, Marketing and Leisure, said: “The council remains fully committed to transferring the title of this land over to the community and we will be pleased to continue to support them to move forward and find the necessary funding for a sustainable building.”

Ambulance service advises on hospital admissions

THE Welsh Ambulance Service is reminding members of the public about what they can do to help make their hospital admission go hitch free this Christmas.

The Trust is once again promoting the Green Bag scheme, which encourages
people to keep all of their prescription medicines in one place and readily to hand.

The special green bags, available on all ambulances and from hospital pharmacies, are for patients to put their medication in, so whether they are going to hospital unexpectedly or for a planned procedure they can take their tablets, medicines, creams, inhalers and herbal supplements with them.

The Trust is also reminding the public about the Message in a Bottle scheme, which encourages people to keep their personal and medical details on a standard form in a common location – the fridge.

The scheme, which is run by the Lions Club, provides patients with a free plastic container which inside it has a proforma where patients can list their personal details, current medications, allergies and medical history details.

The scheme is designed to save the emergency services valuable time if they need to enter a property in an emergency situation.

Richard Lee, Head of Clinical Services at the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “The Christmas period is traditionally a very busy time for us, so we’re encouraging our patients to help us out by playing their part to make sure we can quickly identify key personal and medical information in an emergency.

“It is extremely important that patients take their own medicines into hospital, because it enables doctors to know exactly what medicines they are taking and the patient will continue to receive the correct dose at the right time. Keeping everything together in one place makes it easier for both the patients, ambulance crews and hospital staff.

“It is also very important that we can ascertain this key information quickly. Sometimes when people are ill they cannot recall this key information and the Message in a Bottle scheme will help us to do that.

“Whilst the scheme is focused on more vulnerable people in a community, anyone can have an accident in the home, so this scheme is available to anyone.”

Richard had this advice for patients over the Christmas and New Year period:

Make sure you have enough medication to see you through the festive period when opening hours for pharmacies and doctors surgeries will be affected

- If you are staying with a friend or relative for Christmas don’t forget to take your medicines – the ambulance service or accident and emergency department will not be able to issue prescriptions

- Make sure you know where your on call pharmacy is over the festive period – call NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47 to find out

If you would like more information about the Green Bag or Message in a Bottle schemes, please call the Partners in Healthcare Team at the Welsh Ambulance Service on 01792 311773 or email 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Hundreds sign up for garden waste service

Up to 1,400 Denbighshire residents have taken advantage of an early bird discount and signed up for the garden waste collection service that starts in March 2015.

On 1st December, Denbighshire County Council launched a secure online payment system on its website to make signing up as simple and convenient as possible.

The 1,000 customer milestone was reached on Monday 8th December with the total number of customers currently standing at 1,389.  In October, the Council announced an annual £24 charge for the garden waste service from March 2015.

The charge is one of a number of significant cuts the Council must make because of reductions in the settlement received from government.

Householders who wish to continue to receive a garden waste service must opt-in and pay the annual charge, which is reduced to £22 for those who sign up before 31st January.

Denbighshire waste officer, Alan Roberts, said: “We are very pleased to have 1,000 households sign up to the scheme so quickly.

"The council wants the cost to residents to be as low as possible so we urge people to take advantage of the early bird discount.

"Signing up for a year is a commitment we know some people find difficult, but we know some groups of neighbours sharing costs which is great way of making the service more affordable. For those with green fingers, a year’s worth of garden waste collections could make a very welcome Christmas present.”

The secure online payment system can be found at or It is also possible to sign up for the garden waste service at Denbighshire County Council’s Customer Service Centre (tel. 01824 706101) or at any of the Council One Stop Shops throughout the county.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

County to look at future of in-house social care

Members of Denbighshire County Council’s Cabinet have agreed to consult on the future provision of the authority's in-house social care services.

On December 9, the council agreed a proposal to reduce the budget for in-house social care by £700k.  

The council currently funds over 500 older people to live in care homes across Denbighshire, with just 54 - or 10% - of those living in the three care homes (Awelon, Ruthin, Dolwen in Denbigh and Cysgod y Gaer in Corwen).  

Councillor Bobby Feeley, Cabinet Lead Member for Health and Social Care, said: “Older people frequently tell us that they want to live in their own homes as they get older, not move into residential care, so we want to explore how we can develop alternatives to this such as Extra Care Housing Schemes.

"Demand is steadily declining for 'standard' residential care, which is currently provided by LA homes (they do not provide nursing or dementia care), and we are working across county to provide alternatives such as Extra Care Housing Schemes, which  are being developed in partnership with other Housing Associations/ housing providers in key communities across the county.  Also enhanced care packages allow people to live at home independently for  longer.

“Part of the consultation would be about what they think about the council supporting the development of more of this type of provision as an alternative to the three council owned residential care homes, which are a significantly more expensive to run than equivalent services provided by the third and independent sectors."

In relation to the 54 individuals living in Awelon, Dolwen and Cysgod y Gaer, many of them are likely to need to move into alternative settings as their needs increase and they develop needs for nursing or specialist elderly mental health care. 

The council has given a commitment to ensure that they will not close any council owned care home if there are individuals living there whose needs can not be met in alternative provision.

Councillor Feeley added: “We recognise that any change can be upsetting for those involved and that is why we are starting a consultation during which, we will meet with residents and their relatives or representatives to explain how services could be provided and to gather their views on any changes. Part of the consultation will include an impact assessment for those affected.

“We would like to reassure service users and their families that we will work with them and support them throughout the process. 

The consultation would include people living within the three Extra Care Housing
Schemes (Gorwel Newydd, Rhyl, Nant y Mor, Prestatyn and Llys Awelon, Ruthin) where domiciliary care services are provided by the council. These housing schemes for older people are owned by Housing Associations, not the local authority,  and the consultation would purely be about the provision of care services within these housing schemes. Arrangements for housing support or any other services in the building will not be affected so will not be included as part of this consultation. 

Parish church Christmas services

St Collen's Church has given the following details of its services over Christmas:

Saturday 20th December - 7pm, Carols by Candlelight in Trevor Church – Tickets £5.

Sunday 21st December - 9.30am, Christmas bilingual Communion in St John’s; 11 am, Llantysilio Church: Carols and Seasonal readings; 6pm, St Collen’s Church: Traditional carol service.
Tuesday 23rd December - 10am-12 midday, Church Community Hall, Come and prepare for Crib and Christingle service.

Christmas Eve (Wednesday 24th December) – 5pm, St Collen’s, Crib n’ Christingle Service;
11pm, Eucharist of Christmas Night.

Christmas Day (Thursday 25th December) – 8am, St Collen’s, Holy Communion; 11 am, Holy Communion; 9.30am, Llantysilio, Holy Communion, Trevor Church 9.30 am - Holy Communion.

Sunday 29th December - St Collen’s 8.00 am – Holy Communion; 11 am - Holy Communion.




Lib Dems select General Election candidate

Welsh Liberal Democrats have selected Rob Walsh to be their parliamentary candidate for Wrexham at next year`s UK General Election.

Rob, 39, works as a lecturer at Coleg Cambria on Wrexham`s Yale site. He has been actively involved in politics since 2008 when he was elected on to Llay Community Council.

Rob was one of the key organisers behind the ‘Save Hayward`s Field’ campaign that saw Wrexham Council defer a decision to build houses on a local green space in Llay. He has also been a vocal opponent of issues such car parking charges at Wrexham`s country parks, through his role as Vice-Chair of the environmental group Friends of Alyn Waters.

Rob (pictured right) is a governor at Darland High School, where he was a former pupil and is Chair of the school`s finance committee. He was also a member of the National Eisteddfod fundraising committee in preparation for Wrexham`s staging of the event in 2011.

Rob is very much looking forward to the forthcoming election contest. He said:

“Having grown up here, it would be a huge privilege to be given the opportunity to represent our area.

“The people of Wrexham deserve a full-time MP who will fight for them and for the things that matter to them. That is what I will do if they vote for me to be their new MP.

“I am proud that in government, the Liberal Democrats have proven our commitment to making Wales fairer by cutting Income Tax by £800 for low and middle income earners.  However, there is more to do: a future Liberal Democrats government will cut taxes by a further £400 so that people earning the minimum wage will not pay a single penny of Income Tax.

"Residents have the opportunity to elect a local candidate who has been actively involved with Wrexham issues consistently over recent years.  If elected, I will work closely with North Wales Assembly Member Aled Roberts to represent everyone in the constituency.”

Aled Roberts, Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for North Wales said:

“Rob is a hard-working, energetic and determined individual who I know will be an exceptional candidate, especially given his local links and campaigning experience.

“Time and time again Rob has shown himself to be a passionate campaigner who will always put local people first.  Wrexham has so much to offer and its time we had an MP who is ambitious for our area.”

Railway starts new year with special event

Llangollen Railway has a Winter Warmer event planned for Friday and Saturday, January 2 and 3.
The promise is to have three steam engines operating, with one diesel locomotive and a diesel railcar to give an intensive service between Llangollen and Corwen East.

Railway spokesman George Jones said: "The event is exactly 50 years on from the month in which the through route from Ruabon to Barmouth was closed by Dr Beeching in 1965.
"It took a while, but enthusiasm and volunteer effort brought some of the railway back and to operate in a traditional manner, the like of which was unthinkable 50 years ago."

Monday, December 15, 2014

Politicians choose Christmas card design

* The winning design.

Clwyd South AM Ken Skates and MP Susan Elan Jones visited a community school to congratulate an eight-year-old girl who won their annual Christmas card competition.

The Labour politicians met Evie Hesketh at Ysgol Carrog on Friday (December 12), whose festive design – featuring a penguin in a Santa hat – was chosen by the First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones as his favourite from dozens of entries.
Llangollen-based AM Mr Skates said: “I loved Evie’s design as soon as I saw it and I’m delighted it is featuring on our official Clwyd South Christmas cards, which will be sent to hundreds of people, schools, community groups and businesses across the constituency.

“Last year’s winner was Sam Jones from Ysgol Bro Dyfrdwy in Cynwyd, and there could easily have been three or four winners from Carrog.  We obviously have some very talented children in our area!”
The competition was open to pupils of all infant and junior schools in Clwyd South, with Mr Skates narrowing the entries down and the First Minister selecting his favourite from a shortlist.

The runners-up were 11-year-old Kim Thurlow from Ysgol Cynddelw in Glyn Ceiriog and Tegan Jackson, 10, from Ysgol Penycae.
Ms Jones said: “We have some brilliant entries once again, so I would like to thank all the pupils who took part as well as the teachers. The competition is always a fun way for us to engage with local schoolchildren and get them into the Christmas spirit.

“I was delighted to meet Evie and congratulate her personally.”