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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

llanblogger takes a break

llanblogger is taking a short break and will be back in just over a week's time.

So see you then ...

Town councillor's General Election tip

Town councillor Phil Thane has asked llanblogger to publish the following piece related to the General Election:

Amid all the media frenzy and political point scoring it's often hard to find out who your election candidates really are. You may have a handful of glossy leaflets pushed through your letter box, but they are designed to push the party line not tell you anything about the person.

You may have watched the TV debates and come away wondering what it was all about when only the people in their constituencies can vote for them and no matter how much you like Nicola Sturgeon she isn't standing in Clwyd South. So where do you get a simple guide to who you can vote for?

The answer could be the Democracy Club website. The Democracy Club describes itself as,

'...a group of volunteers that aims to increase the quantity, quality and accessibility of information on election candidates, politicians and democratic processes...'

One of their ideas for improving the quality of information is to ask each candidate to post a simple CV. After all they are applying for a job and we are the interview panel. A CV is the minimum requirement for most job applications and follows a well know format. No spin, no party line, just the facts about who this person is and what they've done with their lives until now.

Clwyd South Candidates

You can see all the CVs submitted by our candidates here:

Unless there's been a sudden rush, there's just one. When we first checked there were none at all so we clicked the button that sends a polite request to all the candidates in the constituency. Only one replied and only one uploaded his CV. You'll have to check to find out who it was, and maybe while you're there you could try reminding the others.

National Statistics

I spoke to Francis Irving one of the Democracy Club organiswers to see how Clwyd South compares with the national (UK) figures. So far only about 12% of candidates have uploaded a CV, so Clwyd South with one out of six is ahead of the curve. The breakdown by party is:

Liberal Democrats 115
Green Party 109
Labour Party 61
UK Independence Party (UKIP) 52
Conservative Party 38
Plaid Cymru 1

For more about Democracy Club go to

Monday, April 27, 2015

Nominations sought for county sports awards

NOMINATIONS are open for Denbighshire County Council's 2015 community sport awards.

Over the last three years since the awards were established the council has recognised over 30 individuals, teams, schools and clubs for their dedication to local community grass root sport in the county.    

There are also elite level athletes representing Wales and Team GB in their chosen sport from Denbighshire, which we have and will continue to recognise their achievements and success.

All of Denbighshire’s community sport award finalists will be forwarded to the newly formed Sport Wales and BBC Wales sport personality awards held nationally in Cardiff, where Denbighshire will be looking to add to the success of six finalists and five national winners over the past three years.
Nominees must live in the county or be affiliated to a Denbighshire club relevant to their nomination and achieved their success in the last 12 months up to the application closing date which is Friday July 24 2015.
This year's categories include Sports Performer, Junior Sports Performer, Coach of the Year, Team of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Disability Sport Award, Young Inspiration Award, Lifetime Achievement Award, and the ‘Sport in School award’.

An individual or team will also be chosen from all the previous category winners for their outstanding achievements/contributions to sport and will represent Denbighshire for the next year as Community Sport Ambassador 2015.
Jamie Groves, Head of Communications, Marketing and Leisure said: ”The Denbighshire Community Sport Awards have helped recognise and share some amazing stories of achievements by individuals and teams from Denbighshire over the last couple of years.
"Each year there are new nominations from various sport clubs and schools throughout the county, and last year the panel had a hard job picking just three finalists for each category from over 220 separate nominations.

"This proves to us that the quality of sport is very high, there are plenty of opportunities for people to return to playing sport or to try a new sport as a beginner too. This is all down to the unselfish army of volunteers within our community clubs, so lets recognise this and celebrate community sport in Denbighshire again this year.”
Denbighshire Leisure Services are also looking for suitable organisations that would like to link to their brand to the community sport awards as a category sponsor and a ‘sponsorship package’ can be sent for more information.

* For more information on the awards and details on how to nominate or sponsor this year's event please contact Matt Hilliker on 07798742290 or

Successful theatre tour returns To Llangollen

* Winona - the cast.

Earlier  this year, the Llangollen Twenty Club pledged to support the first ever tour of a new work by young Welsh playwright, Christoper T. Harris called Winona, presented by Abandoned Theatre Co.

The play was directed by long-time club member Natalie Evans and featured fellow members Ally Goodman and Andy Evans in the cast, along with Jack Shimmin as technical officer and Barry Evans on set design and props.

The tour was a success with acclaimed performances taking place in Liverpool, Aberystwyth and Cardiff, and the debut show drawing high praise from several critics in attendance.

One example was: "...a claustrophobic tale of almost Pinteresque proportions ... Sir Harold would surely have approved ... it's compelling stuff" – British Theatre Guide.

And another was: "... one twist followed by another ... enthralling to watch" - Merseysider Magazine

As a thank you to the Twenty Club for pledging its support, Winona will now be performed in Llangollen tomorrow, Tuesday April 28, at a special event at the Town Hall.

There will be no charge for tickets at this performance. Instead, Abandoned Theatre Co will accept
any donations from audience members on the night, with proceeds going towards covering the cost of the venue hire and future tours featuring members of the club.

Abandoned Theatre Co presents...


Llangollen Town Hall
Tuesday April 28
Doors 7pm/curtain pp 7:30pm
FREE ENTRY - Donations welcome

* The production is not suitable for children under 15 and contains strong language and adult themes.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Eisteddfod visitor Bill will return as volunteer

* Bill Kong with his family.
A wine expert from Hong Kong who fell in love with the Llangollen International Eisteddfod is flying 6,000 miles to work as a volunteer at the festival.
Bill Kong, 54, was mesmerised by the intoxicating magic of the Eisteddfod on his first visit as an audience member two years ago when he fulfilled a long-standing ambition to experience it for himself.
He was so taken with the festival's captivating atmosphere both then and in 2014 that he’s aiming to travel back to Llangollen this July to join the small army of dedicated volunteers who make the iconic cultural event such a big hit each year.
Bill’s links with Britain go back over 40 years to when he attended a prep school near Bewdley in Worcestershire then a public school near Uttoxeter in Staffordshire.     
Later he went on to Manchester College, Oxford to study for a degree in social administration before returning to Hong Kong in 1984.
Bill joined the Hong Kong Welsh Male Voice Choir for there a couple of years later after being introduced to it by a friend.
He recalled: “My fellow choir members used to ask what my Welsh link was and I’d tell them that it was my old prep school in Worcestershire which was quite near the Welsh border.
“I performed with the choir in the London Welsh Festival of Male Voice Choirs at the Royal Albert Hall in 2004 at the invitation of the London Welsh and sang with in the chorus of the Hong Kong Art Festival’s production of Tosca in in 1999, which is where I met my wife Selena.”   
When he’s not drinking in the joys of music Bill works, amongst other things, as a consultant in the wine business in Hong Kong and during the past 10 years has been a wine importer, educator, consultant to importers and wine judge.
He is also a senior training consultant for a large Hong Kong-based company specialising in risk and crisis management.
Bill’s 39-year-old wife, Selena Hoi Yi Fung Kong, is also passionate about music and has worked as a music educator at a school in Hong Kong for the past 17 years.
They have a nine-year-old son, Daniel, who is due to attend prep school in England from April.
Bill said: “I first came with my wife and son to Llangollen Eisteddfod back in 2013.
“We were very much looking forward to the visit because of my own 20 years plus with the Welsh choir and my wife’s work in music.
“We share our love of Welsh music and culture and have long been fascinated with such a mystical name as the International Eisteddfod. So we just had to come and discover for it for ourselves.
“We did not realise then how well we would be welcomed and that we would make so many friends that we would want to return year after year.
"Everything has been a real blessing, especially the community of new-found friends that we’ve met at Llangollen every year since.
“Although we have now been at the Eisteddfod for the past two years I haven’t so far done any work as a volunteer but when we come over again this summer I’m hoping to be able to contribute.
“Perhaps that might be by serving in hospitality, meeting performers from Hong Kong or China. I have some experience in that area after developing tailor-made workplace English courses for corporate companies in the hospitality industry back home.
“I could also maybe help out with the staging of the Eisteddfod as I worked as a stage hand when the Phantom of the Opera came to perform in Hong Kong in 1995.
“For the 160 shows I worked at `stage left prop’ and the amazing thing was that Peter Carey was Phantom on that occasion, interestingly a Welshman amongst a North American cast.”
Bill added: “I’d just love to be amongst the public and performers at the 2015 Eisteddfod in any capacity.
“One day I would also like to see my beloved Hong Kong Welsh Male Voice Choir compete at Llangollen. Last year we made great friends with the Hong Kong Police Choir and became their supporter at the Eisteddfod.  
“I have been mesmerised by the magic of Llangollen and what I love about coming is the total experience of the whole week.
“That means the music, the performers as well as the visitors and above all the hard work and dedication of all the volunteers throughout the year who make the Eisteddfod the incredible event that it has become.
“The young and the more seasoned have all played their part in the history of something so unique and special by participating in the legacy of the festival for over half a century. 
“This is what Llangollen Eisteddfod means to me and why I'm looking forward to coming for this my third year and participating even more than in previous years.”
Sandra Roberts, who chairs the Hospitality Committee for the Eisteddfod, said: “Bill sounds like a very interesting man who has the perfect skills for our hospitality team whose job it is to welcome competitors and visitors to the festival from across the world.
“His linguistic skills would obviously make him particularly useful when it comes to meeting and greeting people from China and Hong Kong and I think he would be a very valuable addition to our team of volunteers.” 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Bethan's project brings older people's memories to life

* Bethan Mascarenhas is leading a memories project in Llangollen next month.

A YOUNG storyteller from Llangollen is masterminding a special project to bring alive the memories of older people.

Bethan Mascarenhas has received funding from Age Cymru to run an inter-generational arts project at the Abbey Dingle care home in the town during May as part of a wider older people’s arts project called the Gwanwyn Festival. 

And she is looking for children aged seven to 17 to take part.
The project, based on the theme ‘I wish I knew then …’ aims to connect children and the older generation through storytelling and performance within the community.
It will be based on a series of workshops the first of which takes place on Saturday May 9, from 2-4pm, when young people will have the chance to learn journalistic skills which will enable them to gather stories from people living at the home.
At the second workshop, the following Saturday May 16 again from 2-4pm, the children will be shown how to develop their stories into a performance, which will take place a week later on Saturday May 23, from 2-4pm.
Bethan said: “The older generation with their long life experiences have tons of stories and knowledge to share with the younger generation.
“At Abbey Dingle children from the local community will be collecting and gathering stories from people living there to make an exciting performance called ‘I wish I knew then …’ and use it as a way to celebrate life and the stories that come along with it.
“The performance is open to the local community and we will be serving food and drink.
“We’d like to invite everyone to come along and share a unique experience as old and young come together to create something wonderful.”
She added: “Having children visiting the home is always an uplifting experience for the people who live here, they bring so much fun and energy which creates a wonderful atmosphere for everyone.
“I’m excited to see what work we can create and for the community.”
* Young people interested in taking part are asked to contact Bethan by emailing her at 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Tourism Minister backs Llan food festival

* Welsh and proud, Welsh Government Tourism Minister Ken Skates, left, and Hamper Llangollen Chairman Colin Loughlin show off some of the finest local produce.

A flourishing food festival is offering to showcase the products of new food and drink producers – and the appeal is being backed by the Welsh tourism minister.
Hamper Llangollen boasts an enviable track record as one of  the UK's most popular food events and one that has been a successful platform for innovative new food and drink from North Wales.
The two-day October festival has helped launch successful products like the Aberffraw biscuit, Blodyn Aur extra virgin rapeseed oil and the Dangerous Food Company’s chilli jam.
It is expected that this year’s 19th annual event will again attract thousands visitors to browse over 120 stalls at Llangollen’s Royal International Pavilion.
That’s music to the ears of Ken Skates, the Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport, in whose Clwyd South constituency the event takes place on Saturday and Sunday, October 17 and 18.
He said: “Hamper Llangollen is an incredible success and a great annual occasion for the Dee Valley.
“I’m particularly pleased that there’s a focus on encouraging new exhibitors and giving prominence to the many outstanding food and drink producers in North Wales for whom it is a fantastic opportunity to showcase their unique and delicious products.
“Food tourism is proving to be big business and we are delighted to welcome thousands of visitors each year, many of them from England, to see some of the fantastic landscape and heritage we have and enjoy the best of food and drink.
“The Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty was recently extended through the Dee Valley and visitors are able to enjoy the phenomenal hills, mountains, rivers and valleys where this wonderful food is produced.”
Over the years the festival has introduced the public to a range of different and innovative foods as well as boasting household names like Patchwork Pate and Halen Mon Anglesey Sea Salt among its exhibitors.
It has also been named one of the UK’s Top Ten food festivals by national newspaper The Independent and each year it generates over £400,000 for the local economy.
Hamper Llangollen chairman Colin Loughlin said: “We are very keen to hear from new producers as we have been very successful in helping launch some amazing products.
“We have special rates for new products and even a special section of the festival especially for them where we can give them prominence.
“They are the lifeblood of events like this and we appreciate the importance of making sure the event is always fresh and has something new to taste.
“Last year we had South African dunking biscuits and they were very successful and I’m pleased to say that they’re back again this year.
“We want to promote the fact that the facilities are here for producers so that they can show off their new products to an appreciative public and we are also careful to make sure that we don’t have more than two of any one kind of producer.”
The one area he would like to see better represented is vegetables: “Perhaps it’s the time of year but I would really like to see more of them on show in all sorts of forms and we’d love to hear from growers and indeed any new producers.”
For more information on Hamper Llangollen go to

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A5 roadworks "should be gone before summer holidays" says Minister

* The long-running roadworks on the A5.

Wales's Transport Minister says she aims to have Llangollen's long-running A5 roadworks completed before the summer holiday period.

Clwyd South Assembly Member Ken Skates welcomed the news that Edwina Hart plans to speed up work on the main road near Birch Hill to boost summer trade. 

Labour AM Mr Skates, who is based in Llangollen, said: “This is an essential project which has to be carried out for the public’s safety, but of course I understand and share residents’ frustration and the concerns of local businesses who are worried the ongoing work might put people off visiting.”

Mr Skates wrote to the minister asking for something to be done to ensure the roadworks – scheduled to go on until August – are gone before the busy summer season after being contacted by constituents and talks with the Llangollen Chamber of Trade and Commerce.

In her response, Ms Hart said: “We have approached a contractor to develop and prepare emergency temporary solutions that will enable the traffic lights to be removed and we will endeavour to complete the necessary works before the summer holiday period.

“In the meantime, the traffic lights will continue to be manually controlled at peak times during busy periods to minimise delays and will be kept under constant review.

“This is a temporary position that will allow time for a permanent highway improvement to be designed and constructed in the future.”

Mr Skates added: “I welcome the minister’s commitment to helping residents and traders in Llangollen, and I am pleased she understands our concerns.

"I would like to thank her for taking up the matter so swiftly and decisively, and I look forward to the work being completed as soon as possible.”

Cinema project unveils name of first film

* Lottie Griffiths, of Lottie’s Bespoke Vintage in
Llangollen, dressed as a 40s style cinema usherette
to hand out popcorn at the launch of the New Dot
project at the town’s Pavilion.
Oscar-winning French film The Artist will be the first movie to be shown when a new community cinema has its premiere in Llangollen this summer.

The silent film, which won five Academy Awards in 2011, has been chosen to kick off the ambitious venture as it is itself about the golden age of the motion picture industry in the late 1920s.

As the launch of the project has been timed to coincide with this year’s Llangollen Fringe, details about it were given to people who gathered for the unveiling of the festival programme at the Pavilion on Monday night.  

Called New Dot Cinema, Llangollen, it aims to bring together all ages in the atmospheric setting of the Town Hall.

The first cinema event is planned for the evening of Wednesday July 15, when The Artist will have its screening.

The cinema scheme is the brainchild of a Llangollen-based volunteer group who say they are keen to bring film-going back to town.

Committee member Kirsty Burrell said: "We're a small group who've come together to run a not-for-profit community cinema, staffed entirely by volunteers.

"Any surplus funds we raise will go towards putting on future shows and improving the cinematic experience for the town.”

As well as Kirsty, the group also includes local artist Simon Proffitt who said: "Quite a few people had mentioned recently that they’d like somewhere to watch films in town, so we got together and set up a community cinema.

“The night will be run as a pop-up event in the Town Hall on Castle Street and if all goes well we’ll continue with monthly screenings.

“We see it as a social event where people can sit around, have a drink, eat some cake, see a live performance and then a feature film.

“We want it to be a really engaging, socially based community event.”

Simon added: “The Town Hall is already a beautiful old building, and we plan to show off its character with atmospheric lighting and decor. The original red velvet seats on the balcony will offer a great view of the screen and cabaret-style seating."

According to Simon, the name New Dot  was inspired by the former Dorothy Cinema on Castle Street, which is now Cafe & Books.

He said: "We wanted to respectfully acknowledge the town's original cinema that many people have such fond memories of.

"The old Dorothy was opened in the 1930s, during the heyday of cinema, by the Horspool family.

"Llangollen Museum has a good display of original film programmes and old photos from the Dorothy that has been donated not so long ago by Fraser Horspool."

At the launch event, Llangollen’s Mayor, Cllr Bob Lube, said: “The Town Council is fully behind the new cinema project.”

* More details will be available on the website or via facebook: /newdotcinema and twitter: @newdotcinema

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

AM calls for over-50s jobs support

Aled Roberts, Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for North Wales and the party’s spokesperson for Education and Older People, is calling on the Welsh Government to develop a strategy which targets the improvement of skills and employability prospects of over-50s in Wales.

Commenting prior to this afternoon’s debate on Further Education, he said: “It is a sad fact that opportunities for older adult learners to attend courses at further education institutions have been steadily decreasing.
“Figures from the Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise in Wales (Prime Cymru) show that, in Wales, the number of adults participating in part-time courses has dropped by 47%, from 90,000 to 48,000.
“This situation is leaving the large numbers of older adults in Wales who have no formal qualifications with no means of improving their skills if they want to get a job.
“The Welsh Labour Government should devise a scheme to assist adults who want to work and give them the skills they need. FE colleges are ideally placed to deliver that scheme and I believe the Government needs to put this in place as a matter of urgency.
“Welsh Liberal Democrats have already committed to establishing a cross-party commission to examine adult education and skills in Wales."

Ysgol Dinas Bran shortlisted for top award

Award-winning efforts by Ysgol Dinas Bran in Llangollen to create international links have been shortlisted for yet another honour.

The school is now in the running for the Times Educational Supplement UK Schools Award in the International (Modern Language) Category.

It is one of eight schools shortlisted and winners will be announced at the award ceremony taking place at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane, London on Friday, June 19.

The school has recently won the British Council's International Schools Award for the fifth consecutive time and the recent Comenius project looking at the state of young people's beliefs in the 21st century is being used as a model of good practice in Germany.

A booklet produced as part of the Comenius project also won second prize in a national competition, in Romania.

Students from Years 8 and 13 at Dinas Bran also attended an award ceremony in Cardiff recently to collect an award for outstanding practice for its Connecting Classrooms (BC) Lebanon project.

As part of this project, students have been hosting regular skype conferences with its partner school, located near Beirut.

There has also been a teacher exchange which it is hoped will be repeated this year. As well as skype sessions with Lebanon, the school has also arranged video links with a partner school in the Yemen.

Peter Williams, the school's International Co-ordinator, said: "The fact we have been shortlisted for a TES award in tremendous news and we are thoroughly delighted that our efforts are being recognised.

"Our work has been supported by the school's senior leadership team, Denbighshire County Council and the British Council. Our links with ECTARC, Europe Direct and the Llangollen Eisteddfod have all helped to extend opportunities to our students.

"We will keep our fingers crossed for success at the awards."

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Sister Act goes with bang not a wimple

There’s “nun” better than Llangollen Operatic when it comes to presenting shows that are a break with the usual am-dram fare – as they have proved yet again with their current production of the musical Sister Act, which opened at the Town Hall tonight (Tuesday).

And they’ve certainly got themselves well out of the habit of presenting the more staid old stuff with this foot-stomping little number based on the smash-hit 1992 Whoopi Goldberg film of the same name.

The stage version, which Llangollen is amongst the first amateur societies in the UK to perform, is by Bill and Cheri Steinkellner with lyrics by Glenn Slater and music by Alan Menken.

The piece simply rocks `n’ rolls along from start to finish, thanks to the supreme exertions of the 30-odd member cast who ensure the whole thing goes off with a bang rather than a wimple.

The slick action centres on Philadelphia nightclub singer Deloris Van Cartier who accidentally sees her gangster boyfriend, Curtis Jackson, and his hoodlum buddies bumping off a poor stiff named Ernie who they’re convinced has squealed on them to the cops.

As Deloris does a hasty bunk, the evil Jackson orders his henchmen to bring her back, thus setting off a dramatic chain of events which leaves her seeking anonymous sanctuary in a convent.

Although the order of the day is that its resident nuns – Deloris assumes the identity of Sister Mary Clarence - cannot drink, smoke or wear anything less than appropriate garb, this flighty filly from the showbiz side of town has other ideas which, naturally, leads her into all kinds of bother with the Mother Superior.

Too many details given away here might spoil the plot for those yet to see it, but it can be revealed that Deloris eventually brings her musical talents to bear by taking over the running of the pretty ropey convent choir - with some spectacular results.

Llangollen newcomer Elen-Haf Taylor makes an immaculate Deloris, singing up a holy storm and contributing some neat comedy lines into the bargain.

But the real beauty of this production is its incredible strength in depth, with every one of the performers pulling out all the dramatic and musical stops.

For instance, the evil Jackson’s bumbling sidekicks, played by Michael Jenkins, Marcus Ansloos and Nico Decourt, make a perfect comedy trio and also deliver some powerful disco era songs complete with dodgy dancing. And Jackson himself – Simon Orton-Jones – is no slouch as an entertainer when he ain’t waving his gun.

Alison Ravenscroft as Mother Superior delivers some heavenly vocalisation as does Elizabeth Richards as convent novice Sister Mary Robert.

Crooning up a storm in his role as “Sweaty” Eddie, the cop who had a teenage crush on Deloris back when they were at school, is Ross Wilson.

A dozen or so nuns dominate the stage for most of the two acts and their singing and dancing talents run to much more than the usual chorus stuff.

Of course, it helps that the whole thing is crammed with some fantastically powerful musical numbers all evocative of the late 70s.

Outstanding amongst the scintillating sisters are Stephanie Cottam as Mary Patrick and Sue Stokes as Mary Lazarus.

Bill Cheshire starts off as the guy bumped off by Jackson before miraculously rising from the dead as first a taxi driver then no less than the Pope himself. Work that one out!

Gareth Lloyd makes a highly believable Monsignor O’Hara.

The show is deftly co-produced by Michael Jones and Tracey Rawlinson who was also artistic director and stylish musical direction comes courtesy of Elen Mair Roberts.

Sister Act has got to be one of the finest shows Llangollen Operatic has presented in many a year – a fact acknowledged by the rare standing ovation they received at the end of their first night performance.

Staging Sister Act was a divine piece of inspiration on the part of the Operatic and you’ve still got plenty of chances to see it as it runs for the rest of the week until Saturday, when there’s also an afternoon matinee performance.

You’d better pray you don’t miss it!

Fringe unveils diverse 2015 programme

* A recent Fringe beat concert in Llangollen Town Hall.
EVENTS as diverse as an appearance by reggae legend Bob Marley’s producer and a new drama on the Ladies of Llangollen feature in the packed programme for this year’s Llangollen Fringe.

Other highlights of the festival, which runs from July 16-26, include a rock `n’ roll train on Llangollen Railway and a jazz narrowboat on the canal.
At the official launch of the line-up at Llangollen Pavilion last night (Monday) festival spokesman Graham Timms said: “As the Fringe gets better and more popular each year we have been able to continue to improve the programme that we offer. 

“This year's programme sees a rare performance in the UK of world-famous Lee 'Scratch' Perry, (pictured right) who was Bob Marley's producer and is known as the father of Dub music.
“He is only appearing in two concerts this summer, one of which is in Llangollen. He's flying in from his home in Zurich for the event.

“We have two members of Madness in The Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra on Friday July 24. Hugh Cornwell from the Stranglers is doing a solo show on Thursday July 23.”

There are two nights featuring Iberian music. On Sunday July 19 the Fringe welcomes back Juan Martin, who was voted one of the world's top three virtuoso flamenco guitarists.

Celebrating Portugal's Fado music is Claudio Aurora who will be singing at Valle Crucis Abbey on July 26. 
Organisers reckon the setting of the abbey will provide a magical backdrop to the haunting sounds of the music.

Sarah and Eleanor is a new drama commissioned by the Fringe and created by Wrexham playwright  Peter Read especially for this year's festival.

It is based on the fascinating lives of the two Ladies of Llangollen who lived at Plas Newydd at the turn of the 19th century.

It will be performed for the first time on Tuesday and Wednesday, July 21 and 22 at their former stately home in Llangollen.

More live drama will come from local group Taking Flight who will perform Shakespeare at Valle Crucis Abbey.  
Kicking off the whole programme with a night of stand-up comedy at the Town Hall on Thursday July 16 is Sara Pascoe, star of TV’s Live at the Apollo and QI.

Graham Timms added: “The festival this year uses more venues, has more performances and sees more high quality acts than ever before.

“We're hoping that growing audience numbers will also follow the trend of the last few years too.

“We will also have lots of the other events that the Fringe is known for including Band for a Day, Fringe Acoustica, Rock and Roll Train on Llangollen Railway, Jazz Narrowboat on the canal and a full programme of workshops running alongside the community art project that involves nine local primary schools in the Dee Valley and many community organisations
in producing artwork for display throughout the town during the festival.”
Also appearing are New York-based purveyors of folk, country and rock music the Felice Brothers and gothic folk hip hop outfit 9Bach from Wales.

A special ticket entitles Fringe-goers the chance to catch all evening concerts for the one-off price of £85.
* For more information go to:

Monday, April 20, 2015

Armoury Trust celebrates successful first year

* The Armoury Conservation Trust is celebrating a successful first year of operation.

Llangollen's Armoury Conservation Trust is celebrating its first year of work, which it says has been both very busy and successful.
Since April 2014, highlights have been:
* Becoming registered as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation and taking over freehold ownership of  the Armoury on Victoria Square
* Receiving planning and Listed Building consents for the restoration of The Armoury and restoring the Lock-up and Courtroom/Old Town Hall for community uses
* Hosting three open days, in July and September, and attracting 238 visitors. Also starting regular opening hours for tours of the Lock-up and giving group visits and talks to the county librarians and Llangollen Rotary Club
* Creating, with the help of Llangollen Town Council, a hands-on exhibition of Llangollen's first police station, complete with police hats and helmet, coshes, rattles, lamps and handcuffs, and with a prisoner in the cell, who was committed in 1860 to spend six nights in the Lock-Up before going before the Justices

* Creating various artworks - a time-line wall chart, trompe d'oeuil court scene, Victorian policemen, scenes and puzzles from the history of the Lock-up, to aid the public's understanding of the past uses and history of the building
* Developing Dress the Victorian Policeman packs for children to take home with them after a visit to the Lock-Up, with the support of Llangollen Town Council
* Consulting widely with the community about plans to restore the building and its community uses for education, heritage, arts and culture, and receiving much local support for fundraising efforts
* Continuing to carry out research on the building and its past uses for its archive, with the help of research by volunteers and Llangollen Museum
* Being in the process of setting up a website.

A spokesperson said: "The Armoury Conservation Trust is very grateful for all the support and help it has received over its first year from the Llangollen community and to llanblogger for helping us communicate with its many readers."

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Job creation scheme to start again

 * Ken Skates AM with JGW recruits employed by Denbighshire
County Council at Plas Newydd, Llangollen.
Clwyd South AM Ken Skates has welcomed confirmation that "Europe’s most successful job creation scheme" will help thousands more young people into work in Wales. 
Labour AM Mr Skates said it was ‘fantastic news’ that one of the Welsh Government’s priority programmes, Jobs Growth Wales (JGW), would begin a second cycle in May after "smashing all targets" since its inception in 2012. 
Mr Skates, who catapulted JGW to widespread acclaim in his previous role as deputy minister for skills and technology, criticised political opponents for ‘mischief-making’ and ‘plain ignorance’ following `uninformed and inaccurate' claims the initiative had been axed. 
He said: “There has been a lot of incorrect information bandied about regarding Jobs Growth Wales. I don’t know if it’s mischief-making and attempted political point-scoring or just plain ignorance – or both! 
“Jobs Growth Wales has helped almost 15,000 16-24-year-olds into work and we are keeping it. It’s the benchmark for schemes of its kind across Europe, and there are obviously still some who can’t stand the fact it’s been an unprecedented success.” 
Mr Skates added: “The most up-to-date figures show that 494 in Wrexham have been helped into work through this ground-breaking Welsh Labour Government scheme, plus another 516 in Denbighshire and 503 in Flintshire. That’s more than 1,500 young people we’ve found jobs and whose career prospects we’ve massively improved in North East Wales alone. 
“Many private sector companies across the region have also benefited. I have visited several employers in Clwyd South who are delighted with the support they have received from the Welsh Government. There are now five Jobs Growth Wales recruits at Splash Magic, formerly Plas Madoc Leisure Centre, as well as countless other success stories. 
“I’m incredibly proud of Welsh Labour’s Jobs Growth Wales programme and I look forward to seeing it go from strength to strength thanks to continued European funding.” 
The Welsh Government has confirmed that plans are under way for another Jobs Growth Wales programme to begin next month. Current employees will not be affected and will continue to receive full support. 
Minster for Education and Skills, Huw Lewis, said one of the reasons the Welsh Government has been able to invest so much in the JGW scheme is because of EU backing. 
He added: “It is fantastic that Welsh Labour’s Jobs Growth Wales programme has supported so many young people in Clwyd South to find a good quality employment opportunity. Jobs Growth Wales has been hugely successful and we want it to go on making a difference in our communities. 
“We will launch the successor programme next month and I look forward to helping many more young people across Wales to find sustainable employment.”