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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Wynne's incomparable new Eisteddfod role

Top tenor Wynne Evans has landed an incomparable new role - singing alongside the world-renowned former royal harpist Catrin Finch.

Wynne – who shot to stardom as the waiter who belted out catchy jingles in the Go Compare TV ads (pictured) – will be taking to the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod stage for the third time in four years when the festival gets underway in July.
The multi-talented Carmarthen-born singer, TV and radio presenter will be performing on Wednesday, July 8, at an evening of music dedicated to The Sounds of South America that also features the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Catrin Finch will also be starring at the concert.

The concert will also see the world premiere of a new work to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Welsh colony in Patagonia in South America.
The work has been written by composer Hector MacDonald, a fourth generation Welshman who comes from Chubut Province in Patagonia where descendants of the original settlers cling on to their Welsh identity.
Among the other highlights at this year's Eisteddfod will be the Thursday night concert when heart-throb tenor Alfie Boe will be joined on stage by Britain’s Got Talent star Jonathan Antoine.
Other big draws include Oscar-winning music legend Burt Bacharach, the immensely popular Canadian singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright and TV choirmaster Gareth Malone.
For the final concert, Ali Campbell, the voice of UB40 who sold 70 million records, who'll be reunited on the eisteddfod stage with two other founding members of the group, percussionist, trumpet player and vocalist Astro and keyboard player Mickey.
Wynne, who will also be presenting his BBC Radio Wales show from Llangollen during the week-long eisteddfod, says he always looks forward to performing at what he describes as a "wonderful festival of music".

He said: “Most performers only get to appear on the Llangollen stage once or maybe twice so for me to have been allowed on stage three times and in relatively quick succession is probably something of a record.

“Llangollen is such a fantastic event that welcomes all these different cultures from all over the world in a spirit of peace and harmony.

“It’s just an incredible event. I love seeing the different performers throughout the week and it isn’t just about classical music; lots of varied genres are represented.”

Wynne, who performed the role of Piangi in the 25th anniversary performance of The Phantom of the Opera which was broadcast live to cinemas around the world from the Royal Albert Hall, added: “The festival is something special and should be cherished. People come from far and wide because of what it stands for.

“Where else could you see traditional Welsh dancers competing against folk dancers from around the world?

 “It’s about culture and styles and bringing it all together in a spirit of friendship. And it’s also wonderful seeing the whole town join in the festivities it isn’t just about what’s happening on the field.”

Wynne whose alter ego Gio Compario in the Go Compare ads was once voted Britain’s most hated man, is looking forward to hooking up with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and Catrin Finch.

He said: “Catrin is a friend of mine and someone I’ve worked with her a lot over the years. And as well as being a friend she’s also one of the greatest harpists in the world, there’s no doubt about that.

“And I have toured with the BBC orchestra and we worked together at the Christmas concert. Of course I work with the BBC, both on screen and behind the radio microphone with my radio show, on a regular basis.”

Wynne, whose debut album, A Song in my Heart, shot straight to the top of the classical charts, added: “It should be a wonderful night of music.

“I’m going to performing some material composed by Karl Jenkins who, it has been announced, is to be knighted by Her Majesty the Queen.

“I’ll also be performing songs written by an Argentinian composer and some songs from West Side Story which has tenuous links to South America in that the characters were Puerto Rican.

“But it’s always good to perform some popular works that the audience will instantly recognise.”

The Eisteddfod's musical director, Eilir Owen Griffiths, is delighted Wynne Evans has agreed to perform again on the pavilion stage.

He said: “Wynne is a real supporter of the festival and it’s always a pleasure to welcome him back.

“He is without doubt one of the UK’s most popular and exciting tenors and I know how much the Llangollen audience likes to see and hear him perform.

“The Wednesday evening concert of South American inspired music, featuring Catrin Finch, Wynne Evans and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales promises to be a real highlight of this year’s festival and it’s a concert I’m really looking forward to.”

* To book tickets and for more details on the 2015 festival go to the website at

Monday, June 29, 2015

Workshop for young dancers at Loggerheads

CWLWM CARIAD is an inspirational three day course for enthusiastic young dancers led by
professional dance artists Angela Fessi & Jamie Jenkins who will choreograph a new dance piece to
be performed in the open air on Thursday evening 16 July at Loggerheads County Park.

The theme celebrates the 30 years of the Clwydian Range being chosen as an Area of Outstanding

The course will take place at the Loggerheads Country Park on Tuesday 14 Wednesday 15 &
Thursday 16 July 2015 from 10 am to 4 pm ending with an open air performance on Thursday 16
July 2015 at 6.30 pm.

An exciting sound score by local musician, Ynyr Llwyd, has been commissioned to accompany the
dance piece.

The three day Technique & Performance course offers a splendid opportunity for young dancers (15
to 25 years old) to develop their skill set and gain valuable performance experience; all that is
required is enthusiasm and commitment to hard work throughout the three days of practical dance
sessions ending in a performance.

Participants will need to arrive at 9.45 am for registration on each of the three days and you will be
required to wear suitable clothing for practical dance work.

There are 20 places available on this Arts Council of Wales funded course.

Visual artists Ben Davis and Judith Wood will be working with members of Denbighshire Criw Celf to create an exciting environment for the performance.  Sgwod Sgwennu members are creating words
that testify to the beauty of the Clwydian Range.

NEW Dance can promise you an exciting experience finishing with a performance in Loggerheads
Country Park at 6.30pm on the Thursday evening for friends and family.

You will need to make your own way to the Loggerheads Country Park Ruthin Rd, Mold, Flintshire
CH7 5LH Directions: Take the A494 between Mold and Ruthin. At Loggerheads village turn off
almost opposite the We Three Loggerheads Inn, signposted Loggerheads Country Park and turn
sharp right into the drive leading to the car park.

Loggerheads website:

* For further information or to request an application form please contact NEW Dance. Tel: 01978 869456,   e-mail:

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Keep dogs on a lead in countryside, says council

Denbighshire Countryside Service is calling on all dog owners to make sure their animals are kept on a lead when they walk in the open countryside.

In recent weeks, there have been incidents reported in the local press and on social media about dogs attacking livestock.

The service has dealt with a number of dogs reported missing on Moel Famau after being let loose and disappearing into the heather moorland, sometimes for lengthy periods of time.

David Shiel, Countryside Officer, said: "Although Moel Famau is a Country Park enjoyed by residents and visitors it is still farmland and grazed by sheep and cattle throughout the year. .... We don't want to discourage walkers with dogs.

"All we ask  is that the dogs are kept on leads, for their own safety and to offer peace of mind to their owners. There are also plenty of other areas such as forestry in the vicinity where dogs can be let off their leads safely.

"We also want to ensure that there's the right mix of people using the countryside for enjoyment, as well as others using the countryside to carry out a living."

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Pilot scheme to protect people from falls

A pilot has been launched which sees North Wales Fire and Rescue Service working alongside the Single Point of Access in Denbighshire to help safeguard people in the home against a fall.

The aim is to make better use of the resources available to allow individuals to live a more healthy and active life, maintain their independence and reduce social isolation.

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service is moving towards adopting a more integrated approach to home safety which will enable working collaboratively with other emergency services, local authorities and partners to ensure residents remain safe in their homes.

This approach will not only consider the risk of fire but also other issues of safety, such as security and mobility, so that more vulnerable residents in particular will be provided with the best advice available from a whole variety of sources, stemming from just one home visit.

As part of this approach, a 'Falls in the Home' pilot has been launched in Denbighshire that involves fire and rescue staff who are undertaking Home Safety Checks helping to determine whether a person is at risk from a fall in the home, and if so then generating a referral to the Denbighshire Falls Prevention Service.

Stuart Millington, Senior Fire Safety Manager at North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, explains: “One in three people aged over 65 will fall each year and this increases to one in two when 80 years of age is reached. Nationally 250,000 people are admitted to accident and emergency hospital departments each year with falls related injuries.

“Often the people who suffer from falls in the home are the same people who we as a Service would be targeting as they are also at an increased risk of fire. This is therefore an excellent opportunity to deliver a more integrated home safety check and a referral to our partners where appropriate which will in turn help keep our most vulnerable residents safe.

“Our community safety staff have undergone training provided by the Denbighshire Falls Prevention Co-ordinator who is integrated as part of the Single Point of Access. Such partnership working is paramount in ensuring North Wales is a safer place to live, work or visit.

"We are already regularly engaging with the public and entering their homes to carry out Home Safety Checks and are well place to be able to identify those in need of further support. Our Home Safety Checks have led to a visible reduction in the number of accidental fires in the home. Therefore by asking a few simple questions in addition to fire safety we are able to assist in making that person safer in general.”

The Denbighshire Falls Prevention Service is based on the evidence that was proving successful elsewhere.

Up until recently, an individual in need of medical or social services help may have had to wait several weeks before being seen whilst their requirements would be referred to the appropriate department.

To overcome this problem, Denbighshire County Council, the National Exercise Referral Scheme and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board have collaborated to form a Falls Prevention Service which follows guidelines set out by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence.

Councillor Bobby Feeley, Cabinet Lead Member for Social Care, said: “The Council has worked with the Health Board over the last 12 months to provide a single point of access that ensures efficient access to information, advice and assistance to promote health, well-being and independence.

"The service focuses on identifying the needs of the caller from the initial enquiry, making sure they get the right response which may include signposting to other services in the local community or directed to the correct service. It also enables people to access the wide variety of support available in their own communities.

“One of the primary targets for the Falls Prevention Service is to reduce the number of falls people are experiencing and as such reduce the associated number of injuries, calls to the ambulance service, hospital admissions, the need for treatment, and all the associated costs which can be reinvested in other areas of treatment and care.”

The Falls Risk Assessment Tool is used identify the members of the community who have had a fall or who are at risk of falling. Once identified through five simple closed questions, people are then referred to the service for a full assessment to reduce or eliminate their risk of falling which may include further referral onto further services such as: physiotherapy, exercise classes, home modifications, referral onto third sector services or simply a referral back to their GP for a review of their medication.

The training required to use the assessment tool has been delivered to multiple agencies such as social services, community therapists, care and repair agencies, Wales Ambulance Service and the Red Cross, and now includes North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, and it will soon be delivered to North Wales Police.

Stuart Millington added: “Denbighshire will be the first county in which our staff will use the Falls Risk Assessment Tool in this way – and depending on results we may look at expanding this more widely.”

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service offers free Home Safety Checks, where a member of the Service will visit your home to provide advice on staying safe.

* To register for a free Home Safety Check, please call the bilingual 24 hour free hotline on 0800 169 1234 or visit

To contact the Single Point of Access, please phone 0300 456 1000. People can also access the SPoA via e-mail:

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Dobson & Crowther faces closure, says report

The Daily Post is reporting on its website this afternoon (Thursday) that Llangollen's Dobson & Crowther print factory faces being closed in the coming days with all staff made redundant.

For the full story see:

Clwyd South Assembly Member Ken Skates, who is based in Llangollen, said: “This is devastating news for the town.

"We’d been hopeful a buyer could be found, and despite encouraging signs earlier this week it appears that isn’t going to happen.

"I’d be keen to hear from any staff members who have been made redundant or who are now facing redundancy as a result of today’s announcement.”

AM presses for modern rail links to region

The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for North Wales, Aled Roberts, has welcomed yesterday's announcement that the Welsh Government will be investing in improvements to the transport network in north Wales.
Mr Roberts (pictured below) said: “I very much welcome the announcements and I am also pleased that the A55 is being put forward for further improvements under the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T).
“It’s important now that all north Wales representatives at Assembly and local government level work together to pursue the case for electrification and modernisation of rail links in the region; there is also a need for us to make sure that the cross-Pennine route does not end at Chester and I would urge the Welsh Government to work to ensure that north Wales is included in that route.
“I have been involved in direct discussions with the Minister regarding investment in capacity issues on the Wrexham – Chester line which currently puts a constraint on Holyhead-Cardiff links and is also holding up improvements to the services from north Wales to Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool.
“The challenge now is to ensure that opportunities created by the transfer of powers over the rail franchise are realised and that north Wales will be able to gain full advantage from these latest developments."

Dementia friends group is promoted

Paul Jones from the elderly mental health team at Denbighshire social services is promoting the dementia friends group which meets at St Collen’s Community Centre in Llangollen every third Wednesday of the month, from 10am-3pm.

Paul said: “We are tasked with building dementia friendly communities.

“We do this by delivering dementia friends sessions in the hope of educating people and removing the stigma that may come with hearing the word dementia, working one to one with individuals to help them access their community and we also set up and run dementia friendly social groups.

“The groups give people a chance to come and talk in a non-judgmental environment where people affected by dementia can come in confidence.

“Service information is available and there are activities with lunch provided. The groups are very relaxed and are open to everybody as another one of our aims is to limit isolation.”

He added: “We are currently in the process of reaching out to people in Llangollen to let them know of the social groups existence and what it is we are trying to do.

“We have held sessions at fire stations, taxi services and town councils, therefore helping people who have dementia access there town.”

St Collens Community Centre 

Regent Street, Llangollen, LL20 8NU 

Non-denominational Group 

Every 3rd Wednesday of the month 10am – 3pm 

£5 to include refreshments and a light lunch 


A chance to meet new people 

Massage taster, Games, Reminiscence 

An opportunity to meet some of the local services in a friendly, informal setting and gather some information and ask questions. 

·       For further information contact  

01824 706469 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Prince Charles to visit Eisteddfod's opening day

* The Eisteddfod's famous opening parade.
This year’s Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod will have a royal visitor when the Prince of Wales calls on the opening day of the annual event, Tuesday, July 7.
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall will be there in the afternoon for the opening day Parade of Nations led by Eisteddfod President Terry Waite, CBE.
The Royal couple are scheduled to arrive by helicopter and make their way to the Royal International Pavilion just after 4pm, escorted by the Lord Lieutenant, Mr Harry Fetherstonhaugh and Mrs Davina Fetherstonhaugh.
He will introduce the Royal party to Eisteddfod Chairman, Gethin Davies, and other Eisteddfod officers before chatting with competitors who are taking part in the parade.
The Prince and the Duchess will then watch as the Parade sets off on its annual route into the town and back to the Pavilion before leaving at about 4.45pm.
The Eisteddfod is no stranger to Royal visits – in 1953 a visit to the Eisteddfod, was one of the first of the Queen’s official engagements after her coronation.
This is the third time the Prince of Wales has been to the Eisteddfod. He and Diana came 30 years ago in 1985 while in 2006 he came with the Duchess of Cornwall and other Royal visitors have been Princesses Margaret and Anne.
The Queen was also at the Eisteddfod in 1992 to open the Royal International Pavilion and one person to have seen all the Royal visits is Chairman Gethin Davies, 76, who is thrilled at the prospect of the Prince’s return.
The retired solicitor, who has been involved with the event since he began selling programmes for it back in 1951, said: “I remember the very first time the Queen came in 1953 when I was a teenage usher while still a pupil at Llangollen Grammar School.
“It is a great honour to have Prince Charles here again 30 years after his first visit. He has really seemed to enjoy coming here in the past and we’re very pleased to have the honour of his presence here for the third time.”
This year’s Eisteddfod also has musical royalty with the first ever appearance in North Wales of American song-writing legend Burt Bacharach who will play a curtain-raising concert on Monday night.
Prince Charles’s former Royal harpist Catrin Finch will perform on Wednesday evening at a concert to celebrate South American music and the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Welsh colony n Patagonia.
At the Thursday night concert heart-throb tenor Alfie Boe will be joined on stage by Britain’s Got Talent star Jonathan Antoine, on Friday night the immensely popular Canadian singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright will perform and TV choirmaster Gareth Malone will be on stage for the Choir of the World competition on Saturday.
For the final concert, Ali Campbell, the voice of UB40 who sold 70 million records, will be reunited on the eisteddfod stage with two other founding members of the group, percussionist, trumpet player and vocalist Astro and keyboard player Mickey.
Children’s Day and the Parade of Nations, led by Eisteddfod President Terry Waite will take place on the Tuesday afternoon before the evening Heart of Llangollen concert.
Wednesday’s programme will include a new competition for the International Young Musician of the Year as well as the Children’s Choir of the World while Thursday’s competitions will see another first, the International Voice of Musical Theatre Trophy.
The Blue Riband event, the Choir of the World for the Pavarotti Trophy, is decided on Saturday night as well as the Open Dance competition and Sunday sees the Eisteddfod let its hair down for Llanfest before the climactic final concert.
* For more details on the 2015 festival go to the website at

Time to complete residents' survey

Denbighshire County Council is inviting people to complete its 2015 residents' survey.

The survey is a way for the council to find out what people think about council services and issues in their local community.  

The council carries out the survey every two years.

In the survey, residents are asked what their communities are like as places to live, and how satisfied they are with council services in general.

After carrying out the survey, the council brings the responses together in a report, which helps them understand:
  • how much people know about us and its services 
  • their experiences of contacting the council and complaining to it 
  • what people think the council should focus on during the next four years

You can complete the 2015 residents' survey online at:

Complete the 2015 residents' survey

When you complete the survey, you will be asked to provide your postcode.  This is so that the council can ensure it gets a good spread of respondents from across the county.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Two events planned at St Collen's

Llangollen International Musical  Eisteddfod 
and St Collen’s Parish Church Llangollen 
Annual Eisteddfod Service 
Sunday 12 July 2015 at 11am 
Preacher: The Right Reverend Libby Lane 
Bishop of Stockport 
Theme: ‘For those in peril on the sea…’ 
Donations to the Mission to Seafarers 

AM asks government to help save D&C

Clwyd South Assembly Member Ken Skates has asked the Welsh Government to help save one of his constituency’s biggest employers. 
He met the remaining staff at Dobson & Crowther on Friday after the Llangollen company went into administration and made 55 out of 79 workers redundant. 
Mr Skates, who is based in the town, has written to the Welsh Government economy minister Edwina Hart about the closure. 
The Welsh Labour AM (pictured right) said: “I am working with others to do whatever possible to save Dobson & Crowther and find a new employer for people in Llangollen. 
“After a positive meeting with David Shaw from administrators Baker Tilly last week, I am encouraged by the level of interest being shown in the business and I assured the employees I will do everything in my power to help. 
“We need to keep Dobson & Crowther in Llangollen, and I have asked the Welsh Government to help us achieve that.” 
Mr Skates has secured an assurance that details of the 55 employees laid off will be passed to any company which buys the business, and also welcomed ‘positive’ news regarding the development at Dobson & Crowther’s former site. 
Sainsbury’s was due to open a store there in time for Christmas, creating 130 jobs, but announced last month it was pulling out of the project. The supermarket giant is now looking to sub-let the brand new premises, which are almost complete. 
Mr Skates said: “I have spoken to Sainsbury’s within the past week and there is plenty of interest in the site, with early discussions under way with a number of both food and non-food businesses. While these are initial talks, there are certainly positive signs.” 
He added: “There seems to be some misunderstanding about what would have been the Sainsbury’s site, with some opponents of the project happy to peddle the myth that we’ll have an empty building on the edge of town.  
“Sainsbury’s is tied into a contract, so will lose money every day that the building is not occupied. It’s in their interest to sub-let the premises, so it will be finished and it will be filled by a business – or a number of businesses – which will create jobs for Llangollen.” 
Dobson & Crowther was forced to restructure last year after the loss of its biggest customer, and was later let down when its main supplier went bust. 

Skates to meet Betsi Cadwaladr bosses

Assembly Member Ken Skates will meet NHS bosses next month to relay constituents’ concerns about Wales’s biggest health board.

Welsh Labour AM Mr Skates will welcome Betsi Cadwaladr chairman Dr Peter Higson and interim chief executive Simon Dean to Clwyd South on July 31.

He said: “The Welsh Government moved to address concerns over the NHS in North Wales by meeting the Health Inspectorate Wales and the Wales Audit Office, and then acted decisively to put Betsi Cadwaladr into special measures. This will mean its management will now be subject to rigorous monitoring, which is aimed at driving up standards.

“Some of my constituents are understandably concerned about recent developments, but the action taken should be seen as a commitment by the Welsh Government to improve the health board’s performance in every area. Dr Higson has even welcomed the move and the significant additional support it will lead to.

“I am grateful that Dr Higson and Simon Dean are keen to meet and discuss the issues affecting my constituents and address their concerns over the health service.”

Mr Skates added: “I must once again stress that Betsi Cadwaladr being put into special measures is no reflection on the NHS staff on the frontline, who do a wonderful job and run a health service the vast majority are satisfied with.”

The recently published National Survey for Wales found more than 93% of patients are satisfied with the care they receive from their GP and at hospital in North Wales, and patient satisfaction remains higher than in England. Betsi Cadwaladr came out with an average rating of 6.5 out of 10 – the second-highest in Wales.

Challenge raises thousands for Cancer Research

* Organisers and participants of the 2nd Llangollen Round Challenge in aid
of Cancer Research UK. Photo: Barrie Potter. 

ORGANISERS are hoping to have raised over £25,000 from the recent 2nd Llangollen Round Challenge in aid of Cancer Research UK.
Over the last weekend in May a total of 342 participants set out from Dinas Bran Leisure Centre – 216 of them aiming to complete 35 miles in one day and the rest aiming to finish 17 miles over two days.  

Weather conditions on the Saturday were perfect for the event - sunny but not too hot - and ideal for scenic views and photography.  
Star of the one-day competitors was local man Steve Stockdale who ran the route in an impressive seven hours, 52 minutes.  

The two-day walkers completed their walk at the Ponderosa at a more leisurely pace.
On the Sunday, after a night of rain, wind and power cuts, the intrepid walkers set out again and only two of them did not finish. 

At the leisure centre organisers also had use of Ysgol Dinas Bran’s restaurant where light snacks were laid on for walkers and supporters.  
All the walkers who returned were awarded medals and certificates.

Sandra Woodhall, chairman of Llangollen Committee of Cancer Research UK, said: “We would like to thank the school and leisure centre for providing the facilities for the event.  
“We would also like to thank all those who helped on the day, those manning the restaurant, marshalls on car park duty, road crossings, those on checkpoints and the sweepers. 

“Finally we thank all in the centre for making sure the whole operation ran smoothly. 
“It was a long, busy but satisfying weekend and we hope to raise a large sum from sponsorship for Cancer Research UK.”

She added: “We have no idea of the final amount raised but are hoping it will be well over £25,000. 
“Sponsor money is still coming in and we will probably not have the final figure for a couple of months.”