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Monday, August 31, 2015

Busker raises £200 for Llan Christmas festival

* Busker Chris Burton plays outside the Town Hall on Saturday.

A musician from Walsall helped raise over £200 for Llangollen's Christmas festival on Saturday.

Chris Burton made the money by busking outside the Town Hall for four hours supported by a gorilla and town crier Austin Cheminais.

Chris has strong links with Llangollen and is a strong supporter of the Christmas festival. 

The annual event attracts a lot of visitors to the town and raises a substantial amount of money for Wales Air Ambulance.

The festival, to be held this year on Saturday November 28, relies on fundraising events, donations and sponsorship for its income.

* If you would like to contribute or sponsor the event, the Christmas festival committee can be contacted through Llangollen’s town clerk, Gareth Thomas, at the council office.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Police seek information on car damage

North Wales Police are appealing for information following criminal damage to a blue Renault Clio  in the car park of Llangollen Youth Club.

It happened sometime between 17.30 and 22.23 on Sunday 23rd August and it’s believed a sharp implement has been used to smash all the windows of the vehicle.

If you noticed anything suspicious, or have any information relating to this incident please contact North Wales Police by dialling 101 quoting reference RC15128730. 

Alternatively, you can provide information anonymously by calling Crimestoppers Wales on 0800 555 111. North Wales Police would like to urge residents to always report suspicious activity to them at the earliest opportunity.

Friday, August 28, 2015

AM hails efforts of toilet volunteers

* Ken Skates AM unveils a plaque to mark the 10th anniversary of the re-opened toilets.

Village volunteers who saved their public toilets have marked a decade since reopening them.

Denbighshire County Council (DCC) closed the loos in the centre of Llandrillo, near Corwen, in 1998, but locals formed their own volunteer group and launched a takeover bid in 2002.

The fully refurbished facilities, complete with in-built energy-saving features, were reopened during the village carnival on August 20, 2005.

On Friday, Clwyd South Assembly Member Ken Skates unveiled a new plaque to mark the 10th anniversary.

He said: “Because it’s so picturesque, and with the Berwyn Mountains on the doorstep, Llandrillo is very popular with visitors.

"While they could enjoy beautiful countryside, free parking, shops, a pub and places to eat, dozens of walkers and ramblers were arriving with nowhere to spend a penny when the toilets were closed.

“To get to 10 years has been a fantastic team effort and shows what can be achieved when the right people with the community’s best interests at heart work together.”

Llandrillo Public Conveniences Access Group (LPCAG), formed to manage the toilets, entered in to a 20-year commitment and started with eight volunteers. There are now 25 on the rota to carry out daily duties such as cleaning.

Resident Dave Robinson, a civil engineer, was the driving force behind the project.

He said: “We started with very little information, but a business case was put together along with the results of a local questionnaire and comments from visitors when preparing the feasibility study. Having adequate income was always going to be the issue.

“However, having discussed the matter with the Llandrillo Community Council, a local precept was set at £2 to generate £900. In addition, an annual contribution from Denbighshire County Council made the venture viable.

“In the each of the 10 years of operation we have delivered a surplus, allowing investment to improve the tiling, installing a baby-changing facility and decoration.”

Additional donations are gratefully received from residents, businesses and ramblers.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Budding opera stars to sing in Llan

* Singers taking part in the course take a break from rehearsals.
PUPILS of an opera singing course in Llangollen will present a concert showcasing their talents at St John’s Church in the town tomorrow (Friday) evening.

The course has been run over the past week by opera singer Anne Williams-King, who performs both at home in Wales and abroad.

Anne said: “I have always planned to set up an opera singing studio in North Wales and Friday's concert follows a week of concentrated work in Llangollen.

“It is the first public concert of the North Wales Opera Studio which will be based and rehearse at the Llangollen Community Hall and have masterclasses and performances at venues throughout North Wales.

“Together with my husband David, I have been teaching for quite a number of years in Wales as well as London and various European countries, plus Iceland in particular. It is now time to concentrate on my homeland. So much talent to help develop.”

Anne added: “St John's is a lovely venue to present a particularly enthusiastic group of young singers.

“They will performing a varied programme of favourites such as La Traviata, Marriage of Figaro,  Carmen, The Magic Flute, La Boheme and more.

“We will no doubt expand much more in the future and, who knows, help to develop a few stars of the future.”

* The Extravaganza of Opera starts at 7.30pm in St John’s Church in Abbey Road on Friday. Tickets are £6 on the door.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Young chef's starring role at Hamper Llangollen

Britain’s youngest head chef will have a starring role at food festival in North Wales - fresh from cooking Welsh Cakes on the beach in Dubai.
Luke Thomas, of Connah’s Quay, will be among a celebrity line up at Hamper Llangollen 2015 where he will be championing fresh, local ingredients.
The 21 year old says he can’t wait to pass on some of his award winning culinary tips to festival goers.
Entrepreneurial Luke (pictured right) says he is as passionate about food as he was when he clinched the UK’s FutureChef 2009 trophy, aged just 15.
Today he is the kingpin behind a number of restaurants in Chester, the Cotswolds and Berkshire, but he remains hands-on in the kitchen.
He said: “What I enjoy doing is just browsing round the exhibitor stalls and finding some lovely local ingredients that I can cook up on the podium. It might be the plumpest local sausages, Welsh oysters or seasonal fruit and vegetables but I know there will be plenty of choice there.
“I will be aiming to make three dishes in a half hour, simple recipes using great ingredients, designed to show people that they can achieve delicious cost-effective meals at home quickly and without having to spend hours on preparation.”
This year’s Hamper Llangollen will be at the Royal International Pavilion over the weekend of October 17 and 18. It is a favourite on the culinary calendar for Luke, not least because he grew up in Wales and, when not travelling the world, he still lives at his family home in Connah’s Quay.
It is expected that this year’s 19th annual event will again attract thousands visitors to browse over 120 stalls.
The popular event in Llangollen’s Royal Pavilion is recognised as one of the UK's top 10 food festivals.
Cadwyn Clwyd has provided financial support over the past few years to ensure the festival's long term viability. This was funded through the Rural Development Fund for Wales 2007-2013, which is funded through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the Welsh Government.
Luke became the youngest head chef in the UK when at age 18 he opened Luke’s Dining Room at Sanctum on the Green, Berkshire. It won the Berkshire and Buckinghamshire Restaurant of the Year award in 2013.
Since then Luke has gone on to open Luke’s Eating House and Gin Rickey’s in Chester, partner with Puma Hotels to create Luke’s Broadway in the Cotswolds, and launch Retro Feasts, at first in London’s Mayfair and earlier this year at The Beach, Dubai.
Retro Feasts is inspired by some of Luke’s childhood favourite recipes, like home-made cottage pie.
He said: “It’s simple food with a little bit of a twist. I’ve put a modern take on some old favourites, spicing them up a bit and making them a little more exciting, fragrant and fresh, but without taking away the essentials and the old fashioned nostalgia factor.
“One concept behind Retro Feasts was to spread the word about how good British food can be. The UK is home to nature’s very best ingredients and some of the best cooks in the world. They’re all right here on our doorstep and we should be shouting about it from the rooftops.
“That’s why I love events like Hamper Llangollen. It’s a chance to get even more people involved and enthusiastic about the fabulous food surrounding us.
“I love to talk to people about cooking, and to get their honest feedback. One of my greatest passions is being able to pass on a simple tip that might help someone turn a mid-week evening meal into a real show-stopper.”
Even after several years in the business, Luke remains Britain’s youngest head chef, but despite his success he says he is always keen to learn more.
He said: “I wouldn’t lie and say I am in the kitchen seven days a week. Nowadays there’s so much going on with the way the business is so rapidly developing that it’s impossible for me to do that. But I do get in the kitchen as often as I can, whether it be in Chester, Berkshire, London or Dubai. Cooking is where I am happiest, I love the buzz of the busy fast-paced environment, the creativity and the satisfaction of serving great food.
Hamper Llangollen 2015 will also include cookery demonstrations by members of the Culinary Guild of North Wales, led by Graham Tinsley, who has cooked for the Queen, is part owner of the Castle Hotel, Conwy, and consultant chef at Carden Park Resort, Chester; Denise Baker-McLearn, of Bethesda, who specialises in creating delicious meals using ingredients which would otherwise go to waste; and comedian and musician, Silky, who will be swapping jokes for yolks, showing off his cookery skills in public for the first ever time.
Hamper Llangollen chair Colin Loughlin believes this year's festival is going to be one of the best ever.
He said: “Thanks to a whole host of indigenous companies, North East Wales is rapidly establishing a reputation as a centre of excellence for high quality cuisine.
“The food festival is a perfect shop window for the companies who form the backbone of our rural economy.
"The location of the Pavilion is absolutely spectacular - I can't imagine that any other food festival in the UK has a more beautiful setting."
* For more details about Llangollen Food Festival-Hamper Llangollen visit

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Legion branch battles with fresh numbers crisis

 * Llangollen RBL branch plays a key role in the annual Remembrance Day parade. 

LLANGOLLEN’S Royal British Legion branch has been saved from closure for the second time in 18 months.

The branch, which was founded 92 years ago in time to consecrate the town’s cenotaph in November 1923, first ran into problems in March last year when the man who had served as both its chairman and secretary had to stand down through ill-health.

In a desperate move to keep it open, another branch stalwart, John Lawton, stepped into the breach to take on both these roles on top of the position of treasurer.

Later, the branch switched its monthly meetings from the Hand Hotel in the town to Llangollen Royal Air Forces (RAFA) Club in a bid to attract new members.

But, following months of dwindling attendance figures, a fresh crisis developed when just one person turned up to the July meeting.

This meant a commemoration of the 70th anniversary of VJ - Victory over Japan – Day by the legion was unable to take place on August 15.  

However, John Lawton says a new emergency plan has since been drawn up to keep the branch afloat.   

Mr Lawton, who lives in Wrexham and previously been secretary of the Historic Warships in Birkenhead and a Petty Officer in the Sea Cadet Corps, said: “We’ve done everything we can think of get more people coming along to meetings but without success.

“After the two world wars the branch was thriving but over the years membership has gone down and down.

“I think that’s because members naturally become older and pass away and is also due to the fact that when they leave the services lots of people don’t want to be bothered thinking about them until about 20 years later when they want to look up old mates.

“It reached crisis point for our branch last month when just one person turned up for our monthly meeting at the RAFA Club.

“Unfortunately, I couldn’t even be there myself because of personal issues.”

Mr Lawton added: “The July meeting was where we were due to work out our plans for the VJ Day commemoration in Llangollen but because only one person turned up that couldn’t be done and the legion failed to mark this very important occasion as we should have done.

“There were a few more people at our August meeting and we’ve now formed a new committee and been looking at some ideas about taking the branch forward.

“We’ll be at the World Café meeting at Llangollen Town Hall on Saturday August 29, which is a forum for community groups like ours to meet the public and discuss new ideas.

“We’ve pulled the branch back from the jaws of death again but now we really need some support from the community to keep it going.”    

Monday, August 24, 2015

LlanBikeFest team's big thank you to town

* Members of the LlanBikeFest team line up to say thanks to the host town.
Organisers of LlanBikeFest 2015 have already booked to bring the show back to Llangollen Pavilion next year.
One of the team behind the popular biker event held last month, John Hutchinson, reveals the piece of forward planning in a message of thanks to residents and businesses in the area.  
He says: "Many thanks for the fantastic support received from the town and the Royal Pavilion.
"What a fantastic weekend. The weather smiled on us and everyone had a great time.
"The support we received from everyone involved was amazing, including Llangollen and District Motorcycle Club, Mayor Mike Adams, the excellent Royal Pavilion staff and local people and businesses of all shapes and sizes."
He adds: "We said from the outset that we want to make this an annual event – so we have already booked July 23 and 24, 2016.
"Apart from making the whole event bigger and better, the main thing we want to do next year is to make it a real Llangollen Festival, with lots more activity in and around the town.
"Thanks again to everyone who made LlanBikeFest 15 such a success. Roll on LlanBikeFest 16!"

Entry deadline for gardening club show

Entry forms for the Llangollen & District Open Summer Show have to be received by 6 p.m. on Wednesday, August 26.

If you need a form you can download one from the website
or email

The show opens its doors at 1 p.m. on Saturday, 29th August at St Collen's Community Hall.

Admission is 50p with under 13s free.

Dr Rhys Davies will present the trophies to the winners at 3 p.m.

There will be a plant stall, gardening book stall, refreshments and a raffle.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Support Tour of Britain urges county council

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

The North Wales leg of the Aviva Tour of Britain 2015 will take place on Sunday, September 6.

The race will travel from Conwy County in to Denbigh from the Bylchau direction.

It will go through Vale Street, Denbigh and along Ruthin Road.

The race will then head through Brookhouse, Llanrhaeadr, Rhewl and in to Ruthin. 

Later it will then head through Ruthin Town Centre and will take the Mold Road through Llanbedr Dyffryn Clwyd, Clwyd Gate, Llanferres, Loggerheads and into Flintshire.

Estimated times of arrival of first bikes:
  • Denbigh – 2.09pm
  • Llanrhaeadr – 2.18pm
  • Rhewl 2.19pm
  • Ruthin – 2.27pm
  • Llanbedr -2.31pm
  • Llanferres – 2.41pm
  • County Boundary with Flintshire – 2.46pm
The roads will be closing shortly before the race arrives and will re-open when the majority of cyclists have travelled through.

Councillor Huw Jones, Cabinet Lead Member for Community Development, said: "We are delighted that the race is coming back to North Wales and to Denbighshire. The support over the past two years has been tremendous and we hope to emulate that kind of support this year and give the cyclists a warm welcome.

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

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Gwyn the Butchers makes awards shortlist

* Gwyn's famous shop in Castle Street.

A WELL-KNOWN Llangollen butchers shop has sliced his way through to the shortlist of a prestigious national competition to find high street champions.

Gwyn Davies in Castle Street has reached the final three in the food and drink retailer category of the Welsh Government’s High Street Heroes Awards.

The competition aims to honour businesses which help to make town centres great.

Members of the public were asked to nominate individual businesses and services in the six High Street Favourites categories - food and drink, fashion, health and beauty, leisure, home and garden, professional and financial services, eating out on the high street and community service provider.

Established for almost 40 years, Gwyn Davies Butchers put their success down
to providing the local community with quality meat and a friendly, personal service.

Over the years, owner Gwyn has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for charities, from supporting local raffles and selling tickets for local events, to supporting major fundraising events in aid of Welsh Air Ambulance and The Shooting Star Appeal for a dedicated cancer treatment unit at Wrexham Maelor Hospital.

As the one of the longest standing businessman in Llangollen, Gwyn was recently honoured to receive a visit from HRH Prince Charles, who was in the town for the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod.

Gwyn is a Welsh speaker, which he feels really helps when interacting with his customers and in helping to keep the language alive.

Gwyn said: “You can’t beat a high street location for footfall; my old landlord called our high street the ‘golden mile’.

“It’s so important to support local high streets, we’re very lucky in Llangollen, that there are no empty shops, which unfortunately can’t be said for many towns.

“It’s a great honour to have been nominated in the High Street Heroes Awards. It’s nice to know our customers appreciate us!”

The winners of all categories will be announced during High Street Week, 19–26 September 2015.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Town Council seeks public support for initiatives

The Town Council is seeking the public's support for two important community initiatives it is running.

The first is the Llangollen Community Cafe event on August 29 at the Town Hall.

The event will be an open door drop in session between 11.00 am and 3.00 pm, preceded by Cittaslow Llangollen AGM at 10.00am.    

Ken Skates AM, Susan Elan Jones MP, the Town Mayor Cllr, Major Mike Adams, and Cllr Sheena Burrell, chair of Cittaslow Llangollen have all agreed to host tables. 

Town clerk Gareth Thomas said: "Please come and have a coffee, put your ideas and concerns on the table and try to find workable solutions to issues that matter to you.  Don't miss out on your chance to help plan for the future of the town."

At them August 29 event the Town Mayor will launch this year’s Community Support Grants for
Voluntary Organisations.  

Working with Cittaslow Llangollen, the Town Council is offering Community Support Grants to fund facilities, equipment and activities that are important to the local community. 

These awards must benefit members of the community in general and are limited to the geographic area of the Llangollen Town Council electoral boundaries.  

Town clerk Gareth Thomas said: "It has been proven over the years that small cash grants can really make a big difference in helping communities get schemes and projects started.

"The Town Council are keen to support projects that will make Llangollen more innovative, safe, welcoming, supportive and caring, business friendly and accessible."
The Community Support Grants are funded under the Town Council participatory budgeting fund and therefore as in previous years the Residents of Llangollen will help the Council, and Cittaslow Llangollen, decide how this money is spent and a residents voting event which will take place on the Monday October 19 in the Town Hall. 

Application forms for the scheme will be available after the launch date.

The total cost of each project should not be greater than £500 and lower-cost projects are encouraged to maximise the number of projects that can be helped. 

Your project should be capable of being finished, and your grant paid to you, by or on February 29, 2016 and the closing date for applications is September 30.
If you have in the past been a recipient of a grant from the Town Council or would simply like to have a presence at the Community Cafe then space is available.
* For more information on either of these two initiatives contact the town clerk, Gareth Thomas, on 01978 861345, or by email at:

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Record GCSE results for Dinas Bran

* Girls jump for joy after receiving their GCSE results.

Delighted students celebrated record results at Ysgol Dinas Brân today. 

Overall, 68% of students achieved the ‘gold standard’ level 2+, an increase of 8% on results in 2014, and the highest number ever achieved by the school. 

Additionally, 100% of students achieved the level 2 threshold or the equivalent of five A*-C  GCSE passes.  Both figures are well in excess of national averages.

Over 80% of grades awarded in English and over 70% of grade in Maths were at grade C or better. 

More than half the grades awarded in Biology, Chemistry, Music,  Additional Maths, ICT, Physics, Small Animal Care and Art and Design were at A*/A.

Many students performed beyond their wildest dreams. 

Jessica Brown from Llangollen achieved an amazing 11 A* grades plus a Distinction in Additional Maths. 

Elinor Barnett achieved an incredible eight A* grades (as well as three A grades and a Distinction in Additional Maths) as did Declan Clifford (with two A grades and a Distinction in Additional Maths).  Both students are from Llangollen.

Other high-achieving students included:

Elinor McSorley* (from Glyndyfdrwy) - seven A* grades, three A grades, one B grade, Distinction in Additional Maths.

Andrew Melville* (Chirk) - six A* grades, four A grades, one B grade, Distinction in Additional Maths.

Taliesin Boswell (Glyn Ceiriog)  - five A* grades, six A grades, 1 B grade.
Bethan Morris* (Llangollen)  - five A* grades, six A grades, Distinction in Additional Maths.

Charlie Hackforth* (Corwen) - five A* grades, six A grades, Distinction in Additional Maths.

Adam York (Glyn Ceiriog) - five A* grades, three A grades, Distinction in Additional Maths
Niamh Connaughton  (Llangollen)  Four A* grades, six A grades, one B grade.

Jamie Turner (Glyn Ceiriog) - three A* grades, seven A grades, one B grade, Pass in Additional Maths.

Stephen McAndrew* (Corwen) - three A* grades, five A grades, two B grades, one C grade,  Pass in Additional Maths.

Chris Tipuric* (Llangollen) - three A* grades, three A grades, three B grades, one C grade.

*  Elinor, Andrew, Bethan, Charlie, Stephen and Chris all sat their exams in 2014 at the age of 15, as students on a fast-track programme. They are all now in the middle of their A level courses and received their AS results last week.

Julian Gonzalez, a fast-track Year 10 student, followed up his recent win in the piano solo section at the National Eisteddfod with a fantastic set of GCSE results including eight A* grades.

Julian will now go on to take his AS levels next year.  Bethany Carol, another Year 10 fast-track student achieved nine A* grades.

Pupils across Denbighshire are celebrating excellent examination results this year, says the county council.
Early indications show that approximately 66% of students have achieved A* - C grades which is in line with the national figure. Approximately 85% of pupils have achieved 5A* - C or equivalent which continues a trend of achievement in excess of 80%. 
Overall, early indications show that achievement in Denbighshire this year reflects the national picture.  There have been some outstanding personal successes.
Councillor Eryl Williams, Cabinet Lead Member for Lifelong Learning, said: “These results are very pleasing and I would like to congratulate all students who have achieved the grades needed to further their education with support from their teachers.”

* Julian Gonzalez receives an excellent set of results.

* Jessica Brown with her results.

* A group of Dinas Bran boys celebrate their results.

Fringe bosses delighted with expanding audience

DIRECTORS of the Llangollen Fringe say they are delighted with the “developing and expanding” audience that the festival is attracting.

Bosses of the annual multi-media arts event have just met to review this year’s 18th Fringe which was held over 10 days at the end of last month.

Director Graham Timms said: “Whilst it is always a huge risk to for a small festival to invite such big stars to take part, we are delighted with the developing and expanding audience.

* The Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra who
appeared at this year's Fringe
“This year showed yet again the wonderful support of a local audience and those who come from much further to be here in Llangollen during the festival. 

“The opportunity to see artists like 9 Bach, the Felice Brothers, Lee Scratch Perry and Lee Thompson in small intimate venues is a rare treat. 

“Analysis of the pulling power of the festival revealed a big increase in the average distance that people travelled to this year’s events.

“An average journey of 34.7 miles this year compares very favourably with a 20.9 mile average journey in 2013 and a 28 mile journey in 2014.

“We are delighted that we continue to attract people who live a long way from Llangollen who then enable the festival to make a greater effect on the economic prosperity of the town as well as adding to its rich artistic and musical life.”

Mr Timms added: “The total value of individual internet sales rose by 50 per cent on the 2013 figure, going up from an average total of £33.45 to £47.03 over just two years.

“Whilst success cannot just be measured in pounds, we are delighted that the cultural offering of the festival enabled us to have a secure financial future as we begin looking at the programme for next year.”

Fringe directors want to know what people think about the festival and say they are particularly interested in how they can develop in new ways to continue to draw more people into music and the arts for 2016.

They can be contacted by email at:, or by telephoning 0800 1455 779 with any ideas or suggestions.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

AM demands answers over rail bridge

Network Rail has been urged to ‘get a move on’ and open a completed footbridge funded by the Welsh Government at Chirk Station.

Assembly Member Ken Skates (pictured) has demanded answers as to why the bridge – part of a £2m project to improve access – is still closed to the public.

Mr Skates, Welsh Labour AM for Clwyd South, wrote to Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne way back in June to ask what was going on, and was told the delay was because CCTV cameras needed to be in place. 

Mr Skates said: “The company said it was ‘working hard with Arriva Trains Wales to achieve this more quickly’, but no timescale has been given.

"It’s hardly surprising that people are getting fed up with waiting – this is taking far too long.

“The Welsh Labour Government has invested £2m in Chirk Station and local residents and commuters still aren’t able to utilise the improvements we’ve paid for.”

The funding was part of a project which saw £12m injected into five stations across Wales.

At Chirk, the money has delivered a ramped footbridge, providing access for disabled people on platform one (trains travelling northbound) for the first time. The work also includes creating an accessible drop-off point, disabled car park spaces and improved signage. 

Mr Skates said: “After I wrote to Network Rail over problems with the station’s car park – which was only half-open – it was quickly resolved. I would urge the company to get a move on and show the same efficiency with this matter.”

He added: “This is an excellent project and I’m delighted that the Welsh Labour Government has been able to reward those who have campaigned hard for investment and improved access, such as the brilliant Friends of Chirk Station. It’s a shame we can’t see the results.”

Businessman Graham Greasley, who runs Gateway Heritage Tours, said he recently had to help an elderly lady and her grandson haul three huge cases up the station steps to the car park because there was no alternative.

Graham said: “They had come up from South Wales and were traveling around the UK for several weeks. She commented that it was very poor, and I had to agree.

“Here we are in the peak holiday season, with lots of visitors arriving and the bridge and ramp is still not open. And what about disabled access to the Chester platform?

“It's absolutely disgusting it’s still closed – Network Rail should get sorted.”

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Operatic to stage new season social

Llangollen Operatic Society has asked llanblogger to post the following notice ...

Ruby wedding party raises £1,000 for air ambulance

Llangollen's town crier has something to shout about after he raised £1,000 for the Wales Air Ambulance at his 40th wedding anniversary party.

Austin “Chem” and Jane Cheminais (pictured left) held their ruby celebration for relatives and friends in the Town Hall.

The party was a great success with bar profits and a collection raising £1,000 for the air ambulance.

Chem said: "Jane and I would like to thank everyone for their generosity and for making our evening really special."

* The couple pictured below  in 1975, the year they were married.

Monday, August 17, 2015

New school wins AM’s praise

Assembly Member Ken Skates has paid tribute to a head teacher and her staff after a new school’s first Estyn report was published.

Welsh-medium Ysgol Bro Dyfrdwy in Cynwyd, near Corwen, was established in 2013 following the merger of Ysgol Maes Hyfryd and Ysgol Llandrillo.

Estyn inspectors visited the school – based at the old Maes Hyfryd site – in June and published their report this week, rating both current performance and prospects for improvement as ‘good’.

Mr Skates, Labour AM for Clwyd South, (pictured left) praised the work done by head teacher Eirian Owain, who was previously head at Maes Hyfryd, and her team.

He said: “This is an extremely encouraging first report, which highlights a high standard of teaching and the school’s excellent leadership and management over the past two and a half years. It’s also very pleasing to see the inspectors note the care and support the children receive every day.

“Mrs Owain and her staff have overseen great changes and have still managed to ensure the children receive a high quality education. I’m sure the parents will be delighted with this.”

The Estyn report notes that:

* Nearly all pupils make good progress in their learning and produce work of a good standard

* The vast majority concentrate well in lessons and show interest and pride in their work

* Most pupils use language effectively and confidently 

* The children’s behaviour is praiseworthy and they are extremely respectful

* Teachers lead effective and interesting lessons that motivate pupils to learn 

* The school provides thoroughly for pupils who have additional learning needs 

Inspectors also said ‘there is a very strong feeling of teamwork among the staff’ and that ‘members of the governing body have a strong commitment to their responsibilities and contribute consistently to setting a strategic direction for the life and work of the school’.

Mr Skates added: “It’s brilliant to see so many key strengths identified by the inspectors and the future looks bright for Ysgol Bro Dyfrdwy and the children of Cynwyd. It’s a fantastic report.”

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Cycling vicar raises £3,500 for chosen charity

* The Rev Andrew Sully at the signpost at
John O'Groats
with his godson Ioan Hegarty and
 Ioan's mother, Liza Tercero,
who also took part in the cycling marathon. 
LLANGOLLEN’S cycling vicar has just pedalled his way to a £3,500 bonus for his chosen charity.

Over the past few years the Rev Andrew Sully of St Collen’s Church has done a number of fundraising rides for good causes.

His latest challenge was the gruelling 10-day LEJOG marathon from Land’s End to John O’Groats in aid of Action Duchenne, a charity which supports parents of sons with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy as well as lobbying for greater investment in research to find a genetic cure for the condition usually only affecting males.
Mr Sully took on the tough test alongside 18 other cyclist from around the country and together they raised a total of £80,000 – his share of which is £3,500 and possibly £4,000.

He said: “Starting at a very wet and blustery Land's End on Sunday July 26, the route took us west through Cornwall and  Devon then north through Somerset, Wiltshire,  Avon and Bristol, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Shropshire and Cheshire.
“On the fourth day we arrived in Wigan before continuing north through Lancaster, Carlisle and Penrith and then further north to Gretna Green and south Lanarkshire.

“After bypassing Glasgow, we continued up Loch Lomond, Glen Coe, Fort Augustus, Loch Ness, Inverness, then north into the highlands before reaching Thurso and John O'Groats on Tuesday August 4.”
Mr Sully added: “It was a real challenge with the first four days particularly long ones when we arrived at journey's end as late as 9.30, 8.30 and 7.45pm.

“Thereafter we learned not to 'faff about' so much at stops along the way and became more disciplined as the miles slipped away and we learned to get 50 miles in before lunch so that we had broken the back of the cycling in the morning and early afternoon.
“It was encouraging to learn of the total raised at the start , £70 000, which was increased every day by £1,000, so that by the end we had raised over £80 000.

“My own personal fundraising currently stands at £3,500.
“I'm hoping to be able to raise £4,000 before the closing date for sponsorship money at the end of September.”

* Mr Sully’s Justgiving charity page is: www.justgiving/andrew-sully1

Saturday, August 15, 2015

New Dot Cinema attracts another big audience

* Cinema-goers queue for popcorn in the interval.

Llangollen's new community cinema attracted another full house for its second film-show staged at the Town Hall last night (Friday).

New Dot Cinema was set up earlier this year by a group of film buff friends to re-create the fun of the town's old Dorothy Cinema in Castle Street which screened its final movie back in 1963 before bringing down the final curtain.

New Dot - the name was chosen in homage to the original flicks - had its smash-hit debut performance with French-made 2011 Oscar-winner The Artist last month.

And it stayed with the Gallic influence to put on its latest offering, PlayTime, by French comedy master Jacques Tati and dating from 1967.

It's an enchanting piece of cinema in which Monsieur Hulot becomes increasingly perplexed by the intimidating complexity of a gadget-filled Paris.

Few who know nothing about French cinema of that era will have ever seen anything quite like it before.

* Low lighting helps create the right atmosphere.
Ahead of the main feature came a couple of shorts, one of which had legendary American newsman Walter Cronkite narrating a fascinating little piece which gave some mid-1960s impressions on how the home might develop thanks to a series of incredible gadgets by the year 2001.

But who can ever imagine being able to sit at a device which brings you the latest news, weather, TV guide and share prices at the touch of button without ever having to leave the comfort of your kitchen?

New Dot not only shows classic films but also strives to bring a touch of the 40/50s bijou cinema experience to Llan.

On top of the usual dim lights, sofas, popcorn and delicious cakes on offer there was also a definite French flavour to last night's session, with wine and cheese from the country being sold at the bar and a number of cinema-goers dressing in chic French 60s style.

Next month, on Friday September 11, sees New Dot bringing to the Town Hall's silver screen another French offering, Wonderland Special: The Science of Sleep, a 2006 Michel Gondry film celebrating the 150th anniversary of the publication of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

October 9's screening will be a Halloween special entitled Carnival of Souls, from the USA and dating from 1962.

November 13 sees Northern Soul, a 2015 British movie telling the sweat-soaked story of a youth culture said to have changed a generation.

Tickets for New Dot - £8 and £5 concessions - are available on the door on the night or from Bailey's Deli and Lottie's Bespoke Vintage in the town or online at

Friday, August 14, 2015

More details of rope swing fall drama

The Daily Post website has a story this afternoon giving more details about how quick-thinking canoeists rescued a woman who had suffered a fall from a rope swing near the Horseshoe Falls.

For the full story see:

Railway's gala weekend marks three big dates

* Llangollen's own ex-GWR Large Prairie 2-6-2T No.5199
will be a star of the Along Branch Lines gala weekend.
This year sees three major anniversaries for the Llangollen Railway.
It's now been 150 years since the line between Llangollen and Corwen officially opened, 50 years since it closed and 40 years since the preservation society was first formed. 
The heritage railway’s Along Branch Lines weekend not only aims to celebrate these major milestones, but also to stir up memories of the way the region’s railways once looked by running a mixture of unusual trains, ranging from short pick-up goods trains to four and five coach passenger trains in authentic liveries.

The three-day weekend event, from September 11-13, is steam operated with an intensive timetable featuring a variety of different types of trains, including an ‘auto train’.
This is the train most often associated with Great Western branch line services and would usually consist of just one or two coaches worked in push-pull mode by a small steam engine.
Two special guest locomotives will be in attendance for the event, GWR Small Prairie' type 2-6-2T loco No.5542 visiting from the Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Railway and LMS Jinty type 0-6-0T loco No.47406 from the Great Central Railway at Loughborough.
These will join the home fleet, drawn from ex-GWR Large Prairie 2-6-2T No.5199, GWR Heavy Freight 2-8-0 No.3802 and GWR Pannier Tank No.6430.
Another feature will be the recreation of a pick-up goods train, which were regular sights on many lines up until the 1960s.
These ambled along from station to station, collecting and delivering a wide variety of goods wagons as they went.   
A new feature for the Along Branch Lines gala will be the opening of a permanent line-side viewing area near to Berwyn Tunnel.
A temporary area enabling visitors and photographers to experience the sight of steam locomotives working hard up the 1 in 80 Berwyn Bank proved popular during the line's Steel, Steam & Stars IV gala earlier in the year.
Tickets are now on sale through the Llangollen Railway's website at discounted rates.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Another year of excellent A Level results at Dinas Bran

* Dinas Bran pupils jump for joy after receiving their A Level results.

It was another year of excellent results at Ygol Dinas Brân today as Year 13 students celebrated.

97% achieved the benchmark level 3 threshold, with well over half the grades awarded to students at A*-B.
Many students achieved terrific individual success.   

Among them were Joanna Stallard who was awarded one A*grade in English Literature, two A grades in RE and History and a B grade in French.  

Joanna will now go on study History at Exeter University.   

Joanna McHugh gained an A* in Mathematics and A grades in Further Maths and Spanish. 

She will now continue her studies at Bath University reading International Management and Modern Languages. 

Madeline Brown achieved three A grades in Religious Education, English Literature, History and  B grades in English Language and Drama. 

Maddy will now go on to study English at York University. 

Steven Hughes achieved three A grades in Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics and a B grade in Physics.   Steven will now study Chemical Physics at Bristol University in 2016.

Other students who achieved particularly highly included:

Hannah Gallimore   one A* grade one A grade one B grade

Samantha Viney   one A* grade 2 B grades

Ben Larwood   2 A grades 2 B grades

Bethan Phillips   one  A* grade 2 B grades

Will Hawkes   two A grades, one B grade, one D grade
Headteacher Martyn Froggett said:  “A big well done to all our students.  They have worked hard and deserve their success.  We wish them all the best for the future.  I would like to thank too all the staff for the support they have given the students and the parents too."


Groups urged to bid for seized crime cash

* Police and Crime Commissioner, Winston Rodick , PACT Chairman
David Williams, assistant chief constable of North Wales
Police Richard Debicki and Julian Sandham, the
Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, North Wales.

Community groups across North Wales are being urged to bid for a pot of money seized from criminals in a move described as "poetic justice" by a crime tsar.
Up for grabs is a total of £42,000 for the successful organisations who pledge to run projects to tackle anti-social behaviour and combat crime and disorder.
Two groups from each of the region's six counties will receive £3,000 apiece and £6,000 is available for a group that operates across North Wales.
The winning candidates will be chosen by a public vote later this year.
The ‘Your Community, Your Choice’ scheme has been launched by North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Winston Roddick CB QC and Assistant Chief Constable Richard Debicki  in partnership with the North Wales Police and Community Trust (PACT).
It is being jointly funded by money recovered through the Proceeds of Crime Act, using cash confiscated from offenders, and the Commissioner’s Fund.
Community groups are being urged to apply between September 1 and October 2.
Application packs can be found on the websites of the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner and North Wales Police.
A shortlist of applicants will be chosen by a special panel and from November 1 members of the public will decide which groups to support with a vote via the two websites and a dedicated email address.
Voting will then take place between October 26 and November 27.
Commissioner Roddick said: "It’s an outstanding idea. Not only does it go to worthy causes but it has the sound of justice all around it.
"This is poetic justice at work because we're confiscating the ill-gotten gains of villains and redistributing the money where it’s needed.
"It will be used by groups and organisations, all of whom will be doing something to combat crime and disorder or anti-social behaviour and that is very appropriate.
"The money is going where it’s going to make a difference in reducing crime and in improving the quality of the communities which suffer the crime."
It was a sentiment echoed by Assistant Chief Constable Debicki.
He said: "It is a very good thing for community groups to be able to access pots of money in order to be able to reduce crime and disorder within their communities and improve the quality of life for the community in their area.
"It sends a really positive message that money taken from the pockets of criminals is being recycled. This is turning bad money into good money that's being used for a constructive purpose.
"We really value our relationships with the public and we recognise that we can’t reduce crime and disorder on our own.  It’s a partnership and a joint effort with other agencies but absolutely crucial and critically is the public themselves.
"The public often are the ones who know what the things are that will work best in their area and for them to be able to bid into a pot of money is a really positive thing."
According to PACT chairman David Williams, it was also a very democratic process because the public will be able to decide who gets the money.
Mr Williams said: "One of the real pluses of the scheme is that ultimately it’s the public who has the voice and who will say which projects will go forward and are worthy of this important money.
"And very appropriately, one of the conditions is that the people who apply for this money have to be doing something that combats anti-social behaviour or addresses crime and disorder in some way.
"The aims Your Community, Your Choice scheme also coincide with the objectives of the Commissioner's Police and Crime Plan so it creates a virtuous circle."
The opening date is September 1 and completed applications must be returned via email to by the closing date on October 2. For more information ring 01745 588516 or go to or
Here's where the money went last year:
Anglesey (£3,000 each) – Bodedern Friends, sports training for children aged five-18, and Frindiau Parc Rhosybol, new play area.
Conwy (£3,000 each) – Llanfairfechan Town FC, community facility at football ground, and Llandudno Neighbourhood Watch Drop-in Centre, crime prevention initiative.
Denbighshire (£3,000 each) – Prestatyn and Meliden Community Action Group, activities for young teens and pensioners, and Dragon Riders, Rhyl, community bike riding project.
Flintshire (£3,000 each) - WEA Cymru in partnership with Clwyd Alyn Supported Living Project, art focused workshops for young people, and Groundwork North Wales, volunteering and learning opportunities for young people.
Gwynedd (£,3000 each) – Welsh Institute of Therapeutic Horsemanship, horse-based therapy for disadvantaged young people, and Gisa Mentro Mlaen Project, Caernarfon, independent living for vulnerable people.
Wrexham (£3,000 each) – Caia Park Partnership, outdoor pursuits courses for young people, and The Warehouse Project, help for young homeless people.
Pan-North Wales project (£6,000) – Dangerpoint, Talacre, Flintshire, education and life skills for young people.  

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Woman hospitalised after Horseshoe Falls incident

The Daily Post in reporting this morning that a woman was hospitalised after a rope swing fall at the Horseshoe Falls yesterday.

For the full story, see:

French film star visits new health centre

*Monsieur Hulot takes a look along the river frontage of Llangollen's new health centre. 

The next film to be shown at New Dot Cinema Llangollen stars a famous French character called Monsieur Hulot.

* ... takes a peek inside
A bit like Mr Bean, he doesn't say much but the humour comes from his movements and interactions
throughout the film.

"He often seems curious but bemused about his environment," explains cinema programmer Simon Proffitt.

"In PlayTime he encounters modern 1960s Paris which is shiny, new and full of high-tech gadgets.

"We wondered what he would make of our new health centre here in Llangollen."

The health centre, which is to open later in the year, had a recent preview day where locals were able to wander around and inspect the new facilities and attractive modern landscaping on the north bank of the River Dee.

Members of the New Dot team were inspired to don a Monsieur Hulot-style raincoat, trilby and bow tie, all sourced locally at one of Llangollen's vintage clothes shops, and pose for some photos.

Simon added: "The next film evening will have a 1960s, slightly French feel.

* ... and around the front.
"We're running our own bar this time, which will include a selection of good French wines accompanied by tasters of French cheese.

"The music will be a mixture of 60s jazz and interesting retro-future sounds. We're also hoping our volunteer cake-bakers will pull some tarte tatins and gateaux out of their hats!"

PlayTime (certificate PG) by celebrated French film maker Jacques Tati is considered the finest of his work.

It will be screened this Friday, August 14, at Llangollen Town Hall in Castle Street.

Doors open at 7pm, showtime is 7.30pm. Some cushions are provided, but feel free to bring your own.

The community cinema is run entirely by volunteers. Tickets are available online at or at Baileys Deli on Castle Street and Lotties Bespoke Vintage on Oak Street, Llangollen, priced at £8 (£5).

Last month's inaugural performance was completely sold out, so organisers' advice is to buy tickets soon to avoid disappointment.