Get in touch ...

Know of something happening in
us on

E-mail your contributions to:

We are on Facebook at

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

llanblogger takes a short break

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

Railway's steam gala this weekend

Llangollen Railway's annual Autumn Steam Gala is taking place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday this week and offers fun for all the family.

There will be five historic steam locomotives in operation, working an intensive timetable between Llangollen and Corwen, with many attractions and activities going on along the line.

Visiting the line specially for the weekend is a Victorian-era steam locomotive, No.12322, which was originally built for the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway in 1896 and its normal base in Greater Manchester.

Adults and children alike can explore the railway with the fun quiz, whilst at Carrog station the miniature steam railway will be in operation, offering rides in the station yard. The scenes of yesteryear will be recreated at Berwyn, with demonstrations of parcel loading taking place at 12.20pm and 2pm on each of the three days.

Look out for Walter the prized racing pigeon being loaded onto the train, along with milk churns, parcels and Cuthberts seeds boxes!

On the Friday and Saturday evenings, a special Real Ale shuttle service will be in operation between Llangollen and Glyndyfrdwy stations, where the line's Cambrian Bar will be open.

On the Sunday, two long-scrapped steam locomotives will be recreated. Resident No.7822 'Foxcote Manor' will be running as a sister No. 7811 'Dunley Manor', which was based at Shrewsbury and Wrexham sheds for a time.

The 50th anniversary of the closure of the much lamented Somerset & Dorset Railway will also be marked by the renumbering of resident BR Standard locomotive No. 80072 as former S&D stalwart No.80043. After the gala, No.80072 will be transported south by road to the former S&D station at Midsomer Norton, where it will be in operation on a restored stretch of the route.

Construction work on the railway's new western terminus at Corwen Central can be viewed on all three days of the gala. Guided tours will be on offer at regular intervals, with volunteers on-hand to discuss progress on the new station.

The Souvenir Guide for the gala, including all timetables, events and quiz, is available to download for free from the Llangollen Railway's website:

Discounted advance tickets for one, two and three day rover tickets are now available from the railway's website, offering considerable savings (up to £24) on prices on the day.

Monday, August 29, 2016

AM becomes breast cancer champion

North Wales Assembly Member Mark Isherwood has demonstrated his support for women with breast cancer by becoming an ambassador for leading charity Breast Cancer Now.

Mr Isherwood joins 17 Assembly Members across Wales who are pledging their support to Breast Cancer Now – the UK’s largest breast cancer charity – to remind fellow politicians and constituents alike that breast cancer is not a ‘done deal’ and that immediate action must be taken to stop the disease taking lives.

Around 600 women are still dying from breast cancer each year in Wales. Breast Cancer Now will be working closely with Breast Cancer Ambassadors to help them take action to tackle breast cancer in their local areas and in the Welsh Assembly, and to ensure that Wales’ most common cancer remains high on the political agenda.

By bringing together the brightest, boldest and most influential policymakers, scientists, fundraisers and campaigners across the country, Breast Cancer Now believes that by 2050 everyone who develops breast cancer will live – but only if we all act now.

Mr Isherwood (pictured) said: “Too many women are still dying from breast cancer in Wales. We must act now if we are to finally put an end to deaths from the disease and I am therefore very proud to support Breast Cancer Now and their bold 2050 ambition.

“Together, we urgently need to put the spotlight back on this dreadful disease locally and nationally. By becoming a Breast Cancer Ambassador, I will ensure that action is taken on behalf of the women and families affected by breast cancer within North Wales.”

Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now, said: “We are so grateful to have the support of Mark in the Welsh Assembly. Around 600 mothers, daughters and sisters in Wales are still losing their lives to breast cancer each year and we all need to work together to put a stop to this.

“If we all act now, we believe that by 2050 everyone who develops breast cancer will live. With the help of our Breast Cancer Ambassadors, we can ensure that those affected by breast cancer in Wales are not forgotten.”

Breast Cancer Now – the new charity created from the merger of Breast Cancer Campaign and Breakthrough Breast Cancer – launched in June 2015, aiming to unite everybody affected by the disease to ensure that we are the generation that finally stops women dying from it.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Opportunity for talented young artists

Criw Celf Denbighshire is seeking applications from those transitioning from Year 6 to Year 7 this September.

Criw Celf is a pan North Wales arts programme for more able and talented young artists.

The aim of the scheme is to allow children who have shown artistic promise and an interest in art to practice and develop their skills, with master classes led by professional artists in a variety of disciplines and at venues throughout Denbighshire.

The scheme has been running for five years in Denbighshire and since 2007 in Gwynedd.  I

n that time, members have benefitted from a huge and diverse range of masterclasses with artists such as Catrin Howell, Becky Adams and Michael Brennand-Wood.

Mediums have included ceramics, wood-work, metal-work, painting and drawing skills, installation work and many more.

Members attend a series of six one-day masterclasses on a Saturday or Sunday, culminating in a series of exhibitions around the county.  Each member also receives an art pack containing various high quality art materials.

There are two Criw Celf taster days being run this September.  If you are in year 7 from September, and would like to attend before deciding if you would like to join, please choose from the two sessions below :

* Saturday 17 September at Loggerheads Country Park, 10am till 3pm

* Sunday 18 September at Rhyl Town Hall, 10am till 3pm

Booking is essential as places are limited: please phone Jo McGregor, Criw Celf Co-ordinator on 07799 582766 or email  Please bring a packed lunch with you on the day and wear suitable clothing.

Those who wish to join Criw Celf will need to submit the following for assessment:

·        A 2D self portrait, created using any art material or combination of art materials (no more than A3 sized paper)

·        * A drawing of the view from any window in their home, created using any art material or combination of art materials  (no more than A3 sized paper)

·        * A short paragraph explaining why you would like to join Criw Celf (no more than 50 words)

You do not need to attend one of the taster sessions in order to submit work.  Please ensure all submissions include name, age, school, home address and home telephone number on the back of each piece of work.

The deadline for submissions is 30 September 2016.  An annual membership fee of £35 is payable by each student.

Applicants from Denbighshire should post their entries to: Criw Celf, Ruthin Craft Centre, Park Road, Ruthin LL15 1BB.

For more information,  contact Jo McGregor on 07799 582766 /
Criw Celf is funded by the Arts Council of Wales and by the North Wales Local Authorities. 

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Police urge bikers to stay safe this weekend

P113778436 3
The Chief Constable of North Wales has been out on patrol on the region’s roads urging motorcyclists to stay safe.

Mark Polin (pictured) was out on a police motorbike as part of the force’s ongoing campaign to reduce deaths and serious injuries on the roads of North Wales.

Operation Darwen, a force-wide campaign which runs from Easter through until early autumn, will continue over the forthcoming bank holiday weekend, whereby officers will target accident hotspots and crackdown on the Fatal 5 offences – which includes dangerous driving and speeding.

So far during 2016 (1st January – August 17th) there have been 47 KSI (killed seriously injured) collisions involving all motorists on the roads of North Wales compared to 51 during the whole of 2015. So far this year four motorcyclists have been killed compared to two during the same period in 2015.

Some of the high speeds involving motorcyclists recorded by officers from the Roads Policing Unit include 109mph on the A5 at Dinmael in Corwen, and a 105mph on the A470 at Maenan, Llanrwst. Both face a court appearance.

The campaign also sees officers from GoSafe, the all Wales casualty reduction partnership being deployed on routes looking at all motorists.  Some of the highest speeds recorded by GoSafe being 104 and 109mph.  During May alone 60 NIP (Notice of Intended Prosecution) letters were sent out to motorcyclists.

The Chief Constable said: “As a passionate biker myself I am proud to offer my full backing for Operation Darwen.

"We are committed to keeping people safe on the roads and our message is clear - we want people to enjoy the freedom of the road but to do so safely and responsibly. Anyone who chooses to ignore the safety message will be dealt with robustly.

“All too often police and our partners in the other emergency services are called to serious and fatal road traffic collisions across North Wales. Staying safe on the road applies to every single one of us, whether we have two or four wheels on our vehicle. I would urge riders and drivers to think about their behaviour and what changes they could make to improve their own safety and that of other road users. Positive action will be taken against those who flout the law.”

The priority routes that police patrol include the A494 between Dolgellau and Bala, the A525 from Ruthin to Bwlchgwyn, the A525/A539 Ruabon, Overton and Redbrook, the A5 between Betws-y-Coed and Corwen, the A543 between Denbigh and Pentrefoelas and the A5104/A494 Bryneglwys to Corwen. The route known as the ‘EVO Traingle’ is also patrolled which incorporates the A483, A5 and the B4501.

Over a five year period between 2011 and 2015, 118 motorcyclists have been killed on the priority routes.

Chief Inspector Darren Wareing from the Force’s Roads Policing Unit said: “August bank holiday is traditionally one of the busiest times for motorcyclists.

“We have done a lot of analytical work over the years – this isn’t about us simply targeting bikers for the sake of it. Statistics are telling us that those who are involved in collisions are men aged in their 40’s and 50’s – sometimes a little bit older, who come off their bike on either a weekend or on a Wednesday between midday and 5pm. Their fatigue then gets the better of them on a right-hand or left-hand bend.

“Whilst the vast majority of motorists drive or ride appropriately, some choose to use the roads as a racetrack, committing serious breaches of road safety legislation, such as speeding and driving or riding dangerously thereby putting themselves and other road users at risk of death or life changing injury.”

He added: “Our message is two-fold – we are simply asking bikers to enjoy our beautiful region safely and abide by the law. And secondly we are urging other road users to be mindful of the possible increase of bikes on the roads this weekend, be aware of their vulnerability and take extra care to look out for them.”

Bikers are also being urged to ensure they are wearing the correct protective equipment when riding, even during the warm weather. Tyres should always be checked as worn or under inflated tyres haven previously been a common theme during collisions.

Chief Inspector Wareing added: “Motorists should be mindful that we will use all available tactics to us – and that includes unmarked vehicles. Over recent months we have also caught other road users driving at inappropriate speeds and these are all being dealt with accordingly.

“So far this year we’ve had four fatal collisions involving motorcycles therefore we are urging all road users to stay safe on the roads and take extra care.

“Reducing casualties remains one of our top priorities and Operation Darwen is one of the many campaigns and initiatives that we run throughout the year targeting high-risk road users. It is not about alienating the motorcycling community – it is about education and enforcement.

“We will continue to target, with a view to prosecution, all those that ride or drive dangerously, at excess speed, overtake on solid white lines or commit any other road traffic offences. Please heed the warning.”

Throughout the campaign BikeSafe representatives have been out speaking to riders at various events and locations across the region promoting the *free workshops.  To book a space on a workshop please visit their website via

Social media users can follow the campaign via the #OpDarwen and #RideSafely hashtags.
Note: *Bikesafe workshops are subject to a booking fee.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Meeting will consider Town Square plan

The Town Council is holding a Community Cafe event on Saturday September 24 at Llangollen Town Hall. 

The event will be a drop in session from 11am-3pm.

Proposals for the creation of a new “Town Square” based around the War Memorial will be on display for consideration and comment.

Town clerk Gareth Thomas said: "Representatives of the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod will also be in attendance as they see that it is an ideal opportunity for their team to engage with the town.

"It is also hoped that Ken Skates AM and Susan Elan Jones MP, will attend as they have for previous café sessions.  

"Please come and have a coffee, put your ideas and concerns on the table and try to find a workable solution to move these plans forward.  Don't miss out on your chance to help plan for the future of the town."
* For more information, contact the town clerk, Gareth Thomas, on 01978 861345, or email:

Thursday, August 25, 2016

More record GCSE results at Ysgol Dinas Bran

* Amelia Keen with her results.  

* Connor Stalham.

* David Linder and Marius Hylka.

* Lewis Hitchen and Chloe Lewis

* Liam Jones and Nicole Hughes.
Year 11 students at Ysgol Dinas Bran celebrated another year of record-breaking results today.

An incredible 70% of students achieved the benchmark level 2+ of five GCSEs at A*-C including English and maths, topping last year’s record by 1%.

This result is well above local and national averages.

In addition, 97% of students also achieved level 2 (five A*-C grades),  78% achieved a C grade or better in English while nearly three-quarters achieved a C grade in maths – another record for the school. 

Over a third of all grades awarded in history, media, biology, chemistry and physics were at A* or A.

Among a range of excellent performance a number of students performed particularly well. 

Connor Stalham (from Corwen) achieved an outstanding eight A* and three A grades, with a distinction in Additional Maths. 

His results are matched by those of Julian Gonzalez (from Corwen) who achieved the same grades.

Julian, who is 16, took his GCSEs a year early, has recently taken AS exams and already achieved an A grade in maths at A level. 

Other students who performed at the highest level were:

Bethany Carol* (Llangollen)  seven A* grades, three A grades and a distinction in Further Maths

Mille Harrison (Chirk)   five A* grades, four A grades and a distinction in Further Maths

Carys Stallard*  (Llangollen)  five A grades, four A grades, one B grade

Barra Liddy* (Corwen)   four A* grades, six A grades two B grades and a distinction in Further Maths

Amelia Keen (Llanarmon DC)   four A* grades, five A grades, two B grades and a distinction in Further Maths

Emily Larwood* (Garth)  two A* grades,  six A grades, three B grades and a Merit in further Maths
Mae Morgan* (Corwen/Llandrillo) three A* grades, five A grade four B grades and a Merit in Further Maths 

Ryan Williams (Trevor)  two A* grades, eight A grades, one B grade

Bethany, Carys, Millie, Barra, Mae and Emily all sat their exams a year early at the age of 15 and now taking AS levels at the school.

Martyn Froggett, headteacher, said: “We are delighted for the students.  Not only have the results beaten last year’s record but are beyond our expectations.  It is a terrific achievement.  We look forward to seeing many of the students back in our Sixth Form in September.  Great praise to the staff who have supported, encouraged and helped them to achieve these tremendous results.”

Pupils across Denbighshire are celebrating excellent examination results this year, says the county council. 

Early indications show that approximately 66.2% of students have achieved 5 A* - C grades which is in line with the national figures for Wales and England.

Approximately 61% of pupils have achieved 5A* - C including English/Welsh and Mathematics which continues a trend of improvement. 

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 the students who have achieved the grades needed to further their education.

“I would also like to pay tribute to the county’s schools for their tireless efforts in preparing students for their examinations.  The results speak volumes about the commitment and de dication of all those involved."

Final push for dementia charity challenge

Help me in my final push for cash!

* Linda Robson speaks about dementia on ITV's Lorraine Show.

llanblogger is joining TV's Linda Robson in helping to raise money for vital research into dementia.

Both Phil Robinson and the star of Birds of a Feather and Loose Women are taking part in the Alzheimer’s Society 2016 Memory Walk - albeit not in the same place.

Linda, who is a long-time supporter of the charity, helped to spread the word about dementia on ITV’s Lorraine Show recently and revealed she is joining in the Memory Walk in London to help raise awareness and funds to support people affected by dementia as her mother, Rita, had the condition. 

* Phil ready for his charity walk.
Phil will be remembering a number of members of his family who suffered from dementia when he takes part in the Cheshire Memory Walk at Delamere Forest on Saturday September 24.

He said: “Every year in the UK a staggering 225,000 people develop dementia – that’s equivalent to one person every three minutes.
“So I’ve decided to do my bit to help by taking part in the Memory Walk, which sees thousands of people raising money for a world without dementia across Wales, England and Northern Ireland.

“People of all ages and abilities join in, from grandparents to grandchildren, and even furry four-legged friends.

“They all walk together to celebrate loved ones affected by dementia, and raise money to reclaim the future.”

He added:  “As it’s closest to Llangollen I’ll be joining the Cheshire Memory Walk, which has a choice of two routes - 3.5km or 6k – and I’m doing the 6k route through the forest's woodland paths and around Blakemere Lake. Just £50 can help a PhD researcher to continue research into the causes of dementia, how it can be treated and, ultimately, to find a cure. 

“I’m aiming to raise at least £150 for this very good cause, so I’m hoping that as many people as possible will sponsor me on the walk.

"I'm grateful to have received a number of donations so far but I just need a final push to help me to hit my target figure."

* To sponsor Phil, visit his Justgiving page, which can be found at

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Talking Points event planned for Town Hall

A special event is taking place in Llangollen early next month to celebrate the success of the Talking Points sessions in Denbighshire.

Introduced last April, the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act is a new law that aims to radically transform the way social services are delivered in Wales to meet the needs of individuals and make services sustainable for the future.

The Act proposes to give people a stronger voice and real control over the support they need to remove barriers to their wellbeing. It focuses on earlier intervention; increasing preventative services within the community and helping people maintain their independence.  

To help people to do this they need easy access to information and advice about what is available in their area.

In Denbighshire, Talking Points have been set up by staff in Community Support Services (incorporating social care for adults) to offer people a different way to find out what help might be available in their community to support their health and well-being

Working with partner organisations we aim to respond faster and in a more personally tailored way to people, rather than a more traditional ‘one size fits all’ approach. 

Under this new model, if citizens are able to visit their GP they will be expected, in general, to attend a Talking Points rather than be visited at home.

At Talking Points the citizens of Denbighshire have an opportunity to meet with someone who is knowledgeable about social care issues.  They will be able to find out what is going on in their area in a convenient, appropriate and welcoming venue and talk about the well-being outcomes they desire for themselves or others.

The focus will be to find out what is important to them so that they can live the life they choose in a safe and secure environment. 

One of the celebration events will take place at Llangollen Town Hall on Tuesday, September 13, from 10am-3pm. Refreshments will be available.

To book a place at either of these sessions, contact Jason Haycocks the Talking Point Coordinator on 07733 111392  or e-mail:

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Missing male found after three-hour search

This message was posted on Twitter about 7.30pm tonight (Tuesday):

North Wales Police@NWPolice 1 hour ago
Officers are searching for a male in the area with Fire service. Please if seen. Ref:U127156 (Description to follow)


Just before 9pm this was Tweeted by Llangollen Fire Station:

Llangollen Fire@Llangollenfire 48 minutes ago
17.14 water rescue level 2 at horse shoe falls Llangollen. After 3 hours of searching 1 male found safe and well.

Commissioner vows to tackle sexting problem

* Arfon Jones, Police and Crime Commissioner for
North Wales Police, with Karen Reed from the victim help centre.
Boys and girls as young as eight years of age in North Wales are sexting - especially during the summer holidays when they have more time on their hands.

North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones heard that youngsters sending and receiving sexually explicit messages via apps like Snapchat or Instagram on their mobile phones is a growing problem.

Mr Jones, a former police inspector, was also told there's also evidence the youngsters are being targeted by online paedophiles seeking to groom them.

The news was revealed to the commissioner during a briefing at the Victim Help Centre which opened in July last year.

Since then the centre has handled the cases of more than 18,000 victims of all sorts of crimes.

The one-stop-shop for victims covers the whole of North Wales and is based at divisional police HQ in St Asaph.
It brings together the support services of North Wales Police, the Witness Care Unit of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the former Victim Support organisation.
Each victim receives a response specifically tailored to their situation and the centre employs specialists in mental health and hate crime.
About 9,700 people were identified as vulnerable or repeat victims and have gone on to benefit from an enhanced support package.
The centre has now launched an appeal to find up to 25 new volunteers to work with them across North Wales.
Victim help officer Karen Reed said: “We’ve has some cases of children who have experienced sexting who are under 10 years old, as young as eight or nine years old. It doesn’t seem to discriminate between boys or girls really.

"Young people have access to mobile phones from a very young age, and especially now, a time like summer holidays when children are out and about playing with their friends.

"The children will send photographs of various pictures to each other. They’ll be pornographic, explicit photographs - sometimes of themselves, sometimes they’re sharing photographs that have maybe been passed on to them from various sources.

"I think it would be very difficult to say that there are many children now who haven’t been touched by this type of crime. That’s my experience of it here anyway.

"They may have the technological skills, however they obviously haven’t got the maturity to be able to deal with that.

"What we will do is we will directly support the parents in order to help them keep their children safe really.

“Parents incredibly concerned and they want to know if it is a matter exchanging photographs or if it has been a case of grooming."

According to Karen, adults, particularly young men between 18 and 30, were also falling victim to online blackmailers.

She added: "They have all the access to the latest technology but they are falling victim to crimes, in particular exchanging photographs and videos.

"What happens then is the person they think they’re actually exchanging and talking with is not the person who they think it is and then there will be demands and menaces for money and blackmail. That is happening in North Wales -anecdotally I’d say we’re having those sorts of reports weekly.

The team of a dozen highly-trained staff and 35 outreach volunteers at the centre is managed by Julie Elliott who previously worked for the Childline charity set up by TV presenter Esther Ranzen.

She was proud a survey had shown that 90 per cent of the victims who took part were satisfied or very satisfied with the service they received from the team.

Julie said: "Being a victim of crime can impact people in many ways and there are many reasons why people don’t necessarily go to the police in the first instance.

"I think having service where the person can reach out to talk about what happened in a confidential space is really crucial.

"We encounter all kinds of crimes, everything from theft, assault, burglary, sexual offences and harassment. We’re making a difference, and that’s what we want to continue doing.

“We do need more volunteers. We’re looking for people who are reliable, who are available to train and can meet the victims face to face, and listen to them and support them through whatever it is."

Arfon Jones said: "The Victim Help Centre is providing an absolutely vital service, giving much needed support to those who have unfortunately been on the receiving end of a whole range of crimes.

“I'm glad to say that North Wales is a safe place to live and we have a very low crime rate but we do still have victims and the impact crime has upon them can be profound.
"Looking after the needs of victims is a major priority for me and the issue will be front and centre in my Police and Crime Plan which provides a blueprint for the policing of North Wales.

"The sheer volume of cases dealt with by the centre is a clear illustration of how much this service is needed and they are making a real difference.
"The centre is also geared up to deal with the new problems caused by the changing face of society.

"Sexting by children is a relatively new and worrying phenomenon and one that we must confront and tackle.

"It is important that we educate youngsters about the perils of this dangerous practice and that we provide and their concerned parents with support to deal with the situation.

"At the same predatory paedophiles are becoming increasingly sophisticated so it is vitally important children and parents are alerted the threats they pose.

"Technological advances have brought great benefits to society but at the
same time they have increased risk and the scope for wrongdoing, so we must be vigilant."

The victim help service is available from 8am-8pm Monday to Friday and 9am-5pm on Saturdays. It can be contacted by Freephone on 0300 3030159, by email at:, or via the websites or

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Counties gear up for Tour of Britain

* To the right of the mascot is Leader of the Council, Hugh Evans.

Denbighshire and Flintshire Councils are gearing up for the excitement of the Tour of Britain as preparations are being made ahead of the race’s return to the region again this September.

The North Wales leg of the Tour was launched at the Denbighshire and Flintshire Show earlier this week.

The fourth stage of the tour, from Denbigh to Builth Wells will be taking place on Wednesday, September 7th and will be the longest day for the riders. 

It will also see them tackle the most climbing, with a total ascent of 4,133m, as they feel the force of the Welsh mountains with the stage heading through the Clwydian Hills and Cambrian Mountains.

Starting in Denbigh Town Centre, the race will head towards Bodfari and leave Denbighshire into Flintshire. It will head into Mold and through Pontblyddyn, Coed Talon, Treuddyn before it re-enters Denbighshire near Llandegla.

The race will then travel along the A5104 through Bryneglwys and on to the A5 at Corwen before turning for Cynwyd and Llandrillo.

Leader of Denbighshire County Council, Councillor Hugh Evans OBE, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have secured the start of the North Wales stage this year, as we feel it will have great benefits to the tourism industry as well as showcasing what the region has to offer.

“North Wales is fast earning itself a reputation for hosting and staging major events, with the Tour of Britain a prime example of how councils across North Wales and organisers work together to deliver spectacular events. 

Alastair Grant, Tour of Britain’s Commercial Director, said: “We’re delighted to be returning to North Wales this year with the Tour, year after year we see more people at the roadside coming to watch the world’s best rider pass through their towns and the Welsh crowds never fail to turn out in their masses. We are certainly looking forward to seeing how the peloton tackle what is arguably the hardest stage of the Tour of Britain this year.” 

* For further information, please visit:

Friday, August 19, 2016

Dinas Bran celebrates more A-mazing results

There were scenes of joy at the Ysgol Dinas Brân as A level students celebrated their exam results.

Overall the pass-rate at A level (grades A*-E) was an excellent 99%, with over half of all grades awarded at A*-B.
There were some outstanding individual successes. 

Charlie Hackforth, sitting his A levels a year early, achieved two A* grades in biology and history and an A grade in psychology.  Charlie will now go on to study biological sciences at St Hilda’s College, Oxford University. 

Andrew Melville, also taking his exams a year early, achieved two A* grades in maths and further maths and an A grade in physics.  He will now go onto to study Maths at Imperial College, London University. 

Joshua Jones, year 13, achieved an A* in psychology and A grades in biology and history.  He will now study Biological Sciences at Balliol College, Oxford University. 

Michael Liu did exceptionally well too achieving an A* in art and two A grades in maths and physics.  Michael will now progress to study Accounting at Manchester University.

Bethan Williams and Morgan Jones were both awarded three A grades.  Bethan will now study Business Administration at Bath University while Morgan will undertake Engineering at Warwick University.
Two other students who took their A levels a year early also excelled in their achievements. 

Elinor McSorley achieved an A*grade and two A grades and Stephen McAndrew two A grades and two B grades.

Other students who achieved two A grades or more were:
Lowri Bates A* A B,  Elizabeth Davies A* A B, Olivia Holgate A* A  B, Jason McVicar A A B C,
Nia Pierce A A B and Ceri O’Connell  A A C.
Early indicators suggest that the vast majority of students who applied to university have been successful in their applications.

A school spokesperson said: "We congratulate all the students on these fantastic results.  They have excelled themselves. 

"We wish all of them the very best in their chosen future.  A big thank you to all the staff who have taught and guided them too in these challenges and to all parents and carers for their help and support."

A county council statement says:

Early indications show approximately 98.9% of students have been successful in achieving the Level 3 threshold, which is an improvement on the previous year.

There have been some excellent individual achievements across all schools. In addition, most schools have shown an increase in the number of students gaining A* and A grades.
Councillor Eryl Williams, Denbighshire's Cabinet Lead Member for Education, said: “We would like to congratulate all students on their individual results and we wish them every success in their chosen pathway.
“The results reflect the months of hard work and dedication of students and their teachers, in preparation for the examinations.
"Education remains a top priority in the County and I am extremely pleased to see the majority of schools in Denbighshire continue to improve performance.”

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Disabled woman thanks canal rescue family

A disabled woman has thanked the family who rallied round to help her after she fell into the canal
on a recent trip to Llangollen.

* Llangollen Canal, scene of the rescue.
Jackie Martin has taken to Facebook to say: “We were on holiday in Wales for a fortnight and on Wednesday August 3 while my husband was pushing me along the canal  - I am in a wheelchair - our West Highland Terrier got tangled around his legs and he let go of my wheelchair without putting on the brakes and unfortunately I ended up in the canal, wheelchair and oxygen bottle included.

“Luckily a lovely family came to our rescue, we think it was a mother, her grown up daughter and two grandsons.

“They were a tremendous help by helping my husband pull me out of the canal, arrange for someone to go to the nearby hotel to get towels and to call an ambulance as well as the two grandsons going into the canal to retrieve the wheelchair and oxygen bottle.

“We can't thank this family enough but unfortunately we did not take their names and not sure if they live in the area or like us were on holiday.

“If anyone can help us find this family please let us know.

“Also if anyone found an iPhone, a little geocaching bag containing tweezers, torch, pens etc, a geocoin with a mammoth on and any other geocaching items could you let us know to.

“Many thanks the people of Llangollen and hopefully you can help us.”

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Dangerous Food duo mark major milestone

* Llyr Jones and Dominic Haynes  who have expanded
and are selling cheese products with the help of a grant
from Denbighshire County Council.

A pair of entrepreneurs who put on face masks and protective clothing to make their fiery chilli jam are celebrating a major milestone - netting their 150th stockist.

Dominic Haynes and Llyr Jones, who launched the Dangerous Food Company less than three years ago when they were both made redundant from an Irish dairy, are now supplying their unique brand of chilli jams to restaurants, farm shops and delicatessens across the UK – and even as far away as Alphen in Holland.

They say an £2,300 grant from Denbighshire County Council has fuelled their rapid growth, including recent expansion into the luxury goats’ cheese market, and helped them to meet customer demand more readily through the purchase of a walk-in fridge.

And as the St Asaph-based enterprise prepares to unveil a new, top-secret product ahead of the Hamper Llangollen food festival on October 15 and 16, the duo are have signed up their 150th outlet – the soon-to-be opened Frankie’s Farm Shop in Dyserth.

“We are finally at the stage where we know it’s working,” said Dominic, 33, who lives in St Asaph.

“We’ve done it all debt-free and it’s just grown and grown. There have been some initial dark days, like every business, but now everything is falling into place. It’s now all about expansion and doing things quicker.

“In order for a business to grow you have to outlay money but if half the cost can be taken away it means you feel more confident and safer about expanding and you can grow more quickly and make the business more successful.

“Already, with just the two of us on the ground, we’ve acquired a small part of the food market and we want to spread our products further and further afield.

“We have customers in London and the Scottish borders but there are more than 2,000 farm shops and delis nationally so the next step is to push these. Our aim is to reach as many as possible.”

The duo, who’ve been friends for 11 years, started making fiery chilli chutneys suitable for meat, cheese and barbecues in January 2013, combining hot chillies with traditional British fruits to enhance the flavour.

Dominic, who graduated from Nottingham University with a degree in product design, was renowned for his culinary skills among friends and family and created no fewer than 38 versions of what is now the firm’s original product, Red Chilli and Lime Jam, in his home kitchen before deciding on his final ‘wow factor’ recipe.

“I’ve always been pretty good in the kitchen. Everybody knew me for cooking really spicy food at uni and used to complain about the smell,” he said.

In the early days, the friends decided to sell some of the jam at a weekend food event and were stunned when all 600 jars flew off the stall. The very next day, the pair found out they were being made redundant from their sales jobs which gave them the incentive to sell the jams full-time.

By May 2014, the businessmen had developed three jam products; their original Red Chilli and Lime Jam, Habanero Chilli with Sun-ripened Mango Jam, which scooped two stars in the Great Taste Awards in 2015, and Jalapeno Chilli and Apple Jam, and had moved production out of Dominic’s modest home kitchen to premises at Patchwork Pate in Ruthin.

More flavours followed including the fiery Ghost Chilli Jam containing one of the world’s hottest chillies and requiring protective eye gear during production.
In August last year, they branched out and sourced a luxurious goats’ cheese product from Holland to offer under their brand which has been well-received in the gourmet food market – and has led to a coveted stockist contract across the Channel for their jams.

And thanks to a business grant provided by Denbighshire County Council at the start of 2016, they were able to purchase a purpose-built outdoor storage facility which enabled them to quadruple their order capacity and expand.

“We’d taken on some big wholesalers and the fridge meant we were able to store the products with ease,” said Dominic, who attended Blessed Edward Jones Catholic High School in Rhyl while growing up.

“The grant made our growth manageable and easier. For any business like ours, January and February is quiet and to outlay that kind of money ourselves would have carried much more risk.

“We are still working 50 or 60 hours a week. Llyr and his partner recently had their first child, Molly, eight weeks ago. The amount of work we need to do made any paternity leave tricky but we were able to work these hours when we wanted to so there’s a degree of flexibility.”

Kirsty Davies, Business Support and Networking Officer for Denbighshire County Council, said: “It’s incredibly rewarding to watch local businesses succeed, especially so soon after launching.

"Our business grant scheme is designed to encourage new businesses to take those first steps towards expansion and ultimately create new jobs and support development of the local economy, which is a council priority.

“Many small businesses face hurdles on the path to growth including a lack of resources or facilities and this project helps to mitigate some of these, allowing innovation and talent to flourish uninhibited."

It was a sentiment echoed by Hugh Evans OBE Leader of Denbighshire County Council.

He said: "The business grants are part of our Economic and Community Ambition Strategy which is helping towards creating flourishing private businesses, job growth and improved incomes in the county."
The Dangerous Food Company exhibits their products at food festivals every weekend and is committed to supporting local, independently-run small businesses.
As well as employing themselves, one other full-time member of staff and a new part-time worker, in addition to agency support when required, the company now has six jam products to its name – and one more in development which will be launched to coincide with Hamper Llangollen food festival.

Dominic is remaining tight-lipped on the secret ingredients but promises the product will be ‘something that has not been tried before’. 

“We try and make our products all about flavour and the fruit really plays off the heat. We want our customers to taste the flavours,” said Dominic.

“We’re looking forward to going back and meeting all our oldest customers at Hamper Llangollen.

“It’s our most local festival and it’s important to us to go back and support our local economy. We will never change that ethos.”

To find out how to apply for a Business Development Grant go to or call 01824 706896.