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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Operatic seeks sponsorship for My Fair Lady

Llangollen Operatic Society is seeking sponsorship for their forthcoming production of the Lerner and Loewe classic My Fair Lady which will be staged at Llangollen Town Hall from April 17-21.
Producer Helen Belton said: “As a registered charity, fundraising efforts and the support of our sponsors is invaluable in enabling our junior and senior sections to continue producing high quality productions for the enjoyment of the local community.

“We have been very fortunate to secure sponsorship from a number of local businesses and individuals in previous years and we’ve always received wonderful feedback from them as to their experience. Following the overwhelming success of 9 to 5 in 2017, we are hoping to attract a similar level of support again this year”. 
For £125.00, sponsors are offered four reserved balcony seats with a prime view of the stage, 4 drinks of their choice from the bar, four complimentary programmes and the opportunity to display marketing material in the Town Hall on the evening of their sponsorship.

To add to the experience, they will also have the services of a dedicated Sponsor Host, who will welcome them on arrival and be on hand to ensure their experience is enjoyable!

Helen added: “We believe this package represents excellent value and in return for our sponsors’ generosity, we will guarantee an unforgettable evening of entertainment and hospitality."

* If you would like to support our production or would like to have more information, please contact Louisa Jones on 07989 985644/e-mail

Tickets for My Fair Lady are now available online at

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Snow falls on Llangollen


Dinas Bran closes because of weather.
The following note has been posted on the school website ...
The difficult decision has been made to close the school on the grounds of health & safety and worsening school site conditions. All contracted buses/taxis have been called to collect the students for 1pm. Apologies for the inconvenience this may cause.

UPDATE: County council reports at 9.30am that the Horseshoe Pass is open.

Llangollen awoke to a light covering of snow this morning (Tuesday) as the "Beast from East" arrived in town.

The Met Office has issued a yellow warning covering Denbighshire for the period between 00.05 and 23.55 today.

This says that snow showers or longer periods of snow are expected accompanied by very low temperatures.

The warning adds that there is the potential for travel delays on roads, with some stranded vehicles and passengers, as well as delays or cancellations to rail and air travel.

Some rural communities could become cut off. Power cuts may also occur and other services, such as mobile phones, may be affected, says the warning.

As at 8.49am there have been no notifications of any school or other closures in the area.

Across the county a total of 27 primary schools and seven secondary schools are closed for the day due to the weather.

Santa hands over £1,000 to Air Ambulance

Santa made a special visit to M’Eating Place in Llangollen to meet Alison Wynn from Wales Air Ambulance where he presented her with a cheque for £1,000. 

The money was raised through a series of seasonal quizzes, auctions and a sleigh ride.

Santa organised December’s fundraising activities with the help of  Chem, Llangollen’s Town Crier. 

Santa would like to thank The Ponsonby Arms Llangollen; The Continuous Cruising Narrow Boaters who overwinter in and around Llangollen; The Navigation, Maesbury Marsh; Cefyn Mawr Historical Society; Llangollen Rotary and their Santa Sleigh plus the many individuals whose generosity helped Santa with his fund raising. 

Invitation to join FoE's spring clean day

Llangollen Friends of the Earth is looking for people to take part in Spring Clean Cymru 2018
in the town on Sunday March 4, from 10am-11.30am.

The litter-pick is part of a nationwide campaign encouraging people across Wales to get together to help clean up the country on the week of St David's Day.

All equipment will be provided and those interested are asked to meet outside Bryn Collen /Y Gwernant school gate at 10am.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Dinas Bran gets full marks for Les Miserables

Ysgol Dinas Bran brought a touch of West End magic to Llangollen with its breathtaking production of Les Miserables over four evenings this week.
Lining up behind the barricades for the school edition of the world’s longest running musical was a bevy of revolutionary young talent whose stage mastery brought a packed closing night audience to its feet in salute (Friday).
The lead performers and enormous chorus line wrung every ounce of emotion from this stage classic which tells the heart-rending tale of former convict Jean Valjean’s gritty progress through a deeply troubled post-Waterloo France.
Along the way he meets and changes the lives of a host of people from the adorable to the wicked.
Joe Bell played the hero with sympathy and great feeling, bringing into play a commanding stage presence augmented by a wonderful singing voice.
His arch-rival the former prison guard turned policeman Javert was portrayed with great style by Barra Liddy. You could feel the malevolence whenever he strode into view – and where did he get the Terfel-like bass baritone at such a tender age?
Fantine, the young factory worker Valjean takes under his wing but who eventually meets a tragic end, is such a meaty role that it was shared to perfection by Millie and Celyn Orton Jones.
Also role-sharing beautifully when it came to portraying Fantine’s secret daughter Cosette were Lauren Macfarlane and Maia Molloy.

Lewis Gibbins made a fantastic Marius, the student who gets caught up in the political upheaval of the 1832 Paris Rebellion, falls in love with Cosette and whose life is saved by Valjean. He looked and sounded every inch the hero.
There aren’t too many lighter moments in this Victor Hugo novel-based weepy but those that are come courtesy of the aptly-named Michael Talent as shifty innkeeper Thernardier and Mae Morgan as his gruesome missus. Both brought a large measure of comedy feeling to their roles.
Beth Rowley was nothing short of brilliant as their daughter Eponine whose painful but unreturned love for Marius is brought to an abrupt end by a bullet at the barricades.
Costumes and stage settings that are as powerfully interpretive and colourful as the large cast were created by a small behind-the-scenes army and the 17-strong orchestra provided the driving force and momentum for the production.
That Friday standing ovation by an awe-struck audience said it all about Dinas Bran’s Les Mis. 

Friday, February 23, 2018

Bikers urged to sign up for riding course

Photograph of a BikeSafe workshop kit
Bikers across North Wales are being asked to consider improving their skills to ensure they are safe on the region’s roads by signing up for a *free workshop.

BikeSafe – a police-led motorcycle project; offers practical advice about road safety and educates riders by passing on knowledge and skills to try and encourages motorcyclists to take post-test Advanced Training which can realise their best potential and become safer riders. The BikeSafe day includes an ‘assessment ride’ where participants get vital feedback.

Supported by the six local authorities, the workshops are held at various locations in Deeside, Rhyl, St Asaph, Colwyn Bay, Llanrwst, Porthmadog and Llangefni.

This year for the first time ever, workshops will be delivered to the general public on the Isle of Anglesey thanks to assistance from the North Wales Fire and Rescue Service.

The first of the 2018 workshops will be held at Llangefni Fire Station on March 10th and bookings are now being taken. Others will be held there in July and September.

North Wales Police BikeSafe Co-ordinator Paul Cheshire said: “Centrally placed on the island this new location will open up the possibility for new routes to carry out the assessments.

“Anglesey is not necessarily known for many motorcycle collisions but they do happen and the island has a very up to date track circuit at Ty Croes that provides many biker events throughout the year.

“The workshops are not exclusive to residents and this new location will also allow employees who don’t necessarily reside for long in the area, such as RAF Valley, to take advantage.

He added: “During 2017 a total of 224 people attended a BikeSafe workshop across the region. The feedback we get is extremely positive – they like the informal element of the classroom-based workshop and enjoy meeting a mixture of people. Some of our previous students have even returned to become BikeSafe volunteers.”

With the main aim of reducing the number of bikers being hurt on the roads, the workshops explore the main riding hazards that motorcyclists face. By delivering theory presentations and observed rides a BikeSafe workshop helps bikers discover their strengths and weaknesses.

Paul Cheshire added: “Motorcycles are a vulnerable class of vehicle. They don’t offer the same protection that a car can offer, but that doesn’t mean to say you can’t stay safe. As spring is just around the corner why not enrol on one of our workshops so you have the skills for the rest of the biking season and beyond.”

Spaces on the BikeSafe workshops are limited so riders are urged to book quickly to avoid missing out. A full list of the dates and locations can be found via the BikeSafe website.
*free workshops are subject to a booking fee.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

MP attacks Prime Minister over farmers' Brexit concerns

Clwyd South MP Susan Elan Jones has accused Prime Minister Theresa May of not addressing the concerns of farmers in the run up to leaving the EU.
Ms Jones (pictured) quoted the words of National Farmers Union Deputy President Minette Batters who said that losing full access to the European Single Market could be “absolutely disastrous” for British agriculture.
Theresa May responded by saying: "We are going to negotiate a new economic partnership with the European Union and I can assure the Honourable Lady that the interests of agriculture will be one of the considerations we take into account when we make sure we have a good trade arrangement with the EU as well as improved trade arrangements with the rest of the world."

Speaking after the fiery House of Commons exchange, Ms Jones said: “Spinning vague phrases like ‘economic partnership’ may help the Prime Minister within the Tory Party, but it means absolutely nothing for farmers and rural communities across the UK.
"Her Government still won’t agree to respect Wales properly by giving the powers due to the Welsh Government nor will they make commitments that would protect trading markets.
"Theresa May’s words will ring very hollow indeed in Corwen, the Ceiriog Valley, Horsemans Green and all of the other farming communities in the Clwyd South constituency.”
* To see House of Commons exchange at Prime Minister's Questions between Susan Elan Jones MP and the Prime Minister go to:

County backs care and support package

Councillors in Denbighshire have given their backing to a five year regional plan responding to care and support needs across North Wales.

Local councils and the regional health board are expected to produce a long-term Population Assessment Regional Plan, in response to a population assessment that has been carried out.

The plan clearly sets out  the range and levels of information, advice and support services to be provided by partners; how regional partnership boards will work together; how funding will be used and how services will be delivered through the medium of Welsh.

Councillor Bobby Feeley, Cabinet Lead Member for Well-being and Independence, said: “The aim of this plan is to show how we will meet people’s care and support needs and the support needs of carers across North Wales.

“The information collected through this whole process will allow all partners to plan and commission services more effectively, to meet the needs of specific groups.  There are also close links with reducing poverty through improving the way social care and health needs are met, as well as links to health and well-being through working to reduce crime.

“If the Plan is successful, then we expect to see people’s health and well-being improve, it will help reduce inequalities and will help develop communities that work more closely together”

Councillor Huw Hilditch- Roberts, Cabinet Lead Member for Education, Children’s Services and the Welsh Language, said: “The regional plan supports the corporate priorities already agreed in Denbighshire, in particular around housing, building resilient communities and providing the best possible support for our young people.

“By working together as one region, we can pool resources, experiences and expertise that can then be shared, for the benefit of every community across North Wales.”

Subject to approval from all of the partners, it is expected that the Plan will be published on April 1, 2018.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Police thanked for targeting illegal off-roaders

North Wales Police have been thanked for taking steps to tackle illegal and irresponsible off-road drivers by a county councillor who has been urging action for many years.

Cllr Mabon ap Gwynfor (pictured), who represents the Llandrillo/Cynwyd ward, also thanked the police for heeding his advice to use drones to tackle the problem.

He said: "Illegal and irresponsible off roaders have been a scourge in this area for many years. 

"We regularly hear complaints of how grazing land and wildlife are damaged on the Berwyn Mountains by irresponsible off-roaders. In turn these give the majority of those who enjoy the past time responsibly a bad name.

"What these irresponsible drivers don't understand, or don't care for, is that their actions damage the countryside and people's livelihoods.

"These mountains and hills are difficult enough to scrape out a living, let alone having to spend more on fixing fences, posts, gates, walls and other things because of the actions of a few selfish people. They're also home to rare flaura, fauna and ground nesting birds. It's a Site of Special Scientific Interest, which should be respected."

Last year Cllr ap Gwynfor called on the police to use drones to help tackle the problem.

He said: "It's very difficult to police the activity given its nature. The irresponsible drivers can speed off in almost any direction especially in such a remote area like the Berwyns.

"This is why I called for the police to consider using drones. I'm glad to see that they are using this technology to assist them and that they had a successful operation over the weekend. 

"The police are called on to do a lot of work, and are under serious financial pressures, so they must be thanked for listening to our concerns and working with our communities to help tackle them.

"I'm also grateful to Arfon Jones, the Police and Crime Commissioner, for listening to us when he put the police budget together."

The Dee Valley Policing team updated their Facebook page saying:
@Northwalespolice conducted a joint operation on Saturday 17/02/18 targetting the ongoing off road related problems in Llangollen, Corwen, Llandrillo, Nantyr and also across to Llanarmon DC, Glyn Ceiriog and Chirk areas.
We had a number of resources dedicated to the operation including 14 officers, 2 4x4 patrol vehicles, 2 4x4 Roads Policing vehicles, 2 unmarked scrambler bikes, and 2 marked police vehicles. For this operation we also had use of the NWP Drone.
The operation was a massive success with 58 vehicles stopped, 16 Vehicle Defect Rectification Scheme Tickets, 2 Traffic Offence Report Tickets and 1 vehicle seized for no insurance.
Dee Valley SNT (Safer Neighbourhood Team) would like to thank all of the officers and units involved in Saturdays operation!!! 

MP looks into "disturbing" online abuse of disabled

Clwyd South MP Susan Elan Jones joined three other members of the House of Commons Petitions Committee to meet with disabled people to discuss their experience of online abuse.

The hearing is based on a well-supported public petition and will form part of an inquiry by the committee into the online abuse that disabled people have been subjected to.

People with a range of disabilities and experiences of abuse were invited to Parliament to talk about what it’s like to be disabled online, the challenges that disabled people face when reporting abuse, and what social media companies and the Government should be doing to tackle abuse. 

Ms Jones (pictured) said: "Some of the accounts given by disabled people were very disturbing.

"We really do need social media companies and the Government to do more to protect disabled people online. 

"I welcome the fact that the House of Commons Petitions Committee, disability charities and advocacy groups, and individual disabled people are bringing this very concerning form of online abuse to light."

Petitions Committee chair Helen Jones MP said: “We heard from disabled people themselves about the shocking abuse that they face when they go online.

"We know that it’s not always easy to talk about such difficult experiences, and we’re very grateful indeed to everyone who came to Parliament today to help us with our work.

"The petitions system was set up to help people to have their voices heard in Parliament, so it’s very important to us that the views of disabled people are at the heart of our inquiry."

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Railway's half term train rides continue

* Boarding the train for Corwen.

In the second week of half term, 19-23 February, Llangollen Railway is operating the off-peak service with the diesel railcard.

Trains depart Llangollen at 1040,1300 & 1510 for the full ten mile run to Corwen.

The heritage Wickham railcar offers best all round views of the journey through the Dee Valley.

For those sitting at the front, the view from behind the driver shows how the line climbs and twists and turns all the way. If sitting at the back you get the "where we have been" view of the track.

The ideal way to see the countryside in this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Special offer fares for child travelling with an adult. See details at:

* The view from the cab ...

Monday, February 19, 2018

Plas Newydd's water tower gets facelift

* llanblogger reader Mike Edwards took this picture of the old Water Tower at Plas Newydd which has been refurbished by the county council to help preserve the history of the beautiful Grade 2 Listed house and gardens originally the home of the Ladies of Llangollen.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Gales serves up victory in top food competition

* Gales chef Jack Hatley, second from right, receives the overall winner's prize. 

Three of the top eateries in North East Wales went head to head in the grand final of the Year of the Sea Food challenge – with Gales of Llangollen being crowned the overall winner.

Over the past month 12 eateries across Wrexham, Flintshire and Denbighshire have put their best fin forward to showcase the best of local produce and hit the rather tricky ‘Year of the Sea’ brief.

The challenge took inspiration from the 2018 Welsh ‘Year of the Sea’, with the North East Wales Tourism and Marketing team inviting local eateries to create a dish that would celebrate the region’s amazing coastline, epic inland waterways and great local produce.

Each restaurant has been visited by a mystery diner, including food bloggers from South Wales, local press (such as and food writers, who had the very difficult task of tasting and scoring the dishes.

While Year of the Sea may seem a difficult challenge for a semi landlocked North East Wales, all the participating rose the challenge and offered their interpretations of the classic fish and chips with a twist or their surf and turf dishes.

Friday saw the three finalists – The Fat Boar Wrexham, Gales of Llangollen and the Royal Oak in Bangor on Dee – compete against each other in a live cook off at Hafod in Coleg Cambria.

Each restaurant faced tough critique from a panel of experts and top chefs, including Kevin Lynn – Machine House, Kerry Thatcher – Food Division Visit Wales, Chris Nelson – Artisan Street Food Chef, Alex Jones – Bank Wine Bar Wrexham, Caroline Dawson – Welsh Seafood Cluster Manager and Tracey Hughes – Porters Delicatessen Llangollen.

Speaking yesterday Joe Bickerton, Destination Manager at Wrexham Council, said the standard of competition this year had been excellent – with all three finalists scoring a whopping 59/60 in the mystery diner feedback.

First up was The Royal Oak, with their ‘Surf & Slurp’ – a dish billed as a ‘winter hearty dish that will warm you up from the inside’.

Providing a background on the dish, Lee Williams, general manager of the restaurant, explained it was made of locally sourced pork from Lewis’ farm shop and Menai Mussels which were freshly delivered.

The competition entry was also described as being a hit with customers, with between 60-70 dishes being served over the past month, all of which receiving positive. feedback.

Next up was Gales of Llangollen, who also offered their unique twist on surf and turf with sous vide Pen y Lan pork belly, saffron mash, American sauce, a smiling langoustine and a couple of lovely quails eggs.

Finally was another interpretation of the classic surf and turf, with the Fat Boar serving up an massive 18oz bone-in Celtic pride ribeye, giant crab claws, Perl las sauce. Crispy ‘spiralised’ Covent Garden potato, Anglesey salted roast tomato and Wrexham Lager battered onion rings.

After a lot of deliberation from the Judges, Gales of Llangollen was crowned the winner of the Year of the Sea Food Challenge – with judges describing their dish as having a ‘good use of local produce’ and the ‘visual wow factor’ – a vote that matched the verdict in room.

In what was a tough competition, the Fat Boar came in second and The Royal Oak third.

* The full list of entrants this year was:  Gales of Llangollen , Old Wives Tales, Corwen , Fat Boar, Mold , Druid Inn , Fat Boar, Wrexham , Lot 11, Wrexham , Croes Howell , Royal Oak Bangor on Dee , Lemon Tree, Wrexham , Holt Lodge , Hafod Restaurant, Coleg Cambria and The Alyn, Rossett 

Saturday, February 17, 2018

County gets £1.2m to fill in potholes

Clwyd South AM Ken Skates has welcomed Welsh Government investment of almost £4m to improve the state of roads across North East Wales. 

Cabinet Secretary for Local Government and Public Services, Alun Davies, recently committed the cash to fixing potholes throughout the region.

The windfall includes £1.4m for Wrexham, which according to Welsh Government statistics has the worst roads in North Wales. 

In total an extra £7.9m will be spent in North Wales, which includes £1,427,33 for Wrexham; £1,204,380 for Denbighshire and £1,427,133 for Flintshire. 

Mr Skates, whose constituency includes Wrexham and Denbighshire, said: “Budgets remain extremely stretched because of the cruel and relentless Tory austerity agenda which has seen more than £1.4bn snatched from Wales by Westminster since 2010. 

“Within that context, I’m delighted that the Welsh Labour Government has secured this significant investment in North East Wales to help fix our roads. The winter has been very damaging for our road network and it’s important that it’s rectified quickly.” 

Mr Skates also welcomed ‘rapidly progressing’ plans to tackle congestion on the A483 and at Halton Roundabout near Chirk. Both will be addressed within three years. 

The latest tranche of Welsh Government funding for roads will be administered by local councils. Figures released in February 2017 showed Wrexham council’s roads were rated as the worst in North Wales – while neighbouring Flintshire’s were the best. 

Mr Davies said: “In my discussions with local government, they have been clear about the pressures on the road network and how in some parts of Wales the state of local roads is simply not up to a safe standard. I am really pleased to be able to make this funding available to support a comprehensive refurbishment programme and improve future resilience of the roads network.” 

Welsh Local Government Spokesman for Transport, Andrew Morgan, said: “We are grateful to Welsh Government for listening to our calls for further funding to maintain the highway network. Residents, businesses and tourists across Wales rely on our roads on a daily basis and so it is vital to ensure that they are in a good condition.” 

Friday, February 16, 2018

AM calls for new plan to tackle fuel poverty

North Wales Assembly Member Mark Isherwood, who chairs the Assembly Cross Party Group on Fuel Poverty and Energy Efficiency, has made fresh calls for a revised Fuel Poverty Strategy for Wales, emphasising that the existing Welsh Government strategy has not worked.    

A household in Wales is in fuel poverty if they spend 10% or more of their income on energy costs.

Speaking in the Assembly Mr Isherwood (pictured) expressed concern that in 2010 the Welsh Government set out its strategy to eradicate fuel poverty in Wales in all households by 2018, but less than 10 months away from the target date, the most recent statistics show that almost 300,000 households in Wales are living in fuel poverty, 23% of the total, unable to afford to adequately heat their home, or in crippling debt with their energy supplier. 

He said: “It is clear therefore that the Welsh Government Strategy has not worked.

“The objectives of the 2010 Fuel Poverty Strategy are still relevant – it is still vital that we reduce the impact of fuel poverty on households and work to eradicate fuel poverty, it is still vital that we create green jobs and business opportunities, and it is still vital that we reduce energy inefficiency in the domestic sector. 

“However, many of the mechanisms and measures contained within the 2010 Fuel Poverty Strategy are out of date or no longer applicable.

“Although the Nest and Arbed schemes are helping, these alone are not sufficient to tackle the problem. 

“The Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs’ announcement of £104 million investment over the next four years in increasing the energy efficiency of up to 25,000 low income households in Wales is welcomed. However, this will not eradicate fuel poverty by 2018.  This equates to an average of 6,250 homes a year - and if the schemes were to continue to assist similar numbers each year, it would take 48 years to eradicate fuel poverty in Wales.”

Mr Isherwood stated that the annual cost to the Welsh NHS for treating people who are made ill by living in a cold damp home is approximately £67 million.

He added: “With current demand on the Welsh NHS higher than ever before, more needs to be done to tackle cold homes.

“Eradicating fuel poverty will not only lead to a healthier population, but will also contribute to our decarbonisation targets. 

“What is needed now is a revised Fuel Poverty Strategy with ambitious targets and investment in order to eradicate fuel poverty in Wales as a social justice issue once and for all. As the Bevan and Joseph Rowntree Foundations told the Assembly’s Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee three  years ago “fuel poverty should have a higher profile in the Welsh Government’s tackling poverty action plan, because it is a fundamental human need to have a warm home. And as Age Cymru have said ‘the time is right for the Welsh Government to refresh its Fuel Poverty Strategy.”

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Soloists sought to bid for glittering eisteddfod prize

* Sian Dicker receives her Pendine International Voice of the Future award from Mario Kreft at last year's eisteddfod.

A “sensational” soprano who won one of the main prizes at an international festival is urging young soloists from around the world to enter this year’s competition to launch their career on the global stage.

According to Sian Dicker, 27, being crowned the Pendine International Voice of the Future at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod has been a boost to her career aspirations to become a leading opera singer.

Organisers say entries are already flooding in for the prestigious competition, which will see some of the world’s best young singers compete for the Pendine Trophy and a first prize of £6,000, along with two runner-up prizes of £2,000.

Every year the picturesque town of Llangollen in the Dee Valley welcomes around 4,000 international performers and as many as 50,000 visitors to the week-long festival of music and dance.

Among the highlights of the week is the prestigious Pendine International Voice of the Future competition, which showcases young talent alongside other gifted global performers.

Once again this year the arts-loving care organisation Pendine Park is contributing  £5,000 to the prize fund, with the balance coming from Sir Bryn’s Terfel’s foundation and Llangollen Eisteddfod

Following her experience last year, Sian, from Trowbridge in Wiltshire, is urging other young soloists not to miss the March 2nd deadline.

Sian said: “The Pendine International Voice of the Future competition is the perfect platform for aspiring soloists to launch or accelerate their musical careers.

“Whilst the money has been incredibly beneficial, the real value is the unique experience of taking part alongside world-class competitors, learning from one another and making connections with other artistes.

“The International Eisteddfod is so welcoming and inclusive to performers from all backgrounds. I would urge any singer to enter and absorb everything that this special international-standard musical performance offers them.”

Since her winning performance wowed the adjudicators, leading soprano Elin Manahan Thomas and composer Gareth Jones, Sian has used the prize money to fund the final year of her Masters at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She is also collaborating with pianist Stephen Rose, who was the accompanist in last year’s Pendine International Voice of the Future competition.

Pendine Park proprietors Mario Kreft MBE and his wife, Gill, recently established the Pendine Arts and Community Trust, which supports more than 20 arts organisations, including the Llangollen Eisteddfod.

Mario said: “The standard of competition last year was exceptional and Sian’s sensational performance was truly worthy of winning the title.

“Our aim in supporting the competition in conjunction with Sir Bryn Terfel is to provide a springboard for brilliant young singers from around the world to achieve their dreams of establishing a career on the global stage.

“Sir Bryn is living proof that supreme talent can take you a long way and we are delighted to doing our bit to help gifted young singers attain new heights.

“The competition chimes perfectly with our ethos at Pendine Park because the arts in general and music in particular provide the golden thread running through everything we do to enrich the lives of our residents and staff alike.”

The final of this year’s competition will take place on Wednesday July 4 as part of The Classical Collection evening concert which will see the festival’s music director, Vicky Yannoula, who is also an accomplished pianist, performing on the iconic pavilion stage for the first time.

She will be joining forces with another distinguished pianist, Peter Jablonski, to perform a “dynamic and moving musical collaboration”.

Vicky said: “The Pendine International Voice of the Future competition grows in prestige each year and the calibre of entrants so far has been exceptional. I am looking forward to sharing a stage with the talented finalists in a celebration of two powerful instruments, voice and piano.”

The competition will span two days of the 2018 festival, with the preliminary round requiring competitors to perform a contrasting programme of up to eight minutes of music - Oratorio/Opera/Lieder/Song - to be sung in the original language. For the final this year, selected competitors will take to the Royal International Pavilion stage where they will be required to perform up to 11 minutes of music.

* The competition is open to anyone over 19 and under the age of 28 on the day of the competition. Entries for the 2018 competition will close on Friday, 2nd March, and hopefuls can apply on the Eisteddfod participants’ website

Tickets for The Classical Collection and all other evening concerts are available from or phone the Box Office on 01978 862001.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Time to challenge mental health stigma, say AMs

* From left, Wrexham AM Lesley Griffiths, ABF trustee Phillip Jones, chief officer Lorrisa Roberts, engagement officer Hannah Murphy, mental health lifestyle coach Tracey Jones and Clwyd South AM Ken Skates.

Two Assembly Members have spoken about the importance of challenging stigma after visiting a Wrexham-based mental health charity. 

Lesley Griffiths and Ken Skates were invited to Advance Brighter Futures last Friday to coincide with Time to Talk Day earlier this month.

Mr Skates said: “Mental health is an issue which is very important to me and Time to Talk Day offers a timely reminder that we all need to be more open about it.

"The fact that it’s often difficult to talk about can make things even harder. Talking and listening can change people’s lives – and that’s the key message of Time to Talk Day.”

Advance Brighter Futures was established in Wrexham in 1992. Its services offer people a confidential space to build emotional wellbeing and resilience, helping them get on track to where they want to be after a difficult periods of their life. 

Mrs Griffiths said: “Advance Brighter Futures is an established local organisation which supports people with mild, moderate and severe mental illness and has been raising awareness and supporting people experiencing mental health problems for over 25 years.

“Mental health issues are common, with one in four people being affected at any one time. People in and around Wrexham are fortunate that charities like ABF are on hand to listen, promote wellbeing and ultimately help work towards recovery.” 

Hannah Murphy coordinates the BYW project which supports people currently in acute and secondary mental health care services. She said: “The third sector have become key in mental health services and not just an optional extra. Our intervention is now often the difference between life and death.”

Mr Skates added: “I would like to thank Hannah for inviting us to meet with the ABF Team and for their warm welcome. They are doing an incredible job supporting local people, and Lesley and I will do whatever we can to help them.”

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Witness plea following serious collision

Police are appealing for witnesses following a serious collision in Chirk on Friday evening (February 9).
Shortly before 6.15pm a collision occurred on Colliery Road, Chirk when a woman, who was walking her dog, was struck by a vehicle.

An ambulance was called and the 57-year-old was taken to the Maelor Hospital in Wrexham with serious leg injuries. She has since been transferred to hospital in Stoke. The woman’s dog died at the scene.
PC Robert Williams of the Roads Policing Unit said: “I am appealing for anybody who may have witnessed the collision to come forward.
“Equally, if anybody has any dashcam footage from their vehicle, or if anybody who lives in the vicinity that has private CCTV that may assist our investigation I would urge them to contact us immediately.”
* Anybody with information is asked to contact officers at the Roads Policing Unit on 101, or via the live web chat quoting reference number W016411.