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Monday, April 30, 2018

Abnormal load passes through town

* Police motorcyclists control traffic around the Castle Street lights.

Traffic along Regent Street (A5) was temporarily held up by the passage of an abnormal load around 11.30am today (Monday).

Just ahead of two heavy wagons loaded with large concrete sections police motorcyclists arrived to control traffic around the Castle Street junction.

After passing through the lights the convoy, headed by a police Range Rover, headed onwards towards Corwen.  

* The abnormal load convoy passes along Regent Street.

* One of the two trucks in the convoy

* The load heads onwards in the direction of Corwen.

Black Park concert benefits Dystonia charity

* Choral Variations on song at the concert.

* Gresford Handbell Ringers chime in with the concert.

A mixed choir which includes a number of members from Llangollen sang at a well-received charity concert at Black Park Chapel near Chirk on Friday evening.  

Staged in aid of the North Wales Support Group of the Dystonia Society UK, the event featured Choral Variations, led by Owen Roberts, who appeared along with Gresford Handbell Ringers, Ifton Colliery Youth Band, The Iftonites, soloist Eleanor Burnham and pianist Joyce Frith.
A large audience was highly impressed by the youth band which showed its capability despite only being formed a year ago.

Choral Variations delighted with two sets either side of the interval featuring a diverse selection of favourites, both in English and Welsh.
The handbell ringers, under the direction of Jill Roberts, specialises in music ranging from classical through to jazz and modern pop and their novel selection from the musical Les Miserables went down particularly well with the audience.

Two powerful sets were also provided by Eleanor Burnham, who is a prize-winning eisteddfod performer and regular member of Black Park Singers.   
Joyce Firth, the regular accompanist of the Black Park Singers, performed a light and breezy number which was also well appreciated.

Dystonia is a neurological movement disorder and Moira Gleed, who is leader of the local support group and also a member of Choral Variations, gave an insight into the condition whose sufferers benefitted from the evening.   

Poetry and folk night cancelled

Organisers say the Spring Is Sprung poetry and folk night planned for this Friday May 4 at St John's Church has been cancelled due to a number of factors including poor ticket sales.

In a statement they say: "Since it was a charity event to raise money for cancer support and research it was felt that the event would not be viable.

"It is hoped to hold a similar function later in the year but with a number of important changes.

"The organisers would like to thank all those groups who lent their support including the Rotary Club, the Inner Wheel Club, the Prostate Support Group and local cancer fundraisers."     

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Review of affordale homes announced

Housing and Regeneration Minister Rebecca Evans has announced an independent review of affordable housing supply in Wales.

The review will examine whether more can be done to increase the supply of affordable housing in Wales, maximising the resources available, and will be chaired by Lynn Pamment, Cardiff Senior Partner and Government & Public Services Lead at PwC.

The review will:
  • examine the scope for increasing match funding to build more affordable homes, to maximise the number of homes created by the Welsh Government’s contribution to social housing
  • review the arrangements governing partnership working between local authorities and housing associations
  • consider the implications of moving to deliver zero carbon homes by 2020, including the role of off-site manufacture and modern methods of construction
  • review the standards governing affordable housing and advise on whether they require updating
  • make recommendations regarding a sustainable rent policy that will both allow long term affordability for tenants and allow viability of existing and new housing developments.
The review will be expected to issue a report and make recommendations to the Minister by the end of April 2019.

Rebecca Evans said: “We have made a clear commitment to deliver 20,000 affordable homes during this term of Government.

“I want this review to ensure we are getting the best value for money in our investments and policy, including how we plan for a zero carbon future and the way in which the sector operates.

"We know that many more people in Wales want to access affordable housing. The sector in Wales have called on us to look at our policy, and we want to work closely with all stakeholders involved in housing supply to ensure we are building as many homes as possible."

Stuart Ropke, Chief Executive of Community Housing Cymru said: “Housing associations in Wales have ambitions to build a minimum of 75,000 affordable homes in Wales over the next twenty years – doubling the current delivery rate."

"Through the review we can establish the most effective policy environment to meet our affordable home delivery ambition and build a solid foundation for current and future generations. If we get this review right, it will be a big step towards solving the housing crisis.”

Friday, April 27, 2018

Entries flood in for Llangollen Round Challenge

* First checkpoint on a previous event.

It's just five weeks to go to the third Llangollen Round Challenge on June 2 and 3.

And organisers reckon that as entries approach the 400 mark they have no doubt it this will be the biggest event yet.  

Amongst the entrants are a family of eight from Warwick, a group of 15 from Barclays in Liverpool, along with many individuals from all over the country.  

But organisers' spokeswoman Judy Smith said: "Nevertheless, we do still have plenty more places available at the moment, so if you are considering it – act soon."

She added: "Plans for the weekend are well under way, and it takes some effort getting our heads around the requirements of over 400 walkers. How many loaves? 500 apples?  Who will bake a couple of hundred cakes?  And most importantly, how much water do we need?  

"The last one, of course, depends on the weather.  Then there are the impromptu breakfasts, and the restaurant itself, where supporters as well as walkers can get a sandwich or two.  

"It all adds up to an enormous amount of provisions, and we are very grateful for the support of Spar, Aldi, Tesco and Trent Water in this respect.

"We’re also grateful to all the volunteer helpers – around 90 of them in total, manning the Leisure Centre, checkpoints, road crossings, car parks, restaurant, and a lot more.  

"Many of them will be leaving their beds before dawn each day. It’s a great co-operative effort, but the cause makes it worthwhile.  

"This year we are really hoping to raise £50,000 for Cancer Research UK and I’m crossing my fingers as I’m writing it. We shall see ..."

The Round has a well-waymarked 33-mile circular route visiting every summit around the Vale of Llangollen. 

The Challenge uses exactly this route, but since it starts and ends at Dinas Brân School in the town, an extra stretch has been added at beginning and end, making the total distance to be covered 35 miles. 

Participants have the option of doing this in one day, the Saturday, or two, with those choosing two days being bussed back to Llangollen from the mid-point on Saturday and returned to the same place on Sunday morning.

* For more details, go to

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Art exhibition set to open at the Pavilion

Llangollen Artists have their latest exhibition at the Pavilion from May 1 -June 17.

It features work by Simon Collinge, Mike Flory, Sue Hall, Carys Roberts, John Smout and, for the first time, Edward Bell and Dory who now has his studio in the former health centre on Regent Street.


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Work progresses on Centenary Square

* Contractors at work on Centenary Square.

Work has started on the new Centenary Square scheme centred on the War Memorial and the area of land known as Royal Gardens.

Contractors are G H James Ltd, a North Wales Civil engineering and construction company established in 1985, who have worked on similar projects in Mold, Holywell, Flint and Buckley.

Cittaslow Llangollen, which is involved in the project, says on its Facebook page: "Whilst the plans have had to change very slightly, the end result will provide a high-quality multi use space in the heart of the town centre.

"The works will run for 10 weeks with a scheduled completion date of 25th June 2018."

The site, at the corner of Bridge Street and Castle Street, was acquired by the Town Council is 2010 and the preferred scheme for its development was identified by the public in 2016. 

* An artist's impression of how the finished square will look.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Choral concert in town next month

The choir Choral Variations are teaming up with Penley Madras Community Choir for a concert at the English Methodist Church in Princess Street, Llangollen on the evening of Friday May 11.

Choral Variations will be conducted by Owen M.Roberts and Alison Jarvis will conduct the Penley choir.

The concert starts at 7.30pm and admission is £5, payable at the door, or in advance from choir members. Light refreshments will be available.

* For more details, go to:

Monday, April 23, 2018

Triumph for county schools soccer teams

* Denbighshire Schools’ Football Association’s Under12s.

* Denbighshire Schools’ Football Association’s Under13s.

Denbighshire Schools’ Football Association’s Under12s and Under13s teams secured top spot to quality for the Welsh Schools’ Football Association semi-finals.

The teams were unbeaten in their respective northern section leagues and qualified for the Welsh Schools’ Football Association semi-finals to be held at the Cardiff International Sports Campus in Cardiff on Thursday, April 21.

The Under12 team were unbeaten in their league scoring 32 goals and only conceding three tells the story of what a talented bunch our year 7 boys are.

Councillor Huw Hilditch-Roberts, Lead Member for Education, Children and Young People said:  “The Under12s quad include six that are signed by professional academies and 12 are signed by Welsh academies and of the Under13s, two are signed by a professional academy and one is currently on trial with a pro academy and all the other boys currently signed by Welsh academies.

“This goes to show the high standard of football played by our Denbighshire pupils.”

Councillor Bobby Feeley, Lead Member for Well-being and Independence said: “They have done exceptionally well in their qualifying campaigns and I’d like to wish both teams well in Cardiff on Thursday.”

The Under12s will face either Swansea SFA or Bridgend SFA in the semi-finals with the Under13s facing Cardiff SFA and Vale SFA in their semi-finals.  

Saturday, April 21, 2018

New date for Rotary and Inner Wheel Fete

* Cwmwd Ial re-enactors at last year's fete.

The date of the annual Rotary and Inner Wheel Garden Fete held at Plas Newydd has been
changed this year.

The new date is Saturday June 9 rather than the traditional first Saturday in June. This is to avoid a clash with the Llangollen Round Challenge on Saturday June 2 as many of the volunteers are involved in both events.

The fete will have all the usual attractions, stalls, refreshments and activities for the children.

The main arena attraction will once again be the Cwmwd Iâl re-enactors but fete organisers say this
year’s performance will be even bigger and more spectacular than last year.

Cwmwd Iâl re-enact living history and combat displays at events nationwide. They portray the people living in Wales between the 9th and 12th centuries.

Fete organisers are delighted that both Ysgol Bryn Collen and Ysgol Y Gwernant will be involved and the Brownies and Rainbows will also have their own competitions.

More details of the event will be available later.

Friday, April 20, 2018

AM attacks school uniform grant cut

North Wales Assembly Member Mark Isherwood grilled the First Minister this week over his Government’s decision to cut a £700,000 grant which helps thousands of poorer families buy school uniforms in Wales.

Speaking in the Assembly Chamber, Mr Isherwood (pictured) blasted the plans and urged the First Minister to protect the funding.

Following fierce criticism of the proposal, Carwyn Jones has said the Welsh Government is “looking to introduce an improved grant that suits families' needs better”, but Mr Isherwood said parents need assurances that they will still receive the funding.

Speaking in the Assembly Chamber, he said: “After this announcement was made, the Welsh Government said that the cost of uniforms had reduced. The Bevan Foundation called this a mealy-mouthed justification for a cut that will save a small sum.

“A headteacher in Bangor said uniform is a way of avoiding social stigma because pupils all look the same. He blasted what he called the ‘bonfire of the grants’ affecting some of the most vulnerable school children.

“A Conservative Bridgend Councillor described the move as heartless and said it would hit the poorest families the hardest. You were just asked clearly whether you would protect the funding, so can I ask you, yes or no, even if you won't answer whether you'll protect the funding, will all year 7 pupils in receipt of free school meals still be eligible for a school uniform grant?”

The First Minister replied: “What we're looking to do is to do that and beyond. Our commitment to the most disadvantaged pupils is there for all to see. We've increased it to £93.7 million through the PDG (Pupil Development Grant) spend. We are looking at not just school uniform items, but possibly the cost of school trips, stationery, extra curricular activities, school photographs, cost of equipment or resources”.

Mr Isherwood added: “This is more uncertainty than ‘u-turn’ by a Welsh Government caught on the hop and a First Minister seeking to retrieve believability from blunder. In referring instead to his Government’s Pupil Development Grant, which is supposed to tackle the impact of disadvantage on educational outcomes, he omitted to mention the statement by education watchdog Estyn that using the Pupil Development Grant to support disadvantaged pupils was ‘rarely a central aspect’ of schools’ plans."

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Llanfest teams up with the Cavern Club

* Dancers from the festival (Sai Mayur) perform with The Cavern Club at the Yellow Submarine statute outside Liverpool John Lennon Airport.

Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod has announced that the world’s most famous music club, The Cavern, will host its first ever pop-up stage at this year’s festival.

The Liverpool-based music venue will be joining bands including the Kaiser Chiefs at the festival’s finale party, Llanfest, on Sunday 8th July, as the date also marks the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ animated film Yellow Submarine.

This collaboration on the Lindop Toyota  Globe Stage will see The Cavern Club entertain audiences with performances by their world class resident musicians.
The legendary club has been the beating heart of Liverpool’s iconic music scene for over seven decades and will celebrate The Beatles pop history at the festival - hosting a myriad of music performances by world class singers from Liverpool.
The International Eisteddfod has been promoting peace and goodwill through music and performance for over 70 years.
It even helped launch Luciano Pavarotti’s career and attracts over 4,000 performers and as many as 50,000 visitors across the week.
Chairman of the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, Dr Rhys Davies, said: “The International Eisteddfod was created to heal the wounds of war and bring communities from across the globe together through music and dance, in the spirit of international friendship and peace.
“The Beatles’ values and international renown will help spread this message even further. We are so proud to be working with The Cavern Club who will be helping bring even more contemporary music genres to the festival, while still remaining true to the festival’s traditional values.”
Director at The Cavern Club, Bill Heckle, said: “We’re thrilled to be working with the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, both by hosting The Cavern’s pop-up stage at this year’s festival and commemorating the Yellow Submarine’s 50th anniversary, which has influenced music and popular culture for half a century.
“It is an incredibly exciting time for us, Liverpool and the music industry and to commemorate one of Liverpool’s biggest phenomenon at one of the largest international music festivals is amazing, we can’t wait for Llanfest!”
To celebrate their collaboration, international dancers from the festival (Sai Mayur) performed with The Cavern Club at the landmark Yellow submarine statute, outside Liverpool John Lennon Airport.
Launched in 2011, Llanfest was introduced as the finale party of the International Eisteddfod, to reach out to new audiences and attract festival goers from across the country.
The announcement of The Cavern Club and Kaiser Chiefs 2018 appearance follows the huge success of Welsh band Manic Street Preachers, who raised the roof of the Royal International Pavilion at the festival finale last year.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Operatic's stunning My Fair Lady is right up your street

* The memorable Ascot scene from the Operatic's My Fair Lady.

If you’re a lover of big stage musicals then the latest offering from Llangollen Operatic Society is going to be right on the street where you live.

The society last performed that Lerner and Loewe evergreen 30 years ago and a handful of cast members who were in it back in the Eighties have returned to add their experience to the current production which opened last night in the Town Hall and runs for the next four evenings plus a matinee on Saturday.
The show tells the well-known tale of Eliza Doolittle, an awkward Covent Garden flower girl who is transformed into the fair lady of the title by prickly phoneticist Professor Henry Higgs in Edwardian London.

But while Eliza is fashioned into an elegant and poised beauty by the Prof the often painful transformation has the unexpected side-effect of bringing out the human side of the curmudgeonly bachelor academic. 
Taking the key role of Eliza is stunning new am-dram star Esme Sallnow who was simply made for it. She looks the part, can act up a storm and has the kind of voice the composers must have imagined for their female lead.

Higgins is played by Llan Operatic stalwart Chris Sims who brings to the enormous and challenging part just the right amount of crustiness contrasted with humour.
Another actor precisely of the kind Lerner and Loewe must have had in mind when they were working up the loveably cheeky character of Alfie Doolittle, the dustman dad of Eliza, is Bill Hughes. With the ability to become indefatigably Cockney right down to his gorblimey trousers, he has one of the best and most powerful voices you’re ever likely to hear on an amateur stage anywhere.    

The excellent John Clifford, with whom Llangollen audiences are familiar from a diverse range of roles, shines again as Colonel Pickering, Higgins’s bumbling yet kind-hearted sidekick, and another Operatic favourite, Alison Ravenscroft, plays the Professor’s housekeeper, Mrs Pearce, with all her usual polish.
Graham Kelly gives a good interpretation of Freddie Eynsford-Hill, the mooning toff who makes a play for Eliza’s heart. 

With My Fair Lady it’s the unforgettable songs which have haunted audiences down the decades since this conversion of George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion was first staged back in the 1950s.
And the way the Llan cast of almost 40, augmented with some budding talent from its Young 'Uns junior section, presents them with gusto and feeling does each one perfect justice.

From the touching I Could Have Danced All Night from Eliza to the crafty With a Little Bit of Luck from Alfie Doolittle and from the hopeful On the Street Where You Live from Freddie to the rousing Get Me to the Church of Time by the whole ensemble everyone's a winner.

As well as the musical numbers lots of time has clearly been lavished on the choreography and plenty of work has also gone into the period-correct costumes and eye-catching stage settings, none more so than the famous black and white Ascot scene which is stunning to both see and hear.
The show is a real spectacular and a credit to director Leigh Mason, artistic director Joanne Lloyd and producer Helen Belton who brought the whole thing together is remarkable style.

My Fair Lady is on at 7.30pm each evening of the run with the Saturday matinee starting at 2pm.
* Tickets, at £12 and £10 concessions, are available from Bailey’s, Gwyn the Butcher and Jades in Llangollen town centre as well as by phoning Stella Bond on 01978 860441 or by going online at: (fee applies).

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Curtain goes up on My Fair Lady

* Key cast members of My Fair Lady.
A cast of almost 40 from Llangollen Operatic Society are presenting the classic musical My Fair Lady at Llangollen Town Hall from tonight (Tuesday) until Saturday.

And, according to producer Helen Belton, they can’t wait to tackle the Lerner and Loewe masterpiece based on George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion.

She said: “The story concerns Eliza Doolittle, a cockney flower girl who takes speech lessons from Professor Henry Higgins, a phoneticist, so that she can pass as a lady.

“The original Broadway and London shows memorably starred Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews but we’ve also got some exceptional performers waiting in the wings.  

“Eliza is played by talented Llangollen Operatic newcomer Esme Sallnow while two of our most experienced members, Christopher Sims and John Clifford, take the parts of Higgins and Colonel Pickering respectively. Alison Ravenscroft, who has also appeared in many of our past productions, is Higgins’ housekeeper, Mrs Pearce.”

Helen added: “The society last performed My Fair Lady around 30 years ago and a few of the people who were in it then are also in the new production.

“Back in the 80s the show proved a massive success for us and we’re aiming for a similar audience response this time.”

Musical director for the show is Leigh Mason and artistic director is Joanne Lloyd.

My Fair Lady is on at 7.30pm each evening of the run and there’s also a 2pm matinee on Saturday.

* Tickets, at £12 and £10 concessions, are available from Bailey’s, Gwyn the Butcher and Jades in Llangollen town centre as well as by phoning Stella Bond on 01978 860441 or by going online at: (fee applies).

Are you entitled to Council Tax reduction?

As Council Tax bills drop through the letterboxes of homes across Wales, thousands of households could be missing out on reductions they are entitled to.

Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford (pictured) has urged people to check whether they were aware of the discounts and reductions they could be entitled to.

You may be entitled to pay less council tax if:
  • you believe you live on a low-income
  • you live alone, or with people /children who do not pay council tax
  • you are a student
  • you are disabled
  • you are mentally impaired
  • your property is empty.
The Welsh Government is working with local authorities and third sector organisations including Citizens Advice and Age Cymru, to make people more aware of the range of support available to help them pay their Council Tax bills.

A new awareness raising campaign will be launched and a simple eligibility checker is available online. Reminders about the support available will also be sent to householders.

Professor Drakeford said: “We know that thousands of households across Wales are not receiving the support they could be entitled to with their Council Tax. There are many discounts, reductions and exemptions available and these are all listed on our new website. A few minutes of your time, could mean significant savings to your outgoings.”

Cabinet Secretary for Local Government and Public Services Alun Davies said: “Making Council Tax fairer is an essential part of our plans to reform local government in Wales.

“We’ve worked hard to ensure vulnerable households in Wales continue to receive Council Tax support as part of our national Council Tax Reduction Scheme. However, many households aren’t aware they could be eligible for the scheme or entitled to other discounts or exemptions.

"I would encourage everyone to check the website to see whether they could be paying less council tax.”

* A full list of eligibility criteria is available on the Welsh Government website at

Monday, April 16, 2018

Open day at World Heritage Site

The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Llangollen Canal World Heritage Site will be celebrating World Heritage Day on Saturday April 21 with fantastic family events near its Trevor Basin Visitor Centre.

The Canal & River Trust charity in Wales, which cares for the canal World Heritage Site near Llangollen, has organised a range of exciting activities for both adults and children, including free guided walks, canoe taster sessions, wood carving, stalls and an opportunity to build a bird box.

Between 11am and 3pm, visitors will be able to drop in and enjoy any of the activities, as well as discover more about volunteering or becoming a friend of the Canal & River Trust. Entry to Trevor Basin Visitor Centre is free of charge.

Lynda Slater, Trevor Basin Visitor Centre manager with the Canal & River Trust, said: “The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and 11-mile Llangollen Canal are part of a very exclusive club of outstanding buildings or monuments across the globe which have been designated World Heritage Site status.

“Along with iconic places such as the Taj Mahal and the Pyramids, we will be celebrating what makes us special. As we start the new summer season, we would love lots of people to come and visit us, and discover more about North Wales’s stunning Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, which is Britain’s highest, longest aqueduct, a grade one-listed and scheduled ancient monument.”

The Trevor Basin Visitor Centre is open every day, 10am – 4pm, until the end of October. For more information about visiting the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Llangollen Canal World Heritage Site or volunteering and donating to the Canal & River Trust, please visit or phone 0303 040 4040.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Veterans called up for Glyndŵr research

* Dr Nikki Lloyd-Jones is heading the research project at Glyndŵr University.

Armed Forces leavers across the region are being sought for a project which will take their picture and tell their story.

The project is the latest development in a research venture led by Wrexham Glyndŵr University Senior Lecturer in Nursing Dr Nikki Lloyd-Jones.

Dr Lloyd-Jones spent two years on the research and is now looking for Armed Forces leavers who would have their picture taken and talk about their experiences leaving the forces to help spread the word about its findings.

A series of recommendations have been made following the research, which are intended to improve the way communities in North Wales work with veterans and those leaving the Armed Forces.

Funded by the Forces in Mind Trust, the research looked at some of the difficulties and tensions veterans can experience when living a civilian life.

With 51,000 veterans in North Wales – or nine per cent of the over 16s population – it is hoped the research can be used by local councils, the NHS, third sector support organisations and others to help support veterans in their transition to civilian life.

Dr Lloyd-Jones said: “We spoke to 30 veterans across North Wales, beginning with an open question about their life since leaving the Armed Forces. I’d like to thank everyone who took part for their help.

“These conversations were meant to reveal something about the everyday decisions participants made, to let them tell us about their experiences of moving to civilian life in their own way – and to give us an insight into some of the challenges those leaving the military might face in conversations with civilians.”

The research picked up on certain themes which came up in conversations with people who were ex-Armed Forces.  Three aspects of military identity were identified from the conversations.

These were:  “it’s drilled into you” – the way that basic training instils a sense of following direction without question and a sense of order, authority and discipline; “mission command” – a way of analysing, planning and working towards an outcome where each participant plays a role – and “we have each other’s back” – a unique bond and sense of belonging which strengthened group dynamics.

Researchers then examined challenges which people faced as they moved from the military. These included moving forward into civilian life – gaining financial security; changing pace and getting used to the lack of structure and direction faced in civilian life; and putting down roots – something many military people, used to going away on tour, found hard to get used to.

Other challenges included the way military personnel had become accustomed to ‘living the moment’ – coping with combat situations with a heightened state of alertness, dark humour and other methods which can be difficult for those outside to understand.

Finally, participants also identified the experience of being a veteran itself as a challenge – with the implications the word has of an identity between military service and civilian life.

These challenges – and the way that ex-military personnel respond to them – were then used to guide the report’s recommendations.

Dr Lloyd-Jones added: “There is a lot of work being done with the veteran community in North Wales. Our study mapped out some of the challenges that veterans perceive with the change of lifestyle and context they face leaving the military and the decisions they have to make.

“Tackling these changes isn’t just a case of veterans adapting to civilian life, however, but also about how the civilian community as a whole can adapt to - and work with - veterans.

“That means that change doesn’t just need to come from organisations in direct contact with veterans, but also from policies which take those needs into account as part of a wider framework.”

Anyone who wants to find out more about the research, including those who took part – and anyone who wants to have their picture taken and tell their story can contact Dr Lloyd-Jones on

* To find out more about the Forces in Mind Trust, click here:
And to see more about how Wrexham Glyndŵr University works with service leavers who want to study at the institution, please visit:

Friday, April 13, 2018

Blueprint for health and social care unveiled

The Regional Partnership Board have published a new plan for how health and social care services will work together to meet the care and support needs of people in North Wales.

The plan sets out priorities for integrating services between health and social care across North Wales, including for older people with complex needs, children and young people, people with learning disabilities, carers, and mental health.

It’s been written in response to the population assessment which highlighted an increase in the need for care and support. People across North Wales have taken part to have their say about the shape of future services.

Cllr Gareth Roberts is the Chair of the Regional Partnership Board. He said: “Councils across North Wales have worked together with Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and other partners to write this plan and consulted widely with people who use services, third sector organisations and other partners. The plan will help us design services to meet the needs of everyone needing care and support, and their carers."


Talks to be held on Cefn Mawr health centre

* Ken Skates AM and local councillor Ken
Bathers outside the current Caritas Surgery on Well Street.

Campaigners pressing for a new health centre in Cefn Mawr have welcomed a Welsh Government commitment to discuss proposals with local GPs.

Health Secretary Vaughan Gething has agreed to visit Caritas Surgery to meet with the practice manager, Clwyd South AM Ken Skates and Cefn councillors.

Mr Skates, who organised the meeting, said he was delighted the Health Secretary has committed to visiting the Cefn Mawr. He launched a petition in 2015 calling for the "new facility the community deserves", which was signed by more than 2,000 people.

“I’m really pleased the Cabinet Secretary for Health has responded so positively to my invitation and I look forward to welcoming him to Clwyd South next week,” said Mr Skates.

Councillors Ken Bathers and Derek Wright have previously vowed they would not stop fighting for a new facility ‘until there are spades in the ground’.

They say the only hurdle left to clear is securing funding.

“The current is not fit for purpose and it hasn’t been for some time,” said Cllr Bathers. “The community badly needs this new facility and we’ll keep on pushing for it.”

Cllr Wright said: “We have been fighting for this for a long time. As soon as funding is found it’s all systems go and patients in Cefn, Rhosymedre, Plas Madoc and further afield can finally look forward to having a health centre fit for the 21st century.”

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board funded immediate remedial work to improve the current Cefn premises on Well Street in 2016 after agreeing the building was ‘not adequate’ and said it would also develop a plan for more modern premises.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Road closure warning

The Town Council has just published the following message on Facebook ...

Colas Limited has informed the Town Council of an emergency road closure this Sunday for tree cutting. Colas plan to close the A539 Llangollen Road from the Health Centre in Llangollen up to 1km east of the Sun Inn pub, the road will be closed in both directions from 0530am until 12noon at the very latest, access will be granted to emergency vehicles and pedestrians on foot.

Needlefelting event planned for Plas Newydd

An Introduction to needlefelting with June McLaughlin will be held at Y Caban in Plas Newydd on
Saturday April 21, from 11am-1pm.

Cost  £30 and booking is said to be essential. To book a place or for more details, call 07780 000206.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Plaid slams school closure decision

The decision by Wrexham Council to close Ysgol Pontfadog is wrong and short sighted, says Plaid Cymru – the Party of Wales.

Yesterday (Tuesday 10 April) WCBC’s Executive Board unanimously voted to close Ysgol Pontfadog in the Ceiriog Valley. The school is expected to receive its last intake in September and will finally close in the Summer of 2019.

Mabon ap Gwynfor, Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson for Clwyd South, said: “Ysgol Pontfadog has served the community of Pontfadog well. The communities of Pontfadog, Dolywern and Glyn Ceiriog all wish to see it remain open. The Governing Body of the federated school have supported retaining Ysgol Pontfadog, and the elected representatives representing those communities wish to see it kept open. Yet the Tory-Independent ruling Executive on Wrexham Council have decided to close the school against all local opinion. This is profoundly anti-democratic and shows a complete disregard for the communities of the Ceiriog Valley. Is it any wonder that people are losing trust in the authority?

“The decision is short-sighted in the extreme as it’s unlikely to save money in the long term and will leave the authority with what will be, once empty, a rapidly deteriorating asset on their hands. The people of Pontfadog, Dolywern and Glyn Ceiriog will be bitterly disappointed."

County gets good report from school inspectors

Denbighshire County Council has welcomed the findings of the recent inspection of its education services.
The report, produced after an inspection in February, judged leadership and management to be excellent and the outcome and quality of education to be good. 
A notable feature of the report stated that "outcomes in Denbighshire are strong across nearly all key indicators over several years in primary and secondary schools, and particularly at Key Stage 4".  
Denbighshire was one of only two authorities to receive excellence for leadership in the last round of inspections and is the first to be awarded an excellent rating for leadership under a new inspection framework introduced across Wales.
One of the other main findings highlighted the recent merger of education and children’s services in the county as having a “positive impact” on services for children, young people and their families.  
Estyn have also asked Denbighshire to prepare a case study on the amalgamation of the education and children’s services, to share as best practice with other councils across Wales.
The report also finds that “the authority has a strong moral purpose that underpins its education services, focusing on an ambition to maximise the life chances of every learner”.
The report also says:
  • The authority knows its schools very well.
  • The authority has a strong moral purpose that underpins its education services, focusing on an ambition to maximise the life chances of every learner.”
  • Pupils’ standards in Welsh first language remain strong over their time in school.
  • The authority has a very secure understanding of the extent of elective home education in the county.
  • A very strong feature of the authority is the way it consults with children and young people when making decisions that affect them and when evaluating the wide range of services it offers.
  • Children can influence decision making.
  • Schools work well in clusters of primary schools and their partner secondary schools
  • The authority sets clear expectations of all schools and parents in relation to pupil attendance.
  • The authority’s Welsh in Education Strategic Plan demonstrates a strong commitment to developing services through the medium of Welsh.
  • There are good quality youth services are provided by the authority that meets the needs of a wide range of young people.
  • Officers and elected members implement the authority’s modernising education programme successfully.
  • The authority’s political and strategic leadership is highly effective.
  • The authority’s approach to managing complex change are very effective.
Councillor Huw Hilditch-Roberts, Cabinet Lead Member for Children, Young People and the Welsh Language, said: “The opportunities for our children and young people are at the heart of everything that we do. We want them to have the best education possible and have plenty of opportunity to thrive and develop as individuals.  We are delighted that this has been reflected in the report in such a comprehensive way.
“The report itself makes very positive reading and we must pay tribute  to the tremendous amount of work that goes on in the local authority to support schools and ensure that all children receive the best than can with the resources available.  
"The approach to working with our partners in the public sector is also a key factor in this success, as is our commitment to enhancing Welsh medium education.   We are all working together with a common goal:  to improve education and opportunities for our children and young people.
“Education in Denbighshire has been a priority for a number of years and this is paying dividends. We have also made a further commitment to improving education over the coming years and our vision for the best possible education for our children and young people has not changed.
“The report does include a small number of recommendations, as we would expect and we will be drawing up an Action Plan to make these changes."
* The full report can be found on:

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Plaid fights for three valley schools

Schools in the Ceiriog Valley should be kept open, according to Plaid Cymru.

Plaid Cymru's group of councillors has come out against council plans to close Ysgol Pontfadog and continue dual-streaming in Ysgol Cynddelw.

Group leader Marc Jones said: "The three schools in the Ceiriog Valley federation serve differing needs. Ysgol Llanarmon DC is Wrexham's only naturally Welsh-speaking school serving the higher end of the valley.

"Ysgol Cynddelw has been a dual-stream school but, of late, the Welsh-medium stream has proved so popular that it is effectively becoming a Welsh-language school. Ysgol Pontfadog currently offers English-medium education for the valley. 

 "We recognise the reality of developments in Cynddelw and believe it should become a Welsh-medium school to serve the main population centre of the valley. We also believe Ysgol Pontfadog should continue to serve the community as an English-language school.

 "This option safeguards provision in both languages and provide the best choice for parents. It is also supported by the federation's governing body."

The group has challenged the council to explain how their proposals to close Pontfadog would result in school improvements, given that there will be a need to invest in increasing provision at Cynddelw as well as providing transport for pupils from Pontfadog.

Cllr Jones added: "In many ways, this is a good news story for the Welsh language right on the border. Parents who don't speak Welsh currently have the choice of two streams and are increasingly opting for the Welsh-language stream. It makes no sense that this positive advance for the Welsh language should be undermined by closing Ysgol Pontfadog, which should continue to provide a dedicated English-language provision.

 "The federated school appears to be working well and the three sites offer pupils on the valley good options. Only 16 of the 253 respondents to the consultation favoured what the council is proposing, which in itself raises questions about the purpose and value of such consultations."

 "Our other concern, if the council's proposal to close one school is taken, is that it could ultimately lead to the centralisation of all education in the valley on one site and that would be problematic for pupils living in the very uppermost reaches of the valley."

A decision on the three options facing Wrexham Council's Executive Board will be taken today (Tuesday).

Health centre café needs volunteers

Friends of Llangollen Health Centre have sent out the following plea:

Have you a few hours to spare?

Would you be interested in giving a little time to help in our friendly café?

We are looking for volunteers to help in the café which offers hot and cold drinks and various snacks to the patients and visitors.

The café is completely run by volunteers and the proceeds are used to raise funds for the benefit of the Health Centre, with over 9,000 patients registered at the practice, covering Llangollen, Plas Madoc and Glyn Ceiriog surgeries.

* If you are interested in being involved with the general charity activities or helping at the café, please contact: Audrey Brameller – 01978 860684, or email:

Monday, April 9, 2018

World Heritage Site up for discussion

Alison Powell, Associate Technical Director at Arcadis, will address the next meeting of the Civic Society at 7.30 on 18th April, at Seion Chapel Vestry. Entry next to former Nat West bank.

She wants to discuss the future of the Pontcysyllte World Heritage Site with local interested parties.

If you want to hear what is proposed and make your views for the future known, you are welcome to attend.

The Civic Society Award for 2017 will also be presented at that meeting.  The recipients will be Llangollen Silver Band, for “service to the community”.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Operatic get ready to stage My Fair Lady

* Fellow cast members drag reluctant dustman
Alfie Doolittle, played by Bill Hughes, second from right, out of the pub.

It's now just over a week until the curtain goes up on the latest show from Llangollen Operatic Society.

Fresh from their recent successes with Sister Act, the Producers and 9-5, a cast of almost 40 will present one of the most popular musicals of all time, My Fair Lady, on the Town Hall stage from Tuesday-Saturday, April 17-21.

And, according to producer Helen Belton, they can’t wait to tackle the Lerner and Loewe masterpiece based on George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion.
She said: “The story concerns Eliza Doolittle, a cockney flower girl who takes speech lessons from Professor Henry Higgins, a phoneticist, so that she can pass as a lady.
“The original Broadway and London shows memorably starred Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews but we’ve also got some exceptional performers waiting in the wings.  

“Eliza is played by talented Llangollen Operatic newcomer Esme Sallnow while two of our most experienced members, Christopher Sims and John Clifford, take the parts of Higgins and Colonel Pickering respectively. Alison Ravenscroft, who has also appeared in many of our past productions, is Higgins’ housekeeper, Mrs Pearce.”
* Key cast members line up for a picture session in the park.

Helen added: “The society last performed My Fair Lady around 30 years ago and a few of the people who were in it then are also in the new production.
“Back in the 80s the show proved a massive success for us and we’re aiming for a similar audience response this time.”

Musical director for the show is Leigh Mason and artistic director is Joanne Lloyd.
My Fair Lady is on at 7.30pm each evening of the run and there’s also a 2pm matinee on the Saturday.

Tickets, at £12 and £10 concessions, are available from Bailey’s, Gwyn the Butcher and Jades in Llangollen town centre as well as by phoning Stella Bond on 01978 860441 or by going online at: (fee applies). 

* "I'm getting married in the morning" ... but not if Doolittle can help it.