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Friday, August 31, 2018

Castle Street planter overturned

A large planter outside the front of the Town Hall in Castle Street has been overturned overnight.

Tyn Dwr Hall to host Christmas charity ball

* Victoria Jones, owner of Tyn Dwr Hall, and her children Charlie, Alastair and Arayah, with Catrin Dowdeswell, area fundraiser for Hope House Children’s Hospice.

Tyn Dwr Hall in Llangollen is to host an exclusive Christmas charity fundraising ball in aid of Hope House Children’s Hospice.
The idea is the long-held dream of mum-of-three Victoria Jones who, together with her husband Matt, owns the country hall wedding venue. 
The event, on Saturday, December 15, will also see a special guest appearance by singing sensations Belle Voci, famed for appearing on ITVs The Voice The Live Final earlier this year.  
The lavish venue has been open less than three years and has already made an impact on the UK wedding scene.
To keep both hospice doors open all year round, Hope House has to raise at least £6.3 million, with only one month's worth of income coming from the government. 

Victoria said: “I have wanted to host a charity fundraising event for some time at Tyn Dwr Hall, however the past few years have been hectic refurbishing the hall, developing the business, moving house and having our third baby.

"When Matt and I first talked about such an event Hope House Children’s Hospice was the charity that instantly sprang to my mind because of their good work across North Wales and Shropshire.

“Having children is such a blessing, and as parents we all wish for our children to be in good health and have long and happy lives.

"Unfortunately, for some this is not the case and many families face life changing situations that are devastating for the child and the parents. That’s why Hope House was my first choice, as their support and care is so important for entire families dealing with these things.
“We want our guests to have a great time with live music, exquisite food, and top class entertainment. For some guests it will be an opportunity to entertain friends, family, corporate clients or treat their team to an amazing Christmas party whilst raising as much money as possible for Hope House. We are delighted and grateful that Emily and Sophie from Belle Voci will be performing for us during the evening as well.”
Cat Dowdeswell, area fundraiser for Hope House Children’s Hospice said: "When I heard that Victoria and Matt were planning an event at Tyn Dwr and that it would be for Hope House, I was over the moon.

"I attended a wedding there last year and cannot wait to see what the finished event will look like. It's guaranteed to be a stunning evening. We are so excited to have Tyn Dwr support us. We have invited the team to visit the hospice to see just where their donations will be spent.

"Amazingly, only two percent of our catchment donate directly to Hope House, so it's wonderful to have new supporters realise how important Hope House is to the families in the local area."

* If you would like to know more about the Tyn Dwr Hall Charity Fundraiser, or would like to offer a prize for inclusion in the charity auction, email to:

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Museum to host new exhibition

Skates: Why I'm backing Drakeford for leader

Clwyd South Assembly Member Ken Skates sets out the reasons why he will be supporting Mark Drakeford in the forthcoming election for a new Welsh Labour leader and First Minister

* Ken Skates AM, left with Mark Drakeford AM outside Chirk Health Centre.

The same concern about politics has been expressed to me repeatedly these past two years: that the world has gone crazy and nowhere appears stable.

With the proliferation of fake news, the rise of dangerously populist politicians and with divisive issues such as Brexit constantly looming over us, it's no wonder so many people feel insecure. That people feel dismayed and dejected, that the world feels unsafe and even unfamiliar.

That, allied to the way social media allows the most vocal – and often the most extreme views – to be heard over the less hysterical majority and you could easily believe we now occupy a space in which calm, considered reflection and conviction politics have been abandoned.

This makes it so important for us to elect leaders that can remain steady in a storm, who have inbuilt moral compasses rather than populist calculators, who have a proven track record of applying principles rather than a history of riding bandwagons.

In a world that Trump, Farage and Boris Johnson are turning angrily against itself, we need principled, internationalist and intelligent leaders to come to the fore and offer the shining light of hope. And we can start right here in Wales by electing Mark Drakeford as Welsh Labour leader and First Minister.

I’m backing Mark because I know what he stands for. A politician who is steered by principles. Mark is the person who can best help us navigate through the mess of Brexit and he is the person who can unite, reach out and enthuse people to work together, rather than against each other.

Mark also gets the North Wales issue. Whether real or perceived, there is a feeling across North Wales that the region has fared less well than other parts of the country in recent times, that the North feels detached from centres of power in Cardiff and London. 

In my discussions with Mark, he is fully aware of the need to address regional inequalities and disengagement. And he is also acutely aware to the threat of ongoing austerity to the wellbeing and welfare of people in the communities I serve. Welfare reform, insecure employment and the financial pressures faced by families and councils will not go away until austerity ends. Which means we need a leader who is determined to protect the most vulnerable, someone who wants wealth and good health for all.

I'm backing Mark Drakeford because of his principles, his character and his priorities. And I'm hoping many more Labour members will join the campaign to elect Mark this autumn.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Council promotes voice for young people

Denbighshire Youth and Education services are urging young people to make sure their voices are heard by registering as an election candidate or to vote in the first ever Welsh Youth Parliament Election.

Young people in Wales aged from 11 up to 18 years are eligible to stand for election or to vote
Sixty members will make up Welsh Youth Parliament and it will empower young people to identify and raise awareness of the issues that matter to them.
Denbighshire is urging young people to sign up to vote or as a candidate for the inaugural Welsh Youth Parliament election.
In the week beginning the September 17 Denbighshire Youth Services are holding a registration to vote week, at all youth centres across the county.
Staff will be on hand to support you through the process.
If you are interested in becoming part of the Welsh Youth Parliament then go along on September 24 to the Hwb in Denbigh where the council will support you to complete your candidate application. For more information, email:
The Welsh Youth Parliament will provide a voice for young people to raise awareness and debate the issues that matter to them. Working with the National Assembly for Wales, these issues can then be brought before the people with the power to make changes happen.
There will be 60 Welsh Youth Parliament Members. Forty of these will be elected via First Past the Post through an electronic voting system in each of the 40 electoral constituencies in Wales. Twenty will be returned by partner organisations to ensure the representation of diverse groups of young people.
All young people in Wales, between the ages of 11 and up to 18, can take part by registering to vote in the online election which will be in November 2018.

Register to vote: 28/05/2018 – 16/11/2018
Apply to be part of the Welsh Youth Parliament: 03/09/2018 – 30/09/2018
Elections: 05/11/2018 – 25/11/2018
Welsh Youth Parliament announced: December 2018

The first meeting of the Welsh Youth Parliament will be held in February 2019.
The National Assembly Commission agreed to establish a youth parliament in September 2017 following an extensive consultation with more than 5,000 young people around Wales. 
The National Assembly has also worked closely with a steering group of youth organisations providing expert guidance and, critically, views from the point of view of young people which contributed to the shaping of the new Welsh Youth Parliament.
* More information is available on the Welsh Youth Parliament website:

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Invites go out to hydro-electric power scheme

* South Denbighshire Community Partnership launch of Energy Local Corwen at Canolfan Ni, Corwen, (front, L/R) Sally Lloyd Davies and Margaret Sutherland, of SDCP; Silas Jones, Cadwyn Clwyd; and Tom Taylor, Director, Speed of Thought Ltd.

Home owners in the Corwen area are being invited to sign up to a community project to take advantage of the energy generated by the town’s very own hydro-electric power plant which started generating last year.

It could be worth over £300 a year to some households in savings and provide the community with up to £2,000 a year to spend on local good causes.

Energy Local Corwen is being run by the South Denbighshire Community Partnership who are keen to sign up 37 households in the first step to making the Edeyrnion area one of the ‘greenest’ in Wales.

SDCP Chief Officer Margaret Sutherland said: “We want to make people aware of what an innovative and exciting project this is and how it could put Corwen at the forefront of the green revolution in Wales.

“We are expecting a lot of interest because people could make really substantial savings from our very own hydro-power scheme and that money can be spent locally while at the same time surplus cash from the power generation will be channeled into community projects and we are saving the planet as well.

“We would expect to be over-subscribed and it will be on a first come, first served basis but those who miss out this time will go onto a waiting list and with another, bigger hydro-power scheme in the pipeline at Bonwm. Near Corwen, they shouldn’t have to wait too long.”

Residents of Corwen and the surrounding villages of Glyndyfrdwy, Llidiart y Parc, Carrog, Cynwyd, Gwyddelwern, Bryn SM and Bryneglwys should be eligible to sign up with Energy Local Corwen.

The scheme is being run by Tom Taylor, of Speed of Thought Ltd, and he said: “A similar scheme in Bethesda has had studies done showing that people who sign up can expect savings of between ten and 30 per cent.

“That could amount to up to £300 a year for a household which is a significant amount of money and because renewable energy is ‘green’ there is a social responsibility element to the project as well.

“Our role is to create a template for how this can work for future schemes and developing the co-operative that will be made up of the households which sign up and they will play a part in its running alongside the directors of the Corwen Hydro Project.”

The electricity generated at the turbine house in the town centre is driven by the Nant y Pigyn and Nant Cawrddu streams which plunge 500 feet from a reservoir high above Corwen to generate 55 kilowatt hours of electricity, enough to supply up to 40 homes a year.

Over its 40-year lifespan of receiving government feed-in tariffs it is estimated that the project will generate £1.2 million with £120,000 going directly to community benefit for local organisations and good causes.

The scheme is publicly owned and it is also payback time for them after an issue of £1 shares raised £318,000, over half of them bought locally, to fund the project which was developed by rural regeneration agency Cadwyn Clwyd.

The agency provided a £12,000 feasibility study through its LEADER fund as part of the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014 – 2020, which is financed by the Welsh Government and European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).

LEADER is a fund for rural areas in Wales to explore innovative new approaches and experimental technologies to tackle poverty, create jobs and drive sustainable economic development.

Silas Jones, Project Officer with rural regeneration agency Cadwyn Clwyd who piloted the Corwen Hydro Project, said: “This is a really exciting and groundbreaking project which will become a model for others to follow and which we can also follow ourselves as Corwen develops into a hub of renewable energy.

“It is ideally placed for water power with the Bonwm project to go ahead and to provide even more energy and major wind power developments also taking place in the Clocaenog Forest as well as smaller schemes nearby.”

* For more information on the Energy Local Corwen project and South Denbighshire Community Partnership go to and to and for more on Cadwyn Clwyd go to

Monday, August 27, 2018

Operatic to host meet and greet evening

Llangollen Operatic Society will be launching their 2018-2019 season with a Meet and Greet on Tuesday September 11 at 7.30pm in the studio, off Castle Street.

There will be introductions from the production team - producer Helen Belton, artistic director Alison Ravenscroft, assistant director Chrissie Ashworth and musical director Leigh Mason.

There will also be a chance to find out more about the 2019 show, Fiddler on the Roof, including dates of auditions, details of characters and ways in which society members and newcomers to the society can take part.

There will also be a chance to sing through some of the chorus numbers later in the evening.

Refreshments will be available.

The following week, Tuesday September 18, social secretary Tracey Kempster Jones and committee member Nia Pickering will host a quiz and social evening. Again newcomers are welcome.

Producer Helen Belton said: "New members are always welcome to the society, whether you see yourself treading the boards or helping in the many ways available offstage. 

"The production team will be looking for principals to audition for Fiddler on the Roof as well as chorus members. Men are particularly welcome.

"Contact us through our Facebook page, Llangollen Operatic Society, phone the membership secretary Alison on  
07887 595015‬ or simply turn up to the studio on a Tuesday evening at 7.30pm." 

Sunday, August 26, 2018

County has volunteering roles available

Are you interested in volunteering in Strategic Leisure or Youth Services?

Denbighshire County Council currently has opportunities due to our current volunteers gaining employment or fulltime training.

There are opportunities within Community Arts, GP referral, Community Sport, the Youth Service and D of E (Duke of Edinburgh Award) across Denbighshire.

If you are interested in any of these areas, or feel you have a certain skill set to offer and would like to volunteer then you are invited along to one of the council's drop in sessions to find out more.

All volunteers are offered free relevant training, including Certificate in Youth Work, Sports Leaders, Safeguarding, First Aid and D of E Leaders.

A DBS check will be completed and ongoing support in the role will be provided.

The council says it is particularly keen to offer more volunteering opportunities to Welsh speakers.

The opportunities gained through volunteering in Strategic Leisure and the Youth Service have  previously led to paid employment for the leisure, children, young peoples and social care related job opportunities and can widen skills and experience.

The drop-in sessions will take place at the following locations:

Tuesday 18th September, 5-6.30pm at the Oaktree Centre, Ffordlas Road, Rhyl, LL18 2DY
Thursday 20th September, 5-6.30pm at Caledfryn, Smithfield Road, Denbigh, LL16 3RJ

* For more information, contact Sian Bennett, Health and Wellbeing Manager 01824 712710

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Easycoach pulls out of bus services, says story

The Leader is reporting that budget bus operator Easycoach has pulled out of providing services in the Wrexham area just two months after it was launched.

The story says that those impacted include services from Wrexham to Oswestry, Barker’s Lane, Wrexham Industrial Estate and Cefn Mawr, as well as one running from Llanarmon DC to Llangollen.

For the full story, see:

Three Eagles chooses hometown executive chef

* Adam Gaunt-Evans is executive chef at The Three Eagles.

A man with an international culinary reputation has been chosen as executive chef at Llangollen’s new Three Eagles Restaurant and Bar.

Adam Gaunt-Evans, who is returning to his hometown to take up the prestige appointment, come with over 20 years of culinary experience, having cooked in some of the world’s most exclusive venues spanning three continents and seven countries. 

The Three Eagles owner Matt Jones said: “To be able to announce Adam as our executive chef makes me extremely excited.

“His skills coupled with the experience he brings with him from his time in top class kitchens around the world makes him an ideal acquisition for what we are looking to achieve at The Three Eagles.”

After finding his love for cooking at the age of 14 Adam went on to train at London’s five-star Dorchester Hotel and continued on to the Michelin-starred Green House in Mayfair as well as working alongside the acclaimed chef Bjorn Van der Horst.

Adam continued his success operating top restaurant kitchens across a host of exotic countries and in his first international role worked as a senior chef at the Burj al Arab, the iconic Dubai landmark regarded as the world’s first seven-star hotel.

His skills later took him to further luxury resorts in the Maldives, Thailand and Australia, where he worked in a seafood restaurant headed by celebrity chef Peter Kuruvita.

Adam joins The Three Eagles following his latest overseas venture which saw him head-hunted for the role of executive chef at Sri-Lanka’s five-star Galle Face Hotel.

Here he oversaw the successful re-opening of the hotel’s group of six restaurants following a 30m dollar restoration and refurbishment. 

Adam says The Three Eagles will be the ideal venue for guests to experience menus that will reflect the rich cultural diversity of Llangollen, home to the world’s first International Eisteddfod.

“The Three Eagles is going to offer a new dining experience to the town and surrounding areas,” said Adam.

“I am working closely with owners Matt and Vicky and operations director Tracey to create exciting menus ranging from leisurely brunches and the perfect traditional Sunday lunch to a full evening a la carte experience. Our sophisticated bar will provide an exciting venue to enjoy perfectly mixed drinks with convivial sharing dishes.”

He added: “Wherever I have been in the world, Llangollen has always been my home. North Wales has some of the best natural produce available and I’m very excited to be working again with Welsh suppliers, farmers and producers, championing seasonal produce and really showcasing the quality of our region.”

The Three Eagles will include a cocktail bar with a restaurant featuring signature dishes such as seared native scallop with curried pumpkin, parmesan and vanilla butter, as well as sticky Welsh beef short rib in stout with champ potatoes, charred leeks and crispy garlic. 

“We have already begun recruiting a very strong senior team,” revealed Adam. “But we look forward to welcoming applications as we create new opportunities for local people aspiring to work in the hospitality industry. There has never been a better time to join - our internal training program and future expansion will provide exciting opportunities for our employees.” 

The Three Eagles is the latest venture by Llangollen-based entrepreneur-couple Matt and Vicky Jones and will be the first feature under the One Hundred knights hospitality brand, whose mission is to “redefine travel experiences and dining out trends within the region, with an exciting collection of restaurants, bars and leisure venues”.

* To find out more about The Three Eagles, Llangollen go to

Friday, August 24, 2018

Legion foursome's sentimental journey to France

* Phil Stroud, David Thomas, Graham Patton and Phil Silverton at the Tyn Cot Commonwealth War Cemetery.

When Llangollen’s Royal British Legion chairman Philip Stroud visited a bar in the famous First World War town of Ypres in Belgium he left behind a very special memento of his visit.

It was a glass of beer which the ex-soldier asked the barman to put in pride of place on the top shelf behind him.
Quite simply, he says, it was so that the lads who never made it there themselves from 1914-18 could have a drink on him.

Phil and three fellow members of the town’s Legion branch recently joined their comrades from across Britain at a special ceremony in northern France honouring the fallen of the First World War.  
A decade after the end of the war in 1918 the British Legion, as it was then known, organised an expedition for veterans and widows to visit the battlefields of the Somme and Ypres before marching to the Menin Gate in Ypres on August 8th 1928.

* On parade through the streets of Ypres,
with Philip Stroud marching behind
the Royal Marine on the left.  
Exactly 90 years later, thousands of Legion representatives crossed the Channel to recreate the 1928 Battlefields Pilgrimage and visit the same battlefields.

They also paraded their branch standards and a wreath along the same route to the Menin Gate for the One Hundred Days ceremony commemorating the last 100 days of the war and representing an entire generation that served while defending their country.

Proudly taking their place in the pilgrimage were Philip Stroud along with branch standard bearer Phil Silverston, secretary David Thomas and parade commander Graham Patton.

They took with them the official good wishes of the Town Council and people of Llangollen expressed to them at a gathering in the town’s new Centenary Square before they left for France.

Philip Stroud, who himself served with the King’s Regiment, said: “We first spent some time visiting some of the war’s most famous battlefields and went on to join the parade in Ypres for the special commemorative day of August 8.

“Staying at Valenciennes, we first paid our respects at the Memorial Museum at Passchendaele and later visited Tyne Cot, near Zonnebeke in Belgium. The largest cemetery for Commonwealth forces in the world, it contains almost 12,000 graves of which over 8,000 are un-named, and is very moving.

“We also called in at a church nearby which was razed to rubble during the war but totally rebuilt afterwards bearing the badges of the British regiments who fought in that area in its stained glass windows. These include those of the Manchester and Salford regiments which interest me as I served with the Manchesters during my time in the army.

“Next stop for us was at Hill 60 where the Canadians fought and then it was on to Ypres, which was in the middle of a bitterly contested salient throughout the war.

“Next day we drove over to the Somme battlefield where it was very emotional to visit the huge red dragon memorial to the 38th (Welsh) Division at Mametz Wood.

“Our group joined in with the singing of the Welsh National Anthem, which brought tears to more than one pair of eyes.

“Still on the Somme we stopped at the enormous Thiepval Memorial, which bears 74,000 names, and later it was on to see the impressive Canadian memorial at Vimy Ridge.”

Philip added: “We returned from France to neighbouring Belgium to revisit Ypres for the parade the next day and, along with the other Legion contingents, laid wreaths on the Menin Gate.

“That evening we called in for a drink at a small bar opposite the town’s famous Cloth Hall, which would have been there at the time of the war, and ended up with one more glass of beer than we needed for the group who were there.

“I decided to do something which I hope was a little special with it and asked the man behind the bar to put it up on the high shelf.

“My intention was to leave it there for the lads who died in the war and never made it in there for a drink themselves.

“Joining the pilgrimage was a very poignant experience. I’ve never been to the First World War battlefields before but I’d certainly like to go back there again.

“It was also good to carry with us the official greetings of the Mayor and people of Llangollen.”

* A huge crater blown by a mine on the Ypres Salient. 

* The 38th (Welsh) Division's Welsh Dragon Memorial at Mametz Wood.  

* The Llangollen group at Thiepval Memorial on the Somme battlefield.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

'Fantastic' GCSE results at Ysgol Dinas Bran

* Celebratory GCSE students jump for joy.

Year 11 students at Ysgol Dinas Bran celebrated their GCSE results at the school today. 

There were good grades across all subjects with particularly strong performances in Art, Drama, Music, Biology, Chemistry and Physics where the pass-rate was high and a large number of A*/A grades. 

Over 70% of grades awarded in Physics and Biology were A* or A.

More than 70% of students passed Mathematics/Numeracy and the new Double Science qualification.

There were some fantastic individual performances including a host of students who achieved the very top grades. 

Highest achiever was Emily Hudson (Corwen) who gained an incredible ten A* grades, 1 A grade and a Distinction in Additional Maths. 

Georgia Roberts (Trevor) also performed extremely well achieving 6 A* grades, 1 A grade and a Distinction in Additional Mathematics. 

There was also a fantastic performance for Amelia Orton-Jones (Llangollen) who achieved 6 A* grades, 6 A grades, 1 B grade and a Merit in Additional Maths.

There were tremendous results, too, for Aled Bates (Glyn Ceiriog) who achieved 6 A* grades, 4 A grades, 4 B grades and a Distinction in Additional Maths and Gareth McAndrew (Corwen) who achieved 7 A* grades, 2 A grades, 5 B grades and a Distinction in Additional Maths.

The following students achieved grades including six grades at A* /A or higher:

Emily Hudson (Llangollen) 10 A* grades, 1 A grade and a Distinction in Additional Mathematics
Georgia Roberts (Trevor) 6 A* grades, 6 A grades, 1 B grade and a Distinction in Additional Mathematics.

Amelia Orton-Jones (Llangollen) 6 A* grades, 5 A grades, 2 B grades and a Merit in Additional Mathematics.

Aled Bates (Glyn Ceiriog) 6 A* grades, 4 A grades, 4 B grades and a Distinction in Additional Mathematics.

Gareth McAndrew (Corwen) 7 A* grades, 2 A grades, 5 B grades and a Distinction in Additional Mathematics.

Daisy Carol (Llangollen) 3 A* grades, 8 A grades, 2 B grades and a Merit in Additional Mathematics
Chloe Leech (Chirk) 4 A* grades, 7 A grades, 2 B grades, 1 C grade and a Distinction in Additional Mathematics.

Eimear Lidd,y (Corwen) 2 A* grades, 9 A grades, 3 B grades and a Distinction in Additional Mathematics.

Christopher Harrison (Chirk) 4 A* grades, Distinction in Engineering, 4 A grades, 4 B grades and a Distinction in Additional Mathematics.

Tesni Edwards (Glyn Ceiriog) 1 A* grade, 7 A grades, 3 B grades and a Merit in Additional Mathematics.

Louis Decourt (Llangollen) 11 A grades, 3B grades and a Merit in Additional Mathematics
Sophie Smith (Llangollen) 1 A* grade, 6 A grades and 5 B grades.

Mark Hatch, headteacher, said: ‘We are really pleased for all our students.   They have worked really hard and deserve their success.

"We are looking forward to seeing many of the students back in our Sixth Form in September. 

"Great praise and thanks to the staff who have supported them and helped them achieve these excellent results."

More celebration pictures ...

Mountain fire operation is challenged

* llanblogger's picture of the fire visible from Llangollen town centre.

Former Llangollen councillor Stuart Davies (pictured below) has expressed further views about the Llantysilio mountain fire.

These come as a result of his attending the meeting in Llandegla on Monday night organised by the area's county councillor.

They are also directly in response to comments made to the Denbighshire Free Press by Dawn Beech, acting operations manager for North East Wales at National Resources Wales.

First quoting sections of her comments he then responds to them point by point:

Dawn Beech: “Mynydd Llantysilio is really important to both people and wildlife. It is home to rare birds like the black grouse, provides grazing areas for local farmers and is popular with walkers.

“We have worked with Denbighshire countryside service, RSPB and farmers over recent years to cut heather for the grouse, to improve grazing areas for sheep and to help reduce fire risk."

Stuart Davies: "It’s obvious that the action plan didn’t work. It’s a pity that they don’t do proper controlled burning, which is the time honoured way of controlling the vegetation on the moors and mountains.

"More needs to be done and quickly. One of the points brought up at the meeting is for agencies to learn from this disaster. As myself and Rhys Hughes drove home from that meeting we could see that the heather and gorse to the east of the Horseshoe Pass is overgrown, much as Llantysilio Mountain was. It is a disaster waiting to happen.

"We still haven’t had a downpour, the weather is still conducive to more fires. If it catches on that side of the road then there is 6-8 miles of mountain towards Penycae, Rhos and Wrexham that could go up.

"Fire breaks need to be put in place now! Also the vegetation needs flailing on ALL of the Horseshoe Pass verges where they meet the road. Again coming home that night, it can be seen on the south side of the downward pass right up to the road side."

Dawn Beech: “During the fire, our staff worked with North Wales Fire and Rescue Service (NWFRS) and Denbighshire Countryside Services to cut back vegetation and create fire breaks to try and stop the fire spreading."

Stuart Davies: "The question here is when? That question needs to be answered.

"The farming community offered help on day two and ten, according to my sources. Why wasn't that taken up?"

Dawn Beech: “Approximately half the mountain was burnt and the peatland areas have been particularly badly affected. NWFRS remain on site monitoring the area."

Stuart Davies: "If they had taken up the offers of help early on I would argue that half the mountain would not have been burned. Proper fire breaks as advocated by the farming community and the offer to do it would have stopped it in its tracks. Regular yearly controlled burning as advocated by conservation groups and farmers would have stopped the build-up of brash which allowed the fire to go deep."

Dawn Beech: “When we have confirmation the fires are out we will carry out a full survey of the mountain to see how we can help the area recover."

Stuart Davies: "Is that going to include putting in permanent fire breaks and making it easier to do yearly controlled burning so that we don’t have the situation of build-up of brash to allow deep seated fires to remain under the vegetation?"

Dawn Beech: “We’ll be working with the other organisations involved to carry out a review of our response.”

Stuart Davies: "Will that include listening to the farming community and taking on board their views and facilitating their actions?

"My conclusion:

"IMHO political correctness as in “we must save the black grouse and its habitat” appears to have in fact been counterproductive, the grouse “have been cooked” and the habitat destroyed.

"The farming community has lots to offer and has lots of expertise in managing hillsides and moorland. Listen to them and act QUICKLY on their advice.

"Make it easier and less bureaucratic to manage the hillside. Let the farming community do what they do best, let them husband the land.

"And finally, get in there now, cut the verges so that the fire doesn’t encroach on the roads and jump them. They had to do it anyway.

"Cut firebreaks and make the area to the east safe so that if a fire breaks out on that side it can’t reach the major conurbations of Penycae, Rhos or even Wrexham."

Stuart Millington, senior operations manager for North Wales Fire and Rescue Service is quoted in the Free Press saying: “At large scale grass and gorse fires NWFRS work in partnership with our colleagues in NRW and consider a variety of short, medium and longterm implications before implementing a tactical plan that seeks to resolve these incidents.

“This did include some work to cut fire breaks in strategic locations. Whilst we are grateful for the offer of help from local farmers, resources provided to implement this tactical plan and cut any firebreaks were provided by our partners and were considered to be sufficient." 

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Photography exhibition opens in town

* Craig Colville with his exhibition material.

A photography exhibition showcasing the region’s outstanding coastline has opened in Llangollen.

The exhibition at Llangollen Tourist Information Centre, Y Capel, celebrates Visit Wales’ themed years, 2018 being Year of the Sea.

The exhibition, called Routes to the Sea, was commissioned by Denbighshire County Council and funded by the North East Wales Partnership. 

Local photographer Craig Colville has captured the area’s routes to the sea from a different perspective to create interesting and thought provoking images.

The saleable exhibition will run until the end of September and Llangollen Tourist Information Centre is open every day from 9.30am to 4pm, expect Thursdays.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Llan councillors call for mountain fire probes

Llangollen’s two county councillors have called for three separate probes into the huge mountain fire which burned on the mountainsides above the area for over four weeks.

Cllr Graham Timms and Melvyn Miles have written to Denbighshire’s chief executive, Judith Greenhalgh, calling for two enquires involving a number of agencies plus an investigation as part of the council’s own scrutiny process during which councillors can raise questions about the issue.
In their letter to the chief executive, the two councillors say:

“The devastation of wildlife left in its wake spreads over a huge area of our ward and also includes the neighbouring wards of Llandegla and Bryneglwys. The work that the AONB, Highways, streetscene etc. have done alongside the North Wales Fire Service is to be commended, with many officers in all the services working very long and unsociable hours. 

However, now that the fire is nearly out, it is time to begin reviewing the response to ensure that we can learn from what has happened. It is the most serious and long-lasting moor fire in Wales for many years. The actions taken by the services dealing with the fire need to be reviewed to ensure that the correct response was instigated and that we can learn how to deal with future incidents to ensure that the best response possible happens. 

We would like to ask for two separate enquiries.

1. A Denbighshire County Council inquiry that considers our response to the events. This would cover a range of issues in both the response made to the events as the incident unfolded and actions that could be taken to prevent future fires taking place.

2. An inquiry possibly led by the fire service involving AONB, NRW and DCC to discuss the timeline of the response, the factors behind decisions over the four weeks of the fire, representations made by the groups involved and whether different decisions could have enabled the fire to be controlled more quickly leading to less damage to the environment and the economy. 

We believe that there should be councillor involvement in both enquiries and that the local community and stakeholders should also be asked to contribute. It is only by having an open and transparent process that we can be certain that we can learn the lessons from this fire and hope that another similar fire can be prevented from occurring again.”

Cllrs Timms and Mile also want the process to include a third examination at one of DCC's scrutiny committees to “give everyone a chance to ask questions about the procedure and hopefully learn what can be done to prevent such an incident in the future”.

Information sought on stolen tanker

Local Neighbourhood Watch members have been alerted to the theft of tanker (pictured) from the Llangollen area yesterday (Sunday). 

* If anyone has information that could help, they are asked to call 101 quoting OWL Cymru/W117991.

Council survey seeks views of carers

There is still time for carers in Denbighshire to have their say on what support would help them.

Denbighshire County Council is asking the county’s 11,600 carers to tell them how support can be improved in the survey which is part of its work to build independence and resilience in communities.

Cllr Bobby Feeley, the council’s lead member for Well-being and Independence, said: “Carers provide a lifeline through unpaid care and support to family members or friends who have a disability, illness or mental health condition.

“Caring can be a hugely rewarding experience but sometimes carers find it challenging to take care of their own well-being whilst caring.

“Supporting carers is a priority for the council and we want them to tell us how support can be improved - not just from social services but from other areas in the Council such as leisure services, libraries, housing and education.  

“I would encourage adult carers in Denbighshire to take part in this survey.”

* The survey for carers aged over 18 closes on August 31 and you can take part via

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Man rescued after Glyn Valley fall

* NEWSAR's picture of the incident in the Glyn Valley yesterday.

North East Wales Search and Rescue (NEWSAR) was called to deal with an incident in Glyn Ceiriog yesterday.

Its Twitter feed says:

CALLOUT: Earlier today the team was asked by North Wales Police to assist with the rescue of a man who had taken a tumbling fall down a steep slope near Llanarmon DC in the Ceriog valley. We arrived alongside the Wales Air Ambulance

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Bell ringer will be remembered at St Collen's

* Betram Prewett in whose memory the peal
will be rung.
On 1st September a group of bell ringers from Hertfordshire will ring a peal (5040 changes with no repeats) on the bells of  St. Collen's in memory of Bertram Prewett (1878 - 1915). 

He was one of the finest bell ringers of his era and on 13th September 1907 he and a group of friends rang a peal at Llangollen while on a bell ringing tour of the area. 

He was brought up in Bushey, Hertfordshire, and was a post office clerk until he enlisted in the army in early 1915. 

He was killed in action, shot through the throat, on 31st August 1918 and is buried in France.

This information was kindly provided by Alan Regin, who received an MBE in the January New Years Honours for his work in developing the Roll of Honour  of bell ringers killed during WW1, of whom approximately 1,400 are known.

Anyone who would like to know more about bell ringing is very welcome to come along to any practice night. 

These are held on Wednesday evening between 7.30p.m and 9.00p.m. in the church tower.

* The bell dedicated to Bertram Prewett and others,
which is part of a ring of bells, dedicated to bell ringers who lost their lives in WW1, at St. George's Memorial Church, Ypres, Belgium.

* One of peal plaques which are displayed at
churches in Llangollen, Oswestry and Chester.

Message from Music in Llandegla

Despite rumours to the contrary,  Llandegla All Styles will go again on - 

        MONDAY 20th AUGUST  2018

The prevailing weather forecast suggests that the previous decision to hold the event outside was somewhat over ambitious for Llandegla in August, so we will be in the Memorial Hall, (no BARBQ's), but feel free to bring any refreshments you require.

Friday, August 17, 2018

AM praises railway's Corwen project

North Wales Assembly Member Mark Isherwood has praised all those involved in a rail project which will boost the local economy after revisiting it this week and seeing first-hand the tangible progress made since his last visit.

Mr Isherwood (pictured) visited Llangollen Railway’s major civil engineering project at Corwen Central Station to meet the Railway’s Chairman, Liz McGuiness, Project Leader, Richard Dixon-Gough, and active railway volunteers, and was extremely impressed by the work which has been carried out over the past eight months   

He said: “So much has been achieved in the months since I last visited this magnificent project, with the water tower installed on prepared footings, the walls up for the former Weston Rhyn signal box, the temporary Station Building re-roofed and externally painted, and much more.

“The temporary station at Dwyrain Corwen East has brought in people despite its out of town location and Corwen Central Station, located near to Corwen town centre, should attract more with its car park and bus interchange. With the engagement of local businesses, the station could make a major contribution to the town’s regeneration as a visitor and business destination.

“There is also the potential for more use of the T3 Barmouth bus as a means of bringing in visitors and offering connections with Bala for the other nearby heritage railway.

“The temporary platform is due to be taken down in November, and it is hoped that the new terminus at Corwen can be open for Easter 2019."

Mr Isherwood added: “Speaking in the Assembly Chamber only last month,  I referred to the further contribution that heritage railways can make to our local and regional economies in Wales. I highlighted the final episode of Channel 4’s Great Rail Restorations series, operating its time train on Llangollen Railway, promoting the wonderful railway setting between Llangollen and Carrog, and now going to Corwen as well. I also noted that we still need a joined-up tourism offer with through ticketing, enabling regional visitors to extend their stays and have the fantastic time we know they can have.”

Liz McGuinness, Chairman of Llangollen Railway, said: " We are very excited about the prospects for the new station at Corwen opening in 2019. There is still a lot of work to do to complete the new station, but we are hopeful that, with continued support for the project, trains will terminate close to the town centre early in the new season on a date to be announced."

Gas pipe company want your views

Wales & West Utilities, the company that look after the gas pipes in Llangollen, want people in this area to connect with them and give them their views on their services.

You can have your say before their consultation closes today, Friday.

* Go to to find out more.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Ysgol Dinas Bran celebrates "fantastic" A level results

* A level students jump for joy at their results.

Delighted A level students celebrated "fantastic" exam results at Ysgol Dinas Bran today.

Overall the pass-rate at A level (grades A*-E) was a very pleasing 98%, with over 80% of grades awarded at A*-C, well above national averages. 

Among subjects, Design and Technology, Art and Design, Drama, Geography, History, Maths, PE, Music, Spanish and Psychology all had 100% pass-rates at A*-C. 

There were some outstanding performances from students. 

Julian Gonzalez achieved four A* grades, achieving an A* in Music this year while in year 13, A* in Physics and Further Maths last year when in Year 12 and an A* in Maths while only in Year 11. He will now continue with his studies in Maths at St John’s College, Oxford University. 

Mae Morgan achieved A* grades in Maths and Physics and A grades in Spanish and Biology; Mae will now study Nursing at Southampton University. 

Barra Liddy also took three of his A levels whilst in Year 12, achieving four overall including an A* and two A grades. Barra will now study Music and Sound Recording at the University of Surrey. 

Connor Stalham achieved a clean sweep of A grades in his three subjects  - Biology, Physics and Mathematics.  Connor will now go on to study Theoretical Physics at York University.

Other students who achieved two A grades or more were:

Grace Broadbent  two A grades, one B grade, two  C grades*
Imogen Fernehough   two A grades
Ffion Hughes two A grades, one B, one C
Millie Harrison two A grades and a B grade
Joe Richardson  two A grades and a B grade
Osian Williams  two A grades and a B grade
Annie Ward  two A grades, two C grades 
*- Grace both took a number of her qualifications whilst in Year 12.

Early indicators suggest that the vast majority of students who applied to university have been successful in their first choice applications.

Headteacher, Martyn Froggett, said: "We are delighted with these fantastic results.  A levels are hard exams;  the students have worked hard and deserve their success.  We wish them well for the future, whatever their chosen route. 

"A big thank you also to all the teachers for their tremendous work and support of the students.”

The county council says early indications show approximately 99% of students have been successful in achieving the Level 3 threshold, which is a slight improvement on the previous year.

Approximately 77% of students achieved A*-C grades and there have been some excellent individual achievements across all schools with approximately 23% of students achieving A* and A grades.

Councillor Huw Hilditch-Roberts, Denbighshire's Cabinet Lead Member for Education, Children and Young People, said: “We would like to congratulate all students on their individual results and we wish them every success in their chosen pathway.

“These results highlight the continued focus we have on education and is testament to the commitment shown by everyone concerned.

“The results reflect the years of hard work and dedication of students and the tireless support of their teachers in preparation for the examinations and shows that pupils make strong progress over the course of their education.  

“Denbighshire has a consistent focus on ensuring that children and young people achieve well and once again highlights our belief that “every child really matters” as was noted in the recent Estyn Inspection.  

“Education remains a top priority in the County and we are extremely pleased to see the majority of schools in Denbighshire continue to improve performance.”

The local authority extends sincere congratulations to every individual student achieving this summer and wishes them well in their future endeavours.

Llan's new vicar introduces himself

From Father Lee Taylor:

It was announced this week that I am to be the Vicar of Llangollen, Llantysilio and Trevor and I am really looking forward to getting to know everyone in and around these communities in the months and years ahead. 

* In his spare time Lee Taylor is a member of the
British Music Hall Society. 

I appreciate this opportunity to say a few words to introduce myself before I move to Llangollen later this year. 

I was born and brought up in Bolton, Lancashire. I studied theology at the University of Wales, Lampeter where I was also organ scholar and choirmaster.

When I left university I worked at a busy call centre for the gas and electricity supplier Norweb Energi. I had the delightful task of working in the customer complaints department. I was one of those mysterious people at the other end of the line who put you on hold and force you to listen to a pan-pipe rendition of Greensleeves!

At weekends I worked evenings at a local Working Men’s Club playing a selection of schmaltzy tunes on the organ before the main bingo session. 

I moved to London in 2002 to take up the post of Deputy-Head Verger at Southwark Cathedral. During my time in London I also worked as a volunteer chaplaincy assistant at Guy’s & St Thomas’ hospitals. 

In 2010 I left London to train for ordained ministry at Ripon College, Cuddesdon.

I served my curacy (the initial clergy job) in Leigh-on-Sea. One of the most challenging projects I took on during my curacy was a visit to India in 2014 with a group from the parish. We worked at an orphanage and volunteered at the various Mother Teresa institutions around Calcutta that are run by the Missionaries of Charity. 

I am currently Associate Vicar of Croydon Minster. During my time in Croydon I have worked hard at establishing partnerships with various organisations, business and charities around the town.

Working with the community is at the heart of my priestly ministry as I believe that the work of God thrives and flourishes in community.

One of the most exciting mission and community ventures that we did as a church was a beer blessing ceremony at our local pub, The Dog & Bull. This event not only brought together a wide section of the community but it also signalled the open and welcoming face of the church in the heart of the community.

I have to say at this point that I am no stranger to inns: my mother ran two pubs in Wigan where I used to serve behind the bar, play the piano and chat to the regulars. It was great fun. 

What will I bring to Llangollen? I consider myself to be an engaging and creative person with a good sense of humour and a down-to-earth approach. This probably stems from my love of Music Hall and my experience of performing ‘turns’ on the amateur stage. I am a member of the British Music Hall Society and I'm currently pursuing an informal study on the theology of humour. 
I also enjoy playing and composing music, ballroom dancing, the arts, hiking, and keeping fit.
One of my priorities in ministry is to be a visible witness to the gospel in the ‘public square’ and to be available to anyone in need. I am greatly looking forward to my move to Llangollen and to serving all sections of this wonderful and vibrant community. 
Wishing you peace and joy.
Father Lee Taylor