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Friday, November 30, 2018

Llan's new vicar gets to know his parish

* Father Lee Taylor is getting to know his new parish.

The town’s new vicar is ready to officially start work in just over a week's time.
Since moving from his previous church in Croydon two weeks ago Father Lee Taylor has been busy getting to know his new parish of Llangollen, Llantysilio and Trevor before his licensing by the Bishop of St Asaph takes place at St Collen’s on Sunday December 9.
Since his arrival most of his time has been taken up with moving into the newly-refurbished vicarage on Abbey Road but he says he’s had a very warm welcome and enjoyed meeting a wide range of local people – both parishioners and otherwise.
Keen on keeping fit he’s already joined the leisure centre and the running club and had a rapid installation as a member of one of the Eisteddfod committees.
And he’s now looking forward to getting to know as many other groups and organisations as possible.
Born and brought up in Bolton, Lancashire, he studied theology at the University of Wales, Lampeter where he was also organ scholar and choirmaster. 

After leaving university he worked at a busy call centre for the gas and electricity supplier Norweb Energi. At weekends he worked evenings at a local Working Men’s Club playing the organ before the main bingo session. 

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

In 2010 he left London to train for ordained ministry at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, serving his curacy in Leigh-on-Sea. 

His last position was as Associate Vicar of Croydon Minster.

During his time there he worked hard at establishing partnerships with various organisations, business and charities around the town.

And he now aims to do the same sort of thing in Llangollen.

He said: “Since I arrived here a couple of weeks ago I’ve met a large number of people and had lots of invitations for coffee.

“I want to maintain the relationships the church already has with the community and also start up some new ones. It’s just a question of getting to know as many local groups as possible and working out who's who.

“I’ve had already accepted an invitation to join the music and staging committee at the Eisteddfod, which was very nice and I’m looking forward to playing a part in that.”

In his spare time Father Lee is passionate about and is a regular performer in old time music hall. He will retain his role as publicity officer for the Music Hall Society, which is based in London.

Apart from performing he also enjoys playing and composing music, ballroom dancing and the arts.
In fact, he says Llangollen’s very active arts scene was one of things that drew him to his new appointment.

“Music and performance is an intrinsic part of my priesthood,” he explained.

Father Lee also likes to keep himself fit and along with his two dogs, a Labrador and a Border Collie, he has sampled some of the country walks his new parish has to offer including those around Llantysilio and up to Dinas Bran Castle. Next, he reckons, is possibly a walking trip down the canal to the Aqueduct.

No stranger to the world of pubs since his mother ran two of them in Wigan, where he served behind the bar and played piano, he used this background to create what he reckons was one of his most exciting community ventures down in Croydon.

That’s when he organised and officiated at a beer blessing ceremony at the local Dog & Bull pub which hit the national headlines.

He recalled: “The 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.”

And he promised: “Something similar is certainly on the cards for Llangollen – it’s just a question of which pub or hotel we do it in and at what time of the year. Eisteddfod week might be a good time because that’s when the town is full of people from around the world.

“I think we can look forward to lots of quirky things, ideas and initiatives, so watch this space.”

Before he starts on the beer blessing trail Father Lee has his own licensing by Bishop Gregory of St Asaph as part of the morning worship at St Collen’s on December 9.

“It will be a time when all the church family and those from the other churches in the area can gather together. Everyone is welcome and I’m told there will be a bit of a do in the parish rooms afterwards,” he said. 

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Theresa sets new gold standard for end of life care

* Theresa Richards with her gold award.
A Llangollen woman who has helped scores of people fulfill their dying wishes has been honoured for her pioneering work.

Theresa Richards, who completes 40 years in the NHS this year, picked up one of the main awards at the Wales Care Awards.

The awards are organized by Care Forum Wales to recognize exceptional work in the care sector and the ceremony, sponsored by Onyx Healthcare, was held at City Hall, Cardiff.

Theresa won the gold award in the category for Excellence in Palliative and End of Life Care, sponsored by Hallmark Care Homes.

Having started out as a cadet nurse before qualifying as an RGN, she has for 17 years specialized in the field of palliative and end-of-life care, and her current role within the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board is as End-of-Life Care Nurse Facilitator, a position supported by Macmillan.

Since 2013 she has been responsible for introducing the Six Steps to End of Life Care programme in the independent care sector in North Wales.

Formerly only available in England, it entails working in partnership with local authorities to ensure that patients reach the end of their lives in the care home of their choice instead of going into hospital.

“I have adapted it and given it a Welsh slant,” she said.

Initially working only within Wrexham and Flintshire, she has since overseen the expansion of the scheme across North Wales and into Powys, and it is hoped that the whole of Wales will soon be involved.

Tracey Evans, the programme’s assessor and facilitator, who nominated Theresa for the award, said the work entailed developing a close partnership with the local authorities, supporting doctors and district nurses with practice development and ensuring that facilitators are trained to deliver the programme to the highest standards.

“Through the programme she ensures that the individual has a voice and is supported to stay in his or her preferred place of care, and that these wishes are documented in advance care planning,” said Tracey.

 “Theresa is passionate about ensuring that people have the best quality of palliative and end-of-life care, and the number of people who are able to remain in their preferred place of care is testimony to the quality of her work.”     

Theresa, who recently won the Bevan Foundation award for innovation for her work on the scheme, said she was proud to see how the programme was being implemented and that residents’ wishes were being respected.

She was accompanied at the ceremony by Tracey, with whom she works closely, and her husband Peter.

“It was a wonderful evening and it was very gracious of them to give the award to someone not directly employed in the care sector, even though I work in very close partnership with the sector,” she said.

Mario Kreft, the Chair of Care Forum Wales, said: “There are only winners here tonight so it is only fitting that the finalists have received a gold, silver or bronze Wales Care Award.

“I trust that they will continue to inspire those around them as role models and encourage others to aspire to even greater heights in the months and years to come.

“This awards ceremony is our opportunity to pay tribute and to celebrate the talent and commitment that is improving the quality of life for thousands and thousands of people throughout Wales.

“We take our hats off to them.”

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Eisteddfod launches its 2019 concert line-up

Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod has announces its star-studded evening concert line-up for 2019.

Returning festival favourite and Vice President of the Eisteddfod, Jools Holland will entertain the Royal Pavilion audience with his legendary Rhythm and Blues Orchestra on Monday 1st July.

The jazz, blues and swing showstopper will launch the 2019 concert series with an unforgettable toe-tapping extravaganza of live music, sponsored by Kronospan.

The week-long festival line-up features some of the world’s most internationally renowned musicians, including French-Mexican star tenor, Rolando Villazón, salsa, pop and flamenco outfit, Gipsy Kings, and award-winning Celtic music band, Jamie Smith’s MABON.

Interim Music Director of the festival, Edward-Rhys Harry, said: “It's been an exhilarating first few months in my role as Music Director at Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod and a real joy to curate my very first concert series, which we feel reflects the musical excellence and diversity of this fantastic event.

“We are proud that this year’s festival line-up spans genres and generations, crossing the boundaries of age, culture and creed. There really is something for everyone and we’ll be adding even more early in the New Year, with the announcement of our Llanfest headliners for 2019.”

Evening concert line-up also includes:

Tuesday 2nd July - Classical Gala with Rolando Villazón and guests

Sponsored by Pendine Park

One of the music world’s most critically acclaimed tenors, Rolando Villazón will debut his phenomenal voice on the Llangollen stage. Villazón, who is known for his uniquely compelling performances with leading opera houses around the world, will be joined by the magnificent Welsh lyric soprano Rhian Lois for a spectacular evening of operatic greats.

Wednesday 3rd July - Saints and Singers: The Music of Wales

Wales has a world-wide reputation for its choral music, and Wednesday’s evening performance will showcase the Land of Song at its very best, with supreme Welsh vocalists Shân Cothi and Rhodri Prys Jones, accompanied by the British Sinfonietta Orchestra. Audiences will be treated to two rare opportunities: the premiere of a brand new piece for tenor, chorus and orchestra by Dr Edward-Rhys Harry, and the sheer majesty of the incredible cantata ‘Saint Teilo’ by William Mathias CBE. The evening promises to be a tremendously dramatic celebration of traditional music from Wales, bursting with glorious melodies and powerful operatic choruses.

Thursday 4th July - International Celebration with Jamie Smith’s MABON

Sponsored by Denbighshire County Council and Westminster Stone

International competitors from all over the world will come together in a vibrant carnival of cultures to showcase the very best from across the globe, as they weave through the audience with their giant flags in a vivacious display of international unity and friendship.

The evening will commemorate the International Eisteddfod’s unique founding values of sharing music, dance, peace and friendship, with the poignant Peace Message and the annual Rotary Peace Award.

Special guests for the evening, multi-award winning band, Jamie Smith’s MABON, will bring their distinctive self-styled sound to get feet tapping with their interpretation of Celtic traditions, refreshingly combining heritage with their contemporary sound.

Friday 5th July - Gipsy Kings featuring Andre Reyes

Sponsored by Linguassist

Hailing from the south of France, the group will bring their energetic set with infectious Latin rhythms to Llangollen for the very first time. Their music is warm, exuberant and hugely popular with trademark hits such as Bamboleo and Volare.

Audiences will be wowed by a heady concoction of rumba, flamenco and salsa combined with contemporary pop music, perfect for anybody who loves to dance.
Saturday 6th July - Choir of the World

Sponsored by Aldi

In a live televised concert, the festival's competitions will reach their exciting climax on Saturday, with the finest choirs from across the globe battling for the highly sought after Choir of the World 2019 title and the prestigious Pavarotti Trophy. Those taking part in the dance categories will participate in the breath-taking Dance Champions of the World 2019 finals, competing for the coveted Lucille Armstrong Dance Award. The evening, will include a very special guest to be announced soon.

Llanfest 2019

The festival will draw to a close on Sunday 7th July at Llanfest 2019, with exciting headliners and support acts to be announced shortly.

* Tickets will be available to Festival Pass holders and Friends of the Eisteddfod from 9am today [WEDNESDAY 28TH NOVEMBER). Tickets will be on sale to the general public from 9am on Wednesday 12th December online at or via the box office.

Anyone purchasing a membership to the Friends of the Eisteddfod during this two-week priority-booking period will also gain access to these advance tickets, contact the box office to become a member, please telephone 01978 862001.

Late night Christmas shopping starts tomorrow

Llangollen Chamber of Trade and Tourism is spearheading the annual campaign to bring late-night shopping to the town in the run-up to Christmas.

The shops will be open until 7pm each Thursday until the big day, starting from tomorrow.

Chamber chair David Davies: "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas now in Llangollen.

"Why not support our local businesses by enjoying a festive stroll around town during our late night shopping evenings?

"Or maybe join friends for food and drink combined with some Christmas shopping, while experiencing the festive beauty of our town?

"Thank you to everyone of you who continually support our local businesses. It’s so important to keep our local high street alive.”

New online facility for volunteers

Denbighshire Voluntary Services Council (DVSC) has been involved in a number of  digital platform developments.

As well as the relaunch of , its new corporate interactive and informative website, in June it added an exciting enhancement to its #DenbighshireVolunteers digital platform, in partnership with the Wales Council for Voluntary Action, with a new digital volunteering platform to replace the current system on

The new platform enhances the service offer, and can be found direct from the site with a click of the Get Involved button.

It is free for volunteers and for organisations looking to recruit. As before they can find opportunities by searching for keywords or according to distance from your location.

However, volunteers can now also log the hours and skills they gain through volunteering and will receive digital badges for volunteering 50, 100, 200 hours or more.

The system will help volunteer involving organisations in Denbighshire to recruit and manage volunteers, log volunteer hours, plan rotas and events, record training and experience and produce reports.

In August the information sharing agreement with DEWIS Cymru and InfoEngine went live.

InfoEngine is an online directory of third sector services in Wales provided and supported by Third Sector Support Wales, a partnership of County Voluntary Councils and the Wales Council for Voluntary Action.

There are nearly 40,000 voluntary organisations and community groups across Wales whose services support individuals in many ways. 

Infoengine is the online directory of voluntary sector services for Wales that helps citizens, groups and professionals to find out what services are available to support people in your area.

DVSC's link with Dewis Cymru means that people don't need to visit more than one place for information.

Voluntary sector service information is registered on Infoengine and also displayed in Dewis.

The shortlist facility enables users to create specific shortlists that are automatically updated and can be printed to produce hard copy directories. The Infoengine widget also enables people to embed the Infoengine search engine in their own website.

Infoengine grows daily and is proving an essential tool in providing information, advice and assistance to the people of Wales.

Helen Wilkinson, Chief Executive Officer of DVSC, said:Like all great digital tools and platforms, Infoengine is only as good as we make it. So I want to urge all voluntary and community groups, third sector organisations and social enterprises in Denbighshire to register and list the full range of services on offer and to ask our public service partners in the county to promote it so that the public have the widest possible information and choice as possible.  

"The more we engage, and work together in partnership, the more we raise the profile and awareness of third sector services among the public, professionals and public service partners and the more we can help promote and support wellbeing for all.”

To support you in getting your information and opportunities online DVSC is inviting members to drop in to its offices any time between 9 and 12 on Friday December 7 and a member of its team will help you upload your service information on InfoEngine and your volunteering opportunities on 

You will need to allow up to an hour to get information onto both sites and you must ensure you bring all information required with you – organisation information, project/service information and all information about your volunteering opportunities.

Whilst it is not mandatory organisations are encouraged to complete this bilingually but they must bring any translations with them.

* DVSC says there is no need to book for this event but if you have any questions, email or call us on 01824 702441.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Apply for free childcare offer online, says county

Denbighshire County Council  has announced that parents and guardians can now apply online for the Welsh Government’s free childcare offer.

In 2017 the Welsh Government (WG) pledged to offer 30 hours a week of government-funded early education and childcare to eligible working parents of three and four year olds, for 48 weeks of the year by September 2020.
Children will be eligible to access the offer from the beginning of the term following their third birthday until the September following their fourth birthday.  
The new offer comes into effect in Denbighshire on Monday, January 7th, 2019.

Eligible children will be entitled to up to 20 free hours of childcare during term time, on top of the 10 hours already provided by the Foundation Phase.
During the school holidays, when there is no early education, the offer will provide 30 hours a week of childcare for up to nine weeks. Parents are able to choose any registered childcare setting that suits their personal and family circumstance, whether inside or outside of county, in agreement with the provider and the local authority.
Those not currently accessing the 10 hours a week free childcare provided by the Foundation Phase will be able to apply for 20 hours free childcare, as part of the scheme.
To be eligible for free childcare, parents/ guardians must meet a set of criteria:  their child must be aged 3 or 4;  parents/ guardians work and earn the equivalent of at least 16 hours at national living wage or national minimum wage, or are in receipt of specific caring benefits and they must live in Denbighshire.

Councillor Huw Hilditch – Roberts, Cabinet Lead Member for Education, Children, Young People and the Welsh Language, said: “We have worked tirelessly with the Welsh Government over recent months to bring the implementation date forward and we are delighted to be able to share this very positive news.  
“The aim of the Childcare Offer is to allow eligible parents to have more employment choices, increase their disposable income to help counteract poverty for those in low paid jobs and ensure that quality early education and childcare is provided to promote child development and prepare them for early education.
“Our colleagues in education have worked hard to get this scheme available in Denbighshire at the earliest opportunity and we would urge parents and guardians to go online and check whether they are eligible."
* All of the information about the childcare offer can be found at:

Llan groups get an early Christmas cash bonus

* Representatives of the benefitting groups say cheers to Cittaslow for their cash windfalls.

A dozen Llangollen community groups received an early Christmas bonus last night when they each won a share of a £5,000 windfall from the Town Council.
The council’s Cittaslow committee hosted a presentation evening at the Town Hall for the annual Community Support Grant scheme which sees local groups benefit from cash injections from the council.

Members of the public, provided they were town residents, were invited to listen to short submissions from representatives of the various groups outlining why some extra cash would come in handy to help them continue to thrive.
The large audience was then asked to vote on which organisations they thought to be most deserving.

At the end of the process Cllr Austin Cheminais, speaking on behalf of Cittaslow, made the surprise but welcome announcement that there would be no losers as every one of the groups would get the amount of cash they asked for.
That meant the cash was handed out to:

Three of the groups each also received a cash bonus voted for by Cittaslow members.
Cooking for Wellbeing received an extra £100, Activity Outdoors got £50 while Soft Play received an additional £30.

Cllr Cheminais described the work of all the benefitting groups as “brilliant” and said what they did helped to make Llangollen the vibrant community it is.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Eisteddfod commissions two new musical pieces

* British Columbia Girls Choir from Canada.

Llangollen Eisteddfod has commissioned two new pieces of music to reflect the growing number of younger singers entering its choral competitions.

The festival has authorised one piece by Roderick Willliams OBE and the other by its Interim Music Director Dr Edward-Rhys Harry, entitled Reset the World.

Both pieces have been specifically commissioned to resonate with the festival’s teenage entrants and the organisers are encouraging choir leaders from across the globe to enter its Senior Children’s Choir competition, before the upcoming deadline of Friday 23rd November.

Delight in Disorder is a setting of a poem by Robert Herrick and the music tries to capture the mischievous character of the words. 

It is designed to be suitable for various combinations of broken and unbroken voices across gender.

The piano part features a walking bass that remains unchanged throughout the piece.  While no doubt testing for the performers, hopefully it will also appeal to their sense of fun.

Reset The World reflects themes growing up in today’s world of technology and social media.

Edward-Rhys Harry said: “We have welcomed global performers since the end of the Second World War and to stay current we regularly look to modernise our offering to respond to our changing audiences. When writing the piece, I envisaged what it would be like if the world had its own ‘reset button’ similar to technological devices, hence the title of the piece.

“We hope this gospel-inspired song will be a valuable addition to the audition test pieces choirs choose to perform, as we would like to encourage teenagers around the world to ‘press pause’ and enjoy real world harmony, diversity and culture through music and performance."

Groups of no fewer than 16 voices and aged between 12-18 can enter for the chance to win, following in the footsteps of 2018 winners, British Columbia Girls Choir from Canada.

Successful entrants will compete on the Royal International Pavilion stage for the prestigious title of Children’s Choir of the World.

Closing date for the Senior Children’s Choir category is on Friday 23rd November 2018 and applicants are asked to contact the Eisteddfod office to obtain a copy of the test pieces.

Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod will take place on 1-7 July 2019.

* For more information on all the competitions or to apply on the Eisteddfod competitors’ website visit:

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Colourful Christmas Festival lights up the town

* The lights in Castle Street right after the switch-on.

Thousands of people flocked to Llangollen's annual Christmas Festival this afternoon (Saturday) and llanblogger  was on hand to record some of the colourful scenes.

* Sion Corn waves to the crowds waiting in Castle Street.

* Chris Burton, dressed as Rudolf, belts out some 60s and 70s sounds in Centenary Square.

* People look for bargains at the Christmas fair inside the Town Hall.

* Market Street was turned into a foodies paradise with the Light Up Local Food stalls.

* The children's fairground ride swings into action in Market Street. 

* The parade heads into town led by a horse-drawn wagon.

* Town crier Chem announces the arrival of the big parade. 

* Llangollen Silver Band sets the pace for the parade.

* A vintage tractor represents the local farming community.

* Bikers in fancy dress were a major attraction.

* A stylish custom pick-up drew lots of attention.

* Town mayor, Cllr Jon Haddy, arrives outside the Town Hall.

* Juggler Jay Gatling goes through his paces in the parade.

* Huskies were a top attraction with the crowd.

* An elf makes a collection for the festival's charities.

* The Silver Band plays a selection of seasonal tunes in Centenary Square.

* Shea Ferron, one of the stars of the Llangollen Operatic Young 'Uns' next production of Grease, takes the stage. 

* A chorus line from Grease performs.

* Cast member Celyn Orton Jones sings another number from Grease.

* Children from Ysgol Bryn Collen delight the Centenary Square crowd.

* A young visitor meets Sion Corn in his Town Hall grotto.

* Two festival volunteers take a break.

* Chef Brian Mellor gives a cookery demonstration.

* High jinks from juggler Jay Gatling.

* The cast of Llangollen Pantomime Group next production of Aladdin perform a selection from the show.

* Elvis Presley makes an appearance with some friends on the Centenary Square stage. 

* Llangollen resident Ann Owen, who has raised money for the town's Christmas lights in the past, switches on the illuminations with Cllr Karen Edwards who raised cash for them this year.

* A firework display rounds off the festival.

Christmas Festival is this afternoon

Thousands of seasonal revellers are expected to come flocking to Llangollen today for the town’s annual Christmas Festival.
Kicking off at 1pm with the famous parade which sees Sion Corn - the Welsh Santa – being escorted into town over its historic bridge by a colourful cavalcade of entertainers and local groups, the event features children’s fairground rides and games, circus acts, a magician, dancing and face painting.
There will also be a chance for youngsters to visit Sion Corn in his glorious grotto and put in their early requests from what they’d like to see him bring them on Christmas morning. 
During the afternoon visitors can look forward to an eclectic mix of musical entertainment from local groups on two outdoor stages and other on-street entertainment.
The fun-packed day rounds off at 5pm the ceremonial switching on of Llangollen’s legendary Christmas lights and a firework extravaganza. 
Llangollen Christmas Festival is organised by a group of dedicated community volunteers. It costs over £4,000 to stage each year and is self-funding.
The festival aims to provide a free family-orientated event in the safety of the town centre with surplus funds donated to Wales Air Ambulance and local community groups.
Over the last couple of years the police have estimated that the spectacular event attracts over 2,000 people into town during the course of the afternoon.
For the second year the festival has teamed up with Light Up Local Food, a project aimed at promoting Llangollen-based food and drink producers.
Chairman of the festival committee Austin ‘Chem’ Cheminais, who is also the local town crier and a member of the town council, said: “With the help of the community we manage, each year, to raise just about enough to fund the event and give a little to charity.
“Last year’s festival was particularly successful, in spite of the weather, and the feedback from those attending was very positive.
“The ‘market’ feel to the event provided by Light UP Local Food was particularly commented upon and helped to attract visitors from much further afield.
“Once again we’re expecting a bumper crowd to come along and help us to give a great early start to Christmas.” 

Friday, November 23, 2018

Try Llan Country Market for a Christmas bargain

* Country Market members Vicky Lucas, left, and Marion Williams at a stall loaded with Christmas goodies. 

Llangollen Country Market members have been celebrating the lead-up to Christmas in their usual manner.

They have been very busy creating seasonal goodies for all.

The members invite people to come in out of the cold, have a drink and stock up on the unique hand-made gifts, cards, wreaths, jams and chutneys and tasty cakes and pastries.

The market is open on Friday mornings, from 9.45am-12.45pm, in the Town Hall until Friday December 14 when it closes until Friday March 1 for its annual break.

Members say: "We wish a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our customers. Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda."

Play is a great way to start Christmas with a laugh

* The cast of The Flint Street Nativity.

Kids say the darndest things.

And a lot of the things they come out with accurately reflect what their parents say and do.

That's the main premise of the play The Flint Street Nativity currently being staged by the Twenty Club at Llangollen Town Hall.

And an unholy piece of hilarity it turns into.

The plot is that grown-ups play a bunch of kids at Flint Street primary school - located somewhere near Llan in this instance but actually in Liverpool as originally imaged by author Tim Firth - as they perform their annual nativity.

We see them first at rehearsal where we hear them inserting into their own childish conversations the phrases they’ve picked up at home from listening to their sometimes dysfunctional parents.

Quite a bit of this stuff  is malicious but is used innocently by the children as weapons in their own little feuds with other members of the group.

This produces some delicious comedy such as when the Angel Gabriel, marvellously played by Twenty Club favourite Sue Griffiths, wills Hannah Edwards’s superb Virgin Mary to fall sick so that at the last minute she can take over that role herself.

There’s much more of this stuff and the laugh factor steps up significantly when the actual nativity performance gets underway.

Another memorable scenario stems from Mary and Joseph’s weary arrival at the inn to be greeted by Si Kneale deftly portraying a far-from-genial mine host. I won’t divulge what happens but don’t forget to look out for it.   

Another stand-out performance comes from Nicola Holmwood as the Shepherd. She’s extremely believable as a little girl, right down to the perfectly-timed twitches, and delivers some real comedic gems.

James Broderick is sheer magic to watch and listen to as the Ass, so called because he spends most of the action wearing a big cardboard donkey head. However, that doesn’t prevent him perfectly delivering some of the play’s funniest moments.

Other neat performances come from Lizzie Clifford as Wise Gold – one of the Three Kings – Kevin Williams who gives a new twist to the Star of Bethlehem, Eiri Jones as The Angel, Joe Clifford as the Narrator, Gareth Edwards as Herod and Joseph and Rowena Owen as Wise Frankincense – just listen to how she delivers her character’s name with the lisp she puts on.  

Why the various kids say the things they do become clearer when the actors appear as their respective parents in the final scene.

The play, which you can still catch this and tomorrow evening (Friday and Saturday, when it helps round off the town’s Christmas Festival) at 7.30pm, is a credit to John Clifford in his first directorial role and is a cracker of a way to start Christmas.

* Tickets, at £8 and £6 concessions, are available from Courtyard Books, Gwyn Davies butchers, Jenni's or Mair Bowen on 01978 822759, or via

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Christmas Festival entertainments programme unveiled

Here's the action-packed entertainments programme for this Saturday's Llangollen Christmas Festival:

Centenary Square Entertainment

Compere: Chris Burton

12.50-1.30: Chris Burton, acoustic 60s and 70s

1.30-2.00: Llangollen Silver Band

2.00-2.20: Young ‘Uns

2.25-2.50: Ysgol Bryn Collen

2.55-3.20: Ysgol Y Gwernant

3.25-3.45: Pantomime Group

3.50-4.05: Cylch Meithrin

4.05-4.45: Chris Burton and Friends

5.00: Announcements about switch-on of lights and firework display

Market Street Stage

Compere: Barrie Roberts

1.15-1.45: Madalene Kirby

2.00-2.20: Jay Gatling magician

2.30-3.00: Chef Brian Mellor cookery demonstration

3.05-3.35: Melodics Choir

3.40-4.00: Creak n Twist balloon modelling

4.00-4.30: Chef Brian Mellor cookery demonstration

Old Sweet Shop

1.30-2.00: Fiona Collins storyteller

2.05-2.25: Creak n Twist balloon modelling

2.30-3.00: Fiona Collins storyteller

3.05-3.25: Jay Gatling magician

3.30-4.00: Fiona Collins storyteller

Tourist Information Centre steps

1.45-2.10: Harley the Clown

3.15-3.40: Harley the Clown

Also in various locations around the town centre

Jay Gatling magician, Harley the Clown, Fiona Collins storyteller, Creak n Twist balloon modelling 

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

County backs Road Safety Week

Denbighshire County Council is lending its support to the national Road Safety Week awareness events, encouraging cyclists to be as safe as possible on our roads.

The theme for this year is BikeSMART and the week-long campaign is focussing on cyclists and motorcyclists being Bike Smart through safe riding behaviours, appropriate training, clothing and equipment. 

Drivers are also encouraged to be aware of the potential of cyclists being on the roads and using the latest life-saving technologies in their vehicles.

In Denbighshire, the council’s road safety team is rolling out a programme of Bikeability training to all primary schools, with the focus on Ysgol y Llys, Prestatyn during Road Safety Week. Rhyl High School students have recently undertake their Level 3 Bikeability course.

The Council is also supporting the enrolment of young drivers on the Pass Plus Cymru programme. Full details are available on

Many primary schools are taking delivery of "Arafwch yn ein Tref / Slow down in our Town" banners in an effort to keep roads around schools safe.

Councillor Brian Jones, Cabinet Lead Member for Highways, Planning and Sustainable Travel said: “Designated weeks such as Road Safety Week are a great way to raise national awareness of important issues and we are delighted to be supporting this worthwhile campaign in Denbighshire.

“National statistics show that cyclists and motorcyclists account for more than a third of people killed or seriously injured across the UK and more than 100 bike riders are injured every day in crashes.  That is why the education element of this campaign is vitally important and we will do all we can, in partnership with schools, to drive home this vital message."