A grieving family has sent a glowing letter of support to the staff of Gales of Llangollen for the way they supported them when a lady took seriously ill while dining there one evening last month.
Robert Hyde and his father George, from Andover in southern England, were holidaying in the town in August when tragedy struck.
Sandra, who was George’s wife and Robert’s mother, was with them at one of the tables in the wine bar when she underwent the medical emergency and Gales management and staff rushed to help.
Despite one member of the team, Kelly Philips, performing CPR and defibrillation on the her before she was taken to hospital Sandra tragically died at the Wrexham Maelor the following afternoon.
Now Robert has sent a letter of deepest thanks for their “kindness and Christian charity” to wine bar owner Pip Gale, his mother Gillie and their staff which was officially presented to them by Llangollen town mayor Austin Cheminais yesterday evening.
The black-framed message, originally sent to Cllr Cheminais and the town council to be passed on to the restaurant, speaks not only of what was done for Sandra on the fateful evening but also gives fulsome praise for how the two men were looked after by the Gales team in the few days immediately after the trauma.
* The letter of deepest thanks from the Hydes.
Read out in the wine bar last night by the mayor It says: “Your unbelievable kindness and Christian charity during those traumatic days has humbled us.
“Everyone we have told about your support has been filled with both emotion and disbelief at the kindness you showed.
“The simplest acts of kindness can mean the world to some people but the support, kindness and sheer unselfishness shown by you and your team goes beyond any words we can write.
“It is important that the wider community understands exactly how you supported George and I, from the smallest gesture of a much-needed drink to the unbelievable acts of kindness regarding car parking and the accommodation charges.”
The letter adds: “We all know and understand the difficulties the recent Covid pandemic has had on the hospitality industry. This more than ever makes your support and gestures during those traumatic days in August even more humbling and worthy of recognition and praise from the community.
“Your kindness has reinforced our faith in human nature and firmly placed your beautiful town in our hearts.
“Please pass on our deepest heartfelt thanks to all your staff who supported us on that eventful day. Their support and kindness are beyond any words I can write.
“God bless you all and thank you for everything you did for us on the worst day of our lives. Without your help we would have been lost and may never have recovered.”
Pip Gale said after receiving the letter: “I am just very proud of all my staff for what they were able to do for this family.”
Earlier this year Phil Jones organised a 900-signature petition calling for an agreement between Denbighshire and Wrexham councils which would mean local people would be able to use the Plas Madoc household recycling site rather than having to drive over to Ruthin use the to tip there.
But after this suggestion was rejected by Denbighshire he has decided to take things to a higher level by reporting the council to the Local Government Ombudsman.
Here he gives his latest update on the campaign:
"Dee Valley Recycling: What will the Ombudsman think of our council’s actions?
"You may recall from my last update that Denbighshire County Council has decided that their recycling service in the Dee Valley is ‘well received’.
"I want to shine a light on the reality of recycling in the Dee Valley to highlight the difference between the propaganda pushed by the Welsh Government and our experience of the service our council provides.
"We all want to maximise our recycling but this can only be achieved if the Local Government Ombudsman upholds our complaint that our council has failed to restore a proper service after closing our recycling site and that it is now treating us unfairly when compared with the service it provides to its ratepayers outside the Dee Valley.
"Take a look at what the Welsh Government tells us.
“'Since Wales has had its own government in 1999, we have become a global leader in recycling. We’re now first in the UK, second in Europe and third in the world for household waste recycling. Put simply, recycling is what we do!'
"So why can’t we get access to a recycling centre you may ask?
"I will be submitting a formal complaint to the Ombudsman; we should never have had to take it this far. We are now just a few dozen petitioners short of 1,000 names. So, if you know anyone in the Dee Valley who hasn’t yet signed the petition, please get them to do so.
"The Welsh Government can ‘talk the talk’
“'Make recycling what everyone in Wales does whether they live, work or visit! Recycling is necessary to tackle the climate emergency by calling on the Welsh public to Recycle.'
"Will they ever let us ‘walk the walk’"?
llanblogger has been sent the following statement, in the name of Cllr John Palmer, relating to Llangollen Town Council:
"Llangollen Town Council Update.
"I have been advised that a number of misleading comments are circulating on social media with reference to the Town Council’s recent actions resulting from the absence of the Town Clerk. I am therefore taking this opportunity to clarify the action the Town Council has taken.
"The Town Clerk is currently on sick leave that began in late August. In his absence the Town Mayor, who is also Chair of the Council, in consultation with the Deputy Mayor sought the advice of the Council Monitoring Officer in Denbighshire who as part of his responsibilities, monitors and advises the county’s Town and Community Councils. Based on his advice the decision was made to postpone the round of September council meetings.
"During September the Facilities Manager has done a sterling job keeping an eye on council business and keeping things ticking over. As the Clerk’s absence continues this temporary arrangement has been reviewed by Councillors. Council meetings can’t continue to be postponed.
"There are a number of large projects about to start that potentially require input from the Council – these include the refurbishment of Castle Street and urgent repairs to the Town Hall roof. There are also a number of important annual events that need to be co-ordinated.
"After consulting with One Voice Wales, who provide support and advice to Councils in Wales, and Denbighshire’s Monitoring Officer, the Mayor convened an emergency Council Meeting to consider the recommended options. Following discussion Councillors decided to nominate an acting Proper Officer, a short term measure to support Council business, pending the Town Clerk’s return to work.
"I was nominated to take on the role on a voluntary unpaid basis. With the support of fellow Councillors and the Facilities Manager we will endeavour to ensure that Town Council business will run smoothly until the Town Clerk returns to work.
"Throughout the Mayor has been in constant communication with the Monitoring Officer to ensure that the Town Council is following the correct procedures and complying with the laws and rules appertaining to Town and Community Councils.
"I am sure that you will join me in wishing our Town Clerk, Gareth Thomas, a speedy recovery.
"If you need to contact the Council Office urgently please email me email@example.com
"Councillor John Palmer, Acting Proper Officer Llangollen Town Council."
Denbighshire County Council says it continues to monitor and support schools as Covid-19 cases rise.
Case rates are monitored closely across the county and in individual school settings and where cases are identified, close contacts are encouraged to seek a PCR test to identify potential transmission.
Secondary school pupils and staff not displaying symptoms are encouraged to take twice weekly LFD tests to help identify and isolate asymptomatic cases.
All those contacted by Test, Trace, Protect (TTP) are asked to work with the teams and follow the guidance given.
Years 10 and 11 at St Brigid’s School, Denbigh, have switched to online learning for two weeks from Monday, September 27, due to a number of cases at the school.
The school took the decision following a Risk Assessment and it was based on a Health and Safety assessment.
Cllr Huw Hilditch-Roberts, Denbighshire County Council’s Lead Member for Education, Children's Services and Public Engagement, said: “The revised arrangements for isolation following a positive case has successfully reduced the number of pupils missing out on face to face education.
“However, the current increase in case rates nationwide is impacting staffing levels and the ability for our schools to maintain face to face provision.
“This means decisions may need to be made to close classes or year groups due to the numbers of teachers in isolation.
“We will continue to monitor the situation and will take action to help keep schools safe when required.
“On behalf of the council, I would like to thank our school staff and parents for supporting pupils and ensuring they remain safe.
“I would also like to thank parents and carers for their understanding at this time.”
The council says parents are encouraged to be vigilant for any symptoms and if you are in any doubt, order a PCR test for your child at https://gov.wales/get-tested-coronavirus-covid-19 or by calling 119.
Rhug Estate has won four Great Taste Awards for its organic chicken breasts, organic Welsh lamb mini shoulder joint, organic Aberdeen Angus rib-eye steak and for Rhug meatballs in black bean sauce.
The awards, organised by the Guild of Fine Food, is the acknowledged benchmark for fine food and drink. It has been described as the ‘Oscars’ of the food world.
The unmistakable black and gold Great Taste logo is the sign you can trust when buying local food and drink It is a stamp of excellence that is recognised by retailers and consumers alike.
Established in 1994, Great Taste is the world’s largest, longest standing and most respected food accreditation scheme for artisan and speciality food producers. 14,113 different products were entered in 2021 from 108 countries.
Each product is fastidiously blind tasted by selected chefs, buyers, fine food retailers, restaurateurs, food critics and writers over 60 judging days. Those accredited receive either one, two or three stars for their products. Rhug achieved one star for all four of its award-winning products.
The judges described Rhug’s organic Aberdeen Angus rib-eye steak as: “An attractive looking steak with good caramelisation on the outside. Good, well-proportioned marbling. Very tender and juicy. A really good piece of steak.”
“This is a fine little joint, delicate and sweet,” was how the judges described Rhug’s organic Welsh lamb mini shoulder joint. They also said, “Beautifully rolled and moist on cutting. Tender and juicy.”
When it came to Rhug’s organic chicken breast the judges said: “This is a good size, a plump breast, moist, tender, not at all dry. It has quite a good depth of flavour – not always found in chicken breast – and a melt in the mouth chewability. It is a tribute to the good welfare and farming practices to produce organic chicken of this quality and a breast (often so bland) with some taste.”
The judges described Rhug meatballs in black bean sauce as, “Generously and evenly sized meatballs in a glossy, rich-looking sauce. The meatballs are succulent and flavoursome. Very moreish.”
Lord Newborough, owner of Rhug Estate, said: “I am pleased we have once again achieved Great Taste Awards. These awards are recognition of all the hard work and dedication of the entire team both on the farm and in our cutting plant.
"We pride ourselves on producing the best quality organic meat for our customers, whether they be in our Farm Shop, online or wholesale. The team is always striving to do better and that is how it should be.”
* Audi Q4 e-tron Sportback.
MG hits the high life by Steve Rogers
A powerful Porsche, beautiful BMW, luxurious Lexus and many more favourites lined up to be driven but my drive of the day was the fledgling MG.
This was the annual event staged by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and traders, when motoring journos get a chance to compare like for like from a variety of manufacturers. And the winner is.... the MG HS plug-in hybrid.
It was not the most glamorous and at £30,000 not the most expensive by a long way but showed how far the iconic British marque has come since its resurrection by the state owned Chinese company SAIC. It is currently the fastest growing brand in the UK with more models to choose from.
HS PHEV is the company's flagship model and is up against SUV heavyweights like Nissan Qashqai, Ford Kuga and Kia Sportage. A brief drive showed the car has promise and efforts have been made to improve the standard of trim.
Power comes from a turbocharged 1.5 litre petrol beefed up by an electric motor giving a healthy 258bhp driven through a 10-speed automatic and an electric range of 32 miles. Emissions are low enough for £10 road tax while economy could be as much as 155mpg.
The big news from Audi is the launch of the all electric Q4 e-tron Sportback just the car to be in with the fuel pumps running dry.
It also shows how far the German premium brand has advanced down the electric road with a potential range of 323 miles. It also stands out in the crowd, not normally Audi's strongest suit, with a dipping coupe style roof line giving it a real sporting look.
As to be expected the cabin is exquisitely presented with a new twist on the design of the centre console, and check out the square steering wheel, first I have seen since the Austin Allegro of the seventies.
The electric motor has a power output of 200bhp which is good for a sprint to sixty in eight seconds and with ride selection options the driver can choose comfort or sport. No Quattro version, just rear wheel drive. Price: £45,775.
There have been huge changes in pick-up land with big players like Nissan Navara, Mitsubishi L200 and Volkswagen Amorak dropping out creating opportunities for less well known brands Isuzu and SSangYong who have beefed up their models.
Isuzu's new D Max will be featured here in a few weeks and a brief drive showed it has come on leaps and bounds and a credible threat to the Ford Ranger, the new market leader.
SSangYong has given a serious facelift to the Musso which has a strong diesel engine and a three and a half tonne towing capacity.
One to watch is the new Toyota Yaris Cross. The compact SUV has been a long time coming and will have a fight on its hands with several established crossovers out there but Toyota has plenty of experience to call on.
Basically it is a high riding, pumped up Yaris following some of the design lines of the rakish CH-R. The mechanicals are identical to its sibling with the economical 1.5 litre three-cylinder hybrid, CVT automatic gearbox and average fuel consumption in the mid 50s. Emissions are low at 112g/km with the first year VED costing £170. The top of the range Premier Edition is £28,185.
From 4 October motorists exceeding the 50mph speed limits on some of the most polluted roads in Wales could receive a letter or fine through their doors, the Welsh Government has warned.
The decision to introduce environmental speed limits to improve air quality levels in five locations across Wales in 2018 was the first of its kind in the UK.
The following five local roadworks alerts concerning Wales & West Utilities Ltd have been issued by one.network:
28 September — 31 March
Delays unlikely - Traffic control (give & take)
Works description: REPLACE 102M OF OLD METALLIC GAS MAINS WITH NEW PLASTIC MAINS AND RENEW/TRANSFER APPROX. 14 SERVICE...
Works location: O/S NO. 1 - REAR NO. 12...
Public facing description: Wales & West Utilities Ltd has not assigned a specific description to this Works. Please note: Works Descriptions are not published by Wales & West Utilities Ltd.
Responsibility for works: Wales & West Utilities Ltd
Current status: Forward planning
Works reference: XY254003001625597
She says: "Llangollen Ramblers are off to the Wales Coast Path again soon, but for recent events - here are a few of us on an easy ramble at Coalport (Ironbridge).
"As you can see, we fixed the weather as well!
"With walks near and far, long and short, we try to offer something for everyone.
"If you would like a copy of our programme for the next 3 months, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 07905330788.
"We're always extremely happy to see new faces on our excursions."
* The Llangollen Comedy Club line-up for October 1.
The relaxation of Covid rules sees the return of Llangollen Comedy Club next week.
A spokesperson for the club said: "We are back!
"After our Comedy Club Special as part of the Fringe Festival in September, we are now resuming our monthly comedy club on the first Friday of the month.
"This month's instalment sees David Longly, Glenn Wool and Priya Hall join Silk for another night of hilarty."
The club next meets up at Llangollen Town Hall on Friday October 1 at 7pm, with tickets priced at £10.
* Ticket are available at: https://www.llangollenfringe.co.uk/index.php/en/comedyclub20/october-21
Youths seen clambering on the roof of Llangollen Pavilion was just part of a series of break-ins at the home of the international eisteddfod earlier this week, according to the company which runs the building.
Now Denbighshire Leisure Ltd says it is working closely with the police to catch those responsible who will be prosecuted, it warns.
The company says in a statement: "Groups of youths have been seen climbing onto the Llangollen Pavilion roof, as well as vandalising indoor and outdoor areas of the events venue.
"Denbighshire Leisure Ltd, who operate Llangollen Pavilion on behalf of Denbighshire County Council, is working with North Wales Police to catch those involved amid safety concerns and following the number of break-ins at the site this week.
"The company is calling on the local community to be vigilant and encourage youngsters to respect their local town.
"Incidents include a group of youths gaining access to the building, setting off the security alarms, vandalising bollards and lighting, and breaking areas of the tented arena. One group of teens has been filmed climbing on top of the pavilion."
Jamie Groves, Managing Director of Denbighshire Leisure Ltd, said: “This is incredibly dangerous and we would advise anyone to think twice before trying to gain access to roofs of any public building.
"This will result in prosecution and could result in serious injury. The emergency services are under enough pressure at the moment and this is mindless behaviour that will end in tragedy.
“We will not tolerate vandalism at any of our properties and we are working closely with North Wales Police to identify the individuals involved.
"The Llangollen Pavilion is an iconic events venue that brings thousands of people to the county every year. We have CCTV footage and this will be provided to the police to investigate further.
"Llangollen Pavilion is the home to the International Eisteddfod Music Festival that brings thousands of visitors to the town and county every year.
"Anyone with any information is encouraged to share this with North Wales Police."
Police say they are investigating recent anti-social behaviour at Llangollen Pavilion.
Through its neighbourhood alert network North Wales Police has this afternoon put out the following message in the name of Sergeant Richard Evans:
"We have been made aware of recent reports of anti-social behaviour and criminal damage around the Llangollen Pavilion involving youngsters.
"Parents of Llangollen - DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR CHILDREN ARE UP TO?
"We will be continuing to patrol and investigate to identify those that might be involved. Anybody identified will be robustly dealt with as appropriate.
"The Pavilion is an iconic venue which the people of Llangollen should be proud of - please make sure that you are advising your children when they go out in the evening.
"Not only is the behaviour anti-social and criminal, there have been reports of youths climbing on the roof which is incredibly dangerous."
A picture of figures on the roof of the Pavilion appeared on Facebook earlier this week and have attracted a large number of comments.
* Jemma Stubbins won the title in Doncaster.
Jemma Stubbs from Llangollen has become the first Welsh woman to become Britain's Strongest Woman.
Just eight weeks after winning Wales title (u82kg), the mother of two travelled up to Doncaster Dome to compete against the best in the country in Britain’s Strongest Woman 2021.
Previous pec’ and shoulder tears meant Jemma didn’t have the best start to the competition.
Things kicked off with a strongman classic, the log clean and press.
Jemma said: “I knew I would not rank high in this event with the previous champion having an extremely impressive 120kg log record under her belt. But I did hope I could compensate later in the day."
She failed her third attempt at 80kg, leaving her with a 75kg successful lift and ending round one in just fifth place out of 11.
Thankfully Jemma’s competition went from strength to strength, placing second in the 210kg frame carry and going on to place first in round three by completing nine reptations with 190kg deadlift, despite ripping her hand open in round two.
Yoke carry was much the same story, finishing first and creeping her way up to top podium position.
Jemma finished the day placing second on her Atlas stone run.
Events coach Jason Jones from Spartan Atlas stones said: “Jemma has been a pleasure to coach over the last few months. Her grit determination and sheer power should carry her into the World stage with confidence."
When not training five days a week, Jemma can be found in her gym, Stubbs Fitness on George Street, Llangollen, training others.
She said: “I’m a huge advocate of empowering people to take control of their own health and fitness journey. It should be fun and something you enjoy rather than dread. I am living proof of what you can achieve if you work hard and don’t give up on your dreams.”
A crowdfunding effort will now begin to get Jemma to the World’s Strongest Women competition.
Stubbs Fitness gym offers a mix of 1:1 coaching, group coaching and fitness classes to help clients become the best version of themselves. An ethos they believe is rooted in fun and happiness rather than numbers and measurements.
* Find out more at: https://www.stubbsfitness.co.uk/
Work on a major public realm improvement in Llangollen will start on Monday, October 4.
Following approval by Denbighshire County Council’s Cabinet in July 2021, the Llangollen 2020 Castle Street Improvement project is being undertaken by the council in partnership with Welsh Government and Transport for Wales.
The scheme, which involves making a number improvements along Castle Street, has been developed following extensive consultation with the local community, local county councillors and Llangollen Town Council.
Works are expected to take up to six months to complete and a variety of different traffic management options, including temporary traffic signals and a limited number of road closures, will be used to minimise disruption.
Cllr Brian Jones, the council’s Lead Member for Waste, Transport and the Environment, said: “For the past three years the council has been working closely with the Llangollen 2020 group to develop these proposals.
“As an authority we have also engaged and listened to local residents, businesses and other stakeholders and where possible accommodated a number of changes which complement the overall scheme.
“I’m delighted we are now able to start the work and bring these improvements to Llangollen.
“This work provides more space for pedestrians and improved pedestrian crossing facilities making it easier for pedestrians to walk around the town centre, while upgraded traffic signals will improve the flow of vehicles.”
A Parry Construction Co Ltd has been appointed as principal contractor for the work.
The council says it will work closely with local businesses and residents throughout the project to ensure any disruption is minimised and any concerns or issues are identified and addressed as soon as possible.
The Llangollen 2020 Castle Street scheme will take place at the same time as Welsh Government’s on-going retaining wall stabilisation works located on the A5, towards Llangollen Golf Club, and the council says its officers are working closely with the Trunk Road Agency and Welsh Government to coordinate traffic management operations so disruption is minimised.
Secondary schools in Denbighshire are to take extra precautions to reduce the spread of Covid-19.
Due to an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases associated with schools, learners and staff will be undertaking further measures to help control the spread of the virus.
This includes continuing to encourage pupils and staff to take twice weekly LFD tests to help identify and isolate asymptomatic cases and the wearing of face coverings by secondary school pupils, staff and visitors in indoor communal areas outside of the classroom.
Other arrangements include reducing close interactions between staff and learners such as physical distancing and seating plans in place in classrooms.
The council continues to monitor the situation in primary schools and is following the advice of Public Health Wales, but no further measures are being taken at this time.
Cllr Huw Hilditch-Roberts, the council’s Lead Member for Education, Children's Services and Public Engagement, said: “With cases of Covid-19 increasing nationwide we are taking further precautions to reduce the spread of the virus in school settings.
“These measures are being taken to reduce disruption to pupils’ education and to reduce impact on staffing levels and protect pupils and staff.
“I would like to reassure parents and carers, learners and staff at our schools that we will continue to monitor the situation and take action to help keep schools safe when required.
“On behalf of the Council, I would to thank school staff and parents for their dedication and hard work in keeping our pupils safe and providing them with the support they need.”
A host of local businesses are backing a major fundraising event being run by Llangollen firefighters.
This coming Saturday, September 25, the fire station on the A5 is hosting a carwash in aid of two good causes - Melanoma Focus, which is applying cutting edge treatment for the condition, and their own firefighters' charity.
Alongside the event they are also holding a raffle which is being arranged for them by Cat Meade, who set up and ran the local Covid support group during the pandemic raising cash to keep it going by staging a series of highly successful raffles of her own.
On her Llangollen Raffles Facebook page Cat recently asked for donations of prizes for the firefighters' raffle and says she is delighted with the response.