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Monday, October 31, 2022

Former Young 'Uns star makes West End debut

* West End debut: Cassius Hackforth.

A former member of Llangollen Operatic Society's junior section, the Young 'Uns, has made his professional West End stage debut.

Cassius Hackforth was one of the regular favourites with the group, taking leading roles in a number of its productions including the smash-hit Half a Sixpence in 2015.

He went on to study at the famous Trinity Laban stage school in London and at the weekend he made his first professional appearance in the West End revival of Tim Rice and Stuart Brayson's epic musical From Here To Eternity at the Charing Cross Theatre.

On its Facebook page the Operatic Society says: "2022 has been quite the year for Cassius, as he graduated from Trinity Laban earlier this year.

"It predictably didn't take long for Cassius to make his mark, as he reached the final of the Stephen Sondheim Society's Student Performer of the Year competition in May, and made in his West End debut in The Secret Garden at The London Palladium in August.

"You may have also seen Cassius starring in several adverts since graduating, as he appeared in a commercial for Android and interrupted the singing of none other than Ellie Goulding in an another advert for SPAR."

* Cassius Hackforth in 2016.

New acupuncture clinic opens in Llangollen

* Jo Pearson has opened her own acupuncture clinic.

J K Acupuncture is now open, providing a dedicated space in Llangollen for the traditional Chinese medicine of acupuncture.  

Practitioner Jo Pearson, whose business it is, said: “I’m so excited to finally realise my dream opening an acupuncture clinic in my home town for the community of Llangollen.  I’ve made every effort to provide a calm and peaceful environment for my patients and cannot wait to welcome people to the clinic."

Jo said: "Acupuncture is a well respected therapy that has demonstrable benefits for many health conditions such as sciatica, stress, anxiety, depression, migraines, tinnitus, asthma, fertility, Bell's Palsy and insomnia. 

"Each treatment is tailored to meet the individual's needs and seeks to treat the underlying cause, as opposed to merely treating the symptoms.  

"TCM Acupuncture is widely used alongside Western medicine with patients typically reporting health benefits including pain relief, reduction of symptoms and a general sense of wellbeing." 

* The inside of the clinic.

With a BSc (Hons) in Acupuncture, Jo is a fully qualified and licenced Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner, with membership of the Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ATCM) and the British Acupuncture Federation (BAF).

She has lived in Llangollen for nearly 20 years and will be a familiar face to many having performed with Llangollen Pantomime Group and Llangollen Operatic Society. 

The clinic has daytime and evening appointments available. To book or for more information, contact Jo on:

* Tel:  07413 293408.  

* Email: 

* Facebook: 

* Instagram:

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Roadworks planned for Church Street


Latest local roadworks alert from is: 


Church Street, Denbighshire

31 October - 02 November


Roadworks, Delays likely


Traffic management: Road closure


Description: New service required at property. Excavation of a joint bay in footway outside 5a Church Street and...


Works location: Outside 5


Public facing description: has automatically assigned a category of Unclassified works to this Works based on the information available. Please note: Works Descriptions are not published by SP Energy Networks.


Responsibility for works: SP Energy Networks


Current status: Advanced planning


Works reference: GY002CCT971139



Bikers attend service in square to launch Poppy Appeal

* The Centenary Square service is conducted by Father Lee Taylor and the Rev Rebecca Cannon.

* Bikers gather for the Act of Remembrance.

* A bugler sounds Last Post.

* One of the bikers lays a wreath at the foot of the war memorial.

Around 20 Legion Bikers - the motorcycle branch of the Royal British Legion - attended a special Service of Remembrance in Llangollen's Centenary Square this morning (Sunday) marking the official launch of the 2022 Poppy Appeal.  

It was conducted jointly by Father Lee Taylor from Collen's Church and the Rev Rebecca Cannon.

The service included the traditional prayers, bugle calls and the minute's silence.

The bikers visit a number of parishes in North Wales as part of the commemorative event.   

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Talented cast present Collen Players' latest music hall show

Pictures by Jeanette Robinson

* The cast of the music hall and variety show.

* Esme Salnow, left, and Sue Stokes.

* Phil Robinson.

* John Williams.

* Chairman Lee Taylor.

* Sue Stokes.

* Esme Salnow.

* Accompanist Owen Roberts.

A diverse array of talented performers presented Collen Players' latest old time music hall and variety show at the Community Centre yesterday evening.

Presided over as usual by Father Lee Taylor in his guise as the quick-talking Victorian music hall chairman, the show got under way with a selection of rousing songs from the era under his direction with which the packed audience sang enthusiastically along.  

First up on stage was Players' regular Sue Stokes accompanying herself on the ukelele with a rousing Knees Up Mother Brown. She was assisted by returning favourite Esme Salnow who provided the dance exertion to move the number along.

Next it was the turn of another cast regular Phil Robinson to describe in colourful terms how My Old Man's a Dustman. 

Esme was back shortly afterwards to present two songs in her own polished period style - Under the Bed and Burlington Bertie.

Right after the break and more patter plus a Max Bygraves selection from the chairman, Sue Stokes returned to the stage with My Old Man Said Follow the Van and then Phil Robinson was back to relate that plaintive cry of Alfie Dootlittle from My Fair Lady of Get Me to the Church on Time.

In his appearances John Williams provided moving versions of the standards Keep Right on to the End of the Road, The End of the Day and Roses of Picardy.

In was then time for a touch of old Hollywood-style glitz as Esme came back to sing and soft-shoe-shuffle her way through I'm Going to Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter and Putting on the Ritz.

Accompanist for the evening was Owen Roberts.

The now-traditional rousing choruses of Down at the Old Bull and Bush, ably augmented by the audience, brought the evening's enjoyable proceedings to a fitting close.    

Friday, October 28, 2022

Meeting planned to take forward Llan Parkrun

* Photograph courtesy and with thanks to volunteers at Henley Wood Parkrun, Oswestry.

Local people are being invited to a meeting at Llangollen Health Centre in Bishop’s Walk  on the evening of November 8, starting at 7pm, to discuss setting up a Park Run for Llangollen. 

A spokesperson for the group said: "We need amongst other things to set up a core group who will be responsible for establishing and launching our Parkrun. 

"We also need a team of people to volunteer on a regular basis - every Saturday at 9am once the event is launched - to marshall the course and we will also need time-keepers, bar-code scanners and people to lay out the course and clear it up after the event. It’s great community fun.

"We will explain everything at the meeting and look forward to your attendance."

Woodland trees to be felled to prevent spread of larch disease

* Foel-woodland.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) will begin to fell larch trees at Foel Woodland, near Llangollen, this November.

This is part of NRW’s Larch Reduction Strategy to help control the spread of Phytophthora ramorum, commonly known as larch disease.

NRW will then replant and establish a native woodland within the felled areas. This is part of the staged approach to the eventual removal of all larch from within the Foel Woodland.

The work will involve felling the trees with the use of a harvester and chainsaw support. The operations will begin in November 2022 with the aim of being finished by April 2023.

Once removed they will go to sawmills to be used for house building material, fencing and wood fuel.

The Foel Woodland block is located directly above the village of Pentredwr, about three miles to the north of Llangollen and clearly visible from the Horseshoe Pass.

Aidan Cooke, Senior Officer Forest Operation for NRW, said“Felling the larch trees now allows us to adequately plan for a sensitive operation without the timing restrictions of a Statutory Plant Health Notice.

“By removing Larch trees from the Foel in stages, we will have the opportunity to re-create a diverse and resilient native woodland habitat throughout the woodland to help benefit wildlife and enhance the environment for everyone’s enjoyment.

“We will work closely with the Forestry Works Manager and the local community in Pentredwr throughout the tree felling operations to reduce the impact of the works wherever possible.”

* If you have any concerns regarding the scheduled works please contact North East Wales’ Forest Operations Team via email on

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Forester is up there with the best off-roaders

Subaru Forester drive by Steve Rogers

Let’s face it, you don’t see many Subaru Foresters around yet this car is up there with the best off roaders money can buy, its sophisticated all wheel drive system capable of handling conditions many drivers would be afraid to attempt.

The brand is best known for its rally winning Imprezza which was also favoured by the cops because tearaway drivers couldn’t get away from it.

Subaru would prefer that side of the business was confined to its proud history preferring to concentrate on more economic, environmentally friendly cars. The new Solterra, for instance, is an eye catching electric car so the company has definitely drawn a line under its wild side.

Forester has been around for 25 years but has never enjoyed the success of more illustrious rivals. It is not that Subaru models are not liked, there are just not enough showrooms to get customers interested.

Which is not the case if you travel further afield. I have just spent some time on the east coast of Canada and over the border into Boston where Subaru models, particularly the XV Cross Trek, are as common as Tim Horton doughnut cafes. And it is much the same story in Nordic countries although the clue there is snow!

On the surface Forester should stand up to scrutiny against any of its medium sized SUV rivals. It is a roomy, solidly built, well equipped car that can go anywhere and pretty much do anything.

The permanent symmetrical all wheel drive system called X-Mode has gained legendary status making Forester far and away the most capable off roader in its league. If you are a caravanner worried about the cost of diesel then Forester is a good option and has the best towing capacity of any hybrid SUV.

Is it over engineered for our needs? Money no object punters who spend £90k on a Range Rover don’t care about paying for off road technology that will never be used, but lower down the chain nearly 40 grand for a Forester is quite a slab against £33,000 for a basic Honda CR-V.

The real point here is that Forester, along with its siblings, is engineered for markets that need the highest level of off road ability but it does not deserve to be ignored  by UK drivers.

That said there is a lot more to the car than its ability to traverse rocks, greasy drops and the like. It has been given a mild facelift with a redesigned grille and light signature but more significantly is built on a new platform which has made it more engaging to drive and improved passenger comfort.

With the diesel engine dropped the only power unit is the trusty 2-litre flat four Boxer mated to a CVT gearbox that works better than most, a rarity these days. Economy was always its Achilles heal but things have improved with the addition of hybrid power.

I was expecting no more than low thirties at best and was gobsmacked when it pumped in a 46.3 on a 340 mile round trip. Where did that come from?

The cabin trim has a quality feel and at first glance the layout is pleasing with touchscreen and clear tactile switches for the heating controls. But a closer look revealed areas that are outdated.

I like my switches, especially to work the heating rather than scrolling though a touchscreen, but the centre console is awash with them, and there are more.  Below and to the right of the steering wheel is a bank of eight whose symbols cannot be read so they need to be memorised. This is not good.

What is good is the Eyesight safety system. This was ground breaking when introduced in 2016 using two cameras built into the rear view mirror to monitor and take evasive action in an emergency. That has three new functions including recognizing the edge of the road and grass when the lane departure system is activated.

The problem for Forester is that it is not seen as a fashionable alternative to more trendy rivals like Mazda CX-5, Toyota RAV4 or Honda CR-V but is certainly underrated and deserves the title as an off road maestro.

Fast facts

Forester e-Boxer XE Premium

£40,895 (starts £37,895)

2-litre petrol; 164bhp

0-62mph 11.8secs; 117mph

41.9mpg combined

Road tax £155

Insurance group 23

Boot 509-1779 litres

Towing 1870kg

Final consultation opens on Wales’s new constituencies

* The newly-proposed Clwyd East constituency including Llangollen at the bottom of the map.

* The new constituency map of north and mid Wales. 
Clwyd East is at number 14. 

The Boundary Commission for Wales has published its revised proposals for re-shaping the map of Welsh Parliamentary constituencies which will come into force at the next general election.

As well as publishing its proposals, the commission has opened a consultation period, closing on November 15, during which the public can share their views on the proposed constituencies.

Under rules set out in the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986 (as amended) each constituency proposed by the Boundary Commission for Wales must contain between 69,724 and 77,062 electors.

The Revised Proposals see changes to the majority of constituencies initially proposed by the Commission in September 2021, and changes are proposed to every existing constituency.

That includes Clwyd South which currently includes Llangollen.

Under the commission’s proposals the town will form part of a new Clwyd East constituency of 76,395 electors compared to Clwyd South’s 77,062.

This new constituency also includes areas such as Ruthin immediately to the north of Llangollen, Llanarmon-lal/Llandegla to the immediate north as well as parts of Flintshire such as Leeswood, Northop, Mostyn, Caerwys and Ffynongrow up towards the coast, Mold and Prestatyn .

The proposals mean that areas not far from Llangollen, such as Corwen and Glyn Ceiriog, will be included in a separate new constituency called Montgomeryshire/Glyndwr. It was also include Rhos, Cefn, Acrefair and Johnstown.

The boundary review began in January 2021 and the commission is required to submit its full recommendations to Parliament on July 1, 2013.

The proposals were created following two separate consultations and five Public Hearings since the commission’s initial proposals were published.

The commission says it considered several factors in developing its proposals, as well as the statutory range of electors.

Geography (such as lakes, rivers, and mountains) was an important consideration, as was current boundaries such as local authority and ward boundaries. The commission also considered local ties, such as shared history and culture as it developed its initial proposals.

The commission is now inviting comments on its proposals as it launches its final four-week consultation period. Members of the public are encouraged to send in their views, whether they support or oppose the proposals.

The commission has however stated that it has no power to set the number of MPs, which was decided by Parliament, and will not be able to consider arguments around the number of constituencies in Wales.

An online consultation portal at features the proposals in full, and members of the public can submit their views directly through the portal.

Deputy Chair of the Commission Mrs Justice Jefford DBE said: “The Commission received 1,367 written and 81 oral representations on the initial proposals.

“Public hearings were held across Wales to enable members of the public to express their views on the initial proposals and to suggest how they could be amended and improved.

“The commission is extremely grateful to all those who took the time to contribute.

“As a result, the commission has revised the initial proposals. It has proposed changes, often significant changes, to 22 of the 32 proposed constituencies.

“It has also proposed different names for nine of the constituencies. There is now an opportunity to make representations on these revised proposals before the Commission makes its final report on proposed Parliamentary constituencies in Wales.”

Following the consultation period, the commission will assess the representations received and submit its final recommendations to Parliament in July 2023.

The final recommendations will come into effect automatically at the next scheduled General Election.

* People can take part in the consultation by emailing or writing to The Commission in the post at Boundary Commission for Wales, Hastings House, Cardiff, CF24 0BL.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Free school meal payments available for eligible pupils

Denbighshire County Council has welcomed news that the Welsh Government has made funding available to make free school meal payments for eligible pupils during school holidays, in response to the cost of living crisis. 

The council have made arrangements for these payments to be made for the forthcoming half term (31st October to 4th November),  with the payment due to be made on Monday 31st October. 

Parents/guardians are being informed that the payments will be made based on eligibility for Free School Meals. 

This is completely separate to the roll out of Universal Primary Free School Meals for Reception age children. 

Councillor Gill German, Cabinet Lead Member for Education, Children and Families, said: “We welcome this additional funding as it will provide some reassurance and some peace of mind to those familieswho may struggle financially as a result of the cost of living crisis. 

“We want to make sure that all children receive a proper meal and these payments will allow parents and guardians to purchase food with payments that will be made directly to people’s bank or building society accounts. They don’t need to take any actions for this to happen."

Welsh Government announces state-owned energy company

Wales's Minister for Climate Change, Julie James, has announced a state-owned energy developer in response to energy insecurity, the cost-of-living crisis and the increasing threats posed by the climate and nature emergencies.

Speaking in the Senedd the Minister said energy profits created in Wales will deliver greater benefit for people in Wales.

Surplus funds generated through the new developer will go back into the public purse to be reinvested in improving energy efficiency in homes in Wales and creating good quality, home grown, clean energy jobs.

Delivering on aims to have more than one gigawatt of locally-owned generation by 2030, the new state-owned energy developer will scale up renewable energy rollout, initially through the development of onshore wind projects on the Welsh Government woodland estate.

Like elsewhere in the UK, some renewable energy projects on the Welsh Government woodland estate have been developed by state-owned energy developers, meaning profits go back to their respective countries.

The Minister said: “We want to harvest our wind and use it to produce power that directly benefits people in Wales.

“We will set up a publicly-owned renewable energy developer. This is a long-term sustainable investment that puts net zero and the communities of Wales at the heart of the transition we need. 

“We are in a climate emergency and our approach is in stark contrast to the UK Government that is focusing on fracking and fossil fuels – opposed by most communities and incompatible with our international obligations.”

With soaring living costs and an ongoing lack of certainty around energy supply, the Minister said the current UK market was “bad for bill payers”.

The focus of Wales’ energy policy is securing a reliable and diverse energy mix that delivers local benefit.

The Minister added: “This is an historic moment for Wales. The cost-of-living crisis is directly related to the major increase in the cost of energy, which strengthens the need for an approach that returns more to the people of Wales.

“If other countries are anything to go by, then we should expect considerable returns from our investment and – as we share the ambitions of these other nations – we have a genuine opportunity to produce an income that will really help us to deliver here.

“We are taking positive action to ensure we deliver on our net zero commitments in ways that benefit our communities.”

NatWest to close Castle Street cashpoint next month

* The cashpoint in Castle Street set to be closed.

Operators NatWest have confirmed to Clwyd South MS Ken Skates that they are decommissioning their cashpoint in Castle Street.  

They say the move comes after they failed to reach agreement with the landlord of the property in which is its located.  

Mr Skates says he is "extremely disappointed" and will be making further representations to the company. 

An official statement sent to Mr Skates said: "We have retained an ATM in Llangollen since the closure of the NatWest branch in 2015. 

"With the lease up for renewal, we entered into negotiations with the landlord but unfortunately were unable to reach an agreement, and as such, a decision was recently made to remove the ATM, with the new space created being utilised by the existing building tenant, Trespass. 

“Before making our decision, we undertook a review of the area’s free cash access. With the Barclays ATM on Castle Street, the ATM at Co-op on Regent Street, as well as the Post Office on Berwyn Road, we felt the community still had good free access to cash, even with our ATM being removed. 

“The NatWest mobile bank also visits the community on Fridays between 11.30am-12.30pm in the Market Street Car Park where customers can withdraw cash, pay in cash, as well speak to our team about their banking. 

“The ATM will remain in use until around 13 November, before the decommissioning starts. 

“I appreciate however that some of your constituents may find this disappointing.”

Work to begin on electric vehicle public charging points

Work is set to begin on the installation of public electric vehicle charging points across the county, including four in Llangollen.

The work will be undertaken over the next few months, with enabling works at Post Office Lane car park, Denbigh and Bowling Green car park, St Asaph, starting the first week of November.

The project aims to open up possibilities for people to transition to an electric vehicle where they didn’t previously have access to a charging facility. The work expected to be completed by January 2023

It is a part of the county council’s action to tackle climate change following the declaration of a Climate and Ecological Emergency in 2019 and adoption of the Climate and Ecological Change Strategy in 2021.

Other electric vehicle initiatives are involved in the council’s goal to meet the target of a net carbon zero council by 2030.

The full list of car parks receiving electric vehicle charging points is: 




Proposed Charging Points

Post Office Lane Car Park


LL16 3UN

2 x dual 22kW AC (ability to charge 4 vehicles)

Bowling Green Car Park/ Lower High Street

St Asaph

LL17 0SG

1 x dual 22kW AC (ability to charge 2 vehicles)

Market St Car Park


LL20 8RB

2 x dual 22 kW AC (ability to charge 4 vehicles)

Pavilion Car Park, National Pavilion


LL20 8SW

2 x dual 22 kW AC (ability to charge 4 vehicles)

Cae Ddol Car Park, Crispin Yard, Clwyd Street


LL15 1HN

2 x dual 7Kw AC (ability to charge 4 vehicles)

Craft Centre Car Park, Park Road


LL15 1BB

2 x dual 22 kW AC (ability to charge 4 vehicles)

Fern Ave Car Park


LL19 9BP

2 x dual 7Kw AC (ability to charge 4 vehicles)

Morley Road Car Park


LL18 3HG

2 x dual 22kW AC (ability to charge 4 vehicles)














Cllr Barry Mellor, Lead Member for Environment and Transport, said: “This is an important step forward in supporting community members who want to transition to electric vehicles but don’t have the facilities to do so. It will also help attract more electric vehicle drivers into our towns to benefit footfall and local business as a whole.

“Getting the infrastructure in place to support public use of electric vehicles across the county is important to tackle climate change and I look forward to seeing the end result which will also provide useful data to inform potential future expansion analysis of the EV Charging network here in Denbighshire.”

“Denbighshire County Council apologise for any inconvenience that these works may cause and we are grateful for local cooperation and patience during this time to ensure that the works are completed as quickly and efficiently as possible.”