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Friday, March 31, 2023

Person taken to hospital after incident on Horseshoe Pass

Leaderlive is reporting this afternoon (Friday) that a person was taken to hospital following a road traffic collision near Llangollen this morning. 

* For the full story, see:

Man dies after road traffic collision near Corwen

The Denbighshire Free Press is reporting that a man has died following a road traffic collision near Corwen yesterday afternoon (Thursday, March 30).

* For the full story, see: 

Parks Project gets £2,217 boost for Pengwern adventure trail

* Jess Evans accepts the cheque from Police and Crime Commissioner Andy Dunbobbin and North Wales Police Assistant Chief Constable Chris Allsop. 

A Llangollen scheme was amongst the winners of a special £120,000 fund to help communities across North Wales announced at a dedicated ceremony in the White House, Rhuallt last Wednesday.

The Your Community, Your Choice fund supports grass-roots projects and is supported by the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner, North Wales Police and Community Trust (PACT) and North Wales Police. 

After applications were shortlisted, the North Wales public was asked to vote for their preferred projects and over 16,000 votes were cast across the region in the online ballot.

Amongst the four winners in Denbighshire was the Llangollen Parks Project, which will use the £2,217 it received to provide adventure trail equipment in Pengwern Park.

This will be added add to the £1,300 the project has already secured from another source.  

Project spokesperson Jessica Evans said: "We hope to go ahead with installing the equipment within the next few months." 

This year’s awards were even more significant as Your Community, Your Choice is celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2023 and, over the past ten years, a total of over £500,000 has been awarded to more than 150 projects working to reduce crime in their areas and to support the priorities in the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan. 

The funding for Your Community, Your Choice comes partly from money seized by the courts through the Proceeds of Crime Act, with the rest from the Police and Crime Commissioner. 

In recognition if this 10-year milestone, the funding available to winning projects this year was increased to a total of £120,000, shared across 25 projects.

North Wales Police & Crime Commissioner Andy Dunbobbin said“I am delighted to see so many excellent and deserving winners receive funding that will help transform communities across North Wales. Your Community, Your Choice is a true collective effort – from my office, the police and PACT, to local communities, the organisations who apply, and to the public who vote for them.

“Everyone has a stake in the success of Your Community, Your Choice and, over the past 10 years, it has shown the difference it can make in offering community groups new opportunities. These organisations give their time and energy to help their local area and the initiative is a great way to give back and help these organisations achieve their aims. They help to keep our neighbourhoods safe and secure, and to meet the priorities in my Police and Crime Plan. And the fact that part of the money comes from funds seized from criminals also helps show to people that crime doesn’t pay, but community activism does!”

Pengwern Community Hub's April what's on guide


Plan ahead for Easter countryside visits, says council

Denbighshire County Council and the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB are advising people to plan ahead for Easter visits to county countryside beauty spots.

As the Easter holiday fast approaches people should check ahead to see if facilities are open and where possible access quieter sites and walks to help avoid parking issues and busy periods.

A large number of countryside beauty spots have become more popular since people were asked to stay local during the pandemic and drivers are urged to be mindful of finding suitable areas to park or alternative transport to sites so as not to disrupt surrounding routes into the areas.

The Council has introduced a series of measures at Moel Famau to relieve congestion in the area. New double yellow lines are part of a series of measures, including additional parking spaces and road side parking provision that is hoped to improve visitor flow.

Last year saw grid lock as cars parked of the verges blocked the road – and on a number of occasions preventing emergency vehicles being able to access the area. Parking enforcement officers will patrol the site.

Visitors are also urged to respect the countryside and be sensible by parking responsibly, not littering and only riding bikes on permitted routes.

If the weather is fine over the period, people ae urged not to have BBQ’s, camping stoves or campfires on the moorland areas of the AONB because of the significant risk of fire.

Dog owners are also reminded to act responsibly and keep their pets on leads when walking through the countryside around livestock especially as lambing season continues

For more information on planning your trip ahead, visit   and follow the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Tourism leader welcomes Riverside Park make-over

* The 9-hole bespoke mini golf under construction.

Sam Rowlands, Member of the Welsh Parliament for North Wales, has welcomed plans to give a popular Llangollen park a new look.

Mr Rowlands, chair of the Senedd’s Cross-Party Group on Tourism, said: “I am delighted to hear about all the work which is going to be carried out to enhance and develop Riverside Park. 

“The town is an extremely popular tourist destination and as a very keen supporter of attracting visitors to this lovely part of the world it is good to see work being carried out to upgrade recreational spaces.


“I am also pleased to see this sort of investment in Llangollen which can only enhance and improve the area for local people and visitors alike.”

Contractors are currently working on a raft of new features for the Llangollen site including a new 9-hole bespoke mini golf which is due to be finished end of March with holes representing places and features of interest within Llangollen and the Dee Valley. 

This will include an active travel interpretation map for the area and replaces the old course at the site.

New play equipment for the 5-12 year old age range is also going to be installed early April and work is underway at the bandstand to install electricity power points to increase opportunities for entertainment along with seating block created in to the bank area for spectators.

Green infrastructure has also been introduced sat the park with trees to create shade, wildflower planting and shrub planting around the park. Also a green space area will be extended by introducing grass up to and around the blocked dragon area.

The work has been made possible through the Welsh Government’s Brilliant Basics funding round for 2022/23.

Paul Evans, Plas Newydd Site Manager, said: “ While planning this work, we worked closely with Llangollen Fringe along with Llangollen Parks Community group and Llangollen Town Council, who both provided some of the match funding towards the project.”

Cash boost for Pengwern Park

* Llangollen Parks Project has picked up a cheque for £2,217 from the North Wales Police Your Community Your Choice scheme.

The money will go towards providing adventure trail equipment in Pengwern Park and will add to the £1,300 the project has already secured from another source.  

Project spokesperson Jessica Evans said: "We hope to go ahead with installing the equipment within the next few months." 

Live show about death coming to the Town Hall

A live show about death is coming to Llangollen Town Hall next month. 

Outside the Box is presented by Liz Rothschild, a performer, celebrant and award-winning burial ground owner.

The 55-minute theatre show includes stories with props, music and post-show talk.


Themes touched on are how our society handles death and dying, talking or not talking about death, funerals and the full range of options available, involvement of children, preparing for end of life, funeral poverty and comparisons with practise in other countries.


The show’s pre-publicity says: “Her unique insights and experiences have created a highly original and beautifully cathartic show, combining mercurial tales and miraculous truths, collected over the years from life’s finishing line.

“Funny, wise and taboo busting, Outside The Box confronts the ‘Elephant in the room’ with grace and humour, asking its audience to embrace mortality and look on the bright side of life, with a weave of untold and surprising stories, a hint of history and some pithy commentary on the funeral industry from one who knows.


“The overall message of these pieces is that engaging with our mortality, rather being depressing, brings relief, connection and inspiration.”


Outside the Box, is coming to Llangollen Town Hall on Friday April 28, at 7pm, as part of a national tour. Tickets: £10 and: £8.00 concession.


* Booking: call: 01978 861345.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Tale of Llangollen man who made Prince Charles bomb

* Queen Elizabeth II crowns Charles Prince of Wales during his Investiture ceremony on July 1 1969, as Home Secretary James Callaghan looks on. AP Photo, File.

* Dai Bonar, David ‘Dafydd y Dug’ Burns and Glyn ‘Lone Wolf’ Rowlands at the end of the FWA trial. Raymond Daniel. 

* Author Arwel Vittle outside Caernarfon Castle. 

A bomb was made out of a Horlicks tube in a bid to derail Prince Charles' investiture in Caernarfon by a Llangollen man dubbed "The Barnes Wallis of Wales."

But the device, created to free the Welsh from the "English yoke," barely caused a ripple when it was tested, leading the Free Wales Army (FWA) and its self-proclaimed leader, Cayo Evans back to the drawing board.

The anecdote, told by journalist Lyn Ebenezer, features in a new book called Charles and the Welsh Revolt by author Arwel Vittle who was raised in Carmarthen and now lives in Caernarfon in Gwynedd.

The book explores the explosive start to King Charles III's royal career and how, according to nationalists, the "archaic and oppressive (royal) tradition has been a blight on the nation for centuries," since Edward I deposed the last native Prince of Wales, Llywelyn ap Gruffudd in 1282.

It also details the bizarre plots which included "kamikaze dogs" and manure to disrupt the 1969 ceremony at Caernarfon Castle, which also saw four other bombs planted by the militant group, MAC (Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru).

The contribution to Vittle's book from Ebenezer recalls travelling to a remote area with Evans in the run up to the royal proceedings.

"What was there was about 20 FWA lads testing a new bomb," Ebenezer says.

"The bomb had been made out of a Horlicks tube and the guy who made the bomb lived in Llangollen.

"Cayo introduced him as 'The Barnes Wallis of Wales,' whose bomb is going to release us from the English yoke."

Barnes Wallis was an English engineer and inventor best known for inventing the bouncing bomb used by the Royal Air Force during World War II.

Recalling the bomb being tested, Ebenezer remembers taking cover behind a stone wall.

"I saw the smoke rise from the bomb in the wall, and then after a few seconds came a noise: ‘Pffft.’

"A cloud of smoke rose up but no stone was dislodged!

"Sheep were still quietly grazing and none raised their heads.

"And I remember Cayo’s words clearly: 'F**k it, boys – back to the drawing board!."

The FWA first appeared in public at a 1965 protest against the construction of the Llyn Celyn reservoir near Bala.

On one occasion, an FWA member fitted a harness to his dog, which he said would be used to carry sticks of explosive gelignite.

He had dozens more dogs all trained to carry magnetic devices under Army vehicles.

The story about these "kamikaze dogs" duly appeared in newspapers and prompted hundreds of angry letters from dog-lovers.

Another "plot" included hiring a helicopter to drop farmyard manure on the Prince of Wales' investiture.

The consequence of the stunts and exploits of the FWA diverted attention from the "real bombers," the MAC, masterminded by John Jenkins who was radicalised by the drowning of the Tryweryn Valley above Bala in Gwynedd.

The Welsh nationalist and British Army soldier was jailed for 10 years for organising explosions in a campaign of sabotage against the investiture.

One device exploded unexpectedly killing two members of the MAC in Abergele.

The following day, two more bombs were planted in Caernarfon.

One exploded in a police constable's garden during a 21-gun salute.

Another was planted at Llandudno Pier where the Royal Yacht Britannia was expected to moor, but did not go off.

The second Caernarfon bomb was found by a 10-year-old Buckinghamshire boy playing football while on holiday, who lost part of his leg when it exploded.

The late Jenkins is quoted in Vittle's book as saying: "How the hell do you expect people to celebrate their own defeat?

"To celebrate the fact in the last 700 years, we hadn’t moved forward an inch and had moved back a couple of yards.

"To commemorate it is one thing, but to celebrate it is another story."

Jenkins adds: "The only way to be heard is to kick up a fuss. And you’ve got to kick up a fuss that really threatens.

"That’s why we had to make direct threats to Charles. They were never meant to be carried out, of course. What would be the point of the political fallout from killing him?"

Author  Vittle, who runs a translation company, said it was "interesting" to hear the first hand accounts of the activists and extremists at the heart of the protest movement.

“It was a tense time not only with the bombing campaign, but also Cymdeithas yr Iaith’s non-violent protests and large rallies and Plaid Cymru getting its first electoral successes. I wanted to look at what caused this extreme reaction around Charles’ Investiture, whether it was worth it, and whether it could all happen again.”

The father-of-three and author of popular histories, including I’r Gad, a photographic history of Welsh language protests, and Valentine, a biography of Lewis Valentine, the first president of Plaid Cymru, said: "I thought it would be interesting to look at Charles' formative years in public life as Prince, which started with a bang as it were, because of the political atmosphere in Wales, which at the time was pretty febrile.

"With Charles becoming King and his coronation yet to take place, I wanted to write a popular history book which was a good read as well as informing.

"Speaking to many participants, it was good to hear first hand, what it was like to be part of that period - things that aren't documented in many other history books.

"Many hadn't spoken out about their experiences before - particularly around the secret police and surveillance - some people compared Gwynedd at the time to being like a police state like East Germany and (the then) Czechoslovakia - it was interesting to lift the lid on that."

* Charles and the Welsh Revolt is published by Y Lolfa and available to buy online and in all good book stores.

MP visits Chirk Castle to support tree planting campaign

* Simon Baynes MP planting with General Manager Lizzie Champion and Head Gardener David Lock at Chirk Castle.

Clwyd South MP joined the National Trust's campaign to plant four million blossom trees across the UK by 2030 by planting a blossom tree at Chirk Castle.

Mr Baynes is chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Woods and Trees, and supports the National Trust's commitment to plant and establish 20 million trees across the country. 

The Trust is planting native and historic varieties, and other trees such as blackthorn and hawthorn, to support nature and to bring back blossom to areas that need it. 

The blossom tree, a crabapple Malus Florentina, was planted at Chirk Castle where Mr Baynes met Lizzie Champion, General Manager, and David Lock, the Head Gardener. The castle is owned by the National Trust and is open to the public.

Mr Lock has worked at Chirk Castle for over 40 years, starting as a gardener and then becoming Head Gardener in 1988. 

There are four gardeners at Chirk, one of whom is shared with Powis Castle, and 20 garden volunteers.

Chirk Castle has a 10-year vision for the gardens that includes developing the kitchen garden, which provides fresh produce for the castle tearoom, and plans to restore the 17th century pleasure ground woods. 

Over the next five years, the National Trust says it will be continuing its efforts to plant blossom trees in areas that need them and to ensure that urban communities can experience the natural world. 

Cities such as Newcastle, London, Plymouth and Birmingham will see blossom being planted for everyone to visit, enjoy and reflect.

Lizzie Champion, General Manager at Chirk Castle, said: “Through the #blossomwatch campaign we are proudly bringing the beauty of nature closer to everyone in Wales. 

"Thank you to Simon Baynes MP for planting a blossom tree in the garden at Chirk today. We hope that everyone who visits will enjoy watching as it blooms each spring.”

Speaking about the planting, Mr Baynes said: “It was a great pleasure to plant a blossom tree at Chirk Castle, near where I live in Clwyd South. 

"I have been visiting the Chirk Castle gardens for many years and have seen them flourish under the expect care of Head Gardener David Lock and his team of staff and volunteers.

“As Chairman of the APPG for Woods and Trees, the National Trust’s commitment to planting over four million blossom trees is a matter very close to my heart, and I was so pleased to be able to be part of this effort in Clwyd South.”

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Easter services on Llangollen Railway

Corwen station taken last Saturday showing the canopy complete with classic dagger board, facia panels and valance. Photo by Richard Walliker.

* The railway's Class 08 shunter.

Llangollen Railway is running a daily Easter service from April 6-16, with a two-train service between Good Friday and Easter Monday April 7-10 and a steam loco at work on April 7, 8, 9 and 10 alongside diesel and railcar trains. 

Steam trains will also be running on April 15 and 16 and diesel and railcar the other April weekends. More information and a full timetable is on the railway’s website. 

The railway has also announced the return of its Driver for a Fiver, in which budding loco drivers can take the controls of an engine, and Berwyn Shuttle service, offering those with less time a shorter run up to the line’s first station. 

The railway’s Class 08 shunter will offer Driver for a Fiver sessions over the Easter weekend on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, April 7, 8, 9 and 10.   

The shunter will also be hauling Berwyn Shuttles on Saturday and Sunday April 15 and 16, alongside the scheduled Timetable A operation to Carrog. 

Work continues apace at the new Corwen station, with volunteers fitting out the station building, finishing the emergency exit and a contractor removing the impressive scaffolding used to erect the canopy, which is now complete.

Temporary closure of Sun Bank next month

Denbighshire County Council has notified of a road closure on a section of Sun Bank, Llangollen from April 17 to 28.

The closure is required to facilitate retaining wall works by the council and a diversion will be in place. 

Monday, March 27, 2023

Just over a week left to comment on Four Great Highways scheme

* A draft design showing the view from inside Lower Dee Mill.

Local people now have just over a week to study and comment on Llangollen's Four Great Highways project.

A statement from the team in charge of the scheme says: "Further to our e-mail last week, we are writing to let you know that the feedback form has now been added to Denbighshire's County Conversations Engagement Portal 

"We have arranged for the designs to be on display at Llangollen Library until Monday April 3 2023 to make sure everyone gets a chance to see them if they weren’t able to come along to our recent session at the Town Hall.  

"The designs are also available on the engagement portal at the above link and have been added to the Four Great Highways webpage.

"We’ve also extended the feedback deadline date to Sunday 2 April 2023 to make sure everyone has enough time to share their views with us and paper copies of the feedback form have been left at Llangollen Library for collection. Completed forms can also be handed in to the library and they will collect them on our behalf.

"We would be grateful if you could share this e-mail with your networks to make sure as many people as possible have the opportunity to provide feedback."


Gary plans 500-mile walk to help specialist children's unit

* From left: Sarah Bee, Lynne Ford, Curtis Langley and Ann Norwood, who all work at the Movement Centre, gather around Gary Fletcher.

A Llangollen man is planning to do a solo 500-mile charity walk to raise at least £10,000 for a local hospital’s specialist children’s unit.

Gary Fletcher, 44, aims to trek through France and Spain along the famous Camino De Santiago Pilgrim Trail.

He reckons it will take him between six and eight weeks, dependent on the weather or any injuries he might sustain along the way.

Gary, who recently sold his development site next to White Waters Hotel and is looking for another property in or around the town, says he is now busy training for his foot-slogging marathon by climbing local hills and mountains and sweating it out in daily gym sessions.

He has also mounted an intensive publicity and social media campaign to gain the sponsorship from local businesses that he needs before he can set off on the challenge in aid of the pioneering Movement Centre at the Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital in Gobowen.

He said: “I really need to get this out there as much as possible to raise as much as I can for the centre and the children it treats.

“I have wanted to do something to help children in our country for some time. With the centre I have found the perfect charity to support as it relies solely on donations and private fundraising to continue its work supporting children of all ages with mobility issues.

“The work it does includes physiotherapy and other treatments to help young patients some of whom are taught how to communicate through movement with their parents and family.

“Others may have prosthetic limbs or debilitating illnesses which require constant ongoing treatment from the centre.

“The centre is one of very few in the UK that provides this kind of support and treatment and is life-changing in so many ways for children and their families.”

Gary added: “I am in constant contact with the centre, and I am due to meet with more children there to learn about their disabilities and the treatments.

“I have set up fundraising through a GO-Fund-Me account. All proceeds are paid directly from Go Fund Me to the Movement Centre. My account for fundraising is here

“So far I have raised £315 both online and cash donations. I have set the target to £10,000, but I ambitiously aim to raise £100,000 over the course of the next three months.

“I anticipate donations to really take off once I am on the trail and will post daily photos and videos showing my progress to various media channels. This will include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.”

* Gary’s dedicated Facebook page fpr his challenge is at:

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Roadworks planned for Barbers Hill

Latest roadworks alert from is:


Barbers Hill, Llangollen, Denbighshire

27 March - 07 April


Delays likely - Diversion route


Name: Diversion


Location: Barbers Hill


Description: Streetworks / License - Streetworks


Responsibility for event: Denbighshire County Council


Current status: Planned



Saturday, March 25, 2023

Latest roadworks alerts from county council

Latest local roadworks bulletin from Denbighshire County Council is:

A542 Wrth / Nr Haulwen Abbey Road ABBEY ROAD 31/03/2023 31/03/2023 Gwaith Carthffosiaeth/ Sewer Works ALUN GRIFFITHS CONTRACTOR

JUNCTION OF QUEEN STREET FRONT SIDE BIRCH HILL 31/03/2023 31/03/2023 Adferiad/ Reinstatement FOREST TRAFFIC SERVICES LLANGOLLEN Ffordd ar Gau/Road Closure

Wrth/ Nr GLASFRYN ABBEY ROAD 27/03/2023 29/03/2023 Gwaith Dwr / Water Works HAFREN DYFRDWY LLANGOLLEN

O/S GARDD GERRIG TO THE TOWER TOWER ROAD 24/04/2023 19/05/2023 Gwaith Nwy / Gas Works WALES & WEST (DCC) LLANGOLLEN Ffordd ar Gau/Road Closure

BRYN MELYN RTW SUN BANK 17/04/2023 28/04/2023 Gwaith Ar Wal Gynnal/ Retaining Wall Works DCC BRIDGES AND STRUCTURE LLANGOLLEN Ffordd ar Gau/Road Closure

Free school meal information for parents and guardians

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

This will enable the council to make arrangements for these payments to be made for the forthcoming Easter holidays (3rd April to 14th April), Whitsun week (29th May to 2nd June) together with the May Bank Holiday and the Coronation Bank Holiday.

Parents / guardians are being informed that the payments will be made based on eligibility for Free School Meals. The payment for the Easter holidays will be made on the 3rd April.

This is completely separate to the roll out of Universal Primary Free School Meals which has seen Reception age children and Year 1 pupils being able to access free meals this school term.

Councillor Gill German, Cabinet Lead Member for Education, Children and Families, said: “We welcome this announcement of the extension of this funding as it will provide further reassurance to some families, given the cost-of-living crisis. We want to make sure all children receive a proper meal and this payment, made directly into bank accounts of eligible parents automatically, will help with this cost.”

* For more information go to:

Friday, March 24, 2023

RAFA Club features in national magazine profile

Llangollen RAFA Club has featured in an RAF national news magazine ahead of its sold out ABBA Tribute concert this weekend. 

The profile on the club, which also recently had a disability ramp installed for wheelchair access to its outside green, is below:

Stage groups unite in show for earthquake survivors

For the first time ever three of Llangollen’s most popular amateur stage groups are joining forces to present an all-star variety and music hall show to raise funds for the earthquake victims of Turkey and Syria.

Llangollen Operatic Society, Llangollen Twenty Club and The Collen Players are combining their considerable talents to stage Llangollen on Show for Turkey and Syria at Llangollen Town Hall over two nights on Thursday and Friday May 11 and 12.

All proceeds will go to support the Disaster Emergency Committee in which 15 of the UK’s top charities have come together to supply a lifeline to thousands of survivors of the earthquake which devastated southern and central Turkey and northern and western Syria on February 6.

Organisers say it will also be the perfect way to celebrate the coronation of King Charles III which will have taken place the previous weekend. 

The Llangollen entertainers have spent months planning for the big show which will see each of the groups involved showcasing their skills to audiences of up 250 on each of the two performances.

The Operatic, an all-singing and dancing outfit, will perform numbers from the smash-hit shows Hamilton, Six, Oliver Les Miserables and Half a Sixpence,  while the Twenty Club drama group will present comedy sketches – some specially written for the occasion – based on their hilarious past hits such as Blackadder and Absolutely Fabulous.

The Collen Players plan to provide a taste of the rip-roaring Victorian music hall shows for which they have rapidly become famous, with their founder, Lee Taylor, acting as chairman for the show, which starts each night at 7.30pm. 

There will be a bar and prize raffle on both nights and a number of local businesses have pledged their financial support.

Tracey Kempster Jones, one of the show’s organisers, said: “Llangollen is famously bursting with entertainment talent and this will be a historic occasion because never before have all three of Llangollen’s main stage groups come together to put on such a show.

“Almost as soon as all of us heard about the dreadful earthquake in Turkey and Syria we know we had to do something.

“Each of the groups taking part will be presenting an act based around their particular speciality, be it something from their past musical productions from the Operatic, selections of the stage comedies which the Twenty Club does so well, or the rousing sing-along material with which The Collen Players please their audiences.

“We’ve had some really dedicated people working on the show, both on stage and behind the scenes, and we’re counting on our respective regular audiences and others to come along to support this fantastic cause and have a great night into the bargain.”

* Tickets for the show, priced at £12 (no concessions) are available online at, or from Courtyard Books, Llangollen, and the Llangollen Oggie Shop in Caste Street or on the door on the night. Demand is expected to be such that organisers advise on booking early.           

New look for Llangollen's Riverside Park

* The new-look mini golf area.

Development work will give Llangollen’s Riverside Park a refreshing new look.

Contractors are working on a raft of new features for the site. 

The work has been made possible through the Welsh Government’s Brilliant Basics funding round for 2022/23 that is available to enhance parks and recreational spaces.

Brilliant Basics is a fund to deliver basic small-scale tourism infrastructure improvements across all of Wales in order to ensure that all visitors have a positive and memorable experience throughout all aspects of their stay.

A new 9-hole bespoke mini golf is due to be finished end of March with holes representing places and features of interest within Llangollen and the Dee valley.  

This will include an active travel interpretation map for the area and replaces the old course at the site.

New play equipment for the 5-12 year old age range will be installed early April.  This will include multi-use climbing frame and basket swing.

Work is underway at the bandstand to install electricity power points to increase opportunities for entertainment along with seating block created in to the bank area for spectators.

Green infrastructure has been introduced sat the park with trees to create shade, wildflower planting and shrub planting around the park.  A green space area will be extended by introducing grass up to and around the blocked dragon area.  

Paul Evans, Plas Newydd site manager, said: “While planning this work, we worked closely with Llangollen Fringe along with Llangollen Parks Community group and  Llangollen Town Council, who both provided some of the match funding towards the project. 

"We look forward to all works being complete very soon.”

Cllr Win-Mullen James, Lead Member for Local Development and Planning, said: “It is great to see this work underway at the Riverside Park and I look forward to seeing people enjoying the end result. I am also pleased to see the green environmental work taking place alongside a fantastic new play area for youngsters.”

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Hard-hitting crime drama gives Llangollen pupils taste of justice

Iwan Garmon from Theatr Clwyd as  'Darren' the defendant is led into court watched by Ysgol Dinas Bran pupils. 

* 'Darren' faces justice in the shape of with 
Celia Jenkins as the magistrate. 

* Pupils hear the story of 'Darren' and his mum 'Caitlin' played by Georgia Griffiths.

A teenager groomed by a vicious county lines gang to become a drugs supplier has been sentenced to 18 months in youth custody.

Magistrates heard the 16-year-old called Darren was forced to sell illegal drugs after he started taking drugs himself and fell into debt.

He was caught when he was seen passing drugs to another person at a party and was arrested. Police officers found him to be in possession of MDMA or Ecstasy, a Class A controlled drug.

When he appeared before Wrexham Magistrates Court he pleaded guilty to a charge of possessing drugs with intent to supply. The youngster also admitted possessing a bladed article, a knife.

There were emotional scenes at the court as Darren was led away to begin his sentence.

But although based on real events, this was actually a drama workshop organised as part of the pioneering Justice in a Day project and 'Darren' was actually actor called Iwan Garmon.

It was organised by the North Wales Police and Community Trust (PACT) with the aim of giving young people a taste of how the criminal justice system works and the devastating effect crime can have on families and the community.

The day-long workshop, created by actors and creatives at Mold-based Theatr Clwyd, was attended by 40 Year 10 students from Ysgol Dinas Bran in Llangollen as part of their BTEC in Public Service course. 

PACT project manager Dave Evans said the aim is to give young people a taste of how the criminal justice system works and the devastating effect crime can have on families and the community.

He said: "The purpose is to educate young people about the criminal justice system and the consequences of crime. In addition it helps prevent them becoming offenders and equally importantly the victims of crime.

"The feedback we have had from schools and some of the case studies we've done with young people over the years and how they've benefitted from the workshops has been quite profound."

He added the scenario presented during the day-long course was nothing like how crime is portrayed on television and elsewhere.

"This is absolute real life," said Dave.

Real life magistrate Celia Jenkins told the students the project aims to get the message across to young people that crime "really isn't worth it"

She said she became a magistrate about 20 years ago and now sits on the bench about once a week hearing all manner of cases.

Answering questions from the youngsters, she said: "Every case starts in the Magistrates Court. Some are so  serious we have to send them to  Crown Court but we deal with all manner of cases. Some of the worst ones I have dealt with have involved young people."

Pupil Jasmine Wright, 15, sat alongside Ms Jenkins and played the role of a magistrate in the workshop.

She said: "I've learned a lot about how the justice system works and the difference between adult and youth courts.  More time is spent on youth justice so they don't do it (offend) again.

Her classmate Bradley Richards said: "I knew a few things about the justice system before but didn't know the things the court took into account which is to try and help the offender."

Megan Bowen, also 15, added the course could lead to her becoming part of law enforcement at some point in the future.

"I've had my eyes on becoming a police officer and maybe I'll look into it a bit more," she said.

Another Ysgol Dinas Bran student, Emily Curtis, 15, said. "The best part of today was being in the courtroom, just sitting there listening and seeing what happens and how they get sentenced and how the whole system works."

Written and directed by Emyr John, Theatr Clwyd's creative engagement associate and the son of a former North Wales Police Superintendent, he said Justice in a Day was created to help educate young people about the consequences of crime.

He said: "The actors tell the story. Students decide what they think the sentence should be but we have a real magistrate to deliver what was the actual sentence and explain why the court came to the decision it did.

"Darren is sent into youth detention for 18 months and we look at what happens and his experiences while locked up.

"It's about talking to young people in a way they can understand and in their own language. It also helps explain what can happen if they get involved in crime and how it affects not just them but their whole family and friends."

Among those present was North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Andy Dunbobbin. He said the scenario was typical of the threat posed to young people by criminal gangs.

"The Justice in a Day project is an ideal way to teach young people all about how the justice system works and how committing criminal offences can destroy the lives of victims and offenders.

"It's really important that we educate our children but you have to get the presentation right and all credit to the actors here from Theatr Clwyd who have pitched it at just the right level.

"The young people here today are really getting involved and all the knowledge that's being shared raises their awareness of what could happen to them in a way we couldn't do in a classroom setting."