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Friday, September 4, 2015

Update from the doctors' surgery

* New health centre ... opening on September 14.
llanblogger has been asked to publish the following update information from Llangollen doctors' surgery ...
We are pleased to report that, after a week of frustration, the majority of the problems with our telephones have now been fixed and patients can use our main number – 01978 860625 – again.   
We apologise for any inconvenience caused to our patients and would like to thank Ken Skates and his assistant David Goodban for their help in resolving this issue with BT. 
We are extremely annoyed and disappointed that we have had to resort to getting our Assembly Member involved in this in order to get a satisfactory response from BT.
However, our recorded messages are still not working and we are unable to play our usual “out of hours” message for when we are closed. 
Can we please make patients aware, therefore, that should you require urgent medical assistant when we are closed (we are open 8.00am – 6.30pm Monday to Friday), please ring the Out of Hours service on 0300 123 55 66.
We would also like to make patients aware that the date for the opening of the new Health Centre on Bishops Walk has now been confirmed and the Practice will be up and running there from Monday 14th September. 
Further information is contained in the newsletter below and on our website:  Copies are also available from reception.
General Information
We will open in our new premises on Monday 14th September.  Our new address is Canolfan Iechyd Llangollen Health Centre, Bishops Walk, Llangollen, LL20 8RZ.  Our telephone number and opening hours will stay the same.
Arrangements with Rowlands Pharmacy
The intention is that Rowlands Pharmacy will relocate to the new Health Centre.  At the moment, we don’t know when this will be happening and we have therefore agreed some interim arrangements with Rowlands to minimise the impact on patients. 
·       As well as dropping off repeat medication requests at the new Health Centre, patients will also be able to do this at Rowlands Pharmacy on Regent St.
·        If you usually collect your medication from Rowlands, you will still be able to do this.  Rowlands will be running a daily collection service from the Health Centre, so that they can collect the signed prescriptions from the GP surgery and have your medication ready for you at the pharmacy on Regent St. Please note – you will need to allow at least 72 hours between requesting your repeat medication and collecting it from the pharmacy.
·         Rowlands will provide a home delivery service for house-bound patients. Please contact the pharmacy if you are interested in this service. Their telephone number is 01978 860657.
When the pharmacy has moved to the new centre, there are plans in place to implement a drop off facility for repeat prescription requests in Y Capel, Castle St, Llangollen.
Online Services
We already offer online ordering of repeat medication.  We are now also offering online booking of routine GP appointments.  If you are already registered for online ordering of medication, you will automatically have access to online booking of appointments.  If you wish to register for either of these online services, please ask at Reception or give us a call 01978 860625.
Travel to the New Health Centre
We are working with the Community Transport Association Wales and other organizations to ensure patients, families and carers have up to date information on the transport options available. Further information on CTA Wales is available from reception.
GHA Coaches operates the number 5 bus service which can take patients from Parade St, Llangollen to the new Health Centre. Currently, this runs from Parade St every twenty minutes - on the hour, twenty past the hour and twenty to the hour.
A pedestrian crossing has been installed on the A539 (along the Bishops Walk stretch).

New incident of criminal damage to cars

Police are appealing for information about criminal damage to two vehicles parked in Vicarage Road, Llangollen.

A warning message to local Neighbourhood Watch members says this happened sometime between 8pm on Saturday August 29 and 11am on Sunday August 30, with the offenders  causing extensive damage to the vehicles.

This comes after a similar incident in which criminal damage was caused to a blue Renault Clio in the car park of Llangollen Youth Club in nearby Willow Street the previous weekend.

A warning from Neighbourhood Watch, highlighted by llanblogger last Saturday, said this incident is thought to have taken place between 5.30 and 11.23pm on Sunday August 23 with what is believed to have been a sharp implement being used to smash all the windows of the vehicle.

If you noticed anything suspicious, or have any information relating to the Vicarage Road incident, contact North Wales Police by dialling 101 quoting reference RC15132481.

Alternatively, you can provide information anonymously by calling Crimestoppers Wales on 0800 555 111. North Wales Police would like to urge residents to always report suspicious activity to them at the earliest opportunity.


WI play takes Town Hall audience by storm

THERE’S much more to the Women’s Institute than jam and Jerusalem.

While the preserves and rousing singing have indeed been its mainstays, the organisation has spent the past 100 years having a major influence on a range of social issues from improvements in public health to questioning the easy availability of pornographic literature to children.

The vital part the WI has played in the national way of life was brilliantly portrayed by members of the Mikron Theatre group at Llangollen Town Hall last night (Thursday) as they staged their play, Raising Agents, with which they are touring the country to mark the institute’s centenary.
Although it came to Britain in 1915 just in the nick of time to help out in the First World War, the WI was actually founded in Canada in 1897 by a woman named Adelaide Hoodless who was desperately looking for a way out of isolation following the death of her child.
To commemorate the centenary playwright Maeve Larkin has come up with a masterful piece of drama which seamlessly intersperses seminal scenes from the organisation’s past with the story of a mythical present-day WI in a make-believe town called Bunnington which is struggling to keep going in the face of dwindling membership.  
It was extremely thoughtful at the same time as being hilariously funny.
A hugely talented four-strong Mikron cast nip in and out of a host of characters, starting with the iconic Mrs Hoodless as she battles male prejudice against the fledgling institute in Victorian Canada.   
Next, we were transported back across the Atlantic to First World War Britain where a manic guest speaker shows queasy members how to help combat the Hun by doing in their pet rabbits to make a nice pie.

Later, we’re on a smoke-filled British station as Mikron uses a backcloth of the famous 1940s film Brief Encounter to portray another important WI moment – when the Ministry of Food allocated sugar to the institute so that branches across the country could produce gallons of jam to help keep up national morale.
Then it was on to the Fifties when the institute faced a new challenge to its survival – rock ‘n’ roll and the disinterest in all things seen as old-fashioned by the emerging beat generation.

Each step of the way along the WI’s long journey we were guided by the incredible versatility of the Mikron foursome who not only acted with a touch a magic but also played instruments from an accordion to a flute to accompany themselves in the specially-written songs which illuminated this wonderful production.
The fact that Mikron, who tour on a narrow boat during the summer and by road in the winter, were invited to Llangollen to perform the piece was down to the area’s own Valley Girls WI whose members were on duty during the evening along with ladies from Llangollen WI who, of course, provided tea and some scrumptious cakes.

Gratifyingly, the Town Hall was packed to capacity with WI groups from across North Wales and even the nearer bits of England.   
And, naturally, at the end we all joined in a chorus of the hymn which has become the WI's anthem - Jerusalem.

New ale launched in honour of Katherine Jenkins

* Songbird ... brewer Ynyr Jeffreys-Evans, right, and Hamper
Llangollen chairman Colin Loughlin raise a toast to singer Katherine Jenkins.

Music loving brewers are launching a new real ale called Songbird in honour of Welsh singing sensation Katherine Jenkins.
The special recipe has been produced in celebration of the news that Katherine will headline the opening night of the 2016 Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod.
The new ale will be unveiled by Llangollen Brewery at the Hamper Llangollen Food festival in the autumn.
Head brewer Ynyr Jeffreys-Evans says the new brew is blonde and hoppy, but also boasts a fun, sophisticated character, just like bubbly, beautiful mezzo-soprano Katherine, who is currently expecting her first baby.
Katherine (pictured above left) announced earlier this year that she and husband, artist, Andrew Levitas, are expecting a little girl later this year.
Llangollen Brewery are now hoping they will be able to help ‘wet the baby’s head’ by encouraging Katherine’s legions of fans to toast the addition to the family with a refreshing pint of Songbird.
Hamper Llangollen 2015 will be held over the weekend of October 17 and 18 in the Royal International Pavilion.
The popular event in Llangollen’s Royal Pavilion is recognised as one of the UK's top 10 food festivals.
Cadwyn Clwyd has provided financial support over the past few years to ensure the festival's long term viability, this was funded through the Rural Development Fund for Wales 2007-2013, which is funded through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the Welsh Government.
Llangollen Brewery has already tested the beer out on close friends and family and Ynyr says it has the potential to be one of their best special edition ales to date.
He said: “We went for a light, refreshing, medium amber colour, with slight citrus notes in the flavour. It is very much in our traditional style, very hoppy.
“We’re thrilled to be unveiling it at Hamper Llangollen 2015, as we so much enjoy exhibiting there.
“We’d also love it if Katherine would come and visit us and maybe try a pint herself, when she’s in Llangollen for next year’s Eisteddfod.”
The singer has said she will be taking some time off after the baby is born, but expects to be back on stage in 2016 when she will return to Llangollen Eisteddfod for the first time since 2010. Before that she will sing at the Queen’s official 90th birthday celebrations in May.
Tickets are already selling like hot cakes for her Eisteddfod concert version of Georges Bizets much-loved opera Carmen, the tale of a naive soldier seduced by a fiery gipsy woman. It will be the first time that Katherine will publicly deliver all Carmen’s operatic arias in one performance.
Among those planning to be there is Llangollen Brewery owner Steve Evans, who is a big fan of Katherine’s singing.
Ynyr, 30, who is Steve’s nephew, said: “He is a big fan and was delighted when we came up with the idea of naming one of our celebration beers after her.
"It is the first time we have named a beer after a contemporary personality and who better than Katherine? She has a huge following in her homeland of Wales and is recognised all around the world.”
The brewery has been going for five years and is thriving, having produced a core stable of hoppy bitters – Wrexham Borders (3.9%); Llangollen Bitter (4.2%) and Holy Grail (4.3%) – along with a porter – Welsh Black Bitter – and a lager.
The brewery also owns four pubs, The Abbey Grange Hotel, where the brewery is based; The Sun Inn, Rhewl; Prince of Wales, Llangollen; and Railway Inn, Pontybodkin.
Ynyr, 30, said they regularly produce seasonal, limited edition bitters to add to the core range. Others have included one to celebrate the Six Nations rugby tournament and another, Rail Ale, marking Llangollen’s connection to the steam railway.
Songbird will have an alcohol volume of 4.2 per cent, which makes it perfect for the festival audience.
Ynyr said: “It’s not too heavy and it’s very refreshing, great for people who like a nice pint in the afternoon. As always at the festival there will be a chance to taste this and our other beers before buying, which means we get valuable feedback from customers.”
A previous ale which they launched at Hamper Llangollen 2012 became so popular that Ynyr and Steve decided to include it in their permanent collection.
Ynyr said: “There was so much demand for it that it simply made sense to keep it on the pumps. It’s now one of our best sellers. Hopefully Songbird will be just as well liked.”
Hamper Llangollen food festival, held annually, is in its 17th year, having become one of the highlights of the UK culinary calendar. The 2015 event will showcase more than 100 local and international exhibitors, along with demonstrations by top chefs.
They including Britain’s youngest head chef, Luke Thomas, and Welsh culinary champion, Graham Tinsley, plus TV personalities including stand-up comedian, Silky, who will show off his cookery skills for the first time ever.
Hamper Llangollen chair Colin Loughlin believes this year's festival is going to be one of the best ever.
He said: “Thanks to a whole host of indigenous companies, North East Wales is rapidly establishing a reputation as a centre of excellence for high quality cuisine.
“The food festival is a perfect shop window for the companies who form the backbone of our rural economy.
"The location of the Pavilion is absolutely spectacular - I can't imagine that any other food festival in the UK has a more beautiful setting."
* For more details about Llangollen Food Festival-Hamper Llangollen 2015 visit and for information about Llangollen Eistedfodd visit

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Quiz night in aid of prostrate group

Llangollen Prostate Support Group are holding a Grand Quiz  at the RAFA Club, Llangollen on Friday September 11.

Doors open 7pm and quiz starts at 7.30pm.

Quiz master is Paul Belton from Wrexham .

The quiz is open to teams of up to four at £2 per person.

Prizes will be awarded for the highest total, lowest total and the most original  team  name.  

All proceeds go to the support group which was formed  five years ago to raise awareness of the condition in this locality.

Its members meet at the Hand Hotel on a monthly basis.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Latest figures show county is star performer

Denbighshire County Council continues to be the top performing local authority in North Wales and one of the best in Wales, according to latest figures released by the Local Government Data Unit – Wales.

All councils in Wales are assessed against a series of measures, to gain a snapshot of how services are performing. 

Denbighshire either saw an improvement or maintained its position in 33 out of 45 indicators it is assessed against during 2014/15, the findings of which have been published today.

The council has one of the highest figures for top quartile performance in Wales and also has a lower number of poor performing indicators than any other Welsh council.

A key headline is that Denbighshire continues to be the best for recycling in the whole of Wales.

The council is also among the best in Wales for Special Educational Needs statementing, for adult protection referrals where the risk has been managed and for keeping in contact with former looked after children.

The council appears in the top quarter performing authorities for:

•             the average lost working days/ shifts
•             One of the lowest percentages for school leavers with no qualifications or looked after school leavers with no qualifications;
•             Compliant food premises;
•             Delivering disabled facility grants
•             Vacant properties returned to occupation
•             Lower levels of delayed transfers of care
•             Care plan reviews completed in time
•             Children seen by a social worker at initial assessment
•             Waste sent to landfill.

Dr Mohammed Mehmet, Chief Executive of Denbighshire, said: “We are proud of these results and they continue to show that the Council performs well, even at times of significant change due to budgets and uncertainty around merger issues.  

"That is down to the work of our staff and councillors working together with our partners to making sure that providing high quality services remains at the heart of what we do."

Leader of Denbighshire, Councillor Hugh Evans OBE, said: “We have made a firm commitment to improving the quality of life for residents by providing the best possible services in Denbighshire.

“These figures show we are very much on the right track. However, we always want to aim higher and we will not become complacent as we strive to improve our public services further."

Health campaigner selected as Assembly candidate

Plaid Cymru – The Party Of Wales have selected Mabon ap Gwynfor as their candidate in Clwyd South for next year’s National Assembly elections.
Mabon ap Gwynfor, who lives near Corwen, stood for Plaid at last May’s Parliamentary elections, and increased the party’s vote by 20%.
Mabon ap Gwynfor (pictured) said: “It was an honour to stand for Plaid Cymru in my home area in May and we received more votes than ever before here. We also had more people join and help with the campaign, which creates a good platform for the coming year’s campaign.
“The context for next year’s Welsh General Election will be very different. The key questions will be about the NHS and investing in improving the economy in north Wales.
"It will be about who would people rather see as First Minister - Leanne Wood or Carwyn Jones. Who would be best to ensure improvements in our health service, education, agriculture. Who can improve the lives and life chances of the people who live in Wales.
“Our key message is the need to invest in the Welsh economy, to provide jobs for our young people in particular and create healthier, more vibrant communities. Plaid Cymru’s campaign pledge to ensure that we have enough GPs in every community and train more specialist doctors to meet the growing demands of the NHS, especially here in the North, has proved to be very popular and my experience in campaigning for better health services locally backs that up.
“The cuts agenda being forced on local councils and charities by both the UK Tory and Cardiff Labour Governments are having devastating consequences on many people. Not only are people losing their jobs but we are also seeing basic services being cut – whether buses, libraries, leisure services or community centres.
“This has led to mass campaigns, for example the wonderful example of Plas Madoc being re-opened by a community cooperative.”
The 37-year-old father of three chairs the North Wales Health Alliance campaign group, which continues to fight for better NHS services in the area and campaigned to keep hospital beds in Llangollen.