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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Louisa gets back on her bike for a great cause

* Louisa Jones is ready to climb back into the
saddle for a marathon charity challenge.

AN INTREPID Llangollen Operatic Society member is getting back on her bike for another marathon charity challenge.

Back in 2012 Louisa Jones, 37, took part in a gruelling 260-mile cycling expedition through India in aid of three women’s cancer causes, raising over 3,000 along the way.

Now she’s planning to climb back into the saddle for the same three charities - Breast Cancer Care, Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust and Ovarian Cancer Action.

From February 6-17 next year she will be joining a group of 70 women to cycle 450km (280 miles) from Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam to Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

* Louisa on her Indian challenge in 2012.

Louisa, who works as a project manager and lives in Chirk, said:  This is the second time I have taken on such a challenge, having successfully undertaken the Women V Cancer Cycle India event in November 2012, which took a group of us across rural Rajasthan in aid of the same three causes.

“Although fairly fit, I am not a cyclist so the event will require me to undertake quite some training in order to get to the level of fitness and stamina needed to complete six days of cycling in a very different climate and terrain.

“It will be no easy task but I believe it will be extremely rewarding both personally and in terms of the benefit to the charities and the excellent work that they do in the areas of research and support. Without the generosity of donors, they simply could not continue.

“Through sponsorship and fundraising activities, I am aiming to raise at least £1,700, 100% of which will go directly to the charities. I will be paying all tour and administrative costs of about £1,500 myself.”

* To sponsor Louisa, go to her fundraising page at:

Monday, September 26, 2016

llanblogger notches up £200 from Memory Walk

* Phil at the finishing line with his medal.
llanblogger raised £200 to help in the battle against dementia when he strode out in the Alzheimers Society's first ever Memory Walk in Delamere Forest on Saturday morning.

Phil Robinson joined around 3,500 fellow trekkers in the big event, which was part of the current season of walks being held across Britain with the aim of raising £6.4 million to help finance research into the distressing condition which affects 225,000 people in the UK each year.

Phil chose to walk the route around the lake in memory of two close members of his family who suffered from dementia.

He said: "It was a fantastic day which saw upwards of 3,500 people gathering on the car park at Delamere to take part in the first Memory Walk to be held there.

"There was a real carnival atmosphere, with a Zumba warm-up session before we all headed off into the forest, where we found a drum band in a clearing who were helping to set the pace for us.

"On the walk it was amazing to see the little cards attached to people's official teeshirts describing who they were remembering as they marched on - parents, grandparents and spouses.

"There were people of all ages, from tiny tots to more mature walkers and, as they went along they were sharing their stories about why they had decided to get involved.

* Thousands of people gather before the start of the Memory Walk.

"Almost as numerous as the human trekkers were the dogs people had brought along with them - some proudly wearing their Memory Walk teeshirts or Alzheimers Society scarves."

* Out on the trail.

* A four-legged walker proudly wears the official Memory Walk teeshirt. 
He added: "The whole thing was brilliantly organised with walk marshalls dotted along the route to make sure everyone was ok and didn't get themselves lost.

"I understand that the current season of walks will involve around 100,000 across Britain, and if they have as much fun as I did it's something they'll never forget.

* A drum band helps set the pace for walkers.  

"I'd like to thank everyone who sponsored me, enabling me to comfortably hit and then better my fundraising target of £150 to make £200 for this extremely worthwhile cause."

* See Phil's Justgiving page at:

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Balloons take flight again ...

Another balloon flight this morning ...

   ... and last night's fireworks ...

Bring homes back into use, says county

Owners of empty homes across Denbighshire are being encouraged to return their properties to use to provide extra housing and deter antisocial behaviour.

There are a number of financial incentives available to assist empty home owners in bringing their properties back into use, from Welsh Government interest free loans to local authority assistance. 

The council can also help with project managing the works and give advice on how to get a reduction on VAT for renovation works to empty properties.

Currently there are around 700 long term empty properties in the county and an Empty Homes Officer has been allocated to help home owners with the process of returning their empty properties back to use.

Councillor Barbara Smith, Cabinet Lead Member for Modernisation and Housing, said: “Long term empty properties are a cause for concern and homes left empty for more than six months are a wasted resource in an area of high housing demand, they can attract crime, vandalism and antisocial behaviour as well as being a financial burden on owners."

Councillor David Smith, Cabinet Lead Member for the Public Realm, said: “We understand that the prospect can be stressful and overwhelming so Denbighshire County Council have allocated an Empty Homes Officer who is available to offer tailored advice and support for anyone returning their property to use. 

"This includes advice on how to make the most of your property, renovation advice, financial advice and advice on selling your property, with all advice and assistance tailored to individual circumstances. An empty home needs to be looked after as much as one which is lived in, it makes financial sense to put your vacant property to use.”

Additional benefits can be gained by bringing a property back to use, including giving the owners a financial return, removing the burden and worry of being responsible for a vacant property and also provide extra homes in the County without the need for new builds.

Denbighshire County Council is keen to assist owners in returning their properties to use, however in circumstances where the property is considered to be having a detrimental effect on the neighbourhood and local amenities and all offers of voluntary assistance have been rejected, the council says it will consider taking enforcement action which could involve issuing an improvement notice to make the owner to bring their property up to current housing standards, enforcing the sale of the property or serving a demolition order.

For home owners wanting to find out more on this service or if you would like to have a discussion regarding your empty property, contact the Empty Homes Officer on:

Empty Homes Officer, 
Built Environment Team,
Smithfield Road,
LL16 3RJ
Or you can email: / 01824 706717.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Balloon festival provides spectacular sight

* One of the balloons heads from the field and across town.

* A member of the Red Devils display team in action.

* Another of the balloons reaches for the sky.

* A third balloon gets airborne.

Llangollen Balloon Festival provided a thrilling display for scores of people waiting on the bridge and across town earlier this evening.

Around half a dozen colourful balloons launched from the International Pavilion field around teatime to drift slowly towards Regent Street.

Shortly afterwards there was another spectacular sight as members of the Red Devils Parachute Display Team went through their paces hundreds of feet above the town.

Still to come this evening:

* 8pm Evening Glow

* 8pm Firework Display

And programme for tomorrow (Sunday) is:

7am Gates open for early morning ascent.
10am Main show begins with balloon display in main arena.
11am Galloping Acrobats
12pm Cheshire Falconry
1pm Balloon Display
2pm Llangollen Motorcycle Club
3pm Galloping Acrobats
4pm Cheshire Falconry
5pm British Ironworks Balloon Race

New tourism awards celebrate success of North Wales

* North Wales Tourism managing director Jim Jones.

The first ever tourism awards celebrating the work the spectacular successes of the £2 billion industry in North Wales are being launched.

The Go North Wales Tourism Awards, which will also showcase local produce, aim to highlight excellence in the region’s high flying hospitality and tourism sectors. 

The awards are being run by private sector body North Wales Tourism, in partnership with Heart FM, and will be handed out at a gala dinner on Thursday, November 24 at Venue Cymru, Llandudno. Heart FM presenters Spencer and Rachel will also be at the black-tie event.

* White water rafting is one of the many
activities on offer in North Wales.
North Wales is at the centre of the growing adventure holidays market and is earning recognition as a world leader thanks to developments like Zip World, Surf Snowdonia and the Snowdonia Pass provided by the Attractions of Snowdonia.

Tourism already employs 40,000 people across North Wales - which adds up to one in every seven jobs in the area.

At the same time more than £100 million of mainly private sector money is currently being invested in tourism-related projects in the region.

North Wales Tourism managing director Jim Jones said: “These awards are all about celebrating everything that’s wonderful in North Wales. 

“They will showcase and celebrate the achievements, hard work and dedication of the hundreds of entrepreneurs who run businesses in this area.

“Tourism and hospitality are worth millions to the economy of North Wales, with the value growing every year. Thousands of people already work in the industry across the six counties and there’s the potential to grow this, to enable more jobs to be created.

“We want people to nominate their tourism business, by demonstrating their success and showing how they offer an exceptional experience to visitors - one that makes people return time and again to North Wales.

“There are a wide range of categories because there are so many different providers in the tourism and hospitality sector in North Wales. It could include an adventure park, bike trail, hotel or B&B, a crowd-pulling event or festival, campsite, promotional campaign, or a new food or drink. 

“There is also a Green Award as it is important that we safeguard this environment - we know visitors to North Wales come to enjoy the wonderful outdoors and we want future generations to continue to enjoy it. 

“I am very grateful to those businesses that have agreed to sponsor the different categories - their support will help us to showcase the very best in North Wales.”

Nominations can be made via the website until October 23. A judging panel will then draw up a shortlist in each category, with the winners announced on November 24.

The categories are
  • Best Attraction, sponsored by Contact Centre Cymru
  • Best Food or Drink, sponsored by Celtic Holiday Park
  • Best Accommodation, sponsored by Wrexham Lager
  • Best Caravan, Camping or Glamping site, sponsored by Wrexham Destination Partnership
  • Best Destination (town or area), sponsored by WR Davies Motor Group
  • The Green Award, sponsored by Carbon Zero
  • Best Use of Digital, sponsored by Cartrefi Conwy
  • Best Newcomer, sponsored by Silver Birch Golf Club
  • Tourism Business Innovation, sponsored by North Wales Economic Ambition Board
  • Year of Adventure, sponsored by Arriva
  • Magnificent Crowd Puller (audience over 7,500) sponsored by Powlsons
  • Magnificent Crowd Puller (audience under 7,500), sponsored by North Wales Tourism. 
North Wales Tourism is one of the UK’s leading tourism organisations, supporting businesses across the region’s six counties.  Its aim is to build and maintain a prosperous and sustainable tourism industry in North Wales.

The Awards evening on November 24 includes a gala dinner and award presentations followed by an evening of entertainment and dancing. Event tickets are available at a cost of £50 plus VAT per person or £500 plus VAT for a table to seat 10 guests.

To book by phone call 01492 539058 or visit

Friday, September 16, 2016

Big mountain bike event comes to Llan

British Cycling's National Downhill Mountain Bike Series Round Six, presented by Shimano, will be staged in Llangollen this Saturday and Sunday.

Riders contending for the series overall are measured on their best five results, with seeding counting for up to 50 points and race runs up to 200 points for the win.

The newly revised Squirrel Track will be used with a new re-vamped start straight with several new BMX track style jumps into two new berms.

The course itself is steep and technical as it winds itself down the famous Llangollen hillside with a spectator route cut top to bottom meaning nobody has to cross the course.

Saturday is practice all day from 09:30 to 18:00 with live timing in place for all riders.

Sunday is practice in the morning followed be seeding runs and then one race run, again with live timing throughout.

On Sunday between the intervals for seeding and race runs the Strider Downhill Race is packed with 40 stars of the future who will tackle a course that starts next to the famous Llangollen step downs.

They will then fire into the long finish arena and across the finish line and into the hot seat. The Strider riders will be in age categories and complete downhill timed runs.