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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Faery Festival takes off in a big way

* A little fairy at the event.

What happens if you get people from Cornwall, Kent, Northumbria, Cardiff and the Fylde coast, plus the Midlands and the Wirral all interested in myth and magic, and put them in a big tent in Wales for the weekend? 

The second annual Legendary Llangollen Faery Festival, that’s what.

People from all over Britain came to enjoy what is fast becoming one of the major fairy events in the UK.

Over 200 craft workers, healers, fortune tellers, live-action role players, musicians and speakers descended upon us last weekend, all with a mind to have a good time, sell their wares and enjoy everything fairy. 

They pitched tents and stalls and some set up inside the huge tented arena of the Llangollen Pavilion, and all this with the threat of the tail end of Hurricane Bertha looming and poised to strike.

Saturday dawned fair and a glorious day was enjoyed by hundreds of visitors.  

Wishes were posted on the wishing line for the fairies to collect and grant, and the wing and wand making workshops were spectacularly busy. 

Circus skills were taught, the mystery of how to play a didgeridoo was revealed and live music and wonderful food was enjoyed. The stallholders did a cracking trade and the little, (and large), ones had their faces painted and were told some amazing tales by expert storytellers.

Author and co-organiser, Fiona Maher was promoting her novel. 

She said: “My book, The Last Changeling, is hardly fairy friendly and I never thought people who really believe that fairies are sweet creatures would like what I’ve written.

“Luckily, they are only interested in fairies and fey culture being promoted, so if I just happen to be the conduit for that, then they are inclined to forgive me.  Actually some of them prefer their fairies to be less sugary.”  

She added: “The threatened rain arrived at teatime just as the daytime events concluded, and most of the outside stalls moved inside the arena for the next day. We only had the vintage funfair and three stalls go home - all vowing to return next year.  

“That night we all danced at The Grand Faery Ball, so no-one much cared what the weather was doing outside!  

“Fervent spells were cast for good weather for the Sunday. After a rain lashed night, the water stopped pouring from the sky just eight minutes after the event opened again.  There were a few squalls in the afternoon, one huge gust of wind, and that was Bertha's last farewell.  

“We all survived and are already planning for 2015.”

* Pictures courtesy of Alan Potts

 * Activity inside the Pavilion.
* Stylish dance routine.
* Fairy with owl.
* Outside on the field.

ABBA Solution to play Bank Holiday show in Llan

* ABBA Solution in action.
A tribute band will be making a triumphant return to Llangollen this Bank Holiday Weekend.
Following sell-out shows in the town last year, including one as part of the Llangollen Fringe Festival, ABBA Solution will be bringing their 100% live tribute to the Swedish super-group to the Llangollen Pavilion on Sunday 24th August.
The show features Steph Babington as Agnetha and Jo Potts as Anni-Frid, backed by a highly polished six piece band. Celebrating the bands most popular hits, from 'Waterloo' to 'Dancing Queen', ABBA Solution also perform some of their more obscure and musically challenging numbers including 'The Eagle', which features twin lead guitar solos from Dan Morris and Ross Anderson.
The event has been organised by Llangollen based Radiant Events, who also run regular comedy nights in the town. Director Paul Brown says, "The music of ABBA has won plenty of new fans in the past few years following the success of the Mamma Mia film. There are plenty of tribute bands out there, but ABBA Solution are the real deal. There are no backing tracks and no autotune - just a 100% live musical spectacular. It's a great way to round off a fantastic summer in Llangollen."
Doors open at 7pm and the show starts at 7.30pm. Tickets, priced at £10, are available online at or can be bought in person at the Llangollen Pavilion and Gales of Llangollen.
* Steph Babington as Agnetha.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Council responds to A5 tree complaint

Denbighshire County Council has responded to complaints from a local campaigner that a number of mature trees have been removed from outside the site where the new Dobson & Crowther factory is currently being built at Cilmedw on the A5.

Martin Crumpton said he spotted that the trees had disappeared during a recent tour of the area which he made with a council planning officer and has lodged a formal complaint about their loss.
In response, a spokesman for Denbighshire County Council said: "This is a regrettable development, given the approved plans for the new Dobson & Crowther factory clearly showed the trees were to be retained, but the council has had little choice other than to consent to the work, following a formal request for the removal of the trees by the developers.  
"They commissioned a Tree Assessment in late July following concerns from Denbighshire's Highway Officer over the impact on the stability of the trees arising from excavation works along the A5 frontage in connection with the construction of a new footway.
“The assessment concluded the stability and health of the trees had been considerably impacted by site works, in particular construction works relating to the proposed frontage footpath, and that the trees were at high risk of failure, with no effective remedial work that would allow their long term retention. The recommendation was to fell the trees without delay.
“Officers took advice on the risk posed by the trees and took the view of specialists there was a 'very high' probability of failure, and there were legitimate concerns over the effects of high winds forecast on trees in full leaf.  In that context, it would be unreasonable to oppose the felling of the trees, taking into account the potential risk to members of the public.

“We fully appreciate the sensitivity of the situation and we will of course do our best to secure an appropriate replacement planting scheme, in conjunction with the council's Tree Consultant and Biodiversity Officer.”

Mr Crumpton has now complained about the situation to Welsh Assembly Members.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Speeding crackdown begins

Photograph of a Roads Policing vehicle

A crackdown on speeding motorists is set to take place throughout North Wales this week.

North Wales Police are taking part in a European-wide week-long initiative to crack down on speeding motorists from today, Monday.
The TISPOL (European Traffic Police Network) campaign will see all police forces across Europe tackling speeding by conducting speed checks.
North Wales Police Roads Policing Officers along with Go Safe will be combining their efforts to deter and detect motorists who choose to ignore the speed limits all across the force area. Drivers who are caught speeding will be dealt with by means of a TOR (Traffic Offence Report) which will either mean being offered a driver educational course (recommended in appropriate circumstances), issued with a fine or a summons to attend court.
Inspector Martin Best from North Wales Police Roads Policing Unit said:  “Speeding is an issue that concerns many residents and one that we take extremely seriously.
“We are committed to making our roads a safer place for all who use them and we will continue to crack down on those irresponsible drivers who choose to ignore speed limits and drive irresponsibly, not only risking their own lives but the lives of others.
“North Wales Police has a robust strategy around enforcing the ‘Fatal 5’ offences which are speeding, failing to wear a seat belt, drink and drug driving, dangerous and careless driving including unnecessary risk taking and using a mobile phone while driving.

“The risk of being seriously injured or killed rises dramatically if a decision is taken to commit a ‘Fatal 5’ offence and I want people to be aware of the devastating affect it can have and make a conscious decision not to take any chances.”
Further information regarding TISPOL can be accessed via their website
For advice on road safety please visit our 'Advice and Support' section 
To keep up to date with this week’s campaign follow @NWPolice on Twitter or use the hash tags #fatal5 #noexcuses

Save Plas Madoc group goes online

The volunteer-run group set up to save Plas Madoc Leisure Centre now has its own website up and running.

The Splash Community Trust’s site is now live thanks to the expertise of Wrexham-based Hashtag Marketing and its managing director Jason Davies.

“The website is still a work in progress and will be updated weekly, but crucially we have a ‘donate’ button where supporters can chip in to help our cause,” said trust director Greg Ogden, who lives in Trevor.

“The money is collected through PayPal, which has very low handling charges and means nearly every penny donated make it to the trust, moving us that little bit closer to reopening Plas Madoc.

“There’s also information upcoming fundraisers and contact details for those who want to ask questions or volunteer to help.

“We’d like to say a huge thank you to Jason and his team for setting the website up, and we look forward to working with them as the site develops. They share our vision for Plas Madoc and we’re all looking forward to exciting times ahead.”

Clwyd South AM Ken Skates, another founder member of the trust, added: “We are now looking to make the site bilingual as soon as possible, and the wheels are already in motion. The hard work continues. We won’t give up.”

Have your say about cycling event road closures

Two drop-in sessions are being planned for people to come and have their say about a major closed road cycling event coming to Wrexham and Denbighshire in September. 

Wiggle Etape Cymru 2014 is arranged by Human Race and fully supported by Wrexham County Borough Council and Denbighshire County Council. 

The  route starts and finishes at Bangor on Dee Racecourse and passes through communities in Wrexham County Borough before it enters into Denbighshire through the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Beauty.

The route takes in several well-known climbs including the legendary Horseshoe Pass which incorporates a timed King of the Mountains challenge. 

 The drop-in sessions will be held at:

Neuadd Eleanor, Llanfair Dyffryn Clwyd, Denbighshire  - Tuesday, 2 September between 6pm and 8pm.

Wrexham County Borough Council's Market Office - Office 7, The People's Indoor Market, Wrexham - Thursday, 4 September between 6pm and 8pm.

Representatives of Human Race and both councils will be present to deal with individual enquiries about the route and any emerging issues.

For further information about the Wiggle Etape Cymru event, please visit:

Unknown Warrior loco heads for Dorset

* The Unknown Warrior in the shed at Llangollen Railway being repainted for display in Dorset.
THE locomotive being built in Llangollen to commemorate the centenary of the First World War is to make a guest appearance at this year’s Great Dorset Steam Fair.

Named The Unknown Warrior, the Patriot Class engine is being constructed in the specialist workshops at Llangollen Railway as part of a £1.5 million project and should be ready in time to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the war in 2018.

But, still incomplete, it will be taken down to Dorset to take pride of place in a World War One commemorative event at the show to be staged at Tarrant Hinton, Blandford Forum from August 27-31.
After the First World War, three railway companies named locomotives to honour their employees who had fought and died during the conflict. These were Valour, Remembrance and Patriot. 
The L & N W R memorial engine was a Claughton class locomotive was named Patriot. This name was later transferred to the new 4-6-0 locomotive number 5500, which became the new Patriot memorial engine for the LMS and after which the class took its name.

The Unknown Warrior is being built to keep up the tradition of war memorial engines and serve as a permanent memorial to all those who fought and died in the First World War and all subsequent wars.
The LMS-Patriot Project has received the endorsement of The Royal British Legion and the loco will proudly carry a Legion crest above its nameplate.
The LMS-Patriot Project is looking to raise £1.5 million pounds to build  The Unknown Warrior and extensive fundraising is continuing.
Llangollen Railway spokesman George Jones said: “The Unknown Warrior is due to leave for Dorset by low loader next Friday.
“The loco now sits on its three main axles and six driving wheels.
“On its return from Dorset LR will fit the middle and outside cylinders, which means taking off the wheels!”