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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

llanblogger takes a break

llanblogger is taking a short break and will be back in just over a week's time.

So see you then ...

Town councillor's General Election tip

Town councillor Phil Thane has asked llanblogger to publish the following piece related to the General Election:

Amid all the media frenzy and political point scoring it's often hard to find out who your election candidates really are. You may have a handful of glossy leaflets pushed through your letter box, but they are designed to push the party line not tell you anything about the person.

You may have watched the TV debates and come away wondering what it was all about when only the people in their constituencies can vote for them and no matter how much you like Nicola Sturgeon she isn't standing in Clwyd South. So where do you get a simple guide to who you can vote for?

The answer could be the Democracy Club website. The Democracy Club describes itself as,

'...a group of volunteers that aims to increase the quantity, quality and accessibility of information on election candidates, politicians and democratic processes...'

One of their ideas for improving the quality of information is to ask each candidate to post a simple CV. After all they are applying for a job and we are the interview panel. A CV is the minimum requirement for most job applications and follows a well know format. No spin, no party line, just the facts about who this person is and what they've done with their lives until now.

Clwyd South Candidates

You can see all the CVs submitted by our candidates here: http://bit.ly/1EsNU7y

Unless there's been a sudden rush, there's just one. When we first checked there were none at all so we clicked the button that sends a polite request to all the candidates in the constituency. Only one replied and only one uploaded his CV. You'll have to check to find out who it was, and maybe while you're there you could try reminding the others.

National Statistics

I spoke to Francis Irving one of the Democracy Club organiswers to see how Clwyd South compares with the national (UK) figures. So far only about 12% of candidates have uploaded a CV, so Clwyd South with one out of six is ahead of the curve. The breakdown by party is:

Liberal Democrats 115
Green Party 109
Labour Party 61
UK Independence Party (UKIP) 52
Conservative Party 38
Plaid Cymru 1

For more about Democracy Club go to www.democracyclub.org.uk

Monday, April 27, 2015

Nominations sought for county sports awards

NOMINATIONS are open for Denbighshire County Council's 2015 community sport awards.

Over the last three years since the awards were established the council has recognised over 30 individuals, teams, schools and clubs for their dedication to local community grass root sport in the county.    

There are also elite level athletes representing Wales and Team GB in their chosen sport from Denbighshire, which we have and will continue to recognise their achievements and success.

All of Denbighshire’s community sport award finalists will be forwarded to the newly formed Sport Wales and BBC Wales sport personality awards held nationally in Cardiff, where Denbighshire will be looking to add to the success of six finalists and five national winners over the past three years.
   
Nominees must live in the county or be affiliated to a Denbighshire club relevant to their nomination and achieved their success in the last 12 months up to the application closing date which is Friday July 24 2015.
   
This year's categories include Sports Performer, Junior Sports Performer, Coach of the Year, Team of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Disability Sport Award, Young Inspiration Award, Lifetime Achievement Award, and the ‘Sport in School award’.

An individual or team will also be chosen from all the previous category winners for their outstanding achievements/contributions to sport and will represent Denbighshire for the next year as Community Sport Ambassador 2015.
   
Jamie Groves, Head of Communications, Marketing and Leisure said: ”The Denbighshire Community Sport Awards have helped recognise and share some amazing stories of achievements by individuals and teams from Denbighshire over the last couple of years.
   
"Each year there are new nominations from various sport clubs and schools throughout the county, and last year the panel had a hard job picking just three finalists for each category from over 220 separate nominations.

"This proves to us that the quality of sport is very high, there are plenty of opportunities for people to return to playing sport or to try a new sport as a beginner too. This is all down to the unselfish army of volunteers within our community clubs, so lets recognise this and celebrate community sport in Denbighshire again this year.”
   
Denbighshire Leisure Services are also looking for suitable organisations that would like to link to their brand to the community sport awards as a category sponsor and a ‘sponsorship package’ can be sent for more information.

* For more information on the awards and details on how to nominate or sponsor this year's event please contact Matt Hilliker on 07798742290 or matthew.hilliker@denbighshire.gov.uk

Successful theatre tour returns To Llangollen

* Winona - the cast.

Earlier  this year, the Llangollen Twenty Club pledged to support the first ever tour of a new work by young Welsh playwright, Christoper T. Harris called Winona, presented by Abandoned Theatre Co.

The play was directed by long-time club member Natalie Evans and featured fellow members Ally Goodman and Andy Evans in the cast, along with Jack Shimmin as technical officer and Barry Evans on set design and props.

The tour was a success with acclaimed performances taking place in Liverpool, Aberystwyth and Cardiff, and the debut show drawing high praise from several critics in attendance.

One example was: "...a claustrophobic tale of almost Pinteresque proportions ... Sir Harold would surely have approved ... it's compelling stuff" – British Theatre Guide.

And another was: "... one twist followed by another ... enthralling to watch" - Merseysider Magazine

As a thank you to the Twenty Club for pledging its support, Winona will now be performed in Llangollen tomorrow, Tuesday April 28, at a special event at the Town Hall.

There will be no charge for tickets at this performance. Instead, Abandoned Theatre Co will accept
any donations from audience members on the night, with proceeds going towards covering the cost of the venue hire and future tours featuring members of the club.

Abandoned Theatre Co presents...

Winona

Llangollen Town Hall
Tuesday April 28
Doors 7pm/curtain pp 7:30pm
FREE ENTRY - Donations welcome


* The production is not suitable for children under 15 and contains strong language and adult themes.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Eisteddfod visitor Bill will return as volunteer


* Bill Kong with his family.
A wine expert from Hong Kong who fell in love with the Llangollen International Eisteddfod is flying 6,000 miles to work as a volunteer at the festival.
 
Bill Kong, 54, was mesmerised by the intoxicating magic of the Eisteddfod on his first visit as an audience member two years ago when he fulfilled a long-standing ambition to experience it for himself.
 
He was so taken with the festival's captivating atmosphere both then and in 2014 that he’s aiming to travel back to Llangollen this July to join the small army of dedicated volunteers who make the iconic cultural event such a big hit each year.
 
Bill’s links with Britain go back over 40 years to when he attended a prep school near Bewdley in Worcestershire then a public school near Uttoxeter in Staffordshire.     
 
Later he went on to Manchester College, Oxford to study for a degree in social administration before returning to Hong Kong in 1984.
 
Bill joined the Hong Kong Welsh Male Voice Choir for there a couple of years later after being introduced to it by a friend.
 
He recalled: “My fellow choir members used to ask what my Welsh link was and I’d tell them that it was my old prep school in Worcestershire which was quite near the Welsh border.
 
“I performed with the choir in the London Welsh Festival of Male Voice Choirs at the Royal Albert Hall in 2004 at the invitation of the London Welsh and sang with in the chorus of the Hong Kong Art Festival’s production of Tosca in in 1999, which is where I met my wife Selena.”   
 
When he’s not drinking in the joys of music Bill works, amongst other things, as a consultant in the wine business in Hong Kong and during the past 10 years has been a wine importer, educator, consultant to importers and wine judge.
 
He is also a senior training consultant for a large Hong Kong-based company specialising in risk and crisis management.
 
Bill’s 39-year-old wife, Selena Hoi Yi Fung Kong, is also passionate about music and has worked as a music educator at a school in Hong Kong for the past 17 years.
 
They have a nine-year-old son, Daniel, who is due to attend prep school in England from April.
 
Bill said: “I first came with my wife and son to Llangollen Eisteddfod back in 2013.
 
“We were very much looking forward to the visit because of my own 20 years plus with the Welsh choir and my wife’s work in music.
 
“We share our love of Welsh music and culture and have long been fascinated with such a mystical name as the International Eisteddfod. So we just had to come and discover for it for ourselves.
 
“We did not realise then how well we would be welcomed and that we would make so many friends that we would want to return year after year.
 
"Everything has been a real blessing, especially the community of new-found friends that we’ve met at Llangollen every year since.
 
“Although we have now been at the Eisteddfod for the past two years I haven’t so far done any work as a volunteer but when we come over again this summer I’m hoping to be able to contribute.
 
“Perhaps that might be by serving in hospitality, meeting performers from Hong Kong or China. I have some experience in that area after developing tailor-made workplace English courses for corporate companies in the hospitality industry back home.
 
“I could also maybe help out with the staging of the Eisteddfod as I worked as a stage hand when the Phantom of the Opera came to perform in Hong Kong in 1995.
 
“For the 160 shows I worked at `stage left prop’ and the amazing thing was that Peter Carey was Phantom on that occasion, interestingly a Welshman amongst a North American cast.”
 
Bill added: “I’d just love to be amongst the public and performers at the 2015 Eisteddfod in any capacity.
 
“One day I would also like to see my beloved Hong Kong Welsh Male Voice Choir compete at Llangollen. Last year we made great friends with the Hong Kong Police Choir and became their supporter at the Eisteddfod.  
 
“I have been mesmerised by the magic of Llangollen and what I love about coming is the total experience of the whole week.
 
“That means the music, the performers as well as the visitors and above all the hard work and dedication of all the volunteers throughout the year who make the Eisteddfod the incredible event that it has become.
 
“The young and the more seasoned have all played their part in the history of something so unique and special by participating in the legacy of the festival for over half a century. 
 
“This is what Llangollen Eisteddfod means to me and why I'm looking forward to coming for this my third year and participating even more than in previous years.”
 
Sandra Roberts, who chairs the Hospitality Committee for the Eisteddfod, said: “Bill sounds like a very interesting man who has the perfect skills for our hospitality team whose job it is to welcome competitors and visitors to the festival from across the world.
 
“His linguistic skills would obviously make him particularly useful when it comes to meeting and greeting people from China and Hong Kong and I think he would be a very valuable addition to our team of volunteers.” 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Bethan's project brings older people's memories to life


* Bethan Mascarenhas is leading a memories project in Llangollen next month.



A YOUNG storyteller from Llangollen is masterminding a special project to bring alive the memories of older people.

Bethan Mascarenhas has received funding from Age Cymru to run an inter-generational arts project at the Abbey Dingle care home in the town during May as part of a wider older people’s arts project called the Gwanwyn Festival. 

And she is looking for children aged seven to 17 to take part.
The project, based on the theme ‘I wish I knew then …’ aims to connect children and the older generation through storytelling and performance within the community.
It will be based on a series of workshops the first of which takes place on Saturday May 9, from 2-4pm, when young people will have the chance to learn journalistic skills which will enable them to gather stories from people living at the home.
At the second workshop, the following Saturday May 16 again from 2-4pm, the children will be shown how to develop their stories into a performance, which will take place a week later on Saturday May 23, from 2-4pm.
Bethan said: “The older generation with their long life experiences have tons of stories and knowledge to share with the younger generation.
“At Abbey Dingle children from the local community will be collecting and gathering stories from people living there to make an exciting performance called ‘I wish I knew then …’ and use it as a way to celebrate life and the stories that come along with it.
“The performance is open to the local community and we will be serving food and drink.
“We’d like to invite everyone to come along and share a unique experience as old and young come together to create something wonderful.”
She added: “Having children visiting the home is always an uplifting experience for the people who live here, they bring so much fun and energy which creates a wonderful atmosphere for everyone.
“I’m excited to see what work we can create and for the community.”
* Young people interested in taking part are asked to contact Bethan by emailing her at bethan_maud@hotmail.co.uk 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Tourism Minister backs Llan food festival

 
* Welsh and proud, Welsh Government Tourism Minister Ken Skates, left, and Hamper Llangollen Chairman Colin Loughlin show off some of the finest local produce.

 
A flourishing food festival is offering to showcase the products of new food and drink producers – and the appeal is being backed by the Welsh tourism minister.
 
Hamper Llangollen boasts an enviable track record as one of  the UK's most popular food events and one that has been a successful platform for innovative new food and drink from North Wales.
 
The two-day October festival has helped launch successful products like the Aberffraw biscuit, Blodyn Aur extra virgin rapeseed oil and the Dangerous Food Company’s chilli jam.
 
It is expected that this year’s 19th annual event will again attract thousands visitors to browse over 120 stalls at Llangollen’s Royal International Pavilion.
 
That’s music to the ears of Ken Skates, the Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport, in whose Clwyd South constituency the event takes place on Saturday and Sunday, October 17 and 18.
 
He said: “Hamper Llangollen is an incredible success and a great annual occasion for the Dee Valley.
 
“I’m particularly pleased that there’s a focus on encouraging new exhibitors and giving prominence to the many outstanding food and drink producers in North Wales for whom it is a fantastic opportunity to showcase their unique and delicious products.
 
“Food tourism is proving to be big business and we are delighted to welcome thousands of visitors each year, many of them from England, to see some of the fantastic landscape and heritage we have and enjoy the best of food and drink.
 
“The Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty was recently extended through the Dee Valley and visitors are able to enjoy the phenomenal hills, mountains, rivers and valleys where this wonderful food is produced.”
 
Over the years the festival has introduced the public to a range of different and innovative foods as well as boasting household names like Patchwork Pate and Halen Mon Anglesey Sea Salt among its exhibitors.
 
It has also been named one of the UK’s Top Ten food festivals by national newspaper The Independent and each year it generates over £400,000 for the local economy.
 
Hamper Llangollen chairman Colin Loughlin said: “We are very keen to hear from new producers as we have been very successful in helping launch some amazing products.
 
“We have special rates for new products and even a special section of the festival especially for them where we can give them prominence.
 
“They are the lifeblood of events like this and we appreciate the importance of making sure the event is always fresh and has something new to taste.
 
“Last year we had South African dunking biscuits and they were very successful and I’m pleased to say that they’re back again this year.
 
“We want to promote the fact that the facilities are here for producers so that they can show off their new products to an appreciative public and we are also careful to make sure that we don’t have more than two of any one kind of producer.”
 
The one area he would like to see better represented is vegetables: “Perhaps it’s the time of year but I would really like to see more of them on show in all sorts of forms and we’d love to hear from growers and indeed any new producers.”
 
For more information on Hamper Llangollen go to http://www.llangollenfoodfestival.com/