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Sunday, November 23, 2014

MP back Small Business Saturday

* Outside Marchwiel Store: Ruth Davies, Megan Lewis, Peter
Lewis and Susan Elan Jones MP
Susan Elan Jones MP is urging constituents to give special support to village and small town shops on Small Business Saturday which this year will be held on December 6.

The Clwyd South member made her comments after a recent visit to Marchwiel Store, a shop which this year has undergone a major refurbishment.

Ms Jones said: "It was great to meet up with store-keepers Megan and Peter Lewis who have traded here for 30 years and their store manageress Ruth Davies. This store provides the village of Marchwiel with a fantastic one-stop shop for everything from newspapers and hot snacks to fresh bread and Lottery purchases.

"Small businesses are vital in all of our villages and towns. Right across the Clwyd South constituency, from the energetic Cefn Traders' organisation that has done so much to regenerate the main street in Cefn Mawr to the Cittaslow movement in Llangollen and dynamic individual shops like Marchwiel Stores, we are seeing many people doing all they can to promote small businesses.
"But for the future of these businesses to be guaranteed in our villages and small towns, it's crucial we give them our custom. I hope residents will support local shops on Small Business Saturday and throughout the rest of the year." 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Latest picture of Chain Bridge work

George Jones of Llangollen Railway has sent in his latest picture of the scaffolding around the Chain Bridge.

Taken last Saturday, it shows work proceeding on the northern bank of the River Dee as part of the major restoration of the historic bridge.

Steam film to be screened at RAFA Club

Denbigh Film Club has asked llanblogger to display the poster below about one of its forthcoming events, which will be held in Llangollen.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Art and craft fair at Town Hall tomorrow

An art and craft fair will be held in Llangollen Town Hall tomorrow, Saturday, November 22, from 10am-4pm.

One of the organisers said: "There will be lots of wonderful crafts from a group of local people. "

AM calls for help with railway extension

North Wales Assembly Member Mark Isherwood has called on the Transport Minister for Wales to support Phase 2 of the new extension of Llangollen Railway.
Last month the first passenger train ran into Dwyrain, Corwen East,  completing Phase 1 of the Corwen Extension Project. Funding is now required for Phase 2.
Raising the matter in the Assembly Chamber this week, Mr Isherwood said: “High passenger demand has been welcomed on the Llangollen Railway. In its first 10-day season 4,000 passengers travelled on the new extension to Corwen.
“Of course, Welsh Government grant aid was provided for that. Originally, the Welsh Government looked at this on the basis of wider regeneration potential for Corwen as well as Llangollen and the wider area. Now, Phase 2 has to be funded because the original grant funding could not be provided in full.
“What consideration can you and your colleagues give to supporting Phase 2 for the delivery of a station in Corwen and the wider infrastructure to go with it?”
The Minister, Edwina Hart AM,  Edwina Hart, said she could not provide “an absolutely positive answer on this issue” because “there are budgetary considerations for all of this.”
She added: “I can assure you that if the funds become available and we see successful operations we will be able to give further consideration to make them even more successful.”
Mr Isherwood added: I am hugely impressed by the achievement of Llangollen Railway and its volunteers on the track extension to  Corwen. They now deserve support for stage two and the region deserves the wider regeneration which this could bring.”

* Watch the question on Senedd TV:

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Joanna gets the chance to speak in Parliament

* Joanna Stallard, front row right, in Parliament with the rest of the group involved in the Westminster Debate. 

A Llangollen sixth former who may be heading for Cambridge has just been on a memorable visit to Westminster.

Joanna Stallard, 18, daughter of the vicar of the town’s parish church of St Collen’s, journeyed to London to take part in the UK Youth Parliament’s Westminster Youth Debate, organised by the British Youth Council, after winning the privilege of being able to give the commemorative WW1 speech at the dispatch box in Parliament.

Joanna, a pupil at Ysgol Dinas Bran in Llangollen, stood up on live TV to give a talk, in English and Welsh, about the soldier and poet Elis Humphrey Evans, known as Hedd Wyn.

She also had the chance to meet former Foreign Secretary William Hague and House of Commons Speaker John Bercow, even managing to get a selfie picture with him (pictured below left).

No stranger to public performance, Joanna has appeared a number of times in amateur productions in her home town.

She is also a budding politician and is currently receiving university offers, including Cambridge where she has an interview next month.

Joanne became involved in political events when she was 15 by joining the Denbighshire Youth Council and the former Welsh Youth Parliament (Funky Dragon).

Speaking of her big day in London, she said:  I had the honour of being one of 24 young people in Wales to attend the UK Youth Parliament's annual Westminster Debate organised by Mr Speaker John Bercow in conjunction with the British Youth Council.

“Along with four other young people from North Wales, I went down on the train to London where we met the group from the south for a meal and catch-up - all expenses paid by the BYC -  before getting a good night's sleep in a central hotel, ready for an early start the following morning.

“After a hearty breakfast we set off promptly to register in Parliament at 9am. There some of our group had the chance to grab a second breakfast, however myself and Avery - who had the prestigious role of being our lead speaker in the Living Wage debate - were quickly swept away to a formal reception with the Rt Hon William Hague MP, Richard Benyon MP and the Rt Hon John Bercow MP.

“There we had a photo opportunity and were able to engage briefly in conversation with these notable figures.

“We then made our way to the chamber, I  felt daunted but equally inspired after that unexpected exchange.

“Luckily, the commemorative speech was first on the agenda, after the parliamentary welcome, so I didn't have enough time to allow fear to completely consume me.

“As John Bercow called out each name I could feel myself shaking as nerves began to build up, I was very aware of what an honour it was to be sat in the hallowed chamber at all, let alone on the front bench meters away from the dispatch box, where so many of my heroes had stood to make iconic speeches previously.”

Joanna added: “This was a once in a lifetime opportunity and a privilege, I knew I could not let myself or my family down. This determination took over as I heard my name called and I made my way over to the dispatch box where I would deliver my message.

“As I arrived there, I felt all of my worries disintegrate, my dream was becoming a reality, I was in awe and loved every second of it. Across from me I could see William Hague, former Secretary of State for Wales, nodding with encouragement as I relayed a story he was clearly familiar with, the story of  a soldier, Elis Humphrey Evans aka Hedd Wyn.

“I tried to incorporate a few sentences in Welsh, as it was important  – it being my mother tongue - to have it incorporated in the Welsh contribution.

“The positive response my story received left me feeling elated and inspired. It confirmed my prior beliefs that politics might be a career I'd like to pursue in the future. I wanted to do it again, to say more, but of course, the time people had to speak was limited, I had been lucky to be among the few who did have the chance to speak and I knew the majority of those who'd wanted to speak had not been fortunate enough, so I was grateful that I had been able to do so thanks to the Welsh competition.

“It is thanks to my school council and the former Welsh Youth Parliament (Funky Dragon) that I was able to get involved in this event.

“I am sad that the funding for the Funky Dragon has been cut and I hope this decision may be overturned. I cannot thank those who helped me enough for having catalysed what I hope will be a successful career in politics in the future.”

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

PCC welcomes crime recording success

North Wales Police is one of the top five forces for recording crime figures accurately, it's been revealed.
A new report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary showed that 94 per cent of crimes in the region were recorded properly.
The news was welcomed by North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Winston Roddick CB QC (pictured left).
But the Commissioner stressed there was "no room for complacency" and pledged to push for further improvements.
Mr Roddick said: "The integrity of crime figures is vitally important for a whole host of reasons, not least to provide reassurance to the public in general and victims in particular that the police are doing their job properly.
"Recording crimes reliably is important as it not only enables me to set policing strategy for North Wales, it also gives people confidence in the policing service they receive.
"The report shows that North Wales Police is among the best five forces in England and Wales in relation to the accurate recording of crime statistics.
"HMIC found that out of 78 cases where a crime should have been recorded that 73 were recorded by the Force and this is the fifth best compliance rate in this part of the report which means the force has a compliance rate of 94 per cent.
"Whilst, overall, the figures for North Wales Police are positive  there is certainly no room for complacency and there is always room for improvement.
"I take my responsibilities in this regard very seriously and scrutiny arrangements have been put in place in relation to the way North Wales Police records crime.
"The scrutiny process has included ensuring the force has the right leadership in place to ensure that crimes are recorded properly.
"Quite deliberately, my Police and Crime Plan for North Wales does not include specific targets other than the overall reduction of crime.
"Specific targets can lead to a target culture which puts pressure on police to keep their crime figures down."
Deputy Chief Constable Gareth Pritchard said: “I welcome sight of the full report although HMIC provided North Wales Police with its interim findings earlier this year in May.  
"The full report endorses the interim account and confirms we have a very high compliance rate in how we record crime, i.e. 94 per cent which I understand is the fifth highest in England and Wales and very encouraging.”
“Following the interim report we have an action plan and Governance Group chaired by a Chief Superintendent on which I also sit and our focus is to improve our crime recording processes further still.”
“Since May we have strengthened our procedures by reviewing and reducing the number of decision makers and so a small cadre of experienced and highly trained staff in the field of Home Office Crime Recording rules can now focus on achieving uniformity and accuracy across the force.”
“However, we won’t rest on our laurels and will look to see from the reports overall conclusions lessons learned and best practice to tighten further our crime recording procedures.   It is important the public of north Wales have full confidence in the way we record, as well as investigate crime, and I am reassured that HMIC concur.”