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Monday, November 30, 2015

Llan Calender Girls become magazine cover girls


* The magazine's front cover featuring the Calendar Girls.

LLANGOLLEN’S Calendar Girls have become cover girls after being featured in a magazine spread.

The December edition of Border Life includes an article on the Valley Girls WI who have produced a 2016 calendar copies of which they are selling to raise £1,000 to be divided between Nightingale House and Hope House hospices.
The story is also showcased on the magazine’s front cover.

Instead of posing nude like their counterparts in Yorkshire a few years ago, members of the area’s newest branch of the Women’s Institute donned a range of colourful period costumes to appear alongside some famous local landmarks in their calendar.
Llangollen-based professional photographer Kim Price Evans, who took the dozen atmospheric images for the calendar, revealed that although her fellow members kept fully clothed for her shoots, the project did stem from a saucy burlesque workshop she and friend Julie Thomas, who are both accomplished dancers, did for the Valley Girls earlier this year.
 
* The article inside the magazine.
She said: “We went along to a meeting to do the workshop and the idea of doing a calendar came from that.

“We wanted to create something a bit different, so we decided on a calendar showing famous spots in Llangollen including the heritage railway, the Motor Museum, the Chain Bridge, Plas Newydd, Valle Crucis Abbey, the canal and wharf and the International Pavilion.
“We had members posing in each scene and we reckon we have them wearing costumes depicting most of the decades of the 20th century, which is appropriate as the WI is celebrating its centenary this year.

“The whole thing began in the spring and has taken quite a few months to complete but it was a lot of fun to do.”         
Valley Girls WI was founded in 2013 by a small group of local thirty-somethings who shared a passion for baking, crafting and socialising.

Its president, Gail Ellson, said: “We have a target of raising at least £1,000 from sales of the calendar which will be split equally between our two local hospices.
“But, apart from supporting these great charities, we also want the calendar to be used as a tool to help market Llangollen.

“We’d like to see businesses buying a stock to distribute to their customers and people using them as Christmas or birthday presents for their friends and family.”
* Copies of the calendar are available at various outlets in town, via Valley Girls’ website at www.valleygirlswi.co.uk, or by emailing: valleygirlswi@outlook.com  

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Skates backs Welsh football petition

An Assembly Member has backed a campaign started by one of his constituents to give Welsh football ‘the recognition it deserves’.

Asa Bailey, from Corwen, has launched an online petition to get Welsh Premier League teams featured in the next instalment of the popular FIFA computer game series.

Clwyd South AM Ken Skates, who is also the Welsh Government’s sports minister, was made aware of the bid this week and quickly threw his support behind it.

“It’s great that Asa has started this petition and I signed it gladly,” said Mr Skates (pictured).

“While the Welsh Premier League can’t boast the riches of the English Premier League or Spain’s La Liga, our teams compete in Europe every season and this year TNS, Bala and Newtown all won games and progressed beyond the first round.

“Our national team has entered a golden era, qualifying for next summer’s European Championships and reaching an all-time high in the world rankings, and we also have one of the best players on the planet in Gareth Bale. It’s definitely time for the game’s makers to give us the recognition we deserve.”

Mr Skates said he would be happy to send a letter of support for Asa’s campaign to the game’s makers EA Sports. To sign the petition, visit putwalesinthegame.com.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Rain fails to dampen festival's seasonal spirit


* Sion Corn arrives in town aboard a float.

HEAVY rain which fell throughout today (Saturday) failed to dampen the seasonal spirit of Llangollen’s annual Christmas Festival.
Hundreds of people joined in the festive fun as they watched events ranging across Castle Street, Oak Street and in the Town Hall.
The day began with the traditional parade which heralded the arrival of Sion Corn, the Welsh Santa, and included vintage cars, a magnificently bedecked heavy horse, a helicopter for the children’s rides and a fire engine from the local station.
Entertainment was provided by performers including a saxophone player, Llangollen Silver Band and Llangollen Male Voice Choir.
There were seasonal stalls along Oak Street while a Christmas fair was staged in the Town Hall.
Scores of youngsters lined up for the chance for a pre-Christmas meeting with Sion Corn in his grotto, which was also in the Town Hall along with children’s games.    
The switching on of the town’s more extensive Christmas lights was the prelude to a firework display which ended the day with a bang.
Proceeds from the event will once again be donated to Air Ambulance Wales. 
 

* Town crier, "Chem", leads the parade
over the bridge.



* Hoop, hoop hurray!


* A vintage car motors in.


* A magnificent heavy horse hauls a cart into town.

 
* Waves for the crowd from a princess. 


* People in Castle Street watch the parade go by.


* A seasonal stall in Oak Street.


* Mulled wine was amongst the festival fare on sale.


* A saxophone player entertains on the library steps.


* Llan Silver Band plays a seasonal selection.


* Santa's little helpers assist with his grotto in the Town Hall.
From left, Graham Platt, Carys Stallard and Phil Meyers. 


* People select a seasonal bargain at the Christmas fair inside the Town Hall.
 
 
 
* The Mayor of Llangollen, Cllr Mike Adams, hands over a gift to local schoolchildren
Daisy Jones-Neish and Dyfan Hughes who won a competition to switch on the town's Christmas lights.
 
 
* A firework display brought the day to an end.

Warning over telephone scam

Trading Standards officers in Denbighshire are warning residents to be on their guard against scam phone calls purporting to be from Denbighshire or Flintshire council.

The warning comes after reports were received that residents are being telephoned by people claiming to be from the council and are wanting to discuss a road traffic accident.
 
Councillor David Smith, Cabinet Lead Member for Public Protection, said: “We have been advised that there have been a number of reports nationally involving this kind of scam.
 
"Denbighshire council would never make unsolicited phone calls of this nature and we want to reassure people about this.
 
"Our advice is to put the phone down on these scammers and then report the call.
 
"If people think they've been scammed, or know someone who has fallen victim to a scam, they can get advice and report it to trading standards through the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06, for the Welsh language service call 03454 04 05 05, or alternatively report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040, to help stop it happening to others."
 

Friday, November 27, 2015

Christmas drink drive campaign launched today

Today marks the official launch of the 2015 Think Safe, Drink Safe Christmas Campaign for North Wales.

Supported by North Wales Police, local councils and the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, it is aimed at ensuring visitors to towns across the region can enjoy a safe and relaxed night out during the festive season.

It also aims to promote safe and responsible drinking and prevent and reduce levels of alcohol fuelled violent crime and anti-social behaviour across North Wales.

During this busy period hospital A&E departments as well as police and ambulance personnel often have to deal with an additional number of alcohol related incidents that put extra pressure on already over-stretched services.

There will be a drive to encourage people to download and use the Public Health Wales free app ONE DRINK ONE CLICK http://appstore.com/onedrinkoneclick to inform the public how much they are drinking.

Superintendent Jane Banham of North Wales Police said: “We want people to enjoy the festive season, but we know from experience that at this time of year some people will come to harm due to alcohol excess and it is the emergency services and local councils who are left picking up the pieces.

“The aim of this campaign is to ensure that those who consume and sell alcohol take responsibility for their actions.

“We make a significant contribution to keeping our town centres safe so people can enjoy a good night out, but we must get the message across that people need to take greater responsibility for themselves and their friends to reduce the likelihood of them being injured, becoming a victim of crime, or being involved in violence through excessive drinking.

“North Wales Police, working with our partners, will ensure that pubs, clubs, shops and drinkers are complying with the law. Those who don’t will be dealt with robustly.

“The message is simple – think safe, drink safe.”

Cllr Hugh Jones, lead Member for Place – Communities & Partnership at Wrexham County Borough Council said: “We know that Christmas and the New Year is an extremely busy time. We want visitors to towns and villages across North Wales to enjoy themselves but we frequently find that people drink too much during the festive season. Our aim is to encourage people to have a good time, but to drink responsibly.

“Excessive drinking can affect behaviour and lead to serious consequences. Anti-social behaviour and violence will not be tolerated and anyone behaving irresponsibly will be dealt with appropriately and quickly ensuring that North Wales is a safe place to come and enjoy a night out.”

Jayne Gregory, Emergency Department Matron at the Wrexham Maelor Hospital said: “Over the festive period we know we will see a significant number of people who are either suffering from the effects of excess alcohol, or who have been injured as a result of accidents where alcohol has played a part.  However, these people do not often need the treatment offered by a major hospital emergency department.

“Putting in place support so that people can be checked out and cared for ‘on the spot’ means they can get the right level of care more quickly, helps reduce disruption in the Emergency Department and means my colleagues can concentrate on looking after those people with serious illness or injury who need urgent, possibly life-saving, care.”

Folk rock band plays with orchestra at Pavilion



A FOLK-ROCK band will play alongside an orchestra at Llangollen Pavilion tomorrow (Saturday) night.

The band, named The Innocent, will perform with the North East Wales Sinfonia as part of a new cross-genre music concept funded by the Welsh Arts Council.   

A member of the band, Adam Howes, said: “In a nutshell, the idea is that artists of different genres will be collaborating to create innovative new projects with the aim of getting different musical communities from across North Wales performing together.

“On Saturday night my band will be accompanied by the North East Wales Sinfonia, having collaborated with them to orchestrate a number of our tracks.

“A Welsh composer has also written a new piece for the Sinfonia to perform on the night.

“Hopefully, it should be a great night and something a bit different.”

* The night starts at 7.30pm and tickets cost just £5 (£3 concessions).

 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Health bosses explain pharmacy decison process


* The new Llangollen Health Centre where a pharmacy will eventually be based.

HEALTH officials are still in the process of deciding on an application to move the existing pharmacy in Regent Street to Llangollen’s new health centre.

A number of people have been asking why a pharmacy has not yet opened in the £5 million new facility in Mill Street on the site of the old River Lodge.
Llanblogger asked for a statement from the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, which runs the health centre, and has received the following reply:

“Following the confirmation that the new primary care centre in Llangollen would be built, the health board received three applications to open a new pharmacy on the site, in addition to the existing pharmacy in the town. 
“The board considered the applications for an additional pharmacy and concluded that this was not necessary to ensure that an adequate pharmaceutical service was available to the local population. 

“As provided for in the national regulations which govern the application and decision making procedures, this decision was subject to appeal by the applicants and was referred to Welsh Government.
“Welsh Government dismissed the appeals and an application to relocate the existing pharmacy from Regent Street to the new primary care centre has now been received.

“The board is in the process of consulting prior to making a decision on this application as is required by the regulations.
“Comments on the application will be received up until December 4th 2015, after which a decision will be made.”

Travel back in time on Llan Railway

Llangollen Railway's Winter Warmer gala weekend will be held over two days January 2nd and 3rd and will see a mixture of steam and diesel hauled passenger and goods trains.

During the weekend, a journey along the 10 mile heritage railway between Llangollen and Corwen will also be a journey back through the decades.

Stations along the line will be transformed to resemble different decades:
 
1930s at Berwyn: Visit the station in the gorge and experience the golden age of the Great Western Railway. Why not break your journey and walk over the oldest chain link bridge in the world?

1940s at Glyndyfrdwy: Learn about the role of railways during wartime. Don't forget to pick up your ration book!
 
1950s at Carrog (pictured left) : The railway has been nationalised! See how the railway's appearance changed under public ownership and take a ride on the station's miniature railway (weather permitting).


1960s at Corwen East: Modernisation is in the air and Dr Beeching is planning to close the line. See some historic publicity and learn about how we are building our own new railway station. Children will be able to stamp their 'Travel through the Decades' passport at each station.
 
An intensive timetable will be in operation over the weekend, allowing plenty of time to explore the stations along the line.
 
Visitors can experience how rural branch line journeys would have been on-board our steam-powered Great Western Railway 'auto train', or see how post-war commuter travel would have been like in our Suburban carriages. 
 
They can also travel on the demonstration parcels train and look out for newspapers and parcels being loaded and unloaded along the line.
 
* Full details and a downloadable events guide will be made available over the coming weeks from our website: http://www.llangollen-railway.co.uk/event/winter-warmer-2nd-january-2016/

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

No more police cuts a victory for common sense says crime chief

 
* Julian Sandham, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales.
 
The Chancellor’s decision to rule out further cuts to the police budget in his Autumn Statement has been welcomed as a victory for common sense by Julian Sandham, the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales.
 
George Osbourne defied expectations when he told the House of Commons that there would be no further cutbacks in the police budget and promised real terms protection for police funding.
 
A relieved Julian Sandham said: “We welcome the Chancellor’s decision to rule out further cuts to the police budget, especially in the light of recent events in Paris.
 
“This is a victory for common sense because the Chancellor has done the right thing and without this our approach to security wouldn’t have been coherent.
 
“We now need to look at the fine detail of what the Chancellor has said before we receive the grant settlement in December.
 
North Wales is a special case for a number of reasons. We have a major port in Holyhead which handles over two million passengers a year and over 300,000 lorries and the prospect of a new nuclear power station.
 
“Clearly, we still need to consider aspects of the terror attacks in Paris – specifically the need to consider carefully the implications in respect of neighbourhood policing.
 
“The flow of intelligence is important and neighbourhood policing teams gather this intelligence and are best able to do so because they are closer to their communities.”
 
The Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales is about to embark on a series of consultation meetings across the region and Julian Sandham added: “North Wales Police have coped with £24 million in cuts over the past four years and is now a leaner machine in consequence but it isn’t a less effective or less efficient machine.
 
"The force has an excellent track record in fighting crime and is the only force in Wales where crime has been reduced.”
 
"Our focus now moves to a series of meetings where the Commissioner and I will seek the views of local people in communities across north Wales  to inform the priorities to be included in the Police and Crime Plan which will be the blueprint for policing the region.
 
"Their views will also be important and I would encourage people to take part in this process.
 
"For those who are unable to attend any of the meetings, we have an online survey so they can make sure their opinions are heard. People can also request a hard copy survey from the office or phone the office and give us their views."

Welsh Ambulance Service exceeds eight-minute target

Almost 70% of people with life-threatening illnesses and injuries received an emergency response within eight minutes during the first month of a year-long pilot to test changes to the Welsh Ambulance Service, new figures published today show.
 
A third of people (34.7%) received a response within just four minutes, the figures reveal.
 
The figures for October – the first month of the new clinical response model – show the Welsh Ambulance Service has met and exceeded the target that 65% of responses to the most life-threatening emergencies should arrive within eight minutes.

A total of 68.7% red calls were responded to within eight minutes. The average response time to this type of call was five minutes and 44 seconds.

The figures show:
  • * The Welsh Ambulance service received 38,155 emergency calls in October 2015, an average of 1,231 a day;
  • * Of these, 1,877 (5%) were immediately life-threatening – red –  emergency calls. 68.7% (1,267) responses arrived within eight minutes, above the target of 65%;
  • 74% of red calls were responded to in nine minutes; 78.9% within 10 minutes.
Deputy Health Minister Vaughan Gething said: “The figures published today show the new system is working, with nearly 70% of the most immediately life-threatening calls to the Welsh Ambulance Service receiving a response within eight minutes.

“I want to pay tribute to the ambulance service’s hard-working frontline clinicians, volunteer first responders and clinical contact centre staff for their dedication and commitment. Their work embracing the new clinical response model is crucial to delivering better outcomes for patients.

“We know that change can be difficult in the health service – for staff and the public. However, the initial figures from this pilot suggest that the new clinical response model is ensuring that patients are getting the right care, in the right place, at the right time.

“I expect the service to build on these early results; learn lessons and continue to improve to ensure people who need the life-saving skills of ambulance clinicians do so in the quickest time possible and get the best possible outcomes.”

Tracey Myhill, chief executive of the Welsh Ambulance Service said: “We’ve made a really solid start on this ground-breaking new pilot, and today’s figures are testament of that.

“We owe thanks not just to the new model – which means patients are now receiving the right care, at the right time, by the right clinician – but to the staff who have been working harder than ever to deliver timely and high quality care.

“We’re grateful to staff for embracing this new way of working, and to the people of Wales for their patience and understanding while we continue to improve.

“We’re committed to building on these early results and providing an ambulance service that our patients can be proud of.”

Isherwood hits out over housing target

Shadow Housing Minister Mark Isherwood AM has criticised the Welsh Government's affordable housing target for having no connection to the number in housing need.
 
Speaking in this yesterday’s Assembly debate on Affordable Housing, Mr Isherwood (pictured) called on Ministers to end Wales' housing crisis and described the Welsh Government’s affordable housing target as arbitrary.
 
He said: “The October 2014 Homes for All Cymru manifesto starts ‘there is a housing crisis with more than 90,000 households on waiting lists’. This is the same figure that applied five years ago. Figures in England fell by 300,000 during that period.
“In June this year Chartered Institute of Housing Cymru stated ‘Wales needs to build 15,000 homes per year if we’re to stand a chance of ending the housing crisis within a generation. We’re calling on Welsh Government to continue to demonstrate their understanding that housing is critical infrastructure.’
 
“Although this Labour Government has a habit of missing its targets, normally at least they have the merit of being based on real populations, such as numbers of patients or pupils.
 
“However, this affordable homes target is arbitrary and cynical, bearing no relation to the actual numbers in housing need.
 
“We also lack clarity over what Labour includes in its affordable homes target - where previous figures largely comprised social housing units, but the current Welsh Government figures appear to be inflated with other housing types.”
 
He added: “Two 2015 reports completed by NLP Planning for the house-building industry in Wales state that their updated household projections for new dwellings up to 2031 indicate that the current level of housing delivery is only just over half of the identified housing need across Wales.  And September’s Bevan Foundation report, The Shape of Wales to Come, states `that in order to meet anticipated housing need there needs to be 14,200 new homes created each year, including 5,100 non-market homes'.
 
"They add that `less than half the requirement is being met, with the biggest shortfall in social housing'.
 
“We need a whole market solution to the Welsh housing supply crisis in social rent, low cost home ownership and open market purchase and we need to be asking Housing Associations how we can better link housing supply to sustainable community regeneration.”

Railway officials meet MP in Parliament

Yesterday in Parliament, Clwyd South MP Susan Elan Jones met with Elizabeth Harland and Gordon Heddon of Llangollen Railway during a meeting of the Heritage Rail Association. 

 Ms Harland said: "
It has been wonderful to have been invited today and we are so grateful to Susan to come along and support us. As the biggest employer in the Valley now and with a flying apprentice scheme, support for what we do is more important now than ever.”

Susan Elan Jones MP said: "Llangollen Railway is a very important enterprise in our area. It is always excellent to meet with representatives of Llangollen Railway and I was delighted that both they and a representative of the New Glyn Valley Tramway Trust of Glyn Ceiriog were able to come along to today's meeting of the Heritage Rail Association in Parliament."



* Susan Elan Jones MP (right) with Elizabeth Harland and Gordon Heddon of Llangollen Railway
 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Police boss urges rethink over cuts

A police boss has made a final plea to the Government to abandon further cuts to policing in North Wales in the wake of the terror attacks in Paris.
 
Julian Sandham, the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales, was speaking ahead of the Comprehensive Spending Review that's being announced tomorrow (Wednesday, December 25) by Chancellor George Osborne.
 
Over the past four years North Wales Police has had to make £24 million in savings to meet Government spending targets.
 
At the same time crime in the area, excluding fraud, has been cut by three per cent.
North Wales Police is the only force in Wales where crime has been reduced - all the rest have experienced increases.
 
But, according to Mr Sandham, (pictured) the terrorist atrocities in Paris changed everything.
 
He said: "The terror attacks in Paris have certainly changed things and I would urge the Government to pause and reflect before imposing any more policing cuts.
 
"It is important to consider the implications for neighbourhood policing which is the first step in any intelligence gathering operation.
 
"The new level of terrorist threat can affect forces similar to North Wales as well.
For example, if you had a major incident in London which required lots and lots of extra policing, as it inevitably would, then the Metropolitan Police could not supply all those police.  The other police forces would have to assist.
 
"So no matter where the major incidents of the Paris kind were to occur, the neighbourhood policing of all the forces of England and Wales would be affected in the sense that the number available within their own forces would be reduced on account of deployment to London.
 
"Also, so far as North Wales is concerned, the Holyhead port is a gateway in and out of Britain and the ease with which you can get flights in and out of Dublin, makes Holyhead a very attractive port from that point of view and coupled with that is the A55 for easy access from North Wales the to the densely populated areas of the north west of England or a train to London of course.
 
"So the need for vigilance around the port and effective scrutiny of the legitimacy of those who are coming in through Holyhead is very much a matter for North Wales Police, very much so.
 
"Anglesey is a very special case in my opinion because it’s about to experience considerable change in its socio-economic pattern from the building of the second Wylfa nuclear power station, from the large scale residential development that’s just been granted.
 
"The influx of the labour force to build Wylfa Newydd will of itself create a policing demand. 
 
"The fact that you’ve got a nuclear power station on your patch also influences the risk factors and will have to be taken into account in the kind of policing pattern you employ within that area.
 
"There is an opportunity now not to implement further significant cuts and I am hoping this is recognised and acted upon."

Council reforms would save £650m says government

Reforms to local government in Wales will deliver net savings of up to £650m over ten years, the Welsh Government has announced.
 
The Draft Local Government (Wales) Bill, published today, sets out how "significant savings" can be made in order to protect frontline services at a time of unprecedented demand.
 
Under the Bill, the current 22 councils will be merged into 8 or 9, cutting overheads, and acting as a catalyst for reforming the way services are delivered to citizens.
 
Under the eight-council option Denbighshire would be merged with Flintshire and Wrexham, while under the option for nine councils the county would be merged with Conwy.

It’s anticipated by the government that the mergers would pay for themselves within two to three years, and the £650m savings figure takes into account all these initial costs. Additional savings could also be achieved by the sale of surplus assets, it is claimed.

Today’s Draft Bill is the start of a formal consultation process on the proposals for local authority mergers announced in June.

Views are sought on the proposed structure, including whether there should be two or three councils serving North Wales. The consultation closes on 15th February 2016.

Public Services Minister, Leighton Andrews said: “Our vision for Local Government is for activist Councils, engaged in delivering modern, accessible, high quality public services with their local communities.

“This Draft Bill sets out a programme of reform to secure the future of Local Government in Wales. We want to see Councils which are vibrant, strong, flexible, open and transparent - Councils with vision, great leadership and passion, working effectively with the public service workforce and their communities to improve services, improve lives and improve places.

“There is a real opportunity here for Local Government to make significant savings for taxpayers and if Councils work together, plan well and involve their staff there is the opportunity for savings even greater than the £650 million we have identified. This means more money for front line public services, more money to invest in communities and more money to support local economic prosperity.”

The Bill is scheduled to be introduced to the Assembly in autumn 2016, and is being published in draft form in order to seek a wide range of views on the proposals between now and February next year.

Health and wellbeing events for town

A pilot project in Denbighshire to improve the health and well-being of residents through working directly with people in their own communities is hosting more events across the county, including one in Llangollen.
 

* Llangollen Health Centre. 
The Community Led Conversations project is all about having meaningful conversations with residents to help them take control of their own lives, working with them to find solutions for their individual needs and connecting with people on issues that matter to them.
 
As part of this project, sessions called Talking Points are being piloted in various areas where residents can drop in and speak to a range of people on issues that matter to them. 
 
Sessions include:
 
Thursday, November 26th – Llangollen Health Centre – 10am-3pm
Thursday, December 10th – Canolfan Ni, Corwen – 10am-3pm
Thursday, December 17th – Llangollen Health Centre – 10am-3pm
 
Councillor Bobby Feeley, Denbighshire’s Cabinet Lead Member for Health and Well-being, said: “This project is very different as we are changing the kind of conversation we are having with our residents. Rather than ask what the problem is, we will be asking residents what matters to them. Then we will work with them to provide advice and support on local support that is available to them that will meet their needs.
 
"We want to empower communities through directing people to solutions right on their doorstep rather than needing to be referred to a professional service. It’s about listening and understanding people’s needs and promoting ways that people can remain independent."
 

Quiz in aid of children's charity planned


Monday, November 23, 2015

Llan Youth Band in the honours


* Youth band winners with their trophies.

Llangollen Youth Band had a highly successful day at the North Wales Brass Band Association Rally in Ruthin on Saturday.

The band, under the leadership of Trevor Williams, won a total of three awards in the competition's youth section.

Their beautiful rendition of William Himes' arrangement of Amazing Grace won them the Eifion Rogers Memorial Salver Best Hymn award, whilst their confident performance of Reginald Heath's London River earned them the Irene Fox Memorial Shield and the Baton of Honour for Best Test Piece.

Adjudicator Dr Brett Baker awarded Owen Graham the Best Soloist award for his trombone solo in London River.

A band spokesperson said: "This is an extremely fine accolade to earn from an adjudicator who has spent much of his own musical career as a trombone player for top bands such as the Black Dyke Band."


* The youth band on stage at Ruthin.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Five die in two Corwen collisions

Five people have died in road traffic collisions in the Corwen area within just a couple of days.

The first tragedy involved a woman in her eighties who was pronounced dead at the scene following a collision on the A5, at the Square, in Corwen town centre on Friday morning.   

Her family have been informed and a full police investigation is underway.

Sgt Alun Davies of the Roads Policing Unit said: “We would like to speak to anyone who witnessed the collision involving a pedestrian and a lorry or who was in the vicinity of the Square in Corwen at 10.57am today, Friday November 20.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the Roads Policing Unit on 101 quoting reference S178034.

The second fatal accident came at 11.39am yesterday (Saturday) when

police were called to a report of a two vehicle road traffic collision on the A5 in Corwen, near Druid traffic lights.

A Vauxhall Astra and Vauxhall Zafira were involved.

Police, fire and rescue service, ambulance and the air ambulance attended the scene.

Tragically, three young men from the Corwen area who were in the Astra, died at the scene.

The occupants of the Zafira, two men from the Merseyside area, were treated at the scene for serious injuries and flown to hospital in Stoke.

One of the men was taken to Stoke and later died as a result of his injuries.

The families of all the victims of this incident have been updated.

Investigations into the collision are continuing and officers are appealing to anyone who may have witnessed the collision to contact officers at the Roads Policing Unit on 101, quoting incident number S178591.

Officers say they are particularly keen to speak to a female occupant of a small red vehicle and the two occupants of a black coloured 4 x 4 type vehicle who arrived from the Corwen direction and assisted at the scene.

Local councillor recommends guide to business rates

After being asked by several local businesses about business rates and relief available, Llangollen county councillor Stuart Davies has recommended them to look at a guide produced by Denbighshire's Economic and Business Department to see what is available.

llanblogger has reproduced the guide below:

Business rates (or National Non Domestic Rates) - payable by all occupiers of non-domestic premises, eg offices, business units and shops. 

While they’re collected by local Councils, business rates are paid to Welsh Government, who then pay them back, under a formula, to local Councils as part of their Revenue Support Grant.  Because of the formula, not all business rates collected in a particular council area will necessarily come back to that Council. 

The rate payable (multiplier) is set by Welsh Government centrally. 

Rateable Value - the amount of rates payable for individual premises are based on property valuations carried out by the Valuation Office Agency and are intended to represent broadly the yearly rent for the property on the open market. The last valuation came into effect in 2010. The next is due in 2017. In between time, Rateable Values can be changed if the circumstances for individual premises change. 

Rate relief - there are a number of circumstances where the amount of business rates normally payable can be reduced:

1. Empty / part empty premises:

No rates for first 3 months if previously occupied for 6 weeks.  No rates for first 6 months on some industrial properties

No rates for first 18 months on newly built, vacant commercial premises if completed before 1st Oct 2016

Zero rate for empty charitable and Community Amateur Sports Clubs premises

‘Section 44a Relief’ for part empty premises

Other exemptions including: Rateable Value under £2,600; previous occupier gone into liquidation / bankruptcy; property part of deceased estate; occupation prohibited by law e.g. Asbestos; listed buildings

2. Charitable organisations and Community

Amateur Sports Clubs:

80% reduction where registered

Additional 20% reduction possible in some circumstances

3. Small Business Rate Relief

Up to 100% where Rateable Value is under £12,000, premises are occupied and the business is trading

4. Wales Retail Relief Scheme

Up to £1,500 off rates in 2015-16 for occupied retail, food & drink premises with a Rateable Value Under £50,000

5. Hardship Relief

Available in some short term circumstances where businesses are facing closure due to financial hardship

In all cases, businesses can obtain further advice from the Council’s website or by contacting the Business Rates Team on 01824 706101.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

New rented home rules start on Monday

Rent Smart Wales, the new registration and licensing system in Wales, launches on Monday - and it represents a major change for the private rental sector in the principality.

Under it:

- All private landlords who have a rental property in Wales must register themselves and the addresses of their rental properties in Wales;

- Landlords who undertake defined letting or property management activities at a rental property in Wales must apply for a licence. If a landlord instructs an agent to do such work on their behalf, it is that agent who must become licensed;

- In order to get a licence a person must be adequately trained, and also declare themselves ‘fit and proper’;

- Licensing training will be offered through Rent Smart Wales or people can choose to attend Rent Smart Wales approved training courses delivered by other bodies.

Landlords and agents who need to become licensed will be able to register and apply for a licence from Monday. They will have 12 months from that date in which to comply with the new legislation.

During this first year there will be a focus by the Welsh government on raising awareness of the new requirements and encouraging compliance.

One of the earliest changes is that from Monday agents must openly display all fees including any additional charges or penalties which may be incurred during a tenancy as well as fees, charges and penalties which are referenced in the tenancy agreement and in Terms of Business.

Fees should be displayed including VAT. Agents must display fees at each of their premises and on their websites.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Licence to thrill comes to Pavilion

Llangollen Pavilion will be turning into Casino Royale for one evening only next month when a special James Bond Christmas party night takes over the venue.

The event, entitled Shaken, Not Stirred,  will be held on Saturday December 12 and organisers say tickets are already moving faster than 007's Aston Martin.


* Llangollen Pavilion
Guests can live and let die on the roulette and blackjack tables and there will also be live music, a three-course meal and the opportunity to dress up as your favourite Bond character, be it Goldfinger, Dr No, Oddjob, Jaws or even Bond himself.

This special Christmas party evening is organised by Radiant Events, whose very own Man with the Golden Gun, Paul Brown, has worked tirelessly to create a real tribute to one of the most successful film franchises in the world.

Paul said: “The release of the new Bond film Spectre has been the catalyst in putting this evening together and it’s been great fun.

"The whole idea has been to create the atmosphere of a Bond film with the casino, high end dining and live music from Rhythm Train, who wowed a crowd of over 5,000 at this summer’s Under The Arches event, and are looking forward to playing some of iconic themes such as Goldfinger and For Your Eyes Only throughout the evening."

He added: “We’re also offering a special prize for the best Bond fancy dress of the evening, so there’s plenty to go at there and we’ll be keeping a count of the number of white tuxedos on view as well.

"We’re also wondering if anybody will turn up as Christmas Jones out of the World is Not Enough, so get researching!”

* Tickets for the evening are priced at £34.95 each including a three-course meal, with tables available for between four and eight people and larger groups accommodated.

To book either phone 07854 051434, email christmas@radiantevents.co.uk or visit www.radiantevents.co.uk/christmas for further information. Bookings are being taken up until Friday November 30.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Llan Food Assembly has its successful launch


* Food assembly organiser Robyn Lovelock (right) with (left) producer
Timothy Parry, who runs Mug Run roasted coffee in Rhyl, and Llangollen town
councillor Phil Thane.

LLANGOLLEN is the first town in Wales to launch a completely fresh way of buying food. 

The area’s new Food Assembly is an online service that brings people together to buy food directly from local farmers and food producers.

Customers in Llangollen can order food online before picking it up weekly at a local pub, the Ponsonby Arms, where the assembly was officially launched last night (Wednesday).

All the food comes from within around 26 miles of the area, meaning that for every £1 spent, 90p stays in the local economy. 

Weekly shoppers can choose from unique local products, such as organic veg from Babbinswood Farm, oak-smoked cheese from Knolton Farmhouse Cheese, and award-winning bangers from family-run business, Pen-y-lan Pork.


* Mike Ford shows off his Pen-y-lan pork sausages.  
There will also be plenty of pastries, artisan bread and other local and seasonal goodies. 

Community is at the heart of the food assembly – it connects neighbours to farmers, neighbours to each other, and everyone to their food. 

The initiative is organised by Robyn Lovelock from the town who said: “Llangollen is the first town in Wales to have its own food assembly.

“The launch event was very successful and we signed up 40 people on the night. We’ve also had lots of interest on our website.

“While we have some fantastic locally produced food in the area, it can be difficult to find in one place and to buy outside of working hours.

“I’m excited that the food assembly will bring some together local farmers and producers with customers keen to buy fresh, tasty local food and other products.”

She added: “I hope the idea will bring another dimension to food options in Llangollen, supporting its Cittaslow slow food status and adding to the great selection of restaurants and delicatessens already here.” 

At last night’s launch event local customers had the chance to meet farmers, food makers and their neighbours, taste local food samples and see where their food comes from.

Among the half dozen or so producers present was Mike Ford, owner of Pen-y-lan Pork based at Crabtree Farm, Eyton.

He said: “I’m delighted to be involved in the food assembly which I think is a great idea.”

Mike, who recently met Sir Terry Wogan when he visited Chester during filming for his recent TV series touring Britain in a London cab sampling its local food, added: “All our products are produced using only the finest local ingredients and I’m glad to be offering them in this new way to the people of Llangollen.”

* For more information and to register as a customer or producer, go to www.thefoodassembly.com and search for Llangollen, or call Robyn on 0779 9896108.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Free after three parking for Christmas

Denbighshire County Council has announced that the "Free After 3" parking scheme will again be in operation this year to help support our town centres in the run up to Christmas. 

The scheme provides free parking in all council operated pay & display car parks in town centres after 3pm on a daily basis.

The scheme will starts on Saturday, 21st November and will operate until the 31st December 2015.

The car parks included in the initiative are:
Corwen
Green Lane

Denbigh
Multi-storey
Crown Lane
Factory Ward
Post Office Lane
Vale Street

Llangollen
East Street
Hall Street
Market Street
Mill Street

Ruthin Crispin Yard (Cae Ddol)
Dog Lane
Market Street
Park Road
Rhos Street
St Peter's Square
Troed y Rhiw

Councillor David Smith, Cabinet Lead Member for Environment, said: “We are delighted to be offering this free after 3 initiative again this year.  We feel this is a good way of encouraging people to support the town centres and to access the wide variety of goods and services available from our local businesses."
 
This initiative coincides with the Small Business Saturday initiative across the county where the Council is urging people to support their local businesses and services on December 5th and in the run up to Christmas.