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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The day I survived David Cassidymania

llanblogger's Phil Robinson recalls a momentous day over 40 years ago

Back in the day David Cassidy, who has just died in Florida, had it all.
In the early 70s he was only a couple of years older than me but he had the looks, the talent and the charisma, all of which ensured he also had the hearts of legions of young girls.

And for a couple of days in the spring of 1973 most of them were outside my office window.   
Not that it had anything to do with me, of course.

* David Cassidy on stage at
Belle Vue in 1973.
In that heady year I was working in the publicity department of the famous Belle Vue leisure centre in Manchester – the place where Cassidy was due to do four shows on March 13 and 14 as part of his smash-hit European tour.

Thanks to his starring role as son Keith in the enormously popular US show the Partridge Family he had rapidly taken on heartthrob status and become one of the hottest properties of the era.

The tour followed and every place he went he was mobbed by thousands of doting, screaming girls.
We’d witnessed a similar phenomenon with Beatlemania a decade earlier but this was much bigger. And louder.

In fact, by ’73 Cassidy’s fan club had more members than either its Beatles or Elvis counterparts.
It was against this crazy background that this handsome young actor/singer was due to take the stage of the Kings Hall arena at Belle Vue.

We knew in advance that the place was going to be thronged by his adoring teenage and sub-teenage female fans. But we weren’t quite prepared for the scale of the invasion.
Nor were we expecting how long it would continue because when I arrived for work on the morning of the first day hundreds of them were already outside the main gates and were tuning up their noisy renditions of his hits, like I Think I Love You, which continued at increasing volume for the next 10 hours or so.

As the day wore on they continued to arrive on buses, in trains and out of cars driven by worried-looking dads.

I could see all this going on from the window of my office (pictured left) which overlooked the car park where they were gathering.

I viewed the unfolding scene with fascination but also growing concern as my treasured Hillman Imp was parked down there amongst the screaming, chanting hordes.

And as its decaying metalwork was held together by plastic filler I began to write off its chances of survival in the face of all the pushing and shoving going on.
Some wag in the office joked that I shouldn’t worry because David would probably fork out for a replacement Imp if this one was destroyed by his army of adherents. Not likely and therefore no consolation.

The cacophony did go on all day, right up to my leaving for home at around 5pm and beyond until showtime when the gates finally opened allowing the barmy girlie army to launch their big push on the Kings Hall. Cassidy, as far as I recall, had been smuggled in through another entrance to the complex so stayed completely untouched.
And no, despite my press office status, I didn’t get to attend the concert or meet the man himself, either that day or the next when the whole mad scene took place again.

My Hillman Imp and my hearing survived but sadly, ultimately, David Cassidy hasn’t now made it beyond the age of 67.
But it was a day I’ll never forget – only to be repeated to a lesser extent that same year when The Bay City Rollers gigged at Belle Vue. But that’s another story.  

Another competition win for Llan Silver Band

* Members of the youth band who took first prize at Ruthin last Saturday. 

Llangollen Silver Band's youth section took first prize in section 6b at the North Wales Brass Band Association Contest held at Bryn Hyfryd School, Ruthin last Saturday. 

Beaumaris Intermediate Band took second place and Llandudno Youth Band were third. 

Llangollen's chosen test piece for the competition was Rufford Abbey by Drake Rimmer and the chosen hymn tune Fewster was their opener. 

For the third year running Llangollen also took best soloist prize, won this year by cornet player Taya Castley. 

The youth bBand are now  busy getting ready for their upcoming Christmas jobs, Friday December 22 being their last performance of the season and that is their own Sparkle and Shine Cracking Christmas Concert at the Town Hall where they will be performing along with the intermediate band and training band.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Backing small businesses on December 2

Businesses and shoppers in Llangollen are being reminded that they can take part in this year's Small Business Saturday.

The event, which will be held on December 2, Business Saturday UK is a grassroots, non-commercial campaign, which highlights small business success and encourages consumers to ‘shop local’ and support small businesses in their communities.

The day itself takes place on the first Saturday in December each year, but the campaign aims to have a lasting impact on small businesses.

On Small Business Saturday, customers across the U.K go out and support all types of small businesses, online, in offices and in stores.

Many small businesses take part in the day by hosting events and offering discounts.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Steam engine inches out onto Abbey Road

* The engine is backed carefully out into the road and traffic waits in both directions.

* 80072 is slowly inched around parked cars.


* The engine out on Abbey Road ready for the off.

Traffic in both directions on Abbey Road was held up for a short while earlier this afternoon when a heavy loader carrying a steam engines from Llangollen Railway had to inch its way onto the roadway.

Thanks to some skillful driving and the ability of the wagon to make some tight moves, BR Standard Four tank No. 80072 eventually made it to the A539 and its onward journey.  

Call goes out for eisteddfod competitors

* The Aeolian Choir of Oakwood University, California, celebrate victory at the eisteddfod.

Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod is on the lookout for talented groups of singers, dancers and instrumentalists from across the globe to enter its competitions next year before the deadline of November 24.

The 2018 eisteddfod takes place from July 3-8 and successful entrants will compete for a range of prestigious titles including the Dance Champions of the World, International Acapella Group and the jewel in the crown of the festival, Choir of the World.

There are cash prizes of up to £6,000, international medals and opportunities for aspiring musical singers to win the chance of a lifetime to perform at the Gold Coast Eisteddfod in Australia.

The globally acclaimed Choir of the World competition is the grand finale to the festival, which determines the best overall choir of the event and has launched many an iconic career.

In 1955 the winning choir, from the town of Modena in Italy, included a young trainee teacher named, Luciano Pavarotti – the legendary tenor who, in 2005, added his name to the competition trophy in recognition of his appreciation of the festival and its influence on his career.

Applications for non-competitive acts are also open and community groups are being encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to perform on one of the eisteddfod’s international stages and experience the unique atmosphere of the festival. Closing date for this category is also on Friday November 24.

Eisteddfod chairman Dr Rhys Davies said: “Our competitions offer the opportunity for performers from across the globe to compete on an international stage alongside some of the world’s most talented musicians and dancers.

“With more than 20 categories to apply for there really is an opportunity for all types of performers, from all disciplines and of all ages to get involved.

“Every year we aim to extend our offer and both the Outstanding Conductor and International Acapella Group categories are exceptionally exciting additions to the syllabus. We’re looking forward to see this year’s applications.”

* For more information on all the competitions or to apply on the Eisteddfod competitors’ website visit:

To purchase tickets for the Llangollen International Eisteddfod or for more information visit:

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Have your say on support for the vulnerable

A new inquiry will look at how effective support for vulnerable people in their homes is in Wales - and Llangollen people can have their say.

The National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee will examine the Welsh Government’s Supporting People Programme, which provides grant funding to deliver services for people with learning difficulties, mental health issues, and young people with support needs.

Services are provided either through local authorities, or through third-party providers such as charities.

The programme currently supports around 67,000 people in Wales and for 2016-17 financial year has a ‘ring-fenced’ budget of almost £125 million.

However, the recent publication by the Welsh Government of the detail of its budget plans has created some uncertainty about the way in which Supporting People funding will be managed in the future and this will be taken into account as part of the committee’s work.

A report from the Wales Audit Office earlier this year found inconsistent levels of delivery in different parts of the country, due in part to inadequate guidance from the Welsh Government.

“The Supporting People Programme delivers what are undoubtedly valuable services to vulnerable people in a range of different circumstances,” said Nick Ramsay AM, Chair of the Public Accounts Committee.

“However, the pace of progress is a concern and it is disappointing that the Welsh Government still does not have a good enough understanding of the programme’s overall impact some fourteen years on from its initial launch.

“We will be looking at how the programme is developing to meet the needs of some of the most vulnerable people in our society, how almost £125 million pounds is being spent, and how the effectiveness of these services and all that money is being monitored.”

* Anyone wishing to contribute to the inquiry can find more information on the Public Accounts Committee’s web pages. The consultation closes on 22 December 2017.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Early sighting of Santa on the river

* Santa waves to onlookers from his coracle on the Dee.

Santa has been seen out on the River Dee on the lead up to Llangollen Christmas Festival on Saturday November 25.

He was spotted at the Horseshoe Falls in a coracle.

“I thought that I’d use the river to get into Llangollen this year, the coracle was most enjoyable and
relaxing but a little slow.” Santa said.

He has also tried an inflatable with some of his elves (pictured below) but decided that experience was far too scary.

“I think I’ll stick with the sleigh and my reindeer,” Santa added, “it’s fast, manoeuvrable and
best of all magic.”

The Christmas Festival, which is expected to attract at least 2,000 people, will feature a parade,
street stalls, raffles, a grotto, an appearance by Llangollen Silver Band, and local choirs and
singers and the ceremonial switch-on of the Christmas lights.

This year the festival also features Llangollen Good Grub Club and an additional stage organised by Llangollen Woman’s Festival.

The big parade starts from Mill Street car park at 1pm and later SiƓn Corn will be on hand to meet
young visitors in his grotto inside the Town Hall.

Entertainment will this year be centred on the steps of the library and tourist information centre as
well as the Town Hall and Market Street.

Proceeds from the event will once again be donated to Wales Air Ambulance.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Free after 3 parking for Christmas

Shoppers in Denbighshire will be getting a helping hand this festive period.

Denbighshire County Council is providing free car parking in all of its town centre car parks after 3pm from the end of November and throughout December.

Free After 3 aims to support Denbighshire’s town centres and encourage shoppers to take advantage of the wide range of traders on the county’s high streets.

The scheme provides free parking in all Council-operated pay and display car parks in town centres after 3pm every day between November 21 and December 31.

As well as offering free parking after 3pm, the Council is encouraging shoppers and businesses to take advantage of the #LoveLiveLocal campaign and share pictures of products, offers and deals available on the county’s high streets on social media.

To find a list of all the car parks included visit

Car parks included in the scheme are Corwen, Green Lane; Denbigh, Vale St, Post Office Lane, Factory Ward and the Multi-Storey; Ruthin, Market Street, Dog Lane, Troed y Rhiw, Park Road, Rhos Street; Llangollen, Brook Street, East Street, Hall Street, Market Street, Mill Street, International Pavilion;  Prestatyn , Fern Avenue, Lower High Street, Kings Avenue, Railway Station; Rhuddlan, Parliament Street; St Asaph, Bowling Green; Rhyl , Morley Road, Morfa Hall (disabled bays), West Kinmel Street and Sky Tower.

County launches Christmas shopping film

* Bernadette O' Malley from State of Distress in Ruthin.

Encouraging shoppers to use their local high streets this Christmas is the message behind a new video.

Denbighshire County Council has produced its second festive shopping clip to showcase the wide range of products available on the county’s high streets.

The two-minute video features a host of the county’s traders highlighting what is available in Denbighshire.

The clip will be released on November 24 and will be available on the council’s social media platforms.

Bernadette O' Malley, who has run State of Distress in Ruthin for the past two years, features in the clip.

She said: “Shopping locally means money gets invested back into the area and means there is more in towns for people to come and see.

“Shoppers get to see a product physically and they get the interaction with the shopkeeper. We offer personalised gifts and work with local craftsmen and women to produce unique and bespoke gifts.

“You get to take advantage of knowledgeable staff who offer great customer service to help you find what you are looking for.

“It was a good experience to be involved in the Christmas video and help encourage people to see what is on offer in Denbighshire.

“I would encourage people to see what is on their local high streets, there is a lot more than they think and they could find things they might not have been looking for.”

The video was produced as part of the #LoveLiveLocal campaign which supports local traders by encouraging customers and businesses to post pictures of great products and experiences on social media.

Leader of Denbighshire, Councillor Hugh Evans OBE, said: “The aim of the video is to showcase the wealth of local businesses we have here in the county. We have great small businesses who have got everything you need from bespoke gifts to everyday essentials and delicious produce to help celebrate Christmas.

 “The aim of the film is to inspire local people in Denbighshire to visit their local high streets before shopping online or visiting shops outside of the county. Money spent locally stays in the local economy and benefits everyone in Denbighshire. This clip is part of our work on developing the local economy by supporting high street businesses.”

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

County gears up for road safety week

Denbighshire County Council is lending its support a national campaign aimed at improving safety on our roads.

‘Speed Down Saves Lives’ is the theme for this year’s Road Safety Week campaign, which begins on Monday, November 20.

The council’s Sustainable Transport and Road Safety team work throughout the year trying to create the conditions for safe active travel in the county.

This means that as many people as possible should be encouraged to travel on foot or by bicycle instead of travelling by car. Children in particular need to be able to make this switch in safety.  

Encouraging drivers to drive slowly around their towns for the benefit of young cyclists and pedestrians is one of the key message of this year’s campaign.

During the week:
  • The council’s year round programme of national standards Bikeability cycle training for Year 6 pupils will continue with courses running at  Ysgol Esgob Morgan (St Asaph) and Ysgol  Twm o’r Nant (Denbigh).
  • Child pedestrian roadside  Kerbcraft training will continue with primary pupils from Rhos Street School, Ruthin and will include a Police speedgun survey of passing traffic on Rhos Street .
  • The road safety team will be meeting with Sustrans to kick-start joint working on a brand new safe active travel initiative which will be rolled-out to primary schools and Year 7 high school pupils in early 2018.
  • Road safety banners with the message “Arafwch yn ein tref/ Slow down in our town"    will be placed at a suitable location in each town in the county .
Councillor Brian Jones, Cabinet Lead Member for Environment, said: “This nationally designated week is a great opportunity to drive home the road safety messages, to encourage drivers to reduce their speed and be more vigilant in built up areas where pedestrians and other roads users will be present.

"The council runs activities throughout the year and will be out and about during Road Safety Week to reinforce the messages and to encourage people to change behaviour, so that our roads become safer.”

* For further details about Road Safety Week, please visit:

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Eisteddfod's November update

llanblogger will now be bringing you regular updates from the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod prepared by its own team. We start here with November ...

Whilst you may be forgiven for thinking that this time of year is a quiet time for the Eisteddfod, this year plans have been moving full steam ahead as we welcomed our new Music Director, Vicky Yannoula, to the team in September.

Vicky (pictured) is only our 8th Music Director since 1947, but the first of Greek origin! She joins us following successful positions at Trinity College London, Middlesex University and the Drake Calleja Trust, and her list of accomplishments has made her a notable pianist on stages around the world and seen her collaborate with a wealth of international artists.

Based in London, Vicky has been travelling up to Llangollen every couple of weeks which has given her the opportunity to meet our huge team of volunteers, and each time she visits she tells us how blown away she is by the beauty of the Dee Valley.

Only 10 weeks into the role, Vicky has really had to hit the ground running to ensure we have a world-class concert series in place ready to launch before Christmas!

There are some very exciting ideas in the pipeline, and as usual, we’re trying to offer a diverse mix of musical genres so there is something to suit everyone’s taste.

She’s also been working on our 2018 competitive programme, using her international connections to try and attract as many group competitor applications as possible before the deadline on the 24th November.

Please help us spread the word by sharing the online flipbook for the 2018 syllabus here.

We will have an information stand at the Town Christmas Fair on the 25th November, so please pop by and say hello and learn about our wide range of volunteering opportunities (including those listed below).

We’ll be running a free prize draw to win tickets to one of our concerts, and we’ll be selling some stock from our Eisteddfod shop too.

We value the support of the local community immensely, and feel it’s extremely important to keep you up to date with any developments and listen to any feedback you may have about the Eisteddfod.

We’ll be keeping you informed by posting regular updates on llanblogger, and remember to follow our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels too.

Dr Rhys Davies, Eisteddfod Chairman

Volunteering Opportunities

Looking for a new volunteering challenge? We currently have two new volunteering opportunities within the Eisteddfod site team, which we are looking to fill as soon as possible!

Both would suit an active, locally based person, with good weekday availability and an interest in playing a critical, year-round role in Eisteddfod site planning activities.

Computer literacy and good all-round Microsoft Office skills are essential. 

Catering Concession Coordinator

Tasks and responsibilities include:
· Liaising with all current and potential new caterers and bar providers.
· Preparation of all relevant documentation.
· Ensuring that valid hygiene and insurance documentation are provided. 
· Liaising with the Siting Officer and site contractors regarding canvas and utilities requirements. 
· Main point of contact for all concessions during festival week. 

Exhibitor Coordinator

Tasks and responsibilities include:
· Liaising with all current and potential new exhibitors (including traders, organisations and charities). 
· Preparation of all relevant documentation and information. 
· Liaising with the Siting Officer and site contractors regarding canvas and utilities requirements. 
· Main point of contact for all exhibitors during festival. 

* If you are interested in either of the above roles, or would like to know more about other opportunities to get involved, please contact or apply online at

Monday, November 13, 2017

Council runs social media training courses

Another programme of social media training courses for local businesses is being run by Denbighshire County Council.

Following the enthusiastic response from sessions earlier this year, more Facebook and Twitter courses will be delivered in the county.

The new programme includes both advanced and introductory sessions following requests from businesses attending the last set of sessions.

Tutor Helen Hodgkinson, of Grwp Llandrillo’s Retail Skills Academy, will be providing the courses on behalf of the Council.

She said: “The separate advanced and introduction sessions will mean we can focus on the important topics pitched at the right group.

“In Denbighshire there are some great examples of businesses using social media to build their customer bases and the advanced sessions will help them make the most of that audience using very effective but more technical methods.

“The ‘basics’ sessions will cater for those new to using social media for business purposes, and put them in a stronger position to start engaging existing and new customers online. Turning engagement into potential sales is what theses course are about.”

The popular interactive courses will be held at venues in Rhyl, Denbigh and Llysfasi between November and February.

* You can find out more about the courses at

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Crowds gather to honour fallen of two world wars

Hundreds turned out for the annual Service of Remembrance which took place at the town's war memorial this morning (Sunday). Janet Wakefield from Llangollen Museum took these pictures specially for llanblogger

* Youth organisations march in the parade

* Flying the flag for the Scout Movement. 

* Poppy wreaths laid at the foot of the war
memorial during the ceremony.  

* The large crowd which gathered for the ceremony.

* Ex-service organisations on parade with their standards.

* Uniformed organisations march into Castle Street.

* Llangollen Silver Band sets the parade tempo (above and below).

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Town marks 99th Armistice Day

An Act of Remembrance to mark the 99th anniversary of Armistice Day, which saw the end of the First World War, was held this morning (Saturday) at the town's war memorial in Castle Street.

Led by the Rev Charles Stallard and former town mayor Mike Adams, the ceremony saw the parading of standards by veterans' organisations, the observing of the traditional minute's silence at 11am and the sounding of Last Post by a bugler from Llangollen Silver Band.

Around 50 people attended.

This evening a Festival of Remembrance, in aid of Help for Heroes and local causes, will be held at Llangollen Town Hall.

The programme of light entertainment will feature Llangollen Silver Band, Dinas Bran Chamber Choir, soloists and poetry readings. There will also be a drumhead service.

The event starts at 7 for 7.30pm and tickets are £6 (£5 concessions).

Tomorrow morning will see the annual Service of Remembrance at the war memorial.

Llan pubs take lead in dog friendly table

Pubs in the Llangollen area have taken some of the top 10 spots in a league table of dog friendly pubs.

For the full story see:

Friday, November 10, 2017

AM praises work on Corwen station

* Mark Isherwood AM on his visit to Llangollen Railway’s Corwen Central Station.

North Wales Assembly Member Mark Isherwood has applauded all those involved in a rail project which will boost the local economy after meeting with some of the volunteers and seeing their achievements first hand.

Mr Isherwood revisited Llangollen Railway’s Corwen Central Station site and was hugely impressed by the progress made.

He said: “The dedication and commitment of the team of volunteers who make this happen is incredible, and especially so when I understand that their average age on this site is 68.

“The notional value of the volunteer hours exceeds £200,000 this year, without which the project would be unaffordable. The goal is for this new rail terminus to become operational in 2019, subject to essential continued financial support, where approximately 75% of the project cost has to be raised through Llangollen Railway’s share issue, donations and appeals.”

The aim now is to maintain the temporary platform at Corwen East for another season to have it dismantled in October 2018 in the expectation of the final phase opening the following year.

Mr Isherwood added: “Llangollen Railway Trust is a glowing example of what North Wales has to offer. It already attracts thousands of visitors every year and is key to economic development in the Dee Valley.

"What is being achieved at Corwen can provide the town with a huge boost and, with the train arriving at the end of the line here, enable Llangollen Railway to be able to tap into a new segment of the North Wales Tourism market.

“I would like to thank all the volunteers involved in this project for their role in helping to grow the economy, create jobs and provide more security for people in North Wales.”

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Campaigners battle to save rangers from axe

* Campaigners gather outside Ty Mawr Country Park. 

Campaigners opposing Wrexham Council’s plans to half its number of park rangers are being backed by their Assembly Member and MP.

Ken Skates and Susan Elan Jones have made urgent representations to the authority after fears were raised about the detrimental effect further cuts are likely to have at country parks in their constituency.

The council wants to cut the number of rangers it employees from six to three, which has prompted an angry backlash from residents.

Clwyd South AM Mr Skates said: “A number of constituents have contacted me about this – they’re extremely concerned.

"We desperately don’t want to see school activities cut and untidier parks, but that is the reality we’re facing if these plans go through.

“The rangers look after Wrexham’s 11 country parks seven days a week. This would have a huge impact on the way they are run and what they can offer.”

Derek Wright, county councillor for Cefn Mawr, says he has been inundated with calls from residents worried about the future of Ty Mawr Country Park in his ward, which was visited by nearly 47,000 people last year.

He said: “If the other 10 parks within the county borough area give half as much pleasure – not only to locals, but to visitors from miles around – as Ty Mawr does, they have got to be worth keeping in their present form, including staffing. Let us hope for a full consultation over these proposals.”

The Friends of Ty Mawr group fears its park will be disproportionately affected because of the animals kept there. The others affected in Clwyd South include Brynkinalt, Chirk; Nant Mill, Coedpoeth; Ponciau Banks and Stryt Las in Johnstown.

Cllr Wright added: “I would encourage anyone who’s concerned about their nearest park to contact their local councillor and make their feelings known.”

Ken Bathers, chairman of Cefn Community Council, said: “We know how much pressure Welsh councils are under because of the billions of pounds of cuts to Wales from the Tory Government at Westminster, but people won’t stand for this.

“The £100,000 saving is peanuts to the council’s budget, but they can find £4.5m for an arts hub which will lose £188,000 the first year, then a further 126,000 in the second and another £78,000 in the third. The money the council lost in legal fees over the old Groves School would have funded all 11 parks for the next 20 years!”

Clwyd South MP Ms Jones added: “We are continuing to see record tourism numbers coming to North Wales and our country parks are among the many fantastic things we have to offer. We have 11 in the borough which are the envy of many other areas, and we simply can’t let this happen. Ken and I will support our constituents all the way.”

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Remembrance Festival to be held this Saturday

Railway in running for tourism award

Llangollen Railway (pictured) has been shortlisted for a major award.

The heritage organisation is one of the final four in the Best Attraction category of the Go North Wales Tourism Awards along with Bodnant Garden National Trust, Zip World and Llandudno Pier.

The winner will be announced at the presentation evening to be staged at Venue Cymru in Llandudno on Thursday November 16.   

This category is open to attractions which can demonstrate what they have done to enhance the visitor experience.

The awards, sponsored by Traveline Cymru and in partnership with Heart, celebrate and recognise excellence in the region’s hospitality and tourism sectors, as well as showcasing and celebrating the achievements, hard work and dedication of those working in the industry.

Awards are open to all tourism businesses and individuals in North Wales.

Monday, November 6, 2017

County has nuisance phone call blockers available

Denbighshire Trading Standards are looking for residents who could benefit from a blocker unit which aims to reduce the number of unknown callers they receive. 
As part of a national trial, the team has a limited number of units available to loan out to vulnerable residents in Denbighshire on a trial basis to see if this will help combat their nuisance caller problems. 
The results of the individual units will be shared nationally and will be discussed with the individual or other nominated person. 

The unit offers three different incoming call handling profiles to choose from. 
All the profiles allow calls from trusted callers to get through unimpeded – the difference is in the way they control unrecognised callers. 
You can change the profile whenever you want so that the blocker always gives the appropriate level of protection even if needs change. 
You can easily monitor and control the unit via your personal internet control panel.  This allows you to view a log of all of your incoming and outgoing calls, edit your trusted callers list and change your configuration settings. 
* If you know of someone who might benefit from this and would be interested in trialling a unit you can contact the team via or on 01824 706446. 

County firms "positive" about future says survey

Businesses in Denbighshire remain positive about the future, according to a recent survey.

Denbighshire County Council’s annual Business Survey had more than 470 responses, with the majority saying they are more confident about the future than ever before.

The annual survey feeds into the Council’s March for Business month, which offers a wide range of training, networking and advice sessions to the county’s traders, based on feedback in the survey.

Cllr Hugh Evans OBE, Leader of Denbighshire, said: “I’d like to thank the businesses that took the time to complete this survey.

“It is important we continue to listen to the needs of entrepreneurs in the county and offer help and support based on their needs. That way we can offer training and support to businesses that will be a real benefit to them in pursuit of growth.

“I’m pleased so many businesses feel confident moving forward. Denbighshire is here to support businesses and we have a wide-range of projects to help and support businesses within our Economic and Community Ambition Strategy.

“I’m particularly pleased with the feedback on training needs, which shows we have been ahead of the game with our digital skills focus over the past couple of years.”

Mike Horrocks, Denbighshire’s Economic & Business Development Team and Programme Manager said: “A total of 80 per cent of businesses who took part in our events last year said that they’d taken the all-important steps to act upon the advice, information or contacts that they’d gained.  It’s that action that makes a real difference to the local economy.”

The survey, conducted by the council’s Economic and Business Development team, found more than 70 per cent of respondents said their business is stronger than it was in 2016 while only 1 per cent said it was weaker.

More than a quarter expect to increase staff numbers, while 63 per cent are expecting sales to increase.

The survey also found more businesses have taken up broadband and superfast broadband in the last 12 months, recognising that a digital presence and the skills to exploit this are crucial to future business success.

Last year March for Business saw 400 attendees take advantage of 13 events across 10 locations with the benefit of access to 45 business experts.  The 2018 programme of events will be announced early in the new year.

* For more information contact or telephone 01824 706896.

Please find a link to the following video which details March for Business 2017 in English and Welsh for use online

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Llangollen Flower Club's Christmas show





Saturday, November 4, 2017

Entries sought for church's Christmas competition

* A colourful entry from a previous year.
Entries are being sought for this year's Christmas Tree Festival at Llangollen Methodist Church.

This is a popular event, taking place in December, where visitors are asked to vote for their favourite trees which go on display at the church in Princess Street.

As usual there are two categories, Traditional and Christmas in Another Country.

Organiser Janet Storm said: "As you can imagine it is a closely fought competition with much fun to be had in participation.

"You will need to supply and decorate a small tree, no taller than five feet (1.5 metres) using an appropriate Christmas theme.

"You might like to link the decoration to your business or organisation, or just be creative.

"Any lights used must be battery operated. Hard bases are provided for you to cover with a cloth or paper as you wish.

"It is an opportunity for you to promote your business with small business cards or promotional materials being allowed around the base of your tree.

"Setting up of the trees will take place on Thursday December 7, between 12noon and 4pm, with dismantling on Thursday  January 4, between 12noon and 4pm."
* To register your intention to enter, contact Janet and Elias Storm on: 01978 253177, or email them at:  before Saturday December 2.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Hannay gives Twenty Club a ripping good hit

* Dan Pedley as Hannay.
A comedy take on a ripping good yarn of  British derring-do has given Llangollen Twenty Club a dashed good hit with its latest production.

Society regular David Edgar has taken the spy novel Mr Standfast by John Buchan and filled it full of laughs and the resulting two-acter, Hannay Stands Fast, which he also directed, is the newest work the Twenty team has ever performed.

Premiered at the Town Hall last night (Thursday) it had the audience in stitches for most of the action.
And action is the right word because, throughout,  the stage was the scene of frenetic activity on the part of the multi-tasking and talented cast of just four.

The plot sees Hannay, an old-school British hero, recruited by British intelligence to root out a dastardly German master-spy who is threatening the security of the realm in the days just before the outbreak of the Second World War.
Played to perfection by Dan Pedley, Hannay sets about his task with typical British phlegm and along the way enlists the help – and then wins the heart - of the stunningly attractive Mary Lamington, portrayed with real flair by Clare Wall.

The pair get themselves into a myriad tricky and often hilarious situations and meet up with a mind-boggling array of crazy characters which has the cast doubling, tripling and quadrupling up like mad on the parts.
Providing the engine of these multiple personas is society stalwart John Clifford who at various points appears as everything from a simple-minded bucolic to a crazy (female) Scottish housekeeper and from a surly gangster to a 1930s travelling football fan.

However, his fellow cast members, including a notable Gwyneth Marshman, are no slouches either and all appear in so many multifarious guises that at times one tends to lose track of who they are supposed to be at any given moment.
Prop shifting must have been another nightmare as the scenes change like a kaleidoscope.

A big budget production this isn’t, so it’s particularly enjoyable to watch a scene near the end where a frantic car cash is portrayed as a series of moving silhouettes.
And where else could you see a death-defying tussle between Hannay and the baddie, played deliciously by Si Kneale, fought out at the top of a couple of steel stepladders standing in for the Eiffel Tower?

The Twenty Club have got a real hit on their hands with this production which runs again this evening (Friday) and tomorrow (Saturday).

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Lease deal "shortly" for health centre pharmacy

* Llangollen Health Centre.

Health chiefs say they hope Llangollen Health Centre will soon have its own pharmacy.

A number of llanblogger readers have been asking when Rowlands would be relocating from Regent Street to the new £5 million centre which opened to patients in the summer of 2015.

We asked the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board for an update on the situation.

And a spokesperson replied: “Pharmacies which wish to relocate must follow a formal, regulated process, which can take a significant time to complete.

“On 5th June 2017 Welsh Ministers confirmed that it upheld the decision of the Health Board to approve the surgery’s relocation application.

“Rowlands and the Health Board are working together to finalise the formal lease agreement which is required, and it is hoped that this will be concluded shortly.”

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Llan's Food Assembly features on BBC

A special feature on Llangollen's Food Assembly is available on the BBC's iPlayer Radio. 

Food Assemblies are a new way of buying local food which is steadily spreading across the country.

The idea, which started in France, is an online service that brings people together to buy their groceries directly from local farmers and food producers.

The aim is for everyone to get a better deal: communities get to know each other, farmers get a fairer price and the consumer gets locally sourced produced.

In the iPlayer feature Rachael Garside visits Llangollen Food Assembly which has been up and running for over two years and is one of five established Food Assemblies in Wales, with more to come.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

AM raises concerns over hospice funding

North Wales Assembly Member Mark Isherwood has made calls for the Welsh Government and Health Boards to provide more funding for charitable hospices in Wales.

Mr Isherwood raised the matter in the Assembly Chamber when he asked the First Minister how the Welsh Government is supporting the palliative care sector in Wales.

Carwyn Jones said his Government’s updated End-of-Life Care Delivery Plan, published in March, includes £6.4 million to provide specialist palliative care services, but Mr Isherwood said that is poorly targeted.

He said: “The majority of end-of-life care in Wales is provided by Wales’s 13 adult and two children’s hospices. You indicate a figure of roughly £6.4 million, but they spend £32.5 million a year to deliver those services in people’s homes, and also residential, day care and respite. So, they are having to raise over £2 million a month, and they’re keen to help you, the Welsh Government, and their local Health Boards do very much more.

“How can you, or will you, engage with them and ask them how they can help you achieve more? Perhaps a little bit more funding from the Health Boards and the (Welsh) Government would save massively more for Health Boards and liberate services to help tackle some of the other problems we’ve heard referred to today in different contexts.”

In his reply, the First Minister said: “In terms of engagement with the sector, it is the care boards that provide that level of engagement, and that’s why, of course, we work with them in order to identify the resources that are needed.”

Mr Isherwood added: “It is concerning that from April 2017 the funding provided by the Welsh Government to Local Health Boards to be spent on specialist palliative care is no longer ring fenced for this purpose. This means hospices risk losing this important financial contribution towards hospice care.
As Marie Curie’s Report ‘Triggers for Palliative Care in Wales’, said: ‘There is much work to be done if Wales is going to achieve its vision of access to high quality care for everyone who needs it, regardless of their underlying condition."

Monday, October 30, 2017

Historic school gets new 'green' heating system

* David Jones, right, of Hafod Renewables, with local resident David Crane at Pentredwr Community Centre, near Llangollen.

A historic village school which closed more than 30 years ago has been given a new lease of life in its second career as a community centre after going ‘green’.
Pentredwr School opened in 1909 when the village near Llangollen was the home to many of the quarrymen at the Berwyn Slate Quarry on the Horseshoe Pass.
Then the 60 pupils were kept warm through the winter by two open coal fires but now a sophisticated air-source heating system has been installed by Denbigh-based specialists Hafod Renewables.
Two highly efficient units have been fitted to the rear of the building to take heat energy from the air even on the coldest winter’s night and convert it to warm the large high-ceilinged main room.
The £5,000 system, paid for by a grant from the Waterloo Foundation which supports eco-friendly projects in Wales, complements an array of solar panels on the roof and is part of a £200,000 refurbishment designed to bring the building up to date and make it more user-friendly for the community.
David Jones, Managing Director of Hafod Renewables, said: “The new system will now heat the room effectively and in fact air-source systems are extremely good at heating large spaces like this.
“It acts like a fridge in reverse – the back of a fridge is hot while the interior is cold and this just reverses the process so that the room is heated while the outside is cold.
“It should work very well here in combination with the solar panels and the air-source system can be set to low level heart all the time which can easily and quickly be raised so it’s ready for use in less than an hour on the coldest night.”
The renovation of the community centre has been carried out by Pentredwr Community Association and local resident David Crane, from nearby Eglwyseg, handled the grants for the renewable aspects of the transformation of the Ruabon brick building.
He is delighted at the progress of the building which now provides facilities for everything from caving and mountaineering to Zumba classes.
He said: “We originally bought the property from Denbighshire County Council just before 2000 for £6,000 and we’re now in the process of an update that will make the building much more community friendly.
“It used to be heated by three large electric wall heaters which were very inefficient and cost a huge amount and there have been damp problems too.
“But there are 30 local organisations here and more in the surrounding area who would be interested and we have groups like the North Wales Cavers, climbing clubs and the Duke of Edinburgh Awards which use it.
“There are kitchen facilities and the plan is to terrace the grounds so they will be suitable as a campsite and Denbighshire County Council are installing new toilets so the facilities here will be really excellent.
“We’re also looking at taking someone on part-time who can organise events here and really ramp up the activities.”
Hafod Renewables, which was founded in Denbigh in 2010 by David Jones and his father, Richard, now employs nine staff and has become a key player in North Wales in the installation of non-solar systems such as air and ground-source heating and biomass and this sector now accounts for over 60per cent of its business.
Managing Director David Jones said: “We have been successful by being versatile and not relying on the solar sector and by using only our own dedicated teams of installers.
“Over the last 12 months a number of innovative new products have come onto the market and I believe it is vital to stay abreast of what is a rapidly developing industry because that’s the way to continue to grow the business.
“These products like the high temperature air-source system which can be retro-fitted to older properties are revolutionising the market and can provide heating even when it’s -20C outside.
“The system absorbs heat from the air into a liquid at a low temperature, then a compressor increases the temperature of that heat which warms air which is then blown into the room.
“In the summer it can also be operated in reverse so it becomes an air-conditioning unit to provide cool air.”
* For more on Hafod Renewables go to