Category: PR

Footballers find the energy to travel halfway round the world

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An exciting scheme which is taking young footballers from North Wales halfway round the world to play is being backed by a local company.

Ruthin Football Club, who play in the Welsh National League (Wrexham Area) Premier Division, are also sending some of their brightest young talents to New Zealand thanks to a link with a club in the country’s North Island.

The link with Melville United, of Hamilton, is being backed by club sponsors The Energy Company, who are based in Lon Parcwr, Ruthin and specialise in managing the energy supplies of businesses and charities.

The club’s sponsorship secretary Andy Edwards set up the connection with his uncle, Steve Williams, who became involved with Meville United after emigrating to New Zealand from Liverpool.

Andy said: “My uncle runs a very successful side out in New Zealand and we’ve linked up with them to provide opportunities for young players from Ruthin to go out there and it’s been a great experience for them.

“We’re delighted to get support for the scheme from The Energy Company because it’s something that benefits the players on a personal as well as a sporting level.

“I went over there and played for Melville for about four years and it’s a good standard and we’ve had eight lads go out since and they’ve really enjoyed it.

“We’re grateful for the support of The Energy Company and hopefully we can put our own energy supplies in their hands.

“We are planning a major redevelopment of the ground here which will include turning the pitch round and putting up floodlights so getting us the best price for electricity will be a priority.”

John Davies, Managing Director of The Energy Company, said: “Whenever we can, we are keen to support local organisations and put something back into the local community ..

“Ruthin Town Football Club do a great job and have a fantastic youth set-up and we thought it would be ideal too support a scheme which is aimed at giving a major life experience to some of the young players who have come through that junior system.

“When the Club’s energy contract comes up for renewal, we will be happy to ensure that they are on the best possible rates and to check that the tariff they are on is the right one for the expected increase in usage with the new floodlights.”

One of the most recent young players to return from New Zealand has been striker Jordan MacCarter whose goals helped fire Melville to the semi-finals of the Chatham Cup, New Zealand’s premier knockout competition, and to third place in Division Two of the Northern League.

The 22-year-old groundworks contractor from Clawddnewydd said: “I was out there from March to November and had a really good time so I’m grateful to the club for giving m e the chance.

“Andy told me about it and his uncle Steve runs the team so I flew out there to join them and they repaid me for the flights and sorted out work and accommodation for me and even arranged a car.

“The football was a good standard too and we were pushing for promotion and only just missed out and they got to the semi-finals of the Chatham Cup which was a really big thing there – it was like playing in the FA Cup.”

The Energy Company was founded by John Davies and Colin Pritchard nearly 20 years ago. They are based on Lon Parcwr, Ruthin, where it employs eight staff as well as a network of agents across the UK.

John Davies said: “It is surprising how many people are on the wrong tariffs and the energy companies seem to feel no obligation to find the best tariff for them – and that’s where we come in. Not only do we identify the best rates at the time, we also ensure that customers are on the correct tariff for their business.

“In addition, we continue to offer support and advice for any issues that may arise. We take care of terminations, ensuring that contracts do not roll on to out of contract rates, all this at no cost to the customer.

“We’re delighted to help all our customers and we estimated that in the last 10 years alone we have saved them well in excess of £5 million, money which I am sure they can better spend elsewhere in their business.”

Ruthin Town are one of Wales’s oldest clubs, founded around 1870 and in their heyday in the 1880s reached the final of the Welsh Cup, losing to Cefn Druids, and providing five Wales internationals.

In recent years they have had an acclaimed and successful junior section which has produced another international, Swansea and Wales star Neil Taylor.

They are currently involved in major improvements to their Memorial Playing Fields ground and Andy Edwards said: “We have turned the pitch 90 degrees and moved the cricket square which will enable us to enclose the pitch, put up floodlights and new stands.

“We have plans as a sports association to improve the facilities here to make it a top class set-up and as well as football and cricket we have also looked at providing a playing area for lacrosse.”

More dough for children’s hospice

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One of the UK’s oldest bakeries has risen to a new challenge – raising money for a children’s hospice charity.

The Wrexham-based Gerrards bakery is a supporter of the Hope House and Ty Gobaith hospices.

The family-run firm presented a cheque for £726 to fundraiser Rachel Jones after selling more than 2,900 specially baked gingerbread biscuits in their 15 shops.

Established in 1838, Gerrards is run by husband and wife, Dirk and Dawn van Rensburg, who were inspired to help the hospice charity after going on a visit to see what they do at first hand.

Dirk said: “A children’s hospice certainly puts everything else into perspective – we really don’t know how lucky we are. 

“It is really important that people continue to give money to them because we must make sure that these children are made to feel comfortable, by creating an environment that is as pleasant as possible.

“There are many good causes but few are better than Hope House and Ty Gobaith and we were delighted to be able help once again.

“Many people might be surprised to learn that the hospice is a very happy place and a wonderful caring environment with brilliant staff.

“It is a much-needed facility. It is really important for parents that the right support and facilities are available if their children become ill.”

According to hospice fundraiser Rachel Jones, the support of companies like Gerrards was vital – especially in the current economic climate.

She said: “It costs us over £4 million to keep our doors open and run all the services in the hospices and the families’ own homes.

“Of that, we get 30 days’ funding from the Government, the NHS and other statutory bodies which means that over 95 per cent of our funding comes from voluntary income.

“Touch wood we are doing very well but it is thanks to companies like Gerrards who are backing us that we are able to keep going.

“For the past couple of years, Gerrards have taken part in our Corporate Challenge.

“We give £50 each to companies and we challenge them to see what they can do with that investment.

 “This year Gerrards have raised £726 which is a phenomenal return on the £50 – the customers got a tasty treat while supporting their local children’s hospice.

“We cover the whole of North and Mid Wales, Cheshire and Shropshire.

“We have 400 families on our books and 270 of them have a child using one of our two hospices, Hope House, near Oswestry, or Ty Gobaith, near Conwy.

“The other 130 are bereaved families who are using our counselling and support services.

 “We provide respite for terminally ill children and their families and we do a lot of work with the extended families. brothers and sisters, and we provide a lot of counselling support for mums and dads as well.

“We have now become so expert at speaking to families over the years that we now actually get referrals from the NHS, Social Services and the emergency services to care for families who have lost a child in any circumstance – be it a cot death, a fire, a suicide or road traffic accident.

“We can take that family on our books and give them bereavement support for as long as they need us after the death of the child.

“There isn’t another service in the area that can provide the long-term care plans that we can.

“We are open 24/7 on 365 days a year and we don’t charge a penny for our services.”

Lovely Lauren backs campaign to preserve our magnificent moorland

Lauren Knowles with Nick Critchley and Paul Davies at the Horeshoe Pass near Llangollen
Lovely Lauren Knowles is lending a touch of glamour to a campaign to preserve some of Wales’s most scenic and spectacular landscape.
The gorgeous gal from Prestatyn is the face of this weekend’s Llangollen Motorbike Show and she has been busy helping distribute information about the Heather and Hillforts project.
The 20-year-old has been on the Horseshoe Pass with the Heather and Hillforts Project’s Moorland Field Officer, Nick Critchley to meet bikers and encourage them to sign up to the campaign to promote responsible off-roading on two wheels and four.
The former Miss Prestatyn, who was third in the Miss Wales competition, also took time out to see some of the preservation work that has been done on footpaths which cross the heather moorland – and some of the damage that has been done by illegal off-roading.
Lauren will be at the show at the Royal International Pavilion on Saturday and Sunday, August 7 and 8, where one of her duties will be to help judge this year’s Biker Babe competition.
She said: “This wonderful landscape is part of our heritage and is something which has to be preserved.
“The Motorbike Show can play a part in that by helping people to enjoy off-roading legitimately and that’s why we’re happy to have the Heather and Hillforts campaign at the show.”
Also part of the Heather and Hillforts stand at the show will be national organisation Tread Lightly which aims to promote responsible off-roading and whose Project Manager is Mark Margetts.
He said: “We want to engage and find a way of getting on together. Treadlightly has been going in the USA for 25 years and is a highly respected, credible and positive organisation.
“The popular conception of off-roaders might be of young kids on old bikes tearing round the place but it couldn’t be further from the truth – the majority act responsibly and this just happens to be their hobby.
“We want to encourage responsible off-roading and encourage people to act legally, join a responsible user group or club, and use legal routes.”
Nick Critchley added: “We want to send out a positive message that there are places where people can enjoy off-roading and we will have information about those routes and places that can be used.
“We support Tread Lightly in what they aim to achieve and to direct our message at off-roaders and help them find out how to do what they do legally.
“We will be at the show with merchandise and information about the Heather and Hillforts campaign and the importance of the landscape of our moorlands both from an ecological and an historical perspective.
“The people who are riding their bikes and driving their 4x4s illegally are ruining this magnificent countryside for everyone else.”
Rare species and their priceless habitats are being illegally endangered and damaged by off-road motorbikes and 4x4s and so are the Iron Age hillforts which are a very special feature of the uplands of Denbighshire.
The campaign, catchphrase is ‘don’t leave home without it’ and led by Denbighshire Countryside Services, encourages farmers, ramblers and others who enjoy the county’s wide open spaces to carry a special telephone number with them – or even key it into their mobile phones – to report the vandals.
Nick Critchley said: “We want the legitimate off-roaders to join us in this and report those they know are acting illegally because they are giving all off-roaders a bad name.
“But ideally we want prosecution to be a last resort for those who refuse to get the message – we would much sooner persuade people and ifnrom them and that’s what we hope to do at the Motorbike Show.”
Denbighshire County Council’s Heather and Hillforts Project covers the Clwydian Range Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Horseshoe Pass and Llantysilio Mountains, part of the Ruabon/Llantysilio Mountains and Minera Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and the Berwyn and South Clwyd Mountains Special Area of Conservation (SAC).
The campaign to protect them is backed by North Wales Police, the Countryside Council for Wales and the Forestry Commission Wales.
They are appealing for the public’s help in catching and convicting the offenders who are liable to be fined up to £20,000 and can have their vehicles seized and crushed.
That Police telephone number – 0845 6071002 or 0845 6071001 for Welsh language callers – means that anyone seeing illegal off-roaders tearing up the landscape can immediately report them.
The Motobike Show will once again include wide range of bikes on display, exhibitors, attractions, features & entertainment. The Custom Bike Show introduced in 2009 will return (more details to follow), there will also be more bike parking spaces on site.
For more information on the Heather and Hillforts campaign go to www.heatherandhillforts.co.uk and for further details of the Motorbike Show check out www.themotorcycleshow.co.uk

Lovely Lauren Knowles is lending a touch of glamour to a campaign to preserve some of Wales’s most scenic and spectacular landscape.The gorgeous gal from Prestatyn is the face of this weekend’s Llangollen Motorbike Show and she has been busy helping distribute information about the Heather and Hillforts project.The 20-year-old has been on the Horseshoe Pass with the Heather and Hillforts Project’s Moorland Field Officer, Nick Critchley to meet bikers and encourage them to sign up to the campaign to promote responsible off-roading on two wheels and four.The former Miss Prestatyn, who was third in the Miss Wales competition, also took time out to see some of the preservation work that has been done on footpaths which cross the heather moorland – and some of the damage that has been done by illegal off-roading.Lauren will be at the show at the Royal International Pavilion on Saturday and Sunday, August 7 and 8, where one of her duties will be to help judge this year’s Biker Babe competition.She said: “This wonderful landscape is part of our heritage and is something which has to be preserved.“The Motorbike Show can play a part in that by helping people to enjoy off-roading legitimately and that’s why we’re happy to have the Heather and Hillforts campaign at the show.”Also part of the Heather and Hillforts stand at the show will be national organisation Tread Lightly which aims to promote responsible off-roading and whose Project Manager is Mark Margetts.He said: “We want to engage and find a way of getting on together. Treadlightly has been going in the USA for 25 years and is a highly respected, credible and positive organisation.“The popular conception of off-roaders might be of young kids on old bikes tearing round the place but it couldn’t be further from the truth – the majority act responsibly and this just happens to be their hobby.“We want to encourage responsible off-roading and encourage people to act legally, join a responsible user group or club, and use legal routes.”Nick Critchley added: “We want to send out a positive message that there are places where people can enjoy off-roading and we will have information about those routes and places that can be used.“We support Tread Lightly in what they aim to achieve and to direct our message at off-roaders and help them find out how to do what they do legally.“We will be at the show with merchandise and information about the Heather and Hillforts campaign and the importance of the landscape of our moorlands both from an ecological and an historical perspective.“The people who are riding their bikes and driving their 4x4s illegally are ruining this magnificent countryside for everyone else.”Rare species and their priceless habitats are being illegally endangered and damaged by off-road motorbikes and 4x4s and so are the Iron Age hillforts which are a very special feature of the uplands of Denbighshire.The campaign, catchphrase is ‘don’t leave home without it’ and led by Denbighshire Countryside Services, encourages farmers, ramblers and others who enjoy the county’s wide open spaces to carry a special telephone number with them – or even key it into their mobile phones – to report the vandals.Nick Critchley said: “We want the legitimate off-roaders to join us in this and report those they know are acting illegally because they are giving all off-roaders a bad name.“But ideally we want prosecution to be a last resort for those who refuse to get the message – we would much sooner persuade people and ifnrom them and that’s what we hope to do at the Motorbike Show.”Denbighshire County Council’s Heather and Hillforts Project covers the Clwydian Range Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Horseshoe Pass and Llantysilio Mountains, part of the Ruabon/Llantysilio Mountains and Minera Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and the Berwyn and South Clwyd Mountains Special Area of Conservation (SAC).The campaign to protect them is backed by North Wales Police, the Countryside Council for Wales and the Forestry Commission Wales.They are appealing for the public’s help in catching and convicting the offenders who are liable to be fined up to £20,000 and can have their vehicles seized and crushed.That Police telephone number – 0845 6071002 or 0845 6071001 for Welsh language callers – means that anyone seeing illegal off-roaders tearing up the landscape can immediately report them.The Motobike Show will once again include wide range of bikes on display, exhibitors, attractions, features & entertainment. The Custom Bike Show introduced in 2009 will return (more details to follow), there will also be more bike parking spaces on site.For more information on the Heather and Hillforts campaign go to www.heatherandhillforts.co.uk and for further details of the Motorbike Show check out www.themotorcycleshow.co.uk

Les’s team produce right royal lovespoons

Les Williams

A craftsman who created a traditional lovespoon for Prince Charles has won a major order to supply the historic sites of Wales.

Les Williams, of Pageant Wood Crafts, of Llanrwst, fashioned the delicately carved royal lovespoon from Welsh oak to celebrate Prince Charles’s visit to Llanrwst two years ago.

It is just one of a series of the romantic keepsakes the 45-year-old has made for celebrities over the years. They include football royalty as well as stars of showbusiness and entertainment.

Former England manager and European Footballer of the Year Kevin Keegan has one of Les’s lovespoons and so do the likes of Bob Hope, Norman Wisdom and Jim Davidson.

And now the shops at Wales’s great castles, from Caernarfon to Caerphilly and Conwy to Castell Coch will be stocking lovespoons fashioned from Welsh oak and hand-polished at the company’s workshop in a former chapel in Scotland Street, Llanrwst.

Les, who lives in Trelawnyd, is originally from Glan Conwy and began his career among the lovesoons as a 13-year-old boy sweeping out the workshop and making the tea at Pageant’s.

“They were in Glan Conwy then,” said Les: “And one day the owner, Derek Churm, was out, or so I thought, and I tried my hand at making one myself.

“He caught me and I thought I was for the sack but instead he encouraged me and I’d always been interested in working with wood – I didn’t brush any more floors from that day on.”

The company’s bid to win new orders, which also includes another major deal with prestigious Edinburgh Woollen Mills, has been boosted by support from Conwy County Borough Council’s Rural Business Action scheme.

Business Adviser Trefor Rowlands said: “Les came to us with a request for help with winning new business and since part of his marketing invpolves trade shows we we able to provide him with display cases and with catalogues.

“We’ve also been able to give expert business advice and IT support but really Les and his firm are an example of how traditional skills can create and sustain a business.

“Lovespoons are something that is intrinsic to Wales and instantly recognizable and these are the genuine article, made with passion and skill and from locally-sourced materials.”

When Derek Churm retired in 1989 Les took over the business and moved to Llanrwst and he was commissioned to make lovespoons for Welsh comic Wyn Calvin, then president of the entertainers organisation, the Grand Order of Water Rats, to hand to fellow members who included Bob Hope, Norman Wisdom and Jim Davidson.

But for Liverpool fan one of his biggest thrills was making a lovespoon for former Kop idol Keegan, then with Hamburg, when he opened Ruthin Craft Centre in 1980.

He said: “It’s always nice to make a specially commissioned lovespoon but it was even more of a pleasure to make it for one of my heroes.

“Maybe I’ll get asked to make one for FernandoTorres one day.”

“It was obviously also a great honour to make a lovespoon for Prince Charles and these are authentically Welsh – they’re made here from Welsh oak to traditional designs and even the lacquers and waxes we use are made in Wales by a Cardiff firm, Fidde and Sons.

“We get our wood from a local timber merchant, C L Jones, in Llanrwst, and then we sell him back the offcuts for kindling so nothing goes to waste.

“We do special commissions as well with, for example, the number of children shown by the number of balls in the ‘cage’ of the spoon.

“I once did one with 15 for a gentleman from Llanrwst but I think that included children and grandchildren as well.

“It’s done the traditional way too, hand waxed using cotton rags because that gives the best finish.”

That’s true of every one of the 20,000 spoons turned out by the business every year in 114 different designs.

The spoon made for Prince Charles was presented to him when he visited Llanrwst along with a slate plaque also made by Pageant, and both are now on display in Chatsworth House, while another of Les’s masterpieces, a lovespoon over six foot long is displayed in a glass case in a government building in Tokio.

They used to be on sale in Disneyland in Florida but according to Les 9/11 made freighting them too expensive with prohibitive insurance charges but as well as in some of Wales’s most historic properties, Pageant lovespoons can be found in giftshops all over Wales and even in Chester and Edinburgh as well as in Les’s local garden shop, Jacksons Nurseries in Trelawnyd.

Les and his partner, Gwen Wilson, and his two employees, brothers Shaun and Dean Roberts, from Llanrwst, do all the work by hand, from the cutting out of the spoons in the basement workshop to the hand polishing – at a rate of almost 400 spoons a week.

For further information about Conwy Council’s Rural Business Action grants contact Trefor Rowlands on 01492 574555 or e-mail trefor.rowlands@conwy.gov.uk and for more on Pageant Wood Crafts go to www.faze3.co.uk/lovespoons