Montgomery Christmas Festival’s carol and Christmas song community event took place at the Town Hall on Saturday 14th December. This annual event has been held for a number of years at the Town Hall, but in recent years it has undergone a revamp, with the timings moving from an evening event, with mulled wine and mince pies, to an afternoon event, with a sumptuous afternoon tea on offer to participants. Sue Blower, Festival chair, who hosted the event and organised it along with the Festival committee, said, “We find the afternoon event, with tea, works better on a number of levels.” She explained, “We attract a wider audience, of all ages - the youngest one this year was only four months old - and the older residents in their eighties. Also finishing earlier means people don’t have to worry about getting home late at night if the weather is freezing - or missing Strictly!” As well as the community singing of well-known carols and Christmas songs, with piano accompaniment from Claire Weston, the audience was treated to two solos from Montgomery school pupil Rhiannon Richards, a reading of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas by Sally Orme and a story of the Fourth Wise Man, told by Nicholas Thon. Ruth Moucharafieh, who attended the afternoon’s festivities, said, “Christmas carols and afternoon tea - what a fabulous time in Montgomery Town Hall!” and Mayoress Jane Lloyd said, “Thank you all for a lovely afternoon - we really enjoyed ourselves.”
Sarah Voice and son Harry had the privilege of dropping off around 600 donated gifts to the Montgomery Family Crisis Centre last week. Local resident and specialist nurse Sarah has been delivering gifts to the Centre for around 4 years, beginning with a personal donation and expanding into an annual Christmas collection. Each year the collection points have grown, and this year included The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, Montgomery Church in Wales School, The Dragon Hotel Montgomery, Tesco Welshpool, The Talbot Berriew and Tesco Newtown, all of whom Sarah thanks for their support. Sarah said, “Harry and I have thoroughly enjoyed this year’s Christmas collection for Montgomery Crisis Centre. For weeks we have collected donations from around the area ready for delivery. I felt extremely touched at everyone’s generosity and appreciated every single donation. This is a fine example of community spirit at its best.” The collected items of new toys, toiletries and gift sets for children and adults were all checked by Sarah and 6-year-old Harry who added batteries etc. if needed, and worried about fitting everything in their car! They then delivered everything to Fleur Frantz-Morgans, the Centre’s community liaison officer. Fleur said, “We can’t thank Sarah and Harry enough for their amazing efforts. We would also like to thank and wish a very merry Christmas to all who kindly offered to act as a collection point, and of course everyone who gave so generously; all these wonderful gifts will make such a difference to local people facing difficult times this festive season.” Sarah added, “I feel so lucky that I work with such generous people while my son grows up in such a caring, supporting community.” Montgomeryshire Family Crisis Centre provides specialist support for men, women and their children who have experienced, been affected by or witnessed domestic abuse in North Powys. Jane Stephens, the Centre’s General Manager, said, “It is vitally important that anyone experiencing abuse knows where to turn to for help.” MFCC service provision includes female and male safe houses where adults and their children can escape abusive relationships. MFCC also deliver outreach services for adults and children throughout North Powys. Support provision includes risk assessing, safety planning, group programmes, and 1-1 sessions giving survivors time to talk. MFCC also work closely with Welsh Women’s Aid delivering Ask Me Ambassador training to members of the local community; this also raises awareness of domestic abuse and creates safe environments so that survivors feel able to speak out. If you would like more information on Montgomeryshire Family Crisis Centre’s services, Ask Me Ambassador training or if you would like to help MFCC support our local community by making a donation you can call on 01686 629114 or email email@example.com Sarah Voice’s charitable efforts were also helped by the community’s generosity last year when she was able to fundraise enough funds to be able to purchase medical equipment for three families in need after completing a half marathon. She hopes to complete another fundraising event in May 2020 for families in need, when she competes in the Edinburgh Marathon.
Following the “real” hustings event at the Town Hall the previous week, Sarah Morris of Field Mouse Research organised and hosted an alternative comedy hustings quiz on the same stage, with panellists including prospective parliamentary candidates who didn’t end up appearing on the Montgomeryshire ballot papers. Team captains Myfanwy Alexander and Elwyn Vaughan (Plaid Cymru) were joined by guests Oliver Lewis (Brexit Party) and Jeremy Thorp (Green Party) for some light relief from the General Election 2019. The quiz, based on a well-known television format, was entitled “Have I Got Welsh News for You” and featured rounds such as ‘Whose Dog?’, ‘Odd One Out’ and ‘How Many Trees?’. Audience members were invited to bring along a sense of humour and leave their political affiliations at home, which they did - and in fact the first point in the quiz went to the audience! It wasn’t all silliness, with the audience picking up some statistical knowledge - such as that 1 billion trees would cover 1% of the UK’s area, and that 1 million eggs leave Powys each day - and hearing an interesting discussion on the processes behind the party decisions to form alliances. Host Sarah ended on a serious note, encouraging everyone to appreciate all the work of candidates and local party members who give up so much time for campaigning. Author Sandra Lindsey, who helped put together the evening’s on-screen presentation, live-tweeted from the event. Comments on Twitter included Maryline Leese: “Good fun at Have I Got Welsh News For You tonight. Great way to give the candidates that couldn't stand in Montgomeryshire (following Remain and Leave alliances here) a platform to hear their views. Thanks Sarah Morris for hosting. Really enjoyed it.” Emma Wilde Hale tweeted: “Fantastic evening, fun, laughs and genuine good humour from all, as Sarah Morris put it, the ‘reject candidates’. Big shout out to Field Mouse Research and everyone who arranged it. Craig Williams was even brave enough to join towards the end (missing the earlier comments about his hair).” Sarah Morris said, “A gazillion thanks to Myfanwy Alexander, Elwyn Vaughan, Jeremy Thorp and Oliver Lewis for making the event such a success. And thanks to Sandra Lindsey for her technical wizardry and Montgomery Vineyard and Montys Brewery for the fab prizes!” She added, “Most of all, thanks to everyone who came, laughed along with us - even when they were the comedy target (Craig Williams) - and left their political frustrations at home for the evening. It was so much fun. Just goes to show, there's not much in life that can't be improved by laughter!”
After the Montgomery Show Barbecue on Sunday 2nd June, a team of volunteers assisted Montgomery Energy Group (MEG) with sorting the rubbish. Many of the items used at the barbecue, including food bowls and trays, and wooden cutlery, were compostable. This is a vast improvement on polystyrene and wax paper containers which would have had to go to landfill. Many more people are getting accustomed to checking which bins the rubbish goes into and supporting the reducing and recycling effort. MEG’s Jeremy Thorp said, “Thank you to all the volunteers for helping, to the organisers for considering our environment in their planning, and to everyone for making the effort with the different bins.” Local zero-waste activist, Katrina Collins, commented, “This is awesome! Small steps make lasting changes. Well done Monty!”
Congratulations to Montgomery’s Sue Blower who has completed her comprehensive training with The Institute of Professional Celebrants. Sue, who has been Montgomery’s Town Crier for 16 years, can now carry out the duties of a Celebrant in bespoke ceremonies such as those for the naming of children, weddings (alongside a registrar), and funerals/celebrations of life at a crematorium, green-field site, or wherever the family chooses. A celebrant is unable to facilitate a ceremony on consecrated premises but may assist with the delivery of a eulogy, renewal of marriage vows or presenting a child for church christening, and faith is acknowledged and included where requested. Sue says, “Everyone has a different stance on how they want to say goodbye to their loved ones, or how they want to make lifelong promises in a partnership. The role of the celebrant is to work alongside individuals, guide them through it, and enable whatever the families choose to do. Assisting families through difficult sad events is a privilege and an honour. Likewise, events such as a wedding are a joy to be involved with.” To discuss fees and plans for your ceremony, Sue can be contacted on 07939128286 or firstname.lastname@example.org Image credit: Keith Williams
Many congratulations to Montgomery cyclist Emma Serjeant who became the Welsh Masters Time Trial Champion on 1st June.The Welsh Time Trial and Road Race Championships took place in Ruthin and the Time Trial course was a technical undulating course over 26 miles including the twisty descent of Nant Y Garth.Emma said, "I couldn’t quite believe it when the results came in and I was the Welsh Masters Time Trial Champion!"
Ed Humphreys of Montgomery attended a Garden Party hosted by HM the Queen at Buckingham Palace on 29th May. He received his invitation following his work on the panel which reviewed the work of Town and Community Councils across Wales, and which reported to Welsh Government late last year. Ed said, “I was surprised and honoured to be invited to the Garden Party; it was a wonderful and memorable experience.” He was invited to represent the Town and Community Council sector on the panel because of his extensive and varied experience as a clerk to both Town and Community Councils. Currently the Town Clerk at Newtown and Llanllwchaiarn Town Council, he is also the clerk for Churchstoke Community Council; in addition, he sits on the Executive of the Society of Local Council Clerks, the professional body which supports Town and Community Council clerks across England and Wales. Image: Ed Humphreys (right) with the other members of the Independent Review Panel
People attending Montgomery’s Thursday market were given the opportunity to discuss healthcare issues with members of Powys Community Health Council (CHC), as part of their work to feed back local views into the planning and delivery of local health services. Naren Keeble from the Community Health Council said, “We are doing consultations in a number of places, and have been getting a good response today at Montgomery.” Members of Powys CHC regularly attend events throughout the county to hear about the difficulties that people face with health services. The main issues raised at Montgomery market were about doctor and dentist appointments, as well as the difficulty in understanding which health services are available and where they are available from - as there is no general hospital within the county. Mrs Mary Gould, who was sharing her views, said, “I think the health service is very good - especially from the specialist nurse practitioners, who are wonderful.” Powys CHC member and Montgomery resident Dr Anthea Wilson said, “People were full of praise for the service they receive, but getting appointments with doctors and dentists can prove difficult and leaves patients feeling anxious and frustrated.” Another key issue raised was that when a patient is referred for treatment they are not kept up-to-date with the latest information on when they may be seen; this also leads patients to worry that they have been forgotten about. The Powys CHC team talks to the public to find out their views on services but also visit hospital wards and surgeries to check whether the services that we all receive are of a high standard. It also allows patients to give their views at the time that they are being treated. The team then acts on this information through discussion with the hospitals and surgeries to improve the patient experience. Powys CHC also offers an Independent Complaints Advocacy Service. If you are unhappy with the care and treatment that you, or someone else, is currently receiving or has received from the NHS then the advocacy team is there to support you. They can be contacted on 01874 610646. The patient engagement team at Powys CHC (Flora and Naren) enjoyed their day at Montgomery market and you will see them around the county throughout the summer. For more information on where you can find Image: Naren Keeble listens to Mary Gould’s views during the consultation at Montgomery
The Delage Register and British Hotchkiss Society enjoyed 4 days in Montgomery with their weekend rally being based at the town’s Dragon Hotel. Rally organiser, Mike Tebbett, the only one of the group who had visited Montgomery before, had chosen the town as the venue for the weekend following his enjoyment of a visit with The Light Car & Edwardian Section of the Vintage Sports Car Club just over a year earlier. On arrival, club members were treated to an historic tour of some of Montgomery town's interesting sights by Dr John Welton of the Montgomery Civic Society. Their weekend itinerary included drives out to the Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway, Powis Castle, Llysdinam and Elan Valley. On Saturday afternoon, after the group returned from Welshpool, Montgomery Town Crier Sue Blower delivered a well-researched and well-received proclamation, saying: “Delage by title, delightful by image Cars from our history, with beautiful bodies and frontage Company founded in 1905 With Louis Delage hoping taking the risk would allow them to survive The proms model production, Type A, a voiturette The company becoming noticed, their future clearly set How wonderful to welcome you to this, our Historic Town Your cars have brought great joy and interest Faces full of smiles and no one wearing a frown Enjoy your visit to our beautiful Montgomery Come again to meet old friends Take a warm Welsh greeting back with you - this has become our Town Crying trend Good luck, God’s blessings, safe journey to all Pob lwc, Duw bendithio siwrnai ddiogel i chi gyd” Moira Swinbourne, who visited with her 1926 Delage DI, said, “Thank you for making us so welcome. You have a lovely town which everyone takes so much pride in and you are all so friendly. The staff at The Dragon were first class. The Town Crier was wonderful - we really did appreciate your visit. I for one will be back.” Mike Tebbett added, “All of the Rally participants were thoroughly impressed by Montgomery, with many vowing to return at a later date.” After the planned itinerary was complete, the visitors had an extra treat as they were invited to view the glorious garden at Ted and Jill Bowen-Jones’ home on Monday morning before leaving the town, sharing tea and biscuits with the lovely couple too. Several members gave money for the pair's charity as a thanks for this generous gesture. Mike Tebbett said, “This was a wonderful way to bring our superb weekend to an end!”
"Way back in the noughties and under the leadership of Mayor Bob Jones, the Town Council decided that the township of Montgomery needed new signs on the roads to welcome visitors. Rather than pick signs from a catalogue, the council chose to have a competition to design the best signs for the community. Several entries were received from school-children and artists, but in the end the council voted on an entry by Philip Humphreys. The new signs were commissioned, cast by a company in Derbyshire, and fitted at every road entrance to the town. They were quite a spectacle when they were installed, and gave a really wonderful welcome both to visitors and to residents returning home. "Now in 2019, the once bright and beautiful signs are now looking a bit dull and sad! Although over the years many residents including myself have been round and cleaned them all, the Welsh weather has taken its toll, with the sunshine fading the paint and the frost and rain causing the aluminium to corrode - not to mention the salt and grit from winter road maintenance. I spoke to the original sign-makers in Derbyshire, who are still in business and remember making the signs – they even still have all the details of the paint colours. They have agreed to refurbish and repaint the township signs back to their original standard. With a bit of local help, I am going to take all the signs down and drive them over to Derbyshire and then collect and refit them once they have been restored. They will be stripped back to bare aluminium, then primed and repainted, and should then last another 20 years. "I have set up a JustGiving crowdfunding page to raise £1500 to carry out the restoration. We have all been hit with a big council tax raise this year and every pound the Council spend will impact next year’s budget and every household’s pocket, so I thought, why not take this one on and see if we can give the town a boost without hitting those who may not see the benefit of the new signs. The Town Council have agreed to make a contribution if it’s needed. JustGiving is really easy to do: follow the link below or go to justgiving.com and search ‘Montgomery town signs’. Or you can call into the Dragon hotel and make a donation at reception. "Thanks to all of you who have already donated and all who choose to help. If the target is not met, I will refurbish as many signs as I can, starting with the worst one first." - Simon Bedford, Broad Street, Montgomery https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/montgomery-town-signs Picture by G17 Photography Services