Ward Walk -24th March 2015

Enjoyed my regular ward walk earlier today, reported several fly tipping incidents before calling in to see Helen at Twin Trim Hairdresses and Nicola at The Head Gardener Garndiffaith.

Unfortunately for me I got soaked in the rain and sleet, although en route I did notice that the lamppost still under warranty outside the co operative which I reported several weeks ago was still full faulty, so will be chasing this up.

Faulty Lamppost Garndiffaith

Went to call in to see Petals the florists in Abersychan but as she was just receiving a fresh delivery, I’ll call in next week.

Walking through the village I was pleased to see the Post Office full and people in The Cafe, Gabbys Diner and Abersychan Pharmacy.

I wanted to pop into Tikitiboo to have a look about for some gifts, but unfortunately they were closed today.

The whole area looked clean on the main routes apart from the fly tipping off the beaten track, but all areas suffer from this not just Abersychan ward.

Car Dashboard -Big Arch Field

Received good news about the blocked drain outside Pins & Inks Tattooist, this will be sorted by Friday.

Will be cleared by Friday

Support Local Independent Businesses

Another good afternoon supporting #shoplocal and independent traders who have faith in our communities and support the local economy.

A real lifeline helping to make our home villages and towns prosperous.

One thing I’ve learned by supporting local independent businesses are how important they actually are within a community and what good customer service actually is.

No one wants a dead village, but its up to each one of us to support them, instead of complaining when they’ve shut down, without our custom they will eventually close and then others quickly follow.

All that will be left is your big multi national superstores, syphoning money from the local economy and spending, investing it else where.

Today my mission was to pop to Abergavenny Market to buy freshly baked soda bread and to pick up some fresh vegetables and cakes along with a coffee and a few Birthday Cards.

All of these I could have bought in my local superstore, but where’s the fun in that?

Passing through Blaenavon I decided to park up and call into Artie Craftie on Commercial Street to see if they sold home crafted cards as well as supplying the materials.

It was great catching up with Nick and Wendy, but although they supplied materials, they didn’t actuality sell the finished product.

They directed me to another local business over the road called Coffee and Cards, a quaint little cafe which sold a selection of home made cards along with coffee!

Lovely people, really helpful and friendly and nothing was too much trouble, real quality service.

Result knowing that my money was going back into Blaenavon World Heritage Town and helping a local business.

As always, Abergavenny was bustling and the Market was really busy, where I enjoyed a coffee and picked up several freshly baked products, along with enjoying several chats with local people and meeting Abersychan Ward residents along the way.

The broad selection of fresh produce on sale was outstanding, from Jams, cakes, plants to bric n brac, always a pleasure, especially the farmers market which is also held in the market hall during the month.

Much more pleasurable than visiting my local supermarket, especially with the socialising and sneaky coffee.

To support local independent businesses all you need to do is make little changes to your routine like top up Gas and Electric at a pay point in the local post office, pop in, use your local independent pharmacy or try a service in the area, like Barbers, Hairdresser’s, Cafes etc.

Without YOUR support, they are all at risk.  Use them or lose them.

#shoplocal #supportindependentbusinesses

Fingers and Thumbs – Abersychan

Last Wednesday, I took my daughter to Finger and Thumbs Nail & Beauty Salon in Abersychan.

Fingers & Thumbs is located above Syran John Hairdressers and has been based here for just over 4 years, the business is run by Vicky Edmunds, who makes you feel completely at home during your treatment with a cup of tea and a chat.

Vicky’s salon, offers a peaceful and tranquil environment, which allows you to totally unwind.

Within her salon she offers – Spray Tanning, Waxing, Facials, Eyelash and Eyebrow Tinting, plus many more.

Nothing is rushed and everything is carried out at a very professional standard.

My daughter had Acrylic Nails, which took around 2 hours, no electric files that ruin the nail, leading to infection, everything was unrushed and explained.

Vicky hard at work


My 16 year old was way impressed after using other Nail Bars!

She will definitely be going back and was shocked that Abersychan had such a professional business like this!

The finished result. Nail edges also oiled

Fingers and Thumbs can be contacted on 01495 773409 and has a website www.fingersandthumbs.org.uk

The webpage also includes a list of services on offer along with current price list.

Take a look and go and spoil yourself or a loved one!

Fingers & Thumbs is a jewel in Abersychan Wards Crown.

Scam’s Chip & Fin – High Street Abersychan

Scams Hygiene Rating

Just got back from Scams Chip & Fin, Fish & Chips Shop which is located at 31 High Street, Abersychan.

Tracey Scammell manager

Tracey Scammell manager as always was very friendly and helpful and customer service was outstanding.

The shop is always spotlessly clean and fish is always cooked to order and portion sizes are huge.

This has everything you need from a perfect fish and chip shop, including an amazing hygiene rating!

Can’t recommend this local business enough, you can also follow them on Facebook at


Or contact them on 01495 774027


13 Years of The Barber Shop

imageToday I called in to see the proprietors of The Barber Shop who were celebrating St. David’s Day with another of their Trade Mark window displays which is rapidly becoming iconic in the village.

They were also having a little known second celebration, which was marking 13 years to the day of opening their shop which has gone from strength to strength.


Clare Roberts, who originally opened the shop on St. David’s Day 2002, explained the importance of putting the customer first and the benefits she has gained by offering a professional Barbers in the village.

Ashden Davey aged 5 after his hair cut

Now after 13 years of hard work, Clare has now decided to work part time at the shop after handing the reins over to her children, Lucille and Louis.

The Barber Shop has a loyal following and is very child friendly with its man sized Batman and Superman dummies and motorbike barber’s chair for toddlers.

The Barber Shop Abersychan has a Facebook page and is a walk in business, no appointments necessary.

The Barber Shop would like to thank all their old and new customers for supporting their family business and a warm and friendly service always awaits customers.


To help celebrate today, all customers were offered a welsh cake!

Another great family run business in Abersychan Ward #SHOPLOCAL


The Best Of Torfaen Awards

Really enjoyable morning, as I attended The Best Of Torfaen Awards and Networking Breakfast at Greenmeadow Golf Club.


Really interesting to hear each member speak for 60 seconds on what’s been happening with their business and any promotions they are offering.

Met some real interesting people and shared ideas on using blogs, Facebook and twitter.

I was honoured to be asked to present the awards to the winning businesses and it was a pleasure meeting Nick and Wendy from Artie Craftie again and was chuffed to be given a limited edition Artie Badge.


The food was excellent and the way the businesses were promoted was outstanding, a real social event.

I was pleased to hear a local business owner who didn’t vote for me last election, assured me they would next time for all the support I’m giving them, which was really nice to be told.

I also chatted at length about some ideas the local business owners have to promote the ward, which were very exciting to hear, I’m looking forward to working with them to try and put these in place.

Really pleased to be included and recognised for what I’m trying to achieve in the ward by promoting local businesses.

Can’t wait to be invited to the next business event, makes my job in promoting this ward and its businesses really rewarding.

My morning at Blaenafon

Just got home from a morning looking at local independent shops and a coffee at Blaenafon with one of the ward Councillors, Councillor Alan Jones.

Being blessed with a sunny morning I walked through the town heading to Coffi 1860 to meet Alan, what struck me first was the selection of shops on offer and the historic feel of the High Street, with the stone work, quaint mixture of small and larger shops.

Coffi 1860 was a really nice old fashioned café, with the art décor lights and tiled walls complimented with a mix of wooden tables and settees.

Breakfast at Coffi 1860
Breakfast at Coffi 1860

The service was prompt and top class, we were made to feel very welcome, I was really pleased to read that Coffi 1860 uses locally sourced fresh produce, which is an added bonus for the local economy.

They also offer catering packages for buffets, ranging from classic at £3.75 per head to a hot package at £6.95 a head.

Coffi 1869 is located at 76 Broad Street Blaenafon and can be contacted on 01495 790127.

Councillor Alan Jones outside Flowers by Stacey
Councillor Alan Jones outside Flowers by Stacey

Another impressive shop was ‘Flowers by Stacey’ an independent florist who was a pleasure to meet and chat to, the shop had an impressive selection of flowers within and outside the shop.

Blaenafon Councillor Alan Jones at Staceys
Blaenafon Councillor Alan Jones at Staceys

The General Stores down the road from Stacey was my downfall, with a large selection of cakes and biscuits which I couldn’t leave on the shelf, the owner was really friendly and the shop was really well stocked and not all plastic and white shelving like so many, it was in keeping in character with the town, one I will be using regularly.

Blaenafon Cheese company, what can I say except if you enjoy locally produced cheese, then you need to visit this shop!

IMAG1848The highlight to my visit was Artie Craftie, an award winning Art & Crafts shop with a photography studio located at 3 Commercial Street.

Nick the owner was a real gent and explained what services the shop offered, I was pleased to hear that he also offers a professional framing service and a huge range of specialist art and craft items, one of the best craft shops I’ve been in.

Nick & Wendy at Artie Craftie
Nick & Wendy at Artie Craftie

Another bonus was meeting another Giles, a first for me!

Artie Craftie can be followed on Facebook and Twitter.

What really amazes me, is what is actually right on our doorsteps, a huge range on independent specialist shops and services, just waiting to be discovered, you will always get a real friendly service and excellent after service.

A massive THANK YOU to Councillor Jones for giving me a tour of his town this morning, one I can be sure he’s very proud of.

Ward Walk 24th February 2015

Another good ward walk this morning covering the lower half of the ward then the upper part via Harpers Road, not many issues Abersychan end today, but enjoyed calling in for a coffee and a visit to The Barber Shop to say hello.

Pleased to see the trees being cut back opposite Cleaves Terrace, this I asked for a few months ago, again after issues with unstable trees.

Called in to Abersychan Post Office and then walked Ffrwd Road and onto Harpers Road to Garndiffaith.

On my rounds I called in to have a chat with Nicola Davies-House the proprietor of The Head Gardener a local hairdresser located on Stanley Road Garndiffaith, which has been opened since 1985.


The Head Gardener is one of several hairdressers in the ward and offers a competitive service within comfortable surroundings, prices range from £6 for dry cuts to foils from £28.

Whist there I had great pleasure in meeting ward resident, Betty who was also in the shop.

The Head Gardener is a unisex salon and can be found on Facebook, late opening is also available.

Nicola can be contacted on 01495 774748 for appointments.


Walking though Garndiffaith I picked up a few issues from residents before calling in at Albert General Stores at Talywain for a chat, where I picked up another issue from a passer-by.

Tomorrow I’m meeting a colleague at Blaenafon  to catch up at Coffi 1860, an independent coffee shop  before looking about the town, so will have to forfeit my ward walk.

I will be available though via Facebook, Twitter or mobile if you have any outstanding issues.

The Best of Torfaen

This morning during my ward walk I called in to visit ‘The Best of Torfaen’ a local company that has an office at Abersychan Industrial and Business Estate.

The best of, I was informed started life in 2005 and over that time has grown into a household name.


They have coverage in over 300 areas across the UK, showcasing and supporting over 30,000 Businesses and are are proud to be ‘local’ as every area is run and owned  independently by a local person.

Each local ‘franchisee’ has been selected to work with the best businesses and support their community in a variety of ways.

They are dedicated to supporting businesses in the UK and helping them to grow, survive and prosper.

Their ethic is very much like mine, a shared love of the community and the area their passion is to see it grow and prosper for the businesses and people within it.

They also run a free local newsletter for businesses and have a websitehttp://www.thebestof.co.uk/local/torfaen/about if you’d like to know more about this company in our ward.

It was a pleasure to meet Steve Gregory and Megan Dovey today and learn about what they do within the community.

I wish them every success and thank them for having confidence in the ward of Abersychan and opening their office here.

February 6th 2015 – 125 years since the Llanerch Explosion

The Llanerch evening serviceSeveral weeks ago I spoke to my colleague Gwyneira Clark about the lack of progress with finding funding for a permanent memorial for the 125th years since the Llanerch disaster.

We agreed that something had to be done so we came up with an idea of a memorial service to bring the community together and launch a memorial fund.

Straight away we got in touch with the minister of Trinity to book the chapel and then with the church committee we called a meeting at my house to discuss an order of service and hymns, we also decided to invite the three choirs from the area to take part in the event.

After much thought we came up with the readings and decided to ask a few residents to read their poems at the service.

As the event drew near, we were unsure of how many people would support the event and went about publicising it, we were amazed at how much interest was being whipped up and received various phone calls from radio stations and local press who were keen to get involved.

We as Councillors decided to take a back seat with interviews and just keep publicising the event, In the mean time we asked various people to speak on the radio instead.

The Free Press contacted us and asked if they could help and asked if we would go to the Llanerch site for a photo to add to the article, so we invited Mr Alan Betty a long standing campaigner to come with us.

When I got home, feeling moved by being at the site of the explosion, I decided to post on twitter that I was going to walk to the site on the day of the explosion and taking the route families did as they went to the pit 125 years ago at the same time to look for loved ones and lay flowers.

Within minutes of posting I had several requests from people wanting to come with me, I rang my colleagues and asked what they thought about making it official and inviting the two ministers along, one from Noddfa and the other from Trinity, as it would add more to the day to remember those killed.

Then it snowballed and last minute we decided to invite school children along around the same age as the ones who died in the disaster, to lay flowers instead of us.
This was planned within hours of the event and turned out to be a very moving start to the day.

We then spent the rest of the morning and early evening setting up the chapel.

At the Service were Paul Murphy MP, Lynne Neagle AM, Ken Clark from the local history Society, and the Scripture reading by the Rev Bev Morgan from Merchant’s Hill Baptist Church, Peter Walker from the Big Pit Mining Museum gave an address, followed by a reading – Pit Disaster by Joan Targett.

A Miner’s Lamp penned and read by David Davies, put a lump in many a throat and was very moving, the choirs, the Apollo Singers, the Spirit Choir and the Garndiffaith Gleemen added to the evening.

The event was very successful and the fund was launched, raising over £500 on the night.

The following pictures from February 6th 2015 document the community remembering the disaster at the colliery that killed 176 men and boys and later at the church service.