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News and Views - How it Began

The local News and Views is a treasure trove of information for our local area. From historical places of interest to events and community projects, the booklet is incredibly informative and is a brilliant way of sharing the news of our beautiful area.

We caught up with Barbara Thomas, who along with her late husband Colin, began the News and Views back in December 1997. Here she tells us more:

What led to you starting up News and Views - how did it come about?

"When Colin and I moved to Llanferres in late 1995, we found it quite difficult to get to know people and get to hear about what was going on in the village. We'd often walk or drive past the school/village hall and see activity and said that we wished we'd known about that.

This was the start of an idea in my head that perhaps a newsletter or village magazine would be a good idea. I asked neighbours and friends what they thought about the idea and received a favourable response so the first issue was produce in December 1997. We did fundraising, had advertisers and asked for an annual donation to pay for the printing costs. It was delivered by a willing band of volunteers in the village, Maeshafn and outlying areas. The first couple of editions were printed at home but then as the numbers increased, I took the copy to Shire Hall in Mold where it was printed, collated and returned to me as a completed magazine. "

Tell us more about the front covers! I hear they were drawn by local children?

"To give the magazine an appeal to all ages, we asked the local children to draw a picture for the for cover and this was still being done up until 2000.

There were also some ’special editions’ of the magazine of which the unsuspecting recipient was the only house to recieve that copy. One of the funniest was where we photoshopped at the face of a Tafarn y Gelyn resident onto a page 3 girl body. It was delivered discreetly but what Colin and I didn’t know was that her mother in law was staying there and she picked up the magazine first. Oops!

There are also a couple of covers that were ‘jokes’ and one in particular I've attached a photo of (issue 30). A resident of Tafarn y Gelyn spotted a sheep on its back in a field by her kitchen window. She went out in her PJ’s and rubber gloves to see if she could help it. "

What did you enjoy most about putting together each booklet?

"I think the biggest reward for the hard work that went into producing the magazine each month was the fact the people actually looked forward to receiving it. There can be no greater compliment than that."

What was your favourite section of News and Views?

"My favourite section? Now that’s a hard one to choose. I loved the Birthday column where each month children's names were mentioned and their ages, this often included an adult name if they had a special birthday. Also the regular contributors like John Almond with his Nature Notes and Tony King with his historical notes."

How long did you run the news and views for?

"Colin and I worked on the magazine for 6 years before handing it all over to Sonia Evans who then put her own mark on it and enabled it to flourish and develop into the slick publication it is today. Whilst going through all the magazines that I produced, I’ve been really reminiscing at what a great village Llanferres is and what fun we all had in those days. Fundraising discos, casino nights, race nights etc for all sorts of organisations - we didn’t need much of an excuse to party in those days."

A snapshot of the editorial written for Barbara and Colin for their final issue.

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