A chocolate shop boss has arranged a delicious treat for history buffs which will raise cash for a much-loved hospice.
Mark Young, who runs the Denbigh Chocolate Shop in Vale Street, has arranged a 90-minute guided tour around the town exploring some of its most historically interesting locations in aid of St Kentigern Hospice in St Asaph.
The guide for the morning on Sunday, February 12, is well-known former local GP and keen amateur historian Dr Chris Madoc-Jones, who will provide a fact-packed commentary to accompany the trek and at the end a welcoming hot drink and cake will be served by the Chocolate Shop.
Mark explained that he’s organised the Cerdded Valentine Walk 2017 to give a further financial boost to the hospice for which he’s raised over £25,000 in the past 17 years.
He said: “With the help of other businesses and the people of Denbigh I do all I can to support St Kentigern because it does such a fantastic job and provides a much-needed service that is second to none.
“We arranged a similar around-town walk a few years ago which proved very popular and attracted about 50 people and I’m hoping this one will be an even bigger hit.
“I’ll be taking part with 10 of my staff from the shop and we’ll be taking a look at some of Denbigh’s most fascinating historical spots.
“I couldn’t think of anyone better to provide the running – or walking – commentary than Dr Chris Madoc-Jones because he’s one of the most knowledgeable people about the history of the area.
“I’d also like to say a huge thank you to Denbigh Museum for hosting us.”
Chris, 72, who was born and raised in Denbigh and retired from GP practice in the town about 10 years ago, said: “I just love telling people the stories behind various parts of my hometown and the walk Mark has organised gives me the perfect opportunity to do that.
“It’s also about raising money for St Kentigern hospice which, especially as a local doctor for many years, I know does such good work.
“I think it’s very sad that the hospice gets less than half of the money it needs to stay open from the public finances, so I do all I can to support it.”
He added: “The walk will start from the old courthouse, now Denbigh Museum, at 11am and last for about an hour and a half.
“We’ll be strolling around some of our most famous landmarks, such as St Marcella’s Church, known locally at Whitchurch.
“The present building dates back to the 13th century although we know there’s been a church on the site in Lower Denbigh since the 6th or 7th centuries, or the time when St Kentigern who the hospice is named after was alive.
“It’s notable for having two knaves constructed in what’s known as the Vale of Clwyd style. They built the first and added the second some years later when the parish became more prosperous.
“Near the church, and another stop along the walk route, is the site of the Battle of Denbigh Green which was fought in 1645.
“I’ll be explaining that during the English Civil War when Royalist forces held Denbigh Castle the nobleman who commanded it, Salisbury, was trying to recruit an army to raise the siege of Chester.
“The Parliamentarians heard about this and sent men to oppose him. They marched in through Ruthin and the two forces clashed at Denbigh Green.
“Some historians describe the encounter as a skirmish but there were 5,000 men involved and, to me, that’s definitely a battle. The Parliamentarians won and chased the Royalists all the way to Llanrwst.
“Another stop-off will be the Abbey, which dates back to medieval times and was originally a priory.
“I’ll be telling people the story of when bones were discovered in the school next to it about 30 years ago belonging to some of the friars from the medieval period.
“They were reburied in the town cemetery but because it was thought to be important to have this done properly it was decided the service should be conducted in a mixture of Latin and Welsh which would have been used at the time they died.
“After quite a search an Irish priest who had learned Welsh was eventually found to officiate.
“The walk starts from the old courthouse, known in the area as From Goch, which started out as a school in 1877 – actually the one I attended – and later became a court and then the museum. I’ll be explaining a bit of its history and we’ll also be looking at the column in Vale Street erected to the memory of Evan Pearce, the local doctor who helped to combat cholera when it came to Denbigh in the 1830s.”
Organiser Mark Young said: “The walk is sponsored by the Chocolate Shop, HSBC bank, Henllan Bakery and the Ceidiog Communication public relations company.
“HSBC have kindly agreed to match-fund whatever we raise on the day, so I’d invite as many people as possible to come along to raise a really healthy amount for the hospice.”
Community fundraiser for St Kentigern, Lindsey Thomas, said: “I’d like to thank Mark for organising the walk. He’s a keen supporter of the hospice for which we’re very grateful.
“We’re also very appreciative of the sponsorship of the walk by Henllan Bakery, Ceidiog Communication and HSBC bank which is also providing match-funding. It all helps enormously.
“The walk should be very interesting and real pleasure to join. All we need now is some good weather on the day.”
The walk begins at 11am on Sunday February 12 from the museum in Grove Road, Denbigh (postcode LL16 3UU). Registration is £10 and walkers can be sponsored if they wish.