Pontcysyllte Aqueduct ready for Underneath the Arches musical celebration

Reporter:

Jamie Bowman

ONE of North East Wales’ most popular events should attract large crowds on Friday night as Underneath the Arches returns to the spectacular surroundings of the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal.

It’s now seven years since Thomas Telford’s 200-year old aqueduct became a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the event offers a family-friendly night out with great food and music finishing with a spectacular lighting and firework show.

Taking place between 7pm and 11pm, the event welcomes back local favourite band Salty Hog and soloist Luke Gallagher, with Wrexham-based The Big Beat rounding off the evening with a full set of party favourites ahead of the firework finale high over the aqueduct. 

During the evening there will also be face painters, sweet and ice cream stalls plus fairground rides.

This year the event will see a small reduction in capacity for everyone’s comfort, plus additional on-site toilets and marshalling to add to the visitor experience. 

The team has taken the decision to move the event back by a week to avoid clashing with the International Eisteddfod in Llangollen. 

The format is still very much focussed on a ‘picnic in the park’ idea, although whilst alcohol is permitted on the site it is limited to either six cans, one bottle of wine or half a bottle of spirits per adult.

Speaking about the evening, Cllr Neil Rogers, lead member for economic development and regeneration at Wrexham Council, said: “We’re delighted Underneath the Arches is returning this year, but we must sincerely thank local residents and the Trevor and Garth Community Council for providing their feedback and working with us to address the issues which caused local residents some problems last July.

“We’ve worked hard to greatly improve the event this summer and any inconsiderate behaviour from the minority won’t be tolerated. I believe tickets are already selling very well and with a reduced capacity this year, the event is fully expected to sell out.

“Visitors to the area and the local community have a brilliant time each summer at this event and it is simply spectacular once darkness falls and the pillars of the aqueduct are lit up before the firework show. This is one of Wrexham’s cornerstone events now and a fantastic celebration of our World Heritage Site.”

In 2009 Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal, near Llangollen, was added to the list by officials at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) meeting in Seville, Spain.

Built by Thomas Telford and William Jessop between 1795 and 1805, Pontcysyllte is the longest and highest aqueduct in Britain and heritage lovers had campaigned for more than six years to have the aqueduct recognised alongside the world’s best known cultural and historical sites including the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal and Stonehenge. The aqueduct is regarded as one of Telford’s greatest civil engineering achievements after the engineer designed a cast iron trough for the canal and laid it along the top of 18 stone piers to carry the waterway 126ft above the River Dee.

The event continues to support Nightingale House Hospice and Caroline Siddall, director of income generation, said: “We are very grateful to the council for choosing to support Nightingale House Hospice at Underneath the Arches again this year. 

“The people who attend the event each year are often from the same communities that our patients live in, so it’s fantastic to see the event making a donation back to the hospice – a donation for which we are very thankful. 

“The money that the event raises for the hospice will allow us to continue caring for our patients; people across North East Wales who are living with end of life conditions.”

This year, local firm Moneypenny is sponsoring the event and will be present on the evening to chat about the exciting careers on offer at their new offices in Wrexham. 

Moneypenny’s managing director, Glenn Jackson, said: “We’re delighted to be sponsoring Underneath the Arches. 

“The event has become a real highlight in Wrexham’s social calendar and promises to be another fantastic evening, as well as raising much needed funds for Nightingale House Hospice.”

 

l TICKETS for this year’s event are only available online, priced £15 for adults, £7.50 for under 15s and children under three go free while a family ticket (two adults and up to three children) is £40. Tickets are available at www.underthearches.co.uk. 

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