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the Birstall post Y O U R




No. 329

New business scheme BIRSTALL’S NEW Business Watch scheme aims to provide a quick and easy way for local traders to contact each other about crime related issues. Within days of the scheme going live two incidents saw all 53 participating businesses quickly informed that dodgy looking bank

notes were being used in the village to pay for items and that a group of suspicious men Continued on page 2



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Pic: Vipul Mehta proprietor of NTL Computers presents a fax machine to Karen Lewin watched by Birstall’s Beat Team (l-r): PCSO Mark Butler, PC Richard Carruthers and PCSO Stuart Venables


the birstall post DEC 2010


Parish Council notes A FULL meeting of Birstall Parish Council was held on November 8. Sarah McCartney and Sallic Wocha from the County Council spoke to councillors about the commissioning of a piece of public art at the entrance of Birstall’s new park and ride site. £57,000 of developer contributions has been set aside for public art. The art is expected to be installed by the end of May 2011. There will be a public consultation phase before the work is commissioned. The Council agreed to an increase in the costs of having its CCTV cameras monitored from £600 per annum to £700 per annum. The monitoring is done by Charnwood Borough Council. The clerk reported that the Parish Council’s bank, Santander, had incorrectly debited £90,000 from the Council’s account on August 13. An investigation by the bank began on August 20 and the money was returned on September 6, along with an apology. The clerk updated the meeting on Charnwood Borough Council’s intention to ‘devolve ownership’ of Birstall’s public toilet on Stonehill Avenue. Discussion took place on the

Continued from page 1 were loitering on Stonehill Avenue. Volunteer Karen Lewin of Paget Avenue set up the scheme. “It works by setting up a cascade system so that when one person rings up with some news, they ring others and pass it on immediately so that they’re all calling each other about problems” she said. Karen, a NHW street co-ordinator and a member of the Village Watch committee, visited every shop personally to explain the scheme and invite them to take part. She said: “I’ve lived in Birstall all my life and like doing things to make the village a better and safer place to live.” Vipul Mehta of NTL Computers on The Meadway is part of the scheme and has also donated a fax machine to be used by Birstall’s Beat Team in the Police Office at 10 Sibson Road. He said: “I am pleased to do something to support out local community. Police as they are doing a fantastic job.” • Birstall Village Watch have secured support from local businesses to help pay for items for the 10 Sibson Police office. A spokesman said: “The donations were requested to purchase additional fittings and equipment to enable our beat officers to spend more time in the village and reduce the amount of journeys to other bases for minor purposes. The response has been excellent and exceeded our expectations. At present we have a fund of money which will be spent in the next few weeks. Our grateful thanks go to Birstall Shoe Repairs, Carpets of Choice, Glenwood, Supercare, Silly Prices, Choice Wise, Ruby Tuesday, Birstall Jewellers, Bargain Booze and NTL Computers.”

importance of the facility to the economy of the village and whether the Borough Council could retain ownership if the Parish Council took over locking, unlocking and cleaning. It was agreed that negotiations with Charnwood continue and that opening hours of 0800-1600 Mon-Sat be the basis on which further costings should be calculated. It was reported that the cost of extending CCTV coverage along Sibson Road would cost £9,600 for installation alone. The Police and Charnwood are the prime movers in seeking to have more CCTV installed but neither is willing or able to make funds available. It was agreed that the NHW/Business Watch committee establish the need for CCTV and that pending any approach from them, no further action be taken. The clerk reported that it has not been possible to recruit a company to act as dog wardens. Since the new dog byelaw signs were erected on the playing fields there has been an increase in adverse comment to the groundstaff. A sign requesting ‘dogs to be kept on a lead’ near the enclosed children’s play area has been interpreted by some as an invitation to allow their dogs into the area. The sign has been removed. One of the new signs has been stolen. On the afternoon of Saturday October 30 a middle aged lady was knocked over by a dog without a lead. There has been a notable increase in dogs using and fouling the Harrowgate Drive playing field and staff have reported a queue of dog owners waiting at 7.30am for the park to be opened. The gatekeeper is now opening the park at 8.30am and closing it at dusk. PCSO Stuart Venables has been taking a pro-active approach to dog owners at both School Lane and Harrowgate Drive playing fields. It was agreed that Charnwood’s Street Wardens be asked to increase their patrols in the parks. It was agreed to donate £600 to the Park Road Residents Association to help pay for the re-surfacing of part of the unadopted section of Park Road. It was agreed to donate £200 towards an art project led by Longslade College’s artist in residence, Anna Davis, for a piece of public art. It was reported that the results of an audit into the traffic calming measures on Birstall Road was still awaited. A youth caught vandalising a car in Lambourne Road had been caught and ordered to make restitution. It was agreed to purchase a portable welder at a cost of £1464. A salt bin on the corner of Wanlip Lane and Orchard Road is in a poor state and will be removed by the County Council and not replaced. It was agreed that the Council provide two dedicated spaces on the Sibson Road car park for the use of taxis, but that no car washing or maintenance takes place.


Ruby & Joseph Bernard post a letter to Santa, with grandma June Griffin

Shirley Harrison has a Christmas kiss with Santa under the mistletoe

A Birstall Christmas OUR PICTURES show Birstall Parish Council’s Christmas lights switch-on event at the Sibson Road car park and the festive scenes that greeted visitors at this year’s Christmas Festival at Birstall Methodist church. Visitors enjoyed music performed by Birstall Brass and the lights were switched by children’s author and Birstall resident Rose Impey. She said: “I love Christmas and all its traditions and I feel honoured to switch on the lights which will give so many such pleasure.” Warming mulled wine and mince pies

Pic: Mavis Sculthorpe (left) & Pauline George

were served in the Village Hall while visitors looked at the many craft stalls. In the Methodist church, the decorations were all created by individuals, schools, groups and businesses in the village. The church also organised an outdoor Christmas market with home made food and decorations.

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the birstall post DEC 2010



Detailed church study Pic: Unveiling the commemorative stone: the Mayor of Charnwood, Cllr Jill Vincent, with (from l-r), Ian Jones, of Westleigh Developments; Margaret Allen, Director for the Homes and Communities Agency (East Midlands) & Ted Carr, Chairman of deMontfort Housing Society

New affordable homes A £13million development of 80 new affordable family homes in Birstall was officially opened in October by the Mayor of Charnwood, Cllr Jill Vincent. The Mayor unveiled a stone plaque in the central green of the new housing at Hallam

Park & ride subsidy BIRSTALL’S NEW park and ride site may be underused, fears Leicester City Council. Along with the County Council, Leicester City Council plans to subsidise the facility until passenger numbers rise and it pays for itself.

Pic: an artist’s impression of the Birstall park & ride

Fields, which has been provided by Waterloo Housing Group working in partnership with Charnwood Borough Council. The development provides a variety of family housing, mainly two and three bedroom houses, but also 15 four-bed homes, three one-bed apartments and a five-bedroom house. 64 of the homes are rented. They were let to people on the council’s waiting list and are managed by Waterloo Group’s local housing association de Montfort Housing Society. A further 16 homes have been sold for shared ownership, on a part-by and part-rent basis, by the Group’s affordable home ownership division, Waterloo Homes. The Enderby park and ride site opened in November 2009 and user numbers are lower than anticipated at 300 a day, with 700 being the target. The required rule of growth, so that subsidy would no longer be required after three years, is not being achieved. The subsidy for 2010/11 for Enderby is £700,000. The fare from Enderby to the city centre is £3 and Leicester City Council says that the impact of cheap temporary car parks in the city and the slowdown in the economy are not helping the demand for the park and ride. Birstall’s £5.5million park and ride will have spaces for 1000 cars and will open next year. The City Council is hoping to increase the demand for park and ride by reviewing its marketing and promotion of the scheme. It is also looking at changing planning policy to prevent car parks springing up on regeneration sites in the city.

A DETAILED study of the contents of Wanlip Church has been carried out by volunteers. Members of the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Society (NADFAS) have been cataloguing and photographing the contents and fabric of the Parish Church of Our Lady and St Nicholas in great detail. One of the recorders was James Drake. He said: “Due to the vulnerability of many churches to theft, vandalism and neglect, it is of great importance that detailed inventories are archived before it is too late”. In October, the church was the venue for a series of short illustrated talks highlighting the work of the NADFAS church recorders. Pic: Wanlip church

All the homes feature solar thermal panels for hot water, which helps keeps running costs down for residents. The homes were built for Waterloo by Westleigh Developments and attracted £5.86million of government grant from the Homes and Communities Agency. Margaret Allen, Director for the Homes

Pic: Joan Gregory displays the ceremonial cope

Wanlip Church is the latest in a series of local churches to be recorded. Amongst the items featured was a very early monumental

Pic: Janice Archer (left) and Diane Cole recording hallmarks with smoke from a candle flame

and Communities Agency in the East Midlands, said: “We invested in this project because it offered the chance to provide high quality affordable homes for Charnwood that would create a thriving new community. It is great to meet some of the first residents settling into their homes and see the potential that been realised here. The quality of the

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brass reputed to have the first inscription in English. A method of permanently recording the hallmarks on silver items was demonstrated using the technique of ‘smoking’ by candle smoke. Group Leader, Diana Courtney, said: “It has been a great privilege to work in such a beautiful and historic church and we are grateful for the wonderful support and help from the curate and church wardens during our task.”

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development is first class.” The scheme’s design and layout was also praised by the Mayor, Councillor Jill Vincent, for being a seamless part of a coherent plan for the wider Hallam Fields development. She said it had enabled local people, many in significant housing need, to find a home, adding: “It is no exaggeration to say that we have been able to change people’s lives with these new properties.” Completed this summer, all but two of the new homes are now occupied, with remaining residents due to move in shortly. Kush Patel moved to ground-floor rented apartment. “I’d had a difficult time before I moved here, with a year-long stay in hospital as a result of an infection from stomach surgery and then living in a homeless hostel. Being offered my new home was the light at the end of the tunnel for me.” Shared owners, Kate Farmer and Paul Hextall are equally delighted with their new three-bedroom house. “This is our first home and it has exceeded all our expectations. We are really looking forward to enjoying our first Christmas in our own home, with our two-year-old daughter” said Mr Hextall.


the birstall post DEC 2010


Thanks I would like to thank all the people who helped me when I had a bicycle accident on the evening of Friday October 8 on Queensgate Drive. To the gentlemen who rescued my bike, the nurse who administered first aid and the family who took me in. You were all very kind. I have now recovered completely and cycling again! With gratitude and very best wishes to you all. Sheila Barker


The Birstall Post welcomes your views and opinions on any subject. Letters, which must include your name and address, (though not necessarily for publication) can be posted to: The Birstall Post, Longslade College, Wanlip Lane, Birstall, Leicester LE4 4GH, or handed in at Birstall library or email:

I would like to thank the generous people of Birstall who donated £307 to the bucket shake on Saturday October 16 for LOROS. Also I would like to thank those who held the buckets and encouraged people to give! Gillian Bowler

Thanks I was deeply disappointed to read the Councillor’s letter in the last issue which detailed a Dalmatian dog being allowed into the children’s play area of the School Lane Playing Fields. My disappointment is threefold: (1) that the act happened in the first place; (2) that the councillor saw fit to publish such a highly unprofessional

letter; (3) that I have been accused of the act by members of the public when I, and my dog, are innocent Steven Brandist, Birstall

Dog fouling Each morning I walk my son to Highcliffe school taking the Fielding Road route. Each morning we are greeted by fresh dog mess in the same spots at the end of Fielding Road before it turns into Elmfield Ave. Without fail everyday, some poor unsuspecting parent pushes their younger child’s buggy through the dog mess or a school child treads in it causing a headache for their parents/teacher when they are just about to go into the classroom to walk and sit on a carpet ready for registration. It seems to me that it must be the same dog owner who goes out under darkness and allows their dog to do its business and thinks as no-one has seen it is OK to just leave it on the pavement. This infuriates me, if you are not prepared to pick up after your dog the answer is simple – DO NOT KEEP DOGS! It is so unfair to pedestrians and other dog owners who responsibly clean up after their animals. You are letting them down whoever you are, so please start cleaning up after your dog so that we no longer have to bring its faeces into our homes and school and put our children’s health at risk. H Brewin

Party appeals? I am surprised to note that your journal has become a recruiting organ for political parties. I think therefore in order to maintain balance one should critically examine the assertions made by Max Hunt. It is true that governments around the world have had to bail out the bankers as a direct result of their imprudent, unregulated activities, trading in worthless instruments and lending against assets with no value. This action by Governments around the World was necessary to prevent the whole financial structure of world trade come crashing down. And so whilst this happened on the last labour Government’s watch, the only real blame that can be attached to them is that of a lack of governance of bankers. However; some countries (China, India, Russia, Australia to name a few) managed to avoid reces-

sion and even though special reasons can be attributed to these, it is interesting to note that the UK fared worst than most of our European neighbours. The reason for this is that the last Labour government squandered the money it gathered in though taxes (stealth and otherwise) and borrowing which it used to increase public spending to an unsustainable level, which is why cuts are now having to be made. Of course we hear scaremongering and great wailing and gnashing of teeth about the impact of these cuts on frontline services. Well as far as I can tell the last Labour government squandered billions on public services and there has been no discernable improvement. The fact of the matter is that something like 40% of the cost in public services is actually wasted – but don’t feel too bad about it, it’s the same in private companies as well. My question is how many people have noticed an improvement in public services over the last 13 years, nobody I have asked the question of can give any examples although I am sure there are isolated incidences. The fact of the matter is that the depth and repercussions of this recession can be laid fairly and squarely at the door of the last Labour Government – who incidentally inherited the most robust public finances in a generation when they came to power in 1997. Turning to troops being sent to fight foreign wars, Mr Hunt seems to forget it was the last Labour Government that used dubious information to send our troops to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan and at the same time failed to provide our brave troops with the equipment they should have had. Mr Hunt also fails to mention that the last Labour Government promised us a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, but lied about that when it tried to argue the Lisbon Treaty was not a treaty at all when in fact it was precisely that, hence Mr Cameron being unable to reject the ridiculous rise in the EU budget. Mr Hunt’s missive is at best disingenuous and seeks to blame the current government for the problems caused by the last Labour Government. Frankly in view of the issues above and the expenses scandal, I think we the people should consider parties such as the Monster Raving Looney Party. Simon Castleman

Thanks On behalf of the Royal Air Forces Association Birstall Branch I would like to thank residents and friends of Birstall who donated to the 70th Anniversary Battle of Britain Wings Appeal 2010. I would also like to thank our members who collected and especially the ATC Squadron Birstall for the time they gave. The collection made by the Cadets at the Co-op store amounted to £427.71 which was a great effort. Our grand total this year was £3469.27 enabling us to continue our work in helping those in need. Eve Cooper, Wings Appeal Organiser

Canada geese Over the last few years there has been a distinct change in the movements of birds around Birstall; some of your readers may have some explanations which it would be good to hear. When I first came to Birstall 16 plus years ago there was a regular migration each autumn, firstly of meadow pipits and then skylarks. This has not changed much, though many fewer birds are involved – the reasons for this are well publicised. Every October the first redwings could be calling as they flew in early at night. Again, this has not changed. What has changed is the large flocks of Canada geese which made a daily pilgrimage all through the winter. These have entirely disappeared. In their place came large flocks of wood pigeons initially; these decreased, and now there is a regular flight of a smallish number of jackdaws every evening. I assumed that the Canada geese used to roost on the Birstall lakes and the movement was to some feeding ground, presumably arable fields which had been harvested. I never found out where these were – but I am fairly certain that the Hallam Fields close to the A6 were not involved. Can anyone help? Finch

Dog fouling As parents of a 4 year old, my husband and I have been engaged in the 'school run' since September of this year. Our route to Highcliffe Primary involves walking along Fielding Road and we are APALLED at the amount of dog mess, YES, DOG MESS, we encounter, every day, along this pavement. We are totally DISGUSTED, along with many other parents who use this route, which, I hasten to add, is one of THE main routes into school, at having to 'dodge the dog dirt' on a daily basis! If the responsible (or should we say 'irresponsible') dog owner/(s) are reading this YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF - 'SCOOP YOUR POOP' - it is an illegal offence after all! We also intend to take this matter up with the local authority. Totally Disgusted Mr & Mrs Gill

Thanks I would personally like to thank, on behalf of Birstall United Juniors FC, every single person who turned up to support our bonfire party. It was an amazing success for the club, achieving a great profit while giving all a great social event. It was our first year for this type of event and

the turnout was exceptionally good (nearly 500 people) – especially considering the great British weather. Again, thank you all, and don’t worry, we’ll be 100% better prepared next year. For the record: takings of £1350, profit for the night £600. Kevin Glover, Club Chairman

The Forge Regarding the ‘Forge’ which I intended to turn into a gym for young people, can I make a few comments! First of all, although it was rejected on the grounds of too many cars and noise, why is it that all down Birstall Road, there are vans, lorries, cars’ mess, vehicles blocking the road, even the bikes can’t get through sometimes. Why is it no-one seems to complain in numbers about the ‘Building Work’ along Birstall Road, it’s far more dangerous than ever my gym would have been. Perhaps one law for one and one law for another. Yours in sport Carl Gunns

Obstruction I am a long-term (34 years) resident of Birstall and I leave and enter the village along Birstall Road. For many months (years) now it has become increasingly difficult to travel the upper part of this road (near to the junction with Church Hill) because of the very grave problem of workmen’s vans/cars (15 counted this morning!) parking along the road adjacent to the enormous house being erected on Birstall Road, the number 222 Birstall Road. This parking actually is becoming dangerous since the installation of the staggered junction at Church Hill took place, an attempt to make this very busy road safer! Even though there are no road restrictions along this stretch of road it does not deter from the fact that it is very inconvenient (and more importantly dangerous) – an accident waiting to happen? When buses, large lorries, very large delivery lorries to the Co-op store and the Tesco store are trying to get by these parked vehicles traffic chaos reigns. Surely something must be done – how much longer do we as Birstall residents have to endure this – months, years even! Why anyone would want to have such a massive property (ostentatious in my opinion) built in a residential area is beyond me – why is it not being built somewhere out in the countryside. Can anyone enlighten me why this is being allowed to continue to be such a dangerous problem. Pat Herbert PC Richard Carruthers told the Birstall Post: “We attended and assessed the nature of the reported obstruction. On every occasion we were powerless to move vehicles because they were parked legally. We discussed with the traffic department on two occasions. We even got caught up in it ourselves on one occasion. I appreciate the frustration of the road users. An obstruction would need to be blocking the road or footpath to the extent that no road user can pass. In this case their was enough room for a single file of traffic to pass. The workers and owners were advised about their parking. I have been told the building site has been completed now so there should be no further issues on this road.”

Safe driving It may interest parents to know the results of a recent survey conducted by the AA/Populous. The survey asked 18,500 AA members what they considered was the biggest threat to young adults. The highest risks were considered to be: Drugs 31%, Drinking 25%, Gun/knife crime 25%, Driving 11%, Smoking 4%, Sex 1%, Disease >1% and Other 2%. This shows how much parents under estimate the real threat. In fact, statistics show that 74% of accidental teenage deaths happen on the road. We have all seen the recent news stories relating the governments attempts to improve road safety within the 17-25 yr age group by targeting newly qualified drivers, and to a certain extent this is slowly having an effect, however, last year in the 16-19 year old age group, more teenagers died as passengers (94) than as drivers (79). This is the first time that passenger deaths have overtaken driver deaths since 2004, and shows the importance for parents to vet the drivers and cars that their offspring are to travel in. These statistics sit alongside another report, also from the AA, regarding the wearing of seatbelts. A third of all car occupants killed are not wearing seatbelts when travelling in vehicles. And rear seat passengers are highlighted as having one of the lowest seat belt wearing rates, along with men (especially young men) and company car drivers. Although legally, it is the individuals own responsibility to wear their seatbelt once over the age of 14, the driver, and in fact anyone else travelling in a car, has a responsibility to ensure the safety of others. Lets face it, a loose, 100-150lb dead weight flying around inside a car in the event of an accident, won't be good for anyone else in the vehicle whether they are wearing their seatbelts or not! The importance of this is illustrated when you consider that seatbelts more than halve the risk of death in a collision and the 7% not wearing a seatbelt are over-represented in fatalities. In fact the sort of drivers who choose not to wear their seatbelts are twice as likely to be involved in an accident as those who do belt up. Drivers of private hire cars, vans, lorries, buses, coaches and minibuses are the worst offenders with only 69% regularly wearing seatbelts. Many of these drivers seem to be under the misapprehension that they do not have to wear a belt, however the rules are the same for them as car drivers. Drivers of vehicles constructed or adapted to

THE BIRSTALL POST, DEC 2010 carry goods are exempt providing their journey does not exceed 50 metres, and private hire drivers are exempt ONLY while carrying fare paying passengers. Only taxis licensed to pick up when hailed, known as Hackney carriages, are exempt when empty providing they are on duty. So what could not wearing a seatbelt cost you? Currently the penalties range from a £60 fixed penalty fine, up to a maximum of £500 if it goes to court. Or, of course, you could pay the ultimate price with your life… From David Hurst Alliance Academy of Driving

Agars in Birstall At Birstall Local History Society members’ evening on November 11, John Kilby read (from his book Birstall Village 1900-1999) a letter sent to his grandparents from France during WWI by Sgt James Reed, who died on the Somme July 1916 and is commemorated on Birstall War Memorial. He was one of 11 children of Harry Reed and Emma Agar, whose only sister Ellen wed Timothy Smith of Thurmaston, where they had 10 children, the youngest was my grandma and two of her brothers killed in WWI are on Thurmaston War Memorial. Since March, when I found Ellen’s name was Agar, I have been tracing the Agars in Birstall (through Parish Records held at the library) – all descendants of James & Elizabeth (Marston) wed October 1814. Their daughters wed – Martha & James Green (1840), Mary & George Billington (1842), Elizabeth & John Ballard (1858) along with sons James (Ann Green 1855), Thomas (Sarah Hames 1859) & Ezekiel (Elizabeth Squires 1846). They had mostly male offspring but the latter’s daughter Harriet wed George Hinds (1889) and they ran the White Horse for many years. Parish Records only go so far as several went over to Methodism. I would be very interested to hear from any descendants of the Agars & their various branches, to share information and so fill in gaps in the family tree. Jan Lucas, 45 Woodbridge Road, Belgrave, Leicester LE4 7RJ

Traffic issues I note that now the local council has finished making life as inconvenient as possible for anyone owning a car and living on certain stretches of the Loughborough Road, they have now turned their attention to the Sibson Road/Wanlip Lane region about the Co-operative Stores and intend to beautify it by erecting some form of plant containers. The exit from the Co-op has always been difficult. In theory anyone using it is obliged by law to turn left and then execute some form of U-turn to get back onto the main road. This should be done, of course, round the “keep left” bollards at the junction. I have only every met one person who did this; the rest of us mere mortals cut straight across onto the main road ignoring the bollards altogether. Several years ago Somerfield erected a large hoarding outside the store, which completely blocked from view any traffic coming into Birstall along the Wanlip Lane, making this exit even more dangerous. Thankfully they took it down after a short time. I write in the hope that history is not about to repeat itself with plant pots. Also, could a miracle happen, and someone actually sort out that exit (without making everyone turn left)? I am not sure whether I can write that I am pleased to see some activity at the proposed parkand-ride site, in part because all I have seen so far is a lot of fencing, two men and a bulldozer, and not much else. However, now that something is at last being done, may I use your columns once more to appeal to the authorities to allow access for school students to the Longslade/Stonehill complex at such a point, either on the A6 or in the new park-and-ride scheme, that a pedestrian crossing is easily accessible without any long detours? To date, despite various attempts by myself and no doubt others, there has been no indication that anyone intends to do anything about this potential problem. Even though the new Hallam Fields estate is only partially occupied, please could it be noted that Colonel Sanders has opened one of his feeding stations in the service station, and that hungry students have to cross the A6 in droves in order to use it Dr D A C McNeil

Thanks A big thank you to everyone who filled a ‘Shoe Box’ or ‘Boxes’ with joy for children who otherwise would not share the happiness of Christmas. I was able to send 118 boxes from friends and members of the Methodist Church and I know many more were sent via the churches of St Theresa’s and St James. Wishing you all a Very Happy Christmas. Beryl Massey

Noise I must agree with the resident of Beechfield Avenue, after suffering two nights of constant drumming and chanting, fireworks from early evening till the early hours of the morning. It really is antisocial behaviour, which we wouldn’t get away with. Whey are they allowed to do this? I am sure if any resident in Beechfield Ave made this amount of noise the police would soon be knocking on the door. Name & address supplied

Noticeboard all details printed free

at the Village Hall Day Centre on Tuesday December 7 at 7.30pm •••

Birstall St James Church Social Group Invite you to a

at Johnson Road Come and meet Santa at our Christmas Fayre, where a fun-filled afternoon awaits you! Christmas crafts and stalls, toast marshmallows on the fire, fancy dress competition, carol singers, hot dogs and lots more. From 12.30-2.30pm on Sat December 4 at the Guide Hall on Johnson Road (first building in from the A6) All welcome •••

Quiz Afternoon and Cream Tea Sunday December 5 at 2.30pm Birstall Village Hall, School Lane Cost £3 •••

Friends of Birstall Swimming Pool needs swimmers to join them on Fridays 12.30-1.30pm at Birstall swimming pool We are a friendly group and we run to December 17. We need more people to keep this going through to next year. First session £2 ••• Birstall Methodist Thursday Group The Ratcliffe Chorale

Christmas Concert Thursday December 16 at 7.30pm Birstall Methodist Church, Wanlip Lane, Birstall Tickets £5 (inc tea, coffee, mince pies) from 2675615, 2673158 or 2675128 (or pay at the door) in aid of our project fund the Richard Engelgardt Trust ••• It’s Panto Time Once Again “Oh Yes It Is” Leicester’s award winning 11th Hour Productions bring their thrilling, fun packed show

‘Babes in the Wood’ to Stonehill High School, Birstall on December 10 & 11 Join Silly Billy and Lucy Lastic on this daring adventure to rescue Hansel and Gretel from the Sheriff of Nottingham! Fun for all ages in a show filled to the brim with songs, jokes and spectacle, a must see for all the family. Written and directed by John Shaw with musical direction by Beth Ellis, choreography by Sharon Cornell and featuring Showstoppers Academy of Dance. Tickets and further info available from 0116 2831646 or book online at ••• Birstall Independent Baptist Church Invites you to a

Christmas Fayre

Christmas Fete At the Methodist Church Coffee Shop Sat December 4, 10am to 12noon Raffles, tombola, books and costume jewellery stalls Proceeds in aid of the Friends of Belgrave Cemetery group •••

A Traditional New Year’s Eve Party (games, quizzes, dancing, music) at Birstall Village Hall arranged by Birstall & Wanlip Churches Together Friday December 31 from 8.30pm onwards Shared buffet supper, bring your own drinks Tickets £3 to cover costs, contact 0116 2672606 ••• Syston & District Operatic Society (SADOS) presents

Jack and the Beanstalk Wreake Valley Community College, Parkstone Road, Syston Thursday/Friday December 9/10 at 7pm and Saturday/Sunday December 11/12 at 2pm Adults £7.50; Child/Concessions £5 (discount available for group bookings 10+) Ticket bookings & enquiries contact Rachel 01455 230150 •••

Traditional Christmas Carol Evening

Thoughtless We live on Orchard Road, and we too, were woken up by the thoughtless people who think we should all listen to a firework display at 4am in the morning, however, I think you will find they went on till nearly 5am, as with three dogs, we were very aware of the time scale. Very tired residents. Mrs A Lovell Editor’s note: Police visited the property concerned and issued a Fixed Penalty notice under the Misuse of Fireworks regulations

Graffiti As I travel to and from work each day, I take in all the sights good and bad, I find the graffiti is a sight that is quite depressing; if I could control this sorry matter I would do this. Ensure the graffiti is removed, or covered within 24 hours. The benefits 1) the sad low life that did it would not be looking at it for weeks or months on end, feeling very satisfied looking at their terrible mess that has caused upset! 2) other copy cats doing the same kind of mess 3)a happier community. Quite simple really, so why is it being accepted? Name & address supplied

Shoebox gift When you start sorting out those soft toys before the new ones arrive over Christmas, or you just have them around the house and don’t know what to do with them, would you please consider donating those small ones that are in good condition for the children’s shoe box appeal for next year, they can make a big difference to a child’s life. Take the story of 23 year old Diana Arusteei who grew up in Romania and had nothing. At the age of seven she received a box from the appeal and in it was a teddy bear whom she called Martin (the word for bear in Romanian) and she still has him. This shows the impact these soft toys have on a child. If you would like to donate those unwanted soft toys contact me on 2675721 or Hazel on 2674008. Thank you. Daphne Stephenson

Thanks The organisers and volunteers of Birstall St James Day Centre would like to thank everyone who kindly supported their fundraising coffee morning on November 13 at the Methodist Coffee Shop. We raised £145 so once again a big thank you. Christine Winfield, Secretary

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Loughborough Farmers Market 2nd Wednesday of the month Devonshire Square, Loughborough Between 9am and 2.30pm Next market December 8


Featuring a wide variety of local produce including a variety of meats both cured and rare breed, sausage, bacon; fruit pies and savoury pastries; a wide range of vegetables inc organic; plants & flowers; herbs, handmade natural soaps & body care products; honey & beeswax products; chutneys, pickles, jams and pre-

Continued on page 8


the birstall post DEC 2010

Continued from page 7 serves; wholemeal flour & muesli; eggs & cheeses; bread, cakes. And fruit juices along with seasonal products, brought to you by knowledgeable and` friendly traders. For possible stall reservations or further information, please call our Markets & Fairs Team at Charnwood Borough Council on 01509 634624 or email: Or log on to •••

Birstall British Legion Sat Dec 4: Fraz (M/V) Sat Dec 11: Donna Ramsdale (F/V) Sat Dec 18: Krackle & Pop (duo) Christmas Eve: Disco New Year’s Eve: Ben Fischer (M/V) Admission charge for New Years Eve – Birstall Legion members free (club membership must be shown) non-members £3.50 Dancing every Sat night with live entertainment Free beer raffle, bingo and not forgetting ‘Open the Box’ Every Tues night bingo starting at 9.30am Quiz nights Sunday Dec 12 & 26 starting at 9pm Acoustic night Sun Dec 19 Rock & Roll nights 1st & 3rd Wednesday Food available every Sat 12noon-2pm Open 12-3pm Bank Holidays, families welcome Funerals catered for •••

The 8 Chamber Choir presents A Lively Concert of Christmas Music Sunday Dec 12 at 8pm At St James Church, Church Hill, Birstall Tickets £7 on the door Inc glass of wine and mince pie •••

Birstall St James Church Social Group Invites you to a

Quiz Afternoon and Cream Tea on Sunday Dec 5 at 2.30pm at Birstall Village Hall, School Lane. Cost £3 ••• Open House at St James Church

‘Christingle’ You are invited to our monthly family friendly Open House service December 5 at 11am ••• St James Social Group invites you to a

Christmas Coffee Morning on Saturday Dec 11, 10am-12noon at St James Church Community Area, Church Hill Raffle, Bring & Buy, Cake Stall Do come along for a coffee and mince pie All welcome Proceeds to the Red Cross (homeless appeal) ••• Charnwood Orchestra

Magic of Vienna Waltzes, Polkas and Marches 7pm Saturday Jan 15 Humphrey Perkins Community Centre, Cotes Road, Barrow LE12 8JU Tickets £10 (£8 concessions) Children U16 £3 From the Paper Shop, High St, Barrow or 07718153117 •••

Sequence & Ballroom Dancing Every Tuesday, Birstall Social Club Sequence Tuition 7.30-8pm Social Dancing 8-10.30pm

C&J Sound Admission £2.50 •••

Clive’s Hairdresser Due to unforeseen circumstances, Clove’s on Sibson Road closed in November. Clive and Pete have decided to take the opportunity to take early retirement and the shop will not re-open. Clive and Pete would like to apologise for any inconvenience to their customers and to thank them for their custom over the years. •••

Film Presentations from Thurcaston & Cropston Parish Council ‘Amelia’ will be shown on Friday December 10 (111 mins) Amelia Earhart was the first woman aviator to fly solo round the world. She inspired millions. This awe inspiring film includes beautiful aerial photography, excellent period costume and vintage aircraft including the Lockhead in which Amelia mysteriously disappeared. ‘The Blind Side’ will be shown on Friday January 14 (128 mins) Sandra Bullock won an Oscar for Best Actress in this true story. A housekeeper with a privileged lifestyle takes in a black homeless teenager. She encourages him in school and in sport but he inevitably runs into trouble. ‘Wild Target’ will be shown on Friday February 11 ‘Made in Dagenham’ will be shown on Friday March 11 Thurcaston & Cropston Parish Council will be showing these films at Thurcaston Memorial Hall, starting at 7.30pm. Tickets £4. Concessions £3.50. Price includes refreshments and a lucky prize draw. Advance tickets can be purchased via the parish office, 0116 2367626 or at the door •••

Cake Break A scrumptious way to help those with Cystic Fibrosis Birstall library invites you to join us for a slice of cake, a cuppa and a wonderful choir by children from Highcliffe Primary School to help raise funds for a very worthy cause. Tuesday December 14, 10am to 12noon If you would like to donate any cakes, biscuits, mince pies then please

ring and let us know. For more information contact Birstall library on 3058756 Cystic Fibrosis trust does some great work supporting people affected by it so come and help us to raise funds for this good cause. Competitions, raffle, bring & buy and much more •••

Birstall Health Walk What a great way to achieve your 30 minutes of exercise a day! The walk starts at the Birstall library every Thursday at 10.30am on December 2, 9 and 16 and there will be six more sessions in the new year All walks will last no longer than an hour on a flat terrain. Cost £1 which includes tea and coffee. All levels welcome For more information contact the Active Together team on 01509 632534 •••

Christmas Special Wriggly Readers Babies and young children with their parents and carers are invited to join in with festive songs, stories and Christmas activities at Birstall library on Monday December 20 from 1011am Book early to avoid disappointment as there are limited places on offer For more info contact Birstall library on 0116 3058756 •••

Pre-Christmas Health Check At Birstall library Get a FREE health check at Birstall library on Thursday December 16 from 10am to 1pm The health check is carried out by a qualified fitness instructor and includes measuring weight, blood pressure, body fat percentage, body composition, basal metabolic rate, muscle mass and total body water percentage. Phone Birstall library on 0116 3058765 to book your place and take a positive step in improving your health and fitness. For more information about these sessions or other physical initiatives, contact the Active Together team on Loughborough (01509) 632535 or email ••• Syston Town Juniors FC Girls like football too! WANTED! Girls of all ages and ability interested in playing football Please come along to STJFC FREE girls football academy at Memorial Playing Fields, (Donkey Park), Necton Street, Syston, Leicester LE7 8HF Every Sat during football season, from 10am to 12noon Goal! - to enter teams into the Leicester City & County Girls Football league for season 2011 at all age groups All managers/coaches are CRB checked and hold minimum FA Level 1 qualification. Some coaches hold FA Level 2/3/UEFA-B. Youth Module 1 and Level 2 Goalkeeping qualifications Please come along on the day or contact: Samantha (Sam) Chambers. STJFC (Chairperson) Mobile: 07776291365 email ••• Action Deafness presents

A musical nativity play for children using English & Sign language Featuring children from Thurcaston Primary School Wed Dec 8, 6.30-8.30pm Leicester Cathedral Written & devised by Garry Slack Music: Paul K Joyce Narration: David Benson Phillips Adults £7.50, child £5 Family (2 adult/2 children) 20 Tel: 0844 5938440

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A PISTOL club that meets in Birstall is growing in popularity. Redhill Revolvers Co-operative FPC has run shoots through the year at the Co-Operative Sports and Social Club ground on Birstall Road. The club has now arranged indoor target and metal plate shooting at the Outdoor Pursuits Centre on Loughborough Road. For further information please contact Steve on 0116 2676252 during normal office hours. In October, several members were successful at a competition in Coventry. John Masterson and Paul Jackson took the top three places – John being awarded silver in the Police Pistol and bronze in the Open Class Rifle with Paul pipping him to the silver. Lloyd Upton took silver in the speed discipline and Graham Knighton was also awarded two golds in the Police Pistol and Open Class Rifle. Andy Brown stole the show with two golds in the six Yard Recoil and CO2 section followed by silver in the Single Stroke Pneumatic and a bronze in PCP.

Pic: Paul Jackson (left) and John Masterson with their medals

Signed nativity CHILDREN FROM Thurcaston primary school are taking part in a special Christmas nativity play at Leicester Cathedral.

Girls Football Academy

The Shining, Signing Star


Pistol club

Called ‘The Shining Signing Star’, the performance will tell the Christmas story through sign language. To add to the children’s excitement, BBC television’s See Hear programme came to the school to film the children rehearsing and interview the performers. They will also be at the Cathedral filming the performance. Class teacher Jo Johnson said: “It is quite amazing how quickly the children have picked up the sign language. They are very excited about performing at the Cathedral and possibly being on TV!” The performance at Leicester cathedral is on December 8 at 6.30pm – see Noticeboard on this page for ticket details.



Bookweek transformation CHILDREN AND STAFF at Highcliffe primary school had lots of fun during October’s ‘Bookweek’ and raised more than £1000 to spend on new books. Assistant Head Teacher Mrs Katherine Renshaw said: “The whole school was involved in lots of exciting activities such as visiting Birstall Library, sponsored reads, book swaps, book donations for our libraries, listening to other teacher’s reading stories, paired reading in different classes, sharing our favourite books and writing book reviews.” She added: “The highlight of the week was definitely the ‘dress up as a character’ day which created lots of laughter especially when the teachers turned into characters such as Winnie the Witch, Goldilocks and the three bears, Mrs Wobble the Waitress, Mr Plum the plumber and Mary Poppins! “The most exciting outcome of Book Week was that the children raised just over £1000, of which every penny will be going towards new books for our reading schemes and to replenish our two lovely libraries with new books. A big thank you to everyone who put donations

County Students in New York crime THIRTY SIX STUDENTS from Longslade Community College recently enjoyed a memorable trip to New York. The lucky art and design students spent five days in the city visiting many of the attractions on offer including: The Empire State Building, Central Park, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island Immigration Museum, Rockefeller Centre, Wall Street, Ground Zero, United Nations, Chrysler and the Grand Central Terminal. Opportunities were also extended to visit many of the Art & Design museums the city has to offer. For many of the students this was the first time they had travelled abroad. Joel Mann said: “It was awesome, it was just like I’ve seen on the TV but just much bigger! It’s good that the college offers such trips around the world that gives us the opportunity to learn in different ways. I would definitely like to go back and visit again.” For some of the students this trip provided

the opportunity to gather primary source materials for a photography project ‘City Scrapes’. Liam Green said: “The view from the top of the Rockefeller Centre at sunset was surreal and the camera could not do the view any justice”. Assistant Principal and trip leader Mr Sandeep Tara said: “Throughout the trip the students conducted themselves in an exemplary manner and were a real credit to the college, their parents/carers and to themselves. They were very excited about the whole experience and it was a pleasure to share the learning outside of the classroom with such intuitive students. The airline and travel provider both commented on the politeness and courtesy extended by our Longslade students.” Pic: The Longslade students outside New York’s Flat Iron building

Gifts for needy children 500 SHOEBOXES full of gifts for children have been filled by Birstall people and sent to children in Romania. One of the organisers, Daphne Stephenson, said: “Hazel Shaw and I would like to thank everyone who has contributed in any way in helping us to achieve this magnificent number. “Special thanks go to Jean Best, Dave at Shoepermarket, Julieanne at the RSPCA, Michael on Leicester Market, Footmedics on Sibson Road and Father Keith Tomlinson from St Theresa’s church. To all the St Theresa’s Social Group travellers who donated their change on each trip, and all the

FALLING CRIME figures over the last six months have been welcomed by Leicestershire Police Authority. A report published in November also revealed that victims of antisocial behaviour had an improved satisfaction rate with the service they received from the Police. For the period April to October 2010 reported crime in the county fell 11 per cent to 5458 compared to the previous year, and satisfaction rates rose by 4.1 per cent from 77.1 to 81.2 per cent. Gun crime fell by 22 per cent with 13 fewer crimes, domestic burglary was down 24 per cent and theft from a vehicle was down 13 per cent. Burglary from business premises where the value of items stolen exceeds £1000 fell by 16.7 per cent.

Rock thrown A MAN threw a rock through the living room window of a property on Wanlip Lane. The incident happened at 8pm on Thursday October 28 while the occupier of the property was upstairs. A male wearing jeans and a hooded top with white around the bottom and sleeves was seen running away from the scene down Wanlip Lane towards Windmill Avenue. The occupier of the house was badly shaken by the incident but not injured. Anyone with information should contact the Police on 0116 222 2222.

supporters of our coffee mornings and clothes parties which helped us raise the £1250 we needed towards the carriage. “We are already making a start for next year and look forward to your continuing support. Thank you and God bless you all from Hazel, Daphne and all the children who will be receiving a box this Christmas.” Pics: (top) Hazel Shaw and Daphne Stephenson load a car with boxes. Volunteer Sarah James and her father with some of the shoeboxes

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towards our ‘dress up as a character’ day and sponsored reads.” Pic: Highcliffe teachers turn into book characters (l-r) Mrs MacManus as Tiger Lilly, Mrs Scott as Mrs Plug the Plumber, Mrs Renshaw as Mary Poppins and Miss Hardy as Baby Bear


the birstall post DEC 2010

Panto cast’s antics

NHW news & crime report

COLOURFUL CHARACTERS from a forthcoming panto production entertained shoppers when they visited Birstall to promote their show. Members of 11th Hour Productions were outside the Co-op supermarket on Wanlip Lane to promote ‘Babes in the Wood’, which will be performed at Stonehill school on Friday and Saturday December 10 and 11. Tickets are £6 – for details call 0116 2831646 or go to Pic: Lucy Lastic, Wilf the Wolf, Red Riding Hood and Silly Billy from Babes in the Wood

Bright Ideas to Boost Home Security Many houses remain in darkness indicating to passers by that no one is at home. The Dark Night Campaign is backed by the Police to boost home security. Householders are advised to help fool burglars into thinking they are at home by using timers to make lights and/or radios switch on. The use of low energy bulbs minimises the cost of electricity and the impact on the environment. The cost of timers is small compared to the heartache, the clearing-up required and the possible increase in home insurance following a break-in. Light Up and Be Seen All road users, but motor & pedal cyclists in particular, need to remember to switch on their lights in the dark early mornings, afternoons and evenings. For cyclists strobe lights are most effective and fluorescent vests or sashes improve visibility when on the road. These items could be on Santa’s List! As Christmas approaches please remember not to leave

presents on show as this encourages unwelcome visitors looking for easy targets. Finally on behalf of all the Watch Committee members I would like to thank everyone who has supported us throughout the year. This is much appreciated and helps to maintain a strong community spirit of which we can all be proud. We wish you all a Peaceful Crime Free Christmas and a Happy Prosperous New Year. Ed Marshall, Chairman Birstall & Wanlip Watch Crime Report 11.10.10 to 8.11.10 Assaults 1, harassment 1, burglary 0, burglary non-dwelling 6, damage 10, damage to motor vehicle 7, drugs 4, fraud 5, theft 1, theft of cycle 1, theft from motor vehicle 3, theft of motor vehicle 1, theft stores 1 Seven crimes less this month compared to last. The Halloween and bonfire night period were successfully policed with very few issues reported. One youth was interviewed for having an adult firework on him. Another male was given advice with regard to throwing fireworks and handed over his fireworks. Two moles, on two separate occasions, were given street cautious for possession of cannabis in the vicinity of the garages on Windmill Avenue. From PC 2139 Richard Carruthers

Lost property Still bowling


BIRSTALL PARISH Council is holding a number of items of lost property which have been handed in at the Village Hall.

NISHA GOUTAM from Birstall has completed her training to become a Breastfeeding Peer Supporter. She is among the latest group of Charnwood BRAS (Breastfeeding Reassurance and Support) volunteers. Nisha (pictured), along with ten other women from Charnwood, has taken part in the La Leche League Breastfeeding Peer Counsellor Programme aimed at providing support to mums who are breastfeeding and giving information to pregnant ladies about feeding their babies. The course covers the practicalities of breastfeeding and why human milk is the best mile for human babies as well as issues such as confidentiality and counsellor skills. Nisha joins ten other volunteers who completed their training last year and are now out and about in Charnwood, supporting mums at breast feeding cafes, post natal groups, hospitals, Sure Start Centres and anywhere else that their help is needed. Joanne Talbot, Community Nursery Nurse, is the course co-ordinator and is already running the next training course. Health visitors, family outreach workers and the charity Home-Start are also involved in training the volunteers at Sure Start Centres in Charnwood. Joanne says: “These ladies have shown hard work and commitment to the training and now will be able to help so many other people give their babies the best possible start in life. They have all breastfed their own children and now have the knowledge and skills to help others in Charnwood do the same by giving support and information at every stage of breastfeeding.” The Mayor of Charnwood, Jill Vincent, presented the women with their certificates at a ceremony and told them that she had breastfed all her four children and was fully supportive of the role that the volunteers will now undertake. To contact the group see their website or contact them through your health visitor or midwife.

Some items were handed in following the gala in June. • child’s purse – pink ‘Flower Buds’ purse with a small amount of cash • key ring – three keys, leather fob with masonic insignia • key ring with four keys, one with a black plastic top • key ring – Ibiza • one single mortice key with an ‘S’ • black purse with zipped compartments, sealed with Velcro • gold bangle • ladies Avia wristwatch • keys (found between Allington Drive and Newton Drive) All available from the Council Offices, the Village Hall, Birstall Road

Co-op fund’s grant aid THE CO-OPERATIVE Community Fund have awarded a grant of £500 to a local group. The Manager of the Co-op on Wanlip Lane, Mr Graham Picksley, broke the good news to Christine Thomas of CLASH, a self-help group for arthritis sufferers. She said: “We really appreciate the support Graham Picksley has given the group over the long term for many of our events.” The grant will go towards purchasing a Wii fitness console and projector. Christine added: “This will provide an excellent new resource. Using a Wii to exercise for people with arthritis can help reduce joint fitness and can lessen joint pain.”

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A NINETY year old member of Birstall Ladies Bowling Club celebrated her birthday with two parties. Dorothy Lightfoot has been playing for the Club for over 30 years and still plays two to three times a week in the summer and indoors at Slater Street during the winter. In 1995 she was the County Singles runner up and in 1996 teamed up with Pam Ratcliffe, Nikki Greasley and Marjorie Hawksley to win the County Fours title, allowing her to compete twice in the National Championships at Leamington Spa. Dorothy held the first of two 90th birthday parties on her big day and this was attended by over 70 club members. She danced the night away to music played by club members Val and Mick Ross. The following Saturday morning, over 100 guests from clubs in Leicestershire attended a second celebration. The club competition winners were presented with their trophies at the Annual Dinner Dance held last month. Ladies Winners: Championship: Sue Andrews, Runner Up: Pam Ratcliffe Handicap: Sue Andrews, Runner Up: Pa Walker Maiden: Janet Wildbore, Runner Up: Diane Hartop Three Wood: Diane Hurst, Runner Up: Sue Andrews Two Wood: Pam Ratcliffe, Runner Up: Diane Hartop Pairs: Barbara Mullins & Pam Ratcliffe, Runners Up: Cynthia Chapman & Jan Everitt Two Wood Pairs: Barbara Mullins & Jan Everitt, Runners Up: Pam McMahon & Pa Walker Fielding & Everitt Cups: Margaret Fritche & Sue Andrews, Runners Up: Pam McMahon & Pa Walker Men’s Winners Championship: Jan Hunt, Runner Up: Andy Wye Handicap: Malcolm Wright, Runner Up: Bob Cooper Maiden: Bill Alexander, Runner Up: Gary Norman Three Wood: Grahame White, Runner Up: Dave Clarke Two Wood: Dave Clarke, Runner Up: John Hurst Pairs: John McNulty & Tom Cowles, Runners Up: Mick Barnacle & Richard Smith Club Night Cup: Bruce Pearson Mixed competition winners Club Open: Diane Hurst, Riunner Up: John Walker Saunders Cup: Jan Everitt & Andy Wye, Runners Up: Sue Wilson & Paul Young Adnett Cup: Pa & John Walker, Runners Up: Sheila Jenkins & Dave Clarke More about the club can be found by visiting the club website Pic: Dorothy Lightfoot at her 90th Birthday Party


INFO Age UK is the new force combining Age Concern and Help the Aged.

Comment on British Gas price Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director at Age UK, said: “The news that energy prices are set to increase comes at a time when many people in later life are already worrying about how to pay their heating costs. With recent figures showing that the number of older households in fuel poverty in England has increased to 1.7 million, rising energy bills are putting enormous pressure on many older people’s finances, with some saying they live in just one room or stay in bed in an attempt to reduce costs. “Age UK has launched its Spread the Warmth campaign to help people in later life stay warmer this winter, if people are worried about this news or would like any information and advice they can contact 0800 169 6565.” Donate a coat to help Spread the Warmth to older people this winter 1.2 million over 60s feel that having a warm coat would make the biggest difference to them this winter. We all love shopping for that new ‘must-have’ coat each winter but what happens to all of the old, unloved coats from seasons gone by? Instead of letting them gather dust at the back of a wardrobe, Age UK is urging people to donate their old coats to sell in one of its shops this winter as part of the Charity’s new Spread the Warmth campaign. Recent research from Age UK shows that more than 1.2 million people over 60 in the UK feel that having a warm coat would make the biggest difference to them this winter. By donating a coat to Age UK, you can be that difference – money raised by Spread the Warmth will help over 350,000 older people live safer, healthier, more fulfilling lives at this difficult time of year. Donated coats can be dropped off at a local Age UK or Age Concern shop (to find your nearest shop, visit or call 0800 169 8787). Hugh Forde, Director of Retail, Trading and Training at Age UK, said: 'Donating an old, unloved coat will go a long way towards making winter warmer for people in later life. With over 475 shops on high streets up and down the country, donating your old coat couldn’t be easier. Christmas is a time for reaching out and helping others so we urge anyone who can help to get involved and spread a little warmth this winter.' Age UK’s Spread the Warmth campaign aims to help alleviate the needless suffering older people face each winter. Running from October to February, the campaign will focus on helping older people stay warm and well as well as reminding neighbours and friends of what they can do to help. This winter, Age UK’s practical advice and support services will help over 350,000 older people live safer, healthier, more fulfilling lives. The Charity is aiming to make older people and their family, friends and carers aware of the practical and effective advice and support on everything from installing draft excluders and grab rails, to checking electric blanket wiring and claiming the benefits available to them. Penny Smith, TV presenter and Age UK Ambassador, is supporting the Age UK Spread the Warmth campaign. For more information on donating a coat or ‘Spread the Warmth’, call the Age UK Customer Relations line on 0800 169 87 87 or visit Have you paid the wrong tax? HMRC (formerly the Inland Revenue) is currently sending out letters to nearly 6 million people who have paid the wrong amount of tax since 2008. Over the past 2 years, nearly £2bn has been underpaid, with around 1.4m taxpayers owing an average of £1,400 each. However, £1.8bn has also been overpaid, so another 4.3m people will get a rebate, because they have paid too much tax.It’s thought that some people may have overpaid and underpaid their income tax, effectively cancelling any payments out. We do not currently know how many people who receive a pension have been affected.

Dog fouling STREET WARDENS will be stepping up their patrols in Birstall’s parks and open spaces to clamp down on the issue of dog fouling. The Wardens, employed by Charnwood Borough Council, can issue fixed penalty notices of £80. If dealt with in a Magistrates Court, the offence of not cleaning up after your dog can result in a fine of £1000. Birstall Police Community Support Officer Stuart Venables has also been patrolling Birstall’s parks looking for offenders. In September an increase in patrols in Syston’s Memorial Park resulted in a 77 per cent reduction in dog fouling.

Why has this happened? Previously, HMRC used to check amounts that had been paid via PAYE manually against their own records. They have now introduced a new computer system that has alerted them to the discrepancies and, as a result, millions of letters are being sent out. The discrepancies happen when people move job, are being paid via PAYE for more than one job, or because employers are using the wrong tax code. What do I do if I get a letter? The first thing to do is make sure you actually read it and check all the basic details. Make sure that HMRC actually has the right information about your employment: •where you worked •dates you worked •how much you were earning •if any benefits (such as company car) are correct What if I've underpaid my tax? If you have underpaid, don't panic. The Inland Revenue won't expect you to pay the money back in one go. It's important to realise that what you are receiving will be an informal calculation only (known as a P800) and is not actually a tax demand. If you don't understand the calculations, you should challenge HMRC to produce a detailed explanation as to how they reached their figures. In the majority of cases, HMRC will simply alter your tax code and you will pay more tax each month from April 2011 onwards. Most people will pay the money back over the course of 12 months.

New art for hall

HMRC has announced that it will not be pursuing claims of less than £300 - this applies to approximately 40% of underpayments. What if I can't afford to repay the tax? If paying the money back that quickly is going to cause you problems, then HMRC has agreed that payments can be spread over 3 years. If this applies to you, contact your local tax office and request this. However, if a tax debt is legally due, then you must repay it. What if I've overpaid? You need to be just as vigilant, if you've paid too much tax. Check the details with just as much scrutiny as if you'd been told you'd underpaid, because if HMRC discover there's been a further error, you could still be liable to repay the rebate.Once notification has been sent through, a cheque should arrive within 7-10 days. Will HMRC send me an email about my tax payment? No. HMRC will only contact you by letter. If you receive any email claiming to be from HMRC telling you to submit your claim online, this is a phishing scam and should be deleted immediately. What if I don't agree with the letter? What if I want to appeal? Officials have indicated that there is a procedure called the 'extra statutory concession A19' (the exact text relating to this is on pages 25-26 of the document.). This procedure means that HMRC will consider writing off the demands if you can prove you provided all the correct information to calculate your tax correctly and they failed to use it within 12 months. However, you're by no means certain to escape repayment. According to HMRC, 'In fairness to all taxpayers, this is not a blanket exemption and very much depends on the specific circumstances of each case.' From Age UK Age UK is the new force combining Age Concern and Help the Aged.


Methodist Certificates church news Did you know? Two thousand and ten years ago, when Jesus Christ was born, there were no accurate records kept such as birth (or death) certificates. Nobody actually knows on which day Jesus was born or even whether it was winter or summer. Christians who lived a few hundred years after Christ, wisely chose the December 25 to celebrate his birth, because this day was already a very special day: it was the shortest day of the year, when people worshipped the sun. God was seen as the creator of the world (and therefore, the sun) and to celebrate this day as Jesus’s birthday seemed entirely right. Of course we now use a different calendar which names the shortest day as 21st December, but who wants to celebrate Christmas 4 days earlier!

Meet your friends! As might be expected this month, there are many activities focussing on the festive season, as well as the special services (listed on the Churches Together notice). A Christingle service at Open House at 11am on December 5 is the first of these. The church and community centre at Wanlip, where major refurbishment has been taking place, hosts the first social occasion, a Christmas Fair with stalls and refreshments, on Saturday 4 from 10am to 1pm. Then on the afternoon of the 5 at 2.15pm a Quiz afternoon - with cream tea – can be enjoyed at 2.15pm in Birstall Village Hall. On Saturday 11 December you are invited to a Christmas Coffee Morning in St. James Church, from 10am to 12.

EXAMS CERTIFICATES for exams taken in June 2010 at Longslade College are now available for collection from the college reception. These have to be signed for by the students on collection. If students are unable to collect personally then a letter of authorisation must be produced to enable a third party to collect on their behalf. This letter must name the person who is to collect the certificates and so some sort of identification will be required. Longslade has an archive of old certificates that have never been collected, going back to 2000. If you think that you have never collected your GCSE/GCE certificates then you can contact the Exams Office on 0116 2677107 (ext 142) for more details.

Merry Christmas from us all at

The Birstall Post



A different experience For something quite different why not come and enjoy a lively concert of Christmas music by THE8 on Sunday evening December 12 at 8pm.This delightful and talented group of singers is making its fourth visit to Birstall and can be relied on for superb singing and a delightful programme. Tickets are £7 on the door and include a glass of wine and mince pie at the interval. With the carol services at Wanlip church at 6pm on Sunday 19 and Monday 20 and the Crib Service at St. James at 4pm and Midnight Communion at 11.30pm on Christmas Eve, the run-up to Christmas is complete. A very happy and peaceful Christmas to everyone! From Beryl McHugh

Help us in our work helping others less fortunate than ourselves

All gifts and donations gladly accepted at the ROYAL BRITISH LEGION 19 FRONT STREET • BIRSTALL

or Ring 2674817

AN ARTIST working with local school children aims to create a piece of art for Birstall Village Hall.

Longslade’s new artist in residence, Anna Davis (pictured above), is studying for an MA in Fine Art at Loughborough University. She said: “Part of my role at the college is to create projects that our community can be involved in. With this in mind I decided to approach Birstall Parish Council with the possibility of creating a piece of art for the Village Hall. “The project will involve students from Highcliffe, Riverside, Stonehill and Longslade and will be a collage of students’ images brought together by one theme.” Anna, who lives in Birstall and was educated here, has been working in Longslade’s art department as a cover supervisor for the past three years. As artist in residence she will work with Longslade and Stonehill students in her college studio three days a week. She said: “I hope to give students a chance to gain an insight into the professional world of being a practising artist and an opportunity to learn new and exciting aspects of art.”


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the birstall post DEC 2010

Methodist news Girls Brigade Painters A number of the older girls as part of a ‘DIY’ course have painted the foyer to the coffee shop. There is a possibility they may be painting a mural on one of the walls in one of the ‘upstairs’ rooms

Christmas Events

Youth service cuts YOUTH SERVICES in the county will be cut with the equivalent of 43 full time posts being lost from April 2011. The Youth Service budget of £4million will be cut by “at least £1.5million” says the County Council. Rothley will lose its council youth workers that currently offer provision from the youth club on Fowke Street. A County Council spokesman said: “Under the proposals we will continue to have a presence at Birstall Youth Centre and offer provision in Mountsorrel via detached work. “Two weekly meetings that currently take place in Rothley will cease to run so we can focus our work on priority neighbourhoods.” Youth Service representatives have been visiting Parish Councils, community forums, schools and other parties explaining the plans. The spokesman said: “In the current climate we have to make some difficult decisions about where to make savings, and are faced with some tough choices. As a result, we are looking at the Youth Service with a view to refocusing our priorities. We will continue to work in areas where we will make the biggest impact, with an emphasis on supporting vulnerable young people. However, the size of the budget reductions means we are considering a reduction in the number of youth clubs and projects the service operates. We have worked with staff to identify priority areas of work and will be working closely with the voluntary sector to see if it would be able to take on some of the services we offer. We hope that through talks with our partners

Planning P/10/2568/2: Longslade Community College, Wanlip Lane – retrospective application for the erection of a temporary mobile classroom P/10/2406/2: 536 Loughborough Road – erection of two dwellings P/10/2492/2: Watermead Country Park, Wanlip Road – erection of 5m high flagpole P/10/2408/2: 115 Wanlip Lane – erection of extension and shed to rear of property P/10/2368/2: 22 Birstall Road – erection of metal gate and railings to front of dwelling P/10/2320/2: 13 Birchtree Ave - retention of outbuilding to rear of garden P/10/2303/2: Longslade Community College, Wanlip Lane - temporary access road from Wanlip Lane

Small Ads Small ads are 25p for the first 16 words. 17-32 words: 50p. Enclosing payment, post your ad to us or hand it in (inside an envelope) at Birstall library. Trade/business rates for small ads are 25p a word. You are liable for the trade/business rate if you are offering a service for which you are asking for payment, or if you are advertising new goods for sale. All text will be printed bold. Box outline £1 extra. Max 50 words. Phone numbers count as one word.

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communities will be supported in finding local solutions to enable certain activities we may no longer be able to continue to sustain.” The drop-in youth centre in the pavilion on the School Lane playing fields, Birstall, will be unaffected by the County Council’s cuts as it is funded by Birstall Parish council.

Win tickets to Curve WIN FOUR tickets to see The King and I at Curve in Leicester by entering our competition.

Wednesday December 15 is the Peace light Service, when a flame that originated in Bethlehem will be shared. Bring along a lamp you can light from the flame if you wish at 7pm. Riverside School Choir will be taking part. The Ratcliffe Chorale will present a Christmas Concert on Thursday December 16 at 7.30pm. Tickets are £5 to include refreshments and entry into a prize draw, Tel 2675615, 2675128, or 2673158. The evening is arranged by the Thursday Group and all proceeds will go to the Richard Englegardt Trust. On Sunday evening December 19 there will be a Candlelight Carol Service at 6pm In the afternoon of Tuesday December 21, at 2.30pm there will be an Advent Service in the church led by members of Syston & Queniborough Methodist Churches. On Christmas Eve there will be a Communion Service at 11.15pm, which will lead into Christmas Day. Christmas Morning Service will be at 10am – do bring along one of your presents so everyone can share in your gift (especially if its unusual!) Although Boxing Day is a Sunday, the only morning Methodist Service locally will be at Syston. However there will be an informal act of worship in the coffee shop with the option of an afternoon walk through Watermead Park. Everyone is welcome to any or all of these events and services. Apart from the Ratcliffe Chorale, all are free, but a collection is usually taken.

New Year’s Eve Don’t spend New Years Eve on your own Do come along and join in the traditional Party at the village hall from 8.30pm onwards. There will be games, quizzes, music, dancing and friendly company. There will be a shared supper (so bring something to share) and bring your own drinks too. Tickets are £3 to cover the hire of the hall. Tel 2672606 to book.

Art on show THE ANNUAL art exhibition staged by Birstall and District Art Society was held in the Village Hall in November.

Hundreds of visitors enjoyed the many paintings on show at the society’s 16th exhibition. The public vote saw Mick Joyce winning the prize for Best |Picture in Pic: Sophie Garner (14) Show for his painting Roman Bridge, with John Kennedy a close second. The pictures by school children were much admired and showed real talent. The Society’s secretary Mary Houghton said: “It was a very happy exhibition and it was so lovely to see many people who always support us as well as a good number of new faces.” Student results: Age 14 Longslade, 1st – Sophie Garner, 2nd – Alex Fearne. Age 9 Highcliffe, 1st – Harry Saunders, 2nd – Anjali Tia Patel. Age 7 Riverside, 1st - Fearne Goodwin, 2nd – Ellie MacManard The raffle winner was Betty Chamberlain. Pic (top right): Society Chairman David Walmsley presents the Norman Sims trophy for the best watercolour painting to Mary Pepper

0116 2674213 Correspondence, news etc can be handed in at: Birstall Library or to our office in the Youth Centre, Longslade College, Birstall

Whilst the Thursday Group is raising funds for the Richard Englegardt Trust (the Birstall young man badly injured playing Rugby) the Monday group are fund raising for Cystic Fibrosis and Heartlink.

Pantomine Tickets

WI news BIRSTALL AND Wanlip Women’s Institute held their monthly meeting, AGM and very early Christmas party on November 1 at Highcliffe Primary School. A new committee was voted in and retiring members Margaret Willows and Kathleen Allen were thanked for their many years of service. The AGM was followed by a supper and a very noisy game in the form of ‘speed dating’ where members’ claims to fame were revealed to all! This helped introduce the seven new ladies who have swelled our ranks this year. Our next meeting is on December 6 at 7.15pm and new members are always welcome. The speaker will be Margaret Drover who will talk about ‘Emus for fun and profit’. From Andrea Scott

These will be available after Christmas. Phone Victoria on 2122513 (but not after 8.30pm please). Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves will be staged, with the all male cast from Tuesday February 22 to Saturday February 26. Or, if you know a member of the cast, ask them for a ticket and you can do that before Christmas!


Longslade College, Wanlip Lane, Birstall, Leicester LE4 4GH Editor: Mr Jerry Jackson Editorial/Advertising (Tel & Fax)

Ladies Fund Raising

The multi award winning musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein is coming to Leicester this Christmas in a spectacular new production. Set in Siam in the late 19th century, the show tells the story of a British governess brought to the Royal Court to tutor the King’s many children and has captured the hearts and minds of millions in stage and screen versions. For your chance to win four tickets for the performance on Tuesday December 21 at 2.15pm, simply answer the following question: which of these is not a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical? A) The Sound of Music, B) South Pacific and C) The Phantom of the Opera. Please email your entry giving your name, postal address and telephone number to,. or write to us (details on back page). The closing date is December 13.

Pic: Harry Saunders (9)

Pic: Anjali Tia Patel (9)

The Last Contact It is sad to report that after 40 years the Joint Churches Magazine, ‘Contact’ is to cease publication. December 2010 is the final edition. Throughout its life, Maureen Holland has been the editor, and has done a first class job. Many will miss the publication, but with so much competition for advertising, it was difficult to compete with the free magazines that have recently appeared. It was one of the few remaining ‘Joint Churches’ magazines that remained in Leicestershire. It was a Contact Committee meeting that started the idea for the Birstall Post, which fortunately still remains. Maureen has prepared a book ‘Contact – Highlights and Memories’ which includes articles and nostalgia. It runs to 164 pages and is priced £5. It will be available in the churches or direct from Maureen on 2675598. From Tony Moore

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Birstall Post Dec 2010 (329)  

Birstall Post Dec 2010

Birstall Post Dec 2010 (329)  

Birstall Post Dec 2010