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the Birstall post Y O U R




No. 331

College aims to improve Sid’s

LONGSLADE IS at the bottom of school performance tables for county schools, according to Government figures released in January. The Department for Education published detailed figures last month that show Longslade College has: • the lowest results for GCSE performance in the county with 43% of students gaining five or more GCSEs at grade C or above including English and Maths. The county average was 55.3% and the national average 53.5% • ranked 22nd of 23 county schools for A level points per student. Wreake Valley College in Syston had a lower score. Longslade’s point score was 672.4. The county average was 719.5 and the national average 726.5 • ranked 20th out of 23 schools in the county for truancy, with 3.1% of sessions missed due to unauthorised absence. The Department for Education has ‘floor targets’ for secondary schools. Schools are defined as being below the floor if:

• less than 35% of students achieve five or more GCSEs at grade C or above including English and Maths. Longslade achieved 43%. • they have below average per cent of pupils at the end of Key Stage 4 (KS4) making expected progress in English. The national average is 72%, Longslade achieved 69%. • they have below average per cent of pupils at the end of KS4 making expected progress in Maths. The national average is 65%. Longslade achieved 50%. Longslade’s Principal Liz Hall said: “We were not satisfied and are disappointed with those results. We were pleased at the improvement in percentage of pupils getting five or more GCSEs at A* to C, going from 62% in 2009 to 72% in 2010. “We have improved our performance at GCSE English and Maths from 2009, but not as much as we would have liked. Students did not achieve on the day in their exams and we need to Pic: Principal Liz Hall consider how we prepare students. “We have put in place a number of interventions and strategies for addressing that – we have employed an additional maths teacher for one to one tuition as well as additional English tuition, for those students we have identified as needing support.” The college also has in place a six week course of academic mentoring for every Year 11 student, and post 16 students have roles Continued on page 2

100th birthday LONG TIME Birstall resident Sid Wilson celebrated his 100th birthday at the same venue he celebrated many other successes – Birstall Golf Club. Sid, a member of the club since 1948, was still playing until the age of 90, and marked that birthday by driving off the first tee in the company of his daughter, grandson and great grandson, although he was not quite up to repeating the feat this time. On his 100th birthday he enjoyed a celebratory lunch with members of his family, including his wife Mavis, daughter, two grandchildren, five great grandchildren and one great great grandchild. Sid was born off Abbey lane, Leicester and spent his war service training motorcycle despatch riders, although the motorbikes they used were so noisy that the work permanently damaged his hearing. He spent his peacetime working life as a builder – running Wilson and Barrett – and currently lives with Mavis in a house he built himself in Station Road, Birstall in 1953. Among his golfing successes was winning the Novices Cup at Birstall in 1950 – a full 60 years ago! He was elected captain of the club in 1962 and president in 1981, while Mavis is also a past ladies captain and president. Sid said: “When I first played at Birstall it was still just a nine hole course because half of it had been ploughed up for producing food during the war. “My wife helps keep me young. I put my long life down to living a happy life and living well with the occasional drink. Being a member at Birstall and playing golf has also kept me active.” Even the couple’s holidays were active – in Australia Sid insisted on climbing to the top of Ayers Rock.

Pic: Sid with his message from HM The Queen

Extra Police powers PLANS TO give the Police extra powers to deal with on-street drinking are expected to be introduced to certain areas of Birstall this April. The Birstall Alcohol Consumption in Designated Public Places Public Order has been requested by the Police to help tackle problems of alcohol fuelled antisocial behaviour. The new powers will enable the Police to

confiscate alcohol from people drinking in the designated public area where : • nuisance or annoyance to a member of the public or a section of the public is caused, or Continued on page 2


the birstall post FEB 2011

Longslade continued from page 1 as peer mentors for younger students. Ms Hall added: “The A level average point score doesn’t show the overall success in the subject areas we offer – in 2010, 22 out of 29 subjects offered achieved a 100% pass rate at A2.” A level performance has improved in 2010 compared to 2009 rising by 39.3 points to 672.4. In respect of truancy, Ms Hall said: “We are working hard with young people to look at the reasons for their absence, and attendance rates are up 2% this academic year. Student managers and the student support team sit and talk to them and ask why they find it difficult to attend college. We explain the impact absence has on grades and invite employers into college to talk about the importance of good attendance in the workplace.” 11.2% of students at Longslade have Special Educational Needs (SEN). Only one school in the county, Rawlins, has more. The reason is that Longslade has a specialist Speech and Language Centre on site attracting students from a wide catchment area.

Powers continued from page 1

Pic: the Palmer Tomkinson Centre under construction

Longslade’s Ofsted report in 2009 rated the work the centre does as ‘outstanding’. The College as a whole was rated as ‘good’. A school’s rating in the performance league tables will reflect the academic ability of the the student intake. More able students at Longslade are supported with the Gifted and Talented Scheme – masterclasses led by college staff designed to stretch and challenge them. Ms Hall said: “We take the success of young people at Longslade very seriously and have put in a series of measures to help them achieve the best results they can this summer. “Looking ahead, the new Palmer Tomkin-

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son Centre [currently under construction on the site] is a fantastic new building, incredibly exciting, that will improve our post 16 facilities and be there for community use as well.” The new building will open in summer 2011. • Longslade Community College is a secondary school with a sixth form for ages 14-18. The College was awarded Specialist Technology College status in 2001. In 2010, there were 1218 pupils on the school roll and 392 aged 16-18. Liz Hall has been at Longslade since 2006 and was appointed principal in autumn 2010. Performance tables:

Water babies A CLASS that teaches water confidence to babies meets at Birstall swimming pool. Water Babies teach a structured programme designed to make the most of babies’ natural affinity with water. Spokesman Chris Craven said: “Swimming from birth is excellent for babies’ development, providing a complete physical workout which in turn aids the development of the brain. Regular swimming can enhance their awareness and improve eating and sleeping patterns. With a clear emphasis on having fun, lessons are generally very sociable occasions.” For more information call Chris and Charlie on 01664 567302 or visit

Birstall burglary A MAN has been arrested and charged with four counts of burglary relating to incidents in Birstall between December 14 and January 11. The 27 year old was remanded into custody and appeared at Leicester Magistrates Court on January 20.

• disorder has been associated with the consumption of intoxicating liquor in that place Once approved the order will not make it an offence to drink alcohol in the designated public place. But failure to comply with a Police Officer or Police Community Support Officer’s request in respect of public drinking, or to surrender alcohol, without reasonable excuse, will be an offence which you can be arrested for. The designated area comprises School Lane, part of Loughborough Road, Beechfield Avenue, part of Birstall Road, Sibson Road, Colindale Avenue, Rose Tree Avenue, Windmill Avenue, Dalby Avenue, Allington Drive, the boundary of Watermead Country Park, Whiles Lane, Front Street, Wanlip Lane and various roads and other public areas in its vicinity, which have been linked to crime and disorder caused by antisocial drinking. Steve Blackburn, Birstall Parish Council Clerk, said: “The Council is in favour of this proposal. Anything that gives the police powers to curb street drinking is to be welcomed as it has been a problem.” Councillor David Snartt, Charnwood Borough Council’s cabinet member for community safety, said: “These proposals are in response to a number of complaints the council and police have received about antisocial behaviour being fuelled by alcohol in certain parts of the borough. No one should have to live in fear or with drunken troublemakers plaguing their streets.” Birstall’s Beat Officer Richard Carruthers said: “Over the last few months the number of reports of antisocial behaviour in the villages has significantly reduced. The combination of the good work done by the Youth Café, police presence, the start up of Businesswatch, the closure of an off-licence who sold to under aged youths to name a few has paid off. “Any legal power that supports the reduction in antisocial behaviour and crime in the villages will only help to reduce tension and fear in the community. I value this tool as another way of hopefully increasing confidence in the community. It should be noted that this is not a ban on possession on alcohol in public but a ban on those who persist on being antisocial by drinking openly in public.” A similar order has been proposed for Thurmaston and Charnwood Borough Council’s cabinet will make a decision on implementing this measure later this month. In January, all residents living with the designated areas were sent a letter by Charnwood

Housing issues COUNCIL HOUSE tenants can have their say at a drop-in session held in Birstall later this month. Charnwood Neighbourhood Housing (CNH) have organised the event, to give tenants an opportunity to raise issues, ask questions and suggest improvements to services. The drop-in session will be held at Birstall Village Hall on Birstall Road, on Thursday February 24 from 2-4pm Everyone attending will be entered into a prize draw to win £50 of high street shopping vouchers. Sally Harbey from CNH said: “We encourage all our tenants and leaseholders to come along to these events to have their say. The feedback we receive will help us to develop and improve a variety of services and target funds towards the services that tenants feel are most important.”

Parish Council notes A FULL meeting of Birstall Parish Council was held on January 10. PCSO Mark Butler presented the crime report. He said that antisocial behaviour has reduced dramatically in the last year and that the Parish Council’s Youth café had made a big impact. PCSO Butler reported that young people playing on bikes and skateboards on the Sibson Road car park were asking him when the new skateboard facilities would be provided. The clerk said planning permission had been granted and the Council were now seeking funding. PCSO Butler said no arrests had been made in connection with the robbery at Birstall Jewellers. It was agreed that the Council write to Leicester City Council regarding the travellers on Greengate Lane near the junction with Thurcaston Road. It is understood that permission to remain was temporary and that the Parish Council wanted to know when they would be required to leave. It was reported that the daffodils outside the Greengate Medical Centre would be replaced by the County Council, but that it was too late for planting for this year. The county say they will not replace the daffodils in the central reservation of the A6. The clerk reported he would be meeting with other parish clerks affected by Charnwood’s public toilet closure programme to discuss the lease arrangements they could agree in common, should parishes take over the responsibility for maintaining the toilets this March. Comment was made that if the Parish Council declined to take on management of the toilets, Charnwood Borough Council would suffer the electoral consequences of closing them at the next local elections. It was reported that the Parish Council had identified a building error made by the County Council when they constructed the three sets of steps at the Sibson Road car park. The individual steps are not equidistant from each other and the County Council have agreed to take them up and rebuild them at their expense. Each step must be the same height as every other step for health and safety reasons. It was agreed to invite Leicester City Council’s planning officers to a Parish Council meeting to question them about the impact of Ashton Green on Greengate Lane. It was reported that Kilby Avenue, the road with the steepest incline in Birstall, was not gritted nor had any snow been cleared during the recent icy weather.

Farmers market LOUGHBOROUGH FARMERS Market has moved to the town’s Market Place in a bid to raise its profile and help it expand. The popular market has been based in Devonshire Square since 2000 but moved to its new home last month. The move comes after the council listened to traders who said they felt the market needed more room to become bigger and better. The market has between 15-20 traders who travel to Loughborough from throughout the Midlands to sell a wide range of products from ostrich meat and homemade sauces, chutneys and pickles to cheeses, honey and eggs. The market is held on the second Wednesday of each month – except November when the fair comes to town – and opens from 9am to 4pm.

Horse suffered Fun run THE RSPCA were called to a Birstall field when a member of the public reported a horse in distress. The RSPCA Inspector found a four year old bay gelding emaciated and lying in a pool of its own faeces. The horse had to be put down. The horse’s owner, Mr Kenneth Till (68) of Liberty Road, Glenfield, pleased guilty to causing unnecessary suffering and failing to take reasonable steps to ensure the needs of an animal. Till was fined £300, told to pay a £15 victim surcharge and £250 towards RSPCA costs.

WACKY RACERS are being urged to don their running shoes to help raise cash for Comic Relief in Charnwood. Charnwood Borough Council is set to host the Smiles 4 Miles fun run on Sunday, March 20 but needs local people to show their support be entering now. The run sets off from Loughborough Town Hall at 10am to help raise money for Red Nose Day, which is held once every two years, and has two distances – one mile and three miles. Fancy dress is optional. For more information, visit together or call the Active Together team on 01509 634673 or email



Agencies’ NHW news & crime report ASB action plan Neighbourhood Watch Open Meeting Thursday March 3, 7.45pm, Methodist Hall, Birstall Topic: Alcohol control in part of Birstall’s public areas. All residents of Birstall are invited to the next NHW meeting. The speakers will be Sgt Ian Stone of Leicestershire Police and Allison Fadesco of Charnwood BC. They will be talking about the proposed Designated Public Place order (DPPO) for alcohol control in part of Birstall. This will be followed by a Q&A session. Members will be there to give help and there will be a range of home security equipment available as well as free refreshments. So come along and find out what is happening in Birstall. Everyone is welcome. The date of the NHW AGM has been rescheduled. It is now on Thursday 12 May at 7.45pm at The Methodist Hall Birstall. The Speaker will be confirmed later. Notice of 2 scams currently operating around Birstall Both these scams have been notified previously but as they are still being attempted please be on your guard. Cash back at supermarkets. Please check your till receipt before leaving the till. Some people are finding that cashback is appearing on their receipts even though they haven’t requested and don’t receive the money. Car accident insurance scam. People are receiving phone calls from someone saying that they haven’t received their money from a car accident the person was supposed to have caused sometime ago. This is an insurance scam so just hang up the phone. From Ghislaine Woods, Birstall Village Watch

Crime Report Dec 13, 2010 to Jan 8, 2011 Assaults 5, harassment 4, burglary 11, burglary non-dwelling 3, damage 3, damage to motor vehicle 5, drugs 2, public order 1, theft of cycle 3, theft from motor vehicle 7, theft store 2. Overall crime is down by 3 compared to last month. Burglaries are up but we have two detections from an arrest. Two were detained for going equipped. One assault was detected and two drugs related offences were detected this month. Year to date detections Burglary dwellings 14.9%, burglary nondwelling 5.8%, theft of motor vehicle 28.6%, theft from motor vehicle 5.9%, criminal damage 6.9%, total crime 15.8% From PC 2139 Richard Carruthers

FRONTLINE AGENCIES are coming together for the first time for a training seminar designed to boost the way anti-social behaviour is tackled in Charnwood. The Support Agency Awareness Training Day on February 10 aims to raise awareness among frontline Charnwood Borough Council, Leicestershire Police and Charnwood Neighbourhood Housing staff of the support available to them from 16 different local agencies. The support agencies will discuss what they do, learn how police, housing and community safety staff can refer victims or perpetrators of anti-social behaviour to them and generally talk about how to more effectively deal with issues. Councillor David Snartt, Charnwood Borough Council’s cabinet member for community safety and chairman of the Charnwood Community Safety Partnership, said: “Although we have an award-winning record of tackling anti-social behaviour in Charnwood, we are never complacent and are always seeking ways of improving the service. “This training day is designed to do that by ensuring all frontline staff who encounter anti-social behaviour in the Borough know where they can go to for support and what resources are available. “By doing this we believe our response to incidents will be improved and the way we steer people away from offending will be more effective.” The event has been co-ordinated by Charnwood Borough Council and is being hosted by Leicestershire County and Rutland Community Health Services. Jane Moore, Deputy Head of Leicestershire County Council’s Youth Offending Service which is also taking part, said: “Tackling anti-social behaviour is a key priority for a range of agencies. This training event not only brings agencies together to enable more effective joint working but it seeks to improve what we do to better meet the needs of the community.” Agencies involved include the council, Leicestershire Police, Charnwood Neighbourhood Housing, Charnwood Mentoring Scheme, Leicestershire County and Rutland Community Health Services, Connexions, Bridge Housing Service, Leicestershire County Council’s youth service and youth offending service, Human Rights and Equalities Charnwood, Loughborough Women’s Aid, Just Women’s Project, Turning Point, East Leicestershire Mental Health Social Support Service, New Directions, Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Community Mental Health Team and Children’s Centres. The Charnwood Mentoring Scheme recently earned national praise after reaching the final of the National Mentoring and Befriending Awards where it was recognised as one of the top five projects in the country for diverting young people away from anti-social behaviour. For more information about reporting anti-social behaviour, please contact the community safety team on 01509 634901 or email:

Pic: Birstall Utd U14s

United’s cup run THE ROMANCE of the cup is alive and well and living in Birstall. Birstall United Juniors U14 side has dodged the unpredictable weather to make excellent progress in both the County and League Cup competitions. Early in January United took on 2nd division leaders Kirby Kings in the county cup quarter final. United dominated the early stages and created several chances with their fluent attacking football. Their hard work eventually paid off, albeit somewhat luckily, after 20 minutes with a Joel Wolfe shot being deflected in off a shoulder by Callum Hamilton. Kirby fought back and battled for an equalizer, keeper Russ Stafford being worked hard on several occasions. The second half continued to be evenly matched though Birstall’s nerves began to show. A desperate last 10 minutes saw Kirby have several chances including blasting a penalty over the bar with 5 minutes to play. The game ended to Birstall’s relief and a semi final beckons. United have also progressed to the quarter finals of the under 14 league cup and are battling for a top four finish in the Easter Festival of Football U14 Division A.

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the birstall post FEB 2011

Volunteer needed to tackle litter THE CLEANLINESS of our streets, pavements and parks is an issue that rouses strong opinions – the letters from Birstall Post readers angry about dog fouling and published in the January issue are an indication of that concern. The authority responsible for litter is Charnwood Borough Council. Their responsibility includes street cleaning, litter collection, the removal of detritus, fly-posting, graffiti and fly-tipping on public land which is maintained by the Borough Council. Birstall Parish Council maintains Birstall’s three playing fields and is

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responsible for their cleanliness. Residents themselves are also taking responsibility and there are some volunteers already in the village who are picking up litter. Charnwood launched its Community Champions scheme last summer – the scheme enables local volunteers to take

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an active role in improving their community, by acting as additional eyes and ears around the borough. A volunteer is being sought for Birstall. They are equipped with GPS enabled PDAs – a hand held computer that they can use to photograph ‘grot spots’ and which sends the co-ordinates to Charnwood who pass it on to contractors SERCO. This enables the council to concentrate resources on problem areas. Birstall Parish Council clerk Steve Blackburn said: “The Parish Council would welcome any voluntary activity of this sort – there is a problem with litter in the village. A lot of people don’t care enough about their environment these days.” There are currently 13 volunteer Community Champions in Charnwood – within the first 10 months of the scheme they sent in 300 reports that have been dealt with by SERCO. Reported incidents include litter, graffiti, fly-tipping, fly-posting, full litter bins, spilt refuse and dog fouling. Volunteers receive a training programme that includes one-toone sessions and on-street instruction on how to use the equipment and what to report. Rothley’s volunteer Community Champion Marion Vincent said: “This is an excellent Pic: Marion Vincent scheme and you get really good back-up from SERCO. SERCO has really tackled the rubbish situation in our villages, they have made a huge difference since they took over the contract with Charnwood. In Rothley I have reported fly-tipping and you keep an eye on the ‘favourite’ spots such as the turning circle on the old A6 where people tend to dump sacks of builders rubble, also bags of waste by bottle banks. I have even reported trainers that have been flung over wires that no-one can get at, fly-tipping with a difference. I have found that regular tipping spots are now under the eye of SERCO. “It is very worthwhile because rubbish spoils the environment on our doorstep, not just the countryside, and through this scheme a local person has the ability to do something about it. It is very simple to use and everything is very quietly reported. Even better, you see quick results that improve your village. “You can only report on CBC land so you have no authority to use the PDA on private land and will not therefore be involved with the public. You work to rules but advice is readily available from a dedicated team and full training is given.” To volunteer or to find out more contact Tenille Woods, SERCO’s administration manager for Charnwood on 01509 622241

Litter Charnwood Borough Council collects litter and refuse. They contract the job to SERCO. Rather than areas being cleaned on a set frequency, they are now cleaned to maintain a required standard of cleanliness. To report a problem area call 01509 634563 or email SERCO currently have a litter picker working in Birstall every day. Charnwood also employs 15 street wardens. As well as issuing Fixed Penalty Notices for parking contravention, they also issue FPN’s for ‘Enviro-crimes’ such as fly tipping, dog fouling and litter.

Dog Fouling Dog waste is dealt with in the normal process of street cleaning. Because of the risk to health, Charnwood have staff who can respond quickly to serious incidents, such as near schools. Report them on 01509 634563. Charnwood also employ a dog warden. On Birstall’s playing fields, Parish Council staff remove dog waste. Charnwood’s Dog Warden as well as the street wardens and Birstall’s Police officers make visits at random times to the parks. The Parish Council have been contacted by two people who are willing to be trained as volunteer dog wardens. The Parish council have byelaws on the parks – dogs must be kept on a lead and dog waste must be removed. New clearer signage has been installed and the Council provides poop-scoop bags. Dog waste can be wrapped in a plastic bag and placed in any litter bin, not only dog waste bins.

Private and Unadopted Land Local authorities do not remove litter from private land. They have no responsibility for unadopted land but do sometimes take action. Meadow Lane on Birstall is un-adopted and when time allows, staff from Birstall Parish Council have done litter-picks. The Parish Council have asked both the Borough and County Councils to maintain the road but both have declined.

Community Litter Picks Keep Britain Tidy runs a national clean-up campaign, to encourage community litter-picks. Charnwood supports these by supplying litter pickers and bags and by disposing of the litter collected. To find out more go to

Rotary donation THE WREAKE Valley Rotary Club have donated some equipment to Birstall’s Youth Café. The café, which meets in the School Lane playing field pavilion on Wednesday and Friday nights, will receive a gas barbeque, a football and 144 table tennis balls. Rotary Club spokesman Nigel Coleman said: “The Youth Café provides a positive safe base for young people to meet their friends twice a week”. He added: “A challenge has been made to the young people that for any money they can raise between now and the Birstall gala in July the club will match, up to £150, for them to spend on technology items of their choice – we have done this because we understand the young people have been quite innovative in their fundraising and we want to encourage this.” The Youth Café was set up by the Parish Council under the direction of Deputy Clerk Sue Coulson. She said: “When I informed the young people at the Youth Café, at first they seemed suspicious and when I explained the full facts to them they were ecstatic. They are already underway in planning fundraising events to match the funding that Wreake Valley Rotary Club have pledged. They are keen to buy a flat screen TV and/or a Wii with the funds.”

Conservation volunteers OPPORTUNITIES ARE available at Watermead Country Park for anyone who has a New Year resolution to help conserve their local environment. Leicestershire County Council park rangers will be holding monthly volunteer days throughout 2011 at the northern end of the park where people can learn new skills, meet new people and get hands-on conservation experience. Events planned include the building of a Kingfisher wall, wetland, tree and wildflower meadow management and general park maintenance. All days start at 9.30am and finish by 1pm with hot drinks and biscuits provided. Byron Rhodes, County Council Cabinet Member for Country Parks, said: “Watermead is a haven for an array of wildlife and, under the guidance of the rangers, people will be able to help nurture the creatures that live there. Volunteering in this way also presents a great opportunity to meet like minded people, get fit, enjoy the fresh air and learn new skills.” Volunteers are asked to wear old clothing and, if possible, bring wellies, steel toecapped boots, waterproofs and gloves. If you are interested in finding out more call the Country Park office on 0116 3055434. More information is available at

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BIRSTALL AND Wanlip WI’s year started with a trip to see The King and I at the Curve. It was a superb production enjoyed by all. Our meeting on January 10 was attended by five new ladies. Speaker Maggie Rampley showed us her collection of vintage underwear which she started with a pair of open gusseted bloomers found in a neighbour’s attic. There was much hilarity and speculation over laced peach coloured corsets, liberty bodices and pink nylon baby doll nighties. Well remembered by some of our members. The competition for ‘Best Dressed Peg’ was won by Mary Belton. It’s surprising what you can do with a dolly peg. Our next meeting on February 7 includes a RSPB talk on garden birds. Why not come along to sample a meeting at 7.15pm at Highcliffe Primary School or visit for more details of our activities


College post 16 award winners


Squadron awards THE ANNUAL awards evening for the ATC 1947 (Birstall) Squadron was held recently at the Belgrave Rugby Football Club. The evening was well attended by parents and relatives of the cadets, with in excess of 80 people attending. The evening also saw the presentation of a squadron plaque to the chairman of the Leicestershire Aero Club to mark the formal association between the Club and the Squadron. The Leicestershire Aero Club also awarded a flying lesson to the Best Male Cadet and Best Female Cadet. The squadron are now looking forward to working with the Aero Club in 2011. Flying Officer Paul Vissani, Officer in Charge, said: “The evening went really well and I was especially impressed by the attendance”. Pic: Flying Officer Paul Vissani RAFVR(T) presenting Mr John Ainsworth, Chairman of Leicestershire Aero Club with the Squadron Plaque.

THIRTY FORMER Longslade students received recognition for outstanding achievement at an awards evening in January. Hosted by the college, Director of Post 16 Melody Mitchell presented the awards to the students who left last summer – many are now at university. Holly van Geffen received the De Montfort University award for the Most Outstanding Academic Achievement, which comes with a prize of £250. Holly received the highest number of nominations from the teachers – she gained straight. As in all her subjects and gained direct entry to Nottingham Trent Uni-

versity to study textiles, without having to do a foundation course. Other award winners were James Poyser, James Lingard, Mitchell Tiisler, Esther Blount, Luke Firth, Sophie Price, Tom Darlison, Ashley Graham, Rachel Willey, Shensha Lali, James Higginson, Rebecca Scotcher, Aidan Davis, Sonal Parmar, Jamie Ford, Ginny Turnell, Chris Higginson, Nick Smith, Aimee Grant, Tom Pell, Helena Read, Robert Bartlett, Rob Bradshaw, Anthony Higginson, Joe Whelan, Chris Grant Pic (inset): Holly van Geffen (left) receives her award from DMU’s Kirsty Wilkinson

Record breaking kayaking adventure A BIRSTALL business is sponsoring an ex-army man’s epic kayaking adventure around the coast of Britain. Craig Wiffen (27) aims to set off in May on a 2200 mile circumnavigation of Great Britain in a kayak. Supporting him will be friend and sponsor Darren Elkins of Woof Wash, the dog grooming studio and mobile grooming van. Craig’s trip will be raising money for Help the Heroes. Darren said: “Since leaving the army, Craig has wanted to carry out an expedition in support of Help for Heroes. As the challenge of paddling around the UK is such a huge one, he has decided to make the fundraising a huge challenge as well and has set himself the target of raising £1million.” Craig will be trying to set two new world records: the longest solo kayak trip and the fastest solo kayak circumnavigation of the UK. Darren said: “I believe Craig has the right stuff to complete this adventure, he has a big heart and great strength of mind. Craig told me his biggest challenge will be the lack of available help for when things get rough in the sea, combined with the physical effort of paddling non stop for 64 days, the loneliness

Pic: Craig Wiffen and mental exhaustion, it will certainly be the challenge of a lifetime. For those interested in making a donation or following Craig’s adventure visit

Parking laws

Carl’s sport award

PEDESTRIANS, WHEEL-CHAIR users and cyclists are set to benefit from new parking rules designed to increase safety. New rules mean that motorists who obstruct dropped kerbs or double-park in Leicestershire could receive a £70 fine. The move is designed to help vulnerable road users, keep traffic moving, cut congestion and make sure streets are accessible to buses and emergency vehicles. Vehicles parked alongside dropped kerbs can obstruct pushchairs, wheelchairs and mobility scooters and prevent pedestrians crossing at a safe place. From February 1, motorists could receive a ticket for these contraventions. Initially enforcement officers will give out warnings but from March 1, tickets known as penalty charge notices will be issued to drivers.

CARL GUNNS was a winner at the annual Leicester Mercury Sports Awards. Carl won the Community Impact Award in recognition of the continuing success of his boxing gym on Birstall Road. Having previously been twice nominated for the award, Carl was delighted to have won. “I am absolutely elated, this is the one I’ve wanted that has always escaped me. To be honoured alongside the top sportsmen in the county is fabulous” he said. Carl was presented with his award at the star studded event held at the Walkers Stadium by Richard Telfer from sponsors Watling JCB. Sportsman of the Year was boxer Rendall Munroe and Sportswoman was Crista Cullen of Leicester Ladies Hockey club.

Friendly women’s group A FRIENDLY women’s group that meets on Monday nights is welcoming new members. The Birstall Methodist Women’s Group meet at the Methodist Church, Wanlip Lane at 7.30pm. Guest speakers talk for about an hour which is followed by coffee and a chat. Church and non church members are all welcome. Spokeswoman Margaret Briggs said: “We are a very friendly group and not only have speakers but outings as well. In December we went to Burton Overy Christmas Tree Festival and had a lunch afterwards and are soon going to the Little Theatre. A possible summer outing is being planned at the moment. We have a charity each year that we raise funds for and this year it is shared between Heartlink and Cystic Fibrosis.” The speakers for February are: Tales of a Tour Guide (7th), The Mercy Ships (14th), No Meeting (21st) Carrying Coal from Leicestershire (28th). On Sunday March 5 at 10am there will be a charity coffee morning. If you would like more information phone either Margaret Briggs on 2671181 or Margaret Yardley 2673674

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the birstall post FEB 2011


Thanks Thanks to all who supported our Santa Sleigh charity collection in the run up to Christmas. Proceeds will go to mainly local good causes such as Menphys, LOROS and youth groups/clubs. Chris Battye, Wreake Valley Rotary Club

Positive outlook

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:

About Time Too (Two) Innit?! As we settle into 2011 I would like to share with Birstall Post readers, youth and mature, some thoughts, kinda, sort of, no wa a mean like, New Year resolutions which hopefully express a positive outlook in these challenging times. Firstly, before too late: Time to say Happy New Year Time for life – no terrorism or fear Time for old stuff – maybe bin it! Time to buy new stuff – init? Time for much more good hope Time for lots less TV soap Time outpatient from ‘Holby City’ For that place can widespread, with ease A modern disease, OBESITY

With soft soap and coach potato Without lettuce and salad tomato One can end up – not pretty! Time to go for a brisk walk Time with a soulmate to talk Time for life to explore, enjoy, Time to reflect on life as girl or boy Time to make new friends Time to say thank you, all friends Time to make amends For things said in a hurry With burning words like a Vindaloo curry Time to share and talk to “the wife” Filled time means a fulfilled life And idle time can steal your life For lifetime is an up and down ride at the fairground But it goes fast! You only once around! Don’t get off yet! Quite Serious! In it? Just Smile, Just Grin it! Happy New Year, Everyone Gerald Hardington

Supermarket savvy

Thanks Margaret, Joseph, Alan and family would like to thank everyone who came to Alan’s aid when he fell outside the Methodist Church, Wanlip Lane on November 27, 2010. Also for the two gentleman who gave him firstaid. Also for helping me at this sad time, Marjorie, Christine, and Rachel Parkinson Minister for their prayers, friends for their cards and flowers for me and my family. God bless you all. Margaret Heatherley

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no one else is around are ‘cowards’ and should be ‘named and shamed’. Most of us dog owners who have to work are left with little option but to walk our dogs in darkness at this time of the year. My wife and I regard ourselves as being of the responsible variety, even carrying a torch with us to illuminate our responsibility. I believe the solution to the dog fouling is simple enough, if you value the health of your fellow citizens, do not wish to step in it, or it simply bothers you and the culprit remains unidentifiable, do like most of the responsible dog owners and community minded do in their area and dispose of it, along with the other deeply unpleasant detritus that exists on our pavements (Where are you now, Window Warrior!) particularly on a Sunday morning after a lively Saturday night! ….no doubt of course left by the apparently new social evil in Birstall society ‘Dog Walkers’! Owen Jones

The continuing and escalating vitriol to all dog owners in Birstall via the ‘Your say…’ column of the Birstall Post has reached a new low! Regarding dog fouling I believe that one irresponsible individual has been singled out for mention and identified by their unusually coloured dog. This has led to an innocent party now being stopped and questioned in the street because they own a dog answering the same description. In January’s edition we hear of a responsible dog owner being harangued and threatened from someone in an upstairs window who despite being given the responsible dog owner’s name and address on paper would not identify themselves. There is further bile from a contributor who makes a general cover-all complaint by referring to irresponsible dog walkers in the Gates estate as ‘most of them’. Two shouty letters continue in the same self-righteous vein. The usual hyperbole effused in these turgid epistles does nothing to provide any solution to the problem that exists. Alienation and the destruction of community spirit triumph and yes, that’s you ‘Disgusted Birstall resident’ who makes the appalling sweeping implication that those of us who walk our dogs in darkness or when Advertise in

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Does anyone else get annoyed when shopping at supermarkets to find so many gaps on the shelves, items on the shelf with no price, or the price is for something else, always cheaper? In the Co-op Birstall today there were row upon row of shelves fully stocked, but with no price on any of them. In Tesco I was looking for Marmite but the price on the shelf was for a cheaper version (of which there was none). Luckily I noticed before I got to the checkout. Do you find that the errors made by supermarkets are always in their favour? I always check my receipt before leaving the store! As for trying to get served at the checkout – the Leicester Mercury letters page says it all! Name & address supplied

Mind the bag I have put out Mind Charity bags to be collected on recycling day. On several occasions no replacement bag has been left. I now wonder if the bags were picked up by the council (who say they replace the bag) or by someone else. Replacement bags are also supposed to be available at the rear exit of Birstall Co-op but the box has just had rubbish in since before Christmas. Name & address supplied

Flowers I took a flower arrangement to my parents grave at Birstall cemetery today. It would have been their 65th wedding anniversary this week. I intended to remove the Christmas arrangement from the grave but it was already gone. I have always used the same artificial V shaped ‘wreath’ since my father died in 2004, placing a fresh flower arrangement within it. This year I used some of Mum’s artificial Christmas flowers and foliage and a robin, instead of fresh flowers because of the cold snowy weather. It was placed up against the headstone, not on the grass. I have always collected the piece before January 25, Dad’s birthday. This year I was earlier but it was gone. I looked in the wire bin, full of dumped wreaths etc but couldn’t find it. I went home feeling gutted. It wasn’t expensive, but it was special because it was unusual, and it was for my Mum and Dad. What was the rush to clear it from their grave? It wouldn’t have looked unsightly and I went to the grave as soon as I could. I have been ill with flu for two weeks and have hardly left my house. I know it was nothing much to anyone else, but it was to me. Name & address supplied

Philanthropy I am writing further to letters in the December issue, about obstructions caused by builders’ vehicles on Birstall Road and the rejection of the application for extension of the boxing gym. Clearly, the vehicles were not in breach of the law when they were causing considerable inconvenience during construction of the large house. I understand the land on which said house has been built, was formerly the home of Edith Murphy who was generous in using some of her financial wealth to the benefit of the local community. It would be reasonable to assume that the new owners also possess considerable financial wealth and the community of Birstall now looks forward to similar acts of philanthropy. M Wilkinson

Noticeboard all details printed free Sat February 26 From 10am to 1pm at Birstall Methodist Church

Mini Market With Good-as-New Bric-a-Brac Home made cakes & produce Tombola & children’s games Light lunches & hot dogs •••

Craft Fair Organised by the Loughborough Lions Club at Rawlins Community College, Quorn Sunday March 27 (just before Mothers Day) from 11am to 4pm Refreshments available Also activities for the children Cost £1 adults, 50p concessions & children under 5 For more info or to book a stall, please contact Jean/David on 0116 2376154 or Ann 01509 232422 ••• Syston Town Juniors FC

Girls Football Academy Girls Like Football Too! Wanted! Girls of all ages and ability interested in playing football Please come along to STJFC free girls football academy Where? Memorial Playing Fields, (Donkey Park), Necton Street, Syston, Leicester LE7 8HF When? Every Sat during football season, 10-11.30am Goal! To enter teams into the Leicester City & County Girls Football League for season 2011 at all age groups Manager/Coaches 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 0777 6291355 •••

Birstall Birdwatching Club presents ‘Alert! Divers Have Moved to Page 60’ by Mike Webster A light-hearted approach to some of the most up to date research in ornithology and birdwatching at the Rothley Centre, Mountsorrel Lane, Rothley Tuesday February 8 at 7.30pm Visitors welcome £2 Contact Ken Goodrich 2674813 •••

Leicester City Male Voice Choir St James Church, Birstall Saturday March 5 at 7.30pm Tickets £5 All proceeds to Age Concern St James Day Centre Pay at the door •••

Coffee Morning Methodist Church Saturday February 12, 10am to 12noon in aid of The Samaritans Purse Shoe Box Appeal Last Christmas we managed to send 500 ‘boxes of hope’ to children in Romania Please support us again this year so we can try to do it again •••

Birstall British Legion Sat Feb 5: Phill Voss(M/V) Sat Feb 12: Neil Timothy (M/V) Sat Feb 19: Steve Dean (M/V) Sat Feb 26: Double Trouble (F/Duo) Dancing every Sat night with live entertainment


Bingo, free beer raffle, and not forgetting ‘Open the Box’ Every Tues night Bingo starting at 9.30pm Quiz nights Sunday Feb 13 & 17 starting at 9pm Acoustic night Sunday February 20 Rock & Roll nights first & third Wednesday Food available every Sat Funerals catered for •••

Mini Market on Sat February 26 from 10am to 1pm at Birstall Methodist Church With Good-as-New Bric-a-Brac Home made preserves, cakes, pastries, goodies Children’s games/tombola Soups, puddings & hot-dogs •••

Open House at St James Church ‘God’s Wonderful Creation’ You are invited to our monthly family friendly Open House service Feb 6 at 11am •••

Indoor Car Boot Birstall Village Hall on Sun Feb 20 from 10am to 1pm All proceeds to Birstall Youth Café Extension Fund Pitch Price (tables provided): 1 x 6’x 2’ table: £10 Bargain hunters & browsers welcome from 10am Sellers set up from 9am Refreshments available Entrance 50p If you are interested in having a stall please contact: Birstall Parish Council Offices, Birstall Rd, Birstall, Leicester LE4 4DH Tel: 2676191, •••

Ali Baba & The Forty Thieves Tuesday Feb 22 and nightly at 7.30 till Saturday Feb 26 At Birstall Methodist Church Matinee on Sat at 2.30 All tickets £5 Tel: 2122513 •••

Rugby Players Wanted Birstall RFC are recruiting players of all abilities to join their squad. We have two teams playing in the Leicestershire leagues. Either call Chris on 07766011043 or come to training at Stonehill High School on Tuesdays at 7pm Watch Rugby Birstall RFC play home games at Stonehill School! See them in action at the following home games: Feb 5 BRFC v Aylestonians @ 2.15 Feb 26 BRFC v Cosby @ 2.15 •••

Film Presentations from Thurcaston & Cropston Parish Council ‘Wild Target’ Friday Feb 11 (98 mins) This comedy stars Bill Nighy and Emily Blunt. A meticulous assassin, who is still dominated by his mother, meets a young lady called Rose who is the exact opposite of him. She is reckless and free spirited but they complement each other and somehow, form an interesting partnership. ‘Invictus’ Friday Mar 11 (134 mins) In February 1990 Nelson Mandela walked free from prison after a quarter of a century of incarceration in his 8ft by 8ft cell. This film is a truly inspiring drama, unravelling the story about President Nelson Mandela’s struggle in South Africa, the emotional rifts in rugby and the amazing reconciliation among the earthy colours of the country and the spirit of its people. ‘Made in Dagenham’ Friday April 8 (113 mins) ‘The King’s Speech’ will be showing very soon. Thurcaston & Cropston Parish Council will be showing these films at Thurcaston Memorial Hall, starting at 7.30pm. Tickets still cost only £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 •••

Save Our Planet (Half term activity) Free event at Birstall & Mountsorrel Library Join us for activities, quiz, fun and games for children aged 6-12 years at: • Birstall Library on Tuesday Feb 22, 10.30-11.45am • Mountsorrel Library on Thursday Feb 24, 2.15-3.45pm Booking is required due to limited places. To book for the activity phone Birstall Library on 0116 3058756 “It all starts with each of us doing our part to save the environment…come and be part of it.” •••

Birstall Longslade Swimming Pool Early morning swim sessions Monday/Tuesday & Friday at 7-9am Cost for adults £2.90, over 60s £1.70 Also Sunday morning Adult swim 89.30am There are also other swimming sessions available Tel: 0116 2673461 Website •••

NCT Cheeky Monkey’s Tea Party Friday February 25, 10am to 12noon Birstall Village Hall £3 per family & first tea & cake free, then small charge after Raffle, stalls, Usbourne books, Doula info, goody bags Entertainment by Tiny Talk with lots of monkey and animal songs Activities for children with lots of things to make and do •••

Have your say about local green space Leicestershire has some fantastic green spaces. If you feel strongly about green space in your local area, we want to hear from you! The Coalition Government is thinking about creating a new designation to protect green areas of particular importance to local communities. We want to start now by finding out your views about the green spaces that are important to you. Which areas are particularly important to you and why? Which areas need protection? You can take part by attending your local Community Forum. Your views will be critical in developing future policies and proposals. The next meeting of the Bradgate, Rothley, Mountsorrel and Birstall Area Forum will be held at Jubilee Hall, Stadon Road, Anstey LE7 7AY on Tuesday March 1, 6.30pm for 7pm start For details of Community Forums in your area please visit or contact Derek van der Wardt on 0116 3057581 ••• The Bark Foundation (charity no.1129762) Supporting HOTPEC Orphanage, Cameroon Presents an afternoon of

Tai Chi Joint Exercises (22 forms) and Qi Gong (18 forms) Saturday March 26, 1.30-3.30pm at Birstall Methodist Church Hall Tutor Sue Hon, student of a Tai Chi ‘Grand Master’ in Hong Kong Come and learn how to keep supple using exercises of special benefit for joint movement Simple, gentle movement suitable for all ages Tickets £7 (concessions £6) Places limited – book early Tel: 0116 2677576 Email: •••

The Great British Fish & Chips Supper Supporting Spinal Injuries Association Friday May 20 The Great British Fish and Chip Supper is all about getting together, having fun and raising money for the Spinal Injuries Association To request a fundraising pack call 0845 071 4350 Email: Visit •••

Crews Wanted Are you up for a challenge? Do you want to have a great day out with family and friends? Do you want to learn a new skill? Do you want free training sessions? If you have answered yes to the above then this is for you, you need to sign up for this day of fun and laughter Our charity is hosting its annual Dragon Boat Festival on Sunday May 29 at The Boat House, Bridge St, Barrow-upon-Soar The festival will take place on the River Soar with fun and competitive racing starting once again at the Boat House. The day is filled with activities, fun and enjoyment for both crews and spectators. To form a crew you need 8-10 people over the age of 12 and able to swim a little with a lifejacket [no other restrictions apply] You can have more crew members as you can ‘take turns’ in racing. We are offering free training sessions to all booked crews before the day itself and all safety equipment is provided. To form a boat crew and enter the challenge, or for further information please contact Michele: 01509 550317 or email

Cricket Corner Birstall Village Cricket Club wants players for the 2011 season! Any cricketers looking to play for a local club with a friendly atmosphere, their own bar and clubhouse facilities and a history steeped in success is welcome to come and join us for pre season training nets sessions beginning in February. For more information about our Senior 1st or 2nd teams, you should contact Andy Merry on 07708473308 or Dave Sharpe on 07527186705. Information regarding our Junior Under 13s, 15s or 17s teams should contact Hamish Carnan on 07812791322. From Joshua Saye


Street party IF YOU’RE thinking of organising a street party to celebrate the Royal wedding a new guide published by Charnwood Borough Council will help. Residents who want to celebrate the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton on Friday, April 29, 2011, can find out all they need to know to ensure their street party is safe and legal on a new dedicated web page. The page can be viewed at: _street_parties_friday_29th_april Unlike other councils, Charnwood will not be charging for road closures and the new guide has made it easier for organisers to know whether public liability insurance is needed or not. For more information on arranging a street party, visit the web page or call Lynne Twigg on 01509 634541 or email

Home Carers Required

Are you a caring person? Like varied work & job satisfaction? Join our team of carers in the Mountsorrel, Cropston, Quorn, Sileby, Syston, Birstall & Wymeswold areas. Flexible shifts, 10-40 hrs per week, & mornings, evenings and weekends available. No experience required as all training will be provided. Up to £7.25hr, plus travel expenses. Telephone essential. Ring Debbie between 8.30am & 4.30pm for more information on

0116 2696247 (quoting reference BP)


the birstall post FEB 2011

Party weather

Pic: Junior member Max Lewin (15) in the snow

JUNIOR GOLFERS at Birstall Golf Club took advantage of the snowy weather at their Christmas party. Around 40 juniors attended the event, organised by Sue Bailey. After spending an hour sledging and snowballing on the second fairway the fun carried on indoors. Sue said: “Once they were all cold and hungry they came inside to play Wii games on large screens and a table tennis and carpet putting challenge. It was great to see the club house full of juniors, also to have all ages mixing and playing together.” The table tennis challenge was won by Will Watts (over 12s) and Gwilym Eynon (under 12s). The carpet putting was won by Jordan Matlock and Freddie Young. All the equipment and prizes were donated by members.

Trophy winning swimmer A CHAMPION swimmer from Birstall has returned from a competition with a haul of medals. George Dearden (8) of Spinney Rise, came first in four events at the Braunstone Swimming Club Long Distance Championships: the 100m individual medley, 50m freestyle, 50m backstroke and the 25m butterfly. He came second in the 50m breaststroke. A pupil at Highcliffe primary school, George swims on average 200 lengths a week as part of his training and hopes one day to compete at the Olympics. Pic: talented swimmer George Dearden

Car parking rise INCREASED PARKING charges have been introduced at Bradgate Park.

Council plans cuts & Bitterns Sponsor job losses local side spotted Free parking for disabled motorists has also been removed. Weekday parking charges have gone up by 50p to £2.50 for a stay of up to three hours, and to £3 at weekends. The Bradgate Park Trust say the increases are needed to meet rising costs and

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1) Decide what size you want 2) Send us a sketch of your ad 3) We design, publish This Siz & send e you the Wednes bill da

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CALL 2674213 for an advertising rate card, or view online at The prices above exclude VAT

THE COUNTY Council is proposing to make £82million worth of cuts over the next four years, lose 1,000 posts and change the way many services are delivered. The county says it will make £58million of efficiency savings, which leaves £24million that will come from service cuts. It says it will keep its pledge to freeze its share of the Council Tax for the next three year. The cuts are necessary because of the government’s reduction of 27% in real terms of the grant it makes to the County over the next two years. The County Council proposes to spend £347,700,000 in the year 2011/12. Its income will be £108,900,000 from Government grant and £238,800,000 from Council Tax. Some cuts are planned for: • Children and Young People services • Street lighting energy bills • A review of support for local bus services • A review of support for libraries, heritage and arts services • Trading Standards • Public Relations • Debt advice services Efficiency savings will be made by sharing back office functions with Nottingham City Council, cutting management posts and administration and more efficient purchasing of goods and services. All County Council staff will have a three year pay freeze. The County Council is a Conservative led administration with 36 seats (Lib Dem 14, Lab 4, BNP 1). The next elections are in 2013.

BIRSTALL UNITED Juniors FC are having a security fence erected around their ground on Meadow Lane and are selling advertising spaces on each panel for companies to promote their goods or services.

There are around 150 panels on offer and each banner is approximately 8ft x 2 ft and costs £100. Kev Glover, Chairman of the football club said: “The club is investing heavily at the moment to improve the facilities for our 300 kids and this new fence is a very important forward step in that development programme. Each week, we have nearly 1,000 players, spectators and coaches visiting the ground to either train or play matches, and so these banners will give local businesses great exposure. Not only that but they will be helping a local community club at the same time.” If you are interested in taking up this offer, please contact Kevin Glover on

Brothers’ Royal Navy careers TWO BIRSTALL brothers have qualified as Royal Navy physical training instructors. Michael Monk, who qualified in 2009, attended his brother Jonathan’s presentation in Portsmouth last November. They both had to pass two days of intensive physical testing to be selected for the 26 week training course which involved a week in Bavaria and four weeks in North Wales. Michael (25) is now based at RNAS Yeovil and Jonathan (27) has joined RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall. Prior to their PTI training, the brothers had both been on deployment to the Mediterranean, with Michael also serving in the Middle East and Jonathan in the Far East. They both attended Highcliffe, Stonehill and Longslade schools and were involved in many local clubs such as swimming, scouts, football, ATC and marching brass bands. Pic: Royal Navy PTI instructors Michael (left) and Jonathan Monk

make up for a reduction in funding from local authorities. The Trust’s income in 2009/10 was £1,003,404. The park has around 900,000 visitors a year.

PEOPLE HAVE been flocking to Watermead Country Park to catch a glimpse of visiting rare birds. Three Bitterns attracted increased numbers of wildlife lovers in January to the northern end of the park, which is managed by Leicestershire County Council. The birds, which are protected by law and have been recognised as an endangered species by the RSPB, can be spotted from the beauty spot’s Crake hide. It is the largest number of Bitterns Watermead has recorded in one go, which are thought to have travelled from northerly climes during the cold snap. Leicestershire County Council country park ranger Charles Shaw said: “The Crake hide has been busy with people coming along to catch a glimpse of the Bitterns. We have had people visit from as far afield as Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire to see the birds, which live in the reedbed and are notoriously very shy. We have done a lot of work to improve the habitat for these birds and privileged they have come here to Watermead.” Over the next month or so birds that can be seen include Bittern, Curlew, Reed Buntings, Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Water Rails and Nuthatch. Large flocks of Jackdaws and Wood Pigeons and flocks of Blue Tits, Great Tits and Long Tailed Tits are also expected. The first pair of Bearded Tits to be seen in the park for many years were spotted just before Christmas.


The Pensions Bill The Pensions Bill, introduced today in Parliament, will bring forward the increase in the State Pension Age. The Bill will see the State Pension Age for both men and women beginning to rise from 65 in December 2018 and reaching 66 by April 2020. This is significantly earlier than previously planned – the Pensions Act 2007 provided for the State Pension Age to rise to 66 between 2024 and 2026. It is also earlier than promised by the Government’s Coalition Agreement in May last year, which said that the State Pension Age would not begin to rise to 66 before 2016 for men and 2020 for women. Other measures in the Pensions Bill include auto-enrolment of workers into pension schemes, ensuring that all workers will now have the right to pension contributions from their employers, unless they decide to opt out. There will be no exemption for small firms. Michelle Mitchell, Age UK Charity Director, commented: “This Pensions Bill seeks to cut short the retirements of almost five million people by speeding up the planned rise in women’s state pension age to 65 and bringing forward the increase to 66, six years earlier than planned by the previous government.” She added “Women will be hard hit by this change of policy, seeing their state pension age rise by six years between 2010 and 2020 compared to just one year for men. By pushing ahead with these plans, the government is breaking the promise it made in the coalition agreement not to start increasing state pension age to 66 for women before 2020. “The poorest will be hardest hit by increases in state pension age as they are generally more reliant on their state pension and have lower life expectancy. Pensioner poverty in this country continues to be shamefully high yet this Bill fails to address the fundamental problems with our overcomplicated and measly state pension system.” Michelle Mitchell added: “Any changes to the state pension age must be part of a more coherent government strategy to narrow health inequalities and end pensioner poverty once and for all. Further reform is needed which ensures a higher state pension and a simpler system. “It is essential that the government now invests in providing good quality information and advice to help people understand the new options available to them and make informed decisions about saving for retirement. The benefits of long-term saving must be better communicated by the government if we are to avoid a future pensions crisis.” Record numbers retiring early A record number of people are retiring early as many firms force more experienced workers out of the competitive job market, official figures have revealed. The Office for National Statistics revealed between September and November 2010 there were 1.56 million retired people under 65, which is 39,000 more than the previous quarter, according to Labour Market statistics. Charities and campaigners explained that more seasoned employees are often 'first in line' for redundancies, which is why there

INFO has been an increase in early retirement. They said companies targeted this group for redundancy because they are likely to be on higher salaries than younger employees. Experts have pointed out that this workplace trend goes against Government policy for people to be encouraged to work later on in life. Measures such as the abolition of the Default Retirement Age in April, which allows companies to retire staff at 65, will be put in place to allow workers to carry on as long as they want to. The Big Knit More than 625,000 hats were knitted in 2010 to help keep older people warmer this winter. Knitters throughout the country have knitted more than 2.2million little woollen hats for The Big Knit since 2004. Keen knitters have raised nearly £1 million for Age UK by knitting 2.2 million little bobble hats since the launch of The Big Knit initiative in 2004. The Big Knit, supported by innocent drinks, gets knitters throughout the country making little woollen hats which adorn innocent smoothie bottles in November each year. For each bottle sold wearing a hat, a donation is made to Age UK. Last year (2010) marked the seventh year of the campaign and saw avid knitters creating over 625,000 individual hats in the shape of animals, cartoon characters and the latest fashions, raising over £177,000 to help people in later life this winter. Hatted bottles were sold in Sainsburys and Boots shops across the country with 25p donated to Age UK for every one sold. Paul Farthing, Director of Fundraising at Age UK, said: “The Big Knit's success and popularity continues to grow year on year. I would like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to all of the knitters who have helped make The Big Knit 2010 such a success, and a special thank you to the supporters who get involved year after year.” Age UK and innocent are asking people to recycle their old knitted hats by posting them to ‘Hats Reunited’, innocent drinks, Fruit Towers, 1 The Goldhawk Estate, Brackenbury Road, London, W6 0BA so that they can be reused next year to help raise



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even more money for people in later life. Spread the Warmth campaign Too many older people are suffering and dying needlessly in winter due to lack of warmth, so Age UK created Spread the Warmth to help tackle the issue. The money raised through the 2010 Big Knit will go towards funding local and national winter projects by providing information, advice and practical services to help older people keep warm and well in the colder winter months.

Digital Switchover is August 2011 Old analogue television sets will stop working this August, the date of the digital switchover. The BBC2 channel will be switched off first, on August 17, with the remaining channels switched off on August 31. Your old analogue TV won’t work any longer and you will have a number of options: • Buy a set top box to get Freeview using your existing aerial. Boxes cost from £20. There are no ongoing charges. • Pay around £150 for a Sky Freesat service. This involves having a satellite dish fitted. There are no ongoing charges. • Subscribe to a cable TV service • Subscribe to a satellite service If your TV currently has six or more channels it is probably already digital and you won’t have to do anything, except retune it. Leicestershire Trading Standards are advising people to go to reputable suppliers when seeking advice. A spokesman said: “Remember there is no such thing as a digital aerial. Most existing aerials will work with a set top box. If you need a new aerial, expect to pay between £60 and £180. Choose a registered digital installer displaying the ‘digital tick’ logo. A Government scheme has been set up to help those aged over 75 and people on some benefits to get equipment installed, either for free or a nominal charge. For details of the Switchover Help Scheme call free on 0800 40 85 900 or go to

Church news Methodist Ali Baba There are still a few tickets available for most performances of the 2011 Men’s Pantomime running nightly from Tuesday 22 to Saturday 26 February at 7.30pm with a Saturday Matinee. All tickets are £5, phone 2122513 for tickets. With faces both old and new, it is sure to be a week of lively, colourful and entertaining performances (oh yes it will!) Garden Trail The 2011 Garden Trail is to be held on Saturday & Sunday June 11 & 12. A number of gardens will be open in the lower half of the Greengate estate, mainly in Saltersgate, Castlegate and Wellgate Avenues. Proceeds will be shared between The Leprosy Mission & Church funds. Web Site ‘Hacked’ Alas our excellent Web Site had to be taken down just before Christmas. A number of pictures too were lost. It is slowly being rebuilt. It is still possible to access information about Birstall Methodist Church by using a search engine, the main difference being is that it takes you to the ‘Circuit’ site where all the local Methodist Churches are detailed – simply pick out Birstall. First Wednesday cleaners The church is grateful to all who support, both financially & practically in so many varied & diverse ways. The latest initiative is a cleaning morning on the first Wednesday of each month, to clean those parts of the premises that are not cleaned regularly. So to the Wednesday cleaners: thank you, and more volunteers are welcome! Travelling Looking at our February Diary, both ladies groups seem to have events in their programme about journeys. Tales of a Tour Guide (Monday Group on 7th) and ‘Funny Side of Travel’ (Thursday group March 3). The Men’s Pantomime journey from Cairo to Morocco, and our Sunday worship will have a Northumbria flavour on February 13 (at 6pm). Messy Church too will tell of the tale an unusual journey - of Noah on his journey (Sat 19 at 4pm). You are welcome to join in these ‘travels’ too. From Tony Moore

Parish The changes revealed Many of the visitors to St James church for concerts and services over Christmas were seeing for the first time the changes, which are immediately visible as you enter the church. The new community area with


its glass screen, separating it from the rest of the church, has provided a more flexible space for meetings and social events and is independently lit and heated. The refurbishment of the ‘old’ church (which had its origins in the 13th century) and replacement of rigid pews with modern, comfortable chairs, as well as carpeting over what was uneven stone floor, has created a calm and welcoming atmosphere. The wooden chairs are upholstered and each has a carved shell on the back – the symbol of St. James, the pilgrim. Several people have already decided to contribute the cost of a chair in memory of a loved one, with a dedication in a commemorative book. If you are interested in this possibility, please contact churchwarden Tony Bloxam on 267 5381. If you would like to take a look at these alterations, the church is always open on Saturday mornings from 10am to 12 noon for anyone who wants to look round or enjoy a time of quiet. Spring and summer treats Following the success of the Parish holidays of recent years two breaks are planned for 2011. Take-up has already been very high for a trip by Eurostar to Paris from April 8 – 11 but a few places may still be available. Contact Sandra on 2677238 to find out more. The second trip will be to the lovely old city of Chester, by coach, for three nights from Sunday August 11 and will include accommodation in a 4 star hotel and several excursions. Further details again from Sandra as above. A day excursion to Oxford in June is planned: more news when arrangements are settled.. The Rector’s arrival Hopes are still high that our new Rector will be installed by the end of March and word has it that a great deal of DIY decorating has been going on in the Rectory! We look forward to welcoming Vince and his wife Sheryl and family to our community. A reminder The next Open House service will be on Sunday February 6 at 11am. From Beryl McHugh


the birstall post FEB 2011

The March issue of THE BIRSTALL POST will be published on Mar 4. The copy deadline is Feb 18. Village Diary TUES 8 BIRSTALL BIRDWATCHING CLUB Alert! Divers have moved to page 60. Mike Webster. 7.30pm, Rothley Centre FEB 10 BIRSTALL & DISTRICT LOCAL HISTORY SOCIETY . This Gallant Steel Back – a local story about the Victoria Cross. Derek Seaton. Birstall Village Hall, 7.30pm WED 23 BIRSTALL FLOWER CLUB Lee Berrill. One Day. Birstall Village Hall, 7.15pm

Birstall allotments BIRSTALL’S THREE allotment sites are managed by Birstall Parish Council – they are inviting residents to put their names on the waiting list. A Council spokesman said: “Through careful management the waiting list for a vacant plot has been reduced from 38 in November 2008 to 10 in January 2011.` “We want to actively promote allotment gardening and encourage people to put their names on the waiting list. New allotment holders find that they quickly develop new skills and knowledge and many plot holders see the development of their allotment as part of a positive lifestyle choice. Allotments are a good way of producing healthy delicious fruit and vegetables at a relatively low cost and you can produce them organically if you want to.”

AT THE recent AGM of the Birstall & District History Society, due to his involvement over many years on the committee and as Treasurer and Chairperson, it was proposed that John Kilby be elected as President.

If you are interested and would like to put your name on the waiting list, please contact: Sue Coulson, Birstall Parish Council, Council Offices, Birstall Road, Birstall, Leicester LE4 4DH. Tel: 2676191 or

Walking for pleasure A GRANDDAD has put his best foot forward to become Charnwood’s top walker after clocking up 400 miles in 2010. Derek Fox, 70, of Sileby, completed 66 out of 78 walks (85 per cent) hosted by Charnwood Borough Council last year. To reward him for his commitment to walking and his support of the council’s walking programme, Derek was presented with a Natural England rucksack packed full of goodies. Derek, a retired engineer, said: “After I retired I just wanted to do more and exercise more. I have been doing these walks for about four or five years. “There’s a lot of camaraderie - it’s very sociable and keeps you fit. It’s nice to be able to talk to and walk with people who share your passion for the activity. Charnwood provides a superb programme of walks, you can’t beat it. There are a variety of walks aimed at people of different levels of fitness and age so there’s something for everyone.” The council is preparing to launch a new programme of walks in March but has plenty on offer until then. To keep up to date with the latest walking programmes, visit:

History society Brenda Watts was then elected as Chairperson and the following committee members were then re-elected: Eileen Chambers - Vice Chairperson; Adrienne Topley - Secretary; Diane King – Treasurer; Mike Smith; Stuart Liquorish; Wendy Garner; Glenis Ratcliffe and Audrey Lennon. The History Society meets every second Thursday of the month (excluding July and August) in the Birstall Village Hall commencing at 7.30pm and welcomes any new members and visitors. The 2011 programme: Feb 10: This Gallant Steel Back – a local story about the Victoria Cross – Derek Seaton March 10: How the Okey Pokey Men Came to Leicester - A.Bayless April 14: John Merrick - The Elephant Man Peter Cousins May 12:Leicestershire in the 40's and 50's David Bell June 9: Censored, Intriguing, Curious & Even Hilarious - Dr. Wendy Freer Sept 8: Church Monuments in Leicester and Rutland - Robin Jenkins Oct 13: Prisoners of WW11 in Leics and Leicester - Dr Margaret Bonney Nov 10: The Story of Grace Dieu Priory - Ernest Miller Dec 8: My Life as a Tiller Girl - Margaret Hudson

Sure Start services SURE START services for children are being extended throughout the Charnwood area, including Birstall. On February 28 a new Sure Start Children’s Centre will open within Anstey library, providing a range of services for families with young children. Sure Start Children’s Centres work with 0-5 year olds and their families as part of the Government’s drive to tackle child poverty and social exclusion by promoting the physical, intellectual and social development of babies and young children so that they can flourish at home and when they get to school. A County Council spokesman told the Birstall Post: “Charnwood Children’s Centres are currently working in the Birstall area helping families through one to one work, by running free baby massage courses, by supporting the local postnatal group on Monday afternoons at the Methodist Hall and by offering free training to parents who wish to become volunteers. “Future plans include developing sessions to help families with behavioural management advice and working with local childminders to offer information and advice. All Children’s Centre activities will be provided from community venues within the village.” Sure Start brings together services like health, early education, voluntary, private and community organisations and self help groups, to provide services for young children and their families. Some of the services provided through the Sure Start Children’s Centre programmes are: child and family health services; family support; breast feeding support; baby massage; healthy eating advice; early reading, speech and language development services; training and employment support; patenting support and advice; drop in sessions for children and parent/carers, such as Stay and Play groups etc. For more information about the Charnwood Children’s Centre programme call 0116 3055241. For more information about Children’s Centres in Leicestershire

Mentoring scheme Pic: Derek Fox with his wife Doris

rhealth. Alternatively, call the council’s leisure services department on 01509 634594 or email:

A SCHEME designed to reduce antisocial behaviour in Charnwood has been recognised as one of the best in the country. The Charnwood Mentoring Scheme recruits and trains local people from across the community to be volunteer mentors and matches them with young people aged 1119 for a year long period. The scheme beat competition from 300 other projects to become the Midlands region winner and was recognised as one of the top five in the country at the National Mentoring and Befriending Awards held in London where staff were presented with a certificate by Esther Rantzen CBE.

Cllr David Snartt, Chairman of the Community Safety Partnership said: “I am thrilled that the positive effects of mentoring in diverting young people toward more meaningful activity has been acknowledged in this way. I’d also like to praise the mentors and all the volunteers who give up their time for this worthy cause. Without them, we wouldn’t have been able to make this scheme such a success.” If you are interested in becoming a mentor please contact Sheila Cullinan on 01509 234234 or email for more information on the scheme visit

Tel: 0116 267 2583 Mob: 07967 191975 Buy DELL products here

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.

AIRPORT CARS Birstall. Airports, Seaports, Long Distance, Courier. Tel: 0777 1984806 TELEPHONE EXTENSION Sockets fitted by ex-BT engineer. Cable, BT and digital TV. Over 25 yrs experience. John 2675132 AMLI DESIGN Architectural Consultancy. Plans drawn and submitted. Extensions, conversions, new build. David Ives B.Sc.(Hons) FBEng MCIOB 0116 2674395 / 07974807111 FOR SAFE and effective emotional support. Registered Bach Flower Practitioner and Qualified Counsellor 2209294/07544765091 FRENCH LANGUAGE tuition – exams and/or holidays. Tel: 0116 2201206

Planning P/11/0172/2: 20 Nether Hall Lane – trim back 1 eucalyptus tree, remove horse chestnut tree and 1 other tree (Conservation Area Notice) P/11/0118/2: Cliffe House, 9 Church Hill – felling of 1 false acacia tree, reduce height of 2 holly trees to 3m, reduction by 30% of 3 false acacia trees. (Conservation Area Notice) P/11/0090/2: 16 Saltersgate Drive – erection of single-storey extension to rear of dwelling P/11/0089/2: 38 Hawthorn Ave – erection of two storey extension to side and single storey extension with conservatory to rear of dwelling P/11/0031/2: 51 Park Road – erection of two storey side extension and single storey rear extension to rear of dwelling


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

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

Birstall Post (331) Feb 2011