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the Birstall post Y O U R



need an

electrician? “Local, Reliable,Clean & Tidy”


No. 353

Christmas festival A JUBILEE theme inspired this year’s Christmas festival at Birstall Methodist church.

Continued on page 3

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Continued from page 1 Visitors enjoyed more than 50 static displays in the church, created by students, groups, businesses and individuals. Our pictures show some of them and (front page) a class from Riverside school meeting Santa in his grotto and Eileen Deacon (left) and Anne Thorne on a stall selling home made cakes, biscuits and pies The January issue of

THE BIRSTALL POST will be published on Jan 4. The copy deadline is Dec 19.

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Decision delayed on travellers’ sites A DECISION by Leicester City’s Mayor on whether to proceed with plans for travellers’ sites, including one on Greengate Lane, has been delayed. Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby was expected to announce a decision in October, after a public consultation exercise in the summer. Hundreds of residents attended public meetings, an action group was formed and a 3000 name petition was submitted to Leicester City Council, objecting to the proposals. Sir Peter Soulsby says recent discussions he has had with travellers’ representatives have caused him to think again about the plans, although a decision is expected in the near future.

Pic: the site on Greengate Lane

He has been reported as saying that travellers have “argued for smaller sites, rather than large multi-family sites. They say smaller sites are easier to manage for both them and us. That is a very powerful argument.” He has suggested there is a need for: • virtually permanent camps, for travellers who do not move very much who need to be near schools, shops and services • transit sites for those who move throughout the years • peak transit sites which could offer temporary pitches, for a few weeks, that do not need to be near services

Fistful of medals A COWBOY themed pistol shooting competition saw members of a Birstall shooting club return with a fistful of medals.

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A BIRSTALL firm that specialises in quality conservatory, window and door installations continues to innovate and is still growing. Byron and Mandy Manning of Curzon Avenue run Conservatory and Window Concepts Ltd. They are now entering their fourth decade serving not only the local area but as far afield as London, Kent and Cornwall – mostly from the word of mouth recommendation of their satisfied customers. Byron said: “Our success is due to the fact that we will not compromise on quality.” Their latest new production is an innovative retractable screen that unobtrusively fits your window or door frame. It allows full ventilation and fresh air circulation, keeps out insects and remains out of sight until needed. For more details about retractable screens, conservatories, windows or doors contact CWC on 2674205.

Pic: Dave Bourgalt

Members of the Redhill Revolvers travelled to Coventry for the Umarex Boys Club shoot, taking part in a number of events including shooting from a rocking bull. Dave Bourgault of Birstall took two top three positions on his first visit to the competition. The event raised money for Help For Heroes.

Council vacancy THERE IS a vacancy on Birstall Parish Council following the resignation of Gerald Hardington. If a by-election is not requested by residents of the Greengate Ward, members of the public are invited to nominate themselves for co-option. They can do this by writing to Birstall Parish Council or emailing


History of Belgrave

Pic: the River Soar near Mill Hill

‘THE STORY of Belgrave’ is the latest book from historian and author Mike Smith. A companion piece to his previous books on Birstall and Wanlip, The Story of Belgrave has 140 pages and contains 120 photographs, many over 100 years old and never published before. Mike said: “It tells of the village from Norman domination, to when it was swallowed up by Leicester and is not just about the nobles and landed gentry but also the hard life of ordinary people living in what was, until recently, a rural village.” He added: “Of the landowners four stand out: The Byerleys who, before the Civil War, owned everything and after lost nearly everything. The Vanns who brought money and work but left a legacy of poverty and neglect. The remarkable Harrison family who, starting as market gardeners were, by 1860, Belgrave’s majority landowners and

Pic: Checkett’s Road

John Ellis the philanthropic industrialist who transformed a depressed village.” We read about the ordinary folk, like Thomas Horner and William Latham who marched off to repute’ on respectable streets. fight Napoleon and what happened to The book costs £8 (£10.75 p&p Jane and Mary, their wives. And the paid) and is available at the following paupers in the workhouse on the Green outlets: Birstall Library, Birstall Garden like Thomas and Ann Saddington five of Centre, David Michaels, Butcher. whose seven children were farmed out Michael Smith tel: 0116 2675792 as pauper apprentices and their son Thomas, whose coffin cost the parish 5s.7d. But by the 19th century expanding Leicester presented a growing Belgrave with new problems such as the night soil men who emptied the old sewage pits and left their full carts outside people’s back doors and the concern about the appearance of ‘houses of ill Pic: 1904: Leicester’s first electric tram on Loughborough Rd near the junction with Windsor Ave




Rise in Birstall burglaries BIRSTALL RESIDENTS are being urged by Police to be vigilant following a surge in burglaries in the village. In the thirty days ending on November 15 there were nine burglaries in Birstall compared to one in the previous 30 days. Extra police patrols have been put in place along the A6 and officers are using cameras that automatically recognise number plates. A police spokesman said: “A dedicated burglary team has been established made up of detectives who will visit the victim of every burglary and ensure a robust investigation is carried out and a dedicated tactical team has also been set up which has carried out 40 warrants across the city and county since September 5.” A force wide operation, Operation Dynamo, is currently running to tackle the rise in burglaries. Inspector Gaynor Turner, Commander of Charnwood Local Policing Unit, said: “We are experiencing an increase in burglaries in Birstall at the moment and a lot of police work is

going on to catch those responsible. We do want residents to help us however by always locking their windows and doors; leaving a light on in the evenings and reporting suspicious behaviour to us quickly. “If you see anything out of the ordinary or you hear the sound of breaking glass at any time of the day or night then we want people to ring 999 or the non emergency number 101. There have been a number of occasions when people have reported suspicious activity to us three or four days after the crime. We’d like people to call us the minute they see something out of the ordinary so we can respond quickly. This increases our chances of catching those responsible.” Anyone with information in Leicester, Leicestershire or Rutland is urged to call Leicestershire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers, which is free and anonymous on 0800 555 111.

Centre comes top A LOCAL sports centre has received an award. The Leicester Outdoor Pursuits Centre, off Red Hill, has been named the Centre of the Year by Canoe England. The award recognises the commitreal honour to collect the Award for ment the Centre has had in delivering LOPC as Centre of the Year. I’m aware high quality activity programmes, effecof the many people who’ve supported tive volunteer management and excellent the Centre in all kinds of ways, past and links with local schools along with inno- present, and want to thank everyone for vative and environmentally sustainable their hard work. This is definitely a developments. milestone for the Centre and I am proud The Award included an engraved to be a part of it”. trophy, certificate and a cheque for LOPC regularly runs water based £300. activity sessions, courses and schedules monthly canoe litter picks for the community to get involved with. It works closely with local schools and youth groups The Award was presented by Etienne to deliver high quality, challenging activiStott, Olympic Canoe Slalom Gold Medal- ty sessions. All sessions at LOPC are list and was collected by Senior Instrucdesigned to motivate, challenge and tor David Robinson who said: “It was a inspire individuals of all ages and abilities. The awards evening in Nottingham was attended by 160 guests with appearances from Olympic heroes Etienne Stott, David Florence, Liam Heath and Paracanoe champions Jeanette Chippington and Patrick Mahoney. Chair of PaddlePlus (local club based at LOPC), and Canoe England’s Local Coaching Organiser for Leicestershire, Andy Oughton was awarded the Outstanding Contribution Award and received recognition for his dedication and commitment as a volunteer. Pics: staff with the award and (top) Centre manage Ed Sibson with Deputy Manager Chris Murnin

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Food company buys site at Ashton Green THE FIRST phase of a development set to bring 3000 homes, new jobs and economic growth to Beaumont Leys has moved a step closer. The city council has agreed the sale of a five-hectare site at Ashton Green to food giant Samworth Brothers, a major local employer. It’s also given the goahead for the construction of a new highway access to open up the site. Planning permission for the project was granted in October, and a start on site is planned for early December 2012. It’s anticipated that the new occupiers will be applying for planning permission for a new production facility in 2013, and could potentially be on site from early 2014. City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “This is excellent news for the city. At a time of severe economic downturn it’s remarkable that we are making real progress with a scheme that has the potential to provide the most significant and innovative housing development in Leicester for more than 30 years.

“Attracting businesses to bring new jobs and economic regeneration to the area will be vital to its success. At a time when every job created really counts I am delighted that we have now agreed a deal with an important local employer that will really kick-start this process.” 20,000 new homes are needed in the city over the next two decades. Those at Ashton Green will include a range of family houses including lowercost affordable homes, new schools, community and health facilities, public transport improvements, and shops. Around a third of the site will be improved as public open space. The council is currently negotiating

with a number of major housing developers with the aim of selecting a development partner in 2013. The city council has secured cash from the government’s Growing Places fund to design and build the new road that will open up the new site, and will eventually serve other development opportunities nearby. Birstall Parish Council and many local residents believe the development will result in a large increase in the volume of traffic using Greengate Lane, causing congestion on an already busy road.

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Local playgroup to close A LOCAL playgroup has announced it will close in December. The Rainbow Co-operative PreSchool Playgroup is based at the Co-op Sports and Social Club on Birstall Road. Leader Julie Parker said: “Due to financial reasons the Pre-school’s staff and committee have taken the sad decision that the group is no longer financially viable. “The current staff and committee would like to thank everyone who has supported the group in any way over the last 26 years, including past staff, volunteers, committee members and of course all the many families who have entrusted us with the care and education of their children. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to work with you all. “A very special thank you also goes to our sponsors the Midlands Co-operative Society, especially Karen from the Member Relations team, who have given us tremendous support over the years.” There will be a sale of equipment and toys at the Playgroup building on the grounds of the Co-op Sports and Social Club, Birstall Road on Saturday January 12 from 2-4pm. All welcome.


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Birstall’s bike shop A NEW bike shop has opened in Birstall, run by two men with more than 20 years experience in the trade. T J Cycles at 5 Kingsgate Ave is run by Tony Goodman and James Bryan (pictured right) who have both been selling, servicing and repairing bikes since they left school. The shop sells all kinds of adults’ and children’s bikes, accessories, parts and offers repairs and servicing. Tony said: “All our bikes are properly prepared for the road and we give customers a free service after two



10% discount on new cycles this Dec

OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK months. Every bike has a 12 month guarantee and we aim to look after you and your bike throughout its lifetime.” The shop has started a savings club to help you save for a new bike and your old bike can be taken in part exchange. T J Cycles can also provide you with a bike under the Government’s Cycle to Work scheme.

0116 267 1601

I. Wardle Maintenance Services (Birstall DIY) Do you need any of the following work carrying out? If so, please phone or email me FENCING: Erection & Repairs GARDEN MAINTENANCE: Turf Laid, Mowed & Hedges Cut etc BUILDING REPAIRS/WORK: New Guttering & Repairs INTERIOR WORK: Curtain Rails Fitted, Mirrors Hung & Painting LANDSCAPING: Gravel Drives & Paths Laid FLOORS: Concrete & Laminate Laid

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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:

Land north of Birstall Having read the November 2012 issue of the Birstall Post concerning the potential development of land north of Birstall, I felt that I needed to clarify the position with regards to Bentleys Garden Buildings, not to be confused with Bentleys Roses. Whilst located within the site in question, if any development were to take place, then it would not jeopardise the on-going operations of Bentley’s Garden Buildings. Iain Bentley

Thanks Tony, Carole and family would like to thank all relatives, friends and neighbours for their kind messages of sympathy and donations to LOROS on the sad loss of Betty, it is very much appreciated. Tony and Carole Burton


Wondering why…

I read with some surprise your article in the November edition concerning proposals for 2,000 new homes between Birstall and Rothley. Charnwood Borough Council recently commissioned an expert consultancy company to review and re-appraise the councils 2008 chosen locations for such a development. The consultant’s report (which can be found on Charnwood BC web site) advised the Council that the preferred options made in 2008 were still valid, i.e. land east of Thurmaston / north of Hamilton and land west of Loughborough / north of Garendon. The land between Birstall and Rothley was rejected by the consultants because of massive transport infrastructure costs, damaging conservation issues and full schools. I therefore fail to see why the Councils Cabinet Committee is still considering the Wanlip site. I do hope they are not being seduced by superficial section 106 agreements, and taking their eye off of the real issue here – affordable social housing in a failing economy. Why else would they pay for yet choose to ignore expensive expert advice? Mr A.Court

Why do people get out of their cars, throwing rubbish in the street, then walk past their bins into their home? Why do they drive so fast in their own street when they know that there is a sharp bend and a strong possibility that another resident could be driving the other way with the same disregard for the speed limit and for safety. I used to wonder why people didn’t report street lights that were on in the daytime, now I know why… Over two weeks ago I reported a street light outside the Birstall library that had been on in the daytime for several days. I even gave them the number (8). Two weeks later it was still on. I also tried to report a hazard on Watermead Bridge. A large piece of carpet was on the narrow verge and protruding into the road. I was concerned that it could cause an accident. I was unsure who would deal with it, so I tried Leicestershire County Council’s main number who said it wasn’t them, and gave me the Highways number to ring. They said it wasn’t them, and told me to ring Charnwood Council, who rang me back to say it wasn’t them and to try Leicester City Council, who said it might be them, asked me to hold, then cut me off. I had wasted over an hour of my time on four phone calls, so admitted defeat. The carpet went a couple of days later. I wonder why one council can’t pass the details on to another or are they as unsure who deals with what, as I am. In future I will leave it to someone else. Name & address supplied

Photograph I’d love to reunite this photograph with its owner. I found it inside the book ‘Lucky’ by Alice Seabold in the Age Concern shop in Birstall. As a keen photographer (and mum of two beautiful boys) I understand how important a photograph can be. Really hope I can reunite this photograph….look forward to hearing from anyone that can help! Estelle Keeber 07521301234

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Elvis Now that we have a ‘stupid tree’ and a ‘silly flag’ (I love your phraseology, A Godby), next time builders have £60,000 to chuck out could we please have something really useful for Birstall and to show that our parish councillors actually give two hoots for the place? I would like to suggest that instead of mundane stuff like bush shelters we have a statue of Elvis outside Barclays. Or Freddie Mercury. I like both. Leave it with you. K L Reid

Thanks Please thank all your readers who let me have their used postage stamps to help buy and train Guide Dogs for the Blind. These stamps will help a blind person to lead a much improved life. Please keep donating as the need is always there. I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas F B Savidge 18 Rose Tree Avenue

Merry Christmas!

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To all our readers & advertisers from us all at


Noticeboard all details printed free Christmas Festival at St Leonard’s Church, Swithland Saturday December 8 from 10am to 5pm Refreshments all day St Theresa’s

Christmas Bazaar Sat December 15 11am till 3pm in St Theresa’s Church Hall Front Street Stalls to include cake stall, bottle tombola, raffle, preserves & many more to delight you Tea, coffee & hot soup will be available All proceeds to St Theresa’s Church funds Christmas Charity

Family Disco at Birstall Social Club December 14 from 7.30-11.30pm In aid of Leicestershire Parents Diabetes Group, Carl Gunns’ Boxing Gym In loving memory of Chris Norman (1990-2012) Entertainment by Jack in the Box Costume Hire & Disco This is a ticket only event For tickets and information please contact Paula on 07934 5541563 £1 child, £5 adult

St James 200 Club November Winners 1st Mrs Gwen Johnson 2nd Mrs I Coltman



Mr David Bark 4th Mrs Kathryn Mobbs Birstall Methodist Women’s Group Invite you to

Singing for Pleasure with Anne Hughes at the Methodist Church 7.30pm Friday December 7 Free admission but donations would be welcome towards our charity Motor Neurone Disease Association Leicestershire & Rutland Light refreshments available. For more information phone Margaret on 2671181

Birstall & District Local History Society The next meeting will be held on Thursday Dec 13 at 7.30pm in Birstall Village Hall, Birstall Rd, Birstall The subject will be ‘The Christmas Truce’ - speaker Peter Cousins Visitors are very welcome to join us for this talk

Birstall Royal British Legion Nov 1 Jacqui Daniels (F/V) Nov 8 Krackle & Pop (duo) Nov 15: Mick Knight (M/V) Nov 22: Steve Sinatra (M/V) Christmas Eve: Index (GRP) Nov 29: Karen Le-Shone (F/V) New Year’s Eve: Sam Bailey (F/V) Dancing every Sat night with live entertainment Bingo Free beer raffle and not forgetting Open the Box Every Tues night Bingo starting at 9.15pm

Quiz nights Sunday Dec 9 & Thursday Dec 27, starting at 9pm Acoustic night Sunday Dec 16 Rock & Roll nights Wednesday Dec 5 & 19 Food available every Saturday, 12-2pm Open Bank Holiday Lunch – families welcome Wakes catered for A Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all our members Churches Together in Birstall & Wanlip Monday December 31 8.30pm onwards at Birstall Village Hall A traditional

New Year’s Evening Party Party games, quizzes, dancing, shared buffet supper, bring your own drinks Tickets @ £2 each, from the three churches or tel: 2672606

Film Presentations From Thurcaston & Cropston Parish Council ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ Friday December 14 (124 mins) There are tears and laughter in this hilarious but touching drama about growing old disgracefully. Evelyn, played by Judi Dench, determines to start a new life in Jaipur and meets other retirees who are also aiming for this luxurious retirement home but disappointment awaits. The teeming streets of Rajistan burst with colour and vitality, a fitting setting for our film, amid our preparations for Christmas. ‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen’ Friday January 11 (107 mins)

In our first British romantic comedy of the new year, Ewan McGregor stars as a British civil servant who is unwilling coerced into an incredible scheme to introduce salmon to the Yemen desert. Harriet, played by Emily Blunt, also hopes to encourage better AngleArab relations by realising the impossible dream of the Sheikh. ‘Anna Karenina’ will be shown on Friday February 8 Thurcaston & Cropston Parish Council will be showing these films at Thurcaston Memorial Hall. Starting at 7.30pm, tickets cost £4.50 and concessions are £4. The price includes refreshments and a lucky prize draw. Advance tickets can be purchased via the parish office, 0116 2367626 or at the door. Birstall Birdwatching Club Presents

Christmas DIY with Christmas Cheer Our popular Christmas meeting when members can bring their photographic and conversational talents intermingled with cheese straws, mince pies and other delights brought along by our members. Please come and join us for a friendly, casual evening that will be full of surprises. Tuesday December 11 at 7.30pm

Priory Water by Steve Houghton Steve is a popular speaker at our meetings and this evening he will tell us about the development and wildlife of Priory Water, just off the Melton Road near Asfordby Tuesday January 8 at 7.30pm Both evenings at the Rothley Centre, Mountsorrel Lane, Rothley


Visitors welcome £2 Contact Ken Goodrich 2674813

Birstall Christmas Lights Switch On & Christmas Market Friday Dec 7 at 5.30pm Birstall Parish Council plan to make this year’s Switch On event bigger and better than ever. There will be a number of attractions for you all to enjoy. We are also proud to announce that the switch on will be performed by Mr Rob Paternostro, the Head Coach of Leicester Riders Basket Ball Team • Carol singing on Sibson Rd Car Park • Switch On event will take place as usual on the Sibson Road car park at 6pm • Fairground attractions on both the Sibson Road car park & School Lane car park from 5pm • hot dogs, burgers, hot potatoes, roasted chestnuts • raffle • Christmas Market in the Village Hall & the St James Day Centre from 6pm • a performance of carol singing for shoppers at the Christmas market in the Village Hall by Birstall Gospel Choir • firework display on School Lane playing fields at 8.30pm And don’t forget your FREE mince pie and mulled wine

CLASH Sat Dec 8 – Christmas Meal at Palmer Tomkinson Centre at 7pm Wed Dec 12 – monthly meeting, Diet & Arthritis with Dr Graham Basten, Associate Head of Allied Health Sciences, DMU


CLASH E-learning for beginners, Thursdays Dec 6,13,20, 3.304.30pm. Contact Conrad for further information 07919844629 CLASH Arthritis Welfare & Social Drop In, Mondays & Wednesdays 10-12noon, contact Karen for further information 07722406308

Birstall Parish Council Office Opening Hours Normal Office Opening Hours: Mon 9am–2pm Tuesday 9am–2pm Wednesday: closed to the public Thursday 9am–2pm Friday 9am-2pm Christmas & New Year Closing Mon Dec 24, close at 2pm Wed Jan 2, re-open at 9am

Clairvoyant Evening An evening of Mediumship with Clairvoyant/Medium Sean Roper Fri December 14 7.30pm, bar open from 7pm with a break at 9pm the evening finishes around 10.30pm The Rothley Centre, 12 Mountsorrel Lane, Rothley, Leicestershire, LE7 7PR Tickets: £10 each - 50% of all proceeds go to Alex's Wish charity - to help fight Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (visit for more details) Format of the evening: theatre style (up to 150 people) Raffle tickets available on the night. 100% of all proceeds go to


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Alex's Wish (for details visit Please email or call Emma Hallam on 07903 349475 to purchase your ticket. St James the Great, Church Hill, Birstall

Carols for All Wed December 19 at 7.30pm Come and sing your favourite Christmas Carols (even if you think you can’t sing!) Listen toa few Christmas readings/poetry and share in refreshments All donations to Christian Aid Charnwood Orchestra

Annual Strauss concert January 19 at Humphrey Perkins School, Barrow-upon-Soar, Leics at 7pm The programme will consist of all the popular music by the Strauss family and others Tickets £10 (£8 concessions), £3 for accompanied children under 16 Available from 07718 153117 or by emailing and from members of the orchestra There will be an interval bar selling wine, Castle Rock Real Ale and fruit juice Book your tickets early as this is a very popular event! La Leche League Birstall Breastfeeding Group

Mini Christmas Fair Thursday December 13 1-2.30pm

Report rubbish piles RESIDENTS ARE being asked to help extinguish firebugs by reporting rubbish piles as part of an innovative arson-busting scheme. Charnwood Borough Council, its waste management partner Serco and Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service have joined forces to tackle arson risks, such as piles of dumped waste. The partnership is part of the council’s award-winning Don’t Muck Around campaign which during November is targeting fly tipping and raising awareness of Duty of Care offences. When an incident of illegally dumped waste is reported, the Council will make clearing it a priority. Mick Grewcock, Charnwood District Manager for the Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service said: “This is a really great initiative which will see rubbish removed quickly preventing it from being set fire to. I would urge the community to be vigilant and report incidents of waste being dumped that could be a potential target for fire.” If you are a resident email: or call the contact centre on 01509 634564. They will need to know the exact location and what the rubbish consists of. The Council cannot deal with rubbish on private properties but we can use litter clearing notices in extreme cases.

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WANLIP LANE Longslade College

Parish council notes A FULL meeting of Birstall Parish Council was held on November 12. An allotment holder said that representatives from Birstall Allotment Society had tried unsuccessfully to arrange a meeting with councillors to discuss issues relating to the allotments. The clerk, Steve Blackburn, said that the Council had decided not to engage with the allotment society but to deal with tenants individually. Chairman Pat Cleere suggested that if the Allotment Society send him a letter setting out its concerns and requesting a meeting it will be given fair consideration. A member of the public requested that council meetings be recorded and posted on the council’s website so that residents could listen to proceedings. There was also a request that council minutes be published online within 48 hours of the meeting. The Clerk reported that he was aware that some councils did publish draft minutes in this way but it was not considered good practice and Birstall Parish Council had decided that the minutes should be approved as accurate before being published. Comment was made that this meant the public had to wait a month or more before they could see what the council was discussing and what decisions it had made. A member of the public reported that the footpath that runs between two private houses from Worcester Avenue to the Meadow Lane playing fields was in a poor condition. The clerk reported that Birstall War Memorial on Front Street had been granted Listed Status by English Heritage. The owner of the Memorial is unknown. The Parish Council have paid for the regilding of the main inscription on it, and for the repointing of some of the stones in the plinth. The clerk, Steve Blackburn, is retiring in May. The Council’s Management and Policy Committee had recommended that the position be advertised internally. The council agreed to defer a decision until December’s meeting to enable all councillors to consider guidance on best practice re recruitment, and whether the post should be advertised externally. The clerk reported he had requested Charnwood provide litterbins at Hallam Fields and that he had written to the Royal Mail requesting provision of letterboxes. The Council agreed to form a Working Party to consider the potential uses of a community hall, planned for the next phase of Hallam Fields. It was reported that Meadow Lane was becoming unsafe for vehicles because of erosion of the soil beneath the road surface. It was agreed that Borough and County Councillors be lobbied to press for action to repair the road. The Council agreed on work to repair and redecorate the Village Hall: £1397 on a UPVC kitchen window, £450 repainting of exterior of hall (front door and courtyard), £1250 on interior painting of hall, lobby and toilets.



Villagers gather for act of remembrance BIRSTALL’S REMEMBRANCE Parade was held this year on the actual date of Remembrance, giving it a greater significance than in other years. The column formed outside the Royal British Legion’s Headquarters and marched to the Parish Church by way of Front Street, Whiles Lane, Birstall Road and Church Hill. Fortunately, as in the last number of years we were blessed with fine weather. Units in the Parade included a contingent from the Special Air Service and the Army and the Navy, along with the British Legion, the Women’s Section of the British Legion, the Air Training Corps, the Scouts, the Guides, the Boys’ Brigade, the Girls’ Brigade and the St John’s Ambulance Brigade. It was especially pleasing that this year we had

Pic: a wreath is laid at Birstall War Memorial

serving members of our forces on parade. The service was conducted by our Rector, Rev Vince Jupp to a packed church after which the Parade marched to the Memorial where wreaths were laid, firstly by the Deputy Lord Lieutenant, Lady Palmer then by the units

mentioned earlier and also by Cllr Pat Cleere, Chairman of Birstall Parish Council, and a member of the Birstall Rugby Club. We would like to thank all church personnel, police, community support officers and marshals who all made the parade a safe and enjoyable experience. Finally, it was greatly appreciated that the Parish Council arranged for the refurbishment of the gilding of the names on the memorial. From Gilbert Nall, Chairman Birstall Royal British Legion


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Beating those rising energy costs Rising fuel prices have once again been in the media over the last few weeks. This combined with allegations of the rigging of energy prices begs the question of what can we do to stay warm without it costing an arm and a leg? a bit too cool and then turn it back up Well there are things we can do to one degree. And don’t forget that if help ourselves: you’re walking around in a tee shirt with We can simply turn things down. the heating on, then you’re wasting monThe Energy Saving Trust estimate that ey! for every 1°C you turn down your We can turn things off. Turn off heating thermostat you can save £60 a lights, appliances and chargers when year on your heating bills. So if you not using them. The Enhave your heating set higher than need you’re ergy Saving Trust advise be, then you could that turning off a light, reduce your bills, even for a few seconds, but remember that will save you more enerit is important to gy than it takes the light stay warm in your to start up again. home. Ideally living ENERGY MYTH! rooms should be at What about fluorescent 21°C and bedrooms tube lights I hear some at 18°C in cold of you cry? Don’t they weather. use far more energy in starting up than One way to try this is to turn your in use? Surely it’s better to leave those room thermostat down by one degree. on if you’re going out of the room for a Leave it for a day and if you still feel short while? Well the answer is not realwarm enough, try turning it down ly. The advice of the National Energy another degree. Carry on until it feels

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Foundation is that with today’s modern fluorescent tube lights you’ll be better off turning them off if you’re out of the room for anything more than a minute! Most electrical and electronic appliances can safely be turned off at the plug without upsetting their systems, with the exception of satellite and digital TV recorders which should be left plugged in so they can keep track of any programmes you want to record. But check the instructions on any appliances you aren’t sure about. Again, if you’re not already turning things off then the Energy Saving Trust estimate that a family could save around £40 a year just by remembering to switch off! Being Careful in the Kitchen! Simply by being careful how we use appliances in the kitchen it is possible to save another £35 a year (Energy Saving Trust) by: • Setting your washing machine to wash at 30°C. • Only using your tumble dryer when you can’t dry your clothes outside. • Not filling your kettle right up every time – just boil the amount of water you need. Simply setting your washing to wash at 30°C could save you £10 a year. Simply acting on these three areas and without having to spend anything, it is possible that you could be saving £135 a year. And that is before you think about changing to a cheaper energy supplier or tariff or maybe investing in low energy light bulbs and other appliances, insulating your home or reducing draughts. For more information on reducing energy and waste reduction the Greening Birstall campaign is holding drop in energy advice sessions on Thursday 6th and Saturday 8th December at Birstall Library. For more information contact Peter Ashford on 07961 050592 or visit From Peter Ashford, Greening Birstall

Spring boxing show for charity ORGANISERS OF a charity boxing show in March are hoping to raise £2000. The event, at Birstall Social Club on Sunday March 10, will feature sparring demonstrations, exhibition fights in a full sized boxing ring, skipping routines and a boxing pads exhibition. An auction of sporting memorabilia will include a pair of Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson signed and framed boxing gloves. The idea for the event came about when Paige Bradshaw, one of the young volunteers who helps out at Gunns’ gym saw an article in the Leicester Mercury promoting Alex’s Wish charity. She felt strongly that she wanted to do something to help Alex and the thousands of other children in the UK who suffer from a rare genetic muscle-wasting disease called Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. At present there are no cures or effective treatments for Duchenne. Alex is 6 years old and was diagnosed with this condition in 2006. In August of this year Alex’s parents Emma and Andy Hallam set up the Alex’s Wish charity to raise vital funds to help eradicate this disease. It’s a life limiting condition and over time the muscles become gradually weaker leading to the sufferer being unable to do the simplest of tasks. It leads to heart and respiratory failure usually in the 20s. For more information please visit Carl Gunns said: “I feel strongly about this cause as those suffering with this condition are not able to participate in sports like boxing due to muscle weakness. As my charity helps children I felt there was a strong connection and wanted to help out in any way we can. It’s also good for us as we will raise vital funds for our charity too whilst helping others in the local community. I believe this will be an excellent fun event for all to enjoy.” Emma Hallam from Alex’s Wish said: “We are thrilled that a local charity like Gunns Gym want to get right behind our cause and we would like to thanks Paige for introducing us and to Carl for agreeing to put on this fantastic event to help us raise vital funds for research. I’d like to thank everyone involved.” Raffle tickets will be on sale throughout the event and prizes will be presented at the end of the day. People are able to come and go as they please throughout the day. Doors will be open from 11am to 6pm. The event will be held at Birstall Social Club. Tickets are priced at £3.50 each and can be purchased by going along to Gunns Gym, 275 Birstall Road, Birstall, Leicester LE4 3AL or Birstall Social Club or by calling Carl on 2671494.



Cold weather warning for swans Pic: Julie, Watermead Swan volunteer, in Watermead Country Park

A COLD winter could have a major impact on the swan population at Watermead Country Park warns a local wildlife volunteer. Two years ago more than 50 swans died during a spell of cold and icy weather and Julie, Watermead swan volunteer, is urging local people to be on standby with food supplies. “Swans are very big birds and a flock of swans will eat quite a lot of food” she said. “In snowy weather we get an influx of swans that have come from the surrounding areas that have frozen up. That puts a bigger demand on food.” Julie recommends seeds, swan and duck food mixed with some bread. “Bread alone doesn’t contain the nutri-

ents a swan needs for a healthy diet, but in cold weather they will be grateful for anything. Please pay attention to byelaws if you don’t want a fine” she said. Last year 120 swans gathered on the Raynsway lake, and Raynsway donated money to buy food. Swans can take off, land and walk on

Exhibition prizes FOR THE second year running a painting by Michael Joyce was voted ‘best in show’ by visitors to Birstall and District Art Society’s annual exhibition. The picture chosen by the judges as the best painting in the exhibition held in the Village Hall in October, was by Mary Pepper, who also won the landscape prize. The winner of the raffle for Rupert Cordeux’s painting was won by Kathryn Benbow. Society spokeswoman Mary Houghton said: “It was lovely to see all the people who came again and to welcome those whom we met for the first time. “Everyone is welcome at our Demonstration evenings which take place on the second Tuesday in every month in the Palmer Tomkinson Centre at Longslade College. Come at 6.30 for 7pm. The cost is £3 for non-members. Children who come as guests should be over eight years old and accompanied by an adult. You will be made most welcome.” The winning pictures and more information about the society can be found at

snow and ice. Julie said: “I’ll always remember ‘Sunbeam’ who perfected getting across a frozen lake in two minutes. It put its wings out for balance and used its claws on its feet to run on tiptoe across the lake. It was amazing to watch it. I’ve never seen another swan master it quite like that. However we do have swans that struggle to learn how to stand, or swans that get frozen to the ice.” Although swans flock together in winter, during spring and summer breeding pairs are territorial and will drive off other swans that land on their territory, which sometimes results in deaths. Julie said: “I have seen some very sad sights over the last few months. I have

found swans weak, starved, dead, walking down roads, driven out, sitting by houses and had to pull them out from being killed by other swans.” She added: “Watermead is a very


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New Police chief visits Birstall OUR PICTURE shows Sir Clive Loader canvassing in Birstall shortly before he was elected Leicestershire’s first Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC). The Conservative candidate, Sir Clive beat labour’s Sarah Russell after second preference votes were counted as neither candidate managed to get 50% of the votes. Independent candidate Suleman Nagdi was eliminated after the first round. Sir Clive received a total of 64,661 votes with Ms Russell getting 51,835. Mr Nagdi received 21,744 first preference votes. The turnout was 16.0% Sir Clive Loader is a retired RAF serviceman who spent 30 years with the forces. He participated in air operations over the Falklands, Iraq and the Balkans before becoming Air Chief Marshall and receiving a knighthood in 2006. PCCs are responsible for setting Police priorities and overseeing the

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Pic: (l-r) Cllr Iain Bentley, Cllr David Gaskell, Paul Porter from Ruby Tuesdays, Cllr Stuart Jones, Cllr Mary Allen & Sir Clive Loader

budget. In his victory speech, Sir Clive said he expected to spend the next two months working hard to prepare a policing plan for the county. “In the first two months we have to produce a costed police and crime plan … and I will make sure it reflects the concerns and aspirations and views of the people” he said. He also promised to work with Leicestershire’s chief constable “to

foster a new culture of police professionalism and effectiveness that all residents will trust and criminals will fear and in which all police officers and staff will take great pride.” Summary of national results (England & Wales) 16 Conservative (39% of 41) 13 Labour (31.7%) 12 Independent (29.2%) Overall vote share Lab (33%), Con (27%), Ind (22%)

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Mexican tradition in Birstall AN OLD Mexican tradition will come to Birstall this Christmas as local churches organise a Posada. In the original tradition, young people dressed as Mary and Joseph travelled from house to house in the weeks leading up to Christmas, asking for a room for the night and telling people to expect the arrival of Jesus. On Christmas Eve they would visit the local church to reenact the nativity. In the Birstall version, knitted figures will travel to different venues that represent our community life, from schools and churches to shops on the Sibson Road. There will be a blog of their journey on the internet where hosts can post a picture of the day Mary and Joseph came to stay with them. Methodist Min-

ister Rachel Parkinson said: “As well as providing a bit of fun round the village, as children spot the ‘wonky donkey’, it’s hoped that the Posada will help to remind people of the Christian story lying behind the Christmas festival.” The Posada will be launched at the Churches Together Advent Carol Service at Birstall Methodist Church on Sunday December 2 at 6pm, where the theme will be offering hospitality to strangers. Anyone wanting to host “Mary and Joseph” at their business, workplace or club should contact Rachel Parkinson on 2671804. The Posada blog is at



Pic: Jim Garner with Birstall Cubs

Birstall Cubs’ learning adventure WITH THE Olympic legacy firmly in their minds, Birstall Cubs are not letting the cold dark nights of winter stifle their adventurous spirit. To start with they took on a shooting challenge using target air rifles. They learnt how to load and shoot, controlling their breathing and emotions to be able to zero in on the target. Before long they could hit the bull’s-eye at ten paces. All this under the watchful eye

of the Scouts county shooting instructor John Jordan. Following this they aimed for new heights as they overcome their fear on the granite rock holds of the Moat College

climbing wall. Although very apprehensive whilst being kitted out in helmets and harnesses it wasn’t long before they were scaling the walls with many of them reaching the top. Indeed some of them were naturals zooming up with barely a backwards glance. Birstall climbing instructor Jim Garner was well impressed with

their endeavours and the Cubs are keen to go climbing again, hopefully learning more complex moves. Next was a trip to Park View equestrian centre where the Cubs could saddle up and ride off into the sunset. In their dreams of course, but back in the real world, on a Saturday afternoon, they were in the saddle. They learnt basic horse riding skills of walking, trotting, turning left and right, followed by a session of grooming and feeding. Suprisingly they enjoyed the grooming as much as the riding. Fortunately for them they didn’t have to do the mucking out! From Ged Sessions, Scout Leader

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Concert boosts funds for orphanage A CHARITY concert featuring ‘Cliff Richard’ helped the Bark Foundation’s latest project supporting an African orphanage.

Will Chandler as Cliff entertained the audience and the concert saw the launch of the charity’s Buy a Brick appeal – raising £920. Catherine Bolton, a local

young artist, designed a hand sewn collage of ‘bricks’ that has been scanned and produced as a souvenir postcard for each person who ‘buys a brick’.

Joy Bark said: “9000 bricks are needed to build a residential and volunteer training centre and every £1 donated pays for a brick to be put into the walls.” The number of children at the Hotpec orphanage in Cameroon has risen to 129. Joy said: “More staff are needed to cope with the amount of work engendered by the care and welfare of such a huge family. Extra staff are needed on site overnight but there is nowhere for them to stay, therefore the next project is to build accommodation for both local and overseas volunteers. The accommodation block will provide eight bedrooms, kitchen, dining and bathroom facilities and a hall for staff training and recreation. Local people will be willing to work ‘for bed and board’. The cost will be £47,000.” Formed in 2008 to support the orphanage, The Bark Foundation completed their first project – a purpose-built Baby Unit Complex that was opened in November 2010. It was enlarged from the original plan so that older children could share the dormitories to relieve severe overcrowding. Donations can be made through ate Website: Email: the Tel: 0116 2677576

Christmas lights BIRSTALL’S CHRISTMAS lights will be switched on by Rob Paternostro, the head coach of Leicester Riders Basketball team. The Switch on event, organised by Birstall Parish Council, will start at 5.30pm on Friday Dec 7, on the Sibson Road car park and will feature carol singing, a firework display, and a Christmas market in the Village Hall. There will be fairground attractions on both the Sibson Road car park and School Lane car park from 5pm and roasted chestnuts, hot potatoes, burgers and hot dogs will be available as well as a free mince pie and mulled wine for every visitor. The lights will be switched on at 6pm and the firework display will start on the School Lane playing field at 8.30pm. • For Health & Safety reasons the car parks on Sibson Road and School Lane will be closed from 7.30am on December 7 and re-open as soon as the event is over.

Campaign clamps down on feeding A CAMPAIGN that urged people to rethink their bird feeding habits and help tackle the excessive number of geese at Watermead Country Park has been nominated for a national award. During the first eight weeks of the campaign, around 2,400 people were approached and over 1,400kg of unsuitable food collected or swapped for pellets. In the weeks following the campaign, city wardens issued four fixed penalty notices for leaving excessive amounts of food in the car park. Leicester City Council launched the campaign on Watermead Park to deal with the problem of geese congregating. Due to the availability of food brought by visitors - most of which was unsuitable for birds - the goose population at the park was growing to such an extent that there was a risk it was squeezing out other wildfowl. The geese were also causing problems in the car park, and the large amounts of dung they left posed a real risk of slipping or infection. New signs were put up around the park to encourage more responsible bird feeding, in clearly marked areas away from the car park. Parks officers and city wardens handed out informa-

tion leaflets to visitors and offered to swap any bread, or other unsuitable food, brought to feed the geese for healthy pellet food. Initial feedback from park users and local wildlife groups is that the campaign has had a positive impact on the numbers of Canada Geese that come to park to feed. Now the campaign has been shortlisted for the Keep Britain Tidy Network's 'Innovation Award'. Cllr Piara Singh Clair, Assistant City Mayor for heritage, leisure and sport, sport, said: "The geese on Watermead Park were becoming such a problem, particularly in the car park, that some people were put off visiting. “Parks officers clearly had the right approach with this campaign. The majority of visitors were happy to help us tackle this problem by cutting out unsuitable food. “I'm really pleased that Keep Britain Tidy recognise the innovative approach taken. It is a credit to staff involved and I wish them success at the awards ceremony.”


Church news The Christmas rush Inevitably the approach of Christmas means that December events follow a predictable pattern. Many of us are preoccupied with planning for December 25th writing cards, buying presents, planning the cooking or arranging who will go where for Christmas dinner, but there is another aspect of the “season of goodwill”. For some, Christmas is a lonely time, perhaps because they are housebound, or no longer have partner or family, or are unable to afford the luxuries that others can indulge in, and they can only remember with sadness the happiness of years gone by. No Scrooges here! Traditionally Christmas is a time when people have been reminded to think of others and give generously to the poor (remember Scrooge, who didn’t!). Boxing Day got its name from the custom of distributing the money put in alms boxes for the poor in a town or parish. But we can express our care for others in other practical ways, perhaps by donating to a charity, by giving toys or other gifts to deprived families, by inviting someone to share a Christmas meal or taking a meal to a housebound neighbour, or just offering transport to a Christmas event for an elderly or disabled person. What’s on? Apart from other village activities, there are plenty of events for all to enjoy at the Birstall and Wanlip churches this month. We start with the popular Christingle service (which supports the Children’s Society) on December 2 at 10am at St. James, an All Together (all ages) event. The Scouts and Guides have their own special carol service at 3pm on the following Sunday, December 9 and also at St James. Then on Sunday 16th at 6pm there will be a traditional Nine Lessons and Carols service at Wanlip church, with seasonal refreshments in the Church Rooms afterwards. For the young at heart, a more Informal Service of Christmas readings and carols will take place at Wanlip on Monday 17th at 6pm. Carols for All at St. James, when everyone is invited to take part and sing well-known carols, proved very popular last year, so will be held again on Wednesday December 19 at 7.30pm. Refreshments afterwards and any donations will go to Christian Aid. The climax of the celebrations comes on Christmas Eve at Birstall with the Crib Service at 4pm (children can dress as angels, shepherds or kings), and continues with Midnight Communion, starting at 11.30pm, with choir and congregation welcoming the Christ child. For those who are not inclined to stay up late, there will be a service of Holy Communion at Wanlip at 9am on Christmas Day and the festivities conclude with a short Christmas Day service of thanksgiving at 10am at St. James. The clergy and congregations of St. James, Birstall and Our Lady and St. Nicholas, Wanlip welcome the people of our parish to all or any of these occasions and wish you all a happy and peaceful Christmas. From Beryl McHugh, Parish Church

Christmas Services & Events Saturday December 15 is an occasion for families for ‘Messy Advent’ as part of the ‘Messy Church’ programme. From 4pm to 6pm. Please bring some food to share for this Messy Christmas session. Tuesday 18th is another occasion where youngsters will be participating. The choir from Riverside Primary School will be performing pieces from the musical "Animal Antics" at the Christmas Sing & Peacelight event, which sees a candle flame come from Bethlehem to Birstall. The evening starts at 7pm and includes refreshments. Admission is free though there will be a voluntary retiring collection. At this and at most events throughout December at Birstall Methodist Church, you will have the chance to once again "Get in the Picture" and have your own personalised nativity photo. This year we're ringing the changes so if you've taken part in previous years, expect

something different in 2012 On Sunday morning December 23 there will be a children’s nativity play as part of the 10.30 morning worship. In the evening at 6pm there is the popular Carols by Candlelight service. Christmas Eve will be a midnight communion. The service begins at 11.15pm Christmas Day service is at 10am, in good time to get back to finish preparations for your Christmas dinner! Birstall Methodist Church welcomes everyone and anyone, and although several events are shown as family orientated – you are just as welcome if you are alone. Toys and Gifts for others As mentioned in last months ‘Birstall Post’ the church has participated in the ‘Toys on the Table appeal for Charnwood. Looking further afield many folk in Birstall have prepared shoeboxes for needy children in poorer parts of the world containing gifts. This is organised nationally by the Samaritans Purse organisation who expect to assemble over a million filled shoeboxes nationally. Our minister’s husband, Neil Parkin-


son, raised £250 for the Toys on the Table appeal in a sponsored run in the Liverpool Marathon. Sing for Fun Ann Hughes will lead this event on Friday December 7. No charge but donations will be invited for the MND Association. Cinderella Tickets will be on sale after Christmas Tel 2122513, or via any member of the cast. This all male pantomime will run from Tuesday 12 to Saturday February 16. From Tony Moore, Birstall Methodist Church

Christmas Lights and Market As you will have seen from other notices, Birstall is again having a Christmas Market & Craft Fair in conjunction with the switching on of the village’s Christmas lights and it promises to be bigger and better than before. The date is Friday December 7 and the market will be held from 6.30pm. in the Village Continued on page 20

Dance school a trophy winner A BIRSTALL based dance school won a haul of trophies at a recent dance festival. The Steps School of Theatre Dance won 115 medals and more than 25 trophies at the Lutterworth Dance Festival. Trophy winners were Natalia and Jessica Puczylo, Caitlin Green, Lydia Hewing Jones, Jemima Montague Mason, Elizabeth Cross, Alice Clay, Emma Garner, Emily Harris, Cassie Amor, Philippa Towlson and Amy Collins. Steps Principal Michelle Upton won the prestigious Teachers Choreography Award for the second year running.

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Continued from page 19 Hall. BIBC will again host a stall, where we will be selling items made by The Lodge Trust (which provides Christian care for adults with learning difficulties). Please come along and support a worthwhile cause while getting that special gift. There will be Christmas cards and craft items, such as wooden puzzles and silk scarves. We will also have some seasonal books and a limited number of free calendars. Carol Service You will be most welcome to join us for our traditional Carol Service to celebrate God’s incarnation in the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. This will be held in the Community Room at Highcliffe Primary School (LE4 3DL) on Sunday December 16, 2012, beginning at 10.45am and will last about an hour. It will be followed by tea/coffee. Our visiting speaker is to be Simon Terry from Wigston. Christmas & New Year Services As we meet in the Highcliffe Community Room, we are not able to use the premises over the school holiday period, so please contact us for venue details for our services during this period. We return to our normal services at Highcliffe on Sunday, January 13, 2013, at 10.45am. All at BIBC wish you a very happy Christmas and every blessing for 2013. For further information please ring 0116 2214883. From Anne Taylor, Birstall Independent Baptist Church

Squad seeking cheerleaders A TROPHY winning cheerleading squad is looking for new members aged 4½ to 25 to join them. The Dynamite Cheerleaders train at Longslade College and are led by Amy Owen. In July the squad travelled to Blackpool for a competition. Amy said: “After months of hard work training we set off to Blackpool and had an amazing weekend. Not only was the weather great so we could practise on the beach, it was a great team bonding experience staying away together. The competition was fierce and every-


The January issue of

THE BIRSTALL POST will be published on Jan 4. The copy deadline is Dec 19.

WI news BIRSTALL AND Wanlip WI held their AGM on November 5 at Highcliffe School. The evening started with a discussion on how to make decorations for this year’s Methodist Church Christmas display entitled Jubilation and we will now be knitting bunting and making salt dough decorations for our WI tree. Unfortunately we didn’t get through to the second round of the WI Big Walk Little Splash competition but at least it did succeed in its object to get us involved in walking activities throughout the Summer. We then talked about future events, speakers, and trips for 2013 but we still have Hello Dolly at the Curve to look forward to in December 2012. During the AGM the existing Committee were re-elected along with Jane and Yvonne who join us for the first time. This was followed by mince pies and sausage rolls and a noisy quiz which was predictably won by Mary, Freda and Rosalie. The best Christmas decoration competition was won yet again by Marion and so she will be polishing the cup for another month. Our next meeting is on December 3 when we will have a Secret Santa and Ian Risley will demonstrate pastel drawing. We really have enjoyed a wonderful variety of speakers this year. From Birstall & Wanlip WI

one was very nervous but that didn’t stop the Dynamite’s drive and determination. We came away with a 2nd place trophy and it was very unexpected but very well deserved, a great weekend all round.” She added: “Once back from the competition we had a lot of hard work as our Halloween show was fast approaching and didn’t have much time to get all six Dynamite squads ready, not to mention the mums and dads who also performed. Everyone worked ex-



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tremely hard and all pulled together, it was an amazing show, routines were fantastic, stage props were outstanding, and had lots of fun showing off their many talents in front of friends and family.” The squad train at Longslade every Tuesday evening teaching cheerleading and gymnastics. Amy said: “We aim to give young people a fit and healthy start in life, in a fun safe environment whilst having the time of their life.” For more information please call Amy Owen 07921768449 or email Pic: The Dynamite Cheerleaders Halloween show at Wreake Valley College

Nine point cab ride A FOOTBALL-mad cabbie paid the penalty after undercover officers caught him watching a football match on his phone as he drove them to a hotel. The driver was caught during a test purchase operation led by Charnwood Borough Council’s Licensing team in a joint operation with Leicestershire Police and Melton Borough Council. Two Council officers, in plain clothes, hailed a cab at Loughborough Train Station for a journey to a hotel on Ashby Road. They were stunned when the driver put his mobile on his dashboard and tuned in to watch the match. The cabbie also overcharged them for the trip, which is illegal. In total, the team took a total of 14 random journeys to check that passengers were being driven safely and were not being overcharged. Councillor Jane Hunt, Charnwood Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Regulatory Services, said: “This type of operation is important to ensure customers are safe and are being charged fairly. “Our officers were stunned when this taxi driver decided that watching the big match was more important than the safety of his passengers. One of the Council’s key priorities is helping to keep our residents and visitors safe and secure and we will take action where we find this has been compromised.” The driver admitted two offences of “misconduct regarding the charging of fares" and for failing to “take all reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of passengers", under the Town Police Clauses Act and Local Government ((Miscellaneous Provisions) Act. He received nine penalty points on his taxi operator licence. If he exceeds 12 in a 12-month period, a hearing can be held to determine whether or not to suspend or revoke his taxi licence.



Householder fined after waste dumped

NHW news

Keeping New Christmas Presents Safe There are a number of things you can do to ensure your new Christmas presents are kept safe and remain in your possession. Labelling them with your post code and house number is recommended. This ensures they are easier to return to you should they be lost and found but it also acts as a deterrent to them being stolen. The most common ways of marking presents are: Engraving: Typically this is used for bikes, scooters, toys and other larger presents usually made from metal. Some people who want a very visual label do engrave their smartphones and tablets. This method is permanent and cannot be removed should you move house or want to sell your present in the future. Smart Water is an invisible method of marking your present. Each smart water kit has its own unique code. The code is held in microscopic dots that cannot be seen unaided. The smart water is brushed onto the object. The water evaporates and leaves the dots behind. Each kit is registered in a central register so when your present is recovered the Police can identify the unique code and so trace its true owner –you! Smart water marking tends to be used on valuable items from antiques and jewellery to lead on church roofs. Ultra Violet Pens are another nondestructive but much cheaper method of marking those precious gifts. Just mark your post code and house number on the item. It is not visible to the naked eye but can be seen using a UV light. The ‘ink’ tends to disappear with time so it is recommended that you re-mark each year. The NHW advise shop is held in the Old Council offices near The Triangle from 10am to noon on the third Saturday of each month. The next one is planned for the January 19, 2013. We have our own engraver and smart water kits costing £10 and UV pens which are free are available. Please bring your presents along to be engraved or if you need some help deciding how best to label your presents to make them safe we will be there to help. Thanks to everyone who has already entered our competition to win a TV Simulator, which was featured in last month’s Birstall Post. There is still time to enter and details are also available in the December edition of your NHW newsletter. The closing date is December 10, so hurry! Merry Christmas. From Birstall & Wanlip NHW

A RESIDENT is counting the cost of paying a “white van man” to get rid of waste from her home. Shilpa Jobanputra, of Loughborough Road, Birstall, pleaded guilty at Leicester Magistrates’ Court on October 26, 2012, to a fly-tipping charge. Charnwood Borough Council enforcement officers were called in March 2012 to investigate a pile of waste that had been dumped outside the gates of a company in Mountsorrel. Officers scoured the pile, which included 30 black bin bags, a TV, cardboard boxes and clothing, and found letters, payslips and bills addressed to Jobanputra. They contacted Jobanputra who told officers she did not know she had committed an offence and expressed her remorse. She said she paid £50 for a “white van man” to take the waste from her property after receiving a flyer through her letterbox. She presumed they would take the waste to the tip and failed to check whether the company had a Waste Carri-

Couple’s birthday party A BIRSTALL couple who have lived in the village since 1957 celebrated their 80th birthday with a family get together. Maureen and Maurice Jeffery of Broadgate Close celebrated with a meal at Rothley Court Hotel and a party at the Legion on Front Street attended by friends and family. The couple have been actively involved with Birstall Golf Club and the Bowls Club for many years. Daughter Amanda said: “We would like to wish a wonderful mum and dad, grandma and grandad good health in the future and many more birthdays, with love from all the family.”

Pic: the illegally dumped waste

er’s Licence, which any waste disposal tradesperson is required to hold by law. Householders are legally required to ensure tradespeople they pay have a Waste Carrier’s Licence. Failure to do so is an offence. Councillor Jane Hunt, the Council’s Cabinet member for Regulatory Services, said: “Our Don’t Muck Around campaign is trying to raise awareness of Duty of Care offences. Please check that the people you pay to remove waste from your property have a Waste Carri-

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er’s Licence. Don’t fall foul of this offence.” Jobanputra was fined £75 by the Court and ordered to make a contribution of £100 towards the Council's investigation and enforcement costs, plus a £15 victim surcharge. For more information about the Don’t Muck Around campaign or to report a fly-tip, contact 01509 634564 or email Also visit


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Feast of soups and puddings

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.

LOCAL CANCER charity fundraisers tucked into soups and puddings at a fundraising event. Jan Gaskell explains: “At the Charnwood Branch of Cancer Research UK we like to encourage our supporters to start supporting the charity at an early age. So, the photo shows Dominic, who lives in Birstall and is just 18 months old, enjoying the food at our recent ‘Soup & Sweet’ lunch held at Woodhouse Eaves Village Hall. He didn’t come alone but brought with him four generations of his family – great grandma, grandparents, Mum and Dad

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and of course, Dominic himself.” The ‘Soup & Sweet’ lunch was a new venture for the group and over 60 people tucked into a variety of homemade soups and puddings. Jan said: “As Christmas is fast approaching we had a small number of stalls at the event. They provided, amongst other things, pickles, jams, stationery and jewellery. Of course if would not be a Cancer Research event without a raffle. “The jewellery stall was once again

Pic: Joy Bark (left)

supplied by Joy Bark. Joy, together with her husband David, is one of the founders of the Bark Foundation. This was formed in 2008 to support the HOTPEC Orphanage, Buea, Cameroon. We are delighted that our two charities are able to give support to each other “The other great attraction was Beryl Preston and her jams and pickles. Each time we hold an event the first question we get asked, before tickets are purchased is whether we will be having ‘the lady with the pickles’ It is not commonly known but Beryl gives all the proceeds of her sales to the many charities which she supports. We are extremely grateful that we are on her list of ‘charities’. “We would like to take this opportunity to thank all who supported us at this fundraising event which raised £543. We have a hardcore of such wonderful supporters and their unfailing generosity is helping the fight into the causes and treatment of cancer. There is still so much more work to do but together we can, and will beat cancer. Watch out for details of our next event and join us in helping to raise money for this vital research.”

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Over a third of older people in the Midlands don’t get help or company from their neighbours Age UK is calling on the nation to come together to prevent older people suffering needlessly this winter. 36% of people aged 65+ in the Midlands are not getting any help, support or companionship from neighbours, according to new research out today to mark the launch of Age UK’s Spread the Warmth winter campaign. The winter can be harrowingly difficult for thousands of older people. Age UK is calling on everyone to remember the Great British spirit celebrated in the summer by coming together throughout the winter months and pledging to help older people in the local community. The colder weather brings with it a massive increase in associated health problems for older people including heart attacks and strokes, respiratory problems, pneumonia and depression. During the winter, isolation can also intensify having an adverse effect on physical and mental well-being and some studies prove that feelings of loneliness can this can be equivalent to well-established risk factors such as obesity and smoking. Over 700,000 older people in the UK report that they always or often feel lonely with over half of all older people considering the TV as their main form of company. By pledging to help out this winter and in donating to Age UK’s Spread the Warmth campaign, people can make winter time less worrying for thousands upon thousands of older people. Age UK’s research reveals that over a third of people aged 65+ in the Midlands are concerned about staying warm at home. As the cold weather and shorter days kick in, people find it more difficult to get out and 40% of people aged 65+ in the region are concerned about falling over on slippery pavements and over one in five people of people state they are worried about not being able to get out and about as much. If everyone acts now, this winter can be very different for older people. Simply make a Big Winter Pledge with Age UK to make a real difference: Pledge 1: Pop in and see an older friend, relative or neighbour regularly Pledge 2: Do your bit to help out when the colder weather hits, from clearing paths to getting the shopping in for an older neighbour Pledge 3: Donate money to Age UK today by calling 0800 169 87 87 or visiting Just £10 could fund an emergency winter warmth pack Pledge 4: Get a free thermometer and ‘Winter Wrapped Up’ advice guide from Age UK by calling 0800 169 65 65 and pass on to an older friend, neighbour or relative Pledge 5: Volunteer for Age UK and local Age UKs across the country. Contact your local Age UK for more information or visit or call 0800 169 87 87 People can spread the word on how they are helping to Spread the Warmth by putting their pledge into practice to help older people this winter – tweet about it using #spreadthewarmth or drop by the Age UK Facebook page Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director General of Age UK, said: “The winter can cause misery, avoidable illness and even death for too many older people. We’re hoping to inspire everyone to act now to do their bit to lessen the impact of winter for older people this year. There is something simple that everyone can do from popping in to check on an older neighbour to making time for older relatives. As we experienced as a nation this summer, it feels good to come together and help each other out. Small things and a friendly face make all the difference.” This winter as many as 25,000 older people could die needlessly because of the cold. That’s around 200 preventable deaths a day. During the Spread the Warmth campaign, Age UK and its local and national partners are working to keep older people warm and well. The charity is providing social activities and contact for older people, as well as tips on combating the cold at home and outdoors. Age UK will be keeping people warm and safe at home, giving out hot nutritious meals and offering information and advice 365 days a year. The charity is also calling on the Government to boost the energy efficiency of older people’s homes. Older people and their families can call Age UK Advice for free on 0800 169 65 65, where they can also order a free copy of ‘Winter Wrapped Up’ with a free thermometer. Alternatively they can visit to download the guide, get more information about the Spread the Warmth campaign and find out where their local Age UK office or shop is. There are lots of ways to help Age UK Spread the Warmth this winter. People can make a donation simply by calling 0800 169 87 87 or visiting Costs are lower for older people but later life income still under pressure The latest results of the Silver RPI from Age UK Enterprises, the commercial services arm of charity Age UK, show that during the last year over 55s have experienced lower inflation (2.35%) than the general population (2.65%). The Silver RPI, now in its third year, is a measure of costs faced by those in later life derived from official RPI data by Fathom Consulting on behalf of Age UK Enterprises. While the fall in Silver RPI is encouraging there are a number of factors to be considered. Firstly, significant


energy price rises are about to take effect in the coming weeks and older people are disproportionately impacted by energy costs compared to the general population as the expenditure accounts for a greater proportion of their fixed income. Also, despite the recent fall in inflation, older people’s finances are still being squeezed. Since 2008 over 55s are, on average, £914 a year worse off than official measures recognise. For those aged between 60 and 74 years this figure rises to more than £1,000 Commenting on the findings, Gordon Morris, Managing Director, Age UK Enterprises said: “While it is very welcome news that the Silver RPI has fallen below Headline RPI, this may only be a brief respite due to the rise in energy costs to come. Consumers should take advantage of the best deals on the market now and look to fix their energy tariff ahead of any future price increases.” Additional factors which exacerbate financial difficulties for those in later life include the low interest rate environment impacting older people’s savings, and for those about to retire with a defined contribution pension, tumbling annuity rates affecting the future income they can achieve. Further research from Fathom Consulting has shown that since February 2009 the average annual payment from a £100,000 joint annuity has decreased by £1,320 (from £6,337 to £5,017). This


means that a couple with this level of pension savings annuitising now would receive almost £30,000 less over the course of a standard retirement which is a significant reduction in income. Gordon Morris continued: “The wider economic situation is clearly cause for concern as many older people now face a double whammy of low interest rates and falling annuity rates. Our advice to all customers about to purchase an annuity is therefore to not simply accept the product offered by their pension provider, but to compare rates and look for the right type of annuity.” Erik Britton, Fathom Financial Consulting said: “While the data indicates that Silver RPI inflation has fallen, older people are facing heavy financial pressures. Moreover, they tend to rely on a fixed income, and often unable to generate additional income to mitigate inflationary and wider economic challenges.”



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Birstall BAG’s cancer corner The Liverpool Care Pathway There have been a number of alarming and inaccurate news headlines about a programme of care delivery used in the care of people with terminal illness: The Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP). Birstall BAGs thought it might be helpful to provide Birstall Post

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readers with facts about the LCP and also reassure those who have concerns. 1. The LCP is a scheme that is intended to improve the quality of care in the final hours or days of a patient’s life, and to ensure a peaceful and comfortable death. It aims to guide doctors, nurses and other health workers looking after someone who is dying on issues such as the appropriate time to remove tubes providing food and fluid, or when to stop medication 2. The LCP was developed during the late 1990s at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, in conjunction with the Marie Curie Palliative Care Institute. 3. The goal of the LCP is to ensure a death is as dignified and as peaceful as possible. It may involve, for example, reviews of: • whether any further medications and tests (such as taking the patient’s temperature or blood pressure) would be helpful • how to keep the patient as comfortable as possible, for example, by adjust-

ing their position in bed or providing regular mouth care (some illnesses or treatments can cause over- or underproduction of saliva) • whether artificial fluids should be given, when a patient has stopped being able to eat or drink • the patient’s spiritual or religious needs 4. The LCP was introduced because, during the 1990s, there was an increasing consensus in the UK medical community that standards of end-of-life care were patchy. 5. The LCP is supported by more than 20 leading organisations, including Marie Curie Cancer Care and Age UK, as a way to help meet the care and dignity needs for those who are at the end of their life. 6. The LCP has been praised by many doctors for its aim to make life for those who are imminently dying as comfortable as possible, rather than using artificial efforts to prolong life. 7. While legal consent is not required to place a patient on the LCP, the fact that the plan is being considered should always be discussed with a relative or carer and, if possible, the patient themselves 8. There should never be an occasion when a relative or carer who is named as the main contact is not informed when a diagnosis that the person is dying has been made 9. Withdrawal of nutrition and fluids should never be a routine option, but done only if it is felt to be in the best interests of the patient, judged on a case-by-case basis


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10. Those with a terminal illness or approaching the end of life may wish to think in advance about plans for the future of their care. You can write down your wishes in what is called an advanced decision or a living will. 11. The LCP is recommended as a model of best practice by the Department of Health and has been adopted in many UK hospitals and other healthcare settings. In summary the LCP is a process that inspires, motivates and truly empowers the generic healthcare workforce in caring for the patient and their family in the last hours or days of life. There were 484,367 deaths registered in England and Wales in 2011 and 58% die in hospital. Let’s hope the few negative experiences emphasised in the media doesn’t put back the progress that has been made in terms of caring for dying patients. To reflect the interest and support of the local community Birstall BAGs seeks to be inclusive of all cancers and the group welcome villagers to support the many events they organise each year within the local community. For more information on the funds we have raised, projects we support and forthcoming events see From Birstall BAGS

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Birstall Post (353) December 2012  

Birstall Post December 2012

Birstall Post (353) December 2012  

Birstall Post December 2012