Page 1

the Birstall post Y O U R




No. 354

Major railway museum PROPOSALS FOR a worldclass heritage railway museum on the edge of Birstall have been announced by the Great Central Railway (GCR). Working in partnership with Leicester City Council and the National Railway Museum in York, the organisation hopes to create a brand new attraction close to the GCR’s Leicester North station that would tell the story of how the railways helped Leicester become a thriving industrial city. The new museum – housing locomotives, carriages and other railway artefacts from the national collection – would attract tens of thousands of people every year. Continued on page 2

Pic: (l-r) Charlie Hardy as the Tin man, Lauren Burton as the Scarecrow, Charlotte Boyall as Dorothy and Mae Pugsley Birch as the Lion

Wizard show THE YELLOW brick road led to Birstall when local drama students performed the Wizard of Oz at the Palmer Tomkinson Centre in December. It was the latest in a series of productions by the Faces Arts Performing Arts and Theatre School. Spokeswoman Jody Chesterton said: “The children were quite simply, amazing. They have worked so hard on this production and the cheers they received

by the audiences were nothing more than they deserved. The level of talent we see is hugely encouraging. At Faces Arts we pride ourselves on working with youngsters in the community and I would like to thank everyone who supported this year’s pantomime.” Celebrating 20 years of

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The children were all aged 9 to 15 and meet every Tuesday after school. Faces Arts have been established in Birstall for nearly 10 years and host Street Dance sessions, After School Drama and Shake Up toddler sessions during the week. Faces Arts also host their Theatre School classes on Saturday mornings with children aged from 4-16. “Children can enjoy a fun morning of dance, drama and singing. Each category is taught by experienced and talented professionals in a disciplined environContinued on page 2

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Museum continued from page 1 A series of exhibition halls and galleries will have direct access to the GCR’s track, allowing engines and rolling stock to move in and out of the museum – and allowing visitors to get close to the exhibits and experience the day-to-day workings of a heritage railway. Early plans seen by the Birstall Post indicate that a small area of land of Red Hill allotments will be lost, running

parallel to the existing cycleway from Station Road towards The Sidings. The land designated for the major part of the development is marked in blue on the map (this page). It is likely that a new section of track will be laid south of Station Road in the blue area to allow engines to access the museum. How much of the currently unused land (marked in red) that will be used is unclear. This is south of the allotments and west of the BP petrol station.

Pic: the cast of the Wizard of Oz Continued from page 1 ment” said Jody. For more information on Faces Arts, contact Jody Chesterton on 07971 423201 or visit the website

City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “This is a really exciting opportunity to create a heritage railway centre of national standing in Leicester. “The museum would house items which are of both national importance and local interest, complementing the nearby National Space Centre and Abbey Pumping Station and helping to enhance the city’s reputation as an important visitor destination. “It would also create hundreds of new jobs, both during construction and on opening, while providing training opportunities in the rail industry for dozens of young people. “We welcome this proposal and look forward to working with the Great Central Railway to help them deliver this ambitious project.” A full business plan is now being developed, but it is expected that work on the £10 million project could begin within two years, with the centre opening to the public in 2017.

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The CPA, which helps the public to identify safe reliable contractors to carry out home improvements, awarded its 5 year Membership Achievement Award to CWC. Membership of the CPA means that customers have their deposits and guarantee underwritten by the organisation. Mandy Manning from CWC said: “We put the interests of the customer first and we wont compromise on our attention to detail or the quality of the materials we use. “Everything is carefully project managed by us personally and we do everything we can to ensure the work we do enhances your home.”

Pic: blue area shows land required for the museum. Red area currently disused

Managing Director of the Great Central Railway Bill Ford said: “We are delighted to announce our plans for a new museum in Leicester. After working closely with our partners to develop the concept, we will now be working up the details in a full business plan and identifying potential sources of funding. “The railways played a huge role in establishing Leicester as a major industrial force, opening up vast export markets for goods made in the city. “This attraction will bring together priceless locomotives and historical artefacts to tell that story in a way that will appeal to both railway enthusiasts and to anyone with an interest in the city and its heritage.” Many of the items for the museum would come from the National Railway Museum, which holds one of the largest collections of its type in the world. Its main base in York is already supplemented by a second collection at Shildon in County Durham. “The prime objective of the National Railway Museum is to ensure that the national collection is properly cared for and is accessible to the public,” said Paul Kirkman, Acting Director of the National Railway Museum. “However, much of our collection is in store, out of sight of the public, or dispersed across various sites due to a lack of space. This new centre in Leicester, ideally situated in the heart of the country, would make it possible for us to share more of our historic artefacts with a much wider audience.” The project’s joint working party is now preparing detailed proposals ahead of its applications for funding and planning permission. It is estimated that the project would create around 100 new jobs in construction, with around 50 full-time posts required to run the new attraction. The Great Central Railway attracts 120,000 visitors each year. Running for eight miles through Leicestershire, its southern terminus at Leicester North is a strategically important tourist gateway to the city.



Officers recommend traveller sites A SITE on Greengate Lane is being recommended as an authorised traveller site by Leicester City Council. City Council officers have made the recommendation after considering the results of the consultation exercise that began in February 2012. Mayor Peter Soulsby is to announce a decision on the officers’ report on January 4 (after this issue had gone to press). Officers are recommending to the City Mayor that the Greengate Lane and Red Hill Way sites are both suitable for either permanent or transit sites of up to 10 pitches each. Permanent sites provide residents with a permanent home and operate in a similar way to Council Housing. Transit sites can operate all year round but only provide temporary accommodation, usually no more than three months. Facilities are more basic but residents are still required to pay rent and for water and electricity. The proposed site at Beaumont Way, behind Beaumont Leys Police station, is recommended as suitable for a transit site of up to six pitches. The site at Hoods Close, near Trelleborg in Beaumont Leys, is recommended as a temporary stopping place, as is a new site on Braunstone Lane East in Aylestone. Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “A huge number of people have taken part in this consultation and I’ll be taking into account all the issues they’ve raised before making a final decision on where these sites should be. “These options have been put forward by officers, but I’ll be looking hard at their recommendations and making a decision on how best to balance residents’ views with the need to create extra Gypsy and Traveller pitches in order to help us get on top of the problem of unauthorised encampments.” Birstall Parish Council objected to the proposals and submitted a 183 name petition. Chairman of Birstall Parish Council, Pat Cleere, said: “This is disappointing but comes as no surprise. We will now wait for the next stage of the process to make our views known.” The consultation process involved public meetings and questionnaires and saw petitions submitted and the formation of the LE4 Action Group which campaigned against the plans. The City Council’s report states that a common concern raised was the lack of management and the appearance of the existing tolerated site at Greengate Lane. This is occupied by one family who have been allowed to remain due to their personal circumstances. The report states: “This tolerated site is not authorised and is very different in appearance from what an authorised site

would look like. Currently there are only very basic facilities on the site, only running water. There is little hardstanding which means that in poor weather the site becomes very muddy. This would be very different from an authorised site that will have purpose built washing facilities, defined boundaries and hardstanding.” The report also states: “Given that the proposed sites are all less than one hectare each, the provision of facilities for permanent grazing of horses on site is not viable.” When the City Mayor met with travellers during the consultation they told him provision for horses and livestock on the sites was “essential”. Traffic movements passing in and out of the sites will be minimal, says the report: “The number of journeys will be relatively low, similar to a housing development of a similar size.” If the Mayor supports the officer recommendations, the City Council will submit planning applications for the sites which will be determined by the City Council’s planning committee. The City Council’s Gypsy and Traveller site report can be viewed here: It contains an analysis of the consultation findings, officer recommendations and responses to the main issues raised by the consultation.

Pic: the site at Greengate Lane

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JAN 2013

Festive fun at lights switch-on A BRASS band playing carols, mulled wine and mince pies created a festive atmosphere for the switch on of Birstall’s Christmas lights.

Teenage burglar 16 YEAR OLD girl has been charged with burgling a house in Copeland Road, Birstall. A laptop computer and a bunch of keys are alleged to have been stolen in the incident on December 5. The girl is jointly charged with a 17 year old youth of taking an £800 Vauxhall Astra without the owner’s consent on December 6 at Overing Close, off Loughborough Road, Leicester. It was alleged to have been taken from Oakfield Avenue, Birstall. The girl appeared at Leicester Youth Court on December 10 and remanded in custody until December 31.

Hundreds gathered to watch as Leicester Riders basketball team head coach Rob Paternostro, helped by Birstall Gala Queen Leah Chalmers, pressed the button to turn on the lights on the Christmas tree on Sibson Road car park. Rob, who has lived in Birstall for four years, said: “I’m honoured to turn on the lights, being asked to do it means a lot to me. I’ve lived in so many places in my career and Birstall is a unique community, people have welcomed me with open arms.” There was a fun fair on the car park and visitors also enjoyed many Christmas market stalls in the Village Hall. The firework display had to be cancelled due to strong winds.

Pic: (top) Rob Paternostro and Leah Chalmers turned on the lights; (right) Birstall Brass played carols

Fresh approach “A CUSTOMER told me I’m the only place that sells coriander in Birstall!” says Dave Keay, the new owner of greengrocers the Fresh Approach on Sibson Road. With 20 years experience in retail, Dave says he is excited to be running the shop. “I want to bring quality fruit and veg back to the village” he said. “It’s important that everything is sparkling clean and all the stock is fresh.” Dave says he wants to focus on his customers’ needs. “I’m offering a free delivery service in Birstall – so tell your friends and family about the Fresh Approach!”


Parish Council notes A FULL meeting of Birstall Parish Council was held on December 10. PC Richard Carruthers reported that two burglars had been arrested and remanded in custody. PC Carruthers is moving to Rothley on January 8. Birstall’s new Beacon Officer will be Sgt Des Hernshaw. Parish Cllr Gerald Hardington has resigned. There has been no request for an election so the Council will advertise the vacancy for co-option. Any person who wishes to become a councillor should apply in writing to the Parish Council by January 25. The Council agreed a precept for the year 2013/14 of £356,800. In cash terms this is £22,153 less than the previous year, a reduction of 5.9% It was reported that the County Council have asked residents of School Lane to remove boulders from grass verges outside their properties. It was agreed to ask the County Council for an explanation. It was reported that recent flooding at Watermead Country Park was unprecedented and had resulted in large amounts of litter being scattered about. A suggestion was made that volunteers from the village could help the Park Rangers tackle the problem.

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Tree given festive makeover THE KNITTING Guerrillas of Birstall (KGB) have returned to the village full of festive cheer, delivering their most intricately planned mission to date. Many local agents were brought together to create a colourful collaborative effort on the tree outside the Greengate Lane Surgery on December 16. KGB spokesperson Trout Mask said: “We were touched to receive generous contributions from many people, including four generations of the same family and quite possibly someone you know! And were immensely pleased to be joined by three new secret agents in the installation, Dizzy Lizzy, Jelli Welli and Blow My Horn, plus their youngest member made a reappearance too - the chocolate fuelled Sodapop. It took the main team of five people three and a half hours to stitch the squares onto the tree and add the baubles – so that’s a whopping seventeen and a half hours installation time. Some squares were joined in advance, but we really wanted to arrange the pieces in a way that showed them off to their best on the tree, so on site stitching it was! “The KGB are often asked why we partake in this madness, especially as it involves spending a great deal of time freezing in the dark! Well, for the most part, we enjoy it – creativity fosters a real sense of wellbeing, and though the workload has grown along with our ideas, the process of making and even installing gives us some essential time out, when we’re not worrying about the nastier things in life. When we’re concentrating on those stitches, we’re in a different place, absorbed in the moment and the daily grind can be left behind for a while. Having something tangible

to see and hold as a result of this time out is a bonus in this modern time of ‘virtual’ accomplishments, when a lot of our time is spent online. “The process of taking work into the wild and creating effectively 'art installations' further enforces that sense of wellbeing. We’re providing something different, making people smile and giving them something good to talk about. Huge thanks goes to everyone who has contributed to our project. Each stitch has been made with good intentions and a wish to raise smiles. We have seen people taking their

own pictures since the installation and that makes us smile too - result!” The KGB are planning another Wooly Egg hunt over the Easter weekend. Trosut Mask said: “We are currently self funded and so we welcome donations of wool for our agents (we maintain a dedicated KGB stash) and we welcome your knitted and crochet eggs for inclusion, and new recruits to the installation crew.” If you would like to get involved with sponsorship for this event, then get in touch via Facebook:




Market plans LEICESTER CITY Council have revealed plans for a new £7million indoor market hall at Leicester market. Architects Greig & Stephenson say the proposals they have produced for the City Council could see the new food hall rival Borough Market in London and markets in Barcelona and Madrid. The 1970’s indoor market hall would be demolished and replaced with a glass and timber pavilion, connected to the Corn Exchange with a glass roof. There will be more space for meat, fish and the deli stalls. The indoor market hall behind the Corn Exchange would be demolished and replaced with a public open space framed by trees. Planning permission will be sought early in 2013, with a view to completing work on the new food hall by Christmas 2013 and the overall scheme by the end of the following year The indoor market hall would not be demolished until the new food hall is completed, ensuring that trading could continue throughout the works.

Prize winning safety message TWO STUDENTS from Stonehill School won prizes for their postcard designs in a competition run by the charity Sustrans. Jessica Clarke and Emma Godfrey came first and second, in the 9-11 age group, for their designs advising motorists to reduce their speed to 20mph. There were 2575 entries from across the UK. The competition was part of GO 20, a national campaign backed by Sustrans that is calling for a 20mph speed limit where people live, work and shop. The competition was judged by TV presenter Miranda Krestovnickoff. She said: “Jessica’s design was a wonderful use of materials and has striking colours. It must have taken ages to make and was beautifully designed and created. Emma’s postcard was an amusing poem with a serious message.” Jessica’s prize was a weekend for her whole family at the Bryn Meurig Treehouse in Powys, and Emma won a bike.

Pic: Jessica Clarke

Pic: Emma Godfrey


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Ex-burglar offers security advice A FORMER criminal advised residents in burglary hotspots how to protect their homes from raiders during a Christmas crackdown on break-ins. Reformed offender Phil Ward joined Charnwood Borough Council and Leicestershire Police officers to identify vulnerable properties in Birstall, Shepshed and Hathern. Phil who now works as a water bailiff for the Council at Charnwood Water told residents why a burglar might target their property and officers gave crime prevention advice to householders. Phil, who has been crime-free for 13

The Feb issue of

THE BIRSTALL POST will be published on Feb 1. The copy deadline is Jan 18.

years, said: “If I can help save even one person from falling victim to a burglary then I’m more than happy to help the Council and the police on this campaign. “When I was on drugs I had to spend hundreds of pounds every day to feed my habit. I was desperate for money and I must have burgled hundreds of homes and businesses. I can’t take back what I’ve done in the past, but I can give something back by helping out now. If I didn’t help, then I wouldn’t be reformed would I? Burglary is a horrible crime and I hope that people listen to what we have to tell them” Pic: Birstall PCSO Mark Butler with Dave Burge from Charnwood Borough Council, and Phil Martindale

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Birstall pair win sports awards THE FOURTH annual Charnwood Sports Award were held in December and two of the 13 winners come from Birstall. Ellis Holdaway and Carl Gunns were two of 75 people who were nominated for the awards, which aim to recognise the commitment and achievements of the Borough’s sportsmen and women, coaches and volunteers. Carl Guns, who runs a boxing gym on Birstall Road, received the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Sport’ award. He said: “I really didn’t think I’d win it, but it is fabulous to get this award, the 20th that the gym has received.” Horserider Ellis Holdaway won the ‘Junior Disabled Sportsperson of the

Skatepark campaign

Pic: Ellis Holdaway with Cllr David Snartt

THREE BIRSTALL teenagers are campaigning to get a skatepark built in Birstall. Dressed as Santas the trio attended the Birstall Christmas lights switch on handing out leaflets and getting signatures on their petition. Louis Pugsley Birch, Drew Copperwaite and Tom Bates started their Birstall Skatepark campaign in October with a Facebook page and a twitter account. Louis said: “Our sole aim is to get Birstall a skatepark. While we have the half pipe [on Meadow Lane], it is in a very poor condition, not through misuse but just general wear and weather deterioration, It’s very small and doesn’t

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really constitute a skatepark. “Skateparks are used by skateboarders, BMXs and scooters – it’s a great outlet for non-team sports, keeping us fit and out in the fresh air, focused on a positive pursuit”. In 2010 Birstall Parish Council prepared plans for a £70,000 skatepark on the School Lane playing field but were unable to find grant funding to start the project. Birstall Parish Council Clerk Steve Blackburn said: “I will be pleased to meet with Louis, Drew and Tom to discuss their ideas and how we can move things forward. The plans for better skatepark facilities are not dead but getting external funding has proved difficult in the last year or so.” Louis said: “Many villages around Leicestershire have excellent facilities compared to Birstall. Our next mission is to make a short film that we can use to help us apply for funding and to encourage the council to get this back on the agenda so generations to come can enjoy these growing sports in their village.” Facebook : Birstall Skate Park Campaign Twitter : @BirstallSk8Park

Pic: Carl Gunns

Year’ award. Ellis (11) is a pupil at Riverside school and rides with the Wenlo Riding for the Disabled group and was a winner at the national championships in July this year. His mum Maria said: “Ellis has dem-

onstrated that with hard work it is possible to achieve great things. He is truly an inspiration and a fantastic role model for other riders.” The joint winners of the ‘Senior sportsperson of the Year’ award were Olympians Nicola White and Laura Unsworth, members of the Great Britain hockey team. Councillor David Snartt, Charnwood Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood Services, said: “These athletes, coaches and volunteers are rarely recognised and this is a great chance to say thank you. “Charnwood is a centre of sporting excellence in the UK so it is very important that we, as a borough, come together to recognise the achievements and hard work or our sportsmen and women.”

New vice-president BIRSTALL BOWLING Club’s John Jenkins has been installed as Leicestershire Junior Vice President. In 2015 John will be Leicestershire President and this coincides with the 70th anniversary of the establishment of Birstall Bowling Club, meaning double celebrations at the club. A club spokesman said: “This is a tremendous honour for both John and

the club and should ensure that county fixtures and the latter stages of the county competitions will be played on the Birstall green, which was re-laid at the end of last season, in the next three years.”


Longslade College students’ Christmas concert DANCE, DRAMA, song and musical solos all featured at Longslade College’s Christmas concert, staged in the Palmer Tomkinson Centre

Pics: (above right) Hayley Taylor, Zoe Cluley and Kaiman Cheung; dancing with hula hoops: Venne Foil; dancer Oliver Andrews & singer Josh Taylor

Slimming class THE SLIMMING World class that meets at Birstall Village Hall has been re-launched. Its new consultant is Emma Williams from Rothley. Slimming World first helped Emma when she needed to lose weight before a back-packing holiday around India and Nepal. She said: “Three months later and one stone lighter I headed off on my own, something I would never have had the confidence to do before.” After returning to the UK Emma found her Slimming World consultant was leaving, and decided to take on the role herself. The group meets in Birstall Village hall on Tuesdays from 5.307.30pm Pic: Emma Williams





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:

Thanks We would like to say a big thank you to the shoppers at the Co-op who donated to the ‘CLIC’ Cancer Charity on December 8. You helped us raise an amazing £258.56 which will go to helping children and young people who are diagnosed with cancer and their families. Sheila & Bill Alexander, Margaret Warner and Joan O’Brien

Lights I feel I must comment on the recent light switch on in Birstall. Many years ago my family went to the light switch on, which then was at the old Krusty cob shop, and there was only a very few people there. Only the few trees above the shops, and nothing else. Over the last few years the switch on event has gotten bigger and better apart

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from one thing. THE LIGHTS. The tree, which looks very nice, Is not the biggest we could have, and is a little disappointing when it should have a little of the wow factor. As a suggestion I would say we could make more use of the natural trees that are around the Sibson Road car park, adding lights to these trees and having a bigger Christmas tree with more decorations and not just lights. Having said the above, my family thoroughly enjoyed the night. The speech by Rob Paternostro (Riders head coach) was very complimentary of our community, the fair and stalls in the village hall were excellent and it was a very good, family atmosphere. Let’s use this year as a spring board to make each year better than the last. Michael Boden

Thanks Birstall Methodist Monday Ladies Group would like to thank all those who joined us in the Methodist Church on Friday December 7 for a wonderful evening with Anne Hughes and her choir. It was certainly a warming and uplifting coming together of people and we raised £582 for our charity – Motor Neurone Disease Association. Margaret Briggs

Views As you haven’t had a letter from me for a while, I think it is now time to air my views. Being registered disabled I now have the time to get rid of my frustrations. Regarding the Birstall Parish Council’s waste of our money: the BMX Track on Meadow Lane Sports Field. Who was responsible for letting the HGV on to soft ground on the sports field, getting stuck costing over £700 to tow it off. Plus £300 to Birstall Bowling Club for the old top soil and turf, which was left in huge humps on Meadow Lane

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opposite the allotments, leaving accidents to happen in the dark, fortunately they didn’t, as far as I know! Why wasn’t planning permission granted, or even applied for the BMX track before soil was dumped, when my son and builders did our granny annex we had to get planning permission and inspected at every stage. We could not even have a side window cause it might overlook my neighbour’s garage so the dining lounge is very dark having to have lights on all day! Not very eco friendly! I totally agree with Mr Julian Howe, we are not against the youths of today having fun but not on an old quarry and waste tip, being soft earth. Its a disaster waiting to happen, who would foot the bill if anyone was injured? It would need very high public liabilities insurance. Why wasn’t School Lane playing field suggested for the track where the ground is more solid. Regarding Meadow Lane field, the youths congregate at nights and weekends especially, leaving broken bottles, rubbish, drug needles plus beer cans, having no respect for dog walkers, children and all the wildlife. Anyone been down there in the evenings and experienced it? Plus seen the mess on Saturday morning, so a BMX track would encourage more violence and graffiti! What about the mess on the verge opposite the allotments, it is a quagmire at present. JCB came, levelled the soil onto the verge with no quarry waste or hard core underneath, whose idea was that? More expense. No one can park on the ground, too muddy, so the footballers and parents park in the car park leaving no room for the regular country park dog walkers and bird watchers to park. I in all experience think the Birstall Parish Council needs a good shake up, I could not afford to waste money like they do! Mind you, it is not their money they are wasting. Anita J Gamble

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Bus shelters In reply to K I Reid, who responded to a previous letter of mine published on this page, I am glad that somebody else can see the folly in the spending made by the Birstall Parish Council. In the October issue, Steve Blackburn said he could remember replying to someone regarding the bus shelters in Birstall, I can assure him that he did not respond to me. And to state that it would be inappropriate for the Council to replace them in the current economic climate seems somewhat ludicrous after recent expenditure on a Union Jack flag and pole, many months after the Queen's Jubilee (which I assume was the point of its erection) and which most people have forgotten about. The bus shelters are a scruffy eyesore, some without seats and most with graffiti, or, permanent scratch marks where graffiti has been removed. As I have mentioned before, these were unwanted cast offs from Loughborough bus station, and are not meant for a village. I will again stress what a difference the pleasant rustic bus shelters that other Charnwood villagers have the pleasure of using would make to our neglected village centre. Not only would they look better, they would provide better shelter and would be more difficult to graffiti on. In the event that this did occur this could be easily covered over with creosote. Also I am sure that Mr Jelson would rather his funds have been spent in a more appropriate way that would benefit Birstall people than that ridiculous metal tree that fronts the Park and Ride - not to mention the thousands earmarked for its maintenance. Replacement bus shelters would surely have been a more beneficial and preferable use of funds in the current economic climate than a belated jubilee flag. Bus shelters are used by most people in Birstall at some stage, if only infrequently, but would make the village look better for all who shop there. Does anyone else agree? A Godby

Thanks Once again we can be proud, the poppy total outside McCalls in November was a healthy £437.42 We did remember them. Many thanks to you all, see you next year along Sibson Road, well done. Val Joyce, vice president Birstall Royal British Legion women’s section

Thanks May I through your pages offer a big thank you to readers for their generous contributions once again in 2012 to the Rotary Club of the Soar Valley’s charity appeal. Each year, members and friends of the Soar Valley Rotary Club accompany Santa around local villages and this year we included visits to Tesco in Sileby, the Co-op in Birstall and Budgens Mountsorrel. The proceeds help us to support many good causes including LOROS, Rainbows and Wishes4Kids. We are grateful to everyone who braved the cold weather to see us and contribute to the £5,300 collected. Our thanks also to Loughborough Kia in Mountsorrel, for providing mechanised support for Santa and his rein-


deer. We look forward to visiting friends again next year, meanwhile to find out more about our Club and the work we do, please visit our website or Facebook page Graham Martin, President

Noticeboard all details printed free Mountsorrel Methodist Church presents the first in the twelfth series of Sunday Night @ Eight

Organ Recitals Thanks Now that the Remembrance Service has been competed, I would like to thank the public for their kind response to our efforts in selling poppies to mark the event. Last year we raised a little over £17,000 and look like coming up with a similar amount this time. Many people will be aware of the origins of the sale of poppies to mark the end of the First World War, but not too many will know that it started with a poem written by a Canadian medical officer, Colonel John McCrae, who wrote “In Flanders fields, the poppies blow”. When he died of pneumonia in 1918, his fellow officers laid a wreath of poppies on his grave and this news got back to a young American girl who sent artificial poppies to a YMCA Conference in Paris. Madame Guerin saw these and sent them to the Legion as a method of fund raising and the rest is history. Last year The Royal British Legion collected £30 million nationally and this goes a long way to support the £1.7 million which is spent each week of the year on servicemen and their families by our efforts. Among the welcome efforts this year we had Mrs Simes of Curzon Avenue who raised a remarkable £250 by knitting poppies ( she promises to try harder next year) and a member who made a facsimile of his Father’s Paratroop cap badge in silver which was auctioned and raised a similar amount. We obviously need to continue this work and would be pleased if the public could assist us in this practice. Finally, many thanks to all my troops for their efforts, you are greatly appreciated. Gilbert Nall, Chairman Birstall Royal British Legion

Stray My daughter and I were walking our dogs along Elmfield Ave Birstall on Sunday morning November 25 when our dogs were attacked by a stray dog. We would like to give huge thanks to the people who stopped to help us. Sadly one of the dogs died from her injuries. Name and address supplied

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Saturday January 20 at 8 pm by Martyn Noble Organ scholar at Southwark Cathedral Admission free Donation for the Development Fund Buffet from 7.30pm

Film Night Salmon Fishing in the Yemen A British romantic drama starring

Meeting I attended a Parish Council Meeting on November 12 being concerned regarding the treatment of two representatives from Birstall Allotment Society who had been ejected from the Council Offices the previous week. They were accused of being aggressive. It was made quite clear that the Council are unwilling to listen to any grievances the Allotment Society have, such as why were incorrect letters sent to holders who diligently work their plots claiming that the plots had not been cultivated. The Council’s response was that due to poor signage they were unable to identify the correct plots. Do they not have plans of the layout? I have it on good authority that office staff are to have training on dealing with aggressive behaviour! One councillor even made comment that if she was to attend a meeting with Birstall Allotment society she would have to wear “riot gear”! Nothing could be further from the truth. Furthermore, it appears that the Clerk to the Council is retiring soon and that the Deputy Clerk would take over. Whilst not disputing the ability of the Deputy Clerk surely this position should be advertised internally and externally. Birstall surely is entitled to the best available candidate. The people of Birstall pay the wages of both the Clerk and Deputy Clerk, and elect the Councillors who represent the residents who voted for them. I hope these matters can be resolved satisfactorily for all concerned. An allotment holder


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Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt If you missed it when it first came out, or enjoyed it so much you would like to see it again, then come along to St James Church, Church Hill, Birstall On Friday January 25 at 7pm No charge, refreshments available.

St James Day Centre 200 club December winners: Christmas bonus – Mrs Gail O’Byrne 1st – Mrs Jenny Burton 2nd – Miss Katie Ball 3rd – Mrs Barbary Healey 4th – Connie Nagle

Birstall Royal British Legion Jan 5: Lauren Rose (F/V) Jan 12: TBC Jan 19: Sharna (F/V) Jan 26: Pete Lewis (M/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 Jan 13 & Friday Jan 27 starting at 9pm Acoustic night Sunday Jan 20 Rock & Roll nights Wed Jan 2 & 16 Food available every Sat 12-2pm Open Bank Holiday Lunch – families welcome Wakes/Birthdays etc catered for A Happy New Year to all our members


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Annual Disco/Band Night Saturday February 23 at the Birstall Social Club Tickets on sale in January Two live bands/raffle/disco For more details please visit our website Please come along and support your local charity

Birstall & District Local History Society Our New Year meetings start on Thursday January 10 at 7.30pm in the Birstall Village Hall, Birstall Road, Birstall We commence with our AGM followed by a talk entitled “Birstall as others saw us. The press and the people” given by Mike Smith We look forward to receiving new members on this our enrolment evening and any other visitors are most welcome to join us.

Birstall Birdwatching Club presents 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 also Life on the Edge by Michael Webster Michael enjoys trying out his new

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talks at our club and tonight he will uncover the magnificence of the UK’s marine environment and the dilemmas for conservation Tuesday February 12 Both evenings at 7.30pm at The Rothley Centre, Mountsorrel Lane, Rothley Visitors welcome £2 Contact Ken Goodrich 0116 2674813

dy 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’ Friday February 8 (130 mins)

Leicester Symphony Orchestra

Northern Lights Saturday February 9 7.30pm at the De Montfort Hall Sibelius: Karelia Suite Grieg: Piano Orchestra Sibelius: Symphony 2 Conductor John Andrews, Piano Charles Owen Full price £11/£14/£17 Children age 17 & under £3 Concessions available Tickets available from De Montfort Hall Box Office 0116 233 3111 Leicester Symphony Orchestra Ticket Secretary Nigel Moore 07971 991662

Film Presentations From Thurcaston & Cropston Parish Council ‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen’

Leicester Sketch Club In 19th century Russia, leaving one’s husband was morally irreprehensible. The aristocrat, Anna Karenina, played by Kiera Knightley, embarked on an illicit love affair with Count Vronsky and found herself trapped by the conventions of her high society, This is Leo Tolstoy’s take of love and betrayal. ‘Hope Springs’ will be shown on Friday March 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 Charnwood Orchestra

Strictly Viennese Friday January 11 (107 mins) In our first British romantic come-

tria Jan 19 at 7pm Humphrey Perkins Community Centre Cotes Road, Barrow LE12 8JU Free glass of bubbly or fruit juice Sing-a-long to the waltz ‘Voices of Spring’ £12 (£10 concessions), £3 under 16 Tickets from Paper Shop, Barrow or 07718 153117

A Strauss concert recreating the atmosphere of 19th century Aus-

Call for Artists Meets first Wednesday of the month All artistic media embraced New members welcome Membership Secretary: Bob Morley 0116 2704649

Vacancy for a Councillor Birstall Parish Council Apply in writing to Birstall Parish Council Deadline : Jan 25, 2013 Eligibility : 18 years plus, live or work in the Parish For fuller details of eligibility and the work a Parish Councillor does, go to

Lost! Engagement Ring Vilma from Henry Smith & Hamylton Opticians has lost her engagement ring in the Birstall area It holds great sentimental value and she would be deeply grateful if anyone were to find it, to hand it into the HSH Practice on Sibson Road Tel: 2671770 Any help would be more than appreciated

Open Your Garden? Birstall Methodist Church Garden Trail – June 2013 The 2013 Garden Trail will be held on June 8 & 9 in the Blenheim Road/Allington Drive/Worcester Avenue/ Newtown Drive area A number of residents have already kindly agreed to open their gardens. If anyone else would like to join them please telephone the Gardens Co-ordinator on 2671420. Proceeds for the 2012 Garden Trail were shared with the prostate cancer charity ‘ProstAid’ and the church The 2013 event proceeds will be shared between the Church and a yet to be agreed charity. Homeowners participating in the event are being requested to identify potential charities that they would like to see receive a donation from the event

Walter Cockerill THE FUNERAL service of Walter Cockerill was held at Birstall Methodist church on Christmas Eve. His son-in-law Rev Prof Keith Straughan joined with Rev Rachel Parkinson in taking the service of thanksgiving. Apart from the 5 years in the RAF, when he served in India & Ceylon, Walter had lived in Birstall for almost the 92 years of his life. He spent most of his career in teaching, becoming headmaster at one of the first primary schools in Leicester. He was very involved with the Guideposts charity which opened houses in both Leicester and Birstall. He was instrumental in setting up of the Coffee Shop and the Luncheon Club at the Methodist Church where he was a loyal worshipper. Leicester Tigers acknowledged that he was the longest serving member. He leaves his wife Sheila, Daughter Christine and two grandchildren.

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Group raises cash BIRSTALL METHODIST Monday Women’s Group presented a cheque for £2367.67 to LRI’s ‘Our Space’ unit. Money was raised from coffee mornings, raffles, book and cake sales, members’ donations and numerous other events. The charity chosen for 2013 is Motor Neurone Association.

Loughborough Rd Like an allotment? home burgled WOULD YOU like an allotment in Birstall?

THIEVES STOLE a laptop containing irreplaceable photos of a newborn baby when they burgled a house on Loughborough Road. The incident took place between 12noon and 2.15pm on Monday, December 10. Entry to the house was gained by forcing the rear patio doors. A quantity of jewellery was taken including a silver Tag Heuer watch with a black face, a silver square faced Diesel watch with a green face, a silver DKNY watch, a platinum ring with diamond shoulders and a central pearl, an engraved gold chain and gold pendant, a fine gold chain set with blue stones, a delicate silver necklace with a small diamond encrusted heart, a pair of oblong earrings with diamonds in the centre and a silver box engraved with flowers. Also taken was a black Apple iPad, a silver Apple Mac Book Pro laptop, an Apple TV, a silver Bose radio, a white Xbox and JVC silver camcorder.

Decent homes MORE THAN 1,300 homes are set for a £5.76million cash injection over the next few months as part of accelerated plans to improve council properties. Charnwood Borough Council’s Cabinet has given the green light to upgrade kitchens, bathrooms, heating, electrics, roofs and doors at 1,305 properties by March 2013 under the Decent Homes programme. The money is part of an £11million package secured by the Council in 2011 from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) and was meant to be spread evenly over four years. The Council says that by March 93% of the Council’s 5,845 properties will meet the Decent Homes standard. The Council will have £13million to spend on improving homes in 2013/14 and £10million in 2014/15. Charnwood Borough Council recently took over the management of its housing stock from Charnwood Neighbourhood Housing (CNH).

PC Nathaniel Lockley, the investigating officer, said: “The camcorder and laptop contained precious photos of the victims’ new born baby daughter and the parents have been left heartbroken by this incident. Images like this cannot be replaced. “I would like to appeal to anyone who has been offered any items matching these descriptions or who was in the area at the time and say anything suspicious to contact us.” Anyone with any information is asked to contact PC 2062 Nathaniel Lockley on 101, follow the instructions to leave a message for a police officer and when prompted key in the officer’s identification number 2062. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers, which is free and anonymous, on 0800 555 111.


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The Parish Council is inviting residents to put their name forward for an allotment on one of its three sites: Meadow Lane, Worcester Avenue and Greengate Lane. There are currently only four people on the waiting list, compared to 38 in 2008. Sue Coulson from Birstall Parish Council said: “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 of producing healthy delicious fruit and vegetables at a relatively low cost and you can produce them organically if you want to. They are also a good way to make friends with people who share your




interest in gardening.” If you are interested please contact: Sue Coulson, Birstall Parish Council, Council Offices, Birstall Road, Birstall, Leicester LE4 4DH. Tel: 0116 2676191 or email: or complete the online form on our website:

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Green resolutions Church news for New Year

“Salmon fishing in the Yemen”, another feel-good film for which admission is free, on Friday January 25 at 7pm – refreshments will be available at the interval.

THE END of a busy month for the Greening Birstall Group saw nearly 70 homes in Birstall & Wanlip committing to making energy savings over the next year as part of the Greening Birstall Campaign.

Luncheon Club After 32 years serving lunches to elderly, and some lonely Birstall folk, our weekly Luncheon Club served its last meal in December. The church is grateful to all the volunteers who helped and drivers too, and especially Diane Henderson who has been the cook for the 12 years. The church will continue to keep the situation under review. Cinderella The 2013 Pantomime with its all-male cast takes to the stage in half-term week, February 12 to 16. As usual it will be traditional, and very suitable for folk of all ages. Tickets are £5 and available from Deborah Tel 2122513. Garden Trail In June This years’ Garden Trail will be in the Worcester/ Allington/Blenheim areas of Birstall and will be on June 8 & 9. The organisers would be pleased to hear from any garden owners who would like to open their garden for the two afternoons of the event. Phone Sylvia on 2671420 for more details. Annual Covenant Service At the beginning of each calendar year, those who see themselves as part of the Methodist Family, and many other Christians, follow the practice laid down by John Wesley in making an Annual Covenant, or promise. Put very simply it could be seen as the Christians ‘New Year Resolution’. This year our Annual Covenant Service will be led by Rev Tony Pick on January 6 at 10.30am. Action For Children For the last 14 years there has been a collection box for this childrens’ charity on the Coffee Shop counter. In December the charity awarded the coffee shop the ‘Stephenson Award’. The Stephenson Awards, named after Action for Children founder Rev Thomas Bowman Stephenson, are presented to staff, volunteers and supporters of the charity who have shown extraordinary commitment and who have played a vital role in supporting theUK's most vulnerable children and young people. Over the 14 years over £700 has been raised simply by Coffee Shop customers putting small change into the collection box.

As a result of committing to make the energy saving measures which included topping up loft insulation, turning off running taps when brushing teeth and reducing time in the shower it is estimated that in total the homes should save some £2000 between them as well as 6600kg reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. The group wishes to thank everyone who helped make the campaign such a success be it through helping to spread the word, volunteering to help at one of their events over the last year or by participating in the energy challenges. Volunteer Kate Watson said: "Seeing those cards in the windows meant a lot to us as we tramped the streets, after that’s what it’s all about …. Birstall is such a big village, it can be difficult to get a feeling of doing something together. Greening Birstall is an idea that could help – and do our bit to save money and the planet!”

Earlier in the month the group’s volunteers worked with the staff at Birstall Library to deliver energy and waste advice drop in sessions. The sessions helped more than a dozen local people with energy and waste saving advice including signposting to free loft insulation, tips on reducing waste and distributing various free goodies for the young and old alike. “The group is looking forward to continuing its activities over the coming year and wishes the residents of Birstall & Wanlip a very happy and prosperous 2013!” said group spokesman Peter Ashford. More information about the group and the Greening Birstall campaign can be found at by emailing or by phoning Peter Ashford on 07961 050592.


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APART FROM the New Year resolutions, which you do or don’t make, the tendency in the first week of January is to look back over the year that has just gone. For older people the first thought is often “where did the year go to?” But 2012 is perhaps more likely even than the Millennium year to linger in the memory. On the positive side, most people will recall with pleasure the Queen’s visit to Leicester, the events leading up to and taking place for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and all the excitement and pride surrounding the Olympics. More negatively, we will recall the awful weather, the increasing effect of the recession on all our costs of living, and the terrible outbreak and escalation of violence and warfare in the Middle East. Over most of these events we have little or no control, but we do have much to be thankful for in the small things of life: for the joy of children, for the kind neighbour who, when the weather is bad, offers to do the shopping, or the welcome one receives in our churches. This is something, over which at St. James Birstall and at Our Lady and St. Nicholas, Wanlip, much thought and re-thinking has been taking place. Gone are the days when a stranger attending a service could perhaps hope to have a word with the Vicar at the end, but would otherwise depart having spoken to no-one else. With the creation of additional space for social gathering at Birstall and the newly restored Church and Community Centre at Wanlip, there is much more opportunity to chat with friends and get to know visitors over a cuppa. Anyone who attended the Carol Service at Wanlip or the Carols for All at Birstall will have realised that! Other things to rejoice over in the last year are the setting up of the Christians against Poverty (CAP) to advise on money matters for people who find themselves in trouble over debt: the success of the changeover to 10am for the principal morning service at St. James, and the truly family occasion that the All Together service on the first Sunday of the month has turned out to be. This month it will be on Sunday January 6 at 10am and the theme will be Epiphany (the coming of the Wise Men, also called Twelfth Night). Another successful first to be repeated is the Film Evening in St. James. This will feature

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Thank you We would like to give you a big ‘Thank you’ for your support at the village’s Christmas Market, where we were selling craft items made by the Lodge Trust. The Trust started over 28 years ago to provide a Christian environment where adults with learning disabilities can choose to live and work, knowing that their Christian lifestyle is respected and encouraged. They currently have up to 30 residents, who live on the 20-acre site in the Rutland village of Market Overton, with work opportunities also open to those who live in the surrounding area. In addition to the crafts, horticulture and customer service training, there are courses for developing life Continued on page 15


skills and a wide range of recreational activities and supervised holidays. The permanent staff members are joined by international volunteers and a recent quartet came from Sweden, Germany, Uganda and Hungary. You may like to visit The Lodge and see what they do for yourself. Their Spring Garden Party is scheduled for Saturday, May 18, 2013 (12 noon to 4.00 p.m.). They have an excellent Country Café which is open Tuesday to Saturday from 9.30am to 4.30pm (open also Bank Holiday Monday) and adjacent is an enjoyable 9-hole Crazy Golf course. The café is situated in the 10-acre Country Park, where two log cabins are available for hire and there is a small Camping and Caravanning Club Certified Site. January services After the school holiday break, we return to our normal services at the Community Room at Highcliffe Primary School (LE4 3DL) on Sunday, January 13, 2013, at 10.45am, when our visiting speaker is Roger Hitchings from East Leake. You will be most welcome at any of our services. For further information please ring 0116 2214883. From Anne Taylor, Birstall Independent Baptist Church

Longslade hosts careers event LONGSLADE COMMUNITY College hosted its first Careers Event in November to promote stronger links between local employers and the college. The event took place in the Palmer Tomkinson Centre and aimed to encourage students to give serious thought to their future career choices. A wide range of employers were present including SWA Management Consultancy, Bradgate Bakery, Parish Alternative Education, Brooksby Melton College, Coles Nurseries, Next, Shapes Hairdressing, Abbeyfield, British Army, Leicester City Football Club, Bray & Bray Solicitors, Mattioli Woods PLC, Birstall St James

Village clubs & societies invited to open weekend BIRSTALL’S MANY clubs, groups and societies are being invited to showcase their activities at a special weekend this April. The event is being organised by Debbie and Andrew Shephard from St James Church. Debbie said: “Over the last few years, Birstall has grown and changed almost beyond recognition, and we feel that it would be nice to provide a platform for all the groups and societies that make up the fabric of the village to enable them to showcase what they offer. “It will be an opportunity for the villagers to come along and chat to the leaders or members of various groups all under one roof. There will be a programme of events, starting on the Friday evening, which will include demonstrations and contributions provided by the various participants. There will be a café for refreshments throughout the weekend.” She added: “Initial response has been very enthusiastic, we have had some wonderful feedback, and we are looking forward to a very exiting and interesting event. We are, however, very aware that we are working from old data. Some of the groups that we have written to no longer exist, and we fear there may be others out there that we do not know about and would love to hear from.” If you are a leader or member of a group associated in any way with the village and haven’t had a letter from the organisers yet, get in touch using any of the contact details below: St James the


Great Church, Church Hill, Birstall, LE4 4DN. T: 0116 2671797 E: Website: The event is planned for April 5, 6 & 7, 2013.

Tickets reduced TICKET PRICES are being reduced at Birstall’s park and ride this January. Until January 26 day tickets will be reduced from £3 to £2, group day tickets from £3.50 to £3 and weekly tickets from £14 to £9.50. From January 28 the County Council are making changes to the service that they say will improve reliability. The Enderby/Birstall services will be separated and run using separate buses, avoiding cross-city traffic. The Birstall service will run to the city centre via Haymarket and Causeway Lane every 15 minutes.

Day Centre, Royal Air Force/Royal Navy, Welbeck Defence Sixth Form College, Flexpress, Reed, CITB – Construction Skills and Leicester Outdoor Pursuits Centre. “Students had the opportunity to talk

to the company representatives and to ask questions about what employers are looking for in potential employees and how to make themselves more employable. The event was a great success and will hopefully be repeated again next year” said a College spokesman.



NHW news

& crime report Don’t be a stranger Are we in danger of becoming a village of strangers? So many changes seem to be taking place in and around Birstall that it is easy to see why people

Illegal child images A BIRSTALL man has been given a suspended prison sentence for possessing illegal images of children. THE FLOODING at Watermead Country Park caused by the wet weather has been the worst for many years. Reader Steve Humphreys sent us this pic of the flooding on the Whiles Lane riverbank.

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Owen Saunders (36) of Curzon Avenue admitted possessing the images after Police seized computers from two addresses. Leicester Crown Court was told Saunders had accessed 781 images at level one – the least serious category on a scale of one to five. He also downloaded five images at level three and a film clip at level four. The majority of the images were of girls aged between 11 and 14. The defendant also admitted possessing 58 prohibited “pseudo” images of sexual activity not involving children. Sentencing, Judge David Pugsley said that although the offences merited a custodial sentence, the case “desperately” called for the intervention of a treatment programme. Saunders was given a four month jail sentence, suspended for two years with supervision, and is required to attend a sex offender treatment programme. Saunders will have to enlist on a sex offender register for seven years and was placed on a sexual offences prevention order, enabling the authorities to monitor his future computer use.

Zumba mega session A MARATHON Zumba session at Longslade raised £315 for Great Ormond Street hospital. Zumba teacher Lisa Cluer’s ‘Zumbathon’ was held at Longslade College. Lisa said: “Thanks to all those who donated. My new classes start on January 15 at Highcliffe School so please come and join the party to shake, wiggle and giggle your way into 2013.

might start to suffer from a sense of loss of community and identity and this is turn can impact on both emotional and physical health. Make a point of getting to know your neighbours and if you have new neighbours who have moved in then why not make a point of welcoming them to the neighbourhood. We all lead such busy lives that it is hardly surprising that many neighbours remain virtual strangers to each other. Get to know your neighbours: for instance find out what they do for a living; what their schedules might be like, and so on. This might sound incredibly nosey but this is the sort of information that would alert you if something was wrong. It is important to communicate with your neighbours and to be aware of your surroundings, as well as theirs. Keep your eye on anyone you don't know acting suspiciously around your neighbour's property. Burglars like easy opportunities and most burglaries happen during the day. When in doubt, call the police so they can quickly curtail any criminal activity. If you hear of any neighbourhood news such as events, crimes, changes to refuse collection days etc. then make an effort to pass the information on. Above all, establish a good relationship with your neighbours. Sometimes, you can remedy problems before they even start; for example practice parking etiquette. When you park your vehicle, be sure not to block anyone's access, or make them have to pull out of a very tight spot. Don't over-rev the engine of your car or motorcycle early in the morning or late at night. Park in front of your home, not theirs. Avoid slamming your doors or shining your headlights into your neighbour's windows late at night. Being on bad terms can make your life frustrating, day after day, but taking the time to establish a good relationship with your neighbours has numerous benefits. The community will be friendlier, the neighbourhood safer, and the area a nicer and more comfortable place to live. Finally, don’t forget to safeguard those lovely new Christmas presents you received. The NHW advice shop will be open on Saturday January 19 from 10am-12noon at the old council offices near the Triangle. Here you will have the opportunity to have your valuables engraved or to purchase Smart Water or ultra-violet pens. More information at: email: tel: 0116 267 6397 From Birstall & Wanlip NHW

Crime Report: Nov 11-Dec 10, 2012 Assaults 7, harassment 1, burglary 7, burglary non-dwelling 5, damage 2, damage to motor vehicle 3, drugs 2, fraud 3, theft 3, theft of motor vehicle 3, theft stores 2. Burglaries have risen but a number of suspects have been arrested following Police enquiries. Suspects driving away from the Shell petrol station without paying have been identified from CCTV. PC 1276 Keith James is off work due to an injury. From PC 2139 Richard Carruthers


Complaint rejected A COMPLAINT against Parish Council Chairman Pat Cleere has been rejected by Charnwood Borough Council’s Monitoring Officer, Adrian Ward. The complaint was made in December 2012 and involved allegations of potential failures relating to compliance with the Council’s policies and the conduct of meetings. A spokesman for Charnwood Borough Council said: “Having undertaken a fact finding review the Monitoring Officer decided that the complaint did not merit a fuller investigation, as the matters raised related to issues other than the code of Conduct. “This view was supported by one of the independent persons appointed by the Borough Council, who the Monitoring Officer must consult with in reaching decisions about complaints relating to the conduct of councillors. “A recommendation was made that the Parish Council should ensure that their own policies and relevant best practice requirements are followed. The Monitoring Officer made no judgement as to whether or not there had been any breach of those, and neither did he recommend that the Parish Council needed to investigate any element of the complaint themselves.”

Census stats FIGURES RELEASED by the Office for National Statistics in December reveal how the city of Leicester and the county of Leicestershire are changing. The number of people employed in manufacturing has fallen by 34.4%, those employed in the retail/service sector has risen by 5.3%. The data, which comes from the 2011 census, shows that the number of cars/vans in Leicestershire has risen by 16% to 54,000 since the last census in 2001. 1.9% of people in the county do not have English as their first language. The white British population has decreased by 3.9% to 88.9%. In the city of Leicester the white British population is 50.5%. The Asian population now represent 37% of city residents, up from 30% in 2001. 65% of Leicester’s population was born in England. 6500 city residents (1.9%) are Polish. The population of Leicester is 333,000, an increase of 50,000 since 2001. The City Council have welcomed the publication of the figures as they say the government has used inaccurate figures for the last ten years, resulting in reduced government funding for Council services.


Fly tipper fined A FLY-TIPPER has been prosecuted after being traced by a Council’s envirocrime unit. Matthew Charles Bindley, 29, of Manor Road, Loughborough was ordered by a court to pay £635 after he admitted fly-tipping on the Archery Field, Meadow Lane, Birstall in September 2011. Charnwood Borough Council enforcement officers were called to the scene and spoke to witnesses who had seen a vehicle turn up and dump a pile of waste which included bush cuttings. Officers traced Bindley through DVLA records and he was prosecuted. Councillor Jane Hunt, the Council’s Cabinet member for Regulatory Services, said: “The council has been running the Don’t Muck Around campaign to raise awareness of the penalties of fly-tipping. In this case witnesses gave our officers the suspect’s registration details so we were able to trace him and take action. The Council takes its responsibilities very seriously and does not tolerate environmental crime. Where appropriate, we will take enforcement action.” At Leicester Magistrates’ Court on November 16, 2012, Bindley pleaded guilty to a fly-tipping charge and expressed his remorse. He said that he had been given permission to dump green waste at the site but was not responsible for plastic and other waste which was found at the scene. Taking into account his means and early guilty plea, magistrates fined Bindley £320 and ordered him to pay £300 towards the Council’s costs plus a victim surcharge of £15 was imposed, bringing the total sum to £635.

Birstall cricket club BIRSTALL VILLAGE Cricket Club are in early preparation for the 2013 season. We are looking for any new players for the senior team to contact Andy Merry 07708473308. We are looking for a Junior Co-ordinator to help with our junior under 15/17 teams. Anyone who is interested please also contact Andy on the number above. Pre season nets training will be starting soon, please check out our website below for up to date information or February’s edition for dates of pre-season training. From Birstall Village Cricket Club

Pic: James Toone, James Turner, Rob Mckay, James Foy, Paul Clements and Holly Benfield

Pub’s jumper day STAFF AT the White Horse in Birstall wore Christmas jumpers as part of Save the Children Jumper Day. A collection in the pub raised £142. Landlord Charlotte Foy said: “We heard about the Save the Children Christmas jumper day from a neighbour and thought why not get involved. The staff really enjoyed dressing up and customers were extremely generous in making donations to this very worthwhile cause.”

Blitz on dog waste A COUNCIL led three month campaign targeting ‘envirocrimes’ saw a 63% reduction in dog fouling and a 44% drop in cigarette litter. Charnwood’s Don’t Muck Around campaign ran for three months from September 2012 and targeted Loughborough town centre, Shepshed, Syston, the Outwoods and the Quorn and Hastings ward of Loughborough. Officers monitored hotspot areas before and after the campaign to see what impact the education and enforcement work had on the number of incidents. 115 fixed penalty notices were issued during the campaign, which also included some areas in North West Leicestershire. The campaign also aimed to raise awareness of the issues by presenting an ‘ash mob’, a dog show, a fly-tip in Loughborough town centre and working with schoolchildren and local businesses. Cllr Jane Hunt said: “The results of the campaign are absolutely incredible. Not only have we made inroads into raising awareness, but the campaign team has been able to significantly reduce incidents in hotspot areas through a combination of education and enforcement.” In 2011, the campaign won an award from Keep Britain Tidy

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WI news BIRSTALL AND Wanlip WI held their last meeting of 2012 on December 3 at Highcliffe School.

Mayor presents awards at club YOUNG PEOPLE from Birstall Spaceclub were presented with awards by the Mayor of Charnwood, Diane Wise.

of activities on health, citizenship, finance and community. Pic: (l-r) Emily Wigg, Brandon Charlton, Adam Sergent, Johnny Kershaw, Mark Mensley, Mayor Diane Wise, Julian Fosberry, Adam Collins, Joe Phillips and Thomas

The club is for people aged 13-25 with mild to moderate learning difficulties and meets at Birstall Youth Centre.

Club members were presented with their ASDAN awards and attendance certificates, having completed 30 hours


Shop Christmas grants



LAS VEGAS arrived in Rothley when two local musicians performed a selection of well known rat pack songs at the Rothley Centre.



The Christmas Cracker event was organised by the Charnwood Branch of Cancer Research. Chair Jan Gaskell said: “Jonathan and Paul led us through a sing-a-long of all time festive hits and our thanks go to Jonathan who although he was battling with a cold was determined to give us an evening to remember. “While we were all scoffing mulled wine and mince pies, he was drinking Lemsip and eating cough lozenges, but his performance, despite this, was brilliant.” Jonathan is a former pupil of Highcliffe Primary School, Stonehill High School and Longslade Community College and is now a teacher at a school in Rugby. Jan added: “Our thanks go also to our many supporters who joined us at the Rothley Centre. Your outstanding support has helped us raise over £6,000 during the past year. We hope you will continue to support us in our work for Cancer Research which we believe is the key to finding more ways of saving lives.”

VILLAGE SHOPS and Post Offices in rural areas are being offered grants of up to £3000 to help them survive the recession. The Village Shop Support Scheme has been set up by Leicestershire County Council. It also offers free advice. One venue that has benefited is Woodhouse Eaves Post Office which has developed a thriving art gallery. Jennifer Cox, who runs the Gallery at the Post Office, said: “I’d encourage other traders to get support from this scheme – the council has been very helpful. “We got a grant to convert a spare room into a gallery, where we display photos, paintings, prints, sculptures and scarves from 40 different artists, mainly from the local area. over the last three months our takings have trebled.” Lesley Pendleton, Cabinet member for rural affairs, said: “Our village shops and Post Offices are the lifeblood of our local economies and we’ve launched this scheme to help them survive and thrive.” The scheme is prioritised for shops selling fresh food in communities with a population of less than 7000. For more details go to

Planning Enjoy a complimentary therapy treatment in a calm relaxing atmosphere. Meet & chat to other patients & carers over a cup of tea. Therapies available include aromatherapy massage, reflexology, Indian head massage & reiki

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Although it was a bitter evening 28 ladies braved the cold for a wonderful evening of pastel painting magic. Ian Risely a self taught artist recreated a beautiful pastel painting of Meg the Jack Russell puppy before our very eyes. He kindly donated the completed picture to our group and we then held an ad hoc raffle for the picture and raised £21 which we will donate to the charity Hearing Dogs for the Deaf. Mr Risely even made us believe that we too could create a masterpiece, so we hope to arrange a workshop with him in the New Year. Our programme for 2013 was distributed and as usual there are plenty of activities to look forward to next year. Each month we donate our loose change to the WI Pennies for Friendship collection and from March we learned that this money will go towards training 20 disadvantaged women in income generating skills in the village of Arambakkam. ‘Santa’s Helpers’ distributed gifts during the evening and mince pies warmed our cockles at coffee time. Every one was wished a Happy Christmas and a safe New Year and those who will be meeting again before Christmas at the Curve were told not to forget their Hello Dolly tickets. Our next meeting is on January 14 when our speaker will be Bill Wells who will be talking to us about 'Fire Safety with a smile' and our competition is ‘Red Hot Ideas for our 95th birthday’ in 2013. From Birstall & Wanlip WI

Parish Council budget BIRSTALL PARISH Council’s precept for the year 2013/14 is £356,800. This is a reduction of £22,153 on the previous year or 5.9%. The reduction is a result of one-off items of expenditure in 2012/13 that inflated last year’s figure, such as replacement fencing on School Lane playing field. Work budgeted for the forthcoming year includes resurfacing a park on the School Lane playing field, laying a track from Meadow Lane alongside the BUSFC ground, internal re-decoration of the Village Hall including new curtains, provision of a new vehicle and the new Hallam Fields play areas. The Parish Council precept constitutes 6% of residents’ Council tax bill. The remaining 94% is made up by the Borough and County Councils, the Police and Fire Authority.




INFO Retirement Boosts Physical And Mental Well-Being • More men retire in December than any other month • Half of people take up sport once they retire • A quarter say they are mentally more active since retiring • A third say retirement has made them more fulfilled More men retire in December than any other month and many people are reporting that retirement has improved their physical and mental well-being leaving them more fulfilled. Research by Saga Health Insurance shows that half of people (49%) take up a sport after retiring, a third (32%) say they feel more fulfilled and another third (31%) say they are more physically active than when they were working. Perhaps the most positive change is people's mental well-being - over a quarter (27%) say they feel more mentally active since leaving work, compared to just 16% who say they are less so. This could be due to the number of people who take up new hobbies or embark on learning new skills in retirement. Stress levels also drop dramatically upon retirement. Over half (52%) say they feel less stressed than when they were at work, with men more likely to say this (58%) than women (42%). Interestingly, it seems that women find it harder to mentally adjust to life after work. Over a quarter (28%) of women report that their stress levels got worse after retiring, compared to 13% of men, women are also more likely to say that they are less fulfilled - 28%, compared to 20% of men. Walking is the most popular new exercise people take up in retirement, with a quarter (26%) saying they take it up as a sport, swimming is the next most popular new activity, with one in ten retired people taking the plunge. Roger Ramsden, chief executive, Saga Services, commented: "Some people approaching retirement may have concerns about what life after work may mean for them, but the truth is that for a great many people, retirement is a chance to get active, both mentally and physically and enjoy new activities they didn't have time for before." The free online Saga Health Club can help over 50s monitor the benefits of a healthy and active lifestyle. By joining at people can access a health assessment which provides an accurate and scientific evaluation of their lifestyle and looks at their future risk of developing diseases such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes. All people have to do is fill out a simple questionnaire about their health, family history, eating and exercise habits. The health club can then provide them with a 12 week action plan and regular updates with useful information such as exercise and nutrition tips to help them improve their health.

Pain over speed bumps in the diagnosis of acute appendicitis: a study of diagnostic accuracy The presence of pain when travelling over speed bumps is associated with an increased likelihood of acute appendicitis, among patients coming into hospital with abdominal pain, finds a study in the BMJ Christmas issue and published online today. Clinical diagnosis of acute appendicitis can be difficult and yet it is the most common surgical abdominal emergency. There is no specific clinical diagnostic test for appendicitis, and removing a healthy appendix - which happens often - is best avoided. Similarly, missing appendicitis when it's present can be dangerous. Although some doctors have routinely asked about pain travelling over speed bumps, this practice was not previously evidence-based. Researchers from the University of Oxford and Stoke Mandeville Hospital therefore carried out a study on 101 patients who were referred to hospital for suspected appendicitis. Testing took place in 2012 and patients were between 17 and 76 years of age. Patients were classed as “speed bump positive” if they had a worsening of pain whilst travelling over speed bumps or “speed bump negative” if their pain stayed the same, if they were unsure, or if their pain improved. All participants were questioned within 24 hours of their journey to hospital. Sixty-four patients had travelled over speed bumps on their way to hospital. 54 of these (84%) were “speed bump positive”. 34 of the 64 had a confirmed diagnosis of acute appendicitis of which 33 (97%) had worsened pain over speed bumps. Seven patients who were “speed bump positive” did not have appendicitis but did have other significant problems such as ruptured ovarian cyst or diverticulitis (bulging sacs or pouches most commonly found in the large intestine). Clinical questioning about pain over speed bumps also compared favourably with the well known signs of appendicitis. The researchers conclude that an increase in pain over speed bumps is associated with an increased likelihood of acute appendicitis. They add that although being “speed bump positive” does not guarantee a diagnosis of appendicitis, the study does suggest that it should form a routine part of assessment of patients with possible appendicitis. Dr Helen Ashdown of the Department of Primary Care Health Sciences at the University of Oxford said: "It may sound odd, but asking patients whether their pain worsened going over speed bumps on their way in to hospital could help doctors in a diagnosis. It turns out to be as good as many other ways of assessing people with suspected appendicitis."

OUR PICTURE shows (l-r) Judy Souter, Emily Gaskin and Helen Gaskin serving refreshments at St Theresa’s church Christmas bazaar.

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Birstall BAG’ s cancer corner WHEN MAKING your New Years resolution the BAG’s would like to challenge you once again to think about a healthier lifestyle. For those of us that are still smoking, sorry but this is our target in this article. Thanks to years of research, the links between smoking and cancer are now very clear. Smoking is by far the most important preventable cause of cancer in the world. Smoking accounts for one in four UK cancer deaths, and nearly a fifth of all cancer cases. In the UK, smoking kills five times more people than road accidents, overdoses, murder, suicide and HIV all put together. Which cancers are caused by smoking? Smoking causes more than four in five cases of lung cancer. Lung cancer has one of the lowest survival rates of all cancers, and is the most common cause of cancer death in the UK. The good news is that most of these deaths are preventable, by giving up smoking in time. Smoking also increases the risk of over a dozen other cancers including cancers of the mouth, larynx(voice box), pharynx (upper throat), nose and sinus-

es, oesophagus (food pipe), liver, pancreas,stomach, kidney, bladder, cervix and bowel, as well as one type of ovarian cancer and some types of leukaemia. There is also some evidence that smoking could increase the risk of breast cancer. How does smoking cause cancer? Tobacco smoke contains more than 70 different cancer-causing substances. When you inhale smoke, these chemicals enter your lungs and spread around the rest of your body. Scientists have shown that these chemicals can damage DNA and change important genes. This causes cancer by making your cells grow and multiply out of control. Giving up makes a difference Thanks to research, health campaigns and new policies, the number of smokers in the UK has halved in the last 50 years. Because of this, the number of people who die from lung cancer has also halved. Clearly, giving up smoking saves lives. But there is still a long way to go.

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To reflect the interest and support of the local community Birstall BAG's 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

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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

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The Feb issue of will be published on Feb 1. The copy deadline is Jan 18.

Lung cancer is still the second most common type of cancer in the UK and kills over 35,000 people every year. And there are signs that the number of people who are quitting is starting to match the number who are taking it up. If you are a smoker, giving up smoking is the best present you can give yourself. There are many techniques you can try to help you join the increasing numbers of smokers who are quitting for good. To find out more about the services offering support with giving up smoking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist, or call the NHS Smoking Helpline: 0800 022 4 332 Birstall BAG’s continue to fund the Birstall Time Out Group held the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month at the Village Hall and are delighted to confirm that thanks to your generosity and support we recently presented the University Hospitals of Leicester with £8231 to help with the new Cancer Information Centre at the Leicester Royal Infirmary. For more information: Macmillan Cancer Support free phone help line 0808 808 000 Monday – Friday 9am-8pm. University Hospitals of Leicester Cancer Information Centre on 0116 258 6189.

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Birstall Post (354) Jan 2013  

Birstall Post Jan 2013

Birstall Post (354) Jan 2013  

Birstall Post Jan 2013