Birstall Post (414) January 2018

Page 1

the Birstall post Y O U R



Theresa’s church and the Lambourne café, which became a meeting point and refreshment stop for those affected by the blast and the emergency services.


No. 414

Gas explosion: devastating loss A MAN who lost his wife and his home when his neighbour’s house was blown up by a gas explosion has thanked the community for the help he has received.

Pic: the houses before the explosion

“It surprised me how everyone came together so quickly to give me support when I needed it the most” said John Jasper (80) of Allington Drive. Mr Jasper’s wife Janet (79) died in hospital one day after the explosion which happened at 7.30am on Monday December 11 on Allington Drive. Mr Jasper was downstairs making tea and his wife was upstairs in bed when their neighbour’s house exploded, bring-

Pics: (left) Janet Jasper; (top) the scene shortly after the explosion; (below) John Jasper (right) with son Anthony

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ing down a wall on Mrs Jasper – she was taken to hospital by air ambulance but sadly died 24 hours later. Mr Jasper said: “Birstall people have been very supportive and very quick to react. I really have super neighbours. I’d especially like to thank my immediate neighbours

Satch and Tina Shah – they did everything for me, she’s been fantastic.” Mr Jasper was also keen to praise St

Residents of Allington Drive were woken by the sound of an enormous explosion at 7.30am on December 11. One house was completely demolished instantly, burying the sole occupant, Roger Partridge, who miraculously survived and was taken to the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Birmingham by air ambulance. The Jaspers’ house next door was partially destroyed. Five or six nearby properties have significant damage and another 25-30 properties received varying levels of damage, says Charnwood Borough Council who carried out an initial audit of homes in the days after the explosion. The damage to properties has been caused by the shock of the blast and falling debris. Mr Julian Howe lives opposite the house with his family. He said: “The bedroom ceiling fell down on my daughter in bed, but she’s fine. Considering the devastation I can see across the road I consider myself lucky. All the front windows of Mr Howe’s house were blown in by the blast but heavy curtains prevented any injuries from flying glass. Continued on page 2

2 Continued from page 1

sion, Allington Drive was closed while the Emergency Services assessed the scene and building inspectors checked the structures of the affected houses, making sure they were safe. Leicestershire Pic: emergency services at the scene Fire and Rescue Service (LRFS) said Council said: “We would like to thank everyone in the community who dropped that four fire appliances, three ambuby to help out by giving food and drink. Pic: the shattered conservatory of the house opposite lance crews, a team The community has really rallied round of volunteer doctors from the East Midto support those affected.” ty Executive to identify what caused the Birstall Parish Coun- lands Emergency Care Scheme and two air ambulances attended the scene. failure of the internal gas pipe. cil Clerk Sue Coulson On December 16, LRFS issued a state“As a result of the explosion, the semisaid: “People were detached property where the seat of coming in offering food, ment saying its investigation with Leicestershire Police into the incident has explosion has been identified, was a the Co-op delivered been concluded and that there will be total collapse and the adjoining property some food and drink no criminal investigation. a partial collapse with a significant and we opened up the It said: “The cause has been categonumber of other properties in the vicinikitchen. rised as accidental and the seat of the ty damaged by the blast. “Volunteers from the “This is an isolated incident and thankMethodist church came explosion has now been identified. The explosion is attributed to a catastrophic fully a rare occurrence.” to hand out hot drinks failure of an internal gas pipe joint, in 24 hours before the explosion gas – it really was amazing the floor of the property, and the escapcompany Cadent, which supplied gas to and heartwarming to ing gas being ignited by a cooker spark the collapsed house, was called out by see the community get generator switch. A forensic investigation the Jaspers who could smell gas in their together to help.” Following the explo- is now underway by the Health and Safe- own property. Mr Jasper said: “They Pic: The front living room of the house opposite inspected my property and said there was no problem with the gas supply to my house.” • A JustGiving crowdfunding page (birstalltogether) was set up to help the families involved in the gas explosion, which has raised £3780. • if you smell gas in your property BIRSTALL Double glazing call 0800 111 999 and open all doors contractors, Conservatory & and windows to ventilate the property. Over 30 years Window Concepts Ltd, has been • Mr Jasper’s cat, Daisy, has been handed a prestigious award for experience sighted after the explosion but is still the sustained quality of its missing. Daisy is black and white with a customer service by red collar. Replace those misted units & upgrade leading consumer Please contact the Birstall Post if you interest organisation, find Daisy and we will pass on your to the latest energy efficient glass the Consumer details to Mr Jasper. Protection Association.

“The windows and the roof – all are seriously damaged, and my wife and daughter are very shaken up” he said. The family have moved temporarily to the hotel at Hallam Fields. Finding accommodation for those affected by the blast was co-ordinated by Charnwood Borough Council who with the assistance of Birstall Parish Council, set up a recovery centre in Birstall Village Hall. Around 30 people affected by the incident were provided with refreshments and Housing Needs staff ensured people had somewhere to go. A spokesman for Charnwood Borough

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Student dancers showcase skills DOZENS OF young people performed in a charity dance show at the Cedars Academy in December, raising more than £2200. Dance teacher Ashleigh Cooper organised the show, which featured students from all year groups and included ballet, acro, contemporary, tap and musical theatre performances.

Birstall BAGS and MIND were the charities benefiting and the evening began with a video and a speech from representatives of each charity, explaining the work they do. Ashleigh said: “All students were professional and conscientious about raising as much money as possible for charity – we are really lucky to have some of the students we do at the Cedars Academy because they are so caring and want to do everything

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Santa delights children at Birstall event CHILDREN LOOKED spellbound as they came face to face with Santa at Birstall Parish Council’s Christmas event. As well as the grotto in the Village Hall, visitors also enjoyed performances by carol singers, Birstall Youth Café and Birstall Harmony Group. There were also funfair rides and an artificial ice rink, and free mince pies donated by the Co-operative

Pics: (left) meeting Santa are Shyamal, Nisha, Mansi and Janak Suchak & (top) Aneri Mistry (4) store. Cllr Ed Marshall, Chair of the Events Committee, said: “We were delighted by the huge numbers of people and families who attended, the positive comments make all the hard work worthwhile and our thanks go to all who contributed. “May I take this opportunity to wish all Birstall residents a Happy New Year.”

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Introduction of 30 hours FREE funding The Hunny Hive Day Nursery have been open since November 2016 and are pleased to announce that their team is expanding and the family of Hunny children and parents is growing rapidly. The children have settled superbly and are making rapid progress within their learning and development due to the rich, varied and imaginative experiences planned by the staff. Due to the introduction of the 30 hours free early education entitlement, the Hunny Hive have planned to open their large, purpose built preschool room to accommodate parents wanting to take advantage of the increased hours of funding. If you would like to know how you can check your eligibility for the 30 hours extended entitlement please contact Mel on 0116 2672039. The Hunny Hive are also proud to announce that they have listened to the feedback from their parents and the local community and they have decided to hold a holiday club for primary school aged children and an afterschool club from September 2017, picking up from the new Hallam Fields Primary School. The holiday club will consist of a range of fun, engaging activities and within the larger holidays will include trip days. A booking form will be available prior to the holiday to enable parents and children to see the range of activities on offer. The Hunny Hive would like to take this opportunity to thank their parents for their continued support and look forward to welcoming and supporting more children and families within Birstall and the neighbouring villages. Here are a few words from the Hunny Hive parents: “Very friendly staff and great environment for the boys, they love it!”

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GCR Museum: £9.5m funding withdrawn PLANS FOR a major new railway museum next to Birstall’s GCR station were dealt a major setback when £9.5million of Lottery funding was withdrawn in December.



Leicester City Council is a partner in the £18million project and city Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “We remain committed to it and the challenge now is to find a plan B and an alternative source of finance.” The museum, a partnership between

Pic: a drawing of the planned Main Lime museum

the Great Central Railway, the city council and the National Railway Museum, was planned as a national tourist attraction housing locos, artefacts and displays, connected to the GCR track so that locos could be driven on to the site. It was due to open in 2021. The city council has already spent £310,000 at the allotment site next to the museum, building a new access road, installing new fencing and acquiring land. The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) awarded £9.5million in April 2015. Jonathan Platt, Head of HLF East Midlands, said: “HLF has worked closely with the GCR and partners over the last two and half years in the development phase of this large and complex project. During this time the project has experienced a number of difficulties and delays. The HLF Board recognised that Leicester City Council and other partners were now proposing to take over the project and to provide support, both financial and other expertise. However, the Board had ongoing concerns about outstanding risks including continuing extended timescales, future operational costs and management arrangements, and the potential for costs to increase

further. So, it is with regret that HLF Board has decided to withdraw from this project. “We realise that this will be disappointing news for all partners, but we have a responsibility for distributing money raised by National Lottery players and the projects we invest in must be able to demonstrate that they offer best value for money and have the ability to survive in the long term.” GCR’s Managing Director Michael Gough said: “We were genuinely astonished to hear the news about the HLF’s decision on our round two funding and I have to question their rationale. Since joining the GCR I have been highly impressed by the support that the project had from the City Mayor and his team and I was confident that the strength of our combined proposal would be a winning solution. “Our proposal to the HLF consisted of, as requested by them in October 2017, a comprehensive strategy and action plan from the city council, and a detailed business plan from the railway. Taken together this provided an approach that had almost zero risk. “We will now explore a number of

alternative plans. In the meantime, I can’t help but feel hurt that Leicester appears to have been overlooked yet again.” Leicester’s City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said: “We are obviously very disappointed, but this is not the end of the project. We remain committed to it, and the challenge now is for us to find a Plan B and an alternative source of finance. “The project has been enormously strengthened since the first submission was made, and with the city council’s experience of managing such projects this would be a very low-risk for the HLF. It has the potential to be of great economic benefit to the city and the region and I can only imagine that the HLF is over-committed elsewhere and needs to claw this money back for other projects.” In a statement, the HLF said: • In July 2017 GCR advised HLF that due to capacity it was unable to deliver a complex project of this size. • GCR proposed that Leicester City Council become project lead through the setting up of a new independent trust to operate the new museum. • A request for a further extension to the Development phase has been received putting the project a year over deadline for Second Round submission. • As a result the cost of building the new museum was likely to increase further. • Operating and running costs for the new museum were unclear. • HLF will ensure it will meet its proportion of the costs incurred in the development of the project so far Since 2011 Leicester has been awarded just over £9 million from the HLF, compared to £25.5 million to Nottingham, almost £18 million to Lincoln and just over £13 million to Derby.


family. Robert joined the Parish Council on 24 July 2008. He was the Council’s representative on the Neighbourhood Watch and more recently, the Parish Council’s representative for the Burley Houses Committee, where he had become a trustee. and our Real Ale Festival. The photo shows Santa being delayed by his fan club from Birstall Running Club. Nigel Coleman, Wreake Valley Rotary

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, Unit 109, Greenacres, The Sidings, Leicester LE4 3BR, or handed in at Birstall library or email:

Thanks Wreake Valley Rotary thank everyone who supported our Santa Sleigh and Asda Thurmaston Christmas collections. Your generosity is much appreciated and most of the proceeds will go towards supporting local good causes during the coming year. This includes a contribution to the Just Giving page set up to support those affected by the huge gas explosion in Birstall. We look forward to seeing you at our events in 2018 including an Easter Egg Hunt, Watermead Challenge charity run

Bin it

Thanks Can I thank a couple of people who have helped our gym to keep going, first of all Dan Warren who did a great job in the Leicester Marathon completing the course and raising a fantastic sum of £960. Also Simon Elvis for his great effort (shaving his beard etc) and of course all the people who donated cash in the Birstall co-op raising £178.45. Just a quick mention to a wonderful lady in the co-op, little Jo, what a super girl she is always helping others. Yours in sport. Carl Gunns

Robert Dickinson It was with great sadness that Birstall Parish Council heard that Councillor Robert Dickinson had passed away on 24 November 2017. The Council sends its sincere sympathy to Robert’s wife and

Councillors and Council staff will miss him greatly and I will particularly miss his wise counsel. It was a privilege for us all to have known and worked with Robert. He will indeed be hard to replace. Councillor Ann Marshall, Chair of Birstall Parish Council on behalf of all Birstall Parish Councillors and staff.

Since 2015 Robert had taken on the role of Vice Chair of the Parish Council. This was a position he embraced and gave unfailing support to me in my role as Chair. Without doubt Robert was an excellent Parish Councillor. He greatly enjoyed the role and was committed, enthusiastic and always generous with his time for Council matters.

"Bin it your way" says the Keep Britain Tidy poster near the Red Hill Roundabout. This is all well and good but how can you use a bin if there is not one to use? Here at the bus stop close to Hallam Fields Road we have had no bin for years and the grass verges were always covered with food wrappings and dog waste, either dropped or thrown out of passing cars. The Council regularly clean the area, but it still looked a disgrace to Birstall. Thinking about the "Bin it your way" poster, we contacted the Greener Cleaner Team at Charnwood Borough Council. A response was received. The bus stop now has a bin and this is always full, so it remains to be seen if the bin is big enough! It just goes to show that if a bin is nearby responsible people will use it. A big thank you goes to the Greener Cleaner Team, Borough Councillor Roy Rollings and Borough Councillor Renata Jones who supported this request. Birstall Resident




Reach out

Veterans groups, Day Care – the list is endless. Or, just help to fill out forms for people so they can get the benefits they are entitled to. Or….. simply help us fundraise. You can ring the Charnwood Office on 01509 260327 Mon-Thur & chat with someone about it or visit for the full Volunteer Vacancy list and how a spare hour or two here and there can change someone’s life. Go on, make a New Years Resolution you would actually enjoy keeping! Jeanette Silver


No doubt about it. We have been very lucky with the relatively mild weather up to mid-November in this area, but since then, we seem to have had a real winter spell! I wonder when we are tucked up in our cosy houses or driving round in our cosy cars, whether we really give a thought to those around us, maybe even living next door, who are frail, lonely, recently bereaved, don’t see anyone pretty much from one day to the next and would be grateful even for a smile and “Hello, are you ok”? We lead busy No confidence lives and the days are gone in a flash before we are on to the next. If you I was not surprised to read that Roy thought you could make a small differRollings had resigned from Birstall Parence to someone’s life, would you reach ish Council having attended a parish out? council meeting myself a couple of Age UK Leicester Shire & Rutland’s months ago. As a resident, I wanted to “No-one should have no-one” campaign present my concerns about a County is aimed at just that. Reaching out. Not Council planning proposal. Unfortunately, just at Christmas, but any time of year. and due to unforeseen circumstances, I How can you reach out? Notice things. arrived at the meeting a couple of minCurtains not pulled for a few days or utes later than anticipated and consenow permanently pulled shut. Post quently missed the point on the agenda piling up on the doormat or sticking out that allows residents to speak. I was still of the letterbox for a while, a garden prepared to voice my concerns, and becoming unusually overgrown, no lights intended to do so, however, I was on at night or just haven’t seen someone 'warned' against this by a Borough counfor a while. Report it to 101. If you want cillor seated nearby, because (I was to be a good neighbour, but would told) the Parish Council would not allow rather Volunteer through a Local Charity- me to speak. I found this a bit alarming that just happens to have a National as surely there would be some margin of name- are a friendly person, can chat flexibility for a resident to have their say? easily to someone and make a good But as the meeting progressed I came to cuppa, have as little as 1 hour a week understand why I was warned. spare, we are always looking for BeWhat followed was a hierarchical frienders. If you have kept up with your fiasco, revealing a Chair who rules with Technology Skills and can help someone a very stern and inflexible 'rod of iron'. one-to-one to safely surf the net, shop It became clear to me that any challenge online, Skype with absent family, organmade to the Chair by the one or two ise photos, set up email and more – councillors (of around twenty or so) then we have support groups round the who actually dared to speak, was either County that need Volunteers to assist ignored, rejected or ridiculed. Most of people over 50 to gain confidence. We the group simply sat speechless, seemorganise social groups, lunch groups, ex ingly resigned to the fact that their voic-

es would never be heard. This is not and also the power, to address the is- 9 how a Parish Council should be run. sues I raise. Investment is required in Councillors should feel free to question the look and feel of Birstall, and it is and voice concerns in a meeting, both to needed urgently. There simply is no each other and to the Chair. I have atneed for the place in which we all reside tended many Parish Council meetings in to look and feel so shabby. I look at the a functioning capacity (albeit in a differ- empty shops, graffiti and dirty streets ent borough) and I never seen anything and wonder how and why Birstall has quite like it. The word I would use to now become the shoddiest of the Charndescribe the attitude of the Chair is 'imwood villages whilst others remain clean, penetrable'. Those who do not agree are affluent and picturesque. Parish councils fighting a losing battle, and so a very in other areas of Charnwood maintain small minority are making the decisions their villages well, why not ours? on behalf of the residents of Birstall I am in no doubt that local parish those who agree with the Chair. What I councillors read the many letters on this saw was a disjointed and dysfunctional page (or they should) and so must be group of people, too fearful to speak well aware of how Birstall residents feel. should they be the next to be ridiculed, I am not the first to write, nor is it the or just simply eager to please those 'in first time I have written, as do many charge'. others. In reading these letters they With this in mind, I share the conshould take action - but they do not. cerns of many residents who are being When are our parish councillors going to forced to see Birstall deteriorate into respond to our concerns and be acwhat can only be described as a spiral countable for the sorry state of our vilof decline. What was once an attractive lage? Perhaps it is time for those who do and charming village now appears unnot possess the desire or the impetus to kempt and uncared for. This scruffiness improve Birstall, or who persist in their attracts anti-social behaviour and crime. position for the wrong reasons, to do Put simply, if a place appears uncared the 'decent' thing and to step aside. This for, people don't care - or are thought will then allow those who do want to not to - and this makes it vulnerable as make a difference, the opportunity to a target. Those amongst us who are make the necessary improvements that fortunate not to have been victims of our village so desperately needs. I fear burglary, car crime or criminal damage, that if the Parish Council remains as the are sadly aware of a neighbour or busidysfunctional and hierarchical entity that ness that has. Indeed, yet another shop it currently is, it will soon be too late to will be closing in the village, as (I am pull Birstall back from the brink. told) they can no longer afford to reChange is required now, and, as in busimain following numerous burglaries. ness, change starts at the top with those The costs of the damage and rising insur- currently in charge. ance premiums resulting from crime It is a shame that votes of 'no confimust be crippling for our local business- dence' cannot be put forward by resies as it will be for residents. Everyone is dents. affected by this. If the state of Birstall is D Urquhart left unchecked for much longer, there The Parish Council do not always will be no shops - and no village centre consider it appropriate to respond to, or to speak of. address complaints made in the public It is here that I return to the Parish domain, however, in this instance, it is Council, who have more than enough funds (resident's money - our money) Continued on page 11



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Continued from page 9 considered an opportunity to explain some of the laws, rules and regulations relating to meetings that appear to have affected the writer of this letter. There are statutory laws, rules, regulations, and guidelines relating to the conduct of meetings, that must be adhered to by all Council’s in England & Wales, at whatever level. Members of the public have no statutory rights to speak at these meetings, however, Councils can set time aside on the Agenda to give members of the public the opportunity to raise any concerns regarding matters on the Agenda, and to raise issues for future consideration. Birstall Parish Council consider this to be best practice and includes Public Participation on their Agendas for all Council / Committee meetings. The rules of meetings are clearly documented in the Council’s Standing Orders, which are available for all to read or to download, on the Council’s website. Any resident that doesn’t have access to the internet, can contact the office to request a copy, and the staff will be happy to oblige. The writer, by his own admission, arrived late at the meeting and if the Council had moved onto another item on the Agenda, the Council would be unable to move back to Public Participation without a resolution of the whole Council, to do so. Flexibility can only be offered if it is asked for. The writer mentions that he took the advice of another member of the public, a Borough Councillor, so I think it unfair to criticise the Chair for not giving him something he didn’t ask for. The role of the Chair is the only statutory role for a Parish Council, other than the Clerk. The Chair of the Council and Chairs of all Committees are offered formal training on how to conduct meetings to prevent the meetings from becoming, to use the writer’s own words, ‘a fiasco’. There are rules governing the number of times that a Councillor can speak on each item on the Agenda at the meeting, so if they have exercised that right, they then must remain silent for the remain-

10am to 12noon 10 Sibson Road, Old Council Office Talk to your District & County Councillors to discuss any issue of local concern

Birstall & District Art Society Tuesday, 9th January, at 7pm You are invited to join us at the Palmer-Tomkinson Centre at Cedars Academy, Wanlip Lane, to watch well known professional artist Peter Dalziel giving a demonstration of how to create an ‘Animal Portrait’ using pastels Tuesday, 13th February, at 7pm You are invited to join us at the Palmer-Tomkinson Centre at Cedars Academy, Wanlip Lane, to watch well known professional artist Amanda Jackson giving a demonstration entitled

der of the time the item is being discussed. There are no rules that they all must speak, it is each individual’s choice. The writer’s own opinion relating to the Chair and the state of the Council is just that, but some serious allegations and accusations have been made, which are unsubstantiated, unfounded, unnecessary, and quite frankly, hurtful to the eighteen individuals who volunteer their time to try and create a better environment for the whole community. In my opinion, they do a fantastic job. It’s no wonder that the Parish Council struggles to fill any vacancies on the Council when remarks such as these are placed in the public domain. The other issues mentioned in the letter relate to empty shops, graffiti, and dirty streets. These are matters that are outside the remit and responsibility of the Parish Council and should be reported to the Leicestershire County Council Highways Department and Charnwood Borough Council, who are paid through the Council Tax to deliver these services. Matters regarding crime can be discussed with the local beat team and the neighbourhood Watch who are available to the public monthly. The empty shops are perhaps down to private landlords raising the rents, it certainly isn’t the fault of the Parish Council. The Parish Council staff report many issues brought to their attention by residents to the relevant authority and progress this through to a satisfactory outcome. The Parish Council maintains its own assets to a very high standard for the benefit of the Community and have received many positive comments relating to them. Indeed, comments have been received from visitors to the area that Birstall is very lucky to have such excellent facilities. Sue Coulson Clerk to the Council

Thanks I’d just like to thank these wonderful people, friends of way past, who looked after me while I’m getting over a hip replacement. Their names are Pat, Joe and June and also my son. Mrs Doreen Waterfield

“Childhood/Sunlight” using acrylic paints. Come and join us to watch an expert at work. Newcomers and visitors most welcome. Refreshments available at the interval. Demonstration ends at 9pm Members £1; Guests £3. Free raffle. Ample parking and wheelchair access

Birstall Royal British Legion Front Street 6th Dee Smoove 13th Zoe Show 20th Nightshift 27th Tom Nicolson Dancing every Saturday night with live entertainment Bingo free beer raffle and not forgetting open the box Bingo every Tuesday starting at 9.15pm Quiz every Wednesday starting at 8.30pm Sunday quiz on 14th and 28th Starting at 9pm Accoustics evening on 21st Food available every Saturday 12 till 2pm

Wakes catered for Free WIFI New members very welcome We wish all our Members a Happy New Year

Rothley & Birstall Birdwatching Club Warbler Wonderland: Spring Migration In Ohio & Michigan by Neil Glenn Tuesday 9th January 2018 Neil has been a keen birdwatcher since his teens and his many childhood holidays in Norfolk developed his love for the county and its wildlife. Tonight, he takes us to North America for the exciting warbler migration, where up to 37 species of warblers can be seen. Prothonotary warbler, Orange-crowned warbler and Magnolia warbler could be part of a ‘fall’ but timing is crucial. What will be part of the ‘fall’ this evening? Vagrants, Drifters And Migrants by Nigel Slater Tuesday 13th February 2018 Nigel is a very enthusiastic speak-

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er and we know that we are in for a really good talk, no matter the subject. (Many of you might remember his last talk about Wildlife in the Home!) His talk this evening will be looking at the more unusual birds that come to Britain, how they get here and how they survive or often don’t. The Rothley Centre, Mountsorrel Lane, Rothley Members free. Visitors £2 Children free. Free on-site parking and easy access. Further information Marion Vincent 0116 2375156

Songbirds with Kate Dimbleby

not singing it and who are the people on that journey? So she started listening… from London to the forests of Canada, the streets of New York and Bristol, recording the sounds and people around her. Songbirds is about the voices around us and the voices in our heads. The sounds we keep locked up inside. Most of all it’s about the need for connection. Outside and in. Right here, right now. Advance tickets available at Rothley Community Library: £10 full price, £9 concessions. Concessions are available for over 60s, under 18s and Job Seekers. Tickets on the door: £11 and £10

Caring for someone with dementia?

Friday 26th January 7pm at Rothley Centre What’s your song? Not your favourite song, but the one inside you that defines who you are? For years Kate Dimbleby has made shows about other people’s voices and stories – hiding behind the smooth sophistication of Peggy Lee, the bold blues of Bessie Smith, the fragile tones of Dory Previn. But Kate has always had another nagging voice in her head – what’s her true story, why is she


Need support? FREE Family Carer’s Workshop that looks at: Living with Dementia – some of the difficulties a person may experience Continuing to see the person— not the diagnosis Strategies to overcome communication barriers Connecting with your loved one using practical tips The benefits of contact with nature and the outdoors Networking with local support organisations and other family carers Answering your individual questions Free information pack Friendly, safe and supportive environment. Refreshments provided. “Wonderful to spend the day with

people who are so positive about dementia. I have been so inspired by the day. Thank you!” - Attendee Where: Cedar Mews, Hallam Fields Road, Birstall, LEICS LE4 3LX When: Wednesday 17th January 2018 Times: 2 - 5pm (1.45 arrival for tea/coffee, cake & refreshments 3.30pm) Book your place: .uk/training/open-training Phone: Cedar Mews 01274 065090 Email: or Phone: Dementia Adventure: 01245 237548 Email On site respite service: Limited places. Call Cedar Mews 0116 267 4835

Free Technology Help Drop-Ins Loughborough 1st & 3rd Monday of each Month Where? Tesco Community Space, Tesco, Park Road, Loughborough LE11 1EX When? 12.30-2.30pm or Rothley 1st & 3rd Thursday of each Month Where? Rothley Community Library, Mountsorrel Lane, Rothley LE7 7PS When? 10am-12noon or Syston 2nd & 4th Wednesday of each Month

Where? Syston Town Council Community Centre, School St, Syston LE7 1HN When? 10am12noon Over 50? Need help or just want Support? Bring your own Laptop, Tablet or Smart Phone along with you or have a go on our devices. For more information, Contact Jeanette Silver on 01509 260327 or Sumayya Kara on 0116 223 7371

The Charnwood Orchestra welcomes in the New Year 2018 with our celebration of music from “Vienna & Beyond”... Saturday 13 January 2018 at 7pm Humphrey Perkins Community Centre, Barrow upon Soar, LE12 8JU A concert of popular classics including; Bizet – Suite from Carmen Tchaikovsky – Swan Lake Waltz Dvorak Symphonic Dance Svendson Violin Romance – performed by our very own conductor and musical director Nic Fallowfield. & many Strauss Waltz’s, Marches and toe tapping Polkas including Blue Danube, Radetzsky March and other Viennese New Year favourites. So, bring you dancing shoes... There will be an interval bar & raffle. Tickets can be bought via Paypal from, on the door by telephoning 07718 153117. Alternatively if you know a member of the Orchestra please ask!

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Birstall Flower Club 24th January 2018 at 7.15pm In the Village Hall, Birstall AGM and Giant picnic (remember crockery and cutlery)

Birstall Tea Dances

Birstall Independent Baptist Church

Birstall Village Hall Birstall Road Leicester LE4 4DH Fridays 5th & 26th January 2018 3.30 - 5.30pm £4 Each On The Door Tea / Coffee / Cakes Included All Welcomed Further Information Contact Jackie 0116 2248 278 / 07908607405 Email:

New Venue From January 2018 our Sunday morning services will be held at 10.45am in: Room PT1, The Palmer Tomkinson Centre The Cedars Academy, Wanlip Lane, Birstall, Leicester LE4 4GH Why not join with us? You will be most welcome! Contact telephone: 0116 221 4883

Film Presentations

Birstall & District Local History Society

Thurcaston and Cropston Parish Council "Their Finest" Jan 12 (117 mins) This wonderfully entertaining British comedy drama will happily bring Christmas-tide to an end. During WWII, the Ministry of Information's Film Division is trying to add a female perspective to the propaganda at cinemas. Actor Ambrose Hillyard, played masterfully by Bill Nighy, is already resentful of a woman's presence in decision- making. Will this famous actor's haughtiness reduce female assertiveness?

The Society commences the New Year with our first monthly meeting on Thursday Jan 11 in the Birstall Village Hall, Birstall Road, Birstall, starting at 7.30pm.

The subject of the talk is "Restored Railway Line" (Swithland to Mountsorrel). The speaker will be Patrick Neal. Visitors are very welcome to join us for this talk. Parking will be available on the night on the Birstall Playing Fields through the School Lane entrance

THE BIRSTALL POST will be published on Feb 3. The copy deadline is Jan 19.


Pic: local groups receiving a cheque outside the Birstall Co-op store

Local groups benefit from Co-op cash LOCAL CHARITY, Leicester Wheels for All received an unexpected boost to their project after being presented with a cheque for over £4,000 by Birstall and Groby Co-op.

The Feb issue of

"The Viceroy's House" Feb 9 (106 mins) Set in 1947 Delhi, the British statesman, Lord Mountbatten, serves as India's last viceroy. He is charged with handing India back to its people. Romance blossoms between a Hindu servant and Muslim sweetheart. Starring Hugh Bonneville, the British Raj thought that they would remain in India for another two hundred years. However, the climate changed irrevocably. February's film is sumptuous. "Victoria and Abdul" will be shown on March 9. Thurcaston and Cropston Parish Council will be showing these films at Thurcaston Memorial Hall,


starting at 7.30pm. Film tickets will cost £5 which will include refreshments and a lucky prize draw during the interval. Advance tickets may be purchased via the parish office: 0116 236 7626 or at the door.

Birstall and Groby Co-op members The project will use the money to and customers donated more than help people with different needs access £4,000 to Leicester Wheels for All over cycling for fun and health. Having sucthe past six months. cessfully applied to be one of the three LWFA Chair Peter Simmonds said, charities supported by Co-op members over the last year the charity knew they’d “We are overwhelmed by the generosity of Co-op members who raised the monbe getting a donation but had no idea it ey. The funds will be used use to inwas to be so generous. crease our fleet of adapted cycles and “We’re all passionate about our work improve the secure storage facilities for here” said Becky Pritchard, Wheels for our new base at Saffron Lane Stadium.” All volunteer who identified the funding Jo Murray of Birstall Co-op said, opportunity “but Jo Murray at Birstall “Our branches raised more than £13,000 Co-op has become an inspiration to us for three local charities, Leicestershire all with her dedication to the cause – Search & Rescue, Syston Scout and she was truly outdone herself with inexGuide Band and Leicester Wheels for All. haustible commitment to fundraising These were the charities nominated by activities that has earned her the nickour members as part of our community name ‘human dynamo’ amongst Wheels scheme.” for All project volunteers.” Wheels for All runs accessible cycling sessions for people with different needs at Braunstone Leisure Centre on the last Friday of every month, at the new cycle circuit at Saffron Lane and all over the county. More information can be found on their Facebook page.

Parish Council notes Carl wins award A FULL meeting of Birstall Parish Council was held on December 18. Councillors considered an application for co-option, to fill a vacancy on the council. After asking the candidate some questions a vote was taken and the decision was taken not to co-opt. The unsuccessful candidate commented that the council should be more public friendly – he said that some meetings were held at 9am which was not conducive to public participation. The supporting papers for meetings were not on the council website with the agendas and minutes and the chairman’s announcements came after confidential items on the agenda, meaning that the public could not hear them. The council considered a request for a raffle prize for the Firefighters' Charity and agreed to donate a cuddly toy and a voucher for use of the Village Hall. Councillors agreed to spend £3240 on new vinyl flooring to replace the carpet in the Day Centre at the Village Hall. It was agreed that representatives from the parish council would attend the next meeting of the Birstall Business Co-operative. It was reported that Charnwood are consulting about improving the road signs directing people to Watermead Country Park and it was agreed that the council forward its suggestions. Councillors considered the budget and precept for the year 2018/19. There are more houses in the parish than last year so the council’s income will increase if the amount levied per household is kept the same as last year, as more homes are contributing to the total precept demand. Cllr Daniel Withers said Birstall's precept was relatively low and that the increase in crime meant there was a

good case for increasing CCTV coverage BIRSTALL’S CARL Gunns was a winner at the annual in the village. wood Sports Awards. Cllr Shona Rattray said the council could consider increasing the funds The founder of the boxing gym on available for the Community Grant Birstall Road received a Lifetime Achievescheme as it was making a positive imment Award for services to boxing. pact on local groups. Carl said: “It’s wonderful to receive Chair Ann Marshall said items within this award. I’ve been involved with boxthe budget next year included grit bins, ing for 62 years as a boxer, trainer, the refurbishment of the village hall office kitchen/toilet, refurbishment of the manager, promoter and coach but the skate park on Meadow Lane, the replace- gym is the icing on the cake for me.” Gunns’ Gym was started in 2002 and ment of the Meadow Lane allotment is open six days a week. Carl said: gates, replacement of the Meadow Lane “What I enjoy most is seeing young peoallotment fencing a section at a time, ple achieve their goals and gaining conficemetery improvements, a new ceiling dence.” for the village hall and the Hallam Felds The way that the gym has helped two community hall. teenage girls – one from Birstall and It was agreed that the precept for one from Beaumont Leys – is the subject 2018/19 be maintained at its current of a BBC documentary that was filmed level which would mean there has been no increase in the parish council compo- late last year. It will be shown on the BBC’s Inside Out programme some time nent of the council tax for four years. Pic: Award winner Carl Gunns in January. It was reported that there had been some negotiations with Jelson Ltd about using the public car park next to Cedar Mews as the access for construction traffic during the build of the Hallam Fields Community Hall. The parish council will have to make good any damage done to the surface The council has agreed to plant wildflowers in the Triangle roundabout next to Sibson Road car park. The defibrillator in Kingsgate Avenue had been deployed by the Ambulance Service in April 2017 and not replaced, having got lost in the system. A defibrillator has been loaned to the council while efforts to track down the missing unit continue. As of October 17, 2017, there were 22 vacant allotment plots in the parish.


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THIS YEAR’S winner of the ‘Best in Show’ at the Birstall and District Art Society Annual Exhibition was by Mick Joyce for his rendering of ‘Gandalf’ in pencil. Before retirement Mick was a draughtsman, although he is entirely self-taught as an artist. He joined BADAS around eight years ago and although he paints a variety of subjects, his favourite is portraiture and he has received commissions for his work. Pics: (top) Best in Show ‘Gandalf’ by Mick Joyce (pictured right)

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New group backing Birstall business BIRSTALL BUSINESSES are working together to promote themselves and to encourage consumers to ‘shop local’. The Birstall Business Co-operative was started by Charlotte Foy and Shona Rattray from the White Horse and Filigree Heart and had its inaugural meeting in November. “A great deal of activity has taken place since then” said Charlotte. “The facebook page has launched under the name Shop Local Birstall and has had a very positive reaction with over 400 followers already”.

The aim of the facebook page is to promote offers, advertise events and make more people aware of the businesses in Birstall. Since the first meeting the number of businesses participating has grown from 15 to 28 – these include Butlin Property

Services, TJ Cycles, Birstall Pet Supplies, Glenwood Interiors, Birstall Fruit and Veg shop and Do My Hair. The group is planning a vintage style fair in the spring and is investigating a Birstall wide loyalty scheme that would reward shoppers with a discount. Each of the businesses has a ‘shop local’ poster and Shona has designed an A5 poster to try to deter theft with the message : no cash or charity tubs are left on the premises overnight – these premises are monitored by Birstall Business Watch. A number of break-ins or attempted break-ins along Sibson Road has worried business owners. BBC are looking at ways of improving security by extending CCTV and keeping street lighting on overnight, and they have been consulting with local Police and a security firm. They are also looking at ways of encouraging collaboration with each other. Charlotte said: “One of the aims of the group is to meet and discuss ways of working together. Already Filigree Heart has worked with Ruby Tuesdays and at the White House we have teamed up with the Posy Bowl for our Christmas table decorations and MDW fireplaces have supplied and fitted a new fire for us. There are many more collaborations planned.” The next meeting of the group is on January 23, which will be attended by representatives from the Parish and Borough Councils and the Police. Any business that would like to join BBC can contact Shona at Filigree Heart on Sibson Road and any readers with ideas for the group can email or visit Shona. Lots of opportunities to perform throughout the year Dance for fun or train to a pre- professional standard in a friendly, welcoming environment Graded Examination classes in Ballet, Tap, Modern, Lyrical, Acrobatics from aged 2 upwards.

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Charity’s new HQ A NATIONAL cancer charity has opened its new headquarters at The Sidings, off Red Hill Way. Mesothelioma UK is a specialist resource centre, specifically for the asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma. The charity was previously located at Glenfield Hospital, part of the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust. The new headquarters at Greenacres, The Sidings, were opened by HM LordLieutenant of Leicestershire, Jennifer, Lady Gretton at a special ceremony on 15 December 2017. She said: “I am delighted to be asked to open the new headquarters building. I have followed the work of Mesothelioma UK for many years now and the services they provide are vital in improving the care available to sufferers of this awful disease. “I am looking forward to being able to share in the excitement of moving to these dedicated premises and meeting the many people who have made it possible.” Liz Darlison, Director of Mesothelioma UK, and Consultant Nurse at University Hospitals Leicester NHS Trust, said: “Our new offices will enable Mesothelioma UK to grow in order to provide im-

proved support and information across the UK specifically for mesothelioma. The charity provides a freephone helpline for all, a benefits advisor service, fundraising and administration, funds research, national audit and a team of specialist nurses based in NHS hospital across the UK. “These are exciting times in terms of mesothelioma treatment, care and the availability of clinical trials across the UK. We are pleased to focus on ensuring that every corner of the UK is informed about all treatment opportunities and are determined to ensure equitable access for all affected by the disease.” Mesothelioma affects around 2,500 people per year in the UK, the highest incidence in the world. Mesothelioma UK provides specialist mesothelioma information, support and education, improving care and treatment for all UK mesothelioma patients and their carers. The charity also funds a team of 18 clinical nurse specialists across the UK. Pic: HM Lord-Lieutenant of Leicestershire, Jennifer, Lady Gretton (in red) cutting the ribbon to officially open the Mesothelioma UK offices.

NHW news

& crime report THE FIRST Neighbourhood Watch scheme in Birstall was established by a small group of concerned residents in 1990 and grew to become a force to be reckoned with in both villages. It made itself known by running campaigns such as National Crime Prevention Week, establishing open meetings and offering services such as property post-coding and security advice. The structure that has emerged is one of over 150 individual schemes that cover over 3000 households, coordinated by an elected committee. An annual voluntary subscription of One Pound per household funds our activities. This has remained the same over many years, despite inflation. We operate an Advice Line that is used by residents to report concerns. We always advise callers to report crimes to the Police directly but when it seems appropriate will also pass on the information ourselves. We frequently receive calls from vulnerable residents worried about cold-callers who have visited their homes. We produce a monthly newsletter that is delivered to all members and our website: gives contact details, advice and the latest news about crime in the area. An email service sends this information on a daily basis to those who chose to sign-up to it. We also have a presence on Facebook. For well over ten years we have been running an Advice Shop for two hours on the morning of the third Saturday in the

month. It offers various security devices for the home, either at cost price or free of charge, as well as leaflets, door stickers, crime prevention advice and post-coding. A key feature of our activities is the close liaison we enjoy with the local Police. The Advice Shop is held adjacent to the Police Office and is combined with the Beat Surgery, so that visitors have the opportunity to speak informally and in private to a Police Officer. The Watch has provided the Beat Team with items such as mobile telephones and computer equipment to help with their duties specifically in our area. It has also acquired CCTV equipment that can be used on a temporary basis in homes that are subject to targeted criminal activity. On two occasions recently, we have operated a local Speed Watch campaign on behalf of the Parish Council. It has given us its constant support and assistance that enables the Watch to operate as it does. We are always looking for new volunteers to help with and expand our activities. If you are interested, you can contact us by email: or by phone: 0116 267 6397. From Birstall & Wanlip NHW

REPORTED CRIME in November has fallen compared to last month, with a total of 40 crimes being reported. The number of burglaries has fallen to 5 (down from 10 in October) and we have also seen a reduction in the number of vehicles being broken into, down from 13 in October to just 6 this month, which is obviously positive. Let’s hope that this downward trend continues & that the people responsible have moved away from the Birstall area, however please remember to continue to lock your car when it is left unattended and remove any valuable items from it. We have had 10 ‘other thefts’ reported this month, however the vast majority of these are ‘drive-off’s’ from the Petrol Station (vehicles driving away without paying for fuel) of which there have been 7. Damage to vehicles has remained the same as in October with a total of 4 offences being

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reported, 3 of which happened in one night (7th – 8th) on Colindale Avenue. Lastly, there have been 2 drugs offences recorded this month. These were as a result of another drugs warrant that we completed in the village, which I will speak about later in the report. For further crime information please visit: Crime Prevention Advice A lot of people regularly ask us about CCTV and whether it is worth installing it at their property? CCTV can be a good deterrent however please consider the following: 1) Cameras set high up under the eaves will only get a picture of the top of someone’s head, which is not very useful if they are wearing a hooded top. Consider siting them lower down so that they are more likely to get a facial image. 2) Burglars will often ring the bell or knock the door first to see if there is anyone home, so the ‘doorbell cameras’ you can buy are a really good idea. They are relatively inexpensive to buy & can be linked to your phone, allowing you to see, & get a picture of who is calling. 3) Remember that you get what you pay for. If you pay £50 for a CCTV system the chances are the cameras will be poor quality and will give a poor, grainy image which will be of little use! 4) You must ensure that your system does not look into other people’s property. Neighbourhood update This month we have completed some further speed checks on Greengate Lane. In just under 2 hours we had a total of 351 vehicles through the site and we had cause to stop just 5 drivers for excess speed, all of which were verbally warned. As stated above, we have also completed another misuse of drugs act warrant this month following

Pupils sing with choir PUPILS FROM Riverside School performed in St James’ Church along with Cantamici Choir on Saturday December 2. The children serenaded the audience with On a Starry Night and Calypso Carol, both with instrumental backing. Their nod to numeracy with the Twelve Days of Christmas displayed great concentration on their smiling faces. Ms Trickitt had the pupils well drilled in performance. In the second half of the concert, the pupils sang Silent Night and thoroughly enjoyed performing Rocking Around the Christmas Tree, as did the audience listening to it. Everyone enjoyed the singing of the Cantamici ladies performing Britten’s Ceremony of Carols with harp accompaniment. Indeed, Rowena Bass was able to show off the wonderful sound of the harp when she played a solo in the second half. The theme tune from The Vicar of Dibley was sung by the choir to round off the first half. Gabriel’s Message was performed to a jazzy arrangement by Jonathan Rathbone, not the norm usually heard in churches. Cantamici also paid lip service to local maestro Sir Malcolm Sargent with his arrangement of the Cowboy Carol with the gentlemen recreating the sound of banjos around the camp-fire. The event was entitled Sweet Jesu which is the name of the recently released Christmas cd by Cantamici, available from Proceeds from the concert are to be donated to SENSE, the charity for deafblind people. This is such a worthy cause and has been working with individuals with such disabilities for over 50 years. Grateful thanks to everyone who attended this splendid event supporting both choirs, the charity and also Jane Scott and her assistants. Cantamici will be singing the services at Ripon Cathedral after Easter in 2018 though the choice of music will be more traditional. Everyone welcome. From D Necklen

information being received about a male being involved in dealing drugs. A quantity of what we believe to be cannabis was found and a male has been arrested for drugs offences. He has been interviewed & released at this time whilst we conduct further enquiries. Meet your local police team; Sibson Road Beat Office. Saturday 20th January (10am – 12pm).

Crime Report: Birstall, Nov 2017 Assaults – 7 Burglary dwelling – 5 Burglary non-dwelling – 1 Damage to vehicles – 4 Other criminal damage – 2 Drugs offences – 2 Fraud offences – 1 Public order – 0 Robbery – 0 Sexual offences – 0 Theft – 10 Theft of cycle – 0 Theft from vehicle – 6 Theft of vehicle – 2 From PC 1759 Dave Jaeckels, PCSO’s 6611 Mark Butler and 6552 Mo Musa. NL60 – Birstall Police Office. Tel: 0116 2677355 (Please note this is an advice line only – Please use 101 or 999 to report crime

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Doreen Morris

band also have a large family. Doreen and Philip's youngest son Robin lives in Enderby and is close to Birstall. Philip and Doreen had eight grandchildren and ten great grandchildren. They are a very

REMEMBERING DOREEN Olive Morris 3rd March 1928 — 29th October 2017 In Doreen Morris, Birstall and Wanlip have lost a devoted mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, friend and well known member of the Methodist Church. Doreen also occasionally visited Wanlip Church. As an accomplished organist she was very well known and greatly loved. Her association in Birstall began in possiTHERE WAS quite a buzz at our December bowls club coffee morning. bly 1948 when a friend of Philip was celebrating his 21st Birthday Party; she In fact it was alive with anticipation had expected. became attached to her husband Philip and not just with the promise of mince It was great fun to watch and all who she married on the 2nd July 1949 pies and mulled wine. We have a regular thanks go to Joan Breward (pictured at the Methodist Church on Charnwood keep fit group on Tuesday mornings and third from left on front row), the inspiraRoad Shepshed. Doreen was born in as a Christmas treat they decided to put tion and mastermind of the group. Shepshed and Philip lived on Beechfield on a most entertaining display of some She has worked so hard instilling Avenue in Birstall. Philip was an active of their dance sequences. Everyone who precision and discipline into the team. tenor in the choir at Wanlip whilst Dohas watched Strictly knows how a few Everybody loves their Tuesday mornings reen was helping at the Methodist simple but well executed moves can and the work they have put in really Church from 1965. whip an audience to a frenzy of excitedoes show. Roll on next Christmas. I for Doreen was a deputy organist until ment. Well, I can tell you that everything one loved it. 1969 when she became the main leader From Roly Green, St Margaret's Co-operawe witnessed was way beyond anything I after Margaret Sibson retired. The origitive Bowls Club nal organ was a manual pipe organ and was situated behind the main centre screen. This was replaced with an Electric Allen Organ in 1973. In 1987, Philip became quite poorly and Doreen needed to retire from her position as organist to care for Philip, who sadly died in 1988. Doreen was very willing to return to the senior position and continued for a period of fifty-two years. This in itself is history and the service she provided over those years has been greatly appreciated. Doreen's family have always been very close. Rupert lived in London and they have quite a large family. Wendy lives in Brixton in Devon. Penny lives in Washington D.C. and she and her Doctor hus-

Buzz at bowls club

Downing St carols


A BIRSTALL musician conducted her children’s choir for a performance in Downing Street in December. Kathleen Shanks’ Capital Arts Children’s Choir were invited to sing Christmas carols while Prime Minister Theresa May switched on the Downing Street Christmas tree’s lights. Kathleen who lives on Elmfield Avenue, said: “It was very interesting to meet the Prime Minister and to spend time at number 10. We were there for a couple of hours before the performance and had high tea in the grand dining room, and for an hour afterwards, giving us an opportunity to look round number 10 and number 11 Downing Street. I had an email the next day from number 10, saying that the ‘choir was amazing’.

Pilot crashes on golf club A PARAGLIDER crashed into a tree on Birstall golf course as the pilot made a forced landing due to his engine cutting out. Powered paraglider pilots hang beneath a parachute type wing with a motorised fan attached to their backs. Witnesses described the pilot as having to make an emergency landing when his engine cut out and that he narrowly avoided hitting houses. Leicestershire Fire & Rescue were called to the scene at 2.15pm on December 22. The pilot was uninjured

close family and (I am fairly sure to say that) Penny has been the providing glue, that in these recent months, has kept this lovely family together. The funeral on the 21st November was very well supported. The Church was full and the Rev. Paula Hunt conducted the service. David Bark played the organ, but it had been Doreen's request that her 'exit music' should be Widor's Toccata' by the French Organist. Penny had requested that Simon Headley, an organist from the staff at Leicester Cathedral carried out this item. Simon had the congregation spellbound listening to this masterful piece. The volume was quite magnificent and appreciated. Now as a Christian, Doreen is at peace and at rest. We can add our prayers, sympathy and kind thoughts to all the family. Doreen enjoyed her life and on reflection, it would seem that Shepshed's loss in 1949 has always been Birstall's gain. God bless you, Doreen. From John Kilby.


Christmas fairs BIRSTALL RAINBOW Nursery on Wanlip Lane had a Christmas Fayre on December 2. Visitors were greeted by a spectacular snow blizzard as they entered the nursery where there were numerous stalls displaying tempting Christmas gifts and lots of different opportunities to test out skills at the game stalls. Santa visited accompanied by one of his elves and the younger children were delighted to discover yet more ‘snow’ play opportunities inside the nursery. After all that activity batteries were recharged by a range of refreshments and a visit to a cake stall brimming with home-made goodies. The afternoon came to a close with the raffle with lots of prizes generously donated by local businesses. “The Fayre was a huge success and the staff team are delighted to be making a donation to the neonatal unit at Leicester Royal” said spokeswoman Paula Wright. • Highliffe School’s Christmas fair was organised by the PTA and featured over 40 craft stalls, festive music and craft activities. • The Cedars Academy hosted its first Christmas Market in December, with a Santa’s grotto and live music.

Pics: the Cedars Christmas Market

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Burglars assault owners BURGLARS BROKE into a property on Curzon Avenue, assaulted the owners and stole cash and jewellery. The incident took place at 10.15pm on Monday December 4 while the occupants were in bed. Access to the property was made by the two male intruders forcing a bathroom window. They used bolt croppers to cut jewellery from the wrists of one of the victims, who needed hospital treatment. A police spokesman said: “During the burglary the two occupants of the house were assaulted but thankfully not seriously injured. Items stolen included cash and jewellery. The incident is being linked to other similar incidents across the county and investigations are ongoing.” Anyone with any information about this burglary should contact the police on 101. Home security advice to deter burglars: • fit a burglar alarm and activate the downstairs zones when you go to bed • fit CCTV to your house • fit security lights that come on when motion is detected • fit security locks on windows • a loud barking dog is an effective deterrent

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Pics: (this column) Rainbows Christmas Fair Pics: (this column) Highcliffe Christmas Fair

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Kids’ fruit & veg visit CHILDREN FROM Rainbow Nursery have been learning about fresh fruits and vegetables as the nursery teamed up with Birstall Fruit and Veg on Stonehill Avenue. As part of the nursery’s efforts to support local businesses, Rainbow has agreed to use the newly opened fruit and vegetable retailer and their supplier for fresh produce. The move is part of the nursery’s initiative to engage local businesses in a bid to teach the children more about their community. Visiting the greengrocers, the group of six pre-schoolers met with owner Demi who taught them about the different fruits and vegetables – including seasonable favourites such as sprouts and parsnips. Accompanied by their fruit and vegetable shaped teddies, the children chose a delicious courgette to be cooked back at the nursery as part of lunch.


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News from the churches WITH THE Christmas festivities over (and hopefully the snow!) we can start to consider what the New Year will bring us. Christian Unity One of the most important events in January, for the Churches Together in Birstall and Wanlip, is the week of Christian Unity which takes place from 18th - 25th January. As in previous years, the week will be marked by "frugal lunches" with all donations to Christian Aid. The first will be on January 20 at the Methodist Church and the second at St. Theresa's on Jan 23 (both at 12.30pm). If you wish to take part in either of these events please sign up to the list in any of the churches. On Wednesday 24th at 7.30pm there will be a service at St. James followed by refreshments, to which all are welcome.

Film night Looking forward a little further, the next very popular film night at St. James will be on February 7, when the recently released film "Victoria and Abdul" will be shown. There is no charge for this entertainment and refreshments are available at the interval.

Keep In Touch The free magazine produced quarterly at St. James "Keep in touch" is now available in its winter edition from either St James Church in Birstall or Wanlip church.

Confirmation Anyone who would like to be confirmed into the Anglican church is invited to contact the Rector, Vince Jupp on 2674517 to join the confirmation course which will be starting on 8th February. From Birstall Parish Churches

this year, as we were able to remove all the chairs and use the whole of the main church for displays and stalls. This was as well as using the concert hall and other spaces for many other local groups. We managed to raise over £7300, and also nearly £600 for the Defence National Rehabilitation Centre. We would like to give a huge thank you to all those who volunteered to help, make, bake, etc.

Memorial Service Aside from the preparation and celebration of Advent, in December we held our annual Memorial Service, for those who have been touched by a bereavement. This year over fifty people attended this valuable time of reflection and remembrance. In January we will be holding a Covenant service, for anyone who would like to renew their commitment to God. Whether it is a rededication of your personal faith, your serving the church or community, or maybe something new you would like to promise to God, do feel free to come along. For two Sunday evenings in January we will be holding informal worship in one of the smaller rooms. It is an opportunity to sit together in a cosy environment on cold winter evenings, to chat together, get to know people, and experience worship in a different way.

Methodist Women in Britain - carol service and Christmas party These groups of ladies were very busy in in early December. We would like to say a huge thank you to all those who helped make these events such a success, whether it was decorating the church, playing music, taking part in the service, or bringing food for the festivities. The seventy people in the carol service enjoyed a mix of carols, traditional

Pews We have now removed all the pews from the church, having managed to find homes for them in other organisations, and replaced them with our lovely new chairs. This means our Walk in the Light project can now move on to the final phase, by creating a new pedestrian walkway through the car park, and having a lockable cycle storage rack outside.

Christmas The Christmas Festival was a great success

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bible readings and narrative accounts of some biblical characters, taking us through some of the main events of Jesus birth. Special thanks to Rev Paula Hunt for her meaningful prayers, cheerful support and special blessing at the end. Also we managed to raise £130 for Inter Care – a medical aid charity for sub-Saharan rural areas. In the following week we had our Christmas party in the Coffee Shop, and we magically transformed it into an amazing Ice Palace. It looked very cold, so it was a good thing the heating was on while we had our feast-full sustenance and sing-along afterwards!

like to hear these lectures but are not able to 19 attend, then they can be downloaded from the Chapel’s website: For further information about BIBC please ring 0116 2214883. From Anne Taylor, Birstall Independent Baptist Church

Christmas Bazaar

Memory Lane Afternoon Teas & the Luncheon Club Twenty people came along to our special afternoon tea in December. Cakes of every description were provided by the team of

Our Christmas Bazaar took place on December 9. Thanks go to the organisers, those who donated items ,made cakes and knitted items for sale and, of course, to all those who came and made the event such a success.


volunteers; we had monologues and Christmas music – some wore halos and played percussion instruments. This bi-monthly group meets in the Coffee Shop, to help those with memory loss and their friends. Our next ‘get together’ will be in February – look out for the publicity in the Coffee Shop.

Nativity On Wednesday 13 December 68 people of the Lunch Club were delightfully entertained by the Methodist Pre-School. The Nativity story was recounted by our Minister Rev Paula Hunt, there were adequate numbers of donkeys, sheep, camels, shepherds and wise men, all attending the stable where Mary and Joseph had their special baby Jesus in a manger. Many thanks to the Pre-School staff for all their hard work encouraging the children to sing the Christmas songs and act out the story. The people attending the Luncheon Club really enjoyed the entertainment, and there were a lot of smiling faces in the audience! Afterwards we enjoyed a delicious Christmas meal together and some Christmas songs with Eileen and John – thanks to everyone who made this possible. I nearly forgot, we also had a visit from Father Christmas; well we are all young at heart! From Birstall Methodist Church New Year All at BIBC wish you a very Happy New Year and hope that you may know every blessing in 2018. A New Year is a time for beginnings, so if you haven’t yet joined with us for one of our services, may we encourage you to do so? You can be assured of a warm welcome. Also, you may like to find out more about Christianity by attending the free, short course which we offer. For details of this ‘Introduction to Christianity’ course, please contact the number below. Sunday Services and New Venue From January 7, 2018 we are moving our Sunday services to Room PT1 in The Palmer Tomkinson Centre at The Cedars Academy, Wanlip Lane, Birstall (LE4 4GH). The services start at 10.45am. A Sunday School for junior children is available during the service. Our visiting speaker on January 28 will be Pete Harrison (Thurlaston). We would like to thank all the staff members at Highcliffe Primary School who have been so friendly and helpful over the years: it has been much appreciated. Evington Chapel Lectures The third lecture in the series on ‘Stars of the Reformation’ will be given by Roland Burrows (Cradley Heath, West Midlands) on January 20 at 7pm and the subject is ‘John Calvin’ (1509-1564). Admission is free and all are welcome. The chapel is situated on High Street, Evington, LE5 6FH. If you would

We held our Christmas Concert on December 17 featuring our choir and musicians(conducted by Chris Lowe) along with local group Turlough. The audience enjoyed a varied programme of carols, Christmas songs and poems, joining in heartily with those well known to them! Chris Lowe was also on duty as Director of Music for the Leicestershire Catholic Schools carol concert at De Montfort Hall, in aid of Menphys on December 8th. Co-compere for the evening was Brian Kennedy from Sacred Heart, Rothley. A number of our young parishioners sang with choirs from Bishop Ellis School (Thurmaston) English Martyrs School (Leicester) de Lisle School (Loughborough) and Ratcliffe College (Ratcliffe on the Wreake).

Christmas After four weeks of Advent preparation, our Christmas services commenced with the Crib service on Christmas Eve, which saw excited youngsters performing a spirited and moving version of the Nativity story under the enthusiastic direction of Katie Lowe. In the evening, we celebrated the first of the Christmas Masses. Thanks go to our teams of flower arrangers for beautifully decorating both churches for Christmas and to all those who made the celebrations so joyful. From St Theresa’s, Birstall

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Birstall BAG’s cancer corner MANY PEOPLE believe that getting cancer is purely down to genes, fate or bad luck. But through scientific research, we know that our risk actually depends on a combination of our genes, our environment and things to do with our lifestyle, which we’re more able to control. What causes cancer? Cancer is caused by damage to our DNA, the chemical instructions that tell our cells what to do. Things we come into contact with in our environment, such as UV rays, or through our lifestyle, such as the cancer-causing chemicals in tobacco, can damage our DNA. This damage can build up over time. If a cell develops too much damage

to its DNA it can start to grow and multiply out of control – this is how cancer starts. Lifestyle changes can prevent cancer In the UK, more than 1 in 2 people will develop cancer at some point in their lives. Every year, more than 350,000 people are diagnosed with the disease. But experts estimate that more than 4 in 10 cancer cases could be prevented, largely through lifestyle changes. That’s 140,000 cancers that may not have happened if people had chosen a more healthy lifestyle. Healthier lifestyle As we start a new year and make plans for the year ahead. We urge readers to think about a healthier lifestyle, make a change that could lessen your

chances of developing cancer. The changes that can make a measurable difference include:• not smoking • keeping a healthy bodyweight • eating a healthy, balanced diet • cutting back on alcohol • enjoying the sun safely • keeping active It is also worth saying that doing what you can to avoid certain infections (such as HPV or hepatitis) can also help with cancer preventions as can being safe at work. With this in mind, once again here’s to a happy and healthy 2018. For further information: University Hospitals of Leicester Cancer Information Centre on 0116 258 6189 For more information on the funds we have raised, projects we support and forthcoming events see Contact the BAG’s by email

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Wreath making workshop BIRSTALL FLOWER Club had their Christmas Open evening at the end of November. National NAFAS flower demonstrator Tony Brown came to wow members and guests with some of his wonderful designs. Not everyone was lucky enough to win a raffle prize of the flowers demonstrated but those who did were thrilled with their prize. Tony Brown created some outstanding and inspiring arrangements. The Club also ran a hamper raffle which was for their chosen charity - Admiral Nurses. Birstall Flower Club also ran two wreath making workshops in the Village Hall – one in the afternoon and another in the evening. After tuition from Mrs Sylvia Simes, everyone enjoyed being “hands on” and 48 people enjoyed making their own fresh door wreath, with a little help and guidance from some members of the Flower Club. Carols played and the atmosphere was very festive. Birstall Flower Club would like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year. If you are interested in joining the Club, please contact Sylvia (0116 2674206) or Mary (07704398017) or visit our Facebook page: BirstallFlowerClub. It is our AGM on 24/01/18 which is Club business, followed by our “Giant Picnic”. From Birstall Flower Club

Pic: some of the attendees of the wreath making workshop

WI news 35 LADIES met for the last time at Highcliffe School on December 4. Members told us about various trips that had been made including seeing Scrooge at the Curve, and Federation Christmas outings to Harrowgate and Chatsworth. Plans for our 100th year activities continue and on February 24 we are inviting guests from various community groups to a social gathering at Birstall Methodist Hall. Leicestershire and Rutland Federation will also be celebrating their centenary ACM at Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome on March 10th where the speakers will be Lady Gretton, Mandy Hickson and John Craven of Countryfile. Despite the ice and snow some of us managed to enjoy our Christmas dinner at the White Horse and monthly Crafting and Chatting sessions are still continuing at Cedar Mews Care Home. 2018 promises to be a very interesting year for Birstall and Wanlip WI with a new location and extra centenary celebrations. We meet again on January 8 at our new venue the Royal British Legion on Front Street at 7pm. From Birstall & Wanlip WI

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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.

AMLI DESIGN Architectural Consultancy. Plans drawn and submitted. Extensions, conversions, new build. David Ives B.Sc.(Hons) FBEng MCIOB 0116 2674395 / 07974807111

Planning P/17/2487/2: 37 Worcester Ave – erection of single storey extension to rear P/17/2535/2: 33 Church Hill – increase height of existing boundary wall from 1.250metres to 1.900 metres to front of dwelling P/17/2471/2: 16 Ashmead Crescent – conversion of garage into living accommodation and single storey extension to front of dwelling. Erection of single storey extension to side and pitch roof over existing single storey flat roof to side of dwelling P/17/2459/2: 115 Allington Drive – installation of cladding to front of dwelling P/17/2460/2: 21 Church Hill – removal of 3 conifer trees (conservation area notice)

The Feb issue of

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