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the Birstall post Y O U R




Magic of Cinderella THE NEW Palmer Tomkinson Centre was the venue for the Faces Arts annual pantomime, performed to a sell-out audience of 238 people. Children aged between 9 and 15 brought the magic of Cinderella to the new theatre in the first of a series of planned shows by the local performing arts company based in Birstall. Faces Arts proprietor, Jody Chesterton was delighted both with the performance and the new venue. She said: “The new theatre is a

wonderful facility for local children and Faces Arts will be hosting a series of shows there during 2012, including a pantomime next Christmas.” Faces Arts drama classes are held once a week and children have been working on the Continued on page 3

Pics: The cast of Cinderella, & top, Charlotte Boyall as the Fairy Godmother

No. 342

Birstall secures grants THREE COMMUNITY projects have received grants after successfully bidding for County Council funding. Birstall secured £13,017, awarded by the local Area Forum, which covers Bradgate, Rothley, Mountsorrel and Birstall. The successful projects were: • £3050 for Carl Gunns boxing gym. To support the gym’s training programme and to purchase a portable ring. • £4200 for Birstall Parish Council’s Youth Café. To create a counselling room within the new pavilion extension, furniture and safety flooring. The counselling will enable the café to become a registered centre for pregnancy testing, chlamydia testing and for storing confiContinued on page 3

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Parish Council notes A FULL meeting of Birstall Parish Council was held on December 12. Cllr David Gaskell reported that a bid for funding for a mobility scooter storage building at Riversdale Court had been successful. It was reported that Matt Bagley from the Multi Agency Travellers Unit would be invited to speak at the Council’s January or February meeting. Chairman Stuart Jones reported that he had been impressed with the quality of the designs produced by local schools for a mural at the Birstall park and ride terminal building. The council is pursuing Quality Status and agreed to approve and adopt a Community Engagement Strategy and a Statement of Intent re Training and Development. The Council agreed its precept for 2012/13 as £376,953. The precept is the Parish Council component of the Council tax. This is an increase of £25,809 on this year’s precept, or 7.35%. The increase per household will be lower because of the increased number of dwellings in the parish. Cllr Julian Howe commented that the largest component of the precept was wages for Parish Council staff at £251,000 and that this needs to be itemised to consider where savings could be made. Comment was made that it was important to preserve and maintain the council’s assets and that youth initiatives and village events like the gala should continue to be supported. The Council agreed that Birstall’s Charnwood Borough Councillors, who are all Conservative councillors, be charged the full hire rates when using the Parish Council’s 10 Sibson Road Building for their monthly surgeries, held on the last Saturday of the month

from 10 to 12noon. Comment was made that the Harrowgate Drive playing field should be shut at dusk and not at the advertised time of 7.30pm. The closing time will be put on the agenda of the January meeting. Council staff have become concerned at the amount of cars parking

dential documents. • £5767 for Riverside Court. To provide a covered area for mobility scooters. A further £1983 was awarded to the annual Christmas Day lunch in Anstey, which provides a five course meal for around 70 elderly, infirm and lonely people. In 2010 the Area Forum awarded £5000 to Birstall pool for a pool cover.

WOULD YOU like an allotment? Birstall Parish Council has vacancies on two sites in the village: Meadow Lane and Greengate Lane. If you are interested and would like to put your name forward for the vacant plots or to be put on the waiting list for the future, please contact: Birstall Parish Council, Council Offices, Birstall Road, Birstall, Leicester LE4 4DH. Tel: 0116 2676191 or email:

HUNDREDS OF people attended Birstall’s Christmas lights switch on event. Organised by Birstall Parish Council at the Sibson Road car park, the crowds were entertained by carols performed by Birstall Brass before Santa switched on the lights. Those seeking to warm up made their way to the Village Hall which was full of craft stalls to tempt Christmas shoppers. Pic: Helping Santa turn on the lights are Parish Cllrs Neville Mayes (left) and Pat Cleere

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Cinderella continued from page 1 pantomime since October. Jody added: “I’m very proud of all the children who took part and I know they thoroughly enjoyed their performance and the new facility. I would also like to thank the local community for their incredible support – there wasn’t a spare seat in the house.” Faces Arts also hosts theatre school classes on Saturday mornings for children aged between 4-16, after school drama and dance sessions and shake up toddler sessions. For more information on Faces Arts, contact Jody Chesterton on 07971423201 or visit the website


Festive lights

P. MOORE Grants continued from page 1

on the tarmac outside the Council offices at the Village Hall. They sometimes block the pavement and there are safety issues when they reverse out onto the road. Suggestions include removable bollards, seating, noticeboards and a flowerbed. It was agreed to take advice from Charnwood’s Conservation officer.


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Longslade College seeks Academy status LONGSLADE COLLEGE is seeking to become an Academy and has started a consultation process to find out the views of the community. Academies are publicly funded independent schools that aim to raise educational standards. Academy schools were originally set up under Tony Blair’s Labour government and were aimed at boosting standards in the poorest areas. The Coalition government has made conversion to Academy status easier, so that every school can become an academy by allowing existing schools that are strong performers to work in partnership with weaker schools. Academy schools have: • freedom from local authority control • the ability to set their own pay and conditions for staff • freedoms around the delivery of the curriculum • the ability to change the lengths of terms and school days. In total there are now 1463 academies in England. 842 schools converted in 2010/11. In Leicestershire nine schools have gained academy status since August while another 17 have expressed their intentions to become academies by the start of the 2012 academic year.

Academies receive their funding directly from the Young People’s Learning Agency, part of the Department for Education, instead of the local authority. They receive additional money to cover the services that are no longer provided for them by the County Council – these include behaviour support, school improvement and central administrative staff. Academies are free to buy in these services, if needed, from alternative suppliers. Although the Government maintains that Academy schools enjoy no funding advantages over traditional local authority schools, many receive a big funding bonus. A survey of 1471 secondary schools published by the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) in March 2011 found 72% citing financial gain for the school as a reason for pursuing academy status. A report by the Financial Times in December 2011 revealed that an average secondary school, teaching 1,000 pupils which converted to an academy at the start of 2010/11, would have received an

extra £118,000, while others may have received more than £300,000. The Government has accepted that the overpayments are the result of flaws in the way the grant for providing services previously supplied by the local authority is calculated, and says there are plans to reform it for 2012/13 to make it fair and transparent. The Academies policy is paid for by reducing the amounts given to local authorities : a reduction of £148 million in 2011/12 and £265million in 2012/13. The 2012/13 figure is expected to rise because of the greater than anticipated numbers of conversions to academy status. As demand for services previously provided by the County Council falls as more schools convert to academies, local authority jobs are expected to be lost. The extension of the academies programme builds on some of the Government’s key priorities for education – to promote innovation and diversity in the schools system, to give power and freedom back to heads and teachers, and to raise school standards by getting the highest performing institutions to help the weakest to improve. Speaking before an event with academy headteachers, Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Improving education is central to our reform agenda and we are committed to giving governors, headteachers and teachers more control over how they run their schools. We know they are best placed to decide how to give their pupils the best possible education and that is why we are encouraging more schools to become academies.” Longslade College is inviting views on its intention to become an academy. You can email, submit views via the website or write to the Principal, Ms Liz Hall. The deadline is 12noon, Friday January 13.


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Winning skittles team A FATHER and daughter knocked down the opposition at a skittles evening run by Birstall Watermead Tennis Club.

Spencer Wesson and eight year old Ruby (pictured) were joint winners by the end of the evening held at the Blue Bell Inn, Rothley. If Ruby ever proves as handy with the tennis racket as she did with the cheeses, she could one day be a smash hit on the courts. The club is always looking for new members to build on its successful competitive and social activities. For more information, contact club coach Laura Morley on 07742 249807. The next event on the club calendar is the Winter Team Shield from January until March.

Caught quitting LEICESTERSHIRE POLICE is advising motorists to stick with their vehicles as they clear ice and snow from windows – or they could be left out in the cold. Motorists could be fined receiving a £30 fixed penalty notice and be prosecuted under the Road Traffic Act offence of 'quitting' which is when a person leaves their vehicle's engine running while they are not in it. Inspector Gill Lewis, Head of the Roads Policing Unit at Leicestershire Police said, “With automotive security getting better all time, it’s becoming very difficult to steal a vehicle without having the keys. Thieves are wise to this and target people who leave their cars running with keys in the ignition. “You wouldn’t leave £30,000 in the road for someone to steal. Yet it’s surprising how many people will leave their cars defrosting unattended at the side of the road. If you are defrosting your car, make sure it is not left unattended.”





Schools help create mural TEAMS OF students from all of Birstall’s schools pitched their ideas to a panel of judges, impressing them with their designs for a mural that will be installed at the Birstall park and ride terminal building.

The students participating were (pictured, clockwise from top): • Longslade: Melissa Purdom, Lily Viney, Robyn Howgill, Sarah Olsen, Joshua Talor, Ocean Murning & David Collison with Head of Art Cath Kinder • Riverside: Grace McGreal, Khyati Bhatt, Megan Lee, Joseph Whyman, Neel Bhogaita, Jemima MontagueMason, Ryan Schlaophoff, Lydia Bonshor • Stonehill: Esther Gbadeyan, Deborah Gbadeyan, Shea Smith, Charlie Brown, Alex Marriott, Jade Pearce • Highcliffe: Amy Diyar, Laura MayohSmith, Bryony O’Connor, Katie Hunter, Samiya Sharma, Thomas Beames, Amalie Mukete, Alex Pole Centre Pic: the judges deliberate Bottom Pic: some of the designs

The project is being led by the Midlands Highways Alliance, in partnership with Tarmac/Carillion. Project co-ordinator Claire Randall said: “This has been a unique engagement project with the local community. All the schools in Birstall have really got behind what we are trying to achieve and we hope that as a result the legacy left by the mural will have an impact on the Birstall community for years to come.” The students were given the theme of the history of Birstall and their designs incorporated John Hannah VC, local buildings, transport, the Lawn cinema, the War memorial, the old forge, the watermill and the Beast of Birstall. The mural will be installed in Spring 2012.

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Long walk to school Brigade celebrate 50th 1ST BIRSTALL Girls’ Brigade celebrated its 50th anniversary at a special service in November at Birstall Methodist Church. The company was founded in 1961 with Mrs Jean Yates as Captain and Mrs Pat Lomax, Mrs Mary Hayman and Mrs Brenda James as officers. Each section took part in the service, the Explorers and Juniors sang, the Seniors performed drama and the Brigaders rang hand bells. The company meets at Birstall Methodist Church and caters for girls from age 5 upwards. If you would like any further information please ring Susan Wheeler on Leicester 2209318. Pics: (bottom) he first enrolment service in 1961, (top) the girls and leaders who took part in the celebration service in November, with Mrs Jean Yates, founder Captain, on the left.

FREE SCHOOL transport has been withdrawn from 28 pupils in Rothley who will now have to walk to school in Birstall along the A6. The County Council says it must apply its school transport policy consistently within the county and has written to the families of 84 pupils in Leicestershire after carrying out distance checks of available walking routes. Children are entitled to free school transport if they live above the qualifying distance from their catchment school – three miles for secondary school pupils and two miles for primary age pupils. The move will see the Council save £42,000 a year. Some parents of affected pupils in Rothley are worried about the safety of the route and the time it takes to walk. Diane Hardy has two sons who go to Stonehill school. She said: “Walking along a dual carriageway with traffic going at 70mph is too dangerous. I am BIRSTALL PARISH Council will submit an appli- especially concerned about children crossing the slip road where traffic exits cation for Quality Status later this month. the A6 for Rothley. The Quality Parish and Town Council scheme was “It takes an hour and a quarter to launched in 2003. It aims to provide benchmark minimum walk, so if I accompany my children, standards for parish and town councils, and improve the that will take me five hours a day. I quality of management and administration. appreciate that the County have to make To qualify, councils must pass several tests. These are: some savings but putting children’s safety at risk in not on.” • Electoral mandate – at least two The County says a route “…is availathirds of councillors must have been ble if it is a route along which a child, elected accompanied as necessary [by an adult] • The clerk must have obtained the certificate in Local Administration qualifi- can walk with reasonable safety to school.” cation The County has offered affected par• Council meetings – draft minutes ents seats on the school bus for £400 must be published within two months of per pupil per year. meetings Parents can appeal the County’s deci• Communication and community sion and five appeals have so far been engagement – councils must have a website, email address, list council mem- submitted. A County spokesman said: “These have not generated any reassessbers and provide contact details, and product their own newsletter or contrib- ment as they haven’t flagged up any material changes or new issues not conute to an existing community newsletter. sidered in the assessments carried out in • Annual report and accounts summer 2010”. • Code of Conduct • Promoting local democracy and citizenship • Training both staff and elected members Parish Clerk Steve Blackburn said: “Obtaining Quality Status promotes public confidence in the Council from the community and from other local authorities, who may be looking to Parish Councils to take over some of the services they currently provide. Pick-up & “It will make us more responsive to delivery service the community, more accountable and available better able to represent the wishes of the local community.” in Birstall www.birstall.leicestershireparishcounc Call Steve

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Christmas story if Birstall were Bethlehem LOCAL PEOPLE featured in a series of Christmas posters. Devised by Methodist Minister Rachel Parkinson, they aimed to make us consider which people in Birstall might take on the familiar Christmas roles if Jesus was born today. Amongst those taking part, Martin Bolton, a local postman, featured as the Angel Gabriel on account of their both delivering news; Meg Young, crossing patrol guide at Riverside Primary School was portrayed as the guiding star and the staff of Birstall Tandoori Takeaway stood in as Magi from the East. Dawn, landlady of the Earl of Stamford who featured as the Innkeeper, said: “I was really pleased to be asked to take part. The posters attracted a lot of comment from customers”. Rachel Parkinson said: “No matter how you approach the Christmas story, it has the power to ask us important questions about our community life in Birstall today. What ‘stars’ are we following to guide our way? What are we expecting in 2012, and who is delivering good news? My personal favourite is the poster showing the children of Birstall Special Needs playgroup as the choir of angels. To me that says, where is the joy and celebration in the village? It might not be in the places most people would expect.” The posters, designed by Jules Richards, were displayed in an empty shop on Sibson Road. Running alongside the poster project, over 150 adults and children took part in ‘Get in the Picture’ at the Methodist Church. People were invited to dress up as characters in the nativity and have their photo taken. Photos taken locally can be viewed at and by entering “Birstall, Leicester” in the search engine on the site. Pics: some of the posters & (bottom right): Gail, Megan, Faith and Paul Young ‘get in the picture’

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suggestion that I am and the poor impression this article gives of me. I hope the boy involved has made a speedy recovery and has not suffered any undue distress as a result of this accident but I do not accept any blame for it. Joe Bennett I apologise for any distress caused by this article. The report did not name the driver, identify any wrongdoing such as speeding, or apportion blame for the accident – The Editor

Forum funds I feel I must respond to Anne Godby’s letter ‘Poor Relative’ which was published in the December ‘Birstall Post’ in order to correct a significant error. It was disappointing to read that she is not satisfied with Birstall’s summer floral displays and the Christmas trees, both of which make a considerable contribution to the appeal of the shopping area in Sibson Road and Hannah Parade. Her main misapprehension is that the Parish Council has £15,000 to spend and this is not correct. This sum of money was I would like to complain about the available to the Bradgate, Rothley, article printed in the December edition Mountsorrel and Birstall Area Forum of Birstall Post titled ‘Child hit by car on which includes all of those places plus way to school’. It gives the impression Anstey and which has been allotted the that the car was speeding or driven money, to be bid for by any person or without regard for the safety of others. organisation in its area with a viable As the driver of the car I can assure you plan for community improvements. that this was definitely not the case. Some of this money (£4,200) is to I find it difficult to understand how come to Birstall Parish Council’s Youth anyone could have looked before crossCafe after a proposal to develop the ing the busy road and failed to see a car educational work of the youth workers. approaching them, but I am certain that A further £5,767 was successfully bid I was travelling well below the speed for by the Borough Councillors reprelimit and I did everything possible to senting Birstall to fund the building of avoid the collision. I am not sure what I secure storage for mobility scooters at was expected to do after the accident Riverside Court and £3,050 was allotted but the statement that I “just stood there” to Carl Gunn’s Gym for additional faciliwas most unfair and suggests a total lack ties for the good work he does with of concern. young people in Birstall. The balance of I appreciate that some drivers may £1,983 went to Anstey for the benefit of drive dangerously past the school, but I elderly people living there. These funds am not one of them and I resent the are part of a pool of grant money providThe 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:

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ed by the County Council, often for specific purposes. Mrs Godby and all residents can rest assured that the Parish Council will do what it can to bid for available funds for the benefit the residents of Birstall. Steve Blackburn Clerk to the Parish Council

Steam crane The Historic Steam Crane Society of London and Sydney, Australia seeks assistance in finding persons with knowledge of the steam crane makers and foundry engineers named ‘Joseph Jessop’, ‘The London Steam Crane & Engine Works’ and ‘Joseph Jessop and Son’ from about 1866 until about 1896, then becoming ‘Jessop & Appleby Bros’ until 1900 or so. Steam cranes made by Jessops were important throughout the world. One in New Zealand was made in 1898 and still in constant use loading coat at the end of the 1970s. It seems Joseph Jessop came to Leicester from Manchester about 1862, but nothing more is known of him. The obituary of George Jessop (1852-1907), Joseph Dessop’s son, says only that he was a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, and a member of the Engineering Employers’ Association. The Society proposes to publish a history on the steam cranes of Leicester, and their importance throughout the world, so wishes to make contact with anyone who can assist with family information, history of companies, drawings, photos of cranes and works, or anything which can help. They will pay all reasonable costs in advance, credit all copyright ownership and provide copies of the history when published to every respondent to this request. Contact in the first instance is to the research historian, whose email is Danea Cowell



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During the 40 years I have lived on Greengate Lane I have noted five children knocked down by vehicles either travelling too fast from the railway bridge, or by a child not properly controlled. These accidents would not have occurred had the children been taken to the crossing warden rather than crossing from outside my home, and I appeal to all concerned to consider these points and train children to use the crossing outside Highcliffe School for when they are allowed to go to school on their own. Speed humps have been mentioned to stop vehicles exceeding the limit but these would not be so urgently necessary if people kept their charges safe and ALL used the official school crossing. Short cuts are not a good idea, so please I implore you parents/minders etc to consider your position and “Keep Your Child Safe”. Roy Ewens 95 Greengate Lane

Thanks Thank you to everybody who supported the St Theresa’s Youth Group’s bag packing day at the Co-operative Store on December 10. Mark Hickenbotham, Youth Leader

Best in show Many thanks to all the members of the public who took the trouble to vote in Birstall & District Art Society ‘Best in Show’ at the annual exhibition. The winner was Michael Joyce with Charlestown. We know that the schoolchildren’s art work has been a great delight to us for the past several years but unfortunately the schools in Birstall are so very busy with their essential curriculum that there were no entries received from three of them for this event for the last two years. So it is with regret that there will be no school’s art competition in future. We would like to thank Riverside school and particularly Mrs Caroline Reynolds, a teacher there, for her support and interest in the competition. We shall continue to display art work by our own junior members. One of these, Maya Patel, this year won the society’s prize for the best pastel. Well done Maya! Mary Houghton, Hon Sec.


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I hesitate to write this letter because I believe that the people concerned have managed to pass their driving tests without being able to read English. I refer to an unfortunately large minority of people who drive cars; there are various examples I can give. To start with, for a short while Stonehill Road was reduced to one-way traffic with no access from Sibson Road. Whilst I can understand the driver who wanted access to the rear of the Sibson Road shops, the fact that three other drivers ignored the closure and drove at full speed in a convoy the wrong way along this road at that time does suggest either ignorance of a total disregard for safety. Fortunately there was nothing coming


the other way, for as any driver who uses that road knows, there is a blind bend just where the roadworks ended. Twice in the last week I have seen drivers come out of the slip road by the shops on the Loughborough Road, ignore the left-turn only sign for Sibson Road, and endeavour to join the queue of cars trying to gain access to Loughborough Road. Increasingly, as well, cars are parking in the busy bay outside Tesco, thereby forcing any bus stopping there to block the carriageway. And of course, there are still cars trying to turn into Bentley Road using the buses-only lane, thereby blocking the drive where my car is kept… but I won’t go into that – again. Dr D A C McNeil

Birstall pool I have read people’s views on facilities in Birstall, I know we have no leisure centre but we do have a good swimming pool called Birstall Longslade Swimming Pool tel: 0116 2673461. It has swimming lessons for all ages from early morning/evening/aquafit swimfit and one lunch time swim. All the swimming pool needs is people to come and use it. So this year give it a go. From a regular swimmer of the Birstall Swimming Pool Lesley Moore

Offensive I imagine if I stood 10 yards from a children’s playground, and shouted swear words at the top of my voice for 90 minutes on a Saturday afternoon, I would expect swift arrest and prosecution for offensive behaviour. Yet this is precisely what was happening on the afternoon of November 19 in the name of football. This was an organised game not a knockabout between youths, and in the 15 minutes I was there with my young daughter there must have been one profanity a minute directed at each other, the referee etc. Is it right that the park should be a no-go area to children on a Saturday? I think not. I cannot accept any argument that such behaviour is OK because it’s “the culture of the game”, it’s not OK at all near a play area, in this case the pitch should be moved away from the play area if the players really can’t help themselves. Name & address supplied

Horses I would like to write “on behalf of the horses” in the field off Netherhalll Lane, Birstall. My house backs on to the field off Netherhall Lane. I have lived here for 17 years and I have to say that I have never seen any incidents involving the public and the horses. In fact to the contrary. This summer, I witnessed a group of students from Stonehill School throwing stones and clods of earth at the horses. Unfortunately, people who walk through the field do not realise that animals react to routine. People who walk through the field often bring food to feed the horses, and as a consequence, anytime anyone walks through the field, the horses will approach the walker in the hope of a small snack. The bridle path across the field is not

much of a short cut from or to anywhere. If walkers want a country walk, then may be a stroll around the lakes might be a more suitable place to exercise. Name and address supplied

Lunch litter I wonder if the parents of some of the pupils at Longslade College are aware that the ones you send with packed lunches are throwing them away uneaten, still in the bags causing litter and mess, such a shame, when there are starving people all over the world. Concerned Resident

Yellow lines Very sad to read of the young boy being knocked down on Greengate Lane. I wish him well. It would be sensible to apply the 20mph zone at the start and finish of the school day. However a lot of the parents cause a great many hazards themselves when dropping off or picking up their children. Ambergate Drive for instance, it’s an accident waiting to happen. Cars are parked just inside the road opposite each other. Cars coming up Greengate wanting to turn right into Ambergate can find themselves head on with a car coming in the opposite direction that is having to travel through the middle of these parked cars. The time has come to have double yellow lines put in place. They could go down as far as the first two drives on either side thus allowing cars to negotiate the junction safely. Carol Withers Reprints of photos in


Noticeboard all details printed free Birstall Birdwatching Club Presents

The Natural History of Grace Dieu by Steve Woodward The area surrounding Grace Dieu Priory with its lovely woodland has been the subject of a major study by Steve and he tells us about his discoveries and their importance to county records. The Rothley Centre, Mountsorrel Lane, Rothley Tuesday January 10 at 7.30pm

An Introduction to Bird Ringing by Andy Smith What is bird ringing all about and where is it done? Andy spends a lot of time ringing birds at Watermead Park and also ringed ‘Ken’s swallows’ in Wanlip village. This fascinating subject tells us so much about birds and their survival The Rothley Centre, Mountsorrel Lane, Rothley Tuesday February 14 at 7.30pm Visitors welcome £2 Contact Ken Goodrich 0116 2674813 ••• St James 200 Club December winners: 1st No.22 Mrs June Crebbin £25 2nd No.111 Mr Brian Ward £15 3rd No.139 Mr Rod Hewitt £10 4th No.65 Mrs Betty Howard £5 Christmas Bonus No.63 Mrs Gerry Davies £5 •••


Film Presentations From Thurcaston & Cropston Parish Council

‘Water for Elephants’ Friday January 13 (120 mins) Based on a best selling novel, this film follows an unexpected romance between veterinary student, Jacob, and Marlena, the star performer in a circus. Their compassion for a special elephant shines through. Jacob is on the threshold of a huge career but for Marlena, the circus is her only life. Will her husband take revenge?

‘Larry Crowne’ Friday February 10 (99 mins) This romantic comedy stars Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts. After a successful career in the navy, everything is right in Larry’s life until hard times befall him. At his local college, in a public speaking class, on his journey of self discovery, Larry begins an interesting relationship with his teacher.

‘One Day’ Friday March 9 (107 mins)

‘Jane Eyre’ April 13 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. ••• Mountsorrel Methodist Church Presents the First in the Eleventh Series of Sunday Night @ Eight

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Continued on page 12 the

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Continued from page 11 Sunday January 15, at 8pm By Simon Headley Admission free Donations for the Church’s Development Fund Buffet from 7.30pm For further local and national concerts, visit •••

Birstall & District Local History Society The next meeting which will be the start of the 2012 programme begins with our AGM followed by a talk ‘Life on the Home Front WW2’ by Felicity Austin. The meeting commences at 7.30pm in the Birstall Village Hall, Birstall Road. Visitors are very welcome •••

Loughborough University Sleep and Lifestyle Study The Sleep Research Centre is currently recruiting for a new study looking at the impact of lifestyle choices on problems falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early in the morning The study is open to men and women aged over 40, who have problems with their sleep and who are not currently engaged in regular physical activity programmes If you would like to know more please contact Iuliana on 01509 223021 or email •••

Mini Market and Table Top Sale Saturday February 4, 2012 From 10am to 1pm

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At Birstall Methodist Church, Wanlip Lane, Birstall (tables @£10 each: tel. Mary 0116 2672606 Stalls include Made in Birstall (home made cakes & produce), Bric-a-Brac & Books, Tombola Coffee Shop open for refreshments •••

Birstall Royal British Legion Jan 7: Sharna (F/V) Jan 14: Paul Ravell (M/V) Jan 21: Shine (F/DUO) Jan 28: Mick Knight (M/V) Dancing every Saturday night with live entertainment Bingo Free Beer raffle and not forgetting Open the Box Every Tuesday night Bingo starting at 9.30pm Quiz nights Sunday Jan 8 & 29 starting at 9pm Acoustic night Sunday Jan 25 Rock & Roll nights Wednesday Jan 4 & 18 Families welcome Food available every Saturday 122pm & Bank Holiday Monday Wakes catered for •••

Birstall Methodist Garden Trail The 2012 Garden Trail will be in the Walker Road/Goscote Hall Road/Went Road area. A number of residents have already kindly agreed to open their gardens. If anyone else would like to join them please telephone 2677576. Proceeds this year will be shared with the prostate cancer charity ProstAid and the church •••

Three Day Festival of Steam

GCR Winter Gala Jan 27,28 & 29 Up to 10 locos in steam at one of the GCR’s biggest ever events Demonstrations of the turning table at Quorn Two locos on static display at Quorn for cab tours A display of passing freight and postal trains Timetables and fares at •••

Urgently needed! Spring and summer clothes For charity funday fashion show All clothes will eventually be donated or sold with proceeds going to local causes Clothes will be kindly received at: Revive Hair, Went Road & The Old Plough, Front Street For more info please call 0116 2674669 ••• Friday Feb 3

Fun Quiz Night St Theresa’s Hall To raise funds for our youth group commences at 7pm, payable on the door All welcome Saturday Feb 11 Coffee Morning Methodist Coffee shop in aid of the Samaritans Purse Shoe Box Appeal 10am to 12noon •••

The Feb issue of

THE BIRSTALL POST will be published on Feb 4. The copy deadline is Jan 20.

Church news Book now to see Jack & the Beanstalk Bookings are now open for seats at the 2012 Men’s Pantomime. It will run for five nights plus a Saturday Matinee during half-term week. The first night is Tuesday February 14. All tickets are £5 including small front row children’s seats (ideal for those aged under 10). Tel 2122513 for tickets. Bethlehem on Sibson Road Did you see the pictures of the Nativity story set out in the window of the empty carpet shop between the Dry Cleaners and the Shoe Repairers? Featuring local people, including Dawn from the Earl of Stamford (The Innkeeper) and Meg the Lollipop Lady (The Guiding Star). We are grateful for the use of the window – the pictures may still be there for a few more days. There was significance in the eviction notice which was also posted in the same window – no room at the Inn! Christmas Festival Result The Christmas Festival held at the end of November, raised a wonderful £7000 Part of this will go to ‘Smile Train UK’ a charity treating children with cleft lips and palates in developing countries. The church is grateful for the wonderful support given by so many Birstall folk, in so many different ways. Coffee Shop now open again The coffee shop re-opened on January 3 after the Christmas break. Re-cycling Opportunity On Sunday January 15, we shall be collecting items to recycle for money for church funds. Fill a bag with clothes, handbags, shoes books, bedding/towels (but not pillows or quilts) and leave in the church foyer. Reading the New Testament There is to be a Bible Reading challenge starting in January. A number of folk are to attempt to read the whole of the New Testament in just 30 days. The challenge starts on 8th January (at the Covenant Service). There will be support in the form of weekly meetings Mondays 2 to 3.30 (from January 16) and Thursdays 7.30 to 9pm (from January 12). From Tony Moore, Birstall Methodist Church ‘Happy New Year’ This wish is so often heard but, for many of us, the New Year frequently brings worries and uncertainties, whether these are personal, family, local, national or about global issues. Perhaps they are concerning job security or lack of employment; or financial anxieties and debts; or health problems; or relationship difficulties and loneliness; or concerns about the wars, famines and disasters in the world; or environmental worries. The list is seemingly endless. I am reminded of the words spoken by His Majesty King George VI in his Christmas broadcast in 1939, when, facing the dangers of World War II, he quoted from a poem by Minnie Louise Haskins: “I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year, 'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.' And he replied, 'Go into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.'” New beginnings At this time of year, when we make Continued on page 13


Having a splashing time GORGE WALKING with Ben Fogle was the highlight of a trip to the Lake District by Stonehill school pupils. Teacher Jocelyn Brown said: “They had a fantastic time hill walking, rock climbing, camping out overnight in a stone hut and, with the help of Ben Fogle, they went gorge walking.” Ben Fogle was there to endorse the concept of young people taking an active role in being responsible for the environment. He met all the students from the ten winning schools across the country. “The children were fantastic. They developed self confidence and determination to overcome every challenge they faced. The teamwork and support for each other grew as the week went on. It was a hard and challenging week, but one that the pupils will remember and take with them for a very long time” added Mrs Brown. The Stonehill students had won a national competition sponsored by npower by producing a video with an environmental theme. They chose to show the journey and carbon footprint of a supermarket egg. They then compared this to one of the eggs laid by the chickens on the small school farm at Stonehill which was set up through a Community Award from 3M Health Care in Loughborough. The pupils will continue to focus on the issues

they learnt concerning the environment and sustainability now they are back in Birstall. One area they particularly want to work on is the ongoing battle against litter. Pic: teacher Jocelyn Brown with Ben Fogle

BIRSTALL PARISH Council has agreed a budget of £376,953 for the year 2012/13.

Continued from page 12 new resolutions and new beginnings, why not join us for one of our services? We meet on Sunday mornings at 10.45 a.m. at the Community Room, Highcliffe Primary School and Community Centre, Greengate Lane, (LE4 3DL) and you can be assured of a warm welcome. Our visiting speaker for January 29 will be Mr Paul Linnell from Wigston. Further information For any further information or queries please ring 0116 2214883. From Anne Taylor, Birstall Independent Baptist Church Due to illness, there is no article this month from St. James or Wanlip churches. The clergy and congregations of the parish would like to pass on their good wishes to all residents of Birstall and Wanlip for a happy and peaceful New Year.

George’s special birthday KEEN DANCER George Higgs celebrated his 105th birthday at Birstall Social Club on January 1.

Council sets budget This is an increase of £25,809 on 2011/12, or 7.35%. Parish Clerk Steve Blackburn said: “While this is well ahead of any current measure of inflation, the decision has been taken against the background of the need to maintain


the Parish Council’s considerable assets and the increasing number of services we need to provide which might in the past have been the responsibility of the Borough Council, notably the public toilets in Stonehill Avenue and, in the near future, care and maintenance of the first play area at Hallam Fields. “The Council took into account the increasing population in Birstall, mist obviously in Hallam Fields and has calculated that the additional money will be equivalent to an increase of £1.39 per year for each adult.” The largest component of the budget is to pay the wages of Parish Council staff, which amounts to £251,000 for 2012/13 (no increase on the previous year). The Parish Council has two full time and one part time employees in the office, six full time groundstaff, one cleaner, one person to lock up the car park, one caretaker, one youth worker and three other youth workers who work in rotation. Councillors receive no payments. The Parish Council is responsible for the playing fields, cemetery, allotments, public toilets, hanging baskets, Christmas lights and Birstall gala.

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“A slow shuffle is all I can manage nowadays” says George, who was toasted by the 140 guests, including family who have travelled from the USA to be with him. The oldest man in Birstall, George was seven years old when the First World War started, 32 at the outbreak of World War II. He has lived on Saltersgate Drive for the last 54 years – his wife Millie died in 1994. George is in good health apart from failing eyesight which saw him give up driving last year. A keen dancer since his teenager years, George can be found most Saturday nights at the Birstall Social Club dance. WIN TICKETS to the National Homebuilding and Renovating Show at the NEC Birmingham by entering our competition. We have 10 pairs of £10 tickets for the show, Britain’s, biggest self-build and renovation event. Held from March 29 to April 1, 2012, the show has 450 specialist exhibitors, demonstrations and free training sessions. For your chance to win a pair of tickets send your name and address to before February 1, 2012. Entries can also be posted. Entries must include the sender’s name and address, one entry per household. More details:

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MUSIC, DANCE and drama featured in Longslade’s annual Christmas Showcase, performed by students in front of a packed house at the new Palmer-Tomkinson Centre in December.

Offender’s anti-theft tips A REFORMED offender is dishing out top tips to help shoppers thwart thieves as part of a Council-led crackdown on purse thefts. Former drug addict Phil Ward, 39, committed more than a thousand crimes as a career crook until a six-year jail sentence helped him turn his life around. Now the former thief is sharing his ‘expertise’ to help shoppers protect them-

selves and reduce the chance of becoming a victim. Phil, who now works as a water bailiff for Charnwood Borough Council at Charnwood Water, said: “Purse alarms are a perfect weapon because if one of

those goes off, a thief will run. “Thieves want an easy ride, they don’t like too much risk. By getting a purse alarm, you will deter thieves and reduce the risk of becoming a victim - no doubt about it.” Phil’s top three tips are: • Never leave bags or purses on show in shopping trollies or pushchairs. Make sure they are hidden from view. Phil says: “Older people or mums on their own with pushchairs and kids are especially vulnerable as they are easily distracted and can be a bit naïve. They don’t expect to become a victim.” • Be vigilant and aware at cashpoints. Criminal gangs operate in pairs to distract people at cashpoints. Phil says: “One person will watch you enter your pin number then distract you, perhaps by dropping a £20 note on the floor and asking if you’ve dropped cash. While your back is turned, the other person will enter an amount and withdraw your cash. Don’t fall for it.” • Zip up your bags at all times – make it as hard as possible for someone to get at your valuables. Phil says: “It sounds simple – but if your purse is on show, it’s an open invitation to a thief.” Councillor David Snartt, Chairman of the Charnwood Community Safety Partnership, said: “Phil’s past can help our present. His advice may sound simple, but if people follow his tips we can really reduce the number of victims. “This campaign aims to make a real dent in the ill-gotten profits of the criminal underworld and empower our residents, shoppers and visitors to deter thieves. Phil said he last committed a crime in 1999 and was jailed for six years. Upon release, he was supported by police, Council and other groups to help him turn over a new leaf. He carries out

NEW SPEED-BUSTING measures are set to slow drivers in Wanlip. The improvements have been introduced to curb speeding along Rectory Road in Wanlip and include two speed 'tables', a flashing sign and a traffic island.The sign displays a blank face but when triggered by a fast-approaching vehicle, flashes the road’s speed limit to remind motorists to slow down. The traffic island is located to warn drivers to adjust their speed on the approach to the bend near the Church Road junction. The improvements have been made because of a planning obligation linked to a housing development at Manor Farm on Rectory Road. The £45,000 scheme has been funded by a developer and designed and constructed by Leicestershire County Council. Lesley Pendleton, Leicestershire County Council cabinet member for environment and transport, said: “I'm pleased we've been able to work with the developer to help slow traffic passing the new development. “As well as cutting speed, we hope the improvements will boost conditions for local residents and safety for all road users.” A speed table is a short, raised section of road, designed to slow down drivers.

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voluntary work and also works as a water bailiff at Charnwood Water for the Council. Phil, who has lived in Loughborough most of his life, said: “I was committing crime from the age of 10 and I regret every moment of it because you never get that time back. “Now I’m straight and have been given a second chance, I want to do what I can to give back so I’m happy to support the campaign.” Last year, there were 39 reports of purse thefts in Loughborough town centre in December.



WEA Flower club’s anniversary courses Birstall And Rothley Wea Spring 2012 Draw, Paint And Print An opportunity to explore a variety of techniques and media, providing an introduction to the basic skills of drawing, painting and printmaking. On-thespot demonstrations and discussion will be supported with examples of artists' work. An ideal course for beginners or those who want to try or revisit new skills. Tutor: Jo Sheppard. Fee £67, discounted: £60.30 (not available to the retired) or Free Venue: The Rothley Centre, 12 Mountsorrel Lane, Rothley LE7 7PR Date: Monday 1–3pm, 10 meetings from 16 January 2012 What The Victorians Did For Leicester Many of the buildings that we see in Leicester today, the organisations that serve, educate and entertain us, and the values that continue to influence the city, had their origins in the Victorian period. We will consider how the Victorians shaped the Leicester of their own time, and explore some of the ‘legacies’ that they left to us. Tutor: Cynthia Brown. Fee £40.20, discounted: £36.20 (not available to the retired) or Free Venue: The Rothley Centre, 12 Mountsorrel Lane, Rothley LE7 7PR Date: Tuesday 10–11.30am, 8 meetings from 17 January 2012 Afternoon Tai Chi With daily practice, the soft flowing movements of Tai Chi strengthen the body, promoting stress reduction and well-being. One posture of the 24 sequential movements of the form is taught each week. Please wear loose clothing and flat-soled shoes. Tutor Laraine Tucker Fee £73.70, discounted: £66.35(not available to the retired) or Free Venue: Birstall Methodist Church Rooms, 40 Wanlip Lane, Birstall LE4 4JS Date: Tuesday 1.30–3.30pm, 11 meetings from 17 January 2012 Art For A Modern World An opportunity to look at a range of twentieth century artists, including Natalia Goncharova, Modigliani and George Braque, whose work reflects the very different aesthetic responses to the changing times. No experience necessary – just a lively, open-minded interest in art! Tutor Janis Baker Fee £53.60, discounted: £48.25 (not available to the retired) or Free Venue: The Rothley Centre, 12 Mountsorrel Lane, Rothley LE7 7PR Date: Wednesday 7.15–9.15pm, 8 meetings from 18 January 2012 Contact: Marion Vincent, Telephone: 0116 2375156 e-mail: or send your enrolments to John Laurance WEA Treasurer, 33 Loughborough Road, Hoton Leicester LE12 5SF Please make cheques payable to WEA Birstall & Rothley Branch Visit our website!

BIRSTALL FLOWER Club’s Golden Jubilee celebrations featured a spectacular demonstration by Jonathan Mosely, a renowned international flower arranger. After cutting a magnificent cake (pictured above) he went on to fill the stage with fantastic flower arrangements, which were all won by members of the

Cycle lane parking A CYCLIST who commutes to work by bike is concerned about parking in cycle lanes. “We are blessed with a cycle lane from Birstall all the way to Loughborough and I’m glad to say this is rather well used and offers a healthy, eco-friendly form of transport. “It is not without its faults as anyone who has attempted to ride along the A6 at night with car headlights on blinding full beam come at you will testify. “My main concern is the number of cars that park in cycle lanes. This stretch of road is used by many youngsters on their way to school and I have several times witnessed them having to go round the parked vehicles and into the main flow of traffic, which is often going at quite a pace on this section.” Rule 140 of the Highway Code says: “Cycle lanes. These are shown by road markings and signs. You MUST NOT drive or park in a cycle lane marked by a solid white line during its times of operation. Do not drive or park in a cycle lane marked by a broken white line unless it is unavoidable. You MUST NOT park in any cycle lane whilst waiting restrictions apply.”

audience. This year we have had an exciting time, with wonderful demonstrations, lots of outings, workshops, a giant picnic, a strawberry evening, afternoon teas, a coffee morning and a large plant sale. The club meets once a month in the Village Hall and new members are always welcome. Why not come along, sit and relax amongst friends and watch NAFAS trained demonstrators? Lucky raffle winners go home with the beautiful arrangements. Our next meeting is on Wednesday February 22. Any enquiries to secretary Sylvia Simes 2674206. From Birstall Flower Club



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Police use Twitter THE POLICE in Charnwood are using social media to reach out to people and partner agencies across their policing area.

Charity show raises funds A NIGHT of celebration showcasing the talents of local young people has raised £1400 for Birstall BAGS. Pupils from the Steps School of Thea-

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tre Dance entertained an audience at the Palmer-Tomkinson Centre, Longslade. Principal Michelle Upton said: “This is a fantastic achievement, I cannot believe the generosity of the audience and I would like to thank them very much for their donations. “We also had some amazing prizes that were donated for the raffle and I would like to thank them all.” Boots donated £500, the Crown at Asfordby a three course meal for four, Leicester City Football Club a behind the scenes tour, the White Horse a £20 voucher, Sally Montague-Mason a personalised fitness programme, the Cooperative pharmacy, Angela Harris and Iona Blake

Neighbourhood beat officers and the police Sergeant, Ian Stone are using Twitter to send quick up-to-date messages to residents across Mountsorrel, Anstey, Thurmaston, Sileby, Quorn, Rothley, Swithland, the Wolds Villages and Seagrave, Barrow Upon Soar, Birstall, East Goscote, Queniborough and Syston. Each of the ten beat teams is using Twitter to post messages about significant campaigns, operations and crime prevention messages. You can also follow them on Facebook at ‘Charnwood Police’. It has been set up as a business page so viewers are encouraged to click on the ‘like’ button and keep in touch with their local police officers. You can also get the latest news, updates and events direct from the police by signing up to Neighbourhood Link at Leicestershire Constabulary’s Head of Online Media, Natalie Proffitt, said: “We are encouraging officers in key roles to use sites such as Facebook and Twitter because the number of people and organisations using social media are growing and will continue to grow. It is a great way of reaching people from all

walks of life particularly the young and people who are confident with technology.” The police will continue to use mainstream media such as newspapers, radio, neighbourhood newsletters, leaflets, face to face meetings and beat surgeries as well as networking sites. Sergeant Ian Stone from Charnwood Local Policing Unit (LPU) said: “I am using Twitter to post short updates about significant events and issues that happen across the Charnwood policing area. It is not time consuming to do because it is only like sending a text message, it is a quick and easy way of keeping lots of people across the policing area informed about the work we are doing where they live.” You can follow your beat team or Local Inspector on the following Twitter pages: Users of social media are asked not to use either site to report crime. This must still be done by dialling 999 in an emergency or calling Leicestershire Police on 101.

Students help boost computer confidence SIXTH FORMERS at Longslade College are volunteering their time to support local charity CLASH to improve their computing skills. CLASH – Community Leicester Arthritis Self Help – will provide a new and free computer confidence course for all local people and anyone who suffers from arthritis. The course will be held at the Palmer-Tomkinson Centre at Longslade Community College from 3.304.30pm starting Thursday January 12, 2012. It will run every Thursday during term time and has been designed to help those with little knowledge of computers and the internet. Students from the college will be supporting new learners on the Go-on Get Online course. The sixth formers are volunteering their time and are hoping to pass on their knowledge of the digital world.


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Director of Post 16, Mrs Melody Mitchell, said: “We are always keen to involve our students within the community. CLASH has always used our facilities and it is great that they still continue to do so. After recently opening our new community and sixth form centre we now have the facilities to aid this course. The new computer suite with over 30 machines will provide the very best and up-to-date equipment.” CLASH is a local branch of Arthritis Care. It works towards proving information about, and access to the best possible service and support for people with arthritis. Other weekly activities for the group involve hydrotherapy, yoga and gym sessions making their common goal to live with arthritis and not to be ruled by it. There are around 400,000 people with rheumatoid arthritis in the UK and over 20,000 new cases each year. It’s estimated that about 8 million people in the UK have osteoarthritis. About 15,000 children and adolescents in the UK will suffer from juvenile forms of arthritis. For more information about CLASH or to benefit from the activities and support they offer please call 07954 584 402 or 07954 614 466. Additionally more information can be found online at


Crime rates falling

Library offers eBooks

CRIME CONTINUES to fall in Leicestershire but there is still no room for complacency, say police chiefs at the Leicestershire Police Authority.

A NEW eBook service has been launched at Leicestershire’s libraries There are no charges to borrow an eBook or reserve a title, and eBooks are never returned late. Library members can borrow up to 3 eBooks at one time, borrow or reserve them for free and can choose to keep them for any length of time from one to 21 days. This service is only available to Leicestershire library members and is accessible only through Leicestershire Library Services website by visiting: David Sprason, Leicestershire County Council’s spokesman for Adults and Communities, said: "I am delighted that our eBook service is now live. This is the latest development as our library service becomes more modern and takes advantage of the latest technology. We will be adding new titles for adults and children as we plan to grow the service.” The eBook Service provides a range of fiction titles for adults and children, and non fiction titles for adults. Popular titles include:Michael McIntyre's Life and Laughing, Lee Child's DieTrying and Jacqueline Wilson's The Longest Whalesong The eBook service is easy to use and is compatible with most eBook readers in the market except Amazon's Kindle. For more information please visit your local library. Features of the eBook Service • Free - download three eBooks for up to 21 days. • A wide range of titles for children and adults. • No overdue charges -eBooks automatically expire at the end of loan period. • Titles can be reserved free of charge. • New titles will be added on a regular basis. •Download direct to your home computer, Apple Mac, iPhone, ipad, ipod, Android devices and eBook Readers* such as Kobo, Sony iSlate. Using your library card and PIN you will login into a secure eBook website to select and download eBooks. This service will only be available from your home PC. It will not be available in your local library.

Data for the period April 1 - November 14, 2011 shows overall crime in the county has fallen by 6.3% to 43,844 offences. This surpasses the 5% target set by the Authority in the 2011/12 Policing Plan. The downward trend continues in other categories of crime including domestic burglary which has fallen by -7.8%, theft or unauthorised taking of a vehicle which has seen a reduction of -13% (significantly improving on the target of -3%) and theft from a vehicle at -9% against a target of -6%. Satisfaction rates which measure the public’s confidence with policing have also improved since the last quarter. Figures show 92.2% of victims of burglary are satisfied with the way the police handled their case compared to the target of 88%, while 87.3% of vehicle crime victims were satisfied (against a target of 88%). Leicestershire Police Authority accepts further work is needed to strengthen confidence and improve satisfaction rates, particularly among victims of sexual offences. The Authority has welcomed the launch of a new task force called Operation Tempest which comprises a team of experienced officers to help increase detections in serious sexual offences, serious violence and Serious Acquisitive Crime. Bringing more people to justice for their crimes in the county will have a positive effect on satisfaction rates among victims and the wider public, says the Authority. Last month the 101 telephone number was launched for non-urgent enquiries. The number is aimed at relieving pressure on the emergency services which spend a considerable proportion of time dealing with inappropriate 999 calls and allows residents to report minor crime or discuss other non-urgent matters. Evidence shows the new number is currently dealing with around 19% of all non-emergency calls. This figure is expected to increase significantly with additional marketing campaigns. Cllr Barrie Roper, chairman of Leicestershire Police Authority, said: “We are pleased that crime is continuing to fall in the county this year and that we’ve made significant progress against the ambitious targets outlined in our Policing Plan. However, we accept there is still more work needed as some areas still remain below our high expectations. “The Constabulary is taking swift action to address any weaknesses, including the launch of Operation Tempest which will allocate specific resources towards improving detection rates, and I am confident this level of scrutiny will bring rewards. We also expect the public’s experience of local policing to be greatly enhanced with the addition of 72 new beat offices in the heart of the community to target the concerns and issues which matter most to the public. These have been possible thanks to the support of our partners which have provided the facilities at no additional cost to the force and will no doubt increase accessibility to local officers.”

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Church filled with song A CHRISTMAS Concert organised by Birstall Methodist Thursday group featured Anne Hughes with her ‘Singing for Fun’ choir. A spokesman said: “It was such a heart-warming evening, the Church was full, the singing tremendous and we raised £765 towards our projects for this year, Alzheimer’s Society and the Renal Unit, Loughborough. Many thanks to all who contributed.”

Birstall’s Conservation area appraised BIRSTALL’S CONSERVATION Area will be discussed at a public meeting on January 11, at Birstall Village Hall, 7.30-9pm. ary to include 72 Front Street, currently The Conservation Area, first designata cab-hire business ed in 1984, has been appraised by the • improve the stretch of Front Street Conservation team at Charnwood Borwithin the Area and its junction with ough Council over the last year. The appraisal describes the present character Whiles Lane with an enhancement scheme and appearance of the area. • the shop fronts of 72 Front Street, The Birstall Conservation Area conBirstall DIY and the Blue Moon Beauty tains Church Hill, Front Street, NetherhSalon would benefit by general refurbishall Lane and White Horse Lane as well ment and restoration to traditional style as some parts of Birstall Road and Once the document is adopted by the School Lane. Borough Council cabinet it will be used At the meeting council officers will as a guide when assessing any future give an illustrated presentation of the appraisal and invite comments and ques- planning applications The draft document can be viewed tions from residents. The appraisal makes three recommen- here: dations: • extend the Conservation Area bound- _conservation_area


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Final visit from Policeman Steve PUPILS at Richard Hill C of E Primary School in Thurcaston gave PC Stephen Rhodes a final farewell when he visited their school for the last time before retiring from the Police Force after 30 years of service. Children throughout the school, including many from Birstall, have benefited from PC Rhodes’ guidance and advice – he has been visiting the school for the last eight years and has built up a strong relationship with pupils, staff and parents alike. The children have learnt about topics such as Stranger Danger, firework safety, personal safety at Halloween and social responsibility. In addition they have learnt about all the different parts of a policeman’s uniform and

The Feb issue of

THE BIRSTALL POST will be published on Feb 4. The copy deadline is Jan 20.

about the police car, which the children particularly love because PC Rhodes brings the police car into their playground for them to get a closer look, and he puts the sirens on! Rachel Hames, Deputy Head Teacher said: “PC Rhodes is a well respected member of our community and has taught the children many valuable lessons which we hope they will remember as they go through school and beyond. It has been very beneficial to have such a close connection as it helps children to really understand the role of the police and gain respect for the officers from an early age. We look forward to working with PC Rhodes’ replacement in the near future.” Pic: Foundation stage and Year 1 children learning about the police car fro PC Steve Rhodes

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STONEHILL HIGH School pupils put their design, technology, engineering and maths talents to the test in a unique one-day Wind Turbine Challenge funded by The Haramead Trust and organised by educational charity, The Smallpiece Trust. The Year 8 pupils were tasked with designing and construction a wind turbine to produce the greatest amount of electricity. The turbine had to be freestanding and structurally robust to support heavy components and moving parts. The Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) Day was designed to enhance their understanding of engineering with the winning teams being judged on aesthetics, cost, power generated, team-working and stability. Anne Beckett, the school’s Gifted and Talented Co-ordinator said: “We were delighted to have experienced this special event. The STEM Day has encouraged our pupils to link the classroom elements of science, design and technology into what actually happens in engineering in the outside world.”

Local lectures CHINA AND the Middle East will be the subject of two talks at the Rothley Centre. They will be given by Dr Michael Lynch, recently retired as a Modern History lecturer at the University of Leicester, with the support of the Charnwood Conservative Association. Spokesman Norman Pratt said: “Dr Lynch, who is a very entertaining lecturer, will cover all the historical aspects of the areas’ development and any western interventions leading up to the present day. He will also try to interpret some of the ‘attitudes’ which may intervene in any present day negotiations. Neither talk is in any way political and everyone is welcome.” The first talk on ‘Modern China’ will take place on Tuesday, January 24 and the second on the ‘Middle East since 1945’ on Tuesday February 21 at the Rothley Centre, Mountsorrel Lane, Rothley. The doors will open at 7pm for a 7.30pm start and tea/coffee will be served in the interval. The session should end at about 9.15pm. Plenty of free parking is provided at the Rothley Centre. The tickets cost £4 each and bookings should be made through Norman Pratt by telephone 0116 2375254. The tickets are then available by writing to him at 17 Windmill End, Rothley LE7 7RP and cheques should be made out to C.C.A. and a stamped, addressed, envelope enclosed for their return.

P/11/2829/2: 10 Front Street – removal of one Cupressus P/11/2713/2: 12 Tempest Road – reduce 2 branches to one cedar tree and reduce height by 25 to 30% to one oak tree P/11/2752/2: 34 Colindale Road – alterations/additions to roof P/11/2727/2: 15 School Lane – felling of one poplar tree P/11/2692/2: Supacare Dry Cleaners, 79 Sibson Road – install of roller shutters to front elevation of property P/11/2657/2: Cliffe House, 9 Church Hill – change of use from offices to dwelling

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.

TELEPHONE EXTENSION Sockets fitted by ex-BT engineer. Cable, BT and digital TV. Over 25 yrs experience. John 2675132 AMLI DESIGN Architectural Consultancy. Plans drawn and submitted. Extensions, conversions, new build. David Ives B.Sc.(Hons) FBEng MCIOB 0116 2674395 / 07974807111 PERSONAL TECHNICAL IT training from an experienced Microsoft and Sun Certified Trainer. One to one personal training in any of the following: Web Site design and development, Windows Application development, SQL Server/Oracle database development and administration, SharePoint development and Administration etc. For further details please telephone 07980 749992 FOR SALE Girl’s bike 16” wheels, silver/purple, suit 8 yrs. Plus 6 gear, full suspension, hardly used £50 ono 0116 2671527 MATHS & PHYSICS tuition. Popular, experienced private/college tutor, (PGCE, BSc Hons) offers excellent tuition and exam preparation for GCSE and A-level. Call 07980 749992 for more details. BOY’S RALEIGH bike suit 3-7 yrs. Good condition, £20 2671527 COOKER VALETING Cookers cleaned inside and out, drives and patios pressure washed, conservatories cleaned inside and out. Also general house cleaning. Tel: 0116 2215079, Mobile 07955175177



come as no real surprise. The retirement age seems to increase every year, with it being raised to 66 years for both men and women in 2020. With this increase in retirement age there has also been an increase in people retiring well into their 60s and 70s. The average state pension for a single person is £102.15 a week (2011/12). There are other allowances, such as pension credits, to increase this state pension; howevEast midland’s elderly ignore free year, it’s very important for elderly peo- er this still does not add up to a comfortable retirement for most. gas safety checks as winter starts to ple, as appliances in their homes tend The study also found that most peoto be older and not as reliable.” bite ple who had retired had decided to To find out if you’re eligible for a Thousands of potentially life-saving return to work. The reason was not free gas safety check, visit gas safety checks offered free by the money, but because they missed the or contact energy suppliers go unclaimed every workplace. We work for the majority of your energy supplier. year, as the number of winter deaths in our lives so it is understandable how we Top 5 ways of staying warm safely: the east midlands increased last winter, may miss the workplace and the people 1. Get your gas appliances safety according to research carried out for associated with it. checked once a year to make sure they Gas Safe Register, which found that Why are there more deaths in Winter? 95% of east midland’s elderly homeown- work safely and don’t break down in In Decembers issue ‘keeping warm the cold. ers have never claimed a free gas safety during winter’ was mentioned due to 2. If you are having your gas applicheck. the increase in deaths the cold weather ances checked, always use a Gas Safe As the winter weather begins to bite brings. Last month the Office for Nationregistered engineer – it’s the law and and puts increased pressure on our al Statistics produced a report on the will help keep you safe. central heating systems, latest official 3. Always use gas appliances respon- ‘excess winter mortality rate’ in England ONS statistics show that 25,700 died and Wales. The report noted an excess sibly. Never use a gas cooker to heat or from cold-related illnesses last year, of 25,700 deaths in winter compared to with numbers of deaths in the east mid- room or a house. summer in 2010/2011 with the majority 4. Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas lands increasing from the winter before. produced by badly maintained gas appli- in the 75 years and over age group. Gas Safe Register is urging people, There was an increase in the 75 ances. Look out for danger signs - sooty particularly the elderly, to make sure years and below age group in the past stains on or around appliances, floppy they take advantage of free gas safety two years which was likely due to the yellow flames (instead of crisp blue checks if they are eligible and ensure Swine Flu outbreak, which was particuones) and excessive condensation in a they have well-maintained and safe gas larly deadly in the lower ‘healthy’ age room are all signs that your gas appliappliances. When a gas boiler, gas fire groups. ances could be producing carbon monor heater fails, the average home can So why are there more deaths in oxide. quickly drop to 16°C, the temperature winter? The increase in winter deaths 5. If you are over the age of 60 you at which hypothermia can set in. While compared to summer has been well may be entitled to a free gas safety younger people feel cold, it’s far more check. Go to noted in previous years. Cold and flu serious for the elderly, whose temperaviruses are the typical culprit. Being to find out more or ask your energy ture falls far faster and to dangerous widespread in the community these supplier. levels when their home temperature diseases can be serious in the 75 years Cannot afford to retire falls below 16°C. That’s why the energy and over age group. With the cold lowcompanies offer free checks to the most A study has shown that many people ering defences for these diseases, and vulnerable. in their 50s fear that they will have to lots of people indoors for family festiviThe UK has the highest winter death carry on working well into their retireties, colds and flu viruses can easily rate in Northern Europe, so Gas Safe ment ( As a nation spread. Register is warning people to make sure we are living longer, coupled with the From Samantha Price their home gas appliances will see them rising cost of living, the study’s findings and their loved ones safely through the winter. ONS data shows that the cold can cause or exacerbate illnesses such as high blood pressure, thrombosis or respiratory infections, as it weakens the immune system. Paul Johnston, Chief Executive of Gas Safe Register says, “We’re urging everyone to take whatever support they can is still required if you to keep safe and warm this winter. are selling or renting Having your gas appliances checked annually is vital to ensure that they are out your house. running safely. If you don’t get your appliances checked every year, you are Sycamore Rd, Birstall Call David Jackson on risking gas leaks, fires, explosions or 0781 5519490 0116 2677905 carbon monoxide poisoning. Although to arrange your EPC all appliances need to be checked every 07834 600384


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WI news BIRSTALL AND Wanlip Women’s Institute last meeting of 2011 took place on December 5 at Highcliffe School. We were shown how to make a magnificent Christmas garland by Tina Bray. The smell of fresh snapped cinnamon, orange and pine cones soon filled the air as the garland was so deftly created using mostly natural objects found in the home and garden. This was followed by refreshments, a secret Santa and a raffle. So we all went home feeling very Christmassy. Our last outing of 2011 was a trip to the Curve production of 42nd Street on December 19. We discussed the future activities available to county WI members including craft workshops, lunches and demonstrations. If you are interested in joining the WI, then details of these can be found on the Leicestershire and Rutland WI Website. Our next meeting takes place on January 9, 2012 at 7.15pm at Highcliffe Primary school. All welcome. From Birstall & Wanlip WI

Support reading & writing A LOCAL Leicestershire teacher has set up a website to support parents and children in the development of reading and writing. Steve Goodman takes the view that learning to read early is essential, because as soon as children can make sense of written words they have independent access to ideas and information. “If you cannot read or write, learning becomes much more difficult, and future employment opportunities become limited” he said. The service, which is completely free, is available by logging on to:, then clicking on the Reading and Writing page. It begins with ideas to learn phonics and will move on to identification of vowels. This will be followed by blending letters then making the link between reading and writing. Weekly updates allow people to make regular progress. Steve explains: “This method is successful because it depends on the parent's interaction with his or her child rather than upon a series of photocopied worksheets. It’s an old fashioned approach, but it works!”

The Feb issue of

THE BIRSTALL POST will be published on Feb 4. The copy deadline is Jan 20.



NHW news

& crime report WHEN MAKING your New Years resolution the BAG’s would like to challenge you think about a healthier lifestyle with this month’s Cancer Corner. A New Year’s resolution is generally a goal someone sets out to accomplish in the coming year. Some examples include resolutions to donate to the poor more often, to become more assertive, or to become more environmentally responsible. A key element to a New Years Resolution that sets it apart from other resolutions is that it is made in anticipation of the New Year, and new beginnings. It might surprise you to know that at least one-third of all cancer cases are preventable. Prevention offers the most costeffective long-term strategy for the control of cancer. Tobacco use is the single greatest avoidable risk factor for cancer mortality worldwide, causing an estimated 22% of cancer deaths

per year. Resolution top tip –STOP SMOKING Dietary modification is another important approach to cancer control. There is a link between obesity to many types of cancer such as oesophagus, bowel, breast and kidney. Diets high in fruits and vegetables may have a protective effect against many cancers. In addition, healthy eating habits that prevent the development of diet-associated cancers will also lower the risk of heart disease. Resolution tip 2 – EAT MORE FRUIT AND VEG Regular physical activity and the maintenance of a healthy body weight, along with a healthy diet, will considerably reduce cancer risk. Resolution tip 3 – INCREASE YOUR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY Alcohol use is a risk factor for many cancer types including cancer of the mouth, oesophagus, liver, bowel and breast and

the risk increases with the amount of alcohol consumed. Resolution tip 4 – REDUCE YOUR ALCOHOL INTAKE For more information en/ 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. Our recent ladies’ Christmas meal at the White Horse raised over £600. Thank you to all the White Horse Team and everyone who came along. STEPS Dance School also raised funds for BAG’s at their recent show. A whopping £1400 was raised. Thank you so much Michelle, Iona and all the dancers. 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. Our next fundraising event is our annual Live Band Night at the Birstall Social Club on Saturday February 25. Ticket only event. Tickets available from any of the Birstall BAG’s in January.

Protecting your property If you were lucky enough to receive a present of some value at Christmas, it would be a good idea to have it postcoded so that, if it is stolen, it can be identified and returned to you. We postcode numerous items, such as bicycles and wheelchairs, at our Advice Shops. This is a free service and you get a lock for your bike. Another safety device we stock is Smartwater. This can be applied to televisions, radios, CD players, phones and other items. It is available at cost price. This is an invisible mark, which can be seen under an ultra violet light. The police have a record of your unique mark so that any recovered stolen items can be returned to their owners. At the Advice Shops, you can also pick up free marker pens, purse chains ,window stickers and a useful list of telephone numbers. We look forward to seeing you at the next Advice Shop, which is on Saturday January 21, from 10am until 12noon On behalf of all the committee members, I should like to wish you all a Happy and Safe New Year. From Evelyn Holden, committee member Birstall & Wanlip NHW Crime Report : Nov 14 – Dec 13, 2011 Assaults 6, harassment 1, burglary 3, burglary non-dwelling 5, damage 5, damage to motor vehicle 4, fraud 4, theft 2, theft of cycle 1, theft from motor vehicle 8, theft stores 1. During the last month through high visibility and covert patrols the number or burglary dwelling has reduced drastically. This will continue over the festive period with the introduction of Operation Leaf. The figures for antisocial behaviour have reduced by 25% in the year to date due to partnership working with the Parish Council, The Youth Service, NHW and the Police supporting the Birstall Youth Café. Eight vehicles were broken into between 11pm on Saturday December 10 and 8am December 11. Rear windows were smashed to give access to the cars, items stolen included a sat-nav, CDs, loose change and a torch. The crimes occurred on Gewndolin Ave, Orchard Rd, Lambourne Rd, Blenheim Rd, Copeland Rd and Fielding Rd. Police advice is not to leave anything of value visible in your vehicle. From PC 2139 Richard Carruthers and PCSO 6611 Mark Butler

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Birstall Post (342) Jan 2012  

Birstall Post January 2012

Birstall Post (342) Jan 2012  

Birstall Post January 2012