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The mission of Soar Magazine was simple at first. To delve in to the passion of sport within Leicestershire and offer the public a free, accessible publication to enjoy and with time, be proud of.

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But there’s something ironic about missions. Once you’re closing in on achieving them, there’s always a new one on the horizon to challenge you. And we’re desperate to do just that and more. As a team, we’ve strived to bring you the sports people and places that matter and ask them the questions you’d want to ask. Then we throw in our dedication to helping make Leicester a healthier place, whilst profiling all that’s grand, great and good about our city. We’ve expanded our distribution, both in reach and number, added to our talented team of designers and writers and have championed the lesser heard in our society, through minority sports and the embryonic, yet influential, Soar Community.

Soar Sport 08 Sports Fest

12 Ian Stringer 16 Kwoklyn Wan 18 Back the Bid 21 Sporting Directory 22 ICON: Jayant Mistry Soar Health 26 Results Weight Loss 28 LR Sport 30 Dean Hodgkin

So what’s next? is about to be overhauled to expand on our coverage and commitment to sport, health, lifestyle and community spirit in Leicestershire. Let us know what you think of the new look website by e-mailing


We’re confident, without arrogance; in touch with the stars, but not afraid to tell the truth and most of all we’re your magazine and your independent voice within Leicestershire.

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So, please continue to read what we write and be an integral part of this journey we’re on and the next mission we’re about to conquer.

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Soar Lifestyle 36 Curve

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Team Soar

44 Zucchero World Buffet 48 SoarPoint: 46 Richie Wellens

The copyright of all material is owned by Soar Media Ltd and may not be reproduced or published without prior consent. Soar Media Ltd take no responsibility for the claims made by advertisers, nor all of the views expressed by contributors.

Soar Magazine is produced by Soar Media Ltd LCB Depot, 31 Rutland St, Leicester LE1 1RE T: 0116 2616 892 E: Editorial Director: Dean Eldredge Creative Director: Gary Webster Lifestyle Editor: Emma Zaman Photos: Soar Photo, Neil Plumb Photography Print: Soar Print Website: Soar Media/Cindro

52 InPictures Contributors: Matt Bozeat, Paul Dhillon, Joe Hanney, Dean Hodgkin, Holly Marshall, Andrew Osborne, Jon Reeves, Emma Rhodes & Ian Strachan Thanks to: Kevin Concepcion, Celia Fisher, James Gibson, Jason Knevett, Jayant Mistry, Greg Page, Madeline Redway, Ian Stringer, Kwoklyn Wan & Richie Wellens



ports Fest 2009 took place in Leicester city centre on Friday August 28th and the free event which was held in Humberstone Gate gave the general public the opportunity to meet local sporting heroes and get coaching tips. The overcast weather didn’t dampen the spirits of the volunteers and many true local sports fans relished the opportunity to celebrate sport in Leicester. Leicester City Council organised Sports Fest to celebrate 2009 being such a fantastic year for sport by

SPORTSFEAST offering people the chance to try a variety of sporting activities. With many of the local sports teams tasting glory, including Leicester Tigers’ Premiership trophy triumph, Leicester City’s title-clinching promotion and Leicester Riders’ impressive campaign. Combined with the success of the Special Olympics this summer, 2009 has certainly been a great year for Leicestershire sport. The council teamed up with Leicester City, Tigers, Riders and Leicestershire County Cricket Club

to deliver the event from 10am until 4pm. Local club mascots, including Filbert Fox, Lester Tiger and Charlie Fox showed their support for the event with Filbert and Lester, in particular, getting on really well. Mr Leicester City, the club’s ambassador, Alan Birchenall MBE, also put in an appearance and his usual enthusiasm and passion for sport in the city was as infectious as always. Humberstone Gate was transformed into a sporting activity playground, with the focus on health and fitness for all the family.

Visitors took part in a variety of sports, including wheelchair basketball, dance, hula hooping and aerobics classes. A climbing wall was also constructed, allowing people to have a go for themselves, and free health and fitness tests took place in the health marquee. BMX displays kept passers-by entertained, who also had the chance to try their hand at golf and Korfball, or take part in tug of war. The ‘Smoothie Bike’ also proved popular as it allowed visitors to use pedal power to create a healthy smoothie to drink. The Tigers’ Guinness Premiership Trophy was on show and visitors enjoyed learning new sports skills in the specially built activity arena.

achievements of its teams, the members of the public who have supported them and the many great events in 2009, as well as looking to the future, as Leicester bids to be a host city for the 2018 World Cup. To find out what sporting activities and classes are available near you, contact the Sports Regeneration team at Leicester City Council on 0116 233 3127.

All in all, Sports Fest celebrated the diversity of Leicestershire as a sports-mad county and the

Bottom 3 Photos: Neil Plumb Photography

GOALDEN GIRLS Soar Magazine sent Andrew Osborne to see the Leicester City Women’s team and check out how the other half live… It is a typically English scene as an overcast sky darkens the afternoon in late August. As the cricket season fizzles out, the football season returns, and teams up and down the land hope to either continue last season’s good form, building upon progress made, or start afresh. Leicester City’s Women are certainly focusing more on the former than the latter. The drizzle has briefly subsided at the Leicestershire Scout Headquarters football ground, home of Leicester City Women’s football team and the mood is one of optimism. Around 100 loyal followers show up to cheer the team on and are not left disappointed, as they ultimately cruise to victory over a physical and competitive Preston. The game finishes in a 5-0 win for Leicester, with two goals apiece

game and pride in representing Leicester, knowing that this could be the gateway to representing England. from Courtney Sweetman-Kirk and Katie Lowder and one from Lauren Impey. It is City’s second win of the campaign following a comprehensive victory over Curzon Ashton in the season’s curtain raiser. They have scored eight goals and are yet to concede. However, despite the emphatic result, you certainly won’t see coverage in the sports pages of the national or even the local press. There is little personal glory or financial reward, but all those involved do it for the love of the

After being promoted to the FA Tesco Women’s Premier League Northern Division in the 2007-08 season, Leicester consolidated and finished a very respectable fifth place last year. For Rehanne Skinner, who not only manages the first team but oversees all girls’ football within the club as part of her role as Academy Director, the progress made over recent years has been pleasing. “Last year was a good start but we weren’t as consistent as we needed to be to win it. So, the aim is to improve on that this year and get in to the top flight. That is the ultimate goal.” The club has a long-standing involvement in the women’s game but have made strides to deepen its commitment and Rehanne has noticed significant changes to the organisation and management since joining the set up in early 2002. “The structure has improved a lot over the years. The FA grants and funds the licence each year and that

amount has increased each year. As a result we have gone from training once a week and playing festivals 3 times a year to training twice a week and having exercise scientists working with the girls to do fitness testing plus playing weekly fixtures in a league against other Centres, just like the boys.” Leicester City now have teams in under 10’s, 12’s, 14’s, 16’s as well as the first team. It is testament to the structures put in place that so many players have risen through the ranks to represent the first team. This is emphasised by the fact that 90% of the squad assembled for the Preston match came through that system. Rehanne is particularly pleased with some of the younger members of the squad. “We’ve had two players playing and two on the bench today who’ve recently come out of the Centre of Excellence and they’ve done a great job, which shows that it is working.” Some girls join the club from the age of eight or nine and work their way through the various age groups. Many are spotted at schools, festivals and club football, but the challenge is not to lose talent from the game, when girls stop playing

with the boys after primary school. “We’ve got scouts in the boys’ game that might see girls who are playing with the boys up to the under 11 age group and they tell me about them.” From this point on, girls can benefit from the facilities and expertise that the club has to offer and continue

“So, the aim is to improve on that this year and get in to the top flight. That is the ultimate goal.” to be involved where previously they would have lacked the opportunities, sometimes resulting in them giving up. While Leicester’s Centre of Excellence bridges the gap between club football and international level, Rehanne is keen to point out the value of the local clubs which offer young girls the chance to play football. “They are fundamental to what we do because those girls need volunteers to offer them some form of football. Grassroots football is vital to us and the women’s game. To have the girls playing week in,

week out, makes them better, at which point we come in and take them to the next level.” The scouting system and the coaching regime appear to be working very well, alongside the first team, currently featuring many graduates from the Centre of Excellence, and they continue to progress and get ever closer to that goal of reaching the National Premier League. Follow the team’s progress this season on the women’s section at

Photos: Neil Plumb Photography


Give That Boy A Biscuit From being fired by Sir Alan Sugar to being hired by BBC Radio Leicester it’s been a busy few years for Ian Stringer.


an famously uttered the phrase, “There are two types of people in the world, winners and... I don’t know how to say the word. I can’t say it,” whilst on the Apprentice. This mindset, a loathing of losing, has seen him succeed in business and bag a job commentating on his beloved Leicester City. After gaining experience covering MK Dons and Wycombe Wanderers, Ian appreciates how lucky he is to be commentating on his team. “It’s the job of my dreams to be honest. I always wanted to do one season on local radio covering Leicester City for BBC Radio Leicester.” Even though he loves his job, Ian concedes it’s not all about great goals, glory and glamour. “Ultimately, I get paid to watch football, but there are difficult elements to the job too. Difficult

interviews at difficult times, research, preparation and travelling to Hereford! It’s not always glamorous but I love waking up every morning knowing that I’m going to be talking about sport.”

at the Walkers Stadium can still take him back to childhood.

Ian’s passion for Leicester City is fundamental to his style of commentary but when the Foxes are firing on all cylinders the BBC man still manages to maintain the impartiality synonymous with his employers.

“It was a difficult season as it was the first time we’d ever been in that league, but some games stand out. Leeds at home with the last minute winner and Southend away, the games that rubber stamped promotion. But, whenever the post horn gallop is played at home, I have to pull myself together because the Leicester fan in me just becomes a blubbering child.”

“I’ve supported City for as long as I can remember. I’ve been a mascot, season ticket holder, member and a Junior Fox. They’re my club.”

When asked if there are any particular lines that he’s most proud of, Ian smiles as one comment about Matty Fryatt takes the biscuit.

“At the BBC you are impartial, that’s what you’re there for and that’s what I bring. But, I also direct some of the passion back in to my work.”

“The biscuit line got a few people talking last season. It was about the third game in and Fryatt scored. He was on a run and City fans will remember thinking ‘will we get promoted or will we stick around in this league?’ And then you’ve got a striker in such great form. To try and encapsulate the moment I

Stringer enjoyed the climax to his first full season commentating for Radio Leicester as City sealed promotion and the post horn gallop

said something like, ‘Fryatt scores! Somebody give that boy a biscuit!’ At the time it seemed quite funny and went down quite well. I might try different confectionery this season if anybody really hits their straps! Ian has some interesting stories from the commentary box, including sneaking into the referee’s room for a shower and some far from Posh seating at Peterborough. “The home match against Scunthorpe was quite challenging as I did the run with Birch whilst live on air with the team news. I was running and trying to concentrate on Birch because you shouldn’t overtake him! Not that that’s an instruction, but in my eyes you don’t upstage the big man!” “To go around and remember the team and the changes from the week before was pretty tough. Afterwards, I managed to sneak into the referee’s room and take a shower though!” “There have been some terrible commentary boxes and positions. Going to Swindon and sitting with the fans, and at Peterborough when we sat on pub stools!” Ian’s interest in radio started at a young age after winning a commentary competition on the Radio One Breakfast Show. He soon caught the bug and started his radio career at Three Counties FM, which covers Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Herts, before entering the Apprentice and then coming back to Leicester. “I covered Wycombe Wanderers for four seasons, whilst having a business career as well, which was very successful. I quit both of those jobs to go on the Apprentice. When I came out I had to get a job. I could’ve gone back to working 9-5 in business and it would’ve

Photo: Neil Plumb Photography

“To have got through 20,000 people to 16 is probably one of the greatest achievements of my life.” been easier getting a job with the exposure from the show, but I decided to follow the dream. “I worked at Three Counties presenting from 5am to 6am and answering phones on a Sunday night. It was a few months until a job came up and bizarrely it was at Radio Leicester.”

get there in the first place. I’d had a good business career, so I got there on merit. If I had my time again, I’d do it again. But, I wouldn’t be as naïve to think that they’re looking for Sir Alan’s next apprentice - they’re not. They’re looking to make good television. Which may sound like sour grapes, but it isn’t.” Ian, who was fired just three weeks into the fourth series of the show in 2008, admits that Sir Alan is quite a formidable presence. “What you see on television is the guy. He’s someone that I respect enormously. You don’t get knighted for services to business for being an also-ran. He’s at the top of his game

The Apprentice was a big part of Ian’s life and despite not being hired by Sir Alan and feeling the full force of the media glare, it’s an experience he doesn’t regret. “I don’t regret doing it in the slightest. The experience was a bizarre one and because I was a bit media savvy I didn’t get overawed. But, to have got through 20,000 people to 16 is probably one of the greatest achievements of my life.” “You’re lucky to get chosen, but you’ve got to have some talent to


and he’s brought British business and industry a long way. He is an intimidating man, but you don’t get there by being a shrinking violet.” After achieving his dream job at such an early age, Ian could be forgiven for feeling satisfied with his achievements. The only problem is he wouldn’t forgive himself for sitting back and not realising further ambitions. “It would be difficult to leave Leicester because the temptation would be to stick with it as it’s your club and your dream job. I don’t want to become complacent and I don’t like a lack of ambition. I’m an ambitious guy and I want to move on, but it would be very difficult to leave Leicester.” “I could see my next move probably being into television, whether it’s local news reporting and then something else maybe. TV football commentary would be good, but totally different. My dream is to one day commentate on England in the World Cup Final, beating Germany in the last minute!” “TV is an ambition but I want to keep learning here. There are lot of very good journalists. John Sinclair has been here for a long, long time and he’s a great guy to learn off. I’d also like to see City into the Premier League next season, then Champions League qualification, well, I’d settle for the FA Cup! Then I’d probably like to try TV.”

Ian’s diary notes from Saturday 22nd August, the day of the Barnsley home game. 7am

12:30pm 1pm 1:15pm 2pm

2:10pm 2:20pm 2:30pm 2:35pm 2:45pm 2:55pm 3pm 3:45pm 4pm 4:45pm 5pm 5:15pm 5:25pm 6pm 7pm

Got up with my son who was keen to watch Thomas the Tank Engine and not help me with my research. We did have a quick kick about in the garden a bit later. Am I wrong to have been ‘encouraging’ him to use both feet? Quick sport team meeting in the newsroom to go through the running order, which evolves as the day progresses. Arrive at the Walkers Stadium and chat with fans next to the entrance. Grab some soup and read the programme. Loiter at the end of the tunnel for team news, then run outside and air it into the opening sequence. This is my tightest deadline all day. Give Birch some stick in the press room, it’s his 84th birthday. Walked around the gardens of remembrance for five minutes. Team news again and get some stick from Martin Ballard on air for my haircut. See my dad outside and discuss team news and potential tactics. Make my way to the commentary box and put stats under player’s names. The post horn gallop, always sends shivers down my spine. Kick off and first 45 minutes. Half time brew, check other scores, including Wycombe and MK Dons. Second half commentary. Run downstairs to the tunnel and wait for Nigel Pearson, thinking of my questions. Request players Matty Fryatt and Jack Hobbs, after Pearson, with club’s media department. Interview Nigel Pearson, which goes well. Player interviews, write report in between times for the morning. Programme finishes, quick debrief. Home after a long day and wait for Match Of The Day and The Football League Programme.


O D N A C K KWO By Paul Dhillon Fashion Expert Gok Wan, has made the headlines, but his brother Kwoklyn is high-kicking his way around the UK too. Could they be Leicester’s most successful brothers since David and Richard Attenborough? Kwoklyn Wan grew up in Leicester in a family steeped in Martial Arts tradition. He remembers training with his uncles as a child. “I say ‘train’, but really they used to beat me up!” Not easily deterred, he was inspired by the films of Bruce Lee, like many youngsters from the 1970’s and many since. His enthusiasm and expertise developed so soon, Wan was rather less likely to be on the receiving end of the beatings.

“I’ve studied a lot of Martial Arts throughout my life. It wasn’t until I discovered Jeet Kune Do about twelve years ago I began to focus on it.” This resulted in Wan becoming the European representative of the Bruce Lee Educational Foundation branch of Jeet Kune Do, which has the aim of preserving and promoting

Bruce Lee’s original form of the Martial Art. Although influenced by greats like Lee, Wan explains some of the more practical elements of being involved in Martial Arts. “It is all about meeting up with friends, another way of exercising and the by-product is people tend to lose weight whilst gaining confidence.” Wan is optimistic about the state of Martial Arts, generally in his hometown. “I first got involved in Karate because there wasn’t a lot of choice. In Leicester now, we have Jeet Kune Do, Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Thai kickboxing, Brazilian and regular Jujitsu, Aikido, and Eskrima.”

Martial Art and we are modern in the way we teach it.”

As well as the thriving brothers Kwoklyn and Gok, the Wan family includes their sister Oilen, a successful solicitor. How has one family produced success in three diverse areas?

Although the art may have its roots across the Atlantic, but Kwoklyn Wan is keen to promote what the UK has to offer across the expanding realm of Martial Arts. This has resulted in him launching ‘The Martial Arts Festival UK (MAFUK)’, which kicked off early this year, with over fifty acres of activity at Parklands Leisure Centre.

“My mum and dad have always been self-employed. There has always been a strong work ethic drilled into us all from a very young age. We’re grafters. If you want something, put yourself out there.” Wan’s diligent attitude has seen him open his own Martial Arts academy, based on St. Johns Street, Leicester. The centre is complete with sparring area and gym, and frequented by East-Midlands-based action actress Zara Phythian, touted by some to become the new Lara Croft. It is a stone’s throw from where he embarked on his own Martial Arts odyssey in 1977, at a Karate club close to his parent’s restaurant on Humberstone Gate. Wan’s brainchild, Urban Martial Arts, now has over 850 members, including the cluster of satellite schools which also teach his customised Jeet Kune Do syllabus. “Urban Martial Arts is like a boyhood dream of mine. I wanted somewhere people could go without a hierarchy, a place where people could come down and train on a very informal basis.” It is clear the forward thinking supremo is intent upon creating a tradition of his own, stressing he is keen to nurture talent and enjoyment of Martial Arts in an unceremonious, relaxed environment. Urban Martial Arts has docked traditions such as the insistence on instructors being referred to by officious titles like ‘Sensei’. Jeet Kune Do was founded in the US in the mid-1960’s and Wan points out “it is quite a modern

“It was an idea that I had about three years ago, when I was at the Riverside Festival in Leicester.”

“Urban Martial Arts is like a boyhood dream of mine. I wanted somewhere people could go without a hierarchy, a place where people could come down and train on a very informal basis.”

There he saw Brazilian Martial Arts displays, alongside the usual family events and saw the potential of combining something for Martial Arts purists with other traditional fun. “It has something for everyone. We have Martial Arts demonstrations and the Martial Games. This is a tournament which incorporates all Martial Arts. Everyone can compete in their own division under the tournament umbrella. Then we have the psychic & spiritual tent for those interested in the holistic side of things. We have some really big ideas.” The next MAF-UK, scheduled for April 2010, will be televised and looks set to expand on this year’s highly promising inauguration. Kwoklyn Wan now works alongside his brother Gok, promoting Kidscape, the UK’s first charity established specifically to stop bullying. His desire to ensure that Martial Arts becomes an inclusive pastime is clear throughout his approach. Through Urban Martial Arts and MAF-UK he has created the ideal platform for his grand vision. So why not take a look? Visit and


Football’s Coming Home! By 2018 it could, but hopefully won’t, be 52 years of hurt for English football. But in the words of David Baddiel and Frank Skinner, football really could be coming home. Soar Magazine spoke to the City Council and the key sporting figures who are backing the bid to bring the greatest show on Earth to Leicester… Our City’s favourite son, Gary Lineker, went from Leicester Market trader to world football star, thanks in no small part to his role in England’s 1986 and 1990 World Cup campaigns, where he came so close to glory. “As someone who was lucky enough to have played in two World Cups, I know that it’s no exaggeration to call the tournament the biggest event in the world. Millions of people around the world will be watching and it would be absolutely brilliant if all those eyes could be on Leicester.” Since the announcement that Leicester is bidding to be a host city for the 2018 World Cup, there has

been a groundswell of support from key figures in the city. Leicester will hand in its bid in November, applying to host at least five matches during the 2018 tournament. By Christmas, the city

should know if it’s been chosen as one of the hosts, forming part of England’s bid. In May, England will formally bid to host the 2018 World Cup and in December 2010, FIFA will announce the host nation for the tournament. So, although 2018 seems a long way away, a key decision will be made in a few months’ time, which is why the public are being urged to get behind the bid now. Cllr Ross Willmott, Leader of Leicester City Council, is determined to see Leicester announced as a host city. “We need to prove to the England 2018 bid team that we really want the World Cup to come to Leicester. What we need is for every business,

every school and every individual in the whole county to show that they’re behind us by voting for Leicester on the England 2018 website.” “With the backing of the public and the local media and with our unique combination of diversity, community spirit and passion for sport, Leicester’s selection as a host city can only enhance England’s bid.” The public have already shown their passion for football, with nearly 2000 people joining a Facebook group supporting Leicester’s bid. Kasabian’s Serge Pizzorno, a Leicester City fanatic, was also quick to back the bid. “The entire band is delighted to get behind England 2018. Everyone

in England loves football and the tournament would create a huge wave of passion throughout the country.” “We’re also really excited about Leicester bidding to become a host city. The opportunity for England to host a World Cup is really amazing and the thought of games being played at the Walkers Stadium is incredible.” One man who has experienced the taste of a World Cup, is former Foxes hero, Muzzy Izzet. And he’s in no doubt about wanting to see Leicester have a taste for itself. “It was like a carnival. The atmosphere in Japan and South Korea in 2002 was incredible and it would be so positive for the city to have that, even if it was just for one match.” We’ll leave the final word to the man whose task it will be to bring the Walkers Stadium up to the required capacity of 42,000, Leicester City Football Club Chairman, Milan Mandaric.

“It would be so positive for the city... even if it was just for one match.” Muzzy Izzet

“The Walkers Stadium would make a magnificent venue to host World Cup matches, should England win the bid to host the 2018 tournament.” “It is a stadium that was designed and built with the idea of potential

“Leicester really is a city of sports – and a fantastic place for a World Cup.” LaTaryl Williams expansion. We look forward to working with everyone on the bid team to try to turn this big idea into a reality, to be enjoyed not only in Leicestershire and England but by the entire world.” To follow the lead of the stars and key figures of our community and choose Leicester as your preferred host city, visit www.england2018bid. com and help bring the biggest event in the world to the Walkers Stadium. You can also support the bid, by voting for Leicester via the link at For more information about Leicester’s bid, call Madeleine Redway at Leicester City Council on (0116) 252 6080.


Directory American Football Leicester Falcons

Athletics Leicestershire Athletics Resource Leicester Marathon Leicester Orienteering Club

Badminton Leicestershire Badminton Assoc.

Baseball Leicester Blue Sox

Basketball Leicester Riders

Bowls Leicestershire Bowling Assoc.

Cricket Leicester Cricket Academy Leicestershire CCC Leicestershire & Rutland Board


Rugby League

Leicestershire & Rutland Golf Union

Leicester Phoenix


Rugby Union

Leicestershire Gymnastics Assoc.

Leicestershire Rugby Union Leicester Tigers

Hockey Leicestershire Hockey Assoc. Leicester Ladies Hockey Club Leicester Mens Hockey Club

Horse Racing Leicester Racecourse

Local Leisure Centres Leicester City Council

Martial Arts Leicester Karate Club Urban Martial Arts

Matt Hampson Trust Official website

Meditation & Yoga Bikram Yoga



Leicestershire Road Club Leicesters Spokes

Donington Park Mallory Park



Leicester Dodgeball League

Leicestershire Netball Assoc. Loughborough Lightning

Fencing Leicester Fencing Club

Football Leicester City FC Leicestershire & Rutland FA

Sailing Rutland Sailing Club

School Sports Leicester City Sport Partnership

Squash Leicester Squash Club

Swimming Leicestershire Swimming Assoc.

Tennis Leicestershire Lawn Tennis Assoc. Leicestershire Lawn Tennis Club

Triathlon Leicester Triathlon Club

Ultimate Leicester Ultimate Club

Volleyball Leicester Volleyball Club

Wheelchair Basketball Leicester Cobras

Outdoor Pursuits Leicester Outdoor Pursuits Centre

Rowing Leicester Rowing Club

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For up-to-date information on activities in your area visit


ICON Jayant Mistry is one of the most successful sportsmen Leicester has produced in the last two decades. Born with Spina Bifida, Jayant discovered wheelchair tennis at the age of 19, after playing wheelchair basketball for six years. During his 20 year career, he played in approximately 250 singles and doubles finals, claiming 68 international titles on the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour, with his most famous being the 2005 Wheelchair Men’s Doubles Championship at Wimbledon in 2005. Jayant was the undisputed British Men’s number one for more than 15 years. Leicester’s sporting legend answers your questions... What inspired you to start playing wheelchair tennis? Chris Bates, Melton I was playing wheelchair basketball at the National Games at Stoke Mandeville in 1986. I saw a demonstration of w/c tennis and thought it seemed like a fun thing to do. I came back home to Leicester, bought a tennis racket and played

all summer long at Victoria Park. What started as a hobby took over my life! What do you consider to be your greatest achievement? Dennis Cooke, Wigston Winning the Wimbledon Doubles Championships in 2005. It was special in so many ways. It was at the home of tennis, it was on grass, it was the first time that a wheelchair championship had been held there and it was the most amount of champagne I have consumed! Tell us about some of the opportunities that have come your way during your career? Sheena Hunt, Broughton Astley There are so many memories, people and places that I can look back on. I played wheelchair tennis for GB for 20 years and consider myself to be fortunate to have been involved in so many firsts in the sport. The first Paralympics to have wheelchair tennis (Barcelona 1992), first Grand Slam event to have a championship (Australian

Open 2002) and first Wimbledon Championships (2005). You’ve travelled all over the world. Which places stand out as the most memorable? Paul Gonzalez, Leicester Tel Aviv in Israel was incredible. It was my first International tournament in 1987 and it was a little different as you spent your days by the pool and played tennis in the evening as it was too hot! It has to be Sydney though. There is nothing better than having dinner in circular quay with Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House in the background. Who has been your biggest rival? Who have you enjoyed playing against the most? Doug McCall, Loughborough I took it in stages. I wanted to be the best in GB then I wanted to get to the highest ranking possible. My biggest rival in the early days was Chris Illingworth, the former GB number one, who I still class as

a good friend. When I finally beat him in 1995 the rest of the players in Europe and the rest of the world became my rivals. The person I least enjoyed playing was an Austrian called Martin Legner. I likened playing him to going to the dentist, it’s a long, painful, tortuous process but you have to do it! Have you officially retired or are you still playing? Nick Smith, Enderby I officially retired from playing fulltime in 2007, however, I do play occasionally. I need keyhole surgery on my elbow and will decide at the end of the year which tournaments I will play in the future. What advice would you give to disabled people thinking about playing sport? Gemma Bright, Oadby There is never a better time to get involved in sports. Look at the following websites to find a sport that is suitable for disabled people: and . I work as the regional inclusive

sports development officer for EFDS, supporting sports to include disabled people in their programmes, policies and practices, so I am involved in creating sports development opportunities for disabled people. My work email is: if anyone wants further advice. What do you do to relax? Hardeep, Nuneaton Finding time at the moment is my biggest challenge. I have a full-time job, work on development camps and exhibition events for the Tennis Foundation, support the Dame Kelly Holmes legacy trust and other mentoring roles, all involved in sports. I like to spend time with family and friends and catch up with my DVD collection. What made you give up wheelchair basketball and take up tennis? Sam Silva, Lutterworth Because I was better at tennis! I never gave up playing wheelchair basketball, but I used it as my fitness regime for tennis. I am back playing for Leicester Cobras wheelchair basketball club and I am head coach for next season.

ICON Do you get to watch much live sport in Leicester? Jenny Cork, Birmingham I used to go and watch the Riders, but I don’t have much time as I’m playing and coaching the Cobras at weekends and I’m involved in various tennis events. I’m a general Leicester sports fan being born and raised here, but I prefer playing to watching. Who are your sporting heroes? Steve Brown, Huncote Michael Jordan is my hero. Roger Federer and Andre Agassi are the people that I admire the most in tennis. I have met Roger a couple of times and I met Andre at the locker room at the US Open at Flushing Meadows in 2005. What does Leicester and Leicestershire mean to you? Gurdeep, Ratby One word…home. I was born here, went to Ash Field School and my family live very close to me now, just off Narborough Road. What is your guilty pleasure? Amy Booth, Anstey Chocolate! Diary Milk especially. Shame it’s too late for sponsorship!

Send your questions in for the next instalment of ICON featuring Sileby based British Touring Car driver, Stephen Jelley, by November 1st to




PICK UP THE PACE Joe Hanney, Managing Director of Leicester’s award winning weight loss company, Results Weight Loss, gives his tips to breaking your personal best in time for the Leicester Marathon on October 11th. Q: How would you train for the half marathon (13 miles)? My goal is to run the distance in under 2 hours 15 minutes. A: Two basic methods: 1) Split the distance into 13 separate miles. Aim to run each mile faster than your target race pace (e.g. 10 mins). The idea being that you’d run the entire distance in a time of 2 hours 10 mins. Allow full recovery between efforts, and perform 13 sets. Each session - maintain your speed, but reduce the rest period by 30 seconds. This should be do-able but it will be difficult.

2) Determine how far you can run at your target race pace before you start to tie up and slow down (e.g. 8 miles). Work on running that shorter distance as fast as possible, allow full recovery and repeat. Once you can improve your time for that distance by 10%, we retest your ability to perform at that speed and look to increase the distance until you can reach 13 miles. The key is to program the body to perform at a faster pace - so we break the distance up into more manageable “chunks” that allow you to run faster than your body is used to.

Joe is a regular contributor and fitness expert to the media and also advises at obesity and weight management clinics. He is also the International Personal Trainer of the Year 2008 and an Ambassador of the Special Olympics 2009. He is currently holding regular seminars in and around Leicester. For more information on Joe contact 0844 8442471, or e-mail


County Netball set to Soar Netball in Leicester and Leicestershire has been given a boost thanks to a £800,000 new indoor facility.


he Soar Valley Netball Centre is the first of its kind in the region and offers two high quality covered courts with spectator areas that can be used all year round. The new facility has been built on the site of Soar Valley College, home to netball for over 15 years, hosting Leicestershire County Squads, the Leicester Netball League and many other County and Regional tournaments, courses and activities. On September 5th local England Netball player, Tamsin Greenway, and Olivia Murphy, ex-England Netball captain, officially opened the centre on behalf of Jean Perkins

OBE. Exhibition matches involving High 5 netball, Youth Netball and Disability Netball also took place. The venue hosted a special ‘Back to Netball’ event on Sunday September 6th from 10 am to 12 noon when Individuals and teams were invited to come along and play netball. Hayley Peel, from England Netball is delighted with the new development: “This is a fantastic achievement from all concerned. At one stage we didn’t think it would be possible to build the centre, but thanks to partnership working we have a great new development.” Val Kindred, Netball Co-ordinator

for Leicester-Shire and Rutland Sport, added: “Netball is a fun social activity which all ages can play. This facility will allow further opportunities for individuals coming into the game through to those playing at a high standard.” Do you, your children, or your team want to play netball and don’t know where to go? Come down and join the fun at Soar Valley Netball Centre and see what the facility has to offer you. For further information contact Val Kindred, Netball Co-ordinator, Leicester-Shire and Rutland Sport on 01509 226754 or email or visit

KEEP ON TRACK ONLINE! > Want to keep a track of your activity levels? > Want to set yourself targets for the coming months? > Want to find out about participation events that are taking place in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland? Log onto the “TRAINING DIARY� at

Promoting physical activity for adults across Leicestershire The Active Together Programme is a county wide project that aims to encourage more adults in Leicestershire to take part in at least thirty minutes of physical activity, at least three days a week. There are a whole host of low cost activities taking place in your local area including salsa, Nordic walks, urban street dance, dodgeball, yoga, gentle aerobics, tai chi and lots more. To find out what is happening in your area check out



The benefits of regular activity are well documented, with levels achieved during our younger years impacting considerably upon our older years. More importantly, however, remaining active as we age can make a significant contribution towards maintaining independence and gaining maximum enjoyment. By Dean Hodgkin

Many of the ailments once associated with ageing are now recognised as being due to lack of exercise so the maxim, ‘use it or lose it’, truly applies to our physical condition in later life. There are a number of physiological changes associated with ageing, as follows:

After age 35, bone mass decreases around 1% per year for women but this accelerates to around 3% post-menopause, increasing risk of osteoporosis. Muscle tissue is lost at 5% each decade, resulting in a 1.5% decrease in strength every year and a lowering in metabolic rate, leading to weight gain. The heart, lungs and circulatory system show a decline of 30% from age 30-70, reducing capability to perform normal daily tasks. Neuromuscular performance such as coordinating large or small movements of varying complexity, with correct precision and force, is also affected as we age. This, in part, explains the high number of falls associated with the elderly. The good news is that regular exercise can not only prevent the above negative changes, but may also reverse them. Follow our lifelong exercise plan to both put more life in your years as well as more years on your life!

triceps, abdominals and buttocks. As this could be the decade of child-bearing and business lunches, time can be an issue so busy mums should rest assured that when it comes to cardio workouts, 3 x 10 minutes brings the same calorieburning benefits as a single 30 minutes bout.


20’s This is the time when bone density is increasing so it’s vital to exercise appropriately to lay down as much bone tissue as possible before the decline begins. Cardio activity should be weight bearing, so opt for high impact aerobics and aim for two weights sessions per week. If battling with sweaty bodybuilders in the free weights area of the gym is not your cup of tea, try a group exercise class such as Bodypump or Bodymax. Your target working heart rate is at its maximum now, so push yourself with intense cardio sessions, up to 90% of your recommended range (calculated by subtracting your age from 220). You are at your most flexible around now, but don’t let this lead you into a false sense of security. This will decline as you age so don’t skip your post workout stretching.

30’s This is when the first signs of the ageing process begin to manifest, with the loss of muscle tissue most noticeable in the back of the upper arms. Unfortunately, losing lean body tissue leads to a slowing of the metabolic rate, so the pounds begin to pile on. Increase weight training to three times per week and target your problem zones, the

The metabolic rate is slowing now, together with a change in hormone levels, so you may notice the storage of extra pounds. In addition, your target working heart rate declines, so it’s important to lower the intensity but increase the duration of your cardio workouts to burn fat. Think about protecting your joints from wear and tear by opting for low impact exercise. Switch jogging for power-walking and high impact aerobics for spinning. Weight training should remain a staple of your exercise diet to give the requisite strength to tackle your daily tasks.

50’s It’s vital to maintain activity levels as the risk of heart disease increases and bone density decreases due to the lowering of oestrogen levels, post-menopause. Circuit training is ideal, as it combines cardio and strength work, so ticks

Dean Hodgkin has appeared at fitness events in 35 countries, leading to him being voted Best International Fitness Presenter at the glittering One Body One World awards ceremony in Times Sq, New York. He has written articles for many publications, including The Times, Zest, Health & Fitness, FHM, GQ and Men’s Health. Previously employed as a consultant to Nike, David Lloyd Leisure, RAC, Remington, 3Mobile and Reebok, Dean is now based at Ragdale Hall. For more information visit

all the required boxes. This is the time when stiffness is noticeable, particularly in the lower spine, so flexibility work is recommended. Consider yoga and core conditioning, to improve posture.

60’s The good news is that at this age it’s actually better to be slightly overweight rather than under, but that should not detract from maintaining cardio exercise to burn calories. Think about activities that are easier on the joints, as the thinning of cartilage and stiffening of the tendons and ligaments leave them more susceptible to injury. Aqua workouts are perfect since this allows for the muscles to work against the water resistance for toning benefits. Walking should be the prime cardio option whether in the form of a country hike, a ‘stride’ session on the treadmill or a weight loss powerwalk.


Rapid HIV Testing in Leicester

“PUT YOUR MIND AT EASE” LASS (Leicestershire AIDS Support Services) now provides a Rapid HIV Testing service – in a friendly community location, away from the hospital or clinic. You can get a free, confidential HIV test, with results available in a few minutes. We have HIV positive people who can talk to you if your test indicates you have HIV – someone who understands because they have been in the same situation. Example Testing Kit

WHAT IS HIV? HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV infects and gradually destroys the infected person’s immune system. There is no cure for HIV but it is treatable. A person with HIV can live well and in good health for many, many years.

HOW IS HIV PASSED ON? The HIV virus is in the following body fluids of a person who has HIV: Male: Semen (cum and pre-cum) and blood; Female: Blood, including menstrual blood; vaginal sexual fluids and breast milk. The most common ways of passing it on are: • Having sex without a condom (or using the condom incorrectly). • Sharing needles or other drug equipment with someone, for example when injecting drugs. • Through donated blood if it is not screened. In Europe and UK all blood products are screened for HIV. • From mother to child (called Vertical Transmission).

HIV IS NOT PASSED ON BY…. There is no risk of HIV being passed through normal social contact with someone who is HIV positive. This includes: touching, hugging, kissing, sharing towels or clothes, sharing cups, plates or glasses, using the same toilet, bath, shower, kitchen etc.

WHAT IS AN HIV TEST? You can find out if you have become infected with HIV by having blood tests done. Your body produces antibodies to HIV in an attempt to fight the virus, the test works by looking for the antibodies. The Rapid Test uses a finger prick device to get a small ‘blob’ of your blood. A few minutes later you know your HIV status.

WHY SHOULD I HAVE AN HIV TEST? • You will know your HIV status. You won’t be worried about what you think your HIV status is. • A negative result may give you peace of mind. • A positive result will enable you to access medication, monitoring and specialist support, which can greatly improve your long term health. • To help you plan the type of sex you want with your partner(s). By always having protected sex, you are very unlikely to pass HIV on to anyone else.

It really is better to know your status. Make an appointment soon – or drop in to get a test. Call 0116 255 9995 or visit


Agatha Christie Theatre Company


“A must see for anyone who loves a murder mystery. It’s guaranteed to keep you guessing” The Observer

A Leicester Theatre Trust production

Arthur Miller’s


A family drama that tests the limits of loyalty. Director Walter Meierjohann Presented by special arrangement with Josef Weinberger Plays Limited, London

Leicester Theatre Trust and Hampstead Theatre in association with The Fish Partnership


“A bit like a ride on a ghost train... schlock horror has rarely been so much fun” Daily Telegraph, Hampstead Theatre production 1992 A black comedy of desire by Philip Ridley Director Edward Dick

Leicester Theatre Trust in association with Michael Rose Ltd


Join us in Neverland for a magical family musical Based on the novel by JM Barrie Presented by arrangement with the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity and Samuel French Limited.

TICKETS: 0116 242 3595 Registered Charity No. 230708




After an incredibly productive and busy first six months in the building, Curve are thrilled to be looking ahead and announcing some exciting national and international shows for September through until December 2009. Ruth Eastwood, Chief Executive of Leicester Theatre Trust, the independent charitable trust which runs Curve is clearly proud of the great strides they’ve made to date.

renowned dance companies: State of Emergency and New Adventures with Matthew Bourne and to be hosting the brilliant West End hit Little Shop of Horrors.”

“It is particularly lovely to be welcoming not one, but two, nationally and internationally

“Our first show with two homes is on the way via our co-production with Hamstead Theatre for The Fastest Clock In The Universe, which marks a new way in which we can collaborate to make outstanding work in Leicester. In this and Arthur Miller’s classic drama, All My Sons, you’ll find beautiful writing brought freshly to life in Leicester.” Despite a successful start, there

is little chance of Curve resting on their laurels, as they ramp up the anticipation for the festive season, which Ruth is looking forward to. “I can’t think of a better Christmas treat than our magical family musical Peter Pan to end the Autumn season and to show off Curve Theatre’s remarkable technical facilities.” If you’ve already visited this marvel in the heart of our cultural quarter, then you’ll know just what Ruth Eastwood is talking about. If you haven’t, then get involved and treat yourself to the chic culture of Curve.


WIN TICKETS TO SEE PETER PAN AT CURVE Gift Vouchers A Curve gift voucher makes the perfect present for anyone who loves live entertainment and they can be redeemed for any performance.

Guided Tours Every Saturday at 10am Our tours are proving very popular. It’s really the best way to find out just how amazing our new building is and see for yourself how the technology works. At only £3 for adults and £2 for under 18s these tours are great value. If you want to bring along a group we can also arrange tours at other times. Just contact the Ticket Office.

Getting Here Save money and avoid queues after the show by adding a car parking voucher when you book for a performance. The voucher can be used in the adjacent NCP car park for only £3.50. Booking a taxi to and from Curve is very simple. You can call 0116 2628 222 or use our free phone located in the Ticket Office. The drop-off and pick-up point is on Rutland Street accessed from Queen Street.

A delightful family musical, this festive favourite comes to Curve with an original score and spectacular effects, taking full advantage of the building’s state-of-the-art technical facilities. From the croc with the clock to Tinker Bell, the magic of this timeless tale will take flight as it leaves Leicester and sets a course for Neverland. For your chance to win four tickets to see this magical family musical on Tuesday January 5th at 7.30pm, simply tell us:

If you were a character from Peter Pan who would you be and why? Please e-mail your response (no more than 100 words) with your name, age, address and contact telephone number to or post to: Soar Magazine Competition, Communications Team, Curve, Rutland Street, LE1 1SB.

Good luck if you decide to enter! Closing date: 30th October Terms and conditions: One entry per person. The tickets are non-transferable and there is no cash alternative.

Ticket Office 0116 242 3595


FLYINGHIGH Since opening in September 2008, Highcross has become Leicester’s biggest and most successful re-development, home to an unrivalled selection of inspiring retailers, 13 delicious cafes and restaurants, a 12 screen Cinema de Lux and that’s not all… The Highcross shopping experience is set to be boosted once more this Autumn by the arrival of a number of key fashion brands to tantalise all shopaholics out there. Jack and Jones and Vero Moda is now open as a dual-store in the Lower Mall hive of contemporary fashion brands. Jack and Jones boasts cutting edge menswear and Vero Moda offers a stylish and chic ladies range to excite Leicester’s fashionistas.

“We’re in conversation with several other stores which would complement the retail mix at Highcross perfectly.” Canadian footwear store, Aldo, has now opened its second store in the Midlands, located exclusively within Highcross on the Upper Mall. Aldo offers smart, contemporary and casual footwear for men and women, as well as an extensive accessories range, enough to complete the perfect look for all occasions. For those shoppers who aren’t on the prowl for their next fashion fix and prefer to relax in front of a good film or listen to some soulful

tunes, Powerplay is now open on the Lower Mall. Powerplay widens the range of shops Highcross has to offer as it presents an entertainment fusion to Leicester, specialising in games, DVD’s and music. Also worth noting is that Orange has moved to a larger unit on the Upper Mall and now offers a wider variety of mobile phones, accessories and broadband service. Tom Nathan, General Manager of Highcross, believes the new stores demonstrate why Leicester is rated as a leading UK shopping destination. “We’re in conversation with several other stores which would complement the retail mix at Highcross perfectly.” To top your shopping experience off at Highcross, there are now even more restaurants for you to choose from, so you can recharge the batteries after your shopping spree. A number of popular restaurants are dotted around St Peters Square ranging from the ever popular Wagamama to The Handmade Burger Company, Urban Pie and Yo! Sushi. Furthermore, the Old

1573 Grammar School Court now boasts a new concept bar and grill, ‘1573’. Located in the Old Grammar School building, 1573 is operated by the owners of the city’s popular Colourworks bistro and combines the historic charm of the Grade II listed building with a contemporary new design. The menu stretches from perfectly chargrilled steaks and delicious seasonal seafood dishes, to an array of light bites and open sandwiches, all complemented by a fine selection of wines and champagnes.

If you are searching for a one stop shopping experience, then look no further than Highcross. Shops are open until 8pm, restaurants open ‘till late and parking is only £2 after 5pm. What more could you ask for? For further information on shops, restaurants and Cinema De Lux showing times, visit



Sitting right in the heart of Leicester’s Cultural Quarter is the newly developed Phoenix Square. Playing a major part in Leicester City Council’s wider plans to develop the St. George’s area into a culturally diverse and creative focal point, this high quality sustainable development is the latest addition to the area. Phoenix Square fuses together an independent arts cinema, immersive digital gallery, individually designed living space, offices studios and a creative workspace. The development provides sociable living, contemporary surroundings and high quality design.

Independent Arts Cinema With the latest digital technology the cinema has 2 screens, seating around 340 people, a screen lounge with flexible seating for around 50 people and a café bar to meet, relax and enjoy. This innovative space is also home to the DMU Cube (supported by De Montfort University) which is a unique, interactive digital arts space where poetry meets gaming, image meets sound and performance meets installation.

Managed Workspace Available now are 22 individual workspaces for media production and creative technology based companies.

double height windows and plenty of natural light and direct access to a landscaped courtyard. Under floor heating from ground source heat pumps provide low cost and environmentally efficient heating. Unit sizes range from 1,000sq ft to 1,500sq ft.

Reputed to be the UK’s first genuine mixed use communities – Phoenix Square is a unique balance of living, working and presenting in one space. The Studio Office show suite is now open. For further information or to arrange a visit contact David Sturgis on 0116 2853360 or e-mail

With a reception service to greet your visitors, take deliveries and transfer calls and on-site meeting rooms, each individual space is managed with a flexible approach to allow the space to adapt to the needs of the business. Workspaces range from 215sq ft (20m²) to 690sq ft (64m²).

Individually Designed Living Space

For further information or to arrange a visit please contact Katherine O’Sullivan on 0116 2616800 or

Prices start at £71,000. 2 bedroom apartment and Studio apartment Show Homes now open.

For further information or to arrange a visit please contact Mary Stephenson on 01162 851602 or e-mail Join us at the official opening on 19th November 2009 and come and see for yourself.

63 individually designed stylish apartments ranging from studios, one and two bedroom apartments to three bedroom two-story homes. Many of these apartments have access to outdoor space via balconies and terraces.

Office Studios Seven self contained two-story offices, each with prominent on street frontage to display your brand for extra ‘kerb appeal’,


HANGTOUGH There’s more than one use for a crane. Just ask Kevin Concepcion. Walk into the yard at Darren Lee Construction’s headquarters on Saffron Lane and you could find Leicester’s middleweight prospect going through an unusual training session.

The last two holders of the Midlands belt before Randell – Darren McDermott and Andy Halder – have both gone on to challenge for the British championship and that is Concepcion’s target.

He hangs a punch bag from a crane borrowed from Darren Lee Construction’s sister company Leicester Lift Ltd. He dances around it, peppering it with the lightning punches that have taken him to the brink of a crack at the British title.

Kevin has climbed through the ranks at work – he has gained an NVQ to gain promotion – and the slickboxing 29 year-old from Stocking Farm has swept up the boxing rankings since turning professional in September 2006 with a points win in Coventry.

“I’m lucky to have such a good boss,” said Concepcion. “Darren supports all the teams and boxers from Leicester and he’s been a great boss and understands I need to train whenever I get the chance in between jobs.” Concepcion will be training harder than ever in the countdown to his challenge for Tony Randell’s Midlands Area middleweight championship, at the Marriott Hotel on Grove Park in Leicester on Saturday, November 7th.

Leicester has a tradition of producing top middleweights. Chris Pyatt won a version of the World Championship on an unforgettable night at Granby Halls in May 1993 and Tony Sibson claimed a Lonsdale belt outright and challenged ring legend, Marvin Hagler, for world honours. Concepcion’s determination to follow in their footsteps gets him running around Bradgate Park at 7am every Saturday, but the boxer’s

By Matt Bozeat

toughest sparring sessions come against his closest friend. Younger brother Martin, a former challenger for the Commonwealth light-middleweight title, is trained there by Jez Brogan and is also employed by Darren Lee Construction. Martin also boxes on the big bill at the Marriott Hotel in November and like Kevin, is targeting major honours “within the next 12 months.” As an amateur with Belgrave Amateur Boxing Club, Martin represented England and his explosive punching power and skills have taken him into the top ten of the British rankings. His wins include a one-round demolition of former Commonwealth king, Matthew Hall, and he said:

“I know I can beat any of the top fighters in Britain. I just want to get a few more wins under my belt.” Martin’s days are hectic. They start at 6am, when his alarm clock rings and after a full day’s work, he returns home to be “ran ragged” by his three children before heading off to train alongside his big brother.

Kevin and Martin haven’t boxed on the same bill for more than a decade. They were both winners on that show at Belgrave Amateur Boxing Club’s Checketts Road venue and are guaranteed plenty of support in November. “We’re buzzing about boxing on the same show again after all these years,” said Kevin. “We are best mates, but also drive each other on. I want Martin to do well. It’s just that I want to do that bit better!” The dinner show at the Marriott will be Martin’s first appearance in front of his home crowd, while Kevin has happy memories of his last fight in Leicester.

good fighter and I like him. We’ve met and he seems like a nice guy, but that doesn’t mean he’s leaving Leicester with the belt.” Tickets for the show are available from He won the vacant British Masters middleweight title at Aylestone Leisure Centre last June, with a points win over Tyan Booth and says his next appearance at home will be even more impressive than that dominant display.

Interview in association with:

“I’m going to show everyone how much I’ve improved. Randell is a



Two very different vehicles are tested in this issue. First, Nissan’s excellent X-Trail which has been taking a big share of the 4x4 market and Volkswagen’s superb new Golf.

Nissan X-Trail The wide range of 4x4 vehicles available today is mind-numbing. The choice used to be simple. Now there are all-wheel drive options across most sectors in all shapes and sizes. But if you opt for the mid range, a big enough engine to give adequate power without frightening the bank manager, with reasonable off-road ability and a respectable specification, you could end up with a Nissan X-Trail. I tested the Sport Expedition version, fitted with the new 173 bhp 2.0 common rail diesel engine and it’s a revelation. This unit is quiet, with smooth delivery and more than adequate power and as a bonus you get mixed driving fuel consumption of more than 38 miles to the gallon.

The X-Trail is also available with 2.0 or 2.5 petrol power, though why anyone would opt for petrol when the diesel engine is so good is difficult to understand. The X-Trail Sport Expedition comes with an impressive standard specification list. This includes all-round airbags, electronic antilock brakes, 17 inch alloy wheels, cruise control, all-round electric windows and mirrors, automatic climate control, panoramic sunroof, automatic wipers and headlights, front fog lamps, six-speaker CD player, and clever, split level boot with removable drawer. The interior is light, thanks to the enormous sunroof and roomy, with exceptionally comfortable seats. The instruments are mounted centrally and there’s adequate

storage room around the cabin, including a useful lidded storage box complete with power socket, cooled can/bottle holders front and rear and a lidded facia-top box. Locking and ignition are keyless. Load space is not the biggest but can be increased using the split folding rear seats. Hefty-looking roof rails also come as standard, as does a rear parking camera. Handling is positive, stable and crisp, with no 4x4 wallow on cornering. I took the X-Trail across some rutted muddy tracks and fields, to give it a serious test and it certainly wasn’t found wanting. I am hugely impressed by the X-Trail. At £24,700, you’ll struggle to get a vehicle of equal quality, equipment and ability for less.

VW Golf SE The latest Volkswagen Golf has a lot to live up to. It’s been 34 years and 26 million sales since the original Golf hit the streets and six versions later this one’s better than ever. I tested the SE version of the new Golf, powered by a 1.4 litre, 122 bhp engine. It has plenty of lower end power, with handling that feels as if the wheels could never leave the ground. The engine is linked to a slick six-speed gearbox which means you can get nearly 46 miles to the gallon. The Golf is as understated as it ever was, though it‘s features are sharply defined. It has clean line and a purposeful stance, but is unmistakably a Golf.

Inside, you get simplicity, an attention to detail and high quality materials. The seats are supportive and supremely comfortable. The small steering wheel is sculpted to allow a good grip. The sporty 1.4 litre engine is both turbo-charged and intercooled. I found pedal pressure a little hard, but the turbocharged acceleration is impressive, delivering a powerful but smooth dose of extra grunt. Handling is sports car-like, thanks to stiffened suspension and nicelyrated electro-mechanical power steering. Steering is solid and predictable, with good feedback through the steering wheel.

Standard equipment on the Golf SE is impressive and includes a curtain airbag system for front and rear passengers, remote central locking with alarm and immobiliser, electronic climate control, eightspeaker CD player, automatic lights and rain sensing wipers, electric windows, mirrors and front fog lights. The six speed manual Golf SE 1.4 TSI which I test drove comes in at £16,515 on the road, which isn’t cheap for a car of this size, but you are buying into a legend and resale values are good. For the sixth time Volkswagen have put the Golf badge on a car that truly deserves it.


By Ian Strachan

Ian Strachan is a motoring and business writer. He can be contacted at


A plate full of fun An eat all you can buffet, you say? At least twelve starters, thirty mains and twelve dessert options? Is this food heaven? I think so. Soar Magazine invited clients, colleagues and friends for an intimate evening and a veritable feast at Zucchero, Charles Street, Leicester and we’re still licking our lips… Our team of fervent foodies felt like the glitterati of the city as we strolled past the black granite curved bar, cushion strewn booths and damask tiles. Paradoxically, and to the benefit of Zucchero, having felt like stars, the atmosphere was more like a welcoming dinner party around a friend’s place. Starting with the informal introduction from one of the owners, Jason Knevett, to the environmentally friendly ‘reuse your dish’ reminder, finishing with the food itself, Zucchero has a little of something for everyone. And when we say something, we actually mean everything. Pizza, pasta, nachos, fajitas, curries, crispy duck, salads, sushi and if that’s not enough there’s fresh

crepes, waffles and an ice cream machine for those with a sweet tooth. Immediately, the choice is a major plus point, especially in large groups, as Jason explains. “We feel that by widening the choice for people, we actually help them with their decision of where to eat. The last thing you want when you’re organising a party or a large gathering, is to argue about the type of food you’re going to eat.” “The second criteria was to ensure that we didn’t substitute quality with quantity. We’re proud of what we offer and I think that the Leicester public who have sampled Zucchero have left satisfied.”

No doubt as the reputation grows, so will the demand, especially in the build up to the traditionally busy Christmas period. To cope with the expected interest, Zucchero are large enough to decree that no preordering is required and the service doesn’t stop there. Traditional meal and World buffet is available to everyone, a DJ will be playing all night and party fun with prizes to be won ensure that the festive season is catered for. Our party definitely liked, first hand, what we saw. So why not give this taste sensation a whirl for yourself? Zucchero World Buffet can be found on 126 Charles Street, Leicester. Visit


the soarpoint

with Richie Wellens

Words by Jon Reeves


t 29-years-old and with plenty of football league experience under his belt, former Manchester United trainee, Richie Wellens, is ready for a return to the big time, and he’s chosen to take that journey with Leicester City.


Richie joined The Foxes during pre-season, having spent a successful couple of years with fellow Championship side, Doncaster Rovers, earning a reputation as one of the finest midfielders in the division. Wellens has already made quite an impact on the City faithful with energetic, assured and classy displays. The midfielder also impressed during spells with Blackpool and Oldham and promises to bring a creative spark to the City midfield that’s arguably been missing since Muzzy Izzet left the club. His driven determination to succeed is as conspicuous as his burning ambition to play Premier League football and the great news for Foxes fans is that he wants to reach that goal with Leicester City.

Jon Reeves: So Richie, the team has enjoyed a pretty good start to the season. How well do you think you’ve settled into the club? Richie Wellens: So far it’s been ok, but I know that I can still improve. It’s difficult to assess as the table hasn’t really taken shape yet. In the next five or six games it will and hopefully then we can stay in the top six. JR: What attracted you to the club? RW: It’s a big club, obviously. In the Coca-Cola Championship there are a lot of big clubs but Leicester have a good stadium and get good crowds. There were another couple of offers but they were just a little too far away from me as I still live in Manchester. I just looked at Leicester as a big club, a club on a high and I hoped we could carry on that winning mentality this season. JR: What would constitute a good season for Leicester City this year? RW: I think whenever you get promoted, first and foremost you’ve got to make sure you stay in the league and for clubs like Peterborough and Scunthorpe that’s

the main aim. But, I think a club like Leicester have got to be looking at getting into the play-offs. JR: You started your career coming through the ranks at Manchester United. Tell us a bit about that experience… RW: It was great, but it was just unfortunate that at the time they had the best midfield they’ve probably ever had, with the likes of Roy Keane, Paul Scholes and David

Beckham, so it was always going to be difficult for me to break through. When I had about 18 months left on my contract I took the decision to leave United and sign for Blackpool. JR: Was it hard to leave the club or did you just get to the point that you were desperate to play first team football? RW: It was a tough decision as you’re used to going in and training with some of the best players in the world and obviously the facilities around you are first class, but when you get to a Saturday morning and you’re not playing, just watching it every week, it gets frustrating. You train all week to play a game on a Saturday and that’s all I wanted to do. JR: Was it a bit of a culture shock to leave United and sign for Blackpool? RW: When I went to Blackpool I had to get stronger. At United we had the ball a lot of the time and it was quite easy as we beat most teams. Going to Blackpool, who were struggling at the bottom of the league, was a bit of a culture shock but I think it was character building. (continued...)


looking forward to seeing what the atmosphere for local derbies against Forest and Derby will be like. JR: Do you think playing outside of the top flight over the years has made you hungrier to play in the Premier League? RW: It has, especially at this stage of my career. There are a few players here that have played in the Premier League and have that ambition to play there again. I’ve just turned 29 so I’d like to think I can have a couple of seasons in the Premier League and if I got that opportunity then I’d snap someone’s hands off. I’m just going to work as hard as I can to get us there.

JR: Are you still in touch with any of the lads you played with at United? RW: I grew up with Wes Brown and he’s still a good friend of mine and I know John O’Shea quite well and we keep in touch. JR: Which spell of your career have you enjoyed the most so far? RW: I’m hoping the spell I’ll enjoy the most is my time with Leicester. I want to get them to the Premier League and be part of a successful team here. Playing for Doncaster was also good for me. We played some great football and were successful as well. The highlight of my career so far is probably winning the play-off final with Doncaster at Wembley. JR: Have you been impressed by the manager since you’ve joined the club? RW: Obviously I’d heard of his

reputation before. He’s had a few good jobs at Newcastle, Southampton and West Brom and I’d heard that he was a good coach. I’ve been very impressed by him. He’s very specific in what he wants, he gets his point across well and the lads listen to him. It’s important with any manager that first and foremost the players respect you and I think every player at this club respects the manager. JR: Is the club bigger than you thought it would be? RW: It’s too early to say, but I’m

Photo: Neil Plumb Photography

JR: Have you had any offers from Premier League clubs in the past? RW: To be honest, Wolves and Birmingham were interested this summer. I spoke with both clubs and they both said that they wanted to get players with Premier League experience in first, which is understandable, and that if I was prepared to wait then something might happen. But, to be honest I didn’t want to let this Leicester thing go and wait for Wolves or Birmingham to come off, so I thought I’d take the chance here and hopefully we’ll get into the Premier League ourselves.

JR: The squad seems to have good strength in depth and a nice blend of youth and experience… RW: We’ve got a lot of good players here. Obviously we’ve got a lot of experienced players like Matt Oakley, Steve Howard and Wayne Brown who have already won promotion from this league, so

and what a hard man he was but in terms of a footballer, well, he was fantastic. JR: Who’s the best player you’ve ever played with or against? RW: It was probably Paul Scholes in training. You just could not get near him. He used to pass people the

“I’d like to think I can have a couple of seasons in the Premier League and if I got that opportunity then I’d snap someone’s hands off.” their experience will be valuable, especially to the young lads. We’ve got good players, we’ve got strong players and I’m sure we’ll be ok.

ball in a way that he’d make sure you’d pass it back to him. He was probably the best player at United at that time.

We’ve got good strength in depth and a good number of strikers here now. I think we’ve got three or four really experienced lads, the young lads coming through are the energy of the team and obviously five or six players from the ages of 25 to 31, which are good ages. The more players we’ve got the stronger we are and we’ve got good competition for places.

JR: What’s your main ambition for the next few years of your career? RW: Hopefully next year we can play in the Premier League but if we can get to the Play-Offs this year it will be a great achievement. I think every season all you look to

soarpoint do is improve on the last season. Last season was very successful especially at home, as we only lost once at the Walkers in the league and if we can do that again we’ll be there or thereabouts.

Did You Know? Richie was voted into the 2004/05, 2006/07 and 2007/08 League One PFA Teams of the Year. Wellens already has good Play-Off pedigree after winning the Division Three final with Blackpool in 2001 and the League One showpiece with Doncaster in 2008.

JR: Have you set yourself a goal target for this season? RW: Not really. At the start of the season we’re playing 4-4-2 and I’m playing a little bit deeper because all of the other midfielders are quite attacking. I’d happily not score a goal all season as long as we get promoted. JR: Who was your football hero when you were growing up? RW: The 1990 World Cup was when I really started getting into football and Paul Gascoigne and probably Diego Maradona were the best players at that time. Until I went to United I didn’t really realise how good Roy Keane was. People talk about how good he was at tackling

Photo: Neil Plumb Photography



-F HFOE T 6,

On Sunday August 2nd at Goals Leicester, Legends UK entertained over forty football teams in a frenetic and hotly contested tournament. The Legends UK side, are pictured in Leicester City’s away shirt, complete with LOROS logo, which was kindly donated by the club. Dealey Construction were the eventual winners, beating the Legends in the final. These pictures show that Walshy and his team have still got it, but didn’t quite have enough to lift the trophy‌

Soar Magazine - Issue 06  

soar magazine, free leicestershire focused sports, health and lifestyle magazine