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Birstall Post october 2020 (447)

660 homes & new school planned

660 NEW homes and a 1200 place secondary school are planned for an area of open space off Greengate Lane.

Pic: Sites near Birstall identified for development in the Leicester Local Plan

Leicester City Council has identified the 48 ha site for development in its draft local plan, which was put out for public consultation on September 14. You can make your views known on the plan until December 7, when the consultation period ends.

A further plot of land, 4.86 ha next to the 17th tee on Birstall golf course has been identified as employment land, it has no highways access and is currently agricultural land. Other parts of this field have been identified for employment land as part of the Ashton Green development.

53 new homes are planned for a 2.78 ha site behind Park Road, adjacent to the railway. The site is currently a part of Birstall golf course.

The draft plan states: “the allocation leads to the loss of green wedge but is outweighed by the strategic opportunity of the two sites, as a natural extension of the already approved and partially delivered main Ashton Green development [3000 homes].”

The draft local plan says the timeframe for the development is 2023 for the school, 6 to 15 years for the housing and 6 to 10 years for the employment land.

The plan also identifies land south of Thurcaston for 611 new homes.

The draft local plan covers the period 2019– 2036 and states that 29,104 homes will be built in Leicester, with 30% affordable housing on greenfield sites.

Birstall’s Borough Councillors and County Cllr are urging residents to take part in the consultation process. Group spokesman Cllr Roy Rollings said: “Birstall and Wanlip residents may have wondered why they received details about the emerging Local Plan which is being produced by Leicester City Council. Leicester City Council are proposing to allocate land for development on the outskirts of Birstall, including on Birstall Golf Course and land at the top of Greengate Lane. It is vital Leicester City Council hear from residents of Birstall and Wanlip as part of this consultation process. This is a strategic document and now is the time for us to influence the direction of it. Please do take a look at the documentation you have received and respond if you wish to do so. More information is available online.”

The plan also identifies three other sites for development:

• Land west of Anstey Lane

• Western golf course

• Land at Leicester General Hospital.

The consultation is available online at consultations.leicester.gov.uk. It includes the draft Local Plan and details of all proposed sites for potential development across the city, as well as an interactive map that sets out all the sites in detail. People can click on the sites and make individual comments on them.

City mayor Peter Soulsby said: “A Local Plan is something every local authority has to have in place, by law. It covers the way we plan to develop the city over the next 15 years. Without such a plan, it would be harder for us to protect wildlife and our built heritage, make plans for a greener and healthier city, or effectively accommodate the growing needs of our city.

“We know that we have a number of challenges ahead – not least the climate emergency and our responsibility to protect our environment for future generations. That is why our new Local Plan is more important than ever.

“We originally prepared to consult on the draft Local Plan back in March, but the coronavirus lockdown caused us to postpone. We’re now ready to launch our comprehensive consultation, which will run from today [Monday, September 14] until December 7, to give people plenty of time to comment.”

Face-to-face meetings for people to give their views are not possible at this stage, due to coronavirus. However, people are invited to comment online and can look at copies of the Local Plan in city libraries, the majority of which have now been reopened.

All the comments and suggestions received will be considered before a final version of the plan is produced for further consultation.

The plan will then be used to inform planning policy and decisions in the city.

To take part in the consultation, visit https://consultations.leicester.gov.uk/

Woman found on road

TWO TEENAGERS, one from Birstall, have been charged with kidnap and other offences after a woman was found lying seriously injured on the A6 carriageway.

Rocco Sansome (18) of Wanlip Lane, Birstall, has been charged with kidnap and possession of a class B drug.

Chay Bowskill (19) of Empingham Drive, Syston, has been charged with kidnap, grievous bodily harm and criminal damage.

Officers shut the northbound lane between Mountsorrel and Loughborough at around 10.45am. The southbound lanes were shut later to allow an air ambulance to land. The woman was taken to the Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham.

The Police have issued an appeal for motorists to get in touch if they have dash-cam footage or saw the woman in the road.

Pop-up cycle lanes removed next year

THE POP-UP cycle lanes on the A6 in Birstall will be in place for a further 6–9 months, say the County Council.

Pic: the pop-up cycle lane on the A6, Birstall

The measures were put in place by the County after it made a successful bid for money from the governments Emergency Active Travel Fund. This funding is being made available in two tranches: the first is for temporary schemes, the second for permanent measures.

In a response to an enquiry made by Birstall Parish Council, Laura Shepherd at Leicestershire County Council said: “Leicestershire County Council has submitted a bid for the emergency active travel tranche two funding to enable us to deliver more permanent measures to encourage active travel such as off-road cycling facilities. We expect an announcement in September and if successful, we will be running a full consultation with all stakeholders including residents, the Parish Council and County Councillors in the autumn. Please note that the tranche two schemes will be different altogether to tranche one and it will not be a case of simply making the temporary measures, as now implemented, permanent, they will also be subject to a full consultation.

“It is likely that the tranche one temporary scheme will be in place for 6–9 months until the tranche two schemes can be delivered, but during this time we will continually monitor and review measures to ensure they are fit for purpose and make any adjustments deemed necessary. We will be monitoring cycle lane usage, traffic flows, queues, pedestrian movements, air quality and the impact on side roads throughout this period.”

Trevor Pendleton, cabinet member for Highways and Transport, told the Birstall Post: “We are awaiting a decision from the government on whether we have been successful in our bid for further funding. We will be undertaking a full consultation with residents and members on any proposals shortly after the announcement.”

The County says restricted timescales set by the government meant there wasn’t any time to consult the public on the temporary scheme implemented in August.

Birstall’s County Councillor Iain Bentley objected to the pop-up cycle lanes as soon as they were announced. He said: “I have been assured during a meeting at county hall that in 6 to 9 months this temporary scheme will be completely removed and the road reinstated exactly how it was before. I am pleased about that but think the scheme has been an absolute waste of money.”

The government’s emergency active travel funding aims to create an environment that is “safe for both walking and cycling” and to “promote cycling as a replacement for journeys previously made by public transport”.

In a letter to local transport authority officers, Robert Furness, from the Department of Transport, said: “Active travel allows people to get around while maintaining social distance and will have an essential role to play in helping us avoid overcrowding on the public transport systems as we begin to open up parts of our economy. We have a window of opportunity to act now to embed walking and cycling as part of new long-term commuting habits and reap the associated health, air quality and congestion benefits.”

The government allocated £250 million to the fund.

Students return to school in Birstall

BIRSTALL’S SCHOOLS welcomed back students in September.

Pics: (above) 6th form students at the Cedars Academy are welcomed at the start of term; (below) a year 7 classroom

Shreekant Raivadera, Chair of Governors at the Cedars Academy, reports:

The school staff have enjoyed having our learners back on site. They have been fantastic, showing genuine kindness and maturity in dealing with a new way of working.

We’re aware that some parents and residents have had issues at the start and end of school days. The measures we put in place at each school aimed to make it as safe as possible for pupils to enter and leave the site. We’ve asked parents to be mindful of residents but we’re all dealing with the ‘new normal’ so we’ll review our measures as needed and thank parents and residents alike for sharing their feedback with us.

At the start of term, each school spent time ensuring that all learners are aware of the changes and processes needed to ensure that the school runs smoothly and safely.

At Cedars, there has been an introduction to an entirely new way of working with our learners, with a focus on being kind and respectful, working hard and taking responsibility. Students have been presented with the dual challenges of unfamiliar Covid-19 related routines and our increasingly high expectations and, they have risen to these challenges magnificently as we knew they would.

Teaching and learning reviews have largely been virtual, while visits by experts from the Lionheart trust have focused on re-establishing the ethos of each school, covering behaviour, with the idea that a positive environment makes it much easier for learning to be effective.

Across the trust, the younger pupils have been very engaged with the new approach and seemed to be enjoying lessons. The older years groups at are taking a little longer to get their heads around the new way of learning and staff are working hard to help them.

The primary schools had a very positive return with pupils regularly proclaiming, “It’s great being back at school”, albeit mostly because they’re seeing their friends again. Feedback from parents is that their children want to come to school to learn as it was boring being at home.

Staff have been helping the children build up their stamina, it seems months of lockdown has it made it tricky to sustain a full day of learning!

The heads are reporting that pupil year groups like having their own spaces, with especially the year 11s feeling that removing the pressure of being the oldest in school has helped them settle in quickly.

Curriculum

Staff are working with students to identify and address any gaps in knowledge and detailed curriculum plans are in place.

The Lionheart Trust’s on-line learning platform will continue to be developed and used to support learning outside the classroom, for example through the setting of tasks for homework and the uploading of key pieces of work. The primary schools are not setting 'homework' but have set up a 'home learning file’ for each year group.

Should a child fall ill or need to self-isolate for a period of time, the school will ensure that suitable work is set through the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) so that they do not fall behind with the learning of their class.

Chromebooks

We’ve had three very kind offers from private individuals in Birstall to sponsor a Chromebook for a child in Birstall, we’re very grateful for any support on this important initiative.

A quick reminder: students without access to the internet and/or a device are significantly disadvantaged – whether education is delivered fully online or if students are on-site.

The Lionheart Academies trust has identified learners for whom lack of device or internet is the reason for them not engaging with online learning and considers this disadvantaged group a high priority.

The Trust has therefore invested over £250,000 to provide these students with the tools they need to learn. We are now fundraising to help cover some of that cost and appeal to any individuals or businesses who may be able to sponsor a Chromebook for £225. Please contact me by email Shreekant.raivadera@lionhearttrust.org.uk and you can make a positive difference to a disadvantaged child in Birstall.

GCSE Results

The Government has announced that it will not publish any school or college level educational performance data based on tests, assessments or exams for 2020, however, we’re very pleased to report really positive results for our GCSE students this year.

Learners have gone on to their next steps in education successfully and Cedars Academy results were considerably improved from last year (as were most schools).

You may have been personally involved with the rollercoaster ride of exam results, but thankfully the final decision was to rely on teacher assessment rather than the algorithm.

Staff were asked, back in March, to create the Centre Assessment Grades based on how well a student was likely to do, on a day in which health, emotional issues etc, didn’t get in the way of them performing. Schools have worked really hard to improve results year on year, and we were happy with the results.

Beyond GCSE results, parents may be interested in a measure called “Progress 8”, which aims to measure the progress of secondary pupils across a selected set of 8 subjects from the end of primary school to the end of secondary school. The range of this measure is -1 to +1 and Cedars Academy is now at 0.25, which shows that pupils achieve higher than the national average.

All Cedars Martin Sixth Form 2020 graduates have gone on to higher/further education or training and the sixth form is off to a great start in 2020 with XX students starting their A-level courses.

Keep calm and carry on baking

THE FLOUR dusting has settled on 2020's Great Birstall Bake Off, and with 43 entries and a great array of prizes up for grabs, it was all a great success, raising £1200 for Macmillan Cancer Support.

One of the organisers, Rebecca Kay, said: “We didn’t know what to expect this year, but we were overwhelmed by the amazing entries and the amount of money raised in this difficult year.”

Pic: Organisers Charlotte Foy & Beccy Kay

Most categories were well supported, with both genders and all ages competing for the most prestigious prize in Birstall's bakery calendar. The judging panel says they were astounded by the selection, in particular the ‘Under 16’ entries which were more creative than ever.

Bake Off Winners

But the Bake Off competition was only the start, with all the entries being sold to raise money for the Macmillan Cancer Support's World's Largest Coffee Morning. The cakes were sold on the morning of Sunday, September 20 at the White Horse in Birstall. Good weather enabled the organisers to host the event outside in the pub garden.

Rebecca said: “The Covid situation did not dampen the enthusiastic turnout and many customers booked a table. We had a system in place to make sure there was social distancing and there wasn’t a queue in front of the cake. The coffee and cake flew out and so far £1200 was raised- a truly staggering figure.”

Pic: Judges Janet Vaughan, Kath Jones & Phil Craxford

The raffle stand had excellent prizes from some of the Horse’s key suppliers: there was a gin tour and glasses from local producer Burleighs and a bottle of North 42 gin, also from Leicester. St Martins' coffee roasters also donated a hamper of their products and bottles from Matthew Clark and boxes of chocolates too from Makro and the Co-op.

Suppliers also provided most of the winners' prizes of family boxes of biscuits and bottles of prosecco. The winners also received mugs or water bottles from Macmillan, White Horse Vouchers and of course the much-coveted winners' rosettes.

The organisers send their thanks to the following for their contributions and donations: Silly Prices, Amy Harrison - graphic designer, also to Brakes, Creed, Trust Inns, and Dominic of Norths of Rothley, all White Horse suppliers, and to the children who took part in the colouring competition.

Special thanks also to the judging panel, Janet Vaughn and Kath Jones from the Birstall WI, previous winners Katie Morsli, Stephen, Xander and Rueben Lewin, Cat and Charlotte Hanlon, James, Olive and Maple Foy, Phil Craxford, Amy Moore and Zoe White, Chef at the White Horse, of course following WI guidelines for appearance, texture and flavour.

Lastly, the organisers Charlotte Foy and Beccy Kay would like to say a huge thank you to everybody who took part, those who generously donated their baking and to everyone who came on Sunday to eat cake and raise this tremendous amount for Macmillan.

Watch this space and our Facebook page for details of 2021's Great Birstall Bake Off, but until then - keep baking!

Winners’ List and their entries:

Cupcake / Traybake – Evie and Lola Fletcher –Mint Aero Rocky road

Best Decorated – Liana Condello – Leaf and berry chocolate cake

Best Under 16 – Maya Hernandez – Buzy Bee Lemon Cake

Best Cake – Katie Bateman – Thank you NHS Rainbow Cake

Best Biscuit – Reggie Sutton- Strawberry, Lemon and Chocolate Macarons

Best Bread – Andrew Gardner – North East Loaf

Best ‘Free From’ – Sophie Kordewicz – Vegan coconut Cake with Rum frosting

Best Savoury – Anna Beams – Cheese Straws

Sweet Pastry – Cat Hanlon – Chocolate tart

Birstall’s Best Baker – John Tointon – Was honoured for his continual support of the Bake Off over many years and excellent entries in 2020 He received a large bottle of Bells whisky, and White Horse Vouchers.

Santa fun run

LOUGHBOROUGH ROTARY Club has organised a Santa Fun Run & Walk in the town for the last fifteen years.

An event is not possible this year, so the club is planning an 'Alternative' Santa Fun Run, where people will sign up and get a Santa suit and set themselves a challenge, to raise much-needed funds for a charity of their choice.

Linda Thompson, Virtual Chairperson of the 'Alternative' Santa Fun Run, said: “Everything is different this year! Take part in our ‘Alternative’ Santa Fun Run in 2020, by setting yourself a challenge over the twelve days of Christmas, and raise much-needed funds for your favourite charity. Sign up on www.santa-fun-run.co.uk, put on your Santa suit, and start making a difference! Even your dog can participate in his/her best ‘Santa paws’ outfit, and win a prize at the same time.”

Reduce waste and refill plastic bottles

YOU CAN reduce plastic usage by choosing to refill your plastic containers when they are empty.

Pic: Weigh Hey’s refills

Concerned about the issue, Sandra Woodward of Thurcaston has started Weigh Hey Charnwood. She said: “I am passionate about eco-friendly products and wanted to reduce my plastic usage too - so Weigh Hey refills were the perfect fit. My kids use a lot of shampoo and shower gel so I was looking to save money too!

“Choosing a refillable can significantly reduce the amount of single-use plastic you use and save you money as you're not buying the plastic packaging!

“Packaging from cleaning and body care products are among the least likely to be recycled in the UK. They can only be recycled a limited number of times before they can’t be used any longer and need to be sent to landfill.

“I use everything I stock so I can advise on all products and am happy to give a sample of any new products you'd like to try.

“Please contact me by email, phone or Facebook. I live in an accessible location in Thurcaston for you to collect your refills or I can deliver locally. Any bottle or jar will do as you get a label. I have some spares too. Cash, PayPal or BACS is available and fill-ups are while you wait. Which is not too long, I promise!”

Parish Council notes

A FULL meeting of Birstall Parish Council was held via Zoom on September 14.

It was reported that the county council had responded to the parish council’s letter about the temporary pop-up cycle scheme. The county says it will monitor the scheme which will be left in place for six to nine months. A second tranche of government funding is available and the county says it will conduct a full public consultation before introducing any permanent measures utilising that funding.

It was agreed to wait for the future public consultation before taking any further action.

The council agreed in principle to assist with the organisation of a Remembrance event at the War Memorial this November after it was notified by Charnwood that the Royal British Legion’s guidance to its branches nationwide was that local branches should not organise events this year due to Covid-19.

Councillors considered the proposal from Councillor Jeff Green, passed at the August meeting, that the council set up a working party to consider ways it could improve, and new ideas and new ways of working.

Working parties must have a minimum of three councillors, they are not subject to the strict rules of a formal council meeting and cannot make decisions, but can put forward recommendations to the full council.

It was agreed that Councillor Keith Hampton draws up the terms of reference for a working party and that any councillor can volunteer to participate. Councillor Hampton said: “The most important thing is that we maintain an open dialogue and that people feel comfortable about contributing and feel they can join and leave [the working party] as they please.”

The council has received three Freedom of Information requests in June from the same individual. They were not happy with the responses and requested an internal review, which was undertaken. The requestor was not satisfied with the internal review responses and indicated they would complain to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO).

The clerk’s report states that dealing with the FOI requests had cost the council 42 office hours.

It was agreed, having taken advice from the council’s data protection officer, that the council refer itself to the ICO for a free audit of its FOI arrangements. Parish clerk Sue Coulson said she would welcome an audit as it would show if the council is doing things right or if any improvements were needed.

The council considered requests received from local groups for funding and grant aid. It was agreed to award £1000 to Acorn under-fives for outdoor space, £300 to Gunns’ Gym for equipment, £200 to the Birstall & Wanlip WI, £600 to the Diabetes self-help group and £600 to Birstall Playgroup for Children with Special Needs.

The next meeting will take place on Zoom on October 12.

Group’s thanks and support

THE HELPING our Community and the Birstall NHS Scrubs groups have continued to support our community and the local hospitals.

Group co-founder Rosie Rollings reports:

Many hours have been spent tracking down some of the forgotten key workers in our community. Following a generous donation from funds raised for key workers by Nazrin Began we were able to reward our refuse collectors, street cleaners and all of our posties.

They have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic. All of the recipients were thrilled to receive a small gift. Sometimes we forget how a little gesture can mean so much to someone doing their daily work during these difficult times. The photos were shared on the community page and attracted many positive and grateful comments.

Luke Rames

The community group has also helped to promote Luke Rames with his fundraising for his expedition to Ecuador. Many adoptions have taken place of Luke’s homemade grass heads. They have been so popular and raised much-needed funds.

Scrubs

The Birstall NHS scrubs team have distributed over 200 limited edition Rainbow scrubs to our local hospitals and Rainbows children’s hospice. The group wanted the scrubs to be distributed and worn as soon as possible, so opted out of the presentation scheme. They are pleased to be receiving pictures of grateful recipients.

Quilts

We have made over 200 quilts for NICU Children’s HDU and other areas. We appealed for donations towards purchasing wadding and the community responded, enabling us to purchase 100 meters of wadding to enable the making of many more quilts and items. Another project was to make mammogram gowns for Glenfield Breast Care unit in pretty floral prints. The work of both groups will continue to inform and engage the community and be there if we should face further restrictions. A huge thank you to Naz for her generosity, to all the ladies sewing for UHLs and members of both groups for the continued support.

Hit & run: man hurt

TWO MEN have been arrested after a man was left with serious injuries following a non-stop collision in Greengate Lane, Birstall.

Pic: a man was injured on Greengate Lane

Police were called to the incident just after 4pm on Tuesday, September 8 which involved a white Fiat 500 car and a pedestrian.

East Midlands Ambulance Service was also in attendance and the pedestrian, a man in his 30s, was taken to hospital with serious injuries. He has since been discharged.

The car was reported to have been driven away from the scene following the collision.

Two men aged 18 and 22 have been arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and have been released on police bail pending further enquiries.

Detective Sergeant Tom Brenton said: “Despite these arrests, we would like to continue to appeal to anyone who has any information in relation to the collision or the vehicle and has not yet spoken to us to make contact.

“If you have any dashcam footage from the area, you should also check this and get in touch.”

Anyone with any information should contact 101 quoting incident 386 of September 8.

YOUR SAY...

I’m not sure why residents are surprised with the ‘temporary’ works being carried out on the A6 complete with promises that they are only temporary.

In another life down south, we had a nice new by-pass put in (it was expected in the 1930s) and the D of T together with the county council thought it would be a good idea to ‘enhance’ six market towns to take advantage of the reduction in traffic that by-passes were supposed to provide. So student highway engineers were let loose on six towns with the promise that if required, the changes would be removed.

Our market town had a bunch that had no idea about reading OS maps and didn’t realise than the main A41 London to Birmingham went through the Chiltern Hills which means bumps either side. Their best ideas were called ‘pedestrian facilities’ which turned out to be pinch points on bus routes where the buses had to let ongoing traffic come down the hill while the buses stopped. Most hills were steep and some even had bends so that vehicles going up could see about 50 yards beyond.

Needless to say, these were some of their best ideas so we dispatched one of our councillors down to another market town in Cornwall. They were the first to get changes done and nicked all the money! The other five still have to put up with the ‘experiments’.

So don’t be surprised if the temporary works remain permanent with just minor changes as and when funds are available.

As the cycle facilities are installed, it would have been a good idea to educate the public and children in particular regarding the wearing of helmets together with the use of warnings when flying along, particularly in Watermead and passing unsuspecting walkers. The footpaths are still not actually cycle tracks unless marked as such.

I notice the government have twigged the problem regarding ‘parking’ on pavements somehow but I will not hold my breath regarding actually enforcing the current law.

Norman Cutting, Wanlip

I wish to report the sighting of a lesser spotted blue-capped cyclist on the pop-up lane of the A6 yesterday, cars had stopped, people were out with binoculars, some waving flags, as this rare almost extinct bird flew down his private road back to his nest.

At last the elderly, some with sticks, and the young mums with pushchairs and toddlers by the hand could understand the reason for the removal of the central safety island in the middle of the A6 which everyone used when crossing to the bus stop into Leicester.

When the entry of this sighting is posted in the Guinness Book of Records, as it surely will be, perhaps a footnote should be added detailing the cost to life and limb which the protection of this rare species has cost, not to mention the closure to traffic of several well-used village roads.

Another note should be added as to the inanity of the person or ‘body’ who gave permission for this thoughtless and totally unnecessary, expensive piece of destruction, without reference to the Parish Council, local MP, or the people of Birstall, who would have told them exactly what they thought of the idea.

Name and address supplied

For those who may not know, Birstall has had a branch of the RAF Association for over forty years and is always ready to welcome new members.

Regrettably, at the moment all activities are on hold, for reasons we all know, which means especially that we are unable to collect on the streets for the annual Wings Appeal (you may have seen us or the ATC at the Co-op for instance in previous years) in what is the 80th anniversary year of the Battle of Britain. The public is extremely generous when we make these collections and many like to stop for a chat. It is amazing how many have served in the RAF or who have a relative who has, or is indeed currently serving!

All money collected is used for welfare work amongst former and serving members of the RAF and although we collect all year round, the main effort is always centred around 15 September, Battle of Britain Day. I know times are difficult for everyone, but if there are those of you who would still like to make a donation, we have set up a JustGiving page which can be accessed at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/RAFABirstallBranchWingsAppeal

Rest assured that all contributions will be gratefully received.

Many thanks and stay safe.

Charlie Bellamy

Hon Secretary Birstall (Leicester) Branch RAF Association

Thank you to the Birstall Post and its readers and all who helped raise money for the swans. It was really nice of you to help them.

The total collected was £1222.

Sima is still being treated for lead poisoning. He has perked up and we hope he comes home soon.

Thank you so much to the Swan Centre helping him.

Julie, Watermead Swans

justgiving/julie-watermead-swans

Promoting local shops

A CAMPAIGN has been launched to highlight safe local high streets

Pic: Birstall Borough Cllr Shona Rattray

Shop Safe, Shop Local – that’s the message from Charnwood Borough Council and its partners as they call on people to support their local high streets and reassure them that significant steps have been taken to ensure visitors are safe when shopping in the borough.

Cllr Shona Rattray, the Council’s lead member for business support, said: “Our high streets in Charnwood need your support more than ever.

“They have been hit hard in recent months and as we continue to emerge from the pandemic we need to help them as much as we can so the Council and its partners will be issuing a rallying call to get out there and Shop Safe, Shop Local.

“We will be highlighting what we have done and are doing to make high streets safe places. We will also be shining a spotlight on the local businesses who have also had to rapidly adapt to operate in a Covid-19 world to look after their customers and staff.

“We are very much in this together.

“I would encourage people to support the Shop Safe, Shop Local campaign by making the effort to visit their local stores and see what they have to offer.

“The pandemic has helped remind us that we can live life more locally and there is nothing wrong with that.

“Shoppers also need to play a part by not only visiting the local high streets but by making sure they follow the guidance on social distancing, regular hand washing and wearing a face covering if they can in shops.”

As part of the Shop Safe, Shop Local campaign the Council will be adding more signage to shopping areas, highlighting what businesses are doing to look after customers and staff and reminding people of the latest advice and guidance on shopping safely.

The campaign is borough-wide as Charnwood has many shopping areas including in Loughborough, Shepshed, Thurmaston, Syston, Birstall, Anstey, Quorn, Mountsorrel, Barrow upon Soar and Newtown Linford. All will feature in the Shop Safe, Shop Local spotlight.

It follows the Council’s successful Charnwood inBusiness campaign which featured more than 150 businesses who took the opportunity of a free advert in the local media as well as being showcased on the Council’s digital channels. The campaign aimed to help companies connect with customers.

The Shop Safe, Shop Local campaign is funded thanks to the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund which is support by the European Regional Development Fund.

The campaign is also being supported by Love Loughborough. Lisa Brown, Love Loughborough manager, said: “We are delighted to be supporting the Shop Safe, Shop Local campaign.

“There are a host of fantastic businesses out there who have adapted amazingly well to the new world we operate in and we would like to make sure people know how safe our high streets are. Nothing is more important than everyone’s health and safety but we also need to look after the local economy and that can start by making sure people feel comfortable in their local high streets. You can Shop Safe, Shop Local in Charnwood.”

The Council and Love Loughborough have also worked together to issued guidance and support to local businesses for both safeguarding their staff and ensuring customer safety.

For more information on the campaign, visit www.charnwood.gov.uk/shopsafeshoplocal

NHW news & Crime Report

Where do we go from here?

When the Watch, like the rest of the country, suspended most of its activities last March, we hoped that we would be getting back to normal in a relatively short time.

This, clearly, was not to be and we have to give some thought to how we can adapt to the longer period of uncertainty.

We were required to hold our Annual General Meeting in April to elect the committee and officers for 2020-21 but had to postpone it. There is still no way that we can organise a public meeting open to all and the organisation of something similar online presents a number of difficulties. However, it is an issue that we should address.

Some of our activities have continued. Publishing the newsletter in various forms, moderating our Facebook page, processing subscription envelopes and issuing membership cards, keeping our website up-to-date, monitoring the Watch phone and email address, are among those that it has been possible to do while social distancing and self-isolating. They have, however, fallen to just a few people. This is not sustainable in the longer term.

The established route of communication with our volunteer coordinators had to be suspended and has been replaced, when appropriate, by using Royal Mail. However, the high cost of postage means that this can only be used infrequently.

Our treasurer has advised that he will have to give up the post in the next few months because of health issues and we are seeking somebody to replace him. Indeed, we are always looking for people with new ideas and energy to join us. The challenge is to adapt the Watch to operate effectively in the new circumstances. Your fresh thinking, ideas and skills would be very welcome.

Please send us an email to: watch@villagewatch.co.uk

or leave a message on our answerphone and we will get back to you: 0756 2422 756

Please continue to keep safe.

Ed Chambers

Committee Chairman

__________________

Priorities

During September the beat team will be focusing on conducting patrols in the area around Meadow Lane as we have had reports of drug use, Anti-Social behaviour and more recently a report of a robbery in this area. This robbery occurred on August 26 and resulted in a young male having his pedal cycle stolen from him, although thankfully he was not harmed during the incident. We are currently completing enquiries concerning this incident and are reviewing CCTV footage in the area to identify the people responsible. If anyone has any information with regards to this robbery, please contact us on 101 or via the Leicestershire Police website quoting crime reference 20000446559.

Crime Update

In August we had 39 recordable crimes reported to us, which is down from 45 in July. We had 12 Public Order offences reported (the vast majority of these relate to arguments between neighbours, however, due to the way we record offences these are classified under the ‘Public Order’ heading), 6 reports of assault, 5 reports of criminal damage (including 2 reports of damage to motor vehicle), 4 thefts from vehicles, 3 ‘other’ thefts, 3 house burglaries, 3 drugs offences, 2 reports of robbery and 1 non-dwelling burglary.

Concerning the house burglaries that were reported, I am pleased to report that three people have already been arrested and charged in relation to two of these with a fourth person being arrested and released under investigation whilst further enquiries are conducted. A suspect has also been identified in relation to the non-dwelling burglary, however as yet no arrests have been made concerning this incident.

Events

At present, the beat team do not have any consultation events planned as many of the venues that we have used in the past are either still not open or are difficult to make Covid-safe. Our intention, however, is to conduct some ‘street consultations’ over the coming weeks and we will advertise these via our Charnwood Police twitter account or Neighbourhood Link.

In the meantime, you can stay in touch with your beat team by contacting us via phone, email or through the Leicestershire Police website. Neighbourhood Link is also a free and easy way of finding out what is happening on the beat and what the Police are doing in your area. It is free, only takes a few minutes to sign up and you can choose what you receive information about. You can also complete a survey about what matters to you and what issues you would like us to concentrate on. Sign up now at:www.neighbourhoodlink.co.uk

You can also follow us on twitter at @CharnwoodPolice

Crime Prevention Advice

As stated in the ‘Priorities’ section above, we had a report of a robbery in Meadow Lane on August 26 and we also had another report of a robbery on Loughborough Road on August 20 in which the victim had money stolen from him. Thankfully reports of robbery in Birstall are extremely rare, however, when they do happen they can cause great distress and leave the victims fearful to go out. Some simple ideas can help prevent you from being targeted:

1) Try not to go out walking alone after dark, and if you must do, stick to well-lit roads rather than cutting down alleyways or through wooded areas etc.

2) Do not walk along talking on your phone and advertising it to others.

3) Be aware of your surroundings and if you feel uncomfortable passing large groups of people consider going a different way or finding somewhere safe and calling a friend to get them to come & meet you.

A message from Sgt Kilsby

I have recently taken over as the Sergeant covering Birstall and I am looking forward to meeting local residents and tackling any concerns you may have.

You have a fantastic team of dedicated beat officers who will work tirelessly to resolve any problems and work with the community. Please feel free to contact me directly and also follow us on social media: @CharnwoodPolice

The beat team have been dealing with a number of neighbour disputes this month and have been working with both Charnwood Borough Council and other housing providers in order to resolve these. Unfortunately, the ‘lock-down’ period seems to have caused tension between many households which has resulted in neighbours falling out with one another—if you are having problems with your neighbours please try to resolve these amicably or seek help and advice before things breakdown completely, as it is much harder to solve these problems when the relationship is completely fractured.

The beat team have also been out delivering leaflets concerning thefts from vehicles due to a slight rise in the number of these this month and we have also been out arresting people for failing to adhere to their court bail conditions.

For further crime information please visit: www.police.uk/leicestershire/NL60/

Sgt 1724 Kilsby PC 1759 Jaeckels PCSO 6611 Butler PCSO 6128 Taylor

Council’s energy switching scheme

RESIDENTS IN Charnwood can now reduce their carbon footprint and save on their energy bills with ‘Charnwood Big Switch’.

The Council’s energy switching partner iChoosr has introduced new rules which mean only suppliers offering 100% renewable electricity tariffs can take part in auctions.

Charnwood Big Switch was launched last year to help residents change energy suppliers with ease and get a better deal. More than 200 residents have now registered for the scheme since it launched and those who switched in May saved an average of £247 each on their bills.

Cllr Paul Mercer, lead member for housing, said: “It’s been great to see so many residents saving money on their energy bills since the scheme launched. Switching suppliers can be daunting and Charnwood Big Switch helps people change suppliers with ease and save money on their bills.

“As a council, we are committed to reducing our carbon footprint, so we were pleased to see that 100% renewable electricity tariffs have been introduced through the scheme. This is in line with council-owned and managed sites which are also supplied by renewable electricity. It means residents will now be helping the environment as well as saving money on their bills.

“There is no commitment to switch so I would encourage people to register to see what they could save before deciding to go ahead.”

Council sites such as Southfields offices, Loughborough Town Hall and Charnwood Museum are supplied by renewable electricity.

Charnwood Big Switch is delivered by the Council and iChoosr, an independent specialist provider in collective energy switching.

Collective switching gives people the opportunity to pay less for their energy. Residents can switch electric or dual fuel and can choose to have paper bills or to manage their accounts online.

iChoosr hold three auctions a year and energy suppliers compete to provide the lowest priced tariff in the auction.

Residents can register for their interest in the scheme for free and the next energy auction will take place on October 19, 2020

For more information about Charnwood Big Switch and to register, visit https://www.charnwood.gov.uk/charnwoodbigswitch

Wildflower scheme

BIRSTALL AND Mountsorrel Parish Council have signed up for a scheme to encourage wildflowers to grow on grass verges.

A total of 12 parish councils in the county are working with Leicestershire County Council to improve the biodiversity of their roadsides by creating wildflower verges.

The county council’s verge initiative aims to improve biodiversity and encourage wildlife, by leaving wildflowers to flourish on roadside verges across Leicestershire. The initiative forms part of the council’s wider work to tackle climate change and commitment to becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

Residents interested in joining the wildflower verge scheme can contact the team on ETDSpecialProjects@leics.gov.uk

Trevor Pendleton, county council cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “We take our climate and environmental responsibilities seriously. These new, more natural verges will encourage the growth of a range of wildflowers and provide habitats for wildlife to thrive.

We are really pleased that parishes are willing to try out this new way of managing our roadways and want to improve the biodiversity of their communities. We hope to work with many more parishes on this initiative in the future

As well the wildflower initiative the county council has changed the management of rural verges between towns and villages. This year marked the largest reduction in the areas of rural verges the county council have cut, all to allow wildflowers to thrive and encourage pollinators.

Mr Pendleton added: “Our priority will always be the safest possible use of our Leicestershire roads, there will always be verges that need to be cut in order to ensure the grass does not impede the vision of drivers.”

“If anyone in Leicestershire believes an area of road is being cut that does not need to be I urge them to discuss with their parish council the possibility of a wildflower verge.”

The majority of highway verges are the responsibility of the county council, some are privately owned, and some are managed by contractors on behalf of the council.

The Parish Councils participating in the scheme:

Birstall

Mountsorrel

Broughton Astley

Sileby

Thurlaston

Sheepy Magna

Barkby and Barkbythorpe

Great Easton

Hallaton

Fleckney

Thurnby

Kirby Muxloe

Pick your Halloween pumpkin

BROOKLEA NURSEY is offering its first-ever ‘Pick Your Own Pumpkin’ weekends, a family day out picking pumpkins of all shapes, colours and sizes.

Pic: Brooklea Nursery, Rothley

Pumpkin picking is open weekends from October 10 and pumpkins can also be bought from the nursery shop daily.

Owner Nathan Proud said: “This year has tested us all but the nation has continued and because of the lockdown, has discovered a love of gardening.

“Our gardens have really become an oasis to escape to and have proven to help improve our physical and mental health during such uncertain times.

“I am so proud of our little team, we have had to cope with the stresses of sudden change and are adapting every day to keep everyone safe when visiting the nursery.

We want to thank all of our customers whose continued support and patience means more to us than ever before and gives us a reason to keep on going no matter what trials we face.”

The nursery grows and stocks an extensive range of trees, shrubs, perennials, seasonal bedding, hanging baskets and everything you need to grow your own fruit and veg.

Covid cup final winners

A VERY different type of season ended with success for the clubs 2ndXI against Shepshed in the Covid Cup Final.

Pic: Birstall’s winning 2nd XI team

A superb 114 from club stalwart Ian Bartlett and a last-wicket stand of over 40 between Dillon Edwards and Jack Wright enabled the team to reach 275 in their 40 overs. They then dismissed the opposition for 151. The league was split into small divisions of six teams playing each other once with the top four going into play-offs. Four victories with one match rained off meant the team finished top of their group and a semi-final against Appleby Magna. Jon Gaydon made 100 not out as the team won by over 200 runs.

However, there was disappointment for the 1stXI who also qualified for the semi-final but had to forfeit their match due to not being able to find a pitch to play the game on following the decision by Birstall Parish Council not to allow cricket on the School Lane playing fields.

At least some cricket was possible this year and we all hope that come April 2021 things will be back to some sort of normality.

From Birstall Village Cricket Club

Navigate Birstall labyrinth

A LABYRINTH has been created in a lawn beside St James’ church.

Gill Chester explains: A labyrinth – what’s one of those? And is there one in Birstall?

Firstly, a labyrinth is not a maze. A maze has many dead ends. It’s possible to get lost in it. A labyrinth, on the other hand, has only one path to the centre and back out. The path twists and turns back on itself many times before reaching the centre. Once at the centre, there is only one way back out, and you can't get lost!

Labyrinth walking is an ancient practice used by many different faiths for spiritual centring, contemplation, and prayer. The journey through it is a slow walk that quietens the mind. This can help to focus the mind on a particular question, idea, reflection or prayer. It takes the walker on a unique journey. It can symbolize aspects of their journey through life.

It can be a life-changing experience.

Is there one in Birstall? We hope there will be by the time you are reading this! There is a ‘lawn’ to the side of St. James’ Church on Church Hill, in Birstall. Towards the end of September a group of local people, mostly from ‘Nearer’, will be creating a labyrinth, mown into the grass.

We intend to have a poster displayed alongside the labyrinth making some suggestions about how to walk it. There will also be some more information on the church website (www.birstall.org). In normal times there will also be leaflets that can be used and that people can take away.

We hope that this will become a sacred space. A place where people, of any faith, or none at all, can walk and think or pray, finding peace, direction, solutions – whatever is needed. It could also be an important place to work through what has happened due to Covid-19 since March, to work out where we are now, and to step into the future with hope.

We hope and pray that it may become a special place for the people of Birstall.

nearergroup@gmail.com

Covid-19

Coronavirus (Covid-19) positive cases, September 14-20

Birstall: 5

Rothley & Mountsorrel: 15

Number of deaths involving Covid-19 between 1 March and 31 July 2020

Birstall: 18

Mountsorrel & Rothley: 3

Source: ONS

Remembrance in Birstall

A SCALED-BACK Remembrance event will take place in Birstall this November.

The parade, service and act of Remembrance at the War Memorial is organised each year by the Birstall branch of the Royal British Legion.

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Royal British Legion has issued national guidance to all its branches that they should not take on this role this year.

Birstall Parish Council has agreed to enter discussions with Charnwood Borough Council to organise a small event this November. It is anticipated that the usual church service at Saint James will not take place. There will be an act of Remembrance at the wall memorial and wreath-laying.

Santa’s tour

WREAKE VALLEY Rotary Club’s Christmas sleigh will be on tour locally during December.

A club spokesman said: “Santa Claus will obey social distancing rules this year and will be raising funds for mainly local charities.

“Please do come out to say hello when you see him. As always we thank you for your support.”

Full details of his planned routes will appear in early December on www.wreakevalleyrotary.org.uk

News from the churches

THE GOOD news is that things are starting to happen in our churches!

Even though we are socially (which means quite anti-socially) distanced in the pews, the church at St James is almost as full as it can be at the moment, for the Sunday service at 9.30am, and at Our Lady & St Nicolas at 6pm.

We are dutifully signing in, using hand sanitiser and following direction arrows into and out of the churches. For those who cannot come to church for any reason, there is a Zoomed service from Wanlip every Sunday evening, and for those who would like prayer, in their home or garden, please contact Kerry Emmett on 0116 319 4736, who will be pleased to help you.

The Leicestershire Historic Churches Trust’s, fund-raising event took place in September, and both of our churches were open for visitors on that day, socially distanced of course. A number of us will be visiting St Theresa’s for their celebration of the Feast of St Theresa on October 1, with a Mass and light refreshments to follow. The joining of our churches in Birstall and Wanlip for any occasion is always a cause to celebrate.

The bad news is that coronavirus still has the upper hand, and all may change!

From the Parish churches of St James the Great, Birstall, and Our Lady & St Nicolas, Wanlip.

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Methodist Church open at last

The church on Wanlip Lane has been closed since ‘Lockdown’ but, finally, a service of Methodist Worship was held on Sunday, September 20. However, unusually, the worship was not open to all due to the Covid situation. It was open experimentally mainly for those members of the congregation who had been unable to share in the ‘on line Zoom’ services.

The service was streamed live, using the ‘Zoom’ facility.

The restrictions for the congregation were considerable. To attend, it was necessary to book a seat (they are very limited). Once seated you cannot move to speak to someone else, even after the end of the service. You cannot sing, and, of course, need to wear a mask throughout. Our minister Rev Paula Hunt writes (in part of her longer weekly letter “It's clear that we will not be getting back to the old way of doing things any time soon - and it might feel somehow “wrong” at first to be wearing masks in church, not singing, and not able to chat over coffee afterwards. It will certainly be strange, and I’ve heard several variations of Psalm 137 recently, the psalm that asks the question ‘How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land’?”

Church Finances

At the recent finance meeting (also via Zoom) concern was expressed at the state of the Church’s finances. Despite two one-off large donations (for which Birstall Methodist Church is very grateful), the church was £600 in deficit at the end of its accounting year (August 31). Many friends who give to the church have not done so, as there are limited opportunities to give coins and notes at present. Any sums of money, large or small can be transferred into the Birstall Methodist Church’s account sort code 56 00 55, account number 34060553. If you have any questions regarding financial contributions contact Tony Moore 2676207 or 07885985141 or email mooretony@btinternet.com

Mystery Photos & Mystery Books

A few weeks ago two carrier bags of books were left outside the door of the church, we have no idea who left them or even why they had been left. However, inside one of the books were two photographs. The church is keen to return these personal photographs (and the books if they were left by mistake). Please contact Paula to reclaim these photos (tel 2673960).

From Birstall Methodist Church

* * *

Thanksgiving

This is the time of year when we would normally be holding our Harvest Thanksgiving service. It is an opportunity to thank the Lord for His blessings to us in all areas of life, not simply the gathered food harvest.

This year marks the 400th anniversary of the sailing in September 1620 of the ‘Mayflower’, taking the Pilgrim Fathers to form the settlement of Plymouth, Massachusetts. They were a group of Puritans from Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire, who had earlier fled to Leiden in the Netherlands to escape persecution at home. Arriving in December, with insufficient food and facing a harsh winter, they were helped by a Native American to survive and had produced a small harvest by 1621 and their service to thank God for keeping them is the basis of the annual Thanksgiving Holiday held in the USA (November) and Canada (October) today.

Two hymns we regularly sing at harvest time include ‘We plough the fields and scatter’ and ‘Come, ye thankful people come’. The first of these originated in Germany, being some verses taken from a longer poem written in 1782 by Matthias Claudius, the son of a Lutheran pastor, depicting the celebration of harvest in a farmhouse. A period of severe illness in his thirties had brought him back to his Christian faith. The translation we normally sing was made in the 19th century by Jane Montgomery Campbell, originally for the children in the school attached to her father’s parish in Paddington, London.

The second hymn was written by Henry Alford, who was born in London in 1810. He dedicated himself to the Lord Jesus Christ at 15 and he became one of the most gifted men of his day: poet, eloquent preacher, lecturer, painter, musician (composing music and being able to build an organ and play it), writer of some 50 books and a noted Bible-scholar.

After a number of church appointments in the Church of England, he became Dean of Canterbury and died in 1871.

He was a man of strong faith and, as a preacher, always sought to point his hearers heavenward, which is why only the first stanza of this hymn deals with the earthly harvest, the other three portray the spiritual harvest of precious souls when the Lord comes for the final judgement and will take His people to the final harvest-home (heaven).

If you would like to know more about this ‘final harvest’, then please contact us.

At the time of writing, it is still not clear when we will be able to resume Sunday services at The Cedars, so please check with our website (http://www.birstallbaptistchurch.org.uk) or phone us on 0116 2214883 for up-to-date information.

From Birstall Independent Baptist Church

* * *

HELLO EVERYBODY! What a strange season we are living through.

We have taken comfort from God’s promise in the Old Testament book of Hosea…. ‘I will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope” Hosea 2:15 NIV

Achor was a place of trouble and gloom and yet the Father’s heart was to turn that place of trouble and gloom into a door of hope.

This is still the promise of God for your life. Let His hope fill your heart today!

Trinity Life Church meets in many buildings in the city and county and as we have begun to open our services again we have had to ensure that the buildings we use are large enough to offer social distancing, breakout space and separate children’s rooms. It is therefore with real sadness that we are unable to use the wonderful Birstall Village Hall at this time. We are grateful for the Birstall Parish Council doing all they can for us, but at this time the hall is simply not big enough for us to meet safely.

Therefore, for a period of time, we have merged two of our campuses and TLC Birstall and TLC Beaumont Leys have formed TLC North meeting at Beaumont Leys School, Anstey Lane. There will be an 11am service with the option to run a 9.30am service in addition, as required. People from Loughborough, Birstall, Mountsorrel, Beaumont Leys and the surrounding areas will be gathering together.

Our services will last just under an hour and contain a mixture of live content and items to watch on the screen.

There has been a lot of thought and care to ensure your safety. We will be following social distancing guidelines with one-way systems throughout the building and everyone will be required to wear a face mask. We will be seating people in households so please arrive at least 10 minutes early to be seated.

It will be a little different but it will be a joy to be together again in this way and God is still able to do great things amongst us. We are also offering safe and fun children’s work for primary aged children and a group for young people. Again, all have been carefully planned within government guidelines.

To request a seat go to our website www.trinitylifechurch.org.uk and click on the simple form to book.

Join hundreds of people who have already returned to TLC Campuses around Leicestershire.

We will continue to have small groups meeting in Birstall and if you need a visit or food or some support simply call 0116 2558672 or email admin@trinitylifechurch.org.uk

From David and Susan Hind, Senior Pastors Trinity Life Church

GCR museum

PLANS FOR a railway museum at the GCR’s Leicester North station have been delayed by Covid-19.

The plans include a museum, station and conference/education centre in one enclosed area.

The building will cost £7 million and will be delivered by the GCR, the County Council and Leicester City Council.

Shortly before lockdown, Leicester City Council completed the environmental and archaeological survey of the proposed site at Birstall and these are now the subject of an intense review of costs.

The GCR says it expects a significant update before the year-end.

Plans for a major National Railway Museum on the site had to be scrapped in December 2017 when the Heritage Lottery Foundation reversed its decision to award £9.5 million of lottery money to the project.

Birstall BAG’s cancer corner

Cancer Tests and Investigations

When you are referred to a hospital there are a variety of tests and investigations you may be advised to have. These tests are everyday, routine occurrences in the hospital but for you, they may be anything but. If you have not been to hospital before the thought of having them done can be very worrying and frightening. Birstall BAGs would like to describe a few of the common tests used in diagnostic services.

X-rays

An x-ray is a test that uses small doses of radiation to take pictures of the inside of your body. They are a good way to look at bones and can show changes caused by cancer or other medical conditions. X-rays can also show changes in other organs, such as the lungs.

You have x-rays in the imaging department of the hospital, taken by a radiographer.

Ultrasound scan

An ultrasound scan is a procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to create a picture of a part of the inside of your body.

The ultrasound scanner has a microphone that gives off sound waves. The sound waves bounce off the organs inside your body, and the microphone picks them up. The microphone links to a computer that turns the sound waves into a picture on the screen.

Ultrasound scans are completely painless. You usually have them in the hospital x-ray department by a sonographer.

MRI scan

An MRI is a type of scan that creates pictures using magnetism and radio waves. MRI scans produce pictures from angles all around the body and shows up soft tissues very clearly.

MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging.

They take between 15 and 90 minutes.

Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy looks at the whole of the inside of the large bowel.

A doctor or nurse (endoscopist) uses a flexible tube called a colonoscope. The tube has a small light and camera at one end. The endoscopist puts the tube into your back passage and passes it along the bowel. They can see pictures of the inside of your bowel on a TV monitor. Sometimes they will take tissue samples (biopsies).

Bone scan

A bone scan shows up changes or abnormalities in the bones. It is also called:

a radionuclide scan

bone scintigraphy

nuclear medicine bone scan

A bone scan can look at a particular joint or bone. In cancer, it is more usual to scan the whole body.

A large camera (called a gamma camera) scans you and picks up radioactivity.

You have the scan in either the medical physics, nuclear medicine or x-ray department at the hospital. The scan can take between 30 to 60 minutes, but you'll be at the hospital for several hours.

If there are changes on the scan they may be called hot spots. These are not always cancer. Bone changes can happen for other reasons like arthritis. You might need to have a CT scan to know exactly where these abnormal areas are.

Endoscopy

An endoscopy is a test that looks inside the body. The endoscope is a long flexible tube which has a tiny camera and light on the end of it.

There are many types of endoscopes and the doctor uses these to look inside different parts of the body. The name of the test you have will depend on which part of the body the doctor is looking at.

Mammogram

A mammogram is an x-ray of your breasts. X-rays use high energy rays to take pictures of the inside of your body.

People have mammograms:

to check for cancer if you have breast symptoms - this is called a diagnostic mammogram

as part of the breast cancer screening programme

You might have a mammogram if you have:

a new lump or thickening in your breast or armpit

a change in size, shape or feel of your breast

skin changes in the breast such as puckering, dimpling, a rash or redness of the skin

fluid leaking from the nipple in a woman who isn’t pregnant or breastfeeding

changes in the position of the nipple

You may have this test alongside other tests, such as a breast examination and breast ultrasound in a one-stop clinic. You might also have a biopsy.

Having a breast examination, a scan or mammogram, and a biopsy is known as a triple assessment.

The mammogram itself only takes a few minutes. But you are usually in the clinic longer, especially if you have other tests.

CT scan

A CT scan is a test that uses x-rays and a computer to create detailed pictures of the inside of your body. It takes pictures from different angles. The computer puts them together to make a three dimensional (3D) image.

CT (or CAT) stands for computed (axial) tomography.

You usually have a CT scan in the x-ray (radiology) department as an outpatient. A radiographer operates the scanner. The whole appointment can take up to an hour and a half depending on which part of your body they are scanning.

PET scan

PET scans are a type of test that create 3 dimensional (3D) pictures of the inside of your body. PET stands for positron emission tomography.

The PET scan uses a mildly radioactive drug to show up areas of your body where cells are more active than normal. It's used to help diagnose some conditions including cancer. It can also help to find out where and whether cancer has spread. You’ll usually have a PET scan in the radiology or nuclear medicine department as an outpatient. These scanners tend to be only in the major cancer hospitals. So you might have to travel to another hospital to have one.

A radiographer operates the scanner. It usually takes between 45 and 60 minutes. You'll be in the department for a least an hour beforehand as you need dye for the scan.

PET scans are often combined with CT scans to produce more detailed images. These are called PET-CT scans.

Blood tests

Blood tests can:

check your general health, including how well your liver and kidneys are working

check numbers of blood cells

help diagnose cancer and other conditions

Your blood sample is sent to the laboratory. Specialist technicians and doctors look at your sample under a microscope.

They can see the different types of cells and can count the different blood cells. They can also test for different kinds of chemicals and proteins in the blood.

We hope you have found this interesting. Please remember there are various information services available to you if you would like to discuss anything you have read and you can always ask a member of your health care team.

For local support and information about cancer services please contact:- University Hospitals of Leicester Cancer Information Centre on 0116 258 6189

For more information on the funds Birstall BAGs have raised, the projects we support and forthcoming events see www.birstallbags.co.uk or look us up on Facebook or email birstallbags@hotmail.co.uk