Birstall Post November 2020 (448)

90 years of Birstall scouting

BIRSTALL SCOUT Group is celebrating its 90th birthday this year.

Pics: (above) Cub Scout Sebastian Wyatt with his winning badge design & (below) Scouts camping out at home

To mark the anniversary, members took part in a competition to design a birthday badge for their uniform. The winning badge was designed by Sebastian Wyatt who won a voucher for £50. The badge will be handed out to all members.

Cub Scout Leader Sue Farnham said: “Our group was formed in Birstall in 1930 and is still continually active and going strong.

“Like many other groups, we had to shut our doors in March but have stayed active through social media. Our young people have been busy completing tasks and activities to earn awards and badges. A lot of our tasks included cooking dinners, gardening, laundry, and many other jobs around the house which were facilitated by thankful parents.”

In April, the group took part, along with 96,000 people from 66 countries, in a camp@home to break a world record.

Sue said: “We were set challenges and activities to get us through the night after putting up our tents or building dens to sleep in. Commemorative badges were earned by the participants. Well done to everyone who survived the adventure. Some of our members decided to camp for the whole month, which is an incredible feat - congratulations.”

She added: “We are hoping to get back to Scouting soon and continue with our birthday celebrations throughout the next year.”

If you are interested in joining in, there will be spaces in all sections when the Scouts start back fully.

Beavers age 6 to 8

Cubs age 8 to 10 ½

Scouts age 10 ½ to 14

Explorers age 14 to 18

Adults age 18 to 99

Contact birstall53rd@outlook.com for more information.

Masked men rob couple

A COUPLE were pushed to the ground and had keys stolen from them by two masked men on Loughborough Road, near the junction with Johnson Road.

The incident happened at around 5 pm on Wednesday, September 30. The men were described as being white and around 6 feet tall. One of the men had a heavy build and was wearing a grey hooded tracksuit top, a hat and a grey face covering.

The other man was slim and wearing dark blue clothing, a face mask and white trainers. Both men were wearing gloves. They snatched a bag containing keys and ran off towards Johnson Road.

Investigating officer Detective Constable Jim Chaplin said: “This robbery took place in daylight and at a time when there would have been people out and about in vehicles or on foot.

“The victims, although not injured, were left understandably shaken and upset by their ordeal and I am determined to find who was responsible.

“If you were in the area of Loughborough Road or Johnson Road and saw anything suspicious we would like to hear from you.

“A black Hyundai i20 was seen in Johnson Road and enquiries are being carried out to determine if the vehicle was involved in the incident – do you remember seeing this vehicle?

“Also, if you have any CCTV or a dashcam installed in your vehicle that has captured the incident itself or two men matching these descriptions please get in touch.”

Anyone with information can contact 101 quoting incident 418 of September 30.

Bid for ‘off-road’ cycle lanes

A BID for more than £1.2 million of government money includes plans for an off-road ‘super cycle highway’ on the A6 Loughborough Road in Birstall.

Leicestershire County Council submitted a detailed bid on August 7 for several schemes across the county, with funding provided from the government’s Emergency Active Travel Fund (EATF).

The EATF awarded £335,000 to Leicestershire County Council in May to deliver temporary, emergency interventions to make cycling and walking safer. The Birstall pop-up cycle lanes on the A6 were one of the schemes implemented by the county with the money.

A further £1.2 million was allocated for a second round of funding (Tranche 2) for permanent measures. The council says it submitted a bid in August for schemes that would cost more than this sum and says it is waiting for a decision from the Department of Transport.

The Birstall Post has been trying to obtain a copy of the bid – The County Council released the following summary just before we went to press.

The Tranche 2 bid includes the following proposed schemes:

• A6 Loughborough Road, Birstall - provision of new segregated (off-road) ‘super cycle highway’ link to National Cycle Route 6 and dedicated cycling route across Redhill Circle.

• A6 South of Loughborough - connecting Soar Valley villages (Quorn) to Loughborough Town Centre by making improvements to cycling and walking facilities at the A6 bypass / Epinal Way extension roundabout and provision of segregated (off-road) cycling lanes and shared-use facilities along the A6.

• Countywide package to provide dropped kerbs along key corridors

• Cycle parking at key hubs

• Behaviour change support package specifically targeted along the Tranche 1 and proposed Tranche 2 infrastructure improvements, as well as in the locations/town centres to which these routes improve access.

A County Council spokesperson said: “The delivery of the schemes is also still subject to the outcome of public consultation, detailed scheme investigation and design, safety audits, equality impact assessments and any necessary Committee approval.”

They added: “The aim of the government’s EATF is to try and embed walking and cycling as part of long-term commuting and general travelling habits to secure the associated health, air quality and congestion benefits. In the short-term, this also supported transport needs as the economy restarted, by providing other modes of transport to free up space on public transport to facilitate social distancing requirements.”

The pop-up cycle scheme currently in place is temporary and is expected to be removed next spring.

Birstall to remember at home in 2020

RESIDENTS OF Charnwood are being asked to stay at home on Remembrance Sunday this year and find other ways to honour those who served and sacrificed themselves in the line of duty.

Pic: Birstall War Memorial

The Royal British Legion has advised all their local branches that they cannot take the lead in organising Remembrance events, due to Covid-19.

In Birstall, the Parish Council are organising an event this year on November 11.

Parish Clerk Sue Coulson said: “The Parish Council realise that it is important these Remembrance events be held, therefore, they did not hesitate in agreeing to take the lead in organising this and any future remembrance events with the help and support of the Royal British Legion branch for Birstall.”

The continuing situation with Covid-19 and the need for social distancing means that this year it will not be possible to hold a church service or a parade. However, it has been agreed that a low-key wreath laying ceremony will take place at the Birstall War Memorial on Wednesday, 11 November 2020 at 11am.

The Reverend, Kerry Emmett will deliver a short service and Ann Marshall, Chair of Birstall Parish Council, along with two representatives from the Birstall branch of the Royal British Legion will be in attendance. They will lay wreaths on behalf of the many organisations that usually take part in this Remembrance event.

Sue added: “The Parish Council are asking people not to congregate in large numbers on the day for health and safety reasons. It is planned that the event will be recorded and uploaded to the Parish Council’s website.

“We are aware that the many residents who usually attend this Remembrance event will want to support in some way. The Parish Council is suggesting that on either Sunday or Wednesday you all undertake a 2-minute silence on your doorstep at 11am.

“Leading up to the event, there is a poster of a poppy on the Parish Council website for you to download and get the family involved in colouring in the poppies and placing them in your windows as soon as you can, the website is www.birstallparishcouncil.org.uk. If you require hard copies, please telephone the office on 0116 267 6191 and we can arrange to print them off for you to collect from the reception by appointment.”

Birstall Parish Council will be illuminating the Memorial, the Church, and the Parish Council offices to mark the event.

The Mayor of Charnwood, Councillor David Snartt, said: “It is a great shame that we cannot all come together to commemorate Remembrance Day this year.

“It is important that we give our thanks to all who served and died for our country and honour those veterans and actively serving members of the armed services, and even more important that we do so from the safety of our own homes.

“I hope that we will be able to come together next year on Remembrance Sunday and share a two minute silence for all our heroes.”

A spokesman for the Poppy Appeal said: “Every year during the Poppy Appeal, our volunteers cover as many areas as possible, collecting on the streets, in shopping centres and at stations. However, this year, as a result of Covid-19, many of our volunteers are understandably unable to assist, and reduced footfall in these areas means that our Poppy Appeal income is at real risk. Whilst there will be poppies available in many supermarkets - Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Tesco, Asda, and Aldi - we want to make sure that you are also able to participate in this year’s Poppy Appeal from your own home.”

You can make a donation by phoning 0845 845 1945.

Or you can donate by text:

To donate £2 text POPPY2 to 70545*

To donate £5 text POPPY5 to 70545*

To donate £10 text POPPY10 to 70545*

*Texts cost £2, £5, or £10 plus one standard network rate message (typically 97% of the donation amount goes to the Royal British Legion).

The spokesman said: “In these unprecedented times, your donations will help us support the most vulnerable in the Armed Forces community, be it older veterans that we care for, those suffering from social isolation, or those facing challenges associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Please support the Poppy Appeal in any way you can – without you, we cannot provide the life-changing support that our Armed Forces community needs and deserves.”

Birstall runners’ marathon effort

MORE THAN 20 runners from Birstall Running Club ran the virtual London Marathon on Sunday, October 4, each running 26.2 miles around their local area.

The marathon was one of the ways the club has adapted to the ever-changing Covid-19 guidelines. Club spokesman Christian O’Brien explains: “Since lockdown in March, Birstall Running Club has worked hard to accommodate the exercise and wellbeing needs of its members.

“We’ve organised daily exercise routines, virtual races and month-long challenges trying to keep members fit and active in mind and body. We’ve adapted our running programme and also seen a good intake of new people joining the club as the year has progressed.”

Members have coined the phrase 'Apart yet Together' as an inspiring motto throughout lockdown and have commissioned their own medal to recognise the efforts by members in their sporting pursuits this year.

Chris said: “The club wanted to recognise the fabulous work that other local organisations do also, and agreed to send £300 of charitable donations. In appreciation for the long association and continued support for the running club and its members, we have sent £100 to the local Royal British Legion, as we do most years. With mental health being high on the club's list of priorities, especially this year as we have not been able to meet in the same capacity, we chose to send £100 to MIND as a token of the gratitude for the work they do day-to-day. And in recognition of the fabulous work carried out by the NHS workers especially during the pandemic we have sent £100 to Leicester Hospitals Charity. Several of our members work for the NHS and they have first-hand experience of the life-changing work they do.

“The Leicester Hospitals Charity replied to us saying ‘an act of kindness such as yours helps us stand strong, get through difficult times and continue our vital work to save and protect lives’.”

Some club members have also raised individual amounts for charities, with personal fundraising activities.

New link road for Thurcaston Road

WORK HAS started on a £10million highway infrastructure scheme designed to unlock further development land at Leicester City Council’s Ashton Green housing site.

The project will see the creation of 2.8km of new roads and highway infrastructure to the west of Ashton Green Road, which will provide access to 40 hectares of development land earmarked for new housing.

In 2018, Leicester was one of 133 councils to successfully bid for a share of the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund, which aims to aims to help unlock potential for new housing development.

The cash will pay for a new link road connecting Thurcaston Road and Ashton Green Road, along the north edge of the Samworths Bakery site. The work will also involve the construction of a main ‘spine’ road into the Ashton Green development along with drainage and other infrastructure for a future village centre.

Thurcaston Road itself will be widened from its junction with Bennion Road to where it will join the new link road north of the bakery.

City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “These important highway works will help unlock the next phase of development at Ashton Green and the building of more than 3,000 new homes.

“The funding from Homes England is a vital catalyst which will ultimately help attract an additional £150million of private investment from developers over the next five years.

“Ashton Green is an essential part of the city’s commitment to building the 30,000 new homes needed in Leicester over the next ten to 15 years and will contribute greatly to the local economic growth.”

Work is being carried out by Galliford Try, under contract to the city council.

The highways infrastructure works are expected to take around 14 months to complete.

Leicester City Council is the principal landowner and promoter of the Ashton Green development, which is a mixed-use urban extension on a 320-acre greenfield site to the north of Leicester.

Up to 30 per cent of the new homes to be built at Ashton Green will be affordable homes for rent and shared ownership.

In response to our enquiries, Leicester City Council told the Birstall Post:

Traffic using the link road from Ashton Green Road to Thurcaston Road will not have access to Red Hill way via Thurcaston Road south of its junction with Bennion Road, as access will only be for cyclists and pedestrians. This is to prevent rat-running.

The junction of Thurcaston Road and Greengate Lane will remain as it is (closed to vehicles).

The link road is not intended to relieve traffic flows on Greengate Lane.

The £10 million scheme does not include any work on Greengate Lane (e.g. traffic calming, cycleways).

Swan dies

A SWAN has died in Watermead Country Park South after getting its head stuck in rocks near the mammoth lake car park.

Leicester City Council manages the southern section of the park.

In 2018, three swans died in this way at the same location.

A spokesman for Leicester City Council told the Birstall Post: “We do occasionally have incidents with swans pushing their heads into various gaps between stones to get food, with the most recent death taking place last month.

“We don’t keep records of such incidents, but we believe this was the first death of that kind since 2018.

“Two years ago, we carried out work to move some rocks further apart to prevent swans from getting trapped.

“Over the coming months, we are soon due to make some further improvements to fill in the nooks and crannies to prevent swans from getting stuck while trying to get food.”

Library open

BIRSTALL LIBRARY can now be visited for browsing without booking a time slot.

You will need your library card and will need to wait outside before entering.

In line with government guidelines, library members can book a one-hour slot on the computers.

There will be a reduced number of PCs available at each library so that social distancing can be strictly adhered to, with only one person allowed to use the computer in the hourly slot, but the council says it is important to get the service up and running again.

Cllr Richard Blunt said: “We're aware of figures which show around 4.1 million people across the UK are not online at home.

“Right now, it’s more important than ever for everyone to feel confident around using technology in order to stay connected, so I’m delighted that we are now able to again offer PC usage in our libraries."

To book your slot to use a computer at the library, visit:


Birstall library opening times:

Monday 10am-12:30pm

Girlguiding: why it’s great to volunteer

GIRLGUIDING BIRSTALL has been busy throughout the pandemic, adapting to the circumstances and helping girls learn, develop and challenge themselves.

Pic: Hollie Davison and Sarah Paget (Brownie leaders) at an event held at the NEC in February of this year

Gemma Jeffs, District Commissioner, said: “Throughout lockdown, Girlguiding Birstall has offered an opportunity for our members to experience a constant ‘normal’ through our virtual meetings and online activities. Recently we have resumed socially distanced face-to-face meetings, but with reduced group sizes and adapted programme activities. In order to keep providing these meetings, we need more volunteer leaders to support our existing teams in all sections, from Rainbows to Rangers.”

Pic: Kirsty Ludlam (Guide leader) & Gemma Jeffs (right) at a fundraising event last year

She added: “In these strange times, are you looking for that small part of ‘normal’ to give you a sense of achievement and satisfaction? Do you want to help provide a safe environment for girls to learn, develop and challenge themselves? Are you interested in challenging yourself to learn new skills, build your leadership skills, creativity and teamwork? Volunteering with Girlguiding Birstall could be the next activity for you!”

When asked why they volunteer with Girlguiding Birstall, leaders said:

“Every time I volunteer, I see how much it means to various people and how important it is for them that I carry on. Primarily I volunteer because I can, and it gives me pride to see others’ lives change because of it” Guide Leader Laura Rowe.

“I volunteer because I want to make sure girls get the same opportunities I had. I love seeing them try new things, exceed their ability and grow as individuals, all whilst having fun!” Brownie Leader Melissa Berry

Gemma said: “We have all the relevant Covid-19 precautions in place to make our meetings safe and receive guidance from national Girlguiding on a weekly basis.

“Girlguiding Birstall’s leaders have been absolute stars in adapting their way of working to deliver meetings, but now we need some new ideas and support to continue offering these opportunities to the girls of Birstall. If anyone would like to give back to their community by helping us out once a week then we’d love to hear from you!”

For more information of what roles are available or to register your interest in joining, visit www.girlguiding.org.uk/get-involved and one of the team will be in touch.

Tuesday 2-4:30pm

Wednesday 10am-12:30pm

Thursday 2-4:30pm

Friday Closed all day

Saturday 10am-1:30pm

Sunday Closed all day

New parking charges

THE CAR parking charges at Bradgate Park and Swithland Woods are changing.

The new charges are expected to be introduced before the end of the year. They are the result of a review of parking arrangements.

Bradgate Park Trust hopes the new charges will help to spread out the numbers visiting the park throughout the day, to reduce congestion.

The trust also intends to introduce a pay by phone app as a contactless payment option.

The new rates for Hallgates and Newtown Linford car parks will be:

Earlybird up to 9 am £1 (£2 weekends)

Three hours £3 (£4 weekends)

Full day £4.50 (£5.50 weekends)

After 4 pm £2 (seven days)

Swithland Woods will be £1 for an early bird during the week and £2 at all other times.

The current charges at Bradgate Park are all day £3 Monday – Friday, £4 weekends, and at Swithland wood £1 for three hours and £2 all day.

Group busy with projects

WITH MORE than 200 handmade quilts and hundreds of scrub sets gifted to Leicester’s hospitals, Birstall’s Helping Our Community and NHS Scrubs groups are continuing to make a difference.

Group co-founder Rosie Rollings reports:


The groups have been working with Shop Local to knit and crochet poppies for sale in local businesses. We have had a great response and are hoping to be able to contribute to the Royal British Legion. There is certainly talent in Birstall and a great community spirit with many people and businesses getting involved.

Barbara Wass from the scrubs group has been making memory bears out of loved ones clothing the response has kept Barbara busy. Her beautiful bears raise much-needed funds for Jade’s Retreat (a caravan on the coast). It is a local charity offering respite to families needing it. Barbara makes the bears in return for a donation to Jade’s.


The scrubs group have now gifted all of the scrub sets to staff across the three UHLs and we are continuing to make items for the NICU. We have made over 200 quilts and knitted items.


We will continue with the quilts and alongside will be making wiggly bags for babies and children with cancer. These wiggly bags keep the ends of the portacath and central lines safe.

If anyone has any child-friendly fabric for bags and quilts the group would be grateful.

Thank you to Maxylin Geary for her immense support and much-needed advice. Also to Nazrim Begam for her donation that has paid for the wool for poppies and the collection tins.

The admin team would like to thank the community for their continued support.

Collections for food hub

BIRSTALL FOOD Hub continues to collect and distribute food to people in need and recently received two extra donations.

Gill Chester, Chair of Birstall Food Hub, reports:

Harvest is a time when we particularly think of the land, the food it produces and the people who make it happen. It’s traditional to give food to those who don’t have enough, in gratitude for this harvest and people still do that in 2020.

So a big thank you to Year 2 at Riverside school whose Harvest Project involved collecting food for Birstall Food Hub and presenting it in beautifully decorated boxes.

Also a big thank you to St James, Birstall and Our Lady and St. Nicholas, Wanlip for giving the gifts from their Harvest Festivals to the Food Hub.

We’re particularly grateful for these extra donations as the number of clients supported by the Soar Valley Community Food Project, our ‘parent’ group, has recently increased dramatically as we take on people who have been supported by Charnwood Borough Council at John Storer House from the beginning of lockdown.

From the beginning of November, we will, however, no longer be receiving donations on a Tuesday morning in St Theresa’s car park. There are donation trolleys in the Co-op (by the exit to the car park) and in the One-Stop Shop in Hallam Fields if you’d like to donate, or for larger donations contact us on birstallfoodhub@gmail.com or text or call 07305 093791.

We are still delivering food parcels to those who need them, as we are unable to open up in any venue at the moment. If you are on benefits or low wages and are struggling to put food on the table, do contact us on 07305 093791.


The coronavirus pandemic has made people reflect on the fragility of life, and understandably, solicitors have been inundated with requests from people looking to get their affairs in order with regards to having an up-to-date will.

At Will Aid, the charity will-writing campaign, we recently carried out a survey which revealed that Coronavirus has prompted more than 55% of Britons to think about how best to protect their loved ones after they are gone. In November, solicitors around the UK will be offering to produce this important document in exchange for a voluntary donation to Will Aid.

We want to talk to all the people out there who have previously avoided confronting the inevitability of death – and help them to plan ahead to make what will be an awful time for friends and family, that little bit easier.

Will Aid Month happens every November and encourages people to get a professionally written will with the help of a solicitor. Law firms volunteer their time and expertise to write basic wills, waiving their fee, with clients being invited to make a voluntary donation to Will Aid instead. Donations support the vital work of the nine partner charities. (ActionAid, Age UK, British Red Cross, Christian Aid, NSPCC, Save the Children, Sightsavers, SCIAF (Scotland) and Trocaire (Northern Ireland)).

To find your nearest solicitor or for more information, visit www.willaid.org.uk.

Peter de Vena Franks

Campaign Director, Will Aid

* * *

Occasionally I like to take a walk around Watermead to stretch my legs after sitting hunched over a computer for most of a week. It is usually quite pleasant, with other walkers keeping their distance. However, a few of the cyclists that pass make no effort to keep away; I am not in the first flush of youth and am not very keen to find out whether they have Covid the hard way. Usually, where possible, I try to walk along those paths that are rather muddy, which discourages cycling.

Today I was walking along such a path. As it neared a bridge there was a notice fixed to a fence post appealing to cyclists to keep their distance. It was exactly where no cyclist in his/her right mind would see it. Further, it was the only notice of its sort that I saw.

What does this say of the upkeep of Watermead?

Dr D McNeil

* * *

Badger damage

I wondered if any other Birstall residents are or have been affected by these destructive animals? This (picture above) is in Sibson Road

Diane Stant

Badgers are a protected species so you must not trap, harm or otherwise interfere with them or their setts. Things you can do:

Remove potential food sources

Make sure your lawn is well aerated, drained and free of moss

Peg chicken wire over the lawn

Spray human (male) urine around the garden

Install an electric fence

Remove the insect larvae the badges are looking for by applying nematodes to the lawn

Spray the lawn with water, cover in black plastic sheeting overnight. The next morning many of the insect larvae will have migrated to the surface where they can be collected and disposed of.

* * *

I have been watching with disappointment the very negative attitudes published in the Birstall Post to the cycle lanes installed along the A6. It is worth remembering that there are some advantages to the, so far temporary, changes along this busy road.

First and most obviously, it has created cycle lanes to encourage people to use a non-polluting and healthy mode of travel. Birstall has the great advantage of being within a 30-minute cycle to Leicester centre as well as many other points of interest such as Abbey Pumping Station and the Space Centre. Closer to home, if these cycle lanes encourage young people or families to cycle to school, to the shopping parade in Birstall centre or over to Watermead Park it will be of great benefit in reducing traffic, congestion and parking obstructions around our schools and shops.

Meanwhile, the reduction of the speed limit along the A6 in Birstall to 30mph is an excellent traffic calming measure for the many people living along this road who now benefit from reduced noise pollution and lower emissions. At 40mph this was a rather intimidating road, even whilst on the pavement, with the heavy trucks roaring past.

There may well be modifications to the temporary works that would improve them and I am sure many people will contribute to the Leicestershire County Council consultation. However, I hope readers will reflect that there is more to the scheme than a ‘general nuisance’ for car drivers.

Julie Kempton (Mrs)

Donations pour in for gym

A FUNDRAISING campaign to save Carl Gunns’ gym from closure has started.

Pics: Carl Gunns with young members of his gym, pictured in 2017

Carl, who has been running the boxing gym on Birstall Road for nearly two decades, said: “The future is a little brighter now, there is light at the end of the tunnel.”

After announcing in October that the gym would close for financial reasons caused by Covid-19, Carl has received individual donations and a gofundme page has been started by Callum Hirst. It has raised £2500 so far.

Callum, writing on his gofundmepage, said: “Please help to keep Carl Gunns’ gym open, the gym has been a safe place for kids all over Leicester to come and train, to keep kids off the streets and make friends.

“I have had the pleasure of knowing Carl for over 15 years and I know how much time and love has gone into the gym over two decades – let’s keep it going for another two.”

The gym is a charity that needs £250 a month to cover its costs.

Carl reopened the gym in the summer but the reduced numbers now attending, because of Covid-19, means he can only keep going until the end of November.

“We’ve been on the brink before but this time it’s more serious,” said Carl.

“I’ve been feeling really dejected. I came down to open up the gym on Monday and no one came” he added.

Since the news of his struggle to stay open was reported, Carl has been inundated with messages of support and donations.

“I came down to the gym and found a £20 note in an envelope under the door with a nice message. Then three mums came in to see me. They said – we’re not going to let you close,” said Carl.

A Doncaster auction house has contacted Carl and has promised to sell his collection of boxing memorabilia online. “All funds from that will go to the gym and it will make a big difference,” said Carl.

He added: “If I can get an attendance of around 10 or so every night I can keep going. I used to get 60 kids here an evening but I know those days are gone.

“What drives me is keeping going for the members, for the kids, I know how much it means to them. For some, it’s the one thing in their lives that they can do. They might have learning difficulties, they might find it hard to get out of the house, but they can come to the gym.”

Carl thinks that if the gym can survive this crisis it will stay open for good.

“I want to thank everyone for what they’re doing, it’s fantastic,” he said.

To donate, go to gofundme.com and search for: gunns gym

NHW news & Crime Report


Get Safe Online has issued the following advice as part of its Global24 campaign.

This year, most people and businesses around the world have relied on the internet far more than ever before. Unfortunately, at the same time, the level of online crime and other harm has also increased substantially.

This advice covers the most basic practices that we all need to follow in order to protect ourselves from the most common online threats. As well as safeguarding yourself, your family, your finances and your devices in your personal life, we hope you will also pick up some good practice to help protect your workplace.

• Choose, use and protect passwords carefully, and use a different one for every online account in case one or more get hacked. Try using three random words and strengthening them with numbers, symbols and combinations of upper- and lower-case letters.

• Ensure you always have internet security software (often called anti-virus/anti-spyware) loaded on computers and a similar app on your mobile devices, and that this is kept updated and switched on. Remember that smartphones and tablets can get infected in a similar way to computers.

• Always apply updates to operating systems and software on your computer and apps on your mobile devices. Many include vital security updates to avoid hacking or malware

• Never assume that Wi-Fi hotspots in places like cafés, bars and hotel rooms are secure, so do not use them when you are doing anything confidential online. Instead, use your data, a mobile broadband modem (dongle) or if it is for work, a VPN (virtual private network).

• Always consider that online or on the phone, people are not always who they claim to be. Fake emails, texts and phone calls are a favourite way for fraudsters to approach their victims.

• Do not click on links in emails, posts, tweets or texts – and do not open attachments – if the source is not 100% known and trustworthy, or it seems strange that you are receiving them.

• Never pay for anything by direct bank transfer – including goods, services, tickets, travel and holidays – unless it is to someone you know personally and is reputable.

• Never reveal too much personal or financial information in emails, on social networking and dating sites and in person. You never know who might see it or use it.

• Always report fraud or abuse to the appropriate authorities. There are two other golden rules you should remember: think twice because everything may not be as it seems, and if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

For more information visit: www.getsafeonline.org

Please keep safe and well,

From Ed Chambers, Birstall & Wanlip NHW Chairman

During October the beat team will continue to target the area around Meadow Lane as we are continuing to receive complaints about Anti-Social Behaviour and drug use in this area, albeit to a lesser extent than in previous months.

We will also be aiming to conduct extra patrols around the Hallam Fields Industrial Estate as we have had some reports recently about young people hanging about in this area in the evenings, causing problems and being abusive to staff leaving work. Enquiries are ongoing to try and identify who these people are.

Crime Update

In September we had a total of 41 crimes reported to us which is slightly up on August when we had 39. The main categories are as follows: We had 13 reports of assault (most of which were domestic-related), 7 Public Order Offences, 7 reports of criminal damage (including 2 reports of damage to vehicles), 4 thefts from vehicles, 2 ‘other’ thefts and 1 theft of a vehicle. In addition to this, we also had 1 dwelling burglary in September, 1 non-dwelling burglary, 1 report of a robbery and 1 drug offence.

This month we’ve also had a number of positive results with a male being arrested & charged in relation to a theft from a vehicle that happened in Curzon Avenue on Sep 1, and another male being sentenced to almost four years in prison for drugs offences. We also discovered a small cannabis factory on Sibson Road however as yet no arrests have been made in relation to this.

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

Crime Prevention Advice

Coronavirus is still very much in the news at present and whilst Leicestershire Police are still trying to use the ‘Engage, Explain and Encourage’ process as much as possible, we are now starting to use ‘Enforcement’ more widely and have issued a number of Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN’s) to people who have been caught breaking the rules. Remember that whilst there are some exceptions, essentially you cannot gather in any place in a group of more than 6 unless you are from the same household or a linked household (bubble). We will deal robustly with anyone caught ignoring the rules so please don’t let this be you!

Full details are available on the Government website at: www.gov.uk/coronavirus


We have identified several dates over the next few months when we will be conducting beat surgeries. These will be held at either the Birstall Beat office on Sibson Rd or at key locations around the village on the following dates: Please keep an eye on our twitter site @CharnwoodPolice for details of the other locations.

Wednesday 11th November. 10am—12midday. Birstall Beat Office.

Thursday 3rd December. 5pm—7pm. Location TBC.

Friday 18th December. 10am—12midday. Birstall Beat Office.

Remember, you can also 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 and only takes a few minutes to sign up.

Sign up now at:www.neighbourhoodlink.co.uk

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

A message from PC Dave Jaeckels

This month the beat team have been out and about in the Hallam Fields area, conducting a patchwalk with staff from a local Housing Organisation in order to discuss any concerns that residents may have. A number of issues were identified which are being dealt with by either ourselves or the Housing organisation including complaints about litter, noise nuisance and drugs being used in the area.

We have also been conducting foot patrols in Meadow Lane in relation to complaints about Anti-Social Behaviour and we have also been delivering crime prevention leaflets following a vehicle theft in the Roman Road area.

Lastly, we have been making enquiries in relation to a couple of possible cannabis factories in the area. Enquiries are still ongoing in relation to these & I will update you further in future newsletters.

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

Parish council notes

A FULL meeting of Birstall Parish Council was held on October 12.

PC David Jaeckels reported that crime levels were low. There was only one burglary in September and one burglary non-dwelling. Four cars were broken into.

A well-known drug dealer has been sentenced to four years in prison and a cannabis factory was found at premises on Sibson Road.

There have been five crimes reported in October: to drive-offs from the petrol station; two domestic assaults and one minor public order offence. There are very few reports of virus rules being broken.

The council agreed to change the arrangements it has with Charnwood Borough Council regarding leased land at Worcester Avenue and Meadow Lane. The land is currently leased by Charnwood to the Parish Council who then underlease it to the football clubs. The Parish Council acts as a “middleman". As there have been some problems, the Parish Council have obtained the agreement of Charnwood to surrender part of the lease so that the football clubs become the direct tenants of Charnwood, with the Parish Council retaining the allotments, track and playing field. Charnwood Borough Council and the football clubs have agreed to the new arrangements and a new lease will be drawn up. Each side will pay their legal costs, yet to be advised.

The council agreed to approve tarmac works to the car park of Birstall United Seniors Football Club.

The council will again deliver Christmas hampers to elderly people in Birstall this Christmas. The council currently has 22 names of recipients on its list. Last year 14 hampers were delivered.

Chair Ann Marshall urged councillors to respond to the Leicester City Council draft local plan consultation.

Birstall lock

ANYONE WALKING past Birstall lock in the last six months will have noticed extensive work being carried out, repairing and rebuilding the wall below the lock.

Lock keeper Peter Price explains:

Twenty meters of the wall has gradually been sinking into the river and just recently the lower footpath was also beginning to crack.

Canal and River Trust engineers have removed the broken section of the wall together with the gravel substrate below water level and deep piling has taken place to support the rebuilt wall backfilled with rocks and concrete.

Since 1790 when the first Birstall lock was constructed, the River Soar in times of flood has gradually washed away material from the base of the lock and mooring walls, leaving it ‘hanging’ in the water. (Two years ago, 47 tonnes of concrete were poured into the base of the lock floor in order to support the lock’s bottom gates). Recent long term and heavy flooding in the area has not helped a worsening situation.

The finishing work is due to be completed before the spring of 2021.

Whiles Lane

LOCAL POLICE have reported a suspicious incident on Whiles Lane, Birstall on October 6, involving two men wearing high visibility jackets and driving a black car.

The men managed to convince an elderly man to let them into his home; they then tried to sell him an item at a knockdown price.

The occupant became suspicious and told the man to leave, which they did.

PC David Jaeckels said: “Thankfully nothing was taken but it is possible they were trying to see if there was anything in the house worth stealing. Please be vigilant and don’t let people into your home if you don’t know them. Use a safety chain and contact the police if you are concerned.”


A COLLISION on the A6 near Red Hill Island resulted in two people being taken to hospital.

The crash involved two cars that collided on the northbound section of the A6 where the dual carriageway changes to a single lane because of the new pop-up cycle lane.

The collision took place at 5.30pm on Monday, September 28. It involved two vehicles, a silver Seat Ibiza and a blue Ford Kuga.

Both drivers were treated at hospital for minor injuries.

The A6 was closed for five hours following the accident.

Anyone who witnessed the collision or who has any information which could assist the investigation can contact PC1942 Andy Richardson on 101 quoting 20*510604.

Grant helps group reach out

AN ARTS and crafts group that has moved online during Covid-19 has received a grant of £4500 from Charnwood Borough Council.

The Birstall based Little Bird SOS is a social enterprise set up to promote health and well-being by delivering arts and crafts activities at local workshops.

Little Bird SOS director Lisa Pidgeon said: “We are thrilled to get this grant, it will enable us to continue our work, reaching out to people who are feeling isolated and looking for opportunities to connect with people in their community.”

The group was meeting at Birstall Methodist Church but has now moved online, with a weekly zoom tutorial, coffee morning plus one-to-one sessions, as well as a YouTube channel. Everything is free.

The numbers participating have now increased, with people from all over the country joining in with the online sessions.

Recent activities have included making leaf bowls and wind chimes but Lisa says it’s not all about the finished item. She said: “The process of making and the social connections made during the sessions are more important than the final creation.

“It’s a place they can come for one hour a week and have their imagination sparked, and be given permission to play.”

“The feedback we get is that people feel it’s friendly, safe, engaging and welcoming” added project partner Janet Currie.

Little Bird welcomes new participants – to find out more go to www.littlebirdsos.co.uk where you can find out how to join the session, see examples of artwork, links to the YouTube channel and the Little Bird shop. You can also ring Lisa on (0116) 318 3655.

Some feedback from participants:

“I have always loved doing different crafts. Now, at this time, I feel it is especially beneficial to help calm and divert your mind. Groups like yours play an important part in nurturing creativity as well as fostering a sense of togetherness, so a big thank you for all that you do.”

“It was a fabulous afternoon, thank you. I was so looking forward to it and I wasn’t disappointed, so glad I found you. Will look out for your next workshop. Thanks again.”

WI keeping active

ALTHOUGH BIRSTALL and Wanlip WI have been unable to hold its normal meetings since March, we have been keeping in touch.

Pic: Members (l-r) Beverly Blackburn, Maxilyn Geary and Yvonne Butterworth viewing the NHS Scrub team quilt displayed at Birstall Methodist Church

Some members have been busy helping the community and we have been chatting via a WhatsApp group.

We have organised walks and held outdoor meetings at the ever accommodating Birstall British Legion.

Maxilyn and her band of helpers have worked tirelessly making scrubs and other necessities to help the NHS over the past months.

We have been holding fortnightly walks exploring our local area adhering to the ever-changing rules of the lockdown. There has also been a lot of plant and book exchanges taking place.

Cath and Janet help judge the entries to the White Horse’s Great Birstall Bake Off in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support and Beverly and Maxilyn won the Loughborough Road allotments best scarecrow competition.

Finding these different ways of keeping in touch has been a great help, especially to those members who live alone.

From Birstall & Wanlip WI

Children’s pumpkin day

CHILDREN FROM Half Pints Childcare on Loughborough Road visited a pumpkin farm.

A spokesman said: “Our visit was a magical place for little eyes and hands! This enriching, muddy outdoor environment was a wonderful sensory learning opportunity for the children, squelching through the mud feeling the texture of the pumpkins, the weight pushing wheelbarrows, together with the smells and colour made it an uplifting well-being experience. The children cannot wait to bake pumpkin soup and carve faces into their pumpkins.”

Belgrave & Birstall station

A NEW book tells the story of the Belgrave & Birstall railway station.

Author of ‘Belgrave & Birstall Remembered’ John Powdrill writes:

“Whatever happened to Belgrave and Birstall Station?” on the northern outskirts of Leicester, is a question many ask, accompanied by the follow-up “the railway was saved but, why did we not save the station?”

Pic: The 1.30pm all stations stopping train from Nottingham Victoria to London Marylebone at Belgrave and Birstall on 4th November 1961 (Mike Mitchell/Transport Treasury)

Part of Mike Cattell’s story on page 34:

Daily travel to school was on the ‘stopper’ which left Belgrave & Birstall at about 8.15am and arrived about 10 minutes later. Then a short walk to school to be there for 8.40am. A friend from Tempest Road and I soon realised that we could buy a child return ticket for 6d, less than the price of the bus, and for 9d you could get a child, first-class return. The ‘city gents’ looked down their noses at us in the ‘first-class’ but when the ticket collector came round and it was seen that we had the correct ticket…

It’s true that while many may never have taken a train from their ‘local station’, Belgrave and Birstall always remained a subject of fascination for many in the community. The station seemed to induce such strong feelings of pride, sentimental endearment, frustration and even annoyance among local people since it opened 120 years ago that its story needed to be told.

Pic: On 25th May 1953, 7 months before the disastrous fire at the Golf Club, a typical commuter train of the time leaves Belgrave and Birstall for all stations to Nottingham. (VR Webster /KRM Collection)

Part of Stuart Bradley’s story on page 31 of the book:

On the evening of November 5, 'Bonfire night' 1953, Stuart was alerted by a friend to a massive fire burning near the top of Birstall Hill Cutting next to the station. With flames visible from a distance, they rushed up 'The Slang' to get a better view.

Nearing the station, they could see the commotion with fire crews already in attendance. The Birstall Golf Clubhouse was well alight with a pall of smoke trailing downwards towards the railway line. The station staff were on the platform and as the friends reached the bridge they could hear a train approaching up the bank from Leicester.

With over 150 photographs including maps, tables and contributions from over 20 people who were involved with the station, this book sets out to build a picture of a place which, while dependent upon orderly execution of a disciplined routine during its day-to-day running, could equally give rise to great excitement, drama, humour, even intrigue and some outrageous audacity on the part of those people intimately connected with it.

Deliberately focussing upon a two-mile stretch of the railway running through Birstall to Belgrave, between Greengate Lane bridge (360) and the site of the over-bridge at Thurcaston Road (364), the book is based upon material, originally collected for the shared 50th-anniversary celebrations of the Main Line Preservation Group, the Belgrave and Birstall Action Group and the Leicester Industrial Locomotive Group in August 2019. Expanded into this A4 sized 64-page version it aims to inform and entertain with a selection of page-long short stories and articles about: how and why the station came to exist; who worked there and who played there; how it operated; who its neighbours were; what happened and why it is no longer there.

Purchase @ £12.99 plus postage and packing (£2.96 within UK) direct from John Powdrill on belgravebirstall@virginmedia.com

You can donate to a Leicester North / Belgrave and Birstall upkeep project when you purchase a copy.

(Postage and packing costs quoted above are correct from September 15, 2020)

Flower club

WE KNOW that many of you will be disappointed that we will not be holding our Christmas Wreath Workshops this year.

The Government measures in place mean we will have to turn away so many which will not be fair. Hopefully, we will run them next year as they get people in the mood for Christmas.

On a lighter note, the club is looking forward to celebrating its Diamond Anniversary next summer. We hope that members will rise to the occasion and wear their best ‘sparkly’ jewellery.

Finally, we hope that our members and the wider community have a Happy and Healthy Christmas.

From Birstall Flower Club

Walking the labyrinth

A LABYRINTH has been mown into the grass in a lawn beside St James’ Church on Church Hill.

Gill Chester from the church said: “Please feel free to use it – but only one person/household at a time of course! If you’d like some ideas on how to use it please visit the Birstall labyrinth page of www.nearergroup.org”

New salon

A NEW hairdressing salon has opened in Birstall.

Pic: Directors Julie Stephenson and Katie Beck

Whites Hair & Beauty is on Sibson Road in the unit previously occupied by Shortt & Lunn.

They are offering a 25% discount for all new clients at their Birstall branch.

Directors Julie Stephenson and Katie Beck said: “We are so happy to be starting this new chapter in Birstall, as we took over the salon in Glenfield last November this is the next exciting step!”

The Birstall salon has been completely revamped to a glamorous and modern finish.

The salon is Olaplex, L’Oreal and Kerastase approved, providing haircuts and colour transformations as well as offering beauty treatments such as lashes, brows and nails. Julie said: “During these turbulent times, the talented team of hair and beauty specialist at Whites have been working hard to provide a bit of normality and relief to the local community while also ensuring the experience is in compliance with the current government guidelines.

“You just need to wear a mask, sanitise your hands and we will take care of the rest so you can focus on what matters most – your hair!”

To book your appointment with the team at Whites hair and beauty call (0116) 287 1100 or go to www.whiteshairandbeauty.com

Man jailed

A 25-YEAR-OLD man from Birstall has recently been sentenced to three years and nine months in prison for drugs offences including possession with intent to supply, and production of cannabis.

It is reported locally that he was well known on the Gates estate and drove a black BMW.

News from the churches

WELL - NICE little word; “well”. Have you noticed, if you watch The Repair Shop, Flog It, or any other TV programme involving antiques, that when the owner is asked about the history of an item, they invariably begin with “Well…”

Well at the Anglican churches in Birstall and Wanlip, we still do not have a Rector, but for November and December we are to be blessed with the support of a full-time experienced curate, the Rev Rosie Homer, she will be very welcome, both by our congregations and by our (semi) retired clergy.

The shadow cast over our lives by the Coronavirus does not stop the march of time, and Harvest Festival was celebrated, albeit in a somewhat subdued fashion, with none of the lovely, joyous hymns, or baskets of colourful fruit and veg at the altar. But there were many, many bags of tins and packets of groceries, given in faith, all to go to the local Food Hub, together with our prayers. We also welcomed the Archdeacon of Leicester, the Ven. Richard Worsfold, who joined us to lead our services at Birstall in the morning, and at Wanlip in the evening.

Although St James Monday Group is unable to meet at present, fundraising for our chosen charities( Dementia UK and Admiral Nurses/Leicestershire) is taking place, with members making Christmas cakes, Christmas wreaths, and jams and chutneys, all available for sale, and can be ordered through our Churchwardens on 07570 198810.

Every week at our churches, prayers are said for people we know who are unwell or are unable to attend our churches for any reason. We also include the various groups of people who work for or lend their talents to running and well-being of our churches, the cleaners, gardeners, greeters, bell-ringers, flower arrangers etc.

For those of us who visited St Theresa’s to join in celebrating their Saint’s Day, there was a stunning display of red roses around a statue of St Theresa. It really is a gift to be able to display flowers to such advantage and to give such pleasure.

Well – now the leaves are falling and winter approaches, we pray that we all stay – “Well”

From the Anglican churches in Birstall & Wanlip.

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Methodist Church Worship

Worship has resumed at the Methodist Church, with attendance limited to 20 people, with priority given to those friends who are unable to access the Sunday ‘Zoom’ service. This has continued Sunday by Sunday since the lockdown. Those who have attended have said how ‘safe’ they felt & appreciated all the necessary preparation to enable the service to take place with all the restrictions imposed by Covid 19.

A service of Holy Communion was held on October 11. The usual Methodist practice is to share non-alcoholic wine in individual glasses with a small piece of bread, these being the elements representing the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.

At the service on October 11, it was not possible for those on the Zoom Service to share in the bread and wine, distributed to those friends who were on the church premises. Those at home were invited to take a sip of tea, coffee or water with a small piece of cake. It was good that those of us at home shared our simple food at the same time that those in the church did. It was a special ‘Love Feast’.

Those who follow the service on ‘Zoom’ are very grateful to the skill of Charles Hilton who manages the technology Sunday by Sunday.

Joining In Worship

Regular worshippers, friends & members should receive a weekly notice sheet, either via email or on paper. This gives the details for attending Sunday worship & the booking phone number. However, all are welcome to our Sunday worship. So, if you have not seen these weekly notices & wish to attend, you are welcome to turn up in good time for the 10.30 Service. Do bear in mind that because of Covid restrictions you must wear a mask throughout the service. A steward will show you to a seat and you are asked to remain in that seat until the end of the service. Please wrap up well, as the church will be ‘well ventilated’. Listen quietly to the hymns. You should not sing. At the end of the service, you should wait till a steward advises you to leave & shows you the way out. Although the restrictions are onerous, you are no less welcome to worship with us.

Action For Children

This organisation years ago used to be called the National Children's Home (NCH). It is a Methodist based charity and has always been well supported by Birstall folk, Methodists and others too. So far this year, the amount raised is an amazing £676.55, almost all from donations. Eileen & Pete Molesdale, the local voluntary organisers are grateful to all who have supported Action for Children by their giving.

From Birstall Methodist Church

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Feast Day of St Theresa

The feast day of our patronal saint was marked, as ever, with a Novena which culminated with a concelebrated Mass on October 1. We were pleased to welcome members of the Rosminian order at Ratcliffe including Fr Ted Mullen, who was our priest in charge until earlier this year, and who was the main celebrant.

It was also our pleasure to welcome members of the local churches who joined us in our worship. Often called St Theresa of the Roses, her statue and the altar were beautifully adorned with red roses.

Covid-19 restrictions rather put paid to the social event which is usually held after Mass, but we were, nevertheless, able to take home a slice of cake to mark the occasion. Our thanks, as ever, go to Jenny Keel for another delicious cake.

Remembrance Mass

These past months have taken a particular toll on those who have been bereaved and they have had to comply with severe restrictions regarding funeral arrangements in the midst of their grief. A special Mass was held on September 25 where families who had lost loved ones since the start of the pandemic could come together in remembrance as part of the parish community.

First Holy Communion

Pic: the First Holy Communion at Birstall

On Saturday, October 10 the children of our two parishes who had been preparing for their First Holy Communion were finally able to receive the Sacrament. Fourteen children from St Theresa’s and four children from Sacred Heart were dressed in their finery for the occasion. Two children who were unavailable on the day will make their First Holy Communion at a later date.

Normally this is a great day in the parish, but because of Covid-19 restrictions, not only was the date deferred from last May, but only parents and siblings could attend the Mass. However, great efforts were made by the Catechists and parents alike to make the occasion especially meaningful and memorable for the youngsters. During Mass they were involved in reading the lessons, the responsorial psalm and bidding prayers and there were also additional readings such as the poem “I Am Special”.

At the end of Mass, the children received a gift. Brenda Bentham, speaking on behalf of her fellow Catechists Leanne Graham Brown and Aileen Jackson, reflected on the many positive things that had resulted as the group worked to overcome a range of challenges posed by the current situation. A celebration to remember, to be sure!


The monthly draw for the Charities Club resumed in September.

It was decided at the last Parish-in-Council meeting that this year’s Christmas Bazaar be cancelled. Instead, a raffle will be held and squares will be on sale at both churches in due course. Further details will appear in the newsletter and on the website nearer the time.

From St Theresa’s, Birstall & Sacred Heart, Rothley

* * *

All Saints’ Day

Many people will have marked October 31 by celebrating Halloween, but, like Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, this date is simply the evening before the more important day, which, in this case, is All Saints’ Day (1st November). Before the 18th century, this day was called ‘All Hallows Even’ – the ‘Eve before All Hallows’, which was the Old English for a saint or holy person, so it was a day when saints were especially remembered. This brings us to the question: who are the saints? The Bible is very clear that a ‘saint’ (Greek word ‘hagios’) is someone who is called to belong to God. Paul begins his letter to the Romans by addressing the recipients as: ‘To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints’ (Romans 1:7) and he addresses all the believers in the churches in Corinth, Ephesus, Philippi and Colossae as saints too.

This same word is used for all believers in this month’s two hymns. The first is ‘For all the saints who from their labours rest’. It was written by William Walsham How, (1823-1897), the son of a solicitor. He was educated in Shrewsbury and Oxford and then ordained in the Church of England. After 33 years in parochial work, he became suffragan Bishop of East London, where his care and devotion to the people won him their love and the nickname of ‘the poor man’s bishop’. He is best remembered for his 54 hymns and, when asked what made a good hymn, he replied it is ‘something like a good prayer – simple, real, earnest and reverent’. This hymn begins with a note of thanksgiving for those saints who found Christ ‘their rock, their fortress and their might’ and encourages believers today to be ‘faithful, true and bold’. The remainder of the hymn speaks of the communion between the church (body of believers) on earth and the church in heaven.

The second hymn is ‘How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in His excellent Word’ and speaks about the assurance and security to be found in the Lord Jesus Christ. It was published in a collection of hymns issued by Dr John Rippon, a Baptist minister in London, in 1787. Its author is simply known as ‘K’ and this is a fitting reminder that, even if we don’t know the work of a Christian, God does and will reward in due season. If you would like to know more about this assurance and how to become a ‘saint’, then please get in touch with 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

Birstall BAG’s cancer corner

Lung Cancer & Covid

November is global lung cancer awareness month. If you have been watching the morning television news this week, you will have seen significant news coverage on the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the number of people being referred to hospital with suspected cancer. Lung cancer, given how common it is, the age group it affects and the similarity in presenting symptoms to Covid-19, has been particularly affected. There is a huge concern throughout the NHS; Covid-19 has resulted in there being between a 20-80% reduction in the number of people being referred and diagnosed over the last seven months. Lung Cancer clinical teams are also now seeing people who have had symptoms for several weeks, in some cases months being referred or attending emergency departments, with very advanced disease. Sadly for some, the burden of advanced symptoms has significantly reduced their treatment options and the potential benefits of that treatment.

Signs & Symptoms

Birstall BAG’s would like to remind readers about the signs and symptoms of lung cancer and also reassure you that our University Hospitals of Leicester lung cancer team, like all the others across the NHS, are there for you, they have taken all the necessary precautions to keep people as safe as possible, in terms of Covid-19 risks, whilst ensuring that lung cancer services continue.

It is worth clarifying that this article and these statistics are not referring to secondary lung cancer. The lungs, given how rich their blood and lymphatic supply is, are a common organ for other cancers to spread to. If a primary cancer, such as bowel or breast, spreads to the lungs this is a secondary or metastatic bowel or breast cancer and it is not classified as a primary lung cancer, which would indicate very different options, outcomes and treatment.

Lung cancer is the third most common cancer in the UK. Around 47, 800 people are diagnosed in the UK each year. It is more common as you get older, in fact, 45% of people diagnosed are over the age of 75. It affects men and women equally and 30% of those diagnosed have never smoked. It literally could happen to anyone!

The main symptoms of lung cancer include:

a cough that doesn't go away after 2 or 3 weeks.

a long-standing cough that gets worse.

chest infections that keep coming back.

coughing up blood.

an ache or pain when breathing or coughing.

persistent breathlessness.

persistent tiredness or lack of energy.

If you recognise any of these symptoms please contact your GP. A Covid-19 test will likely be requested but they will also talk to you about your symptoms in more detail, assess your risk factors, perhaps request some early investigations such as a chest x-ray, blood and breathing tests.

A referral to UHL through the urgent (two-week wait) pathway will be made if there is any suspicion of lung cancer.


Once referred the lung cancer team are performing all tests, investigations and consultations in the timely manner they always have done. There is far more remote reviewing and virtual working using the telephone or video calling, but the team try to ensure any bad news or difficult conversations are had face to face if preferred. Appointment times are tightly adhered to avoiding any unnecessary waiting in the hospital environment. There is a one-way walking system in all corridors to facilitate safe distancing and easy access to hand sanitiser and masks etc to ensure correct hygiene and protection. The number of people permitted to accompany or visit people varies depending on the department but generally, it is limited to one. The team of seven lung cancer nurse specialist keep in close contact with people going through tests and investigations and of course all of those who do receive a positive lung cancer diagnosis.

Please stay well and safe everyone. Remember distance, your mask and hand hygiene with everything you do.

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