Mountsorrel Post december 2020 (73)

Quilt celebrates Mountsorrel

THE MOUNTSORREL Community Quilt is now on display in the window of the Memorial Centre.

Pic: The quilt in the Memorial Centre with (l-r) Cllr Beth Benner, Cllr Kate Walker and Jill O’Neill

The quilt, a snapshot of the village at this historic moment in time, was the idea of Mountsorrel’s Jill O’Neill.

“I am thrilled the project is complete and delighted at the response of the community from start to completion,” she said.

Jill floated the idea of a quilt made up of panels crafted by local people in April – she quickly had a positive response from groups and individuals in the village who set to work completing their designs. The 56 panels were then delivered to Jill who assembled them into the finished quilt.

At the beginning of November, the quilt was put on display in the window of the Memorial Centre allowing all to see it despite continued closures due to the pandemic. There is an accompanying plaque and now the commemorative booklet is also complete. This is a limited edition of 200 and marries together photographs of the individual squares with those of their village locations. The text is provided by the contributors who reflect on their response to the pandemic, what the village means to them and some interesting points of history.

Jill said: “It reflects many aspects of what life is like and what the village can offer. It shows a great deal of positivity and resilience and also what a creative group of people are living in Mountsorrel!”

The booklet is available for a donation of £3 and all monies raised will be in donated to the Leicestershire & Rutland Youth Services. Contact Jill O’Neill on 07970 082134 to find out how to obtain your copy.

Jill added: “Everybody involved says how it was good to have a positive focus and learn new skills or revisit old ones.

“I personally feel the same therapeutic value of the making process but for me, it has also given me a great sense of achievement and sense of community. I was able to use skills I haven’t used since before I retired. So it is a great sense of achievement and pride. Knowing that the money being raised is for a worthy local charity is the icing on the cake.”

Mountsorrel Parish Council agreed that the quilt could be displayed in the Memorial Centre.

Parish Council Chair Kate Walker said: “I would like to thank Jill and all her fellow crafters for the inspiration and skill required to make this amazing quilt. We are truly blessed to have such talented people reside within this village.”

Comments on Facebook include: “Well it looks so good, well done Jill, it wouldn’t have happened without you.”

“That’s awesome, looks fantastic, well done to everyone and a very big well done to Jill O’Neill for organising us all and taking the time to put it all together.”

Review of Parish council

AN INDEPENDENT review of Mountsorrel Parish Council’s procedures and working methods has identified several areas for improvement.

Parish Council Chair Kate Walker said: “Our work now is to come together as a council and work through the recommendations.”

The report, a Peer Review, was produced by Jake Atkinson, chief executive of LRALC (Leicestershire and Rutland Association of Local Councils) and completed in April 2020.

The Parish Council commissioned the report to help it identify areas for improvement. LRALC interviewed members of staff and councillors and examined council minutes, documents and standing orders.

The report identifies the scale of the council’s ambitions over recent years in seeing through major projects, such as the new Memorial Centre. The report’s findings include:

• The Parish Council should rebuild its reserves to support its budget. It has withdrawn more than £312,000 over the last five years, much of it to support the Memorial Centre, which in 2019/20 cost £140,000 to subsidise

• Business plans are needed for the council’s three major projects: the Memorial Centre, the Halstead Road playing fields and the library

• The council has no forward plan and no clear priorities

• There is no widespread consultation with the public

• A full review of staffing is needed to ensure staff time is utilised effectively

• Councillors are assuming management roles/responsibilities that should be done by officers

• The archive of minutes on the website is incomplete

• There is a failure to record in the minutes the decisions that are taken in closed session (the confidential part of council meetings).

• Councillor training should be compulsory

• The council should always consult the public before undertaking capital projects

• The council should reconsider the terms of the lease it has in place at the Memorial Centre

• It should introduce a new committee structure and schedule of meetings

• The Parish Council is to be commended for what it has achieved for the village

The report identified that the council was being held back by conflict within it. The report’s author Jake Atkinson wrote: “The greatest hindrance to people [councillors and staff] working effectively in their roles is the deeply embedded conflict and/or breakdown in relations which exist within the council. The council is not working as a cohesive unit, and it appears that consensus decision-making on major items of council business is extremely rare.”

Cllr Kate Walker was elected as the chair of Mountsorrel Parish Council in May 2020. She told the Mountsorrel Post: “I would like to reassure residents that members acknowledge relationships in the council have, at times, been fraught. All councillors have taken on board the advice from our peer review to come together with mediation and try to address our differences. This is currently a work in progress.”

She added: “With regards to the Memorial Centre we have already begun to formulate a business plan. A business plan consultant has been appointed and councillors are having a meeting in November to discuss findings and the future vision.

“With regards to what is locally referred to as the Halstead Road/Cuffins Pit Lane project, discussions are still taking place with the landowners, Charnwood Borough Council planning department and the Parish Council. Preliminary surveys have been undertaken and we are in the process of obtaining legal advice. The Parish Council are keen to ensure that the residents are informed and involved in any future major projects for the village. We are awaiting a detailed project plan from the Parish Council’s planning consultant before any further actions are taken.”

Cllr Walker said: “At the council’s September meeting, members voted to adopt recommendation 10 of the peer review by making council training mandatory. As the council training budget has been spent for this financial year, the council are currently in discussions to set our precept for the next financial year and we will look for an increase in the councillor training budget in order to meet the changes required to ensure that councillors attend mandatory training and that records of the training are kept.”

She added: “The council have committed to adding £20,000 per year into the council’s reserves. With the current pandemic, council expenditure/income was not as predicted, therefore our reserve should be in a healthier position at the end of this financial year.

“The council worked very hard last year to ensure that there was no rise in the precept and this was achieved. Of course, with the costs of everything rising year on year together with the added costs the Covid pandemic has brought, keeping the precept at its current level, while ensuring we pay our bills, will be more difficult. Council is currently in its budget preparation stage and residents should feel confident that we are doing everything possible to mitigate any rise although I cannot make any assurances at this stage.”

She said: “It should be noted that this peer review report does have some difficult to read areas, the main focus of the council now is to use the recommendations provided to put up to date processes in place that will ensure the council is operating with due diligence, openly and with transparency.

“That is not to say that the work councillors have put into putting Mountsorrel on the map as an aspiring village for residents to be proud of, and want to reside in, was wrong. The building of the Memorial Centre was a huge project for a village council and the peer review has highlighted areas where we could have done things in a different way. It helps us to understand how we can put those things right for the future. Without councillors’ vision, we would not have our wonderful centre and I must congratulate my colleagues on that. Our work now is to come together as a council and work through the recommendations.”

The full report can be read on the council’s website.

Ken celebrates 100th birthday

KEN SHARMAN, a lifelong resident of Mountsorrel, celebrated his 100th birthday on November 14.

Pic: Ken with his card from the Queen

Ken served in World War II and after returning home got a job working for Rolls-Royce where he stayed for 36 years until he took early retirement.

This year has been difficult for Ken, losing his wife of 66 years and all the restrictions in place which have kept a usually active man indoors.

Ken received plenty of cards for his birthday, the most ever he says, and was even sent a card from the Queen.

Ken says the secret to a long life is to eat well and keep smiling.

Remembering John Thompson

FORMER ROTHLEY newsagent John ‘Tommo’ Thompson passed away in March, aged 83.

Pic: Rothley newsagent John Thompson

John was born and went to school in Leicester, and on turning 18 in 1954, was called up for his national service, joining the RAF. It was whilst on leave, and helping his mum with her jewellery business on Upppingham market, that he met his future wife Sheila, who was working on the next stall.

They married in 1959 and set up their own business selling clothes on the markets. John then went to become area manager of a chain of newsagents in Leicester, where his dream of having his own newsagents began.

This dream came true in 1971, when he bought Rays Newsagents, in Woodgate, Rothley, this becoming Thompsons' Newsagents (locally known as Tommo's). Together John and Sheila worked hard at the business and turned it into the popular and well-respected shop it became. John was a natural-born newsagent, often telling people how he loved to be up every morning at 3am ready for the papers to arrive! John became an active member of the local community, always supporting local charities and events. The shop became a complete family business in the mid-1980s with both daughters, Marie and Sharon, working there.

One of his longest-serving employees was Mick Adcock, who started as a paperboy and became a full-time employee, and a close life-long family friend. John was a keen sportsman, playing football and cricket. But it was at tennis and table tennis that he excelled, enjoying success at county level in both sports. He also played darts for numerous teams in Rothley and Mountsorrel during the 1970s and 1980s.

Throughout his life, he was an avid Leicester City fan, still attending matches in his later years. John retired in 1993, and he and Sheila spent many happy times at their static caravan on the Norfolk coast. They celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary last October and spent nearly all their married life living in Rothley and Mountsorrel.

John will best be remembered for being happy and cheerful, with a very positive outlook on life. Despite having numerous health issues, and being a wheelchair for the past few years, nothing stopped him getting out and about and enjoying life to the full. John enjoyed many things in this life, but most of all spending time with his family. John passed away on March 7. He leaves his wife Sheila, daughters Marie and Sharon, and son-in-laws Ade and Jim.

A tribute to John Thompson, from his daughters:

Our dad, our hero

Dad lived his life with a “Glass half full” attitude,

He was so optimistic, with a positive attitude like no other!

Dad always saw the good in everyone, he never held a grudge and smiled and whistled every day.

Dad cheered us on with mum at every obstacle, our biggest supporters.

We will always remember dad's smile, his great sense of humour, quick wit and positivity.

Mum and dad had over 60 years of love, fun and laughter.

Dad will leave a massive gap in our very close little family but we must ensure his legacy of optimism, love and laughter lives on.

He was simply the best husband and dad.

Parish councillor breaches code

AN INVESTIGATION into a complaint about a Mountsorrel Parish Councillor has found that he breached the Members’ Code of Conduct.

The complaint was made in February 2020 by Cllr Elizabeth Benner about Cllr Mick Lemon and was investigated by the monitoring officer at Charnwood Borough Council.

The complaint was that Councillor Lemon had failed to declare a pecuniary interest at a meeting where the employment of a member of staff at the Memorial Centre was discussed. This staff member would be placing orders with Cllr Lemon who was the supplier of drinks to the centre and stood to gain financially.

The investigation found that Cllr Lemon had not breached the Localism Act in respect of his pecuniary interest which he had declared, but that he had wrongly been given a dispensation by the clerk to participate in a meeting at which he had a pecuniary interest, and so had a ‘reasonable excuse’.

The investigation concluded that by submitting a motion asking to call a special meeting to discuss matters in which he had a related financial interest, he had breached the Code of Conduct. The report states that: “the average person looking at the circumstances would consider Cllr Lemon had acted with a lack of integrity.

“Cllr Lemon has been a councillor since 1991 and had undergone training in relation to the Code of Conduct. He should have known that his involvement in the matter would bring into question his integrity given that principle two of the Nolan Principles specifically requires that councillors ‘should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits’.”

Cllr Lemon told the investigating officer that he made no profits out of selling drinks to the Memorial Centre, that he was doing “what he thought was best for the parish” and had always acted in accordance with advice from the clerk.

The Member Conduct Panel at Charnwood ruled that:

• Councillor Lemon receive a letter explaining how he breached the Code

• Councillor Lemon is censured by Mountsorrel Parish Council

• Councillor Lemon receive training on the code of conduct

• Training be extended to include all Mountsorrel Parish Councillors

It is also stated that the recommendations of the recent Peer Review of council processes be implemented as soon as possible.

Cllr Lemon appealed the decision of the panel, but his appeal was rejected.


COMMUNITY GROUPS in Charnwood have been awarded over £117,000 in grant funding to help them recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

A total of 39 organisations have been awarded funding which will help with the additional cost of PPE and cleaning, reopening of buildings and restarting or adapting services to meet current government guidelines.

Village Remembrance events

BOTH REMEMBRANCE Sunday and Armistice Day were suitably marked in Mountsorrel by socially distanced events, in line with government guidance.

On Remembrance Sunday the usual Parade and Service at St Peter’s were replaced by a simple but moving wreath-laying ceremony at Castle Hill War memorial.

A bugler sounded the Last Post, and wreaths were laid on behalf of the village and Parish Council by Mrs K Walker, Chair of the Parish Council and by Col. R. Martin OBE. DL., County and Mountsorrel Branch President of the Royal British Legion. The wreaths were later moved down to the Peace Garden.

On Armistice Day there was a further wreath-laying ceremony, this time at the Peace Garden. Wreaths were laid by representatives of the village’s uniformed youth groups and community organisations led by pupils from Christ Church & St Peter’s Primary School.

Mountsorrel Poppy Appeal 2020

John Doyle, Poppy Appeal Organiser, said: “We had already planned a much smaller Poppy Appeal in the village this year with no door to door collections and a very limited number of boxes in the usual supportive shops and pubs but that was further curtailed by the lockdown announced in the midst of the appeal. However, as usual, the generosity of villagers rose to the occasion with donations arriving by various means throughout the period along with donations being made directly to the appeal nationally both in the name of the Mountsorrel Branch and also to the County.

“It will be some weeks before we know the total raised which will appear in the next edition of the Post.”

Fridge a lifeline for many

THE MOUNTSORREL Community Fridge has proved to be a lifeline for many people struggling to feed themselves and their families.

Pic: Mountsorrel community fridge

Located in the Mountsorrel youth café since June 2019, the café’s closure in March 2020 saw the facility without a venue. Mountsorrel Parish Council has now provided it with a new home, the parish rooms on Little Lane where it opened in October.

Chair of Mountsorrel Parish Council Kate Walker said: “With the closure of the Sorrel youth café the Parish Council were approached to see if we could support the housing of the fridge within the village and we were very keen to support this well-used resource. During these unprecedented times, it has been an essential lifeline, keeping our community fed.”

Food from the fridge is there for anyone who needs it. It is part of the work of the Charnwood Food Poverty Action Group, a group of more than 30 organisations led by The Bridge (East Midlands).

Pic: Gemma Skevington

Food poverty development worker Gemma Skevington said: “The community fridge is available so people that require fresh food can access it. This food provision is a lifeline to some.

“One visitor came to the fridge one morning and was overwhelmed, saying ‘this has changed everything for me, I feel so blessed and can’t thank you enough’.

“Another person said they no longer need a food parcel and that they could get by now that they had back up food from the fridge.”

The opening times are Monday and Thursday between 11am and 1pm. There will be a food worker available at these times to help if needed.

Visitors must wear a face mask and only one person may enter at a time.

The fridge cannot accept donations of fresh food but can accept donations of ‘ambient’ food: tea, coffee, tins, UHT milk, biscuits et cetera. These can be dropped off within opening times.

College saves community café

COFFEE SHOP Breward’s in the heart of Mountsorrel is now open for take-away service.

Pic: Jed from Homefield College at Breward’s

Formerly the Sorrel Youth Café, the coffee shop on The Green is run by Homefield College, a specialist college and charity that provides education, training, care and support to people with learning and communication disabilities.

Students work at Breward’s as part of their education programme, preparing food orders in the kitchen, making drinks and serving customers on the till. The coffee shop acts as a place of learning, allowing students to gain transferable work skills to prepare them for their future goals of entering employment.

Breward’s is currently open Monday - Friday, 9.15am - 2pm, running a take-away service with food orders stopping at 1.45pm. Their starter menu is designed to be simple yet tasty whilst students learn the ropes.

The lemonade scones with freshly churned butter and blueberry jam are a particular hit, and the students are working on new recipes to make Breward’s ‘The Home of the Scone’, with ideas including a buttermilk scone, a savoury scone with bacon and sundried tomatoes, and even some flavours for the festive season.

Tracey Forman, Principal of Homefield College, said: “Our first official customer was the Chairman of the previous Sorrel Youth Café, John Doyle, and it felt fitting to come full circle. When we first heard that Sorrel Youth Café’s future was uncertain, we reached out to see if we could help and here we are today with our latest enterprise Breward’s. Thank you to all your support to date, our students working at the coffee shop are delighted to be a part of the Mountsorrel community.”

The café plans to open for an eat-in service, Covid-19 allowing.

Pic: Jed from Homefield College preparing coffee and food at Breward’s


A MOUNTORREL charity is looking for a volunteer.

The Mountsorrel Educational Fund is part of the Mountsorrel United Charities and awards grants to young people living in the village to assist them in pursuing their education.

It is looking for a trustee. This is someone who:

 Is empathetic, caring and considerate, respectful and non-judgemental

 Has experience of secondary/further education.


 Has financial investment experience.

 Can commit to attending and participating in two meetings a year.

Mountsorrel Educational Fund Trustee role description

Trustees need to be willing and able to:

 Attend two meetings a year, usually in May & October.

 Read and digest grant application information

 Understand basic financial information

 Challenge policy and procedure in a tactful manner

 Bring their skills, knowledge and experience as local residents to the table

 Maintain confidentiality

 Respect the views of others around the table

 Confirm they are not excluded from acting as a charity trustee

To apply, you should email your CV and covering letter to the Chair,

Sandra Utteridge at sandra.utteridge@ntlworld.com.

Closing date for applications is Sunday, January 31, 2021.

Links with Montsoreau

MOUNTSORREL PARISH Council is moving forwards with a project to establish twinning links with the Château de Montsoreau Museum of Contemporary Art in Montsoreau, France.

Pic: the Château de Montsoreau

Last year the museum approached the Parish Council to propose a twinning agreement.

Some historians believe Mountsorrel is named after Montsoreau castle - both settlements sit on rivers, the Soar and the Loire respectively, and are overshadowed by surrounding hills.

While Mountsorrel Castle was raised to the ground in 1217, the castle in Montsoreau houses a museum of contemporary art and has been ranked among the '101 Worlds Greatest Castles' by ‘All About History’ magazine.

Philippe Meaille, the founder of the Château de Montsoreau Museum, said: “As a Loire valley castle, we are very proud to have given our name to an English municipality and to share this one with you.

“It is a rare opportunity that we have here at the Château Montsoreau to show and to strengthen the enduring links between England and France, Brexit notwithstanding. These links are both cultural and historical.”

Parish councillors have had their first Zoom meeting with representatives from the Château.

Chair of Mountsorrel Parish Council Kate Walker said: “We are very keen to take the opportunity to move forward with this plan.”

The Château has offered to loan a model of the castle, made in the 1920s, for exhibition in the village. It has also offered to host a delegation of Mountsorrel representatives and to establish links with the school.

Parish Council notes

A MEETING of Mountsorrel Parish Council’s finance and general purposes committee was held on September 14, via Zoom.

Councillors considered a report on staffing matters. It was agreed to delete the posts of Memorial Centre general manager and café assistants and that the current post holders be made redundant.

A finance assistant will be recruited for a six-month contract to assist the clerk.

A cemetery assistant will be recruited for a six-month contract to assist the clerk and cemetery gardener with the cemetery mapping project.

The clerk will undertake line management responsibilities for the Memorial Centre staff.

A full meeting of Mountsorrel Parish Council was held on September 21, via Zoom. 15 members of the public attended.

It was reported that complaints made about Cllrs Haywood, Benner and Walker had been considered by the Monitoring Officer at Charnwood Borough Council who ruled that no further action be taken.

It was agreed to adopt a Statement of Intent, a policy requiring councillors to undertake training and that £2080 be spent on producing a business plan with assistance from the Society of Local Council Clerks.

It was agreed to request the Château de Montsoreau draw up a draft cultural co-operation agreement.

The council considered legal advice received regarding a review of the Memorial Centre lease. It was agreed to request amendments to the lease and that a meeting be held between the War Memorials Trust and the Parish Council.

It was agreed to publish the peer review on the council’s website.

A meeting of the council's finance and general purposes committee was held on November 9.

It was agreed to make a grant of £5000 to the Mountsorrel Revival 2021 event.

It was agreed to award a grant of £25,000 to Leicestershire and Rutland Youth & Family Services for youth services in the parish in 2021/22.

It was agreed to spend £2849 on computer equipment for the parish office, and £4200 on Christmas lights for the village.

It was agreed to accept the resignation of the parish clerk.

A full meeting of Mountsorrel Parish Council was held on November 16, via Zoom.

Chair Kate Walker passed on the council’s good wishes to village resident Ken Sharman who was 100 years old on November 14.

Councillor Walker thanked the clerk Lorraine Davies, who will be leaving her post in January 2021.

A member of the public commented that there were several minor spelling errors on the council’s website.

A complaint to the Monitoring Officer about the conduct of Cllr Benner did not require any actions to be taken. A complaint against Councillor Lemon had been investigated and it had found that Cllr Lemon had broken the Members Code of Conduct. It was agreed to implement the measures recommended by the Monitoring Officer.

It was agreed to sign the twinning agreement with Château de Montsoreau.

Councillors considered the draft precept for 2021/22.

Councillor Angela Lacky said she could not vote for an increase in the precept as it would be “putting a massive financial burden on the parishioners for another year.”

It was agreed that the precept for 2021/22 be £508,260. Last year it was £508,940 (£172.11 for a band D property).

Heritage Centre welcomes steam loco

THE MOUNTSORREL & Rothley Community Heritage Centre is thrilled to announce the arrival of its first operational steam locomotive!

Pic: the Heritage Centre’s new loco, Colin McAndrew 0-4-OST PHOTO: PHIL THORNE

One of the popular things to see and do at the Heritage Centre site is the shunting demonstrations the volunteers operate in the railway sidings. These are recreations of how in years gone by Mountsorrel Quarry and other industrial railway yards would have shunted wagons into trains, ready to take stone and other materials all around the country.

The shunts have been operated by the centre's resident diesel loco, but the addition of being able to shunt with steam power really will be something special for visitors to see.

Heritage Centre Director Steve Cramp said: “Visitors often comment that there always seems to be something new to see and do each time they come to the Heritage Centre. These additions and improvements are only possible thanks to the donations that our visitors and supporters make. It's with grateful thanks to a group of very generous project supporters who have come together to allow us to secure a working steam locomotive!”

“There aren't many steam locomotives that still survive, let alone ones that are fully restored. We also needed something small and typical of the locomotives that would have worked at quarries, mines and other industrial railways in Leicestershire. We were very fortunate indeed to be in the right place at the right time to be able to secure what is the perfect loco for the Heritage Centre."

Colin McAndrew was built in 1911 for a company called Colin McAndrew & Co who were railway construction contractors, hence the locomotive's name. Since arriving just before lockdown 2, the loco has become affectionately known as "Colin" amongst the Heritage Centre's younger visitors.

Colin requires a final visit from the boiler inspector before he is ready to steam. Visitors can expect to see Colin in action on the shunting demonstrations early in the new year.

Prize winning butcher

A MOUNTSORREL butcher has cleared up at the National Craft Butcher Awards.

Pic: Roberts’ prize winning products

Mountsorrel family butchers and herdsmen Roberts scooped four prestigious awards with everything that they entered into the competition placed, including their prime beef burgers and pork & leek sausages. The team make fresh sausages each week in a variety of regularly changing special flavours.

Roberts is well known nationally for its herd of British Longhorn cattle which the owner's family graze at Wanlip. They are a familiar sight in the field next to the church. The prestigious Longhorn beef is used at the shop to make beef, red wine and onion sausages and peppered steak kebabs which judges awarded a gold and silver certificate respectively.

“We are delighted to have the products we make recognised at these prestigious national awards,” said owner Phil Winterton.

“Now we're keeping our fingers crossed that we can bag a trophy or two when these four items go through to the category finals next month and perhaps come away with the title of Britain's best sausage or best barbecue!”


The Rotary Club of the Soar Valley needs your help.

For the last 20 years, the Rotary Club of the Soar Valley has provided a Santa Sleigh to the villages of the Soar Valley.

Many of you save up your change all year and bring it out to our Santa once a year in containers ranging from a plastic bag to those who are weighed down by all their pockets overflowing with change.

For 2 weeks and 3 weekends in December the Rotary Club of the Soar Valley has been out in the cold and/or rain walking the streets of Sileby, Barrow upon Soar, Mountsorrel, Rothley and Birstall (and standing outside various village shops) ensuring all the children get a chance to see Santa…it was not unusual to have a family with children chasing us round the local streets because they had missed Santa! We have been supported throughout by the local Kia Loughborough garage who have donated a car to tow the sleigh (saving the reindeers for the big night!).

For our hard work and dedication to the local community plus your support of donating funds to our charity account between us – the Rotary Club of the Soar Valley and villagers - we have raised approximately £4800 every year. Wow! We think that’s pretty good! Please reward yourself in a suitable manner….

So what do we do with this money? The vast amount is collected locally and stays locally. We donate to amongst others LOROS, Rainbows, Laura Centre for bereaved children, Prostaid, Local Food Bank, Local primary schools so the older pupils can visit warning Zone and individual children and families needing extra support- usually for a disabled person. We have worked with secondary schools enabling older students to go on an exchange trip or activity abroad.

Covid-19, the cause of the pandemic has changed all that.

This year we are unable to bring our Santa Sleigh to you, let your children talk to Santa, have a photo and collect your donations.

The unfortunate consequence is we will have very little in the way of donations to support local charities

For those of you that donate please may I, on behalf of the RCSV ask you to so by one of the following methods

1. Go to JustGiving.com and type in Rotary Club of the Soar Valley

2. Contact me on soarvalleyrotaryclub@gmail.com and I will arrange for a member to visit you, socially distanced, and collect your donation

Due to the nature of this magazines distribution, you may not have had a visit from our Santa Sleigh but have received one from another Rotary Club. Please may I request you make your donation to that club.

Many thanks. Have a Happy Christmas whilst remembering to stay safe

Hilary Holmes

Treasurer, Rotary Club of the Soar Valley

* * *

My husband and I went for a walk today and were sorry to see litter scattered by a bench at a viewpoint on a footpath in Mountsorrel. I took some photos and wrote a little poem.


You sit for a picnic by the Old Granite Man,

You drink all your drink and eat all you can.

Then you scatter your litter for others to view.

You carried it here, so take it away with you!

It’s not very heavy, it’s really quite light.

Don’t be so lazy, but clear up the site!

As I look at your litter, I can’t help but think

That your home must be awful; it really must stink!

Sue Oldham

* * *

The power in your hands -the local NHS needs your help.

The local NHS has launched a consultation asking for your views about proposals to spend £450 million to improve acute and maternity services in our hospitals. The power to make this investment a reality is in your hands, by spending just a small amount of time completing a questionnaire.

Clinicians that have helped to create the proposals have written an open letter to all patients in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland asking for your help. They do what they do because they care about your health and your family’s health. Ensuring you get the best possible care is at the heart of the decisions they make and of the proposals. They believe the changes they are proposing will improve services for you, not just now but for many years to come.

They need you to tell them what you think of the proposals, so their future plans are based on the widest possible range of points of view and circumstances.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to invest in our local hospitals. It’s important we don’t waste this chance and we get the most value out of every pound. You have a real opportunity to help get this right, to improve services for everyone in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

Please read their letter and, most importantly, fill in the questionnaire by December 21.


Birju Vaja, NHS West Leicestershire CCG

School plans refused

PLANS FOR an extension to Rothley school and 80 new dwellings south of the site have been refused by Charnwood Borough Council.

The reasons for refusal were that the application site lies outside the limits to the development of Rothley, identified in the council’s Core Strategy.

Charnwood also determined that the development would negatively impact on the character and appearance of the Rothley conservation area, and would result in “an acceptable landscape harm on account of its visual impact.”

The application received 161 objections from residents and 420 petition letters. There were two letters of support: one from a resident, and one from the headteacher of Rothley School.

Those objecting had concerns including increased traffic, loss of an area of local separation, lack of local facilities, impact on wildlife, and that the development contravenes the Local Plan.

As well as 80 new homes, the six extra classrooms would have expanded the capacity of the school from 420 to 600 pupils.

Chairman of Rothley Parish Council Percy Hartshorn said: “I think most of the village will be relieved that this application was refused. It’s now up to the County Council to come up with a plan B for expanding Rothley School.”

Choir resumes rehearsals

THE VOCAL octet MOSAIC rehearsed for the first time since February at Mountsorrel Methodist Church Centre, on September 12.

Pic: the vocal octet MOSAIC

The group had its founding meeting 13 years ago in the same church, and they have performed all around the East Midlands, raising tens of thousands of pounds for national and regional charities.

MOSAIC normally rehearses in Mountsorrel in the kitchen of the group’s bass, Jeremy Leaman, where they hope to convene again soon. In the meantime, they have recorded a CD with a wide variety of a cappella music from the Renaissance through to arrangements of songs by Billy Joel and the Beatles which is due to appear this autumn.

Jeremy said: “The group is very grateful to Mountsorrel Methodist Church management for sanctioning the resumption of some kind of normality in music-making, without which life would be so much poorer.” http://mosaicoctet.wordpress.com

College preparing Christmas hampers

SUPPORT LOCAL families this Christmas with the HFC Gift of Christmas campaign.

Students at Mountsorrel’s Homefield College, a specialist college and charity, are running a donation drive to help those in need of a little extra Christmas cheer this festive season.

Supporting users of the Soar Valley Food Bank, local care homes, and the Mountsorrel Food Bank, Homefield students will be assembling and distributing handmade Christmas hampers during December for #HFCGiftofChristmas.

They are running collections of non-perishable food items, fun toys, hygiene items, school supplies, pet food, toiletries; anything you can spare to help our community neighbours have an extra-special Christmas during these tough times.

Students have also completed a sponsored walk to raise money for luxury gifts to include in the hampers.

There will be a donations box outside Breward’s Coffee Shop in Mountsorrel until Friday, December 4, with students then processing all donations and starting to produce the final hampers ready for distribution by the end of term.

You can support the students in their efforts by contributing to their JustGiving campaign, www.justgiving.com/campaign/HFCGiftOfChristmas, or donating items to the collection boxes.

Break-in at Heritage Centre, tools stolen

A BREAK-IN at Mountsorrel and Rothley Community Heritage Centre saw thieves make off with £7000 worth of tools.

Pic: forced roller doors PHOTO: HERITAGE CENTRE FACEBOOK

Around midnight on Wednesday, September 9 thieves broke into the stonemasons' huts, used to store power tools for maintaining the railway and the site.

Padlocks had been ripped off and the roller shutter doors forced open.

The burglars made off with several items including a pressure washer, rail disc cutter, strimmers, mowers and chainsaws.

CCTV shows a white Transit van visiting at 10.35 pm and then returning at midnight for half an hour.

The Heritage Centre says the cost of replacing the tools and repairing the damage will be over £10,000.

Laura Pepper, a regular visitor to the centre, set up a Just Giving page to raise funds. It has so far reached £2554.

A spokesperson for the centre said: “A huge thank you to all who have shared our original Facebook post, donated to the Just Giving page Laura set up and for all the very kind comments of support we have received.

“All of the volunteers were at rock bottom after the theft and you’ve given us all a huge lift.”

Club’s defibrillator installed

A ROTHLEY bowls club is well on the way to becoming ‘heartsafe’ thanks to support from the borough council and the Joe Humphries Memorial Trust (JHMT).

Pic: (taken before 'Rule of 6') shows representatives from Soar Valley Bowls Club, CBC, JHMT and Rothley Park Kindergarten

Soar Valley Bowls Club now boasts a new defibrillator for use during cardiac emergencies.

Charnwood Borough Council awarded £250 of funding towards the defib through its sports facilities grant scheme.

Installation costs were covered by Rothley Park Kindergarten and neighbouring football club, the Rothley Imps. Local heart charity the JHMT has provided the cabinet to store the equipment.

Cllr Leigh Harper-Davies, lead member for communities said: “I’m very pleased we’ve been able to help Soar Valley Bowls Club purchase a defibrillator through our sports facilities grant scheme.

“Not only will the equipment help the bowls club become heartsafe, but it will also be accessible for the local community.

“I’d encourage other local sports clubs to look into the grants that are available to help them with funding an Automated External Defibrillator.”

The defib is fitted outside Rothley Park Kindergarten, on Loughborough Road, Rothley, and is accessible to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Hilary Billings, secretary at Soar Valley Bowls Club said: “Soar Valley Bowls Club is extremely pleased to be associated with the project to supply a defibrillator in our area.

“We are keen to support the welfare of our members and the supply of this machine close to our facilities is a great step forward. With the inclusion of the Rothley Park Kindergarten and the Rothley Park Football Club the machine will cater for a large diversity of age range.”

Soar Valley Bowls Club has a 60-year history, with humble beginnings as an activity for workers at the former Rolls Royce factory in Mountsorrel. The club has 60 members and serves communities in Rothley and Mountsorrel.

Pic: (taken before 'Rule of 6') shows representatives from Soar Valley Bowls Club, CBC, JHMT and Rothley Park Kindergarten

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!”

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).

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.”

Bradgate 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.

LOROS Hospice aims to light up their patients’ Christmas this year

FOR MOST people, Covid-19 means Christmas is likely to look very different this year.

Pic: Odelle Watkins, Apprentice Healthcare Assistant

At LOROS Hospice, for patients who may be facing their last Christmas, being with loved ones couldn’t be more important.

That’s why donations to the LOROS Light Up a Life Christmas Appeal will be put towards supporting terminally ill patients over the festive period and ensuring that this Christmas is as special as possible.

Tracey Hinde, Ward Manager at LOROS, said “We all love to get together with friends and family during the festive season but for patients who are facing their last Christmas, making happy memories with family is even more important.

“At LOROS we always try so hard to make Christmas special. The nurses decorate the ward and fill Christmas stockings for the patients and their families. Carols are sung and there’s even a visit from Father Christmas.

“This year, due to Covid-19, it may have to be different, with fewer people and a lot more PPE.

“But I know the whole nursing team will be doing everything they can to make it as special as possible.

The current lockdown means nurses have already been finding clever ways to help patients feel even more cared for, using tech as well as more traditional techniques.

Odelle Watkins, Apprentice Healthcare Assistant, said, “I hold up an iPad so the patient’s family can talk to them. Similarly, I hold the phone to a patient’s ear, even if they are too ill to speak, so they can hear their relatives talking. The nurses say hearing is the last sense to go so I think they know they are there.”

With visiting restricted, Odelle trained in hand massage to offer comfort to patients.

“One woman said to me, ‘you can’t underestimate how much I’ve missed being touched.’ Even though I was wearing gloves, she could still feel the warmth from my hands and it felt so relaxing and comforting.”

Christmas at LOROS won’t look the same but the care will make up for it, says Tracey.

“The sentiment of Christmas, the kindness, the care, the love, that is what we’ll be focusing on. So even if we can’t pack the ward with carol singers as we would like to, we will be embracing the Hospice with the spirit of Christmas. And that’s the most important thing,” adds Tracey.

To support the appeal and add a light to LOROS’ virtual online Christmas tree in the name of your loved ones, visit loros.co.uk/LUAL. In addition, LOROS will also place a light on their Hospice Christmas Tree in memory of your loved ones to shine throughout the Christmas period.

The LOROS tree lights will be switched on and unveiled as part of an extra special, virtual Light Up a Life Christmas service, streamed online on Sunday, December 6 at 5pm, instead of the usual service in the Hospice grounds. All are welcome to join.

GCR receives crisis grant

THE GREAT Central Railway has been given £250,000 by the National Lottery to help them through the Covid-19 crisis.

The money has come from the National Lottery Heritage Emergency Fund, set up to assist heritage organisations at risk due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking about the grant, GCR’s Managing Director Michael Gough said: “This is a huge relief to all of our management, staff and volunteers and comes at a point when the railway is going through an incredibly difficult and stressful time in navigating the impact of the Covid-19 crisis.

“Despite the fact that significant hard work has gone into operational recovery with many services now running again, much of what we are able to do to generate essential income is severely hampered by restrictions, reductions in capacity and significantly increased costs and we are so grateful that The National Lottery Heritage Fund has agreed to help us with our recovery at this crucial time.”

Anne Jenkins, Director, England, Midland’s & East at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Heritage has an essential role to play in making communities better places to live, supporting economic regeneration and benefiting our personal wellbeing. All of these things are going to be even more important as we emerge from this current crisis.

“Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players we are pleased to be able to lend our support to organisations such as the Great Central Railway during this uncertain time.”

Grants from the fund have also been made to several other heritage railways throughout the country.