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Rothley Post jul/aug 2020 (number 143)

Heritage Centre wins Queen’s Award

Pic: in 2017, having driven a steam train from Mountsorrel to the Heritage Centre, HRH Prince Charles starts his inspection of the Nature Trail accompanied by the Heritage Centre’s Managing Director, Steve Cramp

THE MOUNTSORREL and Rothley Community Heritage Centre is celebrating after being awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Since 2007 hundreds of passionate and dedicated volunteers from the surrounding communities have come together to contribute almost 200,000 hours of volunteer time to restore the Mountsorrel railway line. They have gone on to create the Heritage Centre with museums, nature trails, the Quarry Heritage building, and many other areas of interest for local history and wildlife.

Managing Director Steve Cramp said: “It is a great honour for us as a volunteer group to be given such a prestigious award! It is fantastic to be recognized for all the hard work our many volunteers have put in over the last 13 years to make our site somewhere for the community to learn about their local history and wildlife. It really goes to show just what communities can achieve when they work together”.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award that can be bestowed onto a voluntary organisation – the equivalent of an MBE – and is given in The Queen’s name.

The Mountsorrel and Rothley Community Heritage Centre opened to the public in 2016. Open seven days a week, visitor numbers have grown to almost 140,000 per year. The Centre has attracted royal interest previously with HRH The Prince of Wales visiting in January 2017 and HRH The Duke of Gloucester in July last year.

Leicestershire’s Lord Lieutenant Michael Kapur gave his congratulations to all the volunteers at the Heritage Centre. “I was delighted to learn that the Mountsorrel and Rothley Community Heritage Centre has been awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. This is the highest possible national accolade that can be bestowed on a voluntary organisation, coming as it does at the gift of Her Majesty. It is given only to the most outstanding examples of voluntary service.

“This is a Community Centre run entirely by volunteers who have, together, created a truly remarkable visitor experience, which inspires people of all ages to discover more about their local, industrial and social heritage.

“What they have achieved is astonishing and everyone involved rightly deserves to share in the recognition that this Queen’s Award brings. I send everyone at the Centre my heartfelt congratulations.”

Steve Cramp added: “It has to be something very special indeed to capture the Queen's attention and the phenomenal amount we have achieved at the Heritage Centre has certainly done that. Once the Coronavirus restrictions are lifted and we are allowed to reopen to the public again, we welcome everyone to come and see for themselves what is so special that the Queen has awarded us such a prestigious award!”

The Mountsorrel and Rothley Community Heritage Centre can be found on Swithland Lane, Rothley, not far off the A6 between Loughborough and Leicester. Opening times are 10am till 4:45pm, seven days a week and entry is free. www.heritage-centre.co.uk

Good neighbour scheme busy

ROTHLEY GOOD Neighbours Scheme has seen a huge increase in demand for its services, mostly for prescription collection and delivery for the elderly and residents who are vulnerable.

Deliveries have been organised with Mr Sudhir Shah, the pharmacist at Rothley Pharmacy. Since the Covid-19 crisis started, 275 prescriptions have been taken to residents in Rothley and Mountsorrel, as well as Quorn, Barrow, Cropston and Thurcaston. The total number of tasks completed by volunteers is now nearing 475.

The volunteer base has also seen a significant rise in local residents wanting to assist those who are in need.

The Good Neighbours Scheme aims to help those who need some assistance. This could include the elderly, disabled, single parents or those in temporary need due to illness, injury or bereavement.

The number to call is 0756 1596 873.

Girl donates hair to cancer charity

Pic: Sienna Chauhan has donated her hair to a charity that makes wigs for sick children

AN EIGHT-year-old girl from Rothley has donated her hair to a charity that makes wigs for children with cancer.

It’s the second time Sienna Chauhan has made a donation of her hair to The Little Princess Charity.

She said: “I am cutting my hair yet again for the Little Princess Trust because I want them to make wigs for children that are ill,” she said.

The first time Sienna donated her locks she also raised £250 for the charity and this time she hopes to raise £300.

You can donate by going to justgiving.com and searching for Sienna Chauhan.

Rothley yoga teacher moves classes online

Pic: Yoga teacher Rachael Bull

RESIDENTS FROM Rothley and surrounding villages have completed more than 500 yoga classes between them during the lockdown months with Rothley based yoga and well-being company, The Reset Project.

Dozens of locals have been following The Reset Project founder Rachael Bull, a qualified yoga teacher who lives in the village, through her 60-minute classes on Zoom since March.

“I’d been teaching yoga at the school and Rothley Court before the restrictions started,” said Rachael. “When full lockdown was introduced and we had to stay at home, I just wanted to help as many people as I could. People’s mental and physical health were suffering and I knew firsthand that yoga could make a huge difference to both,” she added.

There are now five classes a week including a men’s only session and 7.30am lessons.

Following demand, Rachael designed an ‘Introduction to Yoga’ course for people completely new to yoga, to guide them through the basics safely and slowly in a series of recorded classes that they can do in their own time. “A lot of people think you need to be flexible to be able to do yoga, which couldn’t be more wrong. That’s like saying you’re too dirty to take a bath!” she said.

“Yoga definitely helps with flexibility and it’s been brilliant to see people’s progress over recent months, even if it is through a screen. But alongside the flexibility, people have told me they’re feeling more toned and strong, they’re sleeping better, they’re feeling less stressed and anxious. And they’re loving the calm, confident, satisfied feeling they have when they finish each class, knowing that they’re nurturing their mind and body. It couldn’t be more important than it is now,” she added.

Rachael set up The Reset Project because she wanted to give people the chance to take an hour out of their busy lives and literally ‘reset’, to go back home feeling happier and healthier and more relaxed. “I never would have thought I’d be doing it through a screen into people’s homes, but I’m often told there’s still a strong sense of friendly camaraderie, despite none of us being together,” she said.

“Yoga is for everyone – all ages, sizes and abilities. I’d urge you to give it a go and to try different teachers if you haven’t found ‘the one’ – the right one will be out there!” she added.

www.theresetproject.co.uk

Good wishes from club

I AM sending good wishes to all our members as we continue to cope with and adapt to the very different lifestyle which has been brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

As the days and weeks have blurred into one another, it seems to be a very long time since we met for our last meeting in March, before the lockdown restrictions began.

At present, despite the easing of some restrictions, it is highly unlikely that we will be able to meet, at least before the autumn, but even then we would still have to be guided by the need to keep everyone safe and well.

The strawberry tea, due to be held at the Blue Bell Inn, Rothley, on July 13, and the meeting scheduled for August 10, have both been cancelled.

It would be good if we could look forward to meeting in September, but we will have to await developments regarding the possible further lifting of social distancing guidance before we could do so safely.

Meanwhile, we move on patiently in the firm hope that we will meet again to enjoy the friendship and camaraderie that is the hallmark of The Monday Club. Take care, everyone.

From Jennifer Kennington, The Monday Club Cropston & Thurcaston

Objections growing to housing plans

DOZENS OF objections about plans for 80 new homes linked to an extension of Rothley School have been submitted to Charnwood Borough Council.

The plans are for a new detached school building at the rear of the school with six classrooms and a hall, plus 80 new homes off Brookfield Road.

Issues raised by the objectors include traffic congestion, flooding, the impact on local services and settlement separation. Some of the objectors say that Rothley has met its housing requirement in the relevant local plans, that funding for the extra classrooms is in place and the extra housing is not necessary to pay for the school extension.

County Council highways has asked the developer to consider providing a second point of access to the development and has asked for more information about the development’s impact on local roads, including revised calculations on trip numbers and traffic flow.

The County Council Education Department has asked for a total of £640,096 as a section 106 developer contribution towards educational provision. This is broken down into £289,888 for secondary schools and £350,200 for primary school places, plus additional land at Rothley School for a ball court and extra staff car parking.

Anyone wishing to comment on the application can do so on the planning section of Charnwood Borough Council’s website. The planning application reference is P/20/0610/2. You can also send comments by post.

Man arrested after Rothley stabbing

Pic: Woodfield Road, Rothley

A 19-year-old man who was arrested following a stabbing in Rothley has been released on bail.

Shortly before 4.45pm on Saturday, April 25, police received a report that a man had been stabbed in an alleyway off Woodfield Road.

It was reported that the suspect had left the scene. He was arrested by police in Brookfield Road a short time later in connection with the incident.

The victim, a man in his twenties, was taken to hospital to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries. He has since been discharged.

Detective Inspector Jenni Heggs said: “Our enquiries into this incident are ongoing and I would like to ask anyone has any information to contact the police.

“Any information you’re able to provide could help with our investigation.”

Call 101, quoting incident 424 of 25 April.

News from Rothley Parish Council

Pics: Wildflower planting: wildflowers near the Tennis Courts wall by ‘Woodies’; at Bunney’s Field

Wildflower planting

A group of eight volunteers helped to sow a ‘honey bee’ mixture of wildflowers at ‘The Donkey Field’, a rough area of pasture on Hallfields Lane near the junction with Town Green Street.

Those who came along on this warm early May morning helped break down the clods of soil, rake over the ground and spread the honey bee mixture. It was demanding work in very hot conditions and the full effects will hopefully be evident in July/August. However, germination may have been affected by an exceptionally dry spring despite a significant amount of rainfall in June.

Thanks go to Gail, Sue, Dawn, Nita, Lynne, Helen, Graham and Steve.

The Parish Council also liaised with the Primary School, prepared a stretch of ground and planted this up with a wildflower mixture. Also, two small plots of land were sown at Mountsorrel Lane Playing Field, and two plots in and around the area of Bunney’s Field and the Woodman’s Stroke. Some volunteers have had seed to plant up areas in their own gardens.

The area at the end of Woodgate has not been planted up as planned but further negotiations with Charnwood, who own the land, will take place this autumn to plant up in spring 2021.

Mountsorrel Lane Playing Field

The central grass area has just about become established after the field was re-levelled. The plans to mark out some sort of athletic circuit are on hold until the grass growth is much more robust.

Neighbourhood Plan

As reported in the previous edition of the Rothley Post the draft Neighbourhood Plan for Rothley was submitted formally to Charnwood in March for inspection and public consultation. Unfortunately, the process has been held up as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Parish Council finances

Residents will be aware that it has been necessary to close both the Village Hall and the Rothley Centre because of the Covid-19 pandemic. This will result in a substantial loss of income which will lead to a budget deficit. This deficit can be made good in the current financial year by using contingency reserves. The council will need to consider how to restore these reserves in future years.

Cemetery

The parish council is grateful to William Davis builders for erecting temporary fencing along their open border with land at the bottom of the cemetery. This has become something of a cut through and officials at William Davis recognised the Parish Council’s concerns to protect local residents seeking peace and tranquillity while sitting in the cemetery reflecting on their departed loved ones. The fencing is a temporary measure and will be replaced with a wooden fence in 2021 when the footpath, currently under construction, will be opened which will enable residents to access Mountsorrel Lane from the east. The footpath area will also include children’s play equipment as well as keep fit activity apparatus.

Floral displays

We have had contractual difficulties with our supplier. The displays in the past, particularly last year, have been fantastic and very popular with residents but the supplier has tended to deliver later than requested and take away the displays earlier than we asked for. Our quote required the very popular floral towers to be in place by the beginning of June and to be left until early October. The supplier informed us that the towers would not be placed on Cross Green and Woodgate until mid-July and we were given no assurances about the later date for collection. Since the contractor would not agree to our request for a substantial reduction in price, reluctantly we have cancelled the contract for this year as we are not prepared to pay in full for a service that would be reduced by 30%.

Motorist jailed

A MOTORIST who sped off after being pulled over by police has been jailed for 18 months for driving dangerously and having no insurance or MOT.

Joshua Staden (24), a father of two, was spotted in a Vauxhall Astra by police on the A6 Loughborough Road in Rothley at 2.30pm on Monday, May 4.

He was pulled over for driving a vehicle with no insurance or MOT, but when an officer got out to speak to him he drove off towards Syston.

A five and a half minute police chase saw Staden travelling at speeds of up to 88 mph, including 76 mph in a 30 mph zone. He drove on the wrong side of the road, close to pedestrians and cyclists, and forced other vehicles off the road.

Leicester Crown Court was told that Staden had an “appalling” driving record.

In mitigation, the court was told he was suffering from anxiety and depression and was on medication.

In addition to his prison sentence, Staden was banned from driving for three years and seven months.

News from Sustainable Rothley

Online in lockdown

Sustainable Rothley has had informal on-line meetings during lockdown - actions to make Rothley a more sustainable village continue. Rothley now has Plastic Free Status, and we’re looking forward to a time when we can launch this formally. Thanks to everyone for their support, and to all the local businesses, organisations and residents who continue to think about sustainability at such a difficult time.

Making bags and masks

The group has been using recycled fabrics to make masks, to support local organisations and for friends and family. We also continue to make bags for the Food Bank and Corts when we can. If you’d like to join in, do let us know.

Clearly, there’s been a huge need for disposable protective wear, and we know local people have made scrubs for hospital workers, and masks. We all now need to have masks and we’ve been making our own washable face masks, rather than buying disposable ones. There are lots of instructions on Youtube, or we can send you instructions. You can make one out of a sock, no need to sew! If you have clean sheets or curtains you’ve been clearing out, Nottingham Building Society is still collecting.

With the library, Gavin Taylor and Elan closed, people may have been wondering where to take crisp packets, biscuit wrappers, pens etc. Elizabeth lives just inside Mountsorrel and is still collecting, so let us know if you’d like her address. By the time this issue comes out, we hope some local businesses may be able to open, and we wish them well with that.

Litter

There’s been more litter around, and some fly-tipping. You can download an app for your phone called Clearwaste – you just take a photo of the litter and it’s sent with its location to the local council. The April litter pick had to be cancelled, but watch this space, it might be possible to get one going in the autumn.

Refill and reuse mobile shop

Ekojoe, the mobile zero waste shop, has been back in Rothley and had a very successful trip – it’s good to know that lots of people in Rothley want to reduce their waste. They are now coming to the Royal Oak car park on alternate Saturday mornings from 10.30am-1.30pm. They refill washing up and laundry liquid bottles and sell lots more, including pasta, rice and flour.

For more information, or to go on the mailing list, contact sustainablerothley@gmail.com, or go to the Facebook page.

Rothley Wines clearing Rothley Brook

Pics: Liz Robson from Rothley Wines collecting plastic from Rothley Brook

Liz Robson has been out in her coracle again, collecting plastics and other rubbish from the brook bordering her vineyard. Liz is a founder member of Sustainable Rothley and she runs her business as a Plastic-free Champion, almost entirely using sustainable alternatives. Here are extracts from her diary of the litter pick:

Day 2. Someone is missing a number plate! After an hour of trying to free the debris jam, I tried to remove two sheets of artificial grass, but I'm not strong enough to lift the fallen tree! It looks as if a garden landscape company is dumping rubbish in the brook, as there are chain-sawed tree stumps caught up there as well. Strong person with waders and big chain saw needed.

Day 3. I reported the fallen trees and the artificial grass someone has dumped in the otherwise beautiful Rothley Brook. It trapped the plastic waste too, showing just how much normally flows through and on towards the sea. Phoned the Environment Agency on 0800 80 70 60. Fingers crossed.

Day 4. Pleased to report a swift and efficient response from the Environment Agency. I only reported this late yesterday afternoon and two chaps arrived at 9.39am today with all the necessary kit. The two trees obstructing the Rothley Brook have been removed and also the offending strips of artificial grass that had caused a plastic gathering dam! Well done Environment Agency. The swans look delighted!

NOTICEBOARD

Signs of an abusive relationship

You may be:

• in fear of your partner or family member

• controlled by your partner or family member

• constantly belittled

Where to get help

If you live in the city of Leicester, Leicestershire or Rutland and you think you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse or sexual violence, you can contact

United Against Violence and Abuse (UAVA)

Text only support: 07715 994 962

Phone advice line: 0808 802 0028

The advice line is open from 8am to 8pm Monday to Saturday.

It’s free, confidential and hidden from bills.

The police work closely with UAVA to make sure that victims receive the help and support they need

*

Soar Valley Community Food Project

Struggling to feed yourself or yourfamily?

Call or text us on (07743) 765958 or come to Rothley Baptist church, Woodgate, Rothley LE7 7LJ on Mondays, 11 am to 12:45 pm (excluding bank holidays or the day after)

Donations of food etc can be made at the church on Monday mornings

*

For sale: telescope – fully set up with box of instructions and extra twiddly bits. Cost £70 and that was half price from Aldi and it is National Geographic approved. Asking £50 or nearest reasonable sum. Telephone: (07842) 140361

Birstall Covid-19 test centre

Pic: the test centre at Birstall Park & Ride

A DRIVE-through Covid19 testing centre opened at Birstall Park and Ride on May 1.

It means people who work in the NHS, social care, education, food and drink production, transportation and many other essential services, as well as people in their households, can now be quickly tested to see if they have symptoms. If the test is negative for everyone in the household, workers will be able to get back to carrying out their critical roles as soon as possible.

The test consists of a swab to the mouth and nose, and people are being advised to get tested within the first three days of the onset of symptoms.

Appointments for testing must be made in advance. Some employers will choose to refer their employees for a test using an online portal or they may ask employees to refer themselves by visiting www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

Dr Nick Glover, who is the clinical lead for the testing programme for the clinical commissioning groups in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland said: “Essential workers in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland can now use the local test facility. We’d like any essential workers, who are already self-isolating because they, or someone they live with, are in the first three days of developing symptoms, to refer themselves for a test straight away. They can do this either through their employer or by referring themselves.”

Leicestershire County Council and Leicester City Council, who jointly operate the Birstall Park and Ride site, have been working with the three local clinical commissioning groups to get the local facility up and running as part of the Government’s plans announced on April 23 to extend testing to essential workers.

Nick Rushton, Leader of Leicestershire County Council, said: “The County Council owns the park and ride site, operated jointly with the City Council. We are pleased to be able to make it available to assist the response to the pandemic and to make it easier for our key frontline workers to get tested.”

The contractor operating the site is Sodexo.

• Anyone aged 5 or above can now ask for a test if they have symptoms of the virus. Go to www.gov.uk to apply, or call 119 (free call).

Funeral videos in difficult times

Pic: Videographer Ian Wilkinson

AN AWARD-WINNING wedding videographer from Mountsorrel has been taken by surprise by the requests he’s been getting to make videos of funerals.

Ian Wilkinson has been filming weddings for three years and in 2020 won an award as “Wedding Video Specialist, England”.

When the pandemic began and lockdown was introduced in March, Ian was approached with a request to make a video of a funeral in Litchfield.

Lockdown rules have greatly restricted the numbers that can attend funerals and a professionally made video can be sent to family members all over the world, and watched via live streaming.

In a four week period, Ian has done 16 funeral videos including one at Mountsorrel cemetery. He usually does three or four wedding videos a month over the course of a year.

Ian said: “Litchfield crematorium asked if they could recommend me to future clients. It is a difficult time and it is rewarding to facilitate this for those who cannot be there to attend, so I said yes.

“The challenge is making the person viewing the video from New York, Sydney or Nairobi feel as though they are at the service, rather than just observing it remotely.”

He added: “My job is not to be noticed at all, as if I wasn’t even there. So I do not speak to anybody, I tuck myself away out of sight concentrating on the cameras and the sound.”

Ian works alone and films with three cameras and uses ambient and lapel microphones.

He says it’s rewarding to create a film for the people who are unable to attend a service in such difficult times.

He said: “In the first week of May I filmed a funeral and as I left around 30 people lining the road thanked me, each holding a mobile phone or tablet on which they had been watching the funeral via live streaming. It was such a strange feeling.”

Contact Ian on (07834) 077534.

Parish Council notes

A FULL meeting of Rothley Parish Council was held on March 16.

It was reported that there had been one burglary, one attempted burglary, one shop theft and one bicycle stolen in February. Antisocial behaviour continues to be a problem at Kinchley Lane and on the lane to the allotments. Police patrols are taking place in these areas.

Following approval at February’s meeting to a request from a resident to support an initiative for a community speed watch in the village, the council has been informed that this resident has decided not to continue with the project.

Borough Cllr Hadji-Nikolaou said he supported the expansion of Rothley school but not the associated housing development. He was asked to obtain minutes of a meeting at the County Council when funding for the school extension was discussed.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it was agreed to delegate powers to the clerk if convening a meeting of the council was not possible, and to close the parish office until further notice.

A full meeting of Rothley Parish Council was held on April 20, via Zoom.

The council agreed on the content of its objection to the proposed development at Rothley School for 80 homes and a school extension:

That the council supports the school extension but objects to the housing.

The housing is not required as funding is already in place for the school extension from section 106 developer contributions.

The proposal contravenes the existing local plan policies.

Local roads cannot cope with extra traffic.

A full meeting of Rothley Parish Council was held on May 18, via Zoom.

Cllr Percy Hartshorn was elected as chair for the forthcoming year and Cllr Roger Gross was elected vice-chair.

It was reported there had been two thefts from shops in the last 30 days and one residential burglary. A person has been arrested following an incident on Woodfield Road.

A full meeting of Rothley Parish Council was held on June 15.

It was agreed to make no objections to a planning application for a warehouse on Loughborough Road, Rothley, near the garden centre.

It was reported that a meeting would be held with officers from Charnwood Borough Council to consider the Parish Council’s plans to refurbish the Rothley Centre.

It was reported that due to Covid-19, the council was losing income of approximately £5000 a month from lettings.

It was agreed to cancel this year’s floral displays.

It was agreed not to have a council meeting in July.

It was reported that the section 106 educational contribution requested from the developer of the planed Rothley school extension and linked housing development was insufficient to pay for the extension to the school.

A FULL meeting of Thurcaston and Cropston Parish Council was held on March 19.

It was reported that data from speed activated signs in the parish showed that in February, average speeds and maximum speeds were reducing. There was one burglary in February, and two sets of number plates were stolen.

In response to the Covid-19 outbreak, it was agreed to grant delegated authority to the clerk to make decisions when it was not possible to convene a meeting of the council.

After receiving information from the County Council about developing wildflower meadows, it was agreed not to do so at this time.

A full meeting of Thurcaston and Cropston Parish Council was held on May 21 (there was no meeting in April).

It was agreed that council meetings be conducted virtually using Zoom and that meetings will be held at the earlier time of 6pm.

Speed data in the parish showed that the vehicle count for April was considerably less than in February and March but that average speed had increased. No crimes were reported in April and one domestic incident was reported in May.

News from Rothley library

The short-term future

Although the Community Library remains closed at present (July) the trustees have how produced a blueprint for the safe reopening of premises which will be based on an assessment being made throughout July on how to reopen the library in a controlled, phased way, following a consultation with the volunteers.

It is important to assess the views of the library volunteers when considering any reopening. They are one of the most valuable assets the library has.

The aim would then be to reopen at the beginning of August.

We must ensure that both volunteers and library users feel confident when entering the building. We have already sought the advice of the LCC Library Service and Health & Safety officials from the County Council, and have also been in touch with other local libraries to share good practice.

However, it is clear to all that some changes to the way the library operates (albeit of a temporary nature) will be needed to ensure greater personal protection of users and the volunteers. Some of the new arrangements include:

• all visitors will be expected to use hand sanitising agents on entry

• a counter screen will be installed

• there will be an expectation that adults will have some sort of face covering

• floor signage will outline a suggested route around the shelves

• there will be a set procedure for the return of books

• for the time being, public computers will be out of action due to the problems associated with their cleansing

Initially, the normal opening hours and the usual sessions will be reduced and when all these arrangements have been confirmed with the volunteer team the community will be informed via newsletters, the website and Facebook as well as notices around the village on parish council noticeboards and prominent lamp posts/telegraph poles!

All library fines remain suspended until at least September

Many people have been using the library letterbox to return books and the books will be discharged and re-shelved before opening. Should anyone still have books that they have finished with, it would be helpful to have these back as soon as possible so that they can be reshelved.

Support grants

A successful application was made to the Small Business Grants Fund and the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Grants Fund. The library would, in a normal year, receive income from Gift Aid, library takings, photocopying charges, Film Club, book sales, room hire and other activities and events. The result of this grant is that it will cover the loss of income that has been suffered as a result of the library being closed. It is also realised that whenever reopening occurs, the uptake of activities may well be slow and so it is a really welcome bonus that this grant application was successful. All community libraries across Leicestershire have also received a small grant from the County Council, in recognition of their outstanding work in communities. The library is very grateful to both central Government and the County Council for their support.

S106 funds/carpet

When housing developments are completed the builders are required to make financial contributions to the infrastructure of the community. These funds assist with a variety of things, such as new children’s play equipment. Libraries also receive small amounts of money, 10% of which is spent on books, the rest being available for general library improvements. The trustees are currently engaged in getting quotes to replace the carpet, which is now 23 years old. It has worn well but has become grubby in places and is not the most attractive of colours. Current advice is to lay carpet tiles, giving a degree of flexibility in the event of an accident. Hopefully, a new carpet might be in place by the time the library reopens.

Outdoor book boxes

Pic: a book box

These have all been repainted in our colours by a library volunteer and have been placed in various locations across the village: Woodgate, Mountsorrel Lane Park, Bunney’s Field, Warren Way playground, Saxon Drive play area, Fowke Street playing fields and the Town Green Street playground. Further advice is being sought as to when they can be stocked with children’s books.

Summer Reading Challenge 2020

The Summer Reading Challenge this year will not be taking place in libraries, for obvious reasons. The Reading Agency organise the challenge and it has decided to move it online this year so there will be no physical materials. Children will be able to set themselves a reading target, reading any number of books. As they read, this will unlock videos, games, online badges etc, and there will be a downloadable certificate at the end.

Links to the Summer Reading Challenge which went live on June 5 can be found at sillysquad.org.uk or https://summerreadingchallenge.org.uk The scheme runs until September. Links can also be accessed from the library website & Facebook page.

Rothley Village Trail

A village trail has been produced by the library for families to do during the summer. It will be available online via Facebook or hard copies can be obtained from Libby’s shop in Woodgate (open Mon-Sat 10am – 5pm). Starting at the library it will provide a fun activity for a leisurely stroll around our village for an hour or more.

Digital services: a reminder

Leicestershire’s digital library service provides library members with access to thousands of free eBooks, eAudiobooks, eMagazines and eNewspapers. These can be accessed in two ways:

• Using the free BorrowBox, RBdigital and PressReader apps on a smartphone or tablet

• Using an internet browser on a desktop PC, MAC or laptop

All digital titles are free and there are no overdue charges. Leicestershire Libraries subscribe to three platforms, BorrowBox, RBdigital and PressReader, each platform provides access to different types of content.

To start using any of the services visit the digital library webpage. It gives step by step instructions on getting started.

You must be a member of the library to access the digital library services. If you are not already a member you can join online to start using BorrowBox, RBdigital and PressReader straight away.

To login to BorrowBox, RBdigital and PressReader you will need your library card number/online joiner number and your four-digit PIN. If you have forgotten your PIN you can reset it by visiting the online catalogue, selecting ‘log in’ in the top right corner and choosing ‘forgot my PIN’. However, this only works if the library service has your email address on record. If it doesn’t work contact libraries@leics.gov.uk and they will send you a PIN via email.

30 years supporting Rothley

Pic: Pharmacist Sudhir Shah

A ROTHLEY pharmacist will be celebrating 30 years in the village this July.

Mr Sudhir Shah and his wife Anju of Rothley Pharmacy on Woodgate have been praised for their contribution to Rothley, and their response during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr Shah said: “I have really enjoyed my time here and have great support from my staff, customers and other shopkeepers.”

Qualifying as a chemist from Aberdeen University in 1982, Mr Shah has had a long and distinguished career starting on the Fulham Road in London, then on to Kenya for some years, followed by a short spell as a locum in the UK before arriving in Rothley, taking over from Miss Hickling in July 1990.

He has seen a huge rise in demand for prescriptions in the last 30 years reflecting the growth of the population.

A customer said: “The current public health crisis has seen Mr Shah and his staff at their best, never failing in their unstinting hard work in arranging for prescriptions for collection. Mr Shah’s quiet, calm manner along with that of his hard-working staff has ensured that all residents have received their medication. His staff and local residents all agree that he has a fantastic computer-like recall for all his customers' medical needs and details. It is also a tribute to him that his customers come not only from Rothley but from Quorn, Barrow, Cropston, Thurcaston and Mountsorrel.

“Thank you, Mr Shah for your fantastic contribution to the local community.”

Murder, man charged

A MAN has been charged with murder after a body was found at a property in Mountsorrel.

Police were called by the East Midlands Ambulance Service to an address in Chestnut Court at 10.47am on Friday May 22.

The body of Michael McNee, 40, was found inside the property. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

On Monday May 25, 41-year-old Benjamin Bracegirdle, of Pinfold Gate, Loughborough, was charged with murder.

He was remanded in custody and appeared at Leicester Magistrates’ Court on May 26.

The family of Michael McNee has issued the following statement: “Michael was a much loved son, brother, nephew and uncle and we are heartbroken by his death and the horrific circumstances from which he was taken from us.

“We ask that you please respect the family’s privacy at this time to allow us to grieve”.

Wildlife spotted during lockdown

READERS HAVE sent us these photos of local wildlife, taken during lockdown.

This long-tailed field mouse (above, right) seemed unperturbed by nearby humans in a local garden.

There also seems to be a revival of hedgehog activity in local gardens, aided by locally made hedgehog houses.

Flexpress supports local charity

THE BIRSTALL printing company Flexpress has come to the aid of Mountsorrel charity Alex's Wish by providing all of their print for free for 12 months.

Steve Wenlock, managing director of Flexpress, said: “We've always done our bit for local charities from abseiling down buildings through to office raffles and so forth.

“However, this year we wanted to do more and work more closely with one particular charity. When we met Alex's Wish we knew they were the charity for us.

“Emma's passion and determination are infectious and I wouldn't be at all surprised if we did more than print up their flyers, invitations and banners etcetera this year.”

Emma Hallam, founder and director of Alex's Wish, said: “To know that we literally have such an experienced and friendly printer right on our doorstep is fabulous and helps us no end when we're planning our events.

“I am so very, very grateful to Steve and his whole team at Flexpress for taking us on this year and for them becoming such a trusted and strategic partner of ours.”

• To find out more about Alex's Wish visit www.alexswish.co.uk

Caring for Covid-19 patients

“SEEING PATIENTS returning home with their families is amazing,” said 23-year-old Ella Wortley, speaking to the Birstall Post about her experience as a front-line NHS worker treating patients with Covid-19.

Pics: Physiotherapist Ella Wortley (above & below) works on the Intensive Care Unit with Covid-19 patients

Ella, a former student at Longslade College, qualified as a physiotherapist two years ago and works for the University Hospitals of Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW). She was born and raised in Birstall and currently lives at home with her parents and younger sister - mum Jo works as a nurse. At the outbreak of the pandemic, Ella was placed on the Critical Care team and currently works on the ITU (Intensive Therapy Unit) doing respiratory physiotherapy. “I was excited to help in the areas that were most needed,” said Ella of the move.

She added: “My job role involves acute respiratory therapy, assisting in clearing the lungs of patients who are ventilated and sedated, as well as the rehabilitation once those patients begin to wake up. I also play a strong role in the follow-up process, assisting in early physical rehab, psychological support and promoting independence for those patients leaving the intensive care units to ensure they can return home.”

At the height of the pandemic in April concern amongst staff was high. “Everyone was very anxious at the start and I would be lying if I said I didn’t have my worried thoughts!” said Ella. “We got through the worst of it with a few laughs along the way.”

Now, she feels less worried when leaving the house in the morning, and enjoys her job. “I do not feel anxious about work or my safety as I feel we are well supported as a physio team despite working face to face with the Covid-19 patients,” she said. “I love work! I love socialising and interacting with my colleagues and my patients – and especially through this pandemic it has been very rewarding.”

Ella has experienced her most rewarding moments at work when she has seen patients recover from the disease and go home. She said: “I have had two patients so far that have really stood out for me, after five to six weeks on critical care on ventilators with daily respiratory physio, and then making it out of the other side to continue their rehab with us was incredible. We helped them with physical and psychological rehabilitation which is extremely important and we were there at the end to clap them off the ward when they went home – couldn’t help but shed a few tears! We have never seen patients present like the Covid-19 patients, so many of them we didn’t have much hope for at all and to see the lucky ones pull through is an unreal experience.

“As physiotherapists, we are a huge part of the patient’s experience through hospital from the very start to the very end. We follow them through their poorliest days on ITU and continue their rehabilitation until the day they go home. We build extremely good rapports with our patients, and seeing these patients returning home with their families is amazing!”

During lockdown, visitors have not been allowed into the ITU to see patients. Ella said: “Many of our patients we have had come through intensive care with Covid-19 have been some of the sickest patients we have seen for a long time and therefore it can be very tough at times, particularly not having patients’ family members in the hospital.

“The doctors and nurses have been very good at keeping in contact with family members via the phones and luckily the hospital has had iPads donated to assist with video calls to relatives once patients are awake and functioning.”

The staff at the UHCW continued working hard to keep up the high levels of care to patients, as Ella explained: “Despite the pandemic, we aim to provide the same level care as what we would normally do to all patients. However I feel the spirit of the NHS workers has been amazing throughout and therefore we have made some really good relationships with our patients, especially when helping them rehab once they come out of intensive care. Some of the patients we have had through are some of those we will never forget.”

Ella and the staff on the ITU have received continual support at work; access to PPE has been uninterrupted throughout lockdown due to the infection control staff’s hard work.

Ella said: “We have always had a good supply of PPE in our trust, despite the news or social media we are always reassured.”

Wearing PPE was physically uncomfortable for Ella to begin with but she has adjusted to the new measures. She said: “At the start and particularly on critical care it was very challenging with the heat and the effect it was having on my skin.

“I think all the staff struggled with the full PPE on ITU but we knew it was for the safety of ourselves and our patients so we did not mind the consequences.”

Ella has had to deal with the risk of being in close contact with Covid-19 patients and the potential of transmitting the disease to others, but she has been supported by family and friends through this time. She said: “The support has been great from the people around me, however it is hard to explain what we are doing and particularly as a physiotherapist, people struggle to understand our job role as respiratory therapists.” She has also been able to keep her work and home life separate. “I tend to keep work at work and once I am home, I try to forget about what is going on as that is the healthiest thing to do!” she added.

The number of new Covid-19 cases is falling and the government has been relaxing lockdown restrictions. Ella said: “The hospital now is much quieter so I don’t feel like lifting lockdown is a bad thing as long as people are sensible and protecting themselves and others around them. I feel we are at a stage to begin lifting the lockdown as we are doing.”

The weekly Clap For Carers has been a feature of this pandemic. Ella said: “The first few weeks of the clap were amazing, it brought me to tears every week! One week I came out of working on critical care at 8pm and had the emergency services clapping and the experience was amazing.”

By Abi Duckham

Players return to Rothley Park golf club

Pic: Teeing off at Rothley golf course

MEMBERS OF Rothley Park Golf Club have returned to the course and are following strict social distancing and safe practice rules put in place by the club.

Club Manager, Danny Spillane, said: “It has been fantastic to welcome members back to the club. The governing bodies of golf have given very clear guidelines to clubs to ensure that everyone can ‘Play safe, Stay safe’. We have had to adapt to the 'new normal', with booked tee times, leaving the flag in at all times and lots of other little changes to ensure everyone stays as safe as they can. The staff have done a tremendous job in keeping the course beautifully maintained and the members have adapted quickly to the new regulations.”

Members are requested to stay in their cars until ten minutes before their booked tee time, are only allowed to the tee-off area when instructed by the club’s professional team and must practice social distancing at all times. There are no rakes in the bunkers, players are not allowed to touch the flags and they are encouraged to putt one at a time until the ball is holed.

Initially, players were only allowed to play in twos, but this restriction has now been modified to allow teams of up to four to play, still following all the social distancing rules. Competitions have been gradually reintroduced.

The clubhouse is closed for the time being so players must leave the course after their round is finished and head straight back to their cars. A one-way system is in place from the car park to the first tee and back to the car park from the eighteenth tee. “The system is working really well and members are so pleased to be back on the course,” said Danny.

Club Member, Nathan Booth, said: “It is brilliant to be playing golf again. We have all said how safe we feel with the England Golf rules in place and although we’d love to be finishing at the nineteenth hole, the Clubhouse, it’s fantastic that the course is open again. The green staff and management team had done a terrific job keeping the course in tip-top condition while it was temporarily closed. Well done to everyone.”

Special memories of VE Day

Pic: Carers Debbie & Gemma with Peggy

ON THE 46th day of lockdown, VE day was going to be a day of celebration for people needing something to look forward to.

Wellbeing Homecare Services, of Rothley, brought some special memories of VE day into the homes of many they care for daily.

Homes were decorated with flags, bunting and historic paraphernalia. Cakes were eaten and songs were sung, silences were held and memories were shared. It was an important day for many facing lockdown challenges.

Carer Debbie Wild and her colleagues at Wellbeing Homecare Services decorated clients’ lounges with flowers, bunting and decorations. Staff prepared afternoon tea and joined in the celebrations, sharing memories of this special day.

So that families could be involved, Wellbeing shared these special moments by sending photographs to loved ones who couldn’t be present, keeping them in touch during these difficult times.

“Keeping our staff and clients safe while enabling them to celebrate VE Day was and is a huge priority for Wellbeing Homecare Services,” said Michelle Kay Widdowson, Operations Manager at Wellbeing.

Planning applications

P/20/1091/2: 9 Furrow Close Rothley LE7 7RQ Extension to garage to form store for mobility scooter

P/20/0812/2: 4 Rowe Leyes Furlong Rothley LE7 7LS Change of use of shrubland to C3 residential and erection of single storey garage

P/20/0953/2: Temple Garth 76 Woodgate Rothley Leicestershire LE7 7LJ Variation of Condition 2 of application P/18/1060/2 to amend the external materials on the approved plans

P/20/0952/2: Temple Garth 76 Woodgate Rothley Leicestershire LE7 7LJ Erection of boundary fencing

P/20/0950/2: 115 Swithland Lane Rothley Leicestershire LE7 7SH Single storey side extension together with alterations to ground floor rear elevation.

P/20/0920/2: 137 The Ridings Rothley LE7 7SL Erection of detached two storey dwelling following the demolition of existing detached dwelling

P/20/0825/2: APAC Group Ltd Loughborough Road Rothley Loughborough LE7 7NL Erection of warehouse (use class B8) including associated parking provision, servicing and landscaping.

P/20/0917/2: 9 All Saints Road Thurcaston Leicestershire LE7 7JD Porposed single storey extension to rear and porch to front of dwelling.

P/20/0880/2: 38 Rectory Lane Thurcaston LE7 7JQ First floor extension to side and single and two storey extension to rear of detached dwelling.

P/20/0921/2: 110 Station Road Cropston Leicestershire LE7 7HE Single storey rear and side extensions together with additional rear first floor window.

P/20/0856/2: 31 Waterfield Road Cropston LE7 7HL Single storey extension to front of dwelling and associated alterations.

Car crash

TWO PEOPLE were taken to hospital after a crash involving three cars on Cropston Road, Cropston.

One person trapped in their vehicle had to be freed by the fire service at the scene of the crash, which took place on May 1 at 5.37pm.

Hospital transformed to confront virus

NICK AND Tracey Moore are two senior NHS staff at Glenfield Hospital.

Writing at the end of May, Tracey gives her account of their experience during the Covid-19 pandemic:

Some would say that Nick and I are in the autumn years of our careers as a Consultant Cardiac Anaesthetist and Deputy Team Leader in Cardiac Theatres nearing 80 years of combined service in the NHS. We often sit in our coffee room as those before us have and chat about our experiences both good and bad and how life in the hospital has changed. The experienced ones join in with their anecdotes while the junior members of the team will often listen with interest and sometimes with disbelief and horror!

Over the years we have been lucky to work with many talented and gifted health professionals pooling their expertise and experience to push the boundaries of hope over expectation and have met some absolutely amazing patients who despite having been dealt challenging hands have remained positive through the most difficult times of their life.

In the hospital environment, no two days are the same, we have been part of some memorable occasions ranging from the incredible journey of baby Venelope, being on duty on the day of the Hillsborough disaster and the Ml Kegworth air crash when one of our surgeons filled his car with instruments and drove himself over to the Leicester Royal Infirmary to assist with operating on the casualties.

Within the hospital, we have plans in place to deal with major incidents and disasters. Regular reviews of practice and ongoing training ensures that as a team in a crisis we could deliver our part of the local emergency response.

No-one, however, could have prepared us for what we were faced with back in March of this year as the Covid pandemic unfolded and exploded across the world.

When the first patients displaying the virus symptoms started to trickle into our local hospitals, both staff and patients were feeling exposed and some were absolutely terrified. With only sketchy evidence from other countries and experience shared from the London epicentre, staff had to react extremely quickly to turn every available corner of our hospital into potential critical care areas. Every resource had to be identified and carefully assigned to form patient bed spaces. Our biggest challenge and concern was that we might run out of vital equipment. Our hospital was completely transformed operationally to contain the virus, chambers were constructed where staff could don protective equipment before entering the 'hot' zones. Staff working rosters had to be reviewed on a daily basis initially as the workload intensity increased but staff numbers steadily dwindled, some were shielding and others self-isolating, they were either struck down themselves or their family members were.

When the tsunami of patients hit our hospital, the staff were ready or so we hoped. The personal protective equipment (PPE) was one of our most difficult challenges, we struggled to ensure that there was enough but also we had to ensure that every staff member was familiar with its use. The PPE brought other challenges too with gruelling 12-hour shifts with often only two 30 minute breaks. Some days it felt like wading through treacle wearing equipment that left us frustrated due to the resulting inability to communicate clearly. Mobility was another challenge with the extra layers required and how disabling they are, particularly when trying to nurse the most critically ill patients. There was a steep learning curve for those staff who had to adapt to working in the intensive care areas to support their colleagues. It was terrifying to see how many of our front-line colleagues had also succumbed to this awful disease. The thing we will always remember is that at a time when a patient is at his or her most vulnerable and on the brink of death, visitors were prohibited. Eventually, modern technology triumphed so staff were able to make that link, albeit in a very sterile fashion using face-time. That in itself was a lifeline for families who were understandably beside themselves with worry at home and totally reliant upon the once or twice daily telephone call from one of the communication team who provided them with an update.

The camaraderie amongst our hospital staff has been second to none. Through these unprecedented times, staff have pulled together and formed a unique bond. There was nothing more uplifting than seeing or hearing that one of our patients or colleagues has left the hospital to continue their convalescence at home. We couldn't have managed either without the generous community support which ranged from businesses donating their PPE equipment to mountains of food donations. We were given hampers of well-being products; hand creams and soaps, and people have worked from home using their sewing machines to make surgical scrubs. The list is endless: schools, churches, shops, bus drivers, postmen, refuse collectors have pulled together as one huge team.

Life for us delivered sharp contrasts. The demands of hospital life increased daily but our home life and recreational activities ground to a halt. The usual feeling of satisfaction at work was overshadowed by the speed and magnitude at which the virus was invading our population. Home life became more of a place of solace. How we cherished our family days off albeit very rare, where the four of us could spend time as a unit. The children didn't always agree though), as they could only be offered walks. How can it be that we have two extremely active children, who live for their sports and clubs but feel that a family walk was 'the worst thing, ever'!

The simple things in life now have become so important to us. The enforced brakes applied to our social life, or indeed the children's social life have given us the opportunity to spend mealtimes together rather than eat a rushed sandwich before nipping off in opposite directions to the next commitment. We never thought that we would spend so much time in the garden too. The greenhouse has been our place of peace and tranquillity allowing us space and time to lose ourselves in benevolent nature.

If we could turn back the clock, would we choose this profession? The answer is most definitely. We feel privileged that we were part of this huge team. We will never forget those patients that lost their lives. We will always remember this experience in our career. Our hospitals are starting to see daylight again. There is a buzz of people slowly returning to their outpatients' appointments and their planned surgery, albeit very cautiously. The long, cold, corridors are showing signs of life. We hope that the next few months will continue to improve and allow life to return to normal. But, what is normal? I think we all have our own interpretation of what our new 'normal' will be.

There are junior doctors and health care workers who have witnessed this pandemic at the very beginning of their career. They will be able to take over the helm when we eventually hang up our PPE and sit in the coffee room in future years and entertain the next generation of health workers with their tales of hospital life during the Covid 19 pandemic.