Birstall Post september 2020 (number 446)

Pop-up cycle lanes are “temporary”

THE COUNTY Council’s pop-up cycle lane scheme on the A6 through Birstall has received an almost universally hostile reaction from residents.

Pic: work underway on a section of the A6near School Lane

Local councillors and residents have expressed their views to the Birstall Post and on social media saying:

• They are angry they were not consulted

• They have no confidence the scheme is value for money

• It will seriously increase congestion on the A6

• It will increase traffic on side roads and Birstall Road

• There is no clarity on whether the whole scheme or part of it will be permanent

• It looks like a botched job

The scheme, described by the County Council as temporary, has seen the creation of a cycle lane between Red Hill and Greengate Lane, the removal of some pedestrian refuges and the narrowing of others.

A County Council spokesman said: “We’re also adding in other safety measures by implementing a temporary 30mph speed limit and temporary right-turn bans from the A6 between Sibson Road/Greengate Lane junction and the Red Hill Way roundabout. The right-turn bans aim to help traffic flow and reduce risks to cyclists and motorists.

“Right-turning provision will be retained at Greengate Lane, Sibson Road, Beechfield Avenue, Johnson Road, Goscote Hall Road and Station Road junctions.”

He added: “One of the conditions of the funding was that schemes must begin within four weeks of receiving the funding, which, unfortunately, meant that there was no time to consult on the proposals as we would have liked. We did, however, notify key stakeholders including local councillors, emergency services, residents and businesses along the A6.”

All Birstall’s councillors say they were not notified of the scheme.

The County Council says it will collect data on cycle use and traffic flows on the A6 and side roads.

The spokesman said: “Officers have assessed the potential impact of right-turn bans on side roads. Birstall is very well served by numerous side roads on both sides of the A6, therefore it is anticipated that the impact on any one street/road is likely to be minimal, however, this will continue to be monitored.

“These temporary measures are being introduced as part of the first tranche of Emergency Active Travel funding that the council has been allocated. Data and analysis, as well as other factors, will be taken into account in determining future measures whether temporary or permanent.”

Birstall’s County Councillor Iain Bentley said: “I am completely and totally against the whole scheme and want it removed. I was not informed of or consulted about this scheme and I’ve said to officers, what is the point of being a County Councillor if work like this is just done without any input from councillors?”

He added: “I have been advised there will be some public consultation about whether any part of the scheme will be made permanent, and if Birstall says they don’t want it, they won’t have to have it.”

Birstall Parish Council has challenged the way the County has implemented the scheme, describing it as “ill-thought through, rushed and unwanted” causing “much confusion and anger amongst the residents of Birstall whose lives are going to be adversely affected.”

Leicestershire County Councillor Trevor Pendleton, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “We’re introducing a mix of temporary and permanent schemes around the county to encourage more people to walk and cycle on certain routes, rather than taking public transport or using a motor vehicle. This follows our successful bid for more than £300,000 from the Government’s Emergency Active Travel Fund.

“Nationally, there’s been a 100 per cent increase in cycling and walking for leisure purposes as a result of the lockdown so we want these positive behaviour changes to continue.

“By making it easier for people to walk or cycle safely, we’re helping to make Leicestershire a greener, healthier and happier place to live. These changes being announced won’t be all of them, more projects are in the pipeline and we would very much welcome suggestions for other changes.”

Suggestions can be made at https://www.choosehowyoumove.co.uk/pop-up where routes, maps, and further support can also be accessed.

• A temporary traffic regulation order is to be made for Loughborough Road, Birstall.

This will allow Leicestershire County Council to safely do carriageway patching works and will incorporate temporary road closures and temporary prohibition of waiting and loading at any time restrictions.

Loughborough Road will be closed, in three phases, between the roundabout at Redhill Circle and the roundabout at the A46, Birstall.

The duration of the restriction is not anticipated to exceed a period of six nights, from 8pm until 6am each night commencing on September 21.

As the works progress, as and when required, Station Road, Tempest Road, Park Road, Goscote Hall Road, Johnson Road, Hemitage Road, School Lane, Beechfield Avenue, Firfield Avenue, Sibson Road, Oakfield Road, Elmfield Avenue, Greengate Lane, Bentley Road, Colindale Avenue, Hallam Fields Road and Birstall Meadow Road will be closed at their junctions with Loughborough Road.

During the works, a temporary prohibition of waiting and loading restriction will be enforced on Walnut Avenue and Elmfield Avenue.

Council to consider performance

BIRSTALL PARISH Council has agreed to consider ways it can improve.

“We should be considering opportunities for improvement, we are going along without looking at what we are doing,” said Cllr Geoff Green at a meeting of Birstall Parish Council on August 14, where he proposed that the council set up a working party or committee to look at the issue.

He said: “We don’t know what people want as we are not asking. We are very inward-looking at the moment and not measuring ourselves.”

He said the council continually has trouble finding people to fill vacancies – there are currently four vacant seats on the council.

Cllr Green said: “I propose we set up a team to look at how we do things, what the perception of the Parish Council is, and to find out what people want. At the moment we presume things and I don’t think that’s right.”

Cllr Kirstie Haywood said she talks to lots of people about the council's activities and that she didn’t think the council was inward-looking.

Cllr Tony Fowler said the council had done public surgeries for a trial period of six months, consulting with the public on the street and asking for their views. He said: “The response was poor, with not many ideas forthcoming.”

Cllr Green commented that the council should consider different ways of consulting the public.

Cllr Simon Oates said he supported Cllr Green's proposal. “I have a big network of people I know – my neighbours, clubs, and young people and when I ask them, their answer why they won’t join Birstall Parish Council is that they think it’s stuck in its ways," he said.

He added: “There are talented people about and we need to do something to attract them to join the council."

Chair Ann Marshall said that any new committee would need clear terms of reference and would need to be serviced by the council's office staff. She said the council already struggle to find councillors to sit on its existing committees.

Cllr Keith Hampton said: “Why are members frightened of doing this and finding out how we can improve and communicate better? What are we afraid of? We should be asking ourselves this kind of question.”

Cllr Julian Howe commented that Shepshed had recently secured £1.2 million for an improvement scheme. This had been achieved by the town council working closely and in partnership with local businesses, its borough councillors and its community and he said something similar could be achieved for Birstall.

Cllr Green's proposal to set up a team to consider how the council can improve was put to a vote and was carried by six votes to four with one abstention.

Cedars Martin sixth form results

THE HEAD of the Cedars Martin Sixth form has said she is proud of how well A-level students have performed this year.

Pic: students at the Cedars Academy

Kathleen Sedgley said: “I am incredibly proud of how well our A-level students have done in an extremely difficult and challenging time. The students have shown resilience and a positive attitude in overcoming the significant setbacks they have faced, with 82% of our students progressing onto study at university. We would like to take this opportunity to wish them all the best for their future careers.”

Cakes for sale on Went Road

Pic: selling cakes on Went Road: (l-r) Emma McCorkindale, Daisy, Oliver, Olivia Tunks (7) and Sally Tunks

A BROTHER and sister on Went Road made cakes and sold them from their front garden.

Seven-year-old Oliver McCorkindale’s first idea was to make smoothies but he settled on cakes – sister Daisy (5) helped stir the mixture.

“Next time I’m going to get a bigger table and make more and more cakes," said Oliver.

Man hit by car

A MAN was taken to hospital after he was hit by a car on Greengate Lane at 6.30am on August 6.

Leicestershire Fire and Rescue were first on the scene as the crew came across the incident while returning to their Birstall headquarters.

They gave first-aid to the casualty as they waited for an ambulance to arrive. He was taken to the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham and his injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

The road was closed following the incident, reopening at 8.45am.

Doctors’ views on clearing waiting lists

THE MAJORITY of doctors think ambitions to get the NHS back to near-normal service by autumn are unlikely to be realised, according to a major survey by the British Medical Association, highlighting the sheer scale of the challenge of tackling an ever-growing backlog of care after the first peak of Covid-19.

NHS England recently set targets to resume normal levels of activity over the next few months, but when asked by the BMA whether they thought these would be met, 70% of more than 3,000 doctors who responded said this was either highly (40%) or fairly (30%) unlikely.

A third of doctors saying they thought it would take more than a year to clear waiting lists for elective procedures.

26% of doctors said that in the first two weeks of August non-Covid demand had increased to pre-pandemic levels, with 17% saying that demand is now even higher than it was before.

The survey results come after NHS figures on Thursday, August 13 showed record waits in a number of areas, including the wait between being referred by a GP to first treatment, and the number of people waiting longer than a year for treatment rising to the highest in over a decade.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said: “The most recent waiting time data speaks for itself, with patients waiting unacceptably long times for treatment. But the Government and NHS England also need to be honest with both healthcare staff and patients about the backlog we’re facing. They must produce a clear strategy of how we can manage this increased demand, working with clinicians to prioritise those patients most in need of care, while at the same time being able to continue treating people who are still suffering with Covid-19. And crucially, doctors do not want patients avoiding the health service and risk getting much sicker as a result.”

Selfie-posting car thieves jailed

TWO MEN who filmed themselves speeding in cars they had stolen have been jailed for more than nine years.

28 burglaries, including some in Birstall, were reported to the police between March and April this year when car keys were stolen from inside the properties and subsequently the cars were taken. Vehicles worth a total of more than £300,000 were driven away while their owners slept. They were sold on for a fraction of the cost – one £40,000 Land Rover Discovery was offered for sale for £600.

Due to the similarities between all of the reports detectives were able to link the incidents and identify potential suspects.

On May 4 during a burglary in progress in Davenport Avenue, Oadby, officers arrested two 16-year-old boys. Later the same day, 18-year-old Jake Ward and a 17-year-old boy were also arrested after warrants were executed at their home addresses.

A mobile telephone belonging to Ward, formerly of Babington Row, Leicester, was seized and following an examination, a number of videos and images were found which identified cars that had been stolen during some of the incidents.

The following day 23-year-old Ricky Cox was arrested after a warrant was executed at his home in Pochins Bridge Road, Wigston.

Cox, Ward and two boys, aged 16 and 17, who can’t be named for legal reasons, were charged with conspiracy to commit burglary.

The fifth teenager, aged 16, who also can’t be named, was charged with burglary.

The charges relate to incidents in Oadby, Wigston, Market Harborough, Birstall, Knighton, Braunstone Town, Eyres Monsell, Saffron Ward, Leicester Forest East and Stoneygate.

Cox, Ward, the 16-year-old and 17-year-old appeared at Leicester Crown Court at an earlier hearing and pleaded guilty to their parts in the offences.

On August 14 Cox was sentenced to four years in prison for conspiracy to commit burglary. Ward was sentenced to five years in prison for conspiracy to commit burglary and a further 18 months in prison for an unrelated burglary. This sentence is to run concurrently.

Two juveniles, both now aged 17, are due to be sentenced at a later date.

The fifth person, a 16-year-old who was charged with burglary, was sentenced after pleading guilty at the Youth Court in June. He was given a referral order and ordered to pay compensation and costs to the victim.

Detective Constable Nicola Holyoake was the investigating officer. She said: “This investigation brought together many functions within the force to reach a successful conclusion. The defendants showed no remorse for their actions and the impact their crimes had on the victims.

Detective Inspector Henry Henderson led the investigation. He said: “This is a great result and a testament to the hard work that has gone into securing these convictions.

“The three Neighbourhood Policing Areas affected by this series of offences merged their resources together and identified links between each incident.

“The burglary in progress on 4 May resulted in officers from across the force being deployed including the traffic unit, dog unit and the National Air Support (NPAS) unit and led to the two 16-year-old boys being arrested.

“These types of offences have a massive impact on our local communities and we’d like to reassure people that we do take vehicle crime extremely seriously and will prosecute those involved.

“This was a complex investigation and due to the investigating officers’ diligence and attention to detail in securing the evidence the defendants had no choice but to plead guilty.”

Funds for Luke’s Ecuador trip

A 15-year-old student at the Cedars Academy is fundraising for a four week trip to Ecuador in 2021.

Pic: Luke Rames is fundraising for a trip to Ecuador

Luke Rames needs to raise £4500 to pay for his trip with Camps International. He said: “This is a once in a lifetime experience because it will teach me a lot about the environment and important life lessons such as improved confidence, dealing with money, leadership and teamwork to name a few.

“While there, I will be helping local communities to improve their quality of life which will include building facilities such as classrooms to provide better education given to their children. I believe that everybody has a right to be able to learn, especially about the world and the issues we face such as climate change.

“I will also be doing my part in helping improve some of the environmental issues around the world by participating in reforestation in the Amazon and marine clean up at the coast. This experience will not only completely change my life, but it will make a huge difference to the communities we will be helping in Ecuador.”

Luke’s fundraising so far has included online quizzes and a raffle and he plans to do a treasure hunt and a yard sale.

He has also set up a gofundme page and is asking for donations of unwanted foreign currency which can be left at Filigree Heart on Sibson Road.

Luke said: “The Birstall community have been incredibly supportive, especially with the Birstall businesses raffle and the businesses themselves kindly donating so generously, particularly at this difficult time.”

www.gofundme.com (search for ‘Luke Rames’)

Café welcomes you

THE MET Café at the Sidings, near the Birstall GCR station, has now reopened.

Operations Manager Phumuzile Ndlovu said: “Come down and visit us, and try our new delicious menu including pancakes, full English, sandwiches, paninis and many more. We offer a socially distanced space according to the government guidelines, easy parking, outdoor seating area, and kids are welcome to play on the grass whilst you enjoy your coffee. We also have a large collection of books from autobiography’s to fiction for you to enjoy, as well as books for kids to read.”

Centre’s lottery grant

A VOLUNTEER centre has been awarded a £20,000 lottery grant.

The grant, from the Government’s Coronavirus Community Support Fund and distributed by the National Lottery Community Fund, has enabled Syston and District Volunteer Centre to purchase an upgraded, wheelchair-adapted vehicle.

The Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life 2.0 TDI 5dr DSG will be put to immediate use helping vulnerable residents of Syston and neighbouring communities to overcome the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Gunns’ gym opens its doors for kids

“I FEEL great, like I’ve been born again," says Carl Gunns about reopening his Birstall Road boxing gym after being closed since March because of Covid-19.

“Boxing is my life, it was horrible when we closed," he said.

The gym used to get 50–60 young people attending each night but because of social distancing rules, it’s now limited to six people a session.

Carl said: “I’ve taken advice from Charnwood Borough Council about reopening the gym. There is no sparring, no pad work, just exercises, weights, bag work and the speedball."

He added: “When we closed I’d pop in to clean and tidy up and without the kids there it was a ghostly place.

“Reopening has been an injection of life and the kids have loved coming back.”

Gunns' gym is open Monday – Friday 4.30 – 7:30pm and Sundays from 10–12noon.

Group looking to the future

BIRSTALL’S HELPING Our Community group continues to support individuals and projects and members are looking at how the group might evolve in the future.

Co-founder Rosie Rollings reports:

The group has continued to support those shielding in the community by collecting prescriptions, shopping and keeping in touch.

We have continued with the Monday puzzle swop which is still being used. As things are returning to the new normal we shall be scaling down the puzzle swop.

We would like to keep the Community Group running and would like people to tell us what they would like to see included. We would like it to be community-based but not as a sales page or a replacement for any other established groups. We are happy to promote local businesses that have joined the “shop local page”. A lot of people have said how much more they enjoy shopping and sourcing things locally and I am sure all the local shops that have had a hard time during Covid-19 appreciate our custom. There really isn’t much you cannot get in Birstall.

Pic: some of the quilts made by volunteers

The group has helped promote Luke Rames in his efforts to fundraise for his forthcoming trip to Ecuador with the Cedars Academy. If you have any foreign currency, loose change or odd jobs please contact the group and we will put you in touch. If we can help anyone else please get in touch.

Birstall’s Big Yard sale will be held on September 12. It’s a £3 suggested donation. Take a look at the page to register or text Sharon on 0784 1448511

We presented a box of goodies to the local fire station in appreciation of their continued hard work keeping people safe and saving lives.

The Community Quilt and Children’s Quilt will need to have the squares returned by September 1 so we can get them made up.

Birstall scrub team have continued to make scrubs for the “above and beyond" scheme over the three Leicester hospitals. We are now also making quilts for the NICU and special sheets for premature babies nursed in “nests”. The quilts are all original designs and are beautiful. We have also made “quilts for carers- supporting the NHS”. We have been asked to make some very small bespoke items to help the NICUs so we are trying to help and come up with sewn items to be used for the very small premature babies. Our next project is gowns for the breast care unit, however, we hope to continue with the quilts.

If anyone wants to help quilt or has suitable scraps of material we would love to hear from you.

Thanks to the admin team and all the members of the group for making it such a good local resource - long may it continue.

New St Margaret’s bus station

A NEW St Margaret’s bus station is planned after £20 million of funding was awarded to the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP).

Pic: Artist's impression of new St Margaret's Bus Station from Burley's Way

The money, from the government’s Getting Building Fund, will be used on four infrastructure projects, with £10.5 million allocated to the St Margaret’s regeneration gateway.

Deputy City Mayor for Environment and Transportation Cllr Adam Clarke said: “This is very good news for Leicester. The St Margaret’s area of the city has great potential for large-scale regeneration, with the opportunity to attract further private investment and create a high-quality public realm to connect with the city centre. This investment will also give us the chance to replace a worn-out bus station with a new, modern and efficient building that will signal the beginning of the revival of this part of our city.”

Schools prepared for full return of students

ALL BIRSTALL’S schools have spent the summer preparing for the full return of students in September.

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

All the Birstall schools wrote to parents in July with initial plans for the full return of students in September. Further letters went out in August with more detail.

The schools have put in place all current Government recommendations and have carried out comprehensive risk assessments on all aspects of school life to minimise the spread of Covid-19 and make the schools as safe as possible.


In terms of the curriculum, the plan is to work with students and parents to address any gaps in knowledge at an appropriate point in the year. On-going assessment will be carried out in all subjects and detailed curriculum plans are in place to address any gaps as they arise.

The Lionheart Trust’s on-line learning platform will continue to be developed and used to support learning outside the classroom, for example by setting tasks for homework and the uploading of key pieces of work. Should a child fall ill or need to self-isolate for a period of time, the school will ensure that suitable work is set through the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) so that they do not fall behind with the learning of their class.


Following current Government guidance, to minimise the likelihood of COVID spreading within a school, all learners will be placed within a bubble. Initially, this bubble will comprise of a year group. Each year group will be placed within a zone in the school where they will spend the majority of their time.

At social times, break and lunch, children will remain in their bubble and not mix with other year groups. To facilitate this, outside space will also be zoned and split lunches and breaks used so that all children can have access to fresh air, catering facilities and appropriate space to socialise.

Behaviour, Attendance and Holistic Support

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

We know that while some children may have thrived at home during this lockdown period a number will have struggled with the isolation and may also have lost loved ones. So that all children have the support they need on their return we have ensured that all teaching and learner-facing staff have undertaken an awareness course on childhood bereavement and we have trained additional staff in each school to support children with bereavement and any child protection issues.


The best way to prevent the spread of Covid-19 is good hygiene and we will be expecting all learners to follow the rules relating to hygiene. These include washing/sanitising hands before they leave home in the morning, on entry to school, on movement between classrooms, at the end of break and before and after eating. Hand sanitiser will be provided in every classroom.

Parents have been provided with a lot more detail, but I wanted to give the wider community a snapshot of the plans in place for a safe return to school. The staff are really looking forward to seeing students again and the school is aiming to make this a positive and hopeful return to learning.


We’ve already had one very kind offer from a private individual in Birstall to sponsor a Chromebook for a child in Birstall, we’re very grateful for any support on this important initiative.

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

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

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


We’re very pleased to report really positive results for our A level students this year with most getting on the courses they wanted to pursue after sixth-form. The school is supporting two students with appeals and the clearing process and is confident of positive outcomes for both.

GCSE results day is a little too late for this issue of The Birstall Post, but The Cedars Academy is prepared with a team of staff and a bank of phones ready to support pupils who need to discuss their results.

Remembering Jessie Wainwright

A BIRSTALL midwife and Guide leader who had an active role in Birstall’s community life has died, aged 97.

Pic: Jessie Wainwright

Jessie Wainwright was born in Sunderland on May 12, 1923.

In her childhood, Jessie was a Brownie and a Girl Guide. She trained as a nurse and midwife and met her husband Gordon, who had been a Far East prisoner of war and married in 1950 in Sunderland. There were two children, Louisa born in 1951 and Gordon born in 1955.

In 1962 due to the uncertainty of the Sunderland shipyards, the family moved and Jessie became a district nurse/midwife in Birstall, one of a team of three nurses. She lived on Lambourne Road before moving to Holly Tree Avenue.

She returned to Guiding as a helper and took her Warrant as an Assistant Guider and eventually Guide Leader with 1st Birstall St. James Company until she reached retirement age at 65. She acted as a tester for First Aid badge for Guides and Brownies. Jessie attended many of the Oaks in Charnwood Camps either as a Guider or as a First Aider. In 1973 due to a badly broken wrist, Jessie trained as a Clinical Teacher and worked with pupil nurses at Charles Frear School of Nursing, Groby Road Hospital and Glenfield Community Hospital.

In 1984 Jessie and Gordon made a pilgrimage to the Far East to visit War Graves where so many of Gordon’s comrades had died, sadly Gordon passed away shortly after returning. Before Jessie retired she attended the 40th Anniversary Celebrations of the NHS in 1988 and went to London with her daughter. Jessie worked until she was 65 when she was obliged to retire.

Since retiring Jessie did some agency nursing, became a member of the Trefoil Guild after retiring as a Guider, worked as a Caseworker for S.S.A.F.A (Soldiers. Seamen and Air Force Association) and was invited to a Buckingham Palace Garden Party in 2001 because of this. She volunteered at the local hospice shop (LOROS) for over 20 years and sang in two church choirs (St. James the Great and St. Nicholas and Our Lady at Wanlip) and one secular choir. The only thing she ever wished for was that her husband could have lived longer, though knowing the hardships he endured as a Japanese prisoner, she was grateful for the time they had together.

Jessie died on July 27, 2020, and is survived by her daughter Louisa, son Gordon and grandchildren Christopher, Helen, Michelle and Michael and three great-grandchildren.

A service was held at the Chesterfield and District Crematorium on August 12 and was attended by family only due to Covid-19 restrictions.


I didn’t know there was a new postcode lottery just for the Goscote side residents of the A6 dual carriageway!

This is not a lottery anyone would wish to be in. Gone are the safe halfway crossings. People, especially elderly will not want to walk all the way to the zebra crossing especially in winter to go down to the Co-op, or when coming back with shopping. What happens then?

It will be an accident (or many) waiting to happen. An utterly disastrous decision. No wonder we were not consulted. Nothing is positive about the plan either - confusing. We came up Red Hill from Leicester and to turn left into Goscote Hall Road (which I presume we can still do) and we had to cross the cycle lane. If left and right turnings are not made clear then cyclists, as well as pedestrians, are at risk.

Shame on the planners or whoever gave the go-ahead for it to happen.

Margaret Briggs


Thank you Jerry for the publicity in last month's issue. The sales of the history book, A Walk Around Old Birstall, have gone quite well with well over 100 already sold. I am getting good reports that searching back through the years has been very interesting. There are three other places now for access that can be used for obtaining the book. They are the Parish Council offices, my telephone number (0116) 267 3239, and the Air Ambulance shop on Sibson Road where the profits from these books will be donated.

John Kilby


Why No Cricket? At last, after months of being stuck at home and the sun shining, I can go to the park and watch some cricket and sit and have a pint with the friendly people at Birstall Village Cricket Club. As I walk past the Bowling Green it is nice to see people enjoying their sport, but wait, no cricket. In the distance I can see the children’s play area, there is certainly a lot of activity on there. Feeling a little puzzled by this I make further enquiries and find that despite Boris giving the go-ahead from early July and the ECB giving clear guidance on how to play the game in a safe environment and the club implementing those guidelines and purchasing sanitising equipment etc, Birstall Parish Council have stopped any matches being played. The grass has been cut so staff must be working and I cannot understand why no cricket has been allowed. I have since travelled to five different venues in the Charnwood area, all council-owned, to get my cricket “fix” as they have no problem with matches being played. It is such a great shame that players are not allowed to play and are unable to do their usual fundraising for local charities. I understand they have donated £3,000 locally over the last four years. In the modern-day, we are all trying to do our bit to save the environment and now eleven players are travelling alone for a twenty mile round trip for a home match when the majority are within walking distance of the playing fields.

Shame on Birstall Parish Council for making this decision.

Ex Player


Autumn Murmurs

Starlings line the roofs,

chattering, shifting side by side

like children settling down in line

awaiting assembly at primary school.

Following the next instruction,

a starling takes to the breeze,

followed by more starlings drifting

down like autumn leaves.

Murmuring against the evening sky

a cloak of starlings swish on by.

By Bernadette Gibson


Remembering Ken Goodrich.

Ken, sorry we didn’t get to say goodbye. I want to thank you for your friendship and for our birding holidays together over the years, here and abroad. So many happy memories, where have all the years gone?

Goodbye old friend.

Maureen & Alan Smith


I think some people might be interested to read about the very surprising antics performed by a grey squirrel in my garden one day in June.

On Saturday afternoon June 13, I went into my kitchen and saw a squirrel sitting on the ground under my plum tree near the far end of the lawn. Squirrels often come into my garden to eat nuts and seeds I put out for birds. Sometimes they don’t eat them but take them to various places on the lawn and bury them, presumably to recover and eat at a later date.

During June, fruit trees for various reasons discard a lot of very small fruit in their early stages of growth. This process is called 'The June drop.'

So on that afternoon, there were several very small plums on the ground under my tree. The squirrel proceeded to pick up a plum, not eating it but just taking a bite into it and then putting it down. Whilst I watched, it did this with about 10 plums. Then it ran around in a small circle, ran a few yards and jumped into the air keeping its body stretched out in a vertical position with rear feet about 12 inches off the ground. After two or three seconds it landed, ran a few yards and did another jump. Then it moved to another spot, rolled over onto its back and lay there kicking all four legs up in the air a few times. After getting on to its feet it ran to a spot close by and did another rollover with more leg kicking and then at another spot it did the same antic a third time. After that it ran to the plum tree, quickly climbed the trunk and disappeared among the branches for a few seconds. It ran down the trunk and then started to run along the lawn towards the house but instead of running in a straight line, it was going from one side of the lawn to the other as it gradually progressed to the end of the lawn. It then turned around and ran in a straight line to the plum tree quickly running up the trunk and down and then did another quick run up and down. After reaching the ground, it moved a few feet and did yet another rollover with more kicking of all its legs. When it rolled onto its feet it did another run up the lawn, again weaving from side to side of the lawn. At the end of this second run, it turned around and ran down the lawn in a straight line, went past the plum tree and disappeared into the bushes beyond.

I was very surprised and fascinated to see the squirrel perform all those antics. I waited for 10 minutes to see if it would reappear but it didn’t come back so I made a cup of tea and went and wrote notes about what I had seen.

I don’t think the performance I saw was the normal antics of a squirrel. I think it was on a ‘high’ caused by a substance in the plums, which it ingested when biting into them, like someone getting a ‘high’ after taking an illegal drug.

I have heard of recently someone in the west of Leicestershire who saw in her garden this year a squirrel doing similar antics after biting into small pears. Perhaps someone knows of a substance in very small fruit that can induce a ‘high’ in squirrels?

J Woods

Bowlers get back on the green

Pic: friendly games at St Margaret's, early August

BOWLS IS in a happy position relative to other sports.

When Covid-19 first struck all official leagues and competitions were suspended, the first time this has happened since 1945. At club level, in many parts of the country, the game has started up again.

Some clubs are getting an influx of people who want to give bowls a try. Bowls is one of the few outdoor games which can easily adapt to social distancing and the lockdown has made us realise just how important social activities are.

Down at St Margaret's we have been enjoying informal games since early June. Club Chair Carolyn Foster said: “It is lovely to see so many people back on the green enjoying a friendly game of bowls. There is still time for anyone to come down to the club and give bowls a try. They will receive a warm welcome.”

For further information, please contact: 0116 2677372

from Margaret's Co-operative B C


Library open, no computers yet

BIRSTALL LIBRARY has reopened for browsing, borrowing and returning books, but you must book a time slot first.

The county’s main libraries are operating with an online booking system, allowing members to book a slot to visit their preferred library. There are a limited number of slots available each day to ensure social distancing is observed within the buildings.

To book your slot, visit www.leicestershire.gov.uk/book-a-library-visit. Residents who are unable to book a slot online can call 0116 305 2695 to book their timed appointment.

Library users may visit in groups of up to three to browse, borrow and return items. Hand sanitisers are available at all sites and face coverings will be mandatory.

Library staff are on hand to welcome customers back to their local library and assist them to use the services safely.

For the time being, toilets remain closed to customers and the use of computers will not be available. The county council hopes the service will return in September, once necessary health and safety measures are in place.

The click and collect service continues to operate alongside browsing. Over 900 click and collect orders have been placed in the first three weeks since launching the service.

Visit www.leicestershire.gov.uk/click-and-collect.

Some community managed libraries are also open for browsing and to offer the click and collect service. For more information, contact the library directly.

Parish Council notes

A MEETING of Birstall Parish Council's Estates and Recreation committee was held on July 27.

A member of the public asked a question about a statement published on the Parish Council website that states: “the playing fields, sports grounds and play areas in Birstall are all owned by Birstall Parish Council. They are not parks or open spaces that the public have a right to use but is private land that the public are permitted to use.”

The questioner wanted to know where is the information kept that states the parks are private property. Chair Ann Marshall said the parks and open spaces were owned by the Parish Council and suggested he contact the parish office.

The committee considered matters relating to cricket on the School Lane playing field. The clerk had responded to an enquiry about the availability of the ground from the Asian Sports Cricket Club on July 2 and had informed them that no plans for any cricket this season would be considered. An enquiry from Birstall Village Cricket Club received the same response and the clerk was subsequently sent an abusive and threatening email.

After consulting the estates team manager, the clerk had concluded it was not feasible financially and on the grounds of safety to prepare the wicket for four weeks in August.

Cllr Keith Hampton said he supported the clerk and was disappointed that she had received a threatening email. He said the council had a community engagement policy and on this occasion, we had fallen short, we could have kept a more open dialogue with the cricket club.

Cllr Tony Fowler said the clerk is responsible for the safety of the park, it was due to Covid-19 that the wicket is not prepared and she had made the only decision possible in the circumstances.

Chair Ann Marshall said it was unacceptable for staff to be threatened, that the estates team manager's report highlighted the difficulty of making the surface safe and that the clerk had taken the only reasonable decision. She said she would not want to see good relations with both clubs soured over the issue.

Paul Oldcorn, a committee member of Birstall Village Cricket club, apologised for the abusive email which he said had not been endorsed by the club or the committee. He said it was now too late to prepare a wicket and asked if the council had made the decision to cancel all cricket in March.

Clarke Sue Coulson said there were staff issues, some staff were off sick and the full team were not back until July 1, and that everything was cancelled in March.

A full meeting of Birstall Parish Council was held on August 10.

County Councillor Iain Bentley raised the issue of the pop-up cycle lanes on the A6 and said he was dead set against all of it. He said he couldn’t see how all the disruption and money spent on it would be worth it. He said the effect on pedestrians would be dire, and that he had had no consultation about the scheme whatsoever. He said he had received a reassurance that a bus lane south of Hermitage Lane to Red Hill would not now be in installed.

Councillors made several points about the scheme including the risk to pedestrians by removing or narrowing pedestrian refugees; uncertainty about Loughborough Road residents being able to turn right into their properties; the lack of consultation and the increase of traffic on side roads and on Birstall Road due to no right turn restrictions.

It was agreed that the council write to Leicestershire County Council with its concerns.

It was reported that the estates team have produced a tree report that identifies some trees as important and proposes measures to protect and preserve them.

It was agreed to spend £1650 on removing two sycamore trees.

It was agreed to allow Greengate Medical Centre, and any other NHS practice, the free use of Parish Council buildings for a flu clinic and Covid-19 vaccine program.

It was agreed to approve a request from local author John Kilby to allow books sales to take place from the parish office.

Councillors considered the loss of income due to Covid-19.

There will be no Parish Council Christmas event but a tree will be erected as well as the trees above the shops.

Councillor Julian Howe suggested the council needs to advertise its community grant scheme.

It was reported that the youth café is not open, the youth workers are still being paid and are working at home on projects and future planning.

It was agreed to spend £495 on emergency repairs to the school Lane pavilion roof and £840 on removing asbestos sheeting from the Meadow Lane allotment site.

It was reported that £3000 given to the Parish Council from the Edith Murphy Foundation for Birstall gala will be used instead to support local community groups who apply for a share of the funding.

Cllr Jeff Green proposed that the council set up a committee or working party to consider ways the council could improve its performance. After debating the issue, it was put to the vote with six in favour of Cllr Green's proposal, four against and one abstention.

Cash for groups

£3000 OF sponsorship funding for Birstall’s cancelled 2020 gala is now being made available for community groups.

“Birstall Parish Council is pleased to announce that the Edith Murphy Foundation has kindly agreed that the Parish Council can retain their annual sponsorship funding for the Gala of £3,000 and to make this fund available to community groups which operate in Birstall and that have provided or are providing a service for Birstall residents during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Birstall Parish Council clerk Sue Coulson.

Any Birstall based community group can apply through Birstall Parish Council for monies from this fund.

Sue said: “Birstall Parish Council has a long association with the Edith Murphy Trustees and is pleased that they have asked us to administer it. The Parish Council will, of course, inform the trustees of where the money has been allocated.”

To make an application or request an application form, contact the Clerk at the Council Offices by email: admin@birstallpc.org.uk or by telephone: 0116 267 6191 or in writing to: The Clerk - Birstall Parish Council, Birstall Road, Birstall, Leicester, LE4 4DH


ALL 14 OF Leicestershire County Council’s recycling and household waste sites are now open.

Nine of the sites will be open five days a week – the same number of days as before the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the service.

Mountsorrel and Whetstone have increased to opening seven days (from five days a week before the pandemic) and the remaining sites will be open for 2-3 days each week during the ongoing pandemic.

Mountsorrel and Whetstone are the county’s busiest, and since reopening both sites have had an average of 250-300 visitors each day.

Visitors to sites need to book a slot in order to visit so that social distancing can be observed, and restrictions on some waste types are still in place at some sites. Sites will continue to be open between 9am and 5pm.

The council is also reminding any residents that if they can’t make their time slot, or it is no longer needed, they should log in to their council account and cancel the appointment so that it can be used by someone else.

For more information about individual sites opening times, to book an appointment and for further details on recycling and waste in Leicestershire, visit www.leicestershire.gov.uk/waste or call 0116 305 0001.

Garden a delight

A COLOURFUL front garden in Newton Drive is appreciated by many people who pass by it on their way to Watermead Country Park.

Pic: Maria Stubbs admires the garden

Neighbour Maria Stubbs said: “I think it’s beautiful and everyone that passes by looks at it, I watch them stopping to enjoy it.

“Mr Surelia spends so much time in his garden making it nice for everyone.”

Raj Surelai has lived at the house for 35 years. He said: “I am delighted to see people being cheered up by the garden. It does take a lot of time and effort but I will continue to keep it as it is.”

Cricket corner

CHARNWOOD BOROUGH Council has been only too happy to help the club find different venues to play on following the decision by Birstall Parish Council not to let cricket matches be played on the park.

In a much shortened season of just five matches followed by play-offs, the 2nd XI has started with a 100% record from their first three matches. The highlight was a 160 run victory over Shepshed in which Steve White retired on 109 not out, and Ian Bartlett made 89.

The 1st XI has suffered from many players living in the Leicester lockdown area and have done well to gain maximum points from two of their first three matches.

From Birstall Village Cricket Club

Keep calm and keep baking

THE WHITE Horse 8th Great Birstall Bake Off in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support will take place over the weekend of Saturday and Sunday, September 19/20.

The World's Biggest Coffee morning has always been a firm favourite in the nation's diary and now is an established event in Birstall too. And perhaps this year, more than ever, is the right time to put up the bunting, fire up the kettle and get together with friends and family to support the millions of people living with cancer.

“We have decided to go ahead with the Great Birstall Bake off for Macmillan as cancer won't stop for Covid-19 so we are going ahead, making changes to assure we adhere to the guidelines to keep everyone safe but we hope that a good few people will bake entries and also come along to the coffee morning on Sunday, September 20 at 11am which will be held in our new outside marquee,” said Charlotte Foy.

“It would be great to see families getting involved, so many of us have done much more baking since the lockdown began and it would be great to sample some new 'signature' bakes for this fun competition and great cause,” added Beccy Kay

The categories this year are:-

1. Cup Cakes/tray bake

2. Cake

3. Biscuits

4. Sweet Pastry

5. Savoury Bake

6. Bread

7. Free From

8. Best decorated*

9. Best under 16’s entry*

*Any 1-7 category is eligible

All entries are extremely welcome, no matter your experience level, sweet or savoury, from the young or less young. The entries need to be at the White Horse for judging on Saturday 19 between 9am & 12 noon.

The ‘Star Bakers’ will be celebrated at the coffee morning on Sunday, September 20 from 11am hosted by the White Horse.

There will be entertainment for all the family as well as, the most important aspect, an abundance of baked treats for all to enjoy.

Given the current situation, a delivery service or collection option is being planned and there is also an official code which means anyone wishing to support Macmillan cancer care can donate by simply going to https://thyg.uk/BUU004475300.

All the funds raised will go straight to Macmillan’s world’s biggest coffee morning which raised an incredible £27.5 million in 2019 to help people facing cancer.

Application forms can be found on the White Horse website or from the pub and further details are on their Facebook page.

Covid-19 cases

POSITIVE CASES of Covid-19 in Birstall, Aug 9-15: 8

NHW News & crime report

Looking for a Pet?

Scammers are quite heartless and have no conscience about the distress they cause to their victims. The lockdown has led to an increased demand for pets and they have been quick to get in on the act. As a result, a lot of people looking forward to getting a new companion have found themselves deeply disappointed and out of pocket instead.

The scam is not new and Action Fraud reports that more than three million pounds have been stolen in this way over the past six years.

After seeing an advert for two young puppies on a popular website, an interested person contacted the seller who claimed that they needed new homes because their owner had died. They sent heart-melting photographs and said that they would cost £300, including the use of a specialist animal delivery service. The buyer requested more information, including microchip numbers and details of their vet. There was no response and no further contact and it is almost certain that this would have been the same outcome if the money had been paid.

Would-be pet owners are always encouraged to visit and meet animals before making any decisions. Most legitimate breeders insist on meeting buyers in-person to satisfy themselves that pets are going to loving and responsible owners. However, lockdown has made such visits difficult and fraudsters have taken advantage of the situation.

If you are looking for a pet, always make sure that it actually exists and has been bred legally. Ask for its inoculation history, microchip number, breed paperwork and certification. If possible, pay with a bank card or through PayPal. These methods give much greater protection than bank transfers that are notoriously difficult to trace once the money has left your account.

Instead of relying on adverts that may or may not be genuine, consider looking at established local animal charities and rescue centres. They can be trusted and are always looking for responsible people to offer homes to animals in their care. If you are looking for a particular breed of dog, you can find reputable breeders through the Kennel Club.




Please Stay Safe and Well,

From Ed Chambers, Chairman Birstall & Wanlip NHW


We intend to continue to focus on Anti-Social Behaviour and drug use around the Birstall & Wanlip areas. In recent weeks we have been paying particular attention to the local parks and areas where we are aware drugs are being used, and we will continue to patrol these locations to discourage this behaviour and deal with any offences that we identify. Thankfully, Birstall & Wanlip are now out of the ‘protected zone’ and so some sense of normality is starting to return, however, please ensure that you continue to stick to the rules by wearing face coverings in shops and maintaining social distancing whenever possible.

Crime Update

Reported crime fell in July with a total of 45 crimes being reported, which is down from 58 the previous month.

The main category was again 'assaults', of which there were 14 reported, however, four of these were as a result of one individual incident and two other incidents accounted for another four offences. We have also had a total of nine ‘Public Order’ offences reported to us, seven reports of criminal damage, five ‘other’ thefts, two reports of thefts from vehicles (one of which was a theft of number plates) and two actual thefts of vehicles.

Lastly, we have had three ‘possession of weapons’ offences (none of these involved firearms), one sexual offence, one dwelling house burglary (this was an attempt with no actual entry gained) and one non-dwelling burglary.

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


At present we do not have any consultation events planned, however, we intend to try and arrange some of these as soon as possible. These will probably be in the form of street consultations and we will update you further as soon as we have arranged when and where these will be. We will also advertise these on twitter a few days beforehand —see below for details of how to follow us.

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

You can also follow us on twitter at @CharnwoodPolice

You may have noticed that I have taken over from PS Boylin as the new Sergeant for Birstall and Wanlip.

I come to the beat with a wealth of experience in a number of different roles and will be working closely with the beat team to tackle the issues that you tell us you are concerned about.

I know the Birstall & Wanlip areas quite well and am keen to get out and about on patrol as much as possible.

If you see me out and about and wish to discuss anything, please feel free to stop me and have a chat. We will do our best to resolve any concerns you may have or try and advise you who to contact if we are unable to assist.

PS 1724 Kilsby

We have executed a warrant this month under the Misuse of Drugs Act following information being received about an address where cannabis was possibly being grown. No cannabis was ultimately found at the address, however, three males were arrested for immigration offences and they were handed over to Immigration officials to be dealt with by them.

From Birstall Beat Team:

Sgt 2951 Boylin PC 1759 Jaeckels PCSO 6611 Butler PCSO 6128 Taylor

News from the churches

AFTER SO long away, we have had a tantalising glimpse of a very small light at the end of the tunnel.

In St James, Birstall, and Our Lady & St Nicolas, Wanlip, Sunday services have started again, one at 9.30am at Birstall (no 8am service yet), and one at 6pm at Wanlip. Unlike any other services, we are keeping apart from each other, and plenty of hand sanitising before, during, and after proceedings. No wine at communion, and no tea or coffee afterwards, with the accompanying hubbub that goes with it.

But it was so great to be back in our churches, with familiar surroundings, and seeing familiar faces, recognisable even hidden under obligatory face masks! To be able to worship as a congregation, and pray together, gives us a feeling of comfort and security that lately has been taken from us. We can also mourn those friends that are now no longer with us, and comfort those left.

We must give a huge “Thank you” to our churchwardens for our Sunday services, and for our times of private prayer, as putting place all the safeguards for our protection must have been quite a Herculean task. We know we are not allowed to sing, but was there a little bit of humming when the organist was playing? Our organist and our service leaders kept us all feeling safe, and something else to celebrate – a wedding at Wanlip. So, for now, it’s 9.30am at Birstall and 6pm at Wanlip. Still no rector, but we are back!

From the parish churches, St James the Great, Birstall, and Our Lady & St Nicolas, Wanlip

Not Open Yet

As these notes are written, our church remains closed for worship. The congregation is sharing worship either via printed sheets or using Zoom on the Internet. There are so many things to consider before our church is to reopen for public worship. Many of our congregation are elderly and have been shielding and some will be reluctant to venture into an indoor gathering of people. Opening is a very difficult decision and no single answer is correct. One of our congregation, a local preacher, wrote in our notice sheet quite a long essay titled ‘Democracy, Power and Truth’. His final paragraph reads as follows: "We know from the history of the Methodist Church of our active participation when we have witnessed social injustice, intolerance and indifference. When we as stalwart members of the Methodist Church in the UK can see these issues first-hand, we are motivated to do something about it. Our priority, of course, is to bring our concerns to God in prayer and to ask God for guidance on our next steps as disciples of Jesus Christ. My exhortation is for us all to take action on the concerns we have placed before God, no matter how small we may think of our own contribution. For me, my action has been to write articles, letters and emails, to local councillors, my MP and the Secretary of State for Health. I believe it is time to stand up and make a bit of noise, especially on some of the quieter but still vitally important issues facing our future in the UK.”

Boys’ Brigade

Maurice Hayward, a previous Captain of the Birstall Boys’ Brigade Company (2nd Leicester) some time ago started a Facebook group called “Second Thoughts”. It is a public group and anyone can view it. If you were in the Birstall BB, or you had sons who were in it, then do take a look. It is well worth viewing, especially as it shows many pictures from the 1960s and 1970s. One of the regular contributors is Carl Palmer. Older members of the congregation may remember the church raised funds for Carl to attend Bible College. He is now a Pastor at Elm Park Baptist Church. He regularly posts Snippets and quotations etc on his own Facebook page. Very evangelical in outlook, but well worth taking a look.

From Birstall Methodist Church

Sunday Services

Please check with our website (http://www.birstallbaptistchurch.org.uk) or phone us on 0116 2214883 for up-to-date information about when we will be allowed to resume Sunday services at The Cedars.

Farewell to Simon

Pic: Simon Terry in Birstall in July 2014

Working with Birstall Independent Baptist Church, Simon Terry (pictured above) has served the Birstall community for the last ten years, touring the village in all weathers, listening to people’s concerns, sharing in their joys and sorrows, discussing science issues, world views, life’s big questions and the Gospel (Good News) of the Lord Jesus Christ. Simon says that it has been a privilege to work in the village and that he has a great heart for the people he’s met. Now, he is called to work in education and we will sadly miss him but want to extend our grateful thanks and wish him the Lord’s richest blessings in the place where the Lord has chosen him to serve in the future. If you were one of the hundreds with whom he spoke and you still have some questions about spiritual issues and Christianity, then please contact us on 0116 2214883 for further discussion.

Hymns and hymn writers

Not being allowed to sing in church at the current time is very strange, especially since the Bible exhorts us to do so. Psalm 147 begins: ‘Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God’ and in the New Testament we read: ‘… in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.’ (Colossians 3:16) However, we can still read the words of our hymns and think about their meaning – perhaps while having the familiar tunes running in our heads.

Isaac Watts has been given the title of ‘the father of English hymnody’ and he wrote over 600 hymns, many of which are still sung today. He was born in Southampton in 1674, his father being imprisoned more than once for his nonconformist religious beliefs, but Isaac was brought up in a family where the Bible was daily read and prayers were said.

Isaac himself became a Christian when he was 15 and, turning his talents to the service of the Lord, his great career as a hymn-writer began. He took the words of the Bible for his hymns and many are based on the Psalms (the book called ‘the Church’s hymnbook’), with praise being a common theme. Examples are: ‘Give to our God immortal praise’ (Psalm 136), ‘I’ll praise my Maker while I’ve breath’ (Psalm 146), ‘Our God our help in ages past’ (Psalm 90) and ‘Joy to the world! The Lord is come!’ (Psalm 98). Perhaps his most famous hymn is ‘When I survey the wondrous Cross’, which paints a vivid picture of the death of the Saviour. What is striking is the use of ‘I’ as it is a very personal response to these events. If you would like to discuss why a Christian can call such a cruel method of execution ‘wondrous’ then please contact us. Isaac Watts died in 1748, having left an enduring legacy of praise to ‘his Maker’.

From Birstall Independent Baptist Church

HOW WONDERFUL it is to be able to gather together again and worship as parish communities.

There have been several changes since the pre-Covid-19 days which now seem such a long time ago.

Our Priest

Firstly, Fr Ted has been unwell in recent months and we welcome in his place Fr Tom Thomas (pictured below), who will be with us for the foreseeable future. We send our best wishes to Fr Ted as he recovers after surgery and we remember him in our prayers.

Pic: Fr Thomas

Hello, my name is Fr Tom Thomas and I recently came to look after the parishes of St Theresa Birstall and Sacred Heart Rothley. I am a Rosminian priest belonging to the Institute of Charity. The order was founded in 1828 in Italy and our mission involves us mainly in education and pastoral work.

Originally from India, I came to the UK in 2010 working first at Etheldreadas Church in Central London whilst undertaking part-time studies at StMary’s University Twickenham. From there I moved to parish work at St Marie’s Church in Rugby. I look forward to meeting you all and serving as your Parish Priest during my time here.

Celebration of Mass

During the lengthy period of lockdown, Fr Ted (and more recently Fr Tom) continued to say Mass daily, though sadly with no parishioners present. However, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, many parishioners were able to “attend” Mass via live-streamed services from participating churches.

Now that we can return to our parish churches, we are quickly getting used to the very different practices required to control the risk of passing on the virus. Sanitising hands, signing in, wearing masks, seating well apart from each other, not singing hymns or sharing the sign of peace etc - all these things seem so alien to our normal behaviour, but as a caring community, we happily do whatever is required to keep each other safe and well. A big thank you to our teams of stewards and cleaners at both churches for all they are doing.

To maintain social distancing, we now have fewer seats are available in church, a particular issue at Sacred Heart, where outdoor Masses have been celebrated instead. There are now additional masses on Thursday and Saturday at St Theresa’s. Full details of Mass times for the week can be found in the newsletter or online at https://st-theresa-sacredheart.co.uk


Although the choir is unable to lead the singing at Sunday Mass at present and the summer concert did not go ahead in July, practices have continued for the adult choir, using Zoom. This, too, took a little getting used to, but the weekly practices have proved to be both successful and most enjoyable. As ever, Chris Lowe must take great credit for organizing the sessions, overcoming a variety of technical challenges and arranging new songs for the choir’s repertoire.

From St Theresa’s, Birstall

YOU MAY well be familiar with Psalm 23 from the Bible, which starts with the words ‘The Lord is my shepherd’. Over the years the words of this psalm have brought comfort to many people.

There is a verse in this psalm about passing through the valley of the shadow of death- here is a modern version of that verse:

“Lord, even when your path takes me through the valley of deepest darkness, fear will never conquer me, for you already have! You remain close to me and lead me through it all the way. Your authority is my strength and my peace. The comfort of your love takes away my fear. I’ll never be lonely, for you are near.”

Psalms 23:4 TPT

This is our prayer for you from us at TLC. May you know the Lord as your shepherd and the comfort and strength that comes from that relationship. Even in a deep, dark valley.

Do visit us online at www.trinitylifechurch.org.uk to see what is happening...

And let us know if you would like a call, some prayer or a visit from a pastor or need any practical help from us or our compassion charity Open Hands. Email Susan.hind@trinitylifechurch.org.uk .We are praying for you and for all of Birstall,

Pastors David and Susan Hind (Senior Leaders of TLC)

From Trinity Life Church

Birstall BAG’s cancer corner

The National Cancer Patient Experience

Birstall BAGs would like to provide readers with some insight into a national cancer survey that is conducted every year by NHS England. You may have taken part in this survey yourself, which is wonderful. Understanding what patients and their families experience when using health care services is vital to the NHS. It means changes made and new services can be tailored to meet a genuine need. If you are ever asked to provide feedback through a survey of this kind please be assured the hospital teams scrutinise the results, they take on board every comment written and genuinely try to mould services and departments based on the results.

NHS England recently published results from the 2019 Cancer Patient Experience Survey. The survey is conducted on an annual basis and includes all adult patients (aged 16 and over), with a confirmed primary diagnosis of cancer, who have been admitted to hospital as inpatients for cancer-related treatment, or who were seen as day case patients for cancer-related treatment, and have been discharged between April, May or June 2019.

The survey has been designed to monitor national progress on patient experience of cancer care; to provide information to drive local quality improvements; to assist commissioners and providers of cancer care, and to inform the work of the various charities and stakeholder groups supporting cancer patients.

The survey was overseen by a national Cancer Patient Experience Advisory Group. This group advises on the principles and objectives of the survey programme and supports questionnaire development. The survey was commissioned and managed by NHS England and Improvement. The survey provider Picker is responsible for technical design, implementation and analysis of the survey.

How is the survey distributed?

As in the previous four years, the survey used mixed methods. Questionnaires were sent by post, with two reminders where necessary, but also included an option to complete the questionnaire online. A Freephone helpline and email were available for respondents to opt-out, ask questions about the survey, enable them to complete their questionnaire over the phone and provide access to a translation and interpreting facility for those whose first language was not English.

How is the survey scored?

52 questions from the questionnaire are scored as these questions relate directly to the patient experience.

Results for 2019

Results from the survey are available nationally, by region, such as the East Midlands Cancer Alliance, by NHS trust such as University Hospitals of Leicester and they are broken down by cancer type providing there are sufficient responses from that type of cancer to be collated.

Looking at the national results, compared to last year’s survey, scores significantly improved on eight questions. Some of the largest differences were seen in the proportion of respondents saying they were given information on financial help or possible benefits, and the proportion of respondents that said they were given a care plan. Scores deteriorated significantly on five questions. Whilst these differences appear small, most of these questions were around communication with hospital staff which is key for ensuring patients are informed and involved at every step of their cancer care pathway.

Picker currently holds the contract for completing the survey. If you would like to read more or see the results broken down by region or cancer type please visit https://www.ncpes.co.uk.

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

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


P/20/1480/2: 29 Greengate Lane Birstall LE4 3JF Minor Alteration to the arrangement of the fenestrations and minor sundry fixings.

P/20/1475/2: 52 Wanlip Avenue Birstall LE4 4JR First-floor side extension and change of use from commercial and dwelling to 2 x two-bedroom flats Planning has been granted recently, however the updated application changes the front single storey roof from flat to pitched and also the front door has been positioned further tot he left to make a more efficient layout by not having to alter the existing structure

P/20/1465/2: 15 Cordelia Drive Birstall Leicestershire LE4 3PH Two storey extension to rear of house

P/20/1443/2: 90 Curzon Avenue Birstall Leicestershire LE4 4ADerection of two storey side and single storey rear extensions

P/20/1435/2: 11 Park House Close Birstall Leicestershire LE4 4AW I wish to remove 2 Lower limbs Off a horse chestnut tree, the first limb is reaching over next doors property and the second limb is on the opposite side of the tree this to remove for aesthetic and balance reasons. Also after this work I would like to crown reduce the rest by 2-3 meters if possible.

P/20/1394/2: 46 Oakfield Avenue Birstall Leicestershire LE4 3DR Erection of two storey extension to side and rear of dwelling and single storey extension to front

P/20/1282/2: 56 Denegate Avenue Birstall Leicestershire LE4 3GG Certificate of Lawfulness (proposed) for a single storey side extension.

P/20/1257/2: 67 Greengate Lane Birstall Leicestershire LE4 3JG The erection of a single storey rear extension extending beyond the rear wall of the original house by 8.0m, with a maximum height of 3.0m, and height to the eaves of 2.5m.

P/20/1356/2: 1 Church Road Wanlip LE7 4PJ Erection of two storey detached dwelling.