Rothley Post NOV/DEC 2020 (145)

Rothley shop inspires poem

A ROTHLEY man is so impressed with a village shop he wrote a poem about it.

Pic: Presenting his poem at Corts: Norman (ctr) with (l-r) Eileeen Payne, Jim & Sharon Cort, Revd Pam Harvey

89-year-old Norman Harrington visited hardware store Corts on Cross Green to present owners Jim and Sharon Cort with his verse accompanied by Eileen Payne, who typed it up for him, and Reverend Pam Harvey, who encouraged him to write it.

Norman, who has lived in Rothley for 57 years, said: “I’m so impressed with the range of goods at Corts, there’s almost nothing they haven’t got and if they haven’t got it they can get it for you.”

Jim and Sharon‘s shop has been trading for 27 years.

They said: “It is so nice to be appreciated and we are really pleased Norman took the time and trouble to write his poem and come and present it to us.”

Norman’s poem:

In that little shop a mighty stock

There is every make of mortice lock,

A pruning saw that sharply cuts,

Feasts for the woodpecker – peanuts.

Everything is there except caviar!

The place is like an overindulgent grandma

Who gets all the toys grandchildren ask for.

Corts is the store you just can’t ignore.

Plans for 80 homes refused

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rothley site for 40 homes

PLANS FOR 40 dwellings on an area of grassland behind Hickling Close and off Cossington Lane have been sent to Charnwood Borough Council.

Pic: plans for 40 new homes off Cossington Lane

The landowners are seeking ‘pre-application advice’ from the council for their plan to build a ‘high-quality residential development.’

The field currently has a vehicle access point from Cossington Lane and this would be widened to make the access for the development.

Rothley Parish Council has objected to the proposal. It says:

 The site is not in the current or draft new strategy

 It contravenes the emerging Rothley Neighbourhood Plan

 Rothley has had more than its share of new homes

 Local roads cannot cope with more traffic

Planning reference: P/20/1617/2

Grant funding

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

Charnwood Borough Council launched its VCS Covid-19 Recovery grants in a bid to help voluntary organisations respond to community needs during the pandemic.

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

Break-in at Heritage Centre, tools stolen

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

Pic: forced roller doors PHOTO: HERITAGE CENTRE FACEBOOK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GCR receives crisis grant

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1271 homes & new school planned

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

611 NEW homes on land south of Thurcaston feature in Leicester City Council’s draft Local Plan.

The plan also identifies 660 new homes and a 1200 place secondary school on an area of open space off Greengate Lane.

Leicester City Council’s draft plan was put out for public consultation on September 14. You can make your views known on the plan until December 7, when the consultation period ends.

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

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

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

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

The plan also identifies three other sites for development:

• Land west of Anstey Lane

• Western golf course

• Land at Leicester General Hospital.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remembering John Thompson

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

Pic: Rothley newsagent John Thompson

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

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

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

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

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

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

A tribute to John Thompson, from his daughters:

Our dad, our hero

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He was simply the best husband and dad.

Club’s new president

ROTHLEY PARK Cricket Club has elected Robin Bulmer as its new president.

Pic: new club president Robin Bulmer

Robin has been part of the club since the late 1970s as a player, captain, coach, groundsman and committee member, and was delighted to be asked by club Chairman James Upton to take on such a leading role at the club.

Rothley Park Cricket Club is one of the leading club sides in the county with strong links to Leicestershire County Cricket Club. Rothley won the Everards Leicestershire & Rutland Cricket League ECB Premier Division and the Talent County Cup in 2019 and the Ladies team in their first season. They also won the East Midlands Women’s Premier League.

“I was brought up in the village and played cricket at school, but only joined the village team when I was 17 years of age after some friends invited me to the club,” said Robin.

“I continued playing until 2007 and have some good playing memories and made many great friends over the years. I was captain of the first team for six years. Rothley has always had a high standard of cricket, apart from one day in the 1980s. We were playing a team called ‘Adam Brothers and Shardlow’ at the Birstall Co-op ground one wet day. We bowled them out cheaply for 27 runs thanks to Kevin Kinch taking the majority of the wickets and thought we would be in the pub by mid-afternoon with a comfortable win, however, we were bowled out for 24 runs.”

He added: “This season has been positive, even though we managed only a third of the season due to coronavirus. The youngsters excelled, helping the 2nd team win their Group’s Covid-19 Cup competition where the team put in some outstanding performances, which augers well for the future of the club.

“Hopefully, we will be playing a full season of cricket next summer. I would love to see more people from the village coming down to watch games, join as a player or assist in coaching. We have an excellent standard of cricket, a good friendly atmosphere, superb facilities in our new pavilion with bar, refreshments and plenty of space for all the family in the ground.”


Following my request for a seat to be placed adjacent to the tree copse which was planted in memory of Marion Vincent on the Rothley Park, I would like to say a huge thank you to Mr and Mrs Sheppard for the donation of a beautiful seat placed in memory of their anniversary and also in memory of Marion. It was wonderful to sit today overlooking the park in the sunshine with my little dog away from the children's play area. Many thanks again.

Linda and Dolly

* * *

Due to the coronavirus, there will not be a village lights-on evening this year.

But before we exclaim: “Oh, no, they're going to be cancelling Christmas next,” we should probably ask ourselves: “What is Christmas about anyway?"

Perhaps it is time to strip away a lot of the razzmatazz and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ in more simple and humble ways?

Now, there's a thought!

Rev Simon Payne-Mivshuk, Christmas lights organiser

Parish Council notes

A FULL meeting of Rothley Parish Council was held on September 21.

It was reported that counsellors Percy Hartshorn and Steve Mitchell, along with the clerk, met with representatives from Persimmon homes to underline Rothley Parish Council’s commitment to adopting open spaces and to agree on a way forward.

The council agreed to appoint contractors to re-point the gable end of the Village Hall and to improve disabled access.

A full meeting of Rothley Parish Council was held on October 19.

A member of the public requested that the council consider the reopening of the film club at the Rothley Centre, which is very popular with older residents. She also suggested that Rothley Parish Council consider hosting a community fridge, as Mountsorrel Parish Council do.

After some debate on the issues regarding the safety of allowing the film shows to be resumed, it was agreed that permission is granted for one screening to see if it was successful.

The council agreed to submit an objection to plans for 40 dwellings off Cossington Lane.

There is £30,000 of unspent section 106 developer contributions allocated for play equipment in Rothley; £17,000 for children and £13,000 for adult equipment. The Parish Council has appointed a contractor to install the equipment. It will include a seesaw, slide and picnic benches on Mountsorrel Lane playing field and adult gym equipment on Fowke Street playing field.

A FULL meeting of Thurcaston and Cropston Parish Council was held on August 20.

County Councillor at Deborah Taylor reported on the Charnwood Covid-19 infection rate, the Bradgate parking scheme, the County Council initiative promoting wildflower planting in grass verges and the reopening of recycling sites and schools.

It was reported that the parish speed data showed that the average vehicle speed increased in July.

A new digital phone system in the Parish Council office will result in savings of £38 a month.

The council agreed not to open the Memorial Hall to hirers other than the Dance Academy. The hall capacity at social distancing of 2 m is 15.

It was agreed to accept a quotation of £6300 for work at the cemetery including creating pathways and interment plot markings.

A full meeting of Thurcaston and Cropston Parish Council was held on September 17.

In public participation, a member of the public requested that the council discuss the Leicester City Draft Local Plan at its October meeting. A question was asked about the overhanging branches on Leicester Road between Thurcaston and Cropston.

Councillor Deborah Taylor reported that there had been cases of Covid-19 at schools.

It was reported that the average speed for all four speed signs in the villages was over 30 mph in August.

A new picnic bench will be provided in Jubilee Park to replace a bench damaged by a disposable barbecue.

News from Sustainable Rothley

SUSTAINABLE ROTHLEY has carried on doing things for the local environment in small ways.

Bags have been made for the Food Bank, litter collected safely, wildflowers sown and grown. The group is now a member of the Climate Coalition, a campaigning group which includes the National Trust and the Women’s Institute, as well as small community groups like this one.

The next meeting will be on Sunday November 22, from 7-8pm on Zoom. If you’d like to join in, contact the group so you can get the link. If you haven’t used Zoom yet and would like to try it out before the meeting, let the group know at sustainablerothley@gmail.com.

Fabric and recycling

Nottingham Building Society on Woodgate is still able to take fabrics for bags – duvet covers, curtains and pillowcases. Elizabeth Thompson is still able to take recycling for Terracycle – get in touch if you’d like to know how to contact her.

Plastic-free Rothley

The event to celebrate Rothley becoming a Plastic-free Community was cancelled due to the Covid pandemic. There is a certificate waiting to be put on the Rothley Centre wall, but it will need to wait until things are safer.

Pesticide use

The Parish Council is very aware of sustainability issues in its work in the village, and their contractors do not use pesticides. If you’re interested in pesticides and their effects, with alternatives, look up the Pesticide Action Network. Maybe you’d like to think about that weedkiller, or glyphosate or any kind of pesticide you use in your garden – there are alternatives.

The Climate Coalition

The Climate Coalition is the UK’s largest group of people dedicated to action against climate change. The group includes over 140 organisations — including the National Trust, Women's Institute, Oxfam, and RSPB — and is 22 million voices strong. Sustainable Rothley has now been accepted as a member and will be looking at their new activities for local communities.

Litter picking

Local people have approached the group about areas with litter. It’s not possible to have a formal litter pick at the moment but think about taking a litter-picker and a bag with you when you go out for a walk. We can all help keep the village tidy, and there’s no need for masks, gloves etc to be left on the street. If you spot flytipping, get in touch.

The Friday morning market

Ekojoe’s refill and reuse shop visits Rothley every two weeks, and have a large stock of household goods and dried foods etc. They now visit Rothley on alternate Friday mornings, to coincide with a meat/fish van, a large fruit and veg stall and a pie stall. The veg stall is planning to be here every week. The next full dates with Ekojoe’s are November 20, December 4 & 18, at roughly 9am -1pm in the Royal Oak car park. Ekojoe has some lovely little toys for Christmas, and they now have an allotment in Blaby where they’re planning lots of sustainable community activities.

If you have any ideas or time to spare, you can get in touch with Sustainable Rothley by email – sustainablerothley@gmail.com, and you are very welcome at our informal meetings.

News from Rothley library

Since we reopened in August, our revised timings have been operating. This will continue for now and we will give notice if there are to be any changes relating to the Christmas period.

Two public computers are now available for use. If demand is high then we will have to limit your session to a maximum of one hour. There are strict cleaning protocols in place so you can be confident in coming to use the computers.

We are so glad to be open and to be able to offer our library users and volunteers a Covid safe environment although this does limit some of the community activities that we used to offer.

Film Club

Film Club will be taking place in November at the Rothley Centre!

Apologies for having to cancel the October showing of Military Wives. The Parish Council were keen to confirm all the safety measures we intend to put in place were satisfactory. The arrangements (below) have now been accepted by the full Council and so the screening of Military Wives will now take place on Friday November 20 at 2pm.

This film will be FREE OF CHARGE.

There are a number of changes to the normal routine.

~ Following Government guidelines people at cinemas are required to wear a face covering.

~ On entry people will be expected to hand sanitise and record their name & phone details

~ For the present we are not providing refreshments

~ There will be other measures taken to ensure appropriate social distancing.

We very much look forward to seeing you on November 20th. You will be very welcome.

Walking Group

The walking group continues to meet in groups of up to six every Friday at 9.20am. Check beforehand with the leader Alan as not all walks start from the library. Phone 07896346491 or email him. morti.aj@btopenworld.com

Book Boxes & Car Park

The book boxes which are around the village will be collected in shortly and reissued in time for the Easter holidays at the start of April.

The car park has now been completely resurfaced and looks great.


Our AGM would normally be taking place at this time of year but this has been deferred for the present time.

Our fifth anniversary also passed without any public celebration this year. We had hoped to do something very special to mark this achievement but, as with so many things, it is not possible for now. Please continue to support us by taking part in the Charnwood Lottery. There is a link on our web site at rothleycommunitylibrary.co.uk

Some of our volunteers have been with us for well over five years from the initial planning meetings back in February 2015. Inevitably some people's circumstances have changed during this time and so we would really like to invite you to join us at the library as a volunteer. It's completely flexible, you sign up for shifts when it suits you on our computerised rota system. Why not come down to the library, have a chat and see what the various volunteer roles are all about? We have a comprehensive training programme for those who would like to work on the counter. There are lots of other roles though. There's bound to be something to suit you if you have a couple of hours to spare now and then. Just get in touch with us via our website or call into the library.

Remembrance 2020

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

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

In Rothley this year there will be no public ceremony at Cross Green. Instead, at 11am on Sunday November 8, the leader of the Parish Council and a representative of the County Council will meet with the Vicar to lay a wreath at the War Memorial in a very short ceremony.

The uniformed organisations will not be attending and the public is being requested to mark Remembrance in their own homes.

“This is a very difficult request to ask of our community who wish to express their gratitude for those who have fallen in the service of our nation but we are sure you fully understand why this has been necessary for this year,” said Liz Sleath, Rothley Parish Church administrator.

To support the community in marking Remembrance in their own homes, there will be a service from the Parish Church with an Act of Remembrance available on-line on the Rothley Church website, www.rothleychurch.org.uk and via the Rothley Church YouTube channel.

Liz said: “This will feature the memorial that was commissioned by the villagers who lost loved ones in the First World War, together with music from the organ which was donated in their memory, and we hope many of you will be able to watch that in your homes.”

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

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

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

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

You can make a donation by phoning 0845 845 1945.

Or you can donate by text:

To donate £2 text POPPY2 to 70545*

To donate £5 text POPPY5 to 70545*

To donate £10 text POPPY10 to 70545*

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

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

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

Anniversary bench

A ROTHLEY couple, Terry and Pauline Sheppard, celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on September 24.

Pic: Terry & Pauline beside the new bench

They have donated a bench to the village, located at the far side of Fowke Street playing field, a stone’s throw from their home.

The inscription on the bench not only records their anniversary but also makes mention of the nearby copse which was planted in memory of Marion Vincent a fellow, founding member of the Rothley Heritage Trust. Readers of the Rothley Post will be aware that Terry continues to make a contribution to Rothley with an extensive range of books and articles on the heritage of our village.

Latimer Players’ news

THE LATIMER Players, the amateur theatrical group based in Thurcaston, have been meeting monthly via Zoom.

Spokeswoman Laura Simms said: “The Latimer Players are no different to any other struggling drama group during these difficult times. We may not be able to perform on stage but we are still trying to continue with our social events. We are still a thriving group, of various ages, getting together, even if it is virtually, once a month.

“Recently we have held the obligatory Zoom quiz and held a Macmillan Murder Mystery evening, where we raised more than £100 for a great cause. We are hoping to perform something virtually in November, so please keep an eye on our Facebook page for more details. You can find us @latimerplayers.”

If you are interested in joining, email latimerplayers@yahoo.com with your name and some contact details.

History Society news

FOR THE first time in the history of the History Society, our September meeting was held online.

Pic: tram tracks being laid at the Clock Tower PHOTO: LEICESTERSHIRE RECORD OFFICE

A large number of our members joined in and impressed us with their abilities on Zoom.

The speaker was our old friend Peter Liddle and his subject was medieval pilgrimage from Leicestershire.

For our October meeting, we were joined online by local historian Cynthia Brown to tell us about Edwardian Leicester.

Edward VII was king from 1901 to 1910 but the Edwardian period is often viewed as continuing until the beginning of the First World War in 1914. After the long reign of Victoria, Edward’s accession was felt to mark a new era and large crowds attended the official proclamations in Leicester.

Over the previous century the population of the town – not yet designated a city – had grown three-fold to approximately 200,000 people. Many of them were living in crowded conditions and infant mortality was high but during the Edwardian period, significant improvements were made as a result of better diet and healthcare. For example, a school medical service was started and a charity provided fresh milk to children at low cost. The workhouse continued in operation but, for those too sick to work, a new Poor Law Infirmary was built in North Evington. It later became the General Hospital.

The major industries of the town were hosiery, footwear and the manufacture of the associated machinery, as well as diverse products such as cardboard boxes, cigars and biscuits.

Leicester was known for its radical politics and several of the businesses, such as Equity Shoes, were run as co-operatives. The future Labour prime minister Ramsay MacDonald was elected as MP for Leicester in 1906.

The talk was well illustrated with photographs from the period. They show busy streets with mostly horse-drawn traffic but that began to change with the arrival of electric trams in 1902. The network was centred on the Clock Tower and Cynthia told us that you can still see where the overhead cables were attached to it.

High Street was widened to accommodate the trams and if you look above the modern shop fronts it has many fine examples of Edwardian buildings. One casualty was the annual Leicester Fair, which had been popular for centuries but ended soon after it was moved from its site in Humberstone Gate to keep the tramlines clear.

A number of other municipal facilities were introduced at this time, including the De Montfort Hall (1913) and a golf course at Western Park that was open to working people. The new crematorium at Gilroes Cemetery was only the second in the country but it took some time to be accepted.

New Walk Museum was extended and the Bishop Street Library was opened in person by its donor, the US steel magnate Andrew Carnegie.


Celebrating 20 years

ROTHLEY BASED Agora Marketing Communications Ltd is celebrating 20 years of trading as an outsourced marketing service.

Pic: Steve Thomason - Marketing Doctor at Agora

Steve Thomason, Marketing Doctor at Agora, said: “We would like to thank all our customers over the years for their trust in us, our suppliers who have partnered with us and met our demands, and those people who have worked for us, thank you.”

Over the last 20 years, Agora has supported over 120 companies with their marketing, helping them to achieve their objectives.

Kitchen boosts charity

A RESTAURANT that diversified by delivering Sunday dinners to your door has been donating £1 for every meal sold to locally-based charity Alex’s Wish.

Pic: Alex with the cheque from Ben’s Kitchen

Ben’s Kitchen is based at Forest Hills Golf Club. Ben said: “It’s been an incredible several months and I for one never thought I’d live and work through times like these and yet here we are.

"We had to think quickly about how we could keep the business open and running and that meant being relevant to what people wanted during lockdown. Feeling like you’re going out for dinner, even when you can’t, by accessing high-quality food prepared by someone else felt right and so we quickly introduced an online ordering system to our website and put out the word via our Facebook page. Sunday Dinner Delivered Straight to Your Door was a hit from day one and it makes me so pleased that Alex’s Wish has benefitted from a £1 donation from each meal.

I know it isn’t a lot but we’re a very small company and I think to do something – however small - rather than nothing is the point. Our customers are pleased with our decision to support such a fabulous charity, I’m pleased and so is Alex’s Wish so its win, win, win all round! So far we’ve donated £1,034 to Alex’s Wish.

“We’ve also been keeping ourselves busy by cooking hundreds of meals for NHS workers on the frontline who’ve worked tirelessly protecting our safety as we fight against Covid-19.”

Speaking on behalf of Alex’s Wish, Emma Hallam, founder and Mum to Alex after whom the charity is named said, “We’re so grateful to Ben and Ben’s Kitchen for donating £1 from every Sunday Dinner sold. Their donation of over £1,000 is amazing and just goes to show how donations can build up over time. In times like these literally every penny, let alone pound, counts and for a small business to be thinking about others at a time like this is testament to the kindness and generosity of people like Ben. I’d like to say a huge thank you to Ben and his team for their ongoing support!”

New link road for Thurcaston Road

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grant helps group reach out

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some feedback from participants:

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

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

Bradgate car parking

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

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

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

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

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

Earlybird up to 9 am £1 (£2 weekends)

Three hours £3 (£4 weekends)

Full day £4.50 (£5.50 weekends)

After 4 pm £2 (seven days)

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

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

Show must go on

THURCASTON AND Cropston Gardening Club organised a ‘Summer Showcase’ this year, as Covid-19 prevented the usual annual show from taking place.

Members were invited to send in photos of their flowers, vegetables and craft items.

A club spokesman said: “Thank you to all those members who sent photos for all the classes we asked for. We hope you enjoy the pictures.

“At the beginning of lockdown, we couldn’t have imagined that the club would still be unable to meet six months later, but here we are with no sign of a lifting of restrictions.

“The Parish Council is, understandably, sticking to government guidelines and a resumption of our events now seems far away.”

Club’s defibrillator

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Colourful NHS charity day

OVER 200 members turned out to play in the recent NHS Charity Day at Rothley Park Golf Club.

Pic: Vice Captain, Simon Green, with the fabulously colourful ‘Rainbow’ team comprising Darren Want, Asa English, Jonno Arkle and Jez Perry.

Club Captain, Alan Dorn and Vice Captain, Simon Green were at the tee at 7am to see the first team start the competition. Meanwhile, Presidents, Gilly Clear and Robin Laurie, together with Lady Captain, Jenny Piecha and Lady Vice Captain, Libby Carter prepared the halfway Caddyshack with an array of refreshments including fresh sandwiches, scotch pies and home-baked cakes. The Scotch Pies, proving especially popular, had been flown down from the famous Murdoch's Butchers in Inverness-shire by Scottish Robin.

Many members entered the spirit of the event by wearing ‘rainbow-themed’ golf attire. Robert Jelley who is usually ‘nailed on’ to top the award was forced to give way on this occasion to Jez Perry, Darren Want, Jonno Arkle and Asa English who were only short of 'indigo' from their wardrobe.

Congratulations to the big winners of the event who were the Full Square Team of John Boggis, Mel Coupland, Ian Patchett and Craig Parkin. They secured first place on count-back from Maz Sharpe, Tom Rees, Tom Morgan, and Alun Harry. Also, in the winners’ circle, was Michael Green, who won a golf weekend for four people at the Gleneagles Hotel in the raffle. Lou Preedy won a Pamper Day at Ragdale Hall and well done to Andrew Jones, Tom James and Jenny Piecha who won a weekend drive in a ‘high end’ Mercedes car so look out for these around Rothley soon.

Lady President, Gilly Clear, said: “The success of the day was due to the enthusiasm of all the Rothley members and their incredible generosity. A big thank you to all members, sponsors, helpers and staff who supported us either before or on the day. The final amount raised was £8,075. This amount will be split equally between the Leicester Neo-Natal unit and The Osborne Unit.”

Pic: Vice Captain, Simon Green, with the fabulously colourful ‘Rainbow’ team comprising Darren Want, Asa English, Jonno Arkle and Jez Perry.