Birstall Post july 2020 (number 444)

Caring for Covid-19 patients

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Abi Duckham

Jailed for robbery

Pic: Craig Sheldon has been jailed

A ROBBER who stole cash from a Birstall betting shop after pulling a knife from his coat has been jailed for seven and a half years.

Craig Sheldon was involved in robberies at premises across Leicester between December last year and February this year with items including cash, cigarettes and alcohol being stolen.

During some of the robberies, he was reported to be in possession of a knife.

Officers carried out investigative work into the robberies including CCTV analysis and gathering witness accounts. As a result, Sheldon was arrested in February this year and he was subsequently charged.

At a Leicester Crown Court hearing earlier this year, Sheldon (41) of Drummond Road, Leicester, pleaded guilty to four counts of robbery, three counts of possession of a knife and one count of theft.

The offences were:

A robbery at the BetFred bookmakers on Sibson Road, Birstall, at around 7.50pm on 1 February this year, during which cash was stolen. A man who was working in the premises reported a man entering the store and pulling a knife from inside his coat before stealing the cash.

A robbery at premises in Belgrave Boulevard, Leicester, at around 6pm on 31 December 2019. A woman who was in the store at the time reported some men entering the store and snatching items. One of the men was reported to have threatened her. Items including cigarettes, coffee and alcohol were stolen. No injuries were reported.

Robbery at premises in Beaumanor Road, Leicester, just after midnight on 2 February this year. A man and a woman who were at the premises reported two men entering and that one of the men had a machete. The male victim reported being punched during the incident, suffering from grazes and swellings to his face. Cash was stolen from a till during the robbery.

A robbery at premises on Norwich Road just before 3pm on 1 February this year during which cash, scratch cards and a mobile phone were stolen. A woman who was in the premises reported a man entering in possession of a knife. He made threats before stealing the items. No injuries were reported.

Three counts of possession of a knife – on Norwich Road and Sibson Road on 1 February and on Beaumanor Road on 2 February.

Theft of razor blades from premises on Exploration Drive, Leicester, on 17 January this year.

Sheldon was sentenced at the same court on Tuesday, June 9.

Officer in the case, Detective Constable Jack Cornick said: “Sheldon was involved in these robberies at businesses where people work hard to make a living. He did this purely for his own greed.

“We will take action in these cases and will work to ensure justice is done.

“I am pleased the guilty pleas were made in this case and hope this result helps the victims of these offences in some way to see the defendant accept full responsibility for his actions.”

LOROS warehouse opens for clothing donations

LOROS HOSPICE has opened its warehouse in Glenfield to donations of clothing for the first time since lockdown.

The warehouse, located at 1 Station Road, Glenfield, is now open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10am-3pm.

“Donations are absolutely essential to LOROS to raise the funds which support our patient care, so please do bring your items along,” said Gary McMillan-Dale, LOROS Retail Manager.

“Please bear in mind that due to the pandemic we are accepting a restricted list of donations, so don’t bring anything else or we’ll have to ask you to take it away again”, adds Gary.

LOROS can currently only accept:

clean clothes

bric-a-brac items

small electrical items

boxed toys and games

computer games and consoles

vinyl records

Birstall’s LOROS shop opened on June 15. It is open from 10am-3pm Mon-Sat. It will not be accepting donations of items.

Back in business: shops, nurseries & businesses begin to reopen

JUNE SAW the reopening of many shops and businesses in Birstall for the first time in three months.

As lockdown restrictions eased, businesses had to consult government guidance and introduce measures to ensure their premises were safe places for customers and clients.

Shona Rattray, from Shop Local Birstall, said: “It's been 12 weeks since the Government announced full lockdown forcing most of our Birstall retail businesses to close, to help stop the spread of the virus.

“From Monday June 15, non-essential retailers are being allowed to re-open and many of our Birstall businesses have worked hard to get their shops and businesses ready to open safely. All shops will have the appropriate social distancing measures in place to ensure you can shop safely. Remember to keep your 2m distance in shops, and in the streets.

“Please support your local shops and businesses in Birstall by visiting your favourite local stores. Pop in and say hello. We're all very much looking forward to seeing our customers again.”

Addicted to Colour

Luke Halford at hairdressing salon Addicted to Colour on Birstall Road said: “The whole team did a zoom call online and are so looking forward to getting back to work and seeing all our regulars, we are taking appointments online from July 4 for six weeks. Appointments beyond that will be added later. Although the phone lines are closed we are calling all our regulars to arrange appointments and we look forward to seeing you soon."

Luke says the lockdown has been an opportunity to reflect and work on new ideas for the future of the salon.

He said: “We’ve decided to increase our opening hours to 12 hours per day, seven days a week to start, with our team on split six-hour shifts to keep things safe and cope with the increased demand.“

There will be fewer people in the salon at any one time and staff will be equipped with PPE, he said.

Birstall Dental Practice

Mukesh Shah from Birstall Dental Practice said: “The pandemic has hurt the business hard, at present, the NHS is supporting us but we will be working at 10 to 25% efficiency. We opened on June 8 but only to clear our backlog of urgent cases and later to complete treatment stopped by the pandemic."

The practice has introduced a policy of appointments only and distancing. The surgery has split into two teams -if one team falls ill, the other can carry on. All the surgeries have forced mechanical ventilation to remove aerosols in the surgery. The waiting rooms, when they can be used properly, will have air purifiers to kill any viruses. The reception has a perspex barrier to protect the staff. All people visiting the practice will have to wear masks.

During lockdown, the practice could only provide advice, analgesics and antibiotics. Urgent care centres were set up, but only for extractions – everyone else had to wait it out.

Mukesh said: “The high points have been helping out the nearby care homes with masks as they were running short, donating cases of masks and gloves to urgent care centres and donating money to the food banks.”

He added: “When the patients come back they will see us with a lot more PPE to protect them and ourselves. Patients will be rung a day before to make sure they are fine to attend and possibly pay in advance so they don't have to stay in the building.

"We are still here for our patients. They should not worry about coming back!”

MDW Fireplaces

MDW fireplaces on Sibson Road reopened on June 1. Hayley Warne said: “The first two weeks of lockdown were unsettling, we were aware that grant and furlough schemes were to be rolled out but the finer details hadn't been announced. As a family run business with no other income coming in, it was worrying and paying our staff first was our priority.

“During our time of closure, it has been nice to take the time to think of new business ideas to take the business forward. It's also been nice to see businesses that could remain open being busy as more people wanted to avoid the bigger stores and shop local.”

She added: “It's been very sad seeing the Birstall businesses closed, a lot of Birstall businesses are independent businesses, peoples blood, sweat and tears and their whole life in one building. Of course, this closure has had a financial impact on every business.

“We have social distancing measures in place and are limiting the number of customers at any one time. We have a hand sanitiser station, as well as gloves and masks available should customers want to use them. We have a desk screen and we are cleaning throughout the day.

“Sourcing items that meet the criteria and are in stock was a challenge, however as soon as we received these prepping the showroom was straight forward.

“It's very much business as usual in our showroom, just with a few safety tweaks here and there. please pop in to see us if you are looking for a new fireplace, stove, gas or electric fire or requiring spares and accessories for your existing appliance.”

Birstall Golf Club

The game of golf was one of the first sports to have lockdown measures eased by the UK government and on May 13 Birstall Golf Club opened its course up again to its membership.

A club spokesperson said: “Having received around just two days' notice from the sport’s governing body, England Golf, that golf courses could reopen again, Birstall’s members began teeing off at 8am on Wednesday. A skeleton greens team managed to get the course back to a playable condition inside a couple of days.”

The club took steps to ensure that social distancing was maintained with the introduction of a mandatory online tee booking system, which meant that no one was waiting around the first tee to start their round of golf. All bunker rakes around the course were removed as well as ball washers and litter bins being sealed off. Other steps to ensure players’ safety included hand sanitiser units being installed next to the 1st and 10th tees.

For an initial period of two weeks, members were only allowed to play in a two-ball format with a 10-minute gap between tee times to try to ensure distancing between groups. Since the initial opening, a further easing of lockdown measures has meant that groups of four players can now play together.

The spokesman said: “Like all amateur golf organisations, Birstall Golf Club faces many challenges in these changed and uncertain times. However, during the lockdown period, the club still received and processed new applications for membership from people both new to golf and those returning to golf.

“By late June, club competitions will be returning with new rules and protocols to help ensure that the game of golf complies with revised social distancing ensuring the safety of all players.”

Membership packages at Birstall Golf Club start from £350 for new joiners.

Birstall Rainbow Nursery

Children returned to Rainbow Nursery in Birstall on Monday June 1 after 10 weeks of lockdown due to Covid-19.

In line with Government guidelines, the nursery has re-opened with new measures to protect children, parents and staff after all childcare settings were closed in March.

Birstall’s longest running nursery, Rainbow Nursery has been open for over 30 years and this was the longest closure in its history.

During the lockdown, children at home have been enjoying stories, songs and games via video from nursery staff.

Nursery Manager, Paula Wright, said: “Parents know that the first few years of their child’s life are critical and many parents have been telling us how keen they are for their child to return. Lots of parents need childcare to get back to work – whether that is in their normal workplace or at home. Our spectacular outdoor play area will give many children the opportunity to play outside that they haven’t had for several months now.

“We have been working flat out so that we can open the nursery in a way which is safe for everyone. We have new measures and procedures in place to limit the number of people that each child is interacting with.”

During the lockdown, the nursery has been open for the children of key workers and for vulnerable children. Staff have been coming into work to care for these children, ensuring that critical workers on the frontline of the fight against Covid-19 have been able to go to work.

Dan Slipper, Director, said: “We have to pay a real tribute to our staff, some of whom have been working throughout the lockdown to ensure that critical workers in the NHS and armed forces have been able to get to work. They will be able to look back in pride knowing that they did their bit during this unprecedented time.”

New measures and procedures that came into effect from June 1 include:

• Only children and staff will be allowed into the nursery, with parents being met at the front door.

• Children displaying symptoms will need to stay away from nursery for 14 days.

• Each child’s room will become a bubble, not interacting with any other bubble. For example, they won’t mix with other rooms in the outdoor play area. This will drastically reduce the number of other people they interact with at nursery.

• Activities and games will be carefully planned to avoid physical contact.

Virtual tours are being released on the website so that prospective parents can view the nursery without leaving home.

Jean celebrates her 100th birthday

A LONG-time Birstall resident has celebrated her hundredth birthday at a Beaumont Leys care home.

Pic: Jean with her birthday cake

Jean Ward lived on Kilby Avenue and was a well-known local figure, often seen walking her greyhound rescue dog Marty.

She now lives at Beaumont Hall care home and her daughter Gena organised a 1920s themed birthday party for her mum‘s 100th birthday on May 29.

Cyclists dressed in 1920s outfits delivered presents and Jean watched video messages recorded by her family in Australia.

It was Jean's first time outside after shielding for 10 weeks and she enjoyed a cup of tea with daughter Gina and guests, all observing social distancing. BBC East Midlands Today and ITV Central News were there to interview Jean for broadcast later that day.

Lloyd’s May challenge

A FUNDRAISING challenge to run and cycle 400 km in May by Birstall’s Lloyd Carter has seen £697 raised for NHS charities.

Pic: fundraiser Lloyd Carter

37-year-old Lloyd, of Woodgate Drive, set himself the challenge to say thank you to the NHS.

He said: “ I’d seen a lot of people taking part in the sponsored runs and walks and wanted to take part in something similar in order to raise funds. My target was £250 and I ended up raising £697 for NHS charities.”

He added: “The challenge was harder than I thought so it felt good to complete it. Everyone has been extremely generous, as it’s a cause that everyone is grateful for.”

To donate, go to virginmoneygiving.com/Lloyd Carter

Flexpress supports local charity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Community group widens its support

A COMMUNITY group in Birstall that was formed at the start of the pandemic to support vulnerable people with shopping has broadened its activities.

Helping our community LE4 group and its network of volunteers and supporters have been making NHS scrubs, face coverings, preparing food parcels and more.

Co-founder Rosie Rollings writes:

Following on from our care bags for the homeless that were donated to Open Hands Charity, we were gifted over 100 breakfast boxes from Travelodge. These were gratefully received by the Open Hands charity and handed out in Leicester to those in need. Staying on the subject of food, it was amazing to receive over 700 Greggs doughnuts that were handed to the residents of Birstall. Voluntary Action Charnwood received over 15,000 doughnuts and used the Borough Councillors to distribute them to the communities where possible. Having a well-established Community group paid off and our Borough Councillor Roy Rollings made more than one trip to fill his car. It was lovely to see people enjoying a treat.

Puzzle Exchange

We started a puzzle exchange and delivery to those that are shielding or self-isolating. This was as a result of a request for a couple of jigsaws - within two days over 70 had been dropped off so it was the natural thing to do. Puzzle swops are available every Monday.


The Birstall scrubs team have been busy making and distributing scrubs made with donated fabric from Noah Evans. Around 970 pairs have been given to our local hospitals and Rainbows hospice. We will reach over 1000, this was a dream number that we didn't think we could achieve but that's due us meeting another scrub group (LOSH) run by Steve Ellis and his team. They have been fantastic and have gifted made up scrubs (more than 200 sets). They also donated fabric and cut it for our group to sew over 100 sets. Steve shares my passion for getting the scrubs out ASAP. Teamwork has enabled us to get more scrubs out there to front line NHS Staff who really need them. Bespoke scrubs have also been made for those of a non-standard size.

Face Coverings

We have distributed over 300 face-coverings to the community that have all been sewn in Birstall. We have received lots of requests for ear saver headbands. Steve Ellis and his team gifted us fabric, made up headbands and ear savers till we could catch up with demand. The quantity of everything was enormous, including a huge amount of buttons. Lots of the pupils at the Cedars have helped to sort them as part of "10 things you have done to help the NHS". We will continue to make scrubs as we have been allocated Noah Evans’ special fabric.

We are working on the best and most beneficial way of distributing it to sewers and the special heroes in our NHS.

Discharge Packs

Pic: Donated items being sorted into packs for patients leaving hospital

We launched an appeal for help with discharge packs for the UHL Hospitals. The community has been so generous, the packs will ensure that no one leaves home without the essentials. Tea, milk, bread, soup, cereal and a few extras.

Community Quilt

We have decided that we would like our community to be a part of local history and that we will make a memory quilt for the community by the community. After considerable thought, it was decided we needed more than one. Rosie Rollings will be co-coordinating the scrubs group quilt. Rachel Roe will be co-coordinating the children's quilt and Kelly Oldcorn will be coordinating the community quilt. This, we hope, will depict all the businesses, individuals, and community groups that pulled our community together. Shona Rattray will be doing the signage for the quilts. Everyone in the community is welcome to collect a fabric square and paint, embroider or embellish a square to depict what lockdown meant to them. There is a quilting space waiting for you!


We still collect prescriptions for those self-isolating.

Thank You

Special thanks go to Querida Alexander for her ongoing help and support to our scrubs group and to Steve Ellis and his team for helping in so many ways and so generously. Without Steve and Amanda, we wouldn't have reached 1000. Thanks also to the wonderful community that makes this all possible. Birstall is a place to be proud of, the admin team thank each and everyone, with a special mention to Holly Van Geffen. Holly made personalised scrubs for frontline NHS staff in our community. Holly has received life long care and wanted to give something back following a double lung transplant. Holly was shielding and used her time doing this. Holly has received an award from UHL for "going above and beyond" and we hope to share more of this very soon. I'm sure the whole community will join in saying well done Holly we are very proud of you.

Martin Burton from Mowbray foods donates 5% of his Friday and Saturday fruit and veg market takings to us in goods for the discharge lounge. We are still accepting essentials: tea, soup, UHT, milk and cereal.

Challenging time for Birstall schools

BIRSTALL’S SCHOOLS had a staged reopening in June, managed by the Lionheart Academies Trust.

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

The Cedars Academy has been the key worker school for all Lionheart Academies Trust schools in the north area for the duration of schools being locked down. As all schools started to re-open in June, the key worker provision went back to the individual schools. The exception was at Hallam Fields, which sadly - due to the government requirements for small class sizes as well as the many additional requirements needed to safeguard our children efficiently - meant the school was unable to re-open as a building, and the provision for Hallam Fields children moved to Riverside.

Having a small staff team and some staff shielding, any need for isolation would have meant the school would have to be closed completely to key worker pupils. Working with Riverside allows us to ensure the provision remains open for key worker pupils and the wider number of pupils who are now able to attend. The staff from Hallam Fields who are available to work are working within the Riverside building.

Frequent changes to Government guidelines and expectations have meant that we have had to adapt quickly and communicate as soon as we are able. We appreciate that this may have been frustrating at times, but we are acting as quickly as we can, given the timelines we have to work to.

Setting up our school buildings to be compliant with the guidelines was a huge endeavour, but our Premises Team and the Trust’s Operations Team have done a terrific job to ensure we meet the standards expected of us whilst still allowing our learners to come into school in the designated year groups.

Staff have been hugely encouraged at how positive the children were in coming back into the building.

Parents seemed comfortable to be dropping children off, and have been positive with the children’s experience. Some staff were a little nervous in advance of returning to the building but feel much better now that the children are back in.

The capacity is restricted based on the rooms and staffing available and is at, or very near, capacity with key worker and EYFS pupils all joining, which has limited availability for Year 1 and Year 6 children.

At Cedars, all Year 10 learners were offered the opportunity to come back into school. Those who responded have been placed in four groups, with one group attending each day in line with government guidelines.

Year 12 students at Cedars Martin Sixth Form are having tutorials on Microsoft Teams to support their learning.

The behaviour of all those coming back into school has been really positive and staff have been delighted to be back with their pupils and teaching face to face again.


In May, we conducted surveys of pupils, staff and parents to get a sense of well being, engagement and the online learning provision. The responses have been overwhelmingly positive and have provided feedback that will genuinely influence how we take things forward.

Summer holidays

Staff have worked throughout the lockdown, with many continuing to provide support during the Easter and half-term breaks. They are exhausted and they all need to recuperate over the summer and spend time with their friends and families.

Research points to summer catch up sessions being of little value academically unless they are led by highly skilled teachers, and as teachers and support staff are not employed to work over the summer and need to rest before the long term leading to Christmas to prevent autumn absences, this will not be possible. We are also aware that many of our pupils have also been working very hard throughout the lockdown and need a break.

Building improvements

Pic: the new Cedars science block

The Trust has plans for significant improvements to the buildings of Birstall’s schools over the summer. The new science block at Cedars will be completed and every school has some works planned, inside or out.

The Trust has already invested a significant amount in the premises of Birstall’s schools. The photos show just some of the exciting new areas – new outdoor areas at Highcliffe, new outdoor paths at Riverside and work about to start on external play areas, various refurbishments at Cedars including new sports changing rooms.

Catch Up funding

The DfE recently announced additional funding for schools to support learners in catching up. There are no quick fixes for this, and to ensure that the money is spent effectively staff need time to assess where the gaps are, which can only take place when they have been teaching learners back in school and have worked to settle them emotionally after this difficult period.

We will, therefore, be using the funding to support long-lasting, sustainable work in the coming year, and signposting to community and charity-led opportunities for sports etc. over the summer where these are available.


With the move to delivering education online, students without access to the internet and/or a device are significantly disadvantaged. The government has recognised this and will provide a small number of laptops. Our data shows that this will not meet the need across the trust. The Trust IT team has done a lot of work to identify learners for whom lack of device or internet is the reason for them not engaging with online learning. The team also identified a suitable package including a Chromebook and, where necessary, a mobile internet router that would give these learners what they need to access online learning. The Trust considers this disadvantaged group a high priority and has therefore invested over £250,000 to provide these students with the tools they need to learn. All safeguarding and security issues have been considered and accounted for. It is heartening to know that students were using the online learning resources within 45 minutes of the first Chromebooks being collected.


No one can yet predict how Covid-19 will impact on the community by September. The Confederation of School Trusts (CST) is making a strong case to the DfE that schools need to have roadmaps for at least two scenarios by the end of June so that they can prepare ahead of the summer holidays and then step back from strategic planning while they rest and recover. The scenarios they are suggesting will be needed are:

A) Returning using a rota system of week on / week off to allow for social distancing

B) Everyone back but with more hand washing etc. than usual

It seems inevitable that any scenarios will be in draft form – over the summer weeks more medical evidence will become available and the impact of schools partially reopening in the UK and elsewhere will be better understood. The Trust is continuing to create and update detailed risk assessments that then impact on plans for re-opening.

Thank you

Bernard Saunders has been a governor at Highcliffe since before the trust became involved and has been chair in recent years, through a wide range of challenges and positive developments. He has decided it is time to step down and the Trust is very grateful to Bernard and we wish him all the best.

Deer jumps into Birstall garden

Pic: Roe deer in a Birstall garden

A ROE deer was spotted by Birstall milkman Richard Kilby on Whiles Lane early one morning in May.

He watched as it ran into the car park of Birstall Medical Centre and jumped into the back garden of the neighbouring property, owned by John and Kath Lee.

“My first thought was, what the hell is that doing here?” said Mr Lee, who had got up at 6am and found it on his lawn.

“It was trying to get over a 6-foot fence, but couldn’t, so I walked outside to open the garden gate onto the road,” said John.

“It was jumping around, going mad, but eventually it saw the gate was open and ran through it,” he added.

A Leicestershire County Council spokesperson said: “Over the years we have had two species of deer recorded at Watermead. The most common is the Reeves muntjac, which is not native to the UK. The other species is the native Roe deer. There is not a herd of deer at Watermead but occasionally deer will use the park, as they would any other wild space.”

Hospital transformed to confront virus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Parish Council notes

A FULL meeting of Birstall Parish Council was held via zoom on June 8.

Councillor Ann Marshall was elected as chairman of the council for the ensuing year.

PC David Jaeckels reported that there had not been much crime in the last two months but that it had increased in the last two weeks. There has been a rise in assault and there were two robberies, including one when a boy had his bike taken from him.

One person was arrested and released for this and also interviewed about a robbery on Watermead Country Park. PC Jaeckels said that the suspects were a group of young people from Beaumont Leys.

An assault three weeks ago when the victim’s arm was broken had resulted in an arrest.

Two people have been arrested following the discovery of a cannabis factory on Harrowgate Drive. 200–300 plants were found.

Two men have been arrested in connection with car break-ins on the Gates estate.

PC Jaeckels reported that Birstall‘s new PCSO Cody Taylor joined the Birstall Beat team a week ago.

Cllr Julian Howe said that the council would need to review its budget as a result of the pandemic. Chair and Marshall said the council had lost income and the budget was being reviewed.

Cllr Geoff Green said it would be worthwhile to look at areas where the council could improve its performance and consider the way it operates. He suggested a committee be formed to look into it. The clerk said a clear proposal would have to be submitted before it could be included on a forthcoming agenda.

Garden waste

CHARNWOOD BOROUGH Council returned its garden waste service to its normal fortnightly collections on Monday, June 15.

The service had been operating in a limited capacity since the end of April following a period of suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.

From June 15, customers will leave their bins out on their normal garden waste collection day and not a Monday.

The schedule is available on the Council website.


I would like to express my sincere thanks for the very many cards, flowers, care and support I have received from the members of Birstall Bowls club, neighbours and friends following the death of my husband Ron.

At the present difficult time, this has been of great comfort.

Hazel Andrews

I write this update for the ‘Post’ following the news that the coronavirus ‘alert level’ for the country has been reduced to 3, and that the scientific review of the ‘2-metre rule’ ordered by the Prime Minister is due to report next week, the last full week of June. With new infections and the number of deaths from this dreadful disease continuing to decline, we are turning the tide on coronavirus, but the job isn’t finished yet. We need to continue to stay alert, follow the scientific and clinical advice to protect ourselves and others from infection.

I know that many businesses, and individuals, despite the Chancellor’s unprecedented and significant financial support package, have found things tough. While more shops have now been able to re-open – and I would encourage readers to support their local shops here where you can do so – pubs and restaurants, at the time of writing, remain closed with no firm date yet for them to open their doors again. Pubs, restaurants, and hospitality businesses, that sit at the heart of community life, have been particularly impacted by the restrictions, and I have been in touch with many such businesses in recent weeks. I am hopeful that, as soon as it is possible to do so safely, we will see our fantastic local pubs and restaurants able to reopen. We are making real progress, and we have been guided by scientific advice throughout. But we must remain alert to avoid a damaging ‘second wave’, and I believe we continue to strike the right balance in getting our country and economy back open for business, but in a cautious and measured way that is safe from a health perspective.

As always, if I can be of any assistance to you, please do email me at edward.argar.mp@parliament.uk or write to me at Edward Argar MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA. While the volume of correspondence, understandably, over the past few months has averaged over 100 emails per day, I and my team continue to work hard to respond and to help where we are able to do so. I apologise that, given that volume, occasionally my response may be a little delayed, or very occasionally I may inadvertently omit to reply. On the very few occasions that happens, I apologise, and please do chase up a reply, and, again, we’ll do our best to help.

I conclude with a big thank you to all those who have been working in the front-line, in whatever capacity, and I hope that all readers of the ‘Post’ continue to keep well.

Edward Argar MP

Member of Parliament for Charnwood

I think Mr Woods' idea of building on just one side of Greengate Lane and enhancing the 'green wedge' on the other side is an ingenious idea!

My garden backs onto this 'green wedge' of land so I know what's in my back yard.

There is an absolute abundance of wildlife.

At night there are owls hooting and feeding their squeaking babies and vixens screaming - quite a racket! And then in the daytime, there's quite a list of birds that fly and feed across this 'green wedge' of farmland: buzzards, skylarks, red-legged partridges, the first time this year a red kite, laughing green woodpeckers and new for 2020, a colourful Jay has been spotted a couple of times in what we call 'The Tree of Life' - a large ash tree that sits on the bank of the railway cutting.

Despite Mr Woods' excellent suggestion, part of me thinks it's a done deal and the houses will go up regardless and the best we can hope for is that they name the roads on the new estate after the birds that used to live there: Owl Hoot Way and Red Legged Partridge Close.

Ms S C Berry

I would like to sincerely thank all of the customers who have supported my business over the last 15 years.

I have decided that this is the time for me to retire, and so have closed the shop with immediate effect.

Over the years I have worked with many families and have endeavoured to provide quality flowers for both happy and sad occasions.

Many memories of you all will stay with me for years to come.

I thank you again and send every good wish for your future and the village of Birstall.

Gill Bolton

New World Florist

My name is Bernadette Gibson and I live on Wanlip Lane. As I write this on June 18 Chris and I emerged from 13 weeks of shielding for a short walk last Tuesday evening. Although we only went as far as Birstall village, it was lovely to stretch our legs and see the outside world again.

Last month my letter and two of my haiku, 'Watermead Country Park' and 'Birstall canal dance' were published in The Birstall Post.

I would be grateful if you could publish another one of my poems that I wrote a few years back, inspired by a very good-natured cat that used to visit us when we lived on a boat.

Cats’ Tales

For Fiddle

Never forget that

cats like a good chat,

their tails

are always like maps,

you know where they’re at,

they trail

when they’re feeling sad,

lift when feeling glad.

Cats’ tails.

By Bernadette Gibson

Please allow me, through your columns, to thank a lady from Walnut Avenue who has been helping me out with shopping over the last few weeks. To celebrate my 80th birthday, our kind government gave me the present of LOCKDOWN, which, it assures me, will possibly allow me to see my 81st. So far so good. However, the rush resulting on the delivery services from supermarkets has made life a little difficult (to say the least) and without that lady doing the odd bit of shopping for me she has prevented me from an excess of slimming.

Dr D McNeil

On Saturday while walking through the park, we saw a man with children in the small gated play area, having lifted them over the fencing then climbed over himself to allow the small children to play on the baby swings, slide etc. This while his partner stood watching with a small dog on a lead. Disbelief that they ignored the warning notice attached to the padlocked gate, how ignorant are some people putting their children at risk and ignoring safety warnings it beggars belief.

Mrs M Meachem

Age UK Leicester Shire & Rutland have responded to the (ever) changing needs of the community in these challenging times and their Think Digital Project and its Digital Champion Volunteers have gone online. Although it might feel scary to many, we can help one-to-one with smartphones (both Android and iPhones), Android tablets, iPads, laptops and desktops. We have already helped many people gain confidence in using their equipment, download apps that help them keep in touch with family, assisted grandparents to enjoy reading bedtime stories to their grandchildren, set up tablets so that those living alone can have “Virtual Meals” with family and friends, applying for jobs, online shopping – and much more. We are also looking at the possibility of a Tablet Loan Scheme as we appreciate many do not have the equipment or even broadband and need some support to get started with technology. Let us know if this is something you would be interested in. Whether you need support by phone or online, want to be kept informed about physical IT Help Groups when they re-start, or just don’t know where to begin – give the project a call on 0116 223 7371 or email us on thinkdigital@ageukleics.org.uk and we will do our very best to help.

Jeanette Silver

Think Digital Project Co-ordinator

NHW news & crime report

Our Newsletter

We are not able to deliver the paper version of ‘Village Watch News’ at the moment but are still publishing it on our website: www.villagewatch.co.uk.

Lockdown is Easing

The gradual lifting of lockdown restrictions may lead some people to believe that the virus is not as dangerous as it was first thought to be. Unfortunately, this is not the case and the death toll would have been very much greater without them. While the incidence of serious illness and death varies between different groups, it occurs right across the board to a greater or lesser degree. The risk to any particular individual cannot be predicted and being complacent or careless could always have a tragic outcome.

The more at-risk groups are very aware that they must continue to be extremely careful to avoid infection. Most people understand this and their response in helping and protecting their neighbours has been magnificent. But throughout the crisis, there have been those who believed that the consequences of infection would not be serious for them and that they could behave as they pleased.

It is likely that this view may become more common as restrictions are lifted. Please remember that selfish behaviour can still have serious consequences, both for yourself and many others.

TV Licences

The scam emails have not stopped and the criminals have latched on to the fact that free TV licences for those over seventy-five are coming to an end. This was due to happen on May 31 and people have received scam messages asking for bank details in order to renew their licence.

None of these are genuine. Because of the Covid-19 crisis, the change date has been put back and all free licences will now remain valid until July 31, whatever the expiry date printed on them.

If you have a free licence you should not do anything at the moment. It is expected that an announcement will be made towards the end of July.

Covid-19-related Scams

Action Fraud has reported that over £5,000,000 has been stolen since March by criminals in scams related to the current crisis.

Please be very wary of emails and telephone calls from people you do not know offering goods or services. Genuine organisations will not object to you checking that they are who they say they are.

Keep Up to Date

You can read our monthly newsletter and get news and other information from the Watch and the Police by:

Visiting our website: www.villagewatch.co.uk

Joining our Facebook Group

Joining Neighbourhood Link: www.neighbourhoodlink.co.uk

Please do your best to stay safe from the virus and criminals.

Ed Chambers

Committee Chairman, Birstall & Wanlip NHW

Crime Update

As we move forward into June the beat team will continue to target drug dealing in Birstall & Wanlip as we are continuing to receive complaints about this. I am however pleased to report that concerning drug dealing, and following a lengthy investigation by the Beat Team, the Crown Prosecution Service have authorised charges for one resident of the village suspected of dealing drugs, and they will be attending court in the coming weeks about this.

We will also be focusing on targeting Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) as we have received some reports recently about assaults on School Lane playing field and in Watermead Country Park. It appears that since the ‘lockdown’ restrictions were eased we have seen a rise in ASB in these areas and so we will be patrolling these areas as much as possible to try and deter this behaviour. We are also working closely with the Parish Council to address the issues and are hopeful that what we have seen has just been a spike and is not indicative of a long-term problem. On a positive note, a male has been interviewed & dealt with about one of the assaults and enquiries are ongoing about the others with one male being arrested and released under investigation.

Crime figures

We have seen a rise in the number of crimes reported to us in May with a total of 46 being recorded, up from 27 in April. The main increase is in assaults, with 14 being reported, albeit the vast majority of these are as a result of domestic incidents. We have also seen a small rise in the number of thefts from vehicles, with 6 offences being reported, compared to just 2 last month. On a positive note, two males were arrested in the early hours of the 30/5 following a call about people possibly breaking

into cars on the Gates Estate. Unfortunately, there was insufficient evidence to charge them with any thefts from vehicles but they were both charged with drugs offences and one with possession of a knife. We also discovered another ‘cannabis house’ in the village this month and two males were arrested from this for drugs offences, with enquiries ongoing. We have had 1 burglary this month, 7 drugs offences, 6 reports of criminal damage, 7 ‘other thefts’, 1 Public Order offence and 1 Robbery. For further crime information, please visit www.police.uk/leicestershire/NL60/


Due to the COVID 19 situation, we are unfortunately still unable to arrange any consultation events. However, we are hopeful that with the restrictions being eased we will be able to review this decision soon. We have also recently had a new PCSO assigned to the beat, PCSO 6128 Cody Taylor, who is eager to get started and will hopefully become a familiar face around Birstall & Wanlip. Please stop us and have a chat if there is anything you want to discuss.

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 think we should be concentrating on. Sign up now at:www.neighbourhoodlink.co.uk

You can also follow us on twitter at @CharnwoodPolice

This month I have been spending a lot of time on patrol in School Lane Park, Meadow Lane and Wanlip concerning complaints about drug use and Anti-Social Behaviour. I have conducted searches under the misuse of drugs Act on Meadow Lane and also spoken to some people about litter as I have noticed that this has increased significantly recently. Please remember to treat these areas with respect so we can all enjoy them.

Crime Prevention Advice

As we start to move into the summer months and the weather becomes warmer, thieves will be on the lookout for doors and windows that have been left open on both houses and vehicles. Remember that it only takes a few seconds for a thief to enter your house or car and steal from inside it, and they are most likely to target those that offer the least resistance. Basic, simple advice is often the best way to prevent your home or car being targeted:

1) Keep doors & windows closed & locked when your house is unoccupied and if you are in the back garden, remember to secure windows & doors that you cannot see.

2) Don’t leave anything of value on display in your car, and remember to lock it and close the windows, even if you only leave it unattended for a few seconds.

3) Fit an alarm or CCTV to your house as both of these are a good deterrent.

From the Birstall Beat Team: Sgt 2951 Boylin PC 1759 Jaeckels PCSO 6611 Butler PCSO 6128 Taylor

Patients urged to use their GP services

“WE ARE far from the end of this pandemic but our service to our patients remains accessible and available to all that need it over the coming months,” says assistant Practice Manager Sara Mitchell from Greengate Medical Centre.

She added: “While most routine services are still not being offered by the surgery and University Hospitals Leicester, we are currently operating a telephone triage service that is working very well for patients that have a medical concern that cannot wait until further restrictions are lifted. This means that the GPs and Nurses are offering a call back service on an agreed date. Where feasible, we can also make video calls to aid the clinicians during a consultation and to help comply with social distancing measures. This in turn decreases the risk of exposure to Covid-19.”

Following this telephone call, patients could still be asked to come into the practice if the clinician/GP deems it necessary to see a patient face to face.

She added: “The guidelines are frequently changing, however, please do not be afraid to utilise the telephone or online service should you need to.

“In line with recommendations, we are asking all patients who do still need to enter the surgery to wear their own face covering and to attend appointments alone where possible. Over the next few weeks, we may be operating an intercom system at the door to ensure we can abide by the social distancing measures, avoid large gatherings and to keep our staff and patients as safe as possible.”

The surgery is recommending all patients with a prescription to nominate a surgery that your medication can be sent to automatically, without you having to visit the practice to collect the paperwork.

Greengate Medical Centre now has a Facebook page which they are using to update patients with the latest information about updated guidelines.

Car crosses central reservation on A6

POLICE AND the Fire & Rescue Service attended a road traffic incident on the A6 in Birstall on Sunday, May 24.

Two vehicles were involved in a collision near the junction of the A6 and Greengate Lane. One of the vehicles ended up on the other side of the carriageway causing a third vehicle to take avoiding action and collide with the kerb.

One vehicle made off from the scene.

Enquiries are currently ongoing concerning the incident, anyone with information should contact the police on 1010 quoting reference 20000262900.

Volunteer centre

SYSTON AND District Volunteer Centre has been far from dormant over the past three months of lockdown and is now actively planning to meet the future needs of the lonely and isolated within our local community.

Taking full advantage of enforced closure, with staff working from home or on furlough, the office has undergone a major internal makeover. Staff now have much more working space and the visitor experience will be much more comfortable, friendly and welcoming. The Centre is grateful to the Wolfson Foundation for a grant of £24,000 which has enabled the work to be completed.

Trustee Board Chairman, Paul Lomas, says: “Individual support services to those in need are being successfully sustained throughout the whole period. Sincere thanks are due to all those volunteers whose dedication and commitment have enabled us to continue our operations – both in transport and other personal support services.

“However, until the requirements of social distancing are relaxed and venues are once again operative, Group trips and excursions have been – and will, unfortunately, remain – suspended.”

He added: “Looking ahead, it is now clear that, as Covid-19 restrictions are eased, the Centre will face an immediate increase in demand – particularly for transport services. At the same time as the NHS turns attention to tackling the backlog of outpatient appointments, individuals will also seek to rapidly re-establish contact with families and friends and begin, once again, to manage their own shopping and social contacts held in abeyance for so long.

"To maintain any sense of credibility, it is vital that the Centre should be in a position to provide a positive response.

“Unfortunately, at this critical time, we will lose the support of those volunteers who will be returning to work at the end of their furlough arrangements. As a result, we anticipate a serious struggle to find enough volunteers to meet this surge in demand.

“We are therefore appealing to all those who, perhaps for the first time, have been volunteering over the past few months, to seriously consider sustaining their support in the months ahead.

“While volunteer drivers remain our primary concern, through the Centre we need to respond to a wide range of requests for additional assistance and support – shopping, befriending, gardening, DIY are all in demand. Our hard-pressed staff could also use some in-house support with their office duties.”

If you are able to lend a few hours per week, at times to suit yourself, to offer voluntary support to those in need – whatever your skills, talents or interests, contact the Centre Manager, Andy Shelton (0116 2607 888), to arrange a discussion.

Golf club’s first competition

Pic: The opening group in the competition demonstrate social distancing perfectly: (l/r) Nigel Richards, James Gallagher, Bruce Smith and Nick Smith.

BIRSTALL GOLF Club’s members were among the first sports people in the village to return to competitive action when the club staged a Texas Scramble competition on Saturday 20th June.

In the first competition after the lockdown the first group on course shortly after 7am were Nick Smith, Nigel Richards, James Gallagher and Bruce Smith.

Nigel said all were delighted to be back in action: “It’s great to be back out on the course. It’s something everybody has missed over the last couple of months”.

A first ladies team was also among the early starters. Claire Bailey, Yvette Thomson, Ana Uprichard and Linda Watts were equally happy to be back on the course.

“It’s beautiful just to be out here and see all our friends together again”, said Ana, to which Clare added: “Its wonderful to be out playing again, although we all need to keep reminding each other of the social distancing rules”.

Players had been able to play casual rounds since mid-May – initially with just two people playing together, although three and four-ball games are now allowed.

They still have to follow several practices designed to minimise the risk of passing on Covid-19, and greens staff have installed lifting rings on each flagstick to enable players to remove balls from the hole without having to touch it – one of a number of practical measures enforced to reduce the risk of transmitting Covid-19.

The club is still waiting for Government decisions on re-opening the clubhouse and its facilities.

Walk in the park

PARENTS AND their offspring have been enjoying walks around Watermead Country Park, including these four geese and 24 goslings photographed by reader Jenny Michael on Sunday, June 7.

Railway plans reopening date

Pic: a TV interview at the GCR

THE GREAT Central Railway is making plans for the return of its passenger trains on July 25.

GCR managing director Michael Gough said: “Work is well-advanced towards a projected first date for running passenger trains on July 25 subject, of course, to rules in place from the government at that time.

“Intensive preparation has gone into a recovery plan which will be submitted to the Office of Rail and Road for their approval.”

He added: “There are hundreds of considerations on and off-train that must be taken into account to ensure that we operate safely in line with government guidelines and the new normal. A number of test trains will run between now and the scheduled opening date to ensure that everything is ready and that all safety-critical competencies are updated.”

He said: “We are also projecting a date of July 13 for the Butler Henderson café at Quorn to reopen in a limited way and from there, Ellis Tearooms on July 20 – it is likely that the offering at both locations will start with takeaways only but is hoped by then that government rulings will allow consumption on the patios to enable us to offer a limited food menu.”

BBC Radio Leicester and East Midlands Today visited the GCR Loughborough station on June 18 to report on the heritage railway’s plans to reopen.

Women assaulted in country park

POLICE ARE investigating an incident in which two 19-year-old women were assaulted at Watermead Country Park and are appealing for anyone with information to come forward.

Police were called shortly before 6.30pm on Monday, June 1 following a report that the victims had been hit with a glass bottle by a man they did not know. It was reported that the suspect was with a group of other men and women.

Both victims were taken to the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham to be treated for injuries that were not life-threatening. They have both since been discharged.

A scene preservation barrier was erected in Watermead Country Park while officers carried out further enquiries. No arrests have been made at this time.

Detective Sergeant Dan Robberts, from Charnwood CID, said: “I am appealing for anyone with information about this incident to come forward.

“Were you in Watermead Park on that evening? Were you out for a walk or run? Did you see what happened or notice anyone acting in a way that caught your attention?

“Any information you have, no matter how insignificant you think it may be, could help with our investigation.”

Call 101, quoting incident 515 of 1 June.

Heritage Centre wins Queen’s Award

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


P/20/1047/2: 13 Cedar Avenue Birstall Leicestershire LE4 3D. Two-storey side and single-storey rear extensions

P/20/1039/2: 201 Harrowgate Drive Birstall LE4 3GT Two-storey extension to side of dwelling and alterations to existing detached garage

P/20/1026/2: 19 Wellgate Avenue Birstall Leicestershire LE4 3HS Single-storey front and side extension to dwelling

P/20/1012/2: 70 Oakfield Avenue Birstall LE4 3DR Loft conversion to include hip to gable extension to roof and the installation of an L-shaped dormer with roof light to rear and two roof-lights to front of dwelling.

P/20/0970/2: 70 Woodgate Drive Birstall Leicestershire LE4 3JX The erection of a single-storey rear extension extending beyond the rear wall of the original house by 6m, with a maximum height of 3.55m, and height to the eaves of 2.7m

P/20/0968/2: 2 Hollytree Avenue Birstall LE4 4LF Single-storey side and rear extension of existing garage to create additional living accommodation of main dwelling house

P/20/0974/2: 74 Stonehill Avenue Birstall LE4 4JB Two-storey side and rear extensions and single-storey side and rear extensions with creation of raised platform to rear (revised scheme P/20/0135/2 refers)

P/20/0965/2: 13 Curzon Avenue Birstall Leicestershire LE4 4AE First floor side extension and ground floor rear extension

P/20/0960/2: 35 Roman Road Birstall LE4 4BB Erection of porch to front of dwelling

P/20/0943/2: 48 Sibson Road Birstall Leicestershire LE4 4NA Erection of detached garage.

P/20/0929/2: 90 Elmfield Avenue Birstall Leicestershire LE4 3DF Proposed erection of single-storey extensions to front, side and rear of dwelling

P/20/0927/2: 22 Rosetree Avenue Birstall LE4 4LS Proposed single-storey extension to side and rear of dwelling

P/20/0913/2: Land adj 659 Loughborough Road Birstall Leicestershire LE4 4NLPrior approval for the siting and appearance of installation of electronic communications (Under Class A of Part 16 of the GPDO) for the installation of 20m 5G telecoms pole with wrap around cabinet at the base and 4x equipment cabinets

P/20/0939/2: 4 Mill Close Birstall Leicestershire LE4 4EN x 1 willow:- remove lower branch to trunk and reduce next branch up at the fork - section overhanging property number 4 only.

P/20/1020/2: 19A Church Road Wanlip LE7 4PJ Removal of condition 1 of P/86/1641/2 to allow use of dwelling without restriction as to occupancy

Bike park reopens

LEICESTER’S city centre Bike Park re-opened on Monday, June 8 and is free for all users.

The Bike Park, based at Town Hall Square, offers secure bike storage - with staff on-site all day, seven days a week. It usually also offers secure lockers, showers and toilets, but these are not currently available.

To avoid cash handling and due to the limited service available, the usual charges of up to £1 for a day’s parking are being waived. The Bike Park will offer a safe place for cyclists to leave their bikes, for free, while they visit the city centre – whether they want to leave their bike there all day, or just for a short time.

The Bike Park is open from 8am-6.30pm Monday to Friday, 8.30am-6pm on Saturdays and from 10pm-4pm on Sundays.

Spaces are available for up to 200 bikes, but all must be collected by the end of the day.

News from the churches

AS MANY of you will know our Rector, Revd Vince Jupp, left our parish at the beginning of December to take up a new post within the Diocese.

We missed him before Covid 19 struck and, as you can imagine, we miss him even more now as we feel a little bit like a ship without a captain as we negotiate these very stormy seas. This is one of the reasons why there has been no news from us over the last few months. We are truly sorry about that, as although we have had to close our church doors, the body and life of the church have continued. This is hard to communicate sometimes. Although we have, of course, got our own websites. The Church of England site has been updated on a daily basis with information on streamed or ‘YouTube’ services and the latest directives regarding the pandemic, it is not the same as being able to go to your local church. We are now delighted to say that, as from June 15, our two churches are open for private prayer. These are our first tentative footsteps to being able to hold normal services again. They will have to be tightly controlled to conform to all the Government’s health and safety directives, but I think we are all getting accustomed to that!

Both churches will open on Sundays and Wednesdays, St. James the Great from 10am to 11am and Our Lady and St Nicholas from 3-4pm. Our Fresh expressions group, 'Nearer’ has also been busy all through the lockdown with their Shabbat meetings via Zoom on Friday evening, and they started an eight-session prayer course in June which they hope to repeat later in the year. If you would like more information on these sessions, please have a look on our church website (see below) and follow the link to ‘Mission and Community’, or contact Pete & Gill Chester directly on 07848 144169 or nearergroup@gmail.com

We are also celebrating evening prayer via Zoom on Sundays at 6pm. The link for which is on our notice sheet which, if you don’t already receive it via email from us, is available on our website, www.birstall.org. If you would like to be added to our email list please let us know. All our contact details are on our website or, if you would prefer, you can contact the churchwardens on 07570 198810

We look forward to seeing you in church. Keep safe


email: stjames.birstall@btconnect.com

From the Parish churches, St. James the Great, Birstall, and Our Lady and St. Nicholas, Wanlip


Not Yet Open

Although the Prime Minister has allowed churches to open for private prayer, Birstall Methodist Church will not be opening at present. Methodists along with most other Christians believe that God is with us everywhere and hears our prayers wherever we are. On a practical note, it is very difficult to open a public building in the present situation. It would be necessary to do a full ‘risk assessment’, provide stewards, and deep cleaning after each visitor. Worship each Sunday will continue via the internet on ‘Zoom’ at 10.30am.

Claremont Street

It is very sad to hear that the nearby Claremont Street Methodist Church in Belgrave has had to close completely. It is even sadder to hear that, because of the ‘lockdown’, the congregation were unable to hold a ‘closing service’. Members and friends at Claremont Street will make their own decision where they will resume worship (once churches are fully re-open). They will, of course, be most welcome to join the Birstall congregation.

Sunday Club

Our younger friend’s ‘Sunday Club’ may not be meeting on a Sunday Morning in the Coffee Shop but they are still communicating and creating.

They have set up a Sunday Cub WhatsApp group to keep in touch.

Every Sunday morning at home, they take a look at the Bible story, use their creative skills and send in a picture of their craft/artwork on the WhatsApp to share with everyone.

Sunday Club has promised themselves a barbeque as soon as lockdown is over.

From Birstall Methodist Church



We, as a Church, continue to remember in prayer those who have been bereaved during this CV-19 pandemic (whether directly from this cause or another reason), along with those who are suffering in some other way as a result of the current situation. We also thank God for those who have recovered and those who have not been infected.

We remember before the Lord, too, those in other countries who are facing dire situations as a result of limited medical or financial aid. Many who are employed on a daily basis have no work, no money and no food, and endure stringent curfews as part of the lockdowns. Our current restrictions over public worship bring sharply into focus the plight of so many Christians, who regularly face severe persecution in many parts of the world.

Being an isolated believer, without the joy of sharing worship with the Christian family, or with the threat of economic reprisals, like the loss of jobs or being barred from obtaining relief, must be very difficult. Others risk attack, imprisonment or even death just for the ‘crime’ of owning a Bible.

We pray especially this month for these people – that their situation is improved and that the Lord will grant special grace and strength to them in their trials. We also pray that those who carry out such persecution will come to know the grace and love, justice and mercy to be found in the Gospel (good news) of the Lord Jesus Christ.

In our own country, we applaud so many acts of kindness which are being shown in the present pandemic.

Those of us who are Christians reflect our Saviour. We are called ‘ambassadors for Christ’ (2 Corinthians 5:20) and we need to ensure that our lives ‘adorn’ the Gospel (Titus 2:10 and Philippians 1:27), so that others come to know the Lord. We are assured that our labour is not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58): do you have the same assurance? If not why don’t you consider one of our free courses about Christianity?

Our website (http://www.birstallbaptistchurch.org.uk) continues to provide some recommendations as to where to find ministry on the internet and will give news about the resumption of services when it’s permissible. Please contact us if you have any Christian questions on 0116 221 4883.

From Birstall Independent Baptist Church


GREETINGS TO you all from all of us at Trinity Life Church!

We at TLC Birstall continue to pray for you. As restrictions begin to lift, we are looking forward to meeting in person as and when we are able to do it safely and considerately.

This Bible verse seems appropriate:

I have much to write to you, but I do not want to do so with pen and ink. We hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face. 3 John verses 13 and 14

John here is writing to the Early Church thousands of years ago, and many of us echo the sentiment here and now!

Meanwhile, the church across the world is very much alive, because Jesus is alive. Our faith is personal and we believe that we can connect with God wherever we are and that you can too. This is not religion, it is relationship.

What about me?

Here are some ways you can connect with us, and with Jesus right now:

1. Connect in…

-watch our online services - youtube.com/trinitylifechurch

-visit our website to request prayer and/ or find out more- www.trinitylifechurch.org.uk/

-email or ring us with any requests - 0116 2558672 admin@trinitylifechurch.org.uk

tap into our family, children and youth content- you can find links on our website and there is something for everyone- even a regular Monday morning tots singalong live on FaceBook!

2. Personal connection...

As soon as we can we will meet again as a campus, but if you would like a garden visit, or to chat to a minister, or want to join a small group online, contact your Birstall campus pastors Wes and Laura by email wesley.bond@trinitylifechurch.org.uk or ring the number above.

May July be a time of joy for you and your families,

Pastor Susan Hind, Trinity Life Church

Car park closed

BIRSTALL PARISH Council closed the School Lane playing field car park in the first week of June after a spate of incidents of antisocial behaviour (ASB).

The gates to the car park are locked 24 hours a day until further notice.

The car park was being used by groups of young people in cars, revving engines, shouting, playing loud music and dropping litter, resulting in frequent visits from the police.

Play equipment on the playing field has been taped off in line with government guidance but is still being used.

The Chair of Birstall Parish Council Ann Marshall said: “The ASB has improved considerably since the gates were locked and the police have thanked us, but litter is still a problem.”

Mooring plans

PLANS FOR a narrowboat mooring near Birstall lock have been withdrawn by the applicant.

The floating pontoon would have been located on a privately owned piece of land accessed from the bridge at the bottom of White Horse Lane.

The application received dozens of letters of objection, many from kayakers with concerns about the pontoon restricting access.

Other objections were about the damage to habitat, noise and other pollution.

The Canal and River Trust had issues about whether the mooring was permanent or temporary, the storage and collection of waste, the provision of power and water and the use of the bridge to transport materials. It also said the applicant's ecological appraisal of the site was inadequate.

The application reference is P/20/0647/2.

Birstall BAG’s cancer corner

Cancer Prevention

Restrictions brought about by COVID 19 have given many of us more quiet time and inevitably this leads to periods of reflection.

We have been reflecting on Birstall BAGs and what the charity’s aim is. BAGs was established in 1998 and this last month would have been our founder, Clare Wells’ 55th birthday. Clare hoped Birstall BAGs would bring our community together to raise awareness and prevent people from being diagnosed with advanced and therefore possibly less treatable cancer. This month BAGs would like to raise awareness about skin cancer and remind people how to prevent it and spot early signs.

Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world. Non-melanoma skin cancer refers to a group of cancers that slowly develop in the upper layers of the skin.

The term non-melanoma distinguishes these more common types of skin cancer from the less common skin cancer known as melanoma which can be more serious.

In the UK, around 147,000 new cases of non-melanoma skin cancer are diagnosed each year. It affects more men than women and is more common in the elderly.

The first sign of non-melanoma skin cancer is usually the appearance of a lump or discoloured patch on the skin that persists after a few weeks and slowly progresses over months or sometimes years. This is the cancer or tumour.

Non-melanoma skin cancers usually develop in the outermost layer of skin (epidermis) and are often named after the type of skin cell from which they develop.

The two most common types of non-melanoma skin cancer are:

• basal cell carcinoma (BCC), also known as a rodent ulcer, starts in the cells lining the bottom of the epidermis and accounts for about 75 in every 100 skin cancers

• squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) starts in the cells lining the top of the epidermis and accounts for about 20 in every 100 skin cancers

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that can spread to other organs in the body. The most common sign of melanoma is the appearance of a new mole or a change in an existing mole.

This can happen anywhere on the body, but the most commonly affected areas are the back in men and the legs in women. Melanomas are uncommon in areas that are protected from sun exposure, such as the buttocks and the scalp. In most cases, melanomas have an irregular shape and are more than one colour. The mole may also be larger than normal and can sometimes be itchy or bleed. Look out for a mole that gradually changes shape, size or colour.

Melanoma skin cancer is the fifth most common cancer in the UK. Around 16,000 new cases of melanoma are diagnosed each year. More than 1 in 4 skin cancer cases are diagnosed in people under 50, which is unusually early compared with most other types of cancer. Over recent years, skin cancer has become much more common in the UK. This is thought to be the result of increased exposure to intense sunlight while on holiday abroad. More than 2,300 people die every year in the UK from melanoma.

Several factors affect your risk from sun exposure including:

• how much time you spend outdoors

• your natural skin colour

Sun exposure can also be in the form of sunbeds (artificial UV radiation). People who use sunbeds are also at risk of developing skin cancer.

Age is also a factor. The older you are, the more likely you are to get non-melanoma skin cancer.

Here are easy steps to prevent skin cancer:

• Seek the shade, especially between 10am and 4pm.

• Don’t get sunburned.

• Avoid tanning, and never use UV tanning beds.

• Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.

• Use a broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.

• Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or after swimming or excessive sweating.

• Keep newborns out of the sun. Use sunscreen on babies over the age of six months.

• Examine your skin head-to-toe every month

As always if you are worried at all please seek the advice of your General Practice.

This last three months we have seen our community pulling together more than ever and once again we would like to acknowledge and express our gratitude for the amazing COVID-19 community effort in Birstall. Please stay safe and well, help others to do the same by adhering to the guidance we are provided with.

Here are a few recommended websites for you if you would like further information.

Skin Cancer



COVID and Cancer

Cancer Research UK


Telephone: 0808 800 4040

Macmillan Cancer Support


Support and information telephone number 0808 808 00 00

Mon-Fri 9am – 5pm

Marie Curie


Support and information telephone number 0800 090 2309

Mon-Fri 8am-6pm Sat & Sun 11am-5pm



Support and information telephone number 111

Open 24 hours a day.

Or contact: University Hospitals of Leicester Cancer Information Centre on 0116 258 6189

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