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Birstall Post December 2008 (305)

Christmas extravaganza

THE CHILDREN from Woodlands Day Nursery on Park Road charmed everyone by singing carols around a twinkling Christmas tree at the start of the nursery's Christmas Extravaganza on November 22.



"It was a day of fun and games for all the family with Christmas market stalls, a photographer taking family portraits, a festive creation station and many more fun and exciting things to do" said Leonie Yates, Manager of the nursery.
She added: "For the majority of the children and their parents, the best part of the day was meeting Santa Claus and his elves in his very own grotto. The children were given an extra early Christmas present and had the opportunity to tell Santa all their Christmas wishes early - before the Christmas rush!"


Pic: Rymini Patel singing carols with mum Jasu


Pic: Micah Holmes meets Santa

All the proceeds from the event went to Rainbows. Leonie said: "We would like to thank everybody who turned up for the event and showed their support for Rainbows Children's Hospice. We asked the nursery team to nominate a charity and everyone decided it should be Rainbows as this is a local charity close to many people's hearts. We would like to extend a special thank you to the many kind and generous local businesses and crafters who made the event so successful by attending and making donations to the charity & for the raffle. We are not quite sure how much we have raised yet, because we are still receiving donations, but as soon as we have a precise figure we will let everyone know."
Leonie added: "May I take this opportunity to wish everyone in our local community & beyond a very Happy Christmas on behalf of our children and the team!"


Extra Police on the streets

EXTRA POLICE officers are patrolling the streets of Birstall at the weekends to tackle problems associated with large groups of young people gathering in the village.
Concerns about antisocial behaviour (ASB), graffiti and criminal damage in the village were the subject of a phone-in on BBC Radio Leicester on November 11, when some callers said they didn't feel safe going outside alone at night.
The Police say incidents of antisocial behaviour in Birstall are down, with 43 reported between September 1 and November 9. Of these, 25 were criminal damage : 10 were damage to windows, 5 to fences, 5 were graffiti and 5 were miscellaneous.
Sergeant Marcus Lee said: "What is very positive is that two of these incidents have been filed as detected, two are awaiting filing as detected and one is under investigation with a named suspect. This is a detection rate of 20% for a crime that is all too often undetectable due to the sheer numbers of potential subjects. This is testament to the Beat team's tenacity and interaction with the community."
Sergeant Lee said that between September 1 and November 9, Police spent 305 hours patrolling the ASB hotspot areas in Birstall, and this was in addition to regular foot patrols.
"Most concerning of all were comments that someone was afraid to go out at night alone due to groups of youths roaming the streets. We are putting on extra uniform patrols, both on foot and on bikes, primarily on Friday and Saturday evenings. These patrols will concentrate on underage drinking and ensuring licensed premises are actively promoting their licensing objectives" said Sergeant Lee.
"This is a continuation of the extra patrols that took place over the summer holidays that proved to be a great success" he added.
Birstall Parish Council clerk Brenda Thomas said: "The Parish Council does agree that Birstall is facing some serious issues in terms of graffiti and antisocial behaviour. At the Parish Council meeting on November 10 the local beat officer PC Carruthers outlined in his report the measures the Police are taking to try and catch the offenders. He also detailed additional resources which are being made available to try and combat the issues Birstall is facing.
"Birstall Parish Council can also confirm that the Police did, earlier in the year, place additional resources in Birstall to deal with the issues of gangs of youths in Wanlip Lane and Lambourne Road which did help with the issues the local residents and shopkeepers were experiencing.
"The Parish Council would actively support a request for more Police in the area. However with Government money ever tighter it is important that we work in partnership with the Police to try and address these issues. In addition the Police and Birstall Parish Council are working with the County Council Youth team to try and establish a Youth Council in the hope that this will help. Unfortunately like everything else this does take time but it is a step in the right direction. There is no doubt more needs to be done but the Parish Council is working with all concerned to try and move things forward."
Inspector Cathy Yallop, Commander of Charnwood Local Policing Station, said: "We know that large groups of young people can be intimidating and that there are some problems in the village around criminal damage and graffiti. We would urge residents to report any problems to us so that we act upon information and use it to effectively target our patrols in the village. We take incidents of criminal damage and graffiti very seriously and use a range of intervention measures with young people such as Acceptable Behaviour Contracts to address poor behaviour."


Christmas in the snow

IT WAS a white Chrsitmas at this year's Christmas festival at Birstall Methodist Church, with Santas, Snowmen, Ice Queens & trees enchanting visitors, who all got a dusting of 'snow' from a snow machine as they arrived.


Pic: an Advent star made by Longslade students


Pic: Joan Rumball (left) and Sheila
Wilson serving pancakes

The decorations in the church were all created by individuals, schools, groups and businesses. The church also organised an outdoor Christmas market with home made food, decorations and a Santa's grotto.


Gunns’s gym grant

CARL GUNNS boxing gym has been awarded £1000 by Ladbroke's.
The bookmakers made the award from their Ladbroke's in the Community Trust on the occasion of the opening of a new branch at the Clock Tower, Leicester.
Spokesman Steve Taylor said: "Carl is one of our customers and his gym is a worthy recipient of this award."
Carl said: "This is fabulous support for the gym, Ladbroke's are normally associated with horse racing and football and it's great for them to get behind us.


Abduction attempt foiled

TWO MEN wearing ski masks attempted to abduct a man walking along a Birstall street.
Police are appealing for witnesses to the incident, which happened at 2.10pm on Thursday October 30 on Heathgate Close.
The 20 year old victim was approached by two black men who got out of a parked black vehicle. One of the men grabbed the victim before trying to force him into the vehicle. The victim managed to break free and flee from the scene. He was not injured during the incident.
Officers are trying to trace an elderly man who was walking past at the time of the incident. He was walking a Jack Russell type dog that was wearing a coat.
Detective Constable Jason Fell said: "We are particularly keen to speak to this person as they could have vital information which could assist with our enquiries and we ask him to contact the police as soon as possible.
"We're keen to speak to anyone who witnessed this incident and would ask anyone who was in the area at this time to think back and see if they recall any details.
"It's important that we build up a complete picture of events and would appeal to anyone with information, no matter how small it may seem, to get in touch."
Anyone with any information is asked to contact DC 1133 Jason Fell on 0116 222 2222, follow the instructions to leave a message for a police officer and when prompted key in the officer's identification number 1133. Alternatively contact Crimestoppers, which is free and anonymous on 0800 555 111.


Birstall lights switch on

PANTO DAME Les Gale switched on Birstall's Christmas lights.

Les, who has been dressing up as a woman for years with the Birstall Men's Pantomime group, tried his hand at conducting Alan Holford's Birstall Brass, which entertained the crowd with carols and Christmas songs.


Car park

WORK ON the Sibson Road car park extension will start on January 5, 2009.
Birstall Parish Council have appointed the County Council to undertake the work, which is expected to last 8-12 weeks, subject to weather conditions.
The existing car park will be closed during the construction of the extension, on the site of an old bowling green. Alternative short stay parking will be available at Somerfield, the School Lane playing field car park and the Crossways car park.
A Parish Council spokesman said: "We would like to thank Somerfield for permitting the use of their car park by shoppers while the works are taking place."
For further details contact the Parish Clerk Brenda Thomas on 2677860


Governor

COULD YOU help the community and the development of Longslade Community College?
Longslade is looking for at least one, and possibly two new 'Community Governors'. Community governors are co-opted by the remaining Governors of the College, who
represent Leicestershire, parents and staff.
They play a full part in overseeing the strategic direction of the College and particularly how it relates to the community it serves. Governors are not expected to be experts at everything and training is provided.
If you would like to support the further improvement of Longslade in its 'Going for Gold' campaign over the coming few years, the college is urging you to think about becoming a Governor.
If you are interested, please ring 0116 2670802 or send an email to mrssbunney@longslade.leics.sch.uk to organise an informal conversation either with Tony Stott, the Chair, or Mike Griffiths, the Principal.


Parish Council notes

A FULL meeting of Birstall Parish Council was held on November 10.
PC Richard Carruthers reported that he had witnesses and leads to follow up in respect of graffiti in the village,. He said he would be visiting schools to ask for their co-operation and support.
The County Council have provided a response to the suggestion that a new vehicle and pedestrian entrance to Stonehill School be created from within the planned park and ride site on the A6.
They estimate the cost, at £200,000 would not be justified. Councillors felt this estimate was high and that the issue could be explored further by the Education Authority.
Birstall and District Art Society have donated a painting of village scenes by Norman Sims to the Parish Council. It will be displayed the Village Hall.
It was agreed that allotment rents be increased by £2 a year.
Charnwood Borough Council have asked the Parish Council to consider taking responsibility for the planned Community Hall at Hallam Fields. Estimated annual cost could be in the region of £20,000. It was agreed to defer the decision to a later date but that if Charnwood needed the answer now, the council would decline to assume responsibility.
It was reported that vandalism to the School Lane toilets had cost £305 since April. Last year the total was £45. Councillors discussed closing the toilets at weekends. It was agreed to monitor the situation for one month and then reconsider the issue.
It was reported that the total cost of maintaining and managing the Birstall allotment sites was £11,405 with a rental income of £1,149 leaving a subsidy of £10,256. There are approximately 120 allotment holders over the three sites. A full plot will cost £22 a year from January 1, 2010.
It was agreed to spend £720 on improving the lighting around the School Lane pavilion to allow identification on the images recorded by the CCTV cameras.


Abbeyfield Halloween

RESIDENTS OF the Abbeyfield homes in Birstall enjoyed a Halloween party, including a visit from a group of young people in Halloween outfits.


Coffee and muffins were provided by staff from the Starbucks coffee shop at Hallam Fields. "A big thank you to Starbucks, they were fantastic with the residents and brought loads of coffee and muffins and the service was first class" said Abbeyfield regional manager Jenny Morris.


"The residents really enjoyed seeing the group of local kids, and the lads enjoyed it too. All in all it was a great evening" she added.
Abbeyfield is a charity that provided sheltered housing for elderly people. Barnes House and Grove House on Church Hill are home to 16 residents. Each room has ensuite facilities and residents enjoy two home cooked meals every day.



Jenny said: "To find out more about Abbeyfield in Birstall why not visit us to see for yourself? You would be very welcome to join us for lunch and meet our residents and staff. We can arrange transport for you and offer trial stays of up to two weeks if requested - we'll also help you to claim any benefits to which you may be entitled."
Contact Jenny Morris on 01707 272864; email:j.morris@abbeyfield.com or visit www.abbeyfield.com for more details


Running club

SEVERAL RUNNERS from Birstall Running Club picked up awards at the annual presentation of the Leicestershire Road Running League, held in Birstall on November 14.


Pic: members of Birstall Running Club at the Derby Cross Country

Lesley Griffin picked up the over 55 1st place lady award and Ian Black, Gary Harrison, Jane Coltman, Carl Voisey, Marvin Smith and Deryk Woods picked up their 100% awards. This award is for running in all 11 league races of varying distance over the period of the league season.
Performing as a team the ladies came 3rd in division 1, the top division in the county while the men came runner up in division 2 to gain promotion to the top flight next season.
The first race in the Derby Runner Cross Country League took place on the 16th November at Bosworth Country Park. Spokesman Gary Harrison said: "In very tough conditions following substantial rain over the previous weeks Birstall Running Club produced some great results which were greatly improved compared to previous years following a great turnout by the club.
"There were some notable individual performances, especially by 15 year old Joe Tambini running in his first senior cross country."
Birstall Running Club welcomes new runners. They have regular run sessions on Monday and Friday nights. For more details www.birstallrc.org.uk/


Art society exhibition

THE FOURTEENTH annual exhibition of paintings by members of Birstall and District Art society was the first since the death earlier this year of its founder, Norman Sims.



The exhibition, staged in the Village Hall, was opened this year by Birstall Parish Council Clerk Brenda Thomas who spoke about how Norman started the society in 1995.
Norman always encouraged members to put paintings forward for the exhibition and he would have been pleased that 169 pictures were on display this year.


Pic: Roger Cowham looks on as Brain Rimmer
demonstrates oil painting


His daughter Linda Walwyn has donated a Memorial Trophy to the society to be awarded each year to the entry judged to be the best watercolour. Its first winner was the Society's chairman David Walmsley and it was presented to him by Linda.
At the exhibition's preview evening the paintings were judged by eminent artists from the county including Tim Fisher, John Redfern, Tim Hughes, Kathy Layfield, Alan Oliver and Peter Sumpter. The winning artists Mary Bruce (pastel), Sue Faulks (acrylic), Mary Houghton (most imaginative painting), Derek Walsom (oil), Charlotte Stephenson (landscape) and Bill Benbow (still life).


Pic: Young Artist of the Year, Liam
Brown, with Lady Gretton


Only Riverside School chose to enter the children's competition and prizes were presented to the winners by the Lord Lieutenant, Jennifer, Lady Gretton. They were Shannon Webb and Brittany Goodwin; second in their age groups were Kaimen Cheung and Charlotte Swift and Highly Commended were Lorna Hulme and Robyn Collins. Young Artist of the Year was Liam Brown.
The Society presented Lady Gretton, the President of LOROS, with a cheque for LOROS, money raised by the Society's annual quiz. Further money for LOROS was raised with collection boxes and the sale of Christmas cards by John Kennedy.
The painting voted best in show by visitors was 'Lowing Herd' by Derek Walsom. The raffle prize of a landscape by John Redfern-Harris was won by Mr P Montague-Mason of Roman Road.


NWH news

Restorative Justice - The Common Sense Approach
Recently a Police Officer used the common sense approach when he caught a teenager who was preparing to smoke cannabis in a churchyard in Leicester.
The youth was a first time offender and showed genuine remorse, so the officer gave him the chance to make amends by removing litter from the church grounds.
This way of dealing with the teenager was beneficial to him, good for the community, and saved the officer hours of paperwork. The youth is, however, now known to police and would not be dealt with in the same way again, should he re-offend.
There are certainly situations when restorative justice could be used to good effect in our village.
Shed Break-Ins - Good News
Our local police have been successful in apprehending a 21 year old man from Syston who has been charged with stealing from sheds at the Meadow Lane allotments in Birstall and Church Street allotments in Syston.
This has been a ongoing problem over a long period of time.
Remember that the Watch provide shed alarms at cost price at its monthly Advice Shop 10-12pm every third Saturday amongst many other crime prevention items.
As another busy year draws to a close I would on behalf of the Watch Committee like to thank the many people who continue to support us.
This support helps to combat crime in the Birstall & Wanlip area and maintains a good community spirit.
We wish you all a Crime Free Christmas and a Healthy, Prosperous New Year.
Ed Marshall, Chairman, Birstall & Wanlip NHW

Crime Report October 14 to November 10, 2008
Assaults & Harassment 10 (3 detected), burglary 4, burglary other 18 (5 detected, 12 are allotments), damage 15, damage to motor vehicle 6, drugs 9 (all detected), fraud 1, public order 3 (all detected), theft of motor vehicle 1, theft from motor vehicle 5, theft of cycle 1, theft stores 2, theft 4
Burglary - this month has seen a reduction from 10 to 4. The allotment burglar was caught after hours of overtime had been put in.
Damage - up 2 this month. 10 of the 15 were antisocial behaviour related. Halloween was a cause but this was policed by myself and a Special Constable on foot. We seized 12 cans of lager and two cannabis bags. 3 are graffiti related. I am very keen on dealing with this. I have a statement detailing two culprits that I will be dealing with in due course. I will be approaching the schools to encourage the message about respect for property.
From PC 2139 Richard Carruthers


Birstall good citizens

IN 2004, the Chairman of Birstall Parish Council Stuart Jones introduced the idea of a 'Citizen of the Year' award for the residents of Birstall.


Pic: (l-r) Andy Corbett, Brenda Watts, Jex Woods, Allan
Kinton and Stuart Jones

Elected councillors, at all levels, were specifically excluded as were businesses and paid employees working within the community. The focus was to be firmly on those individuals carrying out voluntary work and adding to the community spirit of the village. Nominations for the annual award were to come from the residents of Birstall themselves and not be selected by the council.
Stuart said: "The introduction of this award has been a marked success. The recipients have been worthy winners and have collectively added considerably to the community well being of the village."
Birstall's first Citizen of the Year was Jex Woods in 2005. Jex along with his wife moved to Birstall in 1976. He became Chairman of Birstall and Wanlip Age Concern in 1997 and held that post for 10 years. During this time there were many developments and improvements carried out within the organisation and to the St James Centre in the village. Jex is also responsible for the 'Age Concern Info' page in the Birstall Post and for keeping up to date the Age Concern England information held in the village library. He was one of the first Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinators in the village and remains so 14 years later. He was a founding member of the village Watch committee, which he was involved in for 10 years. Over this period, Jex was active in almost all aspects of Watch business and recognised as a 'hands on' committee member. Jex feels honoured to be named Citizen of the Year and is particularly proud to be the first name engraved on the cup.
The accolade for 2006 was awarded to Brenda Watts. Brenda, who was born in Belgrave, has lived in Birstall for 41 years. Approximately five years ago, Brenda got involved with the formation of a 'Friends of Belgrave Cemetery' group. Her particular interest was the graves of soldiers, especially those who served in the First World War. She then embarked on what was to be a three year project to research and record all the graves of soldiers within the cemetery. With the help of a grant from the National Lottery, the group were able to produce and publish a book of her research. The profits from the sale of this book have now gone towards the provision of a permanent memorial within the cemetery for the soldiers of Belgrave. Brenda has also been involved with the 'Birstall Quilters' group for almost 20 years and as a member of their committee, has been involved with regular charity fundraising efforts.
In 2007 the award went to Andy Corbett. Andy is Birstall 'born and bred' and as a youth played cricket for the British Legion team in the village. Andy is now the driving force behind the Birstall Juniors Cricket Club. He joined the Birstall Cricket Club approximately eight years ago at a time when they had just four boys at under 10yrs level. They now have around 120 boys ranging from under 10yrs to 17yrs old. Over this period the Club has been transformed totally, the clubhouse refurbished inside and out, benefit matches have been organised that included Leicestershire County players and the club won the Wisden Magazine 'Club of the Year' in 2007. Junior cricket at this club is now a year round activity with winter coaching taking place at local indoor facilities. Andy is also a trustee of the Carl Gunns Community Gym. As Andy says: "What started as a hobby, has now taken over my life."
Allan Kinton received the award in 2008. Allan has lived in Birstall for 35 years, and also has a family connection with the neighbouring village of Wanlip going back to 1911. He joined the committee of the Birstall and Wanlip Neighbourhood Watch in 1998 and took over the post of Treasurer. Since that time the Watch has grown in size consistently year by year and now has three thousand contributing member households and 150 contacts/co-ordinators within the village. It is regularly referred to as one of the best organised groups in the country and has been used as a model for other Watch groups to copy. Allan is ever present in all activities of the Birstall and Wanlip Watch and is well known throughout the village. The monthly 'Advice Shop and Police Surgery', about to mark its tenth anniversary, is an established village activity. Allan is also a member of the Charnwood Crime and Safety Forum. Allans trademarks are a friendly approach and a well developed sense of humour.


50 years of fruit and veg

"GOOD STUFF, I always sell good stuff, never anything I wouldn't eat myself" says Birstall's John Green whose fruit and veg stall on Leicester market has been going for 50 years.


Pic: Sheila and Scott Green on their stall.
Below: John Green.

John and his wife Sheila, of Wanlip Avenue, celebrate that milestone this year although John's ill health means he has not been to get to his stall for three years. Sheila (75) carries on with help from grandson Scott.
"I have missed it" says John (74). "No two days are the same, you meet some real characters and the customers are brilliant."
Sheila said: "I'll keep going while I can, I enjoy it, I like meeting people and we have lots of regulars, some have been coming for many years."
For 12 years John organised the annual duck race on the Whiles Lane riverbank, raising £60,000 for LOROS.


Longslade’s charity concert

STUDENTS FROM Longslade College entertained with energetic performances at a concert staged to raise funds for Children in Need.


Pic: Ginny Turnell and Chris Grant


Pic: Oliver Collins, Sam Robinson and Jake Dickman


Pic: Ellie Mackness, Amber Ward and Rhianne Patel


Pic: Chloe Webb

Producer Kate Goddard said: "The staff and students worked incredibly hard to produce the Concert for Children in Need, the show was a huge success and the talent and drive showed by the students performing was truly inspirational. A special thanks has to go to all of the staff and technicians that gave their time to support the charity for the sixth year in a row."


Your Say...

I would like to thank all those who attended the Coffee Morning in aid of Cancer Research UK held at the Rothley Centre on Saturday October 25. The fantastic amount of £1016 was raised which will go to the Breast Cancer Research fund.
Glenise Bowyer

On behalf of the Royal Air Forces Association Birstall branch I would like to thank all those who have donated generously to our Battle of Britain Wings Appeal 2008.
May I also take this opportunity to thank our members and friends including the Cadets of 1947 ATC Birstall Squadron who gave their time to collect for this worthy cause.
Your support, which is greatly appreciated, enables us to continue our services and finance the growing need to expand them. The total amounts to £2819.92
Eve Cooper
RAFA Birstall branch

Thank You, all you Shoe Box Fillers and those who gave donations, that included members and friends of: St James, St Nicholas Wanlip, Anstey Methodist, Harrison Road Methodist, Birstall Methodist Church, because you will have helped to put a big beaming smile on 385! young faces this Christmas and given yourselves a lovely warm glow inside.
A Happy Christmas to you all.
Beryl Massey

We would like to draw attention to the disgusting mess in the jitty which joins Allington Drive to Newton Drive.
Some dog owners let their pets do the business, thinking they cannot be seen, and leave it to be carried on shoes. The situation seems to have escalated in the past few weeks making it practically impossible to walk through without getting some on your shoes. We actually counted five lots there this week. It also gives us responsible dog owners a bad name. We don't envy the street cleaner who clears up after them. What we could do with is CCTV cameras installed in the jitty to catch the culprits in action.
We have also noticed dogs walking off leads on the public highway. This again would generate dog poo because you can't watch them when they are running around. It is also dangerous to road users and to the dogs themselves, no matter how well they are trained, they could get startled and run into the road. It is still an offence which carries a fine.
Responsible dog owners of Newton & Allington Drives
Name & address supplied

I was dismayed but not surprised to read in the November issue (No.304) of the Birstall Post that discussions are underway to consider installing CCTV cameras in Birstall on Sibson Road (4!), Kingsgate Avenue and Wanlip Lane. Where is the justification for this proposal? At the very least a public debate should be suggested.
These intrusive devices seem to be spreading cross the country at almost the same rate as speed cameras (sorry, safety cameras…) which were originally going to be installed only at accident black sports, clearly this is no longer the case as any driver will know.
In a similar way CCTV cameras now seem to be appearing in the most unlikely locations. I can understand that in certain circumstances these cameras can serve a purpose, however having lived in Birstall for over 20 years I do not feel that the suggested sites or indeed any parts of Birstall can be considered hotspots of serious crime or terrorist activity. These cameras if installed will only have the effect of moving the perceived problem to other areas which will in turn lead to yet more cameras until we end up with cameras on every street corner. Certain sections of the media often concentrate on reporting the negative aspects of our society and use this to justify the need for yet more cameras which helps to create a paranoid society.
This country was once regarded as a beacon of democracy and a shining example to the rest of the world, it is no secret that we are now among the most observed countries in the world with more cameras per head of population than any other country. Even the leaders of the notorious former German Democratic Republic never achieved the levels of public surveillance currently being employed in many towns across this country.
As a youngster I vividly remember reading George Orwell's 1984 and thinking this is pure fantasy …… it does not seem so far fetched now!
Unless we can create a community based on mutual respect for one another and property we are in serious danger of sleepwalking into a totalitarian state where our every move, conversation, text message and email will be recorded - is this the kind of society we wish to leave for future generations?
Now where is that copy of 1984?
Mr E G Trzoska


Bowls club’s Spanish tour

A COUPLE of weeks after the outdoor bowls season finished, around 50 players and guests from Birstall Bowling Club left Leicestershire for a week's bowls tour to Mojacar, Costa Almeria, Spain.


Having arrived on the Saturday evening, Sunday was a day of leisure with many people opting to visit the old town of Mojacar.
The first game took place on the Monday and was an eight rink match against Almeria, which Birstall won 153-108. The winning continued the next day in the first of two six rink matches against La Mata. The club won five rinks and drew the other in a 112-73 victory.
After a free day on Wednesday, the evening saw a visit to a nearby restaurant for a meal and entertainment. With over forty bowlers on tour, a much changed team faced La Mata again the following morning, this time losing 76-118.
The final game on Friday was a ten rink match against Cabrera. Almost every bowler played in this match, which the club narrowly lost 157-174.
Birstall won two of the four matches. 17 rinks were won, two drawn and 11 lost. Shots scored were 498 for and 473 against with most players having three games.
The club left Spain on Saturday afternoon but a three hour delay leaving Almeria Airport meant the bowlers didn't arrive back in Birstall until 2.00am on Sunday.
Special thanks must go to Malcolm Wright for organising the tour once again, and also to Rick the coach driver for not abandoning us at Birmingham Airport following the delay! The bowling combined with the excellent hotel facilities and superb weather, meant everyone enjoyed the trip.
Just before the season ended the club won two more competitions. The BAFTA (Birstall and friends Thursday afternoon) competition involves Birstall, Blaby, Goodwood and Knighton playing each other home and away throughout the season. Birstall won all six matches to win the competition. In doing so they also won the Jim Fearn memorial trophy, which is played annually between Birstall and Goodwood.
More about the club can be found on the website www.birstallbowling.co.uk
From Andy Wye


Act of Remembrance

BIRSTALL REMEMBERED its war dead with one minute's silence observed at the village war memorial this Remembrance Sunday.




Wreaths were laid by representatives from local groups and organisations as well as the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire Mr David Knowles.
The wreath laying was preceded by a parade along Front Street, Libra Parade, School Lane and Church Hill led by standard bearers from the Royal British Legion. Taking part in the parade were war veterans, Birstall Parish councillors, members of Birstall Royal British Legion and Birstall Royal British Legion Women's Section, the ATC, TS Tiger Sea Cadets, Girl Guides, Boys' Brigade, Girls' Brigade, St John Ambulance, Scouts and the RAFA. The parade marshall was Mr Chris Joyce.



Taking part in the parade this year were serving Royal Navy officer Mark Stant (29) and his grandfather Rupert Stant (88) who served on HMS Newcastle and came to live in Birstall after the war.
The parade was followed by a service in St James Church given by Rev James Shakespeare.



On Armistice day itself, Tuesday November 11, at 11am a small group gathered at the War Memorial to remember the fallen. Among them were a group of pupils from Stonehill School with their teacher Mr Cedric Cush. One of them was Sasha Atkinson (13). She said: "Today is important because it is 90 years and it should never be forgotten what all the soldiers went through, no one would want to go through that. They did a lot for our country and should be remembered."


News from St James church

THE CHRISTMAS season is particularly a time for the children so it's good that we start this month with an occasion specially for the young .
On December 7 the popular Christingle service at St. James takes place at 11am, when children are encouraged to bring their contributions for the work of the Children's Society which cares for children less fortunate than ours. In return they each receive a Christingle Orange, to remind them of our need to care for others in God's world. Then on the afternoon of Sunday 14 more young people will fill the church for the annual Scouts and Guides carol service.
On the subject of younger people, it is also good to know that the new group called the 'J Thing' for 10 to 14 year-olds, is flourishing. Having recently enjoyed, with their friends, a Bonfire Night party in the Rectory garden, they are keen to invite others to join their regular meetings on Tuesday evenings from 6.30 to 8pm (contact Mary on 2677620 for details).
Whatever age you are, you will be welcome at a Christmas Coffee Morning in St. James' new social area Saturday, December 13 (with the new heating system at last installed!) from 10am to 12 noon. The proceeds will go to the re-roofing and refurbishment fund.
The following day, Sunday 14 at 8pm in St. James, we look forward to the return of The8, the talented group from Loughborough which dazzled us all last year with their superb singing. They will be presenting a wide variety of Christmas music ranging from Messiah excerpts and Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on Christmas carols, to carols by modern composers such as John Rutter and Charles Ives and even carols in the style of the Swingle Singers! Tickets cost £7 including a glass of wine at the interval and will be available at the door.
With a service of nine lessons and carols at Wanlip church at 6pm on Sunday 21 and a less formal service of carols and Christmas readings on Monday 22 (also at 6pm) there will be no shortage of Christmas music to appeal to everyone. The sign that Christmas has truly arrived will be on Christmas Eve, when families traditionally gather at 4pm for the Crib Service to greet the infant Jesus, and at 11.30pm when the service of Midnight Mass will begin - the real start to Christmas for many people.
(Full details of all Christmas services on the back page of this copy of the Post).
May your heart and your home be filled with light this Christmas and in the New Year to come.
From Beryl McHugh




Methodist news

THE DECEMBER calendar shows ten different Christmas events. Many are free apart from a collection. All, in one way or another, celebrate the Christmas season - so in this busy month find an our or two to join in - and there is even an event at one of Birstall's pubs!
Sunday December 6 is an evening of music presented by Kingfisher Chorale. It will include the first public presentation of 'Angels we have heard on High' written by David Bark. Tickets are £7 (£5 concessions). A wide variety of music will be included including well known and unusual carols, and comedy pieces by Mel Torme and Mike Sommes. A fabulous variety of wonderful music. Tel: 2209318 for tickets.
Saturday 13th is a Saturday morning Children's Workshop (10am to noon) including crafts and activities. Turn up on the day at a charge of £1. At 11.30am in the church is a 'Come and dress up Nativity' in which the children will be the ones 'dressed up'. It is very impromptu - but adults are welcome to come and watch!
Weeknight Christmas Events
On four consecutive events there are four very different Christmas, mainly musical, events. Three at the church and one in the White Horse.
On Tuesday evening December 16 there is a community Christmas sing-along. It includes Christmas music and readings, both religious and secular. Free, but there will be a retiring collection for the Cameroon Orphanage. It will include items from the Riverside Choir and Laudate.
On Wednesday 17th, the International Peace Light from Bethlehem will be distributed.
Each year a child from Austria, who has shown courage in the face of adversity, is selected to fetch the light from the grotto in Bethlehem were Jesus was born. The light is then flown to Austria from where it is distributed at a Service of Dedication to the delegates from across Europe who take it back, with a message of peace, to their own countries for use at ecumenical services throughout the continent.
Bring along a lamp or candle for this short service of distribution at 7.30pm
On Thursday December 18 at The White Horse (White Horse Lane) you can come along to take part in the Radio Leicester 'Sing Christmas'. Please arrive at 6.50pm for a prompt start at 7pm.
Finally for this busy week, on Friday 19th at 7.30pm the Soar Valley Christmas Concert is to be held at the Methodist Church.
Christmas Services
December 21 at 10.30 the morning service will include a Christmas story 'with a difference' which the Girls' Brigade are presenting. In the evening at 6pm there is the traditional lessons and carols service by candlelight.
On Christmas Eve there will be a Midnight Communion service which will start at 11.15pm.
On Christmas Day at the earlier time of 10am there will be a Family Service.
385 Shoe Boxes
Shoe boxes full of small gifts have been assembled which will be sent to 385 poorer children in different parts of the world. There will be 385 delighted children on Christmas morning, as a result of Birstall's efforts.
From Tony Moore



Burglar caught

A 21 YEAR old man from Syston has been charged with 15 offences following a series of burglaries at allotments in Birstall.
More than 30 sheds on the Meadow Lane allotments in Birstall and the Church Street allotments in Syston were broken into in the last 90 days. The police launched a crime prevention campaign and wrote to allotment holders warning them about the break ins and asking them to review their security.
They have arrested a 21 year old man from Syston who has been charged with 14 counts of burglary and one offence of going equipped.
He appeared at Loughborough Magistrates Court on November 7, 2008 and has been released on bail to appear at Leicester Crown Court on January 2, 2009.


Budgens bus service

BUDGENS SUPERMARKET in Mountsorrel are offering a new free bus service for shoppers.
The door to door service will initially run on Tuesdays only but may be extended subject to demand.
Customers ring the store to arrange to be collected by the bus, they then do their shopping before being returned to their home with their shopping.
Store Manager Guy Coombs said: "Some people struggle to get to the shops and we hope this service will help. We're a small independent supermarket with a full range of goods where customers can do their weekly shop. And while they're waiting for the bus home they can have tea and cake in our new café!"
The 11 seater minibus can accommodate wheelchair users. The service is available in Mountsorrel, Barrow, Rothley, Quorn and Birstall.
Contact Budgens on 01509 416694


Bottles please

WITH THE run up to Christmas and the New Year fast approaching, the Parish Council is urging residents to recycle their empty glass bottles and jars into the bottle banks on the Somerfield car park.
The Council receives the proceeds from the glass banks, via Leicestershire County council, which in turn helps to pay for the festive lighting and summer hanging baskets.
The bottle bank proceeds really make a difference, so please, if you can, use the bottle banks when next visiting Somerfield store" said a council spokeswoman.
Further information from Jennie at the Parish Council on 2676191


Growing veg

GROWING YOUR own fruit and vegetables has sometimes been classed as being too much trouble and of taking too much time to be worth all the effort.
But now there is a way to have fresh home grown produce from your own back garden without even picking up a spade.
The Vegetable Gardener is a company specialising in growing herbs, fruit and vegetables on your property so you can pick them fresh from the ground when you need them. Mark Medhurst said: "By making repeat sowings over the seed growing period, we are able to ensure that there is always something fresh to take to the kitchen throughout every month of the year.
"We take care of all the weeding and will ensure that watering, feeding and pest control are also something that you do not need to worry about."
He added: "Whether you have an existing plot to grow on, would like to have some raised beds to give lots of produce in a small space or just have a patio for container planting, The Vegetable Gardener is able to take care of all your needs."
The firm also provides general garden maintenance on lawns and borders, pruning hedges and leaf clearing. For more information contact Mark on 01509 813 401.


BBC interview

A COUPLE from Birstall were interviewed by the BBC after visiting the World War I war memorial at the Menin Gate in Belgium.
Mr Harvhajan Singh and Mrs Savinder Jeet Kaur of Curzon Avenue were on holiday in Belgium and had visited the Menin Gate to look for the name of Mr Singh's grandfather, Kaser Singh, who died in the war.
BBC East Midlands Today interviewed the couple as part of their coverage of the 90th anniversary of the signing of the armistice.
More than 1.5 million soldiers from India fought with the Allies in World War I.
Mr Singh said: "At the Menin Gate the people there were so nice to us, so welcoming and said they were proud of our people."
Mrs Jeet Kaur said: "I cried with tears in my eyes, so many people have sacrificed their lives and we never knew about it".


Corbett’s cricket corner

IT'S THE end of another year for Birstall Village CC.
Each year is different and I try to make the next year better than the last, this year 2008 was no exception. In January I received a letter from the Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who stated in the letter that he was pleased to hear how we were getting children off the streets and tackling anti social behaviour by getting them involved in sport.


Pic: Andy Corbett, Rob Drake, Steve Findley & Bernard
Drake: the Cricketforce team


In February and March after an appeal in the Leicester Mercury for volunteers to come and help us renovate our clubhouse I was inundated with plasterers, painters, carpet fitters and kitchen fitters, electricians and public donations of cash, this was all part of the ECB 'cricketforce' scheme. Everyone gave their time for free and made our clubhouse the best in the Leicestershire Senior League, which in turn helped us increase our club membership and thus increased the club funds, which has helped secure the clubs future. May came and with it came a visit from Kathy Yallop, Commander of Charnwood Police. In June the club had 4 County Under 13 players representing Leicestershire and 3 players playing for their districts.


Pic: Singer Tammie Bartlett entertains at the awards night


Pic: Rose Parrott & Tam Mann-Kler

The social side of the club has been brilliant this season thanks to social secretary Sheryl Findley who organised a skittles event at The Soar Bridge, Barrow Upon Soar and a beer n balti night, the beer provided by the Aroma Spice restaurant in the village. It was attended by not just cricketers but also members of the public.
This year also saw the return of the Presidents Day which was organised by Gary Ferrar, a former player for the club. The day was fantastic, the sun shone, the match was a thriller finally being won by the Presidents XI. The day was rounded off with a bbq and a presentation by President Mike Lord.


Pic: U13 District triallists Henry Whait, Max Lewin &
Dilan Amin 355


The Juniors and their parents went to Trent Bridge to see Leicestershire take on Nottinghamshire in a Twenty 20 cricket match. Leicestershire lost but we all still had a great evening.
The Junior Presentation night was held at Birstall Utd Football Club in October. Local vocalist Tammie Bartlett kept the audience entertained and Rose Parrott presented the trophies and the Rose Parrott award to the best junior Tam Mann-kler.
The club has also featured in the local media and also on television, again with regard of getting 'kids off the streets'.
Now down to the cricket on the pitch. The first XI finished mid table and the second XI just missed promotion by 6 points. The Under 17s had their last season together but had the best finish that they have ever had, the Under 13s again were unbeaten and finished top of their group for the second consecutive season, the Under 10s kwik cricket continued to improve and are looking forward to playing hard ball next summer.


Pic: Rob Drake presented with his
Appreciation Award by Andy Corbett


All of this needs a lot of voluntary help to keep things running smoothly and I would specially like to thank Steve and Sheryl Findley, Rob Drake and Sharon Watson, Chris Hopkins, Ian Bartlett, Rob Frizzell and Bernard Drake. I consider them all to be unsung heroes, every club needs people like this who give up their time and effort and we are lucky to have so many, and hope they will carry on and continue to keep this club going. Even though we are in the depths of winter the lads are still training.
This season, even though greatly successful, was over shadowed by the sudden and unexpected death of a great friend and committee member Kevin Wood who died in May. He is greatly missed but many a good story was still recounted by many of his friends who still come down the club and remember all the good old days and many great matches that they had the pleasure to share with Kev.
From Andy Corbett


Girls’ Brigade

EACH YEAR the girls of 1st Birstall Girls' Brigade are very proud to take part in the annual Remembrance Day Parade and service.


Pic: Wreath bearer and escorts. (Pic A Boyle)

Spokeswoman Susan Wheeler said: "Once again the girls looked really smart for this important occasion, which underlines the tragic loss of life in war and the necessity to build a more stable and peaceful world."


Pic: Children in Need picnic. (Pic: A Sherriff)

The company also likes to have fun, as shown in the picture of the Teddy Bears' Picnic which was held to raise money for Children in Need. The girls used their sweet money to cover a picture of Pudsey with coins, and along with half their subscription were able to send £60.80 to the appeal.
If anyone would like more information about the company, please ring Susan Wheeler 2209318


Park & Ride on hold

PLANS TO bring forward the construction of the Birstall park and ride site, announced in the summer, are now on hold because of the recession.
Developers Jelson are required to provide a 535 space park and ride site opposite Hallam Fields upon occupation of the 401st dwelling, which is not expected until 2014.
In May 2008, the County Council announced it had allocated additional funding to bring forward the project to 2010 and increase the number of spaces to 1000.
But in November a County Council report on its 2008/09 capital programme stated that the Birstall park and ride was "under review because of the housing market".
The Birstall Post asked for clarification of this statement and in response a County Council spokesman said: "The Birstall park and ride scheme is currently under review. No decision has been taken yet on how to progress this project"
County Councillor Roger Wilson said: "I am concerned that the County Council's capital programme is in a precarious state. If an established project like this is in danger, I am troubled about the possibility of other capital projects being delayed or stopped altogether, although I accept that the delay could be due to the developers themselves."
He added: "I fear that the Palmer Tomkinson Centre at Longslade could miss out on valuable support from the County Council if they have to focus priorities on a shortfall or lack of resources in other areas."


CLASH 4 mile swim

THE CLASH sponsored 4-mile swim at Birstall Pool was a great success.
This new annual event was attended by children, young people, and St John Cadets, from 4-17 years who completed two miles between them. Two lifeguards, Naomi and Michael, completed one mile each. £306 was raised for CLASH funds and £90 was raised for St John Ambulance.
Thanks to members, families, friends, lifeguards and St John Ambulance Cadets who contributed their time and skills to make this event so successful.
CLASH members would like to thank Birstall Methodist Coffee Shop for the kind donation of £600 towards Group activities and to The Edith Murphy Foundation for the generous donation of £1275 for the Access Project.
Details of CLASH projects can be found on the website: www.leicestershirevillage.com/birstall/clash/html
From Christine Thomas, CLASH


WI news

THERE WERE 18 members and visitors at the November meeting of Birstall & Wanlip WI when Felicity Austin talked about 'Life in Tudor Leicester'.
Wearing similar dress to that of a Tudor housewife and with the aid of a map of old Leicester using old road names, Felicity was able to transport everyone to that period of history. One could imagine the sounds and smells of the poor standard of living in the city in those days. The talk ended with some enactments of a judges court and examples of the harsh sentences given for offences we would consider minor today. Mrs Green, a lifelong inhabitant of Leicestershire, gave a vote of thanks.
Arrangements were made for the AGM next month when two members of the committee are to retire. Nominations were requested for new committee members. A bring and share supper is proposed after the business is over. Other items discussed included county news, the group carol service at Cropston and the 90th anniversary carol concert in Leicester.


Age Concern info

Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit
The information this month is from the Age Concern Factsheet No.17, it does not cover Housing/Council Tax Benefit for people under 60 or people with children. Those rules are very different, so if you are under 60 contact a local advice centre.
Housing Benefit helps people with their rent and with rates in Northern Ireland (but this factsheet does not cover rate rebates). Council Tax Benefit provides help with the Council Tax in England, Scotland and Wales. Both benefits are related to income and savings and are administered by local authorities although the rules are set by the UK Parliament.
People who receive the guarantee part of Pension Credit (PC) will usually get full help with their rent and Council Tax payments. More information about this benefit is given in Age Concern's Factsheet 48 Pension Credit and in Factsheet 18 A Brief Guide to Money Benefits.
The Council Tax
The Council Tax is the system of paying towards local government services in England, Scotland and Wales. It is based both on the value of the property and, to some extent, the individuals living there. For each property one or more people will be legally responsible for paying the Council Tax although the household can choose how to divide up the bill. There are many ways to reduce your bill, such as through Council Tax Benefit which is means-tested, and discounts and disability reductions which are not means-tested. These reductions apply both to homeowners and people who live in rented accommodation. Some examples are given later in this factsheet. For more information about the Council Tax system in England see Age Concern Factsheet 21 The Council Tax.
Who can claim Housing Benefit?
You can claim Housing Benefit if you or your partner are liable to pay rent for the accommodation 'normally occupied' by you and your family. Your partner is your husband, wife, civil partner or someone you live with as though you are married/civil partners. You must also be 'habitually resident' in the UK and are not excluded from claiming because of your immigration status.
Contact a local advice agency if you need further information about the position for people who have been living abroad.
You can claim Housing Benefit for the following:
o council, housing association or private tenants may get help with their rent and certain service charges;
o people living in houseboats may get help with mooring charges, even if they own the houseboat;
o people living in a caravan or mobile home may get help with site charges even if they own the caravan or mobile home;
o boarders and people living in hostels may get Housing Benefit for the accommodation part of their charges;
o people in care homes cannot normally get Housing Benefit towards their fees;
o home-owners cannot receive Housing Benefit but may be able to get Pension Credit (PC) which could help them with certain costs such as mortgage payments;
o if your landlord is a close relative (eg son, daughter, brother, sister) and you share the household, you cannot usually get Housing Benefit.
But if you live separately or you only share areas such as the hall and bathroom you may still be able to claim benefit as long as the arrangement was not set up to take advantage of the Housing Benefit system;
o if you live in the same property as your landlord and he or she is not a close relative you will be able to claim in the normal way as long as the arrangement is on a 'commercial basis'.
Who Can Claim Council Tax Benefit?
You may be able to receive Council Tax Benefit if you are responsible for paying the bill and you have a low income (assessment of income and savings is explained later) this is called the 'main Council Tax Benefit'. But some people will receive benefit even if they do not have a low income. This may apply if you are responsible for paying the bill and you live with one or more other people who have a low income - this part of the system is called the Second Adult Rebate and is explained later. You must also be 'habitually resident' in the UK and not excluded from claiming because of your immigration status. If you have a partner (that is you are married or civil partners or you live with someone as though you are married/civil partners) you will be jointly responsible for your Council Tax bill. Any benefit will be worked out on your joint savings and income and only one of you should apply.
In some cases two or more people who are not 'partners' will be responsible for paying the Council Tax - eg two sisters might jointly own their home. In this case each can claim benefit on their share of the bill based on their own savings and income.
How Your Benefit is Calculated
Housing Benefit and the main Council Tax Benefit are worked out by looking at the amount of rent and/or Council Tax you have to pay, and then, calculating your weekly income (looking at income from pensions, earnings etc and income from savings). This figure is then compared with the 'applicable amount' that someone in your circumstances is expected to live on. There may also be deductions because certain other people live in your home. This is explained later.
Your Rent and Council Tax
Rent and Council Tax are calculated on a weekly basis regardless of how often they are actually paid. So if your pay your Council Tax in 10 monthly instalments first work out the weekly amount (multiply by 10 then divide by 52). If you pay your rent on a calendar monthly basis multiply by 12 and divide by 52.,
Rent
The maximum Housing Benefit you can receive is 100% of your 'eligible rent' although the amount of rent eligible for benefit may be restricted if it is considered too high as explained below. Your eligible rent can include certain service charges but does not cover water rates or fuel charges.
Eligible service charges include: general management costs; charge for furniture; cleaning of communal areas; portering; entry phone; and caretakers. You can't get help with charges for things such as: food; laundry; and leisure facilities.
For people living in supported housing (including sheltered housing) there is a scheme called 'Supporting People' under which local authorities receive a grant for funding support services. This scheme pays for things such as: cleaning of private areas; emergency alarm systems; and general support not funded by Housing Benefit. These services should also help you to remain in your own home so that you don 't have to move to sheltered housing or a care home. If you live in private supported accommodation or remain in your own home you will usually need to have a community care assessment (carried out by the Local Authority Social Services department) in order to get this support. People receiving Housing Benefit will not be charged for these services.
Fuel Charges
If your rent includes an amount for fuel, this will not be counted as eligible for benefit. For example, if your rent is £80 of which £10 is for heating, the maximum benefit would be £70. If the charges for fuel are not specified separately and you and your family have more than one room, the following fixed amounts will be deducted: Heating £15.45; Hot Water £1.80; Lighting £1.25; Cooking £1.80; All Fuel £20.30
These amounts are lower if you only occupy one room.
Further information about Council Tax Benefit can be found in Factsheet No.17 which is with all the other Age Concern England Factsheets in two folders at Birstall Library. Any Factsheets may be requested free from Age Concern Books, Linhay House, Linhay Business Park, Ashburton, Devon TQ13 7UP or call the Information Line free on 0800 00 99 66.
New
'Care Home Check List'
'Attendance Allowance'
are new Information guides available…
In addition to:
Your guide to healthy living, Living well in your neighbourhood, Living well in your home, What to do when someone dies, Putting your affairs in order, Planning your retirement income, How to find a care home, Help with care in your own home, Choices in retirement housing, Your employment choices, Going into hospital, Your health services, Going solo, Don't be fooled, Adapting your home, Your rights at work, Help with legal advice, Planning to live abroad, Making the most of your money, Financial help in retirement, Later life as an LGB person
The Age Concern England Information Line (ACIL) supports information and advice work by offering a telephone helpline and providing, new Information Guides, Factsheets and information sheets to individuals directly or at the request of an Age concern.
Members of the public can call 0800 009966 or visit www.ageconcern.org.uk
Age Concern Leicester, Shire and Rutland Information and Advice Service
Tel: 0116 2992233 to speak with an advisor or make an appointment
Opening hours: Mon, Tues and Thurs, l.30 to 4.30pm, Fri 1.30 to 4pm
Can also be contacted by Fax: 0116 2992244 and by email: enquiries@ageconcernleics.com
www.ageconcernleics.com
Jex Woods


Gifts at Christmas

A TOTAL of 885 shoe boxes full of Christmas gifts for poor children around the world have left Birstall thanks to the generosity of local people.



Beryl Massey of Birstall Methodist Church and friends from St James, St Nicholas Wanlip, Anstey Methodist and Harrison Road Methodist Church helped to fill 385 boxes.
Daphne Stephenson and friends filled 500 shoeboxes. She said: "Hazel and I would like to say a very big Thank You to all those people who have given their time and knitted for us, those who have helped us not only to raise the magnificent sum of £1250 to pay for the carriage, but also the money to enable us to purchase the items we needed to fill 500 shoe boxes.
"Special thanks must be given to Peter, Mike, Jean, Juliann in the RSPCA shop and to Dave at Shoepermarket for saving us his empty shoe boxes. Our boxes this year are going to Romania, so on behalf of all those children a really big Thank You ."
She added: "Please keep knitting and collecting as God willing we will start again in the New Year with a coffee morning at the Methodist Church on January 10, 2009 from 10am to 12noon."


WEA courses

Medieval Buildings
A look at the castles, manor houses, towns and villages of medieval England and what happened to them during the crisis years of the mid-14th century (The Black Death). The church and cathedral will also be examined, along with barns, fish-stews, dovecotes and monastic buildings. We'll conclude in the 15th century with the replacement of the old Plantagenet order with the new Tudor dynasty.
Tutor: Colin Groves
Venue: The Rothley Centre, Mountsorrel Lane, Rothley
Starts: 13th January 2009 for 10 meetings Tuesday 10am-11.30am
Fee: £41.25 (concessions A £37.10, B Free)

Tai Chi
With daily practice, the soft flowing movements of Tai Chi strengthen the body, promoting stress reduction and well-being. One posture of the 24 sequential movements of the form is taught each week. Please wear loose clothing and flat-soled shoes. Another Tai Chi course is planned for summer 2009
Tutor: Laraine Tucker
Venue: Methodist Church Hall, Wanlip Lane, Birstall.
Starts: 13th January 2009 for 12 meetings Tuesday 12.45-2.45pm
Fee: £66 (concessions A £59.40, B Free)

British Art and Innovation
There have been many artists in British art history whose individualism has set them apart from their contemporaries. Always extraordinary, sometimes eccentric, they embody the conviction and vision of an innovative Britain. From William Blake to Wyndham Lewis to Christopher Wood, and Stanley Spencer to Peter Lanyon, among others, this course explores their unique contribution to British art. No expert knowledge required-just a lively open-minded interest in art!
Tutor: Janis Baker
Venue: The Rothley Centre, Mountsorrel Lane, Rothley.
Starts: 14th January 2009 for 10 meetings Wednesday 7.15-9.15pm
Fee: £55 (concessions A £49.50, B Free)

Singing for Fun
Does the thought of singing anywhere other than in the privacy of your own home fill you with horror? Banish those demons by coming aboard a light-hearted vocal journey through popular and classical repertoire from plainsong to the present day, covering a little theory and music reading on the way but always with the emphasis on singing for fun. The more experienced singer is also welcome and will be given suitably challenging parts.
Tutor: Anne Hughes
Venue: The Rothley Centre, Mountsorrel Lane, Rothley.
Starts: 16th January 2009 for 10 meetings Friday 10am-12noon.
Fee: £55 (concessions A £49.50, B Free)

Sketching Techniques using Line, Wash and Tone.
Learn successful sketching techniques with a friendly and helpful tutor. He will help you to gain an insight into how to draw and then translate that into a useful sketching style. Explore methods that will help you to draw what you see with an economy of line and effort.
Tutor: Tim Fisher
Venue: The Old School Rooms, 3 School Street, Rothley
Starts: For two meetings. Friday 6th March 2009 and Friday 13th March 2009 10.15am-4pm
Fee: £27.50 (concessions A £24.75, B Free)

Further information:
Marion Vincent 0116 2303405 vincent.mbe@ntlworld.com
Franca Freeman 0116 2362566 francafreeman@hotmail.com
John Laurance 01509 813005 johnlaurance@hotmail.com
Or send enrolments to WEA Treasurer 35 Seagrave Road, Sileby, Leicester LE12 7TN with cheques payable to WEA Birstall and Rothley Branch.


Peace light

A FLAME lit in the grotto in Bethlehem where Christ was born arrives in Birstall on December 17.
The Peace Light is lit each year and flown to Vienna, from where it is distributed across Europe and America as a symbol of hope and peace.
All are welcome to visit Birstall Methodist Church on Wednesday December 17 at 7.30pm with a lamp or candle to take home the Peace Light.


Shapes’ VAT cut

A LOCAL hairdressing salon will be passing on the Chancellor's 2.5 per cent cut in VAT to its customers.
Luke Halford, Business Director at Shapes Professional Hair Care, 291 Birstall Road, said: "Thanks to the Chancellor's reduction of VAT from 17.5% to 15% we decided to pass this saving onto our guests. In these challenging times every little helps and we urge other businesses to do the same, therefore as from December 1 our prices will be reduced for the full 13 months."


Clerk to resign

BIRSTALL PARISH Council's clerk is to resign and move abroad.
Brenda Thomas was appointed in July 2007. She said: "I have thoroughly enjoyed my role at Birstall Parish Council and I am sad that I am leaving sooner than I planned. However I have submitted my notice earlier than necessary in order that the council can appoint my successor and I can provide a comprehensive handover. There is still a lot for me to do before I hand over the reins on May 1, 2009. It was always my intention to move abroad, however when the housing market changed I brought those plans forward."
Anyone interested in applying for the post can find all the details on the Parish Council's website at www.birstallparishcouncil.org.uk


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