Near death experience inspires Johnny to raise funds for the team who saved his life

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Katrina Chilver

A man who owes his life to the work of staff at Glenfield Hospital is raising money for their charity to show his gratitude.

Johnny Normal, 47 of Stratford-on-Avon, was diagnosed with Influenza A in March by doctors at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham and suffered bocovirus, pneumonia in both lungs, liver failure and kidney failure.

He said: “It went really downhill very quickly, they did all that they could at the hospital in Birmingham but they said they couldn’t do anything for me apart from possibly a very risky procedure.”

Mr Normal was assessed by a team from Leicester before being transferred to Glenfield to receive Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) treatment.

Mr Normal added: “They had to make a decision whether it was worth it, it was my only hope of survival, and if they didn’t make that trip then I would not be here today.”

The survival rate of patients undergoing ECMO treatment is between 30 and 50% and Mr Normal’s wife and two daughters aged 10 and 15 were told his chances of survival were slim.

Mr Normal said: “It was absolutely heartbreaking for my wife and children, the doctors told them twice that I was not going to make it and they said their goodbyes to me.

“When I came out of my coma, I saw the beds around me constantly emptying, it was scary to see.

“It’s a very specialist treatment, I’m forever indebted to Dr Richard Porter and his team for saving my life.”

Mr Normal had to learn to walk again after his treatment and only has a lung capacity of 50% but he is now slowly recovering.

He is now devoting a lot of his time to raising money and awareness of ECMO treatment and the Leicester Hospitals Charity.

He said: “I want people who have family or friends going through this to have hope and see that you can come out of it and you can survive.

“I have first-hand experience of the work they do, when you think of intensive care you think of what you see on television but I saw what it is really like.

“I had eight or ten doctors around me 24/7, it’s a level of treatment I had never even thought of, the quality of care, their sense of humour and ability to keep optimistic was astounding.”

Mr Normal, who worked as a music promoter and event organiser before his illness, has decided to start by raising £5000 – the approximate cost per day to care for a patient undergoing ECMO treatment.

To donate to the Leicester Hospitals Charity and help Johnny reach his goal, visit justgiving.com/Johnny-Normal.

Leicester City captain opens tattoo studio in Leicester

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Clare Atkinson

Leicester City captain, Wes Morgan, has opened a new tattoo shop in the city centre.

Blue Ink Tattoo Studio, on Belgrave Gate, opened for business at 3pm on Wednesday October 8.

Natasha Toms, studio manager, said: “We’re different than other tattoo studios, we’re going in a different direction.

“You can sit and watch Netflix while getting a tattoo.”

The shop is co-owned by Scott Tayan who knew Wes Morgan from playing football together for Nottingham Forest, before a knee injury ended Tayan’s footballing career.

Morgan’s fellow Leicester players have been endorsing the new tattoo studio on social media and some will be at the studio on Monday, October 27 when a fan will be getting a half sleeve tattoo featuring 12 of the players signatures.

The Blue Ink studio has a modern look with bright colours and an open space.

Miss Toms added: “We want it to be an experience for the customer; they have to feel good while they are getting a tattoo, they don’t want to be looking at dark dingy walls.”

There are 5 studios within the store and the team are hoping to add a barbers and piercers in soon, with pieces from the clothing line ‘Ink or Ugly’ already available to buy in the shop.

Despite only currently having one tattoo artist, known as Skincandy, they are already taking bookings for weeks in advance and are expecting a new artist to be joining them soon.

Morgan is currently in Japan on international duty with Jamaica so has not been in the studio since its opening, but will be in regularly when he has returned.

Celebrate Diwali in Leicester with a day of kite-flying fun

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Katrina Chilver 

A kite-flying day will be held at Leicester’s Spinney Park on Saturday, October 18 to celebrate Diwali.

The free family event run by Art Reach will include kite flying and kite crafting workshops.

The day starts at 11am and finishes at 4pm, for more information on Diwali events across Leicester visit visitleicester.info/…/festivals-cel…/diwali/diwali-whats-on/.

Peace demonstration against ISIS 

Chanelle Laoudi

Peaceful protestors gathered for a moment of silence by the Haymarket Clock in Leicester last Friday, October 3.

Rabiha Hannan, Vice-President of The Islamic Society of Britain, led the demonstration that began at 5.30pm to support the campaign for the release of hostages held in Syria.

Later that day Youtube broadcasted the video of an extremist threatening to kill Alan Henning, one of the hostages it was hoped would be released.

Once Mrs Hannan saw the footage she then posted online: “Struggling to sleep; both devastated and angry at the taking of the life of a man who left the comfort of his home to help those in need.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the family of a hero.”

The hostage Alan Henning, a 47-year-old taxi driver from Salford Greater Manchester, was an aid support worker alongside fellow volunteer Majid Freeman when they both got captured in December.

The abductors inspected the men’s phones and passports to check if they were spies followed by them being questioned separately.

The pair was later put into temporary detention, with 26-year-old Majid Freeman later being freed.

Mr Freeman said: “With Alan being an aid worker you would think that they would’ve released him, however that wasn’t the case.”

With the media labelling the abductors as Islamic state militants, the protestors were fearful of people judging all followers of the Islamic religion as extremists.

“Simple education is the solution,” he added.

Mrs Hannan added: “This (the murder of men) is not in our name and faith.

“Islam should instil peace, love and mercy in people.”

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Diwali Lights Festival 

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Chanelle Laoudi 

Leicester’s annual lights festival firework display is this weekend.

The event starts at 5.30pm on Belgrave road Sunday, October 12 to celebrate the start of the Hindu New Year.

There will be cultural entertainment and light displays to marking the start of the Hindu Festival of Light.

Visitors are urged by the local council to travel by public transport.

For more information visit leicester.gov.uk/diwali.