Half-finished Christmas tree is the laughing stock of Leicester

By Olivia Whaley

Residents in Leicester were left baffled at the city’s ‘attempt’ at Christmas decorations this year.

The 50ft Christmas tree was left half decorated after the council admitted that the tinsel was too heavy for its branches.xmas-tree

This year a whopping £220,000 was to put towards the city’s Christmas decorations and an additional £50,000 has been allocated to update the stock and to cover any damages.

City centre director Sarah Harrison said: “It was a long, complicated job to make the city look beautifully festive.”

The tree, which is the city’s centre piece is worth £4,800 and comes from Kielder Forest in Northumberland.

Psychology student, Kiran Mankoo lives in Leicester. She said: “I was so excited to see the Christmas decorations in the city centre, but they just turned out to be embarrassing.”

Workmen have now started to decorate the tree again, this time minus the tinsel.

Mrs Harrison said: “They’ve obviously put the tinsel on the top of the tree first and realised the branches were being bent out of place.”
The decorations were mocked by locals across the city, some suggesting that workmen had forgotten to finish it or that the rest of the decorations had been stolen.

Local resident, Yasmin Moussa was left disappointed by the decorations. She said: “The council have put so much money towards the decorations this year, so I think a lot of residents had high hopes for them. Once again, we were left pretty disappointed with their efforts.”

Others took to social media to express their views on the half-hearted effort, suggesting that the decorations ‘must be a joke’.
Daniel O’Donovan published a picture of the Christmas tree on Twitter. He told the BBC that the ‘tree has always been a bit abysmal.’

He believed that there would be more effort this year. He suggested that after so many great things had happened in Leicester there should have been ‘something a little bit more special.’

Mrs Harrison added that they have got ‘hundreds and hundreds of mult
i-coloured LED tea lights’ which will be put on display.

The official Christmas lights were switched on by the Lord Mayor on Thursday 17 November at 6.30pm.
The annual Winter Food and Drink will also be making an appearance in the city centre on Sunday 20 November.


Demon FM gets ready to put on big birthday bash for 21st birthday

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Demon Media members at the DMU Freshers Fair

By Beth Mosettig

De Montfort University’s community radio station is turning 21 on Saturday and they know how to throw a party.

The station is part of a society that has three strands; Demon FM, a community radio station, Demon TV, which has its own YouTube channel and The Demon, the University magazine.

The celebrations will include a training day for students, guests and alumni to learn more about the radio industry.

Hannah Rowe, Demon FM Station manager said: “Demon21 is a really exciting opportunity for everyone within Demon Media and across the University.

“After 21 years of expansion and development; Demon21 is a great chance for us all to celebrate what our diverse talent pool has achieved.

“This couldn’t have come at a better time, with two new sub strands: Demon Tech and Demon Design and our confirmed hosting of the SRA conference 2017, there’s certainly a lot to be proud of here at DMU.”

Many DMU graduates are returning to share their wealth of knowledge after breaking into the industry.

Jordon North from BBC Radio One will be the key note speaker on the day, sharing his experience about breaking into the industry from student radio.

Other guest speakers include James Mobbs, a successful freelance graphic designer and Laura Healey, a successful freelance editor and former member of Demon TV.

The station was set up in 1995 by Rob Martin, the communications officer at the time but it didn’t get its community license until 2009.

Many graduates have gone on to work for national stations such as Capital FM and even further a field in America.

The festivities continue well into the night in true university style with a 21st birthday party taking place at local establishment ‘The Fat Cat Café Bar’ alongside an informal awards ceremony.

There will also be memorabilia to mark the occasion that guests are able to purchase on the day.

Ollie McGrath, Head of Programming is helping to lead the celebrations.

He said: “It’s going to be an epic day where we get to learn off those in our place two, three or maybe even 20 years ago.

“We then get to round the day off with a massive party!

Tickets are available to buy at www.demon21.co.uk and are free of charge.

Autism is not a mental illness, says nationally renowned artist

By Connor McDonagh

Multi format artist Jon Adams believes autism is simply a different way of thinking rather than a mental illness.

Speaking at De Montfort University, freelance artist Jon Adams, who has autism, says it is wrong for it to be classed as a ‘mental illness’ and is pushing for change in legislation.

”Autism is not a mental illness, it is a different way of thinking,” Jon said. ”Other people’s mistreatment of autism causes other mental illnesses such depression rather than autism itself.”

Jon hopes legislation is changed in the near future, similar to that of the LGBTQ+ community, to make it a ‘level playing field’ for people who have autism.

”Only 15% of people who have autism are in work compared to 50% of disabled,” he stated. ”We need to change attitudes in society. 40 years ago, being homosexual was seen as a mental illness and over time, we can change how autism is viewed in our society by eradicating the myths which surrounds it.’’

Jon was officially diagnosed with autism at the age of 52 and dyslexia at 39, a cruel experience during his time at primary school meant he did not go to art school.

”There was a time at school where I misspelt my name and a teacher tore my picture up in front of the class which has affected me for a long time,” Jon revealed.

He subsequently studied Geology and Palaeontology at King’s College, London, which ultimately led to him delving into the niche market of scientific illustration.

Jon’s latest project, ‘Democracy Street’ was commission as part of Parliament’s 2015 anniversary programme in particular the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta.

connor-art-picture‘Democracy Street’ is an interactive application that lets you explore links between street names and the people who shaped society.

”It is a digital app which lets people explore the history behind their street name. Whether it is King’s Street or something less common as Alexander Fleming road, the app will give you the information and history behind it.’’

Jon’s artwork (pictured) uses the patterns and shapes of the streets he chooses to construct wonderful, abstract art. He argues his autism allows him to ‘show the world what is in my head’.

You can visit Jon’s latest project, ‘Democracy Street’ at: https://democracystreet.com/

Tigers build team chemistry with Leicestershire firefighter drills

By Mark Farmer


Leicester Tigers dressed in firefighter get up.

Leicester Tigers spent the afternoon practising team building exercises with firefighters from Leicestershire Fire and Rescue on Monday 14 October in a bid to boost team spirit.

The entire first team squad, which includes the likes of Tom Croft, Manu Tuilagi and Freddie Burns, were taking part in the tasks at Leicester Central Fire Station.

The challenges saw them pit themselves against the firefighters of Leicester Fire and Rescue, as well as their teammates as the squad was split into four groups, competing against each other.

Leicester Tigers’ Press Officer, Andy Mann, said: “It’s about getting the players to think about problems and how they can solve them quickly.”

The players were said to have immense respect for the work of the firefighters.

Mr Mann said: “The players had a lot of respect for the firemen before they arrived but the challenges have really tested them.

“They have even more respect for them now.”

The tasks saw players compete against their teammates and the clock in order to come out on top.

One challenge saw the them build a shelter on the ground, which would have to cover them before water was fired at them from a cherry picker at 3,000 litres per minute.

The entire squad took part in the task, and with only a large plastic sheet and four ladders to serve as protection, they had until the cherry picker and water cannon was in position to take cover.

“It was great fun and the team really enjoyed it,” Mr Mann said.

He added: “It has been a real insight for the players to see how the fire services operate and the team know a lot more about their work now.”

Mr Mann believes the exercise day, which was organised by Director of Rugby, Richard Cockerill, should see improvements on the field as the Tigers’ aim for a for their eleventh Aviva Premiership crown.

He said: “It’s all about bringing the group closer together and improving the reliability between them and their teammates.”

“This should hopefully see some benefit on the pitch as well, as the team grows closer.”

Tigers’ will be hoping this is the case for their next game at home to Harlequins at 3pm on Sunday.

WWF raise awareness in Leicester

By Luke Hawker

WWF fundraisers came to Leicester City Centre this Thursday to raise awareness for endangered wildlife.

The World Wide Fund for Nature organisation (WWF) was set up to stop the degradation of the planets natural environment, and without the generous donations, their great work would not be possible.

Tom Gilday, charity fundraiser for WWF said: “We are in Leicester today to help raise wwfawareness about the dangers animals face out there in the wild, especially the dangers of poachers, the main goal for today is to try and speak to as many people as possible.

“If we find even 10 people and get the word out there that will be great.”

The urgent need for donations are highlighted by the alarming fact that in the last 100 years the tiger population has declined by 95%.

People can support the WWF by donating money to the foundation, which goes towards training a ranger, funding their equipment as well as many other vital causes.

A donation of as little as £5 will equip a ranger with essential first aid kit.

Tom said: “There is a wide range of ways people can help the WWF foundation, hopefully we can get some people to adopt an animal today, we want to try and provide a service for the WWF team”

“Today we are in Leicester but we go to different locations usually of a 10 mile radius of Leicester and so far it has been a success.”

The extraordinary work of members of the WWF has so far helped to protect the environment and wildlife for over 50 years and still their work is still far from complete.

However fantastic progress is being made, as the wild tiger, a much targeted animal by poachers, has increased in numbers in India by 20% to over 2,200 and they are up 60% in Nepal since 2009.

The work of the WWF does not just stop at helping wildlife, they also battle climate change, deforestation as well as sustainable resources.

For more information about the great work the World Wide Fund for Nature organisation (WWF) do and how you can make a difference visit: http://www.wwf.org.uk