For whom the Bell tolls: top BBC journalist to address DMU students

By Danial Nash

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Legendary war correspondent Martin Bell

A world leading war correspondent and former MP is coming to De Montfort University to talk to students.

Martin Bell OBE, 78, a renowned former BBC television journalist and former MP for Tatton from 1997 to 2001, will talk to students on Friday (March 3) under the title, An Evening with Martin Bell.

The event is part of the annual Cultural Exchanges Festival, which is currently running between February 27 and March 3.

An organiser of the event, Stacey Brown, 21, in her third year of Festival Arts and Management and Drama, said it would be an interesting talk.

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Stacey Brown

“I think it’s a great event,” she said. “It covers a wide demographic of the DMU audience and he is highly-respected in the journalism community, especially by older generations who may know him as the ‘man in the white suit’.”

Mr Bell was a regular face on British news television, covering more than 80 countries and 11 wars including Bosnia, where millions watched as he was notoriously struck by shrapnel on a live report.

An Evening with Martin Bell is on this Friday in the Clephan Building (Room 2.13) from 6pm until 7:30pm. You can get tickets here: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/337457

MP slams NHS England over vital Heart Unit meeting

By Olivia Mumby

Shadow Health Secretary and Leicester South Labour MP, Jon Ashworth, has called for more places to be available to the public at an upcoming meeting to discuss the future of the Glenfield Hospital Children’s Heart Unit.

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The meeting will be held on Thursday, March 9, at the Leicester Tigers stadium in Welford Road in the city.

There are currently only about 120 places available for the public to attend.

For such an important meeting, the gathering should be held in a bigger venue, according to Mr Ashworth.

“I am extremely concerned at the low number of places available for the public to attend this event,” he said.

“Given that the purpose of the event is to provide people with the opportunity to hear more about the proposals, and to ask questions about the proposed plans, it is extremely unsatisfactory that only 96 seats are allocated to the public.”

NHS England bosses have responded, saying they had worked with the venue to increase the capacity of the room to allow more people to attend. Originally, the room was going to hold 96 people. Now there is space for 120.

It’s still not enough, said Mr Ashworth.

“An increase from 96 to 120 is simply not good enough,” he said.

Last month, about 2,000 people marched from Victoria Park into Leicester city centre to demonstrate their support for the centre and to protest about its proposed closure.

Public feeling about the proposed closure is strong, said Mr Ashworth.

“I would encourage anyone who would like to attend the event to register with NHS England as they will consider another event in Leicester if there is the demand for one.”

Speaking via Facebook, the Save Glenfield Heart Unit group said: “NHS England are clearly trying to limit the amount of opposition they will face at the meeting. But we will not be deterred!”

For those unable to attend the meeting, there are plans for supporters to meet outside the venue to show their support for the unit.

People will be gathering from 4.30pm onwards and anyone is welcome to join in.

To register an interest in attending an event, visit: https://www.engage.england.nhs.uk/

If you would like to submit a question for the event, please send them in advance to: england.congenitalheart@nhs.net.

The event will also be available via web-link, the details of which are available on the NHS England website.

Leicestershire Police begin fresh recruitment drive for cadets

By Ollie Heppenstall

A new recruitment drive intended to showcase careers in the police has been launched in Leicestershire – with the goal of recruiting a further 150 cadets by September.

The force’s recruitment programme aims to enable cadets aged between 13 and 17 to enhance their lives and gain skills to help their community.

Sergeant Danny Graham, Volunteer Police Cadet lead, said young people were the life blood of the police. 

The VPC programme at Leicestershire Police continues to grow from strength to strength, and I am immensely proud of the force’s committed investment in young people.”

A promotional video included in the campaign, featuring a group of current police cadets, shows opportunities and activities on offer to cadets including a visit to the East Midlands Operational Support Service, a tour of a riot van and a large-scale leaflet drop assisting police with a major investigation.

Cadets get to take part in a wide range of activities, said Sgt Graham.

“Joining the cadets is an excellent opportunity for anyone wanting to try something new, increase their skills and confidence, and meet people from all walks of life,” he said.

For further information and to download an application form please visit the Leicestershire Volunteer Police Cadet website, and follow them on Facebook and twitter for updates.

Vegan-friendly ice-cream menu leaves Leicester locals licking their lips

By Tyler Arthur

Ice-cream-loving vegans will give a cool thumbs up to a city ice cream parlour which has launched its new menu, now featuring dairy-free desserts.

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Whipee! The restaurant can be found in Granby Street.

Whipee Gelato, opened in June 2015, but the restaurant has overhauled its menu to stop the vegan community from missing out.

Sales assistant at Whipee Gelato, Jordan Wildman, said the new menu has been selling well since its launch at the weekend.

“The new selection has been very popular. People are loving it,” he said.

The original menu was also extended for people who do eat dairy, including the introduction of an entirely new selection of large milkshakes, called ‘Freakshakes’, which are served in foot-tall glasses.

The inclusive dessert menu features waffles, sundaes, shakes and smoothies. Shop staff hope the new menu will make the restaurant a hot spot during summer for vegans – while retaining traditional customers.

Leicester venue enjoys boom in trade following city-wide comedy festival

By Muhsin Cabdi

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James Acaster, one of the acts at the Cookie

A Leicester bar owner is smiling after an increase in revenue and ticket sales during the city’s annual comedy festival.

Anthony Hopkins, owner of The Cookie, a bar in High Street, Leicester, said his business sold 25 per cent more tickets than it had at last year’s festival.

Mr Hopkins was sure the increase was due to the increasing profile of the Leicester Comedy Festival, a three-week laughs extravaganza which takes place all over the city.

“We had a variety of shows in three venues for the duration of the festival. It’s a very busy month,” he said.

“We sold 6,000 tickets this year as opposed to the 4,500 we sold last year.”

The venue hosted a variety of comedy events ranging from stand-alone performers to comedians on tour.

While it hosts acts all year round, the bar profits more during the comedy festival than other times of the year, said Mr Hopkins.

Some of the headline acts included stand-up comedians Tom Allen and James Acaster.

Mr Hopkins lives in America but flies back to Leicester every February to catch the comedy festival.

He said: “I caught Paul Foot and I caught Dane Baptiste. It was great.”

A total of 650 shows took place during the Leicester Comedy Festival, with 106 taking place in The Cookie’s three venues (The Cookie itself, the O2 venue and The Globe pub).

When asked if he would invite any of the acts back, Mr Hopkins said he would be delighted to ask them back.

“Generally, we research the acts at the Edinburgh Festival for ones we want and we invite them to perform during the festival.”

Mr Hopkins’ bar has been involved in the Leicester Comedy Festival for the last seven years.