Help is needed for Stoneygate Christmas Market to have a smashing time

By Max Pearson

A woman with Multiple Sclerosis is calling for people to donate their unwanted plates, ornaments or any other smashable items for a stall at Stoneygate Christmas Market on November 26.

The idea was conceived by Jem Redden, who broke things at home as a way of taking out her anger after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis nine years ago.

Ms Redden said: “There’s something quite satisfying when smashing glass and it releases the feel good hormones.

Smash story Jem Redden

Jem Redden

“I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis nine years ago, and this year it started to show signs that it was progressing.”

The former Journalism student at De Montfort University, who now works as a marketing consultant, added: “It meant I had to rely on people, but I am a very independent person, so it frustrated the hell out of me.

“I broke things at home and even tried to release my anger at bottle banks but there’s not much room to smash through the bottle holes in the bottle banks, so, after a year of thinking about this business idea and doing my research I decided I need to make it a reality.”

Around 100,000 people in the UK have Multiple Sclerosis, which is a neurological condition that affects the nerves and is caused by the immune system not working properly.

However, this has not stopped Jem as she plans to turn the stall into a business in 2018 at a yet to be confirmed location in Leicester.

“Smash is going to be a space where you can get out your frustrations by smashing glass and pottery, then creating art out of the destruction in the form of a mosaic.

“People can choose to smash and create or simply come along to smash.

“The launch will be early 2018, but to tease what’s coming, I’m holding a stall at the Stoneygate Christmas Market, where people can throw wooden balls at glass and pottery.”

The Christmas Market is held by the Stoneygate Shops on Allandale Road and Francis Street in Stoneygate at the end of November each year, and will feature entertainment, arts and crafts, a Santa’s Grotto and festive food and drink.

If you would like to donate any items, you can contact Jem Redden by email at

Wheel of Light opens in Jubilee Square, marking the start of Christmas in Leicester



By Harry Rogers

The Wheel of Light was finally opened to the public on Friday in Jubilee Square, kick-starting Leicester’s annual Christmas festivities programme.

Standing at 110 feet high, the wheel is a prominent feature of Christmas in Leicester, remaining open until January 8.

To ride the wheel, it costs £4 for a family ticket, (two adults, two children) offering a skyline view overlooking the whole of the city centre.

Graduate Project Officer at Leicester City Council, Shahanna Sheikh, in charge of promoting the wheel, said: “Promoting the Wheel of Light is done through several media outlets, so we have our Facebook page, twitter page and website where we create the event (Visit Leicester).”

Leicester City Council has organised a range of events over the Christmas period including a Christmas Market, the annual lights switch on and a new ice rink, which will also be opening in Jubilee Square.

The ice rink will be constructed with real ice and a roof to ensure that people can skate regardless of the weather.

It will also be able to accommodate 170 skaters as well as skating aids for children.

The ice rink opens on December 9 and like the Wheel of Light, will remain open until January 8.

Ticket prices start at £6.50 with discounts on offer for groups of more than four people.

Mrs Sheikh added: “Around the Christmas period we try to promote events all over Leicestershire.

“This year in particular we want people to be involved with the Jubilee Square ice rink and Leicester’s Christmas market as we don’t usually have these events happening.

“We are really excited for people to get involved with this as it is a unique and great opportunity.

“We also want people to get involved with the lights switch on as it’s a great way to kick off the festive season.”

The annual lights switch on will take place at Humberstone Gate on November 23 at 6:30pm.

The day will have live music, the pantomime cast from De Montfort Hall’s Beauty and the Beast and the Lord Mayor, who as always will be switching on the lights.

You can find the whole Christmas programme and more information about the Wheel of Light at

Sketchers’ group marks tenth anniversary with crawl

By Matthew Earth

The tenth anniversary of an international sketchers’ group was celebrated in Leicester at the weekend when about 40 people gathered to capture the local scenery.

The Leicester branch of Urban Sketchers, a worldwide group of sketch enthusiasts, met in the city’s cultural quarter as part of its ‘Let’s Draw’ event, which saw participants spread throughout the city as they compiled their images.

Alex Douglas, who was taking part in the sketch crawl, has been attending Urban Sketchers events for more than a year and a half and said the events are open to everyone, regardless of their ability.

“The sketch crawls are for people of any age, no matter how good they are. We try to advertise to Leicester’s student population as well,” Mr Douglas said.


Urban Sketchers was formed in 2007, when Seattle-based journalist Gabriel Campanario created a blog encouraging the public to share their sketches of the towns and cities in which they live.

The non-profit organisation consists entirely of volunteers, and states its mission is to “raise the artistic, storytelling and educational value of on-location drawing, promoting its practice and connecting people around the world.”

The ten-year anniversary is being celebrated internationally with events such as classes and a 24-hour sketch walk.

Saturday’s Leicester meet-up began at 10.30am outside the Curve Theatre, and participants met for breaks in venues such as the Cosy Club and the Tourist Square.

A group photo of the sketchers was taken outside the Curve at midday.

The event ran until 4pm, when the sketch enthusiasts gathered at the Exchange bar, in Rutland Street, for drinks and to share their work for the day.

Mr Douglas, who composed a sketch of the Athena theatre, said the Leicester Urban Sketchers branch aims to meet up every two weeks.

“Most of the time we do a sketch crawl, where we spend a few hours sketching. We will draw anything we see,” he said.

Participants shared their work after the event on the branch’s Facebook page, which consists of more than 100 members.

Information on the group’s future events and meet-ups, as well as previous sketches made by participants, can be found by searching ‘Urban Sketchers Leicester’ on Facebook.

Remembrance Day Parade draws a crowd of hundreds

By Holly Hume

A Remembrance Parade followed by a service took place in Victoria Park, Leicester, on Sunday in honour of members of the armed forces who have died fighting for the Commonwealth.


The annual parade and service was attended by a crowd of hundreds, including veterans, serving military, Leicestershire Police and Official Dignitaries.

The parade began at De Montfort Hall and made its way to The Arch of Remembrance, where the service was held at 10.55am.

The ’Last Post’ was played as two maroons were fired to announce the start of the service, before the parade was called to stand at ease.



The Deputy Commander, the Lord Mayor and the Lord-Lieutenant on the saluting dais


There were several readings, the most famous of all being ‘In Flanders Fields’ by John McCrae, read by The Lord-Lieutenant of Leicestershire, Jennifer Lady Gretton DCVO.

Children from years five and six at Shaftesbury Junior School performed a reading of poetry they had composed for a school project written in pseudonym as local fallen soldiers.



Standard bearers


Hymns were sung and prayers were said for fallen servicemen who are remembered every November.

The Junior Girls and Songmen of Leicester Cathedral and the City of Leicester Singers led the singing throughout the service and The Salvation Army Band played as wreaths were laid on the memorial.


Wreaths laid on the Arch of Remembrance

The Seaforth Highlanders Pipes and Drums carried out a short wreath laying ceremony after the main service.


Drum Major Bruce Meadows of The Seaforth Higlanders Pipes and Drums


World War One claimed the lives of an estimated 887,858 UK military, left 1,675,000 wounded and a further 744,000 soldiers who went missing in action.

Remembrance day began to honour all those lost in World War One, and now honours all those who have been lost in the wars since.

Attendees included both locals and visitors who had come far to pay their respects.

The service was sponsored by Leicestershire County Council.

Video game tournament makes a smashing come-back

By Mickey Evans

The ‘Smash’ video game tournament triumphantly returned to O’Neill’s pub on Monday night after a two-month hiatus.

Smash tournament photo

The tournament was put on hold whilst O’Neill’s went under a full renovation, until the Leicester pub re-opened at the end of October.

The tournament draws its name from the 1999 Nintendo 64 game ‘Super Smash Bros.’

The evening event featured two games from the franchise; ‘Smash Bros Melee’, and the more recent ‘Super Smash Bros 4.’

Monday night’s event winners not only received a cash prize raised from entry fees, but were also entered into Smashzilla 7, a Nottingham based fighting game tournament, featuring games from Tekken to Street Fighter.

Organiser Will Savage said: “We’ve been doing this every Monday for the past two years, but we’ve recently come off a two-month hiatus due to O’Neill’s renovations.”

The turnout of 34 tournament combatants put to bed any doubts that the event would suffer from the temporary closure.

‘Jam’, a contestant, said: “I come here to compete, to meet friends from around the country, but most importantly, to drink beer and play smash.”

Connor Mackinnon, who travelled from Birmingham to compete, said: “If you don’t play (Captain) Falcon, you’re not playing it right.”

However, the success of the event would not have been possible without help.

Will said: “A lot of people help out, we try to get things moving as quickly as possible because we only really have three hours.”

Tom MacPherson, co-organiser, said: “We all help run the brackets.

“Will plays a lot so we help out, plenty of volunteers make things run smoothly.”

The regular events are warmly welcomed by O’Neill’s.

Andy Anderson, assistant manager of O’Neill’s, said: “We get a lot of retro-gaming events here, like the smash bros one.

“We usually put offers on, like 10% off food and drink.

“These events bring in more people every week, it’s really good considering it’s a Monday, usually the deadest night of the week.”

Smashzilla is hosted by Leicester Crew and GeekZilla, and sponsored by Pro-Comfi, Brook, Team Heir and, Green Shell Media and will run from November 18 to 19.

Tournaments are scheduled to be held every Monday night from 6 to 11pm.