Alice Hawkins statue takes aim at inequality

By Conor de Smith

A small model of the Alice Hawkins statue. Source | Leicester City Council.

A small model of the Alice Hawkins statue. Source | Leicester City Council.

A statue of Suffragette Alice Hawkins due be unveiled in Leicester this weekend will address a burning inequality in the city, according to the deputy mayor. 

Ms Hawkins is set to be honoured for her role in the suffragette movement in Leicester on Sunday 4 February when a 7ft-tall bronze statue is unveiled.

The statue has been funded by local businessman Jamie Lewis and will overlook Market Square, where Ms Hawkins addressed large crowds at the height of the suffragette movement in 1912.

Ms Hawkins, arrested five times for her protests, will become the first named woman in the city centre to be recognised with a statue. Barring an unnamed seamstress, all other statues celebrate local men such as Thomas Cook and King Richard III.

One of the few remaining photos of Alice Hawkins. Source | Leicester City Council.

One of the few remaining photos of Alice Hawkins. Source | Leicester City Council.

Cllr Adam Clarke, Leicester’s deputy mayor, believes the erection of Ms Hawkins’ statue will address a particularly poignant inequality within the city.

“We need to be demonstrating inspirational women in our public realm,” he said.

“It is important that women have a place in our public realm and that young women have somebody to look up to. I saw a symbolic inequality that needed to be addressed.”

Mr Clarke started a campaign to see her recognised in 2012 and puts Ms Hawkins’ inspiring story, that saw her rise from shoe machinist to national figurehead, down to her determined character.

“Alice recognised women didn’t have a voice, not only with the vote but in everyday life,” he said.

“She rose from very ordinary beginnings, a very working class background and from normality to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the aristocracy and great women who also argued for the vote.”

Sculptor Sean Hedges-Quinn was commissioned to bring the statue, which took over a year to make, to life and had the difficult task of encompassing all of her traits in one piece of art.

“Her personality had to be made clear in the pose,” he said, “The clarity of stance had to be made clear. Determination is etched onto her face. She has a frown, she is reaching out, gesturing to the crowd, stirring and that is what I aimed for.”

Alice’s great-grandson Peter Barratt and Emmeline Pankhurst’s great-granddaughter will attend the unveiling at 2pm on Sunday.

Protests planned against lack of NHS funding

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By Olivia Mumby

NHS protest group, Health Campaigns Together, has announced plans with The People’s Assembly for a protest this Saturday(FEB3) at Leicester Royal Infirmary.

The protest will be held against the government’s current lack of funding for the NHS.

The announcement follows Leicester protestors’ previous success in stopping plans to end heart surgery at Glenfield Hospital.

In a statement issued yesterday, Steve Score, chairman of the Save Glenfield Children’s Heart Centre campaign, said: “We want to continue the energy of thousands of people who supported our battle to save the NHS.”

The protest will be held between 11am and 12:30pm on Saturday outside Leicester Royal Infirmary.

Supporters will gather around the area of Infirmary Square, near the entrance to the new children’s A&E department, holding signs and handing out leaflets.

Mr Score continued: “The severe funding crisis in the NHS has become all too apparent in the last few months: The queues at A&E, cancelled operations and longer waits.

“Over the last few years NHS funding per head of the population has fallen. We now have fewer beds per person than all but two of the EU countries.

“We are calling for immediate and significant increase in government funding every year, for no cuts and closures and an end to privatisation.”

The Leicester protest will be part of a series of nation-wide protests called by Health Campaigns Together, with the main protest being held in London.

Spokesperson for the Campaign Against NHS Privatisation, Robert Ball, said: “We can afford a good health service. The UK is the 6th richest nation in the world.

“We are calling for an emergency injection of cash plus increased levels of funding in coming years, restoring the historical 4% after inflation, and annual increases.”

Current government funding cuts will mean that, in Leicestershire alone, 243 acute care beds will be lost, St Mary’s birthing centre in Melton Mowbray will be closed along with hospitals in Lutterworth and Oakham, consultant led maternity services at Leicester General Hospital will be lost, and the number of beds provided at Hinkley and Bosworth Community Hospital will be halved.

More information can be found on the NHS in Crisis’ Facebook page.

The next generation of poets took to the Leicester stage and Birmingham came out on top in UniSlam 2018

By Sophie Sandberg

Five University of Birmingham students took home this year’s UniSlam title at the Curve Theatre in Leicester after an intense weekend dedicated to the art of poetry.

Over the course of three days, Leicester was filled with aspiring poets from all over the UK and Ireland who took part in UniSlam – a national poetry slam and summit competition for university students.

The team from the University of Birmingham came out on top followed by Bath Spa University, University of Kent and University of Manchester.

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The winning team: Hannah Swingler (coach), Hannah Ledlie, Kimberley Knaggs, Anne Gill, Sean Colletti, Mikey Barnes

“Last year we came in second place and to end this journey with a win is huge for me, now when my degree is coming to an end,” said Sean Colletti, 29, who was also given the UniSlam Ambassador award for his attempt to create unity among the teams outside of the competition.

Mr Colletti said: “[The award] came as a total surprise but it feels good to give something back to the management of UniSlam, because of all the hard work they have put in to make this possible – but getting first place is just as important as this award.”

“It’s been an intense but amazingly fun weekend and we’ve met so many talented people, but this just makes it an even more memorable experience,” said Kimberley Knaggs, 18.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling and it just feels good to bring the trophy back with us to Birmingham,” added Anne Gill, 22.

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Teams from 25 universities across Britain and Ireland travelled to Leicester to bare their souls through poetry in front of a highly qualified panel of judges, all with a background in professional poetry.

Representatives from De Montfort University (DMU) and the University of Leicester also entered this year’s competition but neither team made it through the preliminary rounds.

“It has been a great experience to be around so many talented people and this is definitely something that will inspire my writing,” said Dominic Haynard, 21, one of the poets who represented DMU in the competition.

UniSlam does not only support talented university poets, but also groups of people who experience various barriers in accessing literature and engages them with poetry in an inspiring way through various development programmes and schemes.

If you or anyone you know wants to join next year’s UniSlam or get involved in other ways, visit uni-slam.com.

‘Aussie Flu’ fears as student collapses at De Montfort University

By Ruairi O’Connor

A 20-year-old De Montfort University student collapsed during a seminar as he was sent reeling by what may have been the effects of the Australian Flu epidemic.

Journalism student, Tyler Arthur, was found slumped in the bathroom, just minutes after informing his module tutor he felt unwell.

“It was the most ill I have ever been in my life, I was incapable of doing anything for around a week,” he said.

“When I was at my worst, I literally couldn’t get out of bed for more than 10 minutes without feeling faint and my temperature was skyrocketing by the second.”

He added: “I started to feel incredibly light-headed so I tried to go to the bathroom to freshen up and by the time I got there, I couldn’t hold myself up.

“I was discovered, nearly unconscious, in the bathroom and had to be taken home immediately.”

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The strain of flu, called H3N2, is potentially deadly to those with weaker immune systems, and has wreaked havoc in Australia this winter.

Around 170,000 cases of the flu were reported and now it has spread faster in the UK than anyone could have anticipated, with at least 14 people admitted to hospital in the last two weeks due to it.

“If I did have the Aussie Flu, hearing those figures makes me feel glad that I did not feel the full wrath of what it seems to do to others.

“I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy, it was awful.”

Thankfully, Mr Arthur is now back in full health and attending university once again.

Leicester students launch new music website: Listen Responsibly

By Alex Leadbitter

Students in Leicester recently launched Listen Responsibly, an exciting new music website offering music listeners something new.

Founders, Chris Daunt, 20, an English Language and Journalism student, and Elliot Ellis, 19, a Graphic Design student, started creating the website in the summer of 2017.

Chris said: “Elliot is semi-professional designer and does web design freelance, so he insisted on building a site from scratch.

“[Elliot] was just coding and I was just writing as much as I could so as to make the site look fairly filled when we started.”

The team also features writers, artists and designers from different universities around the UK.

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An example of the custom artwork designed for the website by Jéssica Martins – ‘Daft Punk is playing at my warehouse’

Currently, Listen Responsibly is largely an album review website but also features EP reviews and playlists.

The reviews cover a wide spectrum of genres with pieces written about artists such as BROCKHAMPTON, Björk, LCD Soundsystem and Arcade Fire.

According to Chris, Listen Responsibly is a website that can be accessible to anyone who has an interest in music.

He said: “It’s for all music lovers: metal heads, sad boys, people who listen exclusively to trap, people who exclusively listen to acid dark synth.

“Because we want everyone to appreciate all music types.”

Still in its infancy, Listen Responsibly has already gained a small following on its Facebook page.

When asked why they decided to create the website, Chris said: “We started because we think we can do it well. With a unique style and unique content. Ideally we want to get somewhat of a cult following.”

Although the website has only recently launched, there is already a lot of content for any music fan to enjoy at http://listenresponsibly.net/.