Woman gets trapped in River Soar trying to save her dog

By Olivia Mumby

A woman has described her frightening ordeal after becoming trapped in the River Soar when she fell in trying to rescue her dog.

Tracy Julian had taken her dog, Tilly, for a walk along their usual route along a stretch of the River Soar in Birstall, when she noticed her pet had disappeared.

Tracy said: “I looked back and called her. Nothing. I called again and still nothing, then I noticed bubbles in the water.

“I ran to the edge and there she was, panicking. She kept popping up to breathe, then disappearing.

“I got on my knees to try and grab her collar but the current kept moving her away. She just kept going under.”

Desperately trying to save her beloved pet, Tracy leaned far over the river’s edge.

“I put my arm out to grab her,” she continued. “I could feel myself slipping down the embankment and in the end, I was in the water with her.

“All I could think about was getting Tilly out. She was drowning. She kept doggy paddling but she wasn’t moving, so I grabbed her and put her on my knees. She used them as a step to jump out.”

It was only then that Tracy realised the danger she was in: “Once she was out then I realised I was stuck. The current kept pulling me away.

“The water was high, I couldn’t touch the bottom. Only then it hits you, right there, I’ve got to get out ASAP.

“I rang my husband but he was 40 minutes away, which was too long.”

It was 7.30am last Thursday morning when Tracy fell into the river and she had to spend 15 minutes in the cold water before help arrived, from Elliot Franklin, who was on his way to work.

Tracy said: “Elliot was the first person I saw cycling towards where I was.

“I shouted first and he asked if I was okay. I told him what had happened and he said, ‘you poor thing.’

“I told him I couldn’t touch the bottom and he said he would try to pull me up until I could swing my legs out.

“It was hard as I was fully clothed and when your clothes are that wet you feel so heavy.

“Finally, he grabbed my legs and I was out. I just sat on the verge thanking him.”

LOROS Local van attacked by vandals day before Hospice Care Week


By Sophie Sandberg

The most important week for LOROS Hospice got off to a bad start when its mobile treatment unit was vandalised.

The vehicle, also known as LOROS Local, was targeted on Monday(OCT8) last week while it was parked on site in preparation for that day’s start of Hospice Care Week, which is the most important week for the Leicestershire hospice.

The mobile resource centre was badly vandalised and got its exhaust stolen which will cost the hospice about £3,000 to repair the damage.

Jo Kavanagh, Director of Care Services, said: “We’re disappointed and saddened that LOROS Local has been targeted and at such an important time for us as a Hospice.

“Hospice Care Week is about raising awareness of our services and how we support the local community, LOROS Local is a vital part of this.

“Not only will this affect planned events, but without our mobile resource centre, patients and their families will not receive support out in the community, which is very sad.”

The vehicle is used to raise awareness about LOROS and offer complementary therapy to people undergoing treatment and was going to be used during the annual Hospice Care Week.

This is a week filled with activities to raise the profile of hospice care across the UK  and is an opportunity to inspire action by inviting supporters to get involved by volunteering, donating and showing they care on social media.

LOROS Hospice provides free, high-quality, compassionate care and support to terminally ill patients, their family and carers.

Pam Farmer, a carer from Hinckley, receives complementary therapy on LOROS Local, she said: “Having access to LOROS Local is just that little bit of help for carers like me, and to have it taken away like this is just awful.

“The people who damaged LOROS Local may need the services themselves one day.”

It is not yet confirmed how long it will take to repair the mobile resource centre or how much it will impact the services LOROS provides but the hospice will do their best to keep providing their services as usual.

The incident has been reported to the Leicestershire police and the hospice asks for anyone who might know anything about what happened on October 8 to contact the police on 101.

VIDEO: Thousands enjoy rain-soaked Leicester Marathon

By Matthew Chandler


Almost 4,000 runners braved torrential rain to take part in the Leicester Marathon and Half Marathon on Sunday (October 14).

The course, which began at Victoria Park at 8.45am, was fraught with abysmal weather throughout, but not even that could dampen the spirits of the participants, who were supporting either a charity or their own running clubs.

Simon Birch, of Hinckley Running Club, was the first to return, completing the Half Marathon in an excellent time of one hour and 11 minutes.

An exhausted Mr Birch had taken part in the Leicester Half Marathon several times before but had never previously finished first.

Afterwards, he said: “I’m very tired indeed, it was awful conditions out there. The bit at New Walk as well was pretty awful, but I kept going.

“It’s a really nice course and if anything, I went too quick, I think, at the start and I was just hanging at the end.”

Representatives of the NHS were also present, with 26 running on behalf of Leicester’s Diana Community Children’s Service, a provider of care and support for youngsters and families needing special nursing care.


The runners were soaked as they completed the marathon on Sunday

Julie Potts, a nurse at the service, and Kris Munsey, were there in support of their colleagues, who have each raised at least £150, and praised their heroic efforts, saying: “It’s our 20th anniversary this year so we’ve rallied round some support. Some are doing half, some are doing the full [marathon], so we’re here to support them.

“It’s our first time, probably an annual event now, maybe. It’s been fantastic and really, really emotional actually; seeing everybody running for us is really special.

“Everybody’s exceeded that £150, so I think it’s around the £6,000 mark at the moment, which is pretty amazing.”

Richard Lewis was one of countless volunteers at the event, and highlighted the important work done by LOROS, a hospice charity caring for more than 2,500 people each year in Leicestershire and Rutland.

He said: “I did the marathon last year but it was a bit better weather; nice and sunny. I’m here till about four o’clock this afternoon, so it should be lovely.”

“[The marathon is a] good fundraiser for LOROS, you can’t do enough for LOROS so it is great.”

Leicester Marathon 2018 – Top 10

1 Emil Meijer 2:37:11
2 Andrew Quigley 2:37:38
3 Glen Winning 2:39:54
4 Martin Lewis 2:42:34
5 Pieter Vermeesch 2:42:34
6 Ben Harris 2:43:20
7 John Orgill 2:46:39
8 Simon Allen 2:47:16
9 Byron Edwards 2:52:03
10 Paul Veitch 2:52:17

Leicester Half Marathon 2018 – Top 10

1 Simon Birch 1:11:13
2 Alistair Mcdonnell 1:13:13
3 Tom Whitmore 1:13:24
4 Jake Harrison 1:13:56
5 Paul Miles 1:17:05
6 David Brewis 1:18:43
7 Tom Corby 1:18:48
8 Daniel Leake 1:18:48
9 Paul Gowdridge 1:18:49
10 Justin Phillipps 1:19:11

DS Who!? Student Champions – who are they and what do they do?

By Tyler Arthur

The De Montfort Students’ Union is in a state of constant change and this year in particular a new role has been introduced: Student Champions.

Student Champions take on this role while still studying at De Montfort University.

There are 12 of these Champions, all with previous representative experience, chosen after a thorough selection process that included writing a personal statement as well as an interview.

But what do they do? Follow this link to see the Students’ Union’s introductory video to the new role.

The role fits underneath – and works closely with – the Executive Officer positions both held by returning officers from 2017/18; Deputy President Education Mollie Footitt and Vice President Student Activities Derrick Mensah.


CHAMPIONS – Some of your new Student Champions, wearing their recognisable SU T-shirt. Image Credit to De Montfort Students’ Union

The 12 Student Champions are:

  • Renique Appeah (third-year Psychology with Health Studies BSc);
  • Thom Chapman (third-year Business and Globalisation BA);
  • Tom Guyton-Day (second-year Economics and Politics BA);
  • Gavin McMinn (second-year International Relations and Politics BA);
  • Myano Myano (second-year Accounting and Finance BSc);
  • Vivian Nwagboso (fourth-year Biomedical Science BSc);
  • Connall Pugh (second-year Law LLB);
  • Diya Rattanpal (third-year Law LLB);
  • Loren Short (second-year Nursing with NMC Registration BSc);
  • Lydia Turner (third-year Politics BA);
  • Tyler Arthur (third-year Journalism BA);
  • and Suresh Vaddiraju (second-year Biomedical Science BSc).

But what do they do?

The Union website says: ‘Student Champions will take the temperature of student opinion at DMU through going out and talking to students, and will play an active role in the students’ union’s review of our Constitution and democratic processes.’

Diya Student Champ.png

HERE TO HELP: Diya Rattanpal, who is a third-year Law student, says: “I just want to be a friendly face on campus and I want to make sure that people can turn to someone.”

Loren Short, 21, who is studying Nursing and has become a Student Champion in her second year at DMU, said: “Student Champions are approachable members of the Students’ Union, who serve as the voice of unheard students.”

“We build the bridge between students, staff and executive officers in order to bring about the change that the students want,” she explained.

Gavin McMinn, 19, is another Champion, who added: “We wish to represent and voice the opinions of all students at DMU.”

The role is still young, but the people who are in it have all had previous representational experience through the Students’ Union.

Connall Pugh, 21, who studies law, said: “It has given me an opportunity to be a voice for those who can’t always be heard and also a point of contact for any students who need help.”

“Many of us have a good social presence and I encourage people to contact us through social media if they want to speak to us or come down to the SU and ask to talk to someone.”

If you see a purple shirt, you can always approach them and ask them a question, they’ll be more than happy to talk.

Lady Gretton kindly donates funds to Leicestershire charities

By Alice Warner

There were celebrations all round as Lady Gretton retired as Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire and donated £250 to each of the 14 charities close to her heart.

At Leicestershire County Council’s headquarters in Glenfield, charities and organisations including Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, LOROS, the British Legion and the Guides and Scouts, were presented with her donation of £250 each.

Simon Bentley, Director of Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, said: “Lady Gretton has been a patron of our charity for a while and she retired as Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire earlier this year. As part of her retirement she had a really nice leaving event at the Curve theatre.

Simon Bentley

Lady Gretton with Simon Bentley

“The proceeds from that event were distributed to some of the key charities that she had been involved with.”

Lady Gretton served more than 15 years as Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire between 2003 and 2018 and was succeeded by Mike Kapur.

She was a supporter of many local charities and organisations including LOROS, a charity providing hospice care in Leicestershire, which she became President of in 1999.

Mr Bentley continued: “The event was great. It was like ‘Desert Island Discs’ and ‘This is your Life’. She was interviewed on stage and then selected some of her favourite pieces of music which were then performed.”

The Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust is an important charity in caring for wildlife and the environment surrounding Leicestershire.

Mr Bentley said: “We work to protect and enhance local wildlife and wild places and to engage people with nature. One of the areas that Lady Gretton was particularly interested in is encouraging and enabling young people to achieve things and we will put this money towards working with young people.

“We have a Wild Skills group which is for 13 to 18-year-olds that meet monthly at one of our biggest nature reserves which is Rutland Water nature reserve and that money will go to support their activities.”

Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust is the biggest charity in Leicestershire and Rutland working to protect the area’s wildlife, they manage 35 nature reserves covering more than 3,000 acres of land.

They aim to get children outdoors through their Outreach Education Workshops, Forest Schools Programme, Wildlife Watch and Wild Tots groups, Wild Play holiday activities and Family Events.

To find out more about Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, click here.