Coronavirus leaves Leicestershire couple quarantined at sea off Californian coast

by Molly Kerridge

More than 100 Britons have been confined on a cruise ship since Thursday, March 5,  that was struck with Coronavirus just off the coast of California.

The ship, that was carrying 21 people who tested positive for the illness, worked to get people to land as quickly as possible.

Although the ship was set to dock yesterday(MonMARCH9), in California, only those with the illness and state residents were being allowed to leave the ship, leaving the rest of the passengers stranded at sea. 

One of the passengers, Justine Griffin, from Leicestershire, was celebrating her 25th wedding anniversary with her husband on the ship.

She told the PA News agency: “We won’t be getting off tomorrow as we are at the bottom of the list. First the sick, then Californians, then any other Americans.”

The couple were travelling with her husband, Dave, and four other friends when the ship was placed into quarantine.

“The longer it takes to get us to England the longer we’re away from our family. We both have medical appointments to attend, and Dave is having a shoulder replacement operation,” she said.

“I’ve just got in contact with our MP back in England to try and see what’s happening.

“I had to tell my youngest child I’m not coming home and I don’t know when I will be. He was so upset – he’s only eight and we’re his special guardians so he doesn’t deal well with things changing, it’s heartbreaking.”

Leicester lit up with works of art

By James Wynn

Leicester was lit up with illuminated art works this weekend as part of a worldwide scheme.

Light Up Leicester ran from Friday (March 6) until Sunday (March 8) and involved seven works that included sound and heat sensitive sensors.

Deputy city mayor Piara Singh Clair said beforehand that the city’s night scene would be “transformed” by the display.

“Each of the pieces will encourage people to interact with them- and each of these illuminated works will help transform the night-time ambience in Leicester during the festival,” he said.

The works have been displayed separately before in many cities, such as New York and London.

Leicester resident Karen Freeman said that the illuminations were a positive thing for the city.

“The art really helped brighten up the city, and it was a really enjoyable thing to go and see,” she said.

“With the Holi festival and things like that happening on a regular basis now, it’s really good to see the city getting involved with cultural events which bring some fun and colour to the place.

“I am looking forward to the next event, and again I’m really glad that Leicester has so many of these occasions, I think we’re quite one of a kind in that aspect.”

The Light Up Leicester works included Shadowdance, which turned people’s shadows into silhouettes, and interactive LED tunnels and dangling trainers.

Arts Council England supported the gathering in co-operation with the city’s Business Improvement District (BID).

Video: Loughborough uni student excels in Bhangra Dancing

Samraj Singh showcasing his Bhangra dancing in India

by Khrista Davis

Loughborough University student Samraj Singh is not like any ordinary 18-year-old, alongside studying Chemistry he began Bhangra dancing which has taken him to new heights.

Bhangra is a spirited, folk dance and music form that originated from Punjab in India and as time has gone on, the Bhangra has been used in Punjabi weddings or festivals.

Samraj managed to find friends who are also Sikh and Punjabi at a predominantly white University. He then joined the Loughborough Bhangra society at a fresher’s fair in September.  

Bhangra started out as a fun hobby for Samraj but he didn’t know he would progress so much in it.

Samraj said: “I taught a class recently and it was so much fun to teach people Bhangra so they can experience the fun feeling and adrenaline that we all have when we dance Bhangra.

“I have been Bhangra dancing since the day I was born, it was common in my culture and in my household, everyone was aware of it also.

“I have never learnt Bhangra, I’ve just seen my family members dancing and copied, this is also the same with Punjabi songs as well. I just fell in love with it and the feeling hasn’t left me since.”

After excelling far in Bhangra dancing in such a short space of time, he was asked to join them in competing next year.

He added: “I’m thinking to compete next year in February at one of the most famous Bhangra competitions in the UK where different universities compete against each other and I’ll be aiming to start training very soon.”

Samraj is excited for his future in his team.

To join or if you are just interested to see, you can follow their Instagram page to see more of Loughborough Bhangra Society .

Leicester’s Holi paint party 2020 cancelled

by Khrista Davis

The Holi Party UK Tour that was set to be in Leicester yesterday(MonMARCH9) was cancelled.

The festival of colours, music and love is known throughout Leicester’s diverse community.

The party was meant to start at 10pm and go on till 3am at Vaughan Way in Leicester. All tickets included a free white T-shirt to get covered in the paint and free paint powder.

Holi is one of the main festivals of India that is celebrated with enthusiasm and cheer, celebrated once a year in March on the full moon day of Phalguna.

Many traditionalists and non- Hindu people who take part were disappointed at the cancellation of this event.

Priya Patel, a Hindu and ticket holder for the Holi Party, said:  “I bought my tickets a month in advance, it was a big celebration where I can meet my family and friends, being Hindu myself this meant so much to me.

“I’m really upset that it’s been cancelled as this is the time of the year where we can all get together and celebrate love and family, especially if it is being done in my own hometown.

I” love being Hindu and when our festivals can be shared with other people such as my friends I was going with, it makes me proud, hopefully there is a reason for this, and we can still go ahead and celebrate it within our community.”

Holi has been celebrated in the Indian continent for centuries and remains to be celebrated in its communities all over the country and will continue to be celebrated despite the cancellation of the party.

Travel through Van Gogh’s art at Leicester’s immersive experience

By Erik Dawson

The works of Vincent Van Gogh have been bought to life in an immersive art installation being held at All Saints Church in Leicester City Centre this month.

All Saints Church is currently hosting the immersive experience.

The instillation, ‘Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience’ opened on February 7 but reopened on Sunday (MAR 8) after a weeklong closure due to the ‘Light Up Leicester’ festival that was held across the city last week.

The experience uses virtual projection technology to take people on a journey through Van Gogh’s life whilst showcasing his art on the walls of the church.

The famous works of the Dutch post-impressionist artist include ‘Starry Night’ and ‘The Bedroom’, oil paintings that have led him to be dubbed as one of the most influential western artists of all time.

One of Van Gogh’s most famous pieces: ‘Starry Night’.

All Saints Church, on Highcross Street in the city centre, is the latest to play host to the travelling exhibition, which has also been showcased in Naples, Brussels and St Mary’s church in York.

On the website, the team behind the experience wrote: ‘The immersive aspect provides an impressive pathway into the painter’s life and his work, while containing a large variety of didactic information.’

A virtual reality experience is offered at the end of the exhibition, which promises to take visitors even deeper into the life of the artist with a 360-degree view of 8 of Van Gogh’s most famous pieces and the inspiration for them.

The exhibition is open to all ages, 7 days a week from 10am-6pm.

Tickets are £13 per adult, £9 for children, £11 for students/concessions and can be bought on the website.