Charity worker to ride 100 miles to save lives

By Adam Dutton

A Leicestershire based volunteer for the charity One Nation is cycling 100 miles this weekend in the hope of raising money for families in Syria.

Sarfraz Hussain is leading a group of cyclists from Leicester to Cannock and back again with the aim of helping Syrian families fight the cold this winter.

The cycle will be in support of the Winter Container Aid, a charity programme designed to provide essentials for families in Syria this winter.

Sarfraz Hussain, the national fund raising manager for One Nation Charity, said: “This event is for Winter Container Aid in Syria so we will be sending fundraising which will be used for sleeping bags, blankets, medical aid, and food.

“We’re sending the container at the end of the month.

“The event we will be riding is 100 miles from Leicester to Chase Water Country Park, in Cannock. So far we’ve raised just under £5,000 so it’s going very well.”

The event has been inspired by another local, Leicester based charity, the Riders of Shaam, who Sarfraz has worked with before and continuously raise money throughout the year by riding extreme distances with the aim of raising money for charity.

Over half of the riders have only been cycling at distance for over a month but have improved with lengthy training sessions.

Sarfraz has also helped and organised a number of other charitable events over the years. Most recently a project to help build houses in Syria.

He said: “We recently fundraised to build emergency houses in Syria. We acquired land within a safe zone and built over 200 three bedroom houses with running water and indoor toilet access. We plan to build over 500.

“In one night of the fundraising, we managed to break the record, we raised over £300,000.

“In the future, we’re going to attempt to cycle the North Coast 500, the tour of the Scottish coast. Then possibly across Africa after that.

The fundraising events provide aid not only for Syria, but various countries around the world, wherever there is need.

For any information on the upcoming event on Saturday and where to donate, visit:

https://givebrite.com/east-2-west/sarfraz-7121?fbclid=IwAR3oFM-P-XcY7t0Oyb7Fe7wdlFsj2Rl26lP4NBATXyN5clPAbBPQoFjlJ28

Leicester resident’s disappointment at being the ‘forgotten city’

By Isobel Rix

While rules around the country change and some cities see restrictions lessened, Leicester never really exited the national lockdown from March, and students here feel neglected.

As Greater Manchester battled this week against tighter restrictions, the people of Leicester wished it could have done the same when its local lockdown was implemented.

Sir Peter Soulsby spoke to Emma Barnett on Radio 5Live and said: “We did say to them (the government) a few things at the time, first of all ‘where is the evidence?’ but also, ‘make sure you give us the financial support, particularly for our businesses.’

“They promised it, but it just never arrived. Now, on the back of our experience and particularly with the extra powers Andy Burnham has got, he’s making the stand I wish we’d been able to.”

Freya Richeda, 20, a Fashion Buying with Marketing student at DMU said: “I don’t feel like people here are following the rules properly anymore, maybe because they’re desensitised as the city has been one of the most heavily restricted.”

Freya Richeda, 20, in her Leicester apartment

University has been starkly different in comparison to previous years, Freya said: “I just feel way less motivated when it comes to university work as every day is so repetitive, there’s not really anything to get up for.

“I’m definitely more homesick than I was in previous years because I’m not as busy.

“The government have definitely focused more on A-levels and GCSE’s and the attitude towards university has been, ‘you’re an adult get on with it.’ But we’re still paying the same amount as last year when everything was running as it should.”

Jade Richardson, 20, a Forensic Science student at DMU spent September in Leicester living alone.

She said: “It was lonely during that time as I couldn’t see my friends as much as I’d have liked to.

“It’s been very different because university expect us to have more time, being at home.

“It feels that out of all the groups in society uni students were really bypassed in terms of how much guidance, information and help that we got, we were pretty much kept in the dark.”

Wigston Fish Bar hopes for second chance after £5,000 rat infestation fine

By Oliver Taylor

Wigston Fish Bar is located in Leicester Road, Wigston

Wigston Fish Bar is hoping to regain customers’ trust after it was fined £5,000 by Loughborough Magistrates’ Court and ordered to pay £1,555 in costs two weeks ago following the discovery of a rat infestation last November.

Wigston Fish Bar owner Harjinder Sandhu said the shop replaced its entire staff in February, barring one counter server, after management found breaches of food hygiene standards.

Mr Sandhu said: “Once we encountered hygiene issues, along with other issues, we replaced all our staff besides one counter server.

“This was done in February this year and since then, we’ve received a lot of positive feedback from old as well as new customers.

“Unfortunately, we trusted our old management team and they let us down. Even though this isn’t an excuse for the lack of hygiene, it was a factor.

“We’ve made significant improvements and have changed the way the business operates. Hopefully some of our customers will give us a second chance.”

At the magistrates’ ruling two weeks ago, it was revealed the chippy elected to cancel its private pest control contract in 2017. The magistrates said the business had “set itself up to fail.”

A council spokesperson said: “This case showed extremely serious breaches of food hygiene standards and it was lucky that customers weren’t made ill from food prepared in these conditions.

“The case demonstrates that this council will not hesitate to take firm action to protect residents and visitors.”

The shop, located in Leicester Road in Wigston, voluntarily closed to carry out necessary treatment after the discovery of fresh droppings and the odour of urine.

The Food Standards Agency carried out a new inspection in September and the shop has since been brought back up to three stars.

The current grading system factors the cleanliness of the premises, all relevant documentation and the layout of the establishment.

The shop still has a 3.9-star rating from 80 reviews on Google. The last four reviews, all within the last three weeks, are rated five stars.

One Facebook user commented on the Spotted Wigston page: “Urgh! This was LAST NOVEMBER if you read the article properly! It’s been turned over since then.

“I can’t say I use this place often but the place has had a big change over since this time last year! Give them a chance.”

Alternative events for Remembrance Day planned in Leicester

By Emily Rooney


A selection of virtual events are being planned for Remembrance Day in Leicester, instead of the usual wreath laying ceremony at the Memorial Arch in Victoria Park.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic the usual Remembrance Day services and wreath laying ceremony, at the Edward Lutyens arch in Victoria Park, cannot happen this year as social distancing and mask wearing would be very difficult due to the nature of the event.

In lieu of the usual event, Leicester College are running a livestream on 11th November, with an opening address from Ian Everitt, followed by poetry readings of both The Soldier by Rupert Brooke, and For The Fallen by Laurence Binyon.

As well as this, The Last Post will be played, followed by the two minutes silence that is usual to commemorate Remembrance Day.

The livestream is listed on Facebook, and will run from 10:40am until 11:02am.

The office of the Leicester Lord Mayor (Cllr Annette Byrne), has launched a Post a Poppy campaign, which is encouraging people to submit photographs of their Remembrance-themed works such as drawings, flower displays, and baking.

There are plans to include the works in a display in the city centre.

The Lord Mayor said, “As a result of ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, it is not surprising that we will be unable to hold our usual Remembrance Day commemorations this year.

“We are extremely disappointed to be unable to provide the opportunity for the citizens of Leicester and Leicestershire to join us and show their respects for the men and women who have lost their lives in conflict, while serving their country.”

Continuing onto the details of the Post a Poppy campaign, she said “We are also encouraging people to get involved in our “Post a Poppy” campaign, by sending us a picture of themselves with their poppy, or even make a poppy to wear, bake a poppy cake or make a poppy display in your garden.”

Submissions for the Post a Poppy campaign can be sent to lord.mayor@leicester.gov.uk

Leicester barber believes future is bleak in event of second lockdown

By Samuel Gill

Barber Cameron Hallam in his shop on Evington Road before the pandemic.

Among the industries to be hit the hardest by the Coronavirus pandemic is hair and beauty, especially in Leicester where the restrictions have lasted longest.

Leicester-based barber Cameron Hallam, who has owned Cameron’s Cutz since 2005, spoke to Leicestershire Press and believes that businesses closing is inevitable if a second lockdown or a circuit breaker is introduced.

“I feel that is in the air. I’ve just got the same anxious feeling. I’d not be surprised if they did this circuit breaker. I hope I’m wrong, I think it’s definitely possible,” said Hallam.

“The general government have got to support the local government to support the local business. If they do that in the right time frame which I doubt they will because it took a long time to get support when it went into lockdown before. If they don’t, you’ve got to start thinking, I can’t keep doing this.”

“There’s no furlough, that doesn’t exist for any small business or anyone like myself. You’re going to wander up high streets and you’re going to see places closing. The rent doesn’t go away.”

Hallam due to his reputation is often booked up but since the lockdown, his usual turnover has gone down and he believes there is a main reason for this.

“I would say it has impacted me up to 25% less than I’d usually take in turnover. If you look it across the board, people are doing less. I think people are worried for their jobs and their futures. I always think of a haircut as a luxury. It’s a treat because you want to feel good and look good. People are not going anywhere.”

Reopening was heavily impacted by a local lockdown for Leicester and he believes that as a city, they were treated poorly.

“That was probably the toughest thing from all of this for me personally. When they initially gave me the date of July 4 for Hair and Beauty to reopen, I thought ok I’ve got the date there, there’s a light at the end of it all. Then to get the local lockdown, that took the wing out of my sails that was tough,” he added.

“Psychologically that impacted me. I felt Leicester got done a bit as well. I feel we were a bit of a social experiment.”