Firefighters offer tips on staying safe this Christmas

Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service have provided people with tips and advice to celebrate safely during Christmas and New Year.

With the holiday season approaching, Celebrate Safely is the service’s campaign to help keep people safe with a list of tips.

Carbon monoxide is a silent killer, so people should guarantee that all heating appliances and boilers are serviced, not use devices that emit smoke or a dull yellow flame, and buy a carbon monoxide detector.

Before lighting fires, ensure that chimneys are swept, check that there is no tar build up, use an adequate fire guard, and do not set things close to the fire.

Keep candles away from Christmas trees, greeting cards, ribbons and other decorations, and always put them out when you leave the room or go to sleep.

Unplug fairy lights and charging devices overnight or if you leave the house, always use the recommended wires and chargers for electricals.

Don’t drink alcohol and avoid distraction if you’re cooking, walking home alone, intend to drive, or intend to light fireworks.

Only buy fireworks marked BS 7114, as this is the British Standard that all fireworks should meet.

Remember to always wear a seatbelt, no matter how short a journey, as to cut the chances of a fatal crash.

Don’t speed, just a few extra mph can affect your reaction time and braking distance.

Lock doors and windows whenever you go out, even if just for a short time.

Don’t leave packaging from expensive items outside your house, take it to be recycled or throw it in the bin.

Be aware of what is happening around you, trust your instincts.

If you feel unsafe, change direction, go somewhere more visible.

If you see anyone acting suspiciously in your area, call the police on 101.

Leicester to have a smashing time this weekend

By Zarina Ahmed

Leicester’s Stokes Wood Allotment will be holding a pumpkin smash this weekend aiming to motivate locals to take part in environmental impact reduction.

A pumpkin smash offers the chance for any leftover pumpkins from Hallowe’en to be smashed and composted, reducing food waste.

So far, the organiser of the event, Carry on Composting, have collected over 100 pumpkins for the event, with another 40 at a local school.

Last year, 100 pumpkins were collected, with local schools joining in for the event, according to Rod Weston, an active participant in community composting.

Mr Weston said that small efforts done by groups, such as Carry on Composting, have been influenced by charity hubs that encourage the reduction of food waste.

He said: “We’ve been encouraging composting for years.

“I’ve been doing this for 10 years now, and similar events have always been successful.”

Going to various universities, schools and events, he and other groups have been encouraging others about leftover food waste, especially after Hallowe’en, which is a peak time to compost and reduce food waste.

The non-profit organisation has been set up to promote the reduction of food waste and the amount of waste sent to landfill sites.

The pumpkin smash is one of a number of similar events taking part across the city.

Leicester City Council, which has promoted the event, estimates: “That 15 million pumpkins are binned in the UK every Halloween – but the flesh, seeds and even the stringy bits can be used to serve up some delicious treats instead.”

Councillor Adam Clarke, Leicester’s deputy city mayor for the environment, said that across the city, there are: “Thousands of dedicated allotment-growers who are committed to reducing food waste, so it’s great to see these events happening that will help spread the message.

“We’re keen to encourage people to recycle more.”

The pumpkin smash will be held on Saturday(NOV13), from 10.30am to 12.30pm at Stokes Wood Allotment in Leicester.

Ninja Warrior centre hosts first night of Leicester Business Festival

By Adam Clarke

Dean Sayer, owner of Ninja Warrior uk Leicester

A Ninja Warrior centre that only opened five months ago was in the spotlight yesterday(MON, NOV8) when it hosted a major event in Leicester.

Ninja Warrior UK Leicester was opened only in June, but it was selected to host the Opening Event of the Leicester Business Festival.

Approximately 50 guests attended the meeting in the centre, including the mayor of Leicester, Sir Peter Soulsby.

Ninja Warrior UK Leicester features a café and two obstacle courses, one for adults and children and one for adults only, based on the hit TV show on ITV.

It was launched by owner Dean Sayer, who invested more than £1.2million into the project.

He said: “The leisure industry does need new things.

“It was a huge challenge [to set up]. You’ve got to train staff and you’re got to buy stock [for the café].

“This was a very expensive business venture.”

He said he decided to set up this business so that he could spend more time with his family.

Mr Sayer considered several locations for his new business, including Birmingham and Coventry, but ultimately decided on Leicester, as it had a huge retail park with free space, a huge population, easy access to the city centre and a lack of competition.

So far, Ninja Warrior UK Leicester has had the most business during weekends and school holidays, but Mr Sayer said it has an exciting offering for schools, and he intends to partner with them to hold PE lessons at the centre.

He said: “When children come here, they don’t see hard work or a traditional PE approach, they see fun.

“Indirectly, they get good exercise and activity, and burn calories.

“That’s my goal over the next 12 months.”

For more details about the centre, visit the website at

Supporters urged to cheer on DMU Lions in season opener

By Rian Fearnehough

The De Montfort University Lions American football team are calling for students’ support as they begin the season with a tricky test against the historically strong Staffordshire Stallions. 

The DMU Lions have returned to training after a hard couple of years away due to the pandemic and the tough time Leicester had with COVID.

Determined: The DMU Lions in training (Pic: Rian Fearnehough)

Coach Stuart Franklin said: “We want people to come and support the team through the first challenge of a tough season.”

He said the team would love the support for the big season opener as they look to hit the ground running. 

The Staffordshire Stallions started their season on Sunday with a big win over the Huddersfield Hawks 60-12 with the game having to be called off early due to injuries on the part of the Hawks. 

Coach Franklin added: “The pandemic stopped the team from training and playing for over a year, this caused the team to change how they trained.” 

The Lions are ready to compete in the league after a tough season impacted by COVID, the aim is to reach and win the playoffs in the 2021/22 season. 

Supporters can be part of the DMU Lions pride on Sunday at 1pm at Beaumont Park FC, LE4 1ES Leicester.

Big squad: one of the previous Lions line-ups

Leicester looks forward to Christmas lights switch-on

By Maria Karatzia

The countdown has begun in Leicester to the Christmas Lights Switch-on at the Clock Tower on Sunday, November 21.

The lights will switch on at 6.30pm as part of a free entrance festival in Leicester which allows everyone to join, in contrast to last year when the event had to be cancelled due to lockdown.

The hosts during the evening will be Jimmy Carpenter and Summaya Mughal from BBC Radio Leicester.

They will be joined by Antony Costa, who is a member of the boy band Blue, and former BBC Radio Leicester presenter Martin Ballard, now working as a professional actor who will star as  Widow Twankey in De Montfort Hall’s Christmas pantomime Aladdin.

Father Christmas and the Lord Mayor will also join the Humberstone Gate festivities, along with music and entertainment from 4th Avenue and The Platforms.

The event will run from 4.30 until 10.30pm during which people will be able to enjoy street food and drinks at a Christmas Canteen in New Market Square.

There will be  a free outdoor screening in New Market Square of the film Elf from 4.30pm. Performers, including bands and street artists, will be entertaining in other parts of the city centre.

 This year Leicester City Council has spent £50, 000 to update the city’s stock of Christmas decorations.

More than 16,000 sparkling lights and a spectacular tree, with 2,000 lights and 900 baubles, will be switched on.

The Town Hall will have its usual ‘Christmas Greetings’ motif together with some colourful new LED Christmas trees, while new red and white decorations will span the street at Gallowtree Gate.

Deputy city mayor Cllr Piara Singh Clair said: “I’m delighted that our celebrations will return to Leicester’s streets this Christmas, with just a few changes to make sure that people can join in safely.”

The city council is hoping the Christmas event will be a great opportunity for youngsters to have a fantastic experience with their friends or their family.