Polish student publishes more than 16,000 articles in Wikipedia since 2006

By Maria Karatzia

A Journalism student at De Montfort University (DMU) has a sideline translating and writing Wikipedia posts in Polish and Silesian.

Busy: Maciej Wojcik at work in one of DMU’s journalism labs.

Maciej Wójcik, a mature student from Poland, has been a volunteer admin for Wikipedia since May 2006 and has published more than 11,000 articles on Polish Wikipedia, more than 5,000 on Silesian Wikipedia, and also a couple of articles on English and Russian Wikipedia.

“As a child, I was often upsetting my parents by ‘updating’ printed encyclopaedia, and I got upset when margins were too narrow,” said Maciej. “I learnt a lot from Wikipedia, much useful knowledge as well as many curiosities.”

Maciej was born in Poland in Katowice city, which is the regional capital of Upper Silesia, and Polish and Silesian are native languages for him.

He applied for the volunteer role 16 years ago because it was initially just for his convenience, as he needed some incorrect pages to be deleted, to protect and maintain Wikipedia’s integrity.

Half of his articles are about Polish villages and hamlets. The rest are on a wide range of topics –
some about islands, British politicians, some about culture, religion, and many are biographies of
interesting people.

“My goal was for Wikipedia to have all of them described, and now it is finally done,” he said.

The first article which he had published was about Coche, an island off Venezuela. He said he was initially stressed not knowing if it would stay, or if it would be deleted. Eventually, it stayed.

“It is more than a hobby,” he said.

Maciej is most proud about the “Wilk w kulturze” (“Wolf in culture”) article. He started it
and about 65 per cent of its content is his, but it also has many other contributors.

“It was a hard piece of work because it describes many different cultures, including exotic
ones, like Korean or Japanese,” he said.

One of the benefits that Wikipedia offered was that he got a job as journalist, without formal
qualifications, just because the media company was impressed by his portfolio from
Wikipedia.

Sadly, the job only lasted for less than two years because of the economic crisis at the time. However, he said it was the best time of his life.

He has since moved to England with his family and is now studying journalism at DMU in the hopes of returning to that career.

Water might be an answer to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, according to a DMU professor  

By Madi G Bowman

Biomedical science expert Dr Parvez Haris believes there may be a way to avoid developing diseases such as Alzheimer’s by simply drinking more water.

The professor at De Montfort University (DMU) in Leicester said that when the brain becomes dehydrated, the water cycle in the body can lead to diseases as molecules in the brain will start to behave in unusual ways.

He believes people who regularly exercise tend to be healthier because of the increased intake of water due to people sweating and drinking water within the workout.

This is because there is an increased cycle of movement which removes the toxic substances and waste in the body. 

Dr Haris said: “With age, people can slowly begin to lose their thirst, meaning they don’t drink enough water and there isn’t enough water movement to clean the damaging toxins from their brains.”

When his mother was in hospital, he described how her condition was worsening and she felt weak and tired and this was due to a lack of water meaning she was very dehydrated.

Dr Haris said: “As she began to drink water she soon began to feel better.” 

He first began to look deeper into this water theory after looking into abnormal proteins called amyloids which can build up in someone’s body as a plaque that can have a damaging effect to the brain and are linked to various diseases.

Dr Haris highlighted that increasing the amount people drink can really save lives and take pressure off the NHS. 

On Tuesday, March 22, Dr Haris hosted an online discussion on the Teams platform about the link between water and Alzheimer’s disease with students who were interested in his theory.

Kibworth car wash raises hundreds for Ukraine

By Charlie Hawes

A Kibworth villager who organised a charity car wash in the Harborough district has raised more than £650 for the people of Ukraine.

Claire Stanbridge, of Kibworth, Leicestershire, decided to organise the car wash to raise money for both the Disasters Emergency Committee and the International Fund for Animal Welfare, splitting all donations equally. 

“I decided to do it to simply help Ukraine,” she said.

“I felt helpless up to now so I thought a few hours of my time might make a difference to the poor citizens in the midst of the war with Russia.” 

The car wash took place on Sunday, March 20, on the forecourt of Crouch’s Recovery, Harborough Road, which is located on the busy A6 going through the village – a great location to attract plenty of vehicles.

“We know the man who owns the forecourt and I just thought it was a great location to get passers-by,” added Claire.

Village café and charity shop hosts scheme for donating old and foreign coins to help community 

By Charlie Hawes

A Leicestershire café and charity shop are hosting a ‘cash4coins’ scheme in order to raise money for the local community in the Kibworth district. 

The Well, of High Street, Kibworth, has a donation box which accepts all old or foreign currency in both note and coin form.

Andy Wright, the Business Admin & Community Support Manager, said: “The scheme is a great way to raise money for the local area as many people have leftover coins and notes from holidays that they may not reuse.

“The Post Office across the road only accepts notes to convert back into pounds which means people have the option to donate their foreign coins to help support the people of Kibworth and the local area.

“The scheme has been very popular so far and we are currently on our third round after having the box emptied twice before.”

Cash4coins is a service that is used by many businesses across the UK including large supermarkets that allows for old and foreign currency to be used for charitable purposes.  

Kibworth DIY store ceases trade with Russian customers

By Charlie Hawes

A Leicestershire DIY store has ceased trading with Russia due to its recent invasion of Ukraine. 

Stuart Weston, owner and manager of Kibworth DIY on High Street, Kibworth, will no longer send items bought via his online store to Russian addresses, following suit with other retail outlets. 

Kibworth DIY sells a range of items required for the home and the store ships many packages daily across the globe, ranging from nuts and bolts, hand-woven baskets to paintbrushes of all sizes. 

Mr Weston said: “I sell many items both globally and within the UK through the eBay online store and it was the site who had taken it upon themselves to de-list Russian addresses.

“Due to the current situation I wouldn’t send items anyway, there’s little point sending the items as its unlikely that they would get there any time soon.”