Model railway opens for first time since Covid

By Alice Wright

A model railway at a charity in Markfield has opened its doors for the first time since Covid. Shuttlewood Clarke Foundation holds an impressive model railway at Ulverscroft Grange which is run by volunteers.

The railway was moved to its current site in 1989, after originally being built in a factory in Mountsorrel in 1977, which was owned by the charity’s founder, David Clarke.

Volunteer for 20 years, Bob Lee said: “I was just gobsmacked by it and the size of it, the technical side, I was hooked, and I’ve been coming ever since.”

During the move to The Grange, the railway was extended to 38ft in length including new junctions. It also took ten years to build the layout and to operate it again. The railway also includes a fully working 210 lever signal box.

Model railway in action

Volunteer and ex-BT engineer, Stephen Freer said: “It keeps your brain ticking over because there’s always something to think about.

“A year or two back now we were a bit short of signallers and you realise there’s an awful lot about railways that you don’t know.

“During Covid I missed it, but you find something else to do. I’ve got a model train set myself, I also repair for a model shop, so I’ve been busy.”

The model railway is currently open on Fridays 11am-3pm at Ulverscroft Grange in Markfield.

Climate protestors in Leicester city centre demand action against global warming

By Jayden Whitworth

Chants: A group of people pictured protesting for strikes against global warming

People gathered in numbers in Leicester city centre in protest against the lack of climate action on Friday (FEB 11), amidst an ongoing battle against global warming.

Climate Strike Leicester organised the event which included special guest speakers and music, alongside the traditional march through Leicester city centre.

The group, who were celebrating their three-year anniversary, started the protest at the clock tower, before marching down towards Jubilee Square.

The team is largely made up of children under the age of 18.

At Jubilee Square, Climate Strike Leicester had invited guest speakers from Climate Action Leicester and Leicester Green Party to speak, plus there was music from Extinction Rebellion.

Catch what Heidi (left in video) and Tyler (right in video) had to say about the protest.

Tyler Grant-Hooley, 16, co-ordinator at Climate Strike Leicester, said: “The focus of climate action should really be put on governments and big corporations and not on individuals.

“We are asking the Government to put money and put resources into finding these solutions and find a fair climate plan that will benefit everyone in society.”

The protest started in the wake of COP26 at the back end of last year with growing calls for climate action across the UK.

At the end of COP26 – the Glasgow climate pact – saw leaders pledge to keep pursuing efforts to limit global temperature rise to 1.5C per year.

After tense negotiations, the countries ultimately agreed on moving away from fossil fuels and to phase-down the use of coal power.

Mags Lewis, secretary of Leicester Green Party, said: “These events are crucial, they bring us together and show us the importance of solidarity.

“The COP26 outcome was heartening in some ways, you’ve got to have hope, but I think there was a lack of tangible action.

“I agree with Greta Thunberg, the temperature is still rising.

“Whatever we are doing, is still not enough.”

Statistics show the gross emissions, sourced from the Leicester City Council website

Leicester City Council is committed to reducing carbon emissions in and around the city and has set the target of reaching net zero by 2030/2031.

Deputy City Mayor Cllr Adam Clarke, who leads on environment and transportation, said: “We are under no illusion about the huge task that we face as a city to become carbon neutral by 2030, or sooner.

“The launch of the first Leicester Climate Emergency Strategy in 2020 signalled a shift in our ambitions and we have since made massive investment in a range of new and ambitious programmes and projects to further reduce the city’s carbon footprint and help Leicester achieve its goal of being carbon neutral by 2030.”

Last year, Leicester City Council was successful in its bid to receive more than £24 million in funding to improve energy efficiency and cut the city’s carbon footprint.

Cllr Clarke said: “It is an ambitious programme of investment that will help us dramatically cut carbon emissions from our buildings and save hundreds of thousands of pounds in energy costs – something that is very welcome in these challenging times.”

To find out more about the Climate Strike Leicester, visit their facebook page at:

Barber who gives free haircuts to homeless people in Leicester appeals for other businesses to follow his lead

By Azim Saiyed

A barber who gave free haircuts to homeless people in Leicester before Christmas and inspired others to support the vulnerable is now calling on other organisations to join the bandwagon.

The owner of Hairtech and Co, Farhaan Mojoo, 37, gave free haircuts to homeless people at Leicester community centres in December.

For the past seven years, he has given roughly about 70 haircuts to the vulnerable and homeless people for free.

Farhaan said: “I get a buzz out of making people look good, it gives them confidence.”

He has collaborated with charities such as The Centre Project and City Retreat which is a community centre located in Granby Street.

Both charities aim to provide shelter and food for the vulnerable and homeless people of Leicester.

He said he takes part in this act is because he feels sorry and sympathetic for homeless people every time he sees them sitting on the side of the street.

He added: “I saw a barber doing it in America and I thought why not copy him.”

Its a snip: Barber Farhan cuts hair for homeless

“I am a strong believer of giving and the aim is to open other people’s hearts, so they can follow and contribute,” he explained.

His good acts have since been noticed by other local businesses, several have contacted him and asked to participate as well.

The factory owner of 5th Avenue Clothing Ltd, Sajid Isa, also committed to this humble cause, by promising to provide warm clothes for homeless people.

Another local takeaway, Casbas pizza in East Park Road has also been inspired by Mr Mojoo to provide hot food for the less fortunate individuals at the community centre.

Other barbers in Leicester have also followed in Mr Moojoo’s footsteps. He said: “I’ve seen other barbers do it. Some do it for fame and some do it for the good cause.”

Hairtech started off in 2010, with the first branch opening in Gamel Road. Last month Mr Mojoo opened a new branch in Oadby.

He said: “I feel blessed to get out my comfort zone and open up a new branch because I enjoy the challenge.”

If there are any charities or organisations that would like to get involved in the projects that are in the pipeline, please contact Mr Mojoo on 0116 241 5555 or simply visit any of the branches.

Video: What YOU can do in Leicester this Christmas

By Thomas Carter and Luke Williamson

With the holiday season upon us, Christmas spirit has well and truly landed in Leicester.

Leicestershire Press reporters Thomas and Luke take you on a tour of the city to see all of the festive celebrations on offer.

First up on the tour was the Jubilee Square Ice Rink, which opens this evening (THU,DEC2). Tickets can be purchased at the rink for a 45-minute skating session.

From there, it was on to the Christmas Wheel of Light attraction (next door to the ice rink), where riders of all ages can take in the sights of Leicester.

After being cancelled last year due to Covid-19, Santa Claus will be returning to Leicester at his grotto in Green Dragon Square on Saturday (DEC4).

The lights of Highcross shopping centre, nativity scenes at Town Hall Square and the Clock Tower Christmas tree also feature on the tour.

For more details on festivities in Leicester this year, go to

Heard a whistle and a bang? Foreign student describes first experience of Guy Fawkes Night

In her final year before graduating, De Montfort University International Relations and Journalism student Morgana Ribeiro enjoyed a chance to experience the Bonfire Night and Firework display in Abbey Park, Leicester.  

Shortly after arriving in Leicester, I started exploring the green spaces around. It wasn’t long before I found Abbey Park and made it my go-to place. I have been to Abbey Park countless times since. 

But never had I imagined I would see it ‘catch fire’, so to speak. 

On Saturday (NOV 6) the biggest bonfire in Leicester was lit on one of Abbey Park’s beautiful lawns as a long firework display coloured the sky. It was Bonfire Night, also known as Guy Fawkes Night. 

Before the dreadful restrictions COVID called for, every November would be welcomed by fireworks and celebrations – a nice contrast with the almost somber end of October. First, Diwali and then Guy Fawkes Night.  

Very succinctly, Guy Fawkes Night is a commemoration of the failure of the ‘Gunpowder Plot’ in1605 – an attempted treason to the Protestant crown. Some say the fireworks launched on this day represent the explosives that were never used on that day in 1605. 

In 2020 the global pandemic did not allow the celebration to take place, but it sure made a thunderous return this year. 

Visions of the funfair. Photo by Hikari Funayama.

I had received tickets for the event, courtesy of the International Student Support team at DMU, and agreed to attend almost oblivious to what it was. My i-buddy and I had no idea what awaited us. As we walked in, we watched performers dancing with fire, which was beautiful, and then we started to explore the funfair. There you could find your typical funfair games and my i-buddy, having never had a go, was eager to try and knock down some cans. So, we did – or tried.  

As we walked back to the food stands, we saw it. We saw the fire burning. It was so bizarre. I mean, these were actual flames burning high and, mind you, surrounded by trees. But it was hypnotising. After getting a bag of chestnuts and a gigantic hot dog for my i-buddy we took a seat under a tree close to the fire. “It might keep us a little warmer,” we thought. 

Then, cued by the hosts, everyone started a countdown excited. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when we’d get to zero.  

All the lights went out and the firework display started. It lasted for about 20 minutes, and it was brilliant. Being under the fireworks is a whole other experience.  

By the end, it felt like the whole sky was sparkling in gold, red and green, which nearly made me sleigh right into the Christmas spirit. 

We made our way out in the end as the lights went back on. The smell of fire and smoke from the beautifully loud show was now all that was left. It was a great experience overall and it allowed me to get to know the city a little better, which, really, is what this is all about. 

A sneak peak of the firework display. Video taken by Hikari Funayama.