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Nottingham Post Editorial feed, stories from Northcliffe Media
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Win a family pass at Go Ape

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 15:31
3 Family Passes to be Won! The Nottingham Post has teamed up with Go Ape to offer our readers the chance to win 1 of 3 Tree Top family passes. Brand new for Easter 2014, Go Ape Sherwood Pines has opened its Tree Top Junior Adventure designed for Mini Tarzans, between the ages of six and twelve. Taking place five metres above the forest floor, children can make their way through 20 looping obstacles, finishing with an awesome zip wire. For further information please visit or call us on 0843 249 7137. For your chance to win simply answer the question below: What was the name of the Orangutan in the film The Jungle Book? A: King George B: King Edward C: King Louie Enter online see Post: Send your answer on a postcard with contact details including telephone number to Go Ape Competition, Nottingham Post Media Group Ltd, 3rd Floor City Gate East, Tollhouse Hill, Nottingham, NG1 5FS. Closing date for entries is Midnight, Sunday 20th April, 2014. Terms and conditions: Entrants must be aged 18 or over and reside within the Nottingham Post circulation area. Employees and immediate family members of the Nottingham Post Media Group and Local World Ltd are ineligible to enter. A family pass to Go Ape Tree Top Junior consists of four tickets. An adult must accompany every two children under six years old. Participants over the age of six require at least one adult per group to supervise from the ground. All participants must be at least 1m tall and anyone supervising is not required to book on or pay. 3 random winners will be chosen from a combination of postal and online entries. Winners will be contacted after the closing date by phone or email. For more terms and conditions visit Competition is promoted by Nottingham Post Media Group, 3rd Floor City Gate, Tollhouse Hill, Nottingham, NG1 5FS.Data Protection: By entering, you agree that Local World may offer you products and services by post, email, SMS and telephone. See our privacy policy and terms and conditions at for details. 0) isError = true; if (isError) alert(errorString); return !isError; } //--> Email Address: Your Answer: First Name: Last Name: Your Date of Birth (e.g 01/01/2001) Do you receive a home-delivered copy of the Post?Yes: No: Your House Number: Postcode: Contact Phone Number Data Protection: By responding, you agree that Local World may offer you products and services by post, email, SMS and telephone. If you object to receiving such communications please type 'YES' here ...

Danny Parekh murder trial: Jury retire to consider verdicts

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 15:12
Jurors trying two people for the murder of Danny Parekh in Old Basford have retired to consider their verdicts. The five men and seven woman have heard all the evidence in the case at Leicester Crown Court. They began their discussions this afternoon. Judge Michael Stokes QC, who began summing up on Tuesday afternoon, said there was no doubt that Mr Parekh was murdered just after 1am on July 8, 2012. "He was repeatedly stabbed by somebody using a knife, which inflicted a total of 16 stab wounds to his body, primarily to the lower part of his body, one of which was fatal because it partially severed the femoral artery in his right leg," he said. "As a result of that he simply bled to death and it's accepted in this case whoever stabbed him in this way, as a minimum, intended to cause him really serious harm, and is therefore guilty of murder." Joshua Davey, 21, of Bulwell, and a 17-year-old youth, who cannot be identified because of his age, deny the killing. Mr Parekh had tried to run away from the alleged knifeman but he slipped on the ground, the court has heard. Davey is said to have stabbed him in the legs as he screamed and kicked out in a small children's play area in Oakleigh Street, Old Basford. The teenage defendant allegedly emerged from a nearby alleyway and stood staring at Mr Parekh and laughing after the stabbing, it has been claimed. He is said to have witnessed what happened and intended Mr Parekh, who had earlier attacked him with an iron bar, to have his "comeuppance", claimed the prosecution. The men ran off, Davey in front and his alleged teenage accomplice behind, he said. Emergency services were contacted and found 21-year-old Mr Parekh, of Thorner Close, Bulwell, in the play area kneeling in a pool of his own blood. The colour had drained from him and his lips were white. Medics removed his trousers and found there were gaping gashes to his legs. He was taken to Nottingham's Queen's Medical Centre but was dead on arrival. He suffered a cardiac arrest on the way there and was certified dead at 1.35am. The 17-year-old who cannot be identified is also on trial for intentionally encouraging the commission of an offence of unlawfully and maliciously causing grievous bodily harm to Mr Parekh and a further charge of assault causing actual bodily harm to a teenage girl on July 7, 2012, both of which he denies. The trial continues.

Schoolchildren must be educated on sexual exploitation, conference hears

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 15:00
The rape of a 13-year-old girl who was plied with vodka highlights the need to educate children about the dangers of grooming, according to a detective. Detective chief inspector Martin Hillier says it is vital more work is done in schools to help both girls and boys avoid becoming victims. Mr Hillier was among guests at an event organised by the Nottingham Muslim Women's Network today to tackle sexual exploitation of youngsters. He told the Post one of the worst recent examples he and his colleagues on Nottinghamshire Police's sexual exploitation unit have dealt with was that of 29-year-old married dad Mayas Ubed. As reported by the Post last week, Ubed was jailed for nine years for twice raping the 13-year-old, who he had befriended and then duped into going to a house and giving her booze. Mr Hillier said: "This is a very important issue. We are not just looking to get the message across to girls, but to boys as well. "Sexual exploitation is a big issue in Nottingham, as it is in many towns and cities in the country. "We really want to be able to educate groups of children in schools into spotting the signs and being able to report it. "We hope that by doing so we can help them do so before it is too late. The case of Mayas Ubed is a recent example. If the girl had been educated about the signs it may be been avoided." Today's event, at the New Art Exchange in Hyson Green, was mostly intended to put the spotlight on the problem of grooming among Asian and Muslim girls. But Shazia Khan, chairwoman of the network, said the issue was not restricted to those groups. She said: "It is an issue with the more vulnerable people in society. "What we want to do is work with the police, probation and other organisations to put in place a series of measures to prevent children from being sexually exploited. "A lot of this work can be done through schools. Offenders tend to be targeting girls at a younger age. "We really want to be able to get into schools and educate girls and boys on what the signs are and what they should do if they are concerned. It is about getting the message across." The event followed the release of a report, called Unheard Voices: The Sexual Exploitation of Asian Girls and Young Women, which revealed that authorities are often failing to identify or support victims. It also showed that in many cases young Asian victims did not report abuse because of shame and dishonour. The report's author, women's rights activist Shaista Gohir, was there today. She said: "I hope the findings act as a catalyst for others to act because there are people in every community who commit such abhorrent crimes. "We want to raise awareness. Often girls who become isolated are targeted and befriended and become victims. It is important they can spot the signs." What do you think should be done? E-mail

Bull death trial: Walker was only person fatally attacked by a bull

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 15:00
Walker Roger Freeman – who was killed by a bull on a public footpath – is the only person to die in such circumstances in the last ten years, a jury heard. Three other members of the public died on footpaths after incidents involving cattle and cows and calves, Nottingham Crown Court heard on April 16. Cattle expert Dr Anthony Andrews gave the figures from statistics he had researched as he gave evidence for the defence at the trial of Stanford-on-Soar farmer Paul Waterfall, who denies the manslaughter of Mr Freeman by gross negligence. Waterfall was charged after 19-month-old Brown Swiss bull Moonriver Zac Pi killed Mr Freeman as he walked on a public footpath with his wife at Waterfall's 300-acre Underhill Farm. Glenis Freeman, then 67, told police afterwards how she tried to distract the animal from her husband during the incident in November 2010. Mr Freeman, 63, died at the scene from multiple injuries, while his wife, of Glen Parva, needed surgery for abdominal and chest injuries. The trial has now moved to expert evidence. Dr Andrews, a recognised specialist of cattle heath and production and a Bachelor in veterinary medicine, said it was true that bulls can become territorial. "It would usually be under particular circumstances," he said. "It would be when that bull thinks it is going to be threatened by another bull to take his harem away." He said deer were much more territorial than bulls, digging up earth and putting it on their horns to try to make themselves bigger, so they make sure that no one else comes along and steals their harem. Prosecutors claim Mr Waterfall, 39, knew Zac posed a "deadly risk" to walkers who used the public footpath. Zac had been involved in two previous incidents on workmen just weeks before the fatal attack on Mr Freeman. Prosecutor Andrew McGee told the jury as he opened the case: "As a farmer, Mr Waterfall had a duty of care to those who used the public footpath. Paul Waterfall had that duty of care and knew his bull posed a real risk of death to people using that path." He added that Waterfall, of Underhill Farm, had been "grossly neglectful" in failing to take any steps to prevent that risk. "The death was made all the more tragic because it was completely avoidable," Mr McGee told the jury. The trial continues For the latest crime news, click here.

City Council promises support for local workers after Imperial Tobacco factory closure

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 15:00
Shockwaves continue to ripple through Nottingham after Imperial Tobacco confirmed it will close its Lenton factory and lay-off 540 workers. The company said the site on the Lenton Industrial Estate will shut in 2016 because of declining sales, increased regulation and growth in illegal trade, meaning the factory is only operating at half capacity. The unions representing the workers promised to fight the closure, calling it a "cynical ploy" to increase profits. But Nottingham City Council and local business leaders have focused on the aftermath the shutdown will leave and the desperate need for jobs. Councillor Nick McDonald, portfolio holder for jobs and growth, said the council only heard the news the morning of the announcement, giving them little time to make plans. He said: "We are very saddened to hear about Imperial Tobacco's decision to close its site in Nottingham and of course concerned about the impact this will have on the people who work there. "We have spoken to Imperial Tobacco, who have agreed to meet with us as a matter of urgency to discuss how those affected can be best supported, and we are already in discussions with the Department of Work and Pensions, the Skills Funding Agency and other partners about ensuring there is a strong package of support offered to local people affected." Councillor McDonald promised they would do "everything we can to help local workers" and were still confident in the future prospects for the local economy. He added: "The announcement makes it more important than ever that we continue to restructure our local economy and support the growth of sectors that will provide local jobs now and in the future." David Ralph, chief Executive of D2N2, the Local Enterprise Partnership for Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, said the news was "disappointing" for the families of workers, as well as the local community, but again wanted to focus on the future prospects of the employees. He said: "It is important for us to engage directly in the consultation process with Imperial Tobacco and will emphasise the importance of these jobs, particularly in Dunkirk and Lenton. "We will be developing up a local response with partners. Shocks such as this demonstrate some of the challenges to the D2N2 economy of changing industrial structures and emphasises the need to develop new jobs and this area we have already identified for assisted area status." Mr Ralph was confident there was opportunities for growth, such as in biosciences and health and beauty thanks to the headquarters of Boots next door to the factory, but called for "re-skilling and skills for young people [to] help support individuals in accessing new job opportunities." But Graham Allen, Labour MP for Nottingham North, was sadded by another Nottingham trademark biting the dust. He said: "Like so many families in Nottingham, mine has had several generations of people working at John Players. It is a part of our city fabric and culture and with the demise of Raleigh bicycles, the mines and textiles, the big manufacturing hitters that supported our economy have all gone. "We will all have to work much harder to grow our small and medium sized enterprises so that we can prosper in the future." Paul Smith, 58, a driver at the Lenton site, said: "A lot of people are upset. This will affect a lot of families in Nottingham. I was starting to look forward to my retirement but now of course I'm going to have to deal with this." But Peter Richardson, chairman of D2N2, believed the city could get passed this blow and continue to grow. He said: "Nottingham is a very resilient city and the whole of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire are on the up right now. It's very tough but we can give them some hope."

Daybrook man who hid gun inside mattress sent to prison

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 14:40
A man who hid a gun inside a mattress has been put behind bars for six and a half years. Adrian Davey, 25, of Mansfield Road, Daybrook, was stopped in a vehicle onFebruary 22 in Nottingham. Officers then searched his home address, and while looking at a bed in one of the bedrooms, they noticed a hole cut into the foam mattress. Inside they found a handgun, magazine and ammunition hidden in a flannel. Cannabis and cocaine was also found inside the room. Davey was arrested and remanded into custody. He pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm and ammunition, and possession of class A and B drugs at an earlier court hearing. Yesterday, (WED) he was handed a six and a half year prison sentence for the firearm offences, two months for possession of class A and a month for possession of class B both to run concurrently. DI Steve Waldram said: "This case shows that when stop and search powers are used properly, dangerous people and weapons that could be used to cause harm in our communities will be removed from our streets. "Davey thought he could hide the gun inside a hole in the mattress and get away with it. This shows that he was wrong and whatever his intention for having it, our swift action has prevented further crime and resulted in Davey being put behind bars."

Two men remanded in custody after murder in The Meadows

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 12:45
Two Polish men have appeared in court accused of the murder of a man in The Meadows. Pawel Bugajski, 21, of Claypole Road, Hyson Green, and Patryk Strutkowski, 21, of Alfreton Road, were arrested on suspicion of murder on Wednesday, January 29. They were charged after the death of Hama Faraj Noori (pictured), 56, at his home in Uppingham Gardens at around 8pm on January 25. Police have said a post-mortem examination was inconclusive and further tests are being carried out to establish the cause of Mr Noori's death. Both suspects, wearing white T-shirts and navy trousers, were remanded in custody on April 16 at Nottingham Crown Court to appear at a plea and case management hearing on May 23. Their trial has been given the date of July 28, to last two weeks. For the latest crime news, click here.

Film review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 12:44
Two is company but three super-villains are a crowd in Marc Webb's action-packed sequel to his 2012 blockbuster, which successfully rebooted the Marvel Comics franchise. A Russian mobster in rhinoceros-shaped armour, a maligned Oscorp employee who can shoot electricity from his fingertips and an iconic green-skinned imp with daddy issues all vie for our attention during a rough 'n' tumble 142 minutes. The film's special effects wizards oblige with dazzling sequences of Spider-Man swinging at breathless speed through the skyscrapers of New York. Such is the dizzying velocity of these set pieces, director Webb repeatedly employs slow-motion to make sense of the blurs of blue and red spandex. For all the sequel's technical prowess, which is considerable, it's the screen chemistry of Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, who met on the first picture and have been dating ever since, which provides more bang than the digitally-rendered pyrotechnics. When the two actors stare into each other's eyes, we can feel the electricity crackle between them. "You're Spider-Man, and I love that, but I love Peter Parker more," she professes. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opens with a protracted flashback to the night Richard Parker (Campbell Scott) and his wife Mary (Embeth Davidtz) leave their young son in the care of Aunt May (Sally Field) and Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen). The reason for this sudden disappearance continues to haunt Peter (Garfield). So too does the ghost of Captain Stacy (Denis Leary), whose daughter Gwen (Stone) is Peter's on-off-on-off girlfriend. While Peter hones his powers, childhood friend Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) returns to the Big Apple to assume control of Oscorp in the wake of the death of his bullying father, Norman (Chris Cooper). Harry's ascension coincides with an industrial accident that transforms nerdy employee and Spider-Man fanatic, Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx), into an electrically-charged monster. Thus Peter must potentially give up his life to protect Gwen and Aunt May from harm. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 fleshes out the back story of the Parkers and their involvement in secret experiments. Peter and Gwen's turbulent romance is the cornerstone and the film soars - rather like the titular hero - whenever they are together. Foxx's portrayal of the pathetic bad guy with unimaginable power coursing through his veins is more miss than hit. The script doesn't spend enough time with his corporate nerd before the metamorphosis into Electro. Consequently, gear changes between action, romance and comedy are not as smooth as they could be. Thankfully, DeHaan is terrifically tormented as the heir to the Oscorp empire, who clings forlornly to the hope of a transfusion of Spider-Man's blood to cure his genetic woes. The sins of two fathers weigh heavily on their sons, laying the foundations for a battle royale between the wily web-slinger and an iconic adversary in a third instalment, earmarked for release in summer 2016. Verdict: 8/10 The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opened today

Dad-to-be avoids jail after 15mph JCB police chase

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 12:42
A man who took a JCB digger was involved in a 15mph police chase before he was finally cornered in a Nottinghamshire village. Jamie Banks took the vehicle from a building site at Witham St Hughs and set off along the A46 heading for Newark. Christopher Donnellan, QC said Banks, who appeared at Lincoln Crown Court, attracted attention because of his erratic driving and police were alerted. Officers pursued him as he drove the vehicle at just 15 mph, swerving from kerb to kerb across the dual carriageway. Mr Donnellan said that police were unable to halt the digger and Banks continued onto the A1 before turning off at Coddington and heading into the village. The pursuit ended when Banks leaped from the vehicle leaving the engine still running as it entered Old Hall Gardens. He tried to make a run for it but was arrested nearby. The digger smashed into the brick pillar gate post of a house in the cul de sac before coming to halt. Banks, 28, of Cowper Road, Mexborough, South Yorkshire, admitted charges of aggravated vehicle taking, driving without insurance and without the required licence as a result of the incident on 18 January this year. He was given a 15 month jail sentence suspended for two years with supervision and 180 hours of unpaid work. Judge Stuart Rafferty banned him from driving for two years and told Banks "Forgive me for saying so but you are an idiot." Tony Stanford, defending, said Banks agreed to take the digger to pay off a £100 debt. "It was stupidity and panic that caused him to act as he did. He clearly had no way of escaping when he was driving a vehicle that had a maximum speed of 20 mph." He said Banks is due to become the father of twins later this year and urged he escape an immediate jail sentence. "He is extremely keen that he is able to begin his parental responsibilities on time. He understands he has got to keep himself out of trouble and get himself a job."

Husband to see psychiatrist after stabbing wife 30 times

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 12:34
MORRIS Poismans, whose wife lost an eye after he wounded her with a knife and scissors, needs to be seen by a prison psychiatrist before he is sentenced. Judge Gregory Dickinson adjourned the case on April 16 for Poismans to be visited by a psychiatrist and relisted for mention at Nottingham Crown Court on May 14. Poismans, 68, of The Patchills, Mansfield, did not appear at the short hearing but was represented by his barrister, Robert Egbuna, who explained to the judge the delay. In December his client admitted wounding 67-year-old wife, Margaret Poismans, after she suffered 30 stab wounds to her mouth, head, back and larynx in November. A laceration across the cornea of her right eye could not be repaired by specialists and was removed – due to the risk of damage to her other eye. For the latest crime news, click here.

Three car crash on Landmere Lane

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 12:30
Three cars have been involved in an accident on Landmere Lane near Wilford Industrial Estate. The collision happened at 11:41 Wednesday morning and a specialist rescue unit was called to get one of the passengers out of a car. They were later taken to hospital and a man aged 30 was checked for injuries at the scene. The road was closed and traffic being redirected via the A60 and Crompton Acres whilst the emergency services cleared the scene.

Man appears in court after St Ann's shooting

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 12:09
A ST Ann's man will appear at Nottingham Crown Court later this month charged with affray and possessing a knife. Sipho Ncube, 18, of Corporation Oaks, was charged following an shooting last week. He appeared at Nottingham Magistrates Court on Wednesday morning. Officers were called to an area known as Donkey Hill at about 3.50pm on Tuesday, April 8, following reports of a gun being fired and a dispute between a group of people. The court heard that Ncube was allegedly involved in a dispute and fetched a knife that was described as "like a bread knife, but not serrated" by prosecutors. Ncube was then shot in the foot, prosecutor Rod Chapman. He entered no plea to the charges and was remanded into custody and will appear at Nottingham Crown Court on April 30. For more crime news, click here.

Review: Georgie Rose, Glee Club

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 11:15
In her role as a mainstay of the burgeoning Nottingham music scene for the last two years, a home town headline show for Georgie Rose has been long overdue. And a glut of new material from her upcoming debut EP saw the singer songwriter evolving in the intimate setting of a packed Glee Club, her Fleetwood Mac meets Elvis style developed into something bigger, rockier and bluesier by the banks of the Beeston Canal. The 19-year-old has recently found herself a four piece backing band (one half of whom look as though they've just Mmm Bopped their way out of Hanson), and they're the perfect compliment to a rich, soulful voice reminiscent of a Mansfield Amy Winehouse clutching an acoustic guitar and a stack of Johnny Cash vinyls. Georgie kicks proceedings off with her more-familiar back catalogue before diving head first into the deep end of new material, and the added beef of her band has seen her reach new melodic heights. "I will remember this for a long long time" Georgie beams upon returning for an encore of Fleetwood Mac's Dreams. Nottingham is still searching for it's next musical mega star in the wake off Buggmania, but on this showing you wouldn't bet against Georgie Rose being next in line to Jake's throne.

First pledgers come through for Age UK Notts' Campaign to End Lonelliness

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 11:00
Volunteers are the best champions in the fight against loneliness in older people. But giving up your time doesn't just help the isolated elderly - you get something back too. John Crosby, 24 from St Ann's, an analyst at Experian, believes volunteering is a two way street with a positive payback for everyone involved. "You really don't need to see it as something you are giving away," he said. "It is something you benefit from." Volunteering has been something Mr Crosby grew up with, carrying on the baton from his dad. He said: "My dad has been involved in looking after several old people from our church that were often widowed. "I grew up going to visit older people who had no real relation to us but who needed support and didn't have people around them to offer it." After he left University, Mr Crosby spent a year volunteering at Grace Church on Castle Boulevard and helped run a weekly lunch club for 40 elderly people, which offered them time out of the house and the company of those who understood what they were going through. However, life began to get in the way and he felt unable to keep up with his commitments. "I got to know a lot of people in Nottingham through that group but when I began working full-time, it wasn't something I could do regularly," he said. Then Mr Crosby saw the Post's campaign with Age UK Notts to end loneliness, and he knew there was more he could give. He said: "I saw the campaign in one of our regular news feeds at work as Experian has made a pledge itself to start a befriending telephone service for lonely older people. "I had already been thinking for a while about doing something, but didn't know what until I saw this." He joined the telephone befriending scheme but he wanted to do more. "I asked on the back of that whether I could get involved in the home visits," said Mr Crosby. "I know it takes a little more training, but it is something you get more out of by getting to meet the people and with the visiting service, I can fit it around my working hours." As well as the influence of his dad and the positive experience of his church work, he also knew the pressures felt by the care industry and how these extra services really help. "I have several friends who work in the care industry, both in care homes and on home visits, but I also know people who have left because of the difficult working conditions," said Mr Crosby. "They want to help but they get such short time slots and don't have the time in the working day to get around the amount of people they need to. It must be so demoralising but it again reminds you of the importance of services like Age UK." Age UK Notts snapped up his pledge to help and he is now eagerly awaiting his first visits to begin. Mr Crosby said: "I think we have a responsibility to older people in those situations. It may not be something a lot of people my age would consider but after having those friendships that I created through the lunch club, you understand how significant it can be. "It isn't just helping them though, it helps you too. You develop friendships and there is so much you can learn from older people. There is just so much to gain from getting to know them." Age UK Notts has launched the Campaign to End Loneliness to change the lives of isolated older people. It hopes to get 1,000 pledges by the end of June with people promising to offer their time to family, friends and neighbours. Maria Cooke, the leader of the campaign for Age UK Notts, said volunteering was a great way to give something back into the communities we live in. "As well as helping other people to live happier, healthier lives, as John experienced volunteers themselves gain a lot from helping out," she said. "At Age UK Notts we're always glad to hear from potential volunteers and we urge those people to contact us to find out about current opportunities. Local CVS organisations also welcome those interested in volunteering; there are many ways to help people feel less lonely and lots of organisations that need support. Now is a great time to start making a difference." Whether you want to volunteer for the visiting service or just promise to call an elderly relative more, Age UK Notts wants you to get in touch. Visit and fill in the online pledge form or call 0115 844 0011.

Schoolchildren's write and sing a song project backed by playwright Ivory

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 11:00
Famed writer William Ivory has given his approval to a project which is tasking Nottingham schoolchildren to write and then perform songs. Youngsters at Milford Academy in Clifton are taking part in the Hargreaves Project. The project is being organised by Nottingham sisters Elena and Stephanie Hargreaves, who have a musical background. The children will perform at the concert at Nottingham's Albert Hall on Thursday, May 1. Mr Ivory said: "This is such an inspirational project. It will be a dream come true for children to write poetry, which is transformed into music by the Hargreaves sisters and to be played and to perform with a full orchestra. "I am so pleased that this is a project which encourages our talented youngsters to write and to perform at a fabulous venue. "What's even better is that it also raises money for the Nottingham Education Trust, to provide financial support for more Nottingham children to realise their dreams through their own talent and hard work."

Nottingham Forest stars were used to showing off their all-round sporting skills

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 10:45

BY the spring of 1870, Nottingham Forest Football Club had just completed its fifth season of play, though this meant the team had competed in fewer than 30 matches in total.

Home games were played on the Forest Recreation Ground which was bounded only by ropes – making the charging of admission to games impossible, although few people were actually watching games in those days.

The first record of a paying public at a home game came in January 1870 when the Reds faced Sheffield Norfolk at Trent Bridge. The first noted Forest attendance was "more than 400" that day.

One way for the club to raise funds was to branch out into other sports. The players at the time were often seen as all-rounders, playing cricket, rowing and running, so it was a natural progression for the club to plan an athletics meeting at the end of the football season, and to do so at Trent Bridge where they could charge for admission.

Members of the Forest club resolved to form a committee, as they often did in those days, and the newly-formed, and grandly titled, Nottingham Philathletic Association was born.

In April 1870 they hosted their first event, becoming pioneers in a movement that saw football clubs across the Midlands host similar sports days.

Behind the event was a host of local dignitaries, including MP Sir Charles Seely, Anthony John 'A J' Mundella, a local Justice of the Peace and Sheriff of Nottingham as well as a serving MP, and Auberon Herbert, a writer, philosopher and MP.

The official starter at the races was Sir John Turney, the renowned Nottingham industrialist.

An estimated 2,000-3,000 people paid to watch more than a dozen races and competitions and the meeting's popularity meant it quickly grew in size.

A year later the crowds had doubled to 6,000 when Forest co-hosted the event with the Nottingham Manufacturing Company, founded by Mundella; but by 1872 the Philathletic Association was dissolved and the event was renamed the Forest Athletic Sports.

By 1878 the crowds broke the 10,000 barrier and the event drew competitors from all around the country. For comparison, Forest's largest crowd during the 1877-78 season had been 3,000.

In the early 1890s the event was described as "amongst the best managed, best attended, and most substantially rewarded gathering of the kind in the country".

Local writers described the scenes at the meetings in glowing terms, claiming that, "never throughout the year does Trent Bridge present such a pretty spectacle", as men, women and boys in their 'Sunday Best' migrated across the river for the day's festivities.

It wasn't just about a nice day out in the spring sunshine, though. The quality of the competitors improved dramatically and a good indication of the level which the Forest Sports had reached came with the revival of the Olympic Games in Athens in 1896.

The 100 metre sprint at the first modern Olympics saw the bronze medal won in a time of 12.6 seconds. Eighteen years earlier 12.5 seconds was the winning time recorded for the 100 yards event at Trent Bridge.

In 1878 the amateur world record for the mile was 4 minutes 24.5 seconds, while at the Forest Sports that year the winning time was 4 minutes 29 seconds. The Forest Sports were not merely an end-of-season jolly.

C J Spencer, from Basford, was one of the early stars, being one of the first athletes to measure his strides between hurdles and to use the 'tucked leg' method of clearing the obstacle.

Also excelling at the early events was the inimitable Sam Weller Widdowson, innovator and top scorer in eight of Forest's early seasons. Widdowson was the man to beat at most of the running events from sprints to middle-distance races.

Sam Bestow was another who gave world class performances. He reached 5 feet 5½ inches in the high jump, while the first Olympic competition gave a silver medal to a jump of 1.65 metres, or 5 feet 5 inches. Bestow won more than 200 athletics prizes during his career, including 95 first place finishes.

Alongside the whole range of running, walking and jumping events, the sports included an early version of the pole vault and gymnastics exhibitions.

Then came a series of more unusual competitions which might have been more suited to It's a Knockout. These included "ball gathering", a sack race and a ball-kicking competition. At the inaugural event in 1870, W H Revis, who had notched the Reds' winning score in their first ever game against Notts County, won the prize for the longest kick with a football, reaching an impressive 161 feet 8 inches, and this with the heavyweight Victorian ball.

Harry Davies won an award for the "neatest costume" as judged by a committee of ladies, while Forest continued to be forward-thinking by hosting a velocipede race which would be known as a cycle race today.

The racers sat on a 'boneshaker' cycle which was made with an iron frame and wooden wheels. The wheels had 'tyres' made out of iron and gave a very uncomfortable ride, especially across uneven surfaces. Reports of the event referred to participants "ploughing their way along the turf", which would have dismayed the groundsman.

The sports continued up until the time of the First World War but then petered out. There was a brief attempt at a revival during the Second World War but it is the earliest days which are the most memorable.

In 1891 it was written that "the Forest Football Club... has been the vehicle for bringing forward and encouraging some of the most capable athletes in the country," showing once again that Forest was one of the most innovative clubs in the land.

The full story of the athletic sports meetings and much more will be revealed in the forthcoming three-volume Historical Almanac. It will not be for sale in shops and can only be pre-ordered directly from Pineapple Books. The A4 sized, hardback books will be individually numbered, signed by an ex-Forest player and contain the subscriber's name. There will not be a paperback version. Details of the £60 set can be found at

The books, totalling more than 700 pages, include details of the club on a season-by-season basis, full statistics of every match played in more detail than ever published before, and biographies of more than 1,500 players and staff members.

The first volume is being printed in May 2014 and will be sent out soon afterwards. Copies can be reserved by sending a £20 deposit payable to Pineapple Books Ltd, 246 Nottingham Road, Burton Joyce, NG14 5BD. You can contact Rob Jovanovic at for more details.

Middlesex v Nottinghamshire: Day four updates

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 10:13
IT'S day four as Nottinghamshire are at Lord's to take on Middlesex in the second game of the County Championship Division One season. The visitors start the day with a lead of 71 as they look to save the game. They had five wickets in hand. Middlesex: C Rogers, S Robson, D Malan, E Morgan, A Rossington, J Simpson, G Berg, O Rayner, J Harris, T Murtagh, S Finn Nottinghamshire: S Mullaney, P Jaques, M Lumb, S Patel, J Taylor, M Wessels, C Read, L Fletcher, P Siddle, A Carter, H Gurney 11.10: Good morning. Notts have got off to a bad start as they look to save the game, Chris Read out at the start of the second over of the day. Notts 204/6. Reid was caught behind off the bowling of Murtagh for 44.

Review: The Crookes, The Bodega

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 10:10
The Crookes were on the very same Bodega stage in 2012, and while they're as energetic as ever, there's a new maturity to the Sheffield four-piece. Beginning with Don't Put Your Faith in Me, the night was designed to showcase material from third album, Soapbox, a brooding collection with poetic lyrics that celebrate the outsider and rejoices in rebellion. It was the first night of the tour but the crowd's reaction to the infectious Maybe in the Dark and the heavier Bear's Blood soothed singer George Waite's "first night jitters". The band's influences span the decades, with finger clicks and 1950s polish to Yes, Yes We Are Magicians and the crooning melodies of the Housemartins on Backstreet Lovers. Waite's moving solo performance of The I Love You Bridge had scaling vocals and Billy Bragg's blunt electric guitar strums. Their gentlemanly dress sense of buttoned-up shirts and brogues is the perfect fit for their new found maturity, although Waite complains of his stifling suit just one song in. While there may be songs of self-reflection and early mid-life crises, their lively, youthful sound is here to stay. Ending with sing-along Afterglow, The Crookes, whose guitarist Daniel Hopewell grew up in Trowell, have proved there's plenty of perks to being a wallflower.

How the tobacco industry played a vital part in Nottingham's history

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 09:29
BACK in the early 1970s, before we all became edgy about the effects of smoking, it was said that, with one tax cheque a year, John Player and Sons paid for Britain's National Health service. Those were the days when smoke-filled pubs were still the norm, and likewise smoke-filled lungs, as we tried out the newly-launched John Player Specials in their pristine black and gold packs, or reached for something with an extra kick, like Richmond in their brown or blue packets that, unlike JPS, still bore the traditional sailor emblem that had been at the heart of Players' marketing strategy since the 1920s. Player, with its impressive Horizon factory, is now a highly-automated business. And even if, as a nation, we don't smoke in the same quantities we did 30 years ago, Player remains a vital source of employment. In fact, the company has been in Nottingham for nearly 130 years. Back in 1877, Britain was enjoying the fruits of prosperity for the powerful and still growing Empire. Queen Victoria had reigned for 40 years, and at the instigation of Conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, had also taken the title Empress of India. Lace-making was the principal, but by no means the sole, industry in Nottingham. There was a tobacco industry here, but on nothing like the scale John Player would expand it to. He wasn't a Nottingham man. He came here in 1862 from Saffron Walden, Essex, where he had been bought up, the son of a solicitor. His initial reason for moving was to take up a job in Nottingham as a drapers' assistant. That career was short-lived, but it seems to have given him the impetus and the know-how to set up shop on Beastmarket Hill selling seeds and other agricultural and horticultural goods. A history of Players, written in 1977 for the firm's centenary records: "At that time tobacco was sold loose from jars. Hand-made cigarettes were weighed out on scales according to individual needs." Player started to sell loose tobacco, but only as a sideline. It wasn't long before he realised how lucrative selling tobacco blends was, and soon the sideline became his major business Such was its growth rate that his next logical step was buying a tobacco factory. The premises were in Broad Marsh, and he acquired them in 1877. The business, producing pipe and chewing tobacco as well as hand-made cigarettes had been established in 1823 by William Wright. At the time Player bought it, the factory employed 150 people, but its production capacity was such that it only met local demands. Player was a far more ambitious man, and had his sights set on wider, infinitely more lucrative, horizons. Rather than continue with the time-consuming and highly labour-intensive tradition of hand-rolling cigarettes, he set about introducing ready-make tobacco products, for quick sale over the counter. He also showed a remarkable flair for marketing. Player wanted to create brand loyalty among his customers, so they would come back, again and again, for Players" cigarettes and other tobacco products. So he introduced the company"s first trademark, a drawing of Nottingham Castle, was registered in 1877 and continued to be used for years after; it still appeared on pipe-tobacco tins well into the 1960s. Player's's better known trademark, the still-familiar sailor"s head took longer to come into being, and indeed came in a number of different forms. The first head, the sailor alone, appeared and was registered in 1883, Five years later, the lifebelt frame and Players Navy Cut appeared, superimposed. The two ships, HMS Britannia and HMS Hero were added in 1891. Designs changed quite a bit, the most eccentric showing the rear of a sailors head, and bearing the legend, 'Turn your back on all but Players.' As Player grew — and I"ll look at that in more detail shortly — it was decided that there should be one sailor motif and that it should be standardised. This was based on a painting by the illustrator AD McCormick. Player"s initial expansion, to the Broad Marsh, proved pretty soon to be too limiting in terms of production capability. What the company needed was a larger site, and that was precisely what John Player set about finding in the 1880s. What characterised the achievement of the major industries we associate with Nottingham — Boots, Player and Raleigh — was their rapid expansion. By the 1880s, this was the demand Player faced. The company"s marketing methods were so highly successful that Player was able to buy the extensive site at Radford, which for so long became associated with the company. In 1880, it was a largely undeveloped area. With his customary foresight, he built three factory blocks, the nucleus of the 30 acres of factories and offices that were to grow on the site. Since only one block was needed immediately, the other two were hired out for lace making until they would be needed to expand the tobacco business. This anticipated expansion took place early in the 1900s and a certain Mr Meats, Lace Manufacturer, was so loath to give up his tenancy that his steam power had to be cut off and the matter thrashed out — in Player's favour — at the Nottingham Assizes. The Castle Tobacco Factory was opened in April 1884, but tragically John Player was not destined to see his plans come to fruition. A few months later he became ill and went to Bournemouth. He died there at 45, having seen his factory take shape and having persuaded the authorities after persistent requests, that Nottingham should be granted the privilege of its own bonded warehouse. The new factory, one of the world's largest at the time, had one room 300ft long by 60ft wide, a 300hp engine driving the machinery and very elaborate fire precautions. Working conditions, too, were given a high priority and John Player involvement with the welfare of his employees was reflected in amenities which were far ahead of their time. When the founder died, the company he started was run for nine years by a group of his close friends until his two sons, John Dane Player and William Goodacre Player, were ready to take control. Player"s history continues: "A popular brand of cigarettes at that time was player's Gold Leaf Navy Cut, established before the 1890s. This brand was the forerunner of the famous Players Medium Navy Cut cigarettes. By 1898 the demand for Players brands meant that the second and third factories could not be absorbed and the workforce built up to 1,000 workers. Player now had five Elliott machines, each capable of turning out 200 cigarettes a minute, in addition to these machines some 200 girls, widely known as Player's Angels were making cigarettes by hand, the most efficient operators making 2,000 per day. The steady inroads being made by cigarettes into the traditional tobacco and cigar markets is proved by the popularity by 1899 of such Player's brands as Sandringham Dubec, Weights, Gold Leaf and No3 Virginia. There was an extensive box-making department and the large bonded warehouse, for which John Player had fought so hard. In 1899 Players shipped 150,000 Drumhead cigarettes to the troops in the Boer War by the SS Majestic and the following year £1,500 worth of Navy Cut cigarettes went out through the company's agents in Capetown and Port Elizabeth to the troops in South Africa as a Christmas gift." The year 1901 saw a new century and a threat to the Player brothers' business which might well have had disastrous consequences for them and the rest of the British Tobacco Industry. An American millionaire, James Buchanan Duke, strode into their office and announced "Hello boys, I's Duke from New York to take over your business." "Buck" Duke owned exclusive rights in America on the new mass production cigarette-making machine, the Bonsack. By undercutting his competitors he had obtained a monopoly in the United States and was now turning his eyes towards Europe for fresh conquests. His first port of call was Liverpool, where he snapped up Ogdens. What he had not expected was that the other companies would promptly close ranks against him. The Player brothers politely showed him the door. Within four months of Duke's opening gambit, 13 of Britain's leading manufacturers, including John Player and Sons, had formed the Imperial Tobacco Company. When Duke was later threatened by the new group on his home territory, he called a truce the following year. Both William Goodacre and John Dane Player remained on the Imperial Board until their retirement in 1926. It is interesting to note that in 1913 Imperial contributed 1,000 guineas to a fund for the relatives of those lost in the Scott expedition. That same year the Board authorised, for the third year running, a bonus of eight per cent. From 1910 until the outbreak of War I, Players continued to expand its building programme in Radford, and its workforce, which, by 1914 had grown to 2,500. The war also had a curious side-effect on Player"s marketing; the large number of Australian servicemen in Britain prompted the company to introduce the brand name Digger for its all-Empire tobacco blend, which went on sale in 1917, the company"s 40th anniversary. And still it continued to expand, and the Armistice, in 1918, heralded an even greater boost to its fortunes. Smoking was on the increase, and now women, who had gained the vote in 1918, were not afraid to be seen having a cigarette in public, which would have been considered scandalous beforehand. Steady growth and progress continued to keep Player's a key Nottingham industry, where jobs in the firm remained in high demand. In 1923, Prince Edward, the Prince of Wales — the future King Edward VIII — visited Nottingham, and the following year Player's introduced what was to become a long-standing slogan; 'Players Please'. The sons of the original John Player, John Dane Player and William Goodacre Player also played a key role in the life of Nottingham. Both had been educated at the High School, and both became notable philanthropists, giving to hospitals, convalescent homes, churches and schools. In recognition of their munificence, both were made Freemen of the City of Nottingham in 1934; they were dead by the end of the decade, John Dane Player at the age of 85, William Goodacre Player at 93. During their years as captains of the family industry, the company workforce had expanded more and more, from 2,500 staff in 1914 to 7, 500 in 1930, just after they had retired. World War II heralded another era. Many of its staff, like my own father, George Brunton, who had joined the company in 1938, shortly before he took a commission in the Robin Hoods, were away fighting, and the company itself was presented both with shortages of tobacco and packing material. This demanded a rethinking of the way cigarettes were presented for retail. One solution was to harken back to the days when cigarettes were sold individually. So it was that Player produced cheap, card boxes of 500 cigarettes, which could then be sold individually over the counter. In the later 1940s, after demobilisation and men returned from the war, the company embraced renewed success. My father continued to work there until his death, at the age of 54, in 1974. During the late 1960s he designed a slide-rule which became a standard tool of the tobacco industry, in the way it calculated the burning time of a cigarette. The 60s also saw Player's first major postwar cigarette launch. Gold Leaf (as distinct, from Player late 19th Century brand Gold leaf Navy Cut ) was attractively packaged in red, white and gold, set off by the familiar Player sailor motif. Not long after, to meet the challenge of an ever-changing consumer market, the company launched No.6, the tipped cigarette packaged in two-tone blue and white, and the plain in two-tone brown and white, the lettering of both picked out in gold. John Player Special was the next major brand, its packaging — and therefore image — notably transferring to sponsorship, including Formula 1 racing. The next major launch was John Player King Size, in 1976, in its instantly-recognisable royal blue pack. But times were changing. The health issues that smoking raised couldn"t be ignored, so Players also produced a low tar John Player King Size in a red pack. Within a decade, though, the company underwent even greater changes. In 1986, Imperial Tobacco, of which it was part, was taken over by Hanson PLC. At the same time, the move of staff to Player's new state-of-the- art Horizon factory, in Lenton, escalated. The old Player No. 2, 3 and 4 factories in Radford, as well as the personnel block, were demolished to make way for a retail park. Only the old Head Office block, where my dad had worked, remained. It is now used by the National Westminster bank

Fancy opening the main stage at Splendour?

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 09:00
NOTTINGHAMSHIRE musicians are being given the chance to open the main stage at this summer's Splendour festival in Wollaton Park. Applications are now being invited from local bands and solo artists for the annual Future Sound of Nottingham competition. After a series of rounds and a grand final at Rock City, the overall winner will get to play in front of thousands of people at the music bash on Saturday, July 19. Mark Del from NUSIC, which organises the competition, says: "It's always exciting to give an unknown musician the chance to play the main stage at Splendour. The competition is about discovering the act no-one has heard of before and every year someone brilliant comes out of nowhere. We've had so many success stories, when Indiana came through two years ago, no-one had ever seen her play in public and look at her now! I can't wait to find out who it will be this year." Indiana, a 26-year-old from Long Eaton, played her very first gig as part of the competition. Although she didn't make it to the Rock City final that year, she was invited to play as a guest. Since then she's signed a major label deal, been played regularly on Radio 1 and even sang for the Queen with The Script. Previous winners include Long Dead Signal, The Money and The Gorgeous Chans, who played a sold-out show at The Bodega last weekend. Entries for the first round will close on May 5. The final at Rock City will be on Sunday, June 22, where the public and an independent panel of judges will decide the winner. The winning band or solo artist will join the line-up at the festival that so far includes Tom Odell, The Happy Mondays, Reverend and the Makers and the Boomtown Rats. Promoter DHP Family is promising a line up of more than 30 acts playing across three stages with other artists to be announced in the next few weeks. The festival's fringe entertainment will also include a comedy stage, a children's fun fair, and dozens of market stalls. DHP Family chairman George Akins says: "As well as national and international acts, Splendour celebrates the real strength and depth of the Nottingham music scene. Last year's event, led by the phenomenal success of Jake Bugg, really proved what the city has to offer but this year's event also promises to showcase some really exciting home grown acts. "The Future Sound of Nottingham plays a huge role in supporting new artists and it provides a fantastic opportunity to play in front of thousands of people." Last year's festival attracted 17,000 people. For details of how to apply for the Future SOund of Nottingham go to Tickets for Splendour are on sale now, priced from £15. For more details go to, or