Tuesday, 28 July 2009

A real Yorkshire welcome for new British citizens

A special ceremony will take place in Leeds this Saturday to welcome new citizens to Leeds on Yorkshire Day.

The citizenship ceremony will take place at Leeds Town Hall, with approximately 200 new citizens expected to attend. The event will be opened by council leader, Councillor Richard Brett, and certificates will be presented by the Vice Lord-Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, John Brennan. The High Sheriff of West Yorkshire, Jeremy Burton, will lead the new citizens in making their oath and pledge of allegiance to HRH Queen Elizabeth the Second.

Becoming a British citizen is a significant event and the Home Office are encouraging more high profile local celebrations to take place. This is the first ceremony on this scale to take place in Leeds, and it has been arranged to fall on Yorkshire Day to make it even more special.

Attendees will be welcomed into the Leeds community and have the opportunity to meet other people in the area who are becoming British citizens. They will also be encouraged to sing-a-long to ‘On Ilkley Moor bar tat’, accompanied by the Yorkshire Evening Post Brass Ensemble and the choir, Inspiration.

Councillor Richard Brett, leader of the council said:
“Leeds is an international city with cultures and ethnic groups from around the world living and working together. It is therefore a popular destination for people who want to become British citizens.

"This event is a fantastic way for us to welcome new citizens to Leeds. It also gives us the opportunity to encourage them to play an active role within their communities, and gives them a chance to meet other people in similar circumstances.”

Additional info

Local authority staff will check the attendee's identities on arrival at the ceremony.

During the ceremony, speeches will be made, often by local or national dignitaries. These may include welcoming the new citizens on behalf of the local area and encouraging them to play an active role within their communities.

A certificate of British citizenship and a welcome pack will be presented along with a commemorative gift.

All new citizens are invited to stand while the national anthem is played.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578
Email: claire.macklam@leeds.gov.uk

Freedom of City for The Rifles Regiment

The public are invited to the second homecoming parade for local troops in just over a week, when The Rifles Regiment inherit the Freedom of the City of Leeds on Saturday, 1 August.

The regiment is represented by the 5th Battalion The Rifles, who were amongst the first troops in Iraq in 2003 and the last ones to leave earlier this year. Their homecoming parade this Saturday has been planned to coincide with Yorkshire Day, which is also the 250th anniversary of the Battle of Minden, one of the regiment’s greatest battle honours.

The parade will arrive in Millennium Square at 10.50am. The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Judith Elliott, and the Vice Lord-Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, John Brennan OBE DL, will arrive at 11am accompanied by the Colonel (North) Brigadier Tim Evans DSO MBE.

Following a general salute, the Lord Mayor and Vice Lord-Lieutenant will inspect the soldiers, who will all be wearing white roses in their caps in honour of Minden Day, which was adopted by the Yorkshire Ridings Society as Yorkshire Day. Soldiers from the regiment’s recruiting vehicles on Millennium Square and Briggate will be giving out white roses to the public on a first come first served basis, so that as many people as possible can show their support for Minden Day and Yorkshire Day.

The Lord Mayor will extend a civic welcome and convey the Freedom of the City to the battalion. The Rifles will then exercise their freedom by marching through the city. They will return to Millennium Square at 11.45am and the Lord Mayor, Vice Lord-Lieutenant and the Colonel (North) will take the salute.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Judith Elliott said:
“It gives me great pleasure to extend a civic welcome to The Rifles Regiment, and I am delighted that they are to receive the Freedom of the City of Leeds, especially in view of the vital role they have played in Iraq since 2003.

“I am very much looking forward to what I’m sure will be a great occasion, and can promise the military personnel and their guests a very warm welcome from the people of Leeds.”

The Vice Lord-Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, John Brennan OBE DL said:
“It will be a great privilege to be present when The Rifles Regiment receive the Freedom of the City and exercise its right to parade through the city centre.

“The courage of our soldiers fills us all with pride and gratitude, and this event is a fitting opportunity to celebrate their service to their country.”


Additional information

The Yorkshire Ridings Society decided to have Yorkshire Day on 1 August because of the Battle of Minden. The story goes that when the infantry were first advancing they passed through some German gardens and the soldiers plucked flowers and stuck them in their tunics. Minden Day has since been celebrated annually in all battalions of the regiment on 1 August, when the White Rose of Yorkshire is worn by all ranks in their caps.

The parade through the city will go via The Headrow, Briggate, King Edward Street, Vicar Lane and The Headrow.

As the largest infantry regiment in the British Army, The Rifles offer the widest possible opportunity to its riflemen in terms of location, role and career options. It is a family regiment that draws strength from the mutual support of its four pillars: regular soldiers, territorial and reserve soldiers, affiliated cadets and its association and clubs.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578
Email: claire.macklam@leeds.gov.uk

120,000 people can’t be wrong: Back the Bid Leeds!

More than 120,000 people voiced their support for Leeds’ 2018 FIFA World Cup bid at last weekend’s Opera in the Park and Party in the Park celebrations.

The huge crowds gathered at Temple Newsam Park for the two day extravaganza and gave the Football Association a clear message about which city should host matches in 2018.

The chants of ‘back the bid Leeds’ - believed to be the biggest collective show of support for a host city yet - were backed by many of the weekend’s performers which including Sophie Ellis-Bextor and X-Factor finalists, JLS.

Momentum behind the Leeds bid is gathering with businesses and schools joining various Leeds United legends - such as Norman Hunter, Nigel Martyn and Gordon McQueen – to back the bid at backthebidleeds.com.

If the bid is successful Leeds United’s Elland Road stadium would be used for matches while other towns and cities within the 11 local authorities which make up the Leeds City Region* would be used as locations for training grounds, Fan Fest sites and team bases.

Councillor Richard Brett, leader of Leeds City Council, said:
“Party in the Park and Opera in the Park were once again amazing events which demonstrated the great atmosphere and hospitality that Leeds and the Leeds City Region can offer.

“The message from the thousands of people was that Leeds is ready, willing and able to host World Cup matches - now we have to collect enough votes at backthebidleeds.com to show the FA that Leeds really means business.”

Shaun Harvey, chief executive of Leeds United, said:
“The support for the bid from Party in the Park and Opera in the Park was amazing - I’m surprised the FA couldn’t hear the chants from their London headquarters.

“We now need that support to be turned into votes - which can be done by visiting backthebidleeds.com and following the directions to ensure the Leeds bid is successful.”

Leeds is one of 15 cities across the country which have declared an interest in hosting World Cup fixtures in nine years time if the overall England bid is successful.

The bid is being prepared by Leeds City Council, Leeds United and Marketing Leeds with the help of many other organisations.

If Leeds secures host city status, games would be played at Elland Road. It’s proposed that improvements would be made to the stadium so it would be capable hosting matches up to and including the quarter final.

To vote for Leeds to be one of the host cities for the 2018 FIFA World Cup visit backthebidleeds.com.


Notes to editors:
*The Leeds City Region Partnership brings together the eleven local authorities of Barnsley, Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield, York and North Yorkshire County Council.

For more information contact:
Jon Crampton
Leeds City Council
0113 3951577

Paul Dews
Leeds United
0113 3676170

Andy Carter
Leeds City Council
0113 3950393

Council to tackle cars that block dropped kerbs

Action is to be taken against inconsiderate drivers who consistently cause problems for disabled people, the elderly and those with pushchairs by parking alongside kerbs 'dropped' to allow access into the road.

Leeds City Council has been given specific new powers to take action against people who park their cars so that they obstruct dropped kerbs. This causes difficulties for pedestrians, especially the disabled and pushchairs, because they can't cross the road.

In residential areas, it blocks people in or makes it difficult for them to access their home.

However, action will only be taken on the blocking of dropped kerbs where the council is convinced that the problem is persistent.

The council has also been granted powers to combat double parking, where people obstruct the road by parking next to an already parked car. This reduces the width of the road, can cause difficulties for others, especially buses, large vehicles and emergency services. The whole of the Leeds district is covered, and there is no need for new traffic signs or road markings.

The council will be able to issue Penalty Charge Notices to offending vehicles, costing £35.

To refer a problem with blocking of dropped kerbs, residents or businesses should call Leeds City Council’s Parking Services on 0113 395 0050.

Councillor James Monaghan, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for environmental services, said:

“Dropped kerbs are there for a reason – to help those with mobility problems or with bulky pushchairs to cross the road safely.

“Where there are specific complaints from residents we will take action to make sure inconsiderate car users do not cause a problem for pedestrians.”

For media enquiries, please contact:
Sara Hyman, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3602
Email: sara.hyman@leeds.gov.uk