Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Trio of Leeds divers eager to make it big in America

Caption: City of Leeds divers Alicia Blagg (left) and Hannah Starling (right), here pictured with Edinburgh's Grace Reid, are heading stateside

Three young divers based in Leeds will show their skills on the world stage in America next month as they have successfully qualified for the Junior World Diving Championships.

Rising stars Alicia Blagg and Hannah Starling will be joined by City of Leeds clubmate Josh Dowd in taking on the world’s best junior divers at the prestigious competition to be held in Tucson, Arizona from 1st-6th September.

For 13-year-old Alicia and 15-year-old Hannah appearing in Tucson was assured following their qualification for the FINA Diving Senior World Cup event in Changzhou in China in June.

Josh secured his place with an impressive sixth-place finish in both the one metre and 3m competition for 14-15-year-olds in the recent Junior European Championships held in Helsinki. The achievement was even more creditable as it was the first international event 15-year-old Josh from Cleveland had ever competed in and is just reward for his determination in travelling to Leeds from the north-east every day for the last six years to train.

Leeds Young Sportswoman of the Year Hannah Starling tuned up for Tucson by claiming a bronze medal from the Junior European Championships. The Alwoodley diver together with Edinburgh’s Grace Reid followed their victory in the national championships in June with third place in the 14-18-year-olds synchronised 3m event in Finland.

The City of Leeds divers are all part of Leeds City Council’s Diving Training Scheme based at the Aquatics Centre at the John Charles Centre for Sport overseen by senior diving coach Adrian Hinchliffe and former world champion Edwin Jongejans.

Senior diving coach Adrian Hinchliffe said:

“Congratulations to Alicia, Hannah and Josh for qualifying for Tucson. We know they will all rise to the challenge of taking on the best young divers in the world and do Leeds and the country proud.

“In particular this is fantastic for Josh, who enjoyed a wonderful international debut and is now beginning to reap the rewards for the huge amount of effort and dedication he puts into his diving and the amazing support he gets from his parents. We look forward to seeing how all three of our divers perform in America as they look to continue improving.”

Notes to editors:

Leeds City Council’s Leeds Diving Training Scheme is managed by Adrian Hinchliffe and has been running since 1986. The scheme provides opportunities in the sport of diving for all ages and from recreational to elite level. In total there are over 300 people taking part in the scheme on a daily and weekly basis, making it one of the biggest diving programmes in Britain.

For further information about the scheme contact Adrian Hinchliffe at Adrian.hinchliffe@leeds.gov.uk, Edwin Jongejans at Edwin.jongejans@leeds.gov.uk or call 0113 395 7363.


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, leisure media relations officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk

PHOTO OPPORTUNITY: unveiling new housing that will free up overcrowded council homes

Tomorrow sees the unveiling of a new housing development that will should ease overcrowding in local council homes.

People from west Leeds who are currently living in homes that are too small for them have been given the opportunity to move into the new houses on Farrow Road, Armley.

By moving tenants out of overcrowded homes, this development will release 12 council homes in west Leeds for people on the council house waiting list.

Some residents have already moved in to the first phase of houses, which were handed over in July. The rest are expected to start moving into their new homes later this month.

**************** MEDIA OPPORTUNITY ****************

WHAT: Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for housing, will officially unveil the Farrow Road affordable housing development and local people will have an opportunity to look around the new homes
WHERE: Farrow Road, Armley LS12 3TB
WHEN: 12noon, Wednesday 4th August

The development is made up of 14 three and four bedroom homes for rent by a housing association, with a further 10 three bedroom homes available for shared ownership.

Farrow Road is one of a number of schemes being delivered by Accent Foundation through Leeds City Council’s innovative Strategic Affordable Housing Partnership.

Through the partnership – which is helping build affordable housing using council-owned land to attract public funding – Accent Foundation will be developing 290 new affordable homes for rent and shared ownership across the city. This development has benefited from funding from the Homes and Communities Agency.

Working in partnership with Accent, a Local Lettings Plan has been developed – meaning all the units have now been allocated to people from the Wortley and Armley areas who had been suffering from overcrowding.

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for neighbourhoods and housing, said:
“Whether we are in a recession or not, this city needs more affordable housing and this latest development is one of a number across Leeds that are providing low cost or council housing.
“Farrow Road means that families in council homes that are too small for them can move, freeing up much needed accommodation for others.
“More needs to be done to create affordable housing in Leeds – we’re committed to doing everything we can to provide people with proper, decent homes that they can afford to live in.”

For media enquiries please contact:
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council (0113) 224 3937
e-mail: michael.molcher@leeds.gov.uk

Meaning of unusual artwork revealed

Picture caption: (top) one of the stone markers on Surprise View looking out over Otley (above) artist Shane Green and Richard Marsh, Leeds City Council's Chevin Forest Park estates officer with copies of the new guides next another of the sculptures

The true significance of chainsawed wood sculptures and stone carvings appearing on Otley Chevin in recent months is finally being revealed to the public.

The striking pieces of art have been mysteriously popping up all over the Chevin are now finally being revealed by Leeds City Council as part of heritage and geology trails educating visitors about the area.

With the help of one of two guides, which are available from Otley Library and The White House café on Johnny Lane, visitors can follow trails which will inform them how the beautiful Chevin was formed and changed through time.

A heritage time trail has been created by installing nine striking timber sculptures along a 2.5km route, which inquisitive walkers will have already seen. Each represents a different epoch in the Chevin’s history and the accompanying guide explains more.

Also a geology trail has been established explaining how The Chevin’s famous steep slopes and gritstone crags and boulders were created. Eight marker stones have been sited along a 3km route highlighting geological features explained in another accompanying guide.

The new trails are part of the Chevin Through Time project which is being run by the Friends of the Chevin Forest Park and the West Yorkshire Geology Trust working in partnership with Leeds City Council’s Parks and Countryside with support from National Lottery’s Heritage Lottery Fund.

Local sculptor and art teacher Shane Green created the timber sculptures and geological marker stones.

Local sculptor and art teacher Shane Green said:

“There are nine timber sculptures which move back in time as the trail is walked. The first is a mountain bike with a compass and a climber, so it’s all about modern recreation and the Fawkes’ family donation of Danefield areas to the public. The trail ends with a 7ft caveman holding s stone-tipped spear, and a goniatite fossil which reminds us The Chevin was once covered by water.

“I made the sculptures large for impact, presence, and so they don’t deteriorate quickly with time. All the decoration is done with the point of a carving blade and a chainsaw – they were all tricky. People have said the sculptures are enjoyable because they feel they have really added to the area.”

Wood for the sculptures was transported to The Chevin by Leeds City Council, which had stored the remains of 300-year-old beech and sycamore trees blown down in the historic storm of 1987.

The geology trail starts at East Chevin Quarry car park, and is suitable for anyone interested in learning how the landscape was formed over millions of years.

Marker stones have different shapes carved into them representing nearby geological features. The first has the moon and waves carved into it explaining that an adjacent exposure of rock laminations was formed by tidal movements.

Leeds City Council’s executive member leisure Councillor Adam Ogilvie, said:

“When you walk around these two trails and read the information in the accompanying guides you can really start to understand how The Chevin has changed over the years.

“The Chevin is a great place to walk and a wonderful environment to learn about the natural world around you. A route was chosen for the heritage time trail that is as accessible as possible for as many as possible given the challenging nature of the ground.”

As well as these two trails there is also a new wildlife spotters guide that highlights the different species of wildlife that can be seen throughout the year.

Guides for the two trails, which have maps of the routes, and the wildlife spotters guide are available free from Otley library and The White House café during the opening hours of Monday to Friday 10am to 2pm. Access to the café is on foot only and is a 15 minute walk from Otley town, East Chevin Quarry and Surprise View car parks.


For media enquiries please contact: Daniel Johnson, leisure communications officer, tel: 0113 247 8285, email: Daniel.johnson1@leeds.gov.uk

Peace symbols laid to commemorate Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings

Leeds will commemorate the 65th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings next week, at a ceremony in Park Square.

The annual event, which remembers the innocent victims of the bombings, will take place at the Mayors for Peace memorial, in the centre of Park Square, on Monday 9 August, 65 years to the day since the Nagasaki bombing.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Jim McKenna will lay a wreath to commemorate the anniversary, after which members of the public will be invited to make and lay origami paper cranes, a world wide symbol for peace, alongside the memorial.

It was on 6 August 1945 when a huge nuclear bomb called ‘Little Boy’ was dropped on Hiroshima. Three days later another nuclear bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki causing devastation. Over 200,000 people were killed and tens of thousands more suffered serious injuries in the two attacks.

The event will begin at 10:45am and will include readings of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki 2010 peace declarations by the mayors of each city, the laying of a wreath by the Lord Mayor, a two minutes silence, readings of poetry written by survivors of the bombings and the placing of the origami cranes.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Jim McKenna said:
“This annual service gives people in Leeds the chance to reflect and remember the terrible events of 1945 that happened in Japan.

“I encourage people to attend the event and take the time to remember and consider the effects on innocent civilian populations of modern warfare.”

Notes to editors:

The event is organised by Leeds City Council’s Peacelink group - a liaison group between the council and the various peace, humanitarian, development and faith groups in the city.

The idea of placing the paper origami cranes is from Sadako Sasaki. Sadako was a young Japanese girl who died from leukaemia caused by radiation ten years after the bombing in Hiroshima.

Before she died, Sadako folded almost a thousand origami paper cranes.

Sadako began her project because of a legend that said anyone who folded a thousand paper cranes would be granted a wish. She wished to be healthy again, and she pursued her goal with such determination that, although she died of her disease, she succeeded in transforming the paper crane into a symbol of peace for children all over the world.


For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450
Email: Catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk

Ticket launch for fantastic Fantasia announced

Caption: The ruins of Kirkstall Abbey provide the perfect backdrop for Classical Fantasia

Tickets to this year’s magical Classical Fantasia are to be launched at Millennium Square from 10am on Saturday 21st August.

The free open-air classical music performance in the grounds of Kirkstall Abbey is one of the most popular events of the year in Leeds due to its fantasy-inspired music, stunning fireworks and breathtaking setting which together make for a special and unique spectacle.

This year’s performance takes place on Saturday 18th September and the eagerly-awaited 9,000 tickets for it will be given away free at the ticket launch which will takes place on Saturday 21st August from 10am on Millennium Square.

The free tickets will be available to collect in person (with a maximum of two per applicant) on a first-come first-served basis at the launch. Those keen to attend are encouraged to go to the launch to have the best chance of securing their places as due to the limited capacity of the event, all 9,000 tickets are expected to be quickly claimed on launch day.

Organised by Leeds City Council, Classical Fantasia is now in its 15th year and has firmly established itself as one of the highlights of the outdoor events calendar in the city. With the specially-lit ruins of the 12th century Kirkstall Abbey providing the perfect backdrop, the sounds of the Northern Ballet Theatre orchestra make for a magical evening’s entertainment.

The event has also become famous for its spectacular fireworks, which signal both the end of the first half and then the main display which accompanies the electrifying finale of the evening.

Leeds City Council executive member for leisure Councillor Adam Ogilvie said:

“Classical Fantasia provides a fantastic evening of classical entertainment set in the wonderful surroundings of Kirkstall Abbey. We look forward to seeing everyone at the launch to pick up these much sought-after tickets and avoid any disappointment, as due to the phenomenal popularity of the event they are all claimed very quickly.”

Requests for disabled access tickets for Classical Fantasia should be made in writing, enclosing a stamped self-addressed envelope and a proof of disability to: The events team, Leeds Town Hall, The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 3 AD

For further information visit the website at www.leeds.gov.uk/fantasia or email events@leeds.gov.uk


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, leisure media relations officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk

Putting Leeds waterfront on the map

Exploring Leeds city centre’s wonderful waterfront is about to become a lot easier thanks to a new map launched this summer.

The ‘Leeds Waterfront Walk It’ map, produced by Leeds City Council helps visitors and residents find their way along the city centre’s distinctive area around the River Aire and the Leeds Liverpool Canal.

Using the map, people can plan how long it takes to get to a place by average walk times. Recommended walking routes and information on waterfront destinations such as Clarence Dock, Holbeck Urban Village, The Calls, Granary Wharf and Brewery Wharf are also included, along with information on the bars, shops, restaurants and other cultural and historical attractions in the area.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council executive member responsible for city development, said:

“The Leeds city centre waterfront area has really developed over the past few years and it is now an exciting attraction in its own right. We want more people to visit and enjoy it and these maps are aimed at helping people do just that.

“We’ve linked different areas together to ensure attractions are being promoted more effectively and new developments are highlighted as destinations to explore.

“We also need to encourage people of all ages to be healthy and walking is great exercise and good for the environment too.”

The map builds on the huge success of a city centre ‘Walk it’ map published by the council last summer. Both maps aim to make exploring Leeds city centre and its shopping and other attractions much easier and quicker on foot.

The suite of free ‘Walk it’ maps are being distributed through key visitor gateways such as the Leeds Visitor Centre, located at the Leeds City Rail Station. For your free copy drop in to the centre or order one by telephone on 0113 242 5242.


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