Thursday, 19 July 2012

Huge crowds line the streets to greet The Queen

Picture captions: Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh on their visit to Leeds

Crowds of excited people lined the streets today to give a warm welcome to Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh.

Her Majesty and His Royal Highness visited Leeds as part of their Diamond Jubilee tour of the United Kingdom and visited three of the key sites in Leeds.

The tour began at Leeds Arena where Her Majesty and His Royal Highness were greeted by the Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire Dr Ingrid Roscoe and the Lord Mayor of Leeds, along with key members of the council, before being treated to an aerial acrobatic display by Urban Angels Circus as they dropped into the Arena via ribbon. The Royal Party were also introduced to the promoters SMG, contractors BAM and the young apprentices who have been working on the project.

The Queen was then asked to unveil a plaque which officially marked the topping out of the £60million entertainment venue. This occasion was marked by a performance by children from Little London Primary school who performed a song and a poem about growing up in Leeds, before presenting Her Majesty with a framed version of the poem to mark the occasion.

The Royal party then made their way down the Headrow to the newly restored City Varieties Music Hall where they were greeted by Councillor Adam Ogilvie, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for Leisure and theatres director for Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House Ltd, Andrew Macgill.

Eight young people from the City Varieties Youth Theatre Company then performed their version of the famous Good Old Days and presented Her Majesty with a gavel, before Councillor Judith Blake, deputy leader of Leeds City Council and executive board member with responsibility for children’s services introduced the council’s ambition to become a Child Friendly City. Cllr Blake then presented Her Majesty with a framed picture as a symbol of the city’s commitment.

Her Majesty and His Royal Highness then made their way to Briggate to meet and greet the huge crowds of people who had lined the main shopping street in Leeds. The Royal party then proceeded to the seating area where the ambition to become a Child Friendly City was officially launched by a choir made up of singers from choirs across Leeds and the crowd singing ‘Rainbow Nation’ followed by the National Anthem and three cheers for The Queen. Louise Iontton, a former Paralympic Powerlifter and volunteer for the 2012 Olympics presented a posy to Her Majesty to mark the end of her visit to the city.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Ann Castle said:

“It has been fantastic to have The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh visiting the city today, and it was great to see so many people turn out to welcome them.

“It is an exciting time for Leeds as we see the Arena nearing completion, the launch of Child Friendly City and the many other hugely exciting developments in the city, and it was a pleasure and an honour to share this with the royal party.

“This was a unique occasion for the city and an excellent memory for all those involved.”

For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450

Volunteers reveal untold stories behind Leeds’ hidden treasures

Caption: Artefacts on display include (from top - all courtesy of Leeds museums and galleries):

Tomb Pot, Peru, 100–800 AD

Painted Tusk, Iran, 1933

Skull Cup, Tibet, 1880-1910

The untold stories behind a unique collection of artefacts some of which have never been on public display before will be told in a new exhibition which begins at Leeds City Museum this week.

The exhibition entitled ‘Treasured! Smuggled? Stolen? Saved?’ which has been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund opens on Thursday 19 July at the museum off Millennium Square.

The display has been created by a group of young local volunteers as part of Precious Cargo, a series of exhibitions and events led by young people and inspired by Yorkshire’s world collections as part of the Cultural Olympiad Stories of the World project to bring fresh perspectives and new ideas into museums’ collections up and down the country.

Stories of the World is part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic movements, designed to give everyone in the UK a chance to be part of London 2012 and inspire creativity across all forms of culture, especially among young people.

The exhibition has been put together by seventeen volunteers aged 14-24 years old with support from the museum’s curators, giving the young team valuable new skills and exclusive insight into rarely seen elements of the museum collection.

The volunteers researched and selected a variety of objects from the collection - which have travelled across the world to Leeds - sharing the unique stories behind why and how they have ended up in the city.

Visitors are invited to take a journey through time and share their own views on whether the objects have been smuggled, stolen or saved. It includes pieces which haven’t been on display before, including many from the customs collection which are on loan term loan from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), having been illegally smuggled into the UK.

The four themes devised by the volunteers include treasure hunting, collecting the exotic, war, and tomb raiding & death. Highlights include Mok the gorilla from the French Congo, a bejeweled Buddhist ritual Tibetan skull cup and thigh bone trumpet, rare 18th-century Swedish plate money and a North African shrunken head.

Leeds City Museum’s Precious Cargo project officer Esther Amis-Hughes said:

“It is great to see local young people getting involved in projects like this and to showcase their talents at Leeds City Museum for everyone to see. We have been very much looking forward to seeing the exhibition open and we know visitors to will enjoy seeing the amazing items which will be on display so we thank the Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England and the Cultural Olympiad for helping to make it happen.”

Fiona Spiers, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund, Yorkshire and the Humber said:

“This project really highlights how committed and enthusiastic young people are about the heritage around them. We are delighted that this award has provided young people with the opportunity to learn new skills and really bring the museum’s collections to life for everyone to explore and enjoy.”

The exhibition will be supported with a range of special events throughout the summer. More information can be found on the project blog via twitter @treasured2012 and on

There are also Facebook apps to vote whether these items are smuggled, stolen or saved at!/LeedsMuseumsandGalleries/app_400276333363338

A treasure dash to find £100 worth of gig tickets is also available for those who can find ‘hidden’ treasures in Leeds -

Treasured! Smuggled? Stolen? Saved? Runs until 13 January 2013 at Leeds City Museum, Millennium Square, Leeds LS2 8BH. Admission is free.

For more information on Leeds City Museum visit

Notes to editors:

Treasured! Smuggled? Stolen? Saved? has been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Precious Cargo is part of the Stories of the World Cultural Olympiad programme and is supported by Arts Council England.

Stories of the World is a series of exhibitions and events that brings together over 60 museums across the country. 2,000 young people have explored the museums’ collections and helped develop and shape the exhibitions and their presentation, bringing fresh new approaches and insights. The project is supported by Arts Council England in partnership with London 2012.

Highlighted objects:

Mok the gorilla
Mok is originally from the French Congo, but was captured and taken to Paris where he lived in a cage in a hotel lobby for the entertainment of guests. In 1932 he was transferred from the Parisian hotel lobby to London zoo, at the same time as his future girlfriend Moena, where they subsequently fell in love. During his time in the zoo, Cecil Tresilian, the illustrator for the Jungle Book studied Mok and some of the other primemates there as inspiration for the character King Louie from The Jungle Book. After six years Mok and Moena’s relationship came to an abrupt end when Mok died. Moena was so upset that she began scratching at her feet in grief; the cuts became infected and sadly she died.

Tibetan Skull Cup
The Tibetan skull cup is made from the skull of a highly respected priest or saint. In Buddhist rituals, the cup was used to hold offerings to the Gods, usually flowers or jewels. It is not clear how the donor, Mr Lyham, came to have the skull cup. He presented it to the museum in 1950 but it could have left Tibet decades before. The removal of the cup from Tibet probably saved it. In the 1950s and 1960s, the communist regime in China tried to remove all aspects of Tibetan culture. They particularly targeted religion, and Buddhist artefacts like the skull cup were destroyed in their thousands.

Tibetan Thigh Bone Trumpet
In Tibetan, the thigh bone trumpet is known as a ‘Kangling’, which literally translates as ‘leg flute’. These trumpets have spiritual and cultural value. They are still used in Himalayan Buddhist rituals and funerals today. This object came to the museum from The Red House Museum in Dorset, when all of its world culture items were loaned and later transferred to Leeds from 1985 onwards. It is not known how the trumpet found its way to Dorset. Like the skull cup, if the trumpet had remained in Tibet, it would probably have been destroyed by Chinese communists during the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s.

Swedish Plate money
By 1776 Swedish plate money was no longer in circulation, so the heavy currency was used in ships to help them to balance whilst at sea. This meant that its value lowered as it became little more than scrap metal. For this reason, not much plate money is left, which means that this sample is rare. It only survived because it was found in the wreck of the ‘Nicobar’, a ship travelling to the Far East that sank off the coast of South Africa in the 1780s.

Jivaro Shrunken Head
Shrunken heads are trophies of the wars fought between four Jivaro tribes. Decapitated heads of enemy warriors were shrunken to prevent the rebirth of their vengeful souls. They became popular souvenirs during the Victorian period. This lead to the production of fakes. The genuine Jivaro human head was bought by Leeds Museum at an auction in 1947 at a house near Tadcaster previously owned by the Maxwell Stuart family. An expert from Leeds University estimated that the warrior was aged between 35-45 when he was killed. This was determined by looking at the nasal hair and long earlobes.

Precious Cargo
Precious Cargo is Yorkshire’s contribution to Stories of the World. It is a series of exhibitions and events led by young people, inspired by Yorkshire’s world collections. Find out how objects, ideas and customs found their way across the world and became precious items of Yorkshire’s heritage in the process. For a full list of participating museums visit

Heritage Lottery Fund
Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, learn from and enjoy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported over 33,000 projects, allocating £4.9billion across the UK including £380m to 2,845 projects in Yorkshire & the Humber alone. Website:

Arts Council England
Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2011 and 2015, we will invest £1.4 billion of public money from government and an estimated £1 billion from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country

About the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival
The London 2012 Cultural Olympiad is the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Movements. Spread over four years, it is designed to give everyone in the UK a chance to be part of London 2012 and inspire creativity across all forms of culture, especially among young people.

The culmination of the Cultural Olympiad is the London 2012 Festival, the spectacular 12-week nationwide celebration bringing together leading artists from across the world with the very best from the UK, running from Midsummers Day on 21 June until the final day of the Paralympic Games on 9 September 2012.The London 2012 Festival celebrates the huge range, quality and accessibility of the UK’s world-class culture including dance, music, theatre, the visual arts, fashion, film, comedy and digital innovation, giving the opportunity for people across the UK to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Principal funders of the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival are Arts Council England, Legacy Trust UK and the Olympic Lottery Distributor. BP and BT are Premier Partners of the Cultural Olympiad and the London 2012 Festival.

For more details on the programme, to download the London 2012 Festival official guide and to sign up for information visit


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Senior communications officer,
Leeds City Council, Tel 0113 247 5472

Tee-off in Leeds to go for golden golfing glory at Rio 2016

Caption: Roundhay Park golf course in Leeds

While the eyes of the world may be turning to London for the 2012 Olympic Games, one sport in Leeds is already looking ahead to Rio in 2016.

The sport of golf returns to the Olympic fold in Brazil in four years’ time for the first time since 1904, and to celebrate its return and possibly unearth a gold medallist of the future a special offer begins this week at the four council-managed courses in the city.

Aimed at encouraging young people to take up the sport, a special offer will be available each day from Friday 20 July to Sunday 12 August 2012 at the courses at Temple Newsam, Roundhay Park, Middleton Park and Gotts Park.

For anyone aged four to 18, after 20 past 12 each day a round of golf at any of the four courses will be available for £2 including the free hire of clubs to play with (subject to availability).

For anyone over the age of 18, an offer is also available each day for a fourball to play for £20 in any tee time slot after 12:20pm.

The offer not only coincides with the London 2012 Olympic Games, it is also begins as the world’s greatest golfers compete for the Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes.

Leeds City Council golf manager Allan Cooper said:

“It is fantastic to see golf returning to the Olympic Games in 2016, and to celebrate that along with the Open Championship and the Games in London we are looking to inspire people of all ages to come and have a game of golf.

“In particular we are looking to encouraging young people who have never tried golf before to come along and see what they think. At £2 for a round including club hire that is tremendous value so hopefully lots of people will take advantage of it and we may even set someone on the road to medal glory in 2016 in Rio.”

For further information on the Leeds City Council-managed golf courses, go to


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Senior communications officer,
Leeds City Council, Tel 0113 247 5472

Media opportunity today - A Royal audience for the launch of Child Friendly Leeds

Leeds will launch ambitious plans to become a child friendly city during this week’s Royal visit.

As part of the tour of Leeds by Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh on Thursday 19 July, the Royal party will hear how the child friendly city initiative aims to make Leeds the best city for children and young people to grow up in.

After enjoying performances by children and young people from across Leeds at the City Varieties theatre, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will hear Leeds City Council’s executive member for children’s services, Councillor Judith Blake describe how Leeds’ wants all its residents, businesses and organisations to put children and young people at the heart of everything they do.

Throughout the day there will be over 700 children and young people from 132 Leeds schools taking part to welcome the Royal party and fly the flags for child friendly Leeds.

Following the Royal visit the celebrations will continue with over 100 children and young people at the City Varieties, where they will watch a short film created by Radiowaves and help create a poem to celebrate child friendly Leeds with professional poet Michelle Scally Clarke.

As part of the campaign businesses in the city are being asked to consider how they can become more child friendly. The launch of Child Friendly Leeds is being supported by Marks and Spencer on Briggate, who are providing free healthy lunches for all children and young people taking part in the City Varieties event. As well as lunch, each child will receive a commemorative Union Jack lunch bag to keep as a souvenir of the day.

Media opportunity:
Members of the media are invited to attend the launch of the Child Friendly Leeds campaign at the City Varieties theatre at 1pm on Thursday 19 July (after the Royal visit). Interviews with Cllr Judith Blake and Nigel Richardson, the director of children’s services, will be available as well as photo and filming opportunities.

Councillor Judith Blake, executive member responsible for children’s services said:
“Making Leeds look and feel like a child friendly city is a bold ambition, but one that can have a big, positive impact on the future prosperity of our city.

“We want everyone to get involved and today's royal visit, when children and young people are the focus of the celebrations, is the perfect opportunity to highlight that.

“Our children and young people face tough challenges as they grow up. Particularly finding jobs and training that build the skills and confidence to do well. One of the ambitions of being a child friendly city is for Leeds to become a city where every young person is in education, employment or training, using our new city deal to make that ambition a reality.

“A child friendly city is about everyone putting children and young people's rights, responsibilities and roles at the heart of everything we do and giving them a stronger voice to influence their future’’.

The child friendly Leeds campaign aims to unite the whole city to create a place where children and young people are:
• Safe from harm;
• Do well in learning and have the skills for life;
• Choose healthy lifestyles;
• Have fun growing up; and
• Are active citizens who feel they have voice and influence.
As part of the campaign Leeds City Council has been speaking to over 2000 young people to find out what is important to them. Their top 12 ‘wishes’ cover a wide range of topics including:
Transport; the city centre; play; information; children’s rights; respect; healthy lifestyles; learning; jobs and careers; litter; and making young voices heard.

Leeds is now looking for people to become child friendly ambassadors and help others to think about what they can do to make the city more child friendly. To become an ambassador or subscribe to child friendly city updates, email;

The celebration event at the City Varieties is being delivered by a partnership of Leeds City Council’s children’s services and Libraries, Arts and Heritage departments, Space2, Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House, the City Varieties and Radiowaves.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713