Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Celebrate the heritage of the Rugby League World Cup in Leeds

Photo montage of 'reluctant hero' John Holmes

Rugby League World Cup 2013 is the 14th instalment of the oldest rugby world cup tournament on the planet, and Leeds is proud to be a host with two matches being played in the city this autumn.

In celebration of this fantastic tournament coming to Leeds, the council, in partnership with Leeds Rugby Foundation Heritage Project, is hosting a new, free exhibition dedicated to the rich history of the rugby league world cup at Leeds Central Library.

Visitors to the exhibition, which opens on Wednesday 4 September, will be able to explore the fascinating history of the rugby league world cup through displays, memorabilia, nostalgic video clips, events, talks and interactive activities throughout the whole of September.

Special attention will be given to Leeds’ involvement, including a unique display in memory of John Holmes entitled ‘Reluctant Hero’. John played in three world cup competitions in a career spanning 23 years.

Great Britain triumphed in the very first rugby league world cup in France in 1954, and the final had a major Leeds involvement, with Gordon Brown scoring two tries and David Rose scoring one try. In addition Don Robinson played in the second row as did Hunslet’s Geoff Gunney.

This year’s competition kicks off at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on 26 October, and arrives in Leeds at Headingley Carnegie Stadium on Friday 8 November for a Group B game between New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. The competition’s first quarter final game will be played at Headingley a week later on Friday 15 November.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for leisure and skills said:
“I am delighted that as part of our celebrations at hosting two matches in the city as part of the world cup this autumn, a special exhibition is now being held at Leeds Central Library celebrating the history of the rugby league world cup.

“Leeds is steeped in rugby league tradition, and it is fantastic that as part of the display there will be a feature on our involvement in previous tournaments plus details of the contribution of local hero John Holmes, who represented Great Britain in three world cups.

“We are extremely proud to have the honour of being a host city for the world cup, and this event is a must for anyone who wants to find out more about how rugby league became the great game it is today.”

Gary Hetherington, chief executive of Leeds Rugby said:
“Since the creation of the game of rugby league, the city of Leeds has had a central part to play in the game’s development and success. At the Rhinos, we are very proud of our history and heritage and it is great to see this exhibition celebrating the game’s history in our city.”

Bernard Shooman, Leeds Rugby Foundation Heritage project said:
“The rugby league world cup exhibition is a wonderful opportunity for the Leeds Rugby Foundation Heritage project team working in partnership with Leeds libraries, to present the history of the world cup.

“Its rich heritage has provided an opportunity to bring together a range of material, with many of the items being seen in public for the first time.”

Part of the exhibition will close on 30 September, but following a request from a number of Australian and Kiwi touring parties, some areas will remain open through October and November.

The full programme of free events and activities taking place at 1st Floor, Leeds Central Library during September is as follows:

Wednesday 4 September – Monday 30 September
Open exhibition and displays.

Saturday 7 September 1pm-3pm Family drop-in event
Fun-filled activities with a rugby league theme for all the family

Friday 13 September 1pm-2.30pm Origins of rugby league in Leeds
Join author and leading rugby league historian Professor Tony Collins for an informative insight on how the game began in Leeds.

Tuesday 17 September 6.30pm-8pm 40/Twenty talking rugby league: League loves libraries
Local players Jamie Jones Buchanan and Richard Mathers plus reporters Phil Caplan, Peter Smith and Tony Hannan share their passion for the game in a lively talk and discussion. Places are limited for this event so please book by calling 0113 247 6016 or email enquiry.express@leeds.gov.uk

Saturday 21 September 1pm-3pm Family drop-in event
Fun-filled activities with a rugby league theme for all the family.

Tuesday 24 September 6.30pm-8pm Birth of rugby league: Broken time
Join Mick Martin as he discusses the history of Rugby League, the writing of the play ‘Broken Time’ and the historical events surrounding the piece with cast members performing extracts from it.

Friday 27 September 1pm-2.30pm They walked on water
David Hinchliffe talks about his recent book on the infamous 1968 Watersplash Challenge Cup Final between Leeds and Wakefield Trinity.

For more information call 0113 247 6016 or visit www.leeds.gov.uk/librariesrlwc. Or follow @LeedsRLWC on Twitter or like our page on Facebook leedsRLWC

Additional info

To ensure that as many people as possible are able to enjoy the international game once the regular season has ended, a fantastic incentive is on offer when buying tickets for the games in Leeds. When a ticket to one of the games is purchased, a ticket for the second game is then available to buy at half price. Ticket prices start at just £10 (£5 concessions) for group games and quarter-finals.

Tickets are available from the ticket office at Headingley Carnegie Stadium and the Leeds Visitor Centre at Leeds Railway Station, the opening hours of which are Monday 10am - 5.30pm, Tuesday to Saturday 9am - 5.30pm, Sunday 10am - 4pm. For more information please visit the website www.visitleeds.co.uk, email tourinfo@leeds.gov.uk, or telephone 0113 242 5242.

Tickets can also be purchased by visiting www.rlwc2013.com or by calling the 24 hour Ticket Hotline on 0844 847 2013.


For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (07712) 214223
Email: claire.macklam@leeds.gov.uk

Yorkshire councils join forces to tackle payday lenders

Joint press release on behalf of Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds, Wakefield and York councils.

Six Yorkshire councils have joined forces to block the websites for all known payday lenders in the country.

The councils which represent 2.4 million residents and employ 67,000 employees have taken the step of blocking the websites of all known payday lenders from all council terminals – including those in libraries and face-to-face customer contact centres as well as all staff computers.

This agreement follows on from the announcement last month that the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has referred the whole of the payday lending industry to the Competition Commission because of concerns about the practices used by the industry and the impact on vulnerable citizens.

All councils in West Yorkshire – Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield - along with City of York Council have taken the step to block the sites of almost 200 high interest payday lenders.

Although a few other councils across the country have also taken this step, today’s announcement represents the single biggest initiative in the country in the campaign against what are described as predatory lenders.

Anyone attempting to access Payday lender websites on a council computer will instead be redirected to an information page which will provide information about sources of money and debt advice and alternative sources of affordable credit and banking services through local credit unions.

It has been estimated that across the six councils' geographic areas there are likely to be somewhere in the region of 78,000 residents who currently have payday loans. The payday lending industry has been one of the fastest growing parts of the financial services sector over the past five years and there are fears that it is having a significant impact on the lives of many people.

National charity Step Change have reported that 42% of young people aged between 16 and 25 who come to them for help have debts to payday lenders.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council and chair of the Association of West Yorkshire Councils said;
"We are seeing more and more evidence of people finding themselves with serious debt problems after being enticed into taking out loans from payday lenders. A recent survey of 113 lenders by the Citizen’s Advice Bureau found 9 out of 10 applicants were not asked to provide proof that they could afford the loan. It can be no surprise that this sort of irresponsible lending leaves many people facing serious hardship. This is an industry which must face greater controls over their operations, but, until they do, we feel that it is necessary to take this action."

Leeds City Council is also organising a major national conference in Leeds on 25 October, devoted entirely to the subject of high cost lending and how to develop strategies to help citizens who find themselves trapped in a spiral of unsustainable debt. Speakers at the conference will include prominent national figures from the advice sector, the Department for Work and Pensions, Member of Parliament, Church of England and the world of sport. Final details of the conference will be issued during September.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713
Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk

Fabulous Fantasia set to light up the Abbey

Caption: A fantastic firework display will once again accompany a rousing finale at Classical Fantasia this Saturday.

Final preparations are being made at the historic Kirkstall Abbey for another magical evening of music, colour and fireworks for the annual Classical Fantasia which takes place this weekend.

The performance of open-air classical music set in the grounds of the 12th century abbey will begin from 8pm on Saturday 7 September and will feature fantasy-inspired music performed by the Manchester Camerata Chamber Orchestra.

This year’s repertoire includes well known classical pieces from Rossini, Strauss and Offenbach together with the traditional rousing finale of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture accompanied by the now-famous spectacular illumination of the ruins and electrifying fireworks.

Gates will open at 6pm for the event organised by Leeds City Council which is now in its 18th year and supported by media partners Magic 828 and the Yorkshire Evening Post.

Remaining tickets are available to purchase from the City Centre Box Office at The Carriageworks off Millennium Square on: (0113 224 3801), Leeds Visitor Centre at Leeds Rail Station (0113 242 5242). Subject to availability, a limited number of tickets will also be available from Abbey House Museum up to 8pm on the day at the venue.

Tickets are priced at £8 for LEEDSCard holders, £6.50 for LEEDSCard Extra holders and £5 for Breezecard holders. General admission is £10 or £7 per person for groups of family / friends between 5 – 10 persons.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for leisure & skills said:

“Classical Fantasia remains one of the highlights in the city’s calendar, and it is brilliant that the concert will once again be held in the atmospheric and historic surroundings of the iconic Kirkstall Abbey.

“A superb orchestra will once again be providing the entertainment, on what is always a great night out for all the family.”

Magic 828 Breakfast Show presenter Glenn Pinder said:

“Magic 828 are proud to support Classical Fantasia and I can’t wait to be there once again this year. The setting is beautiful, the music is fantastic and the illumination of the abbey and fireworks finale is simply stunning and something not to be missed.”

Notes to editors:

For all event information including travel details visit www.leeds.gov.uk/fantasia. Anyone requiring further information can also contact Leeds City Council’s events team on 0113 396 0891 or by email at events@leeds.gov.uk.

A booking/transaction fee will apply to bookings made online or by telephone.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 39 51578
Email: colin.dickinson@leeds.gov.uk