Leeds today: Ilkley Lit, walking to Plymouth, bomb maps, pipework and Carnival.

Hugh Muir in the Guardian talks to Arthur France, who began the Chapeltown Carnival 43 years ago after arriving from St Kitts. The disturbances in Chapeltown last week spread to the Festival HQ where preparation for the event was well underway and a fire could have destroyed all that had been done, if it weren’t for keen-eyed locals who were able to put the fire out. But Mr France would have held the carnival anyway;

“We would have done something. People forget what carnival is about. It isn’t just dancing and soca music. Carnival is about our forefathers and their survival through slavery. They struggled. We struggle. Whatever happens, carnival goes on.”

Good man.

The annual rush by A-level students trying to find a university place when their results weren’t quite what they expected is going to begin very soon and may be more stressful than usual reports the YEP. Many universities around the country won’t be entering the clearing process – where students can take a place on unfilled courses as opposed to the courses they wanted to do – because they have no unfilled courses. Leeds has apparently said it will not enter clearing and LMU has said it is “unlikely”. As Leeds is a top ten student destination then that is hardly surprising but it is odd to think of so many students wanting to go to university these days. Oh, and now I’m sounding old. Sorry.

In the Yorkshire Post, Yorkshire Water are spending £3.5m on upgrading old water pipes around the Harrogate, Knaresborough and Ripon region. The programme of works – due to be completed by March – will cause traffic disruption but is essential to prevent leaks and improve water quality and the infrastructure as a whole. This is part of a massive £39m project to overhaul Yorkshire Water’s 20,000 miles of pipes, which also includes a £13.5m replacement project in Leeds of old cast-iron water pipes in residential areas that is still underway.

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan is happening now; during this month (which roughly coincides with August on the Gregorian calendar) Muslims fast daily between sunrise and sunset, and break their fast with family & friends, a meal known as iftar. Next Tuesday, the 23rd of August Leeds University Islamic Society are planning to hold a flashmob iftar in Millennium Square where they will share their iftar with the homeless. Everyone is welcome to join in and further details can be found on the Islamic Society Website. People who wish to attend can register their interest on facebook.

The Leeds photographic group Exposure Leeds is fast approaching the annual weekend of photography discussion and practice, Photocamp. Organiser Jon Eland is hosting the event in Old Broadcasting House and Armley Mill on the weekend of 3/4 September. Photocamp takes the “barcamp” model – an “unconference” where delegates decide the programme and run the sessions, the agenda is set on the day and is very fluid, and the important thing is that you are enthusiastic about what you talk about. It’s a great weekend – BGL has attended every Photocamp in Leeds or Bradford so far – and a very interesting and fun way of improving skills and talking to fellow togs of any ability. It’s not all about F-stops and how expensive your kit is, it’s about how much you enjoy photography and meeting similar-minded, enthusiastic people.

A trio of stories from the YEP now. On Sunday Headingley Carnegie rugby ground played host to the 4th Leeds Children’s Day Carnival, which is held in the same spirit as the Leeds Schools Sports Association Childrens’ Day that ran for 40 years until 1963. The (contemporary) day saw a juniors rugby and soccer tournament, a climbing wall, and displays by local majorette groups and the police and fire brigade, amongst many other things. Gary Hetherington, Chief Executive of Leeds Carnegie RUFC and Leeds Rugby Ltd, said:

“Today is very much about young people and keeping them engaged. Headingley is an icon and a jewel in the city’s crown. This gives youngster a chance to play football or rugby on a pitch they may otherwise only ever watch others play.”

A map used by the Nazis to determine targets in Leeds has gone up for sale at an auction in Ludlow. The map, which highlights many prominent landmarks in Leeds including the LGI, the railway station and parts of Holbeck’s industrial plant, is a chilling reminder of that dark time. Leeds was bombed several times during the War, the worst night being that of March 14th 1941. Shrapnel marks from the bombing can still be seen on the wall of Victoria Gardens outside the Library. The maps are part of a single lot that also covers Dewsbury, Wakefield and Batley and is expected to reach £200.

A man who was told he’d never walk again has just set off to walk a round trip between Leeds & Plymouth to raise money for charity. Derek Brown from Rothwell will be raising funds for Get Kids Going, Help For Heroes, Variety Club Children’s Charity and Children with Leukaemia, has several medical problems himself and this will probably be his last walk. He has already raised £57,000 for charities and on this walk will celebrate his 50th birthday. You can follow his progress on his website, as well as make donations.

Exploring Leeds has received a copy of the Ilkley Literature Festival Programme and previewed it. Ilkley is not your normal literature festival and the range of events shows just how varied the authors involved are. This year sees Mark Thomas talking about walking the border between Palestine and Israel, Jeremy Paxman (as per usual), talks on suffragettes and Elizabethan food alongside more traditional literature events and speakers. Worth looking at.

Finally, Phil Kirby wanders on down to the Leeds Music History exhibition in the Town Hall, and comes over all nostalgic.

That’s it for today! Please note that from next week BGL will be operating a reduced service as Mike is on holiday for two weeks. Do carry on reading, though – we’ll have updates from other local bloggers and Elly will also be writing some daily news posts.

Thanks for reading – see you tomorrow.

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