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Bald move: Lincoln Cathedral bell ringer shaving head for charity – The Lincolnite

His first big haircut in more than three years
A bell ringer at Lincoln Cathedral will have his first major haircut for three-and-a-half years as he braves the shave for two charities close to his heart.
Alexander Bell, who is in his final year of sixth form at Lincoln Christ’s Hospital School, has only had two small trims in more than three years and said it will be weird not having long hair, but he is determined to raise more money for good causes.
The 18-year-old, who has been a bellringer at Lincoln Cathedral since 2017, decided to have his hair cut by Burton Road barber Frank Connell on December 29, after reading the touching story of his fundraising efforts which have amassed more than £1 million over the years.
Alex’s original plan was to get his hair chopped off and send it to the Little Princess Trust, which is a charity that provides real hair wigs, free of charge, to children and young people who have lost their own hair through cancer.
The Lincoln-born teenager later decided he also wanted to turn the big haircut into a fundraising challenge to raise money for St Barnabas Hospice, as well as the charity HeadSmart which focuses on raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of brain cancer in babies, children and teens.
Alexander has already raised more than £600 ahead of braving the shave for charity.
Alex had set himself an initial goal of raising £150, but the total was already in excess of £680 at the time of publication, including donations from some bell ringers – make a donation here.
He told The Lincolnite he will split the money raised between the two charities because St Barnabas helped to look after someone close to his heart in September, while HeadSmart is also a charity with a personal meaning to him that he says does ‘amazing’ work.
Having his hair cut off is not going to be as easy as he originally thought as it has become part of who he is, but he is determined to help make a difference to other people.
Alex, who hopes become a vet in the future, said: “It will feel weird and I’m not sure how I’ll feel about it as I’ve had long hair for so long. So many people who have donated have only known me with long hair and I never excepted to get this much money.
“The main thing is the charities are getting money and the awareness and I have had an incredible response.”
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Championing local independents
A brand new foodhall and cafe has opened in central Lincoln, stocking local produce from some of Lincolnshire’s finest independent businesses and talent.
Fresh Local & Wild opened for a soft launch on Wednesday, December 15 to allow for customers to have a look around and see what can be expected of the store when it fully opens at some point in January 2022.
It is situated in the former Gap premises at St Marks Shopping Centre, after the global fashion brand closed its Lincoln store in July this year.
Local produce is sold throughout the store, demonstrating some of Lincolnshire’s finest food products. | Photo: The Lincolnite
The concept of the store is one based around local celebration, giving a range of Lincolnshire businesses and artists a platform to stock their items at a physical store in Lincoln.
There are eco-friendly goods from Forage & Fill, a variety of sauces from Little Flame, concession stands dedicated to local artists, and the coffee served at the cafe is supplied by Seven Districts, as well as sweet treats for vegans and non-vegans alike.
Forage & Fill, an eco-grocery business, have a dedicated section inside the store. | Photo: The Lincolnite
Store supervisor Lisa Murphy told The Lincolnite that the city’s famous connection to local produce, namely with the annual Lincoln Christmas Market, means that there are plenty of reasons to be excited about Fresh Local & Wild.
“We want to bring life back to the downhill area of Lincoln, and bring Lincolnshire back to the High Street, as well as offering a nice place for people to enjoy shopping in the city again.
“There’s so much talent in Lincoln, and we wanted to showcase that and give people a platform to display their brilliant work. We want it to be like Lincoln Christmas Market all year round.”
Artists can display their work at the store and promote their businesses. | Photo: The Lincolnite
Concession stands for the artists. | Photo: The Lincolnite
Each local artist was contacted personally by the store to offer them the chance to bring their work into the store, with Fresh Local & Wild taking a percentage of sales in exchange for free promotion of the artists’ designs.
They all have ‘About Me’ sections on their respective stands, offering a human element to their products, as well as links to social media platforms and websites.
Fantastic art with a personal touch. | Photo: The Lincolnite
Lisa continued: “We thought it was a nice touch to add the ‘About Me’ sections, as it gives customers the chance to get to know the person behind the product.
“Another great incentive that a lot of the artists have introduced is a range of prices, giving children the opportunity to buy gifts for their parents at pocket money prices. We strive to be as child friendly as possible and offer something a little bit different for all ages.”
The cafe serves tasty hot drinks and sweet treats. | Photo: The Lincolnite
Upon its full opening in January, Fresh Local & Wild will use Vines Bakery for daily fresh bread that can be bought in bulk or used in the cafe for light bites if you want somewhere to sit and enjoy some Lincolnshire-based food.
A look at one of the delicious ginger cakes. | Photo: The Lincolnite
The Fresh Local & Wild brand has recently opened another store in Yeovil, and plans to launch more sites across the country across 2022.
| Photo: The Lincolnite
There are also big plans in the works for the Lincoln branch, as a separate room at the back of the store could be used as a free of charge rentable space for events, meetings or an opportunity to just get some peace and quiet if you have some work/studying to do.
| Photo: The Lincolnite
The Lincoln store will be open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Saturday, and 10am to 4pm on Sundays. For more information on the company, visit the Fresh Local & Wild website.
| Photo: The Lincolnite
Northern region of Lincolnshire lagging in booster take-up
| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite
More than half of those aged 45 and above have had their COVID-19 booster jab in Lincolnshire, with just one full day to go before Christmas, the latest data shows.
Statistics released every Thursday by the government show that of those eligible, 50.5% of 45-49-year-olds have taken up the third dose of the coronavirus vaccine, with the number rising to 96.2% of 75-79-year-olds, but falling at the 80+ with 86.3%.
Around 45% of 40-44 year-olds have taken up the offer – not far off the half-way mark.
So far, 1,543,689 cumulative doses have been handed out in Lincolnshire, of which 378,871 are boosters and 561,733 are second doses.
The county performs greater than average across the majority of double dosed age ranges with at least three quarters of each age range having had their second vaccine.
The only age groups it falls below the national average are those aged 45-49, 65-69 and 70-74.
The data doesn’t yet record what percentage of under 18s have recieved their second dose, but does show 6,848 double doses have been given so far. It also shows that 77.1% of 16-17-year-olds and 57.5% of 12-15-year-olds have received their first dose.
In North East Lincolnshire a total of 294,488 doses have been handed out, including 68,698 boosters and 108,394 second doses.
Meanwhile, in North Lincolnshire a total of 330,485 doses have been administered, including 79,627 boosters and 120,371 second doses.
Both areas sit mostly below the national averages for vaccines given out in the majority of age groups.
Just 39.8% of 40-44-year-olds have received their boosters in North Lincolnshire and the figure only rises to 40.3% in North Lincolnshire.
There has been a big push for people to get their jabs prior to Christmas, with the expectation being that government could bring in new measures after the big day.
On Wednesday, hundreds queued at the Engine Shed as part of an initiative to get people who couldn’t reach the Lincolnshire Showground.
People can access their vaccine doses via booking through the National Booking System or on a walk-in basis at the county’s two Mass Vaccination Centres, the PRSA in Boston and the Lincolnshire Showground, though booking is still the preferred method.
Walk-in sessions will be available until 6pm Friday, December, along with from Monday, December 27 to Thursday, December 30 and from Sunday, January 2 after New Year.
For more, including any additional sites, visit this website.
Pre-Christmas cases soaring at 1,300 per day
| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite
There has been another record breaking day in Greater Lincolnshire on Thursday, with 1,321 new cases of coronavirus confirmed.
The latest government data has reported 1,008 cases in Lincolnshire itself, 165 in North East Lincolnshire and 28,054 in North Lincolnshire. There was one death of a Lincolnshire resident confirmed in the past 24 hours.
The last record day was 1,007 on Monday of this week. There were 119,789 cases nationally today and 147 deaths.
Nationally, government figures show the number of coronavirus cases in the UK has increased by 235,787 – or 53.3% – in the last seven days, compared to the previous week.
A total of 840,038 booster and third doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been reported in the UK today, according to new figures from the UK’s four health agencies.
More than half of those aged 45 and above have had their COVID-19 booster jab in Lincolnshire, with just one full day to go before Christmas, the latest data shows.
Statistics released every Thursday by the government show that of those eligible, 50.5% of 45-49-year-olds have taken up the third dose of the coronavirus vaccine, with the number rising to 96.2% of 75-79-year-olds, but falling at the 80+ with 86.3%.
Around 45% of 40-44 year-olds have taken up the offer – not far off the half-way mark.
Earlier today, health secretary Sajid Javid told news outlets that government would not announce any post-Christmas restrictions this week.
He said there was “still a lot of uncertainty” around Omicron variant, but said studies ” suggest that the risk of hospitalisation is lower than Delta, that of course is good, that’s encouraging news”.
However, he said it’s “not very clear yet though on how much that risk is reduced.”
Mr Javid continued to urge people to get their booster jabs adding: “The best Christmas present you could give anyone this Christmas is to get boosted now.”
177,711 (up 1,321)
2,553 deaths (up one)
of which 1,534 hospital deaths (no change)

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