Joseph Verney

Local News Reporter

Joseph joined the team as a news reporter in February 2018. He has a keen interest in sport and also likes to insert puns into stories where appropriate. If it isn't punny, it's not funny!


Hospitals in Lincoln, Grantham and Boston will be lit up with festive stars to raise money for the United Lincolnshire Hospitals Charity this month.

The charity is launching its first ever Christmas campaign – Upon a Star – and stars have already started appearing at Lincoln County Hospital and Grantham and District Hospital. More stars will appear at Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital next week.

The stars will be sponsored by businesses and individuals who want to support their local NHS, and reach 9,000 staff members who worked on United Lincolnshire Hospital NHS Trust sites.

There will be a total of 50 stars across the hospitals. Sponsor a star by contacting Charity Fundraiser Gary Burr via email at [email protected].

All sponsors will be featured on the ULHT website and promoted via social media. So far, Visual Systems Ltd, JMT Service and Intersystems have all sponsored a star.

People can also donate to the Upon a Star campaign online here.

All donations and money raised will allow the charity to continue to provide additional equipment, services and facilities for patients, visitors and staff across Lincolnshire.

Stars have already started appearing at hospitals in Lincoln and Grantham, and more will be added in Grantham next week.

The stars will be beacons of hope on the outside of the hospital buildings, shining bright for all to see and spreading joy to those working and visiting over the festive period.

Ben Petts, Charity Manager at the United Lincolnshire Hospitals Charity said: “It is great to have these additions to our hospital sites, as with COVID restrictions still in place Christmas cannot be celebrated the way our staff would like.

“It is our hope that these stars will give our workforce and visitors that added bit of Christmas cheer when they arrive or leave.”

The stars will be sponsored by businesses and individuals who want to support their local NHS.

The public can also get involved, get festive and raise funds for the United Lincolnshire Hospitals Charity through a variety of fundraising ideas.

This includes holding a Christmas jumper day, a wrapping party or donating unwanted gifts – find more ideas in the fundraising pack here.

The United Lincolnshire Hospitals Charity was established in 1996 and has been supporting ULHT’s staff to deliver care to patients, their families and carers at Lincolnshire hospitals.

This helps to fund the extras which can’t be provided by the NHS alone, including developing new treatments, building state-of-the-art facilities and enhancing the environment for patients and staff – read more about the charity here.

Pigs in blankets are a popular festive dish, but why not have them battered? Well, they do at Elite on the Bail, and The Lincolnite went to check it out.

The battered pigs in blankets were first launched by the restaurant and takeaway in the Bailgate area of Lincoln last year, and they proved such a hit they have made a comeback.

They are available for a portion of three priced at £2.75, with gravy available as an extra for £1.50.

Manager Russ Kelly said customers were asking as early as February when the battered pigs in blankets would be making a comeback, and they got their wish on December 2.

They will be available until January 1.

Russ Kelly, Manager at Elite on the Bail in Lincoln, with a plate of battered pigs in blankets. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Russ said: “They were very successful last year. We are excited about it again and we like to see what people think when they try them.

“We are feeling very festive as it is the first time we’ll have been open for Christmas.”

What a festive looking dish. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Elite on the Bail will also be launching battered sage and onion stuffing balls next week.

As well as the battered delights and traditional fish and chips, there is also a new evening menu which launched this week, with a wide variety of seafood including wild sea bass, roasted halibut, salmon wellington, baked cod loin, whole lobster, and mushroom and Swiss chard lasagna.

Elite on the Bail will be open during the Christmas period, except for between December 25 and 27. It is open 11.30am-9pm Tuesday to Saturday and 11.30am-6pm on Sundays.

See the rest of our gallery below:

Pigs in blankets before being battered. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

The firm voted as the ‘Best Dressed Stall’ at Lincoln Christmas Market has donated its £500 prize money to the family of a teenager who is battling cancer for the fourth time.

Riley Clifton, 14, is fighting his fourth cancer battle, which his mother Vicky says is now palliative. He was first diagnosed with a Wilms tumour in 2010, which is a type of childhood cancer that starts in the kidneys.

During his third battle with cancer, Riley underwent major surgery at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester in February last year. The Lincoln teenager had some of his membrane, very bottom of lung, two ribs and half his diaphragm removed as the tumour was so big and stuck.

Over £8,000 was raised via a GoFundMe page and, after further treatment, his end of treatments scans were all clear, but sadly he is now going through another cancer battle. A Facebook group with over 8,000 members set up by his mum is following Riley’s emotional journey with cancer.

Kay and Kev of Sun Cloud donated their £500 prize to the family of Lincoln teenager Riley Clifton, who is currently battling cancer for a fourth time.

Lincoln Christmas Market held a competition for the ‘Best Dressed Stall’ which was voted for on Facebook by visitors with prizes of £500, £300 and £200 for the top three.

Lincoln-based massage and reflexology business Sun Cloud said before being announced as the winner that they would donate any prize money to Riley and his family, saying: “Not once during his 12 years on and off battle has he ever complained and is always smiling. He has been through more than most adults will in their lifetime.”

Sun Cloud thanked everyone for voting them as the ‘Best Dressed Stall’.

Sun Cloud said winning the prize meant “the world” to them and they thanked everyone for voting.

House of Signs was awarded the £300 prize for second place, while Alpaca Select finished 3rd and won £200.

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