Three alpacas from the outskirts of Grantham have won rosettes at one of Europe’s biggest alpaca events.

Olympia, Neo, and Apollo, owned and cared for by JandJ Alpacas, walked away with rosettes after coming fifth, fifth, and sixth, respectively, in their classes.

Competition was fierce, with more than 650 alpacas being featured at the National Alpaca Show in Telford.

Speaking to The Lincolnite Podcast, Jess from JandJ explained the alpacas are judged by paddock condition, conformation (the shape of the animal), and quality of wool.

One of the cuties you can meet at JandJ Alpacas!

JandJ Alpacas started in 2005 with just four alpacas, but now has 99 on its 23 acre farm, with fifteen due to give birth before August.

Entry to the Alpaca Centre and Coffee Shop is free, with the option to buy feed, and meet-and-greet experiences.

For more information, visit the JandJ Alpacas website.

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When people think of Christianity, they may think of two questions – “Does God love chavs?” and “Can I pray for a car?”

As it happens, according to one Lincoln pastor, the answer to both of these questions is “yes.”

Darren Edwards, founder of the Ignite Elim Church, more affectionately known as Chav Church, gave an interview to The Lincolnite Podcast this week, talking about his upbringing, his own experiences with religion, and what to expect when you attend an Ignite service.

Ignite Church was started by Darren in 2010, after an “encounter with God” in his early 20s led him to leave his old life in the past, and instead turn to helping others from working-class estates find salvation.

In the interview, Darren recounts his own adolescence in Northampton, including joining gangs, breaking into cars, dealing drugs, and having his first child at just sixteen years old.

“I’m always one to be a leader, so before you know it, I’m leading this gang of thirty people, robbing cars and dealing drugs.”

This behaviour carried on until the age of 23, when Darren experienced some “weird coincidences.” He went on to pray three times for a sign that somebody was there, including asking the question “Show me what book to read.” which led to him being presented with a Bible.

“Out of the blue, my Mother-in-law brought me out this old Bible…so I just started reading it.

“I got to the fifth book in the Bible, and realised I was awful, and this fella, ‘God’ or whoever he is, seemed like an alright geezer.”

It was this moment in Darren’s life that eventually led him to start Ignite, which now has churches in Birchwood, Boultham, and Louth, with plans to open one in Barton-upon-Humber, and another on the same estate in Northampton where Darren grew up.

Photo: Ignite Elim Church

When asked what to expect from a Chav Church service, Darren explained that it’s primarily the language, dress sense, and attendees that are different from what people would traditionally expect, and while the music is similar to modern churches, Ignite often feature grime and rap artists.

“Christians should stay at the church they’re at. I’m out here trying to reach people that aren’t Christians, that don’t go to church.”

Later in the interview, Darren also tells the story of how he prayed for a BMW, and later got an offer to swap his white van for that exact brand of car.

“I felt like God asked me ‘What sort of car do you want?’ I wanted to feel like a pastor! I didn’t want a Vauxhall because they’re not really executive, and a Jag is a bit too much for someone off the estate, so I’d love a BMW.

“I put my van up for sale, and some geezer in Hull messaged asking to swap my van for his BMW. I told him I couldn’t give him any more cash on top and he said ‘I don’t want any cash, just take it!”

To find out more about Ignite Elim Church, visit their website.

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Star of cinema Warwick Davis spoke to The Lincolnite Podcast while visiting Lincoln Cathedral to see the ‘Forever in our Hearts’ appeal by St Barnabas Hospice.

The charity, of which Davis is a patron, has adorned Dean’s Green with more than 1,200 ironwork hearts, each paid for by members of the public and personalised with the name or initials of a loved one who has passed away.

When asked about why he decided to get involved with St Barnabas, Davis told The Lincolnite Podcast: “I went to the St Barnabas Hospice at Grantham Hospital and I was so impressed with what they were doing for people in their last days.

“It’s not like going to a hospital, it’s like going to a very nice accomodation.”

Davis went on to describe the display as “an amazing achievement” by the general public, and encouraged more people to buy a heart to raise further funds.

The Lincolnite Podcast also spoke to Emma Gowland, who was instrumental in the appeal, after St Barnabas cared for her father before he passed away.

Emma said: “St Barnabas have been such a support from the moment he walked in, to now.

“I think people think the care stops as soon as someone passes away, and it really doesn’t.”

The ironwork hearts can still be purchased for collection later in the year through the St Barnabas ‘Forever in our Hearts’ website, however they are no longer available for the display.

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