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Silver Arcade still 75 per cent empty a year after £3m revamp

Three quarters of units at a Leicester shopping centre are standing empty, a year since a £3 million refurbishment ended with promises of big names on the way.

The Silver Arcade completed a £3m revamp last year Credit: ITV News Central

The Victorian-era Silver Arcade reopened in October last year, promising to bring one of the city's best-known buildings back to life.

But now, just nine businesses have taken up leases - and low footfall means they are struggling to pay the rent.

Bosses had hoped to attract big name retailers - but only nine businesses have taken up leases Credit: ITV News Central

The four-storey, Grade II-listed building was closed down 11 years ago because it wasn't making enough money.

Businesses come together to celebrate Diwali

Diwali fireworks light up the sky Credit: ITV News Central

Businesses in one part of Birmingham are coming together to celebrate Diwali in a special community outdoor celebration.

Staff from 560 mainly independent businesses who are part of the Soho Road BID group, which stretches from Holyhead Road to Soho Hill, will join thousands from across nearby communities to help mark one of the biggest events in the Asian calendar. The Midlands is home to some of the most celebrated Diwali events outside India.

The Festival of Light celebration in Birmingham begins at 2pm today, with lights officially being switched on at 7pm. The event will feature well-known bhangra stars, many of whom are originally from nearby areas in the city.

“We are very excited about running our first community event. It’s been a lot of hard work and determination and you’ll get to see a great celebration that the community can be proud of.”

– BID manager Craig Bucky

“The long term strategy is to make Soho Road an exciting place to work and live which in turn will create more visitors to the area.”

– BID Chairman Dipak Patel

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Leicester-born film director given Fellowship Award

Stephen Frears arriving for the BFI London Film Festival Awards Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Leicester-born film director Stephen Frears has been honoured with a fellowship from the British Film Institute (BFI). He was given the award at tonight's London Film Festival Awards, and joked that it made him feel "geriatric".

The 73-year old has worked on a diverse range of material over the years, including last year's "Philomena" starring Dame Judi Dench, "The Queen", starring an Oscar-winning Dame Helen Mirren, "Tamara Drewe", "High Fidelity", "Dangerous Liaisons" and "My Beautiful Launderette", which was given critical acclaim for tackling issues of homosexuality and race.

"It feels very, very nice".

– Stephen Frears, film director on the Fellowship accolade

Fellow East Midlander John Hurt, who's from Shirebrook in Derbyshire and who starred in Frears' first big-screen film "The Hit" in 1984 paid tribute to the director's body of work.

"He's made some wonderful films, from the big commercial ones - and he's very funny about those and what happened after those and how he retreated back to things he could understand more. Which was things that actually just don't cost as much, and I think that's where his best work is".

– John Hurt, actor

Frears' next offering is a biopic about drug-shamed cyclist Lance Armstrong.

Leicester charity sending supplies to Sierra Leone to help tackle Ebola

Leicester charity Inter Care is sending emergency aid to help tackle the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone.

Inter Care sends emergency aid to Sierra Leone Credit: ITV News Central

The charity, which recycles and donates medicines from the UK to health units in sub-Saharan Africa, has teamed up with Pal International Ltd to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Lutterworth-based Pal International, a market leader in infection prevention, has donated High Level Disinfectant wipes, and disposable gloves and aprons to West Africa.

The emergency supplies were donated by Pal International to help prevent the spread of the virus Credit: ITV News Central

A shipment of 60 boxes of wipes, 600 boxes of gloves and 600 boxes of aprons was sent by Inter Care to two health units in Sierra Leone, one of the worst affected countries.

Around 4,500 people have died from Ebola - most of them in West Africa.

Leicester University professor to play key role in £500m Museum of the Bible

An academic from the University of Leicester will play a pivotal role in the creation of a £500million museum that will tell the story of the Bible.

Museum of the Bible in Washington DC Credit: Smith Group JJR

Gordon Campbell, a professor from the University's School of English, is a lead consultant in Museum of the Bible based in Washington DC, USA.

The 430,000sq-ft museum will be housed in a building that will have eight floors with three floors of primary exhibits dedicated to the Bible's history, its narrative and the impact it has had on the world by using various hi-tech and interactive experiences.

Interior of what the Museum of the Bible will look like was completed Credit: Smith Group JJR

The museum will also feature a small selection from more than 40,000 Biblical artifacts and manuscripts.

Professor Campbell is an expert on the King James Bible and a specialist in 17th century and Renaissance studies. He will oversee sections of the museum focused on Biblical archaeology and the book's history.

The project is being funded by American billionaire David Green, founder of a chain of arts and crafts stores in America.

Masked raiders threaten village pub landlord with gun

Masked raiders threatened a village pub landlord with a gun and forced him to hand over cash in a violent armed robbery in Leicestershire.

The two men stormed into The Three Horseshoes in Main Street, Whissendine, at around 9.30pm yesterday.

The raid took place yesterday at The Three Horseshoes pub in Whissendine Credit: Google Maps

There were no customers in the pub at the time and nobody was hurt.

The robbers were both wearing face coverings, and were around 5ft 10ins tall with distinctive bright blue eyes.

Det Cons Conroy Crowe said officers were carrying out visits to local residents as part of the investigation.

We would urge anyone who saw any suspicious activity in the area around 9.30pm yesterday to contact us.

Even if you didn’t see anything but were in the area at that time we would like to speak to you.

– DC Conroy Crowe, Leicestershire Police

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Director of cricket role axed at Leicestershire CCC

Leicestershire announce the role of director is to be scrapped but Phil Whitticase has not left the club.

Phil Whitticase Credit: Simon Cooper/PA Archive/Press Association Images

After failing to win a County Championship match for the second time in a row, The Foxes have reviewed their set-up and announced that the position of director of cricket is being 'out-structured'.

The former director of cricket Phil Whitticase's new role has not yet been confirmed.

Man dies after setting himself on fire in the street

A man who set himself alight in the middle of the street in Leicester has died in hospital.

A man who set himself alight in the middle of the street in Leicester has died in hospital. Credit: Ryan Phillips/EMPICS Entertainment

Police were called out to Knighton Drive in Stoneygate at around 1.45pm yesterday afternoon to reports that a man had suffered "significant burns".

The man, who has not yet been identified, was taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham but died later that evening.

His death is not being treated as suspicious.

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