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Summary

  1. Updates on Friday, 14 July 2017
  2. Easyjet readies post-Brexit EU-based airline
  3. Council opposes fire service to come under control of PCC
  4. Hemel Hempstead residents crowdfund for 74-year-old's garden
  5. MK Dons 'beat other clubs' to secure Landell on loan
  6. Valtteri Bottas fastest in first practice, Lewis Hamilton second

Live Reporting

By Alex Pope

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Goodbye

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

That's it for another week from all of us here on the Local Live team for Beds, Herts and Bucks.

We'll be back with more news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 on Monday.

If you've missed anything throughout the day, you can scroll through the page to read how Stevenage's Lewis Hamilton got on in practice at Silverstone, how neighbours are helping a keen gardener to buy more plants and how Easyjet is looking to open a new headquarters in Vienna.

So whatever you're doing this weekend, I hope it's a good one.

I know mine will involve a nice glass (or two). Cheers!

Glass of wine
Getty Images

Kevin Kelly death: Retrial to take place after jury fails to reach verdict

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

The jury in the case of man who denied killing a father in a street fight in Luton has failed to reach a verdict.

Richard Wood, 27, from Luton, who now lives in London Road, Bognor Regis, was on trial at Luton Crown Court charged with the manslaughter of Kevin Kelly, 27, who's also from the town.

The court had heard Mr Kelly (pictured) died as a result of a bleed on the brain.

The retrial of Mr Wood has been set for January next year.

Kevin Kelly
Bedfordshire Police

Festival to celebrate 'living legend' Dame Cleo Laine

Roberto Perrone

BBC Three Counties Radio

To help celebrate her 90th year, Dame Cleo Laine and her family are hosting The Dankworth Family Festival in the grounds of her home in Wavendon, Milton Keynes, this weekend.

The event that runs until Sunday is described as a "boutique festival celebrating all things jazz, blues, classical, poetry and art". All profits will go to the Beds and Northants MS Therapy Centre.

I'm live at the festival, on BBC Three Counties Radio this afternoon, where I interviewed the musical legend.

Dame Cleo Laine and Roberto Perrone
BBC

She's full of wit and sparkle and told me she always does as she's told with events like this.

"I just go to where I am pointed, I'll put my face on and I will be there," she said.

Talking about the event itself, she said: "We gather it all together and plonk it down in the garden and away they go."

The soprano Lesley Garret is set to perform and described the Dame as a "living legend" and "beyond national treasure status".

Family to raise awareness about water safety after son drowned

This Sunday the family of a Cheshunt teenager who drowned while swimming in the Lee Valley country park is holding an "It's a Knockout-style event" to raise awareness towards water safety.

On 25 May, Robbie Lea, 16, was swimming with friends in a former quarry at Cheshunt when he got into trouble. After being pulled from the water, paramedics were unable to save him.

The event at Cheshunt Country Club is being held just three days before what would have been his 17th birthday.

Robbie Lea
Sarah Lea

His mother, Sarah, said: "I want the day to be a massive success to be able to make a difference.

"It's going to be a mix of emotions on the day as it would be the weekend we would have been celebrating Robbie's 17th birthday.

"It will be a great day for his friends, people that knew him and people that want to support the cause to come together and have some fun."

The family is also fundraising for the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance.

Ryan Johnson

National League side Boreham Wood sign Stevenage defender Ryan Johnson on a season-long loan deal.

Read more

Lewis Hamilton second in British GP practice behind Valtteri Bottas

Andrew Benson

Chief F1 writer at Silverstone

Valtteri Bottas led Stevenage's Lewis Hamilton to a Mercedes one-two in second practice at the British Grand Prix.

Bottas headed Hamilton by just 0.047 seconds despite the Briton setting his best time on the slower soft tyre.

Hamilton went off track through the fast Becketts section on his qualifying simulation run on the super-soft tyres and then pitted to check for damage.

Lewis Hamilton
Getty Images

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen was third, 0.332secs behind Bottas, 0.128secs ahead of team-mate Sebastian Vettel.

Milton Keynes-based Red Bull had looked quick in the first session - splitting the Mercedes and Ferraris - but fell back slightly in the second session to be fifth and sixth, Max Verstappen ahead of Daniel Ricciardo.

Level crossings highlighted in new safety campaign

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

Network Rail has identified nine level crossings in Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire that are potentially dangerous.

They fear children distracted by wearing headphones and looking at their phones could be seriously injured and killed.

So as part of a new safety campaign launched today, it is using new "geo-fencing technology" to highlight which crossings could be unsafe. It works by an "ad" appearing if they are on a mobile device by one of the crossings.

Level crossing light
BBC

"Many people are aware of the issue of distraction for drivers, but it is very worrying that so many young adults admit to putting themselves at unnecessary risk by getting distracted when crossing the railway," Allan Spence, from Network Rail, said.

"By paying attention to the warnings at level crossings and avoiding distractions, we can all keep ourselves out of harm’s way," he added.

The crossings that are causing concern are in places including Bledlow Cum Saunderton, Chearsley, Stoke Mandeville and Cotton Mill Lane.

Council opposes fire service to come under control of PCC

Andy Holmes

BBC Three Counties Radio political reporter

Plans to bring the fire service in Hertfordshire under the control of the police and crime commissioner (PCC) look set to be rejected by Hertfordshire County Council.

The council currently runs the service, but a consultation has been launched by the PCC for Hertfordshire, David Lloyd, as he wants to hold both services to account, with a chief constable and chief fire officer still in charge.

A meeting of the Community Safety and Waste Management Cabinet Panel voted to oppose the plans.

Fire engine
Herts Fire Contol

Councillor Terry Hone, who represents Letchworth South, said: "We do recognise that it's important for emergency services to work together, so the recommendation the panel is making to Cabinet is that the best option for the fire service would be for it to remain part of the county council, but with the PCC given a strong formal role in how it's run."

The panel's recommendations will go to a full council meeting on 18 July.

The consultation runs until 14 August.

Chalobah returns to Watford

Geoff Doyle

BBC Three Counties Radio sport

Nathaniel Chalobah's return to Watford from Chelsea for an undisclosed fee will no doubt be popular with the vast majority of Hornets fans.

He's coming back to Watford five years after he left.

He made a huge impact as a teenager in the Championship, had successful loan spells at various clubs including Napoli, Nottingham Forest and Middlesborough, before returning to the Chelsea first team last season, featuring 15 times.

Nathaniel Chalobah'
Watford FC

He's impressed at England under-21 level alongside another summer new recruit, Will Hughes.

Along with Roberto Pereyra, Tom Cleverley and Abdoulaye Doucouré, the Watford midfield now has a very impressive look to it.

Severe disruption: M1 Bedfordshire northbound

BBC News Travel

M1 Bedfordshire northbound severe disruption, between J11 for A505 Dunstable Road and J12 for A5120.

M1 Bedfordshire - One lane closed and slow traffic on M1 northbound between J11 A505 Dunstable Road and J12, A5120 (Flitwick), because of a broken down vehicle.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe congestion: M25 Greater London anti-clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Greater London anti-clockwise severe congestion, between J25 for A10 and J24 for A111 affecting J26 for A121.

M25 Greater London - Queuing traffic on M25 anticlockwise between J25, A10 (Enfield) and J24, A111 (Potters Bar). All lanes have been re-opened. Congestion to J26, A121 (Waltham Abbey).

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Valtteri Bottas fastest in first practice, Lewis Hamilton second

Andrew Benson

Chief F1 writer

Valtteri Bottas set the pace as Mercedes dominated first practice at the British Grand Prix.

The Finn, who won in Austria last Sunday, was 0.078 seconds quicker than Stevenage team-mate Lewis Hamilton, as the two swapped fastest times through the session.

Hamilton's main title rival Sebastian Vettel was only sixth quickest, 1.411secs off the pace after a big spin at the fast Becketts curves and a trip over the kerbs at Village.

Lewis Hamilton
Getty Images

Hamilton is 20 points behind Vettel in the championship, with Bottas a further 15 points behind.

Milton Keynes-based Red Bull were Mercedes' closest rivals out on the track on Friday morning as the weekend started under grey skies and with a chill wind and temperatures at only 15-16C.

Hemel Hempstead residents crowdfund for 74-year-old's garden

Residents have raised money for a man's garden, described by passers-by as "joyous".

Winston Abela, 74, has lived in Hemel Hempstead for four years and tends to his garden for four hours each day.

So far more than £200 has been raised for him, as well of donations of flowers, tools and even a fish and chip supper every Friday.

Hemel Hempstead residents crowdfund for pensioner's garden

MK Dons 'beat other clubs' to secure Landell on loan

Luke Ashmead

BBC Three Counties Radio sport

Robbie Neilson says he had to "beat off a number of clubs, including Championship sides, to bring him here".

The man the MK Dons manager is on about is Wolverhampton Wanderers' defender Ethan Ebanks-Landell, who's heading to Buckinghamshire on a season-long loan deal.

The 24-year-old centre-back, who has 111 career appearances to his name, spent the 2016-17 season on loan with Sheffield United and helped them to the Sky Bet League One title, featuring 34 times and scoring five goals.

Ethan Ebanks-Landell and Robbie Neilson
MK Dons

"His record speaks for itself having won the League One title twice in the past four years. I'm very excited about having him as part of the squad this season," the manager added.

Severe disruption: M25 Buckinghamshire anti-clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Buckinghamshire anti-clockwise severe disruption, at J16 for M40.

M25 Buckinghamshire - One lane closed and heavy traffic on M25 anticlockwise at J16 M40, because of a broken down vehicle.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe disruption: M25 Greater London anti-clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Greater London anti-clockwise severe disruption, between J25 for A10 and J24 for A111 affecting J26 for A121.

M25 Greater London - One lane closed and slow traffic on M25 anticlockwise between J25, A10 (Enfield) and J24, A111 (Potters Bar), because of a broken down lorry. Congestion to J26, A121 (Waltham Abbey).

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Easyjet readies post-Brexit EU-based airline

BBC Business News

Luton-based airline Easyjet says Austrian authorities are poised to clear its new post-Brexit venture for take-off.

The company is planning to establish a new airline, Easyjet Europe, which will have its headquarters in Vienna.

This will "enable Easyjet to continue to operate flights both across Europe and domestically within European countries after the UK has left the EU (regardless of the outcome of talks on a future UK-EU aviation agreement)", said the airline in a statement.

Easyjet lane
Getty Images

It said the accreditation process was "now well advanced" and added that it hoped to receive an Air Operator Certificate and operating licence "in the near future".

"The people and planes that will fly for Easyjet Europe are already employed and based in EU27 countries," it said.

Video: Weather forecast

Lucy Martin

BBC Weather

Early showers will give way to a dry day with temperatures peaking at 20C (68F) across the BBC East region.

The weekend will also be mostly dry, but cloudy.

Here's my full forecast:

For a more detailed forecast where you are, visit BBC Weather.

Welcome back

Adam Jinkerson

BBC Local Live

Good morning and welcome to another day of live updates for Beds, Herts and Bucks on Friday, 14 July.

We'll be here until 18:00 with the latest news, sport, weather and travel as it happens.

A full forecast for the day is on the way and as it's Friday, we'll try our best to make it a good one.

Already looking OK in Elstree...

Elstree
BBC

You can get in touch with us on Twitter and Facebook.

Chalobah

Watford sign midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah from Chelsea on a five-year deal for an undisclosed fee.

Read more

Goodbye

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

That's it from all of us here at Local Live for Beds, Herts and Bucks.

We'll be back with more news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 on Friday.

If you missed any of the stories, you can scroll through the page and read all the days updates.

But I'll leave you with some blooming lovely photos of the newly restored Water Gardens in Hemel Hempstead.

Water Gardens
South Beds News Agency

They were created by renowned landscape designer Geoffrey Jellicoe in 1962 and since 2015 they have been transformed.

Water Gardens
South Beds News Agency

After more than £3m of investment, the gardens will be formally opened on 22 July.

Overnight weather: Milder with some showers later

Alex Dolan

BBC Look East weather

This evening cloud will continue to develop from the north bringing the small chance of an isolated shower.

Overnight another band of showers will cross the BBC East region during the early hours.

It'll be milder than last night, with lows of 12C (54F).

Friday's weather map
BBC

Friday will be mainly dry but rather cloudy, with the chance of a further isolated shower.

Feeling cooler with highs of 19C (66F).

Get a full forecast where you live from BBC Weather.

Severe disruption: M25 Hertfordshire clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Hertfordshire clockwise severe disruption, between J24 for A111 and J25 for A10.

M25 Hertfordshire - Very slow traffic and one lane closed on M25 clockwise between J24, A111 (Potters Bar) and J25, A10 (Enfield), because of a broken down car.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Investigations continue into man's death in Clifton

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

Police have named a man who was killed in a collision on Stanford Lane in Clifton on Sunday.

They say Paul Mills, 52, from the village near Biggleswade, died when the red Vauxhall Corsa he was travelling in left the road.

Officers are continuing to investigate and are appealing for anyone with information to come forward.

Paul Mills
Family photo

I will 'fight for Bedford hospital' says town's new MP in first speech

Andy Holmes

BBC Three Counties Radio political reporter

The new Labour MP for Bedford and Kempston has made his maiden speech in Parliament today, promising to save Bedford Hospital.

Mohammad Yasin, who beat the sitting Conservative MP Richard Fuller to the seat in June, said: "Two years ago Bedford Hospital saved my wife's life when she suffered a heart attack.

Bedford Hospital
BBC

"The future of our hospital and its services have been in doubt for far too long.

"Since 2011, under this government and the last, a string of expensive and inconclusive reviews have cast a shadow over the hospital, lining the pockets of many consultants while hardworking frontline staff go without pay rises.

"As MP for Bedford and Kempston, I will fight every day to keep the services we need."

The race is on to get more women into motorsports

Louise Hubball

BBC Look East

Today I have "Dared To Be Different".

A special day to inspire women to get into the motosport industry has taken place at Daytona karting track in Milton Keynes.

Go-karting
BBC

It's to show that women are welcome in the male-dominated sport and industry and can become drivers and engineers.

Go-karting
BBC

On offer today has been go-karting, a change to learn how to change a wheel on a race car and make a hoverboard.

Severe disruption: A1(M) Hertfordshire northbound

BBC News Travel

A1(M) Hertfordshire northbound severe disruption, at J7 for A602.

A1(M) Hertfordshire - Queuing traffic on A1(M) northbound at J7, A602 (Stevenage), because of a vehicle fire.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Legal challenge try and stop disabled children's centre from closing

Matt Lockwood

BBC Three Counties Radio

An attempt to stop a centre for severely disabled children in Watford closing could go to court.

Laywers acting for the families who use Nascot Lawn Respite Centre say there was an unlawful failure to consult with the families affected.

They believe the decision to save £650,000 by closing the centre was made long before families were told last month and they argue it's a breach of the children's human rights.

It's due to close in October and currently provides support for families with children with very complex needs.

Nascot Lawn Respite Centre
NHS

Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group said: "We can confirm that Irwin Mitchell [solicitors] have written to Herts Valleys CCG and their letter is now with our lawyers for consideration and a response. Given that, it wouldn’t be appropriate for us to comment further at this time."

They said at the time the closure was announced that it was necessary because of its "serious financial situation", and that the focus must be on spending on services it has a legal duty to provide.

'One in a million' father dies on construction site

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

Tributes have been paid to a father from Hemel Hempstead, who died on Monday, after falling from scaffolding at a London construction site.

Jason Carter, the brother of his partner, said, Jon Currie, a scaffolder, was "one in a million" and left behind "a loving family including five children and a loving fiancée".

He added: "Jon was a one-off. When they made him they broke the mould.

"He was loved by everyone including myself and he will be deeply missed. He wasn't just my sister's fiancé to me - he is my brother."

Jon Currie
Family photo

The Met Police has confirmed a man died after falling from "a height" on Monday at about 10:45 whilst working in Bedford Gardens in Kensington.

They say the Health and Safety Executive is investigating.

Severe disruption: M25 Hertfordshire anti-clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Hertfordshire anti-clockwise severe disruption, at J23 for A1.

M25 Hertfordshire - M25 lane closed on exit slip road and heavy traffic anticlockwise at J23 A1(M), because of a broken down car transporter.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

From Port Elizabeth to Marlow...

Meet the Pastor who swapped the South African coast for the Thames Valley.
BBC Radio Berkshire's Sue Kinnear met Reverend Kenneth Claassen, who moved to Marlow from Port Elizabeth just six weeks ago to take up a new role at Newfield Community Church. 



He told her what life was like back in South Africa before making the move to the UK.





"There are certain places in South Africa that are more dangerous than others. Port Elizabeth is a coastal city... it's a very relaxed place. But there are places that you don't want to be at certain times of the day.



"The basic services are struggling, the police and the basic things we have in the UK, South Africa doesn't have as much visual policing.



"You have to pretty much look after yourself.



"The most difficult thing is at home. At home you feel less safe than just being out, because home invasions are a big part of the problem in South Africa."

'Shocking' armed robbery in Bedfordshire

Jane Killick

BBC Three Counties Radio

Hundreds of pounds has been stolen from a Bedfordshire shop after two masked men threatened staff with a handgun on 6 July.

Bedfordshire police have only just released information about the attack which happened at Charlie's convenience store on High Street, Clapham at about 22:10.

They say the two men, who were English-speaking, were armed with the gun and the "shocking incident" left the shopkeeper "shaken".

Charlies Supermarket
Google

Severe accident: M1 Bedfordshire southbound

BBC News Travel

M1 Bedfordshire southbound severe accident, between J12 for A5120 and J11 for A505 Dunstable Road.

M1 Bedfordshire - One lane closed and slow traffic on M1 southbound between J12, A5120 (Flitwick) and J11 A505 Dunstable Road, because of an accident.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Graves 'desecrated' after numerous items stolen

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

A number of "precious and distinctive" items have been stolen from two graveyards in Hertfordshire.

Police say several brass and bronze statues were taken from the cemeteries in Cheshunt and Hoddesdon between 6 and 8 July.

Local victim Nick Vaccaro said: "This has been a heart-breaking event for myself and the other families who have suffered from these crimes.

"As you can imagine all of us who have had our loved ones’ graves desecrated are very upset and we would urge anyone who has any information about these thefts to contact the police.”

Stolen items from graves
Hertfordshire Police

Det Con Holly Dawson said: "These thefts have caused a great deal of upset to the victims. These are terrible crimes and have deeply affected the families, who would dearly love to recover these stolen items.

“The statues and other items are precious to the families and are very distinctive. If you see similar items being offered for sale please report it to the police immediately.”

People trapped in over-turned car by M1

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

All lanes are now open, after emergency services dealt with an over-turned car by the M1 southbound link road on the A1414 eastbound by St Albans, this morning.

Herts Fire Control say there were people trapped, and specialist equipment had to be used to rescue one person.

Two lanes were closed at the time, causing some delays.

Emergency services helping after car overturned
Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service

The East of England Ambulance Service has confirmed paramedics were called at 08:36, and they then treated a woman, believed to be in her 30s, but luckily she wasn't hurt.

She was taken to Watford General Hospital as a precautionary measure.

The Gambia's Sulayman Marreh

Momodou Bah

BBC Sport, The Gambia

The Gambia's Sulayman Marreh says he is not disappointed to be loaned out by English club Watford before playing a match.

Read more

Schools need extra BME teachers to reflect population

David Rhodes

BBC News

A BBC investigation has found the number of Luton teachers from ethnic minorities doesn't reflect the diversity of students.

The figures show 30% of teachers in the town are from ethnic minorities, compared with almost 75% of pupils - although nationally the teacher figure is around 13%.

Teaching union, the NASUWT says ethnic minority teachers "face discrimination and prejudice when applying for jobs".

The government says there has been an increasing number of BME teachers joining the profession in recent years.

Teacher and class
Getty Images

A Luton Borough Council spokesperson said: "Many teachers in Luton have been in post for many years and were recruited when the proportion of BME children in the borough was much lower.

"We are committed to increasing the number of BME teachers and are working with schools on an individual basis to increase the number.

"In addition, our education and skills agenda, which forms part of the Investment Framework, will enable those from all backgrounds who wish to enter education every opportunity to do so."