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Summary

  1. Updates on Friday 22 April 2016
  2. More news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 Monday

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Our coverage across the day

That's all for now. We'll have more news, sport, weather and travel updates for Birmingham and the Black Country from 08:00 on Monday.

Have a great weekend.

Wolves chief executive writes to council over sponsors

Corinne Wheatley

BBC WM, Journalist

The chief executive of Wolves has written to the leader of the city council who has questioned the club's decision to have its shirts sponsored by a payday loan company. 

Jez Moxey
Empics

Jez Moxey (pictured above) has told Councillor Roger Lawrence that Wolves and The Money Shop will be delivering a financial education programme to young people in Wolverhampton. 

He also says the time to judge the agreement with The Money shop will be over the course of the three-year sponsorship deal. 

The letter is also addressed to a number of other local politicians.    

Falcon Medical Centre placed into Special Measures

Sutton Coldfield Local

England’s Chief Inspector of General Practice has placed Falcon Medical Centre in Sutton Coldfield into special measures following a Care Quality Commission inspection which found the quality of care to be inadequate overall.  

Villa 'won't come back up with current crop'

Former Aston Villa boss Ron Atkinson says the club will not bounce back until they get rid of the current crop of players. 

Ron Atkinson - archive image
Reuters

He told BBC WM's Aston Villa Football Phone In Special last night: "You've only got to look at other major clubs. You look at Leeds. You look at Sheffield Wednesday... I mean Portsmouth have gone right through haven't they?

"So unless they get their act together and do it properly, they've got no divine right to say they're gonna come back up. I mean with the current crop they've got they won't." 

Woman who died in crash named

A woman who died following a serious collision in Stourbridge on Saturday has been named by police.   

Nadine Foster
West Midlands Police

Nadine Foster, 18, was believed to have been a passenger in a Ford Focus which hit a wall at about 00:20 on Hagley Road, Oldswinford.  

Her family said: “We are devastated to have lost our beautiful Nadine. She was a loving mother, daughter and grand-daughter.“She was a happy, smiley girl and the light of our lives."  

BBC Midlands Today

Mary Rhodes

Presenter, BBC Midlands Today

We celebrate 400 years of William Shakespeare this evening.

Also on the programme:

- A victim of the Alton Towers Smiler crash, Chanda Chauhan, describes the aftermath as being like a "horror movie" as the theme park admits health and safety breaches 

- Hundreds of people have attended a memorial service for Darren Cooper, the leader of Sandwell Council, who died last month

Join me for BBC Midlands Today at 18:30 on BBC One.

Petrol station attack: New CCTV released

Detectives investigating a "vicious attack" at a Birmingham petrol station have released new CCTV footage of men they want to identify.

During the assault at the Gulf Service station, Bristol Street, on 9 April, a group chased a 25-year-old man across the forecourt and repeatedly punched and kicked him while he was unconscious on the floor.

Three men have been arrested and bailed pending further enquiries and police are now seeking a further four in connection with the attack.  

View more on youtube

West Midlands weather

Rather cloudy this evening, with any remaining patchy rain soon clearing south. A cold night to come, with clear spells allowing temperatures to quickly drop with a frost in places. Lows of 2C (36F) 

Rebecca Wood with the afternoon weather forecast for the West Midlands

Missing Kings Heath cat turns up after four years

A cat that went missing four years ago has turned up 13 miles away from his owner's home.  

The tabby, named Roman, disappeared in April 2012 and despite appeals in newspapers and on social media, was never found.

His owners, the Thompson family, gave up hope of ever seeing him again and went on to move house.

They were surprised to get a call from Birmingham's PDSA Hospital saying they had him in their care, four years on.

Rugeley mum becomes star of the show as waters break during performance of Mary Poppins

Cannock Mercury

A Rugeley mum became an unexpected star of a Birmingham Hippodrome show after going into labour during a performance of Mary Poppins. 

Shona Jorkowski, from Rugeley, visits the cast of the show with the new arrival
Cannock Mercury

Walsall boss wants players to feed off nerves like 'fuel'

Walsall's interim head coach, Jon Whitney, says his players must use any nerves as "fuel" to propel them towards automatic promotion from League One.

Jon Whitney
Rex Features

The Saddlers are third in the table, three points behind Burton Albion, with a game in hand, as they prepare to visit fifth-placed Bradford City, which is the live commentary game on BBC WM on 95.6FM tomorrow.

Whitney said: "The players have put themselves on a pedestal... They have to live up to that expectation and our players are good enough to cope with the demands."

Latest headlines: Alton Towers crash victim speaks; hundreds at memorial event; Okore 'not wanting Villa action'

Corinne Wheatley

BBC WM, Journalist

Here are some of the main stories from BBC WM in the newsroom today:

- A Wednesbury woman who was involved in the crash on Alton Towers' Smiler rollercoaster has been speaking about her ordeal

- Hundreds of people have attended a civic memorial event celebrating the life of Sandwell Council leader Darren Cooper at West Bromwich Town Hall 

- Aston Villa defender Jores Okore says he does not want to play for the club again this season

Birmingham Women's Hospital Chairman resigns after £3.4m deficit revealed

Birmingham Mail

The chairman of crisis-hit Birmingham Women's Hospital is to resign following an investigation into its “deteriorating finances”

Elisabeth Buggins, who joined the Trust in 2011, has decided to pursue “other professional and personal interests”. 

Jores Okore 'doesn't want to play for Villa again this season'

Chris Blakemore

BBC WM

Jores Okore is training with the under 21s after saying he does not want to play for Aston Villa again this season.   

Aston Villa's Jores Okore and Norwich's Dieumerci Mbokani
Reuters

It is after he refused to be a substitute against Bournemouth earlier this month. 

Villa caretaker manager Eric Black said: "I'm not having that attitude in the group. I'm just not doing it and I'm not prepared to work with that attitude in the group.

"It's difficult times for everybody. I can understand that but I just found it slightly bewildering that he would decide at that point, the night and the eve of the game against Bournemouth, which was a massive game for us, that he didn't want to contribute."

Hundreds attend council leader memorial event

Hundreds of people have attended a memorial event for Darren Cooper, the leader of Sandwell Council, who died last month.

Memorial event
BBC

He first became a councillor in 1991 and had been leader since 2009.

Acting council leader Steve Eling said: "We were very keen to ensure that we could bring in as many members of the community, particularly people from community organisations and residents in his own ward, and there's been a fantastic response to that."

Fraud couple jailed after stealing more than £400,000 from Sutton Coldfield lettings agency

Royal Sutton Coldfield Observer

A letting agent and her former boyfriend have been jailed for a total of seven years after stealing more than £400,000 from a Sutton Coldfield lettings agency and its clients over two years.

Birmingham Crown Court
Royal Sutton Coldfield Observer

Lichfield citizens gather to celebrate HM The Queen's 90th birthday

Lichfield Mercury

Lichfield celebrated the 90th birthday of Her Majesty The Queen at a special event in the city centre on Thursday. 

People in Lichfield
Lichfield Mercury

Latest headlines: Alton Towers crash victim speaks; hundreds at memorial event; Okore 'not wanting Villa action'

Chris Blakemore

BBC WM

Here are some of the main stories from BBC WM in the newsroom today:

- A Wednesbury woman who was involved in the crash on Alton Towers' Smiler rollercoaster has been speaking about her ordeal

- Hundreds of people have attended a civic memorial event celebrating the life of Sandwell Council leader Darren Cooper at West Bromwich Town Hall 

- Aston Villa defender Jores Okore says he does not want to play for the club again this season

Damning report for Sutton Coldfield's Trinity Specialist College deemed 'inadequate' in all categories

Royal Sutton Coldfield Observer

A college in Sutton Coldfield has been slammed for 'ineffective safeguarding', poor progress of its students and for having staff who are 'insufficiently qualified'. 

Trinity Specialist College
Royal Sutton Coldfield Observer

Region's devolution plan 'untested'

Andrew Dawkins

BBC News Online

Plans for a devolved West Midlands "super authority" are untested, a watchdog has said.  

Birmingham skyline
PA/David Jones

The region is set to elect a mayor next year as part of plans to decentralise government functions.

But arrangements for the West Midlands Combined Authority are "more complex" than similar deals in Greater Manchester, The National Audit Office (NAO) said.

The government said there was much to do but "huge progress" had been made.

'Attitude must change for Villa promotion'

Former Aston Villa boss Ron Atkinson has told BBC WM the club will not secure an immediate return to the Premier League if the attitude of the players does not change. 

Ron Atkinson - archive image
PA

He was speaking on an Aston Villa Football Phone In Special last night and said they cannot get away with not putting in the effort in the Championship.  

"Unless the attitude changes they won't come back up next year, unless there is a certain change in philosophy, change in attitude and whoever comes in gets them right into the frame of mind where at least they're getting.... 110% out of everybody."

Tamworth to become no-go zone for boy racers

Tamworth Herald

Tamworth will become a no-go zone for boy racers - despite more than half of those who responded to the consultation disagreeing with some of the proposals.

Firefighters battle blaze at Walsall tyre centre

Walsall Advertiser

Firefighters from both West Midlands Fire Service and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service were called to help tackle a blaze at a tyre centre in Brownhills.

Scene
Aldridge Fire

Shakespeare inspiration for Doctors

Birmingham-made BBC programme Doctors used five Shakespearean sonnets as inspiration for episodes running this week - one of which has seen Brummie singer Jamelia's drama debut.

The Mill Health Centre
BBC

Doctors has also produced five sonnet shorts which will be available online.  

The Mill Health Centre (pictured above) is seen in a photo gallery previously published on the BBC website looking behind the scenes at the set.

The programme is on BBC One again today at 13:45.

Smiler victim Chanda Chauhan: 'We were in a horror movie'

A victim of the Alton Towers Smiler crash describes the aftermath as being like a "horror movie".  

Alton Towers Smiler crash victims 'were in horror movie'

Chanda Chauhan, from Wednesbury, and her daughter Vanisha Singh have spoken out for the first time about their ordeal riding in the second row of the carriage.

Merlin Attractions, which owns the Staffordshire site, has today admitted breaching safety regulations.

"I'd like to see justice to stop this ever happening again," said Ms Singh.

BBC Midlands Today

Elizabeth Glinka

BBC Midlands Today

On the programme:

- A victim of the Alton Towers Smiler crash, Chanda Chauhan, describes the aftermath as being like a "horror movie" as the theme park admits health and safety breaches 

- Hundreds of people have attended a memorial service for Darren Cooper, the leader of Sandwell Council, who died last month

Join me for BBC Midlands Today at 13:30 on BBC One.

Latest weather for the West Midlands

A cloudy and cool afternoon with some patchy rain at times, mainly in the south. However, there will be some drier spells. During the evening, any residual patchy rain will clear away to the south. Highs of 10C (50F)

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Apartments to be built on Hednesford music venue

Cannock Mercury

Work has begun to demolish and replace a former Hednesford music venue into apartments that will be specifically occupied by people over the age of 55.  

The Tackeroo in Hednesford
Cannock Mercury

Norovirus outbreak at Walsall Manor Hospital

Walsall Advertiser

Friends and relatives of people staying in Walsall Manor Hospital are being urged to stay away if they have experienced sickness and diarrhoea in the three days before they plan to visit - this is to avoid passing on sickness bugs such as Norovirus.

Latest headlines: Alton Towers crash victim speaks; council leader memorial event; Lerner takes blame for relegation

Corinne Wheatley

BBC WM, Journalist

Here are some of the main stories in the newsroom today:

- A Wednesbury woman who was involved in the crash on Alton Towers' Smiler rollercoaster has been speaking about her ordeal

- A civic memorial event celebrating the life of Sandwell Council leader Darren Cooper has been taking place at West Bromwich Town Hall 

- Owner Randy Lerner says Aston Villa's relegation from the Premier League "lies at my feet and no-one else's"

Villa 'will return stronger' - Lerner

Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner says he knows the club "will return better, stronger" following relegation from the Premier League.  

Randy Lerner
Getty Images

In a statement on the club's website, he said: "I can say certainly in good faith that I have tried to sell since my May 2014 announcement and put our beloved club in better suited hands - but that hasn't happened. 

"I write to Villa supporters to make clear that this relegation lies at my feet and no one else's.    

"I will continue to try to put the club into worthy hands as I have, and also do my best to position Villa for the quickest possible return to its rightful place among England's elite."  

Memorial begins with a boing

A civic memorial event to celebrate the life and achievements of Sandwell Council leader Darren Cooper has a distinctly West Brom feel.  

View more on twitter

Memorial event celebrating council leader's life

A civic memorial event to celebrate the life and achievements of Sandwell Council leader Darren Cooper is being held at West Bromwich Town Hall.

Darren Cooper
Sandwell Council

Mr Cooper (pictured above), who first became a councillor in 1991, had been leader since 2009 and was expected to try to become the West Midlands' first elected mayor next year.    

Bishop Derek Webley, one of Mr Cooper's friends, said: "Darren was to me a great guy, down to earth. He was real. He was an ordinary individual. 

"He looked after the needs of individuals who had just wanted ordinary things in life but he went to extraordinary lengths to achieve that for them."

Joleon Lescott

Owner Randy Lerner says Aston Villa's relegation from the Premier League "lies at my feet and no-one else's".

Read more

Talks over British Gas planned cuts

Louise Hancock

Newsreader, BBC WM

There will be talks today between British Gas bosses and a Black Country MP following an announcement over planned job cuts.  

Oldbury site
BBC

The energy company is proposing to shut an office and call centre in Oldbury with the loss of more than 680 jobs.

John Spellar, the MP for Warley which covers the Oldbury site, said: "Why they're looking at such a major cutback really sort of beggars belief...  it's a huge gaping hole in the jobs market in Sandwell."

The firm has said proposals to close its Oldbury site was part of a strategy to improve service and reduce costs to ensure competitive prices. 

'No government u-turn' over Tata

Louise Hancock

Newsreader, BBC WM

A Black Country MP says the government's announcement that it is ready to take a 25% stake in the loss-making Tata steelworks is not a u-turn.

It is prepared to offer millions of pounds to underwrite the company's debt and for research and development. 

Port Talbot steel plant
BBC

Tata Steel put its British business up for sale last month, which includes sites in Wednesbury, Wednesfield and Walsall which employ more than 500 people. 

Conservative James Morris, who represents Halesowen and Rowley Regis, said it was not a bailout. "This intervention is part of a mix of policies to make sure that we secure those jobs for steel workers at Port Talbot (pictured above) and potentially across the West Midlands, providing certainty for workers and their families and protecting Britain's steel industry"

Handsworth Wood resident 'facing eviction' after mould and damp complaints

Great Barr Observer

A man from Handsworth Wood says he is facing the possibility of being homeless because he has complained about mould and damp.  

Handsworth Wood resident Lee Shaw, who claims his shoes have been damaged by the damp condition
Great Barr Observer

Funeral date arranged for Stourbridge murder victim Paul 'Tonka' Tompkins

Stourbridge News

The funeral of Stourbridge murder victim Paul Tompkins will take place on Monday.  

Paul Tompkins, known locally as 'Tonka'
Stourbridge News

Albion 'had too many players off it'

West Bromwich Albion head coach Tony Pulis admits they did not play as well as they can in the 2-0 defeat at Arsenal in the Premier League.

Tony Pulis
Reuters

Alexis Sanchez scored twice as the Gunners strengthened their hopes of a top-four finish.  

Pulis (pictured above) said: "We had too many players off it, which you can't do at Arsenal.

"The players have given me everything this year. We have played well at all of the big teams but not tonight. Sometimes you have to take defeat on the chin."