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Summary

  1. As it happened across the West of England on Thursday 21 July, 2016.

Live Reporting

By Sarah Jones

All times stated are UK

Dry Friday and weekend looks set for sunshine

Final thought for tonight - what'll the weather be like tomorrow and the weekend?.

Alina Jenkins says it looks set to be dry and pleasant with some good spells of sunshine...

Dry Friday and weekend looks set for sunshine

That's all from BBC Local Live for today. We'll be back with more news, sport, weather and travel from across the West of England, tomorrow from 7am.

Funeral fly-past for Spitfire pilot

The funeral for one of the last Battle of Britain Spitfire pilots has taken place in Bath.

Squadron Leader Percy Beake, who was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Legion D'Honneur, died at the age of 99.

This afternoon there was a flypast, over the city, of a Spitfire and Hurricane in tribute to him...

Battle of Britain pilot Sqn Ldr Percy Beake from Bath was honoured with a flypast.

Learning to be a 'Human swan'

Every autumn thousands of Bewick swans make a 4,500-mile journey from the Russian arctic to the UK. 

This year, they're being joined by a human swan - conservationist Sasha Dench - who works for the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at Slimbridge in Gloucestershire.

Learning to be a 'Human swan'

Goodbye Swindon - Jazz is off to the Olympics...

Round-up of the local papers

Facebook drone being built in Somerset

The latest phase in Facebook's bid for world domination has been taking shape in Somerset.

"In a warehouse in Somerset, the latest phase in Facebook's bid for world domination has been taking shape."

And BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones has been along for a look.

Click here to see what he had to write about it.

Football: Teenage keeper signs Swindon deal

Will Henry
Rex Features

Teenage Swindon Town goalkeeper Will Henry has signed a professional contract with the Wiltshire club.

The 18-year-old has signed a two-year deal.

He saved a penalty 15 minutes into his first-team debut, aged 17, in a 2-2 draw at Rochdale on 30 April.

"I definitely wouldn't have expected this six months ago - I didn't expect to play the last two games of the season," Henry told the club website.

Flypast to honour Eric 'Winkle' Brown

He's described as The Royal Navy's most decorated pilot and for flying the greatest number of different types of aircraft - some 487.  

Eric 'Winkle' Brown
BBC
Eric Brown's life was celebrated by Desert Island Discs in 2014

Today a new exhibition dedicated to Eric was opened at the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Somerset.

And in a celebration of his life there was a special flypast in his honour at the Royal Naval Air Station at Yeovilton.

Flypast to honour Eric 'Winkle' Brown

Ex-police officer sentenced for fraud

Andrew Carr
BBC
Andrew Carr was dismissed from Wiltshire Police without notice following a misconduct hearing in May

A former Wiltshire Police Superintendent has been given a 12 month sentence - suspended for two years - after admitting a string of charges of fraud, forgery and false accounting.

Andrew Carr was treasurer for Orchid Vale Primary School parent teacher association and the 7th Swindon Scouts.

The judge decided to suspend his sentence, but has ordered him to attend 30 rehabilitation requirement days, and pay £600.

Click here for the full story.

Cricket: Klinger's Glos 'not a one-man team'

Michael Klinger
Getty Images

Former South Africa and Gloucestershire all-rounder Mike Procter says Michael Klinger's side are "not a one-man team".

Limited-overs captain Klinger has scored 517 of their 1,855 runs in the T20 Blast in 2016 and averaged 94.50 in three Championship appearances.

Click here to read more.

Somerset-built Facebook drone takes to the air

Facebook's Aquila drone takes to the air

Facebook has revealed that one of its solar-powered Aquila drones has completed a first test flight. 

The trial, which took place above the US, is intended to ultimately lead to the creation of a fleet of internet-beaming aircraft that will make it possible for more people to get online. 

The social network invited the BBC's technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones into its drone factory in Somerset, England to mark the occasion.

Yate family appeal has 'blown our minds'

Sandra Smith said her daughter, her daughter’s partner and their baby son were left with no possessions when their home was gutted in the fire

A family from Yate, whose house was gutted by fire yesterday, say they have been blown away by the generosity of complete strangers.

No-one was hurt in the blaze but it did cause extensive damage and the family were left with just "what they stood in".

An appeal to help them cope has already topped £1,000.

Drifting 'The Magic Roundabout' at high speed

New Zealand's Mad Mike Whiddett has drifted a car up a mountain range and powerslid across a frozen lake in Japan and now he's become the first to drift a car around Swindon’s Magic Roundabout...  

Drifting the Magic Roundabout at high speed (Video courtesy of RedBull.com)

"One of the wildest, weirdest pieces of town planning anywhere in the world," his team said.

The challenge was to burst onto the "giant mother of a roundabout" at high speed and artfully drift your way through the various traffic islands, drains and elevation changes.

Bristol MP not supporting Corbyn

Bristol East MP Kerry McCarthy

Jeremy Corbyn has launched his campaign to remain as Labour leader - in what is expected to be a two month contest. 

He's facing a challenge from former shadow cabinet minister, Owen Smith.

Mr Corbyn has appealed to Labour MPs to support him and keep the party united but Bristol East MP Kerry McCarthy says she is supporting Mr Smith - as she thinks he's more likely to win a general election.

Royal blooper

The Prince of Wales is a seasoned professional when it comes to unveiling plaques.

But at the Daneway Banks nature reserve in Gloucesteshire the unveiling took a little longer...

HRH Prince Charles attempts to unveil a plaque at Daneway Banks nature reserve

Bowie tour in Swindon for one night

David Bowie and Mick jagger
Denis O’Regan

"Never before seen" photos of David Bowie will be in Swindon for one night, this autumn.

The 40 images were taken by Bowie's official photographer, Denis O’Regan, and include rare, intimate moments from back stage, relaxing between gigs and on stage.

O’Regan photographed the 1983 ‘Serious Moonlight’ Tour, the 1987 Glass Spider Tour, the 1990 Sound and Vision Tour as well as The Concert for Diana and Live Aid.

The exhibition will be at Dick Lovett Mini showroom on Friday 11 November.

David Bowie
Denis O’Regan
David Bowie
Denis O’Regan

Shepton Mallet prison refurbishment plans rejected

A proposal to turn the former Shepton Mallet prison into luxury flats has been turned down by Mendip District Council saying there were inadequate plans for parking on the site.

The developer behind the plans, City & Country, wants to build 58 new homes and 88 apartments in the Grade II listed building.

Plans to convert the prison site into homes have been rejected

We are naturally disappointed with the outcome of yesterday’s committee meeting. Our next steps are to review the reason for refusal and understand whether we can find a solution and maintain the viability, which is essential to delivering these types of complex heritage schemes.

Richard WinsboroughCity and Country, associate director for planning

Jams in Taunton this afternoon

Prince Charles' 'Murphy's Law moment' at nature reserve

Nature doesn't always work to schedule as Prince Charles found out earlier when he visited Daneway Banks nature reserve in Gloucestershire.

The reserve is famous for being home to the rare Large Blue butterfly, but Prince Charles managed to miss it.

His Royal Highness takes up the story...

Prince Charles

£250,000 to remove 'lump of concrete'

Dunball
Somerset County Council
The bridge carries the A38 over King’s Sedgemoor Drain at Dunball, north of Bridgwater

A section of concrete left behind in the 1950s, when an arched bridge was replaced with a flat bed bridge, is being removed at a cost of £250,000.

It caused problems during floods of 2013/4 because it obstructed the flow of water underneath it..

Three people needed to control safari park lion

Longleat lion puppet
Longleat Safari Park

It's three metres long and two metres tall and takes three people to operate it.

The latest lion to join the pride at Longleat Safari Park has been made by the puppet experts behind the National Theatre’s production of ‘Warhorse’.

The giant cat will be leading Longleat's daily parade this summer - to mark the park's 50th anniversary.

And in a special end-of day performance it will be letting rip with a giant roar.

Longleat lion puppet
Longleat Safari Park

Morning mist over Porlock

Porlock
Julia Amies-Green

Julia Amies-Green took this photo just after 8am on 18 July of the low-lying sea fog "slowly lifting from the bay of Porlock in the early morning sunshine" in Somerset. 

She said: "Taken from the beautiful carpet of heather above the clouds on Bossington Hill, Exmoor National Park. Hope you like it as much as I enjoyed being there on such a fantastic morning"  

Do you have any pictures you'd like to share with us?  You can send them to bristol@bbc.co.uk

RAF honour for Battle of Britain pilot

A Spitfire and Hurricane are due to perform a flypast over the skies of Bath shortly to pay tribute to the life of Sqn Ldr Percy Beake.

He was one of the pilots who flew Spitfires in the Battle of Britain. 

Retired Air Cmdr Graham Pitchfork wrote Percy's obituary for the Telegraph told BBC Radio Bristol that "so many of that generation saw it as their duty". 

They were gallant and brave."

There's maybe a handful of pilots from this generation left now.

‪‎RIP‬ to a decorated ‪#‎WestCountry‬ hero who defended his country.

Neolithic building found in Marden, Wiltshire

After a month long dig, researchers say they have found a neolithic building at Marden Henge. They have also found the remains of a timber circle, which they think was ceremonial.

Henge dig
University of Reading

Dr Jim Leary from the University of Reading, which is behind the dig, says they now have to cover the site of the dig, but will return next year to carry on excavating the site.

Henge dig
University of Reading

Jeremy Irons to become Bath Spa University's first chancellor

Jeremy Irons
Bath Spa University
Jeremy Irons has a long association with the West Country

Bath Spa University has appointed Jeremy Irons as Chancellor - the first time the university will have such a post.

Through his vast experience in the arts Jeremy Irons will bring unique insight to Bath Spa University and influence our vision to be the leading university for creativity, culture and enterprise.

Prof Christina SladeVice-Chancellor, Bath Spa University

Jeremy Irons has a long association with the West, he trained at the Old Vic Theatre School in Bristol and first performed on stage back in 1969.

NHS special measures 'no surprise' says Weston-super-Mare MP

John Penrose
BBC
John Penrose said there needed to be "no danger of merging them into a single Greater Bristol-type trust".

John Penrose, the MP for Weston-super-Mare says the special measures for South Gloucestershire and North Somerset's Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) come as "no surprise".

We’ve made progress over years of campaigning for North Somerset to get a better deal but today shows there’s still plenty more to do.

A new combined leadership for North Somerset, South Gloucestershire and Bristol should strengthen all three organisations significantly.

We need to be sure there’s no danger of merging them into a single Greater Bristol-type trust. That would risk taking us back to the bad old days of Avon.

North Bristol NHS trust statement

The Chief Executive of North Bristol's NHS Trust, Andrea Young has released a statement after the organisation was put into "financial special measures" by NHS England.

We are fully committed to working with NHS Improvement to help us speed up our financial recovery.

We have recently reviewed our annual business plan and have identified a number of internal actions to help deliver our financial position.

I would like to reassure patients that they will see no change in the care or treatment they receive and that appointments and planned operations will continue as normal and access to emergency care remains unchanged.

BreakingLocal NHS groups in special measures

NHS England say that North Bristol NHS trust has entered "financial special measures".

South Gloucestershire's clinical commissioning group and North Somerset's clinical commissioning group have also both been placed in to "special measures".

More to follow.

Yate fundraiser - 'people have been amazing'

A campaign to raise money for a family whose house was hit by a fire has topped £1000.

House fire
Stace Oakley

Local neighbour Stace Oakland launched the fundraiser - she told BBC Radio Bristol's Emma Britton that she felt moved to do something when she saw the fire.

I've got a family of my own, anyone would have done the same. I knew they wouldn't have anything left so I hunted them down to offer what I could. People in Yate have been amazing. The family are overwhelmed.

Burned house
Stace Oakley

Child rescued from hot car in Marlborough

The team at Marlborough Fire Station have just tweeted that they rescued a child from a hot car earlier

Dorset and Wiltshire fire and rescue say they were called to reports of a child locked in a car on the High Street, Marlborough at 9.40am. 

They found a 1 year-old child locked in the car and "gained access".

View more on twitter

Luxury flats in Shepton Mallet rejected

Shepton Mallet prison
City & Country Group

It was once the UK's oldest working prison, now plans to transform Shepton Mallet prison in Somerset into luxury flats have been rejected by Mendip District Council.

The plans have been controversial, as campaigners claimed that development would have affected Shepton Mallet's heritage, and disturbed the graves of executed prisoners.

In your local newspapers today

Royal visit for Gloucestershire nature reserve

The Prince of Wales will visit Daneway Banks nature reserve near Cirencester today. 

The reserve is home to a number of rare species and plants, including the Large Blue butterfly, which was extinct in this country for a long time. 

HRH Prince Charles is to visit one of two sites home to the rare large blue butterfly

Appeal after surge in unwanted animals

Ferne Animal Sanctuary in Chard, Somerset is appealing for cat lovers to come forward after they took in 20 kittens in one month. 

The influx means they are rapidly running out of space to house them all.

Ferne Animal Sanctuary needs people to come forward and re-home them

Flying high in an attempt to study swans

A conservationist is getting ready to join thousands of Bewick's swans in their annual migration from Russia to Slimbridge in Gloucestershire.

Sacha Dench will take to the skies using a paraglider, flying for up to 10 weeks to study the swans' migration patterns.

Sacha Dench is preparing to fly alongside migrating swans to study them.

Piers Morgan offers to pay for replacement medals

Piers Morgan is offering to stump up the money to pay for replacement medals for a Bristol pensioner.

The 91-year-old war veteran had six medals stolen from his home in Wooton Park in Bristol in June.

He reportedly now has to pay to replace them and the journalist and broadcaster has tweeted an offer to foot the bill...

View more on twitter
View more on twitter
View more on twitter

A361 closed in 'potentially serious' accident

Map
Google
Police were called to East Cranmore just after 7.30am

A motorbike and a lorry have collided on the A361 outside the Torr Works Quarry in East Cranmore. 

The road is closed in both directions, and traffic is already building up as motorists are diverted to other routes.  

An Avon and Somerset Police spokesman described the incident as "potentially serious".

A361 blocked in East Cranmore after lorry accident

The A361 in Somerset is blocked after an earlier accident involving a lorry.

Traffic is reported to be slow-moving in both directions near Torr quarry.

Human trafficking victim 'has hope' after 20 years as a slave

She was smuggled into the UK alongside fridges and televisions in a shipping container, and then treated as a slave.

But 40-year-old Favour (not her real name) now "has hope" after being helped by the Bristol-based charity Unseen, which helps victims of slavery and human trafficking. 

Her journey began in Nigeria 20 years ago, when she was sold by her father to one of his friends.

She's been talking to us about her experiences.

"Favour"

Appeal for Yate family smashes target

After a house fire gutted a family home in Yate, local resident Stace Oakley started a crowdfunder campaign to raise money for the family who lost their possessions. 

She's so far raised £955, beating the original target of £500.

House fire
BBC

Stace will be speaking to Emma Britton on BBC Radio Bristol this morning about her campaign, we'll bring you more later.