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  1. Updates from across the West of England on Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Clear skies tonight leading to a fine day with sunny spells tomorrow

That's all from BBC Local Live for the West Country for today.

We're back in the morning from 7am with all the latest news, sport, travel and weather.

Before we go here's Ian Fergusson with the weather forecast.

War heroine awarded top French honour

A 93 year-old from Gloucestershire has been awarded France's highest honour for military and civil service. 

Fanny Hugill from Fairford was presented with the Légion d'Honneur for her help in liberating the country from the Nazis in World War Two.

The ceremony took place in Bristol earlier today

Patients to access medical records at the touch of a button

Watch Clinton Rogers explain how the new system will work

Taunton's Musgrove Park Hospital is to be given up to £10m to develop new IT systems which should eventually allow patients to access their medical records through their mobile phones.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt named Musgrove as one of 12 hospital trusts in England which is setting the standards for the NHS to move more quickly into the digital age.

Becky Godden murder trial: Witness says accused knew Becky well

Christopher Halliwell

A witness giving evidence on the second day of the Becky Godden murder trial has revealed that the man accused of killing her knew her well.

The court heard from two sex workers from Swindon who described taxi driver Christopher Halliwell as one of Becky's regular clients.

He later told the court: "I've never seen that woman before... it is a fairytale."

Mr Halliwell denies murdering Becky.

Andrew Plant has spent the day in court where the case continues.

Chief Constable speaks out after patient's 11 hour cell stay

Wiltshire's Chief Constable has blamed a lack of social workers and psychiatrists for patients being detained for lengthy periods in police cells under the Mental Health Act. 

Mike Veale was speaking exclusively to Points West after a meeting with Katie Simpkins, whose shared her story with us last week.

Katie was taken to Trowbridge Hospital after cutting herself but ended up sleeping in a police car and being put into the cells for 11 hours while she waited for a hospital bed.

Wiltshire Council says it has "robust plans in place so anyone who needs an urgent assessment gets it in a timely way, 24 hours a day as was the case on this occasion. 

"We have social workers, or if required, approved mental health professionals available to carry out assessments and will then liaise with relevant agencies as and when required to discuss next steps.”

The Department of Health says they've given Wiltshire an extra £320,000 to fund schemes such as a mental health triage nurse in the police control room.

Making the headlines in your local newspapers

Marshall century puts Glos on top

Hamish Marshall
Rex Features

Hamish Marshall's century is the key for Gloucestershire as they take a 127-run first-innings lead over Glamorgan.

New Zealander Marshall lashed 16 boundaries as he shared a fourth-wicket stand of 120 with 19-year-old George Hankins (43).

Meanwhile Somerset's game with Warwickshire hangs in the balance at Taunton as spinner Jack Leach took 5-33 before ninth-wicket pair Rikki Clarke and Chris Wright rallied the visitors, closing on 131-8.

Firefighters demonstrate thatched cottage safety

They're a beautiful sight in any rural village but a thatched cottage can pose a fire risk.

A miniature model roof has been created in conjunction with Dorset and Wilts Fire and Rescue Service so people can see how it's put together and why tackling blazes in thatched roofs can be more challenging for firefighters.

Council merger gets green light

West Somerset Council offices

Two district councils in Somerset are to merge in an attempt to save money. 

West Somerset councillors have voted this evening, by 21 votes to four, to merge with neighbouring Taunton Deane Borough Council. 

Taunton Deane had already voted last month for the plan to go ahead. 

It means a new single local authority will be formed covering the two existing districts. 

West Somerset's Conservative leader Anthony Trollope-Bellew called it a "very sad day" but the "only way to protect local services".

West Somerset - England's smallest district council - has shared some staff with Taunton Deane since 2013. 

Bath sign Wales international winger until end of year

Aled Brew
Rex Features

Bath have signed Wales international wing Aled Brew on a short-term deal until the end of the year.

The 30-year-old originally joined the Premiership side on trial after leaving regional side Newport Gwent Dragons.

He has won nine caps for his country, the most recent in June 2012, and helped Wales win the 2009 World Sevens.

Cyclists name best places to watch the Tour of Britain

We asked two pro cyclists for where they think the best places are to watch the Tour of Britain in Bath and Bristol.  

Have a watch of the video to find out more.

Three arrested in Gloucestershire child sex probe

Police car

Three people are arrested on suspicion of sexual activity with children.

Police said a 23-year-old man and two male 17-year-olds, all from Cirencester, were being questioned.

They were arrested as part of an investigation by the county's multi-agency Child Abuse Investigation Team into child sexual exploitation.

Bath's Sophie Kamlish is going for Paralympic gold

The Paralympic Games get under way later and one of our athletes heading to Brazil is Sophie Kamlish.

She had her lower right leg amputated when she was younger and now runs with the blade.

At just 19 but she's no stranger to competing on the international stage, making it to the 100m final in London and setting the world record in her class at the IPC Grand Prix Final recently.

Bombers fly into RAF Fairford for NATO training

A B52 and two B1 bomber aircraft have flown into RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire to take part in a NATO exercise.

The US Air Force has used the airbase for many years and the aircraft have been flying daily sorties to take part in Exercise Ample Strike in the Czech Republic. 

Points West's Gloucestershire reporter, Steve Knibbs, went to meet some of the aircrew.

Becky Godden murder trial: Accused 'besotted' with victim

Becky Godden (also known as Becky Godden Edwards)
Wiltshire Police

A taxi driver accused of murdering a woman whose body was found "hidden in the middle of nowhere" was "besotted with her", a court hears.

Christopher Halliwell, 52, denies killing Becky Godden between 1 January 2003 and 3 April 2008.

Jurors at Bristol Crown Court heard Mr Halliwell was "a regular customer" of Miss Godden, who was a sex worker, and "would pay her money not to work".

The case continues.

A417 near Gloucester shut after accident

The A417 near Gloucester is currently closed from the Over roundabout to Maismore in both directions following an earlier accident between two cars.

View more on twitter

M5 wrong way driver dies

Avon and Somerset Police are looking for witnesses after a car drove the wrong way along the M5 last month.

The driver who's been identified as 83-year-old Graham Teesdale from Rushden, Northamptonshire, hit around 15 other vehicles between junction 26 and 25 northbound.

He was taken to hospital with minor injuries but has subsequently died.

The headlines from your BBC local radio stations


BBC Radio Bristol: Police are continuing to investigate an assault on a 10-year-old boy which is being treated as racially motivated

BBC Gloucestershire: Plans have been approved to enable a new football stadium for Gloucester City to be built, nine years after the team's ground was flooded

BBC Wiltshire: One of Wiltshire's largest housing developments in Wichelstowe could get a quarter of a million pound cash injection to speed up building work

BBC Somerset: North Somerset council has finally cleared the blocked drains on the A369 after campaigners alerted the Tour of Britain organisers to the risk of "aquaplane" accidents during the event

What does Stonehenge look like from a hot air balloon?

To mark 30 years since Stonehenge became a Unesco World Heritage Site, English Heritage has launched a competition offering people the chance to view the stone circle from a hot air balloon.

The first aerial images of the iconic monument were taken in 1906.

The #StonehengeFromAbove competition will select 30 winners at random in October.  

Council to invest £750,000 to develop next phase of housing

Swindon Borough Council is investing £750,000 into the Middle Wichel development in Wichelstowe in north Swindon.

Toby Elliot, a Conservative councillor, told BBC Wiltshire there was already a Waitrose nearby but there are also new plans for a pub, homes for the elderly and housing.

Inside the tunnels beneath Temple Meads in Bristol

This week we're profiling some of the venues open for Bristol's Doors Open Day - a once-a-year opportunity to visit some of the places that are usually out of bounds.

Beneath Temple Meads there are several tunnels which were used as a food store for the restaurants on the platforms above. 

They also house the station's World War Two air raid shelter.

The tour is fully booked, but we were able to get a sneak preview guide with GWR's long serving station supervisor Joey Stephens at Bristol Temple Meads.      

Cricket: 'I was always a porker so I bowled spin'

Dom Bess
Rex Features

Somerset's Dom Bess says he only started bowling spin as he was a 'porker' as a youngster, after taking 6-28 on debut.

"I was always a little porker when I was younger, so I never took the long run-up," he said. 

Click here to read more. 

Teenager earns £48,000 helping to name China's babies

16-year-old Beau Jessup from Gloucestershire has made £48,000 from a website she made to give Chinese babies English names.

The A-level student, came up with the idea after a family visit to China, where she was asked to name a newborn baby.

'Special Name' requires the user to pay 60p to pick five of the 12 personality traits which they most hope their baby will grow into, each personality trait is assigned to a name.

Three names are generated for them to pick from with family and friends.

Beau Jessop sitting in front of a laptop showing the website Special Name
Beau heard "embarrassing" names such as Gandalf and Cinderella when visiting China

Life after Brexit for another Wiltshire business

This week BBC Wiltshire has been asking businesses what has changed for them since the vote to leave the European Union.

Today, they heard from a very loud small business in Bromham which makes, imports and sells specialist clothing for the racing industry...

Brexit, 10 weeks on: 'Some of our prices went up'

US bombers carrying out exercise over Fairford

BBC Points West's Steve Knibbs is at RAF Fairford, on the Gloucestershire Wiltshire border, to watch a NATO training exercise...

View more on twitter

Part of the exercise includes a B-52 Stratofortress aircraft from the US's 307th Bomb Wing.

Airmen will spend the day and night involved in the operation which is "designed to improve NATO and partner nation interoperability".

View more on twitter

Cricket: Follow our clubs in Championship action

Cricket balls
Getty Images

Both Gloucestershire CCC and Somerset CCC are in Championship action this week.

You can follow live updates, find text commentary and links to BBC radio coverage on the BBC Sport website.

Click here for more. 

Travel: A417 southbound reopen again after earlier crash

Village folk festival cancelled after four decades

A folk festival in Wiltshire which has been running for more than 40 years has been cancelled for 2017, according to White Horse News.

Organisers have blamed falling ticket sales in recent years and say the future of The Village Pump Festival, which was originally held in Trowbridge but moved to Westbury in 2012, is in doubt. 

They've already deleted the Facebook page and removed all information from the website.

It has had some big names in folk music over the years including The Proclaimers. 

Band performing on stage
Trowbridge Pump Festival in 2007

A lot of people have worked really hard over the last few years to develop the festival and it’s very sad that more people didn’t come this year. We had a really good line-up and the comments on Facebook since the announcement that there won’t be a festival in 2017 show that those who went really enjoyed themselves.

Clive WoodlandFestival Spokesperson

So sad as it’s one of the best organised, well run and most enjoyable festivals I go to. Thank you to all of you who made that weekend in July a very special one for me.

Nicola RamseyFan

Christopher Halliwell murder trial: Day two under way

Day two of the trial of a former taxi driver from Wiltshire, who's accused of murdering Becky Godden, is under way.

Christopher Halliwell, 52, has denied the charge at Bristol Crown Court, where Andrew Plant is reporting for the BBC...

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

Headlines from your local newspapers


Here's some of the stories from our local newspapers today...  

  • The Swindon Advertiser is reporting that four cars parked in Cricklade were targeted by thieves who attempted to steal their exhausts
  • The Bristol Post is reporting that there are not enough teachers from black and minority ethnic backgrounds in Bristol
  • In Gloucestershire, police are appealing to a motorist who mounted a kerb in Lechlade, striking two pedestrians and causing a two-year-old to be flung from a pushchair, the Wilts and Glos standard reports
  • And The Somerest Gazette is reporting that Bishops Lydeard Parish Council has applied for planning permission to add plaques with the names of nine soldiers killed in the 1914-18 conflict to its war memorial

Is the badger cull helping control TB?


We now have data examining the impact of the badger cull on the incidence of TB in cattle.

But what does it show?

David Gregory-Kumar, BBC Midlands Today's science, environment & rural affairs correspondent, has taken a look.

Click here to read what he found.

The Wichelstore site full of roads to nowhere

View more on twitter

When the builders began work in 2006 there were plans for three sections - East, Middle and West Wichel, but the credit crunch two years later saw house-building at Wichelstowe slow down and only East Wichel was completed.

The site is currently full of roads to nowhere, marked out with signs which signal where the other villages will be placed.

Parts of the bypass to the south have been built as well as a new footbridge over the M4 so children can access the nearest secondary school in Wroughton.

TRAVEL: Crash 'blocking' A417 near Cowley in Gloucestershire

Poetry success as people 'leave love letter to Exmoor'

Watch: Poetry boxes left across Exmoor

Poetry boxes left out across Exmoor have collected thousands of poems written by members of the public. 

Organisers of the project say they can't believe how successful it's been over the past three years and they now plan to publish a book of the best work. 

The collection of more than 6,000 poems is being described as "a love letter to Exmoor".

Housing development to get back on track

It's been 10 years since the first construction teams started work on one of Wiltshire's largest housing developments in Wichelstowe.

A Swindon Borough Council meeting tonight could determine whether the work continues on Wichelstowe which would complete its supply of over 3,000 new homes and facilities in Swindon.

View more on twitter

Person rescued from fire at flats in Bristol

View more on twitter

One person has been rescued from a fire in Clifton, Bristol, this morning.

Avon Fire & Rescue were called to reports of the blaze in a three-storey house, in Oakfield Road, which has been converted into flats. 

Five fire engines are still at the scene and teams are carrying out a full search of the building.

Unfinished: The Making of Massive Attack - now on the BBC iPlayer

Massive Attack in Bristol

On Saturday thousands of people braved the rain to watch Massive Attack play their first home-city gig in 12 years.

Twenty-five years ago the Bristol group released its seminal album, Blue Lines, to critical acclaim and commercial success.

How it was made was explored in a BBC documentary last night and you can click here to watch it again via the BBC iPlayer.

Tributes paid to driver killed in A303 crash in Wiltshire

The family of a driver who was killed on the A303 between Zeals and Mere on Monday have released a tribute to him. 

David Worthington, who was aged 59, died after a crash involving two cars and a lorry.

David Worthington with his wife
Family photo

With three daughters he was not a wealthy man, but was rich in love and kindness. He would do anything for anyone and we are seeking peace knowing he died helping someone else - so like Dad. We are grateful to have known him, we shall miss him every day. Our darling Daddy. We love you so much.

Family statement