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Summary

  1. News, sport, travel and weather updates from across the West of England on Thursday, 23 March 2017

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

Good night!

Watch: Milder and mostly dry tomorrow, says Ian Fergusson

That's all for today on BBC Local Live for the West of England. 

Join us again from 7am tomorrow for more news, travel, weather and sport updates.

Football: Forest Green Rovers sign defender on loan

Forest Green Rovers
other

Forest Green Rovers have signed defender Curtis Tilt on loan from fellow National League club Wrexham until the end of the season.

Centre-back Tilt, 25, has made 36 league appearances for his parent club this season, scoring once.

He joined Wrexham in July from AFC Telford United and looks set to feature against Lincoln City on Saturday.

Tilt began his career with Halesowen Town and moved to Hednesford Town before joining Telford.

Man arrested over girl's 1970 disappearance

Cheryl Grimmer
NSW Police

A man has been charged with the murder of a three-year-old girl from Bristol who vanished nearly 50 years ago. 

Cheryl Grimmer's family emigrated to Australia in 1968. 

At that time, thousands of Britons were encouraged to start new lives down under by the offer of cheap passage.

Her family settled in New South Wales and in 1970 were enjoying a day out at the beach when she disappeared.

Former colleague of terror attack victim 'struggling to come to terms with it'

Watch: Courtney Weeden worked with Aysha Frade at DLD college in London

Londoner Aysha Frade died after being hit by the attacker's car on Westminster Bridge yesterday. 

Courtney Weeden, from Newnham in Gloucestershire, worked with her at DLD College in London.

She has offered her own tribute.

Rare Roman lead bar sells for £25K

Roman lead pig ingot
Southern Detectorists Club

A rare ingot of Roman lead unearthed on a farm near Wells  has sold for £25,000.

The inscribed lead bar is the only one known of its type to be found the UK, auctioneers have said.

The ingot, known as a "pig", is thought to have been mislaid by the Romans who at the time would have been sending mined lead back to Rome.

Decommissioning service for the Lynx

Watch: The service was held in a hangar at RNAS Yeovilton

Today saw the decommissioning and final flight of the Lynx helicopter, built in Somerset. 

There have been several goodbye flypasts across the region this month but today saw its final display at RNAS Yeovilton. 

The Lynx has been a world leader in maritime operations for more than 40 years.

Terror attack: 'Those teachers need a medal'

Attacks 'won't stop us', says teacher

Watch: Teacher Alexis Piper says terror attacks "won't stop us"

The parents of school children who were caught up in yesterday's attack in London have called for their teachers to be rewarded for bravery. 

More than 50 pupils from Bridgwater spent two hours trapped inside Westminster - within earshot of the carnage unfolding outside. 

They kept their spirits up by singing to hundreds of others who were told to stay inside the Central Lobby for their own safety. 

Alexis Piper, deputy head teacher of St John & St Francis Church School, said the children were unaffected by it.

Wiltshire Police chief on 'horrific' attack

Listen: Chief Constable Mike Veale on "horrific" attack in Westminster

A day on from the Westminster terror attack, Wiltshire Police's Chief Constable Mike Veale has given his reaction to the events. 

Three people, including a police officer, were killed by the attacker who was shot dead by police. Another 40 people were also injured. 

Mr Veale described it as a "horrific" incident, and said he felt "profoundly sad to hear the loss of one of our most courageous officers." 

Terror attack victim 'a lovely woman'

Watch: Aysha Frade was "a lovely woman", says Courtney Weeden

Tributes have been paid to those who lost their lives yesterday  in the London terror attack. 

One of the victims - Aysha Frade - was a mother who worked at a London college.

A former colleague of hers, Courtney Weeden from Gloucestershire, described her as a kind, funny and lovely woman.

Rent analysis: 'What you get for your money isn't great'

Watch: Natalie Jones says her family considered moving

Natalie Jones has lived in Tetbury all of her life but says the cost of renting on an average wage can be hard. 

The married mother-of-two has responded to new analysis by BBC Points West which shows some people in the Cotswolds are spending more than 46% of their earnings on rent.

Natalie - who has moved five times in eight years - says even though costs are high the accommodation you're paying for isn't often the best. 

Rent analysis: What do rocketing Cotswolds rents tell us?

Dave Harvey

Business Correspondent, BBC West

The figures tell us two things. 

First, it is almost impossible to pay the rent on your own in the Cotswolds, even a couple who both work can find housing expensive. 

Many people are staying with their parents well into their twenties and saving up for a place of their own. 

Second, rents are being driven up by people who work elsewhere. Tetbury is just over an hour’s commute from London.

Estate agents say more people are moving to the area for the lifestyle while still earning London salaries but that's making life very expensive for those who work in local schools and hospitals.

'Commute-ability and Royals' good for Tetbury brand

Watch: Estate agent David Rogers says Tetbury's "commute-ability" makes it popular

The cost of renting in the West has risen by more than 40% in some places, according to figures analysed by BBC Points West.

It's particularly tough in Tetbury, Gloucestershire, where the town's popularity with people moving from London has driven rents up to record levels. 

Cotswold estate agent David Rogers said properties were rented "very quickly" but said "more needed to be done" to make homes more affordable for locals.

Students offering sanitary products to homeless women

Watch: A group of students are providing sanitary products for homeless women

We may be used to donating clothing, food and drink to those in need, but what about something a little more personal like sanitary products? 

A charity effort has been organised in Bristol by a group of students wanting to raise money to provide sanitary products for people on the streets.

Lara Glantz, who is one of the students involved, said the recipients "are always really, really grateful".

Severe disruption: M5 Bristol northbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Bristol northbound severe disruption, between J17 for A4018 and J16 for A38.

M5 Bristol - One lane closed and very slow traffic on M5 northbound between J17, A4018 (Cribbs Causeway) and J16, A38 (Aztec West), because of a broken down vehicle.

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

Comic Relief call for comedy Cotswold characters

This Country characters, Kerry and Kurtan
BBC

Comedy characters Kerry and Kurtan return to our screens tomorrow night in a special sketch for Comic Relief.

The brother and sister behind the duo have received great reviews for the mockumentary series This Country which has been shown on BBC Three.

In tomorrow's one-off episode they attempt to raise money for Comic Relief by selling squash in their Gloucestershire village.

Afternoon headlines from your local newspapers

Police dogs attend doggy college

Watch: Dogs from three police forces have been training in Bridgwater

Dogs from Avon and Somerset Police, Wiltshire Police and Gloucestershire Police have been getting some real world experience at Bridgwater College.

As part of a six-week training programme, contraband is hidden around the building and the dogs are tasked to sniff it out.

Westminster attack: PM praises teachers who kept pupils calm during attack

Watch: We should "commend the work of teachers", says PM Theresa May

Teachers who looked after pupils sheltering in Parliament during yesterday's terror attack have been mentioned in the House of Commons.

Staff and pupils from St John and St Francis Church School in Bridgwater were on a school trip at the time of the attack and played charades and sang songs to keep their spirits up during the two-hour lockdown.

Today, most are back in class and experts are on hand at the school in case any need help.

Theresa May said all teachers on trips to the capital yesterday should be commended for the work they did in helping their students.

Gift-wrapped chopper makes it to Filton!

Cheltenham Town boss praises NHS after heart surgery

Watch: Gary Johnson praises staff at the BRI

Cheltenham Town manager Gary Johnson has praised staff at the hospital where he recently underwent a triple heart bypass. 

Mr Johnson, who has also managed Bristol City and Yeovil Town, thanked doctors and nurses at Bristol Heart Institute for the "unbelievable service" he received while in their care.

Bath MP reflects on Westminster attack

Watch: Ben says it's "business as normal" in Parliament

Bath MP Ben Howlett has been reflecting on yesterday's attack in Westminster.

Mr Howlett was locked in the House of Commons while the incident unfolded. 

However he said today it's "business as normal". He also paid tribute to PC Keith Palmer and the other people who lost their lives in the attack.

Severe disruption: M4 Bristol eastbound

BBC News Travel

M4 Bristol eastbound severe disruption, at J19 for M32.

M4 Bristol - M4 exit slip road blocked and very slow traffic eastbound at J19, M32 (Bristol), because of a broken down lorry.

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

Final farewell to Lynx at RNAS Yeovilton

Lynx helicopter
BBC

Today will see the decommissioning and final flight of the Lynx helicopter, built in Somerset.

There have been several goodbye flypasts across the region this month but today sees it's final display at RNAS Yeovilton. 

The Lynx has been a world leader in maritime operations for more than 40 years.

Westminster attack: Police receive flowers and messages in sympathy

Police officers have received flowers in thanks and sympathy after the London attack.

Well-wishers sent bouquets in tribute to PC Keith Palmer who was stabbed to death outside the Houses of Parliament.

Forces also had their flags at half mast and held silences at 9.33am in recognition of PC Palmer's shoulder number.  

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Severe disruption: M32 Bristol northbound

BBC News Travel

M32 Bristol northbound severe disruption, at M4 J19.

M32 Bristol - One lane closed and slow traffic on M32 outbound at M4 J19, Bristol, because of a broken down lorry.

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

BreakingBody found after house fire

A body has been found by firefighters tackling a house fire in Gloucester.

A woman also suffered serious injuries in the fire on Painswick Road and has been taken to hospital.

The fire service and police were called to the house just before 8am. 

Gloucestershire Police says the death and cause of the fire are being treated as unexplained, detectives aren't looking for anyone else in connection with the fire. 

Setback for Wellington Monument repairs

Wellington Monument at night
Getty Images

The National Trust has said it is disappointed it has not passed the first test by Heritage England for a grant that would see the Wellington Monument being repaired.

The monument has been fenced off since 2005 because of falling stone debris.

A grant would have given the National Trust money to draw up plans to repair the famous obelisk and submit a final bid for the rest of the funding. They will now look to reapply.

We were seeking a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund that would have funded more than half of the £4m project. The HLF is the biggest funder of heritage projects in the country and one of only a couple of funders able to support projects at this level. Therefore filling the gap from elsewhere would be extremely challenging.

Helen SharpProject manager

Westminster attack: 'They're not going to change our freedoms'

South Swindon's MP Robert Buckland was one of the many politicians caught in the Commons chamber as Wednesday's attack began.

Speaking to BBC Wiltshire, he said that hearing about the horror of the attack that left four dead - including the attacker - bought "the realities of terrorism to one's door".

Watch: Robert Buckland MP for South Swindon gives his reaction to yesterday's attack

Rare Roman lead bar sells for £25K

Roman lead pig ingot
Southern Detectorists Club

A rare ingot of Roman lead that was unearthed on a farm in Wells has sold for £25,000 .

The inscribed lead bar is the only one known of its type to be found the UK, auctioneers have said.

Found by Plymouth bricklayer Jason Baker, 31, it failed to fetch its guide price of £60,000 in November.

But, Hanson's Auction House in Derby confirmed it had sold the 2ft (60cm) ingot, which dates from AD 164 and was uncovered near Wells.

Rent analysis: Tetbury rents 'too high' for local people

People in the Cotswolds are now spending nearly half their wages on rent. 

New analysis by BBC Points West shows some people there are paying more than 46 per cent of their earnings on accommodation.

Rents are particularly high in Tetbury, famous for its beautiful Cotswold stone houses and royal neighbours. 

Estate agent David Rogers showed our cameras round a typical house available for rent there - it has three bedrooms and is going for £1,200 a month. 

Watch: Take a look at a rental property available in Tetbury

New breakthrough in toddler kidnap case

Cheryl Grimmer
Family

A man has been arrested in connection with the case of a missing toddler who was kidnapped in Australia nearly half a century ago , shortly after emigrating from Bristol with her family. 

Cheryl Grimmer was just three years old when she disappeared.

In January 1970 she was abducted from the changing rooms of a family beach near Sydney and never seen again. 

Now New South Wales Police say they've arrested a 63-year-old man in Melbourne. 

They said he would be charged with murder and abduction and would appear in court later.

Bus stranded on water main diversion

A bus driver trying to avoid the ongoing distruption from a burst water main on the A38 Gloucester Road found themselves somewhat stuck this morning.

While attempting to navigate the diversion around the Charlton Hayes estate, the bus became wedged on some mud from a local building site.

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Rent analysis: High rents made mum 'feel trapped'

Watch: Tetbury resident Natalie Jones talks about her experience of renting in the town

Medical secretary Natalie Jones has lived in Tetbury all of her life but says expensive rents in the town made it "really hard".

Married with two children, she said the family had moved five times in the past eight years because of the high rents.

It comes as a BBC Points West analysis comparing average rents with earnings found people in the Cotswolds were spending almost half of their wages on rent. 

Natalie hopes life is going to get easier as she's just moved into a new affordable home with the help of a shared equity scheme. 

Raiders drive van into mini market

Police say a blue van hit the shop on Alma Vale Road in Bristol and three men entered the shop and stole a large quantity of cigarettes. They made off in the vehicle.

Officers were called just after midnight.

Damaged shop
BBC

Westminster attack: The West reflects

A minute's silence was observed at Parliament this morning to remember those killed and injured in yesterday's attack in Westminster.

The union and St George flag have been raised to half mast outside City Hall in Bristol, meanwhile the Bishop of Gloucester has released a message of hope.

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View more on twitter

Severe disruption: M4 Wiltshire eastbound

BBC News Travel

M4 Wiltshire eastbound severe disruption, between J15 for A346 Marlborough Road and J14 for A338.

M4 Wiltshire - One lane closed on M4 eastbound between J15, A346 (Swindon East) and J14, A338 (Hungerford), because of a broken down lorry. Traffic is coping well.

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

Head teacher reflects on Westminster attack

Fifty-three pupils from St John and St Francis Church School in Bridgwater found themselves caught up in the aftermath of yesterday's attack in London.

The school were visiting the Houses of Parliament and were in the middle of a tour when the attacker drove into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge and stabbed a police officer .

A staff member tweeted that children were held in the Houses of Parliament when the site went into lockdown.

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The children arrived back late last night. My staff were amazing, they were dedicated professionals throughout the whole day. We're all tired but our focus today is on our children and our staff. Our children love to sing, and the singing was spontaneous at the time."

Lisa Farley Head teacher, St John and St Francis Church School in Bridgwater

New taxi app debuts in Bristol

A new smartphone app has been introduced by Bristol taxi drivers which they hope will rival Uber.

Braxi works in a similar way to the more famous ride-hailing app which allows users to book and pay for a taxi on their phone.

Unlike Uber all Braxi drivers will be licensed by the city council, meaning they have to pass a strict knowledge test of the city's roads. 

Watch: A new smartphone app has been launched in Bristol to rival Uber

Work continues to lift derailed train carriages in Somerset

Network Rail staff are continuing to work on a freight train which derailed between Castle Cary and Westbury on Monday evening. 

Several of its wagons contained stone and stand which are still being cleared up. This photo was posted this morning and shows heavy lifting gear attached to one of the wagons.

The line is expected to be closed until late Friday evening.

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