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Summary

  1. News, sport, weather and travel updates from across the West of England on Friday, 7 April 2017

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Woman found after three-day search 'an absolute miracle'

Watch: Son James Denham said finding her was "an absolute miracle"

After three nights out in the cold, the chances of finding Hazel Denham alive were fading - but that's exactly what happened.

She had disappeared near Minchinhampton Common while taking her dog - Bertie - for a walk.

A police officer was so delighted to see her he ran up and gave her hug - her faithful pet had stayed with her throughout. 

And despite overnight temperatures close to freezing, Hazel is recovering well.

And that's it for BBC Local Live for the West this week. Join us again on Monday from 7am for more news, sport, weather and travel updates.

Hospital parking arrangements 'example of really good practice'

Southmead Hospital
BBC

Parking arrangements at Bristol's Southmead Hospital have been praised by the RAC.

It said automatic number plate recognition technology and the ability to pay by using credit or debit cards is an example of "really good practice".

It also highlighted a free patient drop-off zone, available for 20 minutes, and "cheaper" seven-day passes. 

The news comes as the motoring organisation suggested too many hospitals in England have "unreasonable" rules that cause unnecessary stress when it comes to car parking.

Royal signatures photo sold for £1,600


          An official colour photograph of the Queen and Prince Charles with members of the Privy Council after a meeting at Buckingham Palace on 27 March 1981
Dominic Winter Auctioneers Ltd

A rare photograph signed by the Queen and Prince Charles bought for £20 at a Cardiff bric-a-brac store has sold for £1,600 at auction. 

The image showed the two royals with members of the Privy Council after a meeting at Buckingham Palace in 1981. 

It had a guide price of £1,000 but it was sold for £1,600 by Dominic Winter Auctioneers in South Cerney, Gloucestershire.

The frame is signed by George Thomas, 1st Viscount Tonypandy, who is pictured second on the right in the front row.

Chris Albury, auctioneer and senior valuer, said it was the first time he had seen something signed by more than one member of the royal family.

Foodbank in Swindon struggling with demand

Watch: Swindon Foodbank is appealing for items including coffee and sugar

Swindon Foodbank has put out an urgent appeal for donations after seeing an increase in people using the service. 

The organisation blames the benefit cap, benefit cuts and delays to payments.

Remembering Bristol's former pubs

Some of these pub names will definitely ring familiar with some people in Bristol:

Watch: Photographer Gavin Roberts has documented old pubs in Bristol

Gavin Roberts has spent the last nine years documenting how pubs across Bristol are changing and declining. 

His photography project has covered modern post-war pubs as well as Victorian buildings. 

In many cases, they were simply abandoned before being demolished. Others became supermarkets or houses. 

Gavin said it was sad how pubs often make way for housing developments because of the large spacious plots they sit on.

Classroom not court for drug users

Watch: Police offer drugs education to users as an alternative to court

Avon and Somerset Constabulary is offering awareness courses in place of prosecution for people caught with drugs. 

Those who complete the course walk away without a criminal record. 

So far, nearly 400 people have taken the course and police claim it's a success.

Rugby: All square at half-time

'Pipes and pizza' encourages young organists

Watch young organist Anna play

An idea using pizza to persuade young people to take up the church organ has had some success. 

Anna, 12, went along to one of the "Pipes and Pizza" workshops at Edington Priory Church, near Westbury, three years ago.

She's just passed her grade four organ exam with distinction. Well done Anna!

Organ tutor Chris Totney said the idea had turned out to be "really fruitful".

Gloucester Rugby team news (8pm kick-off)

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One late change for Gloucester Rugby with Sione Kalamafoni coming in for Ross Moriarty, who is unwell.

Billy Twelvetrees takes over from the injured Billy Burns in the halves, Mark Atkinson comes into the centres, while in the pack Motu Matu'u plays hooker and John Afoa at tighthead prop.

Gloucester:   Marshall; Sharples, Trinder, Atkinson, May; Twelvetrees, Heinz (capt); McAllister, Matu'u, Afoa; Savage, Galarza; Kalamafoni, Rowan, Morgan.

Replacements:   Hibbard, Thomas, Hohneck, Denton, Ludlow, Braley, Evans, Purdy.

When you invite a random Joe from Stockport on holiday

Watch: These Bristolians invited a replacement Joe McGrath to join them on their hols
  • Passport, check
  • Sunglasses, check
  • All 10 friends? Nope

That's what happened to a group of 10 Bristolians who suddenly had a friend drop out of their holiday to Majorca.

They took to Facebook and approached every "Joe McGrath" they could find, in an attempt to fill the original Joe's place. 

Joe McGrath from Stockport was the first person to say yes, and joined the group on a freebie holiday to Majorca, showing off his dance moves in the process.

Cricket: Lower-order runs frustrate Gloucestershire's bowlers

James Harris
Getty Images

Kent's lower order struck valuable runs to frustrate Gloucestershire's bowlers on an even opening day at Chelmsford.

James Tredwell (26) and James Harris (33 not out), pictured above, helped Kent recover from 154-5 to reach 298 all out.

Liam Norwell (3-46) was the pick of Gloucestershire's bowlers, who reached 9-1 at the close.

Road through Nailsworth closes for 12 nights

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The A46 will be closed overnight for the next 12 days , through Nailsworth, for resurfacing work. 

Around 1,000 tonnes of asphalt is being laid on the Stroud Road and Bath Road. 

Night closures will be in place between 7pm and 7am and the road will be open as normal during the weekends. 

A signed diversion will be in place during the closure.

Appeal to find men who helped sexual assault victim

Police 'so happy' to find woman missing for three days

Watch: PC Rich Holland gave missing Hazel Denham a "big hug"

A police officer said he was "so happy" to find an elderly woman who has been missing for three days. 

PC Rich Holland said when he saw 71-year-old Hazel Denham sitting by a tree in Toadsmoor Woods, near Minchinhampton, he "climbed over the fence and gave her a big hug". 

Gloucestershire Police said Mrs Denham was in "good spirits but very dehydrated". 

Her dog Bertie, who was also missing, was by her side.

Ambulance
BBC
Hazel Denham was helped into an ambulance to go to hospital for treatment

Actor Tim Pigott-Smith dies aged 70

Tim Pigott-Smith
Getty Images

British actor Tim Pigott-Smith, who was best known for his Bafta-winning role in 1984 TV series The Jewel in the Crown, has died aged 70.

His agent described him as "one of the greatest actors of his generation".

Having trained as an actor at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, he appeared in numerous Shakespearean stage productions and had TV roles in The Vice, Bloody Sunday, Downton Abbey and Doctor Who.

On the big screen he notably appeared in Clash of the Titans, V for Vendetta and James Bond film Quantum of Solace.

'Only one was stupid enough to reply, and that was me'

The ticket
Joe McGrath

A group of Bristol friends asked a complete stranger to accompany them to Majorca in place of a friend - with the same name - who had dropped out.

The "new" Joe McGrath only had to fill in his passport details at check-in in order to go on the three-day holiday, and said he thought it was a bit of a joke at first .

They messaged 15 other Joe McGraths on Facebook and only one was stupid enough to reply, and that was me. After a couple of days debate and re-assuring myself it was a legit offer for a free trip, I decided to take the plunge and drove down to Bristol on Saturday. I must be a bit mad. I was fully up for it.

Joe McGrath

Man jailed over single punch killing

Grzegorz Beyer
Wiltshire POlice

A man has been jailed for eight years after killing a man with a single punch during a night out in Swindon.

At Bristol Crown Court last month Marcin Koscielniak, 28, of Westlea in Swindon, was found guilty of the manslaughter of the father-of-three.

The victim, Polish national Grzegorz Beyer, had recently moved to Swindon to start a new life and was described by loved ones as a "wonderful family man".

Mr Beyer, 40, was attacked in the town on 2 May and died two days later.

Football: Bristol City v Wolves (Saturday)

Lee Johnson
Rex Features

Bristol City welcome in-form Wolves to Ashton Gate tomorrow.

The hosts start the day just a point clear of trouble, 10 points behind Wolves, who have leapt clear of the bottom three with five straight league victories, having failed to win any of the previous six.

"Everything is in our hands. We have got four games to come. We all want that Championship status. "It is not going to be easy but we have got to dig in and go to the wire. "We can have discussions at the end of the season and lay everything out in the open. In the meantime, it is very important that we stay together."

Lee JohnsonBristol City head coach

Castle Bridge named and opened

Watch: Timelapse footage of Bristol's newest bridge being built

Castle Bridge is now open to the public.

The winning name was announced earlier today after a public vote led to a shortlist including Brewery Bridge, New Brigstow Bridge and the winning name.

Man, 29, charged with killing soldier

Warehouse nightclub
BBC

A 29-year old man has been charged with killing a soldier outside a nightclub in Stroud.

Jake Davies, from Bowbridge, has been charged with manslaughter following consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service, police said.

Mr Davies has been bailed to appear at Cheltenham Magistrates' Court on 2nd May.

Jack Mitchell, 24, a gunner at Larkhill Camp in Wiltshire, died outside the Warehouse nightclub in Stroud in the early hours of Sunday, 5 February.

'Same name stranger' invited on Majorcan birthday trip

Joe McGrath and his new friends in Majorca
Joe McGrath

A group of friends planning a trip to Majorca asked a complete stranger to go with them when a friend dropped out - because he had the same name.

The 10 friends from Bristol turned to Facebook and found a Joe McGrath in Stockport who agreed to go on the paid-for trip for a 30th birthday.

The 26-year-old said they were "an absolutely lovely group of people".

"They messaged 15 other Joe McGraths on Facebook and only one was stupid enough to reply, and that was me," he said.

Click here to read more.

BBC local radio headlines across the West

Radio microphones
BBC
  • BBC Radio Bristol : Avon and Somerset police say they are having to deal with an average of 60 emergency calls a day from people with mental health problems. The 999 calls range from people who are suicidal to those who are at risk of harming other people
  • BBC Radio Gloucestershire : The family of Hazel Denham says it's a miracle she's been found safe and well. The 71-year-old from Minchinhampton vanished three days ago after going out for a walk with her dog. She has memory problems and police described her as vulnerable
  • BBC Wiltshire : Prince Harry's been in Bath today as wounded soldiers begin trials for the Invictus Games. The international paralympic style event for wounded, injured or sick military personnel was set up by the Prince in 2014. This year's event takes place in Toronto in September
  • BBC Somerset : A man who caught and killed an endangered butterfly in Somerset has been given a six-month suspended jail sentence. Phillip Cullen, 57, from Bristol, was found in possession of two Large Blue butterflies in 2015 - one from Gloucestershire and the other from Collard Hill near Street

Parents deny killing three-month-old son

Alistair Walker and Hannah Henry
BBC

A mother and father have denied killing their three-month-old son .

Ah'Kiell Walker died on 31st July last year after he was taken to Bristol Children's Hospital from his home in Archdeacon Street, Gloucester.

At Bristol Crown Court Hannah Henry, 20, of Archdeacon Street, and Alistair Walker, 26, now of Sheldon Court, Stockwell, London, denied manslaughter, child cruelty and neglect.

Both are due to face a trial, set to start on 13 June.

Rare butterfly killer spared jail

Phillip Cullen
PA

A collector who captured and killed the UK's rarest butterfly - the Large Blue - has been spared jail

Philip Cullen, 57, was given a six-month suspended sentence for capturing two butterflies at reserves in Somerset and in Gloucestershire in 2015. 

He was convicted in March of six charges, relating to killing, capturing and possessing the endangered species. 

His is believed to be the first prosecution in the UK involving offences related to the species.

The aftermath at the scene of Bristol's earlier fire

Parents protest in Filton about school funding cuts

Kevin Courtney, General Secretary, National Union of Teachers was at the meeting.

There was a full house at a public meeting in Filton last night to protest about funding cuts to schools. 

The National Union of Teachers says hundreds of teachers in South Gloucestershire are at risk of losing their jobs. 

Missing woman's family overjoyed at her safe return: 'It's an absolute miracle'

Hazel Denham went missing four days ago with her dog in Minchinhampton.

"We couldn't have wished for a happier ending," says her son James Denham, and daughter-in-law, Lisa Denham. 

Bath v Leicester (Sat)

George Ford
Rex Features

Team news as Bath and Leicester Tigers meet in Saturday's Premiership fixture at Twickenham (14:00 BST).

Read more here .

Prince Harry visits the University of Bath to see the Invictus Games trials

Prince Harry was at the University of Bath today

Prince Harry was at the University of Bath today to cheer on 300 hopefuls as they competed for a place at the 2017 Invictus Games. 

The games will be held in Toronto, Canada, from September 23-30. 

Prince Harry, who is patron of the Invictus Games Foundation, delivered a short speech at the University of Bath Sports Training Village. 

Around 300 military personnel and veterans will compete over four days across 11 sports for some of the 90 places available on the team. 

The Prince also saw some of the work carried out by the RFU Injured Players Foundation. 

Researchers at the university have been working with the foundation, of which Harry is also a patron, to find ways to reduce the risk of injury in rugby.

Bristol City Council staff braced for more cuts

City Hall, Bristol
BBC

Unions representing council workers in Bristol have been warned a further 828 job losses are needed this financial year to help balance its books. 

In September elected mayor Marvin Rees said 1,000 posts had to go but it has emerged so far that only a third of the losses had materialised. 

Gavin Brooks, from Unison, said the union can not see any areas where cuts can be made and services maintained. 

Bristol City Council said it remained committed to minimising redundancies.

Warehouse fire causes smoke plume across Bristol

Watch: Warehouse fire causes smoke plume across Bristol

A fire earlier today at a warehouse in south Bristol prompted dozens of 999 calls to the fire brigade and was captured on camera by John Watson. 

Avon Fire and Rescue was called to Hartcliffe Way, near its junction with Parson Street, earlier on Friday. 

A brigade spokesman advised people living nearby to stay indoors, closing doors and windows.  

Bath Rugby fans travelling tomorrow should think ahead

If you're heading to Twickenham for The Clash you'll need to plan for roadworks as well as disruption at Bath Spa station.  

Heading to Twickenham for Bath's Clash with Leicester tomorrow? Plan ahead + allow extra time for M4 J12-J13 roadwo… twitter.com/i/web/status/8…

Although Bath Rugby say that there are no planned closures on the M4.

View more on twitter

Bristol fire: blaze appears to be under control

Fire appears to be out with no smoke seen from roadside now. Fire appliance from Nailsea just arriving with others from Southmead, Bedminster and Temple stations already at the scene.

Adam CrowtherBBC Bristol
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Fire is at a warehouse at Hartcliffe Way

Here's the latest from Avon Fire and Rescue:  

Firefighters are tackling a fire involving a warehouse at Hartcliffe Way near the junction with Parson Street in Bristol. Crews from Bedminster, Temple, Kingswood and Southmead were alerted after more than 30 emergency calls were received from members of the public. More than 30 firefighters from seven fire engines, a turntable ladder and command vehicles are at the scene. Crews are using jets and foam to bring the fire under control. A large plume of smoke was visible in the area and anyone living or working nearby was advised to close doors and windows.

Avon Fire and Rescue

We're on our way and will be live from the scene of the fire shortly

Bristol fire: Latest video as plume of smoke blows over city

Fire on Hartcliffe Way

Bristol fire: another view of the fire on Hartcliffe Way

Another view of fire
BBC

BreakingBristol fire: More than 30 emergency calls

Here's the latest from Avon Fire and Rescue:

Four fire engines have been called to reports of a fire at Hartcliffe Way near the junction with Parson Street in Bristol. Crews from Bedminster, Temple, Kingswood and Southmead were alerted after more than 30 emergency calls were received from members of the public. A large plume of smoke is visible in the area and anyone living or working nearby is advised to close doors and windows as crews tackle the fire.

Avon Fire and Rescue