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  1. News, sport, travel and weather updates for the West of England on Thursday, 27 April 2017.

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

Goodnight from us

Thanks for being with us today. Before we go, a quick look at tomorrow's weather map. Patchy rain will spread south across the West, though temperatures will be much warmer than recent days, with highs of 14 in some parts.

BBC Local Live for the West will return from 7am with the latest news, sport, travel and weather.

Watch: Patchy rain across some parts will give way to warmer temperatures later in the afternoon.

Volunteer workers descend on North Somerset for cycle path construction

In less than three months, a new cycle path running all the way between Weston-super-Mare and Brean Down is set to open. 

All this week dozens of volunteers have set up camp near Brean to help get part of the path built. At the moment, cyclists have to travel on the road between the two places. The new path is due to be officially opened on the 7 July.

The path will link Brean and Weston-super-Mare

Bringing cinema magic to the elderly

One of the oldest cinemas in the world has come up with a new idea - taking films on the road. 

The Curzon in Clevedon was opened in 1912. Their latest venture makes it possible for elderly people still to enjoy an afternoon at the movies without leaving their care homes.

Susannah Shaw came up with the idea when she began working there.

Watch: Susannah says she wanted to bring the cinema magic to those who couldn't make it out usually.

Knife crime charity volunteer says demand for their services remains high

Gloucester-based charity Increase the Peace faces closure after losing its funding. The charity encourages young people to stay away from knife crime, but its request for funding from the police and crime commissioner has been turned down.

Sisters Shayla and Kayla made a video pleading for Gloucester's PCC to reverse his decision. 

Their mother Pam says the charity's youth workers can help troubled youngsters before the authorities get involved. 

Watch: Pam Mitchell's charity Increase The Peace faces closure due to funding cuts.

Spice 'a most evil drug'

Spice drug

The chief executive of Taunton's Association for the Homeless has been speaking to BBC Somerset, after the death of a 30-year-old man in Taunton who took Spice yesterday.

Six of the charity's clients were also badly affected by the same drug.

A number of our clients are using Spice, this new legal high. This batch was particularly strong, something like 150 times stronger than cannabis or marijuana. We were aware that around half a dozen of our clients had been affected by this spice, so CPR was administered. It basically comatoses you, people just collapse. It really is a most evil drug."

Justin RoxburghChief executive, Taunton Association for the Homeless

Refugee figures unveiled in Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral exhibition

A set of 12 oversized "refugee" figures, carved from a single tree, has been unveiled at Salisbury Cathedral.

The exhibition, called Dispersing the Night, was created by Brazilian sculptor Ana Maria Pacheco who said the sculptures illustrate the suffering of exile, migration and displacement.

At the centre, a young man carries an older man on his back, with 10 figures reacting in the shadows.

The exhibition can be seen on display until 23 July.

You can read more about the story here

Family tribute for canal crash couple

The sister-in-law of Joan Tipler, who died with her husband when their car crashed into a canal in Bristol last night, says she was "always one of the family and would do anything for anybody".

Pauline Searle said Joan's daughter was on her way back from Portugal after hearing the news.

An elderly pair died after their car crashed into a canal on Feeder Road

Severe disruption: M5 Somerset southbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Somerset southbound severe disruption, at J21 for A370.

M5 Somerset - M5 lane closed on exit slip road southbound at J21, A370 (Weston-Super-Mare). Traffic is coping well.

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

Colin Ingram

Nick Webb

BBC Wales Sport

Two wickets in an over from Colin Ingram is the turning-point as Glamorgan beat Gloucestershire via the Duckworth-Lewis method.

Read more

Wiltshire's spectacular crop circles return

Depending on who you ask, crop circles are examples of aliens visiting us, or man-made formations.

This one captured on camera near Devizes is definitely man-made. Pretty spectacular, even if ET didn't have a helping hand in making them.

Watch: this spectacular drone footage was captured in Devizes, Wiltshire

Are shipping containers the solution to our homeless problem?

It turns out shipping containers can be used for a lot of things. Bristol already has several near the Engine Shed that are used as bases for business.

Now, an organisation called "Help Bristol's Homeless" wants to use them to help people off the streets and back into accommodation.

They plan to convert 11 of these shipping containers into living accommodation, from which homeless people could apply for more permanent homes. 

Here's one solution to the shortage of affordable homes in Bristol - shipping containers.

Tributes paid to Bash Street Kids creator

Leo Baxendale
Robert Judges/Rex/Shutterstock

Tributes have been paid to a man described as "the most influential artist in UK humour comics". 

Leo Baxendale, who lived in Stroud, died at the weekend at the age of 86 after a long fight with cancer.

Among his many creations were characters such as The Bash Street Kids, Minnie the Minx, Little Plum and The Three Bears.

His son Martin, also a cartoonist, told the BBC his father was "an impossible act to follow".

"His drawings were always both very, very funny and sublimely well drawn - Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling to my greetings card and gift book scribbles. 

"He cast a long shadow which will be greatly missed now it's gone."

Click here to read more.

Knife crime charity 'won't give up without a fight' following funding cut

A Gloucester charity which aims to prevent knife crime in the city has been forced to close its doors due to a lack of funds.

Increase The Peace works with 80 young people each week, but after being funded by Gloucestershire's Police and Crime Commissioner for the last four years, that funding has now stopped. 

The PCC Martin Surl said their latest bid for £218,000 over the next four years was unsustainable, but the charity's founder Delroy Ellis says he will fight to keep the charity going.

Watch: Delroy Ellis founded "Increase The Peace" and will look at other funding sources.

Taunton Flower Show to move after more than 160 years

Taunton's Flower Show has been held in the town's Vivary Park since 1851, but organisers have revealed this year's show will be the last at the current site.

They claim Taunton Deane Borough Council asked them to pay a five figure sum to use the park, which was more than they could afford.

From next year, the Show will be held at a venue yet to be determined.

2017 looks like it will be the last Taunton Flower Show at Vivary Park

In a statement, Taunton Deane Borough Council said it was a planned cost increase which had been brought to the Show organisers attention in January. 

The Council also said that the increasing costs of maintenance from the wear and tear caused by the Show, as well as the loss of public access, meant that new charges needed to be introduced.

Up until this point the use of the Park for the Taunton Flower Show had been free. 

Severe disruption: M5 Bristol northbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Bristol northbound severe disruption, at J18A for M49.

M5 Bristol - M5 lane closed on exit slip road and slow traffic northbound at J18a M49, because of a broken down vehicle.

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

Severe disruption: M4 Wiltshire westbound

BBC News Travel

M4 Wiltshire westbound severe disruption, between J17 for A350 and J18 for A46 Bath.

M4 Wiltshire - One lane closed on M4 westbound between J17, A350 (Chippenham) and J18, A46 (Bath), because of a broken down vehicle. Traffic is coping well.

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

Petition against Colston Hall renaming gathers pace

Yesterday, we brought you the news that Bristol's Colston Hall is to ditch its name, as it says it was too "toxic".

Since that announcement, a petition against the name change has so far hit 1,800 signatures.

The petition was started back in March when the idea was mooted, however the recent confirmation of has caused it to snowball.

Petition website

Marine A 'to be released from prison'

It's reported a former Somerset Royal Marine convicted of shooting dead a wounded Taliban fighter will be freed from prison tomorrow. 

Alexander Blackman had his murder conviction reduced to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility last month. 

The Guardian newspaper reported he'll be released from Erlestoke prison in Wiltshire in the early hours of tomorrow morning.

The Justice For Marine A campaign group is also saying he'll be released.

His wife Claire blackman was a vocal campaigner against his sentence, saying he had "always regretted his actions"

Watch: his supporters were campaigning for his sentence to be reduced.

BreakingMarine A, Alexander Blackman to be released from prison tomorrow

Alexander Blackman

Royal Marine Alexander Blackman, who had his sentence reduced for shooting dead an injured Taliban fighter in Afghanistan, will be released from prison on Friday, the Justice For Marine A campaign group said.

Anti-knife charity loses funding

Delroy Ellis
Founder Delroy Ellis says it's had to shut its doors for the "time being" due to the "financial crises".

A charity that encourages young people in Gloucester to stay away from knife crime and gang culture has lost its future funding. 

Increase The Peace asked the police and crime commissioner for four years more cash but the application was turned down

The charity has had to temporarily stop its work while it seeks ways to solve the issue.   

Read more on this story here 

Blind rower makes good progress in Thames river challenge

James Shone
I can and I am

A disabled blind rower has begun his bid to row 128 miles (approx. 205km) from Lechlade to Teddington in a tug boat to raise awareness of mental health and self-esteem problems among young people.

James Shone was a school teacher and house master but was forced to give up his profession in 2013 after a brain tumour resulted in blindness and left him partially disabled.

He's now set up a charity called I can and I am which helps teachers set up mentoring schemes within their schools for pupils.

He's hoping to complete his challenge on Monday 1 May.

BBC Radio Bristol's metro mayor debate: solving congestion problems

Bristol traffic
Getty Images

Roy in Bradley Stoke asks the panel: What is your first transport policy that would implement rather than form a committee about? 

Leslie Mansell, Labour: What I want to see is flexible working, we've got to reduce congestion and we looked at people who were working at home some days or different hours and using flexible hours it would make a difference on the roads. We can do things like encourage people to get out of their cars and get walking, to encourage people to walk to school - we've got an issue now where because parents choose a school for their children they go much further and that's causing pollution where people are waiting in cars to pick their children up.

Green Party, Darren Hall: Charging chargeable clean air zones for Bristol and Bath because putting that at the front of we can drive all the rest of the strategy that comes from it. The best way of getting change is more buses, in order to have more buses, in order to have less cars we need to have better cycling and walking. But a clean air strategy can be a catalyst for creating the rest of that change. 

Tim Bowles, Conservative: We can make some early differences in addressing the hot spots. Longer term we have to get new station opened, stations like Filton North, in Henbury, St Annes, Portway to link in with the park and ride, there's a long list of stations that we need to get built nto the programme. We need to build roads which will take cars where they need to go in terms of commuting also in terms of reducing congestion - Winterbourne being an example. 

Aaron Foot, UKIP: I will be getting out there in the local community talking to local residentsand finding out why we have got this congestion. It can be simple little fixes like traffic lights being integrated further up the road. If traffic lights aren't flowing correctly we can turn them off part-time, let's turn them off on roundabouts in the evening when we don't actually need them because there's no cars on the road. 

Stephen Williams, Lib Dem: The first quick win would be for all buses to move to a quick cashless system to speed up all bus journeys, giving people confidence their journeys will run on time. I've also got four longer term plans to reopen four railway stations Saltford, Charfield, Ashley Hill and the park and ride on the Portway. 

Independent, John Savage was unable to attend due to a prior commitment but you can read his manifesto here.  

BreakingMan's death in Taunton linked to so-called 'legal highs' use

Spice 'legal high'

An investigation is under way after a man died in Taunton after taking the illegal street drug Spice.

Paramedics contacted the police at 3.45pm yesterday afternoon. A 30-year-old man was found unresponsive at the property and subsequently died.

Six others who were with the victim at a home in Wheatley Crescent also showed symptoms of taking the former legal high but did not need hospital treatment.

We’re investigating whether there is an evidential link between the incidents, but there is information to suggest some of those affected may have taken the so-called legal high commonly referred to as Spice. These are clearly serious incidents and we are warning people not to take these so-called legal highs."

DCI Liz Hughes

Severe disruption: M4 Berkshire westbound

BBC News Travel

M4 Berkshire westbound severe disruption, between J14 for A338 and J15 for A346 Marlborough Road.

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

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

Museum discovers dress which may have been worn by royalty

Research for the latest exhibition at the Bath Fashion Museum has uncovered several spectacular pieces. 

The Lace in Fashion show includes a lace dress made in 1805, which may be the only surviving dress worn by Queen Charlotte.

Severe disruption: A430 Gloucestershire both ways

BBC News Travel

A430 Gloucestershire both ways severe disruption, between A4302 Metz Way and B4063 London Road.

A430 Gloucestershire - A430 Bruton Way in Gloucester closed and slow traffic in both directions between the A4302 Metz Way junction and the B4063 London Road junction, because of a police incident.

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

BBC Radio Bristol's metro mayor debate: jobs and unskilled workers

Job Centre

What are you going to do to improve the lot of those out of education, but don't have skills?

Stephen Williams, Lib Dem: Skills is devolved from next year, from May 2018. So, there is some time to prepare for that further devolution of power. I'll spend time with the major employers in the region, in high end engineering, in hospitality, which is very critical to the tourism industry in this area. And with colleges and private sector training providers to make sure what they're offering is aligned with where the growth opportunities of the future are going to come from. I also want to address the gender imbalances in certain industries. 

Leslie Mansell, Labour: We've got a big skills gap. We have a skills vacuum in construction, in healthcare assistance and also in the digital industries. We also have something called 'widening participation' and trying to encourage more young people to go into those industries. With Brexit on the horizon we are going to lose more skills. In the hospital we have 200 nurses that we understand are very worried and may go home. 

Darren Hall, Green Party: It's really surprising with a government who's so focussed on growing the economy, that they've stripped so much money out of the next generation of the workforce. I think business is going to have to help fill the void, starting earlier, particularly with the schools which are struggling most. It's about exciting children and funding the education system. 

Conservative Tim Bowles: I see this as one of the really exciting elements of how we can really make a difference for the future. Skills are an issue. Whenever we talk about any sector they always talk about the different skills that they need. So, we've got challenges there, and we can make difference by talking to industry in the region and making sure we are providing those skills. 

Aaron Foot, UKIP: I want to champion skills as well and I think we can do this by talking to the small and medium sized businesses. Here in the West, 90% of businesses are small or medium-sized. Let's talk to them and find out what skills are lacking. Then we can go into schools and talk to under 18s, get them enthused about going into the workplace. It's about dialogue and championing more apprenticeships.

Independent, John Savage was unable to attend the debate due to a prior commitment but you can read his manifesto here.  

Beano artist Leo Baxendale dies

Listen: Leo Baxendale interviewed in 2008

Beano comic artist Leo Baxendale, who lived in Stroud, has died at the age of 86. 

He created classic characters including the Bash Street Kids, Minnie the Minx and Little Plum. 

He was regarded by aficionados as one of Britain's greatest and most influential cartoonists. 

Speaking to the BBC in 2008 he described how his famous comic strips began.

BBC Radio Bristol's metro mayor debate: future housing growth

New homes

John in Shirehampton asks: Councils are already preparing a joint housing plan for the next 20 years that will be submitted to the government this autumn - will the candidates adopt those plans unchanged or will they start again?

Labour, Leslie Mansell: I certainly don't want to start again. I'm very concerned that we keep re-doing the same thing over and over again. What I do want to see is that we have transparency and that what we agree to do is robust. 

Green Party, Darren Hall: It would be crazy to start again. But we do have an opportunity to look at some of the criteria that we are using around the planning processes. So, for example the standards have to be raised; there could be a presumption in favour for highly sustainable housing and far higher percentages of affordable housing. 

Conservative, Tim Bowles: It is important we start delivering homes. As the mayor, our opportunity is to work with the council leaders in terms of getting the delivery of homes into the region and that's what we should be focused on. 

UKIP, Aaron Foot: It's not about scrapping it but working with the local council and residents. And we need feedback into the policy. If there are bits that need altering, let's alter it. It should be ongoing. We should be able to adapt and change it. 

Liberal Democrat, Stephen Williams: The special plan is in draft at the moment, so it can be amended. I've given notice in my manifesto that I am not happy with it. I want to make sure it is fully integrated and joined up with a transport plan becuase it is no good putting extra homes in Thornbury or Yate if you don't crack the public transport deficit in the area.

Independent, John Savage was unable to attend due to a prior commitment but you can read his manifesto here.

Bristol lock Ian Evans retires - and forward Jon Fisher takes a break from rugby.

Preparing for the summer at Porlock Weir

Boats have been moved to the outer harbour from their winter moorings.

Take a look at this time lapse video and watch the vessels on the move.

Boats have been moved to the outer harbour from their winter moorings

Bash Street Kids creator remembered

Watch: Leo Baxendale interviewed in the 1990s

Comic artist Leo Baxendale, whose creations included Beano comic strips The Bash Street Kids, Minnie the Minx and The Three Bears, has died. 

He was 86 and had lived in Stroud for more than 30 years. 

Mr Baxendale was regarded as one of Britain's greatest and most influential cartoonists. 

In this archive clip from the 1990s he unveiled a new CD-Rom which featured some of his work.  

Walking festival: Can you walk a mile a day?

People walking

One of the country’s largest urban walking festivals is returning to Bristol - and is being officially launched today.  

The Bristol Walk Fest will take place throughout the month of May, with opportunities for strolling, scrambling and hiking around the area.

This is the event's fifth year.The theme this time is: can you get more active by walking a mile a day?

Highlights include a treasure hunt, doing yoga on the move, walking football, bug hunting, and even playing ping pong while taking a stroll. 

Driving between Cirencester and Gloucester? Police warn of traffic congestion in Birdlip

River Avon death crash couple are named

Feeder Rd, scene of the crash

The couple who died after their car plunged into the River Avon yesterday evening have been named locally as a couple who were in their 70s.

John and Joan Tipler lived near the scene of the accident on Feeder Road in Bristol, the BBC has been told.

Police believe the female driver lost control of the Renault Clio they were travelling in after she had a suspected medical episode.

In January of last year two men died in the same stretch of canal when their car crashed into the water.

Dean of Salisbury appointed as new Bishop of Llandaff

The Church in Wales has appointed a second woman bishop to be its new Bishop of Llandaff.

The Very Rev June Osborne, Dean of Salisbury, was the first woman to become dean at a medieval cathedral.

A previous selection process ended in controversy when Dr Jeffrey John accused the Church in Wales of homophobia, after he was not chosen despite receiving over half the votes.

The church said a candidate required two-thirds of the vote to be chosen.

June Osborne
Dean Berry

Gloucestershire County Council elections: who will have majority control?

Hayley Mortimer

BBC Gloucestershire politics reporter

Polling station

When the authority was last elected the result reflected the national trend of the time - there were huge gains for UKIP and losses for the Conservatives. 

They lost their overall control of the council as UKIP picked up three seats all in the Forest. Two of them have since jumped ship following the result of referendum. 

So the current makeup of the council is 25 Conservatives, 14 Liberal Democrats, 9 Labour, 1 Green, 1 UKIP and two independents. 

The Conservatives want majority control, but it won’t be easy for them as the Lib Dems are predicting a strong showing in remain areas like Cheltenham and The Cotswolds. 

In Cheltenham they have seven out of the 10 seats and are hoping to pick up a few more. The priority for Labour will be holding onto their nine seats. 

All the main parties say they want to improve the roads. But the Tories are also promising better broadband and thousands of new apprenticeships. The Lib Dems say they will lobby the Government for more money for the NHS while Labour want a more compassionate care service and more affordable homes. 

As for the smaller parties, the Greens say they will cancel the Javelin Park incinerator contract and UKIP wants to improve neighbourhood policing.

Bash Street Kids creator, Leo Baxendale, dies aged 86

Bash Street Kids
D.C. Thomson and Co Ltd

The Gloucestershire creator of the Beano characters Minnie the Minx and Bash Street Kids has died aged 86. 

Leo Baxendale, who lived in Stroud, created the characters for the comic in 1953. 

The cartoonist left the Beano in 1962 but carried on drawing new strips for other publications.