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Summary

  1. News, sport, travel and weather updates from the West of England on Friday, 30 June 2017

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Prepare for a sunnier few days ahead

Watch: "Increasing sunshine" for the West, says Sara Thornton

That's all from us here on BBC Local Live for the West of England at the end of a busy week.

We've got warmer, sunnier weather to look forward to this weekend and we'll be back on Monday from 7am with more live news, sport, weather and travel updates.

Hope you have a lovely weekend.

Virtual reality orchestra inside a shipping container?

Watch: Meurig Bowen introduces the idea

A brightly-coloured freight container has appeared on Cheltenham's High Street.

Inside is the Philharmonia Orchestra - sort of.

George Formby uke sale impresses local expert

George Formby's banjo ukulele which is to be sold at auction
Hansons Auctioneers Ltd

One of the world's leading ukulele experts who lives in Gloucestershire reckons a George Formby fan has got a real bargain.

A ukulele banjo, once owned by the 1930s and 1940s When I'm Cleaning Windows star, was sold at auction this afternoon for a whopping £28,500.

But Steven Sproat from the Forest of Dean - who's a whiz on the instrument, and who even taught Frank Skinner to play - said it wasn't the most expensive George Formby instrument.

There was one that went last year for about £72,000. I don't know what the condition of that one was compared to the condition of this one, but nevertheless I think £28,500 is a good buy really.

Steven Sproat

Abandoned drug needles causing concern

Watch: Concern is growing in Gloucester

A pharmacy in Gloucester says the number of heroin addicts they're dealing with is rising - with up to 40 a week asking for clean needles.

It follows complaints about drug paraphernalia being left on a key route between the hospital and railway station in the city.

Needles and used foil are being frequently left in the underpass off Great Western Road.

Gloucester City Council said 10 cases of drug paraphernalia being dumped had been reported to them.

World Cup home comforts for vice-captain Anya

Watch: Anya Shrubsole said most of her family will be watching

The England women's cricket team arrived in Taunton ahead of this weekend's World Cup match against Sri Lanka.

The squad, which includes Somerset's Anya Shrubsole, had a practice session at the County Ground this afternoon.

It'll be a special day for her, with many of her family in the crowd cheering her on.

Dancing dads thrill Little Mix fans online

Watch: See the dads dancing

A short video of two dads dancing at the Little Mix concert in Gloucester last weekend has attracted a lot of attention online.

Thousands of people have seen, shared and liked the video which was originally tweeted by Neil Cooley and then 'shared' by the band.

@LittleMix Me and Joe enjoyed your concert just as much as our girls did.. Amazing show, loved it. X

This has made my day 😍 thank you, glad you all enjoyed it! xjadex twitter.com/neilcooley/sta…

'People expect councillors to pay attention', says leader

Watch: Council leader Mark Hawthorne says "it's unacceptable"

The leader of Gloucestershire County Council says he can "understand why people are very angry" about councillors appearing to fall asleep during a vital council meeting.

Cllr Mark Hawthorne says he will be talking to other party leaders at Shire Hall to "make sure it doesn't happen again".

Friends attempt ladder climb world record

Watch: The group wants to climb a total of 42km

A group of friends in Frome are attempting to break a world record for repeatedly climbing a ladder.

They need to climb 42km in eight hours to break the record while raising money for a charity and the Jamie Mines fund.

Jamie, a scaffolder from the town, had to have his leg and hands amputated after a severe electric shock at a Swindon industrial estate last December.

Bus firm temporarily withdraws service after vandal attacks

A bus firm in Bristol had to withdraw its service through the south of the city on Thursday after windows were smashed on "multiple vehicles".

The 51 connects Whitchurch, Hengrove and Knowle to the city centre, and was saved from being axed last summer when First said it would end the service.

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

Would you know what to do if your child choked on food?

Watch: First Aid advice for helping a choking child

Last weekend Oli Hulbert, aged five, choked on a grape.

Despite the frantic efforts of his dad Steve, they couldn't dislodge it.

The family dialled 999 from their home near Bristol and paramedics arrived within minutes.

They began chest compressions until the grape was eventually dislodged.

Step inside one of the most amazing homes in the UK

medieval dining room
Jayne Townley
The Medieval dining room

A family in Weston-super-Mare has transformed their home into a medieval castle with decadent fabrics and amazing paintings by local artist Martin Darcy.

Jayne Townley had her dining room transformed into a beautiful medieval banqueting room and soon caught the bug which ended up with a castle, complete with flags and turrets painted on the back of their house.

Enchanted forest with a waterfall
Jayne Townley
An enchanted forest with a waterfall is painted on one of their fences.

The fantastical art doesn't end with her house though: the walls in her garden have also been transformed with dramatic waterfalls, hobbit cottages, a bluebell wood, fairy garden and a stunning sea scape.

Sea landscape
Jayne Townley
A beautiful sea scape on the back-garder fence

BreakingFootball: Forest Green defender joins Barnsley

Gus the baby giraffe earns his stripes

Gus, the baby giraffe, and Zebedee the Chapman's zebra
PA

Baby Gus was born last month at Noah's Ark Zoo farm in Wraxall has been spotted cosying up to an inquisitive zebra, with the pair exchanging licks and nuzzles.

Gus was born last month at Noah's Ark Zoo Farm, near Bristol, and after finding his feet has been settling in. well.

Watch: Genny the giraffe gave birth last month

He has been quick to explore his outdoor field and has met his neighbour, a bachelor Chapman's zebra called Zebedee.

Gus, the baby giraffe, and Zebedee the Chapman's zebra
PA

Train platforms given artistic makeover

Lydney Station, Gloucestershire
BBC

Platforms at Lydney station in the Forest of Dean have been transformed using soft furnishings.

Commuters can enjoy bunting, blankets, cushions, carpets, and art work.

The shelters have been decorated by a new Forest of Dean artist group called Far Open Studios.

Lydney Station, Gloucestershire
BBC
Lydney Station, Gloucestershire
BBC

Bridgwater Barrier design unveiled

Bridgwater Barrier
Sedgemoor District Council/Environment Agency

The preferred design and location of a major flood defence scheme along the River Parrett has been unveiled.

Sedgemoor District Council and the Environment Agency are working on the £60m project which also includes work to the flood banks downstream.

The Bridgwater Barrier will be built near Express Park in north Bridgwater.

Coastal engineer from the Environment Agency, John Buttivant said: "The site allows us good access to build, maintain and operate the structure."

Click here to read more.

Can Liam Fox cast Ministry of Magic spell over Brexit?

Watch: See the man charged with forging the post-Brexit trade deals at his Colonial Office HQ

After years banished to the backbenches, he's back.

North Somerset MP Liam Fox now heads the new Department of International Trade with a mission to forge deals around the world for a Britain after Brexit.

Mr Fox's headquarters are the rather opulent surroundings of the Foreign Office, which were used as the Ministry of Magic in the Harry Potter films.

With no draft trade deals in place yet, his critics say he'll need some serious wizardry to have everything in place by March 2019.

But he tells BBC Points West's Robin Markwell how his surroundings are inspiring him to make a success of Brexit.

'It's a disgrace' - a sleeping councillors vox pop

Watch: "Quite worrying" - Gloucester shoppers have their say on the sleeping councillors

Outrageous... worrying... a disgrace.

Just some of the reactions from people on the streets of Gloucester to our video of councillors falling asleep during a vital council meeting on Wednesday.

Severe accident: A39 Somerset both ways

BBC News Travel

A39 Somerset both ways severe accident, between Jocelyn Drive and A371 East Somerset Way.

A39 Somerset - A39 Glastonbury Road in Wells blocked and very slow traffic in both directions between the Jocelyn Drive junction and Strawberry Way roundabout, because of an accident.

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

Tennis player admits child sex offences

Dan Sanders
Andrew Price

A former professional tennis player has pleaded guilty to sexual activity with a child.

Daniel Sanders, who is originally from Wrexham and once played doubles with Tim Henman, played his last professional match in 1996.

The 42-year-old then started a coaching career in the town, but now lives in Merriott, Somerset.

He admitted all eight charges at Mold Crown Court on Friday and was bailed until sentencing on 27 July.

How far could you go in one of these?

#GetInspired

Rob Groves preparing for his handcycilng trip around the coast of England and Wales
Rob Groves

Rob Groves, 61, is getting ready to handcycle 2,500 miles around the coast of England and Wales, starting off in Brighton this Sunday, 2 July and finishing in London on Friday, 28 July.

Read all about Rob's former life as a bodybuilder, his journey into handcycling, his aims for the ride and how you can keep up with it here.

BreakingOn-the-run rapist arrested at Waterloo Station

Cheeki Rafiki trial: Boss breaks down in tears in dock

Douglas Innes denies manslaughter and failing to operate the yacht in a safe manner
PA

The head of the yacht management company responsible for the doomed Cheeki Rafiki broke down in tears in the dock today at his manslaughter trial.

Douglas Innes ran Stormforce Coaching and was responsible for the Cheeki Rafiki, which capsized in the mid-Atlantic killing all four crew members - two of which were from Somerset.

He said his firm always had a "strong ethos of safety", adding he was "horrified" when the US Coastguard called off the rescue mission.

Mr Innes denies four counts of manslaughter by gross negligence.

He and his company Stormforce Coaching also both deny failing to operate the Cheeki Rafiki in a safe manner between 18 March 2013 and 18 May 2014.

Click here to read more.

Baby bank 'a lifeline' for victims of human trafficking

Watch: The Baby Bank Network is helping 10 families a week in Bristol

Since launching two years ago, the Baby Bank Network has given 205 pushchairs, 183 cots and 222 clothing bundles to vulnerable mums, among many other items.

Amanda Bryant from Unseen, a charity that helps victims of human trafficking, said packages given out were instrumental in easing the pressure on new mums.

Volunteers for the Baby Bank Network
Baby Bank Network

Most of our service users are single women with young children who are predominantly living in asylum seeking accommodation on a small amount of money to cover food, gas and electric and baby products. They're obviously not in a position to work and are unable to improve their financial situation so it's been a real lifeline to find a charity that has such good quality second hand baby items that were able to give the women at no cost to them.

Amanda Bryant

Hunt on as rapist flees open prison

James Donoghue
PA

A convicted rapist who has absconded from an open prison is being hunted by police.

James Donoghue is serving a life sentence with a minimum term of 10 years at HMP Leyhill in South Gloucestershire.

He was jailed for attacking a woman at knifepoint in her home in the Maidstone area of Kent in 2009.

Police have warned people not to approach him and call 999 if they see him.

He is described as white, about 5ft 10ins tall and of slight build. He is bald and has blue eyes.

Severe disruption: M4 Bristol eastbound

BBC News Travel

M4 Bristol eastbound severe disruption, between J20 for M5 and J19 for M32.

M4 Bristol - One lane closed and slow traffic on M4 eastbound between J20, M5 (Almondsbury Interchange) and J19, M32 (Bristol), because of a broken down vehicle.

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

Roxy makes giant leap from kennels to crime fighting

Roxy with PC Lee Webb
Wiltshire Police
Roxy with PC Lee Webb

An unwanted Staffordshire bull terrier has become the first ever rescue Staffie to qualify as a police explosives search dog.

Roxy was saved by the RSPCA in Somerset after her previous owner could no longer care for her.

She quickly showed off a talent for tracking down hidden tennis balls, which began an unexpected journey from kennels to crime fighting with Wiltshire Police.

These dogs may not have had the easiest start in life, but they are amazing crime-fighting dogs and Roxy will no doubt have a great career ahead of her.

Ian PartingtonPolice dog trainer

Cheeki Rafiki: Yacht boss recalls breaking news to crew's families

Yachting crew members James Male, Andrew Bridge, Steve Warren and Paul Goslin all died
Handout
Yachting crew members James Male, Andrew Bridge, Steve Warren and Paul Goslin all died

Douglas Innes has told a court about the moment he had to tell the families of the Cheeki Rafiki crew that their loved-ones were missing.

The yacht lost its keel as the crew were returning the 40ft vessel from Antigua to the UK in May 2014 when it got into trouble more than 700 miles from Nova Scotia.

That's not something I was ever prepared for. The first phone call was very difficult, the hardest. I called James' mum and I couldn't get the words out. I just said 'I think there may be a problem, your son may be in a life raft'.

Douglas Innes

The four crew members who died were skipper Andrew Bridge, 22, from Farnham in Surrey, James Male, 22, from Southampton, as well as Steve Warren, 52, and Paul Goslin, 56, both from Somerset.

Mr Innes denies four counts of manslaughter by gross negligence and his trial continues.

Click here to read more.

Happy birthday 999

It's the 80th anniversary of the UK’s 999 emergency service.

The number handles about 5,000 calls every day across the South West region alone.

999 was launched by BT in London on 30 June 1937 in response to a tragic fire at a doctor’s surgery, two years prior, which led to the death of five women.

The fire resulted in a committee being set up by the government to look at the problem of how telephone operators could identify emergency calls.

Phone keypad - someone pressing number 9
BBC

It proposed there should be a standard easy-to-remember nationwide number to alert the emergency services.

Operators now answer around 560,000 calls a week in the UK.

Severe disruption: M5 Gloucestershire southbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Gloucestershire southbound severe disruption, at J14 for B4509 Thornbury.

M5 Gloucestershire - M5 lane closed on entry slip road and slow traffic southbound at J14, B4509 (Thornbury), because of a broken down lorry and recovery work.

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

Get ready to say awwwww - a new monkey's been welcomed in Bristol

This tiny red titi monkey is called Pichiku and he's survived against the odds at Bristol Zoo Gardens.

His mum, Bella, died after giving birth and over the past four weeks a dedicated team of keepers have fed him day and night to keep him alive.

He's still only about 12 cm long (5 ins) but he's sleeping through the night and he is starting to eat baby rice and learning to lap at it for the first time.

Pichiku is being kept in a small enclosure away from the public for the time being where the temperature is maintained between 22C and 25C.

He lays on a soft golden teddy bear which he thinks of as his mum.

The next step will be re-introducing him to his dad, Junin, who lives in the enclosure next door.

Pichiku the Monkey newest addition to Bristol Zoo Gardens
Bristol Zoo Gardens

Nursing jobs offered to Filipino nurses

Yeovil District Hospital
Yeovil District Hospital
The hospital hopes at least 150 job offers will be taken up

A hospital has offered 180 posts to nurses from the Philippines in an bid to tackle staff shortages.

Yeovil District Hospital's staff turnover is 18-20% compared the NHS national average of 11%.

Director of nursing and elective care, Shelagh Meldrum said: "We've got the retirement issue and we're up against big city hospitals."

All the posts have been offered to nurses from the Philippines and it is hoped at least 150 posts are taken up.

Read the full story here.

Points West 60: Heading underwater off the coast of Lundy

It's the largest island in the Bristol Channel and if you grew up in the West Country - you've probably made the trip over to Lundy island.

In 2003, a No Take Zone was introduced off the east coast of the island, which made it illegal to remove sea life from a small area.

As part of Points West's 60th anniversary celebrations, zoologist and natural history presenter Miranda Krestovnikoff took to the waters to find out how Lundy's "No Take Zone" has been working.

Charting the changes off Lundy's coastline

Severe disruption: M5 Gloucestershire northbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Gloucestershire northbound severe disruption, between J13 for A419 and J12 for B4008 Quedgeley.

M5 Gloucestershire - Slow traffic and one lane closed on M5 northbound between J13, A419 (Stroud) and J12, B4008 (Quedgeley), because of a broken down lorry and recovery work.

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

Inquests have opened into the deaths of two soldiers at the Castlemartin firing range

Cpl Neilson (left) and Cpl Hatfield were described as "exceptionally talented soldiers"
Wales News Service
Cpl Neilson (left) and Cpl Hatfield were described as "exceptionally talented soldiers"

Corporals Matthew Hatfield and Darren Neilson from the Royal Tank Regiment died after a mechanical explosion while they were in a tank on 14 June.

The provisional cause of death for Cpl Hatfield was "burns", while Cpl Neilson suffered a cardiac arrest as a result of blast-related injuries, the Birmingham hearing was told.

Read the full story here.

Sleeping councillors are an 'embarrassment' says chairman

Sleeping councillors
BBC

The chairman of a meeting in which four councillors were filmed apparently dozing has described their actions as "embarrassing".

The debate, on Thursday, was discussing "serious and widespread failures" in Gloucestershire's children's service.

Cllr Shaun Parsons, chairman of the council, said members had been told the proceedings were being televised.

Two said they had been listening, while one blamed medication. But the fourth said the meetings "drag a bit".

A Frome boxer is training for his first home fight

Ryan Wheeler's 10th professional fight will be at the Cheese and Grain

24-year-old Ryan Wheeler's 10th professional fight will be at the Frome Cheese and Grain.

Loose goose in Long Ashton ... yes, really

Somerset tourism chiefs want tighter Airbnb rules

Glastonbury Tor
Getty Images

The organisation in charge of promoting tourism in Somerset says it wants people who advertise accommodation on the Airbnb website to face stricter regulations.

Visit Somerset says it wants a level playing field between those who use the site and other guesthouses and hotels.

They are required to meet certain rules and standards, which can cost them thousands of pounds each year.

Baby Bank helps over 700 babies living in poverty

Imagine being too poor to buy your baby nappies, bottles or even a cot to sleep in.

That's the stark reality for a growing number of families in the UK and in Bristol, where 26.7% of children are living in poverty.

The Baby Bank Network was set up by a group of like-minded mums who wanted to help those families by re-gifting unwanted second-hand baby items that would otherwise end up in charity shops or landfill.

Since launching two years ago, they've helped 700 families in Bristol, set up branches in other cities, and are celebrating this Saturday with a family fun day at Horfield Parish Church Hall.

Watch: Baby Bank network helping 10 families a week in Bristol