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Summary

  1. News, sport, weather and travel updates across the West of England on Friday, 21 July 2017

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Goodnight from us: have a great weekend

The Digital Team in the West wish you a good night.

Today we've brought you some difficult news about a child abuse enquiry in Cheltenham and heard from Wiltshire families caught up in the earthquake in Greece.

We've been able to bring you heartwarming stories of a boy of 5, who's home after 20 months in hospital; and of the university honour for actor Timothy West, who "used to bunk off school."

If you are intending to enjoy Bristol's Harbour Festival over the week-end - we'll see you there.

If you are travelling further afield, we hope you sail through the traffic!

Back on Monday morning at 0700.

Good night!

Before we go - some wet weather news (sorry!)

But it's not all bad for the weekend...

West weather: "A showery story for the weekend," says Ian Fergusson.

The boatrace to watch tomorrow: Bristol Harbour Festival

With three hundred vessels taking part in Bristol's £12m Harbour Festival this weekend, you'll be hard-pressed to choose which boat to look at first.

But here's our tip: never mind the multi-million-pound cruisers - these are the ones everyone will be talking about!

View more on twitter

Charity match for Jamie Mines tomorrow

Frome Town will play Yeovil Town tomorrow in a charity match for scaffolder Jamie Mines.

Jamie was left without his right leg, left foot and both hands after suffering a massive electric shock while working on a site in Swindon last December.

A fund to help the semi-professional football player, who is from Frome but now lives in Swindon, has already raised £144,000.

View more on twitter

After 20 months in hospital, Dylan's home

Watch: Dylan suffered brain damage after a choking episode

There's been a special homecoming for one family in Wells today.

Five-year-old Dylan has returned home after 20 months in hospital.

It's one of the longest ever inpatient stays at Bristol Children's Hospital.

Golf success: Westcountry duo

Westcountry duo Chris Wood and Laurie Canter are both safely through to the weekend at the 146th Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.

Wood, 29, who won the Silver Medal here at Birkdale as top amateur in 1998, did it in some style.

Right on the projected five-over cut mark, the Ryder Cup player from Long Ashton, Bristol, brought the house down at 18 when he holed his chip for an eagle to sign for a two-over 72 - three over for the Championship.

Canter, 27, from Bath, playing in only his second Open, did it even more comfortably, also carding a second-round 72, to stand two over for the Championship.

Chris Wood and Laurie Canter
BBC Sport
Chris Wood and Laurie Canter - safely through at the Open

Playable pianos return to Gloucester

Watch: Pianos return to the streets of Gloucester

Playable pianos have returned to Gloucester for a 'Summer of Music, Arts and Culture'.

The seasons of events are organised by Marketing Gloucester, and after the huge success of the piano trail in the city last year, they've been brought back.

The pianos are donated by members of the public, and decorated by Gloucestershire College art students or local artists.

Marketing Gloucester says the piano trail is one of the most successful event campaigns it's ever had.

Harbour fest excitement washes in

The Bristol Harbour Festival kicked off this evening and the live music is in full flow right now.

Thousands are expected to come and celebrate all things nautical at the waterside, including more than 300 boats and their crews.

The annual event is worth £12m to the city's economy.

BBC Points West were on the pontoon earlier, to meet some of those taking part:

Imogen Sellers at the Bristol Harbour Festival 2017

Actor Timothy West honoured by Bristol University

Actor Timothy West - who lived in Redland during his childhood in World War II - has received an honorary degree from the University of Bristol today.

His first ever theatre performance was at Bristol's Old Vic in 1967.

Timothy can often be seen with wife Prunella Scales sailing his narrowboat on the Kennet and Avon Canal in Wiltshire: their travels have become well know across several TV series.

The University of Bristol said it "bestows a number of honorary degrees on distinguished individuals who merit special recognition for outstanding achievement and distinction in a field or activity consonant with the mission of the University."

Actor Timothy West honoured by Bristol University

Cheltenham child sex abuse investigation: the process we went through

Watch: Det Ch Insp Chris Hanson explains investigation process

An investigation into child sexual abuse has seen 16 children spoken to by detectives and social care workers.

About 70 police officers from Gloucestershire Police were involved in the operation on Thursday, which saw four addresses searched in Cheltenham.

Nobody was arrested and all of the children, of various ages, are now back with their families.

Det Ch Insp Chris Hanson explained the investigation process they've employed in the last 24 hours.

Click here to read more.

Vintage tractors on the move

Vintage tractors have been travelling in convoy through the Somerset countryside.

They're taking part in the Somerset Steam and Country Show Road Run along with steam engines, classic cars and motorbikes.

They're taking part in the Somerset Steam and Country Show Road Run

'Atmosphere of fear' at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Primary School

Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Primary School
Google

A teachers' union at a school in Bristol has spoken of an "atmosphere of fear" where "results are placed above the welfare of children".

The "entire teaching staff" at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Primary School "will leave at the end of the term", the Bristol Post has reported.

South Gloucestershire Council said it is aware of the concerns from the National Union of Teachers and "is willing to work with its representatives".

The school is yet to comment.

Click here to read more.

Dylan, 5, returns home after 20 month hospital stay

A five year old from Wells has finally returned home, almost two years after nearly choking to death.

Dylan Woodley was airlifted to Bristol Children's Hospital after choking on a hamm sandwich.

He was left with severe brain damage and has been an inpatient at the hospital - until today.

Watch: Reporter Ruth Bradley sees Dylan leave hospital after 20 months

Sixteen children quizzed in abuse probe

Gloucestershire Constabulary
BBC

Sixteen children have been spoken to by detectives and social care workers as part of an investigation into child sexual abuse, the BBC has learned.

About 70 police officers were involved in the operation on Thursday, which saw four addresses searched in Cheltenham.

Click here to read the full story.

Watch BBC Points West at 1830 for our report.

View more on twitter

Swindon family caught up in Turkey quake woken by 'tremendous shaking'

Listen: Matt Doyle talks of family's shock when quake hit

A family from Swindon have told of their shock at being caught up in an earthquake while on holiday in Turkey.

The 6.7-magnitude quake hit 12km (seven miles) north-east of Kos, near the Turkish coast, with a depth of 10km, the US Geological Survey said.

Matt Doyle, wife Nicola and son Corey were sleeping in their hotel room as the quake hit just eight hours after they arrived.

People sleeping on sunbeds
Nicola Doyle
Remains of a cafe after an earthquake
Nicola Doyle
Crack in the road
Nicola Doyle

Severe disruption: M5 Bristol southbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Bristol southbound severe disruption, between J18A for M49 and J19 for A369.

M5 Bristol - Lane closed and slow traffic on M5 southbound between J18a M49 and J19, A369 (Portishead), because of a broken down vehicle.

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

BreakingTravel latest: Long delays on M5

BBC News Travel

On the M5 southbound between Wellington and Taunton we have reports of a caravan that has blown over - there are long delays.

The road is blocked in both directions between J26 to J25. Police are on scene and currently dealing with an incident.

Severe disruption: M5 Somerset both ways

BBC News Travel

M5 Somerset both ways severe disruption, at J26 for A38 affecting J25 for A358.

M5 Somerset - M5 blocked and stationary traffic in both directions at J26, A38 (Wellington), because of an overturned caravan. Congestion to J25, A358 (Taunton).

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

Body in hospital toilets: man identified at inquest

An inquest into the death of a man, whose body was found in a hospital toilet, opened today.

The man was named as Jonathon Earp, a hospital patient.

The inquest heard that he had 'just popped out of his ward for a cigarette' but did not come back.

His body was only found in the hospital toilets three days later.

Gloucestershire Police are investigating the incident.

The inquest was adjourned until Monday.

Jonathon Earp
Gloucester News Service
Jonathon Earp's body was discovered in a hospital toilet.

Severe accident: A432 Bristol eastbound

BBC News Travel

A432 Bristol eastbound severe accident, at B4469 Muller Road.

A432 Bristol - A432 Fishponds Road blocked and very slow traffic eastbound at the B4469 Muller Road junction, because of an accident.

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

'Significant' child abuse inquiry opens

Gloucestershire Constabulary sign
BBC

Sixteen children have been spoken to by detectives and social care workers as part of an investigation into child sexual abuse, the BBC has learned.

About 70 police officers were involved in the operation on Thursday, which saw four addresses searched in Cheltenham.

Nobody was arrested and all of the children, of various ages, are now back with their families.

A "significant" inquiry into current and historical sexual abuse had been opened, Gloucestershire Police said.

Bristol Harbour Festival kicks off

Boats in Bristol Harbour
BBC

The three-day Bristol Harbour Festival kicks off this evening - once again bringing hundreds of boats and ships of all shapes and sizes into Bristol’s iconic Harbour and Docks.

The festival is now in its 46th year and is one of the UK's largest free events of its kind.

More than 300,000 people attended the event last year.

Highlights at this year's event include:

  • Three tall ships sailing into the Harbour - the Kaskelot, The Earl of Pembroke and the Phoenix
  • The Royal Navy’s Hunt Class Ship is back alongside two Archer Class P2000s, The Royal Navy’s fast training boats
  • The three-day Western Boat Show will see a large selection of boats on display ranging from yachts, power boats and canal boats
  • Over 250 vessels of all shapes and sizes will be tied up at every available mooring space including familiar sights such as the Matthew and the SS Great Britain

For more information visit the official festival website.

The couple making gin in their home

Watch: Robin and Jane Cannon started gin production earlier this year

An independent alcohol retailer in Somerset says it has seen sales of craft gins grow by almost 150%.

The Taunton shop sells eight different craft gins and says the growth has happened over a two year period.

Robin and Jane Cannon, from Yeovil, are examples of people who now make their own gin.

They started production earlier this year and are now distilling their 21st batch.

Kos earthquake: 'People were screaming'

Listen: Ellie Thompson describes Kos earthquake

A woman from Cirencester has described what happened when an earthquake hit the Greek island of Kos.

Thousands of people were affected by the large quake, including hundreds of holidaymakers from the UK.

Ellie Thompson, 23, is on holiday there with her mother Mandy.

She said people were screaming when the quake happened at 10:30pm UK time last night.

Schools are out: motorists warned of holiday delays

Motorway journeys could take up to four times longer than usual today as families head off on their summer holidays.

The M5 and M4 are predicted to be busy this evening as drivers head down to Cornwall and the South West and to South Wales, during the great getaway.

Traffic information company Inrix said it's likely to be busy up until 6:30pm.

traffic hotspots until 6pm
BBC

Predicted traffic hotspots in the West this evening:

• M5 Almondsbury Interchange and from Bristol to Taunton

• A30 and A38 Exeter to Cornwall

• A303 Andover to Ilminster

• M4 between Cardiff and Swansea

Click here to read more.

This weekend will bring unwelcome customary chaos to Britain's major roads as people flock to take advantage of the first week or two of the summer holidays on home soil.

Rod DennisRAC

Severe disruption: M5 Devon northbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Devon northbound severe disruption, between J27 for A361 and J26 for A38.

M5 Devon - One lane closed and slow traffic on M5 northbound between J27, A361 (Tiverton) and J26, A38 (Wellington), because of an overturned caravan.

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

Missing man found after three days

82-year-old George Bassett from Salisbury went missing on Tuesday.

Wiltshire Police say he has now been found safe and well.

George Bassett
Wiltshire Police

Severe accident: M4 Gloucestershire eastbound

BBC News Travel

M4 Gloucestershire eastbound severe accident, at J18 for A46 Bath.

M4 Gloucestershire - M4 lane closed on exit slip road and very slow traffic eastbound at J18, A46 (Bath), because of an accident.

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

Timothy West picks up honorary degree from Bristol Uni

Watch: Timothy West was given an honorary degree from Bristol University

As the degree awards ceremonies continue across the region, Veteran actor Timothy West has received an honorary degree from the University of Bristol.

The star of stage and screen has many connections to Bristol. As a child he lived in Redland during World War II and his first ever theatre performance was at Bristol's Old Vic in 1967.

Timothy can often be seen with wife Prunella Scales sailing his narrowboat on the Kennet and Avon Canal in Wiltshire: their travels have become well know across several TV series.

The University of Bristol said it "bestows a number of honorary degrees on distinguished individuals who merit special recognition for outstanding achievement and distinction in a field or activity consonant with the mission of the University".

The £500m plan to regenerate Swindon

Fresh commitment from Swindon Borough Council

Plans to regenerate Swindon town centre were unveiled yesterday,

Swindon Borough Council want to invest £500m into the project and hopes its proposals will help change perceptions of central Swindon as a drab area lacking in vitality and culture.

Key to the proposals are developments at Aspen House, North Star and the Carriage Works.

The plans will be on display in Swindon Central Library until Sunday 23rd July.

BreakingA man has died in a collision on the A417 near Cirencester

The collision happened on the northbound carriageway near to the Dower's Lane junction.

A blue Vauxhall Corsa is believed to have left the offside lane of the A417 and overturned on to the road below.

The driver, a 33-year-old man from Birmingham, was pronounced dead at the scene. Next of kin have been informed.

Roads were closed in the area to allow an investigation to take place but they have now been re-opened.

Local newspaper headlines across the West

In the papers banner
BBC

Here's a round-up of the main stories in our local newspapers today:

Bristol Post: Severn crossing tolls to be scrapped

Wilts & Glos Standard: Malmesbury pair set off on epic expedition in this year's Mongol Rally

Swindon Advertiser: Inspirational mother loses battle against brain tumour

Somerset County Gazette: Pool at Blackbrook Pavilion, Taunton, closed after light explodes

West firms 'would struggle without EU staff'

Dave Harvey

Business Correspondent, BBC West

In Brussels, the Brexit negotiators are arguing about the rights of EU workers who want to stay in Britain.

In Marshfield, South Gloucestershire, the talks will mean make or break for a thriving cake firm.

Like hundreds of small companies, Marshfield Bakery relies on Poles, Romanians, Italians and others to make the flapjacks, brownies and millionaire shortbreads they sell to the world.

Unemployment in the area is very low. Recruiting local staff is hard. The boss says the UK must keep "open borders" or firms like his will struggle.

In the West Country, one in three companies employs EU staff, and they say they would struggle without them.

Is it possible to bring down net migration, as ministers have pledged, without harming firms like this?

Stroud GP surgery is placed in Special Measures

Locking Hill Surgery
Google

Locking Hill Surgery, Stroud, is now in special measures following a deterioration in the quality of its services.

The surgery had been rated Good during an inspection by England’s Chief Inspector of General Practice in January 2015 - although it was rated Requires Improvement for the delivery of safe services.

But an inspection in May 2017 by England’s Chief Inspector of General Practice found that there had been a significant decline in standards and the practice is now rated Inadequate overall and has been placed into special measures.

The full report of the inspection is available here.

The headlines on BBC local radio

Radio studio
BBC
  • BBC Radio Bristol: Tolls on the two Severn bridges between England and Wales will be scrapped for all vehicles by the end of next year
  • BBC Somerset: The organisation which manages Somerset's only high-rise block of flats says it's working hard to make sure all its residents feel safe
  • BBC Wiltshire: There are concerns that regeneration plans for Swindon are years behind schedule despite £500m being promised for redevelopment
  • BBC Radio Gloucestershire: Police say there's been a serious traffic collision on the A417 north of Cirencester

Stuck in the mud - walker and dog rescued

Dog with rescue team
BARB

A dog walker and his springer spaniel were rescued from the thick mud at Uphill yesterday.

Weston and Clevedon Coastguards joined a crew from BARB Search & Rescue on a hovercraft to save the dog walker who had tried to rescue his pet.

The team want to warn people against putting themselves at risk to reach animals.

Severn tolls abolished by end of 2018

Watch: Tolls to be scrapped on the Severn bridges

Tolls on the two Severn bridges between Wales and England will be scrapped by the end of next year.

The fees paid on entry to Wales - currently from £6.70 to £20 a vehicle - have long been a source of contention with motorists and businesses.

Those using the bridge daily could save around £1,400 a year.

About 25 million journeys are made across the two bridges annually

More on this story.

The slumber of you: Elvis's pyjamas up for auction

Pyjamas
Henry Aldridge

A pair of pyjamas worn by the king of rock and rock himself, Elvs Presley, are being sold at auction in Wiltshire this weekend.

Elvis wore the large mint-green PJs while staying at Baptist Memorial Hospital in early April 1977 - five months before his death.

After he died they went on display at the world famous Elvis-A-Rama museum for many years.

The pyjamas are going under the hammer at Henry Aldridge & Son in Devizes, Wiltshire on Saturday and are estimated to fetch between £6,000 and £10,000.

Travel: Queues as M4 westbound blocked by accident between J17-18

View more on twitter
M4 J18
Highways England
M4 near Bath
M4 just inside Wiltshire
Highways England
M4 just inside Wiltshire

Travel: Crash causing disruption on the M4 near Chippenham