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  1. News, sport, weather and travel updates from across the West of England on Thursday 17 August 2017

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

A mostly dry night and bright start to Friday

Watch: Ian Fergusson with the weather forecast

Well that's all from us for tonight.

We'll be back from 7am tomorrow with more news, sport, travel and weather updates for the West of England.

Appeal for information after garage fire

Police jacket

Police are appealing for information after a fire at the home of a woman and her two young children, which they believe was started deliberately.

It happened in Ellicks Close, Bradley Stoke, at about 3.45am on Saturday.

The family escaped unharmed.

A 17-year-old who voluntarily attended a police station in connection with the incident was released without charge, Avon and Somerset Police said.

The outcome could have been so much worse. At the time the fire started, the two young children and their mother were fast asleep inside. I’d urge anyone in the area at the time, or who may have information to help our investigation, to get in touch.

PC Ryan DayAvon and Somerset Police

Mental health beds closure plan paused

Mental health patient (generic posed by model)

Health bosses are reconsidering plans to close beds where emergency mental health assessments are made.

The Places of Safety in Salisbury and Swindon each contain one bed and are used for those detained by police under the Mental Health Act.

Click her to read more.

Cricket: T20 Blast - Gloucestershire lose to Surrey

Michael Klinger
Getty Images

Gloucestershire have lost to Surrey this evening in the T20 Blast and are out of the competition.

There was a slim glimmer of hope for them to progress to the quarter final stage, but they needed to win tonight's final South Group game, and hope other results went their way.

But Surrey won by two wickets with four balls to spare, making 134-8 in reply to Gloucestershire's 130-9.

'Very frightening' Barcelona attack described

Listen: Bristol woman Shelby Mansell describes "very frightening" attack

A woman from Bristol has described how she hid for 40 minutes when she was caught up in the Barcelona attack.

At least 13 people have died and 80 were injured after a van ploughed into crowds in the city's famous Las Ramblas tourist area.

Shelby Mansell from St George in Bristol is on holiday and was in the area when the attack took place.

She told the BBC News Channel what she experienced.

Bristol council tax plans 'illegal'

City Hall, Bristol

Controversial plans to cut council tax relief in Bristol are "potentially illegal", local politicians have said.

Bristol mayor Marvin Rees has said the council can no longer afford to run the Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

The claim was made by the Liberal Democrat and Green party groups at Bristol City Council.

Click here to read the full story.

Memories of Concorde from a former aviation worker

Watch: Former aviation worker Carol Mabillot shares her Concorde memories

Members of the public got their first chance to go on board Concorde at Filton yesterday ahead of the new museum opening later this summer.

Hundreds of invited guests who've all contributed to the project were also treated to a flypast by the Red Arrows.

Probe after patient locked in bedroom

Callington Road Hospital

An investigation is under way into why an elderly patient was locked in a bedroom at hospital psychiatric ward.

Laurel Ward at Bristol's Callington Road Hospital was shut following the incident in June, and 15 patients were transferred to other hospitals.

Click here to read the full story.

Appeal for potential witness after park stabbing

Wiltshire Police logo
Wiltshire Police

A man who was stabbed at Swindon's Mannington Recreation Ground is said to be recovering well.

The attack happened on Sunday 6th August at about 9:30pm.

Wiltshire Police is now appealing for a potential key witness to get in touch.

We have information about a potential key witness who was in the park at 9.30pm - just before the victim was assaulted. This person was on a bike cycling towards the entrance/exit to Morris Street. My message to that person is: we would like to speak to you as soon as possible - please come forward.

Det Con Alan MillsWiltshire Police

The 19-year-old victim was taken to Southmead Hospital with non-life threatening injuries, and has now been released from hospital and is recovering well.

Fulham loan Woodrow to Bristol City

Cauley Woodrow

Bristol City have signed England Under-21 international striker Cauley Woodrow on a season-long loan from fellow Championship club Fulham.

The 22-year-old spent the second half of 2016-17 on loan at Burton Albion and the Brewers wanted him to return, but they could not agree terms with Fulham.

Click here to read the full story.

Edward Heath investigation 'to end in Autumn'

Edward Heath

Wiltshire Police say their investigation into claims of historical child abuse made against Sir Edward Heath is expected to end this Autumn.

The police operation, codenamed Conifer, is looking into allegations about the former prime minister, who lived in Salisbury.

Officers say they'll publish a full report into the investigation when it concludes.

Student from war-torn country to study medicine

Beranger Igiraneza

A student from Bristol, who grew up in war-torn Burundi, will now study medicine at Bristol University after picking up his A-level results today.

Beranger Igiraneza, 18, was inspired by his own life growing up in the East African country.

He got two As and a B in his studies at St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School and will take up a place on the Bristol Scholars scheme to study medicine in the city.

I feel ecstatic and relieved - like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. It is nice to know that my hard work has paid off and I got the grades I needed to move on.

Beranger IgiranezaStudent

He now wants to become a paediatrician, and said: "Children are innocent and are at most at risk in our society and I want to help them.

"I want to use what I have learnt to help those less fortunate than myself.

"I have come from a more disadvantaged place and I have seen what a little bit of kindness and decency does to help others."

Cricket: T20 Blast - Surrey v Gloucestershire

Michael Klinger
Getty Images

Gloucestershire are playing away at Surrey this evening in the T20 Blast.

There's a slim glimmer of hope for them to progress to the quarter final stage, but they need to win tonight's final South Group game, and hope another five results go their way.

The match starts at 6:30pm.

Click here to listen to ball-by-ball commentary.

Mounted championships being held in Somerset

Watch: Riders take part in mounted games in Somerset

Teams from across Europe are taking part in the European Mounted Games Championships at the Bath and West showground.

The competition involves teams of riders and ponies taking part in fast paced games which test their athleticism and riding ability.

West restaurants make Britain's Good Food Guide top 50


Three restaurants in the West have made it onto this year's Good Food Guide top 50 eateries in the UK.

Casamia in Bristol (10th), Le Champignon Sauvage in Gloucestershire (16th) and Whatley Manor, The Dining Room in Wiltshire (38th) make this year's list.

Peter Sanchez-Iglesias won the chef of the year title for the seasonal cuisine he serves at Casamia.

The restaurant won TV chef Gordon Ramsay's Best Restaurant award in 2010, but tragedy struck in 2015 when Peter's brother Jonray died of skin cancer.

Click here to read more.

Severe disruption: M4 Bristol eastbound

BBC News Travel

M4 Bristol eastbound severe disruption, at J19 for M32.

M4 Bristol - M4 lane closed on exit slip road and slow traffic eastbound at J19, M32 (Bristol), because of a broken down vehicle.

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

Flood pumping exercise 'a great reassurance'

Watch: Locals welcome flood pumping exercise

Environment Agency engineers are carrying out a major incident exercise at pumping stations in Somerset.

It's to test their response to serious flooding.

High volume pumps, which can fill two bath tubs every second, are being used as part of the operation.

The exercises are taking place at Huish Episcopi Pumping Station and Westover Pumping Station, near Langport.

Apprenticeship 'matched me more and how I could progress myself'

Watch: 'Why I chose an apprenticeship'

Many people are now choosing to take part in an apprenticeship scheme instead of going to university.

On the day A-Level results have been announced, we've been speaking to 19-year-old Toby Lawrence from Gloucester who chose that option.

He's on an IT apprenticeship scheme at Brobuild Ltd in Quedgeley.

Injured man found on Cotswold road - two arrested

A police car

Two arrests have been made after an injured man was found by the side of a road in Chipping Campden.

Officers were called to the man, aged in his 30s, on Wednesday morning. He was airlifted to Southmead Hospital where he's currently sedated and in a critical condition.

Two other men, one aged 26 and one aged 44, were arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm.

Anyone with information is being asked to call the police on 101 quoting incident five of 16/8.

'Apprentices are the future of our company'

Watch: Firm's director Nick Bracey on the benefits of apprentice schemes

On the day A-Level results have been announced young people are being reminded that there are alternatives to going to university.

Many people are now choosing to take part in an apprenticeship scheme instead.

Nick Bracey, who's a director at Brobuild in Gloucester, says there are lots of benefits of running an apprenticeship scheme.

Burnham lifeboat team remember Challenge Anneka gift

Challenge Anneka
Anneka's challenge has lasted the test of time

Volunteers at Burnham-on-Sea's lifeboat service have been marking its 25th anniversary with a visit from the Challenge Anneka team that built their lifeboat centre.

Anneka Rice and her crew returned to the town yesterday to film for a new series that looks back at the past projects she undertook. In 1994, the TV team built the centre in just 72 hours.

Chairman of Burnham Area Rescue Boat, Mark Newman, says that without the team they would not have been able to provide the much-needed search and rescue service.

Lots of memories have been stirred today and there have been great stories told over 25 years - it's wonderful to see that heritage. If it hadn't been for all those people writing into the programme, we wouldn't be here today.

Mark NewmanBurnham Area Rescue Boat

A-level results: A future PM in the making?

Taunton School headmaster Lee Glaser with Kieran Bailey
Taunton School
Taunton School headmaster Lee Glaser with Kieran Bailey

Taunton School's top A-level performer has his sights set on Downing Street.

Kieran Bailey gained four A* grades and an A, in Art, History, English, Critical Thinking and Classics.

He's off to Pakistan to work in a school for six months and plans to apply for Harvard and Oxford to study History.

Here's the obligatory jump in the air... We're sorry.

Happy students at Taunton School
Taunton School

Severe accident: M4 Bristol westbound

BBC News Travel

M4 Bristol westbound severe accident, between J19 for M32 and J20 for M5.

M4 Bristol - Very slow traffic on M4 westbound between J19, M32 (Bristol) and J20, M5 (Almondsbury Interchange), because of an accident earlier on. All lanes have been re-opened. Congestion to J18, A46 (Bath).

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

Blue light partnership aims to improve accident response times

Emergency vehicles

Emergency services across the West have teamed up to respond to road collisions faster during busy times.

South Western Ambulance Service is working with police forces to get better access to incidents.

Its motorcycle response unit has four paramedics based on major roads and motorways and can be called out at a moment's notice.

The partnership with police traffic officers comes ahead of the August bank holiday.

A-level results: My 18th birthday present... a place at medical school!

Khadija Meghrawi

More success at St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School...

Khadija Meghrawi, from Fishponds, is celebrating winning a place at Bristol University's medical school on her 18th birthday.

She turned 18 on the day she picked up two A*s in English literature and biology and an A in chemistry.

"It is the best birthday I could have wished for and I didn't think I had done as well as this," she said.

"I am going to medical school and it has always been my dream since I was a small child to be a doctor."

Random kindness lights up 'darkness in the world'

A Tewkesbury woman wants to thank the person who settled her vet bill, in a random act of kindness.

Vicki Haines' cat, Mikey, was put down after they found a lump but she couldn't afford to pay the full bill.

What Vicki didn't realise was that another woman had overheard her in the waiting room.

And that woman went on to pay the vet bill anonymously once Vicki had left.

She is now hoping the kind stranger hears her thanks.

I am shocked! Speechless! I even cried! The lady wants to remain anonymous, which I completely respect. I hope this message will reach the lady, I really want her to know how much her kindness has touched my heart and soul. Thank you just doesn't seem enough. I will never ever forget the gift she has given us. It has restored my faith in humanity after all the darkness in the world at the moment.

Vicki Haines

Gloucester seeks 'royal city' status

Getty Images

Gloucester City Council is inviting people to have their say on whether Gloucester should petition to be granted royal city status.

The authority says having it could help attract more visitors and tourists by drawing attention to the city's history and heritage.

If granted, Gloucester would become The Royal City of Gloucester.

A-level results day: Calais Jungle warrior wins place at Cambridge

Edie Turner

A Bristol teenager who gave up a week of her studies to help refugees at The Jungle camp in Calais has won a place at Cambridge University.

Edie Turner will read philosophy at Churchill College after getting two A* grades in English literature and philosophy and an A grade in French in her A-levels at St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School.

The 18-year-old, from Kingsdown, is a committed environmentalist and says she has been a "social justice warrior" since she was 10 years old.

She's taking a gap year in South East Asia to help environmental and charity projects before beginning her studies.

Exercise to check flood contingency plans

High volume pump

Environment Agency engineers are carrying out major incident drills at two pumping stations in Somerset today.

It's part of Exercise Ash, which aims to test their response to serious flooding.

High volume pumps, which can fill two bathtubs every second, are being used at Huish Episcopi Pumping Station and Westover Pumping Station, near Langport, are also being used as part of the operation.

Travel: Back moving again on the M5

Highways England

Travel: M5 slow following accident

Looking northbound, near J20 on the M5.

Highways England

Severe accident: M5 Somerset southbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Somerset southbound severe accident, between J20 for B3133 and J21 for A370.

M5 Somerset - Slow traffic on M5 southbound between J20, B3133 (Clevedon) and J21, A370 (Weston-Super-Mare), because of an accident, which is now on the hard shoulder.

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

Duke of Beaufort has vast estate to bequeath

Badminton estate is home to the world-famous horse trials, but it's only part of the Duke of Beaufort's vast estate
Badminton estate is home to the world-famous horse trials, but it's only part of the Duke of Beaufort's vast estate

Yesterday we brought you the news that David Somerset, the 11th Duke of Beaufort, had died at the age of 89.

He had an estate worth hundreds of millions of pounds - thanks mainly to the 52,000-acre Badminton Estate in Gloucestershire, home of the famous horse trials.

But the Beaufort family, which traces its lineage back to Plantagenet times, owns a vast range of property... some of which may be much closer to home than you think.

  • Charles Somerset (1460-1526), the founder of the family, acquired great estates in South Wales, including Gower and Kilvey, Crickhowell and Tretower, Chepstow and Tidenham, Raglan and a large group of manors in Monmouthshire, and the manor of Wellington and Yeasor in Herefordshire.
  • His son, Henry (2nd Earl of Worcester), was rewarded with the grant of the lands of Tintern Abbey.
  • The dukedom was granted the ownership of the bed of the River Tawe in Swansea 400 years ago, meaning the duke was paid more than £280,000 from public funds in 2009 for the right to build a bridge linking a shopping centre to the Liberty Stadium.
  • The manor of Stoke Gifford, in South Gloucestershire, also became family-owned. The first house at Stoke was built and Stoke Park was designed. The Stoke estate was inherited by the 5th Duke of Beaufort in 1799. It was leased and finally sold in 1915.
  • The Hilmarton estate in north Wiltshire was also inherited by the 5th Duke, but sold a few years later.
  • The manor of Stapleton, next to Kingswood, was also brought into the family and by the 17th century a 'liberty' was claimed in Kingswood and coal mining was developed.

Find out more on the National Archives website.

Elderly mental health patient 'locked in their room'

Callington Road Hospital

A ward at a Bristol psychiatric hospital for the elderly was shut after a patient was locked in a room, the trust which runs the unit has admitted.

Fifteen patients in the Laurel Ward at Callington Road Hospital, in Brislington, were suddenly transferred in June when the ward was temporarily shut.

Two months on, Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust have revealed publicly the cause of the closure and that the ward will stay closed until a decision is made "at a later date".

The trust has refused to say why the patient was locked in their room, whether they were locked in deliberately, or how long.

Laurel [Ward] was closed due to an issue of concern, when a patient was locked in their room for a short space of time. Although they were not at risk of harm, the action was not in keeping with our values and culture. Due to the nature of the incident, we were required to have the police investigate, which they did and found no that no offence had taken place. Once the police investigation was complete, we were able to begin our own internal HR process to address any issues around training.

Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust

What are spit hoods?

Spit hood

Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens wants to know if you think officers should carry spit hoods with them... but what are they?

Well, they're mesh fabric hoods placed over the heads of suspects to prevent spitting or biting.

They can only be used once and are usually used in custody suites or when moving people in custody from one location to another.

Critics say they are distressing and humiliating, can cause panic in the detained person, and make it harder to notice if a prisoner is having difficulty breathing.

The forces which use them say they only use the hoods when it is "proportionate, appropriate and justifiable" to protect their officers.

Somerset bigger draw for British migrants

Glastonbury Tor
Getty Images

More people are moving into Somerset from the rest of the UK, than are leaving the county, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.

Last year nearly 4,000 more people moved into the county than left, with neighbouring counties, and also London, being the most common places they were coming from.

It was the highest level of internal migration to Somerset for nine years.

Get involved: Should police carry spit hoods

Avon and Somerset's Police and Crime Commisisoner is asking the public whether or not they think officers should carry spit guards - a breathable, mesh-fabric hood to stop someone spitting or biting.

Here's what some of the reaction has been this morning...

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Minute's applause for meningitis victim George Zographou

George Zographou

Bristol City Football Club will hold a minute's applause for teenage meningitis victim George Zographou before Saturday's home match with Millwall.

George – a Lansdown Stand season ticket holder – fell ill at the Boardmasters Surf and Music Festival in Newquay on Friday and died yesterday.

The 18-year-old was a student St Brendan's Sixth Form College was expected to receive his A-level results today.

A crowdfunding page to raise money for the family has generated more than £1,260 in donations so far.

It's A-level exam results day


Thousands of students from across the West will be finding out if they're going to university this autumn.

But if your grades aren't as expected then the Cheltenham-based Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas) may be able to help.

Last year, more than 64,000 students found places through their clearing process.

The Ucas website has lots of advice about navigating clearing and adjustment. You can also follow Ucas on Twitter @ucas_online or on for up-to-date information.

Travel: Problems in Bristol city centre