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  1. Live news, sport, travel and weather updates for the West of England on Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Goodnight from Local Live

That's it from the Local Live team for today.

We'll be back again tomorrow at 7am with all the news, sport, travel and weather from across the region.

Here's Ian with your weather forecast for the coming hours and days.

'A simple antibiotic could have saved her', says father of Izzy Gentry

The father of Bristol teenager, Izzy Gentry, who died earlier this year after contracting meningitis B, has called for a campaign to raise awareness of the disease.

The family - along with victim George Zographou's family - are to meet with the Health Secretary next month and will demand wider availability of meningitis vaccines.

Paul Gentry says he also wants more training for medical staff:

Brexit could leave West Country hospitals short of staff

There are concerns that uncertainty over Brexit could leave the NHS in the West Country short of specialist staff.

Figures suggest the number of EU nurses and health visitors has fallen by a third since Brexit.

Our Health Correspondent, Matthew Hill has been looking at the issue.

José Garcia is one of many EU medical professionals who work in the West Country.

Attenborough recalls, as Blue Planet 2 is released

More than 100,000 people applied to be at a premiere of the latest series made by the BBC's Natural History Unit in Bristol tonight.

Blue Planet 2 promises to take millions of viewers "to unexplored parts of the world's oceans, and reveal creatures we've never seen before".

Ahead of the screening of episode one, Sir David Attenborough told BBC Points West how wildlife filming has always fascinated his audiences - in his own inimitable way:

David Attenborough recalls wildlife filming

Bath taxi drivers and MP warn students: 'Don't take cabs you haven't ordered'

Students in Bath are being warned about the dangers of getting into a vehicle that they haven’t pre-ordered.

“Only BaNES licensed hackney carriages are allowed to pick up a hail on the street, or from a taxi rank, and their large white taxi sign will be lit up when they are available for hire. All other vehicles must be pre-booked,” said Paul Roles, spokesperson for Bath Taxi Drivers.

“Although young people might think it is convenient to jump into a car that just happens to be there... they should think again. Such rides are un-registered and un-insured.

"There would be no record of you ever having got into the vehicle, (and) if you were involved in a crash, you would not be insured.”

Taxi drivers and MP
Office of Wera Hobhouse MP
Bath taxi drivers Leo Mulvs, Paul Roles and Darth Speed with Wera Hobhouse MP, next to Mr Speed’s licensed hackney carriage.

I cannot emphasise enough to young people: never, ever, get into a car unless you have pre-booked it, or if it is a licensed Hackney Carriage.

Wera HobhouseMP for Bath

Do you recognise any of these men?

CCTV images of four men have been released by police following an armed robbery at a Co-op store in Bristol.

Avon and Somerset Police say they want to identify the men as part of their investigation into a robbery at the Filton Avenue store.

The crime happened at 2250 BST on Sunday (8th October).

The men, some of who were armed with baseball bats, threatened staff and forced them to lie on the floor, before making off with cash and cigarettes.

Man 1
Avon and Somerset Police
Man 2
Avon and Somerset Police
Man 3
Avon and Somerset Police
Man 4
Avon and Somerset Police

PM agrees meeting for meningitis families

The families of Bristol meningitis victims, George Zographou and Izzy Gentry, are to meet with the Health Secretary to discuss wider vaccine effectiveness and availability for teenagers.

The meeting with Jeremy Hunt - on 1 November - was agreed by Theresa May at Prime Minister's Questions earlier.

MPs had been hearing evidence from Bristol East Labour MP Kerry McCarthy, and others, about the deaths of young people in their constituencies.

Watch: the Prime Minister's response...

Meningitis families granted meeting with Health Secretary at PMQs today

Saving the M5's 'Willow Man'

Willow man

The artist behind the 'Willow Man' sculpture that stands next to the M5 near Bridgwater has been on site this week carrying out repairs.

The sculpture's willow structure has degraded since it was unveiled in 2000, and there are fears it could be gone within five years.

The artist who designed it told BBC Somerset that long term funding is needed to secure its future.

Not one West Country town in top ten of 'Happiest Places to Live'

Getty Images
Bath came 38th in the list of happiest places to live

There are no West Country towns in the top 10 of the 2017 "happy at home" index.

Cheltenham and Bath came in 29th and 38th place in terms of happiness rating.

But spa towns generally fared well: the Warwickshire town of Royal Leamington Spa was ranked the happiest place to live in Britain.

More than 17,000 people were asked how happy they are with aspects of where they live, by the property website Rightmove.

Community spirit, feeling safe, the friendliness of locals, amenities and local services plus earning enough to live comfortably were all taken into account.

Why do you think your town didn't score higher? Let us know on or @BBCBristol

West MP: 'Out of kilter' university Vice Chancellor's pay must be addressed

University vice-chancellors' pay has "got out of kilter" with the public sector and needs to be dealt with as a "matter of urgency", according to MP, Andrew Murrison.

The Conservative representative of South West Wiltshire - who quit a role at Bath University earlier this year in protest over the "eye-watering" pay of its vice-chancellor, Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell - today called for the Government to have a "very firm conversation" with the sector.

"I see no evidence to suggest that paying people more is going to improve the quality of the institution - if anything the data seems to suggest the reverse," he said.

Prof Dame Glynis Breakwell (left) and Andrew Murrison (right)
Prof Dame Glynis Breakwell (left) is paid £451,000 a year for her role as vice-chancellor at Bath which Andrew Murrison (right) has described as "eye-watering".

Parachute 'not tampered with in toilet'

Victoria Cilliers and Sgt Emile Cilliers
Emile Cilliers denies attempting to murder Victoria Cilliers in April 2015

An instructor at a sky-diving club where a man is accused of tampering with his wife's parachute has said he does not think an alleged sabotage could have taken place in a toilet.

Victoria Cilliers, 40, suffered multiple injuries in a 4,000ft fall at Netheravon Airfield, Wiltshire in 2015.

Emile Cilliers, 37, denies attempting to murder her.

Mark Bayada, in charge of equipment at the club, told Winchester Crown Court, the toilet door's "weak hook" could not "take the weight" of the kit, enabling it to be tampered with.

Read the full story here.

Commandos return to Somerset after hurricane relief effort

Lance Corporal Mario D' Agostino giving lessons to locals on the basic maintenance of a generator.
Lance Corporal Mario D' Agostino giving lessons to locals on the basic maintenance of a generator.

More than 600 servicemen and women of 40 Commando Royal Marines have returned to their base at Norton Manor Camp, Taunton, after a three week deployment to the Caribbean as part of Operation Ruman.

They were deployed on 8 September across the Caribbean to deal with the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

Their work included helping police to secure the main prison on the island and return over 100 escaped prisoners.

They also helped to ensure food, water and shelter was available and reinstated critical infrastructure.

The military task force supported by Mounts Bay and HMS Ocean has been a game changer here… everybody should be proud of what they’ve done.

Gus JaspertThe Governor of the British Virgin Islands
Superintendent Dave Foot (centre) briefs team commanders prior to return of escaped prisoners.
Superintendent Dave Foot (centre) briefs team commanders prior to return of escaped prisoners.

Bristol boy 'did not die from meningitis'

Orchard School
The Year 11 pupil at Orchard School died in hospital at the weekend

A boy who died in hospital in Bristol did not have meningitis, Public Health England (PHE) has now confirmed.

It was suspected the boy, who died at the weekend, had contracted the disease. He was in Year 11 at Orchard School in the city.

PHE says all of its tests, completed so far, are "negative for meningococcal infection".

Its incident team have concluded there is "no need for any public health action to be taken at the school".

Read the full story here.

Unborn baby RSV vaccine to go on trial

Pregnant woman

A new vaccine, aimed at protecting babies against a virus that can cause deadly respiratory infections, is to be clinically trialled in the UK.

Pregnant women in Southampton, London, Bristol and Oxford will be the first in the world to take part in the testing of the vaccine.

It aims to prevent respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) that causes about 30 baby deaths a year in the UK.

The virus can cause severe infections in lung and breathing passages.

Read the full story here.

Rugby: Gloucester make nine changes for Pau match

Billy Twelvetrees
Getty Images

Gloucester make nine changes to their starting side for Thursday's Challenge Cup trip to French side Pau.

Young flanker Jake Polledri makes his full debut for the Cherry and Whites and full-back Tom Hudson makes his first European appearance for the club.

But six experienced players remain from Saturday's league win over Northampton.

Tom Savage will skipper the English side - who won the Challenge Cup in 2005-06 and 2014-15 - for their first game in Pool Two.

Read the full story here.

Driver with prosthetic leg in Le Mans bid

James Russell from Nailsea becomes one of the first civilians to join the TeamBrit outfit.

James Russell from Nailsea is one of the first civilians to join the military Team Brit outfit.

Read more here

Community beds closure: 'Not surprised but appalled'

Listen: Cllr Amanda Broom describes her reaction to the proposed closure

Inpatient wards at Shepton Mallet and Chard are set to close temporarily due to ongoing staff shortages.

Somerset health bosses say that 24 new beds will open at its other community hospitals.

Liberal Democrat councillor Amanda Broom has been campaigning to keep Chard community hospital open.

Feeder Road will not be open for rush hour this evening

Feeder Road

Western Power has confirmed Feeder Road will not be open in time for the rush hour this evening.

A spokesperson said: "Unfortunately due to the complex nature of the bridge repairs, the road closure will not be lifted in time for the normal ‘rush hour’ commuters this evening.

"We do expect to complete all the repairs later this evening so that the road closure can be removed as soon as possible."

'Why Chard and Shepton Mallet were chosen'

Listen: Why Chard and Shepton Mallet hospitals were chosen

Nick Broughton, chief executive of Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, has explained why Chard and Shepton Mallet community hospitals were selected for closure.

The two facilities will be temporarily shut for the winter because of staff shortages.

Deceased Bristol pupil tests negative for meningitis

Orchard School

All of the tests completed so far on a Bristol student who died last weekend are negative for meningococcal infection, according to Public Health England.

As a precautionary measure all close contacts of the case, who attended Orchard School, were identified and offered antibiotics prior to these results becoming available.

Thara Raj, Consultant in Health Protection for Public Health England South West, said: “Although the results are negative for meningococcal infection, it is important that students and parents remain vigilant to the signs and symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia.

“If anyone is feeling unusually unwell, and displaying the symptoms of meningitis or septicaemia, they should contact their GP immediately or call 111.”

Cricket: ECB to consider Middlesex points appeal

Tom Garry

BBC Sport, West of England

Somerset County Cricket fans could face a nervous wait for confirmation that they have avoided relegation to Division Two of the County Championship, after the England & Wales Cricket Board said they were considering an appeal from Middlesex regarding their points deduction.

Middlesex finished one point below Somerset in the final Division One table, but earlier in the season, Middlesex were subject to a two-point penalty for a slow over-rate.

The punishment came during August's Division One match at Surrey which was abandoned when a crossbow bolt was fired into The Oval.

A decision on the matter could be made next week.

Call the Midwife stars' baby girl is a Red

View more on instagram

It would seem Bristol City's newest and youngest fan is the baby girl of Call the Midwife co-stars Helen George and Jack Ashton.

New dad Jack, from Bristol, posted on Instagram this picture of the newborn.

Ashton, a well-known Robins fan, plays Tom Hereward's character in the BBC One drama series, while George stars as Trixie Franklin.

Local newspaper headlines this afternoon

Getty Images

Here's a look at the stories some of the local papers are covering this afternoon:

Diagnosis results expected in suspected meningitis case

Orchard School, Bristol

Public Health England expects to know today whether a 15-year-old from Orchard School died from meningitis.

If it's confirmed, this will be the third death from the infection in Bristol in a matter of months.

The two teenagers who died from the disease went to St Brendan's College in the city but had no known links with the Orchard School student.

If meningitis B is confirmed, further precautions are likely to be needed.

Is Brexit taking doctors and nurses away from the West?

The number of European medical staff returning home has been rising since the UK voted to leave the EU last year.

Regionally, 724 EU health workers left the South West region between June 2016 and June 2017. That's up on the previous year when there were 589 leavers - an increase of 22%.

The British Medical Association says four in 10 EU doctors are considering leaving the UK.

One nurse,who has returned to Spain from the West Country, told BBC Radio Bristol that the Brexit vote made her feel like British people no longer wanted her to be in the UK.

Brexit: Spanish nurse says 'part of UK doesn't want us'

More on Blue Planet 2

If you've got five minutes, this preview of Blue Planet 2 is beautiful:

The series was made by the BBC's Natural History Unit in Bristol and Sir David Attenborough is in the city tonight to introduce the series to a lucky cinema audience.

More on that from BBC Points West this evening.

Facebook Live: Views of Bristol Harbour

Travel: Points failure causes disruption on trains

A points failure between Newport, Bristol Parkway and Bristol Temple Meads is causing disruption to rail services in the area.

Travellers are being warned that trains may be cancelled or delayed by up to 30 minutes.

View more on twitter

Police appeal after Bath Abbey bag theft

'Beds closure was unavoidable'

Listen: Chief executive of Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Chard and Shepton Mallet community hospitals are to have their inpatient wards temporarily closed for the winter because of staff shortages.

Nick Broughton, chief executive of Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said the decision was unavoidable.

Feeder Road to remain closed until this evening

Feeder Road bridge

Feeder Road in Bristol is due to stay closed throughout the day and into this evening, after a lorry hit a bridge on Tuesday.

Western Power Distribution said a section of the road between Cole Road and Short Street had been shut to allow repairs to a cable bridge to be carried out.

Drivers are being advised to find an alternative route.

The road closure has already caused gridlock in parts of Bristol during this morning's rush hour.

Community beds closure worry for staff and visitors

Listen: Cllr Amanda Broom describes how nurses and patient visitors feel

Chard and Shepton Mallet community hospital inpatient wards will be closed by the end of this month, BBC Somerset understands.

The trust in charge says it's a temporary response to nurse shortages.

Other services at the hospitals, including minor injuries units, will remain open.

Liberal Democrat councillor Amanda Broom has been campaigning to keep Chard open - she's worried about the impact the closure will have.

'We used to be experts in using our timber'

What needs to be done to get people to buy British wood and construction firms to use British wood?

Watch: "We've forgotten how to use our timber," says Tom Barnes

Tom Barnes is the boss of Vastern Timber, which has two sawmills in Wiltshire.

He's the fourth generation of the family to be running the business.

Bristol preview for Blue Planet 2

Watch: See the trailer for the series

The world-renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough is in Bristol tonight to present a preview of the brand-new nature series Blue Planet 2.

A lucky few will see the first episode at the city centre's Showcase cinema and hear from the veteran broadcaster himself.

The series - made by the Natural History Unit in Bristol - promises to reveal new creatures never seen before living in previously unexplored parts of the world's oceans.

Feeder Road closure causing bus delays

Beds to close at Somerset hospitals due to staff shortages

Ruth Bradley

BBC Somerset politics reporter

To those following the struggles of NHS bosses in Somerset to recruit nurses, this news may not come as a surprise.

About a quarter of registered nurse posts in the county's community hospitals are currently unfilled, so the trust which runs them says it needs to consolidate the nurses it does have over fewer wards.

It has decided to close the inpatient wards at two of its 13 community hospitals - Chard and Shepton Mallet - and move the nurses to other sites.

It will also open 24 new beds at other hospitals to make up for the ones it's losing at Shepton and Chard, so the overall number of beds available for rehabilitation and stroke care won't be affected.

That's crucial, going in to the winter months when these hospitals can help ease the strain on beds in the acute hospitals in Yeovil and Taunton.

Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust says it's taken this decision now to avoid any sudden closures in the winter, as was seen with Minehead last year, but it doesn't envisage reopening Chard and Shepton's wards before the end of March next year.

Tree-mendous opportunity for the West?

Watch: "We do bring in a small amount of timber from abroad," says Tom Barnes

The prospect of Brexit and the value of the British Pound are throwing up opportunities in forestry and timber production across the West - but do we have the skills and political will to take advantage?

A Bristol-based organisation is campaigning for a resurgence of British-grown timber following decades of decline.

Tom Barnes, the managing director of Vastern Timber in Wiltshire, says 90% of what they supply is British wood.

Your local BBC local radio headlines


Avon and Somerset police say a teenage girl, Jazmyn Richardson, who went missing last week from Nailsea has been found safe and well.

Here are other updates:

BBC Wiltshire: A defence analyst says Wiltshire firms don't need to worry about knock on effects - after the announcement around 2,000 jobs are going at defence giant BAE systems

BBC Gloucestershire: Workers in Gloucestershire have helped new research about pay in the equestrian industry.

BBC Somerset: Chard and Shepton Mallet community hospital inpatient wards will be closed by the end of this month

BBC Radio Bristol: The number of European Union doctors and nurses returning home from South West hospitals has been rising since the UK voted for Brexit

MP says bed closures at Shepton Mallet hospital is 'disappointing'

Shepton Mallet Community Hospital

Twenty-four inpatient beds are to be temporarily closed in Somerset due to staffing problems.

Fourteen are set to go at Chard Community Hospital with the other 10 at Shepton Mallet Community Hospital.

James Heappey, Wells Conservative MP, described the move as "very disappointing".

A temporary closure is unfortunate but anything permanent will not be tolerated and the focus must now be on making sure all the beds are back available and the hospital is sufficiently staffed as soon as possible.

James HeappeyMP for Wells

Feeder Road closure: Seek alternative routes