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Summary

  1. News, sport, travel and weather updates from across the West of England on Thursday 19 October 2017

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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'A pretty blowy story with rainfall intensity lessening overnight'

Watch: The weather forecast with Ian Fergusson

That's all from us for another day.

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

Stonehenge builders on Scottish oats

Scottish fare - likely diet
English Heritage / PA

The "army of builders" of Stonehenge ate animals transported from as far away as the north east of Scotland, according to a new exhibition at the famous Neolithic site in Wiltshire.

Analysis of pig and cattle teeth has revealed some of the animals were from as far as 500 miles away.

The "Feast! Food at Stonehenge" exhibition includes the skull of an aurochs, an extinct species of cattle.

It is aimed at allowing visitors to explore diets from 4,500 years ago.

Read more here.

Henry Purdy

Gloucester score nine tries as they ease to a bonus-point victory over French side Agen in the European Challenge Cup.

Read more

Schools underfunded 'due to affluence', says councillor

Watch: Toby Savage on South Gloucestershire's 'affluence'

Schools in South Gloucestershire could soon be the lowest-funded in the country.

It follows the introduction of a new formula by the government, which says extra money will soon stabilise the situation.

Toby Savage, South Gloucestershire Council's deputy leader and cabinet member for schools, says the region has always been underfunded because it is seen as an affluent local authority.

Nurse and locum staff roles to be cut to save NHS Somerset

Watch: Explainer from BBC Points West's Scott Ellis

Agency nurses and locum GPs must be cut in order to save £18m from NHS Somerset's budget next year.

The high cost of paying for temporary staff in hospitals is seen as the major problem in the county.

As is the rising demand for specialist long term nursing support in care homes.

Failed pet silver foxes taken in by rescue centre

Watch: See the silver foxes

Two foxes which had been living in Wales have been taken in by Vale Wildlife and Rescue Centre, near Tewkesbury.

The animals had to be given up by their owners who couldn't look after them properly.

Jeff Wood, the assistant manager at Vale, said they aren't suitable as pets with most owners either giving them up to rescue centres or abandoning them completely.

Government agrees to discuss concerns over epilepsy drug

The Government's agreed to hold talks on the health risks of a epilepsy drug that's been linked to birth defects.

Campaigners are demanding an inquiry into the use of sodium valproate, with compensation for those affected.

Natasha Mason, a mother from Swindon, is one of the campaigners working to raise awareness of the side effects the drug can have on unborn children.

She had urged her MP, Justin Tomlinson, to represent her views during a debate in the House of Commons today.

White Helmets' bikes on sale after last display

motorcycle display rider jumps fire
PA

The bikes of the recently disbanded British Army's motorcycle display team are being sold at auction in Sherborne next month.

The six Triumph T140 bikes have been 'specially customised for stunts, with no rear suspension and a modified throttle.

The team made a final farewell parade through its hometown of Blandford Forum, Dorset, on 27 September.

The bikes go under the hammer at Charterhouse Auctioneers, near Yeovil, and are estimated to sell for £5,000-£8,000 each on 16 November.

Each bike is being auctioned with a presentation file charting some of its history.

First dark skies festival begins on Exmoor

Stargazers and dark sky
Science Photo Library

People in Somerset are being given the chance to learn more about the universe at the first-ever Exmoor Dark Skies Festival.

The event is running over the next 10 days - and includes talks about astronomy and stargazing.

Severe disruption: A4135 Gloucestershire both ways

BBC News Travel

A4135 Gloucestershire both ways severe disruption, between Ganzell Lane and B4058.

A4135 Gloucestershire - A4135 Whiteway in Dursley blocked in both directions between the Ganzell Lane junction and the B4058 junction, because of a fallen tree. Approach with care.

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

Gloucester hooker immortalised with tattoo ink

Mega-fan gets tattoo of Gloucester Rugby hooker Richard Hibbard

Some fans will go to any length to prove their loyalty.

For 18-year-old Shoshone Bishop, this meant getting Gloucester rugby hooker Richard Hibbard tattoed on her leg.

She then tweeted Hibbard, who replied "fair play" to her permanent tribute:

View more on twitter

Severe disruption: M4 Gloucestershire eastbound

BBC News Travel

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

M4 Gloucestershire - M4 lane closed on exit slip road eastbound at 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

Rugby: New Welsh rules 'fairer than the old system'

Luke Charteris
Getty Images

New Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) rules on eligibility to play for Wales will put some players in a tough position, says Bath's Wales second row Luke Charteris.

Any player taking up a new deal with a team outside Wales in future must have won 60 caps to be eligible for Wales.

"It probably is a fairer way than the old system," he told BBC Radio Bristol.

Click to read more.

Special delivery for Glastonbury Tor

Watch: A helicopter carries stone to the top of the Tor

A team from RNAS Yeovilton has been helping the National Trust with conservation work at Glastonbury Tor.

A Merlin helicopter from 846 Naval Air Squadron was used to deposit 40 tonnes of stone at the top of the hill, which is suffering from erosion problems from the thousands of visitors it attracts each year.

The tor is too steep for regular vehicles to access.

Student in school

If changes to government funding go ahead, the authority's schools will be the worst funded, a group claims.

Read more

Cricket: 'Absolute privilege and honour' to serve

Andy Nash
Somerset CCC

Somerset CCC chairman Andy Nash is to step down in January after 10 years in the role.

He told the club website he had been in the position since 2007, which he said "is a rather long spell at the crease", and it was now time to retire and allow someone else the opportunity to serve the club.

The credit for what the club has achieved since 2007 goes entirely to the players, staff and volunteers who have worked tirelessly and performed miracles. I would also like to pay tribute to our members and supporters whose passion, loyalty and unfailing good humour lends so much to the club's character. It has been my absolute privilege and honour to represent Somerset County Cricket Club and to have worked with so many outstanding and committed people.

Andy Nash

Travel: A419 reopened near Swindon

Chippenham explosion: Police probe gas leak theory

The explosion happened in a third floor flat
BBC

An explosion inside a flat in Wiltshire could have been caused by a gas leak, police have said.

One man was taken to hospital with serious burns and is in a critical condition in Morriston Hospital, Swansea.

The blast on Wednesday caused significant structural damage at the property in Market Place, Chippenham.

A police cordon is expected to be removed later but an alleyway alongside the building will remain fenced off.

Large amounts of debris can be seen where the explosion took place
BBC
Cameron Pring

National League side Aldershot sign Bristol City left-back Cameron Pring on a one-month youth loan deal.

Read more

See the moment the stone poppy collapsed

Watch: CCTV of poppy collapsing

Royal Wootton Bassett's giant marble poppy, which was given to the town in 2015, has collapsed under its own weight.

There were concerns it was vandalism, but CCTV showed no-one was involved, as the above footage demonstrates.

Afternoon headlines from the local newspapers

Travel: A419 southbound closure remains near Swindon

View more on twitter

The closure follows a crash involving a lorry and a car.

Wiltshire Police said five men were in the car when it collided with a lorry exiting the Castle Eaton junction.

Two men were taken to Southmead Hospital with life-threatening injuries and the other three were taken to the GWH with lesser injuries. The lorry driver was taken to the GWH with minor injuries.

Swindon speedway to celebrate their trophy win in style

Listen: Lee Kilby from the club on BBC Wiltshire

Swindon will be parading their speedway league championship trophy tonight at the Abbey Stadium.

The Robins won the play-off final after winning away at Wolverhampton a fortnight ago.

Since the second leg of that competition was away, many fans weren't able to see Swindon bring home the gold.

Lee Kilby, the club's commercial-manager, visited BBC Wiltshire with the trophy this morning.

Travel: M5 slip road closed overnight at Avonmouth

Villagers' concern over supermarket opening in pub

Co-op bag
CO-OPERATIVE GROUP

Villagers in the Forest of Dean have spoken of their concerns over plans for a new Co-op supermarket.

The Rising Sun - the only pub in Bream - wants to open up the store in part of its building.

Locals say another supermarket is unnecessary and could lead to the closure of other businesses.

Giant stone poppy collapses

Royal Wootton Bassett's giant marble poppy, which was given to the town in 2015, has collapsed under its own weight.

The sculpture weighed 4.5 tonnes. The bottom petal has snapped, causing the rest of the flower to fall over.

There were concerns it was vandalism, but CCTV showed nothing untoward.

The local town council says it is "shocked and saddened" that the collapse has happened so close to Armistice Day.

Cumberland Basin Bristol - your new des res?

Since Bristol mayor, Marvin Rees, announced plans to redevelop the Cumberland Basin at his annual speech last evening, you've been giving us your reactions.

The majority are sceptical, it seems, but there are some who believe the plans could be positive in the long run.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Retiring after a lifetime on the rails

Jeff Madge joined British Railways in 1952, now he's finally hanging up his driver's cap

After 65 years on the railways, Jeff Madge is finally retiring.

The driver joined British Railways in 1952, aged just 15, working his way up from fireman to driver.

Unfortunately, the age of steam came to an end when he was eligible for a promotion, so he became a diesel driver.

Later in his life, he joined the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway, serving as a driver on their trains for 24 years.

Plans to redevelop old airfield will be discussed today

Building site
Getty Images

Revised plans for a major redevelopment of the old Filton airfield go before South Gloucestershire councillors later today.

The proposals include more than 2,500 new houses and apartments, offices, schools, nurseries, a community centre and railway station.

It's been recommended that outline planning permission be granted.

Scheme to tackle nurse shortage piloted in Somerset

Nurse
PA

It's hoped a scheme being piloted in Somerset could help to tackle a national crisis in recruiting nurses.

The nurse associate programme allows healthcare workers to undertake extra training and qualifications, and ultimately fill a vacant nursing position as a result.

There are currently more than 20 nurse associates in the county on the scheme - including Yeovil, Bridgwater and Taunton.

Wiltshire Police advise motorists to avoid A419 near Cricklade

Wiltshire Police say a serious road traffic collision on the A419 has closed the southbound carriageway towards Swindon. One lane northbound is also shut.

A lorry and a car collided close to the junction with Seven Bridges Farm just before 10am this morning.

The air ambulance, road ambulances and the fire service are attending.

Wiltshire Police have advised motorists to avoid the area, as the road will be shut southbound for some time.

The Stonehenge diet: what did Neolithic party-goers eat?

Stonehenge feast
PA

Even in the Neolithic ages, Stonehenge was well-known across Britain as a place of feasting, ceremony and celebration.

Party food included roast sweetened pork and rich dairy products, including cheese and butter, according to an English Heritage exhibition, Feeding Stonehenge, which opens tomorrow at the stone circle’s visitor centre.

Analysis of thousands of bones and teeth buried at nearby Durrington Walls shows visitors even brought animals from as far away as north east Scotland.

Raising the ancient stones was an incredible feat but so too was feeding the army of builders - our exhibition reveals just how this was done.

Susan GreanyEnglish Heritage

What do you think about Rees' Cumberland Basin plans?

More of your thoughts about the plans, announced last evening, for Bristol City Council to redevelop the Cumberland Basin:

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Severe accident: A419 Wiltshire southbound

BBC News Travel

A419 Wiltshire southbound severe accident, between B4040 Swindon Road and A4311 Cricklade Road affecting B4696 Cirencester Road.

A419 Wiltshire - A419 closed and queuing traffic southbound between the B4040 Swindon Road junction in Cricklade and the A4311 Cricklade Road junction in Broad Blunsdon, because of accident investigation work. Diversion in operation - traffic to follow the solid diamond diversion route via the B4040, B4553, A4198 and A4311. Congestion to Cerney Wick.

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

Police in 115mph chase on M5

View more on twitter

The pursuit began at the Taunton and Yeovil turn-off on the M5, and ended at the Exeter junction.

Mum's campaign to raise awareness of epilepsy drug during pregnancy

Alfie Mason
Family photo
Three-year-old Alfie Mason has been affected by the epilepsy drug

A Swindon mum aims to raise awareness of the side effects an epilepsy drug can have on unborn children.

Natasha Mason wasn't warned about the potential side effects of the drug Epilim until long after her son Alfie was born.

He now has severe autism and can't speak - thought to be due to foetal valproate syndrome.

Natasha has urged North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson to represent her views during a debate in the House of Commons today.

South Gloucestershire's schools 'lowest funded' in England, warn campaigners

Teacher with pupils generic pic
Getty Images

Campaigners are warning school funding levels will make South Gloucestershire's pupils the lowest funded in England.

The figures come from a union-backed group, School Cuts, who also claim Bristol's students will suffer a 9% drop in funding by 2020.

South Gloucestershire's cabinet member for schools, Toby Savage, says he "doesn't recognise the figures", while the government say it's providing record levels of funding for schools nationally.

You can hear more about this story on Radio Bristol's breakfast show this morning.