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Summary

  1. Updates on Friday, 31 March 2017
  2. Cambridgeshire MP calls for Longthorpe church heritage to be 'protected'
  3. Cambridge prepares for battle in the 2017 Boat Races

Live Reporting

By Adam Jinkerson

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Our live coverage for the week

Adam Jinkerson

BBC Local Live

That wraps up our live coverage for today and for the week.

We'll be back on Monday from 08:00.

Stay tuned to the BBC Cambridgeshire website over the weekend for breaking news and match reports, with both Cambridge United and Peterborough United in action.

Have a great weekend.

A dry night, with sunshine and showers tomorrow

Julie Reinger

BBC Look East weather

Tonight will be mostly dry across the BBC East region, with clear spells as temperatures drop to 7C (45F).

It's a mixed bag of weather for Saturday. There'll be sunny spells and the first of those April showers, some heavy with hail and thunder.

Temperatures could reach 15C (59F).

BBC Weather has more details for where you live.

Weather graphic for Saturday 05:00
BBC

Your pictures: Sunshine across the county

After my weather app told me there was a 60% chance of rain this morning, I'm rather delighted to say it's been another nice day across the county.

Here are some of the best shots captured by our BBC Weather Watchers .

Cambridge
BBC
Cottenham
BBC
Ramsey
BBC

Cambridge women prepare for Boat Race battle

Sue Dougan

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

Meanwhile, Cambridge's women are preparing for a tough battle in this Sunday's Boat Race as they look to overturn the misfortune of 2016 when their boat nearly sank.

The drama at Barnes Bridge in windy conditions led to Oxford winning the 71st women's race comfortably. 

One of Cambridge's crew, Claire Lambe, made the final of the lightweight double sculls at Rio 2016.

"The events themselves are on very different scales," she said.

Boat Races: Cambridge women prepare for battle

"The history, prestige, sponsorship and media coverage of the Boat Race is massive and feels like it's on a bigger scale than the Olympics.

"Before the hooter you're full of adrenaline and ready to give everything."

Cambridge's women have only won twice in 10 years, but still lead overall by 41 wins to Oxford's 30.    

The Boat Races: William Warr set to face ex-Cambridge team-mates

BBC Sport

There are supposed to be only two options. In or out. Cambridge or Oxford. You can't be both.

In the long history of one of sport's most enduring rivalries, just two men had crossed the line.

You can now make that three.

When the 163rd Boat Race gets under way on the River Thames on Sunday, William Warr will be going up against his old Cambridge team-mates, rowing for Oxford.

William Warr and Ben Ruble
Getty Images
Warr (left) was part of the Cambridge team that lost the 2015 race to Oxford, alongside Ben Ruble (right)

"It hasn't been easy. It was a decision I had to make, but guys I was really close with now barely speak to me any more," he told BBC Sport.

"Some have said they really hope I lose, that they completely disagree with what I'm doing, which I understand. It is a very strong bond.

"But life does go on. You need to think about your career - we are students, sometimes people forget that - and the research I am doing can help save lives, so to not go and do that because of some old rivalry would be selfish."

You can read more on this story here.

Shopping centre boss moves down the road

Tom Horn

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

There's been an interesting transfer in the retail industry in Cambridge.

The manager of the Grand Arcade has left to become the new boss of the Grafton Centre.

The Grafton is currently in the middle of an multimillion-pound renovation, which is due to be completed next year.

Artists impression of Grand Arcade revamp
Corstorphine Wright

John O'Shea said the shopping centre "won't be going head-to-head" with the Grand Arcade.

"The Grafton Centre will be a shopping centre for local people," he told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.

"£18.5m is exactly the right amount of money to be spending.

"You have to have a combinations of retail, you have to have restaurants and you have to have a leisure offer."

When tackles go wrong...

#PeoplesCup

Just how did those legs end up there? Find out with our top 10 magic moments from last weekend's FA People's Cup semi-finals.

For more FA People's Cup action, watch  our semi-final highlights programme,  available on the iPlayer from 06:00 BST on Saturday morning, 1 April, and on the Red Button at 13:50 BST and repeated throughout the weekend.

Cambridge amateur photographer wins selfie prize

An amateur photographer from Cambridge has won Saatchi Gallery's selfie competition with her photo "The Substitute (holiday)".

The Substitute (holiday)
Dawn Woolley 2017

Dawn Woolley's winning image was selected from over 14,000 entries by judges including artist Tracey Emin.

However, one thing that viewers may notice is that Ms Woolley does not appear in the photo - instead a cardboard cut-out of her does.

The Cambridge artist described her entry as an untraditional self-portrait. 

Her picture beat nine others in the contest.

Woolley said: "Primarily my artwork is self-portraiture, but not in the traditional sense.

"By creating artwork that establishes me as an object, it could be argued that I produce photographs that reinforce stereotypical images of the female body, but with apparent exhibitionism I create a substitute that renders my real body invisible."

The image, which shows a man holding her two-dimensional self as they lie on a lawn, is part of a series of pictures she has taken across Europe, including Cardiff, London, Malta and Paris, since 2008.

The finished collection will open at the Saatchi Gallery in London today, featuring all 14,000 entries to the competition.

Severe disruption: A428 Cambridgeshire westbound

BBC News Travel

A428 Cambridgeshire westbound severe disruption, between A1198 Ermine Street South and B1040 St Ives Road.

A428 Cambridgeshire - A428 Cambridge Road in Caxton Gibbet blocked and queuing traffic westbound between the A1198 Ermine Street South junction and the B1040 St Ives Road junction, because of a police incident.

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

Lunchtime weather: Sunny with some showers

BBC Weather

After a bright start a band of cloud and patchy rain will move east.

Becoming brighter this afternoon with some sunny intervals but also one or two showers.

Temperatures a little down on those of Thursday.

Highs of 16C (61F)

Weather outlook
BBC

Church changes 'necessary' says diocese

Adam Jinkerson

BBC Local Live

Earlier we brought you news that Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson criticised plans to modernise a church in the region.

St Botolph's church in Longthorpe is looking to bring in a new altar and pulpit and remove the pews.

Mr Jackson told the Commons the "architectural heritage" of the 700-year-old church was at stake.   

St Botolph's Church
Richard Humphrey/Geograph

Reacting to Mr Jackson's comments, a spokesperson for the Diocese of Peterborough said: "Space is tight in the church building and difficulties arise at weddings, funerals and in normal Sunday worship. 

"The current proposals for the internal reordering of the worship space have been the subject of painstaking consultations, and the proposals have been amended in the light of feedback from the heritage community. 

"The proposed changes are necessary in order to improve access, enhance worship and to provide new opportunities for mission."

Brian Green, church warden at St Botolph, said: "The whole idea was to make it accessible for the wheelchair user, and to make the space more friendly and useful as well."

Boat Races: A potted history

Adam Jinkerson

BBC Local Live

As we've been mentioning, Cambridge and Oxford go head-to-head in the 163rd men's and 72nd women's annual Boat Races on Sunday.

Cambridge's men will be looking to build on their win last year, while the women's team will be hoping for better fortune after their boat almost sank.

Here's some of the most memorable moments in its history.

1829:  After Cambridge challenged Oxford to a race, the event was born. The first race took place at Henley-on-Thames on 10 June 1829 in front of a relatively impressive crowd of 20,000.

Oxford sealed a comfortable victory, which the official record says came by 14 minutes and 30 seconds.

First ever boat race
Getty Images
First ever boat race in 1829

1877: This year saw the race's one and only tie amid much controversy.

Among broken oars and high waves, Oxford believed they had been victorious, only for the race to be declared a dead heat.

The race sparked the introduction of finishing posts and the selection of a former 'Blue' as an umpire.

Boat race in 1877 sees dead heat
Getty Images
Race in 1877 sees dead heat

1987 : An Oxford men's team, largely made up of reserves, beat Cambridge in a year when several American members of the squad quit after coach Dan Topolski replaced their fellow American Chris Clark.

Oxford celebrate boat race win
Getty Images
Oxford celebrate race win in 1987

2012:  The 2012 race saw what is deemed as probably the most controversial moment in its history.

The race was stopped halfway through when protester Trenton Oldfield swam in front of the boats. 

Cambridge went on to win the re-run by four and a quarter lengths.  

Protester in the water of boat race
Getty Images
Protester in the water of the men's race

2015:  This was the year the women's race took place on the same day as the men's, in what was seen as a long-overdue triumph for gender equality.

The first women's race took place in 1927, but it did not become an annual event until 1964.

Oxford women celebrate win
Getty Images
Oxford women celebrate winning in 2015

What will 2017 bring?

Church heritage 'should be protected'

Adam Jinkerson

BBC Local Live

The MP for Peterborough has criticised plans to modernise a 700-year-old Cambridgeshire church.

The programme at St Botolph's in Longthorpe will see a new altar and pulpit and the removal of all the pews.

Mr Jackson, Conservative, said the church's heritage should be protected.

St Botolph's in Longthorp
Julian Dowse/Geograph

"The chancellor of the diocese of Peterborough have given the green light to ripping out the interior of the Grade I-listed, 13th Century St Botolph's church in Longthorpe, Peterborough," said Mr Jackson.

"Is it any wonder that the Church of England is losing the support of its parishioners when it so grievously fails to protect its own architectural heritage?"

Mr Lidington, the leader of the House of Commons, replied saying: "There is sometimes a difficult balance to be struck between what a congregation wants to meet the needs of worship and the historic fabric of a church."

We've contacted the Diocese of Peterborough for comment.

The Cambridge rower who battled pneumonia to race again

BBC Sport

Cambridge and Oxford will once again take to the Thames this weekend for the 2017 Boat Races.

But for one Cambridge rower, last year didn't turn out as expected.

Ashton Brown ended up with pneumonia last year after her team's boat nearly sank.

Here she talks about her battle to get fit for this year's clash...

Cambridge rower Ashton Brown battled pneumonia to race again

You can watch the Boat Races live on Sunday from 16:00 on BBC One.

Weather: Mostly bright and just the outside chance of a shower

Elizabeth Rizzini

BBC Look East weather

It will be a very mild start to the day, with any early brightness soon clouding over.

Through the afternoon the cloud will break up to reveal some good spells of sunshine and just the outside chance of a shower.

It will be a little less warm than yesterday, but temperatures could still reach 17C (63F).

Here's my full forecast...

You can find more details on the BBC Weather website .

Good morning

Adam Jinkerson

BBC Local Live

Welcome back to live updates for Cambridgeshire on Friday, 31 March.

We'll be here until 18:00 with the latest news, sport, weather and travel from around the county.

Could that be the sun I see popping out of the clouds for another day this week?

This BBC Weather Watcher seems to think so...

Ramsey St Mary's
BBC

A full forecast for the day is on the way shortly.

You can get in touch with the team by email , Twitter or Facebook .

Severe accident: A47 Norfolk both ways

BBC News Travel

A47 Norfolk both ways severe accident, between A17 and B198.

A47 Norfolk - A47 blocked in both directions between Pullover Roundabout in King's Lynn and the B198 junction in Walton Highway, because of a multi-vehicle accident.

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

Goodnight from Cambridgeshire

That's it for live updates from Cambridgeshire for now. We'll be back tomorrow from 08:00 with all the latest news, sport, weather and travel.

Here are the stories making the headlines today:

  • A man accused of killing two pedestrians near Peterborough was found unfit to plead
  • A former Peterborough school governor is found guilty of indecent images offences
  • Cambridge University is building a huge new storage facilitynear Ely for part of its library.

And it was a glorious, sunny, spring day, so this farmer at Ramsey St Mary got busy...

Ramsey St Mary's
BBC Weather Watchers/alpac alady

Ex-school governor claimed he had been blackmailed by a burglar

Former school governor Andrew Brown's offences came to light when he told police he had been burgled and the burglar had attempted to blackmail him.

Cambridgeshire Police traced the stolen devices and found 718 indecent images of children, some as young as three, on the items - all of which were created before the burglary on 24 October 2015.

The former chairman of governors at King's School in Peterborough (below) claimed the burglar must have broken into the house at an earlier date and planted them there, but he was found guilty at Peterborough Crown Court of the offences.

Det Sgt James Weston said: "His denial throughout the investigation regarding the possssion of indecent images of children, extreme and prohibited images, resulted in extensive digital forensic investigation work and analysis."

KIng's School, Peterborough
Geograph/Julian Dowse

Weather: Clear tonight and sunny spells and showers tomorrow

Julie Reinger

BBC Look East weather

Any evening showers should soon ease, to leave mostly dry conditions for the rest of the night with some clear spells. It will be mild with a minimum temperature of 10C (50F).

weather
BBC

Tomorrow morning some showery rain will move eastwards. By the afternoon it will turn drier and brighter, with sunny spells and a few light showers. 

It'll be a little less warm than today with a maximum temperature of about 17C (63F).

There are more details on BBC Weather website .

Man jailed for more than eight years for jewellery store raids

Alex Harris

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

A Romanian man has been jailed for more than eight years for his part in a number of jewellery store raids across England, including two at Fraser Hart in Peterborough and Milton Keynes. 

Six members of a gang have already been sentenced for stealing jewellery worth more than £3m from 11 stores. 

Cosmin Moraru, 25, from Spring Grove, Naden Road, Birmingham, was today sentenced to six years and six months for conspiracy to commit burglaries and 18 months for conspiracy to commit arson, at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court. 

Trade Secretary: Agriculture high on Brexit agenda

Andrew Sinclair

BBC Look East political correspondent

International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox has assured farmers in the East that securing a good deal for the industry is one of the priorities in the forthcoming Brexit negotiations. 

Speaking during a visit to Camgrain in Balsham, he said the government was hoping for tariff-free trade with the EU once we had left. He said he was also hoping to negotiate new trade deals with other countries around the world. 

A few MPs have privately expressed fears that food and farming could lose out under Brexit, but Dr Fox described such concerns as "misplaced".  

"Tariffs on farming would hit EU producers more than us. I hope that common sense and rationality is not trumped by short-term political considerations," he said.

Dr Fox was visiting Cambridgeshire in support of James Palmer, the Conservative candidate in the mayoral elections.

The international trade secretary visits Camgrain
BBC

'Tariff-free Euro economy' needed says Liam Fox on Cambridgeshire visit

Andrew Sinclair

BBC Look East political correspondent

I've been to meet the Secretary of State for International Trade, Liam Fox, who has come to Cambridgeshire today. 

He was visiting Camgrain, a farmer-owned co-operative and met its vice chairman, David White.  

The day after Article 50 was officially triggered, to start the divorce proceedings for the UK to leave the EU, he told me: "I want to see a tariff-free Euro economy." 

He added that "tariffs on farming would hit EU food producers more than us" and that he hoped in trade talks "political considerations won't trump common sense". 

Liam Fox and David White
BBC

Former Peterborough school governor guilty of possessing indecent images of children

The former chairman of governors at a Peterborough secondary school has been found guilty of a series of offences relating to indecent images of children. 

Andrew Brown, 61, of Montague Road, Peterborough, was convicted at Peterborough Crown Court of three counts of possessing indecent images of a child, two counts of making indecent images of a child and one count of possessing prohibited images of a child.

He was found not guilty of two counts of possessing extreme pornographic material. 

Brown, who denied all the charges, was chairman of governors at the city's King's School before his arrest. 

Andrew Brown
Paperpix.uk

Library on the move

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

The last time Cambridge University had to move the millions of books it stores was in 1934, when it moved from the centre of the city to the current Giles Gilbert Scott building, as these amazing historical pictures show. 

Moving of boxes from Cambridge University's old library
University of Cambridge

Scott was the man responsible for designing the iconic red phone box and Battersea Power Station. 

Book delivery
University of Cambridge

Cambridge University's library is one of only six legal deposit libraries and has been since 1710. 

Lowering of books from a window
University of Cambridge

This means it acquires a copy of each book and journal published in the UK and Ireland, making for some very interesting reading. 

Books being moved
University of Cambridge

The new books are delivered every Thursday.   

The height of two adult giraffes and the capacity of 18 Olympic swimming pools.....

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

The new multimillion-pound storage facility for Cambridge University's libraries is being built on the former World War Two bomber base, RAF Witchford. 

Now for some interesting facts. 

  • It will provide 65 miles (196km) of storage space.
  • There will be about 30,000 shelves. 
  • The highest shelf will be 11m (36ft) - the height of two adult giraffes. 
  • The capacity is equal to 18 Olympic-sized swimming pools. 
  • If the shelving was laid out end-to-end, it would stretch from Cambridge to London.
  • Material requested from the store, should be delivered to the University Library within one to two working days.
  • There's potential to expand the site by 25% in the longer term.

Source: University of Cambridge

Millions spent on new home for maps and manuscripts

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

Having to store more than eight million books and manuscripts, a million maps and a copy of every UK publication since 1710, means finding enough space can be pretty tricky. 

So with a library that's close to capacity, Cambridge University has just started work on a new storage facility. 

Groundbreaking at new library storage site
University of Cambridge

The new £17.1m building is being built close to Ely, at the Lancaster Way Business Park and should be open by early next year. 

But the issue of space will rear its ugly head again in 2030 when capacity could be reached.

Elsewhere in the news: What the papers say

Here's a quick look at what else is making the front pages of the county's newspapers today: 

  • The  Cambridge News  reveals some of the fascinating new features being created along the A14 as the £1.5 billion upgrade takes shape.
  • Three friends from Soham have been praised as “heroes” for helping police rescue an elderly lady with dementia who'd gone missing, according to the  Ely Standard .
  • And the  Peterborough Telegraph  reveals a list of the city’s best and worst GP surgeries, based on ratings provided by patients. Hodgson Medical Centre in Werrington comes out top followed by Thorney Medical Practice in Eye. Have a look to see where your local surgery rates. 
papers generic
BBC

Double-death accused unfit to plead

Helen Burchell

BBC News

Richard Frost, who was expected to appear at Cambridge Crown Court this morning has been found not fit to enter a plea, so we're not expecting any more on this story today.

He has been charged with causing the deaths of Thomas Fletcher, 19, and Thomas Northam, 22, who died after being hit by a BMW in Yaxley on 3 January.

Thomas Fletcher (l) and Thomas Northam
Family/Facebook

Mr Frost, 38, from Chelmsford, appeared via a video link from Peterborough Prison but the court heard he was not currently fit to enter pleas and the case was adjourned.

A hearing date has been pencilled in for 5 June and a provisional trial date set for 18 September.

Local paper owner Johnston Press announces £300m pre-tax loss

BBC Business News

News publisher Johnston Press has announced a pre-tax loss for last year of £300m.

The group publishes several papers in the region, including the Northampton Chronicle and Echo, the Peterborough Evening Telegraph and the Milton Keynes Citizen.

The valuation of its titles has been slashed in two tranches over the past year.

With its half-year results, it announced a write-down of £224m. To that, it has added a reduction of £120m with its full-year figures.

local papers
BBC

The share price dropped 9% after the annual results were published.

Print advertising revenue was down from £149m to £123m in 2016. Digital advertising remained below £19m.

There was an operating profit of £42m, but the major revaluations took the pre-tax statutory loss to £300m.

Feeling hot, hot, hot

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

Today could be the hottest day of the year so far, as maximum temperatures of 20C (68F) have been forecast for the county. 

But it doesn't look like it's going to be hottest March day ever, as we have a top weather fact coming your way...

Sunny Histon
BBC

The record for the warmest-ever March was set in 1968, when a high of 25.6C (78F) was recorded in Mepal, Cambridgeshire. 

Right, where are my sunglasses? 

Dive in and buy some Ed Sheeran stuff

They might not be the exact "Shape of You" but if you fancy owning some items of clothing once belonging to Ed Sheeran then put this date in your diary. 

On 13 April East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) will open a new shop in Cherry Hinton, Cambridge, and 20 items of clothing worn by the singer will be on sale. 

If you can't make that date the charity says more items will be sold via an online auction site on 23 April. 

Ed Sheeran
Getty Images

Police chief renews calls to take over fire service

Sam Edwards

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire, Jason Ablewhite, has renewed his calls to also be in charge of the county's fire service. 

He's told the BBC that although both services already work closely together, he wants to take it further and be commissioner for both. 

"I think bringing it under one strategic head with two chiefs, so they still have their autonomy, they still deliver their service on the ground, is less cumbersome than the current process and we should be able to collaborate more comfortably with things like estates, which makes sense," he said.

Jason Ablewhite
BBC