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  1. Royal Navy could lose 'fight on beaches' Plymouth-based ships in planned cuts
  2. Bank steps in to save Cornwall swim group hit by Monarch crisis
  3. Royal Cornwall Hospital doctors say systems in place to ensure urgent cases "are seen quickly"
  4. Portuguese man-of-war wash up in St Ives
  5. Cornwall Air Ambulance commissions new helicopter
  6. Public consultation on merger of South Hams and West Devon councils draws to close
  7. Updates on Friday 6 October 2017

Live Reporting

By Lynne French

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Our live coverage

That's all from BBC Local Live for another week, but we'll be back at 08:00 on Monday to bring you all the day's news, sport, travel and weather updates.

Don't miss Spotlight on BBC One tonight at 18:30 and the late bulleting at 22:30.

Students create app in bid to avoid nightclub queues

Sophie Malcolm

BBC News Online

Long queues outside nightclubs could be a thing of the past, after a group of students developed an app to track queue lengths.

University of Exeter students developed QTRKR to monitor how long queues at each club in the city are, as well as wait times and ticket availability.

It also helps nightclub owners to control crowds outside.

They came up with the idea after waiting for hours in nightclub queues around the city.

Saturday's weather: Heavy rain clearing later

David Braine

Weather Forecaster

After rain overnight,. Saturday will be a cloudy day with rain at times and with some heavy bursts of rain possible over moors.

Drier, brighter weather will spread in from the north in the evening.

Weather map

Maximum temperature 16C (61F).

Jethro steps in to help Monarch crisis-hit swimmers

Miles Davis

BBC News Online

Jethro with Radio Cornwall's David White
David White

Legendary Cornish comedian Jethro stepped in to help a group of swimmers whose training camp abroad was threatened by the collapse of Monarch Airlines.

Trip organiser Helen Tooley said the comic contacted her after he saw the story of the plight of the young swimmers from the North Cornwall Dragons on BBC Spotlight.

Mrs Tooley said Jethro (pictured left with BBC Radio Cornwall's David White) offered to contribute £5,000 to help pay for new flights.

The swimming club also raised more than £5,000 through donations from the public.

Barclays Bank has paid back the £11,000 spent on flights and also made a donation of £4,000 to cover extra costs, so the group is all set to go ahead with the trip at the end of the month.

Whole Lotta Love: Lakeman joins Led Zep's Plant for track

Devon fiddle star Seth Lakeman joined Robert Plant for the Led Zeppelin classic Whole Lotta Love.


Former Zeppelin frontman Plant, who was performing at the BBC's Maida Vale studios for BBC 6 Music, brought in Lakeman for a violin interlude while he played a bhodran drum.

Plant was taking part in 6 Music Live with support from his band, the Sensational Space Shifters.

Plant and Lakeman

Adopted woman discovers she's related to ex-US president

A Devon woman who was adopted at birth says she's reeling from the news that she's related to former US President Barack Obama.

Jan Rolfe, from Exeter, said that, after finding her birth mother, she started looking into her family history and was astonished to discover she and the 44th president of the United States were distant cousins.

Barak Obama

The 67-year-old said President Obama's ninth great-grandfather was her seventh great-grandfather.

"My cousin in Texas has assured me it's correct, and she's being doing genealogy for many years ... so there's no doubt."

Rugby: May to skipper Pirates against Nottingham

Brent Pilnick

BBC Sport

Full-back Toby May will captain Cornish Pirates in their Championship match with Nottingham on Sunday.

He takes over from Nicolas De Battista after he suffered a knock in last week's loss at Yorkshire Carnegie, but the Argentine centre does make the bench.

Dan Koster replaces De Battista in one of three changes as prop Jack Andrew comes in for his 100th Pirates appearance, and Toby Freeman joins the second row.

Toby May
Brian Tempest

Cornish Pirates: T May (capt); O’Meara, Koster, Laverick, Moyle; L May, Day; Walker, Cowan-Dickie, Andrew, Freeman, Caulfield, Cooper, Bolwell, Lawday.

Replacements: Channon, Judge, Keast, Duncan, Taylor, Cargill, De Battista.

All Plymouth MPs condemn specialist landing ships threat

Andrew Segal

Local Live

All of Plymouth's three MPs have condemned plans to take two Plymouth-based Royal Navy specialist landing ships out of service.

BBC Newsnight understands HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark (pictured) are under threat under plans being considered in the Ministry of Defence.

Critics said the proposal would also deprive the Royal Marines of its core mission.

Luke Pollard, the Labour MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, said the proposal was poorly thought through and would hit national security, as well as being bad for the city.

Plymouth Moor View Conservative Johnny Mercer said the cut in amphibious capability had to be questioned and that the Royal Marines were a national asset.

HMS Bulwark

South West Devon Conservative Gary Streeter tweeted that he gave his "complete support" to Mr Mercer's points on the Royal Marines.

He added: "Any attempt by MoD to reduce amphibious fleet will be resisted."

The MoD told the BBC that no decisions have been made yet and that discussion of options was "pure speculation".

View more on twitter

Offenders' art benefits city charities

BBC Radio Devon

Works of art, made by young offenders in Plymouth, are being sold to make money for local charities.

It's part of a creative reparation scheme by the city's youth offending team, designed to make up for harm caused through crime.

Wood art
Plymouth City Council

St Luke's Hospice has made £115 in sales of the art, which is all made from surplus wood donated by local building sites.

Sarah Henfrey, from the charity's Shabby Chic shop, said: "We are delighted to support these young people with their wood art projects and are also grateful for the funds we receive when we sell these products."

Devon councils' merger consultation ending at weekend

BBC Spotlight

A public consultation on the merger of two Devon councils ends this weekend.

South Hams and West Devon want to merge, saying it will save both councils £500,000 a year.

However, they also admitted that council tax payers in the South Hams would have bigger council tax increases in the first few years than those in West Devon.

The consultation, which started in August, ends on Sunday.

Top award for special needs assistant

BBC Spotlight

A Plymouth teaching assistant who helps children with special needs has won a top award.

Rebecca Ward, from Courtlands Special School, is the South West's Outstanding Higher Level Teaching Assistant of the year.

Rebecca Ward

She said that, while she's thrilled with the accolade, doing the job she loves was reward enough.

"It's very rewarding: you see them grow in confidence, and the progress they make is unbelievable.

"I just enjoy it, and every day is different.

Football: Tillson in contention for City's Carlisle trip

Brent Pilnick

BBC Sport

Exeter City could have Jordan Tillson available for Saturday's League Two trip to Carlisle United.

The defensive midfielder had been a doubt after badly bruising his ankle against Morecambe last Saturday, but has returned to training.

Centre-back Jordan Moore-Taylor could also feature having missed the last two games, but Ryan Harley and Robbie Simpson are still out with long-term injuries.

Jordan Tillson
Getty Images

Meanwhile, Paul Tisdale missed out on a second consecutive Manager of the Month award.

Fellow nominee Kevin Nolan took won the accolade after leading Notts County to six successive wins.

Tribute to 'kind-hearted mischief maker' crash victim

The family of a homeless man killed by a car in Dartmouth last week has paid tribute to a "loving" man, describing him as a "kind-hearted mischief maker".

Jamie Symons died after being hit on College Way by a vehicle that failed to stop.

A 20-year-old local man has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and released pending further investigations.

Jamie Symons
Family photo

Members of Mr Symons family said they were heartbroken, adding: "You were the lead mischief maker for certain but this made you who you are.

"You had your tough times but you would always find your way through them and through it all, deep down you remained a kind-hearted gentleman with a gentle soul."

Devon and Cornwall Police have appealed to anyone with information to contact them.

Owl be seeing you! Missing Errol is found

BBC Radio Cornwall

A young barn owl who went missing from a wildlife park in Cornwall has been found, staff say.

Errol disappeared from his home at Feadon Farm Wildlife Centre at Portreath on 26 September while staff were training him.

Errol the owl. Pic: at Feadon Farm Wildlife Centre
Feadon Farm Wildlife Centre

Eight-seven Jobcentres to be axed across Britain

Daily Mirror

The Department for Work and Pensions has exclusively revealed the full list to the Daily Mirror - with 87 due to close.

They include Helston and Liskeard in Cornwall, plus Newton Abbot and Totnes in Devon, between December 2017 and February 2018.

Football: Owers hopes to bolster Torquay squad

Brent Pilnick

BBC Sport

Torquay United manager Gary Owers says he could bring in some new players to bolster his struggling side.

Tuesday's win against Maidenhead was their first of the season, but they remain bottom of the National League.

Gary Owers
Rex Features

With seven loan players already, Owers says permanent signings are his only realistic option.

"The players that would suit our situation at the moment are out of contract free agents, so I'm exploring that market," he told BBC Sport.

"If I can get a top-quality loan signing in and I can bring him to the club I will do that, but it would be at the expense of someone else unfortunately," he added.

Threatened landing ships: MP Mercer criticises reports

Andrew Segal

Local Live

A second Plymouth MP has criticised reports that Royal Navy could lose its ability to assault enemy held beaches under plans being considered in the Ministry of Defence.

BBC Newsnight understands that specialist landing ships HMS Albion and Bulwark, both based in the city, would be taken out of service under the proposals.

Critics say the proposal would deprive the Royal Marines of its core mission.

HMS Albion

Plymouth Moor View Conservative and former Army officer Johnny Mercer wrote several tweets in response.

He tweeted:

  • It’s about ‘assured access’. What’s the point of carriers if you can’t land that force?
  • Successive Gov’ts have reviewed amphibious capability and decided to keep. Why is this Gov’t different?
  • Royal Marines are a strategic, National asset- should not be in the mix when First Sea Lord is trying to balance the Navy budget.
  • RM [Royal Marines] contribution to SF [special forces] is unsurpassed. SF must be protected at all costs and I will not support anything in that direction, which this is.

The MoD told the BBC that no decisions have been made yet and that discussion of options was "pure speculation".

Portuguese man-of-war wash up in St Ives

Hannah Stacey

BBC Radio Cornwall

Hannah Stacey

Beach users are once again being warned about the amount of Portuguese man-of-war washed up - this time on Porthmeor beach in St Ives.

The numbers have reached unprecedented levels on Cornwall's beaches and, now that lifeguard patrols have ended, people are being warned there will be nobody to pick up the creatures.

Hannah Stacey

The invasion of potentially fatal jellyfish-like creatures has been spreading along the English Channel.

They were first spotted in Cornwall and have been seen as far east as Milford-on-Sea in Hampshire.

Two sexual assaults investigated

Lynne French

BBC News Online

Police are investigating reports that two 15-year-old girls were seriously sexually assaulted in two separate incidents in Newton Abbot in the past week.

The first assault happened at Courtenay Park between 18:00 on Saturday 30 September and 09:00 on Sunday 1 October.

Courtney Park, Newton Abbot

The second incident happened in grounds near Forde House, Brunel Road, and near the Sainsbury's Local shop on East Street between 20:30 on Tuesday 3 October and 02:00 on Wednesday 4 October.

Scenes of Crime Officers have been conducting forensics in the two areas and the girls, who are known to each other, were being supported by officers, police said.

Navy could lose Plymouth-based specialist landing ships

BBC Newsnight

The Royal Navy could lose its ability to assault enemy held beaches under plans being considered in the Ministry of Defence, BBC Newsnight understands.

Two specialist landing ships - Plymouth-based HMS Albion and Bulwark - would be taken out of service under the proposals.

It is understood the move has been formulated as part of a package designed to balance the books and free up sailors for the service's two new aircraft carriers.

Critics said the proposal would deprive the Royal Marines of its core mission.

The MoD said no decisions had been made yet and that discussion of options was "pure speculation".

Watch the full report above.

Football: Seven out for Argyle's clash with Fleetwood

Brent Pilnick

BBC Sport

Plymouth Argyle will be without seven players for Saturday's League One clash with Fleetwood Town.

Ryan Taylor, Oscar Threlkeld, Lionel Ainsworth, Robert te Loeke and Luke McCormick are all injured, while Sonny Bradley (pictured) and Gary Miller are both suspended.

Midfielders Graham Carey and David Fox are doubtful as they try and recover from injuries.

Sonny Bradley
Getty Images

Mourners warned not to scatter ashes in Plymouth parks

Plymouth Herald

Plymouth City Council has reminded people not to scatter the ashes of their dead relatives in parks across the city.

Swimmers will go to Canary Islands

Miles Davis

BBC News Online

Young swimmers from across Cornwall will get to go on a swimming trip to Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands which was threatened by the collapse of Monarch Airlines.

Helen Tooley, who organised the trip, said £11,000 spent on flights had been refunded by Barclays Bank, which also made a donation of £4,000 to the North Cornwall Dragons to help cover the cost of new flights.

Parents of 48 children had paid £750 per child for the chance to train in Olympic-sized pools with top swimmers such as Welsh Olympian Jemma Lowe.

Helen Tooley

Weather for Devon and Cornwall: Dry with some sunshine

BBC Weather

A dry afternoon with just patchy cloud, spells of sunshine and light or moderate northwesterly winds turning west or southwest by the end of the day.

weather map

Maximum temperature 15C (59F).

Travel update for Devon: Broken-down vehicle and horse box on A38

BBC Radio Devon

  • In Plymouth, Lipson Road is partially blocked near Pentyre Terrace due to an accident
  • Near Torquay, one lane of the A380 Hamelin Way, heading between Riviera Way and Gallows Gate roundabout, is blocked by a broken-down vehicle
  • On the A38 Plymouth-bound between Marley Head and the Woodpecker junction, there are reports of a broken-down vehicle and horse box

Royal Marines 'a national asset'

Lynne French

BBC News Online

Plymouth MP and former military officer Johnny Mercer has criticised the Ministry of Defence's plan to reduce the number of Royal Marines.

View more on twitter

Mr Mercer, the Conservative MP for Plymouth Moor View, says the Royal Marines' contribution to the country's special forces is "unsurpassed" and special forces should be protected "at all costs".

He says he will not support any proposals to threaten that.

The money-saving proposals could also include removing two Plymouth-based warships - HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark - from service.

Royal Navy ship
Getty Images

Chiefs make six changes for Newcastle game

Brent Pilnick

BBC Sport

England and Lions winger Jack Nowell returns as Exeter make six changes to their side.

Nowell replaces Phil Dollman as Lachie Turner moves to full-back, while Nic White returns at scrum-half.

Up front props Carl Rimmer and Harry Williams come in while Sam Skinner and Sam Simmonds replace Dave Dennis and Julian Salvi in the back row.come into the pack.

Jack Nowell
Getty Images

Exeter: Turner; Nowell, Slade, Whitten, Woodburn; Steenson, White; Rimmer, Yeandle (capt), Williams, Lees, Hill, Skinner, Armand, Simmonds

Replacements: Taione, Moon, Francis, Atkins, Salvi, Townsend, Hendrickson, Dollman

Cornwall Air Ambulance commissions new helicopter

Rob England

BBC News Online

A company has been commissioned by Cornwall Air Ambulance to provide a new helicopter to improve the service's "safety, performance and range".

Specialist Aviation Services, based at Gloucester Airport, say they had been selected to provide an AW169 EMS helicopter under a 10-year contract starting in 2019.

Specialist Aviation Services

The new aircraft will replace an aircraft at the charity's Newquay Airport HQ.

The firm, which specialises in emergency services aviation, has already issued the model to other services across the UK, including Dorset and Somerset, Kent, Surrey and Sussex, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire and Essex and Herts Air Ambulance.

Ian Brackenbury, of the Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust, said they were "committed to the charity’s objects of saving lives", and said the new aircraft would provide "the best platform" for crews to do their job.

Cornwall Air Ambulance
Andrew Segal

Cornwall currently has two MD902 Explorer helicopters (one is pictured above), which have a maximum speed of 150mph and a range of nearly 380 miles.

People of Cornwall round on council and government over hospital failings

Cornwall Live

The people of Cornwall have rounded on the council and Government over the failings at the county's main hospital which have been exposed in a damning watchdog report.

Ouch! Ambulance staff get the needle... to protect themselves from flu

The ambulance service is urging people in Devon and Cornwall to get the needle - to help protect themselves from flu.

While the virus generally causes mild or unpleasant symptoms, vulnerable people can become severely ill or die, including older people, pregnant women and those with an underlying health condition.

View more on twitter

Warships removal plan slammed by local MP

BBC Radio Devon

A cost-cutting plan which could see two Devonport-based warships taken out of service has been slammed by a local MP.

BBC Newsnight has reported that the Ministry of Defence is considering removing HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark, two Royal Navy amphibious assault and landing ships and reducing the Royal Marines by about 1,000.

HMS Albion

Luke Pollard, the Labour MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, said the MoD proposal was poorly thought through.

Scrapping HMS Albion and Bulwark - as well as the planned sale of city-based helicopter carrier HMS Ocean - means that Devonport loses all its amphibious assault craft.

He said: "But there isn't any amphibious assault craft anywhere else in the country, so that means the Royal Navy loses the capability to fight that type of war completely.

"I'm very concerned that it's bad for Plymouth, bad for Devonport and more importantly really bad for our national security."

Extreme morning sickness patients 'deserve royal standard'

Amy Gladwell

BBC News Online

Women suffering from extreme morning sickness should be offered the "royal standard" of treatment, according to charities and medical experts.

Many hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) patients are being denied "safe, effective" care, professionals said.

A global conference led by a Plymouth academic is setting out the latest research and innovative treatments.

Public awareness of the "dangerous" condition has reportedly increased because of the Duchess of Cambridge (pictured).

Duchess of Cambridge

Tide times for Devon and Cornwall

Alex Osborne

BBC Weather

A dry and sunny day is forecast today, so if you're thinking about heading to the beach, here are the all-mportant times of high water around the region's coast.

Tide times

There will be a full weather forecast in the lunchtime news on BBC One at 13:30 and in Spotlight at 18:30.

Scrapping Devonport ships 'a security risk'

Scrapping two of the Royal Navy's Plymouth-based amphibious assault ships would be a security risk and could mean a loss of jobs, Plymouth Sutton and Devonport MP Luke Pollard says.

He was responding to a BBC Newsnight report that warships HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark may be taken out of service to save money.

HMS Albion

It's also been suggested the Royal Marines would be reduced in strength by about 1,000.

Retired senior officers fear removing the amphibious landing ships would reduce the Navy's fighting capability, but the Ministry of Defence said no decisions had been taken.

Rugby: Exeter captain against extended season

Brent Pilnick

BBC Sport

The captain of Premiership champions Exeter says he is against plans to extend the length of the season.

Jack Yeandle, who is set to make his 100th appearance for the Chiefs on Saturday, thinks players would benefit from a longer summer rest period.

Jack Yeandle
Getty Images

"Rugby is a pretty physical sport, whether you're training or playing. You do batter your body around," he said.

"Those weeks we have in the off-season are vital for us."

Club coaches and the league have been split over the plans to extend the Premiership season.

Players' union the RPA has rejected Premiership Rugby's plans for a 10-month-long season starting in the summer of 2019, while England and Saracens number eight Billy Vunipola said he would take a pay cut to play less rugby and believes players are at risk of "burning out".

Bank steps in to save swim group hit by Monarch crisis

BBC Radio Cornwall

A swimming group which had its plans to go on a training camp abroad scuppered by the Monarch airline crisis has been rescued by Barclays Bank.

The North Cornwall Dragons are taking 48 young people to Fuerteventura on 25 October for a week of intensive training in Olympic-sized pools.

Swimmers from North Cornwall Dragons
Helen Tooley

When Monarch folded, the trip looked unlikely to go ahead but Barclays refunded the main payment of £11,000 and made a donation of £4,000 to help the club get to Gran Canaria.

The group raised another £5,500 itself, which means the trip can now all go ahead.

Helen Tooley

Helen Tooley (pictured), who has organised the trip, said: "It's been crazy and I haven't slept for three days but it's all been worth it."

Police forensic officers tape off woodland after sexual assault

Devon Live

A small area of woodland has been cordoned off in Newton Abbot today as police investigate a sex assault.

Weather for Devon and Cornwall: Dry and sunny

BBC Weather

After a chilly start with some mist over the moors, it will be a fine and dry day.

Weather map

With only light winds, it will feel pleasant in the bright autumnal sunshine with a maximum temperature of 15C (59F).