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  1. Updates from Wednesday 18 April
  2. A fine spring day with plenty of sunshine
  3. The QE2 is due to open as a floating hotel in Dubai

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

That's all for today

Thank you for joining us today.

We will be back at 08:00 tomorrow with all of the region's latest news, sport, travel and weather.

Berkshire travel latest: M4 delays

BBC News Travel

Charity seeks help with new name

Oxford Association for the Blind's offices on Gordon Millward Way
Oxford Association for the Blind's offices on Gordon Millward Way

A charity which has been supporting the visually impaired in Oxfordshire for more than a century is seeking a new name.

Oxford Association for the Blind was founded in 1877 and aims to help people with sight loss lead independent lives.

But it fears its name could be putting off to people who still have some sight and assume it is not for them.

It's asking for Oxfordshire residents for possible suggestions.

Bournemouth v Manchester United team news

BBC Sport

Bournemouth remain without Adam Smith and Junior Stanislas but otherwise report no fresh injuries ahead of their Premier League fixture against Manchester United tonight.

Tyrone Mings has an outside chance of being involved after returning to training following a long-term injury.

United manager Jose Mourinho has announced he will make changes to the side beaten by West Brom.

Marcos Rojo, Scott McTominay and Phil Jones may all be in line for a recall, while the fit-again Daley Blind is also under consideration.

Girl, 5, dies in water near beauty spot

Durdle Door

A five-year-old girl has died after being rescued from the sea near a Dorset beauty spot.

The coastguard was called to Durdle Door, near Lulworth, at about 11:30 BST following reports a child and woman were in distress in the water.

The girl, from Salisbury, was picked up by a nearby Ministry of Defence vessel, Dorset Police said.

She was confirmed dead at Dorset County Hospital. Police said they believed it was a "tragic accident"

Durdle Door

Girl dies after beauty spot water rescue

The five-year-old girl from Salisbury was picked up from the water near Durdle Door by a military vessel.

Read more

Severe congestion: M275 Hampshire northbound

BBC News Travel

M275 Hampshire northbound severe congestion, between A3 Stamshaw Road and M27 J12.

M275 Hampshire - Very slow traffic and one lane closed on M275 northbound between A3, Rudmore Roundabout and M27 J12, Portsmouth.

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

police car on scene

Tommy Ferris was found stabbed in an alleyway and was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital.

Read more

Food and drink app trialled at Bournemouth v Manchester United

A smartphone app designed to help avoid queues is being trialled at tonight's Bournemouth v Manchester United game.

Fans who enter via turnstile A can order and pay for their drinks or food - they can then collect their items from a fast lane at the bar.

View more on twitter

Paralympics bid for leg amputee after toenail infection

A woman who had her leg amputated after an ingrowing toenail led to an infection hopes to compete in the 2020 Paralympics.

Hannah Moore
Gracie Matthews

Hannah Moore, of Stalbridge, Dorset, had her leg removed in July 2016 after a procedure to get rid of her toenail led to foot pain and infected ulcers.

By October that year, the 21-year-old started paratriathlon training and won the British championships last August.

She said having her leg amputated "has given me my life back."

In pictures: Spring sunshine

You've been out and about capturing the fine spring day with lots of blue sky on offer.

Southbourne beach
Helen Gallimore
Helen Gallimore sent in this shot of Southbourne beach earlier this morning.
Becca Collacott
Becca Collacott captured the bright blue sky over Abingdon
Colin Lennox-Gordon
Colin Lennox-Gordon snapped this pitcure of the cloudless blue sky in Wareham

Police vehicle 'selfie' vandals sought

CCTV images of a group of men taking photos of themselves while jumping on a marked police vehicle have been released in a hunt to catch them.

CCTV images of the group of men and the police vehicle
Dorset Police

Five men were seen climbing on the Land Rover while it was parked at Poole Quay in Dorset on Sunday.

The vehicle's bonnet and roof were damaged, police said.

Officers attended and searched the area but the suspects were not located. The force is appealing for witnesses to come forward.

Floating bridge out of action on Thursday for planned works

Planned works will be taking place tomorrow on the Cowes Floating Bridge.

The foot passenger launch will be in place throughout the day.

View more on twitter

RAF centenary baton takes to the skies

The RAF's centenary baton has been flown to the Isle of Wight to visit former RAF Ventnor.

The specially designed baton took to the skies from Solent Airport in Fareham and flew to Sandown on the island.

The baton is visiting 100 sites associated with the RAF in 100 days.

The relay began its journey at the Royal Courts of Justice on 1 April and will end on 10 July on Horseguards Parade.

View more on twitter

Man charged with alley stab murder

Alleyway off Smannell Road, Andover

A man has been charged with murdering a man who was found stabbed in an alleyway next to a church.

Tommy Ferris, 28, from London, was found injured off Smannell Road, Andover, Hampshire, shortly before 01:00 BST on Friday.

He was pronounced dead on arrival at Southampton General Hospital.

Zandrae Smith, 20, of Bradford, West Yorkshire, has been charged with murder and is due to appear before Basingstoke magistrates later.

Thames Valley Police arrest 16 in drug raids

Thames Valley Police raid property
Thames Valley Police
Thames Valley Police had been planning the raids for six months

Police have arrested 16 people after more than 100 officers raided homes in England earlier.

All of them are being held on suspicion of being connected with dealing Class A drugs.

A total of 11 properties in Banbury, Milton Keynes and Bedford were targeted in the early hours of the morning.

A number of wraps of heroin and £4,000 in cash were taken away by police.

The force believes children as young as 14 are coming to north Oxfordshire and Milton Keynes from Coventry and Birmingham in England to sell cocaine and heroin.

Port jobs saved by wind blade contract

Blade Runner Two
MHI Vestas

A Portsmouth Port cargo firm has said 18 jobs have been saved after it won a contract to handle wind turbine blades.

MMD Shipping Services said the "multimillion-pound" deal with MHI Vestas was larger than a fruit-shipping contract it lost in 2017.

The decision by fruit importer Geest Line to move to Dover had threatened 58 out of the port's 230 jobs.

MMD director Mike Sellers said 30 workers had volunteered to leave while 10 redundancies were compulsory.

Dorset Police force brings in new role

Dorset Police has introduced 31 Police Community Support Investigators (PCSIs) to its force.

The PCSIs will be based out of stations in Poole, Bournemouth, Blandford, Weymouth, Ferndown, Wareham and Bridport.

The force said the new role had been introduced following public feedback that it did not always respond to crimes in a timely and efficient manner.

The PSCIs have been recruited from the existing Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs).

View more on twitter

Girl, 14, missing in Maidenhead

Thames Valley Police is appealing for help in locating a 14-year-old girl who has gone missing, wearing just a dressing gown and pyjamas.

Zara Payton was last seen at about 04:00 BST in the Crescent, Maidenhead.

She is described as slim, 5ft 3in, with a pale complexion and blue eyes.

Sgt Richard Humpherson, based at Maidenhead police station, said: “We are appealing for anyone who can help us locate Zara to get in touch."

Adding: “Zara, if you see this appeal, you are not in any trouble, but we need to know that you are safe.”

Missing Zara Payton
Thames Valley Police

Temporary homes to help homelessness in Southampton

The Southern Daily Echo reports dozens of temporary homes are set to be installed on the former Town Depot site Chapel Riverside in Southampton.

The project bids to help those in need of affordable housing, homeless families and displaced families.

View more on twitter

The legendary liner has been in the UAE since leaving its former home part of Southampton in 2008.

Read more

Winchester's Railway Inn facing uncertain future

A live music venue in Winchester is trying to raise the money it says it needs to survive.

The Railway Inn, which dates back to 1856, has started a £10,000 appeal to raise funds to keep the venue open and operating.

Owner Dan Lloyd says Arts Council funding goes to traditional music genres like opera but doesn't support grassroots rock and pop enough - where many musicians get their first break.

The Railway Inn
The Railway Inn

QE2 opens as luxury floating hotel

The QE2 has opened its doors as a luxury floating hotel in Dubai.

The former Cunard liner is docked permanently at Mina Rashid where it has been converted into a five-star hotel over the past three years.

It has been in the UAE since leaving its former home port of Southampton for the last time in 2008.

QE2 opening ceremony
PCFC Hotels
QE2 hotel
PCFC Hotels

Owner PCFC Hotels said Captain Peter Philpott and senior officers from Queen Mary 2 were invited onboard for a tour earlier to mark the official opening of the hotel.

QE2's 13 decks are due to be opened in phases with 224 rooms currently open until the hotel is fully operational with a further 800 rooms in October.

Huge UK shopping centre deal called off

Bicester Village owner Hammerson has told shareholders it no longer wants to buy rival Intu.

It comes months after it announced an all-share offer for Intu, owner of the Trafford Centre in Manchester.

The proposed £3.4bn takeover would have created the UK's biggest property company, worth £21bn.

Hammerson said: "The proposed Intu acquisition is no longer in the best interests of shareholders."

Bicester Village

24-hour CCTV for container park

A planned new market and music venue in Reading, built from stacked shipping containers, will have 24-hour CCTV coverage and customers may be subject to random searches.

That’s according to plans submitted to Reading Borough Council this week.

Fears had been raised by the local authority of potential for crime and drug-taking in the centre at the Broad Street Mall.

Conditions of the planning permission, which was granted in January, included the need for a detailed CCTV and management strategy.

The proposals are being considered by the council.

Shipping container shops
Abingdon Reservoir

Thames Water has revived plans - rejected by the government in 2011 - to build a reservoir in Oxfordshire.

Read more

Royal Wedding: Republicans ask to protest 'peacefully'

Anti-monarchy campaigners have called for reassurances from the police that peaceful protests on the day of the royal wedding will not be obstructed.

The Republic pressure group which campaigns for the abolition of the monarchy and its replacement with a directly-elected head of state has written to the head of Thames Valley Police.

The group has asked the force to confirm that those carrying placards or banners will not be arrested - even if they protest within the secure area - unless there is a genuine risk to public safety.

Windsor Castle

The wedding on 19 May is one of the largest public events policed by Thames Valley.

Police will effectively create a ring of steel around Windsor Castle's St George's Chapel as part of a massive security operation.

As part of the force's operation to safeguard the newlyweds, their guests and spectators, airport-style security scanners and bag searches are planned in Windsor.

QE2 liner in Dubai becomes luxury hotel
The QE2, which left Southampton in 2008, has finally been converted into a luxury floating hotel in Dubai.

RAF centenary baton flown to Isle of Wight

The RAF's centenary baton is being flown to the Isle of Wight today.

The specially designed baton is visiting 100 sites associated with the RAF in 100 days.

The relay began its journey at the Royal Courts of Justice on 1 April 2018 and will end on 10 July on Horseguards Parade.

View more on twitter

Travel issues in Reading

Thames Water faces questions over Abingdon reservoir plans

Thames Water is facing questions over its proposals to build a reservoir in Abingdon from both campaigners and Oxfordshire County Council.

Members from the Group Against Reservoir Development (GARD) say they are determined to fight the plans.

The group believe there's no need for a reservoir and other options should be looked at.

Oxfordshire County Council has asked for more detail on Thames Water's calculations for growth in population and water usage for coming years which underpin the reservoir proposal.

Thames Water's previous proposals to build a site on land near Abingdon were refused by the government in 2011.

Severe accident: M3 Hampshire northbound

BBC News Travel

M3 Hampshire northbound severe accident, between J12 for A335 and J11 for A3090 affecting J13 for A335.

M3 Hampshire - Delays and queuing traffic on M3 northbound between J12, A335 (Eastleigh) and J11, A3090 (Winchester South), because of an accident involving several vehicles earlier on. All lanes have been re-opened. Travel time is around 25 minutes. Congestion to J13, A335 (Chandlers Ford).

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

Royal wedding: Wiltshire milliner busy preparing guests' hats

A milliner who has dressed the heads of high society guests for royal weddings, the Trooping of the Colour and Royal Ascot is busy preparing for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in Windsor.

Vivien Sheriff and her team's client list for the wedding on 19 May is confidential, but the company has previously made hats for The Duchess of Cambridge.

Her team works out of Downton near Salisbury.

Wiltshire milliner prepares for the royal wedding

Man guilty over Guy Hedger jewellery

Guy Hedger
Dorset Police

A man has pleaded guilty to handling jewellery which was stolen from a murdered executive.

Guy Hedger, 61, was shot dead during a break-in by two men at his luxury home in Ashley, Dorset, in April 2017.

Jamie Evans, 38, from Bournemouth, pleaded guilty at Salisbury Crown Court to two counts of receiving stolen goods, including six rings, a sapphire and diamond bracelet and a gold necklace.

Evans, who also previously admitted possessing an offensive weapon, is due to be sentenced on 8 June.

Holby City star joins charity for grieving parents after daughter's death

Actor John Michie has been announced as the new ambassador for a charity that supports grieving parents, less than a year after the death of his daughter.

The Holby City star's 25-year-old daughter Louella was found dead in a wooded area on the edge of the Bestival music festival site at Lulworth Castle in September.

The Good Grief Project is an organisation that helps families who are dealing with the death of a loved one - particularly a child.

Louella Michie

Mr Michie is due to support a new documentary film on bereavement - A Love That Never Dies which premieres next month.

He said: "When your child dies it is devastating for the family, and in many cases affects people for the rest of their lives."

De La Rue abandons passport appeal

De La Rue has abandoned its plan to appeal against the government's decision to award a contract to make UK passports to a Franco-Dutch company.

The Basingstoke-based firm said that since its announcement on 22 March, it had "considered all options".

De La Rue has also issued a profit warning, saying annual operating income would now be around £60m to £65m.

It blamed £4m in costs for tendering to continue making UK passports, as well as delays in other contracts.

The burgundy passport, in use since 1988, will revert to its original blue and gold colour from October 2019.


QE2 relaunched as floating hotel in Dubai

The QE2 is due to open its doors as a luxury floating hotel in Dubai.

The former Cunard liner is docked permanently at Mina Rashid where it has been converted into a five-star hotel over the past three years.

It has been in the UAE since leaving its former home port of Southampton for the last time in 2008.

QE2 hotel
QE2 hotel

Owner PCFC Hotels is promising "a unique experience capturing all that was grand about her 40 years of service".

The company, owned by the Dubai government, features cabins converted into hotel rooms and suites, 13 restaurants, an English pub, a ballroom and an exhibition area dedicated to the history of the ship.