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Summary

  1. Fatal crash closes road
  2. Statue tribute to wartime munitions workers
  3. Man dies in house fire
  4. Former consultant says he'd rather see hospital shut than face cuts
  5. Teenager recovering after spine op in the USA
  6. Taxi service apologises after blind man refused lift
  7. Updates from Friday 3 March 2017

Live Reporting

By Monica Rimmer

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Our live coverage across the day

Live updates for Herefordshire and Worcestershire have finished for the day.

We'll be back at 08:00 on Monday. 

Your pictures: Blossom and overcast weather

BBC Weather Watchers

It's been a fairly miserable day all round, but here are two pictures that caught our eye.

This lovely picture of pink blossom offset the otherwise grey background - it comes from BBC Weather Watcher Marlaine. 

Evesham
Marlaine

Toppo sent in this picture from Doddenham of quite a grey day. 

If you have a picture you'd like to share, sign up and become a BBC Weather Watcher here. 

Doddenham
Toppo

Fatal crash closes road

BBC Hereford and Worcester

One person has died and two people have been seriously injured after a collision on the A451 in Worcestershire, police say 

West Mercia Police say the road is closed between Great Witley and Dunley and is likely to stay that way for the next three or four hours. 

Emergency services were called just after 16:30 this afternoon.

Severe accident: A451 Worcestershire both ways

BBC News Travel

A451 Worcestershire both ways severe accident, between Church Lane and B4197.

A451 Worcestershire - A451 in Yarhampton closed and slow traffic in both directions between the Church Lane junction and the B4197 junction, because of a serious accident. Diversion in operation - local.

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

Watch: Weather for the evening and the weekend

Rebecca Wood

BBC Weather

Outbreaks of rain will continue for many this evening and for a time overnight, but there will be some drier interludes too

Rain will clear during the early hours. 

Cloudy skies will keep temperatures up overnight, preventing an overnight frost.  Lows of 6C (43F).

Weather for the West Midlands.

Coming up on BBC Midlands Today: Uber drivers refused to take man with guide dog

BBC Midlands Today

A blind man from Birmingham, who works in Worcester, says he's repeatedly been refused taxis operated by the online firm Uber because he travels with a guide dog. 

Saleh Ahmed claims it's happened 14 times in the past two years. 

Saleh Ahmed
BBC

Taxis are obliged to carry passengers with service dogs unless there's a medical reason not to. Uber say it has barred two drivers while they investigate. 

There's more on BBC One from 18:30

Book borrowing bonanza at Leintwardine library

A library in Leintwardine, Herefordshire, has bucked the decline of library use in the country. 

Leintwardine Community Library has seen an increase of 13% in the number of books being borrowed. It is also open for more hours thanks to local volunteers. 

Books
BBC

A new support group, Friends of Leintwardine Community Library, has set itself targets of "turning round library use, and transforming the way it worked to meet local needs."

They also held activities such as children’s writing competitions, craft-making sessions for children and a mini-Shakespeare festival. 

Severe accident: M50 Herefordshire eastbound

BBC News Travel

M50 Herefordshire eastbound severe accident, between J4 for A449 and J3 for B4221.

M50 Herefordshire - One lane closed and slow traffic on M50 eastbound between J4, A449 (Ross-On-Wye) and J3, B4221 (Newent), because of an accident.

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

Slurry pollution: 'High organic content' in the water

We told you earlier  about slurry pollution in the River Frome in Herefordshire. The pollution is affecting the Tedstone Brook. 

The Environment Agency say they are "investigating the cause of the pollution".

Dave Throup is the Environment Agency manager for Herefordshire and Worcestershire and shared this picture from the scene. 

View more on twitter

Flood gate closure to help river levels

A flood gate in Upton-upon-Severn will be closed later today to help manage river levels. 

View more on twitter
Flood gate closed
Environment Agency

Worcester named UK's happiest city

Worcester has been named as the UK's happiest city in a survey. 

Around 2,000 people were questioned by Provident Financial, who compiled the findings.

Worcester did well in other areas: Fifth most welcoming; third best for its upkeep and ninth for its level of safety. 

It would seem the City Council are pretty pleased with the result too...

View more on twitter

Fatal fire: Fire-fighters forced entry

A man has died after a house fire in Malvern last night (pictured) and two other men needed treatment for a head injury and the effects of breathing in smoke.

Scene of fire
BBC

The emergency services were called to "a severe fire" at a semi-detached property in Malvern at about 21:45.

Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service say they forced entry into the property and rescued the man, but he could not be saved.

The service is now working with police to determine the cause of the fire. 

Rugby: Warriors makes four changes

Team news is in for Worcester Warriors' crucial game against Bristol on Sunday.

The Warriors will make four changes. 

View more on twitter
Uber drivers refuse to pick up man with guide dog
Saleh Ahmed said he was turned down 14 times by drivers with the private hire firm.

Magic moments from FA People's Cup

#PeoplesCup

Cheeky chips, celebrations and managerial sackings - watch 10 magic moments from the first round of the FA People's Cup...... 

More than 6,000 teams signed up for the 2017 FA People's Cup, which has 16 separate categories

You'll be able to watch a highlights programme from the first round of the nationwide five-a-side competition on the iPlayer from 06:00 GMT Saturday, 4 March and on the red button from 14:10 GMT on Saturday and throughout the weekend.

Chaos the cat caught in trap for two weeks

Meet Chaos the cat.

Chaos the cat
RSPCA

Chaos is a rescue cat from Hereford who survived for almost two weeks after getting his leg caught in a trap.

Chaos, who is 10-years-old, went missing for 13 days before turning up at his Bobblestock home with the trap still attached.

He was emaciated, near death and his foot has been paralysed, but he miraculously survived.

The RSPCA is now trying to find out who set the trap.

Chaos
RSPCA

Heart rhythm procedure now on offer at Worcester hospital

A new procedure is now on offer to Worcestershire patients suffering from heart rhythm problems.

The treatment, called cardiac electrophysiology and ablation, was introduced at Worcestershire Royal Hospital this week. 

Worcestershire Royal Hospital
PA

Patients previously went to hospitals in Coventry and Warwickshire for the procedure but can now have it in Worcester. 

The treatment involves, small wires being placed inside the heart to source the problem and then the area that is causing the arrhythmia is destroyed. 

First home game for professional netball team

A large crowd is expected at the University Arena in Worcester this evening for the Severn Stars first-ever home match in netball's Super League. 

The Stars will take on the Celtic Dragons in a match which is due to get under way at 19:30. 

University Arena
Google

Severn Stars beat their Welsh opponents in a pre-season match, but Becky Oatley, who plays for the Stars, told BBC Hereford & Worcester this will count for little this evening.  

Former consultant says he would rather see hospital shut than face cuts

BBC Hereford and Worcester

Plans to reorganise Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust will leave patients in the north unsafe, and those in the south with a hospital that's "woefully inadequate", a former consultant claims.

Dr Santi Vathenen, a consultant who worked at the Alexandra Hospital for more than 20 years, says he'd rather see it close than see plans to reorganise services there go through.

Alexandra Hospital
Google

He's written  an open letter to health bosses , urging them to abandon planned changes. 

Dr Vathenen himself left the Alexandra Hospital in 2015 because of his concerns over patient safety.

A consultation into the changes runs until the end of this month.

The independent chair of the review says only 5% of patients will be affected by the changes.

Dr Santi Vathenen

A former consultant at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch says plans to change care will make treatments "less safe".

Read more

Sajid Javid considers rates discount plan

BBC Business News

Plans to help nearly 100,000 small businesses due to be hit by changes to rates next month are being considered by Communities Secretary and Bromsgrove MP, Sajid Javid.

Out of those, some 25,000 firms face a "cliff edge" under the new revaluation of business rates, according to ratings agency CVS.

It presented a number of proposals to Mr Javid during a meeting on Wednesday.

Sajid Javid
Getty Images

The government is trying to come up with some additional help for small firms after an  outcry from  businesses.

Ministers have said that the revaluation - the first since 2010 - will mean three-quarters of firms will see their rates stay the same or decrease.

But Mr Javid and chancellor Philip Hammond have come under pressure to act to help businesses facing large rises in areas where rental values have increased dramatically.

Critics claim the situation favours large retailers and online firms over high street shops.

Work starts on new railway station

Vegetation is being cleared from a field outside Worcester to make way for a new multi-million pound railway station for the city. 

Parkway
WORCESTERSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL

Workers moved onto the site this week to begin work on the long-awaited Worcestershire Parkway. 

The £22m project is due to open at the beginning 2019, making it easier and quicker for passengers to travel to Oxford, Bristol, London and Birmingham.

Slurry pollution being investigated

Monica Rimmer

Journalist, BBC Online

We told you earlier about slurry pollution in Herefordshire. The pollution is affecting the Tedstone Brook, near the River Frome. 

We've been in touch with the Environment Agency who say they are "investigating the cause of the pollution." 

View more on twitter

The Environment Agency is looking at possible measures to minimise the impact on the environment and wildlife in and near to the watercourse and will continue to monitor the situation over the coming days. [We are] currently investigating the cause of the pollution.

Environment AgencySpokesperson

Anyone seeing distressed or dead fish is asked to call the agencies' 24 hour incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60. 

Slurry pollution in Tewkesbury

An incident room has been set up after farm slurry pollution was been discovered in Herefordshire.

We'll bring you more as we get it. 

View more on twitter

Rugby: 'Discipline key' says Worcester Warriors' director

BBC Hereford and Worcester

Worcester Warriors head into Sunday's game against Bristol at Sixways knowing discipline will be key to success. 

Sixways
Rex Features

Director of rugby, Gary Gold, feels fine margins will determine the outcome of a game between the Aviva Premiership's bottom two clubs. 

He says Warriors need to keep down their penalties conceded count and also ensure they make the most of their attacking opportunities.

Severe accident: M5 Worcestershire northbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Worcestershire northbound severe accident, between J4 for A38 Bromsgrove and J3 for A456 Halesowen.

M5 Worcestershire - One lane closed and slow traffic on M5 northbound between J4, A38 (Bromsgrove) and J3, A456 (Halesowen), because of an accident.

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

Herefordshire Council's hopes for memorial statue

Nicola Goodwin

Reporter, BBC Hereford & Worcester

Hereford's munitions workers are to have their contributions to WW1 and WW2 recognised, following a campaign by BBC Hereford & Worcester. 

Herefordshire Council has unanimously passed a motion to honour the Canary Girls of Rotherwas. 

Rotherwas Factory in 1918
Mike King

The original aim was for a plaque in their memory, but councillors have this morning said they hoped they could "aim higher and do better" and build a statue.  

Teenager recovering from spine surgery in the USA

Elliott Webb

Breakfast presenter, BBC Hereford & Worcester

A teenage girl from Herefordshire is recovering in hospital in the USA after a life-changing spinal operation.

Tomlinson Family
Tomlinson Family

Ella Tomlinson, who's 14, had to fly to New Jersey to correct severe curvature of the spine in an operation which isn't available on the NHS.

Ella's dad Steve told me on the Breakfast Show that she's doing well and is hoping to be able to take a few steps later today.

Job fair in Bromsgrove run by MP Sajid Javid

A jobs fair at the sports hall at North Bromsgrove High School from 10:00 is being hosted by Sajid Javid, the MP for Bromsgrove and secretary of state for communities and local government.. 

View more on twitter

BreakingCouncil will honour Rotherwas munitions workers

Nicola Goodwin

Reporter, BBC Hereford & Worcester

Herefordshire Council has unanimously passed the motion to honour the Rotherwas Munitions workers.

Munition workers
Herefordshire Council

Multi-million pound scheme to protect homes against flooding

BBC Midlands Today

A £4m scheme designed to protect more than 300 Worcestershire homes from flooding will begin this summer. 

The flood storage area, which will be built in Broadway, will be able to hold 135 million litres of rain water. 

It will protect properties in Broadway, Childswickham and Murcot.

In 2007 the area was hit by severe flooding.   

Flood sign
Getty Images

'Totally unacceptable' to refuse blind man a taxi says Uber

BBC Midlands Today

The taxi service Uber has held its hands up and apologised after a blind man said the company refused his service 14 times because he has a guide dog.

In a statement, Uber said: "It's totally unacceptable for drivers to refuse to take a guide dog. 

Guide dog
BBC

"Licensed private hire drivers must carry service animals in their vehicle and we remind all drivers of this legal obligation before they start using the Uber app. 

"Any driver who is found to have refused to take a service animal will permanently lose access to the Uber app and risks having their private hire licence taken away. 

"The two drivers complained about by Mr Ahmed have been barred from using the app and won't be allowed back if the complaint is upheld." 

Fatal house fire in Malvern

A man has died after a house fire in Malvern last night (pictured) and two other men needed treatment for a head injury and the effects of breathing in smoke.

The ambulance service says they were called to Belmont Road in Malvern just before 21:50 on 2 March. 

A man was rescued from the house but later died at the scene, a spokesman said. 

The scene on Belmont Road
BBC

Family-run book shop up for award

A family-run shop in Herefordshire has been short-listed for the Independent Bookseller of the Year award. 

Rossiter Books , who have stores in Ross-on-Wye and Monmouth, is run by Andy and Victoria Rossiter and organises regular author talks and runs local book clubs. 

The winner will be announced at the British Book Awards in London in May. 

Books
BBC

Taxi service refuses to take blind man

BBC Midlands Today

A blind man who works in Worcester says he's been repeatedly let down by Uber drivers who've refused to take him 14 times since he got a guide dog two and a half years ago. 

Sal Ahmed and his guide dog
BBC

Sal Ahmed says he's complained to Uber about one particular driver who's refused him four times in a row because of his dog. 

Uber are investigating, but in the meantime, Sal says his journey from New Street station to his home in Birmingham has become a nightmare. 

Uber say it is "totally unacceptable" for drivers to refuse to take a guide dog.