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  1. An export ban on the Egyptian statue Sekhemka has been lifted
  2. A new company involving the county council, the NHS and the University of Northampton, which will tackle public health issues, launches today
  3. Northampton Town say the new East Stand at Sixfields is now open for business after a safety certificate was granted
  4. Updates for Friday, 1 April 2016

Live Reporting

By Pete Cooper

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Our coverage across the day in Northamptonshire

That's it for today's Local Live coverage in Northamptonshire. Have a great weekend.

Egyptian statue sold by Northampton council gets export licence

An export licence is to be issued for a 4,000-year-old statue sold for £15.76m by Northampton Borough Council in 2014.  

Groups in the UK and Egypt campaigned for nearly two years to keep the statue of Sekhemka, a court official, on public view possibly in both countries. 

The issue of an export licence to the anonymous owner had been deferred several times by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. As neither group could find a buyer an export licence is to be granted. 

"After a year under export deferral, no buyer has come forward to purchase the Sekhemka statue. As such, an export licence will be now be issued to the owner," a Culture Department spokesman said.

Weather: Dry tonight and tomorrow

Chris Bell

BBC Look East weather

It will be staying dry tonight with lows of 1-4C (mid-30sF).


Tomorrow should be dry with spells of hazy sunshine with highs reaching 13-15C (59F).

Headlines: Sekhemka export ban lifted...Sri Lankan leg-spinner Prasanna signs for county

Sarah Foster

BBC Radio Northampton

If you're catching up, here are the headlines:

  • The ancient Egyptian statue Sekhemka is to be allowed to leave the UK
  • Northamptonshire have signed Sri Lankan leg-spinner Seekkuge Prasanna for this season's T20 Blast
  • Today is Northamptonshire Police's 50th birthday as a single county Force

New school and money towards new bypass pledged by developers building 1,000 new homes in Daventry

Daventry Express

More than £11m of infrastructure, including a new school and a new country park, in Daventry is being paid for by a housing developer building 1,000 new homes.

Zac wanted his memorial to be 'a party'

Martin Borley

BBC Radio Northampton

One of Zac Forskitt's friends, Jack Liggins, said he wanted his memorial service at Franklin's Garden to be a celebration, saying: "He wants us to have a party, that's how he wants us to remember him".

Zac Forskitt memorial

Zac, 20, died last month after battling against two unrelated cancers. Hhis illness prompted a major awareness and fundraising campaign called #BacZac.

Group which wanted Sekhemka on display in the UK 'very sad' export ban has been lifted

Sam Read

BBC Radio Northampton politics reporter

Gunilla Loe, from the Save Sekhemka Action Group, says she is "very sad" the 4,000-year-old Egyptian statue looks set to go overseas after the government lifted an export ban on the controversial artifact.


The action group had campaigned against the sale of the statue back in 2014. Once Sekhemka had been sold members had hoped it would be gifted back to a UK museum to go on permanent display.

Sekhemka to head overseas despite bids to keep it in the UK

Pete Cooper

BBC Local Live

Sekhemka was originally sold in July 2014 by Northampton Borough Council for £15.76m, of which the council received around half. Immediately an export ban was placed on the 4,000-year-old statue.


Subsequently Northampton Museum, which did house the statue, lost Arts Council accreditation.

Last year, the Save Sekhemka Egypitan Group started legal action to recover the statue and last month the Egyptian ambassador to Britain looked to intervene over the fate of the statue, which was gifted to Northampton's museums by the 4th Marquis of Northampton in 1880.

Despite these efforts it looks as if the little statue is set to head overseas after the government said they will issue an export licence to its owner.

Export ban on ancient Egyptian statue Sekhemka lifted

Pete Cooper

BBC Local Live

An export ban on the ancient Egyptian statue Sekhemka has been lifted after no alternative buyer came forward to purchase it.


The 4,000-year-old statue was sold in 2014 for £15.76m by Northampton Borough Council to an unknown overseas buyer, but the government imposed an export ban in an effort to find someone who would could keep it within the UK.

But in the last few minutes, the Department of Culture Media and Sport has said no-one else has come forward and as such "an export licence will be now be issued to the owner".

BreakingSekhemka export ban lifted

The export ban on Egyptian statue Sekhemka has been lifted - more to come.

Friends and family gather for memorial for Zac Forskitt

Martin Borley

BBC Radio Northampton

I've been to Franklin's Gardens, where friends and family of Zac Forskitt, the 20-year-old double cancer sufferer who started the #BacZac campaign, have gathered for his memorial service.

As requested everyone wore check shirts, white t-shirt and jeans...

Weather: Cloudy but dry

BBC Weather Watchers

This is the sunrise in Irthlingborogh taken by BBC Weather Watcher 'coleole'...


There will be more cloud as the afternoon progresses, with highs of 12C (54F).

There are more details on the BBC Weather website.

New 141-berth marina opens in Northamptonshire

Northampton Chronicle & Echo

A narrowboat marina on the River Nene is hosting an open day this weekend after it welcomed its first customers.

Pay increase of £22m for Northamptonshire workers from Living Wage

Pete Cooper

BBC Local Live

The new mandatory National Living Wage has come into force, requiring employers to pay workers aged 25 and over at least £7.20 an hour.

It is expected to give 1.8m workers an immediate pay rise.

This is how it'll affect Northamptonshire...

data pic

Nico Rosberg fastest in Bahrain Grand Prix first practice

Andrew Benson

Chief F1 writer in Bahrain

Brackley-based Mercedes put in an imposing performance in first practice at the Bahrain GP, setting the pace by nearly two seconds.

Nico Rosberg

Nico Rosberg headed team-mate Lewis Hamilton by 0.505secs after the he made a mistake on his best lap.

And the German was a massive 1.834 seconds quicker than Kimi Raikkonen, third for Ferrari, on the same 'soft' tyres.

Union says new public health company is 'first step to privatisation'

Sam Read

BBC Radio Northampton politics reporter

The trade union Unison say a new company set up to run well-being services in Northamptonshire is the first step to privatisation.

Penny Smith, from the county council branch, said in the future the company will have a "massive effect on services because the company will need to show a profit".

The union also say employee terms and conditions could be "driven down" in the coming years.

Northamptonshire Police celebrate 50 years as one force for the county

Pete Cooper

BBC Local Live

On this date 50 years ago Northamptonshire County Constabulary merged with Northampton Borough Police to become the Northampton and County Constabulary.

Then, in 1974, the force was officially re-named Northamptonshire Police...

Data pic: Two forces merged to become one for the whole county in 1966; 442 officers in 1966, 1,220 now

Saints make four changes for trip to Wasps

Pete Cooper

BBC Local Live

Northampton Saints have made four changes for their visit to Wasps in the Premiership on Sunday.

Harry Mallinder and Kahn Fotuali'i start in the backline, with Christian Day and Teimana Harrison added to the pack.

It means Tom Wood captains the Saints against opponents now based in his hometown of Coventry.

View more on twitter

Dog poo fines come in to force in Daventry today

Pete Cooper

BBC Local Live

Make sure you take you're dog poo bags out in Daventry today - or face a fine.

Formal enforcement of the new Public Spaces Protection Order comes into place, replacing Dog Control Orders...

Data pic

Sri Lanka international Prasanna signs for county

Joe Townsend

BBC Radio Northampton sport

Northamptonshire County Cricket Club has signed Sri Lanka international Seekkuge Prasanna.

The 30-year-old leg-spinner and batsman is available for the entire T20 Blast campaign with the Steelbacks - starting with the trip to Grace Road to play Leicestershire on May 20.

He may also appear for Northamptonshire in other competitions during 2016.

768 runs in T20 cricket and 54 wickets
Getty Images

Man pleads guilty to murder on first day of court case

Charlie Jones

BBC Local Live

A 51-year-old man has pleaded guilty to murder after a body was found in a house fire.

Karl Pound was accused of killing Robert Chester in the victim's home in Northampton last October and admitted the charge yesterday - on the first day of his trial at Northampton Crown Court.

crown court

Mary Cash, 39, of no fixed abode, is also on trial for murder, but denies the offence.

Judge Rupert Mayo told the jury they were discharged from reaching a verdict in the case of Pound, but the case would continue against Ms Cash.

Headlines: Business secretary wants sustainable steel industry... Zac Forskitt memorial

Sarah Foster

BBC Radio Northampton

  • Business secretary Sajid Javid has said he wants to secure a sustainable future for the steel industry
  • A service celebrating the life of Zac Forskitt is being held at Franklin's Gardens today
  • A new approach to tackling public health - thought to be the first of its kind in the country - has launched in Northamptonshire

Depression sufferer had 'nothing but support' from mental health course

Tom Percival

BBC Radio Northampton

A new company dealing with public health and well-being in Northamptonshire is being launched today.

One of the areas it will be looking after is mental health.

Eileen Molloy, from Northampton, suffered from severe depression - but with the help of a mental wellbeing course has turned her life around. 

Hull in contention after opening round of season's first Major

Pete Cooper

BBC Local Live

Burton Latimer's Charley Hull is three shots off the lead after the first round of the first women's Major of the season, the ANA Inspiration in California.

Hull hit a two under 70, while the lead is shared by Japan's Ai Miyazato and Spain's Azahaha Munoz, both on five under.

The ANA Inspiration is a tournament Hull has previously enjoyed...

7 - Charley Hull's highest major finish in the 2014 ANA Inspiration
Getty Images

Corby MP Tom Pursglove 'frustrated' after steel nationalisation idea ruled out

Pete Cooper

BBC Local Live

Corby MP Tom Pursglove says he's "frustrated" by the Prime Minister's decision to rule out steel nationalisation in the wake of Tata Steel selling it's UK businesses.

Mr Pursglove had delivered a letter to Number 10 Downing Street saying "nothing should be ruled out" including "a short period of public-ownership".

However, David Cameron said nationalisation was "not the right answer".                                   

Northampton MP keen for county to follow Greater Manchester health spending model

Pete Cooper

BBC Local Live

Today Northamptonshire is launching a new company to look after public health, but in Greater Manchester they've gone one step further by becoming the first English region to gain control of its health spending.

It's a move favoured by Consverative MP for Northampton South, David Mackintosh.

View more on twitter

Earlier this year, Mr Mackintosh, a former leader of Northampton Borough Council, instigated a letter, signed by all of Northamptonshire MPs, calling for one or more new unitary authorities for the county.

Life of Zac Forskitt to be remembered at memorial today

Martin Borley

BBC Radio Northampton

I'm heading to a service celebrating the life of Zac Forskitt, which is being held at Franklin's Gardens today.

Zac Forskitt
Forskitt family

The 20-year-old, from Northampton, died last month after battling two unrelated cancers.

His illness prompted a major awareness and fundraising campaign - BacZac - featuring trademark orange beanie hats.

Northants take steps to protect mental health of players

James Burridge

BBC Look East

I've been to talk to players and staff at Northamptonshire County Cricket Club about the impact cricket can have on a player's mental health, and how the sport is dealing with the issue...

People will 'get the help they need' from new public health company

Tom Percival

BBC Radio Northampton

A new approach to tackling public health - thought to be the first of its kind in the country - launches in Northamptonshire today.

'First for Well-being' is a new company involving the county council, NHS and University of Northampton. It will aim to support people in improving their physical mental and social health.

Alec Beale, from Broughton, who quit smoking using the county council's existing service, said increasing the profile of such methods will make sure people "get the help they need" from the new company.

New Loungers opening in Wellingborough next week to create 25 jobs

Northamptonshire Telegraph

Bosses of a new cafe bar due to open next week say it will cater for all tastes throughout the day.

Javid visits steelworkers as government says it is doing everything it can for steel industry


Business Secretary Sajid Javid has returend from a trip to Australia to meet Port Talbot steelworkers, insisting the government is "on their side".

Thousands of jobs could go after Tata Steel said it was selling its UK assets, including its Wales plant and the plant in Corby which employs 578 people.

Sajid Javid

The European Steel Association said the UK had been blocking an EU measure which would have tackled the "dumping" of cheap Chinese steel in Europe, which is partly being blamed for the crisis.

But the government said it was doing everything it could.

Does England's Euro 96 team have a managerial curse?

BBC Sport

BBC Sport looks at the managerial record of England's Euro 96 squad in light of Gary Neville's sacking by Valencia after less than four months in charge.

It includes Paul Gascoigne ill-fated time in charge of Kettering...

Illegal Northampton shop worker claimed he was being paid in 'food'

Northampton Chronicle & Echo

Another Northampton local shop faces having its licence stripped after it was found employing a worker who was in the country illegally.

More beds at Northampton Hospital would 'save money'

Craig Lewis

BBC News

More beds are needed to address a deficit of £20m at a hospital where staff face a "battle every single day" to provide for patients.

Sonia Swart

Northampton Hospital's chief executive Sonia Swart said 60 to 120 new beds are required to cope with daily pressures: "Additional bed capacity would ensure patients operations weren't cancelled at the last minute."

She said the extra beds would allow the hospital to run more efficiently, with more non-clinical staff assisting clinical staff, improved patient flow, and a "massive impact on the efficiency of surgical services impacted by emergency medical pressures".

Your pictures: Sunrise over Abington Park in Northampton

Pete Cooper

BBC Local Live

This picture of the "beautiful scene over Abington Park this morning" was sent to us by Mark Slater.

Abignton Park
Mark Slater

If you want to send us a picture then please email us or tweet us.

First fans to sit in Sixfields' East Stand in two years

Pete Cooper

BBC Local Live

Northampton Town was granted a safety certificate for the new East Stand at Sixfields yesterday evening.

The stand has already sold out for the remaining home games, and tomorrow almost 2,000 fans will sit there for the first time in two years...

Headlines: Public health company launches... East Stand open for business at Sixfields

Andrew Radd

BBC Radio Northampton

  • A new company involving the county council, NHS and University of Northampton, which will tackle public health issues, launches today
  • Business Secretary Sajid Javid is expected to tell steel workers the Government will use all official and diplomatic levers to secure the future of Tata Steel's UK operations
  • The new East Stand at Northampton Town's Sixfields is now open for business following the granting of a safety certificate

Weather: A bright start, but cloudy later

Elizabeth Rizzini

BBC Look East weather

Any frost or fog patches around this morning will quickly clear and it will stay dry with a high of 12C (54F).

You can see my full forecast below and there is more details on the BBC Weather website.

Good morning and welcome to Local Live for Northamptonshire

Pete Cooper

BBC Local Live

It is 1 April, but there will be no April's Fools here - just the day's news, weather, sport and travel for Northamptonshire.

If you want to get in touch then please email me, tweet us or head to Facebook.