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  1. Updates on Friday 15 May 2015

Live Reporting

By Andrew Humphrey

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good evening

Andrew Humphrey

BBC Local Live

That's it for today's BBC Local Live for Oxfordshire. We'll be back on Monday from 08:00.

Smith lights up the track

Ross Heaton

Sports reporter, BBC Radio Oxford

Oxfordshire rider Bradley Smith finished fastest in free practice today ahead of this weekend's

MotoGP in Le Mans.

Bradley Smith

BBC Radio Oxford's Nick Harris was watching trackside: "Smith produced a staggering lap time, with a small blot being a low speed crash at the end of the session, which meant he had to walk back to the pits to celebrate with his team."

Latest headlines

Andrew Humphrey

BBC Local Live

This evening's top stories on Local Live:

  • Oxford East MP Andrew Smith has paid tribute to his councillor wife Val, who died today
  • Campaigners opposed to the closure of kitchens in a number of Oxfordshire's hospitals have handed in a petition
  • Bradley Smith has topped the practice times ahead of the weekend's Le Mans MotoGP

Changing tracks

Chiltern Railways

tweets: Don't forget the new summer timetable starts on Sunday.
Find out more now

Kitchen campaigners hand in petition

BBC Radio Oxford


opposed to the closure of kitchens in a number of Oxfordshire's hospitals have handed in a petition to Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust today.

Alex Meredith
Alex Meredith

The kitchens under threat are run by Oxford Health NHS Trust and are at Wantage, Didcot, Wallingford, Chipping Norton and Witney community hospitals

Campaigner Alex Merideth told

BBC Radio Oxford: "The patients haven't really had a say in what food they want and the evidence points to home cook food being better for them so we should keep those kitchens open rather than coming from a factory."

Burglary and driving charges for man

A 34-year-old man has been

charged with dangerous driving following a collision with a HGV in Abingdon Road yesterday.

The man has also been charged with driving without insurance and also over a burglary at the Co-op Store in Botley.

Wet and murky night

Bee Tucker

BBC Weather

The cloud will return this evening,

though things will say dry until the night.

Bee Tucker

The rain will be mainly light and patchy overnight, and temperatures should stay mild with lows 11C (52F).

Burcot road closed

BBC Travel

A collision involving a bus on the A415 at Burcot has

closed the road in both directions between the A4074 junction and the B4015 Oxford Road.

Terror threat

BBC Radio Oxford

Britain's strategy on Islamist extremism has been in the spotlight for months, with David Cameron this week he

setting out a range of new measures to crack down on extremist ideas.

The man known as 'Jihadi John'

This evening visiting fellow at St Anthony's college, Sara Kamali, is

giving a talk on what turns people to embrace religious extremes.

She told

Annie Othern: "There isn't one single problem of religious extremism, we have militant Islamism but also for example militant Christianity, which share strikingly similar world views; being jaded with the status quo and wanting to shed the world of its secularism in what they believe is the one true way."

'A sad day for the council'

The chief executive of

Oxford City Council has paid tribute to former councillor Val Smith, who has died.

Val Smith

Peter Sloman said: "Val was held in high regard and affection by council staff both past and present who worked with her over many years. Today is a sad day for the council and our heartfelt best wishes go out to Andrew and Val's family members."

There is a book of condolence in the town hall reception for staff and the public to sign.

Cheerful books to help cancer patients

Banbury Cake

A special list of uplifting titles drawn up by the Reading Agency and Macmillan Cancer Support

are now in stock at Oxfordshire County Council libraries.

Cycle stolen

Police have appealed for witnesses after a

bicycle was stolen in Henley-on-Thames.


The black Isaac Sonic racing bike was stolen from a garage in Valley Road.

240 mile day

Thame Gazette

A businessman is aiming to cycle

240 miles in one day all in the name of charity.

Stress busters

Andrew Humphrey

BBC Local Live

Attending one of the world's most highly respected universities is an enormous privilege, but that also comes with pressure to perform, so perhaps Oxford University could follow some institutions by installing a

stress room for students undergoing exams.

Bouncy castle at Leicester
University of Leicester

From bouncy castles to a puppy petting room and primal screaming, colleges and student unions are providing increasingly elaborate efforts to tackle stress.

Bikers urged to join charity ride

Wallingford Herald

Motorcyclists are being encouraged to join other enthusiasts who will be

riding round the country for a good cause as organisers pray for good weather.

'Great sadness'

Staff and councillors at

Oxfordshire County Council have offered their condolences to the family of Val Smith, who died today.

Deputy leader Rodney Rose said: "She was held in great respect across the political divide and commanded respect among officers and councillors alike. There is great sadness at her passing."

Labour group leader Liz Brighouse also paid tribute, saying: "Val was a wonderful, trusted colleague and friend for many years. She was a councillor who was right at the heart of her community on a daily basis."

Bicester Town comeback

Ross Heaton

Sports reporter, BBC Radio Oxford

Four years after going out of business

Bicester Town Football Club should find out later today if their comeback attempt has resulted in a return to the Hellenic League.

The north Oxfordshire club were forced to fold in 2011 after a dispute with their landlords saw them leave their ground on Oxford Road.

Andrew Smith's tribute to wife Val

Andrew Smith has paid tribute to his wife Val who died this morning after a long battle with cancer.

Val Smith

He said: "Our beautiful Val passed away peacefully in her sleep at Sobell House this morning. I have lost the most wonderful loving wife who has been my rock and inspiration, and our family a devoted mother and grandmother.

"Val brought so much joy to all who knew her, helped so many people and worked tirelessly for the community she loved. We will miss her so much."

Latest headlines

Andrew Humphrey

BBC Local Live

This afternoon's top stories on Local Live:

  • Val Smith, Oxford councillor and wife of MP Andrew Smith has died
  • A man missing from Kidlington for a week has been found
  • Subsidies paid to commercial bus companies
    are to be reduced

Pupils plead for pedal power

Oxford Times

Children in North Oxford have appealed to transport bosses to

extend a cycle lane they use to get to school.

Kitchen closure petition

A petition has been handed to Oxford Health NHS Foundation by campaigners opposed to the

closure of kitchens in a number of Oxfordshire's hospitals.

It has been signed by almost 500 people calling for a public consultation on the closures.

Missing Kidlington man home

via Facebook

A week after Kidlington man Luke Winter went missing, he has been found and is back home, according to a

Facebook post on the page set up to help find him.

Luke Winter
Luke Winter

BreakingVal Smith dies

Val Smith, the former Blackbird Leys councillor and wife of Oxford East MP Andrew Smith, has died after a battle with cancer.

A43 blocked

BBC Travel

There is a lane blocked and delays on the

A43 southbound in Baynard's Green, before Baynard's Green roundabout, because of a broken down car.

Lunchtime TV

Jo Kent

South Today


South Today this lunchtime: The head of an Oxford college has warned of a culture of sexual harassment and groping at the university.

Somerville College

The principal of Somerville College described a rise in "excessively harassing and intimidating behaviour" towards female students.

Join me for the full story at


University harassment condemned

The principal of an Oxford University college has called on her undergraduates to stamp out what she describes as a profoundly worrying culture of sexual harassment.

Dr Alice Prochaska

Dr Alice Prochaska, the head of Somerville College, told

BBC Radio Oxford that she has heard unprecedented reports of "rude and sometimes threatening behaviour" towards women by a small minority of men.

A34 rolling roadblock

BBC Travel

We have reports of

delays on the A34 northbound from Botley up to the Peartree roundabout.

Steve phoned BBC Radio Oxford to say he had seen a rolling roadblock effectively closing the road to fill in potholes at Peartree.

Latest headlines

Andrew Humphrey

BBC Local Live

This afternoon's top stories on Local Live:

  • Bullying and harassment has risen in an NHS trust in Oxfordshire
  • Cuts to Oxfordshire's bus services are being forecast by campaigners after the county council announced plans to make more savings
  • Somerville College's principal has emailed students in an attempt to stop sexual harassment

Donor gratitude

BBC News Magazine has

more on the story of an Oxford student stem cell donor, who agreed to meet the man whose life he helped to save.

Backstage at The Crucible

Actor Michael Thomas had at type of blood cancer called myeloma, and was treated with a donation from Jeremy Brice.

Michael wanted to express his gratitude, and after a series of letters the pair met. You can read the whole story


College harassment 'must be stopped'

BBC Radio Oxford

An unprecedented increase in reports of sexual harassment must be stopped, according to the principal of Somerville College.

Somerville College

Dr Alice Prochaska sent an email to students to warn them about their conduct.

She explained: "I'd heard growing numbers of reports of sexual harassment and bullying, groping at parties and most disturbing people making jokes about rape. I thought if people spoke out about it now it would be stopped in its tracks."

More train troubles

Chiltern Railways

tweets: Owing to signalling problems between Banbury & Bicester all lines are affected.

U's strong start to summer

Robyn Cowen

Sports reporter, BBC Radio Oxford

Oxford United have already sold more than 1,000

season-tickets for the new campaign.

Kemar Roofe
Getty Images

They only went on sale a week or so ago, but lower prices along with the signings of

Kemar Roofe and
Liam Sercombe and the retention of key defenders Jake Wright and Joe Skarz have persuaded fans to commit.

Brill brew top of the hops

Thame Gazette

A beer brewed in Brill was the toast of Reading Beer Festival,

taking home a big prize.

Latest headlines

Andrew Humphrey

BBC Local Live

Today's top stories in Oxfordshire:

NHS bullying 'not tolerated'


rise in the number of Oxfordshire's NHS staff experiencing bullying and harassment is "of concern" and will not be tolerated according to Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust.

It released a statement which said: "We have a group of staff that meets regularly and is dedicated to enhancing the health and wellbeing of our staff. The group has reviewed the findings of this survey in depth and has developed an action plan for the Trust to make improvements in a number of areas."

It went on: "It is essential that we create a culture of awareness and confidence in speaking up and we were happy to see from the survey that 90% of staff had reported incidents."

Students stage summer showcase

Banbury Guardian

A month-long showcase of arts talent is

returning to Banbury for a second year.

Bullying up in Oxfordshire NHS trust

A culture of bullying, harassment or abuse has been

reported by staff at an Oxfordshire health trust.

John Radcliffe Hospital

A quarter of health workers surveyed at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust reported being bullied, a rise on 2013 when 17% said they had experienced bullying.

Voluntary sector to help Dial-a-Ride users

BBC Radio Oxford

Oxfordshire's Dial-a-Ride buses will

no longer get county council funding from next year.

Ian Hudspeth

Council leader Ian Hudspeth

told Howard Bentham: "There's about 220 users of the service and 198 of them can walk to a nearby bus stop had have a concessionary bus pass. We have got to look at the most efficient way of using the money have got."

He added: "There are an awful lot of informal services in villages, and it's building on those relationships to enable them to deliver the services for residents."