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  1. Updates on Friday 15 April 2016
  2. News, sport, travel and weather updates to resume at 08:00 on Monday

Live Reporting

By Allen Cook

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Our live coverage across the day

Live updates for Staffordshire and Cheshire have finished for the day but we'll be back from 08:00 Monday with the latest news, sport, travel and weather. 

In photos: Fire service's 'emotional day' as chief stands down

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service has been paying tribute today to former chief fire officer Peter Dartford who has retired.

He has held the role for the past six years.

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This evening on BBC Midlands Today: The tiny school saved from closure

Elizabeth Glinka

BBC Midlands Today

On this evening's Midlands Today on BBC One we'll hear how a tiny infant school in Staffordshire has been saved from closure.

Pupils being filmed

All Saints School in Ranton had 15 pupils a few months ago - but now it's up for 40.

What's behind the turnaround? I've been finding out and will have the full story from 18:30.

Toyota worker bought drugs on the 'dark web', court hears

Burton Mail

A Toyota worker was handed a suspended sentence after drugs he purchased on the "dark web" were intercepted at London Heathrow Airport.

Adam Yates with magistrates' court inset
Burton Mail

Watch: Tonight and this weekend's weather for Stoke and Staffordshire

Shefali Oza

BBC Midlands Today

You can also get a latest weather forecast at any time from the BBC website.

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Historic Staffordshire bridge repairs on schedule

Euan Duncan

BBC Local Live

News of a restoration project in Burton as the £1.3m revamp of Ferry Bridge is on course to finish in June.  

Ferry Bridge under renovation
Oliver Mills/Geograph

The bridge, which crosses the River Trent from the town to Stapenhill, opened in 1889 and replaced the ferry service.

It's due to officially open in the summer once it's been repainted and the handrail and timber decking replaced.

Stoke food banks giving third of parcels to children

Lucy King

News Editor, BBC Radio Stoke

Stoke-on-Trent's food bank says it gave out more than 11,000 food parcels in the last year and over a third went to children.

Food in a box
Getty Images

The Trussell Trust, which runs 17 centres across the city, says demand for its food parcels is up 6% on the year before. 

The charity says the top three reasons for needing its help in the area are benefit delays, low income and benefit changes. 

Football: Hughes prepared to rotate Stoke keepers

Dan Wheeler

BBC Sport

Stoke City boss Mark Hughes says he is "comfortable" with his goalkeeping options and is prepared to switch between Jakob Haugaard and Shay Given. 

Jakob Haugaard
Getty Images

In the absence of injured number one Jack Butland, 23-year-old Haugaard has started the last two Premier League games but has conceded six goals.

It's a fluid situation. We've lost a top goalkeeper, but we have two outstanding keepers that can come in and do well for us."

Mark HughesStoke City manager

Watch: Leek wishes Queen a happy 90th birthday

Tim Wedgwood

BBC Local LIve

People in Leek have been wishing Queen Elizabeth II a happy 90th birthday.  

With the event approaching fast, a number of events are being held to celebrate the birthday on 21 April.

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As part of our coverage, we'd like to hear your stories and see pictures of when you met the Queen.

Please email  

Your pictures: Trentham bird-watching and Kidsgrove's Harecastle Tunnel

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

More of your great photos now and this first one is from Jon Kelso who took it in Trentham.

Bird on a tree in Trentham
Jon Kelso

While Twisted Mind Photography took this picture of the Harecastle Tunnel in Kidsgrove.

To send your photos of the area in you can email them in, tweet them to @BBCRadioStoke or use Instagram.

Harecastle Tunnel
Twisted Mind Photography

Thousands of pupils start school underweight, say MPs

Judith Burns

Education reporter

Thousands of children in England started school underweight last year, according to official figures highlighted by MPs.

Rising numbers of children do not get enough to eat, says the All Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger.

Outside of a house
Oli Scarff

"For a minority of children, the school lunchtime represents the only chance each day to eat something substantial," the group reported.

The government said it was committed to an "all-out war" on food poverty.

News: Man charged with student rape; mother jailed after Staffordshire confession; councillor say he'll be 'exonerated' in row

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

- A man has been charged with the rape of a Keele University student who killed herself while detectives investigated the allegations, police say

 - A mother, who admitted in a Staffordshire prison to murdering her baby son, has been jailed for life

- A Cheshire East councillor who quit the authority's ruling cabinet in a row over charity donations has said he has "total confidence he will be exonerated"

Councillor says he will be 'exonerated' over charity money row

Phil McCann

Political reporter, Cheshire

A Cheshire East councillor who quit the authority's ruling cabinet in a row over charity donations has said he has "total confidence he will be exonerated".  

Councillor Sam Gardner
Cheshire East Council

Conservative Sam Gardner resigned yesterday after it emerged a company he was a director of didn't send donations collected at a music festival to the charity they were intended for. 

Mr Gardner's released a statement saying he had no direct responsibility for the charity money.

BBC Weather Watcher pictures: Flowering Gnosall and Newtown under sunshine

Monica Rimmer

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

Our BBC Weather Watchers always provide us with great pictures from across the area - here's one from JR in Gnosall, Staffordshire.

Flowers in Gnosall

While the sun was out for Mick when he took this in Newtown, Staffordshire.

You could get a picture featured as a BBC Weather Watcher - head to the website and sign up.

Sun over Newtown

Travel: Crash on Station Road in Stoke-on-Trent

BBC Travel

There's been an accident on Station Road in Stoke-on-Trent near the A52 Leek Road junction.

Mother says son not eaten since May because of rare condition

Pete Morgan

Presenter, BBC Radio Stoke

Earlier we told you about Averil Siegertsz who's concerned about her son Jamie, 17 - he has been diagnosed with a rare condition, Rumination Syndrome

The diagnosis took several months, she says, because many doctors aren't aware of the condition and the solution is to "retrain" Jamie's brain to get it to keep food down - he can only keep water and diluted juice down.  

Averil told me time is running out with Jamie losing so much weight.

The University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust said in their statement that they've offered the family support  - and a specialist can see Jamie in the next fortnight.

Watch: Car park concerns raised in Crewe

Lamont Howie

Reporter, BBC Radio Stoke

It's becoming harder to find a parking space in Crewe, according to the town's visitors and workers who've spoken to BBC Radio Stoke. 

They say the town's new leisure centre, which was built on a car park, has added to the issue.  

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Cheshire East Council says more short-stay spaces will help boost local trade, and there are still plenty of longer stay spaces around the town for workers.

Man charged with rape of Keele student

James Bovill

Political reporter, BBC Radio Stoke

A man has been charged with the rape of a Keele University student who killed herself while detectives investigated the allegations, police say.  

Hannah Stubbs
Amanda Patricia Stubbs

Elgan Varney, 32, of Wye Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme, is accused of raping Hannah Stubbs.

The 22-year-old killed herself at her home in Stafford in August 2015. She was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, an inquest ruled last month.

Watch: Staffordshire girl preparing for international cheerleading contest

John Acres

BBC Radio Stoke

A girl from Staffordshire says she's looking forward to competing in the World Cheerleading Championships.   

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Grace Preston is from Wrinehill near Betley and performs with a troupe in Coventry. 

They will be competing in the team event in Disneyworld Florida next week.

Football: Crewe boss says playing budget not set yet for next season

Graham McGarry

Crewe Alexandra commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Crewe Alexandra's manager Steve Davis has told BBC Radio Stoke he has no idea yet of what his playing budget will be for next season.

Steve Davis

Relegation to League Two is likely to mean wages for new players will be reduced and Davis says talks with the board have yet to take place. 

We haven't had that conversation yet. Obviously when the club knows who I'm planning to keep and let go then they'll have a better idea of what's left in the pot and what can be added to the pot of money."

Steve DavisCrewe Alexandra manager

Watch: Children in England missing school due to poor teeth

Dan Johnson

More than 100 operations a day are being carried out in hospitals in England to remove rotten teeth from children and teenagers.

The Local Government Association says the cost has jumped to more than £35m a year and many children are missing school because they are taking time off for dental work.

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Watch: Tiny Staffordshire school saved from shutting

Elizabeth Glinka

BBC Midlands Today

A tiny infant school in Staffordshire which was facing closure has been saved.  

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All Saints School in Ranton had only 15 pupils and that included younger children in nursery classes. But it's now managed to increase its numbers to 40 and safeguard its future.  

The headteacher says in part that is down to youngsters coming from a new army camp.

News: Mother jailed after Staffordshire confession; boy 'critical' after crash; drivers caught eating and watching TV

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

Staffordshire and Cheshire's top stories include

- A mother, who admitted in a Staffordshire prison to murdering her baby son, has been jailed for life

- A seven-year-old boy who was hit by a car in Stoke-on-Trent is described as being in a critical condition

- Undercover police have caught drivers eating a meal, using a phone and even watching TV on the Midlands motorway network

Boy suffered 'critical injuries' in car collision in Stoke-on-Trent

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

We've had more details from the ambulance service about the seven-year-old boy who was hit by a car in Sneyd Green, Stoke-on-Trent.  

Birmingham Children's Hospital

It had happened on Repington Road yesterday afternoon, Staffordshire Police told us earlier.

West Midlands Ambulance Service say he'd suffered "very serious injuries" and was given "advanced life support" in the ambulance on his way to hospital. 

They say he was stabilised at the Royal Stoke University Hospital before being taken in a specialist vehicle to Birmingham Children's Hospital.

Swimming: Adam Peaty qualifies for 200m final

BBC Sport

Uttoxeter's world champion swimmer Adam Peaty has made it through to tonight's final of the men's 200m breaststroke at the British Swimming Championships in Glasgow.

Adam Peaty
Getty Images

He qualified third fastest in this morning's heats. 

Earlier this week Peaty secured his place at the Rio Olympics with gold in the 100m breaststroke in the championships.

Travel: Crash on Blackheath Lane, Stafford

BBC Travel

Blackheath Lane in Stafford is partially blocked in both directions near the A518 junction because of an accident.

Jailed mother given life for baby murder after Staffordshire confession

Clark Ainsworth

BBC News

A mother, who admitted in a Staffordshire prison to murdering her baby son, has been jailed for life.

Lesley Dunford arriving at Lewes Crown Court on 29 January
Eddie Mitchell

Harley Dunford was found dead in his cot at their East Sussex home in 2003, the Old Bailey heard. 

Lesley Dunford, 37, formerly of Windermere Close, Exeter, pleaded guilty to his murder in March after changing her plea twice. She was jailed for seven years in 2012 for killing her daughter Lucy in 2004. 

Dunford admitted in HMP Drake Hall, near Eccleshall, to murdering seven-month-old Harley at the house in Camber, on 27 August 2003.

EU referendum: Starting gun fired as official campaign begin

Gavin Stamp

BBC political reporter

The EU referendum campaign officially begins today, ending in a vote on 23 June to decide whether the UK stays in or leaves the 28-member bloc.  

Campaigners for both sides of referendum
Getty Images

Britain Stronger in Europe and Vote Leave are expected to focus on core messages in speeches and rallies.

Former chancellor Alistair Darling will point to "credible warnings of economic disaster", should the UK leave the EU.

But Leave campaigners will say the UK's contributions to the EU should go towards the NHS instead.

Football: Stoke City confirm date and time of Manchester City match

Stoke City have confirmed their game against Manchester City later this month will take place on Saturday 23 April at 12:45.

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Cheshire leader 'sorry' as councillor resigns over charity money row

Phil McCann

Political reporter, Cheshire

The leader of Cheshire East Council says she's "very sorry" one of her cabinet colleagues resigned in a row over charity donations.

Capesthorne Hall in Cheshire
Mark Percy / Geograph

Cheshire East Councillor Sam Gardner quit his post after admitting a company he was a director of "misused" charity money.

He was a director of a firm that ran a music festival in 2011 at Capesthorne Hall, Cheshire, which collected at least £4,142 in donations.

Instead of being passed to the charity, the money went into the account of his business, which was later liquidated. Mr Gardner said he quit because he did not want to risk damaging his council.

Roadworks to close Hednesford road for more than two months

Cannock Mercury

A road in Hednesford is set to be closed for more than two months in order for essential maintenance work to take place on water mains.   

Traffic signals
Cannock Mercury

Football: Port Vale boss demands strong finish to League One campaign

Dan Wheeler

BBC Sport

Boss Rob Page says he will not tolerate his Port Vale players easing off over the final four games of the season.  

Rob Page
Port Vale FC

With their League One play-off hopes effectively over, Page is adamant their focus will not waver.  

Sometimes you can get to this stage of the season and take your foot off the gas. But there's no way we're going to allow that to happen. While there are points to play for we've got to be professional and go for those points."

Rob PagePort Vale manager

On Midlands Today this lunchtime: Police film drivers eating and using mobiles

BBC Midlands Today

Undercover police have caught drivers eating a meal, using a phone and even watching TV on the Midlands motorway network.  

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More than 120 motorists are now facing prosecution - we bring you this story on Midlands Today this lunchtime from 13:30.

News: Drivers filmed eating and texting; thousands get Stoke-on-Trent food parcels; safety experiment tries to cut deer deaths

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

The main stories this lunchtime:

- Undercover police have caught drivers eating a meal, using a phone and even watching TV on the Midlands motorway network

- Stoke-on-Trent's foodbank says it gave out more than 11,000 food parcels in the last year and over a third went to children

- Rangers say they hope a safety experiment borrowed from the United States could save the lives of hundreds of deer in Staffordshire each year

White flags 'could protect deer'

The team on the site are using white flags on wooden posts to replicate the deer's natural warning tail colour.

Their aim is to try and reduce the number which run across roads while traffic is passing. 

White flag

Watch: Rangers hope a safety experiment will save lives of hundreds of deer

Emma Thomas

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

Rangers say they hope a safety experiment borrowed from the United States could save the lives of hundreds of deer in Staffordshire each year.   

On average three a week are killed in crashes on Cannock Chase, with county council staff having to shoot any seriously injured ones for their welfare.   

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More than 100 incidents of livestock on the roads in 14 months

Crewe Chronicle

Loose sheep, horses, cows and even a pig caused havoc on South Cheshire’s roads last year - with police called to deal with more than 100 incidents involving livestock roaming free.

Watch: This afternoon's Stoke and Staffordshire weather forecast

Charlie Slater

BBC Weather presenter

If you want a forecast for your part of Staffordshire or Cheshire at any time, head to the BBC website for the latest.

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