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  1. Staffordshire hospital under 'unacceptable strain', MP says
  2. Drugs worth £7,000 seized in raids, police say
  3. Four in court charged with robbing jewellers
  4. Voice of Postman Pat Ken Barrie dies
  5. Updates from Friday 29 July 2016

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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James Brindley

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

A new exhibition marking 300 years since the birth of canal pioneer James Brindley has opened. How did his work transform the English landscape and unlock a new era in the Industrial Revolution?

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Lorry vs house

A major road through Shropshire will be closed until the middle of August after a lorry crashed into a house, authorities confirm.

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Our live coverage across the day

We'll be back with our usual mix of news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 Monday, but keep an eye out here for more updates this evening and into the morning.

Football: Crewe boss acts to stamp out complacency

Graham McGarry

Crewe Alexandra commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

The Crewe Alexandra manager Steve Davis says he has warned his players that he won't tolerate complacency this season.

Steve Davis
Getty Images

Davis told BBC Radio Stoke he has been satisfied so far with his team's form in their friendly games - but he warned nobody should take their starting place for granted.

They've got to play well and train well to earn the right to be in the team every week. I noticed a little bit of that (complacency) yesterday in training and because of that I swapped them over and gave other players a chance."

Steve DavisCrewe Alexandra manager

Stoke-on-Trent NHS: Department of Health responds to MP's demands

James Bovill

Staffordshire Political Reporter, BBC News

We asked the Department of Health for a response to demands from Tristram Hunt MP for the Health Secretary to sort out what he's termed an NHS at "breaking point" in Stoke-on-Trent. 

In a letter to Jeremy Hunt, the Labour MP says Royal Stoke University Hospital's seen a surge in patients following overnight closures of the A&E unit at Stafford's County Hospital. 

Tristram Hunt

The Department of Health told us: "We expect patients to be seen quickly at A&E." 

A spokesperson added "the hospital is taking action to reduce pressure by helping patients to access the most appropriate services for treatment". They said a full response to Tristram Hunt's letter would follow "in due course".

On Midlands Today from 18:30: Taking a railway stand

Peter Plisner

BBC Midlands Today

Tonight on Midlands Today - if you've been commuting by train today, the chances are you had to stand. 

Rail passengers in Birmingham are more likely to have to stand on a peak-time train, than in any other major city outside London.  

Passengers getting off a train

New Department for Transport data for England and Wales shows one in five passengers struggle to find a seat during the morning and evening rush hours. 

I've been looking at the figures and what we can conclude from them - see more on BBC One from 18:30.

Taxi e-cigarette ban approved

Ros Chimes

Reporter, BBC Radio Stoke

Councillors in the Staffordshire Moorlands have approved plans which could lead to a ban on smoking e-cigarettes in taxis.  

Staffordshire Moorlands District Council HQ

Smoking is already banned in taxis - now the district council wants to ban e-cigarettes too as part of a new policy that will come in to force next year. First, there'll be public consultation on the issue. 

News: A&E under 'unacceptable strain' MP says; four arrests in drug raids; voice of Postman Pat dies

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

If you're just joining us on the live page, here's our latest headlines:

- A hospital is being put under "unacceptable strain" because of the closure of neighbouring accident and emergency departments, an MP says

- Three men and a woman have been arrested on suspicion of drugs offences after two police operations in the Staffordshire Moorlands

- Ken Barrie, the Stoke-on-Trent-born voice of children's TV favourite Postman Pat, has died aged 83

Your pictures: An encounter with curious cows

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

Nosy cattle anyone? Jonathan White says these cows were curious as to what he was up to when he walked across fields in Wistaston, Cheshire.

Curious cows
Jonathan White

Jonathan's a regular contributor of photos he takes in his part of the world. If you take pictures of Staffordshire or Cheshire, I'd love to see them.

You can email, tweet @BBCRadioStoke or use Instagram (with the tag #bbcstoke).

Watch: Library's community takeover

James Bovill

Staffordshire Political Reporter, BBC News

A volunteer who helps run her local library in Stafford says community takeovers offer users self-improvement. 

So far, 11 libraries have transferred from county council to community ownership.   

Library's community takeover in Stafford offers self-improvement, volunteer says

Friday is the deadline for applications from groups interested in running another 12. 

Protesters have claimed it's a money-saving exercise, but volunteer Viv Evans, at Rising Brook Library, says there are many benefits.  

Postman Pat voice actor 'looked after his family well'

Chris Long

Entertainment reporter

The daughter of Ken Barrie, the voice of Postman Pat who's died at the age of 83, says he was "most proud of the fact he looked after his family well". 

Ken Barrie sings Postman Pat theme

Lorraine Hulme Peterson told BBC News that Barrie, who was born in Stoke-on-Trent, was "a master of different character voices" who also found success providing voiceovers for films and television adverts. 

She said that while he was not someone who liked the idea of "being bombarded for autographs, it was lovely to see when children realised who he was".

"He'd do the voice and they'd be gobsmacked," she said.

Drugs worth £7,000 seized in raids, police say

Alice Bentley

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

Three men and a woman have been arrested on suspicion of drugs offences after two police operations in the Staffordshire Moorlands

Staffordshire Police cars

Staffordshire Police say a car was stopped on a Cheadle car park yesterday afternoon, and a property raided in Kingsley Holt. 

Officers say they seized drugs including cocaine and cannabis with a value of more than £7,000.

Football: Stoke boss says style of football helping with transfers

Matt Sandoz

Stoke City commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Stoke City's assistant manager Mark Bowen believes the way they play football is helping to attract better players.

Joe Allen in Stoke City shirt on signing
Stoke City FC

The club has signed the highly-rated Egyptian teenager Ramadan Sobhi this week as well as Liverpool's Joe Allen.

When Mark Hughes was speaking to Joe Allen he was asking all the right questions, very concerned about which way that we thought the club was going and players that might be coming in, players that might be leaving or staying."

Mark BowenStoke City's assistant manager

Watch: Weekend weather

Rebecca Wood

BBC Midlands Today

To get the very latest forecasts from BBC Weather, head to the website.

Rebecca Wood has your weekend forecast
University Hospital Stoke

A hospital is being put under "unacceptable strain" because of the closure of neighbouring accident and emergency departments, an MP says.

Read more

Thousands expected for agricultural show

Ros Chimes

Reporter, BBC Radio Stoke

One of the biggest agricultural shows in the Staffordshire Moorlands is being staged tomorrow.

The Leek Show has been running annually in the town for more than 50 years and thousands turned up to last year's event on a hot and sunny weekend.

Setting up for the Leek Show this week

The show is famous for its shire horse competition and breeders travel from all over the country to take part.

Football: Port Vale's Foley dismisses Swindon rumours

Lee Blakeman

Port Vale commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Port Vale midfielder Sam Foley says he will be staying at the club this season.

Sam Foley
Port Vale FC

The 29-year-old had been linked with a move to Swindon over the last few weeks. Foley has told BBC Radio Stoke he's going nowhere.

I wouldn't believe everything you read on social media. It was good gossip for a few hours but I won't be going anywhere. I'm under contract here, I'm happy here, I'm settled here - as long as I'm playing I'm happy."

Sam FoleyPort Vale midfielder

Hospital misses A&E target in latest figures

James Bovill

Staffordshire Political Reporter, BBC News

As a Stoke-on-Trent MP today demands more funding and support for the local NHS, latest figures show that in May, 79.4% of A&E patients at the Royal Stoke University Hospital were seen within four hours.

The NHS target for accident and emergency departments is 95%.  

Royal Stoke University Hospital

The figures also reveal 12 people waited on trolleys at Royal Stoke hospital for 12 hours or more in May - the national standard is zero. 

In 2015-16, there were 103 12-hour trolley waits at the same hospital.

China clay ships at Charlestown Harbour

The famous blue and white striped Cornishware pottery, could be made in the county it was named after for the first time.

Read more

BBC Weather Watchers: Blue skies over Yoxall, Staffordshire

BBC Weather Watchers

It's not all been grey skies over Staffordshire and Cheshire today from the look of some photos taken by our BBC Weather Watcher volunteers.

This picture - with more than a hint of blue - was uploaded this morning by user Wendles in Yoxall.


On-air: Changes to BBC Radio Stoke's football frequencies

Graham McGarry

BBC Radio Stoke Sports Editor

From this season there are changes to the live football frequencies on which you can hear your team on BBC Radio Stoke:

- You can hear Stoke City on 94.6FM and from this season on Freeview channel 734 

- All Port Vale matches will be on DAB digital radio 

- Crewe Alex make the move to 1503MW 

Remember BBC Radio Stoke is still the only station that covers all three local teams, Stoke, Vale and Crewe - with every match live.

Mame Biram Diouf of Stoke City celebrates scoring with fans
Getty Images

News: MP says city's NHS at 'breaking point'; four in court over jewellery robbery; voice of Postman Pat dies

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

Let's get you updated with the latest main stories:

- Tristram Hunt MP is demanding the Health Secretary comes to Stoke-on-Trent to sort out what he calls an NHS at "breaking point"

- Four men have been remanded in custody after appearing in court charged with robbing a Nantwich jewellers

- Ken Barrie, the Stoke-on-Trent-born voice of children's TV favourite Postman Pat, has died aged 83

1966 World Cup: England's tournament behind the scenes

Lee Blakeman

BBC Radio Stoke Sport

Fifty years ago, the 1966 World Cup was taking place in England - still the only time the football tournament has taken place in this country.  

The BBC News website has published today a host of images of the competing teams' off-the-field activities which show a football tournament happening in more innocent and relaxed times.

An eager young football fan chases England footballers Bobby Moore and Martin Peters as they stroll near the team's hotel in Hendon, London, on 23 July 1966.
Getty Images

Meanwhile the former Stoke city goalkeeper Gordon Banks, who was also the England number one in the tournament, has been speaking to me on BBC Radio Stoke.

He's shared his memories of the event along with the build-up to the final itself and you can hear those on-air on Saturday morning.

On this day: First ever TV weather forecast

BBC Archive

Sixty seven years ago today, the BBC broadcast its first ever TV weather forecast.

Oh dear it appears not much changes... rain is forecast today and there were showers back in 1949 as well.

View more on twitter

Months of A34 roadworks set to end

Jack Dowling

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

Roadworks on the A34 near Stone are due to be officially completed today. 

Work on the A34 at Meaford
Staffordshire County Council

The Meaford stretch has been dug up and moved over the last year as part of "infrastructure works" by the county council and contractors. 

The improved layout includes a road to a new business park which will include a gas fired power station.

MP says Stoke-on-Trent NHS at 'breaking point'

James Bovill

Staffordshire Political Reporter, BBC News

The Stoke Central MP Tristram Hunt is demanding the Health Secretary comes to Stoke-on-Trent to sort out what he calls an NHS at "breaking point". 

He's written to Jeremy Hunt saying closing the A&E unit overnight at Stafford's County Hospital has led to a big surge in patients at the Royal Stoke University Hospital and is demanding more funding and support. 

Royal Stoke University Hospital

Pictures which claim to show patients waiting on trolleys in the accident and emergency unit at Royal Stoke on Tuesday morning were on the front page of today's Daily Mirror.

In response, the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, which runs the sites, said there were around 80 patients in the department at the time.

It added that the area was being monitored by clinical staff at all times.

Postman Pat voice actor Ken Barrie dies

BBC Entertainment and Arts

Ken Barrie, the voice of children's TV favourite Postman Pat, has died at the age of 83.  

Barrie, who was born Leslie Hulme in Tunstall, Stoke-on-Trent, provided the voice for Pat and many of the other characters in the animated series.  

Postman Pat

He also famously sang the show's theme tune, which was released as a single and spent 15 weeks in the top 75.

A family member told BBC News that Barrie died at his home in Uxbridge, London, after a short battle with cancer.

On Midlands Today from 13:30: Standing on trains and blood test breakthrough

Ben Godfrey

BBC Midlands Today

On Midlands Today this lunchtime we'll see how rail passengers in Birmingham are more likely to be forced to stand on a peak-time train than in any other major city in England and Wales outside London.  

Passengers getting onto train

Plus there's news of a revolutionary blood test to detect brain injuries which has been developed in the region. 

We'll have more on those stories and much more from 13:30 on BBC One.

Latest: Four charged with robbing jewellers; campaign against rabbit farm; Viola Beach debut album released

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

This lunchtime's headlines:

- Four men have been charged with robbing a jewellers in Nantwich in broad daylight this week

- Today's the final day for people to have their say on plans for a rabbit farm near Stafford - animal rights campaigners are objecting to the proposals    

- The debut album from Cheshire band Viola Beach, whose four members and manager died in a crash in Sweden in February, has been released today

Deadline for volunteers to run libraries

James Bovill

Staffordshire Political Reporter, BBC News

Today's the deadline for volunteers interested in applying to run their local library in Staffordshire.  

Library shelf

Of the county council's libraries, 11 are already community run and it is looking for volunteers to run another 12. 

The authority says it's because fewer people are using them. 

Your pictures: Canal wild flowers and early morning dog walking

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

I ask for your pictures of Staffordshire and Cheshire and you never disappoint, they keep coming in.

Jane Stanway says she took this picture on a walk along a canal in Sandbach.

Jane Stanway walk along the canal, Sandbach
Jane Stanway

Meanwhile, William Lainton posted this picture in Trentham, of his dog, using the BBC Radio Stoke Facebook page.

If you've got a picture of the area and you want to share it, send it in on email, tweet it to @BBCRadioStoke or put it on Instagram with the tag #bbcstoke - it helps us find it.

Early morning down trentham
William Lainton

Watch: This afternoon's weather

Alexandra Hamilton

BBC Weather

The BBC Weather website's also a great place to head to get the latest forecasts for where you live.

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Cheshire band Viola Beach's debut album released

BBC Newsbeat

The debut album by Cheshire band Viola Beach is finally released.

The four-piece and their manager died when their vehicle plunged off a bridge in Sweden in February.  

View more on youtube

But the album is not the one Viola Beach planned to release.

It's a collection of tracks put together during their short career, many of which were destined for an EP rather than a full-length release.