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  1. Updates from across the West of England on Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Live Reporting

By Ian Parker

All times stated are UK

Goodnight from BBC Local Live for the West Country

We're back from 7am tomorrow but here's a quick recap of our top stories today. 

Water tanker

Tewkesbury water main burst

Thousands of homes and businesses in the Tewkesbury area were without water for several hours after a water main burst in Mythe.  

Severn Trent said at 18:00 BST of the 7,500 properties affected only 77 remained without water.

Melanie Hall

Melanie Hall murder probe: DNA evidence discovered

Detectives say they are "a step closer" to finding Melanie Hall's killer after new techniques uncovered DNA on an item found near her remains.

Speaking 20 years after she was last seen leaving a Bath nightclub, police said the discovery would help the investigation "significantly". Her remains were found at the side of a motorway slip-road in 2009.

Bethan White

Great Western Railway bike reservation policy protested by thousands

More than 7,200 cyclists are protesting against Great Western Railway's (GWR) policy forcing bike owners to reserve bicycle spaces on high-speed services two hours in advance 

The protesters argue the policy discriminates against them; GWR says bikes can be taken on 85% of the network without a reservation.

A windsurfing champion ...from Clevedon

Take a look at this nail-biting footage of Zara Davis.

The osteopath and acupuncturist claimed the title in the women's speed windsurfing category in a competition in the Canary Islands. 

The 49-year-old has won six European titles but this is her first world championship victory. 

Elite speed windsurfers glide across the water at speeds of close to 40mph.

Footage courtesy Zara Davis

Paramedics raise £70,000 to fund colleague's cancer treatment

Kath Osmond

A group of paramedics have managed to raise £70,000 to pay for life-saving cancer treatment for one of their colleagues.

Kath Osmond has an aggressive form of skin cancer which can no longer be treated on the NHS. 

Despite hitting their original target her friends have continued their fundraising efforts tonight. 

They say she may need money for additional treatment in the future.

Running man

One of the main fundraisers was a "Running Man" challenge her colleagues performed in the shadow of the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Fun of the farm at school playground

A special needs school in Gloucester has been turned into a farm for the day.

More than 3,500 children from across Gloucestershire will attend the Royal Three Counties Show later this month.

But many children at Milestone School are unable to go due to the challenges they face...  so the show was taken to them instead!

The unsolved murder of Melanie Hall

Melanie Hall went out with friends 20 years ago - but never came home.

Tonight detectives say they're one step closer to finding out who killed the Bath university graduate.

Here's a timeline of how the case unfolded.

West Country weather: A humid evening with some heavy showers

Ian Fergusson, BBC Weather

The heavy showers will die out this evening leaving a dry but humid night.

Once early cloud burns off, Thursday afternoon should have some pleasant sunny intervals.

'Hello Glasto'! Bath Band living the dream at Worthy Farm

Bath band Bad Sounds are playing the BBC Introducing stage at Glastonbury Festival this year.

Take a listen to their song Avalanche.

View more on youtube

In your local newspapers

Hamish Marshall: Gloucestershire batsman to leave

Hamish Marshall
Getty Images

Hamish Marshall is to leave Gloucestershire CCC at the end of the season after 11 years with the club.

The 37-year-old batsman is returning to his native New Zealand where he hopes to continue his playing career while trying to find work for life after cricket.  

"Marshy" says: "At the stage I am at in my career I have to start thinking about what is best for my family.

"I am lucky enough to have been offered an opportunity that is too good to turn down."

His run-scoring will be missed by Gloucestershire fans, as will his old hairstyle.

A sunny idea for a Wiltshire walk

Spaceman 'misses the rain'!

Tim Peake: What has British astronaut missed about Earth?

What do you think British astronaut Tim Peake has missed most about the weather on Planet Earth?

Turns out it's the rain!

Earlier today he gave his final press conference from the International Space Station and the event was streamed into the Cheltenham Science Festival, where Major Tim answered questions from the public.

Day Trippers: 192 mile journey for baby robins nesting in trailer

Baby robins
Marlies Hebdon

Meet John, Paul, George and Ringo.

They're four baby robins who were found in the back of a trailer that had travelled nearly 200 miles.

The fab four started their journey near Liverpool and were only discovered by the driver when he reached Glastonbury.

The robins cannot be returned to their parents now so are being looked after by Somerset's Secret World Wildlife Rescue where we're told they're doing well.

Robins in nest
Marlies Hebdon

Help! Mum searching for precious memory blanket

Lisa and Redd Richardson
Lisa Richardson

Meet Bristol mum Lisa Richardson and her son Redd. They've lost something very precious - seven-year-old Redd's memory blanket. Lisa had it specially made when he was a baby. 

But it got mixed up in some bags destined for a couple of charity shops in Downend when the family was moving house last month. 

Redd's memory blanket
Lisa Richardson

The memory blanket is made up of Redd’s baby clothes including his christening outfit and the outfit he wore when he came home from hospital. 

Lisa said: "It took me six years to conceive him so anything related to Redd is very special. And to lose his first year of clothes and memories such as where we went, what we did and what we saw - it's just heartbreaking."

If you can help Lisa then please contact us on 0117 974 7747 or email us at and we'll pass on your details.

Gloucestershire MPs named in electoral fraud investigation

Stroud MP Neil Carmichael and Cheltenham MP Alex Chalk
Conservative Party

Two Gloucestershire MPs being investigated in relation to electoral fraud have been named.

Cheltenham's Alex Chalk and Stroud's Neil Carmichael are being investigated along with their agents.

It relates to the use of the Conservative party battle bus during the general election. 

Their names were revealed during a hearing at Cheltenham Magistrates' Court where Gloucestershire Constabulary was granted more time to sift through new evidence.

New GWR bike reservation rule sparks petition

Bicycles at Bristol Temple Meads station
Getty Images

More than 7,000 people have signed a petition against a new rule for train passengers travelling with their bicycles on some Great Western Railway services.

The rail firm has said those travelling between the west and London on high speed trains must reserve a space by 6pm the day before travelling.  

But those against the new policy say it will discourage bike use. They want the rule to be scrapped and are calling for more storage space for bikes on trains.

Sport: Forest Green sign midfielder Noble

Liam Noble
Rex Features

Midfielder Liam Noble has been reunited with manager Mark Cooper at Forest Green Rovers.

The Gloucestershire club has signed the midfielder, who worked under Cooper at Notts County, on a two-year deal.

The 25-year-old was released by his former side in May after scoring 10 goals in 40 appearances in all competitions last season.

Melanie Hall murder: Crimewatch revisits the case

Crimewatch has the latest from detectives saying they're "a step closer" to finding Melanie Hall's killer after new techniques uncovered DNA on an item found near her remains.

The TV programme showed CSI footage from 1996 of the Cadillacs nightclub in Bath where she was last seen.

Bristol Locomotive back on the rails

For many years the Bristol-built Jurassic has been out of action but new funding means she's* going to be in use again.

Some £40,000 is being spent on her thanks to a Heritage Lottery Grant.

She will be back and working at steam on the Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway in the Skegness Water Leisure Park.

* So, apparently Jurassic is a she. Who knew? We like that she is a she but we have no idea why ....

LCLR Historical Vehicles Trust

That's one reason to close a street!

Rebecca spotted this unusual street sign in Bath.

Initially we suspected a hoax, but it turns out World Gin Day is an actual thing. Honest!

Best reason for closing a street. #Bath

Best reason for closing a street. #Bath

Boat for sale: Doesn't include monks...

The iconic Sula lightship at Gloucester Docks is up for sale.

It was used to protect vessels from dangerous sandbanks around the Humber Estuary in the 1960s and 1970s.

But in recent years it has had a more unusual use.

Morph has packed his bags and left Bristol (for now anyway)

Peter Lord, Creative Director of Aardman Animations in Bristol, has tweeted these pictures of Morph getting ready to go on Croatian TV.

Don't worry we think it's just a short holiday, he'll be back. 

View more on twitter
Of course. That's what they were after! @Animafest_Zg

Of course. That's what they were after! @Animafest_Zg

Mmmm. I wonder if he needs any make-up? Just about to go on Croatian TV. @AmazingMorph

Mmmm. I wonder if he needs any make-up? Just about to go on Croatian TV. @AmazingMorph

Melanie Hall murder probe: A timeline of events

Detectives say they are "a step closer" to finding the killer of Melanie Hall after new techniques uncovered DNA on an item found near her remains.

Speaking 20 years after she was last seen leaving a Bath nightclub, police said the discovery would help the investigation "significantly".

Miss Hall, 25, who was a clerical worker at the Royal United Hospital in Bath, had been for a night out at Cadillacs nightclub when she was last seen on 9 June 1996.

This is what has happened since.

Sculptures from Chelsea Flower Show are being lent to Salisbury hospital garden

Garden with a sculpture in the shape of a face
Simon Gudgeon
Garden with rectangular sculpture
Simon Gudgeon

Eight pieces of work by sculptor Simon Gudgeon will be on display at Horatio's Garden in Salisbury, including Tree Spirit which was unveiled at this year's Chelsea Flower Show.

Horatio's Garden is a charity that creates and cares for gardens in NHS spinal injury centres.

The garden named after teenager Horatio Chapple who died after being attacked by a polar bear during an expedition in Norway.

The seven other sculptures include Lyrebird, Geranos, Falcon, Bran Owl and Search for Enlightenment.  

Leadbitter signs new Bristol Rovers deal

Daniel Leadbitter
Rex Features

Bristol Rovers defender Daniel Leadbitter has signed a new two-year deal with the club.

The 25-year-old played 36 times last season as Rovers won promotion to League One.

He joined Darrell Clarke's side in 2014 on a free transfer from Hereford.

If you love wandering through Somerset's countryside this is good to know

The Brean Down Way will be an eight mile off-road route

Weston-super-Mare and Brean might be right next to each other on the coast but it's a trek to cycle or walk between them.

That will soon change though - because a path is being built to link the two resorts.

Bristol paramedic battling cancer reaches fundraising goal

Kath Osmond photo

Kath Osmond who has skin cancer has hit her target of £70,000 to pay for specialist treatment that could potentially save her life.

After five years on drugs she's been told by the NHS there's nothing more they can do. The treatment this money is paying for is her only hope.

She says: "I am over the moon that the money's been raised - but obviously it's a daunting process that I'm embarking on."

Tewkesbury burst water main: hospital reconnected

A burst water main in Mythe has cut off water to schools, businesses and the hospital in Tewkesbury.

Although some taps are starting to work again now it looks like back up has still come in to help the hospital.

Our reporter Steve Knibbs says Severn Trent Water has connected a bowser.

A bowser from @stwater is being connected to #Tewkesbury hospital to backup supplies. #tewkeswater

A bowser from @stwater is being connected to #Tewkesbury hospital to backup supplies. #tewkeswater

Australia, America and now ... Gloucestershire: The Running Man is back

Gloucestershire Police have taken on the 'Running Man' dance challenge... and it's brilliant! 

Tewkesbury burst water main: You should be reconnected shortly

Some areas are starting to see their water coming through again after a burst water main in Mythe left thousands of people in Tewkesbury disconnected.

Schools and businesses have closed but Severn Trent Water says everywhere should have water again in the next few hours.

Our reporter Steve Knibbs says Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service is assisting with flooding and the burst water main.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Tewkesbury burst water main: 'not a bottle of water to be found'

Thousands of homes and some schools are without water due to a burst water mains in Mythe.

Steve Knibbs says the hospital is running on reserves and cafes have been closed.

He's filed this report from the Gloucestershire town.

Melanie Hall murder probe: DNA evidence identified

Police recently used new techniques to uncover DNA on an item found near Melanie Hall's remains which were discovered by the M5 in 2009. 

Det Supt Andy Bevan said officers are in the process of developing a DNA profile. 

He said: "There’s no doubt this brings us an important step closer to finding her killer."

Read the full story here.

Melanie Hall
The scene where Melanie Hall's remains were found in 2009
Avon and Somerset Police

Green Capital invoices: Bristol Mayor says 'it's about transparency'

Bristol mayor Marvin Rees publishes invoices from the Green Capital year.

Bristol's new mayor Marvin Rees has published hundreds of invoices from the city's European Green Capital year.

He's also confirmed the launch of an independent report into the "inclusivity, impact, legacy and finances" of last year's event.

Marvin says he wants to clear up a dispute over what happened to £7m of funding.

The Bristol Post has more.

Team GB selects four Bath modern pentathletes for Rio 2016

The modern pentathlon team for the Olympic Games in Rio this summer has been announced.

One of the four is Cheltenham's James Cooke. The 25-year-old is currently ranked as number one despite missing out on the 2012 London Olympics. He's now won himself a place at Rio 2016.

Joining James is 2012 silver medalist Samantha Murray, Kate French, Joe Choong, they are all now training in Bath ahead of the games later this year.

View more on twitter

Tewkesbury burst water main: shops closed due to lack of water

Bristol Rovers: Dan Leadbitter gets improved deal

Tewkesbury burst water main: still no water for town

Severn Trent is telling residents it doesn't have a timescale for completing the work on the broken water main in Mythe.

It means thousands in Tewkesbury are still without water.

Currently eight schools are closed although Tewkesbury School is still open for students taking exams today.

View more on twitter

Melanie Hall murder probe: Key facts

Melanie Hall murder prove infographic

Top stories from the papers across the West

Vote due on cutting children's centres budget in Gloucestershire

Chris Brierley

Reporter, BBC News

Pre-school children

There's a vote later on the possibility of handing over the running of children's centres in Gloucestershire to outside organisations. Chris Brierley looks at the background to the proposal.

The idea back in 1998 was simple - give support to some of the most disadvantaged families. 

Since the austerity hit over half the children's centres across the country have been shut and with more cuts facing local government the centres are coming under the spotlight.

Recently in Swindon, the council agreed to close all 14. 

But the plans unveiled by the Conservative administration on Gloucestershire County Council is a rather canny move - none will close. Yes they want to shave off £3.2m from the running of the 46 and 16 will become super centres.

The rest, 30, will be offered out to organisations and communities to run for themselves more community one stop shops. 

But alongside what some have called a “downgrading" there’s plans to put in an additional £3.7m over two years into employing more social workers. 

So a neatly packaged policy – that even the Tories rivals in the county are struggling to counter.

Melanie Hall murder: 'Now is the time to come forward'

Detectives say they're "a step closer" to finding Melanie Hall's killer after new techniques uncovered DNA on an item found near her remains.

Speaking 20 years after she was last seen leaving a Bath nightclub, police say the discovery would help the investigation "significantly".

The 25-year-old lived near Bradford-on-Avon and was a clerical worker at the Royal United Hospital in Bath. Melanie had been for a night out at Cadillacs nightclub when she was last seen.

Det Supt Andy Bevan says someone must know something about what happened.