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  1. 101 caller 'waited nearly an hour', BBC FOI shows
  2. Driver seriously hurt after lorry hits fencing and container
  3. Lottery backing for proposed Staffordshire history centre
  4. Updates on Thursday 2 June 2016

Live Reporting

By Allen Cook

All times stated are UK

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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 tomorrow, but keep an eye out here for more updates this evening and into the morning. 

Football: Stoke's Walters misses Ireland training because of knock

John Haughey

BBC Sport

Stoke City forward Jon Walters is the latest injury concern for the Republic of Ireland ahead of Euro 2016 after taking a bang to his calf.  

Walters, 32, was unable to train with his Republic team-mates on Thursday morning as he instead worked with the medical staff.  

Martin O'Neill (right) watches Walters working with the Republic's medical staff on Thursday

The initial indications were that the knock was not serious.

However, it's a further issue for boss Martin O'Neill given the injuries to James McCarthy and Robbie Keane.

Lottery backing for proposed Staffordshire history centre

Emma Thomas

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

Plans for a new multimillion-pound history centre in Stafford have been given initial financial backing from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Artist’s impressions of the proposed history centre
Staffordshire County Council

Staffordshire County Council says their proposals for a two-storey link between the current record office and the William Salt Library in Stafford have been earmarked funding of almost £4m by HLF.

The authority says the new site will hold records of up to 1,000 years old and a new community exhibition space.

They'll now use initial funding of £333,400 from the HLF to turn their plans into more detailed ones before putting in an application for the full grant of £3,965,600.

On Midlands Today this evening: Abandoned calls to police 101 number

BBC Midlands Today

Have you been left hanging on the police's non-emergency 101 number? Well you may not be alone. 

Staffordshire Police call centre

A BBC investigation's found thousands of calls were abandoned to police forces across the Midlands over the last four years. 

We'll be looking at how bad the situation is and what's being done to improve things - all on BBC One from 18:30 in Midlands Today.

Voluntary groups get Queen recognition

Alice Bentley

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

Several volunteer groups across Staffordshire and Cheshire have today been awarded the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service.

They're not for individual brilliance or bravery, but honour organisations - Winners get a certificate signed by the Queen, a domed glass crystal, and an invitation to a royal garden party.  

Christmas baubles

In Staffordshire and Cheshire this year's recipients include Loggerheads and District Befrienders, East Cheshire Hospice Christmas Tree Collection and Staffordshire Lads and Dads.

Your pictures: Keele cows and an archway sunset

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

James Birchall shared this picture on Instagram of cows having a rest in a field in Keele, Staffordshire.

Cows in a field in Keele
James Birchall

While also on Instagram, user Fuel_boat_halsall shared this lovely photo, taken from a stroll through the "arch of Hazelhurst Aqueduct".

Leek Tunnel

Boy suffers serious head injury after Tamworth scooter fall

Phil Bowers

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

A boy's suffered a serious head injury after falling from a scooter in Tamworth, the ambulance service says. 

Castle grounds, Tamworth

West Midlands Ambulance Service say the boy, thought to be 10 years old, had fallen from the scooter in the Castle Grounds while riding down a hill near the town's castle. 

They say he was airlifted to hospital and his injuries "are not thought to be life threatening".

New Sir Winston Churchill £5 note design is unveiled

Kevin Peachey

Personal finance reporter

The final design for the new Bank of England £5 note entering circulation on 13 September has been revealed.

The note will feature the image of Sir Winston Churchill and will be made of plastic rather than the current cotton versions.

The Bank says the thin and flexible plastic banknotes will be cleaner, more durable - as they will last for five years - and harder to counterfeit than the current notes.

It admits that they may initially be prone to sticking together.

Driver seriously hurt after lorry hits fencing and container

Monica Rimmer

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

A lorry driver's been seriously hurt after his vehicle hit metal fencing and a shipping container in Stoke-on-Trent

The scene of the crash with lorry in metal fencing
West Midlands Ambulance Service

West Midlands Ambulance Service says it happened just before midday on Draycott Cross Road in Brookhouse Industrial Estate. 

They say the driver, a man in his 30s, had suffered serious leg injuries and was taken to the Royal Stoke University Hospital.

Watch: Stoke and Staffordshire's weather tonight and tomorrow

Rebecca Wood

BBC Midlands Today

Latest: 101 caller 'waited nearly an hour'; lorry driver seriously hurt in fence crash; lottery backing for history centre plans

Phil Bowers

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

This evening's headlines include:

- A caller to Staffordshire Police's 101 service was kept waiting for almost an hour, figures obtained by the BBC show

- A lorry driver's been seriously hurt after his vehicle hit metal fencing and a shipping container in Stoke-on-Trent, paramedics say  

- Plans for a new multimillion-pound history centre in Stafford have been given initial financial backing from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)

Travel: Railway lines reopen after Tamworth disruption

BBC Travel

Railway lines through Tamworth have reopened this evening, Cross Country trains says, after earlier disruption.

View more on twitter

Football: Crewe look for Leek clarity over Neil Baker role

Graham McGarry

Crewe Alexandra commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Crewe Alexandra boss Steve Davis says the role of Neil Baker, who's the head of recruitment at the club, has yet to be finalised.

Neil Baker

Baker is looking to combine his duties so that he can also be the Director of Football at Leek Town.

We've got to make sure that Neil's doing what he needs to do at this football club as well - so we need to sit down and discuss how that's going to work, having that involvement with Leek."

Steve DavisCrewe Alexandra manager

Analysis: The thousands of unanswered police 101 calls in the Midlands

James Bovill

Staffordshire Political Reporter, BBC News

More now on the story we brought you earlier, that concerns have been raised that hundreds of thousands of people haven't been able to get through to the 101 police number in the Midlands since 2012. 

Crimes could have gone unrecorded, incidents ignored.

But Staffordshire's police and crime commissioner says it's hard to compare like for like. There's no standardised way of monitoring 101 performance, and that needs to change.  

Staffordshire Police 101 call centre

Most forces acknowledge they must do more to improve. Staffordshire and the West Midlands forces say they'll take on more call handlers. Warwickshire and West Mercia - which have a strategic alliance - say they are looking at bringing in a single, standard system.

But all forces stress their 999 emergency response times must remain the priority.

Hundreds expected for Stoke-on-Trent leg of tour cycle races

Jack Dowling

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

Hundreds of people are expected to come to Stoke-on-Trent this evening for the latest leg of the Pearl Izumi Tour Series.  

The cycling event, which takes place across 10 towns and cities in the country, sees competitors racing around a circuit, aiming to record the quickest time. 

Racing is due to begin at 18:00.  

Travel: Tamworth train delays expected until 17:00

BBC Travel

More on the disruption to rail services through Tamworth this afternoon - National Rail Enquiries say emergency services are dealing with an incident near Tamworth.

They say that's causing disruptions to journeys between Birmingham New Street and Derby, affecting Cross County trains.

Tamworth train station

National Rail Enquiries say the disruption's expected to last until 17:00 and some services could be cancelled or delayed by up to 60 minutes.

The BBC Travel website has the latest information

Alton Towers Smiler crash: Rescuer remembers 'like no incident I'd ever been to'

Euan Duncan

BBC Local Live

It's exactly a year ago today that the Alton Towers rollercoaster crash happened - 2 June 2015.

Five people were seriously hurt.

Two women - Victoria Balch and Leah Washington - had legs amputated after the Smiler ride hit an empty carriage.  

Smiler ride crash at Alton Towers
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue

Station manager Dale Harrison was the incident commander for Staffordshire Fire and Rescue on the day.    

It was like no incident I'd ever been to. My opening statement to the firefighters was that this would be probably the most technical rescue they'd ever carry out in their careers."

Dale HarrisonIncident commander for Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service

Travel: Tamworth 'incident' blocking rail services

BBC Travel

Train services through Tamworth are being disrupted because of what train operators are calling an "incident". We'll bring you more details when we have them.

Get the latest news from BBC Travel.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Latest: Woman charged after fatal crash; 101 caller 'waited nearly an hour'; hundreds expected for Stoke cycle race

Phil Bowers

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

This afternoon's headlines for Staffordshire and Cheshire include:

- A Stoke-on-Trent woman is charged with causing death by dangerous driving, after a crash in January

- A caller to Staffordshire Police's 101 service was kept waiting for almost an hour, figures obtained by the BBC show

- Hundreds of people are expected to come to Stoke-on-Trent this evening for the latest leg of the Pearl Izumi Tour Series

Retailer BHS set for liquidation


Department store BHS is to go into liquidation with the loss of up to 11,000 jobs after efforts to find a buyer failed.

The decision followed a lengthy bidding process aimed at saving BHS, which went into administration in April.

BHS Entrance

In the end, none of the offers was judged acceptable by administrators Duff & Phelps.  

All 163 BHS stores will be holding closing sales over the coming weeks - they include the two branches in Stoke-on-Trent and ones in Crewe and Burton.

The jobs of 8,000 members of staff are likely to go, while a further 3,000 jobs of non-BHS employees who work in the stores may also be at risk.

NHS: BME staff 'more likely to be bullied than white colleagues'

BBC News Health

Black and ethnic minority staff working in the NHS are more likely to report being bullied or harassed than their white colleagues, the first national review by NHS England has suggested.  

Nurses in a hospital

The report, which covers all NHS trusts in England, calls for attitudes and behaviour to change.

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said the results were "deeply concerning and a clear call to action".

The NHS has said it is investing £2m over two years to tackle the issue.

BBC Weather Watcher pictures: Holmes Chapel and Stafford

BBC Weather Watchers

Here's a couple of the great pictures that our BBC Weather Watchers have uploaded in the last day - from Sandy in Holmes Chapel, Cheshire and Azzarh in Stafford.

Our volunteers also keep us updated with the forecast in their part of Staffordshire or Cheshire and you can become a BBC Weather Watcher by signing up on the website.

Holmes Chapel

Football: Sheffield sign former Burton loanee Duffy

BBC Sport

Midfielder Mark Duffy, who spent last season on loan at Burton Albion, has been signed by Sheffield United from his parent-club Birmingham City.

Mark Duffy in Burton shirt
Getty Images

Duffy, 30, made 45 league appearances as the Brewers won League One.  

Polecats numbers grow but could you recognise one?

David Gregory-Kumar

Science correspondent, BBC Midlands Today

The polecat isn't just surviving, it's doing really well, with numbers increasing according to surveys by the Midlands-based Vincent Wildlife Trust. 

But would you recognise one if you saw one? Here's a simple spotters' guide.  

They are larger than a stoat or a weasel but a good rule of thumb is if your quick glimpse (and it will be quick!) is of something like a furry sausage then it was more likely a stoat or a weasel.

If it was a bit larger, perhaps you thought it was a strange-looking cat, then it's likely to be a polecat. There's a useful size guide here.

And you can read more about their numbers increasing on my blog post here.

Chasewater steam railway honoured with Queen's Award

Lichfield Mercury

Chasewater Railway has been honoured with the prestigious Queen's Award for Voluntary Service.  

Chasewater Railway
Lichfield Mercury

This lunchtime on Midlands Today: Why thousands of 101 calls 'abandoned' by police

BBC Midlands Today

This lunchtime on Midlands Today, Staffordshire Police says it's investing nearly £500,000 a year in its call centre.

Staffordshire Police Call Centre handler

It's after an BBC investigation found thousands of calls to its non-emergency number have been abandoned in the last four years. 

See more about this story on BBC One from 13:30.  

Woman charged after fatal crash in Stoke-on-Trent

Phil Bowers

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

A Stoke-on-Trent woman has been charged with causing death by dangerous driving, after a crash in January.

Clough Street, Hanley

Staffordshire Police say the collision happened on Clough Street, Hanley on 8 January and involved a lorry and a Vauxhall Corsa.

Officers say Mobeen Hussain, 25, of Kirby Street, Cobridge was a passenger in the car and died soon afterwards in hospital.

Football: Shrewsbury snap up ex-Port Vale duo

BBC Sport

Two players released last month by Port Vale have been snapped up by Shrewsbury Town

They are Northern Irish defender Ryan McGivern (seen in action here for his country) and striker AJ Leitch-Smith.

Ryan McGivern
Getty Images

News: Woman charged after fatal crash; centre closure blamed for unanswered 101 calls; Alton Towers crash victim 'living with the consequences'

Chris King

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

This afternoon's headlines include:

- A Stoke-on-Trent woman has been charged with causing death by dangerous driving after a crash in January

- Staffordshire Police says closing one of its call centres is partly to blame for an increase in the time taken to answer calls to its non-emergency 101 number

- Exactly one year after the Smiler ride crashed at Alton Towers, one of the victims says both she and her family continue to live with the consequences on a daily basis

Alton Towers Smiler crash: What happened on the day

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

We're taking you back a year to 2 June 2015 - the day of the Alton Towers rollercoaster crash.

Two carriages collided on the Smiler ride at the theme park, leaving some passengers trapped for four-and-a-half hours.  

"Thomas", 14, filmed the moments immediately after the crash

On the day, people at the site reported hearing "a loud crash" when the collision happened.

In total, 16 people were hurt in the crash and two women had leg amputations - Leah Washington, from South Yorkshire, and Vicky Balch, from Lancashire.

In April Merlin Attractions Operations Ltd admitted charges of breaching the Health and Safety Act - it had previously admitted responsibility for the crash, which an internal investigation blamed on human error.

Watch: Police chief defends unanswered 101 calls

James Bovill

Staffordshire Political Reporter, BBC News

Staffordshire Police says closing one of its call centres is partly to blame for an increase in the time taken to answer calls to its non-emergency 101 number. 

The average waiting time has doubled since 2012 to nearly two minutes, and 145,000 calls since 2012 have gone unanswered.  

Staffordshire's Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis (featured in video) has defended the figures. 

The force says it is going to invest in more call handlers - which have decreased since the Hanley call centre closed in 2014.  

Watch: This afternoon's weather for Stoke and Staffordshire

Kay Crewdson

BBC Weather

You can get a weather forecast at any other time for your part of Staffordshire or Cheshire from the BBC website

'Cash shortage for special educational needs' support

Katherine Sellgren

Schools in England are struggling to support the 1.1 million pupils with special needs or disabilities in mainstream classrooms, a report says.  

Child under headphones

A survey of 1,100 school leaders found delays to assessments, insufficient budgets and cuts to local authorities were hampering the ability to cope.

The study by The Key, which provides leadership and management support to schools, calls for increased funding.

The government says it has increased funding for those with "high needs".

Football: Port Vale's next manager 'will have time' to build squad

Lee Blakeman

Port Vale commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Port Vale legend Phil Sproson has told BBC Radio Stoke he thinks the club's new manager will have plenty of time to build a squad.

Outside of Port Vale FC
Getty Images

Chairman Norman Smurthwaite has confirmed that nobody will be appointed until 21 June

There's always plenty of players out there. There'll be a huge list of players that will be circulated very shortly by the PFA (Professional Footballers' Association) and he will also be inundated with agents making appointments and dropping their clients on the list."

Phil SprosonFormer Port Vale player

Alton Towers Smiler crash: 'Living with the consequences'

Euan Duncan

BBC Local Live

One year after the Smiler ride crashed at Alton Towers, one of the victims says both she and her family continue to live with the consequences on a daily basis.

Leah Washington, along with University of Derby student Victoria Balch, lost a leg in the aftermath of the accident.

The Smiler crash in 2015
West Midlands Ambulance Service

Leah said: "It affected my parents quite a lot and my brother and my grandparents. They've all really been affected and it still affects them now really. I think to see the pain that I'm in some times, it hurts them and the fact that they can't do anything about it."

Latest: Thousands of police 101 calls unanswered; Alton Towers crash victim on impact of injuries; volunteer groups get Queen recognition

Jodie Looker

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

This morning's headlines include:

- The BBC has learnt that thousands of calls to the police 101 number in Staffordshire have gone unanswered in the last four years

 - A victim of last year's crash on the Smiler rollercoaster at Alton Towers says it will have an impact on the rest of her life

- Several volunteer groups across Staffordshire and Cheshire have today been awarded the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service

Your pictures: A canal-bathing cow and a startled hare

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

This rural scene's come from Kath Dawson who took it when she was on the Trent and Mersey Canal in Barlaston, Staffordshire.

The Trent and Mersey Canal in Barlaston, Staffordshire
Kath Dawson

While this startled looking hare was photographed by Villager Jim on a road in the Peak District.

Have you taken a recent picture of part of Staffordshire or Cheshire which you'd like to share? You can do that on email, tweet @BBCRadioStoke or put them on Instagram.

Villager Jim

Watch: Thousands expected on day two of Staffordshire County Show

Tim Wedgwood

BBC Local LIve

I'm at the showground in Stafford today for day two of the Staffordshire County Show.

They're expecting thousands more visitors to the event today with attractions including motorbike performers, antiques experts and the food hall.