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  1. Gas crisis: Families feel strain over rising bills

    BBC News

    Families in Stoke-on-Trent say they are worried about rising food and energy bills putting a strain on household finances this winter.

    Carol Lowe

    The bills are rising due to a spike in global gas prices - and many families face a £20-a-week benefit cut.

    One resident, Carol Lowe, is set to lose her Universal Credit payments which she has relied on since her husband Alan died in April.

    "Why should you, in this day and age, when you have worked hard all your life, have to sit in your living room with cardigans, coats and blankets around your shoulders because you can't afford to keep warm? It's not on, it's not right," she said.

    A gas ring

    Other families in the city say they have had to cut costs elsewhere to cover rising food bills or consider the cost of a shower.

    Stoke-on-Trent Central MP Jo Gideon told the BBC she expected the winter not to be easy for many in her area.

    "I'm upbeat about the future for the city, but in the meantime, you know, we will undoubtedly have a few tough months ahead. I'm confident for the most vulnerable that there will be help available."

  2. Weather: Dry and turning sunnier

    BBC Weather

    It's mainly dry this morning with varying amounts of cloud around which should clear later on, leaving the rest of the day dry and fine, with lots of warm sunshine. High: 21C/70F.

    This morning in Kinver, Staffordshire
    Image caption: This morning in Kinver, Staffordshire

    Conditions will be dry and sunny this evening with clear skies to start tonight before turning cloudier towards dawn with some mist and fog patches around. Low: 10C/50F.

    You can get the latest forecast for your area by going to the BBC Weather website.

  3. Man dies after medical episode leads to crash

    A man has died after suffering a suspected medical episode at the wheel which led to a crash.

    Staffordshire Police said officers had been called to Dividy Road, Bentilee, in Stoke-on-Trent, at 09:45, following a single-vehicle accident.

    A 53-year-old man from Bentilee was taken to Royal Stoke University Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

    The force has appealed for anyone who saw the vehicle before the crash or who has dashcam footage to come forward.

  4. Video content

    Video caption: Virtual reality helps Staffordshire cancer patients

    From Phuket to the Peak District - patients say their mental health has improved going on the immersive journeys.

  5. Preferred candidate for new police chief announced

    The preferred candidate to be the new chief constable of Staffordshire Police has been announced.

    Staffordshire Commissioner Ben Adams named Chris Noble as his preferred candidate and his appointment will now need to be ratified by the Police, Fire and Crime Panel at a meeting on 12 October.

    Chris Noble

    Mr Noble, currently Assistant Chief Constable at Humberside Police, has been a police officer for more than 21 years and has served in the Royal Ulster Constabulary and the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

    He said: "I look forward to serving the people, officers and staff of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent as their chief constable, and working with partners to keep our communities safe."

  6. Concern over ambulance station closures

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    The leader of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council (SMDC) has said lives will be put at risk due to a decision to close the district's two ambulance stations on 3 October.

    Ambulance - generic image

    When the bases in Leek and Biddulph close, the nearest ambulance base will be a central hub in Stoke.

    SMDC leader Sybil Ralphs said the average driving time, using blue lights, from the Stoke hub to Leek town centre was 20-25 minutes and some rural areas required an additional 25-45 minutes due to their remote location.

    She said: "While I appreciate there is increasing and unprecedented demand on the NHS and ambulance services across the board, I am concerned that the people of Leek and Staffordshire Moorlands will be failed by not receiving the service they deserve."

    An ambulance service spokesperson said there were "spare ambulances at the hubs, but not at CAS (community ambulance stations) sites".

    The spokesperson stated: "So if the crew are delayed at hospital, which happens, it means the crew that are coming on to relieve them don't have an ambulance to use, so we lose that crew for however long the delay is."

    They added by "closing the CAS sites we are actually increasing the amount of ambulance time available to respond in the area".

  7. Covid vaccinations 'family decision', says school head

    A Staffordshire head teacher says her school won't be pressuring students to have Covid vaccinations now the roll out for 12 to 15-year-olds is under way in England and Scotland.

    Nicola Mason, of Chase Terrace Academy, in Burntwood, told BBC Breakfast her school was in a similar position to others in the area, having a provisional plan in place after meeting with the local authority.

    Nicola Mason, head of Chase Terrace Academy

    "Our job now is to make sure that families have the right information," Ms Mason said, adding the school's stance was to be neutral.

    "Our job is to educate and make sure children make an informed decision with their families but it's the families' decision."

  8. Tributes to Stoke-on-Trent speedway promoter

    BBC Radio Stoke

    A long-serving speedway promoter in Staffordshire has died.

    Tributes have been paid to Dave Tattum who was involved with the Stoke Potters at their Loomer Road stadium until it closed in 2019.

    Dave Tattum

    He had been involved in setting up a new speedway team, Newcastle Diamonds, before his death at the weekend, British Speedway Promoters Ltd confirmed.

    Friend and former rider and promoter Graham Drury said the country's speedway sport had lost "an extremely passionate, hard-working man".

    Co-promoter at Newcastle, Rob Grant, said he was "beyond devastated" at the news, adding Mr Tattum had been "like another father figure to me".

  9. Charity's tribute to 'wonderful ambassador' John Challis

    Only Fools and Horses actor John Challis, who has died aged 79, was a wonderful ambassador for the Midlands Air Ambulance, the charity said.

    John Challis with air ambulance staff

    Challis was best known for playing Boycie in the BBC sitcom and his family said he died "peacefully in his sleep, after a long battle with cancer".

    On Facebook, the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity said it was "deeply saddened" by the news.

    It added Challis attended events and helped raise awareness of its work.

  10. Yellow weather warnings for weekend rain

    The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for parts of the West Midlands this weekend.

    Heavy rain on Sunday is likely to cause disruption in parts of Birmingham and the Black Country as well as Warwickshire, Staffordshire and Worcestershire.

    Yellow weather warning affecting parts of the West Midlands

    The Met Office said there was a small chance of flooding, power cuts and disruption to transport services.

    For more information and to stay up to date, visit the Met Office webpage.

  11. Motorcyclist airlifted to hospital after collision

    A motorcyclist has been airlifted to hospital after a collision with a car.

    West Midlands Ambulance Service said it was called to the island of the A460 and A519 in Cannock, Staffordshire, at about 09:45.

    On arrival, it said, crews found the female patient with serious injuries.

    She received specialist trauma care at the scene before being taken to Royal Stoke University Hospital by the Midlands Air Ambulance.

  12. Drink-driver injured mother and kids in crash

    A man has been disqualified from driving after hitting a car which was carrying a mother and her two children.

    Staffordshire Police said Lee Sorsby, 44, was stopped by officers after colliding with a stationary car on Stafford Road, Cannock, on 23 August.

    He had been driving a Volkswagen Transporter when he struck the back of a Vauxhall Grandland, which inside had the woman and children who suffered superficial injuries in the crash.

    The force said, upon arrival, officers found three empty bottles of vodka on Sorsby’s passenger seat and during a roadside breath test he blew a reading three times the legal limit.

    Stafford Road, Cannock
    Image caption: The crash happened on Stafford Road, Cannock

    Sorsby pleaded guilty to drink-driving at Cannock Magistrates Court on 15 September.

    As well as a 40-month disqualification, Sorsby, of Glovers Way, Telford was given a community order and told to pay a £1,600 fine.

    Staffordshire Police said he had only just completed a recent disqualification for drink-driving prior to the incident.