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Virus spread fear of Sheffield carer who went untested

A carer from South Yorkshire who was unable to be tested for coronavirus until July said she feared she may have spread the disease into care homes despite showing no symptoms.

Alison Taylor

Alison Taylor, from Sheffield, recently tested positive for antibodies indicating she once had coronavirus.

She now fears she may have worked while contagious and even visited her mother, who later died with suspected Covid-19.

Miss Taylor, 51, said: "I find it really hard to think I might have passed it to care homes, to residents, to my family - I could be responsible for other people's deaths without knowing."

Last week, the Department of Health and Social Care said a "combination of issues" had limited the number of testing kits available for care homes and as a result it had been unable "do as much asymptomatic testing as we want".

A spokesperson has now added: "Protecting care home residents and staff has been one of our top priorities throughout this unprecedented pandemic."

Spectacular lightning show hits South Yorkshire's skies

An impressive lightning show might have woken you up overnight if you live in some parts of thunderstorm-hit Yorkshire.

Lightning in Sheffield
Tina Martin

Some people living in South Yorkshire were woken up in the early hours to an hour-long display of lightning.

A few intrepid types grabbed their cameras and took these shots, including Tina (above) who said it was her first attempt at photographing lightning.

Millhouses, Sheffield
Ricky Yau

In Millhouses, Sheffield, Ricky's photo (above) shows the moment a bolt of lightning hits the ground.

And Keeley Jarvis snapped the below picture from her window of another bolt spreading across the sky.

The lightning
Keeley Jarvis

Yorkshire's Wednesday weather forecast

BBC Weather

Any low cloud and mist will burn back to the coast this morning leaving a dry, hot and humid day, with hazy sunshine and the risk of thunderstorms later.

This evening any thunderstorms will fade leaving a dry and cloudy night:

Weather graphic

Arctic Monkeys join fundraising bid for grassroots venues

Sheffield's Arctic Monkeys are supporting grassroots music venues, including a venue in their home city, which have been struggling due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Alex Turner

After forming in Sheffield, the Arctic Monkeys regularly played at the city's famous Leadmill during the early stages of their career.

The venue has rescheduled or cancelled more than 120 events since closing its doors in March due to the lockdown.

It's one of many independent venues which have had to cancel events and face an uncertain future because of the pandemic.

The band's frontman, Alex Turner, is to raffle his black Fender Stratocaster guitar, which he used for many of the band's early performances, including shows at The Leadmill, to help raise cash.

All money raised will go to the Music Venue Trust to support The Leadmill and other independent UK grassroots music venues.

Sheffield scientists' bird behaviour breakthrough

PA Media

Scientists in South Yorkshire have used mathematical modelling developed by computer pioneer, maths genius and codebreaker Alan Turing to learn more about the behaviour of birds.

Map showing birds' travels
Natasha Ellison/PA Wire

Researchers used the method to study why flocks of long-tailed tits segregate themselves into different parts of the landscape.

The team tracked the birds around Sheffield's Rivelin Valley which eventually produced a pattern across the landscape, and using maths helped the researchers to reveal the behaviours causing these patterns.

Natasha Ellison, the PhD student at the University of Sheffield who led the study, said: "Mathematical models help us understand nature in an extraordinary amount of ways and our study is a fantastic example of this.

"Long-tailed tits are too small to be fitted with GPS trackers like larger animals, so researchers follow these tiny birds on foot, listening for bird calls and identifying birds with binoculars.

"The field work is extremely time consuming and without the help of these mathematical models these behaviours wouldn't have been discovered."

Long-tailed tis
Billy Clapham/PA Wire

Flocks of long-tailed tits are less likely to avoid places where they have interacted with relatives and more likely to avoid larger flocks, whilst preferring the centre of woodland, according to the findings published in the Journal of Animal Ecology.

It was previously unknown why the birds live in separate parts of the same area, despite there being plenty of food to sustain multiple flocks and the birds not showing territorial behaviour.

The equations used to understand the birds are similar to those developed by Alan Turing to describe how animals get their spotted and striped patterns.

Before the current study, these mathematical ideas had been used to understand the patterns made by territorial animals such as coyotes, meerkats and even human gangs.

Sheffield 'one of safest cities in UK', says top officer

A top Sheffield police officer says the city is still one of the safest in the country, days after a man was stabbed to death.

Una Jennings
South Yorkshire Police

Ch Supt Una Jennings took over the role of district commander of Sheffield seven days ago.

From her previous role as district commander in Rotherham, she said she was aware of what policing in South Yorkshire was like.

Marcus Ramsay, 35, was killed in what police said was a "large-scale disturbance" in Horninglow Road, in the Firth Park area of Sheffield, on Saturday.

She said: "It's such a tragedy for that family. I can't imagine how they're feeling today and we'll do our best to bring the offenders that caused that to justice.

"We have well over 500,000 people living here in the city like me, and with people comes crime.

"Whilst I do still believe we are absolutely still one of the safest big cities in the UK to live, socialise, work and - of course let's not forget our two universities - study in, I am absolutely in tune to the fact there is a scaling complexity to Sheffield that is very different to Rotherham."

She added that organised crime groups are being targeted by a newly-established armed crime team that has seen 12 guns seized in the last week.

Fundraising 60th birthday for woman with spina bifida

A woman whose parents were told she may not survive more than 60 seconds has celebrated her 60th birthday by raising money for the hospital which saved her.

Carmel Proctor
Carmel Proctor

Carmel Proctor (pictured), from Cusworth, Doncaster, was born on 8 August 1960 with myelomeningocele, the most severe type of spina bifida, where the spine and spinal cord don't develop properly leaving a gap in the spine.

Her parents were told she was unlikely to survive, but following operations at Sheffield Children's Hospital, she went on to have a full life and now has a two-year-old grandson.

She said she had a "fabulous day" with family and friends on her 60th birthday on Saturday, and because her fundraising day on Sunday was cancelled she had decided to walk 60 miles throughout July and August instead.

She's so far raised over £2,200 for Sheffield Children's Hospital and says she intends to keep fundraising for the children's hospital for some weeks to come.

Sheffield stabbing: Victim was killed 'at house party'

An attack in which a man was stabbed to death and three others were injured happened at a house party, police said.

Marcus Ramsay
Family photo

Marcus Ramsay, 35, was attacked in what police said was a "large-scale disturbance" in Horninglow Road, in the Firth Park area of Sheffield, at 00:20 on Saturday

He was taken to hospital but died soon afterwards.

Three other injured men, all aged 24, were treated at hospital and have been discharged.

Temporary Det Ch Insp Mark Oughton said he wanted to speak to people who had been at the party, adding the "answers to this investigation lie within the local community".

"I am aware that there were large numbers of people congregated on Horninglow Road due to a house party and I believe that many of them will have seen the altercation that led to Mr Ramsay being fatally injured," he said.

Sheffield railway station traffic 'worst in 30 years'

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Traffic at Sheffield railway station has been described as "the worst it's been in 30 years".

Exhaust fumes

Environmental group Friends of the Earth named the taxi rank at the station the second most polluted place in England.

Diesel trains and cabs were blamed after the rank came second in a top 10 of sites with the highest annual average nitrogen dioxide levels.

Ibrar Hussain, GMB branch secretary for the taxi trade and a driver himself, said: "The layout at the station is a major contributor to the emissions, it’s a very poor design and is chaotic.

“I've worked at the station for more than 30 years and the traffic situation has never been so bad."

Sheffield railway station

Councillor Bob Johnson, said one of the most significant ways of improving the air quality at the station was the electrification of the Midland Main Line and the replacement of the diesel trains.

He added: “We are also planning for the introduction of a Clean Air Zone, which would charge the most polluting diesel vehicles, while offering grants and support for drivers."

Yorkshire's Friday weather forecast

BBC Weather

A largely cloudy morning with the chance of an occasional shower.

The cloud will disperse throughout the day allowing very warm sunny spells.

Tonight it will remain dry and clear with light winds:

Weather graphic

Coronavirus: City dwellers seek out country life

There has been a surge of interest in moving to the country due to city dwellers' priorities changing during the coronavirus lockdown, estate agents have said.

country cottage

People are looking for more outdoor space, and may have more flexibility to work from home, Rightmove said.

Across the UK, enquiries about buying a home in a village jumped by 126% in June and July compared to the same period last year, it said.

Knight Frank reported similar trends.

In some cities, such as Liverpool and Edinburgh, searches more than doubled while in Sheffield interest has increased by 81%, Rightmove said.

Yorkshire's Thursday weather forecast

BBC Weather

A misty and muggy start today, becoming largely dry and warm, with areas of cloud around.

The cloud will disperse in the afternoon to allow for some sunny spells.

Tonight will be mostly dry and mild with large areas of cloud and light southerly winds:

Weather graphic

Cinema chain announces reopening date

A cinema chain with sites in Bradford and Sheffield is to reopen its doors later this month - almost five months since it was forced to close because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Sheffield Light Cinema
Light Cinemas

Contactless card payments, food delivery to seats and amended seating plans are being brought in to keep customers and staff safe, Light Cinemas said.

Staff will receive extra training about the new coronavirus rules ahead of their opening on Friday, 21 August, the company added.

Many films have seen their release pushed back because of the pandemic, including the new Avatar and Star Wars films.

Christopher Nolan's Tenet is due to be one of the first screenings at the end of August having already been delayed by more than a month.

Coronavirus letters sent to Sheffield households

Letters asking people to be keep themselves safe have been sent to every household in Sheffield in a bid to slow coronavirus infection rates.

The letters

Washing your hands, staying two metres away from others and using face coverings are some of the measures outlined in the letter to keep you and others safe.

Greg Fell, Sheffield's director of public health, said in the letter that despite some lockdown restrictions being lifted, "real risks still remain".

Behaving in a way that "protects ourselves and others" will help reduce the spread of the virus, he said.

The letter outlined what to do if you get symptoms, including staying home to self isolate and getting tested.

It also said coronavirus "loves the 3Cs", which are crowded gatherings, confined spaces and close contact.

The letters should arrive with households this week.

Coronavirus: Duchess of Cambridge wears face mask on charity visit
The Duchess of Cambridge was seen wearing a face mask for the first time during a visit to a charity in Sheffield.

Kate wears mask for first time on Sheffield charity visit

During a visit to South Yorkshire, the Duchess of Cambridge has revealed that stories of families struggling during lockdown have moved her to tears.

The Duchess of Cambridge

Catherine was seen wearing a mask for the first time as she visited a Sheffield baby bank, which offers essential supplies to mothers in need.

She said she wept at the "bravery" shown by parents after an earlier visit to a similar project.

Catherine was visiting Baby Basics UK on Tuesday to lead a drive for donations, which has seen major retailers such as John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury's and Tesco give more than 10,000 items to baby banks across the country.

On her visit in Sheffield, she helped to unpack donated clothes and toys before talking to parents about the support they had received.

She also discussed the future impact of the pandemic, particularly on children.

The duke and duchess's charity recently donated £1.8m to mental health charities, and the duke revealed he has been anonymously volunteering for a crisis helpline.

Man burns down flat as 'romantic' proposal goes wrong

A man's "romantic" marriage proposal didn't quite go to plan when he accidentally set fire to his Sheffield flat.

The damaged flat
South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue

After lighting "hundreds" of tealights and filling the room with balloons he went to collect his girlfriend for the "big moment".

But when the couple returned to the flat they found it engulfed in flames.

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue (SYFR) said three fire crews were sent to the scene on Abbeydale Road at about 20:30 on Monday to put out the blaze.

A spokesperson said nobody was injured, before adding that "as a bonus, she said YES!"

Posting on Twitter SYFR said: "As romantic as they are, and as much as we all love 'em, candles can be SO dangerous."

The service urged people never to leave candles unattended.

The tealights
South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue

Origami angels raise more than £130,000

Thousands of paper angels have taken flight above the nave of Ripon Cathedral where they will flutter above worshippers throughout August and September.

Origami angels
Ripon Cathedral

About 10,000 of the origami creations were handmade by more than 100 volunteers during the coronavirus lockdown and feature prayers offered to loved ones and key workers.

The project has so far raised over £130,000, which will be split between the cathedral and the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

Angels above the nave
Ripon Cathedral

The cathedral's Canon Michael Gisbourne told BBC Radio York's Georgey Spanswick the angels cover the whole length and width of the nave - you can hear the interview by clicking this link.

Government to invest £115m in Covid-19 recovery projects

The Government has announced more than 50 projects across Yorkshire will share £115m to build homes, infrastructure and create jobs as part of the region's economic recovery from coronavirus.

PA Media

The successful projects will receive a portion of the £900 million Getting Building Fund which was announced by the Prime Minister in June.

Among the projects to benefit are upgrades to cycling infrastructure in East Yorkshire, improvements to Barnsley town centre, the redevelopment of the George Hotel in Huddersfield and improving older terraced homes in the Holbeck area of Leeds.

Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis, which secured more than £33m, said: "This investment will strengthen our digital infrastructure, improve learning spaces within our schools and colleges, support businesses and create new walking and cycling infrastructure.

"It will help our effort to make South Yorkshire stronger, greener and fairer as we build back from COVID."

Leader of Leeds City Council Judith Blake, which was awarded £18m, said: “We are delighted to receive this funding as it will allow us to press ahead with three shovel-ready schemes in Leeds.

"These are all projects that will help reduce our city’s carbon impact and help the economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic."

Sheffield boy Tobias Weller in double marathon fundraiser

A nine-year-old boy with cerebral palsy and autism has raised more than £146,000 by walking two marathons.

Danny Lawson/PA Media
PA Media

Tobias Weller, known as Captain Tobias by his supporters, used a walker to cover the 52 miles (84km) on the street where he lives in Sheffield.

The money will be shared between Sheffield Children's Hospital and the Paces special school that Tobias attends.

He finished his challenge accompanied by Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill.

Tobias was joined by hundreds of cheering supporters as he completed the last stage.

"It feels amazing to have completed both marathons," Tobias said at the end.

"I feel fantastic. Thank you for clapping and cheering me every step of the way. You are all awesome".

Tobias said he was now taking a rest, but added: "I love doing challenges so who knows what will be around the next corner?"

Captain Tobias crossing the line
Danny Lawson/PA Media

Dead dog dumped in Sheffield public park

The body of a dog has been found inside a bag dumped in a South Yorkshire public park.

Sack with dead dog by bin

The RSPCA was called by police officers to Tinsley Meadows Park in Sheffield following the discovery on Saturday.

The charity said the body of a female German shepherd was stuffed inside a Royal Mail parcel sack.

RSPCA inspector Vanessa Reid said she suspected the dog had only recently died.

Ms Reid said the dog was not microchipped and had no identification tag on its collar.

"It's incredibly sad to find this beautiful, seemingly healthy dog dumped in such a way," she said.

"She's in a really good condition so it's unclear how she perished and whether it was in suspicious circumstances but I'd certainly like to speak to her owners."

Yorkshire's Monday weather forecast

BBC Weather

A dry day with sunny spells, with cloud developing in the afternoon and a few thundery showers later.

Tonight there will be some patchy cloud with the occasional shower, but it will become dry with clear spells as the night progresses:

Weather graphic