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Adventures from your armchair start tonight

Kenton Cool
Kenton Cool

Adventurer and mountaineer, Kenton Cool, will discuss his many expeditions in a series of live-streamed conversations, beginning this evening (2 April).

He will be in discussion with the artistic director of Cirencester's Barn Theatre, Iwan Lewis, and it can be viewed on the Gloucestershire venue's Facebook, Youtube and Twitter channels.

The first 30-minute episode of Cool Conversations with Kenton Cool will launch this evening at 18:00 BST.

Kenton who lives in Gloucestershire, holds the British record for the most climbs to the summit of Mount Everest and, in 2013, became the first person to climb Nuptse, Everest and Lhotse in a single push without returning to base camp.

A40 upgrade to go ahead as normal

Local Democracy Reporting Service

A40 plans
Gloucestershire County Council

The £22m upgrade of the A40 from the M5 motorway to Cheltenham will still go ahead this year despite the coronavirus lockdown.

An electronic sign on the A40 and Golden Valley bypass says the work will start in May, but Gloucestershire County Council confirmed it expects the scheme to start by early summer.

The project is designed to ease congestion and will include adding extra lanes to the Arle Court Roundabout and past GCHQ, and increasing capacity at J11 of the M5.

The planned work comes ahead of the development of a £650m cyber business park and thousands of homes on the western edge of Cheltenham.

A plan to add extra lanes to Llanthony Road, Gloucester, to increase capacity will also still go ahead.

And the "missing mile" of the Stroudwater Canal will still be restored, with the county council saying site work is ‘progressing well’.

Two year wait for roadworks is extended by coronavirus

Work to repair a road in Symonds Yat, which has been closed for nearly two years, has had to be put on hold again because of coronavirus.

C1257 shut in June 2018 after a landslide and hasn't been repaired because of a legal dispute over who was responsible for it.

Road closed sign

A solution had been reached to allow the works to begin in March, but they have now been postponed until after the outbreak.

Two patients die in Gloucestershire from coronavirus

Two patients being cared for at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital have died after contracting coronavirus.

The hospital confirmed they both died on Sunday after testing positive for Covid-19.

Their deaths bring the total number who have died in Gloucestershire to eight, with 107 confirmed cases in the county.

Gloucestershire Royal Hospital

Gloucestershire company making vital ventilators

Getty Images

A Gloucestershire engineering company is helping to design and manufacture thousands of vital medical ventilators for hospitals.

Renishaw, in Wotton-under-Edge, is part of a group of businesses from across the aerospace, automotive and medical sectors to come together to work on the project.

Companies in the consortium have now received formal orders from the government for more than 10,000 ventilators and production will start this week.

Renishaw, which also has sites in Stone, Staffordshire and Miskin, Wales, is part of the The VentilatorChallengeUK Consortium, which also includes Airbus, Rolls Royce and several UK-based Formula One teams.

“I am proud that Renishaw is part of a consortium that will be supplying ventilators to the UK’s National Health Service as part of a global effort to increase the supply of this vital equipment," said its chief executive Will Lee.

Lovely card delivered to South Western Ambulance staff

Well done Millie, Kyla and Pippa for sending this card - it's a real hoot!

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Severe disruption: M5 Gloucestershire northbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Gloucestershire northbound severe disruption, from J14 for B4509 Thornbury to J13 for A419.

M5 Gloucestershire - One lane closed on M5 northbound from J14, B4509 (Thornbury) to J13, A419 (Stroud), because of emergency repairs. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Prospect of staging outdoor summer concerts 'being assessed'

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Forestry England says it is assessing what the government's latest advice and guidance means for its programme of live summer concerts.

Westonbirt Arboretum, near Tetbury in Gloucestershire, is scheduled to play host to four concerts between June 11-14.

Organisers say they will publish information online and contact ticket holders directly with any updates.

Rag N' Bone Man, Will Young and James Morrison, Madness and Keane are all set to perform.

Forest Live stages music in several UK locations and income from ticket sales is put towards looking after woodlands sustainably.

Severe accident: A40 Gloucestershire both ways

BBC News Travel

A40 Gloucestershire both ways severe accident, at Bulley Lane.

A40 Gloucestershire - A40 in Churcham closed and it's heavy in both directions at the Bulley Lane junction, because of an accident.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

‘Community hubs’ established to support Gloucestershire patients

Gloucestershire NHS has set up a number of ‘community hubs’ in health centres and surgeries across the county to try to take the pressure off hospitals.

They are intended to "support patients who need face to face medical support and may have possible symptoms of coronavirus."

Members of the public will not be able to visit the hubs without going through NHS 111 and initial telephone and video assessment by their GP.

Urgent Care Lead at NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, Dr Jeremy Welch said: “The NHS is doing everything it can to plan responsibly and take the right steps at the right time to ensure our patients continue to receive essential services in the right way based on their needs.”

"The local NHS will not advertise details of the individual hub locations to ensure that people do not attend the locations in any numbers and that they can focus solely on the safety of all concerned."

Doctor in face mask
Getty Images

Prince Charles tests positive for coronavirus

Prince Charles
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall are isolating at Birkhall, their residence on the Balmoral estate

The Prince of Wales had been in London, before travelling to his country retreat Highgrove in Gloucestershire.

He then headed for Birkhall on Sunday and was tested on Monday, receiving the results on Tuesday.

Click here for the full story.

Changes to funeral services after Government advice

Gloucester Crematorium
Geograph/ Bilbo

Funeral services in Gloucestershire have now changed in line with Government advice.

Only five immediate family members are now allowed to attend a service. Those who do attend must socially distance.

For those mourners who can’t attend, webcasts will be available.

Cllr Richard Cook, leader of Gloucester City Council said, “We are in unprecedented times and whilst we understand this is a difficult time for mourners, we have had to take drastic measures due to the threats to people's lives.

Tim Atkins, managing director for place and economic development said: ‘’We are continuing to undertake cremations and are currently reviewing the position in relation to ceremonies, in line with government advice.

"We appreciate that this is an unsettling time for many and as Cheltenham is one of the largest crematoriums in the county, it is essential that we continue to deliver the service people expect during a time of national emergency. We will continue to do all we can to support our communities.’’

Severe disruption: M5 Gloucestershire northbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Gloucestershire northbound severe disruption, from J14 for B4509 Thornbury to J13 for A419.

M5 Gloucestershire - One lane closed on M5 northbound from J14, B4509 (Thornbury) to J13, A419 (Stroud), because of a break down. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

No more visiting hours at hospitals in Gloucestershire

The NHS in Gloucestershire has announced that it is stopping visiting to its hospitals effective from today.

The policy will apply to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital (GRH), Cheltenham General Hospital (CGH) and seven community hospitals in the county.

It will also apply to the county’s mental health and learning disability inpatient units.

Professor Steve Hams, director of quality and chief nurse at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “From Monday 23 March we will not allow any visitors unless they have been pre-arranged with the nurse in charge.

“We understand that these restrictions will be difficult for some patients and their loved ones but at the same time, I think there will be real understanding of why we are taking this precautionary and responsible step.”

Relatives of inpatients are advised to contact the relevant ward for guidance.

Gloucestershire final year degree student reflects the mood

Amy says she never expected her three years in Cheltenham to end so abruptly

"What initially started off as a joke, meme and something the vast majority of us refused to take seriously is now taking over the world one country at a time. I fear for the people in my life," writes Amy Bailey in her online blog.

Journalism student Amy, like thousands of university students across the west, has been told her final year at the University of Gloucestershire is now at an abrupt end.

"Throughout the past three years I have been pushing myself, struggling, and at times debating whether to drop out... I thought I'd be graduating in this summer. Walking across the stage with my cap and gown... Something that now seems impossible."

And she describes how her campus has emptied of young people in a matter of days:

"...Within hours it became a ghost town. Not one last goodbye, no big night out, no celebrations, no nothing. In fact, the saddest part of the email was the line, 'we will try to organise some kind of online gathering at some point'. Online."

"Despite the mental breakdowns, tears and headaches, university has been the best three years of my life and what...this is how it ends?"

Three coronavirus deaths confirmed at west hospitals

NHS England, in its weekly coronavirus figures, has confirmed three deaths at hospitals in the west.

The RUH in Bath, Gloucestershire Royal hospital and Great Western Hospital in Swindon have all said they have had a male patient die of the virus this week.

A Great Western Hospitals NHS Trust spokesperson said:

“Sadly, we can confirm that a man who was being cared for at Great Western Hospital, and had tested positive for COVID-19, has died.

“The patient, who died on 19 March, was in his 80s, had underlying health conditions.

“His family has been informed and our thoughts and condolences are with them at this difficult and distressing time.”

The Gloucestershire Royal also confirmed that a man in his 80's, with underlying health conditions, had died yesterday.

Bath's RUH did not specify the age of a man who died at the hospital on Wednesday.

BreakingVictim of coronavirus confirmed in Gloucestershire

Are you homeworking?

Have you had to take extraordinary measures to work from home in the west?

BBC Points West would like to hear from people across the region who might reflect what many are experiencing at this time.

Have you got any top tips?

What are the positives and the negatives?

Do you feel isolated or have you found novel ways to connect with others?

Is this going to be the making of local communities?

Get in touch with @BBCBristol on Twitter or @BBCWest on Facebook and tell us about your experience so far.

Laptop computer
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Gloucestershire libraries to close from Monday


Gloucestershire County Council have said they will close all council-run libraries and community access points from Monday (23 March) until further notice.

Library users can continue with normal borrowing until the closure on Monday.

To ease the pain a little the service has said there will be:

• No fines for overdue materials and overdue notifications will be suspended

• Expiry dates for library cards will be extended so that users can continue to access online materials.

Online content is available from :

GCC say they are also looking into how they can best support vulnerable users and those self isolating.

Universities have moved to teaching online

All of the region's universities have now moved to teaching online, but most are still giving stranded students access to their campus facilities.

Bath Spa University announced it would move to "online provision" from Monday 23rd March until the end of this academic year.

It said it was moving to "become a virtual university".

More information can be found on their website.

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What's it like to start three months of self-isolation?

Carly Appleby

News Editor, BBC Radio Gloucestershire

Today is day one of three months of self-isolating for me. Following advice from the BBC and my healthcare professionals, I've been told to stay in and work from home. This is tricky when you lead a local radio newsroom!

I'm a part-time News Editor for BBC Radio Gloucestershire. My husband works for a large charity and is also working from home. He has commandeered our study and set himself up with everything he needs to edit video from home. I feel slightly irritated that he has bagged the best spot in our house.

So I'm left with the kitchen to do my job. At the moment I only have a phone and a laptop to access work emails. Moving forward I should be able to access our planning diary and news writing database.

We also have a six-year-old who needs access to the internet to do homeworking.

Staying at home is not a new concept for me. During six months of chemotherapy I stayed at home to try and keep in the best of health and to avoid germs. I managed to stay well enough to have all of my treatments on time.

I find having a structure to the day helps to keep you focused.

I am currently spending the time checking in on neighbours via email and telephone and keeping across the local Covid 19 group that has been set up for my area, in Cirencester.

Listening to Radio Gloucestershire reminds me how important local news is at this time.

This Country star has coronavirus

Charlie Cooper's Instastory
Charlie Cooper

This Country star Charlie Cooper has posted about having coronavirus on social media.

He posted the picture below on Instagram, saying: "Overall it's no worse than any virus I've had before so don't be anxious about it."

He also thanked a neighbour for leaving a shepherd's pie on his doorstep.

He says he has experienced a fever, headache and shortness of breath but is over the worst.

Charlie Cooper's Instastory
Charlie Cooper

Watch: Air ambulance charity looks to funding alternatives

BBC Midlands Today

The Midlands Air Ambulance charity has said it is preparing to close its shops and is looking at alternative ways to raise money.

It's also had to call off its Bike For Life event next month and its Walk For Life in May and said a number of charity staff were having to stay at home in isolation.

The air ambulance needs £9m a year to keep its fleet of three helicopters and two cars running and Hannah Sebright, the charity's chief executive, said they were encouraging people to donate online.

The Midlands Air Ambulance is looking for other forms of funding

Coronavirus: How many cases are there in your area?

A total of 1,543 cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in the UK - but the actual number of cases is estimated to be between 35,000 and 50,000.

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Plea to support local pubs

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The landlord of The Bell at Sapperton, Gloucestershire, is urging people to support their pub and others by ordering take-away food and beer.

He said: "Please, if people just order one meal a week from us, it might keep our staff in jobs.

"We can also deliver beer or drinks. We have plenty here."

He also urged local people to ring in if they knew of anyone old or isolated who needed help with food deliveries.

Are you self-isolating or do you know someone who is?

As the days go by, more and more of us are likely to be social distancing or self-isolating.

Some of you might be doing this already?

How are you bearing up? Tweet us @bbcbristol to let us know your top tips for getting through it.

Charlotte Lewis is news editor for Radio Gloucestershire and is grateful for all the offers of help she is getting.

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School closed for cleaning after confirmed coronavirus case

Upton St Leonards Primary School

A primary school near Gloucester is closed today to undergo a deep clean, after a case of the coronavirus involving a family connected to the school was confirmed by the NHS.

Headteacher of Upton St Leonards Primary School Sarah Daly said children and staff's welfare was of "paramount importance" and parents would be contacted after the clean to inform them when the school would reopen.

Meanwhile, Tewkesbury School has said due to staff shortages there will be no year 12 lessons for the foreseeable future.

Severn Vale School in Quedgeley, Gloucestershire, is also partially closed due to "significant staffing shortages" with pupils in years eight and nine told not to attend.

Police and Crime Commissioner elections postponed

Avon and Somerset PCC Sue Mountstevens said: "We are living in unusual and unsettling times with the outbreak of the Covid 19 pandemic."

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“I completely support the Government’s decision to postpone PCC elections until next year – public safety is paramount and nothing should compromise this. “It has been a great honour to serve our communities in Wiltshire and Swindon for the last eight years and I will continue to do so until a new PCC is elected in 2021. “During these uncertain times, my role of representing the public and bringing partner agencies together to deliver services for our communities is more crucial than ever.

Angus MacphersonWiltshire PCC
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In these times of uncertainty, and the inevitable challenges our services will face in this extraordinary situation, ensuring as much continuity and stability for local people and the Constabulary will be more important than ever. So, I would like to reassure people that I will of course stay on as the Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset until elections are held.

Sue MountstevensPCC for Avon and Somerset

Severe accident: M50 Gloucestershire westbound

BBC News Travel

M50 Gloucestershire westbound severe accident, from J2 for A417 to J3 for B4221.

M50 Gloucestershire - One lane closed on M50 westbound from J2, A417 (Ledbury) to J3, B4221 (Newent), because of an accident. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Health secretary asked to intervene over MIUs decision

Local Democracy Reporting Service

The decision to temporarily close minor injury units in Ross-on-Wye and Leominster over the last three winters has been referred to Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

Herefordshire councillors complained they had not been consulted by the Wye Valley NHS Trust, which took the decision.

Leominster MIU

The council has asked Mr Hancock to make sure there's better communication in future, but the NHS trust said the decision hadn't been taken lightly and was done to make sure there were enough nurses to work at the County Hospital's emergency department.

Severe disruption: M50 Herefordshire eastbound

BBC News Travel

M50 Herefordshire eastbound severe disruption, between J3 for B4221 and J2 for A417.

M50 Herefordshire - One lane closed on M50 eastbound between J3, B4221 (Newent) and J2, A417 (Ledbury), because of a break down. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe disruption: A48 Gloucestershire both ways

BBC News Travel

A48 Gloucestershire both ways severe disruption, from Oakle Street to Goose Lane.

A48 Gloucestershire - A48 in Minsterworth blocked in both directions from the Oakle Street junction to the Goose Lane junction, because of flooding.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time