Lenny Henry to get the freedom of his home town Dudley

Lenny Henry Henry won New Faces talent contest in 1975

Comedian and actor Lenny Henry is to be awarded the freedom of his home town of Dudley.

He was nominated in September in recognition of his "outstanding contribution to charity" and services to entertainment, the council said.

Dudley councillors agreed to honour him at a meeting on Monday.

Mr Henry described the news as "bostin", adding that he held "a special place for Dudley in my heart".

He said: "These Black Country thoughts have helped me to endure through good times and bad.

"Memories of Buffery Park and Douglas Road, Constitution Hill and Hall Street and the Canal tunnel and my best friends have permeated my stand-up routines and writing.

"Dudley is a touchstone to me and I hope that comes across in my work."

He was part of ITV children's programme Tiswas, starred in The Lenny Henry Show and Chef on BBC TV and has presented appeals for Comic Relief.

It is thought Henry, who won the New Faces talent competition in 1975 at the age of 18, will be given the award later this year.

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    Good evening 18:00:

    BBC Local Live will be back from 08:00 on Friday, with the latest news, sport, travel and weather updates for Birmingham and the Black Country.

    Local tv latest 17:58: Birmingham Post

    Ofcom has extended the local TV licence deadline, the paper reports.

    Patchy drizzle overnight 17:52:

    Remaining very mild and rather cloudy overnight, with further patchy drizzle in the west of the region and some mist or fog patches.

    It should become dry during the early hours with some clear spells developing. Low of 13C (55F).

    BBC One at 18:30 17:46: Nick Owen Presenter, Midlands Today

    A big day for the region today as the Queen visits the Black Country to open the new i54 business park just outside Wolverhampton. At the centre of it all is Jaguar Land Rover's new £500m engine factory and over the coming years it's expected the site will create thousands of jobs.

    We'll be reporting live from the park in Midlands Today this evening and seeing all the best pictures from the Queen's visit.

    Also in the programme, a startling statistic. Someone suffers a stroke every three and a half minutes in the UK - which makes it all the more important that a brand new stroke unit's been opened in Birmingham today to help people get treatment in those vital first hours after an attack.

    Real family? 17:40:

    Artist Gillian Wearing has been explaining why she chose single parents and sisters Roma and Emma Jones, and their sons Kyan and Shaye, for her Real Birmingham Family statue.

    A Real Birmingham Family

    "I really liked how Roma and Emma Jones spoke of their closeness as sisters and how they supported each other, it seemed a very strong bond, one of friendship and family, and the sculpture puts across that connectedness between them," she said.

    "A nuclear family is one reality but it is one of many and this work celebrates the idea that what constitutes a family should not be fixed."

    Kuszczak Wolves trial 17:30:

    Wolves have taken former West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak (pictured) on trial at Molineux, as possible back-up for first-choice Carl Ikeme.

    Tomasz Kuszczak
    Apology for Ebola party 17:25: Bethan Bell Journalist, BBC News

    A Birmingham nightclub has apologised for "a huge error of judgement" in hosting an Ebola-themed party.

    Risa bar

    The building was decorated with fake biohazard tape and warning signs and was advertised as "Broad Street has been infected and is no longer safe!! All students must head to Bar Risa for Decontamination!!"

    A statement from the club said the night was run by a third party and Risa management apologises for letting it happen.

    Heavy M40 traffic 17:24:

    There's heavy traffic on the M40 northbound between J16, A3400 (Henley in Arden) and M42 J3a, because of an accident, BBC Travel News reports.

    It's Christmas! (Well nearly...) 17:19: Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    Uh-oh. Our keen eyed weather presenter Rebecca Wood has spotted a tree in Birmingham today.

    Christmas tree in Birmingham city centre

    We're pretty sure it's for Christmas, rather than a big conifer being erected in the city centre.

    The Christmas market opens on 13 November. And... It's (only!) 55 days until Christmas Day. Eek!

    Sperm donation: 'My experience' 17:08:

    Kate Beardmore talks about how she's raising her two sons, one of which was conceived through sperm donation.

    UK national sperm bank opens for business

    Watch Jo Black's report online.

    News on the hour 16:59: Chris Blakemore News editor, BBC WM

    Both councillors say they've chosen to leave the Conservative party because they thought the leadership at Westminster was out of touch with the concerns of ordinary people in Dudley.

    The defections take Labour's lead in Dudley to 42 seats, with the Conservatives now on 20.

    You can hear more on this story and interviews with the councillors on BBC WM after 17:00.

    Speedway play-off venue change 16:48: Richard Wilford BBC WM Sport

    The Cradley Heathens play-off final second leg meeting against the Coventry Storm has changed venues.

    The Storm are now unable to stage tomorrow's meeting at Brandon, so the tie is being switched to Leicester.

    The Heathens hold a 10-point advantage from the first leg.

    Councillors defect to Labour 16:30: BBC WM

    Two Conservative councillors in Dudley have defected to the Labour party.

    Glenis Simms and Cheryl Billingham

    They are Councillor Glenis Simms (pictured left) who is the Conservative spokesperson for children's services and lifelong learning, and Councillor Cheryl Billingham (pictured right).

    Ebola party apology 16:21: Bethan Bell Journalist, BBC News

    A statement from Bar Risa in Birmingham said the night was run by a third party and Bar Risa management apologises for letting it happen.

    The event provoked condemnation on the Birmingham Mail Facebook page and Twitter, but some comments were in favour of the party.

    'It really looks like them' 16:11:

    What do you think to the "Real Birmingham Family" statues in Centenary Square? Lighting designer Kate Morley said she thought sculptor Gillian Weaver was "very talented."

    Kate Morley

    "You can tell instantly the statue is based on the two sisters. "It really does look like them."

    However, Ms Morley was slightly concerned about the sculpture's proximity to the Broad Street entertainment district. "Someone's going to walk into it in the dark," she said.

    NHS strike called 16:00:

    NHS workers, including nurses and midwives, are to stage a new four-hour strike in England on 24 November as part of an ongoing pay dispute.

    News on the hour 15:58: Chris Blakemore News editor, BBC WM

    The Queen's been in the West Midlands Today. She officially opened the new Jaguar Land Rover Engine plant on the I54 business park near Wolverhampton.

    In the news at 16:00 we'll hear from professor David Bailey, a car industry expert from Aston University Business School. Listen live.

    Yardleys School to reopen 15:53:

    Yardleys School in Birmingham, closed since a fire at a nearby warehouse, will open again on 4 November, the governors and trustees say.

    The school, in Tyseley, shut through fears of asbestos contamination after the fire at a warehouse on 29 September.

    The council had said it was safe to open earlier but the head teacher wanted to wait for confirmation from experts.

    Waste of money? 15:40: Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    A Real Birmingham Family statue has really divided opinion on the BBC WM Facebook page. Some say it's a waste of money and some think it's great to see real people in art.

    Claire TheHelper Gunnell posts: Two sisters taking their children for a trip out (to the park or shopping) is only one aspect of family. Depicting a Birmingham Family - How so? I don't get it. It would make a nice picture in a frame though to show unity as they are all holding hands...

    Mac McCreery adds: I went and it was great.

    Ebola themed party apology 15:30: Birmingham Mail

    Birmingham Broad Street's Bar Risa comes under fire for hosting Ebola themed party, the paper reports

    Clark 'loves a challenge' 15:25: Dan Pallett Sports presenter, BBC Midlands Today

    Lee Clark is the new boss at Blackpool just 10 days after being sacked at Birmingham City.

    Boy that man likes a challenge

    Who paid for the statue? 15:10: Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    How has the Birmingham Family bronze statue been paid for?

    Birmingham Family statue in Centenary Square

    A spokeswoman at Ikon tells me says it's been funded through private donors, the Arts Council, the Library of Birmingham and Friends of Ikon group.

    Birmingham Library's contributed £50,000 and came from the library's Capital Funding Project, a library spokesperson said.

    I'm hoping to be given a full cost breakdown shortly.

    Union blast pay offer 15:04: Birmingham Mail

    The full extent of the divide between factory workers and Tata-owned management is revealed in an internal Trade Union brief to around 18,000 JLR employees ahead of a potential ballot for industrial action

    News on the hour 14:55:

    The top story in our 15:00 bulletin is:

    • A statue of a real Birmingham family has been unveiled in one of the city's main squares
    Rogue traders in Sandwell 14:48: via Facebook

    Sandwell Trading Standards posts: Beware if you live in Cradley folks! We've had a report of rogue traders in the area. They claimed to be from a well known local company and gave out fake cards! They offered to cut down trees, charged £1200 cash, but left all that they'd cut down at the property and all over the road and pavement.

    Where's the dad? 14:33:

    Speaking about the Real Birmingham Family statue unveiled at the Library of Birmingham earlier, Angela Passey and her husband Nigel said they were "shocked" by the absence of a dad.

    Nigel and Angela Passey

    She says: "To me, that doesn't portray a family as it should be. If that indicates a family today then it's sad."

    Nigel added: "It only shows one part of a family. "The man had to have been involved at one point."

    'Not my children' 14:24:

    "I don't think of [babies conceived from my sperm] as my children as I think the parent is the person who brings them up," said Jimmy, a student from Coventry.

    Jimmy was speaking to BBC News reporter Clare Lissaman as she took a look at why Birmingham was chosen to host a national sperm bank.

    Royal visit 14:10:

    The Queen was welcomed by staff at Jaguar Land Rover as she visits Wolverhampton.

    Queen welcomed to Wolverhampton
    News at 2pm 13:59: Chris Blakemore News editor, BBC WM

    The headlines from BBC WM include:

    • The Queen opens the new Jaguar Land Rover Engine Plant on the I54 business park near Wolverhampton
    • The Home Office insists the government won't relax its drugs policies, after a report suggesting tough penalties don't cut levels of abuse
    Love it or hate it? 13:55: Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    We've been asking for your thoughts on the 'Real Birmingham Family' statue. Have your say on the BBC WM Facebook page.

    Christine Mason writes: I like it, much better than some of the abstract art, very real and down to earth

    Steve Wilcox posts:: No fathers in "real Birmingham families", then ??

    In pictures: Queen's visit 13:44: Express and Star

    The newspaper take a look through some of the photos it captured during the Queen's visit today while in Wolverhampton.

    Listen: 'Change perceptions' 13:34:

    "We want sperm donors to be proud".

    Laura Witjens, the Chief Executive of the National Gamete Donation Trust speaks to BBC Radio Four's Today programme.

    She says: "We're going to increase the recruitment activities in Birmingham, especially around ethnic minorities. We're trying to change the perception around sperm donation."

    Family reunion 13:33: Dudley News

    A Pedmore woman, put into care as a child, has met her three sisters who she did not know existed until recently.

    'Very talented' 13:21:

    Speaking about the "Real Birmingham Family" statue unveiled earlier lighting designer Kate Morley said she thought sculptor Gillian Wearing "very talented".

    "You can tell instantly the statue is based on the two sisters," she said.

    "It really does look like them."

    Wolves v Birmingham 13:12: BBC Sport

    Wolves and Birmingham City meet on Saturday in the first of this season's big West Midlands derbies.

    If you can't be at the game or listen to BBC WM's full match commentary, you can still follow all the action wherever you are with our special live text commentary on the BBC Birmingham website.

    Read full coverage from 11:45 where we'll be bringing you all the action as it unfolds.

    News on the hour 12:59: Chris Blakemore News editor, BBC WM

    From today, two Birmingham sisters and their children will be part of Birmingham's landscape.

    In the news on BBC WM at 13:00 we'll hear from Roma, one of the sisters, who says she's honoured to be cast in bronze.

    BBC One at 13:30 12:50: Peter Plisner Business correspondent, BBC Midlands Today

    This is the Queen talking to staff at the Jaguar Land Rover Centre in Wolverhampton which she has officially opened.

    The Queen in Wolverhampton

    I'll have a full report on BBC Midlands Today at 13:30.

    Weather snapshot 12:39:

    Rather cloudy and mild, with rain clearing to the north.

    Weather snapshot for 6pm

    For the latest forecast visit BBC Weather.

    Statue reaction 12:28:

    Simona Marchetta, 34, from Italy said she thought the statue should have been made from a lighter-coloured material.

    "Birmingham is very colourful but this statue is just one colour - black."

    Artist Gillian Wearing with sisters Roma and Emma Jones

    Rebecca Sutton, 19, said she felt it was wrong to single out just one family.

    "Everyone says Birmingham is so multicultural but that doesn't really represent this," she said.

    "With a statue you should be able to look at it and know what it's about and I'm not sure what this is trying to say."

    Hospital parking 12:07: Express and Star

    Seventy extra parking spaces are planned for Cannock Hospital in preparation for taking Wolverhampton patients, the paper reports.

    Depicted in bronze 11:59:

    The Jones sisters, stand with artist Gillian Wearing who depicted 'A Real Birmingham Family' in bronze.

    A Real Birmingham Family unveiled
    Aqua blue 11:53: Jonny Palmer BBC WM Sport

    It's my understanding that the Queen is already on the business park. She came in by train at Wolverhampton.

    She is dressed in a smart aqua blue dress.

    Statue unveiled 11:49: Tom Richardson BBC News Online

    The statue has just been unveiled to gasps of approval and a round of applause.

    A Real Birmingham Family
    Queen arrives in Wolverhampton 11:45: Chris Blakemore News editor, BBC WM

    BBC WM's Jonny Palmer is live at the i54 Business Park near Wolverhampton.

    Her Majesty the Queen has arrived by train and in the next hour she officially opens JLR's new £500m engine plant. It's taken four years to build and will create 1400 jobs.

    The Queen is being shown around various parts of the park and meeting some school children too.

    'Inspirational' project 11:44: Tom Richardson BBC News Online

    The Jones sisters are standing next to the statue they inspired as Brian Gamble from the Library of Birmingham tells the gathered crowd the project has been "inspirational".

    The Jones sisters at the Library of Birmingham
    'Crowds gathering' 11:40: Tom Richardson BBC News Online

    I'm here the Library of Birmingham for the unveiling of Gillian Wearing's statue. Crowds are gathering for the unveiling.

    Crowds gathering to see the statue
    Morning meeting 11:32: Abigail Uden Producer, BBC Midlands Today

    Just had a meeting with the graphics team about tonight's programme. We're going to lead with the Queen's visit to the i54 site so we're looking to get a map to show everyone where it is and which three local authorities have been working together to help regenerate the area.

    Still on the list to do - find out some facts about strokes - ahead of our story about the specialist unit opening at Heartlands Hospital.

    And we'll be out gathering some material later about some political manoeuvring that's going on in Dudley. It'll all be clear by 18:30.

    Blackpool sign Clark 11:25:

    Former Blues manager Lee Clark has signed a one-year deal with Blackpool.

    Clark, fired by Birmingham City on 20 October, has agreed a one-year rolling contract. Read more on BBC Sport.

    Ready for the Queen 11:23: Jonny Palmer BBC WM

    I'm at Jaguar Land Rover for the arrival of the Queen. Camera crews and other media are busy getting ready for the official opening. I'm here reporting live for BBC WM.

    Jaguar Land Rover Centre near Wolverhampton
    Family chosen from hundreds 11:20: Tom Richardson BBC News Online

    I'm heading to the Library of Birmingham to see the unveiling of a statue by Turner Prize winner Gillian Wearing.

    Roma and Emma Jones and their sons Kyan and Shaye

    The sculpture, called Birmingham Family, depicts sisters Roma and Emma Jones and their sons Kyan and Shaye.

    They were chosen from hundreds of hopefuls to serve as the inspiration for the bronze creation.

    Statue ready to be unveiled 11:12: via Facebook

    Ikon Gallery posts: Not long now until we unveil Gillian Wearing's new sculpture for Birmingham - A Real Birmingham Family.

    Family of Birmingham statue ready to be unveiled

    What will it look like? We'll have a photo after it's unveiled on BBC Local Live after 11:30.

    Citizen Khan returns 11:08:

    BBC Comedy tweets: Not long to go until your favourite community leader is back on @BBCOne - new #CitizenKhan starts Friday 20:30 http://bbc.in/ZZf6tx

    News on the hour 10:58: Jay Vydelingum Journalist, BBC WM

    Coming up in the news at 11:00 on BBC WM: A row has broken out at Birmingham City Council about the amount of cash that's been spent on trade union activity.

    The authority spent £1.2m last year - this is according to a freedom of information request.

    Demand for sperm 10:50:

    The number of UK-based sperm donors has been increasing since 2004. However, demand has increased even faster.

    Newly registered sperm donors chart, 2005-2013

    Denmark and the United States have become major suppliers of sperm to British women.

    The Department of Health has given £77,000 to fund a national sperm bank which will be based at Birmingham Women's Hospital.

    Volunteering 10:45: via Facebook

    Eastside Projects posts: Get down to Eastside Projects this evening 6.30-8pm to find out about volunteering here and at Grand Union!

    What will it look like? 10:34: Satnam Rana Arts reporter, BBC Midlands Today

    I am off to meet the Jones family who are getting ready for the grand unveiling of themselves in Bronze!

    Turner Prize winning Gillian Wearing has sculpted a new piece of art work in conjunction with the Ikon gallery to depict 'The Real Birmingham Family'.

    What will it look like? Even I've not seen it yet but it will be unveiled at 11.30 outside the Library of Birmingham in Centenary Square.

    Why a sperm bank in Brum? 10:27:

    The National Sperm Bank opens in Birmingham today.

    Woman and child

    BBC News reporter Clare Lissaman took a look as to why the city was chosen to host the centre and what its founders hope to achieve.

    National sperm bank opens 10:11: James Gallagher Health editor, BBC News website

    A UK national sperm bank - charged with reversing a growing shortage of donor sperm - has started work in Birmingham.

    Computer image of a sperm approaching an egg

    Fertility clinics have become increasingly dependent on imported sperm giving rise to the so-called "Viking babies" phenomenon.

    Meanwhile, data from the fertility regulator shows a 10th of IVF cycles are dependent on donated sperm or eggs.

    And a third of procedures using donated material were for same-sex couples or single women.

    News on the hour 09:57: Jay Vydelingum Journalist, BBC WM

    The world's first independent National Sperm Bank opens at Birmingham Women's Hospital later today.

    In the news at 10:00 we'll hear from the chief executive of the National Gamete Donation Trust. Listen live.

    'Face of Birmingham' statue 09:52: Satnam Rana Arts reporter, BBC Midlands Today

    A life-sized statue of two Birmingham sisters and their children, will be unveiled today outside the Library in Centenary Square.

    • The Jones family

    Roma and Emma Jones are mixed race, single mothers and were chosen to represent a "real Birmingham family" by Turner prize winning artist Gillian Wearing who's cast them in bronze.

    'Job security' 09:45: Michelle Dawes Journalist, BBC WM

    This £500m JLR Engine Manufacturing Centre near Wolverhampton will be officially opened by the Queen later.

    Workers from JLR centre in Wolverhampton ahead of the Queen's arrival

    I've been speaking to workers ahead of her arrival - one worker told me: "One of the reason I joined was because of the job security. The brand, the product - it has a solid foundation and we're all very proud of it."

    When asked if he was looking forward to seeing the Queen he added: "It doesn't get much bigger than this. We've all got big smiles on our faces and looking forward to it."

    Uk national sperm bank opens 09:32:

    The world's first independent National Sperm Bank opens at Birmingham Women's Hospital later today.

    Birmingham National Sperm Bank

    It is hoped the new centre will help meet a national shortfall in donations.

    The centre will be paying £35 for each sperm donation.

    Preparations for the Queen 09:19: Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    You know something important is happening when BBC WM reporter Jonny Palmer is in a suit.

    Jonny Palmer, BBC WM reporter

    He's reporting live from Jaguar Land Rover later, as the Queen visits Wolverhampton to officially open a "state-of-the-art Engine Manufacturing Centre".

    Today's opening marks the culmination of four years work. Hear more on BBC WM throughout the day.

    M6 delays 09:09:

    Delays and queuing traffic on the M6 northbound between J3, A444 (Nuneaton) and J3a M6 Toll, because of an accident involving two lorries and a van earlier on.

    All lanes have been re-opened but travel time is around 45 minutes, reports BBC Travel.

    News on the hour 08:59: Jay Vydelingum Journalist, BBC WM

    As preparations are made ahead of the Queen's arrival later we hear from Craig Osmond, the production team manager at Jaguar Land Rover.

    Hear more on this story in the news on BBC WM at 09:00.

    As it happened
    • News, sport, travel, weather for Thurs 30 Oct
    • More updates from 08:00 on Friday
    • Listen: BBC WM
    'Vast majority' of local jobs 08:56:

    Wolverhampton City Council tweets: JLR executive director says new plant creating 1,400 jobs - "vast majority" from Wolverhampton area.

    Watch: Poppies nearly complete 08:42:

    The final pieces of one of the world's most striking commemorative displays are being put into place in London.

    One of the poppies

    More than 800,000 ceramic poppies are being arranged around the Tower of London. Each poppy commemorates the life of a fallen British or Colonial soldier and the final one will be planted on Armistice Day next month.

    BBC Midlands Today's Liz Copper joined families from the Midlands paying their tributes to those who lost their lives in World War One.

    Man charged after crash death 08:32:

    A man is charged with causing a man's death and with seriously injuring the man's grandson in a collision in Shirley.

    Emergency services were called to Bills Lane at the junction with Langcomb Road in Shirley

    Kirpal Sokhi, 19, from Hall Green is accused of causing the death of 59-year-old Stephen Beckett by dangerous driving on 17 August.

    Queen to open JLR centre 08:20:

    Jaguar Land Rover's new Engine Manufacturing Centre near Wolverhampton will be officially opened by The Queen later.

    Jaguar Land Rover plant and a picture of the Queen

    It's cost £500m, will create 1,400 new jobs and is based at the i54 business park.

    Patchy rain 08:13:

    A dull start with some mist and fog patches and outbreaks of patchy rain.

    The rain will clear although there'll still be one or two showers this afternoon. However, there'll also be some breaks in the cloud allowing for brighter spells.

    It'll feel milder than yesterday with highs of 17C (63F).

    Good morning 08:00: Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    I'll be bringing you the very latest news, sport, travel and weather updates for Birmingham and the Black Country.

    If you'd like to comment on any of the updates we're featuring today, please email or tweet @BBCWM.



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