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  1. Updates from across the West of England on Thursday, 9 June 2016

Live Reporting

By Jonathan Holmes

All times stated are UK

Time to say goodbye ...and show you a picture of a wolf

Phil Mumby, Longleat Safari Park

Well it's one stunning wolf, so stunning that the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) has crowned this photo as the winner of their annual photography competition.

It was taken by Phil Mumby at Longleat Safari Park and came first in the 'Life in a' collection.

The competition is open to staff, members of volunteers of BIAZA zoos and aquariums.

A picture of an armadillo from Bristol Zoo was also entered, we think it's also rather cute and could have bagged a prize.

Mark Eastment, Bristol Zoo Gardens

That's all from Local Live across the West today. Come back for more news, sport, weather and travel tomorrow, from 7am!

MCC head: 'It's truly saddened me'

"Ever so polite with a steely determination in his eye," says the MCC's head coach, Steve Kirby, about Hamza Ali who died on Wednesday...

MCC Head Coach, Steve Kirby shares his memories of Hamza Ali

Bristol-born Hamza got into difficulty while swimming in the River Avon at Saltford and died in hospital. 

His friends from the cricketing world have been paying tribute to him.

Hospital 'knew nothing' about prank quidditch plaque

A small plaque placed outside Bristol Children's Hospital is attracting lots of attention after being left unnoticed by hospital staff for more than 18 months.

BBC Points West's Andy Howard shares more...

The mystery surrounding the 1998 World Cup Quidditch Hoops has finally been solved.

Some have offered their own responses on the BBC Radio Bristol and the Points West Facebook pages...

There are kind and nice people in the world, more people should do what he has done because it does make you feel better in yourself when you do good for other people.

Alison Elizabeth Meredith

Just saw this. Actually made me cry. Beautiful story.

Eileen Price

What a fantastically kind and thoughtful thing he did

Carolyn Stroud


Valerie Trueman

Emily's parents want law change after speedboat death

The parents of a teenager from Gloucestershire who drowned while on holiday in Devon after her buoyancy aid was caught on a sinking speedboat say a change in the law is needed to make sure drivers are properly trained. 

The coroner in Emily Gardner's case called it "a most tragic incident". 

Steve Knibbs has been to meet Emily's parents...

The parents of Emily Gardner call for a change in the law

Blast off! Cricket-style

Graham Wagg
Huw Evans picture agency

Here's a preview of Gloucestershire versus Glamorgan in the T20 Blast, with both teams aiming for a third win in four games.

Outcry over FGM footage

Campaigners in Bristol are unhappy after news that the broadcaster Sky may have filmed the practice of Female Genital Mutilation taking place in Somalia. 

The practice of FGM is illegal in the UK.

Campaigners are unhappy that Sky may have filmed FGM

Bristol West MP Thangham Debbonaire said she was talking to Sky about exactly what they filmed.

It's understood by Ms Debbonaire that the broadcast is going ahead tonight but we don't know exactly what will be shown.  

Bath's Ford drops to bench for England

George Ford
Rex Features

Bath fly-half George Ford has been dropped to the bench for England's first Test against Australia.

Saracens' Owen Farrell has been selected over Ford for the match in Brisbane on 11 June.

Ford - whose father Mike was sacked as head coach of Bath at the end of the Premiership season - missed six out of seven kicks at goal during England's 27-13 warm-up victory over Wales.

Rain on the way?

How long will this spell of good weather last? According to Ian Fergusson, the risk of rain is increasing from tomorrow. 

Here's his latest forecast...

Ian Fergusson brings us the weather for the next few days

Motorcyclist died 'doing what he loved'

John Grant and the scene of the crash
Google/Gwent Police

The family of a motorcyclist from Bristol who died after a crash in Monmouthshire say he died doing what he loved.

John Grant's Honda collided with a Range Rover Saturday evening and he died at the scene.  

Read more by clicking here.

East what?! The travel tongue-twister...

A set of roadworks in Taunton has given the team at BBC Somerset a bit of a conundrum.

It may look simple, but the phrase "East Reach meets East Street" has been quite difficult to pronounce, which is especially difficult when it needs to be mentioned on travel reports in the morning.

Take a listen to their valiant (but not quite successful) efforts...

BBC Somerset presenters struggle to say street names

Hamza Ali: 'I was hoping good things would come to him'

After the death of fast bowler Hamza Ali, his friends have come together to pay tribute to him.

Hamza, 20, was born in Bristol, and had previously represented Hampshire and the MCC Young Cricketers. 

We spoke to Hampshire all-rounded Gareth Berg about his memories of Hamza...

Hamphire all-rounder Gareth Berg speaks to the BBC about the death of cricketer Hamza Ali

EU Referendum: Should we stay or should we go?

The EU referendum logo

In two weeks we make a big decision. Should we stay in, or leave, the European Union. Made up your mind yet?

BBC Radio Gloucestershire's live EU debate has just kicked off. 

Panelists include:

  • REMAIN: Phillip Cole: Linguist and translator, former European Parliament worker, chairman of the local branch of Britain Stronger in Europe · 
  • LEAVE: Richard Ford: Businessman, law graduate, former UKIP candidate 
  • REMAIN: Simon Pickering: Senior ecologist at Ecotricity
  • LEAVE: Ernie Warrender: Vote Leave spokesman

The debate's taking place at Stroud High School's Sixth Form Centre and you can listen live online by clicking here or, by the wonders of modern technology, watch a live stream on Facebook.

The prank Bristol Children's Hospital knew nothing about

It sat there unnoticed for more than 18 months, but this plaque left outside Bristol Children's Hospital has now been attracting a lot of attention.

A magical tribute to Bristol Children's Hospital from Cormac Seachoy

It was created by Cormac Seachoy, who later died of cancer himself. Now, Potter fans from around the world, including J.K. Rowling are paying tribute to Cormac's mischievous plaque prank

One of the most beautiful Potter-related things ever. I'm not crying. YOU'RE crying. #CormacSeachoy…

Look, pink bales!

You might have spotted special pink hay bales popping up around the west recently, they are being used by farmers to promote awareness of breast cancer.

These are from Heather Venn in Sedgemoor, Somerset...

View more on twitter

In your newspapers this evening

It's not quite a needle in a haystack...

A total of 1,066 arrows are being hidden at English Heritage's 400 sites across the country - including those in Gloucestershire, Wiltshire & Somerset - to mark 950 years since the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

Locations such as Hailes Abbey, Bradford-on-Avon's Tithe Barn and Sherborne Old Castle are involved in the competition to get people of all ages understanding more of our past.

A photo of Stonehenge
English Heritage
Stonehenge in Wiltshire

Finders will win one of 1,066 prizes - including a private tour of Stonehenge.

Read more about the story on BBC News Online and see where the red arrows are hidden.

'Lee is alive' - relief among friends and family

Endurance cyclist Lee Fancourt is alive.

Lee Fancourt

Graham Foot has posted a message on Facebook saying: "Just had word and seen that our Lee is alive. Nothing more to report but we can all relax."

The tracker which Lee is using during his 4,300-mile race across the US, has recently started moving again.

High-five to 'Pepper' the robot

Not all robots are the scary type you might see in sci-fi movies.

At the Cheltenham Science Festival, children have been learning about robotics with their humanoid host "Pepper".

He has been designed to react to human emotions and behaviour and can understand your voice, mood and day-to-day preferences. 

Apparently Pepper even knows how to play guitar and dance. We think he'd be rather good at doing the robot...geddit?!...

Pepper the humainoid has been wowing crowds at Cheltenham Science Festival

Spitfire flypast treat for aviation fans in Gloucestershire

RAF Spitfire

Hopefully the skies will be clear tonight for a flypast of an RAF Spitfire in Gloucestershire.

The aircraft will be taking to the skies to celebrate the Queen's 90th birthday as part of the Imjin Music Festival at Innsworth Station.

The festival, organised by the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps, is open to the public and the flypast starts at 7.30pm.

Tributes to River Avon tragedy cricketer

A man who was born and educated in Bristol has died after getting into difficulties while swimming in the River Avon on Wednesday evening.

A photo of Hamza Ali
Hampshire CCC
Hamza Ali, who has died aged 20

Hamza Ali, 20, was a fast bowler and represented the MCC Young Cricketers and Hampshire. 

Police were called to the river at Saltford, near Keynsham, and although Hamza was taken to hospital for treatment he later died.  

You can read more on BBC Sport online.

Concern for missing cyclist in the US

Concern is growing among family and friends of an endurance cyclist whose tracker has stopped working in Idaho, US, during the Trans Am Bike Race.

Lee Fancourt, from Gloucester, last made contact on Tuesday when he stopped in a rest area. In a video he said he was dehydrated.

A photo of cyclist Lee Fancourt
Lee Fancourt is in a race across 4,300 miles

Lee has been sleeping under bushes during the 4,300-mile race across 10 states and there are wild animals in the mountainous area.

A photo of Lee's last known location
Follow My Challenge
Here is Lee's last known location on the GPS tracker

Friend and sponsor Graham Foot of Slam69 has told BBC Radio Gloucestershire he may not have been cycling fast enough for his dynamo tracker to work, or it may have failed.  

BBC Radio Gloucestershire gears up for EU debate

Immigration, trade, integration and jobs will be covered in a live debate about the upcoming EU referendum from 7pm on Radio Gloucestershire.

BBC Gloucestershire's politics reporter Chris Brierley has more.

BBC Radio Gloucestershire's EU Referendum debate takes place tonight

Woman suffers 'serious head injuries'

Photo of emergency services in Frome
The lady was taken to hospital with serious head injuries

An elderly woman has been seriously injured in a collision involving her mobility scooter and a lorry. 

She was taken to hospital with serious head injuries after the incident at Wessex Fields trading estate in Frome, Somerset.

The BBC's Jack Killah, who was there, said he saw the air ambulance, police and fire crews in attendance.

Avon & Somerset Police have advised motorists to avoid the area.

Man dies after swimming in the River Avon at Saltford

A man has died after getting into difficulties while swimming in the River Avon.

Police say they were called to Saltford at 5.20pm on Thursday evening.

Although the man was rescued and taken to hospital for treatment he later died.

There have been two deaths related to the River Avon in the past four days.

Meet 'Gullfrazie' - the seagull who fell into a vat of chicken tikka masala...

A photo of a bird covered in sauce
This is the bird before they cleaned it up

No it isn't April Fool's Day.

This gull fell in a vat of sauce after scavenging for food from a factory. It was rescued and taken to Vale Wildlife Hospital in Tewkesbury.

Staff at the centre were able to clean up the bird using washing up liquid to remove the colour, but they haven't been able to remove the smell of curry.

A photo of a clean gull
The gull after it had a good wash

'Gullfrazie' will stay at the wildlife hospital for a few weeks before being re-released back into the wild.

Bristol City sign O'Neil from Norwich City

Gary O'Neil
Rex Features

Bristol City have signed midfielder Gary O'Neil on a free transfer from Norwich City.

The 33-year-old, who made 27 appearances for Norwich last season, has signed a two-year deal at Ashton Gate.

The former West Ham United man has won promotion from the Championship with four different clubs.

Life-sized village plans to teach fire safety

Wroughton Fire Safety Centre
Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue

A life-sized indoor village is being planned as part of a new £4.4m fire safety educational centre in Wiltshire.

Dorset and Wiltshire Fire hope to open the building at Wroughton Airfield in 2018.

They're still in the early stages and formal planning permission has not been obtained yet.

A charity called SafeWise will run the centre once it opens.

Wroughton Fire Safety Centre
Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue

JK Rowling tweets about Bristol's Harry Potter plaque

A small Harry Potter related plaque has attracted the attention of none other than author JK Rowling.

Read the full story here.

View more on twitter

EU debate: BBC Somerset hosts Facebook Live debate

Reporter James Craig: EU debate Facebook Live

BBC Somerset hosted a Facebook Live debate between two opposing EU campaigners - Daisy Benson who's voting to stay in and Helen Hims who is voting to leave.

You've been getting in touch, and can watch it again, on BBC Somerset's Facebook page:

Joanthan Hosykns wrote: All Economists are predicting a dip in the economy if Brexit happens. How do the speakers think a recession would effect jobs and our economy at the present time?

Amanda Brown wrote: In simples. Not heard one single coherent argument from brexit. All rabble rousing rhetoric.

Tim Moore wrote: Vote leave.!! Only people that want to stay in are rich people and delusional academics.!!

Tributes paid to young cricketer from Bristol

Hamzi Ali
Hampshire CCC

Tributes have been paid following the death of a young fast bowler from Bristol, Hamza Ali, at the age of 20.

Ali, was born and educated in the city, but had recently gone on trial at Hampshire County Cricket Club, making his first-class debut for Hampshire in April.

Hampshire's players will wear black armbands as a mark of respect during their match against Surrey later on Thursday.

Melanie Hall murder case: 'Potentially significant' leads found

Melanie Hall

Detectives investigating the murder of Melanie Hall say they've received more than 20 calls about her disappearance 20 years ago after a night out in Bath.

An appeal was made on the Crimewatch Roadshow yesterday where officers revealed they had uncovered some DNA evidence near to where her remains were discovered.

Northbound slipway of the M5, Thornbury where Melanie Hall's remains were discovered

Det Supt Andy Bevan said: “Some of the calls provided names of potential suspects, some related to the outstanding items of Melanie’s property which have never been found and others were reporting suspicious activity around the motorway slipway where Melanie’s remains were found."

Bristol Rovers forward signs new deal

Billy Bodin
Rex Features

Bristol Rovers forward Billy Bodin has signed a new two-year deal with the club following their promotion to League One.

The 24-year-old was an integral part of the side in 2015-16, scoring 13 goals in 41 appearances in all competitions.

"I'm delighted to be staying, we had a special group here last season and achieved something really amazing," Bodin told the club website.

Glastonbury Festival - it's hard work for some

Thousands of music fans will be piling into Worthy Farm in less than a fortnight's time for the Glastonbury Festival.

But it's not just about the entertainment for council environment health officer says he clocked up 72 miles working over the four days! 

View more on twitter

A view of the Flying Scotsman as it steamed through Swindon

The legendary Flying Scotsman thundered through Swindon shortly before 8pm last night.

Enthusiasts young and old gathered to watch as the locomotive sounded its whistle en route to London Paddington. 

It's taken ten years to get the locomotive back in running order and it only recently had a multi-million pound overhaul.

It's now traveling on our railways as part of a welcome home tour, so a note to all train spotters - keep an eye out. Swindon 175 captured the loco's appearance here.

Taxi driver denies murdering Becky Godden

A taxi driver has denied murdering a woman from Swindon who was last seen in the county 14 years ago.

Christopher Halliwell appeared at Bristol Crown Court to deny the murder charge against him.

Becky Godden, also known as Becky Godden-Edwards, was last seen alive in December 2002.

Her family did not report her missing until 2007 as they believed she was living in the Bristol area.

The court heard that Mr Halliwell, 52, intends to represent himself at the trial.

Hospitals, hoops and Harry Potter magic

Bristol Post

The poignant story behind this 'magical' sign is revealed on the Bristol Post - it involves some hoops, obscure Harry Potter knowledge and a cancer patient - and it's being allowed to stay.

Hospital sign

EU debate: Employers give their views on migration

Dave Harvey

Business Correspondent, BBC West

Are there too many non-Brits working in the West Country?

Leave campaigners say the government has lost control, and only by leaving the EU can we clamp down on immigration. 

The Remain camp insists that European workers fill vital jobs, and pay valuable taxes. 

So who's right? Our business correspondent Dave Harvey has been talking to two small firms from Bristol and Gloucester who rely on European workers and so know this issue first hand.

First up is Chris Smith the managing director of Marshfield Bakery, followed by Paul Soden, the owner of Café Rene in Gloucester.

West Country employers give their views about migrants ahead of the EU referendum

A close shave for Kath's cancer battle

Ambulance staff shave their heads to help raise funds for a colleague with cancer.

Ambulance staff have been shaving their heads to help raise money for a colleague with cancer.

Five years ago Kath Osmond, a paramedic from Bristol was diagnosed with an aggressive skin cancer but NHS doctors say there's nothing more they can do to treat her.

Since then her friends and colleagues have successfully raised £70,000 for private treatment.

Kath says if the treatment's a success and there's money left, it'll go to charity.

BBC local headlines around the West Country

Here's the news from around the West this morning:

  • Two Gloucestershire MPs have been named in court as being part of a nationwide investigation into electoral fraud
  • Thousands of people in Swindon could face big rises in their council tax bills
  • Campaigners in Bristol say a national broadcaster is wrong to have filmed a sequence about female circumcision in Africa

Brexit or Bremain? Get involved in the radio debates

EU referendum

If you have any questions over the EU referendum then you can get involved in the BBC Local Radio debates being held today.

From 9am, John Darvall is hosting Radio Bristol's programme with North East Somerset's Conservative MP Jacob Rees Mogg and Thangam Debbonaire the Labour MP for Bristol West. 

BBC Somerset and BBC Wiltshire also have their debates starting at the same time while Radio Gloucestershire's starts at 7pm.