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  1. Updates from across the West of England on Monday, 19 December 2016

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Weather forecast: Mainly dry

Watch: Ian Fergusson with the weather forecast for the West

That's all from us for tonight.

The early team will be back tomorrow morning from 7am with the latest news, sport and weather for the region.

We'll leave you with Ian Fergusson and tonight's weather forecast for the West of England.

Pub landlord puts on free Christmas dinner for Bristol's homeless

More now about the Christmas dinner for homeless people that was served at a pub in North Somerset today.

Landlord Dougie Bonar organised a coach to bring Bristol's homeless to the Star Inn at Tickenham.

For some of them it was the first Christmas dinner they'd enjoyed in eight years.

View more on twitter

Charity 'punchathon' in Staple Hill

Watch: A father and son have completed a charity 'punchathon'

A Bristol father and son have completed a charity "punchathon".

55-year-old Kevin O'Hagan and his son Jake, who run Impact Gym in Staple Hill, Bristol, took part in the four-hour charity event.

Looks like those punch bags took one mighty beating...

Glastonbury 2019: Your reactions

Watch: "I'm arranging to move the show [but] it would be a huge loss to Somerset if it went there forever"

Earlier, Glastonbury Festival founder Michael Eavis said a new site 100 miles away from Worthy Farm could be used every five years, to help his land recover. 

We don't know exactly where it is, but Mr Eavis said it was "towards the Midlands".

Some of you have been giving your reactions - and guessing where the 2019 festival could be held - on Points West's Facebook page.

"Won't be Glastonbury then will it," one user argued.

"Bye bye free local tickets!" said another.

One person guessed the new site could be the Three Counties showground in Malvern, while somebody suggested: "Glastonbury in the Midlands!? GlastonBrum!"

Care home helps people feeling lonely at Christmas

Watch: Lonely people came together in Wellington

A care home in Wellington, Somerset, has helped local people feel a bit less lonely this Christmas.

The Abbeyfield care home organised a buffet as a chance for residents and older people living alone in the town to get together.

It was one of several companionship events taking place across the country.

Prehistoric porridge? First pots for plant cooking found

Prehistoric people may have cooked wild grains and plants in pots as early as 10,000 years ago, according to a new study led by the University of Bristol.

Scientists say the food was "a kind of porridge", acting as the staple diet when there was no meat from hunting.

Plant remains found during the excavation
Sapienza, University of Rome

This is the first direct evidence of plant processing globally, and, remarkably, shows that these early North African hunter-gatherers consumed many different types of plants, including grains/seeds, leafy plants and aquatic plants

Dr Julie DunnePostdoctoral Research Assistant, University of Bristol

The pottery fragments were found at two sites in the Libyan Sahara, which was then green and fertile.

The ability to prepare plants and grains in pots would have been a big advance at the time.

Santa swaps his sleigh for a plane ride in Bristol

Watch: Santa joined a special flight for children over Bristol.

He may be a rather busy man right now, but Santa found time to swap his sleigh for a special chartered flight over Bristol. 

It was organised by Airbus and Bristol Airport, for children from Children's Hospice South West and REACH. 

The afternoon last week was designed to give the children a happy Christmas experience that they won't be likely to forget in a hurry.

Somerset pub fire 'started deliberately'

Merry Harriers pub

An arson investigation has been launched after a pub in Wellington was destroyed by fire.

The Merry Harriers in West Buckland was gutted in the blaze last night.

Avon and Somerset Police says it's appealing for witnesses to get in touch.

Det Sgt Darren Lipscomb said: “We believe the fire was started deliberately at around 10pm and we are treating it as arson.

“Thankfully the building was empty so nobody was hurt but significant damage was caused."

The same building was damaged in a fire in July.

In the newspapers


Here are some of the stories making the headlines in your local newspapers this evening:

Somerset Live: Taunton School pupil Silvia Diaz Sanz died after suffering head injuries in crash.

Bristol Post: Police give go ahead to Bristol City and Bristol Rovers playing on the same day in Bristol.

Wiltshire Times: Jail warning to woman who ran Trowbridge brothel for 14 years.

Gloucestershire Live: Residents block bridge with their cars to stop diggers tearing it down.

Severe disruption: M5 Gloucestershire southbound

BBC Travel

M5 Gloucestershire southbound severe disruption, between J10 for A4019 and J11 for A40 Golden Valley Bypass Gloucester.

M5 Gloucestershire - One lane blocked and very slow traffic on M5 southbound between J10, A4019 (Cheltenham) and J11, A40 (Gloucester), because of a broken down vehicle.

Check local traffic and travel reports for:

Gloucester Rugby takeover would not mean wholesale changes

Tom Garry

BBC Sport, West of England

Gloucester Rugby chief executive Stephen Vaughan has sought to reassure fans that any takeover of the Premiership club by France-based businessman Mohed Altrad would not lead to widespread changes in personnel behind the scenes.

Vaughan told BBC Radio Gloucestershire that current owner Martin St Quinton would remain as chairman.

"That's very key to all of this. We don't need to press reset in my opinion," he said.

"Having myself and Martin there to steady the ship is very important."

Altrad's desire to buy a majority stake in Gloucester needs approval from four bodies: European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR), World Rugby, the Rugby Football Union and French Rugby Federation.

Glastonbury 2019: 'Midlands' location mooted for music festival

Glastonbury 2016

The 2019 Glastonbury Festival could be held at a site 100 miles away from Worthy Farm, "towards the Midlands". 

Festival founder Michael Eavis said the new site would be used every five years to help the land at his farm recover. 

"I'm arranging to move the show... to a site that is more suitable... [but] it would be a huge loss to Somerset if it went there forever," he said. 

"Most people are on side now and it's a wonderful, wonderful boost for the whole of Somerset and beyond as well. "I don't want to lose it for ever, no way."

Specialist unit finally due to open

Watch: The Daisy is due to open soon

A specialist unit for adults with severe learning difficulties in Devizes is finally about to open.

The Daisy, built at a cost of £3m, was due to open in the summer, but it was delayed due to authorities wrangling over its status.

Based at Green Lane Hospital it will offer round the clock care for local patients.  

Granddaughter of WWI solider finds new use for Royal gift

Princess Mary boxes were given to troops in 1914 as a Christmas present. They originally contained tobacco and chocolate.

But a woman from Coleford has found a much more special use for her grandfather's tin.

Watch: Princess Mary box to be used as time capsule

Preferred home for new Taunton Police Station announced

It's been known for a while that the current Taunton Police Station is due to close.

Now Avon and Somerset Constabulary has revealed where it wants to go in the town when that happens...

Watch: Avon and Somerset Police has its eye on a new home

Christmas dinner for the homeless

Watch: Homeless people treated to Christmas meal

How's this for a bit of festive cheer?

The Star Inn in Tickenham, North Somerset, has hosted a Christmas dinner for homeless people. 

Many of the guests slept rough in Bristol last night. 

BBC Points West's Michelle Ruminski went to meet them.  

Dozens of trees decorated for Devizes festival

Forty decorated Christmas trees have been put on display at St Johns Church in Devizes.

They’ve been decorated by different organisations involving people such as those with Alzheimer's and also child carers.

Bristol family eviction postponed after protest

View more on twitter

A family in Lawrence Weston is facing eviction from their rented home of more than five years. 

They say it's because the landlord wants to rent it to students or professionals and increase the rental fees.

This morning the campaign group Homes For All held a protest outside the property, calling on the landlord to let the family stay.

Hospital radio station gets National Lottery funding

People hold sunshine radio and lottery funding banners with cheque for ten thousand pounds

Volunteers at Sunshine Hospital Radio, based at Weston General Hospital, are celebrating after receiving a £10,000 grant from the ‘Big Lottery Fund’.

The station will use the money to improve access for volunteers with restricted mobility and upgrade unreliable equipment.

Chair of the hospital radio, Jo Newey, said the team is thrilled.

"This is the first time since the hospital opened in 1986 that we've been able to attempt such a large redesign of the studio," she said.

The volunteers at Sunshine Hospital Radio aim to reopen their studios early next year.

Bath wing Aled Brew signs extended contract

Aled Brew
Getty Images

Wales wing Aled Brew has signed a new contract extension with Premiership club Bath until the end of the 2017-18 season.

The 30-year-old, who has nine senior international caps for Wales, joined Bath in September on a short-term deal.

Puppies abandoned at car boot sale

Young Jack Russell pupies, one with black marking on the ear and the other with tan markings

The RSPCA is looking for information after two puppies were abandoned at a car boot sale in Gloucester.

The five-week-old Jack Russell terrier pups, named Joseph and Mary, were found in a washing basket at the end of the car boot sale at Hempsted Meadows on Sunday 11 December.

We really hope the person responsible for abandoning them is at least taking good care of the mother dog as she will no doubt be really missing her pups.

Emily CheesemanRSPCA inspector

Will Post Office protest postpone your package and parcel posting?

Post office sign outside a branch with "Bureau de Change" underneath

With people across the UK sending Christmas gifts and greetings in time for the big day, it's possibly the busiest week for the post services.

But over the Christmas week, nearly 300 Post Office branches will be closed as workers take strike action over pensions, job security and closures.

According to the Post Office, the strike is only affecting around 3% of branches and won't impact delivery times for Christmas.

Dave Ward, who is general secretary of the CWU, said members were being "forced to into fighting to save their jobs and this great institution from terminal decline”.

“We didn’t want to be in this position, but unless we stand up now, the Post Office as we know it will cease to exist.

'I found running was my sanctuary' - Ben Smith's award acceptance speech

Watch: Ben Smith says thank you for the award

A charity runner from Bristol who completed 401 marathons in 401 days has been given the Helen Rollason Award at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year show.

Ben Smith, 34, ran more than 10,000 miles despite a serious back injury that required intensive physiotherapy.

The award, for achievement in the face of adversity, is in memory of the BBC presenter who died of cancer in 1999.

Ex-doctor jailed for child patient abuse

Michael Salmon
Complaints against Michael Salmon were made by 18 women and one man

A former doctor has been jailed for indecently assaulting young patients at a hospital where Jimmy Savile also abused people.

Michael Salmon, 81, was convicted of 14 counts carried out at Stoke Mandeville and the Royal Buckinghamshire Hospitals between 1975 and 1989.

In 2015, he was jailed for 18 years for nine indecent assaults of girls.

He has been sentenced to an additional four years in prison following a trial at Reading Crown Court.

West Country spots in 'most unusual' listed spaces guide

A shipwreck on Madbrain Sands in Minehead, Somerset

Two sites in the West to receive listed status this year have made Historic England's guide to the top 21 most unusual or surprising places listed in 2016.

The Shipwreck on Madbrain Sands in Minehead (pictured) and archaeological remains of a 13th century monastic building near Hinton Priory in Bath were among over 1,000 new designations this year.

Roger Bowdler, director of listing at Historic England, said the most unusual list was put together to "draw attention to the lesser known sites listed this year which all play a role in telling us about England’s history".

Paramotor pilot 'could not see' power lines

Listen: Giles Fraser said he "could not see" the power lines

A paramotor pilot who flew into a power line on Friday has spoken out about the crash which he luckily came away from without major injuries.

Giles Fraser was part of a homecoming at WWT Slimbridge in Gloucestershire for conservationist Sacha Dench, who has flown from the Russian Arctic following migrating Bewick's swans.

He told Anna King on BBC Radio Gloucestershire that power lines are a pilot's worst enemy.

BreakingFormer doctor sentenced for indecent assault

Former doctor Michael Salmon, from Salisbury in Wiltshire, has been sentenced to four years in prison after being found guilty for a second time in two years of indecently assaulting girls at a hospital where Jimmy Savile abused patients.

Last week the 81-year-old was convicted of 14 counts against 10 girls carried out at Stoke Mandeville and the Royal Buckinghamshire Hospitals in Buckinghamshire.

'Joy of singing' celebrated by police choir

Every night this week BBC Points West will be broadcasting a Christmas song or carol, sung by a choir from our region.

Tonight's merry melody comes from the Gloucestershire Police Male Voice Choir. 

The origins of the choir date back to 1970. Choristers are either serving or retired members of the Regular Force and Special Constabulary.  

Roger Scrivin, chair of the choir, said they have been together for more than 40 years: 

Watch: "Our common interest is singing," said Roger Scrivin

Severe accident: A30 Dorset both ways

BBC Travel

A30 Dorset both ways severe accident, between A352 Horsecastles Lane and Compton Road.

A30 Dorset - A30 Yeovil Road closed and very slow traffic in both directions between the A352 Horsecastles Lane junction in Sherborne and the Compton Road junction in Yeovil, because of an accident.

Check local traffic and travel reports for:

Stress levels among young people prompts MP action

The MP for Cheltenham, Alex Chalk, is calling for a Parliamentary inquiry into social media platforms. 

Recent research has suggested the explosion of the likes of Facebook and Instagram is contributing to a rise in the numbers of young people suffering mental health issues such as stress and anxiety.

Young girl on mobile phone

Social media companies ought to be policing their codes of conduct more effectively so that initially if someone does something they shouldn't that could be a warning. But then at potentially a yellow card, a suspension, a red card, you're off. Even if it's for a short period of time it sends a clear message, these are the rules, abide by them or there will be consequences.

Alex ChalkeConservative MP for Cheltenham

Gloucestershire special school's fate to be decided

Coln House School

The future of a special educational needs school facing closure is to be decided later.

Coln House School, in Fairford, was put in special measures after an Ofsted report rated it "inadequate" and pupils were removed over safety concerns.

Click here for more..

Cycling Santas test out new £45m South Bristol Link Road

Cyclists on South Bristol Link Road

Hundreds of cyclists dressed in Santa outfits became the first people to use a major new £45m road ahead of its official opening next month.

The South Bristol Link Road joins the A370 to the A38 and forms part of the route for the city's Metrobus scheme.

Almost 1,000 cyclists joined what was described as a "mass participation, family-friendly, traffic-free ride" on Sunday.

Click here to read more about the road.

Woman sexually assaulted in Bridgwater

Silver Street, Bridgwater

A woman has been sexually assaulted in Bridgwater, prompting a police appeal for information.

The serious sexual assault happened just before midnight on Friday near to a block of garages off Silver Street.

Avon and Somerset Police said a 23-year-old man was arrested in connection and is now on police bail.

The victim continues to receive support from specially trained officers. We would like to speak to anyone who might have information on this incident but, specifically, a woman who was walking along Silver Street close to the time of the incident. It is possible people in the area didn’t realise the significance of what they might have seen.

Detective Nick RileyAvon and Somerset Police

Stricter rules needed for social media use, says MP

Cheltenham MP Alex Chalk is worried about the effects of the digital age on the mental health of teenagers, so he's summoning social media platforms to a Parliamentary inquiry in the New Year. 

Charities say the numbers of young people dealing with stress and anxiety is rising sharply. 

Mr Chalk is particularly concerned about codes of conduct and cyberbullying:

Watch: Stricter rules are needed for social media users, says Alex Chalk MP

Marathon man Ben Smith wins Helen Rollason Award

Watch: See more of Ben Smith's story

A charity runner who completed 401 marathons in 401 days has been given the Helen Rollason Award at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year show.

Ben Smith, 34, of Portishead, Bristol, battled back from injury to pass his fundraising target of £250,000.

The award, for achievement in the face of adversity, is in memory of the BBC presenter who died of cancer in 1999.

Smith ran more than 10,000 miles despite a serious back injury that required intensive physiotherapy.

An infographic about Ben Smith's challenge

Our BBC local radio headlines across the West

Red microphone in front of computer screens in a studio
  • BBC Radio BristolPeople living near Victoria Park in Bedminster are angry at plans to build a new "cycleway" through it
  • BBC Radio GloucestershireThe future of Coln House Special School in Fairford is being decided today. All pupils were removed from the school in the summer following an Ofsted report citing "safety concerns"
  • BBC SomersetA specialist unit at Musgrove Park Hospital is helping reduce the amount of time older patients are staying at the hospital by around four days
  • BBC WiltshireA new £3m unit, for people in Wiltshire with severe learning disabilities and behavioural problems, will finally open next month

Clevedon man appears on BBC1's Michael McIntyre’s Big Show

Watch: John Prescott thought he was going for a photo shoot and ended up on BBC1

Did you spot Clevedon's John Prescott on Michael McIntyre's Big Show on BBC One over the weekend? 

He thought he was off to London to film for a magazine photo shoot, but ended up walking out on the stage at the Theatre Royal in front of 2,500 people. 

John was surprised by his dad and his fiancee and went on to sing Come Fly With Me on the West End stage.

Good morning and welcome to Local Live for the West of England

Hello! It's the last Monday of Local Live in the West before Christmas - only six sleeps to go.

Let's kick off the day with a bit of weather: A cloudy start with fog in places so take care on the roads. 

It should get better through the day and there'll be some rain later:

Watch: Emily Wood with the weather