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  1. News, sport, travel and weather updates from across the West of England (23-27 April)

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Lee Tomlin

Nottingham Forest miss a second-half penalty as they are held to a goalless draw against Bristol City in the Championship.

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Rhys Priestland scores for Bath at Gloucester

Gloucester's hopes of a Premiership play-off semi-final place suffer a blow as they lose their West Country derby with Bath.

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Weather: 'A cool and cloudy weekend with outbreaks of rain'

Watch: Sara Thornton with the weather forecast

That's it from the BBC's live page for the West of England this week.

Join us again from Monday for more live news, sport, weather and travel updates.

Accidents involving horses prompt new police system

British Horse Society

Avon and Somerset Police's mounted section is teaming up with the British Horse Society to launch a new online reporting system for horse riders.

It will help educate drivers and riders about their responsibilities when using the road.

Nationally since 2010, more than 2,900 road incidents involving horses have been reported, and within that figure 39 riders and 230 horses have been killed.

PC Vicki Ephgrave, of the Mounted section, said "this new online reporting system is really important in providing us with vital information on areas we need to focus our efforts on to make them as safe as possible for everyone".

If you’ve been involved in a near miss you can make a report online using the following link:

Former hospital to become student digs

The former St Mary’s Hospital is on Upper Byron Place, Bristol.

A former private hospital will soon be home to more than 100 students after Bristol City Council gave the green light for its redevelopment.

The former St Mary’s Hospital, close to the Clifton Triangle, has been vacant for a number of years.

But now the University of Bristol plans to turn it into accommodation for 153 students, including two-bed apartments and townhouses as well as common space for residents.

The provision of 153 student beds at St Mary’s Hospital will help Bristol meet its broader housing needs, as well as removing the uncertainty that has been hanging over this important property’s future for the last six years.

Tim AttleeActing CEO of developer Empiric

Cash-strapped Swindon schools say cuts 'unsustainable'

Lainesmead Primary School

Cuts to school funding are "completely unsustainable", according to Swindon head teachers who have joined together to raise awareness of the issue.

Teachers in the town will be displaying banners outside their schools from 1-3 May, as well as sending information home to parents.

Eirian Painter, head teacher of Lainesmead Primary School, said: "Last year we had to halve the number of teaching assistants in the school.

"A further area cut is the number of sessions we are able to buy to support children who need emotional support in order to access learning.

"This is completely unsustainable."

The move comes as part of a national campaign, which has seen similar activities across the country.

Final roof slate installed at veteran's facility

Veteran's Hub

The last roof slate has been laid in the construction of an innovative development in Wiltshire for veterans transitioning to independent living.

The Veterans Hub in Wilton will have 44 flats, a vocational re-training centre and a coffee shop.

Specialist homeless charity Alabaré will help support the veterans.

Work now moves inside with the aim of it being completed by the end of the year.

Nature lovers needed for challenge

Getty Images

Nature lovers in Bristol and Bath are being asked to join a race to discover and record as much wildlife as possible as part of a new international competition.

The four-day City Nature Challenge runs from today until Monday and will see the region compete with 64 cities on five different continents.

Savita Willmott, director of the Bristol Natural History Consortium said: "We know how passionate people in this area are about wildlife and the environment and we want them to help us win this competition and show just how important the natural world is to our lives."

For more information on how to join the team tap here.

Police appeal for help to find missing teenager

Yasmin Sulcova
Gloucestershire Constabulary

Police in Gloucester are appealing for the public's help to trace a 16-year-old girl who has been missing for two days.

Yasmin Sulcova was last seen in the Alfred Street area of Gloucester at about 09:30 BST on Wednesday.

She is described as 5ft 1in tall and slim with very long, black hair. When last seen she was wearing grey jogging trousers, a black top, blue Puffa jacket and pink Nike flip flops.

Toby Buckland says 'save the M5's Willow Man'

Rugby: West of England derby this weekend

Bath v Gloucester
Getty Images

Gloucester and Bath meet for the big West of England derby tomorrow at Kingsholm.

The Cherry and Whites are already guaranteed a spot in next season's Champions Cup after results went their way in the Challenge Cup last weekend.

Bath will realistically need to beat their rivals if they are to have any chance of a top half finish.

Gloucester won the reverse fixture 22-21 at Bath's Recreation Ground back in October.

New pictures released of stolen wheelchair

View more on twitter

Police are appealing for information after a nine-year-old boy with cerebral palsy had his walker and wheelchair stolen.

The items were taken from the front garden of a house in John Street, Kingswood, as the boys mother unloaded the car following a day out.

Police would like to hear from anyone who might have seen them or know their whereabouts.

Bristol's desires to host the Rugby League World Cup

Ashton Gate

Bristol wants to bid to host games in the Rugby League World Cup in 2021.

The games would be hosted at Ashton Gate football stadium if the bid was successful.

Bristol City Council said it was exploring options for submitting a successful bid.

In Bristol we want to make it easier for people to take part in sport, encourage more home grown elite talent and attract more world class events to the city. With the cycling grand prix happening later this year and the announcement of the Cricket World Cup coming to the city the year after there is plenty to get excited about over the next two years.

Spokesperson, Bristol City Council
The collection of 100,000 toy soldiers was amassed in Bristol over 40 years.
Carmelo Mazzotta spent 40 years amassing the collection before he died in 2016.

Bristol cycleway 'to be extended'

Cycleway in Bristol

A cycleway on Baldwin Street in Bristol will be extended once building work is complete.

Several cyclists took to social media earlier this week to complain that the cycle lane has often been blocked by parked lorries and skips.

Bristol City council said work on the cycleway was not yet complete in the area where building works are taking place, as the developer needed vehicle access.

A spokesperson said: “Once these building works are complete, we will be able to extend the cycleway and reduce the gap between the two sections, which will make it more difficult for vehicles to gain access to the facility.

Cycle lane in Bristol

"A concrete block is currently in place to stop vehicles entering the cycleway as a temporary measure while this building work is ongoing, and the position of this block has been better centred to cause less of an obstruction to cyclists heading towards Castle Park."

They added the situation would continue to be monitored and enforcement action would be taken against anyone found to be parking on the cycleway.

A collection of 100,000 toy soldiers is up for sale

Watch: The collection was amassed over 40 years

A collection of 100,000 toy soldiers, amassed over a lifetime and stored in a garage, is up for sale.

Carmelo Mazzotta, from Bristol, began collecting the toys with his brother Emile when he was eight years old.

He died in 2016 following a battle with leukaemia and now his vast collection is being auctioned, expected to fetch about £30,000.

University researches the power of alcohol information

Matthew Hill

BBC West health correspondent

government guidelines

According to the Office for National Statistics, in 2016 the South West had the highest proportion of people who said they drank alcohol in the previous week - 70% compared with a 57.4% average in England.

Government scientists advise us not to drink more than 14 units a week.

But many of us don't realise that we are drinking too much.

Current alcohol labelling is regulated by the EU.

At the moment the nutritional information including calories must be displayed on soft drinks - but alcohol is exempt.

So scientists from the University of Bristol have developed beer mats which point out how many calories and units drinks contain.

Fatal motorbike crash prompts police appeal

View more on twitter

The crash happened on Burnham Moor Lane, near Highbridge, at 14:50 BST on Thursday, according to police.

Severe disruption: M4 Wiltshire westbound

BBC News Travel

M4 Wiltshire westbound severe disruption, at J15 for A346 Marlborough Road.

M4 Wiltshire - One lane closed and slow traffic on M4 westbound at J15, A346 (Swindon East), because of vehicle tyre change.

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

Philip Salt and Luke Wells

Philip Salt hits a swift half-century before rain intervenes in Sussex's Division Two clash with Gloucestershire.

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Football: Cheltenham Town midfielder to leave

Banned snooker player denies charge of working illegally

Stephen Lee
South China Morning Post
Stephen Lee

Banned snooker player Stephen Lee, from Trowbridge, must stay in Hong Kong until June to fight a charge of working illegally in the former British colony.

Lee, 43, pleaded not guilty to breaching the conditions of his tourist visa after being charged with teaching snooker without a work permit.

The former world number five was banned for 12 years in 2013 after being found guilty of match-fixing charges.

Tap here to read the full story.

Beer mat trial to reduce alcohol consumption

Watch: BBC Points West's Matthew Hill reports from the university

The University of Bristol is trying to find out if giving people more information about the alcohol they are drinking will reduce their consumption.

Alcohol is the third biggest cause of preventable death in the UK - with about 10 million people in England drinking above the recommended guidelines every year.

Scientists from the university have developed beer mats which point out how many calories and units drinks contain.

Council agrees charity loan for hotel revamp

Former Great Western Hotel in Taunton

A charity in Somerset is to receive a council loan to help turn a former railway hotel into accommodation and a small-business hub.

Taunton Deane borough councillors agreed to lend £750,000 to YMCA Somerset Coast to bring Great Western Hotel, opposite Taunton station, back into use.

The total cost of refurbishing the building is estimated at £1.66m, with more than half the money coming from grant funding, including £500,000 from the Hinkley Point C community impact mitigation fund.

Severe disruption: M5 Bristol southbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Bristol southbound severe disruption, between J16 for A38 and J17 for A4018.

M5 Bristol - One lane closed and slow traffic on M5 southbound between J16, A38 (Aztec West) and J17, A4018 (Cribbs Causeway), because of a broken down vehicle.

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

Third dog suspected to have Alabama Rot in Wiltshire

Alabama Rot

A veterinary surgery in Malmesbury has told the BBC it's treating a dog from Hullavington which is suspected of having Alabama Rot.

It's a condition that causes blood clots, skin lesions and potential kidney failure in dogs.

Two other cases have been discovered in Wiltshire this year, both of which were diagnosed after post-mortem examination.

All three dogs affected were walked within a ten mile radius.

Isaac Gracie

Imran Rahman-Jones

Newsbeat reporter

As a new law is proposed to help UK music venues stay open, we speak to artists about why it matters.

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Derby County celebrate their win over Cardiff City

The race for the last two Championship play-off places remains wide open, with seven teams battling for the remaining spots.

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Save the bacon... by eating more of it!

Old Sports pig

Old Spots pigs are an iconic Gloucestershire species, but their numbers are struggling.

But in an ironic twist, experts are saying the more we eat their bacon the more chance there is of the species surviving.

Old Spots have stayed in the "of concern" category of the UK's Rare Breed Danger List.

There are now 500 breeding females in existence - a 5% increase from last year, as farmers respond to public demand.

Mark Van Dongen

Berlinah Wallace denies murdering Mark Van Dongen, who ended his life 15 months after the attack.

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Veterans Hub reaches important stage in development


Soldiers leaving the army will have a new place to stay thanks to a multimillion-pound housing estate in Wiltshire.

A topping out ceremony will be held later this morning as The Veterans Hub reaches an important stage in the build.

The former MOD site at Wilton, which was home to the Headquarters UK Land Forces, was sold in 2013.

The aim of the project is to harness the skills of veterans in local regeneration while supporting them into training and employment.

The development is on track to be completed by the end of the year.

Toy soldier collection to be sold at auction

Toy soldiers
Wessex Auction rooms

One hundred thousand toy soldiers, collected by a man from Bristol, are to be auction off this weekend.

In total, Carmelo Mazzotta, from Brislington, owned a quarter-of-a-million toys and comics. He died in 2016.

The items are now being sold by his family.

The soldiers alone are expected to make more than £20,000 tomorrow.

Tap here to see more.

Toy soldiers
Wessex Auction rooms

Fifth person dies after M5 crash in September

Cars stuck on the M5

A crash on the M5 in South Gloucestershire last year has claimed the life of a fifth person.

Adrian Beaumont from Bristol died in September, along with three people from Liverpool, when a van crossed the central reservation and hit oncoming cars.

Friends say that his partner, Rebecca Mitchell, has now died.

Their two children, also injured in the crash, are being cared for by relatives.

City cordon after stabbing

Lower Borough Walls in Bath

Part of Bath has been cordoned off after a man was apparently stabbed in the leg.

Police were called to Lower Borough Walls shortly before 11:15.

The man's injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.

A second man suffered a minor head injury.

Forensic teams are examining the cordoned-off area.

City house prices now 'nine times annual salary'

Local Democracy Reporting Service

House building

Twenty-years ago a home in Bristol would cost you three-and-a-half times your yearly salary - now it will cost you nine times your salary.

Figures just released by the Office for National Statistics show the average house price in Bristol, in 1997 was £53,000; in 2007 it was £172,500 and by September 2017, the latest time for which data is available, prices hit £255,000.

The average yearly wage in Bristol in 2017 was £28,356, up from £17,505 in 1997.

Severe disruption: M4 Gloucestershire eastbound

BBC News Travel

M4 Gloucestershire eastbound severe disruption, between J18 for A46 Bath and J17 for A350.

M4 Gloucestershire - Heavy traffic and one lane closed on M4 eastbound between J18, A46 (Bath) and J17, A350 (Chippenham), because of a lorry having a tyre changed.

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

Bristol's oldest market to close

Eastville Market

One of Bristol's oldest markets is closing today after 50 years of trading.

Eastville market has been running since the 1960s and has recently operated from the car park of a chinese supermarket next to IKEA.

But the site managers say business has dwindled so much over the last five years, they've got no option but to close.

Grassroots teams preparing for finals


It's a big weekend of football at grass-roots level.

The finals of the FA People's Cup take place at England's training ground at St George's Park.

There are 18 different categories involved including - new for 2018 - futsal, which these guys are involved with..

The ex-academy players who 'want to prove' they can still play

See how Sala Soccer FC and all the other teams get on in the FA People's Cup finals with live streaming, and text commentary on Saturday 28 & Sunday 29, April on the BBC Sport website & app.

Judd Trump

Judd Trump says he will have to improve dramatically on his 10-9 first-round win over Chris Wakelin at the Crucible.

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Ambulance emergency response times not being met

Local Democracy Reporting Service


The South West's ambulance service is failing to get to the most seriously injured and ill patients in good time, NHS England figures reveal.

Paramedics took an average of nearly 10 minutes to get to Category One (C1) patients - the most life-threatening events - during March. The national target is seven minutes.

Across the UK the average response time was eight minutes and 22 seconds.

South Western Ambulance Service Trust said it had "robust plans" in place to continue to improve its response to its most critical patients.