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  1. Updates on Wednesday 18 January 2017:
  2. Ambulance workers in the county are backing a Cumbrian MP, who wants the hospital in Kendal to be upgraded to deal with more urgent cases.
  3. A study suggests that elderly people in Cumbria who say they are lonely, are twice as likely to die early.
  4. It's hoped engineers will carry out a detailed assessment today on the House of Lords building in Barrow, which was badly damaged by fire a week ago.

Live Reporting

By John Bowness

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

We've now finished this service of news, travel updates, a regular weather forecast and the odd choice morsel from social networks for today.

The main points were:

  • Former chairman of UKIP North West resigns
  • Concern over Ulverston Post Office is discussed with managers
  • Drover's Rest in Monkhill named Pub of the Year

We'll be back from 08:00 tomorrow. If you have a picture to share or some news you think we should know about, you can email ustweet us or get in touch through our Facebook page.      

Have a good evening. 

Morland brewery celebrates first batch

Former chairman of UKIP North West resigns

A Cumbrian man who used to chair UKIP North West has announced his resignation from the party, and accused UKIP of not supporting the county.  

John Stanyer

John Stanyer from Wigton says he's leaving to support the Conservatives.  

He's the second former UKIP party candidate to leave in three months.  

Mr Stanyer told BBC Radio Cumbria that part of his decision to leave came from what he said was poor management within the party.  

It has certainly lost its way. The party has certainly failed to support Cumbria. We have a by-election looming in Copeland and all the promised help and support for that has failed to materialise. The party is incapable of fighting two simultaneous by-elections."

John StanyerFormer chairman of UKIP North West, now resigned

"No plans" to enhance services for urgent medical cases in Kendal

The health organisation that commissions the existing service at Westmorland General Hospital for patients with urgent needs says there are no plans to develop the service - despite calls for it to be upgraded to an Urgent Care Unit.  

Westmorland General Hospital

Ambulance workers in South Cumbria are now backing a campaign by the Liberal Democrat MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, Tim Farron, He wants more patients to be treated at Westmorland General to ease the pressure on the Accident and Emergency department in Lancaster.  

But the NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group, that commissions the existing Primary Care Assessment Service (PCAS) in Kendal, says it's already open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  It says "there are currently no plans to develop the service there further". 

And Dr Craig Melrose from the Cumbria Partnership NHS Trust told BBC Radio Cumbria that it can make more sense to have specialists based at larger centres.    

Medical staff, nursing staff are a scarce commodity, and we have to make sure that we put them in the best places, so they can deliver the best care - and make the best use of their skills."

Dr Craig MelroseCumbria Partnership NHS Trust

Rewarding winter views for those out in the Lakes today

The prominent mountaineer, Alan Hinkes, is clearly enjoying his day out exploring the fells above Ullswater.  

It's a lovely shot with gleams of sunshine, and a "steamer" setting off the picture nicely as it makes its way down the lake.  

View more on twitter

Concern over Ulverston Post Office being discussed with managers

Neil Smith

South Cumbria journalist, BBC Cumbria

A Cumbrian MP is meeting Post Office managers today to express concerns about the future of Ulverston's main post office. 

Post Office wants to close the directly managed outlet in the town, and replace it with counters in another shop. 

Whilst the Labour MP for Barrow and Furness, John Woodcock, accepts that franchising isn't in itself a bad idea, he is concerned that not all the services currently provided would be transferred over.  He led a protest outside the Ulverston branch last Friday and has set up a petition.   

John Woodcock MP at a protest in Ulverston

There are also concerns over the future of the sub post office in Broughton in Furness. 

John Woodcock is raising both in today's meeting.  He says he hopes Post Office will "see sense" and allow these "brilliant local facilities" to carry on serving their communities. 

Bosses warned over downgrading Post Office

Senior managers at the Post Office will be told today that there is "strong feeling" against any downgrading of services in Ulverston. 

The town's MP - Labour's John Woodcock - has organised today's meeting. 

He's concerned about the proposal to shut the directly-managed central post office, and set up counters in another shop instead.

Ulverston post office

UK unemployment falls, but Cumbria sees small rise

UK unemployment fell by 52,000 to 1.6 million in the three months to November - the lowest level for more than a decade - official figures showed.

The jobless rate was steady at an 11-year low of 4.8%, the Office for National Statistics said.

The employment rate was steady at a record 74.5%, while wage growth picked up pace.

In Cumbria, there were 4,430 people claiming Job Seekers Allowance or Universal Credit last month - that's a rise of just 15. 

Drover's Rest is Pub of the Year

A community pub in North Cumbria has been named as Pub of the Year by the regional organisation that celebrates real ale and the places that serve it.  

Solway Camra says it's given the award, for the third year running, to the Drover's Rest at Monkhill, North West of Carlisle.  

Exterior view of The Drover's Rest

Mick Jones from Camra said "this is a wonderful achievement for a pub that faced near-extinction four years ago. 

"The Drover's is a friendly pub with a good offer of food and real ale.  

"Sandy has a policy of offering a wide range of real ale and trying not to have the same beer twice. Since 26th August 2013 the pub has served 550 different real ales!" 

Academic trip by Cumbrian students cancelled because of risk of unrest

A trip to The Gambia by second-year zoology students from the University of Cumbria has been cancelled a few days before they were due to leave. 

It's because of new Foreign Office travel advice against all but essential travel to the country, based on the risk of unrest there. 

Map showing location of The Gambia within Africa

A 90-day state of emergency has been declared and approved by Gambia's parliament over disputed elections. 

The University says the annual research and conservation trip had taken months to plan, and is considered a highlight of the course.  Flights were already booked for the students who would have departed on Saturday. 

Drug dealer told to repay almost £20,000 or face jail

A South Cumbrian drug dealer has been given three months to pay back just under £20,000 that she made from her criminal activity or go to prison for nine months.  

Claire Potts, 53, from Hampsfell Road in Ulverston, was given a suspended sentence last March for possessing drugs with intent to supply them.  

She also had to do 220 hours of unpaid work, and observe a night-time curfew.  

But at Barrow Crown Court on Friday, a hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act was told she'd made £19,991.91 from the drugs.  

Potts was given three months to pay the money or she'll be jailed.  

Growing calls to upgrade urgent care at Kendal hospital

Ambulance workers in the county are backing a Cumbrian MP who wants the hospital in Kendal to be upgraded to deal with more urgent cases. 

The union Unison says if ambulances could take more patients to the Westmorland General Hospital, it would reduce the long delays seen at the accident and emergency department in Lancaster. 

Emergency ambulance

The Liberal Democrat leader and Westmorland MP Tim Farron has already called for the change. 

Union rep Paul Carlisle works on an ambulance based in Ambleside.  

Outside Westmorland General, he's told the BBC it seems an obvious solution. 

For an ambulance crew to be waiting for two to three hours to hand a patient over, is totally unacceptable. We have to be able to bring patients back here, to Kendal."

Paul CarlisleEmergency Medical Technician and Unison rep

The NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning group says there are currently no plans to further develop the service in Kendal. 

Cumbria's weather: mild, cloudy, some drizzle on hills

Another rather cloudy and mild day.  There could be the odd spot of drizzle, mainly over the hills, but most places should stay dry. 

A few bright spells are also possible, mainly to the east of higher ground.  

Here's today's weather graphic for Grasmere: 

Grasmere weather graphic
BBC Weather

And you can see more details of the forecast, and search for a personalised one for your location on the BBC Weather website.  

Two Cumbrian men jailed after Workington attack

Two men from Workington have been sent to prison after assaulting a man in the town last August.  

Carlisle Crown Court building

David Greggain, 37, from John Street, admitted punching his victim twice in the face causing actual bodily harm. At Carlisle Crown Court yesterday, Greggain was jailed for a year for the attack. He'd also admitted assaulting the same victim on another date. 

And Jack Nicholson, 24, from Guard Street, was jailed for ten months after he admitted blocking a doorway during the attack, so the victim couldn't get away.  

Both men were banned for two years from contacting their victim.  

Engineers due to examine House of Lords building in Barrow

Neil Smith

South Cumbria journalist, BBC Cumbria

Here's our latest photo showing the remaining shell of the House of Lords building on Abbey Road in Barrow, that was gutted by fire last week. 

House of Lords building in Barrow

It's hoped that specialist engineers will examine the House of Lords today or tomorrow. 

Work is still continuing to secure gas pipes under Abbey Road, far enough away from the damaged building to avoid putting the workers, or the structure itself, at risk. 

Because it's listed, great care's being taken to see whether the remaining stonework could be saved rather than it being completely demolished, as might have happened with a less architecturally interesting building that was so badly fire-damaged.  

Claim that loneliness in later life can lead to a shorter life

John Bowness

BBC Radio Cumbria reporter

A study suggests that older people in Cumbria who say they are lonely are twice as likely to die early.

Research commissioned by the Campaign to End Loneliness shows that they run a greater risk of developing high blood pressure and dementia. 

About 20% of the population say they feel isolated. 

Travel: Main road closed through Ambleside

BBC Travel

The main road South through Ambleside is shut because of work on the Electricity network.  

It's affecting the A591 Lake Road between its junctions with Church Street and with Kelsick Road. 

Drivers are being asked to follow a diversion, via Church Street and Kelsick Road.  

Get the latest travel news where you are.

New assessment due today on fire-damaged House of Lords

Neil Smith

South Cumbria journalist, BBC Cumbria

It's hoped that engineers will carry out a detailed assessment today on the House of Lords building in Barrow which went up in flames a week ago today.   

House of Lords building on fire on Abbey Road in Barrow

A stretch of Abbey Road remains closed because of concerns that the remains of the building could collapse. 

Barrow Borough Council is balancing the need to re-open one of the town's main roads with preserving the badly-damaged grade-two-listed former club and bar. 

Structural engineers with knowledge of listed buildings will use a cherry picker to assess it. Any partial further demolition could be done brick by brick, to allow it to be rebuilt.  

And if the engineers say the building's safe enough, with or without added support, then a partial or full reopening of Abbey Road could follow.

Welcome to BBC Cumbria Live

Good morning. We'll be bringing you news, travel reports, a regular weather forecast and the odd other thing that catches our eye through to 18:00.

If you have a picture to share or some news you think we should know about, you can email ustweet us or get in touch through our Facebook page.