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  1. Our live coverage has ended for today
  2. Updates on Friday 16 September

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Have a great weekend

Bob Dale

BBC Live reporter

That's it from us in the Kent Live team for this week.

We'll be back bright and early on Monday morning with all your latest news and updates - join us from 06:00 BST.

As usual, if you'd like to get in touch in the meantime you can find us on TwitterFacebook, or send us an email.    

Have a great weekend.

'Not just unfair, wasteful of the talent we have in this country'

Bob Dale

BBC Live reporter

As the Liberal Democrats gather for their conference in Brighton, leader Tim Farron steps into the debate on new grammar schools.

Company fined after drum explosion injury

A welder from Kent says his life has been devastated after an explosion left him virtually blind.

Andrew Foster, 41, was using a plasma cutter on a drum which had previously contained a flammable substance. 

The company he worked for, who took immediate responsibility for the explosion, has been fined £660,000.

New UKIP leader is South East MEP

It was announced today that the South East MEP Diane James had been elected as UKIP's new leader. 

The result was revealed at the UKIP party conference in Bournemouth at lunchtime and will see Ms James succeed the previous party leader, Nigel Farage.

The heatwave's over!

Rachel Mackley

Weather Presenter

The sunshine came to a dramatic end today, but what's the weekend got in store? Here's my forecast.

Meopham School is one of first in country to consult on becoming grammar


A Kent secondary school is to consult parents over a plan to become a mixed grammar as the government clears the way for more selection, KentOnline reveals.

Meopham School

'It means I'm not the only one'


Newsround asked some disabled children for their views about the Paralympics

The Rio Paralympics have been a massive success for ParalympicsGB - but what has it meant to children with disabilities in the UK?

Well, who better to ask than the children themselves?

If you want to find out more about disability sport click here - or find inclusive options on our full list of guides.

'If you want to send your child to a grammar the choices are limited'

Bob Dale

BBC Live reporter

The head of Meopham School, a comprehensive in Gravesend, explains why he wants to become one of the first in the country to become a new grammar.

New UKIP leader: 'Age of velvet collars, pints and a fag is over'

Helen Catt

Political editor, BBC South East

Nigel Farage and Diane James

Power here has changed from one South East MEP to another, but it's one who could not be more different. 

The age of velvet collars, pints, and a fag down the pub is very much over with Diane James. She's a much more straight down the line person.

A popular choice, she polled 8,451 votes in this leadership election, more than twice the number of her nearest rival, Lisa Duffy. 

Diane James

Talking to people here at the UKIP conference, I know she's widely seen as a unifying figure, and that's going to be really important. UKIP is at risk of fracture at the moment, as it tries to decide what its future is in a world where the main reason it was founded - Brexit - has been achieved. 

That's going to be her biggest job here - deciding the future of the party. 

And she has some big shoes to fill. It's clear from the UKIP membership here at today's conference that Nigel Farage is absolutely loved.

H.G.Wells, the origins

Claire Cottingham

BBC Live reporter

We go back in time for the 150th anniversary of H.G. Wells's birth tonight, the Kent author who was inspired by the South East (and even had aliens blow up parts of Surrey!)

Well, Stephen Baxter, a science fiction author, explains the origins of that book, The War of the World.

BreakingUKIP elects a new leader

UKIP deputy chairman and South East MEP Diane James has won the contest to replace Nigel Farage as the party's leader.      

150 years of H.G. Wells

Claire Cottingham

BBC Live reporter

Best remembered for The War of the Worlds and The Time Machine, H.G. Wells changed the world of science fiction forever.

So how did Herbert George Wells come to change the landscape of Victorian literature with stories of Martians, time machines, utopian futures and invisible men?  His own journey started in Bromley, Kent and is perhaps one of the most interesting stories of them all.

We go back in time for the story of the man who wrote “The Time Machine” for the 150th anniversary of his birth, tonight 19:30 BST, BBC One. 


A non-selective Kent school is believed to be the first to outline plans to become a grammar school after Theresa May outlined education changes.

Read more

Replica WW1 plane crashes in Kent field after Somme commemorations

Claire Cottingham

BBC Live reporter

Plane upside down
Kent Police

A replica World War One plane crash-landed in a field in Kent hours after taking part in New Zealand's Battle of the Somme centenary commemorations.

The Albatros aircraft suffered engine failure after it had performed a poppy drop in front of Prince Charles and other dignitaries in Longueval, France.

ICYMI: Grammar school debate

Claire Cottingham

BBC Live reporter

The debate over whether the grammar school system that exists in Kent should be rolled out across the rest of England burst into angry exchanges in the House of Commons this week. 

The Prime Minister defended plans to allow schools to select on academic ability.

But the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said it would lead to second class schooling for the many.

Our education correspondent, Bryony Mackenzie, reports. 

Southern Railway shortlisted for a community award

Claire Cottingham

BBC Live reporter

After passengers have endured months of union strikes and disruption on the line, Southern Railway have been shortlisted for a community award. 

Govia Thameslink Railway is in the running for a Passengers Matter award thanks to the Association of Community Rail.

Southern train

Southern services have been disrupted for months because of staff shortages and industrial action in a long running dispute over the role of conductors. 

The Unions have reacted with disbelief to news. 

The only 'hard work and community dedication' going on at Southern Rail is from the frontline staff who are being attacked and undermined by the company bosses at every turn."

Mick CashRMT union general secretary

BreakingKent cricketer named in ODI squad

Claire Cottingham

BBC Live reporter

Kent's Sam Billing's has been named in England's 15-man ODI squad for the autumn tour of Bangladesh starting next month.

Jos Buttler will captain the ODI squad during the three-match series after Eoin Morgan ruled himself out of the series. 

Sam Billings
Getty Images

Kent academy seeks to become a grammar school

A Kent school is looking to convert to a grammar by the beginning of the 2018 school year.

Parents of pupils at the Meopham School have been asked for their thoughts on the plans.

A letter from the principal of the Swale Academies Trust, which runs the school, says:

We understand from our knowledge of the local community that there is a need for additional Grammar School places in the area. We also believe many parents would welcome the opportunity to have a local mixed Grammar School provision as an alternative to the current single sex Grammar schools."

Jon WhitcombeTrust Principal, Swale Academies Trust
Rescued cats

Two black cats who were tied up in pillowcases and left to die on a live railway in Kent are rescued by rail workers.

Read more

Belgian WW2 pilot honoured in Kent ceremony

The family of Belgian pilot, Albert van den Hove D'Ertsenrijk, killed fighting for the RAF in World War Two have travelled to Kent to attend a ceremony in his honour, on the 76th anniversary of his death.       

Top headlines in Kent

Claire Cottingham

BBC Live reporter

Two cats found left on a railway, a violent man jailed, and a WW1 aircraft left upside down. 

Here are your main headlines this morning in Kent. 

Kent's local newspaper and website stories

Stack of papers

Kent Online: Driver searches for ‘selfless hero’ who dived in blazing car

Kent News: Funeral of ‘inspirational’ Medway councillor Mike O’Brien to take place next Friday

Kent and Sussex Courier: Motorists told to avoid the Dartford Crossing and M25 junctions tonight

Goodbye sunshine

Rachel Mackley

Weather Presenter

Hello rain.

We've got heavy showers coming ahead for the rest of the day. 

Here's my weather report.

'I'm not buying a flint cottage in Snowdonia...'

South East MEP Nigel Farage is preparing to deliver his final speech as UKIP leader at the party's annual conference.

But is this the last we'll be seeing of him...?

WW1 replica plane crash lands in Kent

A replica World War One plane crash-landed in Kent hours after taking part in Battle of the Somme centenary commemorations in front of the Prince of Wales in France. 

The single-seater Albatross aircraft suffered engine failure and crash-landed in a field in Bethersden, near Ashford, at 14:20 BST.

Two WW1 planes
The plane (right) had just performed in France before returning to England

David Kember, duty controller at Headcorn Aerodrome in Kent, confirmed it was one of the two planes involved in the commemorations in France. 

He said: "It suffered engine failure and tried to land in a field but caught a fence.  

"The pilot is unhurt. There is substantial damage to the plane's wings." 

Good morning from your BBC Live team

Claire Cottingham

BBC Live reporter

We'll be here until 22:00 BST with all the news, travel, weather and sport for the county.

Remember you can get in touch on Twitter, on Facebook or send us an email.

Thanks to Adam Piddington for this picture of the Edenbridge sky - it's our #photooftheday

Alan Piddington