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Summary

  1. Updates for Friday, 23 December 2016
  2. Northampton Saints play Sale tonight

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Tom Wood

Tom Garry

BBC Sport

Northampton Saints earn a morale-boosting win over Sale Sharks despite a fine debut Premiership try for Denny Solomona.

Read more

That's it from us

Live updates for Northamptonshire have now finished.

If you want updates on the M1 and traffic in Northampton town centre then visit the BBC Travel website.

There is full coverage of Northampton Saints taking on Sale in the Premiership on BBC Radio Northampton and on the BBC Sport website.

We are back on Wednesday at 08:00, but until any breaking news will continue to appear on the BBC News website.

Merry Christmas.

Severe disruption: M1 Northamptonshire southbound

BBC Travel

M1 Northamptonshire southbound severe disruption, between J18 for A5 and J17 for M45 Dunchurch.

M1 Northamptonshire - Broken down vehicle and a rolling road-block on M1 southbound between J18, A5 (Rugby) and J17, M45 (Dunchurch).

Check local traffic and travel reports for:

Overnight weather: A dry night after heavy rain clears

Chris Bell

BBC Look East weather

A brief period of heavy rain and gusty wind are possible at first, but clearing to the east by about 20:00, leaving a dry night with clear skies across the BBC East region.

Overnight weather map
BBC

Strong southwesterly winds at first with some gusts over 50mph (80 km/h)possible, but winds easing to moderate after the rain clears as the temperature dips to 2-4C (upper 30sF).

Christmas Eve will be dry and long spells of sunshine, but turning cloudier later from the west, with the temperature peaking at 9-10C (upper 40sF).

Visit BBC Weather for a more detailed forecast where you are.

A happy ending for Mr Dickens and his dog's Christmas tale

Pete Cooper

BBC Local Live

A dog which could have spent Christmas in kennels has been reunited with its elderly owner, thanks to a Facebook appeal and kindness of a Northamptonshire resident.

Sam the terrier was picked up in Oundle on Wednesday, having been roaming for a day or so, and transferred to East Northamptonshire Council's kennels.

In an effort to locate Sam's owner an appeal was put on Facebook and the owner was identified as a Mr Dickens (yes, really) of Ringstead.

Delighted to be reunited with Sam, Mr Dickens was overjoyed to learn that a local resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, had paid the kennel fee.

Mr Dickens accepted this kind gesture and has thanked his "guardian angel" who just wanted to make sure that Sam was home for Christmas.

Sam the dog
East Northamptonshire Council

Car parks in Northampton town centre gridlocked

It seems like it's a bit difficult to get out of Northampton town centre car parks.

There hasn't been an accident; it's just down to the weight of Christmas traffic.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Family of five seriously injured in M1 crash

Pete Cooper

BBC Local Live

A man, a woman and three children were seriously injured in the crash that closed the M1 between junction 18 and 16 for several hours earlier today.

The collision, involving a car and a lorry, happened on the southbound carriageway near Watford Gap Services at about 09:45. 

All five occupants of the car were seriously injured and airlifted to local hospitals.

M1
BBC

The man and woman, who were in their 30s and from West Yorkshire, were taken to University Hospital Coventry where they are in a critical condition.

The children, a one-year-old girl, nine-year-old boy and 11-year old boy, are being treated at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

Traffic very slow in Northampton town centre

Pete Cooper

BBC Local Live

As people make a last-minute dash, lots of parts of Northampton town centre have lots of traffic. Abington Street, the Mounts, Lady's Lane and Drapery are particular busy.

How busy? Well, BBC Radio Northampton's Helen Blaby has been live-tweeting her attempts to get home on the bus...

View more on twitter
View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Severe disruption: M1 Northamptonshire northbound

BBC Travel

M1 Northamptonshire northbound severe disruption, between J17 for M45 Dunchurch and J18 for A5.

M1 Northamptonshire - Stationary traffic on M1 northbound between J17, M45 (Dunchurch) and J18, A5 (Rugby), because of a broken down vehicle and a rolling road-block.

Check local traffic and travel reports for:

Kettering comedian signs book deal

Pete Cooper

BBC Local Live

In two days' time plenty of people will be unwrapping a book, but next Christmas it could have been written by Kettering comedian James Acaster.

The 31-year-old has signed a deal to publish a collection of comic anecdotes, entitled James Acaster’s Classic Scrapes, in August 2017.

James Acaster
BBC

James has had quite a year, with a sitcom pilot on BBC Two called We the Jury and his fifth consecutive Edinburgh Comedy nomination.

Prop Alex Waller set for double-century for Northampton Saints

Pete Cooper

BBC Local Live

Northampton Saints take on the team just behind them in the Premiership table tonight with Sale visiting Franklin's Gardens. Saints are ninth and Sale 10th.

The game will mark the 200th match for the Saints for Alex Waller of Kettering.

The 26-year-old prop has had plenty of congratulations from around the rugby world, including his French international team-mate Louis Picamoles...

View more on twitter

Local paper round-up: Smart corridors, school train travel and charity presents

Pete Cooper

BBC Local Live

Elsewhere in Northamptonshire:

  • Formal objections - including one from a PCSO - have now been lodged against the £2m "smart corridor" scheme in St James just weeks before works are due to start, reports the Northampton Chronicle and Echo.
  • The Northamptonshire Telegraph features a mum whose children travel by train between Corby and Kettering to get to and from school and has made a plea for reduced fares for youngsters.
  • A kind-hearted boy in Badby decided he would rather help others than receive gifts for his birthday, raising £360 for good causes, writes the Daventry Express.

M1 southbound remains closed between junctions 18 and 16

Pete Cooper

BBC Local Live

The M1 southbound remains closed between junctions 18 and 16 because of serious accident. It is expected it will remain closed until into this evening for recovery, repairs and investigation work.

View more on twitter

Weather: Wet and very windy later this afternoon

BBC Weather

The winds will increase during this afternoon and heavy rain and strong gusty winds will sweep in later, bringing difficult driving conditions during rush hour with a high of 10C (50F).

kettering
BBC

There are more details on the BBC Weather website.

In pictures: M1 closed

Stuart Linnell

BBC Radio Northampton

The M1 is closed southbound because of a serious accident between junctions 18 and 16. The northbound carriageway has only recently reopened.

This was scene at junction 16.

M1
BBC
M1
BBC

Fire out but investigations continue at Corby factory

Pete Cooper

BBC Local Live

Firefighters have now left the scene of the massive fire that hit a factory in Corby on Wednesday.

Crews from Northamptonshire Fire Service were called to the blaze at Multy UK, and were still there yesterday, but now say the fire is fully out.

Corby Fire
Pawel Slowinski

At its height 70 firefighters were tackling the fire, but no-one was hurt.

The fire service says investigations are continuing at the site and is unable to say whether it is suspicious or not.

George North

Northampton Saints wing George North says he wants to continue playing for years to come despite his latest head injury.

Read more

Major problems on the M1 between junction 16 and 17

There has been a serious accident on the M1 with the southbound carriageway closed between junctions 17 and 16. Northamptonshire Police has said that northbound has just reopened but there are still major delays.

The road is expected to remain closed until this afternoon.

View more on twitter
Dave Attwood Bath

Jeremy Guscott

Rugby union analyst, BBC Sport

Former England and Bath centre Jeremy Guscott gives his half-term report into how the Premiership clubs have fared.

Read more
Premiership half-term report: Jeremy Guscott rates title contenders
Near the halfway stage of the 2016-17 season, BBC Sport's Jeremy Guscott assesses the sides vying to be Premiership champions.

Kettering and Wellingborough Post Offices could be closed tomorrow

Martin Borley

BBC Radio Northampton

Two Post Offices in Northamptonshire could be affected by strike action tomorrow. 

They are at Lower Street in Kettering (pictured) and Midland Road in Wellingborough.

They're both managed directly by the Post Office, unlike the other branches around the county.

post Office
Google

The Post Office say that customers should check their website tomorrow to see if the branches are closed.

'Miracle' twins born three months prematurely home for Christmas in Corby

Pete Cooper

BBC Local Live

Twins from Northamptonshire, who doctors say are a "miracle" after surviving an operation inside their mother, will be spending their first Christmas at home.

Emma Lewington, from Corby, was eight weeks pregnant when doctors discovered she also had a very rare life-threatening ectopic pregnancy - where a fertilised egg implants in a fallopian tube.

The only way doctors at University Hospital in Coventry could save Emma was to remove her fallopian tube containing the egg but there was a high risk that the surgery would cause her to miscarry.

Emma and her husband Jake had undergone nearly two years of fertility treatment and in a one-hour operation surgeons performed the risky surgery successfully and Emma was able to continue with her pregnancy.

However, further complications developed doctors had to deliver the twins three months early in a bid to save their lives.

Lewington family
University Hospital, Coventry

The twins were named Noah and William spent three months being cared for on the Neonatal Unit at University Hospital, Coventry. 

Their mum and dad were at the Neonatal Unit on Christmas morning to spend the day with the tiny tots before returning home to their Northamptonshire home.

However, this Christmas the twins will be at home in Corby, with Emma saying "we cannot wait" and thanking the team at University Hospital, Coventry saying they made their "Christmas wish come true".

Lewington family
University Hospital, Coventry

Severe accident: M1 Northamptonshire southbound

BBC Travel

M1 Northamptonshire southbound severe accident, between J17 for M45 Dunchurch and J16 for A45.

M1 Northamptonshire - One lane blocked and slow traffic on M1 southbound between J17, M45 (Dunchurch) and J16, A45 (Daventry), because of an accident earlier on and emergency repairs.

Check local traffic and travel reports for:

First ever police Twitter awards in Northampton tonight

Andrew Radd

BBC Radio Northampton

The first ever ceremony for the National Police Twitter Awards will be held in Northampton tonight.

There will be 16 awards altogether with categories including 'Best PSCO', 'Best Force' and 'Best Police Dog with it's own Twitter account'.

twitter
Getty Images

Supt Dennis Murray, from Northamptonshire Police, said the awards "recognise some of the best practice in social media".

He added officers from around the UK will be attending, even including The Royal Gibraltar Police.

Listen: North's concussions 'could lead to early dementia'

BBC Radio 5 live

A leading expert on head injuries in rugby union says George North is at a significantly increased risk of neurological problems, including anxiety and depression.

North was allowed to return to the field of play for club Northampton Saints despite losing consciousness in a match against Leicester this month.

Dr Barry O'Driscoll said: "The protocols are totally unfit for purpose. Time and time again they're putting brain damaged players back on the field."

The former world rugby medical adviser cited research conducted by the NFL which found that ex-American Football players were twenty times more likely to suffer from early dementia if they had a history of concussions.

O'Driscoll added he would "go to the end of the earth" to try and stop North from playing again if he were an amateur player.

Head injury expert says rugby's concussion protocols are 'totally unfit for purpose'.

Former Saints prop Corbisiero asks players to be 'stronger in voicing frustrations'

Chris Jones

BBC rugby reporter

The players' union must have a stronger voice in order to protect the welfare of rugby union players, says ex-England and Lions prop Alex Corbisiero.

Corbisiero, who played alongside George North at Northampton, was forced to retire at the age of 27 because of injury.  

Alex Corbisiero
Getty Images

"I can understand why some players are outraged and frustrated," he said about the report into George North's concussion which was published on Wednesday.

Corbisiero told BBC Radio 5 live that players had a big role to perform in tackling the issue through their union, the Rugby Players' Association (RPA).

He said: "There is a lot more than can be addressed and prioritised, and as a player group we need to be stronger voicing these frustrations.

"It's the players who are going to have to unite and make a shift to get a lot of these things done."  

What's your Christmas tradition? Going for a morning swim in the river?

Caroline Densley

BBC Radio Northampton Sport

Last night Northampton Town goalkeeper David Cornell revealed to me his family's Christmas tradition, which wasn't what I was expecting...

"My family usually go in the river on Chritmas morning, so I might do a couple of lengths across the river," the 25-year-old told me.

David Cornell
Getty Images

Cornell said that it "gets the heart rate up" and that they "do it for charity".

But he'll be cold because Cornell also told me he'll be shaving off his substantial beard today - "because the Mrs hates it".

Weather: Wet and very windy this evening

Georgina Burnett

BBC Weather

It will be breezy but dry this morning with sunny spells. However, the wind will increase during the afternoon and heavy rain and strong gusty winds will sweep in later, bringing difficult driving conditions during rush hour with a high of 10C (50F).

There are more details on the BBC Weather website.

Welcome back

Pete Cooper

BBC Local Live

Good morning.

It's only two days until Christmas and like the busy little elves getting Santa's presents ready we'll be bringing you all the news, weather, sport and travel you need.

We'll have the build up Northampton Saints game against Sale tonight and a full festive weather forecast shortly.

If you want to get in touch then please email us or head to twitter.

Severe disruption: M1 Northamptonshire northbound

BBC Travel

M1 Northamptonshire northbound severe disruption, between J16 for A45 and J17 for M45 Dunchurch.

M1 Northamptonshire - Broken down lorry on M1 northbound between J16, A45 (Northampton West) and J17, M45 (Dunchurch).

Check local traffic and travel reports for:

Alex Corbisiero

Chris Jones

BBC Radio 5 live rugby reporter

The players' union must have a stronger voice in order to protect the welfare of rugby union players, says ex-England prop Alex Corbisiero.

Read more

That's it from us today

That's it from us today.

Tomorrow there will be plenty of Christmas things to bring you and we'll be building up to Northampton Saints' crucial game in rugby's Premiership against Sale.

I'll leave you with this picture of the sunset at Upton from 'oberheimer' on Twitter, who notes the days are getting longer.

We'll see you tomorrow from 08:00.

upton
@oberheimer

From the archive: Behind-the-scenes with the Saints medical team

James Burridge

BBC Look East

The Northampton Saints medical team have been in the news ever since George North hit the ground three weeks ago against Leicester.

A concussion review panel concluded that the 24-year-old should not have returned to the field of play after he fell in a mid-air tackle.

However, the report said the medical team had North's welfare at the centre of their actions and the Saints have given them their full backing.

In 2014 I took a closer look at the work of the medical staff at Northampton Saints. I was given exclusive access and saw the immediate reaction of a Saints physio during an "A" game, and then the follow-up medical care during the week.

The team that fixes rugby players

Severe accident: A45 Northamptonshire both ways

BBC Travel

A45 Northamptonshire both ways severe accident, at A5001 Crown Way.

A45 Northamptonshire - One lane blocked and queuing traffic on A45 in Rushden at Skew Bridge, because of an accident and recovery work.

Check local traffic and travel reports for:

Watch: 'No-hoper' Foinavon wins 1967 Grand National

BBC Sport

Foinavon, a 100-1 outsider ridden by John Buckingham, who has died aged 76, wins the 1967 Grand National after a massive pile-up at the 23rd fence.  

John Buckingham: Foinavon's famous 1967 Grand National win

John Buckingham has 'indelible place in racing history'

Cornelius Lysaght

BBC horse racing correspondent

John Buckingham, who lived in Chipping Warden and has died aged 76, might not have been the best-known jump jockey of modern times, but unlike many of his higher-profile contemporaries he has an indelible place in racing history.

John Buckingham
Getty Images

Foinavon really was a complete no-hoper in the 1967 Grand National, and was so far behind when the melee took place that Buckingham was able to steer past the incident, and go so far clear that they never caught up.

It was quite likely the most dramatic staging in the race's history - at, ironically, the smallest fence on the track, later renamed Foinavon - and even to this day, a regular racecourse refrain is that such and such is "the biggest shock since Foinavon".

Night shelter delays 'a shame', says nearby church

Yesterday we brought you news of delays to the opening of a new night shelter for homeless people in Northampton.

The borough council said delays in opening the old British Rail Sports and Social Club was down to a lack of volunteers.

However, Father Oliver Coss from All Saints' Church said if he had known he "could have done something to help".

rail club
Google

Fr Coss said it was a "real shame" the shelter wasn't going to open until next month. 

Speaking to us yesterday, Stephen Hibbert, the Northampton borough councillor responsible for housing, said: "The plan always was that if the severe weather protocol came in [three nights of below zero temperatures] then we could open this temporarily. As it is, we hope to open it permanently in January."

Armed officers

Armed police are patrolling "busy and crowded places" in the East Midlands following the Berlin lorry attack.

Read more

Local paper round-up: Tree affects TV signal and ice cream parlour closes

Pete Cooper

BBC Local Live

Elsewhere in Northamptonshire:

  • The Northampton Chronicle & Echo reports that a couple who were among the first to move into Northampton's Eastern District say that trees planted as saplings there more than 40 years ago are now so massive they block out the TV signal
  • An ice cream parlour that served more than 100,000 scoops of the sweet treat in its first year has closed, reports the Northamptonshire Telegraph

George North: 'Rugby has lost its marbles', 'condemnation' for authorities, say the papers

Pete Cooper

BBC Local Live

Writing in the Guardian, rugby union correspondent Robert Kitson hasn't been mincing his words.

Regarding the George North situation, where Saints avoided sanction for allowing the Welsh star to play on against Leicester despite gaining a head injury, he said: "Rugby union, just at the moment, has lost its marbles".

He continues: "At a time when player welfare is meant to be twinkling at the top of everyone's tree, the game is in danger of sliding back into the self-policing dark ages."

George North
Getty Images

Meanwhile, The Daily Telegraph says "rugby's authorities have been roundly condemned for brushing aside player welfare concerns", with the Daily Mail writing that welfare concerns were being "ignored".

Northampton Saints have defended the action of their medics, saying they followed all guidance regarding head injury assessment.