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  1. Updates on Friday 20 May 2016
  2. News, sport, travel and weather updates to resume at 08:00 on Monday

Live Reporting

By Alex Seftel

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Our live coverage across the day

Live updates for Shropshire have finished for the day but we'll be back from 08:00 Monday with the latest news, sport, travel and weather. 

Not too many surprises on Shrewsbury Town's retained list

Mark Elliott

Shrewsbury Town summariser, BBC Shropshire

Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro lacks the goals to match his work rate, while questions remain over the application shown by Jermaine Grandison, whose talent is obvious. 

Attention now turns to those offered new deals - will Micky Mellon (pictured) be able to keep the likes of goalkeeper Jayson Leutwiler and defender Nat Knight-Percival - who are likely to attract interest from other clubs?

Micky Mellon
Getty Images

Shrewsbury look certain to try and offload the likes of Tyrone Barnett and James Collins - that’ll leave them needing to recruit players numbering in double figures.

Shropshire air base delighted to 'secure its future'

The future of RAF Shawbury will be "secure" for at least another 17 years, following the signing of a £1.1bn contract, the base says.

The Ministry of Defence says the deal will secure the 1,200 jobs there, and bring new helicopters and simulators to the base.

Prince William and Prince Harry graduating from helicopter training at RAF Shawbury

It should see many more would-be pilots follow in Prince William and Prince Harry's footsteps in training at the north Shropshire base. 

It continues the world-leading elements of the training that we deliver here - we'll see a new aircraft arriving at the base - it'll bring in state-of-the-art structure."

Group Captain Jason AppletonRAF Shawbury

Table tennis pensioner not giving up the bat

A Shropshire table tennis player insists he has no plans to retire - despite still playing competitively at 76!

Brian Suckley from Pant plays regularly in the Oswestry League - and says the sport keeps him mentally and physically fit.

Brian Suckley

He also coaches young players and was recognised for his efforts and longevity at the recent Oswestry Sports Awards.  

Watch: Weekend weather forecast for the West Midlands

Rebecca Wood

BBC Weather

A few showers are working their way in this evening, with wind blowing more rain through this weekend.

Headlines: Good news for RAF Shawbury; old Ludlow mill prepares to generate electricity

Alex Seftel

BBC Local Live

As we head into the evening, here are the top stories for Shropshire:

- RAF Shawbury celebrating after MoD investment secures its future  

- Ludlow preparing to switch on its hydro-electric archimedes screw at the site of the old Ludford corn-mill this evening

- Shrewsbury Town FC announce the release of seven players including striker Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro

Air Ambulance celebrates 25th anniversary

The Midlands Air Ambulance charity is celebrating 25 years with a garden party at Hagley Hall, over the Worcestershire border this afternoon.

View more on twitter

Shrewsbury Town release seven players

James Bond

Sports Producer, BBC Shropshire

It's that time of the year when our football clubs announce who they're keeping, and who'll be moving on. 

Shrewsbury Town have offered six out-of-contract players new deals, but seven are being released. 

Nat Knight-Percival

Those Shrewsbury want to stay include Nat Knight-Percival (pictured), Junior Brown, James Wesolowski, and both their first-team-squad goalkeepers. 

Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro, Mickey Demetriou, Elliot Grandin, Jermaine Grandison, Scott Vernon, Jordan Clark, James Caton are all leaving.  

Ludlow's hydro-electric project ready for big switch on

The Hydro Co-Operative in Ludlow is expected to start generating electricity from its turbine on the River Teme this evening. 

An Archimedes Screw, that turns as water falls down it, has been installed near the old Ludford corn mill as part of the £400,000 project.

Ludlow Hydro Co-Operative

The turbine, pictured above during construction by the newly reopened Ludford Bridge, will officially be switched on at 18:30.

Patients 'could suffer' as NHS trusts bust budgets

Nick Triggle

Health Correspondent

Patient care could start to suffer after hospitals and other NHS trusts in England overspent by a record £2.45bn last year, experts are warning.

The unprecedented deficit for 2015-16 - triple what was recorded the year before - is largely a result of hospitals busting their budgets.


They will now need to use extra money they are being given this year to bail themselves out.

Hospital chiefs warned that may lead to longer waiting times and poorer care.

Air ambulance service launches temporary helipad scheme in Shropshire

Elaine Muir

Journalist, BBC Shropshire

Midlands Air Ambulance is setting up temporary helipads manned by volunteers to allow them to carry out more emergency flights after dark.

Community volunteers are being recruited to turn on lights at designated landing spots, which will help guide the helicopter's pilot.

The scheme is called Community Emergency Landing Light Support (Cells) and there are four sites ready to go including this one in Bridgnorth - similar ones are set up in Bishop's Castle, Ludlow and Shobdon, in Herefordshire.

The charity says it hopes to introduce one in Tilstock soon.

Headlines: MoD announces investment in RAF Shawbury; helipad sites up and running

Faith Page

Newsreader, BBC Shropshire

- £1bn government defence deal bringing major investment to RAF Shawbury

- Three community-run temporary helipad sites have gone live in South Shropshire

- Urgently needed repairs to be carried out at Shrewsbury Abbey, thanks to lottery funding

Watch: View from the top of soon-to-be-restored Shrewsbury Abbey

Richard Tisdale

Reporter, BBC Shropshire

The abbey in Shrewsbury is to undergo £250,000 restoration work, thanks to a Heritage Lottery grant.

It's currently undergoing a survey to examine the extent of the damage, caused by years of weathering.

Warning: There is no commentary on this video

The abbey's architect has been giving me a look from its roof, as they survey repairs that need to be carried out.

Comedian Jo Brand wades into fight for Ludlow Library

Shropshire Star

She’s not known for mincing her words - and today comedian Jo Brand waded into the fight to save Ludlow Library from closure.

Jo Brand
Shropshire Star

Watch: Weather forecast for West Midlands

Lucy Martin

BBC Weather

Skies will tend to cloud over during the afternoon, with rain arriving from the south west later.  

Highs of 16C (61F).

RAF Shawbury future secure until 2033

The deal is expected to secure the future of RAF Shawbury until at least 2033.

Currently, the base provides basic helicopter training for all armed services - Princes William and Harry graduated from there in 2009.

The deal announced by the Ministry of Defence today will see prospective pilots trained to fly aircraft such as the Apache, Chinook, Merlin and Wildcat. 

Apache helicopter

Shawbury base to benefit from £1.1bn government helicopter deal

Alex Seftel

BBC Local Live

The Ministry of Defence has announced a new helicopter training contract, which includes investment at RAF Shawbury. 

It's revealed a deal with training company Ascent, which will mean new aircraft and ground-based equipment at the north Shropshire base.

RAF Shawbury

The Minister of State for Defence Procurement and Ludlow MP Philip Dunne says it will lead to "world class training across the board".  

Supported by our rising Defence budget, which went up for the first time in six years in March 2016, these contracts will ensure that the UK continues to be a world leader in military flying training."

Philip DunneMinister of State for Defence Procurement and Ludlow MP

On Midlands Today this lunchtime: Amateurs set for Shakespeare highlight

Ben Sidwell

BBC Midlands Today

Treading the boards at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford is something many actors can only dream of. 

The group of actors rehearsing

But tonight it's becoming reality for a group of amateurs - I've been to meet them and see my report on Midlands Today this lunchtime from 13:30

Bridgnorth getting in the mood for annual jazz festival

A three-day jazz festival gets under way in Bridgnorth this evening. 

Performances are taking place at seven venues this weekend including The Down Inn and the Falcon Hotel.   

Tim Lord, Mark Carter and Tina May from Bridgnorth Jazz Festival

People are already gearing up for it in the town, including the organiser Tim Lord, local wine shop owner Mark Carter, and jazz singer Tina May, who is headlining the festival.

End-of-term students risk missing referendum vote

Judith Burns

Education reporter

University students believe the EU referendum is key to their future, but almost two-thirds do not know when it is, suggests research.

And a third of more than 2,000 students questioned feared being unable to get to their polling station on the day.

Polling station

The referendum, on 23 June, is outside term time, so many students will need to re-register at their home address, says the National Union of Students.

NUS vice-president Richard Brooks urged students "to think ahead".

More mental health patients sent hundreds of miles

Michael Buchanan

Social Affairs Correspondent, BBC News

Nearly 5,500 mental health patients in England had to travel out of their area last year because of a lack of hospital beds, new figures show.

Some patients had to travel nearly 300 miles, while one trust had to declare a major incident.

Science Photo Library

The figures, obtained through Freedom of Information requests, are 13% higher than last year.

Care Minister Alistair Burt said the problem was unacceptable and promised to stop it within five years.

Headlines: Air ambulance launches helipad scheme; surprise caused by Shifnal wallaby man

Here are some of the stories we'er looking at today:

- Volunteers are being recruited to run after-dark helipads for the Midlands Air Ambulance Service

- Breakdown rescue driver shocked to find a Shifnal man travelling with a wallaby in his passenger seat

- A former Coronation Street actor will be playing at a Shrewsbury festival this summer

Oswestry man jailed for three years for armed robbery of Corner Shop in Morda

Oswestry & Border Counties Advertizer

An Oswestry man was sentenced to three years in prison for an armed raid at a village store.  

Corner Shop, Morda
Oswestry and Bordes Counties Advertiser

Jump-start for Shifnal wallaby man

Alex Seftel

BBC Local Live

A recovery driver had a shock this morning when he found a man with a wallaby on the passenger seat. 

Zachary Hollinshead, from Shifnal, who works for a zoo near Wolverhampton, was on the way back from an event with five-month-old red-necked wallaby Matilda, when his ignition wouldn't start. 

Matilda, the wallaby

He admits it was a strange stop off for the AA, but that travelling with the animal is nothing unusual for him. 

We are having to hand rear her because her mum was ill... so when we broke down just by chance she was sitting on the front seat in her little pouch."

Zachary HollinsheadAnimal Handler, Wild Zoological Park

Football: Sadler determined to prove doubters wrong

Mark Elliott

Reporter, BBC Shropshire

Shrewsbury Town left back Mat Sadler wants to stay at the club and "prove people wrong".

Sadler signed for the Town last summer but endured plenty of criticism and time on the sidelines after inconsistent displays in the early part of the season.

But he's one of only a handful of players still contracted for next season and he says he knows that he "can do the job".

Mat Sadler

Lilleshall centre helps thousands of military soldiers recover

Alex Seftel

BBC Local Live

Volunteers at the Battle Back Centre in Lilleshall have been sharing their experiences with us for Mental Health Awareness Week. 

The centre helps people who've served in the armed forces recover from conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and return to civilian life.

Lyndon Chatting-Walters
Royal British Legion

Lyndon Chatting-Walters was badly injured by an explosive device in Afghanistan, eight years ago. 

The 25-year-old is now a coach in Lilleshall, and says the support there makes a noticeable difference to thousands of lives. 

People who come here with physical injuries may think there are things they can't do. From day one, you can see a huge improvement to everyone that comes here."

Lyndon Chatting-WaltersCoach, The Battle Back Centre

More than 2,000 take part in medical trials in Shropshire

The importance of clinical trials for new medical treatments is being highlighted today in Shropshire as part of International Clinical Trials Day. 

More than 2,000 patients were involved in clinical studies carried out by the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust over the last year.

Science Photo Library

The Trust has clinical studies open in 16 different specialities, including cancer, renal, cardiovascular and reproductive health. 

Ironbridge butcher thanked by the Palace for pork pie fit for the Queen

Shropshire Star

Here’s a butcher’s way to wish the Queen a happy birthday - with a giant pork pie.

Butcher and pie

Former actor-turned music presenter to play at Shrewsbury festival this summer

Sam Fleet

Journalist, BBC Shropshire

The Coronation Street and Red Dwarf star, now BBC 6 Music presenter, Craig Charles is bringing his popular Funk and Soul show to this year's Shrewsbury Fields Forever festival

Craig Charles

More than 100 acts, including The Happy Mondays and Dizzee Rascal, have already been booked. 

The organisers say July's line-up is the strongest yet.

Huge hospital overspend to be revealed

Nick Triggle

Health Correspondent

An unprecedented overspend by hospitals and other NHS trusts is expected to be announced later by health bosses.

The figures for England from the regulator, NHS Improvement, cover the 2015-16 year, which finished in March.


By December - the three-quarter mark - hospital, ambulance and mental health trusts were already £2.2bn in the red, with the figure expected to have risen.

Overspending on agency staff has been highlighted as a major problem, as well as rising demand for services.

Former pupils and staff say goodbye to Wellington school

More than 500 former pupils and staff have been gathering at Charlton School in Wellington for the last time.

After 54 years, the school is closing its doors for good at the end of the month. 

Charlton School closing after 54 years

Current pupils will be moving up the road to a brand new purpose-built site. 

To commemorate, they've held get-togethers at the old school and have been astonished at the number of people who have returned to reminisce before the site is demolished in July.

Headlines: Parents take action over school transport cuts; new air ambulance helipad scheme

- Parents in Oswestry are launching a legal challenge after being told transport fees for children will quadruple

- Temporary helipads are being introduced to Shropshire so air ambulances can carry out night operations

- Former pupils and staff gather to say goodbye to a Wellington school before it closes

AFC Telford yet to decide on future structure

Mark Elliott

Reporter, BBC Shropshire

AFC Telford United will continue to discuss how to structure the club at boardroom level before deciding whether to appoint a replacement for outgoing Managing Director Lee Carter.

The discussions relate to internal structure only, not outside investment or a change in the ownership model and no announcement will be made until next Friday at the earliest.

AFC Telford
BBC Sport

Abbey to undergo £250,000 restoration

Mark Elliott

Reporter, BBC Shropshire

Shrewsbury's Abbey church to is to undergo a £250,000 restoration, thanks to a Heritage Lottery grant. 

Surveyors are assessing damage caused by years of weathering, and work is expected to start next year. 


The stonework is very eroded underneath the capping stones, leaving some very big, heavy lumps of stone looking a little bit precarious."

Mark NewallArchitect

Cuts could force kids out of border school

Mark Elliott

Reporter, BBC Shropshire

Dozens of parents in Oswestry say their children face changing schools because of cuts to subsidised bus travel to one in Wales. 

They're among those issuing a legal challenge against Powys County Council - which ruled Llanfyllin High School couldn't subsidise transport for pupils outside the area.

Llanfyllin High School

We're paying £240 a year at the moment but there's no way I can afford to go up to £800. I think she would be devastated [to leave]."

Ruth EvansMum of one of the students

Powys County Council says it wants to make sure school budgets are spent in the classroom, not buses. It says an independent review into this case is nearing completion.

Headlines: Abbey to undergo huge restoration; dozens of children face changing schools

Mark Elliott

Reporter, BBC Shropshire

- Shrewsbury's Abbey is to undergo a £250,000 restoration, thanks to a Heritage Lottery grant

- Dozens of parents in Oswestry say their children face changing schools because of cuts to to subsidised travel to a school over the border in Wales

- A three-day jazz festival gets under way in Bridgnorth this evening

Watch: Latest weather for the West Midlands

Lucy Martin

BBC Weather

A dry start with showers and bright spells later.

Max Temp: 17C (63F).