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Plasma now available on Wiltshire's air ambulance

Wiltshire Air Ambulance paramedics Emma Thompson and Paul Rock with blood products including the plasma
Wiltshire Air Ambulance
Wiltshire Air Ambulance paramedics Emma Thompson and Paul Rock with blood products including the plasma

Wiltshire Air Ambulance says it has begun carrying blood plasma for the first time from today.

Both helicopters and Rapid Response cars are already able to carry red blood cells - leading to 72 patients receiving blood transfusions on the way to hospital since 2015, they say.

Plasma contains essential clotting factors to help stop bleeding. It is freeze dried and in powder form in a glass vial.

Paramedics mix it with water to form a yellow liquid before it is given intravenously to critically ill patients in an emergency.

Ben Abbott, critical care paramedic and operations officer at Wiltshire Air Ambulance, said: “We believe this will improve their chances of reaching hospital alive in order for them to receive further emergency treatment."

Richard Miller, clinical services and ground base manager at Wiltshire Air Ambulance, said: "Having blood products on board our aircraft and Rapid Response Vehicles is only possible thanks to the kind donations our charity receives from the community, businesses and grant-making trusts to run our vital service.”

Volunteer tree planting effort for endangered wildlife

A hedge sparrow
A hedge sparrow

Volunteers will be out planting more than 3,000 hedges and trees today, as part of conservation work on farms in Wiltshire.

The hedges will form a wildlife corridor for endangered species including the tree sparrow, whose numbers have plummeted since the 1970s.

The work is part of a conservation project started by a group of 31 farmers in an area of the Marlborough Downs.

Family pay tribute to "wonderful woman" killed in crash

Photo of Sue Gainey
Family photo handout

The "devastated" family of a cyclist killed in Chippenham this week have paid tribute to “the most family orientated person you could meet”.

Sue Gainey, 61, died following a collision with a car in Hungerdown Lane on Tuesday.

A statement released today by her family said Mrs Gainey “would do absolutely anything for anybody – as long as her family was happy, Sue was happy”.

They said Mrs Gainey loved her pushbike and they took comfort from knowing that she was doing what she loved when she died. They also thanked those who helped her in her final moments. “We’ve been overwhelmed with messages from friends and family, and we are really grateful to everybody who has offered their support – we hope everyone continues to remember Sue as the smiley, kind and caring lady that she was. “We are devastated to have lost her so suddenly and will continue to support each other through the difficult days, weeks and months ahead.”

'NHS is a factor in my voting decision'

Matt Nicholson runs his own company in Old Town
Matt Nicholson runs his own company in Old Town

"People have two reactions when you say you're from Swindon," says Matt Nicholson. "They either say 'where is that?' or give you a funny look because Swindon has in the past had a reputation as not being the best place to live."

Matt, who moved to the town five years ago and now runs his own business - Monument Promotions - has the opposite view and says he is now an 'advocate for Swindon'.

"I came here as a student and now I run my own business so Swindon obviously provides enough economy and opportunity," says Matt, 26.

"There’s a feeling of house prices going up in the area and increasingly better links to London. It feels like a good place to be."

Matt acknowledges the closure of the Honda factory does hang over the town at the moment, but can see an upside.

"It (the closure) is not just affecting a few people it's affecting a few thousand people," said Matt. "But businesses in Swindon can take advantage because there are going to be a lot of people looking for work."

When it comes to December's election, Matt says running his own business is often an all-consuming challenge, but he will be studying the policies of the parties carefully before he votes.

"I was brought up very much Labour by my parents. That’s my roots and that’s what makes sense to me but I want to make a more informed decision before voting, I will look a lot more into it - I’d say I’m in between at the moment.

"I do think a lot of what the Conservatives are saying is good because it will help small businesses as well as big businesses but the fear, and I don’t know how much of this is propaganda, is that (voting Conservative) would lead to losing the NHS and the NHS has been very good to me."

There's also a large Donald Trump-shaped hole in Matt's mental calculations.

"I think what’s happened in America is a big reminder that your vote does matter," he said.

'I wish politicians would look at the bigger picture'

Naomi Smith
Naomi Smith
Naomi Smith

Naomi Smith, 19, is voting in only her second general election. She already knows she will be voting for Labour but thinks all the parties should pull together more.

"I wish the politicians would look at the bigger picture. There seems to be so much more disruption and conflict this time. They should be working together to make things better for everyone," she said.

There have been huge drives to make sure everyone who is eligible to vote turns out on December 12th and Naomi says most of her peers have got the message,

"Some of my friends don't care or don't know what's going on but I would say the vast majority of them will vote," she said.

'I think people are shunning national chains'

Kris Talikowski runs Core in Swindon's Old Town
Kris Talikowski runs Core in Swindon's Old Town

Kris Talikowski set up Core, a healthfood café and now a zero plastic shopping point, in Old Town seven years ago.

Compared to some traders in the town centre, he’s optimistic about Swindon’s future.

“Old Town is mostly local independents. We still attract a good audience because I think people are shunning national chains.

“This area is the retail gem of Swindon. It’s got a really good demographic of people who really care about what they’re buying.”

Kris sits on the board of the Old Town Business Association, which keeps him busy as it represents more than 300 businesses in the area.

Cyclist hit by car in Chippenham

Hungerdown Lane at the junction of Ladyfield Road
The collision happened on Hungerdown Lane at the junction with Ladyfield Road

A cyclist has been hit by a car in Chippenham earlier this morning.

Wiltshire Police said a woman who is in her 60s was hit on Hungerdown Lane at the junction with Ladyfield Road just after 6:15am.

The road has been closed between the roundabout by the Pheasant pub and the Sheldon Road junction.

Long queues have built up through the town and drivers are being advised to seek alternative routes as the road is likely to remain closed for some time.

Museums and heritage locations celebrate 25 years of national lottery

Image of a person walking past a sign for a national lottery play now point
PA Media

Museums and heritage locations across Wiltshire are joining in celebrations to mark 25 years since the start of the National Lottery.

The first draw took place on Saturday 19th November 1994.

Since then, a number of people from Wiltshire have won the lottery and become millionaires.

Hundreds of charitable causes in Wiltshire have also received grants from the national lottery.

As part of the celebrations, Stonehenge, the Salisbury museum and the Wiltshire museum in Devizes will be handing out gifts to lucky visitors.

Plans to merge special needs schools move a step closer

Image of pupil at school with clasped hands at a table and school pencils

Plans to merge three special needs schools in Wiltshire are expected to move a step closer today.

Wiltshire Council wants to introduce a single leadership team for Rowdeford at Rowde near Devizes, St Nicholas in Chippenham and Larkrise in Trowbridge.

It will see the three schools work closer together ahead of a new special school being built at Rowde with space for 400 students.

The plan will see St Nicholas and Larkrise remain open in the short term.

However, their long term futures remain unclear.

Man found dead at garage named

JB Autos in Marshgate Industrial Estate

A man who was found dead at a garage in Swindon has been named.

Gary Gray, 38, of Beverley, Toothill, died after staff at JB Autos, Stratton Road, Swindon arrived for work on Friday morning.

He was found under a vehicle in the yard having unlawfully entered the site.

Mr Gray’s death is not being treated as suspicious and a file will now be prepared on behalf of the coroner for Wiltshire.

New trains for South Western Railway delayed

South Western Railway train
PA Media

New trains for South Western Railway have been delayed.

They had been due to start carrying passengers from next month, but that's not going to happen, because the train operator's yet to receive even one, for testing.

The first of the new trains is not now likely to appear until the middle of next year, with deliveries taking a further year to complete.

Police appeal after man lost an ear

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Police were called to Penhill in Wiltshire following reports of a man with a severed ear.

A man in his 30s was found in Aldbourne Close just before 5am on Sunday and was taken to hospital. He is expected to undergo surgery today.

Det Sgt Scott Anger, of Swindon CID, said: "We are at the very early stages of our investigation and are trying to ascertain the exact circumstances which led to this man suffering a severed ear.

"I'm sure that somebody will have information which could help - while we don't know exactly where this incident took place, we believe it was in or near an address in the Aldbourne Close area of Penhill."

Severe weather warning issued in south west

The Met Office has issued a severe weather warning for tomorrow evening, with 20-30mm of rain expected to fall within three to four hours.

The yellow warning for rain stretches from 17:00 GMT to 23:59 GMT and is likely to affect drivers during tomorrow evening's rush hour.

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South West unemployment lower than UK average

BBC Business News

South West unemployment figures

Some 2.6% of “economically active” people - those aged over 16 - in the South West of England were unemployed in the three months to September, latest figures show.

The figure is lower than the UK figure of 3.8%.

However, UK wage growth has slowed and the figures showed the biggest annual drop in job vacancies in nearly 10 years, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The ONS said this was down to falling numbers of people working in retail, after the collapse of several store chains and the implementation of shop closure programmes by other firms.

Armistice Day services are being held across the region today

Poppies at  Westminster cathedral
Getty Images

The 100th Armistice Day is being marked across the world today - with several services taking place at war memorials across the West.

Ceremonies will be taking place at 11am at places like Bath Abbey churchyard, Royal Victoria Park and the Radstock war memorial.

In Bristol, the annual service to remember rugby players who died in the First World War takes place at the Memorial Gates, and at Castle Park, there's a ceremony to remember the Sikh Soldiers who lost their lives in both World Wars and the Boer War.

Teenager to be sentenced for murdering Ellie Gould

Thomas Griffiths
Avon and Somerser police

An 18-year-old man from north Wiltshire is due to be sentenced today for killing a teenage girl from Calne.

Ellie Gould, a Year 12 pupil at Hardenhuish School in Chippenham, was stabbed by Thomas Griffiths at a house in Springfield Drive, Calne, Wiltshire on 3 May.

Lifting an order banning the naming of Griffiths, the judge described it as an "exceptionally grave crime".

Warning abnormal loads could cause delays on M4


Drivers in the Chippenham and Corsham areas are being warned about delays on the M4 and A350 roads, from this afternoon until the end of the month.

Wiltshire Police said an abnormal load will leave the M4 at J17, between 1pm and 2pm, and then travel along the A350 towards Chippenham - before travelling along the A4 to Westwells Road, Corsham.

This is one of a series of abnormal loads that will run either daily or on alternate days along the same route until the end of November.

Next phase of A303 Stonehenge survey to start

Getty Images

The next phase of survey work around the A303 at Stonehenge starts today.

It's all part of Highways England's proposed upgrade of the road between Amesbury and Berwick Down.

The ground investigation work is being done to prevent any delay in construction - if permission is given.

Drivers are being warned to expect delays.