Little Rissington

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Funeral of Nell Gifford to be held later at Gloucester Cathedral

Nell Gifford
Giffords Circus

The funeral of Nell Gifford, the co-founder of one of the UK's best-known traditional travelling circuses, is set to be held later today at Gloucester Cathedral.

Nell Gifford, who had breast cancer, died on 9 December, surrounded by friends and family.

Ms Gifford, a mother of two, told the BBC when she was undergoing chemotherapy last month that the circus gave her "a reason to live".

She had fought breast cancer on three separate occasions before the disease advanced to her bones and lymph nodes.

Flood-hit pub access road now under water

The Yew Tree Inn at Chaceley near Gloucester only reopened last weekend after it flooded.

The flooded road
The only access road to the pub has flooded

A pub that was shut for almost two months due to flooding, that only reopened last week, has been cut off due to a flooded road.

The Yew Tree Inn at Chaceley near Gloucester was closed at the end of October after floodwater from the neighbouring River Seven got inside.

It reopened last Tuesday but now the only access road has flooded meaning customers cannot reach it. Landlord Peter Bartlett said he had lost "thousands of pounds" in income.

The Yew Tree pub
Geograph/Philip Halling
The Yew Tree pub

Mr Bartlett said the water had spilled over the banks of the river, and was two feet (60 cm) deep on the road.

He said the Environment Agency was slow to react to him reporting a flood gate that had become stuck last week, although "nothing could have stopped the water coming over the banks".

"It makes it very difficult financially, with all the Christmas parties we've had to cancel."

He added he would also "probably have to cancel" 80 people who had booked to have their Christmas dinner at the pub of Christmas Day.

The pub's Facebook page stated the flood in November was the 32nd time water had got inside the pub in the past 13 years.

The BBC has asked for a comment from the Environment Agency.

Council tax set to rise in Gloucestershire by almost 4 per cent

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Council tax is set to rise in Gloucestershire by 3.99 per cent, according to new plans being drawn up by the county council.

The authority wants to increase the bill residents pay to raise an extra £12.6million for services such as adult social care.

In total these changes will result in an increase of under £1 per week for the average Band D taxpayer. More than £70m for schools and children and family services, including £20m towards a £30m new secondary school in Cheltenham, £6.5m for a new special school in Brockworth and £3.2m towards the expansion of The Cotswold School.

The draft budget for next year shows the county council’s money pot will be increased by £31m, totalling £468m.

An initial £1m will be spent to help tackle climate change, and an additional £12.9m will go towards protecting the county’s vulnerable children.

The county council will also make £9.58m in cuts, including reducing the cost of the adult single programme which supports the strategic direction of keeping people safe and independence, ideally within their own home.

Council leader Mark Hawthorne said the council tax rates will still be “one of the lowest levels in any county”.

The authority’s cabinet is expected to approve the budget this Friday and full council will vote to give final approval in early 2020.

Candidate received death threat and "consistent abuse" on social media

Max Wilkinson

The Lib Dem candidate for Cheltenham has revealed he received a death threat ahead of the general election.

Max Wilkinson said he also received "threats of violence" and "consistent abuse on social media".

He said he felt "threatened" but was "thick skinned" and he did not like to let such incidents affect him.

"I was more concerned about the impact it might have on other people in the campaign, and my partner who was very shaken up," he said.

The Labour candidate for Gloucester, Fran Boait, said one of her canvassers was threatened with being shot, and the Green candidate for Stroud, Molly Scott-Cato, said she had also received abuse.

In relation to the death threat on Mr Wilkinson Gloucestershire Police said a man in his 20s was arrested "on suspicion of sending a communication which conveys a threatening message" and he received a caution.

The force said it received a total of six reports of incidents in the county involving election candidates "and these involved abuse and harassment of candidates or their canvassers".

Mr Wilkinson lost out to Conservative Alex Chalk by 981 votes.

'Bank should be moved to help stop flooding'

Watch: Jeremy Chamberlayne's idea to prevent flooding

There are calls for the management of the River Severn near Gloucester to be taken away from the Environment Agency.

Jeremy Chamberlayne, a farmer from Maisemore who knows the area well, wants a local group to take over the responsibility.

The area often floods, and was under water again recently.

Mr Chamberlayne said one solution would be to move certain flood defences.

Meeting to discuss making pilot traffic ban on Boots Corner permanent

Boots corner

A move to make Cheltenham’s pilot traffic ban on Boots Corner permanently closed to unauthorised vehicles will hit its second-last hurdle today.

Gloucestershire County Council’s traffic regulation committee are meeting to either back the proposal or fully re-open the high street through-route.

The temporary closure began on June 28, 2018, as part of a Cheltenham Borough Council-led scheme to improve the town centre and only exempt vehicles, such as buses and taxis, can pass through.

If the committee supports the proposal to make the closure permanent, the recommendation will be passed onto Gloucestershire County Council’s cabinet on 20 December.

General election 2019: What questions do you have?


The election results are in but what else do you want to know?

Do you still have questions about the general election?

It could be a query over what happens next or an issue close to your heart.

To submit your questions - click here.

West election results at 6am

Nearly all the results from constituencies across the West are in, with just Cheltenham still to come.

  • A recount is taking place in Cheltenham - bundles of votes have been laid out next to each other as the result appears too close to call
  • John Glen has been re-elected as the Conservative MP for Salisbury.
  • David Warburton has been re-elected as the Conservative MP for Somerton and Frome
  • Marcus Fysh has been re-elected as Conservative MP for Yeovil
  • There have been no changes to the political landscape of Bristol. Labour held on to inner Bristol with wins for Kerry McCarthy in Bristol East, Darren Jones in Bristol North West, Karin Smyth in Bristol South, and Thangam Debbonaire in Bristol West.
  • For the Tories, the former Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox was returned to Somerset North
  • Jack Lopresti, Luke Hall, and Chris Skidmore held on to Filton & Bradley Stoke,Thornbury & Yate, and Kingswood.
  • The Conservatives have held Swindon's two seats with increased majorities. Justin Tomlinson has been re-elected as the MP for Swindon North; while Robert Buckland, who is justice secretary, held Swindon South.
  • Conservative Michele Donelan was re-elected in Chippenham, James Gray held on to Wiltshire North, Andrew Murrison was re-elected for Wiltshire South West

Latest election roundup: Six seats declared so far

  • Swindon North was the first to declare with Conservative Justin Tomlinson keeping his seat
  • Swindon South was also held by the Tories, with Justice Secretary Robert Buckland re-elected
  • Another Tory hold came in Gloucester for Richard Graham
  • Bath has been held by Liberal Democrat Wera Hobhouse
  • Stroud saw a loss for Labour with David Drew losing his seat to Siobhan Baillie of the Conservatives
  • In the Forest of Dean, Mark Harper held his seat for the Tories

18th century frost fair keepsakes up for auction

18 century frost fair keepsake
Dominic Winter Auctioneers

Two scraps of paper which were sold at a River Thames frost fair in 1740 are to go under the hammer today.

The River Thames used to freeze over during winters from the 16th to the 19th century, because the old London Bridge had narrow arches which slowed the flow of the water.

Each paper souvenir is expected to reach £1,500 when they are sold at Dominic Winter Auctioneers later today.

18 century frost fair keepsake
Dominic Winter Auctioneers

Lib Dem placards ripped and vandalised in Cheltenham

Lib Dem placards
Dinah Jefferies

Placards supporting the Liberal Democrat candidate in Cheltenham have been ripped down and damaged.

The placards supporting Max Wilkinson were discovered broken and discarded on the pavement along several roads and in the river on Sunday morning.

Streets where it occurred included Hales Road and Old Bath Bath Road. Mr Wilkinson's office said the damaged placards would be replaced and had informed the returning officer as it was an election-related issue.

Campaign signs have also been targeted in Somerset, where two Liberal Democrat signs were set alight in Wellington, and the Conservative party candidate in Yeovil, Marcus Fysh, tweeted a photograph appearing to show one of his signs ripped into pieces.

A spokeswoman from the candidate's office added it would be up to the returning officer to escalate the vandalism to the police.

Local resident Dinah Jefferies said she discovered the damage while out walking on Sunday morning.

"We noticed they were all on the ground or torn to bits. It seems to have been a systematic thing."

Ms Jefferies said she had been told by neighbours similar incidents had happened in other parts of the town, including Keynsham Road and Sandford Park.

Mr Wilkinson's office said a number of placards had been "vandalised or damaged, some repeatedly".

"This happens every election, to every party".

Runner awarded for ridding canal of unwanted plant

Robin Jones
WWT Slimbridge

A runner has been given an award for helping to rid the banks of a section of canal of an invasive plant while jogging on his daily lunch breaks.

Robin Jones has pulled up 5,709 Himalayan Balsams along the Gloucester to Sharpness since he began in April.

His efforts have been rewarded with an award from the Canal and River Trust.

The plant was introduced to the UK in the early 19th century and spreads "like wildfire".

It destroys native species around it by releasing poison. Mr Jones, who works at the nearby Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) at Slimbridge, said he began targeting the plant after fears were raised that it would eventually spread to the nature reserve.

Himalayan Balsam
Getty Images

"I wouldn't go for lunchtime runs as half as much as if I didn't think there was balsam to be stopped. It's keeping me fit.

"The plant's small seeds are spread by an explosive head which can project them several metres away, meaning they spread like wildfire.

"I knew I had to take action before it ended up in the grounds of Slimbridge and thankfully it's paid off."

Sheep recruited to help rare bat species

Hebridean sheep
Getty Images

A flock of sheep is to be introduced to an area of the Forest of Dean in an attempt to help a rare species of bat.

Lesser horseshoe bats that roost at Stenders Quarry near Mitcheldean need wide open spaces to forage for food.

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust will graze Hebridean sheep at its nature reserve in order to stop trees and shrubs from growing.

Tap here to read the full story.

Three schools closed due to power cut

More than 200 properties in Cheltenham are currently without power, with the outage causing three school closures.

Belmont School and Bettridge School, both on Warden Hill Road, have confirmed they will not be open today.

Bournside School, also on Warden Hill Road, had planned to open later than usual at 11:00 GMT, but has now taken the decision to close for the day.

The incident, affecting the GL51 post code area, was reported shortly after 07:20 GMT with Western Power Distribution estimating the issue will be resolved by about 10:30 GMT.