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Lacock Abbey grounds opening from next week

Lacock Abbey

Lacock, in Wiltshire, is set to reopen from next week, but visitors will need to book their visit in advance.

The abbey grounds and car park will be available to visit for the first time since the start of the coronavirus lockdown.

The trust said it "can’t open everywhere at once" and all its houses will remain closed but it will be opening more places in the coming weeks.

'Mindless vandals' attack heritage railway

Heritage railway volunteers in Wiltshire say vandals have caused hundreds of pounds-worth of damage this week.

The vandalism was discovered by a member of the Swindon and Cricklade Railway at Taw Valley Holt in north Swindon.

Fencing has been knocked down and signage damaged.

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Michael Buble Bath concerts rescheduled for next year

Michael Buble
Reprise Records

Two concerts due to be held at the Royal Crescent in Bath starring Michael Buble have been rescheduled for next year.

All tickets are valid for the new dates on 16th and 17th July 2021.

Severe accident: M4 Wiltshire eastbound

BBC News Travel

M4 Wiltshire eastbound severe accident, from J17 for A350 to J16 for A3102 Swindon Road.

M4 Wiltshire - Stationary on M4 eastbound from J17, A350 (Chippenham) to J16, A3102 (Swindon West), because of an accident involving car earlier on, recovery work and emergency repairs.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Pottery gifts left around the city 'for those who find them'

Jasmine Ketibuah-Foley

Digital Journalist

Image of a ceramic piece, a round object that looks like the rings of a tree in varying colours of ochre
Richard Henderson

Hand-made ceramics are being left around Bristol as gifts to those who find them.

Avid potter, Richard Henderson, survived a brain tumour in 2018 that affected his speech.

For the last three years he has used the art form as a way to help him recover.

During the lockdown period he says he started going out on his daily walks and secretly leaving his ceramics for others to enjoy as well, because it made him "happy".

Image of Richard Henderson looking into the camera and smiling in his kitchen and wearing a blue and white striped t-shirt
Richard Henderson
A screenshot of a post from Mr Henderson's instagram page . A colourful ceramic mug is in the shot at the base of a tree.

The 45-year-old said pottery and his new project - leaving his work as gifts - has been helping him with his cognitive functionality and physical and social interactions.

The pots are left with a sticker giving the artist's Instagram name. He said "it's cool" and "nice" to see other people's pictures on Instagram when they find his ceramics.

Mr Henderson is hoping to get access to a pottery centre so that he can make more to give away before what he has runs out, but the current lockdown has made that hard.

Foodbank Neighbourhood Champions helping people in need

North Bristol Foodbank has created a Foodbank Neighbourhood Champions network to help people access essentials during the coronavirus outbreak.

The organisation brought the network together by connecting with people who have been helping their neighbours with food and donations.

A spokesperson said: "We have loved receiving donations from people who have arranged a collection on their street and regularly drop this off at our foodbank.

"If you are someone who has been coordinating collections of food or donations on your street we would love to connect with you."

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Severe accident: M4 Wiltshire eastbound

BBC News Travel

M4 Wiltshire eastbound severe accident, from J17 for A350 to J16 for A3102 Swindon Road.

M4 Wiltshire - Queues on M4 eastbound from J17, A350 (Chippenham) to J16, A3102 (Swindon West), because of an accident involving car earlier on. All lanes have been re-opened.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

England Rugby World Cup shirt auctioned for NHS

Emma Hallett

Digital Journalist

Joe and his shirt at RUH hospital sign
Joe Thomas

A physiotherapist raising money for the NHS is hoping a signed rugby England World Cup shirt, donated by England and Bath player Ruaridh McConnochie, will help him over the line.

Joe Thomas, 21, who works for Royal United Hospitals Bath, is raising money to buy a new end of life patient chair for a Covid ward at the RUH.

The specialist armchairs can transform into a bed for the relatives of end of life patients, enabling them to sleep next to their loved ones.

Joe, who is currently working on rotation at Chippenham Community Hospital, said: "Ruaridh has kindly donated a rare England Rugby World Cup 2019 match shirt signed by the whole team and authenticity letter, which is just an amazing prize.

"I'm hoping this England shirt will really help get a lot of money in to help buy the chair. We want to raise as much as we can...if we raise more than is needed for the chair, we will buy any other therapy equipment we can as well."

To be in with a chance of winning the shirt, Joe is asking for a minimum donation of £10 to his JustGiving fundraiser. The winner will then be chosen at random on 26 June.

Signed England shirt
Joe Thomas

👏 Family rings bells at clap for carers 👏

Jennifer Meierhans

BBC News

Leone Ward from Hinton Parva in Wiltshire had a go at "making a racket" with the church bells for their final clap for carers.

She said: "We have no experience, my kids are nine, seven and five. It was great fun and not very tuneful."

Leone Ward's family
Leone Ward

Airwaves virtual festival features KT Tunstall

We're just hours away from the start of BBC Radio Wiltshire's very own festival on the radio.

Airwaves will give you all the sounds and sensations of a big summer music gathering - but without having to leave your own home.

We've got headline sets from Scouting for Girls, KT Tunstall, Jack Savoretti and Gabrielle Aplin.

Catch all of the action on the BBC Sounds app or by following this link.

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Bath's dawn chorus celebrated by Springwatch

Sound recordist Gary Moore, from Bath, has been out enjoying the city's dawn chorus for the recent series of Springwatch.

Many people have reported a surge in birdsong since the lockdown began.

"Trying to learn birdsong is like trying to learn another language," he says.

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Severe accident: M5 Gloucestershire northbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Gloucestershire northbound severe accident, at J11A for A417 Gloucester.

M5 Gloucestershire - Temporary closure and stationary on M5 northbound at J11a, A417 (Gloucester), because of an accident.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Bathampton incident: From our reporter

Sharon Alcock

BBC News

The pub stands next to a weir at Bathampton on the eastern outskirts of the city of Bath.

The River Avon snakes past the Bathampton Mill pub which is a favourite spot for wild swimmers - but signs clearly show the dangers.

The weir goes across a wide stretch of river and fast currents lead from here towards the city centre.

There is also a platform where the River Avon ferry would normally pick up and drop off passengers.

But the route is now blocked by yellow and black tape.

On the opposite bank, the Old Mill Hotel gives access to the river above the weir.

Even after the incident there are people walking through the pub garden towards the bank.

I've been sat in this pub garden before and seen children and adults alike swimming in the stretch of river.

But this picturesque spot has now claimed two lives.

Tape at Bathampton Mills

Bathampton incident: video from the scene

There's a small police presence still there next to the Bathampton Mills pub.

You can see in our video that the entrance to the side is currently taped up.

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Bathampton incident: Photos from the scene

Our reporter Sharon Alcock is there - we'll have the latest shortly.

Several helicopters - including the coastguard and Great Western Air Ambulance - have landed at the site this evening.

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BreakingTwo casualties pulled from River Avon in Bath

Two casualties have been pulled from the River Avon in Bath, Avon Fire and Rescue say.

The incident happened late this afternoon near Toll Bridge Road close to Bathampton.

There is no update on the condition of the pair.

More as we get it.

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Online meeting to discuss future of 'Bristol’s cultural life'

Image of Colston Hall from the outside
Getty Images

Bristol MPs, artists and representatives from the music sector are due to meet online to discuss how to support the sector after the lockdown period.

Local MPs Thangam Debbonaire and Kerry McCarthy, who represent Bristol West and Bristol East, will be holding the public meeting which has now sold out of free tickets.

Due to happen tomorrow (29 May) at 10:00 GMT, the meeting is to be used as an opportunity to "discuss Bristol-wide solutions and ideas to put forward to government."

Thangam Debbonaire said: “When the lockdown ends, I want Bristol's cultural life to return to its energetic and creative former self, but the venues and organisations need support.

"[They] have been built up over decades and they enrich us in so many ways.

"If they are lost, our city will lose a big part of its personality.”

Film with poet marks city's journey to recovery from Covid-19

Bristol City Council has launched a film to "poignantly mark" the Covid-19 pandemic as they say the city begins it's "journey to recovery".

The short film includes a poem written and narrated by Bristol poet, Vanessa Kisuule, and beautiful images of the city under lockdown.

Bristol's mayor, Marvin Rees said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has not only created physical barriers between us, it has brought forward feelings of fear, uncertainty and isolation.

"This film acts as a reminder of the rich and varied communities and cultures that make Bristol so special, as we all stand together in the face of crisis.

He added: "It is that spirit that gives us hope for the future."

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'Morally wrong' to return homeless people to the streets

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Stephen Sumner

It would be “morally wrong” if rough sleepers housed in Bath and North East Somerset during the lockdown were sent back onto the streets, a local councillor has said.

Council leaders, charities and housing association, Curo, have been collaborating during the coronavirus crisis to house homeless people in the area.

BANES council worked with Julian House, DHI, the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership and the housing provider on a workable plan to get very vulnerable people off the street in a sustainable way, finding 40 bed spaces within days.

Their focus now is ensuring nobody returns or is new to being homesless, everyone gets the support they need to keep their accommodation, and there is no return to “business as usual”, the group have declared.

Homeless person with hot drink

Bath and North East Somerset Council deputy leader Richard Samuel said: “It’s inconceivable that we would simply put the rough sleepers back onto the streets. We will have to find them permanent accommodation.

“It would be morally completely wrong... For some rough sleepers it’s the first time they’ve had a permanent home.

“When you have a home it unlocks a lot of other things like access to employment.

“The problem is going to be there’s always incredible pressure on waiting lists to allocate housing. When you introduce 30 individuals who don’t score that as highly as families it’s difficult to find accommodation.”

Homeless person on street
Getty Images

Cecil Weir, the fundraising and PR director at Julian House, said: “All the clients housed are being given one-to-one support from Julian House support workers, assessing people’s immediate and longer term needs and, where possible, moving residents on into more sustainable, long term accommodation.

“This is one of the positives that has come out of this emergency – work that often takes weeks or months when supporting clients on the street is happening much quicker now that more accommodation has been made available.

“We have seen huge changes in people whose mental health has improved, drug use has reduced and complete abstinence has been achieved.

"We have seen particular differences in the lives of couples and women who have been living on the street on, and off, for many years.

"People have been able to think about their aspirations in the long term, not just surviving that day. It has been life saving.”

Severe disruption: A34 Oxfordshire southbound

BBC News Travel

A34 Oxfordshire southbound severe disruption, at A4130.

A34 Oxfordshire - A34 in Milton blocked and delays southbound at Milton Interchange, because of a police investigation.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

'Covid-19 snake' spotted in Wiltshire

Check out this 13m (42ft) long "Covid-19 snake" which has been spotted wiggling along a footpath in Devizes.

The snake, which is made up of hundreds of brightly painted rocks and pebbles, is on a path near Charter Close.

Every day it gets longer and longer as children bring back their hand painted rocks with messages of hope.

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Fire breaks out at industrial unit near Salisbury

Firefighters are tackling a blaze at an industrial unit in Chilmark near Salisbury.

Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue said the fire was "well established" but there was no-one in the building.

The service said it doesn't pose a risk to the wider public at the moment but local residents are being advised to keep doors and windows closed.

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15,000 GP video consultations in first weeks of coronavirus crisis

NHS uniform

Video-based GP appointments have helped thousands of patients in our region since the lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Bath and North East Somerset Clinical Commisisoning Group said practices across the Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire area carried out more than 15,000 video consultations during the first six weeks of the crisis.

Health bosses said new laptops had been supplied, and staff working from home had been able to securely access NHS and GP practice IT systems.

It has enabled video consultations to take place, prescriptions to be issued and patient records updated confidentially.

Dr Michael Marsh, South West Medical Director for NHS England and NHS Improvement, said: “This is one of a number of examples across the South West in which NHS organisations have worked closely together to ensure GPs and their colleagues have the technology to provide patient care through video appointments, while also having remote digital access to patient records.

Traffic order at A303 after near-misses

A temporary traffic order has been placed on the A303 near Stonehenge following reports of traffic issues and near-misses. The order prevents vehicles stopping on the verge of the A303 between Parkhouse roundabout and ends at Winterbourne Stoke in both directions.

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Barney Appleton, traffic management and road safety officer from the Wiltshire Police Road Safety Unit, said: “This temporary order has been put in place following a number of calls from members of the public since May 17 reporting concerns that several vehicles had stopped on the grass verge of the A303, with occupants walking along the carriageway principally to photograph Stonehenge."This was causing HGV’s and other vehicles to move into the middle of the carriageway. As well as this, we have also had reports of drivers continuing to push back temporary barriers to the entrances to nearby byways on the A303 so they can park there."

'We face a dilemma' says Bristol mayor

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Stephen Sumner

Police will be out on the street reminding people to keep social distancing as they get back to work, Bristol’s mayor has confirmed.

Marvin Rees warned that “premature overconfidence” risked a second peak that would have massive consequences for health and wealth and send the country into a stricter lockdown.

He urged residents not to take public transport, but to walk and cycle, and revealed that changes to some Bristol streets will be made in a matter of weeks to allow for social distancing.

The council is acting now to change habits as people get back to work.

Speaking during a fortnightly media briefing, Mr Rees said: “The challenge we’re facing is the transition from the hard lockdown to the easing of the lockdown the Government have tried to introduce.

“We face a dilemma. Many businesses want to get back to work. We have a transport system with buses running at 30-40 per cent capacity, trains running at 10 per cent capacity, unions expressing concern about the workforce. There are many competing challenges.


“Whatever comes ahead, our approach will be maximum caution. Let’s not have any premature overconfidence that we’re past the threat. We don’t have a vaccine. It leaves us vulnerable to a second peak.

“That would have massive consequences to health, and the trauma of going back to a stricter lockdown, and another blow to the economy.

“As people go into the city centre areas there will be police officers, retail assistants and security staff reminding people when they see people breaking the social distancing behaviour.

“We’re asking people to be cooperative, not to be resistant and not to take umbrage.No one wants to intervene in people’s lives the way we’ve had to, but we have to.”

A programme to pedestrianise in the middle of the city will begin late in the summer.

Frontline worker helping people understand complex trauma

Jasmine Ketibuah-Foley

Digital Journalist

Image of Chris Thomas looking into the camera wearing lanyard and smiling.
Chris Thomas

A frontline worker says he has been on a mission this month to raise awareness on Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD) as part of Mental Health Awareness Week.

Mental health engagement worker, Chris Thomas, works with St Mungo's in Bristol and has been working with people who are going through CPTSD, a mental health issue that he says not many people have heard of.

CPTSD can be diagnosed in adults or children who have repeatedly experienced traumatic events, such as violence, neglect or abuse.

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Mr Thomas said: "A lot of people who have complex trauma grow up thinking there's something wrong with them because they can't explain why their emotions fluctuate uncontrollably, and they feel the way they do."

He added: "It's really powerful for people experiencing CPTSD to understand more about why they are experiencing the symptoms, and equally as important that their friends and family learn and understand what they are going through as well."

Mr Thomas has released a Youtube video explaining what CPTSD is and has crowdfunded more than £900 to help a friend with CPTSD get access to psychotherapy.

Props and tech help get breast-feeding advice across

Specialist health visitor Marian Judd
Virgin Care

New parents are being supported to successfully breast feed their babies thanks to live online consultations using innovative props.

Specialist health visitor Marian Judd is used to giving mums and dads advice on breast feeding face to face.

Due to social distancing, Mrs Judd, who works for Wiltshire Children’s Community Services, is using a video link to talk to parents who have been referred into the specialist infant feeding service from their health visitor.

She uses a doll and a knitted breast to show families how to get breast feeding off to a good start.

"One mum who has had a lot of problems with feeding welcomed the opportunity to talk about her feeding journey face to face in a safe way during this social distancing period," said Mrs Judd.

The response has been "really positive" with parents saying the video sessions have been "really helpful and supportive".

Severe disruption: M5 Gloucestershire northbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Gloucestershire northbound severe disruption, from J12 for B4008 Quedgeley to J11A for A417 Gloucester.

M5 Gloucestershire - One lane closed on M5 northbound from J12, B4008 (Quedgeley) to J11a, A417 (Gloucester), because of a break down. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe disruption: M4 Bristol westbound

BBC News Travel

M4 Bristol westbound severe disruption, at J20 for M5 J15.

M4 Bristol - M4 in Gloucestershire lane closed on exit slip road to to the M5 Southbound westbound at J20, M5 J15 (Almondsbury Interchange), because of a lorry that's broken down. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Honda announce delay in restarting production

Honda car plant

Honda has announced it will delay restarting production at its UK car plant by a week.

The company had told employees and suppliers that work would resume in Swindon in the first week of June after stopping production due to the lockdown.

It now says work will begin on 8 June after a review of market conditions.

A Honda spokesperson said the company has "implemented significant, robust safety measures to ensure a COVID-safe site" ahead of restarting production operations.

The plant is due to close for good in July 2021 with the loss of 3,500 jobs.

'Eye-watering' cost of permanent social distancing measures in Bath

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Widening pavements for social distancing will be “eye-wateringly expensive” and Bath and North East Somerset may only get £600,000 from Government to pay for it.

The council has drawn up a list of streets that could be altered but it faces a £50m deficit this year, leading to calls that it should not "raise expectations".

The scheme shows plans for changes at sites throughout the centre of Bath and also in high density key roads further out.

Plans unveiled show that some streets will have their pavements widened, while others could see access restricted or on-street parking removed.

Map of central Bath showing planned areas for works
BANES plans have identified sites where more space is needed on pavements and where on-street parking presents problems for social distancing

The Government has announced £2bn in funding for walking and cycling schemes across the country, in an attempt to extend social distancing and make independent travel easier.

But it remains unclear how much of the funding Bath and North East Somerset Council will receive.

Deputy leader Richard Samuel said: “There’s a practical problem. If you’re widening a pavement you have to put robust barriers in place. Those are eye-wateringly expensive.

“If you’re going to remove parking, people generally aren’t happy with that. We will need to be sensitive to things people say.

“People have got used to walking in the road to avoid each other. That’s OK when there’s no traffic but now it’s getting dangerous.”

Charity opens 'donation stations'

Two donation stations have been opened by Bristol-based charity St Peter's Hospice.

Unwanted clothes, books and small bric-a-brac can now be dropped off at their warehouse in Avonmouth, or their shop on Gloucester Road in Horfield.

St Peter's Hospice has asked only for donations of clean, good quality items as it will cost the charity money to dispose of them.

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Musical grandmother's ukulele challenge for lockdown

Sonja Johannessen
Sonja Johannessen

A musical grandmother from Wiltshire has set herself the challenge of playing 260 songs on her ukulele during lockdown.

Sonja Johannessen, from Hilperton in Wiltshire, runs a ukulele group which is currently meeting online, and records her songs before posting them on Facebook.

The 71 year old has reached song number 97 and has raised £270 of her £1,100 target for the Zoological Society of London, and Whipsnade Zoo.

“I wanted to cheer people up and to keep myself occupied as I’ve been isolating for around eleven weeks," she said.

Ms Johannessen was born in the Norwegian capital Oslo and was brought up in New Zealand before moving to the UK at the age of 11.

I wanted to raise money for animals as I think they are being forgotten a bit at the moment

Sonja Johannessen

Severe accident: M4 Berkshire westbound

BBC News Travel

M4 Berkshire westbound severe accident, at J13 for A34 Chieveley.

M4 Berkshire - M4 lane closed on exit slip road westbound at J13, A34 (Chieveley), because of an accident. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe disruption: M5 Gloucestershire southbound

BBC News Travel

M5 Gloucestershire southbound severe disruption, at J12 for B4008 Quedgeley.

M5 Gloucestershire - Queues on M5 southbound at J12, B4008 (Quedgeley), because of earlier overrunning roadworks.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Coronavirus: Businessman who has lost 'thousands' wants target opening date
Shop owner Justin Horton says he can plan for post-lockdown life in England but not in Wales.