Oxford

Five things from Oxfordshire

Here are five stories from Oxfordshire which have been attracting attention this week.

1. The quacking team of ducks

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Media captionThe birthday duckling who's lived for 21 years

Ernie the duck was given to his owner on her 10th birthday, a staggering 21 years ago.

The old boy is still going strong despite losing his sight, thanks to his guide duck Elmo.

Ernie could be the oldest domestic duck in the UK, after living more than twice as long as the average duck.

2. IVF pioneer recognised

Image copyright PA
Image caption Patrick Steptoe's research led to more than six million IVF babies being born around the world

A former Witney resident who helped develop the first test-tube baby was honoured this week with a blue plaque in his hometown.

Patrick Steptoe grew up in the Oxfordshire town, and developed In vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment with Robert Edwards and Jean Purdy.

The birth of Louise Brown on 25 July 1978 in Oldham, Greater Manchester, marked the beginning of their success which has led to six million IVF babies being born around the world.

3. Head punch copper reinstated

Image caption Colin Travi was dismissed by Thames Valley Police in 2017

A police sergeant dismissed for repeatedly punching a suspect in the head while he was detained in custody has been reinstated.

Sgt Colin Travi was sacked by Thames Valley Police in 2017 after hitting the man at Abingdon police station, Oxfordshire, on 16 August 2016.

He has returned to the force with immediate effect after successfully appealing against the ruling.

The Police Appeals Tribunal found Sgt Travi's use of force was reasonable.

4. Tories lose control of two district councils in local elections

Image caption Oxford West and Abingdon Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran said it was "a really good night"

The Liberal Democrats won control of Vale of White Horse District Council from the Conservatives in the local elections.

They overturned a 20-seat Tory majority to turn the Oxfordshire council orange for the first time since 2007.

The Lib Dems also became the largest party on neighbouring South Oxfordshire District Council, where the Conservatives previously had an 18-seat majority.

The Greens picked up six seats, five in South Oxfordshire and one in the Vale.

5. Gold toilet set for Blenheim Palace

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption The fully functioning solid gold throne is set to be installed at the 18th Century palace in September

A toilet made from 18-carat gold will be plumbed in at Blenheim Palace this autumn - and visitors will be free to use it.

The toilet, created by Italian contemporary artist Maurizio Cattelan, will go on display at the Oxfordshire stately home in September.

It is still uncertain whether visitors to the palace who want use the loo will have to queue or book a slot.

The toilet made headlines in 2017 when it was offered to Donald Trump.

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