Latest news for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Milton Keynes and Northants.
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And the remarkable story of the pacifist who served
Determined not to fight but determined to help.
Two men appear in court acctsed of perverting the course
of justice over the death of a worker on a farm.
And expansion plans at Southend Airport.
The target, five million passengers a year, by the end of the ddcade.
70 years ago today the Allidd invasion of Europe began
Special events have been taking place across the region tod`y to
70 years ago today the Allidd invasion of Europe began
by landing thousands of soldiers on the beaches of Normandy.
It is promising 1,500 jobs and a boost to the local economy
A new Center Parcs holiday resort has opened in Bedfordshire with the
In total, the centre will cater for around
The numbers certainly look impressive, but will it givd the
Let's go live there now to our Business Correspondent.
And an even bigger splash for Center Parcs.
The swimming complex alone cost ?20 million.
The swimming complex alone cost ?28 million.
Plenty for the first paying guests to get stuck into today.
We have been coming to Centdr Parcs since the early 1990s.
We wanted to try the new facilities here.
There is a 75 bedroom hotel, and a full range of indoor
Center Parcs already has fotr holiday villages in England.
This is a massive project. ?250 million. Two years of construction.
It will inject ?20 million dvery year into the local economy. We have
generated thousands of perm`nent jobs. 90% of our employees live
within 15 miles of the site. It is brilliant. They are letting me work
as many hours as I need and I can fit in my childcare. Bedfordshire
has an underdeveloped to list injury `` tourist industry. Just 7$ of the
tourism market in our region. Many people pass through Bedfordshire and
we need to create reasons for them to stay in the county, stay longer
and spend more money. The cdntre parks development is exactlx the
right thing for this area. They are expecting to draw most of their
visitors from London and thd south`east. With that part of the
country booming, this could be very well timed.
Let's look at how much monex our region makes through totrism.
Out in front is Cambridgeshhre with ?1.2 billion a year,
boosted by huge numbers of overseas visitors to Cambridge.
Hertfordshire makes 773 million a year.
Followed by Northamptonshird at 588 million.
Bedfordshire has a much smaller share of the market,
Earlier, I spoke to Sally Everett, a tourism expert, and asked her how
much of a boost Center Parcs will really give to Bedfordshire?
I think where Bedfordshire has perhaps fallen down,
as opposed to other regions, it hasn?t had a unique sellhng
So I think Center Parcs shotld attract a lot more jobs to the area,
and the multiply effect that tourism creates.
So people will come into the region itself.
They tend to be quite isolated units.
Is it really going to filter out into benefits in the local dconomy?
There has been some research in the past.
How many times does someone go out of that isolated arena?
It is important to ensure that the visitors that come to
Use local suppliers and buy different resources
You cannot force a big organisation like Center Parcs to buy local.
You cannot, but the signs are good in terms of what they have done
They have a commitment to sourcing local food.
We would hope that they would have engagement with the local f`rmers
markets and producers, so they could showcase food in their
restaurants and encourage pdople to go out and buy it for themsdlves,
A protest has taken place in Milton Keynes,
calling for changes to council tax and the so`called bedroom t`x.
It is more than a year sincd new rules on benefits were brought in.
But with a change in power at the local council,
protestors are calling for ` better deal for low income families.
This woman says she doesn't have much spare time, but for how this
protest is personal. She is a to her disabled brother and used to be
exempt from paying council tax. But changes to that and housing benefit
meant she lost ?25 a week. To help her, the council covers the
shortfall. That is discretionary and reviewed each year. If that stops, I
will have to be council tax. I will get into arrears. If they evict me,
it means myself and my brother and my grandchildren will be holeless.
Either that, or pay it, and don t eat. Changes to housing bendfit and
welfare are decisions for the national government. The co`lition
says savings must be made. Counsellors here have no power over
that. But no Labour are running the council, protesters are tryhng to
put pressure on the new leader to make some changes. Last year, the
pass a motion that no one would be evicted due to changes in bdnefits.
We are now asking them to honour that. But the protesters sax the
protesters have misunderstood. It would be the wrong thing to do to
allow people to go into debt. We need to differentiate betwedn can't
pay and won't pay. There were protests when the changes wdre first
introduced. One year on, thd protests continue.
Five babies in the region are still recovering
after they developed blood poisoning from a suspected contaminatdd drip.
The babies at Addenbrooke?s, the Luton and Dunstable
and Peterborough City Hospitals are all said to be in a stable condition
A reduction in the number of prison officers at a jail in Milton Keynes
may have led to the death of an inmate.
21 year old Sean Brock commhtted suicide in his cell at Woodhill
Prison last November. Today the prison governor told the Coronor
cuts in staff in the past fhve years has had a negative impact on
inmates. The coroner will now write to the Secretary of State.
Infertility clinics in the region are reporting
a rise in the number of samd sex couples wanting to have a b`by.
The Bourn Hall Clinic ` which has just opened
a new centre in Peterborough ` says demand is up by a third.
In the last five years, the number of single sex couples seeking help
Robin and Billy are now 15`months`old.
Their mothers decided to st`rt a family
I suppose, years ago, it was not the norm people would say.
Now it is out in the open, I think more people will go for it.
A lot of people would say, if you are in the same sex
relationship you will not h`ve family and you will miss out.
At this new centre in Peterborough, they say changes
in lifestyle mean that more same`sex couples are seeking their hdlp.
They form their relationships much yotnger and
therefore family is much up more on the agenda than it was a generation
Civil partnership has also `ssisted in terms
of formalising those relationships and liberating treatment services
For both partners to be leg`l parents, they need to have
the relationship legally recognised and conceive at a licensed clinic.
The sperm donor?s details are recorded.
The child can have them when they turn 18.
I would always say it is better to get it sorted out properly, simply,
sign the right paperwork and then you can move forwards happily.
Becoming a parent doesn't come cheap.
It is not available for same`sex couples on the NHS
But for Sophie Greenwood who carried the twins,
The couple have no plans for more children, saying
Questions have been raised over the decision to arrest the parents of an
The couple from King's Lynn have been accused by police
The association representing directors of council`run chhldren's
services says the police should not be involved because action should
Villagers have been giving their views about plans for a new power
station in Bedfordshire. Thd site had been earmarked for a gi`nt
incinerator. Those plans have now been shelved. Instead, 150
construction jobs and 15 full`time jobs will be created with a new
power station. First back to Stewart with lore
on this memorable day. Still to come, how the codebreakers
misled the Germans about whdre the attack would be.
But first the remarkable story of a man who served on
the beaches of Normandy but refused to fight or even carry a gun.
David Briggs had a strong Christian faith.
He was one of 60,000 people in Britain who refused to fhght `
But as a medic in the army, he chose to be in the teeth of the b`ttle.
Alex Dunlop has been to meet him at home in Bedford.
David Briggs is your quintessential gentleman. Now 96, the formdr
schoolmaster recounts how at 16 he decided he could never go to war. I
said, this isn't right, whatever the answer is, war isn't the answer I
felt that the enemy wasn't really her killer, the enemy was w`r
itself. Yet David did go to war as an Army medic. I wanted to save
life, for me the medical corps was the answer. I didn't want to be
thought a coward and to be ` coward, it was against the grain with me.
But I must be a part of it. So in June that in 44 with this armband is
only means of defence, David approached the beaches of Normandy.
The first thing I saw was the dead body of a Canadian, lying in the
sea. You were under fire copy had no gun, you must have felt verx
vulnerable. It sounds silly, but the whole thing was so I'm real, in a
way, we didn't have time to think `` unreal. How do you square away that
non`resistance with all the thousands of Christians who went and
bought and died, fighting what they thought was against evil? I find
this very difficult. This is what my friend Frank and I were constantly
talking of. David's best frhend Frank was an Army 's soldier, this
wartime letter is from him. I admire your actions immensely though I
don't agree with your views. In a wide sense, of course, I thhnk you
are right. I hate and detest war. He felt that it was right and H felt it
was wrong. There is no bridge between those two convictions,
really. Anyway, I trust we shall soon have an end of the whole
horrible business. And what appealed they will be us to work in.
Tragically, that would never happen. Frank was killed in Normandx in
1944. His faith and his wifd Mary kept David Strong but he won't
forget the monkey told his son that he refused to carry a gun. He took
me aside and said, you know what happens to people who disobdy
orders, don't you? And that was the end of the conversation. Wh`t you
think thinking meant by that? To be frank, I thought I would be shot for
not agreeing to carry a gun. Mercifully, that order was
overwritten next day. David received his long service medals but
conscientious objectors werdn't decorated nor could they rise
through the ranks. Young corporal Briggs put himself in harm 's way
but he says, you put his conscience first.
10,000 soldiers were killed on the beaches but it could have bden so
much worse. British intelligence managed to
persuade the Nazis that the invasion could come at Calais
and not in Normandy. But how did the Allies know that
the Germans had taken the b`it? Because Bletchley Park
in Buckinghamshire was decrxpting It was in these humble little huts
that the codebreakers of Bldtchley Park decrypted, translated `nd
sorted messages. Some of thd information gleaned help st`ff plot
the movement of enemy shipphng as well as allied forces in thd English
Channel in the run`up to D`Day. It was very exciting, of coursd, we
knew about all the Mulberrys row and the bits of harbour, of course the
German E boats, they would be a great deal of trouble to us. There
was a tremendous amount of `ctivity going on. There was so much work
that sometimes you couldn't go home at the end and there was quhte a bit
of pressure. We felt very responsible because we did feel that
if we didn't keep things up`to`date, it could even mdan
people being killed. To givd that landing on the beaches of Normandy
the best possible chance, D`Day decoy operation had been pl`nned.
Double agent codenamed Garbo was one of a network of spies feeding the
Germans force information. That the invasion would be at Calais. We were
intercepting the German translations and bankrupting them, could see
whether they had followed the bait we had given them. The mess`ges
behind this tell us about the fact that the elaborate decoy was huge in
D`Day success, Bletchley Park allowed to British intelligdnce to
monitor what was being said so the lies and false information was being
believed. It kept the Germans sitting in Calais up until @ugust,
when we attacked them there. They were still waiting for the hnvasion
across the sea that never h`ppened. Such was the secrecy at Bletchley
that even when the end came, it was another 30 years before Jean and her
colleagues were able to tell their families exactly what they did in
the war. Colbourne is from the Imperial War Museum. We havd heard a
lot about the beaches and the soldiers on the beaches but this
region was important for thd part it played from airbases. It certainly
was. Cases like Duxford, if you imagine the carpet of airfidlds all
around East Anglia, they had a huge role to play in this operathon. That
is beforehand in terms of softening up the German air force, ensuring
that when they looked up, it was one of theirs, doing work behind the
beach as well. Duxford's pilots did a lot of work attacking marshalling
yards, targets behind the areas to ensure the Germans couldn't
reinforce those areas. And of course bombing and attacking areas in the
paddock. `` in Calais. I max get a lot of veterans coming to you at the
Imperial War Mrs. Today is hmportant for all of them. It certainly is. It
is privilege to meet these guys We have met veterans from Amerhca, from
the UK, they are all getting old now, a lot of people said on the 60s
anniversary that it was one of the last times they would assemble in
large numbers but I wouldn't bet against them being there for the
80th! There are some strong characters they're! They make doing
this job a real pledge. Do xou think we will carry on remembering when
those old soldiers are gone or do you think it will become solething
as part of history and we w`nt market in the way we have done
today? I hope that doesn't happen, I hope we do continue to remelber it,
if you think of our region particularly, the legacy thdse guys
left behind, those historic airfields, all around, the lemorials
to their sacrifice. All of these places, D`Day marks a huge turning
point in the war. This country is still very interested in thd Second
World War, and I genuinely see that continuing. Thank you.
You've probably heard of or seen the 1952 film
Singin? In The Rain ` an Amdrican musical comedy starring Gend Kelly,
It's the story of showbiz Hollywood in the 1920s, when silent movies
finally found their voice. @ film often described as one of the best
ever musicals. Now Singin' Hn The Rain has been brought to thd Theatre
Royal in Norwich, more than 60 years after the film came out. Thdy have
been many productions of Singin In The Rain about this one in
particular, I feel, the production values are so high, it's be`utiful
to look at. It has everything from the film plus a couple of extra
songs that weren't in the fhlm originally. The show has kept the
comedy, the glamour and recreated Gene Kelly's iconic song and dance
scene and the man who has to fill his shoes is James Lisa. It's a
unique situation, I have never danced in the rain before, to give
the audience involved, it's wonderful. It's from Reeva lost
physically challenging show I have done. They have a special stage they
have brought in. Underneath is a tank full of water, the writers up
and can drain off, because ht's not just a shower but 12,000 litres of
water they will be dancing hn. We have three water tanks in total We
feel to it for times before it goes on stage and gets to the cast. To be
nice to be cast in the colddr months, we do hate the rain to 0
degrees. `` hate the rain. This is what he has to perform in, `nd when
he is dancing and singing in the rain, if you are in the front few
rows, you're guaranteed to get a bit wet.
Just time for some of your stories about D`Day. A nice one frol Douglas
Smith called near Lowestoft, he flew a Halifax in the days during the
run`up to D`Day to soften up the German positions, he says, there are
not many of us left. Brian from the Chelmsford regimental Assochation
wants us to mention Albert Wilson who was 90 in March and topped
capture Pegasus Bridge. And he not from Rosemary who says, my dad
Frederik Piper was in the Royal Navy during World War II, he was
transferring soldiers from the ships to the beach and the family filmed
him back there. He has now sadly died but she says, I only rdalised
today the first time what a very special film we have which we can
show our grandchildren. Thank you to everybody. Time for the weather
Lots of sunshine across the region, that heat and humidity will
eventually bring thunderstorms as we head into tomorrow. It doesn't even
out there, lots of sunshine to end the day, and try initially. Later,
the risk of some storms comhng up. Further east, staying dry at least
at this stage. As you can sde, quite a mucky night. But tomorrow, it s
all about this one, humid ahr coming up from Spain and France,
interacting with this cold front. It will bring * of some thunderstorms.
It looks like we will see some storms across the morning, then the
region focuses to the West. The Met office have a yellow warning out for
that for the risk of some sdvere thunderstorms. The potential for
some large hail and gusty whnds Through the course of tomorrow, we
will see areas of thunderstorms working their way northwards. Some
uncertainty as to how far e`st they will tend to be. They will clear
northwards, there will be a dry spell late morning with a spell of
hazy sunshine and then the real risk of some nasty storms as we head
through the afternoon and into the evening. Some of those could have
some large hail and gusty whnds Temperatures will be variable,
getting up to maybe 25 degrdes. Where you are underneath those
storms, they could be lower and cooler along the coast. Into
tomorrow, the showers and storms clear, a fine end to the dax. Then
things to quieten down for Sunday. Much of the day will be dry across
the bulk of the region, the risk of one or two showers. Has begtn
through Sunday night into Monday, more thundery weather across the
region, particularly the East. A lot of uncertainty about the tiling of
it. The outlook doesn't thundery at times but some dry weather to be
had, especially on Sunday. Ht could linger into Monday night as well. At
this stage, Tuesday licking mainly dry.
A word about the Sunday polhtics this weekend. They may not have done
it in you work but the UKIP caused an earthquake a couple of wdeks ago,
but many of our town halls they are having to deal with the fallout We
are looking at the inch stick alliances which have sprung up, but
are they good for democracy? And Charles Clarke tells what hd thinks
about UKIP and why it's important that all politicians to work more
closely together. The average person moves home
eight times during their life. So that's eight times
we have to move the sofa. Eight times
we have to redecorate. Eight times
we have to locate the stopcock But there's one thing
that's easy to do when you move - you can switch your TV licence