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Hello and welcome to Midlands Today, with Nick Owen and Suzanne Virdee.
While the national economy almost stagnates, signs of a genuine
recovery in the motor industry. want to create more jobs in the
area and bring in more money, and we want to export more, and we are
doing all those things. Reliving her dramatic rescue, the
pensioner who thought she was going to die after falling down a well.
can remember seeing the wall of the well and then just going down into
the water, and I didn't think, that's it.
A lorry driver is killed and a motorway's closed for more than 12
hours, causing rush-hour chaos. And the schoolgirl who's tee-ed up
her place against the world's best Good evening and welcome to
Tuesday's Midlands Today, from the BBC. Tonight, the economy's still
in the doldrums but there are signs of a recovery in the car industry.
Two of our biggest carmakers recently announced plans to expand,
and a major components firm has re- hired workers it was forced to lay
off during the slump. And today the Society of Motor Manufacturers said
it expects that recovery to continue into next year and beyond.
Some positive news on a day that new figures show productivity in
the UK is barely growing at all. Giles Latcham reports now on the
drive for jobs. It's getting busier at the biggest
wheel-maker in the Black Country. Two years ago, in the jaws of
recession, a third of the workforce was laid off and the company came
close to collapse. A lot of the lads were coming in and they would
not know if they were going to be in a job next week. It is an
amazing turnaround. It isn't until you sort of stand here and look
back that you realise how much we have achieved over such a short
period, to be honest. Before the recession, Rimstock was turning out
about 9,000 wheels a week, many of them for motorbikes. In the slump
that fell to about 3,000, but now it's back up to 5,000, and the
kinds of wheels they're making has changed too. These wheels are for a
company that specialises in upgrading Range Rovers of
Premiership footballers and other celebrities. They are not cheap,
they are aspirational, and an example of how this company is
diversifying into a niche market to survive. We have increased our
level of employees. We are at 250 people now. We have some real
opportunities going for it but every day is a challenge. It is far
from easy. But higher very confident about our future. -- but
I am very confident. Elsewhere, Jaguar Land Rover seem set to
expand beyond Castle Bromwich and Solihull, to build a new plant near
Wolverhampton. BMW is planning major investment at Hams Hall in
Warwickshire, to build on the success of the Mini. But only last
week, a components firm in Burton- on-Trent, Kongsberg, said it was
moving to Poland, with the loss of 150 jobs. It helps that Rimstock's
marketing director is also a leading touring car driver. They've
ventured into motorsport with Honda and developed new products along
the way. We sell and we test wheels on the track in race situations,
and then the innovation we have done with those comes onto the road
market. There's no reinventing the wheel, but innovation's given this
firm a future once very much in doubt.
Our business correspondent, Peter Plisner, is outside the Jaguar
factory at Castle Bromwich now. Peter, today disappointing news
nationally on the economy, so how are big car manufacturers like
Jaguar Land Rover managing to do so well? It's a mixed picture. Across
the UK, manufacturing is up but sales are down. Jaguar sales in
June are down almost 18% when compared with June 2010. Of course,
sales elsewhere in the world aren't as bad. Emerging markets like China
and India are doing really well. Components firms who were very
optimistic earlier in the year are now much more pessimistic about the
future. As you saw in the film, many have had to diversify or move
into niche markets to survive the recession. Some are still
struggling. What about all those jobs that JLR said they would be
creating? Are they still going ahead? Well, generally, according
to a recent survey, many companies have called a halt of new
recruitment, preferring instead to get more productivity out of their
existing workforce. The good new is there's no increase in redundancies
at the moment. At JLR, it's different. They are still
recruiting as they need to develop new product and fulfil demand from
abroad. Today the company told me they were looking for 1,300 people
and they've now recruited around 900 of them.
Still ahead in tonight's programme, anti-social behaviour or just high
jinks? As one local authority calls for greater tolerance, claims we're
being too hard on the youth of A grandmother who can't swim has
been re-living the moment she was rescued from more than 30 feet down
a well in her garden. Denise Brooks spent an hour and a half clinging
to a rope. She'd fallen off a ladder as she tried to retrieve a
water pump. She says she thought she was going to die. Andy Newman
reports. Staring into the abyss. Denise
Brooks poses with her husband next to the well where clinging to life
meant clinging to a rope for an hour and a half. She fell from the
bottom rung of a ladder which had been lowered into cavity to
retrieve a pump. As she dropped, she went under the water, and she
can't swim. It all happened in a split second, but how can remember
seeing the wall of the well and then just going down under the
water. And I did think, that's it. In that split second, I thought,
that is it. I am not going to come back up. But come back, she did,
somehow managing to wedge herself above the water, holding on to a
rope attached to them as income. Had I tried to go down, I could
have slipped and toppled on proper for. I could have knocked bricks on
top of her. When the emergency services arrived at their home,
Denise was appalled to the surface, where medical teams were waiting to
attend to have. The Midlands Air Ambulance and an emergency response
team were called to her home. In the event, she was slightly
hyperthermic but basically OK. was incredibly calm for somebody
who had fallen and had been stuck down a well. But she was
communicating with us the whole time so we knew she did not have
life-threatening injuries. I have got out to tell the tale. Would you
be going down again? No! I will not. And the ambulance people said she
seemed amazingly calm. It is that that helped her out. Incredible!
"A massive fireball" - that's how witnesses have described a crash on
the M5 which killed a driver. Some said the impact shook nearby homes.
The lorry ploughed into a bridge near Junction 3 at Halesowen in the
early hours of morning. The motorway was shut for more than 12
hours because of fears the bridge was unsafe. As Ben Godfrey reports,
thousands of drivers were caught in the chaos.
This was all that was left of the HGV, such was the force of the
impact with the Carters Lane bridge near Quinton. The driver, a 59-
year-old man from Cheshire, had been heading northbound on the M5
shortly before 2am this morning. He was killed instantly. People living
nearby reported hearing loud explosions. As we rushed out of our
house, the lorry was engulfed in flames and there was a series of
three or four explosions. It was quite terrifying. Police closed the
motorway completely between Junctions 3 and 4. You can see the
fire has completely engulfed the cabin of a lorry. Investigators
have been here for more than 12 hours. The accident happened at a
time when overhead lights on this stretch of the M5 were turned off,
under a scheme to reduce pollution. At this stage, we cannot confirm
what happened. But we know a lorry came in contact to -- with the
bridge. Police are hoping other motorists will come forward. Late
this afternoon, the lorry was taken away for further analysis.
Engineers were satisfied that the bridge, despite some external
cracks, is structurally safe. The motorway has re-opened for the rush
hour but may close for a time overnight, for road resurfacing.
And police are warning drivers to avoid the M42 tonight close to its
junction with the M5, after an accident has shut the northbound
carriageway. Trading Standards officers have
carried out raids across Birmingham to remove potentially harmful clay
tablets from sale. The so-called Sikor tablets are traditionally
used by pregnant Asian women as a remedy for cravings. But samples
recently bought in Birmingham were found to contain dangerously high
levels of lead. Are we growing less tolerant of the
behaviour of youngsters? As the summer holidays start, street
wardens in Coventry are handing out leaflets urging adults not to be
too quick to judge. They're pointing out that most young people
hanging out on street corners aren't looking for trouble and are
only doing what their own parents and grandparents did. Here's Kevin
Reide. Is this anti-social behaviour or
kids just doing what they do? And is it intimidating to others? With
six weeks of school holidays ahead, Coventry Council aims to quell any
tensions before they begin, and its wardens are spreading the message
with these leaflets. It is about tolerance of youths and then need
to hang out and be together. leaflet states that 96.5% of young
people never get into serious trouble with the police, and it
asks older people living in the area to be more tolerant. Young
people in large groups can be intimidating. Part of the problem
could be that as people get older, they forget what it is like to be
young and hang around with your friends and talk. And for the
majority of young people, that is all they're doing. It's a tricky
message to get across. Willenhall has higher-than-average social
depravation and high levels of unemployment. There's not a lot for
young people to do, and with nearly �500,000 in cuts to Coventry
Council's youth service provision, there're fears there'll be even
less. We are going to use this Dickie Dodds and I want you to put
the dot where you live. But this Junior Rangers scheme has just been
launched, and aims to get children and teenagers interested in where
they live. It encourages people to explore and use the green space on
their doorstep and brings lots of people from across the community
together. It also means some pride of ownership for those green spaces,
which will be beneficial in the long run. It is great because it
get you out of the house and you get to do things like walking
through the forest. You get to see places you might not have seen
before. It gets the kids learning about their environment and getting
involved. And doing things and sharing experiences with other
people. It's one of a number of schemes in the area aimed at
tackling anti-social behaviour. The holidays are just beginning in
Coventry, and it's hoped there'll be just enough for youngsters to do
to keep them on the right side of the law.
And Kevin joins us now from Willenhall in Coventry. Over to you,
Kevin. I am now joined by a Sylvia Lanigan, who is chair of the
Willenhall Community Forum and also lives in the area. You have seen
the cuts coming. Can you sustain the level of activities? It is
difficult because a lot of the activities we put on a short-term
funded and you have got activities for the children and then you run
out of money and they take them away. So there is no continuity.
The children behind me have just finished a bike project, but when
the money runs out, how will we keep it going? You have been
unemployed up until recently, haven't you? How difficult is it to
keep children occupied? It is difficult but it is not impossible.
It does not have to be the theme parks. They can ride their bikes
and there of projects like this now. It gets them out of the house and
off the computers. So there's a lot of things you can do. So the
message here is if the community pulls together and keeps to these
schemes and keeps them running, and anti-social behaviour is not
necessarily a problem. They look like models citizens to
me any way! Have you been affected by anti-
social behaviour? Are you concerned about the impact of cuts on youth
projects? If so, we'd like to hear from you. Get in touch and we could
be telling your story later this week.
Still to come, high excitement in the world of science as researchers
in Birmingham get closer to finding the missing link that's eluded
generations of physicists. And from physics to meteorology.
I'll be here with the weather forecast, and it's looking pretty
good for the next few days, with some cloud, some sunshine, and
feeling warm as well. Join me for As a boy, Nathan Wood was severely
burned by a 25,000 volt overhead train cable. He says it still
affects him today. As the school holidays begin, Nathan has been
talking about his ordeal in the hope of stopping other youngsters
from risking their lives. Bob Hockenhull reports.
This railway bridge will haunt Nathan Wood from Tamworth forever.
As a 12-year-old, Nathan suffered a severe electric shock. He was
playing a game throwing a discarded electric wire, when it hit an
overhead cable. I tell you something, it was like hell. I was
screaming. The pain was unbearable. I thought I was going to dive. I
broke a lot of heart and upset a lot of people. For what I thought
was fun. It was not worth it. meant a year off school for Nathan.
Now 25 and a father of two, he's still suffering the consequences.
suffer in the cold. I have got to be careful in the sun because of
the skin grafts, which mean I could get cancer. This CCTV footage shows
many children still have a blatant disregard for safety, though.
Network Rail's saved it -- concern is that it is still a problem with
children. Nearly two-thirds of parents have not told their
children about the dangers of railway lines and four intended not
realise that overhead cables power of the trains. Deaths from
accidents on railway lines fell nationally last year to 27,
compared with 49 the year before. But Network Rail says trespassing
is still a major problem, particularly in school holidays.
With 25,000 volts going through the overhead wires, if you touch that,
the likelihood is, you are going to die. Nathan is extremely lucky he
didn't. It is not worth it. If I could turn back time, I would.
Nathan says the scars and the consequences of one moment of folly
will be with him forever. My goodness. What telegraphic
message. A message from a man who knows what he is talking about.
The world of physics is swirling with talk that the mysterious
"Higgs Boson" has been discovered at the Large Hadron Collider in
Geneva. So what is the curiously named Higgs Boson? Well, it's often
called the God particle. It's far smaller than an atom and has so far
remained undetected. Birmingham University scientists have been
playing a key role in the research. Here's our science correspondent,
David Gregory. We visited the Large Hadron
Collider back in 2007 to see some what Birmingham researchers were
doing. Since then, it's been smashing together protons and
looking at what's produced. Top of the watch list, the mysterious
Higgs Boson. So have they found it? Actually, only just last week, I
was away, and there have been rumours going around, but everybody
has been rather tight lipped. rumours can be traced back to the
leak of this internal memo, which appeared to suggest the Higgs Boson
might have been found. If true, it would mean that our theoretical
models of how the universe works are actually correct, as Professor
Brian Cox tweeted. Has it been found? We are not yet in a position
to say it has been discovered. But if there is a Higgs Boson and it
has a mass that we are expecting, it would look like what we are
seeing at the moment. What's needed now is more data. Ten times as much.
Taking us into 2012. And of course there's a chance this effect might
just be a blip, not a Boson. around the end of 2012, if it is
there, we will either say, there's the Higgs Boson and this is its
mass, or we will be able to say it doesn't exist and we need a new
theory. It is going to be a tense few months for particle physics.
David, for a poor science imbecilic me, can you explain it? Well,
scientists have a model of the universe and the different parts
that are needed to make it work. You have the model and the
experiment, and if you put them together, you understand what makes
the universe tick. That is pretty good. What benefit will this mean
for us? Well, the concern is that it cost billions of pounds. But
when they were working out how to move the data around, they
developed the internet and how we use it. That is a pretty good spin-
off. The electron was discovered around 100 years ago. At the time,
it was really esoteric, but now it is vital to modern life. So it
could be that in 50 years, it develops something essential.
you, David. Now on to something we all understand - golf.
Lauren Taylor made golfing history last month. The 16-year-old became
the youngest to win the British Women's Amateur Golf Championship.
Now Lauren faces an even bigger challenge. She's up against many of
the world's finest golfers, professionals in other words, at
the British Women's Open in Scotland. Ian Winter reports.
What an opportunity. A rare chance to caddy for a British golf
champion. You've got a bit of water in the bottom here that you've got
to watch. What do you reckon? Normally, Lauren Taylor's dad
carries her bag at big tournaments. But he was at work, so I stepped in
on the first tee, at Stratford Oaks Golf Club. Perfect. All part of
Lauren's normal routine, of course. But a big relief for her rookie
assistant. And as we walked, we talked about her dedication to golf
and the sacrifices required to reach the very top. People are
saying, you should be going out with your friends all the time, but
I can go out with my friends when I am older and world number one.
month, Lauren made golf history, as the youngest player ever to become
Women's British Amateur Champion aged only 16. As a kid, she was
talented at football and tennis. But once golf became her passion at
11, she's never looked back. And now you off to the Open? Yes, it is
going to be one of the best experiences of my life. If you do
well, you do well, I guess, but I am just going to have fun and see
what happens. Lauren's certainly not over-awed by facing the world's
finest players this week. And no wonder, if she delivers shots like
this. A couple of weeks ago, she watched Tom Lewis win the silver
medal as the best amateur player at the Open Championship. Lauren would
love to do the same at the Women's Open. But her coach believes she's
so talented, the sky's the limit. You either go to make the numbers
up or to win, and if she wants to be the best in the world she has to
compete against those girls. But she just has that little bit extra.
I've never known a girl with such drive and determination to achieve.
She can go to number one in the world, without question. Any time
soon, without any help from me, I reckon Lauren Taylor will face a
long putt like this to win a major title. And when it drops, this 16-
year-old from Rugby will achieve her goal to join the best women
golfers in the world. I get the feeling she will not need
much luck. And looking further ahead in the
sporting calendar, tomorrow marks a year to the start off London 2012
and the prospects for next year's Olympics is therein memories for
our only surviving medallist from the London Games. Tommy Godwin, who
is 90, won two cycling gold medals. They were known as the austerity
Games, coming so soon after the Second World War. Our reporter has
been to meet Tommy, to reflect on the Olympic Games coming back to
Britain. I have been to the site on a number
of occasions and the development. It is out of this world. It must be
the finest bowler Drome in the world, the one built. The first one
was built in the 1,800s. Now, perfection. Where ours was so
amateur and antiquated. Coming into the last lap, and Tommy Godwin,
number seven, has raised print left in the bag. Here it comes and it
wins him the race. -- has a sprint. You have run recently, haven't you?
Yes, and I quite enjoyed it. It was nice to be invited along to take my
bike down. They told me off because they thought I was only going to do
one lap. But then I was told, you have got a bit of the old fireback!
The whole thing now is wonderful to me, because I have been living on
my own having lost my wife in January, and it is filling up a big
gap in my life. My wife was so much part of my career, and the
sacrifices and the dedication she gave to me. Going back to 1948,
that was a real celebration after the horrors of war? Indeed so. When
you think that in 1948, we were still on rations. The track was
resurfaced and the running track was only laid down at White City a
couple of weeks before. The hurdles and that sort of thing were brought
in later and then we were supposed to be getting food parcels. I won
in May and that was supposed to have put me through July and August.
What are your memories of the moment she won your medals?
Tremendous, because I thought we had not had enough training but
they picked four of us about two weeks before and told us we were in
the Games. Five of us had only ridden once before. If we had had a
few months more training together, we would obviously have been in a
higher position. But it was so basic and amateurish. You have won
lots and lots of prizes in your time, but I should think those two
Olympic medals a very special? so much so that I had said and
stated categorically that they mean more to me every year of my life.
To win an Olympic medal at the age of 27, go to my father, a hard man,
a hard man who had worked all his life, and he broke down in tears.
Something special. It is lovely to talk to you. Thank you.
Full of emotion. So poignant. A lovely chap as well. There will be
more from Tommy on the series inside out in the autumn. And we
will be looking at preparations for It hasn't always been spectacularly
sunny, but it has been dry and warm, and that is how which continues
through this week. Some sunshine around at times. The reason for the
set of conditions is this high- pressure sitting down here to the
south-west, trying to exert its influence. It is doing a pretty
good job, keeping this rain at bay. We will keep some big lumps of
cloud floating around through tonight. Some clear spells,
particularly in the rest of the region. Temperatures will be down
to 11 or 13 degrees. Tomorrow, we will start off quite cloudy through
the eastern half of the region. Further west, a fair bit of
sunshine, but through the day, things will even out. So where it
started sunny, we will see more cloud, and where it stars sunny, we
will see cloud increasing. It will remain sunny, with temperatures up
to 24 degrees down in Hereford. Some bits of sunshine here and
there to end the day tomorrow, and that takes us into Thursday, which
will bring us a fair amount of sunshine again. Perhaps more than
we have seen in the last couple of days. The eagle eyed amongst you
might have noticed a few dribbles of rain out to the West, and that
is going to move across us for Thursday night. Once that clears
through, by Friday and Saturday, it turns dry again. Not looking too
bad. Before we leave you, and a cut the
main headlines. The UK economy slows down and officials blame the
warm weather, the Royal Wedding and the Japanese tsunami.