27/07/2011 Midlands Today


27/07/2011

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Good evening and welcome to Wednesday's Midlands Today from the

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BBC. Tonight: 14 years' jail for a former foster carer who abuse

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children as young as five. vulnerable children were preyed on

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by him and they did not know who would believe them at that time.

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Fury over bus routes and the Black Country, some people cannot get to

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work. We have no transport whatsoever, the just stuck.

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Creating stars of the future, the region's first Academy for the

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Performing Arts prepares to open its doors. And what stories they

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could tell - archaeologists find Good evening. He took away their

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childhood, leaving indelible psychological scars. Those were the

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words of a judge as he sentenced a former foster carer and parish

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councillor to 14 years in jail for child abuse. William Barber was

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found guilty of sexually abusing eight children over a 12-year

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period. Some of his victims were as young as five years old. Police

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described him as a predatory paedophile who used his seemingly

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respectable image as a cover. As Sarah Falkland reports, he

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maintained his innocence from the outset. From what you have said,

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you deny the allegations? Absolutely. He claimed he'd never

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touched a single child. But he was lying. Barber used his position as

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a foster parent and councilor to assure couples he could look after

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their children. The 60 year-old from Gloucester assaulted them at

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his home and in a caravan in the Forest of Dean. My mum used to go

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round for a cup of tea with his wife. I was four or five when it

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started. I knew not to say anything. It was instilled in you. It was

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unspoken that it was a special thing between us which I was not to

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mention. Julie was just one of Barber's eight known victims.

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William Barber portrayed himself as a pillar of the community, he was a

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foster carer and in charge of the Tennis Association and on the

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parish council. Everybody trusted him and held in high regard. The

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vulnerable children were preyed upon by him. And they did not know

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who would believe them at that time. Gloucestershire County Council have

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made it clear that none of Barber's victims were children he'd fostered.

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And they've pointed out that checks on potential carers are now much

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stricter since the times of Barber's crimes. Judge James Tabor

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told victims it had been a terrible ordeal for them and that he was

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very impressed with the dignity shown by those who gave evidence.

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Passing sentence on Barber, he said: You have not shown one

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scintilla of concern for your victims, only for yourself. One of

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Barber's victims, who was abused from the age of six, gave her

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reaction to his sentence. I went for several years thinking he'd got

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away with it but nothing will be good enough for what he put me and

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the other victims through. Although the fact that he's been found

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guilty and sent to prison means I can now try and move on and get

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some closure. Barber will serve seven years before he's considered

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for release. He'll remain on the sex offenders register for life.

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And you can read more on that on the BBC Gloucestershire website.

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Later in tonight's programme: They're treating patients on a

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virtual hospital ward before being unleashed on the real thing. It was

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billed as a �22 million state-of- the-art bus station right at the

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heart of a modern, integrated transport hub. It was hoped it

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would prove to be the catalyst to encourage more people using public

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transport. But 10 days after the new facility opened and a series of

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new routes were also introduced, thousands of people in

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Wolverhampton are complaining. Bob Hockenhull has been investigating.

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Wolverhampton's new bus station has been described by some as a

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facility that people need and deserve. But the opening has

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coincided with new routes and timetables, and that has angered

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many. I normally have the 79, it has gotten worse. Turn it back to

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normal because it is confusing. Residents like Pat Fullwood say

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services they use have been either merged, diverted and reduced.

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are just totally cut off and have no transport. We're just stuck.

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Thank you. In nearby Wednesfield, the local councilor's already

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collected 2000 signatures from angry passengers who claim they

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can't get to the shops. It is no good having first class or world-

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class facilities when residents that I represent have no provision

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for a bus service to get them into the High Street. To do their

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shopping, pay bills and do their banking. They will probably never

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get to see that bus station. Traders are worried, too. The old

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generation, from the outside, they are struggling to get to the centre,

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now. This is seen as embarrassing and disappointing for those who see

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the station as a world-class facility. The centre of a transport

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hub linking bus, train and trams and at a time when more people want

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to use public transport because of high petrol prices. Transport

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managers say the new timetable would have been brought in whether

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there was a new bus station or not. I don't want us to quickly react

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and do something which potentially helps solve one difficulty and cost

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is another so we're still looking at those issues and talking with

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the councillors. We have a petition that was received and we're looking

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at options to see what we can do. It's hoped the controversy won't

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detract from the city's hopes to make the bus station a spur for

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economic regeneration. Our transport correspondent, Peter

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Plisner, is at the bus depot now. This is a bit of a PR disaster - is

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the new bus station really to blame for this? Nothing to do with the

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new bus station, these changes were happening anyway and they were

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introduced at roughly the same time. The company says these changes

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happen after a major consultation and there were hundreds of

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responses but the bottom line is there is less money around and

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private companies like National Express are making best use of

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existing resources. Obviously, these changes are not popular,

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hence that petition. With petrol prices rising, people who might

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consider abandoning their cars could be put off by things like

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this? There is evidence of something called a modal shift were

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people shift from the car to the train and also buses because of

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higher prices and the effects of the recession but what people want

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is a decent alternative with a local connection and that is where

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the bus scores. But we're heading in the opposite direction with

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these changes, like the changes. Can these problems be overcome?

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company says they're listening to complaints and they have lodged a

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major review which should report within the next week or two and

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that might mean more changes, may be additional bus services as a

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result of more funding but these are not isolated cases. We have

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been contacted from people elsewhere in the City and they seem

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to be equally as unpopular. Thank you. The other news, now... A

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senior police officer in Coventry has been suspended following

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allegations that he accessed inappropriate material on the

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internet. West Midlands Police are investigating. The officer is

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understood to be 48 year-old Inspector Brian Hornsby. He was

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arrested last month at an address in Bedworth. The engineering

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company GKN has recorded a 14% rise in profits for the first half of

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this year. Sales at GKN Driveline, which has bases in Redditch and

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Birmingham, were up by 12%. Driveline make components for the

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car industry. The company's share price has risen as profits were

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bigger than expected. Safety checks are to be carried out on part of

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Spaghetti Junction at a cost of �2.5 million pounds. Experts will

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be inspecting the Tame Valley Viaduct, which carries the Aston

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Expressway onto the M6 in Birmingham. They say the money's

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needed so repairs can be planned before problems on the 40 year-old

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road-link become too severe. The Midlands' first academy school for

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the performing arts is due to open its doors to students next month.

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It's modelled on the success of the BRIT school in London, which has

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helped pop singers like Adele launch their careers. Eventually it

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could take up to 1000 pupils. Jackie Kabler reports. This is

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Julie Fitzgerald, a 16 year-old singer-songwriter from Lichfield

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and this is the almost finished Birmingham Academy, the school

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which it's hoped what turned students by Ken into the stars of

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the future. We were not aware of the school, I had applied for

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colleges and as soon as I checked it out, it was definitely the place

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to be. Partnered with the famous BRIT School in London and a TV

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company, the academy's due to open in September. This is what it

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should look like then. Initially with 325 students and creating 100

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new jobs. It has been five years in the making and I have been involved

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for the majority of that time so to see this actually here, it is a

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privilege to be involved. And to see it happening is quite special.

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When finished, there will be a huge screen up their showing the

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students' work to the outside world. This is one of 37 specialist

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academies in the West Midlands, of those, 10 specialise in business

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and enterprise, six in manse, three in technology and two of them in

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languages. At partners Maverick TV, staff are hoping their involvement

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will help shape the stars and success stories of tomorrow. The

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new academy is still a school, teaching all the usual subjects,

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just with a bit of showbiz sparkle. If you look at a lot of the

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successful people in the creative industries, they have done things

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when they were 15 and 16 and they want to get out and do that and the

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Academy can encourage that for all the talent in Birmingham. That will

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be a wonderful thing. Have you ever felt like there is no where else...

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Students of the creative, digital and performing arts, your new

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academy awaits. One to watch out for! I know... Good luck. Nearly

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six in ten independent retailers suffered a fall in business over

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the last three months. The figures are revealed in a new survey from

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the British Independent Retail Association, which also shows a

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decline in sales in the Midlands so far this year. The downturn is

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being blamed on job insecurity and higher food and fuel prices,

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leaving consumers with less to spend. This report from Ben Sidwell.

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Step inside and it's like going back in time. But much has changed

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since the shop first opened in 1880. 131 years later, it is still owned

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and run by members of the same family. There are no family

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business has left. I think people still like a traditional shop. They

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can go into any shop which is basically every shop, there are the

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same. All four members of staff have worked here for over 40 years.

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The business has been their life. But things and retail have changed.

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It is one of those other functions of how people's lifestyles are

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changing and people do not by as much time as they used to. In the

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City, they are not alone. This is Russell and draw, another family

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owned business that has been in the city since the 1800s. That was

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until last month, when they closed for the last time. It isn't just in

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Worcester that independent shops struggle. According to figures by

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the Birmingham based British independent retailers Association,

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in the Midlands, they have seen their overall average performance

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dropping by 3.9% compared to the same period last year. And many

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have been hit even harder. When asked how confident they felt about

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the Red Ed, only 4% said they were confident about 61% were anxious.

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Back here, it seems many people are taking the chance to relive

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shopping days of the past. It is a shame, it has been for it here for

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so long. It is a tragedy for the area. The family still have not

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received an offer for the building. When they do, this chapter of

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Wester's retail history welcome to an end. Joining us now is Michael

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Weedon from the British Independent Retail Association. We heard about

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two businesses in Worcester there. What's the picture like across the

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rest of the region? Across the region it is interesting because

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the Midlands is in the middle of the scale. From falls of 12%, some

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places are better than others. What London has been bad, West Midlands

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is in the middle. Six out of 10 independent retailers tell us that

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business is down in the last quarter against last year. At the

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same time, things were good before that but on balance not a great

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place to be. We have an e-mail from Harry who owns a shop, he says the

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problem is very high business rates in muster. Is that a common

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problem? Our councils to agree? Somebody has to pay so business

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rates have to be there for a purpose. Business rates are a

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problem across the country and retailers began small will be

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hurting. Also rent. Rising rent is a big problem. That is a real

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difficulty for retailers and of business falls but the rents only

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go up, you get squeezed. Everybody likes shopping in a place where

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there are lots of independent retailers. Are we seeing the slow

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death of that? It might be difficult to believe, but the

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Palace on the high streets across the country over the last three

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years has swung in favour of independent shops because chains

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have been shutting their doors more quickly than that the independent

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shops and this year, research shows that as many independents have

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opened as have closed. That is bizarre. With the growth of

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superstores and online shopping, you would have thought it was the

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opposite? We're talking about the High Street, these become available,

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people who have dreamt of running a shop and many are redundant or are

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just dreamers, possibly mad, they see this opportunity and they take

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it. These people will open shops and they can save the High Street.

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If they are allowed to. Thank you. It's technology more usually used

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by companies like Jaguar. But now Keele University is using cutting-

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edge virtual reality to put pharmacology students through their

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paces. They're treating patients on a virtual hospital ward before

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being unleashed on the real thing. And, as our science correspondent,

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David Gregory, discovered, the new technology is opening up all sorts

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of possibilities. I'm stepping into a virtual hospital ward and then

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using a 3 D glasses. The effect is extraordinary although you will not

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get quite the same effect at home on the television. The system

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tracks for I am looking, patience even react. It is an important tool

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for students. How to operate in a busy ward? You might just be

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talking to one patient but there are lots of other things going on.

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If it really prepares you. In 2009 we reported on Keele University's

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virtual patients. The virtual ward takes things even further.

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Pharmacology students can check notes, and monitors. But there are

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plenty of other clues to a patient's health to watch out for.

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Perhaps look at the colour of the skin and the colour of their eyes,

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if there is any slight tremor in the hand, things like this can give

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the student the clue as to what is wrong. This technology is more

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usually found in the car industry. And the team don't just use it for

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hospital wards. The biggest challenge with students is getting

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them back out once they have started working! It can take

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students inside molecules or inside the human body. In fact, it may

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well have uses beyond teaching. This Israel patient data. You can

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go in here with colleagues and examine and plan how to do things

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in 3 D. In the meantime, what do was learn in the virtual world

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makes them better prepared for the real thing. You can read much more

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about that research on David's blog at bbc.co.uk/davidgregory. Still to

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come in tonight's programme: Dreaming the dream - can our

:17:28.:17:34.

rhythmic gymnasts strike gold at London 2012? Meanwhile, it looks

:17:34.:17:38.

like the dream is over for us. The weather has hit its peak but what

:17:38.:17:48.
:17:48.:17:51.

comes next? I'll have the full details for you later. Try not to

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be alarmed but more than 20 skeletons have been dug up in the

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Worcestershire village of Kempsey. It's a relief to know they date

:17:57.:17:59.

back around 1000 years. Archaeologists say what they're

:17:59.:18:02.

unearthing suggests the village may once have been an important

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administrative centre to rival nearby Worcester. Andy Newman

:18:05.:18:15.

reports. Scratching at the human remains from the distant past.

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Former residents of the village who last trod the feels of Foster Show

:18:20.:18:23.

around 1000 years ago. Next to St Mary's Church in the village,

:18:23.:18:26.

archaeologists have found a medieval extension to the present

:18:26.:18:28.

graveyard where 23 skeletons have so far been discovered. More are

:18:28.:18:37.

almost certain to follow. clearly shows that this was an

:18:37.:18:42.

important ecclesiastical centre. There is building material within

:18:42.:18:48.

the soil that we are excavating and it appears to indicate there was a

:18:48.:18:52.

pretty substantial medieval building here on the site.

:18:52.:18:55.

particularly interesting find is in his grave when there are two

:18:55.:18:58.

schools, one on top of the other and that does not mean to people

:18:58.:19:02.

were buried together, it illustrates that burials were

:19:02.:19:06.

haphazard and one grave has disturbed another and the Richhill

:19:06.:19:09.

skull has simply been placed on top. Other evidence adds weight to the

:19:09.:19:13.

theory that next to the church there once stood at Bishop's Palace,

:19:13.:19:16.

where kings and queens would have been entertained. It means that

:19:16.:19:19.

what is now a sleepy village was once an important administrative

:19:20.:19:25.

centre. I find it absolutely incredible that we were made aware

:19:25.:19:32.

of this. Been brought up in the area, I never even knew about this.

:19:32.:19:36.

It will be interesting to know what really happened to these people. To

:19:36.:19:41.

get the evidence of when it was and why they died and get some proper

:19:41.:19:45.

forensic evidence, that would be exciting. That evidence is being

:19:45.:19:48.

gathered as the finds are taken away for exact dating and other

:19:48.:19:53.

tests to find out more about these distant ancestors and the life they

:19:53.:20:01.

lived in the important village of Campsie. Fascinating stuff.

:20:01.:20:11.

Slightly spooky! It is, sadly! We might find out in a few months. You

:20:11.:20:16.

have specialist knowledge?! The first-ever performance by a brand

:20:16.:20:20.

new orchestra took place here in the Midlands this afternoon. The

:20:20.:20:23.

National Orchestra For All is made up exclusively of talented young

:20:23.:20:28.

people from economically deprived areas. It's inspired by a similar

:20:28.:20:31.

project in Venezuela. Kevin Reide went to see them perform. The

:20:31.:20:33.

newly-formed National Orchestra for All in rehearsals this afternoon at

:20:33.:20:40.

the University of Warwick. Later they'll be performing to an

:20:40.:20:46.

audience of more than 700. It's made up of children who might not

:20:46.:20:52.

otherwise get the chance. There are lots of August is out there. They

:20:52.:20:55.

tend to be for the elite and what the National Orchestra for all does

:20:55.:21:01.

it opens up the doors to children for all standards and stages.

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youngsters have only been together since Sunday but they're enjoying

:21:04.:21:12.

the so far. It is amazing, the opportunities, it is just amazing.

:21:12.:21:16.

I have been talking to people and they have come out of their shell.

:21:16.:21:21.

It has really improved my confidence. It has got me to make

:21:21.:21:25.

friends easier. I was never good at that. I have talked to a lot more

:21:25.:21:30.

people. It helps you understand other people. They have that

:21:30.:21:34.

different accents, it is due to last, it helps you with that.

:21:34.:21:36.

Orchestra's been inspired by a revolutionary social experiment in

:21:36.:21:40.

Venezuela which began in the mid '70s. It aimed to create social

:21:40.:21:49.

change by giving poverty-stricken children free access to music. 30

:21:49.:21:59.
:21:59.:21:59.

years on, as this is what -- and this is one of the results.

:21:59.:22:02.

enthusiasm that the young Venezuelan people feel for

:22:02.:22:06.

classical music, and they have been working hard on how to perform

:22:06.:22:09.

something in an exciting way, it's not just about playing the notes,

:22:09.:22:13.

it is about putting your heart and soul into what to do. This is what

:22:13.:22:18.

we're trying to achieve. National Youth Orchestra is still

:22:18.:22:22.

recruiting. The long-term ambition is to have numerous orchestras

:22:23.:22:32.
:22:33.:22:34.

representing each region. Fabulous! It's not often that Venezuela gets

:22:34.:22:43.

mentioned on the programme to! Staying with exotic news...

:22:43.:22:46.

Football and Stoke City have arrived in Croatia for tomorrow's

:22:46.:22:48.

Europa League qualifier against Hajduk Split. The Potters won the

:22:48.:22:51.

home leg 1-0, thanks to an early goal from Jonathan Walters. Around

:22:51.:22:55.

1000 Stoke fans are expected to travel to the game. But if you're

:22:55.:22:58.

not going, BBC Radio Stoke has the whole game live from 5.45pm

:22:58.:23:03.

tomorrow evening. You don't miss the trip. Five years ago, teenager

:23:03.:23:06.

Frankie Jones decided Birmingham was the best place to be if she was

:23:06.:23:10.

to compete at London 2012. The city had the best coach and the best

:23:10.:23:12.

facilities. Today, Frankie is the British champion in rhythmic

:23:12.:23:15.

gymnastics. Her Olympic dream is still very much alive, as Ian

:23:15.:23:17.

Winter reports. Frankie Jones, shopping for flowers on New Street,

:23:17.:23:25.

Birmingham. A rare chance to relax away from her rigorous training

:23:25.:23:27.

regime. You see, Frankie has precious little time to sit back

:23:27.:23:30.

and smell the roses, because every waking hour is focused on rhythmic

:23:30.:23:40.
:23:40.:23:43.

gymnastics. As long as I am confident, I can hopefully perform

:23:43.:23:47.

to my best. Warning - don't try this at home. If Frankie's warm-up

:23:47.:23:50.

routine brings tears to the eyes, don't forget that for the past five

:23:50.:23:53.

years, she's been traveling three hours a day to train five hours a

:23:54.:23:58.

day with coach Lisa Higgins in top- notch facilities at the GMAC Centre.

:23:58.:24:01.

And it's paying dividends. Because Frankie, the Commonwealth silver

:24:01.:24:07.

medalist, is also the British champion. She needs a good

:24:07.:24:09.

performance at the World Championships next month to secure

:24:09.:24:17.

her place at London 2012. Bracci does thrive under pressure. We have

:24:17.:24:22.

known this since the beginning of the year. This is a stepping stone.

:24:22.:24:26.

Hopefully she is confident and we are confident she can achieve

:24:26.:24:31.

number one. I have to stay off the floor and keep moving. Otherwise

:24:31.:24:35.

you get deductions. She's not only really good with the ribbon, she's

:24:35.:24:38.

also red-hot with the hoop, brilliant with the ball, and if she

:24:38.:24:42.

fancies a really wild night out, Frankie loves clubbing. Four

:24:42.:24:44.

difficult disciplines, one dedicated gymnast heading for

:24:44.:24:51.

London 2012. It's always in the back of your mind. I want to work

:24:51.:24:57.

extra hard because you know that it's coming. Little goals, big

:24:58.:25:04.

dreams. Frankie Jones could be in for quite a year. And on Midlands

:25:04.:25:07.

Today tomorrow we'll be looking at the Olympic Dreams of a 19 year-old

:25:07.:25:17.
:25:17.:25:18.

canoeist from Staffordshire. And, of course, the BBC is the official

:25:18.:25:20.

Olympic broadcaster. For all the very latest news on London 2012,

:25:20.:25:30.
:25:30.:25:32.

log onto the website. Indeed. Here's Shefali with the weather. It

:25:32.:25:38.

has been a scorcher. We exceeded expectations. In the end, we did

:25:38.:25:45.

pretty well. The hottest place in For us, the hottest part of the

:25:45.:25:50.

region was Warwickshire with Church Lawford reaching 28 Celsius. It

:25:50.:25:57.

probably felt even more. And there are changes on the way but tonight

:25:57.:26:05.

they won't be immediately apparent. The cloud is going to thicken up

:26:05.:26:09.

from the west to begin with and then the rain begins to come

:26:09.:26:16.

through during the early hours. 16, 17 in places, it's a very

:26:16.:26:21.

uncomfortable night. Warm and humid. The rain starts to perk up tomorrow,

:26:21.:26:25.

beefing up in the south. We are looking at this becoming quite

:26:25.:26:28.

heavy in parts of Gloucestershire and South Warwickshire and

:26:28.:26:34.

temperatures -- 10 - 15 mm. That clears off to the east, hopefully

:26:34.:26:38.

towards the West we can see some late sunshine and while we're in

:26:38.:26:41.

that rain, it will still be quite humoured so although temperatures

:26:42.:26:48.

rise, it might still feel quite warm and fresher towards the West.

:26:48.:26:53.

Then the changes occur. That's from tomorrow night into Friday. Mr to

:26:53.:26:58.

see a quieter spell of weather, the rain clearing, better skies and for

:26:58.:27:01.

Friday it is cooler and fresher with house of 21 degrees. There

:27:01.:27:05.

will be a good deal of sunshine around and as we head into the

:27:05.:27:09.

weekend, Saturday, isolated showers and heavy showers for Sunday. Thank

:27:10.:27:14.

you. A look at tonight's main headlines: The former Egyptian

:27:14.:27:17.

President, Hosni Mubarak, appears in court on a hospital stretcher

:27:17.:27:20.

charged with ordering the killing of protesters. And a former foster

:27:20.:27:23.

carer has been jailed for 14 years for abusing children as young as

:27:23.:27:29.

five. That's all from us this evening, but on tomorrow's Midlands

:27:29.:27:33.

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