11/11/2011 Midlands Today


11/11/2011

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Hello. Welcome to Midlands Today with Sarah Falkland and Nick Owen.

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How we remembered them. Thousands pay silent tribute across the

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region to the war dead on Armistice Day. And very emotional. Because it

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is hard, but proud at the same time. Jobs joy in the Potteries as a

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ceramics firm announces 200 new posts. I am pleased to say that

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this year the business is doing even better.

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Six schools to be bulldozed under plans to transform education in

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Telford. And Port Vale help a former player

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who lost his leg after becoming a Good evening. Welcome to Friday's

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Midlands Today from the BBC. Tonight: thousands pay tribute to

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our fallen servicemen on Armistice Day. At eleven o'clock this morning,

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the West Midlands fell silent for two minutes to remember those

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servicemen and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their

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country. The biggest Armistice Day parade in England was at Bedworth,

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in Warwickshire, with more than 5,000 people attending. From there,

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Giles Latcham reports. Bedworth was busy from early

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morning. The young, and the not-so- young, civilians and ex-servicemen

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and women gathering to remember. This is the one town in the country

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that abides it by the original day, the 11th hour of the 11th day of

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the 11th month. I think it is great. Proud to be Bedworth. We grow up

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here, and it is a proud day for us. Pipe and drums led the way on the

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parade through the town centre. Falling in behind, veterans from

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across the Midlands and units of 30 Signal Regiment and the Royal

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Fusiliers both based locally. is no doubt about it, there is a

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feeling of strength, of camaraderie, of community. Among those at the

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war memorial, the mother of a Bedworth soldier, Sergeant Simon

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Valentine, killed in Helmand two years ago. For her, a difficult day.

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Very emotional, because it is hard. Proud at the same time. A beautiful

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town. He shared the support it year in, year out, not just because of

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my boy, but the town is well known for its Remembrance and pride.

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At eleven all over the Midlands people stopped to pay their

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respects - judges and barristers doffing their wigs outside Stafford

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In Hanley in Stoke-on-Trent they gathered to remember the campaign

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in Burma, two veterans now in their nineties honouring the comrades who

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They are not as bad as they think we are when people turn up to pay

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their respects to the fallen comrades. In Worcester they

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gathered in the shadow of the At Rubery on the outskirts of

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Birmingham, commemoration mixed Poppies showered at the opening of

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a new market in an area blighted by the collapse of the Rover car works

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In Bedworth, schoolchildren prepared for the service at the war

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memorial by writing poems with the theme of remembrance. In Flanders

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fields of poppies grow, and now we remember the Saunders that have

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died and the spirits that lie in the sky. It is marvellous. We had

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350 children. I had to turn 70 away because it was just too big.

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Not only is it the 11th day of the 11th month, but for once in many

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generations, the year ends in 11, too. This was the biggest parade

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since they began in 1921 - in a town proud to remember.

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Another major focus of today's commemorations was the National

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Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, where the names of 16,000

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servicemen who've died since 1945 are engraved on the Armed Forces

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Memorial. It's designed so that on the 11th hour of the 11th day of

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the 11th month, a shaft of sunlight shines through its walls,

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poignantly hitting the bronze wreath sculpture in the centre.

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Prince William is patron of an appeal to raise �12 million to

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build further facilities at Alrewas, and last night a fundraising dinner

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The National arboretum has become in just a few years the iconic

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focal point for the nation's remembrance of British heroes. It

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is a place of sanctuary for those who come to remember, a place at a

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quiet pride in the selflessness and sacrifice of those who have gone

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before. We can cross live now to The

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National Memorial Arboretum where we can join chief executive Charlie

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Bagot Jewitt. Thanks for joining us, Mr Bagot Jewitt. Another very

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special day for you at the Arboretum. What are your thoughts

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on the day? It is always a very moving day. The 11th of the 11th of

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the 11th, 11 o'clock, certainly a very special time farce. Sadly the

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sunshine did not come through the aperture in the memorial today, it

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was just too dark. But I don't think that mattered. Everyone was

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remembering their own loved one. Visitors numbers are climbing

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dramatically - hitting 300,000 a year. What do you put that down to?

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I think there is an national mood for remembrance. We have been in

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conflict. But I think there is also a national mood to learn and

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understand what our armed forces do and what they do for us and our

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freedoms. What we have here is not just better facilities for the

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visitors, but also interpretation and education facilities so that we

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can really explain what Remembrance is about and why it is so important.

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We heard earlier from Prince William - how vital is his support?

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Absolutely vital. To have the Duke of Cambridge on board supporting

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our appeal in such an active way and taking such an interest in the

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site really gives an element of leadership, leadership to the

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country and to asked to make sure that we really do our best to

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honour of fallen. And what plans do you have for

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Remembrance Sunday? We will have a standard service here. I would

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advise anyone who does want to come here to arrive shortly after 10

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o'clock. The service will be a normal one with a silence at 11

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o'clock. And then just after lunch there will be a further thought,

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prayer and a band concert at sunset. Thank you very much indeed. And on

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Remembrance Sunday, the Politics Show will be talking to the

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Coventry Labour MP and former Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth,

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who claims British troops are now benefiting from decisions about

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equipment that he made while in charge at the Ministry of Defence.

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In recent years, Snatch Land Rovers, body armour and night-vision

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goggles have all needed improving. Mr Ainsworth admitted delays in

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replacing kit were very frustrating. There can never be enough. There

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were improvements before I was Defence Secretary, improvements

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during my time, it pushed the expense up quite a lot, but it was

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what was needed. But the time lag is enormous.

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Also on Sunday's programme, the mid-Worcestershire MP and Defence

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Minister Peter Luff will be quizzed by an Army mother on what more he

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can do to help her soldier sons. That's on The Politics Show on

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Sunday at ten past three on BBC One. A gang of eleven men have been

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convicted of setting up what police believe was set to be one of the

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country's largest cannabis factories. The group, mostly from

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the West Midlands, were arrested following a five-month

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investigation by Staffordshire Police. At the conclusion of the

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trial, the judge commended detectives for an operation he said

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had brought to justice some serious criminals. Here's our Staffordshire

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reporter, Liz Copper. This was what police discovered

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when they raided the farm at the centre of this investigation. There

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were more than 800 plants. They'd have produced cannabis worth an

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estimated �2.75 million. Detectives also uncovered generators, fans and

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lighting equipment. This is the gang behind the plan to build what

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police believe was one of the larges and most sophisticated

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cannabis factories in the UK. Amongst them, Neil Bridges from

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Hammerwich and Peter Bassett from Rugeley in Stafford. Also convicted,

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Paul Hicks from Solihull. Professional plumbers, electricians

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have been used to set this up. So we feel that it is a long-term

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operation which potentially was going to benefit a number of

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individuals for some considerable years.

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This is the farm in rural Lincolnshire where the drugs were

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cultivated. The barns here had undergone extensive adaptations,

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costing around �1.4 million. Cannabis use and its supply have

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been targeted by both the police and agencies combating drug abuse.

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Even the ones who use it as a recreational drug, which is a

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phrase sometimes used, and they use it on an occasional basis, it is a

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very dangerous path to go down, because some people may not go

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further down the rocky road of harder drugs, but I'm afraid an

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awful lot of people do. Police say the gang behind this

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cannabis factory had criminal links nationwide. The men who have been

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convicted will all be sent to Inst later. Police say they were living

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a lavish love * -- sentenced later. Police say they were living a

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lavish lifestyle funded by their drug dealing.

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Four men have been found guilty of stabbing to death a shopkeeper in

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Birmingham in an attack witnessed by his four young children. Suppiah

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Tharmaseelan's children, who saw his murder via a security camera in

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the family home, appealed for strong punishment for his killers.

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The gang who attacked him at his shop in Kingstanding had been

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drinking heavily nearby and were caught on CCTV leaving a pub. Twins

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Ian and John Meenan and brothers Anthony Bayliss and Liam Ryan were

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all found guilty of murder after a month-long trial. A fifth man

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pleaded guilty to robbery. He is a family man with four young children

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who has done very well to establish a business, we know how difficult

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it is to run a business these days. And it was all taken away by five

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thugs coup came in, stabbed him and number of times and stole

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cigarettes and alcohol. There's been severe disruption to

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train services across the Midlands today owing to signalling problems

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at Wolverhampton. Virgin Trains, London Midland and Cross Country

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trains have all been affected. Passengers have been able to use

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their tickets on some National Express bus and tram services

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instead, but there are still problems and delays across the rail

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network. Some more positive news about jobs now - there's fresh

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evidence this evening that Staffordshire's pottery industry

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could be heading for better times. 200 new jobs have been announced in

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Stoke-on-Trent in an industry that's seen massive decline in

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recent years. Laura May McMullan reports now on a growing belief

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that the good times could be There's little sign of economic

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struggle at Steelite International in Stoke-on-Trent. In fact they

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seem to have a handle on their business, and sales are currently

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glowing. Last year we did have record sales behind a very

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difficult economic backdrop. I am pleased to say that this year the

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business is doing even better. put it down to their products still

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being made in the Potteries. Last year production increased by 24%,

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and last year's turnover was �60 million. Now they're looking to

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recruit more staff. We were successful in winning a regional

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growth fund. The grant will be up to �2 million. What it will do for

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us is able to enter new markets with new products, and the great

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thing for the City is that his plans to create around 200 jobs.

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But can the industry its own two feet? Well, figures show it's good

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news for the tableware sector. Sales last year were up by �31

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million compared to the previous year. And industry experts at this

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ceramics fair believe companies are starting to turn a corner. Firms

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that have got their strategy is right and go for the overseas

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markets are seeing their sales increase. Shouldn't the Council

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have protected and promoted its industry way before now? Yes,

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definitely.That's why we're now starting to bang a drum and say

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Stoke-on-Trent is open for business. The red carpet is open for any

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business. Smaller companies like Valentine

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Clays have seen a substantial growth since attending the ceramics

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fair last year. They've seen their profits increase by 10%. I think

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there is a positive attitude in the industry at the moment. We are all

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working together, and they think it is beginning to pay dividends now.

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There are currently around 350 ceramics companies in the city,

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employing more than 20,000 people. This year the forecast is likely to

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show that the industry turnover The football club supporting one of

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their former players who lost a leg in a workplace accident.

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And if this gloomy, cloudy, murky week of weather's been getting you

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down, I've got some good news for the weekend. There's rain tonight -

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but then it brightens up. The full Six schools are to be demolished

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and rebuilt under plans to transform education in Telford in

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Shropshire. The plans will cost �200 million and mark the return of

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the Building Schools for the Future programme. The aim is to replace

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ageing classrooms and cater for a rising birth rate. This report from

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Ben Godfrey. Year Seven pupils at Charlton

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School were learning about heavy weights in their science classes

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today. Within four years, their classrooms could be flattened and

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replaced with a new school. Something really bright and airy to

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encourage kids to learn. They have said they will be built bigger

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classes, and we will be more spaced around. We have covered many

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stories about building schools for the future on Midlands Today. But

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this one is not about dilapidated buildings. We have almost 1,200

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students in a building built in the Sixties and was meant to take 750

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children. It is a large student population a relatively small

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school. We have outgrown it. plan was devised by the last Labour

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government to improve schools. But it was put in detention by the

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coalition government. But Telford and Wrekin Council has a Labour

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leadership and last night agreed a revised �200 million rebuilding

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package. We did have a cut in the funding last year in November, but

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I'm pleased that this has allowed us to continue. The building

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schools for the future programme is essential. It'll be in the

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classroom that school leaders hope to see a real difference. Take a

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look at Telford's main Catholic college, erected in the '60s and on

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the list to be demolished. A new Christian faith academy will

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replace it in Priorslee, taking pupils from a Catholic and Anglican

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background. It wouldn't really change what we do on a day-to-day

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basis. We might have to look at aspects of worship, but we are a

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pretty broad church already. plans are not a very advanced. We

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were shown this farmer's field where one could be built. A public

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consultation starts later this month.

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It's time for sport now on FA Cup weekend. Dan Pallett's here, and we

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start with something that'll touch everyone, whether they like

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football or not, Dan. Yes, a very poignant tale. Andy

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Shankland played just 26 games for Port Vale. He once played against

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Manchester United at Old Trafford. But he never played in the FA Cup.

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That's because Andy's career was suddenly cut short by injury. But

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his bad luck was to turn even worse, as Ian Winter reports.

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10.30 this morning, and the Port Vale players are off to training.

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Just like Andy Shankland used to do. But those days are long gone.

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Because Andy's life has followed a very different path since he first

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dreamed of hitting the big time in professional football. He was a

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talented left-winger. 30 years ago, aged 17, he scored on his debut.

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But five years later, an ankle injury killed off his football

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career, and worse was to follow. He to come window-cleaning, fell off a

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ladder, and surgeons had to amputate his left leg.

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What is your attitude towards life now? Just get on with it! I have

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always had that attitude. These things happen to you. Things

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happened other people. You have to make the best of what you have got.

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Fans of Stoke and Birmingham will remember Jeff Scott, whose career

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was also ended by injury. He is now helping Andy and thousands more ex-

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professional to cope with the legacy of old injuries. I am glad

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we caught Andy, because my fear is that he could have got lost in the

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community and lost to football. Football needs big stories, and it

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needs to be seen to be doing something good. I'd like to see

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football stand up and take some responsibility here. He is part of

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the Port Vale family, and it highlights that not everybody is a

:19:30.:19:33.

John Terry Oras Steven Gerrard. There are lots of footballers out

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their dealing with a lot of hardships. Andy grew up in Stoke,

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and live with one leg isn't easy. With a loving family and supportive

:19:41.:19:46.

friends, he still has plenty to be thankful for. Here today, gone

:19:46.:19:51.

tomorrow. He take it for granted sometimes, you don't always

:19:51.:19:58.

appreciate it. It can be gone just like that. Tomorrow, Andy is hoping

:19:58.:20:03.

Port Vale avoid a banana skin against non-League Grimsby, but

:20:03.:20:08.

experience tells him it won't be the end of the world if they lose.

:20:08.:20:11.

And don't forget all the football action tomorrow will be covered by

:20:11.:20:18.

our colleagues on BBC local radio. What a story about Andy there, and

:20:18.:20:24.

I know that Jeff Scott does a wonderful thing. Tell us about the

:20:24.:20:29.

Birmingham boxer Khalid Yafai. A big day for him.

:20:29.:20:33.

Bizarrely, Britain has to fly wades who could potentially go to the

:20:33.:20:37.

Olympics, and there is only one place. He's fighting for his place

:20:37.:20:40.

at the London Olympics today. Yafai, who's a flyweight, will fight

:20:40.:20:43.

Andrew Selby from Wales for a place in the British team. The winner

:20:43.:20:46.

will be decided over the best of three fights starting this

:20:46.:20:48.

afternoon at York Hall in Bethnall Green. Unfortunately he lost today.

:20:48.:20:55.

So he has to win the next one. If he doesn't win tomorrow, the dream

:20:55.:20:59.

is over seven months before the Olympics.

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What pressure! Good luck to him. Now it is time to have a look at

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what the weather is going to do. There are some brighter skies to

:21:22.:21:29.

come through the weekend. It should be mostly dry, and it is going to

:21:29.:21:34.

feel mild, I unseasonably mild for the time of year. But before we get

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to that, we have some reign to get out of the way -- some rain to get

:21:38.:21:45.

out of the way. That band of rain will push east through the course

:21:45.:21:53.

of the evening. Once it clears away, things will dry up. This is how

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things look as we start the day tomorrow. This is the weather that

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brought the rain tonight. This area of high pressure starts to exert

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its influence, and that will give us some brighter weather through

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the day tomorrow. One or two isolated showers, but otherwise it

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is a mainly dry day. In the sunshine, feeling pleasant with a

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high of 14 or 15 Celsius. A lovely day to head off to the races at

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Cheltenham. It should be fine and dry, with some sunny spells.

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Temperatures up to 15 Celsius in a light southerly breeze. Plenty of

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coverage of that on BBC Radio Gloucestershire. Through the night,

:22:43.:22:53.
:22:53.:22:54.

some are missed and a Merc creeping There should be some sunny spells

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developing for Sunday, so it should be fine and dry for any remembrance

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events you're heading to. The temperatures will lift again to 14

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or 15 Celsius on Sunday. The start of next week, the days follow a

:23:14.:23:24.
:23:24.:23:29.

similar passion -- fashion, cloudy The cast and crew from E 20, the

:23:29.:23:34.

new internet spin-off from EastEnders, it is written by a team

:23:34.:23:44.
:23:44.:23:48.

It is Albert Square all right, but younger, edgier and with more punch.

:23:48.:23:58.
:23:58.:24:01.

You won't catch this on your telly, but online. And this is face. --

:24:01.:24:11.
:24:11.:24:12.

Faith. She is hilarious, she wants her own way. The gruelling schedule

:24:12.:24:18.

is no surprise, but there was a surprise from some of the students

:24:18.:24:23.

when they were asked to have a go at scripting. They managed to put

:24:23.:24:29.

together a very gritty script, Peter hears from Melbourne and has

:24:29.:24:38.

worked on it neighbours. Somebody suggested that she was a gay

:24:38.:24:42.

character, I think they said it to get a laugh, but actually it was a

:24:42.:24:49.

good idea. You have to just have your imagination and be creative.

:24:49.:24:52.

Where is our crew? Time to film what they have written, and

:24:52.:25:00.

starring alongside the 20 and their characters is one of our own local

:25:00.:25:05.

students. It has made me think differently about TV and what goes

:25:05.:25:14.

on behind the scenes. Will Walford ever be the same with Faith and her

:25:14.:25:24.
:25:24.:25:28.

It is going down very well with the kids, very popular apparently.

:25:28.:25:34.

More than 4,000 people have visited the Staffordshire Hoard on display

:25:34.:25:38.

in America. Among the hundreds of items on show in Washington DC are

:25:38.:25:41.

some of the most valuable pieces in the collection. They have been

:25:41.:25:44.

carefully restored and put together by experts in Birmingham. The

:25:44.:25:47.

exhibition is due to last until March next year.

:25:47.:25:57.
:25:57.:26:05.

Now, if you haven't heard of Movember? It is spelt with an M.

:26:05.:26:11.

Ates a month when men are grow a moustache to raise awareness for

:26:11.:26:15.

prostate and testicular cancer. This year there will be around

:26:15.:26:21.

37,000 new cases. I have been affected through family, and they

:26:21.:26:27.

feel this is a chance for me to try and help in raising awareness for

:26:27.:26:33.

men's prostate and testicular cancer. Let's have a look at

:26:33.:26:42.

tonight's main headlines again. Across the UK, millions of people

:26:42.:26:45.

have been marking Armistice Day, with communities falling silent in

:26:45.:26:48.

memory of those who've lost their lives for their country. That's all

:26:48.:26:51.

from us this evening, on Armistice Day. So much of today's focus has

:26:51.:26:54.

been on the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire - which

:26:54.:26:56.

is where you'll find a special series of photographs taken by

:26:56.:27:04.

visitors to Alrewas. We leave you with some of those images. A day

:27:04.:27:07.

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