01/12/2011 Midlands Today


01/12/2011

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Welcome to my learned today. The headlines: Police spot checks as

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metal thieves risk their lives and others for money.

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They should be an audit trail. I question these cash transactions as

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well. On the final day of the inquiry into the appalling day at

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Staffordshire Hospital, it prepares to shut its a and the doors at

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night. A tense meeting about police

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station closures. He we had difficult conversations today.

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cannot do everything. The public have to feel the cuts and we do too.

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Family friends and celebrities turn out to pay their respects at the

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funeral of the Red Arrow pilot, Good to have you with us this

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evening. New calls to tighten the laws around sales to scrap dealers

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after a sharp rise in metal fence. 7500 offences were committed in the

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West Midlands alone in the last month. 20 thefts a day. These are

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getting more brazen. One gang stole cable from the M6

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motorway when it was shut after a four-year-old child died in a crash

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at the weekend. In a moment, we will hear from an MP who wants

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stricter controls as a priority. First this report.

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Increasingly shocked at the tactics used by metal thieves, police in

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Coventry went on the offensive today, pulling in drivers on their

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way to scrapyards and rifling through their vans in the hunt for

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stolen cargo. We have seen a 100% rise in metal thefts in the city.

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We find people coming all over from the country into Coventry to sell

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what they have acquired and quite often it is illegal. But it is hard

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to trace. As the law stands, transactions at scrapyards can be

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cashed in hands. This scrap dealer Paul Dover near Coventry airport

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today felt the police were targeting the wrong people. It is

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just people... I don't know scrap metal lads doing it. Just people

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who don't work. Thieves get increasingly brazen. In the last

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week in Coventry, metal pipes and boilers from central heating

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systems in private houses have been stolen and scrap metal thieves

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caused a fire at a sub-station was inhalers - Enter to close because

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it lost his power supply. -- causing a leisure centre to close.

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Five men were arrested last night on the M6 near Walsall allegedly

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for trying to steal tables powering overhead signs. Most shockingly, at

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the weekend thieves stole cabling after sneaking onto the motorway

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whilst police were attending an accident. This return knows only

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too well there links thieves will go to. Let has been stolen from

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this church seven times in six months. Now it is being replaced by

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fibreglass. The vicar wants to see the laws governing scrapyards

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strengthened. There should be an audit trail. I question cash

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transactions as well. It would be better if there was proof of where

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the money came from. The reason the thefts are on the up is simple. A

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tonne of copper fetches �4,400.80 and have led is worth �2,800. As

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the kimono and -- criminals get greedy, the police decided to lobby

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the government to do more to tackle the problem.

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Joining us is Chris Kelly, the Conservative MP who is campaigning

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on the law to be changed. It is a serious problem but is anyone

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listening? Early in the Autumn statement, the government announced

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a package to set up a task force to reduce scrap metal theft. We are

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pushing at an open door with the government because there is an

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intention to legislate to clamp down on stolen mettle. It is a

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matter of finding the time to do that. We have put former it a Ten

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Minute Rule Bill and we have six measures which include cashless

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payments. Also, to make sure that when people steal metal, if they in

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danger life and when charges are bought that will be a key aspect of

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the charges. There are other measures to give people greater

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powers. Most of the trade is very willing to adopt the measures and a

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already doing so but there is an element outside the law that needs

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to be clamped down on and that is why we are bringing forward this

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bill. How difficult would it be two police? It is a really big industry.

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There is a market for it, isn't there? Yes and it is being exported

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to booming markets abroad but it is causing great damage to our

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communities. And endangering life. Yes and it will be a matter of time

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before there are serious fatalities and we must take action urgently.

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Thanks very much. Later in the programme, we're live

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at the Britannia Stadium with Daniel Pallett.

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It could be an historic night for Stoke City. They need a draw and

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they are through to the knockout -- knockout stages of the Europa

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A year on and at a cost of �10 million and rising, the Stafford

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Hospital public inquiry finally came to an end today. The report

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into exactly what went wrong isn't expected until the spring of next

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year at the earliest. Coincidentally, this evening also

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sees the first night of three months of overnight closures at the

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hospital's accident and emergency unit. Here's our Staffordshire

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reporter, Liz Copper. For a small, dedicated group of

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campaigners this has been a daily routine for more than a yurt -

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arriving at the inquiry to hear evidence. Has it all been

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worthwhile? Something really needs to change and we are hoping from

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this inquiry that recommendations will ensure we get a very much

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safer system for patients. It is not just about Stafford hospital

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but the whole of the NHS and the future of it. It was necessary for

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it to be looked at in this depth to find out what has gone wrong in the

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past, not only here but in many other trusts across the country.

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The inquiry has cost �10 million. It has sat for 139 days and there

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have been over 1 million pages of evidence. It is now for Robert

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Francis QC, the chairman, to assess the evidence and draw up a report

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with recommendations. The question of nursing and management will be

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looked at in great depth by Robert Francis and his team and when the

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report comes out, people will be able to judge for themselves what

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went wrong and what must be done about it.

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Antony Sumara is the man who was drafted in to manage the hospital

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in the wake of the scandal. He has followed the inquiry closely and is

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now carrying out further work for the NHS on lessons to be learned.

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The difficulty is that they have been other inquiries with

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recommendations that have not been implemented. Robert has to try to

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be creative and thoughtful about his messages and how they will

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even as those recommendations are being worked on, the hosptial is

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still dealing with the ramifications of what happened here.

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From tonight, its A&E department will shut overnight for three

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months. It's caused renewed controversy just as the public

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inquiry closes. All the evidence has been heard. The final report is

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not expected to be published until next year but its recommendations

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are likely to be far reaching. Liz Copper joins us now from our

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studio in Stoke-on-Trent. Liz, remind us again exactly what's been

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decided about the A&E unit in Stafford.

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It is a decision that was made by the board last month. From 10

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o'clock tonight, the doors at a Andy in Stafford will close and

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they will not reopen until tomorrow morning. Patients will be

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transferred to other hospitals which will enable them to train

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existing staff and recruited new doctors.

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Changes are controversial so what have people been saying?

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It has been hugely controversial in Stafford. 10,000 people have signed

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a petition. You might remember it has echoes of concerns raised in

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the 1990s regarding downgrading services in Kidderminster. We have

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been speaking to Richard Taylor. If it is only for three months, the

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implications are not too bad because Severe emergencies and that

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-- at night are not common. It is important for the future that it is

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not more than three months. If you lose the A&E department you fill up

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other departments with minor cases who didn't need to go to other A&E

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departments. Richard Taylor was formerly an MP.

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The point he was making his what will be the impact on other

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hospitals, particularly Wolverhampton and Stoke on Trent.

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We will only know that when the plan gets under way.

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Thank you. There is more detail and analysis of the inquiry on the BBC

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stoke website. There was controversy today from

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proposals to close 12 police stations. Many are open around the

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clock but the force says it needs to shut them at night.

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Campaigners handed in position -- petitions opposing the plans.

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They faced a tough summer. Now comes a long winter of difficult

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decisions for West Midlands police. It is a difficult issue that is a

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mixture of emotional and practical. That Chief Constable defended one

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idea to the police authority - a move to close a dozen police

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stations overnight. Almost 4000 people have signed a petition

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against the idea. It demonstrates the label -- the level of concern

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areas. For 12 oz station -- for 12 stations, they are being closed to

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save resources. They will be fitted with an intercom and they maintain

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that 99% of the public will live between -- within four miles of a

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station that is manned 24 hours a day. Under the new proposals, this

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station will open at 10am and shut in the evening. It is taking the

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safety of the public away. There is a bun ability there. I understand

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that cut have to be made everywhere. Police started consultations two

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weeks ago but critics say they should allow more time.

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consultation has been extensive. We have contacted community leaders,

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neighbourhood watch are followers and users of social media. We feel

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we have touched about 43,000 people. To give the public an opportunity

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to have an input and contribute and discuss things that affect their

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day-to-day lives has got to be at the heart of what policing is about.

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As a result of today's meeting, the consultation has been extended to

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make January. But the police need to make �126 million of budget cuts

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so the axe will have to fall Police are hunting a hit-and-run

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driver who killed an 11-year-old boy as he was crossing a road to

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get to school. It happened just after 7:00 this morning between

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Southam and Farnborough in Warwickshire. The boy was hit by a

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light coloured Ford Mondeo which was travelling towards Banbury.

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Police want any witnesses to contact them.

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Four West Midlands Police officers have been suspended over

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allegations of misconduct. They're alleged to have mishandled property

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taken from members of the public in Bordesley Green in Birmingham. If

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the allegations are proven, then the officers could be charged with

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theft. The investigation's been referred to the Independent Police

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Complaints Commission. A serious case review into the

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death of a 2-year-old girl, who died after she was scalded in a

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shower, says lessons must be learned. The review says Kristiana

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Logina's mother, Eva, and her boyfriend, former magistrate

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Rashpal Chana, from Birmingham, could have prevented her death in

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February last year. They were convicted of manslaughter after

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failing to seek proper medical care for Kristiana.

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Born to fly - that was how Red Arrow pilot, Flight Lieutenant Sean

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Cunningham, was described at his funeral today. Hundreds of family,

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friends and celebrities gathered to pay their respects to the 35-year-

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old who died last month during a training exercise. His commanding

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officer described the former Coventry schoolboy as "charming,

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professional and dedicated." Joan Cummins reports.

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Hundreds of mourners and friends today joined Flight Lieutenant Sean

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Cunningham's family to pay their respects to the Red Arrows pilot.

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The 35-year-old died when he was ejected from his jet while it was

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still on the ground. During the service, the Red Arrows commanding

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officer said how much Sean was missed. Life can be so cruel and I

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have spent a lot of time searching deep within me for answers, as to

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why Sean was taken from us on that foggy morning. But Sean would not

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want us dwelling on such things. He would want us to carry on, to get

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back in the air and to reclaim our place in the hearts of the

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population of this great nation. What came out in today's service

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was Sean Cunningham's love of life. The congregation heard how he was

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born to fly. Weeks before his death, he had even gone back to his old

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school here in Coventry, to try to inspire the next generation of

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pilots. Amongst the congregation, the wife of John Egging, another

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Red Arrows pilot who was killed in August, and celebrities who

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personally knew the men and appreciated them. A fantastic

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memory of Sean. Probably when he came to a couple of parties of mind

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over the summer, probably when he was wearing an Afro wig and dancing.

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I had spoken and said hello on a few occasions on those end-of-

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season guest nights, I had had the pleasure to say hello. Also just

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knowing the team in general, I do feel that strong connection with

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the team of the Red Arrows. In a statement, Sean's family said he'd

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be remembered for his huge smile that radiated warmth. Then

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fittingly through the winter sun, a The funeral of Sean Cunningham at

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Coventry Cathedral today. Still to come this evening, a

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somewhat chilling weather warning from Shefali.

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Yes, autumn may have been mild and dry but winter's mark is already

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being made. Expect strong winds, more rain and a drop in

:16:47.:16:57.
:16:57.:16:58.

temperatures. You can find out how Aston Villa, Wolverhampton

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Wanderers and West Bromwich Albion have signed up to an AIDS awareness

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campaign called Saving Lives. On World Aids Day, the Aston Villa

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captain, Stilyan Petrov, has urged people to get tested. It's a

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campaign that's won the full support of Chris Kearl. 32 years

:17:15.:17:18.

ago he contracted HIV and every day endures a painful struggle against

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the virus. With more here's our health correspondent, Michele

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Paduano. He has had two hip replacements and

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is in constant nerve pain, but Chris Kearl's story is about

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survival when so many others from his generation didn't make it.

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They told me the life expectancy at that time was 18 months, no more.

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That was it. That there were no treatments available for it. They

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didn't even really know what was causing the virus. They could only

:17:48.:17:56.

test for the antibodies at the time. My life kind of stopped. In the

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late 70s, he had had everything to look forward to, but he didn't just

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lose his health. He was cut off by his church and his family. I ended

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up with the Sun newspaper coming around and taking pictures, with

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the headline, church organist AIDS carrier. There is now a danger that

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has become a threat to us all. need not be the killer it was back

:18:23.:18:26.

in the 80s, if it's picked up early. And to give that message a kick

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start, the Aston Villa captain today lent his support. It's

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estimated that a quarter of HIV carriers in the UK don't know.

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proud that I can be part of this cause. I hope we can get that

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message across, especially with football. Getting Aston Villa

:18:44.:18:47.

involved is a real coup for this Birmingham-based charity. They are

:18:47.:18:51.

getting to just the people they want to test, the fans. The aim now

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is to get every professional club involved. As well as Villa, Saving

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lives has signed up Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Bromwich Albion.

:18:58.:19:01.

If you don't know you've got it, you can't get life-saving treatment

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and you could be passing it on to however many partners you would

:19:05.:19:10.

have been a ten-year period. It is vital that we get people tested. If

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we get them tested, we can save their lives with the treatment. You

:19:14.:19:19.

can give somebody a normal life expectancy. But Chris Kearl wants

:19:19.:19:26.

youngsters to take precautions, not Now it's another exciting night for

:19:26.:19:29.

Stoke City supporters, with the club playing in Europe for the

:19:29.:19:31.

first time since 1975. Tonight, they'll qualify for the knockout

:19:31.:19:35.

stages of the Europa League if they draw or win against Dinamo Kiev at

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the Britannia Stadium. Nick Clitheroe reports.

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Stoke City's first European campaign for nearly 40 years has

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been full of joyous occasions for the fans. They've made new friends,

:19:48.:19:51.

like these Dynamo Kiev supporters playing the second leg of their own

:19:51.:19:53.

football match against their Potteries counterparts this

:19:53.:20:01.

afternoon. This was just for fun, but who'll come out on top tonight?

:20:01.:20:05.

I think I am going to give them this match, but we are going to win

:20:05.:20:11.

the big one. We need the win, at Stoke don't, we are going to win it.

:20:12.:20:15.

It is the first time in my lifetime there have been in Europe, and I am

:20:15.:20:19.

proud of them. The Stoke City players have been having fun of

:20:19.:20:22.

their own growing the finest collection of moustaches in the

:20:22.:20:24.

Premier League for the Movember charity, which raises awareness of

:20:24.:20:27.

prostate cancer. But they'll be clean-cut tonight when they go in

:20:27.:20:30.

search of the point which will extend this European adventure into

:20:30.:20:33.

the knock-out stages. Dynamo Kiev have played more than 400 games in

:20:33.:20:37.

Europe. Stoke are barely into double figures. But his is these

:20:37.:20:41.

lads who are on the brink of qualification. The players and the

:20:41.:20:44.

supporters have embraced it. We have really enjoyed it. It is a

:20:45.:20:48.

massive game for us. We are hoping to get a full house. We are hoping

:20:48.:20:53.

the crowd will come a long and really push us on. It would be a

:20:53.:20:57.

great achievement for us as a club. It seemed unlikely when the draw

:20:57.:21:01.

was made but Stoke are unbeaten in the group and will top it if they

:21:01.:21:04.

win this evening. Dan Pallett is at the Britannia

:21:04.:21:13.

Stadium for tonight's game. A big night for Stoke fans? Absolutely.

:21:13.:21:16.

He would have believed this time last year they would be in Europe,

:21:16.:21:21.

never mind unbeaten at this stage. Brian Shaw from the supporters'

:21:21.:21:26.

club, can you believe it? No. To get into Europe is a wonderful

:21:26.:21:30.

achievement. To play again some of the teams we have played against

:21:30.:21:34.

and remain unbeaten is a fair achievement. Will they remain

:21:34.:21:38.

unbeaten this evening? Fingers crossed. We need one point and we

:21:38.:21:43.

hope to get it. A win would be very nice. What has been the secret?

:21:43.:21:47.

togetherness of the team. I wish that after the grippier matches, we

:21:47.:21:53.

could get the same result at the weekend. -- after the group matches.

:21:53.:21:57.

You might be through without needing the game in Turkey, how far

:21:57.:22:03.

can Stoke go? Given a decent draw, I think we can maybe go to the

:22:03.:22:08.

semis or even the final. That would be a fantastic thing. Following on

:22:08.:22:12.

from last year's FA Cup run, Stoke are still buoyant. Europe, you

:22:12.:22:16.

better watch out. Yes, Stoke seemed to be flying.

:22:16.:22:24.

Good luck to them. -- seemed to be And you can hear full commentary on

:22:24.:22:27.

the match on BBC Radio Stoke this evening. They'll have all the

:22:27.:22:30.

build-up from 7:00pm and the game kicks off just after 8:00pm.

:22:30.:22:33.

For most people, retirement means relaxing and taking life a little

:22:33.:22:36.

easier. But not for Bill Longmore. The 73-year-old former police

:22:36.:22:39.

superintendent is now busier than ever, dedicating his time to help

:22:39.:22:42.

community sport. He's the third of our five finalists for this year's

:22:42.:22:44.

BBC Midlands Sport's Unsung Hero Award. Ian Winter's been to

:22:44.:22:47.

Shropshire to meet him. It's Sunday afternoon and Bill

:22:47.:22:50.

Longmore has invited me along to watch Hanwood Saints. They're up

:22:50.:22:52.

against Shrewsbury Ladies, currently top of the Shropshire

:22:52.:22:59.

League, so it'll be a tough match. Winning would be a bonus. But for

:22:59.:23:02.

Bill, the best result is simply playing. Because now, for the first

:23:02.:23:05.

time, Hanwood has a women's football team for the whole village

:23:05.:23:09.

to be proud of. I was always disappointed I couldn't get the

:23:09.:23:14.

ladies involved. It was probably a bit before my time. Now it is nice

:23:14.:23:18.

to see them. I have no doubt that it would be long before they are

:23:18.:23:23.

saying, can we have a second team. The power of sport has always been

:23:23.:23:26.

one of Bill's passions. During 30 years with Staffordshire Police, he

:23:26.:23:28.

encouraged his officers to forge community links through football

:23:28.:23:31.

and BMX biking. And now, his most recent success is finding a home

:23:31.:23:37.

for the Saints. What would Hanwood village be like without Bill

:23:37.:23:41.

Longmore? It would be very boring, there would be no opportunity to

:23:41.:23:44.

get everyone together playing sports. He is a credit to the

:23:44.:23:48.

village, we are truly grateful for what he has done. He is definitely

:23:48.:23:52.

my unsung hero, he is the best. There's no end to Bill's unsung

:23:52.:23:55.

heroics. As chairman of the Village Hall, he's just received a lottery

:23:55.:23:58.

grant of �50,000 to create a cycle track and an exercise area for

:23:58.:24:05.

Hanwood people to enjoy. It is probably more important now than

:24:05.:24:09.

ever. The more you can have on your doorstep, the better. There are

:24:09.:24:13.

more people getting involved, they feel welcome. Next, we're off to

:24:13.:24:15.

the bowls club - Bill's first sporting challenge, when he moved

:24:15.:24:19.

into the village 12 years ago. The green was in bad shape, the ageing

:24:19.:24:21.

membership was in decline and juniors were banned from playing.

:24:21.:24:24.

They're not now. Under Bill's leadership, youngsters are actively

:24:24.:24:33.

encouraged. Show them how it's done! And today, the club isn't

:24:33.:24:38.

just surviving, it's thriving. Membership has doubled. Eight teams

:24:38.:24:40.

compete in local leagues and young Hanwood bowlers are making their

:24:40.:24:46.

mark at county level. Bill strives to make Hanwood a community. He is

:24:46.:24:49.

so community based. He looks to create a community spirit at all

:24:49.:24:56.

aspects of village life. Wherever you look in this quiet corner of

:24:56.:24:59.

Shropshire, the sporting life is buzzing, thanks to the unsung

:24:59.:25:05.

efforts of Bill Longmore. He is right when he says facilities

:25:05.:25:08.

and the community activities are more important now than ever.

:25:08.:25:14.

He is involved in everything, isn't It is amazing! We have another two

:25:14.:25:17.

finalists to come. With more details of the chilly

:25:17.:25:27.
:25:27.:25:32.

It has been very cold. We've had bouts of quite substantial rain and

:25:32.:25:40.

it's been needed after such a dry autumn. But winter is traditionally

:25:40.:25:43.

defined by cold, and so for the start of December that's is what

:25:43.:25:51.

we've had. It's turning frosty. It's because of this ridge of high

:25:51.:25:54.

pressure that the winds have died down and the skies are going to be

:25:54.:25:57.

clearing tonight. That's before the arrival of this next swathe of rain

:25:57.:26:04.

before the weekend. We have Kraut - - cloud across south-east and

:26:04.:26:12.

plants Baghdad parts, that will A widespread frost and pockets of

:26:12.:26:16.

mist and fog. Under the gaze of the sunshine tomorrow morning, it is a

:26:16.:26:20.

beautiful, sunny start to the day. That will disappear quite quickly.

:26:20.:26:24.

It is a crisp, cold start to the day, all those sunny. Gradually

:26:24.:26:27.

through the day, we start to see the cloud increasing through the

:26:27.:26:33.

West which make produce a spot of rain for the north-west.

:26:33.:26:37.

Temperatures, not very good at all. Highs of six or seven, a degree

:26:37.:26:41.

down on today. But we have got light winds. Through tomorrow night,

:26:41.:26:45.

this cloud will increase from the west, it will introduce a fairly

:26:45.:26:49.

heavy rain, spreading right across the region. We have strengthening

:26:49.:26:53.

winds as well. Because of it, to do just won't be quite as low as

:26:53.:26:57.

tonight. Then we have the remnants of that to contend with on Saturday

:26:57.:27:01.

morning. Still quite blustery through the weekend, more rain

:27:01.:27:06.

later on Sunday. In between times, it is dry, sunny and it or feel

:27:06.:27:16.
:27:16.:27:21.

cold. A look at tonight's main headlines:

:27:21.:27:24.

The Bank of England boss tells banks to build up their reserves,

:27:24.:27:26.

even if it means cutting back on those big bonuses.

:27:26.:27:30.

And calls to change the law on scrap sales after a big rise in

:27:30.:27:32.

metal thefts. That's all from us this evening,

:27:32.:27:34.

but on tomorrow's Midlands Today we'll be looking at online

:27:34.:27:37.

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