20/02/2012 Midlands Today


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Good evening. The headlines: A sense of shock and loss in the


village after a much-loved teacher is killed in a coach crash in


France. It is not what to expect when your


children dawn past -- on holiday. Police are given extra time to


question this man over the murder of a retired schoolteacher.


30 years after their son was the last man to die a in the conflict


there, one family's pilgrimage of to the Falkland Islands.


What we once it is the chance to play against opposition that are


not Premier League and are playing Good evening. A villager in shock


tonight as it comes to terms with a school coach crash in France. The


accident happened at the end of a skiing Hospital for children in a


Alvaston -- Alvechurch. The coach crash killed 59-year-old teacher p


per -- Peter Rippington. His wife, Sharon, was seriously injured. A


13-year-old girl is in serious condition. The coach left Valle


d'Aosta on Saturday expecting to be in Alvechurch around 1pm yesterday


afternoon. But around 2:30am, it veered off the A26 motorway and


down an embankment. Us as snowflakes fell at the Alvechurch


Middle School, a flag was flying at half-mast.


Through the day, classes ventured outside to see the many flowers and


cards, to remember Peter Rippington, or the teacher they nicknamed Mr


Rip. Where the children struggled with words, their parents found a


voice. I'm devastated. I cannot believe it has happened. There a


lot of people who were upset about the news. It is not the sort of


thing you expect when children go on holiday. I will never replace


him, he is one in a million. Just after midnight, a coach escorted by


police brought home the survivors of this horrific crash. Six people


are still in French hospitals with serious injuries. Among them, a


fret -- a 13-year-old girl who is critically ill. The school is open


today and I can reassure you that specialist support is him place


both for children and for the staff. So, just what caused this coach to


leave the French motorway in the middle of the night? Solus Travel


had to drivers for this Italian skiing trip. One of them, 47-year-


old Derek Thompson is under investigation. He has appeared in


court, French police say he may have fallen asleep at the wheel or


become ill. We do not know what happened, it may be the driver fell


asleep, it may be a defect in the vehicle, it may be something on the


road, it will take the police a while to finish their investigation


and identify exactly what did happen. These call it is closely


linked with St Laurence Church in off church. Candles have been lit


to remember Peter Rippington and hope that his wife, Sharon, will


recover well. I spoke to one parent whose child was on the buses with


minor injuries. She said she was getting checked out in hospital but


was OK and was desperate to get back to school to support her


friends. The main focus of the French police


inquiry will be what caused the coach to crash and a cry it won't


with no obvious hazards. -- on a quiet road.


There are strict rules for coach drivers, they cannot drive for more


than nine hours a day, 10 in exceptional circumstances. Four


hours 30 minutes driving at a stretch is the maximum before it


compulsory break of 45 minutes has to be taken. I spoke to our


reporter who has been following developments in France.


We know that Derek Thompson has been tested for drugs and alcohol


which came back negative. They have looked at his tachograph records


and there is nothing wrong there. He had taken the proper rest and so


they are working on the basis that he probably fell asleep on the --


at the wheel. We have been to the crash site today and there is a


long time Mark on the motorway which tends to support the verdict


given by drivers on the road on the day that the coach swerved slowly


off the road. There was no sign of emergency braking. Has the driver


appeared in court? Yes, he has, he appeared at the magistrates' court


hearing Chalons-en-Champagne. He will be meeting with his legal


representatives at the moment. It is safe to assume that he will be


charged with involuntary manslaughter, bailed and free to


come home. What is the latest about the injured passengers? The biggest


concern is about to 13-year-old girl who drifted into a coma on


Sunday. They were worried about her and transferred her to Paris for


specialist treatment. She has had surgery but I am told that although


the injuries are not life threatening they are serious.


Police have been given extra time to question a man about the murder


of the Worcestershire school teacher, Betty Yates. Stephen


Farrow was detained yesterday in Kent, he is also being held over


the murder of a vicar at his vicarage in South Gloucester last


week. What are the latest developments?


Stephen Farrow, the man who has been arrested in connection with


two murders, he is 47 years of age, he was arrested yesterday morning


at around 4am in Folkestone by Kent police. That was in connection with


the murder of 77-year-old Betty Yates, she lived a short distance


away from where I am standing in the centre of Bewdley. Last Tuesday,


a vicar, John SAR does, -- John Suddards, had also been stabbed in


his vicarage. Police are formally linking those murders. I believe


there are plans to hold a memorial for Betty. Yes, it is early days


yet but there is a lot of talk about holding a memorial for Betty.


She was well liked and well known, she was a schoolteacher who was


known by lots of people. They want to remember her properly. I think


it would be nice to do that because after a horrific event it is not


nice to think of her as a woman who suffered like that. We would far


rather think of her as a teacher, well-respected, well-liked and a


member of the community of this town. Detectives from West Mercia


Police have joined with their colleagues at Avon and Somerset,


the force holding Stephen Farrow. The 46-year-old will be held for


the next 36 hours, taking us to the early hours of Wednesday morning.


Six people involved in Clarke -- a car clamping have admitted conning


vulnerable motorists and out of more than half a million pounds.


Worcester Crown Court heard how five men and one woman used


underhand -- underhand tactics to con money out of motorists. Car


drivers were asked to pay up to �300 to get their cars and on


clamped. Ricky Basra were shot at close


range in Melville Road in Edgbaston in June last year. 23-year-old


Barrington Denny, Gary Narwain, 21, and Sarah Singh, 31 were all found


guilty of his murder. A murder described by the judge as a


precisely planned and executed execution.


GPs have called for Stafford hospital to be downgraded to deal


with little more than births and broken bones. They are frustrated


by a lack of progress at Stafford Hospital. In an -- in a leaked


letter that they doubt the ability of a hospital to deal with the cuts


in funding it faces. There is a thing called the clinical


commissioning group, made up by a GPS and in 2013 they will hold the


purse strings. They have written to the NHS saying that Stafford


Hospital should boil down to four things. One, the accident and


emergency unit should become an urgent care centre, dealing with


broken bones, minor wins and pain relief. They have also said that


diagnostics should only be simple Diagnostics, the maternity unit


should be midwife Lear's -- midwife lead, there will not be any


consultants. And outpatients appointments should be done by


doctors coming from Stoke-on-Trent or Wolverhampton. I understand


tonight, with respect to accident and emergency, some changes should


take place by October this year. Why have they taken this line?


First of all, they do not think the hospital can make the financial


savings it says it can. They're talking about a �50 million


overspend and they are sick of bailing it out. They think that


over time the hospital will undergo a slow death and they prefer to do


things quickly. They want to take some things back into the community,


like treatment of the elderly and people with chronic illness. They


are also a bit annoyed because the hospital has gone ahead and made


its own plan without consulting them.


Stella had tonight: -- still ahead up tonight: In memory of her grand


mother, a one-woman show linking Staffordshire, Paris and wartime


romance. It is milder this week, but she


will have to wait until later on to find out how impressive the


temperatures will be. This year marks the 30th


anniversary of the conflict in the Falkland Islands and for many


families a painful reminder of battles fought a thousand miles


away. Craig Jones died in the fighting and his father always


wanted a lasting memorial to him. Now that is about to happen, merry


road travelled with three generations of the Jones family to


seen their genes become a reality. An insignificant small plot of land


in the Falklands Islands, until now. Richard Jones, who and his son and


two grandson have come to the island, soon-to-be renamed Craig


Ireland. Craig Jones was killed 30 years ago. His father had the idea


to buy a piece of land him in his memory. We stand before you today,


but, to commemorate the bravery shown by a Craig Jones. The is it


what you hoped it would be? It is better, far better. We have been


fired -- quite a few years in the dream of this and to come here as a


reality today is so nice. They were put in touch with the Phillips


family, as an act of gratitude, the Philips have given them this small


island. I do not know why am smiling so much. It is a beautiful


island, you can see for yourself. It was a beautiful ceremony to


dedicate the stone and the plaque. It has been 30 years but Borrie is


it the right thing to have done. Richard, his son and grandson are


finely able to leave this island as a permanent memorial, not only to


Craig but up to all the servicemen Mary will have a special programme


from the Falkland Islands for Inside Out here on BBC One next


month. Tonight at 7:30pm, Inside Out will be looking at the work of


a special army unit based in Cheltenham. When the remains of


servicemen are recovered from the battlefields of World War One and


Two - it's their job to try to find descendants and arrange a military


burial. This re-dedication ceremony was held in memory of Lance


Sergeant Edward Hartley, who died in 1944, an emotional occasion for


his family. Very, very special. Something,


probably one of the best days of my life.


The riverside garden where Charles Darwin, famous for his theory of


evolution, once walked could be bought by the Shropshire wildlife


trust. It was owned by the Darwin family and the trust now needs to


raise �75,000 to buy and restore the garden.


Undisturbed and over a runner, this was Charles Darwin's childhood


garden and soon it could be open to the public. Every day, just before


breakfast, Charles Darwin and his brother could take a wander down


these packs to consider and contemplate. It was known as the


thinking cap. The theory of evolution is food for thought. Now


the trust has plans to buy this land and restore it to its former


glory. When we take it on, we to get on for ever, so we need to make


sure we got enough money to be able to look after it so our target is


�75,000 and I think that is a snip. * One of already sits pride in the


town centre but to people want more of him? Go people know about his


birth here and there were key carried out, it's got to be


beneficial for the town itself. don't think there is enough are


made of him, as far as I am aware. We should be focusing on the 21st


century, not thinking backwards. a tourist draw, not enough effort


has been made of him because there has know where for visitors to go


but if we can acquire the garden and open it to the public, that


means we can put him at the centre ground. The trust has already


raised more than �1000, all donations are welcome.


Time now for the sports news. Stokes City and Birmingham City


both survived into the sixth-round draw of the FA Cup. Stoke


comfortably beat Crawley Town 2-0. Next for them is a trip to Anfield.


The Blues enjoyed two good draws at the weekend.


They've defied all expectations this season and on Saturday


Birmingham City were at it again. Chelsea began the fifth round tie


as hot favourites. But the Blues struck first through David Murphy.


The joy looked like being shortlived as within two minutes


Chelsea earned a penalty. Colin Doyle's superb save kept Juan Mata


at bay. Chelsea finally equalised after an hour through Daniel


Sturridge but the Blues stood firm afterwards for a deserved draw. The


Cup draw was also kind. If they win the replay they'll host


Championship rivals Leicester in the quarter-finals. We are going


back to St Andrew's the. On any draw, all you want is perhaps the


opportunity to play against opposition that are not Premier


League and of course playing at home and that is what the draw has


brought us. The Blues have an impressive record here this season,


they have not lost in the league. Two FA Cup winds and there of to


Wembley for a semi-final. That's something Stoke City know all about


and they stayed on course for Wembley despite losing Rory Delap


to a controversial red card at Crawley. Stoke kept their composure


to earn a first half penalty which Jon Walters converted. They made


the game shortly after half time through Peter Crouch. Stoke have a


tough draw away to Liverpool but the fans are sure to be dreaming of


more Cup glory. In five months, we could be


celebrating a gold medal in the Olympic village from from a rider


whose career we have long followed on this programme. Jess Varnish


from Bromsgrove was one of half of the woman sprint team who took gold


in the World Cup test event at the Olympic Velodrome this weekend.


Jess rode the first lap before Victoria Pendleton took over to


beat the favourites, Australia, in world record times.


It was hard to do, I didn't think I was going to go faster, I was


feeling very fit teach me after this morning was.


Go she's looking good, isn't she? She has always been hard-working


and dedicated, she was one of our younger sports award winners will


stop she is so hard-working and dedicated and she's only 21. Lots


of support there, a coach load of friends and family will stop a lot


more for that and the Olympics, not even the parents will get to the


Olympics. Let's hope she can do it. A young footballer has overcome


bitter disappointment to win a professional playing contract in a


national competition. Chris Smith had previously been rejected by


Stoke City and Everton but he has been chosen from more than 5000


applicants to win a year's contract with Swindon Town.


It's a bit like the X Factor but footballers and for 21 year-old


Chris Smith from Stoke-on-Trent, his dreams are now within touching


distance. I couldn't believe I got to the final. When I think of how


many people entered, 5500 Gummer also if you think you are in the


final four of that money, it is daunting. He has come close before


but spells with Everton Manchester's academy sides ended in


disappointment. One last role of the dice then, a week's trial at


Swindon Town at a chance to impress one of the game's biggest names.


a right-back, he has a fantastic quality because he is a tough


defender. Chris played and trained alongside Swindon Town players with


one prize in mind, a year's professional contract. At the end


of it, the boss, he said yes. prospect for him is very good to


because at 19, we can work with him and the talent is good quality. I


think he can have a professional future. I cannot believe it, I am


absolutely over the moon. I don't know what to say. Everything I have


done in the last few months has paid off. He says the support of


family and friends helped him overcome the knock backs and to


realise that dream, Chris Smith, a professional footballer.


You can find out more about Chris and see how he heard he had won the


competition in Late Kick-off on BBC One tonight at 11:05pm. There will


be all the rest of the Football League action, too.


Some stories are timeless and are never diminished in the retelling.


For Caroline Horton, the lot shared by her grandparents is played out


night after night in her one-woman show that has toured the world.


Last night Caroline came home to Staffordshire to share once more a


tale of life and love conquering all in wartime.


Well come to Paris. It is a simple story of love between a stature man


and a French woman that Caroline Horton's play, you're not like the


other girls democracy, has managed to capture the hearts of people


across the world. Her inspiration, her French grandmother, and her


many stories of how she met and fell in love with a charming


gentleman from Cheadle who went by the name of zero. Go they were


engaged during the war so we didn't see each other for nearly six years.


Getting telegrams across was very difficult or stop here are some of


the actual letters and telegrams good Chrissie and Seoul exchange


between another. Many of these have helped inspire Caroline to write


the play. Caroline it took the show to the 2010 Edinburgh Festival


where she was named Best solo performer and then around the world


are. Last night she brought her grandparents love story back home


to Whittington in stature for a very special evening organised by


her dad. Go for me, that story, I heard it so often that it went


straight over my head, really. It wasn't until Caroline was saying,


this is pretty special go, it deserves to be remembered.


Caroline's grandmother died last year but not before she got to see


the play herself in a very special performance at her nursing home.


There's one point when I opened the suitcase and balloons come out and


this French record that she always loved comes on and the balloons fly


up and her face just lights up. I think one of her biggest pleasures,


for me, was that she, as her memories faded, she would forget


things so she would forget how she met Searle and I was able to retell


her her own stories go which was amazing. Go Caroline is working on


new material but intends to keep telling the story of her


grandparents love for as long as people want to see it.


That is an incredible story. A look I thought we were doing last well


last week with temperatures that just touched double figures but we


are going to push that boat out further this week with an early


taste of spring. We are lapping up these beautiful yellow colours that


will stream in along the south westerlies. Also moving in across


the Atlantic, we have a bundle of weather fronts. Quite breezy this


week but because high pressure is situated to the south, it will


weaken those weather fronts. Go rain at the moment is desperately


needed. For tonight, the rain is situated to the north, just patchy


rain that could turn heavier end to the northern fringes of


Staffordshire. Elsewhere, is licking dry with a few clear spells


but temperatures are down to about six Celsius. Temperatures tomorrow


on the rise once again. It is a cloudier picture than this morning


but we will start to see that outbreak up through the day and any


parts the in higher grounds should see the best of the sunshine


developing through the afternoon. Temperatures are up to 11 Celsius.


Very little change in tomorrow night, we have a good deal of cloud


and patchy rain will be to the north of the region but we have


loads of it and nine Celsius, one of the mildest nights of the winter


so far. The best bet of all will be Wednesday. Thursday, 16 Celsius.


Very good for the time of year. Tonight's main headlines: The


relaxation of border controls went too far says the Home Secretary who


has promised the system will be tightened up.


A coach driver appears in a French court following a crash in which a


teacher from Alvechurch in Worcestershire died.


A giant ship will be setting sail from the centre of Birmingham to


celebrate the start of the Cultural Olympiad. It is the brainchild of a


dance company called Motion House who have in the past performed with


JCB diggers. The free show is one of the largest outdoor art


spectaculars ever mounted in the UK with a nightly audience of 6000


people in Victoria Square in Birmingham city centre.


We have been working on the show for nearly two years now and our


idea is to produce a spectacle so that when you come to the show, it


will be like you have gone to the movies but they are filming yet


while you are they're so will all the crowd scenes, and you are in it.


Performers will be going past you and this giant ship will set sail


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