08/03/2012 Midlands Today


08/03/2012

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Hello and welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines: New debt crisis -

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more and more of us are struggling to pay off debt with many admitting

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they can't even afford to feed their families.

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I know people that have had loans, get into debt, can't afford to keep

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up payments. Coping with the after effects of

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war - how one military nurse escaped a living nightmare. Unless

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you have lived it, you can't imagine what it does to you.

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Use it or lose it - a rallying call after a rural bus service is

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restored following a seven-year battle.

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And he is half the man he used to be, and now Asad is getting ready

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to run a half-marathon. Don't just sit at home. It is not the right

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Good evening. Tonight, warnings of a new debt

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crisis as more and more say they can't afford basic living costs,

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let alone pay off existing debt. The Consumer Credit Counselling

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Service says people seeking their help across the region are on

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average �17,000 in debt to credit cards and personal loans.

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In the Black Country, the area's food bank has had to give food

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parcels to 6,500 people, 50% on a year ago.

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Our reporter has been in Sandwell, one of the most deprived areas,

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talking to people battling with debt and the rising cost of living.

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Across the country, more than one million people last year took out

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pay-day loans, often at extortionate rates of interest,

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simply to pay their rent. Here in Sandwell, one charity says that the

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rate of debt had increased from �20 million a few years ago to �45

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million in the borough alone. If people's income has not gone up

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over the last few years and you have had rent increases, you have

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had increasing fuel bills, there's going to come a point in time where

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you are not going to be able to manage and start to struggle.

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Denise Vale is typical of people who have turned to money lenders

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for help. She borrowed �100 for school uniforms but ended up paying

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back more than double. Kids can do without, but sometimes

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you want them to have more than you had. My kids, I like them to have

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lots of things. If I can get the money, I will get the money.

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Smiles for another finance company opening its doors in West Bromwich.

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But this non-profit-making firm say they are providing a reasonable

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service to people in need. People that come through our doors

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have been spat out by a capitalist system that does not always favour

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the least wealthy. This is part of a mission to serve people that are

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not served by the Mike -- mainstream finance industry, and

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about displacing predatory lenders. A single mother, Maya Palmer,

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admits she has turned to affordable lenders on occasions. She says

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nobody wants to endure the stigma of debt. I would not judge somebody

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for borrowing money. Sometimes things you would not have done in

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the past, you go out there and consider borrowing money. As time

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gets on and maybe you fall on hard times, people do, you have to

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consider these things. Legally, money lenders can charge

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whatever interest rates they like. But debt professionals say that if

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you are worried about paying your bills, seek advice before taking

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out more loans to clear existing debts.

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And if you are worried about debt, you can find help and advice on the

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Midlands Today Facebook page, and you can take the BBC's debt test,

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too. Thank you for your company. Still

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ahead: Next stop, Le Mans - meet Sarah, the top racing driver in

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Britain. Five men jailed for the execution

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style murder of a drug dealer have had their convictions quashed.

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Kevin Nunes's body was found in South Staffordshire in September

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2002. He had been shot five times. Today, three Appeal Court judges

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ruled that convictions had to be quashed after hearing there was a

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failure to disclose material to the defendant's appeal to be legal

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teams. 20-year-old Kevin Nunes was seized

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at gunpoint and shot dead in a country lane in Pattingham,

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Staffordshire, in September 2002. These men, Levi Walker, Adam Joof,

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Antonio Christie and Owen Crooks, all from Birmingham, were jailed

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for life in 2008. But today at the Court of Appeal, their convictions

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were overturned because of doubts about the key prosecution witness.

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Outside the court, their families expressed relief. It is absolutely

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fantastic news. He has said all along that he is innocent, and it

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has been proven today that justice has been done for a start today's

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verdict comes as an independent investigation is continuing into

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the conduct of a number of senior officers at Staffordshire police in

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connection with the case. One of the five men, Levi Walker,

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will remain in jail as he is serving a prison term for another

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murder. The other four are expected to be released soon.

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130 jobs are to go at the Co- operative Banking Group, formerly

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the Britannia Building Society headquarters. The bank says the

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changes will help it become more competitive in the future. It says

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it is talking to unions and staff affected will be offered

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redeployment. The former leader of Worcestershire

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County Council has admitted assaulting a teenager when he was a

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Methodist preacher in the 1970s. Dr George Lord had already been

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convicted of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old why he was leader in

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2010. He will be sentenced next month.

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Harrowing scenes on the front line leave many ex-servicemen and women

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with images they would rather forget but are unable to. Many go

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on to suffer post-traumatic stress disorder. Figures reveal that more

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than 100 military veterans are being treated in this region alone.

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For five years, that is what a former military nurse, Hilary

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Norton, has lived with. It was one of the most brutal

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attacks in the Iraq war, six military policeman, from the

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Midlands, murdered at this police station. Royal Air Force nurse

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Hilary Norton was in charge of looking after the bodies of the

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victims. The site was so horrific that I

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stood alone for a while with them because I could not therefore the

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nurses to see this. I remember struggling for some while, trying

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to make the site a bit more, something that we could cope with.

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A year later, back home and working as an occupational health nurse,

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Hilary began to suffer horrifying flashbacks.

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Suddenly I was back with my name, as I called them, those bodies. --

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my name. The cordite, the smell, the sweat - it was very real. There

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began a film that I was to watch thousands of times, thousands of

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times, and could not come to terms with.

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It was five years later when she was diagnosed with post-traumatic

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stress disorder and referred to hospital. The condition is more

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common than many realise. Combat stress has a caseload of 4,800 ex

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servicemen and women. More than 700 of those served in Iraq or

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Afghanistan. The combat stress survey revealed that 81% of

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veterans are ashamed or embarrassed about their mental health problems.

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It might not look like much, but this machine, used in therapy,

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called eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing, cured Hilary.

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Flashing lights and other stimulus help patients to stay with shocking

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images that have lodged in the brain.

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It is a technique to help people process the trauma.

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A have to confess, when I first saw the light and the vibrations, I

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thought this is bonkers, this is never - how is this guy to help me?

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Focusing on the lights seemed to do something to my brain.

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Realistically, my mind and my thoughts were back in Iraq, and it

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was important to identify trigger points.

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Hilary and her doctor believe a lot of stress disorder goes undiagnosed.

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Both hope this treatment will become more common in the future.

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We are joined by the county manager for the Royal British Legion in

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Birmingham. Thank you for coming in. A powerful and fascinating story

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there about Hilary. How widespread is this? We are seeing and

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increased number of veterans contacting us. Maybe 25% of our

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caseload are presenting with the disorder or related mental health

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illnesses. It is interesting that it takes 13

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years for a person to admit they have a problem. A lot of it is down

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to embarrassment and shame and not wanting to admit they have a

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problem. But it is also difficult for people from the Serb community

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because they have had family in there and making the transition

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back to civilian life and not knowing who they should be talking

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to is a problem. That is why it can take a long time for them to come

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forward. How does the Royal British Legion

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help? We help with a lot of practical

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support, but we have a new project which picks up where the clinical

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services leave off, and it is a mentoring programme providing

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support and comradeship, reducing the social isolation for our

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veterans. It is proving to be very successful.

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If there are many veterans watching now who thought they might have a

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problem, what would your advice because mac certainly, approached

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the Royal British Legion. -- what would your advice be? Certainly,

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approach the Royal British Legion. We can identify the support for the

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veterans. Thank you very much. A private company is considering

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reducing staffing levels on dialysis units by a third.

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The firm has try out a new service in the Black Country, but patients

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claim it has led to a into double delays and the company is putting

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profit before care. Maintaining blood pressure is

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important for Michael, who has had his kidneys removed. Three times

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per week, he has dialysis at this unit, and says that cuts in staff

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are getting home later and later. The only conclusion is that they

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are trying to increase their profits. As a private company, they

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are entitled to make a profit, but not at the expense of patient care

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and safety. The dialysis centre is run by a

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multinational company making �642 million per year. It says that no

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decision has been made. It is still consulting with both patients and

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the University Hospital, Birmingham, which runs the contract. It says

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that elsewhere in the country, units are running at lower levels.

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Any unit can be subject to delays, which are outside of the unit's

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It is a tiring thing. These people are ill.

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Today, the University Hospital, Birmingham, celebrated wild kid the

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day. It accepts that early contracts were not watertight.

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We're not happy with the proposals. Our view is that we would like to

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have worked with the company on any changes that were proposed to the

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units for which our patients were attending for start Michael's wife

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wrote to -- attending. Michael's wife has written to the

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Prime Minister. He has not received a reply.

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The company has decided to cut a number of staff in centres around

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here. Does that concern you? I have no knowledge of that so I cannot

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comment. Would it concern you were as mac I have no knowledge.

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:13:41.:13:45.

The wife's will -- letter has now A Staffordshire primary school has

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closed due to an outbreak of E.coli. Three cases have been confirmed and

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children are being tested. Staffordshire County Council says

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it believes the infection was brought in from an outside source.

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A thorough clean is now underway. A bus service has returned to two

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Herefordshire villages following a seven-year break after a campaign

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led by parish councillors. The 458 service, which will go from

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Fownhope and Mordiford to Ross-on- Wye once a month, was halted in

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2005. So, at a time when hundreds of rural bus services are being cut

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across England, how is this one going to survive? Cath Mackie's

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been finding out. They've waited seven years for a

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bus to turn up, and this morning, the 458 finally arrived. As the

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service from Mordiford to Ross-on- Wye in Herefordshire set off, there

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was a genuine delight that after seven years, the bus route was back

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in use. A lovely! I don't drive so it is useful to get on the bus and

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be able to go to a different town. It is encouraging me to leave my

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car at home, which must be a good thing. The service was withdrawn by

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Herefordshire Council in 2005 as it wasn't seen as sustainable. So two

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parish councils have stumped up the cash in the first scheme of its

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kind in the country. We think there has been a sea-change. More people

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want to travel by bus and don't want to have the hassle of parking

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and are aware of the consequences of using their cars, so there is a

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new genu of -- generation of people who will use this. They'll need

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about 12 passengers to make it worthwhile, but by the time we left

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Fownhope, there was double that number on board. 35 minutes after

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it set off, the bus reached Ross- on-Wye, where traders are hoping to

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benefit. Hopefully they will like what they see when they come and

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people always tell their friends and neighbours if they have had an

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ice experience somewhere, so word often get out and if we can make it

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enjoyable for them to come shopping here, we will try very hard.

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There's two and a half hours' shopping time before the return

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trip. And just one word of warning, if you do miss the bus, you have

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got a bit of wait. The next one will be along in a month's time.

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The 458 will run on the second Thursday of the month. Its future

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will be reviewed in August. We're joined now by Kevin Chapman,

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from the Campaign for Better Transport. What's your reaction to

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this initiative? I think it is a wonderful initiative from the

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parish council and it will benefit the community greatly in terms of

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improving connectivity. And these rural bus services can be a

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lifeline for the community because one in five households in rural

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areas don't have access to a car, so for many, this could be very

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important to get to the shops, get to work and so on. How concerned is

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your organisation about bus routes in rural communities? We heard this

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new one only goes once a month? is a very difficult pitch at the

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moment. The bus services are facing increased costs with if you're

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going up. And councils have had to manage reductions in their budgets.

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What the councils need to do is look and be very innovative and

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look at different solutions. In Shropshire, for example, may have

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taxi buses. In other areas, they have looked at news service is or

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different networks, so there is a lot councils can do to make routes

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is sustainable. But you can understand that bus companies

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cannot afford to run them? Yes. Buses cost money and the fuel is

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going up. Drivers' wages have to be paid. Are you have to look at the

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sustainability of the network. But there are solutions out there and

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it is important services are protected and where possible so

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these vital links in the community are protected. Thank you for

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talking to us and coping with that, long!

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You're with Midlands Today this Thursday evening. Still to come,

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this Oliver Cromwell poster offered a reward to capture the King. It

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was at auction for �1,000 but find out later what it actually sold for.

:18:09.:18:14.

And we could do with the warmth as well as some rain. The first we

:18:14.:18:17.

should get, but if the dry weather's taking its toll, it's set

:18:17.:18:27.
:18:27.:18:27.

Now losing weight is not always easy, especially if you've been out

:18:27.:18:31.

of condition for sometime. But one man has lost an astonishing 16

:18:31.:18:35.

stone in little over a year and is now planning to become a semi-

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professional martial arts fighter. Kevin Reide's been to meet him.

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It's hard to believe that a little over a year ago, Ash Begg, from

:18:44.:18:48.

Birmingham, was nearly 28 stone. But this is him now, weighing in at

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a tidy 12. His miracle weight-loss began when he had a gastric bypass

:18:52.:18:58.

operation. But Ash's treatment is not just about having surgery. He

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went for a complete lifestyle change, cut smoking and drinking,

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and now trains six days a week at this Birmingham gym. I was

:19:09.:19:15.

suffering from hypertension, asthma, early signs of type 2 diabetes. I

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was obviously 28 stone and not in a good way at all, to be honest.

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daily diet of chips, burgers and pizza has been replaced with brown

:19:23.:19:26.

rice, pasta, fresh fish and vegtables. And medics say surgery

:19:26.:19:32.

is only one part of escaping obesity. 50% is what we would

:19:32.:19:38.

expect surgery to help you with but the other, you can lose with self

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motivation and persistent commitment to diet and exercise.

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There is no reasons why you cannot go back to normal weight, which Ash

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has proven. What he has achieved is amazing. Not only motivating

:19:53.:19:57.

himself but others as well. It is like we have got a Plasmon there

:19:57.:20:04.

and he is showing people, because a lot of people said, no. His friends

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cannot believe it is him. I would say, don't just sit at home and

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take the surgery. The Government are definitely spending money on

:20:17.:20:21.

you to get you to have a gastric bypass and you should use that to

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your advantage, producer of forwards, just like I have. Spring

:20:26.:20:30.

yourself forwards to achieve a goal. Ash is considering becoming a semi-

:20:30.:20:32.

professional martial arts competitor, and this weekend he'll

:20:32.:20:35.

be doing a half-marathon. And by that, we don't mean a chocolate

:20:35.:20:45.
:20:45.:20:51.

bar! I felt about 60 and now I feel ! Wow! Two completely different

:20:51.:20:55.

people! Inspirational. Well done. Football, and Wolves captain Roger

:20:55.:20:58.

Johnson has been fined by the club for allegedly turning up for

:20:58.:21:01.

training under the influence of alcohol on Monday. Johnson, who'd

:21:01.:21:04.

been dropped by new manager Terry Connor for his first two games in

:21:04.:21:12.

charge, has issued a public apology. He reported for work and he was not

:21:12.:21:17.

fit to train or frame properly. And we have dealt with that matter on

:21:17.:21:21.

the Tuesday and finished it on Tuesday and moved on from there.

:21:21.:21:24.

It's been a good week in the sporting life of Sarah Reader.

:21:24.:21:27.

She's now officially Britain's top female racing driver. Sarah, who

:21:27.:21:29.

lives near Stratford-upon-Avon, has just collected several awards to

:21:29.:21:33.

mark her achievements. And now she's set her sights on competing

:21:33.:21:39.

at Le Mans, as Ian Winter reports. Going to work is never a chore for

:21:39.:21:44.

Sarah Reader. She's always loved fast cars. And when she's not out

:21:44.:21:47.

racing on the track, you'll find her tinkering with the engine at

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the TFL workshop near Leamington Spa. Ever since I was little and I

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could first reach the pedals and see over the weir, I just loved

:21:59.:22:02.

driving and going faster and faster! You have to be very precise

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in these cars and I enjoy that - been as accurate as you can and

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getting the last 10th out of it. Sarah, who's from Loxley in

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Warwickshire, is officially the top female racing driver in the country.

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She's been obsessed with cars since she was a youngster. And now, aged

:22:17.:22:20.

29, she's the only woman on the grid in the Euro Series

:22:20.:22:26.

Championship. Behind the wheel of her Juno sports prototype.

:22:26.:22:31.

Formula One car will do well over 200 miles an hour. You can give is

:22:31.:22:36.

one to 160 but you can take a corner at 150, 155, and you just

:22:36.:22:42.

have to hang on to it. It is very physical and heavy. When you load

:22:42.:22:45.

up through the corners, the force you are pulling and the weight on

:22:45.:22:50.

the steering wheel, you have we got to try and hang on to it, and over

:22:50.:22:54.

a long-distance race, that is very draining. And when she's not

:22:54.:22:56.

squeezing every ounce of performance from her car in

:22:56.:22:59.

competitive racing, Sarah works as a test driver and a coach to other

:22:59.:23:03.

drivers with ambitions of making the big time. So keep an eye out

:23:03.:23:06.

for Sarah Reader, as she continues to set the pace as Britain's top

:23:06.:23:16.
:23:16.:23:18.

female racing driver. Well done, Sarah! 150 miles an hour around

:23:18.:23:22.

corners. Now back to that poster offering a

:23:22.:23:25.

reward for the capture of King Charles II that was up for auction

:23:25.:23:29.

today for a reserve price of �1,000. It was issued by Oliver Cromwell's

:23:29.:23:31.

Parliament after the Battle of Worcester, when the heir to the

:23:31.:23:35.

throne had famously hid in an oak tree to escape the battlefield. As

:23:35.:23:38.

Claire Marshall reports, it sold for much much more than expected.

:23:38.:23:44.

In fact, you could say a king's ransom.

:23:44.:23:49.

These documents have lasted for more than 350 years, isn't it up --

:23:49.:23:55.

surviving the Great Fire of London. They are rare and very valuable.

:23:55.:23:59.

Defeated in battle, King Charles the second was on the run. He

:23:59.:24:04.

escaped to France despite Cromwell's offer of a reward. How

:24:04.:24:08.

does it feel as an expert to look at a collection like this when it

:24:08.:24:14.

comes up for auction? It gives me an amazing amount of goose bumps,

:24:15.:24:19.

to be honest. To be able to hold in your hand the very documents from

:24:19.:24:25.

this period of time. If it is very unusual for items like this to come

:24:25.:24:28.

up for sale. There is an extraordinary array of documents

:24:28.:24:32.

here today, including an original copy of the Act of Union between

:24:32.:24:38.

England and Scotland. A little bit controversial today it! The Most

:24:38.:24:42.

Wanted poster in history issued by Oliver Cromwell. No doubt and,

:24:42.:24:49.

though, which lot was the star of the show. For a wanted poster.

:24:49.:24:56.

32,000... 33... At �33,000. We go round again for the first time.

:24:56.:25:03.

Mohammed is down. �33,000. Thank you. -- my hammock is down.

:25:03.:25:07.

would have 30 times more than the guide price. Is that what you

:25:07.:25:13.

expected to pray? No. I was told 1,000 or 4,000. Why did you pay so

:25:14.:25:19.

much? Our house is called Cromwell manner. It will look good on the

:25:19.:25:24.

wall, even though it is a very expensive wall and out! It will now

:25:24.:25:29.

stay in the area so significant to the civil war.

:25:29.:25:34.

That looked good. Maybe better off in a safe at that price! Very

:25:34.:25:44.
:25:44.:25:44.

expensive! Let's find out what the We have seen the worst of the

:25:45.:25:48.

sunshine and those temperatures will continue to fluctuate until we

:25:48.:25:51.

get into spring properly. This graphic shows you how things have

:25:51.:25:56.

changed in the last week. Last week, we had six Celsius, but this

:25:56.:26:01.

weekend, we are looking at 14. A huge improvement. But the key to

:26:01.:26:06.

sorting out all of our problems at the moment is some rain, and I

:26:06.:26:11.

don't see any of that in the next few days or week. It is high

:26:12.:26:16.

pressure that is to blame. We have a lot of cloud and not much to show

:26:16.:26:21.

for it, and we get the ball rolling tonight. The cloud comes in from

:26:21.:26:25.

the West and it could produce the odd bit of drizzle on the fringes

:26:25.:26:30.

and the borders, but we are in a mild air mass, Sir temperatures

:26:30.:26:35.

will only be falling to six or seven degrees tonight. We start

:26:35.:26:39.

with that sort of temperature tomorrow and it will be fairly mild.

:26:39.:26:44.

They will rise eventually tore round 11 but a lot of that cloud

:26:44.:26:49.

will move in, producing the odd spot of drizzle. But mainly dry and

:26:49.:26:53.

duller than today. A few breaks in the cloud in the afternoon,

:26:53.:27:03.

possibly. Light when Bobs but those remain light of -- light winds and

:27:03.:27:07.

they remain night over the next few days. Temperatures even milder

:27:07.:27:10.

tomorrow than tonight. During the coming days, temperatures are

:27:10.:27:20.

rising and we are looking at 14 I think the cricket season is about

:27:20.:27:24.

four weeks today. A look at tonight's main headlines:

:27:24.:27:27.

The six soldiers killed in Afghanistan are named, victims of

:27:27.:27:30.

the deadliest attack on British troops since 2001. Five of them

:27:30.:27:33.

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