02/05/2012 Midlands Today


02/05/2012

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Hello, welcome to Midlands Today with Sarah Falkland and Nick Owen.

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The headlines tonight: Staffordshire and West Midlands

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Police collaborate on more services but insist it is not a merger.

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public can expect a better level of protection - more resilience from

:00:25.:00:29.

those critical services they depend on. In the midst of a rain-sodden

:00:29.:00:32.

drought, farmers call for a fairer deal on water usage. How a 200-

:00:32.:00:35.

year-old master could help a hospital buy the latest in robotic

:00:35.:00:45.
:00:45.:00:46.

equipment - a cyberknife. We will meet Ken, who is old enough to be

:00:46.:00:50.

the grandad of Stephen Hendry, but who is still potting balls at the

:00:50.:01:00.
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Good evening, welcome to Wednesday's Midlands Today from the

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BBC. Tonight: Two of our police forces agree to share armed

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officers and other specialist units. But the men at the top of

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Staffordshire and West Midlands forces deny it is a merger - more a

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ground breaking collaboration. Tonight, the body representing rank

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and file police officers in the region said they fear it is a step

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In the firing line, specialist units like armed officers. Dog

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handlers and accident investigators are to be combined - West Midlands

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and Staffordshire teams becoming one unit. At a special meeting

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today, one word was banned. This is not a merger and definitely not a

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takeover. This is a question of commonsense - a much better use of

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public money. We can retain excellent levels of operational

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resilience and operational services for the community. There is no

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question at all in terms of one partner being more dominant in that

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relationship. Both police authorities met in Stafford today.

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Smiles all round but could this spell the end of the Staffordshire

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force? Absolutely not. I would like to make the point it is not, in any

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way, but back door to mergers. Mergers are over and done with.

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Only a few jobs will be lost. The savings will be �2.5 million a year.

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Today's decision means there will be just one unit controlling these

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specialist teams - like Jamie and his job, Harley. It could mean they

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will be policing, not Staffordshire in parts of Birmingham. This means

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they can put the bite on criminals. Sceptics are warning the public

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could lose out and there are fears this could mean the start of

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privatisation. Money is tight. Budgets have been cut. We need to

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streamline. We do not need to lose the quality of service. This is the

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start of the introduction of private companies into the policing

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family. But what will the public get out of this? They will get a

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better service and better protection, which will be delivered

:03:30.:03:33.

in a more affordable manner. Both Staffordshire and West Midland

:03:33.:03:36.

forces plan to speak to their neighbours, Warwickshire and West

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Mercia, in the next few weeks - about working with those forces.

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Peter joins us now. Do the police federation have a point or is this

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a sensible financial decision? Those two chief constables say it

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is all about practicalities and clear-sighted financial efficiency.

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The Police Federation, what they are concerned about, they know that

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West Midlands Police is pioneering partnership work with private

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companies. Contracts are being advertised for �1.5 billion. What

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they fear is, perhaps, a long way down the road - this is all about

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economies of scale. Perhaps it would make the combination of new

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units more attractive to a private company. The chief constables say

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it has nothing to do with privatisation. Do you see more of

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these link ups in the longer term? It is already happening. West

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Murcia and Warwickshire already do it. Do you think forces could end

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up merging completely? Not merger because of the when they are

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financed. If you are in Staffordshire, you will say to

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yourself, I am paying a premium amount of council tax for my police

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force. Our Staffordshire police officers armed officers going to be

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poured into areas of the West Midlands? Will they get married --

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value for money? Yes, say the police constables, no, maybe not.

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Coming up: We will be live in Coventry as the countdown to the

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Olympics continues. Yes, I am backstage at the City of Coventry

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stadium as more than 400 young dancers create an evening of

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Olympic celebration. Drought then deluge. The recent weather has

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exposed some of the tensions between the environment and water

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users. Farmers feel their use of water is penalised while water

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companies take as much as they want. Everyone agrees though that water

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rules are inflexible and outdated. David Gregory has been

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investigating for a special edition of Inside Out. It has been the

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wettest drought many of us have known, but has recent rain changed

:05:57.:06:07.
:06:07.:06:07.

things? We have built up a big debt over the past two years. One month

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of above-average rainfall will not really repay that debt

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significantly. It will take maybe six months of above-average

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rainfall to get anywhere near repaying the debt. I have been

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investigating the rules that govern our water supply and it has brought

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me here, to the banks of the River Severn in Worcestershire, where our

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two-year dry spell has exposed some real problems - not least for the

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people running the system, the Environment Agency. I think there

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is a nervousness with sitting down with the Environment Agency. They

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do not understand demountable to retake had is only 1% of all water

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usage. -- up the amount of water we take out. To the individual

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abstracting water, it is the make and break of the whole business. It

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makes it difficult to sit down with an official who you feel does not

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understand your situation. It is your livelihood, your income, your

:07:03.:07:13.
:07:13.:07:13.

family you are affecting extracting the water. But the agency says it

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is doing its best with an antiquated and inflexible system.

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We have pushed the system as far as we could. An extended season in

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terms of failing winter storage reservoirs. In the summer, we can

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take high flows. We have tried to be as flexible as we can with the

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farmers. If the farmer is having troubles with their licensing

:07:42.:07:47.

regimes, they can approach us and we can see what we will do. And, if

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after April our dry spell does continue, the tensions between

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farmers, environment and water companies will only increase.

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Earlier, I spoke to Environment Minister Richard Benyon and began

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by asking him if it was simply too difficult for farmers in our region

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to get planning permission for water storage. Planning decisions

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taken locally. We want to encourage farmers. We are talking about

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reservoir of guidance. It is sometimes an impediment for farmers

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have in storage John Mann farms. We published a paper loss to which

:08:23.:08:28.

wants to seek more on farm storage by businesses such as the ones you

:08:28.:08:36.

have seen. Are we likely to have some change on that? In the

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national planning policy framework, we talk about sustainable

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development. It fits in with that. We want to see farmers equipped

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with being able to cope with changing climate. One is to be able

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to store water in the winter when we have rainfall in the winter. We

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have not had much over the past two years. Food security is fundamental

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to this government. We want to make sure farmers are equipped in every

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way they can to do this kind of work. If there are problems, we

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want to hear about it. We do not have a hosepipe ban in the West

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Midlands. What would your message be to water uses? I understand, it

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seems absurd than a here we are in drought and then they see heavy

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rainfall and flirts. -- that they here we are in drought. We have to

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make sure we are planning for the future. This wet weather could end

:09:35.:09:38.

quite soon we could have continued dry weather and we know we will

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then have problems in many parts of England, through the year. We have

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also got to plan for next year. The Government has seen this coming. We

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have been planning from a year ago. They think we can cope with the

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difficulties. This rain helps but it is not getting us out of trouble

:09:55.:10:00.

in terms of the trout in many parts of England. I hope the West

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Midlands and areas around Birmingham will be OK for the rest

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of the Year. David Gregory joins us now from Edgbaston Reservoir in

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Birmingham. What is your reaction to the minister's interview? Many

:10:13.:10:17.

farmers will be quite disappointed in the comments about planning. It

:10:17.:10:21.

is a local issue. Farmers say it can take up to 18 months to get

:10:21.:10:27.

planning permission to build water storage on farms. You can spend up

:10:27.:10:32.

to �25,000 jumping through hoops. Farmers would like the Government

:10:32.:10:35.

to simplified the bureaucracy and red tape to allow them to take

:10:35.:10:39.

advantage of wet month likely had just been through. The drought has

:10:39.:10:46.

exposed these tensions, hasn't it? What can be done? That is what we

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are looking out tonight. It is these old, and dictated rules --

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antiquated rules. Trying to simplify them is difficult. Taking

:11:00.:11:05.

away water rights means you have to compensate. We need to look at it

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otherwise we cannot take advantage of poor water we're getting.

:11:09.:11:19.
:11:19.:11:20.

howlers are looking at Edgbaston reservoir? -- what water. With

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ground water, it right beneath our feet, it is at all-time lows right

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across the Midlands. It is causing real problems for the embarrassment

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in the summer. That is what we are in environmental drought. -- why we

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are. And Drought 2012, an Inside Out special, is on BBC1 at 7:30pm

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this evening. If you miss it, it will be on the BBC iPlayer. UK Coal

:11:44.:11:47.

has confirmed it is cutting around 150 jobs at its Daw Mill colliery

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in North Warwickshire. Last month, the company said the mine would

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shut in two years' time, unless it can cut costs and increase

:11:53.:11:54.

productivity. The Stoke City footballer, Jermaine Pennant, has

:11:55.:11:57.

been arrested on suspicion of assault in Manchester. The 29-year-

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old was charged earlier this week with drink-driving, and driving

:12:00.:12:02.

while disqualified, after a car crash near his home in Cheshire in

:12:03.:12:07.

the early hours of Sunday morning. The assault is alleged to have

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happened in a nightclub shortly before. He has been bailed pending

:12:11.:12:16.

further inquiries. Staff at an IT firm in Solihull have staged a

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protest over plans to axe 640 jobs from its UK business. The Unite

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union says the Computer Science Corporation wants to make

:12:23.:12:28.

compulsory job cuts and is ignoring offers of voluntary redundancy. CSC

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was behind a project for the NHS which was scrapped last year. The

:12:34.:12:44.
:12:44.:12:44.

company says it is in the early stages of consultation with unions.

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The staff along with the staff and Chesterfield are integral in being

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able to provide the services but government and other important

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clients, including British Aerospace and a number of the

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financial institutions, with the facility to carry out their work.

:13:02.:13:05.

hospital charity has been trying to sell an old masters painting for

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nearly �1 million, so that it can buy a new treatment called

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Cyberknife. The painting by Sir Joshua Reynolds now belongs to the

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Queen Elizabeth Hospital's Charity. Strenuous efforts are being made,

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though, to keep the painting in Birmingham. Our health

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correspondent has this exclusive report. For 224 years, Dr John Ash

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has glowered down on the people of Birmingham. For the past 18, on

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loan to Birmingham's Museum and Art Gallery, where he resides alongside

:13:30.:13:35.

other city grandees, Matthew Boulton and James Watt. But he is

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up for sale and the museum wants to keep him. For are the people of

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Birmingham, we have to get this. It was painted for the people of

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Birmingham and it has always been here. It is a major work by a major

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artist. One of the first portraits of a Bourgeois, and not an

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aristocrat. Reynolds shows Dr Ash in all his grandeur, as founder of

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Birmingham's first hospital, the General. But buildings change and

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so do priorities. At the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham,

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they have two of the most up to date radiotherapy machines in the

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country. But they want to buy this, Cyberknife, so precise that robots

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alter their aim according to each breath a patient takes. To be able

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to have the best treatment in the world at a local Cancer Centre in

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Birmingham is what we are aiming for. The sooner we can do it, the

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better. If selling the painting is part of that, my vote is to sell.

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Selling the painting means the Cyberknife could be bought by

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December. We have been asked by the hospital to fund raise. The money

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from that would be a large part of our appeal. The slightly grumpy

:14:50.:14:53.

looking doctor might have been quite tickled that his final legacy

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would be to provide cutting-edge treatment to the people of

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Birmingham. There were a lot of very wealthy people in the world.

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The Americans are great collectors. The museum has raised �150,000 and

:15:12.:15:21.
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is placing its hope on Heritage Still to come: What links this man,

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a microscope, a stethoscope and Botox with the Diamond Jubilee

:15:27.:15:36.

celebrations? And, April was a washout. So far, May's not filling

:15:36.:15:38.

us with confidence and, with bank holidays hardly ever scoring highly

:15:38.:15:46.

for weather, could we be on a losing streak this week? If you

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keep watching, you will find out before the end of the programme.

:15:51.:16:01.
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Time for sport. Ian Winter is here. Aston Villa fans will be keeping a

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close eye on Bolton Wanderers tonight. They are at home to Spurs,

:16:07.:16:17.
:16:17.:16:19.

who visit Villa Park on Sunday. Last night Stoke City drew 1-1. It

:16:19.:16:25.

was a bizarre own goal by Peter Crouch. Cameron Jerome equalised

:16:25.:16:31.

within two minutes of coming on. That is how it finished. The game

:16:31.:16:38.

was a bit flat and needed a bit of a sparked and tempo. Up we provided

:16:38.:16:48.
:16:48.:16:54.

that with fresh legs. It caught Everton by surprise a bit.

:16:54.:16:57.

Brookes could not believe it when he heard the news. The snooker

:16:57.:17:00.

fanatic from Birmingham thought it could not possibly be true. But it

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was. Stephen Hendry, the seven times World Champion, is retiring

:17:03.:17:06.

at the age of 43. So, this afternoon, I popped out for a quick

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frame with Ken, who has just celebrated his 90th birthday. The

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Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, April 1990. And Stephen Hendry was

:17:11.:17:14.

winning the first of his seven World Snooker titles at the ripe

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old age of 21. Ken Brookes did not start playing until he was 27. But

:17:19.:17:24.

when he did, he was soon hooked and his passion for the game means he

:17:24.:17:34.
:17:34.:17:37.

is still playing every week, at the age of 90. The best player --

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Stephen Hendry is a cruelly the best player there has ever been.

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arguably. Lucky for me there was only pride at stake this afternoon.

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Ken is still better it -- very competitive. I could only sit and

:17:57.:18:05.

watch and wonder. He is old enough to be the grandad of Stephen Hendry.

:18:05.:18:12.

Come on, Ian, played the shot! During his career Icarus Stephen

:18:12.:18:21.

Hendry made 800 century breaks. Ken has managed it twice. -- during his

:18:21.:18:28.

Korea, Stephen Hendry has made. will continue as long as I can hold

:18:28.:18:32.

the cute and gives a reasonable account of myself on the table, I

:18:32.:18:39.

will be delighted. -- beat queue and give a reasonable account.

:18:39.:18:46.

was 68 when he won the Veterans Cup. He will dine out on the memory of

:18:46.:18:50.

beating yours truly. Perhaps Stephen Hendry retired not a moment

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too soon. Well done! Carry on putting. Shrewsbury Town will have

:18:57.:19:07.
:19:07.:19:15.

I went to watch Derbyshire against Gloucestershire today and it was

:19:15.:19:24.

really nice. You have a blue mark on the lawsuit - chalk dust. --

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your suit. A century after the Titanic disaster, a fundraising

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appeal has begun in the Black Country to create a memorial to a

:19:31.:19:34.

cellist who performed in the ship's legendary band. The body of John

:19:34.:19:37.

Woodward, who grew up in West Bromwich, has never been recovered.

:19:37.:19:40.

His name was added to his family's gravestone in a local cemetery, but,

:19:40.:19:43.

after decades of erosion, it is crumbling away with no known

:19:43.:19:47.

relatives to repair it. It is said that when Titanic plunged through

:19:47.:19:50.

the icy depths, John Woodward, a humble 32-year-old from West

:19:50.:19:52.

Bromwich, was alongside his fellow band members, clutching their

:19:52.:20:02.
:20:02.:20:04.

instruments, stoically playing on. Paul Kidson and Lorna Jenkins are

:20:04.:20:06.

relative strangers. They happened to visit Heath Lane cemetery and

:20:06.:20:13.

felt urged to act. The Woodward family grave is hard to spot - the

:20:13.:20:21.

sandstone facade is crumbling away. We were shocked to find a stone in

:20:21.:20:26.

this condition. We said it needs attention. If we have another

:20:26.:20:31.

memorial, we will put on marriage, cellist. All over the country there

:20:31.:20:36.

are statues and everything, but Paul has come up film stars,

:20:36.:20:44.

everything. This man was a real hero. -- footballers, film stars.

:20:44.:20:50.

John Woodward was eager to please. He chose his finest cello for the

:20:50.:20:53.

trip. Nearer My God Timmy is thought to be the last piece of

:20:53.:21:00.

music he played and his body was never found. John Woodward lived in

:21:00.:21:06.

West Bromwich. The census shows as he was one of nine children. By the

:21:06.:21:10.

time he joined the maiden voyage of Titanic, his family have moved to

:21:10.:21:16.

Oxford. The only one we heard Bob was a grand niece called Charlotte.

:21:16.:21:22.

We know nothing about her. -- we heard off. The new memorial will be

:21:22.:21:27.

cast in marble. A public appeal for donations has started to raise up

:21:28.:21:37.
:21:38.:21:47.

450 young people are on stage tonight in Coventry helping to

:21:47.:21:49.

build up excitement in the city, ahead of the 2012 Olympics.

:21:50.:21:52.

Coventry will be an Olympic football venue during the games,

:21:52.:21:54.

and tonight's event, entitled Believe, is promising carnival-

:21:54.:21:56.

inspired costume and high energy dance. A perfect assignment then

:21:57.:22:06.
:22:07.:22:09.

I did try to get hold of one of the costumes but they would not let me

:22:09.:22:14.

get into it. This is the world premiere. That is the only time it

:22:14.:22:18.

will be performed. 400 children from across Coventry and

:22:18.:22:22.

Warwickshire and here tonight giving their all, in aid of the

:22:22.:22:26.

Olympics. You are of the Simon Cowell of this event. How hard has

:22:26.:22:32.

it been to get the kids to do what we are seeing now? If it has been a

:22:32.:22:35.

positive journey. All of them have taken on board the commitment to

:22:35.:22:39.

the project. What they have done tonight has been a credit to their

:22:39.:22:49.
:22:49.:22:52.

hard work. I have seen Death Has Been Smiling At Me, which was a bit

:22:52.:22:57.

surreal. It is the story of perseverance and getting over

:22:57.:23:01.

adversity. We have taken inspiration from the athletes and

:23:01.:23:06.

the Olympic Games this summer. have to say, or the children here,

:23:06.:23:10.

one thing they all deserve a gold medal for his staying as quiet as

:23:10.:23:14.

they are far the performance is going on. I am the one who's been

:23:14.:23:19.

told to be quiet the whole time. I spoke to someone tonight he was

:23:19.:23:23.

only four and I said to him, what does that mean about being here? He

:23:23.:23:29.

said, it is just about having fun and that is what I'm doing. If you

:23:29.:23:33.

look at all the children's faces, that is exactly what they're doing

:23:33.:23:38.

- having fun. Back to you in the studio. I cannot believe she did

:23:38.:23:42.

not get the costume. Now, the story of a microscope, a stethoscope,

:23:42.:23:44.

Botox, and our reigning monarch. A Birmingham artist has created

:23:44.:23:47.

what's thought to be the world's smallest portrait of the Queen. It

:23:47.:23:51.

is less than 2 mms high and took him nine months to complete. And

:23:51.:23:56.

there were a few dramas along the way. You need a microscope to see

:23:56.:23:59.

artist Graham Short's latest masterpiece. That is because his

:23:59.:24:03.

portrait of the Queen is less than 2 mms across and has been engraved

:24:03.:24:13.
:24:13.:24:14.

on the head of a pin. It was about five years ago I saw a portrait of

:24:14.:24:19.

the Queen by Rolf Harris and I liked his work. I thought, I would

:24:19.:24:27.

try to do this more as portrait in the world. It took about 90 months.

:24:27.:24:33.

It took about 90 pins. I have to polish the head and start again.

:24:33.:24:38.

makes his engravings and his tiny workshop in the jewellery Quarter

:24:38.:24:46.

in Birmingham. And he tends to work mostly at night. I need to be

:24:46.:24:51.

perfectly still when I am working. My arm is strapped to the bench. I

:24:51.:24:56.

wear a stethoscope and try to engrave when I am still between

:24:56.:25:01.

heartbeats. Add to not take caffeine. I have Botolphs round my

:25:01.:25:08.

eyes every few months, just to deaden the nerves and muscles. -- I

:25:08.:25:15.

do not take caffeine. His other works include the Lord's Prayer,

:25:15.:25:18.

parts of the Koran and this incredible engraving of the words,

:25:18.:25:21.

"nothing is impossible" on the sharp edge of a razor blade. Did

:25:21.:25:24.

you get right near to the end of the Queen and slip and have to

:25:24.:25:33.

start again? No, a no. While I am near to the end, I'm very careful.

:25:33.:25:36.

-- when I am. Some of the engravings have sold for around

:25:36.:25:39.

�50,000, and there is already interest in Her Majesty by a well

:25:39.:25:47.

known cruise ship operator. On Bank Holiday Monday we will be reporting

:25:48.:25:53.

on diamond jubilee celebrations around the region. Please e-mail us

:25:53.:26:03.
:26:03.:26:04.

with the details. How is the It is quite late in the day for

:26:04.:26:06.

those official figures but, as it turns out, April was cooler,

:26:06.:26:09.

sunnier but with more than double the usual rainfall But, at least,

:26:09.:26:13.

today was good. Don't bank on it staying that way though we have a

:26:13.:26:18.

couple of fronts tumbling down from the north before we hit the weekend.

:26:18.:26:22.

But it becomes largely drier after that, which is a turn up for the

:26:22.:26:28.

books. It will however become colder by then with night frosts

:26:28.:26:38.
:26:38.:26:39.

with temperatures almost halve today's values. We have a few

:26:39.:26:45.

showers across the region this evening. This rain will light

:26:45.:26:49.

across southern parts of the patch a move steadily northwards. I do

:26:49.:26:53.

not think it will reach the extreme north, so Staffordshire should

:26:53.:26:59.

remain dry tonight. There is a warning for torrential downpours in

:26:59.:27:05.

the south. That will extend to central areas as well. It will be a

:27:05.:27:11.

mild night with temperatures around 6-eight Celsius. It will be a wet

:27:11.:27:16.

start to the day. The band of rain will move northwards. There will be

:27:16.:27:21.

heavier outbreaks by the afternoon. Elsewhere it begins to dry up.

:27:21.:27:27.

Temperatures will suffer. Highs of only 11-14 Celsius. More showers on

:27:27.:27:32.

Friday in fairly dry for the weekend. A look at the headlines.

:27:32.:27:36.

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