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Hello and welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines tonight: Six months'
jail for a company boss who defied orders to remove a mountain of
rubbish towering over homes. This is the view that we wake up to
each day. It is horrendous. Is getting worse.
Also tonight, all eyes on the dismal holiday weather that's drenched the
region for much of the day. Rain and high winds have brought disruption
to Christmas travel plans. We'll have the latest.
I'm live at the Birmingham Christmas shelter, where 3,500 meals will be
served to homeless people over five years.
Birmingham rockers Black Sabbath on stage back home ` and don't their
fans love it! And will these storms ever subside
in time for Christmas? There's a lot to get through over the next day or
so ` winds, rain and even some snow. Join me later for all the details.
Good evening. A Black Country businessman's been jailed for six
months for failing to clear a giant pile of rubbish. Robert McNaughton
repeatedly ignored court orders to move hundreds of tonnes of waste
from his yard in Brierley Hill. For four years, residents have had to
put up with the eyesore towering over their homes. At its peak, it
reached a height of 13m ` around 40ft. The cost of clearing it up
could be as much as ?750,000. But when that will happen is still
uncertain. Giles Latcham was in court.
A last taste of freedom for Robert McNaughton, who will now spend
Christmas behind bars. In his yard at Brierley Hill, hundreds of tonnes
of household waste and soil piled up to 13m high. For locals, a stinking
and ugly blot on their skyline. This is the view we wake up to each
day. It's horrendous. It's getting worse, not better.
??BLUE He had the opportunity over the last four years to have moved
that stuff of his own speed, and he's made a number of promises, none
of which have been kept. The Environment Agency have now got to
the stage where they've got to do something about it, because it's
just gone on for far too long. Robert McNaughton's licence to
operate this site has been revoked. He says the landlord has locked him
out. During a break in the hearing at court, he agreed for the first
time to be interviewed. I asked him about the misery he has caused for
the people living around here. I am liable. I intend to get it
moved. If the judge decides to take my liberty away, I will have to
serve my punishment. If I keep my liberty, I will continue to try and
move it ` my best endeavours. But deprived of his liberty he was.
The judge ordered that a six`month sentence for contempt of court
should now be served. We are obviously very pleased that
the court has supported us in this action. The local residents have put
up with a lot, and they are frustrated. Our intention has always
been to get the site cleared, and the judge was very clear today he
wants that too. The issue from the residents' point
of view is the fact that we've still got a massive amount of waste that's
got to be cleared, and I think that is going to be a separate issue and
saga altogether. Saga is right. The clear`up could
cost ?750,000. Another court case is planned to try to get the landlord
to stump up. What price this pile of rubbish is still here next
Christmas? Giles Latcham, BBC. Coming up later in the programme:
hopes that a third liver transplant can give Kate the chance to live a
life she's only been able to dream of.
Severe stormy weather sweeping up from the south has been causing
problems on road and rail today. There's been a number of train
cancellations already. We can go over live to Snow Hill Station in
Birmingham now, and our reporter Bob Hockenhull.
Lots of trouble, I'm afraid on the railways, Nick. There are some power
line problems at Watford, which means that trains in and out of
Houston have been significantly reduced. Also, from seven o'clock
tonight, there will be a 50 mph speed limit on network rail's entire
network, so that means, of course, because of the bad weather. As well
as trains, planes have been struggling today, and a lot of lanes
at Birmingham Airport have been struggling to land in the high
winds. I gather there has been concern about flooding. That's
right, Nick. There are three flood `` 33 flood alerts. Not only our car
users having to watch out, but pedestrians are as well. Many have
been battling with their umbrellas today. The winds gusted up to 50 or
60 mph. In Stafford, they have had their Christmas celebrations
disrupted. A few weeks ago, we filmed the lovely Christmas tree in
Market Square. If you go back there today, it has been taking down
because they felt it was unsafe to live it up. Less Christmas cheer in
Stafford. The messages for all travellers, look at your local
travel websites and if you do have to go out, travel on public
transport, be careful. Thank you.
People who are homeless are always very much in the spotlight at this
time of year. Mary Rhodes is at a shelter in Birmingham right now. I
should think it's looking pretty busy there. It certainly is. Thank
you. They started serving dinner at 6pm here at the Birmingham Christmas
shelter, so it is very busy at the moment. The shelter opened its doors
today and will stay open around the clock for the next five days. The
majority of people in this shelter are homeless, but they also people
who were just lost or lonely. In a moment, I'll be talking to the chef
and to some of the people who are using the shelter, but first, Ben
Godfrey reports on the financial pressure on places like this `
especially those which rely on public funding.
When Steve's relationship ended, he was made homeless. He went from
living in a five`bedroom home in Malvern to a room at the YMCA.
I'm going to college. Got myself medication, stopped the drinking.
Helping me to move on and get a flat. Help me because I can't read
that well. The YMCA is facing an anxious wait
as Worcestershire County Council consults over cuts to supported
accommodation. The charity could lose a third of ?1 million, putting
immense pressure on services and the 150 beds it has in Worcester and
Redditch. It would be very difficult to keep
the place safe. I believe it will take someone losing their life
before people really and actually realise what the impact would be.
In Birmingham, tough decisions have been taken at this drop`in centre.
It's struggling with its energy bills and donations. From next
month, it will no longer offer breakfast to some of the 2,500
people it supports each year. But others have been more fortunate.
Last year, more than 400 adults, including ex`offenders and
recovering drug addicts, were warned they'd be out on the streets of
Birmingham. The company managing 40 hostels in the city was stripped of
much of its local authority funding. Now a charity has taken over as
registered social landlord, and it's become less reliant on council
money. It eases the pressure on the city,
which is in a very difficult position financially. We'll be able
to take on more staff and offer more support to move people forward, help
them with drug addiction, counselling, alcohol support.
The reason more than 70 turkey dinners are being served today is
because these people have earnt it. They spent hours packing supermarket
carrier bags over the last few weeks for those whose Christmas lunches
are guaranteed. It's good to have a community and
good to feel that you're welcome. Look at the food. I didn't think I'd
have that much on my plate, but it's great.
Today, charities say they have been pressured into doing more for less,
but they are determined to survive. BBC Midlands Today, Birmingham. It
is without doubt, the busiest time here. We are at the height of their
dinner service. And with the head chef. It's a bit busy at the moment.
We're doing chicken and a three bean hotpot. Were sitting around 100, so
we have two do with more than expected. We're just a bit busy. We
were hearing in the report about the financial pressures that centres
like this are not. You are a charity, so where does your money
and support comes from? Feeding this many people does not come cheap.
I've been working hard to get sponsorship from catering
companies, and they have given me the food for free. It's fantastic.
Costs around for a half thousand pounds to look after everybody over
Christmas over five days, and I can't believe the generosity of the
companies. It is amazing. The money you get into your charity, where
does it go? We work on other services as well, so we have lots of
things to maintain for the charity. We're always looking for
entertainment. We are always looking for entertainment. We're buying
things like TVs so that we can show films and things like that. There
are lots of things we need it for. Running a charity on its own. Della
mac lets have a chat with Andy. Why do you come here? You do have a roof
over your head now, so when you come now? Yellow socialisation. Meet new
people. Catch up with old friends you only see every year. Another
good thing when you live on your own is getting out and meeting new
people, access services that sometimes you would never know were
there. You were telling me you suffered a lot with mental health
issues. Is that a common theme with people coming here? Yes. It is a
common theme with the alcohol and drugs and mental health. I would say
that is over 60% of homelessness. How important is it having somewhere
like this to come over Christmas? Really important. It sucks that
loneliness and boredom. `` stops that loneliness. Thank you. Coming
back to you, the volunteers that you rely on here. How important are
they? Very important. We would be up to do this shelter work. We have
about 45 volunteers each session. We induct about 500, so it is
absolutely amazing, and we have our rowing team leaders as well. I will
let you get back to work. Thank you very much. Join me later when I will
speak to the volunteers who are working here over Christmas.
A bowling alley has been destroyed by fire in Wolverhampton. At its
height, more than a hundred fire`fighters were dealing with the
blaze at Strykers on Shaw Road. Crews were pulled out at one point
over fears it would collapse. One fire`fighter was injured. An
investigation is underway into the cause of the fire.
Birmingham rockers Black Sabbath celebrated the climax of their world
tour at the weekend with two homecoming gigs. They played hits
from their 45`year career to more than 26,000 fans. Ben Sidwell went
to meet the band and their fans, who travelled from around the world for
a moment of rock music history. Even by Black Sabbath's standards,
it has been an incredible year. I don't think we knew what to expect,
really. The whole tour has been great. It's been fantastic.
2013 has seen the band's first album of new material for 35 years top the
chart all over the world. They were a constant sell`out wherever they
played. We realise now that we're not going to live forever, so while
we can still do it, we will do it. It is a God`given thing to us, and
we're all still really good at what we do, so may as well do it. Some
fans queued for over 12 hours before the two homecoming gigs in
Birmingham, desperate to see the band who have been credited with
creating heavy metal music. Don't know how long the Sabbath will be
around anymore, so gotta see them while we can and get good spots.
Unbelievable. A dream for 20`odd years. At last I've done it. The
city where metal music began and where Black Sabbath began is
special, so I've been looking forward to this day all year. But it
wasn't just fans from England who have made the trip to see Ozzy
Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler perform in the city where it
all started for them back in 1968. Just wanted to see Black Sabbath in
their hometown. I mean, it is nothing like seeing them in Italy. I
saw them in Melbourne, and they were playing in my hometown, so thought
I'd come over to see them in their hometown. This is the most
nerve`wracking gig in the world. We can play everywhere and we end up
back in Birmingham. No`one, not even the band, know what the future
holds. Fans are just hoping this will not be the last time they see
Black Sabbath take to the stage in their home city. Ben Sidwell, BBC
Midlands Today, Birmingham. I was lucky enough to see them. It was
sensational. This is our top story tonight: A
businessman's jailed for defying court orders to clear a giant
rubbish tip. Your detailed weather forecast to
come shortly from Shefali`` if you're brave enough to listen. Also
in tonight's programme: Strictly speaking, a weekend hard to beat.
Abi ends as the surprise winner on the dance floor while husband Peter
nets the winner for Stoke City. And join me at the Birmingham
Christmas Shelter, where I'll be talking to volunteers who are giving
up their time to help the homeless. Kate Treveener is able to look
forward to 2014 after a marathon search to find the replacement liver
she so desperately needed. She had her first transplant in 2010 when
the donor liver had to be rescued from a burning plane, but it wasn't
a success. Another followed and now a third ` and with it the news she's
been hoping for. Holly Lewis reports.
Kate knows all about planning for a big day. But for her, it has always
been about finding a perfect match on the organ donor list. Kate, who
is 21, is planning a career in the wedding industry after tests show
her body has accepted her third new liver.
It all goes so quick that it's not until now I've sat back and looked
at it all and realise how much I've been through. When you're in the
moment, you're just going with it, so you don't think about what's
really going on. In 2010, Kate was already in surgery
when a plane carrying her donor liver crashed. The pilot survived
and the organ was rescued by a fire`fighter. The transplant went
ahead, although the liver later failed.
People in the ward were actually bringing me newspapers, and you
would see people walking down the ward and they were pointing at the
bed, because everybody on the ward knew it was me. My mum and dad sat
me down and told me about it. It was like, "OK, then".
Kate had all three of her transplants at the Queen Elizabeth
Hospital in Birmingham. So far this year, 204 liver transplants have
been carried out here, putting Birmingham on course to be the
biggest liver transplant centre in Europe. But Kate's surgeon says she
is an exceptional patient. Third liver transplant is a
technically challenging operation, and also from the patient's point of
view, they need stamina to recover from such a transplant operation.
Kate says this Christmas will be a real celebration, but her thoughts
will be with the donor families who made her surgery possible. BBC
Midlands Today, Birmingham. Happy Christmas.
It's almost here. Christmas means church services, presents under the
tree, tinsel, turkey and carols, of course. BBC local radio stations
across the region have been playing their part by organising a special
series of carol concerts. And don't worry if you missed them ` there's
another chance to hear them on air over Christmas. Rebecca Wood has the
details. In Birmingham, there was Christmas
spirit and plenty as hundreds of people packed into the city's
Cathedral with BBC's presenters also playing their part. BBC Radio
Shropshire hosted Carroll's where the congregation was in fine voice.
In Stoke`on`Trent, St Peter's Academy accompanied the 900 people
attending the traditional carol service. The worst Male voice choir
`` the Worcestershire Male voice choir.
And this weekend, hundreds packed into the Coventry Cathedral fall the
annual concert. There will be back tomorrow and again on Christmas Day.
It's been a weekend to remember for the Stoke City striker Peter Crouch,
and his wife Abbey Clancey. First, Peter scored the winning goal to
beat Aston Villa in the Premier league. Then Abi won the final of
Strictly Come Dancing. Ian Winter reports.
Santa looked out in the cold as if killing time at the match before the
main event on the dance floor. But inside the Brit, there was a real
festive flavour. And the perfect gifts arrived four days early for
Peter Crouch. Before kick`off, he clearly, had lots on his mind.
Hoping he'd score a goal to help Stoke beat Villa, and hoping his
wife would score with the judges to win Strictly Come Dancing. Only at
Christmas could such a dream come true. And it did. First, Strictly
Football. With 20 minutes left, Crouch pounced to seal a 2`1
victory. Dancing has never been his forte, but the message was clear.
"Please vote for Abi Clancy, because I'd love my wife to win Strictly. I
will be honest. I'd like to say I've given her tips, but she is miles
better than me. I only have the robot in my locker. Luckily, the
robot dance wasn't part of his wife's repertoire, and Abbey
delivered a stunning performance. Whilst the six million votes were
being counted, she settled down in her deckchair, presumably to watch
her husband on match of the day. At the Hawthorns, West Bromwich Albion
looked to be heading for their fifth straight defeat when Hull City took
a first half lead. Goal...camera...action A ?6,000 bill
for Jake Livermore to replace the shattered lens. And four minutes
before the end, Albion made it 1`1, thanks to Matej Vydra's first goal
for the club, under caretaker coach Keith Downing. If it is a point for
Steve Clark, I think the boys wanted to give him something back for the
fantastic work he had done for 18 months. So Merry Christmas to the
newly crowned winner of Strictly. But whilst she can rest her dancing
feet over the festive period, Peter, her non`dancing husband, is off to
Newcastle on Boxing Day. Time for the weather.
The good news is it won't be. We still have a sticky troublesome
period to get through before then. The strongest guts recorded across
the region today ranged from between 40 to 60 mph. Very windy there, and
unfortunately it will continue for the next four hours. Rainfall more
clear`cut, because of the localised nature. This is what was down to. An
unusually deep area of low pressure situated towards the Atlantic, and
that still has a stranglehold over us. Over the next couple of days,
the gaps between these ice bars will `` isobars will widen. This activity
will die down over the Christmas period. For Christmas Day, this is
how it is looking. It will be cold cock ``, crisper and it may turn out
to be ``. This is how it is looking at the moment. Over the next three
hours, we will see this rain intensified. It will spread
north`eastwards, coupled with those strong winds. Again gusting up to 50
mph. You can see that it has all blown out of the way to the east
after midnight, so it is looking dry up by that stage. The winds are
still with this, however, so those winds will keep those temperatures
above freezing, but will still turn a lot colder. Perhaps just outside
our region, some deposits. Temperatures between two and four
degrees. A chilly start the day tomorrow. It will be quite gusty.
Those winds still strong, it but is a lot drier. We will see some
showers through the region from time to time. Some could be heavy, but
they could be some wintry nests across the highest ground. There
will be some sunshine tomorrow. Temperatures rising to five degrees.
It turns even colder tomorrow night, so the likelihood of some snow
increasing. For Christmas Day, drier. Thank you.
Tonight's headlines from the BBC: Much of the UK has been been hit by
a fierce storm, with heavy rain and winds disrupting Christmas travel
for drivers and rail passengers. It's goodbye and happy Christmas
from me as we return to Mary now, who's at the Birmingham Christmas
Shelter. Thank you. Many people watching will be volunteering over
Christmas. I have two volunteers here. Why did you start volunteering
at this shelter? I have been coming for five years and the first year
was because I had fallen out of love with Christmas, and I wanted to find
something a bit more special about Christmas. I looked on the Internet
and found this place and have never looked back. You clearly enjoy it.
Yes. You haven't been doing it for as long. I've been doing it for
three years. What was the motivation for you? As a Christian, I thought
Christmas was about giving, so I wanted to give something back. I
wanted to give that time back, and help other people. Speaking to some
of the people, not many wanted to go on camera, you are using this
shelter, there are common themes going through of mental issues and
drug abuse. Is that we find? Yes, I spend a lot of time chatting these
people, and a lot of the time, they talk about mental health issues they
have had in the past year and things like that, and they just need that
help. Along with volunteers, there is a bit of a hierarchy here,
because you have been here longer. But you also have services coming
here to help people. It is not just about a hot meal. Yes, the Mrs came
in earlier. We have had a hairdressers, dentists. We had a dog
grimmer last year. And a chiropractor. About half of
everybody keep it uses the shelter, thank you for giving up your time.
That is it from us. This is the last full programme on Midlands today
before Christmas. Under half of all others, to have a very happy
Christmas. I will be back with your next news at ten o'clock with the
latest on the weather, but we leave you with the beautiful voices of
Birmingham's like voices choir.