16/01/2014 Midlands Today


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Hello and welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines tonight: He inspired


and humbled ` thousands of tributes paid to cancer patient Steve Evans,


who's died at the age of 52. A gentleman who has bizarrely


touched the lives of hundreds and thousands of people.


We'll be asking the Mayor of Wolverhampton how Steve's home city


plans to honour him. Also tonight: Think the unthinkable ` the advice


to authorities dealing with suspected child abuse following the


murder of Daniel Pelka. We are quite a reserved country in


terms of talking about people behaviours and family life but that


reservation does not work when trying to protect children.


Amusing or irritating? The advert that some claim reinforces


stereotypes about the Midlands. A bit of a laugh. Some of the way the


Black Country people speak. We should be proud of it.


West Bromwich Albion's new Spanish coach, Pepe Mel outlines his plans


for the rest of the season at his first media conference.


And after all the rain we've had recently, I wish could tell you


that's your lot, unfortunately it's now. The details coming up later.


Good evening. "Amazing, funny and magical in all senses." One of the


thousands of tributes paid to Steve Evans. There's been an overwhelming


reaction to the death of the council worker, part`time magician and


cancer patient. Steve was 52. For two years, his positive attitude


while fighting terminal stomach cancer has inspired and humbled.


Steve's 26,000 Twitter followers were among the first to hear the


news of his death this morning. Ben Godfrey reports from Wolverhampton


where Steve reached, in his words, the end of his journey.


Steve Evans referred to himself as that bloke from the council, living


an ordinary life but to his thousands of followers, he was an


extraordinary man. I had to relax and understand that the journey was


starting to come to an end. Steve's journey ended this morning and there


has been an incredible response from many of his Twitter followers. David


Baddiel described Steve as amazing, funny and magical.


A former building surveyor turned magician who championed


Wolverhampton. At the Civic Hall he managed the acts making such an


impression, his name has joined the wall of fame. When he was first


diagnosed, it was a hellish time however he was more worried about


telling other people and the effect it would have on them. Steve called


his battle with stomach cancer a journey shared by family and


friends. You think to yourself, I must have this for a reason, that is


the positive. Or you think to yourself, why be? That is a


negative. For many, Steve did more to raise awareness for stomach


cancer than any health professional. He has done immense work for us. I


feel guilty that maybe specialists like me should do more public


education. A gentle man and a gentleman who has bizarrely touched


the lives of hundreds and thousands of people. Last year he told me he


was happiest at home in his summer house, close to his wife and


daughters. A nurse said have you decided what your vision of heaven


is like? My version would be a Victorian theatre. I can envisage a


front row that contains Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe and Elvis and me


asking them to pick a card. Steve often appeared on BBC Radio five


Live. His final interview was broadcast on Tuesday. Love is all


around and I am so blessed that I have had so much a bit around me.


Well, Ben is in Wolverhampton for us tonight. Ben, you met Steve Evans


and got to know him. What would he have made of all the reaction to his


death? He struck me as a very humble man so I guess there would be a big


element of surprise to the response today. Steve's appeal has been the


way he has been so honest to talk about something people find to be a


turbulent subject. Take a look at tonight's paper. `` taboo subject.


You have known him for over 20 years. Steve was a great character,


personality. He was Wolverhampton 's favourite son. He did a lot for the


city, in particular but the mayors parlour as well. Working for the


various mayors charities. This is a man celebrated life as well as his


home city. How can the city remember him? The city will remember Steve in


particular but it is important to give regard to the family and see


how they want to take the issue forward and the Mayor's pile`up will


support whatever the family wish to do. The Civic Hall can play a role


in that in the future. We have spoken to one of Steve's daughters


who said she was overwhelmed by the messages of goodwill and wanted to


thank the public for their support. You're watching BBC Midlands Today.


Still to come tonight: Extra funding for manufacturing in our region `


the Chancellor on how small businesses can think big.


Think the unthinkable ` the advice today to authorities dealing with


suspected child abuse following the murder of Daniel Pelka. The Coventry


schoolboy was murdered almost two years ago, beaten and starved by his


mother and stepfather. At the time, agencies were heavily criticised. A


progress report is ensuring that changes to working practices are


taking now place. Here's Joan Cummins.


A boy whose short and tragic life has prompted authorities to ask how


they deal with suspected child abuse. Daniel Pelka was four when he


died from a hedge injury `` head injury. His mother and stepfather


were jailed for a minimum of 30 years. The judge described the


treatment of Daniel as in comprehensible totality. A serious


case review in September found that Daniel was invisible and no


professional tried sufficiently hard enough to talk to him.


Recommendations included improving the way health, education, police


and social workers share information, something that is now


slowly changing. Sometimes it takes cases like this to make people


realise the level of commitment and consensus and partnership working


that is required. A specialist safeguarding hub is planned which


will enhance social assessment centres such as this. Professionals


in all be services have been reminded of their obligations to


children and despite cuts on the horizon, the council is determined


to prioritise child protection. We all have a responsibility, we cannot


guarantee that this case would never happen again but we have to ensure


we have processes in place to prevent it. There still remains


doubt in the city that the authorities are doing their best. We


have had experiences with people we know. It is wrong. The Council house


to protect children. The legacy of Daniel could be that the referrals


of child protection have increased after his death.


The Government has said there will be a full parliamentary debate on


the abuse scandal at Stafford Hospital, where patients died


unnecessarily. It comes on the day the health regulator, Monitor,


agreed to the break`up of the Mid Staffordshire Hospital Trust.


Stafford Hospital will become part of University Hospital North


Staffordshire and Cannock will transfer to the Wolverhampton Trust.


Children and midwifery services will also be downgraded in Stafford. The


Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, has until the end of


February to make a final decision. A report into safety at a quarry in


the Malvern Hills where two young men drowned last summer recommends


it shouldn't be filled in to prevent further deaths. Russell O'Neill and


Justas Juzenas died while swimming at Gullet Quarry, within a week of


each other last July. But the Royal Society for the Prevention of


Accidents says more measures do need to be looked at to discourage people


swimming there. Two former Shropshire businessmen


have gone on trial over ?14 million invested in children's animation


programmes. This series, The Boblins, did have some success,


Birmingham Crown Court heard, airing in the UK and abroad. But David


Griffiths, from Oreton near Cleobury Mortimer, and Simon Drew, who now


lives in East Sussex, allegedly gave investors misleading information.


They deny deception and fraud. The Chancellor, George Osborne was


in the region today to announce extra funding to boost


manufacturing. The Government is providing ?30 million to help


develop new high`tech aerospace technology at the Manufacturing


Technology Centre in Coventry. Here's our Business Correspondent


Peter Plisner. A glimpse of the future, the


Coventry `based technology centre is already at the cutting edge of


automotive technology. Now it is to play a role in aerospace. A chance


for George Osborne to visit. The government is invested ?30 million


to create the centre. It will mean more jobs. In the three years we


have been here, we have grown to 275 employees. Centres like this are


helping to take the risk out of inventing research and development


costs. They are incredibly instance of an if an invention does not work,


it can be quite costly and catastrophic. Funding for a scheme


called catapult ensures that does not happen. It aims to bring


businesses and universities closer to gather. It is an area where we


have failed to exploit great inventions in the UK. The catapult


is about helping businesses grab those technologies and skills up to


the commercial world. And that is something that is already happening


at Warwick University. Here the development of composite materials


is helping to make cars lighter and fuel`efficient. Jaguar Land Rover


have already switched from steel to aluminium bodies on many models,


saving around a third of the weight but composite promises more savings.


We do see compensates being used in auto sports but it is still very


expensive. If we can make it cheaper and quicker to process, we will


start to see that in the average saloon. It is all about a British


economy that builds its manufacturing base. That invests in


the whole country. More investment here means that when it comes to


automotive and aerospace, this region continues to lead the way.


Our top story tonight: He inspired and humbled ` thousands of tributes


paid to cancer patient Steve Evans, who's died at the age of 52.


Your detailed weather forecast to come shortly from Rebecca.


Also in tonight's programme: What you think about this advert and


whether or not it mocks local accents.? It is more of a Birmingham


accent than a Black Country accent so people do take the Mickey out of


it. I do not take offence. And the Olympic legacy ` is it


succeeding in getting more children involved in sport?


An update now on the story we brought you yesterday of a family


from Telford fined for taking their children on holiday in term time.


Stewart Sutherland was told he had to pay nearly ?1,000 in fines and


court costs. Nearly 60,000 people have viewed the story on our


Facebook page and we've had hundreds of comments. Sharon Plimmer said,


"The act of truancy is clearly different to a family holiday.


Well, the Department for Education declined to be interviewed about


this today. But they did say children who attend school regularly


are nearly four times more likely to achieve five or more good GCSEs than


those who are regularly absent. What seems to be confusing a lot of


parents is that until last September, head teachers could grant


leave for the purpose of family holiday for up to ten school days.


Now it is only to be done in the most exceptional circumstances.


One education expert at Birmingham city University told us that even


short holidays can have a big impact. The child is always catching


up because of the students will know what they are doing, they know what


is expected of them. They will have missed all of that so it is an


issue. Meanwhile, a London businessman is


so incensed by the issue and what has happened to the Sutherlands that


he's trying to raise the money to pay their fine and costs. And, of


course, we'll keep you in touch with developments.


Something else now that's been getting people hot under the collar.


It's an advert for a hotel chain that seems to mock the accents of


Birmingham and the Black Country. Amusing or irritating? You can make


your own mind up. But does it reinforce negative stereotypes about


the Midlands? Here's Holly Lewis. And aspirational couple plan a mini


break in Paris but it is the accent that has everyone talking. When the


advert appeared on you chew it prompted plenty of comment, most of


it negative. One said, this is a shameful effort to mock the good


people of the Black Country and another, this advert makes me feel


physically sick. But in Smethwick, most people could see the funny


side. I saw it on the telly and it made me laugh. At first, I did not


know what was going on because you don't hear that sort of accent on


TV. It is more of a Birmingham accent so people do take the Mickey.


It does not bother me. It is a comedy thing. It is the latest in a


long line of similar controversies. Linguist Ursula Clarke has been


studying accents in the Midlands. Whereas in other regions in the UK,


people are very proud of the way they speak whereas the people in


this region are ashamed of the way they speak and they should be proud.


There was no shortage of pride in Smethwick today. We found the


Southern accent funny like they find our accent funny.


Well, Holly is with us now. Holly what have the company which


commissioned this advertisement had to say? We have had a statement and


they said, we wanted to create a popular due road that people would


warm to that is why we cast a Birmingham born and bred actor. We


wanted to use a friendly act to help create a distinctive character.


Quite a lot of debate about whether the accent was authentic but it does


appeared the actor is local. What is the general perception of Birmingham


and Black Country accents? Ursula Clarke has done a lot of work in


this area and she was saying the problem is that most studies tend to


link the Birmingham or Black Country accent to low intelligence. Which is


perhaps why something like this, people are sensitive about but one


of the recent studies linked Birmingham or Black Country


accents, that they came out on top for trustworthiness so it is


interesting to see how difficult it is to change perceptions but if


there are more people in the media with a certain accent, it certainly


does begin to chip away at these prejudices which are stirred up by


things like this. Football, and West Bromwich Albion


agreed to sell striker Shane Long to Hull City today. The fee's thought


to be ?7 million after various add`on clauses are included. So does


that give their new head coach Pepe Mel money to spend in the transfer


window? Well, he's held his first media conference today and a warning


there's flash photography in Dan Pallet's report.


He arrived through the gloom hoping to bring some Spanish sunshine into


Albion's season. Pepe Mel is days into the job and has a big challenge


ahead. Pepe Mel took Riel batters into Europe last season but this is


his first job in England so it is a big test. Good afternoon. I am


pleased to be here at West Brom. I am sorry for my English. I am not


worried because this summer, everybody will speak Spanish. No


problem. But he was also quick to point out he will not bring in new


background staff despite an interview last week stating he


would. There was no confusion at all. West Brom will keep their


existing team, the future will tell whether our systems come and join us


but I am happy at the moment and everyone is working well together.


Pepe Mel took charge of his first training session on Tuesday. He is


able to communicate his messages from a football point of view quite


easily, so he will be having lessons, he is keen to learn. He


does want to learn the language and he will have lessons over the next


few months. Pepe Mel knows there was work to be done. His task begins on


Monday with a visit to Everton and that will be no Spanish holiday. Dan


is at the hawthorns now. What did you make of the new head coach? He


came across really well today, very friendly, personable. He does speak


a bit of English. He has clearly done his homework on the Albion


fans. He knows it will be tough over the next four months but he said,


come the summer he might sign some Spanish players. The level of them


will depend on whether he can keep them in the Premier League. What


about that perceived language barrier because I'm not sure that


many Albion players speak Spanish? You would be surprised. It is so


international, Premier League football. Four of the team are fluid


in Spanish and an important member of the backroom staff. He


understands and speak it a little bit better than he let on today. He


is having intensive lessons so within a matter of weeks or months


he will be more fluid. Football is an international language and he


should not have problems getting his message across on the training


ground. It's almost 18 months since the


London Olympics, but the drive to build its legacy continues. A


competition to get more school children involved in sport was


launched today in Birmingham. Nick Clitheroe has been to meet one of


the city's rising sport stars taking part in the School Games.


This is 14`year`old basketball fanatic Rebecca. Two years ago she


was looking for a new sport to try so the teachers at Heartlands


Academy picked for the basketball team at the Birmingham School games.


I want to play in America for college basketball and then


represent Great Britain in the Olympics. I want to do my own battle


club in Africa. In Edgbaston they were launching the latest drive.


Setup to build on the legacy of the London Olympics, there is plenty at


stake in getting it right. Nationwide, more than ?100 million


has been spent on the School games in the run`up to 2015 so has it all


been worth it? In the citywide competition we have 95 schools


involved, 1600 competitors and over 80 volunteers. There is still more


to be done and we want to make sure that we give as wide an opportunity


to the Birmingham schools as possible. It is not all about


targets as sport is supposed to be fun. We have been doing the javelin


and long jump. Good because everyone can join in. If Rebecca is part of


that British Olympics basketball team in Tokyo 2020, remember where


it all began. It's fair to say it's been a wet


start to 2014, with many places being flooded, including Worcester


county cricket club. Today though, the clean`up operation got underway


at the New Road ground. Flood waters have now started to go down, and it


was all hands on deck to tidy up the mess left behind. So, is there more


rain to come? Rebecca is here with the forecast.


I am beginning to worried that I sound like a stuck record because


all I talk about is rain. There is plenty more in the forecast. We have


showers around tonight. They will stick with us into tomorrow and by


Saturday, more persistent rain to come. By Sunday, we will see things


getting colder but that is by the time we get to Sunday. Though


showers already rattling through the region to Mike. Some of them will be


quite heavy at times. Brief periods of respite but most places will


continue to see showers right the way until tomorrow morning. With


plenty of cloud, rain, temperatures will not fall too low. Loans of five


or six Celsius but further west it could drop lower. Tomorrow morning,


we have though showers around, some will be heavy. The possibility of


help and thunder through the morning but by lunchtime, we will start to


see things using as a ridge of high pressure builds. Good spells of


sunshine. Not a bad way to and Friday. Temperature is around seven


or eight Celsius. Winds will be lighter and it will feel pleasant.


For Friday night, we continue to keep these calm conditions. Clear


spells to begin with so temperatures will drop away. The cloud then


builds once again ahead of the next weather system working its way


through on Saturday. Some mist and fog patches developing but


temperatures will be around four or five Celsius. Through Saturday we


have this next band of rain moving through. Between five and ten


millimetres of rain. With all that saturated ground, it will add to


that. By Sunday we will see the isobars widening and the wind will


drop out so things will stagnate. Temperatures will fall away, some


frost as well. It is staying cold as we make our way into next week but a


soggy weekend to get through before that.


Tonight's headlines from the BBC: the Chancellor George Osborne backs


an above inflation rise in the minimum wage.


Finally tonight, the death of Steve Evans this morning, in


Wolverhampton. He called himself ordinary. But the way he dealt with


terminal stomach cancer, often with humour, was simply extraordinary.


I know there are many people who are on limited journeys and far too many


with cancer, but what makes our journey I is the amount of people


that are on it with it with and the amount of love we are surrounded


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