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Hello, welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines tonight: The firing
handle of his ejector seat was in the wrong position ` a sequence of
events that led to the death of a Red Arrows pilot.
From the age of 17, she wanted nothing more than to join the RAF.
At today's inquest, the coroner criticised the MOD, the RAF and the
ejector seat manufacturer. Also tonight: Another ?6 million
from the government for a burgeoning business park in the Black Country.
It is a fantastic example of how this particular part of the world is
thriving at the moment. Memories of the Olympic torch in the
Midlands ` will there be the same excitement this summer for the
Commonwealth Games? We talk live to Dame Kelly Holmes.
I'm at Villa Park for Aston Villa against Albion. It is local pride
and points at stake tonight. And temperatures are falling tonight
as we head towards the coldest day of the winter so far. But will we
get to see some snow? I'll have all the answers in the forecast later.
Good evening. The family of a Red Arrows
more than ?6 million is being invested at the site in
Wolverhampton. It's one of 12 enterprise zones chosen by the
government to get extra funding to improve its infrastructure. Joanne
Writtle has been finding out what difference the money will actually
make. A ?6 million boost to bring money to
the i54 site faster. It is said that the money will help to improve
infrastructure here. We have just seen a wonderful
example of reinforcing something that has already been very
successful and taking it on to the next stage. This factory is being
built for a security stamp maker. It will move here in June, bringing
65 workers and plans to recruit more.
We intend to grow the business and also, the i54 site behind us enables
us to bring people from around the world.
Jaguar Land Rover will employ 1400 people at the engine plant here at
it is hoped 6000 jobs will come to this entire site by 2020. Many in
areas that are experiencing a skills shortage, a point not lost on
business leaders. You worried about the shortage of
engineers? Very much so. It is a challenge through all the companies
to make sure that sufficient young people are being trained and are
interested to choose this as a career path. In the past, we have
missed out big time. According to the local enterprise
partnership, 3 million people of employment age live within 20 miles
of this site. So, what do those living closest by think?
There will be more people working there, so hopefully it will bring
people buying food and shopping during the day. There will be more
traffic, I assume, but apart from that, it is positive. I think it is
very good. There are more jobs to the community and it will hopefully
help us as well. The new slip road will be open from
October and, with the government cash right `` announced today, it is
hoped that the available building plots will be ready quickly.
Coming up later in the programme. Are these the remains of the
daughter of the traitor who betrayed the King 700 years ago?
The family of a Red Arrows pilot from Coventry who was killed after
he was ejected from a stationary plane say his death could have been
prevented. Flight Lieutenant Sean Cunningham died in November 2011.
Speaking after the inquest today, his father Jim said he found it
difficult to understand how the problems with his seat were missed.
The MOD, the RAF and the seat manufacturers were all criticised by
the coroner. It was a job that he loved, but it
ultimately cost him his life. Flight Lieutenant Sean Cunningham died
after his ejector seat went off during routine checks on the ground
in 2011. At the inquest into his death, it was revealed that the
accident could have been prevented. His family have been coming here
every day for three weeks to get the answer is that they have been
searching for for two years. That weight clearly had taken its toll
when it came to giving their reaction today.
Sean was blameless in his tragic death. His tragic death was
preventable. We're still finding it difficult to accept so many people
could have missed what should have been obvious to those with the duty
to ensure the safety of the seat. The inquest heard about concerns
over pressured timetables and a dilation of experience within the
engineers and staff shortages. Problems with the ejection seat
where the safety pin could be put into the handle without it being
safe were known, but not communicated. The handle had been
left in an unsafe position for four days and was seen on 19 different
occasions, but it went unnoticed. Sean's parachute did not deploy,
because a crucial nut and bolt been over tightened. If his parachute had
worked, he would have been alive. The over tightening of the nut and
bolt and the potential for it to be a risk was known 20 years ago by the
manufacturer Martin Baker. Other people were informed, but not the
RAF. In relation to the 19 missed opportunities to notice that the
handle not safe, the inquest said: We have made and will continue to
make every effort to make sure that such a tragic accident could never
happen again. With regard to this nut and bolt and
Martin Baker's failure to notify the MoD of potential over tightening,
Stuart Fisher said that there was a very serious failure of
communication: At the base today, the Red Arrows
training session was given in Sean's honour, his family watching
on the ground. Business has assumed here, Sean's
family hope that lessons learnt from his death mean that these people are
safe in the future. A teenager has been warned by a
judge he can expect a substantial prison sentence after being
convicted of killing a Redditch man. 50`year`old Nigel Shakespeare was
heading home with his partner from a night out in the town last year when
he was attacked. A 17`year`old who, cannot be named for legal reasons,
was found guilty of manslaughter at Worcester Crown Court.
A man's been found lying critically injured in a street in Birmingham.
Forest Road in Moseley has been sealed off all day following the
discovery last night. The police say they're treating the 50`year`old
local man's injuries as unexplained. They're appealing for information.
Nearby residents say they're also baffled by what's happened.
People living in the Midlands will get their chance to see the
Commonwealth Games baton as the relay passes through Birmingham on
Monday second June. It's hoped the Queen's Baton Relay will replicate
the spectacular success of the Olympic torch relay two years ago.
The Olympic torch, which was made in Coventry, was in the Midlands for a
total of seven days. More than one million people lined the region's
streets to see it. And it was carried through 73 towns and cities
in the region. Joining me now is the President of the Commonwealth Games
England, Dame Kelly Holmes. Good evening, Dame Kellly. Could
this be as popular as the Olympic Torch?
I think it will be a very exciting time. It will definitely be
different. What happens with the Queen's Baton Relay is it goes to
certain locations and they put on offence which are trying to bring
communities together. `` they put on events. It will start in the town
hall, at lunchtime it will go to a number of parks in Birmingham
activity parks activity programme, that allows people to participate in
sport. And then Birmingham City council will host an evening
reception at the three. So it is very different. You won't see it
going round lots of towns. It is a different event. This is the
Commonwealth Games. But it is so important, because team England want
to do well and we are trying to get everybody to visit the website, just
to find out more about us and really support the team. Our team will go
out there in Scotland and it was proud.
The build`up to the Commonwealth Games has been quite quiet so far.
Will it change? Will it get off the ground soon?
I think when the Queen's Baton Relay goes to England's, it finishes on
Friday the 13th in Newcastle, I think the focus will definitely come
to the fore. It is the only other multisport competition that there is
behind the Olympic Games. I think the energy and the enthusiasm for
sport is still very big and I hope by June and July there will be
everyone focusing on the games. Well the baton has been touring the
world as part of the Games' build`up and tonight it's in Namibia. Well we
can speak to the BBC's relay presenter Mark Beaumont who's been
following the baton around the world so far. Where have you been?
Good evening. The Queen's Baton Relay started off at Buckingham
Palace, and it is all ready been through Asia and the Pacific and
through part of Africa. This is the 33rd destination, just shy of half
the way round the Commonwealth. What sort of reaction have you been
getting? It has been quite remarkable. Everywhere we have been,
there has been an impressive turnout. I heard you saying before
that people are just waking up to the fact that there is another home
games in the UK. For the athletes that I have met around the
Commonwealth, the training and the preparation is under way. The
Queen's Baton Relay in each place right thing has caused great
excitement. In one area they took the day as a national holiday. There
have been songs and ounces and people getting behind the athletes.
`` and dances. And you can follow Mark's journey
and the baton, as it heads back to the UK, on his blog. This is our top
story. The firing handle of his ejector
seat was in the wrong position ` a sequence of events that led to the
death of a Red Arrows pilot. Rebecca will be along shortly with
the forecast for the Midlands,also ahead: We're live at Villa Park
ahead of the Villa`Albion match which kicks off in about an hour's
time. And from the marry `` the Maori, a
taste of what is to come at the International dance Festival in
Birmingham. Nearly 3,000 people have signed
petitions opposing changes to Stafford's historic Shire Hall
Gallery. The County Council's looking at selling or renting the
Georgian building, which houses a former court room and the town's
current library. But campaigners are fighting the plans, as our
Staffordshire reporter Liz Copper's been finding out.
Standing in Stafford's Market Place, the Shire Hall's been at the heart
of this county town since the 1790s. Inside, the old courtroom ` now a
museum ` but the as a young barrister, I did a great
deal of work in this building. That court room is now being kept as an
extremely valuable educational resource.
People in Stafford have grown up with the building. It is not just a
library, it is an art exhibition space and a gallery. It is a
beautiful building, and if we lost the library, it would be a waste.
This has not been thought through, especially with all the new
buildings. The campaigners have set up online
petitions. Thousands have signed up in support.
They are worried about what the building might become, will it be a
pub, what will it be? It costs around ?180,000 year to run
this building, and the County Council is looking at a wide array
`` why `` array of options as to how to use it. The gallery is presenting
its latest exhibition. There are no plans to move this
imminently. But there are plans to move the library. There is a limit
to what could be done to the building, but it would be wrong for
us not to look at public buildings and to say is this the best use of
this building? The judgement on the fate of this
building will be made in the next 12 months. The council says it will
listen to what the concerns being raised.
The discovery of a body from the 14th century at a church tomb in
Herefordshire is being hailed as an amazing archaeological find. The
body was found at St Bartholomew's Church in Much Marcle.
Michael Eastham, a conservator of sculpture, has spent two years
restoring Blanch's tomb. But he certainly didn't expect to find what
turned out to be a mysterious lead coffin jammed inside the tomb chest.
English Heritage has described the discovery of what are almost
certainly Blanch Mortimer's remains as astonishing. And the vicar at St
Bartholomew's says he's overwhelmed by the idea that Blanch has been in
the church all the time since her death nearly 700 years ago.
At no ground level, we would have perhaps expected something, but not
in the monument itself. It has astounded a lot of people,
archaeologists are excited. Much Marcle and Herod Fisher can say to
the world that you can find things here. `` Herefordshire Blanch, who
died in 1347, was the daughter of the first Earl of March, Sir Roger
Mortimer. He turned traitor against King
Edward the Second and is believed to have arranged for the king's murder.
His daughter's memorial has been described by experts as strikingly
beautiful. And of course it's a testament to the workmanship that
only now, after 600 years, has it needed restoration work. Work that's
now led to the unveiling of this ancient coffin. Despite the
excitement surrounding the discovery, the decision's been taken
that the coffin should not be opened, as it is Church of England
policy to minimise disturbance to human remains.
That is a fascinating story. There's a big, big game under the
floodlights at Villa Park tonight. Aston Villa take on West Bromwich
Albion with more than just local pride at stake. Our reporter Nick
Clitheroe is there. It's first time the two managers have met, so that
gives it a little extra edge, doesn't it?
Absolutely. So much has changed since the two teams drew to each at
the hawthorns two months ago. Aston Villa have picked up since their
match against Liverpool, so they have moved away from trouble, but
they are only one gay `` one game away now. It will be an interesting
time for the head coach. The way that the players played, they played
a fantastic game. To think that they are struggling at
home was confusing. But hopefully we can fix that starting Wednesday. It
is a good match, and for a rest it is important to win three points.
As we look ahead to the rest of the season, how crucial is this game?
We really are into the crucial part of this season. So many big games.
As well as this one, we have also got Stoke City of Sunderland. If you
look at the table, you will see just how tight it is. Aston Villa in
11th, that would normally be safe, but they are only six points above
the relegation zone will stop other teams are two points back, but if
Stoke were to win tonight, they would both go above Villa. There
were so many big games to come in the season. This is a key one, as
well as the really exciting derby atmosphere, it will be very tense
here, because both sets of fans know it's Ali how important this game
will be. And let's move onto last night's football.
Wolves are favourites to sign Coventry City's top scorer Leon
Clarke. But the Sky Blues manager Steven Pressley is angry about
Clarke's behaviour, accusing him of letting his team`mates down. Last
night, whilst Coventry were losing at Leyton Orient, Birmingham lost
again at St Andrew's. Birmingham City have won only twice
at home all season in the Championship. The last time was
October first. So it was no surprise when Lloyd Dyer put Leicester in
front. Seven minutes from the end, the Championship leaders scored
again, to add to the growing sense of frustration at St Andrew's. And
not even a late consolation from Peter Lovenkrands could ease the
pain of yet another home defeat. In League One, Wolves saved their
best until the second half away to Oldham. Kevin McDonald struck soon
after the break. Then a couple of late goals sent the travelling fans
home in happy mood. Michael Jacobs made it 2`0. James Henry popped in
number three, and Wolves remain just behind Brentford, and Leyton Orient,
who beat Coventry, 2`0. And walls remained just behind, who beat
Coventry No sign of striker Leon Clarke,
whose transfer to Wolves looks imminent. Romaine Sawyers gave
Walsall a half time lead against Swindon, But they had to settle for
a 1`1 draw, which keeps the Saddlers just inside top six.
But tonight, it is all about this massive derby game here tonight. So
much is at stake for both of these sites, and we will bring you the
background to this game on the late bulletin at 10:25pm. There will also
be a full match commentary on BBC Radio W M.
One of Europe's biggest dance festivals will be returning to
Birmingham in April. Details have been released today of the four week
International Dance Festival and our arts reporter Satnam Rana joins us
from Victoria Square now to tell us more. So what can we expect?
I feel like dancing on to the screen. There will be plenty going
on here, with international artists becoming ``, to perform dance.
Victoria Square is empty tonight, but there will be three stages
here, and on them break dancing Forman says and Street dancing
performances. `` performances. There will be eight Korean dancers who are
the world champions will stop that is how important the International
Dance Festival Birmingham is. Here is one of the co`directors. Why is
it such an important event in our city?
We all love Birmingham, and we need to attract more people here. Great
festivals like this suit Birmingham, we want people to enjoy it even
more. This is the fourth Festival, last time it was very successful?
Yes, more than 60,000 people enjoy the events in theatres and
outdoors. And this time, there are performances and participation
events? Yes, we work really hard to make sure that people can enjoy
events all over the city indoors and outdoors.
The outdoor events will include break dancing performances here. It
is a really important event, it does not just attract international
artists, but it puts our glorious city in the international map on a
cultural sense as well. And here is the weather. We cannot
shake these gloomy grey days. It is beginning to feel colder. Here are
some of these top temperatures. Six Celsius today, but on the Wales
border, 3.8. It has been a cold day, and that averages will continue
to fall. Tomorrow could be the coldest day of the winter so far. We
have had plenty of showers around today, and they will continue
through tonight. Some of them still contain a wintry element, but it
will ease free time and temperatures will fall lower well. It will be
around freezing, there could be some frost forming, and we still have the
yellow weather warning for and is warning. But though showers are
continuing through the day. Again, some of them could be rather wintry
with some sleet and snow, especially across the Staffordshire moorlands.
Those temperatures really won't get much higher than they have been
overnight and it will get rather damp as well. We will get limited
brightness through the day. But, eventually, on Thursday night, the
showers will move away to the North. Behind that, temperatures
will fall away. It will be a cold and frosty night as we make our way
into Friday, with temperatures hovering at around one or two
degrees. Why Friday, it is all change. This is moving in, this band
of rain. There is some heavy rain on there. We could see 20 millilitres.
It will coincide with high tides and strong winds. Our tensions turned to
flooding. There are nine flood warnings in place at the moment and
22 flood alert. Here is the phone number if you have any concerns. On
Saturday, there will be even more showers. It will be better on
Sunday, but unsettled next week as well.
Here are the headlines from the BBC. The governor of the Bank of
England issues a warning about Scotland keeping the pound if it
votes for independence. And then inquest hears how a firing
handle of an ejector seat was in the wrong place, one of a series of
incidents that led to the death of Sean Cunningham. I will be back at
'The cost of living crisis goes deep into people's lives,
'deep into the way our country is run,