19/02/2014 Midlands Today


19/02/2014

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you. That is all

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Hello, and welcome to Midlands Today.

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The headlines tonight: Time doesn't heal.

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The parents of murdered teenager Georgia Williams talk of their

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anguish. We get further and further away from our daughter. It does not

:00:21.:00:23.

heal at all. Also tonight, a suspected victim of

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domestic violence receives a profuse apology from West Midlands police as

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two police officers under investigation after abusive remarks

:00:30.:00:36.

were left on this teenager's phone. I felt imperative that I express my

:00:37.:00:44.

shock to the complainant and my unreserved apologies.

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Assessing the damage, the clear up gets underway as the flood waters

:00:48.:00:54.

begin to fall. Too little too late. Nothing is being done.

:00:55.:01:00.

Have spade will dig. He's volunteering to unblock ditches in

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flood hit Herefordshire and wants more of us to do the same. We have

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got to the stage now where if we do not do something we will have

:01:08.:01:12.

nowhere else at all. So, is the weather going to help or

:01:13.:01:16.

hinder efforts? So far, so good, but with more rain forecast after today,

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how bad could it be? I'll have all the details for you later.

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Good evening. The parents of murdered Shropshire teenager Georgia

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Williams say only the charity set up in her name is keeping them going.

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In their first full television interview, Steve and Lynette

:01:39.:01:40.

Williams thanked the people of Wellington for their support. But

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they said the pain of Georgia's loss would haunt them forever.

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It gets worse. We get further and further away from our daughter. It

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does not heal at all. It's eight months since Steve and Lynette

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Williams saw the community of Wellington come together for the

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funeral of their 17`year`old daughter, Georgia, who was an air

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cadet. Life for them gets no easier. But the charity set up in her name

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to help young people enjoy the outdoor pursuits she did has

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provided comfort. It has helped us over this past nine months, because

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people have been doing semidivine things, and it has made us go out of

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the house, where as we were inside these four walls and that was it. In

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December, Jamie Reynolds was jailed for life for strangling Georgia with

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a noose. Experts said he could have gone on to be a serial killer. The

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psychologists that interviewed him have said that he will always be a

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danger to women, so he should never be let out, never. Reynolds

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handcuffed Georgia and killed her at his family home in Wellington, a

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short distance from where she lived. I picture what Georgia's last

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moments were like every day and think to myself, no`one should go

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through that. She must have been terrified, and I would imagine got

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the chance to plead for her life, but Reynolds showed no compassion.

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The community of Wellington is still sharing Georgia's loss. And people

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like Mike Sheridan are helping to raise money for the Georgia Williams

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Trust. He's about to walk from Lands End to the AFC Telford United

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football ground, where he and Georgia were match day volunteers.

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After her story broke last year, like most people, I wanted to do

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something to help, and I was given the opportunity to raise money for

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the charity and I jumped at it. Chief Inspector Steve Williams heads

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up the Georgia Williams Trust. For many years he has been a colleague

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of Georgia's father, who's a detective constable. It has been

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phenomenal, the interest and the wicked people have got behind the

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trust. We have raised over ?40,000 and we have started to release some

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of the money to people. And for Georgia's parents, the

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charity has helped them try to look forward. Our home had become a

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prison, and people were encouraging us to go out and support the charity

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and show our appreciation. We would just like to thank everybody who was

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involved in it. You're watching BBC Midlands Today.

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Good to have you with us tonight. Coming up later in the programme:

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How the on air farmers in the Archers are getting to know the real

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life drama in the flooded fields of Worcestershire.

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Trust in the police is once again in the spotlight tonight. The West

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Midlands force has offered a profuse apology to a suspected victim of

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domestic violence after an abusive rant was left on her mobile phone,

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apparently by police officers. A senior officer told us she is

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shocked and devastated by the allegations.

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Teenager Alex Faragher had called the police claiming she was a victim

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of domestic violence. Later, two police officers telephoned her. The

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call went to answer phone, and it's claimed their highly abusive

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comments were then recorded. Because of the poor sound quality we've

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transcribed the conversation. For years, the police have given out

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the message that women can come forward in confidence and trust to

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talk about domestic violence. Today, a senior woman police officer wanted

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to talk from the heart. Commander Rachel Jones has personally

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apologised to the victim. I was shocked, but also devastated for the

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complainant themselves, for other victims of domestic abuse, him and

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fearing this will undermine reporting domestic abuse to the

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police. You cannot have confidence in the individual. Can you have

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confidence in the service? Yes. This is not a reflection of the work and

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care and compassion of the police staff across the West Midlands. The

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police officers have not been suspended, but while the

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investigation takes place, they are not dealing with the public.

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Domestic islands is a huge problem. One woman's group spoke out tonight.

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To pick the phone up is a real big breakthrough for a woman, and then

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to be let down by the system, there is going to be a lot of training for

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these officers so they can value what women go through. The woman at

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the centre of this controversy has so far spoken only to the police and

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the newspapers. To the latest on the floods now, and

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with the waters falling, families in Worcester have begun the job of

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cleaning up flooded homes. Ben Sidwell reports from a Worcester

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street some say they've been abandoned.

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This is a familiar sight in Diglis Avenue in Worcester. Every one of

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the 24 houses were flooded, not just with river water, but also with

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sewage. We are going to be like this for possibly another two or three

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months. Hopefully shorter than that. We just do not know at the

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moment. A few doors down at number 22, Matt

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Beesley's garden is still deep in water. More than a week after the

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river came in, he and the other residents are still waiting for

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authorities to help. It is frustrating. We have had calls

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telling us what people are going to be doing and that is where it stops.

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The clean`up has begun here, but most of the is the residents

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themselves. You can see, it is a huge task. Many of these people

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might still be out of their house in two or three months, and it is

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really frustrating, the lack of help.

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And it's not just the inconvenience. Manhole covers were lifted by the

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floods, meaning the water is also a major health hazard. Is dirty and

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contains extra bacteria, and although those materials will

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dilate, Windy floodwater lease, we have to make sure things are

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properly cleaned up. So just how dangerous is the flood

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water in the city? To find out, we've brought in a specialist to

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test it. This equipment will tell us how easily harmful bacteria can grow

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in each water sample. Firstly, bottled water. Unsurprisingly, the

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results are very low. Next, the river itself. With safe levels

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between zero and 32, the river water only gives a reading of two. This

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shows that the aquatic environment would not really support bacterial

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life, which is good. Back in Diglis Avenue, it's time to test the water

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in Matt's garden, and here the results are simply shocking. 1007

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internet and 74. I never expected it to be approaching 2000. `` 1774.

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While we were there, at last what looked like help for Matt.

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Representatives from the City Council and a charity. But

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incredibly, Matt was told the street had been divided in two and someone

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would be along in a couple of days to see him. Too little too late

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trying to keep people happy. Nothing is being done. I am seething, I

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really am. The water may be dropping on this street, but frustration and

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anger among the residents at the response they've had, is definitely

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on the rise. And I've got murky looking water

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samples, this is some of the River Severn water and this is some of the

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water we collected from near the homes we saw in Ben's report. That

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is pretty disgusting. Ben Sidwell is in Worcester tonight. Any idea how

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long it will take to clear up the residue?

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I do not think anyone really knows exactly, but the estimated gas is

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that some of the houses, probably two or three weeks to clear up, but

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it could be months before the whole city is cleaned up properly. Let's

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speak to the man who is in charge of the clean`up here. David, we have

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heard from the residence a huge amount of frustration, growing

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anger, and they are saying that today is the first day they have had

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any contact in ten days. I would like to sympathise with anyone who

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has been flooded. We have been in touch with a number of people in all

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of the flooded properties over the last week or so I'm including the

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fire service in the early stages. `` or so, including the fire service.

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From today, we have allocated and environmental professional to each

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of the households to give some personal advice. Do you think you

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have done enough? It is a big event. There is an enormous amount of

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resources being deployed across the agency team. There are difficulties

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getting into clean up when there is still wants her on the ground.

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Tomorrow morning, we will be up at that particular avenue with a large

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resource beginning a full`scale clean`up. The clean`up is the

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important thing. Absolutely. The water has gone down from the

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houses, and our first priority is to help the householders. You can see

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how much the river is still quite high. We would like to get it

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cleaned as possibly `` as quickly as the public can. We have to leave it

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there. The good thing is, at the river is dropping quite fast now.

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The floods have disrupted lives, damaged homes and devastated

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thousands of acres of farmers' fields. Against the force of nature,

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it can seem there's little we can do. In Herefordshire, though, one

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man believes he can make a difference. And as Bob Hockenhull's

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been finding out, he wants others to follow his lead.

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This is an entirely voluntary road maintenance team. Michael and his

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family are out clearing ditches near a remote village. A little bit of a

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struggle here. After months of torrential rain, many of the roads

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have been flooded, and are in a poor state. With no sign of counsel

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repair teams arriving, Michael has decided to take action himself. I

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have got to the stage now where I think that if we don't make an

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effort, we will have no roads to dry on in these little backwaters here.

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I think it is a bit of a joint effort required by all. The general

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public, ourselves, the farming community, everyone. If everyone did

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a little bit I think we could minimise this problem. Michael is

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campaigning for more residents in rural areas to help. He says the

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lack of effective drainage is ruining countryside roads. As you

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can see, the water is starting to flow away from the road as a result

:14:38.:14:41.

of the work being carried out here, and it is not just ditches that the

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team is attending to. They have also been clearing away debris from

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gullies and strain. The number of potholes growing day by day, the

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budget is tight, and it is welcoming, the can`do spirit of

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Michael. I would love our people to do this sort of work was to their

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properties. The council can do some work itself, but we do not have

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duties and lots of places to clear roadside date `` drainage. An extra

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?20 million is to be spent on highways, but now the garden or's

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labour of love will have to continue. We will not have any roads

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if it stays like this, so it is better to do it now. Clearly, this

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family will not let the flood speak them.

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This is our top story tonight. Time doesn't heal, the parents of

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murdered teenager Georgia Williams speak of their anguish. Shefali will

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be here with the weather forecast shortly. Also tonight: Set up in the

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60s to challenge conventional art in Birmingham, the Ikon Gallery turns

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50, but is it still cutting edge? There's been another sharp fall in

:15:58.:16:14.

unemployment in our region. Today's figures show the biggest quarterly

:16:15.:16:17.

reduction in any region outside South East England. 226,000 people

:16:18.:16:22.

are now out of work here, that's down 31,000. But at 8.3%. Our

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region's unemployment is still more than one percent above the UK

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average. Our Political Editor Patrick Burns has been studying the

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figures. Patrick, what's the significance of these numbers? They

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confirm the virtuous circle between falling unemployment and rising

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employment. On the last month, Last month's report by the accountants

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KPMG, which showed job creation here was outstripping every other region,

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including growth in full`time working. `` there are people who are

:17:01.:17:07.

working part who wants to work longer hours. But it's not good news

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everywhere, is it? The 2,000 job losses announced yesterday by

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Wolverhampton City Council more than outweigh the 1,400 that will be

:17:21.:17:24.

created up the road at the new JLR engine plant. I regret to say there

:17:25.:17:32.

will be more announcements like that as other spending plans for the

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coming year. That is one reason why the unemployment is 1% above the UK

:17:41.:17:45.

average. The worry is that public sector jobs are being lost, but that

:17:46.:17:50.

is being outweighed by the creation of jobs in the private sector. What

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worries me is youth and long term unemployment concentrated in parts

:17:57.:17:58.

of Birmingham, Black Country, and North Staffordshire, which have some

:17:59.:18:01.

of the UK's highest unemployment rates, low skills, poor educational

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attainment. And we have important elections coming up. The government

:18:06.:18:13.

says this confirms that their plan for the economy is working, helping

:18:14.:18:16.

people into real productive work. But other figures also out today

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show that wages are still lagging behind prices. There are predictions

:18:20.:18:22.

that wages could start catching up in a big way later this year, just

:18:23.:18:29.

in time maybe for a feel`good factor before the general election.

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Interesting. Thank you. More than 50 firefighters are

:18:35.:18:38.

tackling a fire at a luxury housing complex in Leamington Spa. Eight

:18:39.:18:41.

crews were called to Blackdown Hall in Sandy Lane this afternoon. An

:18:42.:18:44.

emergency rest centre has been set up at a nearby school after the

:18:45.:18:48.

building was evacuated. There are no reports of any injuries.

:18:49.:18:51.

A 22`year`old man has been arrested on suspicion of murdering a

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Gloucester hairdresser at a salon in the city. Hollie Gazzard, who was

:18:55.:18:57.

20, was attacked inside Fringe Benefits on Southgate Street just

:18:58.:18:59.

before six o'clock yesterday evening. She later died in hospital.

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It's believed the victim and the alleged attacker knew each other.

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This is an isolated incident, an incident whereby the victim and

:19:12.:19:16.

suspect did know each other, they were in a previous relationship. I

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want to ensure people that this is a safe community.

:19:22.:19:30.

50 years ago the Birmingham made Mini was the car to dry and mini

:19:31.:19:34.

skirts were causing a sensation on the city's streets. But the art

:19:35.:19:37.

scene was pretty conventional, until a new gallery opened with a mission

:19:38.:19:40.

to bring cutting edge exhibitions to Birmingham. And it's still going

:19:41.:19:43.

strong. Our Arts Reporter Satnam Rana is at the Ikon Gallery for

:19:44.:19:46.

birthday celebrations tonight. And it's been an eventful half century,

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hasn't it? The artwork is continuing today.

:19:53.:19:57.

Tonight, celebrations are underway for the 50th birthday. The gallery

:19:58.:20:02.

has had five directors, and here is a taste of what has happened so far.

:20:03.:20:07.

The bullring shopping centre is symbolic of the new Birmingham.

:20:08.:20:12.

There is nothing quite like it anywhere else in the world.

:20:13.:20:15.

1965. The Rotunda had recently become part of Birmingham's skyline.

:20:16.:20:18.

And over near the Bullring, a so`called gallery without walls has

:20:19.:20:21.

been founded by emerging contemporary artists in a glass

:20:22.:20:26.

kiosk. John Salt, who went on to pioneer the photorealism movement,

:20:27.:20:29.

painting images that look like photos. He became the first artist

:20:30.:20:32.

to exhibit at the Ikon. His is work is back on display for its 50th

:20:33.:20:40.

birthday. I was really pleased to be offered the show there. The first

:20:41.:20:43.

show there was really making history. The 1970s brought a move to

:20:44.:20:50.

the Pallasades to get closer to the local audience. It was here that the

:20:51.:20:54.

Ikon was bombed by the IRA, the likely target being the army and

:20:55.:20:59.

navy recruitment office next door. The early 70s was a time when we

:21:00.:21:06.

head a great optimism on the crest of a wave of a can`do attitude, so

:21:07.:21:17.

it had expanded enormously. Lots of visitors, lots of people who would

:21:18.:21:20.

not normally go to an art gallery, and that was very intentional. The

:21:21.:21:28.

1980s and UB40 are making sounds across the city, and the IKon is now

:21:29.:21:32.

in another home. This time, a disused carpet factory in John

:21:33.:21:35.

Bright Street. And then, in 1998, a final move to the former Oozells

:21:36.:21:38.

Street School where it won lottery funding to covert the Grade two

:21:39.:21:41.

listed building. And it's here where a year long series of exhibitions

:21:42.:21:45.

and events begin today to mark 50 years of contemporary art in

:21:46.:21:52.

Birmingham. Tonight there is a great buzz in

:21:53.:21:56.

this gallery for the opening of the celebratory exhibition by an

:21:57.:22:02.

artist. I am joined now by the current director of the gallery.

:22:03.:22:08.

What has the success been down two and the last 50 years. Essentially,

:22:09.:22:12.

it is the fact that it is such an independent art gallery and it is

:22:13.:22:17.

quite old. We try to be as relevant as possible. We want to engage with

:22:18.:22:24.

the local community. You have about 130,000 visitors coming through the

:22:25.:22:27.

door every year, but what about those people who do not come into

:22:28.:22:35.

galleries? We like to think of ourselves as outgoing. We are doing

:22:36.:22:39.

things all the time out and about in Birmingham and in the region. The

:22:40.:22:43.

most exciting project we have this year is a canal boat which is being

:22:44.:22:48.

crewed by young people, sailing from Birmingham and around the Black

:22:49.:22:52.

country, and they are going to meet lots of people along the way and

:22:53.:22:56.

there will be so many events and performances. This gallery is about

:22:57.:23:01.

giving emerging artists a showcase. Yes, right from the beginning, the

:23:02.:23:06.

gallery was there to support young artists. Of course, young artists

:23:07.:23:11.

get older, and we are celebrating the 50th anniversary, so the young

:23:12.:23:15.

ones who started it are in their 70s and 80s, and we celebrate them, what

:23:16.:23:20.

younger ones are coming up all the time. Thank you very much. This is

:23:21.:23:26.

the start of a year`long set of celebrations. In 1964, at the artist

:23:27.:23:32.

came up with the idea, and it was in 1965 that the gallery opens to the

:23:33.:23:34.

public. A final word tonight on floods, and

:23:35.:23:37.

they've been adding reality to the drama in Radio Four's The Archers.

:23:38.:23:43.

Millions tune into the programme each day, made in our studios right

:23:44.:23:47.

here at BBC Birmingham. Episodes have been re`written to reflect the

:23:48.:23:50.

flooding crisis. To get a real insight into the problem, some of

:23:51.:23:53.

the cast visited a Worcestershire farmer whose land is under water.

:23:54.:23:56.

Just a warning, this report from David Gregory Kumar contains shots

:23:57.:24:07.

of the Archers characters! Fact meets fiction as Archers

:24:08.:24:10.

actors, Tim Bentinc and Felicity Finch see first`hand the reality of

:24:11.:24:15.

life on a flooded farm. It is coming up through the floors in the shed.

:24:16.:24:21.

That isn't any good at all. Farmer Steve Page has lost whole fields to

:24:22.:24:24.

flood water on his farm near Worcester. He's had no choice but to

:24:25.:24:28.

bring 1,000 of his sheep inside and that costs. At the moment it will

:24:29.:24:34.

cost us an extra ?300 a day to keep them in. We have been underwater

:24:35.:24:40.

since Christmas, and it looks as if we could be for the next month or

:24:41.:24:43.

six weeks. Ambridge too is preparing for a

:24:44.:24:46.

flooding storyline. But for the actors confronting the real thing is

:24:47.:24:53.

a sobering experience. To actually hear their problems and what they

:24:54.:24:59.

are having to face, it is an extraordinary thing to see it in the

:25:00.:25:05.

flesh and it pulls you up, no doubt about it. One of the things that

:25:06.:25:10.

hadn't occurred to me you're talking about when the water recedes, I said

:25:11.:25:15.

that would be `` what's with the grass be like, and he said it would

:25:16.:25:24.

be contaminated. Farmers will be coping with this for months. Talking

:25:25.:25:30.

about this story and the programme is a good way to remind people about

:25:31.:25:34.

farming after the flood water goes down. The Archers flooding storyline

:25:35.:25:42.

continues this evening. David and Ruth don't look like that in my

:25:43.:25:44.

head. We have got some are sunshine and

:25:45.:25:53.

the way this week, tomorrow, to be precise. This is how the rest of the

:25:54.:25:59.

week is looking. We have got rainfall followed by showers and

:26:00.:26:04.

then it turns windy and cold by Friday, followed by the next area of

:26:05.:26:08.

rain. The track is uncertain as is the timing of that. I do not often

:26:09.:26:14.

do this, but I am going to skip ahead to next week, because there is

:26:15.:26:18.

something significant to talk about, the jet stream, which I am

:26:19.:26:22.

sure you are familiar with. Things always get worse the further south

:26:23.:26:27.

it goes, and it could slip further south for Monday and Tuesday, going

:26:28.:26:32.

into Wednesday as well, so we could be looking at more significant

:26:33.:26:36.

amounts of rainfall. Or the immediate future, let's look at this

:26:37.:26:39.

rain that is heading our way overnight. We have a few showers

:26:40.:26:44.

dusted about the region, and then this band of rain moves in from the

:26:45.:26:49.

west. It is not particularly heavy, and the heaviest outbreaks will be

:26:50.:26:55.

about ten mm at most, but under that cloud and the winds, the

:26:56.:26:59.

temperatures should the main well above freezing. We have further

:27:00.:27:05.

pulses of rain moving through central and eastern parts of the

:27:06.:27:09.

region through the morning tomorrow, but it clears away to sunnier

:27:10.:27:13.

conditions, and that is going to take us up to about 11 Celsius

:27:14.:27:17.

tomorrow morning. A few blustery showers to go with that as well.

:27:18.:27:23.

Tomorrow night, skies clear and the temperatures start to plummet. That

:27:24.:27:26.

pesky jet stream! Tonight's headlines from the BBC: The hacking

:27:27.:27:34.

trial is told Tony Blair advised News International's Rebekah Brooks

:27:35.:27:37.

on handling the scandal just days before her arrest. Time doesn't

:27:38.:27:43.

heal, the parents of murdered teenager Georgia Williams talk of

:27:44.:27:46.

their anguish. And two police officers under investigation for

:27:47.:27:48.

leaving abusive messages on this teenager's phone.

:27:49.:27:49.

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