26/02/2014 Midlands Today


26/02/2014

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soon. That is all from the BBC News at Six, goodbye from me. On

:00:00.:00:48.

The power of the written word. How one stranger's letters are judging

:00:49.:00:54.

the lives of people around the world. There has been a springlike

:00:55.:01:02.

filter today, and with more sunny spells on the way tomorrow, you

:01:03.:01:04.

would be forgiven for thinking things are on the up. But the wintry

:01:05.:01:09.

weather is backed by the end of the week.

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Good evening. The Mid`Staffordshire NHS Trust will be dissolved `

:01:27.:01:29.

Stafford and Cannock hospitals will now be run by other trusts. The end

:01:30.:01:33.

comes following concerns over the standard of care and financial

:01:34.:01:36.

problems at the Mid Staffs Trust. In April 2012, the Trust revealed it

:01:37.:01:40.

had a deficit of ?16.5 million. A year later, the trust was declared

:01:41.:01:43.

insolvent, and administrators were appointed to look at its future.

:01:44.:01:46.

Last December, the Trust Special Administrators recommended

:01:47.:01:52.

downgrading services. But today it was announced that Stafford could

:01:53.:01:54.

still retain consultant`led maternity services ` if an NHS

:01:55.:01:57.

England review finds it's feasible. Our health correspondent Michele

:01:58.:01:59.

Paduano reports. At the moment premature babies under

:02:00.:02:03.

34 weeks have to be born in Stoke on Trent. Then was three lbs. Eight

:02:04.:02:10.

oz.. His parents praised Stafford Hospital's maternity unit. We have

:02:11.:02:15.

not got a bad word to say about them. All the negative press, we

:02:16.:02:25.

cannot do anything but praise them. They are also gearing up to open 12

:02:26.:02:31.

more beds at Stafford, but then Prime Minister `` the Prime Minister

:02:32.:02:37.

dropped a bomb cell. What is being proposed are steps to make sure that

:02:38.:02:44.

A continues at Stafford Hospital. And make sure that we can continue

:02:45.:02:47.

with consultant led maternity services.

:02:48.:02:52.

For protesters gathered opposite Stafford Hospital was a cautious

:02:53.:02:57.

welcome. It is talking about the future. I think we need to wait and

:02:58.:03:02.

see what happens. If it does happen, absolutely great. The devil is in

:03:03.:03:13.

the detail. We have now got the statement, we will work with it to

:03:14.:03:17.

make sure we have a debate and discussion about whether or not

:03:18.:03:21.

obstetric labour maternity is possible, but it may not be.

:03:22.:03:27.

Cannock hospital will still be taken over by Wolverhampton hospitals.

:03:28.:03:33.

There was no reprieve for children's services.

:03:34.:03:38.

23 years of working on the children's Ward, it is heartbreaking

:03:39.:03:42.

to think there will no longer be a paediatric ward at Stafford. There

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have been two demonstrations, the largest 50,000, and there is no

:03:47.:03:50.

doubt the majority at Stafford still want all the services.

:03:51.:03:54.

I have had experience at all the departments, so I would like it to

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stay as it is. It is not good. The fact it is going to be passed over

:04:02.:04:06.

to new ownership almost, so quite disappointed really.

:04:07.:04:12.

It is not yet clear what the announcement on maternity really

:04:13.:04:20.

means. What is clear is that campaigners `` politicians get

:04:21.:04:22.

nervous around hospitals. Today marks the end of an

:04:23.:04:28.

organisation so inextricably linked with bad care, but not the end of

:04:29.:04:32.

the Stafford story. Let's talk now to the Conservative

:04:33.:04:35.

MP for Stafford, Jeremy Lefroy, who's in Westminster for us. Mr

:04:36.:04:39.

Lefroy ` do you not feel that on the day that such a significant decision

:04:40.:04:43.

has been made by the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt and the

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Department of Health, that their refusal to be interviewed about this

:04:46.:04:52.

decision is unacceptable? I cannot speak for them, but I am

:04:53.:04:57.

being interviewed here because I think it is an extremely important

:04:58.:05:02.

day for Stafford. We heard the announcement by the Prime Minister,

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which I welcomed, because in my view and in the view of those who support

:05:07.:05:13.

Stafford Hospital, alongside the children's paediatric services are

:05:14.:05:19.

absolutely vital. I had feared that all that would happen would be a

:05:20.:05:23.

rubber`stamping of the proposals which were not acceptable. Will you

:05:24.:05:27.

be speaking to Mr Hunt about this? I have spoken to him already on

:05:28.:05:31.

several occasions in the last few days, but the key now is to continue

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to make the case for these consultant led maternity services,

:05:37.:05:39.

with the other services that paediatric services, that go

:05:40.:05:46.

alongside them. We have been given are of hope on this. One year ago we

:05:47.:05:52.

were faced with a downgrade with removal of acute services, or

:05:53.:05:54.

maternity services and many others. Those have not by and large gone.

:05:55.:06:01.

90% or more of patients currently treated at Stafford and Cannock will

:06:02.:06:05.

continue to be treated there, but this consultant led maternity issue

:06:06.:06:08.

is extremely important. We have more than 2000 babies born per year, they

:06:09.:06:16.

have been given excellent service, continue to begin an excellent

:06:17.:06:19.

service there, and it is vital that this service remains available to

:06:20.:06:22.

the people of Stafford and further afield. Campaigners say they will

:06:23.:06:28.

keep fighting for services at Stafford. Is it time for them to

:06:29.:06:33.

move on? The Prime Minister has said he wants to see as far as possible

:06:34.:06:37.

consultant led services, so this is the case we have got to make. I

:06:38.:06:41.

don't think it is time to move on, I think it is time to say the trust is

:06:42.:06:45.

dissolved, Stafford and Stoke will work together in what I am hope will

:06:46.:06:50.

`` I hope will become an excellent University Hospital trust. But we

:06:51.:06:53.

have to fight for those consultant led services.

:06:54.:06:56.

Coming up later in the programme: We're at Shropshire's first ever

:06:57.:07:00.

house swap, as people look to move up and down the property ladder.

:07:01.:07:05.

A campaign has been launched to educate parents about the need for

:07:06.:07:08.

children to use booster seats in cars. The idea came from a West

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Midlands firefighter who says he's met a shockingly high number of

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pupils who claim they don't even wear seat belts. The latest

:07:20.:07:22.

Government figures show that 56 child passengers were killed in the

:07:23.:07:26.

UK in 2012, a 4% increase on the previous year. And nearly 11,000

:07:27.:07:33.

more were injured. Ben Godfrey reports. Hands up anyone who has

:07:34.:07:39.

ridden in a car without putting a seat belt on. It is not a good

:07:40.:07:47.

reaction, but no surprise to West Midlands firefighter Jeremy Lefroy,

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Ash Mike pence a macro, who wants pupil `` Darran Gough, who wants

:07:54.:07:56.

pupils to educate their parents about road safety. A colleague's son

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was killed in a crash because he put the belt under his arm.

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Darren believes `` Darran believes if these children can walk through

:08:10.:08:12.

this hole in a cut`out Range Rover without ducking, they should still

:08:13.:08:18.

be using a child or booster seat. If you didn't have one, you could be

:08:19.:08:21.

in serious consequences and you could die, but if you have got a

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belt, you have better chances of surviving.

:08:29.:08:30.

Children under 1.35m tall or younger than 12 are required by law to sit

:08:31.:08:34.

in a booster seat. So are parents listening? The oldest one's 12 but

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he is nearly as tall as me so it can be a bit conflicting, but generally

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I think they should have booster seats. In our car we have the child

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seats and also seat belts. Here at MIRA near Nuneaton, Tony

:08:50.:08:53.

Payne has the job of preparing test dummies for crashes. Take a

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six`year`old child, this is how it shouldn't be done. We buckle him up

:08:57.:09:03.

there. Because he is sitting lower than the seat, this belt is

:09:04.:09:07.

automatically riding up across his abdomen. It is now lying across his

:09:08.:09:14.

neck and face. There are other potential injuries to those areas as

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well. The impact of a crash can be

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devastating ` car seats do save lives.

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All child seats today are fitted with a system which attaches the car

:09:25.:09:28.

seat rigidly to the car itself. You also have side impact bars for

:09:29.:09:33.

safety. But this seat is only really safe if the driver is following the

:09:34.:09:37.

instructions carefully. The campaign is all about pester

:09:38.:09:40.

power ` can children convince their parents to do more to protect them

:09:41.:09:51.

on our roads? A mother, her lover and his wife have all been sentenced

:09:52.:09:54.

for conspiring to cover up the death of a commentary toddler who died

:09:55.:09:59.

from head injuries. Police say they have been shocked at the way adults

:10:00.:10:06.

threaten to cover up the events. The three`year`old was captured on CCTV

:10:07.:10:09.

in November 2011, minutes before paramedics work call. `` before

:10:10.:10:19.

paramedics were called. Members of the Unite union have been

:10:20.:10:23.

protesting over plans to hand over the running of Nuneaton's George

:10:24.:10:25.

Eliot Hospital to the private sector. Two companies and an NHS

:10:26.:10:29.

Trust are currently bidding to take on the role. The hospital has a

:10:30.:10:36.

history of high death rates, but has substantially improved over the last

:10:37.:10:38.

year. A thousand tenants in Shropshire

:10:39.:10:41.

have been invited to swap their homes with each other. People deemed

:10:42.:10:44.

to be living in under occupied or overcrowded homes came together to

:10:45.:10:48.

see if it would be beneficial to move into each other's properties.

:10:49.:10:56.

It's seen as a way of helping householders to avoid paying the

:10:57.:10:59.

bedroom tax and reduce a shortage of social housing. Here's Bob

:11:00.:11:01.

Hockenhull. There are 15,000 properties are available to rent in

:11:02.:11:05.

Shropshire Council's area, but many tenants feel they are not living in

:11:06.:11:09.

the right accommodation. Elizabeth spent a year is trying to

:11:10.:11:13.

get off and estate she did not like in Oswestry. Now she has finally got

:11:14.:11:18.

a two`bedroom real property for her son and herself. I had been in tears

:11:19.:11:24.

egging them to move me, but their hands were tied. The structure of

:11:25.:11:29.

the system meant you had to have so many qualifying positions to be able

:11:30.:11:32.

to move. Tenants like Elizabeth living in

:11:33.:11:36.

properties too big or too small met at this event. It is a kind of speed

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dating, where they are hoping to be matched up with somebody else's

:11:42.:11:46.

home. We want to put people in touch with, I have an three`bedroom house,

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if you are looking for it and I have something `` you have something I am

:11:54.:11:56.

looking for, we will swap. The Johnsons have outgrown their

:11:57.:12:03.

house and want something smaller. If people are struggling with one

:12:04.:12:06.

bedroom or two`bedroom, probably they could do with an upgrade. We

:12:07.:12:12.

are prepared to downsize. There was no shortage of potential

:12:13.:12:17.

swap partners wanted to upgrade their properties. It is very, very

:12:18.:12:21.

small, and the boys' bedrooms are quite small for the two of them.

:12:22.:12:27.

Swapping houses could be a good way for some people to avoid the

:12:28.:12:32.

so`called bedroom tax. If they have got one extra bedroom, they face a

:12:33.:12:40.

14% cut in housing benefit, and with two extra bedrooms it is a 25%

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reduction. The house swap event moves to Bridgnorth tomorrow.

:12:44.:12:51.

This is our top story tonight. The final verdict ` the Government

:12:52.:12:53.

announces it's to dissolve the Mid`Staffordshire NHS Trust for

:12:54.:12:58.

being financially unsustainable. Your detailed weather forecast to

:12:59.:13:02.

come shortly from Beccy ` also in tonight's programme: The next

:13:03.:13:04.

generation of Winter Olympics hopefuls, perhaps?

:13:05.:13:06.

We meet the youngsters competing in a skating contest inspired by this

:13:07.:13:11.

year's Games. And the power of the written word `

:13:12.:13:14.

how one stranger's letters are helping to boost the morale of

:13:15.:13:21.

people worldwide. Manufacturing in the Midlands

:13:22.:13:24.

suffered more than anywhere else in recent years when many firms

:13:25.:13:30.

relocated overseas. Tens of thousands of jobs disappeared in

:13:31.:13:49.

this region. It will be a very different sort of

:13:50.:13:55.

programme. To illustrate the ministers of manufacturing, we have

:13:56.:13:59.

gathered together over 100 different objects made here in the Midlands.

:14:00.:14:03.

What happens in our region is predicted to have a major impact on

:14:04.:14:08.

the national economic recovery. But it is not just about motors, we also

:14:09.:14:13.

make flooring, food and even food all seats. Tomorrow evening we will

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be talking to industry leaders and a master brewer. `` football seats.

:14:20.:14:24.

If you want to find out more about what is made in the Midlands Today,

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join Nick Allen and me at half past six tomorrow. `` Nick when.

:14:30.:14:38.

`` Nick Owen. As part of our First World War

:14:39.:14:42.

commemorations, the BBC has teamed up with the Imperial War Museums to

:14:43.:14:46.

tell the story of the War at Home. Today we focus on one of the most

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heartbreaking stories of the Home Front. Scenes of horror unfolded as

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a group of children, many of whom had relatives fighting on the front,

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took to the stage for a fundraising show. Cath Mackie takes up the

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story. It's April 1916. For the last 20

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months, the world has been at war. In Hereford, a group of children

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whose fathers and brothers are fighting stage a fund raising show

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at the Garrick Theatre to send presents to the front. They decided

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to stage a winter wonderland, and what a grand event it was. There

:15:19.:15:24.

were ice maidens, Eskimos and they were all dressed in little cotton

:15:25.:15:33.

wool costumes. But the laughter and applause soon died out, as a

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nightmare unfolded on stage. The laughter stopped. The curtains came

:15:38.:15:42.

down and there was a shout of fire from somebody at the back. Bender

:15:43.:15:46.

was a piercing shriek from one of the little girls, `` then there was.

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The flames had caught fire from her costume onto those of the other

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children. The theatre had actually staged a real`life drama of horrific

:15:59.:16:07.

proportions. Six girls died on stage in front of

:16:08.:16:10.

their families and friends. They were aged from five to 13. Two more

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girls later died in hospital. There's a heartbreaking account here

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of the children's clothes going up in flames, and it says, "so

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unexpected, so sudden and so awful was the outbreak, that older people

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were temporarily paralysed as by a hideous nightmare." It's just awful.

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And yet it's a story that's largely forgotten. The only visible reminder

:16:32.:16:35.

is a plaque on the side of a car park where the theatre once stood.

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But there are calls for those forgotten children are to be

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remembered. Dance teacher Rebecca White is planning a performance in

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their memory. That legacy still stands through now, we do lots of

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performances for charities and four soldiers. It is devastating that

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children died in front of their families. `` and four soldiers.

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Where do we think the graves might be? Probably in the far corner.

:17:11.:17:14.

Thousands lined the streets for the girls' funerals, but sadly we could

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not find their graves. Their whereabouts on the street, much like

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the cause of the fire. The inquiry found no fault at the theatre. There

:17:26.:17:28.

had been claimed that somebody had seen a man a cigarette burn, but

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this was never substantiated. One can only imagine the despair

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with which the news was greeted by the Herefordshire men caught up in

:17:37.:17:44.

the fighting. `` had seen a man throw a cigarette down.

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The horror of War had reached home ` and claimed eight more victims.

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And you can read more about the First World War and how it changed

:17:52.:17:55.

the lives of people left at home on our website, that's bbc.co.uk/ww1.

:17:56.:18:01.

The Bromsgrove cyclist Jess Varnish will attempt to wipe out memories of

:18:02.:18:04.

her Olympic disappointment by winning a world title in Colombia

:18:05.:18:08.

tonight. Varnish and team`mate Victoria Pendleton were disqualified

:18:09.:18:14.

from the sprint at the 2012 Games. A back injury has severely disrupted

:18:15.:18:22.

her career since. But Varnish returns to the event with new

:18:23.:18:27.

partner Becky James this evening. It is hard not to compare yourself to

:18:28.:18:31.

other people, but you have to go out there and race against these girls

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every day and every competition, you have to beat them, and every scalp

:18:37.:18:40.

you take is good. This year has gone well, but obviously the world

:18:41.:18:45.

Championships is the one you want. I want my own brain by just Mac I want

:18:46.:18:51.

my own rainbow jersey `` I want my own rainbow jersey.

:18:52.:18:55.

Thirty years ago, Torvill and Dean won gold at the Winter Olympics in

:18:56.:18:58.

Sarajevo. Their brilliant Bolero inspired a generation to get their

:18:59.:19:01.

skates on and have a go for themselves. This week at the Telford

:19:02.:19:05.

Ice Rink, that passion is still very much alive for 300 youngsters, as

:19:06.:19:08.

Ian Winter reports. It is day one of competition, and

:19:09.:19:15.

everything has to be perfect. The skaters warm and supple, and is all

:19:16.:19:18.

important lucky charms simply bursting with good fortune. `` those

:19:19.:19:25.

all important lucky charms. Young skaters are superstitious and

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always on the look out for that extra special something to give them

:19:30.:19:32.

the edge. What is the most difficult thing you

:19:33.:19:36.

have done? My most difficult thing was a leap, I have to jump a

:19:37.:19:47.

full`time, but I never get round. No point in choosing something too

:19:48.:19:50.

difficult if they cannot do it. This time last week Liz was judging the

:19:51.:19:56.

Olympic figure skaters in Sochi. This week she is in Telford to cast

:19:57.:20:00.

an eye over the next generation of young talent. It is nice to get back

:20:01.:20:05.

to normality, Sochi was wonderful but with `` I like to see the

:20:06.:20:11.

youngsters. I like to see where that progression will be towards the top.

:20:12.:20:17.

It won four medals in Sochi but none in figure skating. Perhaps over the

:20:18.:20:21.

next couple of days in Telford there is a future Olympic champion waiting

:20:22.:20:25.

in the wings. `` Britain won four medals.

:20:26.:20:34.

Over the next couple of days, 300 young skaters from all over the

:20:35.:20:37.

country will be showing off their talent. All sharing the same dream

:20:38.:20:41.

that one day they will be sweeping up the ice.

:20:42.:20:48.

`` sweeping up the floral tributes on the ice.

:20:49.:20:51.

A year ago Jodie Ann Bickley came close to committing suicide, but

:20:52.:20:55.

then an idea to open up her e`mail inbox to the world saved her. Our

:20:56.:20:59.

arts reporter Satnam Rana been to meet the 25`year`old performance

:21:00.:21:01.

poet, who's become a letter writer to strangers.

:21:02.:21:03.

This is Jodie Ann Bickley's 1,580th letter to a stranger. You have come

:21:04.:21:23.

so far. Look back down the mountain at how far you have become.

:21:24.:21:28.

The journey to her letter writing project began in 2011. She was

:21:29.:21:35.

performing slam poetry at Camp Bestival on the Isle of Wight. On

:21:36.:21:39.

her trip, she was bitten by a tick. She caught encephalitis, a brain

:21:40.:21:43.

infection which led to a stroke. She was then diagnosed with chronic

:21:44.:21:46.

fatigue syndrome ` ME ` and she suffers with regular fits. Last year

:21:47.:21:56.

she hit an all`time low. If I am feeling like this, there will be

:21:57.:21:59.

some other people but are feeling like they are at the bottom of the

:22:00.:22:04.

abyss, and they are trying to get out. I thought if I can help some

:22:05.:22:09.

other people get out, then it will give me a bit of a reason.

:22:10.:22:14.

So she set up a website, onemillionlovelyletters.com,

:22:15.:22:16.

inviting people to nominate a friend who would like to receive a letter a

:22:17.:22:20.

from her. Within three months of setting up

:22:21.:22:25.

the website this time last year, she had received 50,000 views from 150

:22:26.:22:31.

countries. And a request for 750 letters.

:22:32.:22:34.

Amongst them, Phil Maguire, a postgraduate student from

:22:35.:22:38.

Huddersfield in Yorkshire. I was very demotivated and down, and since

:22:39.:22:44.

I got but let it started a whole thought process about what I really

:22:45.:22:47.

want to be doing, and it helps me put in motion what I needed to do to

:22:48.:22:55.

be where I am today, which is a good place.

:22:56.:22:59.

And this appreciation is echoed on Jodi's walls, adorned with thank you

:23:00.:23:05.

notes. Some of them are featured in her debut memoir One Million Lovely

:23:06.:23:09.

Letters. But with 1,500 requests for letters in her inbox, the writing

:23:10.:23:17.

will continue. There is no weakness in asking for a little help. The

:23:18.:23:22.

storm clouds are a lot more bearable when we have someone to walk in them

:23:23.:23:28.

with. I hope I can get to write to more people across the world.

:23:29.:23:33.

I just want to be able to help as many people as I can, and hopefully

:23:34.:23:37.

do it for ever, which would be lovely.

:23:38.:23:43.

We wish her good luck with her letter writing.

:23:44.:23:53.

It has been very springlike today. Normal service is resumed tonight, a

:23:54.:23:57.

wet and windy night to come, but it looks better tomorrow. Some good

:23:58.:24:01.

spells of sunshine to come through the morning, but more in the way of

:24:02.:24:07.

showers through the afternoon. Tonight we have got a clear, dry end

:24:08.:24:13.

to the day but temperatures are going to fall away under those

:24:14.:24:17.

skies, but cloud starts to build ahead of this next band of rain

:24:18.:24:21.

which is working its way through. Five to ten millimetres of rainfall

:24:22.:24:25.

was a ball. It will clear away eventually as we head into tomorrow

:24:26.:24:30.

morning, but temperatures are not going to fall away too far. We start

:24:31.:24:35.

tomorrow with that rain clearing away eventually. Some good spells of

:24:36.:24:40.

sunshine to come, a pleasant start of the day. A breezy day than we

:24:41.:24:43.

have seen today, but then we see showers filling in through the

:24:44.:24:47.

afternoon. At times they will be quite blustery, but temperatures

:24:48.:24:53.

ranging between eight and 10 Celsius. But it is too good to last

:24:54.:24:57.

because as we had through tomorrow evening those showers continuing to

:24:58.:25:01.

push through ahead of the next weather system. A deep area of low

:25:02.:25:04.

pressure once again. Some heavy rain to come at times, it could be a

:25:05.:25:12.

touch wintry bats well particularly over high ground. `` a touch wintry

:25:13.:25:16.

as well. Friday morning, the Met Office has issued an early weather

:25:17.:25:23.

warning. Of higher ground they will be more like snow, but on lower

:25:24.:25:27.

levels like sleep. `` over higher ground. `` on lower levels it will

:25:28.:25:36.

be more like sleep. `` sleet.

:25:37.:25:39.

Let's go back to our top story tonight, the news that the

:25:40.:25:42.

Mid`Staffordshire NHS Trust will be dissolved.

:25:43.:25:42.

`` sleet. Let's go back to our Our health

:25:43.:25:44.

correspondent Michele Paduano has spent the day in the town gathering

:25:45.:25:47.

reaction. So Michele, does this decision today really draw a line in

:25:48.:25:51.

the sand for the hospitals, and what happens next?

:25:52.:26:02.

This is certainly the end of the Mid`Staffordshire trust, which has

:26:03.:26:08.

become synonymous with bad care around the world. People would know

:26:09.:26:13.

Stafford everywhere and know that it had this relationship with poor

:26:14.:26:17.

care, but the process goes on. From today they will have to divide up

:26:18.:26:20.

hospital between Stoke on Trent and Wolverhampton hospitals. That

:26:21.:26:26.

process may take until as early as July, maybe as late as October. We

:26:27.:26:31.

don't know. Is it the end of the campaign? Now, the Secretary of

:26:32.:26:36.

State for health and the Prime Minister today through the

:26:37.:26:39.

campaigners a crumb, a line of hope that they might be able to get

:26:40.:26:42.

consultant led services back here. And today the Care Quality

:26:43.:26:47.

Commission are again looking at elderly care, so it is the end of an

:26:48.:26:52.

era, but sadly not the end of the tunnel for this hospital.

:26:53.:26:55.

That was the Midlands Today. I'll be back at ten o'clock, where I'll be

:26:56.:26:59.

looking at what the future holds for Stafford Hospital and the impact it

:27:00.:27:03.

will have on people living there. Have a great evening. Goodbye.

:27:04.:27:05.

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