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connection with a murdering Belfast back in the 1970s. That is all from
the BBC News At Hello and welcome to Midlands Today.
The headlines tonight... He was killed by the stress of his
job, says the widow of a school teacher who died from a heart attack
at the age of 37. I do think that being a teacher
contributed in a big way to us losing a husband and father.
We'll be looking into the stresses of teaching. Also tonight...
Mugged in the park ` a youth worker talks about the knife attack that's
left him permanently disfigured. It started in Birmingham, and is now
in 40 countries around the world ` Islamic Relief celebrates 30 years.
The beautiful thing I have seen is the generosity of people
irrespective of race, colour and creed, across Great Britain and the
globe. Which singer`songwriter has
surprised these schoolchildren? Find out later on.
And downpours recording half an inch of rainfall in an hour today, but
better now than later ` the Bank Holiday's looking good. For all the
detail, join me later. Good evening. The widow of a
schoolteacher who died of a heart attack at the age of just 37 says he
faced intolerable pressure. She's written directly to the Education
Secretary, Michael Gove, urging him to act to reduce the stress on
teachers. A poll earlier this year claimed 50% of all teachers had
considered quitting the profession. She's been talking to our reporter
Liz Copper. I should be proud that my husband
was a teacher but right at this moment I am not, I am sorry that he
was, because if he had a different job he might still be with us.
Words from a widow to the Secretary of State for Education. This is
Gareth Utting on his wedding day three years ago. He died suddenly,
aged 37, from a heart attack, leaving behind his wife and three
children. It is real families and real people
being put under an enormous amount of strain and suffering as a
result, and of course we have suffered the ultimate.
Gareth Utting worked here, at this secondary school at Wem in
Shropshire. He taught here for ten years. Staff and pupils were amongst
the mourners at his funeral. And, as his family continue to grieve,
there's been support from teaching groups.
I think teachers do get a bad deal. They are under a lot of pressure to
achieve and often they may not feel that they can tell somebody they are
stressed. Also, especially in young teachers and those who want to
impress, if they talk about feeling stressed it could actually be like a
barrier to them progressing in their profession.
Gareth Utting's wife says she doesn't blame Michael Gove, but does
want him to listen. I know that Gareth's death was not
directly caused by his being a teacher but I do think that being a
teacher contributed in a big way to us losing a husband and father.
The letter's been posted to the Department For Education today.
On the half of all the pupils and teachers out there, I beg you to go
back to the drawing board, learn from your mistakes, gained knowledge
and please don't send me your condolences. `` gain. Gareth
Utting's family say they're not seeking sympathy but empathy for
teachers. They want that to be his legacy.
Well, the Department for Education has declined to comment. But Alison
has since posted her open letter to Michael Gove on Facebook ` this has
now been shared almost 50,000 times. And plenty of people have been
commenting online today. Sian Crew says "This should be on the front
page of every newspaper, very powerful."
And Georgina Norgrove asks "Powerful food for thought. Maybe it's about
time it was not just thought, but put into some sort of action?"
Coming up later in the programme... Remembering Dolly ` fundraising gets
under way to pay for a statue of Worcestershire and England cricket
great Basil D'Oliveira. This is youth worker Gareth Howles,
the victim of a senseless and brutal mugging in which he was slashed
across the face with a knife. Thankfully, he's now on the mend and
today he returned to the Wolverhampton park where it happened
to try to help police find his attacker. Here's Giles Latcham.
There's no hiding this scar ` Gareth Howles will have it for life. And
there are mental scars too that wake him in a cold sweat.
Every day you get to, three hours sleep. I do get flashbacks. It is
getting better gradually. The attack happened in this park as
Gareth went to care for his disabled grandfather. It was roared daylight
and the first Monday of the Easter school holidays. `` broad.
Gareth fought back but before running off the mugger slashed him
with a Stanley knife. He lost a pint of blood and spent two and a half
hours on the operating table. Gareth's a youth worker and that was
why he returned to the park today to relive his ordeal.
I just don't want it to happen to anybody younger than me because they
might not be so lucky. They could easily get stabbed in the ribs or
anywhere, in the heart, and die. A knife surrender scheme is under
way in Birmingham at present following a spate of fatal stabbings
last Autumn. Police in Wolverhampton say knife crime is under control,
but agree this was a shocking incident.
Gareth has been really brave coming out and telling us about the
incident. We are looking for a person 6`foot three inch male, mixed
race, probably local to the area. There are two council operated CCTV
cameras close by but both are broken.
There is a chance the man who did this to you is watching this. What
would you say to him? If you are man, hand yourself in. Don't be a
coward. He's going back to work tomorrow.
Getting back to normality will take longer.
The funeral of a soldier who was killed at Tern Hill Barracks in
Shropshire has taken place in County Antrim this morning. 32`year`old
Corporal Geoff McNeill, of the First Battalion, the Royal Irish Regiment,
was given full military honours during a service at a church near
Portrush. He was found dead at the barracks near Market Drayton in
March. Another soldier has been charged with his murder.
Detectives investigating the murder of the Coventry teenager Nicola
Payne have re`arrested two people. A man and a woman, both in their 50s,
were released on police bail this afternoon. 18`year`old Nicola went
missing in 1991. No trace of her has ever been found. Police say the
arrests follow the discovery of new evidence.
Shadow Health Minister Andy Burnham was in the West Midlands today to
launch the Labour election campaign. I think people have decided they are
fed up with this government, they are fed up with Cameron and Clegg
not listening to their concerns. Labour will step forward and give
them an alternative and build to a general election victory in 2015.
And the West Midlands based "We Demand a Referendum Now" Party also
launched its European manifesto election and campaign today. It's
led by Nikki Sinclaire, who was elected as a UKIP MEP five years
ago, but left to form her own party. She's one of seven current West
Midland MEPs. This is a one`off election, a
one`off campaign to re`elect somebody who is proven to be one of
the hardest working MEPs in the region. Immunity work, mobile
surgery, etc. The people of West Midlands know that they will get
somebody who will represent them if they elect me.
And, for more about the European elections in this region, there's a
blog from our political editor, Patrick Burns, who's been studying
this year's crop of Euro hopefuls. It started with a 20 pence donation
from a small boy 30 years ago. Since then Birmingham`based Islamic Relief
has provided over half a billion pounds of aid to more than 40
countries. And today the International Development Secretary,
Justine Greening, praised the charity's key role in helping the
world deal with disaster. Bob Hockenhull has more.
He is writing down what we are giving to each person.
On the ground in Pakistan providing emergency aid after an earthquake
kills 75,000. One of scores of disasters Islamic Relief has
responded to in its 30 years. The charity began humbly in an office in
Moseley in 1984, set up by student doctors from the University of
Birmingham. This is a far cry from its humble beginnings in an office.
Like Sir Bob Geldof, they were inspired to do good after seeing the
BBC Michael Buerk report on the African famine.
Sadly the need for organisations like Islamic Relief is growing, not
decreasing. As it has grown the charity has had
to face concerns it could be exploited by extremists.
That accusation has been going around for quite a long time but we
have a saying, let the works speak. We don't have too justify our
position, we are an independent, neutral humanitarian organisation,
helping all those in need. The government says it works closely
with the charity. We use tried and trusted
organisations like Islamic Relief and we know we can get that person
on the ground to those who needs help.
There are also many ordinary volunteers raising money. This
teacher organisers sponsored treks. I have been mountain climbing for
years and I decided to combine my passion for mountains with my
passion for relieving the suffering of the poor. The charity's biggest
challenge in 2014 is Syria. This is our top story tonight.
The widow of a schoolteacher who died from a heart attack at the age
of 37 says he was killed by the stress of his job.
Shefali's ready with our detailed weather forecast. Also in tonight's
programme... After most of our police forces got
rid of their horses to save money, new research asks was it a false
economy? And we meet the last surviving pilot
from a secret squadron sent to protect the Arctic Convoys which
kept Russia in the fight in World War Two.
The next convoy to pass, out of 35 ships only 11 got through. `` convoy
to us. Police horses used to be a familiar
sight in our major towns and cities, but ever tighter budgets mean most
forces have got rid of their mounted units. Gloucestershire is the
exception. Now research into the effectiveness of mounted police in
the county has found there's a big difference in the public's
relationship with the police when officers are on horseback. Here's
Steve Knibbs. Across the country mounted police
units are disappearing as Chief Constables face difficult cutbacks.
Here in Cirencester they're back on the streets for the first time in
decades. And they're certainly turning heads.
I think it is wonderful, the more they are round and seen the better
it is for everybody. Everybody talking about it and it is really
good, another angle to introduce the children to the police force. The
horses are attracting a lot of attention but unknown to the people
talking to them they are gimmick `` guinea pigs for a serious piece of
academic research to see how effective they really are.
And, while rural areas are used to horses, here in the centre of
Gloucester it's pretty rare. Following closely behind are
researchers from the University of Oxford, recording how many people
come up to the police and whether their reactions are good or bad `
and early indications are pretty positive.
It is much more visible policing than community controls. People
interact with the officers more, they will chat with the officers and
interact with the horses. The research has been commissioned
by Gloucestershire's deputy chief constable who's the national lead on
mounted policing in the UK. He's not promising that we'll see new mounted
units cropping up once the results are published but just wants it
focus the mind of Chief Constables as they look at their resources.
It may lead to discussions around regional hubs, better that than they
disappear sporadically. It's thought the research is a world
first is and results will be compared to a survey carried out in
London at the same time. But it's already showing that if you want the
public to talk to the police ` bring in the horses.
A fundraising campaign now to build a statue to Basil D'Oliveira. A man
has set out on a walk to raise money.
Mark Ashbourne is blind but that does not stop him loving cricket or
being adventurous so today he set out on a four`day walk in aid of
charity. It was all his idea. I said I am thinking of walking from busted
to Glamorgan and people said they would sponsor me, others said they
would walk with me. You must be delighted. Yes, it is absolutely
brilliant, it will make it a lot more fun. The walk is raising money
for the Basil D'Oliveira Foundation. It has the support of his family and
his grandson is taking part. It is a great thing. I spoke to my grandma
this morning and I am sure he is watching us from above. In 1968
D'Oliveira was chosen for England against South Africa, the country of
his birth. It was the era of apartheid. The South Africans cancel
the tour because in their eyes he was coloured. He died in 2011 but
his foundation lives on, giving young cricketers the chance to take
up the game in England and South Africa. At 7:30am today the walking
party left and will arrive in Cardiff in four days' time, for the
next Gloucester match. `` Gloucestershire. The original
fundraising target was ?2000. They have already passed ?11,000. It is
all thanks to one man's determination.
We are joined now by our intrepid Walker, Mark. Where have you got to?
We are just at the traveller's rest outside Ross on Wye. How many miles
have you covered today? The 23 we set out to do. My feet and legs are
very sore. It really took it out of us. It has been good because they
have been a lot of us, good fun. Absolutely. What got you into this
idea in the first place? I have always wanted to support the
D'Oliveira Foundation, I thought if I was going to do something I would
want to make a difference rather than just a couple of hundred
pounds. I thought, let's do a sponsored walk but let's make sure
we leave the day after Worcester game finishes and arrive before the
next one. The only way to make that happen was between the Berkshire
game yesterday and asked playing in Cardiff. I thought if I do something
stupid like that I want some sponsorship. I said to friends, if I
am going to do this 74 miles are you going to sponsor me? That has grown
out of all proportion is, with 12 people walking fantastic. What
inspires you about Basil D'Oliveira? He is a legend, being a fan he was a
legend as a player but also the difference he made on the world
stage, helping to bring down apartheid in South Africa. There is
no place for apartheid in the world and basil helped to bring that down.
`` Basil. A World War Two fighter pilot has
written a book about his role in a secret wartime mission. Eric
Carter's job was to try to protect vital Arctic convoys carrying
supplies to keep Russia in the war. Their destination was Murmansk, but
many ships didn't get through ` they were sunk by German U`boats or
bombers. Ben Sidwell has been talking to the last surviving pilot
of 81 Squadron. Northwards to the Arctic Circle...
It was a mission so secret that not all even their closest families knew
they were going. The pilots suggested were amongst the best in
the country. Among them was Eric Carter from Birmingham. You don't
think of dining at 21. We just got on with the job the best way we
could. They spent ten months in the Arctic Circle with temperatures
around 40 below zero. Their mission was to go along with convoys carry
`` carrying vital supplies from Britain to Russia. The next convoy
to us, out of 35 ships, only 11 got through to Murmansk. This
international expert on World War II believes that few `` although few
today know about the Mission Eric and his comrades played a key role.
It introduced the Russians to modern fightersand fighter tactics. They
had the knowledge of how to fly and operate the Hurricanes, and that was
the building block to create their own modern air force.
The German propaganda minister came on the radio one day and said, we
know you have got to Russia but, sorry, chaps, you will never get
home again. Thanks to Eric's book, future
generations will be able to see what he and his comrades went through to
help win the war. Laura Mvula has risen to fame in
recent years and she has just returned from America.
A lunchtime session with a difference. Students at this school
in Cheltenham are treated to a live Internet performance from
singer`songwriter Laura Mvula. The Birmingham conservator our graduates
will be performing at the Jazz Festival tonight in Birmingham. This
is her way of giving something back to the next generation of musicians.
This is the region that nurtured me and gave me confidence and the place
that I keep coming back to, to refuel and get a sense of who I am,
and all of that is so important and I feel indebted and I feel so
welcome and every time I come back. For once, teachers did not have to
hush their students, although they had plenty to say afterwards.
Shocked! Because obviously I like her and her music and I have all ``
I have always said to miss Smith that I wanted to meet her. I saw her
at the Jazz Festival yesterday but seeing her in the room I was shaken.
It is nice to see some body who has achieved it already because she
gives you inspiration. I really enjoyed it. I have never really met
anyone famous before. Laura's rise to stardom has been
rapid. Since the race of her debut album last year, Singing To The
Moon, she has been nominated for various awards. Today she answered
questions about this and much more. Why did you decide the `` to perform
at the Jazz Festival? Because it is great! It is a bit of a dream for me
if I am honest. This is part of the education
programme for the Cheltenham Festival, ringing a taste of the
Jazz Festival to these young people. A school day like this one, well, it
is simply special. A day to remember. We are inching
closer to the bank holiday weekend. Will the weather behave itself?
After today's thunderstorms things are improving. The storms today were
localised. That's what motorists were confronted with in Dudley. The
rain was hammering down. We have had reports of about half an inch in the
space of an hour. Some of the worst thunderstorms in England were
breaking out here. We are now looking at things improving over
bank holiday weekend, mostly dry and warming up. There will be one cooler
day in between and that is tomorrow. We have a cold front heading down
from the north tomorrow at because pressure is building behind it the
effects of it will be significantly weekend, so just the odd shower here
and there. It will be an incentive for the winds changed to these
north`easterly winds. Temperatures slowly but surely climbing. We have
some thunderstorms breaking out over the region tonight but they will
fade out overnight. The cloud will break in a few places so
temperatures will get slightly lower tonight, down to about seven
Celsius, and that is why we have a chillier start tomorrow. Frosts may
return over the bank holiday weekend, certainly tomorrow night.
This is the scene tomorrow, much more dry than today, and there could
be the odd shower here and there. Temperatures will only be up to 11
or 12 Celsius, 13 for the south`west. Tomorrow night, things
will clear up significantly, temperatures dipping to about three
Celsius, with a frost. 'The last two generations have been
robbed of an opportunity 'And yet it has greater impact
on our everyday lives than anything 'We need to put this issue
to bed now, 'and not leave it
for another generation.' I want a Britain that is free
to control its own destiny.