06/05/2014 Midlands Today


06/05/2014

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Hello and welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines tonight: Tributes to

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two Midlands servicemen killed in Afghanistan as their bodies return

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home. We'll be reporting live from

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Herefordshire, where one of the servicemen grew up.

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This is a close community and people will feel desperately for the

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families. Also tonight, coming ever closer to

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completion ` the Midland Metro extension, one of Birmingham's most

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complex civil engineering projects. Where now for Birmingham City after

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an injury time goal saved them from the dreaded drop?

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The biggest thing is not who the manager is. It is what the ownership

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situation is and the leadership going forward.

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It's been running for nearly 900 years ` thousands expected at

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Hereford's May Fair Festival, which starts tonight.

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Has it changed much? Only the prices!

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But could they be caught out by the rain? Unfortunately, blustery, heavy

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showers come to the fore this week, while sunshine and climbing

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temperatures take a back seat. More details of what's in store in the

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forecast later. Good evening. Fresh tributes have

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been paid to two Midlands servicemen killed in Afghanistan after their

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bodies were flown back to the UK this afternoon. Flight Lieutenant

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Rakesh Chauhan, from Birmingham, and Lance Corporal Oliver Thomas, from

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Kington in Herefordshire, were passengers on board a Lynx

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helicopter which crashed in Afghanistan ten days ago. The

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three`man crew also lost their lives. Joan Cummins is in Lance

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Corporal Thomas's home town of Kington for us this evening. A

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sombre community tonight, I should imagine, Joan?

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An incredibly sombre community. This is a term which knows how to honour

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its sons who have fallen, here at the Memorial. Today they waited

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whilst yet another son was brought home from a conflict overseas.

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A tragic accident in a country too familiar with loss saw they return

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home today of five dedicated servicemen. Amongst them,

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25`year`old Flight Lieutenant Rakesh Chauhan, on his third tour of

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Afghanistan. I think everybody knows that he knew the risks and he

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willingly chose to serve in the RAF. Every time I spoke to him he was so

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at peace with his decision. We were just proud of him. Pride is the

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emotion that comes through the most. There are so many positives to focus

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on. Hundreds offered their condolences to the family of the

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Birmingham born officer over the weekend. We were overwhelmed with

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the response. People who have not contacted us for years have

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contacted us. It has been really helpful. Everybody who has, has been

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very supportive. In Kington, the flight flew at half`mast as

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Lance`Corporal Oliver Thomas began his journey home. Prayers have been

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said here for Oliver Thomas and his family. He had volunteered for

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deployment to Afghanistan, and on a recent visit home had told friends

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and family that he was fulfilling his dreams and living life to the

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full. Herefordshire is a county proud of its military connections.

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And those who serve. People are shocked. I think the reality is yet

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to come when the funeral takes place. This is a close community.

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People will feel desperately for the family. Today people in Kington

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simply wanted to quietly remember one of the town's sons. It is

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thought Honda to quietly remember one of the town's sons. It is

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thought pundits will line people will be lining the streets for Ollie

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Thomas's funeral. One man has just spoken to us and

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said he has sons serving in the Army at the moment. And this is every

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parent's worst nightmare. For the town of Kington, they want to offer

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their sympathies to the family. Coming up later, the election

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numbers game ` just over a fortnight to go until ten political parties

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battle it out for seven European Parliament seats in the West

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Midlands. Transport chiefs hope, an extension

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to the Midland Metro, one of the most complex civil engineering

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projects ever to take place on the streets of Birmingham, will deliver

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more than a thousand new jobs and a ?50 million economic boost. Track

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laying is continuing to restore trams to the city centre for the

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first time in more than 60 years. Our Transport Correspondent, Peter

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Plisner, reports A hive of activity today, as laying the track and other

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work continues at a rapid pace. Contractors admit that it's not easy

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working in a centre of a city, and the street layout makes it even more

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difficult. It is very challenging. The streets of Birmingham were

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designed for motor vehicles. The track takes many twists and turns to

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get along between the buildings. Abbeville `` dog Barney old tram

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tracks yet? No. The plenty of basements. The track's being laid in

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short sections to avoid too much disruption to people and businesses.

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And some sections require more work than others. This is one of the most

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challenging parts of the project. Trams will come down quite a steep

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hill and turn quite a sharp curve. They have had to move the front of

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the Waterstones book shop back three metres. This is all happening in a

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busy city centre. Once complete, this is what it will look like.

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Modern trams effectively gliding through the centre of the city.

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Planners are hoping that this line will be the catalyst to build even

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more metro extensions. We hope it is going to be the first of many

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extensions. We have got the funding to carry on up to Centenary Square.

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At the moment we are seeking powers to build an extension to

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Wolverhampton railway station. We will continue to try to expand the

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system from there. We think it is a good thing. The first vehicles in a

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new fleet of trams to run on the track has already been delivered and

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is being tested in the Black Country. The new extension which

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will connect New Street and Snow Hill stations is expected to open in

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the middle of next years. `` next year.

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And Peter's in the city centre now. We're a little over 12 months away

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from launch, Peter ` do you think there'll be a demand for this

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service? Predictions are that about 3.5 million additional passengers

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will use the Metro every year. Currently 5 million use the existing

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line from Wolverhampton to Snow Hill. Pushing it through the streets

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of Birmingham will make it more visible. That will attract

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passengers. Taking it down to new Street station. At the moment the

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existing Metro 's overcrowded at peak times. These new trams have 40%

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additional capacity, so all passengers will be able to use them.

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`` more passengers. Tramlines are very expensive. Will further

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extensions ever happen? Is all about money. This tramlines needed a

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government contribution. We are waiting in the queue for a limited

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pot of money. Manchester has proved the concept. They have an entire

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network. Arming and the West Midlands heading in the right

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direction `` same direction, hopefully.

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Police have discovered cannabis plants worth up to ?1.5 million

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during a raid at a warehouse in Coventry. Officers found the plants

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at the industrial unit in the Stoke Row area of the city. Two men are

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helping with inquiries. In just over a fortnight, voters

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will be going to the polls in the European elections. In the West

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Midlands, that means choosing seven MEPs who'll represent our region.

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The voting system is proportional representation, which means you vote

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for a party rather than a particular candidate, and there are ten to

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choose from. Elizabeth Glinka visited Solihull to find out which

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if any the voters recognised. There are ten parties failing to ``

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fielding candidates in the West Midlands. Some of them you will be

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pretty familiar with. What about the others? Broadly speaking, all of

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these parties are anti`European. How do they differ from UKIP? Do people

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know anything about them? Ten different parties. Do you know what

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they stand for a? UKIP I am definitely in favour of. None of

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these others have I ever heard of. British National Party! That's quite

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interesting that they are still going. I am undecided. That looks

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like something from Einstein kind of thing! It sounds like a chemical

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equation! English Democrats, I have heard of them. There are the English

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Democrats. OK! They are pretty far right. For people who think that

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UKIP add to wishy`washy and liberal. Does that say about? What do they

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stand for a? I have no idea. He used to have a thing on television. The

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American... Jerry Springer! No, that is not Jerry Springer! Both have

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left UKIP and started new parties running in the upcoming elections.

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I'm going to vote UKIP. UKIP as well. Purely because I believe that

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we should run our own country. At the end of the day fur trade we had

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to stay in rather than out. They need to renegotiate but I think we

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need to stay in. A lot of parties seem to stand for the same thing as

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UKIP. I am not sure what the differences. Election date is May

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22. The three main parties are concerned about a surge in support

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for UKIP. In the Midlands they face competition.

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And you can read more about the candidates and the European

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Elections themselves on our Political Editor's blog:

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Up to 200 showmen and women from around the country are in Hereford

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this evening for the first night of the city's May Fair Festival.

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The event's been running for nearly 900 years and attracts thousands of

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people. But not all city centre businesses are fans. Here's Cath

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Mackie. An historic street fair needs an

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historic opening ceremony. For the privilege of holding the fair, the

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Showman's Guild and Council presented Hereford Cathedral with 12

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and a half bushels of wheat. I am satisfied that this is a proper

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measure and it is of the best tweet. The fair opened, a world away from

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its roots. If there were any rides, they may have been simple and basic.

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Such as swimming golds. But even that is doubtful. Live

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entertainment, jugglers, Tom Veelers. `` tumblers. But the

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medieval jugglers and entertainers have been replaced by 21st century

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terrifying rides. It is a traditional thing and it is lovely.

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I still think it is nice. Has it changed much? Only the prices! What

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makes it so special is that it is in the city of Hereford in the

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streets. The city comes alive. People come from all around the

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county. Old footage from the 1920s show the streets packed with people

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` and it still attracts thousands of people. But not everyone's pleased,

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particularly some businesses. People can only spend their money once.

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Once the Mayfair is here they are treating their children and having

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rights themselves. Our trade goes down. Three quarters of the people

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we talked to say it is the right thing to do and this is the right

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venue for it. As part of the deal the cathedral's canon went on a

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ride. It was fantastic. I saw the roof of my house. A lease has been

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signed for the fair to be held until 2020, but it's likely that'll be

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extended for many years to come. This is our top story tonight: The

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bodies of two Midlands servicemen arrive back in England after their

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deaths in Afghanistan. Your detailed weather forecast to come shortly

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from Shefali. Also in tonight's programme, a front row seat as a

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rock band performs in a fan's Black Country living room. And the

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Warwickshire town taking its inspiration from Shakespeare as it

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tries to take gold at the Chelsea Flower Show.

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Time for sport ` Dan's here. And Birmingham City have been reflecting

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on their great escape after avoiding relegation at the weekend. I think

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the blues fans still blinking in disbelief. It's been a Bank Holiday

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weekend that no Birmingham City fan will ever forget. Today, Lee Clark

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thanked them for their support, and promptly spelt out a few home

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truths. The Blues manager is warning the club might not be so lucky next

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season, if the owners don't invest in quality players. Ian Winter has

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been to meet him. If Saturday was crazy, then today

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was calm. For Lee Clark and Paul Caddis, a nice cup of tea. And the

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chance to reflect. It's not every day you avoid relegation in the most

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nerve`jangling manner. If you play football until you're 90 you will

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never play another game like that, would you? No, done things. That is

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probably the most important goal I will ever score. I think the manager

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summed it up perfectly. He told us to use that as a motivation never to

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be in that situation again. I reacted the way I seen fit. It was

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the relief and pride that I had done the job for the fans. That is why

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ran straight to them. Have the last few weeks affected the family? It

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has been very tough. I am proud to be the manager. My family love the

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area. My children enjoy their school and where they live, and the life we

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have had. In terms of how it has affected us, it has been extremely

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tough over the last few months. On Saturday, sheer relief was the

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overriding emotion. Today, it was time for a realistic view of the

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future. Hand on heart, do you think you will

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still be the manager next season? I have said many times I am proud and

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honoured to be the manager. I have understood what is going on. The

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biggest thing is not with the manager is, it is what the ownership

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situation is and the leadership going forward. If there is a change

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of manager with the parameters aren't changed, you might not be so

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lucky next season. So Clark's message seems crystal clear ` unless

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the current Blues owners, or potential new owners, invest serious

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money in quality players, then flirting with relegation might not

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be a one`off sporting drama. Former Wolves club captain Jody

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Craddock has thanked fans for their "fantastic support" after more than

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9,000 turned out at his testimonial game, including several hundred who

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made a 400`mile round trip from Sunderland. Craddock's son, Toby, is

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receiving treatment for leukaemia from Birmingham Children's Hospital,

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and he's raising money for its ?4 million cancer unit appeal. Amy Cole

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reports. A proud day for the Craddock family

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as they applauded on to the pitch by thousands of Wolves and Sunderland

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fans. Jody Craddock's testimonial game was always going to be a

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memorable occasion. His young son, Toby ` in the blue kit ` has been

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receiving treatment for leukaemia at Birmingham Children's Hospital,

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which is appealing for donations for a new ?4 million cancer unit. Jody

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says he was keen to give something back. For me to raise a little bit

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of money and to help them out, they have helped quite a lot. It is great

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to be able to give something back. Hopefully the pace will not be too

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fast out there. We will enjoy it. And the fans were certainly keen to

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support a man whom they felt has given so much to their clubs. It is

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a very well deserved tribute to Jody Craddock. He is a very good and

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talented footballer, and a very nice man. Nobody deserves it more than he

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does. We travelled from London. It is late and's first Wolves game

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today. He is one of my favourite players, so I'm here to support him.

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It is a great cause. There is a real sense of excitement going around the

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stadium as Wolves fans and Sunderland fans sit side`by`side,

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united in their support for Jody Craddock. And this testimonial

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match. For the record, Wolves won 2`1 with

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young Toby scoring the winner from the penalty spot.

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Think of major music venues in the Midlands and I'd imagine the

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Symphony Hall in Birmingham and the LG Arena spring to mind. I somehow

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doubt your first thoughts home in on a residential house on a cul`de`sac

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in Wollaston near Stourbridge! But, for one music fan, it was the

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perfect location, as one of her favourite bands turned up at her

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home to play a very special gig there. Ben Sidwell had a front row

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seat ` on the sofa! Red carpet down, champagne on ice

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and guest list sorted. Everything in place for Danni Griffiths' once in a

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lifetime concert. I am so excited. It is going to be incredible.

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Wollaston has never seen anything like this, ever. On their way to the

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Black Country, Uncle Frank. Fronted by Fun Lovin' Criminal Frank

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Benbini. Danni had won a competition on the band's Facebook page ` the

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prize an intimate gig at her home. Never had a doorman at a house gig.

:19:24.:19:28.

I love the fact he does not break character. He is on the tour, he has

:19:29.:19:32.

got a guest list. If you're not on the list, you're not coming in.

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After a bite to eat and a quick chat with family and friends, it was

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time. For almost an hour the band

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entertained Danni's family and friends ` and even got the doorman

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dancing. It was fantastic. I cannot believe I

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am doing this in Wollaston. It is something I will remember for the

:20:10.:20:13.

rest of my life. It is absolutely huge for this area. I don't think it

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is going to be something we will forget for a very long time.

:20:19.:20:29.

That was just a great show. It had more of a vibe than I have ever had

:20:30.:20:34.

a massive shows I have played. It is a really cool thing. I am very

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humbled. Fantastic. That was incredible. I don't think

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we are going to forget it. Makes my bank holidays seem rather

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tame. `` my bank holiday. Leamington Spa is about to take on some of the

:20:57.:21:00.

world's top floral designers at the Chelsea Flower Show. An

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award`winning florist has teamed up with a garden designer to create one

:21:04.:21:07.

of the gardens in the main pavilion next month. They've taken their

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inspiration from the town's parks and Shakespeare, as Lindsay Doyle

:21:10.:21:10.

reports. Once known as the garden town of

:21:11.:21:20.

Shakespeareland, Leamington Spa is heading going for Chelsea gold at

:21:21.:21:26.

the famous flower show. Garden design and floristry have come

:21:27.:21:29.

together for the first time as an award`winning floral designer and

:21:30.:21:32.

garden designer have put their heads together and come up with an

:21:33.:21:42.

enchanting exhibit. As much as we really wanted it, we were prepared

:21:43.:21:48.

for the fact that may be taking a small town was not going to get us

:21:49.:21:54.

the space. But week have got a six metre space, which is huge, until

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you start to put it together. Then we start looking at it and think, it

:21:59.:22:02.

does not look as big as we thought! Inspired by Shakespeare's famous

:22:03.:22:05.

fairy, Queen Titania, the project has the backing of the entire town `

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local businesses, sculptors and students are all mucking in to make

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sure all is ready on time. Even a local teashop is lending the table

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and chairs. Chelsea is the most prestigious flower show and the

:22:21.:22:23.

world. It is a wonderful way to showcase the town. Tell people that

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we are here and remind them to come up. Not only that, in the course of

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delivering the project, we have had an enormous amount of publicity. The

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Chelsea Flower Show attracts 160,000 visitors over the five days and more

:22:38.:22:40.

than three million viewers on television. The Leamington design is

:22:41.:22:43.

influenced by the town's famous Jephson Gardens, much to the delight

:22:44.:22:52.

of its gardeners. I did see the lady come into the park last year. She

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did mention that she was going to do a thing based on ideas from

:22:57.:23:01.

different gardens. That was the last I heard of it. After Chelsea, it is

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hoped the exhibition will be recreated here. Currently the

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friends of the pump room gardens are applying for a Heritage lottery

:23:15.:23:18.

grant of ?1 million to rejuvenate the area. The Pump Rooms is

:23:19.:23:20.

celebrating its 200th anniversary. It's hoped the Chelsea exhibition

:23:21.:23:23.

will make the perfect birthday present Time for the weather now.

:23:24.:23:32.

And gardeners always want to know about the weather. Did you hear the

:23:33.:23:38.

rain last night? Like a monsoon at times, wasn't it? How's it looking

:23:39.:23:41.

for the rest of the week? Here's Shefali. It is not the first time I

:23:42.:23:44.

have heard that word today. It will not be the last this week. More

:23:45.:23:48.

heavy showers to come. They are stepping up a gear all the while. It

:23:49.:23:54.

will be breezy. The winds will temper the temperatures. On the

:23:55.:23:58.

whole they are around average or just above. They will dip at the

:23:59.:24:03.

weekend when we see a change in wind direction. We really are up against

:24:04.:24:08.

it this week. Battling against an artillery of France from the

:24:09.:24:14.

Atlantic. There will be the odd one sector passing through. You can see

:24:15.:24:19.

that wish bone formation. That will lead to a temporary spike in

:24:20.:24:25.

temperatures. Values will be falling by the weekend. The winds will pick

:24:26.:24:31.

up. As we have seen today, some torrential downpours in places.

:24:32.:24:34.

Those will continue through this evening and overnight. If anything,

:24:35.:24:38.

they will become more widespread. They will confine themselves to the

:24:39.:24:42.

north of the region. Mostly across parts of Staffordshire and

:24:43.:24:45.

Shropshire. Towards the tail end of the night it is looking drier. Still

:24:46.:24:50.

plenty of cloud. The winds will pick up towards dawn. Temperatures well

:24:51.:24:58.

above freezing. It is a reasonably mild night. This is how we start of

:24:59.:25:03.

the day tomorrow. Quite showery, quite dull, quite cloudy. Gradually

:25:04.:25:08.

as the showers screaming from the West and become more prolonged and

:25:09.:25:11.

perhaps more widespread, there will be some sunshine breaking through in

:25:12.:25:20.

between. Temperatures at 14 or 15. Brisk winds. More showers tomorrow

:25:21.:25:28.

night. Again, fairly widespread. Cloud thickening up and filling in

:25:29.:25:32.

once again before they fade away, leaving us with cloud and largely

:25:33.:25:40.

dry conditions. Temperatures only around nine or ten. Some of those

:25:41.:25:45.

showers will form longer bands of rain on Thursday. Friday 's showery

:25:46.:25:47.

as well. Tonight's headlines from the BBC:

:25:48.:25:52.

With fears of significant job losses, politicians step in to the

:25:53.:25:54.

biggest corporate takeover attempt in British history.

:25:55.:26:03.

She would hold back in court, guilty of indecently assaulting an underage

:26:04.:26:07.

girl. And tributes are paid to two Midlands servicemen killed in

:26:08.:26:09.

Afghanistan as their bodies return home. Just before we go, the BBC is

:26:10.:26:13.

offering apprenticeships at its local radio stations.

:26:14.:26:14.

Successful candidates will start there in September and, after

:26:15.:26:17.

training, they'll work as Apprentice Broadcast Assistants. If you're over

:26:18.:26:20.

18 this September, and you want to find out more, visit our website.

:26:21.:26:25.

The closing date is Monday. That was the Midlands Today. I'll be

:26:26.:26:29.

back at ten o'clock. Have a great evening. Goodbye.

:26:30.:26:34.

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