06/05/2014 Midlands Today


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


two Midlands servicemen killed in Afghanistan as their bodies return


home. We'll be reporting live from


Herefordshire, where one of the servicemen grew up.


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


families. Also tonight, coming ever closer to


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


complex civil engineering projects. Where now for Birmingham City after


an injury time goal saved them from the dreaded drop?


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


situation is and the leadership going forward.


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


Hereford's May Fair Festival, which starts tonight.


Has it changed much? Only the prices!


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


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


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


forecast later. Good evening. Fresh tributes have


been paid to two Midlands servicemen killed in Afghanistan after their


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


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


Kington in Herefordshire, were passengers on board a Lynx


helicopter which crashed in Afghanistan ten days ago. The


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


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


sombre community tonight, I should imagine, Joan?


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


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


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


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


home today of five dedicated servicemen. Amongst them,


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


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


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


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


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


on. Hundreds offered their condolences to the family of the


Birmingham born officer over the weekend. We were overwhelmed with


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


battle it out for seven European Parliament seats in the West


Midlands. Transport chiefs hope, an extension


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Modern trams effectively gliding through the centre of the city.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


the middle of next years. `` next year.


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


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


service? Predictions are that about 3.5 million additional passengers


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


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


of Birmingham will make it more visible. That will attract


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


network. Arming and the West Midlands heading in the right


direction `` same direction, hopefully.


Police have discovered cannabis plants worth up to ?1.5 million


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


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


helping with inquiries. In just over a fortnight, voters


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


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


The voting system is proportional representation, which means you vote


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


choose from. Elizabeth Glinka visited Solihull to find out which


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


for UKIP. In the Midlands they face competition.


And you can read more about the candidates and the European


Elections themselves on our Political Editor's blog:


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


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


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


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


Mackie. An historic street fair needs an


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


Showman's Guild and Council presented Hereford Cathedral with 12


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


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


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


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


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


medieval jugglers and entertainers have been replaced by 21st century


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


bodies of two Midlands servicemen arrive back in England after their


deaths in Afghanistan. Your detailed weather forecast to come shortly


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


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


Warwickshire town taking its inspiration from Shakespeare as it


tries to take gold at the Chelsea Flower Show.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


future. Hand on heart, do you think you will


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


money in quality players, then flirting with relegation might not


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


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


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


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


receiving treatment for leukaemia from Birmingham Children's Hospital,


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


reports. A proud day for the Craddock family


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


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


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


receiving treatment for leukaemia at Birmingham Children's Hospital,


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


united in their support for Jody Craddock. And this testimonial


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


young Toby scoring the winner from the penalty spot.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


time. For almost an hour the band


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


dancing. It was fantastic. I cannot believe I


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


reports. Once known as the garden town of


Shakespeareland, Leamington Spa is heading going for Chelsea gold at


the famous flower show. Garden design and floristry have come


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


than three million viewers on television. The Leamington design is


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


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


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


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


hoped the exhibition will be recreated here. Currently the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


north of the region. Mostly across parts of Staffordshire and


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


as well. Tonight's headlines from the BBC:


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


biggest corporate takeover attempt in British history.


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


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


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


offering apprenticeships at its local radio stations.


Successful candidates will start there in September and, after


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


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


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


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


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