04/08/2014 Midlands Today


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Hello, and welcome to Midlands Today.


A poignant discovery ` lost graves of soldiers from the First World War


We have managed to turn this place around from an abandoned jungle to


almost perfection. As towns and villages across


Midlands prepare to take part in Royal British Legion's Lights Out


event, we'll be live in Ironbridge. 100 years since the outbreak


of the Great War, we'll be reflecting on how other parts


of our region are remembering. Also tonight, a poor reception `


what's being done to help communities where you have to be


very mobile to get a signal. I don't have my phone, I don't bring


it out because it rarely works. Uphill struggle ` we join charity


sprout nudger Stuart as he inches I've got no skin left on my knees,


it has been tough so just to get to the end and see the crowd is


fantastic. And something for everyone this week


` sunny spells, heavy rain, I'll have all the details


for the week ahead later on. We begin our special World War One


anniversary coverage with the story of the forgotten graves,


belonging to soldiers who lost They were uncovered by ex`servicemen


in the Black Country, carrying out restoration work at


St Peter's Church in Cradley. Today, the men who gave


their lives were remembered Today's service began with


a procession in A lone piper setting the tone


before some sombre words from We remember those who were killed in


action or by disease. We remember the bereaved, the last, the


shattered families, the wounded, the maimed and injured, and those who


held in Thailand's unspeakable memories of warfare. `` held in


silence. This year is particularly poignant


after a century's passing, but in Cradley even more so,


because at last forgotten men could They had been lost here


in the undergrowth, until local ex`servicemen set


about uncovering their graves. Just over a year


ago this whole area was overgrown Some described it as a jungle,


and they were only expecting to Most were in their twenties


when they died, and for John and Dennis Rose from Netherton,


today was particularly moving. At last they could see


their grandad's grave. She wouldn't say a lot, and when he


invested, he wasn't called up, he enlisted and went out to France. He


did come back a couple of times, and Gran always said he was covered in


life and she had to delay the same. He was killed on the 23rd of August


1916. It never occurred to me I was born on the day he was killed.


Norman Catton organised the work with help from the community payback


Absolutely fabulous. The lads from the Probation Service really worked


hard. I have had a few other volunteers who have been coming on


Saturdays, and really, this place is clean compared to how it looks the


first time I went to that part of the graveyard.


117 men from Cradley lost their lives in the Great War.


Today all their names were called out, including those


Between 10pm and 11pm this evening, the Royal British Legion's Lights


Out event will involve households, businesses


and public buildings across the UK turning out their lights, to leave


The event was inspired by the words of wartime Foreign Secretary Sir


Edward Grey, who said, "The lamps are going out all over Europe.


We shall not see them lit again in our lifetime."


This evening we're live at Birmingham Cathedral


and the Ironbridge Gorge Museum, but first, Bob Hockenhull reports


on the tribute being paid at Europe's largest Hindu temple.


It may look like India, but the Balaji Temple is


And today, candles were lit here to remember those who made


We'll stand silently in commemoration


of those people who lost their lives for saving the world.


1.5 million Indians fought for the British in the Great War.


75,000 died, a loss keenly felt by the guest of honour


Within six weeks, one third of the soldiers fighting in Northern


France were actually from India and that number grew from 130,000`odd


All the lights in the temple in Tividale will be extinguished


Only the candle of hope will stay lit, a symbol


In 1914, people younger than me or as young as me were in the trenches,


shooting, getting killed, and it's quite a scary thought and a lesson


we all should learn from, it is a lesson we believe we should learn


Indians fought for Britain all over the world,


from the trenches of Europe to the deserts of Africa, but here at the


temple they are anxious to ensure it is not just their sacrifices that


The temple has seven Faith Hills, representing seven


Representatives from those faiths took part


After all, as one of those attending said, a bullet doesn't recognise


Let's go live now to Blists Hill, the Victorian town at the heart


of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum in Shropshire.


The lights being turned out there tonight will be gaslight.


Nicola, what else is happening tonight?


The streets here will be very busy tonight. Let's find out a little bit


more from Paul Gossage from the museum. What will be going on? We


are welcoming our volunteers as part of commemorations. They have been


putting on an exhibition looking at the post service during World War I


and all our volunteers will be writing postcards in the guise of


someone fighting or someone at home writing to their loved ones, and


then we will bring these together, stand in a circle and lead them ``


and read them aloud. You have also brought some literature. Can you


tell me about that? This is about our exhibition we have put on along


with the British Postal Museum and it is a variety of letters and


documents. This is a battlefield well. When this soldier was looking


at all his possessions, his most prized possession that he left to


his girlfriend was his aspidistra plant. Tonight everyone will be


gathering. Tell me more. They will read out what their ideas are from


the fighting front, then we will turn the lights out in memory of


that wonderful speech, the lamps are going out across Europe. Thank you,


Paul. I hope you can join us later on at 10:25pm, when we will join


everyone here to find out how they will be commemorating.


The Lights Out commemoration has even found


its way onto that cornerstone of British life, The Archers,


In a special episode tonight, pupils from a school in Worcester


take centre stage as the long`running radio soap marks the


And as Giles Latcham reports, it's a school with reasons


# While your hearts are yearning...


Echoing down the decades, youngsters from King's School


Worcester breath new life into an old song, at the request of the BBC.


We were asked by the producer a few weeks ago to provide a choir


to play the role of the local school choir in a service in an episode of


The Archers in which a choir will sing Keep The Home Fires Burning.


The song was hugely popular among families waving fathers


This recording of it is at the heart of tonight's special


In the '50s and '60s we used to go out on location quite a lot


and record in local churches and it seemed like a nice idea to


commemorate the anniversary of the First World War by coming out again,


and hopefully in 50 years' time, when these young students are


grandparents, they might remember that 50 years


earlier they were there recording an episode of The Archers on the


On the walls of College Hall, a reminder of the sacrifices made


by old boys of the school ` and in particular, one family.


The Wilmots were five brothers, all of whom fought in the


The boys wrote home regularly to their mother Kitty,


and modern`day pupils are now busy scouring their letters for insights


into life in the trenches and for the family back home.


They were living on the edge, really,


not knowing what would happen, if they would ever see them again.


It's quite sad in a way, reading letters,


people saying they're all right when you know that later on, they're


They're not allowed to put their position, where they are in


the country, so he's talking to his mum in codes, saying, I am where I


When they're talking about trenches that are waist deep in mud,


you start to think about how you would deal with that, and Christmas


# They were summoned from the hillside...


82 old boys lost their lives in World War One.


Perhaps in this song, their loved ones found some relief


And that episode of The Archers featuring the choir from Kings


School, Worcester, follows Midlands Today just after 7pm on Radio 4.


Giles is at Birmingham Cathedral for us now, where a candlelight vigil


Giles, what have people been telling you as they arrive there?


Some have come here because it is a family thing, members of their


family served in the war, others served in later conflicts and others


simply wanted to take part in a collective act on this day, perhaps


an act of remembrance. The vigil began just over an hour ago and goes


on until 11pm. With us is the Dean of Birmingham. I described it as an


act of remembrance. Yes, many people are remember ring on behalf of


family members, but we are taking a moment to pause and reflect and


think about how these enormous events have effected us over the


years. Why remembrance? It is important to look back and on the


sacrifice of each individual person, every family, every community, was


affected by the trauma and tragedy of this war, but I think also we


need to bring it up to date because the world is still at war in many


ways and we need each one of us to think about how am I making peace in


my life? Thank you for speaking to us. You were speaking earlier to one


member of the congregation who said her great`grandfather joined up at


17 and he said the war was crying like babies in the trenches. The


bells are ringing as a sign of Bonnie and grief and all are welcome


tonight. You can email them to


midlandstoday @bbc.co.uk, upload them to our Facebook page,


or tweet @bbcmtd. Good to have you with


us this evening. In pole position,


celebrating our Commonwealth Games And what led a violinist to lend


his ?1 million Stradivarius to There are more than 82 million


mobile phones operating in the UK, but in many rural parts


of the Midlands, The government has launched a


project to improve network coverage, but it's still not clear which


areas will get help ` and when. Phil McCann reports from


the Staffordshire Peak District. You can forget surfing


the internet or watching But in the 21st century, should you


really have to forget making calls A few hundred people live here


in Longnor, and they have to. No, I don't bring it out


because it rarely works anyway. Just dead,


constantly searching for a signal and until you get one or two bars,


it might connect and then if it Here in Longnor,


apparently this is the only place You can send a text


and possibly make a very short phone Despite all this, Mark tries to


run an IT company in the village. We have a transmitter


which was provided by the cellular operator, which does


give us a very short range mobile And in the village shop,


it's hitting their profits It stopped me from having certain


facilities for my customers like scratchcards and delivery


services because all the systems run In Shropshire, 7% of the county


can't get a mobile signal at all. It's 5% in Herefordshire,


and 2% here in Staffordshire. So the government's spending ?150


million to build new masts for the networks so they can plug


some of those gaps. But getting planning permission and


buying land here is taking time. I hope we can role it out


as quickly as possible but we have to do it in a way that


respects the countryside and the last thing I want to see is mobile


phone masts going up all up and down So for the time being,


if you want to get hold of anyone The Commonwealth Games in Glasgow


has been described as the best in history after last night's


spectacular closing ceremony. It's also been a fantastic Games


for the Midlands. Dan's here to bring us some


of the highlights Yes, you are looking at the faces of


the Midlands medallists. We won 41 medals in Glasgow and the here. We


won the first gold of the games with Judy Stimson winning the women's


triathlon. That's back Judy Stimson. Jodie Stimson of England wins the


first goal of the game. I've got to thank so many people, they really


got me through, it's awesome. Awesome indeed. She also won gold in


the team event. Another of our stars was at PD from Uttoxeter who won two


golds and a silver. `` Adam PD. He was able to go home as well and


turned up when our reporter was reporting for last Wednesday's lunch


time programme. How tired you? I had no sleep. They are here to give you


a hug, I don't want to stand in your way. Here he is, Adam. The pride of


parents. The Midlands also had success in athletics.


If you want to know how good it feels to win a silver


in the long jump, then watch Stoke's Jazmin Sawyers celebrate


And sometimes the raw emotions flooded out.


When Oldbury Wrestler Chinu Singh secured a bronze medal,


He just couldn't hold back the tears.


Those are just a selection of highlights.


Well, the Midlands won 15 gold medals, 15 silvers and 11 bronze.


If the Midlands was a country, we'd have finished sixth in


the medal table, just behind India and just in front of New Zealand.


It certainly has. Thanks, Dan. Glasgow has one universal praise for


the games. One of the key components


were the 15,000 games volunteers One of them was Matthew Bowater,


from Birmingham, It is being emotional from start to


finish, a year I go from when I first applied until the closing


ceremony was emotional. I am a volunteer for a helping


Sharon Tate and it seemed a chance to help others. `` a helping


charity. I had seen the Olympics in London and it seemed a chance to


recreate that. A lot has been made of Glasgow's


friendliness. Very much so, Glaswegians are so


nice, the atmosphere from day one, the people I work with were just


really top people. Sounds like south of the border you were welcomed with


open ours. What were you doing yesterday? I was working with


spectator services, doing the microphone, ticket checks and stuff


like that, so I got to see quite a few athletes coming in and out,


seeing a loss. Full. You don't get paid for this, do you? You must want


to do it. I saved up to fund it, so it was quite hard to get the time


and stuff like that to do it. But that whole ethos of volunteering is


something you would recommend? Definitely. The country needs more


volunteers, people struggle and charities and organisations, so it


is a big ethos to volunteer. Thank you, Matthew, and thank you for


flying the flag for people in the Midlands.


It must be every violinist's dream ` to play on


He's just 18, but the owner of the rare violin,


John Ludlow, who is in his 80s, was so struck by the parallels between


They are both from Edgbaston, were both at the same school and both


It's not often you get asked to look after ?1 million.


But that's how much Roberto Ruisi is handling every time he plays


I remember it being quite a terrifying moment, the handover


itself, suddenly being left with it as well, I kind of went to


the shops the next day and thought, oh, I've left the Strad at home.


Roberto, who's from Birmingham, is the leader of the National Youth


Orchestra and has been lent the rare Stradivarius, which dates


back to the 1680s, for a series of special concerts this week.


The sound radiates around the whole building and you don't


even have to try very hard, there's just something very innate about


So just who would give an 18`year`old


Now 83, John was the first ever leader of the National


He's a wonderful young man, a very good fiddle player,


a much better fiddle player now than I ever was, and I respect him


Despite John being 65 years older than Roberto, the similarities


Both were born in Edgbaston in Birmingham,


less than a mile and a half apart, both went to the same school and


of course, both became leaders of the National Youth Orchestra.


Roberto will use the violin for three performances,


including one at the Symphony Hall in Birmingham on Saturday night,


and a few weeks later, he'll hand it back and return to his


own violin, which is worth a mere couple of hundred thousand pounds.


That is one lucky young man. Now, it has to be one of the most unusual


fundraising challenges. Making


the ascent to the peak of Snowdon, on your hands and knees, pushing a


spout all the way, with your nose. But that's exactly what


Stuart Kertel from Balsall Common has managed to do,


in aid of MacMillan Cancer Support. Our reporter Amy Cole joined him,


in the mist, on Wales' highest mountain,


to witness his remarkable feat. Magnificent and imposing,


a real challenge for any walker. Somewhere on Snowdon there is


a man on his hands and knees pushing I'm going to try to find him, but if


you think I'm walking, think again. As we chugged up the mountain,


I kept my eyes peeled I couldn't see him lurking behind


those walkers, so where was he? Then out of the mist, nose to the


ground at 3000 feet up, sprout man. My knees,


despite the kneepads I have blisters Very sore, aching, but people


have been amazing with donations. He started last Wednesday,


camping on the mountain overnight Supporting him


is longtime friend Richard. What's it like being Stuart's


official sprout supplier? I thought it would be quite fun


but it's been really wet, I don't really actually


like sprouts. Word of Stuart's challenge seemed


to be getting around Snowdon. And then, after four days


and 22 sprouts, he finally reached It's been the most gruelling


challenge I've ever done. Just to get to the end,


to see the obelisk Next year Stuart wants to walk from


France to England on the seabed. Just extraordinary. A mixed bag of


whether at the weekend so how is it shaping up? A little better than it


was. It will be another mixed bag as we head for the next few days. It is


not terrible weather of but not wall`to`wall sunshine. Tomorrow we


start with some sunny spells, not a bad start at cloud is lets up from


the south and with some rain, some of which will be heavy. Today we had


some patchy cloud which began to break up and then a little, it


brought some pokey showers through the afternoon. That cloud continues


to third and break overnight so it is not a bad end to the day and it


will be a nice night, calm and clear. Our temperatures will fall


away, a fresher and night than we have seen recently, down to lows of


nine Celsius in our towns and cities, cooler in countryside. Clear


skies overnight mean it is a lovely start to tomorrow, sunny spells


right through the morning, but it is not long before that cloud filters


up from the south, without a few showers. Not everyone will see them,


that cloud will break up and sun will come out, for some places it


will not be bad, but then through choose the night we had this area of


heavy rain working up from the south, some heavy pulses in there,


in the grip of low pressure so we are rather unsettled. Although


Tuesday evening ends with some clear spells, then this rain works is way


up. Heavy bursts in there and it could make the morning rush hour on


Wednesday a tricky drive. It lets temperatures a little overnight.


That rain with us through the morning but it eventually clears


away. When that they doesn't look too bad ones it has gone, sunny


spells, a few showers and staying unsettled through the rest of the


week. I'll be back at 10:25pm to bring you an extended edition of


today's commemorations. Finally tonight, if you saw


Saturday's bulletin, you'll have seen our report on a moving artistic


tribute to the millions who lost 5000 frozen statues were left to


simply melt away We leave you this evening with


some of the stunning images which


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