04/08/2014 Midlands Today


04/08/2014

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Hello, and welcome to Midlands Today.

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

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

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almost perfection. As towns and villages across

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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fantastic. And something for everyone this week

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

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

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anniversary coverage with the story of the forgotten graves,

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

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in the Black Country, carrying out restoration work at

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

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their lives were remembered Today's service began with

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a procession in A lone piper setting the tone

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

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

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

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

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silence. This year is particularly poignant

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

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because at last forgotten men could They had been lost here

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in the undergrowth, until local ex`servicemen set

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about uncovering their graves. Just over a year

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

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and they were only expecting to Most were in their twenties

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

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today was particularly moving. At last they could see

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

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

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

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

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

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Norman Catton organised the work with help from the community payback

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Absolutely fabulous. The lads from the Probation Service really worked

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

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

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first time I went to that part of the graveyard.

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

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Today all their names were called out, including those

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

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Out event will involve households, businesses

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

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

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

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

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This evening we're live at Birmingham Cathedral

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

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

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It may look like India, but the Balaji Temple is

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

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We'll stand silently in commemoration

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

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

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

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

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

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All the lights in the temple in Tividale will be extinguished

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Only the candle of hope will stay lit, a symbol

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

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

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

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Indians fought for Britain all over the world,

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

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

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The temple has seven Faith Hills, representing seven

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Representatives from those faiths took part

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

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

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of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum in Shropshire.

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The lights being turned out there tonight will be gaslight.

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Nicola, what else is happening tonight?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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his girlfriend was his aspidistra plant. Tonight everyone will be

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

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

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

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

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everyone here to find out how they will be commemorating.

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The Lights Out commemoration has even found

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

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

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

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

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# While your hearts are yearning...

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Echoing down the decades, youngsters from King's School

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

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

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

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

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The song was hugely popular among families waving fathers

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

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

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

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

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

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grandparents, they might remember that 50 years

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

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

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

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

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The boys wrote home regularly to their mother Kitty,

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

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

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They were living on the edge, really,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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# They were summoned from the hillside...

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82 old boys lost their lives in World War One.

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Perhaps in this song, their loved ones found some relief

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And that episode of The Archers featuring the choir from Kings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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think about how these enormous events have effected us over the

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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tonight. You can email them to

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

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or tweet @bbcmtd. Good to have you with

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us this evening. In pole position,

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celebrating our Commonwealth Games And what led a violinist to lend

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

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

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of the Midlands, The government has launched a

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

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

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the Staffordshire Peak District. You can forget surfing

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

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

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

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because it rarely works anyway. Just dead,

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

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it might connect and then if it Here in Longnor,

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apparently this is the only place You can send a text

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

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

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which was provided by the cellular operator, which does

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

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

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facilities for my customers like scratchcards and delivery

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

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

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

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

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some of those gaps. But getting planning permission and

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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parents. The Midlands also had success in athletics.

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

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

:17:14.:17:16.

And sometimes the raw emotions flooded out.

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When Oldbury Wrestler Chinu Singh secured a bronze medal,

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He just couldn't hold back the tears.

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Those are just a selection of highlights.

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

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

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

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

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the games. One of the key components

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

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from Birmingham, It is being emotional from start to

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

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ceremony was emotional. I am a volunteer for a helping

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

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

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

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friendliness. Very much so, Glaswegians are so

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

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

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

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spectator services, doing the microphone, ticket checks and stuff

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

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

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

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

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something you would recommend? Definitely. The country needs more

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volunteers, people struggle and charities and organisations, so it

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

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flying the flag for people in the Midlands.

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

:19:52.:19:53.

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

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

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

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

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

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I remember it being quite a terrifying moment, the handover

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

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

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

:20:31.:20:38.

Orchestra and has been lent the rare Stradivarius, which dates

:20:39.:20:43.

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

:20:44.:20:47.

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

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

:20:51.:20:54.

So just who would give an 18`year`old

:20:55.:20:58.

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

:20:59.:21:05.

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

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

:21:15.:21:18.

Despite John being 65 years older than Roberto, the similarities

:21:19.:21:25.

Both were born in Edgbaston in Birmingham,

:21:26.:21:30.

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

:21:31.:21:33.

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

:21:34.:21:37.

Roberto will use the violin for three performances,

:21:38.:21:40.

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

:21:41.:21:43.

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

:21:44.:21:46.

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

:21:47.:21:59.

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

:22:00.:22:11.

fundraising challenges. Making

:22:12.:22:19.

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

:22:20.:22:21.

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

:22:22.:22:25.

Stuart Kertel from Balsall Common has managed to do,

:22:26.:22:27.

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

:22:28.:22:29.

in the mist, on Wales' highest mountain,

:22:30.:22:31.

to witness his remarkable feat. Magnificent and imposing,

:22:32.:22:33.

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

:22:34.:22:36.

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

:22:37.:22:39.

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

:22:40.:22:44.

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

:22:45.:22:48.

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

:22:49.:22:52.

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

:22:53.:23:00.

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

:23:01.:23:15.

have been amazing with donations. He started last Wednesday,

:23:16.:23:20.

camping on the mountain overnight Supporting him

:23:21.:23:24.

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

:23:25.:23:33.

official sprout supplier? I thought it would be quite fun

:23:34.:23:35.

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

:23:36.:23:37.

like sprouts. Word of Stuart's challenge seemed

:23:38.:23:43.

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

:23:44.:23:48.

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

:23:49.:23:52.

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

:23:53.:24:03.

to see the obelisk Next year Stuart wants to walk from

:24:04.:24:07.

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

:24:08.:24:25.

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

:24:26.:24:34.

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

:24:35.:24:36.

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

:24:37.:24:41.

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

:24:42.:24:46.

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

:24:47.:24:53.

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

:24:54.:24:57.

brought some pokey showers through the afternoon. That cloud continues

:24:58.:25:02.

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

:25:03.:25:07.

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

:25:08.:25:12.

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

:25:13.:25:15.

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

:25:16.:25:22.

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

:25:23.:25:26.

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

:25:27.:25:29.

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

:25:30.:25:36.

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

:25:37.:25:40.

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

:25:41.:25:45.

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

:25:46.:25:49.

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

:25:50.:25:52.

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

:25:53.:25:58.

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

:25:59.:26:04.

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

:26:05.:26:07.

That rain with us through the morning but it eventually clears

:26:08.:26:11.

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

:26:12.:26:15.

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

:26:16.:26:26.

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

:26:27.:26:29.

today's commemorations. Finally tonight, if you saw

:26:30.:26:33.

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

:26:34.:26:36.

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

:26:37.:26:39.

simply melt away We leave you this evening with

:26:40.:26:43.

some of the stunning images which

:26:44.:26:47.

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