17/05/2017 South Today - Oxford


17/05/2017

The latest news, sport, weather and features from Oxfordshire and the surrounding region.


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That's all from us.

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Welcome to South Today.

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Coming up:

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The classrooms facing a funding crisis.

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We'll hear what the main parties would do to improve children's

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chances of a good education.

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Also...

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The Chinese brother and sister who've taken over

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Reading Football Club.

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And how the rapper Stormzy has helped an Oxford student

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achieve her dream of studying at one of America's top universities.

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Good evening.

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Teaching posts have been cut, class sizes have increased...

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Now an Oxfordshire headteacher has written to the county's politicians

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urging them to spend more on education.

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Gillotts School in Henley-on-Thames is among those saying it will need

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to ask parents for contributions to help tackle a funding shortfall.

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With the general election just over three weeks away,

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David Lumb has been asking candidates from the main

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parties what they would do to guarantee a good education.

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At Gillotts School, textile lessons will soon be a thing of the past.

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The subject's being axed next year in the latest bid to cut costs.

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The fact that we are now so short of money means

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that we are changing our curriculum, we are changing it to reduce

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the number of teachers that we need.

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That means that we are reducing the number of subjects on offer,

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it means we are increasing class sizes and it means we are asking

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teachers to teach more hours, all of which have an impact on both

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the experience of teachers and students.

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Government funding accounts for 80% of the academy's budget.

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In 2010, it received ?4,700 per pupil.

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This year, it got the same.

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The school says in real terms, that is a 14% funding cut.

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Redundancies are a last resort, but they are a possibility.

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You can't rule anything out.

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In order to make the sort of size of savings that we are making,

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we need to save about ?80,000 this year.

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The only way we can do that is to start to reduce

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the number of staff.

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The problem is not unique to this school and with the general election

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pending, politicians are promising different remedies.

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Education is about more than money, with the Conservatives -

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and Ukip too - backing more grammar schools, an idea shunned

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by other parties.

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Our plan to fund our visionary national education service

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is by reversing the Tories' corporation tax, which will raise

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within the region of ?19.4 billion.

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The Liberal Democrats say they'll reverse Tory cuts.

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What we would do would be to restore the budgets as they are and,

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in fact, top them up, because at the moment what we are

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seeing is schools that are unable - not just having to cut staff -

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but schools that are not able to maintain the school premises

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on the budgets that they have got.

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While the Conservatives are defending their record.

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The Conservative government is entirely committed

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to investment in education.

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In fact, with the 40 billion invested in this current year,

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it is at record levels.

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The Green Party is promising to invest ?7 billion in education.

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There you go, perfect.

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Any more?

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James?

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Back in Henley, Gillotts School is planning to ask parents to make

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a voluntary contribution of up to ?30 a month to pay

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for things like chemicals for science lessons and books.

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Headteachers across the region will be waiting to see

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what the next government brings.

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David Lumb, BBC South Today.

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Two further strikes at the Mini plants in Oxford and Swindon have

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been called off while union members consider a pensions offer from BMW.

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Yesterday saw the third walkout over plans to end their final

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salary pension scheme.

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Strikes planned for tomorrow and Sunday have been suspended.

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An interim headteacher has been appointed to run the troubled

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Chiltern Edge School in South Oxfordshire.

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The school in Sonning Common was placed in special measures

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in April after it was rated inadequate by Ofsted.

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The consultation over its future has been extended till

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the end of next month.

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A Chinese brother and sister have taken over Reading Football Club.

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The news emerged last night as fans celebrated reaching

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the Championship play-off final.

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If the club's promoted to the Premier League,

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it stands to gain hundreds of millions of pounds in income.

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Lewis Coombes reports.

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Kermorgant...

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Scores!

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Yann Kermorgant puts Reading 1-0 up.

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Now, Reading, clean sheet, you're at Wembley!

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While Reading's footballers secured their place at Wembley,

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the club's hierarchy was securing their future.

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Trying to complete a deal halfway through the second half is a first

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for me and I have done a few.

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So, who are the Chinese billionaires now in charge?

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Dai Yongge and Dai Xiu Li are a brother and sister combo

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to be reckoned with.

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They made their fortune from converting old air raid

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shelters into shopping malls, but last year an American

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credit agency raised doubts about the health

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of their real estate company.

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In August, their takeover bid for Hull City collapsed amid claims

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they had failed the Premier League's fit and proper person test.

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The English Football League are satisfied with the Reading deal,

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but the Premier League is yet to comment.

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For the fans, at least, it is an exciting prospect.

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They have not just gone away at the first sign of trouble

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when the EFL and the Premier League were throwing red flags at this

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deal, they have hung around and really wanted to get this deal

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over the line.

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I am really hoping this is the next step in a really,

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really positive future for Reading.

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As developers, the new owners are looking to build.

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A new training ground and increased stadium capacity have

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already been mentioned.

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Chinese investors are changing the face of football,

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investing heavily in English clubs while trying to establish

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their own domestic league.

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For Reading, they will be hoping the property tycoons from Beijing

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will put the building blocks in place to construct

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a brighter future.

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Lewis Coombes, BBC South Today.

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Organisers of a campaign to erect a statue of David Bowie in Aylesbury

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have revealed a model of it at a fundraising event this evening.

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When completed, the life-size sculpture will be installed under

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the arches in Market Square, referenced by Bowie

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in the song Five Years.

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Brennan Nicholls reports.

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Bowie debuted his Ziggy Stardust persona and his Hunky Dory album

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at the Friars club in Aylesbury in the very early 1970s.

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He played the underground venue four times en route to global fame.

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Last year over ?115,000 was raised to kick-start the project.

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It was the idea of the music promoter who brought

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him to the town.

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Tonight, Buckinghamshire businesses are the first to be asked to help

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raise the remaining ?65,000 needed to complete

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the first Bowie memorial statue in the world.

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Well, there are so many businesses in the county,

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so many businesses in the county, you know, we are one

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of the high-growth areas in the UK.

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So, absolutely, if everyone donates a little bit,

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I don't see why it can't be done.

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I think it is a fabulous idea.

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I mean, when I was a lad...

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I grew up in Aylesbury.

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So when I was a lad, I grew up with Friars

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Aylesbury and Dave Stopps, I used to work security there.

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So the whole music scene in Aylesbury is something that has

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been with us as long as I have been around.

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Each generation has their own aspect of Bowie

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that they relate to and they love.

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For example, with me, it was Space Oddity.

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But with my PA it is the Goblin King from Labyrinth.

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So it is just a fantastic thing.

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Speakers would play the star's music once an hour day in, day out.

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Little wonder then that the music fans could be dancing in the streets

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of Aylesbury for generations to come to one of pop's greatest heroes.

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Staying

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Staying with

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Staying with music...

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He's an award-winning rapper who's helped an undergraduate

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in Oxford achieve her dream of studying at one of

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America's top universities.

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Stormzy donated almost all the money Fiona Asiedu needed to do

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a Masters degree at Harvard.

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And it all happened because of a tweet,

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as Alpa Patel explains.

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# Shut up.

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# Mention my name in your tweets.

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# Oi, rude boy, shut up.

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# Shut up... #.

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Stormzy is one of the biggest names in music, but on Sunday,

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he turned into a fairy godfather too, and this women is very happy.

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Fiona Asiedu wants to go to Harvard, but she didn't have the money

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to pay for the fees, so she set up a Crowdfunding page

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and got her friends involved.

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My friend actually tweeted Stormzy saying, "Hi,

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could you, like, retweet or could you support the campaign?"

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He retweeted it and then he put the money into the Crowdfund

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and then just sent, like, a little good luck message.

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HE RAPS.

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It was just surreal.

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It was quite a shock, I couldn't believe it, I am

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still quite overwhelmed about it.

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Fiona managed to raise what she needed in 20 hours, thanks

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to the man she and her friends look up to.

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Stormzy, for us, he's from south London, he is also Ghanaian,

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so he's just a bit more...

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He's a bit real to...

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Like, we kind of relate to him in some way.

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The 21-year-old will begin her psychology course

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at Harvard in August.

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Thanks for making my dreams come true and I hope that I can use

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what you have given me to go on and inspire other people.

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HE RAPS.

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So far, Stormzy's stayed shtoom over the donation,

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apart from this tweet, agreeing to some thank-you chicken

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courtesy of Fiona's friends.

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When Fiona goes out to the US, she plans

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to catch Stormzy in concert.

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The opportunity made possible thanks to the man himself.

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Alpa Patel, BBC South Today.

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Heavy rain led to flash flooding in some places today.

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Alexis is on the way with the forecast.

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Goodnight.

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Hello, good evening.

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Well, we've had a good deal of rain today.

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But the rain is slowly clearing away and there is a fresher feel

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to things once the rain does clear.

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In the countryside, under the clearing skies,

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we could see lows of 6 Celsius - these are the temperatures

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in urban areas.

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So a lovely day in store tomorrow, plenty of sunshine on offer.

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Through the course of the day, we may see the odd isolated shower

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pop up almost anywhere and there could be the odd rumble

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of thunder with hail.

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Most places will stay dry and temperatures tomorrow

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will reach a high of 16, possibly up to 17 Celsius.

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And feeling warm in any sunny spells.

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Low pressure is in charge of our weather and will draw in that

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north-westerly breeze making it feel fresher tomorrow and also

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through the day on Friday, so Friday is very similar to tomorrow.

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We could see the odd isolated shower here and there.

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Both Thursday and Friday will be dominated by this

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area of low pressure, the winds coming in from

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the north-west, drawing in some fresher air,

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so feeling less humid over the next few days.

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So, as we look ahead to the rest of the week,

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tomorrow we will see some sunny spells, the risk of

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the odd isolated shower.

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Showers are possible both Friday and Saturday, and on Sunday

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there is still the risk of a shower, and on all of those days,

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there is the chance of hail and thunder.

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