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Hello, this is Spotlight with Julia Peet and Simon Clemison.
Welcome to our last full programme of the year.
From the local pub to a shop nearby - a community comes together to help
a mother with a rare form of breast cancer.
It has just given me hope that we can do this and it was great to get
over to Germany as quickly as we did.
We meet the 12-year-old boy who spent his pocket
Celebrating global success - the Devon gin makers
And at 94 - is Mimi Vallas the oldest gym bunny in town?
We will begin tonight with a Christmas message.
"A really massive thank you" - the words tonight of a mother
from Devon who's been given new hope after people living nearby raised
money to help her get treatment for a highly unusual type
Kim Jenkins has already started the private therapy abroad
which could improve her chances of survival, as our
Health Correspondent Jenny Walrond explains.
Kim Jenkin's daughter was just three months old when she learned she had
It is a rare and aggressive form that can have a high
And it has come back and spread into her spine and ribs.
Having run out of options for NHS treatment, they learned
of pioneering work in Germany which could help, but at
Friends, family and complete strangers have come to their aid.
Over two thirds of the money has been raised, enabling Kim
You kind of have to try and get used to it,
but you feel overwhelmed a lot, really.
And obviously walking around the village knowing that everyone
is trying to help you out is quite overwhelming.
It has just given me hope, really, that we can do this.
It was great to get over to Germany as quickly as we did do as well.
And early signs are that the treatment is working.
In the heart of the village you can see the support
the family are getting from the local community.
It is really important for us to raise money for people
within the community and Kim has got quite a drastic need,
so we decided the pub is the perfect place to raise money.
We have had some magnificent, quite weird donations.
We have had violins, we have had a lion's head,
you name it, it has passed through this table and all being
turned into cash for a very worthwhile and lovely family.
And while the family still need to raise more,
they are truly thankful to the people who have
I would just like to say a really massive thank you to everyone that
has helped support us and raise money for us and all of the really
Kim Jenkins ending that report from Jenny Walrond.
And now a roundup of some of the other stories
The future of helicopter manufacturing in Somerset
is being put at risk by a plan to move vital machinery to Poland,
according to the former Liberal Democrat leader Lord
His claim comes as aerospace company GKN closes its site
in the town this month - with the loss of more than 200 jobs.
A Somerset-based Royal Marine, who contracted a debilitating
fever in Afghanistan, will have to wait even
Corporal Philip Eaglesham needs a wheelchair after
The Ministry of Defence is appealing a High Court decision to grant him
victory in the case where he claimed more should have been
Local authorities in the South West are getting ?20 million
to tackle the problems caused by second home ownership.
The government says holiday homes stop first time buyers getting
on the property ladder, but Labour says the money
Next tonight, the fundraising efforts of a young Devon boy have
ensured that if anyone in the village of Exbourne
suffers a heart attack, the right equipment will now
12-year-old Joel Sawyer saved his pocket money and helped
raise enough to buy a defibrillator for the community.
Spotlight's Kirk England has been to meet him.
All you have to do is press the red button.
Take it out, and this can now help to save someone's life.
I wanted to do this, because I thought, well,
lots of villages round here have one and why hasn't Exbourne got one.
There are lots of elderly people who may need this.
There have been heart attacks here in the past
and a defibrillator could have helped to save those lives.
He is an amazing, amazing young person and he is just so thoughtful.
He is really committed to making this happen.
We now need to put the pads on the patient's chest.
Some tips from those on the front line.
Joel raised hundreds of pounds towards the cost
of this defibrillator, which can make all the difference
to those having a cardiac arrest by giving an electric shock
It makes me proud that a lad that age will be that selfless and look
Teenagers and young people get an awful hard time in the press,
and to have something so positive come out of somebody that young
So, Joel, on behalf of of the South West Ambulance Service,
Age is but a number, and this year on Spotlight some
of our viewers have been proving just that - showing you're never
So here's a quick reminder of our generation rewriting the rule book.
There was 97-year-old Joan Cool - who really was cool when it
And what about this young jobseeker Joe Bartley -
89 and looking for work, otherwise he said
And who says you can't jump out of a plane at 100?
Then there was cafe crooner Arthur Guy -
they're wearing me out, this lot - he was in his 80s,
and now the latest OAP or Older Active Person
is 94-year-old gym bunny Mimi Vallas.
Spotlight's Andrea Ormsby has been trying to keep up with her.
Mimi Vallas is the very definition of a gym bunny.
This 94-year-old is on a flab fighting mission.
Don't ask me how long I've been trying to lose it!
Mimi pushes through the pain threshold with laughter and a lot of
WAAFs are now being trained in the handling of the
During World War II, Mimi was in the woman's Royal
Air Force working on the barrage balloons.
Thousands of them dotted British skies to reduce attacks from
From there she went on deciphering codes
Mimi was born into a family of 11 children in South Wales
Plenty of water here, though, although Mimi does like to
balance her health drive with her other favourite drink.
I've asked her to put a gin and tonic in there,
She makes everybody smile around her.
She has an absolute huge zest for life and at
the age of 94, there is nothing that
She will tell you off if you are doing it wrong, if I
am putting my toes down before my heels, she nags, really, but she
For Mimi one of the best things about coming here is
We had one chap coming in, didn't we, Michael, who
dropped to one knee and proposed to her and he promised you a wedding
We haven't seen him for a while, so I'm
It's her attitude to life, absolutely brilliant.
Mind you, it does help, you know, that she is Welsh,
And she has been in the services, so she is self disciplined, she knows
At 94, I think she is a really good inspiration to
Do you find it hard to keep up with Mimi?
Right, enough relaxing, back to work, Mimi.
Mimi is 95 in February, and with her mix of gym and gin,
she will still be going strong at 100.
Mimi is going to love this next story.
Well, as we approach Christmas the South West drinks cabinet
is looking very healthy - we're good at producing some
of the tipples people will be enjoying over the next week or so.
Plymouth is now a globally recognised brand, but other
smaller producers are also making international headway.
They include Salcombe Gin which has just won gold
at the World Drinks Awards as Simon was lucky enough to find out.
On the last working day Germany before Christmas the office as do if
you would like to do a story about gin. The answer to that is yes. But
the industrial revolution but the upper levels of today's mills. Here
they are taking delivery of a store which means these distillers can
produce five times as much as gin. They are extending already. There
are three of you in this relationship. Is this your new love?
It is. You have already grown? We have grown quickly. We launched
Salcombe Gin in this sea. Sellers are going well. There is a growing
thirst for gin. Total sales across the country have had ?1 billion.
There are some big players. Salcombe is a small but upmarket. There are
botanicals in our gin. We use citrus fruits, ruby red grapefruit. We will
be peeling mess of freshly every morning to go into the distilled. So
it is a higher quality product and people will pay blood? People will
pay because it is a really good quality product -- what is needed
now, I think is a drink. The moment we have been waiting for. I am going
to make you a movie to with marmalade on it. Why is the
Southwest so good at making gin? We have got the perfect water because
it is soft. Also for brewing. Just putting a bit of Salcombe Gin in
there. Does having something like Salcombe Gin help success breeds
success, you feel confident? It is a big player, a multinational owner
and it allows people to start to grow and, with their own
distilleries and gin recipes. Fantastic. There we go, a straw to
finish it off. Enjoy. I will, probably too much. That is very nice
actually. I do have to go back to work boat. See you in a bit, go on,
go. Still to come in
tonight's programme... Join me for corals and horses at
Bigley barracks. -- carols. And a blustery Christmas I had. Quite mild
but next week at a somewhat colder. Now the last of our
Santa Steam Train series. Given the time of year we've been
taking some special journeys on the railway and tonight we travel
between Paignton and Kingswear. On the Spotlight Express we meet two
young passengers whose lives are affected by illness this
Christmas. Our reporter John Danks
followed their trip Welcome aboard the spotlight express
on the Dartmouth steam railway. As the train steams on towards
Kingswinford Dartmouth the excitement is on board is building.
One passenger trying to take it all then is four-year-old Flynn who is
here with his grandparents. Flynn's is with us today because his big
sister has been rushed to Children's Hospital. She is being treated for
cancer at the moment and has been fighting for 15 months. Her third
session of chemotherapy so she is away for three months now. Doing
events and trips like this with the little one is very special to him
because he misses his sister and his mum. And soon it is time to meet
Santa himself. I like your jumper! I wish you a very Merry Christmas.
Thank you very much. Flynn's trip was paid for by the Torbay holiday
helpers network, a charity that specialises in days out for families
with seriously ill children. I wish you a very Merry Christmas. Also
getting into the festive spirit is four-year-old Harry from Newton
Abbot. Is ticket provided by a cancer charity. He has been
undergoing treatment for leukaemia since April. It is one of those
little things, it is very small and it means so much to them. He has
been so excited. Because Father Christmas is here so it is brilliant
really. Magic of it. And Flynn already knows what he wants for
Christmas. To play with Allah. -- for to play with Ella. It looks
like these two have headed off. In the run up to the big day we've
seen families reunited as servicemen and women return from tours of duty
- others of course won't be home We'll hear their Christmas
message in a moment. But first military families have
gathered to sing carols at the home Johnny Rutherford is
at Bickleigh Barracks. A carol service with a bit of a
difference, isn't it? Actually we are at Bickleigh Barracks but have a
look around, this is in fact the stables at Bickleigh Barracks. Where
22 horses although they are not quite military forces but I will
explain that in a second are here at Bickleigh Barracks. Earlier on I had
a look around the stables. The stable club was founded in 1961 but
the horses aren't actually military working horses, no Trooping the
Colour here. Some are owned by military personnel and some by
Republic. Cathy Gillespie runs the stables. Who are the stables
actually for? They are here for families and their children and not
just the military but also be public as well so anybody can come up and
have riding lessons and see the work that we do, our primary purpose is
to provide riding lessons and horse care for military families. Would
you like to have a look around? That would be great. Let me put Bob to
bed and there will be right with you. This is thin. Hello. He is
still a baby. Here we have grace. Hello. She is wondering what is
going on. She is gorgeous. And then we come to my favourite because he
is my horse. This is labour. The stables here, we work very closely
with soldiers who have PTSD and problems like that so we are doing
therapy with them. We're going to be extending that into 2017. Quite a
big thing because back in May the stables were close to closing and
within two weeks, and now all good to go. 2017 is definitely for you to
be our year. Something special going on? I am not going to say, watch
this space, but there is going to be something very special happening
over 2017. The commander of 42 commando is here. What does this
mean having the stables here? It is wonderful, it brings great warmth
and character to the unit. We are having the carol service this
evening not just to get into the Christmas spirit to remember all the
people at 42 Commando deployed at the moment. Members in the Middle
East but also people in the Naval service and wider Armed Forces
working for Christmas and means we can figure them. There are some
families here this evening? Yes, the stables live with us here at
Bickleigh Barracks but they work with servicepeople from all over the
Naval service and give a lots of the community so we are bringing in the
family is deceiving to say thank you. It is always a difficult time,
to be away from families. Yes, as I said we have people away and it
gives us a moment to think of them. The stables are all about a
community and family spirit and there is no better time than
Christmas to have that. Hopefully we will hear some music later on.
As we mentioned - many military families won't be
together this year - spending the festive
The men and women on board HMS Ocean which is currently out in the Gulf
have sung their Christmas wishes ? well, almost.
# Were going to have a party tonight.
# Snow is falling, all around me, children playing, having fun.
# The season, love and understanding, Merry Christmas,
everyone. And you can see the full video
on our Facebook page. Well, the big day really is almost
upon us now and here at Spotlight we're big fans of Christmas,
so our Christmas celebrations Here is a reminder. It is nearly
over, this stupid money spending bracket we call Christmas. The
pantries are stuffed with charities, cakes and puddings. Sellers are
dripping with... Sorry, I have forgotten it. Can we start again?
What a fantastic site. And Santa Claus has got 31 hours. How much do
you get paid? I think that is a personal matter, isn't it? Would you
do it for nothing? I would if they wanted me to.
I looked across the field. I thought I saw a rabbit, spiced the rain
gear. When we came close it was a baby reindeer! 531 hours and that
gives us the speed which is 6 million mph.
Looking at the plumpness of the breast. Do you agree? Yes.
The knowing nod. I think someone is following you around. I will miss
him after Christmas. It feels like Christmas eve, but that is not so
plenty of time to start the shopping! I would think about what
It looks like we will have a relatively quiet Christmas. There
will be some wind. Quite a strong wind. It is easing off a bit
tonight. It will return tomorrow. Generally it is mild and we will see
some showers dotted around. Compared to other parts of the country we are
doing quite well. That book of cloud to the north-east is one area of low
pressure. That is leaving Canada. Tracking across the Atlantic and it
has been given a name and it looks like that will head towards the
centre of Bavaria. Heading towards the far north of Scotland. For much
of Christmas Eve for tomorrow looks like it will be dry. A few showers
dotted around. That turns up through Christmas Day. The weather front
will arrive late in the day for us on Christmas day afternoon into
Christmas Day evening. Let's have a look at the rain we saw earlier
today because that is now clearing away from Dorset and the east of
Somerset and what we are left with is more broken cloud over to the
West. This was earlier today where is there was some pretty big waves.
Strong gusts of wind earlier today have whipped up the seas. Not too
bad for people other than the bug with the breeze nowhere near as
strong across the northern half of Britain. 40 or 50 mph. Those winds
have eased and I think for tomorrow it won't be nearly as windy and
actually quite a bit brighter too. This evening and overnight tonight
the first line of showers clears away and we are left with clear
skies. Just a few showers dotted around. In between some lengthily
clear skies which will it turns quite cold. Overnight temperatures
could well be as low as three or four Celsius. I don't think we will
see a frost but it will be a cold start. We should get some morning
sunshine before the cloud thickens and later in the day we will start
to see thicker cloud approach from the far west but most of the day
brightened dry. The chance for a few showers. Otherwise a dry story and
not as windy is today. Temperatures getting up to an around ten or 11.
For the Isles of Scilly bright and breezy then cloudy in the afternoon.
For other surfers the waves are going to be big. Very messed up
because of the wind. Ten feet along the northern shores of Cornwall. The
winds for the coastal waters are westerly. Forced 5-6. Mainly fair
with generally good visibility. Here is the Christmas Day broadcast. A
lot of cloud and also quite windy. Not strong to start with but picked
up and in the afternoon on the coastline we will have gale force
winds. Through boxing day and the early part of next week it is much
quieter but also quite a bit colder. The only white stuff we are likely
to see is a bit of frost from early next week. From all of us have a
lovely Christmas, back to you. Well, that's our last full
programme before Christmas - we will, of course, keep you up
to date in our bulletins We'll leave you tonight
with the sound of members From Arsenal, a very happy
Christmas. -- we leave you with Rudolph, the
red nose reindeer.