The latest news, sport, weather and features from the South West of England.
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Tonight, claims of sex discrimination at the
More than 70 women have launched a case claiming they're paid less
We'll talk to the union which has taken up their claim.
Also on the programme tonight - the thousands of people baffled
With the Citizens Advice backing me, I could fight it.
I was losing it, I really was losing it.
We have a day in the life of the Citizens Advice Bureau -
a charity in high demand for people under pressure.
The military veteran who was living rough,
and how a self-build scheme is helping him rebuild his life.
And curtains up at the cafe offering just the ticket for those feeling
alone. Dozens of women working
for the Exeter-based Met Office have filed a sex-discrimination case
against their employer. The 76 women who work at the
country's national weather service say they're not being paid the same
rates as men for similar jobs. The Met Office insists it
treats all employees fairly, but the union -
who we'll hear from in a moment - estimates the claim
could run into hundreds First here's our
correspondent Simon Hall. The business of the Met Office
is to predict the weather in all its forms, but now
internally a storm is brewing 76 women are taking legal action
for sex discrimination They say they have been given
lower salaries than men How long do you think you can
possibly stay out like this? The battle for equal pay became
prominent in the 1960s, when women took strike action
at Ford's Dagenham plant in Essex. Was it a good strong
meeting this morning? The Equal Pay Act followed
but still today a pay gap The women involved in the claim
against the Met Office here are not on-air weather forecasters but do
a range of jobs, like helping to Negotiations are now under way
to try to resolve this dispute without it reaching a formal
employment-tribunal hearing. The Met Office told us
they could not directly comment on the case,
but they did say... The Prospect union say the total
equal-pay claim against the Met Office could run into hundreds
of thousands of pounds. Well, Tony Bell is from the Prospect
union, which is representing He says the claim could amount to a
lot of money. It could be for each individual
thousands of pounds, because of course under equal-pay
claims you can go for retrospective And how optimistic are you now that
you can reach a solution? I'm very confident that we can reach
a solution by collective bargaining. The real issue will be,
will it be enough to satisfy the expectations and aspirations
of the 76 applicants? Doctors unhappy about the imminent
closure of a privately run treatment centre in Bodmin are gathering right
now at a public meeting. It concerns Ramsay Healthcare -
the centre says it will close on the 31st March as they can't come
to a contract agreement But there are concerns about
the impact on patients and staff. Tamsin Melville is at tonight's
meeting at Bodmin Town council. Patients, Doctors and the local MP
are here this evening because they believe that closing the centre will
impact on skills. It specialises in nonemergency daily surgeries like
cataracts and hernias. In 2016 NHS Kernow say that around 5000 patients
were treated by the providers, Ramsay health care, and it is
currently one of six places that patients in Cornwall can be sent for
this type of treatment. Others include the Royal call wall hospital
and NHS not filled. Both sides say they have nothing more to add.
Previously Ramsay health care said discussions on the contract are
taking place since last September and it had already agreed three
short extensions since 2005. -- says it is looking at the services it
needs in the future and how it fits with the overall shake-up. -- NHS
Kernow says it is looking. Health campaigners say it is vital that
some sort of service is kept running from this centre when much of the
health service is under so much pressure.
A look now at some of the other stories in the South West tonight.
An air, land and sea search for a missing junior doctor in Devon
Lauren Phillips, who works for North Bristol NHS Trust,
The 26-year-old's car was found in Woolacombe several days later.
The Conservative MP for St Austell and Newquay, Steve Double,
has called in Parliament for the reopening of Fowey Hospital.
It was shut temporarily last summer after criticism of its facilities.
He was told it wasn't a matter for the Government,
and any decision would have to be taken locally.
Cornwall Council has been awarded ?17 million under the Government's
It's the second-highest amount in the country and is based
on the number of additional homes added to the council-tax register.
Last year Cornwall delivered more new and affordable homes
Adverts for a Dorset farm's pure milk vodka have been banned
The Advertising Standards Authority received two complaints
that the adverts for Black Cow vodka were socially
excessive drinking, likely to appeal to children,
and linked alcohol with sexual activity.
Should people be fined for feeding seagulls?
The Mayor of Truro wants anyone who deliberately feeds the birds
or doesn't bag up their rubbish in gull-proof bags
Before our next story tonight, you may remember Trish Vickers.
We featured her on Tuesday's programme - a blind woman
Trish discovered her pen had run out part way through,
but forensic experts had then helped her recover
Well, today we heard the sad news that Trish from Charmouth
Publishers had been working to have the book in print this week.
Working out which welfare benefits and tax credits you may be entitled
It's one of the reasons the Government says it's trying
But some of the reforms have proved controversial and more
people are seeking help from the Citizens Advice Bureau.
As a result, it says enquiries are at a five-year high.
Its offices in Devon and Cornwall dealt with more than 55,000
Harriet Bradshaw has been given access to one CAB office to see how
they manage the demand for their help.
Yeah, I like to settle in with a good cup of tea to start the day.
It can be very challenging and very upsetting for some
of our volunteers, the stories that you're hearing can
People ring often in quite stressful circumstances and we're
here to try and work with them to try and find some solutions
Ten o'clock, and the drop-in sessions start.
Margaret Newton says she's been to hell and back trying to sort
And I thought, I'm not being scared, I'm going to fight this.
With the Citizens Advice backing me, I could fight it.
I was losing it, I really was losing it.
I was terrified, absolutely terrified that I was going to lose
And at the moment in the bureau we're full,
so all the rooms have been taken, so we're having clients waiting
Good morning, this is Southampton Citizens Advice,
So over 25% of the enquiries that we deal with on a regular basis
are around welfare benefits, and then the next-highest
enquiry area is debt, so that's sort of 15% to 20%
So that remains fairly constant over time.
What is happening is that more and more people
Well, as you can see, it's been going pretty busy today!
We've had a number of drop-ins coming through the door, so a couple
Most clients don't want to talk on camera, but one tells me
She's dealing with debt, depression and a phobia of paperwork,
and there are hundreds more unopened letters at home.
You are just keeping your head above water really and I know there are
many others in the same situation. But having a paperwork phobia just
exacerbates the situation I am in. The main thing is, we can only do
so much, and there needs to be other forms of support out
there in the community to help these Cases are written up and it's home
time, but there will be The weather forecast coming shortly.
Also in tonight's programme... I will be finding out how to use
this piece of equipment to survey the land here at Castle Green.
A dead whale has washed up in North Devon and people
are being warned not to go near it as it may be a bio-hazard.
Torridge District Council says the mammal washed
up near Hartland Quay, north of Bude.
The body is attracting a lot of interest,
A forlorn end to a majestic creature's life.
Locals say the fin whale washed up at high tide yesterday.
You normally find ships here but to find a whale,
it's the first time, so I normally find basking sharks,
seals, dolphins, but not a whale, so first of all sadness but also
just amazed at the size and the beauty of it,
and it looks a little sad just slumped over the rocks
and just sort of left, really, to meet its maker.
At more than ten metres long, Torridge District Council says it
will take a specialist operation to remove it.
It is urging the public to keep away from the carcass
Dog walkers are being advised to keep their pets on leads.
It's a shame that it's died, it's such a big majestic creature,
they swim vast distances, and for it to be just on the beach
at the moment instead of providing more life for marine life at sea
it's just left rotting and the coast, unfortunately.
Records show it's the third dead fin whale in 26 years to wash
The last happened in Dawlish in September of 2016.
The UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme says it
could indicate a recovering population of the species.
This latest carcass is too decomposed for a postmortem
examination so how and why the whale died will remain a mystery.
It is estimated that every one in ten people who leave the military in
the south-west will become homeless. 15% of former service personnel will
live on sofas or even end up on the streets.
A new service in Lennarth which helps veterans to get back on their
feet is trying to change that. -- in Lennarth. Talk us through why so
many veterans and up homeless. -- in Plymouth. The specific response is
related to us helping over 50 veterans in recent years. Most of
them when they sign up for the military at 17 years plus, often
they go into the military because there is no other job available.
When in they are inducted into the Army and there is strong discipline
and in many cases over time, through no fault of their own, they become
institutionalised. The army looks after them, provides them with
accommodation, food, etc, and when they eventually come out of the
military they find that they can't look after their own lives. Often
they have to much time on their hands, in some cases suffer from
depression and in other cases turned to alcohol and drug abuse, with the
that many of them break up from their families, start living rough
and living in charitable hostels, and we help them to relocate, we
probably interview three times the number we actually take on board.
What we have done has been highly successful and has worked well, with
big financial returns, and it is also fun. I am guessing it is a
snowball effect, they are helping them -- you are helping them to help
themselves. Very much so, the strapline of the charity is Helping
People To Help Themselves, and it works. We will talk more in a moment
but first let's see how one person has banned it from the screen --
from the scheme. Jon manual has been living on the streets on and off for
30 years. Here is his story. I was in a pub and apparently the
IRA had bombed the pub. We were very young and it was confusing as to why
it happened. It made me wonder why we were out there, why we were
fighting the people who are like your next-door neighbours. Turning
to alcohol is not the answer. But at the time it would ease the pain. But
it wouldn't go away. And I would have nothing better to do but drink
because I had no future, no job, no money. I used to beg. It was quite
horrendous at times, in this kind of weather. I would pitch my tent in a
far corner, all the way. I was kept waking up constantly through the
night, and I couldn't understand what was going on. With all the
worry I had, I ended up packing up my tent, in the condition I was, and
I went to Derriford. They told me I was having a heart attack. It cost
me everything. Cost me my family, the people I was close to. I am
hurting badly emotionally, so regrettable for me that I have to
live with that everyday. In the Nelson Project I get the
opportunity to help with the finish, insulation, any other duties
required. When this project is finished I will have a flat,
somewhere stable to live and I can be built my life again. I am turning
my life around and I hope my family realise that. It has not been easy
but I am hoping that I get to see the people that I love and start
again. Our heartbreaking story, but he
really turned his life around due to the project. It strikes me this
could help so many others, not just military veterans. Without doubt. A
recent report from the University of East England demonstrated that for
every pound spent on the two Bristol projects we have saved between ?4 70
and ?7 20. We would like to roll out the project nationally. Each project
of course has to be resourced and funded. The report produced has gone
to the Cabinet ministers and I am told it has gone to the Prime
Minister's offers but we will see. Thank you very much for coming in
today. My pleasure, thank you for the opportunity.
Now, if you're interested in the history which is all around
us and beneath us here in the South West, you may be
the sort of person needed for an archaelogical expedition
The search is on for volunteers to help unearth some of the secrets
which could be hidden underneath Castle Green in Barnstaple.
Our reporter Johnny Rutherford has been to see the modern technology
Barnstaple Castle and Green, an ancient monument.
Before the Normans built a grand moat and a bailey castle here,
In the 1970s they discovered 105 Saxon graves.
Today they're surveying the green, with more advanced equipment.
It's a great opportunity to find out more about the castle
and about Norman and Saxon Barnstaple.
We're hoping this is the beginning of a much bigger project that
will really help us find out a lot more and get people excited
Money from Historic England has funded this five-day survey.
We're using two different techniques to look from the surface around
a metre to a metre and a half down beneath the ground.
The idea is to map any archaeology that still remains
Local people have been given the chance to be
part of the project, which allows them to be hands-on.
I've always been fascinated in this castle mound site.
To think that there was once a castle, king and community
here is just fascinating, and so as soon as I saw
the opportunity to take part in the survey I jumped
So I've decided to do a bit of volunteering.
Apparently I've got to walk in a straight line...
You've got to be a bit quicker than that, Johnny.
To be honest, they had to redo that bit.
Luckily, the experts put the equipment to its best use.
Well, it's quite interesting what we've come across so far,
We seem to have a rectangle of lines which could represent a former
structure or building on the site which we had no idea
Also we've got some speckling, which may represent graves,
and these could be part of the Anglo-Saxon graveyard which
Next week the team will be using ground-penetrating radar
in the Castle Market car park for the first time.
You never know, they might find a king.
Now, remember the Regal, the Empire, or what about the ABC?
By the end of the 1930s some big cinema chains dominated the UK
And it's this sort of time in people's lives they're trying
It's in an effort to combat loneliness.
Jane Chandler picked up her ticket and went along
to the Red Velvet Cinema, which has been set up
It's not just about watching a classic film.
Afterwards they get the chance to reminisce over a cake
It's nice sometimes to sort of look back, everything rushes forward,
and it's just nice to see something like that.
It brings back a lot because I'm afraid that my memory is not so good
now, there's problems with that, but it's a film you
Must have been 40 years ago, I should think.
I didn't really remember it from then so it
The project is the idea of Caroline Blackler.
It's got ?2000 of funding from the community arts
It's to encourage elderly people who live on their own
And if you get them watching a film then they actually
don't have to talk to anyone while that film's on,
but after the film you encourage them to talk, give
them a cup of tea and a slice of cake, and that's when the
And if you can get people to connect then maybe
There's still plenty of time to catch a classic,
as the Red Velvet Cinema runs at the cafe in George Street
There's nothing quite like watching old movies, particularly when it is
wet outside. But hopefully it won't be raining.
A few spots of drizzle down in Cornwall but most of the south-west
has had glorious sunshine. We saw the pictures from South
Devon, the archaeological story and the whale as well.
A bit of a change coming. Our weather watchers have done us proud.
Glorious sunshine, even in the higher ground up to wards Exmoor and
Somerset. Then down into Cornwall, where the mist and fog has been
draped across the far south-west, and that will continue this evening,
visibility problems not just for the islands but along the coastline
today. Let's head to Saint Germans now, were briefly there was some
brightness in the sky. Our cameraman noted how still the air was. Most of
us have had hardly a breeze, so the mist and low cloud has hung around
for most of the day. Those who have not had it have had some lovely
weather, feeling quite warm as well. In the sunshine and bridges up to
15, 16 degrees, certainly the warmest it has felt so far this
year. As we head through tomorrow and into the weekend, I think I
tonight it will be pretty misty at first and then the low cloud, mist
and fog returns. Tomorrow morning that will be around first thing in
the morning, and some drizzle as well. Later in the day it starts to
brighten up wet and -- and when the sunshine comes out it will feel
quite pleasant. We are in the boundary between the high pressure
over France and the weather fans trying to come in from the West.
They will eventually wind but they will take their time. A lot of
moisture ahead of that. The first weather system is fairly weak, not
getting to us until the end of the day on Saturday. The second one will
give us some more persistent rain for a time on Sunday morning and
once that is through we are back to north-west winds, better visibility,
improved visibility for local flights, but the humid, moist air is
across us tonight, you can see the cloud draped across the south-west.
That is having -- heading north overnight. Had she conditions
through the night and it will be unusually mild. -- patchy
conditions. Last week these would be a good day time temperature, so mild
but also misty. Tomorrow morning, not much in the way of drizzle and
gradually a few holes will appear in the cloud. The winds slightly more
than we have seen to date and with the breeze from the South there will
be some holes in the cloud allowing the sunshine to come through.
Northern Devon, parts of Somerset, perhaps Dorset again, 13 to 14
degrees. The Isles of Scilly, misty and damp, brighter for a time but a
fair amount of low cloud around for much of the day. These are the times
of high water. For the surface, clean surf, good
waves tomorrow, not quite so big up to four, possibly five feet, and
clean waves the north coast. The coastal waters forecast, four or
five, fair with mist patches. As we move into the weekend this is the
forecaster Saturday, a lot of cloud, still quite misty first thing.
Sunday, some showery outbreaks but brighter in the afternoon and at
last the sunshine comes out on Monday. Have a good evening.
That is all from us. Janine Jansen will join David for the late news
and weather at 10:30pm. From all of us here, good evening.
Oh, the dragon. Dylan Thomas.
Richard Burton. Barry Island.
The River Shannon. We invented the submarine.
with a spectacular Friday night encounter...