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The future of helicopter manufacturing in Somerset could be
put at risk by a plan to move vital machinery to Poland,
according to the former liberal Democrat Leader Lord Ashdown.
His claims comes as aerospace company GKN closes its site this
month - with the loss of more than 200 jobs.
In a matter of days, this factory will close.
The company GKN saying it's simply no longer viable.
But it is what happens to the manufacturing
equipment inside there which is now at the centre of a political storm,
with the former Liberal Democrat leader arguing that if it's shipped
to Poland, and that is one option, then it could signal the
beginning of the end for helicopter manufacturing here in Somerset.
GKN make airframes for the Royal Navy's
new Wildcat helicopter under license to Leonardo Helicopters next door.
When Leonardo, formerly Augusta Westland, decided to take
that work back in-house, that effectively
Now the company is considering moving the
manufacturing kit to a factory it ends in Poland.
Lord Ashdown says the government could and
Not least because the kit is actually owned by the Ministry
I think we are in danger of undermining the long-term viability
of the Yeovil site, which has served the nation for 100 years,
in being able to make our own aircraft, in this case helicopters.
But Lord Ashdown has been accused of exaggerating the threat.
The local Conservative MP says he too is
lobbying the company to keep the manufacturing kit in the UK.
He says no final decision's been made.
But it's the government's job to tell
It is worth remembering also that unless there
are Wildcat borders, then there is no Wildcat
And what the government has been working
really hard on is working with the company to help garner
those export orders in all different parts of the
So far, the company has refused to comment.
Now, there are rumours it may enacting a new
foreign order for the Wildcat in January.
If that is true, where the airframes will be made clearly is
A Devon mother who has stage four breast cancer says she's overwhelmed
by the kindness of people who have raised money to help fund private
Kim Jenkins from Christow hopes it will put her cancer
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
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's 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.
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
And now a round up of some of the other stories
Bird flu has been found in a dead wild bird in Somerset.
It was found in a Wigeon, and is the same strain
found at a poultry farm in Lincolnshire last week.
Public Health England says the risk to public health
Local authorities in the South West are getting 20 million pounds
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
A 28-year-old former bar worker from Cornwall has won Germany's
Angel Flukes from Saltash won Supertalent 2016,
On to sport, and there's a big head-to-head contest on Boxing Day
between Somerset based horses Cue Card and Thistlecrack.
Trainer Colin Tizzard has entered them both into the King George
Cue Card is hoping to complete the second part of a big-race treble
But stable-mate Thistlecrack could jeopardise those chances.
We have to treat both horses as individuals.
People bring in the ?1 million bonus and we might be the
people that take that opportunity with Thistlecrack,
with individual separate owners and they have to be treated fairly.
Now for a look at the weather over Christmas.
The weather is making news across the
But for us, I think the weather is going
It is quite windy at times this Christmas.
Generally feeling mild, and there will be a few showers around.
This was the rain that we saw earlier today.
There were some quite heavy bursts of rain.
That's now gone, and what is left behind is
Another area of low pressure arriving in the same sort of track
up towards Iceland during the course of the Christmas weekend.
We will see the winds fresh and again on
Christmas Day, and this weather front perhaps producing some
Until then, I think for much of the next 24 hours,
As I mentioned, a few showers overnight tonight.
In between, though, some clear skies and
temperatures between three and six degrees.
Tomorrow, Christmas eve, there will be a few showers.
Generally bright and dry with some sunshine.
Ten, maybe 11 degrees the maximum temperature.
More cloud through the evening giving some
A few spots of rain or drizzle and not
much chance of seeing any brightness.
But at least it remains generally mild right
Into next week, it is colder for Boxing Day
Wild and wet Christmas ahead us. That's it from us, our next bulletin
just after finally tried, from all of us have a great evening.
big day? Christmas Day. It will stay mild and temperatures could reach
14, 15. He is down bet that the national