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Weetabix sale could see breakfast cereal firm join £1bn club

The Chinese owner of Weetabix has reportedly put the breakfast cereal firm up for sale in a deal that could value it at £1 billion.

Bright Food Group, which acquired a 60% stake in Weetabix in 2012, is working with Goldman Sachs on the sale process, according to Reuters.

The remaining 40% of Weetabix is held by Baring Private Equity Asia. State owned Bright Food said when it bought Weetabix that it would look to crack the Chinese breakfast market, but the bulk of its sales still come from the UK.

Weetabix has also been embroiled in the wave of strike action affecting the UK over the festive period after workers voted on Monday to go on strike in the new year following a row over shift patterns.

The Usdaw union said action will affect workplaces in Corby and Kettering, with the first strike taking place in the new year.

The company said "changing consumer breakfast habits" have increased demand for biscuit production, resulting in the new shift patterns.

Workers at Weetabix to strike in row over shift patterns

Workers at cereal company Weetabix are to go on strike in the new year after voting for action in a row over shift patterns.

Members of Usdaw backed industrial action by 9-1 on a turnout of almost 70%.

The union said action will affect workplaces in Corby and Kettering, with the first strike taking place in the new year.

Each strike will run for 24 hours, with no more than one stoppage in a single week.

Ed Leach of Usdaw said: "Despite long and detailed discussions, the company has so far refused to offer a suitable financial incentives for employees who have moved shift or will be expected to move onto the new 24/7 shift pattern.

"As a result of the failure to agree, Usdaw conducted a ballot for industrial action and members have overwhelmingly backed a series of 24-hour strikes.

"It is deeply regrettable that the company has pushed staff to this point and we hope that they will look again at their offer, continue to negotiate with us and seek a solution that will avoid the industrial action backed by our members."


Walking football kicks off in Kettering

The new activity is designed to help residents maintain an active lifestyle Credit: Kettering Borough Council

An initiative to keep older people active has been launched in Kettering.

Walking football is a non-contact sport and players can't jog or sprint without conceding a free kick.

Kettering Borough Council and the Northants F.A. have teamed up to organise weekly sessions for people over 50 or with restricting health conditions.

This slower version of football will give them the chance to improve their lifestyles and make new friends.

I have played walking football before and I really enjoy the slower pace of the game and I have improved my fitness and become a lot fitter.

The aim is not to improve my football skills but to just enjoy playing football and hopefully make new friends in the process.

– Brian Parton

Lindsay Lohan says no to Kettering Christmas lights in video message

Actress Lindsay Lohan has tweeted a video message to the people of Kettering letting them know she's unable to turn on the town's Christmas lights.

Logan originally agreed to travel to the Northamptonshire town after implying nobody heard of it.

The town's Conservative MP Philip Hollobone then invited Lohan "to switch on the Christmas lights ... thus redeeming her political reputation and raising money for good causes".

But due to her busy schedule, she has now declined the offer and has been replaced by former Eastenders actress Cheryl Fergison.

Hey everyone in Kettering. I really wanted to make it there to light the tree, but with my busy schedule I wasn't able to. I appreciate the offer.

Happy Holidays!

– Lindsay Lohan

Funeral for Second World War 'hero' who died aged 97

Click the link above for Stuart Leithes' report

A funeral has been held for a Second World War veteran from Northamptonshire who died aged 97.

Jack Linaker was a tail gunner in a Lancaster bomber - the most dangerous position in the aircraft - and he even survived a crash landing.

His funeral was held in Kettering and attended by personnel from RAF Marham in Norfolk, where the squadron he flew with is now based.

Jack Linaker died aged 97.
Jack Linaker's funeral was held in Kettering. Credit: ITV News Anglia


Girl, 8, is World Puddle Jumping Champion

Melanie Mills triumphed in the World Puddle Jumping Championship.

An 8-year-old girl from Kettering is the latest World Puddle Jumping Champion.

Melanie Mills took the title at Wicksteed Park in Northamptonshire earlier today.

The competition, now in its fourth year, asks children to make the most of the muddy autumn weather.

Judges scores are based on strict criteria including the height of jump, distance of splash and 'stickability' - the amount of mud which clings to each competitor.

Most marks are given for the size of the splash.

"I tried to jump the highest I could and get as muddy as possible but I can't believe I have won. I took part last year too and have been practicing since then."

– Melanie Mills, World Puddle Jumping Champion

Corby to Kettering railway line to reopen in late October

Video report by ITV News Anglia's Helen Keenan

The Corby to Kettering railway line is due to reopen in late October following a six week closure.

There have been no hourly trains between the two towns since 10 September. A replacement bus service has been operating instead.

The line was closed to upgrade it to two tracks, but the new one won't be operational for some time.

"There is more track to go in and then crucially there's the signalling works to do. That will be complete in the February of 2018."

– Spencer Gibbens, Network Rail
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