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Fears Ben Parkinson could lose funding after he leaves armed forces

Ben Parkinson has taken on a series of charity challenges during his recovery Credit: Press Association

The Prime Minister has agreed to meet Britain's most badly injured surviving soldier to discuss fears his ongoing funding will be taken away after he leaves the armed forces.

Ben Parkinson from Doncaster has been recovering from over 40 injuries after he was caught up in a bomb blast in Afghanistan eight years ago.

Caroline Flint, MP for Don Valley, raised the issue of funding in the House of Commons today.

David Cameron said the government need to continue to support wounded soldiers after they've ended their service.


Sam Brown's mum speaks of 'rollercoaster ride' to get drug approved

A little boy from West Yorkshire with a rare disease looks almost certain to be given the life-changing drug he needs after the health regulator announced it would be made available on the NHS.

Sam Brown from Otley has Morquio Syndrome which stunts his growth, saps his energy and reduces his life expectancy.

Today the pharmaceutical company which makes the drug Vimizin has revealed that the NHS has finally agreed to pay for the medicine for the next five years.

"We've really been through a horrendous 12 month period, a rollercoaster ride of some highs and many many lows. Just four or five months ago NICE were recommending that they weren't going to fund this drug and it felt like there was no way through that. We're now five months on and they're saying they are and there's a huge amount of hard work that's gone in to getting to that place."

– Katy Brown, Sam's mother

It has taken years of campaigning - from local petitions to visits to the Prime Minister.

Click below to watch Sarah Clark's round-up of Sam's campaign to get his life-enhancing treatment.

Delivery driver robbed in Pudsey was 'simply doing his job'

Police are appealing for information after a delivery driver was robbed in Pudsey last week.

At about 1.15pm on Thursday (19/11), the 50-year-old driver was parked in Lowtown delivering goods to the Henry Krank shop.

As he returned to his van to get the final parcel, a man approached the rear of vehicle and grabbed the package.

The driver took hold of the box and a struggle ensued before the suspect punched him to the ground.

The man then made off with the parcel and got into a dark coloured vehicle which drove off towards Swinnow Lane.

The package contained plastic boxes used for storage.

"This was a frightening experience for the victim who was simply doing his job and didn't expect to be attacked in this way. He received bruising to his neck and was left shaken by the incident.

I would like to hear from anyone who was in the area and witnessed the incident or who has any information that could assist the investigation."

– Detective Constable Ian Johnson, Leeds District CID

Local MP welcomes Vimizim approval after 12-month battle

Greg Mulholland with the Brown family in January 2015 Credit: Press Association

Local MP Greg Mulholland has welcomed the news that people with Morquio Syndrome will be able to access the Vimizim drug through NHS England.

NHS England and NICE have today secured a five-year, fixed-fee agreement with the drugs company BioMarin for the Vimizim drug. The agreement is the first of its kind for securing access to treatments for ultra-rare diseases.

It is expected to be rubber-stamped on 16th December, after which point those diagnosed with Vimizim will be able to get immediate access to Vimizim.

7-year-old Sam Brown, who lives in Mr Mulholland's constituency, is one of just 88 people in England with Morquio condition. The drug was approved on a Europe-wide level in April 2014 and is already in use in 20 other European countries, but attempts to make it available in England have seen repeated delays.

Commenting on NHS England’s announcement, Greg Mulholland said:

“After 12 months of campaigning, today’s news is a huge victory. It will mean that those with Morquio Syndrome will finally be able to get the Vimizim drug through NHS England. Today’s news is what many Morquio sufferers and their families have waited a long time to hear. It is great news for Sam Brown, whose parents Katy and Simon have campaigned long and hard. The agreement announced today is the breakthrough we all wanted. When rubber-stamped on 16th December, the agreement will mean the Vimizim drug will be immediately available to everyone diagnosed with condition. We are all delighted at today’s news, it is exactly what we have been demanding for the last 12 months. I could not be happier for Sam and his family.”

– Greg Mulholland MP, Leeds North West


Police appeal after thefts from graves in Lincolnshire

Police are appealing for witnesses and information after two thefts from graves over the weekend.

Both were reported on Sunday 22nd November after having occurred as St Sebastians Church on the High Street.

From one grave a silver teddy bear, a concrete plaque and a light-up angel were stolen. From the other a stone teddy bear was taken.

We would like to remind whoever is responsible for these thefts that this is incredibly distressing for families and friends of the loved one’s graves from where these items are being taken. Have some compassion and thought for others and do not act in such a callous way.

– Lincolnshire Police

Ben Parkinson joins forces with Barnsley homeless veterans group

Ben Parkinson has joined forces with Barnsley-based Help 4 Homeless Veterans charity that supports former members of HM Forces facing homelessness.

Ben Parkinson with charity's new CEO Steve Bentham-Bates Credit: Help 4 Homeless Veterans

The former soldier is the charity's new Patron, his Mum Diane Dernie who fought the MOD to give better help to seriously injured service personnel has also agreed to become a trustee.

Paul Weston, a former army captain who works as a solicitor, Doncaster councillor John Healy are also new trustees. The last new member of the charity is its new CEO - Steve Bentham-Bates, an award winning volunteer of Yorkshire ex-service projects in addition to his role since 1997 as the Regular Forces Employment Association South Yorkshire employment consultant.

With this fresh team I hope that the charity can build upon its success to date helping around 200 Veterans and expand its support initially around South Yorkshire, but in time further afield. There is an ongoing need for this type of help and our charity fully intends to meet the demand when and wherever it can.

– Tom Wood, Founder
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