Live updates

Woman in distress appeal

Police are appealing for information following reports of a women in distress near Gotts Park near Stanningley road in Leeds shortly before 9pm on New Year's Eve.

The woman is described as having light coloured hair. 

She was with a man who was described as olive skinned possibly an Asian male wearing a dark coloured hooded top. 

Paralympian hero takes on New Year's Day cyclocross

Gold medal-winning Paralympian cyclist Steve Bate is set to take part in the popular New Year’s Day Novacross cyclocross event, at Conynham Hall in Knaresborough.

Paralympic champion Steve Bate

Steve, who is visually impaired, won two gold medals in this year’s Rio Paralympics, and will be competing on a tandem with renowned cycling journalist and mountain bike tester Guy Kesteven in today's race to raise funds for sight-loss charity Henshaws in Harrogate.

The duo will be competing in the novice Go-Cross race which is being introduced for the first time in the 2017 event by the organisers, the Harrogate Nova Cycling Club, as a way of encouraging complete beginners to try cyclocross.

Steve’s participation is particularly fitting as the club has partnered with Henshaws in Harrogate for the event, to help raise £1,000 for a new bike rack and shelter for students at the charity’s Specialist College

The Go-Cross race gets underway at 10am with laps of a two and a half kilometre course through the grounds of Conynham Hall before the children’s races at 11am and then the headline cyclocross races from midday onwards.

Since the first event in 2014, the New Year’s Day cyclocross race has virtually doubled the number of entrants to become one of the largest fixtures in the UK, attracting a strong field of nearly 700 competitors and over a thousand spectators.

“Having Steve competing in our event is a real coup as he is an absolute legend in British cycling and an inspiration to anybody who is facing a challenge in sport or life in general.

"Steve has just an 8% field of vision, and I think we can all take inspiration from his participation in NovaCross.

“One of our key aims is to encourage newcomers into the sport. "This is why we’ve introduced the race for novices so they can find out just how much fun and excitement there is in cyclocross racing which is one of the fastest growing cycling disciplines in the UK.

“Hosting an event that sits on the sport’s international calendar is a real coup for Knaresborough and we hope to see the race’s stature grow in years to come. "Hopefully the race will support tourism in Knaresborough and bring many visitors to the town.”

– Steve Smales, race director

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More young people urged to give blood

The young widow of a man who died from cancer is urging people to become blood donors.

Deborah Wilkinson who is from Barnsley says her husband Peter received several transfusions and had a better life because of people who gave blood.

The blood donation service is appealing for more young people to make a New year resolution to join their register.

Click below to see a video report by Katie Oscroft:

Parents urged to talk about online safety when giving internet devices as Christmas gifts

The NSPCC is urging parents to talk to their children about online safety if they buy them internet devices as Christmas presents, following a huge rise in contacts to Childline about online sexual abuse.

NSPCC warns about online sexual abuse

In 2015/16 there were 3,716 Childline counselling sessions about online sexual abuse, a 24 per cent increase from 2014/15 (2,994 contacts on the issue). This issue has also increased by 250 per cent (1,061 sessions) over the past three years.

Online sexual abuse can take the form of grooming, child sexual exploitation, sexting, being made to perform sex acts on webcam, meet up in person, and viewing distressing sexually explicit content.

With tablets, smart phones, and games consoles appearing on many children’s Christmas list, it is vital that parents talk to their children about being safe online, spotting the signs of inappropriate behaviour, and how to report it.

Online sexual abuse was such a big problem for children last year that it took up a third of all contacts about online issues, including bullying and safety.

In 2015/16 the NSPCC’s service received 1,480 contacts about online child sexual exploitation; an increase of 18 per cent from 2014/15 (up from 1,252).

Some children contacted Childline because they felt trapped by their situation because they felt guilty and ashamed, were frightened to talk to an adult about the issue, were being blackmailed, or were considering meeting up in person. Some wrongly feel that they are to blame because they have participated in their abuser’s actions, and are afraid to speak out.

NSPCC warns about online sexual abuse

“I met this guy through social media and he was really nice; he told me I was beautiful and I felt that I could talk to him about everything.

"He asked me for some topless photos which I didn’t think was a big deal, so I sent him a few. But now he’s turned really nasty and is threatening to post them online if I don’t send him more.

"I’m really worried and embarrassed and I don’t know what to do.”

– 14-year-old girl calling Childline

The NSPCC has a host of simple tips and advice on its website. Tips include:

· Exploring sites and apps together

· Ask about things they might see online which make them feel uncomfortable

· Talk about being Share Aware and what is, and is not, ok to share online

· Reassure them that you won't overreact – you're just looking out for them

“The web can be a fantastic place for children and young people to socialise, explore their interests, and learn, but every parent buying an internet device should be aware that there are risks, too and think about installing parental controls.

"In the last year we’ve seen a staggering rise in online sexual abuse, with many children turning to Childline when the situation has escalated.

"Often groomers will use devious tactics to lure in young people and manipulate them into situations that leave them feeling frightened and ashamed.

"The NSPCC has lots of resources to help parents talk about online issues so that they can help keep a child safe and happy online.”

– Peter Wanless, NSPCC CEO

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Winter heating warnings

With temperatures falling and the colder weather coming, Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue is reminding residents to think carefully before heating their home this winter.

Fire chiefs are urging householders to think carefully when heating their home this winter

The advice comes after a number of reports of people heating their homes in dangerous ways, without realising the risks.

The service now wants to reinforce the message by highlighting the top mistakes people make in their home when trying to stay warm. This includes:

1) Putting washing too close to their halogen heaters

2) Sitting too close to their halogen heaters

3) Leaving their halogen heaters on when going to bed

4) Keeping wood all the way round a wood burner when lit

5) Using candle flower pot heaters - home-made heating devices made by candles being placed under an upside down plant pot

Residents urged to stay safe when heating their homes this winter

"We want people to stay warm and well this winter, but our main priority is that people stay safe. "We know it's tempting to sit with the heater close to your legs or to dry washing quicker by having the heater right next to it, but this can be extremely dangerous.

"These are all things we see when we visit people in their homes, and it is vital that they understand the dangers so they don’t put themselves or their loved ones at risk. “We realise that it is expensive to heat your homes at present, but would recommend portable oil filled radiators for small space heating."I

– John Barke, Lincolnshire deputy community fire safety manager

If you are at home and are struggling to keep warm, there are a number of schemes available which can help. Please visit https://www.gov.uk/energy-grants-calculator or contactResponders to Warmthon 0845 6064566 who will be able to offer advice and assistance.

I'VE STILL GOT SO MUCH MORE TO ACHIEVE, SAYS PARALYMPIC HERO COX

The terms inspirational and role model are bandied about all too easily in sport, but Kadeena Cox is worthy of and lives up to the descriptions.

Kadeena Cox

The 25-year-old from Leeds at September's Rio Paralympics became the first Briton in 28 years to win two medals in two sports at the same Games.

She is the first in 32 years to win golds in different sports, having topped the podium in athletics and cycling.

And she was chosen as flag bearer for Britain's most successful Paralympic team since Seoul 1988.

Cox's achievements are all the more remarkable as they came two years after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a progressive illness which could become more debilitating over time.

"I've thought about the diagnosis itself once or twice, but it just brings me to tears realising how far I've come.

"My focus now is what more can I achieve. I achieved a few great things in Rio, but I know there's so much more I can do and I want to do. It's all about looking forward now."

– Kadeena Cox

She won the C4/C5 500 metres time-trial on the bike in the velodrome before claiming gold on the athletics track in the T38 400m.

Her main focus for 2017 is taking gold at the London Stadium at the IPC Athletics World Championships.

Her physiotherapy degree concludes in 2018 - the long-term goal is to run her own business - and there is a European Championships in athletics, a to-be-confirmed Para-Cycling Track World Championships, plus the Commonwealth Games. A busy year, even by Cox's standards.

She hopes to go for four, possibly five, events in Tokyo at the 2020 Paralympics and then also compete in the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing, when para-bobsleigh will be on the programme.

The reason she competed in two sports in Rio was because she knew she might not get the chance to compete at all in Tokyo.

And she knows all her targets depend on her MS.

"That's something that's in the back of my mind. It was, for a while, something that was in the forefront of my mind and something I'd constantly think about.

"And I wouldn't really plan too far ahead in the worry that my life could change due to my condition.

"Right now I take each day as it comes and I plan for what I want to achieve and if those change due to my condition then I just deal with it when I get to that point.

"My goals may change, they may not change, but right now those are my goals."

– Kadeena Cox

Cox is inspirational for another reason. She was brought up in Chapeltown, a deprived area of Leeds.

She is now working in the community, trying to instil confidence in youngsters.

"I'm from not the best of communities, but it's nice to be able to stand there and show young people what can be achieved.

"There's so many young people that go down the wrong path, just because they think there's no other option or there's nothing there for them.

"Just having someone to point them in the right direction and show them that it is achievable just allows them to see that there is more to life than drugs and crime.

"There's not very much in the way of athletics coaching or sport in general.

"I want to help with somebody who is working in the community already to try to bring more stuff locally, so it's something that is more readily available to them."

– Kadeena Cox

Cox has described life since Rio as "crazy". She is recognised wherever she goes and asked for selfies and autographs.

She was also named as one of the 16 nominated athletes for BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

"My family manage to keep me grounded. "I get told the gold medals mean nothing. I'm one of seven children, so there is no special treatment allowed.

"My mum did try it for a bit, but then my sisters picked up on it. Back down to reality."

– Kadeena Cox

Recycle your Xmas tree and help hospice

Households across Lincoln are being encouraged to go green this Christmas and help to support their local hospice with their tree-cycle campaign.

St Barnabas Hospice will collect and recycle unwanted trees in return for a donation. Credit: St Barnabas Hospice

On Saturday 7th January, St Barnabas Hospice will collect and recycle unwanted trees in return for a donation.

The hospice will be collecting trees in parts of LN1, LN2, LN3, LN4, LN5 and LN6.

“This is the simplest, greenest and most charitable way to get rid of your Christmas tree after the festivities.

"Let the hospice take away the stress and mess of disposing of your tree and help us to raise vital funds for hospice care.

“Donations are crucial to the success of this event and to ensuring that we can continue to provide dedicated, compassionate hospice care every day of the year.”

– Laura Stones, Event Fundraiser for St BarnabasHospice

To arrange a collection and donate to the hospice book in at www.charityxmastreecollection.com

Free hospital parking on Christmas Day

Patients and visitors will be able to park for free today at Scunthorpe, Grimsby and Goole hospitals during visiting hours.

The car park barriers at the three hospitals, which are run by Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust, will be raised between 11am and 8pm.

Jug Johal, Northern Lincolnshire & Goole NHS Trust's director of estates and facilities

“It would be fantastic if no one had to be in hospital over Christmas but unfortunately we do have patients who have to stay in over the festive period.

“This Christmas Day, patients and visitors will be able to park for free.

"We understand people would rather be at home with their loved ones so we welcome visitors as usual to come in but without a cost to park during our extended visiting hours from 11am to 8pm.”

– Jug Johal, Northern Lincolnshire & Goole NHS Trust's director of estates and facilities,

Visitors are reminded that the hospital Park and Ride from The Parishes in Scunthorpe town centre will not be running on Christmas Day.

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