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VIDEO: JCB GT crowned fastest digger in the world

The JCB GT was today crowned the fastest digger on earth after reaching speeds of more than 70 miles an hour in Australia.

The JCB GT - originally designed by the Staffordshire-based company to perform high-speed wheelies at racing events – made the attempt in front of independent record officials at Bathurst, near Sydney.

Guinness World Records has today confirmed that the powerful JCB digger was officially the fastest backhoe loader in the world with a speed of 72.58 mph.

The JCB GT has been crowned fastest digger on earth after reaching 70mph Credit: JCB

To celebrate the win the JCB GT went on a tour of Sydney and took a bow for photographers in front of other world-famous icons – the Opera House and Harbour Bridge.

JCB Demonstration Driver Matthew Lucas - nicknamed ‘The Dig’ during the attempt - was the man who steered the JCB GT to its world record title.

The 43-year-old from Werrington, Stoke-on-Trent, said: “It was great to be involved in such an exciting project and a real honour to be behind the wheel when we achieved the record.”

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JCB GT fastest digger on earth after reaching 70mph

The JCB GT was today crowned the fastest digger on earth after reaching speeds of more than 70 miles an hour in Australia.

The JCB GT has been crowned fastest digger on earth after reaching 70mph Credit: JCB

The Staffordshire-based company's design made the attempt near Sydney.

Guinness World Records has today confirmed that the powerful JCB digger was officially the fastest backhoe loader in the world with a speed of 72.58 mph.

Stephen Sutton to be awarded posthumous degree

Stephen Sutton died from bowel cancer in May Credit: PA

Teenage cancer fundraiser Stephen Sutton will be posthumously awarded with an honorary degree by Coventry University today.

The 19-year-old from Burntwood in Staffordshire raised more than five million pounds for cancer research, before losing his four year battle with bowel cancer.

Jane Sutton at this year's Pride of Britain Awards Credit: ITV News Central

Last week Stephen's mum Jane collected an MBE from the Queen on behalf of her son.

Today Mrs Sutton will also receive the degree in Stephen's name at a ceremony at Coventry Cathedral.

Inquest adjourned into deaths of men at fireworks factory

Inquests have been opened and adjourned into the deaths of two men in a blaze which engulfed a fireworks factory in Staffordshire.

41-year-old Simon Hillier, of Mountside Street, Hednesford who was working when the fire broke out Credit: Staffordshire Police

South Staffordshire Coroner's Court heard that DNA testing was used to identify the bodies of Simon Hillier and Stewart Staples following the fire in Baswich,

Their causes of deaths have not yet been established and the inquest has been adjourned until April 27th 2015.

Stewart Staples from Hednesford died in the fire at SP Plastics Credit: Staffordshire Police

Inquest hearing into deaths at Stafford fireworks factory

The inquest opening hearing into the deaths of two men in a huge fire at a Stafford fireworks factory is due to be opened and adjourned this morning.

Stewart Staples from Hednesford died in the fire at SP Plastics on Thursday Credit: Staffordshire Police

41-year-old Simon Hillier and 57-year-old Stewart Staples were at SP Plastics on Tilcon Avenue in Stafford when the blaze broke out on October 30th.

The hearing will take place at Cannock Coroner's Court.

41-year-old Simon Hillier, of Mountside Street, Hednesford who was working when the fire broke out Credit: Staffordshire Police

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Greyhound missing after thugs threw firework at dogs

The former racing dog went missing from Moorland Road Leek at 4pm on November 4th Credit: Facebook/John Hayes

A search is underway for a missing greyhound after fireworks were launched in a dog walking area in broad daylight.

The eight-year-old former racing dog called Izzy was being walked by her owner John Hayes on November 4th behind the campus of Leek High School in Staffordshire, when fireworks were launched towards them.

Stock photo of fireworks Credit: PA

The dog was spooked by the noise and ran off, and apart from a sighting a few hours later she has not been seen since.

Her owner is appealing for anyone who may have seen Izzy to get in touch on his Facebook Page.

Emergency services leave scene of fatal fireworks fire

Emergency services have now left the scene of a fatal fire at a Stafford fireworks factory, in which two people died.

Two people were killed in the blaze Credit: Caters News

The destroyed building, SP Plastics in Tilcon Avenue, remains dangerous and is fenced off with screens to prevent public access.

The police cordon was lifted yesterday, following a very difficult and dangerous examination of the scene by forensic examiners and fire investigators.

Detectives are continuing to investigate the incident and are working closely with colleagues from Staffordshire County Council's Trading Standards.

A joint warning has now been issued alerting possible customers to precautionary safety advice.

It is likely to be some weeks before the fireworks standards can be tested and confirmed safe. As a precaution and to ensure public safety, customers who purchased fireworks from the company are being urged not to use them.

Although not confirmed, it is believed that commercial fireworks are more likely to pose a risk - they generally have plain wrapping as oppose to retail fireworks which have decorative, colourful wrapping.

Could this be the largest yew tree in Europe?

A tree in Staffordshire, said to be the widest in Europe, has been shortlisted for a national award.

The giant Yew is said to be the largest in Europe Credit: Staffordshire County Council

The Shugborough Yew is one of ten finalists in the Woodland Trust’s search for England’s Tree of the Year.

It is believed that the tree is over 350 years old and covers an area the size of the Royal Albert Hall.

Staff at the Staffordshire County Council managed estate are have been encouraging supporters of the Yew to cast their vote.

We are very excited that the Shugborough Great Yew has been shortlisted for Tree of the Year. I do hope that the public vote for such a wonderful feature in the heart of the Staffordshire countryside.

– Cllr Mark Winnington, Staffordshire County Council

The winner of the competition will go on to represent England against competitors from Wales, Scotland and elsewhere in Europe in April 2015.

Staffordshire Council pay tribute to colleague who died in fireworks fire

Staffordshire County Council has paid tribute to Stewart Staples, their Highways Laboratory Manager, who died in the fireworks fire in Stafford, on Thursday.

We’re incredibly shocked and saddened to hear of the tragic death of Stewart Staples.

Stewart worked in our highways department for 26 years, and both as a professional and a person was one of the most respected, trusted and well-liked members of our staff, and a true gentleman.

His friends and colleagues here at the county council will miss him terribly and our hearts go out to Stewart’s family.

– Philip Atkins, Leader of Staffordshire County Council
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