'Love' is this year's Pride theme. Picture courtesy of Lee Boswell Photography Ltd

What's on this bank holiday weekend?

The North West is braced for a busy weekend, with lots of major events happening over the bank holiday. Here's a guide to what's on....

silhouettes of people walking on the beach

Wednesday across the NW

Mainly dry with sunny spells. Cloud bubbling up later, risk of an odd shower and feeling cool.

Live updates

Full Report: Student who suffered head injuries in a crash gets her university place

A teenager from Oldham is looking forward to a bright future tonight, against all the odds.

Jesmin Begum suffered horrific head injuries after a road accident, and doctors thought she wouldn't walk or talk again.

But she defied all medical expectations, and has now got the grades to go to university to study psychology, inspired by those who've helped her deal with brain damage.

Our correspondent Rob Smith has the story:

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Full Report: Making the Grade - the highs and lows of results day for our GCSE students.

There has been celebrations and some commiserations across the region today as thousands of pupils collected their GCSE results.

Nationally, the proportion of exams awarded at least a C grade has risen, and some schools here have achieved their highest ever pass rates.

Ralph Blunsom reports from one high school in Cheshire:

PNE - Leyton Orient game postponed due to international call ups

Australian Bailey Wright
Australian Bailey Wright. Credit: PA

Preston North End’s away clash with Leyton Orient on September 6 has been called off due to international call-ups.

The Lilywhites have had three members of their first team squad called up for their respective nations with more expected to follow.

Australian Bailey Wright faces a double header with the Socceroos against Belgium and Saudi Arabia – the second of those matches being played at Fulham’s Craven Cottage.

Winger Chris Humphrey is heading to Canada with Jamaica for one match, whilst Scott Wiseman has been called up by Gibraltar for their first even European Championship qualifying match against Poland.

Chris Humphrey.
Chris Humphrey. Credit: PA

Andy Little is on the Northern Ireland standby list and it is expected that several of the younger players in manager Simon Grayson’s first team plans will be called up in the coming days for their respective nations and age groups.

No date has been announced for the rescheduled fixture as of yet and this will be announced as soon as it is confirmed.

Andy Little.
Andy Little. Credit: PA

Blackburn's Jordan Rhodes targeted by Hull

Jordan Rhodes
Jordan Rhodes. Credit: PA

Blackburn manager Gary Bowyer says Hull have made a bid for prolific striker Jordan Rhodes.

The 24-year-old Scotland international, who scored 25 goals for Rovers in the Sky Bet Championship last season, has been targeted by Tigers boss Steve Bruce to replace Shane Long following his recent move to Southampton.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference on Thursday lunchtime, Bowyer said: "There has been an enquiry which has been taken to the board and the owners and that's as much as I know."

Rhodes is expected to be involved in Rovers' clash with Bournemouth on Saturday.

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Balotelli "says goodbye" to Milan

Statement on Milan's website.
Statement on Milan's website.

Milan said on their website on Thursday afternoon that Balotelli had bid farewell to his team-mates before leaving training.

The statement on the club's website read: "Mario Balotelli left Milanello's sporting centre at 13.30 (local time), after saying goodbye to his team-mates. "Before leaving the premises, the striker has said goodbye to members of Milan's press office."

Panda cubs born at Chester Zoo

A Red Panda in it's keeper's arms.
A Red Panda in it's keeper's arms. Credit: Chester Zoo

A pair of rare red panda cubs have been born at Chester Zoo.

The cubs - and their mother - have been given the once over by keepers and alls well.

News of their birth broke when keepers were alerted to their arrival after hearing “little squeaks” from a nest box.

The twins, a boy and a girl, were born to first-time mum Nima and dad Jung but keepers have only now been able to get a good look at them for the first time.

New mum, Nima.
New mum, Nima. Credit: Chester Zoo

“Our two cubs are in very good shape.

"They’re big and strong with very thick fur - our male weighed in at just under 1kg and our female 842g.

"We’re really pleased with how well they’re doing and, as soon as we had given them a health check, we popped them back into their nest.

"It’ll be several weeks until they start to emerge and explore.”

– Maxine Bradley, keeper at Chester Zoo
One of the Red Panda cub twins.
One of the Red Panda cub twins. Credit: Chester Zoo

Red pandas, whose scientific name Ailurus fulgens means ‘brilliant cat’, are native to the steep forested slopes of the Himalayas.

They are a one-of-a-kind in the animal kingdom as they have no close living relatives. Conservation experts have listed them as endangered in the wild, as they are threatened by poaching and shrinking habitat.

Red Panda dad Jung.
Red Panda dad Jung. Credit: Chester Zoo
Red Panda cub.
Red Panda cub. Credit: Chester Zoo

Watch the panda parents below:

Successes in Manchester despite results dip

Students reading their results.
Students reading their results. Credit: PA

Provisional results for GCSE results in Manchester show that 51 per cent of students achieved five or more GCSE grades A*- C including English and maths.

The figures show a slight dip from last year’s overall results of 53 per cent, in line with a national drop in English grades after changes to the way the subject is taught as well as warnings about ‘volatility’ in the results following an overhaul of the exam system.

Despite this, schools across the city have achieved impressive results.

Wright Robinson Sports College in Gorton was the most improved in Manchester, with 63.1 per cent of pupils achieving five or more A* to C grades including English and maths – an increase from 44.2 per cent last year.

The results – the best in the school’s history – are above the national average, and one in four GCSEs in the school was either an A* or an A.

"We are so proud of our students who worked incredibly hard to achieve these amazing results.

"They completely committed to our work regime and spent many hours preparing for their examinations, it is so heartening that their effort has paid off.

"I would like to thank all their families who have offered us such loyal support and our wonderful staff whose dedication to the students of Wythenshawe is inspiring."

– James Eldon, principal of Manchester Enterprise Academy

Chorlton High School celebrated its best ever GCSE results, with 66.8 per cent of students achieving five or more A* to C grades including English and maths – up from 65.6 per cent last year.

A total of 39 pupils achieved eight or more grade A or A* results, and 71 per cent of girls achieving five A* to C grades including English and maths, with 202 pupils achieving at least one A or A*.

King David High School in Crumpsall was the highest achieving school in the city and also saw an increase in their results, with 95.7 per cent of pupils achieving five or more A* to C grades including English and maths – up from 88.3 per cent last year.

William Hulme’s Grammar School Academy was the second highest achieving school, with 71.8 per cent of pupils achieving five or more A* to C grades including English and maths – slightly down from last year’s figure of 74.4 per cent.

"This is the first year of results after the government made significant changes to the way in which GCSEs are examined, and so a slight change in results was always expected.

"But despite all of these changes, pupils across the city have achieved excellent results, which I think says a great deal about the dedication, commitment and talent of both the teaching staff and the young people we have here in Manchester.

"I am confident that these pupils will now feel motivated to use their GCSEs to go on and achieve even more success with A-levels, further studies, apprenticeships and employment, and to continue to make a great contribution to our city with whatever they choose to do."

– Councillor Bernard Priest, Manchester City Council’s deputy leader.
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