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More firefighters needed in Selsey

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Selsey firefighters are hoping to boost their numbers and welcome potential new recruits when they hold an informal drop-in event at the town’s Fire Station this weekend.

The station, which is crewed 24/7 by retained ‘on-call’ firefighters, will be opening its doors between 10:30-3pm on Saturday.

A shortage of retained firefighters often means that the fire engine can’t be crewed for emergencies in the town, with cover having to be provided from nearby stations like Chichester.

“The shortage of retained firefighters is a long running national issue for the Fire & Rescue Service, it’s not just West Sussex or specifically here in Selsey,” says Station Manager Stuart Beddoe, “but being on the peninsular does create specific local considerations, including significantly limiting our catchment area for potential recruits.

“Our crews here now do a fantastic job and give tremendous service to their local community with the hours they give ‘on-call’, but we desperately need more of them. Selsey’s firefighters, like most of our other retained staff, go ‘over and above’ to try and keep their appliances available, but with numbers spread so thinly it leaves gaps in the cover they can provide.

“We currently have 11 crew members at Selsey who give cover at different times of the day or week, but ideally we need to boost that by another 4-5 firefighters to help maintain a crew of 4 enabling us to mobilise the fire engine at all times.”

Travel update: Southeastern services being diverted

Services being diverted to London Victoria or Blackfriars on Southeastern between Orpington and London Bridge due to derailed freight train at Lewisham. Tickets being accepted on London Buses, London Underground and DLR services.

Trains are currently unable to run between Orpington and London Bridge via Lewisham and will be diverted where possible

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Police looking for a vulnerable man

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Surrey Police is appealing for help in finding a vulnerable man who went missing from Chilworth at around 7pm yesterday.

Officers are very concerned for the welfare of Adrian Hall, 49, who is described as white, 5 foot 9 or 5 foot 10 in height, of medium build with a shaved head (grey around the sides). When he went missing he was wearing blue jeans, black Adidas trainers and a grey woollen cardigan.

He is believed to have links to Weybridge and Farnborough.

Natural heritage given a boost from lottery funding

Kent's natural heritage will see a generous boost from the National Lottery.

The grant has given £3.65million to three projects that aim to raise awareness of Kent's marine habitats, coastal areas of the Romney Marshes, and threatened inland chalk grassland habitats.

Funds will be split between; Guardians of the Deep and The Fifth Continent - Romney Marsh Landscape Partnership, both run by the Kent Wildlife Trust, and the Old Chalk New Downs Project, to be run by Kent County Council.

"Thanks to National Lottery players, local communities and organisations will be able to discover, care for and protect these environments, and carry out vitally important work that may otherwise not be possible."

– Stuart McLeod, Head of HLF South East

"The OCND project will see key downland grassland habitats restored and links made to improve their quality, which will benefit not only the protection of species but also re-connect people with their local landscape."

– Matthew Balfour, Kent County Council

Rare Titanic life jacket to go on display in Southampton

A rare lifejacket from the Titanic is due to go on show at the SeaCity museum in Southampton.

The jacket was likely to have been worn by one of the survivors of the ship's sinking, who was then rescued by the RMS Carpathia.

Most items from the Titanic, including lifejackets, were supposed to be destroyed when the Carpathia arrived in New York, but some were taken by locals as mementoes of the tragedy.

Cervical cancer screening at 19 year low

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Every day nine women in the UK are diagnosed with cervical cancer, with 5,000 women diagnosed every year.

Despite this, Brighton and Hove has the lowest rate in the South East for cervical cancer screening.

The NHS says tests are at a 19 year low.

The numbers of women aged between 25-29 not taking up the free screening is the lowest of any age group.

It is the most common cancer in women under 35 years of age.

It is largely preventable due to cervical screening and the HPV vaccination programme.

Surveys by cancer charities suggest embarrassment and a lack of understanding could be the reasons behind the fall in numbers attending screening.

However, the number of deaths due to cervical cancer has halved over the past 28 years as treatment improves.

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"I never missed a smear test and all my previous tests had been normal, so I had no expectations of anything being wrong. I didn't have any symptoms and was healthy, happy and very fit. The cancer was extensive and eventually I had to have a hysterectomy. I would urge women to make sure they go along for their smear test when they get an invitation - the sooner anything is picked up the sooner it can be treated."

– Lucy Levasseur, Nurse

"It is really important for young women to understand the importance of attending cervical screening as it can detect pre-cancer abnormalities, which, if left untreated, may develop into cancer. Screening is for people without symptoms as a preventative measure. "

"The screening test is relatively simple, takes about 5 minutes and is performed by the practice nurse at your GP surgery. 95% of results will be normal and of those that are not, the vast majority can be treated very easily and will never develop in to cancer."

– Dr Alison Taylor, GP & NHS England Deputy Medical Director for the South East

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'Who represents us' - passengers anger at MPs over rail strikes

Empty benches at the commons on Friday

Today conductors with the RMT union went on strike for 24 hours.

Further action by ASLEF - and the train drivers - has been called off this week while talks continue.

On Friday, Sussex MP Maria Caulfield held a special debate in the Commons to discuss Southern Rail service.

But there weren't many MPs in attendance.

On Twitter, there were a number of tweets from passengers asking where their MPs were during Mrs Caulfield's statement.

Phil Hornby reports.

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