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Grinding to a halt - rail dispute hits rural communities

Rail bosses went to the High Court today to try to stop train drivers on Southern going on strike next week.

Members of ASLEF are due to walk out on Tuesday, bringing the service to a complete standstill.

The rail company claims the action breaks European law.

Meanwhile, the effects of the long-running dispute are being most keenly felt in some of our rural communities, as Malcolm Shaw reports.

"Put to bed too early," says former HMS Illustrious worker

One of the Royal Navy's longest serving ships set off on her final voyage this morning from Portsmouth.

The former HMS Illustrious is headed for a scrapyard in Turkey. Hundreds of onlookers gathered for the send off. The de-commissioned aircraft carrier served in conflict zones including the Falkands, the Gulf and Sierra Leone.

Former HMS Illustrious worker, Steve Jollands, talks to ITV News Meridian:

See ITV footage of her final voyage from Portsmouth:

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Medical errors contributed to woman's death

Errors by staff at Maidstone Hospital contributed to the death of a patient from dehydration.

Those are the findings of a coroner at the inquest of Edna Thompson who was admitted to the hospital with a severe eye condition. The coroner said a continued use of a drug led to Mrs Thompson to becoming severely dehydrated. The 85-year-old died from kidney failure as a result.

The Trust running Maidstone Hospital has apologised and says patient care has improved and better systems are now in place.

Edna's daughters Ann Brown & Sue Ealding talk about their sadness:

We are very sorry that Mrs Thompson did not receive the high standards of care we would expect at our hospital and we offer our deepest condolences to her family and friends.

Whilst nothing we can say or do can change the outcome, we have thoroughly investigated the care and treatment she received. As a result, we have implemented a number of improvements to our systems and processes to improve patient care.”

– A spokesperson for the Trust

Here is the full report by Tom Savvides with reaction from Edna Thompson's daughters, Ann Brown and Sue Ealding.

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Police hunt: Man sexually assaulted in park

Credit: PA

Police are asking witnesses to come forward after a man in his 40s was sexually assaulted in Kent.

The serious sexual assault happened on a recreation ground off Cumberland Avenue in the Shepway area of Maidstone, between 7pm and 8.24pm on Tuesday 6th December.

Officers would like to speak to a group of men were in the area at the time.

They also want to hear from the man and a woman who offered to help the victim, as he walked past some shops in Deringwood Drive, Downswood, after the attack. They had been walking a small white dog.

Anyone with information - or who was in the area at the time - should contact Kent Police on 01622 604100 quoting YY/027435/16.

Delays for rail passengers after signalling power cut

Credit: ITV News Meridian

Rail passengers are facing lengthy delays this morning following a power cut at Basingstoke's signalling centre.

South West Trains trains across Farnborough and Basingstoke are affected, with major disruption to the services.

SWT has apologised to passengers and advised a National Grid power failure is the cause of the problems. A SWT spokesperson said their engineers have worked overnight to fix the "extensive damage" caused by the power cut and the majority of the signalling equipment had been fixed early this morning:

Services between London Waterloo, Bournemouth and Weymouth will remain significantly disrupted for some time.

We are not able to run trains between Bournemouth and Weymouth at this time, and our engineers are still working on a estimate for the repairs to these systems.

A number of buses are in place and running between Weymouth and Poole, however, these are not running to a timetable at this time. You may face a significant wait for replacement transport to arrive. We are attempting to source more buses, and will work to arrange a timetabled service so that you are able to plan your journey more effectively.

– Spokesperson, South West Trains
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