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Hottest day of the year enjoyed in the South

It's been hotter in the south than Istanbul and the Canary Islands today - as the region basks in a heatwave that's set to last the rest of the week. The mercury hit - 32 degrees - at Heathrow Airport today. And we saw 30 degrees in parts of Sussex and Hampshire. But the sunshine comes with a health warning. The young, the old, and pregnant women are being warned to avoid the midday sun - and keep hydrated. Mary Stanley reports on how the South has been trying to keep cool.

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Temperatures soar in the South East

The South East has basked in the hottest day of the year so far and the scorching sun is set to keep temperatures some 10 degrees above the average for this time of year.

There are concerns about the elderly - and other vulnerable people in the heat and UV levels are reaching as high as Cyprus and Gibraltar.

But this heatwave is great news for the Kent and Sussex tourist trade.

Abigail Bracken visited Margate earlier today.

Hungry pandas call for extra bamboo at zoo

Zoo keepers in Sussex are urgently asking gardeners to give them food for their pandas.

The red pandas, like Mulan, can eat up to two kilograms of bamboo a day - and supplies at Drusillas Park in Alfriston are currently running low.

The animals originate from the Himalayan mountains of China, India and Nepal. Mulan and her partner Anmar's diet consists almost entirely of the plant. We hear from head keeper Mark Kenward.

World record attempt: 80ft sculpture has 7,000 balloons

Sculpture in Winchester depicts man fishing and he's caught one! Credit: Ben Field

An attempt to break the world record for the largest balloon sculpture has been completed at a shopping centre in Winchester.

It's taken sculptor, Ben Field, 10 days and seven thousand balloons to create the 80 foot balloon waterfall at The Brooks shopping centre. It will remain there until the end of the month.

The sculpture decorates a shopping centre in Hampshire
Balloon sculpture shows man with a fishing rod Credit: Ben Field

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Fred shows off his jumping skills!

Now our Fred is a man of many talents, but not many know his jumping skills would give Skippy the bush kanagaroo a run for his money.

Watch as he shares all he knows with a class of pre-schoolers from Hambledon taking part in Peppa Pig’s Muddy Puddle Walk for Save the Children.

We are thrilled that the children at Hambledon Pre-School took part in their very own Muddy Puddle Walk! It’s fantastic to have the support of Fred Dinenage too. By jumping in muddy puddles like Peppa Pig and raising money for Save the Children – they will help the world’s most vulnerable children to have a brighter future.

– Vicky Fallon, Save the Children

Summer must be here - first cygnet born

First cygnet at Abbotsbury Credit: Abbotsbury Swannery

The first cygnets of 2017 have hatched at Abbotsbury Swannery - legend has it that the arrival of the first bird marks the start of summer.

This year there are around 100 nests at the site in Dorset and with each swan laying on average six eggs, hundreds of fluffy cygnets will emerge over the next six weeks.

The sight of the newly-hatched baby swans is good news for the Swannery, after an outbreak of bird flu in January.

First Cygnet born Credit: Abbotsbury Swannery

It has been wonderful to see such a good number of pairs nesting.

It was largely the younger birds which were affected by avian flu, so the number of breeding pairs have been relatively unaffected.

The swans usually mate for life and we get to know each couple.

– Swanherd Steve Groves

The Swannery is the only place in the world where visitors can walk through a colony of mute swans, see cygnets hatching and learning to swim and participate in mass feedings.

The swans lay their eggs at two day intervals and hatching takes place 35 days after the final egg of the clutch has been laid.

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