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  1. David Johns (@DavidJohns_itv)

Recovery efforts begin for stricken train

A train operator has come under fire after two carriages derailed - an hour after it was warned a herd of cows had got onto the line.

It happened at Godmersham, midway between Ashford International Station and Canterbury West, just after half past nine yesterday evening

No-one was injured and the line is likely to remain closed for several days. David Johns reports, speaking to passenger Vince Stevenson, eyewitness David Goodenough; the Managing Director of Southeastern, David Statham; and local resident Stephen Taylor.

Pup wins award for helping family of injured veteran

A Spaniel pup from Salisbury has won a national dog competition for helping a family deal with a life-changing tragedy.

The Sprocker Spaniel was nominated by Gavin Harvey who lost both his legs while serving in Afghanistan because he kept the family together during the tough months.

As part of his reward for winning, the friendly dog will have a dedicated spot at the Lego Windsor Resort.

“There’s so much physically that we can’t do together as a family with Gavin’s injuries and we thought having a dog could help us get more active. A year later, it’s undoubtedly worked wonders for us. We walk Sully together regularly and he is a wonderful stress reliever and calming influence for all of us when we might be having a bad day.

One of Ella’s favourite things is climbing up on to her dad’s wheelchair with Sully for cuddles. He’s undeniably helped us and the bond between Sully and Ella is quite extraordinary; he really is her best friend.”

– Ella’s mum Kerry
The family including Sully will visit the Resort to unveil his LEGO model at the end of August Credit: Legoland

In a recent survey, LEGOLAND Windsor Resort found there was an unbreakable bond between children and their pets, with one in six saying their animals were better friends than their human buddies.

Sully was named the ultimate Best Furry Friend in a Facebook poll.

We wanted to celebrate the special relationship between young girls and their pets so searched to find the nation’s favourite BFF (Best Furry Friend) and immortalise them in LEGO for all of our guests to meet. Ella and Sully were clear winners on our Facebook poll so we are looking forward to Sully meeting LEGO Sully later this summer.”

– LEGOLAND Windsor Resort’s, PR Manager, Lauren Moss

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Seal rescued after being spotted in distress

A seal has been rescued after being spotted in distress near a harbour.

Teams from East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service were called to reports of an emaciated seal near the Boardwalk at Sovereign Harbour in Eastbourne. Members of the public reported seeing a small thin seal on the beach and were worried about it being washed out to sea.

Rescued Seal Credit: East Sussex Wildlife Rescue

After spending some time walking the shore, rescuers spotted the seal. It was being tossed in the surf and trying to come ashore. Rescuers attempted to contain the seal and at one point even ended up in the sea but sadly the seal disappeared.

It was very frustrating as the seal clearly was too weak to climb up the shingle out of the surf, and kept returning to the water. We just couldn’t get close enough quickly enough to catch the seal.

– Trevor Weeks, East Sussex Wildlife Rescue

After monitoring the shore for a while, rescuers left disheartened fearing the worse. After returning to WRAS's Casualty Centre the rescue phone rang again and the seal had been spotted just inside the harbour on the shingle.

Rescuers returned and were able to track down the seal. It was then examined on the beach and found to be very underweight and very cold. The seal was then transported to RSPCA Mallydams Wood in Hastings, where it is being given specialist care.

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Seagull attacks: 'Don't feed them and they won't be a problem'

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has spoken out about managing seagulls, with numerous complaints being made about the birds' aggressive behaviour in Brighton.

A spokesperson for the animal charity said: "If we feed gulls they will grow more confident, they will learn that we are a source of food. They will not then distinguish between food offered and people simply walking around carrying food, cafe tables outdoors and the like."

Seagulls at Hove seafront Credit: PA

Brighton and Hove City Council have already said that culling the birds, which are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, might not be an option.

It is working on ensuring food waste is properly disposed of to avoid attracting the birds to control the population.

Credit: PA

In a statement, the council said: "Nuisance alone is not considered to be a reasonable justification for culling."

Despite the population of the birds declining in coastal areas, they are continuing to "do well" in urban areas, according to the RSPB.

The charity said: "Councils who have identified gulls as a nuisance would be right not to encourage feeding. And, to be honest, a diet entirely of chips and ice cream probably isn't giving the birds their five a day!"

Complaints about seagull numbers in Brighton

There have been complaints about seagulls throughout the region Credit: ITV

A seagull cull in Brighton and Hove may not be an option for controlling the large numbers in the city. That's according to the council which receives numerous reports about the birds. Seagulls are frequently criticised for swooping down to take food, and have gained a reputation for aggravating people. The local authority is trying to stop them nesting.

Southampton University tries to save the Tasmanian Devil

The Tasmanian Devil is under threat Credit: Southampton University

New research, led by University of Southampton biological scientist Dr Hannah Siddle, is aiming to develop an effective vaccine against an infectious cancer that is eradicating the Tasmanian Devil, the world’s largest remaining marsupial carnivore.

Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) is a rare contagious facial tumour, which emerged in a single Tasmanian Devil more than 18 years ago.

The tumour cells pass between individuals during biting behaviour and tumours form predominantly around the face and neck, grow rapidly and cause close to 100 per cent mortality. What began with one individual has now spread rapidly throughout the population of 'Devils' in Tasmania, killing almost all the animals and threatening survival of the species in the wild.

Thanks to £183,759 funding from the Leverhulme Trust to the University, Dr Siddle will lead a three-year research project to understand how the disease moves between the animals and then use this information to design a vaccine against the tumour.

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