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Oxford opens its first ever gin distillery

Credit: ITV Meridian

Once dismissed as an old fashioned drink, gin has seen an extraordinary rebirth in recent years with sales rocketing in bars and supermarkets alike.

Last year, 40 million bottles were sold in Britain - that's enough to make more than one billion gin and tonics.

Credit: ITV Meridian

Its surge in popularity has led to a dramatic rise in the number of gin makers setting up business.

Bombay Sapphire opened its distillery in Whitchurch three years ago and now Oxford has its first ever distillery.

Mel Bloor went along to find out more.

Mel spoke to Tom Nicolson, Founder of The Oxford Artisan Distillery, George Bennett from Sandy Lane Farm and Master Distiller, Cory Mason.

Story of fire at Hastings Pier - 100 years ago today - retold

One hundred years ago Hastings Pier was ravaged by fire, almost a century before the 2010 blaze which devastated the Victorian structure.

Today the story of the 1917 fire is being retold - while the new pier goes from strength to strength.

Andy Dickenson reports and speaks to historian Dr Chris Kempshall and Jo Stewart from the Hastings Pier Charity.

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  1. Phil Hornby

The Last Word, July 2017

Her first twelve months. Anniversaries are supposed to be happy events. But Theresa May admitted today that as she neared the end of her first year as PM, she shed a tear or two. It wasn't the election result she expected - and to be fair to the Maidenhead MP - it wasn't the election result the pollsters, or anyone else, predicted either.

Theresa May Credit: ITV

So will there be another anniversary to celebrate ? Or, as we enter the dog days of high summer, will these next few weeks see the end of her premiership? To debate that, and the never-ending troubles on Southern Rail, three Sussex MPs :-

  • Lloyd Russell-Moyle, the new Labour MP for Brighton Kemptown
  • Gillian Keegan, the new Tory MP for Chichester, and
  • Stephen Lloyd, the new (and old) MP for Eastbourne

We ask voters in central Brighton to score her out of ten. And one MP who lost her seat tells us where the "nightmare" of last month's election began.

And would this cause Mrs May to shed a few more tears? We look at the increasingly vicious way cartoonists are depicting the latest inhabitant of No 10. One expert who has surveyed the satirists for the last fifty years and more, tells us why the Prime Minister is drawn the way she is.

Thousands attend Lexicon development job fair

The Lexicon development in Bracknell is one of the Thames Valley's biggest ever regenerations and thousands of people went along to the job fair to see if they could be part of it.

It is hoped it will create a new heart in the previously run down town centre.

It will include new shops, restaurants and a 12 screen cinema and is set to open to the public in September.

Construction on the £240 million project began in March 2015.

The firm behind the development have promised the creation of thousands of new positions.

Our reporter Mel Bloor went along to meet some of the jobseekers.

Mel spoke to Simon Russian from the Bracknell Regeneration Partnership.

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Education policies a controversial topic in General Election run-up

Parents all want the most promising future for their children. But which policies will ensure that they get the very best education? Free childcare hours, free school meals or free schools and grammars?

In the second of two reports, Christine Alsford looks at the proposals from the politicians during this election campaign that are giving parents food for thought.

Watch Christine's first report here.

Christine Alsford spoke to campaigners Sarah Shilling, Simon Werner and Jo Smith.

Christine's report contains archive footage from 1950.

Protest urges Church to divest from ExxonMobil

Fawley Refinery Credit: ITV Meridian

There is to be a protest outside Fawley Refinery as the Church of England is urged to divest from the company.

A coalition of faith and non-faith groups will be demonstrating there this morning before gathering for a vigil outside Salisbury Cathedral this afternoon.

A letter will be handed to the office of the Bishop of Salisbury requesting that the Church divests from ExxonMobil.

They say the Church should cut its ties with the refinery as a vote is taken in America on climate change.

Southampton Airport reveals expansion plans

Southampton Airport Credit: ITV Meridian

Southampton Airport says it plans to expand its terminal in order to double the number of passengers who use it.

It says with Heathrow and Gatwick filling up fast it is natural for the south coast airport to grow.

The news comes as the airport reveals it is now being used by a record 2 million passengers a year.

It says it will announce its full expansion plans later in the year, with no current plans for another runway.

Mike Pearse reports.

Dave Lees, Managing Director, Southampton Airport

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