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Redgrave and Grainger back cancer rowing challenge

Chris Spencer and his Great Thames Row team (Dan Bartlett, Rob Coleman, Roger Spencer and Paul Prentice) with Katherine Grainger and Sir Steve Redgrave Credit: Everyone Active

Olympic gold medallist rowers Sir Steve Redgrave and Katherine Grainger CBE stepped out this morning at Maidenhead Rowing Club to show support to cancer survivor Chris Spencer, 48, who is rowing the length of the Thames to raise awareness of leukaemia and the Anthony Nolan charity.

A general manager for the Everyone Active leisure operator, Chris has had two bone marrow transplants – the most recent just 10 months ago. He says Anthony Nolan saved his life and now it’s ‘payback time’ so Chris set himself the task of rowing 150 miles in 3.5 days to raise awareness and funds for the charity.

Sir Steve Redgrave and Katherine Grainger CBE met Chris at Maidenhead Rowing Club in Berkshire earlier today to lend their support and encouragement to him and his team before sending them on their way to complete their challenge.

He will finish in London at midday tomorrow.

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Runners prepare for this year's Maidenhead half marathon

Thousands of runners are lining up in Maidenhead ready for this year's half marathon.

The route will start and finish in Maidenhead town centre and take a scenic route through the surrounding areas.

Runners in the 2011 inaugural race keep their race number for the future of the race. Once they have run the race five consecutive times their number will change to gold indicate their achievement to all.

Bitcoin blackmail letters threaten abuse rumours

The first 'Bitcoin House' opened in Paris last month Credit: Press Association Images

Blackmail letters have been received by residents in the Thames Valley, demanding they buy bitcoins – a type of cyber currency – from a specific account. The letters threaten they will spread rumours about them being a paedophile if they do not.

Four people have received these letters in Maidenhead in the past few days and two people have received similar letters in High Wycombe. Officers from Thames Valley Police believe the letters may be linked.

Det Sgt Peter Wall from Force CID Maidenhead said: 'Do not be alarmed if you receive a letter like this. Our advice is to try not to touch the letter too much so that it can be preserved for forensic examination and then call 101. Do not respond to the letter or purchase any of the bitcoins.'

Two men convicted of sexual assault on teenage girl

Two men have been convicted of sexual offences against a teenage girl, whilst another was found guilty of intending to pervert the course of justice.

Mustafa Ahmed, aged 26 from London, pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault.

Bilal Ahmed, aged 27 and from Maidenhead, was convicted by a jury of one count of sexual assault by penetration.

Another man, Zeeshan Ahmed, aged 28 and from Oxford, was also convicted of one count of doing an at intending to pervert the course of justice.

Bilal Ahmed was convicted of one count of sexual assault by penetration Credit: Thames Valley Police

Bilal and Mustafa sexually assaulted a 17-year-old girl at a property in Cowley Road in Oxford back in December 2011.

Both men were arrested late last year, as part of the ongoing Operation Bullfinch investigation into child sexual exploitation.

Zeeshan, the cousin of Bilal, threatened the victim when he heard the allegations and told her she would be shot if she did not stop talking to the police.

The Senior Investigating Officer of Operation Bullfinch Det Supt Joe Kidman said, "I would like to commend the courage of this brave young woman who gave evidence against the men who committed these serious sexual assaults on her when she as a child."

Mustafa Ahmed pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault Credit: Thames Valley Police

"As an investigation team we are pleased to see offenders put behind bars and so reduce the risk to young people."

The trial at Oxford Crown Court has been lasted two and a half weeks.

The men will be sentenced at court later this afternoon.

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Woman formally identified

A woman whose body was found at a property in Maidenhead on 21st March 2014, has been formally identified as Alison Taylor, aged 41.

Officers were called to a property in Mulberry Walk, Maidenhead where they discovered the body.

A post-mortem examination was carried out but proved inconclusive, so toxicology tests have been requested by the pathologist.

Thames Valley Police is continuing to treat the death as unexplained at this stage of the investigation.

Tributes to woman found dead in Berkshire

A woman found dead at the home where she cared for her disabled husband has been described as a "wonderful mother and grandmother."

Neighbours and friends said Alison Taylor - who had four grown-up children - was part of a big 'loving family'.

Alison Taylor was found dead at her home in Maidenhead Credit: INS

Her body was discovered at her home in Mulberry Walk in Maidenhead. She was just 41. Thames Valley Police say her death is unexplained. Officers remain at the scene.

Alison Taylor was found dead at her home in Maidenhead Credit: INS

Post-morten results were "inconclusive"

A post-mortem exam has been carried out after a woman’s body was found at a property in Berkshire.

Officers were called to Mulberry Walk, Maidenhead on Friday where they discovered the body of a 41-year-old woman.

The post-mortem exam was inconclusive, so the pathologist has ordered toxicology tests.

Formal identification of the woman is yet to take place.

A 42-year-old man arrested on suspicion of murder is still being questioned.

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