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Reading twins speak of award winning science research

Two Berkshire teenagers are encouraging girls to take up science, after recently scooping the prestigious, Young Scientist of the Year award.

The girls, who happen to be twins, beat off hundreds of other hopefuls to win the crown, by developing a tool to diagnose the early stages of cancer. As Asana Greenstreet reports, it's been twice the excitement for teachers and pupils at the Abbey School in Reading.

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Serious sexual offences lands man over 7 years in jail

A man from Sandhurst has been sentenced to seven and a half years in prison for serious sexual offences against children.

StevenPurchase, aged 36, was found guilty at Reading Crown Court of one count of causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity.

He had previously pleaded guilty to three counts of making indecent images of children.

He will be required to register on the Sex Offenders Register for life.

Investigating officer, Detective Inspector Andy Howard of theChild Abuse Investigation Unit said, "This is a significant sentence which reflects the seriousness of Purchase's actions and he will rightly now spend a number of years in prison."

Steven Purchase, aged 36, will spend the next seven and a half years of his life in prison Credit: Thames Valley Police

Repairs given go-ahead for Grade Two listed church

The Grade II-listed wall of Reading's St Laurence Church which has been propped up with scaffolding for three decades will be repaired. The Borough Council's planning committee approved plans to demolish and rebuild five sections of the wall and rebuild them on new concrete foundations.

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Repairs will be carried out on St Laurence Church in Reading Credit: ITV Meridian

Plans have been approved to demolish five sections of the wall and rebuild them on new concrete foundations where necessary and reusing existing bricks. The work programme has been backed by English Heritage, but must be approved by Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles.

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Repairs will be carried out on St Laurence Church in Reading Credit: ITV Meridian

The wall is the retaining wall of St Laurence Churchyard. The churchyard is now closed but had been conducting burials for hundreds of years. The borough council has responsibility for maintaining 'closed' churchyards.

The church is a Grade I-listed Norman building and any work will have to take account of the archaeology of the site, the sensitivity of dealing with human remains and the preservation of the trees.

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Repairs will be carried out on St Laurence Church in Reading Credit: ITV Meridian

The wall was built in the mid-16th Century at the request of Queen Mary to enlarge the churchyard. It has medieval flint facing with repairs from the 16th, 18th, 19th and 20th Centuries.

A band of 19th Century brickwork contrasts with the older sections beneath. A tree fell last winter and damaged part of the wall near the gateway. The wall forms a key part of the Abbey Quarter Project which is the subject of a second Heritage Lottery bid after the first one failed.

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Repairs will be carried out on St Laurence Church in Reading Credit: ITV Meridian

But the wall is to be repaired using cash from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund because its repair will open up an important town centre pavement which is currently unusable.

Changes to bus services in Reading

Changes to some Reading Buses services are open to consultation until April 28. The company is requesting feedback of views on the planned changes which will affect services north of the Thames.

These changes will also have implications for residents in Burghfield, Mortimer and along the Bath Road in Reading. They will come into effect on July 7.

The company has said that the changes are largely positive and all changes are either to help reliability or reflect the number of people travelling on each route.

Caversham area routes have held steady now for some while, but it’s now time to make a few adjustments to keep up with developments. These proposals will help us to align service levels with demand, particularly on Sundays. Meanwhile, the splitting of the long cross-town route from Peppard Common to Mortimer has become inevitable to avoid congestion around Reading Bridge affecting the southern end of the route.”

– James Freeman, Reading Buses Chief Executive Officer

England hockey match points to an exciting summer

by Mel Bloor

Hundreds of hockey fans were in Reading last night to watch the England men's side take on Ireland in the Nations Cup. England were victorious by 3 goals to nil and as Mel Bloor reports, the game marks the start of preparations for an exciting summer of hockey.

The interviewees are: Simon Mantell, England & Reading Forward; Ashley Jackson England & East Grinstead Midfielder; and Bobby Crutchley, England Head Coach.

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Street in Reading to be named after WW1 hero

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A street in Reading will be named after Trooper Fred Potts Credit: ITV Meridian

A street in Berkshire will be named after a World War One hero later. Trooper - Fred Potts is the only person from Reading to be awarded the Victoria Cross. Known as the hero with the shovel, he won the medal in 1915 for rescuing a comrade in Turkey.

Trooper Potts Way - will be unveiled opposite Reading Railway Station later today. It comes on the day an exhibition 'Reading at War' opens at the town's museum.

16-year-old girl missing for more than a week

Ashleigh Lewendon was last seen on Friday 21st March Credit: Thames Valley Police

Thames Valley Police is appealing for the public’s help in tracing a missing person from Reading.

Ashleigh Lewendon, aged 16, was last seen on Friday 21st March at a property in Radstock Road, at around 9.55pm.

Ashleigh is white, 5ft 1ins, with long red hair, of slim build, with blue eyes and has a piercing in the centre of her bottom lip. Ashleigh has links to the Reading area.

If you have seen Ashleigh or have any information about her whereabouts please call the 24-hour Thames Valley Police enquiry centre on 101 quoting URN 1674 21/3.

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