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Army place sandbags in Reading in bid to stop floods

Sandbags have been placed along Kennet in Southcote, Reading by the Army in a bid to stop the rising water in the area.

The Army also helped remove a fallen tree blocking access to an area where they wanted to place sandbags.

Pictures: Before and after - British towns transformed by flooding

Reading MP hits out at 'flood tourist' Ed Miliband

The Conservative MP for Reading West has condemned a visit to the area by Labour leader Ed Miliband describing it as a "photo opportunity".

Alok Sharma is seen asking Mr Miliband "why are you actually here?" in a video on local news website Get Reading.

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Purley resident's reaction to @ed_miliband visit: "totally pointless visit from a westminster flood tourist of no use to local people"

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@jameschappers I can tell you local residents were underwhelmed by @ed_miliband visit, was described as a "Westminster flood tourist"

Watch: Ed Miliband gets 'angry reaction' from flood victims

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Army Reserve work to ease flooding at substation

An Army Reservist says flooding at a substation near Reading could have led to it going "out of business" had fire pumps not worked to remove water yesterday.

"The water was just below the door threshold," Major Mike Scott-Hyde from 7th Battalion, The Rifles told ITV News.

Army Reserves have been sandbagging a tributary near Pingewood Power Station today.

"The water that's overflowing from the canal is adding to the water that's already down at that substation," Major Scott-Hyde said.

"If we can try and stem that flow then the amount of pumping they have to do will be reduced to enable the substation to carry on functioning."

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Special arrival at funeral of creator of Thunderbirds

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A replica of Lady Penelope's pink Rolls Royce has arrived at the service. Credit: ITV Meridian

The funeral is taking place today of Thunderbirds creator Gerry Anderson.

Mourners have gathered in Caversham to pay tribute to Mr Anderson who died at the age of 83-year-old last month.

A replica of Lady Penelope's pink Rolls Royce has arrived at the service.

Dead woman's injuries 'consistent with a fall from height'

The woman was found at the bottom of a fire escape stairwell in the early hours of Saturday at Reading's Madejski Stadium, police said. Credit: PA Wire

A 22-year-old woman found dead following a Christmas party at a Premier League football ground died from head injuries consistent with a fall from height, police said.

Detective Inspector Phil O'Neil said: "We are continuing to treat the woman's death as unexplained and are progressing a number of lines of inquiry in order to fully understand the circumstances surrounding this tragic incident.

"Inquiries such as this can take some time but we are keeping the woman's family fully informed of our progress."

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When Santa got stuck on a zip wire

Santa was left red-faced and hanging from his beard as he attempted a grand entrance at a Reading shopping centre.

A soldier helped Santa untangle his beard from the zip wire. Credit: ITV Meridian/Sangeeta Bhabra

Father Christmas zip-wired from the roof of the Broad Street Mall this weekend to turn on the centre's festive lights but had to be cut free by a soldier when his beard became caught in the wire. For more on this story visit ITV Merdian.

Remember when Mayor of London Boris Johnson had his own problems with a zip wire? Watch the video again here.

Literacy experts: Reading test 'costly and unnecessary'

The UK Literacy Association says the test is unnecessary. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Literacy experts have warned the Government's controversial new reading test for six-year-olds is "costly, time-consuming and unnecessary".

It labels good readers as failures and risks holding some youngsters back, the UK Literacy Association (UKLA) said of the the compulsory phonics check.

Evidence shows the test is not appropriate for all children and the UKLA recommended that in future, rather than being mandatory for all youngsters, it is used at a teacher's discretion.

The new phonics check was taken by pupils across England for the first time this year.

It was introduced by ministers concerned that youngsters with poor reading skills were slipping through the net.

Reading striker 'let down' by Kick It Out refuses to wear charity's t-shirt

Jason Roberts is unhappy with Kick It Out's response to the John Terry and Luis Suarez incidents. Credit: Tony Marshall/EMPICS Sport

Reading striker Jason Roberts insists he will not wear a 'Kick It Out' T-shirt for the equality group's annual week of action after the racial abuse incidents of the last year.

Roberts told BBC Sport that Kick It Out have not been hardline in their response to the John Terry and Luis Suarez abuse incidents:

"I think people feel let down by what used to be called 'Let's Kick Racism Out of Football'. People don't feel like they have been strong enough."

The player's decision was later criticised by Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

"I have to disagree with Jason Roberts. I think he is making the wrong point," the Scot said.

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