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The father who relies on giveaways to feed his family

Taunton Foodbank says people from all walks of life are having to use their service. A few have been so desperate they've walked to town from Wellington and back with their supplies, a round trip of 14 miles.

People in need of help are referred from a number of charities, churches or by a doctor. The Foodbank is low on supplies after feeding more families than usual during the school holidays. Children from families with low incomes would get a free dinner during term time.

A lot of foodbank users shun publicity because they are embarrassed but 27 year old Dale Fussell explained why he is at the foodbank. His benefit was cut six weeks ago from £72 a week to £36 because he'd missed two job centre assessments. He lives with his partner and their five month old daughter. In addition to their rent being paid, they get £20 child benefit a week.


Melanie Hall detectives ask CPS for decision on charges

Melanie Hall, who was murdered in 1996 Credit: Avon & Somerset Police

Detectives investigating the murder of the Bath woman Melanie Hall in 1996 have now asked the Crown Prosecution Service for a decision on whether to charge a suspect.

A 45-year-old man, who was arrested at his home in the city last November on suspicion of murder, has today been further bailed until the beginning of December while the CPS considers the evidence against him.

Melanie Hall was 25 when she was last seen at a nightclub in Bath city centre. Her remains were found on a motorway slip road in South Gloucestershire on October 5, 2009.

Record number of adoptions in the South West

There has been a significant increase in the number of children adopted in the South West in the past twelve months.

In Bristol the number of looked after children adopted during 2014 has doubled from 25 to 50 compared with the previous year.

That trend has been replicated in North Somerset where the figure has risen from 5 to 25 in the past twelve months.

Gloucestershire also showed a rise from 25 to 50, although South Gloucestershire declined from 25 to 10 adoptions.

In Wiltshire the figure rose from 15 to 40 adoptions

“It’s great to see that the number of children adopted from care in the South West has risen. However we refuse to be complacent and we know there is more to be done. “I’m all too aware that welcoming a vulnerable child into your home is a rewarding but challenging experience. That’s why we’re putting in more support than ever to ensure that families get a fighting chance including better support services focussed on the needs of the family.

– Children and Families Minister, Edward Timpson,

Neighbour says missing girl had "sadness in her face"

A neighbour of the missing teenage girl from Bristol who is thought to be heading for Syria says she thought the girl looked sad recently.

"A few days ago I came out of my house and she just came out of her house and I could see that she had a sadness on her face.

"I said 'are you alright?' and she would always answer me with a smile but she just did this [put her hand up]. I was thinking 'what's happened to her?' I didn't know."

– A neighbour of missing girl

Speaking about the suspicions she may have been radicalised and recruited to fight in Syria, she said:

"These people must have really got through to her.

"She always had a smile on her face. I'm shocked this has happened. She is a very good girl. "I'm shocked about her going to fight a war at 15. She still goes to school.

– Neighbour


Matthew Maynard joins Somerset as Director of Cricket

Matthew Maynard, Somerset's new Director of Cricket Credit: Somerset CCC

Somerset CCC has appointed Matthew Maynard as the new Director of Cricket.

The 48 year old spent the whole of his 20 year playing career with Glamorgan where he made 395 First Class appearances scoring nearly 25,000 runs at an average of 42.53. He also led the Welsh side to the County Championship title in 1997.

Maynard played in 4 Test Matches between 1988 and 1994 and 14 One Day Internationals between 1994 and 2000. In 2004 Maynard was appointed as England assistant coach, a post he held until 2007.

Maynard has also enjoyed considerable success coaching in South Africa and in 2012, his first year in charge of Nashua Titans, he led them to both the domestic four day and T20 titles and was named Coach of the Year by Cricket South Africa.

“I am absolutely delighted to be appointed as the Director of Cricket at Somerset CCC. It’s a huge honour. It will be a new challenge for me and one that I am looking forward to very much. I’m very excited about being involved with such a talented group of players and I can’t wait to get started.”

– Matthew Maynard

“We are delighted that Matt has been appointed as our Director of Cricket and he will have direct responsibility for coaching the 1st XI. His track record speaks for itself and he has a wealth of leadership experience, coaching knowledge and passion for the game. I have every confidence that he will build on our strong foundations and the winter period provides a great opportunity for him to prepare the squad for a successful 2015. I know he will receive a very warm welcome from all the coaching and playing staff, as well as our Members and supporters.”

– Guy Lavender, Somerset, Chief Executive

Classmates of Bristol teen are shocked at her disappearance

Friends of the Bristol teenager who is believed to be heading for Syria have been talking about their shock at her disappearance.

Pupils outside The City Academy in Easton, Bristol, said the girl had not seemed any different when they last saw her.

"She is a good friend. I have no idea what made her leave.

"I think the police have asked one of her friends to text her to see where she is. She is a really nice girl."

– a 14 year old friend

"I was sat next to her and she seemed fine,"

"She didn't have any new friends that we knew about, and she was a completely normal girl."

– 15 year old classmate
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