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Inquest into 23 year old's skiing death has begun

Taunton Coroner's Court Credit: ITV West Country/Bob Cruwys

An inquest has begun into the death of a man from Taunton who died in a skiing accident. Aleksander Owens-Thurston was just 23 years old when he died on a skiing holiday in February this year. He crashed into a snow making machine at a resort in Austria and fractured his skull.

He is said to have been a very good skier but was not wearing a helmet. He was on holiday with his family when the accident happened. They are expected to attend the inquest into his death at the Coroner's Court in Taunton this afternoon.

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New plans to combat bovine TB will include culling

New plans to combat bovine TB will include the culling of badgers Credit: PA

Further measures to combat bovine TB have been revealed following the announcement of the results of the second year of badger culls.

An action plan for farmers sets out plans to help reduce the risk of disease spread on their farms. There will be a new service giving farmers within the badger cull areas bespoke veterinary advice on TB management.

Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss says the new approach will continue to include culling.

During the last parliament bovine TB rates in England soared to the highest in Europe. That is why we taking strong action in pursuing our comprehensive strategy, including tighter cattle movement controls, vaccinations and culling.

The Chief Vet’s advice is that results of this year’s cull in Somerset show they can be effective. That is why I am determined to continue with a comprehensive Strategy that includes culling.

– Elizabeth Truss, Environment Secretary

There are also plans for a consultation on tougher measures for transporting cattle. An online map will show high and low risk areas. The Government has awarded £50,000 in small grants to livestock markets to help them introduce checking systems.

Independently audited results of the badger culls show cull figures for the year, and says that levels of humaneness and a high standard of public safety were maintained. In Somerset the target was exceeded.

  • 341 badgers removed in Somerset
  • 274 badgers removed in Gloucestershire

Party-goes warned: stay away from waterways this Christmas

Avon Fire & Rescue Service is warning party-goers to take extra care around water during the festive season.

The warning comes ahead of the last weekend before Christmas, where when many people will be out celebrating.

People are asked to think about how they're going to get home after a night out, and if their walk takes them near water they should think about taking a different route or getting a taxi.

The last place you would want to end up at this time of year is in the river as the water is particularly cold. The low temperatures mean that even extremely strong swimmers will quickly find themselves in real difficulty. Unfortunately what seems like a bit of fun or an accident can have fatal consequences.

– Matt Peskett, AF&RS Group Manager for Community Safety

The warnings follow a number of deaths after people have got into difficulty in the water this year.

For more advice on staying safe over the festive season visit the website.

How Text Santa money helps the Teenage Cancer Trust

This Friday on ITV we will be asking for your help to raise as much money as we can for our Text Santa campaign. Thanks to your generosity we raised more than £5 million last year to be divided between six charities.

One of the charities is the Teenage Cancer Trust which has one of its largest centres in the country in Bristol. It supports young cancer patients from across the South West. Robert Murphy's been to meet Ben Winder, a young man who has been helped by the centre.

How Text Santa money helps the Alzheimer's Society

This Friday on ITV we will be asking for your help to raise as much money as we can for our Text Santa campaign. Thanks to your generosity we raised more than £5 million last year to be divided between six charities.

One of the charities to benefit is the Alzheimer's Society. Lise McNally has been to meet one couple who have been helped by the charity.

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