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Chris Dawson is the richest man in West Country

Chris Dawson is the richest man in West Country Credit: ITV News West Country

The richest man in the west country is the founder of the Range stores, Chris Dawson.

That's according to the Sunday Times rich list for the region. Mr Dawson's wealth is valued at a staggering £1.28 billion- a gain of £695 million in the last 12 months.

His Range stores are expected to make an £88 million profit this year

Student's film shows there is life after meningitis

Jonathan Brough in his film "Meningitis and Me" Credit: Plymouth University

A student from Plymouth has made a film about how meningitis has changed his life but won't stop him giving up on his dreams.

Jonathan Brough was in Canada training to be a skiing instructor when he was diagnosed with the condition, and subsequent complications in his treatment left him paralysed from the neck down.

But despite his disability, and the fact he requires round the clock care, he has since fulfilled his dream of pursuing his studies and is now in his final year of a Media Arts degree at Plymouth University.

As one of his final year projects, Jonathan has written and produced a film about his experiences in the hope of raising awareness of the condition, but also to inspire others with a serious disability to think about what they might achieve in the future

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West MPs abstain from HS2 vote

There's a campaign for better rail links for the West Country - after a number of the region's MPs didn't back a new high-speed line to the Midlands.

Seven MPs from Devon and Cornwall - including two Conservatives and four Lib Dems abstained in last night's vote on the £50 billion pound HS2 project.

Even supporters of the project argue it must not be at the expense of a faster and more reliable link to the South West, where the main line was cut by storms for eight weeks.

Conservative MP for SE Cornwall Sheryll Murray, and her colleague, Oliver Colville, Tory MP for Plymouth Sutton & Devonport both abstained from voting:-

Skin cancer rates double in west country

Skin cancer rates double in west country Credit: ITV News West Country

The number of people with skin cancer across the west country has doubled in the last 20 years.

The figures released today by Cancer Research UK say 15 hundred people are diagnosed with malignant melanoma in the south west every year.

They're putting the rise down to an increase of people going on package holidays and more people wanting to look tanned.

West Country beef & lamb gets protected status

Beef and lamb produced in the West Country has been awarded protected food status by the European Commission.

It puts the meat alongside Cornish Pasties as a product that can only be given a west country label IF it's born and reared in the region. Bob Cruwys has been to meet a fifth-generation family farmer in Somerset who helped secure the award.

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West Country beef and lamb protected

West Country lamb and beef has been given protected food name status. The European Union status helps to safeguard specialist products from across the UK.

It'll join the ranks of some of the UK's favourite foods such as Stilton Cheese and Melton Mowbray Pork Pies. More than 60 foods now have the status.

Food name status will protect West Country lamb and beef. Credit: ITV News West Country
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Protected foods 'bring £900 million to economy'

Protected food products in the UK contribute an estimated £900 million to the European economy, and the government is keen to encourage more food producers across the UK to apply for the special status. Farming Minister George Eustice said:

Exceeding the 60th registration is an achievement to be proud of. Legal protection of the quality, provenance and reputation of British food will help small businesses make a valuable economic contribution both locally and nationally.

We now want to help many more UK food producers who are thinking about making an application for protected name status to get their quality produce fully recognised.

Family carers missing out on £s

Families across the West Country who care for loved ones at home are missing out on millions in benefits according to new research.

The study by Carers UK found that many are facing financial hardship as living costs rise.

They found some families felt there was a lack of support from the benefits system.

Carers reported to be facing hardship as living costs rise

Marine life conservation

There's a cautious welcome in the West Country to the first designation of marine conservation zones around our coast. They're intended to protect senstive underwater habitats.

But while conservationists say they're pleased the Government is taking action, they'll maintain pressure to ensure more areas are protected.

Our Environment correspondent Duncan Sleightholme reports.

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