News Round Up
by Patrick O'Connor
TELECOMS company BT is running a nationwide competition to find the new voice of the speaking clock.
The BBC reports that the contest will mark the 80th anniversary of the telephone service, which receives 12 million calls a year.
And whoever wins, they will be only the fifth person to give the time "at the third stroke" when people dial 123.
Previous voices have included an actor and a London telephone exchange supervisor.
The speaking clock service, which began on July 24, 1936 and is now called Timeline, provides the precise time, announced every 10 seconds at any time of day or night.
It looks as if there could be a new owner of a 2,000 acre village in North Yorkshire which went up for sale for £20m earlier this year.
An article in The Guardian newspaper says that West Heslerton was owned by the Dawnay family for over 150 years and is described as a quintessential Yorkshire village where “time has stood still.”
The village has a pub, garage, playing fields and sports pavilion, a 21-bedroom hall and 43 houses.
It also has 1,500 acres of agricultural land, including 112 acres of woodland.
A spokesperson for the estate agents handling the sale said: “ It is correct that it is under offer and it has been for some time now. There was a lot of interest from many different buyers, but we cannot say any more at this stage.”
Problems with pigeons have become so bad in the town centre of Burton upon Trent in Staffordshire that benches have been removed to stop shoppers being dive-bombed.
The Daily Express says that problems are caused by people feeding the pigeons bits of food, which lures them back to the spot outside Coopers Square shopping centre, hence the removal of the benches.
A report to the local council stated: “The existing planters and seating within the pedestrianised area in front of the shopping centre entrance are to be removed.
“They are the source of significant bird problems, causing an unhygienic environment.”
A worrying article in The Guardian which reveals that much of England's best-loved wildlife remains in serious decline.
Latest government figures show that birds and butterflies on farmland have continued their long term downward trend and 75% of over 200 'priority' species across the country – including hedgehogs, dormice and moths – are falling in number.
The Independent has said farewell to Willie Clark, reckoned to be the last elected Communist in the UK.
Willie resigned from his position as a councillor in Fife, Scotland and was replaced in a by-election by Labour Part candidate Mary Lockhart.
Willie represented the town of Ballingry for more than 40 years, which formed part of the West Fife constituency that also returned the UK’s last Communist party MP between 1935 and 1950.
The area was once home to the country’s largest coal mining business, the Fife Coal Company, many of whose workers once lived on a housing estate known as ‘Little Moscow.’
Initially called Lionel, the heaviest UK-landed common lobster is settling in his new home at the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth, says the Daily Telegraph.
The lobster, which weighed in at nearly 17lb (7.65kg) was discovered earlier this month off Lannacombe Beach in North Devon by free diver Joe Pike and is the heaviest common lobster in UK waters since 1931.
He has now been called JJ, in honour of British Olympic silver-medal wining super heavyweight boxer Joe Joyce.
The Express (www.express.co.uk)
The Guardian (www.guardian.co.uk)
The Independent (www.independent.co.uk)
Daily Telegraph (www.telegraph co.uk)