News Round Up

News Round Up

by Patrick O'Connor

MANCHESTER man Andy Sykes came up with a great solution to rescue the family's pet hamster Fang after it was trapped down a pipe for three days.

The Daily Mirror reports that Fang got stuck in the pipe after darting through a hole in a skirting board.

Andy built a tiny ladder out of chicken wire so that six month old pet could climb free.

The Daily Mirror tells of an historical find in the overgrown shrubbery of a house in Ringwood, Hampshire.

The 'garden ornament' turned out to be a stone statue of Queen Victoria which is believed to have been removed from the Houses of Parliament during restoration work in the early 20th century.

The life-size figure was thought to have been among decorative items taken down because there were no longer needed and Members of Parliament were free to take them.

It was transported from London to the property in Ringwood where it was displayed as a garden ornament.

Guy Schwinge, from Duke’s Auctioneers of Dorchester, Dorset, was carrying out a routine valuation on a number of the current homeowner’s other items when he spotted the statue.

More history in a Daily Express article which says that archaeologists have uncovered one of the largest hauls of Tudor shoes during excavation work in London.

A total of 22 individual shoes made of thick cattle leather were found and would have belonged to ordinary Londoners.

Other belongings found in re-discovered Faggeswell Brook that flowed past Charterhouse Square include a horse harness strap with an unusually ornate buckle and knotted reins and a scabbard for holding a sword, knife or other large blade.

Sam Pfizenmaier, a senior archaeologist at MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology), said: “From the clothes worn by noble families to waste created by butchers working at nearby Smithfield market, these finds paint a picture of London as a vibrant late 16th-century trade hub, similar to London of today.

“The shoes would have belonged to men and women. It's difficult to say what size they would equate to today.“

The Independent tells us that police had to chase a swan along a busy motorway as rush-hour traffic queued behind them after it apparently mistook the road for a river.

The swan blocked two lanes of the M27 in Hampshire and Highways England said the swan  attempted to fly away but was rescued and “safely taken away”.

According to the BBC, a group of conservation charities is launching its biggest ever recruitment drive to recruit 5,000 volunteers to help protect the native red squirrel.

The species remains under threat because of disease and competition for food from larger grey squirrels, from north America.

Volunteers will be asked to monitor the animals, and to set up motion sensitive cameras for continuous, detailed surveys and will also be asked to look out for the larger, much more common grey squirrels, so that where they are encroaching on the reds' habitat, they can be culled.

Reference list:

The Express (

The Independent (

Daily Mirror (


MEMORIES came flooding back for 100-year-old former RAF pilot Ray Roberts when he took to the air in a Spitfire, reports the Daily Express.

Ray, from Margate, Kent, took part in the flight at London's Biggin Hill to help mark the centenary of the former RAF airport which played a pivotal role in the Battle of Britain.

He had to use a walking aid on the runaway to take his place in the legendary fighter plane.

Ray joined the RAF in 1940 and trained as a pilot but was injured the same year when his parachute failed to fully open after he bailed out of a Spitfire. 

He became a member of the Caterpillar Club, a group of servicemen and women who have jumped from a stricken aircraft and survived to tell the tale. 

Read more: News Round Up 234

STEVEN Marriott, from West Bridgford, in Nottingham claims he has found the world's biggest Bran Flake and plans to set it on eBay for £1,000.

A Daily Mail article reports that Steven wondered why nothing was coming out when he opened the new box for nine-year-old son Oscar and discovered that a massive single bran flake - measuring six by four inches - was blocking the inner bag of the Kellogg's cereal.

Steven commented: “We've still got the flake and we're considering putting it on eBay. Apparently an over-sized cornflake was sold for more than £1,000 a few years ago so you never know.”

Read more: News Round Up 233

THE Daily Express tells its readers how a kind-hearted police officer came to the rescue of a newly-wedded couple whose big day was in danger of being ruined.

Emmott and Georgia Garnett had just tied the knot in front of friends and relatives at Burnley's Registry Office when their chauffeur-driven car was involved in a road collision.

But when PC Pete Howarth arrived on the scene to investigate, he took them to the reception in Foulridge, Lancashire in his patrol car.

Georgia said: “We hadn't been able to get in touch with anyone to let them know what was happening so they thought we had arranged the police car for the day.”

Read more: News Round Up 232

ARCHAEOLOGISTS are said to be thrilled by the discovery of the foundations of three large Roman houses preserved for nearly 2,000 years in a park in centre of Chichester.

James Kenny, an archaeologist at Chichester district council, told The Guardian that he believes that when fully excavated they will prove to be some of the best Roman houses found in a city centre in Britain.

“To find what appear to be well-preserved Roman remains in one of the few stretches of open ground in a city which has been continuously built and rebuilt ever since the days of Alfred the Great is really exciting.

“Particularly since this city had no mains drains until so late – not until the 1880s – it is absolutely pockmarked with centuries of cesspits and rubbish dumps, so very little undisturbed Roman material remains.”

Read more: News Round Up 231