Freelance work at BBC Wiltshire

A Wiltshire shopping centre was criticised for allowing pest control experts to shoot pigeons on their property. I went to ask customers there how they felt.

As part of BBC Wiltshire’s coverage of the GDP figures released on 25/07/2013, I interviewed the owner of a Swindon café and ice cream parlour.

CUE: We’ll get an official update on how the UK’s economy is doing later this morning.
The GDP figures will tell us how much the country’s total economic output has grown or shrunk during April, May and June.
It’s the main measure of everything produced from cars to food, hairdressing to hospital operations.
So are you feeling like things are on the up, here’s what you told us in Swindon.

BBC Wiltshire – Lee Stone drive time interview with local business [Radio]

The news that the country has avoided a triple dip recession might not be any immediate comfort to struggling businesses,
but here’s one aspirational story about a man who found success despite the economic situation in the country.

Oli Christie worked in Swindon for a number of years before using his expertise to start his own company.

He’s been telling our reporter Sam Howlett about his success.

BBC Wiltshire – Vox Pops for Mark O’Donnell [Radio]

Right now, politicians and economists are watching Swindon very closely. If any town is going to show us the way to handle recession, it’s Swindon. With its history of ambition, innovation and productivity – where it leads, many will follow.

The economic reality is that Swindon is one of the most successful towns in the country – if it wasn’t the UK Space Agency wouldn’t be here – nor Zurich, Honda, WH Smith, Nationwide, BMW…well, we all know the list.

Not that the people who live there necessarily see it that way….

Saints’ promotion could bring crime to city

Original Article

Whilst celebrations continue following back-to-back promotions for the Saints, the return to top flight football will bring both positives and negatives.

Southampton FC’s return after relegation and administration has fascinated many fans, and increased business is just one of the benefits of extra interest in the club.

However, figures from a Home Office report suggest the extra supporters could bring an increase in match day crime.

Last season, the Championship welcomed 9.6 million spectators whilst the top flight attracted nearly 4 million more.

The report shows that the Premier League saw over 500 more arrests than the Championship over the course of the season which included a staggering 595 alcohol related offences, 422 more than tier the Saints are leaving.

Public order arrests were also more common as were cases of ticket touting.

In comparison, the average number of arrests per club last season were 31 for the Championship and 76 for the Premier League.

Paul Howlett, a retired Police Chief Superintendent who grew up a Southampton supporter, says there are ‘well established networks’  to manage football matches.

‘If Southampton were playing away, police football intelligence officers would travel and liaise with the home side’s police and if Southampton were at home then the away team would send their intelligence officers.’ Says Howlett, 56.

‘They would be looking to shepherd away supporters to protect them from the home fans whilst looking out for known trouble-makers.’

But Hampshire Constabulary will need to be wary as they have already come under fire for their ‘bubble’ system employed during the South-Coast derby between Southampton and Portsmouth.


One of the more controversial issues in policing is paying for police, Howlett raises the question: ‘why should the taxpayer have to fund extra officers just for football?’

The former top-cop says ‘it is often cheaper to have trained stewards to work instead of the police and cooperate with them when necessary.’

Whilst crime is just one of the many challenges that will be faced in this new era for the club, fans are still optimistic for the future.

Lifelong supporter, Michael Bromley calls the back-to-back promotions a ‘great achievement’.

The 25 year old from Dibden Purlieu, near Hythe, says ‘there’s a good vibe.’

‘As with the FA Cup run and finals in 2003, you can see the smiles on people’s faces’.

Bromley, who has been attending matches from a young age believes ‘the publicity from top flight football brings positives for business which would be good for Southampton’s shopping centres and maybe even the tourism industry.’

Southampton will be welcoming the Premier League back into the city and there is no doubt that the club and fans will be eagerly anticipating the next season as well as the challenges it will bring.

A round of a-paws from animal charity

Original Article

A warming story for a cold day – pub landlady, Kathy Bond handed over the £600 she had raised for an animal shelter in Swindon.

John Warwick, manager of the sanctuary went in person to collect the generous donation at the Moonrakers pub.

The transaction happened in the presence of two residents of the sanctuary: cat Sophie and dog WuWu.

Mr Warwick said: “It makes all the difference, especially at the moment. It’s getting harder and harder with more people coming in with unwanted pets.”

Ms Bond, who has always had a love for animals, says that she feels as though she has let people down by not reaching her goal of £1,000. Despite this, Ms Bond’s actions have been praised by representatives of Arkell’s Brewery who congratulated her on her efforts – and Mr Warwick was overjoyed with her generosity.

The volunteer-run sanctuary insists that 100 per cent of all donations goes to the furry residents. Mr Warwick says that if ever they need to improve anything, the volunteers work out a way of raising money between themselves. The donations will help to pay for veterinary care, food and electricity to keep the animlas warm which will be more vital than any other time in the winter months.

The importance of poppies

Original Article

It is that time of year when people wear poppies and remember those who have fought and those who are still fighting for our futures.

Swindon is no stranger to war, with the loss of men in the First and Second World Wars and after feeling the terror of being bombed.

Conflicts past and present are remembered in remembrance services which are always received well by the people of Swindon.

One service attended by members of the Royal British Legion, the services, friends and families takes place at the Wyvern Theatre annually.

The night consists of hymns and prayers to honour not just the fallen soldiers, but to acknowledge those who are currently fighting in conflicts across the globe. Singing along to wartime songs with a brass band playing, it is not just a solemn remembrance but also a celebration of the lives of fallen troops.

This time of remembrance is never under-played or forgotten in Swindon.

It is always important to veterans and military families of Swindon that people from the area can show their pride and respect.