Friday, 28 March 2008

Woman in her 90s seriously injured in A39 collision

A WOMAN in her 90s has been seriously injured by a car which hit her on the A39 near Selworthy.
The accident happened at 3 pm on Thursday, March 27, at Budleigh Hill, which is between Minehead and Porlock.
A blue Peugeot car travelling towards Porlock from the direction of Minehead collided with the woman. The driver stopped at the scene.
The woman suffered a serious leg injury and was taken to Musgrove Park Hospital, in Taunton, where she remained in a serious condition.
Police are appealing for information and are keen to speak to anybody who witnessed the collision.
Anybody who can help should call the force’s collision investigation unit on 0845 4567000 or contact the police through the secure Crimestoppers contact form at
Alternatively, they can call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, where they do not have to give their name but could receive a reward.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Hannah's North Pole record bid ends in drama

A BID by adventurer Hannah McKeand to become the first woman to reach the North Pole solo and unsupported came to a dramatic end after she had to be rescued from the ice by the Royal Canadian Air Force.
Hannah, aged 34, who was brought up in Watchet, where her mother Julian Burbury still lives, had fallen into an eight feet deep crevasse and injured herself so badly that she could not continue.
Mrs Burbury learned the news at home in Watchet when Hannah was able to ring and leave a telephone answering message on Saturday after being rescued.
She told The Post she would be flying out to see her daughter as soon as she was able to locate to which hospital Hannah had been taken.
Mrs Burbury thought it unlikely that Hannah would want to have a second attempt at the record.
She said: “I think she is sensible. She has tested herself to the limit. I think with a bit of persuasion she will realise that one world record of that kind is enough (Hannah set a record two years ago when she became the fastest person to ski solo to the South Pole).”
The Arctic expedition came to an end during the Easter weekend and as The Post went to press, Hannah was believed to be recovering in a Canadian hospital, although her exact whereabouts were not known.
She was two weeks into the journey when she climbed a pile of ice blocks to scout the view ahead of her and without warning the snow gave way and Hannah fell sideways into a deep hole.
In the fall, Hannah wrenched her left leg and also hurt her lower back and left shoulder.
Hannah had already suffered several falls previously because of poor weather conditions and on one occasion she injured her shoulder but had been able to continue her journey.
This time, however, it took Hannah an hour to drag herself out of the crevasse and she knew immediately that her injuries were more severe.
She was able to contact the expedition doctor and took medical advice and medication and she then set camp and spent all day on Good Friday resting and assessing her condition.
By Easter Saturday, Hannah was still in considerable pain and her mobility was restricted, so she knew she was not up to dragging her pulk another 380 nautical miles over the Arctic.
Although she was out of immediate danger in her tent with warmth, food, and shelter from her own equipment and supplies, the longer she stayed put, the fewer supplies she would have for the remainder of the journey.
The expedition’s operations manager, Steve Jones, said: “Physical injuries are a high risk to polar expeditions and several North Pole expeditions have had a member of the expedition evacuated.
“Obviously, in a team of one that does not leave many to continue.
“I can only imagine how disappointed and frustrated Hannah is, but it is a tribute to her strength of character that she sounds cheerful and in good spirits on the Iridium phone.”
Hannah was able to call for help and a Canadian Forces rescue helicopter managed to land on the rough Arctic ice pack and airlift her to safety.
She was first flown to Alert, a remote Canadian government station on northern Ellesmere Island, from where she was taken to Resolute Bay, on Cornwallis Island, also in the northern Nunavut Territory.
After that, she was flown south for medical care and a full assessment of her condition, and is believed to have reached Toronto.
The final few days of the expedition had seen Hannah make slow progress in the difficult terrain and in one 8.5-hour day she had travelled just 1.5 nautical miles, which she reported had been ‘horrible’.
Her Argos satellite tracking beacon had also stopped working which left her dependent on two Iridium satellite phones for communications with the outside world.
Despite all her efforts in temperatures as low as minus 45 degrees, Hannah had only travelled a total of about 33.5 nautical miles and still had another 380 to reach the Pole.

A jazzy case of village parking

A WOMAN driver caused quite a stir for a Wootton Courtenay couple yesterday (Wednesday) when her car reversed through a garden fence and became suspended over a seven-feet drop.
The drama happened when the motorist apparently mistook the driveway of Mike and Margaret Izaby-White’s home for a country lane.
After overcoming their initial amazement at the scene, the couple called the emergency services.
Mrs Izaby-White said: “I was in the utility room ironing, with the radio on, so I did not hear anything.
“I went into the dining room, where my husband was working on the computer, and he had not noticed either.
“We had the police, fire engine, and paramedics here, and we had the neighbours coming round for a look.
“Nobody had seen anything like it before. It was quite a bizarre morning.”
Mrs Izaby-White said it seemed there was something not right with the driver, as the woman simply sat in her Honda Jazz car for about two hours without attempting to leave.
She said the woman was eventually removed from the vehicle and handed to paramedics apparently unharmed.
As The Post went to press, police said they were waiting at Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton, to speak to the driver.
Photo by Mike Izaby-White.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Police triple class A drug haul in less than a year

CLASS A drug seizures across Avon and Somerset have more than tripled in the past nine months as officers tighten their grip on the dealers.
From April 2007 to the end of December 2007 Avon and Somerset Police seized class A drugs with a street value of £2.4 million.
This figure compares with £790,000 worth of drugs seized from April 2006 to March 2007.
Detective Chief Inspector Andy Williams, head of the force's serious crime group, said: "These figures show the success we are having in dismantling, disrupting and destroying those organised crime groups who seek to profit from drug dealing in our area.
"Working with partner agencies and with the support of local communities we have had some excellent arrests and seizures in the past year.
"One way to gauge the impact we are having on dealers is the purity of the drugs seized.
"As dealers get squeezed by the police the purity drops as drugs get harder to get hold of.
"The average purity of cocaine would be expected to be around 40 per cent.
"That has dropped to around 20 per cent and in one recent seizure the cocaine was six per cent pure.
"That brings with it new risks for the user as it will be mixed with all sorts of cutting agents that no-one will know about.
"The greatest increase in seizures during the last year has been in heroin and cocaine."
Heroin seizures to date equate to £1.3 million in comparison to £85,000 last year, and cocaine seizures increased to £1 million compared to £272,000 for the same period last year.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

£180,000 of sustainable grants available for Exmoor projects

The Exmoor Sustainable Development Fund is again open for business and a meeting on Thursday, March 27, of the independent grant advisory panel will consider 11 new proposals.
The panel, comprised of people who live and work across Exmoor and the surrounding area, will meet with the project applicants at Withypool Village Hall.
The projects being considered encompass a wide range of issues, from renewable energy installations and a strategy for making Exmoor National Park carbon neutral by 2016, to assessing the genetics of salmon in the River Exe, to support for the production and supply of local food.
Other applications cover community events and facilities as well as ecological research and education.
Further details of the applications and the meeting are available on or from local libraries in the Exmoor area.
The fund is administered by the national park authority with the funding provided by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Each year, £180,000 is available for projects which show innovation in addressing sustainable development within and around Exmoor National Park.
Since being launched in 2002, more than 130 projects have received SDF funds and have made Exmoor a more sustainable place to live in, work in, visit, and enjoy.
In December of last year, Defra announced that funding would be available for at least a further three years.
“Since reopening for applications we have been inundated with expressions of interest and applications, totalling over £627,000,” said Phil Cookson, the park authority’s sustainability and economy manager.
“In the past five years more than £1.1m has been spent improving Exmoor and people’s knowledge and pleasure and I wish these new projects the same successes.”
Dan James, who is succeeding Mr Cookson, said: “This is great news for Exmoor and reflects the pro-active nature of communities within and around the park in working towards a sustainable future for Exmoor.
“It also means that the panel members will have much debate when advising the national park authority on prioritising the limited funds.”
The authority continues to welcome expressions of interest from anyone with an innovative idea which will further the twin national park purposes of ‘conservation and enhancement of Exmoor’s special qualities’ and ‘public enjoyment and understanding of those special qualities’ in a sustainable manner.
Funding of between 50 per cent and 75 per cent of project costs can usually be considered.
For further details visit or contact Dan James on 01398 322234 or by emailing

Planting starts on Exmoor's Celebration Woodland

THE first trees have been planted in a new natural woodland at Wimbleball Lake.
South West Water, the Exmoor Society and South West Lakes Trust have joining forces for the exciting and innovative project, which aims to provide an area where visitors and residents can contribute to the landscape and environment.
The celebration woodland will be planted with a selection of native trees which will cover 1.4 acres and will be open to residents and visitors who wish to join this special tree planting scheme.
It will mark 50 years of the Exmoor Society and provide a woodland which visitors to Wimbleball can enjoy.
“Trees can be donated for numerous reasons,” said Evelyn Stacey, Director of South West Lakes Trust.
“These can include to celebrate a birth, anniversary or birthday.
“Or a tree can be planted in memory of someone special.
“We also think people and business organisations may just wish to contribute to the scheme or to off-set some of their carbon emissions.”
A second phase of planting will take place in the autumn and this pattern will be continued with plantings twice a year in spring and autumn.
To ensure that the Celebration Woodland is kept as natural as possible, trees will not be marked in anyway but a book of dedication will be kept at the tea room at Wimbleball Lake for special messages and remembrance.
Trees can be planted for a donation of £20 which covers the cost of the tree, planting, on-going maintenance and a listing in the dedication book.
Anyone can join the scheme whether they wish to plant just one tree or several.
Anybody who would like more information should contact South West Lakes Trust on 01566 771930.
  • Our photograph shows the planting of Oliver’s Oak, the first tree in the celebration woodland at Wimbleball Lake, by (left to right) Cairns Boston, chairman of the South West Lakes Trust trustees, Exmoor Society chairman Rachel Thomas, and South West Water customer services director Monica Reed. Photo by Jim Wileman.