I Read The News Today...

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…and here are a few items that caught my attention:

A survey by the Office for National Statistics revealed that the most popular boys’ names in the United Kingdom in 2016 were: 1. Oliver, 2. Harry, 3. George, 4. Jack, 5. Jacob, 6. Noah, 7. Charlie, 8 Muhammad, 9. Thomas, 10. Oscar. The most popular girls’ names were: 1. Olivia, 2. Amelia, 3. Emily, 4. Isla, 5. Ava, 6. Isabella, 7. Lily, 8. Jessica, 9. Ella, 10. Mia.

Twice a day, nearly every day for 13 years, 72-year-old Michael Base visited his local betting shop at Diss in Norfolk to place a £1 bet. When he didn’t turn up recently staff knew there was something wrong, so the deputy manager and a colleague went in search of Mr. Base, finding out from local people where the pensioner lived. Receiving no reply when they knocked on his door, the pair called the police who discovered Mr. Base lying on the floor in a diabetic coma. After a month in hospital, Mr. Base was able to return home, grateful to the two men who saved his life.

The first statue of a woman in London’s Parliament Square will portray Millicent Fawcett (1847-1929), a leading campaigner for women to have the vote. The statue, designed by artist Gillian Wearing, will be unveiled next year to mark the centenary of the 1918 Representation of the People’s Act.

When officers from the RSPCA were called to a house in Coventry following a distraught family’s phone call to report a dangerous lizard under their young daughter’s bed, they were shocked to discover that the “reptile” was actually a pink striped sock.

Managers at The Grange, a care home at Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire, have built a pub inside the home. Residents who visit The Caring Arms, which even has its own pub sign, can enjoy the usual range of alcoholic and soft drinks and play one another at cards and dominoes.

The earliest known reference to the number zero has been found after researchers at Oxford University’s Bodleian Library carbon-dated a manuscript discovered near a village in Pakistan. The manuscript dates from the third or fourth century and is older than the zero carved on the wall of an Indian temple which was previously regarded as the first example of the mathematical symbol.

Girl Guides in Manchester are being awarded a new badge for visiting the elderly. It is hoped that the idea will be adopted by the rest of the Guide movement.

In September, Sue Radford, 42, of Morecambe in Lancashire, gave birth to her 20th child: an 8lb 6oz boy who Sue and her husband Noel have named Archie Rowan Radford. The couple now have 11 sons and nine daughters.

Having found a handbag containing cash and a £300 iPhone outside a pub in Bolton, Lancashire, homeless man Paul Calderbank spent two days walking the streets in an effort to track down the bag’s owner and reunite her with her valuables. Asking passers-by if they recognised 20-year-old Daisy Owen from the photograph on her provisional driving licence which was in the bag, Paul eventually came across a couple of Daisy’s friends who contacted her to tell her the news. With her faith in humanity restored, Daisy has now organised a campaign to raise funds to give the Good Samaritan a permanent home.

I hope that another item will be reported in the news before too long: This England’s campaign for a new Festival of Britain to coincide with the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union. You can register your support by clicking here. And please ask your family and friends to do the same!

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