UK News

Ex-marine Dave Thomas becomes oldest person to reach South Pole unassisted | UK News

An ex-marine has become the oldest person to reach the South Pole unassisted.

Dave Thomas, 68, from Coelbren, southern Powys, has beaten the previous record holder by four years.

He and Alan Chambers MBE reached their destination on 19 January, having spent 58 days in some of the planet’s most extreme conditions.

The pair set off from Hercules Inlet on 22 November and skied unassisted for 1,180km.

But they also had to drag their food, fuel and stores in heavy sleds.

Temperatures were around -24C, with a wind chill of -42C while crossing the polar plateau.

Those conditions worsened over the final few days before they reached the finish.

Dave Thomas, 68, who has become the oldest person to reach the South Pole unassisted. Pic: The Royal Marines Charity
Dave Thomas. Pic: The Royal Marines Charity

Alan Chambers (pictured) set out on an expedition with Dave Thomas, 68, who has become the oldest person to reach the South Pole unassisted. Pic: The Royal Marines Charity
Alan Chambers. Pic: The Royal Marines Charity

Mr Thomas celebrated his 68th birthday just before Christmas, on the 19th day of the expedition.

“The 1,000km milestone five days ago was huge for us emotionally,” he said.

“And although we knew then we were on the final push and we still had several days of hard hauling, we doggedly stuck to our routine, we were determined to keep to our planned pace, and resist any temptation to try and sprint for the finishing line.”

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Mr Chambers added that Mission Spiritus had “not been an easy feat” but that their “Commando spirit” had seen them through.

The duo carried out scientific research while on the expedition, looking at the global impact of nanoplastics and the effects of sensory deprivation in prolonged remote climates on the body.

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This notice was published: 2024-01-22 12:06:00

UK News

Storm Isha: Travel disruption to continue after UK battered by danger-to-life winds | UK News

Commuters are facing travel disruption this morning after Storm Isha battered the UK, bringing warnings of possible tornadoes and danger-to-life winds.

Rush-hour trains have been axed for many, with 90mph gusts expected to cause more cancellations and delays for rail, air and sea travellers into Monday morning.

Multiple Met Office weather warnings, including two amber wind alerts and a red warning for parts of northern Scotland, have been issued until the early hours.

Storm Isha – latest updates

And the Tornado and Storm Research Organisation (Torro) said a tornado is “possible” in England and Wales.

A more serious “tornado watch” zone was in place for Northern Ireland, as well as parts of Scotland and northern England, but expired late on Sunday.

Damage to homes and buildings, falling trees, power cuts, flying debris, large waves and even some flooding in places should be expected into Monday morning, it was warned.

Agencies across Cumbria declared themselves on standby for a major incident, with Sellafield nuclear site closing as a precaution on Sunday.

A clock tower falls to the ground in Eyre Square, Galway
A clock tower falls to the ground in Eyre Square, Galway

Someone was struck by falling debris after scaffolding became dislodged in Belfast. They were treated at the scene by emergency services.

The Met Office said “everybody” has been affected by the storm.

Network Rail has imposed 50mph speed restrictions across most routes to keep passengers and trains safe from falling trees and debris blown onto tracks, with disruption likely to continue into Monday morning.

Get the five-day forecast where you are

Scotland’s railway operator cancelled all of its rush-hour trains and services may not begin running until “later on Monday”.

East Midlands Railway has said delays and alterations to its services were “likely”, while no LNER trains will run north of Newcastle until midday.

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This notice was published: 2024-01-22 02:21:00

UK News

Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, diagnosed with skin cancer | UK News

Sarah, Duchess of York, has been diagnosed with skin cancer, just six months after being treated for breast cancer.

She was diagnosed with malignant melanoma, a form of skin cancer, after having several moles removed – with one of those identified as being cancerous.

A spokesman for the duchess, 64, said she remained in “good spirits” despite the diagnosis.

She is due to undergo further investigations to ensure the cancer has been caught in the early stages, the spokesman added.

“Following her diagnosis with an early form of breast cancer this summer, Sarah, Duchess of York has now been diagnosed with malignant melanoma,” her spokesman said.

“Her dermatologist asked that several moles were removed and analysed at the same time as the duchess was undergoing reconstructive surgery following her mastectomy, and one of these has been identified as cancerous.

“She is undergoing further investigations to ensure that this has been caught in the early stages.

“Clearly, another diagnosis so soon after treatment for breast cancer has been distressing, but the duchess remains in good spirits.”

The spokesman said the duchess wanted to express her gratitude to the medical team – believed to be from King Edward VII Hospital in London – who had supported her through the process.

He said the duchess’s experience also underlined “the importance of checking the size, shape, colour and texture and emergence of new moles that can be a sign of melanoma”.

Duchess ‘proud of mastectomy’

Last year, the duchess, the former wife of Prince Andrew, Duke of York, underwent an eight-hour single mastectomy operation and reconstruction after discovering she had an early form of breast cancer during a routine mammogram.

Sarah, Duchess of York attending the Christmas Day morning church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk. Picture date: Monday December 25, 2023.
Sarah, Duchess of York, attended the Christmas Day morning church service in Sandringham last month

She previously said she had no symptoms and almost missed her appointment until her sister convinced her to go.


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This notice was published: 2024-01-21 18:13:00

UK News

Racist abuse towards AC Milan and Coventry City players sparks international outcry for football to ‘take action’ | UK News

Racist abuse aimed at football players at two separate matches has triggered an international outcry, with demands for the sport to “take action”.

AC Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan and Coventry City midfielder Kasey Palmer both paused their respective games and spoke to the referees on Saturday after they were subjected to offensive gestures and noises.

Palmer, 27, was seen going to retrieve the ball from behind the goal during the closing stages of Coventry City’s 2-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday, before sharply turning away and motioning towards referee Anthony Backhouse and pointing towards the crowd at Hillsborough.

He appeared to indicate an individual had made a monkey sign towards him. A bottle thrown from the stand also appeared to strike another Coventry player.

Palmer pointed to the crowd as he told the referee about the gesture. Pic: Sky Sports

Meanwhile, AC Milan players followed Maignan as he walked off the pitch at Udinese’s Bluenergy Stadium in Italy, after he said individuals in the crowd made monkey chants towards him.

The incidents have triggered a backlash across the sport.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino described what…

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This notice was published: 2024-01-21 00:58:00

UK News

UK storm set to batter ‘everybody’ in ‘rare’ weather cycle – as forecasters warn of flying debris | UK News

A ‘very widespread’ storm is forecast to hit Britain with strong winds and heavy rain as multiple amber warnings come into force, the Met Office has said.

Storm Isha – the ninth storm since September – is expected to bring winds of up to 80mph, potentially causing power cuts and increased congestion as roads and bridges are likely to be shut, while rail and bus services could face delays and cancellations.

Get the five-day forecast where you are

The Met Office issued amber weather warnings for wind for northern and western England, Wales, Northern Ireland and parts of Scotland from Sunday evening into Monday.

Another one will come in across parts of Sussex and Kent from Monday morning.

Forecasters also warned of large waves and flying debris being blown inland in coastal areas, posing a potential risk to life and damage to buildings.

Yellow warnings for rain and wind are in place for the rest of the country over the next two days, and eight flood warnings are already in place across England.

The heaviest rain is expected today, with 30mm to 50mm in many places and 80mm to 100mm in hillier areas.

Met Office forecaster Ellie Glaisyer said: “The main thing about this storm is it is very widespread…

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This notice was published: 2024-01-21 01:01:00

UK News

Ivan Toney scores to help Brentford to victory in first game back after eight-month betting ban | UK News

Brentford star Ivan Toney scored on his return to the Premier League after serving an eight-month ban for breaking FA betting rules.

The striker, 27, took just 19 minutes to find the net with a low free-kick past Nottingham Forest goalkeeper Matt Turner.

He held up a Brentford shirt printed with the words “For you Uncle Brian” after celebrating with teammates and Brentford staff on the touchline.

The goal cancelled out Forest midfielder Danilo’s third-minute volley, with Brentford eventually winning 3-2 after second-half goals from Ben Mee and Neal Maupay.

It came 260 days after Toney’s last Premier League appearance, against Liverpool in May last year.

Brentford's Ivan Toney scores their side's first goal of the game during the Premier League match at the Gtech Community Stadium, London. Picture date: Saturday January 20, 2024.
Brentford’s Ivan Toney scores on his return to Premier League football

Toney was handed an eight-month ban and fined £50,000 after admitting 232 breaches of FA betting rules between February 2017 and January 2021.

He had been allowed to train with team-mates since September, and earlier this month scored a hat-trick while playing for Brentford’s B team against Southampton under-23s,

Initially, Toney was charged with 262 breaches of FA rule E8, but the FA subsequently withdrew 30 of these breaches.

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Rule E8 of the FA states that a participant “shall not bet, either directly or indirectly, or instruct, permit, cause or enable any person to bet on” matches they are involved in or have influence on.

Players, managers, coaches, club staff, directors and licensed agents involved in football globally are banned from betting within the Premier League, EFL, National League, Women’s Super League, Women’s Championship and the Northern, Southern and Isthmian leagues.

The ban also includes betting on any other football-related matter such as the transfer of players, managerial appointments or team selection.

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This notice was published: 2024-01-20 18:17:00

UK News

DPD customer service chatbot swears and calls company ‘worst delivery firm’ | Science & Tech News

DPD has disabled its artificial intelligence (AI) online chatbot after a customer was able to make the bot swear and write a poem criticising the parcel delivery company.

Ashley Beauchamp, 30, was trying to track down a missing parcel when he said he was going “round and round in circles” trying to get any sort of information from the company’s chatbot.

“It couldn’t give me any information about the parcel, it couldn’t pass me on to a human, and it couldn’t give me the number of their call centre. It didn’t seem to be able to do anything useful,” Mr Beauchamp, from London, told Sky News.

“I was getting so frustrated at all the things it couldn’t do that I tried to find out what it actually could do – and that’s when the chaos started.”

The classical musician first asked the bot to tell him a joke, and soon, with minimal prompts, it was happily writing poems about DPD’s “unreliable” service.

CHATDPD. Pic: Ashley Beauchamp
It didn’t take much for the bot to swear while helping a customer. Pic: Ashley Beauchamp

“After a few more prompts it was happy to swear, too,” Mr Beauchamp said.

Sharing the wacky conversation on X, Mr Beauchamp said the bot replies to one message saying: “F*** yeah! I’ll do my best to be as helpful as possible, even if it means swearing.”

In another part of the exchange, the bot calls itself a “useless chatbot that can’t help you”.

CHATDPD. Pic: Ashley Beauchamp
Pic: Ashley Beauchamp

The online post quickly went viral, gaining more than 15,000 likes and one million views in 24 hours.

DPD told Sky News that the customer service chatbot had suffered from an “error” after a system update and it has now been disabled.

“We are aware of this and can confirm that it is from a customer service chatbot. In addition to human customer service, we have operated an AI element within the chat successfully for a number of years,” the company said in a statement.

“An error occurred after a system update…

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This notice was published: 2024-01-20 00:00:00

UK News

Post Office scandal: Distressed sub-postmasters say Horizon system ‘still causing mystery shortfalls’ | UK News

A group representing almost 1,000 sub-postmasters across the UK has told Sky News the Post Office Horizon system is still causing unexplained shortfalls, which are wrecking businesses.

Voice of the Postmaster (VotP), which was set up to campaign for current staff, alleges the discredited IT software is still generating mysterious missing money.

Marlene Wood, postmistress at Comrie Crieff Post Office in Perthshire, alleges the apparent shortfalls she has been facing are partly linked to Horizon and are eating into her profits.

The 53-year-old, who has been in charge of the branch for more than four years, told Sky News: “My business is failing. I will go under in part due to the discrepancies that I pay back.

“There is no computer system that is fail-safe. There continues to be bugs.”

Ms Wood claimed there was one discrepancy of a couple of hundred pounds.

She said: “I spent the night going through the safe, transactions, notes and couldn’t find anything.

More on Post Office Scandal

“I went to bed and woke up, redeclared my cash amount and there was no discrepancy. It had vanished.

“I am not saying Horizon is to blame for everything but not to the degree that you go to bed and it can magically disappear.”

Ms Wood, who said she is emotionally distressed, estimates she is around £2,000 in the red and is facing losing her livelihood.

She also said her “marriage is gone” and has had to borrow money from her mother.

Ms Wood added: “If it does go under, I am going to have nowhere to live as the house is above the Post Office.

“I will be sleeping on my mum’s couch at the age of 53 with no job, no credit rating and owing, potentially, thousands of pounds. That’s the reality of having a Post Office.”

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This notice was published: 2024-01-19 17:43:00

UK News

Edinburgh care worker receives warning for going to work twice under the influence of alcohol | UK News

A care worker has been reprimanded for drinking alcohol hidden in a water bottle while on duty and later falling asleep on shift.

Sinead Collins has received a two-year warning on her registration for turning up to a residential care home twice under the influence of alcohol.

The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) said her bad behaviour occurred in June 2020 and December 2022 while working in Edinburgh as a deputy service manager at Share Scotland.

The SSSC found Collins’ fitness to practise impaired.

In a written ruling, the SSSC said: “During the first occasion, you proceeded to drink alcohol disguised in a water bottle while in your place of work.

“You also fell asleep while on shift and neglected your duties to the residents within the service.

“You put residents at risk of unnecessary harm, and it was only due to the actions of your colleagues that meant you were not allowed to work alone with residents and were in fact sent home.

“Acting in such a way falls below the standard that is expected of social service workers.”

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The SSSC said Collins had a good employment history but had not shown any insight or regret and had failed to apologise for her behaviour.

The care watchdog stated Collins had shown “poor judgment”, adding: “You abused the trust placed in you by your employer and the residents by attempting to work while you were under the influence of alcohol.”

The 24-month warning came into effect on Thursday.

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This notice was published: 2024-01-19 11:38:00

UK News

One third of UK adults will run out of money by end of January, survey says | UK News

One third of adults in the UK will run out of money by the end of January, a new survey has found.

By 20 January, 56% of adults will have spent their entire monthly income, due to higher winter bills and financial strain from Christmas expenses, personal finance company Credit Karma said.

As a result, many people are likely to turn to alternative sources of funds, such as credit, with 19 January the most likely application date, according to the finance company.

The most common credit options were credit cards (22%), buy-now-pay-later schemes (6%), car finance (4%), and personal loans (4%).

Akansha Nath, general manager at Credit Karma, said: “The high cost of Christmas often leaves a sting in the tail of January budgets, as many people have to wait longer to get paid, as well as cope with expensive winter energy bills.

“That’s why now is the time to consider a budget planning tool, to help plan outgoings.

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“If you have taken out credit over Christmas, consider the best ways of paying that off whether it’s consolidating your debt or looking for an advantageous balance transfer offer.”

In order to help manage finances at the start of the year, 26% of people surveyed said they plan to avoid socialising, while 47% will refrain from purchasing new technology.

Meanwhile, 29% of people said they plan to apply for credit in January to cover essential bills and necessities and 31% said they have either already used or plan to apply for credit to help manage their Christmas expenses.

The survey by Credit Karma involved 2,000 UK adults between 6 and 9 January.

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This notice was published: 2024-01-19 03:54:00