from BBC News for Birmingham and the Black Country

An appeal for a seriously ill cat which was left abandoned has attracted funds from as far as the United States.Maximus, who is about 12, was rescued by Stray Cat Rescue Team West Midlands after spending a decade on the streets.He was picked up in Great Barr, Sandwell, last week with FIV – an immunodeficiency virus similar to HIV – and claws so long he could not walk.Rescue Team founder Lucy Strickland said people from as far afield as Texas have sent donations for his care.”Even if he only has a couple of weeks, or a couple of months, of happiness, we’ve done our job,” she said, as the fundraising total reached more than £6,000.Maximus was severely dehydrated and underweight when he was brought in, and had “no trust in humans”.”He would hiss and spit,” Ms Strickland said. “He was terrified.”A week on, he has realised “not all humans are bad,” she said.”When he hears you, he starts purring.”Latest news from the West MidlandsMs Strickland said Maximus’ condition is “a challenge”, but her team of volunteers remain hopeful he will recover, thanks to to huge support the cat has received.”We’ve had more applications [to foster] him than any other cat,” Ms Strickland said.”He’s touched quite a few people.”Follow BBC West Midlands on Facebook, on Twitter, and sign up for local news updates direct to your phone.

The family of a champion wingsuit flier is calling for help after his funeral donations “went missing”.Dr Angelo Grubisic, 38, an astronautical engineer at the University of Southampton died in a base jumping accident in August.At his funeral in Walsall, the box thought to contain between £5,000 and £8,000 went to another funeral “without being emptied,” his family said.The money was going to be used to support engineering students.In a statement his family said the box went to another funeral the next day “which is where the donations went missing”.His mother Anita said, “I’m not only upset but angry, as the loss of the money could so easily have been put right with honesty.”It’s not just the donations made in good faith by those who loved my son but also the cards and messages which would have been in the donation box too. These are irreplaceable.”The family said it was now making a public appeal after spending more than two months trying to find the missing money.West Midlands Police said it was investigating “a mix up of donations at two funerals” in the Bloxwich area of Walsall on 19 and 20 September.Officers have asked anyone with any information to get in touch.The family said it planned to continue to set up the Dr Angelo Grubisic Young Engineers Fund which aims to to support underprivileged students considering a career in science or engineering.His family have set up an online fundraising campaign in a bid to recoup the donations made at the funeral.The astronautical engineer was taking part in a planned jump in Saudi Arabia when he was killed. He had led a wingsuit design team at the University of Southampton and was crowned a British wingsuit champion in July.Dr Grubisic set up the Icarus project at the university In 2015 – the aim of the project was to design a wingsuit to break world records.He had previously worked on spacecraft propulsion for both NASA and the European Space Agency, and was a consultant engineer for the European Space Agency’s BepiColombo mission to Mercury in 2018.

Two further men have been charged with murdering a 21-year-old who was stabbed near a nightclub.A total of four men have now been charged with murdering Jack Donoghue, who died in hospital after the attack near Popworld in Solihull on Saturday.Tyrall Blake, 21, of no fixed address, and Nile Bennett, 22, from Erdington, Birmingham, will appear before the city’s magistrates later.Co-accused Connor Moore, 20, and Regan Watters, 21, appeared on Tuesday.The pair, from Lichfield and Birmingham, were remanded in custody and will appear at the city’s crown court later.All four defendants are also charged with violent disorder and Mr Blake faces charges of assault with intent to commit robbery and having a knife in public.Latest news from the West MidlandsPolice also arrested a fifth man, aged 23, on suspicion of murder who has been released on bail.A 39-year-old man arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender has been released under investigation.Follow BBC West Midlands on Facebook, on Twitter, and sign up for local news updates direct to your phone.

When Lucy Edwards found out she had been chosen to be a presenter on Radio 1, she spent the day “jumping up and down like a bunny rabbit”.”But then I was like, ‘Right, let’s do this’,” she says. Lucy, 23, will be Radio 1’s first-ever blind presenter.She will be taking over the late morning slot on 28 and 29 December and says she wants to create a show that feels “like family”.”We’ve got my lovely guide dog Olga at my feet. We’ve got cute cuddly vibes. We’ve got some amazing tunes to be played.”Lucy came through Radio 1 and 1Xtra’s search for new presenters – which will see 35 guests taking over the airwaves for five days over Christmas.Among them are students, podcasters, a tattooist and a shop manager. Lucy – who has a YouTube channel and is a freelance reporter and presenter – will have the honour of playing Radio 1’s greatest hits during her slots.And there’s one artist she’s told her producers to get on the playlist. “We need to have Katy Perry. Because I just think she’s a babe, really.”‘A small, blind, ginger woman from Birmingham’Lucy – who’s had to keep the job secret for a couple of weeks – says she feels “a sense of responsibility” as the first blind presenter on Radio 1. “I’m so excited to be representing the blind crew, the disabled community,” she says.”I personally think it’s really important to stand up and be out there as a blind person saying, ‘Hey, I am really really proud of my disability’. “I’m proud to be who I am. I’m a small, blind, ginger woman from Birmingham.”Lucy has a condition called Incontinentia Pigmenti which affected her eyesight at a young age.She lost sight in her right eye at the age of 11, and in her left eye at 17.Lucy has been presenting for a few years.As well as her YouTube channel, she’s worked on a podcast about living with disabilities and Radio 4’s programme In Touch – which is about blind and partially-sighted people. So what advice does she have for others who want to become presenters?”Always take every opportunity. You don’t want to miss anything that comes to you in life,” she says.”I never want to say no to things – building your portfolio is really important.”Get your microphone out where you are. Maybe even make your own podcast, your own YouTube channel. “You never know.” Follow Newsbeat on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.Listen to Newsbeat live at 12:45 and 17:45 weekdays – or listen back here.

Colleen Bernard has been caring for her brother Stephen for the past three years. She left her job in London and moved back to her home town of Wolverhampton after her mother, who had been Stephen’s carer, developed dementia. He is partially sighted, partially deaf and has autism.According to NHS Digital, 841,850 people were receiving long-term care in England last year.The ageing population is expected to increase demand.With the demand on adult social care increasing, Colleen gives her view on the upcoming election and the realities of what it means to be a carer today.

“I want a Baby Yoda toy so badly that I’d consider selling a kidney,” jokes Star Wars fan and Instagram influencer Jessica Allsop, 26. Ms Allsopp, from Rubery, West Midlands, fell in love with the character of “the Child” – affectionately known as “Baby Yoda” on social media – in the Disney+ TV show The Mandalorian as soon as she watched the first episode. She then scoured the internet looking for merchandise from the Star Wars spin-off series, and says she is willing to pay up to £200 for an accurate replica of the Child.She’s not alone. Since The Mandalorian was released on 12 November in the US on Disney’s new streaming service, the character has gone viral, and not just in America – the only place you can officially watch the show for now – but all over the world. It has generated thousands of memes as fans discuss how cute the Child is and speculate about what will happen next in the series.Yet, to the surprise of many, Disney has been slow to offer merchandise relating to the Mandalorian, waiting until this week – a month after the show’s launch – to unveil its range of vinyl and plush Child toys.Even worse, the figures will not be available until next May or June, failing to meet the frenzy of demand over the crucial Christmas shopping period. That’s not stopped people pre-ordering the toys in droves. UK film and entertainment merchandiser Zavvi, which began selling the figures on Wednesday, says the Child is already one of its fastest-selling products with “hundreds” being snapped up in the first hour.According to Richard Gottlieb, head of toy industry consultancy Global Toy Experts, Disney’s decision to keep the Child a secret will have a big impact on the toy industry.”It’s a shame. On the consumer product side, it’s an enormous amount of lost revenue for Disney, the licensees and the retailers, and a lot of lost excitement,” he says.Typically it takes about nine months for a toy inspired by a film or TV show to be realised, from the inception of the idea until it hits the shelves. And it can take up to 15 months if the toy is being prepared for a Christmas release.Disney+ streaming service UK launch date confirmed
Baby Yoda Gifs reinstated after Star Wars takedown confusion
In order to bring out a new toy product, licensing agreements need to be agreed, designs need to be approved and engineers need to create injection moulds for making the toys out of plastic at the factories in China. The product then needs to be manufactured and delivered from China to retailers around the world. So there is no way that Disney suddenly woke up to the hype surrounding the Child in November, says Mr Gottlieb. Plans for the toy have been underway since 2018 at least, he says. John Baulch, publisher of trade magazine Toy World, agrees, saying that delaying the launch was intentional on Disney’s part. “Disney would have known that they had a breakout hit with the Child,” he says. “But the Mandalorian’s director, Jon Favreau, was quite insistent that he wanted the content of the series to lead, rather than the merchandise. In this instance the director won the argument.”Alexander Westwood, 19, a TV and film actor from Birmingham, thinks Disney may also have been trying to avoid toys becoming “spoilers” for the series.In the UK, people will not be be able to enjoy The Mandalorian officially until the Disney+ streaming service launches in late March 2020. And while some will find workarounds, many others will just have to wait, leaving them at risk of stumbling across plot and character details. “I kind of completely understand Disney’s decision not to market Baby Yoda as a toy until after Disney+ has become available in more countries,” Mr Westwood tells the BBC. “A lot of toy companies nowadays like Lego’s Marvel range spoil potential scenes and possibilities, so to me it makes sense.”Mr Gottlieb agrees, saying that Disney’s decision means Star Wars fans will get a genuine surprise for once, in an age where leaked product photos often spoil shows months before they come out.”It’s amazing that in this day and age that they were able to keep this a secret,” he says. “Their intent was not only to incite excitement in the Mandalorian, but really in the whole Disney+ launch, and it did create a conversation.”He says this situation shows that different industries are no longer in their own silos. Toys, entertainment, intellectual property and video streaming all have the power to affect each other, and that is likely to have a big impact on the toy industry in the future. “Was it a good decision or a bad one on Disney’s part? We’ll have to wait until June 2020 to see, but it’s a disappointment that there’s going to be a lot of money left on the table.”

Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo said it’s a ‘happy moment’ as his side made it 10 games unbeaten in the top flight for the first time since 1972 with a 2-0 win over West Ham United.MATCH REPORT: Wolves 2-0 West Ham UnitedWatch highlights of all Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s Premier League fixtures on Match of the Day at 22:45 GMT on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

Former England captain Bob Willis has died at the age of 70.The fast bowler took 325 wickets in 90 Tests from 1971 to 1984, claiming a career-best 8-43 to help England to a famous win over Australia at Headingley in the 1981 Ashes.He captained England in 18 Tests and 29 one-day internationals before his retirement from all forms of cricket in 1984.In a statement, Willis’ family said he had died “after a long illness”.READ MORE: Former England captain Willis diesAvailable to UK users only.

Former England captain Bob Willis has died at the age of 70.The fast bowler took 325 wickets in 90 Tests from 1971 to 1984, claiming a career-best 8-43 to help England to a famous win over Australia at Headingley in the 1981 Ashes.He captained England in 18 Tests and 29 one-day internationals before his retirement from all cricket in 1984.

Willis subsequently worked as a summariser on BBC TV before joining Sky Sports as a commentator in 1991.He continued to work for Sky and was part of their coverage of this summer’s Ashes series.Willis represented Surrey for the first two years of his professional career before spending 12 years at Warwickshire, finishing with 899 wickets from 308 first-class matches at an average of 24.99.The Sunderland-born bowler made his international debut aged 21 in the 1971 Ashes after being called up to replace the injured Alan Ward and played the final four Tests of the seven-match series as England won 2-0.Despite needing surgery on both knees in 1975, he became one of the finest fast bowlers of his generation, playing another nine years and claiming his 325 wickets at an impressive average of 25.20.At the time of Willis’ retirement, only Australia fast bowler Dennis Lillee had taken more Test wickets.James Anderson (575), Stuart Broad (471) and Ian Botham (383) are the only England bowlers to have since surpassed Willis’ tally.Bob Willis career recordMatchesWicketsAverageBestTests9032525.208-43ODIs648024.604-11First-class30889924.998-32List A29342120.187-32More to follow.

A girl with autism and extreme anxiety whose was kept in seclusion for almost two years is to be moved.Bethany, who surname cannot be published, was locked in a “cell” at St Andrew’s Healthcare in Northampton, her father Jeremy, from Birmingham, said.In October, St Andrew’s, Walsall Council and clinical commissioning group and NHS England apologised to the family and said damages will be paid.Bethany will move to a hospital Whalley, Lancashire, on 15 December.She has been at a medium secure unit in Wales since leaving St Andrew’s, which her father said was also not suitable.Jeremy said he was pleased to finally have his daughter in a more suitable setting and was looking forward to “a real family Christmas” with his daughter.”I’m really happy,” he said.”The staff fully understand how to support her needs without resorting to restrictive measures. “They have worked with her for last couple of weeks [and] within an hour of meeting her they took her for a walk in the garden.”Latest news and updates in the West MidlandsJeremy previously told BBC File on 4 that Bethany had been kept in seclusion for 21 months as she had been aggressive and self-harmed.Last year he successfully fought a High Court gagging order sought by Walsall Council to stop him from speaking out about his daughter’s treatment in the unit.Follow BBC West Midlands on Facebook, on Twitter, and sign up for local news updates direct to your phone.

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