from BBC News for Staffordshire
Former Cardiff City defender Chris Barker has died at the age of 39.The Sheffield-born player helped the club to promotion from the third tier of English football in 2003.Barker, whose other clubs included Stoke City, Barnsley and Queens Park Rangers, made 162 appearances for the Bluebirds.
World In Motion, which represented Barker throughout his career, was among the first to confirm his death via social media on Thursday.View more on twitterSouth Wales Police have confirmed the sudden death of a 39-year-old man who was discovered at his home address in the Cyncoed area of Cardiff at about 14:00 GMT on 1 January.They added that the death is not being treated as suspicious and the coroner has been informed.Barker was voted Cardiff’s player of the season in 2004-05.He spent 2006-07 on loan at Colchester United before joining QPR on a free transfer and went on to play for Plymouth, Southend, Aldershot, Hereford and Weston-super-Mare, before retiring from football in 2017.Barker also assisted with coaching at his last three clubs and was lead professional development phase coach at Forest Green.A number of fans and former team-mates have paid tribute to Barker on social media.Former Cardiff City striker Andy Campbell posted on Twitter: “RIP Chris Barker, so so sad. A friend, a team-mate & all round nice fella.”
A tiny spark in the UK’s hydrogen revolution has been lit – at a university campus near Stoke-on-Trent.Hydrogen fuel is a relatively green alternative to alternatives that produce greenhouse gases.The natural gas supply at Keele University is being blended with 20% hydrogen in a trial that’s of national significance.Adding the hydrogen will reduce the amount of CO2 that’s being produced through heating and cooking.Critics fear hydrogen will prove too expensive for mass usage, but supporters of the technology have high hopes. Using natural gas for heating generates about a third of the UK emissions that are driving global warming.But the only product of burning hydrogen is water.How does it work?As a fuel, hydrogen functions in much the same way as natural gas. So staff in the university canteen say cooking on the 20% hydrogen blend has made no difference to their cooking regime.The project – known as HyDeploy – is the UK’s first live trial of hydrogen in a modern gas network. Keele was chosen because it has a private gas system.Its hydrogen is produced in an electrolyser – a device that splits water (H2O) into its constituents: hydrogen and oxygen. The machine is located in a glossy green shipping container in the corner of the university’s sports field.The gas distribution firm Cadent, which is leading the project, says that if a 20% blend were to be rolled out across Britain, it would reduce emissions of CO2 by six million tonnes – equivalent to taking 2.5 million cars off the road. The hydrogen could be generated pollution-free by using surplus wind power at night to split water molecules using electrolysis.Why not add more than 20% hydrogen?The 20% proportion was chosen because it’s an optimal blend that won’t affect gas pipes and appliances.Currently, the UK has only small supplies of hydrogen, but the firm says increasing production would offer a quick way of cutting emissions from heating.Consultant engineer Ed Syson told BBC News: “The prize is a large one. If we were to roll this system out across the UK it would be on broadly the same scale as offshore wind is today. So it’s a significant technology.“What’s more, it makes those carbon savings without having customers change their behaviour in any way.”How long before we see 100% hydrogen boilers?Some boiler manufacturers are already producing prototype boilers that use 100% hydrogen. Worcester Bosch, for instance, has a “hydrogen-ready” design. It can run on natural gas, but it’s capable of converting to 100% hydrogen following a one-hour visit by an engineer. The firm wants the government to stipulate that by 2025, all new boilers on sale should be hydrogen-ready.It says this would allow households to switch painlessly to clean boilers when existing boilers reach the end of their lives. The extra cost of the hydrogen-ready boiler would be about £50, it says.How clean is hydrogen?Hydrogen can be produced from water through electrolysis, or from natural gas.Electrolysis from surplus renewable energy is unambiguously beneficial for the environment – but it’s not very efficient. For the foreseeable future it may be cheaper to produce hydrogen from natural gas. However, CO2 is released in the industrial process used to generate hydrogen.The resulting CO2 would need to be captured and stored underground with carbon capture and storage (CCS) – a technology not yet established at scale.Is the hydrogen revolution inevitable?About 85% of homes have gas central heating, and some experts believe it will prove more cost-effective to switch boilers to hydrogen, rather than to install heat pumps which would require the UK’s aging housing stock to be highly insulated.A recent study for the government raised the possibility that homes could be warmed by a hybrid system using electric heat pumps, then topping up with hydrogen on cold days. Major drawbacks to hydrogen are cost and availability. The costs are much higher than for natural gas, although the differential will surely shrink as carbon taxes raise the price of burning gas to combat climate change over coming decades.The environmental think tank E3G said in a statement: “Going for hydrogen entails massive infrastructure expenditure. In many cases the additional costs make it look unattractive compared with alternatives (like renewables). Richard Black from the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) told BBC News: “We will and should have hydrogen in the mix of energy options, but it’s not a wonder solution to everything, which you sometimes get the impression from the rhetoric. There is hope – but too much hype.” Meanwhile, in the corner of a sports field in Keele, the container of hope has just supplied enough hydrogen to cook 20% of Christmas dinners.Follow Roger on Twitter.
Huddersfield boss Danny Cowley says he is sure the club will investigate after sectarian chants were allegedly aimed at Stoke midfielder James McClean.An announcement was made over the John Smith’s Stadium’s public address system warning fans about ‘offensive behaviour’ affecting Wednesday’s game.McClean, 30, has been targeted in the past for his refusal to wear a poppy.
McClean is from Derry, where in 1972 British soldiers shot civilian protestors during ‘Bloody Sunday’.McClean sent abusive packages in poppy rowMcClean warned over Twitter comments after ‘years of abuse’Stoke beat Huddersfield Town 5-2″There’s no place for discrimination of any type whatsoever,” Cowley said following his side’s 5-2 defeat in the Championship.”I’m sure the club will investigate this and make sure the people involved in it are duly punished.”Stoke boss Michael O’Neill, who is also the current Northern Ireland manager, added: “People have to be held accountable for their behaviour when they come to a stadium.”It’s not something we want to be consistently talking about – sectarianism or racism or whatever.”We want to be talking about the game because there was seven goals here.”
A man has been arrested after a woman driving a mobility scooter was killed in a hit-and-run in Cannock. The 62-year-old died at the scene of the collision at the junction between Pye Green Road and Saint Aidan’s Road at about 18:30 GMT on Tuesday.A 27-year-old man from Cannock was arrested by Staffordshire Police on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and failing to stop.He remains in police custody for questioning.Det Ch Insp Paul Cooke, from Staffordshire Police, said: “Detectives are still investigating this incident and I would ask that anyone who may have witnessed it or who was driving in the area at that time with a dashcam to please come forward.”We are continuing to support the woman’s family and it is important that we establish the circumstances that led up to her death.”Follow BBC West Midlands on Facebook, on Twitter, and sign up for local news updates direct to your phone.
Updates from the Cannock Chase Radio News Desk via BBC Stoke and Staffordshire From: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/50908712
Match report will appear here
Updates from the Cannock Chase Radio News Desk via BBC Stoke and Staffordshire From: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/50908564
A woman driving a mobility scooter has died in a hit-and-run crash in Staffordshire.The 62-year-old was struck by a silver VW Golf in Cannock at about 18:30 GMT on New Year’s Eve and died at the scene, police said.The collision happened at the junction of Pye Green Road and St Aidan’s Road. The driver of the Golf failed to stop.Staffordshire Police said inquiries were ongoing and witnesses should contact the force.Follow BBC West Midlands on Facebook, on Twitter, and sign up for local news updates direct to your phone.
Amelia Eldred has always loved to dance and losing a limb to bone cancer was not going to stop her. The nine-year-old from Tamworth, in Staffordshire, underwent a rare procedure last year called rotationplasty.The lower part of the leg was reattached backwards so the ankle joint could work as a knee joint.She continued to dance with her new prosthetic limb but now the active girl has worn it out, and she needs a new one.
The deaths of two Army recruits during military training could be repeated without urgent government intervention, a coroner has warned.Kamil Iddrisu, 25, and Youngson Nkhoma, 31 died within days of each other in November during officer selection. The soldiers were taken ill with undiagnosed sickle cell disorders at Whittington Barracks, Staffordshire.The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said it had taken immediate steps “to understand what has happened.”In a report sent to the MoD, Birmingham and Solihull’s senior coroner Louise Hunt urged further action for candidates at risk of sickle cell trait (SCT). An inquest heard that Mr Iddrisu and Mr Nkhoma, sent from Ghana and Malawi to the UK for officer selection, collapsed whilst taking part in separate training runs.Mr Iddrisu died on 17 November and Mr Nkhoma on 27 November, after being taken to Good Hope Hospital in Birmingham with severe kidney damage.A pathologist concluded that the most likely cause of each man’s collapse was SCT in combination with military exercise, said the coroner’s report.Latest news from the West MidlandsMs Hunt called on the MoD to consider screening all non-UK selection candidates with a blood test.”I have been advised that three other men have also collapsed in similar circumstances, requiring intensive treatment, however they did not die,” she said.”I am concerned that there is a group of non-UK candidates who are at risk of death or harm if further steps are not taken immediately,” Ms Hunt added.The coroner gave the MoD until January 31 to respond.An army spokesman confirmed the deaths but said it could not comment further.The MoD said a service inquiry had been convened to look at the circumstances surrounding the two deaths and put mitigations in place.It added that future candidates would be screened for SCT via an NHS questionnaire and work was underway to introduce blood tests.Sickle cell disease affects about 15,000 people in the UK.Follow BBC West Midlands on Facebook, on Twitter, and sign up for local news updates direct to your phone.