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Emotional tributes paid to Tony Morris, the man whose ‘smile lit up the North West’

Such sad news.

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ITV

Tony Morris, the face of North West News for Granada Reports, sadly died at the age of 57 last weekend.

Tributes have been paid across many news outlets this morning, including from Kate Garraway and Ben Shephard on this morning’s Good Morning Britain. 

Speaking on Tony’s death over a montage of his best moments from the 17 years he worked at Granada Reports, Kate described him as ‘warm and brilliant’.

He died on Saturday at Bury Hospital with daughters Natalia and Rebecca at his side, after being diagnosed with kidney cancer last year.

His daughters released a statement that read: “You all know him as ‘the guy off the news’ – but we know him as our dad. He was always so proud to be an adopted northerner.”

They added: “What you saw on TV every evening was exactly who he was – authentic and honest in everything he did, relentlessly funny, ferociously intelligent, endlessly kind – he lit up every room he walked into.

“We know there will be a lot of people in the North West who are going to miss him – so we know we are not going through this alone.”

During last nights Granada Reports, Tony’s presenting partner Lucy Meacock spoke to viewers about her loss. 

She said: “Tony was one of the most, one of the kindest, funniest people that you could ever meet – he was always interested in other people, he was interested in our guests who would come into the studio, he had a genuine interest.”

“And it was a very special bond that we had, we knew each other very well and I think it was a great partnership,” she added, tearing up as a picture appeared on screen of Tony. 

She said: “He was without doubt one of the most humble, kind and funny people I have ever met, and he would often make me laugh until my sides ached.

“A smile from Tony Morris always brightened everyone’s day and certainly brightened up the whole of the North West for 17 years.”

Lucy continued: “I am so very, very sad and my heart goes out to his daughters Nat and Becky.”

Many viewers, who have watched Tony almost every night for nearly two decades, shared their condolences and thoughts on Twitter after the sad news. 

One said: “Will miss his humour, he was the reason to watch local news. RIP Tony.”

Another wrote:  “Awful news. Regional presenters do have such an important part in so many peoples’ lives – many people will have had their tea with Lucy and Tony for years. Will be much missed by those who knew him and those who didn’t. RIP Tony.”

One viewer added they hope he will meet Dianne Oxberry saying: “He will be sorely missed and I hope he meets up with Dianne Oxberry. Two special Manc people. RIP.”

His friend and sports reporter Chris Hall shared a touching poem on social media. It reads: “TM had his trademarks. The smile. The scowl. The sparks in his quick remarks making us howl with laughter. His mic now faded forever. Nothing comes after. Not even the weather.

“Our Tone used his own to marvel us, move us and manoeuvre us around our armchairs.

“Hairs on end as we sat on the edge for the heavier stuff. Then quirky and off-the-cuff candour cajoled us back into cushions.

“He always knew how to push our buttons. Always ‘on it’. No stumbles.

“So much he taught us – not always aloud – and that knowledge lives on through his daughters who make him so proud.”

ITV

Annabel Tiffin from BBC North West Tonight’s sent her love and sympathy to Natalia Morris saying: “I am so sorry to hear about Tony.

“We may have been on opposite channels but I always had the utmost respect for him, and we would always have a wee chat whenever we crossed paths on a story.

“Sending you much love and sympathy.”

Sophie Raworth added: “He was always lovely and always smiling. I was delighted to see him again in February this year at the RTS Awards.

“Had no idea he was ill. So so sad to find out he has gone.”

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Around 20 people involved in mass brawl ‘with knives’ in Piccadilly Gardens

The violence spilled out into the street

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Magnus D / Flickr

A large group of people were involved in a mass fight ‘with knives’ in Piccadilly Gardens last night.

Around 20 people were caught up in the large brawl on Monday evening, and according to reports some were armed with knives.

The fight took place outside Morrisons on the end of Oldham Street, and happened around 9:30pm.

Witnesses reported seeing some of the suspects carrying knives, although police didn’t recover any from the scene, and busses were forced to stop as the violence spread out onto the road.

Peter McDermott / Geograph

Someone who witnessed the fight said on Twitter: “Piccadilly gardens is the roughest place on earth… a lovely night out helping ruined by a group of young kids kicking each others faces in”.

Officers responded to the incident, but no arrests were made or serious injuries reported.

This incident was the third of serious violence in just a few days.

Saturday afternoon saw another incident outside Morrisons in Piccadilly Gardens, in which a man was slashed in the face.

And on Sunday a brawl involving two tables at Barca bar in Castlefield happened, with some involved arming themselves with weapons like bar furniture and a baseball bat.

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Leading scientists call for end of face masks and social distancing by June

Do you agree?

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Leading scientists have written to the UK government calling for social distancing and face masks to be scrapped from June.

In total 22 scientists have signed the communication, saying that these measures should finish on June 22nd – the same date limits on social contact are set to be scrapped in England.

One of the scientists who has added their name to the letter is Dr Roland Salmon, the former director of the communicable disease centre in Wales.

Nickolay Romensky/Flickr

Dr Salmon told BBC Radio Wales: “I am not venting my frustration but I do think some dialogue is well overdue.

“I have always felt that there has been little credible evidence benefit for many of the measures that we take.”

According to him, the letter was written to encourage the government to focus on protecting vulnerable people rather than the masses as we move forward.

Dr Salmon said we need to deal with the ‘here and now’ when asked about the threat of variants, going on to add that the vaccine has shown it helps prevent severe disease and death.

He added: “We can’t stop living forever while we wait for things to happen”.

Sharon McCutcheon/Unsplash

Scientists who’ve signed the letter include Prof Robert Dingwall from Nottingham Trent University, who sits on the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG). 

There’s also Prof Anthony Brookes, a geneticist and health data scientist at the University of Leicester, and Prof Carl Heneghan, director of the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine at Oxford University.

The letter reads: “We are being told simultaneously that we have successful vaccines and that major restrictions on everyday life must continue indefinitely. Both propositions cannot be true.

“We need to give more weight to the data on the actual success of the vaccines and less to theoretical risks of vaccine escape and/or surge in a largely vaccinated population.”



It continues: “Covid-19 no longer requires exceptional measures of control in everyday life, especially where there have been no evaluations and little credible evidence of benefit.

“Measures to reduce or discourage social interaction are extremely damaging to the mental health of citizens; to the education of children and young people; to people with disabilities; to new entrants to the workforce; and to the spontaneous personal connections from which innovation and enterprise emerge.”

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Boris Johnson is regarded as ‘untrustworthy’ by six out of 10 voters

It follows weeks of allegations against the PM

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No10 / Flickr

According to a new poll Boris Johnson is seen as ‘untrustworthy’ by six out of 10 voters in Britain, with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer seen as more trustworthy.

The poll from Ipsos MORI was shared by the Evening Standard, and comes after weeks of leaks and allegations about sleaze aimed at the prime minister.

The research found that Mr Johnson is trusted by just 35% of voters and deemed untrustworthy by 59%, while Sir Keir is seen as trustworthy by 42% and is untrusted by 41%.

No10 / Flickr

Gideon Skinner, head of political research at Ipsos MORI, said: “On honesty Boris Johnson is clearly trumped by Keir Starmer, so this is an area of potential risk for him. 

“However, his own supporters still trust him, and the public overall have never seen it as one of his strongest attributes … and as previous leaders such as Tony Blair have shown, you don’t have to be ahead on trust to win elections. 

“The key question is whether and if these stories continue and start to change the public’s overall view on him as PM.”

No10 / Flickr

The poll was taken following weeks of reports about murky donations being used to refurbish the prime minister’s flat, as well as disclosures about covert lobbying.

However, it was undertaken before the most recent allegations that Mr Johnson said he’d rather see ‘bodies pile high’ than have another lockdown, so those reports won’t have been taken into consideration by those polled.

Despite all the recent controversy, the prime minister and government’s net satisfaction hasn’t changed much since March, with both Mr Johnson (44 satisfied/50 dissatisfied) and Sir Keir (36/46) having net negative ratings.

Ipsos MORI interviewed 1090 adults across the UK by telephone from April 16th to the 22nd – you can find full details here.

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