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Fans line the streets to pay final tribute to Tom Parker as funeral takes place

Fans travelled from all over the country to pay their respects

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Fans of The Wanted singer Tom Parker lined the streets this morning to pay a final tribute as the singer is laid to rest.

Close family and friends of Bolton-born Tom are attending a private celebration of life in southeast London this morning, with fans invited to gather outside to watch the service on big screens and to ‘do Tom proud’.

People were also seen lining the route towards the church in Petts Wood to pay their respects as the entourage passed on its journey.

Other images captured by ITV show fans gathering outside of the church, with three women having travelled from Liverpool, Glasgow and Tom’s hometown Bolton to attend the service.

ITV’s reporter Sam Holder explained on social media that these three fans had all met Tom on multiple occasions, where he had ‘always remembered their names’.

Plans for the service were revealed last week by Tom’s widow Kelsey Parker, who wrote in a statement: “We know many of you would like to pay your respects as well, so would love for you to join us in Petts Wood from 10am.

“It would be beautiful to have everyone line the route as we head to our private service. You are then welcome to join us outside the church for the duration where the service will be replayed on screens.”

Kelsey has also created a fundraising page to ‘keep Tom’s memory alive forever’ via donations to charitable causes, as opposed to sending flowers and cards.

Writing on the GoFundMe page, Kelsey explained that she and the family want to take ‘everyone’s incredible love, support and generosity’ and turn their grief into something positive to keep Tom’s memory alive forever.

She wrote: “We politely request that instead of gifts and flowers, donations are made to this GoFundMe account with all proceeds eventually going to amazing causes in Tom’s name, to help others in need.

“We simply couldn’t have got through the last 2 years without the help and support we have received and if we can offer it back to others that would be the best way to honour Tom and make our two children, Aurelia and Bodhi proud.”

Tom passed away on March 30th after a lengthy battle with terminal brain cancer glioblastoma. He leaves behind his two children Aurelia, two, and Bodhi, one, as well as his wife Kelsey.

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Huge protests taking place in Manchester and UK this weekend over soaring cost of living

Thousands of people are set to protest the government’s response to the cost of living crisis

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Thousands of people are set to take to the streets across the UK this weekend in protest of the soaring cost of living.

Enough is Enough – a campaign group calling for the government to take action against the ongoing cost of living crisis – has so far organised rallies in fifty different towns and cities across the country for this Saturday (October 1st).

Manchester is one of the cities involved in the mass protests, with a rally due to begin at 12pm at Piccadilly Gardens. 

Other locations also staging protests include Leeds, Birmingham, Newcastle, Ellesmere Port, Preston and Sheffield. 

The campaign wrote on its official Instagram account: “It’s time to say #EnoughlsEnough.

“No to handouts for the rich and hardship for the rest. This Saturday, October 1st, we’ll be protesting in 50 cities and towns across Britain.

“Main protests on listed graphic but dozens more on the website. Join the campaign today to find out about your local event.”

Enough Is Enough was established by trade union and community organisation leaders over the summer in a bid to ‘push back against the misery forced on millions by rising bills, low wages, food poverty, shoddy housing and a society run only for a wealthy elite’. 

The campaign has five demands:

  • A real pay rise.
  • Slash energy bills.
  • End food poverty.
  • Decent homes for all.
  • Tax the rich.

Back in August, Mayor Andy Burnham threw his support behind the movement, with him attending a protest in Manchester on August 30th.

Speaking to Channel 4 news outside of Manchester Cathedral ahead of the rally, Burnham said: “I go round this city all the time. People are scared. They don’t know how they’re going to get through.

“People’s resilience is already low. Their mental health is low. How are people going to get through?”

Visit the Enough Is Enough website for more information on the movement and any protests happening near you. 

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All primary school kids to get free breakfast as part of Labour’s childcare plan

Labour hopes to fund the plan by reversing Kwasi Kwarteng’s abolition of the 45p higher tax rate

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All primary school pupils will receive free breakfast under Labour’s newly unveiled childcare plan. 

Shadow Education Secretary Bridget Phillipson will announce the plan at the Labour conference in Liverpool today, where she will reveal that all children regardless of wealth would get a free morning meal. 

Currently, schools are only eligible for free breakfasts if 40% of their pupils come from poorer families. 

Labour say the plan would cost roughly £365million, and would be funded by reversing Kwasi Kwarteng’s abolition of the 45p higher tax rate.

The reintroduction of the tax rate would bring in an estimated £2billion, with the remaining cash to go towards a recruitment drive of NHS doctors, nurses and midwives.

Phillipson also hopes the pledge will reduce childcare costs for parents who need to start work early. 

She will say at the conference today: “Labour will build a modern childcare system. One that supports families from the end of parental leave through to the end of primary school. 

“As the first step on that road, we will introduce breakfast clubs for every primary school child in England, driving up standards in maths, reading, and writing, and giving mams and dads choices.”

The Association of School and College Leaders said of the plan: “Not only is this important in terms of wellbeing, but it is also educationally important as pupils are not in a fit state to learn if they are hungry.”

Research by KidsHealth.org showed that high protein and fibre-rich breakfasts help to boost children’s attention span, concentration and memory, all of which are essential for good performance at school.

By reducing the stress of the morning routine for families and children, breakfast clubs can also help to improve behaviour and attendance. 

Sam Bailey, the headteacher of the Forest Academy in Barnsley, said after the launch of their own free breakfast club: “Pupil behaviour has improved dramatically and attitudes to learning are the best they have ever been.”

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Manchester ruled out of hosting Eurovision 2023

BREAKING: The decision now lays between two northern cities

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Manchester has been ruled out of hosting the Eurovision song contest for 2023 as the shortlist for cities is cut from seven to two.

The BBC has announced today that Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Newcastle and Sheffield have been axed from the shortlist of wannabe hosts for the competition.

This leaves Liverpool and Glasgow as the last standing contenders.

The BBC said the two remaining cities, which both have riverside arena venues, had ‘the strongest overall offer’.

A final decision will be made ‘within weeks’, the broadcaster added.

If Liverpool is selected as the host, the competition would be staged at the 11,000-capacity dockside M&S Bank Arena, which is next to a conference centre and near the city centre’s hotels and rail links.

In Glasgow, alternatively, the 14,300-capacity OVO Hydro venue would play home to Eurovision.

Liverpool and Glasgow will be scored on a set of criteria, the BBC said, including:

  • “Having a suitable venue and sufficient space to deliver the requirements of the Song Contest.
  • “The commitment that can be made by a city or region to hosting the event, including the financial contribution.
  • “The strength of the cultural offer which includes off screen local and regional activity as well as showcasing Ukrainian culture and music.
  • “And alignment with the BBC’s strategic priorities as a public service broadcaster, such as providing value to all audiences and supporting the creative economy in the UK.”

It was announced last month that the UK would host the annual song contest for the first time in twenty-four years after organisers decided it could not go ahead in Ukraine – who won this year’s competition – due to the ongoing conflict with Russia.

The UK came in second place thanks to Sam Ryder’s smash-hit ‘Spaceman’, prompting the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) to open talks with the BBC.

A statement from BBC director general Tim Davie read: “It is a matter of great regret that our colleagues and friends in Ukraine are not able to host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest.

“Being asked to host the largest and most complex music competition in the world is a great privilege. The BBC is committed to making the event a true reflection of Ukrainian culture alongside showcasing the diversity of British music and creativity.”

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