YOUNG people at Dorcan Academy toured exotic locations including the Great Barrier Reef, the Grand Canyon and World War One Battlefields at no cost - and with no risk of their parents being hauled into court for taking them on holiday in term time.

The school’s head of global learning, Alan Brownlie, heard the Google Expeditions team were demonstrating an educational virtual reality app and invited them to visit


RUNNERS in the Cancer Research Race for Life found themselves queueing to pay a £4 parking charge at Lydiard Park.

Swindon Borough Council said the fees had been publicised and that it provided half a dozen council staff for the event at no charge.


Royal Wootton Bassett man Julian Winterburn found himself with an unwanted garden ornament in the latest of a number of crashes near his home.

Understandably horrified at the thought of what might happen if he or his loved ones had been in the garden at the time, he demanded safety improvements at the nearby junction


BILLIE Piper visited Swindon’s Shoebox Theatre - she’s its patron - to share some insights with the aspiring performers.

She said: “Venues like the shoebox are really wonderful and important. When I was growing up in Swindon, I came through the traditional drama training routes, which are great, but the Shoebox Theatre offers alternative ways of developing skills and gaining experience, which is really, really exciting


IN December of 2016, Swindon scaffolder Jamie Mines suffered a huge electric shock while building a temporary shelter.

His injuries were so bad that he eventually lost all four limbs, but he was back home in time for Father’s Day, which he spent with girlfriend Harley Ware and twins Isabella and Savannah.

He said: “I don’t think I will ever feel content missing their first Christmas, but I could have fried and become a vegetable. I feel blessed to be alive. Now my babies won’t grow up without a dad.”


CRICKLADE DJ Dizzy Twlight, aka Christine Tew, didn’t let the small matter of being 66 years old prevent her from wowing the Britain’s Got Talent judges and getting as far as the talent show’s semi-finals.

She said: “I want to encourage people to pursue their passions and not be ashamed to do what they love.”


CHEF Marco Pierre White came to Swindon to meet diners at his new Wood Street restaurant, Bardolino, and sign copies of his latest book, Essentially Marco.

Although a legendarily fierce taskmaster in the kitchen, he was warm and affable to all who met him.


POLITICIANS and would-be politicians had to dust off their rosettes earlier than expected when Prime Minister Teresa May called a snap General Election.

The premier had hoped to consolidate her party’s grip on power but left it needing to do a deal with the DUP. South Swindon MP Robert Buckland and his North Swindon counterpart, Justin Tomlinson, held their seats


LORD Joel Joffe died at his home in Liddington, aged 86.

As a young lawyer in South Africa, he had represented Nelson Mandela when the future presdent and fellow freedom fighters were on trial for their lives. Lord Joffe later co-founded Hambro Life, which later became Allied Dunbar, chaired Oxfam and campaigned about a wealth of human rights issues