BEARS could be coming back to English woods for the first in more than a thousand years.

The Daily Mail highlights a £5million project which aims to reintroduce the animals to a seven-acre site on the outskirts of Bristol – complete with a treetop walkway for visitors to look down on them.

The scheme, called Bear Wood, would see Eurasian brown bears – which can grow up to 8ft tall – rearing their cubs exactly as they did in medieval England.

Bristol Zoological Society has already received donations towards the cost of the project, but needs to find an extra £2million.

According to the BBC, parents in England and Wales have coughed up around £24m in penalties for failing to send their children to school during the past three years with some parents saying they budget for the cost of fines when planning holidays.

Between them, 155 local authorities in England and Wales (Scotland and Northern Ireland do not issue fines) issued about 400,000 penalties over three years. However, some councils issued penalties at rates five times the average, including the Isle of Wight (64 per 1,000 pupils).

Paul Brading, Isle of Wight's cabinet member for schools, said its high rate of fines was because officials want every unauthorised absence to be “thoroughly followed through”.

An article in The Guardian reports that a Hans Cooper vase sold at auction in Exeter, Devon for a record £381,000, the highest price ever paid for a modern piece of contemporary studio pottery. The seller's husband paid just £250 for the item in the 1970s!

She took the vase to an open valuation day at her local auction house, Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood, having kept it in a cupboard after her husband's death.

Auctioneer Nic Saintey told the Guardian that he knew immediately that it was a Hans Cooper, but thought the seller, who had brought it in a shoebox, might not.

Grade II* listed status has been conferred on a London mosque in recognition of its historic, cultural and architectural importance, says The Guardian

The London Central mosque in Regent’s Park was built in the 1970s, three decades after the acquisition of the site was authorised by Churchill’s war cabinet in recognition of the importance of Islam in an increasingly multicultural society.

The design, by British architect Sir Frederick Gibberd, was chosen in an international competition and Historic England, and was recommended for listing by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport , who said the “elegant scheme combined architectural traditions of British modernism with historic Islamic forms”.

Here's a fascinating story from the Daily Mail...the Royal Horticultural Society has discovered that around one in eight of its staff have names linked to plants and the garden.

Among its almost 900 employees there are four Heathers, three Berrys and three people called Moss and a communications officer called Fuchsia Wilkins. It also has a Shears, Marsh, Hill, Bird, Greenfield and Goodacre.

The paper says it is the latest example of ‘nominative determinism’ – the theory that people are drawn to careers which fit their names.

The Daily Mirror salutes 20-year-old West Highland Terrier dog Snowy, who has been rehomed after becoming Britain's oldest rescue dog.

He had been put up for adoption after his owner became ill and could no longer care for him, and although older dogs in rescue centres are often overlooked, Snowy was soon snapped up by Margaret Millar, from Wigan, Greater Manchester.

She commented: “He’s lovely and is doing really well. He is partially sighted but has soon found his feet and knows his way around.

“Most of the time he just likes to potter about but he definitely livens up when it’s time for food.”

Like big dogs? Well, the Daily Mail tells us that staff at a charity centre in Snetterton, Norfolk, are looking for a home for Bear, a 10-month-old part Japanese Akita, part St Bernard, who already weighs 6st 5lbs (40kg) and is 42 inches tall when sitting.

Diane McLelland-Taylor, a Dogs Trust rehoming manager, said: “Bear is a lively and playful boy who loves a gentle fuss, but also needs his own space.”

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