Updated: 22:13 EST

'I'm glad mum was spared her darkest fears'

Christmas at Cilla Black’s magnificent red-brick mansion was always a bustling, rumbustious family affair in which the much-loved entertainer (main) would get up at dawn and don her festive apron to prepare a traditional turkey feast before collapsing in front of the television. But this year will be a much quieter celebration for her sons Robert (top right and bottom right, as a child), Ben and Jack, who are spending their first Christmas away from The Grove, the ten-bedroom home where they grew up and where their mother held court. Cilla, who died suddenly after a fall at her Spanish villa in 2015 aged 72, may have travelled a long way from her early days in a flat above a barber’s shop in Liverpool, but her homely, traditional childhood always remained in her heart. Every December she would decorate the house in Denham, Buckinghamshire (inset), to within an inch of its life. For her, Christmas Day was living proof that all her hard work had been worthwhile.

Mother wins sex bias battle against 'dishonest' law firm

Bina Hale (pictured), 36, has won a discrimination case against global law firm Dentons at an employment tribunal in Bury St Edmunds. She was selected for redundancy while she was on maternity leave then told on her first day back to work last December. The judge blasted the company for dishonesty when providing evidence for the case. Line manager Emma Rowe provided a single piece of white paper she claimed she made notes from a meeting where Mrs Hale was chosen for redundancy but the court was told the pages of her notebook were actually brown.

The Nutcracker dancers detail agony of the beloved play

Dancers of the decades-old Nutcracker ballet are not just talented in choreography - but top grade acting. With grace and gratitude, the ballet dancers have described some of the most daunting details about their day-to-day job. Aside from getting the wonderful opportunity to work while doing what they love, the poised performers live in constant fear of the unknown on and offstage, a dance critic report for The Washington Post explains.

Lancashire County Council's new contract requires schools to serve meat from non-halal suppliers. But it has been put on hold over the Muslim community's claims the move is 'hurtful'.

The trial at Exeter Crown Court heard how the girls had lied to their parents about having a sleepover and instead gone to a friend's sister's flat on the Dawlish seafront in Devon (pictured).


An article on August 12 (‘Most Remainers now backing a hard Brexit’) reported the results of a survey about various types of Brexit.

Billionaire entrepreneur Lord Edmiston, banker Peter Cruddas and former UKIP donor Arron Banks have all received letters from HM Revenue and Customs in the last fortnight.

Philip Croker, 29, led police on a high-speed chase with his pregnant teenage girlfriend in the passenger seat and was due to be sentenced at Gloucester Crown Court. But he refused to attend.

French police have detained an ex-SAS soldier suspected of being part of a gang that raided a chateau owned by a British couple as they ate dinner, tying them up and then making off with cash.

Kate Maltby's texts to Damian Green AFTER reporting him

The row over Damian Green’s sacking erupted again last night after leaked messages sent by the woman who accused him of misconduct showed that she was sending him friendly texts (pictured, inset) just weeks before pulling the trigger on his career. Kate Maltby’s claim that she had felt ‘angry’ and ‘professionally compromised’ after Mr Green (pictured, right) touched her knee in a bar led to a Cabinet Office inquiry into the Minister, which widened into claims that he had downloaded pornography on his Commons computer. He was fired by Mrs May last week after the inquiry concluded that he had made misleading remarks about whether he knew about the pornography allegations. It did not come to a conclusion about his behaviour towards Ms Maltby, 31.

Gavin Williamson halts Army plan to scrap Be the Best logo

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson (pictured left) dramatically intervened last night after The Mail on Sunday revealed that the British Army was ‘wasting’ millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money to scrap its famous ‘Be the Best’ motto – because top brass say it is elitist. The project is the brainchild of General Sir Nick Carter (pictured right). His team also wrote the document The Army Brand, which was circulated among senior officers last month. It attempts to justify the removal of the Be the Best slogan from all Army documentation and imagery, saying: ‘Be the Best was a recruitment strapline from 1993 and has appeared on Army branded material ever since. But it was never a researched or defined brand.

More than 1.5 million motorists are taking the road today as millions of Britons cross the country as part of the great Christmas getaway ahead of the big day.

UK travellers could face delays and extra paperwork once the new, blue coloured passports are introduced, EU officials warn, as it emerged we could have brought in them in at any time.

The return of the traditional blue British passports had Brexiteer's tails wagging. But after mock-ups images of them were released, many pointed out that they were not the right colour.

British family cheat death as plane crashes in Mexico

City advisory firm manager William Carpmael, 46, his wife Anna, 48 (top right walking away from the crash), and their two children, Emily, 15, and George, 14, were on their way to visit the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza when their light aircraft began to lose altitude. It came down in a remote area of dense vegetation (left and bottom right), around 10 miles from the nearest main road. Dramatic local TV pictures showed the Mexican pilot, named locally as Francisco Alan Rodriguez, covered in blood with a bandage round his head. But the passengers, all from London, were filmed walking away with no apparent injuries after rescuers reached them following a tense three-hour search.

F1 divorcee wins case against handyman lover who sued

Daphne McKinley's handyman lover tried to sue her for a sizeable chunk of her £9.5million fortune by arguing they had lived together as man and wife in her home in Buckinghamshire. He cited Bulgari and Irish Claddagh rings he had bought as signs of their commitment. But perhaps the most galling thing was Jason’s insistence that he had been instrumental in setting up Daphne’s property business. ‘Why would I give 50 per cent of my company to somebody who had no skills, no money and was lazy?’ Daphne asks.Jason lost the case and was ordered to pay Daphne’s costs but she received no compensation. And by the time his appeal was dismissed earlier this month, Daphne had run up legal bills of £150,000 – money that could have educated both of her grandchildren.

Female barrister Julia Smart helped clear student Liam Allan of rape after she found text messages showing the complainant discussed fantasies of violent sex, including being choked during intercourse.

More than 1.5 million motorists are taking the road today as millions of Britons cross the country as part of the great Christmas getaway ahead of the big day.

The secret lover of Sarah Pitkin, who was stabbed to death by her husband in Suffolk, has revealed she was afraid of spouse Richard Pitkin, who hanged himself after killing the 58-year-old.

Googlebox favourite Leon Bernicoff dies

Gogglebox legend Leon Bernicoff's bereft wife tonight thanked viewers for their messages of support, adding that 'Leon would have loved reading them'. Tributes poured in for the the star, 83, who passed away yesterday in hospital following a short illness. They included messages of support from fellow stars of the hit Channel 4 show — including television personality Scarlett Moffatt, who said Leon was 'loved by so many'. Leon's widow, June, tonight took to Twitter to thank viewers for their countless messages of support.

Shameless star Tina Malone is ‘led away in handcuffs’

Actress Tina Malone was dramatically arrested last night after appearing on stage during a pantomime in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria after police received a tip-off the Shameless star had been taking cocaine. Ms Malone, pictured on stage yesterday, right, went to McDonald's between her two shows yesterday, left, ahead of her arrest.

The theory was gleaned from a study of Britain's largest genetic database, which found that people with a higher BMI were less likely to describe themselves as tense or nervous.

(Owen Humphreys/PA)

Santa Claus is risking a string of terrible ailments due to his high-stress Christmas schedule, including gout, obesity, alcoholism and even mental health issues, GPs have warned.

Dave Lewis, who has been at the head of the chain since 2014, has pledged that leftover food will no longer be thrown away and will instead be handed to charities or used as animal food or fuel.

Catalan pro-independence parties claim victory

Ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont claimed victory for the separatist movement after pro-independence parties claims a majority in elections called after he was pushed from power. With 99 per cent of votes counted secessionists looked set to claim 70 seats, giving them a majority of two, though two less than they previously held. Meanwhile unionists looked set to claim 65. Mr Puigdemont described the vote as a 'slap' to Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, whose own party returned its worst ever result in the region, with just four seats.

The horrific moment 'ice-addict' Afghan refugee 'ploughed into a crowd of pedestrians' injuring 19 - as police say he complained about Australia's 'poor treatment of Muslims' after arrest

An Afghan refugee ice addict accused of 'deliberately' ploughing through a crowd of shoppers in Melbourne's city centre has blamed the horrific attack on Australia's 'poor treatment of Muslims'. It comes as horrific CCTV footage, obtained by 7 News, captures the exact moment a white Suzuki SUV pulls away from traffic and speeds into unsuspecting pedestrians outside busy Flinders Street Station on Thursday afternoon. Shocked bystanders can be seen pointing in disbelief on the street as dozens of people - including a four-year-old boy and an 83-year-old man - are mowed down by the rampaging driver. The driver behind the wheel of the SUV, with P-plates, has been identified by the The Herald Sun as Saeed Noori.

Sauna inferno kills dozens in South Korea

The blaze spread through the eight-storey building in the central South Korean city of Jecheon after a car caught fire in the basement. Authorities say 29 were killed and 26 others are injured after the sports centre and public bath went up in flames. Dramatic images show people calling for help and flames shooting from the top of the building. One man jumped from a window (left and top right) to escape the inferno and plunged down onto an air mattress put in place by fire crews.

Danish prison designed to look like a college

Newly opened Storstrøm Prison (left) - near the town of Gundslev in Denmark - has been created to feel like a university campus, with a minimalist Scandinavian look modelled on a traditional Danish village. Costing over £100million and taking five years to build, Storstrøm can hold 250 prisoners in its 40 square foot cells (right), which come with a fridge, 22-inch TV, large window and wardrobe. Inmates get a comfortable bed, desk with reading lamp, private bathroom (inset right) and a share in communal kitchens where they can make their own food (inset left).

Montevideo armed robbers open fire on security guards

The eight men fired more than 30 shots (left) at their victims using weapons including a machine gun in the Uruguayan capital Montevideo. The gang members, who were all masked apart from one who posed as a supermarket shopper (bottom right) to tip off his accomplices, then escaped with their haul of £200,000 after a raid lasting just 20 seconds. A guard with the cash tried to make a run for it (top right) when the criminals jumped out of two vehicles parked near the Prosegur van and began shooting indiscriminately.

German teenager Linda Wenzel, 17, posted a chilling message to Facebook warning there would be more terror attacks. It is not known when the message was sent or received.

Former Korean Air  executive Cho Hyun-Ah, seen here in 2015, spent a total of five months in jail for an incident dubbed 'nut rage', which triggered national uproar a year earlier

Korean Air heiress Cho Hyun-ah (pictured) flew into a rage and shocked the world when she delayed a passenger jet because she was served nuts in a bag instead of in a serving dish.

The unnamed 42-year-old grandmother was rushed to Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem in Jerusalem after going into labour on Wednesday.

The accident occurred off the town of Real, about 43 miles east of Manila, as the boat headed from the port towards the remote island of Polillo in rough weather, the Philippines coastguard service said.

The 'low-ranking' soldier was spotted by South Korean soldiers using surveillance equipment as he crossed the land border near Yeoncheon and made his way to a guard post.

Castro was supposed to resign in February but Cuba's National Assembly today voted to push back the election due to disruption caused by a hurricane in September.

WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES: The video has been shot at rabbit farms in France reportedly used by the luxury brands, and shows rabbits kept in tiny cages, suffering sores, injuries and birth defects.

The animals at Malabon Zoo in the Philippines were joined by 200 orphans and Roman Catholic nuns for the festive event on Thursday.

The clip, which has over a million views, shows the Pattaya zoo worker jabbing the chained beast in its face with a stick as tourists take turns to pose with or sit on top of it for pictures.

Jeetmal Mehar offered £5,400 to Pathani Mangrio's parents to marry her in Pakistan. Officers raided the marriage broker's house just before the contract was signed.