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Essex Chronicle stories feed from registered users of the site and Northcliffe Media editorial

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    A friend of a woman found dead at a house in Heybridge on Monday described her as "a special woman who deserved a better life". Police were called to Heron Way, Heybridge, at about 9.25pm on Sunday by paramedics, after 39-year-old Sarah Munro was reported to be severely ill.

    Paramedics tried to revive Ms Munro, but she was pronounced dead at about 9.45pm.

    A single floral tribute was left outside her home, from a friend who described Ms Munro as "a special woman who deserved a better life".

    Her neighbours spoke of a quiet woman who kept herself to herself, adding that they didn't know her well and rarely saw her outside her house.

    An inquest into her death was opened and adjourned by the senior coroner for Essex, Caroline Beasley-Murray.

    A spokesman for Essex Police said: "The woman's death is being treated as unexplained, and inquiries are continuing. A post-mortem examination was carried out on Monday, and showed that death was caused by a serious head injury.

    "But other tests will be required to establish how the injury occurred.A 39-year-old man from the Maldon area, who was arrested in connection with the investigation, has been bailed until Monday, November 18, pending further inquiries.

    Pictured: Fatal head injury victim Sarah Munro 'deserved a better life'

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    AN 80-year-old man resuscitated by two bystanders after having a heart attack in a bank said he was saved by "angels".

    John Adams collapsed in Santander, Chelmer Village, and was given CPR by a bystander who had first aid training.

    Asda shift worker Mandy Stevenson, 46, performed emergency first aid on Mr Adams, taking over chest compressions from another woman, known as Martina, who was first on the scene when he fell ill on Sunday, August 17.

    Mr Adams was taken to Basildon Hospital, where he is currently recovering, and his family are hoping he will be released in the next few days.

    Last weekend, he was visited on the ward by the two women his family refer to as his "saviours".

    Mr Adams' granddaughter, Kelly Gleed, said: "It was really lovely that he met them. We are all so grateful for the help they gave. Without them, he wouldn't be here.

    "He actually told me he saw a faith healer a few years ago who told him that one day he would have two angels watching over him, and now this has happened. He was really pleased to meet them."

    After Mr Adams' collapse, an air ambulance was called to Chelmer Village.

    Martina and Mandy's actions bought the ambulance crew valuable time to get to the scene.

    Ms Gleed said: "He told me the last thing he remembered about the day he had the heart attack was going into the bank. He doesn't remember anything after that.

    "Even later on in the evening, when he had visitors at the hospital, he doesn't remember them being there."

    Ms Stevenson, who had been on several first aid courses with St John Ambulance, said she went into autopilot when she saw Mr Adams collapse, and felt she had to do something , particularly as one of her friends had died of a heart attack several days prior to the incident.

    "I visited John over the weekend. He looks so well and has a lovely caring family around him," said Ms Stevenson.

    "We spoke in depth, and he said the other lady visited him as well. He said he doesn't remember anything. I told him he has the same name as my dad, John Adams, and we spoke about fate and how ironic it was about the coincidence in the name and whether I was meant to be there. I will keep in touch with him, and wish him a speedy recovery."

    Mr Adams' family spoke of their gratitude towards the two women, and said they hoped he would be back on his feet soon.

    Ms Gleed said: "He is supposed to be having something a bit like a mini-defibrillator fitted that will shock his heart if anything like that happens again, and we are hoping he will be home soon.

    "He seems very bright in himself, but he is a very chirpy person anyway. After the story was in the paper, he joked about being famous, and he was so pleased to meet the two ladies."

    'It was fate': Asda worker who came to man's rescue found he had same name as her father

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    Shoppers lined up outside Aldi in Springfield this morning (August 28) to get their hands on some very special treats as the store marked the completion of its much anticipated revamp.

    Eager punters queued up from 4am to be the first to grab golden envelopes, entitling them to tablet PCs, smartphones and steam mops.

    Among the first to get there were Aldi super fans, Nyasha Marere Gwanzura, Essie Mkondai, and Candy Katuriza, all from Chelmsford - turning up at 4am to get hold of some steam mops in time for Christmas.

    They sat in their car watching Rio 2 until the store opened four hours later.

    "We came for the steam mops. Some can be £100, and these were £12," Miss Mkondai said. 

    "We bought six mops, so we have presents for the whole family. I am very pleased with my tablet because everyone in my family has got one except me, so now I have my own." Ms Gwanzura added.

    Area manager Rachael Lewis said they were forced to extend the car park by 20 to 30 spaces but it soon became packed.

    She said: "We opened at 8am and we alreadly had 70 or 80 people in the queue.

    "We closed on Saturday evening, stripped everything out, we had a side extension that has become the fifth aisle, we also built a new warehouse.

    "Then we started from scratch so everything was re-merchandised. We have done a lot.

    "We are one of the busiest stores in Essex, I think we are in second place, but hopefully today will put us in first place.

    "This is the second extension we have done in 10 years. We are hoping to have another store in Chelmsford one day, but that won't be for a long time.

    A further 15 jobs have also been created by the revamp, with the supermarket still searching for people to fill those vacancies.

    Hundreds queue up outside Aldi store in Chelmsford after revamp

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    JESSICA JUDD says she can look back at her summer with a lot of pride after fighting her way back from injury to compete at the Commonwealth Games and European Championships.

    The 19-year-old Chelmsford Athletic Club member spent four months out over the winter with a stress fracture in a bone in her back.

    She battled from the start of March to qualify for both of the major summer competitions and came unbelievably close to a medal, finishing fourth in the 800m in Glasgow and seventh a few weeks later in Zurich.

    Now she says she will take a well-earned break and head to university at Loughborough before beginning the cross-country season later this year.

    "Two major finals this year after the year I had with the injury, I'm really proud of that," said Judd. "Both of the competitions were really competitive. Both were as hard as each other.

    "With the Commonwealth Games, I was just so happy to get there.

    "It was so hard getting back after the four months out. I would dream of medals when I was injured. I had all these posters of the Commonwealth Games on my wall in my room to inspire me to do better.

    "It just felt like I was pushing to get back to fitness. From the start of March I started running again and by the time I got up to the Commonwealths it was hard."

    Judd says her aim at both competitions was just to reach the final. However, at Glasgow, where she was third as they came into the home straight, she left the track in tears after getting so close to winning a medal.

    "I don't think I could have put myself in a better position," she explained. "I was so close, it wouldn't have mattered if I wasn't, but coming around that corner I could see the medal and only one person passed me and that was Lynsey Sharp.

    "When I crossed the line I was just shattered, there was nothing left in my legs. At the end me and Jenny Meadows were both so disappointed, but we couldn't have done any better."

    However, after putting almost everything into that final, Judd had only a week to regroup before tackling the Europeans.

    Using what energy she had left she battled to the final but tiredness finally took hold and she came home seventh.

    "I think I needed a bit longer between the two competitions," she admitted. "I was struggling.

    "It was my first time in an athletes' village [in Glasgow] and with all the media. It was really stressful being there and when it was over I just wanted to go home and have some fish and chips and relax.

    "Then I realised I had a week before the Europeans.

    "My semi was really tough. Four had gone under two minutes.

    "I think the runs I did in both semis are probably the best runs I've done in both competitions.

    "I know I came seventh but I couldn't do any more. I ran all the way through to the line. It felt like the right time to end my season.

    "After the final [at the Euorpeans] I'd just had enough. I didn't even bother with the warm down. I just thought I can't do any more.

    "I'm going to have a week off and then I might start running every other day the week after."

    Jessica Judd proud of summer display after injury-hit winter

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    BRAINTREE Town manager Alan Devonshire says his side won't be expecting an easy game when they travel to Alfreton Town this Saturday.

    The Reds sit bottom of the Conference Premier having lost all five games this season, their latest defeat a 7-0 hammering at the hands of Grimsby Town.

    This Saturday's match will be the last of Alfreton manager Nicky Law's six-match stadium ban, which relates to a charge of improper conduct following an incident at a Conference Premier game last season.

    But the Iron, who themselves ended a run of successive defeats with a 2-0 win over Nuneaton Town on Monday, will not be resting on their laurels.

    "I remember when we played Kidderminster when they were at the bottom and they came to our place and did very well and they ended up drawing with us," Devonshire said.

    "They've always been a strong side, especially at home. I don't know what's happened there, I saw they lost 7-0 on Monday, so they'll be hurting and want to put that right.

    "We'll go with the same attitude we always have and hope to build on our win on Monday."

    Devonshire revealed he hoped to have a new face in the squad before the trip to Derbyshire, but wouldn't reveal what position the target played, though he denied reports it would be a central defender.

    Wide midfielder James Mulley will also be assessed at training tonight, after limping off in Saturday's 3-2 defeat at Lincoln City and missing Monday's game.

    "It's his knee," said Devonshire. "He took a knock to it and it's swollen up a bit but he should be ok for Saturday. I'll have a look at him at training."

    One player who won't be available is Matt Paine, who looks like spending two more weeks on the sidelines after suffering a knee injury in the opening day defeat at Macclesfield Town.

    The versatile defender/midfielder has seen a specialist and is set to have an operation.

    "He's going into hospital this week, hopefully just to clean out his knee as there's a bit of cartilage floating around in there," said Devonshire. "He'll probably be back in around two weeks."

    Devonshire says he won't dip into the transfer market to cover for Paine, especially after Mitch Brundle filled in so well in midfield on Monday, scoring his second goal in as many games.

    "Mitch can play in a few positions and I'm quite happy with how him and all the new boys have done," revealed Devonshire. "It's taken a little time for them to settle in but they're doing well.

    "Remy [Clerima] came back in on Saturday and played really well for us."

    Braintree Town boss not expecting an easy ride against bottom side Alfreton

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    HEYBRIDGE Swifts manager Keith Wilson is glad to finally chalk a win up on the board following a fruitful bank holiday weekend.

    Going into Saturday Swifts were without a victory in their first four league matches, but put that right with a 2-0 triumph at Brightlingsea Regent before being held to a 1-1 draw at home to Barkingside on Monday.

    "I wanted six points out of six but if you'd have offered me four points on Friday I would have taken it," said Wilson. "It's another game unbeaten and we will use that and try and go on run.

    "I can see the improvement is coming and we've still got new players to settle and for some to come back into the team.

    "We were glad to get a result Saturday. We got a little bit of luck and if I'm the Brightlingsea manager I'm probably thinking how we didn't get anything out of it as they hit the bar and the post.

    "We didn't play particularly great but we got the result.

    "On Monday the first half was the best I've seen us play, we totally dominated. We had three goals disallowed. I was at the other end so couldn't see but even their bench said one of them should have stood.

    "If we become a bit more ruthless in both boxes we will start to pick up more points."

    Wilson has added three new players to the squad with defender Nikki Beale moving from the manager's old club Burnham Ramblers, while midfielders Paul White and Danny Lopes have joined from Witham Town.

    The Swifts boss says that with Reece Morgan set to return from injury and Lee Boylan back off his holiday, there will probably be no need to dip back into the transfer market unless someone of real quality becomes available.

    "I think a few people will probably have to leave," revealed the manager. "Boylan coming back will be like having a new player.

    "We're in a lot better position than we were at the start of the season player-wise and I need to give this group time to bed in.

    "Nikki Beale will add experience to the backline, hopefully we will see his worth in the coming weeks.

    "Danny and Paul have signed permanently and I've got to thank Garry [Kimble, Witham manager] for waiving the seven-day approach so we could get them in for Saturday.

    "On Monday, Danny in the first half was in a way unplayable and he gives us a different dimension. Paul goes about his business quietly and he's what we want.

    "Once they get to know everybody and get to know me and how we play they will be two good signings for us.

    "They played a big part in the Witham team that got promoted last season."

    Swifts are in FA Cup action this Sunday when they travel to Essex Senior League side FC Romania, who ground share with Cheshunt. They then host Dereham Town in the league on Tuesday night.

    "It's not easy coming off the back of playing Saturday and Monday this week," said Wilson. "But it's not our fault. Dereham couldn't move to Wednesday, so we just have to get on with it."

    If the match is a draw on Sunday the replay will be played at Scraley Road on Wednesday.

    Wilson wants Heybridge Swifts to show a ruthless streak

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    GLEN SOUTHAM wants to enjoy the same success he had at Eastleigh with Chelmsford City, but knows it will take time and patience from all involved.

    The 34-year-old, who joined in the summer after leaving the Conference South champions, was a happy man after seeing his new side seal their first league victory of the season with a 3-2 win at local rivals Bishop's Stortford on Monday afternoon.

    He knows this season will be tough with the recent changes to the Clarets squad, but he is hopeful for the future.

    "It's always tough. We've got a lot of new players in the squad. Last year was a transitional one for the club," he said.

    "There's been a lot of change. Obviously me coming in, having won the league, my ambitions and expectations are to come and do the same, but it's common knowledge to everyone that the facilities we had last year at Eastleigh and the squad we had was a lot bigger than most.

    "We've got a good squad of honest players that want to do well. It will take time though and everybody has to remain patient."

    The game itself, played in pouring rain throughout, saw Luke Callander score twice within a minute in the second half for Chelmsford before a goal from Michael Cheek seemed to seal the visitors' victory, only for an Anthony Church goal and a Mikel Suarez penalty to provide late drama and tension.

    "It was a funny match," admitted Southam. "I thought we played really well. We started really well and were positive and on the front foot. We passed the ball a lot better than we have done in the last couple of games.

    "We set up to attack and unfortunately we didn't get a goal early on. Stortford were well organised and proved tough to break down. Once we got the goals in the second half I thought we were comfortable until obviously we conceded and that changed things. It was just pleasing to get our first win."

    Southam, who scored Chelmsford's first goal of the season against Sutton United on Saturday, was full of praise for Callander and Cheek after the attacking duo burst to life following a run of barren games.

    "They are a handful. To be fair to them they're relatively new to this level. They came in last year and joined up with the manager, and they'd never played at this level before," he added.

    "It is a step up and the pace of the game is quicker, so it takes time to adapt. All we've asked them to do is to work a little bit harder and they got their rewards."

    The experienced midfielder i enjoying being an older head in the dressing room and wants to help guide the young players to fulfil their potential.

    "It's enjoyable [being an experienced player in the squad]. Someone's got to do it. I was the other kind of character once, the young one and I needed a bit of guidance. Over the years I've gained as much experience as I can and it's all about seeing games out," he said.

    "When they've got the two goals back it was about grinding it out and seeing it through. They did that."

    Chelmsford City have to be patient as new team beds in says Southam

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    Phone scammers failed to con astute residents after claiming to be members of 'Chelmsford Borough Council', which has not existed ever since Chelmsford gained city status in 2012. 

    The council has received a small number of reports from concerned residents who have had cold calls from people falsely claiming to be from 'Chelmsford Borough Council on behalf of the DHSS'. 

    However residents picked up on the callers' error, as the authority has ceased to be a Borough Council since Chelmsford acquired city status in March 2012, and is now Chelmsford City Council. 

    Chelmsford City Council's Cabinet Member for Corporate Services, Councillor Nicolette Chambers, said: "We all need to remain vigilant when it comes to bogus callers or anyone trying to gain entry to our homes. If you suspect the credentials of anyone who calls at your address, ask for identification and refuse to provide any information about yourself until they can prove who they are."

    The Council are reiterating warnings not to give any personal details to people until you've checked that they are genuine via identification, which members of the council will be more than happy to provide, and to keep your bank account details safe.

    If you doubt the identity of any member of Chelmsford City Council staff call 01245 606606 and provide the officer's name where they will check they are who they say they are.

    Phone scammers foiled by Chelmsford 'city' status

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    THE boss of the East of England's ambulance service has claimed up to £30,000 in expenses for taxis and hotels in the past year, it has been revealed.

    Chief executive Dr Anthony Marsh has even clocked up £4,514 on 20 nights at a four-star venue during the period

    The freedom of information request by the BBC unveiled records of 92 hotel stays by the joint East of England and West Midlands ambulance service boss, more than £10,000 in taxi and car costs and over £6,000 on train fares,

    It forms part of the more than £13,000 Dr Marsh has claimed for hotels since last July.

    Dr Marsh took on a combined role in January, adding the East of England to his West Midlands remit and £50,000 to his salary, bringing it to £232,000-a-year.

    He currently spends three days a week working for the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust, and the remaining two for West Midlands; a combined role the ambulance services say is saving the taxpayer £130,000-a-year.

    However, his salary has been branded "obscene" by Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter, who said he is effectively being paid two salaries at the same time for only doing half a job for each ambulance service.

    An ambulance services spokesman said: "Like every ambulance service chief executive in England, Mr Marsh spends time in London meeting MPs, other stakeholders, officials from NHS England and working on national projects through the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives.

    "As he is currently representing two ambulance services, this work is being delivered more effectively and efficiently for the taxpayer.

    "Mr Marsh is currently running two ambulance trusts; he does not receive the salary of two chief executives saving the taxpayer approximately £130,000 on the cost of having a substantive chief executive in each ambulance trust. By comparison, within the same two areas, there are 11 chief fire officers and 10 chief constables.

    "As Mr Marsh works several days a week in the East of England each week, it would not make sense to have him travel down on a daily basis and therefore requires accommodation. This is governed by NHS Guidelines. The lowest cost is always sought for his overnight accommodation such as using standard government negotiated rates."

    East of England ambulance boss' £30,000 expenses claims for hotels and taxis on top of £232,000 salary

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    AN investigation has been begun into the cause of a barn fire in Braintree during the early hours of yesterday morning. 

    Five fire crews from Braintree, Halstead and Coggeshall rushed to Bovingdon Road at 12.33am on August 27.

    Crews at the scene reported the roof and rear of the 10 by 6 metre barn was alight. 

    Firefighters had fully tackled the blaze by 1:56am. 

    The cause of the fire is unknown at this stage and a joint Essex Fire Service and Essex Police investigation has begun.

    Investigation launched into Braintree barn fire

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    Impossibly hot chicken wings, humongous burgers and mammoth steaks - it can only be the ever growing food challenge.

    Popularised by Adam Richman's Man vs Food show in the US, like for like challenges have been springing up all over the country, with more and more popping up around Chelmsford and mid-Essex.

    Have you tried any of the below?

    The Golden Fleece, 84 Duke Street, Chelmsford, CM1 1JP

    The Golden Fleece's infamous Megaburger has toppled many a worthy adversary and has become renowned around Chelmsford as one of the greater food challenges. Weighing in at a mighty 3lbs, including a 24oz beefburger, the meal has to be consumed within 30 minutes.

    The Rare Cow, 11 Chequers Road, Writtle, CM1 3NG

    The Rare Cow offers three separate challenges – the 24oz Holy Cow Burger, the 2kg (74oz) sirloin steak, and the Outrageous Dessert Challenge. Should you prove capable of finishing the burger in 20 minutes, the steak in 60 minutes or the dessert in 15 minutes, the food comes free – financial reward surely only secondary to the pride of defeating one of these beasts.

    The Queen B Flaming Grill Pub, 6 Waterson Vale, Chelmsford, CM2 9PB

    The Queen B Pub also offers three challenges. The Flaming Challenge Burger, is arguably the most appealing, featuring two 12oz beefburgers, but the 34oz Steak Challenge and the Trash Can Challenge are two alternative challenges, if burgers are not what you're looking for. 

    The Clay Pigeon American Bistro, 26 Robin Way, Chelmsford CM2 8AS

    The main attraction on offer from the Clay Pigeon is undoubtedly its famous Challenger. Consisting of two big steak burgers and a 4oz steak, the Challenger does exactly what it says on the tin and requires a well-rounded customer (in more ways than one) to complete the mission.

    The Hungry Horse, Dickens Place, Chelmsford CM1 4UU

    With its enormous big plate offers on the menu, there are several dishes at the Hungry Horse that may be considered a real challenge to the mere mortal. The (Wo)man vs Burrito and the 20oz Megasaurus are perhaps worthy of a mention here. But if it's a real herculean food challenge that you're looking for, then look no further than the Inferno Chicken Wing Challenge. The meal consists of 10 chicken wings, coated in the Hungry Horse's spiciest sauces, and tests just how much heat you can possibly stomach. 

    Robinson's Fish and Chip Shop, 9 Moulsham St, Chelmsford, Essex CM2 0LD

    The store is giving brave would-be participants 15 minutes to eat an 18oz three-quarter pounder burger with cheese and bacon, a mound of chips, onion rings, salad and a sausage in one sitting. The Man vs Food portion, which Paul says is usually worth £14.50, costs contestants £9.50. Those who finish it earn 50 per cent off their next meal and their name scribbled on the shop's "Wall of Fame".

    Have we missed any off? Let us know by registering and commenting below or visit and like our Facebook page.

    Six Man vs Food challenges in and around Chelmsford. Could you take them on?

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    Tory MP Douglas Carswell is to leave the party and join UKIP, it was announced today.

    The 43-year-old, recognised as being from the right of the party, has represented Clacton since he was elected as MP for Harwich in 2005.

    He had a majority of 12,068 at the last general election in 2011.

    He will resign his seat and fight a by-election as a UKIP candidate, meaning the Eurosceptic party will not be gifted a seat before the election. UKIP did not field a candidate against him back in 2010.

    Making his announcement today (August 28) alongside party leader Nigel Farage, Mr Carswell said he wanted to shake up the "cosy" Westminster clique.

    He said: "My local Conservative Association in Clacton is thriving. It brims with those I'm honoured to call my friends.

    "The problem is that many of those at the top of the Conservative Party are simply not on our side. They aren't serious about the change that Britain so desperately needs."

    The defection prompted a defiant response from the Essex Conservatives, who said it showed UKIP has opportunistic and desperate to gain a foothold in Essex:

    County council leader David Finch said: "The defection by Mr Carswell is nothing more than attention seeking for a party who wants to be in the headlines but has no real ideas about growing the economy, increasing jobs and providing essential skills for our young people.

    "We see this all the time at County Hall, plenty of noise from UKIP but very little action. It also shows that Mr Carswell cares more for his own political ambitions than the people who elected him as a Conservative.

    "The Conservatives are the only party to offer a real referendum on Europe while the other main parties won't and UKIP can't. We in Essex will fight every inch of the way to secure the safe return of a Conservative MP for Clacton."

    Conservative MP Douglas Carswell to defect to UKIP

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    An Egyptian sarcophagus found in a Bradwell-on-Sea home is expected to fetch thousands when it is auctioned next month.

    Family of a dead relative were clearing out his home when they discovered the 3,000-year-old coffin propped up against a well.

    Cambridge auctioneer Stephen Drake, called in to assess the discovery, has described the moment he laid eyes on the find as being like a scene out of Indiana Jones.

    "It really was quite bizarre," said Mr Drake, of Willingham Auctions, while speaking to the Cambridge News.

    "When I got there the renovation work was fully under way, and a large hole had been smashed in one of the outside walls.

    "When I stuck my head through and looked inside, I was surprised to see the coffin lid leaning up against a wall in the corner, covered in dust and cobwebs.

    "There was a painted face on it and some hieroglyphics. It was just like a scene from an Indiana Jones movie."

    The coffin lid dates back to 700 BC, placing it in the Egyptian 25th dynasty, when Pharoah Shebitku was on the throne.

    The British Museum are expected to be consulted before auction next month.

    "I believe the previous owner may have collected old artefacts. There were other very old items in the house," said Mr Drake, who estimates the coffin will collect thousands of pounds.

    The previous owner of the sarcophagus is currently unknown but is believed to have been a war veteran.

    'Indiana Jones' Egyptian sarcophagus found 'propped up against wall' in Bradwell-on-Sea home

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    A TV crew, the MP and an estimated 2,500 flocked to the 10th and biggest ever Bell Meadow Day in Woodham Walter on Sunday.

    Locals marked the annual summer fair, which more than doubles the size of the quaint "Vicar of Dibley" village, with live music, a tug-of-war and egg-throwing contests.

    The proceedings were topped off with a visit from former The Good Life actress Penelope Keith presenting an upcoming documentary about "disappearing" UK villages.

    Constituency MP Priti Patel joined with her family while BBC Essex DJ and village resident Graham Bannerman broadcasted direct from the field.

    "It's been really good," said Bell Meadow committee chairman Gill Orford.

    "And the fact that we had the TV crew was fantastic, it was a joy to have them and we felt very privileged that they wanted to spend the day with us.

    "They only phoned me on Monday so they were obviously looking at a lot of different villages.

    "You hear so much about rural villages disappearing but clearly it isn't for it's alive and well in Woodham Walter."

    The event was first organised in 2005 to celebrate after Essex & Suffolk Water gave the village Bell Meadow free-of-charge.

    Each year it plunges any profit into a legacy fund which last year gave £1,000 each to the women's club, the school and the village hall.

    This year the event also hosted about 50 trade stalls, performances from Funky Voices and For Funk Sake, and the Red Sparrows.

    The veterans perform a synchronised wheelbarrow routine with an ironic nod to the Red Arrows.

    The 12-strong girl team also beat the eight boys in the annual tug-of-war battle.

    "It was sheer fluke, I'll be honest," said Gill, a mother-of-two, whose team won the coin toss to pull downhill.

    Gill, 50, added: "This has gone from strength to strength and got bigger and bigger every year.

    "It's special because in this community it doesn't matter whether you're a millionaire or on minimum wage, we're all friends and we all pitch in.

    "We liken ourselves to the Vicar of Dibley, clean good fun."

    On a tender note, the committee also showcased 20 handmade poppies in a small memorial for the 20 villagers who died fighting in the First World War.

    Maldon district councillor for Wickham Bishops and Woodham Mark Durham, part of the Red Sparrows team, said: "Losing twenty men from the village, which at the time would have been a third of the size it is today, would have been horrendous."

    In pictures: Record 2,500 assemble for biggest Bell Meadow Day in Woodham Walter

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    A NURSE is to go before the industry's standards board accused of having a "sexually motivated" relationship with a patient.

    Broomfield Hospital nurse Frank La Rocca is said to have had a inappropriate relationship with an unnamed patient from June 2007 to May 2009, and it was sexually motivated.

    La Rocca has been a registered nurse since 1987.

    His Conduct and Competence Committee substantive meeting with the Nursing and Midwifery Council in London is scheduled to start Monday (Sept 1) lasting for four days.

    Broomfield Hospital nurse accused of sexually motivated relationship with patient

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    HEYBRIDGE Swifts manager Keith Wilson admits he knows little about this weekend's FA Cup opponents FC Romania.

    The Scraley Road club face the Essex Senior League side on Sunday as the hosts play their matches at Cheshunt, who are at home to Thurrock the day before.

    Romania are currently top of the table with maximum pints from their first four games, and Wilson believes it will be a tough match.

    "I didn't know much about them, I've never played against them," he said. "We've had them watched and I know they've had a good start to the season.

    "They're a good side so it won't be easy. We know we'll have to be on the money to get a result and I'm looking forward to it.

    "It's a big game for the fans and the club and we certainly won't need to motivate the players for the FA Cup. 

    "If we get a good run in this competition, we win two or three games, it's a big money spinner.

    "Winning Sunday will also help with our form. Coming off the back of the win on Saturday (2-0 at Brightlingsea Regent) and draw on Monday (1-1 at home to Barkingside) there's potential to really kick on."

    Wilson anticipates tough game for Swifts against Essex Senior League leaders

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    WITHAM Town assistant manager Brad King expects a tough game at VCD Athletic on Saturday despite the home side being winless this season.

    VCD beat the Whites to the Ryman League Division One North title on the final day of last season, but unlike Town, who are unbeaten in their first six matches, have found life in the Ryman Premier tough going.

    They currently sit second from bottom with just a point from their first five games and King says he is surprised by their start.

    "Away from home is never easy and it looks like they're taking a little longer to adapt to this level," said King. "I'm convinced that they're in a false position.

    "I think they're a tough side. I was taking to their manager Tony Russell in the close season, he's a good guy and I'm sure they will turn it around."

    VCD Athletic are in a false position says Witham Town assistant

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    IF there's anything you ever wanted to know about food or cooking, but didn't know where to turn, now's your chance to get the answers from the experts.

    Witty, fast-moving, and irreverent, but packed full of information, Radio 4's culinary show, The Kitchen Cabinet, is coming to Maldon, with an opportunity to quiz the panel on all things food and drink related.

    The stint of three shows will start at the Gulbenkian Theatre at the University of Kent in Canterbury on September 1, then the Pavilions of Harrogate in north Yorkshire on September 9.

    With the final programme will be broadcast live from St Mary's Church in Church Street, Maldon, on September 23 at 6.30pm, for the last episode.

    The event will be hosted by famous food critic, broadcaster and writer, Jay Rayner, who has appeared on many cookery radio programmes, plus TV shows including MasterChef, The One Show and Top Chef Master in America.

    The event is free and open to anyone over 16, tickets can be applied for through the BBC website for as many as four people.

    Jay Rayner and Radio 4's Kitchen Cabinet comes to Maldon

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    History repeated itself at the County Ground as Essex crashed out of the quarter-finals of the Royal London One-Day Cup at the hands of Warwickshire, the same opposition who knocked them out of the NatWest t20 Blast at the same stage just a few weeks earlier. In a tense 50-over encounter, the visitors proved too good again for an Essex side that will rue making the latter stages of both one-day competitions but not doing themselves justice on either occasion. Warwickshire's total of 271 for 7 looked decent but not huge on a pitch that seemed to improve as the sun broke through the clouds in the afternoon, but the Essex chase was hampered by the loss of early wickets. While Kiwi Jesse Ryder and Essex one-day captain Ryan ten Doeschate were at the crease, it looked like Essex might be in with a chance and they progressed to 160 for 5 after 35 overs. Then a controversial lbw decision saw ten Doeschate given out for 19 off the bowling of Jeetan Patel just as Essex were starting to gain momentum. The home side were still in with a chance while Ryder stayed in, hitting two huge sixes in one over from Patel to huge roars from the crowd. When he was caught by Warwickshire captain Chopra off the bowling of Hannon-Dalby in the 40th over, the Essex innings folded from 189 for six to 204 all out in the 42nd over. After the match, Essex skipper ten Doeschate said he felt his dismissal was a turning point in the game. "I think the early wickets hurt us, no question, but while me and Jesse were in I thought we could do it. We've a lot of strength in depth in our batting but you can't expect the tail-enders to get you over the line. "I thought it was a decent total [from Warwickshire], a par total, but it wasn't ideal for us giving away those 20 runs in the last over. "Everyone is really disappointed but we've still got promotion to think about. It looks like we'll need to win our last three [Championship]games so that's what we'll be trying to do," he added. Ironically, it was an Essex man who won the Man of the Match, but all-rounder Rikki Clarke plies his trade for Warwickshire. He top-scored with 68 runs then took three Essex wickets for 40 to get the award. "We didn't really know what was a good total until we were bowling," said Clarke. "We thought 271 was decent, but we had an inkling the pitch might get better as the match went on. We always knew it was going to be difficult to win here, Essex are a good side. "I think the crucial moment was getting Ryan ten Doeschate out on the first ball of the power play, breaking that partnership between him and Ryder." With Clarke smashing 70 off 37 balls in his side's t20 over Essex at the start of August, does Clarke see Chelmsford as his lucky ground now? "It's always difficult to play here, Essex are a hard side to beat, but we're through and we're just looking forward to finding out who we play in the semi-finals." Warwickshire 271 for 7 off 50 overs Essex 204 all out off 42.4 overs. Result: Warwickshire won by 67 runs Full match report to follow

    Essex agony: Eagles lose out to Warwickshire in quarters again

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    CHINESE nuclear power giants are homing in on Bradwell as the location for their first UK atomic plant.

    Asian corporations are understood to have chosen the Dengie, from a shortlist of locations, for a 3,000-megawatt station sitting beside the partly-decommissioned Magnox plant.

    The latest development has further divided opinions on the nuclear question in the district, leaving councillors hopeful but environmentalists fearing "catastrophic" consequences for Essex.

    "I think it's outrageous that we entertain the idea of massive Chinese investment into nuclear energy picking on a site that is clearly unacceptable," said Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG) chairman Professor Andrew Blowers. "It makes no sense."

    In a Sunday Times article published this weekend, industry sources claimed China General Nuclear Power Corporation and China National Nuclear Corporation were preparing their designs for Bradwell, ready to submit to the Office for Nuclear Regulation.

    The two firms have already agreed to finance Britain's first new atomic plant for nearly 20 years, to be built in Hinkley Point in Somerset, in return for a 40 per cent stake.

    The £16 billion project will be led by French-owned EDF Energy, which is also planning to build a second nuclear plant in Sizewell, Suffolk.

    Experts suggest the two sites combined would contribute up to 13 per cent of UK electricity by the early 2020s.

    Yet the Chinese companies have also pushed for permission to build their own plant on one of the eight sites shortlisted by Government in 2010.

    These included sites in Somerset, Gloucestershire, Cumbria, Hartlepool and Anglesey – but the Dengie has emerged as the preferred spot.

    A spokesman for EDF, which owns the Bradwell land, said nothing had been officially announced, but that Essex was "top of the list".

    It was originally earmarked because of the county's infrastructure, as it has already housed a power station for more than 50 years with a skilled workforce living nearby.

    Prof Blowers said the news had come as a surprise because Whitehall officials told him a new Bradwell was "below the horizon."

    "The risks remain blatant and enormous," he said. "I am not immediately suggesting it will blow up or be the victim of a terrorist attack, but we don't know what the consequences are going to be."

    Chelmsford, Braintree and Southend would all have to be evacuated in the case of a meltdown, according to Prof Blowers, who has designed a map based on the 2011 Fukushima meltdown evacuations in Japan.

    Along with Val Mainwood, the co-ordinator of Bradwell for Renewable Energy (BRARE), he argues the plant would damage the local fishing economy in Maldon and contaminate an estuary, that earlier this year earned marine conservation zone status.

    "It's just the most inappropriate idea to put a nuclear power plant in Bradwell. It's a vanity project from what I can see," said Ms Mainwood, a 68-year-old grandmother from Wivenhoe.

    "It leaves the whole area in turmoil and uncertainty. Will people want to live here and will business want to set up if they know there is a Chinese nuclear plant here?"

    Maldon district councillors, however, are hoping to have a new plant built within the next 15 years, as written in their local development plan.

    Decommissioning of the 250-megawatt Magnox power station began in 2002, spelling an end to an estimated £19 million extra revenue for the local economy.

    The station employed about 300 permanent staff and 200 maintenance workers.

    Independent Maldon district Councillor for Southminster Brian Beale, who worked at the plant for 31 years, said: "If it is built in our area it will be of great benefit to the local community.

    "There was never an incident in Bradwell, which was run by local people, where locals are very used to it and where it helped the local economy."

    Leader of Maldon District Council, Cllr Robert Boyce, who also worked at the plant, said: "There has been a nuclear power plant there for over 50 years, which was nothing but a good neighbour for the district."

    The Essex Wildlife Trust stopped short of discussing any environmental effects caused by a new power station in the Dengie.

    Yet a spokesman said: "We would hope that the suite of designations put in place to safeguard the future of the Blackwater Estuary for wildlife would put a stop to any potential new nuclear plant."

    Chinese nuclear plans for Bradwell power station could be 'catastrophic'

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