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

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    HOMELESS for more than five months because of her 'mournful face' German shepherd-cross Bless, dubbed Britain's saddest dog, now has a reason to smile.

    After 160 days in the care of the Battersea Dogs Home, the six-year-old has found happiness with Chelmsford dog lovers Geoff and Sylvia Shoesmith.

    Her "happy ever after" comes after staff at the rescue centre became convinced potential owners were overlooking her because of her permanently sad expression.

    "We just can't believe someone didn't snap her up sooner, everybody has fallen in love with her," said grandmother Sylvia, from Great Baddow.

    "She didn't ever look sad to us; she just looked like she was asking for someone to take her home."

    Rescued as a stray from the streets of London, Bless, who has been re-named Bess by her new owners, spent months waiting for a home at Battersea despite a gentle temperament.

    Speaking at the time Rob Young, head of dog re-homing, said: "Bless has a mournful face but a heart of gold – anyone who meets her can't believe what a gentle giant she is.

    "Although she looks sad she is an absolute joy to be around – that's why it's so sad for us that she's still in kennels rather than happily established in a loving home."

    As news of the 'saddest dog at Battersea' spread across national newspapers and television shows, the retired couple, who have owned German shepherds for 30 years, got in touch with the centre and offered Bess their home. They had lost two dogs in less than a year.

    "At the time not having a dog was awful, we were all having difficulty coping," said mother-of-five Sylvia, who has already had people approach her in the street to take pictures with Bess.

    "But we really didn't expect them to say yes to us. It's going fantastically. She's not sad, she's not aggressive, and she just wants to be with us all the time."

    Carly Whyborn, Battersea's head of operations, added: "We are so thrilled Bess has found her happy ending and she no longer has any reason to look so sad.

    "She was in Battersea's care for over 160 days – more than five times the length of the average stay for a dog – and it was certainly time for her to find a loving home.

    "Battersea cares for almost 6,000 dogs a year and has more than 400 dogs at any one time, all hoping for the same luck in finding a home that Bess had.

    "Please visit our website at if you are interested in rehoming a dog from one of our three centres."

    The trio will all be appearing at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home's 20th Annual Reunion, in Battersea Park, on Sunday.

    Dogs are welcome at the free event where there will be paddling pools and pet stalls.

    Ah, Bless! Britain's saddest dog finds a home in Chelmsford after 5 months at Battersea Dogs Home

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    A MALDON man has been inspired to cycle from London to Paris after losing his mum to a brain tumour.

    On September 24 Paul Corrigan will take on the gruelling trip, which includes cycling overnight, to raise cash for The Brain Tumour Charity.

    It comes 20 years after he lost his mother Linda to the disease, when he was just 12 years old.

    Paul said: "I am really looking forward to taking part in this cycle ride for such an important cause that's very close to my heart. I was just 12 when my mum died and it was the most difficult time of my life. I don't think it matters what age you are, there is nobody like your own mum."

    The 32-year-old is aiming to raise £5,000 for the charity.

    Louise Taylor, the Charity's Director of Fundraising, said: "We are extremely grateful for all the efforts made by our fantastic fundraisers and wish them all the very best.

    "Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of the under 40s and, unlike other cancers, survival rates have not improved over the last 40 years.

    "We are leading the way in changing this and truly fighting brain tumours on all fronts through our work, including a £2.5m investment into research this year alone.

    "We receive no government funding and rely 100 per cent on voluntary donations, so it's only through the efforts of people like Paul that we can change these shocking statistics in the future and bring hope to the thousands of people who are diagnosed with a brain tumour every year."

    To add to Paul's sponsorship total go to or pop into City Plumbing, West Station Yard, Maldon.

    Brain tumour tragedy drove Maldon cyclist from London to Paris

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    THE eagled-eyed CCTV operators who keep a close eye on our streets have been crowned the best in the country.

    The small team of watchmen, which help police make hundreds of arrests each year, won the "team of the year" award at the National CCTV User Group Awards.

    Cabinet member for safer communities, Councillor Ian Grundy, said: "Over the last year, the team has dealt with some difficult incidents. On many of these occasions, the team worked above and beyond what was required from them, staying on duty until the job had been completed."

    The team was nominated by Link CCTV and Essex Police, in recognition of the vital role it plays in keeping Chelmsford safe.

    Chief inspector Alan Cook, from Essex Police, said: "The support and assistance Essex Police receive from Chelmsford CCTV control room and its staff keeps the public safe, reduces crime and brings offenders to justice.

    "I am delighted that their good work has been recognised."

    Loaded with 51 screens, the control room beneath the Civic Centre in Duke Street wires into 338 cameras that stretch to Witham and South Woodham Ferrers.

    Eagle-eyed Chelmsford CCTV operators awarded for working above and beyond

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    More than 40 firefighters were called to a blaze that has gutted vehicles and outbuildings on Bridge Hall Road in Bradwell, near Braintree. 

    The vehicles - a car and a forklift truck - and the buildings were "well alight" and spread over an area of 60 by 30 metres, when crews arrived at the scene after they were called at 1.16am.

    Six fire engines were sent to the fire, along with the incident command unit and a water bowser from Chelmsford to ensure water was constantly available. . 

    Fire crews initially could not fight the fire effectively due to acetylene cylinders being present, but at 3.09am crews said that they were using four jets, two hose reels and two ground monitors to douse the flames. 

    The fire was out by 5.52am. 

    An Essex fire service spokesman said: "A joint police and fire service investigation will be carried out to establish the cause." 

    Fire guts vehicles and outbuildings in Bradwell near Braintree

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    A man will appear at Basildon Magistrates' Court tomorrow (September 8) in connection with the death of an Afghan stowaway at Tilbury Docks last month. Martin McGlinchey, of Derryloughan Road, Coalisland, Dungannon, in County Tyrone, as been charged with conspiring to facilitate illegal entry into the United Kingdom. The 47-year-old is the third man to be charged in relation to the incident on August 16 and has been remanded in custody ahead of his court appearance.

    Third man charged over Tilbury Docks container death

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    Drinkers in Essex can still buy a pint of beer for less than it would cost in London.

    The average price of a pint in the county stands at £3.32, according to the Good Pub Guide, with those in the capital shelling out an average of £3.79.

    Those in the North and Midlands have it best, with pints costing just £3.03 in Herefordshire and £3.14 in Cumbria.

    The price differences also point to a North South divide, with punters in Kent, Surrey and Sussex paying between £3.50 and £3.60 per pint.

    Good Pub Guide co-editor Fiona Stapley said: "Pubs in the South will charge more as their overheads are bigger and they pay more for rent and wages.

    "Those in the South East traditionally earn more and in some areas will not bat an eyelid at being charged £4."

    Overall, the cost of a pint has gone up by 3.5 per cent in the last year.

    The Queen's Head in Lower Anchor Street, Chelmsford was among a handful of Essex pubs to make it into the 2013 Good Pub Guide.

    It was described as a: "Lively well run Victorian corner local with very well kept Crouch Vale beers and interesting guests"

    Voters also pointed its "Summer farm cider, good value wines, friendly staff, bargain food weekday lunchtimes from baguettes up, winter log fires, and Wednesday quiz."

    Cost of beer by region/county

    • Herefordshire £3.03
    • Worcestershire, £3.09
    • Derbyshire £3.14, 
    • Cumbria £3.14, 
    • Staffordshire £3.14, 
    • Northamptonshire £3.15, 
    • Northumbria £3.15, 
    • Yorkshire £3.16.
    • Wales £3.18, 
    • Shropshire £3.19, 
    • Cornwall £3.19, 
    • Somerset £3.19, 
    • Lancashire £3.19, 
    • Nottinghamshire £3.20.
    • Cheshire £3.23
    • Leicestershire and Rutland £3.26
    • Devon £3.27
    • Gloucestershire £3.29
    • Lincolnshire £3.29
    • Bedfordshire, £3.30
    • Wiltshire £3.30
    • Cambridgeshire £3.32
    • Essex £3.32
    • Dorset £3.33
    • Suffolk £3.33
    • Isle of Wight £3.34
    • Warwickshire £3.34
    • West Midlands £3.35
    • Scotland £3.35
    • Hampshire £3.38
    • Norfolk £3.40
    • Oxfordshire £3.43
    • Buckinghamshire £3.43
    • Scottish Islands £3.50.
    • Kent, £3.51
    • Hertfordshire £3.52
    • Sussex £3.52
    • Berkshire £3.54
    • Surrey £3.62
    • London £3.79

    Good Pub Guide reveals Essex drinkers have it cheaper than those in London

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    HEYBRIDGE Swifts suffered back-to-back away defeats after losing 2-1 at Aveley on Saturday.

    The defeat means Keith Wilson's men have now lost four out of five games on the road, as they slipped down to 20th in the Ryman One North.

    The next time Heybridge are away to Aveley it maybe at their new stadium, but on what could be their last visit to Mill Field, Swifts will want to forget the late winner they conceded and the red card they suffered, a third in seven games.

    Heybridge suffered another loss as yet again the side were reduced to ten men that simply couldn't answer Aveley's eleven men.

    Paul White was given the second half sending off having originally been booked after just four minutes. They also gave a debut to new midfield signing Ricky Evans from Burnham Ramblers, who play left back in place of the suspended Danny Barber. Ricky Spriggs also missed the game through suspension whilst Liam Springett was side-lined with an ankle injury.

    Swifts did welcome back striker Lee Boylan from holiday and it was the former Stevenage man that netted for the visitors.

    Heybridge trailed to a 15th minute goal when Marcus Elliott volleyed home Danny Frances' cross.

    Lee Boylan struck back three minutes later when he headed home a Morgan cross at the far post and with Hunt flashing a shot narrowly wide just moments later.

    Keeper Danny Sambridge twice denied Elliott late in the first half, while a turn and shot on 37 minutes by Lee Weemes struck the post, with a possibility that Sambridge may have got fingertips to the ball.

    The first half from Swifts was a direct response to manager Wilson's demand for a performance having gone out of the cup and Heybridge had momentum from their first half display, but when Paul White was red carded in the 61st minute Heybridge lost their way.

    The referee, Mr Ajibola, had warned White at least twice previous that patience was wearing thin and his foul in the corner of the pitch on Frances had Swifts staring a mammoth task in the face. 1-1 and half an hour to play with a man down eventually became too much despite Billy Hunt bringing out a flying save from keeper Marrable with his curling drive on 76 minutes.

    The killer blow for Heybridge got ever closer with Weemes and Joe Bricknell both going close in the box with just over ten minutes left.

    Bricknell scored the crucial winner six minutes from time as, Frances pulled the ball back from the left into the six yard box where Bricknell tucked it away with a sweeping first touch to bag the points at Mill Field. 

    Back-to-back defeats for Swifts as they lose at Aveley

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    "It was an explosion, it rocked the bed."

    These are the words of resident Celia Harris on Hollies Road in Bradwell, speaking of the moment that a fire broke out just across the driveway from her house at around 1.10am this morning.

    "We were in bed and the dogs were stressing and there was an explosion that rocked the bed," said Celia.

    "I felt it. We thought it was fireworks. We walked down the drive to have a look and you could see the flames over the top of the trees. The flames were going, it was bad.

    "I could smell the smoke. Last night even though it was dark you could see the smoke in the sky it was that black."

    Around 40 firefighters were called to the incident at around 1.15am, before the blaze, which was in a yard with an area of 60 by 30 metres, was gradually brought under control by 3.10am before being finally put out at around 5.50am.

    "The firemen were all there, I think they had to take water out of our pond.

    "It looked dramatic but it seemed pretty much under control. There were 10 or 15 fire engines here last night and maybe 10 cars.

    "We were concerned – my neighbour managed to get here. My husband was as calm as I was. Once you know everyone is OK you do not tend to worry."

    Her neighbour Ray Mendham, who owns Runton Farm and lives in a bungalow that backs onto the land that caught fire, said: "The explosion woke me up. It shook the bungalow. I thought it was something untoward and I looked out of the window and saw these massive big flames.

    "You would not believe how fast it was. When the electricity went it sounded like horrible fireworks – a constant sizzling."

    Surveying the scene this morning, which was a mass of burnt metal with the smell of smoke was lingering in the air and puddles of water from fire hoses underfoot, he said: "I have never seen so many cars – they do banger racing.

    "All my tools and things we were doing on the farm [have been lost]. We were building a new stable and it was lucky we did not finish building it.

    "I feel annoyed. We were supposed to start on Monday and Tuesday to get ready for the winter and we will have to make other plans."

    Fire investigator ADO Phil Pidgeon said that the cause of the fire is currently undetermined, but all avenues would be explored. 

    Bradwell fire: 'It was an explosion, it rocked the bed'

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    A man has been charged over an alleged attack at the Golden Fleece in Chelmsford in the early hours of Saturday morning (September 6).

    Essex Police officers were called shortly before 2am to reports that a man had been assaulted at the pub.

    Paramedics also attended and the alleged victim was taken to hospital for treatment to head injuries.

    Officers subsequently arrested a man at the premises and took him to Chelmsford police station for questioning.

    Lloyd Kenlon, 26, of Jarndeece in Chelmsford has been charged with assaulting occasioning actual bodily harm, and with an unrelated theft on Friday, June 20.

    He was released on bail to appear before Chelmsford Magistrates' Court on October 8.

    Man charged over alleged attack at The Golden Fleece in Chelmsford

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    A police investigation is under way after a row at The Bull pub in Braintree left a man needing 30 stitches to cuts in his face.

    Officers were called to the Market Place premises at around 12.10am today (September 7) to find the victim, a 22-year-old man from Braintree, had already been rushed to hospital by ambulance for treatment to his injuries.

    An Essex Police spokesman said it appeared a glass had been thrown at his face after a "disagreement". His assailant, described as white, of slim build, 5ft 10in tall, with light brown short swept over hair, left the pub with a woman.

    She was  described as being of mixed race, slim build, in her 20s and 5ft 2in tall with collar length straight brown hair. 

    The victim remains in hospital. 

    Anyone who witnessed the assault and has not yet spoken to police is asked to call DS Bev Fenning at Braintree CID on 101 or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

    Pubgoer at The Bull in Braintree left needing 30 stitches after 'glass thrown into his face'

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    A Braintree man has been left homeless after a kitchen fire at his home.

    Fire crews were called to a semi-detached house on Cornish Hall End at 6.03pm and found the ground floor, first floor and loft space were completely smoke-logged.

    The man, in his 60s, was injured in the blaze, which was in the downstairs kitchen, but had left the building before firefighters arrived.

    He was left in the care of paramedics.

    Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus used three hose reels and one main jet to tackle the fire in the house, which measured four by six metres.

    The road between Cornish Hall End and Steeple Bumpstead was also closed by the police and Highways Agency while the fire was being fought – but it was put out by 7.39pm.

    Fire crews used a high pressure fan to clear the property of smoke and were still at the scene turning over and damping down at 8:28pm.

    An Essex Fire Service spokesman said: "We have no information relating to the cause of the incident at this stage." 

    The blaze came just hours after a blaze broke out in the nearby village of Bradwell, in the early hours of this morning gutting several cars and buildings. 

    Braintree man left homeless after kitchen fire

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    MALDON District Council's housing blueprint for the next 15 years may need to include 240 more homes than expected.

    The authority's Local Development Plan (LDP) currently has 4,410 homes planned up to 2029, but experts say it is not enough.

    The latest claim is based on a report from Neil MacDonald, a visiting fellow at the Cambridge Centre for Planning and Housing Research, who argues 280 to 310 dwellings per year must be built between 2014 and 2029 to meet government guidelines.

    Save Maldon Action Group chair Kath Vale said: "This equates to 240 extra homes over the 15 years and we don't know that the inspector will agree with it yet.

    "I just hope they don't plan to build any of those extra homes in Maldon or Heybridge as all their assessments so far have shown that the infrastructure can't cope with the existing number of houses, let alone any more.

    "The demand for housing is only going to increase. It won't stop after 15 years, so why didn't the council come up with a plan that could solve our housing needs for decades to come?"

    The report is the latest setback for the LDP, which is expected to cost £606,961 in total to produce.

    Mrs Vale believes that a new site elsewhere in the district would make more sense.

    She said: "A new settlement south of the district in the Crouch corridor would make all the infrastructure viable – even a new hospital.

    "This is something that the council has finally admitted we won't be getting in this plan, even though they have used this to bribe the public into accepting these houses.

    "How can we trust the council to deliver anything else if they can't even keep this promise?"

    In July, planning inspector David Vickery identified the council may have been using outdated information – from as far back as 2008 – to assess its housing needs and therefore underestimated the number of homes needed.

    He said: "The plan's housing policies may be fundamentally flawed either because they do not allocate sufficient housing land, or because a credible planning policy case has not been made."

    But the authority considers the new figures from Mr MacDonald would not result in a "significant" change to the plan.

    A council spokesman said: "Planning for an increased requirement of 16 dwellings per annum within the plan would not result in any significant change to the spatial or development strategy, and would be highly unlikely to require the identification of any additional allocations.

    "The council considers that these findings do not require the withdrawal and reconsideration of the plan, and that the latest evidence can be accommodated through modifications to the plan following examination."

    Mr Vickery has accepted the council's request to suspend the examination of the plan until October 13 while further assessment is undertaken.

    'Even more homes needed for Maldon' despite 4,410 dwelling target

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    A FORMER Hylands House servant and Christian missionary has hit triple figures.

    Gertrude "Candy" Cannon, 100, of Maldon Road, Great Baddow, who has 14 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren, has lived through two world wars and cleared never-ending obstacles in her family life.

    Yet holding her birthday cards from the Queen and the Government aloft last week, the Danbury-born woman is still bubbly.

    Gertrude celebrated surrounded by about 150 loved ones from past and present at her surprise party at Hylands House on Sunday – the mansion that defines much of who she is today.

    "I'm very proud I've reached 100 but I do wonder how I've achieved it." said Candy.

    "I'm very healthy, I've never had a serious illness in my life, and it's wonderful to think that at my age I can say I'm still in possession of all my senses and can understand money as well as anyone does. I thank God for that – because I don't like not knowing what my money problems are."

    Trudie was born in Danbury, one of seven children in the Card family, three days after Britain's first bloodying at the Battle of Mons in August 1914.

    The former choir girl discovered news of a nursery maid vacancy at the privately-owned Hylands House when she spotted an advertisement in the Essex Chronicle.

    The house was home to the formidable owner and socialite Christine Hanbury, before Chelmsford Borough Council bought the site in 1966 for £115,000.

    There, Trudie met gardener and her "lovely" husband Bob Cannon. The two had two children, David, born in 1937, and Heather, who died from a burst appendix at 47.

    The two also fostered five children, including Italian urchin boy Enzo, who they met while carrying out missionary work in Italy.

    "I just love children," said Trudie.

    It was the kids who Trudie taught in the Danbury Congregation Sunday school who gave her the nickname Candy, an abbreviation of her surname Cannon and one which has stuck since.

    Now, Candy enjoys her days still managing to attend St Mary's church in Great Baddow, sees friends at the women's fellowship, reads and tackles quizzes.

    "You have to have a pure mind and body," said Candy, who says she would love to see "settled peace" across the world before she dies. "I have always tried to lead an upright life and I have tried to lead a Christian life."

    Her daughter-in-law Ann Cannon, the wife of 77-year-old son David, said: "I have only known her for 38 years and she has always been lovely and interested in life. It's only in the last five years that her body has slowed her down, but up until then she has been very active."

    World peace wish for Gertrude from Great Baddow as she reaches centenary

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    GREEN motorists will be now able to recharge their electric cars in Braintree.

    And the rapid chargers installed at George Yard Car Park will enable cars to be re-charged in around 20 to 30 minutes, rather than the 'trickle' ones installed at homes that take hours.

    Cllr Robert Mitchell, Braintree District Council deputy cabinet member for Place, said: "Local councils, in their role as community leaders, need to be proactive in developing the necessary infrastructure to encourage the public to use electric or electric hybrid vehicles."

    A joint project between Essex County Council, Siemens, Nissan, Essex County Council and the Office of Low Emission Vehicles, the partnership has seen chargers installed at Colchester United's Weston Homes Community Stadium and at the Lord Butler Leisure Centre in Saffron Walden.

    The partnership followed the county being awarded £110,000 from the Office of Low Emission Vehicles to install the charging points at various locations in the area.

    Electric car charge point to be installed at George Yard Car Park in Braintree

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    A man has been reported for failing to provide a specimen following a road accident in Great Totham . 

    The 58-year-old Tiptree man was initially arrested on suspicion of drink driving after his silver Ford Focus had left Broad Street Green Road and come to rest in a ditch on Saturday (September 6)

    Officers were called to the scene shortly before 11.40pm. 

    A police spokesman said: "He was subsequently taken to hospital for treatment to injuries sustained during the crash." 

    It is understood his injuries were minor. 

    Man reported following alleged drink drive crash in Great Totham

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    If you're heading into London on a night out, take extra care – new iPhones are the phones most likely to be stolen, according to government figures.

    Statistics compiled by the Home Office indicate that the iPhone 5, 5C, 5S and 4S were the most targeted, with the Blackberry 9790 also appearing to be high on the thieves' wish list.

    But the research said that it believed that better security in the phones themselves are likely to mean that the mobile would have reduced theft levels.

    The data showed that women and those aged between 14 to 24 were most likely to have their phone stolen, while the most likely method was through pick-pocketing.

    According to the Crime Survey for England and Wales, 742,000 people had their phones stolen in England and Wales during 2012 – 2013 – with almost 100,000 thefts being reported in London during 2013.

    But police intelligence appears to show that the new security measures introduced by Apple's iOS 7 system update last year are having the desired effect, with a reduction of thefts being reported.

    A spokesman for Apple told BBC News: "Apple has led the industry in helping customers protect their lost or stolen devices since the launch of Find My iPhone in 2009 by allowing customers to remotely set a passcode or erase all their personal data.

    "With iOS 7, Find My iPhone includes a feature called Activation Lock, which is designed to prevent anyone else from using your iPhone... if you ever lose it. This can help you keep your device secure, even if it is in the wrong hands, and can improve your chances of recovering it."

    New statistics are set to be published by the Home Office next year. 

    New iPhones 'the most likely to be stolen'

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    WITHAM Town let a two-goal lead slip away in the last 15 minutes  to lose 3-2 against Billericay Town on Saturday at Village Glass Stadium.

    Witham dominated the game for 75 minutes, but then the visitors made some good substitutions and scored three goals to cheer their league band of supporters.

    The visitors' keeper Billy Lumley made good early saves from Josh Mayhew and Shamido Pedulu and throughout the first half Witham had the better of the exchanges and should have held a half time lead.

    Straight from the restart Tom Waite had a shot well saved by Lumley, but Witham then took the lead when Mayhew smashed the ball in after a good run and cross by Pedulu.

    It was all one way for Witham and after squandering chances Danny Emmanuel put Witham two up, when he dribbled through the visitors defence and shot low into the net and a fierce shot from Waite was diverted onto the crossbar by Lumley.

    From then, all went wrong for Witham as the visitors made some substitutions and one of them, Ricky Sappleton rose high to head in and pull one back for the Blues.

    In the 86th minute Billericay were awarded a penalty for hand ball that Richard Hale converted. This inspired the visitors and Sappleton broke through in the 90th minute and shot past Martyn Guest with what proved to be the winner.

    Even after then Mayhew headed into the Blues net but was ruled offside.

    Witham Town let two-goal lead slip away in Billericay Town defeat

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  • 09/08/14--01:40: Kevin Bryan's record reviews

  • Ewan McLennan,"Stories Still Untold" (Fellside FECD 263)- Ewan McLennan's  rousing rendition of his own "Whistling the Esperanza" was one of the highlights of BBC4's excellent "Transatlantic Sessions" series, and the Scottish singer-songwriter's third Fellside album is another musical tour de force,showcasing a finely judged assortment of self-penned songs and haunting traditional material. "A Beggar" and the Chartist hymn,"Song of the Lower Classes"  are particularly memorable efforts,  and Ewan also invests compelling ditties such as " Prince Robert" and "Granite Cage"  with a power and passion which puts me in mind  of the great Dick Gaughan in his pomp,and you can't really ask for a higher recommendation than that.
    Mike Zito and the Wheel,"Songs from the Road" (Ruf 1206)- Missouri born Mike  Zito was  a founding member of the highly regarded Royal Southern Brotherhood and  his new solo career should continue to  flourish on the evidence presented by  "Songs from the Road," a highly enjoyable CD/DVD package which captures the singer-guitarist in his natural element,regaling his euphoric Texan audience with a live set featuring some of the most visceral bluesy rock that you'll be likely to hear in this or any other year.  Zito's interplay with saxist Jimmy Carpenter is a joy to behold as he serves up fine tracks such as "Rainbow Bridge" and "Pearl River" alongside a surprisingly effective cover of Prince's "Little Red Corvette."
    Mark Harrison,"The World Outside" (available from Roots music enthusiasts won't need me to remind them about this stylish guitar picker's  timeless approach to  the charms of the acoustic blues. Mark's third album is arguably his finest offering to date,tackling topics  as diverse as New Orleans funerals, the optimism of youth and the arcane workings of the economic system with grace,subtlety and charm,aided and abetted by the excellent backing band who've served him so well in the past. "Panic Attack," "Your Second Line" and the autobiographical "Long Long Way To Go" are particularly fine efforts.
    " Ruf Records 20 Years Anniversary" (Ruf 1208)- Thomas Ruf's excellent blues label celebrate their twentieth birthday with the release of a nicely varied 2CD anthology focussing attention on some of the top notch performers who've recorded for them over the years,including luminaries such as Jeff Healey, Spin Doctors and Kim Simmonds' Savoy Brown. Ruf Records was originally founded to create an outlet for the under-valued talents of the late  Luther Allison, and the soulful Chicago bluesman closes proceedings with what proved to be his final recording,a spirited cover of the Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want" incorporating the backing vocals from Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side."

    Kevin Bryan's record reviews

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    England start their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign in earnest tonight against Switzerland in Basel. Roy Hodgson has come under increasing pressure following the national team's abysmal showing in the World Cup. The game, which is live on ITV and ITVHD, kicks off at 7.45pm BST. Fears have been sparked that the team may well put in a defensive performance after Hodgson indicated they may well play like Norway. "You don't get over that kind of disappointment and shock in a summer," he told BBC Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek yesterday "It's going to take a lot of time before we can even put that into some kind of perspective."

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    Police have released CCTV captured at the time a bike was stolen outside tearooms in Little Baddow. 

    The insecure silver Strada Centurer bike, worth £400, was stolen from outside the Old Stable Tea Rooms, at Papermill Lock on Hatfield Road at some time between 9am on July 25 and the same time the following day. 

    To help track down the perpetrator police have released CCTV of a man caught on camera at the time the bike was stolen and whom they wish to speak to in connection with the incident. 

    If anyone recognises the man they are asked to call PC Martin Baumber at Maldon Police Station on 101 or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

    Bike stolen outside Little Baddow tearooms

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