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

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    A BUILDER is believed to have fallen from scaffolding  in Chelmsford earlier this afternoon. 

    The Essex Air Ambulance was spotted landing in Oaklands Park at just after 3pm today (Tuesday) after the man is though to have fallen from some scaffolding erected at Holly House. 

    The extent of the man's injuries are not yet fully known but witnesses have said he had injuries to his cheekbone after falling from a height of approximately 15 feet. 

    He was carrying out some painting for Holly House when the accident happened, and company director Tim Lloyd explained that the scaffolding collapsed with the man on it.

    "It was quite a nasty fell, he fell about 15 feet," Mr Lloyd said. "He was conscious but I'm not sure if he was concussed. Until I speak to him, I won't know how the scaffolding fell." 

    Builder falls from scaffolding in Chelmsford

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    CHELMSFORD City boss Mark Hawkes admitted he is looking forward to the prospect of a potential FA Cup run this season.

    The Clarets get their competition underway with the visit of Worthing FC to Melbourne Stadium on Saturday in the second round qualifying.

    But Hawkes pointed out that his side must not get too far ahead of themselves and take each round as it comes.

    He said: "It is very important for the money to the club and for me as a manager. I like cup runs, players like cup runs and we only have to get three wins and we might get a Colchester or a Southend here. But we have to win those three games first. We have a home tie in the first one and we have to pay them as much respect as we would an opponent from our own league and go and do our homework on them."

    Worthing are currently 18th in the Ryman One South, but beat high flying Ryman Premier side Dulwich Hamlet 3-0 in the previous round.

    Hawkes said: "If we start the game like we did on Saturday and put them under early pressure then hopefully they won't have the quality of teams in our division to keep us out. I think Saturday was the first game that Worthing have lost in about seven games. And I know what it is like to go to a team above you and win, because when your side is used to winning then it doesn't matter who you play against. They won't be worried about coming here but we have to fancy our chances."

    Mark Hawkes excited by potential FA Cup run

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    MOTORISTS are facing severe congestion on the A12 tonight (Tuesday) after a serious crash. 

    A lorry and a car have collided on the northbound stretch of road between Witham and Kelvedon South leading to one lane closed off. 

    There is now queuing traffic and long delays expected with congestion back to the junction for Danbury.

    Serious accident on A12 shuts northbound lane

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    ESSEX did their promotion chances no harm as they put themselves into a commanding position after the first day of their final County Championship match of the season against Worcestershire.

    Jesse Ryder took 5-24 as Essex skittled their visitors for just 84 in the first innings at Chelmsford after James Foster had won the toss.

    Nick Browne then looked solid with the bat and reached 106no by the end of play to guide the Eagles to 198-3 at stumps

    David Masters got the opening wicket with his first over as he had Richard Oliver caught by Tom Westley for 0.

    But then it turned into the Ryder show as he picked up Moeen Ali (12), Daryl Mitchell (4), Alexei Kervezee (2) and Tom Kohler-Cadmore (4) in quick succession.

    Jamie Porter then got in on the act as he had Tom Fell caught in the slips by Ryder for seven, with Ryder getting his fifth wicket trapping Oliver Cox LBW for a duck.

    With Worcestershire reeling on 31-7, Joseph Leach put up some resistance with five 4's in his 39. Brett D'Oliveira (7) hung around for 27 balls before he was caught behind off Graham Napier, with Leach then well caught and bowled by Masters.

    Napier wrapped up the innings when he bowled Jack Shantry for six, with the visitors all out for 84 before lunch was even taken.

    Foster used only four bowlers, with Masters finishing on figures of 2-18, Porter 1-23 and Napier 2-18.

    The Essex reply got off to a poor start when Tom Westley failed to beat a direct throw from D'Oliveira and was run out for three.

    Greg Smith joined Browne but was caught by skipper Mitchell off the bowling of Morris for 14 to bring Ravi Bopara to the crease.

    Bopara made steady progress, hitting just three boundaries in 82 deliveries. But he was eventually also caught by Mitchell off England spin-bowler Ali for 31.

    The in-form Foster entered the fray with Essex on 106-3 and carried on from where he had left off – with back-to-back centuries in his previous two matches.

    Foster finished 36no, with Browne's unbeaten century including 15 fours in 220 balls at the crease.

    Essex on promotion charge after dominating opening day against Worcestershire

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    A fatal collision between a car and a lorry has shut a part of the A120 near Little Bentley until around 11pm. 

    The accident, which is understood to have occurred on the westbound carriageway, happened at around 4.30pm and brought emergency services to the scene.

    An Essex Police spokesman said: "The car driver died and a passenger in the vehicle received minor injuries. 

    "The Harwich-bound carriageway of the A120 is likely to reopen soon but the westbound lanes will remain closed until about 11pm while police carry out initial investigations." 

    He added that diversions are in place but that drivers should avoid the area for the next few hours.

    Part of A120 near Little Bentley closed 'until 11pm' after fatal collision

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    A VETERAN farmer has "learnt his lesson" after his cow clambered through a 5,000-volt fence, wandered on to the neighbouring A12 and was struck dead.

    Derek Kelly, 84, who owns 80 cattle, believes the Aberdeen Angus was trying to "get back to its mates" when it broke out of fields at Crix in Hatfield Peverel on Thursday (September 25).

    The previous evening Derek moved the cow, which was three weeks from the slaughter, from its Cock Clarks home to graze on the thick grassy grounds of the Grade-II listed Georgian mansion.

    "I don't know exactly how or why it broke out but my theory is it did so because I moved three cattle from one herd to another the previous evening," said Derek, also the founder of award-winning Danbury-based enterprise Kelly Turkeys.

    "I think he was trying to get away from the field and back to his mates. We have had cattle there for eight years and this is the first time one has managed to get out.

    "I won't move or separate them from their mates again like I did on this occasion. Instead I will take the whole herd together as I have always done."

    The cow, one of 10 in the field at Crix that night, was struck by a silver Vauxhall Astra on the southbound carriageway at about 3.30am.

    It was left badly damaged, but while the male driver escaped uninjured, he is making an insurance claim.


    The driver of a VW van received minor injuries to his hand and face and was treated by ambulance staff at the scene.

    The Highways Agency closed off a lane causing traffic to queue back to Kelvedon during rush hour.

    It was not until about 7.15am that Ian Twinley, owner of Crix, called Derek after finding the cow in the central reservation.

    "I just felt horrified when I found out," said Derek, who has farmed beef as a hobby since passing the turkey business to his son Paul.

    "Not for the cattle but over the implications for the people in the cars. That's the amazing thing, that no one was seriously hurt, that was the big worry."

    Within 30 minutes Ian and a friend carried the cow with a fork lift truck and flatbed lorry back to Crix, while Derek donned a hi-vis jacket and stopped traffic on the A12 and B1137.

    "It was a slick operation," he said.

    "But I was quite surprised that we hadn't been notified by the police, quite surprised by that."

    The two-year-old cow was worth £1,000.

    "But that's irrelevant," said Derek.

    "I'm retired and this is a hobby. I go round to them all, and while I wouldn't say they are my pets, I know them all individually.

    "Of course it's sad, very much so."

    Farmer's regret: Cow struck and killed on A12 was trying to 'get back to his mates'

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    People from Chelmsford are most happy at the age of 20, a survey by an oral care brand has shown.

    According to the nationwide poll, which was undertaken by 'hello', 18 per cent of Chelmsfordians smile more than 21 times a day and on Fridays, we begin the weekend celebrations and get out of the office at 3.57pm.

    But it is not always plain sailing – according to the company, 15 per cent of Chelmsford residents said that 14 was their unhappiest age.

    The survey was undertaken in August and surveyed 2,000 people throughout the country. 

    Famous 20-year-olds include Dakota Fanning, Harry Styles, and Justin Bieber

    People in Chelmsford 'smile more than 21 times a day'

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    MALDON and Tiptree suffered their sixth straight defeat after a disappoing display against Brightlingsea Regent.

    The Jammers - still managerless - lost 3-0 at home to continue their woes in the Ryman One North this season.

    Joe Pearman had the best early chance of the game, when on just four minutes he found space on the left of the box. However, the winger could not find direction on his shot and dragged the ball wide of the post.

    Regent struck in the ninth minute when Tiptree were caught on the break. Ben Newson burst down the left-hand side and calmly slotted the ball past keeper Jack Giddens.

    Maldon had their first chance of the game when Pearman's long throw found Thomas Hayes at the back post, but the midfielder could not bundle the ball home.

    And Regent extended the lead on 21 minutes thanks to some poor defending from the Jammers. An innocuous long throw bounced twice through the box and found Russell Malton at the back post who swept the ball home to make it 2-0.

    The Jammers came out stronger in the second half and Nathan Koronteng had a good opportunity to halve the defecit when he shifted the ball on to his left foot on the edge of the box, but only managed to fire his shot wide of the post.

    But then Pearman missed the golden opportunity that would have brought Maldon back into the game. The winger did well to chase down the bouncing ball that was going through to Regent keeper Luke Avenell. The stopper then dropped the ball, but Pearman, turning on the swivel, could only put his right-footed shot wide instead of into the empty net.

    And that would be pounished on the 81st minute when Regent put the game beyond doubt with their third goal. A poor tackle by Marcus Rose gifted the ball to Jake Turner who slid in Malton. The striker then took his time and neatly lifted the ball past Giddens and into the far corner for his second of the game. Maldon have an extended break now until they travel to Redbridge on Saturday October 4.

    Maldon lose six in a row after disappointing Brightlingsea display

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    Sunset, today, marks the start of the Jewish New Year.   As we've had a Teaser on Islam, and one on Christianity, I felt a Jewish Teaser was only fair.
    Q1)Sunset of the 24th September, 2014, marks the start of the Jewish New Year.   The traditional name for the festival is Rosh … what … ?
    Q2)The phrase translates as the what of the Year: head, tail or stomach?
    Q3)The festival is in which month of the Jewish calendar: Tishrei, Cheshvan or Kislev?
    Q4)One traditional Hebrew equivalent to the phrase 'Happy New Year,' is 'Shana Tova'.   'Shana Tova' roughly translates as 'Have a' what: good year, bad year or long year?
    Q5)'Shana Tova' is usually used by Ashkenazi Jews.   The Ashkenazi lived where: the Roman Empire, the Holy Roman Empire or the Byzantine Empire?
    Q6)By contrast, Sephardic Jews lived in two southern European countries.   Name either.
    Q7)Many Orthodox Jews have a 'Mikva' on the Jewish New Year.   A Mikva is a ritual what: bath, meal or glass of wine?
    Q8)Traditionally, the New Year sees the ritual blowing of the Shofar.   The shofar is a wind instrument made from the horn of what: bull, ram or toad?
    Q9)The rituals for the Jewish New Year are recorded in the Mishnah and in the Oral Torah.   The Written Torah are the first books of the Jewish Bible.   How many books: five, seven or nine?
    Q10)Finally … Christianity has vicars and pastors, Islam has Imams.   Who leads Jewish religious services … ?
    Shana Tova, if you're celebrating!
    Here's last week's questions and answers … 
    Q1)17th September saw Baron von Richthofen win his first aerial combat: during which year of World War 1?
    Q2)The fight took place over which French town: Lille, Cambrai or Dunkirk?
    Q3)One of the men he shot down was Captain Tom Rees.   Captain Rees was a member of what: the British Army, the Royal Air Force or the Royal Navy?
    Q4)Over all, the Baron made how many confirmed kills: sixty, eighty or one hundred … ?
    Q5)What was Baron von Richthofen's first name … ?
    Q6)He was also known as the 'Bloody' … what?
    Q7)Von Richthofen's German title — Freiherr, the German equivalent to Baron — translates as what: free man, free lord or free mason?
    Q8)The squadron von Richthofen led — Jagdgeschwader 1, or JG1 — became known as Baron von Richthofen's Flying … what … ?
    Q9)"10, 20, 30, 40, 50 or more," is a line from a song about the Baron: released by The Royal Guardsmen.   What was the song called?
    Q10)Finally … The Baron was mentioned in the 'Peanuts' comic strip, as the flying enemy of who: Charlie Brown, Peppermint Patty or Snoopy?
    A3)The British Army: he was on secondment to the Royal Flying Corp, the predecessor to the RAF.
    A6)Red Baron.
    A7)Free Lord.
    A8)Baron von Richthofen's Flying Circus.   (Named after the TV show … )
    A9)'Snoopy vs The Red Baron'.
    If you'd like a frequent challenge, you can visit Nik Nak's Old Peculiar, and try the Daily Teaser: today's is at the top.If you need quiz questions in a hurry, you're also welcome: you'll find the free Friday Questions Sets — covered by the Creative Commons License* — very handy.Movie fans are welcome, too: as are Dr Who fans.   I tend to write about them, too.If you enjoy what I do, and wish to contribute, feel free to click the PayPal Donate button in the Old Peculiar's sidebar.   Every penny is gratefully received.

    Enjoy the week, folks.

    *        All that means is that you're free to copy, use, alter and build on each of my quizzes: including the Teasers, Gazette Teasers and the Friday Question Sets.   All I ask in return is that you give me an original authors credit on your event's flyers or posters, or on the night: and, if you republish them, give me an original authors credit AND republish under the same license.   A link back to the site — and to the Chronicle's, if that's where you've found these — would be appreciated: as would pressing my donate button, here.   Every penny is gratefully received.

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    KEEPER Danny Sambridge played one of the biggest roles he has ever played for Heybridge in helping Swifts to beat league leaders Needham Market 2-1 on Tuesday at Bloomfields.

    With virtually the whole team caught up in traffic chaos on the A12 after a serious collision at Witham, the kick off was put back to 8:15pm, Heybridge also had to play the last 32 minutes of normal time and the added seven minutes at the end with ten men as they ground out a result.

    Despite Needham having many of their team at the ground in time, the delay didn't seem to affect the hosts as they looked to set the pace early on.

    Both Ian Westlake and Luke Ingram made bright openings whilst former Colchester United midfielder Kem Izzet shot over the bar early on. Liam Springett failed to get any height on an early free kick that struck the Needham wall with Andrew Tomlinson shooting over from the rebound.

    A cross by Ingram on 16 minutes found a touch off winger Howell but the shot was straight at the Heybridge keeper whilst three minutes later a close range header from Ollie Fenn fell narrowly wide.

    Needham grew in confidence and as the half wore on so it looked as though the breakthrough was just around the corner.

    Swifts keeper Sambridge sprung down to his right to deny Sam Newson on 21 minutes to make an outstanding one handed save whilst two minutes later Sambridge was left winded as he took a shot from Westlake to the chest before Daniel Barber cleared.

    Tomlinson made a crucial intervention for Heybridge on 25 minutes as Coakley and Ingram combined before Izzet played in Newson inside the box before the timely tackle from Tomlinson.

    Needham could have been out of sight if their chances had gone in but as the half hour approached it remained level until on the stroke of 30 minutes Sam Newson made a clever back heel with his back to goal from a corner to tuck home a sweet yet cheeky goal to give the hosts the lead.

    Needham didn't take that lead into the break though as an almighty blitz in first half stoppage time from Neil Richmond and Billy Hunt turned the game on it's head. Evans involved in the move with a cross from the left, which a defender couldn't clear and the ball dropped nicely to Richmond on the edge of the box to wrap his boot round and finish.

    Inside the final minute of the three allocated in first half stoppage time, Barber launched a cross from the left which again Needham didn't clear, allowing Hunt to tee himself up and from almost the same position as Richmond, hit a screamer into the bottom left corner.

    Needham all but threw the kitchen sink at Heybridge in the second half and Swifts were left with a problem thirteen minutes in as captain Springett saw a straight red for a tackle that left Brendon Heath being helped off the pitch although not on a stretcher, Springett put his foot in for a tackle a second too late as the ball left the boot of Heath with Referee Paul Burnham close by.

    Ian Westlake again saw chances go begging for Needham whilst Howell shot past Sambridge but also the post just after the hour. Sam Nunn met a corner on 67 minutes with Sub Adam Mills having a shot blocked as it became clear that Swifts' backs were well and truly against the wall.

    A single one handed save in the game by Sambridge was doubled when he made another, this time a second half denial of Nunn as Needham pumped the ball forward again, Nunn beat the offside trap but his volley was saved. Nunn must have had enough of the Heybridge keeper eleven minutes later when he was again denied, this time a far post header pushed round the post after Ingram's delivery.

    Coakley and Morphew both went close late on as Heybridge battled to launch an occasional ball into the Needham half and chase, but with five minutes of stoppage time added on the drama wasn't over as somehow the game found it's way into the 97th minute with Ollie Fenn heading over right at the death as finally the Referee blew the whistle.

    Swifts grind out stunning Needham Market victory

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    HEYBRIDGE Swifts and Needham Market are to investigate an alleged attack on Swifts skipper Liam Springett during Tuesday night's match. Springett was sent off in the Swifts' 2-1 victory at the Suffolk club after a tackle on Market player Brendon Heath. The defender then reported to the club that a member of the Needham Market staff entered the away changing room and threw two punches at him in an unprovoked attack. While there hasn't been any police involvement at present, the two clubs are said to be investigating the incident to take the necessary action. Swifts manager Keith Wilson put on Twitter: @willogaffer - @HeybridgeSwifts no police involvement whatever happens now is up2 @NMFCTWEETS I'm sure they will make the rite decision. Disappointing end.

    Swifts and Needham Market to investigate alleged attack on Liam Springett

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    A motorcyclist from Bicknacre who died after a collision with a van has been identified.

    Eric Hodkinson, 72, was with five others in Blois Road, Steeple Bumpstead, when the bike he was riding collided with a VW Caddy at around 1.20pm on Thursday (September 18).

    An East of England Ambulance Service spokesman said an air ambulance, land ambulance and paramedic car were sent to the scene to reports of an unconscious male.

    He was treated by paramedics but pronounced dead at the scene.

    The van driver was uninjured and nobody else was taken to hospital.

    Crash death motorcyclist named as Eric Hodkinson

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    Users of 4chan have indicated a third dump of hacked naked celebrity pictures could find their way online later this week.

    Gabrielle Union is among the household names to have contacted the FBI over fears her candid selfies were released into the public domain, weeks after the first batch, notably including Jennifer Lawrence, were first published.

    Other hacked celebrities include Scarlett Johansson, singer Rihanna, reality star Kim Kardashian, Kate Bosworth, Rachel Nichols, Meagan Good, and Gabrielle Union, among others.

    The timing couldn't be worse, with former Harry Potter star Emma Watson giving a speech at the UN in which she appealed to men over gender equality and told of how she had been 'sexualised' by parts of the media.

    Hours afterwards, a web page - called Emma you are Next and featuring a countdown clock next to her image - suggested she would be targeted.

    In a statement released this week, Union said: "It has come to our attention that our private moments, that were shared and deleted solely between my husband and myself, have been leaked by some vultures.

    I can't help but to be reminded that since the dawn of time women and children, specifically women of color, have been victimized, and the power over their own bodies taken from them."

    The pictures are believed to have been taken from the celebrities Apple iCloud accounts, although the company has denied its security systems have been breached.

    The Fappening 3? More nude celebrity pictures 'set to be released by the end of the week'

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    People in Chelmsford smile an average of 21 times a day, according to the results of a survey released today.

    But why do they have reasons to be happy?

    Community spirit: Thousands of people descended on a farm in Norton Field when ducks were threatened with slaughter earlier this year, giving them homes 

    Park life: The centre of the city has lots of parks, the centrepiece being Central Park with ornamental lake, tea room, playgrounds and skate park as well as some really striking plants and trees. 

    Great pubs: The city can boast some great pubs like the Railway Tavern, the Alehouse, the Woolpack, The Orange Tree and Cricketer's Arms, all full of character and a great selection of real ales, a lot of it brewed locally.

    Shopping: Chelmsford is a real magnet for shoppers, boasting top high street names without having the oppressive feel of a big shopping centre. That's set to get even better with the coming of Waitrose, John Lewis and all the other retailers destined for the Bond Street development

    Events: Cultural events take place throughout the year in the city, from locally organised ones like Boys Toys, The Fling, the Ideas Festival and CITYdiversions to the huge event that is the V Festival.

    Travel: The transport links in and out of the city are good, when they work, and a revamped Chelmsford railway station will also provide some respite for those stuck in delays

    Fitness fanatics: Chelmsford is set to host its first ever parks marathon this year, and regular runners can already enjoy the weekly ParkRun in Central Park

    An unforgettable summer for some: Cycling fanatics also enjoyed a once in a lifetime chance to see the Tour de France head through Chelmsford in 2014. It may have been blink and you'll miss it but the memories will live on forever for some

    Schools: King Edward Grammar School and Chelmsford County High School have helped to push the city into the best places to bring up a child, meaning the next generation of hardworkers are schooled right here

    Weather: Little old Writtle often records the hottest temperatures in the country whenever there's a heatwave on the horizon

    V Festival: Love it or hate it, the biggest names in the globe head for Hylands Park in Chelmsford once a year, providing a boost to the economy and an increase in footfall for businesses

    11 reasons to smile if you live in Chelmsford

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    NEW ZEALAND all-rounder Jesse Ryder has signed a new two-year deal with Essex.

    It commits the 33-year-old to the club until the end of the 2016 season.

    Ryder has played a huge part in all forms of the game this season for Essex, and he was awarded a County Cap during the match against Worcestershire in the LV= County Championship at The Essex County Ground.

    He has enjoyed an excellent summer for Essex, scoring 1,196 runs across all three formats to date. But it is his bowling that has been the standout contribution, with Ryder has taking four five wicket hauls.

    With Essex suffering bowler shortages because of injury throughout the season, Ryder has become the county's leading County Championship wicket taker, with 43 dismissals at 17.79.

    Head coach, Paul Grayson said, "We are all delighted that Jesse has extended his stay with the club and this is a really important signing.

    "Jesse has shown this season that he is one of the best players in world cricket and I'm sure this will be exciting news for the club's members and supporters who get to watch him in action for another two seasons.

    "He has fitted in really well to the dressing room and we feel that having Jesse in the team will only improve our hopes of challenging for silverware again in 2015."

    Jesse Ryder pens two-year deal with Essex

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    RAVI BOPARA has been recalled by England for the one-day tour of Sri Lanka.

    The Essex all-rounder was surprisingly omitted from the squad that lost the home one-day series to India 3-1 this summer. 

    England will play seven one-day internationals in Sri Lanka in November and December in preparation for next year's Wolrd Cup in Australia.

    Essex's Alastair Cook remains as captain of the one-day side despite calls for him to step down following the summer's series defeats against India and Sri Lanka.

    Meanwhile, Essex opener Tom Westley will join the England Performance Programme's batting and spin camp in Sri Lanka this winter.

    Ravi Bopara recalled to England's one-day team for Sri Lanka tour

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    A man killed in a collision with an HGV yesterday (September 23) was a pensioner from Harwich, police have confirmed today.

    The 90-year-old died in the crash, which happened on the A120 near Little Bentley, at around 4.30pm. Formal identification has still to be carried out.

    The collision happened when the car joined the westbound carriageway from Harwich Road.

    A passenger in his Paeugoet 206, a woman aged in her 70s and also from the Harwich area, received serious injuries and remains in Colchester General Hospital.

    The westbound carriageway of the A120 was closed until just before 9pm while police carried out initial investigations. 

    Any witnesses or anyone with information about events leading to the collision should contact Pc Dave Gorbutt at the Essex Police Serious Collision Investigation Unit on 101 or email

    A120 car collision victim was 90 year old man

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    Tottenham Hotspur are set to make several changes ahead of the League Cup tie against Nottingham Forest this evening.

    Several stars are expected to be rested after two scoreless encounters

    Michel Vorm may make his debut in goal, while Roberto Soldado is expected to start up front.

    Nottingham Forest manager Stuart Pearce will be without four stars of his own, while Matty Fryatt will also miss out.

    Tottenham Hotspur vs Nottingham Forest is on Sky Sports 1 from 7pm, with kick off at 7.45pm

    What time is the Tottenham vs Nottingham Forest League Cup game on Sky Sports tonight?

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    HUNDREDS of households across the Braintree district face months of repair work after a thunderstorm and "freak" flooding on Saturday.

    An off-duty PCSO saved a family from 3ft of water, lightning wiped out an entire road's electricity and Witham residents were forced to pump water from their homes during the town's "worst flooding ever".

    Firefighters responded to 20 incidents and received 80 calls from homes in Hawthorne Rise, Powers Hall End and Lime Close in Witham.

    The fire service also inspected damage at Rivenhall Hotel after an internal ceiling collapsed, rescued a trapped motorist in flood water under the A12 flyover in Rivenhall End, and rushed to an unoccupied former St Michael's Hospital flat struck by lightning.

    The district council meanwhile received 32 calls to repair overflowing drains.

    Amid the anger and frustration in Colne Chase, off Spa Road near Asda in Witham, where a river could be seen cascading into a row of around 50 houses, residents claimed the chaos "could have been avoided".

    Graham O'Brien, who was mopping up water in the road from 7am, estimates his family lost at least £6,000 in carpet, flooring, tiling, furniture and electrical goods.

    "It was just coming in so quick, there was nothing you could do," said the 32-year-old.

    "It was terrible. All the kids were upstairs crying because they saw the water coming in. We were in wellies trying to get it out.

    "It's horrible watching the water coming into the house and watching all your stuff float out."

    Mr O'Brien blamed Braintree District Council for failing to unblock a ditch about 30 metres away, which overflowed.

    He and neighbours also accused Greenfields Community Housing of taking at least 12 hours to deliver sandbags.

    "I am fuming because it could have been avoided," he said.

    "The ditch, which is usually only one or two inches deep, came up halfway to our homes last year.

    "The council saw it and said the pipe in the ditch needed clearing up, and that they would access it, but nothing has been done about it."

    Neighbour Jackie O'Shea, 45, said she awoke to find rainwater 2ft high and flowing ever closer to her house. She said it took three hours to wash out three inches of flood water from inside.

    "It was just unbelievable," said Miss O'Shea, who said she did not receive her sandbags until the evening.

    "I've lived here in this house for over ten years and in three different locations in Colne Chase for 40 years and it has never come up that high."

    Housing firm Greenfields, responsible for more than 8,000 properties in the district, also delivered sandbags to 18 homes.

    "We had a number of calls and were delivering all day. All we can do is prioritise those most in need," said Scott Bridge, head of maintenance.

    "It was the worst flooding I have ever seen in the Essex area. It happened so fast, and was so localised, and I think that's what caught people unaware."

    He added: "Residents have been really understanding and what we have had to do is delay routine work on Monday and Tuesday to see to those residents most in need."

    When the Chronicle visited Colne Chase on Tuesday a district council contractor inspecting the ditch said: "It was a freak incident. Nothing could have been done to prevent it."

    Brentwood PCSO and Witham resident Matthew Grimwood was helping residents escape flooded homes, which included rescuing a young family from a house 3ft under water.

    "It's the worst flooding I've ever seen in Witham," said Mr Grimwood.

    The town library, on Newland Street, also suffered flood damage and has been forced to close until September 29.

    While Witham was predominantly affected by excess rainwater, Braintree also suffered from lightning directly overhead.

    Internal pipework burst in three flats in Perryfields, flooding homes after lightning struck a roof antenna.

    The same strike left what is thought to be the entire road without telephone lines and internet.

    Newlyweds Joseph and Deborah Bell called firefighters to cut off the supply as water gushed from the pipework below their sink.

    They stacked all their furniture in their living room – just a fortnight after their honeymoon suite was flooded in Jamaica.

    "We won't forget the first two weeks of our marriage," said 28-year-old Joe, who estimates at least £5,000 in damage has been caused to their property.

    Video: Hundreds count the cost of storms and freak flooding

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    BOSSES at the scandal-hit Old Deanery Care Home have announced plans to move 23 residents following a major review of its services.

    The care home in Bocking, near Braintree, wants to move the patients with higher dependency needs to facilities with specialist staff nearby in the next two months.

    The Old Deanery was placed into special measures by Essex County Council in February after BBC's Panorama show secretly filmed a dementia patient being slapped and mishandled.

    Seven carers were suspended and one was sacked at the end of February when the Old Deanery management were made aware of the undercover investigation, which was aired in April.

    Another six employees were sacked in May and detectives arrested four people in July.

    Three women were charged with assaulting and harassing elderly residents, while the fourth was released without charge.

    Now, following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission and the home's own audit and monitoring process, the new management team has decided that residents with greater needs can be better cared for in more specialist settings.

    Anglian Retirement Homes Ltd, owner of the Old Deanery, said residents had been admitted to the home with more complex requirements than it was equipped to manage.

    An Old Deanery spokesman said: "Whilst the home was established to cater for low to moderately dependent frail elderly residential care, over recent years under the previous owners it has evolved to include residents who have significant levels of dementia and/or more complex physical needs.

    "The new management team recognised this issue and the admissions policy was changed in November 2013.

    "Since that time no residents have been admitted outside of the home's capabilities.

    "With those residents we inherited with complex needs, the new management team has tried really hard to maintain these people in the home because they are settled and want to stay.

    "However, we now accept that there are long-standing cultural issues which, combined with the underlying staff capabilities, the absence of 24 hour nursing care, and the layout of the building, makes this unachievable within an acceptable timescale.

    "Now we have decided that residents living with high levels of dementia and/or more complex physical care needs will be moving into care homes properly suited to meeting all of their needs."

    The Old Deanery say that over the next two months the home will be working closely with Essex County Council, and residents and their families, to find the best options for them.

    The spokesman added: "With reduced occupancy and dependency levels, concentrated management and staff time and attention will ensure that the required improvements are made and embedded at The Old Deanery and that full CQC compliance is achieved more quickly.

    "Furthermore, as a result of staff dismissals earlier in the year and the need for increased staffing levels, high levels of agency staff have been required, which has slowed improvements.

    "A benefit of the significant reduction in occupancy and overall dependency levels is that agency use will be eliminated."

    Twelve residents can be accommodated at the neighbouring facility at St Mary's Court in Braintree, which has specialist staff to help people living with dementia and those who need 24 hour nursing care.

    Others will be transferred to dementia nursing and other general nursing care providers as appropriate.

    Care scandal: 23 patients to be moved out

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