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

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    MALDON & Tiptree have appointed Alan Kimble as their new manager.

    The 48-year-old former Wimbledon and Cambridge United man is the twin brother of Witham Town manager Garry.

    Alan managed Aveley and has been assistant manager at Hemel Hempstead Town and Eastbourne Borough.

    His first game in charge of the Jammers will be this Saturday when they travel to Redbridge.

    Alan's assistant will be former Dagenham & Redbridge defender Anwar Uddin.


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    Police are appealing for help to trace a man captured on CCTV in connection with a bike theft at Chelmsford railway station.

    The bike, a Trak Excalibur, was stolen between 7pm and 8pm on Saturday, August 2 on Duke Street.

    Anyone with information is asked to contact PC Harriet Ware at Chelmsford Police Station on 101.

    Man sought after bike stolen from Chelmsford railway station


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    The fire that destroyed a pub in Bradwell-on-Sea was caused by an unattended chip fan, Essex Fire and Rescue investigators have ruled. 

    The blaze which ripped through the King's Head pub on Friday evening was at first thought to be suspicious, but an investigation has revealed the cause to have in fact been an accident, after a chip pan was left unattended as it's though the owners were distracted by events of the Ryder Cup. 

    Firefighters have been praised for their work in protecting heritage buildings in close proximity to the pub as the fire raged, as well as the efforts of local residents. 

    Incident commander Assistant Divisional Officer Dave Moore has praised the efforts of a local farmer who brought much-needed water to the scene at the height of the blaze.

    "Bradwell has some of the oldest historical buildings in the country and the pub on the High Street sits at the heart of some very old properties. Crews did an excellent job in protecting the village heritage - they worked quickly and under great pressure not only to tackle the blaze but in making sure surrounding risks were protected.

    "We owe particular thanks to a local farmer - with low water supplies in the area, he played a critical role in delivering water to the scene when it was needed most. In fact the entire community were fantastic, supporting crews in their work."

    Divisional Officer Lee Lucas, who headed the fire investigation, has said although the cause was accidental, there are lessons to be learned from the cause of the fire.

    "It appears the owners of the pub were preparing for evening service. They cleaned out the industrial chip pan, refilled it and then went up to watch the golf, propping open a fire door. All these things added up - the distraction, leaving cooking unattended and finally the importance of closed doors to prevent fire spread."

    Fire that destroyed Bradwell-on-Sea pub was caused by 'unattended chip pan' as owners watched Ryder Cup


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  • 09/29/14--01:52: Kevin Bryan's record reviews


  • Dougie MacLean,"Till Tomorrow" (Linn CKD 465)- Highly regarded Scottish singer-songwriter Dougie  MacLean makes his Linn Records debut  by re-imagining the cream of his illustrious back catalogue in a fine collaboration  with conductor John Logan and the massed ranks of the  Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Their august presence lends an impressively symphonic dimension to Dougie's settings of Burns' poems such as "Ca' The Yowes" and "Green Grow The Rashes," and this  hand-picked package closes with MacLean's enduringly popular love song to Scotland,"Caledonia."
    George Thorogood and the Destroyers,"30th Anniversary Tour: Live" (Salvo SVX 033)- This gritty audio-visual package from Delaware blues-rocker  Thorogood and his like-minded musical cohorts was recorded for posterity  at Nottingham's Royal Concert Hall in May 2004.  The band's  visceral  and refreshingly direct approach to their craft  was  captured in all its rabble-rousing glory as they delivered  a selection of tracks from their then current album,"Ride 'Til I Die" alongside  early signature hits such as "Bad To The Bone," "Move It On Over" and  John Lee Hooker's "One Scotch,One Bourbon,One Beer."
    "Soul City New Orleans" (Fantastic Voyage FVDD 203)-This vibrant 2 CD anthology showcases the work of some of the performers who populated New Orleans' nascent soul scene half a century ago ,including much loved artists such as Ernie K-Doe, Huey Smith and the Clowns and former  car mechanic Lee Dorsey of "Working in the Coal Mine" and "Holy Cow" fame. Compiler  Clive Richardson  has delved into  the archives of some of the Crescent City's most  influential record labels to paint  a vivid portrait  of musical life  in this unique cultural melting pot during the early sixties ,and the finished product should be an essential purchase for soul fans everywhere.
    Chuck Prophet,"Night Surfer" (Yeproc Records)- Roots rocker extraordinaire Chuck  Prophet first entered the public consciousness via his exploits  with the tunefully psychedelic  Green On Red during the second half of the eighties before embarking on a solo career in 1990. The Californian singer and guitarist has now completed a grand total of thirteen studio albums and "Night Surfer" must rank  as one of his most compelling offerings to date. Rock luminaries such as Peter Buck lend a hand as Chuck unveils the  memorably muscular  "Ford Econoline" and  "Tell Me Anything"   and a colourful parade of  his impeccable musical influences entitled  "Countrified Inner City Technological Man."
    Claudia Brucken,"Where else..." (Cherry Red CDBRED 634)-The music that ex-Propaganda vocalist Claudia Brucken is making these days is certainly much more subdued and reflective than the epic synthpop  creations which she became synonymous  with during the inventive German outfit's' creative heyday  three decades or so ago. It's a measure of Claudia's current approach to music-making that this beguiling album should feature a cover of the late great Nick Drake's "Day is Done" alongside haunting self-penned gems such as "I Lay All Night," "I Want You"  and  the exquisitely crafted  "Walk Right In."

    Kevin Bryan's record reviews


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    DISAPPOINTED Braintree have to go back to the drawing board after they were blown away 63-14 by Chelmsford in a one-sided north Essex derby in London Two North East at Robbs Wood on Saturday.

    The black and ambers had been hopeful of sneaking a result against their in-form rivals after narrowly missing out on the points following the previous weekend's agonisingly close defeat away to Enfield.

    But they didn't look at the races from the off and Chelmsford's former Southend fly-half Simon Hoult was given carte blanche to pull the strings for the visitors to deadly effect.

    Chelmsford set the tone for a depressing afternoon for Tree when they ran the home side's kick-off straight back at them using both forwards and backs, forcing the concession of a second minute penalty which Hoult bagged for a 3-0 lead.

    Three minutes later the visiting stand-off was on target again to double his side's lead when Tree were penalised for not rolling away at the tackle to concede another penalty

    When Tree did finally mount an attack in the eighth minute a careless pass was intercepted by Chelmsford's Craig Wooldridge, who sprinted away for a try that was converted by Hoult to put the visitors 13-0 ahead.

    To make matters worse the hosts lost outside centre Joss Adams to an accidental clash of heads which forced him to leave the field of play with blood pouring from a deep cut.

    But they gave their fans a glint of hope on 19 minutes when scrum-half Darren Page created a chance at the back of a scrum and fed the ball to inside centre James Moore who powered home for a try.

    The conversion was well notched by fly-half Craig Willis to reduce the deficit to 13-7, but it proved only momentary respite for Tree.

    Chelmsford were jolted back into action and quickly posted three unconverted tries courtesy of Wooldridge and props Dean Lester and Stephen Prest to earn them a 28-7 half-time advantage.

    Unfortunately Tree's hopes of being able to regroup and start again never came to fruition as they found themselves on the wrong end of a try-scoring procession from the impressive visitors.

    A try from flanker Josh Cavey was converted by Hoult, who then added himself to the list of Chelmsford try scorers before converting his own score to stretch their lead to 42-7.

    Winger Jamie Ash got in on the act on the hour mark when he rounded off a superb backs move after Tree lost their own line-out ball, Hoult's conversion making it 49-7.

    The loss of John Smillie from the Braintree front row due to injury forced the introduction of uncontested scrums and saw the home side playing with 14 men, which hardly helped their losing cause.

    Guaranteed ball from their own scrum gave Tree the chance to mount a few attacks of their own and teenage replacement back Dan Olley finished off a slick passing move to score a fine try which was converted by Willis to reduce the deficit to 49-14.

    But two further tries by Jamie Morrish and Hoult, both converted by Chelmsford's man of the match stand-off, just added an inevitable icing to the visitors' cake.


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    An MP who was contacted by the Sunday Mirror's undercover journalist who set up Braintree MP Brooks Newmark has said he will report the paper to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) and the police.

    MP for The Wreckin, Mark Pritchard, was among a handful of MPs who were contacted by an undercover reporter posing as Tory PR girl "Sophie".

    Mr Pritchard said on twitter: "Test for IPSO and Met Police. I will write to both today about Sunday Mirror story. Was the criminal law and IPSO Code of Conduct broken?"

    Mr Newmark entered into a conversation with "Sophie", eventually sending explicit messages that led to his resignation as minister for civil society last weekend.

    Despite the set-up Mr Newmark issued an apology on Saturday, telling the BBC: ""'I have no-one to blame but myself. I have hurt those I care about most.

    'I am so, so sorry. But I just need time with my family."

    Conservative MP says he will contact police over Brooks Newmark sting reporter


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    GIANT slinkies, a brass band and maypole dancers were among the performers to fill the streets of Chelmsford on Saturday for the annual CITYdiversions festival.

    The outdoor event, now a decade old, was for the first time spread out over two locations - the city centre and the Anglia Ruskin University campus in Chelmsford.

    Performers from Australia, France and the UK flocked to both sites to put on a variety of free entertainment. Visitors were also treated to international street food and a vintage funfair.

    A free shuttle bus was also laid on to transport visitors from Anglia Ruskin to Chelmsford city centre.

    Mel Archer, 40, from Braintree, who came with her seven-year-old daughter Daisi, said: "We come in each year for it, it's fantastic.

    "We had favourites from last year that we came to see, and we saw some new acts as well. 

    "Daisi liked the slinkies, and we loved the granny racers. It's awesome, and I wish we had more things like this happening in Chelmsford."

    'Far better than sitting at home watching TV'

    Among the performances was Street Dance the Maypole, featuring a Ceilidh band, which got children and parents in the crowd up and dancing.

    Event co-ordinator Lily Robins, 23, said: "It's gone really well, we've had a positive reception from artists and audiences, it's been a great family fun day in the city.

    "We want to encourage people to come out and bring their kids, it also is great to get people interested in the arts at a younger age and encourage them to think outside the box – which is far better than sitting at home watching TV."

    The city was filled with a stunning variety of acts, and Pavel Douglas, with the National Theatre Company, who played one of the 'radio-head' style acts, said he was greeted by a warm reception.

    "People come into the city knowing they are going to be surprised," he said.

    "They want to see their old favourites from past years and it has been great because we've had stuff spread out all over the city, and have been able to use the space really well."

    Performers flock from far and wide for CITYdiversions in Chelmsford


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    Brooks Newmark has said he wants to stay on as MP for Braintree despite resigning as a cabinet minister after being caught out in an undercover sting for the Sunday Mirror.

    "I want a standing full body shot", Brooks Newmark told fake PR girl

    The 56-year-old father-of-five said he had received messages of support encouraging him to remain an MP since it emerged that he had sent explicit messages to an undercover male freelance reporter posing as a Tory PR girl.

    Speaking exclusively to the Essex Chronicle, Mr Newmark said: "I love Braintree and everyone I have represented over the past nine years. 

    "I have had many messages of support in the past couple of days encouraging me to stay on, and that is what I hope to do.

    "I have no one to blame but myself for falling for this tabloid sting. 

    "What I did was wrong and I am sorry for the pain and shame I have caused my family, my friends and my constituents. I have been a complete fool and deeply regret my behaviour.

    He added: "I hope people will give me the time to try to heal the enormous hurt I have caused Lucy and the children.

    "I hope with time I can be forgiven."

    The scandal came on the eve of the Conservative Party's final conference before the next general election, and will be particularly embarrassing for  Prime Minister David Cameron, given Mr Newmark's vocal involvement in the Women2Win campaign, which aims to promote female MPs.

    Exclusive: Brooks Newmark 'sorry for family's pain and shame' over sex pic scandal


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    The most recent leak of celebrity pictures onto 4chan and Reddit user message boards included 55 more pictures of Jennifer Lawrence, the first 'victim' of the celebrity nude photo leak.

    But what is The Fappening and why has it occurred for a third time as rumours abound that Selena Gomez could be the next to be exposed.

    • In August, almost 200 private pictures of various female celebrities were posted on 4chan, and later disseminated by other users on websites and social networks such as Reddit, where sub forums were created
    • The word 'Fappening' is said to come from the term 'The Happening' combined with the lewd slang term, to 'fap'
    • It is alleged the images were stored on Apple devices and backed up using iCloud devices. The company has denied claims of a security breach but chief executive Tim Cook has said steps will be taken in the future to protect privacy.
    • There are claims that many more unreleased photos and videos exist

    The latest leak includes Olympic gold medalist Misty May-Treanor, soap opera star Alexandra Chando, "Going the Distance" actress Kelli Garner, "American Beauty" actress Mena Suvari, "Step Up: All In" actress Briana Evigan, TV presenter Brook Burns, and actress Lauren O'Neil.

    Earlier this month, Apple denied that the photos were accessed through a flaw in its iCloud system.

    "None of the cases we have investigated has resulted from any breach in any of Apple's systems including iCloud or Find my iPhone," a spokesman said.

    The Fappening 3: Who could be next? Pictures of Cara Delevingne and Brook Burns leaked on 4chan and Reddit


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    WITHAM Town will travel to Ryman League Division One North high-flyers Needham Market in the FA Cup third round qualifying draw.

    The Whites beat fellow Ryman Premier side 4-2 on Saturday to progress, while their Suffolk opponents beat London Tigers 5-2.

    The tie will be played on Saturday October 11.

    Witham Town drawn away to Needham Market in the FA Cup


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    CHELMSFORD City will have to make a trip to the south coast after being drawn away to fellow Conference South side Whitehawk in the FA Cup third round qualifying.

    The Clarets progressed after putting six past Worthing at Melbourne Stadium on Saturday, while Whitehawk won 2-1 at home to Ryman League Division One South Merstham.

    The teams have yet to meet in the league this campaign, but last season City won 4-0 at the Hawks in January, Michael Cheek coming off the bench to score his first two goals for the club. Rob Edmans and Luke Callander also netted.

    It avenged a 2-0 home defeat in September.

    The tie will be played on Saturday October 11.

    Chelmsford City are drawn away to Whitehawk in the FA Cup


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    Essex County Council is recruiting for lollipop men and women, less than one year after announcing plans to make cuts to the service.

    But following a U-turn in May, when the council announced they would indeed retain crossing patrols in all but seven schools in the county, there is now a recruitment drive for lollipop people.

    County councillor Rodney Bass, cabinet member for highways and transportation, said: "School crossing patrol officers have a very special place in local communities and people who do the job find it very fulfilling."

    Parents and schools had spoken out in favour of retaining lollipop people, although it seems that many are now without a dedicated crossing guard.

    See below for a list of current vacancies.

    Applications must be submitted by next Tuesday (October 7).

    Basildon Ghyllgrove Primary School St Ann Line Infant & Junior School Kingswood Primary
    Benfleet Kingston Primary School Jotmans Primary School
    Braintree John Bunyan Infant & Junior Schools
    Brentwood Brentwood School
    Chelmsford Kings Road Primary School Perryfields Infant & Junior School The Cathedral Primary School

    Melbourne Park Primary School

    Baddow Hall Inf & Jun School

    Kings Road Primary School

    Colchester Old Heath Primary School Cherry Tree Primary School St George's New Town Infant & Junior Schools
    Epping Forest Uppshire Primary School
    Galleywood St Michael's Junior/Galleywood Infant School
    Harlow Hare Street Primary School Pear Tree Mead Primary School Latton Green Primary School
    Holland-on-sea Holland Park Primary School
    Hutton St Martin's Secondary School
    Kelvedon St Mary's Church of England
    Lawford Lawford Mead Primary School
    Loughton Whitebridge Primary School The Alderton Primary School
    Thorpe-le-soken Rolph Primary School
    Tiptree Tiptree Heath Primary School
    Wivenhoe Milldene Primary School
    There are also four mobile staff vacancies covering Maldon, Braintree, Chelmsford and Brentwood.

    For more information email School.CrossingPatrol@essex.gov.uk and to apply for one of the positions, visit www.workingforessex.com

    Search is on for lollipop people in Essex after cuts U-turn


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    THE goalless scoreline aptly summed up Braintree Town's draw with FC Halifax Town encounter at Cressing Road on Saturday where defences dominated the game.

    After a dull and uninspiring first half for the 909 spectators the match did liven up after the interval and the Iron played much better and had a greater share of the game, managing to finally prize open the visiting rearguard with three or four good chances which all went begging.

    The best one came four minutes from time when substitute Michael Bakare was left unmarked in the area where he met a left wing cross from Simeon Akinola, but instead of controlling the ball first he tried a flashy first time sideways scissor-kick that ballooned over the bar.

    Had the Iron nicked all three points it would have been an injustice on the visitors, currently second in the league, which was easy to see, as their long ball game seemed set to pay dividends whenever they attacked.

    But an outstanding afternoon's work by the Iron backline, led by the impressiveAlan Massey, kept them at bay and a tremendous save by keeper Nick Hamann, pushing Paul Marshall's free-kick round the foot of a post on 76 minutes, ensured the match ended in deadlock.

    Although desperate for a win as usual Iron manager Alan Devonshire felt it was a case of two "decent sides cancelling each other out with both defences outstanding."

    It saw his team keep their fifth clean sheet of the campaign and he added: "I was pleased with a clean sheet as we defended well when we needed to.

    "It's hard to play against that when the ball is bombing into our box from long throws and all that but we defended well and Nick (Hamann) really had only a save to make from that second half free-kick.

    "And really it looked like there was only one side trying to win it at the end when we had a few little chances when we could have nicked it.

    "But it's our first drawn game this season and I'm not going to complain."

    Devonshire admitted with so many injuries it was case of getting the walking wounded to play adding: "Jordan (Cox) is playing with an injury and so are one or two others but I've no other options left at present but again they all still gave me everything and I can't ask for more."

    The main threat from the visitors all afternoon was for the Iron defence who had to withstand a barrage of high balls into their box from set pieces and long throw-ins by the Shaymen's Marc Roberts.

    But led by Massey the home defence stood firm and in that much improved second half looked the more likely side to break the deadlock.

    In the first half the Iron's best chance fell to skipper Kenny Davis but he side-footed the ball from a corner wide of the target.

    The visitors' best chance of the half came on 39 minutes when a cross into the Iron box fell to Danny Hattersley who could not stretch to make contact with the ball.

    The Iron certainly raised the tempo after the interval but again they were let down by not just having that bit of quality when it came to finishing good moves off in the final third of the pitch.

    In the final ten minutes of the game the Iron attacked relentlessly to try and snatch a winner and after Bakare's miss James Mulley tried a shot with the outside of his boot when he was found on the edge of the Halifax box but again the shot went just over.

    Mulley then ran at the visiting defence and crossed the ball to Bakare in the middle of the box but this time his effort was finally blocked at the second attempt.

    A draw was a fair result and the Iron look to entertain league leaders Barnet on Tuesday evening which will prove another stiff test.

    Braintree Town: Hamann; Peters, Habergham, Brundle, Massey; Mulley, Davis, Walker (Bakare, 71), Issac; Cox, Akinola.
    Unused Subs: Smith, Pentney, Maybanks, Case

    Braintree Town and FC Halifax play out goalless draw


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    The removal of the paper car tax disc on Wednesday should not make much of difference to the majority of drivers once they're all used to the new system, but there will be one significant change.

    Drivers need no longer pay up for up one year or six months advance, and can pay in monthly direct debit installments over 12 months from November 1.

    However, people who do this will incur an extra five per cent charge on top of the tax already. There is currently a ten per cent surcharge on a bi-annual payment.

    The only other significant change is the transferral of tax from buyer to seller. Currently this just moved over when a car changes hands.

    But from October 1, you must tell the DVLA when you sell your car. Anyone selling their vehicle will be refunded on any tax paid in advance, although only for full calendar months left outstanding.

    Failure to do so could result in a fine of up to £1,000.

    Car tax disc changes: How much will it cost to pay by direct debit?


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    The days are getting shorter, and the nights are noticeably cooler. Yes - we're about to hurtle headlong into autumn 

    But why do we go through the fuss of changing our clocks twice a year? 

    When do the clocks go back?

    In the UK, the clocks go back 1 hour at 2am on the last Sunday in October (October 26), meaning the country reverts back to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), the global time standard. 

    The period when the clocks are 1 hour ahead (which began on March 30 this year) is called British Summer Time (BST), or sometimes Daylight Savings Time.

    Why do the clocks go back?

    The clocks change once in the Spring and again in the Autumn to make the most of the light. New Zealander George Vernon Hudson first proposed the modern idea of daylight saving in 1895, but British Summer Time was suggested by William Willett in 1908, according to Greenwich Royal Museums.

    He was a keen horse rider and frustrated by the "waste" of daylight in the early mornings during the summer months as most people were still in bed when he was out riding.

    He published a pamphlet called The Waste of Daylight campaigning for a scheme to change the clocks, introduced in 1916 a year after Willett's death.

    Was it beneficial?

    Britain and Germany were fighting each other in the First World War and any system that could save fuel and money was worth trying. 

    However, clocks and watches were very different back then as many could not have their hands turned backwards without breaking. Therefore, owners had to put the clock forward by 11 hours when BST came to an end.

    More recently, some have argued British Summer Time is good for physical and psychological health, particularly in terms of relieving the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). 

    People are also generally said to be more productive if daylight hours are extended in the evenings. The lighter evenings are also said to reduce road traffic accidents and crime.

    What's the best way to remember which is which?

    'Fall back and spring forward'

    When do the clocks go back for Greenwich Mean Time?


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    The national Purple Flag accreditation has been awarded to Chelmsford for the second year in a row.

    The award scheme, launched in 2009, credits a town or city providing a 5pm-6am night time economy which protects people's wellbeing and offers variety.

    The city council put is achievement down to its work with Essex Police, East of England Ambulance Service, bars, taxi marshals and volunteer street pastors.

    Part of the council's strategy into improving the night time economy in Chelmsford was an academic study carried out by Anglia Ruskin University.

    The objectives of the report were to analyse the impact of the night time economy and to highlight recommendations for improvement.

    Cabinet member for safer communities councillor Ian Grundy said: "The report confirms that Chelmsford has a safe and vibrant night time economy and that the existing interventions are having a positive impact in terms of crime and anti-social behaviour reduction, 

    "(These include) drinking habits, pastoral care, perceptions of crime and making customers feel safe, and reducing the financial burden on the emergency services."

    Chelmsford awarded Purple Flag for second year running


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    Sainsbury's has sparked a price war at the pumps after announcing a 5p cut in the cost of petrol and diesel at all its forecourts from Tuesday (September 30).

    The move prompted fierce rivals ASDA and then Tesco to follow suit. Tesco will also be cutting the cost of petrol and diesel by 5p, in addition to existing savings customers can make through its Fuel Save promotion.

    Asda's price cut will amount to 1p for petrol and 2p for diesel.

    Peter Cattell, fuel director for Tesco said: "From tomorrow, we'll be cutting the price of petrol and diesel at all of our Petrol Filling Stations by up to 5 pence per litre. 

    "As Britain's biggest fuel retailer this means more motorists can make real savings."

    Avishai Moor, Sainsbury's head of fuel, said: "Fuel is a big part of the weekly budget for many households, which is why we're taking the lead and cutting the price of unleaded petrol and diesel by up to 5 pence per litre.

    "We always aim to offer our customers the very best value on everything we sell and our latest drop means that millions of motorists across the UK can save money when they fill up with Sainsbury's."

    RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: "The wholesale price of both petrol and diesel has been low for around three months and as a result motorists have been enjoying some the cheapest prices for over three years

    "But this cut will take us to new low, the likes of which we haven't seen since late 2010, early 2011 when the price of petrol and diesel unfortunately jumped by 10p a litre in just a few months."

    Sainsbury's, ASDA and Tesco to slash petrol prices


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    A FATHER-OF-TWO quit his job and rented out his house to set off on a round-the-world trip on two wheels.

    Dan Skeates, 48, from Chelmsford, has already been on the road for more than 150 days, riding through Germany, Italy, India, Pakistan and even Iraq on his motorbike after setting off from the UK in April.

    The former Great Baddow High School student is documenting his exotic travels in a blog entitled Destination Unknown, a testament to his lack of certainty as to just where in the world he might end up.

    Dan, who is currently in Sri Lanka, said: "I have always loved travel and travelled independently since I was 17, when I hitchhiked around Europe. I then backpacked around the world when I was 24 and 25.

    "I decided to ride a motorbike around the world as it is the best way to really feel the travel, on a motorbike you experience everything for real, the weather, people see your face and it does feel very different to other forms of travel."

    Setting off from Chelmsford on April 7 Dan began his route riding through Europe, including France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Switzerland, before heading through Iraq, just weeks prior to the current unrest in the country.

    Writing in a blog post Dan said: "I leave Iraq (Kurdistan) with only positive memories, the people are so wonderful, everyone welcomed me and made me feel safe and secure.

    "The landscape is semi-arid with beautiful mountains. I will return, should you visit? Travelling to destinations which our media informs us is an area of conflict is a decision you'll have to take. Iraq is not safe; it's in turmoil, bombs and killings."

    The 48-year-old also has nothing but praise for his reception in Pakistan, despite his first night in the county being spent in a police compound after armed guards escorted him from Iran.

    He wrote: "I am not going to recommend anyone travels to Pakistan currently as there is a security risk throughout the country with different conflicts in different areas be they religious, tribal or political.

    "This results in the police guarding you in the majority of the country 24 hours a day, on many occasions there were 10 armed guards either accompanying me or standing guard outside the hotel. Add to this the additional bureaucracy and it can wear you down. That said, I have had a wonderful time in Pakistan and when there is no longer a security risk I recommend you visit."

    The adventurous traveller is now making his way through Sri Lanka before heading to Nepal, South East Asia and Australia.

    His children Beth, 21, and Olly, 20, also plan to join him in South East Asia for the New Year celebrations.

    To read more about Dan's travels go to his blog www.danskeates.com.

    Chelmsford dad-of-two quits his job for a trip into the unknown


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    A CANCER survivor will lead the first 'Stand Up To Cancer' march in London – despite losing a leg to the disease.

    Peter Daintree, who was just 30 years old when he was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma, a very rare cancer, was forced to have his leg amputated to save his life.

    But the sports-loving dad didn't let that get in the way of him living his life, playing football and fundraising for cancer charities.

    "I have been in remission from January last year, I have check-ups every three to five months, but of course I still think about it. The type of cancer I have, if it comes back it goes straight to my lungs, and that's not as easy to cure as cutting my leg off.

    "But I have other things to look forward to, my son Joshua, who is five now, loves having a dad with a robotic leg, and my wife has another baby on the way."

    Having been given the all-clear, and receiving an artificial leg, Mr Daintree, 32, was keen to get into sports and fundraising almost immediately, but he explained that the journey wasn't easy.

    "Initially I was told I had gout in my foot, then when I went to hospital with a football injury, the consultant saw my foot and recommended an MRI scan, then a further MRI with dye, which I went home and googled – it came up saying that was a way to detect tumours," explained Mr Daintree of South Woodham Ferrers, who even did a 13,000ft sky dive last year.

    "After the MRI, I went to a stag do in Tenerife. It was a great stag – but my foot swelled up so much on the plane, I couldn't get my shoe back on, so all the lads were calling me club foot and elephant man. The consultant told me I had to come in, but I said 'I'm on a stag do', and just got on and enjoyed it."

    But when Mr Daintree returned, he was referred to another consultant, who confirmed he had a very rare cancer in his foot.

    "I've never been one to google, but I did have a look online, and deep down I was worried. Me and my wife Arleigh spoke about it and she said that whatever happened we were going to face it head-on," he said.

    "At the onset, I told my wife to go and have a better life without me, and her being a supportive wife told me to stop being silly and said she would stay with me through anything.

    "After I was diagnosed, everything happened so quickly. My consultant said if I didn't have treatment I would be dead within six months as the cancer was so aggressive. Two days after I had a biopsy, I got really ill. My foot started growing and I was blue-lighted to Stanmore, where they found that the tumour was growing so fast it was breaking the bones in my foot.

    "I then had to have high-dose chemotherapy, and I was told they wouldn't be able to save my foot, as within a couple of weeks the cancer had taken it over.

    "I had eight sessions of chemo and then I had the amputation, but where they were initially going to take my foot, they told me the best chance at life would be if they took the leg below the knee."

    Although Mr Daintree had to cope with chemotherapy, a treatment that left his mouth covered in ulcers and affected his appetite and ability to taste, his thoughts were first and foremost with his family.

    "The hardest thing was watching my son see me change. I lost every bit of hair on my body. I look at photos of me back then and it doesn't look like the same person," he said.

    "The decision to lose my leg was an easy one, the main thing was 'can I play with my son?'

    "If I didn't have the amputation, I wouldn't see him grow up.

    "When I was first diagnosed, I made friends with a guy who was terminally ill, who died in August 2102. Ben told me 'never give up, be strong, and always get out of bed in the morning'.

    "He advised me to take the amputation; he didn't take it, he took limb-sparing surgery instead, and he said he wished he took the amputation because it ended up taking his life. Even today, I still see his face and remember what he said. I still talk to his wife and son, and I still do what he told me to do. It's having that support that makes the difference."

    After having the amputation, Mr Daintree began further chemotherapy, initially being recommended six sessions but having to stop after two, as he became too ill.

    But the decision to stop chemotherapy was no easy one. Mr Daintree faced the prospect of the cancer returning without the treatment, but was relived to find out that he was in remission in January 2013, and since then has grabbed life with both hands.

    "I got my first leg in January 2013, and I started playing football again in March. I played for Southend Soccability, which is a pan-disability team, did a lot of training with them and started doing some rowing with Team GB, again it sort of got the better of me as my leg wasn't healing as quickly.

    "I also started archery last week, it's something I thought I am naturally very good at and a couple of the coaches have good links to the GB Paralympic team, and I wanted to go to Rio and do something, so we'll see. I do more now than I did when I had two legs. But really it's not about me any more; it's about my little boy."

    Mr Daintree will take a leading role in the March on Cancer on October 11 in which tens of thousands of people will walk collectively in 15 different cities to remember those who have lost their lives to cancer, those who are still fighting and to celebrate the lives saved by research.

    To donate, log on to www. justgiving.com/PeterDaintree1981

    Stand up to Cancer: Brave South Woodham man Peter to lead march despite leg loss


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    Channel 4 is to air a controversial profile of a man who heads a team posing as underage girls in an effort to expose paedophiles.

    The people behind Stinson Hunter: Paedophile Hunter claim their actions result in more convictions of paedophiles for online offences than racked up many UK police forces.

    Mr Hunter will be shown on the film posing as young girls on online chatrooms in an effort to expose those who approach them online and even attempt to meet them after learning they are underage.

    The programme makers also say they hope the film will highlight the lack of resources available to some forces to monitor online grooming.

    Speaking to The Guardian, Mr Hunter, who changed his name from Keiron Parsons, said: "I want them to focus on what I'm saying and what's going on and what your kids are doing online – given the current climate with Rotherham. 

    I want change, I want the government to do something."

    He said he hoped the documentary would lead to more funding for the police.

    Paedophile Hunter: Channel 4 to profile web vigilante Stinson Hunter


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