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

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    AN-82-YEAR-OLD pensioner who downed whisky before getting behind the wheel in a "moment of madness" has been banned from driving.

    Michael Anthony Thorp, of Thorrington Road, Little Clacton, admitted at Colchester Magistrates' Court yesterday (December 8) to drinking a small glass, topped up with lemonade, at home before driving two miles in his Ford Ka.

    He was disqualified for 14 months.

    Prosecutor Ian Allen explained police were called to Telford Road, Little Clacton, at 4pm on November 21, following a call from an off-duty paramedic.

    It was here he confessed to the paramedic he drank alcohol before the journey.

    Mr Allen said: "He also confided to police that he had consumed a small whisky at his home in Little Clacton before travelling to Telford Road."

    Police breathalysed Thorp at the scene and again at the police station where they found he had 58mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath – nearly twice the legal limit.

    Defending himself, Thorp told magistrates: "I have no idea why I did it, it was a moment of madness. I'm very sorry."

    Chairman of the bench Bob Goodenough said: "You must not drive, you must not attempt to drive, until you have got your licence back, and if you were to do so, it's a very serious offence for one which you could possibly go to prison for."

    Speaking to the Chronicle after the hearing, Thorp explained he only came to a stop because his car was filling with smoke.

    "The car virtually blew up, there was smoke and steam everywhere," said the 82-year-old.

    "The clutch blew out. I have never known one to blow out so quickly.

    "One moment it was OK, I was going to the shops, and the next moment there was clouds of white dense smoke, so I drove as near to the kerb as I could because of the stream of traffic and that's when the ambulance arrived which I didn't really need."

    Thorp was also ordered to pay a £150 fine, £20 surcharge and £85 court costs.

    Drink drive pensioner, 82, fined and banned from the wheel


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    Closures on the M25 put in place after this morning's multi-vehicle fatal collision are not expected to be lifted until at least 3pm

    Aerial shots show the extent of the gridlock caused by this aftermath of the crash, which took place at around 1.50am today (December 9). 

    The carriageway remains shut between junction 23 and junction 27 at the M11 in Essex while debris is cleared from the scene.

    One person died and several others were trapped in their vehicles as a result.

    CLOSURES AND ADVICE

    • Essex: Diversion in operation via the hollow black square on the M11, A406 and A10
    • Hertfordshire: Diversion in operation - via the A1, A406 and M11

    M25 expected to re-open at 3pm after horror collision in Essex


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    Buy some unique gifts, enjoy making some Christmas crafts or have a taste of some freshly brewed mulled wine; now is the time to make the most of these seasonal treats.

    See below for special festive events in Essex held in the run-up to the big day. 

    If we've missed any off please email jessica.mcardle@essexchronicle.co.uk

    Friday, December 12 to Christmas Eve

    Christmas Mini Market, Weald County Park, South Weald

    December 12, between 4 to 10pm. Tickets are free.

    Browse local craft stalls, enjoy a warming drink and listen to some live Christmas music. Don't miss Santa's parade at 5pm as he enters the grotto with some of his special friends, including Princess Anna and Queen Elsa from Frozen! The grotto will be open to visitors from just after 5 to 8pm. This is a great chance to get a little of your Christmas shopping done in a relaxed and pleasant environment, and perhaps find a few gems not available on the High Street too.

    Find us in the Visitor Centre. Entry to the market is free. Entry to the grotto is £6 per child, includes a free adult entry and must be pre-booked. Slots are available from 5.20 to 7.55pm. Call the Visitor Centre on 01277 261343 for more information.

    Live musical entertainment includes Sound in Brass handbells, the Enigma Ensemble musicians, our Benefice Choir of local churches and fantastic folk and festive music from Darren Jones.

    Christmas gifts available will include handmade decorations and home-ware, local handmade pottery, independent silver and beaded jewellery, fairy doors, personalised accessories, hair bows, fresh wreaths, handmade brooches, Forever Living aloe vera products and a range of children's accessories.

    Father Christmas at Cressing Temple, Witham Road, Braintree

    December, 6, 7, 13, 14, 20 and 21. Opening times are 11am to 3pm (must be pre-booked)

    A magical Christmas grotto for all the family to enjoy. Meet Father Christmas and his reindeer friends and see the elves at work as they magically prepare for Christmas.

    Tickets: £9.99 per child including a prize and one adult ticket. Additional adults £2 per addition adult. 

    Pre booking essential , call on 0845 6037624.

    Christmas Fayre in Maldon High Street

    Thursday, December 11 between 2 and 9pm

    The High Street between Market Hill and Silver Street will be closed to traffic from 1pm to finish.

    There will be market and food stalls in the area around All Saints with charity stalls in the Town Hall.

    The SaintFM stage will be outside All Saints with musical entertainment from local schools in the afternoon the local amateur adult choirs and other entertainers from 6.30pm in the evening.

    Father Christmas will be in the Town Hall from around 6.45pm.

    Hyde Hall Christmas Lunch at RHS Garden Hyde Hall, Creephedge Lane, Rettendon, Chelmsford

    Thursday, December 11 to Saturday, December 13 at 12.30pm, £32.95 (two-course) or £34.95 (three-course)

    At Hyde Hall you can be sure of a warm welcome, delicious food and the garden in its full winter glory, making your dining experience unforgettable. After enjoying a traditional home cooked lunch you could go on a bracing walk around the garden so why not get together with friends and family and make a day of it.

    Carols for Christmas at Southend Town Centre, Southend-on-Sea

    Saturday, December 13 (free entry)

    A day of festive entertainment with Christmas carols ringing out festively in the background. Shoppers will be able to enjoy the sounds of local choirs and brand bands and much more festive activities whilst shopping for Christmas goodies and gifts.

    Christmas Crafts at Chelmsford Museum

    Saturday, December 20 between 2 to 4pm. Tickets are £5 for 1 adult and 1 child; additional child is £3.

    This year we are offering a special Christmas Crafts drop-in session. Our talented tutor Karen, who has been responsible for many of this year's workshops, will be here to help you make some very special cards and decorations in advance of the big day.

    The workshop will be relaxed and informal. You can drop in any time or book in advance on 01245 605700 to reserve your place. We recommend last entry time of 3.15pm to ensure you have enough time to complete your projects! The cost is £5 for one adult plus one child, with an additional child for £3. Suitable for ages 3 plus, although some of the craft projects will be more suited to children aged 5 plus. 

    Elves and the Shoemaker and Other Stories at Colchester Arts Centre, Church Street, Colchester

    Tuesday, December 23, from 10.30am to 1.30pm (tickets £4.95)

    A magical new Christmas show from Silly Boys (creators of The Tallest Horse On Earth) and co-produced by Colchester Arts Centre, this is a hilarious, wacky and heartwarming take on some of the world's favourite fairytales. Re-imagined using puppetry, live music and a giant dose of silliness! The perfect Christmas treat for all the family.

    Essex Christmas events and markets in December 2014


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    A motorist killed in this morning's multi-vehicle collision on the M25 has been identified as a 39-year-old man.

    Essex Police say the vehicles involved were a Peugeot car, a Scania lorry, a DAF artic, a Mercedes lorry and a Romanian lorry. 

    The victim, from Leicester, was pronounced dead at the scene and his body has now been taken to the mortuary at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow. 

    Four other people remain in hospital receiving treatment for injuries which are not believed to be serious. 

    The M25 currently remains shut between junctions 25 and 27 while clean up and repair work continue. 

    Police have now released the scene to the Highways Agency.

    M25 lorry death crash victim is identified as clear-up in Essex continues (UPDATED)


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    A MAN has been arrested on suspicion of causing serious injury by dangerous driving after a crash between two lorries and five cars on the A120 close to Colchester this morning (December 9).

    The A120 remains closed at Little Tey as police carry out investigations into a road traffic collision that happened at around 7.30am today.

    All three emergency services went to the location to find that "a number of vehicles" had been in collision including a Scania skip lorry, a Volkswagen Golf and a Volvo lorry.

    The fire service cut a woman free from the car before being taken by air ambulance to The Royal London Hospital for treatment.

    She is not believed to be in a life-threatening condition.

    A 51-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of causing serious injury by dangerous driving and has been taken to Colchester Police Station for interview.

    A paramedic car, two ambulances, a paramedic officer and a Hazardous Area Response Team attended the scene.

    There were five patients treated at the scene by paramedics, four of which had minor injuries.

    Man arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving after crash on A120


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    Firefighters tackled a blaze in Tiptree at an outbuilding which contained gas cylinders and machinery.

    Working crews in four engines wearing breathing apparatus, were called to the building in Maldon Road at around 11.15am today (December 9) .

    The fire was put out by around 12.40pm.

    Initially two appliances were sent to deal with the incident, but on arrival, the incident commander asked for extra man power

    In pictures: Firefighters tackle gas cylinder building blaze in Tiptree


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    The parents of a talented musician who died aged 18 in a double fatal collision in Braintree have paid tribute to their "dearly loved son".

    James Simmons, of Hillside Gardens, Brainree, was a rear-seat passenger in a Volkswagen Polo which was in collision with a blue Ford Fiesta, which according to police was being driven on the wrong side of the road, in Gosfield Road shortly before 5pm on Sunday.

    The driver of the Fiesta, David Bentley, 30, also died at the scene.

    His parents, Michael and Gillian Simmons, said: "James was a dearly loved son, brother, uncle and friend to everyone that knew him.

    "He was a musician, full time student and a shop assistant.

    "The family have not made any arrangements at this stage regarding James's funeral. All the family members and friends will greatly miss James very much."

    The driver of the Polo, aged 21, is in a critical a condition in Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge, while a second passenger, a teenage girl, has escaped unharmed.

    A front-seat passenger in the Fiesta with David, a woman from Suffolk aged in her 20s, was taken to Broomfield Hospital via land ambulance.

    'Number of driving incidents'

    Inspector Scott Egerton of the Serious Collision Investigation Unit said his team were investigating reports that the Fiesta was driving on the wrong side of the road.

    Mr Egerton said: "At the time of the collision the Fiesta was on the wrong side of the road.

    "We are investigating why this is and are aware of a number of driving incidents prior to the collision which involved the Fiesta between the Galleys Corner area and High Garrett"

    "Specifically we are looking to trace the occupants of two vehicles which may have witnessed the driving behaviour of the Fiesta.

    "The first is a silver or green Ford Mondeo which was on an 09 plate. It was being driven by a man who appeared to be aged in his 50s. This vehicle was in the High Garrett area.

    "The second is a Vauxhall Meriva which was occupied by a couple and seen on the Bocking roundabout of the A131.

    "The occupants of these vehicles could hold information vital to our enquiry and I urge them to contact my team as soon as possible."

    Post-mortem examinations on the men's bodies will take place on Wednesday.

    Anyone with information is asked to contact the investigation team on 101 or emailcollisionappeal@essex.pnn.police.uk

    First picture: Tributes to musician James Simmons, 18, killed in Gosfield Road crash


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    CARETAKER boss Wayne Bond has called for Heybridge Swifts' players to stand up and be counted after they fell into the Ryman North bottom three following their 2-2 draw with Tilbury on Saturday.

    Swifts twice took the lead in the match but were pegged back on both occasions and were fortunate their opponents couldn't complete the turnaround in the final 15 minutes.

    It's now nine league games without a win for Swifts, a run that Bond says has obviously affected the players but he adds that they need to start producing points.

    "It's a different set of players in the changing room, they're not up and at them, they're not vocal but obviously they try their hardest," said Bond.

    "Once those players cross the white line there's nothing more you can do as a manager and Keith [Wilson, former manager] put all his faith in those players and they didn't produce for him so they do need to step up and start playing for this football club and playing for the people that worked so hard to keep it going. Its not just about themselves, it's about the club as a whole.

    "The boys are really low at the moment. We need two or three characters in the changing room that get up and are vocal who gee the boys up.

    "I was really pleased with Michael [Fitzgibbon], I thought he was unbelievable. I gave him the armband and he's the type of leader I want or anyone that comes in will want and I think he showed he wants to play for the club."

    Despite the low morale in the changing room the caretaker boss felt his side should have seen out the game after dominating for long periods.

    "In the first 20 minutes we had enough chances to win two games but unfortunately that's the way football is sometimes," said Bond. "You just get a feeling if you're not taking those chances you're going to get punished and from their first corner of the game they scored.

    "The second goal was disappointing as well because I didn't feel we closed down quick enoug,h but we shouldn't have been worrying about that really.

    "We should have taken the wind out of Tilbury's sails in the first 25 minutes and probably the first few minutes of the second half so it's very disappointing.

    "Fair play to Tilbury though, they've got a goal out of nothing and in the last 15 minutes I probably wanted the game stopped because I was just worried, with the pressure they were putting on, that they might have nicked it at the end."

    Tonight's (Tuesday) scheduled home match against Brentwood Town has been postponed as the Blues played Billericay Town in the Robert Dyas League Cup last night and Bond was pleased to have an extra day to work with the players.

    "Tuesday is very helpful, not having a game, and I will see what players turn up here Tuesday and what players want to be a part of this scrap we've got now," said Bond.

    "Every game we don't win, the teams above us could potentially be pulling further away. It's not a nice position to be in and I don't think it's a position the club ever thought it would find itself in but we're here.

    "I said to the boys before that individually you all probably think you're good players but as a side the league table says otherwise. We're not a good team together so something has got to change."

    Caretaker boss Bond 'Heybridge Swifts players need to step up for the club'


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    The M25 has been reopened in both directions at junction 23 to 25 after this morning's fatal collision closed the carriageway for much of today (December 9).

    The Highways Agency said a 40mph speed limit will be in place past the incident the scene for safety reasons.

    A Peugeot car, a Scania lorry, a DAF artic lorry, a Mercedes lorry and a Romanian lorry were involved in the crash, which took place at around 1.50am when an HGV lorry crossed over the central barrier onto the opposite carriageway, colliding into other vehicles.

    A Highways Agency spokesman said there will be a need to resurface the road this evening due to the damage to the carriageway.

    She said: "There are severe delays in the area and drivers are strongly encouraged to allow extra time for their journey.

    "There has also been another incident on the M25 anti-clockwise between junction 28 and 27. However, this has been cleared to the hard shoulder."

    A 39-year-old man from Leicester died in the collision.

    M25 RE-OPENED in Essex following fatal crash: delays expected this afternoon


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    The UK's number one grant giving animal charity, Support Adoption For Pets, is aiming to give thousands of animals in care a special Christmas treat this December.
    The independent animal charity has partnered with Pets at Home stores across Essex and over 350 animal rescues across the country, for its annual Santa Paws appeal, which aims to raise awareness of rescue pets during the festive period. 
    Running from 1 - 24 December, pet owners and animal lovers will be asked to donate 50p to pay for a pet's Christmas dinner either at any Pets at Home store or online at www.supportadoptionforpets.co.uk
    Shoppers will also have the option of buying an extra toy or treat, when they purchase something for their own furry friend, which will be donated to local animal rescues.
    In 2013 the campaign donated over 553,120 pet Christmas dinners and raised over £291,600 to help animal rescues up and down the country including [insert name of rescues].
    Amy Wilson, charity manager at Support Adoption For Pets explains, "As we approach Christmas we want to help raise awareness of the animals who won't be enjoying a warm fire or the security of a loving forever family and provide them with a Christmas treat. For as little as 50p you can provide a needy pet with a Christmas dinner.
    "This year we're very excited to be able to let animal lovers donate a pet Christmas dinner via our website and we hope that everyone will get behind the cause and buy a festive feast for a pet in rescue."
    To find out more about Support Adoption For Pets or to donate a pet Christmas dinner visit www.supportadoptionforpets.co.uk.

    National charity asks Essex animal lovers to give a pet a Christmas dinner


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    AN elderly woman's home was burgled with cash and a lottery ticket worth £170 taken by the thieves. Thieves broke into a property in the Church Road area of Kelvedon between 6.30pm and 10pm on Monday, December 8. They took cash and a lottery ticket worth around £170 from the woman in her 70s. Investigating Officer DC Mel Burns said: "The occupant was out at a bingo meeting when the break in took place. "I would urge people to keep the amounts of cash in their homes to a minimum and be mindful of crime prevention advice, especially this time of year when thieves may try and take advantage of the festive season." Anybody who has any information about the break in or who noticed anything suspicious in the area is asked to contact Dc Mel Burns on Essex Police 101. Police are appealing for information and for people to also information to the independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through their Anonymous Online Form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org. Crime prevention advice is available on the Essex Police website www.essex.police.uk.

    Burglars steal cash and lottery ticket from elderly woman's home in Kelvedon


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    Hylands Estate, Chelmsford, has been awarded the title number one Heritage Wedding Venue in Essex at the Essex Wedding Awards on 28 November at Parklands, Quendon Hall, Essex.

    Hylands Estate offers a stunning white classical building to create the perfect setting for intimate gatherings or lavish receptions.  The venue offers an extravagantly decorated banqueting room in a new-baroque style, and has recently launched a contemporary Grand Pavilion which can accommodate up to 300 guests.

    Councillor Ray Ride, Cambinet Member for Parks and Leisure, Chelsmford City Council, owners of Hylands Estate, is delighted with the award.  He says:  "This is fabulous news.  Everyone at Hylands has worked so hard to complete the new Grand Pavilion and it's lovely for the team to get such well-deserved recognition.  Hylands offers something very unique: a warm and friendly setting for small wedding parties and a magnificent Grand Pavilion for large celebrations.  We are all very proud of what we have achieved at Hylands, and delighted that this effort has been rewarded with this top accolade."

    He continued: "The restoration of the house is amazing, and it's wonderful to see so many happy couples enjoying their big day in such a grand yet intimate venue.  It is also great to see an old house being brought back to life again."

    Hylands House was also recently shortlisted for Wedding Venue of the Year (Eastern Region) at the Wedding Industry Awards.

    To find out more about weddings at Hylands visit www.hylandsestateweddings.co.uk

    Hylands Estate is Best Heritage Wedding Venue in Essex


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    Two men have been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving in connection with this morning's fatal collision on the M25.

    The pair aged, 33 and 25, are both receiving treatment in hospital and will be interviewed in due course, Essex Police said.

    A Peugeot car, a Scania lorry, a DAF artic lorry, a Mercedes lorry and a Romanian lorry were involved in the crash, which took place at around 1.50am when an HGV lorry crossed over the central barrier onto the opposite carriageway near junction 27, colliding into other vehicles.

    A 39-year-old man from Leicester died in the collision.

    A Highways Agency spokesman said there will be a need to resurface the road this evening due to the damage to the carriageway.

    Pair arrested over fatal Essex M25 lorry collision


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    THIS was a game that Chelmsford will want to forget.

    Chelmsford travelled to Diss with many of the regular first team players unavailable and by the end of the game only six players remained on the pitch who had played the previous league game.

    This does not take any credit away from an accomplished Diss side. They were always quicker to the breakdown and displayed excellent handling skills and could pass the ball in the tackle to other team-mates ready to back up.

    The game began with Chelmsford on the attack and for 20 minutes they looked to be the side most likely to score.

    After 28 minutes the Diss backs cut through to score an unconnected try.

    At that time, James Crouch, the Chelmsford second row left the field with a hamstring injury.

    Throughout the first half the game was well contested, Chelmsford won their scrums and line-outs, but Diss on the break were proving difficult to stop.

    Chelmsford made it easy for the opposition with poor tackling around the fringes of the scrum and in the backs.

    Diss scored two more tries in quick succession making it 17-0 at half-time. Chelmsford were still competing hard and came close to scoring themselves on several occasions.

    The second half, however, can only be described as total one way traffic.

    Jack Venn had to go off through injury and a lack of tackling and organisation gave away a further six tries.

    A feature of the season for Chelmsford has been the quality of the defence. On Saturday that commitment was not there.

    The Chelmsford pack had a fair game with Nick Sani and Simon Quinn doing their utmost to plug the gaps and take the game to Diss.

    Coach Eddie Gooby was a very disappointed man after the game.

    "Diss looked a good side and will no doubt be looking for promotion at the end of the season," he said.

    "We cannot continue going away to play games with young and inexperienced players and expect to win.

    "I have high hopes for next week against Basildon when we will have a lot of our front line players back."

    This Saturday Chelmsford host Basildon at Coronation Park, 2pm kick-off.


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    It might be one of the most signposted and well known landmarks in Chelmsford but some drivers are still caught out by the Army & Navy flyover. This driver was left red faced after attempting to travel up the flyover eastbound from Parkway at around 2.20pm today (December 9). It seems they were caught unaware by the traffic heading in the other direction, and were forced to back away sheepishly before heading away via the roundabout. The video was captured by one shocked - but unsurprised - onlooker who was watching on from the Tesco Home Plus car park and sent to the Chronicle.

    The witness said: "I saw a queue of traffic following the reversing car down the town side of the flyover, but there didn't appear to have been contact between the two vehicles facing each other "I realised at that point how lucky they were not to be in a head on collision. "I've lived in Chelmsford for 30 years and this has been happening as far back as I can remember." It comes weeks after work was completed on a new lane on Parkway heading towards town. The scheme was put in place as part of an attempt to ease congestion at the notorious Chelmsford traffic hotspot.

    See narrow escape for 4X4 driver after wrong way Army and Navy flyover drive in Chelmsford (video)


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    Work on introducing an extra lane in Parkway to ease congestion at the Army & Navy roundabout in Chelmsford was completed ahead of schedule.

    The scheme was also finished within budget. Essex County Council highways chiefs described it as "challenging to deliver" because of the sheer amount of pipes and cabling under the roads.

    County Hall was successful in its bid for more than £1m from central government to add to the cash already set aside for the project.

    Work to replace the nearby Chelmer Viaduct is expected to start next year.

    County councillor Rodney Bass, said: "The roundabout is now allowing a steady movement of a significant amount of traffic into and out of the city centre and its importance to local residents, visitors and businesses cannot be overstated.

    "Safety for all drivers using the roundabout has also been greatly improved."

    He added: "I want to thank everyone for their patience and understanding while this essential project was carried out."

    Army & Navy traffic easing project completed sooner than planned


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    NOT many teenagers can say they celebrated their 17th birthday with the launch of their own cookbook.

    But for baking prodigy Amy-Beth Ellice that's exactly what happened, as Amy's Baking Year went on sale at bookstores nationwide, alongside tomes from culinary greats like Mary Berry and Jamie Oliver.

    "It feels amazing to finally have the book out," said the New Hall School pupil, who has been baking since the tender age of three.

    "I've been working on it for about three years now, so I'm just really proud to see it on the shelves."

    The book showcases Amy-Beth's own culinary inventions for occasions like Christmas, Mother's Day and Bonfire Night, including stained glass window biscuits, salted caramel peanut butter cups and Christmas baked Alaska.

    Now billed as Britain's youngest published baker and a future rival to domestic goddess Nigella Lawson, Amy-Beth's star quality is set to rise faster than one of her Victoria sponges.

    She started baking at home with her mum as a child, but has risen from obscurity after approaching publishers with her own recipes.

    "As I'm so young, the book should really inspire people, especially those who maybe aren't that confident baking," said Amy-Beth, who commutes to Chelmsford from her home in Stanford Rivers, near Ongar.

    "I think it will really encourage them because some of these books can appear quite intimidating, so if people see my age, then they might think 'well if she can do it, so can I'."

    Amy has previously catered for events such as the launch of Channel 4's Big Brother and a Twilight film premiere, with singers Pixie Lott and Katherine Jenkins among the stars to have enjoyed her cakes.

    Her recipes have grown in scale and imagination since she first began providing classmates with cupcakes, jams and other treats, with the book representing a culmination of her efforts.

    Amy said: "I would always bake for all special occasions with my mum and my older sister, so I just decided to turn my hobby and my lifestyle into a book.

    "One of my favourite recipes is my gingerbread house. It's great for this time of the year, as it's nearly Christmas, and even though it's time-consuming it just looks really beautiful."

    Despite her debut book coming at such a young age, Amy says she already has plans for the future.

    "I hope to have another cook book soon and I'm already planning what I want it to be – but my dream and my goal is to one day have my own TV show," she said.

    "My main inspiration and my idol is Nigella Lawson. She just makes everything look so easy, and because she's so calm and confident on television, it just makes you feel like you can make all her recipes."

    Amy's mum Gillian, who introduced her to baking, said: "We're very proud of her, of course, as her family.

    "She's worked extremely hard on the book and she's got a real passion for cooking."

    Amy's Baking Year is available in major supermarkets and bookshops now.

    Taking on the big names aged just 17  - meet teen baker Amy-Beth


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    A lorry driver blamed his sat-nav after uprooting metal railings while negotiating a double-mini roundabout in Chelmsford.

    The driver of the Home Bargains-branded Scania lorry got stuck while trying to travel from Victoria Road, across Duke Street by the railway station, down towards Parkway at about 12.40pm on Saturday.

    Eyewitness Gary Young described how the driver reversed at the roundabout but ripped out the metal railings with his tailgate.

    Mr Young reported the events to police, while a passer-by tried to prise the railings away, before the driver pointed the finger at his sat-nav.

    "When I spoke to the driver he said 'I can't believe the sat-nav guided me this way'," said Mr Young, 44, an ex-bus driver from Chelmsford.

    "I thought, 'I can't believe you're blaming the sat-nav' and not your driving. I'm thinking 'you're driving an artic and you're supposed to be a professional driver who can judge whether you can guide that vehicle'."

    "If he knew he couldn't get around the roundabout he would just have to go straight over the road."

    When Mr Young left but returned to the scene about 30 minutes later the driver had gone and the mangled railings were left outside Mail Boxes Etc on Duke Street.

    Manager James Atkinson said: "I was at my desk when I heard this God-awful scraping noise and the lorry juddering and I thought he must have hit a car.

    "He pulled away and there was more of a grinding noise, then I saw he had got the railings caught on the back of the tail lift and he couldn't push them off.

    "Some chap started to pull them off but it had wrapped itself right around the tailgate at the back of this lorry.

    "Ten minutes later the police turned up and they helped him to prise it off."

    Mr Atkinson, 44, whose brother drives HGVs, said the mini-roundabout is used as a notorious junction in training routes for learner lorry drivers.

    The junction has a reflective bollard in its centre to guide vehicles around it, while a lamppost on the corner of the roundabout is scuffed badly from multiple scrapes over the years.

    Mr Atkinson added: "It's a tough test but articulated lorries are coming through this part of the city centre all the time and I have no problem with it."

    An Essex Police spokesman said traffic could still pass while the lorry lay stationary and that the Highways authority was asked to remove the damaged barrier.

    The driver was not reported for a driving offence. A spokesman for Home Bargains, which has a store in Victoria Road, refused to comment.

    'God-awful scraping noise' heard during lorry's Duke Street sat-nav nightmare


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    10th December saw the first Nobel prizes.   I can tell you it's not Christmas: therefore we have no bells …

    Q1)10th December saw the first Nobel Prizes awarded: in which year … ?

    Q2)More to the point, who won the first Nobel Physics Prizes … ?

    Q3)More to the point, who — in 1989 — won the Nobel Peace Prize … ?

    Q4)How many Nobel Prizes, currently, are there … ?

    Q5)Name one of them … 

    Q6)Albert Nobel, the man who founded the Prizes, owned which armaments company: Bofors, Bushmaster Firearms or Lürssen … ?

    Q7)Nobel famously invented dynamite: in which year of the 1860s did he patent it … ? 

    Q8)More to the point, in which year of the 1850s did he register his first patent … ?

    Q9)Moving on … In which country is the Nobel Peace Prize awarded … ?

    Q10)Who won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize?   (The award ceremony is today: 10th December, 2014.)

    Here's last week's questions and answers … 

    Questions.

    Q1)3rd December saw the release of the first Laurel and Hardy film: in which year of the 1920s?

    Q2)The film was called 'Putting Pants on…' who: Phillip, Phyllis or Fred?

    Q3)The who concerned, needed pants — or trousers, for those of us who aren't American — as he was constantly wearing what: a skirt, a sarong or a kilt?

    Q4)'Putting Pants …' was the first time Laurel and Hardy were credited as a team.   They first worked together on 'The Lucky Dog', when: 1920, 1921 or 1922?

    Q5)Was 'Putting Pants …' a silent film?

    Q6)'Unaccustomed As We Are' was one of the pair's early talkies. When was it released: 1927, 1929 or 1931?

    Q7)Their first feature film was released in 1931.   What was it called: 'Excuse Us', 'Pardon Us' or 'Pardon Me'?

    Q8)Laurel and Hardy's fan club takes its name from what's arguably their best film.   The film's called 'The Sons Of The …' what?

    Q9)Which of the pair was English: Stan Laurel or Oliver Hardy?

    Q10)Finally … the other half of the pair was from which US state?

    Answers.

    A1)1927.

    A2)Phillip.

    A3)A kilt.   (The earliest known ones have been dated to the 1600s: the modern 'walking' kilt was designed by a Quaker from Lancashire.)

    A4)1921.

    A5)Yes.

    A6)1929.

    A7)'Pardon Us'.   (I'm not counting two earlier features — 'The Hollywood Revue of 1929' and 'The Rogue Song' — as the pair weren't the headlining stars of the films.)

    A8)'The Sons Of The Desert'.   (The club, itself, has some 150 chapters.)

    A9)Stan Laurel: the skinny one.

    A10)Georgia.

    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.

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    Enjoy the week, folks.

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    A motorcyclist is being treated by paramedics at the scene of a two-vehicle crash in Tolleshunt Major.

    Witham Road is closed in both directions after ambulances were called at 1.50pm.

    The one patient, a man described as being in his 30s or 40s, is suffering from abdominal injuries and a spinal fracture.

    An East of England Ambulance spokesman said: "His injuries are not thought to be life-threatening at this stage."

    She added that he is fully conscious and able to chat to ambulance crews.

    A helicopter is at the scene to airlift him to hospital.

    Motorcyclist injured in two-car Tolleshunt Major crash


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