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

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    You know it's Christmas time when the iconic Coca-Cola truck is seen on TV. 

    And today people of Essex have the chance to see the truck right up close as it visits the Coca Cola factory outlet in Clacton. 

    The truck will be at outlet in Stephenson Way from 10am this morning until 6pm. 

    Bryony Cox, events manager for Coca-Cola, said: "To many, the sight of Coca-Cola's iconic 'Holidays are Coming' advert signifies the start of the Christmas season. This year is no exception.

    "The advert has become an iconic part of Christmas and we're delighted that the truck can give a little happiness to as many people across the nation as possible."

    The Coca-Cola Christmas truck arrives in Essex today: when and where can I see it?

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    The chances of a white Christmas in Essex are low according to the first five-day weather forecast that covers December 25.

    A Met Office forecast has said it is likely to be clear,dry and sunny, with temperatures ranging from about four to six degrees celsius during the day and dropping to around zero at night. 

    Experts have set the probability of precipitation at five per cent, with the temperature feeling colder due to winds coming in from the North.

    It is set to be a similar story on Christmas Eve, but with a higher chance of showers, especially in the morning.

    There is likely to be a foggy start to Boxing Day, with temperatures dropping below freezing, however with less wind it won't feel quite so cold.

    So it looks like the chances of a white Christmas are pretty low this year, but the data is open to change and anything could happen! 

    Christmas weather forecast: Will it be a white Christmas in Essex?

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    A teenage boy will appear at Chelmsford Crown Court today (December 22) charged with the murder of 18-year-old Ashley Woolley, who was stabbed to death in Chelmsford on Thursday (December 18).

    Police were called to Oaklands Park, Moulsham Street, just after 3.15pm after Mr Woolley, who lived in Chelmsford, was stabbed.

    He was taken by ambulance to Chelmsford's Broomfield Hospital where he later died.

    A murder investigation was launched by detectives from the Kent and Essex serious crime directorate and two arrests were made in the early hours of Friday.

    A 19-year-old man from Maldon who was also arrested in connection with the investigation was released from custody without charge.

    Boy to appear in court in Ashley Woolley murder case

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    CHELMSFORD City's three game winning run came to an end as they lost 2-1 at Hayes & Yeading in the Conference South on Saturday.

    The victory was the home side's first league win since September as goals from Gary MacDonald and Isaac Layne put Hayes & Yeading 2-0.

    Lee Swayer won and converted a penalty just before half-time but despite creating the better chances after the break they were unable to leave Maidenhead United's York Road ground with a point. 

    City manager Mark Hawkes named an unchanged side from the one that beat Eastbourne Borough 3-2 the previous Saturday.

    Attacking up the slope in the first half the Clarets started brighter, but found themselves behind on 13 minutes after MacDonald curled in an unstoppable free-kick. 

    Mark Hughes was adjudged to have committed a foul on the edge of the area MacDonald found the to corner, giving City keeper Bradley Watkins no chance.

    Jason Williams stung the palms of home keeper Grant Smith as City set about finding a leveller.

    They had a strong penalty appeal turned down, after Joe Ward went down in the area, but their task was made twice as difficult on 27 minutes whenas Isaac Layne doubled Hayes' lead.

    Despite being under pressure from Yado Mambo, Layne managed to get a shot away which took a wicked deflection to deceive the already committed Watkins and find the bottom corner.

    City looked to hit back and Ward's free-kick beat Smith but couldn't be converted at the far post by Mambo and Marvin Ekpiteta who were closing in.

    Williams should have done better after a long ball from Leon Redwood saw him get the wrong side of the Hayes back line, but after cutting inside onto his right foot his effort was deflected wide.

    On 42 minutes City managed to get a foothold in the game when Sawyer was brought down in the penalty area by Greg Morgan. He got up to calmly slot home Chelmsford's 11th penalty of the season to make it 2-1.

    City came out for the second half looking lively and to level early and they created two chances when Rohdell Gordon's strike was blocked wide for a corner and Michael Cheek's header narrowly missed the far post.

    Hayes had their own penalty shout when Redwood bundled over Greg Morgan in the area but referee Timothy Wood waved away the home side's appeals.

    City continued to press and create the best chances in front of goal and Hughes was guilty of heading over from point-blank-range after a deep corner.

    Then after Cheek had seen his effort deflected wide, another deep corner was headed back to Hughes whose volley was brilliantly tipped over by Smith.

    City continued to press with Williams flicking a near-post volley over and Sawyer's low effort from a cleared corner failing to test Smith.

    With time running out the Clarets kept the pressure on the Hayes goal but were unable to find the equaliser.

    Williams' half-vollyed just wide of the post and deep into stoppage time the striker was unable to get his header under the crossbar as the Clarets fell to their first defeat in the league for more than a month.

    Chelmsford City's winning run comes to an end at Hayes & Yeading

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    Essex Police officers have pulled over and breathalyzed a total of 1483 people as part of their ongoing efforts to stop drinkers getting behind the wheel during the Christmas period.

    Seventy of those people have been arrested, and 14 of those have been charged.

    Anybody found guilty of drink driving faces  criminal record, the loss of a driving licence or a fine of up to £5000. More seriously, it can kill or injure someone and leave the driver facing up to 14 years in prison and having to live with their actions for the rest of their lives.

    Dennis Freeman, 18, Carte Place, Langdon Hills; Driving while unfit through drugs. Bailed until February 18, 2015
    Alexander Jones, 22 Halcyn Close, Witham; Charged with drink driving, due to appear at Chelmsford Magistrates on January 2, 2015
    David Reeve, 58, Greenstead Green, Halstead; Charged with drink driving, due to appear at Colchester Magistrates' on January 7, 2015
    Rachel Cooper, 21, Rochford Road, Southend; Charged with drink driving, due to appear at Southend Magistrates' on December 28, 2014
    Jade Johnson, 24, Greenlands Gardens, Chelmsford; Charged with drink driving, due to appear at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court on December 30, 2014
    Paul Humphrey, 46, North Street, Waltham Abbey; Charged with drink driving, due to appear at Chelmsford Magistrates' on December 30, 2014
    Cornel Cowans, 43, Meadway, Benfleet; Charged with drink driving, due to appear at Basildon Magistrates' on December 30, 2014
    David Dyer, 36, Kirk Way, Colchester; Charged with failing to provide a specimen, due to appear at Colchester Magistrates' on January 5, 2015
    Matt Shaw, 37, Woodside Road, Leigh; Charged with failing to provide a soecimen, due to appear at Chelmsford Magistrates' on December 30, 2014
    Zak Cornett, 21, Woodland Avenue, Brentwood; Charged with drink driving, due to appear at Basildon Magistrates' on December 30, 2014
    Pravi Damarsingh, 23, Barking Road, Newham; Charged with drink driving, due to appear at Chelmsford Magistrates' on December 30, 2014
    Lee Waterfield, 33, Dundonald Drive, Leigh; Charged with dangerous driving and drink driving, due to appear at Southend Magistrates' Court on December 30, 2014
    Richard Parker, 46, Christchurch Road, Norwich; Charged with drink driving, due to appear at Colchester Magistrates' Court on December 30, 2014
    Rosemary Brister, 54, The Street, Little Totham; Charged with drink driving, due to appear at Colchester Magistrates' on December 31, 2014

    Named and shamed: See who's been accused of drink driving in Essex this Christmas

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  • 12/22/14--01:43: Kevin Bryan's record reviews

  • "The  Alt" (Under the Arch Records)- This enchanting vehicle for the talents of Irish folk trio The Alt was recorded in the space of just three days  earlier this year, after the three experienced  musicians had decamped to a lonely cabin in the quiet isolation of North Carolina's Appalachian mountains to commune with nature and  perfect their ensemble playing . "The Alt" finds John Doyle, Nuala Kennedy and Eamon O'Leary delivering  a finely judged blend of jigs,reels and evocative ballads with grace,subtlety and charm,  excelling themselves with "Lovely Nancy," "Going For A Soldier Jenny" and a lovely Scottish Gaelic song entitled "Cha Tig Mor Mo Bhean Dhachaigh."
    "Country Roads - The Heartbeat of America" (Arthaus 108 118)- German film director Marieke Schroeder's  latest documentary  takes  viewers on a downbeat travelogue around America's Deep South in a quest to find the authentic beating heart of the nation, aided and abetted by music and comment from singer-songwriter Justin Townes Earle.  She discovers an uncertain population wedded to  the traditions of the past but deeply fearful of the future as the musical soundtrack is supplied by  luminaries such as Johnny Cash, Woody Guthrie,Johnny Cash and, rather surprisingly, film actor Kevin Costner, who apparently fronts a country-rock band in his spare time.
    Sky,"2" (Esoteric  ECLEC 22471)-  Guitarists  John Williams and  Kevin Peek  and their cross-genre cohorts enjoyed a good deal of commercial success during the late seventies and early eighties with  a stylish and elegant instrumental sound  which fused elements of rock,pop,classical music and jazz. This expanded version of their 1980  album features a live DVD recorded at the band's  Hammersmith Odeon concert later the same year and  is most notable for keyboardist  Francis Monkman's ambitious  rock suite "FIFO," and their supercharged version of Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D minor," which soared into the higher reaches of the singles charts in April 1980.
    Jim Noir, "Finnish Line" (My Dad Recordings)- The almost criminally gifted Mr.Noir penned this minor masterwork in the space of just  three weeks, nurturing  his creative muse in the distinctly unglamourous surroundings of an old decaying mill in the Ancoats area  of inner city Manchester. Jim's enduring passion for the sound of all things analogue  is reflected in a batch of snappily memorable ditties which channel the spirit of sixties Merseybeat in a flurry of jangling guitars and affecting vocal harmonies, with "Broadway Jets," "Out From Within" and the Lennonesque "Stone Cold Room"  particularly worthy of attention.
    Pete Seeger, "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy" (Talking Elephant TECD263)- Commercial success never seemed too figure too strongly in  Pete Seeger's list of career priorities,  but the indefatigable protest singer was actually  something of a fixture in the American charts during the early fifties as a member of  The Weavers. Seeger  re-entered  the public eye a decade or so later when the Dylan inspired  folk boom helped to create a  musical climate which was  much more receptive to his ecological and political concerns, and this 1967 offering captures him in particularly sprightly form  on what were then highly topical ditties such as "My Name Is Liza Kalvelage" and "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy" itself.

    Kevin Bryan's record reviews

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    With Christmas and New Year falling on a midweek this week, refuse and recycling dates in Essex have been changed to fit around the festive period.

    Householders will have to bear this in mind before that unlucky person is sent out to dispose of the bins! 

    Some councils in the county will have sent the information through the door, but if yours hasn't landed and you want to know when you get rid of all wrapping water and unwanted food, see below.


    • Download your calendar hereto find your collection day


    • Enter your road name or postcode here to find your changed collection day

    Epping Forest

    • Enter your road name or postcode here to find your changed collection day


    Due day   Revised day
    Thursday Dec-25 Dec-27
    Friday Dec-26 Dec-29
    Monday Dec-29 Dec-30
    Tuesday Dec-30 Dec-31
    Wednesday Dec-31 Jan-02
    Thursday Jan-01 Jan-03
    Friday Jan-02 Jan-05
    Monday Jan-05 Jan-06
    Tuesday Jan-06 Jan-07
    Wednesday Jan-07 Jan-08
    Thursday Jan-08 Jan-09
    Friday Jan-09 Jan-10


    Due day   Revised day
    Thursday Dec-25 Dec-27
    Friday Dec-26 Dec-29
    Monday Dec-29 Dec-30
    Tuesday Dec-30 Dec-31
    Wednesday Dec-31 Jan-02
    Thursday Jan-01 Jan-03
    Friday Jan-02 Jan-05
    Monday Jan-05 Jan-06
    Tuesday Jan-06 Jan-07
    Wednesday Jan-07 Jan-08
    Thursday Jan-08 Jan-09
    Friday Jan-09 Jan-10


    Due day  Revised day
    Thursday Dec-25 Jan-02
    Friday Dec-26 Jan-03
    Thursday Jan-01 Jan-02
    Friday Jan-02 Jan-03
    Saturday Jan-03 Jan-04


    • Check your revised collection dates here


     Due day  Revised day
    Thursday Dec-25 Dec-27
    Friday Dec-26 Dec-29
    Monday Dec-29 Dec-30
    Tuesday Dec-30 Dec-31
    Wednesday Dec-31 Jan-02
    Thursday Jan-01 Jan-03
    Friday Jan-02 Jan-05
    Monday Jan-05 Jan-06
    Tuesday Jan-06 Jan-07
    Wednesday Jan-07 Jan-08
    Thursday Jan-08 Jan-09
    Friday Jan-09 Jan-10


    Due day  Revised day
    Thursday Dec-25 no collection
    Friday Dec-26 no collection
    Thursday Jan-01 Jan-02
    Friday Jan-02 Jan-03

    Castle Point

    • See here for the revised collection dates and enter your road name or postcode
    Usual collection day Revised collection day
    Thursday Dec-25 Dec-27
    Friday Dec-26 Dec-27
    Monday Dec-29 no change
    Tuesday Dec-30 no change
    Wednesday Dec-31 no change
    Thursday Jan-01 Jan-02
    Friday Jan-02 Jan-03

    Revised Christmas and New Year 2014 bin collections in Essex

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    YAYA SANOGO has struggled to fight his way into the Arsenal team since arriving in 2013 and Crystal Palace are reportedly interested in bringing him in on loan.

    It was thought Sanogo had found his shooting boots after he scored four goals in their 5-1 win over Benfica in the Emirates Cup but has only managed the one competitive goal since.

    The signings of Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez has meant the French Under-21 international's chances in the first team have been limited and when he has had the chance he hasn't quite proven it.

    At 21 years of age he still has plenty of time to adjust and prove his worth but it doesn't seem that chance will come at Arsenal - at least for now.

    Neil Warnock has shown faith in former Gunner Marouane Chamakh this season but has only managed one goal this season and could be tempted to look elsewhere in January with Sanogo seemingly in his sights.

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    Essex Police have confiscated 220 shotguns from suspected domestic abuse offenders.

    As part of Operation Wishbone the force reviewed all 24,500 licence holders in Essex before shortlisting 855 cases subject to further investigation.

    Out of 777 firearm holders assessed, 24 had their licences revoked, 26 surrendered their licences and 220 shotguns and other firearms were removed.

    Deputy Chief Constable Derek Benson commissioned the review to check whether any firearms licence holders in Essex had been the perpetrator of domestic abuse, even if they had not been arrested, charged, or been found guilty of an offence.

    Wishbone team leader, Chief Inspector Tom Simons, said: "The purpose of the review was to identify licensed firearms holders where we had information to suggest they might have been involved in perpetrating domestic abuse.

    "If there were concerns, we took steps to remove guns, ammunition and certificates where we believed there was a danger to public safety."

    A further 86 owners were given warnings about the manner in which they stored their guns following home visits.

    Inspector Neal Miller said: "We prioritised the cases, focusing on the highest risk first and began visiting the holders to check on their suitability.

    "We also made our approach much more victim based so that they had an opportunity to say whether they believed their partners or family members should be allowed to keep their guns."

    One licence holder appealed the police's decision to seize their collection.

    The case went to Basildon Crown Court, which upheld the police decision and awarded the force costs.

    Essex Police seize 220 shotguns from domestic abuse suspects

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    Hundreds of families queued up early to see the Coca-Cola truck pull in up in Essex during its whistlestop tour of the UK.

    Eager shoppers and fans of the iconic vehicle gathered at Clacton Factory Outlet on Stevenson Way this morning (December 22) to as it stopped off for the penultimate time in the run up to Christmas.

    Families were also treated to a winter wonderland of Christmas carols and free refreshments.

    The truck will complete its tour at Wembley, north London tomorrow (December 23).

    Patient parents and their children lined up in the shopping village's car park for more than an hour to pose to have their pictures taken.

    Sarah Wood, from Clacton, found out about the event two weeks ago and brought her five children, who range in age from six to 18. to get in the festive spirit.

    Mrs Wood, 35, said: "It's not normally something that happens around here so it seemed like a good opportunity to get into the Christmas spirit.

    "They're also handing out free Coca Cola so we've come for that too!"

    With queues pouring out of the car park, some families got to Clacton early to avoid disappointment.

    Rachel Purdy, from Cambridge, woke up at 6am to make sure her two children could see the truck.

    Mrs Purdy, 37, said: "It's about a two hour journey here from Cambridge but my kids are obsessed with that advert.

    "It's been a long morning but definitely worth it!"

    Mrs Purdy's son Jamie, seven, added: "Oou know it's Christmas now because the van is here!"

    The Christmas truck started it's UK tour at Elgin, Scotland on November 28 and has since visited 44 locations across the country 

    Coca Cola UK spokesman Bobby Britain said: "As we help celebrate the lead up to Christmas, we're looking forward to being able to give a little happiness to as many people as possible."

    Iconic Coca Cola Christmas truck pulls up in Clacton - see pictures and video

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    A motorcyclist who died in a fatal collision involving a 16-year-old schoolgirl in Braintree has been identified.

    Bryan Myers, a 42-year-old HGV driver from Witham died instantly shortly before 8am on Thursday, December 18, on the A131 High Garrett.

    His family and friends have told police they will miss Bryan desperately.

    They described the keen DIY-enthusiast as a dearly-loved partner, father-of-five and grandfather-of-two.

    Mr Myers was travelling northbound when he is believed to have been involved in a collision with a girl crossing to a nearby bus stop.

    He fell from the bike and police believe he was then struck by a Toyota Corolla travelling southbound.

    The girl suffered serious head injuries and leg fractures, not thought to be life-threatening, and remains in hospital.

    'Dearly-loved' motorcyclist killed in A131 crash in Braintree named as Bryan Myers

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    Sainsbury's and Waitrose have been forced to cancel their online ordering service on the eve of Christmas because of computer failure.

    Sainsbury's accidentally axed hundreds which already been made last night (December 21) because of a computer failure.

    Some customers were offered redelivery dates  - but only after Christmas.

    And a failure on Waitrose's website, which workers reportedly told customers had resulted in the site "going into meltdown", also led to a series of failed deliveries last night and todaty (December 22).

    Customers are now being told to travel to the store if they want to collect their order.

    Sainsbury's says its website is now working as normal, while a spokesman for Waitrose told The Guardian it's deliveries would be fulfilled.

    "The temporary IT problem yesterday was swiftly and successfully fixed," a spokesman said. 

    "We have been in touch with any customers who might have a slight delay to their order to apologise and to arrange a delivery time to suit them."

    Sainsbury's and Waitrose cancel online shopping  orders after sites 'go into meltdown'

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    NEW Heybridge Swifts boss Cliff Akurang made it six points from his first two games in charge as they won 1-0 at Thurrock.

    It was also the manager's second successive clean sheet, though he had new boy, defender Charlie Hunter, to thank for that after clearing off the goalline late on.

    A 22nd minute goal from Marcel Henry-Francis on his debut was enough to send the Heybridge fans home for Christmas happy.

    Heybridge were given an early scare in the second minute when a ball in from the right was back heeled by Joel Nouble leaving Ross Wall eight yards from goal but he blasted over as defender Aaron Gayle attempted to get in the way.

    Heybridge had a decent spell of play and possession through the middle of the half and got the all important goal when Joe Pearman picked up the ball outside the area, weaved around defender Simon King before laying the ball wide for Billy Hunt.

    His first time shot was only parried by keeper Andy Walker into the goalmouth where Henry-Francis was perfectly placed to slide home.

    Defender Danny Barber came close to turning home into his own net from a Smith cross four minutes later, but he recovered to concede a corner which Ross Wall could only head over from six yards.

    Hunter fired over from 25 yards after a link up with Morgan ten minutes before the break.

    Heybridge picked two bookings in first half stoppage time, Gayle and a late slide by Paul White on Robert Clark.

    Swifts were certainly the better side in the half with more possession and more chances.

    Henry-Francis would have doubled his tally early in the second half but for a one-handed save from Walker to deny his powerful drive. Rob Gilman cleared as James Goode stood his ground to prevent Hunt from stealing in.

    With a little under 20 minutes to go, Thurrock gave Heybridge a scare when second half substitute Louis Hazlewood picked up the ball just outside the box and fizzed a shot that flashed narrowly wide.

    Abs Thompson cut past Barber on the right to fire in a low cross which Gayle back heeled away, Lewwis Spence saw a shot blocked but as the ball remained in play he collided with defender Emmanuel Monthe, the game was briefly stopped so Spence could receive attention to a head injury before continuing.

    Thurrock made changes during the second period and threw players forward as the game became tighter.

    Hunter headed off the line with four minutes to go, when Gilman met a corner with a free header. John Osonowo followed up with a low shot which Danny Sambridge was able to gather before the whistle signalled a second successive win for Akurang.

    New Heybridge Swifts boss Akurang keeps up winning start

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    A teenager has appeared in court in connection with the death of Ashley Woolley in Chelmsford.

    The 17-year-old was charged with murder on Saturday (December 20). Wearing a white jumper, the defendant spoke only to confirm his name to the court in front of a packed public gallery.

    Ashley, 18, was fatally stabbed in Oaklands Park, Moulsham Street, on Thursday (December 18).

    The suspect, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was remanded in custody to re-appear before Chelmsford Crown Court on February 16 next year.

    Teenager remanded over fatal stab death of Ashley Woolley

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    WITHAM Town went down by a single goal at third-placed Dulwich Hamlet in the Ryman Premier on Saturday.

    In a thrilling game played before 820 fans Witham opened strongly and a goalbound shot from Luke Callander was deflected for a corner from which home keeper Phil Watson made a brave save.

    Play went from end to end and Witham keeper Martyn Guest made a one-handed save from Omar Koroma but defences were on top for most of the first half.

    The game continued at a fast pace and Dulwich showed why they are third in the league with their lively strikers.

    The only goal of the game came in the 59th minute when Xavier Vidal scored with a tremendous shot into the top corner, which gave Guest no chance from 25 yards.

    Nevertheless Witham continued to play well but could not get through the home defence. In a late rally both Tom Wraight and James Regis had efforts saved by Watson. 

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    Angry Christmas shoppers are complaining they have been stuck in a gridlocked supermarket car park for up to "an hour."

    Traffic has come to a standstill at the Princes Road Tesco adjacent to the Miami roundabout, as motorists embark on Christmas food shopping.

    A furious James Bell posted on Twitter: "Town is carnage, avoid Tesco at Miami roundabout total gridlock." (sp)

    Twitter-user Tara said: "Tesco princes road, Chelmsford, avoid! Been sat in car park for one hour!" (sp)

    While Becky McMillan added: "Tesco Can you sort out the traffic flow problem at Chelmsford? Lots of spaces but no one can leave car park, haven't moved in 30 mins!" (sp)

    The problems have been repeated across Chelmsford with cars at a standstill with much of the city.

    There are long delays on Springfield Road approaching Parkway, while Waterhouse Lane is also crawling.

    Delays of 'an hour' to get out of Tesco car park in Chelmsford

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    BRAINTREE Town again proved they always play better against promotion-chasing sides as they when they completed outplayed sixth placed Torquay United to win 2-0 in their first ever meeting between the two sides on Saturday.

    And the way they outfought and outplayed the former Football League full-timers, the second highest scorers in the league this season, left manager Alan Devonshire purring over his side's performance.

    "It was a good win and we played really well and dominated the whole 90 minutes," he said. "It was a great all round team performance and getting the two goals early on in the game obviously gave the players confidence.

    "In recent games we've created many chances early on but not taken them and we also had a game plan to play high up and force them on the defensive from the start and keep attacking them and it paid off.

    "The pitch was much firmer too which helped us control the ball better and our passing and movement was excellent.

    "I think we did a very professional job on a side that were only relegated from the Football League in the summer and clearly they are a decent side as they have scored 45 goals so far this season.

    "But full marks to our back four who did a sterling job of never letting them near scoring and I don't think our keeper [Nick Hamann] had a shot to stop all afternoon.

    "They couldn't handle either Sean Marks or Charlie Strutton up front or our two wide players James Mulley and Simeon Akinola."

    Devonshire was without influential skipper and midfielder Kenny Davis (hamstring), along with striker Jordan Cox (back injury) and winger Dan Walker (also hamstring), but the versatile Matt Paine and Chez Isaac completely controlled the midfield and never let the visitors gain a foothold in the game.

    A delighted Issac said: "We all knew we wanted a win and three points to set up for the busy Christmas games and also get ourselves moving up the table again.

    "I felt Matt and I worked well together in the middle and were able to pick up many of the second balls and knock downs so long as we keep chasing and harrying them, which they clearly didn't like.

    "I believed we dominated the game from the kick off, never let up and showed what we are capable of."

    The Iron had taken a 20 minute lead when right-back Ryan Peters floated a dipping high cross into the penalty area where Marks out jumped the visiting defence for a glancing header that dropped into the top far corner of the net past stranded keeper Martin Rice.

    Right on the half-time whistle it was Isaac who set up the second goal again with a neat right wing free-kick that eluded the visiting defence and saw Simeon Akinola slide in at the far post to force the ball home past Rice.

    "I like taking free-kicks and this one was quite a sweet one dropping in behind the defenders and I knew Simeon would be coming in late at the far post which he did and timed his run just right," said Isaac. "We knew that they would come at us for the first ten minutes or so after the restart but again I felt we were in full control and didn't let them settle on the ball or create even any half chances.

    "We've four big games coming up over Christmas and I think we can build on this win as we have now turned the corner with our results after having such a poor run when we had so many players out injured."

    It was one of the most impressive Iron performances so far this season and they could have taken the lead as early as the third minute when after good work by Akinola down the left, he set up Mulley to skip in past defenders from the right wing but his shot was just inches wide of the goal.

    There was another chance on the half hour when from an Isaac corner a fine Marks header was held by Rice and moments later Mulley almost added his side's second goal but his shot was charged down in the area by two defenders at the last moment.

    The second half was much a repeat of the first with the Iron doing all the attacking, pushing forward with some fine passing and build up play that the visitors couldn't handle, forcing some desperate tackles which saw five visiting players booked and one, centre-half Angus MacDonald fortunate to stay on the field after two successive crude tackles on Marks.

    With the game looking safe for the Iron as the minutes ticked away Akinola was unlucky to see his goal bound shot charged down by Krystian Pearce on 81 minutes and three minutes later Marks almost scored his second but his shot on the turn in the area clipped the top of the crossbar and went behind for a goal-kick.

    In the five minutes of added time Marks missed a sitter following good build up play by Mulley, who pulled the back from the byline, but the Iron striker with the goal at his mercy completely missed his kick.

    But the result and performance left Devonshire a happy manager adding: "We move on now to the next game and I want the same performance because today showed what we are capable of playing.

    "Hopefully both Kenny and Dan will be fit for the away game at Dartford but I shall have to move the side around to try and keep some players fresh over these next four games over the festive period," he explained. "Each one will be different and equally as hard but with this win it gives the players fresh confidence.

    "We shall train on Tuesday as usual and I know the players will look after themselves over the festive period because they are professional enough."

    Braintree Town: Hamann; Peters (Brundle 81), Massey, Clerima, Habergham; Mulley, Isaac, Paine, Akinola (Smith 91); Marks, Strutton (Sparkes 71). Unused subs: Maybanks, Pentney.

    Marks and Akinola on target as Braintree Town beat Torquay United

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    A CHURCH team flew 1,500 miles to deliver 700 shoeboxes as well as clothes and blankets to grateful orphans and poverty-stricken gypsy families in Romania.

    The eight-strong Chelmsford crew ventured into squalid shacks and schools in the remote village of Gilau, near the country's second-largest city of Cluj, to see the conclusion of Tile Kiln Church's Gift of Christmas project.

    Linda Mascot, a Chelmsford councillor for Goat Hall and teaching assistant, returned with the team earlier this month.

    "What struck me was the fact that they weren't unhappy and were so grateful for our contribution," said Linda, a 53-year-old mother-of-six.

    "Two women hugged me and cried, while giving me copious blessings in Romanian. It was very moving.

    "There was also the irony of travelling to a remote house, up a steep hill, covered in ice, to find a family who can barely put food on their children's plates, with the mother wearing a donated Slimming World T-shirt.

    "The joy of seeing children open their shoeboxes and take out each item preciously was very humbling and something I'll never forget."

    The Tile Kiln Church project stems from the work of Chelmsford missionaries Tim and Jenny Gooding, who started visiting Gilau in 1992 shortly after the anti-Communist revolution, later moving there in 2012 and setting up an orphanage.

    Shoeboxes from the Robin Way church were sent out to four schools, and gypsy families, in an area where temperatures can drop to -20C during winter.

    This year, Mildmay Junior School and Baddow Hall Junior School children piled gifts into boxes, including stationery, tennis balls, toothbrushes, vitamins and water pistols, while the elderly from the Tile Kiln Food on Friday club made children's clothes, blankets and toys.

    After three years helping coordinate the project, Linda was asked to join the troop, including Tess Griggs, Tile Kiln youth pastor James Bell and Tim's brother Mary Wood, abroad on October 31 for a week.

    She described how the poorest families live in one room in a shack with a wood-burning stove, sleep on settees without electricity and receive water from a communal standpipe.

    She said: "It makes you realise that there are other people who need help, that while we're thinking about what we are going to buy for our loved ones, there are people who need basic commodities.

    "It makes you think how lucky we are and how if you reach out to people you can make a difference to other people's lives."

    Operation Christmas Child: Treats are delivered to Romanian orphans

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    IT'S A VIRUS that has claimed thousands of lives in West Africa, and caused a ripple of fear throughout the Western world.

    But two brave lab technicians from Chelmsford are determined to help as many people as possible in the fight against Ebola, and will be travelling to Sierra Leone in the next month to join the relief effort.

    Jade Richards, 28, and Robyn Haughian, 23, both work as microbiology lab technicians at Broomfield Hospital, and will be working at a lab in an ebola treatment centre, testing the blood of patients who have suspected cases of the virus.

    Jade, who lives in Chelmsford, is making the journey on Saturday. She will be there for Christmas, New Year and her birthday.

    " I will be there for over a month until January 26, and will be there for my birthday and over Christmas, but I volunteered to go at this time of year because so many people can't do it, they have young kids, but I'm single so why not," she said.

    "I want to help people. I am going out there with Save the Children, but really it's a call to arms by all the big charities to go and help. I know it's going to be an eye-opening and life-changing experience and I'm ready for that."

    The pair got the idea when an e-mail was sent around the hospital asking for any volunteers to go over and help. They will undertake an intensive training course at Portland Down in Wiltshire before travelling to Sierra Leone.

    "Jade came into the lab and asked if I'd seen the e-mail," said Robyn, who also lives in Chelmsford. "I had thought it would be an amazing thing to do, and then Jade said we might as well sign up and see what happened.

    "My mum and stepdad are both in medicine too, so they think it's an amazing opportunity and said if they were young they would do it too. But my dad thinks I'm joking, he doesn't believe I'm going.

    "I've only ever been to Europe and America, so I've been getting lots of advice from friends who have been to West Africa before."

    The lab technicians will be based in different areas of Sierra Leone, with Jade headed to Kerry Town. Robyn, who will be posted in January, will be off to laboratories in Makeni.

    Jade said: "For lab staff it is extra special – usually people want doctors and nurses to go out and help so this is a once in a lifetime experience for us.

    "We have been told when we're at the treatment centre, if you see someone collapse you're not allowed to help them because you can't touch them.

    "We would have to call someone to help. You can't comfort someone if they're crying, and trying not to respond to that basic human instinct will be hard.

    "But this is my chance to help others, and use my skills. It's a chance to make a difference."

    Ebola fight takes Broomfield Hospital boffins to Africa

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    A PROLIFIC fundraiser scared of spiders, piranhas, jaguars and almost every jungle animal imaginable will run 150 miles through the Amazon rainforest.

    Father-of-one Kenny Walker, of Waterhouse Street, Chelmsford, is gradually preparing to run the seven-day Jungle Marathon, billed as the toughest endurance race in the world by American TV network CNN.

    "It's going to be the hardest, most painful and scariest moment of my life but it's for a good reason and I'm sure I will enjoy parts of it – I hope," said the 30-year-old, who aims to raise £5,000 for Cancer Research.

    Daring participants must run through rivers and mud, carrying hammocks, clothing and food, for as long as 61 miles at a time night and day. "You could write a paper with all the things I'm scared of," said arachnophobe Kenny.

    The finance planning and analysis manager began his love-hate relationship with running after his cousin Hayley Birch was diagnosed with cancer in 2008.

    He has since helped raise nearly £40,000 by running about 30 races, including the 100-mile North Downs Way challenge, mud runs, Tough Mudders and attempting to run 128 miles from Birmingham to London – only for his legs to crumble in Watford.

    He ran the longest distance while singing karaoke – a feat "too specific" for Guinness to recognise – by completing 13.1 miles on a treadmill for the Bobby Moore Foundation with wife Dionne outside Barclays bank in Chelmsford High Street in 2012.

    So amazed was the widow of the international football legend, Stephanie Moore, that the couple were invited to the charity's quiz night, auction and dinner gala.

    It was there, in November last year, that Kenny unwittingly sealed his fate by bidding £600 for a place on the Jungle Marathon. He lost by £50.

    "But I got a phone call from the Bobby Moore Foundation telling me that the other guy was drunk and showing off and doesn't want to do it," said Kenny.

    "I said wow, OK, so I checked with the missus and she said it was OK."

    The Hemel Hempstead-born challenger did not attempt the task, which ordinarily costs £1,000, this year after his daughter Elizabeth was born in May.

    Next year's event will take place on October 10 near Manaus, Brazil.

    In preparation, Kenny will run on a treadmill in a simulated heat tank which can be cranked up to 40C and up to 99 per cent humidity. He will also undergo three days of survival training.

    "I'm a little bit scared," said Kenny, who is also frightened of getting lost in the jungle during darkness. It's going to be an enormous challenge.

    "I've run a 100-mile race before, and the attempt from Birmingham to London last year, and I'm doing the Grand Union Canal run from Birmingham to London as part of my training, but this is the next level.

    "I like a challenge, but this is probably the only one that I'm scared of.

    "But my wife summed it up perfectly. She said if I don't take the opportunity to do it when it won't cost as much, I'm going to forever be thinking about the time I didn't go to the Amazon."

    Kenny will run it for a cause close to his heart, for not only did his cousin die from an aggressive skin cancer in 2010, his grandfather and his wife's two grandfathers also died from it.

    To sponsor Kenny, visit www.Just

    Chelmsford man to conquer his fears? Arachnophobe to take on the Jungle Marathon

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