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

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    DeAndre Yedlin has become Tottenham's first signing of the January transfer window after the club announced it on their website.

    The 21-year-old had agreed a £2.5 million, four year deal in the summer, but didn't meet requirements at the time to work in the UK.

    This time around thought he deal has gone through and the Seattle born defender has now completed his move to White Hart Lane.

    He's a promising American international having played three matches at the World Cup and was named '2014 Young Male Athlete of the Year' by U.S Soccer.

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    A man has been arrested in connection with the reported sexual assault of a teenage girl in Colchester.

    The incident is alleged to have taken place in Lexden Road just before 1am on Tuesday (December 23).

    The 47-year-old suspect was detained today in relation to the incident and has been taken to Colchester police station for questioning.

    Man arrested over alleged sex attack on girl in Colchester

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    It's Xmas Eve: if that's not an excuse for ten pointless questions, I don't know what is!
    Q1)24th December sees the traditional Nine Lessons and Carols broadcast by the BBC.   From which Cambridge College: Christ's, King's or Queen's … ?
    Q2)On Christmas Eve, many Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries have a Midnight Mass called Misa de Gallo: or Mass of the … what … ?
    Q3)Christmas Eve is on the 24th December: All Hallow's Eve is on which date … ?
    Q4)Eve Harrington is a character is a character in which 1950 film … ?
    Q5)More to the point, Evey Hammond turns up in which 2005 film … ?
    Q6)Living between 140, 000 and 200, 000 years ago, what name is given to humanity's most ancient common female ancestor … ?
    Q7)In which book of the Bible does Eve appear … ?
    Q8)The EVE probe is a proposed European Space Agency probe.   The ESA wants to send it to which planet?
    Q9)Eve is a rapper: originally from Philedelphia.   Her biggest UK hit, 'Let Me Blow Ya Mind', was a duet with which singer?
    Q10)Finally … Which Christmassy poem is set on the night of Christmas Eve?
    As a final thought?   At this time of year, the alphabet has one less letter.   Yes.   It has Noël.
    Here's last week's questions and answers … 

    Q1)17th December saw the original publication of 'Vogue'.   In which year of the 1890s?
    Q2)'Vogue' takes its title from the word, vogue.   Meaning something is what: in style, in trouble or in fashionable trousers?
    Q3)How many different countries currently have editions of 'Vogue'?
    Q4)Name one of those editions.
    Q5)'Vogue' is published by which company?
    Q6)That publisher was named for its original owner.   He was from which US city: New York, Chicago or Boston?
    Q7)Early 'Vogue' editor, Frank Crowninshield, joined 'Vogue' from which other publication: 'GQ,' 'Vanity Fair,' or 'Loaded'?
    Q8)Which FIRST Lady has been the most recent to appear on a 'Vogue' cover?
    Q9)In which fashionable film does Meryl Streep play Miranda Priestly: an icy character definitely not based on 'Vogue' editor in chief, Anna Wintour?
    Q10)Finally … which Madonna song takes its name from a dance, named after 'Vogue' magazine?
    A2)In style.
    A4)The US, UK, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Australia, Brazil, Mexico,  South Korea, Russia, Taiwan, Japan, Portugal, China, India, Turkey, the Netherlands, Thailand and the Ukraine.
    A5)Condé Nast.
    A6)New York.   (Indeed, the company's HQ is in the Condé Nast Building, in Times Square.)
    A7)'Vanity Fair'.   (Play fair: 'GQ' isn't THAT popular in New York.)
    A8)Michelle Obama.   (A lot of First Lady's have been in 'Vogue': the only other one to be on the cover has been Hilary Rodham Clinton.)
    A9)'The Devil Wears Prada'.
    If you'd like a frequent challenge, you can visit Nik Nak's Old Peculiar, and try the Daily Teaser: today's is at the top.
    If you need quiz questions in a hurry, you're also welcome: you'll find the free Friday Questions Sets — covered by the Creative Commons License* — very handy.
    Movie fans are welcome, too: as are Dr Who fans.   I tend to write about them, too.
    If you enjoy what I do, and wish to contribute, feel free to click the PayPal Donate button in the Old Peculiar's sidebar.   Every penny is gratefully received.

    Enjoy the week, folks.

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

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    The Essex Police helicopter was dispatched above Chelmsford after officers were told a man had been spotted darting in and out of busy traffic.

    Part of Main Road in Broomfield was cleared at around 11.50am yesterday (December 23) to allow officers to follow up reports of concern for the welfare of a man.

    An Essex Police spokesman said the man was seen running in and out of the road.

    "Officers went to the location and the police helicopter assisted with the search, but no trace was found," he added/

    Police helicopter called to Broomfield to reports of man 'running in and out of the road'

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    ALASTAIR COOK will bounce back after being stripped of the England one-day captaincy, says Paul Grayson.

    The Essex head coach admitted he had not spoken to Cook since the news broke on Friday but he knew the opening batsman cared about the job and wanted to continue.

    Eoin Morgan has been named the new skipper for the one-day tour of Australia and the subsequent World Cup.

    Grayson said he thought Cook could have thrived Down Under, where he has a good record, but believes the opener has all the attributes to return to form.

    "He's been the first to admit that he's not scored the amount of runs and England have not won the amount of games that he would have liked while he has been captain," said Grayson.

    "Having said that, they've made a very brave decision and time will tell whether it's the right one.

    "I'm sure he'll pull through it like any setback he has had in his career because he's resilient, he's strong mentally and hopefully this will give him time to reflect on his Test career.

    "I think everyone who knows Cooky, and cares about him, wants him to really find his best form in Test cricket again and be a real dominant leader for England while continuing to be our best player.

    "He's had a few critics over the last couple of years about his captaincy style but he's actually been very good and been very successful as England captain, but I think the most important thing for him is that he rediscovers his best form again.

    "He's had a tough year and there's been a bit of a witch-hunt against him from certain people in the media but I'm sure he'll have a brilliant time in the Caribbean when he goes out there in March and April next year for the Test series [against the West Indies]."

    While Cook won't be taking part in England's World Cup, Essex all-rounder Ravi Bopara will and Grayson believes he is a valuable asset to their set-up.

    "Ravi has done very well and he's been very consistent for England. In the summer series they left him out for some reason, which was a ludicrous decision, but he did well for Essex, as he's always done."

    Grayson tips sacked Cook to roar back

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    KEIRYU Practical Karate has held its first grading for senior students.

    The club, which was created by Lee Mullan in May and has groups in Silver End, Witham and Maldon, put ten members through their paces.

    Luke Saunders is Keiryu's first student to be examined for a black belt and the 16-year-old attained the rank of shodan, first-degree black belt.

    The other examinees, who were grading for kyu (coloured belts), included Luke's twin brothers, Connor and Ryan Saunders, 14, who achieved first kyu brown belt; Connor Keating, 14, first kyu brown belt; Donna Mullan and Emma Ager, who both achieved third kyu brown belt; Skye Bekir, 12, fourth kyu purple belt; father and daughter Chris and Meave Oakman, 11, sixth kyu orange belt and fifth kyu green belt respectively; and 11-year-old Sean Perkins, who was awarded fifth kyu green belt.

    Mullan, a third dan black belt, started Keiryu Practical Karate to pursue a more practical and dynamic karate. He says he is part of a new generation of karate-ka that are returning to the "old ways", skilled in all areas of self-protection – a comprehensive system involving kicking, punching, grappling, escape and evasion tactics, ground work and fighting – which challenges students on all levels and is highly rewarding and fulfilling.

    The aim is to produce strong, competent individuals who are capable of holding their own and dealing with a real-life street encounter, both physically and psychologically. Having said that, a key element in regular training is fun.

    "Keiryu Practical Karate represents a major developmental shift and is now bringing real self-protection in today's world for people of all ages, including trained martial artists – all are welcome," added Mullan.

    For more information, visit

    Students belt up at first Keiryu grading ceremony

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    Somebody has had a very Merry Christmas tonight with the results of tonight's National Lottery rollover draw!

    Are you ready for tonight's results? Check that ticket to see whether you were in luck 

    The Lotto winning numbers are: 7, 9, 13, 44, 47 and 48 with bonus ball 22.

    500 lucky winners will also each bag £20,000 in this years special festive Lotto raffle.

    And Boxing Day is a EuroMillions Mega Friday, with 10 guaranteed UK millionaires, each also winning a luxury trip to see the spectacular Northern Lights.

    But the Euromillions jackpot is worth a stunning £20million.

    The next Lotto and Thunderball draw is on Saturday, December 27 - with an estimated jackpot of £4.1million.

    NATIONAL LOTTERY RESULTS: Christmas Eve Lotto draw numbers on December 24

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    A FITNESS instructor made a magical visit to children in hospital dressed as a Disney character.

    Laura Anne Smith, who works at Benton Hall Golf and Country Club in Witham, visited Broomfield Hospital on Tuesday (December 16) dressed as the character Elsa from Disney's popular blockbuster, Frozen.

    "It was a real joy and to see their faces light up was amazing. It was a really emotional, lovely day," said Laura Anne.

    "I will never forget the children's reactions and I would do it again in a heartbeat."

    The 30-year-old greeted and talked to the children in outpatients, the burns unit and intensive care during the day and she also sang and danced on the roundabout outside of the hospital.

    She said: "I visited one little girl in intensive care and we had a chat about Frozen and Christmas.

    "As I left, the nurse who showed me round the ward started crying because she hadn't seen that little girl smile for three days and she had hardly looked up at all in that time.

    "It meant the world to me that I could do something like that and I am sure anyone would want to do the same."

    Many of the young patients at the hospital thought they were meeting the real snow queen and two-year-old Kiki Phillips, could not believe her eyes.

    Her mother, Stephanie Phillips, from Chelmsford, said: "Kiki is fairly shy, but when she spotted Elsa walking along the atrium she threw caution to the wind and ran into her arms.

    "It was a lovely treat after having her eyes tested in the hospital."

    Laura Anne, who had swapped her shift to spend the day at Broomfield, said: "It was like in a film. I saw a little girl from the corner of my eye, running towards me with her arms open wide. She gave me the biggest hug."

    To top off the magical experience, the Phoenix ward won the internal hospital competition for the best decorations thanks to the presence of Elsa.

    The decoration for the children's ward was inspired by the Frozen film and Laura happened to be in the ward talking to the children, dressed in the perfect costume, when the judges arrived.

    See the video of Elsa performing and meeting Kiki at

    Faces 'light up' at Broomfield thanks to shock visit from Frozen's Elsa

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    A SPRINGFIELD couple went the extra mile to spread Christmas cheer to sick children at Broomfield Hospital by collecting and handing out more than 100 presents.

    Grace Morrad, 25 with the help of her boyfriend Gareth Carey, also 25, handed out around 120 presents to youngsters in the hospital's children's burns ward and Phoenix ward, which caters for children who are required to stay overnight on Christmas Day.

    And the joy on the faces of the children upon opening their presents was plain to see on Monday.

    "One of the parents came out to say thank you after he had just unwrapped a rattle for his recently born daughter that she was going to play with right away," said Grace, of Saddle Rise.

    "It hit me a bit, Gareth said he thought I looked like I was going to cry – it hits inside and puts a massive smile on my face, it really touched my heart."

    Grace who works as a nanny in Wickford, said her inspiration for collecting the presents was times that she has worked with families who have had children in hospital.

    "I have always loved children, from doing babysitting when I was younger to always playing with children at weddings," she said. "I love to do things for charity, in my old job we raised money for the women's cancer charity and I like to have a charity every year. I contacted people in our road and friends and family to get them to donate presents. It was all about putting letters through people's doors and speaking to people you knew and then they would spread the word to people at work.

    "We were panicking at first because we didn't think we would get enough, so it's been really nice and surprising to see how generous people are and we would like to say a big thank you to everyone who donated presents.

    "When someone knocks on your door and says 'I've got some presents for you' it touches your heart. It's definitely something I would do again. We've been working pretty hard to get all the presents wrapped in time; I feel a bit empty now it's all over."

    One of the children given a present was 14-year-old Amelia Willett, from Felsted, who suffers from Ehler-Danlos syndrome, a condition that effects connective tissue, leading to fragile skin and unstable joints.

    Her mum Tracey Emery said: "It just gives them a little pep up when people are generous and gives them a thrust when they're in hospital, especially so close to Christmas."

    Phoenix ward nursery nurse, Nickie Lund, was equally appreciative. "You can just see their faces light up, it makes their day and it makes ours too, to see them happy," she said. "No one wants to be in hospital at Christmas so it just brightens up their day."

    And Grace's boyfriend Gareth said he was very proud of what his girlfriend had achieved. "She has done really well, I helped a little but not a lot – she did all the wrapping," he said. "At the start we didn't think we would get enough presents so when so many people came forward it was pretty overwhelming."

    Christmas gift surprise at Broomfield Hospital brings joy to youngsters faces

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    MONTHS of uncertainty are over for one family-of-six who are among the first tenants in a major Chelmsford housing scheme.

    The Redmond family had been forced to look for new accommodation after their previous landlord told them he was selling up. And Mark, 36, feared his children Luke, 15, Callum, 11, Tyler, 11 and Bobby, 3, along with his fiancée, Sue Hart, would be forced to spend Christmas in a hostel or temporary accommodation if they were unable to find anywhere suitable.

    But, in what the dad-of-four described as a "little Christmas miracle", the family got a place in the new Marconi Evolution development off New Street, with Chelmsford mayor Councillor Bob Villa officially handing over the keys to the family.

    "We were worried we would be put up in hotels over Christmas, but now we're having Christmas here," said Mark. "You bid on properties, and you don't know how long it will take or if you'll get anything, but this is just right.

    "This is just ideal for our family, because you don't get many properties that could fit in a family of six.

    "I'm so excited to have moved in here, it's such a lovely place. The rooms are big enough for the kids to run about, we have a bunk bed in one of them and there's still space for the kids to play."

    The Redmonds are among the first six families to move into the 118 affordable housing and shared ownership homes from housing association Colne Housing.

    Private tenants are already living in the Marconi Evolution complex, which retains elements of the site used by the wireless company from 1912 to 2008.

    Chelmsford Community Radio is thought to be moving into the water tower, while the iconic 1912 building will be the new home of Benefit Cosmetics.

    Clare Bennett, Colne's neighbourhood officer, who oversees the affordable housing properties and helps people sustain their tenancies, said: "Everyone who viewed these properties accepted them; it just goes to show the standard. I love it here – there's not many places you have a view of the beautiful water tower."

    So far, Colne has six houses and nine flats as part of phase one, with all of them completed by 2017.

    Cllr Villa said: "It's been a privilege to hand over the keys to a resident."

    Family of 6 get their new home in Chelmsford just in time for Christmas

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    Police are appealing for witnesses following a road collision in Colchester which has left a 20-year-old woman with serious injuries.

    The collision happened just before 4am this morning on Berechurch Hall Road. 

    It involved one vehicle, a silver Vauxhall Corsa.

    The injured woman, who comes from Tiptree, was taken to Colchester Hospital but has been transferred to Queen's Hospital in Romford where her condition is described as serious but stable.

    A 21-year-old man from Colchester was arrested at the scene on suspicion of driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs. 

    He is currently receiving treatment at Colchester General Hospital for injuries which are not believed to be serious.

    The road was closed whilst forensic examinations took place and the vehicle was recovered. It reopened shortly before 10am.

    Any witnesses to the collision are asked to contact Pc Jonathan Ward at Stanway Roads Policing Unit on 101.

    Woman suffers serious injuries following Christmas morning crash in Colchester

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    Two families have been left homeless on Christmas night after a fire broke out close to their flats.

    Firefighters from Witham and Tiptree station were called to Oak Road in Tiptree shortly after 7.15pm on Christmas Day.

    On arrival, they found the blaze in an outbuilding.

    The outbuilding was adjoined to two flats, causing them to become 100 per cent smoke-logged.

    Firefighters used hose reel jets to extinguish the flames.

    The Red Cross and Emergency Support Team from Essex Fire and Rescue Service attended, as the residents living the smoke-logged flats were unable to return home.

    An investigation has been launched to establish the cause of the fire.

    Tiptree blaze leaves two families homeless on Christmas night

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    A ROTTWEILER owner hopes her pet changes people's opinions on the breed after it qualified as a therapeutic dog.

    Three-year-old Peeps passed the Pets as Therapy tests and is now qualified to visit people in hospitals, hospices, nursing and care homes, as well as special needs schools.

    Proud owner Kay Ryder, 52, of Creasen Butt Close, Heybridge said: "I got the idea to submit Peeps' application to Pets as Therapy about a year ago when we were walking in Danbury Park. She was off the lead and I saw a mother with a small toddler approaching so I called Peeps back.

    "But the little girl's mother said it was OK because her youngster was used to dogs, so I let Peeps approach them.

    "What happened was amazing. Peeps was so soft and gentle with her. The way she approached her was so careful and calm as well."

    Peeps flew through the Pets as Therapy evaluation, in which she was taken into an assessor's home and various tests were carried out to see how she would react to different stimulus, such as loud noises and pulling on her ears, in an unknown environment.

    Kay, who got her first Rottweiler 18 years ago, said: "I am over the moon with the result because Rottweilers seem to get a lot of bad press.

    "There is a saying, 'Judge the deed and not the breed', and sadly, people judge the breed.

    "As puppies, Rottweilers are not born vicious. No dog is. That is caused by the environment they are brought up in."

    Kay has another Rottweiler named Mollie, who at eight years old, has a Crufts show champion title and prizes in various agility competitions under her belt.

    The dog lover also regularly fosters Rottweilers until they are rehomed.

    Talking about one "Rotty" she fostered, Kay said: "Dudley was a cross-bred Rottweiler who came into my home, he got on fabulously with Mollie and Peeps and I looked after him for three months before he was rehomed.

    If I had not, he would have been put down."

    The mother-of-two now hopes to be a part of the Pets as Therapy Read2Dogs scheme, which sees less confident children and those with learning disabilities within schools spend their reading time with a furry friend.

    Kay is encouraging schools in the Maldon area to sign up with Pets as Therapy so that she may volunteer locally.

    she said: "Peeps is naturally great with kids and it is touching to watch. She is so gentle in all her mannerisms.

    "Peeps got her name because when I first had her, she would peep into a room before she walked into it.

    "She was very worried about the world and thought everything would hurt her, before her confidence grew."

    The canine joins more than 4,500 cats and dogs that are part of the Pets as Therapy programme.

    For more information visit:

    Peeps the Rottweiler bags a qualification - as a THERAPEUTIC dog

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    Much of Essex is expected to be hit by some unpleasant weather today as people hit the Boxing Day sales.

    The Met Office has issued a yellow warning for snow - although much of it is expected to fall in a southeasterly direction as sleet and rain throughout the day.

    Where snow could fall, forecasters have warned it could reach levels as high as 10cm on higher ground.

    The warning is valid until 6am tomorrow (December 27).

    The Met Office chief forecaster said: "There is more confidence now in the track of the depression, the main uncertainty revolving around the balance between rain and snow, which depends on the intensity.

    "Where snow does occur accumulations of 2 to 4cm are likely even to lower levels, with more than 10 cm on high ground.

    "There is the risk of 10-15 cm, even at low levels, parts of Wales and the Midlands being most at risk.

    Met Office issues Boxing Day yellow warning for snow in Essex

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    Stores in Essex have slashed their prices and laid on a range of promotions in a bid to tempt Boxing Day bargain hunters.

    Argos, with stores in Chelmsford city centre and at the Chelmer Valley retail park, have launched the five day sale from today, with a range of promotions on some big name goods.

    Shoppers will be able to buy the iPad mini for £179, plus an XBox One or Playstation 4 consoles for less than £300

    It comes as figures also show how shoppers spent around £441,000 a minute on Christmas Day yesterday, setting a new record and racking up an estimated £636million sales.

    Many then left home to join the queues for the start of today's High Street sales.

    Boxing Day sales: Argos in Chelmsford to sell iPad mini for £179

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    Not quite sure about that knockdown price knitted fleece you received from your Nan, or have simply changed your mind?

    Or are you the one whose gifts didn't quite come up to scratch?

    Here's a summary all you need to know about a safe and painless return of your unwanted goods to the shops, or if a gift is returned to you

    1. Stores don't have to accept unwanted goods, unless they are faulty or broken

    Mainstream stores are under no legal obligation to accept unwanted goods unless they are broken or faulty. However, they tend to operate a goodwill money back guarantee policy, which you will see on the back of the receipt, for up to 30 days 

    2. You have between 14 and 28 days from the date of purchase to return your goods

    This may have been one which caught out those early bird shoppers. Unfortunately, if you bought your presents at the end of November, you only have a few days to take them back! You are protected under the Sale of Goods Act - if faulty.

    3. Was the present bought online?

    You have extra rights to return it under the Consumer Contracts Regulations

    4. Did you/they buy the gift by credit card?

    You also have protection under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, so know your rights.

    5. Original packaging 

    This is very important, particularly with DVDs or electrical goods. Many retailers will refuse to accept items where the seal is broken, so don't risk opening anything you may not want.

    6. Items that WILL NOT be eligible for return

    Personalised goods, and perishable items such as food and goods which are likely to wear down over time.

    7. Do you have a receipt for your goods?

    Make sure you take the receipt for the items with you, and the debit or credit card you used to purchase it, as well as the original packaging and label.

    Unwanted Christmas presents: What you need to  know if you want to take them back

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    It isn't just money on offer in tonight's Euromillions draw - lucky winners will get the chance to go on the holiday of a lifetime!

    It's a Mega Friday on the Euromillions, with 10 guaranteed UK millionaires, with winners also getting the chance to jet off to see the stunning Northern Lights in Canada with three guests.

    You'll be able to win a seven night stay at a luxurious 5 star hotel in the heart of the Banff National Park

    From canyon ice walks, horse-drawn sleigh rides and dogsledding to a private expedition through the Banff National Park for the best once-in-a-lifetime views of the Northern Lights.

    Did you miss the National Lottery draw on Christmas Eve? The Lotto winning numbers were: 7, 9, 13, 44, 47 and 48 with bonus ball 22.

    The Euromillions draw will take place tonight from 8pm. Good luck!

    Euromillions Boxing Day draw: What is the jackpot and what time is it?

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    A partially sighted man was left with two black eyes after being knocked to the ground during a late night assault in a car park in Hatfield Peverel.

    The 32-year-old victim was walking through the car park behind the shops and doctors surgery in Hadfelda Square at 11.05pm last Friday (December 19) when he was approached by two men.

    He thought they were going to hurt him so he used one hand to push one of them away.

    It was then he was hit in the face, which caused him to fall to the floor and his glasses to fall off. The suspects, described as white men in their late 20s, of medium build and around 5ft 8ins tall, then left the scene.

    Investigating officer Pc Danielle Twaites said: "The victim lost his glasses and suffered two black eyes as a result of the incident. I would ask for anyone with any information about the assault or if they witnessed it to contact me. 

    Anybody with any information is asked to contact Pc Twaites at Chelmsford Police on 101.

    People can also give information to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through their Anonymous Online Form at

    Partially sighted man punched to the ground in car park

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    The draw has been completed for tonight's Mega Friday Euromillions special for the Christmas period. There will be 10 guaranteed millionaires as a result of tonight's draw. And the jackpot is a huge £20million. So check that ticket - it could be you bringing the new year in with a bang! Tonight's Euromillions numbers were 17, 26, 27, 45 and 49 with lucky stars 2 and 3. The guaranteed millionaires will also get the chance to jet off to see the stunning Northern Lights in Canada with three guests. And don't forget - one player could also win a cool £1million from the Millionaire Maker - so check your raffle code to see if it matches.The next Euromillions draw, which is £2 per play, is on Tuesday, December 30.

    Euromillions results: Boxing Day draw numbers on December 26

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    A joint police and fire investigation is under way into what caused a fire at a meditation and yoga centre in Chelmsford this afternoon (December 26).

    Firefighters in two appliances rushed to Inner Space in Gloucester Avenue shortly before 5pm to reports of a blaze in Gloucester Avenue.

    They used one hose reel to put out the flames, and the incident was over in around 20 minutes. Nobody was hurt.

    Crews then used a high pressure fan to clear the building of smoke.

    Investigation into fire at Inner Space in Gloucester Avenue in Chelmsford

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