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

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    A shrill nighttime sound detected overnight during the Christmas period has baffled people in Writtle.

    One reader recorded the high pitched mystery sound below on video. It lasts for around 30 seconds and is enough to make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck.

    However, the pitch of the sound means it could just as easily be an alarm, although this hasn't stopped one reader from comparing the sound to an apocalyptic one, similar to that heard at the end of the video below.

    Have you heard it, or do you have any suggestions for what it could be? Register and post your comments below.

    Do you know what the loud noise heard over Writtle was?

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  • 12/29/14--02:25: Kevin Bryan's record reviews

  • Willie Nelson and Sister Bobbie, "December Day" (Sony Music)- The venerable country outlaw's latest  CD release is a pleasingly understated collaboration with his piano playing sibling Bobbie, who has been an integral member of his Family Band since its formation in 1973. The duo are firm adherents to the "less is more" school of music-making, and "December Day" showcases a hand-picked selection of their personal favourites, including their inimitable covers of everything from Willie's own "Permanently Lonely" to Irving Berlin's  "Alexander's Ragtime Band" and Carl Mann's 1959 hit, "Mona Lisa."
    Frank Sinatra, "Lovin' & Swingin' All Night Long" (Metro Select )- This inexpensive  2 CD set is dominated by archive material  from Sinatra's creative heyday in the fifties, highlighting his twin personas as finger-snapping showman and introspective bar-room balladeer as it draws on some of the excellent albums that he recorded for Capitol Records during this period.  A string of genuinely classic performances are given an airing in the process, including "Come Fly With Me," " I Get A Kick Out Of You" and his second million-seller,  "I've Got You Under My Skin."
    "An Introduction to the Undertones" (Salvo Sound & Vision)- Derry's finest musical exports made an immediate impact when they  burst on to the scene in 1978 with a clutch of snappily memorable songs penned by demon  guitarist John O'Neill and delivered by the tremulous tones of  vocalist Feargal Sharkey. Their early efforts were championed by no less a radio luminary than John Peel, and the late great DJ  also contributes to  this splendid audio-visual package as he presents his acclaimed 2003 documentary alongside seven promo videos and some vintage live footage featuring classic creations such as  "Teenage Kicks" and "Here Comes The Summer."
    Rosalyn Tureck, "J.S.Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier, Goldberg Variations" (D.G.479 4177)- American classical pianist Rosalyn Tureck always felt a particular affinity for the music of Bach, and this highly impressive 6 CD set features two recordings of the great man's work separated by almost half a century. Tureck's  genuinely spiritual performance of "The Well-Tempered Clavier" dates from 1953 and is reproduced in its original glorious mono, whilst  her valedictory recital of the "Goldberg Variations" was captured for posterity in 1998 and is a much more cerebral but equally compelling piece of work.

    Kevin Bryan's record reviews

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    Those planning to head to the New Year's Eve fireworks display at the London Eye have been warned to get there early. 

    The hugely popular event is being ticketed for the first time, at £10 each, and non-ticketholders are being advised to avoid the area.

    It will not be shown on screens at Trafalgar Square and St James Park.

    The event is also being televised on BBC1 from 11.50pm.

    Road closures will begin as early as 2pm, with most closures in place from 8pm, stretching from Oxford Street in the north to Elephant and Castle in the south, and Vauxhall Bridge in the west to Southwark Bridge in the east.

    There will also be some bridge closures. Some central London Tube stations will become exit only, be closed completely or for periods at a time for crowd management and safety purposes.

    Why not try out some of the following areas as free vantage points?

    Alexandra Palace - closest station, Wood Green

    Greenwich Park - closest station, Greenwich

    Cannon Street - closest station, Cannon Street

    Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: 'The London New Year's Eve fireworks display is a major operation, which involves months of planning and the involvement of many partners, from the Met Police to TfL and emergency services to local authorities.

    "It is a spectacular show enjoyed by people up and down the country and around the world and we have brought in ticketing to ensure crowd safety on the night and the event's future sustainability. 

    There will also be free travel all night on all its public transport services, from 11.45pm on New Year's Eve until 4.30am on New Year's Day.

    New Years Eve 2014 London fireworks: What time do they start and where can you watch them?

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    Frosty mornings and freezing overnight temperatures have been forecast for Essex until Wednesday morning.

    Met Office forecasters say conditions will plummet to as low as -4C in the east of England. It has issued a yellow warning for ice in the region as a result.

    Daytime temperatures for the rest of today and Tuesday are unlikely to go any higher than 4C.

    Fortunately, milder weather is forecast for the start of 2015.

    A Met Office spokesman added: "Prolonged periods of cold weather can be dangerous, especially for the very young, very old or those with chronic diseases."

    It will start to warm up on New Year's Eve, though rain is also forecast. Temperatures will rise to as high as 8C on Thursday before creeping as high as 12C.

    Cold weather alert: Met Office warning for Essex prompts warning for elderly and vulnerable

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    So another year has come and gone, and it was an eventful year in the county.

    The Essex Chronicle was there to break and cover it all across the patch, attracting thousands of you as you logged on to keep up to date.

    Cast your mind back over the last 12 months and have a look at the 12 most popular stories according the number of daily unique visitors.

    1.Chelmsford farmers 3,000 ducks may be killed if new homes cannot be found

    Farmer Ian Chisholm said he was unable to pay for their upkeep, sparking the arrival of thousands of people to his Norton Field Farm

    2. Named and shamed in court - a round-up of cases heard by Essex magistrates'

    Our weekly round-ups of criminal cases heard by Essex magistrates

    3. The ice bucket challenge is a waste of water: three reasons why I won't be taking part

    Features Editor Darryl Webber politely declined the opportunity of being soaked in the name of charity


    4.Young man stabbed to death in Oaklands Park, Chelmsford, is named as Ashley Woolley

    Tragedy struck in the heart of the city after an 18-year-old was stabbed to death in Oaklands Park

    5. M25 in Essex closed after horror crash

    The multi-vehicle collision claimed one motorist's life and closed part of the carriageway in Essex

    6. Lightning strikes house in Chelmer Village during storms

    Nobody was hurt in the incident in Murrell Lock during the summer storms

    7. Forecasters warn of coldest winter for decades

    Long range forecast for Essex suggested a freezing cold

    8. Black Friday 2014: Asda in Chelmsford to sell BMX bikes for £36

    The store slashed prices on a range of products on the day after Thanksgiving

    9. Dog owners in Chelmsford on alert after one dies and another falls ill

    Two dogs fell seriously ill after being walked in Hylands Park


    10. Which eateries in Chelmsford received the worst hygiene ratings?

    Four places to eat in Chelmsford received ratings of zero

    11. Hylands School teacher accused of sexual activity with pupil

    Charlotte Parker was spared jail after admitting to fling with male student

    12. Pair jailed after deaf and blind man hurled onto track at Chelmsford railway station

    Niall Martin and Daniel Webster were caught on CCTV throwing the victim onto the tracks

    The 12 most popular Essex Chronicle stories in 2014

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    CLARETS boss Mark Hawkes believes Michael Cheek's super season is purely down to putting in the effort on the pitch and on the training ground.

    Cheek hit four goals to help Chelmsford roar back from two goals down at struggling Staines on Sunday - in what turned out to be Marcus Gayle's last game in charge of the relegation battlers- and take his tally to 17 in all competitions this season.

    "It's not rocket science. When Michael Cheek works hard, he gets his rewards," said Hawkes.

    "He's not going to score in every game. He has to have that work-rate and intensity about him."

    The City boss also paid tribute to on-loan West Ham striker Jaanai Gordon, who has netted twice in his first two City games.

    "The lad has done well. I think he's worked a little bit harder today than he did in his first game against Ebbsfleet and we've seen a bit more of him and what he's about," he said.

    "He's good with the ball around his feet. He's quite strong and quick off the mark and he's got two goals in two matches and his all-round game was much better today."

    Chelmsford boss praises West Ham starlet and four-goal hitman

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    Pub, clubs and bars in Essex are sure to be packed for the annual ritual that is New Year's Eve this Wednesday.

    So if you've got nothing planned, why not try out one of the 11 events below for size?

    Asylum, Viaduct Road, Chelmsford

    What: A rocking, raucous way to see in the New Year with the Asylum inmates featuring live music and DJs.

    Price: Advance tickets £5 from the venue, £7 entry on the night. Over 18s only.

    Party hard into the New Year at the Chelmsford venue with live sets from brilliant garage rock duo Midnight Barbers and Andy Poole's Riddled With Booze Orchestra. There will also be guest DJs taking turns on the decks in between the bands and the fun will continue into the early hours.

    The Bassment, 16 Wells Street, Chelmsford

    What: Dance your way through the decades with some of Essex's best DJs

    Price: Limited £50 and £60 advance tickets which include entry and drinks

    Get your dancing shoes on for a time-travelling, genre-hopping mix of music taking you through the disco, indie, hip hop and alternative party anthems of the last half century. Andy Hatman kicks things off with a 1960s set, Darryl Butcher takes you through the 1970s, Alex Hill is the king of the 1980s, James 'Lopez' Hulbert looks after the 1990s while Mat Format will be playing classics from the 2000s with a special birthday set.

    Chinnery's, Marine Parade, Southend

    What: New Year's Eve Spectacular

    Price: £12 advance

    A great gig to end the year at the ever-popular seafront venue with sets from ska band Goldmaster All Stars, soulful troubadour Longy, The Fifty Four Plates and The Captain's Daughter. Doors open at 8pm and the music will take you into 2015.

    The Golden Fleece, Duke Street, Chelmsford, CM1 1JP

    What: 20-hour long Nerw Years Eve party with free entry. Breakfast from 6am

    Price: Free entry. Large breakfast £3.95

    Yes, you read that right. The Duke street pub with a strong cult following will be open for business from 12 noon on December 31 until 8am the next morning, with breakfast served at 6am. With DJs all day and night and the cheapest meal in town this night is set to be popular. The staff advising to get there early and avoid disappointment.

    Sigmaat Shades, 13-17 Alexandra Street, Southend SS1 1BX

    What: club night
    Price: £15

    Say an edgy goodbye to 2014 at Southend-on-sea's Shades. This year top british Drum and Bass duo Sigma will be playing in the New Year with anight full of confetti cannons, UV sticks and complimentary champagne.

    Evoke, Market Road, Chelmsford, CM1 1XA

    What: Night in Vegas Party
    Price: £8

    Chelmsford's biggest superclub is starting 2015 with a bang at their A Night In Vegas party. With Casino tables, showgirls and the clubs resident DJs clubbers can expect lavish entertainment until 4am. VIP table service also availible on booking.

    Downs Hall Country House Hotel, Matching Road, Hatfield Heath, CM22 7AS

    What: New Years Eve Ball
    Price: £149 per person for twin or double room. Upgrades from £20

    Rein in the new year with class at Downs Hall. You will be greeted with canapes and champagne followed by a four course dinner with wine, before finally dancing the night away with a resident DJ. Dress code is black tie.

    Axe and Compasses, Aythorpe Roding, Dunmow, Essex, CM6 1PP

    What: Dinner and disco
    Price: £34.95 per person

    Enjoy a laidback setting at this rural pub with a decandent four course dinner including sirloin steak and cointreau brownies with chantilly cream. If you can still move after the feat then a disco awaits to dance the night away.

    Liquid and Envy, 131 High Street, Colchester, CO1 1SP

    What: Casino Royale club night
    Price: £10

    Nothing spells glamour like gambling at Colchester's biggest nightclubs Liquid and Envy. Spend the evening playing roulette and make sure that you dress to impress.

    The King's Oak Hotel, Paul's Nursery Road, High Beach, Essex, IG10 4AE

    What: New Years Eve Family Party
    Price: Adults £35, Children £10

    One of the few events this new year to cater for families, the party at the King's Oak Hotel is sure to keep everyone happy. Children 12 years and under are welcome to enjoy a buffet dinner and dancing until 1am.

    Missoula, 7 Springfield Road, Chelmsford, CM2 6JE

    What: Champagne Party

    Price: £6

    At just £6 for entry this is (almost) cheapest night out on the list. Expect a cocktails and canape reception with live entertainment and confetti cannons at midnight. 

    New Years Eve 2014: 11 places to go in Chelmsford and Essex

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    Patients have been warned not to visit Southend University Hospital unless seriously unwell or critically ill.

    The hospital has become the latest in Essex to declare a 'black alert' due to a higher than usual number of acutely ill patients requiring a hospital bed.

    Choking, chest pain, blacking out, blood loss and fractures are all considered emergencies.

    It follows Colchester and broomfield in advising patients not to visit unless completely necessary.

    Sue Hardy, acting chief executive at Southend University Hospital, said: "The health system in Essex is under significant pressure today with lots of illness in the community.

    The emergency department is extremely busy and patients are being warned that those attending with 'non-urgent' conditions will wait much longer than usual as patients are prioritised according to how unwell they are.

    "We would like to remind anyone who is unsure of the best course of action to always ring NHS 111 for health advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week."

    Patients have also been advised to visit St Luke's Walk in Centre, Pantile Avenue, Southend which is open at weekends and Bank Holidays from 8am to 8pm. 

    The walk-in service offers treatment, information and advice for a range of minor illnesses and injuries including.

    Dr Roger Gardiner, lead clinician for NHS 111 and out of hours services in south Essex, said: "NHS 111 is available around the clock if you need urgent medical help that is not an emergency.

    You will speak to highly trained call handlers, supported by experienced nurses or paramedics who will clinically assess you, provide appropriate advice or refer you to the most appropriate NHS service."

    You can also contact NHS 111 for an appointment with your GP's out-of-hours service which runs from 6.30pm until 8.00am Monday to Friday and all day at weekends and Bank Holidays.

    Southend Hospital on 'black alert' due to high numbers of A&E patients

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    A police investigation is under way after two men were stabbed during a disturbance at a property in Colchester.

    Officers and paramedics were called to Avignon Close at around 7.40pm yesterday. The two victims, aged 41 and 44 and both from Colchester, were taken to hospital for treatment to several puncture wounds to the leg.

    Both men are in a stable condition. 

    Police have now cordoned off the scene for forensic analysis. A search of the area was carried out and officers are knocking on surrounding houses.

    Anybody that can help is asked to contact officers at Colchester via Essex Police 101 or they can call independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

    Police cordon off property in Colchester after double stabbing

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    Not all supermarkets in Essex will be open on New Year's Day, with some remaining shut on the Bank Holiday and others operating restricted hours

    See below for all the opening times if you want to stock up on champagne to bring in 2015 with friends and family


    Tesco, Princes Road, Chelmsford

    • New Year's Eve - open until 7pm
    • New Year's Day - 9am to 6pm
    • Friday, January 2 - open as normal

    Tesco, Springfield Road, Chelmsford

    • New Year's Eve - open until 7pm
    • New Year's Day - closed
    • Friday, January 2 - open as normal

    Sainsbury's, White Hart Lane, Chelmsford

    • New Year's Eve - open until 7pm
    • New Year's Day - closed
    • Friday, January 2 - open as normal

    Aldi, Springfield Road, Chelmsford

    • New Year's Eve - 8am to 6pm
    • New Year's Day - closed
    • Friday, January 2 - 8am to 9pm

    Lidl, Van Diemens Road, Chelmsford

    • New Year's Eve - Open until 6pm
    • New Year's Day - closed
    • Friday, January 2 - Open as normal

    Asda, Chelmer Village Retail Park, Chelmsford

    • New Year's Eve - 6am until 7pm
    • New Year's Day - 10am to 6pm
    • Friday, January 2 - open as normal

    Marks and Spencer, High Street, Chelmsford

    • New Year's Eve - 8am to 6pm
    • New Year's Day - closed
    • Friday, January 2 - Open as normal


    Sainsbury's, Tofts Walk, Braintree

    • New Year's Eve - 7am until 7pm
    • New Year's Day - closed
    • Friday, January 2 - open as normal

    Tesco, Market Place, Braintree

    • New Year's Eve - 6am until 7pm
    • New Year's Day - closed
    • Friday, January 2 - open as normal

    Tesco, Coggeshall Road, Marks Gate, Braintree

    • New Year's Eve - 6am until 7pm
    • New Year's Day - 9am to 6pm
    • Friday, January 2 - open as normal

    Tesco, Notley Green, Braintree

    • New Year's Eve - 6am until 7pm
    • New Year's Day - closed
    • Friday, January 2 - open as normal

    Morrisons, Rayne Road, Braintree

    • New Year's Eve - 8am until 6pm
    • New Year's Day - 10am to 5pm
    • Friday, January 2 - open as normal


    Asda, Queen Elizabeth Square, South Woodham Ferrers

    • New Year's Eve - 6am to 7pm
    • New Year's Day - 10am to 6pm
    • Friday, January 2 - 8am to midnight


    Tesco, Fulbridge, Maldon

    • New Year's Eve - Open until 7pm
    • New Year's Day - 9am to 6pm
    • Friday, January 2 - open midnight onwards

    Morrisons, 43 - 45 High Street, Maldon

    • New Year's Eve - 7am to 9pm
    • New Year's Day - 8am to 9pm
    • Friday, January 2 - 7am to 9pm

    Morrisons, Limebrook Way, Maldon

    • New Year's Eve - 8am to 6pm
    • New Year's Day - 10am to 5pm
    • Friday, January 2 - 7am to 10pm

    Marks and Spencers, 40, 40a, 42 High Street, Maldon

    • New Year's Eve – 8am to 5pm
    • New Year's Day – closed
    • Friday, January 2 – 8am to 6pm


    Asda, 24 Highfields Road, Witham

    • New Year's Eve – 6am to 7pm
    • New Year's Day – 10am to 6pm
    • Friday, January 2 – open as normal

    Morrisons, Braintree Road, Witham

    • New Year's Eve – 8am to 6pm
    • New Year's Day – 10am to 5pm
    • Friday, January 2 – 7am to 9pm

    Morrisons, 113 Hatfield Road, Witham

    • New Year's Eve – 6am to 10pm
    • New Year's Day – 8am to 10pm
    • Friday, January 2 – 6am to 11pm

    Tesco, The Grove Centre, Witham

    • New Year's Eve – 6am to 7pm
    • New Year's Day - closed

    New Years Eve and New Years Day opening times at Tesco, Sainsburys, Asda, Morrisons, Aldi and Lidl

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    AN UNDER-THREAT community centre has been temporarily saved from closure after council intervention and a Chronicle appeal.

    The Ideas Hub, the home of 700 quirky and creative workshops, will stay open at High Chelmer in Chelmsford until the summer at least.

    Only two weeks ago the Chronicle told how the 3,500sq-ft, two-storey hub, which overlooks Bell Meadow, was ordered to close by New Year's Day to make way for a redevelopment and paying tenants.

    Yet city council leader Roy Whitehead, whose authority owns the shopping complex, stepped in after reading the article to ask operators Jones Lang LaSalle to formulate a compromise.

    "This is an excellent Christmas present," said Ideas Hub co-founder Leonie Ramondt.

    "We're delighted. It would be a huge loss to Chelmsford if we had to close.

    "Where else in Chelmsford can you meet all kinds of people over a cuppa in such a relaxed, friendly and joyful atmosphere?

    "These last two years it's been a home for more than 700 creative workshops, meet-ups and start-up businesses.

    "We're working with our newly formed committee and High Chelmer to establish a secure and sustainable future for the Ideas Hub. "

    High Chelmer management houses the Ideas Hub free-of-charge, but wanted to clear them out to tidy-up the venue for prospective businesses.

    They include shops already leaving the Exchange Way entrance of the complex to make way for the planned al fresco restaurant quarter.

    But after Cllr Whitehead pulled some strings, LaSalle agreed on Friday to let the Ideas Hub crew stay – if it helps tidy up the interior. Cllr Whitehead said: "We agreed it needs tidying up so we will provide storage space for the Ideas Hub."

    The hub, which does not have central heating, aims to reopen on Saturday, January 3.

    Ideas Hub given stay of execution at the High Chelmer

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    CHELMSFORD'S first micropub is proving popular with beer-lovers and drawing a crowd most evenings, according to its owner.

    John Prior, 52, from Chelmsford, opened The Hop Beer Shop on Moulsham Street less than two months ago and has found his new venture is a big hit, attracting customers with a variety of craft beers and its traditional pub atmosphere.

    And in the run-up to Christmas, Mr Prior says business has been booming.

    "It's been going very well so far, we're seeing regular faces, which is nice," he explained.

    "It's already got such a good atmosphere. There's no music, there's just lots of chatter. Everything is set up for that – so the chairs are all at a height that's on the same level as the people standing, so people can chat to each other whether they're sitting down or standing up.

    "People are interested in the local beer we have, they know what they want but they like to experiment too.

    "We've also got white or red wine in to give people more of a choice; not everyone likes beer."

    Setting up the pub was something of a labour of love for Mr Prior, who built everything in the pub himself, from the beer shelves to the tables.

    Nikki Roxane, 43, who is starting to become a regular, said: "There are quite a few girls in here. I like the fact that it's not open really late. It's something a little bit different, it's just a lovely atmosphere and you never get any hassle in here either."

    And despite initially worrying that the venture wouldn't be popular, Mr Prior is already impressing customers and has found that word-of-mouth has meant he hasn't had to advertise at all since opening a month ago today.

    Nigel Taylor, 55, from Galleywood, said: "I actually read about this place in the Chronicle.

    "I came down here because I've always liked real ale, so that's nice, there's no piped music and it's not a foody outlet. It's more like a pub used to be."

    His wife Mandy Taylor, 53, added: "I wasn't sure about it as I'm not keen on ales, but they do red and white wine now so there's something here I can drink too."

    And as well as serving different kinds of craft beer and ale, Mr Prior also said he hopes to run specialist evenings, such as a meet the brewer night, where customers can put questions to the makers of their favourite tipple.

    Business booming at The Hop: Chelmsford's first micropub

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    AS OFFICE parties around the county celebrated Christmas last Friday, rough sleepers around Chelmsford queued up for a hot meal and a bed for the night.

    CHESS, which has around 27 beds in various houses around the city, runs its rough sleepers' shelter throughout the year.

    But it always sees an increase in winter as the city's homeless are put at serious risk by the cold weather.

    Jacqui Parker, client support senior manager for CHESS, explained that the George Street charity will be opening a winter project from January 2, providing extra beds for six people as the cold weather worsens, as well as serving food tomorrow (Christmas Day).

    She said: "We work on a referral system, but with the winter shelter we give priority to the street homeless. The winter project runs until March, depending on the weather.

    "Unfortunately, for the main beds, we do have a long waiting list, but it's not just for one night that they stay. If they come into CHESS, they can actually stay for two years.

    "Even if they aren't staying here, people can have a shower and wash their clothes."

    The charity has previously received money from the Surviving Winter Appeal, run by the Essex Community Foundation in conjunction with the Essex Chronicle.

    Adding his support for the Surviving Winter fund, the Bishop of Chelmsford, The Right Revd Stephen Cottrell, said: "For many elderly and vulnerable people, winter time brings significant challenges.

    "They try to keep warm, balance costs and maintain human contact. The Surviving Winter Appeal recognises such challenges and is there to help.

    "It urges us all to consider how we might help prevent elderly and vulnerable people dying through a cause linked to the cold. The appeal enables us to work together in a variety of ways and I would urge people to give their support.

    And donations enable the charity to ensure that they can provide food, shelter, and other necessities such as sleeping bags, tents, bedding and clothes, to those who need them most.

    Jacqui added: "We give them whatever they need through the night."

    But as well as the valuable contributions made by the Essex Community Foundation, CHESS business support manager Barbara Buxton said what they are in desperate need of is more volunteers. "We need two volunteers every day, every night, 365 days a year. We get a lot of offers to help out around Christmas, but we are here all year round, although of course we are very grateful to people who want to volunteer to give up their time at this time of year," she explained.

    "Christmas raises awareness for the homeless, because of the cold weather and loneliness, it triggers something in a lot of people, and reminds people about the homeless – especially if they have been there themselves."

    Volunteers such as Jane Shelley, who has been involved with the charity for around 15 years, felt the shelter makes a real difference to the lives of homeless people in Chelmsford.

    "I just felt I wanted to do something for other people, and a church I went to several years ago got involved in a winter project in one of their church halls, and I then realised there was a shelter here," she said. "I have been doing this for more than 15 years now, some months I will do it weekly, some fortnightly.

    "I think it makes a real difference to people. For some people it just helps them to not slide any more down the ladder and almost stop still and then start to move forward. We have seen some real success stories."

    As well as help from volunteers and the Surviving Winter Appeal, CHESS this year received a sack of Christmas presents from the Braintree Christmas Present Appeal. "We originally collected presents for elderly people as a good way to establish contact between the parish council and older people who may have been vulnerable," explained Nathan Rowland from Braintree District Council, volunteer for the present appeal.

    "But we went from 600 presents last year to 1,300 this year, so we wanted to share them with night shelters in the area too."

    Chelmsford's homeless to be sheltered from the freezing cold

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    MALDON & Tiptree and Heybridge Swifts played out a 1-1 draw in their derby match held on Boxing Day.

    It was the first time Cliff Akurang was coming up against his former coaching partner Alan Kimble in opposing dugouts and both were left with differing views on a late decision from the referee.

    The match was goalless at half-time but only five minutes after the restart Billy Hunt dribbled through the Maldon defence to dink the ball over Tom Warren.

    The home side were playing off the back of consecutive 1-0 wins and it looked likely they were going to get the hat-trick and move up to 14th.

    But they were made to be punished for not putting the game to bed in the 89th minute when the referee turned the game on it's head after adjudging Damien Green of fouling Alex Andrews in the box.

    To add insult the referee opted to send off the defender for being the last man and Nathan Koranteng stepped up and dispatched the penalty past Danny Sambridge to give Maldon a share of the points.

    Maldon boss Alan Kimble felt the draw was more than what his side deserved and had no qualms that the right decision was made.

    "Overall I was pleased how we kept going until the end and I thought 1-1 was a fair result," said Kimble.

    "I've had a look at it on YouTube and I thought it was a definitely a penalty.

    "A little bit of sour grapes on their part but at the end of the day the referee's out there on the pitch, he has to make decisions and thankfully enough he made the right decision.

    "Nathan tucked the penalty in well and we could have gone and won it in the end."

    The Heybridge Swifts manager however took the opposite view on the decision that denied his side their third win in as many games.

    "From the angle from where I was standing, which was behind the play, it looked as though he got the ball but obviously the referee was in a better position than I was," said Akurang.

    "For me if someone goes to ground and comes away with the ball then that indicates that they've made connection with the ball and that's what it looked like to me so I feel the referee's got that one wrong but it's not going to affect the result now, it's 1-1 and that's how it stays, all we can do is roll our selleves up and put this one right."

    Heybridge face an away trip to Barkingside on New Year's day who they drew 1-1 with earlier in the season whilst Maldon & Tiptree are at home in another derby this time against Burnham Ramblers.

    Burnham's match on Saturday against Great Wakering Rovers was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch and they remain rooted to the bottom of the table after seven losses on the bounce.

    Witham Town also succumbed to the adverse weather on the weekend and they're match at home to Canvey Island was also postponed.

    They face a tough away trip to Leiston on New Year's Day in hope of ending a run of three games without a win.

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    The family of a 10-year-old who died from a rare brain tumour have found comfort in Christmas presents from her mysteriously arriving in the post.

    The McKinstry family, of Maltese Road, have discovered Chelmsford Cathedral School pupil Lily-Mae bought presents on her dad Andrew's credit card, including a chicken costume for her brother Ethan, 12, before her death on November 7.

    The Chronicle told how Lily-Mae's family were attempting to complete her 16-point bucket list in her honour a fortnight ago.

    Her story has since gone global, after appearing in national newspapers and websites the world over on Friday, December 19.

    "She would have loved the attention," said mum Vicki.

    Lily-Mae was admitted to Broomfield Hospital in May, after her speech and thinking became laboured, where they were told she had Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) and a 2cm tumour.

    The incurable disease attacks the nervous system and affects just 40 British children a year

    By the time of her funeral, where she was carried by a horse-drawn carriage, which was one of her wishes, her school had raised more than £1,500 for CLIC Sargent through a fundraising week.

    Mystery of Christmas presents in the post for family of tragic Lily-Mae

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    A Save The Children aid worker was confirmed as having Ebola in Glasgow yesterday, before being moved to London this morning.

    The woman, an NHS health worker, was working in Sierra Leone and had taken a flight to Casablanca before landing at Heathrow where her temperature was taken.

    It was normal, so she was allowed to carry on to Glasgow, where she became feverish.

    She was then put into an isolated ward at a Glasgow hospital, before being flown and taken by ambulance to a specialist unit at a London hospital earlier today.

    The risk to the public's health is said to be 'very low'.

    With this new outbreak of Ebola in the UK, we give you a round-up of some of the questions you may be looking for answers to.

    How do you catch Ebola?

    Health experts say that you need to have direct touch with an infected person's bodily fluids such as vomit, diarrhoea or blood and then touch your own body such as your nose or mouth.

    Before someone has symptoms, they are not infectious – but it is only when they become very ill with vomiting and diarrhoea that the risk is substantially higher of getting the virus.

    If they are only feverish, they do not have much virus in their blood and the risk of passing it on is 'low'.

    Can I get it from gym equipment that has an infected person's sweat on it?

    Experts have said this is 'not a significant risk', as a person would have to be critically ill to have enough virus in their sweat to possibly infection someone.

    What about saliva or sneezes?

    Again, the person would have to be bedridden and very ill to spread it this way, and the sneeze would have to be directly on someone else's eyes, nose or mouth.

    But it is not a respiratory virus like a cold or flu.

    Is it an airborne disease?

    No, you cannot get it by breathing in air particles and there is no evidence to suggest that it will become so in the future. You are most likely to get Ebola from caring for a sick person and getting in contact with their bodily fluids. 

    How can you catch Ebola? What you need to know as deadly disease comes to the UK

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    Revellers from Essex enjoying New Year will be keeping as much of an eye on the Greater Anglia timetable as they will on drinks prices.

    The last trains from Liverpool Street to stations in the county follow a normal Saturday schedule.

    Unfortunately this means you face something of a fight to get back to the station unless you find an alternative place to stay over.

    Therefore if you wish to make it in time to get back to Chelmsford via Ingatestone, make sure you get the first trains of 2015 at 12.18am, and the very last at 12.46am.

    New Years Eve: When is the last train from Liverpool Street to Chelmsford?

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    IRON manager Alan Devonshire was left disappointed but not downhearted after seeing his side's recent mini winning run come to an abrupt end at the Miles Smith Stadium on Sunday after the promotion-chasing visitors Eastleigh scored four second-half goals to seal a 5-1 victory.

    "Anyone seeing the final scoreline will think we were hammered but nothing could be further from the truth," he declared.

    "They simply finished better than us. They had six goalscoring chances and scored five and we had just as many but didn't and, as the old saying goes, it's goals that change matches."

    Devonshire went on: "We equalised on half-time and in the first five minutes of the restart were pressuring them in their area and, to be fair, their keeper [Ross Flitney] pulls off a remarkable double save from Simeon Akinola and the rebound from Dan Sparkes.

    "So it could well have been 2-1 to us but they immediately broke away down the other end and their striker [James Constable] drives the ball in from the right and it takes a wicked deflection and ends up in the back of the net.

    "A minute later they counterattack and our defender Sam Habergham makes a mistake with a poor headed back-pass and Constable is on goal and we're 3-1 down and the game is effectively over."

    Devonshire explained: "We know they are a quality side full of experienced Football League players and they have a big budget to attract such class players and we don't so it's as easy as that. They punished us when they attacked but their keeper certainly kept them in the game even in the first half when we had more clearcut chances than them."

    Constable, the 30-year-old former Oxford United striker, had one of those days every forward likes where every shot he hit conjured up either went in or, as in the first half, grazed the Iron bar.

    The other difference on the day was in midfield, where the Iron lacked their usual penetration and where ex-Iron midfielder Jai Reason had a field day.

    "Yes, the scoreline perhaps flatters us on the day but I thought we played well and took our chances where my old side had chances and we were more clinical in front of goal and that's where it really counted," claimed Reason.

    "I still think Braintree are a good side and will continue to hold their own in the league and on another day things could have been much different."

    In a fairly even first half the Iron almost took the lead on 20 minutes when Sparkes jinked his way down to the byeline and, with keeper Flitney beaten, the ball was bicycled-kicked off the goal line by defender Ben Strevens.

    After Filtney then denied two more Iron goal chances, the visitors broke away and the ball rebounded kindly to Craig Stanley, who sent a first-time curling right-foot shot into the top corner. of the net. giving home keeper Nic Hamann no chance.

    A minute before the break all the Iron pressure paid off when the tricky Akinola, who caused problems for the visiting defence all afternoon with his pace, was hauled down in the area by Will Evans and Mitch Brundle, in for the injured Ryan Peters, scored from the penalty spot.

    In the second minute of stoppage time, the Iron should have scored after Akinola had worked his way past three defenders into the area, slid the ball across to Marks and the Iron striker was desperately unlucky to see his close-range shot come back off the foot of the postwith Flitney beaten.

    The second half started well for the Iron but, having had early goal efforts beaten away by defenders and that double save from Flitney, the visitors skipped up the other end and on 54 minutes Constable netted with a deflected shot. A minute later he was on hand to punish Habergham's mistake and make it 3-1.

    The Iron rallied and a double substitution on 62 minutes, with fit-again skipper Kenny Davis and Jordan Cox coming on for Chez Isaac and Sean Marks respectively, gave some fresh impetus but the visitors were on a roll.

    Constable completed his hat-trick on 77 minutes with another first-time shot with the Iron caught again on the counter attack, while two minutes previously Jack Midson had outjumped the unfortunate Habergham at the far post.

    In the final five minutes, even though the result by then was beyond doubt Matt Paine, James Mulley and Remi Clerima all saw their goalbound efforts cleared away by Flitney who was clearly the man of the match on the day.

    Devonshire said: "It wasn't a poor performance despite the scoreline and I went into our dressing room afterwards and told the lads that - I didn't ruck them because they did their best but they know we weren't clinical in front of goal like Eastleigh were. And their keeper certainly kept them in the game.

    "But we will dust ourselves down and look to do better against Dartford on New Year's Day," he said. "I've had to swop players around to try and keep them fresh and I already know what my side will be against Dartford."

    Braintree Town: Hamann; Brundle, Clerima, Massey, Habergham; Mulley, Isaac (Davis 62), Paine, Sparkes; Akinola (Strutton 76), Marks (Cox 62). Subs not used: Smith, Pentney. Att: 874.

    Devonshire lauds Eastleigh finishing at Braintree

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    You might not be heading out for a celebratory glass of wine but there are plenty of other options if you're looking at another way of bringing in 2015.

    The supermarkets are also laying on the special offers on food and alcohol, meaning you don't have to break the bank to enjoy a good time.


    Sainsbury's are offering three party food selection options for £5, and  

    Marks and Spencer is offering a free bottle of cava or wine with three packets of food.

    Morrisons is selling each packet of party food for £2 each

    Tesco is offering 20 per cent off if you buy three or more bottles of Finest wine or Champagne 


    Those all important discount wines are on offer from budget chains Aldi and Lidl

    Aldi is selling its award-winning Champagne Veuve Monsigny Champagne Brut for £9.99 

    You can also buy Morrisons' signature Pinot Gris,  £7.99

    Asda's Extra Special Prosecco is just £6 

    Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Prosecco Conegliano has been cut in price to £7.50 from £10 until January 1.

    New Years Eve 2014: Top tips for food and bubbles at Tesco, Sainsburys and Aldi

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    The fire station in Chelmsford could be used as a hub for ambulances to improve response times.

    East of England Ambulance crews will use Frinton and Old Harlow fire stations as part of a three-month pilot scheme from mid January.

    If successful the approach will be rolled out later in 2015 to Chelmsford fire station, in Waterhouse Lane, as well as Colchester and Waltham Abbey.

    "The facility allows the ambulance service to have more people in the right place when they are needed and should get ambulances to people quicker," explained assistant divisional officer Mark Wilby, Essex County Fire & Rescue Service project manager.

    "The pilot is simply an extension of ECFRS' commitment to strengthening partnerships and shared services with other blue lights services.

    "Firefighters very often work alongside ambulance teams at the scene of road traffic collisions and by providing ambulance colleagues with a bolt hole, there will be the positive practical benefits but also the move should help to develop relationships on the ground and potentially lead to greater understanding and potentially further down the line joint training and information sharing.

    Ambulance crews will be allocated an identified hatched area located on ECFRS station forecourts between 6am and 2am and will turn out during these times to emergency calls with an additional advantage of the crews being able to use fire station toilet facilities, rest areas and take on light refreshments.

    If they respond to a 999 call, then another ambulance or paramedic vehicle will be redeployed to take its place.

    "This is not about replacing ambulance stations," ADO Wilby added.

    "Ambulance crews will still pick up their vehicles, do their safety checks, paperwork and daily business routines back at base

    Chelmsford fire station to be used to improve ambulance response times

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