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

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    With hundreds of different ideas for sweet and savoury pancakes this Shrove Tuesday, it's difficult to stand out from the crowd - but creating a pancake of your kids' favourite cartoon characters may just do it.

    One clever pancake maker has shared a video detailing how to make Peppa Pig-style pancakes, which are sure to be a big hit with smaller family members.

    And all you'll need is your pancake mixture (recipe below), a squeeze bottle, and a little imagination. You can create a variety of characters and shapes, or, follow the demonstration below for perfect Peppa Pig-style pancakes.

    Simple pancake recipe

    You will need:

    2 eggs

    Half a pint of milk

    100g plain flour

    Pinch of salt

    Oil for frying pan

    To make:

    Put the flour and salt into a bowl, crack in the eggs and begin to whisk, adding the milk little by little as you go, until your mixture is smooth, with no lumps.

    Heat a frying pan, using a little oil to make sure your pancakes don't stick, then pour a little of the mixture in, tilting the pan until the base is covered.

    Use a spatula to check whether the bottom is golden, and when it is, simply flip it over and cook the other side until golden. Or, try the Peppa Pig-style method for creative pancakes.

    Be a Pancake Day pro, with Peppa Pig-style pancakes for the kids


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    Five brave Britons have been shortlisted for a one-way ticket to Mars as they hope to become the first humans to live on another world.

    The shortlist includes four women and one man from the UK who are part of a 100 strong group of intrepid adventurers which hop to set up a human settlement on the planet by 2024.

    The project, named Mars One, is a privately funded mission estimated to cost six billion dollars and will be filmed for a reality TV show.

    Dutch entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp, is a co-founder of Mars One, he said: "The large cut in candidates is an important step towards finding out who has the right stuff to go to Mars.

    "These aspiring Martians provide the world with a glimpse into who the modern day explorers will be."

    Crews of four will depart every two years, starting in 2024 with the first unmanned mission launched in 2018.

    Mars One says that more than 200,000 people applied for mission with 50 men and 50 women, including 39 from the Americas, 31 from Europe, 16 from Asia, seven from Africa and seven from Oceania.

    The Britons were selected from 660 candidates after taking part in online interviews and tested on their understanding of the risks involved, team spirit and motivation to be part of the expedition.

    PhD student in astronomy at Durham University, Hannah Earnshaw, 23, is among the British hopefuls. She said: "Human space exploration has always interested me so the opportunity to be one of the people involved was really appealing. The future of humanity is in space.

    "My family is pretty thrilled. They're really happy for me. Obviously it's going to be challenging, leaving Earth and not coming back."

    The other British hopefuls are Dr Maggie Lieu, 24, a PhD in Astrophysics at the University of Birmingham, Oxford University student Ryan MacDonald, 21, from Derby, Alison Rigby, 35, a science laboratory technician, from Beckenham, Kent, and Clare Weedon, 27, a systems integration manager for Virgin Media, from Addlestone, in Surrey.

    For more information go to: http://www.mars-one.com/

    Britons shortlisted for one-way ticket to Mars


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    Essex have signed Australian paceman Shaun Tait for this season's NatWest T20 Blast.

    The 31-year-old previously played for Essex during the 2013 season, where a series of impressive performances helped the team reach Finals Day.

    His most notable spell came in the quarter-final away at Notts Outlaws, where his 4-29 helped the team to a 47 run win.

    Tait has a career Twenty20 bowling average of 21.44, but during his first spell with the county he bettered that;taking 16 wickets at an average of 17.18.

    Head coach Paul Grayson is delighted that Tait will return. "Shaun had such a positive impact around the club during his first spell. Not only on the pitch during the Twenty20 campaign, but he also spent time working with the younger players throughout the summer.

    "We believe we have an excellent chance of winning the NatWest T20 Blast this season, and Shaun will help us towards that target. Alongside Jesse Ryder, we now have two really exciting overseas players."

    "In the LV= County Championship, we are intent on giving our younger players a chance, and our focus is very much on youth; in the Twenty20 competition, we want to use all our experience in this format and go all the way."

    Tait said: "I am happy to be signed up again with Essex for the 2015 NatWest T20 Blast. I'm looking forward to getting back to Chelmsford to see all the players and supporters again, and getting ready for the opening game on May 15 versus Hampshire." 

    Essex sign up Australian fast bowler Shaun Tait for T20 Blast


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    HEYBRIDGE Swifts manager Cliff Akurang was happy his side learned to batten down the hatches in their goalless draw with Cheshunt on Saturday.

    Their two previous games had seen defeats to Cray Wanderers and Barkingside respectively leaving them precariously loitering over the Ryman North relegation zone.

    With Cheshunt also down fighting for their survival in the league Akurang admitted he had to tinker with his tactics to ensure no more points were dropped.

    "I think on reflection of the game a 0-0 was probably a fair result, I don't think either team was clinical enough when they were on top of the game," said Akurang.

    "From what I was watching out there we need to work a little bit more on our game and hopefully improve it for the next one.

    "In saying that I've asked the boys to play a certain way now because when we play these teams they're fighting for their lives because they're down at the bottom.

    "They're going to have these battling qualities because they've been down there and that's what I put the two previous defeats down to.

    "They out battled us. I asked the team to play a certain way where they're not taking too many risks and it was the start of a different style.

    "I felt that in periods they got it and in large periods they didn't but defensively they stayed strong and that was the main point.

    "We can't be giving up points to teams around us, I don't mind us picking up points here and there.

    "We seem to be picking up points against the top teams and losing to the teams in and around us which is a very dangerous game so now I had to put a stop to it.

    "Where we had originally tried to knock the ball about and look a little bit easy on the eye, it was just getting picked off, it's happened in the last two games.

    "I was going to make sure that it wasn't going to happen a third time by nullifying that threat, it wasn't a pretty performance but we still had three one-on-ones so that was a bit frustrating."

    Just as Akurang had changed the formation back to two strikers he was dealt a blow when Adeyinka Cole got shown a straight red – a decision that left him bemused.

    "I think it was harsh on Ade, anyone that knows Ade knows he's the softest player in our team and he wouldn't hurt a fly," said Akurang.

    "I was right in front of the incident and he went to block the clearance and won the ball, didn't touch the guy at all so it was a strange one for me why the linesman wanted to make an issue of it.

    "It changed the mentality back to 'now we've got to really defend and graft' and they're starting to get that resilience back that gave them the results in the first place when I first joined." 

    Akurang happy Heybridge Swifts showed battling qualities in goalless draw


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    CHELMSFORD'S Daryl Selby hailed Nick Matthew for his professionalism after claiming his record seventh British title.

    Selby was undone in the British Squash Championship final in Manchester on Sunday by Matthew in three straight games and despite joking 'hopefully he can retire soon and let the rest of us have a bit of a shot' the 32-year-old believes the Sheffielder deserves every credit.

    "You have to take your hat off to him and what he's done in the game of squash is unbelievable really," said Selby.

    "He wasn't the highest ranked junior and nobody was really tipping him as the next best thing but through hard work and sheer grit he's got to the very top.

    "He's won all of those seven titles against other top ten, top five players and he deserves every bit of that success.

    "He's two and a half years old than me so we didn't play as much as juniors but as seniors he's the ultimate professional.

    "His life is squash, he lives every day to play like it's a big match and play on the big stage and I think that's why he's had so much success because he's devoted so much time and effort into making himself the best he can possibly be.

    "It's good for English squash as well to have someone that's been World Champion three times.

    "It's a good thing to be a part of a team with him as well because we're the reigning World Champions and I was part of that English team that won in 2013 so it was nice to be on the same team as him in that situation."

    Daryl Selby hails 'unbelievable' Nick Matthew after record seventh British squash title


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    Perhaps you started your day off with a pancake breakfast. Well, before you shovel down the calories this Shrove Tuesday find out if you'll unknowingly be piling on way too many pounds.

    Today is the final day before lent to consume all the goodies you intend to give up for the next 40 days, so choosing the calorific option is no doubt the obvious choice. But have you thought about how many there are in a pancake?

    Before you pick your treat of choice, look at the alarming differences between these two recipes:

    Keep in mind an average sized pancake consists of 175 calories, so if you create a stack of five you'll be eating around 875 calories!

    The calorific option:

    Creme Egg delight

    • Recipe:
    • 3 Cadbury Creme eggs
    • 225ml milk, plus an extra 10ml (2tsp)
    • 75g plain flour
    • 1 egg, beaten
    • 1tbsp (15ml) sunflower oil
    1. Cut the creme eggs in half down and separate. Then scoop out the 'goo' and place in a small saucepan (or place the 'goo' in a microwaveable bowl and microwave on high power for about10-20 secs).
    2. Break the milk chocolate shells into pieces, then place in a small bowl with 125ml of the milk. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir until the chocolate and milk has melted together, allowing to cool slightly.
    3. Now for the pancakes: place the flour in a bowl, with the egg and remaining milk and chocolate milk, then whisk it together to form a batter.
    4. Dip a piece of rolled up kitchen paper into the oil and rub over an 18cm pancake or crepe pan, then heat over a moderate heat. Pour 2 to 3 tbsp of the chocolate batter into the pan, tilting it so that the batter covers the base thinly and evenly.
    5. Cook for about one minute, or until the pancake is set. Loosen the edges with a palette knife then either turn the pancake over or toss. Cook the second side for about 30 seconds, or until just set.
    6. Slide the pancake onto a plate, cover with baking parchment or foil and keep warm. Use the oil to cook the remaining batter in the same way, to make another seven pancakes. Add each one to the warm plate, layering with baking parchment.
    7. Place the pan with the 'goo' over a moderate heat with the 10ml of milk, until melted. Try not to stir the mixture, just gently shake the pan. To serve, fold the pancakes into triangles and drizzle the 'goo' sauce over the top.

    Packed in with the creme eggs there are 625 calories in this explosive chocolaty creation.

    Read more here

    The light option:

    • 125g (4½ oz) wholemeal flour
    • 1 medium egg
    • 300ml (½ pt) semi-skimmed milk
    1. Place the flour in a large bowl and, mix in the egg, whisk in the milk creating a smooth batter.
    2. Heat some oil in a small frying pan and pour in the batter to create a thin base.
    3. Cook the pancake for one minute until golden, turn and cook for 30 seconds. 
    4. Repeat this method eight times to make eight pancakes, then use the tip to fill your pancake. 
    5. Add some fruit to get in your five-a-day!

    There are 92 calories in one wholemeal pancake, so add in some fruit and you'll waistline will be laughing. 

    Read more here

    What do you think? Will you let the calories effect which pancake you'll make this Pancake Day? We'd love to see what creations you've made, so tweet us a picture or recipe @EssexChronicle or visit our facebook page

    How many calories will you be consuming this Pancake Day?


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    Four men from Essex were arrested today (February, 17) on suspicion of conspiring to supply over £5 million worth of drugs.

    A 30-year-old man from Great Dunmow, a 27-year-old man from Rayne, a 22-year-old man from Braintree and a 29-year-old man, also from Braintree, were apprehended at 5am this morning.

    Police seized one kilo of cocaine from a vehicle on the A120 in Braintree on September 30 last year before unearthing 3.7 tonnes of cannabis in Chelmsford on October 10, 2014.

    Authorities then seized one kilo of cocaine from Great Dunmow, plus a further kilo of cocaine from a Great Dunmow vehicle, on November 20, 2014.

    The 3.7 tonnes of cannabis totals £4.6 million, while the three kilo cocaine haul has a value of £720,000.

    Officers from the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU), assisted by officers from local forces, carried out 12 warrants across Essex, north London and Hertfordshire this morning.

    Two other men, a 24-year-old and a 36-year-old, both from London, were also arrested.

    All six men remain in custody in Hertfordshire.

    Four Essex men arrested after £5 million worth of drugs are seized


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    TEACHERS, teaching assistants and dinner ladies who go the extra mile were championed at a county school awards evening.

    The second Essex Teaching Awards was held at Anglia Ruskin University in Chelmsford on Wednesday last week.

    Helping young children settle after their school burnt down in August 2013 earned ten dinner ladies from a Braintree school an award.

    The midday assistants at John Ray Juniors were given the trophy for team of the year after being nominated by colleagues. They were particularly praised for the way they have helped care for the children from John Ray infant school.

    The infant pupils share a playground with the junior school while their school is being rebuilt.

    Head teacher at John Ray Juniors, Verity Boreham, said: "The team had a very testing time last year when they were asked to help with the children from the infant school.

    "It was quite a challenge having all these extra children but they met every one of them with a smile.

    "The team go above and beyond to care for the children, undertaking tasks such as hearing the children read, and taking responsibility for key children, watching out for them in the playground.

    "In the past few months we have had the building work on site to cope with, but these ten ladies ensure lunchtimes are a wonderful experience for the children.

    "They organise games, sports and quiet zones, something for every child. I have no doubt the children learn so well in the afternoon because they are given such a positive lunchtime experience by this team."

    Laura Dowsett was praised for helping children with special educational needs at Maltings Academy in Witham and won the award for teaching assistant of the year.

    Laura, who has worked at the school for six years, said: "I was shocked as I did not even know I had been nominated.

    "I'm looking forward to taking the trophy back to the department as I know the other staff and the pupils will be thrilled too."

    Also collecting an award was Laura's boss, head of Maltings Academy, John Szynal, who was highly commended in the secondary school head teacher of the year category. Announcing the award, Chris Kiernan, Essex's interim director of commissioning, education and lifelong learning, said: "There are few jobs more difficult than that of being a secondary school head teacher.

    "Every day they are faced with a myriad of problems.

    "They have to be meditator, social worker, attendance officer and that's before attending to all the pupils' various needs."

    Mr Szynal took over running Maltings Academy in 2010, the year before it moved to new premises.

    "I am very surprised, honoured and humbled to receive this award," he said. "I see it as an accolade for the school as a whole, as staff, students and parents all work together."

    Also admitting to her surprise at a commendation was Penny Smith, head teacher of White Notley Primary School, who was presented with a lifetime achievement award.

    She said: "I'm shocked but very honoured. This award is for my school as a whole as everyone there works incredibly hard.

    "We all work together, so this is for all the staff at White Notley."

    Penny, whose 39-year career in teaching has been spent entirely in Essex, is retiring this summer.

    The awards were open for nominations during the summer holidays and autumn term in 2014, with nominations received from head teachers, governing bodies and students.

    Essex County Councillor Ray Gooding, cabinet member for education and lifelong learning, said: "New to the awards this year was the student choice award and it was wonderful to see teachers being recognised by the students they inspired, who were there to cheer them on.

    "The direct impact these winners have on their students, especially those in challenging circumstances is clear and in many cases life-changing."

    All the winners will be entered into the National Teaching Awards, run by Pearson.

    Braintree John Ray dinner ladies named Essex school team of the year


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    A UNIQUE stretch of land just a few miles south of Burnham-on-Crouch is entering a crucial stage in its development as Europe's largest wetland nature reserve.

    Workers at Wallasea Island are reconstructing 150 hectares of reformed land, and are gearing up to begin breaching the island's sea wall in July.

    Rachel Fancy, Wallasea Island warden, revealed this momentous occasion will be a huge milestone for the project, as it will allow an intertidal habitat – the area where the land meets the sea – to blossom.

    The 37-year-old said: "We will be making three holes in the island's eastern edge, and we hope this will enable it to become one of Essex's main coastal habitats.

    "Once this process is complete, it should also reduce the impact of storm surges, but there are quite a few other benefits to the project.

    "Aside from aiding flood management and wildlife preservation, there will be a big area of green space, which we want to be an important part of people's lives."

    In fact, when the project is complete in 2019, it is expected that the reserve will be twice the size of the City of London.

    The transformation of the land is predominantly being funded by Crossrail, the new railway for London and the south east, which will travel through the heart of the capital.

    The subsidiary company of Transport for London has deposited more than three million tonnes of soil to help build the reserve as it tunnels beneath London.

    It is anticipated that 30,000 tourists will visit the site annually when construction is complete, with Maldon District Council securing a £292,000 Government grant to improve access to the site from Burnham-on-Crouch.

    The Environment Agency has also pledged £1 million to the scheme as the lasting effects of the project will inevitably help it to reach its mitigation of climate change targets.

    Rachel, who has been working on the project for nearly two years, said: "We had 20 dumper trucks on-site over the summer, but things are really starting to move forward now.

    "Up to 20 boats a week have each been ferrying 2,000 tonnes of soil from the Crossrail excavations and we hope to begin transforming the area into an ancient landscape of saltmarsh and mud flats very soon.

    "We also have to raise the land for this to happen as Wallasea is below sea level, and we have plans to build another footpath because, at present, we only have a single, three km route for visitors."

    In the next few years, the RSPB-led scheme will create a varied wetland landscape with more than nine miles of new and improved access routes, and, eventually, a range of visitor facilities.

    Once completed, this landmark conservation will provide a haven for an array of nationally and internationally important wildlife.

    Visitors are welcome to view the progress as each phase comes to life and the marshland naturally regenerates.

    The access along the north sea wall is a favourite spot for ramblers, bird-watchers and photographers.

    RSPB set for landmark phase in Wallasea Island development


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    A FIGHT to fix a flood-prone road has escalated to threats of legal action and accusations of council negligence.

    Residents have been calling for repair works at Hulls Lane, a half-mile stretch between the A414 and Sandon, for about a decade.

    After a flurry of e-mails and a fresh rain deluge in January, Essex County Council, which is responsible for highways, has offered new hope by carrying out jetting works along the road.

    Some residents remain sceptical however, and one farmer says he could sue if flooding ruins his sweet beans harvest.

    Sheep and arable farmer Richard Speakman, who owns land either side of the road, said: "Every time it rains that road floods.

    "Financially we are now potentially going to lose farming income as a result of Essex County Council and we will potentially, through the farmers union, submit a claim through loss of earnings because I have land which is actually under water.

    "Essex County Council has an absolute disregard for public safety and should a nasty accident take place, and God preserve it is not a nasty accident, and someone is hurt as a result of their inability and inadequacy, they could be named in court in a manslaughter trial."

    Mr Speakman, 53, also claims county council personnel are refusing to speak to members of the public on the subject.

    Cllr Ian Wright, who is Chelmsford city councillor for Sandon and a former Sandon Parish Council chairman, claims blocked drains are causing the flooding in Hulls Lane, as well as Mayes Lane and Woodhill Road.

    He says residents have to wade through water at knee-level at the flooding's worst.

    In a letter sent on Monday last week to Eddie Johnson, county council cabinet member for highways maintenance and small schemes delivery, Cllr Wright says freezing surface water is making Hulls Lane icy. He wrote: "This is an extremely dangerous junction at the best of times."

    Speaking to the Chronicle, Cllr Wright said: "The whole road for years now has been the subject of complaints because of flooding.

    "At a parish council meeting on Monday night there was a resident who was there again to complain and at the parish council meeting previous there must have been 20 residents extremely angry that nothing was being done."

    Cllr Wright stressed that locals were now waiting to see if the road would flood again during the next downpour after county council workers jetted the stretch on Thursday, January 29.

    Gibracks resident Bernard White added: "When you get a downpour it floods so you need a dinghy to get through it."

    In response, Cllr Eddie Johnson, Essex County Council's cabinet member for highways maintenance and small scheme delivery, said: "Essex Highways are currently arranging for a full road closure to deal with a known drainage problem. 

    "Whilst the road is closed the potholes will be attended to together with some damaged kerbs."

    Legal action threats to Essex County Council over flood-plagued Hulls Lane in Sandon


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    Aldi supermarket has scotched rumours that it could buy and expand into the current Tesco Homeplus building.

    Tesco last month announced it will close the two-storey shop, which hires 78 people, on March 15, due to low profits.

    Rumour reached the Chronicle that Aldi could move in, as well as building a neighbouring store by the Army and Navy Roundabout, but a spokesman said: "Aldi has no intentions to move into the Tesco site and is progressing with a development on neighbouring land."

    Neil Ridley, a consultant at Aquila Holdings which owns the building, said: "Given that Aldi are developing their own store I would be very surprised if they were interested and I would know."

    He refused to comment about any other businesses interested in moving in.

    'Aldi not moving' into Tesco Homeplus in Chelmsford


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    A MACHETE-WIELDING man screamed 'I'm going to slice you up' as he attacked a 17-year-old boy on a driving lesson with his older brother.

    Archie Kirkwood, 17, was behind the wheel with Angus, 22, in the passenger seat, when two men in a white Vauxhall van tried to overtake aggressively, forcing them to stop their car to ask what the problem was.

    But things escalated quickly when one of the men pulled a machete from the van, and ran towards the boys shouting expletives and waving the deadly weapon in the East Hanningfield country lane.

    "The van was driving really close behind Archie, and started horning aggressively, and trying to get past the car," explained Angus, a physiotherapist.

    "I told Archie not to worry and keep driving normally, but the road was too narrow for them to pass us, so they kept swinging out into the road and beeping their horn. I eventually told him to slow down and stop.

    "I told Archie to stay in the car, and went to ask the guys in the van what they were doing – then they both got out of the car yelling abuse, and one of them was saying 'shall I smack him? Shall I smack him? And he hit me in the face."

    Seeing his brother being attacked by the two men, who were white and in their mid to late twenties, Archie left the car to try and help.

    "I'm only 17, but I thought it's a numbers game, and I just wanted to help my brother and get them off him," the Westcliff High School grammar student said.

    But one of the men ran back to the van and emerged with a two-foot machete, terrifying the teen.

    "It was a proper weapon, it had a sword handle, holes along the blade and was about two foot long," Archie said. "I just know it looked scary, and he was swinging it around like there was no tomorrow."

    The man, who the pair said was the driver of the van, then attacked Angus with the weapon, hitting him in the head with the blade.

    "When he was running with the machete, he was yelling 'I'm going to slice you up'," Angus said. "He went for my head initially, he hit me on the head and I stumbled back and he was full on swinging, going for my face," said Angus, who believes he could have sustained far worse injuries had the blade not been blunt.

    "My hands are cut because I was putting them up to shield my face, and I wasn't sure if my head was gaping open at the time.

    "If I hadn't been quick with my reactions, they could have deformed my face. I was covered in blood.

    "When he was hitting me with the machete, I just thought 'I need to grab his hands' and I managed to get hold of one of them, and it started to defuse things."

    But the ordeal was not over, and the man wielding the weapon soon turned his attention towards 17-year-old Archie.

    "Obviously I'm not old, but the man maybe assumed I was a threat and started running after me," Archie said.

    On seeing that his brother was in danger, Angus grabbed the man, getting his arm cut by the machete in the process.

    The two men fled the scene as another vehicle appeared on the road, but not before quick-thinking Archie got their licence plate details.

    "Hopefully the police won't let them do that to another person," added Archie, who vowed he wouldn't be put off learning to drive. "It wasn't road rage; they are crazy, horrible people who saw an opportunity to do some damage."

    Police said they had recovered the vehicle and the weapon at Church Road in Tiptree, and enquiries continue to locate the suspects.

    "We've got to send a signal that these scumbags won't get away with it," Angus added.

    East Hanningfield machete attack learner driver speaks of horror


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    On Monday (February 16) we revealed that British pop legends Madness will be playing at Chelmsford City Racecourse in June.

    In light of this news, we have compiled ten of the city's most memorable and iconic gigs:

    Oasis - Army & Navy - May 10, 1994

    Just three months before the Gallagher brothers hit the big time with debut album Definitely, Maybe in August 1994, the Manchester Britpop band played at the site which now houses Frankie & Benny's and Chiquito.

    Radiohead - Y Club Chelmsford - October 22, 1992

    The triple-Grammy award winning rock band played at the Victoria Road club just a month after their first single Creep hit the shelves. The Thom Yorke-fronted band went on to garner much critical acclaim.

    Pink Floyd - Chelmsford Corn Exchange - September 23, 1967

    As the psychedelic rock band from London was beginning to gain notoriety in the main stream music industry, the quintet played the famed venue in Tindal Square. Evoke nightclub now stands in its place.

    Ozzy Osbourne - Chelmsford Odeon - October 22, 1980

    The Black Sabbath frontman played in the city centre before he succumbed to his bat-eating and reality television days. The set included number one single from 1970, Paranoid.

    Jimi Hendrix - Chelmsford Corn Exchange - February 25, 1967

    Chelmsford was graced one day in 1967 by one of rock music's most influential and prodigious talents. Admirers were treated to Stone Free amongst others at The Corn'ole, as local mods used to call it. The celebrated electric guitarist died just three years later, aged 27.

    The Who - Chelmsford Corn Exchange - November 28, 1964

    In a golden era for British rock bands, Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend and co rocked out the Chelmsford Corn Exchange en route to selling over 100 million records worldwide. They returned to the city again for two more gigs in 1965.

    Thin Lizzy - Chancellor Hall Chelmsford - May 20, 1973

    The Irish rock band and creators of The Boys Are Back In Town, who are widely recognised as one of the first groups to employ a double lead guitar harmony, wowed fans in Chelmsford during their pomp.

    The Cure - Chelmsford Odeon - April 29, 1981

    The new wave, post-punk band from Crawley left its mark on the Chelmsford music scene with an electrifying set in 1981. In 1992, NME named them the most successful alternative band of all time.

    Blur - V Stage Hylands Park - August, 1997

    The five-time Brit Award winners dazzled fans at everyone's favourite festival as they jostled with Oasis for the number one spot in the charts with Song 2 and Beetlebum.

    Amy Winehouse - V Stage Hylands Park - August 17, 2008

    The beleaguered soul singer drew some of the festival's biggest crowds in the summer of 2008 as she showcased why she won six Grammy awards before her death in 2011, aged 27. 

    Who would make it in to your top ten? Let us know on Twitter @EssexChronicle or via our Facebook page. 

    From Hendrix to Oasis: Chelmsford's most memorable gigs


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    A man was hurt this morning after he was hit by a car in Chelmsford.

    The man, who was in his 30s, was hit by the silver Peugeot 207 just before 6.30am on Broomfield Road near King Edward VI Grammar School.

    But while an ambulance was called, the man received only 'slight injuries', according to a police spokeswoman. 

    Man hurt after he was hit by car in Chelmsford


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    WITHAM Town moved three points clear of the relegation places after their 3-1 win over Harrow Borough on Tuesday night.

    Town made the perfect start to the match when Ryan Charles put the home side in front on seven minutes with a brilliant finish to the top right corner from 18 yards out.

    Charles turned provider for their second goal just after the half hour mark after a low cross found Danny Emmanuel in the box who neatly turned past his defender to shoot past the goalkeeper.

    Harrow pulled one back four minutes before the break to give them hope going into the second half.

    The home side held off the pressure from Harrow in the second half before making sure of the three points on 90 minutes.

    Luke Callander stepped up to take a free-kick from 20 yards out and found a gap in the wall to smash it into the back of the net and hand Witham their first three points in 2015.

    Witham Town starting line-up: Guest, Mead, Durrant, Hastings, King, Paxman (Watson 59), Emmanuel, Dark, Guy (Callander 76), Godbold, Charles.

    Unused Subs: Blackman, Ekpiteta, Bryan.

    Witham Town move clear of relegation with first win in 2015


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    The Great British Bake Off is back on our screens tonight in support of comic relief. It will be a four-part series with a line-up of 16 celebrities including: Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley and Jonathan Ross, to name but a few.

    If you're happy to have a bit of British Bake Off back in your life, why not join in, throw on an apron and get baking by following some of these recipes in preparation for Easter.

    These must-have Easter recipes are taken from BBC Food and the baking queen herself, Mary Berry:

    Easter Lemon Pavlova

    1. Preheat oven to 160C/325F/Gas 3. Put down some baking paper on a baking tray and draw a 25cm/10in circle on it.
    2. Place the egg whites into a bowl and whisk at a high speed with either an electric or free-standing whisk until it is stiff. While whisking at a high speed, gradually sprinkle teaspoons of sugar into the mixture until it is shiny and stands in peaks.
    3. Blend the vinegar and cornflour together and mix it until it is smooth. Stir this into the meringue mixture.
    4. Spread half of the meringue mixture onto the paper to give a 25cm/10in circle. Fill a piping bag, fitted with a rose nozzle, with the rest of the meringue mixture. Carefully pipe about 10 separate little nests positioned equally around the edge of the circle.
    5. Place the meringue onto the middle shelf of the oven, turn the heat down to 150C/300F/Gas 2 and bake for 1½ to 2 hours (check after one hour), or until it easily comes off the paper. The pavlova will be a pale creamy colour rather than white. Turn off the oven and leave the pavlova in the oven to become cold.
    6. Meanwhile, make the lemon curd for the filling. Place a heatproof bowl over a pan of hot water, simmering gently on the stove. Add the egg yolks, sugar and lemon juice to the bowl and whisk. Gradually add the butter, whisking continually until it starts to thicken. It should coat the back of a spoon when it reaches the correct consistency. It will firm up further once cooled.
    7. Whisk the double cream in a large bowl until thickened, then swirl it through the cooled lemon curd.
    8. Spoon the lemon curd and cream mixture into the middle of the pavlova and spread over the base of the meringue nest. Spoon a lemon filling into each of the mini nests. Decorate by placing three chocolate mini-eggs in each of the 10 mini-nests around the edge of the dessert.
    9. Put 100ml/3½fl oz water and the caster sugar in a pan. Bring to the boil, stirring. Add the zest and boil for 2-3 minutes, or until syrupy. Drain on parchment paper, roll in extra caster sugar and leave to dry in a warm place for a couple of hours, or overnight. Place a delicate mound of candied zest in the middle of the pavlova, and serve.


    Hot Cross Buns

    Ingredients

    1. Bring the milk to the boil and then remove from the heat and leave to cool until it reaches hand temperature.
    2. Mix the flour, sugar, salt, yeast, butter and egg together in a bowl, then slowly add the warmed milk until it forms a soft, sticky dough.
    3. Add the sultanas, mixed peel, chopped apple, orange zest and cinnamon, then tip out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough by holding the dough with one hand and stretching it with the heal of the other hand, then folding it back on itself. Repeat for five minutes, or until smooth and elastic.
    4. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise for approximately one hour, or until doubled in size.
    5. Divide the dough into 12 even pieces, and roll each piece into a smooth ball on a lightly floured surface. Arrange the buns on a baking tray lined with parchment, leaving enough space so that the buns just touch when they rise and expand. Set aside to prove for another hour.
    6. Heat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.
    7. For the cross, mix the flour with about five tablespoons of water in small bowl, adding the water one tablespoon at a time, so that you add just enough for a thick paste. Spoon into a piping bag with a small nozzle. Pipe a line along each row of buns, then repeat in the other direction to create crosses.
    8. Bake for 20-25 minutes on the middle shelf of the oven, or until golden-brown.
    9. Gently heat the apricot jam to melt, then sieve to get rid of any chunks. While the jam is still warm, brush over the top of the warm buns and leave to cool. Gently rip the buns apart to serve, revealing temptingly soft edges.


    Simnel Cake

    Decorate this traditional Easter cake with crystallised primroses or other edible spring flowers to make it look extra special.

    Ingredients

    1. Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2. Grease a 20cm/8in deep round cake tin and then line the base and sides with baking parchment.
    2. Cut the cherries into quarters, put in a sieve and rinse under running water. Drain well and then dry thoroughly on kitchen paper.
    3. Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until light and creamy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, to prevent them from curdling. Sift in the flour and mix it in a little at a time. Stir the fruit, peel, zest and mixed spice thoroughly into the mixture. Place half the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface.
    4. Take one-third of the marzipan and roll it out to a circle the size of the tin and then place the circle on top of the cake mixture. Spoon the remaining cake mixture on top and level the surface.
    5. Bake in the preheated oven for about 2½ hours until well-risen, evenly brown and firm to the touch. Cover with foil after one hour if the top is browning too quickly. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then turn out, peel off the parchment and finish cooling on a wire rack.
    6. When the cake is cool, warm the apricot jam in a small saucepan. Brush the top of the cake with a little of the jam and roll out half of the remaining marzipan to fit the top of the cake. Press firmly on the top and crimp the edges to decorate. Mark a criss-cross pattern on the marzipan with a sharp knife. Form the remaining marzipan into 11 balls.
    7. Brush the marzipan with beaten egg and arrange the marzipan balls around the edge of the cake. Brush the tops of the balls with beaten egg, too, and then place the cake under a hot grill to turn the marzipan golden-brown.
    8. To crystallise the primroses, whisk the egg white in a bowl until frothy. Snip the long stalks off the primroses, then, using a paint brush, carefully paint the petals of each primrose with a little frothy egg white, then turn the flower over and paint the underside of the petals and the little stalk.
    9. Cover the flowers in caster sugar until all the egg white is evenly coated, and leave to dry completely. You can either just lie them carefully on non-stick parchment, or, to help keep the flowers' shape, you can stretch non-stick paper over a plastic box or bowl, securing it in place with string or a rubber band, and then pierce several holes in the paper using a skewer. Place the stems of the crystallised flowers through the holes, allowing the paper to hold and support the flowers in a more natural position as they dry and harden. You will need to make the crystallised flowers at least a day in advance.
    10. Decorate the cake by arranging the crystallised primroses on top and tying a ribbon around the middle.

    The Great British Comic Relief Bake Off is on BBC1 at 8.30pm. Are you happy it's back or have you already started baking? If you are creating any Easter cakes or recipes get tweeting @EssexChronicle or visit our facebook page

    The Great British Comic Relief Bake Off is back tonight: 3 recipes to get you in the baking mood


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    A man has been charged with driving a vehicle without due care and attention after a collision on the A120 at Little Tey.

    The accident that involved "a number of vehicles" including a Scania skip lorry, a Volkswagen Golf and a Volvo lorry, happened on December 9, last year.

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

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

    There were five patients treated at the scene by paramedics, four of which had minor injuries and one was in serious but stable condition.

    Kevin Mann, 51, of Coach Road in Great Horkesley, will appear before magistrates in Colchester on March 4. 

    Man charged over A120 crash in Little Tey


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    Two teenagers have been bailed after they were arrested on suspicion of arson.

    A 16-year-old and a 15-year-old were arrested the same day as a house fire in Bronte Road at around 12.20am on March 2 last year.

    A man who was in the building at the time managed to jump to safety through a window.

    Both suspects have been rebailed to return to Braintree police station on April 30. 

    Two teenagers bailed on suspicion of arson after house fire Witham


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    Three men have been charged in connection with several large drug seizures in Essex totalling over £5million.

    Thomas Aldridge, 30, of Woodlands Park Drive in Great Dunmow, Luke Jewitt, 29, of Chapel Hill, Braintree, and Ndreim Muliu, 22, of Cressing Road, also in Braintree, have been charged with conspiracy to supply the class A drug, cocaine.

    Aldridge was also charged with being concerned in the importation of class B drugs, while Muliu has been charged with two offences contrary to the Identity Documents Act 2010.

    The men were arrested yesterday (February, 17), following an operation by the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU).

    The arrests were made in connection with a number of countywide drug seizures, with 3.7 tonnes of cannabis worth £4.6 million recovered in Chelmsford in October last year.

    Police also seized one kilo of cocaine from a vehicle on the A120 in Braintree on September 30.

    Authorities then seized another kilo of cocaine from Great Dunmow, plus a further kilo of cocaine from a Great Dunmow vehicle on November 20, 2014. The three kilo cocaine haul has a value of £720,000.

    The trio appeared at Hatfield Remand Court this morning (February 18), along with two other men from London charged in connection with the same offences.

    UPDATE: Police charge three men after Chelmsford drugs raid


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    Burglars are suspected of raiding a home in the Melbourne area of an exhaustive list of gadgets and jewellery. An iPad, two pairs of 3D glasses, two Olympus cameras, a ladies' Gucci watch, a men's Invicta watch, a pair of beige UGG boots, black Oakley sunglasses, diamond stud earrings, pearl earrings, a diamond ring and a gold chain with a heart pendant were stolen from the Swiss Avenue home between 7.45am and 9.15pm on Wednesday, February 4. Anyone with information can call Essex Police on 101.

    Burglars steal watches, iPad and precious jewellery from Melbourne home


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