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Essex Chronicle stories feed from registered users of the site and Northcliffe Media editorial
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    Two Essex towns have been named among Britain's best new property hotspots, according to recent research by Lloyds.

    Wickford and Clacton-on-Sea were listed in positions nine and ten respectively in a top ten run-down of the UK's most prominent property markets.

    They are accompanied by other less obvious towns such as Daventry and Selby, Corby and Margate.

    The study was based on Land Registry data for England and Wales, highlighting places where house sales are booming, with the research comparing house sales in the first ten months of 2014 compared with the previous year.

    Andy Hulme, mortgages director at Lloyds Bank, said: "'Low interest rates, improvements in the UK economy and Government schemes, such as Help to Buy, all appear to have contributed to the rise in home sales."

    Here are the hotspots where sales are booming the most:

    1. Daventry, East Midlands – 56%

    2. Alfreton, East Midlands – 53%

    3. Pudsey, Yorkshire and the Humber – 51%

    4. Sutton-in-Ashfield, East Midlands – 50%

    5. Selby, Yorkshire and the Humber – 48%

    6. Corby, East Midlands – 47%

    7. Margate, South East – 46%

    8. Slough, South East – 45%

    9. Wickford, South East – 44%

    10. Clacton-on-Sea, South East – 44%

    Two Essex towns named in top 10 UK property hotspots


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    Police are appealing for information about a robbery which saw a balaclava-clad man repeatedly punch a car park attendant before fleeing with his loot.

    The incident happened in Cut Throat Lane in Witham at around 8.35am on Friday, February 20 when the victim was standing in a hut at the Witham Station Car Park.

    He heard someone running towards him and was then punched a number of times to the head and body before his attacker stole the car park takings.

    The victim, aged 20, was left feeling dizzy and disorientated by the attack but was otherwise uninjured.

    The suspect is described as a white man, aged 20 to 30, around 6ft tall, and of average build. He was wearing dark blue jeans, a black padded style jacket with hood, and dark trainers.

    During the attack he also had on a black balaclava and black gloves.

    Investigating officer, Michaela Sargant from Braintree CID, said: "The man ran off in the direction of the Forrest Road estate.

    "I would be very interested to hear from anyone who was near the car park at the time of the attack and saw the suspect or who has any information which could assist the investigation."

    Anyone with information should call Braintree CID on 101 or ring Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

    Balaclava-clad man punches car park attendant in the head before fleeing with cash


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    WHEN the roof of her house was blown off during an air raid in the Second World War, Edna Green knew she had to leave. The war had been cruel to the teenager. School friends had perished beneath the rubble, and she had lost many of her most treasured possessions.

    After the war ended in 1945, the country's infrastructure was on its knees as a severely depleted workforce was struggling to rebuild the lasting damage of a costly conflict.

    By the spring of 1947, the 16-year-old decided she would swap London buses for farm tractors and make a new life for herself by joining the Women's Land Army in the countryside.

    The mother-of-three, who was born in Romford on June 18, 1929, said: "I had been a town girl all my life, but despite the doubts of my parents, I'd had enough and decided it was something I needed to do.

    "When I enlisted I said I was 17 rather than 16 so that they would let me join. I wasn't sure what the future had in store for me but, whatever it was, I was determined to see it through.

    "That May I found myself at Graveleys Farm, near Hartford End (near Felsted). It was very isolated and the village only had one pub, but the family who looked after me made me feel like one of their own."

    Edna left behind her elder sister Eve, mother Alice and father Bill, but was greeted on her first morning by the farm Collie dog, Bob, as she set about kick-starting the nation's agricultural industry.

    She was the only girl at the farm, picking potatoes, harvesting sugar beet and cleaning out where the pigs and chickens lived, in what was an exhausting, but "idyllic" life.

    The 85-year-old also remembers the mischief her friends would cause on another farm, when they crept out at night for a rendezvous before climbing back up the drainpipe as the sun rose. Despite the camaraderie, Edna claims the experience felt alien to her, remarking that she had only ever seen as many live sheep at the Romford cattle market.

    "It was all so new to me, but I loved working with nature," she said. "The fresh air always gave me an unimaginable appetite and the only form of evening entertainment we needed was conversation."

    One of Edna's favourite jobs was working with the farm's Shire horse, Old Blossom.

    Edna would keep treats in her dungarees for the workhorse and always liked to reward her after ploughing the meadows together.

    However, Edna's budding relationship with Old Blossom would soon lead her to the man who stole her heart and away from the prying eyes of the German prisoners of war working at the farm.

    She said: "We used to be kept separate from the Germans but they would still try their luck. They used to say: 'Come with us German boys, the English men are no good'. They were so arrogant. In the end we didn't have too much to do with them as they would speak their language and we would speak ours.

    "But I met my Prince Charming when I was taking Old Blossom to be shod at the blacksmith. I was plodding along a country lane when a brown lorry slowed to let me pass.

    "A young, dark-haired man was at the wheel, smiling. I couldn't resist his charm, so we met for a second time a week later at the village pub. The rest is history."

    The whirlwind romance that ensued between Edna and Don started just a fortnight after she arrived in the countryside, recounting how they would feed each other wild blackberries by the river in spring and pick hazelnuts during the autumn.

    The couple married in August 1949 at the Romford Registry Office before moving in with Ron's parents, and later to the Brewery House in Hartford End for six years.

    The grandmother-of-three and the former Royal Marine then took over the Cross Keys pub in Great Notley in 1958, where they raised a son Tony, 56, and a daughter Gill, 51. Tony's twin brother died shortly after birth.

    The family made the pub their home for 31 years, devoting so much time to their business that Edna and Don had to take separate holidays so the pub didn't suffer financially.

    Edna said: "The work was so intense but when we retired to Maldon, we more than made up for lost time by relaxing on cruise ships all over the world.

    "We had friends in Tennessee in America, so we used to travel and see them quite often. We also visited Mexico, the West Indies and places in Europe. It was bliss."

    Don died of pancreatic cancer in 2005 aged 82, at which point Edna moved in to a retirement home in Albert Court, Braintree.

    Edna reveals that life without her childhood sweetheart has been tough, and illustrates the kind of man he was by revealing that he didn't bar a single person in all his years as a landlord.

    She began writing a short memoir of her time with the Women's Land Army as a coping mechanism, but now she wants a publisher to print her work, so her tales are not just limited to her family.

    The great-grandmother-of-two said: "My time with the Women's Land Army changed my life forever. As soon as I arrived, it seemed as if my path was already mapped out for me.

    "I owe everything to that decision I made in 1947, when the summers were warm and wonderful, and I found my love sitting on the back of a horse.

    "Now I want to share my story with others."

    Braintree resident Edna Green shares her Women's Land Army stories


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    Fox-hunting with dogs could return to rural Essex as campaigners call for the controversial activity to be made legal ten years after it was outlawed.

    On the tenth anniversary of the much-debated Hunting Act, the Conservatives pledged to vote in Parliament on repealing the act.

    At present, there is a total ban on hunting with dogs, which applies to fox-hunting, deer-hunting and hare-coursing with dogs. There have been 552 prosecutions under the Hunting Act between 2005 and 2013.

    Despite the Act, hunting remains strong as a minority activity, according to the Countryside Alliance.

    Tim Bonner, director of campaigns for Countryside Alliance, said: "On Boxing Day and opening meets there is a huge amount of support, with 40,000 to 45,000 hunting on a regular basis.

    "We have had about the worst that could have been thrown at us and hunting has survived. There is no way now that the Hunting Act will be the end of hunting."

    If the Act is indeed repealed, it will pave the way for the involvement of dogs at the annual New Year's Day hunt in Maldon.

    The event is usually a contentious issue as members of the Essex Animal Defenders protest against the favourite past-time of the Essex Farmers Hunt in the High Street.

    Michael Stephenson, director of campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports said that pro-hunt lobbyists have found ways to get around the 'spirit' of the legislation, by using an exemption to allow them to send dogs underground to flush out foxes.

    Each year around 300 different organisations arrange approximately 15,000 days of hunting, ranging from the well-known events of the Beaufort and Quorn hunts to small operations with packs of beagles followed by just three or four people. 

    Could fox hunting make a return to Essex?


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    Police are urging two men who helped a woman after she was attacked in Laindon yesterday (February 21) to come forward.

    The incident happened shortly before 8pm, when a 23-year-old woman was approached by a man in an alleyway near Spire Road.

    He tried to talk to her before grabbing her by the hair and punching her in the stomach. Two men heard what was happening and the man ran off as they came to the victim's aid.

    Just 20 minutes later, at 8.15pm, a 16-year-old girl was approached on Hatterill, near a bus stop close to the train station, by a man who tried to talk to her.

    He then tried to drag her into nearby bushes before another two young men intervened and the attacker again ran off.

    Detective Inspector Andy Clarkson said: "We have spoken to the two young men who helped in the second attack but have not traced the two men who helped the first victim.

    "We believe they will have important information for our investigation and would ask that they get in touch with us as soon as possible. I believe that if it wasn't for these men intervening both of these attacks could have resulted in even further harm and distress to the victims.

    "They are both greatly upset by what happened and we are speaking to them to offer support and to build a full picture of what happened.

    "These two attacks happened close together both in time and distance and we are looking at the possibility that the same man is responsible for both."

    Anyone with information should call Essex Police on 101 or ring Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

    Two women attacked in space of 20 minutes in Laindon


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    Police want to hear from anyone with information about a robbery which took place in Corringham on Saturday, January 31.

    Officers were called at 9.45pm to reports of a robbery at the Co-op store in Gardner Avenue.

    Two teenage boys forced a staff member to hand over money from the till after hitting a member of the public with a hammer, causing minor head injuries.

    The boys then ran off in the direction of Southend Road. Officers searched the area for the suspects and the helicopter and dog unit also assisted but no trace of the suspects was found.

    Enquiries continue to locate the boys who are described as wearing dark tracksuits with their faces covered. One is described as black, of slim build and tall. The other is white.

    Police are linking the robbery with a similar incident which happened at 7.40pm at the Post Office in Hathaway Road, Grays.

    A black man threatened staff with a hammer before running off in the direction of Wallace Road, empty-handed.

    The suspect was described as around 6 ft tall, wearing dark clothing and a scarf covering his face.

    Anyone with information is asked to contact Pc Charlotte Davis at Grays Police Station on 101 or ring Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

    Police appeal for information about Corringham robbery


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    Detectives in Colchester are urging anyone who was in the Culver Square area of the town at 11am on Thursday, February 5 to get in touch after three attempted robberies were reported.

    The first happened in Culver Square, with two further attempts in Eld Lane.

    The first incident happened when a 34-year-old woman, of Colchester, was threatened by a man who demanded she hand over her money and possessions.

    She refused and the suspect showed her a knife which was tucked in the waistband of his jeans. She still refused and the suspect walked away.

    The next two offences happened in Eld Lane just minutes later. The suspect threatened a 52-year-old woman in the same way, but she refused to hand over anything and he walked away.

    The suspect tried again with a 43-year-old Colchester man, also in Eld Lane. But again, nothing was taken from him.

    Tim Harris, investigating officer, said: "Although this man was unsuccessful in all three of these attempts, his behaviour left all of his victims shaken and I want to arrest him before he tries again or escalates his behaviour.

    "No-one in Colchester should have to put up with this sort of behaviour and I need people to tell me if they saw this man in the town that day, witnessed any of these incidents or have any other information which could help me to identify him.

    "It is also possible that there may be other victims out there, including an elderly couple, who have not yet spoken to us and I would ask them to come forward so we can catch this man."

    The suspect is described as a white man with a hooked nose. He was wearing a black baseball cap, black jacket, dark blue jeans and Nike Air Max trainers.

    Anyone with any information is asked to contact Dc Harris at Colchester CID on 101 or call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111. 

    Police investigating trio of attempted robberies in Colchester


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    Police want to hear from anyone who was in Halstead on the night of Friday, January 30 and saw three men causing a trail of destruction.

    At around midnight the three men had caused damage to a black Honda motorbike parked outside the Laniger Restaurant. The men, aged in their late teens or early 20s, also cracked the window of the restaurant before running off and pushing a 65-year-old man to the ground from behind. 

    He suffered a broken collar bone and ribs and needed hospital treatment. The three suspects then smashed a window of the White Horse pub before getting into a black Seat Leon and driving off. 

    The suspects are believed to have been drinking in the Royal Oak earlier in the evening. 

    Anyone with information is asked to call DS Mark Cadd at Braintree Police Station on 101 or ring Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

    Three Halstead men wanted by police after leaving trail of destruction


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    Police are investigating after a woman was reported to have been forced to commit a sex act on a man in Chelmsford. 

    The offence is believed to have taken place close to the Meadows Shopping Centre in the town between 1am and 2am on Sunday, February 22. 

    Anyone with information is asked to call Essex Police on 101 or ring Crimestoppers,  anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

    Woman sexually assaulted near Meadows Shopping Centre in Chelmsford


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    ESSEX Police headquarters could go under the hammer as the county's Police and Crime Commissioner looks to made further savings.

    Nick Alston says a decision will be made in the summer over the building in Kingston Crescent, Chelmsford, following scrutiny of the constabulary's 80 properties.

    He said: "We've got more space than we need and we have to start investing in our future. The backlog of maintenance work required to these buildings has been estimated at £30 million.

    "I believe I can cut 25 per cent of our running costs with the changes I plan to make."

    The Essex Police estate totals 1.25 million square foot, and many of the current buildings are old, outdated and no longer fit for the demands of modern policing, he said.

    Mr Alston revealed that even if he were to leave the estate untouched, it would cost an additional £1.75m per year to maintain it.

    The options, which police bosses are currently reviewing, include the sale of some police stations as well as the reduction of the Chelmsford headquarters off Sandford Road.

    Mr Alston and Essex Police chief constable, Stephen Kavanagh, will also consider the possible creation of centralised policing hubs in each local authority area.

    Speaking specifically about Chelmsford, Mr Alston added: "We have two main options. We can move everything out of Springfield and develop elsewhere, or we could sell off part of our current plot and redevelop our existing base.

    "But we have historical ties to this site and it would be cheaper to develop our own land. However, it's prime restoration land and it's ideally situated for potential buyers.

    "We're excited about what the future holds.

    "If we did move I think we'd look to move away from a residential area. We're a 24/7 building.

    "We'd want to go somewhere where we're out of town and not clogging up the roads. We'd look to develop on the edge of the city."

    Mr Alston continued that Essex Police is committed to tackling emerging online crimes such as grooming and fraud, and changes are necessary for combating such challenges.

    He highlighted how the force could use money from any closures into more technologically sound equipment such as modified laptops.

    The police boss also suggested working in partnership with the community as one option being looked at is sharing. In Tiptree, police already share accommodation with the fire service.

    But Mark Smith, chairman of Essex Police Federation, felt that the continual public sector budget cuts could be slowly changing the way regional forces police our streets for the worse.

    The 48-year-old said: "We are drifting away from neighbourhood policing. We are cutting 600 police officers from the Essex Police force before April 2016.

    "We're facing £72.5 million of cuts, and cuts have consequences.

    "It's not an exaggeration to say we might end up becoming the East of England Police Service and join up with forces in Suffolk and Norfolk soon."

    Essex Police HQ in Chelmsford could be knocked down


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    A NATIONAL charity has stepped in to save a support group for blind and partially-sighted people from closure, for fear it could leave people "isolated".

    Support 4 Sight took over and re-launched its Braintree support group in January after the previous organiser retired, and expects to see around 30 people at its monthly meet-up at the Baptist Church in Coggeshall Road.

    Vanessa Cowell, community support worker with Support 4 Sight, said: "The woman who ran the Braintree group had done so for years, but became quite elderly and had to close the group.

    "But we wanted to maintain some kind of social group in Braintree to reduce isolation and make sure people who are blind and partially sighted have got some support."

    The group has made a dramatic difference to the life of 75-year-old George Casey, of Main Road, Dunmow, who went blind "almost overnight" five years ago.

    "I lost one eye through glaucoma, and then had a cataract in the other," the grandfather-of-one said. "When I left Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, they told me I would live in a different world now, and they were right.

    "I was up in London and I couldn't see. My wife was with me, but she didn't know the way home and I couldn't see to help her.

    "We struggled at first, thinking 'what can we do now'? That was difficult, but then I found out about the support group.

    "I've met more people since being without eyes than when I was sighted. It's difficult, not being able to see, but the support I get is fantastic."

    The sight loss charity is being supported by the Rotary Club of Braintree, whose members have agreed to drive blind and partially-sighted people to the support group.

    Ms Cowell said: "There is a lot of demand in Braintree, sight loss is quite invisible as people often look 'normal' but they may be struggling and need a bit of help.

    "The group closed in December and we reopened it in January.

    "We have made a few changes; we are now monthly instead of bi-weekly as we run a coffee morning in Braintree monthly too, so there is some kind of social group here to support people twice during the month anyway."

    And the support is vital, according to partially sighted mum of two, Sam Tracey, of Main Road, Great Leighs, who now volunteers with Support 4 Sight after the charity helped her when her sight deteriorated.

    "I'd always been partially sighted, but when my sight got worse about five years ago, I spent 18 months inside the house," the 45-year old-explained. "I got my confidence back here."

    The group will be held on the second Wednesday of each month from 2 to 3.30pm. The coffee mornings are held on the fourth Thursday of the month at Church House, St Michaels Lane, from 10.30am to noon.

    For other help with sight loss, contact Support 4 Sight directly on 01799 523700.

    Support 4 Sight take over running of Braintree sight loss support group


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    A COUPLE who met after one of them knocked the other over in a road accident have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

    Beryl Turner Rose was literally swept off her feet by Albert Pulsford in spring 1952, when he clipped the wheel of her bicycle with the Co-op van he was driving on Corporation Road, Chelmsford, knocking her into the street.

    Luckily Beryl was unhurt, and Burt asked her out on a date, taking her to the cinema in Chelmsford the next day to see 'The Thing From Another World'. Unfortunately, it terrified Beryl so much that he had to walk her home and missed his last bus, resulting in a five-mile hike to his Boreham home in the dark.

    But the young suitor clearly made a good impression as the couple went on to marry at Chelmsford Register Office three years later.

    And since their wedding on January 31, 1955, Beryl, 78, and Albert, 81, have become the proud parents of six children, 11 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, with two more on the way.

    "Every love story is beautiful, but this is my favourite," said their daughter Jannett Gilbey, 50, of Springfield Park Avenue, Chelmsford.

    More than 60 years after they met, Bert and Beryl, from Queensland Crescent, Melbourne, Chelmsford, celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary with their friends and family, and Mrs Gilbey said just one thing would top their celebration.

    "After mum and dad got married, their good friends, Ron and Nancy Graham drove them there and back in Ron's taxi, and Ron took the only photographs of the wedding," said Mrs Gilbey.

    "Soon after, Bert and Beryl somehow lost touch with the couple and since then, the photographs have sadly never been seen.

    "We would dearly love to get in touch with Ron and Nancy or members of their family who might still have these wedding photographs."

    Despite the loss of their beloved pictures, the pair enjoyed their day, and have had more than 60 happy years together.

    According to the couple, the success of their relationship has been down to "never taking advantage of one another, working together, good communication, honesty, not letting the sun go down on your anger, being understanding, and laughing and having fun together".

    Corporation Road romance for lovebirds celebrating diamond wedding anniversary


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    Firefighters battled to contain 50 tonnes of blazing baled straw yesterday afternoon (February 22) in Maldon Road, Woodham Mortimer.

    Crews from Maldon and Witham attended the scene shortly after midday as they used a hose reel jet to extinguish the fire.

    The farmer who owned the burning straw assisted crews to break-up the bales with a fork lift truck.

    By 6pm in the evening, the fire was under control and firefighters continued to monitor the haystack through the night as it burned out.

    As of 7.40am this morning, crews continue to monitor the controlled burn.

    Farmer helps firemen extinguish 50-tonne burning haystack


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    BRAINTREE Town learnt how cruel a game football can be on Saturday as they lost 1-0 at Halifax Town to a goal in time added on.

    It was particularly harsh on the Iron who had dominated the second half, but left West Yorkshire with nothing to show for their efforts.

    It left manager Alan Devonshire frustrated that his side controlled the game so well but lost out in the dying seconds when home substitute Jamie Jackson dived low to head in a right wing cross in the 91st minute..

    "I'm absolutely gutted for all the players who put so much into the game, stuck to our game plan and then get caught by a sucker- punch right in the final seconds of the game," Devonshire explained. "We gave the ball away unnecessarily on the halfway line through an individual mistake and it was pumped out to the right and the lad somehow managed to get in between our defenders to score.

    "I can't criticise the players because they gave me everything and I felt we were well in control in the second and deserved to get something out of the game.

    "We had three really decent chances then and we didn't take them and in the end it cost us the game.

    "It was frustrating because we always looked the more likely side to score and our keeper (Nic Hamann) didn't have a direct shot to stop all afternoon - just come and take the crosses which he did, but we have to learn to take those chances, we should have had the game wrapped up before they scored in the 91st minute."

    After a dreadful first half by both sides with little creative football, which would have been hard on an appalling surface roughed up by the town's rugby league side who share the stadium, the Iron put their act to together after the interval.

    Playing with five across the middle of the park and Sean Marks as the sole striker, Devonshire's plan worked a treat and on the hour they should have taken the lead when Simeon Akinola weaved his way through into the area only for his shot to hold up in the mud but the ball rebounded kindly to Chez Isaac who lifted it just over the bar.

    Ten minutes later they had another chance thanks to a surging run from the back by Remy Clerima who threaded the ball to Marks, but unfortunately he shot straight at home keeper Matt Glennon .

    Two minutes later another chance went begging when again Akinola look all set to score having run into a good position, but his shot was tame and straight at Glennon.

    The further the game went on it looked more like a repeat of last season's visit to the Shay when the Iron returned with a point from a draw, but it all went horribly wrong in the first of five minutes of stoppage time when Jackson popped up to head home Jack Muldoon's cross.

    It was the second week running that Jackson had scored a stoppage time winner for the home side - he did the same to beat Dover Athletic 3-2 - but that was little consolation for the Iron.

    Devonshire, whilst not criticising any individual player, said at such a late stage they should have ensured the ball kept well up in the home side's half of the pitch and not give it away so cheaply as they paid the price.

    Braintree Town: Hamann; Brundle, Habergham, Massey, Clerima; Isaac, Paine, Davis, Sparks (Mensah 70); Akinola, Marks. Unused subs: Maybanks, Pullen, Peters, Pentney.

    Attendance: 1,268 (45 Iron fans)

    Stoppage time goal sends Braintree Town to defeat at Halifax Town


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    A man who was stabbed at least twice in the leg is refusing to help police catch his attackers.

    A police helicopter, dog unit and other police vehicles were dispatched to Kings Road in the Melbourne area of Chelmsford after a man was stabbed shortly before 2.10pm on Monday, February 16.

    The man, in his mid-30s, was taken to hospital for treatment to two minor stab wounds.

    Police say three men, one white and two of them black, decamped out of a Saab 9-3 in Ockleford Avenue after they launched the police search – but they were "not located".

    Essex Police say enquiries are continuing but that the victim is refusing to co-operate with the investigation.

    Anyone with information can call police on 101.

    Twice-stabbed man refusing to help Essex Police find his Melbourne attackers


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    A young director, who won the Rising Star Award at the Colchester Film Festival just a few months ago, was last night pipped for an Oscar at the world's most glamorous film awards ceremony.

    Young Director Daisy Jacobs and producer Chris Hees were nominated in the Animated Short Film category for their movie 'The Bigger Picture'.

    At last night's Oscars British actor Eddie Redmayne won the coveted Best Actor award for his role in 'The Theory of Everything'.

    Birdman, starring Michael Keaton, tied with Grand Budapest Hotel won the most awards with both films taking four Oscars each.

    Just over a year ago Daisy, had just finished the film after 12 months of hard work and submitted her film to the Colchester Film Festival in October 2014.

    Daisy had already won a Bafta for Best Animated Short but last night fell short of winning an award at Hollywood's most exclusive event.

    The Bigger Picture has been a big hit on the festival circuit this year, receiving many screenings and accolades including at Cannes where it won the Cinefoundation Award.

    Daisy said: "It's been a really great year. We've taken it to loads of festivals. It's been amazing to see how people react, we've been getting lots of really good feedback.

    "Chris went to the screening at Colchester and said the reaction there was really great.

    "Bafta have been very supportive and I am very grateful for all they have done for me."

    Daisy studied illustration at Central St Martins in London and only studied animation in her last year there as an extra option.

    She had a vision of turning the kind of art she liked doing into animated films, starting with The Bigger Picture, the making of which took up the second year of her time at the NFTS.

    Most first-time animations are small-scale efforts, but Daisy was thinking bigger.

    She added: "I wanted to have a go at painting on a large scale at film school. When I started working with the crew, we each worked out our own parts.

    "The set was half a real room and half flat, so it presented issues with how we filmed. We got through it together through trial and error."

    The themes behind The Bigger Picture were inspired by Daisy's own experience, as she explains:

    "The story is loosely based on my family because my gran had Parkinson's and was very ill and in a wheelchair for the last two years of her life.

    "So I wanted to look at a family and the problems there are with dealing with an elderly relative."

    Find out more about The Bigger Picture at www.thebiggerpicture film.com/ and about how you can be a part of the Kickstarter campaign for Daisy's new film at www.kickstarter.com/projects/ 635231029/life-size-animated-film Submissions are now open for the Colchester Film Festival at http://colchesterfilmfestival.com/ submissions/ 

    Young director goes from the Colchester Film Festival to the Oscars


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    Witham's Olly Murs sped to the top of Top Gear's 'Star in a Reasonably Priced Car' league knocking Breaking Bad actor, Aaron Paul, off the top spot.

    The former X Factor contestant took to the £500,000 track in the show's red Kia Cee'd in just over 1.44 seconds to get to the top of the celebrity pile.

    Before his lap he chatted to Jeremy Clarkson about his first car – a red Fiat Cinquecento – that he still owns.

    He also joked about his current car, a Bentley Continental GT and walking in to the Top Gear toilet next to the show's secretive test driver, known as The Stig.

    Olly was so excited about his triumph on Sunday night he tweeted: "1.44.6 GET IN!! Fastest time on @BBC_TopGear 's 'A Star in a reasonably priced car' BUZZZZZZZZING!!"

    Olly Murs races to the top of the Top Gear celebrity track table


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    DESPITE a three week lay-off Chelmsford showed no signs of rustiness as they outclassed struggling Old Cooperians on Saturday.

    A postponement and a blank weekend had seen Chelmsford gameless but they triumphed 55-0, recording their sixth successive league win.

    The home side scored eight tries and man of the match, Simon Hoult, pulled the strings from fly-half, scoring 20 of Chelmsford's points, with six conversions, a penalty and a try.

    This win secures Chelmsford's second place in the London Two North East table, a point behind leaders, Diss, as they were handed a walk over against Braintree, but Chelmsford have a game in hand.

    Chelmsford were missing skipper, Paul Redford, who was on honeymoon and Jack Venn came into the side at wing forward, with Chris Hoult moving to No 8.

    The visitors chose to play down the slope and with the wind, but Chelmsford dominated proceedings from the off.

    After seven minutes they were awarded a penalty kick for Old Coops being offside in the backs. Simon Hoult duly obliged with the kick to put the home side 3-0 ahead.

    The lead was increased five minutes later, when centre, Adam Cunnah scored an excellent try, following good approach work from both Jamie Ash and Jamie Morrish and with the conversion Chelmsford increased their lead to 10-0.

    The visitors were not able to mount any worthwhile attacks, as the home side dominated possession and Chelmsford's defence for the whole game was outstanding.

    Not surprisingly Chelmsford scored their second try after 22 minutes, full-back Jamie Ash made a good break along the touchline and passed the ball inside to Simon Hoult, he kicked ahead and a mistake by the Old Coops defence saw the ball bounce up into his hands and he scored an unopposed try, which he converted to make the score 17-0.

    Chelmsford scored their third and fourth tries before half-time to secure the bonus point.

    The third try was all about some excellent interpassing between Simon Hoult and Josh Cavey, leading up to Cunnah's second try on the half hour mark.

    Then four minutes later a trademark individual try from Ash saw him running from inside his own half along the touchline, beating several would be tacklers, to score the game's best try.

    With the last try being converted, Chelmsford were in total command and led by 29-0 at the interval.

    It was really a question of how many points Chelmsford would score in the second half, with the elements in their favour and with some astute kicking from Simon Hoult, the visitors were continually pegged back in their own half.

    The conditions didn't make it easy for both sides, but credit to both teams who kept the ball alive at every opportunity.

    Chelmsford brought on Tristan Olive and Alex Ellis in the second half in place of Will Ferrier and Nick Crouch, who slightly aggravated a hamstring injury.

    They scored their fifth try after only a few minutes, when No 8, Chris Hoult broke from a scrum to touch down near the posts and with the successful conversion that took them into a 36-0 lead.

    Continued pressure from the home side resulted in three further tries, a brace from wing, Jack Acorn and a second try for Chris Hoult, following pressure on the visitor's line.

    Two of the tries were converted by Simon Hoult to take the final score to 55-0.

    The last ten minutes of the game were played out in a hailstorm and inevitably the game lost it's shape slighty, but nevertheless, Chelmsford ran out worthy winners and to nil the opposition was a great testament to their defensive qualities.

    Coach Eddie Gooby said he had been worried about the game beforehand, given the squad's break from action.

    "Even though training had gone well there's nothing like match fitness," he said. " Having said that we played some great running rugby in testing conditions.

    "This was a good game to comeback to for us and scoring eight tries it was very comfortable but all credit to Old Coops they never let their heads drop.

    "The next few weeks are going to be intense and I know the squad are looking forward to the challenges ahead.

    "I felt we had a lot left in the tank and could have stepped up to another level.

    "Starting next week at Holt we need to be focused and at the top of our game. Training and selection is going to be interesting because we have at least six players returning who were missing against Old Coops and over the next six games we will need everyone."

    Chelmsford blow off the cobwebs in style with big win over Old Cooperians


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    A Latvian boxer has opted to goad his upcoming opponent by telling him Essex girls are "only any use for one night."

    Eduards "KO King" Gerasimovs will fight fellow middleweight "Smokin" Joe Mullender from Brentwood on March 14, 2015.

    But he chose a bizarre choice of insults in his pre-match fighting talk, which was quoted in a promotional press release sent to the Chronicle on Friday.

    The KO King said: "The only thing any good that comes out of Essex is the girls and they are only any use for one night.

    "I have been to Essex before and it's a great place for that but then I want to get out as quickly as I can"

    Gerasimovs has six wins all by knockout, all inside two rounds, with only two defeats against "high class" opposition.

    He continues: "My countryman Ruslans Pojonisevs put Mullender on the canvas in round one last time and lost what we call a robbed decision.

    "Mullender will be my seventh victory inside two rounds and he will stay there.

    "I will do this to honour a victory for my country and get the result we should have had last time.

    "This time Mullender won't be able to get up. Tell the Essex girls not to worry about Mullender's victory party they can party with me".

    Joe retorts: "He can say what he wants.

    "I want everyone in Essex to get behind me and beat this arrogant guy.

    "He can say what he wants I am proud to be from Essex and I am determined to ram his insults down his throat."

    Essex girls 'only any use for one night' says Latvian boxer


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    A third of women can go three days without having a shower or a bath, according to a new survey of more than 2,000 women.

    Skincare range Flint + Flint asked females aged between 18 and 50 about their skincare regimes, revealing four out of five women admit they don't even wash every day.

    It also found that almost two thirds can't be bothered removing make-up before they go to bed, and one in eight own up to not brushing their teeth before they sleep.

    Despite these revelations, 89 per cent of the women said they would like to improve their body hygiene, but blame evening and morning tiredness for their lack of showers or baths.

    Maxine Flint, owner of Flint + Flint, said: "I understand the appeal of sleeping in, but skipping a morning wash is both anti-social for the people around us and unhealthy.

    "We are talking about routines that literally take minutes out of your day. It's true that today's pace of life is fast but surely as a nation we haven't become too busy to wash."

    The news comes just a month after we reported that only one in ten schoolboys shower after a PE lesson, according to a study by the University of Essex.

    Half of the boys who took part in the study, which assessed more than 3,000 secondary school children, confessed to never showering at all.

    Research leader Dr Gavin Sandercock, from the School of Biological Sciences, said: "We believe this was the first big study of pupils' showering habits in English schools and we're honestly surprised at how rare showering had become."

    The study also found children who did not shower were less active, took part in less after-school sports. Girls who didn't shower were even less physically fit than those who did.

    How dirty are you? Flint + Flint study reveals surprising washing habits