• Colchester: MP forces debate on Afghan troop deployment

    North Essex MP Bernard Jenkin forced the Government to squeeze a three-hour emergency debate on the war in Afghanistan into its schedule. The shadow defence secretary told the Speaker of the Commons Michael Martin, that MPs would be failing in their duty

  • Great Wakering: Buses axe discussed

    A public meeting has been arranged to discuss Arriva's plans to withdraw the evening bus service to and from Great Wakering. The parish council has organised the meeting for 8pm on Wednesday, April 3 at Great Wakering Parish Council, High Street, Great

  • Southend: Curtain to fall on Empire theatre

    Southend's New Empire Theatre could be forced to shut to make way for a new nightclub. Staff at the family-run playhouse in Alexandra Street claim they have been given until May to pack up and leave after three years at the helm. Shay Properties, owner

  • Maldon, Colchester: Ex-MP Lord Wakeham quits PCC

    Former Maldon MP Lord Wakeham has stepped down permanently as head of the press watchdog, the Press Complaints Commission in the wake of the scandal over the collapse of energy giant Enron. He had temporarily stepped aside at the end of January saying

  • Soccer: U's consider Knight move

    Oxford United keeper Richard Knight was set to play for Colchester United reserves today as part of a deal that could take Andy Woodman the other way. U's boss Steve Whitton said: "I've told Oxford manager Ian Atkins that I am prepared to take Knight

  • Ardleigh: Newsagent threatened with knife by robber

    A robber threatened a newsagent with a knife to get cash. David Corken, 53, who owns Newstrend in Colchester Road, Ardleigh, had opened the cash drawer to put money in it. But when he turned his back a man tried to snatch some money. Det Sgt Barry Blackman

  • Soccer: Burley's target stays the same

    George Burley believes struggling Ipswich Town still need to accumulate 40 points in their quest to avoid relegation from the Premiership. The Blues boss has refused to amend his target in light of recent results, which included a run of four straight

  • Braintree: Council supports beleaguered school

    A council has pledged to continue to support an axe-threatened school. At a meeting of Braintree Council's area committee last night, members agreed to maintain their support of Chapel Hill School. The fate of the school was left hanging in the balance

  • Maldon: Anti-bully youths awarded High Sheriff's prize

    Primary school children in Maldon have been learning why bullying in school is a no-no and how to stamp it out. The Anti-Bullying Campaign (ABC), created as a Peer Education Project by a dozen members of Maldon's Carmelite Youth Centre, has won a host

  • Southend: Cabinets on display

    An exhibition showing designer art cabinets will be on display at Southend Library from today. The display has been put together by designer Ruben Carvana, who has been involved with stained glass since the early part of the 1970s. In the 1980s he came

  • Pitsea: Mercedes stolen at petrol station

    Car thieves are targeting drivers who leave their top-of-the-range cars unlocked, it has been revealed. One driver was left with a red face and a grazed knee after a thief made off in his £27,000 car while he was pumping air into a tyre. The blue 2.4

  • Harwich: Beach visitors leaving rubbish

    Visitors to Harwich beach create five times more rubbish than visitors to a neighbouring resort, it has been revealed. Environmentalists carried out a clean-up on Harwich beach last September. Now the figures have been compiled and show that five times

  • Colchester: Mum's fury as car just misses son

    A mother has slammed careless motorists after her five-year-old son came within inches of a moving car outside his school. Cindy Stocking, 37, of Aspen Way, who was wheeling her younger son Owen in the pushchair while walking Lewis to school, said she

  • Castle Point: Private meeting ban fury

    A bitter war of words has erupted over access to a controversial committee looking into the future of council-owned assets in Castle Point. Tory MP Bob Spink claimed the public no longer trusts the Labour-led Castle Point Council over meetings of the

  • Soccer: Duo offered U's deal

    Colchester United boss Steve Whitton has offered professional contracts to two of his young players. Marc Canham has been offered a one year contract and David Hadrava has a three months offer to mull over, it was revealed yesterday. Deals could also

  • Thurrock: Talking Newspaper needs volunteers

    Thurrock Talking Newspaper desperately needs help if it is to continue providing a vital link between visually impaired people and the community. The weekly cassette tape, made up from stories and information from the Thurrock Gazette, has been delivered

  • Billericay: Judge dismisses phone box thief's appeal

    A phone box thief who claimed hundreds of 10p and 20p pieces found in his pockets were from his piggy bank failed to have his conviction overturned. But Norbert Kutz, of Grange Road, Billericay, was told by three judges at London's Court of Appeal he

  • Tendring: Workers threaten action over deal

    Town Hall manual workers are threatening to work to rule claiming they are not getting a fair deal. The 50-plus staff claim Tendring Council has failed to instigate a single status agreement designed to put them on an equal footing with office staff according

  • Soccer: Holland's nine-point target

    Matt Holland has set Ipswich Town a target of three wins to beat the Premiership drop. The Blues skipper was upbeat despite his side conceding a late goal in a 2-2 draw with Newcastle at St James' Park on Saturday. The visitors were also lucky to emerge

  • Essex: New coach link to airport

    A new hourly coach link between Colchester and Stansted Airport, via Braintree, is being introduced on Monday. BAA Stansted and the First Essex Bus Company are joining forces to introduce the Stansted CoachLink service along the A120 from the University

  • Southend: Pranksters glue up gates on seafront

    Special measures designed to tackle seafront cruisers in Southend have been sabotaged - by a super-strength glue. Padlocks securing gates blocking part of the seafront to boy racers have been filled with the sticky substance, police revealed. The prank

  • Southend: Jumpin' Jaks eyes up New Empire

    Southend's New Empire Theatre could be transformed into a Jumpin' Jaks nightspot, it has been confirmed. Shay Properties, owner of the former cinema in Alexandra Street, is in talks with Luminar Leisure, the company behind a range of nightspots including

  • Rochford: Council gets tough on dog fouling problem

    Tough new laws to crack down on dog fouling in Rochford, including £25 spot fines, are due to come into force within the next couple of months. Last July Rochford District Council agreed to adopt legislation which could see careless owners fined up to

  • Chelmsford, Brentwood: Show goes on after close shave

    Chelmsford Irish dancers stole the show at a charity event in Brentwood - just hours after they were involved in a pile-up on the A12. The squad of six dancers from the McGahan Lees Dance Academy, were on their way to the Marillac Hospital when they were

  • Hutton: Residents grateful to flats blaze hero

    The heroism of one man helped evacuate a blazing block of flats in Hutton and prevent a disaster. The fire broke out in a top floor council flat at Theydon Bold, Woodland Avenue, Hutton, just a few buildings away from where three young children were killed

  • Soccer: Second string Blues face Luton

    Southend United's reserves took on Luton Town at home today in the Avon Insurance Combination League, kick-off 2pm. Aston Villa striker Andrew Marfell and Southampton hitman Adam Wallace were pencilled in to line-up for the Seasiders. And young Millwall

  • Great Wakering: Booyaka! Kellie's role in Ali G film

    Big it up! Talented Kellie Bright will be keeping it real for Great Wakering as Ali G's girlfriend MeJulie in his eagerly-awaited film IndaHouse, which hits cinema screens on Friday. Kellie, who has appeared in TV show Upper Hand, used to attend Great

  • Dovercourt: Student's appeal to thief

    Students Andrew Walker has appealed for help after thieves stole his A-level coursework - which has to be in by the end of the week. Andrew, 18, woke to find his Vauxhall Nova car had been broken into and his favourite CDs snatched. But worse was to follow

  • Canvey: School denies any shortage of staff

    A school has denied it was operating amid a teaching crisis despite moves to recruit seven new members of staff. Furtherwick Park School on Canvey is advertising for new teachers in maths, English, RE, science, information and communications technology

  • Lexden: Gnomes mystery for Anita

    There really is no place like gnome for Anita Morris, who has received some surprise house guests. Bemused by gnome mystery - Anita Morris On Mothering Sunday she awoke to find a gnome on her doorstep, accompanied by a note reading: "Please help me. I

  • Athletics: Battling Pascal is GB star again

    Southend's Pascal Craymer has put a nightmare year behind her to recapture her place on the British junior gymnastics squad. Bouncing back -- gym starlet Pascal Craymer is back in the British squad after a series of injuries. Picture: STEVE O'CONNELL

  • Thurrock: Rules may force referendum on mayor

    Thurrock Council could be forced to hold a referendum on whether to have a US-style directly elected mayor, it has been revealed. The town may have to follow the new procedure laid down by Local Government Secretary Stephen Byers. A final decision will

  • Soccer: Lockwood re-signs for O's

    Southend-based full-back Matthew Lockwood has signed a new two-year contract with Leyton Orient. The 25-year-old was transfer-listed in January after rejecting a new deal. But he has decided to stay at Brisbane Road after manager Paul Brush convinced

  • Shoebury: Hunt for superstore's grinning purse thief

    A brazen thief grinned at his elderly victim and taunted her moments after he snatched her purse in a Shoebury superstore. Police are investigating the theft as one of a series carried out at the Asda store in North Shoebury Road. In each of the three

  • Basildon: Pupils walk to cut chaos

    A Basildon school has pledged its support for a walk to school week to reduce traffic and make children healthier. During the National week from May 20 to 24, the Government is encouraging pupils to walk to school instead of using public transport or

  • Southend: Champion's popular

    The launch of Business Champions Network has been welcomed by the Southend business community. The European Social Funded-scheme, which uses the experience and wisdom of experienced South East Essex businessmen and women to guide the owner-managers of

  • Athletics: Hickey gets national call-up

    Southend High School's Adam Hickey gained the recognition all athletes crave when he capped another outstanding cross-country season by winning international recognition. Hickey, 13, a leading member of Southend Athletic Club, finished second in the junior

  • Basildon, Stansted: Heating firm is set for take off

    The crisis-ridden airline industry is a chilly place to be right now but, thanks to an Essex company, there is at least one place where even the most put-upon executive will feel cosy and warm. Future's bright - Dean Chughtai with one of the firm's innovative

  • Leigh: Head in child porn probe cleared

    A headteacher arrested on suspicion of possessing child porn on a school computer was today cleared by police. Christopher Maultby, who has left his job at St Michael's School in Hadleigh Road, Leigh, will face no further action, officers said. He was

  • Basildon: £20m cost of keeping Towngate open

    Nearly £20m has been poured into Basildon's ailing Towngate Theatre since it was built, it has emerged. The theatre, which has been shut since 1998, costs Basildon Council around £1m a year in loan repayments, running costs and grants. However, the cost

  • Grays: Parking problems stay un-aired

    People at the central area assembly in Grays had hoped to focus on the public transport and parking problems surrounding Orsett and Basildon Hospitals. The issue had been raised at the assembly's first meeting, but nobody from the Basildon and Thurrock

  • Essex: Two health authorities slammed

    Two Essex health authorities were today criticised for "failing to provide an adequate service" to critically ill patients. Essex Rivers Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs services in Colchester, Clacton, Harwich and Halstead, and Mid Essex Hospital Services

  • Yachting: Olympic plaque honour for club

    Thorpe Bay Yacht Club received the Olympic seal of approval for their youth training scheme. Ben Ainslie, a gold medallist at the Sydney games, presented a plaque and flag to the Southend club in recognition of their success in encouraging young sailors

  • Basildon: Make a splash to raise cash for cancer fund

    Swimmers are beginning a sponsored event at Basildon's Gloucester Park swimming pool to raise money for the MacMillan Cancer Relief Fund. Participants will try to swim 5000 metres, the equivalent of about 200 lengths of the pool. Swimathon is the world's

  • Essex: Summit to bridge the skills gap

    The shortage of skilled workers in Essex is set to come under the microscope at a specially arranged summit tomorrow. The Skills Gap Summit is being held at the Garden Moat House Hotel in Cambridge from 8.30am, giving representatives from education, industry

  • Maldon: Buyer's plans for old hotel

    A 400-year-old hotel is set to take a step back in time after finding a new owner. The Blue Boar, in Silver Street, Maldon, which has parts dating from the 14th century, has been bought by local man John Wilsdon for an undisclosed sum. The grade II listed

  • Alresford: Life for stab murder wife

    A mother from Alresford has been jailed for life for stabbing her common-law husband to death. Julie Taylor, 36, of Ford Lane, Alresford, had denied murdering Tony Honisett, 49, on June 20, 2000. But she was unanimously convicted by a jury at Norwich

  • Rettendon: One stop shop for poultry

    Rettendon Common poultry housing company Maywick is to show its latest equipment at the British Pig and Poultry Fair. The company's stand at the fair, which takes place at the National Agricultural Centre in Stoneleigh on May 15 and 16, will feature its

  • Laindon: Police appeal in hunt for Anita's murderer

    Detectives hunting the killer of a Laindon woman have today made a renewed appeal for information. Anita Gordon, 57, was found dead by her taxi driver husband at their first floor flat in Rowenhall, Laindon, on Friday morning. A Home Office pathologist

  • Diving: Silver success for Karen

    Diver Karen Smith put recent illness firmly behind her as she claimed silver in the first leg of the GB team's World Grand Prix circuit tour. Karen Smith -- silver success Picture: STEVE O'CONNELL 8CF4V2C The Southend Swimming Club member partnered Edinburgh's

  • Wickford: Marathon bid to beat the butties

    Policeman Alan Ratnage is determined to give up the bacon butties and pint down the pub to do his bit for asthma sufferers. Marathon effort - Alan Ratnage is giving up takeaways and TV to run the London Marathon Alan, 36, who pounds the beat in Wickford

  • Essex: Green ways up for awards

    Essex companies going out of their way to safeguard the environment are in with a chance of earning the recognition of a national award. Nominations have now opened for this year's Green Apple Awards for environmental best practice, with local companies

  • Colchester: Woman ill before crash

    A woman who died after she was taken ill while driving and was involved in a crash suffered a brain haemorrhage, a post-mortem examination found. The 41-year-old has been named as Jane Clough of Drury Road, Colchester, and an inquest into her death has

  • Laindon: Couple offer reward for stolen parrot

    A bereft couple have offered a £200 reward for the safe return of their pet parrot after it was stolen from a West Horndon bird shop where it was being boarded. George and Janice Gillam, who live in Laindon, had lodged the four-year-old bird - a black-headed

  • Colchester: McDonalds worker grabbed

    Police are hunting two men and a woman who assaulted a member of staff at McDonald's. The victim was grabbed round the throat during the attack at the fast food restaurant in High Street, Colchester, at 6.30pm on Monday. One of the men is described as

  • Soccer: Big Nev stars at coaching course

    There's a special bonus for goalkeepers attending the soccer courses being run by Sportacular at Westcliff High School during the Easter and Summer school holidays. For one of the world's top stoppers from the past couple of decades, former Welsh international

  • Chelmsford: Man survives 50ft fall from car park

    A man who plummeted 50ft from the top of a multi-storey car park had a "remarkable escape" from death. Shoppers saw the 21-year-old man fall from the fourth level of the Meadows multi-storey car park in Baddow Road, Chelmsford. His escape without so much

  • Maldon: Fantasia tickets on sale

    Tickets for this summer's Prom Fantasia have gone on sale. Pre-booked entry to the event, to be held in Promenade Park on June 1 and 2, is £10 for adults and £5 for youngsters aged five to 15. This compares to £12.50 and £8 for concert-goers paying on

  • Soccer: Swift help from neighbours for Tiptree

    Tiptree United have found help forthcoming from an unlikely source in their bid to land FA Carlsberg Vase glory - neighbours Heybridge Swifts. Jam-makers boss Neil Farlie found that, due to injuries, his midfield was in need of a boost. He had heard,

  • Benfleet, Basildon: Rags to riches award for brothers

    Brothers Vijay and Bhikhu Patel have scooped a top accolade at the Asian Business Awards in recognition of their remarkable "rags to riches" tale. The dynamic Benfleet duo arrived to Britain from Kenya in 1967 with nothing, but now control the giant pharmaceutical

  • Athletics: Bangs beats the rest

    If Thurrock Harriers didn't perform quite as well as expected in the team competition they at least had the individual star at the Essex Road Relay championships on Saturday. Neil Bangs recorded the fastest time over the 3.7 miles Chelmsford course of

  • Southend: 'Fiasco' as roof leaks hit surgery

    Surgery has repeatedly been cancelled at an Eastwood clinic because a leaking roof means the operating room may not be sterile. In pain - Cynthia Jones, forced to limp to work by the delays over her foot surgery. Picture: MAXINE CLARKE 89DYK2 Patient

  • Soccer: Gay wants number one jersey

    Young Southend United goalkeeper Daniel Gay has admitted he wants to keep a tight hold on the number one Roots Hall jersey. The teenage shot-stopper was a surprise inclusion between the sticks for Blues during their 1-0 Third Division win at Lincoln City