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DISTRICT: MP supports Every Vote Counts campaign

2.16pm - 18th December 2014

EPPING Forest MP Eleanor Laing attended the launch of the Every Vote Counts campaign in the Houses of Parliament. 
Key spokespeople from the political parties gave speeches about the importance of engaging people with learning disabilities in the democratic process in a discussion hosted by United Response president and broadcaster Martyn Lewis CBE. 
rs Laing said "I am delighted to be celebrating the launch of the Every Vote Counts campaign. It is very important to ensure MPs communicate with people with learning disabilities so every voice in our democracy is heard. 
"People with learning disabilities can make a huge difference to election results and I am pleased that this campaign is addressing the barriers people with learning disabilities face in the democratic process." 
During the meeting MPs agreed that greater engagement between people with learning disabilities and politicians is mutually beneficial. 
People with learning disabilities enrich their lives by voting and becoming active, engaged citizens. 
Further engagement also helps MPs make the best decisions on issues which affect those with learning disabilities. 
More information on the campaign can be found at the Every Vote Counts website http://www.everyvotecounts.org.uk/

   

LOUGHTON: Hundreds enter Christmas card competition

10.07am - 18th December 2014

SOME 300 budding artists entered Loughton Town Council's competition to design its official Christmas card. 
Roding Valley High School student Patricia Stow, the secondary school category winner, was chosen as the overall winner by the judges, town mayor Sharon Weston and former mayor councillor Jill Angold-Stephens. 
Winners were: 
Infant: Keira Marie (runner-up Zoobia Saleem). 
Junior: Daniela Lapadula (runner-up Catherine Goh). 
Secondary school: Patricia Stow (runner-up Lottie Clemens).
Adult: Elisa Sosa (runner-up Anna Jones; special commendation Narin Kumbarji).
Each winner has received a £25 gift token and certificate from town mayor Sharon Weston Each runner-up has been awarded a certificate. 
A display of a selection of the entries has been on show at Loughton Library and will be at Debden Library, in Epping Forest College, until January 6.

   

WALTHAM ABBEY: Cadets thanked for King Harold Day efforts

10.07am - 18th December 2014

THE Waltham Abbey Detachment, B Company, Essex Army Cadet Force, have received a cheque from the King Harold Day Committee to thank them for their efforts as stewards at this year's event. 
The money was presented by King Harold Day chairman and organiser Tricia Gurnett and vice-chairmen Isabelle Perrichon and Dave Giles. 
This year was the first time the Waltham Abbey Detachment had carried out stewarding duties. 
Miss Gurnett said: "We cannot speak too highly of the way the cadets entered into the spirit of King Harold Day. They were so willing and helpful and were friendly and polite to our visitors. 
"We really couldn't have managed without them. They are all a great credit to their parents, to the ACF and to themselves." 
The £200 will go towards the cost of a new standard for the Detachment. 
The cadets spoke about the standard to Epping Forest District Council chairman Tony Boyce and Waltham Abbey mayor Ann Mitchell on King Harold Day and both agreed to donate towards the cost of a replacement. They also handed over their cheques at the recent parade evening at the cadets' Sewardstone Street headquarters.

   

EPPING: Business talk to Probus club

10.05am - 18th December 2014

EPPING Probus Club member John Batchelor spoke about his equestrian and leatherwear business and time as a retained firefighter in Epping at the club's recent monthly meeting. 
Mr Batchelor showed some examples of leather and a portable work bench together with a collection of saddle maker's tools. 
He made a section of a horse's bridle by cutting the leather into strips, making the needle indents and hand sewing the leather work with nylon thread before using metal studs to secure the major parts. 
He also partly constructed a horse's saddle.

   

DISTRICT: Council chairman seeks volunteers

9.18am - 18th December 2014

EPPING Forest District Council chairman Tony Boyce has appeal for recently retired people to become volunteers. 
He promoted his 'Years of Volunteers' campaign when he met local volunteers and joined a befriending group at Loughton's Honey Tree Court sheltered scheme for tea. 
Joining Mr Boyce was Voluntary Action Epping Forest chief officer Jacqui Foile and three local volunteers. BBC Essex journalist Colleen Harris was invited to record an interview. 
Mr Boyce said: "I'm calling on the newly retired to try volunteering. They have so much to offer. 
"The benefits include the satisfaction of time and effort well spent and it's a great way to meet new people, learn new skills and have fun, so why not give it a go? 
"Pick up the phone, or send an email but please contact VAEF. There's a huge range of volunteering opportunities available and they'll be able to advise what is best for you. 
"The most difficult part of volunteering is making the first move, so be brave and just try it! Whether it's caring, befriending or gardening I truly believe volunteering can be great for your physical and mental wellbeing. Let's make 2014 and 2015 the Years of Volunteers." 
For more information visit the Voluntary Action Epping Forest website at www.vaef.org.uk, email admin@vaef.org.uk or ring 01992 564178.

   

LOUGHTON: Deadline nears for grant bids

9.16am - 18th December 2014

TIME is running out for Loughton groups, organisations and charities to apply to the town council for financial assistance for next year. 
The closing date for applications is December 31. 
An application form can be downloaded from www.loughton-tc.gov.uk/7fias.pdf or ring deputy town clerk Shirley Haynes at the council offices on 020 8508 4200 for more information.

   

SOUTH WOODFORD: Award for concierge

9.15am - 18th December 2014

A CONCIERGE at Queen Mary's Gate, South Woodford, has been voted Concierge of the Year at the News on the Block's Property Management Awards. 
Chris Adedayo, 46, who works for Consort Property Management, has worked at Queen Mary's Gate for seven years. 
He was previously an office assistant in Greenwich with Barratt Homes. 
Sue Petri, Head of Consort, said: "For the hundreds of people who live at Queen Mary's Gate, Chris is the face of Consort Property Management. 
"Since joining the team in 2007 he has proven himself to be a real asset to our business so we're delighted Chris has been recognised in these awards. 
"We really appreciate all that Chris does for the residents - his helpful, can-do attitude means he consistently gets great feedback." 
The concierge service provided by Chris and the team at Queen Mary's Gate is available for residents 24 hours a day, seven days a week with Chris going above and beyond to deliver outstanding customer service. 
One snowy Saturday he came to work on his day off to clear snow from the entrance to the development and has even come in to work on Christmas Day to ensure the development was fully operational. 
Chris said: "It really means a lot to me to win the award and I'm very grateful to have been nominated by my line manager. I really love my job - if the residents are happy then I'm happy."

   

WALTHAM ABBEY: Two-vehicle collision

8.46am - 18th December 2014

ONE person has been injured in a two-vehicle collision in Upshire Road, Waltham Abbey. 
Fire crews from Loughton and Waltham Abbey were on hand as the casualty was assessed by medical teams following the collision which happened shortly before 6am today. 
Emergency services were on the scene for about half-an-hour.

   

WOODFORD GREEN: Hospice supporters hit jackpot

8.46am - 18th December 2014

HAVEN House Hospice has announced the jackpot winners in its lottery. 
Mary Burke of Webster Close, Waltham Abbey, and Daniel Quarrie, of Dale View Crescent, Chingford, have each scooped the top prize of £1,500. 
Miss Burke said: "Playing the lottery is an easy way to support Haven House and winning the top prize was obviously a lovely added bonus, especially at this time of year." 
Hospice chief executive Mike Palfreman said: "Congratulations to Mary and Daniel, it's always good to see our players hitting the jackpot, particularly at this time of year. 
"Our lottery is a steady and sustainable way to generate revenue for the hospice and will do so much to help local life-limited children and families this Christmas." 
Mr Quarrie said: 'I've only just started playing the Haven House lottery so I'm delighted to have won already. I'm also really pleased to be supporting Haven House as it does so much for children and families in the area." 
To sign up to the lottery, email robchetwood@havenhouse.org.uk or visit www.havenhouse.org.uk

   

DISTRICT: Have your say on musculoskeletal services

10.10am - 17th December 2014

WEST Essex Clinical Commissioning Group is asking people to share their experiences of musculoskeletal services as part of a wide-reaching service review. 
Musculoskeletal conditions such as arthritis, rheumatism, back pain, joint pain and muscle pain, are the most common cause of disability in the UK according to Arthritis Research UK. 
Local services within this speciality like physiotherapy, podiatry and orthopaedics, are commissioned by West Essex CCG which is exploring how care for people with these conditions can be improved. 
As part of the review all people aged 16 and over who have received care in orthopaedics, rheumatology, pain management, physiotherapy or podiatry are invited to complete a short questionnaire or attend a feedback event in January to help shape the future of the service. 
The questionnaire can be accessed here 
Dr Christine Moss, Epping Forest GP and clinical director at West Essex CCG, said: "Local people's opinions form the most important feedback we will receive in this review so we urge people who have experiences, good or bad, to share these with us. 
"People's feedback is anonymous and will go directly to the people who organise musculoskeletal services in this area to shape the service for the future." 
The feedback event will be at Harlow Leisurezone, Harlow, on January 22 (1.30pm-4pm) with lunch from 1pm. For more details and to book a place, email Elisa Berni-Gorton elisa.berni-gorton@nhs.net or ring 01992 566138. 
The review has been prompted by the West Essex CCG's ambition to commission more joined-up and patient-focused care and in doing so,ensure people in west Essex get the best care possible with the resources available. 
The CCG is also gathering feedback from GPs, consultants and therapists which will be reviewed alongside extensive data analysis. 
The opportunity to give feedback remains open until January 30.

   

WOODFORD GREEN: Students' award success

9.58am - 17th December 2014

A TOTAL of 148 pupils from Year 11 upwards at Bancroft's School, Woodford Green, have achieved success in the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme this year. 
Ninety-six bronze awards and 31 silver awards were presented by Peter Fleet, London Regional Director for DofE. 
Twenty-one pupils will be presented with their Gold Awards at ceremonies at St James' Palace in the presence of either the HRH The Duke of Edinburgh or HRH The Earl of Wessex. 
Dominic Argyle, manager of the DofE programme at the school, said: "The school regularly sees the highest number of awards for a co-educational day school within the London region. 2014 was no exception with the overall pass rate for all awards at an impressive 84 per cent." 
After presenting the students with their badges, Mr Fleet spoke about the long-term benefits of the award. He spoke of his own experiences with the award, including his memories of working for Redbridge. 
Old Bancroftian and gold award holder Matthew Tembey spoke of the challenges he had faced and undoubted life skills he had gained while working towards his award - from his voluntary work to the demands of the expedition to Snowdonia. 
In addition to these achievements, during the recent October half-term 30 Year 13 pupils who are working towards their gold awards spent a week in Snowdonia on their expedition. 
Although the expedition section, which includes a night of wild camping, is meant to be tough this year's cohort faced another challenge: the conditions presented by Hurricane Gonzales. 
The students were forced to reconsider their routes to allow for the tough conditions, so that some were not allowed to go up Mount Snowdon as conditions were deemed too dangerous. 
Mr Fleet said: "Bancroft's School represents one of the best examples of DofE delivery in schools in the capital. 
"Bancroft's understand the value of DofE to its students and how it perfectly complements academic attainment and raises level of achievement. 
"As a charity we often see the impact DofE participation has on students' progress and prospects in terms of accessing university, apprenticeships, a job and career. 
"I congratulate Bancroft's School on their significant success with our programme and appreciate the value placed on it by the headteacher, governors and teaching staff."

   

WOODFORD GREEN: Taal event raises over £7,000

9.55am - 17th December 2014

SOME 150 pupils from Year 7 to Year 13 took part in Taal at Bancroft's School. 
Taal, which means "the beat of life", is a fusion of Asian dance, music and acting. 
The event, now in its 13th year, is a firm fixture in the school's calendar and an important part of the school's cultural life. 
The event is student-driven with members of the Bancroft's Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist and Muslim Society (HSBM Society) writing, choreographing and directing the event. 
This year's script was written by Aqib Ahmed (Year 13) with Avantika Sood (Year 13) overseeing the choreography. 
In addition, the students assume full responsibility - everything from finding sponsorship from local businesses to sourcing costumes. 
HSBM Society president Aisha Chowdhury said: "Taal has been a great way of making friends from all year groups. I've been involved since Year 9 and it has become a massive part of my school life, I'm really sad that this will be my last one. It's a lot of work, but so worthwhile." 
To round the two evenings off audience members were treated to a full dinner on the Saturday and Indian snacks on the Friday. 
Taal is also a major fundraiser for charities and this year is set to raise over £7,000 to be divided between Smile Train and Charity Right. 
Charity Right provides vital food aid to starving people in the most underprivileged places in the world. Their work has served 1.4 million meals in 6 countries worldwide. 
Smile Train provides free cleft repair to those in need while helping to train local doctors. 
Every year, over 170,000 children are born with a cleft lip or cleft palate. The cleft repair makes it possible for a child born with cleft to eat, breath, speak properly and smile. 
Deputy headteacher Marwan Mikdadi said: "Taal truly was the 'beat of life' this year; a wonderful exposition of multicultural life at Bancroft's and a great way to raise money for some worthwhile causes. Well done to HSBM and the TAAL committee." 
Headteacher Mary Ireland said: "Taal 2014 continued the strong tradition of pupil-led entertainment of a terrific standard! Music, drama and dancing all to help support those who are less fortunate; bravo!"

   

LOUGHTON: Council announces festive window winners

3.33pm - 16th December 2014

MORE than 100 Loughton businesses decorated their windows and joined in the town's seasonal celebrations for this year's Loughton Town Council Christmas Window Competition.
All Christmas-themed shop windows were automatically eligible for the competition, and were split into three categories - local/independent businesses, multiples/chain stores and charity shops. 
The judges were mayor Sharon Weston and councillors Chris and Caroline Pond, chairman and vice-chairman respectively of the environment and heritage committee. 

The winners are: 

Local / Independent: 
Winner
- I Am So... Fly, 192 High Road (who chose to give their £100 donation to Breast Cancer Care).
Runners-up - Gems, 233 High Road, and Tony's, 61 The Broadway. 
Highly commended - Hype, 190 High Road, and Lottie Lou, 5A Forest Road. 

Multiple / chain store:
Winner
- Zee & Co Ltd, 221-225 High Road (whose £100 prize goes to Wallace Kennels Dog Rescue).
Runner-up - Satori, 8 Forest Road. 

Charity:
Winner
- St Clare Hospice, 271 High Road (with their £100 donation going to St Clare Hospice). 

Each winner also received an engraved cup to keep for 11 months (which is awarded again the following year) and a framed certificate.

   

ONGAR: New appeal in hunt for burglar

3.14pm - 16th December 2014

DETECTIVES have re-issued CCTV footage in a further appeal for information about a man suspected of carrying out a burglary in Ongar. 
A 58-year-old man from Epping arrested last week in connection with the investigation has now been eliminated from enquiries. 
Officers have re-released a CCTV video showing how quickly a man entered the High Street cottage shortly after 5pm on Wednesday December 3. 
He broke in through the back door and entered the kitchen while the occupant, a woman aged in her 70s, was asleep in a chair in the adjoining room. 
The intruder took a handbag which was later found discarded in Castle Street, Ongar, but a purse, cash and gold Parker pen, together valued at a three-figure sum, were stolen. 
The pen was of considerable sentimental value and had been given to the woman by her late husband, 40 years ago. 
The burglar is believed to be aged between 40 and 60 and was wearing a beanie hat, North Face jacket, trousers and gloves, all of which were black or dark-coloured. 
The CCTV footage can be viewed on the Essex Police You Tube channel
 Anyone who can identify the man should ring detectives at Loughton CID on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

   

HASTINGWOOD: Charity's unexpected £5,000 boost

2.56pm - 16th December 2014

THE Hastingwood-based charity Accuro (Care Services) has received an unexpected  £5,000 donation from the Donald Forrester Trust. 
Accuro's CEO Arthur Steward said: "These are particularly challenging times financial for many local charities and Accuro is certainly one of these. 
"To receive, out of the blue, such a generous donation as this is a real bonus and we are very grateful to the trustees of the Donald Forrester Trust for their support." 
Accuro will put the money towards the cost of maintaining its Under 19 Project which provides a range of leisure and social activities for young people aged 11 to 19 with a disability in the Great Dunmow and Saffron Walden areas that would otherwise not exist. 
The project delivers a range of activities including: a weekly social club in both towns, small group outings, one-to-one befriending and, when funding permits, an annual group holiday. 
One of the features and strengths of the project is the significant number of local young people aged 16 to 19 who act as volunteers. 
The Accuro Under 19 Project is currently being funded primarily by donations and fund-raising hence the importance and significance of the donation from the Donald Forrester Trust. 
Trust trustee Melissa Jones said: "The Donald Forrester Trust was set up in memory of my uncle. I am particularly interested in giving awards to local charities, especially in these challenging financial times. 
"I really enjoyed meeting the staff, volunteers and the wonderful young people at Accuro and I am delighted that our award will enable their excellent work to continue and to thrive." 
To find out more about the services offered by Accuro and how you might consider supporting the vibrant and valuable local charity visit the charity's website at www.accuro.org.uk, email enquiries@accuro.org.uk or ring 01279 433667.

   

NAZEING UPDATE: Three patients receiving oxygen therapy

2.25pm - 16th December 2014

THREE of the nine people taken ill at a vegetable storage unit at a nursery in Nazeing are undergoing oxygen therapy treatment in a special chamber at Whipps Cross Hospital. 
They were found to have "high levels" of carbon monoxide in their systems following the incident which happened at a nursery in Epping Road this morning. 
The East of England Ambulance Service and three fire crews were called to the scene shortly before 10am after a number of people were reported to be experiencing chest pains, sickness and feeling dizzy.
The ambulance service sent its Hazardous Area Response Team (HART), two rapid response vehicles, and three ambulance crews. Nine patients, who were evacuated from the building, were assessed at the scene where they were found to have high levels of carbon monoxide in their systems. 
Three patients were taken to Whipps Cross University Hospital, Leytonstone, which has a hyperbaric chamber to deliver oxygen therapy. 
The other six patients are at Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow.

   

NAZEING: Nine people treated after chemical leak

1.11pm - 16th December 2014

NINE people have been treated following a chemical leak at a vegetable storage facility in Nazeing. 
Three fire crews, from Loughton and Waltham Abbey, were called to a nursery in Epping Road following a leak of chemicals from a refrigeration unit. 
Essex Fire and Rescue Service said five men and four women suffered ill effects following the leak. 
They were left in the care of the ambulance service. 
An Essex Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said tests carried out by the Service's DIM (Detection, Identification and Monitoring) team revealed a high level of carbon monoxide in the 20m x 20m storage room. Firefighters are ventilating the building.

   

EPPING: Friends give festive cash to hospital

7.41am - 16th December 2014

THE Friends of St Margaret's Hospital have presented cash to each of the wards at the Epping hospital.
The money will be used by the housekeepers to provide festive cheer and gifts for the patients in Plane, Poplar and Beech wards and the mental health unit. 
The two Friends representatives who visited to hand over the money were shown a specially-designed chair recently purchased by the Friends for use by rehabilitation patients. 
The Friends group has raised thousands of pounds throughout the year to fund these and other gifts. 
The charity thanks everyone who has supported its fundraising events.

   

ROYDON: Shakespeare and Egypt for pupils

7.39am - 16th December 2014

YEAR 4, 5 and 6 pupils at Roydon Primary School took part in workshops based on Romeo and Juliet and performed on stage with professional actors when they visited London's Globe Theatre. 
They also had a tour and studied various artefacts. 
Year 4 followed up the trip by giving an assembly at school on Romeo and Juliet. 
Year 4 teacher Sophia Ovonlen said: "The trip tied in with everything my class has been learning at school. It was a great opportunity for all of the children to see how the plays are put together in a theatre. 
"For some it was the first time they'd been to London and so it was also wonderful for them to see the many famous landmarks around the theatre." 
Headteacher Gill Doyle said: "One year group is studying Shakespeare at the moment but we wanted to take as many children as we could to experience this historical phenomenon. 
"It is so important children fall in love with Shakespeare at an early age, before they become fearful of the language and lost in the complexity of the stories. Shakespeare's plays are part of our heritage and it is vital that our children continue to engage with these literary masterpieces." 
The pyramids and mummies of ancient Egypt came to Roydon for a day of animated learning. 
* Meanwhile the school was taken over for a day of themed lessons when children dressed in Egyptian costumes and took part in activities, including jewellery making, mummifying their teddies, Egyptian dancing, cooking and exploring geography. 
The theme was also the basis of their long-term homework = a piece of creative work to be completed at home with their parents over six weeks. 
Headteacher Gill Doyle said: "Our ancient Egyptian day saw art, dance, drama, literacy and history all linked together for a day of fun activities. The children were fascinated with what they learnt, particularly with mummification. 
"Long-term homework is very much an open brief to design and create anything related to the learning they are engaged in. It is about parents and child working together."

   

LOUGHTON: Pupils perform 'The Bethlehem Bandits'

4.31pm - 15th December 2014

PUPILS in Years 5 and 6 at Hereward Primary School have performed their Christmas show 'The Bethlehem Bandits' to parents. 
All of the children worked hard to prepare for their performances which were the culmination of a team effort with pupils choreographing dances, creating backdrops, as well as learning all the songs and their lines. 
Headteacher Matt Woolard said: "All of us, particularly those members of staff involved with the show, are so proud of all the children's hard work and dedication over the past six weeks." 

For pictures click here 

For details about how to order e-pictures or 8x6ins colour prints. which come in presentation folders/mounts, of any of the pictures featured email everythingeppingforest@googlemail.com or ring David Jackman on 07710 447868.

   

DISTRICT: Charities receive community day money

10.32am - 14th December 2014

THE Essex Royal British Legion and Essex & Herts Air Ambulance have each received a cheque for £3,500 - money raised at this year's community day at North Weald Airfield. 
Weald Aviation general manager Russell Smith said: "I'm absolutely delighted we raised £7,000 for these two wonderful charities. It will help them carry out the valuable work they do in the local community." 
Tony Newsome, a volunteer with the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance, said: "It costs £2,700 to fly each mission and £7,000 for a new defibrillator so this money will save a life. 
"I would like to thank Weald Aviation and Epping Forest District Council for supporting us." 
Derek Berwin, a member of the Essex Royal British Legion, thanked the "fantastic" community day for raising the money which he said would help the charity continue to provide financial, social and emotional support to members and their families. 
District council chairman Tony Boyce said: "Over 4,000 people from different generations came together at the community day in September to enjoy a great day out and honour our local heroes. 
"With this year being the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War I was particularly honoured and humbled to be given the chance to meet and pay tribute to our districts proud veterans. 
"The air display by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Spitfire and Hurricane completed a wonderful day."
He added: "All the money raised is vital to both charities to help them continue the necessary work they carry out in our local community. 
"I want to thank Weald Aviation, North Weald Airfield, Epping Forest District Council, Kings Transport Ltd and the thousands of people who came along to this marvellous event, showing that fantastic community spirit is very much alive in the Epping Forest district." 
Planning for next year's event is well underway. 
On Sunday, July 12 an event will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain with the event raising money for the Royal Air Force Association's Wings Appeal. 
A flying display from the Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will be just one of the highlights.

   

DISTRICT: Ambassador role for youth councillor

10.30am - 14th December 2014

EPPING Forest youth councillor Evie Foster has been chosen as one of 50 #iwill ambassadors nationwide. 
She was confirmed as #iwill official ambassador at a ceremony at the Indigo O2. #iwill ambassadors have demonstrated a strong commitment to social action and helping others, such as volunteering, campaigning or fundraising. 
The Bancroft's School student said: "I am absolutely delighted and very proud to have received this recognition. I feel passionately about helping others and would encourage all young people to get involved and do something for your community. It really is worthwhile. It is not just for your own benefit but for others, too. It really is a win-win situation." 
Gill Wallis, Epping Forest District Council's community, health and wellbeing manager, said: "We are so proud of Evie. This is a fantastic achievement and I know Evie will make an excellent ambassador." 
In her submission to be #iwill ambassador Evie said: "Social action taught me that young people can make a positive impact in the community when they harness their energy and enthusiasm. Each of us should do what we can, when we can to help someone or serve the community." 
Evie says the adult who has most inspired her to get involved in social action is her mum and that her key character qualities and virtues are citizenship and determination. 
She has pledged that #iwill take a leadership role to inspire young people to contribute to their community.

   

LOUGHTON: School takes Christmas show on tour

10.15am - 14th December 2014

STUDENTS at Debden Park High School, Loughton, have been touring the local area performing their 'Let It Snow' Christmas production. 
A concert performance was held at St John's Church, Loughton, on Thursday evening. 
Earlier in week the 'Christmas Community Tour' visited Whipps Cross Hospital, Leytonstone; Loughton Hall Care Home; Queen's Hospital, Romford; and Woodland Care Home, Loughton; before a final performance was given at Thomas Willingale Primary School, Loughton. 
The performances - watched by some 400 people - featured Christmas music, dance and drama.
Proceeds from the St John's Church performance will go to Save the Children with a donation to be made to the church.

PICTURES click here

   

LOUGHTON: Accountant's treadmill challenge

9.12am - 14th December 2014

LOUGHTON accountant and marathon runner Jon O'Shea, from Haslers Chartered Accountants, raised nearly £700 for three charities by taking part in a treadmill challenge. 
Jon ran a full marathon on a treadmill at the Sainsbury store in Old Station Road, Loughton, matched by 26 volunteers who each ran an alternate mile on the treadmill. 
Their efforts raised £679.47 for the Teenage Cancer Trust, St Clare Hospice, and the Haslers Foundation - the firm's charitable arm. Jon beat the Haslers team by about one minute overall over the 26.2-mile marathon length. 
Jon said: "It was a lot harder than I thought it would be but it was well worth it for the awareness and cash raised for the three charities I am supporting. 
"I'm only disappointed I didn't beat the Haslers team by more!"
The charity challenge was completed as part of the build-up to Jon's preparations for the World Marathon Challenge in January where he will attempt to run seven marathons on seven continents in seven days. 
The World Marathon Challenge begins on January 17 on the Union Glacier in Antarctica where he will face temperatures of between -20C to -25C. 
He will then attempt to complete full marathons in Punta Arenas (Chile), Miami (USA), Madrid (Spain), Marrakesh (Morocco), and Dubai (UAE), finishing in Sydney (Australia). 
In completing the challenge, Jon will have run 183 miles, travelled about 24,000 miles around the world whilst experiencing a likely 50 degree temperature change and living off of airplane food, all in less than 168 hours. 
Jon is taking part in memory of two colleagues at the Loughton firm who lost battles with cancer, and is aiming to raise £50,000 for the charities. 
He has so far raised nearly £15,000. In the last two years the firm has lost their former chairman Martin Anderson and their youngest employee, Charlotte James, to the disease. 
Jon added: "To be doing this challenge in memory of Martin and Charlotte is a real honour and I am proud to be raising cash for three charities which do fantastic work with people young and old in the local community fighting cancer." 
To sponsor Jon please visit his Just Giving page www.justgiving.com/worldmarathonchallenge

   

M25: Police question second man over fatal crash

9.04am - 14th December 2014

A SECOND man arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving following a fatal road traffic collision on the M25 near Waltham Abbey has been transferred into the care of mental health professionals following an assessment at Harlow Police Station. 
He will be interviewed at a later date pending the advice of doctors. 
The 25-year-old was originally arrested at Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow, on Tuesday where he was being treated for injuries sustained during the early morning collision. 
He was taken into custody yesterday afternoon.

   

DISTRICT: MP holds Christmas card competition

4.20pm - 12th December 2014

EPPING Forest MP Eleanor Laing has presented a prize to the winner of her Epping Forest Constituency Christmas Card competition. 
The competition was open to children from all primary, junior and infant schools in Epping Forest. 
Mrs Laing said: "The judging panel had great difficulty choosing the winner as there were some marvellous designs on the theme 'Santa Claus in Epping Forest'."
The overall winner was Epping Primary School pupil Danny O'Neill (Year 3). His picture has been printed as Mrs Laing's 2014 Christmas card. 
The designs by six runners-up -Meg O'Neill (Danny's sister - Year 6, Epping Primary School), Lilly Spong (Year 2 - Hereward Junior School), Keziah Morris (Year 5 - Daiglen School), Nell Scott (Year 5 - Braeside School), Ruby Routledge (Year 5 - Buckhurst Hill County Primary School), Skye Parish-Heighton (Year 1 - Thomas Willingale School) - are printed on the back of the card. 
The competition was sponsored by Loughton-based chartered accountants Haslers. 
Mrs Laing said: "I am extremely grateful to Haslers for their support of the competition which has also enabled a donation to be made to the popular local charity the Chigwell Riding Trust."

   

ONGAR: Council "heartened" by Parish Poll result

1.09pm - 12th December 2014

ONGAR Town Council has said it is "heartened" by the result of yesterday's Parish Poll over the future management of the Ongar Social and Sports Club site.
The council, in a statement issued this afternoon, says the "slender" majority shows that the community is becoming better informed about its proposals for the future of the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Park (Love Lane). 
The question asked in yesterday's Parish Poll, was: 'Do you want Ongar Town Council to take over the management and day-to-day running of the Ongar Social and Sports Club and the Love Lane site, which is currently leased to the club?' 
The total number of votes given was: 
YES (votes for the council) - 163 
NO (votes against the council) - 252.
There was one void ballot paper. Total votes cast was 416 (a majority of 89 votes).
The total electorate for Ongar is 5,234. 
The result was announced by Epping Forest District Council chief executive Glen Chipp at the count which was held at the Budworth Hall, Ongar, last night.
Council chairman councillor Diana Roberts said: "We acknowledge that the narrow majority were not in favour of our plans but the council remains concerned with a number of issues surrounding the current management of the club." 
The matter will be discussed at the town council's finance committee meeting on January 15.

   

ONGAR: Town council receives three awards

11.03am - 12th December 2014

ONGAR Town Council has received three awards from the Essex Playing Fields Association. 
The Cerizay Play Area won a Gold Award Merit while Certificates of Merit were received for the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Field, Love Lane, and Shelley Park. 
Council chairman Diana Roberts, who received the awards at the association's annual general meeting, said: "'We are delighted to receive these awards. The open spaces staff work tirelessly to keep the areas clear of litter and safe."

   

LOUGHTON: Hereward Primary School's 'Gnome Alone'

10.39am - 12th December 2014

CHILDREN in Years 1 and 2 at Hereward Primary School, Loughton, performed a Christmas show entitled 'Gnome Alone' to the school community this week.
Headteacher Matt Woolard said: "It was fantastic to see how much the children enjoyed performing with beaming smiles throughout. 
"Their enthusiasm to put on a great show was so apparent. We all thought they were incredible."

   

LOUGHTON: PICTURES: Hereward Primary School Christmas musical

7.30am - 12th December 2014

PUPILS in Years 3 and 4 at Hereward Primary School, Loughton, performed an original musical entitled 'Christmas@Hereward.com'. 
The show was performed to parents, carers and family members this week. 
Year 4 Class Teacher Davina Victor said: "Our children sang like angels and we were so pleased at how confidently they performed.
"It was a terrific way to end the autumn term and filled everyone's hearts with Christmas cheer."

PICTURES

   

ONGAR: Man arrested over burglary

2.25pm - 11th December 2014

A MAN has been arrested in connection with a burglary at a property in High Street, Ongar, which happened as the woman occupant was asleep in an adjoining room. 
The incident happened on Wednesday December 3, when entry was gained through a back door and the kitchen was searched.
Two handbags, cash, a pair of glasses and a gold Parker pen, together valued at a three-figure sum. 
The pen had been given to the woman, who is in her 70s, by her late husband 40 years ago. 
The 58-year-old man, from the Epping area, was arrested last night (Wednesday) and has been bailed until January 6 pending further enquiries.

   

NORTH WEALD: Half an aircraft hangar stolen

5.15pm - 10th December 2014

HALF an aircraft hangar has been stolen from North Weald Airfield. 
The dismantled building components were stolen from where they were being stored at the airfield museum on Tuesday, November 4, or Wednesday, November 5. 
The hangar is a Frisomat building and the name is stamped on each of the galvanised metal components. 
Anyone with any information should ring PC Tony Short on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

   

M25 UPDATE: Two men arrested over fatal crash

8.07am - 10th December 2014

TWO men, aged 33 and 25, have been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving in connection with the fatal collision on the M25 near Waltham Abbey.
Four lorries and a car were involved in the crash which left one man dead and four others in hospital. 
The vehicles involved were a Peugeot car, a Scania lorry, a DAF artic, a Mercedes lorry and a Romanian lorry. 
The collision happened shortly before 2am yesterday. 
The arrested men are both receiving treatment in hospital.

   

LOUGHTON: Lopping Hall appoints new manager

3.07pm - 9th December 2014

A NEW hall manager has been appointed by the trustees of Lopping Hall, Loughton. 
John Mahoney was previously club secretary of Loughton Club. 
He said: "Having lived in Loughton all my life Lopping Hall has always been to me one of the most iconic buildings in Loughton. 
"I have over the years been to several performances at the Hall and know how much it has to offer the local community and what an excellent resource it is. 
"I am very excited about this role and hope to be an integral part of the Hall's future." 
Trustees' chairman Mike Walker said: "We are delighted that John has taken up this post. He will be an important part of the refurbishment and regeneration of Lopping Hall in the heart of Loughton. 
"The Hall has almost completed a major programme of fire, health and safety and major service improvements. 
"We are now concentrating on bringing the hiring rooms up to a modern standard whilst retaining many of the heritage features." 
Lopping Hall was opened in 1884 to a design by local architect Edmond Egan, and is one of the most important public buildings in Loughton.
It was paid for by the Corporation of London to compensate residents of the then village of Loughton for the loss of traditional rights to lop wood in Epping Forest, rights which were bought out when the management of the forest was taken over by the Corporation in 1878. 
It has four rooms for hire, including a main hall with a stage and theatre facilities, a bar and two smaller rooms for dance classes and many other uses.

   

BUCKHURST HILL: MP joins 'Christmas in Queens Road' celebrations

2.53pm - 9th December 2014

EPPING Forest MP Eleanor Laing joined in the festive celebrations in Buckhurst Hill when she attended 'Christmas in Queens Road' on Friday.
Many shops took part in the event, organised by Buckhurst Hill Parish Council and Buckhurst Hill Residents Society, with businesses staying open late. 
Santa was among those turning out for the occasion which also featured Jebb the Juggling Stiltman (sponsored by Buckhurst Hill Town Centre Partnership), face painting (at Repose Power Plate Studio). a chess challenge, Father Christmas, Christmas magic shows, carol singing, a children's roundabout, brass band and various stalls. 
Mrs Laing said: "Once again the Christmas event was a resounding success and was a great start to the festive season in Buckhurst Hill. 
"It is a real community event with the parish council, residents society, local businesses and local people all involved in bringing Buckhurst Hill together." 
Proceeds and donations from the event will go to the Alzheimer's Society, the charity chosen by parish council chairman Aniket Patel.

   

M25 UPDATE: One dead, four injured in five-vehicle crash

2.18pm - 9th December 2014

FOUR lorries and a car were involved in the M25 crash which left one man dead and four others in hospital.
Police have completed their initial investigation into the circumstances of the collision which happened shortly before 2am. 
The vehicles involved were a Peugeot car, a Scania lorry, a DAF artic, a Mercedes lorry and a Romanian lorry. 
The man who died was pronounced dead at the scene. His body has been taken to the mortuary at Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow. He is believed to be a 39-year-old man from Leicester. 
Four other people remain in hospital receiving treatment for injuries which are not believed to be serious.
The M25 currently remains shut between junctions 25 and 27 while clean up and repair work continue.
Police have now released the scene to the Highways Agency.

   

M25: One dead, several injured in multi-vehicle crash

8.53am - 9th December 2014

ONE person has died and several others injured in a crash which has closed the M25 near Waltham Abbey.
The road is closed in both directions following the crash, between junctions 25 and 27, which happened shortly before 2am and involved "a number of lorries". 
Several vehicles went through the central reservation. 
The injured have been taken to hospital for treatment to injuries which at this time are not believed to be life threatening, a police spokesman said. 
Investigations are continuing and police are also working with the Highways Agency to clear the carriageways of debris so repairs and resurfacing can be carried out. 
A police spokesman said: "No definite time for the reopening of the motorway can be set yet but it is likely to remain closed throughout the morning rush hour."

   

CHIGWELL: Past and present students in concert

8.41am - 9th December 2014

PAST and present West Hatch High School students performed in a charity concert organised by the Rotary Club of Loughton, Buckhurst Hill and Chigwell at St Mary's Church, Loughton. 
The concert featured solo performances from former West Hatch student Charlotte Jaconelli, who with fellow ex-West Hatch student Jonathan Antoine, was runner-up in ITV's Britain's Got Talent programme.
Also performing at the concert, which raised over £1,400 for the Loughton Foodbank, Friends of Jubilee Lodge and other charities, was the Modality youth choir which features 12 past or present West Hatch High School students as well as others from Trinity, Chingford Foundation and Woodbridge High Schools.
The Modality youth choir is conducted by director Jenny Ewington, a singing teacher at West Hatch.

   

WOODFORD GREEN: School's Christmas event raises over £2,000

3.40pm - 8th December 2014

THE families of Avon House School joined together for a 'Magical Christmas Wonderland' on Friday.
The school choir sang festive songs as Father Christmas arrived and met the children in his grotto.
He was accompanied by Tansy, a white pony from Chigwell Riding Trust, the school's Christmas charity.
 Headteacher Amanda Campbell said: "With stalls selling reindeer food, cakes, burgers and curry for those who built up an appetite throwing snowballs at the deputy head (Gavin Biston), it was an evening not to be missed. 
"Our grateful thanks go to the PTA for organising this pre-Christmas extravaganza which raised over £2,000."

For pictures click here

For details on how to order prints of any of the pictures featured email everythingeppingforest@googlemail.com or ring David Jackman on 07710 447868.

   

LOUGHTON: Reception year children perform nativity concert

3.22pm - 8th December 2014

CHILDREN in Reception at Hereward Primary School, Loughton, have performed their nativity concert, entitled 'Wriggly Christmas', to their parents and family members. 
Headteacher Matt Woolard said: "We were all very proud to see the children perform at school for the very first time. 
"It is a special moment for them as well as their families."

For pictures click here

For details on how to order prints of any of the pictures featured email everythingeppingforest@googlemail.com or ring David Jackman on 07710 447868.

   

STONDON MASSEY: Pub team hand over fundraising proceeds

8.59am - 8th December 2014

A TEAM of fundraisers at the Bricklayers Arms pub, Stondon Massey, have handed over the proceeds of a years' fundraising.
Their efforts culminated in a four-day, 75-mile trek retracing the footsteps of the historic Operation Market Garden route from Lommel in Belgium to Arnhem in Holland. 
And now the Bricklayers Arms Troop are planning their next fundraising challenge - to trek across the Falkland Islands in 2017, to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the Falklands conflict in 1982. 
To mark the end of their Operation Market Garden fundraising, members of the team visited the Houses of Parliament, at the invitation of Communities and Local Government Minister - and local MP - Eric Pickles to present a cheque to the Parachute Regiment charity and Help for Heroes. 
Their efforts - which saw them complete the 75-mile route carrying 40lb field packs - raised some £14,000 with money still being received since the cheque was handed over. 
Their inspiration for the march came from a young Paratrooper, Andy Jones, who was injured in Afghanistan. 
The march also coincided with the 70th anniversary for the Battle for Arnhem, in 1944, and the team was privileged to attend commemorations in Arnhem which were attended by many of the remaining veterans.
The group became friends with David Whiteman, from Laindon, near Basildon - an Arnhem veteran and medic at the original operation in 1944 - thanks to publicity generated during the build-up to the march and met Mr Whiteman next to John Frost Bridge. 
Director of the Parachute Regiment charity, Stephen Cooper - who accepted the cheque - presented the Bricklayers Arms Troop with a statue which will be displayed at the pub. 
The team is now planning their next charity adventure, to walk across the Falkland Islands in 2017 in memory of the 35th anniversary since the Falklands conflict during 1982. 
Stuart Southgate, one of the fundraising group, said: "The whole experience was extremely sobering on the occasions we stopped at the British cemeteries at Valkenswaard and Oosterbeck, we made a particular objective of attending the grave of Private AH Powis, the father of one of our supporters Mr David Powis, which made the whole adventure extremely worthwhile and perhaps the best memory we have of the whole four days. 
"During 2015 members of the team will continue to raise money for the Para charity at the Para 10 Challenge held at the home of the Parachute Regiment in Colchester, and will be taking on the legendary 100km in 30hrs Ghurka challenge across the South Downs. 
A focused and intensive training schedule is already underway in preparation for the Falkland Islands trek.
Event organiser Gary Middlehurst said: "We know how difficult this year's challenge was as civilians, having an average age of 54. 
"Our Falklands adventure will be a real test of endurance when living rough for what is a very inhospitable environment even in summer."

   

MORETON: Pub's stockings supporting charity

12.15pm - 7th December 2014

THE Nags Head pub in Moreton has found an unusual way to raise money - by selling festive stockings.
Money raised from the sales will help support the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance. 
Bonnie Skilleter, who took over the pub with her husband, Leon, in June, said: "We are selling mini stockings at £1 each. 
"Customers decorate them themselves and they are being hung around the pub to add to the Christmas decor. 
"Fifty per cent of the proceeds from stockings sales goes to Essex and Herts Air Ambulance. 
"After Christmas patrons can either retrieve the stockings or opt to leave them at the pub for next following year."

   

HASTINGWOOD: Woman seriously injured in collision

10.53am - 7th December 2014

A DRIVER has been seriously injured in a road crash in Hastingwood. 
Police were called shortly after 1pm on Thursday following reports of a collision involving a silver Toyota car and a white Citroen van at the junction of Harlow Common Road and Mill Street. 
The car driver, an 80-year-old woman from the Harlow area, received serious injuries and was taken to Addenbrooke's Hospital. 
Her condition on Friday was described as "serious but stable". 
The van driver was badly shaken but uninjured. 
Police closed the road until about 5.30pm while initial investigations were carried out. 
Any witnesses, or anyone with information about events leading to the collision, should ring investigating officer PC Mark Pearce or his colleagues at the Essex Police Serious Collision Investigation Unit on 101 or email collisionappeal@essex.pnn.police.uk

   

WOODFORD GREEN: Children stage nativity play

10.20am - 7th December 2014

EARLY Years Foundation Stage children at Avon House Preparatory School, Woodford Green, performed their nativity to parents and local residents. 
This year's production of the Christmas story was 'Whoops-a-Daisy Angel!' 
Headteacher Amanda Campbell said: "The children in Foundation One and Foundation Two practised really hard to learn their words, songs and actions to perform the Christmas story. 
"We are very proud of them and both performances were fantastic."

For pictures click here

   

LOUGHTON: MP visits Royal Mail delivery office

9.51am - 7th December 2014

EPPING Forest MP Eleanor Laing met staff sorting and delivering a larger than usual number of letters and parcels in the run-up to Christmas when she visited Royal Mail's Debden delivery office.
Mrs Laing was given a tour of the new Lenthall Road facility which is manned by some 150 staff. 
She was welcomed by delivery office manager Greg O'Donoghue who showed how the mail is sorted from its arrival from Romford, into areas and then individual rounds by the delivery staff. 
Mrs Laing said: "It has been fascinating to see the wonderfully efficient operation that goes on at the Debden delivery office. 
"I'm really impressed by all that I've discovered this morning. 
"When I arrived at 7am the sorting and delivery staff had already been working since 5.30am and had most of the letters already sorted. 
"Today (Saturday) is one of their busiest days because of the enormous number of parcels being sent in preparation for Christmas. 
"These people are the real Santa Claus - they are the ones whose hard work and dedication deliver your presents." 
Mr O'Donoghue said: "Our postmen and women are working extremely hard to deliver Christmas cards, letters and parcels to people. 
"We are grateful that Eleanor visited the office to see our operation and to support the team during our busiest time of year." 

Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing with Gary O'Donaghue (left) and Graham Turner PICTURE

Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing with Paul Spurdle PICTURE

Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing with Adam Maunders PICTURE

Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing with delivery office manager Gary O'Donaghue PICTURE

The new Debden delivery office in Lenthall Road, Debden PICTURE

   

ONGAR: Burglar breaks in while occupant asleep

3.38pm - 6th December 2014

DETECTIVES have appealed for help from the public to identify a man suspected of a burglary in Ongar.
The intruder was caught on CCTV after breaking into a cottage in the High Street shortly after 5pm on Wednesday (December 3). 
He broke in through a back door and searched the kitchen while the occupant, a woman aged in her 70s, was asleep in a chair in the adjoining room. 
The man was in the property for about five minutes and took two handbags, cash, a pair of glasses and a gold Parker pen, together valued at a three-figure sum.
The pen was of considerable sentimental value and had been given to the woman by her late husband 40 years ago. 
The man is believed to be aged between 40 and 60 and was wearing a beanie hat, North Face jacket, trousers and gloves, all of which were black or dark coloured. 
Anyone who can identify the man should ring detectives at Loughton CID on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

   

DISTRICT: PICTURES: MP celebrates Small Business Saturday

3.29pm - 6th December 2014

EPPING Forest MP Eleanor Laing marked this year's Small Business Saturday by visiting three independent businesses, in Buckhurst Hill, Loughton and Theydon Bois. 
Mrs Laing spent time at Connaught Farm Nurseries, Epping New Road, Buckhurst Hill; Mode Beauty Therapy in Old Station Road, Loughton; and Theydon Bois Pharmacy in Forest Drive, Theydon Bois. 
Mrs Laing said: "I always try and support our local traders whenever I can. They offer that something special, personal service and they have staff who are always keen to help - they need our support. It is a case of 'use them, or lose them'.
"Small independent businesses are the lifeblood of our town centres and village shopping areas."

Connaught Farm Nurseries, Epping New Road, Buckhurst Hill 

Mrs Laing said: "Bob Church has run Connaught Farm Nurseries for decades. They don't just sell plants for your garden, they are real experts providing plants and trees for offices and businesses as well as for local residents. 
"Bob's expertise really comes to the fore every year when he puts up the 72ft Norwegian Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square." 

Mode Beauty Therapy, Old Station Road, Loughton 

Mrs Laing said: "Mode is a great example of a small business that is doing really well. 
"Karen (owner Karen Montagnino) has built up a great clientele and has just moved to beautiful new premises in Old Station Road. 
"It's amazing what a huge range of treatments beauty therapists can now do."

Theydon Bois Pharmacy, Forest Drive, Theydon Bois 

Mrs Laing said: "Theydon Bois Pharmacy is not just a shop it's a hub of activity for the whole community.
"Owner Sailesh Dawda not only dispenses prescriptions and medicines but he also gives advice. 
"For most people Sailesh is the first port of call when they or their family are unwell. He is a vital part of our village." 

Small Business Saturday is an independent, grassroots movement supporting, inspiring and promoting small businesses. 
Thousands of businesses across the country took part in the first Small Business Saturday last year. 
The Government has taken many steps to support small businesses by, among various actions, taking £2,000 off National Insurance for businesses - which means some 450,000 small businesses will pay no jobs tax at all in 2014-15 - and ensuring that some 350,000 small firms pay no business rates because of the doubling of rate relief. 

Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing with Vivien Roddy (left) and Yvonne Knight at Connaught Farm Nurseries PICTURE

Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing with staff at Mode Beauty Therapy, Loughton PICTURE

Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing with Theydon Bois Pharmacy owner Sailesh Dawda and staff at the pharmacy in Forest Drive PICTURE

   

WOODFORD GREEN: PICTURES: Santa and pony at Christmas fair

9.46pm - 5th December 2014

A PONY from Chigwell Riding Trust accompanied Santa as he headed to his grotto at Avon House Preparatory School's Christmas festivities. 
The Magical Christmas Wonderland event saw stalls in the school hall while outside visitors could visit Santa in his grotto, and buy special reindeer food ready for Christmas Eve. 

For pictures click here

   

EPPING: PICTURES: Christmas Tree Festival and Christmas market

9.44pm - 5th December 2014

STREET entertainment, carol singing and dozens of stalls combined to make the Epping Town Council-organised Christmas market a resounding success. 
School choirs and the Epping Forest Band provided the festive music while stilt-walking circus performers mingled with the crowds jugging. 
Epping mayor Barbara Scruton presented the Audrey Rose Cup for the best festive window to Pretty Woman. 
Runners-up were Piccola and Mr Smith's hairdressers while Collop Carpets were commended. 
Some 60 illuminated Christmas trees sponsored by local businesses and organisations are on display at St John's Church, with the church open again tomorrow, Sunday and Monday. 

For pictures click here

   

CHIGWELL: Students cook up a treat

10.39am - 5th December 2014

STUDENTS at West Hatch High School cooked up special dishes when they took part in the Rotary Young Chef competition. 
Year 9 students competed in the West Hatch heat of the competition which aims to develop cookery and food hygiene skills, highlight healthy eating and show students' ability to organise, plan and cope in a demanding situation. 
Raj Narwalt, Design Technology Teacher and Rotary Young Chef Co-ordinator, said: "Congratulations to all the Year 9 participants. We were impressed with the level of enthusiasm and hard work that the pupils exhibited." 
The winner was Melissa Toplis who cooked Chicken Roulade wrapped in prosciutto and stuffed with a creamy layer of goats cheese mixed with basil, oregano and rosemary laid on top of juicy grilled asparagus alongside crispy roasted potatoes. 
Runner-up was George Green who presented a classic Spaghetti Bolognese. 
Both are among the students who now progress to the next round of the competition.

   

LOUGHTON: Sixth formers host Christmas party for elderly residents

3.48pm - 4th December 2014

SIXTH form students at Davenant Foundation School, Loughton, organised a Christmas party with entertainment for local elderly residents. 
The students baked cakes and raised over £300 to pay for other refreshments for the party at Epping Forest Community Church, Grosvenor Drive, Loughton, yesterday. 
Various musical numbers and readings were performed by the students who served tea, cakes and sandwiches to their guests. 
Year 13 student Zaynat Awoyemi, 17, said: "It's nice to give something back to the community. I think it gives different opportunities to students - to perform in front of an audience and also to interact with a different age group." 
Member of staff Judith Ball, who has organised the event with students for many years, said: "It amazes me every year the impact these events have on the local senior citizens. 
"It is a pleasure and privilege to work with young people who want to make a difference to the lives of others in our community."

PICTURES click here

   

EPPING: The Box launches fundraising appeal

3.01pm - 4th December 2014

THE Box, Epping's social space and education centre for young people which moves into new premises in February, has launched a fundraising appeal. 
After almost ten years serving young people in Epping the charity faced a crisis in June when the lease on its High Street premises was not renewed. 
Following an extensive search for a new base, The Box signed a 15-year lease on the former church hall in St John's Road in September. 
Extensive renovation work, costing £125,000, is underway to provide a high quality environment to continue the charity's valuable youth work and education programme for vulnerable young people in our community from February. 
The internal space is being redesigned and refurbished and the front aspect is being given a facelift. 
The new space will provide several teaching spaces, a large social space, counselling rooms, a teaching kitchen, new offices, a secure outside area and room for the further growth and development of the work of The Box. 
The long-term lease and more affordable rent will provide greater security and financial stability. Tim Dolan, project manager for The Box, said: "When we discovered our current lease would not be renewed, we faced the terrible prospect of closure. 
"We are very excited about the opportunity to redevelop and rent the church hall. This lease ensures a stable base for our work for the next generations of young people and allows us to meet the growing demand for our services. 
"As a Christian charity we have stepped out in faith to make this happen and we are confident that this move will be great for young people and our community." 
Alison Dolan, who manages the Alternative Education Programme which provides daily education for 13 students, said: "There is a growing demand from secondary schools for places on our programme for young people who are unable to stay in mainstream school. 
"This move is fantastic as we will be able to offer more places on our programme and better facilities. 
"We will have a larger teaching kitchen, art room and additional spaces to teach science. We will also be able to provide room for another charity who hope to deliver additional support and education for vulnerable primary aged children." 
Marjorie Austin, vice-chair for the board of trustees, said "This is a great move for The Box. The benefits for our work are clear. It is also great to know that this familiar feature of Epping, built as a temporary structure 125 years ago and which holds memories for many older members of the community, will be brought up to date to serve our community again." 
The ambitious renovation project has been undertaken by Graham Hancock and his team from Epping-based Tradpin Construction. 
Mr Hancock said: "I do like a challenge but to resurrect a building in this state with this timescale was something else. 
"The progress has been better than we could have hoped, considering the weather - the roof has been replaced and the first floor has gone in, so we're on course for our February deadline. 
"I've been involved with The Box for over five years and as a member of the Epping Rotary Club, long-term supporters of The Box, I am keen to support my community. A number of suppliers and contractors have been very generous in their rates to make this project happen. 
"We are very grateful to Essential Security, PGR Timber, Exterior Plas, Independent Asbestos Services Ltd, Haste Scaffolding and MAH Steel who have kindly supported the charity with discounted services." 
The Box has had to raise money for the refurbishment and secured the initial £75,000 but faced a shortfall of £50,000. 
The Box has undertaken a fundraising appeal across the community, with an army of volunteers posting a leaflet through every house in the area. Already some £21,000 donated in just over three weeks. Volunteers will be bag-packing in Marks and Spencer over the next two Saturdays to raise money. 
To donate to the appeal visit www.TheBoxEpping.org.uk, text THBX34 £10 to 70070 or send a cheque to 134 High Street, Epping, Essex, CM16 4AG.

   

DISTRICT: Free all-day weekend parking set to be scrapped

2.36pm - 4th December 2014

FREE all-day weekend and Bank Holiday parking in Epping Forest District Council car parks is set to end as the council looks to increase income and find £750,000 in savings in the next financial year. 
Some £44,000 is set to be saved with the scrapping of the council's Forester magazine from April with council information instead sent with council tax notifications. 
In addition to finding £750,000 savings in 2015-16, the council is looking to make £500,000 savings in 2016-17, £300,000 savings in 2017-18 and £200,000 savings in 2018-19, it has been disclosed. 
Council documents also highlight a "probable" reduction of £300,000 in income from the North Weald Airfield Market in 2014-15 while an increase in economic development staff has added £125,000 to the budget.
The council has discussed the possibility of purchasing office space above the Epping Forest District Museum in Sun Street, Waltham Abbey, which could enable some community service staff currently based at Hemnall Street, Epping, to be relocated "as a first phase to vacate the whole of the Hemnall Street offices". 
The council's finance and performance management cabinet committee supported a move to charging for all-day parking on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays in pay-and-display car parks and the introduction of a short-stay tariff at the Civic Offices as the council looks to increase parking income by £100,000. 
Committee members felt 30 minutes free parking should be included and that all-day parking fees should be in line with station car park prices. 
The council is to look into building a new hangar on North Weald Airfield to increase income while a longer-term possibility could be reviewing the number of district councillors.

What do you think? Email everythingeppingforest@googlemail.com, text your comments to 07710 447868 or tweet them to @eefnews

Natalie Chevin (@NatChevin on Twitter) - Hmm. Just the sort of thing which will affect local traders and make residents more likely to shop elsewhere

   

LOUGHTON: Council depot set for £2.5m move

2.33pm - 4th December 2014

EPPING Forest District Council is set to establish a new £2.5m depot at Oakwood Hill so the current Langston Road site can become a retail shopping park. 
Grounds maintenance staff and its fleet operations service would move to the new base. 
The move would also see the relocation of the council's glasshouse and nursery from Pyrles Lane Nursery to Oakwood Hill which would allow the 2.42-acre site to be considered for "potentially viable redevelopment", the council says.

   

ONGAR: Boy and girl assaulted during Christmas lights event

10.49am - 4th December 2014

POLICE are appealing for information after a 16-year-old boy suffered serious facial injuries and his girlfriend was also assaulted during the Christmas lights switch-on in Ongar. 
The incident happened shortly before 8.20pm on Friday, November 28. 
The boy, from the Chelmsford area, received treatment in hospital in Harlow. 
Investigating officer DC Nicola Hudson, from Loughton CID, said: "We believe the victim was assaulted by a small group of boys. 
"The victim's girlfriend tried to stop them but she was also assaulted. This happened on the night of the Christmas Lights event so the High Street was very busy. I would ask anyone who witnesses the incident to contact me." 
Any witnesses or anyone with information about the assault is asked to contact Dc Nicola Hudson on 101 extension 313401.

   

EPPING: MP praises Heart of Epping team

10.14am - 4th December 2014

EPPING Forest MP Eleanor Laing has praised everyone involved with the Heart of Epping appeal after the ambitious community centre plans received outline planning consent. 
Mrs Laing, who is a patron of the Heart of Epping appeal, said: "I am delighted this project has reached this major milestone. 
"This is such a great project which will have so many advantages for the local community by providing community space at the real heart of Epping. 
"I am full of praise for the determined efforts of the people of St John's Church and the other supporters of the Heart of Epping appeal whose work has helped get the project to this stage. 
"I hope the local community now get behind the fundraising efforts which are now needed to make these facilities a reality." 
The proposed community centre building will adjoin St John's Church in Epping.
The application details the demolition of St John's House which would be replaced by a two-storey building with meeting rooms, community hall, cafe, toilets and kitchen. 
Funding to help meet the cost of the project is being raised through the Heart of Epping appeal. 
District council planning officers gave their approval to the application on Tuesday, subject to a number of conditions. 
Rev'd Canon Geoffrey Connor said: "The granting of the outline application is marvellous news and is an important step towards the completion of the project."

   

CHIGWELL: Students excel in EPQ work

9.10am - 4th December 2014

WEST Hatch A-Level students have recorded a 100 per cent pass rate in their Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). 
Of the passes achieved by the Year 13 students, 71 per cent were at A* to C grades. 
Naseem Alahi, the school's EPQ co-ordinator, said: "We are confident that the EPQ success will stand them in good stead for the future. 
"Many universities really advocate the EPQ as it bridges the higher education skills gap better than anything else." 
She added: "Our EPQ students will already have a genuine taste of what studying for a degree is actually like. 
"All round they are better prepared for university and the world of work - critical, reflective independent learners with skills such as academic skills, independent research skills, data handling, report-writing and presentation skills, project management and self-directed learning." 
Aaron Sharma, whose research involved looking at different genres of music and how they affected the mood and personality of people, said: "I believe the EPQ has equipped me with a solid foundation for me to pursue independent research for when I am at university and has allowed me to research into a field that I enjoy." 
Head Girl Deanna Mathers created a dessert recipe book having looked at modernising pre-war and wartime recipes. 
She said: "The EPQ is an opportunity to indulge and learn about something you love. It stretches your skills enabling you to learn lots and improve lots too!" 
Aspiring architect Reece Davey said: "The extended project has helped me develop not only as an academic but as a person. 
"It has taught me valuable skills they can be applied to daily life. My project was based around architecture and it helped me gain a space on the UCL summer school which is one of the most prestigious universities In Europe." 
Reece redesigned a teacher's house with his work directly linking to his intention to study architecture at university. 
The EPQ aims to inspire, enthuse and motivate students by giving them the freedom to choose a project on a topic linked to subjects they are studying or an area of personal interest. It is a stand-alone qualification, worth up to 70 UCAS points - equivalent to an AS level. 
Mrs Alahi said: "We are delighted to have over 25 students studying for the Extended Project Qualification this year. 
"Project titles are diverse and fascinating, some are dissertations, but we have a few artefacts too: 'Graffiti: Is it art or vandalism?' and 'To write a screenplay for a drama genre film'." Other project titles include 'How safe are you when you fly?' 'How has the English language shifted since the 20th century?' 'Goal technology in football.' And 'Should capital punishment be brought back in the UK?'
"We are excited about seeing the students develop and complete their projects this year. 
"In a rapidly changing world with increased competition for places at universities and in the job market, the EPQ will set West Hatch students apart and give them an edge over other students applying for university or in the world of work."

   

EPPING: All set for Christmas Tree Festival

6.03pm - 3rd December 2014

NINETY Christmas trees have arrived at St John's Church in Epping ahead of the Christmas Tree Festival which opens at 1pm on Friday. 
Dozens of local businesses and organisations are sponsoring the trees which will be decorated over the next couple of days. 
Rev'd Jonathan MacNeaney, curate in the Epping District team ministry, said: "It has been a pleasure being part of the team which began transforming the church for the Christmas Tree Festival over the last week. 
"There was a fair bit of excitement from the children on their way to school as we took a consignment of 90 Christmas trees on Monday morning. 
"This will be the first year that I see the festival and I'm really looking forward to it." 
As usual the proceeds from the festival will be split three ways with 20 per cent given to The Dream Factory charity which grants 'dreams' for children and young adults with life-limiting conditions. 
The charity was founded by Epping mother Avril Mills following the death of her son, Oliver, aged nine, from leukaemia, in 1999. 
Twenty per cent will be given to 'The Al-Ahli Hospital' in Gaza which the church has been supporting during the recent conflict. 
The remainder will support the 'Heart of Epping' development fund which is raising money for a new community building adjoining the church. 
An outline planning application, which was approved by Epping Forest District Council this week, details the demolition of St John's House to be replaced by a two-storey building with meeting rooms, church hall, cafe, toilets and small kitchen. 
A display about the plans will be available for viewing at the Christmas Tree Festival. 
Rev'd MacNeaney said: "Do make sure to stop by the display whilst visiting the tree festival to learn more about this vision for the Heart of Epping and to find out how you can get involved." 
The church will be open Friday, December 5 (1pm-9pm), Saturday, December 6 (10am-4pm), Sunday, December 7 ( 11am-4pm) and Monday, December 8 (10am-4pm). 
For more details go to: http://www.eppinganglicans.org.uk/christmastreefestival14.html 
For more information about the Heart of Epping go to http://www.eppinganglicans.org.uk/HeartofEpping.htm

   

EPPING: Outline approval for church centre

5.41pm - 3rd December 2014

AMBITIOUS plans for a community centre building adjoining St John's Church in Epping have taken a major step forward with the granting of outline planning permission by Epping Forest District Council. 
The application details the demolition of St John's House which would be replaced by a two-storey building with meeting rooms, community hall, cafe, toilets and kitchen. 
Funding to help meet the cost of the project is being raised through the Heart of Epping appeal. 
District council planning officers gave their approval to the application yesterday (Tuesday), subject to a number of conditions. 
Rev'd Canon Geoffrey Connor said: "The granting of the outline application is marvellous news and is an important step towards the completion of the project. 
"The 'Heart of Epping' project (which is raising money for the project) is already in full swing." 
A display about the plans will be available for viewing at the Christmas Tree Festival which opens at the church at 1pm on Friday. 
Rev'd Jonathan MacNeaney, curate in the Epping District team ministry, said: "Do make sure to stop by the display whilst visiting the tree festival to learn more about this vision for the Heart of Epping and to find out how you can get involved." 
The church will be open Friday, December 5 (1pm-9pm), Saturday, December 6 (10am-4pm), Sunday, December 7 (11am-4pm) and Monday, December 8 (10am-4pm). 
For more details go to http://www.eppinganglicans.org.uk/christmastreefestival14.html 
For more information about the Heart of Epping go to http://www.eppinganglicans.org.uk/HeartofEpping.htm

   

WALTHAM ABBEY: Tributes paid to road crash victim

2.31pm - 3rd December 2014

THE family of a pedestrian who died following a road collision in Waltham Abbey have paid tribute to her.
Laura Roberts, 46, of Sewardstone Road, Waltham Abbey, was involved in a collision with a white Ford Transit van outside Chapelfield Nursery in Sewardstone Road shortly before 5.30pm on Thursday, November 21. 
Speaking on behalf of her family, her brother, Steven Roberts, said: "Laura was a dearly loved daughter, sister, auntie and friend to everyone that knew her. 
"All the family members and friends will miss Laura very much." 
A 35-year-old man, from Waltham Cross, was arrested at the scene of the collision on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and other driving offences. 
He has been bailed pending further enquiries and will report back to police on Monday, March 2.

   

EPPING: Christmas Market and Christmas Tree Festival

5.01pm - 2nd December 2014

THE festive season arrives in Epping on Friday with the Epping Town Council-organised Christmas market and the Christmas Tree Festival at St John's Church. 
The Christmas Market in the High Street opens at noon with more than 60 stalls offering a selection of Christmas gifts and festive foods. 
The Christmas Tree Festival opens in St John's Church at 1pm with more than 60 trees dressed by various groups, organisations and businesses. 
Epping mayor Barbara Scruton will officially open the market, as darkness falls, at 3.45pm and present the Audrey Rose Cup to the business that has created the best festive shop window display.
Entertainment will be provided by Epping's children singing carols, with bands and choirs and a circus company adding to the atmosphere. Romford-based Time 107.5 FM will compere the evening's events.
Town clerk Alan Shaw said: "All in all it promises to be a great event. Please note that the car parks do get full so if you can please make your way down on foot!" 
Parking in the two Epping Forest District Council pay-and-display car parks is free from noon. 

Full list of entertainment: 

Epping Primary School choir - 3.45pm 
Coopersale Hall School choir - 4pm 
Ivy Chimneys Primary school choir - 4.15pm 
Epping St John's School Band - 4.45pm 
Joel Goodman choir - 5.30pm 
Epping Forest Band - 6pm 
Funky Voices choir - 6.30pm 
Roger Arnay Circus Company - 3pm-5pm with stilt walkers, jugglers, balloons, magicians.

   

DISTRICT: MP welcomes Early Intervention work funding

4.59pm - 2nd December 2014

EPPING Forest MP Eleanor Laing has welcomed the award of £3.3m in funding to The Early Intervention Foundation in Essex. 
The Foundation has been working closely with Essex County Council to support it in developing a bid for the Department for Communities and Local Government's Transformation Challenge Award which funds local authorities that are at the cutting edge of innovation for service transformation. 
Essex will use funding to deliver better and more cost effective services by improving information sharing across organisations in Essex so that services can be more integrated, and additional community workers will be provided in GP surgeries and other public places to support vulnerable people. 
Graham Allen, Founding Chair of the EIF, said: "We are delighted Essex has succeeded in obtaining funding to transform their Early Intervention services. 
"This was a strong bid which drew on EIF support in different ways. 
"We are looking forward to continuing to work with Essex as they implement their plans, evaluating the projects and sharing this learning more widely." 
Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing said: "I am a long-standing supporter of Early Intervention - many of the problems faced by families could be better dealt with if they were identified earlier and children helped to overcome difficulties before they start school - rather than waiting until things go wrong."

   

MATCHING: Tributes paid to "larger than life character"

9.33am - 2nd December 2014

TRIBUTES have been paid to a former Matching parish councillor and council chairman who died on Friday. 
Alf Drake was a councillor for many years as well as a school governor and chairman of the Matching Green Classic Car Club. 
Speaking at last night's Matching Parish Council meeting, chairman John Binder said: "He worked tirelessly for this council. He was chairman and a councillor and a school governor for quite a few years, and he was chairman of the classic car club. 
"Those who knew him will say he was 100 per cent behind what he did. He put a lot of effort into everything and this parish will miss him. He was a larger than life character."

   

CHIGWELL: Choir to support two charities

9.14am - 2nd December 2014

THE Chigwell School Chapel Choir is to continue with its fundraising efforts by performing a charity concert at Christ Church, Spitalfields, on Friday, December 19. 
The concert will be supporting Smiles with Grace and Kids Inspire. Smiles with Grace was founded by Chigwell student Grace Boxall who died last year following a brave fight against cancer. 
Kids Inspire provides therapy for children traumatised by abuse or bereavement and is currently supporting nearly 400 children in Essex through clinical support and love. 
The founder of Kids Inspire and Grace's parents will be attending the concert. 
The choir will perform works by Handel, who wrote The Messiah also in aid of a children's charity, the Spotless Rose by Paul Mealor - who is supporting the concert - and a selection of Christmas music for choir and audience. 
The school's Director of Music, Howard Ebden, said: "The Chapel Choir has now raised over £25,000 since the beginning of last December and this concert will enable the choir to continue with its fundraising for two very worthy causes."

   

BUCKHURST HILL: Christmas in Queens Road event

9.12am - 2nd December 2014

THE festive season officially arrives in Buckhurst Hill with a Christmas in Queens Road event on Friday (December 5).
A host of entertainment is planned in the road, at various businesses and in the car park and library at the top of Queens Road between 3pm and 7pm. 
The event is being organised by Buckhurst Hill Parish Council and Buckhurst Hill Residents' Society. Attractions will include Jebb the Juggling Stiltman (sponsored by Buckhurst Hill Town Centre Partnership), face painting (at Repose Power Plate Studio). a chess challenge, Father Christmas, Christmas magic shows, carol singing, a children's roundabout, brass band and various stalls. 
Refreshments will be available with mulled wine at Il Bacio restaurant in Queens Road and cookies and other goodies at the Green Owl Cafe and Deli. 
Proceeds and donations will go to the Alzheimer's Society.
Buckhurst Hill Parish Council chairman Aniket Patel said: "The Christmas event is always a great way to launch the festive season in Buckhurst Hill and we hope lots of people will turn out to herald the start of Christmas and also support their local businesses, many of which will be opening late to join in the fun."

   

HASTINGWOOD: M11-A414 junction to get £50m upgrade

3.49pm - 1st December 2014

A £50M upgrade of the M11-A414 junction at Hastingwood is part of the Government's £1.5 billion roads infrastructure improvements, it has been announced. 
The Government says the work will ensure "extra capacity" at junction 7 "through significant upgrades and more technology". 
Harlow MP Robert Halfon said the improvements to junction 7, exact details of which have not been released, will make development easier and provide quicker access to and from Harlow. 
Mr Halfon said the upgrade to junction 7 would ease congestion, boost local businesses and benefit Harlow's enterprise zone.

   

EPPING: Art auction to boost marathon effort

2.20pm - 1st December 2014

AN Epping woman is preparing to run next April's London Marathon for Parkinson's UK. 
Rebecca Court, 29, will be running for her aunt, Rhoda Richardson, who has Parkinson's. 
To help her reach her fundraising target, Rebecca is holding a silent art auction at the Royal College of Art, Lower Gulbekien Galleries, Kensington, London, on Thursday, December 18. 
Visitors can view artwork from more than 40 established professional and emerging artists who have come together to donate their work for the auction. 
Artwork will have a minimum reserve price of £40 to £200. 
Offers will be invited for the artwork in the form of a sealed private bid from 6pm until 8pm on the evening. 
The successful bidders will be announced between 8pm and 9pm. 
The event is free to attend and everyone is welcome. 
Rebecca said: "I would like to invite everyone to my silent art auction where over 40 pieces of work from professional established and emerging artists will be on display. 
"There should be something for everyone, and I hope as many people as possible will join me on the night to help support Parkinson's UK." 
Viewers can expect to see work from artists including Catherine Goodman, Sarah Jones, Peter Kennard, Catherine Baker, Carl Rowe, Mark Harris, Sharon Beavan, Gethin Evans, John Stephens as well as a number of high profile faculty and alumni from the Prince's Drawing School, Royal College of Art and other leading educational institutions. 
Paul Jackson-Clark, director of fundraising at Parkinson's UK, said: "Holding an art exhibition like this is a fantastic way to support our work. 
"We are extremely grateful to Rebecca for her help in raising funds and awareness of Parkinson's. We wish Rebecca every success with her art auction and the very best of luck with her London Marathon challenge. 
"Without the help of our supporters our vital work to find a cure and improving the lives of those living with Parkinson's would not be possible." 
For more on Rebecca's silent art auction email silentcharityartauction2014@mail.com 
To sponsor Rebecca visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/rebeccacourt

   

BUCKHURST HILL: Girl returns home safe and well

UPDATE: 8.10am - 2nd December 2014

POLICE say Tegan returned home safe and well last night (Monday).

2.08pm - 1st December 2014

POLICE are searching for a 14-year-old girl who is missing from her home in Buckhurst Hill. 
Tegan Ishmael has been missing from her home in Wimbourne Close since Saturday (November 29) when she left her home at 1pm and boarded the number 257 bus in Whipps Cross heading towards Stratford. 
She had planned to meet her mother at South Woodford Sation later that evening but failed to show up.
Police and her family are concerned for her welfare and ask her or anyone who knows her whereabouts to contact them. 
Tegan is described as of mixed race with shoulder length black curly hair and brown eyes. 
She was last wearing dark jeans, a black t-shirt, black hooded jacket with a grey hooded top underneath and blue trainers. She is 5ft 7ins tall. 
Anyone with any information about her whereabouts should ring Loughton Police Station on 101. 

   

BUCKHURST HILL: Man arrested on first day of anti drink-drive campaign

1.44pm - 1st December 2014

A 24-YEAR-OLD man from Buckhurst Hill has been charged with drink-driving - on the first day of Essex Police's Christmas anti drink-drive campaign. 
He has been released on bail to appear at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court on December 16. 
The consequences of drink driving last longer than a hangover - that's the message from Essex Police as the force launched its Christmas anti-drink drive campaign. 
Essex Police says it takes drink-driving seriously 365 days a year but is stepping up patrols in towns with bustling night-time economies and in rural villages where drink drivers believe they have less chance of getting caught. 
Officers will also be increasing rush hour stop checks to crack down on people who refuse to believe they could still be unfit to drive the morning after a night of drinking. 
This year Essex Police has teamed up with other forces to push home the messages using The Honest Truth - a road safety campaign created by Devon and Cornwall Police. 
The award-winning campaign uses eye-catching images of drivers with the heads of animals to identify poor driving habits including drink driving. 
Essex Police's campaign runs from today until Thursday, January 1, and will use one of The Honest Truth's animal images to push home its messages on flyers and social media messages. 
The image shows a man with the head of a bulldog at a Christmas party. In one hand he holds a glass of champagne and in the other a bunch of mistletoe. 
The text reads: "Don't kiss your licence goodbye. You could still be unfit to drive the morning after…consequences last longer than your hangover." 
As well as breath tests, officers will be testing drivers for drug use with roadside impairment test and targeting those who use the road to commit other types of crime. 
Police are asking people to stop family and friends getting behind the wheel if they have had an alcoholic drink, dialling 999 if they know someone is drunk and they are seen getting behind the wheel of a vehicle and giving information about people who regularly choose to drink and drive by calling Essex Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 
Casualty reduction officer Adam Pipe, who is heading up this year's campaign, said: "Every year I am shocked that some selfish and foolish people still choose to put lives at risk by drinking and driving.
"Sleeping it off after a night out or drinking a strong coffee doesn't mean you're fit to drive. Alcohol takes time to work its way through your system and you could find yourself over the limit the morning after. "Christmas is a time for fun and celebration. 
"We don't want to spoil that but are asking everyone to remember the message of our campaign because the consequences of drink driving really do last much longer than a hangover. 
"Drinking driving risks lives, not just that of the driver and their passengers but other innocent people using the road. It can result in a criminal record, the loss of a driving licence or a fine of up to £5000. More seriously, it can kill or injure someone and leave the driver facing up to 14 years in prison and having to live with their actions for the rest of their lives. 
"Please be a safe and responsible driver this Christmas, please don't drink and drive."

   

BLACKMORE: Boy, 17, sentenced over £24,000 telephone fraud case

12.58pm - 1st December 2014

A TEENAGED boy has admitted being involved in a telephone fraud in which a Blackmore couple were tricked out of £24,000. 
The 17-year-old appeared at Basildon Youth Court on Friday after being charged with fraud by false representation. He was made the subject of a youth referral order for 12 months, ordered to pay £1,500 and told to pay court costs. 
The court heard that the boy, from the Dagenham area, acted as a courier to collect £12,700 cash and a £11,250 Rolex watch from the couple's home after they had been tricked by a man and woman claiming to be police officers. 
They had been told their banks accounts had been infiltrated by thieves and that they had to withdraw cash to be forensically examined as part of the 'police' investigation. 
They were also asked to buy a Rolex watch from a shop at Lakeside as part of an investigation into fraud at the shopping complex. 
The fraudsters sent the boy three times to the couple's home near Blackmore on October 13 and 14 to collect packages containing the cash and watch. 
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Maleary, who is leading investigations into telephone fraud in Essex, said: "We are pursuing active lines of enquiry in order to locate and prosecute the people who are orchestrating these vile offences. 
"This is a heart-breaking crime and victims are handing over life savings. 
"We are doing all we can to prevent these offences and the reaction to our media campaigns has been very encouraging because we are receiving useful information and fewer people are being tricked. 
"It is important for everyone to remember that police officers or bank officials would never phone you and ask for bank cards, PIN numbers, cash or ask that expensive items are purchased to assist with fraud investigations."

   

CHIGWELL: School choir sings at charity's lunch

11.47am - 1st December 2014

MEMBERS of the Chigwell School Chapel Choir provided festive music when children who have received 'dreams' from The Dream Factory charity were given an extra treat - an early Christmas lunch at The King William IV pub-restaurant in Chigwell.
The charity's founder, Avril Mills, organised the lunch at the pub which, along with its other outlets in the area, including the George and Dragon in Epping High Street, has chosen the Dream Factory as its charity for the year. 
The school's Director of Music, Howard Ebden, said: "We were delighted to be asked to support the King William in providing some Christmas cheer for their Christmas lunch for The Dream Factory. 
"The Chapel Choir is committed to raise money for charity and each one of them share in this ideal, so for the 12 pupils it was a privilege and a pleasure to give up their lunchtime to bring a little smile and happiness to the children, families and workers of The Dream Factory." 
Avril Mills said: "The Chigwell School Choir were fabulous. There were lots of Christmas crackers and selection box presents for the children."

   

LOUGHTON: Plans unveiled for church community building

8.50am - 1st December 2014

PLANS have been unveiled for a new community building at St Mary's Church, High Road, Loughton. 
The proposed 'Hope Centre' would be built following the demolition of the two-storey 'Ignite Centre'. 
The new single-storey multi-purpose community building would have a glazed link connection to the main church.

   

WOODFORD GREEN: African Children's Choir visit school

8.48am - 1st December 2014

PUPILS at Bancroft's Preparatory School were entertained by the African Children's Choir. 
The Choir is a touring and performing group of Ugandan children many of whom have lost one or both parents through the devastation of war, famine and disease. 
The 18 members are drawn from a school in Uganda which is funded by the registered Christian charity 'Music for Life'. 
The aim is to fundraise but also to present the choir as ambassadors for the talent and potential of African children. 
When touring they stay with host families and continue their schooling 'on the road'. At the end of the tour the children return to Uganda where they continue to be supported throughout their education. 
The children often go on to university or professional training such as medicine, teaching or the law. 
The Bancrofts' Prep School presentation came after 11 months touring in the USA and Canada where they performed in nine states in the US, including Alaska, and appeared on Canadian TV as well as singing live on several radio station broadcasts. 
Prep teacher Sarah Strong said: "The children melted the hearts of Prep children and teachers alike, with their charming smiles and delightful African tunes accompanied by ethnic instrumentation. 
"The presentation featured songs, hand clapping, traditional dancing and contemporary tunes. 
"The children were radiant with hope, musically gifted and wonderfully entertaining." 
During the presentation some of the Bancroft's Prep boys were invited to play the drums and some girls were invited to dance along. 
The assembly culminated in both schools coming together and singing two of the Prep's favourite songs. 
Prep music director Adam Baum played the trumpet while the African Children's Choir accompanied him on the drums. 
He said: "Our children were inspired, transfixed and excited by the rhythm and energy of the visiting choir. They showed us what we can bring to our music." 
The children spent the rest of the morning visiting classes, joining in a dance lesson and playing with the children at break time.