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Lorry driver charged over M11 fatal crash

9.13am - 27th August 2015

A LORRY driver has been charged with causing two deaths by dangerous driving following a multiple-vehicle crash on the M11. 
Three cars, a horsebox and a lorry were involved in the crash on the northbound carriageway between junction 7 (Hastingwood) and junction 8 (Stansted) on May 15 last year. 
Geoffrey Mills, 53, from Huissen in the Netherlands and his sister Eleanor Mills, 45, from Petersfield, Hampshire, died when their car was struck by other vehicles. 
Two other people were seriously injured. 
Roger Sharratt, 50, of Bagots Oak, Staffordshire, was charged on Saturday with two counts of causing death by dangerous driving. He was bailed to appear at Colchester Magistrates’ Court on October 6.

Go-ahead given for 343 new homes

9.10am - 26th August 2015

PLANS that will see the transformation of three housing estates in Staple Tye - The Briars, Copshall Close and Aylets Field - have been given the go ahead. 
Harlow Council’s development management committee has granted planning permission for 343 new homes on the estates. 
The proposals were submitted in May after Home Group, Countryside and Harlow Council signed a Development Agreement for the scheme. 
The £67m development funded by Home Group and Countryside features a mix of detached, semi-detached, terraced houses and apartments. 
Around 55 per cent of the homes will be managed by Home Group providing either ‘affordable’ rented homes or shared ownership properties. 
The new development will replace the outdated bungalows on The Briars, Copshall Close and Aylets Field estates which do not meet Decent Homes Standards. 
The scheme will also provide new landscaping, roads and parking and a new community centre as well as training opportunities for local people. 
Residents living on the estates have been involved in producing the Design and Development Brief for the scheme and have met with the developers and attended consultation events over the last two years.
The council has been supporting, and will continue to help, council tenants living on the estates. 
Council tenants are given the choice of moving temporarily and then moving back into a new home or they can move permanently to alternative council or housing association accommodation elsewhere in the town. 
The scheme will be developed in three phases. The process of moving residents in phase one has already begun. 
Harlow Council regeneration and enterprise portfolio holder Tony Durcan said: “Working with Home Group and Countryside we can really transform these estates and create a mix of brand new homes for local people. 
"This redevelopment will help us deliver our commitments to provide more and better housing and to regenerate Harlow.” 
Richard Cherry, CEO of Partnerships at Countryside, said: “We are pleased to have been given the go ahead for these plans that will significantly improve the quality of housing available to local people.
"Our focus is on creating a safe and pleasant environment that people will be proud to call home, with green open spaces and the highest standards of design and finish. We are now working hard to progress matters and start on site as soon as possible.” 
Gareth Crawford, Home Group’s head of development, said: “This project will transform the area, and enable residents to move from outdated 1960s homes into modern well designed energy efficient properties."

Open gardens weekend raises £6,000

8.46am - 26th August 2015

THE two-day St Clare Open Gardens Weekend, when 27 gardens in and around Harlow, Church Langley and Hastingwood were open to visitors, raised £6,000. 
Many of the garden owners provided additional attractions such as music and raffles as well as stalls selling plants, bric-a-brac and crafts. 
Refreshments were also on sale while a family fun day with a bouncy castle and children’s activities was also held at Gibson Court, Harlow.
This year’s Open Gardens was the last to be organised by St Clare stalwart Ann Gould who remains a Harlow Friend and will continue to open her garden for future events. 
St Clare community fundraiser Danielle De’ath said: “From small acorns, mighty oaks grow and under Ann’s careful cultivation our Open Gardens Weekend has blossomed into one of our most popular annual events. 
"We would like to thank her for her unwavering commitment and enthusiasm over the years for helping sow the seeds of such a successful fundraising event for the hospice.”

Man stabbed in ribs

7.35am - 24th August 2015

POLICE are appealing for information after a man was stabbed in the ribs in Harlow. 
Officers were patrolling the Five Acres area when they found the man aged in his 20s. 
The victim had been followed by a group of eight men and two girls to the Water Gardens area where he was assaulted. 
He suffered a small puncture wound. His injuries are not believed to be life threatening. 
The incident happened at about 3.45am on Saturday. 
Anyone with any information should ring Harlow CID on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Three charged and three bailed over burglaries and thefts

8.15am - 22nd August 2015

THREE people have been bailed and another three charged as part of a police investigations into a series of burglaries and other thefts in the Harlow area. 
Officers executed a search warrant at a location in Fern Hill Lane, Harlow, on Wednesday morning. 
Two men, aged 34 and 22, and a 23-year-old woman, all from Harlow, were arrested on conspiracy to burgle. 
The woman was also arrested on suspicion of theft after a pug was recovered during the searches. 
They were all taken to Harlow Police Station for questioning before being released on police bail pending further enquiries. 
The woman was released without charge in relation to the theft of the pug as there was insufficient evidence to proceed. 
The dog was later reunited with her owner at Harlow Police Station. 
Owner Kate Witham said: "I had been so worried about Lola since she went missing so when I got the call from the police I was over the moon. As soon as I saw her, her little tail went into overdrive and I instantly knew it was her. I am just so happy to have her back.” 
Detective Inspector Alison Hooper said: "We have been working hard to tackle a recent spike in burglaries and car crime in the Harlow area and these arrests are just part of our response. 
"We have also recently charged another man with conspiracy to steal and two others with burglary and they are currently before the courts." 
Anyone with any information should ring Harlow CID on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.” 
Steven Clark, 18, of Fern Hill Lane, Harlow, was charged on Monday (August 17) with two counts of conspiracy to steal. He appeared before Chelmsford Magistrates the following day and is next due to appear at Chelmsford Crown Court on Monday, November 9. 
Two 16-year-old boys, from Harlow, were charged on Tuesday (August 18) with burglary offences. 
One faces two counts of burglary and the other four counts of burglary and a driving offence. 
They are both on bail to appear before Chelmsford Youth Court on Friday, September 25.

Man suffers broken jaw

8.13am - 22nd August 2015

A MAN suffered a broken jaw when he was assaulted in Harlow.
Police say two men had an argument which resulted in one of them, a 22-year-old man from Harlow, suffering a broken jaw. 
A police spokesman said the incident started outside the JD Sports store and then moved into Broad Walk by the library and around to Terminus Street via the walkway beside Boots at about 3pm on Tuesday, August 11.
A 19-year-old Harlow man was arrested on suspicion of assault and has been bailed pending further police enquiries until Wednesday, October 21. 
Anyone who witnessed the incident should ring PC Jo Snell at Harlow CID on Essex Police 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Musicians return from Germany tour

10.27am - 21st August 2015

A GROUP of 28 students in Year 7 to 11 at Burnt Mill Academy, Harlow, performed during a music tour to Germany. 
The concert band and choir stayed in Cologne and put on performances at an outdoor bandstand at Boppard and at the Konzert hall. 
Music teacher Carla Rubery said: “As a school we have taken part in performing arts workshops abroad but this is the first time we have prepared a performance with our concert band and choir to take to another country. 
“All of the students loved it and were buzzing from the experience. They enjoyed the whole experience of going to another country and being able to perform in different venues. 
“I am already looking into the next tour.”

GCSEs: Exam joy for Joe despite cancer fight

10.26am - 21st August 2015

A CANCER diagnosis did not stop Joe Sims from achieving a crop of top GCSE grades at Burnt Mill Academy. 
When the 16-year-old found a lump in his neck in February he feared his chances of succeeding in the summer’s exams had been ruined. 
The diagnosis of a rare form of Hodgkins lymphoma in April meant the lump had to be removed immediately and Joe was given the all-clear. 
However a second lump soon appeared which has this month been confirmed as cancerous and so he now faces a bout of chemotherapy. 
Despite his health battle Joe, of Challinor, Church Langley, picked up nine A* and A grades. 
Mum Amanda, who collected Joe’s results with him, said: "I can’t believe it really. Nobody deserves this success more than Joe; he is so hardworking. I always knew he would do well, but because of everything he is going through, I wasn’t so sure. 
“He has let his illness go over his head and hasn’t wanted a fuss to be made; he doesn’t want to be labelled as the boy with cancer. 
"Lots of people around him don’t even know what he’s been going through. He has had a few days off school but he has just got on with it.” 
Mrs Sims added: “All he has been focusing on is getting the grades to get into college and looking into universities. 
“Burnt Mill has been out of this world. I emailed the school when Joe was diagnosed and immediately got a phone call in return. They have supported him 100 per cent; whatever he has needed, they have sorted for him. 
"I get a phone call from his teacher every other day to make sure everything is ok and I think that support will continue even though he has now left. 
“I told Joe to expect his friends to back off a little when they knew he was ill but instead they have said if he loses his hair due to treatment, they will all shave their heads in support.” 
Joe hopes to study A-level maths, physics, computer science and drama at Herts and Essex High School, Bishop's Stortford. 
He said: “I was not expecting these results at all. I was expecting to get through but not exceed like this. I am feeling pretty good! 
“It has all been a bit of a blur. I was told I would be having chemo and would miss my exams so I did take my foot off the pedal for a while. I cared more about my health than the grades at the time. I have tried to get on with things as much as possible. 
"Everyone has been really supportive which has been really important to me.” 
Head of school John Blaney said: “We are just so proud of Joe. His strength of character and determination has got him through. "We are proud of all of our students, but especially so of Joe with everything he is going through.”

GCSEs: Exam successes at Burnt Mill Academy

10.23am - 21st August 2015

ALMOST half of the students leaving Burnt Mill Academy this summer scored A* and A grades in their GCSE exams.
Forty-two per cent of students achieved at least one top grade.
Star student Harry Grace, 16, recorded eight A* and As as well as an A in A-level maths after taking the exam two years early. 
He said: “I got an A* in maths in Year 8 and have kept going since then with private tutoring given to me at school. 
"The school has been so good, making sure all through Year 11 I had enough work to help me achieve my best. 
“I am now going to Bishop's Stortford Sixth Form to study A-levels in further maths, chemistry, physics and computing.” 
Overall, a total of 80 per cent of Burnt Mill students achieved five or more A* to C grades including English and maths.
 Vladislav Mezentsev, who joined Burnt Mill in Year 9 from Russia, bagged 11 A* and A grades. 
Other top performers included Naomi Matu (11 A*s/As), Gabriele Kurpyte (ten A*/As), Ellie Eastman, Robin Gibbs, Alan Kong, Jack Shury, Joe Sims, Leon Topley and Abbie Williams (all nine A*/As), Luke Dalby, Ashleigh Darling, Connie Farrance and Morgan Redman (eight A*/As), Rebecca Smith (seven A*/As), Holly Street and Penny Walker (six A*/As) and Phoebe Bush, Lucy Forrow, Cameron Fuller, Emily Harrison, Kieran Milrose, Svetlana Sucikova and Georgia White (all five A*/As). 
Helena Mills, head of all Burnt Mill Co-operative Academy Trust schools, said: “We are delighted that yet again more than 80 per cent of our children have left us with five or more A* to C grades, including English and maths. 
“We have created a work ethic among this year group which will carry them forward in all careers and studies in the future. 
“I am delighted these results have opened doors to children which will enable them to follow their dreams. 
"We are a dream factory and Mr Blaney and I are already looking at how we can help all our other children achieve their dreams in the years to come.” 
John Blaney has recently been appointed head of school at Burnt Mill to enable Ms Mills to focus her attention on all six of the BMAT schools. 
He said: “We are absolutely delighted with these results. The fact we have managed to sustain the results at 80 per cent for the second year is fantastic. We are thrilled for each and every student.”

GCSEs: "Outstanding" results at Saint Nicholas School

5.40pm - 20th August 2015

STUDENTS at Saint Nicholas School, Old Harlow, have achieved "outstanding" results in their GCSEs. 
Overall, there was an 88 per cent pass rate for those recording at least five GCSEs at grade C and above including mathematics and English. 
Almost a third of all exams were graded A* or A and two-thirds were at least a B with more than 60 per cent of pupils gaining nine or more A*-C grades. 
Students achieved highly in English and mathematics with 88 per cent and 91 per cent respectively gaining a grade of C or above. 
English Literature was particularly strong with 72 per cent of students gaining A or A*. Art, Chemistry, Drama, Electronics, History, ICT, Latin, Music and Physics all recorded 100 per cent pass rates at grade C or above. 
Among the top performers were Zoë Benton (seven A*s, three As and two Bs), Bradley Veitch (six A*s, four As and one B) and Jessie Ayres (four A*s, six As and one B). 
Headmaster Keith Knight said: "I am extremely pleased with the strength of our results. The approach of the school is to ensure that all pupils take a broad and balanced academic GCSE curriculum and not 'GCSE equivalent' qualifications. 
"As a broadly non-selective entry school we are rightly proud of our pupils' successes which are once more a tribute to our dedicated parents, staff and especially our students who have a positive attitude to work and are prepared to give all that it takes to be successful."

Go-ahead for hospice's office plans

2.31pm - 18th August 2015

ST Clare Hospice has been given planning approval to replace two "dilapidated" old sheds with a new office and storage facility. 
Chief executive Tanya Curry said: "We're absolutely delighted the plans have been approved. The past few years have been an incredibly exciting period of development for St Clare. 
"The number of people we are able to support has tripled to more than 1,400 a year. But, of course, to achieve this, our staffing levels have been increasing across the hospice. 
"As a stopgap measure, our retail team moved out to rented accommodation four years ago, but with the ongoing growth in our services we are still desperately in need of more office space. 
"The purpose-built facility means we can save money on rent by bringing our retail office back on site and it will free up space in the main building for our expanding community, day therapy and family support teams." 
Following a detailed consultation process, Weston Homes was appointed to undertake the construction project. 
The two-storey building will have storage space for vital clinical equipment and fundraising resources whilst the upper floor will provide an open plan office for some of the hospice's support and administrative staff. 
The design proposal also includes dedicated facilities for the maintenance and gardening teams. 
Weston Homes chief executive Bob Weston said: "We have supported St Clare Hospice for the last 13 years and have helped raise over £500,000 for the charity, and we are proud to continue that support with the new office."

Three seriously injured in motorbike collision

2.29pm - 18th August 2015

TWO motorcyclists and a pillion passenger, all from Waltham Abbey, have been seriously injured when two motorbikes collided in Harlow. 
Police officers were called to Edinburgh Way, near the junction with Howard Way, at about 11.20pm on Sunday. 
The injured were taken to Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow. 
A man aged in his 30s, who had been riding a blue Honda 500, was later transferred to Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, with leg, pelvis and other injuries. His condition remains serious. 
The other bike was a red Honda 125 ridden by a man in his 20s and a woman also in her 20s who was a pillion passenger. Both were treated for leg injuries. 
One rider has been reported for a motoring offence. 
Any witnesses or anyone with information about events leading to the collision should ring PC Dan Corr at Chigwell road policing office on 101.

Work on new council homes almost finished

9.50am - 14th August 2015

THE interior of the first council houses to be built in Harlow for more than 25 years have been unveiled.
Work on the 18 two-bedroom homes on former garage sites at Fesants Croft, Felmongers and The Hill, began last December. 
Building work is almost complete with just some finishing touches to be made. 
There is work to be carried out to pavements and parking areas and connections to be made to electricity, water and gas before they are handed over to the council for final checks. 
The homes will be added to the council’s housing stock of about 9,700 properties. 
All homes will be allocated to local families on the Housing Needs Register. 
Keys for the first new homes are expected to be handed over to families in the autumn. 
The last council homes built in Harlow were in the late 1980s. 
Harlow Council leader Jon Clempner said: “Building council houses shows residents that this council is serious about honouring its commitments to provide more and better housing and regenerate the town. "The council has worked hard to deliver this programme when finances are tight and the demand for housing increases. 
"These new homes will change the lives of local families. These will be new homes for Harlow people, allocated to local families in housing need who have a connection to Harlow.” 
Regeneration and enterprise portfolio holder Tony Durcan said: “Just over eight months ago this former garage site was just mud now seven new family homes proudly sit here. 
"I am delighted to have seen the progress made and once they are ready for families to move in it will be a very special moment for social housing in Harlow. 
"Our council house building programme will provide new high quality homes and also regenerate disused or under-used garage sites making a positive, visible difference to Harlow.”

Splash Park reopens

9.48am - 14th August 2015

POTTER Street Splash Park has reopened after it was closed for three days after a child slipped and broke a leg. 
Harlow Council youth and community portfolio holder Emma Toal said: “The health and safety of residents is our immediate priority so we closed the park on Friday (August 7) while we carried out an investigation and inspection of the facility. 
"This has now been completed and there were no faults found or follow-up actions required. 
“The paddling pools and splash park are popular facilities for families and the thousands of children who use them during the summer holidays. 
"This incident last Friday was an unfortunate accident and we wish the child a full and speedy recovery.” 
As the pool had not been used for some days the tank in the pump room was drained and the system re-chlorinated before it reopened.

Police appeal after woman sexually assaulted

4.28pm - 10th August 2015

DETECTIVES are appealing for information after a woman was sexually assaulted in Harlow. 
The woman, aged in her 20s, was walking her dog at Paringdon Road when a man grabbed her and tried to drag her into bushes.
She managed to fight him off and he ran away leaving the woman unharmed but badly shaken. 
The incident happened near the mini-roundabout at the junction with Parsloe Road at about 11.20am today. 
The woman, who lives locally, described the man as white, about 6ft tall and aged between 35 and 40. He was wearing a black hooded top, with the hood pulled over his face, and blue jeans. 
Anyone with any information should ring DS Ian Krout at the Essex Police Sexual Offences Investigation Team on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Health awards launched

3.10pm - 10th August 2015

NOMINATIONS can be made for the first Best of West Awards being run by NHS West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group. 
The awards recognise the outstanding contributions to health and care in Epping Forest, Harlow and Uttlesford by community members, groups, volunteers, frontline health and care professionals and healthcare leaders. 
Two awards will be decided by public vote with people invited to choose the winner of the People’s Professional Award and Best #selfcareselfie Award, a look back to the CCG’s winter self-care campaign.
CCG chief officer Clare Morris said: “These awards recognise the efforts by people in Epping Forest, Harlow and Uttlesford to keep themselves, their family or their community well. 
"Whether it’s a simple day-to-day act or a big community project we really want to celebrate their commitment and contributions to their local area. 
“We’ll also be applauding the professionals from health and care organisations that are working closer than ever before to ensure local people experience high quality, joined-up care whatever their needs.” 
Nominations can be made via the CCG website or by contacting the CCG to request a nomination form.
Nominations close on Friday, September 4, with the winners to be presented with a certificate at the CCG’s Annual General Meeting in Harlow on September 24. 
The categories are Best #selfcareselfie, People’s professional award, Volunteer of the Year, best community project, patient ambassador of the year, best health education, primary care award, pharmaceutical care award, best joined-up care award, Leading with Compassion (Quality), CCG’s Unsung Hero, and the Commissioning with engagement award. 
Criteria details are available at www.westessexccg.nhs.uk/news/best-of-west-awards-2015

Langley Colts watch Wembley showpiece

9.07am - 9th August 2015

HARLOW football team Langley Colts watched the 2015 FA Community Shield at Wembley Stadium thanks to a donation of tickets by local franchisee Tony Fagg.
The team was given the opportunity to attend the match between Premier League winners Chelsea and FA Cup winners Arsenal by Mr Fagg who has supported the club for the past eight years as part of the McDonald’s Club Twinning programme. 
The programme started in 2008 and has already seen more than 1,000 grassroots clubs across the country twinned with McDonald’s restaurants. 
It is one of the many ways in which McDonald’s supports accredited grassroots clubs through their Community Partnership with The FA to help raise the standards of the grassroots game. 
Grassroots clubs are twinned with their local McDonald’s restaurants and receive support through the provision of kit and equipment, business advice and assistance with hosting community football events.
Langley Colts chairman Mark Walker said: "It was an incredible experience to be able to watch such a fantastic game, especially at the home of English football. 
"The kids enjoyed every minute of it and I am sure they will be talking about it for months to come.
"Opportunities like this wouldn’t arise without the club’s relationship with McDonald’s and we are extremely grateful for the ongoing support we receive from Tony Fagg. 
"We look forward to continuing to work with Tony to ensure we continue to offer the best possible football experience for our local community.” 
Mr Fagg said: “I have supported Langley Colts for a number of years and this is a nice reward for all of the fantastic work they do for our local community. 
"This was an experience I knew they would all love as passionate football fans and I am glad they all had a brilliant time.”

Work planned for travellers' site

8.52am - 8th August 2015

PROPOSALS to refurbish pitches and bring derelict pitches back into use at an established permanent traveller site in Harlow have been published. 
Harlow Council and Essex County Council are proposing to apply for national funding to rebuild 12 derelict pitches at the Fern Hill caravan site. 
If a bid is successful, both councils also plan to match fund the investment by allocating £70,000 each to upgrade existing pitches at the site. 
A report commissioned last year by the Essex Planning Officers Association predicted an extra 387 new authorised Gypsy and Traveller pitches are needed in Essex up to 2018 with a minimum of nine new pitches required in Harlow. 
The same assessment also predicts an extra five new pitches will be needed in Harlow between 2018 and 2023. 
The two permanent traveller sites in Harlow, at Fern Hill Lane and Elizabeth Way, are owned and managed by Essex County Council. 
The Elizabeth Way site provides 21 pitches and the Fern Hill site has capacity for 24 pitches. 
Currently 12 pitches at Fern Hill are in use but ten require extensive refurbishment and a further 12 pitches have been derelict and unused for more than ten years. 
There are currently more than 30 families waiting for pitches on the Harlow sites. 
Those living on authorised permanent local authority-run sites pay council tax, rent and utility bills. 
If agreed, Harlow Council, as a registered housing provider, will apply for the funding on behalf of Essex County Council. 
The county council will be responsible for implementing the refurbishment work and for the management and maintenance of the sites once the works are completed.

Splash park closed after child injured

8.50am - 8th August 2015

HARLOW Council has closed the Potter Street Splash Park until further notice following an incident involving a child who had to be taken to hospital. 
Emergency services including an air ambulance and paramedics were called to the are yesterday. 
A council spokesman said: "The council is in contact with the family who were with the child when the accident occurred. 
"We are sorry to hear about this accident and wish the child a full and speedy recovery. 
"As a precaution the splash park has been closed until further notice. 
"The splash park is likely to remain closed over the weekend until a full investigation can be carried out."

Harlow Museum hosting cycle exhibition

10.54am - 7th August 2015

HARLOW Museum is hosting an exhibition dedicated to the life and work of John Collins. 
Mr Collins was a local bicycle trader from a long family of wheelwrights, going back to the 17th Century, who created one of the best cycle collections in the country - and actually founded the original cycle museum at Mark Hall. 
Attendees at the private preview included several members of his family attended a private view of the exhibition which is open to the public until the end of September. 
The exhibition offers a rare opportunity to view the Collins cycle collection. 
Visitors can also enjoy the Walled Gardens at Harlow Museum. 
Refreshments are available in the museum café. 
For more details, ring Harlow Museum on 01279 413412 or visit www.science-alive.co.uk

Free fitness sessions

10.45am - 7th August 2015

HARLOW Council has entered into a partnership with local business Stanley 4 Fitness to deliver free fitness sessions at the Outdoor Gym in Harlow Town Park. 
The sessions are funded by Harlow Health Centres Trust which also funded the outdoor gym. 
All levels of fitness are welcome and there will be scaling options to ensure residents get the right level of workout. 
Sessions are held on Saturdays from 8am until 8.45am with women only sessions on Wednesday mornings (starting August 12) from 9.30am to 10.15am.
Each session runs for 45 minutes and consists a group warm-up into a circuit moving between the equipment and the space around the outdoor gym. 
They will work in groups of two or three and will last for 20-25 minutes. 
This will be followed by a core and ab development session with a cool down. 
For more details visit www.stanley4fitness.com
Coaches are available plus several mentors from Stanley 4 Fitness who assist with any new to fitness individuals. 
All participates must complete a health questionnaire and register for the class. 
To book places visit http://book.stanley4fitness.com and choose FitPark Session (detailed as FREE) and follow the registration process. 
Any queries should be emailed to fitparks@stanley4fitness.com
Participants will receive an email confirming what they need to take and what they can expect. 
The Town Park outdoor gym is opposite the top of the old pitch and putt course and can be accessed from the footbridge over the cycle track from the Greyhound pub, School Lane.

New look for school

10.42am - 7th August 2015

A HARLOW school is undergoing a revamp to provide a better environment for children. 
Little Parndon Primary School is the latest Burnt Mill Co-operative Academy Trust school to give its building and grounds a new lease of life. 
Projects to take place before September include the remodelling of the reception area. 
The office space will be closed off to give a quieter working environment for staff. 
Artificial grass will be added to make some play areas more useable, with extra seating areas added around the grounds. 
All corridors have already been given a fresh lick of paint and some carpets have been replaced with lino.
New tables and chairs have been placed around the school to create small working areas outside of the classroom. 
A new dome on the school field has been decorated by students and parents to provide shelter and a quiet place to sit. 
The space, with an underwater theme, has cushions and blankets to provide a relaxing area to encourage children to read. 
Graffiti artist Nathan Murdoch will breathe new life into the school corridors adding images of the children’s favourite book characters to all doors to give classrooms an identity and to again encourage reading. 
Head of school Sophie Laing said: “We want our school to be more welcoming for parents and a nicer environment for our children. We are getting the site ready so it is nicer to learn in which is so important.”

School holds Race for Life event

9.58am - 7th August 2015

CHILDREN, parents and teachers at Freshwaters Primary Academy raised over £1,200 when they held their own Race for Life event for Cancer Research UK. 
They ran, skipped, walked and danced the 1km around the school grounds, many completing the challenge in support or memory of loved ones affected by cancer. 
A wall of remembrance gave families an opportunity to write memory cards to dedicate their run to loved ones. 
Learning mentor Janet Lankester said: "It was wonderful to see so many parents join their children to run and raise money with many more supporting their child’s efforts by helping them to get sponsorship.
“This cause is close to the hearts of staff, children and other members of our school community. “We greatly value our supportive families.” 
Head of school Marios Solomonides said: “It is important children are aware of illnesses such as cancer and to know their actions make a difference. 
"There are cancers now where more people survive than die. "By raising money and awareness, cancer could be eradicated altogether one day.” 
To add to the total money raised, visit www.justgiving.com/freshwatersacad or text FHNU77 £2 to 70070.

Green Flag for nature reserve

8.57am - 7th August 2015

PARNDON Wood Nature Reserve has been awarded a Green Flag, officially recognising it as one of the best kept green spaces in the country, for the seventh successive year. 
The award recognises and rewards the best parks and green spaces across the country. 
A Green Flag is a sign to visitors that the space is well managed to the highest possible standards, beautifully maintained and has excellent facilities. 
The awards are judged by more than 700 green space experts who volunteer visit applicant sites and assess them against eight strict criteria, including horticultural standards, cleanliness, sustainability and community involvement. 
The nature reserve is maintained by Harlow Council and volunteers with local organisation ECCO managing the conservation centre and running community activities as part of a partnership agreement.
Harlow Council environment portfolio holder Mark Wilkinson said: "This is another excellent achievement for Parndon Wood Nature Reserve. 
"It’s great to see all the hard work that council Officers, volunteers and ECCO put in pay off, to continue meeting such high standards year after year is not easy and this Award recognises their efforts. 
“Hundreds of children and families take part in community events at the reserve organised by ECCO, which play a vital role in improving people’s health and wellbeing in Harlow. 
"This award recognises and highlights that people in the town continue to benefit from a green open space of the very highest quality."

Time to register for Ride Harlow

8.54am - 7th August 2015

HARLOW Council is working with Hub + Spoke, Paringdon Sports and Social Club, Essex Police, The Cyclists Touring Club, Halfords, Decathlon and Tesco to deliver Ride Harlow on Sunday, August 30. 
Ride Harlow is a mass-participation cycling event encouraging residents to get on their bike and take to the cycle tracks of Harlow. 
The event aims to celebrate the cycle tracks while promoting the use of bicycles in a responsible manner as part of a healthy and active lifestyle. 
All abilities and families are welcome and there are a range of prizes to be won from Halfords and Decathlon. 
Youth and community portfilio holder Emma Toal said: “This event is a great way of promoting health and wellbeing in Harlow through using one of the town’s best assets. 
"Cycling is a fun, healthy and environmentally friendly way of getting around and Harlow, which has one of the largest networks of cycle tracks in the country with approximately 30 miles of tracks, is a great place to cycle. 
"A town the size of Harlow is perfect for cycling as most journeys are only a couple of miles long; at peak travel times it is often quicker to cycle than drive. Places for Ride Harlow are limited. 
To book visit www.harlow.gov.uk-/ride-harlow

Chinese teachers spend three weeks at Burnt Mill Academy

8.52am - 7th August 2015

CHINESE teachers have had a taste of British education at Burnt Mill Academy. 
Six trainee teachers from Suzhou, in Jiangsu, spent three weeks at the school experiencing every aspect of life there. 
They spent time with each faculty and completed training sessions before teaching for three days.
Assistant headteacher Pat Walker said: “This is a programme we get involved with every year. It gives our children the opportunity to experience another culture and to learn about the Chinese way of life. 
"It also supports our mission of going from outstanding to world class in that it promotes a different area of the world our children might not normally experience.”

Traffic improvement work planned

9.54am - 1st August 2015

ESSEX County Council is investing in four major schemes designed to improve journeys along the A414 across Harlow. 
The overall project is aimed at reducing severe congestion during peak periods. 
The schemes involve creating a signal controlled junction with the A414 and the Enterprise Zone and a new link road to London Road. 
Also included in the plans is the widening of the B183 to two lanes in each direction with a dedicated left turn and widening Edinburgh Way leading from the Cambridge Road roundabout. 
An upgrade to the signals at East Road and a new access from Cambridge Road to the Templefields Enterprise Zone on River Way is also planned. 
Essex County Council highways and transportation cabinet member Rodney Bass said: “The A414 is the prime distribution route for Harlow as well as the major through route between Chelmsford, Hertford and beyond. 
"It is vital we do everything we can to ease congestion, keep this important artery open and to encourage growth and prosperity.” 
Harlow Enterprise Zone chairman John Keddle said: “Harlow is an important business location and the development of the Enterprise Zone means it needs the road network to sustain this. 
"It also has the potential to create up to 5,000 new jobs over the next few years and the road improvements will significantly enhance our ability to deliver them.”

Family's £25,000 boost for breast cancer research

9.52am - 1st August 2015

A FUNDRAISING family have raised £25,000 to sponsor the lead research nurse post at the breast cancer clinical trials unit at Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow, and St Margaret’s Hospital, Epping. 
The money came from the Maria Falco Memorial Trust which has raised over £320,000 since it was launched ten years ago. 
Charity trustees Jean and Mike Falco, the parents of charity founder Maria, and their daughter, Helena Williams, presented the money to lead research nurse Ruth McCrea. 
Maria began fundraising for the unit when she was diagnosed with the disease. Her goal was that all women with breast cancer should have access to the latest treatments available. 
Maria lost her battle against breast cancer in 2005 aged 39 but in her memory Jean, 71, and Mike, 73, from South Woodford, Helena and friends, including other charity trustees Kevin Bunce and Reg Geggus, have continued fundraising. 
Jean said: “Over the last year we’ve held a couple of golf days at Chigwell Golf Club and organised ladies afternoon teas. 
"In the past Helena has run a half-marathon and we had a wonderful ball with dancers from Strictly Come Dancing. It’s not as easy to raise money now but what keeps driving me on is Maria - she’d be absolutely thrilled that we carried on her fundraising.” 
Mike said: “We want to carry on because the trials have real treatment outcomes. Herceptin, one of the most widely used breast cancer treatment drugs, was trialled at Princess Alexandra Hospital.”
Mum-of-two Helena, 46, who works part-time for the trials unit’s research nurses, said: “My sister’s biggest wish was for us to carry on because she didn’t want this to happen to other people so it’s nice to carry on her legacy.” 
Associate specialist in breast surgery Ashraf Patel said: “The Falco family are fantastic long-term supporters of our clinical trials unit. Without them we could not have undertaken some of our important research. 
"We’re so grateful to them for their continued efforts.”

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