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Crews tackle shed blaze


7.23am - 30th August 2011

AN investigation will be carried out into the cause of a fire in a shed in Nazeing. 
The shed, at Tylers Cross Nursery, Epping Road, contained plastics and was 100 per cent alight when Harlow firefighters arrived on the scene at about 9.30pm last night (Monday). 
Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus used two hose reels to tackle flames. 
A water relay was established to get water onto the fire.


Witness appeal after robbery


3.28pm - 26th August 2011

TWO people were threatened with a knife and hammer as they walked along the underpass at Bishopsfield, near Staple Tye in Harlow. 
Police are appealing for witnesses to the incident which happened at 11.30pm last night (Thursday). 
The victims were approached by three men who threatened them whilst making demands. 
Keys, an Ipod and a mobile phone were stolen. 
The three suspects are described as white men, aged 16 to 20, all wearing dark coloured hoodies or sweatshirts and baseball caps and scarfs covering their faces. One was 6ft 1ins tall and had a claw hammer.
The other two were slightly shorter, one of them had a small knife. 
Investigating officer PC Tom Dinsdale said: "Both victims were assaulted by the suspect carrying the hammer causing bruising. If anyone has any information please contact me." 
Anyone with any information should ring PC Dinsdale at Harlow Police Station on 101, or 0300 333 4444 if calling from outside Essex, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


Winning hospice lottery numbers


12.05pm - 26th August 2011

THE winner of this week's £1,000 jackpot in the St Clare Hospice lottery lives in Harlow. The winning number is 482070.
The £100 prize goes to ticket number 702007. The winner lives in Epping. 
For information about how to join the lottery, visit www.stclarehospice.org.uk or ring 01279 773730 (Monday-Friday 9.30am-1.30pm).


Fire at derelict pub


2.26pm - 25th August 2011

FIREFIGHTERS spent about half-an-hour dealing with a blaze at a derelict Harlow pub.
Crews from Harlow, Old Harlow and Hoddesdon were called to the Golden Swift pub in Harberts Road at 11.40am today (Thursday). 
The fire is believed to have been started deliberately.


Three left homeless after blaze


8.33am - 25th August 2011

TWO adults and a child have been left homeless after a blaze at a flat in Milwards, Harlow. 
Two Harlow fire crews were called to the property shortly after 3.30pm and found it "well alight". Firefighters took more than half-an-hour to deal with the incident. 
An investigation will be carried out to establish the cause of the blaze.


MP slams police station proposal


1.03pm - 24th August 2011

HARLOW MP Robert Halfon has branded the proposal to not have 24-hour access to Harlow Police Station as a "major mistake". 
Speaking after Essex Police revealed its proposed police station cutbacks as part of plans to save £41m by 2014, Mr Halfon said he would be raising the issue with the Chief Constable and Home Secretary. 
Mr Halfon said: "Whilst I understand the reduction of hours in smaller police stations, I think it is a major mistake not to have 24-hour access to the police station in a busy town like Harlow - especially on weekends. 
"Above all, we need to know how many people are using Harlow Police Station after midnight.
"On the plus side, Harlow Police Station will still be manned 24 hours a day, even if it is not open to the public between midnight and 8am. 
"The front counter may be shut, but the building will still be used as a base, and police officers will be highly visible in the town centre.
"In fact, we will have more police on our streets, with 55 new community officers (472 to 527) across Essex.
"On top of this, I have been given strong assurances that Harlow police patrols will continue 24-hours a day, and all crime hotlines and Police contact numbers will stay open 24-hours a day, too. 
"Finally, the police are setting up a new state-of-the-art 'Crime Bureau' to target anti-social behaviour in our town. This will also operate 24-hours a day."


Reduced opening for police station


1.01pm - 24th August 2011

HARLOW Police Station will no longer be open 24 hours a day under cost-cutting proposals revealed by Essex Police. 
Instead, the police station will only be open to the public between 8am and midnight, seven days a week. 
The cutbacks, which would save the force some £2.5m, include the closure of the front desk at Ongar and Waltham Abbey, and reduced hours at Epping and Loughton police stations. 
Consultation is being carried out with police staff through Unison on proposed changes to police station front counters. 
The consultation period is expected to conclude towards the end of November.
In an online survey, the majority of respondents, 62.6 per cent, stated they had not visited a police station in the last 12 months. 
In face-to-face surveys carried out in locations such as supermarkets and shopping centres, an even higher proportion of people, 76.2 per cent, stated that they had not visited a police station in the last year. 
When asked how they would report a crime, 94 per cent of people said they would do this via the telephone. 
One unnamed police stations recorded an average of one member of the public visiting every two days. 
Under the new Blueprint the number of police officers in neighbourhood policing teams will be increased by about 12 per cent (from 472 to 527), helping to increase visible policing presence. 
Essex Police says it will ensure the core stations will remain open during the times when they are most used. If these proposals are confirmed, out of hours contact direct to the Force Information Room will be provided through a dedicated telephone outside the police station.
It is proposed that a further 16 stations, including Epping and Loughton, will offer a front counter service from noon to 6pm, Monday to Saturday.
Some 96.6 per cent of Essex's population will still be within 10kms of a police station front counter. 
A spokesman stressed that even when a front counter service desk is closed, officers in many cases will still use the building as a base. 
Officers will continue to be available on patrol 24 hours a day, regardless of whether the front office is open. Essex Police is proposing to introduce a Crime and Incident Management Bureau (CIMB) which will provide an enhanced service for anyone reporting a crime or anti-social behaviour incident. 
The CIMB will provide a 24-hour crime bureau with the ability to record and manage crime investigation. 
It will ensure the robustness and consistency of all investigations, ensure the best and most successful practices are constantly shared throughout the force, and provide a focal point of contact for victims of crime and ASB. Neighbourhood policing teams will continue to be highly visible and engage directly with their communities.
Each of the143 neighbourhood policing teams (NPTs) run regular Neighbourhood Action Panels and, where appropriate, beat surgeries, to offer local people the opportunity to engage directly with officers about issues that matter to them. 
The seven mobile police stations are typically deployed in locations where members of the public congregate - or as part of a specific event such as the V Festival or in response to incidents such as a crime series in a particular area. 
In some locations this means the NPT could work out of other buildings, and several such operations are already proving successful. In Tiptree, neighbourhood policing officers are based in the village's fire station, and beat surgeries are held locally in a Mobile Police Station. 
If the plans are approved, Essex Police anticipates savings of about £2.5m which will be a valuable contribution towards the force's savings target of about £41m by 2014.


Woman attacked with screwdriver


9.20am - 24th August 2011

DETECTIVES are appealing for witnesses following a robbery in Harlow. 
A woman was walking along the cycle track from Partridge Road leading to Bush Fair at 3.10pm on Wednesday, August 17, when she was approached by a man on a bike asking for directions to Bush Fair. 
After supplying the directions the man demanded the woman's bag whilst assaulting her with a screwdriver causing minor injuries. 
He then grabbed the bag and cycled off towards the area of Bush Fair. 
The victim was taken to Princess Alexandra Hospital with a cut to her arm and bumps to her head. 
The man is described as white, aged 20 to 23, 5ft 8ins tall, slim, with dark shoulder length hair wearing a dark blue hoody and dark blue jeans. 
Detective Constable Kev Winn said: "This was a particularly nasty unprovoked attack in broad daylight and I am keen to catch the person responsible. If you were in the area or know who is responsible, please contact me." 
Anyone with any information should ring DC Winn at Harlow Police Station on 101 or 0300 333 4444 if calling from outside Essex, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


Winning hospice lottery numbers


7.47am - 20th August 2011

THE winner of this week's £1,000 St Clare Hospice lottery jackpot lives in Hornchurch. The winning number is 432852. 
The £100 prize goes to ticket number 353916. The winner lives in Harlow. 
For information about how to join the lottery, visit www.stclarehospice.org.uk or ring 01279 773730 (Monday-Friday 9.30am-1.30pm).


MPs fuel petition has 50,000 names


2.20pm - 19th August 2011

AN online petition launched by Harlow MP Robert Halfon which is calling for lower petrol and diesel taxes has already topped 50,000 signatures. 
The petition - on the Government's new e-Petition site - has surged past the 50,000 mark. It needs to reach 100,000 mark to trigger a full debate in Parliament on the issue. 
The petition was lodged by Mr Halfon in conjunction with the FairFuelUK campaign. Mr Halfon has been a long-time campaigner demanding a cut in fuel tax, a move which he says is urgently needed to help boost the economy and to help people in his Harlow constituency and across the country. 
Mr Halfon has already raised the issue in Parliament, at Prime Minister's Questions, and took part in a car push along Whitehall which ended with a letter calling for the tax cuts being delivered to 10 Downing Street. 
Mr Halfon said: "To have reached 50,000 names in just a few weeks is incredible. It just sbows the strength of feeling that exists over this issue and how important it is that we get a debate on this important matter." 
Quentin Willson, leader of the FairFuelUK campaign said, 'Now that Britain is back to normal, people are thinking about other pressing concerns, and fuel is the top of many people's lists. 
"We need to force a debate in Parliament, and that means it's crucial to get another 50,000 signatures of the Governments e petition website. 
"If we don't, we will see another duty rise in January, and another spike in oil prices with the cold weather." 
Sign up now at http://bit.ly/FFUK-Gov 
Mr Halfon said: "Businesses, families, job seekers are suffering under the strain. With high inflation, and slow growth, cutting petrol taxes must now be a priority for the Chancellor- over and above clamour to cut taxes for high earners.
"To those 'do-gooders' who say we shouldn't be using cars, I say get in the real world. The question is not can you afford to have a car - but can you afford not to'." 
The FairFuelUK campaign is backed by the RAC, and the two trade associations that represent over 20,000 UK road freight companies - the Road Haulage Association (RHA) and the Freight Transport Association (FTA).


Man robbed of phone and cash


9.08am - 18th August 2011

A MAN was robbed of his mobile phone and cash as he walked through a wooded area in Harlow. 
Police are appealing for witnesses to the incident which happened between 9.30am and 10am on Wednesday August 10, as the victim walked through woods along Third Avenue towards Willowfield when he was approached from behind by three men. 
The men pulled the victim's hood across his face whilst rummaging through his pockets removing cash and a mobile phone. 
Two of the suspects wore black Nike trainers and one wore white Adidas trainers. The suspects ran off towards the Passmores area. 
Investigating officer PC Jody Greenfield said: "A man unconnected with the incident allowed the victim to use his mobile phone directly after the robbery. 
"I ask that he contact me, as he may have a better description of the suspects." 
Anyone with any information should ring PC Jody Greenfield at Harlow Police Station on 101 (0300 333 4444 if calling from outside Essex), or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


Town to be Enterprise Zone


7.13am - 18th August 2011

FOLLOWING a sustained campaign by Harlow MP Robert Halfon, the Government has picked Harlow to become a flagship new Enterprise Zone. 
The town will lead the Government's drive for economic growth, by keeping future business rate increases in the local economy for at least 25 years, as well as benefiting from super-fast broadband, reduced planning restrictions, and other measures. 
The Government's aim is to kickstart the local economy, and bring jobs back to Harlow. 
The news follows a sustained campaign from Mr Halfon. 
In Parliament on 23 March, Mr Halfon urged the Government to give the thumbs up to Harlow, saying: "Surely Enterprise Zones should be extended out of the cities and into towns such as Harlow, which has a strong scientific corridor?" 
Following his fight to keep Harlow open for business, Mr Halfon said: "I am delighted we have been awarded Enterprise Zone status by the Government. This is a vote of confidence in Harlow. It is good for jobs, and good for our town. 
"I want to also thank the combined efforts of local businesses, residents, Harlow Council, and hard-working councillors, without whom this would not have happened.
"It just goes to show that a strong campaign in Parliament and locally can make all the difference. 
"In fact, this is all the more special because there will only be a limited number in the country. 
"I have worked for over a year with local firms, Harlow Council, and residents to make sure that Harlow is at the front of the queue to become one of the new Enterprise Zones, and I am delighted that the bid has been successful. 
"Our town has an excellent reputation for industry. In fact, we are one of the most entrepreneurial towns in England, as our rate of new start-up businesses is well above average."


Petition highlights 'age discrimination'


5.35pm - 17th August 2011

A FORMER IT professional from Harlow who remains out of work despite having applied for more than 5,000 jobs has launched an online petition to highlight age discrimination against the over-50s in employment. 
Kevin Forbes believes that age discrimination has "very serious and unfair implications for millions of people". 
Mr Forbes lost his job in the City six years ago. 
Since then his case has been highlighted in the local and national media, in newspapers, on radio and television, and also in the House of Commons by Harlow MP Robert Halfon who highlighted Mr Forbes' and the loss of millions of experienced workers in an Early Day Motion which welcomed the Government's efforts to prevent discrimination against older people. 
In January this year as part of the DRA Iain Duncan Smith refer to Mr Forbes called on industry to seek opportunities to nurture these skills. 
Mr Forbes has been unable to access retraining or support because he has not been on benefits. Mr Halfon used Mr Forbes' case to call on the public and private sector to support the Government's commitment to improve back-to-work schemes for older people.
However having now applied for some 5,172 jobs, Mr Forbes is still no nearer to finding new employment. 
As a result of his applications, he has still only secured two interviews. 
Apart from trying to bring some balance into the realm of employment for all, he has also been working with government agencies AGE UK, TAEN and other organisations like SAGA to promote the issue, unfairness and need for reforms to benefit all age groups. 
Last month he submitted a petition to the European Parliament on behalf of the many effected UK workers and citizens. 
Mr Forbes said: "My aim is to help Government initiate a debate, fairly with the people of the UK on the subject and longevity of employment.
"This will at least provide both the young and older members of the UK to understand and know what is expected and can be expected of them.
"Current events prove this has failed to happen, with politicians and industry making strategic decisions for the UK and its work workforce, with little consideration on social balance and the UK's ability to adequately support welfare needs." 
He added: "You may have been effected by this issue, or know someone who has, or family who has. 
"We know the situation will not get easier in the future. It does not matter how old you are, or employed or not, you owe it to yourselves to support this petition to give both you and your families the best chance of security and financial stability for the future. 
"I am promoting 'Fairness for all ages'. 
To add your name to the e-petition go to http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/12721


Crews called to chip pan blaze


8.51am - 17th August 2011

TWO Harlow fire crews have dealt with a blaze in a kitchen in London Road, Harlow.
Firefighters were alerted shortly after 8pm last night and arrived to find ten per cent of the kitchen at the property alight. 
Crews took about half-an-hour to deal put the fire out. 
A thermal image camera was used to check for any remaining hotspots and a high pressure fan was used to ventilate the property.


Potter Street Splash Park opens


8.06am - 17th August 2011

THE new splash park in Potter Street opened on Saturday. 
The Splash Park was due to open on July 25 along with the town's other paddling pools. Final safety checks delayed the opening after Harlow Council insisted that additional safety features were installed by the contractors. 
The park features several water jets and water fountains which can be turned on and off by users. 
The Splash Park is part of a new play area at Potter Street which includes a multi-games area and playground. 
The splash park replaces the old nearby Potter Street Paddling Pool. Work on the feature began last year - with workmen even unearthing the remains of a roman tile kiln during excavations. 
Councillor Joel Charles, portfolio holder for community and citizenship, said: "I am sorry for the delay in opening the new splash park but residents' safety is our first priority so we need to ensure we have the safest feature possible. 
"Despite the delay the park is now open and it's good to see lots of children splashing about enjoying the new facility."
The town's other paddling pools are at Bush Fair - off Tillwicks Road, Norman Booth - off Mulberry Green, Old Harlow, Staple Tye - off Abercrombie Way, Sumners - off Broadley Road and Town Park - off First Avenue. 
The pools are open seven days a week from 10am to 6pm. 
Although there are Harlow Council attendants at each pool, children must be supervised by parents/guardians at all times. 
The paddling pools and splash park are open until September 3.


Investigation continues into death


8.28am - 16th August 2011

DETECTIVES are continuing to investigate the circumstances leading to the admission to hospital of three elderly residents of a care centre in Harlow. 
Three residents from the Partridge Care Centre were taken to Princess Alexandra Hospital on August 3. 
One person died at the hospital on August 6 and the others remain in a stable condition. 
A forensic examination was carried out on the patient who died but further tests are being carried out to establish the cause of death. 
A 36-year-old woman from Enfield, north London, has been arrested in connection with the investigation and has been released on police bail until Tuesday, October 4, pending further enquiries. 
The investigation, which is being carried out by a team of officers from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, is focusing on the circumstances leading to the three residents being taken to hospital. 
Detectives are also considering the care and treatment of residents at the home as well as a number of historic complaints.
Investigators have spoken to family members and residents at the Care Centre as part of their ongoing enquiries. 
Specialist Public Protection officers from Essex Police are also working closely with partners in the Essex Safeguarding Adults Board including the Primary Care Trust, Essex County Council, the Care Quality Commission and Partridge Care Centre in reviewing all care procedures and ensuring the highest possible standards of care for elderly and vulnerable residents. 
Anyone with any information or concerns regarding this enquiry should contact the Essex Safeguarding Adults team on 0845 6037630 (office hours) or 0845 6061212 (out of hours).


Winning hospice lottery numbers


11.04am - 12th August 2011

THE winner of this week's £1,000 jackpot in the St Clare Hospice lottery lives in Harlow. The winning number is 440773. 
The £100 prize goes to ticket number 533858. The winner also lives in Harlow. 
For information about how to join the lottery, visit www.stclarehospice.org.uk or ring 01279 773730 (Monday-Friday 9.30am-1.30pm).


Woman injured during assault


10.57am - 12th August 2011

DETECTIVES are appealing for witnesses following an indecent assault in Harlow.
Police were contacted shortly after 4am on Sunday July 17, following reports that a 21-year-old woman had been assaulted near Kitson Way. 
The woman was walking past the Total Garage when she was approached from behind by a man who dragged her into the bushes. 
The victim managed to free herself but was left with scratches and bruises. Nothing was stolen. 
The man is described as white, aged 20 to 40, with ginger hair.
Investigating officer Pc Georgette Beckett said: "This was a nasty attack by an unknown man and we are appealing for anyone who was in the area, who saw anything, to contact us." 
Anyone with any information should contact Pc Georgette Beckett from CID at Harlow Police Station on 101, or if calling from outside Essex 0300 333 4444 ext 300316 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


Two treated after dishwasher blaze


2.37pm - 9th August 2011

TWO people have been treated for smoke inhalation after a dishwasher caught fire at a house in Harlow. 
Two Harlow fire crews were called to The Hornbeams at 11.10am today.
A thermal image camera was used to check for any remaining hotspots and a high pressure fan was used to ventilate the property free of smoke. 
A woman, aged 33, and a 15-year-old girl suffered from smoke inhalation. 
They were given first aid by the fire crews before being placed in the care of the ambulance service.


Four arrested over town centre damage


12.34pm - 9th August 2011

FOUR people have been arrested after damage was caused in Harlow town centre.
Last night (Monday) Essex Police sent about 100 officers to support the Met as violence swept across the capital. 
The officers were brought in to work on rest days to minimise the disruption to policing in Essex. There are still about 50 Essex officers providing support in London.
Essex Police is continuing to dispel rumours of violent disorder taking place in Essex. 
A spokesman said: "We have had no large scale disorder and we will work to ensure that Essex remains a very safe county, with neighbourhood policing teams working in local communities to ensure a high visibility policing presence. " 
Anyone who witnesses incidents taking place should call 999. 
To pass on information or intelligence call the non-emergency number 101 or 0300 333 4444.


MP helps launch fuel tax e-petition


9.42am - 9th August 2011

AN online petition launched by Harlow MP Robert Halfon and the FairFuelUK campaign calling for lower fuel taxes has attracted more than 17,400 names just days after it was launched - making it top of the list of current e-petitions. 
Mr Halfon, who has been a long-time campaigner for a reduction in fuel tax, has led a parliamentary debate and taken part in a car push in Whitehall which ended with a letter being presented at 10 Downing Street. 
The petition is demanding, among other things, a debate on the high cost of petrol in Parliament. 
Mr Halfon said: "The petition calls for three things: First it urges the Treasury to abandon the planned fuel price increase in January.
"Second, it asks the Government to put pressure on the International oil companies to cut petrol prices at the pump when global prices, and thirdly it calls for a Commission to be established to examine the cost of fuel and to look at ways of reducing petrol prices - possibly via the fuel stabiliser and moving petrol tax to other areas including road tolls." 
Mr Halfon added: "A full debate in Parliament on petrol prices is a necessity. To those 'do-gooders' who say we shouldn't be using cars, I say get in the real world.
"The question is not can you afford to have a car - but can you afford not to. Britain is a great car economy. 
"The cost of petrol is crucifying motorists up and down our country. Businesses, families, job seekers are suffering under the strain. 
"High petrol prices are a break on economic growth, push up costs on frontline public services and act as a poverty trap to those seeking work. 
To sign the petition, go to http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/347


Sign up for Copped Hall run


8.16am - 8th August 2011

RUNNERS can sign up for the seventh Rotary Club of Epping Copped Hall run being held on Sunday, September 25.
As well as the main five-mile race, there are also school cross country races for under -11s, under-13s and under-15 runners. 
This year's event is being sponsored by Loughton-based Higgins Group with t-shirts and medals for all runners, and prizes for the top runners in each category. 
The junior races start from 9.45am with the five-mile race starting at 11.15am. 
For more information on the five-mile race and how to register, ring Peter Hellmers on 07793 487746 or email peter.hellmers@sky.com
For more details about the schools cross country races and how to apply, ring John Burgess on 01799 543973 or email Burgess926@btinternet.com


Winning hospice lottery numbers


11.54am - 5th August 2011

THE winner of this week's £1,000 jackpot in the St Clare Hospice lottery lives in Loughton.
The winning number is 565834.
The winner of the £100 prize lives in Harlow. The winning number is 577559.
For information about how to join the lottery visit www.stclarehospice.org.uk or ring 01279 773730 (Monday-Friday 9.30am-1.30pm).


Splash park opening delayed


11.37am - 5th August 2011

THE opening of the new splash park in Potter Street, Harlow, has been delayed as Harlow Council undertakes final safety checks. 
The Splash Park was due to have opened on July 25 along with the town's other paddling pools. 
Final safety checks are taking place as the council's maintenance partners Kier Harlow Ltd have suggested the council considers additional safety features. This is being discussed with the contractors who installed the park.
Community and Citizenship portfolio holder Joel Charles said: "We cannot wait to get this feature open for residents to enjoy. 
"I am sorry for what we hope will be a brief delay. 
"Residents' safety is our first priority so we need to ensure we have the safest feature possible. 
"We will update everyone as soon as we have an opening date."
The Splash Park is part of a new play area at Potter Street which includes a multi-games area and playground. 
The splash park replaces the old nearby Potter Street Paddling Pool. Work on the feature began last year -with workmen even unearthing the remains of a roman tile kiln during excavations. 
The town's other paddling pools are at Bush Fair - off Tillwicks Road; Norman Booth - off Mulberry Green, Old Harlow; Staple Tye - off Abercrombie Way; Sumners - off Broadley Road; and Town Park - off First Avenue. 
The pools are open seven days a week from 10am to 6pm.
Although there are Harlow Council attendants at each pool, children must be supervised by parents/guardians at all times.


Robber snatches woman's handbag


8.38am - 4th August 2011

POLICE are appealing for information after a woman was robbed in Harlow. 
The victim was walking in Spencers Croft at 4pm on Thursday, July 21, when she was approached from behind by a man on a BMX bike who snatched her black Mulberry handbag from her shoulder.
The man is described as white, wearing a black tracksuit, riding a blue BMX bike with gold stunt pegs on the rear wheels.


'Iron Man' raises £5,100 for hospice


8.38am - 4th August 2011

A COMPANY director from Theydon Bois has raised £5,100 for St Clare Hospice by completing a gruelling Iron Man challenge. 
Richard Stevens, 50, managing director of Loughton-based company Grangewood, took part in the Iron Man competition (European championship) in Frankfurt, Germany, by completing a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile marathon to finish. 
Richard began with a two-day drive to Frankfurt joined by his wife, Nuala, and family. 
Richard said: "Having being talked into taking part in the Iron Man Challenge by my cousin and her husband from Alaska (who also both took part), I wanted my efforts to benefit a local charity. 
"I had been to a charity auction in Theydon Bois organised by my neighbour in Piercing Hill where I heard about the superb work the hospice does. 
"Grangewood too have supported St Clare Hospice so this was naturally my first choice."
 He added: "I don't plan to do another because the training is so knackering! 
"Most of my swimming training was done at Virgin Active, Chigwell (three or four times a week), bike training was completed on the roads from Theydon taking in most of west Essex (three or four times a week), followed by running mostly in Epping Forest two or three times a week. "In addition I would do two gym sessions a week followed by two physio sessions to nurse my body through the workload." Richard wanted to complete the race in about 12 to 13 hours and managed to beat this with a time of 11hrs 47mins. 
Dave Bishop, community fundraiser for St Clare Hospice, said: "We would like to say a sincere thank you to Richard for raising a fantastic £5,100. 
"The event was certainly a challenging one and the training very strenuous. 
"The money raised will go towards the annual £2.6m cost of running the hospice. 
"We only receive 24 per cent funding through the NHS and the rest we have to rely on through fundraising and donations.
"Richard will be pleased to know that the money raised will go towards caring for people in our local community, people living with either a terminal or life-limiting illnesses so his efforts will certainly benefit the lives of others."


Derwent Centre refurbishment plans unveiled


6.47pm - 3rd August 2011

THE Derwent Centre at Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow, is to undergo an £11.5m facelift over the next five years. 
The major programme of work was explained at a public meeting held by the North Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust on Tuesday. 
The trust purchased the freehold of the Derwent Centre last spring and has now obtained planning permission for the ambitious programme of work which will get underway this month. 
North Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has already spent £3m improving the interior of the Derwent Centre which has two acute wards, a rehabilitation ward, a psychiatric rehabilitation department and occupational therapy department. 
The facelift will see all the in-patient wards based on the ground-floor with the first floor accommodating outpatients, psychology, the crisis team, admin space and the 'hub' which will be an area for service users to socialise. 
There will also be an internet café, sensory relaxation area and an area for eating and drinking with food available from a server. 
The lower ground floor, which currently accommodates Shannon House, will see rehabilitation services and an extension for electro convulsive therapy and a hub for new day services, including a wet room for art and other interest activities. 
Harriet Carr-West, the Trust's area director, said: "This really will improve peoples' experience." 
Jackie Fretten, operational service manager (Harlow inpatients), said: "I'm really excited about it (the refurbishment) and looking forward to it getting going."
Initial work will see a Garden Link built to link the wards to the garden for easy access. 
Additional car parking will be provided at the rear of the building.


MP launches petition to save One Stop Shop


2.42pm - 2nd August 2011

HARLOW MP Robert Halfon has launched an online petition to save Harlow's One Stop Shop heath clinic from closure. 
NHS West Essex confirned that the service was to close at the end of July citing issues regarding the lease. 
However Mr Halfon is challenging the closure decision which he says was taken without any consultation by a health trust which has been awarded an additional £12m for local health services this year. 
Mr Halfon has already written to NHS West Essex and Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, asking him to intervene having branded the closure "disgraceful and shortsighted". 
Mr Halfon said: "I know many people feel frustrated that there has been no real consultation or chance for our community to repair some of the damage this will do. That's why I have already written to Andrew Lansley MP, the Health Secretary, asking him to intervene, and have also written to the PCT's chief executive (Sheila Bremner) asking for a formal explanation.
"But it's also important that we show the strength of popular feeling about this, in Harlow, and increase pressure on the PCT to change their minds. 
"That's why I have started an online petition for local residents to show their support." 
To sign the petition visit http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/saveoccasiohouse 
Mr Halfon added: "The petition is easy to share on Facebook: just look at the website, and click on the Facebook icon. 
"If you're on Twitter, the petition is also easy to share that way too. 
"Please do tell as many people about this as you can, and help to spread the word."


Teenager charged over stabbing


1.07pm - 2nd August 2011

A 17-YEAR-OLD girl, from Hoddesdon, has been charged with two counts of wounding with intent and one count of violent disorder following a stabbing in Harlow.
She will appear before Harlow Youth Court on August 12. 
The incident happened at about 10.30pm on September 19, 2009, on steps leading down from Fourth Avenue to the Sainsbury’s car park. 
Three teenaged girls, who all live in the area, were taken to Princess Alexandra Hospital where they were treated for their injuries. 
Four other teenage girls were arrested following the incident and charged in July last year 
Three of the four, two now aged 17 from Enfield, one now aged 18 from Waltham Cross, and one now 16 from Stevenage, are currently within the court system. 
The two 17-year-olds and the 18-year-old have admitted charges of violent disorder and will be sentenced at a later date. The youth court declined jurisdiction due to the seriousness of the offences. 
The case will eventually be heard before Chelmsford Crown Court. 
The 16-year-old, from Stevenage, has pleaded not guilty to wounding with intent and violent disorder. A trial date is yet to be fixed.


Crews tackle field fire


6.16pm - 1st August 2011

FIREFIGHTERS have spent more than an hour dealing with a field fire in Nazeing.
Crews from Waltham Abbey, Harlow and Hoddesdon were called to the scene behind Hambling Nursery, Nursery Road, Nazeing, at about 2.45pm today (Monday). The blaze was in four acres of land. 
Crews used beaters, two hose reel jets and backpack sprayers to tackle the blaze, the cause of which has been recorded as accidental.


Health services transfer from PCT


3.44pm - 1st August 2011

STAFF and services at West Essex Community Health Services have transferred to South Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (SEPT). 
The ‘as is’ transfer means it is ‘business as usual’ for staff and patients. 
The same services will be provided from the same place, by the same healthcare professionals. 
This is the completion of a rigorous approvals and advice process led by NHS West Essex, the primary care trust responsible for buying healthcare for people living in west Essex , which concluded last week with Monitor (the independent regulator of NHS Foundation Trusts) revising SEPT’s risk rating. 
This gave the ‘green light’ to the NHS West Essex Board to approve the transfer of their community services to SEPT and for SEPT’s Board to formally approve the acquisition. 
Thanking West Essex Community Health Services staff, NHS West Essex chairman Alan Tobias OBE, said: “We are very proud of what our staff and the services they provide have achieved for the local community while part of the PCT. 
"We have no doubt that as part of SEPT they will continue to demonstrate the innovation, commitment and hard work that has been the hallmark of the community health service across west Essex.” 
SEPT chief executive Dr Patrick Geoghegan OBE, said: “This is excellent news for local people. SEPT will now be bringing together the skills and expertise of our new community staff with those of our mental health staff so we can care for the physical and mental health needs of people in their own homes and communities. 
“There is an exciting future ahead for community health services and SEPT is leading the way in Essex.”


Drive-in movies on airfield


3.42pm - 1st August 2011

MOVIE lovers can sit in their cars and take in the drive-in movie experience when Top Gun is screened on North Weald Airfield. 
The Drive In Movie Experience Company will be showing the film on Saturday, August 27. 
The airfield will be open from 6pm with the film starting at 8.30pm. Future planned screenings are a Battle of Britain commemorative film on Saturday, September 17, and the Rocky Horror Picture Show on Friday, October 14. 
The DimeBar and DimeDiner will offera well-stocked bar service along with burgers locally sourced. Quality teas andcoffee with plenty of home baked cakes - as well as popcorn and soft drinks - will also be available. 
Filmgoers will be issued with radio headphones for hire on site for a small fee tuned to the movie, if you wish to sit outside for a while or pop to the DimeBar or DimeDiner for refreshments. 
Tickets are priced at £8 per adult and £5 per child (aged up to 15). 
Visitors with more than five people in the car will have their passengers charged an additional £3 each on arrival. Visiting without a car costs the same price. 
All movies are subject to film classification. For more details, visit www.driveinexperience.com 
Tickets can be purchased online in advance or by ringing the dedicated ticket line on 01799 551950.


Fundraising dinner for hospice


8.05am - 1st August 2011

A CHARITY dinner will be held at the Spice Garden Indian Restaurant, Thornwood, to raise money for St Clare Hospice. 
Places are available priced £17.50 for a starter, main course, tea/coffee and drinks in the lounge. 
The dinner will be held at the former Mehmann restaurant, High Road, Thornwood, on Thursday, August 18. 
Restaurant owner Zak Miah said: “We are dedicated to enhance the community and doing our fair share. 
"St Clare Hospice has touched so many lives locally and we feel it is important to continue our support for the fantastic work they do."
The hospice's community fundraiser, Camilla Whitby, said: “We are so grateful that the restaurant has offered to hold a charity dinner in aid of St Clare Hospice. 
"We know that many of their customers have a personal connection with us and hope that the event is great fun and successful.” 
To book tickets, ring 01992 574 208 or 07985 490831.


Award for nature reserve


8.04am - 1st August 2011

THE Parndon Wood Nature Reserve has been awarded a prestigious Green Flag for the third successive year. 
The Green Flag officially recognises it as one of the best kept green spaces in the country. A green flag award is a sign to visitors that the park is well-maintained and well-managed, and has excellent facilities. 
Parndon Wood is one of a record number of parks and green spaces receiving the Green Flag Award this year, ensuring that even more people now have access to well-managed, high-quality green spaces. 
In 2011, 1,288 parks and green spaces will fly either the Green Flag or Community Award, a sign that the value of green space is widely acknowledged as vital to our communities. 
Harlow Council's environment portfolio holder Tony Hall,said: “I am delighted that one of the town’s much loved open spaces has been recognised with a Green Flag award for the third year running. 
"This is a very prestigious accolade to keep being awarded. 
"Every year the inspection gets harder and nature reserves have to meet very high standards for bio-diversity and wildlife as opposed to open parks which score more on the quality of grass maintenance and aesthetics.
“We work hard to maintain the town’s open spaces and winning this award means Parndon Wood Nature Reserve is one of the best kept parks in the country. It’s a great place to have some peace, tranquilly and relaxation. 
"To be awarded a Green Flag for the third year running is also testament to the hard work of council officers and the many local volunteers who help maintain the reserve.”


Burglaries spark police warning


8.02am - 1st August 2011

POLICE are reminding people to lock their premises following a rise in burglaries.
The warning comes after a number of burglaries across the western division - which includes the Epping Forest district - some of which could have been prevented if the properties had been properly secured. 
Areas mainly affected include south east Harlow, Pilgrims Hatch, north of London Road, Brentwood, and parts of Chigwell.
In some cases entry was gained through unlocked rear doors or by forcing rear windows. 
More recently front doors have been forced, where they have not been locked properly with the key. Items stolen include jewellery, portable electronic equipment, handbags, wallets, purses and cash. 
Keys have also been taken, including vehicle keys which, in some cases, have been used to steal vehicles parked outside the premises.
 Crime reduction officer Graham Anthony said: "Residents are urged to take greater care in securing their homes, especially when going out or retiring to bed. "Front and other external access doors must always be properly locked with the key. 
"If you have UPVC doors with multi-locking systems, where you push the handle up to engage the bolts, make sure you also lock the door with the key; otherwise the door is not secure." 
He added: "Windows, particularly ground-floor windows, should be shut fully and locked. Place vehicle keys in a safe but not obvious place. 
"Securing your premises properly will help you to avoid the upset of becoming a burglary victim and the inconvenience of having to deal with the losses. 
"Be aware that, if you do not secure your home properly, you may find some insurers may refuse pay out." 
Anyone with information on any crime should contact detectives at Harlow Police Station on 0300 333 4444 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


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