Category Archives: Featured

Changes to constituencies – Brentwood no longer joining Basildon, and Billericay’s back!

Revised proposals for the shape of parliamentary seats at the next general election have been published – and previous plans which suggested that Brentwood residents would be voting for Basildon’s MP have now been scrapped.

new map

We reported in September 2016 that proposed boundary changes looked to take Great Warley, Little Warley, Ingrave and Herongate out of Brentwood and into the South Basildon and East Thurrock constituency.

These plans have now been rejected, with a reshaped Brentwood and Ongar constituency keeping the borough’s villages as well as stretching out to Abridge and the edges of Loughton, and also take in villages north of Chelmsford including Broomfield, Chignall Smealy and Ford End.

The proposals also see the return of Billericay as a single constituency, having previously existed between 1950 and 2010 before being merged into Basildon. The new Billericay constituency would take in South Woodham Ferrers as well as towns to the west and east of Chelmsford, including Writtle, Little Baddow and Danbury.

The proposed constituency boundaries in England, Scotland and Wales have been drawn up on the basis the total number of MPs will be cut from 650 to 600. The plans will now be put before parliament for approval.

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Vicki Michelle’s music mix – with Ray Cooney

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On today’s show Vicki chatted to the King of the Farce – legendary playwright Ray Cooney.

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Ray shared some stories spanning his 71 years (!) in showbusiness and also talked about some of the songs he loves.

Vicki will be back for her next show in three weeks’ time (Sunday 5th November).

Today’s playlist:

James Brown – I Feel Good
Frank Sinatra – Love And Marriage
Cliff Richard – Congratulations
Wilson Pickett – Mustang Sally
Chas and Dave – Rabbit
Elvis Presley – Viva Las Vegas
Michael Jackson – Thriller
Tom Jones – It’s Not Unusual
Source feat Candi Staton – You Got The Love
Macy Gray – I Try
Ike and Tina Turner – Nutbush City Limits
Wham! – Wake Me Up Before You Go Go
Dean Martin – That’s Amore
David Bowie – Let’s Dance
Dusty Springfield – Spooky
Small Faces – Itchycoo Park
Queen – We Will Rock You
Madness – Baggy Trousers
Rolling Stones – (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
Whitney Houston – I Will Always Love You
Beatles – Twist And Shout
Marilyn Monroe – Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend

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Hospice Care Week: Carly’s story


Carly, 36, is a beautiful young woman with a great sense of humour and a big smile. She loves to laugh, go shopping for clothes, spend time with her family and have a glass of wine at her local.

But Carly has very complex medical needs and without the specialist services she receives from Saint Francis Hospice in the community, her life would be very different.

Carly has never been able to speak and has always had physical and learning disabilities but prior to a gradual deterioration when she was in her 20s, she had been able to lead a relatively independent life, walking, following instructions, dressing and feeding herself.

In December 2013 Carly was eventually diagnosed with a rare form of Neurogenerative Brain Iron Accumulation (NBIA). After years of waiting for her condition to be identified, her devoted parents Debbie and Peter Davies were glad it had finally been given a name but they were devastated to be told that there was no treatment or cure for the life-limiting neurological disorder and she wasn’t expected to live for more than four years.

Within just a few months her health had deteriorated so rapidly that Carly lost the use of her legs, her body started to twist and she became totally dependent on her family and her carers.

Carly’s prognosis was reduced to two years and in April 2014 she was referred to the Specialist Community and Crisis Support Team (SCCS) at Saint Francis Hospice.

Clinical Nurse Specialist Katy Chelchowska and the hospice medical consultant assessed Carly in her home shortly afterwards and they immediately took steps to manage her pain and make her comfortable.

Katy also identified a range of services at the hospice that Carly and her family could benefit from.

I don’t know what we would have done if we did not have Saint Francis Hospice on board,” said Debbie, 58, who lives in Brentwood.

During our first meeting, Katy experienced Carly’s symptoms where her arms would go into spasms and she would howl in pain.

Before we had contact with the hospice there was a period of a few weeks when Carly did not sleep at all.

It has been a long journey getting her medication under control but she is in a good place now.

She is as pain free as she can be and her sleep has really settled down.”

Carly has received reflexology from the complementary therapy team, physiotherapy, her parents were referred to the family support team for carers support and she has been seen by a hospice medical consultant both at home and at a hospice outpatient clinic.

We had a scare earlier this year and Dr Mark Howard sorted it out,” said Debbie.

He thought it was possible that Carly had a bleed in her stomach. He asked for blood tests to be done and we found out she was badly anaemic, which was treatable.”

It’s now been more than three years since Katy first met Carly and her parents, who are separated but share the care of their daughter, and over that time they have all developed a strong rapport.

Debbie’s first experience of the hospice was when it looked after her mother before she died in 2011 but like most people she was not aware that 85% of patients were cared for in their home or in a care home and she was amazed to discover how much Katy and the community team could do to improve Carly’s quality of life.

I used to think hospices were solely for people with cancer,” said Debbie.

Carly still sees her consultant neurologist at Queen’s Hospital every six months but nothing can be done for her so where do you go?

It means so much to know that I can ring Katy or the 24-hour advice line anytime if I have any worries about Carly and they will be able to help me.

Katy has prepared us for what we need to do in an emergency situation and she has taught us how to use special ways of giving Carly pain relief.”

Another crucial aspect of Katy’s role is liaising with healthcare professionals such as GPs and district nurses and she has even sourced specialist equipment so Carly can sleep and rest more easily.

Katy also regularly visits Carly at Heathlands Day Centre in Dagenham where she attends five days a week to monitor her closely and because Carly’s condition is so complex and continually changing, Katy’s specialist knowledge and training enables her to support and advise staff about her medication and symptom control.

Carly has outlived her prognosis and Debbie says the hardest thing for the family is not knowing what will happen at the final stage of her life, but what they do know for certain is that the hospice will be there to support them every step of the way.

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Jim Lea talks about Slade and Therapy.

Without doubt one of the most exciting bands to come out of Great Britain in the past 50 years were Slade.
With their unique blend of perfect pop-rock’n’roll, outrageous flamboyance and pure fun, and no less than 23 Top 20 singles of which 6 were No-1 hits….plus 6 smash albums, Slade have become a firm favourite in the hearts of pop fans all over the world.
Bass, keyboard and violin Player, songwriter and arranger with Slade, and now solo artist Jim Lea, is back with a re release on vinyl of his 2007 solo album Therapy and the single The Smile of Elvis.



You can listen to our chat here –


You can order the album Therapy direct from Jim’s website or from Amazon or iTunes.

Jim Lea’s website is here

Jim Lea

Jim Lea

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The Most Welcoming Theatre in the East!

The Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch is delighted to be named as the regional winner in the East for the second year running as the UK’s Most Welcoming Theatre in this year’s UK Theatre Awards.  The theatre is proud to be recognised for its excellent level of customer service by the general public, offering all visitors a warm and friendly welcome.

Tom Stanbury Queens_theatre_hornchurch

The theatre is among 12 regional winners announced by UK Theatre who are invited to the annual UK Theatre Awards ceremony on Sunday 15 October at London’s historic Guildhall, where the overall winner will be announced.

Mathew Russell, Executive Director at the Queen’s Theatre said, ‘We are overjoyed to have retained our title as the UK’s Most Welcoming Theatre in the East. Thank you to everyone who voted for us and to all the staff at the Queen’s Theatre, whose continuing dedication and professionalism has earned us this award. We’re making great developments to our rich programme of work, offering an increasingly diverse and affordable programme of quality entertainment all year round to appeal to audiences of all ages and backgrounds.

This year’s nominations demonstrate the breadth and depth of outstanding talent and achievement in theatre and the performing arts throughout the United Kingdom, on and off stage. The full list can be viewed at

For more information about the Queen’s Theatre visit

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2017 Billericay Fun Walk breaks records in raising £120,000 for charities

At their Presentation ceremony this evening, John Baron MP and other Trustees of the Fun Walk Trust awarded bonus pot cheques to all those charities and good causes which took part in this year’s Fun Walk, which took place at Barleylands Farm back in May,

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The Phoenix FM team at this year’s Fun Walk

Because of the generosity of corporate and individual sponsors, each project receives a bonus over and above what they raise themselves in sponsorship on the day. In this year’s walk, for every £100 raised by projects in sponsorship, the bonus pot is adding a further £55. The total monies raised both by the projects and bonus pot sponsors came to £120,000 with nearly 100 projects in total benefitting from this year’s Walk.

The presentation was held at Anisha Grange Care Home in Outwood Common Road, Billericay.

John said: “The 2017 Fun Walk has been a huge success and our bonus pot sponsors have been integral to that success. Our thanks go to Swan Housing Association, Billericay Town Football Club, c2c Rail, Abellio Greater Anglia, Hallmark Care Homes, Leonardo MW Ltd, Butyl Products Ltd, McDonald’s Basildon, IFE Global Logistics, Mr Barrie Stone, and others.

“Our thanks also go to Barleylands Farm for hosting the Walk and to Hallmark Care Homes for hosting the presentation evening, to our ‘Family of volunteers’ for organising and running the event, and to the many others who have helped including our marshals and accountants Hunt Smee and Co.

“Many people and good causes less fortunate than ourselves will benefit from everyone’s generosity. It’s been a great team effort.”

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Mental Health Matters on Phoenix FM – Series 2, Episode 1

Welcome to the first extended episode in a new series of Mental Health Matters on Phoenix FM.

It’s a pleasure to be involved in the return of the Mental Health Matters podcast. It has been on hiatus for a little while, but since returning to the station it has been on my mind to get involved with it. It has been a subject I’ve been interested in for a number of years, partly because of my own journey with it and self discovery, but also thanks to all of the people I’ve been grateful to meet who have been involved in the field, studying areas of psychology and working through a lot of the causes and effects.

In this extended first episode I shared conversations which I think have set the tone wonderfully and painted the picture of the topics I’m looking forward to covering over the coming episodes.

Elisavet Tapini

Elisavet Tapini

First of all was Elisavet Tapini, an Existential Integrative Psychologist who has had a long journey of self discovery and academic career, learning about many areas, including sociology, psychotherapy and now also teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. We spoke about her work and covered topics such as comparing working with how we are now, through CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) compared to dealing with roots of issues in the past.

You can find out more about her and her work through her links, such as Regent’s University and UKCP here:

You can contact her via e-mail here: or

Colin Wade

Colin Wade

It was also lovely to speak to Colin Wade, a councillor with Brentwood Mind who spoke about his early youth work and his music background and how much day to day work is needed to keep the organisation going.

You can find out more about Brentwood Mind here, where there are contact details and ways to donate:


Here is the music played:

Snatam Kaur – Dhan Dhan Ram Das Gur (Mother’s Blessing – 2009)

Snatam Kaur – Deep Blue Sea (Celebrate Peace – 2005)

Let us know what you think of the show
Twitter: @MHMpodcast

Facebook: Search “Mental Health Matters on Phoenix FM

Helpful Organisations

• Brentwood Mind 01277 234246 or

• Mind 0300 123 3393, text 86463 or

• Samaritans Free on 116 123 , e-mail: or

• SANE 0300 304 7000 (6-11pm every evening) or

• Elefriends (MH Support Forum) –

• Rethink Mental Illness website (for factsheets/blogs etc) :

• YoungMinds
• Parents Helpline: Call: 0808 802 5544 or
(Mon-Fri 9.30am-4pm, free from mobiles & landlines)

• The Silverline – 0800 4 70 80 90 (24 hours, 7 days a week) or

• The CALMzone (Campaign Against Living Miserably)
(5pm-midnight every evening)
• 0808 802 5858 if you’re in London
• or call 0800 58 58 58 Nationwide or

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Essex Air Ambulance

On Thursday 14th September, I sat in for Michelle on the show and the main topic of conversation was the Essex Air Ambulance as it was their National Air Ambulance Week.

I was lucky enough to spend 2 days up at Anglia Flight Centres in Earls Colne, the home of the helicopter – The staff and crew were extremely generous with their time and not only did I get to speak to one of its pilots and critical-care doctors, but a few “up-close” pictures of the re-painted aircraft were also possible.

Essex Air AmbulanceThey typically fly 3-4 missions per day during daylight hours and its cruising speed of 150mph places it just not just minutes away from reaching an emergency, but being able to quickly transport patients to hospital.

One of the pilots on duty that day was Daniel Vickers who explained a bit about his background and what goes on during a shift.

The air ambulance is crewed by a paramedic and a critical-care doctor – and Dr Simon Keane was kind enough to explain how he got into his role and how this life-saving service is not part of the NHS but relies on generous donations to keep it flying.

The £6.5m MD902 helicopter, its crew and support staff are reliant on donations in excess of £400,000 per month, so if you have a great idea for a fundraising event, help and publicity materials are available here.

Earls Colne Airfield - panoramic viewA rather splendid panoramic image of the airfield at Earls Colne – Air Ambulance, hangars, planes and lots of grass!

The location is a plane-spotters paradise: It’s a working airfield, home of a popular flying school and aircraft hire facility as well as housing the fast-response vehicle for when the helicopter is out of service, eg: poor weather/visibility.

Amateur Radio and Helicopters?
Helping to raise awareness for the Air Ambulance were a group of Amateur Radio enthusiasts from “Essex Ham“.  Each year, an internationally co-ordinated event takes place which encourages radio operators to contact each other and make their local helicopter emergency service known.

I spoke with Pete Sipple, callsign M0PSX, about how this event is put together and what kind of radio signals are being received.

Here are 2 of the medial staff getting to grips with the Amateur Radio equipment – with me supervising!

Air Ambulance Crew at Earls Colne

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Wetnose Day!

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On this week’s House of Fun with Karin Ridgers we were talking about Wetnose Day with Wetnose Animal Aid  Co Founder Andrea Gamby-Boulger, Wildlife TV Presenter Anneka Svenska and TV personality Karen Chamberlain.


Musician and environmental campaigner, Sir Paul McCartney has released a new picture of him “Posing with his Nose” in aid of Wetnose Day – along with much loved actor and dog lover Tom Hardy. 

Wetnose Day will be taking place across the UK on September 29th – October 1st 2017 to help promote the issue of animal welfare and to raise much needed funds to cover essential food and medical treatments for animals in desperate need in the UK.

Sir Paul McCartney (002)

Wetnose Day aims to encourage schools, workplaces, vets, groomers, dog clubs, in fact everyone to pose with their nose and raise over £100,000 for dedicated rescue centres nationwide and the animals they care for.

Wetnose Day was established in 2000 by founders Andrea and Gavin Gamby-Boulger.  Andrea said,

“I was delighted to hear Sir Paul McCartney wanted to support Wetnose Day and pose with his nose!

Over the last few years Wetnose has been delighted to have fabulous endorsements and support from leading celebrity and animal campaigners including Paul O’Grady, Amanda Holden, Brian May and many, many more.

Tom Hardy (002)

Frontline Plus, the flea and tick treatment providers and main sponsors of Wetnose Day stated “Animal welfare is at the core of our business, so we are delighted to endorse, alongside Sir Paul McCartney, Wetnose Day. The UK has hundreds, if not thousands of hard working volunteer rescue centres, and it’s essential their work is supported to ensure animals are cared for in the manner they deserve, namely with respect, love and compassion.”

Nathan Flatman from Animed Direct, the UK’s leading online animal pharmacy, stated “We are delighted to be supporting Andrea and her team in promoting Wetnose Day, raising the issues of animal welfare awareness and pet ownership. As pet owners ourselves, who serve thousands of pet customers every day, this campaign is essential and we urge everyone to pose with their nose!”

Phoenix FM

Karin is proudly one of the original team of Phoenix FM and presents House of Fun evenry Friday from 6pm to 8pm with super guests and a mix of 80s and 90s music.

Karin also runs VeggieVision TV.


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Brix Smith Start – ready for Part 2

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Fans of cult band The Fall will need no introduction to the members of Brix and the Extricated – the band contains four of the 66 musicians who have been in the band with Mark E Smith at some point!


Former guitarist and songwriter Brix got together with Steve Hanley, Paul Hanley, Steve Trafford and Jason Brown in 2014, initially to replay and rework Fall songs that they had written and played together in the 1980s, but the band soon started to write new material, which has culminated in a debut album, Part 2, which is out on 24 September.

part 2

Brix spoke to Paul Golder about how the band got together and how they’ve been writing and recording together.


Local Fall fans will not want to miss the band’s forthcoming shows when they Hit The South, which include a performance at Rough Trade East on Saturday 23rd September and Oslo in Hackney on Friday 3rd November.


Keep an eye on the band’s Facebook page to find out more about shows and releases.

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