Category Archives: Local news

Don’t Let Hay Fever Get You Down This Summer

Pollen counts are high! Hay fever is the most common seasonal allergy, affecting one in five of us at some point in our lives, and the symptoms can make life very difficult for sufferers. It can come and go at any time in life so for those that haven’t had it before it can take us by surprise.

Hay Fever Pharmacy

But it doesn’t have to stop you from enjoying the warmer weather outdoors. Your local pharmacist can recommend treatments to ease the symptoms.

Local GP Dr Arv Guniyangodage, chair of Basildon and Brentwood CCG, said: “Although there is no cure for hay fever, there are many over-the-counter remedies available from your local pharmacy to help make life and the condition easier to manage during the summer months.

“Pharmacists are fully trained health professionals who can offer useful advice on treatments for hay fever, such as antihistamines.

“Antihistamines are commonly used for hay fever. They block the action of the chemical histamine, which the body releases when it thinks it is under attack from an allergen like pollen.

“Decongestants can also help to relieve a blocked nose which is often caused by hay fever, as well as dust allergies and pet allergies.

“For those already taking regular medication, pharmacists can advise on the most appropriate treatments that won’t interfere with it.

“If you’ve tried over-the-counter medicines but are still struggling with troublesome symptoms it may be worth speaking to your GP, as you may need prescription medication.”

Hay fever is caused by an allergic reaction to pollen and the hay fever season lasts for several months, with tree pollen released in the spring, grass pollen in late spring and summer, and tree pollen in the autumn.

Symptoms include sneezing, a runny nose and itchy eyes as pollen causes the nose, eyes, throat and sinuses to become swollen, irritated and inflamed. As well as seeking advice from your local pharmacist to ease its symptoms, sufferers can take some basic precautions to help prevent hay fever, including applying a small amount of Vaseline (petroleum gel) below the nostrils to trap pollen grains, and wearing wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting in the eyes.

It’s also a good idea to take a shower and change your clothes after being outdoors, and try to stay indoors when the pollen count is particularly high (over 50 grains per cubic metre of air).

Knowing the pollen count can help hay sufferers. The Met Office provides pollen forecasts for up to five days ahead.

For more information about treating hay fever, visit

You can also see an NHS advice video here:

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Brentwood Art Trail 2017

The Brentwood Art Trail is back! This year’s event takes place at several venues across the borough from 15-30 June.

Pamela Bickle

Pamela Bickle is one of the exhibitors at Onaplate, Hutton Road, Shenfield

Part of the Essex Summer of Art, this year’s trail will spotlight over two dozen individual artists. Shops and cafes in Brentwood and Shenfield have donated their window and wall spaces to become temporary pop-up galleries.

In addition, Brentwood Library is hosting an artwork display by Open Arts, a charitable community arts and mental health project managed by Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust.

John Brandler of Brandler Galleries has curated a unique Banksy exhibit with over 80 pieces of artwork by the well-known street artist. John recently came in to talk about this with Michelle Ward, and you can hear him talk about it here.

Other local art galleries are also participating, including Neil Graham Gallery and Turner Barnes Gallery.

For more information or to view the Brentwood Art Trail online, visit

Featured artists and venues include:

The Pilgrim’s Staff at Brentwood Town Hall

Installed as part of the Genius Loci project, this 10 foot high stainless steel and bronze structure sits outside the Town Hall to celebrate the town’s historic significance on trade and pilgrim routes.

Banksy Exhibition at Brandler Galleries

John Brandler has curated the most comprehensive exhibition of record sleeves designed by the artist known as Banksy.

Elissa Elwick at Chicken and Frog Bookshop

Ahead of her appearance at the Brentwood Children’s Literary Festival (22-30 July), Elissa will be painting the windows at Chicken and Frog with her whimsical children’s illustrations.

Sean McMahon at the Baytree Centre

Sean has recreated his artist’s studio in one of the empty shop units at The Baytree Centre. Pieces on display include his “Trump Lamp” and a copy of a well-known Norman Rockwell painting.

Susan Burns at Brentwood Theatre

The theatre’s outdoor seating area will be yarnbombed with Alice in Wonderland and Narnia themed decorations to celebrate the past and current Christmas shows.

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Kids’ fun for a fiver this weekend at Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch

Magic, cartooning, balloon-modelling and crafts are all part of the fun on offer especially for kids in the foyer this weekend at the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch.

White Rabbit in Top Hat

White Rabbit in Top Hat

It’s time to get crafty and take a trip under the sea with a fun packed hands-on Sea Shore Sculptures craft workshop. Kids will get the chance to build, make and decorate in this creative workshop suitable for children aged 5 – 7 years and their parents. They’ll even be able to bring their Sea Shore sculpture home with them! The workshop begins at 10am on Saturday 17 June and costs £5 per child. No adult ticket is required.

Families with children aged 2 – 6 will not want to miss popular children’s entertainers Mr Popcorn and Suzy Sparkle as they make a welcome return on 17 June. Their interactive show will have the little ones giggling as they participate in games, balloon-modelling and a guess-the-cartoon drawing competition to win one of Mr Popcorn’s wonderful pictures! The show starts at 11.30am and tickets are £5 for adults and £5 for children.

To book tickets for these two entertaining sessions call the Box Office on 01708 443333 or online at

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Students home for the summer urged to register with a “Holiday GP”

Parents welcoming their children home from university this summer can make sure they have access to the health care they need – by encouraging them to temporarily register with a GP for the holidays.

NHS Choices Laptop

During term time it’s recommended that students who live away from home register at a GP practice close to their university address.

It’s easy to register with a local GP practice as a temporary patient and registration lasts for up to three months, so it’s valid for the whole summer holiday.

As well as making sure they have access to a GP, students should be aware of what to do if their GP practice is not open, such as in the evenings and at weekends.

There are two things they need to be aware of: the website and the NHS 111 phone number.

The website can direct them to the nearest NHS service – all they need to do is type in their postcode.

The NHS111 service is for when it’s urgent but not an emergency. Simply dialling 111 will put the caller in touch with the NHS. A series of questions will be help the call handler direct the caller to the service which is right for them at that time.

It’s also important that students who have a long-term health condition such as asthma, diabetes or epilepsy make sure they have enough medication so they don’t fall ill. Those registered with a GP practice can sign-up for GP online services so repeat prescriptions and GP appointments can be made online via a mobile app, tablet, PC or laptop. Signing-up is easy. Simply take two forms of photo ID to the GP reception and complete a form.

Local pharmacies also offer confidential advice on a range of common illnesses, and are often open late in the evening and at weekends.

Local GP Dr Arv Guniyangodage, chair of Basildon and Brentwood CCG, said: “Students returning home for the summer should register with a local GP practice on a temporary basis to ensure they can see a doctor if they need to during the holidays.

“They will still be registered with their usual GP when they go back to university for the new term, and any information about treatment they receive over the summer will be passed on by their temporary GP to be added to their medical records.

“When registering, students will need to provide details of any current or previous medical conditions, allergies and medication they’re taking, along with the name of their permanent GP practice. That will ensure they have access to a local GP in case they become unwell.

“If you haven’t already registered at a health centre near your university address, parents should encourage their student children to put this at the top of their to-do lists when they return to university in the autumn.

“In the meantime, there’s a wide range of other NHS services available for those in need of medical help over the summer, with full details available on the NHS Choices website.”

To find a GP surgery near to their university or home address, and for more information about registering with a GP and about other NHS services in their area, students should visit or search NHS Choices online.

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Billericay Fun Walk 2017

The 16th annual Billericay Fun Walk took place at Barleylands Farm on Sunday.

Phoenix FM were once again out in force, raising money towards the new Studio 1 project.

The gruelling two mile cause was made all the more difficult for the walkers who were trying to look at their phones AND not fall down potholes in the field at the same time.

Over 2,000 walkers raised money for around 100 charities and good causes – each being given a medal at the finish.

The monies raised by the charities at this year’s event will be made known at the Presentation evening in September when bonus pot cheques will be awarded. Organiser John Baron,

“This year’s walk has already been a great success with a record bonus pot of £50,000 yet to be distributed on top of what the 100 local charities have raised courtesy of over 2,000 walkers taking part. Our thanks go to them, to the Marshalls, to the Barleylands team, and to our family of volunteers and Committee members for making it all possible. We now wait to see total monies raised from the charities.”

John also thanked the bonus pot sponsors including Swan Housing Association, c2c Rail Ltd, Abellio Greater Anglia, Hallmark Care Homes, Butyl Products Ltd, Leonardo MW Ltd, Private Ambulance Service Ltd, McDonald’s Basildon, Mr Barrie Stone, IFE Global Logistics and others.

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Bring on the Bollywood!

The brand new musical extravaganza, Bring on the Bollywood transports audiences into a festival of colour and Bollywood magic from 13 – 17 June at the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch.

Bring on the Bollywood

This romantic comedy brings the vibrancy and beauty of classic Bollywood to the British stage. Featuring a fantastic soundtrack interwoven with wit, wild parties and some wicked dances, it’s a glitzy theatrical experience inspired by real stories of love.

The cast is led by a dynamic mix of celebrated British Asian performers and young rising stars including Anthony Sahota, who appeared on Gary Barlow’s Let It Shine (BBC) earlier this year and Robby Khela who has supported Craig David, Blue, Lemar, Girls Aloud and Misteeq on tour.

The story follows the fiery Dr. Katrina Pawar who is summoned from London to her ancestral home for her younger brother’s wedding. Her parents sense an opportunity to search for a potential suitor for their quick-witted and resolute daughter. As the good-looking Bollywood film director Amit arrives, along with his newly eligible British personal assistant Ronny, Katrina must navigate the true course of love between East and West.

This energetic, feel-good production is a must-see spectacular the whole family can enjoy.

Bring on the Bollywood runs at the Queen’s Theatre from 13 – 17 June. Tickets are £16.50 – £28 and can be purchased by calling the Box Office on 01708 443333, in person at the theatre or online at

A must-see for all the family as well as Bollywood and theatre fans alike’ British

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Cutloose with Gareth Gates & Maureen Nolan!

Following an acclaimed 2016 UK Tour, the legendary 80s smash hit musical sensation Footloose: The Musical comes to the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch from 22 – 27 May.

Gareth Gates as Willard in Footloose. Photo Credit Matt Martin (2)

Footloose: The Musical is produced by award-winning Selladoor Productions (Avenue Q, The Crucible, American Idiot) and stars Gareth Gates as Willard and Maureen Nolan as Vi Moore.

Maureen Nolan as Vi Moore in Footloose. Photo Credit Matt Martin

Gareth Gates rose to fame through the inaugural series of Pop Idol in 2001, going on to sell over 5 million records worldwide and have hits across the globe. His version of Unchained Melody sold over a million copies in the UK and is the 3rd best-selling single of the Noughties. More recently Gareth has enjoyed a successful career on stage, with credits including Les Misérables, Legally Blonde and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.

Maureen Nolan has been singing with her sisters since she was nine years old, when they became one of Europe’s first girl bands, The Nolans. Best known for their smash hit single I’m in the Mood for Dancing, The Nolans enjoyed phenomenal record sales worldwide, and worked with some of the world’s most respected artists including Frank Sinatra. On stage, Maureen has played Mrs Johnstone in Blood Brothers in the West End and on tour to critical acclaim.

Based on the 1984 screen sensation starring Kevin Bacon, Footloose: The Musical tells the story of city boy Ren, who has to move to a rural backwater in America where dancing is banned. All hell breaks out as Ren breaks loose and soon has the whole town up on its feet. Featuring classic 80s hits including Holding Out for a Hero, Almost Paradise, Let’s Hear it for the Boy and the unforgettable title track, Footloose: The Musical is set to take the world by storm once again in this brand new production, bursting with youthful spirit, dazzling dance and electrifying music.

Footloose: The Musical runs at the Queen’s Theatre from 22 – 27 May. Tickets are £19.50 – £35 and can be purchased by calling the Box Office on 01708 443333, in person at the theatre or online at

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Jump the Q season tickets on sale now for autumn 2017

See three fantastic shows from just £14 each

The Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch is excited to announce its new season of superb comedy and thrilling drama to provide audiences with the very best in live entertainment.

jump the q 2017

Tickets go on sale this weekend (13 May) for the theatre’s cost-effective jump the Q season ticket. By purchasing this season ticket, theatregoers can enjoy all three in-house productions from just £14 per show. It’s the most affordable way for audiences to their get theatre fix this autumn!

The season opens with a British premiere of the farcical comedy A Fox On The Fairway, written by Ken Ludwig, one of America’s most performed playwrights. This hilarious romp about love, life and a man’s eternal love affair with… golf is filled with headlong humour, exuberant personalities and romantic entanglements. It runs from 25 August – 16 September.

The madcap comedy continues with The Ladykillers from 3 – 21 October. Celebrated television writer Graham Linehan (Father Ted, The IT Crowd) has adapted the Ealing classic which tells the story of how an old lady discovers the room she has let out to a string quintet is infact a hardened gang of criminals planning the great Kings Cross Train Robbery! The theatre is delighted to again be co-producing with New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich and Salisbury Playhouse on this humorous tale.

Finally, audiences will not want to miss the thrilling new adaptation of H.G.Wells’ iconic science-fiction novella, The Invisible Man. Filled with live music, illusion and adventure, this bold premier arrives on the stage in this suspenseful escapade by award-winning theatre maker Clem Garritty. It runs from 27 October – 18 November.

A jump the Q season ticket provides savings of up to nearly 45% on the best seats for all three Queen’s Theatre shows. Choose between a super-flexible Premium ticket for £52 or a super-affordable Saver for just £42 for the whole season! Book by 16 September 2017.

The season ticket is now on sale. Individual tickets for these three productions go on sale on 27 May. For further information about jump the Q and to book tickets, call the Box Office on 01708 443333 or visit

25 August – 16 September


A hilarious romp that hits a hole-in-one with British comedy

Golf and sex are the only things you can enjoy without being good at them’

Join two rival country clubs as they tee off for their annual golf tournament – but expect a lot of bunkers along the way. Club presidents Henry Bingham and Dickie Bell place a hefty bet on the outcome of the game, including Muriel Bingham’s beloved antique shop. Henry regrets this wager when he discovers his star player has switched sides – but his luck returns when his new assistant, Justin, turns out to be a phenomenally good golfer. After that narrow escape, nothing can possibly go wrong… can it?

This British premiere of a charmingly whacky adventure about love, life and a man’s eternal affair with… golf is filled with headlong humour, exuberant personalities and romantic entanglements. King of comedy Ken Ludwig (Lend Me A Tenor, Crazy For You) pays tribute to the great English farces of the 1930s and 1940s. Golfing has never been so outrageous!

3 – 21 October

THE LADYKILLERS by Graham Linehan

A new production of the award-winning stage adaptation that brings the much-loved Ealing comedy to life.

When Mrs. Wilberforce puts a sign in her newsagent’s window advertising ‘A Room to Let’, she’s delighted when the mysterious Professor Marcus proclaims it perfect for rehearsing his unorthodox string quintet. She soon discovers that she is not making tea for a motley band of musicians, but harbouring a hardened gang of criminals and conmen planning the great Kings Cross Train Robbery!

Graham Linehan (Father Ted, The IT Crowd) has adapted this much-loved film for the stage, mixing madcap comedy and criminal capers to hilarious effect. As his master plan goes off the rails, and the bodies drop onto them, it begins to dawn on the Professor that, in Mrs. Wilberforce (and General Gordon, her extraordinary featherless parrot) he may have finally met his match.

From the motion picture screenplay by William Rose by special arrangement with Studiocanal and Fiery Angel Ltd, London.

27 October – 18 November

THE INVISIBLE MAN by Clem Garritty

A breath-taking new production of H.G. Wells’ sci-fi classic filled with live music, illusion and adventure.

T The 19th Century draws to a smoggy close and in a small room on Great Portland Street, scientist Jack Griffin discovers something that has quite literally, never been seen before. Later, the arrival of a sinister figure wrapped in bandages in a small village in West Sussex sends the locals’ tongues wagging and suspicions racing. After a series of mysterious incidents, fears of the faceless man turn to terror and the villagers attempt to hunt him down – can Jack, plagued by his own obsession for power, find safety and return to normality?

H.G. Wells’ iconic science fiction novella arrives on the stage in this suspenseful escapade by award-winning theatre-maker Clem Garritty.

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East London and Essex talents shine in dance spectacular at Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch

Laban Youth PLatform 2009

On Sunday 21 May, a feast of dance styles will come together as hundreds of young people from across East London and Essex showcase their talents in the Queen’s Theatre’s annual dance festival, First Feat.

It is a fantastic festival of creativity enabling local dance groups aged 11 – 19 from different backgrounds with varying styles and interests to be united by a passion for dance.

Audiences will see 13 dynamic performances from Essex Dance Theatre, Hotsteps Dance, Apogee Stars Stage School, Lose Control, Beverly Marks Stage School, East London Youth Dance Company, Jam Company and the Queen’s Theatre’s very own youth dance company, QDance.

Now in its 19th year, First Feat has been a major platform for celebrating local talent, involving thousands of young people over the years. Hosting this year’s event is choreographer and dancer for Boy Blue Entertainment, Tyrone Isaac-Stuart. He says, ‘You should come to First Feat and realise that it’s not impossible to want to dance. Be inspired, challenged and entertained. You’ll see some great performers and support dancers at all levels and abilities. Movement should reflect cultural diversity and seeing the youth perform (and their approach to dance) is really exciting. There are so many types of dance being showcased and it’s hard to find that variety being presented elsewhere. Opportunities and events like this don’t happen frequently enough in the dance world and certainly not at this level and quality – it’s a great performance space being shared by some fantastic groups.’

Young people aged 12 – 18 inspired by the event can develop their dance technique in a variety of styles by joining the theatre’s QDance company from September. For more information email

First Feat runs at the Queen’s Theatre on Sunday 21 May at 7pm. Tickets are £7.50 and can be purchased by calling the Box Office on 01708 443333, in person at the theatre or online at

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Queen’s Theatre launches new ‘pay what you think it’s worth’ scheme for two epic historical dramas

The Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch has launched a new ‘pay what you think it’s worth’ initiative for two specially commissioned plays by two of the UK’s most exciting emerging playwrights.

The Only Jew in England - Queen's Theatre Hornchurch (websize)

A talented cast from the renowned East 15 Acting School’s BA Acting course are set to stage a season of world premieres featuring two fantastic productions inspired by historical events. These brand new plays explore the current issues of sexuality, gender politics, migration and cultural identity and will be performed for the first time on the Queen’s Theatre’s stage.

The theatre is offering theatregoers an amazing opportunity to see two brand new pieces of work at no cost, but is asking for a donation to be made at the end of the performance which reflects what they thought of the piece.

Celebrated Camden writer Ché Walker’s (Royal Court and National Theatre) newly commissioned play, Anne Bonny and Mary Read takes its cue from the lives of the notorious 18th-century pirates and cross-dressing lesbian lovers. The cast of Anne Bonny and Mary Read will bring an epic historical canvas to life with burning modern questions.

Anne Bonny and Mary Read - websize

Playwright Samantha Ellis (Arcola, Birmingham Rep, Hamstead Theatre) tells the extraordinary tale of Dom Marco Raphael, who was supposedly the only Jew in England at the time of Henry VIII, picking his way through a murky world of court intrigue, racism and prejudice. With scintillating wit and piercing compassion The Only Jew in England brings to life a world of music, glamour, flirtation and gripping political tension.

East 15 Acting School has produced actors, directors, theatre practitioners and technicians for the international stage, TV, film and radio including Alison Steadman (Pride and Prejudice, Gavin & Stacey) who has endorsed the drama school. She said,

As a graduate of East 15, I am delighted to say that it is one of the most innovative drama schools in the country. I attribute the training and opportunities I experienced here hugely to my success as an actress. With two of the country’s most exciting playwrights heralding these brand new productions, I encourage you to see these sensational pieces of quality theatre. It’s a chance for you to see the stars of tomorrow; I have no doubt they will go on to have a bright and long-lasting future.’

Other graduates of East 15 include Blake Harrison (The Inbetweeners) Stephen Daldry (The Crown, Billy Elliot the Musical) and Ann Mitchell (Eastenders).

Anne Bonny and Mary Read runs at the Queen’s Theatre from 17 – 20 May and The Only Jew in England runs from 18 – 20 May. To reserve a seat call the Box Office on 01708 443333, visit in person at the theatre or online at (online reservations include a non-refundable £1 administration charge).

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Intimate staging a hit with Queen’s Theatre audiences

Local audiences had their first chance to sit onstage at last night’s opening performance of Educating Rita and were left hugely captivated by this immersive viewing experience.

Educating Rita auditorium - Queen's Theatre Hornchurch (websize)

The Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch has extended its stage to create a truly unique and intimate setting for Willy Russell’s iconic two-handed play. This rare opportunity enables a limited number of theatregoers every night to lose themselves in a piece of terrific theatre by sitting alongside the actors on stage.

The theatre spoke to audience members after the show about their experience. Many were delighted to have been able to see the production in this way as it enhanced their overall enjoyment of the classic comedy. Here are some of their comments:

Sitting on the stage was quite unique because you felt you were immersed in the room with them; we were very, very close. It was nice to see the intimacy with the actors talking to each other. If you’ve got the chance, the best seats in the house are certainly on the stage.’

The seats on the stage made it feel a bit cosier, really good idea, really good addition.’

I had a great opportunity of being on the stage so I really got involved within the show and felt every emotion. It was a really beautiful play.’

Excellent production and sitting on the stage was surreal.’

I enjoyed being in the heart of the show on stage.’

Willy Russell’s hilarious yet moving comedy, Educating Rita follows the story of a hairdresser wanting to better herself with higher education. Frank becomes her assigned tutor, but grudgingly accepts the challenge. Slowly, Frank realises that his enthusiastic student has much to teach him too – making him question himself, his work and his very being in the process.

Educating Rita runs at the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch until 13 May. Tickets are from £18 – £29 and under 26s can sit onstage for £5. To book call the Box Office on 01708 443333, visit the theatre in person or go online at Please note the production is suitable for people aged 12+ as it contains some strong language.

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Die Well: join the photo conversation that celebrates life

People across Basildon and Brentwood are being asked to celebrate life by sharing their favourite images of friends, family or pets who have died in a bid to start conversations about why dying matters.

Twitter - Celebrating Life

The online campaign, called Die Well Essex, is being supported by Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group and other health, social care, charities and voluntary groups across Essex in the lead up to Dying Matters awareness week from 8-14 May.

Using Instagram, people are being encouraged to share their favourite images of people, places or things that celebrate life as well as acknowledging the reality of death.

It is hoped the social media campaign will start hundreds of conversations about why dying matters and help signpost people to the support and services available locally.

Dr Elizabeth Towers, Macmillan GP for Mid Essex CCG, said: “We’re looking for photos of places where people have felt happiest before dying or images of people and things that celebrate life in the face of death. It doesn’t have to be gloomy, although for some people the right image will contain sadness.

At the same time as sharing these pictures, we’re looking to start conversations about what people in the community can do to plan for dying and how people can support others in times of grief and bereavement.

Caring for people at the end of life is often the most difficult and overwhelming experience but talking about it and planning for dying can take a lot of the anxiety away.

As part of the wide network of health and care services supporting people to live and die well, it’s important to raise the profile of dying and to share experiences.”

Dr Gytha Clear Hill, Macmillan GP for Basildon and Brentwood, added. “I know some people wouldn’t wish to share personal photos on-line. However, I would encourage everyone, whatever their age or state of health, to talk about dying, death and bereavement and planning ahead.”

The online campaign will support the key theme of this year’s national Dying Matters awareness week – What Can You Do? – see for more information.

People can share images via their own Instagram account – all that is needed is a sentence on what the picture represents along with #DieWellEssex or tagging @DieWellEssex

Join in with the conversation in the lead up to, and during Dying Matters Week 8-14 May, on Twitter @DieWellEssex or by searching Die Well Essex on Facebook.

Basildon and Brentwood CCG is also asking people to support the campaign by joining an Essex-wide Thunderclap using the following link

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Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch partners with National Theatre to celebrate young performers

The Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch is thrilled to be hosting four fantastic productions performed by youth theatre companies as part of the National Theatre’s annual Connections festival on 7 & 8 May. For just £5 theatregoers will be able to immerse themselves in two pieces of original theatre in one evening.

NT Connections Festival 2017 - Queen's Theatre Hornchurch

The National Theatre Connections festival is a celebration of young people, theatre-making and the importance of access to the arts. Each year 10 new plays are commissioned for young people to perform, bringing together some of the most exciting writers with the theatre-makers of tomorrow.

On Sunday 7 May, audiences will see two thrilling productions, Zero For The Young Dudes! performed by Green Shoes and The School Film presented by Outloud Productions. Zero For the Young Dudes! is a dark and meaty play that follows inmates living in a bizarre summer camp, plotting a revolution. Whilst The School Film tells the story of young viewers absorbing the adventures of characters in a 1940s film, but all is not as it seems.

The drama continues on Monday 8 May with Ormiston Rivers Academy performing The Monstrum, a gothic melodrama about the terrifying onset of adolescence. Tomorrow’s Talent will set audiences laughing with Status Update, which is a funny story of the things teenagers learn, believe and have sussed out; everything from ridiculous myths to hard truths.

With 29 local festivals taking place across the country, the Queen’s Theatre is delighted to be partnering with the festival for the second year running and welcoming audiences to see an unforgettable feast of new writing.

The NT Connections Festival runs at the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch on Sunday 7 May and Monday 8 May and starts at 7.30pm. Tickets are £5 and can be purchased by calling the Box Office on 01708 443333, online at or in person from the theatre.

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Enjoy a soothing afternoon of jazz with The Andrew Linham Quartet

Join Andrew Linham and guests for a sublime afternoon of jazz standards and original material on Friday 28 April at the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch.

Andrew Linham - Queen's Theatre Hornchurch

Andrew Linham is an award-winning saxophonist and composer and currently works with some of the top London musicians in a variety of different ensembles. From playing balkan space jazz on clarinet with MIMIKA to straight ahead swing on baritone with London City Big Band, Andrew is a busy working musician performing in many varied and exciting settings.

This time, the talented musician will be joined by Darren McCarthy (Double Bass), Rob Brockway (Piano) and Dan Paton (Drums). The dynamic ensemble continues to impress audiences with their collection of original compositions and hip-swinging jazz rhythms.

Since 2007 Andrew’s quartet have taken their melodies all across the country and in 2012 they released their critically acclaimed album Abandoned Silence.

Andrew has a long standing affinity with the Queen’s Theatre since his youth and continues to be actively involved in a wide variety of roles from Musical Director to Composer and Sound Designer. He is currently working on a new fast-paced adaptation of the family favourite The Wind in the Willows as the Composer. The show has been written especially to mark the 25th anniversary of the theatre’s youth company, QYouth. It runs at the theatre from 8-9 July.

The Andrew Linham Quartet performs at the Queen’s Theatre on Friday 28 April at 2.30pm. Simply kick back, relax and welcome in the May Bank Holiday weekend with glorious jazz. Tickets are £6. To book, call the Box Office on 01708 443333 or visit

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Hundreds turn out for the first Essex Big Weekend

The first ever Essex Big Weekend went off with a bang this month!


Hundreds of people embraced the good weather on 1st and 2nd April and celebrated the county’s fantastic tourism industry, by visiting a huge range of attractions and sharing their memories on social media.

49 tourism businesses donated thousands of tickets and experiences to Essex Big Weekend, and there were over 86,000 applications for the free tickets in the online ballot. Two tickets per household were allocated by ballot to the lucky winners (some family tickets were available).

Attractions went out of their way to extend a warm welcome to ticket holders over the weekend, and lucky winners shared their pictures on Twitter and facebook for the chance to win some big prizes in the Essex Big Weekend ‘selfie’ competition.

Visit Essex Chairman Peter Murphy said: “We could not have asked for better weather – or a better welcome – for the first ever Essex Big Weekend. All the participating attractions got into the spirit of the weekend, and shared some lovely feedback from customers about the whole experience.

This event was designed to help re-ignite people’s passion for Essex by showing them just how much there is to see and do on their doorstep, and I’m pleased to say following initial feedback received, it seems to have done just that.”

Carol Jolly Visit Essex’s Marketing and PR Manager said “Our social media platforms were full of great posts and photos from the weekend, both from ticket holders and attractions. This is certainly an event that we hope will take place on an annual basis – roll on 2018!”

During the weekend, both the Chairman Peter Murphy and the Visit Essex Team, visited several participating attractions to show their support for local tourism.

The ‘selfie/photo’ competition was particularly difficult to judge, since all the photos posted were amazing. However, nine winners were chosen and have won prizes to Lifehouse Spa, Orsett Hall, Audley End Miniature Railway, Barleylands Farm, Old MacDonald’s Farm, Dedham Vale Vineyard, the Princes Theatre Clacton, and a Wilkins & Sons hamper of goodies. Essex resident Michelle Porter, one of the winners said ’Our family had such a fantastic day out at RHS Garden Hyde Hall, it was our first visit, and the staff were helpful and friendly. The whole Big Weekend was a fabulous idea, and it gave us a chance to explore a new place we wouldn’t have thought of visiting before’.

During the build-up, the @VisitEssex Twitter and facebook accounts saw over 100% increase in followers and during the weekend alone, the Visit Essex website had 20,000 page views.

Organised by Visit Essex, the Essex Big Weekend event aims to boost tourism and support leisure businesses by giving Essex residents the chance to discover – or rediscover – a huge range of attractions and activities across the county for free for one ‘big weekend’.

The Beach Huts at Promenade Park Maldon & Pirates Bay Golf, proved to be the most popular offers during the ballot, and entry to Colchester Zoo was second. Tickets to Audley End House & Gardens, Rope Runners, RHS Hyde Hall and the use of the spa facilities at the Lifehouse Hotel & Spa completed the top six and their combined applications drew in 37,500 bids.

Other tickets included entry to heritage sites, gardens, parks, museums, sports and leisure e facilities, and food and drink experiences.

Essex County Council and Visit Essex worked in partnership with destination management specialists Go To Places to deliver the first of many successful Big Weekend events in Essex.

Essex Big Weekend also formed part of the national celebrations for English Tourism Week 2017.

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Pharmacy opening times this Easter

Traffic on the roads at Easter is challenging and it can be just the same in A&E – so why not be smart and beat the queues in South West Essex this Easter Bank Holiday weekend (14 – 17 April 2017).


Patients can save time in the waiting room by visiting their pharmacist for quick, confidential advice on a range of common illnesses.

Dr Alistair Lipp, Medical Director at NHS England Midlands and East (East) said:

“Your local pharmacy can help you with more than you might think. Pharmacists offer expert, confidential advice and treatment for many minor health problems.

“As most GP surgeries will be closed on Friday and Monday, we would like to encourage patients to order any medication they need in plenty of time so they have a good supply during the bank holiday.”

Pharmacy opening hours in Essex over the bank holidays can be found on along with information on walk-in centres, urgent care centres or minor injuries units.

Patients can type in their postcode on the website to find their nearest services.

Easter Bank Holiday pharmacy opening times for Basildon, Brentwood, Billericay and Pitsea are in the table below:


Easter Bank Holiday Pharmacy Opening Times



Basildon Your Local Boots Pharmacy 25 Town Square SS14 1BA 08:30 – 17:30
Basildon Tesco Instore Pharmacy Mayflower Retail Park, Gardiners Link SS14 3HZ 08:00 – 20:00
Basildon Asda stores Ltd Heron Retail Park, Miles Grey Road SS14 3AF 09:00 – 18:00
Pitsea Your Local Boots Pharmacy 8 Northlands Pavement SS13 3DU 10:00 – 21:00
Pitsea Tesco Instore Pharmacy Off Station Lane SS13 3JU 08:00 – 21:00
Wickford Your Local Boots Pharmacy 16 Willowdale Centre SS12 0RA 08:30 – 18:00
Basildon Noak Bridge Pharmacy Limited 147 Coppice Lane, Laindon SS15 4JS 11:30 – 15:30
Basildon Your Local Boots Pharmacy 25 Town Square    
Basildon Tesco Instore Pharmacy Mayflower Retail Park, Gardiners Link    
Basildon Asda stores Ltd Heron Retail Park, Miles Grey Road    
Pitsea Your Local Boots Pharmacy 8 Northlands Pavement SS13 3DU 10:00 – 16:00
Pitsea Tesco Instore Pharmacy Off Station Lane SS13 3JU 09:00 – 18:00
Wickford Your Local Boots Pharmacy 16 Willowdale Centre SS12 0RA 10:00 – 16:00
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7 springtime tips for people with asthma

Fresh breezes, sunny spells, April showers and springtime blossom can be a problematic time of year for people with asthma.

Asthma (YROT00627-375)

Sudden changes in the weather can make asthmatic symptoms worse but NHS Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has seven tips that
help lessen the symptoms and reduce the risk of attacks.

Dr Ken Wrixon, the CCG’s respiratory lead, is reminding people with asthma to make sure they have enough of any prescribed steroids, reliever and preventer inhalers, as well as cough and cold remedies.

Colds and flu can make their asthma symptoms worse which can increase the risk of an asthma attack.

People with asthma and those caring for them are advised to:

1) Check you have a reasonable stocks of all prescribed asthma medications. This does not mean stockpiling your prescription items but you should have a spare preventer and reliever inhalers and enough steroid medications if you take these. Avoid running out so that you are prepared in the event of an attack and to help control your symptoms longer term. And if you don’t have to use your inhalers very often don’t forget to check that they are in date.

2) Keep your medicine cabinet stocked with over the counter medication. Cough and cold remedies should always be at hand as colds and flu can have a severe impact on asthmatics. Be sure to avoid any medications that might not be suitable for people with the condition. Ask your local pharmacist for advice

3) Keep warm. The weather might be brighter and warmer than previous months, but it can still be chilly so make sure you wrap up when outside. A snood, gaiter or a cosy scarf is still a must-have accessory in springtime.

4) Exercise indoors if it’s particularly cold or if pollen levels are high. Regular exercise keeps us all healthy and can reduce asthma symptoms, but it’s best to avoid exercising outdoors in very cold weather and when pollen levels are high, especially if these are triggers for your asthma.

5) Check your filters. Heating systems and car air filters help keep the air you breathe cleaner and reduce dust in the atmosphere. These should be changed regularly to avoid them becoming clogged and ineffective.

6) Keep dust at bay. Regular cleaning and dusting at home will keep dust levels low and avoid the particles entering your lungs and causing inflammation which can lead to asthma attacks. Bed sheets and duvet covers are also prone to dust and mites, so it’s a good idea to wash these in a hot wash once a week. You might need someone to help you with cleaning, if dust is a trigger for your asthma.

7) Have an asthma action plan/review your plan. You can download asthma action plans for adults and children at and fill these in with your GP or asthma nurse. An action plan will help you to monitor and stay on top of your symptoms and know when to seek help for your condition. You should review your plan with your GP or asthma nurse at least once a year.

Dr Wrixon, from the Deal Tree Surgery in Doddinghurst, said: “Although the worst of the cold weather is hopefully behind us, springtime can be particularly problematic for asthmatics as changes in the weather and a sudden increase of pollen in the air can make life difficult. It’s important to try to manage your symptoms as much as possible to avoid an asthma attack and taking medicines as prescribed by your doctor is important in aiding people with asthma to do this.”

For more advice see the NHS Choices website.

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Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch reaches fundraising target

A number of Queen’s Theatre staff successfully raised their target of £3,000 for the theatre’s brilliant Learning & Participation department by competing in the Brentwood Half Marathon and 5K race at the weekend.

Douglas Rintoul, Tom Lowe & Abi Booth - Half Marathon runners

Douglas Rintoul, Tom Lowe & Abi Booth – Half Marathon runners

Cheered on by friends and colleagues, Artistic Director Douglas Rintoul joined thousands of runners in the annual event, finishing the course in an impressive hour and 59 minutes – a personal best.

Joining him was Abi Booth (Wardrobe) who ran the course in two hours and 15 minutes and Tom Lowe (Communications) who finished in 2 hours and 30 minutes. Running in the 5K race on the same day was Claire Bailey-Day (Administration), Lewis Tomlinson (Workshop) and Peter Thorne (Front of House).

There’s no resting for Douglas Rintoul however, as he is set to run again in the Hackney Half Marathon on 30 April.

The Learning & Participation department offers a variety of programmes that enables everyone the chance to discover and nurture their performing arts talents. Last year, the Learning & Participation team at the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch facilitated 20,670 engagement opportunities across Havering, East London and Essex with people of all ages and backgrounds. This includes producing high quality productions involving the local community, training young people in theatre skills both on stage and behind the scenes and assisting schools in delivering the curriculum in an innovative way. This year the youth theatre celebrates its 25th anniversary.

Lewis Tomlinson, Peter Thorne & Claire Bailey-Day - 5K runners

Lewis Tomlinson, Peter Thorne & Claire Bailey-Day – 5K runners

The Queen’s Theatre’s thanks everyone who has donated so far. The theatre has recently faced significant cuts from local government so donations are vital for the theatre to continue bringing arts into the community. As a registered charity, the Queen's Theatre receives regular funding from the London Borough of Havering and is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation but also relies on donations and a wide range of fundraising activities and initiatives in order to be able to continue its work across the region.

For more information about the Queen’s Theatre and its Learning & Participation programme visit

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Why buying your own simple painkillers could be a tonic for your local NHS

Prescriptions for paracetamol and other basic over-the-counter medicines are swallowing up NHS money which could be better spent on other healthcare services.

Simple painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen can be bought for pennies from pharmacies and supermarkets. But they cost the NHS more than six times as much when they are provided on prescription.

Paracetamol and Ibuprofen 01a

That is the message from healthcare commissioners Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Thurrock CCG who are running an ongoing joint campaign to tackle medicines waste.

The CCGs are asking patients to purchase basic medicines such as paracetamol and ibuprofen themselves instead of asking GPs for a prescription. GPs in south west Essex currently write about 110,000 prescriptions a year for readily available painkillers at a potential cost of £3.75million to both organisations.

Denise Rabbette, Head of a joint dedicated Medicines Optimisation team covering both CCGs, said: “The NHS is facing huge financial pressures and we want people to be aware of the costs associated with GP prescriptions for simple painkillers that are available to buy over the counter without a prescription at pharmacies and supermarkets.

“Sixteen paracetamol or ibuprofen tablets are available for between 19p and 50p but every time a doctor writes a prescription, the NHS incurs additional charges through dispensing and administrative fees – and if GP time is also included the costs are even higher.

“By choosing to purchase their own simple medicines as part of their weekly shop, patients can help us save money that we can invest in other local health services. Patients won’t need a doctor’s appointment but can still get any advice they need from their local pharmacist.”

The CCGs recognise that patients with existing medical conditions who require paracetamol and ibuprofen in large quantities or higher doses may want to continue receiving them on repeat prescription.

Instead the campaign is targeting people who may go to their GP and get painkillers on prescription for short term complaints such as headaches, sore throats and sprains. The hope is that those patients will be prepared to buy their own paracetamol and ibuprofen with advice from a local pharmacist about self care, if required.

In a shop/supermarket an adult aged 16-plus can buy 16 paracetamol and 24 ibuprofen 200mg or 32 paracetamol over-the-counter. In a pharmacy a pharmacist may allow an adult to purchase a maximum of 96 paracetamol and 96 ibuprofen.

This ‘buy your own painkillers’ initiative is part of the wider Waste Not, Want Not Medicines Waste campaign to tackle the issue of unused prescription medicine which is estimated to waste around £2.5million locally.

Some ways in which you can support our Medicines Waste campaign:

  • Think about how you can take better care of yourself and talk to your pharmacist at the first signs of feeling unwell
  • Buy your own paracetamol/ibuprofen for short term complaints
  • Check your cupboards, only order the medicines you need and don’t stockpile prescription items
  • Take medicines exactly as prescribed by your doctor or the pharmacist
  • Ask your pharmacist for a medicines use review
  • Remember that antibiotics do not work for MOST colds, coughs, sore throats or earache. Your body can usually fight these infections on its own
  • Accept that your doctor will only prescribe antibiotics if he feels they are absolutely necessary
  • Remember to take your medicines with you if you go into hospital
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Spring to it and befriend an elderly neighbour

Spring has sprung, the daffodils are out but nothing brightens the day for an older person as much as a cup of tea and a chat.


Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is encouraging people to keep an eye on vulnerable relatives and neighbours.

Trees are beginning to burst into blossom but winter illnesses are still about and older community members, in particular those who live on their own, often find themselves alone and unable to help themselves, especially if they fall ill.

Start the conversation by stopping to talk to your elderly neighbours if you see them out on the street and ask if they need support with anything. The help you offer could be as simple as helping them carry shopping home or offering assistance with household chores or gardening. Don’t be afraid to offer to get their medication if they’re not able to and if you’ve able, make sure they’re taking it as prescribed.

Sharing a meal is a great way to help someone and a healthy diet helps people to keep immune systems strong to fight off illness. If you can see an elderly relative, friend or neighbour is not looking or acting themselves, encourage them to visit their local pharmacist for advice.

Dr Anita Pereira, the CCG’s frailty aligned neighbourhood lead for West Basildon, said: ‘’It’s not always easy to take the first step, but more often than not people will appreciate offers of help and support. It’s important for communities to look out for each other to help us all stay well.”

If you’re an older person experiencing feelings of isolation, there are ways to help yourself overcome loneliness, even if you live alone and find it hard to get out. Find more information at NHS choices.

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Local groups commit to Brentwood Fairtrade

Brentwood Fairtrade organisers were at Woody’s in Shenfield today for their annual review of their group’s activities and to certify organisations who adhere to the group’s aims.

Fairtrade is a social movement whose stated goal is to help producers in developing countries achieve better trading conditions and to promote sustainable farming.

Members of the movement advocate the payment of higher prices to exporters, as well as improved social and environmental standards.

Phoenix FM, represented by Steven Roach, was among the local organisations certified Fairtrade this year.

Also present were Brentwood Fairtrade organisers Caryl Kwei, Marjorie Tulloch and Emma Kindell; Lisa Wickington from Woody’s; and Carolyne Williams and Evie Green from Holly Trees Primary School.

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ACT F.A.S.T if you spot the symptoms of a stroke

People in Basildon and Brentwood are being reminded to call 999 immediately if they notice any single one of the symptoms of a stroke in themselves or others.

Stroke A4 Act FAST landscape

Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is supporting the Act F.A.S.T. campaign which highlights the common symptoms of stroke and mini strokes.

A stroke is a serious life-threatening medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off.

Strokes are a medical emergency and urgent treatment is essential.

But research for Public Health England shows that one in four people would wait to call an ambulance because they wrongly believe that they need to see two or more symptoms of stroke before making the call. Other barriers to dialling 999 include feeling that they need permission to act on behalf of others.
The ACT F.A.S.T. campaign urges people not to delay making that life or death call.

The main stroke symptoms can be remembered with the word F.A.S.T.

  • Face – has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?
  • Arms – can they raise both their arms and keep them there?
  • Speech – is their speech slurred?
  • Time – to call 999 if you see any single one of these signs

Additional symptoms of stroke and mini stroke can include:

  • Sudden loss of vision or blurred vision in one or both eyes
  • Sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body
  • Sudden memory loss or confusion
  • Sudden dizziness, unsteadiness or a sudden fall, especially with any of the other symptoms

The latest available information (31 March 2016) shows that in Basildon and Brentwood there were 4,919 people on GP registers having had a stroke or TIA. The figures represent 1.8 per cent of people on local GP registers which is slightly above the national rate of 1.7 per cent.

Dr Subrata Basu, the clinical involvement lead for stroke at Basildon and Brentwood CCG, said: “Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and the faster someone gets emergency treatment, the more chance that person has of surviving and avoiding serious disability.

Graham and Maureen Goddard 01

“We are reminding people not to delay an emergency call – even if only one symptom is being shown – a fallen or sloped Face, unable to lift Arms above their head, slurred Speech then it’s Time to call 999. Act F.A.S.T. is a simple phrase to remember and act upon.”

While many people think that strokes only happen to older people, they but can strike anyone at any time. You can find out the factors that can increase your risk here.

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Basildon and Brentwood CCG stages annual patient event for patient reps

Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has held its annual patient event at Basildon’s Towngate Theatre.

Annual Patient Event 2 cr

Local people involved in Patient Participation Groups at their GP practices and members of the CCG’s locality Patient Engagement Groups were invited to meet the CCG executive team and hear about the plans for local health and care services over the next five years.

The event also created a market style experience with a wide range of support organisations showcasing their services.

The CCG’s Accountable Officer John Leslie delivered an update on the work of the CCG. In November 2016 the CCG Board made a number of changes to its Service Policy (SRP) and Intermediate Care Services to put the local NHS on a more sustainable footing following a formal public consultation.

Mr Leslie also addressed patients on the challenges that lie ahead and outlined the latest plans for the Mid and South Essex Success Regime. The Mid and South Essex Success Regime is the region’s Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) which is being developed to sustain health services and improve care.

There were also presentations on:

  • Out of Hospital Services and how care will be managed in the future for patients with acute ailments and those with complex and long term condition
  • Self care and the key role people have in protecting their own health
  • The work of the CCG’s Patient and Community Reference Group (PCRG)

Patients and representatives from the support organisations had the opportunity to ask questions, provide feedback and take part in workshops.

Alison Reeve, Lay Member and Chair of the CCG’s PCRG, said: “Our Annual Patient Event was a really good opportunity for patients to network, meet with CCG staff and hear about the work of the CCG and it’s future plans for local health services. There were also a number of workshops where patients were able to give their views and opinions to CCG staff on upcoming projects.

“I enjoyed meeting with our patient group members and listening to their comments first-hand. We’ve received some really positive feedback on the day and will take all of the comments into consideration when planning our next event.”

  • If you would like to help shape your local health service, you can get involved in the Patient Participation Group at your GP practice. If your GP practice does not currently have a Patient Participation Group (PPG) you can still get involved in the CCG’s work by coming along to the Patient Engagement Group (PEG) for your locality. You don’t need any special experience or qualifications. For further information on getting involved email
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    What do you do when a child in your care is unwell?

    Parents and carers in Basildon and Brentwood are being reminded to make sure they know how to deal with common childhood winter illnesses as the cold weather continues.

    Young children are more vulnerable to coughs, colds and infections because their immune system is still developing.

    An adult may get two to four colds a year but children can get eight to 12 and most of these can be treated at home with over the counter medication and rest.

    It can be difficult to know the best way to care for children when they become ill but Dr Sooraj Natarajan, who is the clinical lead for paediatrics at Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “All parents worry when their child is poorly, but most of the time childhood illness can be managed at home with advice from your pharmacist and lots of rest.”

    Speak to your local pharmacist as a first point of call. They can advise on the appropriate over the counter medicines that are suitable for your child’s age.

    If you continue to have concerns and want to talk to someone, call NHS 111 to speak to one of their trained advisers.

    Dr Sooraj Natarajan

    Dr Natarajan, who is GP Principal at the Tile House Surgery in Brentwood, said: “If your child needs more urgent medical attention please call NHS 111. This is also the number to call for out-of-hours GP services locally. If you are worried that your child is very unwell, for example with breathing difficulties, or is floppy and unresponsive, then you should go to A&E or call 999.”

    Colds and bugs can be managed with pain relief, oral rehydration solution and cough mixture. It’s worth having a thermometer at home to check your child’s temperature. You can check the NHS website ( for details on how to care for a child with a high temperature or download the self care fact sheet Fever in Children here.

    If your child has an upset tummy or flu it’s best to keep them away from the elderly and other children who can be vulnerable to infection. Children should learn good hygiene early and be encouraged to wash their hands regularly, particularly after playing, going to the toilet and before eating.

    For more advice on staying well this winter visit

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    Grief recovery for children

    Help is being offered to those struggling to guide children through loss and grief by an Essex undertaker.

    Dealing with death or other loss can be difficult for adults to cope with, so those responsible for young people can face an even bigger minefield.

    EastEnders is tackling the topic with a storyline where three young children have lost their mothers – Ronnie and Roxie Mitchell – leaving their father struggling to know how to comfort them.

    The Government is considering placing a mental health counsellor into every secondary school in England, while NHS England is working with schools which have appointed specific members of staff to liaise directly with local mental health services.

    This work demonstrates the need to give children and young people further support when dealing with issues of loss, from death and illness to divorce and adoption.


    Secure Haven Independent Funeral Directors, in Margaretting, is launching a new service to help adults who are charged with comforting children in their care.

    Paul Yarwood, CEO, is contacting schools, corporate HR departments, doctors’ surgeries, community groups, care homes and charities to offer the Helping Children Deal with Loss programme.

    The Grief Recovery Specialist, whose business partner and wife Cheryl is also qualified, will assist teachers and others working with children to find the right words to use and to spot the signs of a child struggling to cope with loss.

    He said: “It can be very hard to know what to say when confronted by anyone who has suffered a loss, let alone children. So often, the first words people offer are ‘everything will be ok’, ‘time is a healer’ or ‘be strong’. Unfortunately, these are not the most helpful things to say and can stop a conversation in its tracks and prevent an opportunity for the bereaved person to open up and talk.

    “Children can see mum or dad getting upset or angry when they’ve lost someone, but often nobody is talking the children through it.

    “Also, the way we explain death to a child can have far-reaching consequences. If you tell a child their loved one has gone to sleep, for example, it may result in that child becoming frightened of going to sleep themselves in future.

    “We are looking to arm people with the tools to speak with someone who is bereaved.”

    The six-week programme uses the textbook When Children Grieve to give the correct information which can make a difference to a young person’s progress and wellbeing.

    To discuss the programme, contact 01277 356857.

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    Cut2 participates in biggest youth theatre festival in the country

    Cut2 – the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch’s resident young company – is performing in the biggest youth festival in the UK and Ireland with the gothic melodrama, The Monstrum.

    The Monstrum - Queen's Theatre Hornchurch - NT Connections 2017

    NT Connections 2017 is the National Theatre’s annual youth theatre project that champions new writing and offers young people aged 13-19 the chance to stage plays written by some of the country’s most exciting playwrights. Each year it handpicks just 10 original plays to perform at the festival, and this year the Queen’s Theatre’s Cut2 company will be performing The Monstrum on 5 & 6 March before transferring to the Theatre Royal Stratford East on 1 April.

    Set in a cold village on the edge of nowhere, a disease has broken out, infecting the young and transforming them into monstrous creatures. The villagers fearfully watch their children for symptoms of the disease, whilst the Mayor has adopted tough measures for dealing with those who are infected. When Bolek, the local scholar, makes a breakthrough in finding a cure, few are prepared for the gruesome nature of the treatment. But with his own daughter showing signs of infection, there is no choice than to stop this terrible disease dead in its tracks.

    Cut2 is a focused training programme run by the Queen’s Theatre’s Learning and Participation Department, which nurtures the artistic potential of 14-18- year-olds committed to theatre. The company has earned itself a strong reputation in youth theatre and also performs alongside the Queen’s Theatre cast in various professional productions.

    Learning & Participation Producer James Watson said, ‘It’s our fourth year as a participant. It’s a valuable key project of our celebrated youth theatre programme and an exciting opportunity for young people to experience professional theatre practice.’

    Featuring a cast of 16 young performers, The Monstrum will also see 10 young people be actively involved in all technical aspects of the production of the show including costume design, stage management, sound and lighting.

    The Monstrum is directed by local director Amy Insole who has worked with the theatre’s young company since 2013 and has directed professional productions at the Queen’s Theatre, as well as fringe theatres including Etcetera Theatre, Roundhouse Studio and Tristan Bates Theatre. Music is by Andrew Linham who performs regular jazz sessions at the theatre and has been actively involved in the young company’s previous productions.

    The Monstrum will be performed at the Queen’s Theatre, Billet Lane on Sunday 5 March at 8pm and Monday 6 March at 6pm and 8pm. Tickets are £10 and can be purchased by calling the Box Office on 01708 443333, online at or in person from the theatre.

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    More than 12,000 GP appointments are wasted every month

    A new campaign targeting people who don’t cancel their GP appointments starts today across mid and south Essex.


    More than 12,000 slots are wasted every month across the patch due to people failing to show up to their surgeries after booking out time with a GP, with an estimated 450 hours of GP appointment time per month going to waste in Basildon and Brentwood alone.

    GP leaders say the missed appointments are contributing to increased waiting times in practice and could be contributing to more people with minor illnesses going to local A&E departments for treatment.

    Dr Arv Guniyangodage, local GP and Chair of NHS Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “As GPs we work hard to meet the needs of our patients and make it as easy as possible for them to see their doctor. But we need patients to do their bit too by letting us know if they need to cancel or rearrange their appointment.

    “The knock on effect of someone missing their appointment is that some patients who cannot see their GP choose to go to A&E instead and this puts pressure on the hospital. Patients should make sure they attend an appointment if they book one or cancel it if they no longer need it, so it can be made available to someone else.

    “There are now many ways of cancelling an appointment, via online services, telephone and even by text in some areas.”


    • Make sure you make a note of your appointment either in a diary, calendar or on your smart phone and ideally set yourself a reminder
    • Register for online services, speak to your GP practice about how to do this – appointments can be easily cancelled at the touch of a button 24/7
    • Ask your GP practice if they have a text message reminder service

    NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups across mid and south Essex are working together to raise awareness of the impacts of missed appointments and to help educate local people about tools such as online GP services that help to make cancelling GP appointments easy.

    The communications campaign, which is due to launch later this month will include lots of methods to get messages out to the public including bus adverts, a social media campaign and signs on refuse trucks to help raise awareness of how many appointments are being thrown away.

    Lisa Allen Chief Nurse, NHS Basildon and Brentwood CCG, added: “The ability to book and cancel GP appointments online is available at most practices and offers a really quick, easy way to manage your health appointments.

    “We’re hoping this campaign will help to change some behaviours around wasting GP appointments – if you don’t need it, please do try to cancel it.”

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    Farewell to a fundraising legend

    Paul visited the Phoenix FM studios back in April 2013 to talk about his amazing feats. You can hear their interview again below.

    Legendary marathon runner and fundraiser Paul Freedman has died aged 92.

    Paul cracks one of his famous jokes with Sam Allardyce

    Paul passed away peacefully at King George Hospital in Goodmayes on Saturday (February 4) after losing his battle with cancer.

    His funeral was held at Waltham Abbey Jewish Cemetery on Monday (February 6) and his family and friends came together to celebrate his incredible life.

    Paul, who leaves behind his partner Ellen, son Martin and grandson Samuel, quickly became a local and national celebrity after he took up running at 61 and ran his first London Marathon aged 69 – hitting the headlines in 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015 when he was the oldest official runner.

    A member of Havering 90 Joggers, Paul went on to complete 24 marathons – 18 of which were to support Saint Francis Hospice.

    Paying tribute to Paul, Pam Court, Chief Executive of the hospice in Havering-atte-Bower, said, “Our thoughts are with Paul’s family at this sad time.

    “While Paul is no longer with us, his legacy will live on.

    “He was the most incredible ambassador for the hospice and he was a great inspiration to everyone who met him.

    “We are so proud and privileged to have known Paul and will always be grateful for all he has done to raise awareness of our services, as well as raising more than £100,000 to fund our care.”

    Paul receiving a fundraising award from Sir Roger Moore in 2016

    His charismatic personality, determination and kindness inspired everyone who met him and he was well known in the community for collecting money for the charity outside supermarkets.

    Paul, from Hornchurch, injected humour into everything he did and cheekily claimed that his top marathon tip was to “follow a nice bum.”
    And he lived by his motto “keep moving, do as much charity work as you can and have a sense of humour.”

    Saint Francis Hospice was close to his heart after it cared for his wife Teeny before she died of cancer in 2007 but his connection with the charity began in 1993, when Paul, who was an active member of the Jewish community, and his friends started volunteering on the Inpatient Ward every Christmas Day, serving food and drinks to patients.

    Gill Wendelken, the Voluntary Services Manager at the hospice, said, “Paul not only provided, for many years, invaluable practical support to the patients, but he also included within that a very generous helping of wit and humour, wrapped up in his friendly personality, in order to give the hospice patients a special time on Christmas Day.“

    Over the years Paul’s fundraising achievements attracted so much media attention and recognition that he dedicated an entire room to his medals, awards and press cuttings.

    Paul was proud to be awarded and MBE in 2008 in the New Year’s Honours, was an Olympic torchbearer in 2012 and in 2016 he was presented with an award by 007 star Sir Roger Moore.

    And another memorable moment for the devoted Hammers fan was training with the West Ham team before his last marathon in 2015.

    Paul, who worked in retail and at one time was a buyer for Bodgers in Ilford, was a natural comedian so it was very fitting that he founded a concert party, The Entertainers, which has been holding performances to raise money for the hospice since 1991.

    Clare McPartland, Head of Marketing and Communications at the hospice, added, “The publicity Paul gave the hospice was unrivalled and his attitude was always one of positivity and drive – he was an absolute joy to work with.

    “This year will be my first London Marathon and he will certainly be on my mind as I tackle the 26.2 miles – he’s a true inspiration and I know he’d be cheering me on from the crowd!”

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    Swap a book and see Chris and Pui!

    The Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch will be participating in the annual Discover London Children’s Book Swap on Saturday 11 February.

    Book Swap logo high res

    The theatre will open its doors to anyone wanting to recycle their children’s books and give children new books to read.

    Over 70 venues across 21 London boroughs will be celebrating Discover London Children’s Book Swap’s sixth birthday. For one day only, literally thousands of books will be swapped in an action-packed day of free activities.

    CBeebies’ double act, Chris & Pui will star in their very own stage show Show Me Show Me on the same day of the book swapping event.


    They will be performing at the Queen’s Theatre at 11am and 2pm, so families attending the event can bring an old book along with them to the theatre and swap it for a different book to take home for free.

    The Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch welcomes book donations for the event suitable for children aged 3 – 16.

    For more information about the Discover London Children’s Book Swap visit

    To book tickets for Chris & Pui visit or call the Theatre Box Office on 01708 443333.

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    Keep Your Medicine Cabinet Fighting Fit For Winter

    GPs in Basildon and Brentwood are urging people with long-term health issues to keep medicine cabinets fully stocked – and not leave themselves at the mercy of the freezing winter weather.

    People living with chronic conditions such as diabetes, respiratory disease (severe asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or bronchitis), heart disease, kidney or liver disease, or neurological disease, are particularly vulnerable when the temperatures drop.


    Venturing out in extremely cold weather can easily make an existing illness worse, which makes it all the more important to stock up on medicine while you can. With repeat prescription items, you should plan ahead for a couple of weeks but not stockpile.

    Denise Rabbette, Head of Medicines Optimisation at Basildon and Brentwood CCG, said: “At this time of year the weather can quickly turn from being mild and pleasant to becoming bitterly cold, and if you’re not adequately prepared for a cold snap you may find yourself stuck at home without the provisions you need to stay warm and well.

    “Our advice to people with long-term illnesses in Basildon and Brentwood is to check their medicine cabinets are supplied with everyday remedies for minor winter illness as well as any regular medication they may require for their condition. It’s also a good idea to make sure kitchen cupboards are well stocked with nutritious food, too.

    “We’d also recommend contacting a friend or family member to see if they would be available to help you in case you get stuck at home without something you need. That way, you can be fully prepared should the weather take a turn for the worse and it’s difficult to venture outdoors.”

    Alongside regular medication, a well-stocked medicine cabinet should include the following:

    • A first-aid kit including bandages, plasters, thermometer, antiseptic, eyewash solution, sterile dressings, medical tape for dressings and tweezers.
    • Pain relief such as paracetamol and ibuprofen for aches, pains and high temperatures.
    • Oral rehydration salts to replace lost minerals and fluid after a fever or vomiting and diarrhoea.
    • Anti-diarrhoea tablets to relieve symptoms of diarrhoea (though these will not help with the underlying cause).

    If you’re already on medication, make sure you’re not going to run out. Contact your GP surgery about registering for GP Online Services, which will enable you to request repeat prescriptions online. You can also book appointments and see some of your health records. To sign up, you’ll just need to go to your practice and complete a form. Remember to take some photo ID, such as your passport.

    If you’re not sure which over-the-counter medicines to take with your regular medication, you can talk to a pharmacist for advice.

    For more information on staying well this winter visit

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    Knock Knock … Be A Good Neighbour This Winter

    GPs in Brentwood are urging people to look out for their elderly and vulnerable relatives and neighbours this winter – and make sure they don’t ‘soldier on’ in silence as winter starts to bite.


    Older people and those with long-term health conditions are particularly susceptible to illness and isolation at this time of year, yet it can sometimes be difficult for those at risk to admit they need help.

    Dr Arv Guniyangodage, Chair of Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), says winter is a time when communities should come together to support people elderly and vulnerable people who may need to be encouraged to seek medical assistance before illness becomes so serious they need to be admitted to hospital.

    Dr Guniyangodage said: “All too often we see elderly and vulnerable people having to be treated in hospital for lengthy periods with symptoms that might not have become so serious and could have been managed effectively at home if they’d only sought help sooner.

    “This is often the result of people trying to ‘soldier on’ through adversity because they don’t want to cause inconvenience to their families or bother their GP or pharmacist with something they feel is insignificant.

    “If you are aged over 75 or you are living with a long-term medical condition such as a respiratory illness, don’t wait when you’re feeling ill – get help straight away. Speak to your local pharmacist first and they’ll either recommend an over-the-counter medicine to alleviate your symptoms, or tell you if you need to see your GP.

    “If you have a friend, neighbour or relative who is vulnerable then you can do your bit to help by checking in on them regularly and making sure they have everything they need to stay well this winter.”

    Basildon and Brentwood CCG has the following top tips for how to help elderly and vulnerable people you may know:

    • Drop in to see them and check if they are well at least once a week – and more often if the weather turns very cold.
    • Check if they are feeling well and don’t let them brush off your questions if you’re concerned they’re trying to hide an illness, particularly if they don’t seem their usual self or they look unwell.
    • If they are feeling ill, encourage them to visit their local pharmacist without delay – and give them a lift if you can.
    • Ask if you can collect any prescriptions they need or take them to their GP for any appointments.
    • Tell them to call 111 if they feel unwell when pharmacies are closed – a trained NHS health care adviser will be able to help them.
    • Make sure their home is heated to at least 18°C to 21°C throughout the winter.
    • Ensure they are eating well and have a good supply of essential and store-cupboard food to keep them going – and offer to help them with shopping if they struggle with mobility.
    • Encourage them to get heating and cooking appliances safety checked – and recommend a trustworthy gas and heating engineer or electrician if you know one.
    • If it snows, clear their path, front steps or doorway areas for them – or better still, encourage them to stay in.

    For more information on staying well this winter visit

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    Calling all budding theatre directors!

    The Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch is on a mission to find and nurture the next generation of innovative theatre directors by partnering with the prestigious Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme (RTYDS).


    As a theatre that is passionate about supporting emerging theatre makers, the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch is thrilled to announce their first partnership with the Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme. Douglas Rintoul, the Artistic Director at the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch is particularly excited about offering this opportunity to aspiring directors as he received a RTYDS 18-month bursary to Salisbury Playhouse in 2000 and is keen to provide others with the same experience.

    Participants will be given a valuable opportunity to take part in an Introduction to Directing programme, which offers free intensive practical training for people who are aged over 18. Introduction to Directing is part of the Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme and will allow participants to develop their directing skills through practical workshops, work alongside experienced practitioners and have access to opportunities and contacts that could help propel them forward in the theatre industry.

    Taking place at the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, the fun, hands-on Introduction to Directing programme will be led by the theatre’s Artistic Director Douglas Rintoul who is directing the highly anticipated forthcoming production The Crucible. Participants will gain insight into his rehearsal process with the cast on the production as well observe show rehearsals.

    To be eligible you MUST live in Essex (NOT Greater London), be at the very early stages of your career, have a specific interest in directing rather than in acting or any other theatre craft. The projects are not intended for those who have studied directing as part of a degree. The Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch is looking for participants currently under-represented in UK theatre as a result of barriers arising from social, gender, financial, ethnic, cultural, geographic or educational disadvantage or disability.

    All applicants must be available to attend all sessions. There are subsidies available to cover travel expenses.

    Dates are:
    Sat 28 Jan, 2-7pm
    Sat 4 Feb, 10-1pm
    Wed 15 Feb, 6-10pm
    Mon 20 Feb, 7-10pm
    Sat 4 Mar, 10am-6pm
    Sat 11 Mar, 10am-6pm
    Sun 12 Mar, 10am-6pm
    Sat 18 Mar, 2-10pm

    Applicants are required to send a short statement about themselves and why they are interested in this programme to with RTYDS in the subject field.

    Deadline for applications is Monday 16 January at 5pm. Interviews will be held at the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch on 19 and 20 January (evening).

    For more information about the Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme visit their website:

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    Memorial Products from Around The World

    Sadness and grief has touched many lives during 2016. For the majority, handling the passing of a loved one is a new experience and it can be confusing knowing what the options are for saying goodbye.

    Secure Haven Funeral Directors, in Margaretting, have searched the world for the most unique range of memorial urns and keepsakes.

    Cheryl Yarwood, managing director, said: “It’s a privilege to offer such a varying and unique range of post-cremation options to families. After all, it aids them along their journey with grief.”

    When Kathryn Clark’s mum Sheila died this summer, the family knew they wanted their loved one to be returned to her home in Yorkshire. The 83-year-old had been born and raised up north and it felt right to put her to rest there.

    The Scatter Pod, an eco-friendly scattering cremation urn, has a peel-up tab on the top for ashes to be scattered from.

    Kathryn, of Rettendon Common, also had some of her mum’s ashes placed into a bracelet charm.

    She said: “I didn’t want an urn for mum, but I wanted to keep her close; I wanted a keepsake that was private; that was just for me.


    “I find myself twiddling the charm on my bracelet all the time and thinking of mum. I feel as though mum is with me and protecting me. It brings that closeness back.”

    The family were so comforted by the products, they also had some of their dog Molly’s ashes interred into a paper weight.

    With a firm belief in “ashes to ashes”, Sarah Ramsey-Smith’s mum Mercy wanted to be returned to the earth when she died.

    So, the 85-year-old’s ashes were laid to rest at Woodman Road Cemetery, Brentwood, within an environmentally-friendly Limbo Geos.


    The hand-crafted biodegradable urn is made from binding plant organic substrate, fibre, golden sand and plant extracts and fitted completely with Mercy’s wishes.

    Daughter Sarah, of Brentwood, said: “It meant everything to have the biodegradable urn for mum. She was all about things returning to where they started from; ashes to ashes and dust to dust.”

    While Mercy died in May, her ashes were stored at Secure Haven’s unique storage niche until this month when the family felt ready to lay her to rest.

    Sarah said: “I felt happier knowing mum was safe at Secure Haven rather than being stuck in a cupboard with others at a funeral home.”

    A brother’s last wish to have his ashes scattered in a river gave his family fears about the logistics.

    Peter Low was determined to give brother William, 65, of Chelmsford, the send-off he had requested in his will, but said: “I imagined we’d have to have a traditional urn that we’d have to open and scatter from. The thought of the wind blowing in the wrong direction and it being a disaster was abhorrent to me.”

    Instead, Secure Haven introduced the family to the Samsara Sand Urn. Made from sand and salt bound with natural plant extracts, the urn dissolves when submerged in water.


    Peter, who gave William the send-off he wanted at Southend Pier with their mother, said: “It was an important final moment; it was a release.

    “I had not heard of the sand urn before. It was absolutely perfect, particularly for my mum who was not sure, at first, she wanted to be there when we scattered William’s ashes. It was very clean and respectful.”

    For some, the tradition of keeping their loved one’s ashes at home is an important way of coping with the loss.

    For Jackie Scale, when husband John died, she wanted him to remain at home with her.

    With the Les Grand Vents urn, hand carved and turned from one single log in various woods, ashes can take pride of place in the home without being obvious.


    Jackie said: “The Les Grand Vents range are incredibly beautiful, warm, tactile pieces and their individuality makes them so very personal. Now it is placed in our home, it is absolutely perfect.

    “I find it incredibly comforting as I believe John would have approved.”

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    Waste Not, Want Not – Medicines Waste campaign targets antibiotics

    A campaign to help tackle medicine waste is encouraging people to only use antibiotics when needed.

    The Waste Not, Want Not – Medicines Waste campaign is a south west Essex initiative designed to raise awareness of the costly issue of unused prescription medicine and highlight the overuse of antibiotics.

    Healthcare commissioners NHS Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Thurrock CCG have joined forces to reduce the costs of wasted medicines which is estimated to be £2.5 million a year locally…money that could be better spent on improving services such as 100 extra community nurses.

    Now with the cold and flu season well underway, the Waste Not, Want Not – Medicines Waste campaign is sending out the message that most people will NOT need to be treated with antibiotics for their winter ailments.

    The CCGs have produced a new range of leaflets on antibiotics which are available from doctors’ surgeries and the CCGs’ websites:

    • Antibiotics – what you and your family should know
    • Dry, tickly or chesty cough?
    • Home care is best
    • Snotty, sniffly or sneezy?
    • Delayed prescription – helping prevent the overuse of antibiotics


    Denise Rabbette, Head of a joint dedicated Medicines Optimisation team covering Basildon and Brentwood CCG and Thurrock CCG, is pictured with pharmacist Bijukumar Gandecha from Noak Bridge Pharmacy

    Denise Rabbette, Head of a joint dedicated Medicines Optimisation team covering both CCGs, said: “Antibiotics are rarely needed for coughs or sore throats because they are usually caused by a virus. Pharmacists can advise on simple self-care treatments and over-the-counter medications to relieve symptoms. Patients should not expect their GP to prescribe antibiotics because they are usually not necessary.

    “As well as the money being wasted on unnecessary prescriptions for antibiotics, there is also the growing problem of antibiotic resistance.

    “Overuse and misuse of antibiotics is leading to bacteria resistant to antibiotics which could mean many routine procedures, such as operations and cancer treatment, become increasingly dangerous in the future.”

    The Waste Not – Want Not Medicines Waste campaign is reminding patients:

    • Antibiotics do not work for MOST colds, coughs, sore throats or earache. Your body can usually fight these infections on its own.
    • To ask their pharmacist about over-the-counter remedies that can help in the first instance.
    • Not to expect or demand treatment with antibiotics from their GP.
    • When antibiotics are prescribed by a health professional, always take them as directed and complete the course.

    Sometimes a GP may give a delayed prescription for antibiotics which can be collected a few days later but only if you do not feel better or feel worse.

    Never save any antibiotics for later or share antibiotics with others.

    Remember, the more we use antibiotics, the greater the chance that bacteria will become resistant to them so that they no longer work on infections.

    For further information on the Waste Not, Want campaign and how you can help to combat Medicines Waste visit

    For further information on how you can help protect your antibiotics visit

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    Pharmacy opening times over Christmas and the New Year

    Doctors in Basildon and Brentwood are encouraging people to plan their healthcare during the festive season.

    With advice on common illnesses and the best medicines to treat them, popping along to your local pharmacist at the first sign of illness can help you feel better fast.


    Please order and collect any repeat prescriptions in plenty of time – but check your medicine cabinet before ordering and don’t pick up any medication you don’t need.

    Although the majority of pharmacies will be closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and the Bank Holidays on Tuesday 27 December and Monday January 2, the following will be open for some of the time:

    Christmas Day, Sunday 25 December 2016

    Benfleet: Daynite Pharmacy, 261 London Road, Hadleigh SS7 2BN – 09:00 15:00
    Chelmsford: Colecross Pharmacy, 1 Hylands Parade, Wood Street CM2 8BW – 10:00 15:00
    Corringham: Allcures Pharmacy, 19 – 21 Lampits Hill SS17 9AA – 10:00 14:00
    Great Dunmow: Ropers the Chemist, 3-5 High Street CM6 1AB – 11:00 12:00
    Harlow: Harlow Pharmacy, Wych Elm, Hamstel Road CM20 1QR – 09:00 20:00
    Langdon Hills: Great Berry Pharmacy, Great Berry Centre, Unit 4, Nightingales SS16 6SA – 10:00-13:00 17:00-20:00
    North Weald: North Weald Chemist, 48 High Road CM16 6BU – 11:00 13:00
    Rayleigh: Hambro Pharmacy, 53a Hullbridge Road SS6 9NL – 10:00 16:00
    South Woodham Ferrers: Govani Chemist, 14 Queen Elisabeth Square CM6 1AB – 10:00 12:00

    Boxing Day, Monday 26 December 2016

    Basildon: Boots Pharmacy, 25 Town Square SS14 1BA – 08:30 17:30
    Basildon: Boots Pharmacy, Unit 6B Mayflower Retail Park SS14 3HZ – 10:00 17:00
    Billericay: Boots Pharmacy, 10-11 The Pantiles, Queens Park Avenue CM12 0UA – 09:00 17:30
    Billericay: Boots Pharmacy, 64-66 High Street CM12 9BS – 10:00 16:00
    Brentwood: Boots Pharmacy, 51 High Street CM14 4RH – 08:30 18:00

    Bank Holiday, Tuesday 27 December 2016

    Basildon: Boots Pharmacy, 25 Town Square SS14 1BA – 08:30 17:30
    Basildon: Boots Pharmacy, Unit 6B Mayflower Retail Park SS14 3HZ – 10:00 17:00
    Billericay: Boots Pharmacy, 64-66 High Street CM12 9BS – 10:00 16:00
    Brentwood: Boots Pharmacy, 51 High Street CM14 4RH – 08:30 18:00

    Bank Holiday, Monday 2 January 2017

    Basildon: Boots Pharmacy, 25 Town Square SS14 1BA 08:30 17:30
    Basildon: Boots Pharmacy, Unit 6B Mayflower Retail Park SS14 3HZ 10:00 17:00
    Billericay: Boots Pharmacy, 64-66 High Street CM12 9BS 10:00 16:00
    Brentwood: Boots Pharmacy ,51 High Street CM14 4RH 08:30 18:00
    Pitsea: Boots Pharmacy, 8 Northlands Pavement SS13 3DU 10:00 16:00

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    Cinderella at the Queens Theatre – Magic for ALL the family

    Panto season is one of the most joyous and magical times of the year and no one should feel excluded from enjoying the wonders of Pantomime.


    The Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch welcomes all those who might usually be prevented from attending the theatre to join warm-hearted Cinderella on her exciting adventure to find her Prince Charming where they can share the magical experience with their friends and family.

    Committed to ensuring everyone’s experience to the theatre is special, the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch is further widening their accessibility provision by providing two specially adapted shows for their enchanting forthcoming production of Cinderella. Tickets to a Relaxed Performance and a Dementia-Friendly Performance are available to purchase alongside the theatre’s regular Signed and Audio-Described Performances.

    Relaxed performances provide a comfortable setting for audience members who might find it difficult to follow the usual conventions of theatre etiquette. By creating an informal environment it will enable patrons to just be themselves without the need for families or carers to worry about the effect it may have on others around them. It can be assured that audience noise is permitted throughout the performance and individuals who may feel overwhelmed are free to leave to a ‘chill out’ area in the foyer and return when they feel ready at any point during the show. Extreme loud noises and flashing lights will be cut and trained staff will be on hand to provide extra assistance in front of house.

    The Relaxed Performance will take place on 2 January at 6pm and the Dementia-Friendly Performance will take place on 10 January at 2pm. These adapted performances welcomes people of all ages who will benefit from a relaxed, quieter and supportive environment including people with an Autism Spectrum Condition, sensory and communication disorders, a learning disability or dementia.

    Written by Andrew Pollard and directed by Martin Berry, Cinderella is packed with live music, spectacular sets, colourful costumes, side-splitting slapstick and tailored audience participation.

    Cinderella will be performed at the Queen’s Theatre, Billet Lane, Hornchurch until 14 January. Tickets for these Relaxed Performances are £12.50. To book tickets please call the Box Office on 01708 443333 or stop by in person to discuss your requirements.

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    Secure Haven wins industry prize

    Products which enable a loved one’s ashes to be worn as jewellery or returned to nature among the trees have earned an Essex company an award.

    Secure Haven Independent Funeral Directors, in Margaretting, attended the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management Learning Convention and Exhibition and came away with a trophy.

    The Best Exhibition Stand award was voted for by the 125 delegates, speakers and invited guests at the event in Oxford.


    Managing director Cheryl Yarwood, who runs the company with husband Paul, picked up the award for the display of their extensive range of innovative products and green concepts for helping the bereaved lay their loved ones’ ashes to rest.

    Secure Haven offers brass urns to take pride of place in the home, environmentally-friendly urns enabling loved ones to be put to rest along with nature, plus a range of modern silver jewellery with discreet compartments for ashes to be stored.

    Cheryl, who has researched and sourced the products from around the world, said: “This demonstrates how times and needs are changing and the industry’s decision-makers are embracing new innovation to help bereaved families.

    “It was a great honour to receive this award for the efforts of everyone at Secure Haven. Now Secure Haven has become a tranquil funeral home, too, we can assist families before they need our services, all the way through their journey to grief recovery.”

    More than 80 exhibitors represented 38 companies from all aspects of the industry at the event.

    Members of cemeteries and crematoria picked up the latest information on topics from new environmental forms or disposal to the financial cost of unaddressed grief in the workplace on the day.

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    Shenfield Christmas Fayre

    Phoenix FM presenters Keith Rogers and Mike Jones ran the stage at this year’s Shenfield Christmas Fayre, now in its 3rd year.

    The Mayor of Brentwood, Cllr Noelle Hones, gave a speech of thanks, and a number of acts entertained the crowds, including Lydia Lucy, star of The Voice, along with Daisy Benson, Edd Coates, Hockers, JADA Dance School, Brentwood Operatic Society, Sweete Harmonie, Richie Farrow, The Big Sing, Stuck In The Middle and entertainers from 360 Play.

    We also had some fantastic performances from children from Shenfield St Mary’s Primary School, Willowbrook Primary School and Hutton All Saints Primary School.

    Here’s a clip of Lydia Lucy singing a Christmas classic:

    Edd Coates live on stage:

    You can see some of the photos below:







































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    Charity networking event a great success

    Phoenix FM attended the first networking event in aid of Haven House Children’s Hospice, organised and hosted by the Brentwood Orthodontic and Implant Centre in Regency House, Ingrave Road, Brentwood.

    Over 40 local businesses took part in the event, which included presentations from Haven House’s community and events fundraiser Kate Donoghue, and Stuart O’Neil, a business coach at local firm Pro-Actions.

    We spoke to Nikhil and Kate, and you can hear the interviews again below:

    There will be a further event next year – keep an eye on Brentwood Orthodontic and Implant Centre’s website for more information.


    Brentwood Orthodontic and Implant Centre –
    Haven’s House Children’s Hospice –

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    TV stars to appear in The Crucible

    Casting has been announced for the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch and Selladoor production of Arthur Miller‘s blistering classic American drama The Crucible which opens the Queen’s Theatre’s spring season.


    Charlie Condou, who is best known for the role of midwife Marcus Dent in Coronation Street, will be playing the witch-hunter Reverend Hale and Call The Midwife star Victoria Yeates takes on the role of Elizabeth Proctor. This major new production will tour the UK and abroad following its premiere in Hornchurch.

    The programme continues with another high profile production, the brand new box office smash comedy Worst Wedding Ever penned by Broadchurch writer Chris Chibnall, presented by the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, Salisbury Playhouse and New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich; followed by Willy Russell’s joyful classic Educating Rita directed by Ros Philips, who brought us the hugely successful Queen’s Theatre community musical Our House.

    The season also includes a variety of visiting shows including: Footloose the Musical starring Gareth Yates and Maureen Nolan, all singing and dancing Bring on the Bollywood, a night with comedian Seann Walsh, tributes to Adele and Michael Jackson as well as a programme of wonderfully innovative one-off productions created by local theatre-makers. Room on the Broom, The Gruffalo and the CBeebies’ Chris and Pui mark a new era of programming for families.

    Douglas Rintoul says, ‘we’re collaborating with some of the most talented theatre companies and makers to bring the very best of live performance to Havering. Not only this but our work will been seen by audiences throughout the UK and abroad. These are very exciting times for the Queen’s Theatre’. This season is Artistic Director Douglas Rintoul’s second since his appointment last October.

    For more information about the forthcoming season at the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch call the Box Office on 01708 443333 or visit

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    Lighting Up Brentwood 2016

    Click below to listen again to Phoenix FM’s interviews from this year’s event:

    Contents: Rob Dennis from SNAP; Saint Francis Hospice; Pippa Meads from Essex Youth Service; Hopefield Animal Sanctuary; Frankie Emmins from Universal Roots; Doddinghurst Road Church; Jim Shrubb, Town Crier; Street Pastors; Murray Dedman, stage manager; various fairies!

    Interviews by Bob Simpson, Nikki Mills and Nick Field

    Phoenix FM once again hosted today’s Lighting Up Brentwood in Brentwood High Street.

    Tony Smith and Mike Porter introduced a myriad of singers, bands and choirs before the big switch on at 5.00pm.






























































































































































































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    Curry and music night in aid of Hopefield

    Phoenix FM proudly presents…

    in aid of Hopefield Animal Sanctuary

    Taking place at Old Brentwoods, Ashwells Road, Brentwood CM15 9SE
    Friday, 10 February 2017, 7.30pm – 11.00pm

    Live music from:

    Poder de Tres
    For The Love Of Bob
    Libby Holden

    Live auction and raffle with tons of great prizes!

    Meal places have now sold out but bar only tickets are available for £10. Please call Steve Roach for 07952 498009 on for details.

    Bennetts Funeral Directors –
    House & Jackson Vets –

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    Calling all local businesses!

    Brentwood businesses can explore opportunities to work together at a new networking event, taking place in the town on from 6pm on Thursday 1st December.

    The event is organised by the Brentwood Orthodontic and Implant Centre, who will also be raising money and awareness for their designated charity, Haven House Children’s Hospice.

    The evening will feature a raffle in aid of Haven House with many exclusive prizes donated by local businesses, including luxury VIP tickets for the champagne lounge at Sugar Hut, a voucher for Smiths Restaurant Ongar and afternoon tea at Mulberry House Manor. This will be followed by a presentation from Haven House Children’s Hospice and a short talk from a Business Coach at Pro-Actions.


    The event will be held at Regency House, 38 Ingrave Road, Brentwood CM15 8AX, and is supported by Phoenix FM and the Essex Business Forum. To attend, please email

    Brentwood Orthodontic and Implant Centre has been providing specialist dental treatments for the local community for over 13 years. You can find out more about them on their official website, Facebook and Twitter pages.

    Haven House Children’s Hospice has provided specialist care for over 650 children and young people since 2003 (from birth to 19) who have life-limiting and life-threatening conditions. You can read more about their work on their official website, Facebook and Twitter pages.

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    Courtney-Lee Collins wins Inspirational Youth 2016

    Phoenix FM presenter Courtney-Lee Collins is celebrating after winning the Inspirational Youth award at this year’s Pride of Essex Awards!


    As well as being our youngest presenter, Courtney-Lee has been an avid charity fundraiser over the last few years, raising money for Help For Heroes, The Rainbow Child Foundation, Puffin Ward at Basildon Hospital, The British Heart Foundation, Follow Your Dreams, Treetops Special Needs School, Southend
    Breast Cancer Unit, Basildon Hospital/s Polly Parrot Appeal, Clik Sargent, St Luke’s Hospice and Essex Air Ambulance.

    The awards, held at Anglia Ruskin University in Chelmsford, have been held since 1994 to recognise and award achievement over adversity.




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    Sugar Hut live! – Wills Childs and Lydia Lucy

    Phoenix FM presenters were out and about at the Sugar Hut’s second Thursday night music event last night.

    The evening’s host, Wills Childs, and Lydia Lucy, star of The Voice, performed to a packed audience.

    The event was supported by our own Graham Stannard, Tracey Thomas and Steve Roach, who supplied the photos.

    If you want to get involved in future events send a sample of your voice to













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    Secure Haven tackles funeral debt

    With the UK’s funeral debt reaching almost £150m, an independent funeral director is working to keep costs low for Essex families.

    The latest Royal London National Funeral Cost Index reveals funeral debt in the UK has risen to £147m as people borrow from friends and family or the bank to fund the last wishes of loved ones.

    With a postcode lottery meaning funeral costs range from £2,898 to £6,422 depending on where you live in the country, families are finding it almost impossible to plan financially for the inevitable.

    The research also found consumers are using different coping strategies to keep costs down, with 5% choosing to have a direct burial or direct cremation, which is a radically different and cheaper option.

    While this is not on offer from many funeral directors, Secure Haven Funeral Directors, based in Coptfold Hall Farm, Margaretting, offers the Honesty Cremation Package to assist families struggling with the costs of a full funeral.

    The family-run funeral home was set up this year in response to hidden costs and growing price tags attached to putting someone to rest.

    Paul Yarwood, whose family were horrified at the pricey experience of dealing with funeral directors when his parents died, set up his business to focus on affordability, care and helping families through their grief.


    Paul and Cheryl Yarwood

    The Honesty Cremation Package, at £1,795, enables families to give their loved one a quality, but simple send-off.

    Mr Yarwood said: “Having lost both my parents and having to arrange their funeral with no real idea on how the costs were accumulating, I thought it extremely important that other families should not have to go through this process.

    “With costs spiralling well above the rate of inflation, I feel families need help in their decision-making if cost is an issue or not.

    “By offering our services well below the national average in cost, yet still keeping the high level of service and professionalism, we believe families can make more choices when it comes to arrangement.

    “Secure Haven understand the need for many families to opt for a non-service cremation – a direct cremation – where there are no attendees at the crematorium. This may be the preference for families who, because of the rising cost of a cremation, may have restricted finances while looking to provide a dignified farewell to their loved one.”

    Royal London’s research highlights that the average cost of a funeral in the UK is now £3,675, with 93,359 adults taking on funeral debt. The average debt being taken on to cover funeral costs is £1,601, which collectively equates to £147m across the UK.

    One in seven polled (15%) said they struggled with funeral costs. Among those who struggled, one in four said they borrowed money from family and friends (27%) or went into debt by taking out a loan or going into their overdraft (24%) to pay funeral costs.

    Mona Patel, Royal London’s consumer spokesman, said: “When dealing with the loss of a loved one, the last thing that people need is financial stress as well.

    “It is vital the Government tackles funeral poverty by addressing the flaws with the Social Fund Funeral Expenses Payment. This includes the length of time it takes to get a payment which then often falls far short of the cost of the funeral. The funeral industry also needs to address consumer demand for a simpler and cheaper funeral option, by providing more access to direct cremation and direct burials.”

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    Help the animals at Hopefield this winter!

    Our friends at Hopefield Animal Sanctuary are asking for help this winter – by filling up a shoebox.


    You can help the sanctuary’s animals during the cold winter months by filling up a shoe box with animal related products such as food, treats, toys, bedding, blankets, fruit and veg and any other things you think of.

    Why not ask your school or workplace to get involved, and pass on the message to friends and colleagues too!

    Boxes can be dropped at the sanctuary any day of the week (Sawyers Hall Farm, Sawyers Hall Ln, Brentwood CM15 9BZ), or can be dropped at Hopefield’s pet supplies shop in Ingatestone from Monday to Saturday (3 Market Place, Ingatestone, CM4 0BY).

    If you can’t drop it off you can post your boxes directly. And if you pop your details on the box, the animals will write you a special thank you note :)

    If you need inspiration as to what to put in the box you can check out Hopefield’s Amazon wishlist here:

    Facebook page for the Shoebox appeal:

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    Sugar Hut live! – the first event

    Phoenix FM presenters were out and about at the Sugar Hut’s first Thursday night music event last night.


    Local singers including the evening’s host, Wills Childs, Gemma Collins, Dolly Harrington and more performed to a packed audience.

    The event was supported by our own Tony Smith, Tracey Thomas and Steve Roach, who supplied the photos.

    If you want to get involved in future events send a sample of your voice to

















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    Brentwood Business Showcase


    Brentwood’s first Business Showcase event, held today at the Brentwood Centre, proved to be a great success with over 500 people in attendance.

    The showcase was set up as an opportunity to promote local businesses, visit exhibitors, network with others and meet new customers and suppliers.

    Organised by Brentwood Borough Council, and sponsored by Wortley Byers Law, the showcase featured key speakers including Crossrail’s Surface Director Matthew White, who spoke about Crossrail coming to the area and how this will transform Brentwood’s business environment, and Nick Kay of St Modwen Developments Ltd, who spoke about the Strategic Development Plan for Brentwood Enterprise Park and why it is the new place to do business.

    Other speakers included Judy Hoskins from the Women In Business Network, Laurie Edmonds from Local By Social and Russell Quirk from eMoov.

    Phoenix FM was in attendance too – represented by our Sales and Marketing Manager, Steve Roach. Get in touch to find out what deals we can offer businesses!





















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    Parents – protect your child from flu!

    Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group is reminding parents to act on the letter they should have received about their child’s free flu vaccination.

    This year the annual flu campaign is being extended to include older children in school year three.

    The free immunisation is being offered to youngsters aged two, three and four and pupils in school years one and two and three.

    The move will help protect a larger number of children across south west Essex and help provide protection to schools, friends, family, and the wider population from the virus.


    Dr Sooraj Natarajan, who is the clinical lead for paediatrics at Basildon and Brentwood CCG, said: “We know coughs and colds are already starting to spread which means flu season is right behind. Children aged two, three and four are more vulnerable and can be hit hard by flu. In addition, they spread infections easily. They’re not bothered about covering their mouth when they cough, sneeze, or keeping their hands clean. And if they’re around family members of friends that are over 65 or who have a health condition, they’re putting them at risk too.

    “Flu spreads fast and places like schools are ideal environments for it to get a grip in the community, so it’s essential we make sure children are protected for the sake of their fellow pupils and those they are in contact with.”

    The vaccination is given by squirting a single dose of nasal spray up each nostril and so there are no needles to worry about.

    Dr Natarajan, who is GP Principal at the Tile House Surgery in Brentwood, said: “The vaccination is the best protection against what is an unpredictable virus. It can cause severe illness and can even be fatal in some cases. It’s also vital that children get vaccinated every year, vaccines are not for life and just as the virus changes each year so does the vaccine – it will protect your child and potentially those they come into contact with.

    “So we’re asking that parents and carers pay attention to the letter they have received or will be receiving soon. We understand being a parent keeps people busy but this five minute job is really important for the health of your child and your loved ones. It really isn’t worth the risk so please get your child protected.”

    Any parent who has not received a letter, should contact their child’s school or GP practice.

    Young people with long-term health conditions up to the age of 17 are also eligible to receive a free flu vaccination at their GP practice or local pharmacy.

    For more information visit

    You can download the NHS leaflet here.

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    Nando’s comes to Mayflower Shopping Park

    Phoenix FM was at the opening of the beautiful new Nando’s at Mayflower Shopping Park today.


    The new store occupies the former Pizza Hut site but has been completely transformed and modernised.


    Basildon’s third Nando’s has created 20 new jobs for locals and will seat 125 people at a time.

    The brand new restaurant will bring the Nando’s experience to locals with authentic Portuguse hand made fabrics for the fixed seating, as well as beautiful cortex steel planters for the front seating area.


    Regional MD, Stephen Geach said: “We are thrilled to open the doors to our brand new Nando’s in the Mayflower Shopping Park, which will give locals and fans alike the chance to experience our authentic Peri Peri flavours.

    “This fantastic location is our third restaurant in Basildon and we’re delighted to be growing in this thriving area.”

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    Hospice Care Week

    Today is the start of Hospice Care Week and to celebrate this, staff, volunteers and patients from Saint Francis Hospice have created a video which explains what hospice care means to them.

    Saint Francis Hospice will be using social media this week to highlight the special and sometimes unexpected ways that they offer care and support.

    You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter to find out more.

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    John Baron’s Fun Walk breaks records

    At their presentation ceremony this evening, Basildon and Billericay MP John Baron, along with 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 on 22 May.

    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 £53. The total monies raised both by the projects and bonus pot sponsors came to £110,000 – a new record and up 10% on last year. Nearly 100 projects in total benefitted from this year’s Walk, including Phoenix FM, who had a team of presenters present.


    The presentation was held at Anisha Grange Care Home, Outwood Common Road, Billericay. John said:

    “The 2016 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, c2c Rail, Butyl Products Ltd, Abellio Greater Anglia, Hallmark Care Homes, Private Ambulance Service Ltd, IFE Global Logistics, Leonardo (formally Selex ES), 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. Next year’s walk will take place on 21st May 2017- again at Barleylands Farm. All are welcome.”

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    The Queens – Most Welcoming Theatre in the East!

    Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch is overjoyed to win the UK’s Most Welcoming Theatre award for the East region in the UK Theatre Awards, in association with Smooth Radio.

    Queens Theatre Hornchurch

    The Theatre is among 12 regional winners announced yesterday by UK Theatre and all will be invited to the annual UK Theatre Awards ceremony on 9 October at London’s historic Guildhall, where the overall winner will be announced.

    The award, which is voted for by the public, is an opportunity for audiences to celebrate their local theatre.

    Julian Bird, Chief Executive of UK Theatre, said: ‘Theatres play a vital role in communities across the UK, so it has been wonderful to see so many votes cast. This campaign brings together audiences, theatres, performers and producers and gives everyone the opportunity to celebrate their local venue.’

    Awards judge Paul Phear said: ‘It is a privilege to team up with UK Theatre once again as we crown the nation’s Most Welcoming Theatre. This Award is even more special because it is the audiences, including our Smooth Radio listeners, who have chosen the winner. I look forward to announcing the result next month.’

    The Queen’s Theatre’s Artistic Director Douglas Rintoul says: ‘We’re delighted to win this award. Thank you to everyone who voted and to the team at the Queen’s Theatre. We’re working hard to be a welcoming, accessible venue – our customer service is warm and efficient and our varied programme of entertainment offers something for all ages and interests. Crucially, we’re reaching out to many more members of the community – who may not have previously felt able to visit the theatre – with several new initiatives, from £1 ticket offers to Relaxed Performances for audiences with autism and Dementia-Friendly performances.’

    Lesley Manville OBE will be compèring at the ceremony, where Vanessa Redgrave CBE will be receiving The Gielgud Award for Excellence in the Dramatic Arts, while Sir Ian McKellen will collect the award for Outstanding Contribution to British Theatre.

    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

    For more information about the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, call the Box Office on 01708 443333 or visit

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    Vote for The West Ham Way in the Football Blogging Awards

    Phoenix FM presenters Sex Drugs & Carlton Cole and @exwhuemployee are both up for an award at the Football Blog Awards – so we need your help to make Phoenix FM a winner!


    You’ll need to be logged into Twitter to vote.

    To vote for The West Ham Way as best podcast click here:

    To vote for @exwhuemployee for best social account click here:

    Voting ends on 26th September and finalists will be announced on 5th October. For more info visit

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    Imogen Heap launches Saint Francis Hospice’s OrangeLine

    Click here to listen again to the interview:

    Saint Francis Hospice’s new OrangeLine has launched with new patron Imogen Heap playing at a very special ceremony in Havering-atte-Bower.


    Imogen, who recorded a live session for Phoenix FM back in 2011, performed four songs for hospice staff, carers and patients.

    Paul Golder spoke to Imogen about her role at the hospice and also a little about what she’s up to musically at the moment. He also chatted to the hospice’s Director of Quality and Care, Tess Smith, about the impact that OrangeLine will have on service users and also about Imogen’s support of their work.


    OrangeLine is Saint Francis Hospice’s new free telephone service. It is aimed at local people who are suffering or caring for someone with a life-limiting illness, or have been recently discharged or bereaved, or just in need of a friendly conversation. It’s confidential and managed by specially trained staff and volunteers who are dedicated to the caller’s wellbeing.


    For more information about OrangeLine please visit

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    Parts of Brentwood set to join South Basildon and East Thurrock

    The UK’s political map is set to be redrawn in the run-up to the next general election in 2020 – with many people in Brentwood likely to find they are voting in a completely different area.


    Under draft plans just published, the number of parliamentary constituencies will fall significantly, reducing the number of MPs in Parliament by 50 to 600, while most seats will change in size and character for the first time in at least a decade.

    The Brentwood and Ongar constituency has been increased north to include many areas previously in the Saffron Walden constituency, as far as North End and Great Leighs on the outskirts of Braintree. It’s also increased east, taking in the village of Boreham, a few miles to the east of Chelmsford.

    However some villages traditionally identifying as Brentwood, including Great Warley, Little Warley, Ingrave and Herongate now join the South Basildon and East Thurrock constituency, whose MP is currently Stephen Metcalfe. The previous boundary line between the two was the A127 but this has moved up to the Brentwood railway line, so roads as far into Brentwood as Myrtle Road and Mount Crescent will now be voting for the same MP as people in Tilbury and Coryton.

    The shape of Billericay and Basildon constituency has changed too with the village of Stock and Margaretting now voting here instead of in Maldon, as they did in 2015.

    A map of the proposed changes can be found here:

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    The Battle of the Somme

    Last Thursday, 14 July, saw the centenary of the Battle of the Somme being commemorated by Billericay Community Cinema in the town’s Library.

    Put on as part of the Imperial War Museum’s “Somme100” project which sees events taking place around the UK, over 50 people came to this free community screening of the 1916 film which documents the lead up to, and the early stages of the Battle of the Somme.

    It was preceded by a fascinating and entertaining talk by amateur historian Dermot McCarthy putting the Somme – and the film – in context. Dermot also managed to bring a local focus covering both local soldiers and the downing of Zeppelin L32 in fields off Greens Farm Lane, Billericay.

    The evening started with music played by talented youngsters from the Brentwood Orchestra’s of Youth Musicians with both a jazz group and a classical quartet entertaining the guests.

    Guest charity The Billericay Branch of the Royal British Legion hosted a popular stall and CoOp FuneralCare in Billericay had funded a World War I exhibition.

    The film, which has been digitally restored and with a specially composed soundtrack was shown in great clarity on the cinema’s 3.6m screen and surround sound

    Adam Adshead, Chairman, said “This was a wonderful opportunity to further demonstrate our community focus – a free showing of a very important film, entertainment by talented local youngsters and showcasing the Royal British Legion”

    Emma Neppl, Publicity Officer said “A huge amount of work went into putting this together and I’m incredibly grateful to all of our volunteers for their hard work and to Essex Libraries and the Imperial War Museum of their assistance in bringing this film to Billericay”

    Why is the 1916 film important?

      One of the most popular films in British Cinema history it was seen by over 20 million people when it came out – almost half the entire British population
      First feature-length documentary to record war
      First battle to be extensively recorded in moving images; first battle to feature vast numbers of old
      Featuring large tripod cameras, it shows images of troops moving towards the front, and large howitzers bombarding enemy positions

    Billericay Community Cinema is a not-for-profit, voluntary group who put on films in Billericay Library twice a month
    Aim to show a wide range of films in a comfortable, friendly, community environment and at a price that makes film accessible.
    21 films have now been shown since September 2015 – with over 900 customers

    To find our more you can visit:

    Facebook –
    Twitter – @BillericayCine
    Website –
    Mailing list –

    Billericay Cinema volunteers

    British Legion Stall

    Somme film (iconic image)

    BOYM Jazz group

    BOYM Quartet 1

    BOYM Quartet 2

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    Magical Essex! Arts and culture boost for the county?

    Last month I attended the launch of a new collaboration between Essex County Council and various arts, culture and heritage bodies here at County Hall in Chelmsford.

    The Council has signed a Memorandum of Collaboration with the Arts Council to ensure that more funds are pumped into county projects.

    I spoke to Cllr John Spence, Essex County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for Heritage, Culture and the Arts, who gave more details about the council’s plans.

    You can hear the interview again here:

    2016-07-11 Cllr John Spence

    For more information you can visit Essex County Council’s dedicated website at

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    Spotlight on … Hutton and Shenfield Choral Society

    Click here to listen again:

    Sara Macham talks to Richard Randall from Hutton and Shenfield Choral Society

    Phoenix FM’s Sara Macham talks to Richard Randall, chair of Hutton & Sheffield Choral Society.

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    The 120-strong choir is currently rehearsing for its next concert, a performance of Brahms’ German Requiem on 16th July at the Brentwood School.

    Singing in the the original German, HSCS will be joined on the night by soloists Erica Eloff and James McOran Campbell, and accompanied on Brentwood School’s brand new grand piano.

    Richard talks about the joy – and hard work! – of singing in a choir as the group prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary in the coming season.

    For more information and to book tickets, visit

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    Flooding chaos hits Essex

    Motorists are being warned not to travel unless their journeys are absolutely necessary after last night’s torrential rain caused chaos on the county’s roads.

    This morning the A12 still has two lanes blocked at Margaretting (junction 14) with queues back to Hatfield Peverel (junction 20). Chelmsford city centre is also extremely congested because of traffic diverting through it and the standing water on many roads.

    Roads around Billericay are blocked particularly near Mountnessing Road and Old Church Road, where the road runs parallel with the River Wid.

    Flooding is also causing long delays on the A127 where the Fortune of War roundabout at Laindon is flooded London-bound, causing long queues. Traffic is passing through the flood water very slowly.

    The A414 is flooded at the Four Wantz roundabout in Ongar and there are numerous broken down vehicles causing very long delays both ways. The A414 from the roundabout west towards North Weald was shut earlier this morning to allow emergency services time to deal with the problems.

    On the A12 Colchester bypass there is flooding on the London-bound carriageway with queues back into Suffolk and back on to the A133.

    Numerous other roads across the county are affected by flooding and standing water – many minor roads are impassable.

    For further information keep listening to Phoenix FM travel news on 98FM and online.

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    Spotlight on … Brentwood Theatre

    Click here to listen again:

    Brentwood Theatre (Sara Macham) 1

    In the first of a new series of podcasts, Phoenix FM’s Sara Macham meets Mark Reed, Brentwood Theatre’s administrator.

    This professionally-equipped, 100-seater community theatre first opened its doors in 1993, and today stages more shows than ever.

    Brentwood Theatre (Sara Macham) 3

    Hosting drama, musicals and even live wrestling, the Brentwood Theatre mainly features amateur groups.

    But every December visitors can enjoy its own seasonal production, performed by a professional cast.

    For more information and to book tickets, visit

    Brentwood Theatre (Sara Macham) 2

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    Supercars of Essex show

    Supercars of Essex staged their first show at Old Brentwoods Rugby Club today.

    Over 100 cars were on display and despite the rain nearly 1,000 car enthusaists turned up to see the cars being shown off!

    Phoenix FM presenters Keith Rogers and Steve Robertson were at the show to serve up entertainment to the crowds.

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    Strawberries and Queen!

    Listen again to the interviews:

    2016-06-11 Strawberry Fair package (25 mins)

    0.09 Michelle from Saint Francis Hospice
    1.24 Mark Reed from Brentwood Theatre
    4.01 Ru from Old Brentwoods Acorns Rugby Club
    6.19 Audrey Clark from Brentwood Community Print
    8.19 Brian from the Lighthouse Project
    13.08 Lyndon Reid from Wellness Fitness
    13.56 Alex from Diabetes UK
    15.29 Andy from Eden Falconry
    17.23 Kay from Kingpins Knitting Group
    19.37 Tinkerbell
    21.10 Mike from Dominos Pizza talking about the Teenage Cancer Trust
    22.12 Sally from Double S Cakes

    This year’s Strawberry Fair on Shenfield Common had a special theme – Strawberries and Queen. celebrating our monarch’s 90th birthday!

    The Phoenix FM team were once again out in force with Tony Smith and Bob Simpson undertaking compering duties, and Xanthe Bearman and Nikki Mills joining Bob in interviewing some of the many people who came along.

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    2016-06-11 Strawberry Fair (Nikki) 01 Andy (Eden Falconry)

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    2016-06-11 Strawberry Fair (Nikki) 03 Brian (Light House Project)

    2016-06-11 Strawberry Fair (Nikki) 04 Double S Cakes

    2016-06-11 Strawberry Fair (Nikki) 05 Tinkerbell & Nikki

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    2016-06-11 Strawberry Fair (Xanthe) 01 Kingpins Knitting Group

    2016-06-11 Strawberry Fair (Xanthe) 02 Xanthe and Fitness Instructors

    2016-06-11 Strawberry Fair (Xanthe) 03 Xanthe and James - Acorns

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    The Return Of The Giant Hogweed

    Brentwood residents have been advised to watch out for Giant Hogweed plants after a number of injuries were reported across the UK.

    The plants, which grow on waste land by rivers, are one of the UK’s most dangerous. The plants contain poisons which causes skin to blister.

    Around every river and canal their power is growing

    Giant Hogweed was spotted in Hutton last year and experts say that the plant is likely to return this summer.

    River Trust expert Mike Duddy explained, “If you don’t know what the plant is, it’s exceedingly dangerous. It is, without a shadow of a doubt, the most dangerous plant in Britain.”

    The plant was immortalised in popular culture by progressive rock band Genesis who recorded “The Return Of The Giant Hogweed” on their 1971 album Nursery Crime.

    People who come into contact with the plant are urged to seek medical attention immediately.

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    Bands wanted for new Essex CD!

    We’ve teamed up with Studio 6 Music in Witham who will be recording and producing a CD this summer.

    We are looking for bands from Essex, who have original music to record and are preferably unsigned.

    Recordings will take place in the studios in Witham in June and July. There is no cost to the band – the aim is to give decent local bands a wider audience.

    If you are interested send a demo to

    For more information visit

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    Open Mic Night at the Robin

    Thanks to everyone who came down for the first Open Mic Night at the Robin in Brentwood.

    You can hear the evening’s performances again here:

    Photos from Dave at the Robin:

    01 Calhoun


    02 Daisy


    03 Danielle


    04 Emily


    05 Jade


    06 Jessie


    07 Leeanna


    08 Michelle


    09 Stuart


    10 Tony



    Calhoun – Tennessee Boy
    Calhoun – Carolina’s Last Soldier
    Calhoun – Don’t Let It Bring You Down
    Daisy – I Can’t Make You Love Me
    Daisy – We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off
    Daisy – Stitches
    Daisy – Tears Dry On Their Own
    Danielle – I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker
    Danielle – Shour
    Danielle – Son Of A Preacherman
    Emily – All Of Me
    Jade – Make You Feel My Love
    Jessie – Skinny Love
    Jessie – Ain’t Got Far To Go
    Jessie – Chandelier
    Leeanna – Cupid
    Leeanna – I See Fire
    Michelle – Ain’t No Sunshine
    Michelle – Ain’t Nobody
    Michelle – Signed Sealed Delivered
    Stuart – Mustang Sally
    Tony – Crazy Little Thing Called Love
    Tony – Kingston Town
    Tony – Mac The Knife

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    The heat is on … again!

    The 3rd annual Brentwood Community Firewalk will be taking place this year on 29th October at a new venue – The Society of Old Brentwoods in Ashwells Road, Brentwood.

    2016-05-24 Firewalk photocall 02

    Organisers Carmel Jane, Penny Hollington, Mary Hill, Jane Bennett, Paul Golder and Chris Froebel at Old Brentwoods with the Earl of Brentwood and a dragon!

    This is a great opportunity for people to challenge themselves by baring their soles and walking over red hot ashes heated to over 1200 degrees Fahrenheit, and at the same time raising funds for any charity of their choice, preferably ones active in Brentwood and surrounding area.

    The event this year is sponsored by Bennetts Funerals as part of their 125-year anniversary celebrations. Phoenix FM is once again part of the organising committee and our aim is to put on an event that can benefit ANY charity, small or large. Our two previous firewalks have raised over £30,000 for many local organisations.

    2016-05-24 Firewalk photocall 01

    All walkers will be required to attend an “Hour of Power” safety seminar prior to firewalking. The seminar is delivered by Scott Bell, a World record holder for longest firewalk and owner of organisers UK Firewalk.

    You can enter and pay online by visiting Entry cost is £15 in advance or £20 on the night if places are available.

    After the event there will be a special Halloween-themed party at Old Brentwoods where you’ll be able to sample Firestarter, a special beer brewed by the Brentwood Brewing Company for the occasion.

    We look forward to seeing you there!

    Saturday 29 October 2016 – timetable
    5pm Doors
    6pm Hour of Power
    7pm Firewalk begins
    8pm Party time!


    Oficial website and entry form:
    UK Firewalk:

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    APPEAL: 10,999 recipes needed!

    We’re really disappointed to hear that the BBC are going to archive 11,000 recipes on their website, due to government cuts.

    We’ve decided to build a new database to fill the gap caused by this decision and make it available free of charge to YOU, our hungry listeners and readers.

    We’ve already got 1 recipe and we’re pretty pleased with that.

    Can you help us find 10,999 more?







    1. Put the bread into the toaster
    2. When it has turned into toast, put some cheese on top of it and put it under the grill
    3. Keep looking at it until the cheese has melted on top. Warning – if you turn away for more than 5 seconds, it will all turn black. It tastes best when it looks like the picture above.

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    Brentwood postmen delivering for charity

    In April, Joe and Jim Benton were involved in a road accident. Both were flown to the Royal London Hospital by air ambulance and while Joe is making a good recovery, Jim is fighting for his life.

    Joe and Jim’s father is a postman at Brentwood delivery office, and with all of his colleagues will be walking from Brentwood to the Royal London to help raise money for Essex Air Ambulance, London Air Ambulance and the Sick Children’s Trust, who have been providing the parents with accommodation.

    The group have already raised over £3,000 and if you would like to support their efforts you can visit their fundraising page:

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    Brentwood Centre’s Nicky Smith nominated for top award

    Vote here:

    Nicky has worked in the Sports Industry for over 25 years starting as a recreation assistant and making her way up the ranks to her current role as Senior Leisure Services Manager at the innovative charity based at the Brentwood Centre. Nicky is described by Brentwood Leisure Trust CEO Roger Davinson, as the heart and soul of sport in Brentwood.

    Over three years ago, Nicky started working on a new initiative to support local people with experience of mental ill health to get more active, and improve their mental, physical and social wellbeing – and, from a name suggested by Nicky herself, the Fitness In Mind programme was born. Lobbying of Sport England Directors opened discussions around improved funding and support for a disability often ignored – mental illness. Nicky’s proudest achievement was made six months later when Sport England announced plans to invest more in sport and mental health, and then when £2M was allocated to MIND to deliver a new national programme. Whilst Nicky describes herself as a small cog in the system, without her determination and persistence the funding may have never been sourced.

    Outside of her main job, Nicky developed the Fitness In Mind model, recognised today as an innovative sustainable programme, which has already won awards for ‘Physical Activity Project of the Year’ and ‘Services To Disability Sports’. Nicky is a Director of Fitness In Mind UK – a not-for-profit community interest company – and tours the country advising steering groups and presenting the model has best practice in sport and mental health.

    In recognition of this work Nicky has now been nominated for the UK Active Spirit Of Flame Award.

    Martin Corck, Sported Mentor for Fitness In Mind UK, said “I have worked with many physical activity focussed programmes over a long period of time and the early success of the Fitness in Mind team is down to the strength of its leadership. Nicky Smith is part of a great anchor team and her skills, determination and experience provides the project with a real ‘Mother Ship’ figure. Nicky is selfless in her giving, highly personable and engaging in her manner and is efficient in all she does.”

    Roger Davinson, CEO of Brentwood Leisure Trust, has been pleased and impressed to see how Nicky’s personal development has grown and how she is able command a room full of people with her presentation skills and talk with authority to an audience – overcoming her own issues with mental health and using them to her advantage.

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    Angling for good causes!

    Phoenix FM’s fishing presenter Robin Driscoll has hailed the station’s first Charity Fishing Match as a great success.

    The event, which took place at Puddledock Farm Fishery in Upminster, was won by experienced Essex matchman Graham Dack.

    The anglers raised £472 for Saint Francis Hospice and Essex Air Ambulance.

    Robin said, “We’re very pleased with our first event and hope it will go from strength to strength.

    Robin, who is secretary of the Billericay and District Angling Club, has been a regular on Phoenix FM for six months with his show “It’s All About Fishing In Essex”.

    He explained, “there are virtually no radio shows dedicated to the subject despite the fact that fishing has more participants than any other sport in the UK, with over three million people regularly taking part.”

    Support for the event was on hand from Robin’s brother Rod, who currently presents the Friday night programme “The Vintage 50s and 60s show” on the Brentwood radio station.

    It’s All About Fishing In Essex is currently broadcast as a podcast which can be heard at

    Fishing Match 1

    Fishing Match 2

    Fishing Match 4

    Fishing Match 5

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    The Panic Awards 2016

    Thank you to STEPHEN ALDEN who provided us with the following report.

    The Cultural life of Chelmsford City has improved dramatically within the past two decades and this is due in no small part, to dedicated individuals giving freely of their own time and hard-earned monies to give something back to their beloved City and their community.

    Mr. Andy Poole along with his ten-strong team of volunteers, organised the PANIC magazine, also known as <>. The listings magazine featuring previews and reviews for the Arts-scene in Chelmsford for the past ten years and its associated annual Awards ceremony.

    PANIC Awards itself has just celebrated its ninth anniversary and the most recent PANIC event was held on the evening of April 16th.

    And following my kind invitation from Mr. Andy Poole and Becky Wood, two of the PANIC magazine organisers, I found myself at Chelmsford’s Civic Theatre for this year’s annual celebration of all the best in the Art’s community of Chelmsford.

    As advised by the booking clerks of the Civic, I arrived in good time for the ceremony and took my seat ready to enjoy the evening’s programme.

    PANIC celebrated eleven facets of Chelmsford’s live entertainment community this year, and the Award categories and winners are listed below:-







    Paolo Morena






    Interval entertainment was provided by a showcase of the many varied talents and musical styles of the nominated Best Bands. One of the best things about PANIC is because it is a “grass-roots” event, the audience is very likely to know the nominees for the Awards, if not the eventual winner, as all played a greater part in the life of Chelmsford arts community.

    PANIC Awards 2016 was a not-for profit event and everyone involved donated their time and efforts free-of-charge. The combined £6 fees paid by each audience member for their PANIC evening ticket were collected and donated to the nominated charity, this year, an independent charity which provide a range of services to Essex children and adults affected by Domestic and sexual abuse.

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    Hammers help to raise funds for Prostate Cancer

    Hollands Wine Bar hosted a Charity Fundraiser to help raise funds and awareness for prostate cancer charities with the help of two former Hammers, Alvin Martin and Martin Allen!

    Alvin and Martin, a few years ago

    The event was organised by Chris Platt and Brian Kinnear and we had a chat with both of them.

    Chris Platt and Brian Kinnear

    Chris is recovering from prostate cancer and is undertaking a fundraising programme which includes running the London Marathon on Sunday! Brian is the owner of Hollands and has hosted a number of charity fundraisers over the years.

    You can hear the interview below:

    Interview with Brian Kinnear and Chris Platt

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    Steve Davis hangs up his cue

    Phoenix FM’s Steve Davis has announced his retirement from snooker on Sunday at the age of 58, following a 38-year playing career.


    Steve, who has won the World Championship six times, failed to qualify for this year’s world championship, currently taking place in Sheffield.

    He collected 28 ranking titles, joint second on the all-time list behind Scotland’s Stephen Hendry, and made a surprise run to the world championship quarter-finals in 2010 at the age of 52.

    Steve also played in the most memorable world championship final, losing 18-17 to Dennis Taylor on the final black in 1985, and he compiled the first televised maximum 147 break in 1982.

    Steve said, “It has been fantastic. The game will move on to other places but I feel like the grandfather of the sport.”

    Everyone at Phoenix FM would like to wish Steve all the best and we expect to see him back in the office on Monday morning …

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    Brentwood Civic Awards – winners announced

    Brentwood Borough Council has announced the winners of the Civic Awards 2015.

    The awards recognise individuals who have dedicated their time to help others in Brentwood. They were presented at the Civic Dinner on Friday 8 April, at Hutton Mount Banqueting Suite in Hutton.

    Civic winners 2015

    The three winners were:

    Service to the Community – Roy Tyzack – a Community First Responder and Chairman of the Navestock Village Society
    Service to the Community – Audrey Clark – from Brentwood Community Print
    Lifetime Achievement – Roy Pomphrey – a volunteer counsellor for Havering and Brentwood Bereavement Service and Age Concern

    The Civic Awards Judging Panel said they were impressed not only with the number of nominations this year, but also the exceptionally high quality of them, which not only showed nominees’ outstanding work, but that the community appreciated their contribution.

    Brentwood Borough Council’s Chief Executive, Philip Ruck, said: “The Civic Awards recognise people who have gone above and beyond to give their time selflessly to help others.

    It was clear from the number of nominations that there are many worthy people who have made a fantastic contribution for the community and have devoted their lives to helping others. It is these people who make Brentwood what it is – a better place to live in.

    I am delighted that we are able to give these local heroes, who have all given their time voluntarily to local causes, the recognition that they deserve.”

    Roy Tyzack said: “I was humbled and surprised to hear that I would be receiving this award; it makes me feel very honoured. The quote that I have always carried with me through life is ‘all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing’ and I didn’t want to be the one to do nothing. I love contributing to the community and it is part of being involved in village life.

    The most rewarding part has been to be able to save those two people’s lives, it makes it all worthwhile.”

    Audrey Clark said: “I was so shocked to learn I had won this award. I feel humbled and honoured to have my work recognised, but I could not have achieved anything without the support of my family and my wonderful co-directors and team at Brentwood Community Print.

    It’s difficult to say what has been the most rewarding project this past year but if I had to choose I think it would be the Adult Colouring Cafe as this truly is social inclusion and peer support at its best and has to be seen to be believed.”

    Roy Pomphrey said: “I usually like to be in the background, so this was an unexpected surprise to be awarded such a honour.

    When I retired, I enrolled on a counselling course. I didn’t expect it to open so many doors. Throughout my time as a voluntary counsellor, I met a cross-section of society. I realised that when life becomes difficult and traumatic, we are not always able to find a way forward. I wanted to give others the opportunity to express their fears and trauma in a safe environment.
    We cannot change the past but we can hope for a better future.”

    Phoenix FM extends our congratulations to all three winners.

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    At least 259 people wanted!

    In 2013 Dave Baxter, a contractor from Brentwood working with Ford in Dunton, went for an ultrasound scan after feeling very poorly.

    “We noticed the difference in my Dad but to many people he still looked a really strong healthy man,” said his elder son Jack. “At Queen’s Hospital one of the doctors came into the room where I was waiting with him and asked which one of us was ill!”

    The ultrasound scan identified lesions on Dave’s liver. A CT scan followed. Ten days later Dave was told that he had Malignant Melanoma, an aggressive form of skin cancer which had spread to his lungs and liver and was generally unresponsive to treatment. His GP referred him to Saint Francis Hospice, based in Havering-atte-Bower, for specialist care.

    Dave’s partner Gaynor continued: “Just before going in to the hospice’s inpatient unit we had seen an oncologist at Bart’s Hospital and everyone thought Dave had just days to live but the excellent care and treatment he received when he stayed at the hospice was transformative. They completely managed his symptoms during his two-week stay and Dave went from being confined to bed, completely incapacitated to a semblance of his normal self.”

    “In the five months between being diagnosed with Melanoma and his death I only saw my Dad cry once” said Jack “and that was when he was at the hospice and he was crying because he said everyone at the hospice was so kind. I know my Dad was impressed with the level of care they gave him.”

    Dave and Gaynor originally married in 1990 but in 2001 sadly divorced. However four years later they were back together again On 11th June 2013 they remarried at the hospice. “It was a really lovely day. I think that day was the last happy day the four of us had together” said son Jack.

    Sadly, Dave’s treatment for Melanoma was not successful and he died on September 19th 2013, surrounded by his family. “I’m forever grateful to Saint Francis Hospice for the extra time we got to spend with my Dad. I’ve made two promises as a result of what happened to him. The first is to always be aware of Melanoma, the fifth most common cancer in England – my brother and I now have regular mole checks and try to make others aware of the dangers of using sunbeds and not using sun creams, and the second is to always support the hospice”.

    Dave’s son Jack and several friends ran the London Marathon in 2015 to raise money for the hospice and now they are at it again. Jack and Gaynor, together with friends James Sapwell, Jack Kennedy, Max Fitch and Andy Gray will be running this year’s London Marathon on Sunday, April 24th.

    The full Team Dave Baxter 2016 who will be running the London Marathon on April 24th:
    Jack Baxter, Max Fitch, Gaynor Baxter, Andy Gray, James Sapwell and Jack Kennedy

    So far the friends, who are calling themselves Team Dave Baxter 2016, have raised over £4,000 by holding quiz and disco nights but they are hoping their most ambitious fundraising challenge will bring the community together to help them set a new Guinness World Record.

    “We want to hold the world record attempt for the most people dancing to Oops Upside your Head by the Gap Band on Shenfield Common on 17th April, the Sunday before the London Marathon,” said James, 25, who served as a Brentwood Borough councillor from 2011 to 2015.

    “The current record is 258 people so we need 259 or more to break the record. At first I was thinking of getting the record for the Macarena but that’s over 2,000 people so Oops Upside your head is a lot easier and it’s my favourite party song!” he added.

    Jack said that there will be a suggested £5 doantion per person taking part in the record attempt and supporters can also donate online at

    “Fundraising is going well but we still need more to reach our target” said Jack. I want to thank Dave Green at the Hermit who will be supplying the sound system for the world record attempt and Ryan Stanbrook who has organised the portable toilets.”

    “The London Marathon will be an awesome day and I am really buzzing about it, although the training has been much harder than I expected,” said James, who prepared for the London Marathon by running with Jack Baxter, Jack Kennedy and Max Fitch in the Brentwood Half Marathon on March 20th.


    Jack Baxter, Max Fitch, Jack Kennedy and James Sapwell at the Brentwood Half Marathon

    Andy Gray completed the London Marathon last year for Team Dave Baxter in just 3 hours 14 minutes so is looking to better that time in the 2016 race.

    Anne Brown, Head of Fundraising at Saint Francis Hospice said: “We wish all of Team Dave Baxter the best of luck in the London Marathon and with all their incredible fundraising efforts in the lead up to that race. If you can help then break the world record for the most people in one place dancing to Oops Upside your Head please do go along to Shenfield Common at 1.30pm on Sunday 17th April.

    Saint Francis Hospice is a registered charity that employs 150 nurses, doctors and specialist healthcare staff who are supported by 800 volunteers. Together they provide care and help to more than 4,000 people across the boroughs of Havering, Barking & Dagenham, Redbridge and Brentwood. Saint Francis Hospice provides all of its services free of charge to support patients from our local community with any life-limiting illness including cancer, heart, lung or motor neurone disease.

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    Council supporting volunteering in Brentwood

    Brentwood Borough Council’s Community and Health Committee has agreed to sign up to two new volunteering initiatives.

    The first is the set up of a Brentwood Compact – an agreement between the Council, voluntary organisations, charities, and statutory bodies working within the Borough. It sets out guidance and a set of commitments so that all those involved can work together effectively, share knowledge and expertise. The Committee also agreed to sign up to the county-wide version, the Essex Compact on behalf of Brentwood Borough Council.

    Secondly, the Brentwood Borough Council Volunteering Strategy 2016-2019 was given the go-ahead. It ensures the Council continues to support volunteering and sets out an employee volunteering scheme to provide an opportunity for employees to make a more direct and personal contribution to local people and our communities.

    Will Russell

    Brentwood Borough Council’s Chair of the Community and Health Committee, Councillor Will Russell, said: “Volunteers play an important role in our communities and through their contributions they have the power to make a positive difference to people’s lives.

    “By signing up to the Brentwood Compact agreement, we can ensure we work more effectively with other voluntary and community organisations for the benefit of residents.

    “Alongside this, the Volunteering Strategy supports Council staff who are already volunteering and encourages new people to make a more direct and personal contribution for our communities.”

    If you are interested in volunteering, please visit Volunteer Essex to look at opportunities available and to also register what you are interested in.

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    The future isn’t bright for Eclipse

    The Brentwood Gazette reports today that Eclipse Nightclub in Ongar Road may be knocked down and converted into flats.


    The bar, which is only open three days a week, has presented a planning application to convert the property into 16 flats and a shop.

    Management have blamed supermarkets, TOWIE and music festivals for a recent decline in business, despite spending £200,000 on a refurbishment last year.

    They have also blamed the smoking ban as a factor for a decline in business, too – despite the fact that the club opened in 2008, one year after the ban came into force nationwide.



    The Castle in 1970

    The club replaced the iconic Castle pub, which was a popular music venue in the town for several decades.

    The bar will continue to trade for the foreseeable future while the planning application is assessed.

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    There’s still time to have your say

    Brentwood Borough Council are urging residents who haven’t already taken part in the Draft Local Plan consultation to make their voices heard before the consultation closes on Wednesday 23 March.

    A statement from Brentwood Borough Council said:

    Our Borough is a great place to live, work and visit; with strong, healthy and well served communities along with a beautiful green environment to enjoy. We want to keep it that way and are working hard to produce a Local Plan which both protects the essential qualities of the Borough, while at the same time delivering the housing, jobs, open space and other infrastructure that will be required in future.

    The latest public consultation on the Draft Local Development Plan began on Wednesday 10th February and will run until Wednesday 23rd March 2016. The Council are urging people to visit our website and view Brentwood’s Draft Local Plan and have their say at

    The Brentwood Draft Local Plan sets out the Council’s draft proposed vision, strategic objectives, land allocations to meet development needs and planning policies to guide decision making until 2033.

    Brentwood Borough Council’s Chair of the Planning and Licensing Committee, Councillor Roger McCheyne, said: “Thanks to everyone who came along to any of the drop-in information events we held across the Borough and to those who have already submitted their comments.

    “This is a consultation on a draft Local Plan – not a final document and that is why it is important that people share their comments with us so that they are part of the process. Please make sure you have a look at the Draft Local Plan and ask any questions on it you may have”.

    You can respond directly online at The quickest and easiest way to comment is by following online links to the Local Plan Consultation Portal. All draft policies are available for comment, where a pencil icon appears.

    Alternatively, you can respond by completing a comment form, available from the Town Hall or downloaded from their website, and returning this by:

    · Email:, or
    · Post: Planning Policy Team, Brentwood Borough Council, Town Hall, Brentwood, Essex, CM15 8AY

    Hard copies of the Draft Plan are available to view during normal opening hours at the Town Hall or local libraries (Brentwood, Shenfield and Ingatestone).

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    Could BBC local radio become considerably less local?

    Could BBC local radio soon become considerably less local?

    The BBC is considering merging Five Live with its 40 local radio stations, as part of the corporation’s plans to meet a £550 million savings target.

    According to Monday’s Telegraph, the BBC are “examining a proposal under which local stations would see their output cut to just breakfast and drive-time shows, with the rest of the schedule filled with Five Live programming.”


    That’s just 6 hours of live programmes a day from Essex, with the relay of Five Live increasing from 4 to 18 hours every day!

    Phoenix FM will, of course, continue to broadcast live from Brentwood 24 hours a day, which includes live presenters from 7am through to midnight every day creating proper local radio!

    Here’s the story: target=”_blank”>

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    Brentwood goes orange!

    On Saturday 27th February, Saint Francis Hospice is encouraging everyone in and around Brentwood to Go Orange for their local hospice.

    Nurse Aimee Mabbort is going Orange

    Saint Francis Hospice nurse Aimee Mabbort is going orange on Saturday.

    In the last financial year – 2014/15 – staff at Saint Francis Hospice made 5,895 homes visits or phone calls, held 571 family and bereavement support sessions and provided 2,805 hours of end-of-life home nursing care all to people in the borough of Brentwood.

    Although many people in the borough know of the hospice’s work, only 6% of people in the borough have financially supported the hospice in the last year.

    Justine Burrows, Head of Individual Giving at Saint Francis Hospice said: “We hope the campaign will inspire people to help continue to raise the £4,200 it costs us every day to provide all of our services free of charge to people affected by any life-limiting illness across the borough of Brentwood.

    “Anyone can Go Orange in any way – they can join one of our events, sponsor a nurse, hold a Go Orange at work day, or come up with some other whacky idea! More than 160 businesses across Brentwood, Shenfield and Warley have already pledged to support us on Saturday including Marks and Spencer in Brentwood High Street, the Marygreen Manor and HSBC,” she added.

    Members of the Saint Francis Hospice team will be under orange gazebos near the ruins in the High Street, Brentwood in front of the Baytree Centre between 10am and 4pm on Saturday 27th February. They will have plenty of fundraising ideas and orange gear to inspire shoppers to show their support for the work of the hospice.

    You can find out more or by searching #GoOrangeSFH on Twitter.

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    Have your say on Brentwood’s future

    The Brentwood Draft Local Plan sets out Brentwood Borough Council’s draft proposed vision, strategic objectives, land allocations to meet development needs and planning policies to guide decision making until 2033.

    Brentwood Town Hall and gardens

    The Council is currently undertaking a public consultation on the Plan, which runs until Wednesday 23rd March 2016.

    You can have your say in Brentwood’s future by visiting or by coming along to one of the council’s Public Drop-In Information events which are being held as follows:

    · Brentwood Town Hall (event one) (Ingrave Road, Brentwood, CM15 8AY): Thursday 18 February, 4pm to 7pm.
    · Ingatestone & Fryerning Community Centre (7 High Street, Ingatestone, CM4 9ED): Monday 22 February, 4pm to 7pm.
    · Shenfield St Marys Parish Hall (80 Hutton Road, Shenfield, CM15 8LB): Wednesday 24 February, 7pm to 9pm.
    · Pilgrims Hatch Bishops Park Hall (Elizabeth Road, Brentwood, CM15 9NP): Monday 29 February, 5pm to 9pm.
    · Brentwood Town Hall (event two) (Ingrave Road, Brentwood, CM15 8AY): Tuesday 1 March, 4pm to 7pm.
    · Tipps Cross Remembrance Hall (Blackmore Road, Hooke End, CM15 0DX): Wednesday 2 March, 6pm to 8pm.
    · South Weald Parish Hall (85 London Road, Brentwood, CM14 4NP): Thursday 3 March, 1pm to 4pm.
    · West Horndon St Francis Church Hall (Thorndon Avenue, West Horndon, CM13 3TR): Monday 7 March, 4pm to 8pm.
    · Brentwood Town Hall (event three) (Ingrave Road, Brentwood, CM15 8AY): Wednesday 9 March, 4pm to 7pm.

    Brentwood Borough Council’s Chair of the Planning and Licensing Committee, Councillor Roger McCheyne, said: “This is a consultation on a draft Local Plan – not a final document and that is why it is important that people share their comments with us so that they are part of the process.

    “We understand that people will have questions and that is why we are running a series of Public Drop-In Events across the Borough during the consultation period. Please come along to one if you can to have a look at the Draft Local Plan and ask any questions on it you may have”.

    To be kept up-to-date with the latest news on the Local Development Plan you can sign up for the Council’s newsletter by emailing or by calling 01277 312620.

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    The 99th Floor comes to Brentwood!

    We’re pleased to announce that our first gig in association with Smoking Monkey Productions will be taking place at the Bardswell Social Club in Brentwood on Friday 4th March.


    The 99th Floor will see two fantastic live sets from SISTERAY and THE BEATNIKS along with DJs playing great music for the bargain cost of a fiver – and cheap drinks are available too! Hope to see you there!

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    Council warning over scam Council Tax arrears letter

    Brentwood Borough Council are quickly trying to make residents aware of a scam letter that has been received by some Brentwood households claiming they have outstanding Council Tax charges.

    The letter is from a company calling themselves QDC Collection Agents, with a PO Box address in Macclesfield. The letter is dated 04/02/2016 and the letter says they owe £67.50 in late charges. Brentwood Borough Council has not and has never had any affiliation with QDC collection agencies.

    The Leader of Brentwood Borough Council, Councillor Louise McKinlay, said: “This is a scam letter that has not been sent by the Council nor on behalf of the Council. We have never heard of this company and would always advise residents directly with any such issues. Our advice to those who have received this letter is to not pay any monies to QDC Collection Agents nor to reply to it, please just bin the letter. Thanks to the residents who have contacted us about this and previous scams because when we know – we can warn other residents.”

    The Council have contacted Essex Police regarding the letters from QDC Collection Agency and their advice is that if any residents have made payments using the details on the letter, they should call them on 101 and ask to be put through to the Essex Crime Bureau so it can be logged with them. The Council have also submitted a fraud report online to Action Fraud.

    If residents have any queries on their Council Tax account they should contact the Council on 01277 312500 or visit

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    Holocaust Memorial Day exhibition 2016

    Brentwood Borough Council is supporting a special event in Brentwood ahead of International Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27.

    International Holocaust Memorial Day 2016

    An exhibition will be held in the Committee Rooms at the Town Hall, Ingrave Road, from Thursday 21 January until Saturday 23 January, to give people an opportunity to remember the victims of the Holocaust Nazi persecution and other genocides.

    The exhibition, which has been organised by the Christian Friends of Israel (Essex) and Tikvah Chadasha Synagogue (Shenfield and Brentwood), is open from:

    . Thursday 21st January 9.30am-4.30pm
    . Friday 22nd January 9.30am-4.30pm
    . Saturday 23rd January 9.30am-1pm

    The exhibition will include the story of Corrie Ten Boom, who hid Jewish people in the Ten Boom family home during the Holocaust and a new exhibition on Sir Nicholas Winton, a British humanitarian who organised the rescue of 669 children, most of them Jewish, from Czechoslovakia on the eve of the Second World War in an operation later known as the Czech Kindertransport.

    Also included in the exhibition is a model of the Watch Shop/Home in Haarlem, Holland, in which Corrie and her family hid the Jewish people, a display depicting the route the trains took from Czechoslovakia to Harwich, England and replicas of the little amount of personal possessions that the children could bring with them.

    You can also hear the stories of the Holocaust survivors of the Kindertransport in the Council Chamber on:

    . Thursday at 11am – Otto Deutsch who travelled from Vienna, Austria
    . Friday at 11am – Hana Kleiner who was actually one of “Nicky’s children”
    . Saturday at 10.30am – Susie Frankenberg with her own unique story

    Holocaust Memorial Day takes place on January 27th every year and it commemorates the liberation of the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau in January 1945. The exhibition will be open again at Brentwood County High School in the Main Hall between 5pm and 6.15pm on Saturday 23rd January. This will be followed by a Meeting of Commemoration at which will include a one-woman dramatisation of the life of Corrie Ten Boom, called ‘Corrie Remembers’, featuring actress Susan Sandager as Corrie recounting the efforts of the Ten Boom family. The evening will conclude with a Ceremony of Commemoration.

    Mayor of Brentwood, Councillor Mark Reed, said: “Ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day, this exhibition enables us to pause and remember those who have been victims of some of the worst atrocities in recent history – it shows the need to learn from the past in order to create a safer, better future and to take every opportunity to end discrimination.

    This year’s national Holocaust Memorial Day theme is “Don’t Stand By”, where people are encouraged not to be bystanders to persecutions. The local exhibition shows this with both Sir Nicholas Winton and Corrie Ten Boom, who are perfect examples of those who didn’t stand by and in turn helped others through their brave actions.”

    Organiser Moira Dare-Edwards said: “This is yet again another opportunity to commemorate those lives that were lost in the Holocaust. It is important to educate children, young people and adults about what happens when people are apathetic to their neighbours’ sufferings at the hands of their persecutors. As Edmund Burke said ‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing’.”

    There is free admission to all the events, but donations are welcome.

    For more information about the exhibition you can contact Moira Dare-Edwards 01277 213243 or For details on the national campaign, visit

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    Nominations open for Civic Awards

    Do you know someone who has gone the extra mile to help you or their community? Then Brentwood Borough Council would like to hear from you!


    previous award winners

    The Civic Awards are an opportunity to officially recognise the commitment and hard work of the most deserving people in the Borough.

    Presented annually, the Civic Awards are given to those for their service to the community or for their lifetime achievement. It could be an individual or a group who have made a real difference to the local community. Anyone who lives or works in Brentwood can be nominated. The nominations will be judged by a selection panel of judges, including the Mayor of Brentwood.

    For the Service to the Community category you may want to nominate someone you work with, a family member or your neighbour. They may be an unsung hero who volunteers in their free time, works in the community, or they could have done something exceptional. The category is not restricted by age, so it could be a young person who has been caring for their family member, or someone who has spent their time helping others without expecting anything in return. This year the awards are also being opened up to groups to be included in the Service to the Community category, who may be nominated for the exceptional work they have done.

    The second category is the Lifetime Achievement award for someone who has made a difference in Brentwood over a considerable amount of time and deserves recognition for what they have accomplished.

    Mayor of Brentwood, Councillor Mark Reed, said: “I will never cease to be amazed at the selflessness of people within our community who freely give their time for the benefit of others without expecting anything back. During my time as Mayor I have come across an extraordinary amount of people and groups who do this. The awards are our way of saying thank you to them for all that they do.

    To help the judging panel, please ensure you include as much detail as possible when nominating with examples of what the individual or group have done in the community.”

    To nominate someone to be considered for an award you can collect a form from the reception at the Town Hall, Ingrave Road, Brentwood, or fill in the short form available at, or visit

    The deadline for submissions is 29th February 2016 and an awards panel will consider all nominations in mid March 2016.

    The Awards will be presented on Fri 8th April 2016 at the Civic Dinner.

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    Van stolen from Saint Francis Hospice

    Sad news from Saint Francis Hospice as they report the theft of one of their vans.

    12471658_10153810449184687_3001188409923030050_o[1] reports:

    The 3.5 tonne Ford Transit Luton Van was stolen from the driveway of the driver of the van, who is a member of staff and lives in Cranham. The vans are used to collect donated items that we then sell in our shops, as well as the delivery of large and bulky items to our customers. We also use them for house clearances.

    The van is white with the Saint Francis Hospice logo and orange text painted on the sides of the vehicle. The registration number is NU62 KCA. It is our newest van, purchased in October and worth approximately £16,000. There was nothing inside the van.

    The police have been informed and are investigating.

    Pam Court, chief executive at Saint Francis Hospice, said: “We’d be hugely grateful for any information on this theft. Our vans are key to us raising the funds we need for hospice care, so this has been a terrible start to the New Year.”

    If anyone has any information, please contact Michelle Nicholls at the Retail Head Office on 01708 379269.

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    Brentwood’s first daffodils of the spring!

    Phoenix FM listener Fr Garry Jenkins, the vicar of St George’s Church in Ongar Road, wrote to us to say:

    Do you know that daffodils are ALREADY out in Brentwood very close to you – in the triangle of grass on the corner of Doddinghurst Rd and Elizabeth Rd – they must have been out for a week!

    Last year, they were out on Boxing Day – but this year they’re even earlier. Are these the first out in Brentwood, due to the mild autumn? Is it the waves from your radio masts/equipment that is sending warm waves to bring the said daffodils out earlier – or the interesting programmes that you produce that has made the said daffs burst into bloom to hear them?!

    Perhaps you might like to ask your listeners whether these are the first daffodils in Brentwood for this ‘early spring’- if you haven’t asked and noticed already!

    In St George’s Church grounds, snowdrops were out on Monday 9th November – probably due to the warmth of the singing and praying of that church!

    (We WISH we had enough transmitter power to make this happen …)

    We sent out our roving reporter MICHELLE WARD to get photographic evidence:






    Well, is he right? Have we found Brentwood’s first daffodils, and what on earth could be making them appear earlier and earlier each year?

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    Know your rights this Christmas!

    Bargain hunters are being warned to “know your rights” to avoid disappointment whilst shopping in the sales this Christmas and New Year.


    As the holiday season approaches, shoppers will be looking forward to picking up various bargains in the sales, however, these bargains are sometimes not always what they seem.

    Essex County Council Trading Standards team has compiled a list of useful tips for shoppers to ensure they are not disappointed by unwelcome surprises on sale items.

    The list gives shoppers dos and don’ts covering everything from the law on returning faulty goods to how using a credit card can save the day on expensive items.

    Cllr David Finch, Leader of Essex County Council, said: “Everyone loves a bargain but residents should know their rights before visiting their local high street or buying online to avoid disappointment. Being aware of the secrets of sales shopping can help avoid being stuck with unwanted or faulty items this Christmas and New Year.”

    Top tips include:

    Always shop around to get the best price

    Pricing should always be clear with the original price displayed along with the sale price

    A shop is not obliged to refund or exchange an item you picked up in the sales unless it has its own returns policy

    Shops often have sales throughout the year so do not feel pressured into buying items at Christmas or New Year’s

    Some retailers provide a “gift receipt” so that the item bought can be changed by you or someone else without the price being revealed

    If the goods you bought are faulty you have 30 days to return them under the Consumer Rights Act 2015

    Watch out for pop up shops that may have disappeared by the time you attempt to return any faulty or unwanted items

    If you buy goods over £100 consider using a credit card as you will get additional protection under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act

    When buying online ensure that the locked padlock symbol is visible when paying and be wary of websites that ask for personal information and are not high street names

    You have 14 days to change your mind if you have bought goods online but not if they have been made specifically for you

    If you have any problems with goods or services you have bought you can seek advice from the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline who handle calls for Trading Standards via 03454 040506.

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    Town Hall “hub” edges closer

    Brentwood Borough Council has been working to bring together local, county and community organisations to declare their commitment to achieving greater success and joined up working by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which establishes that the participants are committed in principle to joint working arrangements.

    MOU signing 2.12.15

    L-R: Nick Alston, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex; Cllr Louise McKinlay, Leader of Brentwood Borough Council; John Fry from Brentwood Council for Voluntary Services; Richard McLeod from Brentwood Citizens Advice; Kelly Verney from Jobcentre Plus

    This partnership will seek to deliver Brentwood’s first ‘Hub’, a combined location for the Police, Brentwood Borough Council, Citizens Advice, Council for Voluntary Services, JobCentre Plus and the East of England Ambulance Service.

    The initial work will aim to produce a detailed business plan in 2016 that will identify opportunities for collaborative working from one site, which will deliver efficiencies in operations and facilities, and provide customers with joined up thinking and better service delivery.

    Imagine a location where you can access local services, go online, search for employment or get information and advice on a range of services. The hub has the potential to improve the delivery of services and reduce the cost of delivering those services. This will be a breakthrough piece of work that will identify and then deliver in collaboration with partners a location, a real structure and modernise local services for the future.

    The Leader of Brentwood Borough Council, Councillor Louise McKinlay, said: “There are numerous benefits to these proposals – the most important being all the services would be in one place and easier for residents to access. Such a move would also help to reduce running costs and overheads for each public sector body, meaning funding can be freed up for core services that matter to our residents. We are pleased to be in a position to bring partner organisations together to explore the exciting opportunities ahead”.

    Nick Alston, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex, added: “The creation of shared community hubs, located in accessible and central locations, will enable members of the public to have access to a range of local expertise under a single roof. Not only can public services be housed together under one roof but we can use that opportunity to deliver joined up responses that that the public rightly deserve and expect. I am delighted that Brentwood is helping lead the way in creating a shared community hub, and I hope this will develop into a model for local problem solving across Essex.”

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    Shenfield Christmas Fayre 2015 – Mike Jones reports

    2015-11-29 062 Mike J (Paul)

    Phoenix FM’s Mike Jones not only compered the second half of today’s Christmas Fayre in Shenfield – he also spoke to a number of people during the day including:

    Hutton Air Cadets
    Cllr Mark Reed, Mayor of Brentwood
    Churches Together in Hutton and Shenfield
    Rosalyn from Essex Party Hire
    Jonathan Sands from Shenfield High School

    You can hear his report again below.

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    Lighting Up Brentwood 2015 – traders and community groups join in the festivities

    Saturday Breakfast presenter Antonia Jones spent the afternoon speaking to some of the market traders and community groups who set up stalls in the High Street at this year’s Lighting Up Brentwood.

    Yet again all of the traders were glad to take part in the community event and many contributed in their very own special way to take part in this year’s festivities.

    Garath and Ray Rouse owners of The Only Way Is Coffee stall, have been involved in Lighting Up Brentwood for several years and were on standby to serve the local community with a mixture of tasty beverages. 

    2015-11-28 039c Gareth and Ray Rouse from The Only Way is Coffee (Antonia)

    Ray said: “It’s been a pleasure working at this event each year, it was great last year and we are glad to be a part of such a fantastic event which brings the community together, which is why we keep on coming back.”

    Karen Lane, owner of Ab Fab Catering, had on sale fresh food and a range of festive gifts all in aid of Macmillian Cancer Support and Cancer Research.

    2015-11-28 039d Karen Lane from Ab Fab Catering (Antonia)

    Karen said: “We love being involved and it is so great to see the community sprit here in the High Street. It’s such a joy that everyone can contribute by buying from us and we hope to raise as much money as we can for charity.”

    Couple Pete and Rosie Graham who attend Doddinghurst Road Community Church, have been taking part in the Light up Brentwood event for the past three years. This year they decided to brave the cold weather and entertain the children dressed up as Mary and Joseph.

    Rosie said: “We are spent the entire afternoon entertaining the children giving out sweets and taking pictures with the youngest and their families. We loving staying until the evening when the lights switch on which makes the day even more special for everyone.”

    2015-11-28 039e Pete and Rosie Graham from Doddinghurst Road Community Church (Antonia)

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    Mayor’s Christmas Card Competition winners

    Two Brentwood schoolchildren have helped to design the Mayor of Brentwood’s Christmas card this year.

    Children from schools throughout Brentwood were invited to draw a picture to decorate the front of the card and to write a poem along of the theme of ‘my Christmas wish’ or the message inside.

    After receiving hundreds of entries, the Mayor of Brentwood, Councillor Mark Reed was helped by the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Noelle Hones, and Natasha and Jim Radford from the Chicken and Frog children’s bookshop had the difficult task of choosing the winners.

    They are:
    · Lilley Crossley, Year 3 at Ingatestone and Fryerning C of E School, who designed the picture.
    · Amelia Aston-Jobin, aged 10, Year 6, Ingatestone and Fryerning C of E School, who wrote the poem.

    Xmas Card Competition 2015 Winner

    Poem - Amelia Aston-Jobin
    They have won prizes from the Chicken and Frog bookshop and Piccola and will receive a certificate in addition to copies of the Christmas card!

    They have also been invited to join the Mayor when he switches on the Christmas lights at Lighting Up Brentwood on Saturday 28 November at 5pm. Amelia’s sister Grace will take her place as Amelia is unable to attend.

    Mayor of Brentwood, Councillor Mark Reed, said: “It was a difficult job selecting the picture and poem from amongst hundreds of entries from local schools. The standard of the drawing was excellent, and there were many discussions around which would make the best Christmas card.

    “The designs were original with so many different depictions of Christmas. The chosen design was original and colourful and ideal as a Christmas card.

    “This year I introduced a competition to write a poem with the title My Christmas Wish. I chose a piece that reflected both the excitement we all feel about Christmas, as well as the reminder that we should think of others.

    “And at my Civic Carol Service the following week, I will be reading the poem as it has the perfect Christmas message.”

    Natasha Radford, from the Chicken and Frog bookshop, said: “The standard for both the Christmas cards and the poems was very high, showing creativity and a great understanding of the true meaning of Christmas. It was a pleasure and honour to help the Mayor make the final decisions.”

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    See you at the Shenfield Christmas Fayre!

    Phoenix FM is once again hosting the entertainment at Shenfield’s annual Christmas Fayre!

    Hutton Road will be filled with a huge variety of entertainment and festive fun for all the family on Sunday 29 November between 1pm to 6pm.

    There will feature performances from local schools, choirs and local singers and there will be live music elsewhere throughout the event to keep visitors in the festive mood.


    Main Stage – by Shenfield Library

    1.00 – 1.15 Music from Phoenix FM
    1.15 – 1.35 Willowbrook
    1.45 – 2.05 St Mary’s
    2.10 – 2.30 St Joseph The Worker
    2.30 – 2.50 Hutton All Saints
    3.00 – 3.20 Long Ridings
    3.30 – 3.50 Shenfield High School brass band
    3.50 – 4.00 Mayor’s speech and reading from Churches Together
    4.00 – 4.20 Churches Together
    4.30 – 4.50 Jessica Ali
    5.00 – 5.20 The Underscores
    5.20 – 5.40 Francesca Priest
    5.40 – 6.00 Music from Phoenix FM

    Upper Shenfield performance area

    1.30 St Joseph The Worker
    2.00 Willowbrook
    2.20 Long Ridings
    2.40 Shenfield High School brass band
    3.15 Hutton All Saints
    3.45 The Ladybirds
    4.30 The Ladybirds

    Visitors will be able to skate on the synthetic ice rink which has been sponsored by Pinney Talfourd Solicitors and Shawbrook Bank and have their family photo taken in the ever-popular Snowglobe, sponsored by Mullis and Peake Solicitors.

    For shoppers, there will be a fantastic array of stalls selling local food and drink, crafts and Christmas gifts, whilst the children can visit Father Christmas in his grotto, do some gaming in the Gamewagon, visit the small animals brought along by Rocky’s Animals, or take a turn on some small fun fair rides.

    Entertainment for the event will include street performances from the loveable Penguin Family, the jolly Betty Twinkle and other fun characters.

    The Penguins

    Phoenix FM is also running a Festive Animal photo competition prior to the event in association with Best Friends Veterinary Group. The winners will be announced at the event.

    Local businesses will be providing plenty of activities for all the family, including facepainting and Christmas games.

    Residents and visitors should be aware that on 29 November, Hutton Road will be closed to vehicles from 10am until 8pm and there will diversionary routes in place for any through traffic. There will be very limited access to residents in some of the surrounding roads.

    Shenfield map

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    Lighting Up Brentwood 2015

    It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas as Brentwood gears up for the town’s Christmas celebration – Lighting Up Brentwood!

    2015-11-28 Lighting Up Brentwood

    Phoenix FM is once again hosting the Main Stage entertainment for the event on Saturday 28 November. The current timetable is as follows:

    12.00 – 12.20      

    Churches Together

    1.00 – 1.20

    Dreams Theatre School

    1.30 – 1.50

    Sparkle Dance

    2.00 – 2.20

    Brentwood Theatretrain

    2.30 – 2.50

    Hogarth School choir

    3.00 – 3.20

    The Princess and the Party

    3.30 – 3.50

    Rock Choir

    4.00 – 4.20

    Jigsaw Arts

    4.30 – 4.50

    Churches Together


    SWITCH ON with the Gruffalo and the Mayor of Brentwood, Cllr Mark Reed

    5.10 – 5.30

    Lydia Lucy

    5.30 – 6.00

    Jessica Ali

    Visitors can enjoy some warm mulled drinks or hot chocolate at the bar and start their Christmas shopping at the many gift stalls that will be present on the day. Shoppers will be able to browse stalls including jewellery, wreaths and handmade crafts, whilst children can enjoy some funfair rides, visit Santa in his Sugar Hut based grotto, see the Nativity scene, have their face painted, and photo taken in the Snowglobe. They can also pop over to the Chicken and Frog bookshop to see Santa’s elves, and take part in the Santa Hunt competition, which will run until 24th December, with some great prizes donated by local businesses.

    There will be an array of food on offer, from crepes, burgers and donuts, to sausages, hot chestnuts and a chocolate fountain. In Crown Street, there will be a series of great market stalls and a stage providing even more entertainment for visitors. FREE parking will also be available during Lighting Up Brentwood at the multi-storey car park in Copford Road.

    Throughout the afternoon there will be some cracking street performances from a range of acts, including a much anticipated appearance from the world-famous Titan the Robot. Titan’s unique combination of comedy, music and street theatre has led him to be in great demand and he has appeared alongside Rihanna, and Will Smith, and has entertained people from all over the world. Visitors can also see performances from Anton the Juggler, an LED hula hooper, the Balloonatic Elves, comedy performances from the Liver Cottage Christmas duo and some hilarious camel stilts from the Grand Theatre of Lemmings.

    Residents are advised that Brentwood High Street will be closed for traffic between 8am and 8pm. Traffic will be diverted through William Hunter Way and Queens Road. There will be access in Hart Street for residents only. Buses will be using diversion routes and temporary bus stops will be in place in William Hunter Way and Ingrave Road. Notices regarding location of temporary bus stops will be displayed in existing bus stops in Brentwood High Street.

    For more information, please contact 01277 312500, visit, email or follow @bwoodevents on Twitter.

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    Remembrance Day Parade and Service

    Thousands of residents, young and old, came together on Remembrance Sunday to pay their respects and commemorate those who have sacrificed their lives for their country.


    Brentwood’s Remembrance Day Parade and Service took place in and around Brentwood High Street on Sunday 8 November 2015.

    The Parade assembled at Brentwood School, in Middleton Hall Lane before going to the War Memorial accompanied by the Brentwood Imperial Youth Band. This was followed by a service conducted by Father Colin, from St Thomas’ Church before a two minutes’ silence and then the wreath laying took place.

    A march past and salute was taken by Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Essex Dennis Rensch from the Dias in the High Street before a Service of Remembrance took place at St Thomas’ Church.

    Mayor of Brentwood, Councillor Mark Reed, said: “On days like this you remember those who are no longer here. We must never forget those who have given and continue to give their lives in wars and conflicts and those who have fought for our freedom. We owe them a debt of gratitude and I was pleased that so many people were able to attend on Sunday and pay their respects.

    During the Remembrance Day Parade, Brentwood town centre came to a standstill as thousands of people came together and lined the streets. Veterans, Brentwood Imperial Youth Band, Cadets and Scouts were amongst those who took part in the Parade before a service at St Thomas of Canterbury.

    My thanks go to the hundreds of participants and supporters who worked together to create a very memorable day.”

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    Warley cold call warning

    Brentwood Borough Council are concerned by messages it has received regarding a person who has been doorstep cold calling residents in the Warley area in the evening.

    It has been reported that on Tuesday night, a man was knocking on doors claiming he was carrying out a resident survey on behalf of Brentwood Borough Council. He quickly waved an unidentifiable badge before going on to ask for personal information.


    The Leader of Brentwood Borough Council, Councillor Louise McKinlay said: “Although we have only had a couple of messages from residents who were concerned after they were visited by the cold caller – we suspect they are not alone. I would like to warn residents that we are not currently carrying out a residents survey and if we were, we would always do some publicity first to raise awareness. Please do not give your personal details, or any details, to the person currently doorstep cold calling claiming to be doing a survey on our behalf”.

    If residents are visited by this doorstep cold caller claiming to be working on behalf of the Council and asking for personal information, you should contact Brentwood Borough Council on 01277 312500 with details so they can investigate further.

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    Aladdin is coming to the Queens!

    The Queen’s Theatre’s resident ensemble presents Aladdin, a fun-packed traditional family pantomime from 28 November – 9 January.


    Chris Hood spoke to actor Fred Broom, who plays Widow Twankey. You can hear the interview again below:

    Eastern promise meets West End sparkle right here in Hornchurch in everyone’s favourite Christmas show. Written by Nicholas Pegg, this wonderful production features an original score of beautiful melodies by Carol Sloman.

    All ages will love this Aladdin’s cave bursting with glitter and gold, audience participation, song and dance, fun and laughter, dazzling sets, cheesy jokes, colourful costumes and favourite panto characters. And a breathtaking ultra-violet scene adds to the magic!

    A Young Company of 24 super-talented local schoolchildren will support the main cast.

    The whole family can giggle at the hilarious dame Widow Twankey, join in with Wishee Washee’s silly games, boo the evil Abanazar and be swept away by the mystical Genie’s magical powers. And best of all, everyone gets to go on an exciting adventure with brave Aladdin to help rescue the beautiful Princess!

    The Queen’s Theatre has been producing pantomimes for more than 60 years, so boys, girls and grown-ups can all look forward to enjoying first-rate, traditional family entertainment this Christmas.

    Rub the lamp, make a wish and prepare for take-off on a thrilling magic carpet ride to the best panto in town!

    The cast includes Fred Broom, Naomi Bullock, Callum Hughes, Rachel Nottingham, Sam Pay, Matthew Quinn, Thomas Sutcliffe, with musicians Dan de Cruz, Al Twist and Sarah Workman.

    This production is directed by Matt Devitt, set and costume design is by Mark Walters, music consultant is Carol Sloman, musical direction is by Dan de Cruz, lighting design by Chris Howcroft, sound design by Andy Smart and choreography by Donna Berlin.

    Join us on a magic carpet ride to the best panto in town!

    Aladdin will be performed at the Queen’s Theatre, Billet Lane, Hornchurch from 28 November – 9 January. Tickets are £12.50 – £27, with discounts for groups. To book, call the Box Office on 01708 443333 or book online at

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    Senior Safety Day

    Older residents were given valuable advice on how to stay safe at Brentwood Borough Council’s latest Senior Safety Day.

    Senior Safety Day  29.10.15

    The free event, on Thursday 29 October at Doddinghurst Road Community Church, Doddinghurst Road, Brentwood, saw Brentwood Borough Council work alongside Safer Brentwood to raise awareness of the support available locally as well as tips on how to stay safe.

    The residents received information from the 10 organisations that attended, which included: Essex Police, Crimestoppers, Essex County Fire & Rescue, Neighbourhood Watch, Trading Standards, Home Instead, and Age UK.

    During the event there were discussions about internet and phone fraud; rogue traders; fire safety; and support services for older people. There was a quiz on loan sharks, a short play on fraud, ‘Scambuster’ by Solomon Theatre Company and a raffle.

    Participants also received a free goody bag with information from the day, and contained purse cables, purse bells and gel hand warmers as well as an application to have a door chain fitted.

    Brentwood Borough Council’s Chair of the Community and Health Committee, Councillor Will Russell, said: “Senior Safety Day was a great way to give information that older and vulnerable residents need as well as providing some practical advice on how to keep safe.

    About 50 residents attended and they were able to ask the organisations questions and get some useful information.

    Residents said in feedback after the event that it was very informative and that they were grateful for the event and for the advice given.”

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    Phoenix Fridays – 27th November – tickets on sale now!

    Our next Phoenix Fridays gig takes place at Old Brentwoods Rugby Club in Ashwells Road, Brentwood on Friday 27th November.

    2015-11-27 Phoenix Fridays poster

    We’ve got four great bands taking part – three of whom have already played at our Creative Sessions over the years …

    Vile Electrodes

    Under The Stars


    (the band’s new single Overcome is out now)

    And Lixiviath!

    Tickets are on sale via SEE TICKETS and cost £9 plus booking fee from this link.

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    Event to help community connect to the superfast highway

    Residents and businesses in and around Doddinghurst are invited to an event to find out about getting connected to fibre broadband now the Superfast Essex programme has upgraded parts of the network in the area.


    The event is being hosted by the Superfast Essex team at Doddinghurst Village Hall, on Monday 2 November, from 7pm to 9pm. Residents and businesses can drop in at a time that suits them. Anyone who wishes to attend the Doddinghurst event is encouraged to register for free here:

    The aim of the event is to give communities the opportunity to find out more about the benefits of having faster connectivity, to check if they can access the fibre network deployed so far, and find out what they need to do next to get a fibre broadband service.

    This is the latest in a series of events which are being held in different communities where the Superfast Essex programme has enabled fibre broadband.

    Essex County Councillor Kevin Bentley, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economic Growth, Infrastructure and Waste & Recycling, said: “The Superfast Essex programme is doing an important job in making better internet connectivity available across the county for business growth and improved quality of life, but nobody is automatically connected and we want to make sure everyone makes the most of it when it arrives.

    “These events will help to inform residents and businesses about the benefits and what they need to do to get a fibre broadband service once fibre arrives.”

    This event is aimed at, but not restricted to, communities connected to the cabinets which have been upgraded by this programme served by the Blackmore exchange in the Brizes and Doddinghurst Ward and Tipps Cross Ward – cabinets 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, and 9 as well as cabinet 8 served by the Coxtie Green exchange. Those connected to cabinets served by other exchanges are also welcome.

    The upgraded cabinets are spread across the following parishes:

    Kelvedon Hatch
    Stondon Massey

    A full list of the cabinets which have been fibre-enabled by the Superfast Essex programme is here:

    This page also includes a link to a tool to help people identify which cabinet their address is connected to.

    Work to upgrade the broadband network to fibre across Essex is still ongoing. More cabinets are being upgraded every week enabling thousands more homes and businesses to access superfast fibre broadband. By summer 2016 we expect to reach 65,000; and planning is already underway to extend coverage to a further 51,000 by 2019 with the aim of achieving 95% superfast coverage across the whole county.

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    Disaster at Whilton

    Race report from Round 10 at Whilton Mill.

    Lochlan Bearman the Essex based Karting Champion competed in Round 10 of the Whilton Mill Championship at the weekend looking to strengthen his hold on the Championship he won last year.

    2015-09-25 Lochlan 02

    The 13 year old Pheonix FM-sponsored driver was hoping to secure the result that would mean he did not have to compete in the last round. This is because this particular championship has a rule where you have to drop the score from 2 rounds. As Bearman has scored well all year he was looking for a podium finish that would mean he could not turn up next month a drop a ‘zero’ score.

    In Heat 1 he got boxed in at the start but was quickly up to fifth place and quicker than the 2 karts in front of him. Unfortunately the 4th placed Riley Philips spun out the 3rd placed Chris Lulham into the path of Bearman who hit Lulham full on and went over the top of him. Although he continued the kart was damaged and would not turn right. Bearman finally brining it home in 8th spot.

    In Heat 2 Bearman drove well in an incident free race rising through the field to finish 4th. For Heat 3 he started at the back of the grid and made a great start, getting up the order and picking off two more positions to finish 5th. This pot him on 5th place on the grid for the final.

    Making another good getaway Bearman was 3rd by the first corner and in an uneventful race with the field spread out he come home in 3rd.

    Thinking this would be good enough for the title he was understandably very happy but then disaster struck in the form of a technical exclusion. At some point in the past 2 months during maintenance the ‘floats’ in his carburettor had been changed and a mistake had been made because they were not the same weight. The rules state that they must be the same. In fact if anything this has a detrimental effect on performance but as it infringed the regulations he was excluded from the race. This means he loses over 70 points and as he received an exclusion he cannot drop this round.

    “I’m so disappointed”, said Bearman. “It’s an honest mistake but it has cost me the championship. All year I’ve led and now it’s been taken away. If it was performance enhancing then I could understand better, but this was probably costing me speed. All that hard work from the team and my dad has just gone. This is what motorsport can be like, one minute you are on a high and then the next massive disappointment.

    “I am going to be moving out of this category at the end of the season and I really wanted to win both the championships I am contesting. I will go to the next round and give it my all but barring a similar misfortune hitting my closest rivals it looks like 3rd will be the best I can achieve.”

    Bearman still leads the Kimbolton Championship and is in a stronger position to win that which he may be able to do at Round 11 on the 8th of November.

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    Tributes to former mayor Charles Myers

    Charles Myers, former Mayor of Brentwood, Liberal Democrat councillor and group leader, has passed away after a long period of ill health.


    Charles served as councillor for Pilgrims Hatch for twenty years before he retired in 2007.

    From 1996-97 he proudly served as Mayor of Brentwood.

    Phoenix FM chairman Paul Golder said:

    “It’s very sad to hear this news. Charles was the first voice heard on Phoenix FM – we undertook our first 28-day FM-licensed broadcast in December 1996 and Charles broadcast a welcome message to start our programming. He was delighted to be involved and kept a close eye on our early progress”.

    Cllr Barry Aspinell, Group Leader of Brentwood Liberal Democrats, said:

    “First and foremost, Charles was a gentleman and a kind man. He was a liberal to his very core and was supportive of us all, always willing to offer advice and assistance.

    “The party has lost one of its very best, but for us, we have lost a friend.”

    Involved with Brentwood Liberal Democrats for over thirty years, he will be a sad loss to the party and much missed by his friends and colleagues. He was an active campaigner until the very end, even helping out in the recent Shenfield by-election just three weeks ago and still being politically active.

    He leaves behind his wife Pauline, who also served as a councillor in Brentwood, and two adult sons. Our thoughts are with Pauline and their friends and family at this sad time.

    More tributes can be found on

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    Brentwood Centre honoured at InstructAbility Celebration Event

    On Tuesday 13th October, 150 disabled fitness professionals and personnel from some of the leading leisure companies gathered at The Village Hotel Watford to celebrate the success of the InstructAbility Programme.

    instructability awards 3

    Hilary Farmiloe, InstructAbility National Project Manager, opened the evening with a review of the project since its creation in 2010 by Aspire, the spinal injury charity and YMCAfit.

    Guests at the event, sponsored by Matrix Fitness, heard how the scheme has supported over 200 disabled people to qualify as fitness professionals. Instructors have contributed 20,000 hours of voluntary service to the leisure industry to encourage more disabled people to feel welcome and supported in the gym environment. Over 50% of graduates have been offered employment following their initial three month voluntary gym placement.

    Hilary Farmiloe paid tribute to Sport England for investing in the scheme: “Funding InstructAbility has changed disabled peoples lives, enabled us to raise awareness in the industry, lower barriers for disabled fitness instructors and customers and, I believe, make an indelible mark upon the fitness industry.”

    instructability awards 4

    Lindsay Games, Sport England Senior Disability Manager and Steven Ward, Executive Director of ukactive, commended the project for its inclusive ethos and positive impact in supporting more disabled people to get active.

    Certificates were presented to InstructAbility graduates and placement providers for their participation in the programme. Sam Brooker, Lee Patmore and David Kennard all received certificates for their qualifications, having placements at The Brentwood Centre. All 3 individuals are now in paid employment with Brentwood Leisure Trust at The Brentwood Centre.

    Successful partnerships between disabled fitness professionals and their employers were recognised with special awards during the three course dinner. These awards highlighted the capacity of the scheme to engage disabled people in fitness activities, led by instructors who are experts from experience in areas such as stroke recovery, mobility issues and sensory impairments.

    The evening culminated in a glow stick extravaganza as visually impaired instructor Michelle Felix and fellow graduate Sam James, who has cerebral palsy, led the guests in an energetic Clubbercise session.

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    The grand opening of @BillericayCine

    A new era of film in Billericay began last night as @BillericayCine had its first official opening night!

    Twinkling lights and a red carpet welcomed the first guests to Billericay Community Cinema’s Grand Opening show last night (Thursday 25th October). Bookshelves and tables were pulled back and comfortable chairs laid out. While on a huge screen, (2.25 metres by 3.6 metres) guests watched enthralled, as the 1984 classic film Ghostbusters played out on the screen.


    Billericay Community Cinema goers were welcomed by local jazz musicians Nimrod Margalit (flute, sax) and Kevin Pollard (guitar) and were able to tuck into locally produced Billericay Brewing Company beer, wine and soft drinks, chocolate and sweets, and freshly-made popcorn .

    As part of a focus on community, @BillericayCine showcases a local charity at each show. This month guests learnt about the work of local charity Brighter Opportunities through Supported Play.

    The evening was a sell-out success with all but one of the 50 tickets sold! Guest on the evening were gushing with praise and complimented the “lovely atmosphere, great sound system and screen”, and the “wonderful display of community spirit”.

    Councillor Kay Twitchen, Deputy Cabinet Member for Customer Services, Libraries, Planning and the Environment, as well as being a representative for Billericay on Essex County Council, said of @BillericayCine: “This is a fun initiative and I’m sure @BillericayCine will be hugely successful. There is nothing like it in Billericay and the big town cinemas are very difficult to get to. I’m very excited as @BillericayCine is using the library space for a real community enterprise”.

    Adam Adshead, Chairman of @BillericayCine said “Thank you to every volunteer who came along tonight to make our Grand Opening a success. Likewise, a huge “Thank you” to everyone who came along to watch Ghostbusters, to Brighter Opportunities through Supported Play (BOSP) for hosting their stall, to our fabulous jazz musicians for entertaining us, to the staff from Billericay Library and everyone else involved. For me THIS is what Community is all about.”.

    Emma Neppl, Publicity Officer said “Last night was a triumph. We have a huge community following and an army of volunteers all of whom have made @BillericayCine the tremendous success it is. We’ve got some great films coming up book your tickets now to make sure you don’t miss out!”

    Thursday Shows – doors open at 7pm, film starts 7.30pm
    12/11 : Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
    10/12 : It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
    14/01 : Hairspray (2007)
    18/02 : Casablanca (1942)

    Family Sunday – doors open at 2.30pm, film starts 3pm
    25/10 : Paddington (2014) – PG
    22/11 : Night at the Museum (2006) – PG
    13/12 : Elf (2003) – PG
    31/01 : How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2013) – PG
    28/02 : Babe (1995) – U
    27/03 : Annie (2014) – PG

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    Council by-election in Shenfield

    A by-election has been called for the Shenfield ward of Brentwood Borough Council following the resignation of Councillor Liz Cohen.


    The notice of election was published today (Thursday 24 September) and if contested, the by-election will be held on Thursday 29 October 2015.

    On the day, polling stations will be open from 7am in the morning until 10pm in the evening.

    Nominations for candidates have to be made by 4pm on Friday 2nd October 2015.

    The last date to register to vote and take part in the poll – if somebody is not currently on the Register of Electors is midnight on Tuesday 13 October – registration can be made online at or by telephone on 01277 312708. You need your national insurance number and date of birth to apply to register.

    Applications for a postal vote must be received by the Council’s elections team by 5pm on Wednesday 14 October and proxy vote applications must be received by 5pm on Wednesday 21 October.

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    Sinkhole latest: Ongar Road to be closed for 4 weeks

    Public safety concerns have forced Anglian Water to close Ongar Road in Brentwood as work there continues on a sewer collapse.

    ongar road sink hole

    Work began on the road towards the end of last week and one lane was closed with traffic lights put in place. However despite attempts to stabilise the ground Anglian Water engineers have now agreed with Essex County Council’s Highways department that the road will be closed tomorrow (Friday) after the morning rush hour to ensure public safety.

    A length of sewer pipe 4.5 metres deep below the road, and potentially up to 27 metres long, is affected and will need to be replaced. The road closure will be in place between the junctions with Doddinghurst Road and Geary Drive. Traffic lights will remain on the Doddinghurst Road junction.

    The get the job done as quickly as possible engineers will be working extended hours – 7am to 10pm, seven days a week – on the repair.

    The work is estimated to last four weeks, however this is an estimate only and may change if further complications emerge during the work. Full diversion signs will be in place in the local area.

    Nik Shelton, Anglian Water spokesperson, said: “Closing a busy road like this is always an absolute last resort.

    “We hoped that we would be able to keep one lane of traffic open. However the work is so close to the opposite lane of traffic unfortunately a full closure of this road is unavoidable.

    “Public safety is the number one priority of Anglian Water and we cannot take any risks while carrying out this extremely difficult repair job. We know this will cause significant disruption for local residents, commuters and businesses and we would like to apologise to them, and also to thank them for bearing with us.”

    An Essex Highways spokesman said: “We are working closely with Anglian Water and providing every practical assistance so it can carry out the necessary sewer repairs and ensure Ongar Road is reopened to traffic as soon as possible.”

    Anglian Water will be keeping in touch with the local community by writing to nearby residents, erecting signage in the area, keeping relevant agencies informed and adding regular updates to the In Your Area page on our website at

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    The Supreme Winner of the National Sausage Championship

    I met Trevor Oliver recently to talk about his winning sausages. The popular butcher has been in Hutton, Brentwood for over 43 years, and has won many awards for his delicious sausages. There is even a ‘Sausage Menu’ which has over 60 varieties, plus some award winning burgers too!

    Trevor Oliver Xanthe July15

    I really enjoyed my visit – it’s so lovely to see an independent shop still thriving in our community. Trevor is well liked by all his customers who come from far and wide to buy his produce. Long may it continue!

    Olivers Butchers is at 212 Rayleigh Road, Hutton.

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    Family Fun Day today at Hutton Community Centre

    Brentwood Council’s latest Family Fun Day has been moved to Hutton Community Centre because of the poor weather.


    It takes place today from 11am – 3pm and there will be face painting, Punch and Judy and many other activities for all the family to enjoy.

    Children can also design a postcard for the Mayor of Brentwood for a chance to win a prize.

    The centre is located at Harrison Close, Hutton, Brentwood CM13 1LP.

    Future events will be held as follows:

    Friday 31st July – Mountnessing Village Hall
    Friday 7th August – Bishops Hall Park
    Friday 14th August – King George’s Park
    Friday 21st August – Hutton Community Centre
    Friday 28th August – King George’s Park

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    Could you be a theatre-maker of the future?

    The Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch, is presenting the golden opportunity to learn about working in the thrilling world of producing theatre by offering two apprenticeship posts.

    Queens Theatre Hornchurch

    Applications are being welcomed for the positions of Apprentice Stage Manager and Community Arts Apprentice. Interested candidates should visit the website for full details and submit their applications by midday on Friday 24 July.

    Interim Chief Executive Thom Stanbury says: “We are delighted to be able to offer these two apprenticeship positions. As a passionate producing house, we are dedicated to creating a diverse range of theatre. And the only way we can continue doing this is by passing on our expertise and educating the theatre-makers of the future.

    “Both roles offer invaluable experience and varied responsibilities, and our two apprentices will not only hugely enjoy their time with us but learn an enormous range of crucial professional skills they will use in their future careers.”

    The Apprentice Stage Manager will be a key part of the exciting Stage Management Department, supporting the producing work of the Queen’s by assisting the Director and acting company in rehearsals, technical rehearsals and performances. The successful candidate will play an active role in the making, sourcing, hiring, and purchase of properties and furniture required for productions in accordance with briefs from designers and directors.

    Working as part of the vibrant Education and Outreach Department, the Community Arts Apprentice will learn about and participate in the delivery of a range of youth and community engagement projects within the borough of Havering, as well as East London and Essex. During this time, the apprentice will support the work of the department and help to grow new projects.

    For one day a week, both apprentices will study or train at college or at the theatre as required, working towards the Level 3 Apprenticeship Award.

    For full details of the job advertisement and description as well as an application form, visit

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    New Fitness in Mind walk launching in Brentwood today

    A new free walk aimed at improving physical and mental wellbeing is being launched in Brentwood this week.


    Brentwood Borough Council is working in partnership with Brentwood Leisure Trust’s Fitness in Mind project to provide the health walk. It is part of the Council’s Mental Health Challenge and supports local organisations to provide services to people with mental ill health.

    The walk takes place every Wednesday, starting today, leaving from The Brentwood Leisure Centre at 6pm.

    Walking for Health, run by the Ramblers and Macmillan Cancer Support, is a nationwide movement dedicated to improving the nation’s health through walking. The walks are free, short, friendly, local and are run by fully trained walk leader volunteers.

    As well as the physical benefits, walking can help with stress, anxiety and depression and is a fantastic way to improve both physical and emotional wellbeing.

    A walker who takes part in the health walks, Linda, said: “Some of the things you might come across on the Fitness In Mind evening walk are: swallowing a bug; a leafy alleyway; sun shining through a green screen of leaves; finding a fishery; seeing a deer; picking your way around a giant puddle; houses out in the sticks like an old American small-town; or waist-high rapeseed.

    You don’t have to go half way across the world to enjoy the pleasures of nature, just the Brentwood Centre. Off we go!”

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    Essex Registration Services consultation under way

    Essex County Council has launched a consultation to collect public views on the relocation of the Essex Register Office, which includes the Statutory Marriage Room.

    essex register office

    It is currently located in Brentwood and the proposal looks to move it to a more central location in Chelmsford. Brentwood residents will still have local access to a full registry service for births, deaths and marriages.

    Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Customer Services, Libraries, Planning and the Environment, Cllr Roger Hirst, said: “We would like to provide this county-wide facility in a more central location which is why we are launching this consultation today.

    “The Statutory Marriage Room should be provided at the location of the Essex Register Office (known in Essex as the Head Office). We would like to relocate this Head Office to Chelmsford.”

    The consultation is open to all Essex residents and will run from Thursday 16 July to Tuesday 8 September 2015. To take part and share views online, please visit Hard copies of the survey questions will be available at Registration Service offices.

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    Labour hopeful visits Brentwood

    Caroline Flint 19 07 15 - 2

    It wasn’t just the music drawing people to the Brentwood Centre over the Festival weekend as a small but enthusiastic group of Labour supporters turned out to hear from one of the front-runners for the Party’s deputy leadership, Caroline Flint MP.

    Caroline was a guest of Brentwood and Ongar Labour Womens’ Group along with Mike Le-Surf, parliamentary candidate for South Basildon and East Thurrock in the recent General Election, and after the meeting she popped into the studio to talk to Phoenix.

    Caroline told Alan Johnson why she thought Labour had performed so badly in the Election and how she hoped to help rebuild the Party if she’s successful in seeing off her opponents for the second top job. Other issues Alan raised included house prices and the national debt, currently £1.5 trillion and rising…

    Listen here:


    Caroline Flint 19 07 15

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    The Community Fund is now open!

    Community groups, individuals and organisations can now apply for a share of Brentwood Borough Council’s Community Fund.


    The fund, which was set up to help with causes and projects that improve the quality of life for people in Brentwood, has £50,300 available.

    Applicants can apply for grants of up to £3,500 for projects that benefit Brentwood communities. The projects must be delivered in the Borough by the end of 2016, and should demonstrate volunteer or community involvement.

    Funds have previously been awarded to the Moses Basket Project who help struggling families with donations of baby equipment; Brentwood Scout Group to help with refurbishment of a scout hut and Sawyers Hall Church to enable them to provide day trips for older people.

    They have also been given to Doddinghurst War Memorial Committee for the erection of a new war memorial; Essex Mental Health Charity to provide peer led Mental Health Support Groups to Brentwood residents; and Brentwood 1st Responders and Four Parishes First Responders for emergency medical equipment to support the volunteers.

    Previous applicants may apply if they are proposing a new project, but priority will be given to those who have not received any previous funding from the Community Fund or the Localism Share Fund.

    Brentwood Borough Council’s Chair of the Community and Health Committee, Councillor Will Russell, said: “We have so many groups and organisations that make a positive contribution to people’s lives in the Borough. Our Community Fund is an opportunity for them to get support and financial help if they need it for their projects.”

    For more information, including guidance and the application form, visit the Council’s website at

    The deadline for applications is midnight on Sunday 6 September 2015. For queries, please contact the Community Services Department at Brentwood Borough Council on 01277 312500 or email

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    Theatre that your wallet can enjoy!

    The most affordable ticket to a Queen’s Theatre show costs 16 times less than the priciest West End seat, according to new figures – and this has sparked huge criticism in the acting community.


    Olivier Award-winning actress Juliet Stevenson has this week slammed West End ticket rises, claiming she cannot afford to go herself, reports The Stage newspaper.

    The Stage’s annual ticketing survey recently revealed the most expensive West End ticket has more than doubled in three years and currently stands at a whopping £202.25.

    By stark comparison, the most affordable ticket to watch a Queen’s Theatre production in Hornchurch is a mere £12.50. This is the amount Friday preview audiences pay, or, by buying a jump the Q season ticket, a customer would also pay just £12.50 to watch each of the autumn season’s three productions. The highest ticket price is just £27.

    Interim Chief Executive Thom Stanbury says: “As a professional producing house with its own resident company, the Queen’s paramount objective has always been to create a truly fantastic, varied programme of theatre – showcasing top-quality acting and musical ability and very high production values, from costumes and set to lighting and sound.

    “And on top of all this, we are passionate about and have worked very hard to ensure that our shows are affordable – so that everyone can come and enjoy them. One of our mottos is West End shows at East End prices – and this is something I truly believe we offer our audiences.”

    Ms Stephenson won the Olivier for Best Actress for her role in the Royal Court’s Death and the Maiden and is famous for her parts in films such as Truly, Madly, Deeply and Mona Lisa Smile. After trying to buy tickets to watch Harriet Walter in Death of a Salesman at the Noel Coward Theatre, she told The Stage: “I clicked on to try and buy tickets and it was going to come to £285. So I rang up Harriet and said… I can’t really afford to see your play.

    “I don’t go to the West End … it belongs to big business in some way. The majority of people in this country can’t afford to go to the West End, so it becomes a thing for tourists for whom the currency exchange is in their favour at that moment in time, or just people who have just got lots of money.”

    The Queen’s autumn repertory season presents the World Premiere of Roll Over Beethoven, an explosive rock ‘n’ roll musical opening on 21 August, followed by the bittersweet comedy Steel Magnolias and an edge-of-your-seat thriller, Don’t Look Now. Tickets start from just £12.50 and jump the Q Season Tickets are on sale now. For more details or to book online, call the Box Office on 01708 443333 and visit

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    St Helens School Fayre – judging the Bake Off!

    Performance by Debut School of Performing Arts and interview with Lead Fire Fighter Savill:

    Interviews with Amber, Poppy, Laurence, Benedict and Charles, and Millie:

    On a very hot Saturday afternoon, I was invited to St Helens Junior School in Sawyers Hall Lane to judge the Bake Off at their annual Fayre. I had a lovely time, trying all the cakes, biscuits and scones made by the talented pupils and parents. Father Mark and I ‘worked’ very hard, and finally managed to choose the winners.
    Xanthe Father Mark
    Alex Gilham from Class 5 with his Teddy Bear cake won first prize. We thought it had great presentation and was light and creamy.
    Cakes 1
    Polly Brindle from Class 4 with her Scones won 2nd prize, The scones tasted wonderful and were all very even.

    A special mention went to Joshua Leek’s Banana Cake which was quite pudding-y and had a delicious flavour.

    We thought it must have taken Oscar Miller from class 4 a long time to decorate his chocolate cake – it was stunning.

    Ellie Dohoo from Class 3 had lovely presentation with her tasty cupcakes.

    Millie Austin from 5B won the Junior Prize for her beautiful Fruit Sponge.
    Millie and Cake

    The entries from the adults were so delicious it was hard to choose a winner, so we gave a joint first to Nicola Catling’s chocolate cupcakes, and Pat Austins St Helens inspired Chocolate Cake, and Mrs Askew came 2nd with her classic pink and blue cupcakes.

    I had a chance to chat to some of the children at the Fayre, Amber Sharp (5) was having her nails painted, and Poppy Hennelly (5) was enjoying her face painting.
    Amber S nails

    Poppy H face paint

    The Debut School of Performing Arts sounded great Debut school PA

    I also chatted to Lead Fire Fighter Savill about the Fire Service’s contribution to the school fayre.
    LFF Savill

    Finally a quick chat with cousins Laurence Bourberry, Benedict Jones and Charles Jones finished a fun filled afternoon.
    Laurence Benedict Charles

    Many thanks to the Parents Association and all the staff and volunteers who made the Fayre so enjoyable.

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    Council warning about company called “Options”

    Brentwood Borough Council has issued a warning about a company that is cold calling residents and claiming that it is working on behalf of the Council.


    Residents are reporting that the company who go by the name of ‘Options’ claim that they are either working with Brentwood Borough Council or have worked with Brentwood Borough Council. Although the cold callers are quite vague on exactly what service they are offering, it is believed it is related to green energy as they have mentioned carbon emissions and claim the resident can earn money from them.

    The Leader of Brentwood Borough Council, Councillor Louise McKinlay said: “Although we have only had a few calls from residents who were concerned about the cold call they had received from ‘Options’ – we suspect that they are not alone. I want to warn residents that we are not working with the company called ‘Options’ and they haven’t worked with us in the past. Please do not give them any of your details”.

    If you receive a call from this company the Council advise you to call 01277 312500 to give them details of the call so they can investigate this further and inform Essex Trading Standards.

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    Strawberry Fair 2015

    Brentwood’s popular annual event returned on Saturday 13 June, on Shenfield Common with more than 2,000 people coming to enjoy the live music, classic cars and family fun activities.

    In true British tradition there were plenty of strawberries provided by Doddinghurst Road Church at their Strawberries and Cream stall.

    Local performers, dance groups and bands from The Hermit performed in the Big Top, hosted once again by Phoenix FM. There was also entertainment from Rocky’s Funhouse and Punch and Judy shows throughout the day.


    Here’s the entertainment programme for the day

    A range of Classic Cars competed in the Best in Show competition, which was judged by the Mayor of Brentwood, Councillor Mark Reed, and Nick Hart from Nick’s Tyres. The winner was Alan Mason with his Ronart. He received a plaque and a voucher for free petrol.

    The event also included lots of stalls, small rides, face painting and animal petting.

    Mayor of Brentwood Councillor Mark Reed said: “The weather didn’t dampen our spirits – the Strawberry Fair turned out to be a great event! It is always a good day out for the family with so much going on – and this year it did not disappoint.

    “It was a real pleasure to be judging the classic cars, but it was a difficult job too – how does one compare an Army Jeep to a classic American Chevrolet and an Essex Rolls Royce?

    “We did listen to each of the cars’ engines roar and horn toots and they were scored before the final result was declared with the winner Alan Mason with his Ronart, receiving a plaque and a voucher for free petrol from the sponsors Nick’s Tyres who also kindly co-judged the cars with me.

    “The entertainment in the Big Top was excellent, with Phoenix FM providing the tunes as well as supporting the various local performers who played to good audiences throughout the day.”

    Videos from some of the performers:

    Here’s our photo gallery – click on the image to see a larger one.

    Josie Tullett

    Michelle Ward

    Michelle Ward

    Michelle Ward

    Brentwood District Scouts

    Brentwood Gazette team

    Brentwood Gazette team

    2 Shoes

    2 Shoes

    2 Shoes

    2 Shoes

    2 Shoes

    2 Shoes

    2 Shoes

    2 Shoes

    Straight A’s

    Straight A’s

    Straight A’s

    Straight A’s

    The Mayor of Brentwood, Cllr Mark Reed

    Sparkle Dance

    Sparkle Dance

    Sparkle Dance

    Sparkle Dance

    Sparkle Dance

    Sparkle Dance

    Sparkle Dance

    No Off Switch

    Essex Dance Theatre

    Essex Dance Theatre

    Essex Dance Theatre

    Essex Dance Theatre

    Essex Dance Theatre

    Essex Dance Theatre

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    The launch of a very special beer – Van Kannor

    The Brentwood Brewing Company have launched VAN KANNOR, a special champagne to celebrate the arrival of the Kannor family’s first grandchild.

    van kannor 1

    The beer was over a year in the making. Brewery MD Roland Kannor asked the then-Head Brewer Sophie De Ronde to create a special “champagned beer” to mark the occasion and Sophie created a limited run of 1,000 bottles. The beer is triple fermented with beer, wine and champagne yeast.

    You can hear Roland, Sophie and satisfied customer Steve Roach talking about the new brew here:

    Van Kannor 7.7% ABV is available to purchase from the Brewery Shop or online at It costs £29.99 per 750ml bottle.

    van kannor 2

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    David Pickthall awarded MBE in Birthday Honours

    Congratulations to erstwhile Phoenix FM presenter DAVID PICKTHALL who has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

    David was rewarded for his services to education and charity. A former student at Brentwood School, he returned as a music teacher in 1982 and became Head of Music in 1987, a position he held until his retirement in 2014.

    David has also collaborated with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and City Of Prague Philharmonic, and some of his music also appears in the Wallace and Gromit film A Grand Day Out.

    David was also involved as our first jazz presenter in our “part time” broadcasting days. His show “Jazz Cafe” appeared on our first temporary broadcast in December 1996 and part in each of our 28-day outings over the next 7 years.

    Here’s David at work during our second temporary licence in March 1999, broadcasting from the old Tourist Information office in Ongar Road (now the home of Brentwood Mind).

    David Pickthall 3

    A list of all the award winners for education and children’s services can be found here.

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    No DAB for Brentwood … just yet?

    Sadly we weren’t successful in getting a licence for the small-scale community radio DAB trial.


    After the announcement, here’s the only DAB we’re looking at right now

    Rather than a single licence, we had to apply for a multiplex – a way of transmitting several DAB services at once. Part of the application was a commitment for us to broadcast other radio stations.

    All of the 10 winning applicants for the trial were in much larger urban areas and were therefore able to promote up to 6 services each.

    The ten successful services were in North London, Cambridge, Portsmouth, Brighton and Hove, Bristol, Norwich, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow and Aldershot/Woking (which carries three BFBS stations as well as local services).

    We understand why Ofcom have chosen these sites – it’s to allow as many stations as possible to form part of the trial.

    Our commitment was to carry two services – ours and a specialist community music station from Southend, Ship Full Of Bombs.

    One of the great things about Brentwood is that we’re in a beautiful part of the UK – but that also means we’re not in a major population centre and we just don’t have that many other interested radio stations around here that we could have teamed up with to win a place on the trial!

    Good luck to the stations lucky enough to win a place on the trial (even “The Steve Penk Wind-Up Channel”, which we’re sure will be a roaring success) and hopefully it goes so well for you all that Ofcom has no choice but to roll out DAB to the whole community radio sector in the UK, regardless of the number of stations each multiplex can carry.


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    The Strawberry Fair is back – see you on Saturday!

    Brentwood’s annual Strawberry Fair is taking place on Shenfield Common this Saturday and once again PHOENIX FM is organising the day’s entertainment.

    2014-06-22 Strawberry Fair 32 Essex Dance Theatre

    There will be live music from X Factor finalists TWO SHOES, MICHELLE WARD and bands from the Hermit Rock School along with performances from Sparkle Dance and the Essex Dance Theatre. Rocky will be entertaining the children and the mayor, Cllr Mark Reed, will be making his customary presentation.

    Phoenix FM’s Tony Smith will be holding it all together in the Big Top. Outside, you can find community and craft and gift stalls, and local food and drink galore, with fresh breads, cakes, a hog roast, and bar selling Pimms and locally brewed beer from the Brentwood Brewing Company.

    Children can take a ride on small fun fair rides, have a turn on the bouncy castle, see some farm animals, or refine their skills in the many activities on offer.

    The classic cars are a great hit with the Dads and the most popular area is of course, the Strawberries and Cream stall.

    Look forward to seeing you there!

    Saturday’s timetable:

    11.30 – 11.50 Hermit band 1
    12.00 – 12.20 Michelle Ward
    12.30 – 12.50 Two Shoes
    13.00 – 13.20 Rocky
    13.30 – 13.50 Hermit band 2
    14.00 – 14.15 Mayor
    14.30 – 14.50 Sparkle Dance
    15.00 – 15.20 Hermit band 3
    15.30 – 15.50 Essex Dance Theatre

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    New car park charges in Brentwood

    Brentwood Borough Council would like to remind residents, workers and visitors to Brentwood of the changes to car parks in the Town that came into effect on Monday 1st June.

    Brentwood Town Centre car parks

    There are 3 changes that affect the town centre and all came into effect from Monday 1 June:

    · The all day charge has been reduced to £8.00 from £10.50
    · A weekly season ticket has been introduced in William Hunter Way car park for £30.00 via the PhoneandPay system only.
    · On Saturdays, an all day charge of £4.00 has been introduced in Westbury Road car park via the PhoneandPay system only.

    Town Hall visitor car park (18 spaces)

    Please note that since Monday 1st June, parking charges are in place from Monday-Saturday at the Town Hall visitors’ car park. Sunday is free all day until 7pm. From 7pm Sunday to 6am Monday the £2 flat rate charge applies.

    For more information on car parks in the Borough, please visit

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    Cheers to Beer! FREE BEER from the Brentwood Brewing Company …

    The first national day in celebration of beer is to be held on Monday 15th June – Beer Day Britain.


    The date is a significant one as it’s the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta. Beer was so important back then, it got a mention in the famous historical document in article 35 of the charter:

    “Let there be throughout our kingdom a single measure for wine and a single measure for ale and a single measure for corn, namely ‘The London Quarter’.”

    A nationwide “cheers to beer” is being organised. It is hoped people will go to pubs all around the country and simultaneously raise a glass of ale at 12.15pm on 15th June. You can also celebrate on Twitter with the hashtag #CheersBDB.

    To celebrate this first national beer day and the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, the Brentwood Brewing Company is offering a free pint of its specially brewed Magna Carta beer, “Cheers John”, to Brewery Shop visitors on Monday 15th June so that they can join in the nationwide ‘Cheers to Beer’ at the brewery.

    MD Roland Kannor said: “What better way to celebrate our national drink? Please come along and enjoy a refreshing pint of Cheers John on us. Many of the rights and freedoms we take for granted today stem from the Magna Carta, so maybe we should think about that a bit too. But most importantly wherever you are, do remember to Cheers to Beer.”

    Beer Sommelier and author Jane Peyton came up with the idea for Beer Day Britain which has the backing of major industry organisations like Britain’s Beer Alliance, British Beer and Pub Association and the Society of Independent Brewers. CAMRA is also rallying members to support the day.

    The aim of the event is to raise the profile of beer as Britain’s national drink, to make people proud of British beer, pubs and brewing heritage and simply to just enjoy beer.

    For more details visit or

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    Council leader Louise McKinlay talks about her plans for Brentwood

    After the Conservative party’s gains in the May elections, group leader Cllr Louise McKinlay finds herself back in control of the borough’s decision-making.

    Mike Porter with Louise McKinlay

    Louise spoke to Mike Porter about her plans for the coming months and you can hear her interview again below:

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    Can you help? Brentwood charity appeal for wheelchairs

    In the next few weeks, 60 physically-disabled children will have been moved from institutions all over Bulgaria into smaller homes in Varna.

    Most have no wheelchairs and are at present on the floor.

    Brentwood-based charity Frontline is leading the efforts to get wheelchairs and other equipment to improve the quality of life for these children.

    Gill Soper, one of the charity’s trustees, said: “As you can imagine it’s hard to rehabilitate them in any way. Pysiotherapist Ann Todorov is working to assess each child, make a care plan, teach carers how to look after the children and refer them to other centres where necessary.

    She is the only physio and without wheelchairs/seating her task is almost impossible.

    The children also need eating aids – special cutlery, bowls, bibs etc.

    If you can help please call Gill on 01277 218902 or email her on

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    Maintenance works on Brentwood High Street set to begin

    Works are due to start next week on repairs to Brentwood High Street.

    Brentwood High Street

    The first phase of works, focusing on replacing damaged kerbs, will begin on Tuesday (May 5) and take place in the evenings and overnight for two weeks.

    Heavier work will be carried out from 5.30pm to 10pm to minimise congestion, disruption to local businesses and noise for residents, while lighter work will continue through the night until 6am the following morning.

    The second phase of works (carriageway resurfacing and block paving replacement) will take place during the summer holidays, and again during the night, to limit the impact on residents and businesses. A diversion will be in place via William Hunter Way to help local traffic avoid the high street where possible.

    Two-way temporary traffic signals will operate in the immediate vicinity of the works as they move in sections along the high street. A signed diversion will also direct traffic onto sections of Ongar Road, William Hunter Way and Weald Road.

    An Essex County Council spokesman said: “We are working at night to minimise disruption for residents and businesses as much as possible, but drivers should plan to avoid possible delays in the High Street area. We would urge motorists to seek alternative routes avoiding Brentwood High Street whenever possible, while we work to improve the condition of the road for all users.”

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    The St George’s Day Ale Trail is back!

    Brentwood Brewing Company will once again be celebrating St George’s Day in style with a day of competitive pub games and general tomfoolery.


    The annual St George’s Day Ale Trail will start from The Swan in Brentwood High Street at 3pm on Thursday 23rd April. The itinerary is as follows:

    3.00pm The Swan – Choir Practice
    3.30pm The Merchant – England v Germany table footy
    4.00pm The Brave Nelson – World Record Beer Mat Flipping attempts
    5.00pm The Plough, Hutton – Killer Pool tbc
    5.45pm The Hutton Junction – Practicing for re-run of Agincourt (darts)
    6.30pm The Rising Sun – Shredded Wheat eating competition
    7.15pm Old Brentwoods RFC – Beer Pong tournament
    8.00pm The White Horse – Dambusters (don’t ask, all will be explained)

    Anyone aged 18 or over is very welcome to join in on the annual St George’s Day outing, arranged as part of the brewery’s ambition for England’s Patron Saint, St George, to get the recognition he deserves and for the 23rd April to be made into a Bank Holiday for everyone to enjoy.

    Obviously, Brentwood Beer will be available at each hostelry to satisfy the needs of all discerning and thirsty revellers.

    Please note timings are approximate and subject to complicated mathematical calculations explained simply as beer consumed versus time multiplied by distance between each pub.

    Brewery head Roland Kannor said, “We hope you will support St George by joining us on this daft quest.” For further details call 01277 200483 or email

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    Phoenix FM election debate – Friday 17 April

    Phoenix FM is very pleased to announce that it will be hosting an election debate on Friday 17 April at 7.30pm in the foyer of the Brentwood Centre, Doddinghurst Road, Brentwood.

    The following candidates have agreed to take part:

    Mr James Abbott (Green)
    Mr David Kendall (Liberal Democrats)
    Mr Michael McGough (UKIP)
    Mr Eric Pickles (Conservative)
    Mr Liam Preston (Labour)

    David Kendall, Michael McGough, Eric Pickles and Liam Preston are candidates for Brentwood and Ongar. James Abbott is a councillor on Essex County Council and candidate for Witham.

    Members of the public are invited to ask questions of the candidates.

    The adjacent BLT cafe and bar will be open.

    Hope to see you there!

    2001-05-31 Election debate 04

    Here’s a photo from our first election debate, held in 2001. Left to right: Martin Bell (Independent), David Bishop (Church of the Militant Elvis), David Kendall (Liberal Democrat), Eric Pickles (Conservative), Diana Johnson (Labour), Kenneth Gulleford (UKIP).

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    Historic Brentwood Hospital “borrowed” for Queen’s Powerful New Play

    Actors and crew from the Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch, were out in Brentwood on Friday, using the old Warley Hospital as a backdrop for their forthcoming play – The Elephant Man.


    The official photo shoot for the Theatre’s thrilling new production, which opens on 17 April and plays until 9 May, took place at the historic location – built in the 1850s, Warley Hospital was originally a psychiatric institution but the site has now been redeveloped into a private residential area known as Clements Park.

    The Elephant Man is partially set in a hospital in Victorian London and tells the enlightening true story of John Merrick, an intelligent young man with terrible physical deformities.

    Tom Cornish, who will star as Merrick, was photographed in traditional Victorian costume in various locations against the building’s iconic red-brick facade, handsome stone mullion windows and elegant arched doorways.

    “The old Warley Hospital’s beautiful gothic architecture is hugely atmospheric,” said the theatre’s Head of Marketing, Karen Chilvers. “Much of the story of the Elephant Man takes place in The London Hospital, Whitechapel, in the 1880s, so we felt it was the perfect local backdrop for this intensely powerful piece of theatre.”

    This inspired new staging of Bernard Pomerance’s famous play is directed by the critically-acclaimed director Simon Jessop and stars the Queen’s award-winning resident acting ensemble cut to the chase….

    For more information about the production and to book tickets, call the Box Office on 01708 443333 or visit

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    Council update: Election night, housing, parking, council meetings and Hopefield


    Paul Golder attended today’s meeting held by Leader of the Council, Cllr Barry Aspinell and Cllr Graeme Clark who spoke about:

    – election night
    – new housing in Brentwood
    – the forthcoming Full Council meeting
    – the new Hopefield petition
    – parking in Shenfield

    You can hear Paul’s summary of the meeting below:

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    Council update: plans for a new Crystal Church?


    Paul Golder attended today’s meeting held by Leader of the Council, Cllr Barry Aspinell who spoke about:

    – plans for a new crystal church in the town centre
    – Brentwood’s Chief Executive
    – parking problems resolved in Shenfield

    Here’s how the old church looked:

    St Thomas

    You can hear Paul’s summary of the meeting below:

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    Council update: Hutton Community Centre, more parking spaces in Shenfield, Pilgrims Hatch post office and more …


    Paul Golder attended today’s meeting held by Leader of the Council, Cllr Barry Aspinell who spoke about:

    – the future of Pilgrims Hatch post office
    – meetings looking at devloving more power to Essex councils
    – celebrations for the bicentenial of Waterloo
    – more parking space for Shenfied?
    – the success of the recent Meet The Leader meetings

    You can hear Paul’s summary of the meeting below:

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    More Live Sessions: Ryan Green, Luciee Closier, Leanne Louise

    Friday 6 February 2015 saw us put on a one-off show at Eclipse in Brentwood, with the show recorded and played out exclusively on Phoenix FM.

    The evening’s show contained three fantastic sets including Ryan Green and Luciee Closier, stars of BBC TV’s “The Voice”, along with Phoenix FM regular Leanne Louise.

    2015-02-06 Eclipse poster

    Photos from the event:


    Videos from the event:

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    Council update: Hopefield, Pilgrims Hatch post office, Council Meetings and more …


    Paul Golder attended today’s meeting held by Leader of the Council, Cllr Barry Aspinell and Chairman of the Audit and Scrutiny committe, Cllr Grame Clark, who spoke about:

    – the latest news from Tesco’s discussions with Hopefield Animal Sanctuary
    – the future of Pilgrims Hatch post office
    – the appointment of a new Chief Executive (and why he’s not a Managing Director)

    As leader of Brentwood Accord, Clrr Aspinell also spoke about motions put forward at this week’s council meeting.

    You can hear Paul’s summary of the meeting below:

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    Council update: Hopefield, Dunton, Devolution, Recycling and more …


    Paul Golder attended today’s meeting held by Leader of the Council, Cllr Barry Aspinell who spoke about:

    – buying land around Hopefield Animal Sanctuary to create a new country park
    – an extension to the Dunton Garden Suburb consultation
    – plans as to how Essex councils could devolve powers from Whitehall
    – refuse and recycling collections
    – freeman/freewomen and aldermen/alderwomen of the borough

    You can hear Paul’s summary of the meeting below:

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    Great news for Hopefield

    The Community Committee of Brentwood Borough Council has unanimously agreed to list Hopefield Animal Sanctuary as an Asset of Community Value.

    2015-01-27 18.39.55

    Councillors from all parties spoke about the value that Hopefield adds to our community and their desire to protect the Sanctuary.

    I spoke to the committee’s Chair, Cllr Karen Chilvers, about the vote and what it means for Hopefield. Click below to listen again:

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    Council update: could there be a new Shenfield Country Park?


    Paul Golder attended today’s meeting held by Leader of the Council, Cllr Barry Aspinell, and Deputy Leader of the Brentwood Liberal Democrat Group, Cllr Graeme Clark, who spoke about:

    – possible refurbishment or replacement of the Coptfold Road car park
    – plans to increase car parking for shoppers in Shenfield
    – Parish Councils moving forward with income generation plans

    Cllrs Aspinell and Clark then spoke on behalf of the Brentwood Accord

    – to defend accusations about poor sickness records among council employees from the Opposition, and
    – to reconfirm the Accord’s commitment to help Hopefield Animal Sanctuary with the possible formation of a new Shenfield Country Park?

    You can hear Paul’s summary of the meeting below:

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