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England captain Cook signs new Essex deal

Alastair Cook is staying at Essex. Credit: PA

England captain Alastair Cook has signed a new contract with Essex.

The 31-year-old made his debut for the county back in 2003 after coming through the academy.

Cook scored 643 runs in just seven games last season as Essex stormed to the County Championship Division Two title.

Cook's new deal will run until the end of the 2018 season.

It was an easy decision to sign with the club for another year. Although I am away with England a lot, this club means a lot to me and I am grateful for the opportunity they gave me as a youngster.

I love coming back to the club when I can and contributing to a title winning season meant a great deal.

– Alastair Cook, Essex
Ben Duckett had a remarkable season in the County Championship. Credit: PA

Meanwhile, Northamptonshire batsman Ben Duckett has been named the Cricket Writers' Club Young Player of the Year.

The 21-year-old enjoyed an incredible season at Northants, making 1,338 runs in the County Championship.

He could make his England debut this winter after being called up for the upcoming tour of Bangladesh.

Cambridgeshire's Charlotte Edwards has made history too - she won the inaugral women's prize.

Ducks flocking to wetland centre

A mallard in the summer Credit: WWT Welney Wetland Centre

Ducks are flocking to the Welney Wetland Centre near Wisbech in Cambridgeshire in anticipation for their autumn makeover.

Drab, dishevelled males arrive back after a hectic summer on their breeding grounds.

Having travelled thousands of miles to Welney, they can rest and refuel without worrying about winter’s cold grip just yet.

This gives them time to grow their new brightly coloured feathers, making themselves ready to attract female attention next spring.

Mallards in their winter colours Credit: WWT Welney Wetland Centre

As winter pushes further south, huge flocks of birds make their way to the UK to escape the cold. The team at WWT Welney monitor the species of wildfowl that use the reserve, and last winter there were peak numbers of 18,000 wigeon, 3,000 mallard and 7,000 teal across the Ouse Washes.

Autumn is a fantastic time to watch wildfowl You can enjoy the ducks in their full plumage on clean, crisp mornings. When you think of the journey these birds have just embarked on, covering a huge distance to spend their winter with us, it makes the preparation work that we do over the summer months incredibly important.

– Leigh Marshall WWWT Welney

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Handbag stolen from woman who had collapsed

Essex Police are appealing for witnesses after a thief stole a woman's handbag after she had collapsed.

The 66-year-old victim from Pitsea collapsed inside Primark in Town Square, Basildon, sometime between 11.30am and 12pm on Monday September 26.

While she was being treated, her black handbag, containing a purse and cash, was stolen from her shopping trolley.

This was particularly callous to steal from a woman who was clearly ill and already in distress.

I would appeal to anyone who saw what happened or anyone acting suspiciously to please get in touch.

– PC Matt Savvides

Chief Inspector to run two marathons in eight days

Chief Inspector James Sutherland Credit: Cambridgeshire Police

A Chief Inspector from South Cambridgeshire is preparing to run two marathons in eight days to raise funds for charity.

Ch Insp James Sutherland, 38, has flown out to America to take part in the St George Marathon on October 1.

The 26.2 mile run will begin in the Pine Valley Mountains before descending nearly 2,600ft through southwest Utah to Worthern Park.

Then just eight days later he will run the ‘Run Crazy Horse’ marathon on October 9. The route will take him from the world’s largest mountain carving, the Crazy Horse Memorial, and finish in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Ch Insp Sutherland hopes his efforts will raise not just money but also awareness of his chosen charity, the Road Victims Trust (RVT).

Serviceman based at RAF Honington goes missing after night out

Corrie McKeague is based at RAF Honington. Credit: Suffolk Police

An RAF serviceman has gone missing after a night out in Suffolk.

Corrie McKeague was last seen in Brentgovel Street in Bury St Edmunds on Saturday September 24.

An RAF serviceman said: “We can confirm that a RAF serviceman from RAF Honington is currently missing; our thoughts are with his family at this very difficult time.

“The Civilian Police have primacy in this matter and we understand that the investigation is ongoing. It would not be appropriate for the MOD to comment or speculate on the case at this time.”

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Hold the front page - new paper launches in Cambridge

New newspaper launches Credit: Iliffe Media

Despite dozens of local newspapers closing across the UK in the past ten years - a group of journalists has decided now's a great time to start a new one.

According to the industry magazine the UK Press Gazette, among the local closures have been the 295-year-old Northampton Mercury.

Along with the Mercury the Peterborough Citizen is also no more while the latest newspaper in our region to shut its presses is the Stevenage Edition of the Midweek Mercury just last month.

The Cambridge Independent has just launched what it says is a "fresh look at life" in the university city all for the price of a pound and produced by a team of just 8.

Removing 1km of overhead lines in 10 seconds

Time-lapse footage has been released by Network Rail detailing the upgrade of the overhead lines.

Last weekend engineers took down over 1km of overhead wire on the railway at Gidea Park on the Norwich, Ipswich and Colchester to London line.

It will be replaced with new wire that will reduce delays for passengers as part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan.

The new wire will not sag in the heat of the summer, meaning fewer delays for passengers, and a more reliable railway all year round.

The work is part of a £250m project to replace 320km of wire on this busy route. Once the work is complete at, a long-standing speed restriction imposed in hot weather between Shenfield and Ilford can be removed.

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