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Ten years on: Couples recall how they survived the Boxing Day tsunami

Two Cambridgeshire couples who escaped the Asian tsunami in 2004 have been recalling their experiences as its tenth anniversary approaches.

Paul and Caroline Holden, from Brampton, near Huntingdon, were on holiday in the Maldives when the earthquake and subsequent tidal wave struck on Boxing Day.

They survived by clinging to a tree.

It wasn't until later that they discovered Caroline was pregnant at the time.

They named their daughter, Meera, after the place where they survived the tsunami which killed nearly 250,000 people.

Dorothy and Kenneth Williams, from Cottenham, near Cambridge, were on holiday in Phuket when the tidal wave hit.

They say they can still remember horrified screams as people tried to run to safety.


Council calls for Bassingbourn report to be published

Bassingbourn Barracks in Cambridgeshire. Credit: ITV News Anglia.

Councillors in Cambridge have called for a government report into a series of alleged sexual assaults by Libyan soldiers to be made public.

Five cadets who were training at Bassingbourn Barracks were charged in connection with the attacks against men and women in Cambridge in October.

The city council wants an independent inquiry and has called on the Ministry of Defence to publish the findings of its review "immediately after Christmas".

'Black Friday' lives up to its name as ambulance crews kept busy

An East of England Ambulance Service crew heads out in response to a call. Credit: ITV News Anglia.

The region's ambulance trust dealt with more than 2,700 emergency calls last night as crews battled through what has been dubbed "Black Friday".

Emergency services had expected it to be a busy evening as many people headed out for festive celebrations on the final weekend before Christmas.

The East of England Ambulance Service said it saw a 7.5% increase on the average volume of daily calls over the last four weeks.

The trust's locality director Matt Broad urged people to think carefully before dialling 999.

“We were extremely busy yesterday and last night, but I would like to thank our staff in the control rooms and on the frontline who worked really hard to provide a good service to patients.

"The Christmas and winter period is always busy for the ambulance service and I would encourage anyone who needs medical help to choose well – if you need help but it is not an emergency please call 111, which is open 24 hours a day and who will be able to get the right help for you.”

– Matt Broad, East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

Two local areas score high for quality of life

The Uttlesford District of Essex and South Northamptonshire are among the top ten places in the country for quality of life according to a new survey. They come sixth and seventh in a list compiled by the Halifax with Hart in south-east England offering the best quality of life. Male life expectancy is highest in Hart and South Cambridgeshire at 83 years. The UK average is 79.3 years.

Emergency services braced for busiest weekend of the year

Emergency services are braced for what is expected to be the busiest weekend of the year as thousands of office parties take place.

Police and paramedics are putting on extra patrols in case things get out of hand.

A & E units are also drafting in more staff as already busy hospitals come under more pressure.

Click below to watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Sarah Cooper


Two Latvian gangmasters jailed for exploiting migrant workers

Ivars Mezals Credit: Cambridgeshire police
Juris Valujevs Credit: Cambridgeshire police

Two Latvian gangmasters from Wisbech and King's Lynn have been jailed for a total of nearly three years for intimidating migrants into working for as little as £1 a week.

28-year old Ivars Mezals from Wisbech and 36-year old Juris Valujevs from King's Lynn used fear and debt to exploit migrant workers picking vegetables in Cambridgeshire.

Yesterday a jury found the pair guilty of acting as a gangmaster without a licence between 2009 and 2013.

Today Mezals was sentenced to 18 months and Valujevs to 16 months.

Ambulance crews prepare for 'Black Friday'

Ambulance crews gear up for 'Black Friday' Credit: ITV News Anglia

The number of calls to the East of England Ambulance service are up 11% compared to 2013 and that is before 'Black Friday' gets underway tonight.

Crews call the last Friday before Christmas 'Black Friday' as people make the most of what is for some, their last working day before Christmas.

There were 700 more callouts than average last Saturday and it's expected that figure will be exceeded tonight.

For special safety guidelines issued by the ambulance service. Click here.

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