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Air ambulance pays tribute to late actor's support

John Bardon at the Motorcycle Run & Harwich Family Festival in 2008 Credit: Essex and Herts Air Ambulance

One of the Anglia region's air ambulances has paid tribute to Eastenders actor John Bardon for his years of support.

The Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust expressed sadness at the death of Mr Bardon, who has aged 75. He was a keen supporter of the air ambulance and made numerous public appearances as its official patron.

"When John sadly suffered a debilitating stroke seven years ago his on screen wife and close friend June Brown stepped in taking John’s place at functions and speaking for him at events. We are extremely grateful for all the support John gave to the Charity over the years and send our sincerest condolences to his wife and family."

– Essex and Herts Air Ambulance spokesperson


Northern Lights glimpsed as far south as Norfolk

The aurora borealis or Northern Lights in North Norfolk in the evening on Friday 12 September 2014. Credit: Adam Payne/Norfolk Geeks

The aurora borealis or Northern Lights have been spotted as far south as North Norfolk.

The brightly-coloured patterns in the sky are caused by highly-charged particles from the sun interacting with the Earth's atmosphere and its magnetic field.

The aurora are more commonly seen in more northern latitudes.

"Occasionally there are large explosions on the Sun and huge amounts of magnetically charged particles are thrown out into space (Coronal Mass Ejections). If these particles travel towards Earth they interact with the Earth’s magnetic field and increase global geomagnetic activity. The increased activity releases energy into the atmosphere giving off light in the process, which we call the Northern Lights or the aurora borealis."


This week has seen two Coronal Mass Ejections from the sun; the first arrived on Thursday night with the second on Friday night.

The Met Office said the combined effect increased the chances of seeing the Northern Lights in Britain.

Reward offered to trace missing man in 16-year-old murder investigation

The family of a man murdered in Colchester nearly 16 years ago have urged witnesses to come forward as a £2,000 reward is offered to trace a man suspected of killing him.

Grant Byrom was stabbed to death at Forest Road on Boxing Day in 1998.

Now the charity Crimestoppers has put up a reward as part of Essex Police's murder investigation for information which leads to the arrest and charging of Michael Donnelly.

Officers have been searching for Donnelly, 67, since Mr Byrom's death and it is thought he left the UK after his body was found.

"Mr Donnelly is wanted in connection with the murder investigation but police have never been able to find him to talk to him about his version of events on that evening in 1998.

"We have made regular enquiries to trace Mr Donnelly but we are certain that he no longer lives in the UK.

"We also want to hear from anyone who has any information about Mr Donnelly’s whereabouts. I am also very keen to hear from anyone who may have further information about the murder of Mr Byrom.”

– Assistant DCI Anne Cameron, Essex Police.
Michael Donnelly, who is thought to have left the UK 16 years ago after the death of Grant Byrom. Credit: Essex Police.

Train operator announces carriage refurbishment project

Credit: Nick Ansell /PA Wire.

Train operator Greater Anglia will soon begin refurbishing its fleet of carriages.

Improvements will include new lighting, carpets, tables, seat covers and toilets.

Abelio Greater Anglia, which has the franchise to operate the Norwich to London line until October 2016, has already awarded the contract for the work to Vossloh Kiepe UK.

The operator said the first updated carriages were expected to be back in service early next year.

"We worked very hard to ensure that this investment scheme was approved as part of our contract and it illustrates our commitment to delivering a high quality service on the route.

"It is also an important step forward as we work together to secure further improvements on the Great Eastern Main Line as part of the Great Eastern Rail Taskforce and we continue to encourage wider support for the Great Eastern Rail Campaign to help achieve the rolling stock, journey time and infrastructure upgrades in the years to come which we all wish to see and are working towards."

– Jamie Burles, Abelio Greater Anglia Managing Director.


Conservative party chooses actor as Clacton by-election candidate

Giles Watling has been chosen as the Conservative's parliamentary candidate for the Clacton by-election.

The Conservatives have selected actor Giles Watling to represent them in the Clacton by-election next month.

The former Bread star was chosen during an open primary in Essex this evening.

The by-election was prompted by Douglas Carswell's resignation after the former Tory MP defected to UKIP.

Essex winning the war against potholes

A campaign to fix potholes on the roads of Essex appears to be paying off with just 500 left across the county.

The county council says since June extra workers have filled in more than 4000 holes on major routes. It's spent £17.5 million on the work.

The extra crews will now turn their attention to fixing defects on the 700 worst local urban roads around the county by March 2015.

Essex winning the war against potholes Credit: ITV Anglia

Reducing the number of potholes on our priority routes to just over 500 is great news for Essex motorists - and for all those visiting Essex for business or pleasure. It is the result of an ambitious programme of maintenance work that will continue beyond summer into the winter and beyond.”

– Cllr Eddie Johnson
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