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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."

– MET OFFICE

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.

Drunk driver admits causing death of passenger

Steven Samuel has pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving. Credit: Suffolk Police.

A motorist from Cambridgeshire who lost control of his car after drinking alcohol has pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving.

Steven Samuel crashed into a tree as he was travelling along Undley Road in Lakenham on October 19 last year.

The front-seat passenger - 22-year-old John Joe Scott from Wingfield Road in the village - was killed.

Samuel, 21, of Hasse Road in Soham, admitted causing death by careless driving at a hearing at Ipswich Crown Court on Thursday.

He was released on bail and will be sentenced next week.

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Suffolk former soldier wins Invictus Gold

A former soldier from Suffolk who lost a leg in Afghanistan was cheered to victory at the Invictus Games by soldiers who served on the frontline with him.

Alex Tate with his gold medal Credit: British Army

Alex Tate won gold in the 100m ambulant IT1 sprint on Thursday, watched by former colleagues from 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment. The troops are working as stewards at the international sports event for Wounded, Injured and Sick Service personnel and veterans taking place in London.

Alex on the starting line Credit: British Army

Alex, 24, from Bury St Edmunds, lost his left leg below the knee after being caught in an IED explosion in southern Afghanistan in September 2012.

Alex (second left) in action Credit: British Army

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.

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Patients praise ambulance crews

Patients have praised East of England Ambulance crews for doing 'an amazing job' in a new survey.

Ambulance bosses say patients and their relatives who used the service in June were 100% satisfied with the service that they received. More than 97% of people described ambulance crews as very professional.

The survey's been published just a week after the East of England Ambulance Service was fined over a million pounds for failing to meet response times and ambulance turnaround targets.

The June survey shows people were also happy with the service provided by the 999 call handlers, with more than 96% of people ranking their experience of dialing 999 as ‘acceptable’ or ‘very acceptable’. Other highlights included full marks for the cleanliness of the ambulance and equipment, more than 96% rating the ambulance response time as fairly to very acceptable and 93% rating the journey as fairly comfortable or better.

“We’re delighted that the majority of patients are happy with the service we provide. This reflects the professionalism and dedication of our staff, who often have to work in the most challenging situations and environments. As we recruit hundreds of new frontline student paramedics, as well as up skill our existing staff, the service and response to patients will continue to improve.”

– Chief Executive Anthony Marsh

This survey follows a recent report released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre which showed that the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) received 798 complaints in 2013/14; down 32% from 1,177 in 2012/13. This compares to an increase across ambulance services generally.

Heritage Open Days in the East of England

The Electric Palace at Harwich

Hundreds of unusual and interesting buildings are opening their doors to the public as part this year's Heritage Open Days.

Among them are this art deco cinema at Harwich in Essex, built in 1911.

The Electric Palace closed following the 1953 floods but reopened in the 1980s.

Norfolk waste turned into energy in Suffolk

The incinerator at Gt Blakenham

Waste from Norfolk will begin arriving at an incinerator in Suffolk from Thursday 11 September for processing.

The landmark deal will see 40,000 tonnes of Norfolk waste turned into energy at the site in Great Blakenham near Stowmarket.

Both county councils stand to make savings of around £1 million each from the two year deal.

Austin Cornish's childhood tragedy inspired him to become a tireless fundraiser

Pride of Britain Fundraiser Award finalist for the East of the Anglia region

AUSTIN CORNISH

Austin Cornish from Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk was three years old he lost his father in an air disaster in the 1970s.

How people helped his family at that difficult time inspired him to become a tireless campaigner who's raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for local good causes.

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