News in Maldon

Radio Caroline's former pirate radio ship Ross Revenge, moored on the River Blackwater in Maldon district and still broadcasting today Photo: Colm O'Laoi

Radio Caroline will be broadcasting the Queen's Christmas Message on Christmas Day this year - 56 years after being turned down for being an unauthorised broadcaster.

On 1 December 1964, David Block, publicity officer for the then pirate radio station, contacted the BBC to request a copy of the Queen's Christmas message. He was told that, despite Caroline having more than 12 million listeners, his request could not be entertained because Caroline was a pirate radio station, and to come back 'if and when' he could provide 'evidence of credentials as representative of an authorised broadcaster'.

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Maldon MP John Whittingdale

MP John Whittingdale has spoken about the "frightening" rise in cases that led to the Government deciding to put Maldon district - along with most parts of Essex - under new Tier 4 restrictions.

In a statement released yesterday evening (Sunday, 20 December) Mr Whittingdale said: "I know how distressing it was for people in Maldon and Chelmsford to hear that new Tier 4 restrictions were being imposed on London and the Home Counties from Sunday morning.

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Julie Taylor with the Christmas hampers

The festive season may not be all that we hoped – but Julie Taylor from the Café at St Peter's Hospital is glad that 92 of the hampers she has been putting together have already been given out.

The Christmas hampers included new hats, scarves, socks, gloves and blankets, a meal, chocolate, Christmas cake, Christmas pudding and treats. Where appropriate, some included a mini bottle of wine.

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The following are statements released by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and Christmas Transport Tsar, Sir Peter Hendy on Tier 4 travel this morning (Sunday, 20 December):

"It is incredibly important that people follow the guidance, stay at home and do not attempt to travel. Our focus must be stopping the spread of this virus, protecting lives and our NHS.

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Essex Police have released a statement following news this afternoon (Saturday, 19 December) that most of the county, including Maldon district, will move into the new Tier 4:

"As of 00:01 on Sunday 20 December), most of Essex moves into Tier 4 of the Government's Covid-19 restrictions. This will have an impact on what we can and can't do.

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Simulation of the night sky on the day of the Great Conjunction, as will be seen from Essex at around 5pm

2020 has been a memorable year for all the wrong reasons, but it looks like the cosmos will ensure that it ends with an astronomical highlight on December 21!

This is, of course, the usual date of the winter solstice when the Northern Hemisphere is tilted furthest from the Sun and we have the shortest day. From this point, the days get longer as we head optimistically into 2021 and 2020 starts to fade into a surreal memory.

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