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THURSDAY - Today I met Fatima Whitbread who was in town to open the refurbished Wilkinsons store...


click here to listen again to the interview

Winning a bronze medal at the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane, at the age of 19, set my guest on the trail to become the most successful female javelin thrower in British history. As well competing in many competitions and winning a number of medals,  in 1987 she won the BBC Sports Personality of the year, and she was awarded an M.B.E in the New years Honours list.  Along with keeping up with the family, charity work with 21st Century Youth and appearances she is the President of the Asics Chafford Hundred Athletic Club in Thurrock and continues to drive developments in the sporting world

Fatima spent the first thirteen years of her life in children's homes until the Whitbread family adopted her. Margaret Whitbread was the National Javelin Coach and discovered that her daughter had a raw talent and flair to become a javelin thrower.

Wilkinsons is making a donation to Fatima’s Charity, 21st Century Youth, which offers support to young people in the local area, as part of the re-opening day celebrations.  And, Anthony Nolan, Wilkinsons’ nominated charity of the year, will also hold a charity raffle. Customers will be able to win a jam packed hamper, which will include a wide range of high quality, everyday goods the retailer is famous for.  Then on Saturday there will be a  face painter, who will be in store between 10am and 4pm.



easyJet: revenue rises 7.5% in quarter ending Dec 31st to £654m. Passengers rise 8.8% to 11.9 million. - puts severe weather cost at £18m [via Twitter]

Enterprise Inns: Estimates impact of December snow at £2m in Q1 - like-for-like net income per pub down 2% - expects improvement in 2011 [via Twitter]

RSA Insurance : Cost of 2010 weather put at estimated £255m more than normal levels - £142m more than normal in Nov and Dec alone [via Twitter]


William Hill posted robust sales growth figures in its betting shops as the snow didn't put their punters off! Retail turnover increased by 4 % in December and 8% in the 4th quarter despite the weather conditions, which led to a vast number of horse race meetings and football matches to be cancelled.

JD WETHERSPOON yesterday said sales grew in recent weeks but warned profit margins were being squeezed largely by the increasing cost of food and drink

Nintendo's 3DS on sale on March 25th, it will cost between £219 and £229.  The new console has a 3D screen at the top and a touch screen offering standard 2D images at the bottom.  It also has two cameras allowing 3D photographs to be taken.

Sales of Jamie Oliver's latest recipe book have helped Penguin achieve record profits, the publisher said yesterday.

Overseas shoppers helped fashion retailer ASOS record a 59% rise in sales in the last quarter of 2010.



Andy Murray's due to resume his Australian Open tennis campaign this morning against the Ukrainian Illya Marchenko in the second round.

19 Jan 11 | Division One North

Grays Athletic     2 - 3     Needham Market



Evening Echo - By Katy Islip

BUSINESSES and motorists across south Essex have added their support to calls for the Government to scrap a second fuel duty hike.  Drivers are already struggling to cope with the January 1 fuel duty increase, which combined with the January 4 VAT rise, saw a total of 3.5p added to the cost of a litre of fuel.  With a second fuel duty increase in April looking increasingly likely, calls for the Government to take action to help motorists have become ever louder.  Prime Minister David Cameron is now, apparently, locked in conflict with the Treasury over his promised “fuel stabiliser”, which would see fuel duty lowered when oil prices rise, and go back up when the oil price settles.  Despite Mr Cameron repeating his support for the measure on Monday, Downing Street has said any announcement on a fuel stabiliser package will not be made until the Budget, in March.  Business leaders have joined the debate, with the Essex Federation of Small Businesses calling for the Government to keep its manifesto pledge and introduce the fuel duty stabiliser.



Sweeney Todd: Colchester Operatic Society at Mercury Theatre from Wednesday 26th Jan to Saturday 5th February at 19.30

Tickets are priced at between £10 and £18


Monty Python's Spamalot at Cliffs Pavilion

Eric Idle and John Du Prez's musical comedy telling the legend of King Arthur and his Knights Of The Round Table. from Monday the 24th to Saturday 29th January at 20.00

Tickets are between £18.50 and 31.50


The Last Panto standing is....

Sleeping Beauty at Kenneth More Theatre until the 22nd January with various show times.



Redbridge council have proposed a series of cuts to the core funding of The Kenneth More Theatre, in Ilford. Essex. Ultimately, this will mean the closure of the venue within 3 years. The loss of this venue will mean that The London Borough of Redbridge no longer has a theatre, leaving thousands of patrons in a cultural wasteland (this year's panto alone sold 16,000 tickets), dozens of community arts groups with no home, schools with no available performance space, and the theatre staff made redundant.


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