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  1. Updates for Thursday, 24 December 2015
  2. News, sport, travel and weather updates resume at 08:00 on 29 December

Live Reporting

By Jack Warren

All times stated are UK

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  1. Our live coverage across Christmas Eve

    Essex Live has finished for today - thanks for joining us.

    We're taking a festive break so our live updates for Essex will return on 29 December.

    Have a very merry Christmas!

  2. Essex derby: Keen wants more solidity from Colchester

    BBC Sport

    New Colchester United manager Kevin Keenwants more solidityfrom his side against local rivals Southend United, his first match in charge.

    Kevin Keen

    Keen's side are bottom of League One, having leaked 55 league goals.

    "We need to make sure defensively we are tighter and at the same time express ourselves," he told BBC Essex.

  3. Canvey bungalow fire destroys kitchen

    Nick Alliker

    BBC Essex

    A kitchen has been destroyed following a bungalow fire on Canvey Island.

    Goirle Avenue

    Essex Fire and Rescue Service says it was called to the blaze in Goirle Avenue just before midday.

    There are no reports of any injuries.

  4. Police to deploy cameras at Essex football matches

    Jack Warren

    BBC Local Live

    Video cameras will be used to keep Essex football fans safe over the festive season, police say.

    Three police officers

    The £1,000 high-definition camcorders, paid for by money seized from criminals, have been used at big games since August, and will be deployed at Boxing Day'sEssex derby.

    PC Keith Baker said: "Where necessary they will provide evidence to support applications for football banning orders".

  5. Headlines: Amputee mum to raise awareness and bungalow fire destroys kitchen

    Nick Alliker

    BBC Essex

    Here are your top stories for Essex: 

    • An Essex woman says she wants to raise awareness of septicaemia which caused her to have to have herlower legs and fingers amputateda year ago
    • A man is hospital with a serious head injury after he was attacked in Grays High Street late last night
    • A kitchen has been destroyed following a bungalow fire on Canvey Island earlier this afternoon
  6. Essex derby: Southend prepare 'the same as any other game'

    BBC Sport

    Southend boss Phil Brown says the team are preparing for Boxing Day's derby "the same as any other game".

    Phil Brown

    The Blues head to Colchester for the first time in nearly six years.

    "The importance of it is the fact that we're knocking at the door of the play-offs and they're bottom of the league, and they'll be smarting from that", Brown said.

  7. Pensioner left with broken arm after Chalkwell robbery

    Laura Safe

    BBC Essex

    An 84-year-old woman has been left with a broken arm after her handbag was snatched in Chalkwell.

    Ridgeway Gardens

    She was walking in Ridgeway Gardens on Monday afternoon when a man approached her from behind. 

    Essex Police says he grabbed the bag, which caused her to fall over, and then ran off. The suspect is described as being white, about 6ft (1.82m) tall and wearing a hooded jumper.

  8. Homeless man cannot stay in Colchester shelter over Christmas as he has a pet dog

    Daily Gazette

    A homeless man is in need of a garden topitch a tentover Christmas.

  9. Spoiler alert: Essex beats Cambridge in University Challenge

    Jack Warren

    BBC Local Live

    Sometimes in Essex we get mocked for not being the brightest bunch - however, a University of Essex alumni team has beaten Christ's College Cambridge onUniversity Challenge

    University of Essex alumni team

    Team members Dotun Adebayo, Rupert Maas, Nick Dear and Richard Bartle beat the Cambridge group in a Christmas special of the BBC Two programme last night.

    Good work chaps!

  10. University award in Hannah Witheridge's honour

    Hannah Witheridge's family has revealed the University of Essex has introduced an award for outstanding excellence in clinical placements in her memory.

    University of Essex, Wivenhoe campus

    Miss Witheridge was studying for a Masters degree in speech and language therapy when she wasmurdered in Thailandin September 2014.

    It will be named the Hannah Witheridge Award for Clinical Excellence and Hannah will be the first recipient. The family said they were "touched by this beautiful tribute".

  11. Colchester miss players for Essex derby

    Tom Croasdell

    BBC Essex Sport

    Colchester's Owen Garvan (pictured) remains a doubt for the Essex derby on Boxing Day.

    Owen Garvan

    The midfielder has overcome an ankle injury but has been ill for the last week. 

    The U's must also decide who plays in goal against Southend as recent first choice Jamie Jones has returned to Preston after his loan expired.

  12. Amputee mum's husband told to 'say goodbye'

    Andrew Woodger

    BBC News

    A Hockley woman whose "common cold"turned out to be blood poisoninglast Christmas says her husband was told to "say goodbye" to her. 

    Tracy Ralph in hospital last year

    Tracy Ralph was put into a coma at Southend Hospital on Christmas Eve. Her husband Brad arrived "in his Christmas jumper because he thought I was going to be OK", she said.

    "He got taken into a room and that's when they said there's not much more they could do, I had septicaemia, all my organs were failing", Mrs Ralph added.

  13. Weather: Becoming drier and brighter this afternoon

    BBC Weather

    A band of  heavy rain and strong windswill quickly spread eastwards this lunchtime. By mid-afternoon this rain will clear, leaving behind long spells of sunshine and the odd shower.

    Maximum Temperature: 12C (54F).

    Christmas weather chart
  14. Headlines: Amputee mum one year on and serious assault in Grays

    Nick Alliker

    BBC Essex

    Here are your headlines this Christmas Eve lunchtime: 

    • An Essex woman who cameso close to deaththat doctors told her relatives to say their final goodbyes is due to celebrate Christmas with her family one year on
    • Two Burmese migrant workers have beensentenced to deathin Thailand for the murders of a University of Essex student
    • A man has been left with serious head injuries after he was assaulted in Grays High Street late last night 
  15. Investigation continues into Grays High Street attack

    Chris Flynn

    BBC Essex

    A police cordon remains in place on Grays High Street this morning after a man was seriously assaulted here late last night.

    Cordon on Grays High Street

    The victim, who is in his 40s, remains at Queens Hospital in Romford with serious head injuries.

  16. Hannah Witheridge's family in 'whirlwind of emotions'

    Jodie Smith

    BBC News

    The family of University of Essex student, Hannah Witheridge, say they're facing a "whirlwind of emotions and difficulties" following theguilty verdict.

    Hannah Witheridge

    "In these challenging times, we try to concentrate our efforts on remembering our beautiful Hannah for the fun, vibrant and incredible young woman that she was," the statement says.

    "We now need time, as a family, to digest the outcome of the trial and figure out the most appropriate way to tell our story.”

  17. Santa hats 'increase risk of an accident', councillor says

    Jenni Hulse

    BBC Essex

    A councillor in Colchester says refuse collectors have been banned from wearing Santa hats because it "increases the risk of an accident".

    Refuse collectors

    Liberal Democrat Dominic Graham said although the risk wasn't large, "it's enough to give us pause for thought".

    "I'm quite happy to be called a Scrooge as long as it prevents an accident", he added.

  18. Amputee mum thought she had a cold

    Christmas this year will be very different for mother of two Tracy Ralph from Hockley. 

    On 24 December 2014 she lost both her legs and fingers after she was diagnosed with blood poisoning, she assumed it was just a cold.

    Video content

    Video caption: Essex amputee mum Tracy Ralph thought she had a cold