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  1. Updates for Friday, 15 July 2016
  2. Milk processing plant in Hatfield Peverel closes today with the loss of about 200 jobs
  3. Grays woman describes how she hid in a restaurant during Nice lorry attack

Live Reporting

By Jack Warren

All times stated are UK

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Max Whitlock: Former trainer on rise of golden gymnast

BBC Radio 2

How will Max Whitlock react to newfound Rio fame? 

His former trainer Matt reveals all and talks about how the golden boy's gone from strength-to-strength.

Max Whitlock's former trainer speaks to BBC Radio 2

Max Whitlock's mum 'can't put pride into words'

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

Max Whitlock's mum Madeleine says she "can't put into words" how proud she is of him.

Max stands on podium to receive gold medal
Getty Images

Whitlock made history by winning gold in the men's floor exercise and on pommel.

Ms Whitlock said going into the competition she was "quite relaxed" as she wanted to "really enjoy" it.

"I can't put it into words how proud I am," she said. "He works so hard, but he loves it. I'm sure there'll be big parties when we get back."

Fellow gymnasts congratulate Max Whitlock

Fellow GB gymnasts have been congratulating Max Whitlock's double gold win on Twitter...


You heard it here 1st " Sir Max Whitlock " Difficult to comprehend the magnitude of that achievement 🏆 @maxwhitlock1

You heard it here 1st " Sir Max Whitlock " Difficult to comprehend the magnitude of that achievement 🏆 @maxwhitlock1

@maxwhitlock1 what can I say? I am so proud of you! Making history again! Bring on pommel final!

I'm so relieved. What a pommel final!! @maxwhitlock1 a true champion . So happy to be hear and do my best. I owe so much to my coach Paul ❤

'Max made me proud to be from Basildon'

Jack Warren

BBC Local Live

It's business as usual here at the Basildon Sporting Village, where double-gold gymnast Max Whitlock trains.

These gym-goers were particularly happy about the 23-year-old's wins yesterday. 


Max was incredible... It made me so proud to be part of Basildon."

Kirsten Priddle

He has done so well for his country - and for all of us in Basildon."

Joanne Beckwith

Nation's media descends on Basildon

Jack Warren

BBC Local Live

It's not just me that's made the trip to Max Whitlock's training gym. BBC News, ITV and Sky have all sent reporters down to the sporting village. 

Satellite trucks

Council congrats for Max

Sir Max Whitlock?

Jack Warren

BBC Local Live

I think the people here at Basildon's Sporting Village might agree with you Gabby... 

View more on twitter

Three words to describe Max Whitlock?

Jack Warren

BBC Local Live

I asked his training mates at South Essex Gymnastics Club to sum up the Olympic champion in three words... 

View more on twitter

'Our phones are ringing off the hook'

Jack Warren

BBC Local Live

The phones at Max Whitlock's gym are already ringing off the hook with people enquiring about membership, according to Rhythmic Head Coach Verity Adams.

Verity Adams

"We're all over the moon here, it's quite overwhelming," she said.

"We'll have to get extra people on the phones, because they want their child to be the next Max Whitlock."

We're live from the training home of Max Whitlock

Jack Warren

BBC Local Live

Where does Britain's first Olympic gold gymnast train? Basildon, of course... 


I've come to the South Essex Gymastics Club where Max Whitlock perfects the tricks of his trade.

There's lots of people with beaming smiles across their face - I'll bring you what they have to say shortly.

Reaction to Max Whitlock's double Olympic golds

BBC Look East

It's a massive achievement that many people are talking about across Britain, but especially in Hertfordshire and Essex.

Here's a flavour of what is being said on our Facebook page...

Max Whitlock gives thumbs up to camera
Getty Images

April says: "Brilliant! Well done Max, you are a great role model for youngsters wanting to get into gymnastics, amazing Olympic result, and I'm sure a few more medals might come along after this tournament, so well done!"

Carol writes: "A big Congratulations Max, a double gold medal, that's brilliant!"

Mo says: "What a complete & utter brilliant Champion. Well done Max!"

Whitlock: 'Only child we'd seen walk entire floor area on hands'

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

Max Whitlock on floor
Getty Images

Max Whitlock "was always a very hard-working person," says the club leader of his former gymnastics school.

Max Whitlock on pommel
Getty Images

Whitlock trained at the Sapphire School of Gymnastics in Hemel Hempstead from the age of six until the age of 11.

"He was the only six-year-old we'd ever seen who could walk on their hands all around the floor area," said Sally Echlin.

"We knew straight away that this was a very talented little boy."

Max Whitlock: At his parents' nursery

Matthew Lockwood

BBC Three Counties Radio

Nursery with banner saying "good luck Max"

I'm at the nursery owned by the parents of double Olympic gold medallist Max Whitlock in Hemel Hempstead this morning. 

Nursery with banner saying "good luck Max"

Staff here are understandably delighted for him.  

Max Whitlock is front page news

Jack Warren

BBC Local Live

By the way... if you're buying your paper today, chances are it'll have Max's face on the front...

Front pages

Off to the gym...

Jack Warren

BBC Local Live

I'm not clocking off work ultra early - just heading to the Essex gym where Max Whitlock trains, to get reaction at base camp this morning to his historic medal tally.

I'll bring you more updates when I get there.

Rio 2016: How Max Whitlock made his teenage dream reality

Aimee Lewis

BBC Sport in Rio

Max Whitlock holds gold medal
Getty Images

Once the merriment and revelry of London 2012 had dimmed, and the country had returned to focusing on the routine, Max Whitlock held a meeting with his coach Scott Dann.

It was during that one-on-one talk that the boy from Hemel Hempstead said he wanted to be a great, wanted to be remembered, wanted to inspire a nation.

It was a stirring speech from the winner of two bronze medals at his home Olympics. It excited Hann, it roused him. It was the start of their journey to Rio, to double Olympic gold, to history.

"I asked if he wanted to be just a pommel horse specialist," remembers Dann. "He said, 'I want to be an all-around gymnast and I want to be one of the world's greatest. I don't want to be a flash in the pan.' That inspired me."

But what happened from there? You can read all here.

Whitlock wins second gold on the pommel horse

...and this is the moment Max Whitlock won his second gold of the day in the men's pommel horse. 

Whitlock creates British gymnastics history - again

Not being contempt with winning Britain's first all-round Olympic medal in 108 years as he took bronze on Wednesday, Max Whitlock gained the nation's first Olympic gymnastics gold men's floor yesterday, with a score of 15.633.

...little did he know, he'd gain a second gold medal a few hours later.

An Olympic-sized welcome

Jack Warren

BBC Local Live

Good morning - what a weekend it has been for Essex gymnast Max Whitlock! 

The 23-year-old won two gold medals in the space of a few hours yesterday, making history for British gymnastics.

Max Whitlock
Getty Images

Join us throughout the morning for live reaction and coverage of his historic win. 

This morning, we want you to describe Whitlock's win in three words. Share your suggestions with us via email, Twitter or Facebook


Nick Browne hammers a second double century of the season against Derbyshire to put promotion-chasing Essex well on top.

Read more
National League

Braintree are still searching for their first win of the new National League season after being beaten by Macclesfield.

Read more
Nick Browne

Essex opener Nick Browne hits an unbeaten century as the Division Two leaders enjoy a fine opening day at Derbyshire.

Read more

Port Vale substitute Anton Forrester scores one goal and sets up another to secure a home win over Southend.

Read more

Brennan Dickenson and Denny Johnstone score on their home debuts as Colchester beat Cambridge United.

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Cyril Banks and charity representatives

A World War Two veteran whose life savings were stolen gives thousands of pounds to charity after an online campaign helped him raised £18,000.

Read more
C2C train in Westcliff station

A group of residents suffering sleepless nights while a nearby railway tannoy kept them awake have persuaded the train company to have the announcements turned down.

Read more

Our live coverage across the day

That's all from the Essex Live team this week - but check back throughout the weekend for any breaking news stories in the county.

If you want to catch a glimpse of the Perseid meteors tonight, you'll need to look north east. 

Perseid Meteors

We'll be back with regular updates on Monday from 08:00. Have a great weekend.

Weather: Mainly dry with clear spells tonight

Chris Bell

BBC Look East weather

Staying mainly dry with clear spells this evening, but it will turn increasingly cloudy with an odd spot of light rain possible as it dips to about 14C (57F).

Map for weather

A rather cloudy Saturday with the small chance of light rain, but most places will stay dry and the cloud will break to allow for some bright or sunny spells.

Maximum temperature: 24C (75F). 

Get your local forecast from BBC Weather.

Our top stories throughout the day...

Jack Warren

BBC Local Live

Here's what we've covered on Essex Live today:

Canvey Islanders 'know who is responsible' for double shooting

A senior Essex Police officer has told BBC Essex he is disappointed by the public's response to appeals for information following a double shooting on Canvey Island last weekend. 


Two men were hospitalised when a sawn-off shotgun was fired in Somnes Avenue. Five men who were arrested have now been released without charged

Det Ch Insp John Burgess said he believed it was a "targeted attack" and was "convinced" people on the island knew who was responsible. 

Sir Eric Pickles: Vote fraud findings 'very worrying'

Vote fraud findings 'very worrying'

Sir Eric Pickles, the Conservative MP for Brentwood and Ongar, says he is concerned by the findings of his report on tackling electoral fraud.  

It was commissioned followed claims of fraud in areas with a large ethnic population, such as Tower Hamlets in east London.

Want to see the Perseid meteor shower?

Following Andrew Kenyon's photographs of the Perseid meteor shower taken from south Essex, here's some advice on getting a clear view of the phenomenon:

View more on twitter

Lots of you enjoying the Essex sunshine this afternoon

BBC Weather Watchers


Victor Meldrew actor Richard Wilson pulls out of Frinton show after suffering heart attack

Actor Richard Wilson has pulled out of his appearance at the Frinton Summer Theatre Gala Night after suffering a heart attack.

Richard Wilson

The event was due to take place at the McGrigor Hall on Sunday evening, however organisers say the show has been cancelled as it "didn't seem right to go ahead". 

The 80-year-old is said to be in a stable condition in hospital in London. Refunds are being offered to those who have tickets. 

Wilson starred in The Dog during the Summer Theatre's 75th anniversary run in 2014.

Cambridge a 'real test' for Colchester's credentials

Glenn Speller

BBC Essex Sport Commentator

Colchester meet Cambridge United on Saturday for the first time in the Football League in more than 14 years.

Weston Holmes Community Stadium

The U's showed plenty of promise in last weekend's opening 1-1 draw at Hartlepool but they need to convert more of the chances they create. 

I have a sneaky feeling Cambridge will be well in contention for promotion this season, so this is a real test of Colchester's credentials.   

Southend United 'need to bounce back' at Port Vale

Nick Alliker

BBC Essex Sport Commentator

Southend United need to bounce back at Port Vale after two terrible defeats against Gillingham.

Roots Hall
Nick Alliker

Southend were beaten by the Kent side twice in the space of three days, despite being one-up in both matches. 

The pressure must be building on Shrimpers' boss Phil Brown as his side have now lost seven consecutive games, albeit five at the end of last season. 

I reckon he'll be looking at changes to his starting 11 in a bid to arrest the current run.

Our Essex teams in action this weekend

The Premier League returns this weekend, but for us Football League fans the season fun has already begun. Here's a round-up of who's playing where tomorrow: 

Getty Images
  • Colchester United are at home to Cambridge United in their second League Two match of the season
  • Southend United travel to Port Vale and will be hoping to better their 3-1 loss against Gillingham last weekend
  • And in the National League, Braintree Town take on Macclesfield Town

We'll get the thoughts from the BBC Essex sports team later. 

Your lunchtime weather forecast...

BBC Weather

There'll be plenty of sunshine for much of the afternoon, although it will at times become hazy. Feeling very warm. 

Maximum temperature: 26C (79F).


Thanks to BBC Weather Watcher "gardeningkate" who sent us this photo from Brentwood. She reported temperatures there at about 19C (66F).

Get your local forecast from BBC Weather.