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Thousands given to arts groups in East

Wardown House
Culture Trust

Arts groups in the East have been given a share of a £33m fund to help them stay afloat until the end of September, because of the impact of Covid-19.

The money from the Arts Council has been given to National Portfolio Organisations.

It has come from its £160m Emergency Response Package, which was launched in March, with help from the National Lottery and the government.

Hedley Swain, area director for Arts Council England, said: "We know that we are all still facing huge challenges.

"We’ll use our remaining available funds, alongside those announced by government, to support our sector in the coming months.”

The groups that have received help include:

  • Luton Cultural Services Trust - Wardown House: £51,471
  • Milton Keynes Arts Centre: £45,860
  • Museum of East Anglian Life, Stowmarket, Suffolk: £88,950
  • New International Encounter, Cambridge: £28,081
  • Wavendon Allmusic Plan Ltd, Buckinghamshire: £297,090

See also: Theatre boss had 'best night's sleep in 100 days'

Covid-19 deaths hospitals increases by two

Matt Precey

BBC Look East

The number of people who have died in hospital from coronavirus in the East of England has risen by two, according to the latest daily government figures.

The deaths, according to Tuesday's statistics, were at the following NHS trusts:

  • Southend Hospital: 1
  • Milton Keynes: 1

The total number of deaths for the region's hospitals now stands at 4,021.

The latest Department of Health figures show that across the UK the number of deaths stands at 44,236.

Welcome to Tuesday's updates

Alex Pope

BBC News Online

We will be bringing you all the latest news from across the East of England - including the ongoing coronavirus pandemic lockdown and other stories.

If you have a story you wish to share - good or bad - please contact BBC News Online (East).

Reach us via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or email us.

You can read Monday's live updates page here.

Two more Covid-19 deaths reported in East of England

The number of people who have died in hospital from coronavirus in the East of England has risen by two, according to the latest daily government figures.

The deaths, according to the latest statistics published on Monday, were at the following NHS trusts:

  • Basildon Hospital: 1
  • Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation: 1

The total number of deaths for the eastern region's hospitals passed 4,000 at the end of last week and now stands at 4,019.

The latest Department of Health figures show that across the UK the number of deaths stands at 44,236, according to statistics issued on Sunday.

Busier night for ambulance service as pubs reopen

The first weekend of pub reopenings after the coronavirus lockdown restrictions were eased was busy for the East of England Ambulance Service with its crews dealing with an increase in calls.

Demand doubled at times between 21:00 on Saturday and 04:00 on Sunday compared with the previous four weeks.

East of England Ambulance
East of England Ambulance Service

Marcus Bailey, chief operating officer, said: "Thankfully the alcohol-related calls that we could have expected weren't as high as the small increase in calls for assaults but it was still a very busy night."

Photographer goes detective to find photos owners

Alex Pope

BBC News Online

A photographer has turned detective to try to find the owner of the following images.

Photo
Unknown

David Clarke, from Harrold in Bedfordshire, said his daughter purchased a second-hand camera from the Emmaus Village Carlton, last year.

When Taya, 15, bought the Kodak Instamatic, she discovered there was still a film in it, so decided to use it up and get it developed.

Photo
Unknown

When the photos came back to them, four images survived and now the hunt is on to find out who is in them.

"Somebody has got to know who these people are", David said.

"We think they are from the 70s or 80s, and I've been told one was taken in Benidorm."

Photo
Unknown

He has asked anyone with any information to email him.

Photo
Unknown

'Thank U NHS' plane to fly over hospitals

A Spitfire plane, with "Thank U NHS" written on its underside, will take to the skies this weekend to mark the 72nd birthday of the National Health Service.

The legendary World War Two fighter will fly over a number of hospitals in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire starting at 16:20 on Sunday.

It has been organised by the family-owned Aircraft Restoration Company, based at Imperial War Museum Duxford.

Spitfire plane
GeorgeLewisRomain

The full flight route is as follows:

  • 16:20 - Duxford Airfield
  • 16:28 - Queen Elizabeth II Hospital, Welwyn Garden City
  • 16:33 - Luton and Dunstable University Hospital, Luton
  • 16:36 – Lister Hospital, Stevenage
  • 16:41 – Bedford Hospital
  • 16:47 – Hinchingbrooke Hospital, Huntingdon
  • 16:53 – Witchford, village near Ely
  • 16:58 – Fulbourn Hospital, Cambridge
  • 17:00 – Addenbrooke’s and Royal Papworth hospitals, Cambridge
  • 17:10 – Duxford Airfield

'Local lockdown' concerns addressed by mayor in high-incidence town

At the start of the week Bedford had the highest rate of Covid-19 infections in the south of England.

Rick Kirby sculpture, Bedford
BBC

Figures recorded in the week up to 21 June showed it had England's sixth-highest infection rate overall since the start of the pandemic.

There was concern, that with the rates increasing, it might go into a local lockdown, like Leicester.

But latest figures from the government showed that the weekly number of cases were now 18.1 per 100,000 compared to last week when they were was 42 per 100,000.

Mayor Dave Hodgson said: "If you want to know if Bedford Borough is going into [local] lockdown the simple and quick answer is 'no', but we continue to monitor the data and urge everyone to be careful, stay home if possible and socially-distance if going out.

"We are continuing to press for better and detailed data."

Welcome to Friday's live updates

Alex Pope

BBC News Online

We will be bringing you all the latest news from across the East of England - including the ongoing coronavirus pandemic lockdown and other stories.

We'll have build up to Wycombe Wanderers play-off semi-final, as they bid to emulate Northampton Town and gain promotion via Wembley.

If you have a story you wish to share - good or bad - please contact BBC News Online (East).

Reach us via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or email us.

You can read Thursday's live page here.

Firefighters build memorial garden to lost ambulance workers

A "lasting memory" had been left by firefighters who have been working as ambulance drivers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Bedford firefighters enlisted to the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) have designed and built a memorial garden at Luton ambulance station to show their appreciation to their new workmates and in memory of those who have died of cancer and suicide.

They received help from Bruce Liddle of Newbury Farm Plant in Silsoe, who offered advice and supplied the plants for free.

Mike King, a firefighter, said: “They have made us feel so welcome and we thought the best way to say thank you was to leave a lasting memory by building the memorial garden – something they have been trying to get enough funds together to build for some time."

Simon King, head of operations at EEAST for Milton Keynes, Bedford and Luton, said it was a "phenomenal gift" and "the garden itself is magnificent and is a fitting tribute to our much-missed colleagues".

Fire and ambulance crews
EEAST

Travel industry calls for clarity over quarantine rules

Travel companies want clarity from ministers over which countries will be exempt from the quarantine rules.

Last weekend, the government said it would establish a traffic light system to rate which countries were safest but hasn't yet produced the details.

Passenger services returned to London Southend Airport yesterday, when the Ryanair flight to Malaga in Spain took off, and at London Luton Airport, EasyJet flights took to the skies again.

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The Luton-based airline is looking to reduce staff and has begun consultations on plans to close bases at Stansted, Southend and Newcastle.

Covid-19 deaths in East of England increase by 19

Matt Precey

BBC Look East

Nineteen more patients have died in hospital of coronavirus in the East of England, according to the latest daily government figures issued on Tuesday.

The deaths were at the following NHS trusts:

  • Basildon and Thurrock Hospitals: 2
  • Bedford Hospital: 11
  • East and North Herts: 1
  • East Suffolk and North Essex (Ipswich and Colchester hospitals): 1
  • Northampton General Hospital: 4

The deaths did not necessarily happen in the previous 24 hours as there are often delays in certifying Covid-19 deaths.

The total number of deaths for the eastern region so far is 3,994.

Across the UK the number of deaths increased by 176 and stands at 43,906.

Welcome to Thursday's updates

Alex Pope

BBC News Online

We will be bringing you all the latest news from across the East of England - including the ongoing coronavirus pandemic lockdown and other stories.

If you have a story you wish to share - good or bad - please contact BBC News Online (East).

Reach us via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or email us.

You can read Wednesday's live page here.

Coronavirus: What did 100 days of lockdown teach us?

BBC Look East

Tuesday marked 100 days since the United Kingdom began life under coronavirus restrictions.

Last night, BBC Look East hosted a Facebook Live discussion on what we have learned, where we are now and what happens next for the region as lockdown eases.

You can watch it back here, with BBC East science correspondent Richard Westcott joined by virologist Rebecca Kinsley, Patricia Yates from Visit Britain and finance and business advisor Hazel Bowen.

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Figures show five new Covid-19 deaths in east of England

Five more patients have died in hospital of coronavirus in the east of England according to the latest daily government figures issued on Tuesday.

The deaths were at the following NHS trusts:

  • East Suffolk and North Essex (Ipswich and Coclhester hospitals): 1
  • Northampton General Hospital: 2
  • West Hertfordshire Hospitals: 2

The total number of deaths for the eastern region is 3,975.

Across the UK the number of deaths increased by 155 and stands at 43,730.

More on 100 days of lockdown

BBC East is hosting a live broadcast later on this page and on Facebook looking at what we have learned during the first 100 days of lockdown.

We're been inviting you comments in advance.

A reply from About Dunstable said: "Waiting for my grandchildren’s smiley faces to pop up on my phone, going on long local walks I didn’t know existed!

And keeping my community page going, trying to keep spirits high and keep everyone in touch. Stay safe and take care everyone. We’re not over all this yet I fear x."

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Your stories of 100 days of lockdown

Mariam Issimdar

BBC News

We've been asking for your stories of the lockdown to date via BBC News: East of England's Facebook page and many responses have been positive.

But for Elizabeth Jerome-Smith, who works in a hospital theatre, lockdown hasn't seen her able to learn new skills such as baking bread.

Elizabeth Jerome-Smith
Elizabeth Jerome-Smith/Facebook

"This sums up my ‘lockdown’: No baking cakes, no homeschooling, no treasuring unexpected time to make memories with my children, the memories my children will have of lockdown is an exhausted mother with a sore face.

"Covid isn’t over, we are still working long shifts and extra hours like this in hospitals across the country, to look after the ill and injured, and to try and catch up with the backlog of urgent surgical patients that had to be cancelled to make capacity for Covid patients.

"Please don't forget this as lockdown relaxes and you get back to 'normality'. For some of us this is our new normal, so please, wear a mask, keep your distance, stay safe and enjoy the freedom that relaxing lockdown brings, but don’t forget that Covid is still here."

100 days of lockdown...discuss?

Mariam Issimdar

BBC News

It’s 100 days since lockdown started.

What have we learned (eg BBC Newsbeat has been to Telford in Shropshire)? Where are we now? What next for the East of England as lockdown eases?

BBC East will be asking these question on its Facebook Live discussion and answering your questions tonight at 18:45.

In the meantime here's what lockdown has meant to some of the team at BBC East, such as learning the art of making the perfect banana cake:

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Five arrested over £350k of petrol station fraud

Allen Cook

BBC News

Five people have been arrested in two counties after petrol station staff were tricked into handing over tobacco, sweets and other items worth a total of about £350,000.

Evidence
Staffordshire Police

The alleged fraud happened over two years from 2018 at stations across the country, police said.

Homes were raided this morning in Bedfordshire and Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, and four men and a woman arrested.

The force said officers had also seized cash, cannabis, phones, financial records and suspected stolen goods including confectionery.

Suspected victims of modern slavery found at farm

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

Ten people believed to be Romanians held in conditions of modern slavery have been found living in a farm building in Bedfordshire.

Police officers were flagged down by two men on a rural road on Friday at about 21:45 close to the Cambridgeshire border and were taken to a farm where they found 13 men and a pregnant woman.

Four men were arrested on suspicion of human trafficking and have been released on bail.

Modern slavery image
Getty Images

The Gangmasters & Labour Abuse Authority later went to an address in Lincolnshire, where a number of further potential victims were identified.

A woman in her 40s and a man in his 30s were arrested on suspicion of human trafficking and remain in police custody.

Det Ch Insp Louisa Glynn, from Bedfordshire Police, said: "Almost 400 potential victims were identified in the county last year, the fifth highest of all UK police force areas."

Coronavirus: One new death in hospitals

The number of people who died in hospital from Covid-19 in the East of England has increased by one, according to the latest daily government statistics issued on Sunday.

The previous day's figures showed seven new deaths.

The number of new deaths in listed by NHS trust were:

  • Kettering General: 1

The total number of hospital deaths in the region now stands at 3,967, while across the UK it's 43,550.

Coronavirus: Eight new deaths in the region

The number of people who died in hospital from Covid-19 in the East of England has increased by eight, according to the latest daily government statistics.

The previous day's figures showed 11 new deaths.

Southend University Hospital
BBC

The number of new deaths in Thursday's stats, listed by the NHS trust, were:

  • Southend University Hospital: 4
  • Basildon and Thurrock Hospitals: 3
  • Kettering General: 1

The total number of hospital deaths in the region now stands at 3,957, while across the UK it's 43,230.

Share your views on A428 upgrade

Views are being sought for a multi-million pound road scheme through Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.

Highways England has opened a consultation into a new 10-mile (16km) dual carriageway from the Black Cat roundabout at Roxton to the Caxton Gibbet junction.

The scheme would improve journeys between Milton Keynes and Cambridge, it said.

New Blackcat roundabout
Highways England

Two web chats will take place, on 2 July from 10:00 to 14:00 and on 16 July from 14:00 to 18:00.

Teams will also be on hand to answer phone calls on 29 June from 13:00 to 18:00 and 13 July from 10:00 to 14:00 on 0800 640 4956.

Lee Galloway from Highways England, said: "The existing A428 will remain there to support local access."

Blackcat roundabout
Highways England

The consultation ends on 28 July.

Feeling hot, hot, hot

BBC Look East

And already we've been sent photos.

Colin Mackay in Clifton, Bedfordshire, thinks he needs to invest in a new thermometer after taking this snap of the one he owns on his windowsill.

Please keep your pictures and temperatures coming to BBC Look East using the #BBCEastTempcheck hashtag.

Please don't take any photos while driving.

Thermometer
Colin Mackay

Tweet us your temperatures

BBC Look East

With the mercury rising, we want to know just how hot it is in the Look East region - so we'd like you to let us know the temperatures from your cars or gardens.

All you need do is tweet your photos to BBC Look East, telling us where you are and using the hashtag #BBCEastTempcheck....

View more on twitter

Special 'thank you' presented to Captain Tom Moore

Justin Dealey

BBC Three Counties Radio

Yesterday I had the enormous pleasure of meeting the true gentleman, Sir Captain Tom Moore, who raised more than £32m for the NHS by doing laps of his garden in Marston Moretaine in Bedfordshire.

Four thousand people sent BBC 3CR pictures for "a selfie salute" to mark his 100th birthday on 30 April, and I was lucky enough to present it to him.

View more on twitter

Welcome to Thursday's updates

Alex Pope

BBC News Online

We will be bringing you all the latest news from across the East of England - including the ongoing coronavirus pandemic lockdown and other stories.

If you have a story you wish to share - good or bad - please contact BBC News Online (East).

Reach us via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or email us.

You can read Wednesday's live page here.

Coronavirus: Eleven new deaths in the region

The number of people who died in hospital from Covid-19 in the East of England has increased by 11, according to the latest daily government statistics.

The previous day's figures showed seven new deaths.

Northampton General Hospital
Google

The number of new deaths, listed by the NHS trust, were:

  • Northampton General: 7
  • Basildon and Thurrock Hospitals: 2
  • Southend University Hospital: 2

Northampton General was the hospital with the highest increase in the whole of England.

The total number of hospital deaths in the region now stands at 3,949, while across the UK it's 42,927.

Coronavirus: Seven new deaths in the East

Yesterday's figures showed no new coronavirus deaths in the region's hospitals, but the latest government daily figures released this afternoon show there were seven more, taking the total in the East of England to 3,938.

The deaths, listed by the NHS trust, were:

  • Basildon and Thurrock Hospitals: 3
  • Bedford Hospital: 1
  • East and North Hertfordshire Hospitals: 1
  • James Paget University Hospital, Gorleston: 1
  • Southend University Hospital: 1

The total number of Covid-19 deaths across the UK now stands at 42,927.

Investigation to find out why coronavirus rates so high in town

Alex Pope

BBC News Online

Bedford Town Centre
Bedford Borough Council

Health officials are working with a council and a biosecuirty centre to carry out a "deep dive" into why coronavirus cases are relatively high in a county town.

Dr Aliko Ahmed, Public Health England's regional director, said it was working with the Joint Biosecurity Centre and Bedford Borough Council "to explore the high coronavirus infection rate in Bedford and investigate why the rates are not falling as quickly as other areas".

As it was responsible for analysing the data from tests and tracing the virus, by examining this information, he said "it should be possible to identify the emergence of ‘hotspots’, so that appropriate action can be taken to help reduce the spread”.

Dave Hodgson, Mayor of Bedford Borough, said the "deep dive investigation" is needed to answer questions.

"We need detailed data to be able to take effective action to control the spread of the virus at a local level."

View more on twitter

There have been 776 reported cases in the borough and a rate of 452 per 100,000 people, making it the 11th worst unitary authority relative to population in the country, according to government figures.

For contrast, Peterborough has a rate of 231, Milton Keynes 191, and Luton 390.

Two hundred deaths have been reported at Bedford Hospital and 21 care home deaths in the borough.

Honorary degree bestowed upon Captain Tom Moore

Alex Pope

BBC News Online

An honorary degree has been bestowed upon Sir Captain Tom Moore for his services to the local community and the country.

Cranfield University, in Bedfordshire, presented the achievement via a video call, making him an Honorary Doctor of Science.

The 100-year-old Marston Moretaine resident walked more than 100 times round his garden and raised £32m for NHS charities.

Captain Tom said: "This is something very special for me.

"I have heard so much about Cranfield and I am pleased we are both putting Bedfordshire on the map.”

Captain Tom Moore
Cranfield University

Prof Sir Peter Gregson, vice-chancellor and chief executive of the university, said: "Captain Tom’s now well-known saying 'tomorrow will be a good day' echoes our own university’s motto from our RAF background 'after clouds, light'."

The university's air traffic control centre, controlled the flypast by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, to mark his 100th birthday on 30 April.

Welcome to Tuesday's live updates page

Alex Pope

BBC News Online

We will be bringing you all the latest news from across the East of England - including the ongoing coronavirus pandemic lockdown and other stories.

There are mixed fortunes for the region's two clubs seeking promotion from football's League Two. Northampton overcame a first leg play-off semi-final deficit to reach Wembley, but Colchester lost their semi in extra time.

If you have a story you wish to share - good or bad - please contact BBC News Online (East).

Reach us via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or email us.

BreakingNo new Covid-19 deaths recorded in East for first time since March

For the first time since March, not a single Covid-19 death was reported by hospitals across the East, according to the government's latest daily increase statistics issued this afternoon.

The highest figure was 129 deaths, in statistics for 8 April.

The death toll now stands at 3,930 across the eight counties in the East of England.

However, over the course of the last few months, statistics suggest there there has often been a slight delay in recording hospital deaths over the weekend compared to weekdays.

Coronavirus: Three new deaths in the East

Matt Precey

BBC Look East

The latest government daily figures released yesterday afternoon show there were three more coronavirus deaths in the region's hospitals, taking the total in the East of England to 3,930.

The deaths, listed by NHS trust, were:

  • Basildon and Thurrock Hospitals: 2
  • East Suffolk and North Essex (Ipswich and Colchester hospitals): 1

Government figures issued on Saturday recorded 15 more deaths the previous day.

The total number of Covid-19 deaths across the UK now stands at 42,632.

Coronavirus: Four new deaths in the East

Matt Precey

BBC Look East

The latest daily government figures released on Friday show there were four more coronavirus deaths in the region's hospitals, taking the total in the East of England to 3,912.

There were 12 more deaths in statistics issued on Thursday.

The new deaths, listed by NHS trust, were:

  • Basildon and Thurrock Hospitals: 1
  • Kettering General: 1
  • North West Anglia (Peterborough and Hinchingbrooke hospitals): 1
  • West Hertfordshire Hospitals: 1

The total number of Covid-19 deaths across the UK now stands at 42,461.

Coronavirus: 12 new deaths in the East

Matt Precey

BBC Look East

The latest government figures released on Thursday show that there were 12 more coronavirus deaths in the region's hospitals, taking the total in the East of England to 3,908.

The deaths, listed by NHS trust, were:

  • Basildon and Thurrock Hospitals: 2
  • Buckinghamshire Healthcare: 1
  • Luton and Dunstable: 4
  • Norfolk Community Healthcare: 1
  • North West Anglia (Peterborough and Hinchingbrooke hospitals): 1
  • Northampton General: 1
  • Southend: 2

The total number of Covid-19 deaths across the UK now stands at 42,288.

Coronavirus causes £33m shortfall for council

A council has revealed a funding gap of £32.6m over two years, brought on coronavirus.

Bedford Borough Council's executive will meet next week to discuss the matter.

The council said the pandemic would place "unprecedented pressure" on it to "deliver care for the vulnerable, elderly and shielded, while keeping vital day-to-day operations running in challenging circumstances".

Borough Hall in Bedford
David Howard/Geograph

Michael Headley, portfolio holder for finance, said: "We are expecting difficult decisions ahead and with so much still unknown about the course that the coronavirus pandemic will take and the final impact it will have on the economy, we will be keeping a very close eye on the unfolding funding shortfall and doing our best to minimise the impact on local services.”

Center Parcs to remain closed until 12 July

Holiday park operator Center Parcs said its leisure complexes in Elveden and Woburn Forests would remain closed until at least 12 July.

"Whilst we do not have a confirmed date for re-opening yet, we’re busy working on our reopening plans and we are getting nearer to welcoming our guests back to the forest," it said.

"We have taken a best-practice approach to our plans at this stage and are now very close to finalising things."

Center Parcs Woburn
Christine Johnson/Geograph

Welcome to Thursday's live page

Alex Pope

BBC News Online

We will be bringing you all the latest news from across the East of England - including the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, lockdown and gradual easing of restrictions on our lives.

If you have a story you wish to share - good or bad - please contact BBC News Online (East).

Reach us via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or email us.

You can read yesterday's live page here.