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Summary

  1. Updates on Friday, 1 July 2016
  2. News, sport, travel and weather updates resume on Monday at 08:00

Live Reporting

By Jack Warren

All times stated are UK

Get involved

That's all from us!

Our live coverage has come to end for the week - thanks for stopping by.

We'll be back on Monday morning from 08:00 with another look at stories happening around the county.

Have a great weekend. 

Have you seen him? Action Man astronaut still not found

Earlier this week we told you about the desperate search for an Essex Action Man astronaut lost in the countryside after plummeting to Earth from space.

Major Tom
Wisdom Design

Well, we’re sad to say Action Man Major Tom has still not been found. But the good news is his "brother", Commander Tim, is in training for a repeat mission.

As the #FindMajorTom campaign continues, organisers plan to launch another Action Man astronaut in the hope of gathering the footage denied to them by Major Tom's thieves.

The "Mercury 10" mission is the brainchild of Chris Hillcox, from Sutton Coldfield in the West Midlands, and Rob Wisdom, of Essex, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Action Man's creation.

Weather: Showers dying out leaving a bright start to the weekend

Alex Dolan

BBC Look East weather

Any showers dying out through the evening to leave a dry night with some clear spells, and mainly light winds. Minimum Temperature: 10C (50F).

Weather map for the East
BBC

It will be a cool and bright start to the weekend tomorrow, with sunny spells. However, there will be a scattering of showers developing through the afternoon, which will possibly be heavy and thundery in places. Highs of 19C (66F). 

You can get the latest for via BBC Weather.

Southend v West Ham XI fixture falls victim to the wet weather

Southend United's pre-season friendly against West Ham XI has fallen victim to the wet weather. 

The game was scheduled to be played at Roots Hall on 23 July, however due to inclement conditions the pitch preparations have been delayed. 

The club says tickets have been taken off sale while a new venue is sought. 

Pre-season match between West Ham and Southend
Getty Images

In the news...

Jack Warren

BBC Local Live

Here are the top stories we've covered on Essex Live today:

  • Police are continuing to search for a missing Essex taxi driver who is well known online for his regular appearances on an Arsenal fan site
  • A Post Office in Great Totham has been targeted by thieves who stole a cash machine for the second time in just over six months
  • Ceremonies have been taking place around the county to mark 100 years since the beginning of the Battle of the Somme  
  • Essex saw near-record levels of rainfall in June with 111.9m falling in the county during that period 

Firefighters tackle Grays container blaze for more than 24 hours

Essex Fire and Rescue has been busy tackling this container fire over the past 24 hours.

Fire
Essex Fire and Rescue

The containers, thought to contain wood, fabric and plastic, caught alight at about 02:25 yesterday morning. 

Fire
Essex Fire and Rescue

Crews continue to tackle the blaze in Maidstone Road, Grays.

Fire
Essex Fire and Rescue

The cause of the fire is not yet known.    

Wet wet wet... Essex sees near-record levels of rain in June

This time last year we were basking in the hottest July day ever recorded. 

Fast forward 365 days and it's the polar opposite. 

Clouds looming over Stanford-le-Hope
BBC

Today's maximum temperature is expected to be half that of the 36.7C (98F) recorded on 1 July 2015, and if you've looked out the window you'll notice it's pretty grey and wet too. 

In fact, we've had so much rain in the past month that Essex experienced near-record levels. Between 1 June and 27 June, 111.9mm of rain fell in the county. The previous high was 122.5mm.

Don't you just love the Great British summer? 

Wreaths laid at Thiepval for 13 fallen Harlow soldiers on the Somme

The leader of the Harlow Conservatives has been to Thiepval in France today to lay a wreath in tribute to the 13 soldiers from the town who died in the Battle of the Somme. 

Wreath
Twitter/@HarlowTory
Wreath
Twitter/@HarlowTory

Thieves steal cash machine from Great Totham Post Office for second time

A clean-up is under way at this Post Office in Great Totham after thieves stole a cash machine for the second time in just over six months. 

Post Office
BBC
Post Office
BBC

A vehicle was used to pull the cash point from inside the shop, causing "significant damage to the building" at about 04:00 this morning, Essex Police say.

If you find the remains of the machine discarded you're asked to call the force on 101.  

Who is your MP backing for the next Conservative leader?

You'd be hard pressed not to hear about the Conservative leadership race at the moment - but who are our MPs backing for the job? 

We asked them that question...  

Conservative contenders
BBC

Theresa May:

  • Simon Burns (Chelmsford) 
  • Stephen Metcalfe (Basildon South & Thurrock East)
  • Sir Eric Pickles (Brentwood & Ongar)
  • Will Quince (Colchester)

Michael Gove:

  • John Whittingdale (Maldon)

Andrea Leadsom:

  • John Baron (Basildon & Billiericay)
  • Bernard Jenkin (Harwich & North Essex)

Undecided/Undeclared:

  • Sir David Amess (Southend West)
  • Robert Halfon (Harlow)
  • James Cleverly (Braintree)
  • Jackie Doyle-Price (Thurrock)
  • James Duddridge (Rochford & Southend East)
  • Mark Francois (Rayleigh & Wickford)
  • Rebecca Harris (Castle Point)
  • Alan Haselhurst (Saffron Walden)
  • Eleanor Laing (Epping Forest)
  • Priti Patel (Witham) 

Southend United up one place in League One table after Bury deducted points

Good news Shrimpers - Southend United have just gone up a place in League One, despite the season finishing almost two months ago. 

It's after Bury were deducted three points for fielding an ineligible player against the Blues on 8 May.

Southend now finish the 15/16 season 14th in the table.

Roots Hall
Getty Images

Battle of Somme: Your comments

Lots of you have taken to Facebook to pay your respects to those who lost their lives in the Battle of the Somme 100 years ago

Somme
Getty Images

Fran wrote: "It will be 100 years on Sunday when my uncle John Clark died on the Somme, he was just 18 years old."

Brenda said: "So many families had so much loss, and some of these boys were literally lads. Bless them."

Joe added: "I'm so glad I was not there".

Battle of the Somme 'significant to all of us'

There have been lots of memorial services taking place around Essex today to mark 100 years since the start of the Battle of the Somme. 

The Commander of Colchester Garrison, Lt Col Ciaran Griffin, says marking this event is extremely important.

Lt Col Ciaran Griffin - Commander of Colchester Garrison
Lt Col Ciaran Griffin

It's very significant to all of us both those of us in the forces now and the vast numbers who have ancestors or family members involved in the Somme battle."

Lt Col Ciaran GriffinCommander of Colchester Garrison

Essex soldiers that fell in the Somme: Sgt Percy Boyle

Sgt Percy Boyle
Southend Museum

Sgt Percy Boyle of Westborough Road, Westcliff-on-Sea, died on this day 100 years ago during the Battle of Somme.

The 28-year-old was killed in action during an attack at Gommecourt. He is commemorated on Pier and Face 9C at the Thiepval Memorial. 

Before signing up, Sgt Boyle was a keen tennis player, a local councillor and worked as a clerk and cashier at the Southend Waterworks Company. 

Essex soldiers that fell in the Somme: Rifleman Fred Choppen

Rifleman Fred Choppen
Southend Museum

Rifleman Fred Choppen of Church Road, Thundersley was killed during the first day of the Battle of Flers-Courceltte.

The 27-year-old worked as a dairyman and was enlisted in Westcliff for the 7th Battalion, King's Royal Rifle Corps, arriving in France in August 1915. 

He was the youngest of three children. 

Essex soldiers that fell in the Somme: Pte Reginald McLean Scott

We're returning to the Somme commemorations now and remembering the Essex soldiers who fell in the battle...

Pte Reginald McLean Scott
Southend Museum

Pte Reginald McLean Scott was from Canvey Island. He moved there in 1892 from Pittlewell, Southend. 

Reginald enlisted in November 1914 with "D" Company, 11th Battalion, Essex Regiment where in landed in France in August 1915. 

He was killed by a shell on 19 September 1916. 

If you're just joining us...

Jack Warren

BBC Local Live

Here are the top stories from the Essex newsroom this afternoon: 

  • Police are continuing to search for missing Arsenal fan and Essex man Claudio "Claude" Callegair
  • A 22-year-old man has appeared in court charged with murdering a man in Basildon town centre on Tuesday
  • Ceremonies have been taking place around the county to mark 100 years since the beginning of the Battle of the Somme  

Man in court on murder charge after Basildon stabbing

A 22-year-old man has been remanded in custody after appearing in court, charged with murdering a man in Basildon.

Basildon town centre
BBC

Daniel Mitchell-Monroe, 37, died from stab wounds to his chest in Basildon on Tuesday.  

Joram Bakumanya, of no fixed address, wore a dark jumper as he spoke only to confirm his name at Chelmsford Crown Court. He'll next appear on 22 August. 

Claude's disappearance attracts national news coverage...

The disappearance of Essex man and avid Arsenal fan Claudio Callegair has attracted the attention of the national newspapers. 

  • The Mirror reports: "Police 'extremely concerned' for ArsenalFanTV star Claudio Callegari after he vanishes having been subjected to 'disgusting trolling'"
  • The Daily Mail says: "Arsenal internet sensation Claudio 'Claude' Callegari missing"
  • The Irish Independent writes: "Police issue missing persons alert for famously angry Arsenal fan and internet sensation"

Papers
BBC

Police continue to search for missing avid Arsenal fan Claude

Police are continuing to search for missing Arsenal fan and Essex man Claudio "Claude" Callegair. 

The 53-year-old taxi driver, who became an online celebrity after his regular appearances on ArsenalFan TV, disappeared from his home in Broxted yesterday morning. 

Claudio "Claude" Callegair.
Essex Police

Among those sharing the story on Twitter is Piers Morgan, who tweeted: "Claude's a great guy, hope he's OK".   

View more on twitter

Essex Police says Claudio may have been in Edmonton, London at about 15:00 yesterday.

Wreaths laid in Colchester by town's MP and commander of garrison

An extract from a Somme solider's diary

One of those who survived the Somme was L/Cpl George Mitchell from Woodford. 

His granddaughter, Alison Mitchell, has been marking the centenary today at North Weald where she read an extract from her grandfather's diary. 

Alison Mitchell
BBC

03:00 am, my face is wet and bloody and looking down I see my gas mask carrier is a deep red. The fingers on my left hand are likewise crimsoned and numb. At the end of the mound of earth that covers the spot where my six men had been crouching, there's one dragging himself out the mud, nursing an arm, otherwise it is motionless."

Extract from the diary of L/Cpl George Mitchell

Young and old gather in Basildon to remember the Somme

Ian Puckey

BBC Essex, live from Basildon

In the drizzle in front of St Martin's church, young and old gathered to remember those who fell 100 years ago today.

Basildon
BBC

A two minutes silence followed the Last Post, then trench whistles blew to signify the start of the bloodiest day in British military history.

A poem was then read from children from Woodlands School in tribute to the 20,000 men and boys who went over the top but never returned.

Overnight vigil held in Somme memorial

Some more pictures from the overnight vigil at North Weald airfield. 

Replica trenches were built here to mark 100 years since the Battle of Somme. 

North Weald memorial
BBC
North Weald memorial
BBC
North Weald memorial
BBC

What was the Battle of Somme?

For almost five months between July and November 1916, the Battle of the Somme was fought in the fields of northern France. It would change the landscape of World War One, redefine military tactics and move the Allies one step closer to victory.

Pozieres Memorial, France
Getty Images

The battle came with a cost. It inflicted heavy losses on both sides and was one of the bloodiest battles of the entire war.

For the British forces, the first day of the Battle of the Somme resulted in the heaviest losses ever suffered in British military history. By the time night fell on 1 July 1916, there were 57,470 casualties, 19,240 of whom died. The British had gained just three square miles of territory.

The Somme remembered in Colchester

People gather at Colchester War Memorial at 7:15 to commemorate the Big Push 100 years ago today.

People gather at Colchester War Memorial at 7:15 to commemorate the Big Push 100 years ago today.

Replica WW1 trench built at North Weald airfield

BBC Essex reporter Robby West has been to North Weald airfield where a vigil has been taking place overnight. 

View more on twitter

Two minutes silence held in Harlow

#Somme100

Welcome to Essex Live

Jack Warren

BBC Local Live

Good morning and welcome to Essex Live.

We'll start by taking a look at some of the Somme 100 memorial events taking place around the county. 

Somme
BBC

If you've been to an event marking the Somme we'd love to hear from you. Drop us a tweet, email or visit our Facebook page