Essex

Mersea Island declares independence for services charity

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Media captionThere is only one road on and off Mersea Island which is regularly cut off by the tide

An island off the coast of Essex with one access road for traffic travelling on and off has declared independence for the day as part of its celebrations for the Diamond Jubilee.

Anyone travelling to Mersea Island on Monday has to buy a 50p passport with all takings going to the Help the Heroes charity.

The island's High Street has also been cut off for a giant street party before the lighting of a beacon on Monday night.

The passport control is being staffed by the Royal Army Medical Corps and the medics are collecting the money.

Capt Robert Hinton said the Jubilee celebrations had really taken off on the island.

"We're collecting money for injured servicemen and their families but the residents are celebrating in a big way with street parties, concerts and music festivals.

"I have lived here for six years and I know some people who might want permanent independence but we are doing it just for a day.

"We may have declared independence but the Queen is still our head of state."

Town councils, companies, communities and churches will all light beacons across Essex later to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

County residents plan to light beacons in Chelmsford, the UK's newest city, towns, villages and hamlets at 22:00 BST.

Full details can be found at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Beacons website.

See all the latest Diamond Jubilee news and features at bbc.co.uk/diamondjubilee .

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