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Body found in hunt for missing woman

Police searching for a missing 59-year-old woman have recovered a body from the River Ouse.

Shirley Cranston, from Burgh-le-Marsh was last seen on March 12 when she left her car in a car park in Skegness.

Lincolnshire Police said the body of a woman had been recovered from the river at Clenchwarton, near King's Lynn.

A force spokesperson said: "Although the woman has not formally been identified, we believe this to be Shirley Cranston."

Elderly people warned over phone scams following spate of fake calls

Elderly people are being warned to be on their guard following a spate of scam phone calls from fraudsters pretending to be police officers or government workers.

Someone on a computer

In the last 24 hours, Norfolk Police said a number of pensioners have been targeted by callers telling them their bank cards were being used fraudulently or asking them to visit banks to withdraw money.

Another elderly resident was phoned by someone who said they were from Public Health England, before being asked if they were being supported by family and friends during the coronavirus lockdown and then trying to get personal details.

The force said neither banks nor its officers would ever ask for PIN numbers or bank card details over the phone.

Coronavirus deaths rise in the East

Nikki Fox

BBC Look East

The number of people who have died from coronavirus continues to rise in the East of England.

Last night, Public Health England announced the statistics for 31 March at the region's hospital trusts:

  • Basildon - 10 more deaths
  • Luton & Dunstable - 1
  • East & North Herts - 5
  • Norfolk & Norwich - 2
  • Northampton - 2
  • Southend - 3
  • Queen Elizabeth, King's Lynn - 3
  • James Paget, Gorleston - 2
  • Addenbrooke's, Cambridge - 2
  • Essex partnership (mental health inpatient) - 1
  • West Herts Hospitals - 4
  • Stoke Mandeville, Aylesbury - 2
  • Wycombe Hospital - 3

If a hospital trust is not listed it means no deaths were recorded there on Tuesday.

The total number of confirmed (tested) regional cases now stands at 1,945.

Across the UK, the death toll stands at 1,789.

Mall sends 'appreciation package' to ambulance crew

Sarah Jenkins

BBC News

The Mall in Luton has sent an "appreciation package" to ambulance workers in the town.

The shopping centre tweeted that it wanted to thank crews for "all their hard work" so sent a package "full of tasty treats".

View more on twitter

'If you are in need, we will be there,' Norfolk councils' pledge

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Councils across Norfolk are telling people “if you are in need, we will be there for you”.

Food parcel

The government has told 1.4m vulnerable people in the UK not to leave their homes for 12 weeks, with the list also sent to local authorities to tell them what support people need.

Trevor Holden, in charge of Norfolk’s public services’ response, said councils had gone a step further and would write to everyone in the county to ask if they needed help, while a helpline - 0344 8008020 – had also been set up.

He said: "We should be getting food today which should find its way to people by the end of the week - but if someone is reading this and thinking ‘but I need food now’ please don’t wait. Give us a call and we will help you."

Coronavirus: Age UK answers your questions

Caroline Abrahams talks to Susie Fowler-Watt about Covid-19 for the over 70s.
From medication deliveries to being able to walk your dog if you have underlying health conditions - Caroline Abrahams talks Covid-19 for the over 70s.

Good morning

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Welcome to our live page where we'll bring you regular regional updates about the coronavirus pandemic. Thank you for joining us.

We'll bring you the latest news from the East of England until 18:00.

Woman faces court accused of flouting 'go home' requests

A woman is due to appear in court accused of repeatedly ignoring officers' requests to return home under new police powers brought in over the coronavirus crisis.

The woman, in her 40s, will be the first person in the county to be prosecuted since the policing measures were brought in on Thursday.

The force said a woman was asked to return home three times in Great Yarmouth on Monday, and will now be summonsed to attend magistrates' court.

Police have been given powers to fine people who are outside without "reasonable excuse" as part of the government's Covid-19 containment strategy.

Norfolk Constabulary's Chief Constable Simon Bailey

Chief Constable Simon Bailey said: "Our communities are looking out for each other and listening to the government's message to stay at home, and I thank them for that."

Meanwhile, he also warned that anyone deliberately spitting or coughing on others would be dealt with "robustly".

Cornavirus deaths rise in the East

Nikki Fox

BBC Look East

The number of people who have died from the coronavirus continues to rise the East.

Last night, Public Health England announced the statistics for the previous 24 hours at regional hospitals.

They are from Sunday evening to Monday evening.

  • Colchester 3 more deaths
  • Herts Community Trust 1
  • Luton and Dunstable 4
  • Mid Essex 3
  • Norfolk and Norwich 1
  • Northampton 3
  • Princess Alexandra, Harlow 9

It brings the total number of deaths in the East region since the outbreak began to 100.

Colchester Hospital
East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust

Nick Hulme, chief executive of East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust which runs Colchester and Ipswich hospitals, said: "We can confirm that sadly, three patients, one in their 90s and one in their 70s, both of whom had underlying health conditions, together with another patient in their early 80s who did not have underlying health conditions, have passed away at Colchester Hospital.

"They had tested positive for COVID-19.

"Our thoughts and condolences remain with the patients family and loved ones at this difficult time."

Coronavirus cases continue to rise

The number of coronavirus cases for the east of England were released by Public Health England on Monday evening.

Here is latest breakdown confirmed from hospital tests:.

  • Bedford Borough 34
  • Cambridgeshire 109
  • Central Bedfordshire 60
  • Essex 301
  • Hertfordshire 339
  • Luton 69
  • Milton Keynes 94
  • Norfolk 133
  • Northamptonshire 153
  • Peterborough 24
  • Suffolk 100
  • Southend 31
  • Thurrock 41

College donates personal protection equipment to hospital and police

A Norfolk and Suffolk college has donated thousands of items of personal protection equipment to its local hospital and police.

East Coast College, which is based in Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft, dropped off masks, disposable aprons and gloves to the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston and Norfolk Police.

It said the items would have been used by students on a variety of courses.

"We will continue to support our local community during these unprecedented times," it tweeted.

View more on twitter

What the papers are saying in Norfolk

Here's how the newspapers are reporting the coronavirus pandemic...

  • The Norwich Evening News reports that OPEN, a Norwich charity supporting thousands of vulnerable young people, is fighting for survival after losing funding
  • One of Norfolk’s oldest auction houses has cancelled auctions for the first time in more than 150 years, according to the Eastern Daily Press
  • While the Great Yarmouth Mercury reports that a family has offered a four-pack of toilet roll as a reward for find their missing cockatiel

Co-op to stop accepting loyalty card and handing out charity tokens

The East of England Co-operative have announced a series of changes to how they operate their food stores to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The group, based in Ipswich and with stores across Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk said it would be no longer accepting member reward cards to avoid handling them, but advised customers to keep receipts to add the points at a later date.

Stores will also no longer hand out green tokens, which go in the charity-of-your-choice boxes.

East of England Co-operative
EoE Co-op

In line with many other supermarket the Co-op will also be installing screens at checkouts and have signs on the floor to keep shoppers 2m (6ft 6in) apart.

English Heritage open up sites online

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

If you're missing being able to get out and about to some of the region's interesting historic sites, then English Heritage can bring some of them to you - online.

It has highlighted 30 of its buildings, monuments and sites across the country available to visit online - including a few in the East of England.

Audley End
English Heritage

The sites, including Audley End House and Gardens in Essex, Wrest Park and its Collections Store in Bedfordshire and Grime’s Graves in Norfolk, use digital technology, to bring their stories to life via the Google Arts & Culture platform.

Last week, the organisation took the decision to close all its staffed historic sites and cancel all public events.

Curatorial director Anna Eavis said: "We look forward to welcoming visitors back to those sites as soon as it is safe to do so, but until then we hope these online experiences will allow people an escape, and the chance to learn something new."

Sharing countryside beauty during self-isolation

Adam Williams

BBC England

Norfolk countryside
Brad Damms

A photographer is sharing his images on social media in a bid to help those self-isolating "see the beauty of the countryside".

Brad Damms, from Norfolk, has been posting landscape and wildlife images daily.

He says he hopes that, for people who can't leave the house, his photos will "lift spirits and take their mind off our current situation".

See a selection of his images here.

Charity broken into for coffee, sugar and toilet rolls

Phil Shepka

BBC News

Household items
50 Backpacks for the Homeless

Essential supplies meant for elderly and vulnerable people who are self-isolating have been stolen during a break-in at a charity premises in Wisbech this morning.

It happened at about 02:20 at the Vision Centre on Bridge Street, in premises run by 50 Backpacks for the Homeless.

As well as causing about £1,500 worth of damage, the charity's chairman Simon said stocks that "we're struggling to get most of, such as coffee, sugar and toilet rolls" were also taken.

"Initially it made me feel angry, but then when I saw the support we have from the community, I felt quite overwhelmed," he added.

"This will make us stronger, it will unite the community more and we will carry on growing and growing and supplying the way we have."

Cambridgeshire Police said it was investigating and appealed for information.

Advertising slump 'threat' to EDP and Evening News

Nic Rigby

BBC News

A drop in advertising revenue resulting from the coronavirus lockdown has put a major newspaper group's future in jeopardy, a senior manager has warned.

Archant's main building in Norwich

Tim Youngman, the head of marketing for Archant - which publishes the Eastern Daily Press, Norwich Evening News, East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star, said the lack of advertising was a "threat".

"We are a mainly advertising-funded business and if we don't get that advertising revenue unfortunately the future looks bleak not just for us but for newspapers," he said.

"We want to support those local businesses that are forced to close but are also asking larger businesses not in jeopardy to continue to support us."

He said newspapers were playing a key role in supporting the community during the coronavirus lockdown.

Health minister, and Suffolk MP, tests positive

West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock says he's tested positive for COVID-19.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care tweeted the news and said his symptoms were "mild" and he was self-isolating and working from home.

View more on twitter

Earlier, Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed he had also tested positive and was self-isolating in Downing Street.

Cheers all round as the East says thanks to NHS

Coronavirus: Cheers all round as the East says thanks to NHS
There was clapping, cheering, pots clanging and car horns honking as people across the East of England gave their thanks to the NHS.

Many people took part in the social media campaign on Thursday night, where people across the UK applauded the work of the health service treating coronavirus patients.

'Thank you NHS'

Oscar's been using his time off to create a masterpiece thanking the NHS for all their hard work.

The ambulance service were definitely impressed by his artistic talent.

View more on twitter

Six more coronavirus deaths reported in East of England

Nikki Fox

BBC Look East

Six more deaths from coronavirus were recorded in the BBC East region on Thursday evening.

Thee people died in hospitals run by East and North Herts NHS Trust and three at Princess Alexandra in Harlow.

The UK death date rose to more than 550 as of yesterday evening.

Here are the latest numbers of positive cases (not deaths) recorded in our region:

  • Norfolk 51 (a rise of 6 on previous day)
  • Suffolk 42 (up 7)
  • Peterborough 10 (up 1)
  • Cambridgeshire 47 (up 6)
  • Northamptonshire 64 (up 21)
  • Bedford 10 (up 3)
  • Central Bedfordshire 28 (up 4)
  • Milton Keynes 38 (up 9)
  • Buckinghamshire 66 (up 7)
  • Luton 30 (up 1)
  • Hertfordshire 170 (up 23)
  • Essex 130 (up 42)
  • Southend12 (up 3)
  • Thurrock 20 (up 5)

These figures will not include people have show symptoms, but have not been tested.

Further figures can be found at Public Health England.

Coronavirus updates - the latest

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Welcome to our live updates page where you can keep up with all the regional news on the coronavirus pandemic. Thank you for joining us.

We'll bring you all the latest developments and news from the East of England until 18:00 GMT.

Clap for our Carers

Set your alarms for 20:00 this evening when a big round of applause is planned to thank all the NHS staff working tirelessly to keep us safe.

If you want to take part all you need do is put your hands together from your windows and doors.

View more on twitter

Library's singalong an online hit

Adam and Hannah performing Bounce and Rhyme
Norfolk Libraries and Information Service

A nursery rhyme singalong by staff at a Norfolk library has proved an online hit with parents and children around the UK.

A rousing performance of Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes; Five Little Monkeys; Wind the Bobbin Up and other pre-school favourites was broadcast on Facebook on Tuesday morning. The video has since racked up more than 20,000 views online.

Librarians Adam and Hannah, who host weekly singalongs at Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library, said: "We know you can't come to us, so we're bringing our Bounce and Rhyme to you."

A mum from Surrey commented: "Thank you for making us giggle and providing some happiness during this crazy time."

"Loving this from Somerset," said another. Others tuned in from Wales and Scotland.

The library is also providing a daily storytime online and a weekly Lego club.

Margaret Dewsbury, cabinet member for communities at Norfolk County Council, said: “We’ve even had viewers logging on from other parts of the country and the response so far has been wonderful, showing just how brilliant and well-loved these activities are.”

View more on facebook

Norfolk’s World Dumpling Championships to take place online

Eastern Daily Press

The organiser of the World Dumpling Championships, launched in Norwich last year, has announced that, due to the coronavirus outbreak, the competition will run online in 2020.

Beginning this Saturday, March 28, and running for two weeks, participants are encouraged to post pictures of their dumpling-making attempts on social media, with the chance to win the ultimate prize – the Crystal Dumpling.

Coronavirus: 'The beauty of the outside remains'

Strumpshaw Fen: The isolated beauty of nature
With the government's request for us to stay at home to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, many people are now missing the opportunity to spend time in the great outdoors.

On the morning before the government announced its new guidelines resulting in the closure of many nature reserves, BBC Look East cameraman Shaun Whitmore was at Strumpshaw Fen in Norfolk.

Here he shares his last trip to the reserve for a while.

Staff shortages could affect fruit and veg from the East

Pete Cooper

BBC News

The Country Land and Business Association has warned of staff shortages in the farming sector across the East of England due to coronavirus.

If farmers could not find the workers they needed, it could lead to a shortage of fruit and vegetables, it said.

PA Media

Cath Crowther from the association said: "There are staff shortages because of travel restrictions and illness which could impact on fruit and vegetable supply going forward."

She also said that those farms that had diversified into leisure and tourism were also suffering, and that those with cafes were trying to "redirect" their supplies.

Ambulance trust 'could not be prouder' of staff and volunteers

East of England Ambulance NHS Trust has praised on Twitter the "incredible" work its staff and volunteers are doing across Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk.

The trust said it wanted to "dedicate #ThankYouThursday" to all those "working incredibly hard around the clock to make sure that our patients remain safe and get help when they need it the most. We couldn't be prouder to call you #TeamEEAST."

Ambulance staff
East of England Ambulance Service

Five more coronavirus deaths reported in the East

Orla Moore

BBC News

Five more deaths from coronavirus were recorded in the East of England on Wednesday evening.

Four people died in hospitals run by the North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, and a fifth was reported at the West Suffolk Hospital.

They were among 28 people nationally whose deaths after testing positive for coronavirus were announced on Wednesday.

Here are the latest numbers of positive cases recorded in our region:

  • Norfolk 45
  • Suffolk 35
  • Peterborough 9
  • Cambridgeshire 41
  • Northamptonshire 43
  • Bedford 7
  • Central Bedfordshire 24
  • Milton Keynes 29
  • Buckinghamshire 59
  • Luton 29
  • Hertfordshire 147
  • Essex 88
  • Southend 9
  • Thurrock 15

Further figures can be found at Public Health England.

Funeral directors prepare for coronavirus 'storm'

The director of a chain of Norfolk funeral directors says her company has ordered more coffins as it prepares in "the lull before the storm".

Anne Beckett-Allen of Rosedale Funeral Home said her staff and bereaved families were also having to cope with regulations changing almost by the day.

She told BBC Radio Norfolk funeral directors were having to restrict family members from travelling together in the same car, and "arranging funerals over Skype and conference call".

The company, which has bases in Attleborough, Diss and Wymondham, has also banded together with other firms in the region to set up a support group for employees.

Coffins lined up in Italian church
Getty Images

Hospital worker marks 21st with extra shifts

Eastern Daily Press

A hospital worker has marked her 21st birthday by taking on extra shifts at Norfolk's Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Jill Forbes said she did not need the “perfect” day, as she and her colleagues continue to deal with the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

Sandringham Flower Show cancelled

The 2020 Sandringham Flower Show is the latest event in the region to be cancelled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

It had been scheduled to take place on 29 July, but organisers say it would be "impossible" to hold the event while protecting the welfare of visitors, exhibitors and staff.

"I would like to thank all those who support the Show and have enabled us to raise so much money for charity over the years," said David Reeve, chairman. "We very much hope to be back in 2021."

Sandringham Flower Show

Parking warning from 999 service

The increased number of cars parked in residential areas could pose a problem for emergency services, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service has warned.

With many more people staying at home, the service has asked people to make sure they've parked considerately - so that 999 responders can get to those in need.

View more on twitter

Coronavirus updates - the latest

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Welcome to our live updates page where you can keep up with all the regional news on the coronavirus pandemic. Thank you for joining us.

We'll bring you all the latest developments and news from the East of England until 18:00 GMT.

Police offices shut because of coronavirus

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

Norfolk Police is among many forces that have closed public inquiry offices where people answer bail, report crimes and find information.

The step has been taken in response to government advice, a police spokesman said.

Chief Constable Simon Bailey
Norfolk Police

Those who need to contact police can use a yellow phone on the outside of office buildings but Norfolk Police warns that in the interests of hygiene these should only be used in an emergency.

Chief Constable Simon Bailey said: "Public engagement is extremely important to us, our focus is firmly on front-line policing and those crimes which cause most harm.

"By changing our approach we are aiming to ensure we protect the most vulnerable at this complex and continually changing time."

Inquests postponed or suspended due to crisis

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

Some coroner's courts are responding to the coronavirus crisis with inquests in Northamptonshire suspended until September.

Coroner Anne Pember said: "In view of the present COVID-19 situation it is with regret that I need to inform you that all inquests listed between now and 1 September have been suspended until further notice."I will review the situation on 31 July."

All inquests due to be heard at Buckinghamshire Coroner's Court until Monday, 27 April have been postponed and will be rescheduled.

In Cambridgeshire, the coroner and inquests website warns that "during these unprecedented times, hearings may change at short notice".

People are asked to check the website the evening before a hearing is scheduled, for the most up to date information.

Suffolk County Council said: “Due to the fast-changing situation in respect of COVID-19 the Coroner’s Service is closely monitoring the government advice and considering any impact this might have.

But no announcements have been made by the coroners in Bedfordshire, Essex, Norfolk or Hertfordshire.

Shake It Off to lift our spirits

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

Everyone needs their spirits lifting at the moment, so St John Ambulance cadets in the East of England have come up with a "banging" idea to make us feel a little bit better.

Luke Stevenson, and others, want fellow cadets and St John Ambulance members to make up dance moves.

They are putting together a video to Taylor Swift's Shake It Off - but need some help.

They want to show that everyone is "standing together" and that some "fun" can still be had.

So send your best moves via email - sjaeastrcoty@outlook.com - or via Twitter using #SJADanceForEast.

Just make sure you never miss a beat especially if you are lightning on your feet!

View more on twitter

Coronavirus isolation 'could increase abuse'

Coronavirus isolation 'could increase abuse' - Norfolk police chief
Domestic and child sexual abuse could increase due to coronavirus forcing people to stay indoors, Norfolk's police chief has warned. 

He told BBC Radio Norfolk he feared the UK-wide lockdown could lead to the "exploitation of vulnerable people".

Mr Bailey said people in safeguarding jobs had a duty to be "professionally curious", but that society as a whole had a responsibility.

"If we all pull together... we'll come through it," he said.

People acting 'as if threat from coronavirus didn’t exist' says top cop

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

Two chief constables have issued strongly-worded statements calling on communities to comply with new government rules restricting people’s movements to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Steve Jupp (below), who heads Suffolk Police, said: "The moves so far to limit social distancing have not had the necessary effect, with some people still going about their business as if the threat from coronavirus didn’t exist.

"It has to stop.”

Steve Jupp
Suffolk Police

He said officers would negotiate with people seen to be flouting the new rules before resorting to the law.

Norfolk's chief constable Simon Bailey (below) said he was staggered to hear holiday resorts had been full of people over the weekend.

Simon Bailey

Public gatherings of more than two people who do not live together should stop, the government said, and shops selling non-essential items have been asked to close.

New legislation has been introduced giving police powers to enforce the new rules.

Mr Bailey said: "Officers will continue to be out in their communities, speaking to people as we always do and taking the opportunity to explain the new rules and ask what people are doing and why they are out."

Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd said: "If the public do not comply with this lockdown the police will use their powers to enforce it, and have my full support in that."