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Visit now for the latest news direct from Hayling Islander and updated throughout the day
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    A mother says her 21-year-old son was 'failed' by the lack of resources for mental health in Northampton after he took his own life last year.

    The young man from Northampton was found dead in a wooded area near his home on June 8, 2018.

    But at his inquest yesterday (January 16), his mother told the coroner she believed her son 'reached out for help and never received it in time' and claimed there is not enough help in Northampton for people suffering from mental health issues.

    The coroner also heard that the 21-year-old had reached out to mental health charity The Lowdown for counselling - and was 58th on their waiting list in the week before he died.

    His mother said: "[My son] often presented himself as a happy-go-lucky person but as he got older I think he became more troubled.

    "The last time I saw him was on June 7 when I returned home early from work because I was worried for him. I thought he was doing okay. I knew he was anxiously waiting for some counselling sessions to begin.

    "Unfortunately, I believe he thought these counselling sessions would not materialise.

    "My son knew he could reach out for help but he never received it in time. It is my belief that [my son] was failed by the lack of resources for mental health in Northampton."

    In the weeks following the young man's death, a JustGiving page launched in his memory raised more than £1,300 for mental health charities.

    The page, which was launched by a friend, said: "People that knew [him] would know what a kind and generous person he was. He always had time to talk about anything on your mind and was always one of the first people to make a joke.

    "RIP mate we love you and will never forget you."

    The Lowdown - which is a charity that supports young people with mental health issues - has been contacted for a comment.

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    A calendar in memory of a Northamptonshire police dog who died defending a constable and the public has raised over £500.

    Police Dog Bryn is perhaps the most famous dog who has served the Northamptonshire force after he died on duty protecting his handler, PC Ian Churms, from a man brandishing a hunting rifle.

    Now, 20 years later, a ceremony will be held to present the earnings from a fundraising calendar featuring the life of PD Bryn to the National K9 Memorial Charity.

    The calendar has been organised by a group of former Northamptonshire Police officers and staff - who last year also raised £2,000 to buy and name a new dog for the force, named Bryn Jnr.

    Former superintendent Bob Smart, who helped organise the charity calender, said: "Police dogs are a hugely effective part of the police force. They are invaluable. Every single day they are successfully tracking down criminals and criminal property.

    "Bryn was important as he was the only police dog I can recall in Northamptonshire's history that was shot on duty protecting the public and his handler.

    "At Christmas, as a final act of the memorial year, we produced a calendar of early shots of Bryn’s exciting life and collected £500 which we will be donating to the National K9 Memorial Charity."

    The cash raised by the calendar will be presented to K9 at a ceremony at Wootton Hall at 6pm on January 22. Police-dog-in-training Bryn Jnr will also attend.

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    Safeguarding staff at The Duston School (TDS) have issued a warning to parents after a student was flashed at.

    In a letter sent out to parents and guardians this week, designated safeguarding and child protection officer Mr Martin, wrote: "Please be aware that the safeguarding team have been made aware of an incident which occurred this week, in which a male exposed himself to a TDS student.

    "A report has been made to Northamptonshire Police."

    The incident happened at about 8.15am, as the student made their way to the school via the footpath to the side of St Crispins Social Club on Berrywood Road.

    The male was described by the school as "approximately 6ft 2in, black with short hair and was wearing blue tracksuit bottoms and a black jumper."

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    Cobblers stadium is gearing up to welcome two teams packed with celebrities this April all in aid of Duston lad, Archie, who has a rare muscle-wasting condition.

    Six-year-old Archie Kambanis has a rare condition called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), which he was diagnosed with when he was just two.

    His mum Kay, who is among the one in 40 people to hold the gene, was told his muscles would eventually shrink and die, but his brain would remain unaffected.

    This April, celebrities including Love Island's Alex Bowen and Jack Fowler, Calum Best, Eastender's Jake Wood and Dean Gaffney will take part in a charity football match at the Cobblers' ground to raise money for Archie's Army and NTFC community trust.

    Kay said: "The fact Archie's Army is the chosen charity for this year's celebrity soccer is overwhelming.

    "Being a parent of a child with a life limiting condition is often a lonely place.

    "We have so many people behind us on Archie's journey, which is an amazing feeling."

    SMA is a life-shortening condition where the motor nerve cells in the spinal cord become diseased, which causes a decline in physical strength. As a result, walking and eating become difficult and a simple chest infection could be fatal.

    Although there is medication abroad available to treat Archie’s disease, overseas one injection of the drug Spinraza would cost Kay about £75,000 every four months for the rest of his life.

    At the moment Archie uses a wheelchair to get around and attends physiotherapy sessions, which costs £70 once a fortnight. He also has hydrotherapy sessions once a week, with a £85 price tag.

    Kay added: "Last year Archie and his army raised an incredible £26,000 to buy Archie a new powered wheelchair. Archie's new chair is due to be handed over to him during the last week of January.

    "Archie's Army continues to raise money, which is held in a special account for him, meaning he can access on-going private therapy, equipment and home adaptations to ensure he can live the most independent life possible.

    "With the treatment for Spinal Muscular Atrophy on the horizon, it is also crucial that his fund is kept topped up so we can afford to travel to Euorpe to access treatment if it does not become available here in England."

    The youngster has undergone hamstring lengthening surgery to enable him to continue using specialist equipment to stand and has scoliosis, a dislocated hip and tilted pelvis.

    Due to the disease progressing Archie cannot walk, stand, crawl or get from a lying to sitting position on his own.

    Kay hopes one day Archie, who has type 2 SMA, can access this medication, not yet available on the NHS, for free.

    Last year the charity match welcomed 3,700 fans in aid of child cancer charity Niamh’s Next Steps, which was set up in 2013 after the death of five-year-old Niamh Curry, who died battling neuroblastoma.

    PICTURE GALLERY: Niamh's Next Step celebrity charity football match at Sixfields Stadium

    Tickets are now on sale and are priced at £10 for adults and £5 for under 16s from

    Mascot and other pitch side packages are on sale, for more information email

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    Brownleys is a magnificent seven bedroom property which sits amidst an impressive 11 acre estate.

    The property is available through Michael Graham for £1.75 million.

    If you are looking to move somewhere with equestrian facilities, then you need look no further.

    The 11 acre grounds - which include about 8.5 acres of stock-fenced paddocks and a covered walkway from the triple stable-block and garaging to the main house - mean this spacious family home could be your dream property.

    Brownleys offers plenty of flexible living space across two floors. Downstairs are the country house essentials of a kitchen with a utility room and cloakroom, as well as four reception rooms and three bedrooms with ensuite facilities.

    Four further bedrooms are upstairs, two of them ensuite.

    The master bedroom also benefits from a dressing room and wall-to-wall built-in storage.

    Outside the garden is principally laid to lawn and has mature trees and planting, poly tunnels and a greenhouse.

    Outbuildings include an equipment store and a dry store and a large room above the quadruple garage is currently used as a games room but could quite easily be converted to a home office if the new owner harboured plans to run the property as an equestrian concern.

    Granborough is a village in Buckinghamshire with a pub, village hall and church.

    The nearest shop is in the neighbouring village of North Marston and the pretty market town of Winslow is just five miles away.

    Buckingham itself is only seven miles north for further shops and amenities.

    If schools are an important consideration, local private options include Stowe, Swanbourne, Akeley Wood and Thornton College, and Granborough is conveniently placed in the catchment area for the grammar schools in Buckingham and Aylesbury.

    All-important equestrian facilities on the doorstep include Addington Manor Equestrian Centre just 4 miles away, Milton Keynes Eventing Centre 16 miles away and Bicester Hunt with Whaddon Chase which is based in Stratton Audley around 12 miles away.

    Phone 01280 821100 or visit

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    Jewellery and cash were stolen from a property in an East Northants village.

    Offenders broke into the property, in Ashton, on Monday (January 14) and stole the items as well as a push bike, some time between 9am and 6pm.

    Police would like to speak to anyone who may have witnessed anyone acting suspiciously in Ashton on Monday, or who may have any information about the incident.

    Witnesses or anyone with information about this incident can call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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    Police are appealing for help to find a 40-year-old man missing from Northampton.

    David McLaughlin was last seen in the Kingsley area at about 4pm yesterday (Wednesday, January 16) and officers are growing concerned for his welfare.

    David is described as white, 5ft 9in, with a stocky build. He has shoulder-length brown hair and a short beard. He was wearing a multi-coloured knitted hat, blue jeans, a red t-shirt and cream trainers.

    David, or anyone who has seen him or knows of his whereabouts, is asked to call Northamptonshire Police on 101.

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    Patients of GP surgeries were asked a series of questions on behalf of the NHS in March 2018 about how they rated the surgery where they were registered.

    Among the GP Patient Survey question categories was 'Experience of making an appointment' and these are the Northampton surgeries that fell into the bottom 25 per cent nationally, and were therefore described by the NHS as 'among the worst' for this category.

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    The latest maths GCSE re-sit results have summed up 'fantastic' year for Northampton College – with 83 per cent of 16 to 18-year-olds achieving a pass at grade 4 or better.

    The results are significantly above the national average for further education colleges.

    Patrick Leavey, deputy principal of Northampton College, said: “A pass rate of 83 per cent for our 16 to 18-year-olds taking maths GCSE re-sits is absolutely fantastic.

    "We’re very proud of them and it shows the impact a change in surroundings, different ways of learning and high-quality teaching can have on students that were previously struggling in this subject at school.”

    English also performed well, gaining re-sit marks at well above the national average.

    Mr Leavey added: “English and maths are absolutely crucial subjects.

    "They are fundamental to securing employment and developing essential life skills and we are determined to ensure we offer students the best possible teaching to help them achieve GCSE grades that can make a life-changing difference.”

    The full set of results show that, overall, 71 per cent of all those taking the November re-sits of GCSE maths at Northampton College – including those aged 19 and over – achieved a good grade pass.

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    The rate of new house building has continued to increase in Northampton, new data reveals.

    Industry experts forecast new home completions will continue to rise, but warned that the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit may impact demand for new housing.

    Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government data shows that 320 houses were completed in the nine months to September 2018, up from 230 the previous year.

    It only includes new houses, and doesn’t take into account conversions of houses into flats or changes of use from office to dwelling.

    In Northampton, private developers funded 59% of all new homes. Housing associations paid for the rest.

    Polly Neate, chief executive of housing charity Shelter, said the Government needed to increase its efforts to meet its target of 300,000 new homes a year.

    She said: “The fact housebuilding rates have picked up since the start of the decade is a welcome sign, but the Government still needs to make giant strides.

    “To achieve this, it simply cannot rely on private developers alone – building social homes must be top of the agenda.”

    Alongside completed dwellings, building started on a further 180 homes between January and September 2018, down from 240 during the same period in 2017.

    Nationally, new homes completions are on the rise, with 116,670 built and 130,010 started in the period.

    Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation, put the rising number of home completions down to the Government improving conditions for house builders.

    He said: “Successive governments have helped create a much more positive policy environment, that has allowed the industry to invest with confidence in the people and land needed to build more homes.

    “All indicators suggest we will see further increases in output and planning permission for new homes.

    “Unlike the second hand market, new home sales have generally remained resilient to the ongoing uncertainty, but clearly demand for new homes is reliant on a level of economic stability.”

    Nationally house building has mostly decreased since the 1960s. The early part of this decade saw house building at its lowest peacetime level since the 1920s.

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    Cambridge United boss Colin Calderwood has admitted the Cobblers are ‘still very close to my heart’ ahead of this weekend’s crunch clash between the clubs at the Abbey Stadium.

    The Scotsman only took up the managerial reigns at Cambridge last month, but has had a positive impact on their fortunes.

    The U’s were in serious relegation danger when Calderwood was appointed, and although they are far from out of the woods yet, three wins from their past five fixtures has seen them rise to 20th and open up a five-point gap between themselves and the bottom two.

    Last Saturday’s 1-0 win at rock-bottom Notts County was a huge one and it followed on from a 2-0 home win over Stevenage.

    So Calderwood and his team are going for a third straight win against the Cobblers, knowing that a victory would take them to within one point of Keith Curle’s men.

    The 53-year-old is focused on doing just that of course, but he admits he will be upsetting some friends if he does sink Town this weekend - with some of those pals set to be at the game and sitting in the away end.

    “Obviously it was my first managerial job and I have very fond memories of the club from then,” said Calderwood, who was manager at Sixfields from October, 2003 to May, 2006, winning promotion from division three in his final season.

    “As I live in Northampton now they’re still very close to my heart in lots of ways.

    “There will be a few people over supporting the Cobblers who I know and they’ve got divided loyalties

    “They follow and support Northampton, but they’ve always given support to me wherever I’ve been and that’ll continue, maybe just not over 90 minutes!”

    On the team news front, Liam O’Neil and Reggie Lambe won’t be fit to face the Cobblers, with the pair having also missed the win over Notts.

    Paul Lewis is expected to return to the match day squad.

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    The average Northampton household’s borrowing increased by 34% over the last five years, following the national trend of people taking on more new credit card and car financing debt.

    The TUC has warned that household debts are at “crisis level”, blaming austerity and slow wage growth for increasing the burden.

    UK Finance figures show that the average Northampton household borrowed around £1,710 in unsecured debt between April and June last year, the most recent period for which figures are available.

    The figure, which does not include secured loans such as mortgages, means households borrowed roughly £433 more than during the same three months in 2013.

    It means that the area collectively took on an additional £136 million in loans including credit card debt, car finance schemes and bank loans.

    However, unsecured borrowing was down 1% compared to the same period in 2017.

    Levels of borrowing in Northampton were higher than across the East Midlands in general, where the average household took on £1,431 in unsecured debts between April and June 2018.

    The figures also reveal in the difference in borrowing across Northampton. In the NN4 postcode area, households borrowed an average of £2,033, 39% more than the average £1,463 in NN1.

    Across the UK, households borrowed an average of £1,378 in unsecured debts, with those in the South East and London generally taking on more than in other parts of the country.

    The average amount borrowed in the last five years has increased by nearly 20%.

    The TUC said its own analysis suggested that unsecured debt levels reached new highs in 2018, equivalent to £15,385 per household in the third quarter of the year.

    Unsecured debt as a share of household income is now more than 30%, the highest it has ever been, and above the level it reached in 2008 ahead of the financial crisis, said the TUC.

    TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Household debt is at crisis level. Years of austerity and wage stagnation has pushed millions of families deep into the red.

    “The Government is skating on thin ice by relying on household debt to drive growth. A strong economy needs people spending wages, not credit cards and loans.

    “Our economy is not working for workers. They need stronger rights and bargaining powers.”

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    A pet chihuahua is spending its second day lost in Northamptonshire today after he escaped from a car crash.

    Pedro the black and tan chihuahua escaped from his owner's car following an accident on the A43 near Barley Maw Farm, outside Brackley, yesterday morning (January 17).

    The two-year-old family pet belongs to a couple from Didcot, Oxfordshire.

    But today (January 18), Pedro is spending his second day loose in Northamptonshire as his owners have been unable to find him.

    Today, his owners are searching near the scene of the collision at the roundabout of the A421 and A43 near Barley Maw Farm.

    The male involved in the crash - which involved a car and a lorry - was reportedly taken to Horton Hospital and was discharged with no serious injuries.

    Pedro's owners are asking anyone who spots him to not chase him as he is very timid and to instead call 07450 405653. Alternatively, a page for Pedro has been set up on

    The Chronicle and Echo yesterday reported Pedro went missing in a crash near Moulton. The family has today clarified the crash was instead near Brackley.

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    Fixture: Cambridge United v Northampton Town, Sky Bet League Two

    Date/time: Saturday, January 19, 3pm kick-off

    Venue: Abbey Stadium

    Forecast: 4C, showers

    Outs and doubts: Cambridge: Liam O’Neil, Reggie Lambe. Cobblers: Ash Taylor (groin), John-Joe O’Toole (ankle).

    Betting: Cambridge 7/5, draw 9/4, Northampton 19/10

    Form guide: United WWLLWL, Cobblers WLLDDD

    Possible line-ups: Cambridge: (4-3-3): Forde; Halliday, Taft, Taylor, Carroll; Deegan, Amoo, Maris; Brown, Hepburn-Murphy, Ibehre. Northampton (3-5-2): Cornell; Williams, Turnbull, Pierre; Facey, Cox, McWilliams, Foley, Bridge; Morias, Williams.

    Man in the middle: Martin Coy – 69 yellows and two reds in 24 games for Coy this season. Hasn’t taken charge of the Cobblers since last February, overseeing their 0-0 home draw with Oxford.

    Last time out: Northampton Town 3 (Bridge 2, Morias) Carlisle United 0; Notts County 0 Cambridge United 1 (Taylor)

    Most recent meeting: Tuesday, December 4, 2018 – Cambridge 1 (Maris) Northampton 1 (van Veen)

    Record v Cambridge: P39 W14 D12 L13

    Opposition view: United boss Colin Calderwood: “It’s important that we attack against Northampton with the intention of getting three points, and that’ll make a big dent in us getting to the points tally that we think is towards safety. The quicker we get them the better. I don’t think we’ll need the number that we’re probably looking at at the minute.”

    Cobblers connection: Former Northampton boss Colin Calderwood has been drafted in by Cambridge United with the intention of keeping them in Sky Bet League Two this season. The Scotsman spent almost three years at the Cobblers, from October 2003 to May 2006, winning automatic promotion to League One in 2006 before leaving to take over at Nottingham Forest.

    He’s spent most of his time since then as the second in command with spells as assistant manager at Newcastle, Birmingham, Norwich, Brighton and Aston Villa. He also briefly took charge of Hibernian in 2010.

    Calderwood, appointed by Cambridge before Christmas, still lives in the local area and has been a regular visitor to Sixfields over the years, but he is now aiming to get one over on the club that gave him his first job in management this weekend.

    James Heneghan’s preview: Tomorrow’s trip to Colin Calderwood’s Cambridge United marks the first of a three-game stretch that offers Cobblers an opportunity to build on their fine victory over Carlisle United last time out.

    Good performances have been even rarer than wins this season but Keith Curle’s men delivered both an excellent display and three important points in their disposing of the Cumbrians at the PTS, reviving hope of a strong finish to the campaign.

    That’s not to say talk of a play-off challenge is back on – far from it – but if the Cobblers can reproduce last week’s efforts on a more consistent basis and are able to push for a top-half finish, perhaps even top 10, it will give them a solid foundation going into next season.

    Following Saturday’s game at the Abbey Stadium, Town have back-to-back home matches against struggling Morecambe and then promotion-chasing Colchester United. Take nine points from nine – an admittedly tall order – and then maybe we can discuss the play-offs again.

    Take away United’s shocking 6-0 thrashing at the hands of MK Dons on New Year’s Day and Calderwood has enjoyed a steady start to his Cambridge reign, winning three and losing three since his appointment shortly before Christmas.

    Despite that though, the U’s remain too close to the bottom two for comfort. They are 20th in Sky Bet League Two, five points above the drop and four below tomorrow’s opponents.

    Cambridge and Northampton have already met twice this season and both August’s early-season league clash and December’s Checkatrade Trophy encounter ended in draws thanks to late goals, though it was Town celebrating last month after winning the penalty shoot-out.

    Curle hasn’t been able to resist fiddling with his team selection since his appointment as Cobblers boss – he’s yet to name an unchanged side – but it would be a surprise if there are many alterations for tomorrow’s game given how his players performed last time out.

    Junior Morias could potentially come back into the starting line-up after scoring off the bench against Carlisle but fans will otherwise be hoping to see the same team and same formation at the Abbey Stadium. Hopefully it’ll be the same outcome too.

    Prediction: Cambridge United 1 Northampton Town 1

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    The victim of a serious assault in a busy town centre was stabbed in the chest, police have confirmed.

    Officers were called to Rushden High Street yesterday after a man was found covered in blood.

    Police have now appealed for witnesses following the incident at about 2.30pm yesterday afternoon (Thursday, January 17).

    The assault is believed to have happened in a small public car park between High Street and Rectory Road and local reports suggest the victim was then able to move to High Street before the emergency services were alerted .

    The victim was taken to hospital where he remains in a stable condition.

    An investigation is under way and detectives are appealing for anyone who was in the High Street area around the time of the incident, and who may have witnessed the assault or have any information about what happened, to get in touch.

    Anyone with information should contact Northamptonshire Police on 101, quoting incident number 264 of 17 January.

    Information can also be provided anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111

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    The number of patients stranded in NHS hospital beds in Northamptonshire is at its lowest level for two years – but the county is still the worst performing in the region.

    NHS figures released this week show that social care bed-blocking in the county has reduced to the lowest levels since July 2016.

    In November, the collective number of days that patients were held in Kettering General Hospital and Northampton General Hospital due to a delayed transfer of care (DTOC) was 808, 49 per cent lower than October (1,585) and 48 per cent lower than November 2017 (1,544).

    However, when compared to neighbouring counties the performance is low. In Nottingham in November the collective number of days was 268, and in Lincolnshire it was 270.

    A delayed transfer of care – known as bed-blocking – occurs when a patient remains in a bed after being officially declared medically fit to leave hospital.

    Reasons why people have not been able to go home include not having care packages in place and not having available residential or nursing home accommodation.

    The Care Quality Commission criticised the partnership working between Northamptonshire County Council’s adult social care services and health organisations in an its inspection findings published in July and since then efforts have been made to improve the relationships in order to get well people out of hospital beds quicker.

    Anna Earnshaw, county council director of adult social care, said: “We’re delighted by this good news for three reasons: it shows how we’re working with health partners for the good of patients, it’s a testament to our hard-working staff who are passionate about improving delays and most of all, it’s good news for local people – as we know to leave hospital as soon as possible improves long-term outcomes and recovery.”

    Cllr Sandra Naden-Horley, county council cabinet member for adult social care, said: “Patients experiencing delays are now at the lowest levels since July 2016 – and these results show a significant reduction on all counts.

    “Delays are not only distressing for the patients and their families, but they can also be risky. For older people, staying in a hospital bed for too long can lead to loss of muscle tone and a number of adverse effects. For hospitals, high numbers of DTOCs can have a significant impact on their ability to run smoothly.

    “Our hospitals are still facing substantial pressures from high admissions, especially in the over 65s. However, these reductions show we’re moving record numbers of patients out of hospital and continue to provide additional support when they need it.”

    In the county council’s latest monthly budget report it says that the average number of people staying over 21 days is twice the national average at 12 per cent.

    The authority can be fined £155 per day by the hospital for every day that a well person is prevented from leaving hospital and into another social care placement.

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    A Northampton psychologist is offering free diagnostic tests for young children as she believes falling school budgets are struggling to cope.

    Nisha Tanna, from Wootton, works with parent education authorities to help spot dyslexia in children and reduce the effects in the classroom.

    But she has taken to advertising free basic screening tests for children aged between five and 16 years so any problems can be ironed out early - something many schools cannot offer.

    She said: "There is limited funding in schools to do it, yet a diagnosis is something that can be very important for a child.

    "Children with dyslexia can be branded as naughty or disruptive but it's often just frustration. That can have significant consequences on their lives.

    "I see adults now who were ridiculed for being unable to read aloud in class.

    "Yes, some schools do offer tests at age seven, but for parents that's a long time to wait."

    The outline test is in the form of a game, which gives a profile of strengths and weaknesses.

    Parents can decide to either explore the way forward with teachers or let their child catch up to their peers in their own time.

    A YouGov survey of 900 teachers in November 2018 showed that nearly three-quarters have seen their school’s funding fall in the last year.

    Nisha, whose company is Dyslexia Diagnostics, said: "With over 10 per cent of the population being dyslexic and 1 in 5 children experiencing anxiety and stress, there really is a need for support. Therefore I want to be able to give something back."

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    Northampton Borough Council is set to offer no objections to the planned construction of a new waste transfer building at Edgar Mobbs Way.

    It is expected that there would be approximately 105 waste deliveries and nine bulk loads removed from the site, which is being proposed by Northamptonshire County Council, every day.

    The county council is putting the proposal out for consultation with local stakeholders, and colleagues at the borough council - which is responsible for planning - look set not to offer any objection in principle unless the Environment Agency raises any concerns over the scheme at a later date.

    Members of the borough council’s planning committee will discuss the authority’s response next Tuesday (January 22).

    Another condition of winning their approval, however, will be to improve the appearance of an office building which forms part of the application. It is currently planned as a two-storey prefabricated structure with red facing brick walls.

    Borough council officers write in a report to the planning committee: “The building is situated in a prominent location towards the front of the application site, which is situated within Northampton Waterside Enterprise Zone.

    “The design of the building is unremarkable and uninteresting, with a basic build form, and fails to take the opportunity to provide a building that could enhance this visually prominent part of the site, and enhance the appearance of the area. A suitably improved design should be sought.”

    The proposed waste transfer building, which would create five full-time jobs, is intended to serve Veolia’s local contracts and trade waste collection business. The waste delivered to the site will mostly be dry materials such as paper, plastic and glass, with small amounts of metals and similar materials.

    The facility is being proposed so that there are ‘better recycling facilities than currently exist’ and the building would operate from 7am to 7pm on weekdays, with reduced activity at weekends and Bank Holidays, but ‘with potential’ to extend to a 24-hour operation.

    The county council scheme would also include a vehicle fuel station, vehicle wash bay, sprinkler tanks and pumphouse, with 44 car parking spaces and 15 spaces for refuse vehicles.

    Despite being close to some homes, the borough council’s environmental health officer has ruled it ‘unlikely that the proposal would result in any significant noise and disturbance above that which already exist’.

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    As well as there being three big Sky Bet League Two points up for grabs this Saturday, an old managerial rivalrly between Cobblers boss Keith Curle and Cambridge United counterpart Colin Calderwood will be revived at the Abbey Stadium.

    Back in the 2003/04 season, both men were in their first rookie roles as managers, with 39-year-old Calderwood taking charge of the Cobblers and 41-year-old Curle in the Mansfield Town hot seat.

    Over the course of the season, the pair locked horns no fewer than four times - with the final three of those coming in the space of just 12 thrilling days at the end of the campaign.

    The first meeting between the clubs in November saw the Stags coast to a 3-0 win at Sixfields, but on May 8 the Cobblers went to Field Mill on the final day of the regular season.

    They needed a win to confirm their place in the division three play-offs and sealed a dramatic 2-1 win thanks a goal from Eric Sabin and an unlikely winning strike from Rob Ullathorne.

    That win meant Town would face Mansfield in the promotion play-offs, and on May 16 the Stags had another successful Sixfields outing, winning the first leg 2-0.

    It looked like game over, but the second leg a few days later proved to be ‘one of those nights’, with the Cobblers playing brilliantly to take a 3-0 lead thanks to goals from Marc Richards, Chris Hargreaves and Martin Smith, only for controversy to reign.

    Tom Curtis pulled a goal back for Mansfield to level the aggregate score - but it came just minutes after he should have been sent off by referee Phil Crossley for a foul on Sabin.

    Crossley went for his cards and it looked as though Curtis was going to get a second booking and be dismissed - but mystifyingly the referee seemed to change his mind, and instead booked Sabin for his reaction to the Curtis foul.

    He even awarded Mansfield the free-kick.

    It may have been 14 years ago, but I tell you what, it still grates!

    It was a decision that stunned everybody associated with the Cobblers but, perhaps not surprisingly, current Town boss Curle thought that Crossley got things right.

    Asked if he remembered the incident, Curle had a smile on his face as he said: ”I thought the referee did okay that night...”

    And looking back on that match and those tussles with Calderwood’s men, Curle added: “I remember it. I remember the first leg when we won 2-0 but I knew in my mind that the game wasn’t over.

    “We went through on penalties, and Tom Curtis scored the goal that took it to penalties.

    “I can still remember now the ball coming out to him on the edge of the box, and Tom was not a renowned finisher, and he was even worse on his unfavoured foot.

    “The next thing he has let it go and I am thinking ‘where’s this going to end up?’. The next thing I know the ball has nestled in the corner, and it was complete jubilation.

    “Then with the penalties, I have to say our penalties on the day were superb.

    “But it was a great encounter, a great game and a good advert for both teams.

    “It was a tie over the two legs that had everything, as not many people would have fancied us to go to Northampton and come back with a 2-0 lead, because Northampton were playing well at the time.

    “But 2-0 is a difficult lead to defend, as it proved, but it was a great cup tie and it had everything.”

    The duo would square up once more in the opening weeks of the following season, with Mansfield, who lost the play-off final to Huddersfield Town, hammering a reshaped Town team 4-1 at Field Mill, but Curle then left Mansfield a few months later, and the rivalry was nipped in the bud.

    Calderwood stayed at the Cobblers for a further two seasons, and he did come up against Curle’s Chester team in November, 2005, before eventually winning promotion to division two in 2006.

    But, as seems to be the habit with successful Cobblers managers of late, he immediately left the club to manage Nottingham Forest.

    Both men eventually ended up dropping out of management to take up assistant manager roles, with Curle twice working under Neil Warnock, and Calderwood enjoying a string of roles alongside Chris Hughton before he went to Aston Villa as Steve Bruce’s number two in 2017.

    Curle has of course been back in the managerial hot seat for a few years now, but for Calderwood, who still lives in the Northampton area, he is going to have to learn the ropes all over again as he tries to secure Cambridge’s Football League survival, with this being his first management job since leaving Hibernian in 2011.

    Current Cobblers boss Curle believes the former Tottenham and Scotland defender will do that and is glad to see him back in management.

    He also feels the fact Calderwood has followed a similar path to him with regards to stepping away from management for a period will stand him in good stead.

    “I am glad to see him back, but I think he has enjoyed his time as well (as an assistant),” said the Cobblers boss.

    “Colin is a football person, he has good principles, good mannerisms, a very good understanding of the game.

    “He has had an excellent career, and he was very similar to myself in that he went into management and then came back out and went as a number two.

    “I spent time working with Neil Warnock at Crystal Palace and QPR, and enjoyed it and probably got my love back for the game.

    “But I realised I wanted to be a manager, I had a desire to be a manager, and I am better equipped now with the time I spent with Neil, and also the time I spent up at Carlisle.

    “I learned a lot about myself, how I want to manage and how I want to be perceived by other people, but also how I want to be perceived within the football club.

    “So obviously I wish Colin well, and I hope he enjoys being back in the hot seat in management.”

    Calderwood is also a fan of Curle’s approach, and is looking forward to locking horns with him again this weekend.

    “Keith’s an experienced manager and a good manager and one who was probably a real close rival, especially in my first season at Northampton Town,” said the 53-year-old.

    “I have a lot of respect for him and his teams have always been organised of course but they have that variation in their play which makes them interesting to play against.

    “You can see that he is innovative in how he goes about his work.

    “We’re looking forward to a test, and I’m sure it’ll be slightly different from the game we played last week (Cambridge won 1-0 at Notts County).

    We have to be able to adjust and be ready and get ourselves set for what is a big, big match for us.”

    It’s also a big match for the Cobblers of course, and the Town supporters will be hoping Curle can get another one over his old foe.

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    Anna Brosnan reviews Our Lady of Kibeho at the Royal & Derngate

    There are cultural narratives for every era in history and, perhaps without realising it, the modern voice dominating ideas we hear in TV, media and even theatre is rather secular.

    It is not until we see something quite different, striking and spiritual, coming out of the blue, that we realise how common and accepted that secular voice has become.

    This was my first impression as I watched Our Lady of Kibeho, the latest play to be directed by James Dacre at Northampton's Royal & Derngate.

    The play describes the real life story of three girls, growing up in Rwanda during the 1980s, who claim to have seen the Virgin Mary. Eventually these visions escalate into very clear warnings about the violence which would soon threaten to turn their homeland into hell on earth.

    Refreshingly, the play allows the audience the freedom to think and watch and wonder whether the girls were telling the truth after all.

    That is not to say there are no hints of religious criticism within the text. The tale raises questions about what it really means to be devout and good, exploring fallibility, weakness and even hypocrisy in some of the play's senior religious figures - notably Sister Evangelique and Father Tuyishime who run the school, as well as Father Flavia who visits from the Vatican.

    Instead, in the true essence of Christianity, the audience is guided to listen to the 'truth' through the words of the young, innocent and unexpected.

    There is something very special about Katori Hall's play in its quiet exploration of a religious experience, particularly as it is set directly prior to the genocide of thousands upon thousands of Tutsis, which could have so easily forced this drama to take a very different direction.

    Hutu-Tutsi tensions play a part in the story, but the starring role is the spirit of the young girls at Kibeho College and the miraculous story they eventually convince others to believe.

    The staging of the play is as striking and atmospheric as the story. At times the action is confined to a small stone walled room at the school and at other moments the depth of vision increases, allowing audiences to enjoy starry backdrops and rambling landscapes. It almost felt like a symbol of the beautiful visions and other worlds the schoolgirls were allowed to see in their heavenly encounters with the Mother of God.

    The roles of the visionaries must have been extremely tough to play as each girl had to face the audience while portraying their individual reactions to visions of Mary. Yet the acting by these three, Gabrielle Brooks as Alphonsine, Yasmin Mwanza as Anathalie and Pepter Lunkuse as Marie-Clare, remained emotional and convincing throughout.

    Ery Nzaramba gave a charismatic and believable performance as Father Tuyishime, while Michelle Asante was also strong in her portrayal of Sister Evangelique.

    A play about faith at a time of violence, the team behind Our Lady of Kibeho have succeeded in taking an unusual theme and using it to create a really thought-provoking piece of drama.

    * Our Lady of Kibeho will run at Royal & Derngate until February 2. Visit to book.

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    A Northampton talent show will launch its search for the town's most talented performers at a red carpet event tonight.

    Northampton's Rising Star is back for its third year to find the town's singers, dancers and anyone who can capture an audience when they step on stage.

    The charity talent show is holding a red carpet launch event tonight (January 18) at The Old White Hart pub, in Cotton End, at 8pm.

    The evening will feature guest performances from previous contestants and interviews with members of the Rising Star team revealing what this year has in store for the competition.

    Registration for the competition, that will be raising money for Cynthia Spencer Hospice, is now open.

    Groups and individuals of all ages are invited to register their act online on the Northampton Rising Star website. Last year local gymnastics group Gymnastricks were crowned overall winners.

    This year, the charity talent show will feature a brand new category – a nomination category.

    Producer and event organiser Tommy Gardner said anyone can nominate a group or individual they think deserves to go straight through to the grand final.

    He said: “I am excited to be back for another year in search of Northampton’s Rising Star. We have had an amazing response so far in registrations with lots of variety from singers, dancers and even a comedian. I cannot wait to get started on what is set to be another fantastic year for the competition showcasing the incredible talent that Northamptonshire has whilst supporting Cynthia Spencer Hospice along the way.”

    Once contestants have registered online, they will be invited to attend auditions in March/April before a panel of judges.

    The judging panel this year will be event organiser, Tommy Gardner; dance champion and owner of Step by Step Dance School Andrzej Mialkowski; singer-songwriter Vickii Stocker and singer-songwriter and actress Robyn Wilson.

    Twelve acts will be chosen along with the nominated act to perform in a grand final at the Spinney Theatre in Northampton in the summer.

    Registration is open to contestants of all ages and will close on February 25, 2019.

    Contestants can register at the Northampton Rising Star website.

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    Cigarettes and alcohol were stolen in a break-in at a convenience store in Northampton this morning.

    Police have released a CCTV image of a man they believe may have information about a burglary at a convenience store in Parkway, Weston Favell, Northampton.

    The incident happened at about 12.30am today (Friday, January 18), when the offender/s forced entry to the shop and stole cigarettes and alcohol.

    Officers would like to speak to the man pictured as he may have information that will help their inquiries.

    The man, or anyone who recognises him, is asked to contact Northamptonshire Police on 101. Alternatively, they can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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    Dangerous cycling by large groups of children in Northampton town centre has prompted police to issue a safety warning and release CCTV images to try to identify those responsible.

    Groups of up to 40 cyclists have been gathering in locations including the Drapery, Gold Street and Abington Street, riding on pavements, on the wrong side of the road, and through shopping centres, pulling wheelies and stunts risking their own safety and that of others.

    CCTV images of a gathering on January 2 have been released by Northamptonshire Police today in an attempt to identify those involved so they can be given safety advice and warned about the dangers of their actions.

    PC Michael Rogers, of the local Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “The behaviour of these youths is irresponsible and dangerous towards members of the public, other road users and themselves.

    “They have little to no road sense at all, they cycle in a large group, totally ignoring the rules of the road, going through red traffic lights, weaving in front of oncoming vehicles, on the wrong side of roads and on pavements.

    “I’m worried that it’s only a matter of time before somebody gets seriously hurt, whether it’s a pedestrian hit by a cyclist or one of the youths being hit by a vehicle.”

    Vehicles have also been damaged by the riders, including taxis which have had wing mirrors kicked off, and buses often have their emergency engine cut-out button pushed.

    Meetings of cyclists are often organised via social media, often through groups called ‘Bike Life’ or similar.

    Most participants are aged between 10 and 15, with peak times for gatherings being weekends, after school and through school holidays, including the January 2 incident.

    PC Rogers said: “Our team is trying to identify those responsible for this idiotic behaviour, however, when they see officers these youths usually cycle off at speed, avoiding us by riding over areas where we’re unable to follow on foot or in vehicles, so we’re using the town’s CCTV network to help us.

    “To any parents or teachers who recognise a child as being involved, please have a serious talk with them about the risks they are taking.

    "The alternative may well be us having to visit the family of someone injured or killed as a result of this kind of behaviour.”

    Anyone with information about the identity of those pictured is asked to call Northamptonshire Police on 101.

    Information can also be shared anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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    It has been a long and frustrating road for David Cornell, but the Welshman is finally revelling in his role as the Cobblers’ number one goalkeeper.

    Signed by Rob Page from Swansea City in the summer of 2016, it is fair to say it has been a struggle for Cornell to win the approval of a succession of Cobblers managers.

    Barring brief spells in the team under both Page and then Justin Edinburgh, the 27-year-old has at various times over the past two-and-a-half years had to bide his time and play understudy to Adam Smith, Matt Ingram and Richard O’Donnell.

    But he was handed the gloves for the first game of the current season by then boss Dean Austin, and hasn’t looked back.

    Before the start of the current campaign, Cornell had made just 12 league starts in two years.

    This season, he has started all 27 Sky Bet League Two mathes, getting the nod from both Austin and now Keith Curle, and his appearances for the club in all competitions now top 50.

    Things are going well for him, and it seems Cornell is set fair to extend that run in the team, barring injury, through to the end of the campaign.

    Fresh from keeping his sixth clean sheet of the season in last Saturday’s 3-0 win over Carlisle United at the PTS Academy Stadium, Cornell spoke about how delighted he is to have at last been given an extended chance to show what he is capable of.

    Asked about the season to date, the Welshman said: “I have enjoyed it.

    “You ask any professional, and they just want to play games and have a consistent run in the team.

    “For a goalkeeper I think that is even more important, for your timing and getting your relationship with your back four or back three.

    “I have enjoyed it and, as I have said in the past, there is a reason I wanted to stay here, because I felt I had something to show and I hadn’t really had the chance to do that.

    “I love it here, I really enjoy working with the gaffer and with Dan (Watson, goalkeeping coach).

    “It is a place where I enjoy my work, and I just want to keep doing well for everybody here.”

    Looking back to his two-year battle to nail down a regular place in the team, Cornell just sees at as all part of a goalkeeper’s life, and he now intends to do all he can to stay top goalkeeping dog at the PTS.

    “I was in and out, but I felt I had done okay, considering I come in after not playing for a couple of months,” said the shot-stopper.

    “But I come in every day and work hard, and hopefully I will pick up the benefits on the weekend and just keep going really.

    “I don’t look too far ahead, and as long as I perform well in training then I just prepare properly then for being selected on the weekend.”

    Like any goalkeeper, Cornell has had a couple of sticky moments this season, but on the whole his performances have been good and he believes he is capable of getting better and better.

    Asked if he is still learning his trade, the Swansea-born keeper said: “Oh yeah, 100 per cent.

    “I think I am a good age for a goalkeeper as well, and working with Dan (Watson, goalkeeping coach) every day, he is challenging me and pushing me.

    “I want to learn, and I don’t think there is anybody in this game that is not learning.

    “Everybody is learning and trying to become better players, and I am the same.

    “I try and take on board everything that gets put towards me, and just try to keep pushing on and help the team.”

    Cornell is set to make league start number 28 this Saturday as the Cobblers head to Cambridge United (ko 3pm).

    Town go into the game buoyed by that win over Carlisle last weekend, but the U’s are also on a high having won their past two games under new boss, and former Cobblers manager, Colin Calderwood.

    And Cornell is anticipating another difficult game against a team Town have drawn twice with already this season.

    “They have won their last two, so it is going to be a tough game,” said Cornell.

    “Obviously they are in and around us in the table, so it would be good to claim another three points and kind of step up, and start looking above ourselves.”

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    We all know regular exercise is the surest path to a longer, healthier and happier life.

    And whatever your fitness goals, from Aquasize to Zumba, kickboxing to yoga, there’s a gym with a regime for you. A sanctuary where you can switch off your phone, forget your worries and get your brain and body buzzing with positive energy.

    So what makes the ideal gym? Helpful, competent, qualified staff? Clean, modern and well-maintained equipment? Obviously reasonable prices and a sensible payment plan. And of course not too far away so you keep going back.

    The nominations are in and we want readers to tell us who’s fit for our final top ten.

    To vote, you have to post the coupon in the current edition of the Northampton Chron (January 17 and again on January 24) stating the full name, address and voting number of your favourite gym from the list.

    Closing date for votes is February 1, 2019.

    Please note, we can’t accept any photocopied or defaced coupons; coupons delivered by hand or those received after the closing date.

    The nominations are:

    01. Danes Camp Gym, Clannel Road, Hunsbury, Northampton

    02. Curves, Moulton Park Business Centre, Red House Road, Northampton

    03. Dallington Fitness, Poyntz Lane, Northampton

    04. DW Sport Fitness, Towcester Road, St James Retail Park, Northampton

    05. Fit4Less Gym Northampton, 90 Abington Street, Northampton

    06. Fitness4Less Northampton, Sol Central, Mare Fair, Northampton

    07. Image Fitness Club, 22-23 Galowhill Road, Northampton

    08. Living Well, 100 Watering Lane, Collingtree, Northampton

    09. Man Unleashed, 103 Weedon Road, Northampton

    10. New Dimensions Fitness Studio, Sywell Grange, Holcot Lane, Sywell

    11. Northampton Nuffield Health Northampton Fitness & wellbeing Gym, Sixfields Leisure, Walter Tull Way, Northampton

    12. ink Ladies Health & Fitness, Unit 1 Cranbrook Road, Kingsthorpe

    13. Progressive Training Systems Ltd, 21 Osyth Close, Northampton

    14. Project Fitness Northampton, Unit 2 Owl Close, Northampton

    15. Pump Gyms Northampton, 3 Kingsfield Business Park, Gladstone Road, Northampton

    16. PureGym, 10 St Peter’s Way

    Spirit Health Club, Holiday Inn, Northampton.

    17. The DVCC, Rothersthorpe Avenue, Northampton

    18. The One2One Gym, 19 Low Farm Place, Northampton

    19. Trilogy Health & Fitness at Cripps Recreation Centre, Northampton General Hospital, Cliftonville Road, Northampton

    20. Trilogy Health & Fitness at Duston Leisure Centre, Cotswold Avenue, Northampton

    21. Trilogy Health & Fitness at Mount Baths, Upper Mounts, Northampton

    22. Trilogy Health & Fitness, Lings Forum, Billing Brook Road, Northampton

    23. Unit 22 Northampton, Rothersthorpe Crescent, Northampton

    24. Virgin Active, Riverside Business Park, 1 Ferris Row, Northampton

    25. Virgin Active, Collingtree Park, 91 Windingbrook Lane, Northampton

    26. Willison Centre, Stratford Road, Roade

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    Highways bosses have warned about the perilous state of Northampton roads where iron gully covers have been stolen.

    The grilles stop large amounts of debris falling into drains at the roadside and several have been removed in streets around The Mounts, including Overstone Road. Some were simply dropped metres away and others were stolen.

    The thefts began on Wednesday (January 16) with others happening on Thursday (January 17).

    A spokesman for Northamptonshire Highways said on Friday: "[There's been a] spate of gully covers stolen or damaged in the last 48 hours - very dangerous and costs money to deal with.

    "If you see anything please try and take details and report to us or Northants Police.

    "Some are missing, others are just flung nearby - dangerous for all road uses and a total waste of money for us to repair or replace. It's even more alarming for cyclists."

    The estimated cost of replacements are £500 but a BBC story on similar thefts in Reading said thieves were selling them for scrap for as little as £2 each.

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    Two passengers suffered serious injuries after a three-car crash in a Daventry district village this morning.

    Shortly after 8am on Friday, January 18, a black Hyundai, a red Vauxhall Corsa and a white Peugeot flatbed were in collision in Guilsborough Road, West Haddon.

    Two people in the Vauxhall were seriously injured.

    Anyone who witnessed the collision or has any information is also requested to contact the Serious Collision Investigation Unit, Northamptonshire Police on 101 or call the Drivewatch Hotline on 0800 174615.

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    Northampton Borough Council is having to delve into its reserves to help fund a projected £1.5million overspend on homelessness.

    A latest monthly report focusing on the council’s finances, discussed at this week’s cabinet (Wednesday, January 16) shows that the overall revenue budget from the general fund is currently forecasting an overspend of just over £2million. And a large chunk of that overspend, roughly three quarters, is down to homelessness.

    The report, which was read by cabinet members, says: “High levels of homelessness, together with the severe shortage of affordable rented housing, have resulted in a sharp increase in the council’s use of temporary accommodation and the amount of time that homeless households are required to wait until they are offered settled housing.”

    Speaking at the meeting, Northampton Borough Council’s cabinet member for finance, Councillor Brandon Eldred, said that the money was coming from the authority’s reserves. The full amount currently stashed away was not disclosed at the meeting.

    Councillor Eldred said: “The money is coming from reserves so that if anything like this crops up then we have the funds there so that people don’t go homeless. It’s for a rainy day and that rainy day is today. It doesn’t bother me spending that money on tackling homelessness, but we do have to make sure we have measures in place for the future. It’s been a difficult year for the homeless community.”

    The use of reserves was a financial stance that Northamptonshire County Council has been heavily criticised for over recent years, and it totally used up its reserves in the last financial year to try and balance its budget.

    Although there is no indication that the borough council is in any financial difficulties, the use of reserves will no doubt be of concern to finance officers as the homelessness crisis only seems to be gathering in pace in Northampton.

    The borough council’s head of housing, Phil Harris, told cabinet that a family waiting for a home three years ago would have typically been on the waiting list for three months. Today, they would likely be waiting for a year, he said.

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    Saints cruised into the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup after claiming their biggest ever European win on Friday night.

    Timisoara Saracens were the victims, suffering a surreal 111-3 defeat at the end of a freezing encounter at Franklin's Gardens.

    Ollie Sleightholme grabbed four tries, with Alex Mitchell making his way to a hat-trick.

    Reece Marshall and Mitch Eadie both doubled up, with Rory Hutchinson, Andrew Kellaway, Alex Coles, Lewis Ludlam, Nafi Tuitavake and Tom Collins also scoring in the 17-try rout.

    James Grayson added 12 conversions, with Hutchinson also on the mark from the tee as Saints beat their best European points tally, which had been 68 against Parma during the 2006/07 season.

    Timisoara were actually being cheered towards the Saints line by the home fans towards the end as they were afforded some sympathy by those in attendance.

    It was a savage defeat for the Romanian side, who were left thanking the fact their home game against Saints in December had been snowed off.

    For Chris Boyd's men it was a try-laden night that ensures they will go into the Challenge Cup last eight as one of the best runners-up, finishing behind Clermont Auvergne in Pool 1.

    And it was the conclusion to an eventful group stage for the black, green and gold.

    They had headed into the Timisoara game knowing a bonus-point win would be enough to book a quarter-final ticket.

    And Saints were in the opposition's faces from the off with hooker Marshall picking up to dot down after Luther Burrell had gone close.

    Grayson converted and it looked likely to be the first seven-pointer conceded on a long night for Timisoara.

    But the Romanian minnows were not deterred, with their sheer power making up for what they lacked in precision.

    And after Grayson had absorbed a couple of jackhammer hits, Timisoara won a penalty, with Luke Samoa kicking it to get his team on the board after 12 minutes.

    Kellaway almost responded immediately, dummying his way towards the line and ignoring Sleightholme on the outside before being pushed into touch before he could score in the corner.

    But it wasn't long before Saints had their second score as Timisoara failed to clear effectively and a lineout drive was used to send Marshall over for his second.

    Grayson converted again to make it 14-3 and it was soon 21-3 after Saints continued to make a mockery of the Timisoara lineout and showed good patience before Hutchinson scooted round the outside of the away defence to score.

    The extras were easily added and the bonus point came inside 24 minutes as David Ribbans carried hard and Mitchell picked up the ball, beat his man and scored.

    Grayson slotted the kick again before scrum-half Mitchell made the most of a patient move to score his second.

    The conversion came back off the post, but it was no reprieve for Timisoara who were being run ragged.

    Hutchinson then produced some magic close to halfway, finding a path through Timisoara and offloading to the onrushing Sleightholme, who gratefully bagged his now customary try.

    Grayson converted to make it 40-3 with seven minutes to go before the break.

    It was turning into cruelty to rugby players as Timisoara chased shadows, and the seventh try arrived on the brink of half-time, with Kellaway the scorer.

    It was to be Kellaway's final act as he was replaced at half-time by Tuitavake, who came on to make his return from a neck injury.

    Saints were soon on the scoresheet in the second half thanks to a lovely slaloming finish from Sleightholme, bringing up his team's half-century.

    Eadie was next to register, making the most of some tidy work from Mitchell, with Grayson again adding the extras to take the tally to 59 points with more than half an hour to go.

    Mitchell managed to grab his hat-trick 16 minutes into the second half, and Sleightholme followed suit, putting the finishing touches to a flowing breakaway move.

    A big moment was to come for lock Coles with 20 minutes to go as he saw acres of space in front of him and stretched his legs to score his first Saints try.

    Ludlam, who was given the honour of captaincy after Alex Waller went off, was next to etch his name on the scoresheet, proving far too strong for the Timisoara defence.

    Tuitavake cruised over out wide to make it 90 points for Saints and Eadie then grabbed his second of the night.

    Sleightholme scored his fourth to bring up the century and the scoring wasn't finished there as Tuitavake sent replacement Collins over.

    Hutchinson converted and Saints were left to reflect on a crazy end to a crazy pool stage.

    Saints: Furbank; Sleightholme, Hutchinson, Burrell, Kellaway (Tuitavake 40); Grayson (Collins 67), Mitchell (Davies 58); Waller (c) (Davis 56), Marshall (Fish 63), Hill (Ford-Robinson 56); Ribbans (Coles 40), Barrow; Gibson, Ludlam (Wood 66), Eadie.

    Timisoara Saracens: Simionescu (Moala 58); Zaharia, Popa, Umaga, Manumua; Samoa, Rupanu; Taupaki (Militaru 40), Radoi (c) (Capatina 40), Pungea (Halalilo 56); Lazar, Iftimiciuc; Sabau (Neculau 40), Rus, Tatarus.

    Referee: Joy Neville

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    Assistant coach Matt Ferguson insists it doesn't matter who Saints face in the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup after booking their place on Friday night.

    The black, green and gold ran riot at Franklin's Gardens, eviscerating Romanian minnows Timisoara Saracens, who were dealt a 111-3 defeat.

    Ollie Sleightholme scored four tries and Alex Mitchell racked up a hat-trick as Saints scored 17 tries on the night.

    They will progress from Pool 1 as best runners-up after Clermont Auvergne finished the group stages with a blemish-free record.

    Potential last-eight destinations for Saints include Sale Sharks, La Rochelle and Clermont Auvergne.

    They will find out who they face after Saturday's games have been completed.

    "To be alive in three competitions coming into the end of January is a good thing and I actually don't think it matters where we go in terms of our quarter-final," Ferguson said.

    "If we look at our processes that should stand us in good stead wherever you go and that's why it's important that when you review games like this you maintain those processes.

    "You can't look at an eight-point defeat at Clermont as being okay and you can't look at a 100-point win against Timisoara as being brilliant.

    "To be in a quarter-final will be great and we will have to be more accurate in those knock-out stages."

    On the win against Timisoara, Ferguson said: "We had three goals from the fixture: one was five points, two was to put a score on the board to put pressure on other teams on Saturday and first and foremost, our aim was to play the brand and execute the way we're trying to play.

    "We'll look back and realise there are parts of the game where that didn't happen and that's not for one minute questioning the boys' desire,but we still have to retain ball better, we've still got to make better decisions, we've still got to be more accurate and we've still got to launch better.

    "When we come to the knock-out stages, we'll have to do that for 80 minutes to keep us in the competition."

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    A series of vital buses will return to help hundreds of Northampton residents this Sunday after they were stripped down last year.

    The new timetable for Number 19 Violet Uno bus route has been published and shows it will return to its old stops in Kingsley and Kingsthorpe again starting Sunday (January 20).

    Visit the Uno website to see the new updated timetables.

    The route was cut back in August 2018, leaving hundreds of residents without a local bus service and at risk of isolation.

    But after over 700 people backed a Chronicle & Echo petition to bring back the No 19, the service will run again on its old stops.

    However, the No 18 Sixfields Park and Ride - which is also run by Uno to help students and staff from the University of Northampton park outside of town - has been reduced and will stop running on weekends.

    Starting January 20, 2019, every other journey for the No 19 will stop in St George's Avenue, Kingsley Road and Kingsthorpe in lieu of Barrack Road and Kingsthorpe Road between Monday to Friday. It will operate every 15 minutes in the peak and every 20 minutes in the off-peak period.

    County councillor for the St George ward, Anjona Roy, said: "The public voice has been heard and I am grateful to Uno, who not only listened to those voices, but for bringing back what I think is a great, commercially viable service for the community.

    "The number one thing that needs to happen now is for people to use this bus. If people want this service to run people need to use it. It really is a 'use it or lose it' situation."

    Meanwhile, the No 18 that runs between Sixfields park and ride and the Waterside Campus will be reduced in frequency on Mondays to Fridays. It will operate every 15 minutes in the peak and every 20 minutes in the off-peak period. Furthermore, the service will be withdrawn on Saturdays and Sundays.

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    A long-time Wellingborough resident who managed Northamptonshire County Council services for people with learning difficulties and disabilities has died aged 81.

    Phil Arnold was a stalwart of disability services in Northampton and in East Northants throughout the 1970s, 80s and 90s.

    A friend of Mr Arnold, Joan Cupples, who worked alongside him in Northampton and Wellingborough between 1982 and 1995, said he was no ordinary person who "just cared" and he always went the extra mile.

    "He had exceptionally strong principles, based not only on his Christian faith but also on an innate sense of justice and social duty," said Mrs Cupples.

    "He always went the extra mile to ensure that his service users had the best possible experience from their daycare, whatever the level of their need.

    "He constantly looked for new ways to improve the quality of what his units provided.

    "He was a great believer in the therapeutic value of work and sought ways to make the working experience available to people who are often marginalised in this area of life, but he also recognised the importance of providing excellent physical and emotional care to people whose level of disability and need was greater.

    "In a world where care has become an industry, Phil just cared."

    In the 1980s Mr Arnold worked at Shire Lodge in Northampton – whose catchment area in those days included the town and the whole of South Northants.

    In the late 1980s, he took over the management of services in Wellingborough, his home town, providing a range of types of daycare to disabled adults from the local area including East Northants.

    Mindful of his health, in the mid-1990s Mr Arnold stepped down from his role but he never forgot about his life's work and continued to make a voluntary contribution in his new home.

    "Those who worked with and for Phil have only praise and gratitude to express," said Mrs Cupples.

    "He was the hardest worker on site, wherever he was.

    "First in and last out, never one to begrudge giving up his own time if necessary, he supported his teams diligently and expertly, always with humour.

    "He provided the same level of support to families and to local voluntary groups, such as Mencap, and was greatly appreciated."

    Mr Arnold leaves a daughter, two sons, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

    Phil’s funeral will be held in Cheltenham on January 28 at 2pm.

    Anyone wishing to pay their respects can do so by making a donation to Down Syndrome Group Northamptonshire – contact the Treasurer Steve Allwork on

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    Goalkeeper David Cornell has hailed the maturity, composure and ability of Cobblers teenage prospect Jay Williams.

    The 18-year-old is becoming something of a regular fixture in the Town first team, having started the past three games, playing both as a central midfielder and a central defender.

    In Saturday’s 3-0 win over Carlisle United, the Cobblers academy product started in the back three alongside Aaron Pierre and Jordan Turnbull and turned in a near flawless performance.

    As well as being solid defensively, Northampton-born Williams, who signed an 18-month professional contract with the Cobblers two weeks ago, was excellent on the ball.

    He was cool and calm even when under pressure and his distribution was impressive, but that wasn’t something that surprised Cornell who sees the former Kingsthorpe College pupil in training every day.

    Indeed, the Town goalkeeper likened Williams to a certain former Manchester United and England defender, saying: “He’s a bit like a Rio isn’t he?!”

    And he added: “Since he has come in, and he has played a little in midfield as well, you can see when he trains with us that he has got that bit about him which maybe some 18-year-olds don’t really have.

    “He’s done great.

    “I gave him a pass on Saturday where the was a man closing him, and I am looking at it thinking ‘it’s not a problem’, because I know he can deal with it.

    “He has been great, he works hard every day, he has a good head on his shoulders, and fingers crossed he can be a really good asset for this football club.”

    With Ash Taylor still struggling with a groin injury, Williams is set to start in defence again in Saturday’s Sky Bet League Two trip to Cambridge United (ko 3pm).

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    Cobblers make the short journey to Cambridge United on Saturday where they resume their League Two campaign against Colin Calderwood's side.

    We'll have all the build-up, in-game updates and post-match reaction as it happens on this page. Hit F5 or refresh for the latest news from the Abbey Stadium.

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    Cambridge United inflicted more last-gasp agony on the Cobblers when David Amoo scored deep into injury-time to grab a 3-2 victory after a pulsating affair at the Abbey Stadium on Saturday.

    Town twice led through goals from Aaron Pierre and Junior Morias in each half but, blighted by injuries, they surrendered the advantage on both occasions before being beaten with virtually the last kick of the game.

    Pierre's thumping finish had given the visitors a surprise lead after United started firmly in the ascendancy but Jevani Brown produced a sublime effort in first-half injury-time to level things.

    Junior Morias thumped Cobblers back in front straight after the restart before George Taft again equalised, and it would get better for United in injury-time thanks to Amoo's dramatic winner.

    The Cobblers battled valiantly with a patched-up young team that included a midfield of teenagers Jay Williams and Scott Pollock but United utterly dominated the second-half and warranted the victory, leaving Town to contemplate a potentially tricky end to the season given they are now placed just six points above the relegation zone.

    Northampton were plagued by injuries, missing Sam Foley, Dean Bowditch, Ash Taylor and John-Joe O'Toole before kick-off and then losing Shaun McWilliams during the first-half, meaning Pollock was sent on for his debut.

    Fellow youth teamers Camron McWilliams and Jack Newell were also on the bench and Jay Williams started again for the third straight game, with Junior Morias also recalled.

    Cobblers had to weather an early storm as Cambridge made all of the running with Brown dragging a shot wide and then George Maris clipping the crossbar with a delicious curling effort.

    Brown then saw a much better opportunity come his way on seven minutes when he was picked out by David Amoo's cross but, unmarked, he headed wide from just eight yards out.

    There was space to play in for both sides in what was an open, stretched start to the game, although all Town had to show for their efforts was a harmless long-range attempt from McWilliams.

    But that changed on 27 minutes when, following a more serene passage of play, Northampton struck out of the blue. The ball bounced about in the Cambridge box from a shot corner and eventually fell to Sam Hoskins, whose looping header hit the crossbar and redounded out to Pierre and the centre-back unleashed a superb strike into the top corner.

    Town survived a couple of lose shaves as United continued to find oceans of space on the counter-attack, the visitors bailed out thanks to alert goalkeeping from David Cornell and then the indecision of Amoo nor Brown with neither able to turn in an inviting cross.

    An injury to McWilliams forced Curle into a change and on came Pollock for his Cobblers debut, but Town couldn't see out the rest of the half without losing their lead. In the third of four added minutes, Rushian Hepburn-Murphy teed up Brown who conjured up a finish to match that of Pierre's, using the outside of his left foot to brilliantly find the far corner.

    Northampton started the second-half with teenagers Williams and Pollock in central midfield but that didn't seem to faze them as they quickly reclaimed the advantage. United just couldn't deal with Buchanan's week shot three minutes into the half and the ball dropped perfectly for Morias to lash into the net.

    Morias spurned a clear opportunity to score a swift second, just unable to turn in after good work by Bridge, and then it was the home side's turn to miss an even better chance.

    Brown both won and took a penalty, tripped by Shay Facey, but despite sending Cornell the wrong way, his effort rebounded off the woodwork and away to safety.

    Hepburn-Murphy whipped a free-kick narrowly over and United were soon back on level terms shortly after the hour-mark when Brown's set-piece was headed in by Taft at the back post.

    Given Town's patched-up team, it was no surprise that Cambridge were the side pushing for a winner in what time remained as Harrison Dunk got his feet tangled up when presented with a shooting chance before Jabo Ibehre failed to smuggle the ball home from close-range.

    Facey also produced a last-ditch sliding challenge on Amoo and Taft headed a corner wide for the home side before Ibehre also missed the target.

    Williams blazed over in a rare chance for the Cobblers but there was an element of inevitably about what occurred in injury time.

    Cambridge were utterly dominating by this stage and they eventually made it count with virtually the last kick. Town failed to clear their lines and the ball pinged around in the box before dropping kindly to Amoo, who lashed in to send home fans wild and break away fans' heart.

    Cobblers: Cornell, Facey, Pierre (c), Turnbull, Hoskins, Cox (Buchanan 45), J Williams, S McWilliams (Pollock 43), Bridge, Morias (Powell 58), A Williams

    Subs not used: Coddington, Odoffin, C McWilliams, Newell

    Cambridge: Mitov, Halliday, Carroll (Dunk 62), Taft, Taylor, Deegan (c), Amoo, Hepburn-Murphy (Azeez 76), Maris (John 90), Brown, Ibehre

    Subs not used: Pilkington, Osadebe, Darling, Lewis, Azeez

    Referee: Martin Coy

    Attendance: 4,849

    Cobblers fans: 918

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    Saints will travel back to Clermont Auvergne for the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup.

    Having finished as one of three best runners-up, Chris Boyd's men must face Clermont, who are top seeds in the last eight.

    Saints met Les Jaunards in Pool 1, which was topped by the French team, who enjoyed a blemish-free record, racking up 30 points from a possible 30.

    Clermont beat Saints 41-20 at Franklin's Gardens in October, but the return meeting was much closer, with Saints scoring six tries in a thrilling 48-40 defeat.

    And Chris Boyd's men, who smashed Timisoara Saracens 111-3 on Friday night, will now hope it's third time lucky as they return to Stade Marcel Michelin on the weekend of March 29.

    Saints were handed the trip to Clermont after Bristol Bears thrashed Russian side Enisei-STM 107-19 on Saturday and Connacht claimed a bonus-point 33-27 success at Bordeaux-Bègles.

    Should Saints win their quarter-final, they will definitely be on the road again, facing the winner of Worcester Warriors' home tie against Harlequins.

    The semi-finals will be played on the weekend of April 19.

    The Challenge Cup final takes place at Newcastle's St James' Park on Friday, May 10 (kick-off 7.45pm).

    The qualifiers for the 2018/19 Challenge Cup quarter-finals and their rankings at the conclusion of the pool stage are as follows...
    1 ASM Clermont Auvergne (winner Pool 1 – 30 points)
    2 La Rochelle (winner Pool 4 – 24 points)
    3 Sale Sharks (winner Pool 3 – 22 points)
    4 Worcester Warriors (winner Pool 2 – 22 points)
    5 Harlequins (winner Pool 5 – 21 points)
    6 Connacht Rugby (best pool runner-up – 22 points)
    7 Bristol Bears (second best pool runner-up – 21 points)
    8 Northampton Saints (third best pool runner-up – 21 points)

    The quarter-final matches to be played on March 29/30/31 are as follows...
    QF 1: ASM Clermont Auvergne v Saints
    QF 2: Worcester Warriors v Harlequins
    QF 3: Sale Sharks v Connacht Rugby
    QF 4: La Rochelle v Bristol Bears

    SEMI-FINAL 1 - winner of QF 1: ASM Clermont Auvergne v Saints will play the winner of QF 2: Worcester Warriors v Harlequins

    SEMI-FINAL 2 - winner of QF 3: Sale Sharks v Connacht Rugby will play the winner of QF 4: La Rochelle v Bristol Bears
    The following clubs will have home venue advantage in their respective semi-final matches...

    If ASM Clermont Auvergne (ranked No 1) and Worcester Warriors (ranked No 4) win their quarter-finals, Clermont will have home venue advantage
    If ASM Clermont Auvergne (ranked No 1) and Harlequins (ranked No 5) win their quarter-finals, Clermont will have home venue advantage
    If Worcester Warriors (ranked No 4) and Saints (ranked No 8) win their quarter-finals, Worcester will have home venue advantage
    If Harlequins (ranked No 5) and Saints (ranked No 8) win their quarter-finals, Harlequins will have home venue advantage

    If La Rochelle (ranked No 2) and Sale Sharks (ranked No 3) win their quarter-finals, La Rochelle will have home venue advantage
    If Sale Sharks (ranked No 3) and Bristol Bears (ranked No 7) win their quarter-finals, Sale will have home venue advantage
    If La Rochelle (ranked No 2) and Connacht Rugby (ranked No 6) win their quarter-finals, La Rochelle will have home venue advantage
    If Connacht Rugby (ranked No 6) and Bristol Bears (ranked No 7) win their quarter-finals, Connacht will have home venue advantage

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    Cobblers boss Keith Curle says his side must improve their 'game management' after Saturday's 'horrible' 3-2 defeat against Cambridge United.

    Town twice took the lead at the Abbey Stadium, nudged in front by Aaron Pierre in the first-half and then Junior Morias shortly after half-time, but Jevani Brown and George Taft pulled United level on both occasions.

    Cambridge also missed a penalty in a hectic and action-packed second-half, but that would be forgotten by full-time thanks to David Amoo's dramatic stoppage-time winner as he lashed home after the ball ping-ponged about in Town's penalty box.

    Curle was handicapped by injuries to Sam Foley, Shaun McWilliams and George Cox either before or during the game, meaning his midfield was made up of teenagers Scott Pollock, on his debut, and Jay Williams.

    Curle praised the performances of both but admitted his side lacked physicality as a result.

    "It would be an understatement to say that was a horrible way to end the game," he said.

    "We just needed a bit more robustness, which you get with more experience, but we had our opportunities. We had a great chance to go 3-1 up when the lad nicked it off Junior's toes inside the six-yard box but there are areas we still need to improve on.

    "We need to improve game management and understanding defensively that having numbers back isn't always an advantage. The positional play and understanding will improve and it needs to improve.

    "The more people get used to the elements I'm trying to bring in the team and the more familiar we get, we'll be able to iron them out slowly."

    Curle was unhappy with the his side's defending for the first goal when Rushian Hepburn-Murphy was allowed to tee up Brown, and also referee Martin Coy's decision to award United's penalty.

    He added: "Their first goal comes from the lad being on the ground and he's able to manoeuvre the ball while he's on the ground and that can't happen. You have to get your feet involved in it and you keep him on the ground.

    "You stay goalside and make sure he can't pass or play the ball but sometimes the players might have been waiting for a decision for obstruction because he trapped the ball between his legs.

    "I've had the benefit of looking at the penalty decision but he's given it when the lad is a yard outside the box and that effects the flow of the game. It's not a criticism of the referee but he's given a penalty a yard outside the box because of information he's been given."

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    It was perhaps apt that Saints dialled up 111 points against Timisoara Saracens because the Romanian minnows were certainly in need of medical assistance at full-time at Franklin's Gardens on Friday night.

    Physically and mentally, the men in the yellow shirts were tortured.

    From the moment Luke Samoa kicked a penalty that provided Timisoara with their only points on a sobering night, Saints swarmed all over their opponents.

    Despite Reece Marshall's try, it was a fairly even start.

    But after that Samoa effort provided some solace for the team with Saracens in their name, a one-way road was installed at the Gardens.

    Wave after wave of Saints pressure brought try after try.

    In the end, 17 had been scored by the men in black, green and gold.

    And it inspired strange scenes as Saints supporters eventually started to roar Timisoara forward, with sympathy the overriding emotion.

    The away side simply weren't competitive and Saints, to their credit, kept their foot on the throat of the opposition.

    Home players took turns to inflict misery with each of them eager to get on the scoresheet.

    But that did not mean teamwork was abandoned, with Saints impressively unselfish in their attacking play.

    There were plenty of glimpses of the class in the home ranks, especially with players such as Alex Mitchell and Rory Hutchinson pulling the strings.

    But, in truth, this was less a contest more a training run.

    It was not quite Saints' record score - they racked up 118 points against Nuneaton in 2000 - but it was certainly the biggest total most onlookers could remember.

    And it brought the curtain down on a bizarre pool stage in which Clermont Auvergne flew out of the blocks and maintained a big lead in the standings.

    Saints were some way behind, but they were still miles ahead of the beleaguered Dragons.

    And then came Timisoara.

    Saints sampled snow in Romania, a rollercoaster in Clermont and a Friday night cruise in Northampton, among myriad other events in Pool 1.

    Memories have been made, and Saints will now travel back to Stade Marcel Michelin in the bid to make the best of the lot in March.

    They will once again take on Clermont, hoping to not only trouble the French team as they did earlier this month, but to beat them.

    Saints rattled the Top 14 table-toppers recently, but they will need that level and performance and more if they are to finally win at Les Jaunards.

    One thing is for sure - this competition has shown that strange things can happen.

    And that, allied with their fearless performance in France, will give Saints hope as they prepare to cross The Channel once more in a couple of months' time.

    How they rated...


    Was secure from the start and also provided plenty of cut and thrust to ensure Timisoara wouldn't be in Saints' half for long... 8

    Four tries for the prolific winger, who scored one of the best efforts of the game, slaloming his way through despite having very little space... 9

    Was the star of the show during the first half, producing some moments of magic for his team and etching his name on the scoresheet... 9

    Helped Saints to deal with the Romanian outfit's physicality early on, offloading well and coming so close to a try before Reece Marshall picked up to score... 8

    Was only on the field for a half as Nafi Tuitavake came on to get some minutes under his belt after the break, but Kellaway had already scored... 7

    Mostly kicked well for his team, racking up 12 conversions, but it was his work in open play that was most impressive... 8

    Looked razor-sharp from the start, proving elusive for Timisoara who just couldn't handle him as he popped up everywhere, scoring a hat-trick... 9

    Held his hands up for conceding a penalty during the first half, but showed some lovely touches early on and kept his side ticking over... 7

    Added a couple more tries to his tally as he made the most of Saints' overwhelming dominance... 7

    A good game to return in as he got some valuable minutes against a side who tried to meet fire with fire but eventually failed... 7

    Was far too strong for Timisoara, carrying over and over again as he pushed the Romanian side back with ease... 7

    Saints will be glad to have this man back from injury as he offers options in the second row and showed his toughness here... 7

    Did everything he could to stop Timisoara keeping possession for long, proving to be a nuisance for the opposition as always... 7

    Was given the captaincy during the second half after Waller was withdrawn and always dominated the contact area, eventually grabbing a score... 8

    Got some much-needed minutes under his belt, looking a threat throughout as he showed good pace to score and also disrupted the visitors in the set piece... 8

    Replacements (who played more than 20 minutes)

    NAFI TUITAVAKE (for Kellaway 40)

    A comfortable return to action for the Tongan, who scored one and also did well to set another up for Tom Collins late on... 7

    ALEX COLES (for Ribbans 40)
    A special night for the young lock as he scored his first try for Saints, galloping into space and over the line... 7

    WILL DAVIS (for Waller 56)
    The game was so loose by the time the replacement props were introduced but this man almost got on the scoresheet... 6

    JAMAL FORD-ROBINSON (for Hill 56)
    Good for Saints to have the prop back from injury as he has not had much luck of late and will hope to kick on now... 6

    CHARLIE DAVIES (for Mitchell 58)
    A nice game for the scrum-half to come on in as he got plenty of touches of the ball and did little wrong... 6

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    A 69-year-old Brownies leader from Northampton has retired after nearly 30 years of inspiring work.

    Barbara Wedgbrow, 69, of Parklands started out as a Brownies leader in Spinney Hill back in September 1983 when her daughter came home and told her the group was in need of a new leader.

    She said: "I thought I was just going along to help but ended up taking over the unit and I continued there as Brown Owl until October 1994.

    "My favourite part of guiding is seeing the girls enjoying themselves.

    "I loved the pack holidays we did, they were very tiring but well worth every minute organising it and seeing the girls happy."

    After taking a five-year break from guiding she got back into volunteering in January 2000 as an assistant guider and opened a new unit in Wootton as the demand for places was so high.

    She took up the role as Brown Owl again and after a few years she moved to the unit in Hardingstone, where she stayed until December last year.

    After 29 years of service, Barbara felt it was the right time right to finish as she currently suffers from arthritis and struggles to carry out activities with the girls - but she is still district commissioner.

    She added: "I will miss the girls but I have made many friends with the parents and also my lovely helpers: Imogen Scutchings who helps on occasion, Jo Payne (Snowy Owl) Sophie Humphries (Baby Owl), and without them I would not have survived this long.

    "Guiding is purely voluntary and we all spend many hours organising things to make sure the girls enjoy their time in a safe environment and have interesting and fun filled evenings."

    Throughout her time spent with the girls she's organised sports days, theatre days out, scavenger hunts, family trips and outings to fire and police stations.

    If you want to become a volunteer register here.

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    A charity for people with or affected by pulmonary fibrosis is holding its first support group meeting in the county.

    Breathing in and breathing out is the most natural thing in the world, unless you suffer from the devastating lung disease pulmonary fibrosis.

    It gradually destroys the lungs, making breathing difficult.

    The UK charity Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis is holding its first support meeting in Northamptonshire for anyone with or affected by pulmonary fibrosis, which kills 5,000 people a year in the UK – more than the better-known disease leukaemia. The average life expectancy from diagnosis is between three and five years.

    This new support group launches later this month to provide support for anyone affected by pulmonary fibrosis in the Northamptonshire area.

    Its first meeting will be from 1.30pm to 3.30pm on Tuesday, January 29, at The Centre, Mawsley.

    This includes patients, their families, carers and friends. In other parts of the country, support groups have proved invaluable in helping patients and carers to meet each other, develop mutually supportive relationships and be informed on treatment options.

    Penny Tremayne, who has spearheaded the group and lost her mother to the disease, said: “The support for people living with or affected by pulmonary fibrosis is variable - this is the first suppport group in Northamptonshire. “Supported by Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis I want to make a difference to individuals impacted by this disease.

    “My own personal experience has demonstrated a lack of support for individuals and carers. I very much hope this group will offer a social and educational support system for those in need.”

    John Evans of Weedon, near Daventry, was diagnosed in 2017 after suffering for months with a cough and cold. When it did not get better, and he noticed a shortness of breath, John visited his doctor who prescribed antibiotics.

    Things did not improve and he was sent to Northampton General Hospital to see a consultant and he was eventually diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis.

    “That was the first time I’d ever heard of it really,” said John.

    “I hadn’t a clue what it was but I’ve done a bit of research since then.”

    Since May 2018 John has been under the care of Glenfield Hospital who have prescribed a new drug designed to help stop the rapid progression of the illness.

    John said: “I do notice a difference from month to month. I get more breathless and I can’t lead my Nordic walking group anymore.

    “If I want to go for a walk into the village I have to take ambulatory oxygen with me.

    “It affects my family as well as me. It’s just not pleasant and the side effects of the drugs are not nice.

    “It’s gradually shrinking the world for me.”

    John said the new support group would be welcomed by many people with pulmonary fibrosis in Northamptonshire.

    He said: “It’s nice to meet people who have the same problem as you.

    “You can go along and have a chat and if you want to talk about the illness you can but if not, then you don’t have to.

    “It’s great to go along just for the social aspect of it.

    “It’s sometimes just nice to know you’re not on your own with this.”

    Wendy Dickinson, daughter of Peter Taylor – one half of footballing partnership Clough & Taylor – will be speaking at the event.

    Peter Taylor died of the disease and Wendy is a founding member of the charity.

    Pulmonary fibrosis is a term that describes the formation of scar tissue within the lungs. It usually occurs around the small air sacs (alveoli) of the lungs.

    Over time, the scar tissue builds up around the alveoli, making it harder for oxygen to pass from the lungs to the body where it is needed.

    This results in feeling short of breath. At first, this may occur with more strenuous activities or walking uphill or stairs.

    However, as the fibrosis increases, patients can become breathless with light activities including; washing, dressing, eating and talking.

    In some people the scarring develops very quickly, while in others it happens over a longer period of time.

    To attend or find out more contact Penny Tremayne on 07743 272466.

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    This summer’s Silverstone Classic will celebrate Bentley’s 100th birthday with a special anniversary race dedicated to honouring the illustrious British car maker.

    The Bentley Centenary Trophy for Pre-War Sports Cars on Saturday, July 27 comes almost exactly 100 years after W. O. Bentley founded the company on July 10, 1919.

    To mark the occasion, Silverstone Classic organisers hope that a record turnout of more than 30 iconic racing Bentleys will line up, as in period, in a field also packed with pre-war Alfa Romeos, Aston Martins, Bugattis, Fraser Nashes, Lagondas and MGs all dating back to the 1920s and 1930s.

    It was in competition that the Bentley brand first earned its reputation, winning the coveted Le Mans 24 Hours five times in seven years between 1924 and 1930, topped by a 1-2-3 podium clean sweep 90 years ago in 1929.

    "Those glorious tales of the big green Bentleys thundering through the French night are part of motorsport legend passed down through the generations,” said Nick Wigley, Silverstone Classic CEO.

    "Now we will be recreating some of that magic at sunset on Saturday at the classic to celebrate what is a very special moment in Bentley’s remarkable lifetime."

    Examples of the 3-litre, 4.5-litre Blower and Speed Six models, driven with such success in France, will be among the record numbers lining up at the classic.

    The Bentley Centenary Trophy for Pre-War Sports Cars is being organised by Motor Racing Legends, whose chairman, Duncan Wiltshire, anticipates a record-breaking grid.

    "This is such a significant anniversary – a once-in-a-lifetime celebration which is certain to appeal to all those with eligible Bentleys," said Mr Wiltshire.

    "As a result, we are expecting an enormous turn-out and, by all probability, the biggest grid of racing Bentleys ever seen anywhere in the world."

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    Cambridge United manager Colin Calderwood praised his side’s ‘resolve’ after their last-ditch 3-2 victory over Northampton on Saturday.

    The former Cobblers boss oversaw his third straight victory in charge of United to lift them four points above the relegation zone, and within just two of Northampton in League Two.

    The U’s had to do it the hard way having twice trailed to goals from Aaron Pierre and Junior Morias on Saturday, but Jevani Brown and George Taft set up a grandstand finish before David Amoo won it with the last kick.

    “After about 30-odd minutes of the first-half the game had really deteriorated into them being able to control it a lot better than we would have liked at home,” Calderwood told Cambridge News.

    “We just lost our way completely. To get the goal near half-time kept us in it without doing anything.

    “The start of the second-half we found ourselves behind before we did anything right, but from then on in we pushed, we harried, we got the penalty which we missed.

    “If ever a team had a reason or an excuse to lie down and say it’s not our day, it might have been in the second-half but they kept going and I think the pace that we possess troubled them eventually.

    “There’s lots that I’m really happy with. In the first-half I don’t think we played for long enough and when they tired we used the ball so much better, we passed it better and somehow we dealt with their threat.

    “They’ve really dug deep today the players. In a situation down near the bottom of the league it’s awkward.

    “It can be fantastic game, a fantastic profession to play in but there are moments in your career when you think ‘this is really uncomfortable and I’m not enjoying it’.

    “That has definitely happened to the group here I’m sure this year. Somehow they’ve got a resolve and we kept getting opportunities that kept them going.

    “Certainly the back four defended really well when they had to but they were at full stretch. It’s great to see that they can go to that. We can break and lose of course, but they’ve given their all and I think we have to admire their courage.

    “You’ve got to enjoy it, then put it away at the beginning of the week and reset yourselves. I’ll give you one of my sayings, and I keep saying to them; a running dog is a happy dog, and they run today the boys.”

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    After more than a year of delays and a huge cost increase, Northampton Borough Council is finally set to sign off its 2016-17 accounts later this month.

    It is set to bring to an end a challenging period where the council and auditors KPMG have faced multiple hurdles in a bid to finally close the balance sheet from two years ago.

    But the delays have come at a cost. In December, it was revealed that the bill had increased from an original £80,000 to standing at £280,000 at the end of November. The bill could feasibly be as high as £400,000 by the end of January councillors were told.

    At last though, members of the borough council’s audit committee look set to finally sign off the accounts at its next meeting on January 28.

    Councillor Brandon Eldred, cabinet member for finance, said: “This has regrettably been a protracted exercise and taken much longer to complete than any of us would have liked.

    “It is important for the residents and businesses to know that this delay in finalising our accounts is around technical accounting and presentation issues, not the financial stability of, or financial controls within the council.”

    The delays stem back to an error where an ‘incorrect methodology’ was used by the council’s external valuers Bruton Knowles to estimate the value of council dwellings. KPMG says that by using an ‘incorrect’ Social Housing discount factor, the authority understated the value of its council dwellings by £121.7million.

    Matters have also been complicated by ‘staff churn’, according to chief finance officer Stuart McGregor, with the council needing to use further agency staff while LGSS Finance launched a recruitment campaign to woo permanent staff who can help with audits.

    Councillor Eldred continued: “The process has been hampered by turnover of both our staff and those at LGSS – our financial service provider. We’ve learned lessons and made improvements as a result of the experience.

    “I’m pleased that we are now reaching a conclusion on this very challenging exercise and I’d like to thank all those involved for their perseverance and hard work.”

    0 0

    The unthinkable prospect of relegation to non-league has always seemed an unlikely one this season, even when the Cobblers had seven points from 10 games, but after this galling defeat to Cambridge United, it remains an all-too-real possibility.

    It was not so much the result itself that generated cause for concern, nor even the crushing manner in which it was inflicted. No, it was the deeply disappointing manner of Town’s overall performance as they went from one extreme to the other following last weekend’s excellent victory over Carlisle United.

    That display against the Cumbrians was long overdue but it seems it was a one-off judging by their efforts at the Abbey Stadium on Saturday when they were second best throughout, even if you account for Town’s injury-ravaged squad.

    While the timing of United’s winning goal and the closeness of the final scoreline could give the impression this was a tight, evenly-contested affair, that would do a disservice to Cambridge’s superiority for much of the encounter.

    In truth, 3-2 reflects kindly on the Cobblers. Their play hardly warranted two goals while their defence – or rather overrun midfield – could easily have shipped many more. Only United’s ineptitude in front of goal spared their blushes.

    To put it into context, Jevani Brown, Harrison Dunk, Jabo Ibehre and George Maris all missed clear chances and yet Cambridge still scored three goals. That doesn’t even account for the numerous counter-attacking opportunities the home side messed up, nor Brown’s missed penalty at 2-1. Based on the chances count alone, this was far more one-sided than the scoreline suggests.

    There were mitigating circumstances. With Shaun McWilliams joining John-Joe O’Toole, Sam Foley, Ash Taylor in the treatment room and both Kevin van Veen and Matt Crooks having been sold, the squad is now down to the bare bones.

    That meant two of Town’s brightest young prospects – Jay Williams and Scott Pollock – were thrown into the deep end on Saturday but this was no game for players of such inexperience. Try as they might, the teenagers required more structure and help from those around them to thrive. In the end, they became swamped.

    If they weren’t before, reinforcements are now surely needed. If not, an awkward end to the season awaits.

    Back to Saturday’s game, the Cobblers led twice but they were fortunate to do so on both occasions. Aaron Pierre’s thumping finish came of the blue and Junior Morias was in the right place at the right time to pounce on a defensive mix-up straight after half-time. Chances were otherwise few and far between.

    The midfield was overrun from the first whistle – only exacerbated by the departure of McWilliams to injury – and that in turn left the defence exposed, all while United found oceans of space down either flank as the visitors lost regularly their shape.

    The home side’s repeated breakaways became a theme of the game, though they somehow managed to mess up almost every one. If it wasn’t for some indecision and poor decision-making, United would surely have racked up more.

    Foley’s tenacity and robustness in midfield was a significant miss. Without his industry, the defence became exposed.

    Relegation remains unlikely despite this defeat, thanks largely to a six-point cushion and the amount of teams between them and the bottom two, but the fact it can’t entirely be ruled out at this stage of the campaign – almost 30 games in – says everything about how Town’s season has lurched from one disappointment to another.

    To put it into context, Cobblers require 17 points from their final 18 games to be assured of safety, an average of almost one per game. Over their previous 10 matches, they’ve averaged exactly one point per game.

    With injuries totting up and key players now playing elsewhere, it’s getting too close for comfort.

    How they rated...

    David Cornell - The fact he was one of Town’s better players is telling. Wasn’t tested as much as he should have been due to United’s erratic finishing, but raced off his line to smother at the feet of Maris and was generally solid. All three goals left him no chance.... 7

    Shay Facey - Did well to cope with the flurry of attacks and timed his challenges well. Booked for the penalty despite being nowhere near the incident... 7

    Aaron Pierre - Had to stand strong as captain and at the heart of the defence given how often United came streaming forward. Thumping finish for his fifth of the campaign, though did concede the spot-kick... 7

    Jordan Turnbull - Commendable performance considering how busy he was. Regularly called upon to make tackles, interceptions and blocks, all of which he did excellently... 7 CHRON STAR MAN

    Jay Williams - Never once shied away from the action as he battled gamely in midfield, but ultimately he was not aided by those around him... 6

    Shaun McWilliams - Cobblers could ill-afford to lose him given he went into the game as their only fit senior central midfielder, but that’s what happened shortly before half-time... 5

    George Cox - His withdrawal at the break was a blow for the Cobblers as he had delivered some decent crosses and was finding space on the left.... 6

    Sam Hoskins - A tough day at wing-back as he never really attacked with conviction and then left gaps for United to exploit on the counter-attack. Unlucky with a looping header that hit the woodwork... 5

    Jack Bridge - No repeat of last week’s heroics but was Town’s most dangerous attacking player, at least in the second-half when his work created two good chances for Morias... 6

    Junior Morias - Clinical finish to restore the lead after half-time but his miss moments later proved a decisive moment as the hosts fought back. Still, his substitution before the hour-mark came as a surprise... 7

    Andy Williams - Very little impact on the game. Shot over shortly before United’s late winner but hard to recall much else falling his way... 5


    Scott Pollock - Not the ideal situation for a 17-year-old to be thrust into the heat of battle. Moments of promise and was by no means overawed by the occasion, but this was not the sort of game for one so young and inexperienced... 6

    David Buchanan - 5

    Daniel Powell - 5