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Cute animal story alert ……

In 2018, Fred the Labrador at Mountfitchet Castle in Essex made the news when he took 9 ducklings under his wing so to speak. The photo of him carrying the babies on his back went viral and made him an internet sensation. The ducklings had been abandoned by their mother. To read more about this story look on their website . There are some really cute photos of the ducklings and their adopted Dad.

Mountfitchet Castle have updated their website and said that they are blessed to have more new additions this year and that they are pleased to announce that their mother is carefully looking after her brood. The chicks have all been born in time for the Easter Programme. Fred is still looking after his brood from last year but as they are growing up fast they are becoming less dependent on him.

Stansted Mountfitchet is famous for its Castle, toy museum and  Norman village and is a popular tourist attraction in Essex, in fact being voted Essex Attraction of the Year by The Good Britain Guide

This certainly ticks our cute animal story box and we are glad to know that Fred is still keeping an eye on his ducklings!!

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To age there is no limit…

Following on from our earlier article about Jo Pavey and how age shouldn’t be a barrier to continuing sporting success. In case you haven’t guessed from all the articles since we launched I am a very keen badminton player and am involved with the Badminton England Masters events and county competitions. Badminton is a great sport for everyone to play. Click here to find out more about where to play.

I am 100% Essex born and bred and certainly Essex and proud! I pull on my county top and feel a pride and passion that is hard to describe. Being part of a team is second to none and the feeling of winning as a team is incredible. Over the years I have been very lucky to be part of Essex teams winning National titles and for that I am really grateful.

Each year in January there is an Inter Counties Badminton event which is held at various venues all over the country. Masters ages are from over 40 all the way up to over 70s. Over the weekend 125 county teams participated with over 1200 players from all over the country competing for the various titles. I am glad to say that The Essex over 40 team were crowned National Champions – congratulations to them.

Teams may wear matching kit and as the age groups rise matching elbow and knee supports but still the competition is fierce. Neighbouring counties form friendly rivalries and a great weekend is had both on and off the court. Players who have won medals at the highest level compete on the same court as others and regardless of age the competitiveness is never lost.

So many people dread their next big birthday but so often you hear people in the badminton changing rooms talking about bringing on the next age group and how they are looking forward to that 0 or 5!!!! I am sure this must be the same in all sports but age is but a number and as long as you are able to keep fit, participate and enjoy then make the most of the time you can compete. That team spirit is one to be cherished and I am sure every county has that same passion.

I can remember many years ago being tormented by our opponents about being from Essex and asked if we would wear our white stilettos and dance round our handbags!! I think we did!!! The girls from the Isle of Wight said to us during the teasing – you think you have it bad with white stilettos and handbags we get milking stools and smocks!!!  Banter and how to make friends! Team sports – you can’t beat it!

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Our Chief Banana gets to spread Good News on the BBC

On Sunday June 17th our Chief Banana was invited to BBC to review the newspapers on the BBC Essex Sunday morning radio programme with Peter Holmes.

Matt was asked to choose three items of news from the Sunday papers. Why not have a listen as he talks about Banana Crumble and see which news items he selects and why he choose them!! He did manage to find three  positive pieces of news!!

Why not have a listen on our YouTube page?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rT6UZX2rsk4&feature=youtu.be