Doctors and health care leaders today announced a new development in the options for future hospital services in mid and south Essex.
Essex Stars X Factor Chart Challenge
The X Factor winner will face challenges from two Essex acts for the Christmas number one, according to bookies.
The yet-to-be-decided victor of the ITV1 talent show is favourite - as in most years - but William Hill has seen a flurry of bets which have cut the odds of challengers considerably.
On Monday, the firm slashed the price for The Wombles to 7/1, after earlier giving 50/1 for the furry group's Wombling Merry Christmas single.
It is also offering 7/1 for the cast of TOWIE's version of Wham! hit Last Christmas.
Another strong tip is Arianna Morgan (pictured), a ten-year-old from Thundersley, who releases her cover of Fleetwood Mac's Songbird next month. She is ranked at 8/1. Arianna will be performing on the Heart stage at the Southend Christmas Lights on Saturday.
But the closest challenger appears to be Nirvana with the band's 20-year-old hit Smells Like Teen Spirit at 5/1.
Fans are being encouraged to buy the track as a response to the usual X Factor domination of the festive chart. In 2009, an anti-X Factor campaign catapulted Rage Against The Machine's Killing In The Name to the top of the charts ahead of show winner Joe McElderry.
Mariah Carey and Justin Bieber's collaboration on All I Want For Christmas Is You is also at 7/1, and
However the unnamed song by the X Factor winner is the 1/3 favourite.
Hill's spokesman Rupert Adams said: "The X Factor has had a profound effect on what has traditionally been the country's favourite festive flutter.
"That said, the X Factor winner no longer looks unbeatable, we have seen good money for Nirvana and the cast of The Only Way Is Essex but my money is on Mariah Carey and Justin Bieber at 7/1."
Other contenders include Amy Winehouse (8/1), Westlife (14/1), Adele (14/1), The Smiths (20/1) and One Direction (25/1).
Residents are being urged to give their views on the Chelmsford City Growth Package.
A group of 12 men from Essex have been jailed for more than 40 years for a violent attack on a football fan.
Essex Police are carrying out a crack down on knife crime this week.
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