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Connecting with technology - potential development engineers took part in the Young Engineers' Bloodhound K'nex challenge building a model of a supersonic vehicle



More than 750 Essex primary school children became high-fliers at a two-day engineering and technology event.
STEMTEAM Essex organised its annual e-Tech event at Tilbury's Cruise Terminal and children from as far apart as Manningtree and Grays had fun designing weather balloons and supersonic and jet vehicles.
Pupils filled the Cruise Terminal with activity and noise as they drew up plans for their projects, built them then put them through their paces.
The event was backed by a number of major companies and institutions which gave financial assistance or supplied experienced technical staff as mentors and helpers.
They included RWE npower, May Gurney, e2V, Ford, Selex Galileo, QinetiQ, Unilever, Nortel, Petroplus, the Shell Foundation, IChemE, the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Institution of Engineering and Technology and the Institute of Measurement and Control.
STEMTEAM Essex is dedicated to promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM subjects) to young people through a range of stimulating, yet entertaining, activities. Students from primary school age through to A level stage are encouraged to consider these subject areas in their future education and career planning.
STEMTEAM Essex Manager Mike Williamson said: "The cruise terminal is a huge area and over the two days it was alive with the noise of children enthusiastically going about their tasks and enjoying all the aspects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics that they entailed."
Among the activities at the e-Tech days some pupils drew up plans for a weather balloon and then produced one to their own design. Other groups became development engineers by taking part in the Young Engineers' Bloodhound K'nex challenge building a model of a supersonic vehicle which was launched from a ramp to see how far it would go.
A third option was the building of a jet vehicle which was fired pneumatically along the floor - some achieved 30 metres.
Mr Williamson said: "We have had tremendous support from a large number of firms, especially the Port of Tilbury. It is essential if we are to encourage students to go into these subjects that we have industry behind us."

Notes to Editors:
Primary schools taking part in the e-Tech days were from Brentwood, Basildon, Harlow, Chelmsford, Manningtree, Epping, Tilbury, Southend, South Ockendon, Buckhurst Hill, Hutton, Grays and Stanford-Le-Hope.

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Hip crowd:the middle eastern dancers
For immediate release


Coach driver Simon Holder is used to curves in his job but didn't reckon on so many all at once.
Simon, boss of Wickford-based company Simon's Bus, was chauffeuring what is arguably the hippest group in Essex - the Middle Eastern Dancers belly dance group. The lithe ladies of the group were all dressed up in official dance clothes for their annual night out.
Twenty-one members of the group, clad in colourful skirts, tops, scarves and veils, celebrated at the Cayenne Grill Moroccan cuisine restaurant at Westcliff-on-Sea and included Simon's wife, and fellow Simon's Bus proprietor, Helen, pictured right.
Simon, who trained as a bus driver with London Transport, joked: "I drove night buses many times but this is my first time on an Arabian Night bus. They were a great group to escort."
The exotic Middle Eastern Dancers were among the first to use the new Simon's Bus PartyBus which is the pride of the fleet with forward and rear-facing seats, multi-coloured lighting, and onboard entertainment for all ages.
The 60 members of the Middle Eastern Dancers do the hippy-hippy shake three times a week at venues in Wickford and Billericay under the guidance of tutor Fay Nevett-Moore.
Through dance shows held for friends, family and local community groups, the Middle Eastern Dancers raise funds for the Brighter Opportunities through Supported Play (BOSP) charity. During last year the women shimmied to a fundraising total of £1,400.
Helen Holder said: "Belly dancing is most enjoyable and is a great, no-pain, way of staying fit and trim. Every one of us just loves it and looks forward to our sessions. After an excellent meal the Cayenne Grill cleared the dance floor and allowed us to belly dance to our heart's content.
"We do demonstrations to all sorts of community groups and we never fail to get them - whether they are suited men from the Round Table or elderly ladies from the Townswomen's Guild - joining in with us."

Notes to Editors:
The Middle Eastern Dancers meet on:
Mondays from 19:15-20:30 at Christ Church Hall, Wickford
Wednesdays from 18:00-19:30 at the BOSP Youth Group, Emmanuel Church, Church View, Laindon Road, Billericay.
Thursdays from 1830-2000 at the Women's Institute Hall in St Edith's Lane, Billericay.

BOSP is a registered charity formed by parents of children with special needs. Its aims are to provide play and recreational opportunities for children and young people with learning disabilities. It offers parents and families respite and support and helps young people acquire social skills and a better quality of life.