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Communities urged to look out for vulnerable as icy blast hits Suffolk and north Essex

East Anglia is braced for the coldest week of winter. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

East Anglia is braced for the coldest week of winter. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

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With temperatures due to plunge and three days of snow warnings, calls are being made for neighbours to look out for the more vulnerable people in their communities.

Snow in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: GREGG BROWN Snow in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Bitterly cold winds are expected as the region braces itself for snowfall and sub-zero conditions with the arrival of the so-called ‘Beast from the East’.

The icy blast, sweeping in from Siberia, could bring with it temperatures not seen in Suffolk and north Essex for five years, forecasters believe.

Such a severe cold weather snap could be dangerous for some, bosses at West Suffolk Hospital said, with the risk of having a heart attack, stroke, falls or hypothermia increased when the mercury plummets to below 8C.

Helen Beck, chief operating officer, said: “Given the predicted cold weather snap we advise that people in our community stock up on medicines, check on any vulnerable or elderly neighbours and take care when outside.

A frosty sunset near the Orwell Bridge. Picture: CARL HARLOTT A frosty sunset near the Orwell Bridge. Picture: CARL HARLOTT

“It is important to keep warm in cold weather as it can be bad for your health.

“The cold weather is also a common trigger for breathing difficulties.

“If you have a heart or respiratory problem, it’s best to stay indoors during very cold weather if you can.”

Chiefs at Ipswich and Colchester hospitals are urging patients to think GP and think pharmacy to allow A&E departments to deal with emergencies only as demand peaks.

Snowy weather in Landseer Park. Picture: CARL HARLOTT Snowy weather in Landseer Park. Picture: CARL HARLOTT

Hospital spokeswoman Jan Ingle said: “We do have a plan and know we can cope with an influx of people needing complex and emergency care.

“What we would say is to think: ‘Is the hospital the most appropriate place for me to be?’

“We want people to think GP, think pharmacy and make use of our healthcare partners unless it is a matter of emergency.”

Emergency winter beds are being provided for rough sleepers by Ipswich council, which are being provided in partnership with Genesis Housing Association at Cavendish Lodge.

Frosty sunset over the River Orwell. Picture: CARL HARLOTT Frosty sunset over the River Orwell. Picture: CARL HARLOTT

Meanwhile, while Age UK Suffolk bosses are urging people to spread a little warmth.

This, they suggest, could be achieved by offering to help a neighbour with essential shopping as the cold weather hits.

Operations manager Helen Taylor said: “We would urge all readers to be good neighbours during severe weather.

“Keep in regular touch with older friends and neighbours and raise your concerns if something doesn’t seem right.”

Calls have been made for leaders to reverse their decision to call off a family fun day in Ipswich following a violent crime wave that led to the loss of a young life.

Police are investigating a reported rape which took place in Ipswich last night.

Former BBC broadcaster Bill Turnbull sent a poignant message to women competing in Ipswich’s Race for Life this weekend: don’t leave it too late to get checked for cancer.

Around 500 people turned out to enjoy a day of Bangladeshi culture and food at the seventh annual Suffolk Pita Festival in Ipswich.

Efforts to raise awareness of diabetes and how to prevent it are being redoubled in Suffolk as the number of new diagnoses rises by 5% year on year.

Swarms of tiny black beetles have been appearing in gardens across Suffolk and Essex, seemingly attracted by the hot weather.

An elderly woman on a mobility scooter inadvertently drove onto the A14 this morning and had to be escorted off by police.

Two people have been arrested after a man was stabbed in Haverhill yesterday evening.

Hosting a barbeque or grabbing a cool pint in the local pub for the England game today? Check here to see how warm it will be where you are.

Scores of bikers took to the region’s roads today under the blazing sunshine to raise money to support unwell children.

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