There is still time for young people to enter the Honiton and District Writers’ Group’s 2012 Young Writers Competition. Read this and more.

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GET WRITING: There is still time for young people aged between five and 18 to enter the Honiton and District Writers’ Group’s 2012 Young Writers Competition.

Sponsored by The Gibbons Family Trust, the contest is open to original stories of up to 750 words on any subject.

Stories should be sent with a title and a separate sheet showing the entrant’s name, age, telephone number and address to John Carter, Smokey House, Yarcombe, Honiton, Devon EX14 9AD.

The closing date is November 10.

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ACCREDITATION: The East Devon Volunteer Centre has received national recognition for its work.

It has been given a volunteer centre quality accreditation by national charity Volunteering England.

Anyone interested in volunteering or in recruiting volunteers for an organisation, should call Sandra Chapman or Nicky Pring on 01404 549045 or email vcadmin@edvsa.org.uk

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WHOOPING COUGH: Health visitors and midwives are preparing to vaccinate pregnant women to protect their babies from whooping cough.

Chief medical officer Professor Dame Sally Davies says the temporary move is necessary because latest figures reveal a large increase in cases of the potential fatal illness, including in the South West.

There were 843 confirmed cases of whooping cough in the region in the first eight months of this year, compared to 65 in 2011 and 44 in 2010.

Of those, 302 cases were reported in infants under 12 weeks of age – more than double the 115 cases reported in the same period in 2011. There were nine deaths of young children in the same period.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has agreed the vaccine should be offered to the approximate 650,000 women a year who are between 28 and 38 weeks pregnant. It will be offered to pregnant women during routine antenatal appointments with a nurse, midwife or GP - even if they have previously been immunised.

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