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Last Updated: Friday, 7 November, 2003, 14:22 GMT
Soham prepares for jury visit
The Soham schools will be closed
Jurors in the Soham murder trial will visit the town on Monday - but the community there is hoping most children will be absent.

Schools there are closed for the day and head teachers are encouraging parents to take children out.

Organisations and attractions are offering discounted or free entrance.

The jury will visit places being linked to the deaths of schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.

Soham Village College - where Holly and Jessica's former classmates are now at school - and St Andrew's primary will be closed.

Media diversion

Ian Huntley, the former caretaker of Soham Village College denies murdering the 10-year-old girls.

His former girlfriend Maxine Carr, 26, who was a classroom assistant at St Andrew's, denies conspiring to pervert the course of justice and two charges of assisting an offender.

The idea of encouraging families and teachers to leave Soham for the jury's visit came from local businessman Barry Morris, who is also the chairman of the Windmills playgroup in the town.

He wants Monday to be known as the Soham Day Out, not as the day the jurors visited Soham.

"I'm one of hundreds of thousands of parents who received a letter from the police saying the schools would be closed.

It shows that people's hearts are still here with the people of Soham
Barry Morris
"I thought it would be good to help people get out and to create a media diversion.

"We've had enough, especially the children," he told BBC News Online.

Mr Morris contacted a few businesses and organisations in the region who then offered concessions to the children and their families and teachers.

"I'm very pleased with the way it has taken off. It just snowballed.

"It's putting a little smile on people's faces that wouldn't have been there and it shows that people's hearts are still here with the people of Soham."

Among those taking part is the Duxford Imperial War Museum, which is dropping its usual charge of 8.50 for adults who are accompanying children. Children enter free of charge.

Swimming pools, bowling alleys and marine life centres are also offering free entry or discounts.

The West Anglia Great Northern railway has offered free travel on its network plus money-off deals for some London attractions.

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