In Pictures: People flock to Essex beach as temperatures soar

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As temperatures soared above 30C (86F) on Friday, hundreds flocked to Mersea Island on the Essex coast. A spot favoured by kite surfers, the beaches of West Mersea combined strong sun with a moderate breeze.

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The car parks around West Mersea were full on Friday as families and sun-seekers headed to its beaches for some coastal relaxation
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"It has been extremely busy today - the busiest of the year," says Viviana Dixon, who runs Vivi's shop next to the beach. "We are selling lots of cold drinks, ice creams and, believe it or not, fresh coffees."
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Alongside the sunbathers were kite surfers and kayakers keen to enjoy the combination of hot sun and a cooling breeze on the island between Clacton and the Blackwater estuary

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Many of those enjoying the weather at West Mersea were doing so from the comfort of their beach huts
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The beach at West Mersea features sand, pebbles and broken shells - unsurprising given Mersea Island is the home of the world-famous Colchester native oysters
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Not everybody was out in the sunshine. Jean Howard (left) has recently come our of hospital and was taken for a day out to relax by the sea by her son Kevin. The pair took in the views from beneath the shade of a tree

Photography: Laurence Cawley

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