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  1. Updates on Thursday 19 March 2015
  2. We will be back with more news, sport, travel and weather from 8.00 on Friday

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Thanks for your company today - that's it from your team across the North East.

We'll be back again from 08:00 tomorrow with the latest news, sport, weather and travel updates from across the region.

Clear and cool

Paul Mooney

BBC Weather presenter

It will be a mostly clear evening with chilly spells.

Temperature chart

Many areas will see increasing amounts of cloud as the night goes on, with the breeze also picking up, but it should stay dry.

New government offices open

Civic dignitaries and government representatives have attended the official opening of the Department for Education's new offices in Darlington.

There were initially fears that hundreds of jobs would be lost after the former facility at Mowden Hall was found to be no longer fit for purpose, and there were plans to relocate to Newcastle.

(Left to right) Andrew McCully, director general at Department for Education, Jenny Chapman, MP for Darlington, and Councillor Bill Dixon, leader of Darlington Borough Council
Darlington Council

However, following a change of plan, work began in December 2013 on an £8m building behind the Town Hall.

Councillor Bill Dixon, leader of

Darlington Borough Council, said: "Darlington is well and truly on the regional economic map and the opening of the DfE offices is a significant feature in this."

Rifles parade route unveiled

Hartlepool Mail

Final details have been announced of the ceremony and route when Hartlepool welcomes soldiers of 3rd Battalion The Rifles

as they march through the town on Saturday.

The locally recruited regiment and its reservists are exercising their right to parade as part of the Freedom of the Borough which the regiment was granted by Hartlepool Borough Council last September.

Dinky cars sell for £227k

A collection of 3,000 toy cars, trucks and trains which was built up over 50 years has been sold at auction for £227,000.

Retired car dealer Raymond Hainsworth, 78, did not expect to make a fortune on the sale as he has paid top prices for the highest quality toys that included Dinky, Hornby and Tri-ang that were not "play worn".

Auctioneer Andrew Reed of Vectis Auctions in Thornaby, Teesside, said he thought more than half of the 2,000 lots that were sold over three days would now go abroad.

Rachel Lee signs for Durham Women

Durham Women have

signed midfielder Rachel Lee from Bradford City Women.

Rachel Lee
The FA
Rachel Lee signed for former WSL side Lincoln City Ladies in July 2013

The former Sunderland and Lincoln City player will also remain at Bradford on a dual-registration until the Women's Premier League season ends in May.


could make her debut for the Wildcats away to Doncaster Rovers Belles on Thursday.

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 17:00 include:

  • BBC Newcastle: A South Shields man appears in court, accused of murdering his girlfriend on Mothers' Day
  • BBC Tees: A Hartlepool councillor apologises after insulting a female audience member

Tonight's Look North

Carol Malia

BBC Look North presenter

As a major incident is announced at Carlisle's Cumberland Infirmary, we'll be hearing how patients are affected.

Tune in from 6.30 on BBC One

Aero school flies into Teesside

Staying with all things celestial...

A new flying school has opened at Durham Tees Valley airport.

Durham Aerosports has been launched by chief instructor Lawrence Bell and managing director Perry Reid.


training packages range in price from £70 to £3,499.

Durham Aersoports instructor Lawrence Bell and managing director Perry Reid
Durham Aerosports

Seeing the solar eclipse safely

So you know when and where it can be seen, but how can you watch the solar eclipse safely?

Solar scientist Dr Lucie Green explains.

Lucie Green tries out solar eclipse glasses

Fantastic news day at Heaton Manor

Emma Wass

BBC Newcastle

Well it has been a fantastic news day here at Heaton Manor.

News anchors Harrison and Eloise can't wait to see themselves on the screen - and hear themselves on BBC Newcastle.

Pupils at Heaton Manor

You can see their

reports on the BBC School Reports News website or
hear some of them after 17:00 on BBC Newcastle.

Where and when can you see the eclipse?

Duncan Leatherdale

BBC News Online

Want to know where and when the eclipse can be seen tomorrow?

Here is a handy map compiled by the BBC and Met Office to show the timings of the solar lunar crossover.

Map showing eclipse data

Bail after jewellery store arrests

Two men arrested in connection with

armed robberies at two Teesside jewellery shops have been bailed pending further inquiries.

Market Cross Jewellers in Yarm was targeted in November, with the Middlesbrough branch broken into in January.

Acting the goat gains Precious fame

BBC Tees

A County Durham goat called Precious has found internet fame as the face of a new computer game.

Precious, who lives at Hall Hill Farm in Lanchester, has been used on the

trailer to Goat Simulator made by Coffee Stain Studios.

You can hear how our reporter Helen Place got on when she met

Precious after 16:00 on BBC Tees.

Precious the goat on the trailer
Coffee Stain Studios

'Callous' thieves burgle charity shop

Burglars stole cash and jewellery after breaking into a charity shop in Ashington.

Scope shop on Station Road

They caused damage while forcing their way into the Scope shop on Station Road sometime between 17:30 on Saturday and 08:45 on Monday.

Northumbria Police are appealing for witnesses. Acting Inspector Elizabeth Hall said: "Callous thieves have deliberately targeted this shop knowing that it relies on donations from kind-hearted members of the public in order to raise cash for charity."

John Carver news conference

BBC Sport

Newcastle manager John Carver has been giving his news conference ahead of Arsenal's visit on Saturday.

"We are a small group and it's a difficult time but the only way you get through it is by sticking together and smiling," he said.

Asked about the threat posed by the Gunners, he said: "They are a good footballing side who like to play, so we have to be patient. But we have one or two things up our sleeve."

Number of North East NEETS falls

Richard Moss

Political editor, North East & Cumbria

According to

new government figures, the percentage of 16 to 18-year-olds not in employment, education or training (NEETs) in the North East fell from 7.6% to 7% between 2013 and 2014.

There were 6,210 NEETs in 2014 compared to 6,860 in 2013 and 7,590 in 2012.

Stockton has the highest percentage of NEETS in the region, with 9%, while Hartlepool has the lowest with 5.6%.

Calculating your budget

Duncan Leatherdale

BBC News Online

Want to know how the latest budget will affect you?

The BBC and accounting firm KPMG LLP

have devised a calculator to help you out.

George Osborne presents the latest budget

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 15:00 include:

Preparing for the eclipse

Duncan Leatherdale

BBC News Online

Are you planning to watch tomorrow's solar eclispe?

Solar eclipse

The BBC has come up with a

handy guide about where is best to view the solar phenomenon from and also how to remain safe while doing so.

The North East should see a 90% eclipse shortly after 09:30.

Lecturer's poems to support torture charity

Novelist and poet Sophie Nicholls is hoping her latest venture will help to raise money for a charity that supports survivors of torture.

Sophie Nicholls
Teesside University

Ms Nicholls, a senior lecturer in creative writing at Teesside University, has seen her poetry collection Refugee re-launched on the Amazon Kindle with all proceeds going to the Freedom from Torture charity.

Refugee is a collection of poems inspired by the real life experiences of refugees and asylum seekers who Sophie met when carrying out creative writing workshops for the Write to Life group at Freedom from Torture.

Teenage girl raped in Gateshead park

Northumbria Police are investigating the rape of a 17-year-old girl in a Gateshead park.

Police said the girl was attacked in Watergate Park at 03:15 today and are appealing for witnesses.

It is believed the girl had been in Collingwood Street earlier in the night.

View from the top of the Monument

Anthony Day

BBC Newcastle

Grey's Monument, in Newcastle, is opening its doors once again for people to climb up and see the city through the eyes of Earl Grey.

As part of English Tourism Week, it will open for one day tomorrow.

I made it to the top this morning - here I am out of breath at the top.

Anthony Day on the top of the Monument

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 14:00 include:

  • BBC Newcastle: Investigations are underway following reports a 17-year-old girl was raped in a Tyneside park early this morning.
  • BBC Tees: The new Department of Education offices in Darlington have officially opened for 400 workers.

Sunny spells this afternoon

It will brighten up with sunny spells developing for many this afternoon. Light winds are expected so it should feel quite pleasant in the sunshine but cloud may increase later in the day.

Maximum Temperature: 11C (52F)

Gillies rejoins Gateshead

Matthew Raisbeck

BBC Newcastle

Tweets: Josh Gillies has rejoined #gatesheadfc on loan from Carlisle United for the rest of the season #heedarmy

On Look North at lunchtime

Colin Briggs

BBC Look North

Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle is having to send patients to other hospitals - because it has run out of beds.

The Trust that runs the hospital has declared a "major incident". Our reporter Mark McAlindon will explain what's happening.

As excitement across the region continues to grow ahead of tomorrow's solar eclipse, schoolchildren in North Tyneside have been practising how to view the spectacle in safety.

Join me for these and all our other stories at 13:30 on BBC One.

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 13:00 include:

  • BBC Newcastle: A South Shields man accused of murdering his girlfriend on Mothers' Day has appeared in court.
  • BBC Tees: Police investigating the disappearance of North Yorkshire woman Claudia Lawrence have screened new CCTV footage of two people they want to find.

Meet Heaton Manor's news editors

The people controlling the news agenda at Heaton Manor in Newcastle today will be Year 10 students Freddie, Hannah and Claudia.

They will be the news editors as the school takes part in

BBC School Report News day.

Students are reporting throughout the day on

BBC Newcastle on a variety of issues.

Year 10 students Hannah, Claudia and Freddie

Wenger says games against Newcastle 'always tight and difficult'

BBC Sport

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has been giving his press conference ahead of his side's trip to Newcastle on Saturday.

He said: "We have good memories at Newcastle but they're always very tight and difficult games. The crowd is always motivated."

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 12:00 include:

  • BBC Newcastle: A South Shields man accused of murdering his girlfriend on Mothers' Day is to be assessed by psychiatrists.
  • BBC Tees: Middlesbrough defender George Friend says their quest for promotion to the Premier League won't get any easier.

Reporters raring to go

Emma Wass

BBC Newcastle

With their notepads, pens and press passes at the ready, the young journalists at Heaton Manor are off to find the news.

I'll be with them all day as part of the

BBC's School Report News day.

You can

hear their reports throughout the day on BBC Newcastle or read them here on Local Live.

Look out news, they're coming to get you!

Heaton manor pupils