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  1. Updates on Friday 1 July 2016

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage throughout the day

Ana Guerra-Moore

BBC News Online

Our live coverage is now over for the week - thank you for joining us.

We'll be back with more news, sport, weather and travel updates on Monday at 08:00.

If you'd like to get in touch then feel free to do so on Twitter, Facebook or send us an email to

Have a lovely weekend, and we'll see you next week.

Memorial bench for Company Sergeant Major Stan Hollis

BBC Tees

Do you know who Middlesbrough-born soldier Stan Hollis was or what he did?

Well he was the only person to receive the Victoria Cross for bravery on D-Day on 6 June 1944.

Now a memorial bench in honour of Company Sgt Maj Hollis has been unveiled at St Cuthbert’s Church in Ormesby.  

The bench was officially unveiled to the public in a ceremony outside the church.

Stan’s son Brian and granddaughter Mandy were there, along with the Green Howards.

Watch the bench being unveiled here.

Family sat on the bench

Attempted robbery in Hartlepool

 A woman was victim to an attempted robbery as she walked along Murray Street in Hartlepool.

The incident occurred at around 21:45 on Saturday, 25 June, when the woman saw three young males running towards her. 

Two of them ran past her and one of them, who was carrying a yellow scaffolding tube, attempted to grab her phone.

When she wouldn’t hand it over, the male hit her in the arm with the tube and ran off towards Victoria Road.

The victim received treatment at the One Life Centre in Hartlepool for minor injuries.

Murray Road

Two former North East footballers land new clubs

Two former North East footballers have announced they have joined new clubs, albeit in slightly different leagues.

Ex-Newcastle midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa has signed a two-year deal with French champions Paris Saint-Germain from Ligue 1 rivals Nice.

The Match of the Day Magazine was suitably snarky about how a former boss at St James' Park dealt with the mercurial talent...

View more on twitter

And Championship side Sheffield Wednesday have signed striker Steven Fletcher on a free transfer following his recent departure from Sunderland. 

To keep the Gallic theme going, Fletcher, 29, had finished last season on loan with Marseille.

Teenager punished for racist comments

A teenager made racist comments to a number of people in Gateshead on Wednesday and will now face action. 

Police received a report from a member of the public who had witnessed a boy making racist remarks to a number of people in Coatsworth Road. 

The 16-year-old was interviewed by officers at Gateshead police station, where he admitted the offence.

He will now appear at a youth surgery and face punishment for what he has done. 

Gateshead Insp Mick Robson said: "No matter how old you are, or what the circumstances are, if you are found making racist comments or behaving in a racist way then you will face action. It is completely unacceptable and we will not stand for it."

Weather: A cool night ahead

BBC Weather

Often dry through the evening and night with some clear spells, especially towards the east. However. some showers will continue, particularly over the Pennines. A cool night with brisk westerly winds. 

Check the weather where you are

Weather graph

Travel: Queuing traffic on the A1 Western Bypass due to broken down lorry

BBC Travel

There's queuing traffic on the A181 eastbound in Wheatley Hill in County Durham between the B6291 junction and the B1278 junction in the roadworks area.  

Plus there's queuing traffic on the A690 Leazes Road westbound in Durham between the Gilesgate Roundabout and the Leazes Bowl Roundabout. Also in the roadworks.

And there's one lane blocked and queuing traffic on the A1 Western Bypass northbound in Newcastle between the Hexham turn off and Westerhope turn because of a broken down lorry. 

Get the latest travel information for Teesside and Tyne and Wear.  

Northumberland Conservative MP backs Michael Gove for PM

A Northumberland Conservative MP who's backing Michael Gove to be the party's next leader and Prime Minister says he's motivated to stand by conviction, not ambition.

Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan says the Justice Secretary, who today said his 'heart told him' that he should put himself forward, can reform the country following the EU referendum.

She said: "He's a radical reformer, he's proved that he can drive through really radical change and actually get it though the vagaries of the civil service to get dramatic change.

"In the case of his education reform, children who most needed that advantage to get a better education and he's now doing it with prison reform."

You can watch Mr Gove's speech below:

Michael Gove: 'I had to listen to my heart'

Deputy Labour leader will not attend Durham Miner's Gala

The deputy leader of the Labour Party, Tom Watson, has announced that he won't be attending the Durham Miners' Gala due to his father's illness.

Mr Watson has said he regrets that he will not be able to attend, and his father, a lifelong socialist and Unison activist, asked him to pass on his best wishes to everyone attending.

He added that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was "very supportive of him whilst in hospital this year".

Earlier this week, the Durham Miners' Association announced that MPs who have resigned from the shadow cabinet and voted against Jeremy Corbyn will not be welcomed at the Gala.

Tom Watson
Getty Images

Newcastle man goes missing

A man from Walker in Newcastle has gone missing.

Euan McGregor is 41 and 5ft 9in, of stocky build and has long brown hair and a beard.

He was last seen yesterday wearing a khaki-coloured jacket and cargo trousers. 

Euan McGregor

Man suffers serious fractured jaw in Hartlepool

A 48-year-old man was left with a broken eye socket and a fractured jaw after being assaulted in Hartlepool.

He was walking along the promenade area on Marina Drive at 19:30 on 10 June when he was approached by a group of five males who asked him for a cigarette.

One of the men then punched him in the face several times, causing him to fall to the ground.

The victim was then assaulted by several of the group before they fled the scene.

He was taken to James Cook University Hospital.

Benitez and Charnley on the three deals made today

Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez has had a busy day.

He has bought Matt Ritchie and Dwight Gayle, and sold Andros Townsend all in the last few hours.

Benitez said: "We have been following some wingers for a while and Matt was one of the best prospects for this team. 

 "He has great ability and pace, and as soon as we knew that Andros Townsend could be leaving, our priority was to finalise this deal. 

 "We have signed an exciting winger who has experience in the Championship but has also proved that he can step up to the top level."

And on Townsend's departure, MD Lee Charnley said: "Despite Andros' departure today, we believe with the signings we have made this week we have strengthened the squad."

Minister addresses North East manufacturers to calm post-Brexit nerves

Business minister Anna Soubry addressed about 100 North East manufacturers at an event in Newcastle last night.

The event was held to help allay their post-Brexit fears. 

Addressing the audience, she tried to reassure them that Britain "remains open for business", and that our "advanced manufacturing remains some of the very best in the world".

She added: "These are undoubtedly difficult and uncertain times, but what's vital now is that we all - people, government and business - come together to support British industry."

She was speaking at the second annual North East Manufacturing Dinner, organised by EEF, the manufacturers' organisation, which brings together manufacturers, engineers and senior business people from across the region.  

Matt Ritchie hails 'unbelievable feeling' of joining NUFC

New Newcastle United winger Matt Ritchie says it's "fantastic" to be joining the Magpies.

He told the club's website: "It's an unbelievable feeling to come to a football club like this.

"I loved it at Bournemouth - I had a fantastic time there and it had a huge impact on my career. But when a club like Newcastle comes calling, I couldn't pass up this opportunity.

"It's fantastic to be here and I'm really looking forward to the challenge of getting the Club back in the Premier League."

He has penned a five-year deal a few hours after striker Dwight Gayle did the same.

Dwight Gayle and Mat Ritchie
Getty Images

Police issue alert over ticket sellers who turned out to be genuine

Ana Guerra-Moore

BBC News Online

Yesterday we told you that police were warning about two women who had been knocking on doors in the Benfield Road area of Walker, Newcastle, claiming to be selling lottery tickets.

Residents were suspicious and police started to investigate it as a potential fraud.

Well, it turns out that the two women were genuinely working for the Euromillions lottery company and were legitimately selling Euromillions tickets.

This comes as a bit of a surprise, after the National Lottery told the police that they do not employ door-to door sales people.

Sheffield Wednesday 'eyeing ex-SAFC striker Fletcher'

BBC Sport

With the football transfer window open, here's a snippet from today's Gossip Column:

Former Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher has become a free agent - and Sheffield Wednesday could beat Norwich City to the signing of the 29-year-old. (Sunderland Echo)

Brain tumour cell fat fuelling find could aid treatment

A study by Newcastle University suggests that brain tumour cells rely on fats to fuel growth, which could have implications on how the most fatal form of the disease is treated. 

Research at the university looked at the behaviour of glioma - the most common form of malignant brain tumour.

The findings, published in the journal Neuro-Oncology, seem to contradict the previously held belief that the cells were fuelled mainly by sugar.

Section of a glioma cell seen under the microscope

Newcastle United make second signing of today

Newcastle United have made another signing today after landing Dwight Gayle - winger Matt Ritchie has arrived from Bournemouth. 

The 26-year-old Scotland international has penned a five-year deal at St. James' Park.

He spent three-and-a-half years at The Cherries, making 142 appearances and scoring 31 goals.

View more on twitter

BreakingHuman remains identified as man who went missing in 2014

Human remains found on farmland on Teesside have been formally identified by Cleveland Police. 

Paul Kerrison was reported missing from his home in New Marske in October 2014. 

His remains were discovered near Yearby village on 25 May.

Police say Mr Kerrison's family is being supported by specialist officers.

Paul Anthony Kerrison
Family photo

Seaham remembers the Battle of the Somme

Ana Guerra-Moore

BBC News Online

Remembrance services for the Battle of the Somme's centenary have taken place across our region today.

Here are some pictures from a service in Seaham:


Osborne claims Brexit will have 'negative shock' on North

Arif Ansari

Politics correspondent, BBC North West Tonight

I'm in Manchester for George Osborne's speech on what happens to the Northern Powerhouse after Brexit.  

The Chancellor says Northern Powerhouse is more important than ever following large votes to leave the EU in the North and Midlands.

George Osborne

He ads that this vote share reflects economic disenfranchisement.

And he says Brexit will have a negative shock on the region, and we must redouble efforts on Northern Powerhouse.

He made his comments as he abandoned his target to restore government finances to a surplus by 2020.

Newcastle United 'disappointed' to lose winger Andros Townsend

Newcastle United are "disappointed" to lose winger Andros Townsend to Crystal Palace, Magpies MD Lee Charnley says.

Townsend joined the St James' Park side from Tottenham in January, and made 13 appearances, scoring four goals, but could not stop them being relegated to the Championship.

Charnley said: "Naturally we are very disappointed to lose Andros but we are bound by the terms of his contract. 

"Given our situation in January it was a condition of him joining that we included a buy-out clause. 

"However, I am sure now with Rafa as our manager we will not be in a position whereby we will need to agree to clauses of this nature in the future."

Andros Townsend

Cricket: Surrey want to sign Durham's best players

BBC Newcastle

Surrey County Cricket Club have made an audacious bid to try and sign two of Durham's best players.

With One Day captain and opener Mark Stoneman, and all-rounder Scott Borthwick approaching the end of their current deals, Surrey have issued a 28-day notice to speak to the players, which they are allowed to do.

Borthwick is one of the best batsmen in the country and is on the fringes of a re-call to the England test side having played once for his country in an Ashes test in Sydney in January 2014.

Mark Stoneman and Scott Borthwick
Getty Images

Battle of the Somme: The story of a Middlesbrough hero

Andy Bell

BBC Tees

Here's the story of a young soldier from Grangetown, Middlesbrough, who fought selflessly and courageously in the Battle of the Somme.

Private William Henry Short, known to his friends and family as "Twiggy", used to work at the steel works in Eston

He enlisted with the Yorkshire Regiment in 1914 and shortly after he got a short period of leave due to his bravery on the field.

However, he continuously volunteered for dangerous operations.

Not even a shattered body from German artillery fire could keep him from the battle field, and he died because of it.

The defining days of Twiggy's thirty-one years of life arrived on the first week of August 1916.

Private William Henry Short

The battalion that Twiggy was a member of was tasked with assaulting Munster Alley. 

While raiding the German trenches, Twiggy bombed with great accuracy, but was wounded on the foot - this wasn't fatal, so he refused to take medical treatment.

He continued to lead his team when he was hit by artillery fire, which shattered his leg. Propped against the trench wall, he continued to fight. 

He primed bombs and guided his team for hours. 

Germans were eventually moved from the area, but by then, it was too late.

Twiggy had been bleeding profusely for hours, causing him to lose his life.

William Henry Shaw's bravery and legacy were recognised when he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

Bravery simply means something to people, Twiggy Short is the very definition.

Remembering the Battle of the Somme

Gerry Jackson

BBC Look North

I'm at Lochnagar crater on the Somme this morning, where hundreds have started to gather for a service of remembrance for all those who fought a hundred years ago.

There is a similar event here every 1 July, but around 1500 people are expected to attend this year.

The Lochnagar crater was bought by Englishman Richard Dunning in 1978, to preserve it "in memory of those from all nations who suffered here". 

It is maintained by a large group of volunteers on a strictly non-commercial basis.

People gathered for the event

Travel: Metro delays in Newcastle

Two trains have been withdrawn from service in Newcastle, causing delays of up to 35 minutes.

View more on twitter

Fergie 'set to tell FA to make Allardyce England boss'

Sounds like the calls to make Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce the new England manager are getting stronger:

View more on twitter

Labour member suspended after threatening tweet sent to MP

Ana Guerra-Moore

BBC News Online

Labour have suspended a party member after a tweet was sent threatening to "kick an MP's teeth in".

The tweet, which we will not link to as it contains bad language, was sent to Middlesbrough South Labour MP Tom Blenkinsop after he said he was going to vote in favour of a motion of no confidence in leader Jeremy Corbyn.

A spokesman for Labour North told BBC Tees that a party member had been suspended after complaints about her behaviour on social media. 

Cleveland Police has been informed of the incident.

The account appeared to later post an apology:

View more on twitter

Andros Townsend's 'undisclosed fee' turns out to be £13m...

Colin George

BBC News Online

For fans of football finance, there's an interesting disconnect here:

Newcastle United announced that winger Andros Townsend had signed for Crystal Palace 'for an undisclosed fee'.

Only for Crystal Palace to announce it was for £13m:

View more on twitter

Either way, Newcastle fans might think a £1m profit (not counting wages) on a player bought for £12m only a few months ago is good business...

Woman dies after falling in Newcastle

A woman has died after falling in the Quayside in Newcastle last night.

Police received reports of a woman who had fallen from the Quayside footpath on to the marina walkway next to the River Tyne.

Police and paramedics attended and the woman was taken to hospital where she later died from her injuries.

Initial reports suggested the woman had fallen from the Tyne bridge, however enquiries established that this was not the case.

BreakingAndros Townsend: Newcastle winger seals Crystal Palace move

Newcastle winger Andros Townsend has signed for Crystal Palace for a fee thought to be about £13m after just five months on Tyneside.

The 24-year-old England international joined the Magpies for £12m in January from Tottenham, but they went on to be relegated from the Premier League.

Palace triggered a release clause in Townsend's contract.

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez is also close to signing Bournemouth midfielder Matt Ritchie in a £12m deal.

Today the club signed striker Dwight Gayle from Crystal Palace for an undisclosed fee on a five-year deal.

Andros Townsend

North East soldiers were in the thick of the Battle of the Somme

One hundred years ago today, soldiers from the North East were in the thick of the attack on the Germans in Northern France - and suffered some of the heaviest losses.

One of the casualties was Herbert Needham from County Durham, who was 16 when he enlisted and so should not have been in the front line.

His body was found in No Man's Land nine months after his death at the age of 17.

Badly handwritten sign appears near Stokesley

BBC Tees

A handwritten sign has appeared on a road in Kirkby, near Stokesley.

But that's not the worst bit...

The sign contains some really terrible spelling mistakes: "Stocton" instead of "Stockton", "Nortallerton" and not "Northallerton".

We don't know what happened to the old sign, or whether this handwritten one will become a permanent addition to the village.

The sign

BreakingNewcastle United sign striker Dwight Gayle

Newcastle United have completed the signing of Dwight Gayle from Crystal Palace.

The 25-year-old striker arrives at St James' Park for an undisclosed fee and has put pen to paper on a five-year deal.

Gayle began his professional career at Dagenham & Redbridge and spent time on loan at Bishop's Stortford and Peterborough United before joining the latter permanently in January 2013.

The club confirmed the news on Twitter:

View more on twitter

Battle of the Somme: Centenary remembrance events held

A service of remembrance took place at 07:30 at the Redcar Cenotaph on Teesside to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.

Other services have been taking place across the country and in France.

A ceremony at the Lochnagar crater on the battlefield began the day's events, before a two-minute silence was held ahead of the exact moment on 1 July 1916 when the battle began.  

Below you can watch a 360-degree virtual reality experience of the trenches in Thiepval Wood during World War One, soundtracked by the recollections of four soldiers who participated in the Battle of the Somme:

View more on youtube

Travel: A68 closed in both directions

BBC Travel

The A68 in Houghton-le-Side, County Durham, has been closed in both directions between the White House Lane junction and Cross Lanes because of a serious accident.

Get the latest travel information for Teesside and Tyne and Wear.