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  1. Updates on Wednesday 7 September 2016

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

Our live updates here have now finished for the day - thank you for joining us. 

There will be further updates this evening online, on BBC Tees and on BBC Newcastle and on Look North.

We'll be back here with more news, sport, weather and travel from across the North East from 08:00 tomorrow and hope you can join us then.

If you'd like to get in touch with us, you can tweet us @BBCNewsNEemail us, or contact us through our Facebook page.      

'Bionic' suit woman begins her five-day challenge

The face says it all. This is the moment amazing Claire Lomas - who is paralysed from the chest down - began the Great North Run. 

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'Bionic' woman Claire Lomas starts Great North Run

Capture the beauty of the North East coast, urges water firm

Twitter users are being urged to capture the beauty of the North East coast and post pictures in a bid to get the region trending.

Northumbrian Water wants to put our splendid region firmly of the map. 

View more on twitter

The Animals set for Tyneside stage return

One of Tyneside's favourite sons and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Eric Burdon (pictured below with 6Music presenter Cerys Matthews) is set to make an emotional return to Newcastle with his band The Animals - but no, not the original line-up.

He is due to appear at the City Hall with 60s chart toppers Marmalade also confirmed on the bill. 

Formed in 1963, The Animals achieved global superstardom with hits such as; The House of the Rising Sun, Baby Let Me Take You Home, Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood and San Franciscan Nights.  

Eric Burdon being interviewed by Cerys Matthews

Missing schoolgirl found

A 13-year-old girl who went missing in Ferryhill in County Durham (see 15:42 below) has been found safe and well, police say.

Sage and Baltic should 'clinch' Great Exhibition host bid

The North East is the "best" place to host the prestigious Great Exhibition because of its cultural assets including the Sage and Baltic arts venues, campaigners say.

The event which celebrates Northern culture, art and design is happening in 2018 and Newcastle and Gateshead have been jointly shortlisted alongside Bradford, Blackpool and Sheffield.

Sage, Gateshead

Carol Bell, who helped put forward our bid said: "We think with all the cultural regeneration that's gone on over the last 10 - 20 years that we are the best - we have cultural assets."

Rio Paralympics 2016: North East athletes ready

Ahead of the opening ceremony, we take a look at the North East and Cumbria's Paralympic hopefuls at the Rio Paralympics 2016.

Josef Craig, Jade Jones and Simon Lawson are among the 264 competitors at the 15th summer games.  

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Rio Paralympics 2016: North East and Cumbria athletes ready

Growing concern for missing teenager's welfare

Police say they are seriously concerned about the welfare of a teenager who went missing this morning.

Katie Breen, aged 13, was last seen by a neighbour at her home in  Witton Road, Ferryhill, at about 09:30.

She is about 5ft 3ins tall, of slim build, with long dark hair, probably tied back.

 When last seen she was wearing dark clothing and was carrying a dark-coloured backpack.

Insp  Neil Fuller, of Durham Police, said: “We have serious concerns for Katie’s welfare and would urge anyone who thinks they have seen her or has any information regarding her whereabouts to get in touch with us as a matter of urgency."

Katie Breen
Durham Police

Motorbiker filmed speeding at 170mph posted on YouTube

A man has been arrested after a film was posted on YouTube of a motorcyclist boasting of reaching up to 170mph near a shopping centre.

The footage showed an anonymous biker racing on Teesside roads, with a clip titled "170mph at Teesside Park" - referring to a retail centre near Stockton.

The camera homed in on the bike's speedometer as the rider zoomed along the A66.

Cleveland Police said a 38-year-old man has been arrested and been bailed. 

Police car
Cleveland Police

Sports Direct faces shareholder revolt

Sports Direct faced shareholder anger at its annual meeting with investors dissatisfied despite the firm's pledge to improve staff working conditions.

Investors believe founder Mike Ashley, who owns Newcastle reporter, who owns 55% of the firm, wields too much control.

Shareholders want to depose chairman Keith Hellawell. The board has stood firm, backing Mr Hellawell despite his offer to resign over the weekend.

The meeting followed a critical report by the chain's lawyers.

Mike Ashley

Hundreds of Metros planned to 'ease' Great North Run queues

Metro bosses say they're planning to run more than 420 train services on Sunday for the Great North Run to avoid the problems we saw last year with huge queues and delays. 

They've also confirmed they'll be shutting Chichester station after 3 o'clock to stop people walking there, and then getting on a train to South Shields so they can be first on the train back to Newcastle. 

Chris Carson's from DB Tyne and Wear Metro said about 280 services usually ran on a Sunday, so the Metro was well geared up with coping with the increased demand.

He said runners would also be given more time to board busy trains. 


BreakingChildren kept inside as fight breaks out outside school

A 54-year-old woman has been arrested after an altercation outside a school in Newcastle. 

Two women had been fighting on the other side of the road from Walkergate Primary School, police said. 

Officers were called at just after 12:00 but there had been no reports of serious injuries, a force spokesman said.

An eyewitness said he had seen two ambulances and a number of police cars.

Teachers had been guarding doors into the school, he said. He added worried parents had been told it was an isolated incident.

In a statement posted on its Facebook page, the schools said the children were "fine". 

Court warning for motorists with 'bald tyres'

Durham Police says it will show no mercy to dangerous motorists caught flouting the law with dodgy tyres after catching this driver out. 

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Weather: Afternoon remaining dry with some sunny spells

This afternoon will remain dry with some spells of sunshine developing across Tyneside. 

In the sunshine it will feel warm and also humid once again. 

Maximum Temperature: 24 Deg C (75 Deg F)

weather graphic

Maximum Temperature: 24C (75F).

On Look North at lunchtime: Amy Tinkler back at school with bronze medal

Staff at Durham High School for Girls welcomed back Olympic bronze medallist Amy Tinkler today.

The 16-year-old won the medal for her floor routine at Rio 2016. 

Watch Look North on BBC One at 13:30 to see how she was welcomed back.

Amt Tinkler

Great North Run: 'Seriously challenging' to walk in 'bionic' suit

As Claire Lomas started the Great North Run this morning she spoke about the challenges of wearing a bionic suit.

She said: "I find it seriously challenging walking in the suit. I'm paralysed from the chest down and have no movement or sensation so I can't feel the ground beneath me. 

"When I was in hospital, I looked around and even though it was a huge injury to come to terms with I felt genuinely lucky I had the use of my arms and could see people who weren't able to wipe their own tears away, so I decided to do what I can to cure paralysis."

Claire Lomas

Claire Lomas raising money for spinal injury charity

More now on Claire Lomas who started the Great North Run this morning and is aiming to complete the famous half marathon with the rest of the field on Sunday.

The 36 year old from Leicestershire is wearing a bionic suit to do the course after she was paralysed from the chest down in a riding accident in 2007.

She is wearing a body brace which allows her to move her legs using computer controls and will be walking about three miles a day.

Since her accident nine years ago, Ms Lomas has raised more than £500,000 for the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation.

Claire Lomas

Family's heartbreak after Pinky the parrot is stolen

A family has been left heartbroken after burglars got into an unlocked house in Middlesbrough and stole their parrot Pinky.

The raiders targeted the house in Mulgrave Road and took the African Grey parrot on Monday. 

Cleveland Police said Pinky - who has white patches around her eyes - is about 16 years old and is a treasured family pet.

She also has distinctive red tail feathers.

Pinky the parrot
Cleveland Police

Tanni Grey-Thompson's must-see Paralympics moments

Tanni Grey-Thompson

11-time Paralympic champion on BBC Radio 5 live

The Teesside-based former paralympian on the opening ceremony of the Paralympics, which is tonight.

We don't know too much about the ceremony yet, although we have been promised some surprises.

The athletes will have been waiting to come out to Brazil, then been at the holding camp for a few days and finally got into the village - but once the opening ceremony starts, that's it. You can't stop it!

A lot of the athletes won't be able to march out because of their competition.

However, you don't train for four years to march out in an opening ceremony and there is a different feel in the village once it starts. Everyone just settles down from then on and gets down to the business in hand.

Read more of the must-see moments here.

Olympic gold medalist, judoka Rafaela Silva, holds the Paralympic Torch 2016
European Photopress Agency

Great North Run: Claire Lomas starts her race in 'bionic suit'

Claire Lomas, who was paralysed in a riding accident, has started her Great North Run.

The 36 year old from Leicestershire is the first person to take on the half marathon using a robotic suit.

She set iff from Claremont Road in Newcastle this morning and is due to complete the route, which runs from Newcastle to South Shields, on Sunday.

View more on twitter

Your photos: Heather on Stanhope Moors

Thanks to Carolyn Farthing-Dunn for this lovely photo of heather on Stanhope Moors in County Durham which she took yesterday.

She writes: "Taken today whilst out on a drive. Temperatures reached 22 degrees. Unusual for the location."

Heather on Stanhope Moors
Carolyn Farthing-Dunn

Have you got any photos you'd like to share with us, in that case you can tweet us @BBCNewsNE, or email them or us join our Facebook page. 

Cricket: Yorkshire v Durham day two

Martin Emmerson

BBC Newcastle

Here's the commentary link for day two of Yorkshire v Durham.

Yorkshire opener Alex Lees scored a century as Durham endured a tough start to their County Championship fixture at Headingley yesterday. 

The hosts closed on 341 for 5 in their first innings, with Graham Onions taking two wickets for Durham.


On the frontline: Radio Tees at James Cooke A&E

Join Mike Parr on Radio Tees live to discuss the future of Accident and Emergency Services across Teesside. 

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Newcastle-Gateshead bids to impress Great Exhibition of the North judges

Judges who will decide where the Great Exhibition of the North will be held are visiting Tyneside today.

Newcastle-Gateshead is one of four shortlisted to host the two-month exhibition in 2018. The others are Blackpool, Bradford and Sheffield.

The event set up by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will receive £20m in funding and will showcase the "creative, cultural and design sectors of the North".

View more on twitter

The winning bid will be announced in the autumn.

Travel: East Coast services returning to normal

Rail passengers on the East Coast Mainline faced major disruption yesterday because of extensive damage to overhead wires between Retford and Doncaster which had a knock on effect across the network. 

Lines have been reopened but there may still be some disruption. 

View more on twitter

North East devolution plan stalls

More on a story we first brought you yesterday - 

Plans for a North East regional mayor have been put on hold after local authorities expressed fears over post-Brexit funding from the government.

Four of seven councils that make up the North East Combined Authority (NECA) - Sunderland, Durham, Gateshead and South Tyneside - voted not to press ahead with plan.

The decision prompted fresh warnings that the region could miss out on up to £900m of new investment.

A government spokesman described the move as "disappointing", but said the door "remained open" for further talks.

Bridges across the Tyne

Workers on board to tackle 'Victorian' Sports Direct pratices

Sports Direct says it will now put a workers' representative on its board, after coming under fire for the treatment of its staff. 

It comes after the retailer announced it would abolish zero-hours contracts for its directly employed, casual staff. 

It's not yet clear how the representative will be chosen, but it is expected that he or she will be elected.

The retailer's founder, Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley, says the board move will offer a "great benefit" and provide "input that's invaluable".

Sports Direct warehouse

Weather: Warm day, but a muggy night to follow

Alina Jenkins

BBC Weather

Many of us getting off to a dull start. Cloud will be thinning and breaking by the afternoon with some spells of sunshine. Temperatures well above the average for the time of year. 

It will be warm and humid again with a fine evening, but it will be cloudy for a time but later clearing, but all the way feeling muggy and humid and temperatures not going much less than 17C.

Alina Jenkins

Woman gets dying mother's letter returned

BBC Tees

In case you missed this lovely story - 

A woman has got back a letter written to her as a little girl by her dying mother after it turned up in a bookshop.

Bethany Gash, whose father read it to her after mother Lisa died in 2001, "never thought" she would see it again.

But, this week it was found by a second-hand bookshop owner in Bishop Auckland and Ms Gash, now 21, believes the book it was hidden in disappeared during a house move.

It meant "absolutely the world" that bookseller Gordon Draper had found her.

Bethany Gash

Good morning. Welcome to our Local Live coverage.

Julie Cush

BBC Newcastle

A very good morning  and welcome to BBC Local Live. 

We'll be with you throughout the day bringing you news, sport, weather and travel updates from across the North East. 

Have you got any photos you'd like to share with us, in that case you can tweet us @BBCNewsNE, or email them or us join our Facebook page. 

If you missed yesterday's live page, you can catch up here.