England, United Kingdom

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  1. Ideas sought for use of outdated Metro trains

    Community groups are being invited to bid for obsolete Tyne and Wear Metro carriages.

    Five carriages, which will be replaced by new trains in the next couple of years, are to be donated so they can be adapted and transformed for new uses.

    Nexus, which owns and manages Metro, wants to hear ideas from interested groups on how an old train could be transformed into a public asset.

    Metro train and passengers waiting on platform

    Customer services director Huw Lewis said: “Using an old Metro as a valued community space is a very fitting way to commemorate the service they have provided since they entered service over 40 years ago.”

    Two of the original Metro prototypes, which arrived on Tyneside in the late 70s, will be donated to museums.

    Nexus says a new generation of trains which will be "15 times more reliable" will come into use during 2023 until 2024.

  2. Infrared light helmet could help people with dementia

    Durham University researchers have been testing the use of infrared light therapy which they say could help people living with dementia.

    The pilot project saw 14 healthy people aged at least 45 wearing the helmet for six minutes twice a day for a month.

    A further 13 people were also given a dummy helmet.

    Researchers saw those wearing the light therapy helmet had a significant improvement in performance in motor function, memory and brain processing speed.

    Close up of the infrared light helmet

    Scientists say more research into the use and effectiveness of the therapy is needed but early findings are promising.

    The helmet, which delivers infrared light deep into the brain, costs more than £7,000 and was devised by County Durham GP Dr Gordon Dougal (pictured below).

    He said the helmet "may well help dying brain cells regenerate into functioning units once again".

    Dr Gordon Dougal and Tracy Sloan using the infrared light therapy helmet

    Among the testers was Tracy Sloan, 56, who said she noticed an "improvement in her daily life", although she has no diagnosed condition affecting her memory.

    She said: "I wasn't sure it would make a difference, but to be honest I think it did.

    "After a few weeks I noticed that my sleeping pattern was better, I felt more relaxed and I had more energy."

  3. Flood of help to repair museum's water play room

    Newcastle's Discovery Museum says about 40 businesses have offered to help after it appealed for a plumber to help reopen its children's water play space.

    The Play Tyne room has remained shut since the museum reopened because of wear and tear caused by water damage.

    The museum said its budget had been "impacted by the pandemic" and appealed on social media for help in maintaining the play area, as well as assessing what repairs were needed.

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    Issues with waterproof flooring and electrics, as well as plumbing, are expected to be among the repairs.

    Businesses which can help the museum have been offered promotion by the attraction in return.

    Nigel Alston-Phillips, from Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums, said: "We will be sharing more appeals to reach out for in-kind sponsorship from businesses with the expertise to provide goods and services that we no longer have the budget for, in way of philanthropic support."

    Newcastle's Discovery Museum
  4. Five orphaned baby hedgehogs rescued

    Five tiny hoglets have been rescued from a garden in Stockton-on-Tees after they were spotted with no mother.

    Thinking the mother could have come to harm the resident contacted the RSPCA who collected the baby hedgehogs and took them to an animal rehabilitation centre in Sunderland.

    They are now being given specialist care at Pawz for Thought, where Lyn Ebdale said: “The babies were in need of urgent care and are being hand-reared on specialist milk every couple of hours by one of our dedicated volunteers.”

    The five baby hedgehogs

    Another baby hog has been rescued from Wallsend after a dog picked it up and took it into its owner's home.

    The hedgehog escaped serious injury and is also being cared for at Pawz for Thought.

    Baby hedgehog

    All the baby hedgehogs will remain there until they are strong enough to be released back into the wild.