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Severe disruption: A1(M) County Durham southbound

BBC News Travel

A1(M) County Durham southbound severe disruption, from J62 for A690 to J61 for A688 Tursdale Road.

A1(M) County Durham - One lane closed on A1(M) southbound in Durham from J62, A690 (Carrville) to J61, A688 (Bowburn), because of Abandoned Vehicle.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Football

Sunderland's winless run extends to eight games in all competitions as Blackpool draw 1-1 at the Stadium of Light.

Read more

Severe accident: A184 Tyne And Wear westbound

BBC News Travel

A184 Tyne And Wear westbound severe accident, from A19 to A194.

A184 Tyne And Wear - A184 Newcastle Road in West Boldon closed westbound from Testo's Roundabout to the A194(M) White Mare Pool Roundabout junction, because of a serious accident. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe accident: A1(M) County Durham northbound

BBC News Travel

A1(M) County Durham northbound severe accident, at J62 for A690.

A1(M) County Durham - A1(M) in Durham partially blocked and queues northbound at J62, A690 (Carrville), because of an accident.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe disruption: A1(M) Tyne And Wear northbound

BBC News Travel

A1(M) Tyne And Wear northbound severe disruption, before J64 for A195 Western Highway.

A1(M) Tyne And Wear - One lane blocked and queues on A1(M) northbound in Tyne and Wear before J64, A195 (Washington), because of a break down.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Beach cleans produce thousands of bags of rubbish

BBC Tees

Hundreds of volunteers collected five tonnes of rubbish from Durham’s Heritage Coast this year.

Schools, universities, businesses, community groups and members of the public took part in 90 beach cleans, recovering 2,000 bags of rubbish from the stretch between Seaham and Crimdon.

The final official Durham Heritage Coast beach clean of 2019 is on Sunday from 11:00 until 13:00 at Red Acre beach in Seaham.

Durham Wildlife Trust: Bellamy's 'unwavering support' will be missed

David Bellamy
Getty Images

Durham Wildlife Trust has paid tribute to naturalist David Bellamy, who died yesterday, aged 86.

Mr Bellamy was its president and more recently held the position of patron.

In a statement, the trust said: "We will miss his unwavering support and commitment and will continue to do everything we can to conserve wildlife and encourage the next generation to appreciate and respect our flora and fauna."

London-born Bellamy, who lived in County Durham, presented programmes such as Don't Ask Me, Bellamy On Botany, Bellamy's Britain, Bellamy's Europe and Bellamy's Backyard Safari.

Trust director Jim Cokill said: "David Bellamy was one of the main reasons why I do the job I do today.

"His TV programmes gave me a love of wildlife and the natural world from a young age and I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to meet him in later life.

"He made a lasting contribution to nature conservation in the North East, the country as a whole and across the world."

General election 2019 night: What, where, when? Key times to watch out for
What results to look out for, and when, on election night with BBC Electioncast's Adam Fleming.

North East school donations below the national average

BBC News Education

By Tom Barton, BBC Victoria Derbyshire

Pupils in some of the poorest regions of England are losing out because parents cannot afford to fill a funding shortfall with donations, BBC News has found.

The BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme's analysis of Department for Education data shows the average school in England generated £59 per pupil from donations in 2017-18 - 1.07% of its overall budget.

The money is often raised through events, such as fun runs and school fairs.

Westmoor Primary School
BBC

In the North East, school donations are below the national average.

At Westmoor Primary School - just outside Newcastle - fewer than 6% of pupils are eligible for free school meals.

There, a recent muddy fun run raised £4,500 for pupils. While such events last year brought in £16,000 - or £45 per child.

Some schools, like Hawthorn Primary, fare much worse.

Based in Newcastle's city centre, nearly 50% of its pupils have free school meals.

Last year its donations brought in just £1,200 - less than £5.50 per pupil.

BreakingMan guilty of murdering Connor Brown in Sunderland

A man has been found guilty of the murder of 18-year-old Connor Brown, who was stabbed outside a pub in Sunderland in February.

Leighton Barrass, 20, of Hartside Square, Sunderland, killed Connor in an argument by the Borough pub.

Another man, Ally Gordon, 19, of Pulmuir Road, was cleared of murder but found guilty of manslaughter at Newcastle Crown Court.

The court previously heard Barrass had bought a flick knife from a shop in Sunderland for £15 on the day of Connor's death.

He was seen demonstrating to friends how the knife worked in CCTV images shown to the court.

Sentencing has been adjourned until 10:00 tomorrow.

Connor Brown
Family photo

Further arrests following Horden shooting

BBC Tees

A 40-year-old man remains in hospital with serious injuries following a shooting in Horden.

A man was arrested yesterday on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder and a woman has also been detained on suspicion of assisting an offender.

Durham Constabulary are examining a number of locations across Peterlee and Horden as part of the investigation into the incident, which happened in Moutter Close in Horden, at about 01.45 on Sunday.

Horden Household Waste Recycling Centre has also been closed to the public while inquiries continue.

Three other people arrested in connection with the shooting have been released.

Hordon
BBC

Severe accident: A691 County Durham both ways

BBC News Travel

A691 County Durham both ways severe accident, at A167.

A691 County Durham - A691 in Durham partially blocked and queues at Sniperley roundabout, because of an accident involving vehicle and pedestrian.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

County Durham NHS bosses travel to Italy to recruit nurses

NHS chiefs in County Durham and Darlington have admitted they are "constantly" trying to fill vacant posts in their A&E departments - even travelling to Italy to recruit nurses.

They also revealed that they face a "real challenge" keeping waiting times down, especially with the impact of added winter pressures.

There have been calls to ease this by reopening emergency care at Bishop Auckland Hospital.

However, it is believed this option is not viable due to the other services that would also need to be restarted to ensure patient safety.

The Trust says it is actively working on a recruitment programme.

Image of nurses
Science Photo Library

Sunderland student wins silver at British Taekwondo Championships

BBC Look North

North East and Cumbria

A 22-year-old University of Sunderland student has won silver in the British Championships at Taekwondo.

Cameron Park has been training in the martial art for a decade thanks to his dad John.

John, who also works at the university, encouraged his son to take up the discipline which he himself has been doing since 1984.

Cameron now has his sights set on the World Championships in Denmark next year.

Image of Cameron Park
Sunderland University

Severe disruption: A1(M) County Durham southbound

BBC News Travel

A1(M) County Durham southbound severe disruption, from J61 for A688 Tursdale Road to J60 for A689.

A1(M) County Durham - One lane closed and queues on A1(M) southbound from J61, A688 (Bowburn) to J60, A689 (Bradbury), because of a break down.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe accident: A1(M) County Durham southbound

BBC News Travel

A1(M) County Durham southbound severe accident, between J61 for A688 Tursdale Road and J60 for A689.

A1(M) County Durham - One lane closed and queues on A1(M) southbound in Durham between J61, A688 (Bowburn) and J60, A689 (Bradbury), because of an accident.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Horden shooting: Three arrests after man seriously injured

A man has been seriously injured in a shooting in County Durham.

Police said they were called to Moutter Close, Horden, near Peterlee, at about 01:45 GMT yesterday morning.

A man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, and two women are in custody on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder, Durham Police said.

Det Ch Insp Stephen Thubron appealed for anyone with information about the shooting to contact the force.

Peterlee
BBC

Boris Johnson challenged over Labour manifesto

The PM is taking part in a Q and A in Washington:

View more on twitter

Severe disruption: A19 Tyne And Wear southbound

BBC News Travel

A19 Tyne And Wear southbound severe disruption, from A1231 Sunderland Highway to A183.

A19 Tyne And Wear - One lane closed on A19 southbound in Sunderland from the A1231 Sunderland Highway junction to the A183 junction, because of a break down. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe accident: A1(M) County Durham southbound

BBC News Travel

A1(M) County Durham southbound severe accident, from J63 for A167 to J62 for A690.

A1(M) County Durham - Two lanes closed and queues on A1(M) southbound in Durham from J63, A167 (Chester-Le-Street) to J62, A690 (Carrville), because of an accident.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Bags of clothes for homeless thanks to Quinn, aged seven

A seven-year-old Sunderland schoolgirl inspired Wearside office workers to give unwanted clothes to the homeless for some winter warmth.

Quinn Lux Lownie, of Red House, asked BGL for donations for North East Homeless, a charity based in North Shields, for which her mum Ashleigh Lownie volunteers.

And 10 bin bags full of clothes were delivered to the charity this week.

Another 10 bin bags were delivered to the Salvation Army's Swan Lodge Lifehouse in Sunderland.

BGL is a digital distributor of insurance and household financial services.

Quinn Lux Lownie and Claire Leighton
Ashleigh Lownie

National award for North East museum

Putting the customer first has landed Beamish Museum a national award,

It won the customer commitment award from the British Chambers of Commerce.

Rhiannon Hiles, Beamish’s deputy director, said: “Our staff and volunteers always go the extra mile to make sure our visitors have an exceptional experience. We are proud to be representing the region on a national stage."

The County Durham open-air museum has about 500 staff and 500 volunteers.

Sarah Howard, chair of the British Chambers of Commerce, congratulated the team for always putting the visitor first.

Beamish Museum town scene
Beamish, The Living Museum of the North

Severe accident: A1(M) County Durham northbound

BBC News Travel

A1(M) County Durham northbound severe accident, at J63 for A167.

A1(M) County Durham - One lane closed and queues on A1(M) northbound in Durham at J63, A167 (Chester-Le-Street), because of an accident.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Repairs due for Shildon secondary school

Your questions answered
BBC

As part of our election coverage we've been asking people what questions they want answered about their area.

One person contacted us with concerns about Sunnydale Secondary School in Shildon, which became part of Greeenfield Community College in 2015.

She said: "I am concerned for the school as it's in disrepair. Years 10 and 11 are being sent out of town to another secondary school... which the majority of the students don't like.

"Being shipped from one town to the other surely affects the GCSE results. I am sure this school will close unless something is done about it. If we lose this school we have nothing left in this town."

We contacted Durham County Council which said there were 758 pupils based at Newton Aycliffe, 99 Year seven and eight pupils at Shildon and 55 Year nine pupils whose education was split across both sites

However, it was aware there were ongoing building condition issues at the Shildon site.

Richard Crane, head of education and skills at the authority, said: "In recent weeks, problems with the drainage system have escalated and require us to undertake remedial works which cannot be completed with the young people onsite.

"As a result, at the start of the spring term in January, all pupils will be temporarily moved to the Newton Aycliffe site to allow this work to be carried out, along with further investigations and repairs.

"We do not have a time scale for the completion of the work but during this time, free pupil transport will be provided from the Shildon site to Newton Aycliffe.

“The move will not have an impact on the education of the pupils and will draw upon the positive experiences of children in Year 10 and 11 who have already made a switch to a single-site education in Newton Aycliffe."

General Election 2019: Young people's debate starts

Ana Guerra-Moore

BBC Newcastle

As we start our debate with six first-time voters asking five local candidates the questions they want answering ahead of next week’s general election, here are the two groups.

You can listen live to the debate from Sunderland University, which is being broadcast live on BBC Newcastle and on Spark, between 09:00 and 10:00.

The candidates represent the five main parties Labour-Liz Twist; Conservative-Emily Payne; Lib Dem-Thom Chapman; Green Party-Rachel Featherstone; Brexit Party-Kevin Yuill.

Sunderland candidates
BBC

The first-time voters are expected to raise issues such as the environment, NHS and housing.

First-time voters
BBC

General election 2019: First-time voters have their say

BBC Newcastle

With six days to go until the general election, we'll be hearing the views of first-time voters in the North East.

Alfie Joey and Anna Foster will be hosting a live debate along with the Spark radio station between 09:00 and 10:00 at Sunderland University with young people putting their questions to candidates from the five main parties.

They'll be discussing issues like housing and the environment.

You can listen live to the debate here.

BBC Newcastle election debate
BBC

Severe accident: A1(M) Tyne And Wear northbound

BBC News Travel

A1(M) Tyne And Wear northbound severe accident, at J65 for A1 Western Bypass J65.

A1(M) Tyne And Wear - One lane blocked and queues on A1(M) northbound in Tyne and Wear at J65, A1 (Birtley), because of an accident.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Guitar theft strikes a chord on social media

The search is on for these guitars stolen from a car in Sunderland and the appeal has now been shared by thousands of people on social media, including a top guitarist.

Two of the stolen guitars
Trevor Sewell

Nils Lofgren retweeted the appeal to find Trevor Sewell's guitars.

The Les Paul and Fender Stratocaster (pictured) along with an acoustic guitar were taken from a car parked in Croft Avenue, Sunderland, last Saturday evening at about 19:15 as Trevor loaded his car to go to a gig.

Trevor Sewell pictured on stage
Trevor Sewell

The guitars are of great sentimental value to the man from Sunderland, who has won a Hollywood music and media award.

He had owned the Les Paul for 49 years and both instruments are a big part of his life.

Trevor has a big following in the USA where he has recorded with stars like Janis Ian.

He is also part of the Grammy producers wing.

After tweeting about the theft his case was taken up by rock guitarist Nils Lofgren.

Nils plays with Bruce Springsteen and Paul Young and tweeted the story to his 100,000 followers.

Trevor's appeal to trace the rare instruments has also been shared thousands of times on Facebook.

A Northumbria Police spokesperson said the three guitars were stolen from the back seat of a vehicle while the occupant was briefly away.

Anyone with information should contact 101.

Little Lyla is a shining light

A little girl who has brightened up the lives of poorly children across the world, despite battling a brain tumour herself, has been helping to spread festive cheer in her home city.

Lyla O’Donovan joined Katie Corrigan, chairman of Durham County Council, to switch on the Christmas tree lights at County Hall in Durham.

The seven-year-old, from Ushaw Moor, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2016 and has undergone nine operations and suffered multiple complications since then.

Lyla is set to undergo a further operation after Christmas but stays positive.

With the help of her big sister Lilley, Lyla set up Lyla and Lilley’s Stars to send certificates to other brave children all over the world.

The O’Donovan family has also been working with the charity Brain Tumour Research to raise awareness of the disease.

Lyla’s work has not gone unnoticed.

Last month, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan, presented her with a Wellchild Award in recognition of her strength, bravery and generosity.

Lyla and her dad Paul at the switch on
Durham County Council

Sunderland's tribute walkway gets bigger and bigger

A granite walkway in tribute to armed services veterans is growing in Sunderland.

Another 96 new stones will be in place at the weekend bringing the total on the Veterans' Walk to 550.

The walkway
Tom Cuthbertson

Tom Cuthbertson was a founder of the walk in Mowbray Park.

He is ex-parachute regiment and his son Nathan, also in 2 Para, was killed in Afghanistan in 2008.

The tribute stones carry regimental badges, names and service details and Tom says families from across the country are represented.

Tom Cuthbertson and an image of his late son, Nathan
BBC

Severe accident: A1(M) County Durham northbound

BBC News Travel

A1(M) County Durham northbound severe accident, between J63 for A167 and J65 for A1 Western Bypass J65.

A1(M) County Durham - One lane blocked and queues on A1(M) northbound in Durham between J63, A167 (Chester-Le-Street) and J65, A1 (Birtley), because of an accident.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time