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By threegee, in News,

The weather held up quite well today for Bedlington's part in the 2009 Tour of Britain Cycle Race. Now one of the star events in Britain's sporting calendar. Our town features at around the 118Km mark, a bit short of four fifths of the way into Stage Two "“ day two of the eight day event. Bedlington is the one Northumberland town that is no stranger to the bicycle. Prior to WW2 a significant number of Bedlingtonians were employed in cycle manufacture, and the town's produce was shipped worldwide. Though the modern materials used in today's super-light bikes (not to mention their cost) would have amazed the makers of those sturdy work-bikes.
Starting out from Darlington at 10:15am then swinging inland towards Stanley, Co Durham, Stage 2 of The Tour negotiates the high ground around Burnopfield before descending towards the Tyne near Ryton.
The route North of the Tyne strikes out from Wylam; heads across the West Road North to Belsay; then along the Walton to Morpeth Road; leaves Morpeth along the Hepscott road to our Nedderton Village before heading down the Front Street and Bedlington Bank towards Bebside. Southward from Blyth the final leg is from Seaton Sluice to Gateshead quayside, routing there through Cullercoats, North Shields and Wallsend.
The total time for the stage is estimated at three hours and thirty seven minutes to cover a distance of 153.3 Km. That's an average speed of almost 42.4 Km/h or over 26.3 mph. Considering the terrain and the many tight bends, features deliberately increased this year, that's a pretty amazing pace to maintain for so very long.
Crowds on the Front Street first spied the distinctive red strip of Jim's Cycles, but it's believed this entrant never made the Swing Bridge and Gateshead quayside finish as he was seen tracking back up the street shortly after the race passed through. Jim's Cycles is to be awarded the 2009 Bedlington.co.uk Prize for Attempted Product Placement. Though "“ as TV coverage petered out well West of Morpeth, and the ITV ground crew only just made Horton Road, Bebside in time to snatch a brief shot "“ this enterprising local effort never got on-air!
In the real race: first onto the Front Street was 24 year old Dutchman Kai Reus, in a lead pack of three also including Thomas De Gendt of Belgium, and Tanel Kangert of Estonia. The peloton (main leading group) of about sixty riders rounded the Red Lion only about one and a quarter minutes later.
Towards the end of the race Kai Reus, part of the Rabobank team with their highly visible orange and light blue kit, managed to hold off his challengers and crossed the Swing Bridge just seconds ahead. "It's my first victory in two years, but it's a long story"¦. It was a really hard last ten kilometres for me, maybe for the peloton also." said Kai in a post-race interview.
You can follow the final six days of the race on the official web site at http://www.tourofbritain.co.uk and see more local pictures in our gallery.

Bedlington face Unibond side Garforth Town in the FA Cup on Saturday. Garforth have been in the headlines in recent years for the number of ex-Brazilian national players who have turned out for them, through their managers (Simon Clifford) links with the South American country.
The Terriers have had an encouraging start to the season and will be looking to bounce back from their narrow defeat to league leaders West Allotment Celtic on Wednesday night.
Kick off on Saturday is 3pm at Dr Pitt Welfare Park, come along, cheer the lads on and whilst you're there, check out the merchandise range of jackets, polo shirts and replica tops.

Bedlington Terriers maintained their fine 100% start to their league season on Saturday when they defeated local rivals Morpeth Town 3-1 at Welfare Park. While the hosts were boosted by the return to fitness of Steve Bowey to the starting XI (and Stephen Shaw on the subs bench), the visitors where beginning to pick up some momentum after a troubled summer on and off the pitch.
It was Bedlington who had the early chances, with a McAlindon free kick in only the second minute shaving the post with no other player making contact with the ball. Minutes later, a powerful drive from 25 yards by Bowey flew inches over the bar.
Morpeth responded in kind, with Bowey forced into defensive duties in clearing a header of the line. The Terriers were slow to get to the pace of the game, and the always dangerous David Southern proving to be a thorn in the side of the Terriers backline.
However, the breakthrough came after 18 minutes, and it was the home side who made it. When Bowey was fouled 25 yards from goal, McAlindon's flighted free kick saw Hedley made a late unchallenged run at the far post, and he glanced his header past the helpless Morpeth keeper Wells into the corner
The lead should have been doubled within a couple of minutes, when Shandran found space on the goal line to spin his marker before laying back into the path of Bowey. However, his goalbound shot hit the chest of the unlucky Sheeran from close range, and the danger was cleared.
The Terriers' striker almost made amends moments later when he reached full length to make contact with a fine cross from the left by Bowey. Unfortunately, the pass had too much pace on it and he could not force Wells into action. Morpeth were forced into an early change, with Heiniger replacing the injured Sweeney.
Bowey was proving to be hugely instrumental in this opening half, and he again was instrumental in another Bedlington chance, when he drove forward from halfway, skipping past a couple of opponents before driving narrowly over from 20 yards.
It proved to be only a temporary reprieve for the visitors, as they conceded a second goals in the 34th minute. It was a fine individual effort to, as Sheeran chipped the keeper from 25 yards, having the satisfaction of seeing the ball float into the top right hand corner of his goal. Morpeth were then forced into another change, their second of the opening 45 minutes as Andrew Middelton replaced Paul Newton-Eddy.
The visitors reduced the deficit almost immediately, when the Bedlington defence failed to deal with the continual threat posed by Southern, allowing him enough space to fire home from a narrow angle. This meant that the home side would have to wait at least another game before recording a clean sheet.
Into the second half, the hosts continued to play the better football and pose the biggest threat to goal. This was finally rewarded on the hour mark when a two goal cushion was restored. A fantastic and determined interception by Hedley in his own half saw him win the ball from the attentions of two opponents. The ball was eventually played out left to the feet of Shandran. The tricky Bedlington striker beat his man easily before crossing to the far post for Sheeran to direct his header back across goal and into the corner of the net. A fine passage of play which saw Sheeran score his third league goal in as many games since signing for the club earlier in the month.
Bedlington made their first change soon after, with McAlindon making way for Shaw. Shandran came close to joining his strike partner on the score sheet, when his spin and shot had to be palmed away by Wells. Snowden found his way into the referee's notebook for a lunge midway through the half.
Other than one good save by Powell from the boot of Southern, the visitors rarely seriously threatened to make a nervous end to the game. Bedlington made further changes, with Ludlow and McRoberts replacing Shandran and Sheeran respectively, while Morpeth made their final substitution when ex-Collier Justin Millican came on for ex-Terrier Derek Atwell.
Thus another three points were secured, and Bedlington made their best start to a season since August 1999. This run was certain to be put to the test on Wednesday night, when they welcomed league leaders West Allotment Celtic to Welfare Park, the visitors topping the table having won all four games played.
This Saturday sees more home action, as Garforth Town of the Unibond League Division One North travel to Bedlington for their FA Cup Preliminary Qualifying Round tie. Assuming this match produces a definite winner, then the Terriers are due to finally play away from home, albeit just a few miles up the road against Ashington at their Woodhorn Road ground on the Bank Holiday Monday (11am kick off).

SNRG, the company with ambitions to introduce local community radio to South East Northumberland is significantly more upbeat about its prospects of success following recent steering group meetings at Bedlington Station.
The group, which had previously earmarked a central Ashington location, have now secured an offer of studio space in Bedlington. SNRG is now moving forward with their fund raising effort to secure the additional capital necessary for equipment.
Whilst the company has made no formal announcement regarding when it is likely to broadcast, and an announcement may be some time away, Bedlington.co.uk reporters note a flurry of activity over recent weeks.
Company spokesperson John White, a Bedlington resident himself, said "We are determined to get this project off the ground and based in Bedlington!"
The group is set to broadcast a hybrid of music and speech content with a large community remit in its programming.
Chairman Colin Heathcote, said "Synergy will be a genuine community resource. We believe we can play an important part in the regeneration of the area through the promotion of social and economic development activities via the entertaining and powerful medium of radio."
More information can be obtained from [email protected], or via their website www.snrgroup.co.uk.

By Neil, in News,

Bedlington Terriers opened their skilltrainingltd Northern League Division One season on Saturday, with the visit to Welfare Park by newly-promoted Horden Colliery Welfare. It was a successful beginning to a new campaign, as the Terriers recovered from conceding the first goal to run out 3-1 victors. It was a much changed side from the one which had finished the previous season with victory at South Shields in April. Indeed, only 4 players (Lawson, Hedley, Ludlow and McAlindon) remained in the squad of 16 from that game. With Jamie Clarke returning to Spennymoor in midweek due to changed work commitments which would have made travel to Bedlington difficult, the Terriers management team moved quickly to plug the gap.
With Tony Shandran suspended for this game, the final game of a 3 match ban picked up for Blyth in April, Lee Ludlow finally signed forms again for the club. In addition, Mark Sheeran, a player who has scored prolifically wherever he has played, also joined the Bedlington ranks. What could have been an early crisis was thus turned into an embarrassment of riches.
Bedlington began very promisingly, using the flanks to good effect in stretching the Horden defence. An early free kick out right saw Chapman provide pinpoint delivery for the head of Sheeran. However, keeper Winter dived full stretch to save.
The early momentum quickly petered out, however, and the visitors showed the type of fast counter-attacking football which had served them so well in winning the Division Two title the previous season. One cross from the left saw a glanced header divert the ball on to the far post. Terriers' keeper Newton then had to produce an excellent block to deny the follow up.
Horden obviously took heart from this, as they pushed again for the breakthrough, forcing Newton into another superb save, this time a goal seemed certain from the loose ball but the Horden forward could only hit high over the bar. Moments later a swerving shot from 20 yards crashed against the bar and then away to safety.
Bedlington were at all at sea during this period of play, and in scenes reminiscent of last season, the injury jinx returned after only 23 minutes when Shaw had to be replaced by Ludlow due to a hamstring injury.
The visitors eventually got a deserved goal just after the hour mark, when another cross from the left saw Jennings glance his header at the near post into the opposite corner. However, the Terriers produced an almost instant response in levelling within 2 minutes.
A cross from the left saw a Horden defender only loop a headed clearance high into the air. Sheeran carefully placed a header back across to Ludlow, who had his back to goal. The veteran Bedlington striker showed great agility to hit an overhead kick into the bottom corner past the helpless Winter, and carry on the goal scoring form which saw him finish leading scorer last season.
The Terriers suffered another injury blow within 3 minutes of the restart, when Chapman was unable to continue due to a knock sustained late in the first half. He was replaced by Scott Robson. Despite this setback, Bowey came agonisingly close to putting the Terriers ahead moments later when he sliced his effort from Ludlow's knock back just wide of the upright.
Although the visitors still looked to pose a threat on the break, the hosts were increasingly dominating possession. This was duly rewarded with a goal on 55 minutes. A beautifully flighted ball forward to Poole saw a defender just get a toe on it a full stretch which played it perfectly into the Terriers man's path. He coolly rounded first Winter, then the recovering defender to slot home just inside the post to give his team the lead for the first time.
Poole turned provider midway through the second half, when his perfectly weighted slide rule ball put Graham clear on goal. The cultured midfielder kept his composure the hit across the Horden keeper and into the bottom left corner to give the Terriers a two goal cushion.
Both sides had opportunities to add to the scoring before the end of the game, but for the visitors in particular, tiredness and increasing frustration left to Kegans and Husband receiving cautions, both for challenges that could easily have been deserving of straight red cards.
Not a classic by any means, and there is certainly much to do before this much changed team is firing on all cylinders, but securing the 3 points was the only important target. A pre-season campaign which gave the Bedlington management only rare opportunity to field what they may have considered their strongest available side means that this is still very much a work in progress.
Also, the 3 injuries sustained in this game underline the need for any club with aspirations to challenge for honours to have strength in depth in all areas of the pitch. Great credit goes to Lowery and Perry over the summer months for putting together a squad which seems to have all bases covered.
Bedlington had little time to rest on their laurels, with August always being a very busy month. Wednesday night sees the visit to Welfare Park by Billingham Town (7.30pm). Then this Saturday, the Terriers have yet another home game, this time hosting Thackley in the FA Cup Extra-Preliminary Round.
The FA Cup provides an opportunity for all clubs this level to earn much needed funds, and for their part the Terriers will be hoping that they make good progress in this competition for the first time in several years. The first time Bedlington go on their travels is the following Wednesday (19th), when they make the trip to Shildon.
Photos can be found here.
Report by Dave Anderson.

Police are releasing CCTV images in an appeal for information following a burglary at the Spar shop Station Road, Bedlington, which took place back in June.
At just after midnight on Monday, June 15, thieves broke into the closed shop via the rear entrance. Once inside they stole cash and cigarettes valued at in excess of £20,000 before fleeing the scene.
Detective Sergeant Brian Johnson from Bedlington C.I.D. said: " I'd appeal for anyone who recognises the men in the CCTV images to come forward and speak to police."
Anyone in the area at the time, or who has any information, is asked to call Bedlington CID on 03456 043 043 ext 69161 or the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

A group of enterprising students from Bedlington High and Ashington High Schools have completed a gruelling ten day expedition in the Swiss Alps.
The team of 9 students and 3 staff completed part of the challenging Chamonix to Zermatt Walkers High Level Route, one of the oldest walking routes in Europe.
The team covered over 90km and had a total ascent of just over 5700m, almost the height of Mt. Kilimanjaro. The team began their training over 8 months ago, developing their fitness, leadership and teamwork skills.
Team member, Kay Shiel spoke about the training. "It was tough, we worked hard to develop our fitness because we knew that the trek would be demanding. We also developed our language skills and first aid skills, we were ready for anything." The team had to battle through two tough days of snow on the route, but were well prepared.
Team leader, Will Close-Ash was confident that group would make it. "It is a demanding trek, not many young people will ever put themselves through such a tough trip, but I think that all of these young people should be proud of their achievements, they did very well."
The team completed the trek to raise money for charities and collected over £3000 for a wide range of local and national charities.
Author "“ Will Close-Ash

Building work on two new state-of-the-art community fire stations for Northumberland began on Monday 27 July.
The stations in Pegswood and the new headquarters in West Hartford are scheduled for completion next summer as part of an ambitious programme of building across the north east.
Five new fire stations will be built during the coming year as part of a £60 million North East Fire and Rescue Authorities (NEFRA) Private Finance Initiative (PFI). The project is receiving funding from Communities and Local Government which is contributing £42 million in PFI credits to assist in the construction work.
The new community fire station and headquarters at West Hartford will be equipped with
three fire fighting appliances including an incident response unit, for terrorist and other incidents. These will be operated by one part-time and two full-time crews. In addition to the fire fighting response units, there will also be a North East Ambulance Service response unit and crew.
At Pegswood the new station will be equipped with three fire fighting appliances including a high volume pumping unit. This is able to pump water over great distances in rural areas where water is scarce. It is also an invaluable piece of equipment in flooding incidents as it can move water away from danger points for safe dispersal. A part-time crew and two full-time crews will staff the three appliances. This station will also be the base for a specialist swift water rescue team; established to provide an enhanced flood evacuation and in-water search and rescue capability.
The design and construction of both stations will be environmentally friendly achieving BREEAM (energy efficiency rating) of between "˜very good' and "˜excelllent'.
As well as providing emergency fire and rescue cover, each station will have multi-media facilities including free internet access and meeting rooms, which will be available for members of the public to book. Both stations will also be equipped to train the public in fire and community safety and advice about these subjects will be available from experienced staff as part of a "˜drop in' service.
Brian Hesler, Chief Fire Officer for Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service, said: "We are proud to be leading the building stage of this seminal project for the North East. The community facilities that we will be able to provide in Northumberland's two new fire stations and HQ will allow us to improve the service we can offer to the community in terms of prevention and advice as well as continuing to respond to incidents quickly and efficiently across the county. We have taken full advantage of this opportunity to seize significant Government funding for Northumberland, which in itself will create much needed investment in the building industry during this time of economic downturn."
Councillor Ian Lindley, Northumberland County Council's executive member for community safety (incorporating Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service), said: "This is an exciting time for Northumberland; the transformation of fire service provision is in keeping with the reorganisation we have seen in the county as a whole. The fire service is increasingly working to prevent incidents and it is a rich vein of expertise; building community fire stations will allow local people to tap into this expertise and help to ensure community safety informs local people, groups and projects."
Fire Minister Shahid Malik said: "I am delighted that the Government has been able to award the combined North-East fire and rescue authorities £42 million in PFI credits to construct these new buildings. Overall since 1997 the Government has provided England's fire and rescue services with over £550 million through the PFI to invest in their buildings and vehicles.
"The Government is investing in improving the fire and rescue service estate as it has a direct impact on progress in the creation of a service that meets the needs of today's world, providing fire stations in the right locations to help save lives as well as better working conditions for firefighters and back-office staff."
John Laing Investments is providing 80% of the equity for the NEFRA project and Shepherd Construction is providing the remaining 20%, as well as building the five new stations.
Area Director for John Laing, Mike White, said: "We are delighted to have reached the delivery stage of this project, which will significantly improve facilities for the fire and rescue authorities in the North East, while also providing facilities for the use of the communities around the new stations. We are looking forward to a long and successful partnership with the NEFRA PFI project and all of its stakeholders."
Allan McDougall, Divisional Chief Executive of Shepherd Construction, the firm overseeing the project from its Darlington office, said: "This exciting project will see five new stations built over the next year. Each one will include community facilities, allowing the fire authorities to link to local people and proactively look at fire prevention and safety issues. The North East is leading the way with these stations and we look forward to working closely with the authorities to deliver such modern and innovative facilities."
Graeme Dodd, Managing Director of Napper Architects, said: "Having recently completed six community fire stations, a technical service centre and a new brigade headquarters for Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, Napper Architects is delighted to continue their emergency services involvement by developing designs for the new community fire station at Pegswood and the service headquarters at West Hartford. These innovative buildings, which have been developed in close partnership with advisors from Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service, integrate community facilities into the heart of the buildings allowing immediate community access to fire prevention advice and assistance without compromising operational effectiveness."
The project has resulted in a boost to the regional economy with a number of North East businesses playing key roles in the NEFRA project. Newcastle-based solicitors Dickinson Dees are involved in the legal contracts; Shepherd Construction based in York and Darlington is delivering the build and Napper Architects in Newcastle designed the new fire stations and headquarters.
The stations are set to be up and running as follows: Pegswood, June 2010; West Hartford, August 2010; Bishop Auckland, May 2010; Spennymoor, June 2010; North Shields, June 2010.

Police are appealing for witnesses after two cars were damaged in Stakeford.
At approximately 10.30pm on Tuesday July 28 a Ford Fiesta and a Volvo S80, which were parked on East Terrace at the time, had their wing mirrors damaged and were dented.
Around the same time police received a report that a group of youths on bikes were seen in the street causing damage to cars.
Bedlington Neighbourhood Beat Manager John Heaton said: " These damages took place in a normally quiet neighbourhood. I'd appeal for anyone who was out that night, who may have been walking their dog, or who was in the area around the time of the incidents to contact police. We're especially keen to speak to anyone who may have seen a group of youths on bikes in the street around the time of the incident to get in touch".
Anyone with information is asked to contact police in Bedlington on 03456 043 043 ext 63526

Northumberland County Council has launched a review of car parking policy across the county.
The first step in the review is to ask residents, businesses, community representatives and anyone who has an interest what their views are on the key principles of car parking policy through a questionnaire.
Councillor Alan Armstrong, executive member for highways and transport at Northumberland County Council, said: "The questionnaire we have just published is the first step in our review of car parking across the county, and I would urge as many people as possible to express their views. We are very aware that there are currently different policies across the county, and we want to establish a single framework within which local conditions in each area can be considered objectively."
As part of the review the council is also considering a range of factors including current usage levels, current charges, known traffic management or congestion issues, local parking schemes such as residents' permits, tourist areas and equality and social inclusion.
In the past Bedlington residents have expressed concern over the removal of the free parking they currently have access to.
The new Northumberland County Council inherited a range of different parking arrangements from the former district and borough councils, and made an early commitment to carry out a comprehensive review of all parking arrangements.
From the inception of the new council an annual parking permit was extended so that it could be used across the whole county, and the impact of this will also be looked at. A concessionary permit is also available to the over 60s and other qualifying groups.
The questionnaire is being sent to a wide range of organisations and is also available for residents to complete at customer information centres and on the website at http://www2.northumberland.gov.uk/survey/car_parking.htm .
The closing date for returning responses is Monday 7th September 2009.
A second phase of public consultation will take place once a county-wide policy has been drafted.

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