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  1. Missing Martin Cooper is back with his family after disappearing for more than 24 hours. The Chronicle told on Tuesday how police and relatives were searching for the retired English teacher who vanished from his Whitley Bay home on Monday morning. But his family has now confirmed he was found in Scotland on Tuesday evening. Dad-of-three Martin travelled back to Tyneside on Wednesday and is now back home with his wife, Mary. Martin's son Joe has told of his relief. The 38-year-old said: "He's been found safely near Fort William. We were extremely worried."
  2. A heroic police dog bravely tackled a suspected car thief in Bedlington - and officers rewarded her with a late night burger. Six-year-old Belgian herder Ziva was given the treat after she caught the suspect at about 10.30pm on Wednesday. Officers from Northumbria Police had found a vehicle they believed to have been stolen in a burglary earlier in the evening. They signalled for the vehicle to stop but the driver, believed to be under the influence, ignored the blue lights and continued to drive away before he jumped out and ran. As officers chased him over open fields, PC Helen Kane unleashed Ziva from the opposite direction and she was able to track down the suspect and tackle him before officers caught up and arrested the suspect. At the end of the shift, PC Kane made sure to reward Ziva for her heroics by treating her to the hamburger - with cheese, extra tomato sauce and no gherkins.
  3. The 27th edition of the PDC World Championships rolls into town next Thursday, as darts fans are treated to 16 days of pure tungsten theatre. World number one Michael van Gerwen won his third world title last year as he beat Michael Smith 7-3 in a thrilling final at Alexandra Palace. MVG will look to successfully defend the world title for this first time this year but he will have to be at his best to see off the threats of the chasing pack. Welshman Gerwyn Price could well be van Gerwen's biggest threat in London. The Welsh ace successfully defended his Grand Slam of Darts title in November, beating van Gerwen en route to the title. He also pushed van Gerwen all the way in the recent Players Championships final and he has been well backed to win his first world title. 2018 world champion Rob Cross arrives as the number two seed and has enjoyed a very successful year on the tour, winning the World Matchplay and European Championships as well as reaching the final of the UK Open and the Premier League. Last year's World Championship semi-finalist Nathan Aspinall was the only other major winner this year, while Peter Wright, Michael Smith, Dave Chisnall and James Wade will fancy their chances after reaching major finals in 2019.
  4. A registered sex offender who dressed as Santa Claus in Newcastle city centre has been jailed after being caught taking pictures with children for cash. Stephen Brown, 40, was parading near Fenwick's festive window on a busy Northumberland Street offering to pose with pictures of children while dressed as Father Christmas. But the department store's security staff contacted police who were concerned about the stranger's activity on Saturday. Officers arrived and discovered that Brown had been jailed for five years in 2012 for possession of indecent images and inciting a child to engage in a sex act. He was immediately arrested by police in front of a packed Northumberland Street and was later charged with breaching the sexual offences prevention order. The court heard how it was the second time Brown had breached the order since being released from prison in January 2017.
  5. Bot

    New playpark unveiled in Bedlington

    A new £80,000 play area has been opened at Gallagher Park in Bedlington.
  6. Bedlington darts ace Chris Dobey reached his first ever European Tour final on Sunday to all but secure his place in next month's World Matchplay. Dobey was beaten 8-3 by Dave Chisnall in the final of the Danish Darts Open at Copenhagen's Brondby Hallen but enjoyed a superb run over the three-day competition. The 29-year-old saw off Steve West, Ricky Evans, former World Championship finalist Kirk Shepherd, and Jose de Sousa before beating two-time major champion Gerwyn Price in the semi-finals to reach his first big-stage final. 'Hollywood' ran out of steam in the final, though, and despite taking a 2-0 lead, he won just one of the next nine legs as Chisnall secured his first European Tour title since 2013. Dobey's run over the weekend now means he is all but assured of a World Matchplay debut next month, following on from his debut in the Premier League earlier this year. The World Matchplay is widely considered the second most prestigious major in the darts calendar after the World Championships and after narrowly missing out on qualification for each of the last two years Dobey is delighted he has secured a long overdue debut in the competion.
  7. Labour has called for a 'full and meaningful' consultation on the overhaul of Bedlington town centre in the wake of news that the project is getting back on track. The opposition on Northumberland County Council has said this is required to "to ensure that any Bedlington development fits with the needs and ambitions of local residents and supports local businesses who have been loyal to the town". It follows the announcement last week that building work on the retail scheme, which is being led by the council-owned company Advance Northumberland, will now start "early next year and will take approximately 12 months". In January, it was announced that the redevelopment had stalled awaiting final sign-off from the anchor tenant - a major supermarket. But Advance Northumberland's board recently approved a revised financial model and timetable, which relies on an extra cash injection of £1.4m from the county council. In a statement this week, Coun Lynne Grimshaw, the shadow cabinet member for regeneration, said: " The Labour Group welcomes - despite the long delay - the council looking to get this severely scaled back project off the ground. Stay informed by receiving your choice of the latest breaking North East news, NUFC/SAFC news and business news direct to your email by subscribing to our newsletters - here's how. Facebook: Here's our main Chronicle page. For our Newcastle United Facebook page click here and our Sunderland page is here. We also have a group for breaking news, one for travel news and one exclusively for court news. If you want TV news, visit our dedicated page here. Twitter: You can follow the Chronicle here, our NUFC page here, our SAFC page is here and The Journal here. Insta: Here's our Instagram page for all you photo lovers. Over on Linkedin you can follow us here.
  8. It's almost time for a new host of girls to hit the catwalk as the final of Miss Newcastle 2019 takes place in the city this weekend. The annual event is always a massive spectacle for the whole of the North East and now 13 contestants are aiming to steal the crown and follow in the footsteps of reigning Miss Newcastle Rebecca Gormley, who triumphed in an Arabian Nights themed finale last year. Over 300 hopefuls applied this year and Gainford Group are one again hosting the glamorous grand finale at The County Hotel and before they've even taken to the runway for the first time, the 2019 finalists have already raised in excess of £20,000 for chosen charity The Chronicle Sunshine Fund, thanks to events ranging from dog walks to fashion shows and bag packs to pamper days. A celebration of Style, Beauty & Talent... this year's final, hosted by Hannah Gray, draws inspiration from Aphrodite the Greek Goddess of Beauty & Love and will feature a performance from Ami Vaziri as Ariana Live. The winner will receive a place in the Miss England final as well as a contract with Tyne Tyne Models' And in an exciting week for the city, it was also revealed that the Miss England finals will be held in Newcastle for the first time.
  9. A £377m wish list of ideas to spark a radical transformation of the North East's transport network has been revealed. More frequent Metro trains, a restored rail service between Newcastle and Northumberland, station redevelopments, and new cycling infrastructure are all part of an ambitious campaign to secure a massive pot of Government cash. The region's leaders are set to give their backing to a bid to the Transforming Cities Fund (TCF) next week, which they say would be a massive boost to the local economy and reduce reliance on cars. The North East - covering Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and County Durham - is one of 12 city regions shortlisted to submit bids for a share of £1.28bn of central funding. And a draft version of a bid that will be put before council leaders next week, before being sent to the Department for Transport, reveals that the North East intends to ask for a maximum of £377.3m in funding. That includes £108m to fund the twin tracking of the Metro between Pelaw and Tyne Dock - an upgrade that would allow for the daytime frequency of trains across the network to be increased from five to six per hour.
  10. Community groups in Cramlington, Bedlington and Seaton Valley have been recognised for the work they do in their local community.
  11. It might be summer but there was a distinct - and rather otherworldly - chill at a special event held this week to offer a glimpse of what to expect at an upcoming showcase party. Some ghoulish early guests were setting the tone at The Boulevard cabaret club in Newcastle where Sage founder and philanthropist Graham Wylie offered a sneak peek of what to expect from a no-expense-spared Halloween Spectacular, complete with showbiz stars, that he is planning for October. And the glimpse will no doubt scare up some decent ticket sales for the party which is out to raise money for charity. The party, while held in association with Boulevard, will be staged in the Kingston Park grounds of Newcastle Falcons rugby club on the night before Halloween , October 30, and it's being described as "the scariest and most lavish party the North East has ever seen". There are 500 tickets on sale and the party will feature performers in terrifying costumes out to scare uests who in turn are being encouraged to take costume inspiration from the Halloween parties thrown each year in America by the likes of supermodel Heidi Klum and Britain’s Jonathan Ross. Mr Wylie said: “Halloween celebrations seem to get more elaborate and outlandish every year and I intend this Halloween Spectacular to be the most glittering, the most scary and the most lavish of them all.
  12. The major redevelopment of Bedlington town centre is back on track – assuming Northumberland County Council signs off on £1.4million to support the scheme next week.
  13. Bot

    Update on Bedlington town centre scheme

    The Advance Northumberland Board approved the revised financial model and timetable for the Bedlington town centre development when it met last Friday.
  14. A man has been arrested and charged after a "big increase" in reported burglaries targeting students in Jesmond and Heaton. Northumbria Police officers say they have received 51 reports of burglaries and thefts from motor vehicles in just over a month. The majority of victims are students with intruders gaining access to their home through an open window or unlocked door. The police force say extra patrols have been stepped up by the local neighbourhood policing team to tackle offenders operating in the area. And yesterday a man appeared in court after being arrested in the area on suspicion of burgling a property on Saint George’s Terrace in Jesmond. Neighbourhood Inspector Julie Rana hopes the work of police will reduce the crime spates but has called on residents to keep their homes secure.
  15. There is still time for everyone to have their say on proposals brought forward by Bedlington schools.
  16. A hard-working shopkeeper is to hang up her apron after more than six decades working in the same hardware shop.
  17. ‘Bringing beds and business to Bedlington’ is the aim of two businessmen who are planning to open a hotel in the town, creating 45 jobs in the process.
  18. Bot

    Blyth Tall Ship returns home

    The Blyth Tall Ship charity expedition comes to an end after an epic 10-week journey around the British Isles.
  19. Bot

    Local Plan complete ahead of time

    The Northumberland Local Plan has been completed ahead of time and is on its way to Government for independent inspection.
  20. The UK’s most prestigious cycle race will make a spectacular return to the North East this year. It has been confirmed today that two bids to bring the world’s top cyclists back to the region in September have been successful. The third leg of the Tour of Britain will be staged across a picturesque route through Northumberland, North Tyneside and Newcastle - including a dramatic city centre finish. Then stage four of the race will start on the Gateshead Quayside the following day as part of a route that will also pass the world famous Angel of the North. Hosting a double bill of the country's premier professional cycling race is a major coup for the region's leaders. North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll said: “This is great news - I’m really looking forward to the Tour of Britain coming to the North of Tyne.
  21. Disgruntled parents have not been given a choice on a potential move from a three-tier to a two-tier educational system in a Northumberland town, an MP has warned. Northumberland County Council has agreed to carry out a consultation on Whitley Memorial CE First School and Bedlington West End First School extending their age ranges from September 2020. The Bedlington Partnership is predominantly a two-tier system of primaries and secondaries, while these two first schools and Meadowdale [Middle] Academy remain as a three-tier set-up. Bedlington Academy and St Benet Biscop Catholic Academy will only accept Year 7 pupils from September 2020, and Meadowdale is now consulting on becoming a primary from this September. These circumstances could see the complete abandonment of the three-tier system, and Ian Lavery, MP for Wansbeck, says parents have been "denied the opportunity" to oppose the potential move. Mr Lavery said: “We all understand the pressures that have been placed on all schools due to central Government cuts with those in Bedlington losing more than £1m in real terms from their budgets since 2015.
  22. One person has been rushed to hospital after flames ripped through the roof of a Northumberland home. Emergency services were scrambled to the scene of the house fire on Rowlington Terrace, Ashington , on Wednesday evening. Neighbours gathered in the street with one onlooker suggesting flames stretched 20ft into the sky. Michael Watson, 69, said: "It was my neighbour who come along and told me the house was on fire. "The flames were 20ft at least. There was a lot of people out in the street. "This is the quietest area in the world, a lovely place to live.
  23. Northumberland County Council's bid for a new caravan and camping site at Druridge Bay Country Park has been given the green light. The proposals, for a plot to the south of Ladyburn Lake, were approved by eight votes to two by the North Northumberland Local Area Council this week. The scheme had attracted 35 objections from residents - and three letters of support - while East Chevington Parish Council was opposed to what it described as 'simply commercialisation of public land', but no objectors spoke against the application at Tuesday's (May 21) meeting. The planning officer's report said that camping provision was specifically included in the provision when the park was created in 1983, before opening to the public three years later. It adds that the area in question continues to be used for camping to this day, but 'due to the modern popularity of caravans/camper-vans, the current set-aside area is no longer considered fit for purpose.' Coun Jeff Watson said: "It's quite obvious that the area we are talking about is already used for this purpose at various times.
  24. Newcastle’s two universities have taken two of the top three slots in a national table ranking businesses started by its graduates. The city’s reputation as a breeding ground for budding entrepreneurs has been boosted after Northumbria University topped the Higher Education Business and Community Interaction Survey (HEBCIS) for the third year running, while Newcastle University was ranked third. The survey said businesses started by Northumbria University start-ups had a combined turnover of £81.5m, while Newcastle’s were worth £40.3m. They were separated only by Edinburgh University, with Northumbria maintaining top spot from last year and Newcastle moving up from fifth. Graduates from the two universities have started award-winning businesses that include Noveltea, which turned down investment from Dragons’ Den and then made four times as much through crowdfunding, and the Teashed, whose MD Jules Quinn was named on Forbes’ list of top European young entrepreneurs. Lucy Winskell, pro vice-chancellor for employability and partnerships at Northumbria, said: “Northumbria has now been ranked the top university in the UK for graduate start-ups for five out of the past six years, which is an exceptional achievement. “We are extremely proud of our entrepreneurial students and graduates and the significant contribution their businesses are making to employment and economic growth.
  25. Jamie Oliver's restaurant chain Jamie's Italian has appointed administrators, putting more than 1,000 jobs at risk. The business said it had appointed KPMG to oversee the process, with a more detailed announcement expected later on Tuesday. Mr Oliver said: "I am deeply saddened by this outcome and would like to thank all of the staff and our suppliers who have put their hearts and souls into this business for over a decade. I appreciate how difficult this is for everyone affected. "I would also like to thank all the customers who have enjoyed and supported us over the last decade, it's been a real pleasure serving you. "We launched Jamie's Italian in 2008 with the intention of positively disrupting mid-market dining in the UK high street, with great value and much higher quality ingredients, best-in-class animal welfare standards and an amazing team who shared my passion for great food and service. And we did exactly that." It follows a hunt for a new investor in the brand, with a number of private equity firms touted as mulling bids for a stake in the business.
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