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  1. Today
  2. Sisters-in-law Christine Stephenson and Kelly Best’s love for the same man brought them closer together after his devastating death. Christine’s brother and Kelly’s husband, Neil Best, died in 2003 of an undiagnosed heart defect. Now they have become inspirational life-savers after joining forces to safeguard other people’s health. In Neil’s memory they set out to place defibrillators across the North East and raise awareness of CPR. And now, after five years, they have around 400 defibrillators across the region, while eight lives have been saved - thanks to their machines. Kelly, 47, from Cramlington, told Chronicle Live that she would never had discovered her sons carried the same gene that caused their father’s death had he not passed away.
  3. Last week
  4. Ross Noble likes to keep his fans on their toes. For more than 20 years the Geordie comedy wonder has been spinning spontaneous stand-up, regularly touring the globe and playing to packed houses. The Cramlington -born star is heading back to his roots with a gig at Newcastle 's City Hall in November. In his shows, the mischievous comic takes his audience on a meandering journey full of ridiculously funny stories, whimsical tangents and offbeat observations – and his unique brand of semi-improvised stand-up has won him a legion of fans. But just when it feels like the 42-year-old comic’s career is becoming predictable, he steers into completely new territory. Quite literally, in the case of his Dave TV shows – Freewheeling and Off Road – that follow him on motorcycle adventures. But more recently in Mel Brooks’s West End musical, Young Frankenstein , which saw him nominated for an Olivier and win a WhatsOnStage Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical. Now, Noble has ditched the choreography and is back on the road with a brand new stand-up tour, El Hablador . Ben Williams talked to him about Christmas albums, giant skulls and working with Mel Brooks. This is your 16th UK tour, with 68 dates announced so far. After 20 years on the road, do you still enjoy travelling the country? ‘It would be hard work if I didn’t! Is that how many shows it is? That seems like a daft number – I’ll put on two extra dates, just to make it up to 70. But, yeah, I do still love it. The great thing about stand-up is you’re face-to-face with real people.’
  5. Poundworld is axing hundreds more jobs across the UK in a fourth list of store closures, including nine in the North East. Administrators at Deloitte, who were appointed last month, have announced the closure of 78 more stores. Shops in Blyth , Cramlington , Darlington, Durham , Stockton plus two in Middlesbrough and two in Washington are the latest to be affected, leading to the loss of 109 jobs. In all, this means 22 Poundworld stores will close across the region. The administrators have also revealed that the distribution centre operations will close tomorrow, Friday July 20, resulting in 299 redundancies across the distribution centre and head office functions. The new list of 78 store closures will result in the redundancies of 907 employees when the stores close on either Thursday July 26, or Sunday, July 29.
  6. A project to transform “Dorran” style properties on an estate in Cramlington has picked up two awards at a regional awards ceremony.
  7. Hexham General Hospital’s urgent care unit will be shut overnight for at least four weeks “due to staffing pressures”. The 24-hour emergency care at Hexham hospital has been suspended again according to the Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, who described the move as a “last resort”. A Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust spokeswoman said: “Unfortunately, due to staffing pressures, the urgent care centre at Hexham General Hospital will not be open overnight (10.00pm to 8.00am) for at least the next four weeks. “This decision has been taken as a last resort and is only done to ensure that we can continue to provide the best possible care during the hours where there is peak demand. “We will keep the matter under constant review and as soon as there is an update will make it available. “If anyone requires assistance between 10.00pm and 8.00am, please seek help either through NHS 111 or – in an emergency – 999.”
  8. Poundworld administrators have announced the closure of 40 more stores, including four in the North East. Shops in Peterlee , Middlesbrough, Byker Retail Park in Newcastle and Redcar are affected in the latest list of closures, resulting in 45 job losses. This comes on top of the 105 stores already announced by Clare Boardman and Daniel Butters, restructuring partners at Deloitte who were appointed as joint administrators last month. In all, around 1,797 jobs will be lost across the UK following the closures, with the latest list of 40 set to bring down shutters next Tuesday. Discussions continue between the administrators and interested parties for the potential sale of part, or parts, of the remaining business. Clare Boardman, joint administrator, said: “We would like to thank all the employees for their continued support and commitment during this difficult time. We are keeping staff appraised of developments as they happen.”
  9. There’s barely a house party passes now without at least a suggestion of beer pong, well if you’ve got a more sophisticated drinking palate, there’s a new drinking game that should send you bubbling into a frenzy..Gin Pong. Yes it’s time to ditch the red cups, in favour of cups for some Mothers' Ruin. And you won't need to break the bank to get your hands on a set! We know from our stories on various Newcastle bars and restaurants offering gin promotions, not to mention the many Gin Festivals the city has now hosted, that you all like a drop of the stuff, well know you can incorporate into some friendly rivalry between your party guests. And the good news is that you can get a Gin Pong set for pretty much next to nothing as Home Bargains is selling the game for just £2.99. The find was posted in the Extreme Couponing and Bargains Group on Facebook and quickly racked up thousands of comments on shares. Unfortunately the game doesn't come with gin, but if you want to get one there are branches of Home Bargains in the likes of Gateshead , Jarrow, Wallsend, Blaydon and Cramlington.
  10. These beautiful parks are enjoyed by thousands across the North East - and now, they’ve received international recognition. Forty parks and other green spaces across our region have been honoured with the International Green Flag award, which celebrates the best community green spaces in the country. This year, a record-breaking 1,883 UK parks and green spaces have secured Green Flag status. The international award, now into its third decade, is handed to open public spaces with the highest possible environmental standards, excellent visitor facilities and a “beautiful” standard of maintenance. International Green Flag Award scheme manager Paul Todd said: “We are delighted to be celebrating another record-breaking year for the Green Flag Award scheme, with more Green Flags awarded this year than last year. “Each flag honours the thousands of staff and volunteers who work tirelessly to maintain the high standards demanded by the Green Flag Award. We are proud to have so many wonderful green spaces in the UK for people to enjoy, and hope that next year, we award even more flags.”
  11. Earlier
  12. Miller UK has overhauled its strategy and management structure after its turnover failed to hit its forecasted targets. The Cramlington-headquartered firm - which designs and manufactures equipment for the earth moving industry - saw its turnover increase by 8% from £18.28m to £19.74m for the year ending December 2017, thought it said the figure had fallen short of targets. The results are an improvement from the 2016 financial year, when the firm’s revenue fell by 14%. In the latest company accounts, COO Christopher Parkin said: “Turnover in the year failed to hit forecast despite seeing an increase by nearly 9% to £19.9m with a small growth in profit before tax vs 2016. As a result of the financial results, a new structure and strategic focus on customers has been put in place to accelerate growth momentum and enhance profitability. “The renewed clear focus for Miller is to become the preferred choice for customers and to strengthen our market positions we have in all our geographic regions. In order to support this we have made changes to the management structure which has seen the departure of the company’s managing director Mr Mike Askew.” The majority of Miller’s sales continued to be made to domestic firms, with £9m of turnover coming from the UK. Overseas sales, however, increased at a greater rate with EU turnover growing from £1.8m to £2.7m, while sales to the rest of the world jumping from £7.6m to £8m.
  13. These schoolchildren have created a Northumberland version of popular board game Monopoly. The youngsters from Hillcrest School, in Cramlington, created the edition after working on a project about the county. The pupils, aged between 11 and 14, carried out research before deciding which areas would be included on the squares. The most expensive spot, given to Mayfair in the classic version, has been given to Darras Hall, while the neighbouring Park Lane spot went to Ponteland. Meanwhile, Old Kent Road - the least expensive square in the game - was turned into Linton. The ‘stations’ include a Metro station, Lynemouth, Woodhorn and Berwick. And the ‘utilities’ on the board are Northumbrian Water, British Gas, Brighthouse and Greggs.
  14. A dangerous driver who smashed into a traffic car during a 40-minute police pursuit has been jailed. Martin Jobes, 47, was wanted by police in connection with outstanding offences when he was spotted in an Audi A4 at a petrol station in North Tyneside. Traffic officers in the area began to follow him at around 9.30pm on March 3 and put on their blue lights to signal for him to stop. But Jobes refused and began to speed up as he drove through busy estates in the Annitsford area to start a 40-minute police chase over ten miles. The dangerous driver made his way on to the A19 and at this point police decided to perform a 'box manoeuvre' to bring him to a halt. Jobes' Audi A4 was surrounded by two police cars but he still refused to stop and instead smashed in to one of the vehicles. The car smashed into the central reservation and came to a halt - later being written off by mechanics. Jobes continued to flee police and reached speeds of up to 120mph before eventually abandoning his vehicle near to Stannington in Northumberland. He was arrested by police after a short foot-chase and later charged with dangerous driving and having no insurance. Jobes, of Howlett Hall Road, Scotswood, admitted the offences and on Thursday (12/7) he was jailed for 18 months at Newcastle Crown Court. Following the case, Northumbria Police released dashboard footage of the moment a patrol car was rammed. Investigating officer, Detective Constable Chris Halliday, said that the actions of Jobes could have easily resulted in a fatality. He said: "This was incredibly reckless driving that could easily have resulted in somebody being killed. "Not only did he endanger the life of the traffic officers but he drove at high speeds, on the wrong side of the road and often through busy residential areas. "He was not concerned about anybody but himself and I am glad that he has now been put behind bars. "I am just thankful that this pursuit concluded safely and that nobody lost their life through the reckless behaviour of this defendant. "Northumbria is a safer place with Martin Jobes off the street and behind bars." Jobes, who has 33 previous convictions including numerous for driving while disqualified, was also handed a driving ban by the judge.
  15. Poundworld administrators have announced the closure of 80 more stores, including eight in the North East. Shops in Blyth , Cramlington , Gateshead , Jarrow , South Shields , Sunderland , Darlington and Middlesbrough will close, resulting in more than 100 job losses. The closures are in addition to the 25 store closures announced on July 10, which resulted in 242 redundancies. Stores in Wallsend and Silverlink, both North Tyneside, were included in that announcement. The administrator said the latest closures will not impact the potential sale of the remaining business, and that discussions with interested parties were ongoing. Joint administrator Clare Boardman said: “Whilst we remain hopeful that a sale for part, or parts, of the business can still happen, it has not been possible to sell the business as a whole. “We would like to thank all the employees for their continued support and commitment during this difficult time.
  16. Bot

    Pupils celebrate 70 years of NHS

    Children from a Cramlington school got arty for the NHS’ 70th birthday.
  17. Work will start next week on the demolition of redundant buildings near Manor Walks Shopping Centre in Cramlington.
  18. He is without a doubt a children's TV icon of the modern era and if you've got a Mr Tumble fan in the family, you might want to get yourself down to Home Bargains. And that's because the famous discount store, with branches in the likes of Gateshead , Jarrow, Wallsend, Blaydon and Cramlington, is selling a soft toy of the CBBC favourite for just £1.99. The absolute steal was flagged up on Monday morning on the Extreme Couponing & Bargains UK group on Facebook , with a customer posted a picture of the soft toy from the Jarrow store. Mr Tumble is the man who has become pretty much one of the family in many homes across the country as youngsters can't get enough of watching his shows and singing along with his catchy songs. He's spawned a number of playlists and albums including Something Special, featuring Hickery Dickery Dock, Row, Row, Row our Boat and I Can Sing A Rainbow. And news of the £1.99 soft toy, promptly got a big reaction on Facebook with people tagging their mates in and urging them to get themselves to Home Bargains ASAP.
  19. An award-winning company is set to move out of Cramlington to a new purpose-built headquarters.
  20. On the 70th anniversary of the NHS, take a look at our coverage of the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital, where we spent an afternoon in the hospital's emergency department. In Cramlington we be found out about the A&E experience, following the shift of a senior charge nurse as he goes about a typical day, and speaking to patients who use the service. Follow our coverage below. That’s it for our live updates from the Northumbria hospital’s Emergency Department. A big thank you to Craig Leathard and to staff and patients at the hospital for their accounts of the A&E experience. One of the last patients we’ve seen is someone who was treated for a cut finger yesterday and has come back in to get it checked. Craig said: “We’ve sent him home but staff have spent time talking to him and dressing his finger again. These are all minutes that add up and have an impact on people that need us. “We need the public to decide - they have paid for me to be here and to be highly specialised. “Do they want us to look after their sick family members or minor problems.”I would urge everyone to be mindful of how they use A&E because it’s not an endless resource.” The current waiting time on the department is more than three hours. Craig says the next four patients, with issues including a minor cut and a wrist injury, could all have been dealt with at an urgent care centre. He said: “This is at least four hours of time where the staff treating them could be helping us with sick patients. It really impacts us because we’re not a bottomless pit of resources.” Two patients have arrived who have been in a minor road traffic collision. Craig says cases like this are very common and are a drain on the department’s resources, a problem shared by A&E units across the country. He said: “In my experience we get people coming in for very minor collisions and I question whether this is the right resource for them.” With the department getting busier as we head into the evening, staff are being moved around to make sure senior staff who can make quick decisions are in the busiest areas We’ve been allowed into the Pathology lab and Blood Transfusion department, where blood samples are sent for testing from the emergency department and other wards, and donated blood is kept before it’s matched up to a patient. Michael Wallace has come here from a construction site in Whitley Bay after getting a chuck key lodged in his finger while tightening a drill bit. He says he has been here an hour. He is due to have an x-ray to see if the object has gone through any bone, in who case he will need an operation. The patient has arrived within five minutes of the alert and has been taken to the Adult Resus department where the trauma team are assessing him. A pre-alert has just come in from the ambulance service about a young male motorcyclist who has been involved in a road traffic collision. The team are preparing for his arrival any minute now. The department is currently experiencing one of its busiest times of day - the 3pm surge, when many patients start to arrive who have been referred by their GPS in the morning. Queues are starting to build up on the corridor near the ambulance bays. Craig has also had to talk to a patient who was being aggressive towards staff. He says they seem to have calmed down for the time being Craig has just come onto the ‘green zone’ to assess patients who have come off an ambulance. His first patient is a young male with a previous heart condition who has been brought in with chest pain. He is currently undergoing tests. The patient has arrived within five minutes of the alert and had been taken to the Adult Resus department where the team are assessing him. A pre-alert has just come in from the ambulance service for a young male motorcyclist involved in a road traffic collision. The ambulance service pre-alerts the hospital if there is a particularly serious case they are dealing with, giving them advanced notice. Peter Moore, 65, from Longframlington, was rushed to the Northumbria hospital three weeks ago in an ambulance after suffering chest pains, believed to be a heart attack at first. He arrived at the hospital at 3am and around five hours later, junior doctor Katie Roberts identified the problem as an extremely rare aortic dissection - where the valves split in the aorta. Peter said: “It’s very rare to survive it. If Katie hadn’t spotted it I would have been dead within two hours.” Peter was transferred to the Freeman Hospital for a six-hour operation, before which he was given just a 4% chance of survival. But the surgery was a success and he was discharged a week later. He and wife Susan are at the Northumbria today to get one of his symptoms checked out, and to thank the doctor who saved his life. Craig describes them as ‘the eyes and ears of the hospital’. A teenage boy has just presented at the department with a limb problem. Craig says this is the kind of case that could have been dealt with at one of the trust’s urgent care centres, rather than A&E. The department is currently full so the team are relying on being able to assess, diagnose and start treating patients as quickly as possible. Craig says members of the public using the emergency department with minor health problems is “a huge issue, but all over the country, not just for us”. He said: “We want to try and get the message out there for people to look at the resources available to them and only use this department for an emergency.” Craig is showing us the ‘pre-alert’ phone in the hub of the department. The phone will ring when the most ill patients are on the way to the hospital, such as people suffering cardiac arrests and trauma. The alert comes from the North East Ambulance Service. This is the system the emergency care department uses to monitor ambulances when they are en route to the hospital with sick patients. There are categories of emergency care, from the very sick, to people who need urgent, lifesaving care. Craig and the team will prioritise patients on arrival. This is senior charge nurse Craig Leathard, who has kindly agreed to let us shadow him for the afternoon. Craig has worked for the Northumbria NHS trust for 27 years. He started his shift at 12.30pm and will be working in the ‘green zone’, where he will assess, diagnose and start treatment for every patient that comes into the department from an ambulance. Dr Chris Biggin, clinical director for emergency care at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We’d urge the public to help us by using the right service for the severity of their symptoms and acting responsibility when using the NHS. “Our message is really quite simple – please do not attend the new hospital for any minor ailments which are not serious emergencies as our teams are very busy looking after very poorly people. “There are many other appropriate places to seek help for minor problems including your local pharmacy where expert help is readily available with no appointment necessary.” Read the full story here. Thousands of patients are crippling emergency services at a new £95m hospital after turning up with minor coughs and colds. Worrying new figures reveal just over a quarter of the patients who turned up in A&E departments at one trust this winter actually needed to be admitted for emergency care. People suffering sore throats, small cuts, and bad coughs flocked to the new Cramlington hospital - designed for seriously ill patients only - when they could have been treated by walking into their local pharmacy. In total, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust recorded over 43,000 urgent and emergency care attendances during the first quarter of 2016 – 55% at the new Cramlington hospital and 45% at urgent care centres in Hexham, North Tyneside and Wansbeck. Only 26% required emergency hospital admission. The trust has experienced its busiest winter on record, with 9,000 more people accessing A&E care services between January and March 2016 compared to the same period last year. The worrying trend has prompted health leaders to call on patients to act responsibly when it comes to using NHS services and, crucially, to keep the Cramlington hospital free for those who are seriously ill or injured and who need immediate medical help. The hospital is facing a “serious crisis” after sick patients were forced to wait up to seven hours in A&E while ambulances queued outside, it has been claimed. The North East Liberal Democrats said staff at the £95m Specialist Emergency Care Hospital at Cramlington were left overstretched due to a surge in patient demand over the New Year. Dozens of ambulances were seen queuing outside the hospital as thousands of people faced long delays for treatment. A Lib Dem spokesman said: “We were told by a doctor that everything was overstretched. It is a serious crisis. “There were long queues of ambulances waiting to get into the unit and we’re led to believe patients were waiting for a long time. “The impression we got is that the doctor was ready to quit on the spot. They couldn’t cope with the amount of incoming patients.” Read the full story here. The North East’s NHS recently reported its busiest festive period on record, with A&E units facing “unprecedented demand”. Increasing numbers of patients across the country are facing waits of four or more hours when they attend A&E. Our reporter Katie Dickinson is spending the afternoon shadowing an A&E nurse at Cramlington Hospital. She will be bringing you live coverage of a typical day in the hospital’s emergency department.
  21. A woman crashed into the back of another car on the A1, injuring the driver and then fleeing the scene, police suspect. Detectives are now searching for the driver of a maroon hatchback - believed to be an Audi - after the collision on the northbound motorway near Gosforth. The collision happened at approximately 5.38pm on Wednesday, just after Junction 79 of the A1, when the car rammed into the back of a silver Vauxhall Astra. The Astra driver suffered neck injuries and was taken to hospital in Cramlington by paramedics. Officers are now appealing for witnesses and anyone with dash cam footage of the crash to get in touch. The woman is described as white, in her 20s, of slim build and with long blonde curly hair. She was wearing a bright orange coral dress at the time of the collision.
  22. Members of the public are being asked by Northumbria Police to help officers as they attempt to trace a missing man from Cramlington.
  23. A Cramlington play park has reopened following a £100,000 refurbishment.
  24. A Cramlington firm has proved to be advanced in its safety measures after receiving a prestigious award.
  25. A former Newcastle University student has been crowned best-dressed man on his return to the city for Northumberland Plate Day. Ashley O'Donnell, from York, caught the attention of the fashion judges as he strolled into Gosforth Park, Newcastle . Ashley, who studied dentistry at Newcastle University , matched an eye-catching Asos suit with an H&M shirt and tie and Doc Marten shoes, proving you don't have to break the bank to win Plate Day's fashion stakes. Ashley was actually unaware the course was running a best-dressed man competition. He said: “It's a recycled suit from New Year, I was actually looking for something new to wear.” The contest winner will be back at Newcastle Racecourse next year, and he will get that new outfit, having clinched the top prize of a Moss Bros suit and two Premier Enclosure tickets for next year's Plate Day. He also won a fourball golf game at Parklands and a Wainwright's beer set. Racegoers were treated to a glorious afternoon of sunshine for the event, affectionately called the Pitmen's Derby, which helped contribute to a lively but friendly atmosphere. The Stobart Rail & Civils Northumberland Plate Day race was won by 5/1 favourite, Withold, ridden by Robert Winston. But Plate Day is not just about horse racing.
  26. Home Bargains has issued an urgent product recall in respect of a very popular tanning spray. Malibu is a go-to brand for many British sunseekers whether they want to soak up some rays on home turf or are going on holiday to enjoy some scorching temperatures. But, as more red hot temperatures are forecast for the North East , a post in the Extreme Couponing and Bargains UK Facebook group on Monday showed a product recall poster in the window of a branch of Home Bargains concerned with bottles of factor 30 Malibu oil. It read “The product is being recalled as it contains the wrong formulation. “The product contains Fast Tanning Oil which does not contain SPF30. “There is potential risk to the consumer if this product is used as it will not provide any protection against the sun.”
  27. Vegan treats, free samples and yoga workshops are all on the bill at Newcastle Vegan Festival. Now in its fifth year, the Festival is open in The Assembly Rooms, Fenkle Street between 10.30am and 4.30pm on Sunday, July 1. Organiser Louise Pinchen, from Cramlington , hopes to encourage non-vegans to attend so they can sample the lifestyle and find out more about veganism. Louise, 24, said: “We do stress that this event is not just for vegans or vegetarians, it’s a day for everyone to come along and enjoy get some information and enjoy all the treats on offer.” As well as food stalls selling vegan chocolate, cheese and cakes, there will be talks, classes and lectures. Animal product-free clothes and pet food will also be on offer. Vegan YouTuber Laura Lejeune will join festival organiser Louise and animal activist John Lord for a Question and Answer session.
  28. Nothing could have been done to save a Wallsend teenager battling a rare heart disease, an inquest has heard. Luke Pollard tragically died at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle four days before Christmas in 2016 at the age of just 18. The teenager had part of his right leg amputated as he underwent numerous life-saving operations after first being admitted to hospital in April. Mr Pollard, who was described to the court as “fit and healthy” prior to his first hospital admission, was diagnosed with Vascular Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome just months before his death. The rare genetic condition, which affects one in every 75,000 people, makes affected individuals more prone to serious and life-threatening vascular ruptures and typically does not present any symptoms until times of a medical emergency. The inquest at Newcastle Coroner’s Court on Monday heard the 18-year-old was first admitted to the Freeman Hospital on April 3, 2016.
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  • Latest News

    • Sisters-in-law Christine Stephenson and Kelly Best’s love for the same man brought them closer together after his devastating death.
      Christine’s brother and Kelly’s husband, Neil Best, died in 2003 of an undiagnosed heart defect.
      Now they have become inspirational life-savers after joining forces to safeguard other people’s health.
      In Neil’s memory they set out to place defibrillators across the North East and raise awareness of CPR.
      And now, after five years, they have around 400 defibrillators across the region, while eight lives have been saved - thanks to their machines.
      Kelly, 47, from Cramlington, told Chronicle Live that she would never had discovered her sons carried the same gene that caused their father’s death had he not passed away.

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