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  1. The North East’s youngest liver transplant patient has welcomed a ‘miracle baby’. Miracle man Nathan Potts has defied the odds since he was born. At the age of one, Nathan received a liver transplant, and just six months later had to undergo a second one after his body rejected the organ. The 27-year-old, from Cramlington, has faced further life-saving operations and takes dozens of tablets a day. Due to the quantity and variety of drugs he has been taken, Nathan was told by doctors it was unlikely he could have children. But like he has lived his life, Nathan proved doctors wrong.
  2. A Northumberland firm which is forging ahead in the growing electric vehicle industry has secured deals worth more than £50m for its clean tech motors. Cramlington clean tech firm Avid Technology, designs and makes systems for the electric and hybrid vehicle industry, and the last year has seen it plough significant investment into its facilities, as it prepared to ramp up production. As well as being at the forefront of the electric vehicle sector, Avid is also looking to diversify into robotics and new power generation industries, and recent years has seen the firm join projects to boost the green credentials of the global shipping industry and the UK’s haulage sector. Now, following investment of more than £4m, the company has started shipping its EVO Electric Motors, on the back of an agreement secured with GKN Hybrid Power last year. Avid took over the design, manufacture and distribution of the EVO electric vehicle drive motors from GKN Hybrid Power last year and all production has completely transferred from Oxfordshire to the Avid plant in Cramlington, Northumberland. Since the start of the year, Avid has seen a sharp increase in demand for the EVO, securing over £50m in new business for the motors alone, with exports to Germany, Poland, Spain, US and Asia already in the pipeline for 2018.
  3. These are just some of the tragic faces of the North East’s rising toll of victims of murder and manslaughter. New figures have revealed 23 people became the victims of murder, manslaughter or infanticide in Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and County Durham last year - up from 20 last year. The data for the 2016/2017 financial year reveals 17 lives were taken in the Northumbria Police area, and six within Durham Constabulary’s jurisdiction. And Northumbria now has 11.8 killings per million people while Durham has 9.6, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures. The North East was slightly safer for homicides than the England and Wales average, which was 12.1 per million. The highest rate was in South Yorkshire, whose figure was skewed by the addition of the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster whose deaths were recorded as local following the conclusion of the inquests in April 2016.
  4. A patient tried to punch a nurse and threatened to “stab her in her sleep” during a violent outburst in hospital. John Lundy also assaulted a security guard as he tried to leave the Accident and Emergency Department at the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital, in Cramlington. A court heard the 39-year-old had been taken to the ward after taking a suspected overdose but, on arrival, soon turned violent. Lundy lunged at a nurse who was trying to help him but fortunately missed as she ducked out of the way. But he then shouted at her “I’m going to stalk you. I’m going to find out where you live and stab you in your sleep”, prosecutors at South East Northumberland Magistrates’ Court said. However, his outburst didn’t end there and, as Lundy tried to discharge himself and was held back by security, he again turned aggressive and assaulted an officer by scratching him.
  5. Well, the winter chill is gnawing at our bones right now and naturally our thoughts turni to keeping ourselves warm and cosy. But the good news is that you don't have to stay in and do that - as there are plenty snuggly pubs around, some with a roaring fire as this cold weather really takes hold. So, with all this in mind, we've come up with a list of favourite fireplace pubs to curl up with a pint or glass of wine and some are in Newcastle city centre while others are further afield - if you don't live nearby then they're well worth venturing out to when the weather's better - why not combine a Sunday lunch visit with a trip out to the countryside? Once you take a seat in a deep and comfy armchair and tuck into a wholesome hearty meal, you'll have to drag yourself away. And you'll snort at the mere memory of summer. James Place Street, Ouseburn, NE6 1LD, 0191 265 6151 The Cumberland Arms is a great traditional pub in the heart of the Ouseburn Valley. It has something for everyone – great beer, delicious food, a fantastic place for live music, comedy and theatre.
  6. World Book Day is coming up and while the nimble-fingered, crafty parents may already be breaking out the papier mache and face paints we wanted to find easy costumes for children to wear. The easiest thing to do is to simply buy a costume ... though of course easy doesn’t mean cheap! However, there are some great costumes out there for the money, so here is our pick of what parents in Newcastle & the North East might like to invest in this year. All the clothes featured are available online and may be in stores too, which all have North East outlets. Dr Seuss lovers behold - here is a great Cat in the Hat costume from the huge range at Newcastle fancy dress shop, Magic Box on Northumberland Street. Sizes range from small to large. Price: £16.99. Complete with a curly perm wig and a black mask this costume from Tu at Sainsbury’s is set to be a popular choice for World Book Day . The character is from best-selling children’s author David Walliams’ book. Sizes range from 3-4 yrs to 9-10yrs. Price starts at £16. Sainsburys have some childrens clothes at their larger North East stores for example Heaton, Sunderland, Washington, Team Valley, Cramlington, Whitley Bay and Durham. This classic green Peter Pan costume from Argos will have kids flying into class. The outfit includes the top, trousers, hat and even the dagger. Sizes range from 3-4 yrs to 7-8 yrs. Price starts at £15.
  7. A great-grandmother who was trapped in a Mexican hospital for more than a week has been flown home to the North East - with a medical bill of more than $100,000. Joyce Kettle, 74, flew home on Wednesday but needed an overnight stay in hospital in Cramlington, Northumberland , after coming down with a stomach condition. The widow fell ill while cruising on board the Marella Discovery II near Cancun last Monday and required emergency heart treatment after suffering breathing difficulties. But she was shocked to discover her travel insurance through her bank only covered her for European trips. Joyce’s family was initially told her medical bill had reached $72,626 - or £51,150 - without doctors’ fees. But the final bill now stands at a staggering $102,966.91 - more than £73,000.
  8. It’s Pancake Day next week but if the sweet treat doesn’t really float your boat or tickle your tastebuds there’s another culinary occasion on the calendar before. Friday, February 9 is National Pizza Day. Yes, the Italian staple has its own day to be celebrated and, falling nicely right in time for the weekend, there are plenty places you can mark it in style. And the best news is that you don’t have to break the bank to get a slice of the action. Here is a roundup of the restaurant, takeaway and supermarket deals to celebrate National Pizza Day in and around Newcastle... Pizza Hut Delivery is offering 50% off all pizzas when you spend £20 or more. This deal isn’t just for one day, it will come to an end next week on Sunday, 18th Feb, although it has been especially launched for National Pizza Day. The service also has its £5 Favourites deal running, customers have a choice of five set recipes on medium pizzas, or five sides instead.
  9. World Book Day is coming up and while the nimble-fingered, crafty parents may already be breaking out the papier mache and face paints we wanted to find easy costumes for children to wear. The easiest thing to do is to simply buy a costume ... though of course easy doesn’t mean cheap! However, there are some great costumes out there for the money, so here is our pick of what parents in Newcastle and the North East might like to invest in this year. All clothes featured are available online and may be in stores too. Dr Seuss lovers behold - here is a great Cat in the Hat costume from the huge range at Newcastle fancy dress shop, Magic Box on Northumberland Street. Sizes range from small to large. Price: £16.99. Complete with a curly perm wig and a black mask this costume from Tu at Sainsbury’s is set to be a popular choice for World Book Day . The character is from best-selling children’s author David Walliams’ book. Sizes range from 3-4 yrs to 9-10yrs. Price starts at £16. Sainsburys have some childrens clothes at their larger North East stores for example Heaton, Sunderland, Washington, Team Valley, Cramlington, Whitley Bay and Durham. This classic green Peter Pan costume from Argos will have kids flying into class. The outfit includes the top, trousers, hat and even the dagger. Sizes range from 3-4 yrs to 7-8 yrs. Price starts at £15.
  10. He knifed his ex girlfriend 14 times before dousing her body in petrol when she ended their relationship. But asylum-seeker Ari Abdullah will soon be free after serving just 11 years for Samantha Anderson’s horrifying murder. The nursery nurse did not stand a chance when the Iraqi body-builder lashed out with a kitchen knife as she returned to the Newcastle flat they used to share to pick up some post. And after plunging the blade through her heart Abdullah risked catastrophe at the high-rise tower block when he doused her body in petrol. The factory worker admitted murder at Newcastle Crown Court and was jailed for life in 2007. But after giving credit for his guilty plea and hearing mitigation about his troubled childhood in Iraq, Judge John Milford set the minimum sentence at just 11 years.
  11. Creepy-crawlies - as well as popcorn and pancakes - will be among the attractions on offer to children this February half-term holiday. Manor Walks in Cramlington is to host a week of free activities during the school break and one of them is a chance to encounter some of nature’s mini marvels. On February 15, Steve’s Animal Ark will be visiting the shopping centre’s Centre Mall, outside Boots, bringing insects, grasshoppers, beetles and spiders as well as snakes and a lizard. The Steve’s Amazing Minibeasts session will run from 10am until 4pm and there will be an opportunity for young ones, who feel brave enough, to handle the creatures. Before that, the centre's half-term programme activities will get under way on February 10 with a variety of games hosted in the Centre Mall by Vue Cinema between 10am and 2pm. The fun will include colouring-in and guessing the number of popcorn kernels in a pot.
  12. These are the North East GP practices, care homes and services which have been told to improve by a health watchdog. Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission have handed out 10 ratings of ‘requires improvement’ in the first month of 2018. But no medical or care services have been given the lowest rating of ‘inadequate’. We’ve rounded up the results for January 2018 below: Report published January 29 2018 This care home had previously been rated as ‘good’ before an unannounced inspection responding to “concerns in relation to staff ability to support people who had compromised gag reflexes”.
  13. Chemical attraction has proved to be more than just a myth for these two loved-up Newcastle scientists. Dr Suzannah Harnor, 35, and Dr Stephen Hobson, 35 have celebrated tying the knot after meeting in science labs as undergraduates 14 years ago. They both went on to complete PhDs at the University of Glasgow, and are now helping in the fight against cancer side by side as Research Associates at Newcastle University. Now they are using their chemistry together to call on people across Newcastle to back today’s World Cancer Day for Cancer Research UK. Suzannah and Stephen met in 2003 as undergraduates whilst studying Biological Chemistry at the University of Dundee, and got married at Jesmond Dene House in December. Suzannah continues to be a Research Associate at the Northern Institute for Cancer Research, working as part of the Cancer Research UK Drug Discovery Programme identifying new molecules for cancer targets in areas of unmet medical need.
  14. World Book Day is coming up and while the nimble-fingered, crafty parents may already be breaking out the papier mache and face paints we wanted to find easy costumes for children to wear. The easiest thing to do is to simply buy a costume ... though of course easy doesn’t mean cheap! However, there are some great costumes out there for the money, so here is our pick of what parents in Newcastle and the North East might like to invest in this year. All clothes featured are available online and may be in stores too. Dr Seuss lovers behold - here is a great Cat in the Hat costume from the huge range at Newcastle fancy dress shop, Magic Box on Northumberland Street. Sizes range from small to large. Price: £16.99. Complete with a curly perm wig and a black mask this costume from Tu at Sainsbury’s is set to be a popular choice for World Book Day . The character is from best-selling children’s author David Walliams’ book. Sizes range from 3-4 yrs to 9-10yrs. Price starts at £16. Sainsburys have some childrens clothes at their larger North East stores for example Heaton, Sunderland, Washington, Team Valley, Cramlington, Whitley Bay and Durham. This classic green Peter Pan costume from Argos will have kids flying into class. The outfit includes the top, trousers, hat and even the dagger. Sizes range from 3-4 yrs to 7-8 yrs. Price starts at £15.
  15. The North East’s growing technology sector has been given another boost after four firms in the region were named as potential tech ‘unicorns’. Investment group GP Bullhound included the four firms on a list of “foals” - businesses that could one day be valued at over $1bn. The four foals are Newcastle digital marketing platform Performance Horizon, virtual reality company Zerolight, video game publisher DoubleEleven, and electric car specialist Avid Technologies. By being included in the list, GP Bullhound says the companies have the potential to follow the likes of Uber, AirBnB and Spotify to massive growth. Nick Horrocks, director at GP Bullhound, said: “The North East is now a globally significant digital hub. The scale at which tech firms are producing world-leading innovations, attracting investment from around the world, and creating thousands of jobs in the process, is unprecedented.” Performance Horizon specialises in helping companies drive online sales using a scalable, digital marketing solution. Its software allows customers to alter commission payments to third parties in order to increase sales.
  16. Here’s a warning if you take your own meter readings for energy companies. It comes after David Barber’s direct debit to pay EDF shot through the roof. It went up from £64 per month in June to £85 in September and £184 in November. That’s a whopping increase by anyone’s standards. It turned out that David had been calculating his use of gas by units rather than kilowatt hours. EDF increased the amount when they realised what was happening.
  17. A football coach and devoted dad had his life saved by his colleagues after he suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch. Simon Brown, a coach for North Shields Juniors Under 18s, was playing football alongside young players and two other coaches at John Spence Community High School when he suddenly collapsed onto the field. His 18-year-old son Ethan, who was also playing, saw him fall and went over to him. He turned his dad around and realised something was wrong before calling over coaches Paul Geddes and Stuart Procter. Paul and Stuart immediately began CPR, while the youngsters on the field were taken into the changing rooms. The two coaches carried on resuscitation until an ambulance arrived. Paramedics Kevin Cook and Jack Beattie then took over and continued with the CPR before Simon was taken to the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in Cramlington . He was looked after in A&E and later ward 10, before being transferred to the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.
  18. With winter well and truly with us, naturally our thoughts are turning to keeping ourselves warm and cosy. But the good news is that you don't have to stay in and do that - as there are plenty snuggly pubs around, some with a roaring fire as this cold weather really takes hold. So, with all this in mind, we've come up with a list of favourite fireplace pubs to curl up with a pint or glass of wine and some are in Newcastle city centre while others are further afield - if you don't live nearby then they're well worth venturing out to when the weather's better - why not combine a Sunday lunch visit with a trip out to the countryside? Once you take a seat in a deep and comfy armchair and tuck into a wholesome hearty meal, you'll have to drag yourself away. And you'll snort at the mere memory of summer. James Place Street, Ouseburn, NE6 1LD, 0191 265 6151 The Cumberland Arms is a great traditional pub in the heart of the Ouseburn Valley. It has something for everyone – great beer, delicious food, a fantastic place for live music, comedy and theatre.
  19. A Northumberland woman who failed to seek medical attention for her dog has been banned from keeping animals for 10 years. Melanie Elizabeth Raymond, of Collingwood Close, Cramlington , admitted causing unnecessary suffering to her dog at South Northumberland Magistrates’ Court. The case was brought to court by Northumberland County Council after one of its animal welfare officers came across the Labrador Cross. The dog, who has been renamed Lilly, had a 20cm tumour hanging out her rear end which was tied up with string. Lilly’s skin was also red raw from a skin condition and it had little fur left on it. And, her nails were severely overgrown, making it hard for her to walk.
  20. A Northumberland woman who failed to seek medical attention for her dog has been banned from keeping animals for 10 years. Melanie Elizabeth Raymond, of Collingwood Close, Cramlington , admitted causing unnecessary suffering to her dog at South Northumberland Magistrates’ Court. The case was brought to court by Northumberland County Council after one of its animal welfare officers came across the Labrador Cross. The dog, who has been renamed Lilly, had a 20cm tumour hanging out her rear end which was tied up with string. Lilly’s skin was also red raw from a skin condition and it had little fur left on it. And, her nails were severely overgrown, making it hard for her to walk.
  21. A carer who stole more than £11,000 from a 74-year-old with learning difficulties in a “gross breach of trust” has been spared jail. Paul Griffin Price admitted pocketing the cash from the vulnerable man he was supposed to be looking after at his Northumberland home. Newcastle Crown Court heard the 31-year-old started caring for his elderly victim in October 2014, visiting him once a week for a three-hour “enabling session”. Christine Egerton, prosecuting, said the “vulnerable” man had been living alone in Cramlington after the death of a relative who had been his carer. The court heard he and Griffin Price developed a relationship which was “meaningful and beneficial” for the victim. But Griffin Price, of Cambridge Road, Stakeford, Northumberland, abused his trust to plunder £11,640 from the man’s bank accounts between June 2015 and January 2016.
  22. A carer who stole more than £11,000 from a 74-year-old with learning difficulties in a “gross breach of trust” has been spared jail. Paul Griffin Price admitted pocketing the cash from the vulnerable man he was supposed to be looking after at his Northumberland home. Newcastle Crown Court heard the 31-year-old started caring for his elderly victim in October 2014, visiting him once a week for a three-hour “enabling session”. Christine Egerton, prosecuting, said the “vulnerable” man had been living alone in Cramlington after the death of a relative who had been his carer. The court heard he and Griffin Price developed a relationship which was “meaningful and beneficial” for the victim. But Griffin Price, of Cambridge Road, Stakeford, Northumberland, abused his trust to plunder £11,640 from the man’s bank accounts between June 2015 and January 2016.
  23. The arrival of a baby is a special occasion for any family. But for one Northumberland family, the birth of baby Alba Axton marks five generations of women in their clan. Born on December 29, Alba is the youngest member of the family whose ages range over a century. There is an astonishing 103 years between Alba and her great, great grandma Hannah Lawton. The third generation started with Alba’s grandma Nichola Hood, 50, and the second generation was great grandma Carole Armstrong, 73, of Holywell. Alba’s mum, Amy Lander, 27, of Guide Post, marks the second generation.
  24. The arrival of a baby is a special occasion for any family. But for one Northumberland family, the birth of baby Alba Axton marks five generations of women in their clan. Born on December 29, Alba is the youngest member of the family whose ages range over a century. There is an astonishing 103 years between Alba and her great, great grandma Hannah Lawton. The third generation started with Alba’s grandma Nichola Hood, 50, and the second generation was great grandma Carole Armstrong, 73, of Holywell. Alba’s mum, Amy Lander, 27, of Guide Post, marks the second generation.
  25. A North East manufacturer said it is continuing to invest to position itself for future growth, despite seeing its losses widen to £4m. Cramlington air filtration specialist AAF Ltd – part of the Japanese multinational Daikin Industries – supplies filtration and acoustic solutions to markets including oil and gas, healthcare, nuclear, pharamceutical, power and airports. Latest accounts show the firm, which was named company of the year at the Tyneside and Northumberland Business Awards 2015, chalked up a 13% jump in turnover from £61.03m to £72.47m in the year ended March 31 2017. Its operating loss, however, increased from £3.8m to £4.03m although this was impacted by foreign exchange rates, and the firm said that excluding the fair value of forward foreign exchange contacts, the loss would have narrowed to £2.23m. Despite the losses widening and bosses citing a poor global economic climate, the firm plans to continue its strategy to grow its market share and invest in new product development, to make sure it is ready to take advantage of a recovery in its markets, which have taken a hit over the last three years. Headcount at the firm reduced from an average of 266 people to an average of 249 people.
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