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  1. Bursting with colour, its carpet of flowers thick and unbroken, this is how Morpeth’s famous floral clock once looked. And, if determined locals get their way, it’s how it will look again before too long. The iconic timepiece, which sits in Carlisle Park, was presented to the borough of Castle Morpeth in 1972 as a fully functional clock, its hands moving between the densely planted flower beds which marked off each hour. Since then, its condition has deteriorated: the hands haven’t turned in eight years, and it is now planted like an ordinary flower bed, instead of in the traditional ‘carpet bedding’ style which gave it its original impressive look. But after a group of residents raised £10,000 for restoration and repairs, the clock is set to be returned to its former glory. The Friends of Morpeth Floral Clock group, founded by local Barbara Ross, says now that it has hit its fundraising target, the clock should be back in working order by this summer, in time for Morpeth’s entry into the Britain in Bloom competition.
  2. The Duchess of Northumberland is throwing her support behind a charity which helps people living with brain injuries. Headway has over 125 branches across the UK and is a key name in the field of rehabilitation and works to improve the lives of those affected. A new branch has now been launched at an event at Alnwick Gardens by the Duchess of Northumberland who acts as a patron. The branch merges previous local groups in Hexham, Morpeth and Berwick into one organisation. The Duchess of Northumberland said: “The creation of Headway Northumberland has brought together three branches of Headway, which individually have done so much to benefit people living with brain injuries and their families. Collectively, I am sure their reach will be even greater, and I am delighted to become patron of Headway Northumberland.” Headway Northumberland has a committee comprising experienced committee members from the three groups who have many years’ experience providing support and help to those with brain injuries, alongside some new faces from the fields of law and sports, to help cover a full spectrum of services of use to members.
  3. A prime patch of land with two houses overlooking the River Wansbeck in Morpeth has been put up for sale. George F White, the property consultants marketing the area, said it represents a big development opportunity, with two large houses with riverside gardens. Known as The Terrace, the site measures around 2.27 acres and is based off Gas House Lane overlooking the river. The site is also close to the town’s main retail area on Bridge Street. In a bid to attract potential buyers, George F White has highlighted how Morpeth has recently been the subject of a major road improvement linking the A1 to the A189 Coast Road and Wansbeck, freeing up potential residential development land with consequent uplift in population. The site is on the outskirts of the town, close to its Sanderson Arcade Shopping Centre, major retailers in Bridge Street and the town’s large Morrisons supermarket. The marketing materials say: “The site is due east of the United Reformed Church and accessed off Bridge Street the principal high street with many national retailers.
  4. Today we reveal the winners and losers in the North East property value lottery. For those in luck, you live in an area where the first three months of 2018 has seen the figure rise by nearly £2,500. At the opposite end of the scale, one part of the region saw a drop in house values, while another saw a rise of just £1. People in Wallsend, North Tyneside, have the most to smile about as they have seen the biggest rise, according to property listing website Zoopla which collated the figures. The area has seen an increase of 2.07% in just three months from £119,427 to £121,901. Second came Newcastle where there was a £3,960 jump, or 1.94%, to £207,708.
  5. Among the many people who will tell you good food and a good pint are a marriage made in heaven, you can count award-winning chef Michael Hall and beer lovers Craig Taylor and George Bowman. They have that time-honoured culinary combination to thank for uniting them in a unique venture they hope will add dynamism to one of Northumberland’s oldest and best known inns, The Dyke Neuk. The trio have just taken over the 16th Century stone-built watering hole five miles from Morpeth. Dyke Neuk regulars Craig and George have gone from drinking pints to pulling them after taking over the lease, the first step towards putting their favourite local back on the good pub map. And in an unusual twist, they have sub-let the kitchen to former NECTA North East Chef of the Year Michael – who runs the equally historic Granby Inn at Longframlington – as they up the ante on the food front. For Craig and George, who first met 12 years ago over a beer in the Dyke Neuk’s cosy bar with its oak beams and wood panelled walls, this is the first time they have ever been involved in such a venture.
  6. The largest fleet of aircraft to ever fly the length of the River Tyne will take to the skies this May and you can be part of what looks set to be quite a spectacle. Fly The Tyne, in aid of North East charity Streetwise and sponsored by intu, is returning to Newcastle for a second time and will see 100 microlights take to the sky for a spectacular display above the city over Bank Holiday weekend on Saturday, May 26. Newcastle Air Traffic Control will safely navigate the 100 microlights (fixed, flexwing and gyrocopters) through their controlled airspace, with each pilot taking off from Eshott Airfield near Morpeth in 30 second intervals. The 110 mile route will take each aircraft west towards Hallington Reservoir, then south towards Chester-le-Street, before flying low level over the Angel of the North. They will then head towards Newcastle city centre, and fly over the Tyne Bridge and down the River Tyne towards Tynemouth, then back north along the coast to land back at Eshott. The charity event is the brainchild of Mandy Coppin, CEO of Streetwise who is one of only a handful of female flexwing pilots in the country. As part of the event, Fly the Tyne is auctioning 15 exclusive seats to fly with the pilots and experience the North East from a completely different perspective. Seats are available to the top 15 bidders and are expected to be in high demand. All money raised will be donated to Streetwise, helping young people in the North East achieve their full potential.
  7. Business owners in Morpeth have voted against creating a Business Improvement District (BID) in the town, after owners opposed levies used to finance the scheme. The BID proposal aimed to boost Morpeth’s economy by increasing footfall in the centre of town, promoting the local area to a wider audience, and supporting businesses, but ultimately failed to get off the ground. Plans were put forward by Morpeth BID Steering Group but faced staunch opposition from a number of local businesses, many of which were against the financial cost of setting up the BID. BIDs are funded by local businesses and if the plans had been approve,d local ratepayers would have faced a levy of 1.4% of their rateable value. Business owners were given four weeks to cast their vote on whether to approve their plans and by the end of the process 221 votes were cast, representing nearly 60% of the local business community. Only 78 votes were cast in favour of the BID plans, 35.3% of the overall votes cast. The proposals required 50% of the votes to be approved.
  8. Remember the images of girls dancing around a Maypole which is decked in coloured ribbons? Well, you probably don’t because the scene is a long-forgotten one in most areas of the country. But at one time the tradition was hugely popular and village communities in particular would look forward to the annual celebration - always on May 1. Nowadays the first Bank Holiday in May tends to be classed as May Day - which makes Monday, May 7 its date this year. And while some visitor attractions might be planning to mark it, the day’s family-focused events can be be very different from the original celebrations. Bearing in mind May Day also has significance abroad but, again, for different reasons and with different connotations, we explain here the origins of May Day and its traditional meaning for us.
  9. Below is a list of this week's Tyne & Wear community events written by you. To get your event included, simply fill out the form at www.chroniclelive.co.uk/yourevents Science talks in Newcastle pubs What: Pint of Science is an annual event taking place in 32 cities across the UK. Each night leading experts talk about their work and the future of science - in a pub! There are two or three speakers each night and five different events on each night in five bars around the city centre. When: May 14-16. Doors open around 6.30pm and talks run from 7pm to 9:30pm Where: The Town Wall, The Old George, Blake’s Cafe and the Bridge Hotel, Newcastle. More information: The talks are for everyone, you don’t have to know anything about science to enjoy them and everyone is welcome!
  10. Northumberland County Council leader Peter Jackson says the authority has held talks with cinema chains and national retailers
  11. This historic property mixes period charm with a modern finish. Grange House, which is just south of Morpeth in Northumberland, combines original features with contemporary additions in a private setting, making it the ideal family home. Rook Matthew Sayer is marketing this secluded large detached house for £900,000. Dating back to 1850, five-bedroom Grange House retains its original shutters, skirting boards and fireplaces. But its current owners have updated the home “to an excellent standard,” Rook Matthew Sayer says. A modern fitted kitchen, hardwood double-glazed windows and plush finishes have all added a 21st century twist to the historic home. A spacious kitchen leads to dining room which bathes in natural light, while French doors in the dining room open out onto a patio.
  12. Worried Mark Summers has today told how he fears for his father’s future after the finger of suspicion was pointed at him when his partner died. Elderly Geoff Summers was arrested on Good Friday when police were called to his Northumberland home and found the body of Victoria, who was in her 70s. Police arrested 72-year-old Geoff and he was questioned on suspicion of murdering the woman who had been his partner for more than 20 years. However, hours later a post-mortem examination revealed that Victoria had died of natural causes and heartbroken Geoff was released without charge. Mark has since been unable to contact his dad, who he says will be distraught with grief. And the 26-year-old is also furious that Northumbria Police publicised the incident before it had even been established how Victoria died.
  13. Residents were left angry as councillors reluctantly and narrowly gave the go-ahead to 118 new homes in a Northumberland village. Developer Galley’s application for a mix of two, three and four-bedroom properties on land north-east of Hebron Avenue, in Pegswood, was approved at Tuesday night’s meeting of Northumberland County Council’s strategic planning committee. The scheme had previously gone before the committee in March, but was deferred for councillors to go on a site visit, mainly to look at the access amid road-safety fears. The meeting heard that the applicant will now provide traffic islands to the east of the entrance on Dark Lane and a one-way priority feature to the west. Concerns on a range of issues were voiced by resident Kenneth Bodenham, parish councillor Paul Williams and the area’s county councillor, David Towns. Coun Jeff Reid first moved refusal of the plans, largely based on overdevelopment.
  14. One home has been evacuated after a nearby wall and footpath crumbled into a river. A river retaining wall and a section of path at Lady’s Walk, in Morpeth , collapsed into the River Wansbeck over the rainy Easter Weekend. Northumberland County Council is now carrying out emergency work to stabilise the 35-metre stretch of subsided pathway. Meanwhile, residents have been moved out of a neighbouring house while experts determine what caused the collapse. The area had already been fenced off after locals raised concerns about its stability. A council spokesperson said: “In the short-term this area will remain fenced off and the council are carrying out emergency work to stabilise the site. This involves placing a concrete protection layer over the failed area in an effort to prevent further collapse or erosion of unstable material.
  15. Century-old trees poisoned in an unexplained act of suspected criminal damage have now been replaced. In February last year, police launched an investigation into the suspected poisoning of eight mature lime trees at the Saint George housing development, on the edge of Morpeth. Damage caused was so severe that developers Galliford Try Partnership North were told the trees could not be saved. Just over a year after the poisoning was discovered, the trees have been replaced with new specimens, planted with the help of Morpeth Mayor, Councillor Nic Best and Morpeth North Councillor David Bawn. Coun Best said: “It is very good that the character of this part of Morpeth is being restored. Like many, I was shocked to discover what had happened to these old trees and am relieved that they are being replaced.” Coun Bawn added: “It is pleasing to see that this puzzling case has eventually reached a positive conclusion. In restoring this avenue of trees, we are reflecting the town’s motto ‘Inter Silvas Et Flumina Habitans’ – living between woods and water. Hopefully they will thrive and stand for years to come.”
  16. At one time Bank Holiday weekends would see lengthy queues at shops for daily essentials such as bread and milk and the thought that either might run out would create a near panic. These days, of course, we can buy pretty much what we want whenever we want as supermarkets rarely miss a potential customer opportunity and hate to close their doors. That does tend to make life pretty easy for those who don't want to be stockpiling perishables or finding time in their busy day to go shopping at inconvenient times. But many of us are never sure quite how much Bank Holiday weekends still affect shops' opening hours and usually we expect that some restrictions continue to apply. So, with the Easter Bank Holiday weekend almost upon us, we have drawn up a handy guide to shopping centres and supermarkets’ opening times so that you're not caught out. It's always best, however, to check directly with your own supermarket before you go shopping because some hours do vary store to store.
  17. A sleepy Northumberland village woke up in shock as police launched an investigation into a woman’s death just yards away from the village green. Police were called to a house in Longhorsley, near Morpeth, and found a body inside. Emergency services attended but the woman was pronounced dead at the scene on Friday. An investigation was launched and a 71-year-old man was initially arrested on suspicion of murder, but he was later released after police said they “believed there was no third party involvement”. On Saturday morning, a police cordon remained around the property and officers were still at the scene. A friend of the couple said: “I knew she had cancer and she was so pleased to tell me she got the all-clear. But then the last time I saw her partner he said it had come back. She has been poorly for some time.”
  18. This is the first footage from the scene of an alleged murder in Northumberland. Police remain on the scene today as they continue their probe following the discovery of a woman’s body inside a house. Emergency services were called to the address in Longhorsley, near Morpeth, on Friday but the woman was pronounced dead at the scene. An investigation was launched and a 71-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder. He remains in police custody. On Saturday morning, officers could still be seen in the rural village and a cordon around the address remains in place. A spokesperson for Northumbria Police said: “Officers have now launched a full investigation but are not in a position to name the deceased at this time.
  19. Police have launched a murder investigation after a woman’s body was found in Northumberland. A 71-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder following the discovery in a house in Longhorsley, near Morpeth. Emergency services were called to the area on Good Friday but the woman was pronounced dead at the scene. A spokesperson for Northumbria Police said: “Officers have now launched a full investigation but are not in a position to name the deceased at this time. “Police remain in the local area and if residents have any concerns they can speak to officers face to face or by contacting the police on 101.” Longhorsley is a village around seven miles northwest of Morpeth.
  20. At one time Bank Holiday weekends would see lengthy queues at shops for daily essentials such as bread and milk and the thought that either might run out would create a near panic. These days, of course, we can buy pretty much what we want whenever we want as supermarkets rarely miss a potential customer opportunity and hate to close their doors. That does tend to make life pretty easy for those who don't want to be stockpiling perishables or finding time in their busy day to go shopping at inconvenient times. But many of us are never sure quite how much Bank Holiday weekends still affect shops' opening hours and usually we expect that some restrictions continue to apply. So, with the Easter Bank Holiday weekend almost upon us, we have drawn up a handy guide to shopping centres and supermarkets’ opening times so that you're not caught out. It's always best, however, to check directly with your own supermarket before you go shopping because some hours do vary store to store.
  21. From feeding the lambs through to holding chicks and petting bunnies, you can enjoy a perfect Easter at Whitehouse Farm Centre in Morpeth, Northumberland. There is just so much on offer at the well-loved attraction which is celebrating its 21st anniversary this year. So here we have put together a list of just some of what’s happening at the farm over the Easter Holidays, whatever the weather brings us. Here are 10 bits of Easter fun for all of the family to enjoy during the ‘Eggstravaganza Event’ which runs daily from March 30th-April 15th: Every day over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend the Farm will be opening eggstra early at 9am and children can meet the new Easter Bunny who will be handing out chocolate mini eggs...you can also enjoy breakfast with the Easter Bunny (this does need to be pre-booked). Lambing has started, so there are lots of little lambs to cuddle and pet lambs which you can bottle-feed. If you are lucky enough you may see one being born! Spring is in the air and there have been lots of other new arrivals, already including bunnies, cute chicks and calves, and the pygmy goats are due to kid too!
  22. At one time Bank Holiday weekends would see lengthy queues at shops for daily essentials such as bread and milk and the thought that either might run out would create a near panic. These days, of course, we can buy pretty much what we want whenever we want as supermarkets rarely miss a potential customer opportunity and hate to close their doors. That does tend to make life pretty easy for those who don't want to be stockpiling perishables or finding time in their busy day to go shopping at inconvenient times. But many of us are never sure quite how much Bank Holiday weekends still affect shops' opening hours and usually we expect that some restrictions continue to apply. So, with the Easter Bank Holiday weekend almost upon us, we have drawn up a handy guide to shopping centres and supermarkets’ opening times so that you're not caught out. It's always best, however, to check directly with your own supermarket before you go shopping because some hours do vary store to store.
  23. A swathe of brightly coloured bluebells is truly a thing of beauty and here are some of the best places to enjoy them in the North East. Do let us know if there is anywhere we’ve missed and we will add it to the list - just email community@ncjmedia.co.uk with all the details. The bluebells are usually in flower from mid April until late May. The Woodland Trust said: “This early flowering makes the most of the sunlight that reaches the woodland floor before the full woodland canopy casts its shade. Millions of bulbs may grow closely together in one wood, creating one of nature’s most stunning displays. Half of the world’s population of bluebells are here in the UK. You’ll find them in broadleaved woodland, along hedgerows and in fields.” The Woodland Trust say the hybrid or Spanish bluebell is overtaking the traditional, sweet-scented native plants. Here is how to tell the difference: Native plants are deep violet-blue though a genetic mutation occasionally causes white flowers, the flower stem droops or nods distinctly to one side, almost all flowers are on one side of the stem, hanging down to one side. The flowers are a narrow, straight-sided bell with parallel sides, petal tips curl back and the flowers have a strong, sweet scent. The Spanish bluebells are pale to mid-blue, and often also white or pink. The flower stem is stiff and upright, with flowers sticking out all the way round the stem. Flowers are a wide open, almost cone-shaped bell and the petal tips flare slightly outwards. They have little or no scent at all.
  24. These adorable lambs wearing knitted jumpers have been thrilling families at a Northumberland farm. The newborns at Whitehouse Farm Centre, near Morpeth, have been given the extra insulation thanks to residents from a care home. Members of the Knit & Natter group at Scarbrough Court, in Cramlington, regularly visit the farm and after the Beast from the East brought atrocious weather to the region, they decided to knit colourful jumpers for the animals. Dot Leddy, a care support worker at the home, run by the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution Care Company, said: “We have a great relationship with the team at Whitehouse Farm, some of our residents are living with health conditions including dementia and Parkinson’s, so taking part in stimulating activities and having the opportunity to interact with animals can be very beneficial. “We’ve all enjoyed making the jumpers for the newborn lambs. What started off as an amusing plan to provide some extra insulation on chilly days really took off. We’ve donated 14 jumpers and we’re still at it.” The residents, all aged over 60, also went along to the farm to see how the animals looked in their new winter wear.
  25. If you and your family are looking for a pretty trip out or inspiration for your garden this year then look no further, because The National Open Garden Scheme has beautiful gardens open for charity. You won't have to trek far as these gardens are situated all over the North East, including Newcastle , Gateshead, Northumberland , County Durham and many more handy locations for an afternoon jaunt or whole day out. They include everything from a pair of small country cottages to a castle. The National Garden Scheme is the most significant charitable funder of nursing charities in the country, donating over £50m so far. They help garden owners open their beautiful gardens to the public, sharing their passion and raising impressive amounts of money through entry fees, teas and slices of cake! The beneficiary charities are The Queen’s Nursing Institute, Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie, Carers Trust, Hospice UK, Perennial, Parkinson’s UK and other guest charities. Here is the 2018 list of National Garden Scheme (NGS) open days for Newcastle and the North East - of around 3,700 who take part nationwide. There are a total of 52 gardens to choose from. A few, such as the National Trust properties, are also open on other days, but the special NGS charity day is listed here. Details correct as of March 2018. Saturday 21st
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