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  1. We're well into the summer holidays so you may be running out of ideas on how to keep the kids entertained. If your children are into animals there are a host of farm-themed attractions around the North East. The best part is, many of them are free - like Pets Corner at Jesmond Dene to Ouseburn Farm . Some of the farms and petting zoos offer opportunities to handle and feed cute creatures, while others have some unusual and historically important animals. Those of you who are looking for a full-on family day out why not visit Hall Hill Farm or Whitehouse Farm, where you can enjoy tractor rides, donkey rides and other fun-filled animal inspired activities. So with this is mind here’s our guide to the best zoo farms that’ll guarantee a fun day out learning about nature – and a chance for you to have a coffee and piece of cake too. ​Hainingwood Terrace​​​​​​​, Bill Quay, Gateshead , NE10 0UE, 0191 4419715
  2. It is the GP practice where EVERY patient finds the reception staff helpful. Now Scots Gap Medical Group’s been named the best in the North East. That’s according to its patients, whose glowing opinion of the Northumberland surgery has kept it on top of the regional rankings. Over a million people are polled every year by NHS England for its ongoing GP Patient Survey and the top 10 in the North East have been revealed. And not only has Scots Gap Medical Group topped the regional list, it also came 15th nationally. Almost every patient said their GP at the Morpeth practice listened to them, while 98% said they were treated with care and concern.
  3. A man is in hospital after van crashed into a fence near Morpeth . Officers believe the white Vauxhall Astra van hit the fence on the A1 in Hebron at around 2am before fleeing after ending up in a farmer’s field. The force thinks one of the van’s two occupants, who was injured, walked to a nearby garage in the Fairmoor area of Morpeth where he was given a lift to the Ashington area. Police want to speak to the motorist who gave the man a lift, as well as any witnesses or drivers with dash cam footage. The injured man is being treated for non-life-threatening injuries. The crash was reported at 8.27am on Sunday but it is now thought that the collision occurred at about 2am.
  4. This is how inspectors rate the North East schools offering specific provision for children with special educational needs and disabilities. The following list covers the state schools listed under the ‘special schools’ category on the Ofsted website for our area for which reports are available, and offers a brief summary of their most recent inspection report. We’ve included the web addresses of all the schools listed so you can easily check who they cater for. Schools which have converted to academies and haven’t had an inspection since will not be included. All information is based on the school’s latest Ofsted reports and is accurate as of July 27, 2018. Hadrian School, Newcastle: Described as an “exceptional special school” this school works closely with other organisations to achieve strong outcomes for its pupils. Relationships are “nurturing and caring” and the important role of parents is recognised. Many parents say the school has “transformed their child’s life”.
  5. This beautiful Morpeth home has been pitched on the market for £695,000. Green and red climbing plants on the outside give the four-bedroom property a striking appearance. The walls are completely covered and it proudly displays its colourful exterior. But indoors Catchburn Farmhouse is just as special. Take a look around with our video above. Estate agents Strutt & Parker say the home is “traditionally styled and is equally suited to family living and entertaining”. The recently renovated kitchen feels like an exception to the grand decor in the rest of the rooms.
  6. This is the moment a burst pipe sent water shooting 20ft into the air in a Northumberland town. The water main burst near Hartford Gardens, in Cramlington, on Friday morning and the supply was eventually shut off at around 7pm. Dramatic drone footage captured by Jason Carrick showed the water shooting into the air and across a nearby field. His partner Donna Scott, 32, said they were shocked when they discovered the water pipe had burst. She said: “It started on Friday morning and was still pouring out in the evening. “Northumbrian Water weren’t on the scene until about 3pm and they said they couldn’t turn it off because it supplies water to Morpeth and Bedlington.
  7. A doting dad left paralysed by a freak holiday accident has been flown back to the UK ahead of his long road to recovery. Dad-of-two Keith Dungait dived into a swimming pool and hit his head on the bottom shortly arriving on the Spanish island of Majorca for a stag do on July 5. The 42-year-old had to fight for his life after suffering multiple fractures to his neck, and his injuries have since been described as “life-changing”. Keith, of Morpeth, Northumberland, spent a fortnight in Son Espases Hospital in Majorca’s capital Palma, but is now back in the UK ahead of the start of his lengthy rehabilitation. He was flown to Middlesbrough’s James Cook University Hospital and underwent an operation on Thursday to stabilise his neck fractures. Keith is able to move his arms and feel “sensations” in his legs, but remains paralysed from the waist down and medics remain unclear on the level of his potential recovery.
  8. Passengers using CrossCountry trains north of Newcastle were urged to take part in a consultation about the future of the line - to ensure services aren’t cut. The Department of Transport is considering cutting services to stations such as Morpeth, Alnmouth and Berwick-upon-Tweed, in a bid to reduce overcrowding. It would mean trains go directly between major stations such as Newcastle and Edinburgh, ensuring there is less overcrowding for long-distance travellers. But Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Conservative MP for Berwick-upon-Tweed, said: “I have spoken with Government over recent days regarding the vital importance of trains and local infrastructure to North Northumberland and they know very clearly how valued the stations through Morpeth, Alnmouth and Berwick-upon-Tweed are to the local economy, residents and commuters. “I would encourage everyone in the area to make their voice heard so together we can secure a bright future for rail infrastructure and travel in our patch.” The proposal to skip smaller stations is one of a number of ideas in a public consultation about the future of the CrossCountry Passenger Rail Franchise, which includes long-distance services stretching from Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh in Scotland to Cambridge in the south east of England and Penzance in the south west.
  9. Transport Ministers have confirmed that services to smaller stations north of Newcastle could be cut, as part of a plan to reduce overcrowding. It emerged in June that the Department for Transport is considering reducing the number of stops on CrossCountry passenger services. The aim would be to cut the number of passengers using the service for short journeys, so there is more room for commuters making long-distance trips. But it led to concern that fewer trains will stop at stations such as Morpeth, Alnmouth and Berwick-upon-Tweed. And Transport Minister Baroness Sugg has now confirmed that this is being considered. She told the House of Lords: “There will be at least one CrossCountry train per hour north of Newcastle, to Edinburgh or beyond. The options for intermediate stops to stations north of Newcastle form part of the consultation.” The proposal is one of a number of ideas in a public consultation about the future of the CrossCountry Passenger Rail Franchise, which includes long-distance services stretching from Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh in Scotland to Cambridge in the south east of England and Penzance in the south west.
  10. Morpeth dad Keith Dungait is all smiles after hearing he will be able to continue his long road to recovery back home. The dad-of-two is due to celebrate his 42nd birthday on Saturday in hospital in Majorca, Spain, after suffering a freak accident on a stag do. Keith was left fighting for his life after diving into a swimming pool and hitting his head on the bottom. His condition has now stabilised but the Herbalife worker remains paralysed from the waist down, and medics remain unclear at this stage whether he will ever be able to walk again. Now, the 41-year-old has been told he could be back in England by the end of next week to begin his rehabilitation at a hospital in either Newcastle or Middlesbrough. Jeff Williams, who set up the JustGiving page on his friend’s behalf, said: “We’re awaiting feedback from spinal care teams in Newcastle and Middlesbrough to determine which hospital he goes to.
  11. Martin Jobes, of Scotswood drove into oncoming traffic during a desperate attempt to get away from police during a 40 minute chase on the A1 and A19
  12. A fundraising campaign to support the family of a dad left paralysed in a freak holiday accident has raised almost £50,000. Morpeth dad-of-two Keith Dungait was rushed to hospital soon after arriving on the Spanish island of Majorca for a stag do. The 41-year-old dived into a swimming pool and hit his head on the bottom on Thursday, leaving him fighting for his life Medics have since stabilised Keith’s condition, but his injuries are considered “life-changing” and he is due to undergo an operation to prevent further nerve damage. Jeff Williams, who has been friends with Keith for almost 20 years, set up a JustGiving page to support Keith’s family along his road to recovery. Donations have flooded in with £47,972 being raised in a matter of days, and Jeff says friends and family are “overwhelmed” by the response.
  13. A doting dad may never walk again after he was left paralysed from the waist down following a freak accident on holiday in Spain. Keith Dungait travelled to the Spanish island of Majorca for a stag do on Thursday. But the Morpeth dad-of-two was soon rushed to hospital fighting for his life after diving into a swimming pool and hitting his head on the bottom. Keith’s condition has now stabilised, but medics remain unclear at this stage whether the 41-year-old will ever be able to walk again. Wife Christina flew out to be at her husband’s side after being told the devastating news, and she fears the freak accident could have cost him his life. She said: “When I went to see him and saw the swelling, it was horrible.
  14. Take a look at six of the best million-pound mansions on sale in the North East. These are some of the premier properties available in Newcastle, Durham and Northumberland. From revamped country homes to suburban luxury to modern builds which one is your favourite? Estate agents Bradley Hall has listed all of these exclusive homes on the market. Take a look below. The former £1.96m university building (seen in the video above) is steeped in history having been occupied in the past by David Bellamy as well as several other famous academics. The property was acquired into private hands in 2011 and has since undergone a complete refurbishment and rebuild to produce an outstanding family home.
  15. Whitehouse Farm Centre near Morpeth is celebrating 21 years of ‘farmtastic’ fun with a spectacular birthday party this weekend. The two-day event is jam packed with fun and activities with party games, a fun fair, fairground rides and much more, in addition to the usual wide array of animals, the soft play, kart and tractor rides, and its other usual attractions. Visitors can get dizzy on the tea cup rides and fly high on the swings! Footie fans can try their luck in the penalty shoot-out, circus lovers will be dazzled by stilt walkers and have a go at learning some tricks in the circus skills workshops. Other activities include a family fun game show - with prizes to be won and magic shows throughout both days with the Farm’s very own Magic Steve. Partygoers can also tuck into plenty of delicious birthday cake, get hands-on feeding and grooming the animals, have a hoot with the owls and see the Cool Critters Show. Dawn Peters, events coordinator at Whitehouse Farm Centre, said: “We’ve got an action-packed weekend of celebration planned and everyone is invited! We want to welcome friends old and new to join in the festivities and help us to celebrate 21 years of fun on the Farm.
  16. Ashington's Aldi has reopened and its bigger than before. The discount supermarket's team say the new look has a 'more customer-focused layout' which shoppers should find easier to navigate than before. Doors reopened at 8am on Thursday. The transformation is part of Aldi’s £300m investment into improving its stores and service across the UK, and is based on feedback from more than 50,000 customers. Changes to the store in Morpeth Road, Ashington , include a new Food to Go section, increased space for British meat, relocation of the bakery and alcohol aisles and a new dedicated health and beauty section. Aldi Store Manager, Christopher Whinham, said: “The store is looking fantastic, and we can’t wait to welcome our loyal customers back so they can see it for themselves.
  17. Hundreds of nursery schools could be forced to close because of funding cuts, headteachers warn. Nursery heads from across the country came to Westminster to urge Education Ministers to give them more support. Shelagh Morpeth, headteacher of Millfield Community Nursery in Sunderland, said: “If we don’t get that money then I can’t see that a lot of nursery schools would actually survive.” It follows the introduction of a new funding system for nursery schools in 2017. Headteachers warned that this did not provide enough money for them to stay open, and the Department for Education agreed to provide an extra £60m in “supplementary funding” for nursery schools across the country until 2019-20. But there is no guarantee the supplementary funding will continue to be paid after 2020 - and nursery heads say they will be forced to shut their doors and turn children away if the cash dries up.
  18. With temperatures set to be in the 20s all week, the next few days will be the perfect opportunity to get outside and enjoy some sun in the North East. Mother Nature has once again been kind to us (we’re definitely not used to this!) and if you’re lucky enough to be off work or have some young children to keep entertained in the heat, going to an outdoor swimming pool is a great shout for this week. Luckily, there are a few here in the North East, here is a guide to them if you fancy making a splash in the sun. Located in the heart of Hadrian’s Wall Country, off the A69 from Newcastle about 34 miles away, Haltwhistle leisure centre has three outdoor pools : a 25-metre pool, learner pool and paddling pool with fun toys for toddlers and babies. All of the pools are heated to 83F/28c and are constantly supervised by qualified lifeguards at all times. There is also a giant flume slide which operates at regular intervals during the day during public sessions and an inflatable course.
  19. What difference can a year make? Peter Jackson, leader of Northumberland County Council, claims it can be significant. It’s a year to the day since Coun Jackson’s brand new Conservative cabinet met for the first time, after missing out an overall majority by - quite literally - a straw. Northumberland local elections results IN FULL - council held by Tories in 'straw draw' drama Their first 12 months in office certainly could not be described as “uneventful”, and they haven’t shied away from controversy. Here’s some of what’s happened:
  20. This life-size sculpture has been made to commemorate the millions of horses that fought and perished in the First World War. The artwork, called The Spirit of Freedom, will be exhibited for the first time at this year’s Belsay Horse Trials, in Northumberland, on June 2 and 3. James Kemish, an amateur artist from Pelton, near Beamish in County Durham, who works at Nissan in Sunderland, has created the stunning piece using horse shoes and a hundred poppies to symbolise the centenary of World War One. Visitors to the horse trials will be able to see it in the parkland outside Belsay Castle. Mr Kemish said: “I wanted to make something to remember and honour these beautiful creatures and the extraordinary sacrifice they made during the Great War. “We wouldn’t be here today enjoying our own freedom if it wasn’t for horses. I only hope that I have done their memory justice.”
  21. New owners are being sought for two of the North East’s most popular garden centres after the Wyevale chain was put up for sale. Wyevale, the country’s largest garden centre operator, has been put up for sale by investment group Terra Firma, with the owners considering both the sale of the group as a whole and flogging off individual sites. Wyevale runs the Heighley Gate garden centre near Morpeth and the former Peter Barratt site at Gosforth Park . The potential sale of the group comes during a turnaround programme which has sought to make its centres year-round destinations. The group said that it had enjoyed strong sales in recent weeks, with a record-breaking May Day bank holiday. Most of the centres have restaurants and concessions with other businesses. Roger Mclaughlan, chief executive of Wyevale Garden Centres, said: “Wyevale Garden Centres has transformed beyond recognition over the last few years, and our customers are responding really positively to all the improvements we’ve been making, with improved ranges, high stock availability and exceptional garden centre standards.
  22. Grand Espley Hall is up for sale and could be yours, if you have almost £1.5m to spare. The period mansion near Morpeth boasts five bedrooms, four reception rooms and a whole lot of history. Estate agents Bradley Hall say the property’s “original architecture remains intact and internally the home has been tastefully kept”. Espley Hall is believed to have been built in about 1865. Since then plenty of modern features have been added. After gaining entry through the electric security drive you head up the long drive to the mansion itself. Inside there are stained glass windows, expansive fireplaces and antique furniture.
  23. As NUFC fan Jimmy Blower’s family mourn his tragic death. football fans have chipped in to help ease their pain. The 54-year-old was killed in the Algarve, hours after watching his beloved Newcastle thrash Chelsea. With his prized Toon top on his back, the Morpeth man was mowed down in front of his son by a suspected drink driver. His family yesterday revealed their heartache at losing the man known to many as ‘Cheetah’. Today, Jimmy’s family were told insurers WILL pay to fly the dad-of-three home. However once he’s back on British soil they will have to foot all bills themselves.
  24. This round-up of events is written by readers. To get your event or story included, simply fill out the form www.chroniclelive.co.uk/schoolnews St. Cuthbert’s RC Primary School, North Shields, Headteacher Shaun Dillon said: “Sixteen year 5 and 6 pupils are in training to tackle the challenging Coast to Coast bike ride from Whitehaven to Tynemouth over four days from 23rd- 26th May. The children are making the 140-mile cycle in aid of international charity Children in Crossfire to help children across the world reach their full potential. "Support from the North Shields and school communities has been amazing. Rafa Benetiz and the Newcastle United squad have also supported the Super16 by sending a wonderful inspirational letter and donating signed footballs to help the children raise funds.” Young creatives from Jubilee Primary School in Wallsend welcomed BAFTA-nominated illustrator and picture book creator Joe Berger to their classroom for an interactive event, thanks to leading supply teaching agency First Class Supply and Seven Stories - The National Centre for Children’s Books Joe Berger is an award-winning freelance illustrator whose work has appeared in numerous international magazines and newspapers, book cover designs, animated shorts, title sequences and commercials. As part of the double-act Berger & Wyse, with Pascal Wyse, Joe has a weekly comic strip in the Guardian and the duo’s animated title sequence for BBC1’s Hustle was nominated for a BAFTA. Joe has illustrated over thirty books for different publishers, including Tracey Corderoy’s Hubble Bubble, Frank Cottrell Boyce’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang series as well as his own Lyttle Lies series.
  25. A dad-of-three died while out celebrating his beloved Newcastle’s win over Chelsea while on holiday in Portugal Jimmy Blower’s son Andrew watched in horror as his dad has hit by a car in an alleged hit and run in the Algarve. Paying tribute to a man known to pals as ‘Cheetah’, his family fear a crippling bill to fly his body home. And describing the devastating moment it happened, his niece Teresa Robertson, claimed: “There was no way he could have survived. “If his son had been two steps closer he would have been hit too. “It is awful for his son as you just don’t want that to be your last memory of your dad.”