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  1. A home in Hepscott near Morpeth which sold for just a pound short of the million mark was the most expensive house sale in August. Data from the Land Registry revealed the most expensive properties in the North East to change hands in that month. Maple Lodge in Hepscott came out on top for the region, and the podium positions were rounded out by sales in Gosforth and Corbridge An apartment on Knightsbridge in London was the most lucrative sale in England and Wales in August, changing hands for a huge £18.25m. From Jesmond and Ponteland to Alnwick and Whitley Bay, here’s a look at the homes which changed hands for the highest prices in our region that month: Sold for £999,999 on August 8.
  2. When it came to deciding the best development in the North East, judges couldn’t separate the two outstanding projects. One is an eye-catching library and cultural centre that has brought national attention to region, and the other is...a new system of sewers for a Northumberland market town. Northumbrian Water’s North Morpeth strategic sewer system was the unlikely joint winner of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RPTI) North East awards, winning praise for the way it has been planned to allow the town to grow and cope with new housing developments. The sewers took top prize alongside The Word, the library and cultural centre which is the centrepiece of the £100m South Shields 365 regeneration masterplan, though even some of its most ardent fans would have to admit that it is “not exactly sexy”. RTPI North East chairman Vikki Van Sylvan said: “The North Morpeth strategic sewer highlights what can be achieved through collaborative planning, the public and private sector coming together to provide a significant piece of infrastructure to facilitate housing development in an identified growth area of Northumberland. “Whilst it’s not sexy, it is a model of best practice for infrastructure delivery nationwide.”
  3. The North East is to lose four MPs as part of plans to cut numbers in the House of Commons. It means the number of MPs representing the region will go down from 29 MPs to 25. And some MPs will find themselves representing people in more than one town, city or county. Newcastle, which currently has three dedicated MPs, will now have only two - representing the seats of Newcastle East and Newcastle North West. Around 37,000 Newcastle residents will be part of the Blaydon constituency, which will also include parts of Gateshead and the Durham ward of Burnopfield and Dipton. Other constituencies to cross local authority boundaries include the new seat of Houghton and Seaham, which will cover parts of Durham and parts of Sunderland.
  4. We challenged Northumbria University fashion students to capture the most stylish trend-setters on the streets of Newcastle - and they didn’t disappoint! Ellen Reid, a fashion communication student at Northumbria University , decided to photograph people wearing baby pink. Ellen said: “Myself and a fellow student, Jack Watson, noticed an on-going, baby pink trend amongst the general public of Newcastle . “We decided to choose this as our theme as it’s on trend this season, along with various window displays including this as their main colour.” Carolyn Ridley of Morpeth was in Newcastle wearing a jacket and pair of trainers from Tesco , a T-shirt from Zara and jeans from Levi’s . Ellen said: “We decided to pick Carolyn because her outfit was very eye-catching with lots of colour dominated by the baby pink jacket.”
  5. The rich North East accent of Arthur Roper rolls down the years as he reads the Biblical Parable of the Prodigal Son. Remarkably, the recording was made in 1916 in a prisoner of war camp in Germany , where 22-year-old soldier Arthur and two other North Easterners were a captive audience for a study by a Berlin professor into different styles of speech across various countries. These are the earliest known collection of sound recordings of ordinary speakers and today, through digitisation, we can listen to Arthur – who spent his first six years in Durham and then moved to Newcastle - peppering his rendition with words such as “fatha” and “hyem.” The PoW recordings will feature in a free talk on Saturday in Morpeth Town Hall by Jonnie Robinson, lead curator of spoken English at the British Library and responsible for its extensive archive of sound recordings of British accents and dialects. Jonnie’s 2pm talk, “Sounds Familiar? North East Voices in the British Library Sound Archives”, is one of two in the Northumbrian Language Society’s 2017 Roland Bibby memorial lectures event in the town hall in Morpeth Market Place. The other, at 3.30pm, is The Forgotten Years: WWII Experiences in the Forgotten Army in Burma, by Ian Wilson, 9th Border Regiment researcher.
  6. This round-up of events is written by readers. To get your charity event or story included, simply fill out the form at www.chroniclelive.co.uk/charitynews A Kielder dog walk supported by 133 dog lovers including Newcastle Falcon and Tongan International Opeti Fonua raised funds and awareness of Wag and Company North East Friendship Dogs - the region’s only charity to visit the elderly and vulnerable in their own home. Wag and Company was founded by Diane Morton, retired group HR director for Northumbrian Water that also hosted the event. She was inspired to set up the charity in 2016 after volunteering for Northumbrian Water in care homes and later experiencing her late father with dementia who was greatly comforted by visits from her dog. Diane said: “In a little over a year since we launched the charity we now have over 102 approved volunteer Wag Teams who visit the elderly at home, in care homes, in dementia programmes and hospitals. "They have made nearly 9,000 successful visits and we are well on our way to reaching our target of 500 volunteers by 2021. “We watched my father deal with vascular dementia over a number of years. It was heartbreaking but the relationship he developed with our Labrador Harry, who visited the nursing home with me, was beautiful and really special. Dad didn’t know who I was but he knew Harry by name.”
  7. Is there anything more peaceful than a river view? Whether its in the city centre or rural countryside, the twists and turns of the water always reflect the changing of seasons. And in this Quayside penthouse apartment you could enjoy the stunning view of the River Tyne all year round. The duplex apartment on City Road, Newcastle, has floor-to-ceiling windows to take in the sweeping views of the Millennium Bridge, the Baltic, the Sage and the Tyne Bridge. Estate agent Sanderson Young is marketing the apartment at High Quay for £575,000. The agent said: “The apartment is situated on the third and fourth floors and is completed to an extremely high standard. This spacious apartment was originally two apartments and was created to offer bespoke city living accommodation with fabulous views over the River Tyne and its bridges.
  8. A drunk thug bit, strangled and kneed her elderly grandmother in the stomach during a violent attack in her own home. Tamsin Cairns left the pensioner with bruising and scratches on her face and body after she suddenly flipped one afternoon in August, a court heard. But, the 24-year-old’s violent spree didn’t end there and, just weeks later, she launched another attack, this time punching her own mother five times in the face. On that occasion, she shouted “I’m going to f**king kill you, I’m going to strangle you” before he mum managed to flee to a bedroom and call the police, magistrates were told. Now, Cairns, who is of no fixed abode but is from the Morpeth area, has been jailed for 22 weeks after she pleaded guilty to two counts of common assault, as well as breaching a restraining order, attempted theft and breaching a community order. Laura Lax, prosecuting at South East Northumberland Magistrates’ Court, said the attack on her grandmother happened on August 16 when she had gone round to her house.
  9. Whether you love a Korma, Madras, Tikka Masala, Jalfrezi, or Vindaloo ... it's time to get hot and spicy to celebrate National Curry Week. National Curry week runs from Monday, October 9, until Sunday, October 15, and involves restaurants, caterers and curry lovers across the UK celebrating the dish with diners, record breaking attempts, raffles, auctions and all manner of events designed to help combat poverty across the South Asian continent and worldwide. With so many different curries to choose from, why not try a new dish? National Curry Week is a great opportunity for curry lovers to try something completely new or try a little twist on the old favourites. And don't forget the accompaniments; naan bread, chutney, poppadums, rice and a Cobra beer. We all have our favourite Indian restaurants or takeaways in and around Newcastle. But why not try one you've never visited before? We've made it easy for you by short-listing your top suggestions for your favourite curry houses and our gallery above. Which is your favourite? Or is there a great little place near you that we've missed? Tell us about it below, or share your recommendation on our Facebook page or Twitter feed with the hashtag #chroncurry.
  10. A manor house built in the 1930s but extensively renovated is on the market. But you will need a bit of cash in the bank to afford the £1.1m price tag. Northcroft Manor at Fairmoor, Morpeth, combines the best of the old with many new features. Estate agents Sanderson Young describe the property as a magnificent detached luxury home in a very private and secluded site. And that privacy has been enhanced by a new by-pass which has seen traffic move away from the locality. Sanderson Young say: “The property, originally built in the 1930s, has been extensively renovated, refurbished and re-built, to create this stunning, modern family home which blends contemporary living with original features.”
  11. If someone had told Lorna Robertson a year ago that she was on the brink of culinary stardom, she would have laughed. Not long out of university, she was taking her first tentative steps in public relations. Having moved to London from Berwick, she was getting used to being a very small fish in a big pond after growing up in a town where everyone knew each other and their business. Then along came MasterChef. A keen and extremely competent cook, the 23-year-old had applied to the hugely popular BBC show on a whim. “I was between jobs and I was back in Berwick. I had spent hours applying for jobs and when I saw that MasterChef was advertising for applicants I thought, ‘What’s another application?’ – so she put one in.”
  12. It is very definitely country music which is at the heart of this week’s preview with Sage Gateshead boasting two classy shows just three days apart. Sunday night brings the Grammy-winning harmony quartet Little Big Town to the venue’s Hall 1 with their new album, The Breaker (their eighth studio album) to showcase. The four vocalists – Karen Fairchild and her husband Jimi Westbrook, Phillip Sweet and Kimberly Schlapman – swap lead-roles depending on the song. It is a formula which has proved successful over the 20 years of the band’s existence and the fact that the line-up has remained unchanged speaks volumes. The band has received more awards than you could wave a Stetson at and all of the main country-music organisations - AMA, ACC, ACA, CMT, ACM - have chosen them for recognition in one category or another. They have toured with artists like Keith Urban, George Strait, Carrie Underwood and Zac Brown and sold records by the truck-load. Earlier this year, Little Big Town became the first band in history to have a residency at Nashville’s iconic Ryman Auditorium which was formerly known as the Grand Ole Opry and Union Gospel Tabernacle.
  13. Autumn is now here and conker season seems to have come early - here are some great suggestions for where to find them. Conker hunting and conker fights are a popular autumn past-time and every family has a place they love to revisit each year to collect them - either to keep out spiders, have conker competitions, or both. We asked readers to tell us about their favourite places to find conkers around the North East - if you they were willing to share the spoils. If you know a better spot, please email community@ncjmedia.co.uk including your name and area, and we will update our area-by-area list of the best horse chestnut trees. Go easy on the trees themselves as broken boughs will mean they are out of reach next year! And if they aren’t ripe then it’s just a matter of waiting a week or two more. Then you can soak them in vinegar ready to do battle - or just admire their beauty on display. Jesmond Dene, NE7 7DA. Suggested by several people. With several different areas being suggested.
  14. North East rail commuters face fresh chaos next month as a two day strike will hit services in the region. It has been organised by the RMT union in its long-running dispute over the introduction of driver-only operated (DOO) trains by Arriva Rail North which operates the Northern service. Its routes include stops at Newcastle, Hexham, the Gateshead Metrocentre, Morpeth and Chathill. The strike is set to run from 00.01 on Tuesday October 3 until 23.59 on Thursday, October 5. Members of the RMT union who work for Southern, Merseyrail, and Greater Anglia will also take part in the walk out which will coincide with the Conservative Party’s annual conference in Manchester which runs from October 1 to 4. The union said it was angry and frustrated that the company has blocked any chance of making progress in talks.
  15. Anxious campaigners are begging health bosses to save a Northumberland hospital ward from closure as a decision over its future looms. The 12-bed inpatient ward at Rothbury Community Hospital has been temporarily shut since last September after it was deemed to be “under-used”. The move sparked outrage in the Coquetdale community with Pointless star Alexander Armstrong branding the closure as “utterly heartbreaking”. Despite the hostility, the NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) launched a consultation over proposals to shut the ward for good. The CCG’s joint locality executive board will announce its final decision in a public meeting at Morpeth Town Hall on September 27. Ahead of the decision, the Save Rothbury Hospital Campaign group has released a short-film outlining their objections against the proposed closure.
  16. The Morpeth to Newcastle road race has been postponed after organisers failed to find a new backer. Total Racing International Limited, the company originally behind the event, went into liquidation last month. Organiser Phil Gray quickly began discussions with another events firm in the hope they would take over running the race. But with just six weeks to go until the participants sprinted into action, a deal has not yet been reached. Now, Mr Gray has confirmed the race has been postponed as he wants to give people enough time to make other plans. He said all participants will receive a full refund for their entrance fee within 28 days of the event being cancelled.
  17. A pub does not need to be open for years to become a good one - that comes with intention. And The Office in Morpeth, Northumberland , has proved just that after being crowned North East pub of the year by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA). Operating from the grade II-listed Toll House, it has been trading for less than three years. But it has quickly become a favourite with revellers, having been described as both cosy and welcoming. Landlady Andrea Johnson, 52, said: “When they called to say we’d won, the guy on the phone must have thought I was the most ignorant person ever. “I just couldn’t talk, I was flawed. It must be the first time in 52 years I have ever been speechless. It really hasn’t sunk in yet.”
  18. The North East has seen at least 25 bank branches shut their doors since 2015, with another four set to close before the end of 2017. New data reveals that, by the end of this year, Barclays and Lloyds, two of the biggest names in high street banking, will have closed 21 branches in just three years. HSBC and Natwest will have shut down a further eight points of contacts for customers, with people living in rural communities being hit the hardest. While banks argue that these branches in smaller towns are less busy and people are more likely to use digital banking, the closures have left some several miles from their nearest branch. HSBC got rid of their presence in Alnwick, arguing it was only half as busy as a typical one - but that left customers having to travel 19 miles to Morpeth to reach the nearest alternative. Similarly, Natwest customers in Hexham now have to travel 18 miles to Newcastle and Lloyds customers in Bellingham - a third of whom were over 65 - now need to travel 16 miles to Hexham.
  19. People have called for the abandoned council headquarters site in Ashington to be turned into a retail park to create new jobs. Northumberland County Council leader Peter Jackson announced a public consultation over the future of the site will get under way this month. The plot of land in Portland Park had been earmarked for the authority’s new £32m headquarters and was expected to bring 900 jobs to the town. But the controversial move was scrapped after council bosses instead decided to refurbish and stay at County Hall in Morpeth. This was despite figures revealing almost £2.1m of taxpayers’ money was wasted after the move was halted. After Coun Jackson announced the consultation plans, people took to social media to share their hopes for the site.
  20. A Ponteland home valued at more than a million pounds was the most expensive property sale in the North East in July. Data released from the Land Registry reveals the biggest property sales during that period in both England and Wales. The most expensive sale in July across those countries was a terraced house in the London borough of Kensington which fetched almost £10 million. In the North East, the only home to break the million-pound barriers was a property on Darras Road in Ponteland. Two homes in Jesmond rounded out the podium positions, each selling for more than £800,000. From Gosforth and Jesmond in Newcastle, to Hexham and Morpeth in Northumberland, here’s a look at the most expensive properties to change hands in the region in July:
  21. A businessman who dodged hundreds of thousands of pounds of tax must sell off his luxurious cars and properties to pay back his debt. Daron Carr, 49, of Woodlands, Ponteland, was sentenced to three years in prison for evading VAT and income tax after an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in April 2016. And on Thursday, a court gave him sixth months to hand over £157,000 he made with his scam, or face a further 18 months behind bars. HMRC investigators found Carr, who was the company director for his interior fittings business, D Carr Interiors, lied about his income and fraudulently charged VAT to pocket £407,530 between 2011 and 2014. On Thursday, judges at Southwark Crown Court said the value of his assets - which include a house on the coast in Beadnell, a property in Morpeth, and two Land Rovers - amounted to £157,000, which he will now have to hand over, in order to begin paying off his tax debt. Carr was also banned from directing any company for a total of eight years.
  22. Financial decisions affecting your retirement income will be amongst the most important you’ll make during your lifetime and investing in timely financial advice could provide a welcome boost. It seems there is a genuine need for this support; with research from Citizens Advice suggesting that nearly half of people (49%)* are worried they won’t have enough pension savings for a comfortable retirement. While the cost might be a barrier to some in terms of taking financial advice, it can make a positive difference to the amount of retirement income you could receive. Research has unearthed a problem, when approaching retirement only 22%** of people know the value of their pension pot and only 14%** of people would be confident planning their retirement goals without financial advice. Another problem highlighted by Which? is the lack of trust consumers have in pensions, just 23%*** of customers polled said they had faith in them. This low level of trust is worrying. Coupled with a lack of pension knowledge, it is what could be leading to more than half of people who did cash in their pensions simply moving money into alternative savings like a current account, the FCA has revealed.
  23. 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 What: WHOOPS! Home Safety Project Launch. When: 19th September 2017, 1pm-3pm Where: Nunsmoor Centre, Studley Terrace, NE4 5AH. More information: Accidents at home are the biggest killer of children under 5. Trained volunteers assist families in Newcastle to safety proof their homes and handle emergency first aid. At this FREE event try your hand at first aid and arrange a safety visit in your home. What: Mini launch event for the occasional pop up bar at Tanfield Railway “The Station Master’s Bar” with live music
  24. People across the North East are set to take advantage of a programme of free training courses that will improve their work skills and open-up new opportunities. The programme from Gateshead College, which kicks-off this month, will feature a package of short courses that could help people looking to get back into employment or boost their skills if they’re already running a small business. The initiative is part of the Go Grow programme launched in partnership with 25 local training providers and comes on the back of £15m of funding secured by the college from the European Social Fund through the Skills Funding Agency (SFA). People will be able to benefit from a range of locally-delivered beginner and professional courses and workshops on hair and beauty, cookery, upcycling furniture, dancing, design, TV production, photography and painting among other options. There will also be courses available to improve technology skills, including website applications and business software, as well as help with improving basic English and maths, and fitness and health and safety training for the home or in the workplace. A package of courses has also been tailor-made to cover basic car maintenance, cakes-for-beginners, children’s first aid, assistance with homework and practical parenting, helping families to improve their skills around the home.
  25. A carnival atmosphere was created in Northumberland as tens of thousands of people turned out for the second stage of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain . From Kielder to Blyth, the spectators lined the streets creating a wall of noise as the cyclists powered their way around the 211km course. And the county’s beautiful countryside provided an impressive backdrop for one of the most exciting events on the racing calendar. Despite the huge climbs and tricky corners, the riders weren’t short of passionate support from the pavements. People transformed their streets and gardens into a sea of red and yellow - the colours of the Northumberland flag - by hanging metres of bunting and flags to welcome them. For the start of the race, hundreds of people descended on Kielder Dam as more than 100 riders were introduced to the crowd.
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