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North East weather: Sunshine and showers

BBC Weather

Chance of a shower early then increasing spells of sunshine for the afternoon.

It will continue very warm and muggy, with temperatures reaching 20C (68F).

Winds will continue to be light.

This evening it'll become cloudy with showers developing which could turn sharp and possibly thundery.

A rather warm and muggy night.

For the latest BBC weather forecast, search for your area here

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Vicar uses chopsticks for social distancing at communion

A County Durham vicar is using chopsticks to keep parishioners safe during holy communion.

The Rev Eileen Harrop of St Mary’s in Gainford and St Andrew's in Winston, decided that the best way to administer the bread at the Eucharist was to use extra-long serving chopsticks.

The idea came from her upbringing and love of Asian cooking learnt as a child in Singapore.

She said: “Many of my parishioners were quite anxious at the thought of taking communion, even though we are only permitted to do so under strict guidelines to ensure that there is no chance of transmission of the virus.

"I thought, why can’t I use a long pair of Chopsticks, real bread rather than wafers and drop it into the communicants’ hands?"

She said that it reassures parishioners that there is no cross-contamination.

“The long chopsticks I use are normally used for the festive occasion 'Lo Hei' meaning 'stir the uplifted breath of life’. They take on an even greater meaning used in this context."

Rev Eileen is Singaporean Chinese and spent her early years there during the country's transition to Independence from Britain. Eileen came to the UK to study at Keele University in 1979.

The vicar and the chopsticks
Keith Blundy

Housing plan approved despite 'tree felling fears'

A housing plan for Brotton in East Cleveland has been approved despite fears over the impact on wildlife by cutting down trees.

Members of Redcar and Cleveland Council’s regulatory committee had been warned that they would be giving the go-ahead for “prolonged vandalism”.

But despite objections to the plan, they voted by eight to two to grant permission for six new homes on land at The Grange, off Coach Road, Brotton, although a number of conditions were attached.

The Grange is a seven-bedroomed property dating back to the 1800s which was constructed for Robert Morrison, a wealthy local mine owner.

It is now the home of Lee Gannon who had applied for permission to build five two storey detached homes with four bedrooms each and a single storey property with three bedrooms on the extensive land surrounding the property.

Thirty five representations were received by the planning authority objecting to the plans, which include new road access, along with two petitions containing 105 signatures.

Local resident Katrina Utley, told the meeting: “The strength of local feeling against this application is clear.

“The Grange dates back to the 19th century, it is a historic landmark with a well established wooded area with more than 70 mature trees."


Police probe after injured man taken to hospital

Armed police were called out in County Durham over the weekend.

Officers taped off an area in Frosterley Gardens, Annfield Plain, Stanley, on Saturday evening.

A man in his 30s was injured and taken to hospital, police said.

A criminal investigation is now underway to establish what happened.