England, United Kingdom

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  1. Darlington Arena to become vaccination centre

    A Covid-19 vaccination centre will open in Darlington next week.

    It means more people can be given the jab as quickly as possible at the Darlington Arena site from Monday 1 March.

    It's the fourth large vaccination centre in the North East, joining Newcastle's Centre for Life, Sunderland's Nightingale hospital and the Arnison Centre in Durham.

    Such large centres can see up to 1,000 people a day, running 12 hours a day and for 7 days a week.

    People will be invited to attend the centre by NHS England's national booking service, or they can wait until they receive an invitation from their own GP.

    Darlington Arena
    Quote Message: Opening up the fourth vaccination centre in the region helps us to reach even more people as the programme continues to expand, giving even more people the opportunity to have their vaccine.” from Professor Neil Watson NHS Covid Vaccination Programme
    Professor Neil WatsonNHS Covid Vaccination Programme
  2. Crossbow attack on bird nesting boxes

    Police have discovered crossbow bolts in nesting boxes at a country park in Hartlepool.

    Officers were called to Summerhill country park at the weekend after reports of people acting suspiciously.

    They found the bolts lodged into owl nesting boxes.

    It's not know if any birds were in the boxes when they were targeted.

    Crossbow bolts
  3. South African Covid variant found in Hartlepool

    BBC Radio Tees

    The South African variant of coronavirus has been detected in Hartlepool but public health leaders said work is under way "to ensure there's no further spread".

    The case, found earlier this month, was related to travel.

    Last week, Middlesbrough Council set up a pop-up test centre after the variant was found in the TS7 area.

    Mark Adams, joint director of public health for Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland, said there are other cases in the North East.

    "Cases were reported in Scarborough and we've got two cases that have come back from travelling and a single case in Hartlepool and the case that we have in Middlesbrough," Mr Adams told BBC Radio Tees.

    "All the cases in the North East have either come back from travel and isolated so they haven't been in contact with any other people... or like our cases which don't have foreign travel but have limited contact with people.

    "I live on Teesside and it's not something I'm concerned about personally.I think it's unclear at the moment just how different the South African variant is from the Kent variant anyway."

    Mark Adams, public health director Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland
  4. Demolition of Spennymoor shopping precinct begins

    Work has begun knocking down a former supermarket and shopping precinct in Spennymoor to make way for a new store.

    It's hoped the work to raze Festival Walk and replace it with a new car park, Aldi store and other retail units will be complete by Spring next year.

    Quote Message: The improvements underway in Spennymoor town centre will not only provide better facilities and a more pleasant environment for residents, but will reinstate the area’s reputation as a shopping destination". from Councillor Carl Marshall Durham County Council
    Councillor Carl MarshallDurham County Council
    Demolition of the former Kwik Save supermarket in Spennymoor
  5. Lost Voice Guy appeals for North East voice

    Britain's Got Talent winner Lee Ridley, who performs as Lost Voice Guy, is looking for a North East man to donate his voice.

    The comedian has cerebral palsy and uses an electronic device to communicate.

    He is trying to find someone to record their voice so he can use it on the device.

    He said: "To be honest there's nothing wrong with my current voice except from the fact it sounds very posh.

    "I should be reading the shipping forecast on Radio 4 and it isn't exactly the voice I would've had if I hadn't been disabled."

    He wants to sound like his family, who are from Consett, in County Durham, so has started a competition which would see the owner of the winning accent spending about eight hours in a recording studio.

    Lost Voice Guy, Lee Ridley

    Lee said: "I always wanted a Geordie accent but it isn't as simple as that because of the new technology involved and it costs quite a lot to create one and it's quite a long process.

    "When a company approached me offering to make me a Geordie accent for my communication device, I jumped at the opportunity."

    Anyone interested needs to record themselves reading a paragraph from his new book and send it to him. More details are on his website.

  6. Snow forces 50 schools to close in County Durham

    Some 50 schools have closed across County Durham due to snow and cold weather conditions.

    While most pupils are home learning due to the national coronavirus lockdown, children of key workers, the vulnerable and those whose parents can't work from home have been allowed to attend.

    Durham County Council has issued a list of schools affected and remote learning will continue. The closures are all temporary.

    Burnside Primary School in Stanley wrote that the weather had made roads and paths "treacherous".

    Other schools have experienced issues with staff being unable to travel, as well as broken heating systems.

    A snow-covered Teesdale in the County Durham Dales on Monday