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£26m spent in the North East by overseas tourists

Last summer saw the North East’s overseas visitors spending a total of £26 million in the region during the months of July, August and September.

According to VisitBritain, the North East welcomed 66,000 holiday visits during the holidays, an increase of 22% and the highest amount since 2008.

And, the increase in overseas tourists to the North East is growing at a faster rate than those to Scotland, Wales and the North West.

According to the results, the majority of oversea tourists are from Australia, America and Asia. Half of the holiday tourists are aged 16-34 and the big draws to the North East include the live music, football and Harry Potter locations such as Alnwick Castle.

Sarah Stewart, chief executive at NewcastleGateshead Initiative, also says Newcastle's International Airport could have something to do with it:

The fact that Australian visitors feature so highly will, in no small part, be a result of the direct access provided by Emirates and demonstrates the work of Newcastle International Airport and Port of Tyne in establishing profile raising connections with major overseas destinations.

– Sarah Stewart, chief executive at NewcastleGateshead Initiative

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Chris Waddle tweets support for Gazza

After Paul Gascoigne has appeared to suffer a relapse in his battle with alcohol, celebrities have tweeted words of support for the Geordie star.

And fellow former professional footballer, Chris Waddle, has joined in posting supportive messages. He recently posted this picture on twitter:

Police identify men killed in Barnard Castle collision

Gordon Nicky Davidson
27-year-old Gordon Nicky Davidson
Grant Benson
21-year-old Grant Benson

Police have identified two men who were killed in a collision near Barnard Castle, Co Durham, in the early hours of Saturday, 16th August.

21-year-old Grant Benson from Bartlemere and 27-year-old Gordon Nicky Davidson from Leekworth Gardens in Middleton-in-Teesdale were killed when the Audi A4 they were travelling in collided with a tree on the road near Barnard Castle at around 3:15am. Both men were declared dead at the scene. No other vehicles were involved.

The family of both men have paid tribute to them. Mr Benson’s family said Grant was a "beautiful, caring and loving person" and Mr Davidson's family said of Nick: "We were all so very proud of him and have been utterly devastated by this."

Sergeant Andy Sutherland from the roads policing unit is asking for anyone who may have seen the car in the time leading up to the collision to get in touch:

I am especially keen to hear from anyone who saw either Grant or Nicky out in Barnard Castle on the Friday night. Collision investigators are continuing to work hard to piece together the events of the night and to establish the cause of collision.

– Sergeant Andy Sutherland
Meridian

Redknapp offers Gascoigne coaching role at QPR

Harry Redknapp speaking at a press conference today.
Harry Redknapp speaking at a press conference today.

Harry Redknapp has offered an open invitation to Paul Gascoigne to help out with coaching his young players at QPR as he voiced his concern for the former England midfielder's health.

The 47-year-old has a long history of problems with alcohol, and is said to have been taken away by emergency services from his home in Dorset on Thursday. Pictures published on Friday morning showed Gascoigne looking gaunt and almost unrecognisable from his days turning out for the likes of Tottenham and Newcastle.

Since relocating to the South Coast, Gascoigne now lives in close proximity to Redknapp, who revealed he would jump at the chance to give him a way back into the game.

''He is a great lad and it is just sad to see how he is looking at the moment,'' the QPR boss said. '"I saw him about a month ago and I said 'I will pick you up in the mornings Gazza, come training with me. Do a little bit of work with the kids'. I would love it if he would do that. If he wants to do it, I would pick him up every morning at 5:45am at the end of his road and bring him in.

"He could go and do some coaching with the kids. I would love it if he would do that - that is an open invitation to him."

Celebrities tweet support for Gazza

After Paul Gascoigne has appeared to suffer a relapse in his battle with alcohol, celebrities have tweeted words of support for the former Newcastle United star.

Piers Morgan tweeted in the late hours of last night:

Followed today by soul singer Steve Brookstein:

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The Sun's coverage of Gazza is awful. Leave the guy alone. If you buy The Scum you are part of the problem.

And Chris Hodgson, Director of a football training programme and 1st team manager, has posted a picture of Gazza that was retweeted by his daughter, model and reality TV star, Bianca Gascoigne:

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Not liking the pic of Gazza being circulated, SO let's post ones of how he shud be remembered! Destroying opposition http://t.co/eCwAoI2De9

Bvofwb2ceaaxz8d

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Shocking pictures of Gazza being taken to hospital

Paul Gascoigne
Paul Gascoigne was seen outside his flat being helped by the ambulance service Credit: FameFlynet

These are the images of former England star, Paul Gascoigne, that have dominated this morning's tabloid front pages.

Earlier this week it was reported that Gascoigne could return to football after signing for a Sunday league club in Bournemouth.

But last night, police and the ambulance service were seen outside his penthouse flat in the Sandbanks area of Poole, Dorset. The star's battle with alcohol addiction has been well documented with him entering a rehab clinic in Southampton earlier this year.

Paul Gascoigne
The former England player's lifelong battle with alcohol addiction has been well documented Credit: FameFlynet

RNLI: Yacht fire was a 'very frightening situation'

The RNLI has described a yacht fire 10 miles off the North East coast as a 'very frightening situation'. The sailor abandoned the yacht and was unhurt.

Hartlepool RNLI all-weather lifeboat and the burning yacht
Hartlepool RNLI all-weather lifeboat and the burning yacht Credit: RNLI/Hartlepool

‘Fortunately the sailor was uninjured but it was very sad to see his yacht burn and then sink so quickly. We understand the boat was his home and he was sailing from Iceland to Holland, but it looks like he’s lost nearly everything.

‘He seems to have done all the right things in what must have been a very frightening situation. He launched the liferaft correctly and had everything he needed to keep safe, including a lifejacket, flares and water. He’s now being looked after by the Coastguard and we wish him well for his journey home.’

– Hartlepool RNLI coxswain Robbie Maiden

Sinkhole swallows County Durham farmland

Sinkhole
Sinkhole swallows County Durham farmland Credit: John Hensby

A sinkhole has appeared on farmland in County Durham.

On Wednesday landowner John Hensby found a hole of about five metres in diameter on his land near Cowshill- he says that has now increased to around 30 metres.

It appears to be extremely deep

This is an ex-lead mining area and prone to holes appearing - but nothing on this vast scale; its rate of growth is quite alarming.

– John Hensby
Sinkhole
Sinkhole swallows County Durham farmland Credit: John Hensby

A temporary closure is now in place for the nearby public footpath over fears the hole could increase in size

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