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X Factor: behind the scenes before Halloween 'Fright Night'

There's an extra urgency at the X Factor rehearsals after Simon Cowell announced this weekend would see a double elimination.

It gave contestants a real scare ahead of the Halloween Fright Night show.

Julia Barthram has been backstage talking to North East contender, Lola Saunders.

Lola Saunders. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

After a wobble in confidence last week, Lola has been working on her nerves and says this week her performance is more about her on stage presence than the song.

X Factor billboards. Credit: Thames/Syco productions
Production team setting up ahead of the Saturday show. Credit: Thames/Syco productions
The spookily spectacular X Factor stage. Credit: Thames/Syco productions

Wheelchair driving prank a 'piece of stupidity'

A woman, who repeatedly drove up and down a Tesco car park while towing a friend sitting on a borrowed wheelchair holding towel hanging out of the boot of her car, has been handed a two-year driving ban.

Maria Adams’ prank, which lasted several minutes, has ended up costing her more than £1,400, as well as her licence, after the incident was caught on the supermarket's security cameras in Roker, Sunderland:

The 20-year-old call centre worker from Whitburn in South Tyneside, appeared at Newcastle Crown Court and admitted to dangerous driving.

The court heard her friend did not need a wheelchair and had jumped in one owned by the store for customer use.

Judge Penny Moreland described the driving as "a piece of stupidity".

In addition to prosecution costs and a victim surcharge, Adams has also been given a four-month curfew and a 12-month community order.


Drunk driver pursued by police jailed for 8 years

A County Durham man has been sentenced to 8 years in prison after admitting causing a fatal crash while being chased by police.

Adam McLoughlin, sentenced to 8 years in jail

Adam McLoughlin was so drunk that he drove on the wrong side of the road, went the wrong way around a roundabout and did not stop when flagged down by police.

The scene of the fatal crash near Consett. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

He then crashed into a lamp-post near Consett at more than 60 miles per hour while being more than two and a half times over the limit.

Adam Wilkinson who died in the car driven by Adam McLoughlin

Adam Wilkinson, who was a passenger in the car, was killed.

Today Mr Wilkinson's family said McLoughlin had caused them more pain than he could ever imagine.

Stay safe during firefighters' strike

Smoke alarms should be regularly tested. Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service has released some safety tips ahead of the latest strike by firefighters, starting at 6pm tonight (October 31) and continuing until 6pm on Tuesday, November 4.

  • Never leave cooking unattended. Extra care should always be taken whilst cooking, especially if using hot oil, including chip pans. Be careful they don’t overheat as hot oil can catch fire easily.
  • Ensure the cooker is off and don’t leave anything on a hot hob.
  • Do not use a chip pan – choose safer methods of cooking chips, such as a thermostat-controlled deep-fat fryer. Otherwise, go to the takeaway.
  • Don’t cook after drinking alcohol.
  • Have working smoke alarms on every level of your home and check they work.
  • Have an escape route in place.
  • Don’t try to tackle a fire yourself. Get out, stay out and call 999.


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York Maze displays biggest pumpkin

The biggest carved pumpkin in the North East on display at York Maze for Halloween this year.

York Maze Halloween festivities include the biggest carved pumpkin in the North East Credit: York Maze

A pumpkin carved to look like York Maze owner Tom Pearcy has scooped the top prize and a cheque for £300 in the York Maze pumpkin carving competition at the weekend.

A pumpkin carved to look like York Maze owner Tom Pearcy has scooped the top prize Credit: York Maze

Simon McMinnis travelled from his home near Blackpool to enter the competition.

Unlike the traditional Jack-o-Lanterns, Simon creates intricate 3D sculptures in the pumpkin flesh in a similar way to the way a sculptor models clay.

I’ve been carving pumpkins for the past five years. I grow giant pumpkins myself and I thought it was a shame to just compost them, so I started carving and it turned out quite well.

I wanted to do the carving for the York Maze competition with a topical theme. York Maze’s owner Tom Pearcy’s face surrounded by corn plants worked well with the shape of the pumpkin.

– Simon McMinnis, Pumpkin carver

We had some great entries from some very talented sculptors, but Simon’s carving was chosen by the judges to win first prize. It was quite a shock to realise my face had been carved into the pumpkin. Simon caught the likeness of me very well and set it in a frame of maize plants

– Tom Pearcy, York Maze

Field of Remembrance in Gateshead

Wooden crosses displayed in Gateshead Credit: ITV

Hundreds of service men and women from the North East region, who lost their lives fighting for our country, are being remembered with a display of wooden crosses in Gateshead.

Saltwell Park Credit: ITV

The Field of Remembrance at Saltwell Park features crosses with names of the fallen.

Poppy display in Gateshead Credit: ITV
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