David Watkins playing the harp in front of locomotive

Harping on about trains

The world of classical music met a classic locomotive at Gateshead's Tanfield Railway as a son paid tribute to his father.

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Roker Pier closes for refurbishment

The pier will be closed till the end of the year Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Work starts today to resurface Sunderland's Roker Pier for the first time in it's one hundred and eleven year history. It's part of a 1.3 million pound restoration of the Grade II listed pier. The work is being undertaken during the summer to minimise disruption from the weather.

Roker Pier closes for first time in 111 years

Roker Pier closes on June 22 for the first time in its 111 year history. Restoration work will be carried out as part of plans to restore the landmark.

The work is part of a £1.35m project for the Grade II listed pier announced by Sunderland City Council last February.

"Undoubtedly people who regularly use the pier will be disappointed about the disruption but hopefully carrying out the work now will mean there's less need to close it for temporary repairs in the future."

– Cabinet Secretary, Councillor Mel Speding

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110-year-old man explains the secret of long life

by Julia Barthram

I spoke to Nazar Singh a few days after his 110th birthday. He is still able to walk, see and hear and has never had an operation. It is hard to believe he is 110, as he looks so well, but he has three passports from over the decades which all record his date of birth as 8.6.1904.

Nazar's son, Chain Singh Gill, who he lives with in Sunderland, says he now frequently claims not to be able to remember things but then will correct others about things they forget.

He was born in India and moved to England when he was already in his sixties. He doesn't speak English but, speaking with his son as an interpreter, was utterly charming.

He told me he believes the secret to his long life is a good diet. He eats a mixture of nuts ground together with ginger, drinks plenty of milk and fruit and takes fish oil supplements. He also says having his many children, grand children and great grand children around him keeps him young.

Queen's Commonwealth Baton arrives in North East

The Queen's Commonwealth Baton Relay is due to arrive in the North East today. It passed though Yorkshire yesterday and will make its way through Gateshead and across the Millennium Bridge over the River Tyne before being carried to Alnwick Castle.

The tour is designed to inspire young people to make more time for sport.

The Commonwealth Baton Relay arrives in the North East from Yorkshire

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150th Northumberland Miners' Picnic due at Woodhorn

The 150th Northumberland Miners' Picnic is due to take place at the Woodhorn Museum on Saturday, 14th June. The annual event has been held all over the county and even in Newcastle since it was first held in Blyth in 1864.

The Northumberland Miners' Picnic has been held for 150 years Credit: Woodhorn Museum

In 2014, the event includes live music and performances as well as a banner parade and addresses by politicians and union leaders. It begins with a miners' memorial service at 1015am.

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