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Penguin orphans celebrate 1st birthday

Rico and Skipper with surrogate dad Todd German. Credit: Scarborough Sea Life Sanctuary.

Humboldt penguin chicks Rico and Skipper were hand-reared by Scarborough Sea Life Sanctuary's senior aquarist Todd German, after they were abandoned by their parents.

Now a year later, things have p-p-p-picked up for the pair of brothers, who are healthy and apparently happy living in a colony of twenty penguins.

A fishy birthday treat for Rico. Credit: Scarborough Sea Life Sanctuary.

“For their first few weeks I had to feed them a special fish soup six times every day with the aid of a syringe. “They came home with me every night for nearly two months so they could have their last feed at 10pm. We developed a really close bond and even though they’ve long since been assimilated into our 20-strong Humboldt penguin colony, they rush straight over to greet me when I enter the enclosure.”

– Todd German, Scarborough Sea Life Sanctuary

Having been hand-reared, Rico and Skipper have no fear of humans and have become popular attractions at the Sanctuary.

Santa Ride on Teesside - more pictures

Here are some more pictures of today's Santa Ride on Teesside - to rise money for the Children's Hospice Zoe's Place.

Organised by the motorcycle group Boundary 500 - it is an annual event to raise money for local charities.

This year there were 225 Santas - and people dressed on other festive costumes - on 160 bikes.

Quite a site as they head out from Thornaby. Credit: Jim Forsyth
Ready Teddy....Go! Credit: Jim Forsyth
Raising funds for Zoe's Place, and raising smiles. Credit: Jim Forsyth
More Santas. Credit: Jim Forsyth
This one really IS Santa - check out the beard! Credit: Jim Forsyth
Paws for thought - is he at the right event? Credit: Jim Forsyth

Hundreds of Santa bikers on charity run on Teesside

160 motorbikes set off from Thornaby town centre on Teesside this morning for the Boundary 500 Santa Ride.

It is to raise money for the children's hospice Zoe's Place.

Santa bikers about to set off. Credit: ITV News

The 22 mile ride takes them through Stockton, Middlesbrough and South Bank - on the way to Kirkleatham Hall in Redcar.

This is the 9th year the event has taken place, and in that time the group has raised over £600,000 for local charities.

This year they were set on their way by ITV Tyne Tees presenter Pam Royle.

Is it going to rain dear? Pam Royle on a specially decorated bike. Credit: ITV News

The convoy of Santas was escorted by by Durham and Cleveland Road Policing Unit, and was followed by an open-topped bus carrying children, parents and staff from Zoe's Place.

These Santas always deliver a feel-good factor. Credit: ITV News

Boundary 500 get their name from the fact that their members ride the 500 mile boundary of the North East and Cumbria annually to raise money for local charities.

Boundary 500 have a Facebook site for more information and pictures.

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People in the North East ranked most generous gift-givers in the country

Credit: PA

New research by the Chartered Insurance Institute has revealed that people in the North East are the most generous in the country when it comes to giving Christmas presents.

Those in the North East are the most generous spending £396 each on Christmas gifts, closely followed by the Scots who spend £375 each. While those in Yorkshire and the Humber appear to be the least generous spending just £267 each on presents – almost 20% less than the national average.

Witches brewing world record-attempt in Alnwick

Witches are already gathering. Credit: Claire Barber PR & Media Limited

Thousands of witches are gathering for a spooky celebration in Alnwick Gardens, in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest number of people dressed as a witch in one place.

Adults and children are bringing half term week to a magical end by wearing the traditional dress of all black clothes, a black pointy hat, a creepy black cape, and of course, a broomstick.

People from all across the North East and UK are being drawn to the picturesque Alnwick Gardens by a promise of entertainment and music provided by Newcastle Musical Theatre Company, The Peace Artists, and many more.

The incantation of witches (the official term for a gathering) will attempt to smash the record set in Spain in November 2013, when 1,607 witches gathered to bring them luck for the Spanish Christmas Lottery.

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