Live updates

Shrek performs Newcastle Christmas lights 'switch on'

Shrek and The Green Fairy switched on the Christmas lights at Eldon Square in Newcastle Credit: North News

The well-loved film character Shrek has switched on the Christmas lights at Eldon Square in Newcastle.

Ahead of his arrival at Newcastle Theatre Royal in March 2015 as part of the first ever Shrek The Musical tour of the UK and Ireland, he switched on the lights which feature over 100,000 pea lights, and in excess of 25,000 baubles and ornaments.

Advertisement

Shrek to flick the switch for Eldon Square's Christmas lights

Two big green hands will help to welcome Christmas to Newcastle's Eldon Square Credit: Theatre Royal

He may be green, smelly and occasionally rather fearsome.....but swamp-dwelling ogre Shrek has travelled from far, far away to be the guest of honour at Eldon Square today.

The well-loved giant will switch on this year's lights at the Newcastle mall later afternoon.

The display will include more than 100,000 lights to mark the start of the festive shopping season.

Shrek, portrayed by actor Dean Chisnall will appear at the city's Theatre Royal in Shrek The Musical next year but has taken time out from rehearsals to bring some Christmas cheer.

Speaking about the event, Shrek said:

"I am honoured to be invited to turn the Christmas lights on in intu Eldon Square. I have been told that this is usually a job for soap stars and boy or girl band members so I'm very pleased that the organisers recognise my own musical talent and boyish good looks!

I will probably take the opportunity to do a bit of Christmas shopping while I'm here and also a bit of a recce so I can report back to the Fairytale Misfits about the sights and sounds of the city ahead of our arrival with Shrek The Musical next March"

– Shrek (A large green ogre)
The cast of Shrek the Musical Credit: Theatre Royal

Meanwhile the manager of into Eldon Square described her joy at the prospect of meeting Shrek:

"We're absolutely thrilled that Shrek has taken time out from performing in his tour of the UK and Ireland in this hit musical to visit us in Newcastle prior to arriving at Newcastle 's Theatre Royal next year.

This year's Christmas Lights Switch On will be very special indeed, with a brand new scheme of lights waiting for our Shrek-tacular guest to bring them to life.

The lights switch on always signals the beginning of our very busy Christmas shopping period, so if Shrek needs some advice on gifts for Princess Fiona - we're here to help!"

Fine for leaving out wheelie bin beyond 7pm

Wheelie bins that are left out or abandoned in backstreets could trigger a fine for their owners, under a pilot scheme starting in Hartlepool.

Bins left out later than 7pm on collection day will be removed.

Bins will have to be taken off the streets no later than 7pm on collection days in certain streets. Otherwise, they will be removed, and owners could be charged for a replacement. Repeat offenders could get a £60 fine.

Interviews: Firework prankster's hand permanently damaged

A teenage boy who tried to light a firework in his bedroom says he's lucky to be alive.

Dylan Cosgrove broke seven bones in his hand and had to have surgery.

He has been told he'll never be able to use his hand properly.

Dylan and his family are now helping firefighters to campaign for safety this Bonfire Night.

Kevin Gardner from the Tyne & Wear Fire and Rescue Service says Dylan's story is a valuable warning to other youngsters tempted to misuse fireworks.

Bonfire safety tips

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue release tips for staying safe at bonfires. Credit: PA

Ahead on Bonfire celebrations Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue's are launching a bonfire safety campaign.

Their plans include a schools education programme, an inspection of outlets storing fireworks, a social media and public relations campaign, as well as a dedicated website.

Officers from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service will be visiting secondary schools across the area to talk to children and young people about the dangers relating to the misuse of bonfires and fireworks, and to highlight the consequences of anti-social behaviour.

Here are their tips for staying safe at bonfires this year:

  • Attend an organised display rather than having your own bonfire,
  • Report illegal bonfires that are being built to your local council,
  • Call 999 to report any illegal bonfires that have been lit,
  • Remember: alcohol and fireworks don't mix,
  • Always supervise children around fireworks,
  • Never give sparklers to children under five,
  • Keep pets indoors and
  • Bring your wheelie bin when it is empty it, or it is an arson target.

Advertisement

  1. Calendar

Online retailer causes outrage selling Savile t-shirts

An online retailer has caused outrage by selling T-shirts of Jimmy Savile with sick slogans about child abuse.

An online retailer has caused outrage by selling T-shirts of Jimmy Savile with sick slogans about child abuse. Credit: RedBubble

The £21.15 clothing shows the grinning face of the paedophile monster next to deeply offensive messages. The grotesque shirts were discovered for sale on an online shop together with children's clothing where they are classed as 'art'.

They have horrified child abuse campaigners who called on the Redbubble website to immediately remove them.

It's truly disgusting that any human being could stoop that low and make money not only off him, but off his victims. They should stop selling them. They have a duty to the public, and if someone who has been abused sees this, it could have a devastating impact. What really makes me mad is that here we are, struggling for money to help his victims, and we have sick people cashing in on him. But these people selling them are just unbelievable, there's no other word for them.

– Pauline Carruthers, Hope victims' charity

Pauline's charity, based in Savile's self-confessed second home town of Scarborough, North Yorkshire was inundated with over 400 calls for help in the aftermath of the Savile revelations.

And, almost two years later, they are still struggling to secure the funding they need to help the victims.

Elsewhere on the internet a ghoulish trade in Savile memorabilia has sprung up since the abuse revelations came to light. Replica Savile shell-suits and Jim'll Fix It soap-on-a-ropes are among the goods on sale on eBay.

Souvenirs from Savile's funeral have also been sold with a badge and leaflet from the service selling for £51.

Redbubble, like other major websites from YouTube to Twitter which offer user generated content, reflects the content created by the Internet community. We don't arbitrarily censor this content but do apply our guidelines. We will ensure that the content on the site in relation to this situation complies with these guidelines.

Among other things these guidelines state: 'Work that glorifies or trivialises violence is not permitted. This includes graphic depictions of violence, works that trivialise violent acts, and work or behaviour where the intent of the artist is to incite hatred or violence.'

– Redbubble CEO Martin Hosking

Shopping street in Newcastle to become more 'people friendly'

Artist's impression of the Acorn Road improvements Credit: Newcastle City Council

Plans to make a popular shopping street in Newcastle more "people friendly" have been announced by Newcastle City Council.

The council consulted businesses and local residents on two proposals - the above, and option 2 which involved keeping the two-way system with raised pavements costing £189,000.

In all 624 responses were received - of which 48% backed the first scheme which will cost £350,000 compared with 31% who backed the second scheme.

The council will now press ahead with a statutory consultation with emergency services, taxi firms and bus companies, and advertise traffic regulation orders to begin the legal process to make the traffic changes.

The cost of the scheme is being met by the Cycle City Ambition Fund, and work is expected to start in January 2015.

A series of changes are to be made to Acorn Road in Jesmond, including:

  • Turning the street into one way for traffic
  • Raising the road surface to the levels of footpaths making it easier for pushchairs
  • Widening pavementsIntroducing a contra flow system for cyclists to enable them to pedal in both directions
  • Reducing the speed limit to 20mph
  • New public seating and landscaping improvements with a tree lined avenue
  • Introducing smart traffic lights at the junction with Osborne Road
  • Taken together the changes will improve traffic flows, make the road more attractive and safer for cyclists and people who shop in the area.
Load more updates