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Celebrating Rio with a Carnival of Flowers

Floral carnival costume

A spectacular carnival tribute to the forthcoming Rio games is to go on display at Harrogate Spring Flower Show.

It's believed to be the first ever carnival costume made from fresh flowers and foliage - and visitors to the show will be able to see it from tomorrow until April 24th.

The 12ft by 12ft work of art will form part of Britain's biggest exhibition of floristry and flower arranging. It's been created by international carnival designer Hughbon Condor and award-winning florist Helen James, with the support of funding from Arts Council.

The costume contains more than 30 metres of aluminium tubing and fibreglass rods, and over 1,400 fresh flowers and pieces of plant material, taking a staggering 155 hours to complete.

Up to 60,000 visitors are expected at the flower show, which will also feature large scale exhibits from floristry colleges across the region, who will be celebrating the forthcoming games in Brazil with the theme Carnival Rio Style.


North East divers win award for Northumberland wreck work

Nicola Faulks and her partner Simon Smith, of Tyneside SAC.

Two scuba divers have won a top award after getting closer to solving a 300-year-old maritime mystery, hidden under the sea off the North East coast.

Modern day technology, like 3D imaging, is being used by the British Sub Aqua Club, which has spent decades researching an area known as the 'Gun Rocks Cannon Site' close to the Farne Islands.

Their work has lead to the discovery of what's thought to be an 18th century Dutch vessel. The Gateshead based club has won the coveted British Sub-Aqua Club’s (BSAC) 2015 Wreck Award for their work.

The name of the ship remains a mystery, and so does her story.

Robson Green when he dived with Tyneside SAC at the Gun Rocks project

"I thoroughly enjoyed my time diving at the Gun Rocks Cannon Site with members of Tyneside Sub Aqua Club. I am sure they thoroughly deserve their success having won BSAC’s 2015 Wreck Award.

I’m certain their hard work will continue as they try to solve more of the mysteries of the Gun Rocks wreck.

I wish club members well and hope to have the opportunity to dive with them again at some point in the future as they continue their mission to get to the bottom of this centuries old mystery.”

– Robson Green, who dived the site with Tyneside SAC members while making an episode of his successful TV series Tales from Northumberland
Underwater images and video showing dives on the Gun Rocks project Credit: Supplied by Wessex Archaeology which took the photos on behalf of Historic England (Crown Copyright)

“We simply do not know what the name of the ship was.

And there is nothing left of the vessel which would have been made of wood. Being in relatively shallow water it will have been pounded by the sea over many years and basically disintegrated.

We believe it was a Dutch vessel that was carrying cannons back to Holland for recycling. It would seem likely it was blown off course and floundered on Gun Rocks. There are six cannons at one site, thirteen at another.

There were Swedish and Dutch cannons on board.

The exciting development now, is that at a heritage ordnance conference in September 2015 a cannon expert, on seeing some of the 3D photogrammetry models, tentatively voiced opinion that some of the cannons may be of English origin, which wouldn’t quite tie in with our current theories.

So we are already planning new dives this year and will continue working hard to discover all we can about this important wreck site.”

– Tyneside SAC Club Diving Officer, Nic Faulks
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Billions of pounds to be poured into flood defence schemes

As part of his budget today, the Chancellor announced a £150m deal to be spent on flood defence schemes in Leeds, York, and the Calder Valley.

That has been welcomed by the leader of Leeds City Council

“I’m pleased the government appears to have listened to demands for a Leeds flood defence scheme. However there are still many unanswered questions, not least when will it be delivered ? Leeds residents and businesses will want a firm timeframe putting in place as soon as possible, especially as the current lack of certainty is seeing companies close and leading to the loss of jobs.

“There are also questions about how the initial £150million for Leeds, York, Calder Valley, Carlisle and Cumbria will be allocated. This figure contrasts with the £297million previously invested in the Thames Valley area alone, and the original estimate of £180m for the previously cancelled 2011 Leeds scheme.

“We will keep the pressure on government to make sure Leeds businesses and residents get the flood defences they need as soon as possible.”

– Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Judith Blake said:

Sirius Minerals publishes plans for North Yorkshire potash mine

Sirius Minerals has issued its 'blueprint' for the York Potash project. It defines the logistics of costs and timings. With a £2.4 billion investment, over 1,000 long term jobs will be created and a further 1,500 jobs will be available indirectly.

Sirius issues plans for North Yorkshire potash mine

The company will sink a mile-deep mine shaft in the heart of the North York Moors National Park, near Whitby. The mining firm wants to dig billions of tonnes of potash (a type of fertiliser) from beneath the moors and seabed.


Health fears over 'smelly' landfill site

Residents living close to a landfill site at Ryton on Tyneside say they fear it is creating health problems.

60 local people attended a meeting this morning, to discuss what action to take, after flooding in January caused a strong smell from the Path Head site.

They are now gathering evidence on how it has affected their health - and some local families have longer-term concerns.

Watch Tom Sheldrick's report:

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