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The Two Worlds of Charlie F comes to Newcastle

A play that is based on the lives of injured servicemen and women is coming to Newcastle's Theatre Royal as part of its nationwide tour.

'The Two Worlds of Charlie F' is unique as its cast is made up largely of former and current soldiers who were injured while they were serving with the armed forces.

Phil Roscoe went along to find out more.

Watch his full report below.

Help for Heroes charity urges everyone to get on their bike

Armed forces charity Help for Heroes has launched a fund raising bike ride to raise one and a half million pounds to help injured soldiers.

It is the 8th year the charity has organised a bike ride through the battlefields of the First World War, and this year they are encouraging everyone to take part with smaller UK-based rides planned.

David Wood reports.

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Prince Harry leads team to Antarctica

The prince smiles as he makes his way on to the plane Credit: ITV News

A group of severely injured servicemen and women are on their way to the bottom of the world with Prince Harry.

It's part of the charity Walking with the Wounded's latest expedition. Ibrar Ali from North Yorkshire is taking part and Northumberland explorer Conrad Dickinson is also going as a guide.

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'We have the mental strength to do charity trek'

Captain Ibrar Ali who is taking part in the Walking With The Wounded charity polar trek with Prince Harry admitted there will be days when the teams will be "tested" but says he believes they have the mental strength to overcome the challenges

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'Harry's no different to anyone else on trek'

Captain Ibrar Ali, whose right arm was amputated after he was caught up in a roadside bomb explosion in Afghanistan in 2007, said he felt both nervous and excited about the South Pole challenge ahead and described Prince Harry as a "great team member"

As we've said throughout, he's a great team member and just fits in really well so no different to anyone else.

– Captain Ibrar Ali

Re-training in energy industry for ex-forces personnel

Close up of people working in Offshore Wind Turbine Credit: Maersk Training

Ex-forces personnel are being given the chance of to retrain in a new industry thanks to a push from the offshore wind industry.

Distant shot of people working on Offshore Wind Turbine Credit: Maersk Training

Maersk Training has developed a new qualification to better job opportunities and prospects for those who have left the armed forces by educating them about the increasing offshore wind energy sector.

The offshore wind turbine industry is increasing Credit: Maersk Training

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Military bases to close through reservist reforms

Several military bases in the North East are to close as part of reforms to expand the Army Reserve, the Defence Secretary has announced.

Philip Hammond unveiled the changes as part of a package of reforms aimed at increasing the number of reservists in the Army under the Future Force 2020 reforms.

The plans envisage a trained army of 112,000, with 82,000 regulars, 30,000 reservists, and 8,000 further reservists in training.

The Defence Secretary said "a significant number" of small and under-recruited bases would be retained, which the Army believes could be viable with strong recruiting.

Some of the bases will not close outright but become home to other units, such as cadets.

An additional £1.8 billion will be invested over 10 years.

The army bases in the North East to close are:

  • Ashington TAC
  • Berwick-upon-Tweed
  • Bishop Auckland
  • Stockton Green TAC, Middlesbrough
  • Northallerton TAC
  • Washington TAC
  • Duncombe Barracks, York

"The number of Army Reserve bases will reduce from the current total of 334 to 308, a net reduction of 26 sites."

"We have decided to increase reservists' total remuneration in two ways: for the provision, for the first time, of a paid annual leave entitlement in respect of training days and through the accrual of pension entitlements under the new Armed Forces Pension Scheme 2015, for time spent on training as well as when mobilised."

– Philip Hammond, Defence Secretary

"While we champion reserve forces, we recognise the need to modernise.

"However, there are concerns that rather than synchronise the role of the army with that of the reserves, today's announcement appears belated and there will be concern the reserves uplift is not designed to complement our army but to supplement lost capacity."

– Jim Murphy, Shadow Defence Secretary

Full Report: Region's Army reserve bases to close as reforms announced

Seven military reserve bases are to close in our region, as part of reforms to the Army announced today.

The sites to close are at Ashington, Berwick upon Tweed, Bishop Auckland, Middlesbrough, Northallerton, Washington and Duncombe Barracks in York.

The Defence Secretary Phillip Hammond announced the changes, which are designed to boost the number of reservists, and scale back the number of full-time soldiers by 2020.

Watch the full report from Bob Constantine below.

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