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150th Miners' Picnic in Northumberland today

Miners Picnic 2013. Credit:

An event which celebrates the North East's mining heritage takes place for the 150th time today.

The Northumberland Miners' Picnic is one of the oldest workers' gatherings of its kind in the country - older even that its neighbour, the Durham Miners' Gala.

The very first Picnic took place in Blyth in 1864 and attracted thousands of miners and their families.

With a few exceptions, the event has taken place annually since in various places from Morpeth to Bedlington, Ashington,

It now takes place at the Woodhorn Museum, near Ashington, and is expected to attract hundreds of visitors.

Ashington referee gets Wembley call up

Michael Oliver studied Sport and Exercise Development at Sunderland University.

A 29-year-old referee from Ashington will take charge of the FA Cup semi-final, between Wigan and Arsenal, this weekend.

Michael Oliver became the youngest person to referee a FA Cup semi-final last year, when he saw Wigan beat Millwall. He was also the youngest person to oversee a Premier League match, at the age of 25, in August 2010.

He studied Sport and Exercise Development at Sunderland University, graduating in 2009.

The match, at Wembley Stadium, will kick-off at 5.07pm this Saturday.


Elderly man dies after bus fall

An elderly man has died after being injured during a fall on a bus in Ashington last week.

The X20 bus was travelling between Amble and Newcastle at around 5pm on Thursday March 20 when it stopped at a pedestrian crossing.

The passenger was taken to Wansbeck Hospital, where he died in the early hours of this morning (March 27).

Officers want to speak to any witnesses who have not yet come forward.

  1. Gregg Easteal, in Chennai

Setback for six British men trapped in Indian jail as bail decision is delayed

A court in India has delayed its decision on whether to release six British security workers from prison. A bail hearing went ahead as planned this morning, but the decision was adjourned until next week.

Six former British soldiers, including Nick Dunn from Ashington and Nicholas Simpson from Catterick, have been imprisoned in Chennai since October 2013. They are being held over alleged weapons offences, but deny all charges.

The family of Nick Dunn from Ashington were at the hearing in Chennai Credit: ITV

UK lawyers say the adjournment is not unexpected and remain confident of getting them out of prison.

However, for the men and their families, the news is another setback to their fight to be freed.


Ian Lavery asks for meeting with PM over jailed Nick Dunn

Ian Lavery MP has requested a meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron about jailed former paratrooper Nick Dunn.

Mr Dunn, from Ashington, is one of six British ex-servicemen currently being held in an Indian jail on suspicion of possessing illegal fire arms.

Mr Cameron said he raised the issue personally with ministers in India and discussed it with Foreign Secretary William Hague.

He added, if a meeting would help, he would be very happy to arrange it.

Ex-paratrooper held in India could face charges

Former paratrooper Nick Dunn from Ashington, who is being held in India Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

The family of Ashington man Nick Dunn - one of six British ex-servicemen currently being held in an Indian jail - say they are bitterly disappointed that a charge sheet has now been put before the court.

The six men are being held on suspicion of possessing illegal arms. They were arrested in October while working on a support vessel for an American maritime private security firm.

They have been in custody ever since. Bail was granted on Boxing Day but then cancelled.

The six would have to be released - or charged - once they have been held for 90 days. In the meantime, lawyers are trying to re-negotiate their release on bail.

Mr Dunn's family, who are campaigning for his release, are now waiting to hear whether he will formally be charged.

Man to learn fate after being held in Indian prison

Nick Dunn Credit: ITV News

The family of an Ashington man currently being held in an Indian prison without charge hope to hear today whether he will be released on bail.

Nick Dunn is one of six former British servicemen being held on suspicion of possessing illegal arms.

They've been there since the start of December.

All of the men are employed by American firm AdvanFort, to provide security for merchant vessels and protect them from possible pirate attacks.

Disappeared coal mine to be remembered

The story of Ashington Colliery is to be told through a new heritage trail thanks to a £24,500 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The trail will depict the structures and activities of the mine in their actual locations.

A website will also be created to describe how the colliery and town grew.

At its peak, the pit employed 5,500 men.

It closed in 1988, and little remains now to suggest that it was ever there.

The Ashington Colliery Heritage Group says the trail and website will be completed by the summer of 2014.

Ashington Colliery 1985 Credit: Ashington Colliery Heritage Group
The same location today Credit: Ashington Colliery Heritage Group
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