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60 properties evacuated after suspected gas explosion in Berwick

Around 60 properties were evacuated after an explosion at a house in Berwick yesterday, August 2.

Police were alerted at 5:10pm after receiving a report of a suspected gas explosion at an address in Howick Terrace.

Police and the fire service attended and nearby streets were evacuated as a precaution.

Officers say "extensive damage" was caused to the property. Nobody was injured.

Deliveries resume for Berwick mothers-to-be

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Deliveries are re-starting at Berwick Infirmary Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

Women will once again be to give birth at Berwick maternity unit from Monday 1st July.

The service was suspended last August over safety concerns. It was feared that midwives were not receiving enough regular experience because so few deliveries had been taking place there.

Now, women whose births are considered low-risk will be able to have their babies in Berwick. However, the unit will not be staffed 24 hour a day. It will instead use on-call midwives in the evening, overnight and after 2.30pm at weekends.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust describes the new arrangements as 'safe and sustainable'. It says Berwick midwives will continue to work at Wansbeck Hospital in Ashington on rotation, to ensure they are able to regularly practice their full range of skills.

The Berwick MP Sir Alan Beith says he is pleased with the development, but will be studying the details of the on-call service. He wants to know where midwives will be based when they are on call, and how the service can continue during bad weather.

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Full report: Comedian donates Berwick takings to local couple

A couple from Berwick whose son has an incurable disease have been left stunned after the comedian Jason Manford visited their home, and donated the takings from his shows in the town to the family.

10-month-old Roman Greenlees has recently been diagnosed with a rare genetic condition called Asper's Disease.

Watch Jenny Longden's report here:

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Comedian gives cash to Berwick family

Comedian Jason Manford has donated the takings of 5 shows in Berwick to a local couple, whose son Roman has an incurable, terminal disease.

The Bolton comedian turned up at the Berwick home of Stuart Greenlees and Rachael Laidlaw before one of his shows at The Maltings.

He met their 10 month old son Roman, who has recently been diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called Alpers disease.

The couple want to make Roman's life as comfortable as possible, and are raising money to buy him specialist sensory equipment.

His parents have set up a website in his name to collect donations.

Since the comedian posted a link to it on his Facebook page, more than £6000 has been donated.

Donations can be given here.

Decision reached on maternity services in Berwick

Decision reached on maternity services in Berwick Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

The future of maternity services in Berwick has just been decided.

The NHS has opted for an office hours service in the unit, with 24-hour on-call midwifery support.

It will mean fewer services based at the unit.

Managers say it is the safest model and will avoid nurses' time being wasted, but the Berwick-upon-Tweed MP Sir Alan Beith says it is a poorer deal for the town.

He said: "Although we will still have facilities in Berwick for births and enhanced training for midwives, if you give birth outside office hours, it's an on-call basis to get the midwives in and the ward open.

That's a lesser standard of service than would be provided in other units in Northumberland that are not as far away from the main hospitals as Berwick is."

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Full Report: Berwick teens take on negative stereotypes through Fixers campaign

Teenagers from Berwick are taking on what they see as negative stereotypes of young people in their community and the media.

With the help of Fixers - the campaign that gives young people a voice - they are creating cartoon characters.

These will be used in a video which the youngsters hope to launch at the town's film festival in September.

Watch the full report below.

Future of Berwick's suspension bridge uncertain

There are doubts over the future of Europe's oldest surviving iron-chain suspension bridge, the Union Chain Bridge.

The bridge, which spans almost 130 metres over the River Tweed is in need of repair, and both the Scottish Borders and Northumberland Councils are considering shutting the bridge for good, if funding cannot be found.

An estimated £4.7million is needed to repair the damage to the bridge, which was built in 1820, with the intention of strengthening ties between Scotland and England.

"Northumberland County Council is the lead authority for the Union Chain Bridge. However we have a joint responsibility, and are working together to develop options to allow the refurbishment of the bridge to take place.

"The bridge will require a new chain suspension hanger system to be developed and fitted; substantial deck replacement; upgrading of the existing parapets; and totally repainted. The estimated cost of the repairs is £4.7million.

"If the councils were unable to raise the required funding it is likely that a phased closure would be implemented."

– Spokesperson, Scottish Borders Council
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