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The time of year to help those near: Text Santa's back!

Alesha Dixon will join PaddyMcGuinness for one hour of the charity extravaganza Credit: Doug Peters/Doug Peters/EMPICS Entertainment

AleshaDixon joins the presenter line-up of ITV’s Text Santa for the first time this year, it was announced today.

Singer and Britain’s Got Talent judge partners Paddy McGuinness for one hour of the charity appeal extravaganza on Friday, 19th December.

Ant &Dec, Phillip Schofield and Christine Bleakley will also present a Text Santa that's bigger than ever, with chart-topping live music performances and some of the biggest names in show business. Amongst some of the treats lined up, George Clooney takes part in a specially-written scene of Downton Abbey; The Cube has a unique Text Santa twist and the stars of Coronation Street perform as we’ve never seen them before.

Text Santa 2014 promises three hours of non-stop entertainment, full to the brim of surprises.

The show raises money and awareness for six UK-based charities in the run-up to the big night. This year’s chosen charities are Teenage Cancer Trust,Guide Dogs, WellChild, Marie Curie Cancer Care, Alzheimer’s Society and Together for Short Lives.

Viewers can donate by visiting the Text Santa Just Giving page

'Ride4Peace' passes through the region

Physically tough and mentally strong Credit: ITV News

25 Muslim cyclists are part way through an arduous 600 mile bike-ride. The journey, from Glasgow to London, took them through Hartlepool today. The 'Ride4Peace' is raising money for charity, but also aiming to spread the message of tolerance and harmony through the towns and cities they pass.

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Chi Onwurah MP 'disappointed' by charity closure

Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah said the announced closure of the Northern Rock Foundation is an 'incredibly sad day' for the North East.

The charity will close at the end of the year after Virgin Money, its only source of income, halted funding.

The Northern Rock Foundation has made such a difference to so many lives as well as supporting the culture and values of the area.

I have often personally seen the positive consequences of Northern Rock donations.

I am very disappointed that Virgin Money could not find a way of working with such an important local institution given the personal commitment to the city and the region that Richard Branson and the company emphasised as part of their bid for the bank and in subsequent exchanges.

– Chi Onwurah MP, Newcastle Central

Virgin Money 'will continue to support NE community'

Virgin Money says it has have been 'very proud' to support the Northern Rock Foundation in the North East and Cumbria.

Today the charity announced it will close at the end of the year after it failed to reach agreement with Virgin Money on future funding.

The Northern Rock Foundation has contributed to some fantastic work here in the North East and Cumbrian regions for many years and we have been proud to support them with £1.5m of donations over the last two years.

We have tried hard to find a way to continue working together on programmes that would deliver significant benefit to the region, however we have not been able to agree a way forward.

We will continue to support the North East community strongly in a variety of ways and look forward to establishing new partnerships to deliver a range of exciting new projects.

– Jo Barnett, Head of Social Enterprise at Virgin Money

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Northern Rock Foundation closes after failed funding talks

The chairman of the Northern Rock Foundation said they are very disappointed that talks with Virgin Money have broken down, leading to the closure of the charity.

The Foundation, which was originally the charitable wing of failed bank Northern Rock, doesn't receive funding from any other source.

It is very disappointing after such extensive discussions to have to accept that Virgin Money will not commit to fund the Foundation in future.

Trustees are keen to ensure that our remaining funds are used to achieve significant benefit in the North East and Cumbria and we will announce our plans later this year.

– Alastair Balls, Chairman of the Northern Rock Foundation

Northern Rock Foundation to close

The charitable arm of failed bank Northern Rock will close after Virgin Money confirmed it could not continue to fund it.

The Foundation said its closure was now inevitable as Virgin was its only funding source.

The Foundation's current grant programmes were due to close at the end of this year.

Announcements on the use of remaining funds will be made in the future.

Remembering Josie

Josie died in 2007

The parents of a Northumberland teenager, who died from leukaemia seven years ago, say they are proud of the legacy she leaves.

Today would have been Josie Grove's twenty fourth birthday.

After rigorous treatment in hospital, Josie eventually decided not to continue, and instead enjoy her final few months with her family.

Josie's memory lives on in a charity which she founded before her death. It has now given a quarter of million pounds to brightening the lives of other young people with cancer.

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