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Bishop of Newcastle's Christmas message

The Bishop of Newcastle, Rt Revd Martin Wharton Credit: Diocese of Newcastle

The Rt Revd Martin Wharton:

"In London recently, I saw some beautifully made Christmas crib figures in a shop. Beside them was a sign “Nativity Sets – please do not touch.

You couldn’t get the meaning of Christmas more wrong.

The baby in the straw in the manger is God touching life. Your life and mine. The Christ child is love touching life – ordinary life, back street life, life in the coldest and darkest parts of the world.

The baby in the manger is God touching our life.

But even more than that. The Christmas story is also about us being allowed to touch God. That’s what’s so amazing. It’s the story of love. And when love touches us, we become truly alive."

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Keep Christmas thieves at bay

Unseasonal thieves could target your presents Credit: ITV News

Northumbria Police is urging people to get their new gifts logged to keep Christmas thieves at bay. Residents are urged to get new bikes, phones, electricals, tools and other valuables registered with free property logging website Immobilise.com.

And those who receive iPads, iPhones and other similar smartphones and tablets are urged to activate built in GPS systems and download apps which help locate stolen property.

The immediate crime prevention activity will mean if new property is stolen and later recovered it can be returned to the rightful owner, as well as potentially catching a criminal in possession of stolen goods.

Cops bring Christmas to children in hospital

A/Sgt Jahangiri with all the donated gifts Credit: Northumbria Police

Northumbria Police are bringing Christmas cheer to youngsters who have to spend the festive season in hospital.

They are joining Santa to deliver presents to children spending today - Christmas Day - on the Bubble Foundation ward at Newcastle's RVI Hospital.

Acting Sergeant Michelle Jahangiri asked officers to donate toys to the foundation and was overwhelmed with the response.

She is visiting the ward on Christmas Day with her colleagues from Newcastle city centre's policing team who are on hand to help Father Christmas.

A/Sgt Jahangiri, who works in partnership with the NHS a the RVI hospital, said: "These children are incredibly brave and I wanted to do something nice for them as they'll be spending Christmas Day in hospital instead of at home with their families.

"Hopefully it'll spread a little Christmas cheers and put a smile on the children's face.

"We really hope the children like their presents and that they go some way to making Christmas a little better for the youngsters spending their Christmas in hospital."

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Full report: Military families this Christmas

For many, this Christmas will be a time of celebration with their families. However, hundreds of North East servicemen and women will be spending Christmas day away from home, in places like Afghanistan.

It means their children, partners and parents are here without them at what can be a very difficult time. We have met one family in Morpeth who share what it is like to be an army family at Christmas. Frances Read Reports.

Teesside's eye catching Christmas tree

A man from Teesside has brought a bit of festive cheer to his neighbourhood by putting up a 28ft Christmas tree in his front garden. With a bit of help, it took Nigel Gregory from Billingham two days to decorate the evergreen and he needed scaffolding to help lift it into place.

The contractor said the eye-catching addition, complete with 3,500 light bulbs, is getting a 'tree-mendous' reaction. He hopes to do something similar again next year to raise money for charity.

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