The Sunderland street pastors

They give up their Saturday nights so that you can enjoy yours. The Sunderland street pastor team helps those who 'over-do' a night out.

Catholic Christmas Services

Church services going on in the region on Christmas Eve & Christmas Day. Have we missed your church? Email the details to pam&ian@itv.com

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Council's new Christmas tree criticised

A Christmas tree in the middle of Stockton has drawn huge criticism from people living in the area.

The 20ft tree was erected in Stockton last week and has been called a 'disgrace' and an 'embarrassment' by locals.

A Stockton Council spokesman said: "We're in the middle of a multi-million pound redevelopment of the High Street.

"The central and northern sections are quite literally a building site, so there's no room for our normal 40ft high Spruce, which will be back next year.

"In the interim, we've used the 20ft cone with illuminated snowflake designs rather than leave this part of the High Street bare.

"We're pleased to report that that extensive works have not put visitors off as thousands of spectators attended last week's launch of the Stockton Sparkles festival which was led by 1,500 children.

"We know that a traditional Christmas tree always makes a great centrepiece but there's so much more going on in Stockton throughout the Chrismas period including our 12-day Christmas market, ice sculpture, late-night shopping and street theatre with dance and musical performances.

"We would ask that our public bear with us this year and look forward to a traditional Christmas tree returning to a new-look Stockton High Street next year - we're sure it'll be worth the wait.

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Sprouting demand for Christmas veggies

Love them or hate them - they're an essential part of Christmas dinner.

Sprouts will be in demand this week as shoppers stock up ahead of Christmas Day.

And that means the busiest time of the year for sprout farmers as they rush to supply the vegetable for millions of Christmas dinners.

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