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Bishop of Durham: We need to change low levels of aspirations among young people

The Bishop of Durham, the Right Reverend Paul Butler has called for more to be done to help young people in the North East to achieve their dreams in his Easter message.

Unfortunately, as some children get older, their hopes and aspirations tend to reduce. The difficult truth is that the North East of England has the lowest levels of aspirations among young people in the whole country, which is a sad statistic and one that should be hard to accept for all of us.

This is something that we need to change. We all need to give our children and young people a sense of hope that their aspirations can be met rather than a sense that they will fail to achieve their dreams.

– The Bishop of Durham, the Right Reverend Paul Butler

The Bishop is the Church of England's lead bishop for children and young people.


Bishop leads Dawn Vigil at Durham Cathedral

Dawn Vigil fire is lit. Credit: Keith Blundy

The Right Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, led a dawn service of Initiation and Communion at Durham Cathedral today in which he Baptised five people.

The dawn service, often called the Dawn Vigil, was the first service of Easter Day at the cathedral.

Bishop Paul lights the Easter Paschal Candle. Credit: Keith Blundy

In his first Easter Day service since being enthroned as Bishop of Durham, Bishop Paul gave a sermon in which he spoke of fear and what makes us afraid saying:

"We live in a world where there is much fear. So too on the streets of our communities like Jarrow, Hartlepool, Stockton, Sunderland, Easington and the farms of the Dales there are people who live with deep fears."

"Fears of domestic abuse and violence; fears of long term illness; fears of failing to be able to heat the home and feed the children adequately; fears of no job on leaving school or college; fears of loneliness and hopelessness.”

Bishop Paul concluded by saying: “But there is a fear that takes us forward; it is the 'fear of the Lord'. This is not being afraid of God but it is, in Eugene Peterson's words, 'living responsively and appropriately before who God is, who he is as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.'

Congregation at Dawn Candlelight Service of Light. Credit: Keith Blundy


Bikers' Easter egg ride in Northumberland

Bikers set off on their Easter egg ride Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Hundreds of bikers have taken to the roads of Northumberland as part of the annual Easter egg run.

Motorcyclists gathered at the Woodhorn Museum near Ashington before setting off on a 60 mile route.

Each biker bought an Easter egg with them, which are then distributed to children across the region.

It also raises hundreds of pounds for the Great North Air Ambulance.

Easter warning to dog owners

Dogs should not be given chocolate Credit: ITV
A warning not to give Easter treats to your dog. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

An animal charity is reminding pet owners not to give their dogs chocolate over Easter, or at any other time, because it can kill them.

The PDSA surveyed thousands of pet owners. In the North East, more than a fifth owned up to feeding their dogs the treat.

Wooden cross "erected without permission"

A wooden cross erected on a remote moor in County Durham ahead of an Easter service was removed to protect a site of special scientific interest, a council has said.

It had been believed that thieves stole the 10ft cross from Waskerley Moor above Consett, which had been erected during Lent.

Methodist minister Rev Les Nevin told the Northern Echo he would collect the cross from whoever had taken it, adding:

"If you are so short of wood that you need to take a cross, I'd be pleased to give you the £26 it cost me to buy the wood so you can buy some more."

– Rev Les Nevin

However, it later emerged that Durham County Council removed the cross as it had been concreted into the moor which is a site of scientific interest without permission.

"This cross, which was over 10 feet tall, was erected in February in an area which is a site of special scientific interest.

"It was dug into the ground and concreted in without any warning and without consent or advice on the potential impact it might have on this very rare habitat being sought.

"There was nothing on it to say who had put it there and neither the council, as landowner, or Natural England, which is responsible for SSSI areas, were asked for permission or advice.

"As a result we had no choice but to remove it and this was done on February 20."

– Andy Niven, countryside service manager
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