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Steve Cram joins British Athletics as mentor

The former World Champion 1500m runner Steve Cram is to become a key advisor to the British Athletics team.

Steve Cram, from South Tyneside, is an Olympic silver medallist Credit: Anna Gowthorpe/PA

Cram, once known as the "Jarrow Arrow", joins marathon runner Paula Radcliffe and Mo Farah's coach Alberto Salazar as an advisor to the British Athletics endurance programme.

He will mentor athletes and coaches and offer technical expertise to those on the programme, which aims to make athletics the most successful British team at the Rio 2014 Olympics.

Police investigate fight at South Tyneside pub

Police are investigating reports of a fight at a South Tyneside pub.

It happened at the Queens Arms in Jarrow at approximately 10pm on New Year’s Day. Several people were taken to South Tyneside Hospital with various injuries. Two males, aged 16 and 34, have been arrested.

Witnesses can contact Northumbria Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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Bishop of Jarrow: "2013 the year of the Foodbank?"

Bishop Mark Bryant Credit: Keith Blundy

Bishop of Jarrow Mark Bryant's Christmas message is all about foodbanks.

He said: "I wonder if 2013 will go down in history as the year that this country we discovered Food Banks?

"Wherever I go across the region, almost every day I hear stories of people for whom life is becoming more difficult than I can even begin to imagine. I hear stories too of amazing generosity as people give time and money to support people.

"It seems impossible this year to separate Christmas and Foodbanks.

"While very many of us will be spending more and eating more than we do at other times of the year, the media coverage and the collections outside our supermarkets will make it difficult to forget that we are a deeply divided country in which something is very deeply wrong.

"If there is hope - and I surely believe there is - for me it lies in the extraordinary generosity of so many. People I talk to who collect outside supermarkets tell me of the amazing generosity of so many.

"Somebody recently suggested to me that it may be the least well off who are often the most generous. (That is true world over as anybody who has visited parts of Africa will tell you)."My sense is that in many places people are becoming strangely more - rather than less - compassionate.

"Time and time again people say to me: "I cannot begin to imagine what it must be like not to be able to feed your children."

"I hear the same story from people who give a bed to a homeless teenager for the night through the wonderful Nightstop scheme.

"People say: "I would want to think that if my lad was homeless, somebody would take him in!."

"It seems that people's hearts are becoming softer. Some of us seem to be becoming more compassionate and that gives me hope.

"There have been those this year who have seemed to want us to harden our hearts with their talk of benefit scroungers - ignoring the fact that very many people on benefits are in work and some foodbanks report that sometimes their busiest time of the the day is when people are going from work.

"The Good News is how many people refuse to let their hearts be hardened and persist in being generous. That gives me hope.

"The Christmas story of a baby being born in a manger is a story of God who refuses to be a God who ignores people and does not care.

"He comes to Earth as a baby to show that God does not stand far away aloof from the lives of of ordinary people. Often as people think of the Christmas story as a story of a homeless mother who before the baby is very old and has to flee for their lives as a refugee to Egypt they start to see God.

"He understands much more than we imagine about what human life is really about.

"The Christmas story is a story about a God who does not abandon us whatever the mess and that sense that we are not along is a reason to have hope.

"What gives people hope is knowing that they have not been abandoned and that the are not along. Ask yourself - who might I give some hope to this Christmas?"

Jarrow's Josef Craig sets another world record

He already has a Paralympic world record from London 2012, and now Josef Craig has smashed another record.

Josef, from Jarrow, set an S7 400m freestyle world record at the IPC Swimming World Championships in Montreal.

Craig touched in 4 minutes and 39.14 seconds to edge out Russia's Andrey Gladkov by five hundredths of a second and take almost two seconds off his own world record.

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