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Newcastle guide unit wins oath battle

A Newcastle-based girl guide group who were told they would be expelled if they failed to remove God from their oath have won their fight to remain part of the Girl Guides organisation.

The 37th Newcastle Guide Unit at Jesmond Parish Church received a letter from Girl Guiding's chief commissioner in the North East informing them their membership would end if they did not start using a new oath which has no mention of religion.

But the group have now been informed the threat has been lifted.


Chief Guide statement

Girlguiding is extremely sad to hear of any situation which means girls and young women will no longer be able to benefit from the wonderful experiences offered by Girlguiding. This is why we have offered more time for the leaders of 37th Newcastle Guides to reconsider their decision.

"Girlguiding's new Promise warmly welcomes girls of all faiths, and none, to become members. The updated wording grew out of an extensive consultation with over 44,000 people. Our members made it clear during the consultation that they want to retain just one Promise that unites us all behind a shared set of values: to be honest, helpful, kind and considerate; to respect other people and the world around you; to develop your beliefs and have the courage of your convictions; to face challenges; to be a good friend; and to take action for a better world.

"Our priority is always to ensure that as many girls as possible can benefit from the fun, friendship and adventure our charity can offer. We have already offered support to affected parents who wish their daughters to be transferred to an alternative unit.

We very much hope to continue constructive discussions with the leaders in question."

– Gill Slocombe, Chief Guide

Guide group says girls are standing by them

For more than 50 years Guide groups have met at Jesmond Parish Church Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

If the 37th Newcastle Guide Unit refuse to adopt the new Girlguiding promise by 19 January they will have to leave the organisation.

The group says it wants to be allowed to choose whether to adopt the new promise which has no mention of God or continue using the former promise to 'love God'.

The guide leaders say they have around 100 girls in their group and the vast majority are choosing to stay with them even if they have to become an independent group.

Guide group stands by decision

37th Newcastle Guide Unit meet at Jesmond Parish Church Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

For generations Girl Guides have promised to 'love God' but in September Girlguiding changed the promise to drop the reference to God.

The 37th Newcastle Guide Group has refused to adopt the new promise and asked to be allowed to choose which version to use. Girlguiding refused and gave the group till yesterday to change their minds.

Last night the group met as usual and are standing firm. Girlguiding has now given them until 19 January to adopt the new promise or leave the organisation.


12 people taken to hospital after taking illegal drugs

Twelve people in Newcastle have been treated in hospital after taking illegal drugs.

Police and paramedics were called to a house at Osborne Terrace in Jesmond, where the 12 people - nine men aged between 17 and 23, and three women aged between 19 and 24, were taken to Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary.

Eight people have now been discharged.

A 22-year-old man has been arrested.

Police investigate Newcastle sex assault

Police are searching for a man who sexually assaulted a woman on a street in Newcastle.

It happened at 6.20pm on Friday when a woman was walking along Springbank Road in the Jesmond area.

She was approached by a man who grabbed her and touched her inappropriately.

The woman screamed and her attacker ran off in the direction of the Blue Bell pub. He is described as being around 5ft 9ins tall and was wearing a black top and lighter bottoms, possibly skinny jeans.

Extra police officers have been in the area speaking to local residents and carrying out enquiries. Anyone with any information into the incident is asked to contact police on 101 ext 69191.

Police name man found dead in Jesmond flat

Police have identified a man found dead in a flat in Jesmond as David Kochs from Gateshead.

The 43-year-old's body was found at the Jesmond flat on Saturday 2 March.

Police believe that he died from injuries sustained during an assault.

Two men, aged 45 and 39, were arrested in connection with his death and have since been bailed.

Enquiries are ongoing.

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