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Breakfast and banter for ex-service personnel

The Geordie Breakfast Club meets weekly in Newcastle Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

A breakfast club, set up to provide support and a friendly ear for former service people, is urging new members to join them.

The Geordie Breakfast Club was established in 2014 and regularly attracts several dozen people to its weekly get-togethers.

Its aim is to help people make the transition from military to civilian life, whether that has been a recent change, or one made decades ago.

The club meets at a restaurant on the outskirts of Newcastle, with members coming from across Northumberland, Teesside and from over the Scottish border.

As well as its social element, the club aims helps people facing work, domestic and health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Geordie Breakfast Club is part of a network of ninety similar organisations worldwide.

The regular sessions are a chance for ex-service people to meet Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

It helps get people back into the community and back into civilian life. It gives them a sense of wellbeing, makes them feel safe to come out into the community, and to sit with likeminded people and chat about military life

– Andy Wilson, club co-founder
The Geordie Breakfast Club is one of 90 worldwide Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

Watch Helen Ford's full report here:

Military helps inspect flood defences across the region

Flood defences in York. Credit: British Army
Soldiers, sailors and airmen were tasked with inspecting 2,453 flood risk sites across the region. Credit: British Army
The inspection work came about after the flooding that hit many parts of the country earlier this year. Credit: British Army

Military personnel have been helping the Environment Agency in their efforts to reduce the risk of flooding in the North East. Soldiers, sailors and airmen were tasked with inspecting 2,453 flood risk sites across the region.

The inspection work came about after the flooding that hit many parts of the country earlier this year. They travelled around the North East’s coastlines, rivers, culverts and reservoirs recording any defects and reporting them to the Environment Agency.

Matt Crump, from the Environment Agency, said: “This has helped us gain a clearer picture of the current condition of local flood defences, which were put under significant pressure during storms, high tides and record levels of rainfall this winter.”

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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.

Full report: South Shields soldier gets UK's first 'thought controlled' arm

A soldier from South Shields has become the first person in the UK to receive a 'thought-controlled' prosthetic arm.

Corporal Andrew Garthwaite lost his arm when he was hit by a rocket propelled grenade while serving in Afghanistan.

Now he is able to control the movement in his bionic arm by focusing his mind on nerves connected to muscles in his chest. Richard Wilson reports.

15 North Yorkshire soldiers sentenced after Kenya protest

The soldiers were based at Catterick Garrison. Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

15 soldiers based at Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire have been jailed for staging a sit-in protest while on a training exercise in Kenya.

A court martial heard that the men took the action to demonstrate against being led by commanders they described as "muppets".

The men were serving with the 1st Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment and sat on the floor when ordered to stand to attention.

All the soldiers pleaded guilty to disobeying a lawful command and were given sentences of between 40 and 60 days.

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South Shields soldier gets UK’s first ‘robotic’ arm

Impressed: Corporal Garthwaite with Defence Minister Anna Soubry. Credit: Ministry of Defence
Corporal Garthwaite lost his arm while serving in Afghanistan. Credit: Ministry of Defence

Corporal Andrew Garthwaite from South Shields, who lost his arm while serving his country in Afghanistan, has become the first person in the UK to receive a mind-controlled prosthetic limb.

Corporal Garthwaite’s revolutionary ‘robotic’ arm was fully funded by the Ministry of Defence. He made his final visit to the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre at Headley Court in Surrey today.

While at the Centre, Corporal Garthwaite was able to demonstrate how the new arm has changed his life, allowing him to perform basic tasks like opening doors, gardening and cooking.

Laser puts helicopter crew at risk

Police are hunting the person who shone a laser at an army helicopter, putting lives at risk.

It happened on October 9, when a helicopter from the Army Air Corp at Dishforth flew over Ripon.

Police say the person used a high powered laser and was at the Victoria Grove junction with All Hallow Gate.

“I cannot condemn this act of utter stupidity strongly enough. As well as causing the flight crew considerable difficulty and putting their lives at risk, the consequences had the helicopter crashed are unthinkable.

“I urge anyone who can help to identify those responsible for this reckless act to come forward and contact the police or Crimestoppers immediately.”

– Temporary Chief Inspector Sarah Sanderson

It is a criminal offence to use a light that will dazzle or distract a pilot.

Anyone with information can contact Ripon police on 101, press option 2 and ask for Dave Furlong.

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