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Sting 'proud' to become patron for children's cancer research

Launched just nine weeks ago (June 30), the Future Fund has already generated more than £700,000 towards its plans which will focus on developing therapies with fewer side effects and treatments for children with advanced cancer. The new celebrity support is not only expected to help raise the profile of the appeal, but also the running total of donations.

Explaining his support for the campaign, Sting said:

The research teams at Newcastle University are doing vital work on the development of more effective and less harmful cancer treatments for children. I am proud to lend my name to support the Future Fund campaign.

– Musician Sting

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Plans for children's cancer research centre in Newcastle

Musician Sting and TV writing duo Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais of 'Auf Wiedersehen Pet' fame are amongst respected names from the world of music, stage, business and community work to have become patrons of the Future Fund.

The Fund aims to raise £5.5 million to create the Newcastle University Centre for Childhood Cancer, a state-of-the-art facility where the city’s academics can accelerate the children’s cancer research and treatment that has already earned them international recognition.

The project is a collaborate effort between the University, the North of England Children’s Cancer Research (NECCR) charity and Newcastle Hospitals’ Great North Children’s Hospital (GNCH).

The nine local heroes to have thrown their weight behind the campaign are all either from the North East or have strong links to the region. The individuals, who all were nominated by the public as being some of the area’s most influential people as part of the NewcastleGateshead Initiative’s Local Hero campaign, are:

  • David Almond, award-winning author of children’s book Skellig, which was later adapted into an opera with Sage Gateshead.
  • Dame Margaret Barbour DBE, businesswoman who reinvented luxury lifestyle brand Barbour of South Shields.
  • Professor Sir John Burn, Professor of Clinical Genetics at Newcastle University.
  • Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, screenwriters, film directors and producers who were co-creators of classic British comedies Auf Wierdersehen Pet, The Likely Lads and Porridge.
  • Ray Jackson and Ray Laidlaw, of Newcastle folk-rock band Lindisfarne which went to the top of the charts with its much-loved album Fog on the Tyne in 1971.
  • Doreen ‘Granny’ Jardine, community activist who has been making a difference in the neighbourhood of Blakelaw in Newcastle for over 60 years.
  • Sting CBE, composer, singer, author, actor, activist who was born in Wallsend before moving to London in 1977 to form The Police with Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland.

£26m spent in the North East by overseas tourists

Last summer saw the North East’s overseas visitors spending a total of £26 million in the region during the months of July, August and September.

According to VisitBritain, the North East welcomed 66,000 holiday visits during the holidays, an increase of 22% and the highest amount since 2008.

And, the increase in overseas tourists to the North East is growing at a faster rate than those to Scotland, Wales and the North West.

According to the results, the majority of oversea tourists are from Australia, America and Asia. Half of the holiday tourists are aged 16-34 and the big draws to the North East include the live music, football and Harry Potter locations such as Alnwick Castle.

Sarah Stewart, chief executive at NewcastleGateshead Initiative, also says Newcastle's International Airport could have something to do with it:

The fact that Australian visitors feature so highly will, in no small part, be a result of the direct access provided by Emirates and demonstrates the work of Newcastle International Airport and Port of Tyne in establishing profile raising connections with major overseas destinations.

– Sarah Stewart, chief executive at NewcastleGateshead Initiative

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Weather: Friday

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Credit: Stuart Black

A mainly dry morning with sunny spells and a light northwesterly breeze. Scattered showers are likely to develop during the afternoon, some heavy.

Feeling cool for the time of year.

Maximum temperature 15 °C.

School holidays put extra burden on family food budgets

1 in 6 pupils in the North East are not getting enough to eat in the school holidays.

Over a quarter of parents say that the school holidays put an extra burden on their food budget and 17% say they struggle to feed their children three meals a day.

The research by Kellogg's also reveals that 42% of teachers notice children coming back after the holidays with signs of weight loss.

Term time breaks put an extra burden on the family food budget and last August, food bank usage increased by over 21% compared to the same time in June.

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