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New stamps celebrate famous bridges

Some of the UK's most dramatic bridges are celebrated in a new set of stamps launched by Royal Mail.

Ten bridges feature in the collection of first-class stamps, while a special postmark will be issued today.

The featured North East bridges are:

1 - Robert Stephenson's High Level Bridge, Newcastle/Gateshead

2 - Royal Border Bridge, Berwick-upon-Tweed

3 - Tees Transporter Bridge, Middlesbrough

Andrew Hammond, head of stamps and collectibles at Royal Mail, said:

The story of Britain's engineering genius can be found in its bridges. These new stamps celebrate 10 beautiful and ground-breaking landmarks that span centuries of our history.

– Andrew Hammond, head of stamps and collectibles at Royal Mail,

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North East leaders unite to back vision to reduce smoking

Credit: PA

Plans to cut smoking rates to 5% across the North East by 2025 have been backed by health and local government leaders.

According to North East smoking charity, Fresh,the vision to reduce smoking rates to 5% by 2025 would have a profound impact on the region's NHS and economy - freeing-up around £50 million for the NHS and significantly easing the strain on hospital admissions and GP surgeries, as well as slashing the cost of smoking on local businesses.

Based on the estimated 2025 population, if just 5% of people smoked in the North East it would reduce the annual cost to the region from £158m to £58m.

Lisa Surtees, Acting Director of Fresh, said:

While we still see devastation of people's health from smoking, we have a duty to do all that we can to protect future generations from the harm of tobacco by making it a thing of the past.

"This is an ambitious goal, but it is the right one. There are very few families in our region who have not seen someone they love suffer as a result of smoking. We do not want children in theNorth East growing up seeing smoking and the diseases caused by tobacco as a normal part of life.

We have made good progress over the past decade, but smoking is still by far our biggest killer. Although we have along way to go, uniting partners in this forward-thinking vision will help us to realise the end goal of making smoking history for our children.

– Lisa Surtees, Acting Director of Fresh

Wildlife prize for Haltwhistle photographer's brown bear picture

Credit: Steve Wrightson

An amateur photographer from Northumberland has won a prestigious international award for this photo of a bear at night.

Steve Wrightson, from Haltwhistle, has won one of the Scottish Seabird Centre Nature Photography Awards for his shot Evening Bear, with it judged one of the best from a field of over 400 images from all over the world.

He took the photo on a trip to Finland and revealed that he only took up photography five years ago.

NHS Medical Director to visit new "super hospital" in Cramlington

The new

The Medical Director of NHS England, Sir Bruce Keogh, will visit Cramlington today to look at the progress of a new "super hospital." The facility, which will open in June, will be the first in the country to be staffed by emergency care specialists 24 hours a day. But campaigners fear A and E departments at neighbouring hospitals will be downgraded.

Sir Bruce will meet some of the doctors and nurses who have helped design the hospital and who will be caring for seriously ill or injured patients from North Tyneside and Northumberland.

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