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"Vera" author to be honoured by university

A best-selling author who created the fictional North East detective "Vera", will be presented with an honourary Doctorate of Letters from Sunderland University today.

Ann Cleeves is an immensely successful writer, and the mind behind one of ITV's biggest crime dramas.

Ann Cleeves at the Crime Thriller Awards. Credit: ITV Pictures

Four series of Vera, the ITV adaptation starring Brenda Blethyn, have been broadcast in the UK, and sold worldwide, and a fifth is in preparation.

Brenda Blethyn, and "Vera" co-star David Leon Credit: ITV Productions

Ann Cleeves said:

“I’m a North Easterner by choice, not by birth. It’s easier to write about a place as an outsider. People who live in the region perhaps sometimes take for granted just how beautiful the region is, and how nice people here are.”

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North America tour for Sunderland University lecturer

Alex Lockwood, University of Sunderland Senior Lecturer in Journalism

A Sunderland University lecturer will be travelling to North America to work for an international Trust.

Senior Lecturer in Journalism, Alex Lockwood, has been awarded a Travelling Fellowship for the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust and will leave the UK in June for two months speaking throughout Canada and America.

Mr Lockwood will be swapping the classroom to speak at aquariums and whale museums in a series of 12 talks in cities such as Vancouver, Seattle and Los Angeles. He said: “This is a really fantastic, life-changing opportunity to further my experience as a writer and researcher."

University of Sunderland "deeply concerned" to hear of graduate on missing plane

The University of Sunderland has said staff are "deeply concerned" to hear reports that one of its ex-students may have been on board the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.

“We are deeply concerned to hear reports that one of our graduates, Huan Peen Chan, who studied at the University of Sunderland between 1992 and 1995, may be one of the passengers on board the missing Malaysia Airlines plane. "Although we are not able to confirm these reports at this time, we wish to pass on our thoughts to the family at this difficult time.”

– University of Sunderland spokesman

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How to use the North East's coal mining archive

Durham Miners' Association records, from meeting minutes to accident reports, have been uploaded onto the internet by researchers at Sunderland University.

They can be used by anyone interested in genealogy to trace relatives or ancestors in the North East, as well as students, scholars and people researching the area's heritage.

The records include compensation paid to widows and children of miners killed in accidents, with detailed records of names and ages. Credit: ITV

To find the archive, click the link here and search "digitised" in the top right hand corner. The whole collection is available, from 1876 to 1941.

Open the Special Collections page, and then search "digitised" to load the mining records Credit: ITV

You can also search each document for key phrases, such as the name of an area or the surname of a family member. First, load the document, then click "Ctrl + F" to open a search bar in the top right hand corner.

Searching for the name of an area will highlight all mentions of it in that document Credit: ITV

Durham Miners' Association archives now online

Durham Miners' Association records spanning more than 60 years of coal mining in the North East are now available to browse on the internet.

A researcher browses the very first volume of records, from 1876. Credit: ITV

The minutes of meetings, accident reports and balance sheets have been digitised by researchers at the North East England Mining and Research Archive (Neemarc) at Sunderland University. They will be of use to genealogists tracing ancestors from the North East, as well as students and scholars.

The whole collection, from 1876 to 1941, is now available on the internet Credit: ITV

The accident reports show how dangerous the profession was, with accounts of injuries suffered by miners, from those still in their teens to others well into their sixties.

The records also document the support offered by the Association - a branch of the National Union of Miners - to miners, including offering compensation to widows and children of men killed at work.

Top scientist honoured in Sunderland

Professor Graham Teasdale

World-renowned scientist Professor Sir Graham Teasdale has been honoured by the University of Sunderland.

The neurosurgeon invented the Glasgow Coma Scale which is used in hospitals worldwide to measure the progress of head injury victims.

He received his Honorary Doctorate of Science from the Chancellor Steve Cram in recognition of his outstanding contribution in the field of neuroscience and neurosurgery.

Professor Teasdale was born in Spennymoor, County Durham, training at Durham Medical School and later the Institute of Neurological Sciences in Glasgow.

He was made a Knight Bachelor in the 2006 New Year Honours list for services to neurosurgery and victims of head injuries.

"It is a tremendous day for me and my family," said Professor Teasdale.

Unite: Action over "five-year pay drought"

Unite members working in universities across the country, including Newcastle University, are taking strike action today.

Unite national officer for education Mike McCartney said:

"Our members are taking this action with a heavy heart, but they have endured a five-year pay drought. We are calling for the employers to get around the table urgently so that our members contribution to the prestige and reputation of higher education is recognised.

"You have the curious scenario of highly-paid vice-chancellors at UK universities travelling the world extolling the merits of their universities to attract more foreign students.

"Yet, at the same time, our members, who underpin these highly regarded institutions of academic excellence, are treated with disdain when they ask for a decent pay rise, at a time when household bills, such as energy costs, are going through the roof.

"We hope that the strike will focus employers' minds and they realise their staff are their most important asset and reward them accordingly."

– Mike McCartney, Unite national officer for education
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