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Couple re-live the horror of Tunisian massacre

Julie Duffell and Ian Jennison. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

A couple who survived the Tunisian attack have been talking about their horrific experience after returning home to the North East.

Julie Duffell and Ian Jennison, from Cramlington, were staying next door to the Imperial Marhaba hotel in Sousse when the gunman opened fire.

The couple say the resort staff risked their lives to help protect guests, and now they have begun a fund raising campaign to help them in return.

Scenes of chaos filmed in Tunisia

Ian Jennison and Julie Duffell love the Bellvue Park Hotel and its staff so much they've been four times, but this year their holiday took a devastating turn. As they enjoyed themselves last Friday (June 26) they heard gunfire.

We were sitting round the pool on the Friday and there was a lot of cracks and pops and we originally though it was fire crackers going off but we soon realised that it wasn't firecrackers it was actually gunfire.

There was a lot of panicking and we even texted out children in case it was going to be the last one wee were going to send. It was pretty horrific.

– Julie Duffell and Ian Jennison

The couple say that terror and panic in the resort was unimaginable. But as the gunman made his way along the beach the staff were incredibly brave.

They recall that a few members of staff were there right on the front line.

They were there up close we realised that they had actually chased the gunman away.

The couple have also started an online campaign to raise money to help the Tunisian heroes.

They are hoping to hit a target of twenty thousand pounds.

Despite the horror that the couple experienced they say that they will return to the resort.

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Emotional travel agents remember Tunisian terror victims

There were emotional scenes outside Thomson and First Choice offices in Sunderland. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Travel agents in Sunderland became emotional as they joined the nation in observing a minute's silence at midday to remember the 30 British victims of the horrific gun attack on a Tunisian beach a week ago (June 26).

Their Thomson and First Choice customers were among those killed when gunman Seifeddine Rezgui opened fire in the resort of Sousse.

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Tunisian dead remembered by Whickham children

Schoolchildren in Whickham, Tyneside, have taken part in a minute's silence to honour the victims of the Tunisia beach massacre.

Pupils of St Mary's R C Primary School, Whickham, at midday. Credit: ITV News

A minute's silence was held across the country at midday today, one week on from the gun attack in Sousse which left thirty Britons dead.

The event had particular significance for Whickham. One of the victims was grandmother Lisa Burbridge, who was from Whickham.

Lisa Burbridge from Whickham. Credit: Family photograph

Northern Rail 'disappointed' by strike vote

Following the RMT union's successful strike vote, Northern Rail has issued this statement:

"We are disappointed that RMT Northern members have voted in favour of strike action and industrial action short of a strike, but note that only 38% of members who were asked to vote, voted yes to this. That means 62% of people who were asked to vote either voted no or did not vote.

“The RMT Executive Committee has said it is now considering the result. As soon as we have any further information, we will update our customers.

“Some of the RMT’s issues within this strike ballot are about the requirements for the next Northern franchise, which starts in April 2016. We have explained to the RMT that this means the issues they are concerned about are not part of Northern Rail’s current franchise and are not within our control to change. They would need to be discussed with the new operator of the franchise from April 2016. The DfT is expected to announce the winner of the next Northern franchise later this year.”

– Adrian Thompson, HR Director for Northern Rail

Northern Rail staff to strike over jobs and safety

Northern Rail train at Newcastle Central Station. Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Workers on Northern Rail have voted to go on strike in a row over jobs and safety.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union backed walkouts by 80% and other forms of industrial action by 90%.

The union said it is in dispute over a series of issues, including the removal of permanent posts and the creation of zero-hour jobs via a contract with a security company, cuts to booking offices and attacks on the role and responsibility of train guards.

The union said Northern Rail had also given no commitment that there will be no compulsory redundancies beyond the end of its current franchise in February 2016.

"RMT has made every effort to win assurances from Northern Rail over jobs, services and safety. However, the company continues to ride roughshod over our efforts. We therefore had no option but to ballot all staff for action to force the company to take these issues seriously and the members have now voted decisively for action. That mandate will now be considered by the union. The union is committed to ending the two-tier workforce that the security contract creates and calls for all workers to be brought in-house on decent pay and conditions.We are also committed to keeping ticket offices opening and defending guards' jobs, which are safety-critical. The RMT remains available for talks and we expect the company to now take this dispute, and the issues at the heart of it, seriously."

– Mick Cash, RMT general secretary

Northern Rail is owned by a 50:50 joint venture between Serco Group and Abellio, a subsidiary of NS Dutch Railways.

The company employs 4,900 workers and runs 2,500 services every week day.

The RMT said 1,500 of its members are involved in the dispute.

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