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Brenda Blethyn: 'Wonderful' to think Vera has helped North East tourism

The North East crime drama, Vera, which has been been a tourism magnet for the region, is set for a return with a 5th series this weekend on April 5th at 8pm.

Ahead of the premiere Brenda Blethyn has told ITV News Tyne Tees how she is far from tired of playing the no-nonsense detective and about her favourite North East spots:

Watch Pam Royle's full interview with Brenda Blethyn at 6pm tonight.

Tour of Britain comes to Northumberland

Credit: Sweetspot

Northumberland is to host two stages of the Tour of Britain.

The event is to be broadcast in 130 countries, with live coverage on ITV.

Some of the world's top cyclists are expected to come to the North East leg of the race, including Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish.

The eight stage race will take place during September and will enter Northumberland from the Scottish Borders.

The route will run from Wooler to Alnwick, and then down the coast to Blyth.

The race will restart the next morning from Prudhoe and follow Hadrian's Wall across the Pennines into Cumbria.

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Two Northumberland businesses win tourism awards

Award-winners: the owners of St Cuthbert's House and Seafield Caravan Park, both in Seahouses. Credit: VisitEngland
Two Seahouses businesses won Gold Awards. Credit: VisitEngland

Two businesses from Seahouses, on the Northumberland Coast, have won VisitEngland tourism awards.

St Cuthbert’s House B&B, a renovated former church, won Gold in the Guest Accommodation category. Meanwhile, Seafield Caravan Park won Gold in the Holiday Park category.

Jeff Sutheran, owner of St Cuthbert’s House, described the Northumberland coast as a "fabulous visitor destination". Ken Britton, who owns Seafield Caravan Park said: “Tourism is the main industry supporting the village, and this success can only bode well for the future.”

James Beresford, form VisitEngland, said: “It is… a tremendous achievement for these two businesses from the same village to win Gold Awards… I warmly congratulate them on their exemplary contribution to tourism in this country, and especially on the Northumberland Coast.”

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Alex Cunningham response to Durham Tees Valley announcement

"Whilst I understand the reasons behind the Company's plans, I very much regret the loss of jobs and holiday flights both of which will affect people throughout the Tees Valley and beyond.

"The challenges facing the airport, which has been losing vast sums of money for several years, are well documented and it is important DTVA plays to its strengths, further developing scheduled flights and exploiting the niche markets identified.

"I hope these radical plans will provide business people and other travellers with even better facilities to help them connect to places across the world."

– Alex Cunningham, Labour, Stockton North

My Cunningham added, though, that MPs and others will be watching closely to ensure the airport delivers on their plan.

Durham Tees Valley terminal will also change

Durham Tees Valley airport Credit: ITV News

As part of the change, the terminal will undergo changes that will see the operational area smaller to make it more suited to customers on business flights.

New shops and business services will also be incorporated in the new layout.

Steve Gill, managing director of the airport, said: "We have taken these steps following a difficult period for the airport and a thorough review of the whole site and our current operations in order to give the airport a strong foundation to help safeguard the future of the aviation activity.

"The result is a strategic Master Plan which will be available for public consultation from mid November. This will show how we plan to reposition the airport to focus on the business and general aviation and will outline our plans for further developments.

"These will enable us to work towards expanding and diversifying our aviation and non-aviation activities across a broader base and grow back passenger services.

"This is envisaged to provide additional UK and global connections for the region’s business community who have a significant need to access international markets."

He added that recent investment in new hangar facilities and a development site demonstrates their long-term commitment to the airport and Teesside.

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