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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

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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.

Sandcastle city for South Shields

Sandhaven beach. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

The Children North East annual Sandcastle Challenge is taking place today (July 3).

2000 children from more than 100 different primary schools will team up with professional architects to design and build their sandcastle for the biggest beach event in the country.

The event takes place on Sandhaven beach in South Shields.

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Power back on for most after lightning storms

Northern Powergrid, the company responsible for running the power network across the North East and North Yorkshire has successfully restored power to more than 57,370 customers who were affected after last night's devastating storms across North Yorkshire, County Durham, Tyne and Wear, Teesside and Northumberland.

Restoration work is continuing to restore power to the remaining 130 customers who are still affected as a result of the recent storms.

Northern Powergrid’s local 24-hour contact centre have drafted in additional customer advisors who are offering customers support and advice.

The company’s website also has an easy-to-use power cut reporting service which is regularly updated as well as Twitter (@northpowergrid) and Facebook pages providing regular updates and advice to customers and local communities.

Hailstones the size of golf balls wreck Nth Yorks business

Broken panes at Ravensworth Nurseries. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Hailstones the size of golf balls during last night's storm shattered at least three thousand panes of glass at a North Yorkshire garden centre, ruining almost all the stock inside.

Its owners say the bill will run into hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The clean-up operation is underway at Ravensworth Nurseries near Richmond, and staff are trying try to salvage as many plants as they can.

Surprised by the size of the hailstones, Jonathan Bradbrook scooped up and froze some of the missiles that have left them with a hefty repair bill.

Most of the stock inside is ruined. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

We've got eight acres of glass and we have probably got in excess of three thousand panes of glass maybe broken. We don't know until we have a good count.

And it's not just the glass, it is all the plants. All the plants on the ground are covered in shards of glass so everything on the ground will be wrote off.

– Jonathan Bradbrook

And here's what caused the damage. These pictures filmed by the Myers family show the ferocity of the storm.

It was coming down. It was bouncing off the lawn, onto the conservatory windows and as we watched it, it was almost like mini deathchargers going off in the pond.

It was violent, it really was and the hailstones, we've read about them and heard about them being the size of golf balls but never really seen them and they were rock hard of that size.

– Lee Myers
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