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British Transplant Games begin on Tyneside

The British Transplant Games are due to begin on Tyneside today.

More than 600 transplant recipients will take part in the four-day event which will see more than 20 sporting events taking place at venues across Newcastle and Gateshead.

More than 600 transplant recipients will take part in the event Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

The opening ceremony will be held in Newcastle City Centre this evening. The event, which runs until Sunday, was last held on Tyneside in 2000.

Some events will take place at the Gateshead International Stadium Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

"The Games aim to demonstrate the benefits of transplantation, encouraging transplant patients to regain fitness, whilst increasing public awareness of the need for more people to join the NHS Organ Donation Register and discuss their wishes with their families. They also seek to thank and celebrate donor families and the gift of life."

– BRITISH TRANSPLANT GAMES

Metro upgrade completed five months early

Credit: PA

A £30 million upgrade of all Tyne and Wear Metro trains and carriages has been completed five months ahead of schedule. 86 carriages have been improved over the last five years as part of a modernisation programme which has cost a total of £389 million.

DB Regio Tyne and Wear, which runs the Metro on behalf of Nexus, has completed the work as part of the Metro fleet's 'three-quarter life' refurbishment project.

The trains are the first in the UK to reach the Government's required standard on accessibility. New seating and lighting has been installed with a new carriage layout, to create more space for wheelchair users.

Raymond Johnstone, Director of Rail and Infrastructure for Nexus said the work will "extend the service life of Metro trains into the 2020s."

Metro has the fastest-growing number of passengers outside of London with 38 million journeys completed every year.

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Webb Ellis Trophy visit marks 50 days to Rugby World Cup

The Webb Ellis Trophy begins its five day journey across the North East today, marking 50 days until the start of the Rugby World Cup.

The Web Ellis Cup Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

The trophy began its journey at Hadrian's Wall at 6.00am. Today it will pass through Hexham and Newcastle on its way to Alnwick tonight.

The trophy will spend the next three days around Tyneside before visiting West Hartlepool and Darlington Mowden Park rugby clubson its way to Yorkshire.

St James' Park will host three group matches on 3rd, 9th and 10th October. Current world champions New Zealand are among the teams that will play on Tyneside.

Funeral of North East musician to take place

The funeral of North East musician Dave Black, 62, from Whitley Bay, is due to take place in Cullercoats later today.

Dave Black was killed by a train on the Tyne and Wear Metro on 18th July. His body was found on the line approaching Cullercoats station.

Musicians and performers including Andy Taylor from Duran Duran, Ray Laidlaw, John Miles, and comedian Brendan Healy have paid tribute to the former Goldie guitarist.

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North East culture campaign launches 15-year vision

A campaign has been launched to make the North East the UK's leading cultural capital.

The 'Case for Culture' manifesto outlines the region's cultural vision for the next 15 years. It says investment in culture will benefit people, places and the economy in the North East, helping to build and sustain a better future for the entire region.

The 'Case for Culture' manifesto has been launched by the North East Culture Partnership, which is formed of 12 local authorities alongside arts and cultural organisations, sport and tourism, and businesses and educational organisations.

The partnership aims to spread the benefits of arts, culture and heritage across the region by reaching an extra 500,000 people per year, boosting economic growth and job creation.

It is hoped the campaign will increase access to culture for young people across the North East.

The partnership says they will achieve their aims by increasing the planned funding from £100 million to at least £300 million over the next five years.

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