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Washington meningitis survivor was in a coma for 9 weeks

A Washington Meningitis survivor is warning the public to know their symptoms during Meningitis Awareness Week (15th - 21st September).

Vivienne Bellfrom Washington said: “ I contracted meningococcal septicaemia in May 2008. The doctor said I was 97% dead when I was taken to hospital. I was in a coma for 9 weeks, I had my fingers amputated in August and my legs amputated in November and I finally went home on 24th December! I'm supporting Meningitis Awareness Week as everyone needs to know the symptoms so they can seek medical help fast.”

Know the symptoms

Meningitis and septicaemia can be hard to recognise at first. Symptoms can appear in any order, but the first symptoms are usually fever, vomiting, headache and feeling unwell, just like many mild illnesses.

Not everyone gets all the below symptoms. Septicaemia can occur with or without meningitis and in some cases of meningitis, a rash may not appear at all.

The two below images show ticks to demonstrate symptoms that are more specific to meningitis and septicaemia and are less common in milder illnesses.

Meningitis and septicaemia symptoms Credit: Meningitis Research Foundation
Meningitis and septicaemia symptoms Credit: Meningitis Research Foundation


Collabro head to Newcastle for album signing

Collabro Credit: PA

Britain’s Got Talent winning musical theatre group Collabro will head to Newcastle this afternoon to sign copies of their first album ‘Stars’. The album also includes covers of John Legend’s ‘All of Me’, ‘Let it Go’ from Frozen and title track ‘Stars’ of Les Miserables.

It will be particularly important for Jamie Lambert who is from Washington. Today, he'll sign copies of the album at HMV in Gateshead. The singers only together for a month prior to their BGT audition.

Burglar back in prison after 15 years on the run

Michael Sheridan had been on the run for 15 years.

A County Durham man who was on the run for 15 years is back behind bars tonight. 39-year-old Michael Sheridan fled the country to Ireland after walking out of an open prison in 1999. He had served just three and a half months of an eighteen-month sentence for burglary.

Police on Wearside caught up with him by chance after being called to a domestic incident in Washington. After background checks, police discovered he had been on the run for 15 years. He pleaded guilty to escaping and was jailed for 8 months.

Family of drowned girl call for water safety in schools

The family of a teenage girl who drowned in the River Wear last year has backed calls for lessons about water safety to be made a priority in schools.

Tonibeth Purvis jumped in to try to help her friend Chloe Fowler, who had got into difficulty near Washington, but both girls drowned.

Tonibeth's grandmother Tracy Gregory said she had the best of intentions, but did not know how to save herself.


Police appeal for anyone who saw man in his final days

Police investigating the suspicious death of a man whose body was found in a recycling plant on an industrial estate in Washington, want to hear from anyone who saw him over the past few days.

The body has not yet been formally identified but police believe it to be John Sumner, 26, from Sunderland.

"An investigation has begun into the circumstances of John Sumner's death, which at this time is being treated as suspicious, and we are appealing for anyone with information to come forward.

"We're keen to build a picture of John's movements over the past few days and would urge anyone who has knows him, or who has any information, to contact us on 101."

– Detective Superintendent Roger Ford, of Northumbria Police Major Crime Team,

Police name Washington body - death treated as suspicious

Northumbria Police believe a body found in a recycling plant in Washington to be 26-year-old John Sumner, from Lincoln Street in Sunderland. Officers are treating his death as suspicious.

The body has not yet been formally identified. A post mortem examination is currently being carried out establish the cause of death.

Police at Washington recycling plant after body found

Police activity was focusing on a recycling plant in Washington after a body was found. Vans were parked outside Impetus Waste Management at the Pattinson Industrial Estate in Washington.

Officers said a body was found at a "commercial premises" at about 1:30pm on Tuesday, 24th June.

Northumbria Police said their investigation was at an early stage
Police said their offices were in the area to establish the circumstances of the death
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