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Little boy returns to Wearside after US operation

A 'welcome home' street party has been thrown for a boy who has just returned following a life changing operation in America.

Derek Russell, 3, has cerebral palsy and needed surgery to help him walk. He has been away with his mum for five weeks and received a warm welcome from his community on Wearside.

Wearside firefighters hurt after ceiling collapsed during blaze at children's home

Two firefighters have been hurt after a ceiling collapsed while tackling a blaze at a children's home on Wearside late on Tuesday night, October 14.

The pair have both treated for whiplash injuries and burns at the Sunderland Royal Hospital and fire chiefs say it could have been far worse.

Police believe the fire was started deliberately and have launched an investigation.

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Workmen to help spot signs of domestic violence

A housing provider on Wearside is leading a campaign to get workmen to help spot the signs of domestic violence.

Workers from Gentoo already look out for broken windows and bust locks and can inform support workers if they have concerns. But now housing companies across the country may follow their example.

Mark Robson, who works as a Joiner, has spoken of the signs they look out for:

Police renew appeal over murder of Sunderland man

Police investigating the murder of Sunderland grandfather Robert Hutchinson are continuing to appeal for information - two months after he was last seen.

The 57-year-old was last seen in Hendon on June 23. He left his home in Corporation Road at 6.20pm in a blue Nissan Micra. His car was left in Stewart Street June 23-24. It was found on July 13 after police were contacted by a member of the public.

The independent charity Crimestoppers is offering a £3,000 reward for information that leads to the conviction of those responsible.

"We still need people to come forward with information, it doesn't matter if the information may seem minor and insignificant, this is an active murder investigation and it is vital people come forward and speak to us.

"We need to know how Robert's car got to be in Stewart Street and would ask local residents to think back and remember whether or not they saw it - did Robert drive the car there himself or was it someone else? If Robert drove it where did he go afterwards? If it was someone else who were they?

"Robert has a partner, daughter, son and grandson and is part of a large family who are all absolutely devastated. They need answers and need to know what has happened to him."

– Detective Chief Inspector Christina Barrett

Anyone with information should contact Northumbria Police on 101.

Sunderland murder inquiry: £3,000 reward

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A £3,000 reward is now being offered for help in solving a murder investigation.

Crimestoppers is offering a reward for information in connection with the disappearance of Sunderland grandfather Robert Hutchinson.

The 57 year old was last seen more than six weeks ago at 6.20pm on Monday, June 23, leaving his home in Corporation Road, Hendon, in a blue Nissan Micra.

On July 16, the missing person enquiry became a murder enquiry when two men were arrested on suspicion of murder. They have since been released on police bail.

Guns to fire for 40th anniversary parade in Sunderland

Members of 4th Regiment Royal Artillery exercised their freedom of the city in 2013 Credit: Sunderland City Council

Hundreds of gunners will march through Sunderland city centre today as the 4th Regiment Royal Artillery exercises its Freedom of Sunderland.

The regiment, historically known as the North East Gunners, was first given its Freedom in 1974 and is marking this 40th anniversary with a parade.

As part of the ceremonies, eight of its 105mm 'light guns' will fire a round each from the terrace in Mowbray Park.

Led by the Band of the King's Division, the regiment will march from the Civic Centre at 1pm.

The parade will head for the Burdon Road War Memorial where it will be inspected by the Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Stuart Porthouse, and the Lord Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear Sir Nigel Sherlock.

The city centre parade is due to begin at approximately 1.30pm and the guns fired at its conclusion at 2.05pm.

"I hope people will cheer them on and applaud the regiment as it marks its 40th with this parade and firing of guns."

– Cllr Paul Watson, Lead of Sunderland City Council

"There is a significant representation of ex-members of the North East Gunners in the Sunderland area. I hope both they and the local community will come to see their regiment marking this wholly important anniversary."

– Lieutenant Colonel John Catto, the regiment's Commanding Officer

Road closures: Burdon and Park Road are closed from 11am to 8pm. A rolling road closure is in place for the city centre parade when it 'steps off'.

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Fishermen lucky to be alive after sea drama

The Dutch yacht that picked up the stricken fisherman. Credit: RNLI

Two fishermen are said to be lucky to be alive tonight after they spent nine hours adrift on a lifeboat after their own boat sank 12 miles off the coast of Sunderland.

The men, who haven't been identified, were picked up by a passing Dutch yacht on its way to Whitby and taken to Hartlepool Marina.

Joshua Shrimpton Dean reports.

Dramatic sea rescue off Sunderland coast

“The fishing vessel’s liferaft was a life saver today and this incident highlights how important it is to ensure that liferafts are properly maintained and able to float free of the boat should the worst happen. Fishermen should wear personal flotation devices at all times whilst on deck. Even if the liferaft floats free, getting into one is no mean feat, especially if the weather is more volatile than today’s relatively calm seas.

Although the liferaft had been drifting for nine hours, we are still hopeful that we will be able to find the wreckage of the boat using our search and rescue information system (SARIS) which is a computer programme that allows us to plot the drift of vessels. The MCA’s counter pollution branch and the Marine Accident Investigation Branch have been informed.

– Mike Puplett, Humber Coastguard

Fishermen's 9-hour raft ordeal

Two fishermen have been rescued after spending nine hours aboard a life raft when their boat sank off the coast of Sunderland.

The pair had been fishing in the North Sea 12 miles east of Sunderland when their boat appeared to hit a submerged object, sinking so quickly they did not have time to make a distress call.

The pair were picked up by a Dutch yacht on Monday, Humber Coastguard said.

The crew contacted the coastguard which arranged for a lifeboat from Hartlepool to pick up the fishermen and bring them to shore.

"Both of the fishermen are now safe and well, although a little shaken by their ordeal. We'd like to thank the Dutch yacht Jager which rescued the men and went out of their way to ensure their safety."

– Mike Puplett, Humber Coastguard

Pictures released of car missing man was last seen in

Police searching for missing Robert Hutchinson have released new images of his car.

It's four weeks since Robert, 57, was last seen leaving his home in Corporation Road in Hendon, Sunderland. He was in his car.

The blue coloured Nissan Micra was later recovered at the end of Stewart Street, just off Chester Road.

The blue coloured Nissan Micra was later recovered at the end of Stewart Street

"Someone must recognise this car - did you see it being driven around the area at any time after 6.20pm on Monday, June 23? Did you see it being left at Stewart Street, which is just off busy Chester Road?

"Even the smallest detail can be vital in piecing together Robert's movements and I'd urge anyone who thinks they have information which may help us in our enquiries - no matter how insignificant they feel it may be - to contact us.

"Calls can be taken in the strictest of confidence. This is an incredibly difficult time for the family and the most important thing is finding out what has happened to Robert for the sake of his family and friends.

"I believe there are people within the community who will have information that will assist the enquiry and I would urge those people to come forward."

– Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Nicola Musgrove
Robert Hutchinson was last seen in his car

Last week, two men were questioned on suspicion of murder and have been released on police bail pending further enquiries.

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