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The region prepares to observe silence for Paris

People across the region will observe a one minute silence in respect of the victims of the terrorist attack in Paris. It will take place at 11am today.

South Shields man protects girlfriend from gunfire during Paris terror attack

Michael O'Connor, 30, from South Shields survived the Paris attacks. Credit: Facebook/MichaelO'Connor

A man from South Shields who survived the Paris terror attacks has told how he protected his girlfriend as they lay among victims in the Bataclan concert hall.

Michael O'Connor only escaped when police stormed the building on Friday night.

In Newcastle, a vigil has been held to remember those who died.

Among the hundreds who came to lay flowers and light candles, was a friend of one of the 129 victims who added his photo to the growing tributes.

Victor Munoz died in hospital in Paris after being shot while out with friends.

Laura Deffis said: "We've grown up together, our parents are best friends. Truly, he's like my brother, we are really close friends."


Durham stands with Paris; lit up in red, white and blue

Durham Cathedral lit in the colours of French flag. Credit: Ross Ashton @Projstudio

Durham Cathedral has been lit up in the colours of the French flag in solidarity with Paris.

The city is currently hosting Lumiere, the largest light festival in the UK.

Photographer Ross Ashton put this photo on Twitter with the message: 'Paris, from Durham. Now more than ever. Liberte Egalite Fraternite.'

Newcastle Cathedral urges people to pray for France

Candles at Newcastle Cathedral Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Newcastle's St. Nicholas Cathedral is urging people to pray for France after the terrorist attacks on Friday night.

At least 127 people have died. Islamic State says it was responsible for the killings.

The victims are being remembered in prayers every hour at the cathedral and a sign on the wall reads, "Please remember the people of France in your prayers."

Honorary Canon Richard Hill says many people have been wanting to reflect on the events in Paris.


Holidaymakers due to return to Newcastle Airport

Holidaymakers who've been stranded in Sharm el-Sheikh for more than a week will land at Newcastle Airport tonight.

Thomson flight 891 is expected to touch down at the airport just after 11pm tonight, November 11. There are thought to be around a 140 passengers on board.

Credit: PA

Thousands of holidaymakers remain in the popular Egyptian resort, held up after the decision to suspend routine air links and increase security measures in the wake of the crash that killed all 224 people on board.

A total of 2,301 passengers returned to the UK on Monday on 11 flights from the resort.

South Shields businessman stranded in Sharm 'makes own way home'

Craig Hobson in Sharm el-Sheikh. Credit: Craig Hobson

A South Shields businessman stranded in Sharm el-Sheikh in the aftermath of the plane crash has told how he went against official advice and made his own way back to the UK.

42-year-old Craig Hobson was on holiday in the Egyptian resort with his business partner, Robert Storey. They made alternative arrangements after working out they faced being trapped there for up to an extra week.

The pair were due to come back from a week's break on Saturday (November 7) but the flight was cancelled. So for just £180 they took a plane from Sharm to Istanbul, with a connection on to Heathrow.

Craig Hobson (right) with Robert Storey. Credit: Craig Hobson

I'm surprised more people haven't done it.

I know in one sense, effectively you are travelling against Foreign Office advice, but we counted up how long we were going to be stuck.

In our view, security was stepped up ten-fold, the army was there and we felt it was safe as it was ever going to be, flying with Pegasus.

If you have a medical condition or a child with disabilities and are waiting to get to hospital (in the UK), there are still very simple routes out of there.

– Craig Hobson

Mr Hobson has been a frequent visitor to the resort and said he had previously seen serious security lapses, with staff asleep, security personnel playing games on their phones and people moving freely from passenger-side to air-side.

Previously, it was funny. Now this has happened, you look back with horror. I would love to go back, I love the Egyptian people. But would I fly against Foreign Office advice? Probably not.

– Craig Hobson

Newcastle Airport: No flights from Sharm el-Sheikh on Monday

No flights from Sharm el-Sheikh will come in to Newcastle Airport on Monday Credit: PA

Newcastle Airport has said that there will be no arrival flights from Sharm el-Sheikh on Monday.

Flights with Thomas Cook and Thomson airlines usually run on Mondays.

Rescue flights to repatriate British citizens from Egypt began on Friday.

Flights have been cancelled in line with FCO advice and we're working hard to get all our customers home as they require.

– Thomas Cook
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