Section: UK


Sunderland 17 year old releases new single, ‘Mirrors’

Daisy Windsor

Lottie Willis is an immensely talented songwriter ready to explode out of the Sunderland music scene. At just 17 years old she has already gained an anticipative audience across the North East with radio support from BBC Introducing as well as performing shows for the likes of Summer Streets Festival (run by The Futureheads’ Ross […]

APPG on Coronavirus: vaccinating children, booster jabs and global access

Carol Westall

The session on 10 August, began with questions to the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) about the much discussed issue of vaccinating children. On the surface it seems obvious; vaccinate children so they don’t get sick with Covid-19 and vaccinate children so we get closer to the frequently discussed notion of herd immunity. The APPG […]


Opening tomorrow: Free School Meals: theatre inspired by Marcus Rashford

North East Bylines

Inspired by Marcus Rashford’s campaign to end child food poverty, Unfolding Theatre’s Free School Meals puts kids in charge in a new show about power, inequality and hope for change. Rehearsals are now well underway and the show opens tomorrow. It runs from 25 – 28 August. Inadequate food parcels During the pandemic, kids were given food […]

“They are crying and calling me”: help my lovely Afghani friend

Nicola Tipton

A couple of weeks ago I wrote this article. In my poem, I addressed violence against women and girls. The seventh stanza is, sadly, more pertinent than ever in the light of recent events in Afghanistan. I had been thinking about Afghanistan and Nigeria at the time of writing, but never dreamt, like the rest […]

Poetry Corner

Mr Speaker

Keith Johnson

He shambles, arrogant, And his words strut: “Two and two, Mister Speaker, Make five. A poem by Keith Johnson.

Chicken shortage: it’s peri-peri serious!

Peter Benson

Are you in a flap about the chicken shortage and worried about not getting enough of your favourite finger licking delicious chicken meal?  Well, if not you should be or perhaps you have not been in a supermarket lately. The reason for the chicken shortages in Nando’s and KFC  is an acute shortage of staff within […]

Poetry Corner

The echo of your energy

Norah Hanson

I unlock the door for your coming but you ring the bell again and again summoning me to the crash of your arrival the unstoppable incoming tide of you You launch yourselves, cling like limpets your limbs fastened on my body Your kisses wet in my face Sound surges, quietening the silence of this house […]

Hundreds flock to wool fair in Weardale

Julie Ward

Hundreds of people flocked to a former limestone quarry in Frosterley, Weardale, on 13 August to learn more about traditional woollen arts and crafts. The ‘Summer Wool Event’ was organised by North Pennines Wool, a network of small-holders and craft workers established in 2009 to help promote the local woollen industry and the North Pennines […]

I’m a smoker

Peter Lathan

I started smoking when I was about 14 (1957 or thereabouts) and I smoked, more or less without interruption, until I was 71. I say “more or less” because I did try to give up on a number occasions – once I lasted four days and then my wife threatened that she would sit on […]


Churches, wells and a labyrinth: a pilgrimage with Brendan McBear

Chris Humble

Brendan McBear is a bear. He would describe himself as a New Monastic Celt when he’s not too busy taking the mickey out of The Big Eejit or BE – his companion and sometime mentor. His association with Chris Humble began when the Northumbria Community asked Chris to take him on pilgrimage. This is their […]

Poetry Corner


Nicola Tipton

My heart cries in the wind, “Answer me. Answer me.” Trees whisper back, “We are here. We are here.” Body aches for caress, “Touch me. Touch me.” Wild flowers, rushes sing, “Lie with us. Lie with us.” My mind pleads, “Heal me. Heal me.” Bees fumble the flowers and, butterflies dance. “Watch us. Watch us.” […]

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: the Tees Valley responds to the Afghanistan Crisis

Scott Hunter

Middlesbrough mayor, Andy Preston, has been making the headlines, with an unambiguous statement of support for refugees from Afghanistan. Many here will welcome those humanitarian sentiments, published in the Gazette on 19 August. The Gazette article, however, moves swiftly on to discussion of the pantomime of incompetence in Westminster over the issue, and so does […]

Trade Unions: Thatcherism to New Labour

Stephen Lambert

With the election of a Conservative government in May 1979  a new style of PM – Margaret Thatcher was committed to restructuring the UK economy by creating more flexible and efficient labour markets. Thatcher was pledged to reform Britain’s trade unions and curb their power. Throughout the eighties conflict between organised labour and the Conservative […]


Onward: a lovely Disney Pixar experience

Katie Maughan

Disney Pixar’s Onward hit the streaming platform Disney+ in early 2020. The film is centred around brothers Ian and Barley as they attempt to cast a spell to bring back their late father for 24 hours. The spell fails, and they have to set off to find the components they need to try the spell […]

Why Rebel by Jay Griffiths: review

Nicola Tipton

If you have ever been a rebel, are an active rebel, or are beginning to think about rebelling this book is a must-read. Although it addresses climate change, in particular, and the author’s experience of being arrested at an XR protest and the consequences of this and her trial, it deals with so much more […]


Petition to making lying in the House of Commons illegal reaches over 120,000

Ron Tocknell

Lying is generally frowned upon but only in certain circumstances is it actually illegal. Being economical with the truth when filling out a tax return, for example (fraud) or giving a false witness statement in court (perjury). But lying in the House of Commons is, apparently, just fine as long as the said liar happens to […]

Why do girls outdo boys at school and college?

Stephen Lambert

Throughout the country girls are outperforming boys at every stage in the educational system from early years Sats, GCSEs, A-levels, university admissions and degree classifications. In the North of England they are more likely to get three top A-level passes. This year more women have been accepted for university than men. Six out of 10 […]

Sing out! A tribute to Nanci Griffith

Anya Cook

“Sing Out!” Nanci signed in my book as I caught her leaving a gig at Bristol’s Colston Hall in 2000; gracious, kind and very human. She was simply lovely. I did well that evening, acquiring a poster too as the promoters were switching materials. I saw her again at the Royal Albert Hall with the […]

Lorry driver shortages, empty shelves and Brexit

Yvonne Wancke

Retailers right across the country are struggling to find enough lorry drivers to ensure that they have enough stock in the coming months and in particular for the festive season. The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has estimated that there is a current shortfall of around 100,000 drivers. If anything this is set to become worse. […]

Learning to live with Covid: the pandemic is not over yet

Giuseppe Bignardi

To get close to normality we must accept the pandemic is not over yet For some politicians “learning to live with Covid” is a mantra that means allowing high numbers of infections. However, we may get closer to normality if we accept that we cannot yet return to full normality. In comparison with other countries […]

Dear Michelle Donelan, universities’ minister

Connor Lamb

When I started university in September 2019, I was expecting a lot of things. I was expecting to make some new friends and get to know a new and diverse range of fellow students. I was expecting a pristine environment where I could study my passions in a stimulating, supportive and relaxed community. I was […]

No ‘levelling up’ for the North East: another broken promise

Yvonne Wancke

The North East is set to lose millions of pounds this year because of Brexit. This is despite the Prime Minister’s repeated promises of ‘levelling up’. A number of traditional Labour voting areas in the North East switched their votes to support Boris Johnson in the 2019 election, in part because of a desire to […]


Free Guy

Phil Coghill

Guy (Ryan Reynolds) is just an average bank teller going about his life, when he discovers that he’s really a non-playable character in a Grand Theft Auto-esque open world video game called Free World and that the game’s creator Antwone (Taika Waititi) is going to delete the server within a couple of days. While the […]


Daytime TV: rubbish and repeats

Peter Lathan

My first contact with daytime TV was when my mother had to go into a care home. At first we used to visit her in her room but as her mobility became more restricted and she had to use a wheelchair and relied on the staff to push her around (she was well over 90), […]


In search of St Alkmund: a pilgrimage with Brendan McBear

Chris Humble

“We’re in Derby! B.E. And I have teamed up with labyrinth deity Jim Bailey to search for St Alkmund and others, and also look for twirly things on the ground that I don’t understand…” Thanks Brendan; we have also finally met up with the sun, after a depressingly long absence. Introducing St Alkmund St Alkmund […]


Jolly boating weather and educational opportunities

Robina Jacobson

Ah, Henley again, and jolly boating weather. On Thames or on Tyne, we can at least ‘swing, swing together’ for the river waters find their own level and are widely accessible. If the same could be said of playing fields, grand school facilities and small class sizes we might all fare better. North East exam […]

Why has the TES decided not to cover Further Education?

Anya Cook

The go-to education publication TES announced on Twitter last week that it will no longer cover further education from September. No real reason was given and in stating that journalists had already been reallocated tasks, it was confirmed as a done deal. There are other publications, of course, but writing for sector specific audiences only […]

Durham Miners’ Gala: Little Big Meetings and the truth about Thatcher

Julie Ward
Durham miners banner

Boris Johnson’s crass comments praising Margaret Thatcher for closing the pits in the 1980s and wrongly attributing her with green credentials have been roundly condemned by leading figures connected to the Durham Miners’ Gala. It is the second year running that Gala organisers have reluctantly taken the decision to cancel the iconic ‘Big Meeting’ due […]


Julie and the Phantoms: a unique Netflix show

Katie Maughan

Julie and The Phantoms is a unique musical Netflix series, directed by Kenny Ortega who has worked on films such as High School Musical and Dirty Dancing. The series revolves around teenager. Julie, who is grieving the loss of her mother. Julie(Madison Reyes)  had given up on music, until she met Luke (Charlie Gillespie), Reggie […]

Chi congratulates A-Level students in Newcastle after a difficult year

North East Bylines

Chi congratulates A-Level students in Newcastle after a difficult year Chi Onwurah, MP for Newcastle Central, gave her congratulations to A-level students who are receiving their results today. This comes after 18 months of disrupted learning and revised assessments. Record acceptance onto university courses A record number of students have been accepted on university courses […]