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Ant and Dec Set to Publish Their First Children’s Book



The Geordie duo are writing the book to help raise money for the NSPCC.

The TV presenters’ debut storybook is called ‘Propa Happy’ and is set to be released on the 26th of May next year.

All of the proceeds from the publication written by Anthony ‘Ant’ McPartlin and Declan ‘Dec’ Donnelly, will be donated to Britain’s leading children’s charity the NSPCC in time for it’s annual fundraiser on June 10th.

The book, which will cost £6.99, will be a ‘fun-filled guide to feeling good for children aged 7+’ and will be packed with games, jokes, anecdotes, challenges and quizzes.

The pair will be creating the book with the help of child psychologists, the NSPCC and will be aiming to help children nurture their emotional well-being.

Including mental health activities and advice, the book will be essential, alongside the fundraiser, in making sure the NSPCC and childline can continue their work.

Mental and emotional health has been the top reason why children have gotten in touch with the counselling service throughout the whole of the pandemic, since April last year they have received over 73,088 calls from young children.

In a statement about the book Ant said, “Every child deserves a happy childhood – and the NSPCC rely on fundraising to ensure they can continue to be here for children and families. As NSPCC Ambassadors for Childhood, we wanted to show our support for this fantastic charity and their vital work.”

His on screen partner Dec added, ‘’Childhood Day next year is going to be even better and we’re thrilled that through the launch of Propa Happy we can encourage children and grown-ups across the UK to come together to fundraise on June 10 and do their bit for children.”

Mike McGrath who is head of partnerships at the NSPCC commented, “The NSPCC’s Childhood Day, which takes place on the second Friday of every June, is a vital moment in the calendar when we call on children and grown-ups up and down the UK to come together and raise money for the NSPCC. We are delighted that through the launch of their fantastic new book and by donating their author proceeds to the NSPCC, Ant and Dec are helping to protect more children and raise vital awareness of Childhood Day. Although restrictions have eased and life is gradually returning to a new kind of normal, we know things are very tough for many children.’’

The book is set to be published by Farshore publishing, Mellisa Fairley their Publishing Director said, “Ant & Dec are national treasures who have spent their career making families laugh and smile. We are delighted to be working with this dream duo on their first children’s book Propa Happy, with guidance from the NSPCC. The book will be brimming with positivity and will provide a safe and reassuring space for children to talk about worries and anxieties. We are Propa Chuffed to be publishing this book.”

Ant and Dec released a video on Facebook, expressing their excitement for the release.

Will you be buying their book?

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Best of North East

Best Free Things to do in the North East



Credit: Boris Yue

Thinking of something to do can be tough enough, never mind when it also has to be free. But don’t worry – we’ve rounded up a list of free things to do in the North East.


Jesmond Dene

Think lavish greenery and stunning flowers. Jesmond Dene is picturesque – the perfect place for a stroll through beautiful displays of nature. A definite highlight is the grand waterfall, which anyone who lives locally will know as a famous photo spot. But what is arguably the best spot is Pets Corner. Situated in the heart of the Newcastle-based park, the farm is home to all your favourite farm animals. Expect pigs, goats, rabbits and so, so many colourful birds!

Jesmond Dene

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Ed Sheeran Cancels Sunderland Stadium of Light Gig



Some bad news for local Ed Sheeran fans this morning as it has been announced that one of his gigs at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light has been cancelled due to a ‘scheduling conflict’.

There was great excitement last year when it was announced that the Thinking Out Loud singer would be bringing his latest tour to Wearside over three consecutive nights, following the huge success of his latest album and number 1 singles Bad Habits and Shivers. The Brit winner was all set to play the Stadium of Light on June 2, 3 and 4, but the first night, the Thursday, has now been scrapped due to scheduling issue.

Those who have tickets for the Thursday, June 2 are being offered tickets for one of the other shows, with those affected sent emails informing them on the cancellation. The statement in the email reads: “We regrettably must inform you that due to a scheduling conflict, the show at Sunderland ‘s Stadium of Light on Thursday, June 2 is unable to take place. We’re still very excited for the Friday and Saturday gigs.”

Ticket holders affected are being offered tickets for either the Friday or the Saturday or a refund.

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Where is the ‘Canoe Man’ John Darwin Now?



Two decades after Hartlepool prison officer John Darwin attempted to fake his own death in a canoeing ‘accident’, ITV aired a dramatised version of the bizarre events.

The former prison officer paddled out to sea in a canoe near his family home at Seaton Carew, near Hartlepool, before ditching the vessel to give the impression that he drowned. The ‘Canoe Man’ had attempted to disappear in 2002 in order for his wife Anne to claim life insurance money before being caught out in 2007 and jailed for six years for the fraud. After his disappearance in March 2002, a large-scale search involving the scouring of 62 square miles of coastline looked to have confirmed the worst, as only a single paddle and then the wreckage of his kayak was discovered.

For much of Darwin’s missing five years, he had been living in secret in his own home in the seaside resort of Seaton Carew, where he shared a bed with his wife. When family and friends visited and his sons returned from the inquest into his alleged death, Darwin hid in a bedsit next door that was accessed through a passageway hidden behind the door of a fake cupboard.

Darwin later admitted that he would carry out DIY on the front of his family home and even walked around his area disguised as an old man – even as his two now grown-up sons Anthony and Mark continued to grieve for him thinking he was dead. The couple even lied to their own children as they attempted to claim pension, benefits and insurance to clear nearly £700,000 before they were caught.

Just under a year after he disappeared, Darwin turned up at his family home looking ‘an absolute mess’, his wife said.She claimed that she had really believed he was dead before he turned up.

‘Although I was pleased he was still alive, I think deep down a part of me was always angry,’ she said.

‘To think of what he put us all through. He had basically come back expecting me to forgive him.’

She claimed that she wanted to report what he had done but he then threatened to say she had been involved from the start, so she was ‘trapped’. At the inquest into his disappearance in April 2003, Mrs Darwin was able to have her husband declared dead, even though the seven years that is usually needed after someone has gone missing had not yet passed.

The couple eventually decided to leave Seaton Carew and move to Panama City to start a new life together before their secret was exposed by the discovery of an infamous photo of them posing in a Panama real estate office in July 2006. Darwin, stole the identity of a dead baby named John Jones.

The family home was sold and the couple spent several months together in Panama after they had bought a £50,000 two-bed apartment in a suburb of Panama City. They also hoped to open a canoeing centre for eco-tourists.

But Darwin then wanted to return to the UK because, Mrs Darwin said, he missed his sons. He said he would claim to have suffered amnesia.

The famous Panama photo, 2006

Knowing there was a viral photograph of them in Panama, Darwin walked into a police station in December 2007 and said he thought he was a ‘missing person’ but said he could not remember anything that had happened in the past five years.

When their two sons were called to the police station to be reunited with their father, the couple had to pretend to be astonished as they too saw each other again.

During their time in prison, the couple divorced with John citing ‘unreasonable  behaviour’ as a reason for the split. John moved to Manila and remarried after the divorce to Filipino woman Mercy Mae Avila Darwin, 48.

In 2008, after the scandal made national headlines, John was found guilty on deception charges and jailed for six years and three months. Anne was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in jail for fraud and money-laundering charges. After her release from prison, Anne Darwin moved to a village near York and was able to get a job with the RSCPA thanks to qualifications she gained in prison.

ITV drama about John and Anne Darwin’s fraud. The Thief, His Wife and The Canoe airs in April.

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