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Aurora Borealis Lights Up North East Skies

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From Sunderland to South Shields, lucky stargazers caught a rare glimpse of the Northern Lights over the weekend.

The lights, otherwise known as Aurora Borealis, are usually only clearly visible at more northerly latitudes but a combination of a clear night sky and intense solar activity resulted in large parts of the north enjoying the atmospheric performance.

From Scotland to York, the Northern Lights were could be seen across many parts of the UK as higher than normal levels of geomagnetic activity were recorded.

An Amber alert was issued by Aurora Watch UK, prompting keen stargazers to take to the skies for a fleeting glimpse of the elusive light display.

Anyone interested in seeing the Northern Lights can download a number of apps which track and provide updates on where they have been seen and are likely to be observed.

All photography by Simon C Woodley

Check out Simon’s stunning North-East photography here.

Did you get to witness the Aurora Borealis?

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Aldi are giving you a chance to become an official beer tester

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Aldi Beer Tester

Supermarket giant Aldi is in search of individuals with a passion for beer to become official beer testers and review its new range of beers, lagers and ciders which will be launched on September 15.

This job is perfect for beer lovers who, if successful, will receive a selection of beers to be tested, reviewed and, of course, consumed in order to help Aldi bosses make key decisions ahead of the launch of the new range.

From craft ales to IPAs, chosen applicants will receive 10 different products to review and rate out of five.

Julie Ashfield, Managing Director of Buying at Aldi UK, said: “We’re looking for someone with passion and excitement when it comes to craft ale, but who can honestly review our range and provide suggestions as to how we might improve it for next year.

“For beer lovers, this is the ultimate opportunity. Best of luck to all applicants.”

Does this sound like you? To apply simply send an email to Aldibeertester@clarioncomms.co.uk with the following details:

  1. Full name
  2. Proof of Age (copy of passport or driving license)
  3. Social media handles (if applicable)
  4. A 150-word explanation as to why you should be chosen for the role
  5. Your favourite beer and why

Entries are open until August 29. See full terms and conditions here.

Will you be applying?

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Vicky Pattison left in tears before her praised Channel 4 documentary airs

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Vicky Pattison opened up on Instagram on Tuesday to reveal that she had been ‘crying in the toilets for hours’ after a press tour for her Channel 4 documentary on alcoholism left her ‘completely emotionally exhausted.

The Geordie Shore star confirmed last month that she would be releasing a documentary focusing on her father John’s battle with drink and addressing her own fears that she could follow his path, admitting that alcohol has already impacted stages of her career.

My Dad, Alcohol and Me aired on Tuesday at 10pm on Channel 4 and has already received widespread praise from viewers.

The promotional trial ahead of the documentary’s release saw Vicky appearing on shows like The One Show and This Morning, as well as in numerous magazines and newspapers.

Vicky is known for her honest social media presence, and on Tuesday posted a tearful selfie to Instagram with the following caption:

“Today got the better of me… 🥺

“I’ve spent the last month talking about things that I’ve kept bottled up for years- in the hopes that people will watch my documentary tonight and understand a little bit more about addiction and alcoholism. But I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t left me completely emotionally exhausted. Every interview I did I grew closer and closer to tears.

“I went and hid in the toilets at the BBC today and had a little cry after my chat- which I’d been threatening to do all day if I’m honest with myself 🥹”

She also shared that she hopes that the documentary is able to help even just one person feel less alone or bring one family closer together while bringing clarity and peace, and helping people understand what those struggling with addiction and those that love them have to face on a daily basis.

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Conflicting priorities amongst train operators

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Train Station Newcastle upon Tyne

In the UK, train operators are pushing their way to tear up traditional rush hour ticket rules in favour of surge pricing similar to airlines.

 

Andy Bagnall, chief executive of the new rail operator body Rail Partners believes that train operators are lobbying for “a more demand-led approach that actually allows you to give better value tickets but give a better customer experience”.

 

Should the move go ahead, the industry would mirror methods used by all airlines and more recently Uber by scrapping the peak and off-peak classifications and replacing them with “demand-led pricing” for all longer journeys.

 

“You don’t have that awful first rain after the peak ends, which has three times as many passengers [because] everyone’s been waiting for the first train because of that cliff edge” commented Mr Bagnall who also said that “we would like to see dynamic pricing”

 

At this current time reforms to ticketing are just one of several ideas being discussed by the Government in relation to public transport.

 

“[Customers want] an industry guarantee that when you sell me the ticket, that does what I want it to do, that will be the best possible price I can get regardless of where I go”.

 

Mr Bagnall dismissed the need to reduce the estimated 55 million ticket types on the UKs railways but did warn that if this led to a greater involvement in the train network by state, the industry’s future would be doomed.

 

“We believe that the railway is at a fork in the tracks. If we make the right choices, if we can harness the train companies to respond to customer needs, we can attract customers back”.

 

“On the other hand, [if] we take the wrong track and the wrong decisions are made — we will build an over centralised railway under Great British Railways with the role of operators unduly constrained… We will ultimately see a railway with lower passenger numbers, lower revenues, [and] probably leading to further service reductions.”

 

Rail Partners however are pushing for the private sector to play a greater role in the country’s train network under the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, changes more than a year ago. The company’s predecessor, the Rail Delivery Group, had been previously criticised for serving the needs of state-owned company Network Rail along with other operator of whom had regularly conflicting priorities.

 

A main factor of Mr Shapps’ reforms was Great British Railways which would bring together the tracks and trains in a new public sector.

 

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