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“I could’ve been killed!”



Tyne and Wear FRS

In the build up to Bonfire Night – as the darker nights draw in – a firefighter who was nearly killed when a scaffolding pole smashed the window of his fire appliance reflects on the horrific incident and pleads with troublemakers not to attack emergency service crews.


In the early hours of August 31 [2019] a crew from Byker Community Fire Station were attending a road traffic collision in Walker.


It had been reported that the vehicle had flipped on to its roof – and the occupants were still trapped inside.


The Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service appliance had its blue lights and sirens in full operation when a cowardly act took place.


Watch Manager Graeme MacDonald was in the cab when somebody viciously threw a twelve-inch scaffolding bar at the windscreen.


“I could’ve been killed or seriously injured,” said WM MacDonald.


This incident is being highlighted at one of the busiest times of the year for Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) in the run up to Bonfire Night – where incidents of anti-social behaviour (ASB) and attacks on firefighters are rife.


This was recently reinforced as TWFRS disclosed that since the start of 2021 there have been 50 ASB attacks on firefighters in the area.


WM MacDonald, said: “Think about what you are doing before you act: at the end of the day, I want to go home and see my family. I’m married with children and I want to safely return to my wife, son and daughter.


“I also want to make sure that my crew are safe as well. It’s not a game. It’s not fun. Incidents of anti-social behaviour create significant implications and what those individuals are doing has a real effect on people’s professional and family lives.


“Not only do their actions have consequences but it also means that the fire engine isn’t available to attend other incidents. It also has cost implications for the public.


“The incident I was involved in has stayed with me, and I wouldn’t want any other crews up and down the country to experience the same ordeal.”



WM MacDonald, aged 36, is North East born and bred.  Graeme, who lives in North Tyneside, comes from a long line of proud and passionate firefighters. He followed in the footsteps of his father who also served in Tyne and Wear.  The family connections don’t stop there as Graeme’s grandfather was in the Auxiliary Fire Service, and his uncle served as a firefighter in the south of England.


Graeme has been with Tyne and Wear FRS for over eleven-years and has served at five community fire stations including Byker, Newcastle Central, Low Fell, Sunderland Central and Wallsend.


He continues: “The incident made me feel like I wasn’t valued by the local community and I know that isn’t true. But it made me think if they could attack us in this way, then who else could?


“Firefighters are here to help the local community and that’s what this job is all about at the end of the day.  Whether individuals make the wrong decision in the heat of the moment that’s not for me to argue.  It’s for me to turn up for work and do my job to the best of my ability.”


Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Peter Heath of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said:


“Any attacks on firefighters and other emergency services colleagues on Bonfire Night or any other night of the year is unacceptable. We aren’t just talking about a person risking their life day in, day out. We are talking about a real person – someone’s loved one – who wants to serve their community and return home safely after work.


“Firefighters, like all other emergency workers should be treated with respect and dignity, in the manner they deserve.  These acts of violence against our crews won’t be tolerated and the individuals responsible for these actions will be brought to justice with help from our partners.  Please be careful this Bonfire Night and recognise the work and commitment the emergency services make to keep you all safe from harm.”


Graeme MacDonald, concludes by giving some advice ahead of Bonfire Night. He said: “My advice would be to stay safe. Go to an organised event and don’t engage in any anti-social behaviour – particularly attacks against the Fire Service and other emergency service personnel as you never know when you might need our help.”


If you have any important information about deliberate fires being ignited in your local community – you can report the details anonymously by calling Firestoppers on 0800 169 5558 or by reporting it through their website


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Sunderland suspend Jack Diamond after player is charged with rape and sexual assault



A Sunderland football player on loan to Lincoln FC has had his loan terminated after he was charged with rape.

Jack Diamond, 23, had been arrested after a sexual assault in Washington, Tyne and Wear, last year.

Northumbria Police launched an investigation, but have now charged him with one count of rape and one count of sexual assault.

Lincoln City FC said the player’s loan contract had been terminated “with immediate effect”.

His home club, Sunderland AFC, said he had been suspended pending the outcome of legal proceedings.

In a statement, it said: “Sunderland AFC has been notified that criminal charges have been brought against Jack Diamond by the Crown Prosecution Service.”

“As this matter is subject to a legal process, the club will not be making any further statement at this time”.

The incident is alleged to have happened in May last year.

Mr Diamond, of Fatfield, also Washington, is due to appear before South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court in May.

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Paul O’Grady Dies Aged 67, Just Weeks After Newcastle Theatre Performance



TV presenter and comedian Paul O’Grady has died at the age of 67,  just weeks after starring in a Newcastle theatre production.

The TV star, who was from Birkenhead on Merseyside, died “unexpectedly but peacefully” on Tuesday evening, a statement said.

His partner Andre Portasio made this statement: “It is with great sadness that I inform you that Paul has passed away unexpectedly but peacefully yesterday evening.”

“We ask, at this difficult time, that whilst you celebrate his life you also respect our privacy as we come to terms with this loss.

“He will be greatly missed by his loved ones, friends, family, animals and all those who enjoyed his humour, wit and compassion.

“I know that he would want me to thank you for all the love you have shown him over the years.”

The TV star, starred in a theatre prodution of Annie just weeks ago in Newcastle as it returned to Newcastle’s Theatre Royal from March 7-11.

O’Grady starred as the role of Miss Hannigan, the head of the orphanage who hates children. He had been due to perform the show across the UK up until November this year.

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Karen’s Diner on Tour is BACK IN NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE!!



Karens Diner on Tour Newcastle upon Tyne

Karen’s Diner on Tour coming to town on tour and ‘well if y’all show up in force we’ll either come as a longer term pop up or simply just stay put for a while until we’ve insulted everyone in the North East!’


Get your tickets here: Karens Diner Newcastle tickets


We have spoken to the top Karen who assures everyone who went last time that Bottomless means BOTTOMLESS!

At our pop-up Karen’s you will be greeted and waited upon by rude waiters who in return are expecting you to give it full Karen. A place where you can complain until the cows come home because we literally don’t care. You can expect good food, good fun and a dining experience like you’ve never had before. Let us know if it’s your birthday, if your name is Karen and for the love of Karen don’t ask to speak to the manager….

Your ticket includes a delicious BOTTOMLESS pizza and BOTTOMLESS prossecco or select spirits and mixers as well as select soft drinks drinks for a full 90mins

*We cater for all allergens

You will get full and authentic Karen experience – our games, our waitstaff and the full works. Decent food provided by the venue (we hope) and BOTTOMLESS booze for those who love a drink. This is a dining experience like no other – literally. Come enjoy the OG Karen’s from OG Karen’s.

Don’t accept imitations – book now to avoid missing out!

See our two below YouTube videos from the last time they were in the toon to see what to expect…

Follow our channel for more local videos…

North East Updates YouTube channel


*affiliate link – we may receive payment for sales for this event.

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