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Manchester Bombing: Newcastle Arena Introduces ‘Martyn’s Law’

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One of Tyneside’s biggest venues has welcomed proposed new legislation designed to prevent terror attacks in the wake of the Manchester Arena bombing.

The lives of 22 innocent people, including four from the North East, were claimed when suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated his explosives at the end of an Ariana Grande concert, in May 2017.

Figen Murray, whose son Martyn Hett died in the tragedy, has spent the past five years campaigning for tougher laws to ensure large venues are kept safe from terrorists. This week plans for ‘Martyn’s Law’ moved one step closer when the Government published the findings on its consultation into the proposed legislation, otherwise known as ‘Protect Duty’.

Manchester Victim: Martyn Hett

Under the new proposals, venues would have a legal duty to provide specific security plans for a terror attack, and resources would be made available to help with this.

Private and public owners of venues and sites currently have no obligation to act on free advice given to them from specialist counter-terrorism advisers about threats of a terrorist attack and how to mitigate the risk.

Newcastle’s Utilita Arena has been one of the venues involved in discussions about the Protect Duty plans. Yesterday bosses welcomed the new laws and said it would introduce any new measures necessary to help keep audiences safe.

A spokeswoman for the arena said: “We will carefully consider the new legislation as soon as it is available and look at any additional steps we can take to ensure that the safety of everyone remains central to our security and event planning.”

Ministers first announced plans to introduce the Protect Duty legislation back in February 2020. But, the pandemic and closure of venues has delayed the period of public consultation.

The Government published its response to the consultation yesterday and said “2,755 responses were received from a variety of organisations, sectors and campaigners, with the majority supporting the government’s proposals to introduce stronger measures.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “My number one priority is keeping the people of the UK safe. Following the tragic attack at the Manchester Arena, we have worked closely with Figen Murray, victims’ groups and partners to develop proposals to improve protective security around the country.”

Would this new law make you feel more at ease attending major events? Let us know over on socials!

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Sunday for Sammy Concert Cancelled For 2023 Due To Cost of Living

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A popular charity concert will not be held in 2023 due to the cost of living crisis.

Sunday for Sammy, which is held in memory of North East actor Sammy Johnson, is a biennial event aimed at benefitting young performers.

The long-running event has featured the likes of Joe McElderry, Johnny Vegas, Brenda Blethyn, Denise Welch, AC/DC’s Brian Johnson and Mark Knopfler, Jill Halfpenny and Ant and Dec.

Tim Healy, who hosts Sunday for Sammy, said: “We’ve had lots of enquiries over the recent months asking when the next Sunday for Sammy will take place.

“We are very much aware at the moment that people are struggling with day-to-day living costs and are watching their pennies. Everything is becoming more and more expensive and that includes the cost of putting on a show the size of ours.”

He added: “We can’t in good conscious put on a show that we aren’t sure people can afford to be tickets for. It would be wrong to risk your money you have generously given us.

“So sadly we have decided that there won’t be a show in 2023. We’re going to wait until the time is right.”

Often dubbed The Geordie Command Performance, the shows, which have been running for more than 20 years, are held in memory of Geordie actor Sammy Johnson, who died in 1999.

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Former Health Secretary, Matt Hancock to enter I’m a Celebrity!

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Matt Hancock I'm a Celebrity

News had not long broke that ex Health secretary Matt Hancock was to enter the jungle in I’m a celerity that he has had his Tory Whip suspended.

 

Matt Hancock is expected to be added as a surprise final addition to the line-up of celebrities who will travel to Australia as part of the reality TV show this year.

 

Asked about Matt Hancock appearance, Rishi Sunak’s official spokesman said: “The PM believes that at a challenging time for the country MPs should be working hard for their constituents, whether that is in the House or in their constituency.” The spokesman said it was “unlikely” Mr Sunak would be watching the programme.

 

Simon Hart, the chief whip, confirmed that Mr Hancock would have the whip removed – “Following a conversation with Matt Hancock, I have considered the situation and believe this is a matter serious enough to warrant suspension of the whip with immediate effect.”

 

What do you think of him appearing in the hit TV show?

 

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Best of North East

Sam Fender: How Much Are Tickets?

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Sam Fender has delighted fans by announcing a huge stadium show at Newcastle’s St. James’ Park. The North Shields singer will play at the home of Newcastle United on June 9, 2023 and fans can sign up for pre sale tickets now.

The 28-year-old singer will follow in the footsteps of Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan, for his performance and becomes the first Geordie musician to headline the iconic stadium.

It’s been a huge 2022 so far for the ‘Hypersonic Missiles’ singer, picking up BRIT, NME, and Ivor Novello Awards, and a first nomination for the prestigious Mercury Prize next week, for his second album, the critically acclaimed number one album, ‘Seventeen Going Under’.

Tickets for the huge stadium show go on general sale at 10am on Friday, September 9 via Ticketmaster and See Tickets. Pre-sale goes live at 10am on Wednesday, September 7.

But how much are tickets? Pitch standing tickets are £57.50 (plus fees) and seating tickets start from £47.50 (plus fees).

Speaking of the show, Sam Fender said: “Ever since I started this band, I always used to joke with the boys that one day we might play St James’ Park in Newcastle.

“It’s a childhood dream come true, and we’re actually gonna play it on the 9th June. This is literally gonna be the biggest show we’ve ever done – our first stadium show, which is so weird to say! I can’t wait, it’s gonna be absolutely lush and I hope to see yas all there.”

Support for the show will come from Inhaler and Holly Humberstone.

Will you be trying to bag tickets? Do you think they are a reasonable price?

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