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Repair Work Approved to Save 230-year-old Masonic Hall



Plans for major repair works to help safeguard the future of a historic masonic hall have been given the go-ahead.

Sunderland City Council’s planning department received an application in 2021 for the Grade I-listed building off Queen Street East, known as Phoenix Hall.

The building dates back to around 1785 and has been used as a Freemasons meeting lodge for more than 230 years. Much of the building’s heritage significance lies in the preserved temple room, which features masonic symbols and decoration.

The listed building consent application was lodged by the Queens Street Heritage Trust, along with a heritage statement, which said the repairs would “ensure this historic building is preserved for future generations.”

After considering the application, Sunderland City Council’s planning department have now approved the plans.

A decision report, prepared by council planners, noted the “exceptionally significant” listed building which is the “oldest purpose-built masonic hall still in use by Freemasons anywhere in the country”.

The planning decision report goes on to say: “The proposed repairs to Phoenix Hall is a key project within the Sunderland’s Heritage Action Zone initiative and will importantly provide essential repair works to significant elements of the exceptionally significant Grade I-listed building, helping to conserve and sustain its significance into the future and contributing to addressing the heritage-at-risk status of Old Sunderland’s Conservation Areas.

“It is noted and considered that the proposed urgent repair works will address several areas of immediate concern regarding the condition of the building, most importantly evidence of structural movement in the chequered temple floor, one of the most significant features of the building and a main characteristic of its masonic architecture, as well as damage to walls, ceilings and joinery from water penetration caused by a poor arrangement of the rainwater goods and deterioration of the roof.”


Raoul Moat Drama Coming Soon To ITV



It looks set to be one of ITV’s biggest dramas this year and The Hunt for Raoul Moat is being brought to screen by the same people responsible for smash hit shows Line of Duty, Bodyguard and Vigil.

It was confirmed last April that production on the series had commenced, nearly 12 years after Moat gunman shot ex girlfriend Samantha Stobbart and her new boyfriend Christopher Brown, with Brown dying from his injuries. After fleeing Samantha’s home in Birtley, Moat, who had been released from prison just days earlier, went on the run, shooting on duty policeman PC David Rathband in the face as he sat in a patrol car on the outskirts of Newcastle and leaving him blind.

From there, Moat headed for Northumberland, forcing the quiet village of Rothbury into a lockdown as police launched a frantic search for him. The hunt for Moat reached its conclusion with a tense stand-off between the killer and the police on a riverbank, with Moat eventually shooting himself and dying from his injuries as he was rushed to Newcastle General Hospital.

ITV announced three parter The Hunt for Raoul Moat almost a year ago, as filming got underway in Yorkshire, with a cast including ex Bodyguard star Matt Stokoe as Moat and Inspector George Gently actor Lee Ingeleby as police chief Neil Adamson.

ITV have yet to officially announce an release date for The Hunt for Raoul Moat, but is expected to be form part of the channel’s spring programming.

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Peter Kay halts Newcastle show and ‘rushes off stage to help as fans fall ill’



Peter Kay Newcastle upon Tyne

Peter Kay’s Newcastle show was thrown into chaos when three audience members fell ill.

According to the Sun the Phoenix Nights star halted his latest show and rushed to assist when he spotted a fan on the front row had become unwell and needed assistance.

Minutes later, a member of the audience was escorted out of the venue in a wheelchair.

An onlooker told the Sun: People near the front started shouting for an ambulance.

‘Peter asked if they were being serious, then he asked for the big lights to go on and stewards ran over to see what was going on.

‘He then went off stage for around 10/15 mins and one person was seen getting wheel-chaired out.’

After the situation was under control he got on with his show, but two more audience members then reportedly become unwell.

Were you there – did you witness it? Let us know on our Facebook page –

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International Women’s Day – The North East’s Most Influential Women – North East Updates



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On this International Women’s Day, March 8, we highlight the extraordinary contributions made by women in the North East throughout history and the present. For hundreds of years, the women of the North East have shaped our world, and without them, things wouldn’t be the same.


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