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September / October 2016 - Issue 4

DURHAM Magazine

Photo By - Wayne Laidler




Editorial - September / October 2016

Your Free September / October 2016 Durham Magazine


Dear Durham Readers,

First of all we’d like to thank everyone who has contributed to the magazine with your comments, articles, stories, photographs, and feedback on all things Durham! The magazine is into it’s fourth printed edition, and has been growing in popularity online and offline. We publish exclusive online content on daily and are on the look out for local jouranlists and photographers living in Durham who want to see their work in print. A special thank you to George Ford, who left us with positive vibes via Facebook:

“...Great Magazine by the way, picked up my first copy the other day.”

The purpose of the Durham Magazine is to spread positive locally sourced news and give anyone in Durham a voice to be published online and in print. So, if you have something to say please get in touch with us by emailing: or calling us directly on 0191 394 1266. Warmest regards, Durham Magazine Team & Firefly New Media UK PS -- If you didn't already know, Durham Magazine is a free magazine published by local media company, Firefly New Media UK (Freephone: 0800 955 1266 or Firefly’s dedicated team provide hundreds of local businesses with website design, printing, graphic design and mass marketing services. Visit today.

-- George also sent us a great photograph which we’ve included inside the magazine.

Disclaimer: Durham Magazine and make sure to only use reliable sources and we try to verify all content as much as possible. We cannot accept any responsibility for any errors or omissions. All details are believed to be correct at the time of printing. We recommend that readers check information with any venue about times and dates of events in advance. Readers are welcome to send photographs, letters and other content to Durham Magazine and Firefly New Media UK but we cannot guarantee they will be featured in the publication. Firefly New Media UK reserves the right to neither use submitted material in print and online publications nor return it. The views and opinions expressed in advertisements and content do not reflect that of Durham Magazine and Firefly New Media UK. No part of this publication/website may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form without prior written permission from Firefly New Media UK. Permission is only deemed valid if approval is in writing.

To reduce environmental impact, once finished with please recycle this magazine or pass it on to friends and family. Firefly New Media UK - All Rights Reserved


Brian Harrison George Ford Neil Collins Wayne Laidler Emma Pybus Luis Eduardo Plazas Barrios Lorraine Weightman Roger Langley Malcolm Clarke (Online) David Sunderland Syd Peck Rosemary Vale Chris Hutchinson Allen Marrs

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Vital Signs has been created by artist Jo Coupe who has used data from the castle, such as visitor numbers, relative humidity and temperature readings, to compose a musical score which will be played on a selection of medieval percussion instruments. Curator at Durham Castle, Gemma Lewis, explained: “Durham Castle is nearly a 1000 years old, but it’s not like so many other castles and museums frozen in time - it is a living castle where spaces like the kitchen and chapel have been used for the original purposes for hundreds of years. Today it’s also the home to University College, the oldest of Durham University’s colleges, and has over 1000 students associated with the building and over 100 actually living in the Castle. All this makes for interesting fluctuations in the data Jo has been looking at. Jo Coupe worked with percussionist and composer Brendan Murphy and three other musicians, who were hand-picked for their ability to play instruments similar to those which might have been played at the castle many hundreds of years ago. “I knew that I wanted to use the data from the castle to reveal the patterns of human presence in the building but I didn’t know what the end result was going to sound like, which was really interesting,” said Jo. “Each piece sounds very different, some are very rhythmic while others are more atmospheric, but every piece has emerged from a huge amount of research into the building, the instruments and the information gathered from the castle.”

“By using medieval percussion instruments I

The commission is part of the Meeting Point project, managed by Hexham-based Arts&Heritage, which has paired artists with nine museums in the North East and Yorkshire, to create new pieces of work inspired by the museums and their collections. Funded by Arts Council England’s Museum Resilience Fund, Meeting Point presents artworks in unexpected places and supports small and medium scale museums to commission artists, who will create a piece of work in response to the venue. The nine museums and artists taking part in Meeting Point are: Morpeth Chantry Bagpipe Museum, Northumberland, working with Ziad Jabero and the Baghdaddies Dales Countryside Museum, Yorkshire, working with David Murphy Durham Castle, working with Jo Coupe Head Of Steam, Darlington, working with Cath Campbell Kirkleatham Museum, Redcar, working with Grennan and Sperandio Pannett Art Gallery, Whitby, working with Pippa Hale The Workhouse Museum, Ripon, working with Catherine Bertola Shandy Hall, Yorkshire, working with Anne Vibeke Mou Thackray Medical Museum, Leeds, working with Irene Brown More details can be found at Vital Signs takes place at Durham Castle at 7.30pm on Friday 21 October. Tickets are free and more details are available at

The instruments which will be used in the performance include a variety of frame drums made with wood and animal hide, a riq or timbrel which is an early tambourine, tuned bells and cow bones played like spoons. The various fluctuations which can be heard in the music reflect all sorts of activities and changes in conditions in the building, such as visitors on guided tours, Heritage Open Days, student events and students collecting their post.

hope to create a connection between the building today and the sounds that might have been heard here in its earliest life,” said Jo.

Your Free September / October 2016 Durham Magazine

A musical performance which has been composed using data collected from inside Durham Castle will take place at the castle on 21 October.



A Well-earned Shopping Spree

Photography posted to Old Photo’s of Durham City Facebook Group

Your Free September / October 2016 Durham Magazine

Nine gym enthusiasts were rewarded for getting active thanks to a UEFA European Championship inspired competition which ran across Durham County Council leisure centres. Over 500 competitors worked up a sweat in gym sessions, group exercise classes and swimming to gain points and relied on their football team, chosen at random, to boost their total. Whoever finished top of the ‘work out’ league at each leisure centre won £50 worth of shopping vouchers. Kirk Walker, physical activities co-ordinator, said: “It was great to see so many of our members getting into the spirit of the Euros and taking part in our competition. The workout element added an extra level of competitiveness and meant that even those who didn’t pick out a great team could still have a chance of winning.”

1947 - Queen then Princess Elizabeth - Rosemary Vale

1920 - Saddler Street DLI Honour - Chris Hutchinson

“Members told us that the competition gave them an extra incentive to come in and exercise when maybe they wouldn’t have, so the competition has definitely had an impact on visits. We hope to introduce more member challenges so keep an eye out for the next one.” The sport related incentives continue for those motivated by Team GB’s success in the Olympics as people can get active with free five visit passes as part of the council’s latest fitness campaign.

Following the success of this offer during the Olympic Games; people are reminded that passes will be available again during the Paralympic games from tomorrow (Wednesday 7 September) until Sunday 18 September 2016. Those wanting to take advantage of this offer can attend one of the council’s ten leisure centres to collect a pass, a free Thrive discount card and then begin working out for free.

Execution Bell - Durham Prison - Allen Marrs

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Durham Book Festival, which will take place between 7th and 16th October, this year boasts an impressive line-up, with star names including the Labour MP Alan Johnson, the author and TV funny man David Baddiel, and the left-leaning journalist and political commentator Owen Jones. Over sixty events are planned at venues in and around Durham City. As part of our region’s programme to mark the hundredth anniversary of the Somme, certain sessions will have a war-tinged theme. Writing the First World War, set to take place in the nave of Durham Cathedral, will feature Michael Morpurgo, author of the best-selling novel War Horse, and Pat Barker. Pat’s novel Regeneration, which also deals with the subject of war, was selected as the festival’s Big Read choice. Three-thousand copies of Regeneration will be distributed free of charge to schools, libraries and shops around County Durham.

On Saturday 8th October, the writers Nikesh Shukla, Coco Khan and Miss L will be debating the topics of race and immigration. Nikesh Shukla is the editor of a recently published collection of short stories, The Good Immigrant, which features writers from diverse backgrounds. The book was crowdfunded in only three days – and one £5,000 pledge came from a certain JK Rowling. A number of kids’ events will take place, including the musical Hey Presto, which will be offering a mix of music, magic and jokes at the Gala Theatre. The goal of the kids’ sessions is to encourage children to read more. The festival will also include a number of pop-up libraries, which will appear in various spots around County Durham. The libraries, designed by collectives from Newton Aycliffe and Shildon, will be modelled on local landmarks, such as the doors of Durham Cathedral. Last year, over 17,000 booklovers participated in the festival and the organisers aim to draw a similar crowd this year. To book tickets, and for further information, go to By David Sunderland

Early indications suggest 2016 students have surpassed achievements from last year in all recognised performance measures. Most notably, 62% of pupils achieved grades A* to C in both maths and English – a 5% increase on last year. The figure compares favourably to the 2015 national average of 58% and comes despite a national decline in the A* to C pass rate for 16-year-olds this summer. Cllr Ossie Johnson, the council’s portfolio holder for children and young people’s services, said: “This is a very pleasing achievement against a continuing backdrop of significant changes in the examination system. “We are confident that our improved rates of progress in both English and maths will place County Durham in a very strong position nationally.” Offering his congratulations to county students for their success, Cllr Johnson added: “We are delighted that young people have worked so hard to achieve these excellent results. “We also recognise and greatly value the support and encouragement given by our parents and carers. “We are very proud of the young people of County Durham.”

Other festival highlights will include Laura Bates discussing feminism and talking about her latest novel Girl Up. Anthony Horowitz, best known for his Alex Rider series of novels, will be reading from his new crime book Magpie Murders at the Gala Theatre. And the transgender YA author Juno Dawson will be in conversation with Lisa Williamson, author of The Art

of Being Normal, at Durham Johnston Comprehensive School.

Pupils across the county this morning found out the results of all their hard work and there was much to celebrate.


Your Free September / October 2016 Durham Magazine


Schoolchildren in County Durham have won praise after an improvement in GCSE performance.


Your Free September / October 2016 Durham Magazine

Pokémon Go! Wanna catch ‘em all… and be fit? It has been a month already since I finally downloaded the app I was anxiously waiting for: Pokémon Go! I did not do so before because I had a Microsoft phone and it only runs on Android, so I bought a new one. This was the only way to get the game that I was playing non-stop for years on my Game Boy Color almost two decades ago. Nice memories…

I knew more or less how this app was like by checking a couple of posts that became viral even before it was launched. Yet, only when I started playing its official version, I understood what it was about and advanced quite fast—now I am more than halfway to catch the so-wanted first generation of Pokémon (150 in total). To get over 80 of them (and hatch some eggs in between) I had to move… a lot! Whether you are walking or

running (and even biking, but I think it’s risky) you could exceed my number quite fast. You would only need to explore your city extensively and travel if possible because a few are found in specific continents (e.g. Mr Mime in Europe and Tauros in America).

Now I have an additional motivation to go running at least every other day, which helps me keep fit. Of course, I have mastered the technique of running by holding my smartphone on my hand and not stumbling or having any accident (seriously: be aware of your surroundings and watch out at all times!).

Therefore, this game is beneficial for those who struggle to go out and do physical exercise. The GPS system allows you to find some Pokémon at home but that does not always happen (at least not to me; it depends on your location). Another aspect of this game is to conquer virtual gyms and to do that you should definitely kick the streets. Overall, I am still a ‘Jr Pokémon player’ who has reached the level 22 without playing it every day. If you want to embark in this adventure too that combines playing with sports, go for it: just turn on this app once you leave your place, follow some advice posted on Internet, and watch a few tutorial videos on Youtube. Additionally, ask your fellow Pokémon Go friends to make the most of it. Good luck!

By Luis Eduardo Plazas Barrios



SERVICE TO TALK STATUS DOGS Blue Cross and County Durham Youth Offending Service have teamed up in a new initiative to tackle the issues surrounding status dogs and young people, through the pet charity’s RespectaBULL workshops. The workshops are organised by Blue Cross with the youth offending service, a multi-agency partnership involving Durham County Council. So far, they have run two workshops together, which aim to empower young people to care for their dog and build safer communities.

Inspired by large numbers of unwanted bull breed dogs like Staffordshire bull terriers, Blue Cross’s RespectaBULL workshops aim to reach young pet owners and potential

Lynne Tully, practice improvement officer for County Durham Youth Offending Service, said: “Many of the young people and families we work with are dog owners, with some having what are often referred to as status pets. “Working with Blue Cross to deliver the RespectaBULL workshops is a great way to help them understand how to be a responsible dog owner and how to stay on the right side of the law. “The workshops also give young people the chance to take part in group discussions which can help them to build relationships, challenge their views and opinions on issues and boost their self-confidence.” The Blue Cross education team reached over 68,000 children and young people last year. To find out more about Blue Cross education talks or to book your free RespectaBULL workshop, visit

Did you know that the Ghost of Jimmy Piper, it is said, can still be heard playing his Northumbrian pipes in his Prison Cell beneath Elvet Bridge? Jimmy was a local character who became part of the Faas gipsy family. Jimmy was a prodigious talent, his playing skills having been passed from father to son, who eventually was recruited by The Duchess of Northumberland for whom he played for two years. Jimmy was a bad lad who would turn his hand to crime as soon as play for his supper, it is alleged that he was a cattle rustler, and a gambler. His non-musical activities led him into imprisonment on several occasions. In 1803 his criminal activities caught up with him and he was sentenced to death for horse stealing. His sentence was commuted to life imprisonment and he died in his cell beneath Elvet Bridge seven years later. He never knew that he had been pardoned shortly before his demise. It is said that one can still hear him playing a lament on a dark and quiet night. The Pickled Parson of Ceddesfeld Hall, Sedgefield. The Reverend Garnage died before the tithe – his income was due to be paid. His lady wife being a Continued on next page ->

Helen Spicer, Blue Cross Education Officer, delivers the workshops with the help of her Irish Wolfhound, Bramble. She explained: “There are preconceptions of both bull breed dogs - often associated with anti-social behaviour - and their owners. Working with the Youth Offending Service enables us to engage with young people, many of them dog owners, who might be at risk of offending. It’s great to be able to reach this group of young people directly and hopefully make a difference both for them and their pets.”

owners with messages about how to care for their dogs and be responsible owners, to help dispel the negative image often surrounding them. The sessions are aimed at 11 to 25-year-olds and use hard-hitting videos and case studies to stimulate discussion and debate on issues surrounding dog ownership.

Durham has its share of ghostly happenings and legendary shenanigans. In common with many other ancient Cities Durham has its share of spooks and presences that turn up from time to time, without waiting for Halloween.

Your Free September / October 2016 Durham Magazine



Your Free September / October 2016 Durham Magazine

doughty soul pickled his remains in a vat of brandy. The ruse worked well and no one suspected that he was an Ex Reverend and the tithes were paid saving said Lady from penury. Once the tithes were safely gathered in the Doctor was called to pronounce the Reverend dead. The departed Reverend was piqued at the deception and it is said that he haunted the Parsonage and the locality every evening for more than 50 years when after a devastating fire his ghost was able to move on. One rather likes the notion of a Pickled Parson becoming a holy wraith. The Ghosts of the fighters of the Battle of Neville’s Cross are well renowned. The Monument that stands as a reminder and memorial of the Battle of Neville’s Cross is a pillar of stone that was erected by Sir Ralph Neville following the battle against marauding Scots in 1346. It is said that if one walks around the monument three times then places one’s ear to the ground the sounds of battle can be heard.

Whether one believes in such things is open for debate, it is true that many folks have experienced ‘odd’ happenings that cannot be satisfactorily rationalised. However, having experienced at least on Pickled Parson, and heard ghostly music seeming to come from ‘out there’ one just wonders if something unworldly is going on? To steal a line from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Hamlet, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” One never knows. By Roger Langley

Internationally regarded North East fashion house launches collection ‘against the tide’

North East Fashion House WRECKREATION launches its second collection of next generation jeans and sports luxe to coincide with the iconic London Fashion Week. Dismissing the catwalk, this fashion house releases a short film trailer to launch each collection in order to effectively reach its worldwide audience. After launching in 2015, WRECKREATION’s second collection, aptly named ‘The Will to Power’ is showcased on the video-sharing website YouTube. Offering an alternative catwalk experience for its world-wide customer base, reaching as far as California, WRECKREATION’s short film features the expansive backdrop of Druridge Bay,

Each garment is designed and produced in-house at the studio in the North East of England. With a focus on the individual, limited editions of each garment are created, and the brand’s most popular product, SuperCharger Jeans, are custom built. The label acknowledges and champions the current trend for ‘slow’ fashion, creating garments that are hard-wearing and long-lasting.

Science Corner


Juries are seldom allowed to visit crime scenes. A site visit by the Dando jury needed a convoy of five vehicles to transport the jurors, lawyers, judge and their police escorts to the scene, passing through police barricades surrounded by neighbours, journalists and other spectators. It became a media spectacle. However, new technology is now emerging that could enable CSIs to capture and relay a much more immersive and representative picture of crime scenes, using 3D imaging, panoramic videography, robotics and virtual reality. Jurors could potentially take a walk around the 3D worlds rendered using the system, and examine vital details of the scene.

“The film showcases WRECKREATION’s strong values and deeply integrated ethos of using fashion as a platform to inspire each individual to become a creator, through the use of aesthetics; optimistic bright colours, bold graphics and linear shapes.”

With a basic adaptor headset such as the £10 Google cardboard, it can recreate a similar VR experience as above but at a fraction of the cost.

Sally Smallwood, Owner & designer at WRECKREATION In the UK the collection can be purchased from London boutique Showroom Shoreditch, and from the brand’s website:

One issue with 3D recreations and computer-generated virtual reality simulations is that they require expensive headsets, and top specification computers to work. To overcome this issue, Mehzeb Chowdhury, PhD Researcher in Forensic Science & Criminal Investigations, Durham University is developing a robot system inspired by NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover that could capture immersive video footage of crime scenes.

Your Free September / October 2016 Durham Magazine

Virtual Reality Could “Teleport” Juries to Crime Scenes



Your Free September / October 2016 Durham Magazine

Durham Cathedral Makes Top Twenty of England’s Most Popular Attractions

Durham’s magnificent 900-year-old Cathedral seems to be getting the recognition it deserves. A survey of around 1,500 tourist sights, carried out last year by Visit England, has given the Cathedral the rank of the twentieth most visited free attraction. Although the numbers of people visiting churches has generally been decreasing, those visiting Durham Cathedral last year actually rose compared to 2014. 755,000 visited the ancient monument in 2015.

Durham Cathedral by the river - courtesy of Durham Cathedral by the river - courtesy of The chapter clerk of the Cathedral, Phillip Davis, said, “Durham Cathedral attracts over 700,000 visitors each year and we are delighted to be among the top twenty visited attractions. This summer we opened the doors to Open Treasure, our new world class exhibition experience, which will encourage even more people to visit this wonderful

Cathedral and enjoy its history, heritage and spirituality.” Founded in 1093 by William the Conqueror, Durham Cathedral is a UNESCO world heritage site. It is considered to be one of the best examples of Norman architecture in the world. The Cathedral contains a shrine housing the relics of St Cuthbert of Lindisfarne, and the tomb of the Venerable Bede, one of England’s earliest historians. Its library boasts an impressive collection of ancient books and documents, including three copies of the Magna Carta. The Cathedral has been no stranger to accolades in the past. It also made Visit England’s top twenty in 2014 and in 2011 readers of The Guardian newspaper voted Durham Cathedral their favourite building in Britain. The newspaper praised the building as having “some of the greatest architectural highs in the country.”

Photo By - Wayne Laidler

Another north-east attraction, Flamingo Land, was mentioned in Visit England’s survey. The North Yorkshire theme park was the sixth most visited admission-charging attraction. Flamingo Land hosted an incredible 1,470,828 visitors last year. Tower of London - courtesy of Tower of London - courtesy of The most popular attractions were, however, down in London. The Tower of London was England’s most visited admission-charging sight while the British Museum was the most visited free attraction. Fourteen of the survey’s top twenty tourist hotspots were located in the capital. The chief executive of Visit England, Shirley Balcombe, stated, “The attractions sector is an integral part of our national tourism offer and plays a crucial role in driving economic growth across all of England’s regions.” By David Sunderland


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WILL HELP YOUNG PEOPLE TO SUCCEED Many youngsters are simply not academic, that is not to say they are lacking in intelligence because learning styles are different across the population. Some folks are hands-on such as craftsmen, engineers, menders and makers, and are very often highly intelligent people who are 'good with their hands'. Others, are leaders amongst men who want to be ‘out there doing things’ for which there are other routes available.

Old timers speak longingly about ‘the good old days of apprenticeships’, in truth some were not so good, however, those schemes mostly died out with the demise of heavy industries. The good news is that Apprenticeships are back. For many youngsters this is a route into the workplace that can create real opportunities and training for life.

Modern Apprenticeships schemes are available right on our doorstep. Many industries now have Apprenticeship Training schemes in disciplines as diverse as security and manufacturing, and now we have news of Durham County Council setting up an excellent Apprentice Training Academy for young people aged between 16 years and 24 years enabling them to spend a year with the Authorities ICT teams. Information and Communications Technology is clearly profoundly important with every enterprise large or small, or micro, using some ICT in at least some of its activities. ICT is the lingua franca of the 21st Century. Following their in-house experience with the County Council the young people will go into the ICT industry gaining hands on experience By Roger Langley

and working toward an NVQ in ICT, putting the knowledge gained into a universally recognised format and in so doing building a creditable CV.

The spread of the digital infra structure and our high flying digital economy makes a professional approach to Information and Communications Technology probably the most exciting jobs and careers marketplace for employment anywhere in the Country. With our surging business sector ICT is the cool place to be. Every industry from Banking to Design, and from Travel to Widget making, needs good ICT. This programme has the potential to unlock local home grown talent so that they can reach their true potential. Many organisations now offer top notch Apprentice Training Programmes. The choice is amazing, including The Army, Boots, Lloyds Bank, plus there are Retailers/Supermarkets, Building Companies, Motor Manufacturers and Motor Repairers and more operating similar schemes. The list is almost endless and has something for just about any aspiring youngster – up to 24 years of age. Things are not like they were in the ‘good old days’. No they are not! They are a darned sight better. Not being sent off to find a glass hammer, a chocolate knife, or make the tea, for starters. The Durham County Council Apprentice Training Programme, and others run by locally well know companies, are a solid stepping stone into the world of work that will enable a good many people to find a grand alternative to Uni and earn a good living sooner than later.

Photo By George Ford

We’re asking you to guess where that location is and submit your guess on our website. Each month we’re going to be bringing youwhere to a specific Can you guess the first location in County is? Each month we’re Durham. going to be bringing you to a specific We’re asking you toDurham. guess location in County where that location is and submit your guess our We’re asking you toonguess where that location is and website. submit your guess on our website. Can you guess where the first location is? Can you guess where the first location is?

then part of County Durham. Writer and People from Durham 13 philanthropist, Catherine Cookson wrote almost 100 Catherine books, she sold Cookson, more thanwas 123 born inbeing Southtranslated Shields, million copies, her novels SPECIALISTS IN BLOCK PAVING, PATIOS, then part oflife County into at least 20 languages, telling of in DECKING, WALLS, Durham. TURF AND DRAINAGE Writer and the North East portraying graphically the philanthropist, hardships experienced by people across the Catherine entire Country but specially in this Cookson County wrote and region in general. Many ofalmost her 100 books, she sold compelling works have appeared on the more than 123 RECOMMENDED INSTALLERS OF large screen and the small screen to great RECOMMENDED INSTALLERS OF million copies, novels being translated acclaim. Aboveher all of our local celebrities into at least 20 languages, telling of Catherine Cookson is responsible forlife in the Northmuch East portraying graphically exposing that was wrong duringthe to hardships experienced by people across the ‘good old days’ and in doing so, hopefully, is entire Country but specially County responsible in some part for in lifethis being safer and gentler region in general. Many of her and today. compelling works have appeared on the large screen and the small screen to great acclaim. Above all of our local celebrities Catherine Cookson is responsible for with this exposing much that was wrongadvert during to ‘good old days’ and in doing so, hopefully, is responsible in some part for life being safer and gentler today.


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Durham Magazine - September / October  

The purpose of the Durham Magazine is to spread positive locally sourced news and give anyone in Durham a voice to be published online and i...

Durham Magazine - September / October  

The purpose of the Durham Magazine is to spread positive locally sourced news and give anyone in Durham a voice to be published online and i...