Earlier this week we heard the news that, frankly, we expected, but hoped would not happen. Gateshead, and the North East generally, will be in Tier 3 when the national lockdown restrictions end on 2nd December. This means we will be under a tougher regime than we were immediately before the current lockdown.
Please stay safe. Meanwhile, your local Lib Dem Focus Team is continuing to keep you informed about local news and issues. Please feel free to contact us. We are always pleased to hear from you.
In this edition we bring you the following news:
Bridge the gap: Watergate Park bridge demolished;
The Whinnies Community Garden in Sunniside are holding another pop up shop;
Can you help with memories of and information about air crashes in the area for a local historian?
And now for some Christmas joy.
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In October, the local Lib Dem Focus Team launched a petition calling on Gateshead Council to repair the footbridge at Watergate Park. The damaged bridge had been left to stand derelict for over a year.
Within 3 weeks, Labour run Gateshead Council woke up to the issue but their actions were certainly not what the 250 people who signed the petition wanted. Instead of repairing the bridge, Labour had it pulled down. To make matters worse, there are no plans to replace it.
"Following our petition, Labour woke up to the issue, but responded by demolishing rather than repairing the bridge," said Lobley Hill Lib Dem campaigner Jonathan Mohammed.
Councillor Peter Maughan said, "The Lib Dem Focus Team wants to bridge the gap. We need to keep our parks up to standard as many more people are using them during the pandemic restrictions. We are in touch with council officers to explore ways to replace the bridge."
Thank you to everyone who signed our petition calling for the bridge to be repaired. We will be contacting the petitioners shortly to keep them up to date.
Photo above: the damaged bridge in October. Below, the gap where the bridge was demolished in November.
Pop up shop at the Whinnies
The Whinnies Community Garden will be holding another pop up shop, on Saturday 12th December, 12.30pm to 3pm. They will be selling jam and takeaway homemade cakes. Social distancing will apply at all times.
The last pop up shop raised over £1300 towards the cost of projects for the coming year.
The Whinnies Community Garden is behind the Simply Local store on Gateshead Road, Sunniside.
70s quiz night in Sunniside
Sunniside History Society will be holding an online quiz all about the 1970s. It will take place on Tuesday 1st December at 7pm. There will be 4 rounds: 70s general knowledge; crime murder and scandal; adverts and tv programmes.
Everyone is welcome to join in. There are no prizes. It's all just a bit of fun as we try to remember what life was like back in the 70s, the decade good taste forgot!
You can find out more about the Sunniside History Society by emailing the secretary, Alan Guest, on firstname.lastname@example.org.
To take part in the online quiz, click on the button below shortly before 7pm on Tuesday.
The lockdown and pandemic have put enormous pressure on independently owned shops and businesses. Local Lib Dem campaigners have made a commitment to buy local for Christmas to help boost local businesses. And they want to encourage residents to aim to do the same.
“If every person in Gateshead spent just £5 in locally owned shops instead of with big retail giants, we will
boost the local economy by £1 million,” said Cllr Sonya Hawkins. “Please, wherever possible, buy Chrismas food, decorations and presents locally to help protect local jobs.
"One significant change as we move from national lockdown to Tier 3 next week is that all shops will be allowed to open. Please use our local, independently owned shops when they reopen."
One change brought in by the government part way through the lockdown was to allow the sale of Christmas trees. So watch out for the local shops where they are already for sale.
Air crash investigations in Sunniside:
can you help?
Philip Smith is a Whickham based historian who researches both military and civil aircraft crashes in County Durham or anywhere south of the River Tyne. He wants to speak to anyone who remembers any of the following crashes around Sunniside,
A bi-plane made a forced landing either during or after 2nd World War near Pennyfine Road. This aircraft was taking off when it clipped a hedge and overturned.
In 1964 a Piper PA-12 Supercruiser, (registration G-ARTH) crash-landed near the Blue Parrot (later The Potter's Wheel) pub.
In the 1960s a light aircraft made a forced landing at East Sunniside Farm near Streetgate.
In 1992 a glider made a field landing somewhere off Fellside Road,
Any photographs would be copied and returned. If you are able to help, please contact Philip Smith on  4883654 after 6pm or write to: 13 Sunnidale, Whickham, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, NE16 5TT or email email@example.com.
And now for some Christmas joy
We weren't able to bring you any Christmas tree lighting up events this year because of the pandemic but, nevertheless the lights have been switched on. We've been to each of the community Christmas trees in Whickham, Swalwell and Dunston to get a photo of each one.