THE Princess Royal visited the region yesterday to mark a milestone for a North-East charity.

Princess Anne travelled to the Baltic arts centre in Gateshead, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Victim Support schemes in Tyne and Wear. The seven local projects were among the first in the UK when they opened in 1979.

The Princess Royal, who is president of the charity, yesterday launched the amalgamation of all crime victim- related schemes in Tyne and Wear and Northumberland under the new banner of Victim Support Northumbria.

Regional organiser Mike Maud said: "The embryonic schemes were pioneered by motivated individuals who identified the need for the plight of victims of crime to be recognised.

"Victim Support Northumbria remains true to the original purpose of Victim Support.

"We will continue to be responsive to the needs of individual communities through a supported network of trained community and court based volunteers."