Day of decision - North East votes 'Leave' or 'Remain'
Voters are having their say on Britain's future in Europe today.
Polling stations opened at 7am and will close at 10pm this evening and voters have a simple choice - should Britain leave the EU or remain?
Schools, church halls and community centres have been converted into polling stations for the day and have been busy since first thing.
There was a steady flow of people at the Hetton Centre this morning, and the vote looks likely to be close.
Nick Burne-Cronshaw, 49, is firmly in the 'Remain' camp: "I voted remain because I am sensible and I like living in an integrated society. I want workers' rights and the NHS to be as strong as possible."
Mum-of-two Charleene Wright had taken children Jessica and Josh down to the centre to cast her vote. She was also on the 'Remain' side.
"I voted 'In,' " she said.
"It is about trade and the economy. I know the vote has other issues, but it is about trade for me."
But partners Samantha Bell, 30, and 36-year-old Ronald Curry were voting 'Leave.'
Ronald admitted he had been undecided until the last minute: "I opted for 'Out.' We will not get another chance," he said.
"The EU overrules our laws and I want us to have the say."
Samantha only made her mind up hours before the poll: "I have been undecided until last night," she said.
"But all the things that I have read have persuaded me to vote 'Leave'."
Sixty-nine-year-old Peter Hood was keeping mum about which way he had voted, but urged everyone to play their part in the democratic process.
"I actually voted in 1974 or whenever it was last time," he said.
"I always think it is important to vote. I rarely miss any election and I do like the sense of occasion when I come to the polling station.
"My wife has a postal vote, but I said 'No, I like to vote in person',"