The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author

Joe Willis LATEST

David Cameron pledges to tackle North-South divide if Tories win election

The Northern Echo: DIVIDE: Prime Minister David Cameron tests a light bulb during a visit to ACDC Lighting in Barrowford, Pendle.

7:31pm Friday 1st May 2015

DAVID Cameron has pledged to close the North-South economic gap with investments in infrastructure and skills.

DJ Wilko is a winner in the election poster war

11:30am Friday 1st May 2015

Joe Willis has been having fun spotting election posters on his travels in the Dales - and he's found an unlikely winner.

Young rugby players looking the part thanks to new polo shirts

The Northern Echo: FUNDING: Players from Wensleydale RUFC's mini section in their new tops, pictured with coach Stephen Michael, left, and Tim Waite, Morrison Utility Services commercial manager.

1:16pm Thursday 30th April 2015

YOUNG rugby players are looking the part after a donation from a local company paid for new club polo shirts.

Head's legacy

12:10pm Thursday 30th April 2015

Sir, – Everyone involved with the Wensleydale School and Sixth Form in Leyburn will have been shocked and saddened to hear of the untimely death of Graham Parker from a heart attack, just a few weeks after he left his post as headteacher at the school.

Election leaflet

12:09pm Thursday 30th April 2015

Sir, – Having received at long last through our letter box this week the local Conservative party candidate's election leaflet, my eagle-eyed wife was quick to spot that among the rogues gallery of party leaders pictured on the inside pages was Alex Salmond. Sheer ignorance, sexism or both on the part of the self-proclaimed party of competence?

Tickets for Darlington play-off final are sold out

The Northern Echo:

10:23am Thursday 30th April 2015

DARLINGTON'S play-off final against Bamber Bridge is now a sell-out.

Bishop Auckland house prices have plummeted since last election, study shows

The Northern Echo: FOR SALE: Bishop Auckland house prices have plummeted since last election, a study has shown.

8:07am Thursday 30th April 2015

AVERAGE house prices have dropped by 8.4 per cent in Bishop Auckland since the last election - the biggest drop in the country.

Taken for granted

12:14pm Wednesday 29th April 2015

Sir, – I get the feeling that Rishi Sunak is taking the electorate for Richmondshire for granted after failing to attend a meeting in Northallerton, the largest town in the constituency, on Sunday evening, giving a limp excuse for not being there. This was met with astonishment by the 300-plus people who attended. Does he really think that he has to just put his name on the ballot paper to get elected? Judging by comments overheard he might just get a deserved nasty shock on the night. Congratulations to all other candidates who acquitted themselves very well on the night. Also thanks to Steve Cowie for keeping a tight control on the evening.

Police praise McDonalds staff who helped save suicidal man

The Northern Echo:

7:29am Wednesday 29th April 2015

POLICE have thanked staff from a McDonalds restaurant who helped save a distressed man.

No racist

12:22pm Tuesday 28th April 2015

Sir, – The constant general comments about UKIP being racists is untrue and hurtful. UKIP have a host of progressive policies and say, in line with all major parties, that we need effective and efficient border controls and a fair immigration policy, again, the same as other major political parties. I am a local UKIP candidate, interested in the well-being of my local community and local issues; so please, no more unfounded accusations of racism. I am certainly no racist, but I believe in harmony and equal opportunities in our society. Let's debate the facts, not rely on slurs to win a contest.

Getting worse

1:02pm Monday 27th April 2015

Sir, – What a disappointment. I read the headline about a new railway bridge to ease congestion in Northallerton (D&S, April 10) and assumed it would be built at Low Gates. Wrong. Having attended the consultation presentation I can only see that things will get worse instead of better. There is the potential with the new development for an extra 1,000 cars accessing Stokesley Road and Darlington Road with no easing of the choke point at Low Gates roundabout. I suspect Standard Way will become a rat run for people avoiding Low Gates when the inevitable queues form whenever a train goes by. When will North Yorkshire County Council and Hambleton District Council accept the fact that a bridge at Low Gates is the only way to ease congestion in the town? Maybe Network Rail can be persuaded to help if the proposed electrification of the Middlesbrough line goes ahead.

Such excitement: fried chicken and chips are on the way

10:52am Friday 24th April 2015

In this week's look at Dales Life Joe Willis reports mounting excitement at the prospect of fried chicken at the new Catterick Garrison shopping centre

Raw deal

6:33pm Wednesday 22nd April 2015

The Rural Services Network (RSN), which represents more than 200 countryside organisations, claimed this week that Whitehall funding formulas were disadvantaging rural councils across the country.

Husting error leads to gap pride pledge

3:42pm Wednesday 22nd April 2015

THE dismantling of shared services revealed that there was little love lost between the independents - several of whom were once Tories - who run Richmondshire and the Conservatives in control of neighbouring Hambleton. The relationship will not have improved by a claim in last week's D&S by Richmondshire deputy leader Mick Griffiths that Hambleton had increased its council tax bills this year. Several Hambleton Conservatives have been in-touch to point out that their district actually froze its precept for 2015/16. Spectator is sure the error by Cllr Griffiths, who was responding to election baiting by the Tories, was unintentional.

North-East councils spending £1m a year to full-time union reps

The Northern Echo: UNION: A Unison sign on the steps of a closed Hartlepool Civic Centre during a public services strike in 2008.

7:04am Monday 20th April 2015

COUNCILS in the region are paying out more than £1 million a year to staff who work full time on trade union business, The Northern Echo can reveal.

'Get out of our club' - Newcastle fans protest against owner Mike Ashley

The Northern Echo: PROTEST: A so-called 'oustmobile' outside the St James' Park as Newcastle United supporters take part in a demonstration against club owner Mike Ashley outside the ground before the match.

10:09pm Sunday 19th April 2015

AFTER yet another season to forget, Newcastle Utd fans say they have had enough. Joe Willis reports.

North of England would be 'big winner' from SNP success

The Northern Echo: PLEDGE: SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon appearing on the BBC1 current affairs programme, The Andrew Marr Show.

6:26pm Sunday 19th April 2015

THE SNP will make a pledge to help the North of England when it launches its manifesto tomorrow (Monday, April 20).

Ukip shows support for North-East fishing fleet

The Northern Echo: PROTEST: Ukip MEP Jonathan Arnott, centre, was joined by fishermen and three of the party's parliamentary candidates at the Fish Quay at Sunderland harbour.

2:50pm Friday 17th April 2015

ELECTION candidates have shown their support to the North-East's fishing fleets.

Richmondshire councillor pledges to vote for the opposition if they can lower council tax

The Northern Echo: CAMPAIGN: A sign erected on the Richmondshire and Hambleton boundary by Richmondshire Conservatives.

2:46pm Friday 17th April 2015

A SENIOR councillor has pledged to vote for the opposition if they can run a council on the same level of council tax as a neighbouring authority.

Budget bin bags aren't the answer

The Northern Echo: Budget bin bags aren't the answer

10:36am Friday 17th April 2015

YOU can choose the budget option for many things in life – plain white T-shirts, peanut butter, baked beans, car insurance, but never bin bags says Joe Willis in this week's look at Dales Life

Parents need to talk to their children about online safety, warns charity

The Northern Echo: INTERNET DANGERS: Cheryl Ellis became concerned after Hugo got Xbox Live for his birthday last year. Picture: STUART BOULTON.

10:35am Friday 17th April 2015

Social networking sites popular with children are not necessarily safe, the NSPCC has warned. Joe Willis reports.

Supermarket prosecution dropped after forklift driver admits blame

The Northern Echo: DROPPED: The case against Aldi has been withdrawn.

5:05am Thursday 16th April 2015

A PROSECUTION against a supermarket giant has been dropped after a forklift truck driver told a court it was his fault a co-worker was badly injured.

A66 crash victim Tyrone Singh was friend of tragic Kyle Hull who died days earlier

The Northern Echo:

12:20pm Wednesday 15th April 2015

AN 18-year-old man killed in a crash on the A66 last night was friends with tragic Kyle Hull, the teenager who died after falling through a roof at Darlington Auction Mart.

Scrap dealers declare bank's customer service as 'rubbish' after account closed

The Northern Echo: SCRAP DEAL: Scrap metal dealing brothers John and Owen Hanratty at their business on Wooler Street, Darlington. They have experienced problems with their bank HSBC. Picture: CHRIS BOOTH

9:00am Tuesday 14th April 2015

A SCRAP metal dealer is furious with his bank after an account was closed unexpectedly meaning cheques bounced and bills went unpaid.

Acclaimed chefs prepare for food festival

The Northern Echo: HOME GROWN: Stephen Bulmer, left, from Swinton Park with assistant Mike Humble.

3:10pm Monday 13th April 2015

CHEFS from some the county's top restaurants will give free demonstrations of their creative skills at a local food festival.

Police appeal after elderly churchgoer critically injured by reversing car in Dales village

The Northern Echo: ACCIDENT: Villagers used tarpaulin to keep the injured man dry after the accident in West Witton.

1:44pm Monday 13th April 2015

VILLAGERS rushed to the aid of an elderly churchgoer critically injured by a reversing car at the weekend.

Rail death train driver is 'killing himself with drink' after not getting help, says brother

The Northern Echo: FEARS: The brother of former train driver Stephen Douglas, pictured, fears he is drinking himself to death.

5:20am Saturday 11th April 2015

THE BROTHER of a tragic train driver who watched helplessly as his engine killed a teenager has called on rail companies to provide more help for traumatised staff.

Councillor accuses of prospective MP of 'pettiness' after she is barred from meeting

The Northern Echo: ELECTION: Rishi Sunak is the Tory parliamentary candidate for Richmond.

5:23pm Friday 10th April 2015

A DISTRICT councillor has accused a prospective MP of "pettiness" after she was barred from entering a meeting in her home village.

Quakers close five-year ticket deal after hitting target

The Northern Echo: QUAKERS: Darlington FC hopes to start playing home games at Blackwell Meadows next season.

2:27pm Friday 10th April 2015

DARLINGTON FC has closed its five-year season ticket deal after raising £244,444 towards the club's return home.

Nowt to worry about as Dales twang is perfected

10:56am Friday 10th April 2015

I CAUGHT one of the kids using the word “the” during a conversation without good reason the other day, sorry, t’other day.

Regional parties hoping to give London-based parties an election 'bloody nose'

The Northern Echo: LOCAL: Voters are being urged to vote for regional parties rather than those based in London.

12:35pm Thursday 9th April 2015

As the nation prepares for the General Election, Joe Willis looks at the rise of regional parties.

Police investigate arson attack at KFC restaurant

The Northern Echo:

8:21am Wednesday 8th April 2015

POLICE are investigating a malicious fire at a KFC restaurant in Stockton.

Leading scientist seriously injured in 130ft Lake District fall

The Northern Echo: LAKES: The accident occurred in Sour Milk Gill, Borrowdale.

7:50pm Thursday 2nd April 2015

A LEADING scientist from the region suffered serious injuries after falling 130ft down a waterfall in a remote part of the Lake District.

Explore Harrogate, by bike

The Northern Echo:

4:04pm Thursday 2nd April 2015

Joe Willis and family take to two wheels to explore Harrogate after the launch of a sustainable transport plan

Playing the field as election fever grips the Dales (maybe)

3:32pm Thursday 2nd April 2015

We've had some press releases from the Richmond election candidates: this is going to be the most interesting and informative edition of the D&S ever

Two police officers injured in crash with car travelling wrong way on one way street

The Northern Echo:

8:04am Thursday 2nd April 2015

TWO police officers were injured after a head-on crash with a car being driven the wrong way down a one way street.

Gale force winds cause havoc

The Northern Echo: DELAY: A lorry was blown over on the A19 at the Leven Viaduct. PIC: Stuart Hincks

5:02am Wednesday 1st April 2015

GALE force winds caused havoc on the region's roads yesterday (Tuesday, March 31).

Welcome arrival

3:44pm Tuesday 31st March 2015

The maternity unit at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton has recently celebrated an important milestone.

Apprentices wanted

2:51pm Tuesday 31st March 2015

Sir, – The Company of Fellmongers, one of Richmond’s oldest guild organisations, has for many years given awards to young apprentices. But this year we are trying to expand our reach to include as many apprentices as possible in the Richmond area. Our plan is to hold a celebration evening in the Town Hall later in the year and we would like to invite apprentices along with their parents and employers. So, if you are an apprentice or know of an apprentice training in the Richmondshire area, we would like to hear from you. The same applies to parents and employers. If your son or daughter or young trainee is an apprentice, please contact us.


2:46pm Tuesday 31st March 2015

Sir, – When the Coalition government was formed in 2010 we were promised an economy where 'prosperity is shared among all sections of society and all parts of the country'. I believed that.

Good team

2:38pm Tuesday 31st March 2015

Sir, – It is always good to hear the views of my fellow Hambleton councillors and I agree with a number of comments made by Andrew Robinson (D&S Times, March 27) such as the importance of contested seats and the need to get out and vote. However, I believe Andrew's vision of a 50/50 mix of Conservatives with other parties would be an absolute disaster for the district of Hambleton and ruin all the good work done by the Hambleton Conservatives which incidentally until recently Andrew was part of. We have a really good team of officers at Hambleton who steered by superb Conservative leadership can run the district as an efficient business without the political interference that has blighted other councils.

Positive influence

2:33pm Tuesday 31st March 2015

Sir, – I am a Year 12 sixth form pupil at The Wensleydale School in Leyburn. As you know the headteacher, Mr Parker, left his position in the school last week. Mr Parker taught Year 12 A-Level English language and literature at the school.

Simple question

2:27pm Tuesday 31st March 2015

Sir, - I refer to your article on the mystery over the suspension of the Northallerton town clerk in last week's D&S. You say there is an investigation into a whistleblower complaint in Hambleton. Over the years here in Richmondshire you the D&S have reported on the Gayle housing fiasco. This was based on the council's own report. Then some time later you wrote that Richmondshire District Council had to pay over £500,000 to a care worker because the council had unfairly dismissed her. There has been no comment from the council on these two damming articles. I have therefore to ask is the D&S making malicious reports or is the council and councillors burying their heads in the sands? I also find it disturbing to read that councillors are accused of verbally abusing each other and fighting in the street. In a few weeks’ time we the public will be asked to vote. I ask simply who has the competence and guts to challenge this way of working in Richmondshire?

Link road

2:20pm Tuesday 31st March 2015

Sir, – The end of the article on page two of last week's D&S about Colin Telfer, his petition and the railway crossings in Northallerton is slightly misleading. The purpose of the North Northallerton Development Area Link Road is to provide access to the development and only mitigate the negative traffic impact on the rest of Northallerton caused by the additional traffic generated by the development itself. This is the situation no matter what Hambleton district councillors want to believe and no matter how many times they state that the NNDA link road will solve the traffic problems at the railway crossings.

Clear mistake

2:11pm Tuesday 31st March 2015

Sir, – As a regular reader of the Darlington and Stockton Times, I was astounded to read the editor's note in last week's edition in response to a letter by Margaret Whitehead in which she challenges the full page profile of Rishi Sunak, the Conservative candidate in the forthcoming General Election.

Biased coverage

2:03pm Tuesday 31st March 2015

Sir, - I was astonished to read the editor's crass comments following the letter in last week's D&S which Mrs Whitehead, of Northallerton, complained about the seemingly biased press coverage in favour of the Conservative candidate for the Richmond constituency. Not only do I agree with her comments but I also feel that the editor made a contribution that was unwarranted and undemocratic. Although a safe Tory seat, Richmond is my view a seat where your readers wish to hear equally about other candidates, especially this year where their political affiliations are so varied. It is the voters who choose where to place their vote and it is a shame when a popular local paper is so biased.

Such disdain

2:01pm Tuesday 31st March 2015

Sir, – The editor’s note to the letter from Margaret Whitehead (D&S Times, March 27) demonstrated breath taking arrogance in proclaiming that the reason Mr Sunak was accorded a full-page feature was due to the fact 'as the Tory candidate he is favourite to succeed William Hague in one of the safest Conservative seats in the UK'.

'Watching porn is normal' say third of North-East young people

The Northern Echo: SHOCKED: Dame Esther Rantzen says she is shocked that ChildLine is being contacted by 11-year-olds worried about porn.

7:02am Tuesday 31st March 2015

MORE than a third of North-East 11 to 17-year-olds think watching pornography is normal for young people, a survey has found.

Teacher who signed sex slave contract with girl banned from teaching

The Northern Echo: 06/08/2014 PA File photo of a person using a laptop. See PA Feature INTERNET Internet Column. Picture credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Photos. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature. UK REGIONAL PAPERS AND MAGAZINES, PLEASE

5:50am Tuesday 31st March 2015

A TEACHER who encouraged a teenager to send him explicit photographs and invited her to sign a slave contract has been banned from the classroom.

Runner rescued after collapsing in forest

The Northern Echo:

7:55am Monday 30th March 2015

EMERGENCY crews came to the aid of a woman who collapsed while out running with friends.


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