8:19am Monday 16th January 2017
THE campaign, launched on this page last week to persuade Canada to finally recognise the heroism of Pilot Officer William Stuart McMullen, appears to be taking flight.
3:20pm Monday 16th January 2017
The Headline Challenge is played out every week day morning between The Northern Echo and BBC Tees on 95fm. You can play along by listening to the breakfast show or by following Peter Barron on Twitter and Facebook
9:03am Monday 9th January 2017
AT 8.49pm on Friday, January 13, there will be a small gathering on a street corner in Darlington as a truly momentous act of heroism is remembered.
5:12pm Thursday 5th January 2017
THE Chief Constable of Cleveland police has today rightly apologised for the way the force unlawfully monitored telephones, including those of reporters working for The Northern Echo during my time as the paper’s editor. Iain Spittal was not the Chief Constable of the force when it illegally used legislation designed to tackle terrorism and serious crime. He joined the force in 2013 and the scurrilous Big Brother tactics were deployed in 2012. The aim wasn’t to catch terrorists or gangsters but to find out who was leaking potentially embarrassing internal information to journalists. Even The Northern Echo’s main switchboard was monitored. As I said at the time, it was sinister and shameful. I appreciate Mr Spittal’s frank apology, delivered with Cleveland’s Police and Crime Commission Barry Coppinger by his side. That said, the Chief Constable could hardly do anything else, given that judges sitting in the High Court in December had made it clear that they would be finding Cleveland Police guilty of illegal conduct. The official roasting is yet to be delivered but it is on its way. Mr Spittal has now announced an overhaul of the way the force handles complaints. The disgraced “Professional Standards Department” is to be dismantled. Indeed, a department with such unprofessional standards could hardly have had a more inappropriate title. The bigger question is this: How many more chances is Cleveland Police going to be given? Taxpayers have endured the marathon and hugely expensive corruption inquiries of Operation Lancet and Operation Sacristy, which outran The Mousetrap. They have seen the public shaming of former Chief Constable Sean Price and the jailing of police authority chairman Dave McLuckie for perverting the course of justice. New Chief Constables have had to sweep up the mess left by predecessors with controversy following controversy. Now we discover that Cleveland Police – a force expected to hold others to account for breaking the law – couldn’t even be trusted for upholding the law itself. Indeed, it was out of control in the way it flagrantly abused the law. Honourable rank and file officers have been embarrassed and let down time and time again by their bosses and there could hardly be a greater contrast with neighbouring Durham Police, which is rated as Britain’s best police force. Today’s apology is welcome but Cleveland Police has run out of chances – and run out of trust. See the Chief Constable's apology here
2:12pm Monday 2nd January 2017
WITH devolution leading to the amalgamation of local authorities and directly elected mayors in some areas of the country, the question is being asked: “Do we still need ceremonial mayors?”
10:12pm Thursday 15th December 2016
IN case anyone missed it, let me underline the scandal that was outlined in a hearing in front of High Court judges in London today.
2:02pm Monday 12th December 2016
Had a great time at Markse Primary School this morning, giving a reading on the big screen of my new children's book, Chilly Billy Winters.
6:00pm Saturday 10th December 2016
Well done to everyone involved in today's Christmas carols concert in memory of Ali Brownlee at St Mary's Cathedral in Coulby Newham, Middlesbrough.
8:38am Friday 9th December 2016
THERE have been many sad, depressing days for the North-East’s economy in recent years but today is a good day. A bright day. I’d go as far as to describe it as a momentous day.
8:43am Monday 5th December 2016
HOW poignant that on the day of the Local Heroes Awards 2016, a grand old Local Hero should pass away.
7:18pm Sunday 4th December 2016
BEFORE going any further, let me make it clear that I don't have any allegiance to either Manchester United or Everton.
6:48pm Monday 28th November 2016
SEVENTEEN years ago, just as I was setting out as editor of The Northern Echo, I launched an event to honour the heroes of grass roots sport in the North-East.
10:36am Monday 21st November 2016
COURAGE and positivity are the words which formed the theme for last week's Durham Police Wow Awards which shone the spotlight on those who have demonstrated outstanding service.
6:40pm Thursday 17th November 2016
ONE of the most memorable occasions during my time as editor of The Northern Echo was the unveiling of a magnificent statue in memory of wartime hero Andrew Mynarski.
5:40pm Sunday 13th November 2016
Really looking forward to helping to host the Wow Awards for Durham Constabulary, Britain's highest-rated police force, in the morning (Monday).
3:31pm Monday 7th November 2016
TWENTY years ago, Bill Donnelly was reading his favourite morning newspaper – The Northern Echo, of course – and saw an advertisement appealing for volunteers to join The Samaritans.
2:53pm Monday 31st October 2016
FOOTBALL clubs are often accused of being out of touch because of the huge amounts of money sloshing around in the higher echelons of the game.
10:52am Monday 24th October 2016
THE North-East has a proud tradition of producing great musicians but when it comes to the band most closely associated with this region, it’s hard to look beyond Lindisfarne.
9:58pm Saturday 22nd October 2016
I'M delighted to announce the official launch of Chilly Billy Winters, the boy who wouldn't wrap up warm - the 7th book in my Monstrous Morals series of children's books.
11:06am Monday 17th October 2016
WHEN little Geoffrey Hill drew a picture of a Spitfire when he was at school as a ten-year-old boy in the late 1950s, it was to earn him one of the first Blue Peter badges.