A PLEA was made to find relatives of suffragette Emily Davison 15-years-ago this week as historians prepared for the 90th anniversary of her death.

Miss Davison, whose family came from Morpeth, died after being trampled as she tried to grab the bridle of King George V’s horse in the 1913 Epsom Derby.

Northumberland County Council was planning to mark the anniversary with a number of events and a permanent memorial near her grave, and genealogist Maureen Howes set herself the task of finding Miss Davison's relatives.

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Her research revealed she had family living in Darlington, and following an appeal in The Northern Echo, personal items which belonged to Miss Davison were uncovered.

Professor Rod Bilton, from Liverpool University, contacted the paper. His grandmother was Miss Davison's cousin and the family only moved away from Darlington in the 1960s.

When she died she left artefacts belonging to Miss Davison and these have now been distributed to other members of the family.

Prof Bilton said: "My grandmother was close to Emily and they went on a lot of holidays together.

"When my grandmother died, my niece was given a number of Emily's things including a hat, and my father also had some postcards and other effects."

Also that week, Sir Harold Evans, the legendary former editor of The Northern Echo, was voted the greatest of all time in a poll.

Sir Harold, who drove forward The Echo's famous campaigning traditions during the 1960s, won the British Journalism Review/Press Gazette poll to discover the greatest newspaper editor.

He led The Echo from 1961 to 1966. During the 1960s, an Echo campaign won a posthumous pardon for Timothy Evans, who was hanged in 1950 after being wrongly convicted of strangling his baby daughter. There were also campaigns against inflammable nightwear, following accidents in which women were burned, a campaign for better roads, and campaigns against industrial pollution on Teesside.

Mr Evans' extraordinary achievements brought him to the attention of Fleet Street and he eventually left The Echo for London, before going on to America.

Meanwhile, plans were made to restore Stockton's Ropner Park back to its original Victorian splendour.

Stockton Borough Council secured a £2.5m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to renovate the park, where a Victorian themed event was hosted to celebrate the development.

The event featured a horse-drawn carriage which was used in 15 Catherine Cookson television dramas, penny farthings and schoolchildren in Victorian costumes.