FIVE years ago this week, a man who was down to his last 40p realised that he’d won £1m in the lottery.

Andrew Garth, from Middlesbrough, was celebrating his 29th birthday with his friends when he discovered the winning ticket.

He said: "I did not believe I had won. I thought there must be a weird joke app on the phone or something, I was sitting down, shaking. My friend Neil came in and said 'are you okay, are you okay'? and I said 'no, I don't think I am'.”

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Mr Garth planned to use his money to take his parents on a trip of a lifetime to Australia.

In North Yorkshire, the year got off to a tragic start for the county's police force when a serving officer was killed in a crash.

Married father-of-two PC Andrew Bramma was responding to a 999 call when his patrol van left the road and hit a tree just outside West Tanfield, near Ripon.

Temporary North Yorkshire Chief Constable Tim Madgwick said: "This is a truly sad day for North Yorkshire Police. Andrew was a committed, enthusiastic officer who wanted to serve the public and the community."

Also that week, a woman was hailed a hero by firefighters after she jumped into icy water to save a neighbour’s life.

Student Leah Curtis plunged in to save 62-year-old Danny Smith after his dinghy capsized in Boroughbridge Marina, North Yorkshire, when he knocked himself unconscious while returning to his boat at 2am.

She said: "As Danny rowed back to his boat I heard a bang, followed shortly by what sounded like his boat capsizing, and what followed after that was just instinct.

“It was certainly a different way to see in the new year and one that I won't forget."

There was another rescue as members of a shooting party jumped into a swollen beck to save two men.

Four people were on the bridge over Hartoft Beck near Cropton on the North York Moors when it collapsed. Two were thrown into the water and were pulled clear by other members of the party, who gave them first aid until the emergency services arrived.

James Wood, 32, jumped into the water to help rescue them.

He said. "The bridge just went, but it happened very quickly, "

"I jumped in and got one of them out. Everyone did very well though.

"The ambulance and emergency services were there very quickly, and did excellent work. They were superb."

And two pigs caused a police search when they escaped from an allotment and went on the run.

They were seen wandering the streets of Dawdon and Seaham, in east Durham. One was cornered when it was munching on food behind a bin on Fox Street.

The other was captured by residents, but escaped before police could arrive.

Shereen Temple, 37, who helped to catch the first pig, said: "He was scared when we found him. I tried to catch him but he scarpered down the alley.

"I tried to lasso him once with a dog lead. but he slipped away the first time. The second time I managed to loop it around his neck."