• Support recommended for school's play area scheme

    PLANS for a synthetic multi-sports play area at a special school could move forward this week. Meadows Special School, Whitworth Road, Spennymoor, County Durham, wants to create the area on semi-derelict land near its main building. The school caters

  • Safety boost for homes

    SCORES of householders in Hartlepool can rest easier in the knowledge that their homes are safer than ever. About 200 properties in the Throston and Clavering areas have been fitted with mains-powered smoke detectors, courtesy of Hartlepool Borough Council's

  • Students to highlight the plight of homeless

    A GROUP of North-East students are to brave the elements by living in cardboard boxes to raise money for a homeless charity. Year 9 students at Teesside High School, Eaglescliffe, will take to the streets in the run-up to Christmas. Their aim is to highlight

  • Families drawn into parties' row over health spending

    THOUSANDS of families have been pitched into the frontline of a row on health spending. They received invitations in the post to sign a petition to save the National Health Service (NHS). The person behind the move, Stockton South Labour MP Dari Taylor

  • Planning and the law in perfect harmony

    THE decision by a North-East law firm to form a dedicated team providing a fully integrated legal and planning service to clients has paid off as the firm looks to take the facility into its next stage of development. Ward Hadaway's planning and development

  • Prisoner Bronson aids couple's cause

    A COUPLE raising money for one of the region's special schools have received support from an unlikely source, Britain's most notorious prisoner, Charles Bronson. Philip and Claire Raper of Darlington, County Durham, struck up a friendship with Bronson

  • White house visit for Special Olympics TV star

    THE North-East star of an advertisement promoting football for people with learning disabilities sets off on a trip to America tomorrow. Barry Cairns, 35, of Carrville, Durham City, who has Downs Syndrome, will fly to Washington to meet President Bill

  • School rises from ashes of blaze

    A BLAZE-HIT school is rising like a phoenix from the ashes. The fire, at Grange Primary School, Hartlepool, two years ago, was sparked by a wiring fault. It destroyed eight classrooms, the junior school hall, a classroom for children with learning difficulties

  • Final act

    The US Supreme Court bombarded lawyers for George W Bush and Al Gore with questions for 90 historic minutes in Washington yesterday in the case that could finally decide who has won the presidential election. The nine justices, who are divided, set no

  • Toon Army top healthy food league

    "WHO ate all the tofu? Who ate all the tofu?" When it comes to healthy eating, Newcastle United fans are top of the league, according to a survey. No mince pies or gravy and chips for figure-conscious followers of the Toon Army. If the findings of the

  • Chilling tale of the stolen pigeons

    A PIGEON fancier turned detective to track down his prize-winning birds - and found them in a freezer. Ian Cadman was distraught to find 49 stock and racing pigeons had been stolen from his cree at the Sugar Hill allotments in Cockerton, Darlington, in

  • England shine in the gloom

    ENGLAND cricketers will be given a hero's welcome when they arrive home today after completing an historic win in Pakistan. The five wicket victory - which was clinched in near darkness - made them the first English team to win a Test match in Pakistan

  • One small step

    It was one of the most moving events of my life: last week I was invited to preach at St Lawrence Jewry to the veterans of the Far East campaign of the Second World War. The church was packed with old heroes who had endured unspeakable treatment at the

  • Hundred factory workers lose jobs

    MORE than 100 factory workers face losing their jobs next year. GN Netcom Ltd, a telephone headset manufacturer at the Wear Estate Washington, Wearside, plans to halve its workforce, blaming tough conditions in the market, including the strength of the

  • North-East pioneers centres for addicts

    PIONEERING centres for drug addicts are to be set up in the North-East. The new pilot fast track service, the first of its kind in the UK, aims to treat 500 drug abusers on Teesside. A team, containing a GP, a nurse practitioner and support staff will

  • Council to be tough on standards

    A council may introduce a special committee to help councillors maintain high standards of conduct. Earlier this year, Labour-run Durham City Council was at the centre of a Fraud Squad probe into a land deal that ended with no charges being brought. The

  • Church cash target reached

    CHURCH restoration work will soon be completed after it was announced that a fundraising target of £54,000 had been reached. At the annual meeting of the Friends of All Saints Church, in Northallerton, members were told that work on the building would

  • RHK moves into new property

    GATESHEAD-based accountants Richardson Hall Kennedy & Co. (RHK) is preparing to move into its new office after receiving the keys from Cameron Builders. RHK has been based in the area for almost 80 years, but the expansion of the business and the

  • Work under way at expanding airport

    WORK is due to start today on a £750,000 improvement programme at one of the region's airports. The work will begin as Teesside International Airport's new managing director takes up his post, and the airport also announces another rise in both its passenger

  • Dad's CSA refund is a 20p cheque

    Stephen Frizzell was delighted when he got a refund from the Child Support Agency. But he was stunned when it turned out to be a cheque for just 20p. Hotel manager Stephen, 31, of Fenham, Tyneside, had thought his "windfall" might be a little more than

  • Message of hope

    THE family of heart transplant girl Sally Slater yesterday sent a message of hope to a youngster recovering from the same life-saving operation. Emma Standish critical but stable last night in the intensive care unit of Newcastle's Freeman Hospital, after

  • Wind power proposal for new school

    A school being built in Derwentside is likely to be powered by a wind turbine. Plans have been put forward for a 20kw turbine at Catchgate Primary School, near Stanley. Earlier this year, Durham county councillors approved the £2m plans to build a replacement

  • College promotes fees support scheme

    A GOVERNMENT scheme to help people return to study is proving popular at New College Durham. People over 19 taking part-time courses can open an Individual Learning Account (ILA), which pays up to £150 of the tuition fees, and offers discounts on future

  • Reformed robber wants to be town mayor - 'free of charge'

    A FORMER armed robber wants to be a town's mayor - and do the job free of charge as a thank you for past services. Reformed hard man Rod Jones, founder of the Middlesbrough organisation, Convoy Aid, says the people of Hartlepool have given generously

  • Youth Parliament members voted in

    A TOWN'S teenagers are hoping to influence Government policy on youth issues. Young people at Stockton went to the polls at the weekend to elect two youngsters to the 400-member UK Youth Parliament, which convenes for the first time next year. Stockton

  • Elderly care centre due

    COUNCILLORS are expected to back plans for a 56-bed resource centre to be established by a private firm, at a meeting next week. Care UK has submitted proposals to build an integrated resource centre adjacent to the former Woodside Elderly Person's Home

  • Veteran's appeal for camera

    A REDCAR war veteran is appealing to the conscience of thieves in the town who stole a valuable possession from him. John Ramsey, of Pennine Crescent, served on the battleship HMS Rodney during the Second World War, and takes parts in veterans' parades

  • Services to get a high-tech revamp

    A COUNCIL is poised to deliver more of its services electronically as part of a Government directive. In December last year, Middlesbrough Borough Council completed its Information Age Service Strategy, outlining how services could be adapted to embrace

  • Mum's the word - and minister

    A METHODIST minister took a vow of silence over her most important marriage service, because wedding reception guests believed they were celebrating a birthday. Methodist Minister Lynn Blair has conducted hundreds of wedding services. But at the weekend

  • Schemes to slow traffic considered

    PLANS for four traffic calming schemes in east Durham are likely to win approval this week despite objections. Durham County Council plans to install three speed humps in Waveney Road, Peterlee, on the approach to a primary school. Eight humps would be

  • Forum closure backed by MP

    AN MP is backing calls to bring the final curtain down on a once flagship theatre and leisure complex. Stockton North MP Frank Cook revealed ideas are being discussed to replace the 33-year-old Billingham Forum with a development which will serve as model

  • Lionel's brush with the way it was

    ARTIST Lionel Playford is taking former miners from the pit villages of County Durham on a trip down memory lane. Mr Playford, who is artist-in-residence at the Volante factory, Trimdon village, has set up a display of more than 25 of his paintings in

  • Trader's takings snatched by robber

    DETECTIVES are asking people to watch out for orange-stained pound notes, after a shopkeeper was robbed in daylight. The assault happened on Friday as the trader walked with his shop takings to the post office, in Bishop Auckland. He had reached the post

  • Shipyard close to landing jobs security order

    A TYNESIDE shipyard is on the brink of winning an order which would secure 200 jobs. Cammell Laird, at Hebburn, has weathered a series of peaks and troughs in the past few months. In October, the company lost a Ministry of Defence contract to build six

  • Hospital's new painting unveiled by Tory leader

    CONSERVATIVE Party leader William Hague unveiled a pastel by North Yorkshire artist Mackenzie Thorpe at the weekend. The picture of a shepherd and his sheep was unveiled at the Friary Hospital, Richmond, on Saturday. The Richmond artist has designed Mr

  • Strike at offshore yard due to end

    WORKERS at a Tyneside offshore yard were due to return to work today after a strike lasting almost two weeks. The industrial action at Amec, Wallsend, started after workers claimed they had been forced to accept pay cuts of up to 25 per cent. But management

  • Ex-pitman gets fresh hope in fight for compensation

    A FORMER pitman, who has been in hospital seven times this year because of his lung condition, has been given new hope in his bid for compensation. George Cockfield, 80, of Ferryhill, County Durham, suffers from chronic bronchitis and emphysema as a result

  • Players and fans united in silent tribute to coach

    A MINUTE'S silence was held in tribute to a North-East football coach at the weekend. The tribute was held at Darlington Football Club's Feetham's Ground in honour of Stephen White, the 24-year-old coach who was found dead in a house in the town's Braemar

  • DJ tastes life at top of charts

    POPULAR radio presenter Paul "Goffy'' Gough's first CD is proving a North-East Christmas cracker. In just a week, the disc, The Best of Goffy in the Morning, has hit the number three spot in the North-East charts. The Hartlepool-born host of Century FM's

  • Lego fans reach for the stars in store project

    YOUNGSTERS have helped to build models of two of science fiction's most popular characters. Visitors to the Tesco Extra store at Kingston Park, Newcastle, were given the chance to build replicas of Darth Vader and robot R2-D2 from the hit film Star Wars

  • Sculpture idea wins backing

    PLANS for a sculpture in school grounds could be given approval this week. Durham County Council's planning committee will be recommended on Thursday to give permission for the sculpture at Greenfield Community and Arts Centre, Greenfield Comprehensive

  • Classic car is reward for lost dog

    A CLASSIC car is being offered as a reward for the safe return of a family pet. Sunderland bus driver Dennis Stothard says he will part with his 44-year-old Ford Anglia 100E saloon, worth about £1,000, if border terrier Bridie is found. Bridie, who is

  • Safety team investigates how worker was crushed to death

    THE Health and Safety Executive has been called in to establish how a 42-year-old workman was crushed to death between a lorry and a minibus. Firefighters called to Brotton High Street, the scene of the tragedy, used hydraulic rams and airbags to prise

  • Boro waiting for a call from Boksic

    Middlesbrough are hoping a call from Alen Boksic will help solve their acute goalscoring crisis this week. The Croatian striker is due to return from Italy and Boro are desperate to push him back into the side for the home test with Chelsea. Boksic has

  • Pool end their run of woe

    THREE goals in a seven minute spell ensured Hartlepool United buried their Scunthorpe hoodoo last night with a well-deserved victory despite a late rally by the Iron in the first round of the LDV Vans trophy at Victoria Park. In two previous meetings

  • Reid brings Sunderland back to earth

    HIGH-FLYING Sunderland boss Peter Reid last night brought his players down to earth with a bump on the eve of their Worthington Cup quarter-final at Crystal Palace with the warning: "We ain't done nothing yet." The Wearsiders, fifth in the Premiership

  • Chaos in train timetables

    THOUSANDS of anxious rail travellers yesterday swamped a train company helpline in a desperate race to pre-book seats for Christmas travel. On the day GNER published its emergency Christmas timetables - designed to bring an end to the chaos caused by

  • The Echo writes

    WE salute Tanni Grey-Thompson. Finishing third in the BBC TV Sports Personality of the Year awards was a fantastic achievement. For the wheelchair-bound athlete to finish ahead of super-rich superstars Lennox Lewis and David Beckham highlights how her

  • Thorpe the hero

    England completed a memorable year by conquering unfamiliar conditions and spoiling tactics to claim an historic and thrilling victory over Pakistan. Even before flying out to Karachi two months ago they had endured a dramatic 12 months with a successful

  • Developer creates new jobs

    ST PAUL'S Developments is the first major developer to commit to One NorthEast's flagship Newburn Riverside development situated directly adjacent to the Al crossing of the River Tyne in Newcastle. The new business park is destined to become one of the

  • Where there's a will there's a way

    WHEN you are faced with a group of Namibian schoolchildren who know only a few words of English, one thing is sure to break down the language barrier - the hokey cokey. It seems nothing brings people together quite like putting your left leg in and taking

  • Actor Bill may find the grass is greener on the other side

    VETERAN actor Bill Maynard may be about to sign for the BBC after finally leaving ITV's hit show Heartbeat. Close friends say Maynard, who played Claude Greengrass, has had talks with a producer who is preparing a new series for the opposition. Bill,

  • Letters

    HEALTH ASTHMA is a serious and growing problem in the UK. There are over 3.4 million people in the UK with asthma and regrettably it is the only treatable long-term medical condition in the western world which is still on the increase. That's why I encourage

  • Burning Questions

    Q: CAN you tell me anything about the human face that appears in the rocks on the planet Mars? I have seen photographs of this and I would like to know the theory of its origin. - J Anderson, Houghton-le-Spring. A: THE 1976 Viking 2 Space Probe mission

  • Smoking ban 'bad for health'

    A HOSPITAL'S tough anti-smoking policy has been criticised as being damaging to patients' health. Patients at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle wanting to smoke now have to go outside the building to light up. Once outside, they must then go in one of

  • Good neighbour receives award for his caring

    A 78-year-old widower has won recognition for his selfless acts as a good neighbour. Jim Simpson, from Witton Park, County Durham, has won the Millennium Good Neighbour Award for helping former miner George Hughes, who suffered a stroke last spring. Mr

  • Panto star proves there's nothing like a dame to help needy

    PANTO dame Widow Twankey is bringing smiles to the faces of thousands of theatre-goers. The character from Aladdin has also helped bring festive cheer to the region's less fortunate people. The dame, alias actor Kevin O'Keefe, who is performing in Aladdin

  • Community initiative praised

    RESIDENTS and community workers who brought extra resources and education to St Helen Auckland, near Bishop Auckland, have received an award at the House of Lords. The St Helen Network was selected for a commendation in the British Urban Regeneration

  • Pubmaster chain has a new mistress

    NORTH-East based pub chain, Pubmaster, has changed hands in a multi-million pound deal. The Hartlepool company, which has about 2,000 tenanted pubs in the UK, has been sold to a business consortium with the working title Pubmistress. John Sands, Pubmaster's

  • Names are sought for new police horses

    A POLICE force is hoping to find youngsters on the ball when it comes to name-calling. Children attending classes at Middlesbrough Football Club's Cellnet Riverside Stadium, on Teesside, are being invited to name Cleveland Police's two latest recruits

  • Museum considers increasing charges

    ENTRANCE fees could be going up at one of the North-East's main tourist attractions. The committee which runs Beamish Museum, near Stanley, County Durham, will be recommended tomorrow to increase the charge for adults by £2 to £12 from April, and for

  • £2.3m project to help under-4s

    A scheme has been launched to ensure that youngsters in a former pit town get a flying start to their education. The Government has given almost £2.3m for a three-year Sure Start programme in Stanley, which aims to help children under-four in deprived

  • Warden patrols bring big cut in crime rate

    NEIGHBOURHOOD wardens patrolling the streets of Darlington have helped police cut crime by 40 per cent in some areas of the town. Three wardens are working with beat officers in Darlington to look out for burglars and give crime prevention advice. The

  • MP backs ban on fox-hunting

    A NORTH-East MP believes hunting with hounds should be consigned to history. Stockton North Labour MP Frank Cook said: "An outright ban is what most of my constituents and most of the country wants. "Anything less just means that the cruel practice of

  • Black cat crosses path of lady luck

    WHO said black cats are unlucky? One such pet has challenged the myth after being mistaken for rubbish and taken on a trip to a paper recycling centre which could have had a very unhappy ending. Since then, the cat has been living a pampered life at Foreman

  • GP changes to benefit patients

    THOUSANDS of patients are to benefit from a change in the way GPs operate in Sunderland. Nine practices in the north of the city are joining the Personal Medical Services scheme. It is expected to bring more GPs and nurse practitioners to the area, and

  • Elf you go down to the woods . . .

    A WOOD in a North-East beauty spot is being turned into a magical world by a couple with a passion for elves, gnomes and fairies. Retired seaman Harry Davison and his wife Val have already started moving in all manner of creatures as they aim to attract

  • Charity shop raises £800,000

    VOLUNTEERS at a charity shop in Middlesbrough are celebrating the shop's birthday, and the massive amount of money it has raised. The Imperial Cancer Research Fund shop, in Linthorpe Road, has been open for 17 years, and volunteers have raised more than

  • Battling Leonne is dancing queen

    A TEENAGER born with walking problems has been voted a dancing queen. Champion of the dance floor, Leonne Campbell, 13, was born with a dislocated hip and was introduced to dancing as a toddler in a bid to improve her coordination and help her to walk

  • Lessons for aspiring coaches

    WANNABE Terry Venables have been signing up for lessons. More than 20 residents from the Whinney Banks area of Middlesbrough took part in a training course at the weekend with the goal of qualifying as junior football team managers. Their introductory

  • Forum's problems will be resolved, says director

    A DIRECTOR of a chaos-hit regeneration forum has expressed confidence that its problems can be resolved. A meeting including directors, local councillors, clergy, and volunteers was held to discuss the financial problems dogging the South Bank Community

  • Card designers given the bird

    FIVE children were presented with a turkey each after winning a Christmas card competition organised by the police. More than 80 pupils at Hardwick Junior School, Sedgefield, were invited by PC Keith Todd to enter the contest, which was aimed at heightening

  • Youngsters tell the christmas story

    CHILDREN at Cockton Hill Infant School, near Bishop Auckland, entertained parents with their version of the Nativity, called Hosanna Rock. Sixty reception pupils took part in the show, plus a choir of 24 from years one and two. Headteacher Dr John Redman

  • Charities pick up £15,000 bonus

    CHARITIES across County Durham are thousands of pounds better off thanks to a shopping event. Durham Shopping Extravaganza 2000 was held at the Ramside Hotel, Carville, in October, where more than 60 traders from across the country donated a percentage

  • Gold paves the way to married life

    A FAIRGROUND family followed in the footsteps of an ancient tradition, when a bride-to-be trod a path of gold to the altar. People travelled from all over the country to attend the wedding of Stephanie Culine, from Spennymoor, County Durham, and Elliot

  • Robbers strike at shop

    TWO masked robbers armed with a gun stole cash from a North-East village shop. The two men burst into the sub-post office in Heighington, near Darlington, at 7.40pm on Friday. They were armed with what appeared to be a handgun and demanded cash from the

  • Residents fear revival of river ski enterprise

    ARAB money could be used to revive an unpopular water sports project. Protestors forced developers to defend plans for a £2m cable-ski scheme on the River Tees, at a public inquiry two years ago. Despite the plan subsequently being given the go-ahead

  • Judith's fascination takes shape

    A GEOMETRIC principle that underlies some of the greatest art has inspired the work of a Sunderland artist. Judith Whitehouse, 51, became fascinated with the "golden ratio'' used by the ancient Greeks and Egyptians to design their buildings and monuments

  • Missing patient found

    A RESCUE team found a depressed patient who was missing from a hospital's mental health unit. Thomas Eltringham, 47, from near Rowlands Gill, Tyneside, was found in a stream less than a mile from Shotley Bridge Hospital, Consett, County Durham, by the

  • Media group in plea for tutors

    DARLINGTON Media Group is looking for tutors to help to expand its community education programme next year. The courses will encourage community groups, artists, craft workers, photographers and other people working in the arts to make more creative use

  • Expansion set to double showground capacity

    THE multi-million pound new exhibition hall at the Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate, is taking shape as the steelwork structure is put in place. The exhibition hall will almost double the showground's indoor exhibition space and is expected to be