• Gold to shine through in tough Business meeting

    DOGGED by a lethal combination of horrendously wet weather and the tragic consequences of foot-and-mouth disease, National Hunt racing finally gets a much-needed shot in the arm as the curtain comes up on a truly star-studded three-day Grand National

  • Bordering on obsession

    WELL, we've come a long way, baby. But is it in the right direction? After the slimline Sophie Dahl, the slimmer line Vanessa Felz, we have now seen the totally reconstructed Geri Helliwell - tanned, toned and honed, with frighteningly flat stomach, sinewy

  • Minister too calm in teeth of storm

    The question on most people's minds as the new turf Flat season gets under way is: 'Should we be racing during the foot and mouth crisis?' I train horses and also farm cattle and sheep, so I can see both sides of the argument. At Denton, we have disinfectant

  • Club stars reward youngsters

    SOME of Sunderland AFC's top players turned out to reward a group of youngsters who have attended after-school clubs at the Stadium of Light. Niall Quinn, Emerson Thome, Jody Craddock and Danny Dichio congratulated the children who have taken part in

  • Arguments rage over tunnel toll increases

    AN inquiry into proposals to increase tolls to the Tyne Tunnel was told yesterday that the increase was needed to pave the way for a new river crossing. The hearing, at Newcastle, was ordered by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott after objections to

  • Children brush up on ship flag designs

    YOUNGSTERS are putting their artistic skills to good use to design and make flags for the replica HMS Endeavour, moored in Stockton. The pupils in year seven at Norton Comprehensive School, are taking part in the project as part of an Easter art festival

  • Pubs promote positive image

    PUBS are promoting a positive image across the Yorkshire Dales. Landlords were among the audience at Hawes last week when Opposition leader William Hague urged communities to stick together in the fight to defeat foot-and-mouth. The Richmondshire MP's

  • A bridge too far for this spectator

    Back in December, the BBC failed to get its act together and provide wheelchair-bound sports star Tanni Grey-Thompson with access to the podium at the Sports Personality Of The Year awards. This gaff highlighted the way people with disabilities can be

  • Bennett salutes his men after late blow

    QUAKERS' boss Gary Bennett admitted that the late goal conceded last night was a "sickening" equaliser. "Southend didn't really hurt us until they scored near the end," he said. "Their lad picked up the ball and beat a couple of our men and I was a little

  • Frightened horse runs into two cars

    A HORSE had to be put down after it bolted and ran into cars and a terrace house. The horse, which was pulling a trap, was startled by a plastic bag, which flew into its face in Fines Road, Medomsley, near Consett. It damaged two cars, the front of a

  • Museum brews up tasty new attraction for summer season

    A VINTAGE vehicle which used to bring good cheer wherever it went will be doing the same at Beamish Museum. When the museum reopens on Saturday, visitors will be able to see a vintage Newcastle Breweries delivery van. The 1920s hand-built Newark vehicle

  • Euro MP in talks over jobs creation in region

    AN MEP looked at ways of creating new jobs using European money during a visit to the region. Gordon Adam, Labour's European Energy Spokesman, met up with Vera Baird, the party's prospective parliamentary candidate for Redcar, when he called at South

  • Accused in tears at murder trial

    A MAN accused of murder broke down in tears in the dock yesterday as a court heard him tell police "I think I've killed a man". Roy Campbell, 61, of Oakerside Park, Peterlee, County Durham, appeared before Teesside Crown Court accused of killing his neighbour

  • Road crash tragedies toll drops

    Figures announced by police yesterday show a big drop in the number of road deaths last year. But Northumbria Constabulary said that more than twice as many people were killed on the roads than were murdered. A total of 44 people died in road crashes

  • Bellway profits increase by 15%

    BIGGER homes and city living are the future for housebuilder Bellway. That was the message from the Newcastle builder, the UK's fifth largest, as it reported a 15 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to £35.1m in the six months to January 31. Managing director

  • Retailers strike gloomy note

    RETAIL sales are expected to slow this month, according to a study which is likely to add to the gloom surrounding the UK economy. The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said that while retail sales remained robust in March, they grew at a lower

  • Child snatch bids revived memories of Bulger case

    AN estranged father who tried to snatch two boys as they walked through a shopping precinct with their mothers has escaped jail. John McGee, 39, tried to grab the three-year-olds in St James Shopping Mall, Hebburn, South Tyneside, last September. Newcastle

  • Policeman gets call-up for British cricket team

    A LOCAL cricketer will bat for Britain this summer as part of a police forces tournament. Sergeant Graham Shaw, who is based in Middlesbrough, will captain the British police team in a series of matches with top players from the Army, Navy, Royal Air

  • Revamp starts on Town Moor

    WORK is under way to create a new look for the Town Moor on Hartlepool's Headland, and help return it to its former glory. As part of wider plans to rejuvenate the Headland and North Hartlepool, £200,000 is being channelled into improvements. Victorian-style

  • Farmers furious over village's latest outbreak

    FARMERS in a village devastated by the foot-and-mouth crisis reacted furiously last night as another case was revealed. The Ministry of Agriculture (Maff) confirmed a second case at Danby Wiske, near Northallerton, North Yorkshire, at a farm where livestock

  • Death fall in Mexico was 'tragic accident'

    A MAN fell 18 floors to his death in a Mexico hotel after he had been drinking, an inquest heard yesterday. North Yorkshire East Coroner Michael Oakley recorded a verdict of accidental death on Alan James Pearson, 22, of Whitby Road, Pickering. He said

  • Fallon has the class and contacts to land championship again

    The turf season is now well under way and the jockeys have all returned from their winter breaks. Some stay at home and ride on the all-weather while others venture around the globe in their quest for success. The top jockeys are obviously eyeing the

  • Stadium denies job losses claim

    ELECTRONICS and plastic parts supplier Stadium has denied reports that it is axing staff from its Hartlepool operations and moving production overseas. The company, which employs about 700 staff on Teesside, is not cutting production jobs at the site,

  • Anti-drugs campaigners in with chance of award

    A TEENAGER'S tireless efforts to educate his peers on substance abuse have seen him nominated for a national award. David Moralee, of Lowmown Meadows, Crook, was labelled disruptive as a 13-year-old, but he has turned the tables to become a shining example

  • Warning issued over PC attacks

    POLICE have warned that they will not tolerate attacks on officers after three from the same station were hurt in one 12-hour spell. The most serious incident involved 28-year-old PC Vicki Harrison, who suffered a suspected broken arm after an incident

  • Anti-drugs campaigner in with chance of award

    A TEENAGER'S tireless efforts to educate his peers on substance abuse have seen him nominated for a national award. David Moralee, of Lowmown Meadows, Crook, was labelled disruptive as a 13-year-old, but he has turned the tables to become a shining example

  • Inquest opens into street death victim

    AN inquest has been opened and adjourned into the death of a man who was found unconscious in the street with head injuries. Father-of-two Paul Simpson, 34, of Eldon Street, Darlington, died in Middlesbrough General Hospital after suffering a fractured

  • Dreams of a barrier-free land

    If buildings could twitch or shuffle nervously, then many would be doing that now and we would be witnessing some very strange sights across our towns and cities. Recent legislation means that by the year 2004, most structures will have to be accessible

  • Minister blocks dumping of pigs

    A CONSIGNMENT of pig carcasses was turned away from a North-East dump last night after Agriculture Minister Joyce Quin intervened. There was outrage in Guisborough, east Cleveland, when a lorry containing 330 carcasses arrived at a landfill site at Thorntons

  • Twin inquiry into fatal crash

    INVESTIGATIONS have been launched by police and highway engineers into the latest fatal crash on a notorious road. The stretch of the A167 Great North Road between Darlington and Thirsk has claimed at least seven lives in the past five years. Rebecca

  • Sing it again, Sam, correctly

    AZYGON but not forgotten, we turn from those poor orphan anomalies in last week's column to the mondegreen, a different creature entirely. It's Rob Williams's idea, though there are worldwide websites overrun by the pesky little perishers. A mondegreen

  • Great welcome at the poolside

    Studiously avoiding anywhere where farm animals might roam, due to the current crisis, it was perhaps ironic that I chose the Horsemarket in Darlington for my latest outing. This delightful square in the centre of Darlington - although home to a regular

  • Skateboard park moves step closer

    COUNCIL officials in Hartlepool have been given permission to press ahead with plans for a skateboard park. Members of Hartlepool Borough Council's community services and safety board have sanctioned the further development of proposals that could lead

  • Letters

    CATERPILLAR CLUB THE Northern Echo is one of the best aviation-orientated newspapers I know, and my cuttings books are full of articles and picture from its pages. Should your attention not already have been drawn to an item in the story about Sqn Ldr

  • Bass swallows up Posthouse Hotels for £810m

    POSTHOUSE Hotels, the chain favoured by travelling salesmen, has been bought by Bass for £810m. The leisure group will integrate the 79-strong hotel portfolio - formerly part of the Forte empire - into its Holiday Inn business. Catering giant Compass

  • Euro MP in talks over jobs creation in region

    AN MEP looked at ways of creating new jobs using European money during a visit to the region. Gordon Adam, Labour's European Energy Spokesman, met up with Vera Baird, the party's prospective parliamentary candidate for Redcar, when he called at South

  • Army to halt opencast burials

    THE Army is to stop burying slaughtered livestock in a landfill site a few hundred yards from houses. But the ending of operations tomorrow night at Chapman's Well, near Stanley, will leave County Durham without a mass grave. Officers and the Ministry

  • Barbarism fuelled by sheer greed

    ALREADY it is clear that the main lesson of the foot-and-mouth catastrophe will not be learned. Clinging doggedly to the no-vaccination policy, both the NFU and the Ministry of Agriculture fail, or refuse, to recognise that the mass destruction of animals

  • Cathedral trust looks to the future

    RIPON Cathedral, at the centre of worship in the city for more than 1,300 years, has launched a campaign to secure its long-term funding. The cathedral has established a development campaign trust to spearhead the scheme, being led by the minster's high

  • Election date move 'not a big problem'

    LOCAL authorities say they will adjust to the new timetable for the county council elections. Durham and North Yorkshire county councils say the change in date is not causing major problems. Durham County Council leader Councillor Don Robson said: "We

  • Accused in tears at murder trial

    A MAN accused of murder broke down in tears in the dock yesterday as a court heard him tell police "I think I've killed a man". Roy Campbell, 61, of Oakerside Park, Peterlee, County Durham, appeared before Teesside Crown Court accused of killing his neighbour

  • Revenge attack pair spared jail

    THREE men who carried out a revenge attack on a drunken circus performer narrowly escaped prison sentences yesterday. Durham Crown Court had heard that Joseph Thompson and brothers Jason and Steven Ludlow meted out punishment on Ian Park. The court was

  • Cocaine case youth cleared

    A 16-year-old was found not guilty yesterday of having £5,500 crack cocaine to sell. The youth, from Middlesbrough, was cleared by a jury at Teesside Crown Court of being in possession of crack cocaine with intent to supply, when police raided a house

  • Nursing care support welcomed

    NURSING homes have welcomed the Government's announcement that income support for patients will rise this year by double the rate originally proposed. And they have called on local authorities in the North-East to reflect this move in the fees they pay

  • Ex-rugby star denies headbutting

    A FORMER rugby league star went on trial yesterday, accused of beating up a pub door manager who had earlier banned him from a popular drinking spot. Lea Titchener, 29, who used to play for York Wasps, denies inflicting grievous bodily harm, with others

  • Newest hospital welcomes its first patient

    THE partial overnight closure of a busy casualty unit to allow staff to transfer to a new hospital went without a hitch, according to health bosses. Ambulances carrying emergency cases were diverted from Dryburn Hospital in Durham to other North-East

  • Schools compete in soccer contest

    MORE than 100 year four pupils, from 11 junior schools in Durham, are being invited to take part in a World Cup-style football tournament tomorrow. The five-a-side competition, at Durham Sixth Form Centre, is being organised by students taking a GNVQ

  • Police worker's cover-up

    A disgraced police worker, who was sacked for forging an official document to cover up missing money, has avoided jail. Harold Ferguson, 52, worked as a property store officer for Northumbria Police for 20 years before the incident at South Shields police

  • Social services seeking sponsorship support

    SOCIAL services bosses hope to raise their department's profile and back up its work by seeking sponsorship. Durham County Council's social services section has appointed a development officer to seek sponsors and raise awareness of its role. Anna Knighton

  • Sir Rex in charity boost

    A charity evening featuring the former Governor of the Falkland Islands at the time of the 1982 Argentinian invasion has been hailed a success. The evening with Sir Rex Hunt, who attended school in Redcar, was held at Sir William Turner's Hospital, Kirkleatham

  • Theatre search for costume storage

    THEATRE company Jack Drum Arts is in danger of losing its collection of costumes, props and sets, if it cannot find a suitable storage place. Director Julie Ward said: "We need a large, dry warehouse and workshop storage place where we can store our period

  • Screwdriver attacker jailed for 18 months

    A MOTORIST was attacked with a screwdriver after confronting a thief who had stolen computer equipment worth more than £4,000 from his car. Adam Grice was left with seven wounds to his knee after he caught David Burn, 18, rifling in the back of his car

  • Antiques show on radio airwaves

    A LOCAL radio presenter is joining television host Michael Aspel for a live broadcast from the BBC's Antiques Roadshow. Alan Wright, of BBC Radio Cleveland, will present his mid-morning programme from Hartlepool tomorrow, in conjunction with the roadshow

  • Ex-pupils plan reunion

    FORMER classmates are celebrating a milestone in their lives by holding a reunion. Pupils who left the old Leeholme Secondary Modern School, near Bishop Auckland, in 1967, are getting together again to mark their own half centuries. One of them, Anne

  • Echo Memories: Dressers, hairdressers and a financial scandal

    DARLINGTON is now bereft of Dressers, but once there were seemingly dozens of them trading in the town centre. There were at least three answering to the name John Dresser on High Row alone, at the end of the 19th Century. Perhaps the most interesting

  • Joining forces to beat the hooligans

    AN initiative to stamp out anti-social behaviour is being organised by residents. The scheme will also involve up to 20 agencies - including police and the local council - who will pool their resources to target the core group of troublemakers. It is

  • Hangers turned into cash for Mayor's appeal

    A STORE turned coat hangers into cash for the mayor of Durham's charity appeal. Marks and Spencer's Durham City store raised £722 for the appeal fund, Chase the Butterfly, by recycling in-store coat hangers. Each year the mayor chooses a fundraising cause

  • Teenager's lighter 'was used to start school fire'

    A YOUNGSTER accused of arson at a school yesterday told a court how his lighter was used to start a fire. The teenager, who cannot be named, is accused of setting fire to West Park Primary School, in Hartlepool, in October last year. He denies the charge

  • Yes, you shall go to the panto...

    "Are you the walking wounded or the wheelchair wounded?" The purpose of this question from the Box Office at Darlington Civic eluded me at first, until the reason was explained. There are two "disabled" areas at the theatre with limited capacity so some

  • Girl, five, praised for ambulance call

    A LITTLE girl was last night hailed a heroine after she calmly called an ambulance as her father fought for breath. Five-year-old Alexandria Hodgson kept a cool head when father Malcolm suffered a panic attack at their home at Marshall Drive, in Brotton

  • Cool move for ice firm

    AN ice-cream firm is relocating because of the foot-and-mouth crisis. Although the manufacturing plant is not affected, Brymoor's parlour, at High Jervaulx, North Yorkshire, has been closed for almost a month. The crisis has already cost the company £50,000

  • Detectives investigate death riddle of retired hairdresser

    THE death of an elderly woman is being investigated after her body was found in her home with the front window smashed. The body of 79-year-old Linda Allen was discovered yesterday, at her home in Wheler Street, Houghton-le-Spring. Police had been alerted

  • Blaze family leave hospital

    A YOUNG mother and her two children have been discharged from hospital following a fire at their home. Tamara Cleve and children Peter, six, and Ryan, two, were taken to Darlington Memorial Hospital on Monday night suffering from smoke inhalation. Mrs

  • New charter helps adopters

    A CHARTER has been launched to help people who are considering adoption. Sunderland City Council wants to make it easier for people to understand the complex regulations governing adoption. Barbara Williams, assistant director of Sunderland Social Services