• Hunt affected by foot-and-mouth restrictions

    Hunting supporters were determined to maintain their Boxing Day tradition on Wednesday despite being unable to stage their annual pursuit in normal fashion. The Braes of Derwent Hunt in north-west Durham is among those affected by the lingering restrictions

  • Pub blaze blamed on arsonists

    A blaze that ripped through a North-East pub has been blamed on arsonists. The fire, which caused extensive damage to the Sporting Arms in Denton Road, Denton in Newcastle, took hold in the early hours of this morning. When the fire started at around

  • Remembering the bloody past of lonely beauty spot

    HOME to at least one species of rare flower, the Blue Heaps on a windy edge of County Durham is a lonely beauty spot frequented only by dog walkers and ramblers. Few would guess it, but the Consett soil that now sprouts quaint-sounding bristly oxtongue

  • Dramatic rescue from house fire

    The neighbour of a disabled pensioner has described the chilling screams of the man's wife when the couple became trapped in their burning home. Norman Mollon, 74, told how neighbours Robert and Sheila Bryden, both 66, narrowly escaped with their lives

  • Prime minister supports guides' campaign

    PRIME Minister Tony Blair kept his promise to meet a group of Guides and a bright blue bug. The MP for Sedgefield agreed to meet members of the 2nd Hurworth Guides in summer, but because of the September 11 terrorist attacks the event was postponed. Taking

  • Preparations start for transfer to new hospital

    THE first deliveries of equipment arrived at Bishop Auckland's long-awaited new hospital in time for Christmas. The main building work was completed last week and the final phase of the £67m 347-bed redevelopment is now under way. Over the next few months

  • Darlington and district news in brief

    Work on road suspended Road works in Haughton Road, Darlington, have been suspended until February 4. The works, which were recently blamed by a Darlington taxi driver for traffic congestion problems in the area, are being carried out by Transco. NEW

  • Computer insight for young Nile

    TEENAGE musician Nile Hope had £1m of computer software at his fingertips during a work experience placement. The 15-year-old Durham Johnston School pupil designed and produced a model guitar during his stint at Bishop Auckland College's innovative Digital

  • Holiday pay bonanza for rail workers

    SCORES of rail workers in the region are picking up wages of £1,000 a day to continue track repairs during the Christmas and New Year period. Some of the staff are expected to pick up £3,000 if they have worked Christmas Day and Boxing Day and go on to

  • Hamper proves a timely win for mother-to-be

    A COMPETITION winner will have to wait until after a special delivery before she can enjoy her prize. Vanessa Adams won the word-square competition at Darlington's Queen Street Arcade, and her prize, a £200 hamper, included bottles of wine and champagne

  • Search and rescue team seeks new members

    THE Teesdale and Weardale Search and Rescue team has launched an appeal for new recruits to join them at the turn of the year. The past two weeks have been particularly busy for the team, with searches in the Middleton-in-Teesdale, Sherburn and Stanley

  • Pupils explore the world of soaps and magazines

    SPECIAL school pupils have written their own soap opera and produced a magazine. The students from The Meadows School, Spennymoor, have been working with writer and poet Andy Croft, who was the poet in residence for the Great North Run last year. Mr Croft

  • Travel improves prospects

    WORK placements thousands of miles away from home in Poland improved the job prospects of nine young people from the North-East. The six men and three women from Stanley, Consett and South Shields were sent to Lodz and Warsaw on a Prince's Trust Work

  • Brown and Tawny Owls leave nest

    TWO Brownie leaders have said goodbye to their young members. Bishop Middleham pack's Brown Owl Linda Johnson and Tawny Owl Sue Margerison have retired after a total of 40 years in charge. Past and present members of the pack joined them in the village

  • Brighter, cleaner future for city with blueprint

    A BRIGHTER, cleaner future is envisaged in a new "green blueprint" drawn up to improve a North-East city. Future City, Future Lives was produced by the City of Sunderland Partnership, following consultation with 1,200 local businesses, groups and organisations

  • Hunt's hounds keep a date with tradition

    Hunt supporters were determined to maintain their Boxing Day tradition yesterday, despite being unable to stage their annual pursuit in normal fashion. The Braes of Derwent Hunt, in north-west Durham, is among those affected by lingering restrictions

  • Newcastle boss still cool on title chances

    NEWCASTLE United manager Bobby Robson continued to play down his side's title chances last night, despite a convincing 3-0 win over North-East neighbours Middlesbrough. The Magpies reclaimed top spot in the Premiership after Arsenal briefly took over

  • Florida Pearl proves to be a real Kempton gem

    FLORIDA Pearl became the first Irish-trained winner of the King George VI Chase for more than 25 years when powering home at Kempton Park yesterday. Willie Mullins's charge, ridden by Adrian Maguire, gave a first-class display of jumping on his way to

  • Accolades continue to pour in for project

    A FURTHER accolade could be heading for a regeneration scheme which has already scooped several awards. Newcastle's Grainger Town Project has helped to preserve and enhance many of the run-down Georgian and Victorian buildings in the heart of the city

  • Weekend skating sessions lined up

    SKATERS are expected to take to a synthetic ice rink at Whitby Pavilion in their droves in the run-up to the New Year. Sessions are to be held on Saturday, from noon to 8pm, and the following day from 10am to 6pm, starting on the hour and lasting for

  • Benefit fraud crackdown

    A crackdown on benefit fraudsters is being mounted by Scarborough Borough Council because the authority is losing £1m a year. Benefits manager David Ponton-Brown said the authority pays out £24m a year in benefits. "We have pledged that people will be

  • Reid's salute to the fans

    JUBILANT Sunderland manager Peter Reid last night dedicated a fine 3-0 victory over Blackburn Rovers to the club's travelling army of fans at Ewood Park. "It was a victory we owed to our supporters because we haven't been too clever away from home this

  • Mobile phone thefts alert

    MOBILE phone owners are being warned to stay on their guard after a spate of thefts in the Ryedale area of North Yorkshire. In the last six months, 56 phones have been stolen in the district, prompting police to launch an awareness campaign. Community

  • Refinery overhaul brings cash boost to groups

    CHARITY and community groups on Teesside have benefited from a £2,100 windfall from one of the area's industrial oil refineries. The money comes as a result of an injury-free overhaul at the Petroplus-owned Teesside Oil Refinery at North Tees. The organisations

  • Boxing Day pilgrimage with 'added significance'

    THE Bishop of Ripon yesterday led hundreds of pilgrims in a prayer of thanksgiving for the re-opening of footpaths hit by foot-and-mouth disease. The Right Reverend John Packer said this year's Boxing Day pilgrimage from Ripon Cathedral to Fountains Abbey

  • Celebrity cuddle for N-E slimming champion Debbie

    A NORTH-EAST slimming champion enjoyed a little extra New Year cheer when she got a chance to cuddle up with TV comedian Shane Ritchie. Debbie Mckay, from east Cleveland, was given the treat for her work managing slimming classes which have helped hundreds

  • EU farm medicine law 'threat to rural jobs'

    AN animal health products co-operative has accused the European Union of dealing a further blow to the North-East's rural economy by proposing a prescription-only monopoly in animal medicines. Farmer-owned Farmway, which is based in Darlington and has

  • Festive spirit urged at home

    HOUSEHOLDERS are being urged to add a festive touch of colour to their homes by their local council next year. The growing tradition of bedecking houses with decorative Christmas lights has spawned an official contest, to be run by Hetton Town Council

  • Risk of explosion from cans of hotdogs

    NEW Year celebrations could literally go with a bang in North-East households when some cans of tinned hotdogs are opened. The Food Standards Agency has issued an alert following the recall of some varieties of the sausages by the Lidl and Asda store

  • Assurance over fridges disposal

    HOUSEHOLDERS have been assured that a service to dispose of old fridges and freezers will remain free of charge. Concerns had been voiced that fly-tipping could increase across the Ryedale district of North Yorkshire if charges were introduced to rid

  • Robert in running for national award

    THE good works of teenager Robert Cooper have put him in the running for a national title. The 18-year-old, of Northallerton, North Yorkshire, has won a place in the finals of a countrywide contest through his work in the community. A student who attends

  • Move against items used for torture

    AMNESTY International campaigners and an MEP have succeeded in forcing European Union chiefs to take the first steps to end conformity branding on torture items. The charity's Darlington branch has been working with North-East MEP, Stephen Hughes, to

  • Bandstand jubilee tribute

    The Queen's Golden Jubilee next year could bring a bandstand to a North Yorkshire town Malton town council has suggested that the bandstand is built either outside the museum or in the car park opposite the Green Man Hotel. District council chiefs are

  • City clamps down on pub music levels

    A CITY'S pubs and clubs have been told to turn the volume down, because of potential danger to people's hearing. City of York Council surveyed 24 venues in an effort to determine whether noise levels were dangerous to staff. Officers took action after

  • 11-year-olds seeking help over drugs

    CHILDREN as young as 11 are turning to a North-East drugs helpline for advice in record numbers. The figures are revealed today as the Government launches its pre-New Year campaign to encourage youngsters to call the National Drug Helpline to find reliable

  • Diving in for pool cash

    LOTTERY cash could help to put the North-East in the swim with its first Olympic-size competition facilities. Sunderland City Council has submitted a bid for more than £6m of National Lottery funding to help develop a 50-metre swimming pool. Should holders

  • Joy over charity's changed fortunes

    A LEADING figure in the once-doomed charity Relate has hailed its "staggering turnaround" in the past year. Last December, the North-East branch of the marriage guidance service was facing collapse in the face of huge debts. It had earmarked its five

  • Search and rescue team seeks new members

    THE Teesdale and Weardale Search and Rescue team has launched an appeal for new recruits to join them at the turn of the year. The past two weeks have been particularly busy for the team, with searches in the Middleton-in-Teesdale, Sherburn and Stanley

  • Shearer sparks leaders' romp against sad Boro

    ALAN SHEARER led Newcastle back to the top of the Premiership as Bobby Robson's men enjoyed a convincing Boxing Day victory over troubled Middlesbrough in the 100th League meeting between the sides. Arsenal's 2-1 home win against Chelsea earlier in the

  • Mums and dads' delight at their festive bundles of joy

    CHRISTMAS Day baby Brandon Thompson arrived two weeks early but his timing couldn't have been better for his delighted family. Born at Bishop Auckland General Hospital in the early hours, the 7lb 8oz infant was back home in Shildon, County Durham, the

  • Festive cheer for pension annuities

    AT last! It is now possible to avoid the requirement to buy an annuity at the age of 75 with your pension fund. Most modern pension arrangements use the fund built up through your working life to buy an annuity through an insurance company when you decide

  • Cross-party support for privacy over MMR jabs

    North-East MPs from the three main parties have defended ministers' rights to keep private whether their children have had the controversial MMR vaccine. This is despite one Labour backbencher saying Ministers should show leadership on the issue It follows

  • Musical vicar is rocking to retirement

    A rock-loving vicar, who once led a pop group, is retiring from the ministry. The Reverend Don Tordoff, who retires as Rector of Spennithorne, near Leyburn, North Yorkshire, set up a group at the Church of the Venerable Bede, Wyther, in Leeds, calling

  • Pain no barrier to Philip's degree

    STUDENT Philip Putson overcame pain to graduate from university. Diagnosed with severe arthritis in his final year, the 22-year-old, from Thornaby, was in so much pain he was unable to walk for a month and missed important lectures. But he beat the odds

  • Improvement hope for A64

    THERE are new hopes of improvements being carried out to the A64 York to Scarborough road which carries heavy holiday and commercial traffic between the Yorkshire Coast and West Yorkshire. A route management strategy is being drawn up by the Highways

  • Ex-students bid farewell to teacher

    A WELL-LOVED Leyburn primary schoolteacher has died, aged 96. Many of those who attended the funeral of Ciceley Robinson at St Matthew's Church were former pupils. She taught several generations during her 44-year career at Leyburn Primary School. She

  • Greengrocer's street cry too loud

    A greengrocer has been threatened with court action because his traditional street touting cry "Bananas of 50p a pound" is too loud. Kevin Thoburn has ben warned if he doesn't tone down his sales patter he will face legal action. Kevin, brother of Metric

  • Hear all sides

    TONY BLAIR THE national Press describes Tony Blair as many things, including 'Air miles Tony', 'President Blair', and even 'Tony the First', (anticipating the Royal Family being abandoned, which many believe is on his agenda). These descriptions of the

  • Dead man's relatives contact police

    Relatives of a homeless man killed in an accident with a manoeuvring taxi have come forward. Police put out an appeal after Scottish-born Dennis Gillespie, 64, died in hospital of head injuries after the accident in Durham City's Market Place at 10pm

  • 'Why I'm glad Madge is dead'

    FAR BE it from actress Anne Charleston to speak ill of the dead, but you get the feeling she's glad the producers killed off her character Madge Bishop in BBC1's soap Neighbours. The Australian-born actress, currently starring in pantomime in York, was

  • A gateway to friends, and to the world

    FROM a small corner of the North-East a group of nuns are spreading healing across the world. The Carmelite sisters, who live in a Darlington convent, have been saying prayers for war victims who are desperately in need of solace. Thanks to the nuns'

  • Dogs in demand as farms restocked

    The working dog is back in demand once again as farmers re-stock following the foot-and-mouth crisis. Since the outbreak began more than 200 working dogs have been handed over to an animal welfare charity as farmers were forced to cull their flocks. But

  • Man injured in car accident

    A man has been seriously injured after being struck by a car on Teesside. The 32-year-old unnamed Guisborough man sustained a fractured pelvis and knee cap when he was knocked over by a Vauxhall Corsa. A spokesman for Cleveland Police said: "At this time

  • Caves searched for bin Laden

    US forces intensified their hunt for Osama bin Laden yesterday, even as Afghanistan's interim Prime Minister declared that terrorism had been "largely" beaten in his war-ravaged country. Following a brief rest over Christmas, US forces were going back

  • Retail crime drive to continue

    POLICE have warned thieves they will continue their successful pre-Christmas retail crime crackdown into the January sales. Since launching their annual purge across Darlington town centre, officers have made 112 arrests and stopped a further 54 people

  • Talks on new play area

    PARENTS of disabled children will be given an opportunity to meet consultants to discuss plans for a disabled play area in Darlington. The borough council's play areas for disabled children review group has selected North Lodge Park, off Gladstone Street

  • Educational courses offer

    Darlington branch of the Workers' Educational Association has launched its January courses booklet. Eight-week courses run at Bennet House, in Horsemarket, Darlington, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Tuesday sessions are on the history of jazz

  • Security reviewed after computer robbery

    SECURITY is being reviewed at a North-East university where computer equipment was targeted by thieves. An estimated £1m worth of recently installed equipment was either stolen or damaged in the night-time raid at Durham University science site last Saturday

  • Islamic religion guide aims to foster better understanding

    A GUIDE to Islam is to be circulated to all schools in Darlington to inform people about the borough's ethnic diversity. Two Bengali women, Afia Begum and Khela Jafar, have produced A Simple Guide for the Community About Islam as part of the Steaming

  • Suspensions start to mount for Quakers

    THE postponement of yesterday's game at Carlisle means the suspensions of Darlington's Barry Conlon and Mark Ford drag on, depriving manager Tommy Taylor of even more players. Saturday's trip to Bristol Rovers sees both Phil Brumwell and Simon Betts banned

  • Frustration for Pool

    HARTLEPOOL United suffered their second freeze-off in ten days when yesterday's clash with Scunthorpe was postponed. After their visit to Bristol Rovers was abandoned just 12 minutes into the game, referee Mike Pike called off yesterday's game 75 minutes

  • Line-up appeal

    Police are appealing for men over six feet tall to take part in an identity parade in North Ormesby, Middlesbrough, in the New Year. Volunteers must be white, clean shaven, of medium to heavy build, with short, light brown hair. Anyone interested in taking

  • Seaside show for Cinderella

    SALTBURN 53 drama group is inviting people in east Cleveland to beat the January blues and take a trip to the pantomime. The group will perform Cinderella from January 17 to 19 and then on January 24 to 26. Tickets cost £4.50, concessions £3.50, with

  • Building plans

    SEVERAL planning applications have been received for extensions to homes in Darlington. The borough council's development and environment department has received five applications. They are: A single-storey rear and side extension to 45 Littlebeck Drive

  • Another year in jail with cockroaches

    THE torment of a former Army officer has been revealed in letters sent back to North Yorkshire from his Indian jail. Peter Bleach, from Fylingthorpe, near Whitby in North Yorkshire, is spending his sixth Christmas behind bars after an earlier appeal against

  • Care home plan to be reviewed

    A RETHINK on plans to close two Stockton nursing homes is to take place. Moves to close the Belasis and Tithebarn residential homes, privatise the Rosedale home and keep Park View in local authority ownership, is to be reviewed following a decision by

  • Graduate with three reasons to celebrate

    AN east Cleveland graduate is celebrating a first class honours degree, an academic prize and a job with a local technology firm. Paul Barnett, 22, from New Marske, gained a BSc (Hons) Software Engineering degree from the University of Teesside and received

  • Dubliner Quinn's double drives the Rovers wild

    TWO GOALS in the first half from Republic of Ireland international Niall Quinn gave Sunderland their first top-flight victory at Ewood Park for 54 years and ended a sorry run of four consecutive away defeats. Peter Reid's men hit top form in a scintillating

  • New heart is mum's hope for sick son

    A desperate mother is hoping the New Year will bring her fresh hope in the search for a second heart donor to save her son's life. Nine-year-old Peter Porton was just one when he received his first transplant. But now the heart is failing and regularly

  • Battling Andrew defies the odds

    Brave schoolboy Andrew Jobling was told by doctors he would never talk or walk again after a horrific car crash. But the battling ten-year-old has defied the odds and is back on his feet just three months after being left for dead when he was hit by a

  • Charities enjoy profit in dips

    HARDY people dusted off their Christmas cobwebs yesterday to brave the North Sea in the name of charity. Hundreds of bathers plunged into the icy waters along the North-East coast, but were told by coastguards not to venture out too far because of rough

  • David rules the airwaves for one big day

    A NORTH-EAST broadcaster has made a young disabled athlete's dreams come true by giving him his first taste of fame. Paul "Goffy" Gough, from North-East radio station Century FM, met 18-year-old David Clark, from Netherfields, Middlesbrough, at The Northern

  • Residents prepare to fight in bid for village green status

    VILLAGERS are gearing up to fight to save their green patch of open space early in the New Year. The people of Pittington, near Durham, believe the stretch of land at Coalford Lane should be officially designated as "village green". They claim the reclaimed

  • Ramblers in call for paths repair cash

    RAMBLERS are stepping up a campaign for a major cash investment to be made in improving footpaths which have been condemned as among the worst in the country. A recent survey carried out by the Government's Countryside Agency showed that only 22 per cent

  • Sorry Del, bit of a plonker

    DID you see Del Boy and Rodney on television on Christmas Day? You'd be in good company if you did, because at least 20 million others were watching - a third of the entire British population. Only Fools and Horses is a national institution, a family

  • Shops braced for the sales invasion

    STORES throughout the region are bracing themselves for a record-breaking start to the sales this morning, as the great British spending spree shows no signs of slowing down. After the most successful Christmas in recent years, shops are expecting bargain

  • Boy George - what

    TEENAGER Susanna McCarthy was not supposed to spend Christmas morning in labour - but she's glad she did. The 16-year-old was due to give birth on January 10, but her 9lb baby son decided to put in an appearance more than two weeks early. Susanna, of

  • Village school youngsters' play area hopes

    YOUNGSTERS at a village school are hoping plans for a new playground and classroom will be backed by councillors in the New Year. Pupils at Slingsby Primary School, near Kirkbymoorside, North Yorkshire, need more space as the tiny school looks to expand

  • Takeover secures 125 jobs

    MORE than 100 North-East jobs have been saved after a takeover deal secured the future of electronics group Joyce Loebl. The company, based at Gateshead, Tyneside, has concluded a deal with Kent security technology specialists, Screen. The deal safeguards

  • Value dispute as brewery site draws interest

    A FORMER brewery site has attracted interest from developers keen to revitalise it. Councillor Colin Anderson, leader of Sunderland City Council, has revealed that inquiries have been made relating to the former Vaux site, in St Mary's Way, Sunderland

  • Staff furnish useful £200

    FURNITURE store staff backed a pioneering foster care project with a £200 donation from their fun day. Customers at MFI, in Middlesbrough, supported the store's fundraising efforts for the Community Placement North-East project, which provides family-based

  • New Year health check for your cash

    THE festive period is often a starting point for making resolutions and embarking on new goals. Whether it be a diet, job promotion or fitness regime many people start the New Year with good intentions. However one thing that often gets overlooked is

  • Finding a safe haven

    THE terrible events of September 11 of course shocked everyone, created uncertainty in financial markets and caused a surge in the price of "crisis" government bonds. The man in the street, however, very often doesn't have traditional bolt-holes and therefore

  • PCs thwart beach suicide attempt

    Two police officers who halted a man's suicide attempt are to get bravery awards. An 18-year-old was spotted wading out to sea near The Spa, at Scarborough, North Yorkshire, by a passer-by, who alerted police. PCs Paul Duffield and PC Paul Long found

  • Man lucky to escape alive after arson attack on car

    A 25-YEAR-OLD man was lucky to escape with his life after vandals set fire to a car outside his home in the early hours of Boxing Day. Firefighters arrived at Bow Street, Middlesbrough, at 2.15am yesterday as the blaze from a Ford Fiesta quickly spread

  • Councillor to be sued over alleged match day assault

    A FORMER Sunday league football physiotherapist is suing a Teesside councillor for damages after an alleged assault six years ago. John Lynch, a 48-year-old father from Thornaby, claims he was left with permanent nerve damage and registered disabled following

  • Calendar success for 14-year-old Charlotte

    AN artistic youngster has been named the overall winner of the 2002 Community Calendar Competition, organised by 13 chemical, steel and power generating companies on Teesside. The 22 schools closest to the Wilton, Billingham and North Tees manufacturing

  • White car link to horse box theft

    THE theft of a horse box has been linked to two similar incidences in east Cleveland during the past year. Between 10.30pm on December 22 and 9.40am on December 23, a lime green horse box was stolen from Waterfall Farm kennels, in Guisborough. The box

  • Car park to increase at town store

    EXTRA cars will be able to park at the Netto store in Northallerton, planners have agreed. The Brompton Road store has been given approval to increase the number of car park spaces from 39 to 49 by redeveloping a former forecourt and petrol station which

  • Fight to save local courts continues

    MAGISTRATES and councillors in North Yorkshire are fighting plans to close two of the county's courts, at Pickering and Whitby. The county Magistrates' Courts Committee (MCC) wants to close the courts next December because of the need to spend big sums

  • Chipping away at a murder mystery

    Chris Lloyd concludes his Christmas ghost story with a brutal murder and offers a few facts that may convince you that the ghost really did exist. Bishop John Cosin had a troublesome brood of children. His daughter, Lady Burton, ruined her reputation