• Leisure centre facility will be a sensation

    AN open day at a leisure centre will allow visitors to try out a range of activities and an innovative relaxation room. Durham City Council's Deerness Leisure Centre is the only one in the region to offer the Sensations Room. It uses lights, sounds and

  • Wedding bells for Selby rail crash survivor

    A SELBY rail crash survivor who feared he would be wheelchair-bound for life will walk down the aisle with his bride this week. Steward Thomas Kaplanis thought he would never walk again after his back was broken in the crash. But, thanks to the love of

  • Firm stays cool through crisis

    AN ENTERPRISING ice cream firm which beat the foot-and-mouth crisis by operating in exile for six weeks is returning to its farmyard home, without laying off a single member of staff. The financial outlook seemed bleak at the beginning of April when over-the-counter

  • Mystery cat found 1,000 miles from home

    WHEN Mario the Siamese cat was found wandering the streets, vets had their work cut out to find its owners. For the friendly feline proved to be a real roaming Roman when his home was traced almost 1,000 miles away, in Italy. And now the Italian Embassy

  • Letters

    RONNIE BIGGS GREAT Train robber gang member Ronnie Biggs has returned to Britain from Rio where he has lived the high life for over 35 years while evading British justice. One national daily, which paid his fare, reported that the people of Margate would

  • Town's new mayor prepares to take office

    DARLINGTON'S new mayor will take office on Thursday. Councillor Isobel Hartley, who was born in Heworth, Tyne and Wear in 1932, has lived in Darlington since 1967. She was elected to the council in 1981 and has served most of her time on the transport

  • Business on brink of closure due to security problems

    A BUSINESS has been forced to lay off staff and was driven to the brink of closure due to security problems - including risks posed by drug users. Originally, the site on Portrack Lane, Stockton, was a petrol filling station and car showroom, but when

  • Search for region's top young cyclists

    THE search is on to find Britain's next generation of cycling stars, and youngsters in Hartlepool are being invited to stake their claims. A heat of the Raleigh Challenge 2001, a national cycling competition for under-13s organised by the British Cycling

  • Touring crafts display pulls in the crowds

    A TOURING art exhibition has attracted about 3,000 visitors to rural communities. The Designed for the Dales project has been touring Teesdale and Weardale, showing work including rag-rugs, furniture, glass and ceramics, baskets and tapestry. Several

  • Child care tips

    COMPREHENSIVE information on child care will be available at an event in Darlington from May 21 to May 26. As part of National Childcare Week, the Darlington Early Years Development and Childcare Partnership will provide information stands and entertainment

  • Youngsters encouraged to go clubbing

    YOUNGSTERS in Stockton are being invited to strut their stuff down at Club Zanzibar this summer. The club, in the town's High Street, is opening its doors to thousands of teenagers during the half-term and summer breaks to keep them out of trouble and

  • Bobby's fiery blast for the Newcastle 'jerks'

    ANGRY Bobby Robson last night claimed the knives are out for him at Newcastle, but insisted: "I won't walk away.'' Manager Robson fired a furious broadside at "the jerks'' who have criticised him and his coaching staff after a season of disappointment

  • Freed Maddison fires parting shot

    MIDDLESBROUGH midfielder Neil Maddison, told he can leave on a free transfer, last night admitted his lack of first-team opportunities under manager Bryan Robson had come as "a kick in the teeth''. Darlington-born Maddison, 31, has failed to start a senior

  • Village wins battle over pit stench

    CAMPAIGNERS are claiming a partial victory after the Government bowed to pressure to seal off a burial pit at Tow Law. Work began yesterday on sealing off the mass grave of more than 12,000 animal carcasses - the source of a stench that villagers say

  • Time to say goodbye

    Publication of The Cyber Space column is being suspended. Due to staffing changes and the launch of a new look 7 Days supplement with The Northern Echo from Thursday, May 17 this feature will be taking a break. However, if there is an Internet issue which

  • Trainers blast decision to abandon Redcar meet

    Yesterday's meeting at Redcar was abandoned in controversial circumstances when a hastily-organised inspection of the course found the track to be in an unraceable condition. Five minutes after the advertised first race time of 1.55pm it was announced

  • Youngest paedophile ever - aged just 13

    A 13-year-old boy yesterday became the youngest person ever to be convicted of dealing in child porn - for possessing more than 300 paedophilic images on his home computer. The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was given an 18-month supervision

  • Double-deckers have it licked

    THEY have long been a favourite of shopping-laden grandmothers and teenagers stealing illicit back seat kisses, but the great British double-decker bus is about to pick up a whole new set of fans - stamp collectors. The mainstay of our once-proud public

  • Exam papers end up on rubbish tip

    A SCHOOL is carrying out an inquiry after hundreds of important exam papers were destroyed accidentally. Hummersknott School, in Darlington, is blaming "human error" on the mix-up, which led to the exam papers of 243 children being put in a waste skip

  • School opens its doors to help increase awareness

    A PRIMARY school for children with special needs is opening its doors to the public for the first time. Walworth School, in Newton Aycliffe, is determined to build closer links with the community for the benefit of pupils and residents. The school, the

  • MP launches after-school programme

    A NEW programme of after-school activities in Shildon will benefit the community, says the local MP. The National Lottery has given Shildon schools £76,995 from its New Opportunities fund so that children in three primary and one senior schools can enjoy

  • Innovative band offers food for thought at centre

    INNOVATIVE band Urban Strawberry Lunch are bringing their own style of music to the North-East this week. The four piece, who will play Darlington Arts Centre tomorrow, decided on a dramatic change of direction, after a fire swept through their studio

  • Warning as cowboys ride into town

    WORKLOADS for builders in the North have risen for the first quarter of the year and are expected to continue to rise, according to the Federation of Master Builders. The news will offer some reassurance to economists who regard expenditure on building

  • School arson pair in court

    TWO teenagers who destroyed a North-East school after starting a fire to keep warm are expected to be sentenced today. James Gomersall, 19, of Cherry Tree Drive, Sedgefield, and a 14-year-old youth who cannot be named for legal reasons, are expected to

  • Four held after raids by police

    FOUR people have arrested as part of a clamp down on the illegal drugs trade. The arrests were made after early morning raids in the Sedgefield police area, in County Durham, on Friday morning. Police executed search warrants on two properties in Ferryhill

  • Historic hall sees return of founder

    AS he built the stunning Kiplin Hall nearly 400 years ago, George Calvert could never have imagined the colourful times that were to come for the architectural gem. In 1620, the design of a perfectly symmetrical and free-standing pavilion was unique in

  • Special needs school to hold first open day

    A PRIMARY school for children with special needs is opening its doors to the public for the first time. Walworth School, in Newton Aycliffe, is determined to build closer links with the community. The school, the only one of its kind in County Durham,

  • Providing government for all the people

    WITH the election campaign now entering its second week, people here in the North-East are getting ready to deliver their verdict on a Government that has failed to deliver on its most basic pledges. Across Britain, people feel betrayed by Tony Blair,

  • Blair stirs faithful

    Tony Blair stepped up his election campaign yesterday in his home territory of Sedgefield in County Durham. In the first of a series of keynote speeches, given to the Labour Club in Trimdon Village, he said: "As long as there is one child still in poverty

  • Funds earmarked to reduce misery of deprived areas

    NEARLY £3.5m of Government cash has been earmarked to fight poverty in part of County Durham. The £3,336,000 will be granted to Derwentside during the next three years to help create jobs, fight crime and improve housing, education and health. Derwentside

  • Fresh calls to end menace of horses left roaming on roads

    YARDS from a busy highway, the horrific sight of a young stallion's body lay in full view of early morning commuters. It had died during the night, hanged by a chain after it slipped off the steep embankment where it was left to graze. A few hundred yards

  • Residents lose fight against road plans

    RESIDENTS have lost their fight against road improvements planned for a new supermarket near their homes. Tesco has pledged to fund junction improvements to cater for the increased traffic that will be created in the Dragonville area of Durham City, when

  • Disease surrounds herd of 400 deer

    The foot-and-mouth crisis is again threatening a 400-strong deer herd at Raby Castle, near Staindrop, County Durham. The ancestral home of Lord Barnard is now almost completely surrounded by the disease, after confirmation that another farm at nearby

  • Patron helps charity drive

    THE new county patron of Marie Curie Cancer Care in North Yorkshire got to grips with her role at the weekend. Lady Sylvia Crathorne took to the driving seat on the first day of charity's Ladies' Driving Challenge at RAF Linton-on-Ouse, near York. Lady

  • Travel firm's beach party aids hospital

    THE Caribbean came to a North-East wine bar when a travel company held a beach party. Party-goers descended on Yates Wine Bar, in Durham City, for Hays Travel's annual fundraising event, in aid of Dryburn Hospital's baby unit. Temperatures reached boiling

  • Catering firm curries favour with Via Systems

    A COUNTY Durham catering company is bringing a taste of India to staff at printed circuit board manufacturer Via Systems. Bishop Auckland-based Consort Catering has won the contract to provide meals to more than 2,500 staff at the Newcastle business.

  • A regular kind of election story

    Good morning children. No, there's no need for you all to shout back, 'Good morning St Tony!' I'm just a regular kinda guy. Sorry headmistress, I take your point that children don't want to hear that sort of slang in school. And I know many schools no

  • Husband puts life on the line to save wife

    DOTING husband Alan Red is putting his life on the line by donating one of his kidneys to save his desperately ill wife. In a million-to-one chance, Mr Red, 39, was found to be a match for his 46-year-old wife, Susan. The operation, incredibly rare with

  • Community advice service on agenda

    LAW experts are examining the possibility of developing a community-based advisory service in the region. The legal services commission in Newcastle is looking to set up the community legal service in County Durham. Dean Grindle, regional planning and

  • Trincomalee in line for £20,000 grant

    COUNCILLORS are being asked to approve a grant of £20,000 for Britain's oldest warship afloat. Restoration work on HMS Trincomalee, which is berthed in Hartlepool, has taken more than ten years to complete and cost £10m. Funding for the project came from

  • Oxford pitches for region's scholars

    OXFORD University is taking its recruitment drive to football stadiums in an attempt to change its elitist reputation. Months after the Laura Spence incident, the university will be visiting St James' Park, the home of Newcastle United, on July 3. Pupils

  • Ex-jailbird charity worker seeks 'Dirty Dozen'

    A CHARITY is to recruit its own "Dirty Dozen" for a humanitarian operation overseas. Convicted shoplifters, burglars, car crooks and even muggers are being invited by Teesside charity, Convoy Aid, to see life in the raw in poverty-racked Romania. Rod

  • Energy jobs face the axe

    BRITISH Energy is axing 400 jobs over the next four years in an attempt to reduce UK nuclear generating costs by £150m. The job losses, mostly voluntary redundancies, will predominately be in the generating division of the Scottish group. The two support

  • Consultation for river crossing

    PUBLIC consultation is to take place to determine the level of support for a new crossing on the River Tees. The need for a crossing was first identified with the publication of the Tees plan, more than 30 years ago. A feasibility study undertaken to

  • Carers' centre campaign plan

    A CENTRE which supports carers is gearing up for two weeks of campaigning. The Princess Royal Trust Sedgefield Locality Carers Centre is taking part in Volunteers Week and Carers Week next month. Staff at the centre, in Newton Aycliffe, will be trying

  • Community's unemployment being tackled

    EFFORTS to tackle unemployment in a community are proving successful according to a project's latest figures. Pennywell Community Business, Sunderland, has helped 465 people gain full-time employment in the past year through its job creation scheme, and

  • Burning Questions

    Q: Regarding the new Gala Theatre in Durham City. Is it true that the new theatre is the first and only one to be built in the city? - John Hall, Chester-le-Street A: Theatrical performances have a long tradition in Durham, dating back to early times

  • Bus drivers aid charity

    BUS drivers dug into their pockets to raise £1,000 for Marie Cancer Care. Drivers from the Darlington, Redcar and Stokesley depots collected the cash to help pay for nursing. Services by Marie Curie Cancer Care are free and rely on fundraising. Carol

  • Young swimming team battle their way to national finals

    TEAMWORK paid off for four young swimmers who will take part in a national competition next month. The quartet from year six at St Wilfrid's RC Primary School, Bishop Auckland, won two relay races in the regional finals of the Bazooka championships, held

  • Turner's battle cry ahead of big clash

    UPBEAT Hartlepool United boss Chris Turner last night issued a passionate rallying call to fans. Pool face Blackpool at Victoria Park tomorrow night desperate to overturn a 2-0 deficit from Sunday's first-leg. Turner could only look on as his side were

  • Paul stripped for charity

    NIGHT-SHIFT worker Paul Becks gritted his teeth as he underwent a full body wax to raise money for the neo-natal unit at North Tees Hospital, Stockton. The 50-year-old, from Billingham, who works at the Big W store, in Stockton, decided to shed his body

  • Abuser driven from his home

    A paedophile has been driven from his home after parents discovered he was working as a paperboy in their community. George Anderson, 56, abused three boys aged 12 and 13 who attended the Bible classes he set up in a youth club near his former home in

  • Anti-theft campaign gives tips and advice

    A NEW anti-theft campaign is being planned this summer. Crime prevention officer Colin Hopkins has teamed up with a group of insurance brokers from Hartlepool to put on a week-long exhibition offering free crime busting tips and property marking advice

  • Most satisfied with authority

    MORE than three quarters of people responding to a council survey said they were satisfied with the authority's services. Chester-le-Street District Council held customer surveys in six service areas in the past year, including benefits, leisure and refuse

  • Police in hunt for two sex attackers

    INQUIRIES are continuing into two serious sexual assaults in a North-East town. The attacks, which are not being linked by police, took place in Darlington, County Durham, last week. The first was on Bank Holiday Monday when a woman was subjected to a

  • School's sporting accolade

    A DARLINGTON school has been re-awarded an honour for the quality of its physical education and sports programme. Since receiving the Sportsmark and Sportsmark Gold awards in 1998, Longfield School has strengthened its links with the community. The awards

  • Drinks service takes the strain out of waiting for a bus

    BUS passengers were given a free cup of tea over the weekend while they waited for their bus to arrive. A roadside tea, coffee and soft drinks stall was set up in Preston-on-Tees, Stockton, Teesside. Helping to man it was the Reverend Alan Farish, priest

  • Trainer gets ready for fitness test

    FITNESS fan Michael Simpson has qualified for the finals of a national competition for the second consecutive year. The personal trainer, from Trimdon Colliery, is hoping to improve his ranking when he competes in this year's X-Zone Challenge. Thousands

  • Beating the vile porn purveyors

    WE do not envy the role of the courts in sentencing a 13-year-old boy convicted of dealing in child pornography. The seriousness of the offence and the age of the offender are difficult to balance. On reflection the court probably arrived at the appropriate

  • Police step up patrols to stop vandals

    POLICE are stepping up their patrols after vandals sprayed 19 cars with paint in Darlington. The attacks came days after 11 cars were similarly damaged in the Hummersknott area of the town. Police are puzzled about the motive of the attacks, but are appealing

  • Spare a thought for brave Scott

    We've all enjoyed this marvellous week's weather but spare a thought for Scott Taylor, the local National Hunt Jockey so badly injured a couple of years ago in a nasty fall at Perth. Scott - a very tough jump Jockey - had a couple of rides for me and

  • Bid to keep castle paintings in N-E

    ART lovers are launching a bid to keep a treasured collection of paintings in the North-East. Thirteen full-length portraits of Jacob and his Twelve Sons, by the 17th Century Spanish artist Francisco de Zurbaran have occupied pride of place in the Bishop

  • Young chess fans make the right moves to achieve success

    FOUR youngsters from an Eaglescliffe primary school have made all the right moves in a chess competition. The children from The Links school's chess club took part in the Sunderland Chess competition, playing against youngsters from all over the North-East

  • Postmistress scoops UK poetry title

    A VILLAGE postmistress is celebrating poetic success. Ann Marsden, from Skelton, east Cleveland, won United Press's UK Poetry champion competition with her entry, Take This Aching Heart. The competition produces a national poetry anthology and the winners

  • Big changes to provide cleaner image

    BIG changes in the way Middlesbrough Borough Council looks after roads, open spaces and litter are to be introduced. The improvements follow a review of the council's activities which included a roadshow for residents to comment on the way their streets

  • Housing bid likely to succeed

    PLANS for a housing development look set to receive clearance, despite the concerns of councillors and archaeologists. Seeger Homes has submitted plans to Hambleton District Council to create 18 homes at Masonic Lane, in Thirsk. The scheme would see seven

  • Olympic star tests out gym equipment

    OLYMPIC rowing legend Sir Steve Redgrave has given his seal of approval to the latest training equipment at a County Durham hotel. The five-times Olympic gold medal winner was staying at the Durham Marriott, while he attended the Durham Supersprints rowing

  • Orange and ntl team up on mobiles

    ORANGE has signed a deal to create a new mobile phone service for cable company ntl. Orange, which employs more than 5,500 staff in the region, at Darlington, Peterlee and North Tyneside, will provide mobile services to ntl's three million residential

  • Hunt for racist who terrorised family

    AN ASIAN family has been left deeply upset after being subjected to a torrent of racial abuse at their home. Police are trying to trace the culprit, who gave Nazi-type salutes as he insulted the family in the Stanley area, on Saturday, May 6, at 8.45pm

  • Regeneration of estate hit by homes wrangle

    THE regeneration of a Darlington estate has suffered a setback with news that no new hones will be built for at least 12 months. But Darlington Borough Council has been quick to reassure residents that the Firthmoor redevelopment will go ahead. After

  • Classic run on the cards

    CLASSIC cars are gearing up for a 100-mile charity run. Hundreds of vintage vehicle owners are expected to turn out for the Beamish Reliability Run on Fathers' Day - June 17. It begins at Beamish Museum and takes a scenic route through County Durham and

  • Falcon centre extension may be built despite objections

    A CONTROVERSIAL falconry centre is likely to be given official approval for an extension, despite strong protests. Parish councillors and ramblers have condemned the construction of a building, to be used as falcon chambers, at the centre in Great Broughton