• Beck plunge driver critical

    A MOTORIST is recovering in hospital after his pick-up truck swerved off a busy dual carriageway into a flooded beck and disappeared under murky water. Passing drivers watched in horror as the Vauxhall van and trailer left the northbound carriageway of

  • River crossing bid angers residents and green parties

    THE opening shots have been fired in a bitter dispute over a proposed new Tyne crossing. A public inquiry chaired by Government inspector Stuart Nixon at Jarrow Community Association was started yesterday and is expected to last up to six weeks. According

  • Work on temporary site for fire-hit pupils begins

    WORK has started to create a temporary home for pupils whose school was destroyed by arsonists last week. Middleton St George Primary School, near Darlington, suffered extensive damage when a fire was started in the roof last Wednesday evening. While

  • No home comforts for Boro

    NEWCASTLE fans making the short trip to Teesside could be forgiven for feeling more than a little optimistic going into tonight's Tees-Tyne clash. Not only are the high-flying Magpies favourites to win the match, recent history is also firmly on their

  • Jury told of murdered asylum seeker's last moments

    A friend of murdered asylum seeker Peiman Bahmani described the last few moments of his friend's life to a jury yesterday. Reza Namdar had been with the 30-year-old Iranian when he was attacked by Steven Roberts, 18, on August 28. Mr Namdar told Newcastle

  • A trip to the in-laws as the Crowe flies in

    HOLLYWOOD superstar Russell Crowe stunned villagers in a North Yorkshire village when he dropped in for a chat with the grandparents of his bride-to-be. The Gladiator star is due to marry Australian singer-songwriter Danielle Spencer in Fiji. But her

  • The great, the good and the gulper

    CHARLIE Emett, a thoroughly nice little feller who used to write the "Walks" column hereabouts, still looks into the building. Invariably he brings a bag of cream buns - they used to sell much the same thing at the elephant house in London Zoo - and quite

  • Soldiers' families plead for parcel fees discount

    The families of soldiers preparing for war have hit out at the "extortionate" postage costs to send morale-boosting parcels to their loved ones. Relatives yesterday begged the military to scrap the charges which are double those paid by US families. British

  • Donation will help lung patients

    PEOPLE with lung ailments will benefit from hospital equipment donated by a self-help group. Durham and Derwentside Breathe Easy, part of the British Lung Foundation, has bought a spirometer and a portable nebuliser. The spirometer, which measures lung

  • Asylum seeker 'died in race attack'

    AN asylum seeker was stabbed to death during a racist attack just a day before he was due to start a new life in the South, a jury was told. Newcastle Crown Court heard how Peiman Bahmani had been due to leave for Brighton when his coach journey was put

  • Revealed... the best therapy of them all

    SO maybe the stiff upper lip is the best therapy after all. New research by a medical advice organisation in Oxford claims that a lot of counselling is a waste of time and some of it does more harm than good. And Professor George Bonnano - who studied

  • War fears prompt a rush for gas masks

    AN Army surplus store has almost run out of gas masks as fears grow over a possible conflict with Iraq. The Genuine Army Surplus Store, in North Road, Darlington, has been inundated with customers saying they want to protect themselves and their families

  • Quest set to ease Cup anxieties

    PETER BEAUMONT has an anxious few days ahead prior to next Thursday's Cheltenham Gold Cup in which his stable-star, Hussard Collonges, is expected to play a leading role. A winner or two generally helps the time pass more convivially and to that end Monty's

  • Call centre workers take wage cuts to save jobs

    UP TO 375 call centre workers have voted to take wage cuts in order to safeguard the long-term future of their jobs. Staff at npower sites in Thornaby and the Team Valley, Gateshead, will suffer pay reductions averaging five per cent, but some better-paid

  • NHS waiting list fiddles revealed

    SPOT checks on 41 NHS trusts found three were fiddling waiting list figures and half made mistakes reporting data, the spending watchdog reveals today. The Audit Commission carried out checks from June to November last year to assess the accuracy of waiting

  • No need to celebrate everything with a bang

    AT dusk one evening last summer a firework display in my village went on longer than the ususal weekend pyrotechnics. It finally drew me out to try and identify the source of the prolonged spectacle. Not in admiration but anger that the peace of a still

  • Quakers joy as Conlon leaves it late

    Former York City striker Barry Conlon had the last laugh when his late winner handed Darlington all three points at Feethams last night. The big Irishman struck in the 87th minute to seal victory for Quakers after Lee Bullock had cancelled out Danny Mellanby's

  • Fall of pound's value eases route to euro adoption

    THE fall in the value of the pound has eased one of the obstacles in the way of Britain joining the euro. Governor of the Bank of England Sir Edward George, giving evidence to the Commons Treasury select committee, said that the strength of sterling was

  • Garrison reeling after second road tragedy

    SOLDIERS were mourning the loss of a comrade yesterday. The 1st Battalion of The Kings Regiment, at Gatterick Garrison, North Yorkshire, were shocked by the news of the death of Lee Maxwell, 23, in a road accident on Saturday. He was a passenger in a

  • Childcare centre seeks volunteers

    A NON-PROFIT-making child-care centre is asking for help from the business community to get its new premises into shape. In return for donations of paint and help with decorating and equipment, The Funtime Centre in Hundens Lane, Darlington, hopes to

  • Motor industry accolade for Vardy

    SIR Peter Vardy, chief executive of Reg Vardy, has been honoured for his contribution to the motor industry. Sir Peter was announced as the inaugural winner of the AM Industry Personality of the Year award in front of some of the biggest names in the

  • Taking on foreign rivals

    A CHEESEMAKER is taking a stand against the pressures of international competition by signing up to a deal to supply Tesco supermarkets nationwide. Shepherds Purse, based in Thirsk, has launched new pre-packs to meet a growing consumer demand for its

  • Disco dancers are on top of the world

    THEY are best friends and they are also the disco-dancing world champions. Proud trio Amy Walker, nine, Sophie Dickson, nine, both from Marske, and Aimi Birkbeck, eight, from Redcar, have been taking their trophies to school each day since they won them

  • Fears grow for safety of missing youth

    FEARS are growing for a North-East teenager who disappeared more than a week ago. Michael Simmonds, 16, left the home he shared with his father and brother, in Etal Place, Gosforth, Newcastle, at about 1pm last Tuesday. He has not been seen since. A police

  • Profits fall but growth on way - R-R

    THE economic slowdown and a weakening demand for aircraft engines has hit profits at Rolls-Royce. But it has stuck by its forecasts for a return to growth in the current financial year, as benefits from its restructuring in the wake of the terrorist attacks

  • Raiders steal cash from pub

    TWO men made off with cash after breaking into a pub and assaulting one of the staff. The raid took place in The Simonside pub, Newcastle Road, South Shields, at about 4am on Monday. The pair were wearing dark clothing, including scarves and woollen hats

  • Disabilities team member hailed for pioneering work

    A COUNCIL worker who helps put forward the views of people with learning disabilities has been nominated for a national award. Fiona Horsman, who works for Gateshead Council's People with Disabilities team, has helped more than 50 adults with a range

  • Big attendances at new-look museum

    CULTURE chiefs in Middlesbrough are celebrating after more than 4,000 people visited the new-look Dorman Museum in only two days. The building re-opened to the public on Saturday following a £3m facelift which has doubled its size. Staff were expecting

  • Advice for volunteers

    PEOPLE wanting to offer others a helping hand are invited to a series of drop-in sessions across the Wear Valley area. Lindsay Wright, a co-ordinator for the 2D agency in Crook, hopes new volunteers will call in for advice and information. In Bishop Auckland

  • Big prizes on offer in boxing club fundraiser

    BOXING supporters will have their chance to win a mountain bike at a fundraising night this week. Communities and businesses are rallying around young boxers from Spennymoor who are heading for Canada in May. The ten, who are aged from 14 to 27 and are

  • Hot shot Gary meets maximum challenge

    A DISABLED man's ability to score the maximum 180 on the dartboard has meant extra work for himself and his colleagues. Gary Taylor's co-workers at Remploy's Spennymoor factory promised to make 180 beds a week if he could achieve 12 top scores - and he

  • Professionals set to tread college boards

    TWO professional touring companies are visiting Northallerton College during the next two weeks. Dance group rjc dance is bringing its mix of reggae, jazz and contemporary dance to the college on Thursday, March 13. Dancers will perform a new work in

  • Bernard targets ten out of ten

    Olivier Bernard has vowed to give Arsenal's French Army 'a few sleepless nights' as Newcastle United try to muscle their way into the Premiership title race. Newcastle will cut Arsenal's lead at the top of the table back to five points if they beat Middlesbrough

  • Drivers hurt in crash

    TWO men were taken to hospital yesterday after a bus carrying 32 passengers collided with a car. None of the passengers were hurt but the driver of a Nissan Micra and the bus driver were taken to hospital after the collision in Dormanstown, Redcar. The

  • Cyclist grabs handbag

    POLICE are asking for witnesses to come forward after a woman was robbed by a youth on a bicycle. The 46-year-old victim was walking along Crescent Road, Middlesbrough, at about 3pm on Monday when she was approached from behind by the youth. He snatched

  • Gearing up for car park improvements

    THE first of a phased programme of improvements to a car park in Stockton will begin next week. As part of the Castlegate Centre's upgrading programme, the car parks will be modernised with external decorative ribs removed to allow more natural daylight

  • Pilot for housing benefits shake-up

    A TEESSIDE council is to pilot a shake-up in housing benefit. Under the plan, scheduled for autumn, private tenants living in Middlesbrough will receive a flat rate of housing benefit, set locally. Landlords and tenants will know in advance how much they

  • 'Wild disorder' eclipses village school's launch

    The fire which engulfed Middleton St George Primary School last week was fully reported by the Northern Echo. It was a different story when it opened, however; the paper gave it just seven lines. But, as Echo Memories reveals, there were more pressing

  • Warnings are issued over vodka

    DRINKERS have been warned to beware of cheap vodka discovered on sale at off-licence and general dealers outlets. Bottles of Imperial Valkonov vodka have been found to contain excessive levels of methanol. Symptoms, which appear several hours after drinking

  • The etiquette of PIN money

    They've become an indispensable part of our lives, but how many of us know the proper way to use a cash machine? Nick Morrison reports on how research into all things automated could help us get to grips with the public face of technology MOST of us do

  • Pool's unbeaten run ended by Imps

    HARTLEPOOL United's last night lost for the first time in 2003 as their 11-game unbeaten stretch came to an end at Lincoln. Pool's last defeat was 2-0 at Hull on Boxing Day - but last night they went one worse as their lead at the top of Division Three

  • Battered - and that's not just the pancakes

    An ancient sporting challenge that took place in a North-East village yesterday, showed that the region has lost none of its Shrove Tuesday appetite for rough and tumble. Andy White reports ONE of the North-East's most enduring sporting traditions was

  • Maccarone relishing the return of Juninho

    STEVE McCLAREN insisted last night that Juninho is already starting to bring the best out of Middlesbrough's misfiring striker Massimo Maccarone. North-East rivals Newcastle United visit the Riverside tonight, and Maccarone is expected to be drafted in

  • Dyer cleared to start derby battle

    Kieron Dyer breathed a huge sigh of relief last night after a scan on his shin showed he had not suffered a recurrence of his troublesome injury, clearing him to start this evening's Tees-Tyne derby. The Newcastle United midfielder has been complaining

  • Trial begins for woman accused of killing daughter

    A 34-year-old woman appeared in court today charged with the murder of her daughter in the bedroom of their family home more than 13 years ago. Maxine Robinson is alleged to have killed nine-month-old Victoria Jean Cope at their home in Pelton, near Chester-le-Street

  • N-E steelworks' debt is written off by councillors

    COUNCILLORS have written off a rates debt owed by a troubled North-East steelworks. Weardale Steel, in Wolsingham, should have paid £41,384.10 in business rates for the first half of last year to cover the period until it went into administration on October

  • Highways Agency in trouble on gritting

    THE Highways Agency was criticised last night for failing to keep records relating to its road-gritting targets. The agency, and several North-East councils, was criticised at the end of January for failing to grit a number of key roads during two days

  • Normandy trip for veterans cancelled

    A WAR veterans' visit to Normandy has been cancelled because not enough funds have been raised. Nine unemployed young people from the Prince's Trust Volunteers were expected to attend a charity leg-waxing stunt with soldiers from Catterick Garrison, North

  • Revealed... the best therapy of them all

    SO maybe the stiff upper lip is the best therapy after all. New research by a medical advice organisation in Oxford claims that a lot of counselling is a waste of time and some of it does more harm than good. And Professor George Bonnano - who studied

  • Drawing up plans for bus station

    DEVELOPERS are queuing up for the right to rebuild a much-mailigned bus station. Derwentside District Council will tomorrow unveil a £1m design brief for the demolition of Stanley's 30-year-old bus station on the A693 and its replacement. The document

  • Priest loses sacking appeal

    A PRIEST protested his innocence last night despite losing an appeal against his sacking amid allegations of sexual harassment from parishioners. The Reverend Harry Brown said: ''I will never, ever get another job in the church again. I feel destroyed

  • Shoppers learn about fair trade

    PUPILS at Blackhall Colliery Primary School are celebrating after their school received an Activemark Gold award. Given by Sport England, the awards recognise schools which provide a wide range of sports activities both within and outside of lessons.

  • Schwarz case dropped

    A Premiership footballer arrested following an alleged altercation with two youths who threw snowballs at his car has been told the case against him has been dropped, police said today. Former Sweden international Stefan Schwarz was questioned by police

  • £1m pledge helps new-look arts team plan revival

    THE new boss of one of the region's most popular theatres has pledged to spearhead a £1m arts revival. Lindsay Tuck, a marketing expert, was appointed to the post of Darlington's head of arts after a year-long search. The former head of Darlington Arts

  • Last Night's TV

    When bitching and bleaching cease to matter - The Salon (C4) EVEN a fly-on-the-wall documentary soap can stop you dead in your tracks with a reality check, as The Salon proved this week. This is the series set in a hairdressing and beauty salon, set up

  • Community hall rescue bid by village

    PEOPLE living in a village near Darlington have stepped in to save their community centre from closure. The future of the building in Middleton St George looked bleak after Darlington Borough Council withdrew its annual grant from rural halls last year

  • Farewell to tragic 'Besty'

    EMOTIONS ran high at the funeral of a teenager weeks after he died from a single stab wound while celebrating his 18th birthday. Scores of friends joined close family and other relatives of Paul Best at his funeral service yesterday, at a packed parish

  • The great, the good and the gulper

    CHARLIE Emett, a thoroughly nice little feller who used to write the "Walks" column hereabouts, still looks into the building. Invariably he brings a bag of cream buns - they used to sell much the same thing at the elephant house in London Zoo - and quite

  • Report criticises buses for disabled

    A COUNCIL has been criticised in an independent report over its transport services for disabled people. An investigation into Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council's social care services for disabled people also found a lack of leadership among staff,

  • Punctuality report puts airport top

    NEWCASTLE airport has come out top for punctuality in a national report. The Civil Aviation Authority statistics show that 77 per cent of scheduled flights between July and September last year coming into and leaving Newcastle airport were on time. The

  • Smoke-free cafe wins health accolade

    THE first non-smoking caf in Darlington has been presented with an award for hygiene and promoting healthy food. Wade's Coffee House, in Post House Wynd, became the first town centre caf to receive a Darlington Heartbeat Award. The award is a council-run

  • Entrepreneurial aid

    A ONE-DAY event is being held to encourage people in Darlington to start up their own businesses. Darlington Borough Council has joined forces with local enterprise agency Darlington Business Venture (DBV) to host the event. DBV offers people free advice

  • Walk promotes healthy lifestyle

    A three-mile walk around Tunstall, near Wolsingham, on Sunday is the latest in a series of Wear Walking for Health events leading up to the Great North Walk on July 13. At least three dozen people are expected to follow the reservoir route, which has

  • Regulars learn how to log on at the local

    LIFE mirrored fiction when a North Yorkshire pub launched an Internet cafe yesterday. Recent episodes of radio soap The Archers have included the introduction of computers at The Bull and now regulars at The Blacksmiths Arms, in North Cowton, can go online

  • Concern as 40% of vehicles fail conversion inspections

    CHECKS on vehicles converted to run on liquid petroleum gas (LPG) have revealed that alarming numbers fail to reach basic safety standards. More than 40 per cent of the vehicles tested in Northallerton, Harrogate and Scarborough failed. A total of 62

  • Schwarz decides to call it a day

    Stefan Schwarz will quit Sunderland at the end of the season after announcing his intention to retire as a player when his contract expires this summer. The former Sweden midfielder, whose only two appearances this campaign were in the Worthington Cup

  • Shoppers offered weekly promotions

    A HOST of traders are teaming up to launch weekly promotions in an effort to attract more people to their town centre. Shoppers visiting Bishop Auckland on Thursdays will be able to enjoy a series of discounts and special offers in more than a dozen outlets

  • Tory campaign leaflet 'demeaning to parents'

    LABOUR and Conservative Party leaders have had their first major spat ahead of forthcoming council elections over a Conservative campaign leaflet. The leaflet being distributed in the marginal Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council district, depicts a baby

  • Initiative to raise visitor numbers

    A SCHEME to make North Yorkshire churches more welcoming is celebrating its first anniversary. Later this month, the North Yorkshire Church Tourism Initiative will be holding a conference in Harrogate to look at ways of making further improvements. One

  • Jail support group seeking volunteers

    A VOLUNTARY organisation based near a Durham prison is looking for people to run a telephone helpline for families of prisoners The Prisoners' Families helpline is a nationwide project that provides support and information for people with relatives or

  • Helpers step in to spruce up footpath

    VOLUNTEERS will spruce up a footpath this weekend. Durham voluntary countryside rangers, residents and parish councillors will work on about 400 metres of path, in Sherburn Village, on Saturday. The path has steps and a bridge made of railway sleepers

  • Airport giveaway 'is best deal for future'

    LOCAL authorities are planning to sell their controlling interest in Teesside Airport for only £500,000 to win £20m-worth of investment, The Northern Echo can reveal. Officials insisted last night that they had struck the best deal possible. The five

  • Taking steps for a healthier way of life

    A SERIES of health walks have been planned to encourage people to take more exercise. Circular walks ranging from two miles to four miles in and around Durham and Chester-le-Street have been devised to help people incorporate walking in their daily routine

  • 05/03/2003

    WAR AGAINST IRAQ - Irrespective of Hans Blix's reports, George Bush is dragging Tony Blair to war and sees himself as the saviour of the Iraqi people. Unfortunately, his vision for the country's future is doomed to failure. The Arab nations have deeply

  • Trust seeks volunteers

    THE National Trust is seeking volunteers to work in one of the area's finest stately homes. Nunnington Hall, near Helmsley, is hosting two open days this month for anyone wishing to apply. Property manager Simon Lee said: "We will be taking interested

  • Teenager fined for swearing at officer

    THE brother of a teenage girl found himself in trouble after he tried to stop police arresting her. Derek Mafham, of Yarm Road, Darlington, grabbed hold of a policewoman and swore at her during an early morning disturbance in the town's Gladstone Street

  • Festival confirms programme dates

    A DALES festival has confirmed the first dates in a fortnight-long programme which begins in May. Internationally renowned soprano, Emma Kirkby, and jazz legend Digby Fairweather, have both agreed to perform at the Swaledale Festival this year, although

  • An opportunity to fly high

    HAROLD Macmillan questioned the wisdom of privatisation, saying it was like selling the family silver. Looking at the fate of our railways in the private sector, the former Tory Prime Minister perhaps had a point. But in contrast, other enterprises taken