A SENSORY room at a children's heart unit was made a reality in a Challenge Anneka-style project, in November 2011.

Work on the £75,000 facility at the Freeman Hospital, in Newcastle, was led by North-East charity Cash for Kids, which has joined forces with the heart unit's charity, Chuf.

After hearing news of the challenge, North-East businessman Graham Wylie, whose daughter Kiera's life was saved by the unit, donated £38,500.

Mr Wylie said: "My family and I owe so much to the surgeons, doctors and nurses on this unit, and I do hope that everyone will come together to make this happen.

"Cash for Kids have set themselves an incredible challenge and it is unbelievably heartwarming to see two charities helping each other like this."

A heroine who intervened to stop a brutal street attack was honoured for her bravery on November 11, 2011.

Aimee Yule stood up to two drunken yobs as they punched and stamped on their unconscious victim in Darlington town centre in July 2011.

The 22-year-old was presented with the first Pride of Darlington medal – commissioned by The Northern Echo – in recognition of her public-spirited actions.

She said: "I did not expect or ask for any of this, but I am really proud. I just did what anybody else should do.

"The response I have had has been fantastic. I have had emails from across the world praising my bravery. It has all been so overwhelming."

Ms Yule, a taxi controller at 1AB Taxis, helped stranger Jason Waters in Northgate when he was attacked on July 27, 2011.

Finally, a 100-year-old poppy seller continued to play a part in the nation's tribute to its war dead.

Carmel Connolly, of Spennymoor, County Durham, was one of the country's oldest and longest-serving poppy sellers and raisined funds for the Royal British Legion since 1960 and believes she has sold more than a million poppies, raising thousands of pounds over the years.

She joined the Women's Auxiliary Air Force in 1940 and served as a cook at air bases during the WWII.

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