A WEEKEND of torrential rain caused flood misery for communities and motorists, five years ago this week. Nationally, high winds and torrential rain left one person dead and flooded more than 800 homes.

In the North-East the A66 was closed between Darlington and Middlesbrough for the second time in a month. In North Yorkshire, firefighters were called out to pump water from more than 30 properties, including several in South Kilvington and Sessay, near Thirsk, and Carperby, near Leyburn.

A man was rescued by another man after falling into a stream and getting trapped under a waterfall at Boghole Bank in Thimbleby, near Northallerton.

Both men were taken to hospital by ambulance suffering from suspected hypothermia.

Several hours later, firefighters were called to rescue a canoeist who had lost his canoe and become trapped on an island in the middle of the River Ure, near Aysgarth Falls, Leyburn.

Also five years ago, a man who brutally killed two people in their own homes was convicted of their double murder and jailed for at least 37 years.

Newcastle Crown Court heard how James Allen, from Middlesbrough, broke nearly every bone in Colin Dunford's face when he unleashed a sustained violent assault on the 81-year-old in his Middlesbrough home.

Three days later, 36-year-old Allen stabbed Julie Davison 31 times in the head and neck at her home in Whitby.

Meanwhile footballer Fabrice Muamba backed The Northern Echo’s campaign to encourage gyms to install defibrillators.

He suffered a cardiac arrest and nearly died on the pitch during an FA cup match in early 2012, and added his support to the Echo's call for an increase in the number of defibrillators available around the country.

The campaign was launched after it emerged 80 per cent of private gyms in the North-East did not have a defibrillator.

On the showbiz front, it was a good week for former and current X Factor contestants. Joe McElderry returned to his native North-East that week, switching on Durham’s Christmas lights, while James Arthur, from Saltburn, made it through to the semi-finals of that year's series.

His mum, Shirley Ashworth, and sister, Sian Arthur, had spent the weekend in the Cleveland Shopping Centre, in Middlesbrough, drumming up support.

Next week: More flood chaos hits the region, and campaigners call for a public inquiry into police conduct during the Miners' Strike.