THE Tees Valley mayor announced his bid to put the ‘parmo’ on menus around the world in September.

Ben Houchen launched a campaign calling for protected status for the Teesside dish.

Mr Houchen, who orders his own parmos from Mario’s in Ingleby Barwick, hopes to secure the Protected Designation of Origin accolade for the delicacy.

His crusade took him to Jeff the Chef’s Middlesbrough factory, where parmesans are made and delivered to supermarkets across the country.

The parmo, which is said to have originated in Teesside, is flattened and breadcrumbed chicken breast smothered in bechamel sauce and topped with cheese.

He said: “We need to officially protect the provenance of this local delicacy and must make it abundantly clear that the genuine article is only from Teesside.

“The parmo was invented on Teesside and should only be made on Teesside.

“Securing PDO status would mean that people would know they were getting the real deal when eating a parmo.”

A COMMUNITY said farewell to eight-year-old Mark Hammond after he lost his fight with cancer.

Hundreds came out to pay tribute by wearing all red in his honour.

In a speech at Darlington's Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Mark’s uncle, Jared Dore urged people to live life to the fullest making the most of the time they had left.

He also shared stories about Mark, from Darlington, mentioning how he enjoyed making lists of the things he loved and things he wanted to do.

Mr Dore also thanked the community for their support and commended Mark’s parents Dean and Hannah Hammond for showing unwavering strength.

He said: “We are united in celebration of little Mark’s life and in celebration of everything he achieved in that short time.

“Mark was a shining star that shone so brightly for the people touched by his love and his smile throughout the country.

“Despite the heartache and pain, there was so much courage and love.”

The order of service even included a list of Mark’s favourite things mentioning snow leopards, Manchester United and great-grandma’s egg on toast.

IT emerged that the circumstances surrounding the death of a woman who reversed her car off a multi-storey car park would remain a mystery.

Linda Al Selmie, from Darlington, received multiple injuries after her car crashed to the ground while she was parking her BMW in an Abu Dhabi car park

The incident, which happened on January 25, 2015 led to an inquest at Crook Coroners Court which found that a concrete and metal barrier which was put up to protect cars from the edge, had been made 16.68cm shorter than it was originally designed to be and stood at only 90cm high.

Speaking after the hearing in September, Mrs Al Selmie’s sister Marjorie Carney said they had accepted that this was as much information as they were probably ever going to receive.

She said: “We will never know what caused the car to go through the barrier.

"She had a wonderful life."

MEANWHILE, an electrical fire in Darlington town centre revealed a huge haul of cannabis plants in an empty office space.

Up to 1,000 plants were seized after firefighters were called in by The Vape Shop on Northgate after smoke was seen coming from the building.

Neville Jones, who had been running the business for three to four weeks, said: “Smoke started coming into our shop and we called the fire brigade.

“The police said it was one of the biggest cannabis hauls they have seen.

“As far as we were concerned we did not know anyone was in there.

“We did hear a bit of noise upstairs now and again, but we thought it might be workmen. We never saw anyone come or go.”

BAR staff at Darlington's Blackwell Grange Golf Club were threatened with a shotgun and hammer before armed robbers escaped with cash.

The staff had their hands tied up by two masked men who warned them, if they didn’t cooperate they would be shot in the legs.

General manager of the club Ian Knight, confirmed the break-in and said: “Everyone is okay but it has clearly been a very frightening ordeal.”

Detective Sergeant Stew Walker, from Darlington CID, said: “While this was a distressing incident for those involved, I would like to reassure the community that thankfully, crimes of this nature are extremely rare.

“Nobody sustained any injuries during the incident and the victims are currently being supported by specially trained officers.

“I would like to appeal for anyone with any information to come forward.”

A FARMER killed in a tragic accident was labelled “everyone’s hero” by his family.

Fifty one-year-old Steven Coatsworth’s death while baling straw in Staindrop, came as a shock to the family as he had always been so safety-conscious.

Wife Wendy said: “It is a tragic waste of life, he had so much to live for.”

She added: “It has reminded us how well thought of he was, he was hardworking and helped everybody he could."

Mr Coatsworth's son William said: “My dad just loved family and farming, it was a way of life. He wasn’t a big socialiser as he’d rather be here on the farm, working with his sons and grandsons."

ALSO that month, a community in the North-East came together as a 16ft tall giant wooden horse made its way through the town’s streets.

The Gresham Horse made its debut appearance in Middlesbrough, allowing the neighbourhood’s diverse population to come together.

The horse was created by a team of people living in and around the Gresham area, with artist Isabel Lima taking the lead on the project.

Participants involved in the creation of the horse included asylum seekers aiming to highlight “mutual commonalities within the communities”.

Ms Lima said: “The project is about the community coming together and taking ownership of their neighbourhood in a very diverse area of Middlesbrough.

“People who worked on the project include displaced people from all over the world.”