THE family of a youngster who lost her hands to meningitis celebrated the birth of another girl, ten years ago this week.

Tilly Lockey, two, whose plight touched the hearts of people across the North-East, had a new sister, Lucy-Anna, who weighed 6lb 7oz when she was born at the University Hospital of North Durham, Durham City.

The family, then of Tow Law, launched an appeal to raise £20,000 to buy prosthetic hands for Tilly, whose hands were amputated and who lost all her toes.

Father Adam Lockey, 27, said: "It's great to have Lucy-Anna home and the family is so excited.

"The kids love her to bits and they keep bringing her toys and singing her lullabies. Tilly has been so excited about having a new sister, and she'll sometimes just sit and watch her."

Aged 17 months, Tilly contracted group B meningococcal septicaemia.

Mr Lockey said: "The birth of Lucy-Anna was emotional because, when Tilly first saw her sister, the first thing she noticed was that she had hands, and she has been stroking her fingers – she is clearly going to be a caring sister."

FORMER Sunderland and Darlington manager Billy Elliott died aged 82.

He arrived at Sunderland from Burnley for a fee of £26,000 in June 1953, and went on to make 212 appearances, netting 26 times during a six-year spell.

Elliott returned to Sunderland in 1968 to work as a coach under Alan Brown but took charge in a caretaker capacity for four games in 1972 when Brown was sacked.

He remained at Roker Park under new boss Bob Stokoe and was part of the backroom team when the Black Cats won the FA Cup in 1973.

He returned to Wearside in December 1978 for his second spell as caretaker boss, almost guiding the Black Cats to promotion.

Elliott then took charge at Darlington in June 1979, where he remained until he completely retired from football in June 1983.

HIGH winds and torrential rain left the region's transport system in disarray.

The Environment Agency said residents of Ripon, Thirsk and Skipton in North Yorkshire, were in “extreme danger.”

Schools and roads were closed when seven centimetres of rain fell in a day.

And pressure on councils led to campaigners warning that smaller schools in the region could close.

The National Association for Small Schools (NASS) said there was an "infectious official line not only to cut the number of spare places, but also not to have too many schools".

Mervyn Benford, information officer for the NASS, said authorities were coming under increasing pressure from the Government to have a minimum limit of 110 pupils.